Tag Archives: mass effect

Mass Effect 2: The Review

This week I finally finished Mass Effect 2.  I pretty much stand by my mid-game review with a little emphasis on some areas.

*** BEWARE SOME MINOR SPOILERS BELOW***

The gameplay is everything and a whole lot more, I can’t think of anything I would change with the exception of a squad prompt of enemy locations.  For example, “Enemy on your six.”  The game has the RPG of Knights of the Old Republic and the combat of Rainbow Six.  The biggest improvement on the combat level from the first installment is the need for combat strategy.  In the original as long as you keep moving you rarely got hit and could take out most of you enemies solo, in ME2 that is recipe for suicide; cover and well-timed shots are your best bet for survival.  While combat is not incredibly difficult, it make an RPG have some feel of a FPS.

My favorite addition was the inclusion of Legion as a squad member.  Since my first journey into the Mass Effect universe I thought they were the coolest soldier/species since the Stormtrooper.  A little bit Saturn 3 android, a little bit organic Battle Droid.  And the thought that the story arcs to make it possible is the best curve since the revelation that Tyler Durden was Jack’s wet dream.  Thank you Bioware.

The game took me about 45 hours with 100% mission completion and about 50% scanning every planet down to depleted, far more elements than you will ever need in the game.  The improved dialogue and cinematic are setting a standard for the future of the genre and the thought that this reportedly ends in a trilogy saddens me.  The story was not nearly as strong as the original, and the improved gameplay makes it a step above the first.

All in all, I give it a perfect 10.

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Mass Effect Strikes Back

So many of our great epics have shined brightest during their second installment: Star Wars, Aliens, Superman, Terminator and some would say the Godfather, but personally I didn’t care for any of them.

This month Bioware released the follow-up to what I consider the greatest game ever, will this be a superior sequel like Aliens?  I don’t know.  Will this be a flop like Major League 2?  Highly unlikely.  Or will it be a sequel equal to the first, much like Rocky & Rocky 2?  I would put my odds there, but I won’t know for another 100 or so gaming hours.

Up till now what I can tell you is that the storyline is not as gripping, they are basically branching off the Reaper storyline, then again, the story is still young and has time to branch off at what I think will pit Shepard against Cerubus or the Normandy’s AI… or both, while pushing the already beaten Reapers as a subplot.  Not that fighting the Reapers again will make the game less fun, but there is little mystery, which is what made the original title so griping.

As for gameplay, the sequel is far superior, they moved a little off the RPG character customization and made rank upgrades less about exp points and made it more about the elements you can find and research your upgrading via the weapons you improve.  Communication is a little improved with the implimentation of dropping an instant renegade or paragon option into the dialogue without having to choose an option.  What really improved was combat, gone is the general aiming reticule and added is a cross hair which implements a more precision type aiming that you would see in a FPS much like we are seeing a crossover from RPG to having killer storylines.  The line between the two genres is really beginning to blend and it only benefits the gamers.

The addition of importing more than just a character and allowing for all your decisions of the past to reward you or haunt you is just awesome.  Almost every action in Mass Effect has a reaction in ME2, starting from as little as a referenced report on the new briefs to how a character associates with you based on your treatment of an character or species from the first chapter.

Suit up N7.


Best Video Games of the Decade

So for the past month I have added my favorite movies, albums and such of the outgoing decade, but when it came for me to pick a favorite game I was stumped.  This decade has been so important to gaming with all the developments in technology that just picking one is near blasphemous in my opinion, instead I will give a Top 10 in some semblance of order; but not completely.

10. Tony Hawk Series- Say what you will, but I love this series…

9. Ghost Recon- Before they went onto the more single character storyline of the sequels, the original and the Island Thunder/Jungle Storm/Desert Siege add-on were awesome.  being able to control 3 characters and balance out an attack without the AI screwing it up was awesome.  Why they switched to the GH@ and GRAW format I will never know.

8. Bioshock- I hate FPS, they are boring, monotonous and repetitive.  This game took all that was good with RPG’s and stuffed it all into the shell of a FPS and made a masterpiece.

7. Fallout 3- Oh so much fun.

6. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed- Every kids dream.  Sadly the game is too short.

5. Dead Space- This game scared the piss out of me.  I would play for hours on the edge of my seat only to go to bed and have nightmares.  Pure genius.

4. Rainbow Six Vegas- Everything that Ghost Recon could have been, but set in Vegas.

3. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic series- Not as open and action oriented as the Force Unleashed game but 100s of hours of deep storylines make this game even better than the prequels.

2. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess- The only reason I own a Wii, and the only reason I continue to own a Wii.  Hopefully the series continues to produce as it always has in the past.  IMO the best yet, I know others will say Ocarnia in Time or Link to the Past, but the Wii really works well for this title and made gameplay fun.

1. Mass Effect- I am a major sci-fi geek, this new frontier of a story was everything that I watched as a kid.  I see lots of Star Wars, some Buck Rogers, a handful of BSG and even a touch of Saturn 3 (The Geth).  The designers are obvious enthusiasts and it shows… in a good way.  With Bioware having a clean slate to create what they want there is no limit to what can be done in the Mass Effect Universe having no cannon or “history” to commit to as in other franchises taken form movie lore.  The RPG is as deep as a novel and the graphics are that of a grainy budget scifi matinée on cable, though the elevator rides are a killer.  With Part 2 just over the horizon of the new decade I am sure it will have a spot in my future “Decade in Review” for the forthcoming 10 spot.


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