One of my favourite features in any Adventure/RPG game is getting the chance to have your say when interacting with different characters. Whether you are a sympathetic Paragon, a cruel Renegade, or simply want to go with the most sarcastic option there is, it’s always interesting for different players to see how their choice in dialogue evolves the story as they play. However, what was once the feature that everyone wanted to see slowly began to change into the bane of gamers everywhere. Saves were reloaded, cut-scenes were re-watched and many faces were palmed as we tried to pick the right dialogue choice to convey exactly what we want to say. Here are some of the worst and best examples of dialogue choices in games.
Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Tales from the Borderlands)
Finding ourselves in the midst of a horrifying zombie apocalypse, defending House Forrester (and precious, precious Ironwood) following the collapse of the Starks in the North, or trying to climb our way up the brutal, backstabbing hierarchy of the Hyperion corporation - Telltale Games never fails to throw gamers into a variety of situations where what we say truly makes a difference between success and failure.
But sometimes, even after much thought, the game hits us with a curve ball. Our character responds in a completely different tone than what we intended, causing any in-game relationships to deteriorate, swords/guns being drawn, and even the demise of our most beloved characters.
For example, as Clementine in The Walking Dead: Season 2, you're given various options to respond to Nick's thanks for not giving up on him, such as:
- Next time you should listen to me.
Don't worry about it.
- I'm sorry about Pete.
Going with the 'Don't worry about it' option I imagined would have been a little more laid back, but instead Clem retorted with a fair amount of sass, leaving poor Nick upset. Whoops.
Well, if there's one thing I've learnt it's that underneath all the sincerity and kindness dialogue choices offer lies a dark, twisted, maniacal undertone. I will remember this...eh, not really.
Dragon Age: Inquisition (Downside)
One of my all-time favourite RPG games, Dragon Age: Inquisition, gives you the chance to command the forces of the holy as the all powerful Inquisitor, laying waste to your enemies and rebuilding the world of Thedas in your image. Out of the many important decisions you have to make in order to sway your ally's opinions of you is to Sit in Judgement of prisoners that are captured on your journey. This also gives you the chance to turn once sworn enemies into agents for your cause.
As a part of the 'Lost Souls' side quest, you get the chance to judge Chief Morvan the Under for his crime of attacking your stronghold...with a goat. Yeeeeeeeeeeah. So getting past the awkward crime at hand and arriving at your judgement, you have these following punishments at your disposal:
Selecting the gibbet option results in an awkward sentencing for an awkward crime, a slight disapproval from three of your allies and leaving you looking like a complete idiot in front of all your people. All in the name of Andraste!
Dragon Age: Inquisition (Upside)
While the previous dialogue option showcased Dragon Age: Inquisition's ability to take you from almighty Inquisitor to absolute idiot in one sentence, it does have one of the best uses of the dialogue wheel mechanic that I have ever seen. Understanding that players may interpret dialogue in different ways, Dragon Age provides players with a little guidance, in the form of icons, which let the player know what kind of tone is going to be used for each dialogue option.
In response to a remark made by Varric in relation to your capture, imprisonment, and forced journey to close a Fade Rift all in one day (wow, that's a lot), you as the Inquisitor have the following dialogue options:
Selecting the "This is all bulls**t" option, as highlighted by the 'Mad' icon, will allow you to express your anger at the current situation with one simple dialogue choice, and gain slight approval from Varric. I guess he does know what we've been through after all...don't tell Cassandra I said that.
The Mass Effect series is another great example of a game that makes great use of it's dialogue wheel by incorporating icons. Playing as Commander Shepard on their exploits to save the universe is made just a little easier as you are presented with Paragon or Renegade dialogue choices. These will either show the everyone that you're overflowing with heroism, or how much of a complete and total badass you are.
On your search for medical supplies in the Citadel, you find a turian named Tactus who has exactly what you're looking for but only if you trade some supplies in return...no shady side-alley dealings here. You can handle this in the different ways:
Going with the Renegade option of, "Don't be a fool.", allows you to intimidate Tactus into giving you what you want, as well as receiving a much needed Medi-Gel upgrade. Who says being nice pays off?