Game: Mass Effect 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: Xbox 360 and PC (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
It has been three days since I completed the main campaign in Mass Effect 2 (ME2) and I am still contemplating my final decisions in the game. For a game to have that impact on me speaks to its massive emotional effect. Okay, enough of the puns. Mass Effect 2 is more of an experience than a game.
You play Mass Effect in one of two ways: you either begin or continue. You can simply start a new game (which assumes decisions for you) or if you finished Mass Effect (ME), you could import your save file into Mass Effect 2. I highly recommend the latter but it is not necessary to enjoying the game. I imported a full paragon character from Mass Effect and wanted to continue along that path.
While I understand these are a little late, but better late than never, though with all the anticipation and buzz regarding Mass Effect’s sequel, I figured I should give the game a fair shake. As I said last week, I would power through Mass Effect, a game that frustrated and bored me to no end.
I’ve gotten past many of those glaring issues and have come to respect Mass Effect for exactly what it is, a solid RPG. It took about 30 long hours for something to happen that got me interested in the story and make the payoff worth that time.
I’d have to say that the most frustrating aspect of the missions is the repetitive internal environments. Each and every base had one of three layouts with enemies in relatively the same places. The most surprising nuance I’ve found is the ease in which enemies perish as my character has leveled. My character is a soldier class and after putting enough experience points into my weapons mastery, enemies started dying too easily. This is a double-edged sword for developers because if the enemy AI became too good, players including me would end up complaining that enemies are too overpowered.
While Mass Effect isn’t my style of RPG, I’m glad I’ve put the time in to play it and get the story done, that way when the sequel is in the bargain bin, I won’t hesitate to pick it up.
I’d like to say “Thank You” to my RPG savvy co-hosts, TinPan, BlueMan and Vladzhammer for encouraging me to play through it. VicJoh, all I can say is put your head down and power through it. I’d suggest sticking with the main storyline so you can decide to go through again and play the side missions.
Mass Effect is a solid 3 out of 5. I can’t say that the slow story and the poor vehicle control scheme are made up for by the ending; though the ending decision made me think more than previous RPGs’ I’ve played through before. The fact that the story gets intriguing at the end of the game is the biggest disservice that the game has for players. While I understand that mundane missions go along with RPGs, these should always be optional and not be tied into making the story progress, as is the case throughout the beginning. The best advice I can offer for a beginning would-be for players to put early talent points into weapons mastery because making battles shorter helps progress through the story faster. Mass Effect is worth a play-through and the hardest part is persevering.
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Choice in video games is a very familiar subject. In Dragon Age: Origins, it is far from an aesthetic-only implementation. Every choice here, though it should not, feels as if more consequences hinge on it than you can imagine. I explain why this is good in my review below. Let’s dig into Bioware’s latest title.
Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) pits you in the role of your customizable character in the believable and familiar world of Ferelden. Your character plays a Grey Warden, legendary heroes hand-selected as one of the elite warriors of your time. Grey Wardens are the world’s last hope against a horde of demons, dubbed Darkspawn, that surface to take over the Earth during a time period dubbed a Blight. Now is such a time. Armed with a very uncomely group of characters ( I mean that in the best possible way), you wander around your small world of Ferelden to cleanse the world of the blight.
This section features my rant for the week. I don’t normally complain about things but sometimes, I simply reach the boiling point. So here is where I vent. If you don’t want to read it, fine by me. I won’t take it personally. This week: Cursing VideoGame Nerds!
Today is a great day! Many of you think it’s because you just finished Modern Warfare 2 or Dragon Age. That’s not it. It’s a great day because today, Square Enix announced that its long-anticipated initial installment into the HD era will begin March 9, 2010. Some of you may mention Infinite Undiscovery, The Last Remnant (TLR), or Star Ocean IV as SE games released for the Xbox 360. I purport that 2/3 of those games listed above were developed by Tri-Ace and TLR, while fun, is a new Intellectual property and does not count. Final Fantasy is a different world entirely.
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I don’t like to follow hype. This year, hype has been substantiated by games like Street Fighter IV, UFC Undisputed 2009, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Dragon Age. While I normally do hype a game, I’m going to speak up for what I feel to be a sleeper hit in Q1 2010.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 releases March 2, 2010 and will hold its own against the spring onslaught of games. See footage from the video below to be blown away!
So here we are two or three weeks into the launch of EA’s latest foray out into the wild blue yonder of college athletics. This title serves annually as the bridge between the too terribly long baseball season and the Chick’fil’a Kick off Classic in the Georgia Dome. If you are anything like me football season can’t get here fast enough and you need anything to make the time go by.
For the longest time NCAA has been the red-headed step-child of EA’s other football franchise Madden. Scuttlebut around this time usually flirts around about EA using NCAA as a testing ground to put future Madden concepts to the drawing board. Since the jump to the next generation was made NCAA has come out of the shadows and by some accounts even surpassed its older brother. While the gap has narrowed within the past two years, NCAA still remains the top dog.
- Procedural Awareness. This really boils down to the ability for players to dynamically turn their head, and it means the engine can take into account what the player is looking at and how long it might take for them to turn around. This will be used for receivers as well as defensive backs, and it will even be used by ball carriers to track potential threats like 260 lb linebackers bearing down on them.
- Coach Mode. Okay, this isn’t an official coach mode, but the team has put in the ability to turn on an “auto pass” feature that will let the CPU control the quarterback so long as you don’t do anything after hiking the ball. Yeah, I know, it’d be much better if they went the extra 2 yards and made a coach mode that restricts the controlling of players, but this does open the door for those that like the sim aspects more.
- Adaptive AI. Essentially, the computer can track how often you run certain plays or types of plays and react accordingly.
- Season Showdown. Players choose their favorite school upon purchasing the game and collect credits based on skills, sportsmanship, trivia, etc. At the end of the season there will be a 32 team playoff and it will determine a champion.
- Road to Glory. Featuring none other than miss let my naked video leak online(oh yes, I will be using that for the page hits!) Erin Andrews!
Yep. I could really care about the rest of the mode…. she’s enough for me. Though the one gripe I did have, the zoomed in extremely ghey camera angle for superstar mode, they got rid of. So, it’s definitely a plus for me.
From my point of view, this is one of the best football games this generation. It plays smoothly, looks beautiful, and is a lot of fun. What more could you ask for? I mean granted, you are going to have the same problems that have been prevalent for a couple of years now, but it doesn’t take away from the overall experience. NCAA is a fun game and it would be a shame if you to missed it.
Hit the jump for a few more screen shots. Read more »