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March 15, 2014 10:37 AM   Subscribe

What PC games involve a lot of walking around and talking to people and not so much combat?

I like role playing PC games where there's a lot of talking and not so much skillful combat required (mere button mashing is OK). What games would I like?

My favorite game of all-time is Dragon Age Origins.
After that is Baldur's Gate II.
After that is The Witcher 2, but only after I installed a God-mod because the combat was too much for me. (But I was ace at the talking!)
After that is The Witcher, Skyrim (not much talking, but a big, beautiful world), Dragon Age II, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights 2.

Games I liked OK: Assassin's Creed 3 (too much sneakiness -- sneakiness requires skill), Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (not enough talking), Neverwinter Nights (not enough talking)

I'm playing Mass Effect 2 now, and I love all the talking, that part's great, but the combat is a little too stressful.

What else would I like? I am very excited for Dragon Age III and The Witcher 3, coming out this year, but in the meantime, what should I play? No Origins-only games -- Origins just disappeared all my games when it updated and I cannot figure out how to contact them, so I hate them. (Steam is great.) Using mods is fun, so games that can be modded are a definite plus. Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by pH Indicating Socks to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (46 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of older games do. Especially the extended family of Fallout 1 and 2, Planescape Torment, Arcanum. You can get close to playing completely without fighting if you are dedicated. But the standard warnings that come with old games apply: ugly, glitchy, and well old fashioned feeling.

But they can be bought on steam or for a song, so that's a plus.
posted by French Fry at 10:43 AM on March 15, 2014

I really hope you've played Planescape: Torment, because that's gonna be right up your alley.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:45 AM on March 15, 2014 [6 favorites]

Under a Killing Moon.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:52 AM on March 15, 2014

I haven't played it, but I believe To The Moon is all talk, no combat.
posted by naju at 11:14 AM on March 15, 2014

Planescape Torment would be right up your street I think, as potentially would be the two original Fallout games. I see Sternmeyer beat me to that one!
posted by prentiz at 11:34 AM on March 15, 2014

The Last Express.
posted by zippy at 11:38 AM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you don't mind old graphics, I highly recommend picking up The Longest Journey and it's sequel, Dreamfall. No combat whatsoever but tooooons of dialogue. Can get them both on GoG or Steam for cheap.
posted by ninjakins at 11:43 AM on March 15, 2014 [6 favorites]

Indigo Prophecy (aka Fahrenheit)- might be hard to find, but it's from the guy who did Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, 2 games that I think would be totally up your alley but are PS3-only.

Still Life

pH Indicating Socks: "I'm playing Mass Effect 2 now, and I love all the talking, that part's great, but the combat is a little too stressful. "

Have you tried playing on Easy/Novice? You can usually play those kinds of games with combat as an afterthought on that setting.
posted by mkultra at 12:13 PM on March 15, 2014

The Secret of Monkey Island
The Secret of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
The Curse of Monkey Island
Escape from Monkey Island
and (while I can't vouch for it)
Tales of Monkey Island

They're old, but they are amaaaaaaaaaazing.

There is the occasional sword fight - but it is INSULT Sword fighting where you greet people's advances like "You Fight Like a Dairy Farmer" you'll be able to counter with the phrase "How appropriate, you fight like a cow!"

They are available from steam - and well worth any investment.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:13 PM on March 15, 2014 [12 favorites]

The Wolf Among Us is good. You might like Bioshock Infinite as well as The Last of Us. All of them have amazing graphics as well as really well developed storylines. The characters are very compelling too. I don't much like shooter games but these games integrate the "combat" aspect really well and make for an immersive experience.

I enjoy watching the walkthrough videos on Youtube though obviously, spoiler alert on those. I find most commentary on the walkthroughs annoying and distracting but if you want to check any of these out, FrankieonPC1080p is my favorite.
posted by loquat at 12:19 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

LA Noire has some great environments, and what you do is all walk and talk (and drive), except for a shoot out or a car chase from time to time.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:02 PM on March 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Monkey Island franchise Nanukthedog recommends is great. The franchise has been taken over and added to by Telltale games. Many of their other games are also in the adventure (ie talk only) style. I can recommend Sam & Max and Hector the Inspector (if you don't mind a bit of vulgarity).
posted by Kriesa at 1:03 PM on March 15, 2014

It would be hard to avoid killing at all, especially since it has wild animals, but you can do a lot of the missions in Fallout 3 and New Vegas without killing any humans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:28 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've never played it, but To the Moon has been written about on a few gaming blogs because it's an RPG with literally no combat.

If you have a playstation, The Last of Us might be up your alley. It was too much hand-held storytime for my taste, and there is combat, but it's mostly about experiencing a narrative.

Papers, Please is a very interesting "dystopian document thriller" that's won a number of awards for general awesomeness, with a number of publications showcasing it as an example of a game that has become true art. No combat.
posted by xyzzy at 1:33 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might also like Bastion
posted by nalyd at 1:39 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

DayZ is outstanding as a walking simulator. Also plenty of opportunities to talk to / roleplay with other players on your server.
posted by killdevil at 2:52 PM on March 15, 2014

Gone Home lacks killing and has lots of walking around, but you aren't talking to people so much as reading their spoken memories.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:06 PM on March 15, 2014

I wonder if you might not like "Second Life"?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:18 PM on March 15, 2014

Regarding Fallout 3 and New Vegas, there is a perk you can take that will make all wild animals friendly towards you. I read a few accounts of people playing through the game and ending with zero kills of anything.
posted by tweedle at 3:26 PM on March 15, 2014

Another recommendation for Planescape and The Longest Journey. Planescape especially is famous for dialogue as a mechanic rather than dialogue as flavor text. You may also like The Walking Dead, but it might be too much on rails; sounds like you enjoy dialogue in a more open setting.

Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution both encourage and reward non-violent exploration and chatting up locals, but they also have a lot of fights to be fought or snuck around. Human Revolution in particular has horrible, unavoidable boss fights (fixed in the GOTY edition, I believe) and opens with a straight-up combat level, but it also has major confrontations which are entirely dialogue based, with a conversation mechanic based off of how well you can read your interlocutor in game.
posted by postcommunism at 3:33 PM on March 15, 2014

Actually, I take back the Deus Ex games. Great games (esp. the first), but there are too many sections that'll play as an FPS when you want an RPG.
posted by postcommunism at 3:43 PM on March 15, 2014

The Longest Journey. It's an adventure game, not an FPS or an RPG, but there's no combat, and it's one of the best written games out there. The sequel, Dreamfall, is also very good.
posted by valkyryn at 4:19 PM on March 15, 2014

I've seen To the Moon recommended by a few people who haven't played it, so I'd like to jump in and say that I have played it and it's totally worth your while. :)
posted by Aleyn at 4:28 PM on March 15, 2014

Maybe The Novelist? The world is just a house and you don't talk to anyone but you do haunt the light fixtures and read people's minds. And make lots of choices. I just finished it and want to play out through again. For reference, I played a lot of Skyrim and mostly just liked picking flowers and riding my horse.
posted by carolr at 5:18 PM on March 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Basically anything from Telltale Games starting with The Walking Dead.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:45 PM on March 15, 2014

Hey, when you say "PC games" is there a particular standard of production you mean, like commercial only or would you accept lo-fi freeware games? I got totes sucked into City of Secrets just because of how well the NPCs were written, but I think the game has... two graphics in it. It's text. You type to move.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:50 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dishonored might be worth picking up. I don't know how skilled it is, but what I hear about the world and exploring said world is AWESOME!

Xenosaga? TONS of talking!

Go oldschool! Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6 & 7, point and click like Monkey Island, and other classic turn based RPGs abound.
posted by Jacen at 5:59 PM on March 15, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the suggestions!

To clarify, I don't mind combat. In fact I like it, as long as it's of the (ideally auto-targeting) button-mashing variety. Like Dragon Age Origins. Boss fights are fun. So I'm not looking just for all-talk no-action games. The combat just has to be easy, on easy/casual difficulty.

So if that opens up any new prospects in your minds, especially -- dare I say it -- beautiful new games with gorgeous graphics, please share.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:49 PM on March 15, 2014

Best answer: Popping in to recommend Dear's a gorgeous-looking game that's basically set up as a journey.

Description from the website:
Dear Esther is a ghost story, told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional game-play the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly uncovered when exploring the various locations of the island, making every each journey a unique experience.
Here's a few links to check out: screenshots, YouTube walkthrough (there are more in the series), review.

Also nth-ing The Last of Us & Gone Home. I'm kind of in the same boat in that I like games that look pretty, let me go on a journey, and/or have a God mode so I don't have to be all grar and fight stuff. :) For older games, I enjoyed The Wheel of Time (based on the novels by Robert Jordan), and there's a God-mode hack for it. Not sure if it is available on Steam or not.
posted by cardinality at 6:53 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Monkey Island yes, LA Noire yes. You might also consider the Phoenix Wright series, and possibly the Persona series.

This is not your question, but: I am bad at shooty games. My enjoyment of the Mass Effect series increased exponentially once I figured out you can raise the radial power wheel to pause the action, and *while it is still up* carefully aim your next shot. I paused and aimed literally every freaking shot in that whole trilogy after I discovered you could do this.

There is only one place that I recall where this fails you, and it freaking sucks but you'll get through it OK.
posted by Andrhia at 8:32 PM on March 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Holy crap, Andrhia, that's awesome! Because I do love all the talking in ME2, so much excellent talking, but the shooting is indeed really hard for me even on casual difficulty. Now maybe I'll die less! Thanks!
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:03 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Walking around and talking--The Stanley Parable comes to mind immediately. Both Portal and Portal 2 are great. XCOM's easier difficulty levels are not too bad, but they do teach bad habits that would need to be unlearned for the higher difficulties.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:30 PM on March 15, 2014

It might not be exactly what you're looking for, but Sims 3 plus the World Adventures expansion pack means you're exploring caves and tombs, talking to people, picking up things, working out traps, and generally interacting without any actual combat.

Plus, when you finish your vacation, then you go home and do all ,your regular Sims shit.

Also, if you have the Ambitions expansion pack, your character can be a private investigator or a ghost hunter, both with little missions involving a lot of interaction.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:11 AM on March 16, 2014

The Thief series, in all its manifestations. I'm still playing the most recent incarnation so I can't speak for the second half of it, but it's possible to play the entire of the first three without ever getting into combat.

The hard method for this is ghosting where none of the npcs are aware that you ever passed through the level. An easier version is where you very occasionally might have to walk up behind someone to smack them over the head, but it's a a "fight" that lasts for one blow and about half a second, in which you automatically win.
posted by talitha_kumi at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2014

Last of Us is hard, hard, hard! Yes you can avoid much of the action but there are specific combat sections you can't avoid and that I have gotten stuck on even playing easy. I bought the PS3 just to play LoU and have only completed maybe ten percent because I can't get past some trigger-skill areas. I have played plenty of other shooter-ish games like Halo, HL, Bioshock etc. Anyone with a cheat feel free to memail me :(
posted by Iteki at 10:02 AM on March 16, 2014

> To clarify, I don't mind combat.

In that case, I re-recommend Deus Ex (just turn the difficulty down and enjoy wandering future Hong Kong, Detriot and Paris) and add:

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -- solid BioWare RPG that's overpraised but has lots of the BioWare dialogue-ing you like. Combat is plentiful but easy.

Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (first two thirds) -- at it's best, a semi-open world first person RPG about the politics of vampire clans in LA, one of which you are a recently and unwillingly recruited member. At it's worst, which is the last 30%, a first person RPG about vampire brawls in warehouses (the devs ran out of money and time).

Morrowind -- part of the Elder Scrolls series along with Skyrim, and probably the most praised. Takes place over to the right of Skyrim on the map of Tamriel, but with a richer aesthetic than your usual swords and sorcery. Wonderful gameworld to get lost in.

Fallout: New Vegas -- Open world post-apocalyptica with a satirical vibe but also an affection for the characters who have to live in it. Like Morrowind, you can have a blast just wandering the world. Combat is turn-based and auto-targeting, for the most part.

All of these except Planescape are available on Steam.
posted by postcommunism at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2014

In ME2, if you're playing soldier, the Mattock Assault Rifle from the Firepower pack DLC could be really useful. I'm not very good at shooters, but Mattock + Incendiary ammo (explosive) or Disruptive ammo (against bots and blue suns) + Time dilation = death to my enemies, even at the highest difficulty level.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 1:14 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Path is an art game based on Little Red Riding Hood... it's beautiful and dreamy, and unlike any other game I've played. It's got gorgeous, arty horror imagery (similar to the show Hannibal). You basically wander around the woods and explore, and pick up weird things that tell you about the character you're playing. There isn't any combat per se, and the interface is pretty easy to learn.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 5:02 PM on March 16, 2014

You might well like Dishonored, which has a great story and lots of atmosphere. The game actually changes depending on how violent you are, too; you can complete it without killing anyone at all. I'm a bit of a duffer at games, despite many years of practice, and I found the controls very good.
posted by danteGideon at 5:41 PM on March 16, 2014

If you have a playstation, The Last of Us might be up your alley. It was too much hand-held storytime for my taste, and there is combat, but it's mostly about experiencing a narrative.

This is indeed phenomenally good (and almost painfully affecting if you are a parent) but the combat is a big part of it, unfortunately.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:42 PM on March 16, 2014

A couple of games you might like, that would normally not fit your description, but with the appropriate strategy do.

I know this because I'm exactly like you -- I primarily like exploring the worlds and some combat, but I hate having to be some kind of Quake Combat Wizard to progress. It's frustrating to die thousands of times and see the same f*cking cut-scene for the same boss again and again and again when I just want a bit of a challenge and then to move on to another world or another part of the story.

The way I work in these games is *not* to push forward immediately, but explore all the side quests and current areas first. By the time you get to the main quest, it's mostly trivial button mashing because your character is so beefed up.

* Torchlight (I & II) is pretty, has exploration, and it's easy to just roam around doing random tasks and collecting loot.

* Borderlands II. I'm fairly convinced that this game dials down the difficultly if you struggle automatically (even though they don't tell you this). Either that or I just beefed my character up so much it didn't matter.

Games I would *not* recommend

* Deus Ex: Human revolution. Promising at the very start, but I actually stopped playing at the first boss battle after trying about 100 times on easy difficulty . Waste of money, that one.
posted by smidgen at 7:08 PM on March 16, 2014

Best answer: nthing that you will definitely enjoy Fallout 3 (Washington D.C.) and Fallout: New Vegas...the combat has an (optional) auto-targeting system that makes it a bit like old-school turn-based RPGs...the games are set in a truly bizarro alternate reality that seems to have branched out of the 1950s...atomic powered cars with fins and clunky robots and large-scale fallout shelter "vaults"...and then all of it just wrecked in a global nuclear war and now it's 200 years later and everything is ruined and mutated...giant fire-breathing ants, radioactive zombies (also radioactive zombie bears), 2-headed cows, etc. Sooo many wacky, wacky quests (like infiltrating a vault full of imperfect clones whose vocabulary consists entirely of the name "Gary") and crazy characters (like a hulking tranvestite(?) "Super Mutant" schizophrenic radio talk show host named 'Best Friend Tabitha') and the worlds are HUGE and the weapons are amazing (flame-throwing chainsaw, mini-nuke catapult, alien disintegrator pistols, electric brass knuckles, etc etc) and fun 'perks' at every level-up (more auto-targeting points, random 'mysterious stranger' helper, everything explodes into piles of guts, all the dudes and/or ladies are really into you, etc)...and tons and tons of really great voice acting "TRY NOT TO DIE!"
They're by the same folks (Bethesda) who did Skyrim and are similar in a lot of ways, but the targeting system (where you can pause and pick your shot) will probably make it more fun for you...but still, watch out for Deathclaws...those things are MEAN.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:47 PM on March 16, 2014

After reading this I'm going to have to try Dishonored.

But mostly I wanted to second the recommendations for Fallout 3, and to a lesser extent, Fallout New Vegas. I love Fallout 3 so much. You can set the difficulty to easy, and when there is combat, the VATS system auto targets for you. But mostly there's this huge, amazing world to explore.

I never get tired of that game.
posted by Groovymomma at 6:33 AM on March 17, 2014

Deus Ex: Human Revolution had a rerelease recently that (I'm told) made the boss battles bypassable.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:46 AM on March 18, 2014

Response by poster: I "played" Dear Esther yesterday -- it's beautiful, and I heartily recommend it. Just don't spoil it by reading anything about it first, especially the dev website. Just go into it blind, as I did.

For those who also like talking more than shooting, I just found a God-mod for ME2 I can deploy in frustrating circumstances. Now I'm completely happy. And I have a lot of new games to play! Thanks!
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:04 AM on March 18, 2014

Give Fallout 3 a shot, but it's not pacifist. Or try Psychonauts, which was great.
posted by talldean at 7:39 PM on March 23, 2014

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