Mass Effect: Crying Like a Small Child

Before I get into writing, I had better say that there are major SPOILERS for Mass Effect 3 in this post. Right, everyone played it? Well, everyone who cares about it played it? Good, let’s do this.

 

I wanted to talk about something I experienced in Mass Effect 3 that I hadn’t found before. I genuinely cared about the characters. Even the ones that weren’t human. In fact, the two most emtional scenes weren’t related to humans at all. I’m talking about the Legion Scene shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRa6WH90xVc and the Mordin Scene here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-_X9Tsg0Fc

I was wondering what anyone else who played through the games found were the saddest moments. But these two, when characters you have been with for hours and hours (especially if you played ME2) don’t make it, when they sacrifce themselves for something bigger than themselves made me actually feel sad in a way that few other films and games did.

Titanic… Nothing

Atonement… Nothing

In fact, the only other fictional story that made me as sad as Mass Effect 3 was Marley and Me.

Let’s not go into why I get more attached to dogs, weird lizard aliens and sentient robots than people….

 

Did I cry like a small child? No. But I wanted to. You don’t need actors to tell a story. Hell, I think in some ways, games tell it better.

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Affordable Gaming: The Sandwich Test

I am a student and a gamer. Being both on a budget isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. This is why I have come up with the sandwich test. I agonise over spending money on anything, but most of all on things like games and magic cards, which, despite being my favourite hobbies, aren’t as important as food. So, I have something I mentally refer to as the sandwich test.

The sandwich test is, if the game costs less than I have paid for a sandwich in the last couple of weeks, I don’t have to feel bad about buying it. This is normally games on sale on steam, in fact, I don’t think I have every paid full price for a game on steam. Buying games so cheap can be a bit hit and miss. Some games have been amazing, (Sins of a Solar Empire series, Mount and Blade series, Killing Floor, Fallout 3 with all the dlc) and some haven’t been great. Actually, that isn’t fair to a couple (Trine, Terraria, RAGE, The Binding of Issac) which weren’t exactly bad, but just weren’t my thing.

Then there are a couple that I haven’t got round to playing, or have only played for a couple of hours and mean to put some more time in to. And there are some all stars in this list. I mean, Left for Dead 2 (0 hours on steam), Dragon Age: Orgins – Ultimate Edition (4 hours, think I’m going to try this again soon) Star Wars: KOTOR 1 & 2 and Deus EX: Human Revolution (which I played for about 2 hours, but have been put off by the clunky controls).

There are a few more that just don’t like, but in the end I don’t feel too bad, because trying a new is fun, and if I don’t like it, it isn’t much different from when I’ve tried a sandwich and not liked it. It’s a bit disappointing sure, but there is always another sandwich. It’s not like when you have a meal out and it’s bad and you don’t have another for months.

Also, as you might be able to tell, I REALLY like sandwiches.

Sins of Mass Effect? Yes Please

So, you like Mass Effect? So you like RTS games? You think these two things should meet… But there is no Mass Effect RTS game.

Problem solved. Kinda. This mod (which I’m no way involved with making, but wanted to share) for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion will make commanding the Reapers, Cerberus and the Council Races a reality. I looks awesome and is supposed to be released in some form soon.

Here is the link to the mod page http://www.moddb.com/mods/mass-effect-dawn-of-the-reapers

I’m very much looking forward to this, having just got into Sins of a Solar Empire. Anyone who cares about Sins or Mass Effect should check this out.

Mass Effect: The Brilliant Multiplayer Time Sink of Doooom!

In my other post, I talked about one of my favourite hobbies, Magic: The Gathering. Now, we come to another of my favourites, video games. I figured the best way to start things off would be to talk about one of the best games I’ve played in a long time.

I’m going to talk about Mass Effect, of the 3 variety in particular. I’m not going to talk about the single player (maybe later), excellent though it is. I’m going to talk about the multiplayer. I’ve heard a lot about the single player online and from friends, but rarely do I hear people mention the multiplayer.

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For those of you who don’t own Mass Effect 3, or who do, but have never gone online, or even for those who tried it once or twice, then discounted it, I’m going to tell you why you should play it. I mean right now, (finish reading this first), go play it.

ME3 multiplayer is a horde mode kinda deal, where 4 players start in a map and 10 waves of guys from one of four factions, who they have apparently caused grave offence to, attempt to cause them as much harm as possible. It is a simple formula and Mass Effect is not the first game to use it. It is, in my experience, the best use of this formula. It isn’t without flaws, but no game is perfect and ME3 is about the closest we have right now in the waves of angry guys genre.

The magic (non-gathering related) comes from the huge variety of ways to shoot, explode, punch and throw across the map presented to you. At the start, you are given a choice of 6 classes, all of which are human. You can then go on to unlock 53 more combination of race and class. Then come the weapons, with approximately 7 bazillion different (okay, maybe that’s a lie, this isn’t borderlands) combinations of weapon and the two attachments each weapon  can have.

Then there is the equipment….

So you ask me, how to you get all this stuff. I shall tell you. This is where the game becomes a time sink, as each match completed awards credits (amount depends on difficulty, 4 difficulties available) and credits (or actual money, for people with more money than sense/free time, delete where applicable) are used to buy packs (7 different kinds available) and these packs have some stuff in.

This is where we get to one of the flaws and a bit of a barrier to entry to new players, as the contents of each pack are random. Added to this, each weapon has 10 levels, each equipment has 5 levels, each attachment has 5 levels and each character has 5 or 6 unlockable levels of customisation. I’m not sure how long it would take to unlock everything, but it could be well over 1000 hours of in game time. Starting to see the problem?

This does not reduce the fun of actually playing, and unlocking new, random items is a fun experience. But there is the knowledge that I’m probably never going to unlock everything puts me off a bit.

Despite this, I would encourage everyone to give Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer a try, or a seconf try if you already gave it one. The game has been out a while, so the price has dropped, the DLC is free and the single player is excellent.

The last thing I’d like to mention is that this was the series first foray into multiplayer and is viewed by some as a beta for the next game. In that case, its the best damn beta I’ve ever played and I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

And the doom? That was just me being dramatic…