Posts Tagged ‘ RPG ’

Mass Effect 3 Commentary SPOILERS AHEAD!

http://youtu.be/GmECZm1RsN8

 

After 5 years of going through the Mass Effect storyline it all came to an end for me yesterday. I think that I should blog about this while emotions are still fresh and the wounds are still bleeding(It is war afterall).

Bioware set out in 2007 to create a space opera that rivaled that of Star Wars and they succeeded. Even though the first game was forgettable, the story was there and they returned in 2009 and redeemed themselves with Mass Effect 2. 

Bioware stood out as a western game developer that could make roleplaying games or RPGs that challenged the dominance of JRPGs at the time and triumphed.

With Mass Effect 2 being the “dark” story much like Star Wars’ Empire Stikes Back, it set itself up for an epic finale. The Reapers would finally arrive and the bring an end to the story of YOUR Commander Shepard.

Like many others, I pre-ordered the game and patiently waited for news and the eventual release of the game.

Sometime between the last quarter of 2011, a production script of the game was posted on a Russian forum. One could assume that it was authentic as it was given a takedown order. I held off reading it and there were even some posts on the internet that Bioware should not change their story just because the script leaked out. 

As it turns out, they should’ve probably changed the script.

TURN ON CONSPIRACY MODE.

It’s interesting that the ENTIRE script is leaked out in the public just months away from release. By this time, it can be assumed that the script was already locked in (no changes are made) and the entire voice cast have already done their job and are just waiting for the promotional tour of the game. Could it be that some Bioware employee was not happy on how the game ended?

I was able to copy the script before it was taken down and just saved it on my hard drive but not reading it. Now that I finished the game, I had to compare the finished product. Unless you knew how the game progresses, the script is a bit hard to put together on your own. But the endings are the same.

WHAT”S THE POINT OF ALL THIS?

Mass Effect 3 is a great franchise and a great game. If you’ve never played the game before, you should now. The last few games that gripped my heart were Final Fantasy 7’s Aerith’s death and Final Fantasy X for the ending. Those games were made a while back in another console generation so it’s been a while for me to be placed on an emotional rollercoaster all because of a game.

Why is that? Is it becuase of the countless hours spent with the controller as we went through man made environments? The Final Fantasy series has been more like an interactive movie with you running and fighting around and upon reaching certain points in the game you are rewarded by a magnificent cutscene that should be in movie theaters and not your tiny TV.

Yu Suzuki was among the first if not the first to create an open-ended game with Shenmue. Too ahead of it’s time and problems of distribution (released exclusively on the Dreamcast and Xbox) ended the story but not the idea.

Peter Moleneux, creator of Fable attempted the same approach as well. By creating a world where you build up your strengths and abilities to battle a foe in the end. Your choices allow you create a world built around you but in a medival setting with non realistic graphics. But for some reason, I could not sympathize with the character I created there. There was no emotional hook for me. Sure you can have a family and kids, own everything in sight and so on, but it was all an afterthought and not integral to the story. The best relationship you can get out of the game is with your dog and that’s it.

Bioware has placed interactive storytelling in another level. Here decisions matter. Relationships with your crewmembers matter and decided if they live or die. Decisions made early the game determine the eventual outcome of a mission later in the game. Your crewmembers become a part of you and as the game progresses, you see them mature and develop, as did you. Does any of this sound familiar? It’s called real life.

Yes, Bioware had managed to put in over 23GB of data the experience of saving the galaxy and having a love interest at the same time while fending off advances from other crewmates. The Commander Shepard I made, is my Shepard. It’s not only my Shepard, but also in some psychological way, an extension of me. The choices I made are based on my own morals, and own ideas. I cringe whenever I reach a point where I am aware that the path I choose can make my friend love me or hate me. Bioware has made us too involved with the game.

WHY IS THIS GAME IS GOOD.

The game is fantastic. You can tell early on that the game begins to wrap up loose ends. You see people you interacted with in the previous two games and bring closure to their stories based on your actions. The script written is one of the best I’ve heard in a game. I know some of it is cheesy. But that’s how it really is The playful banter between the characters puts a smile to my face. ME3 shows the the most intimate parts of either a growing relationship or rekindling one from the past. Added to the fact that the voice acting is top notch, makes you fall in love all over again.

I could see it now. I would save the galaxy, bring peace everywhere and live quietly with a family and lots of litte blue children.

WTF ENDING

But like life, it throws you a curveball and this one came out of nowehere. Up until the ending, you could control almost every decision made until that point. In Mass Effect 1, it was simply save the Destiny Acension or the Alliance Fleet. Who should lead the council (BTW this should have been a hint, your choice here doesn’t matter)? It was easy, fall in love, stop a rogue Spectre, and prevent a race of sentient machines from killing us all.

Mass Effect 2 was bit more complicated, you had to gain the loyalty of your crew or else they will not survive the Suicide mission you’re on. Plus all the choices you made in the first game carry over.

Mass Effect 3 takes a different approach and math towards the end. The galaxy is at war and you must gather allies and war assets that will determine the fate of the Earth and the universe. The higher the number, the better are your chances in defeating the Reapers. This is the first game that employes multiplayer. This is also the first game that REQUIRES you to play the multiplayer to get the “best” ending. The default is 50% war readiness. That means even if you have 6000pts in war assets, your final strength is only half that. I could still live with that.

So the end finally comes, you have your great confrontation where it all started, then what? You choose to either, die and send everyone to the dark ages, or die and still send everyone to the dark ages. WTF!?! Then what was the point of the past three games that I played to get to this point. It immediately felt that everything I did was all for nothing. I would bring peace, yes. But at what cost? Hasn’t the price been paid yet with billions of virtual lives against the reapers enough? Wasn’t it enough that I died and came back to fight another day satisfactory for the universe? True, Bioware has stated that this only marks the end of Commander Shepard’s story arc and that more can come from the Mass Effect universe, but I feel that their ending killed any notion of that ever happening. 

MASS REJECTION 

If Amazon reviews and the forums at bioware.com is any indicator of the disappointment of fans of the game who have played it, the outlook is not good. What initially started as a 5 star game is now falling to the 3 star mark for one flaw. The ending. It hasn’t been a week since the relase of the game and there are numerous threads with one posting over 680 pages are of this posting on how the ending was a big let down for everyone. Online petitions have sprung up and creative types have been writing their own endings in fanfiction format to get over the grief of the ending. 

I finished the game at 2AM Saturday morning and was shell shocked. I could not move after I saw the credits roll. It was just shock and a broken heart. There was no family and little blue children in the future of my Shepard. 

Bioware hasn’t responded to the fans reaction as of this posting.

DLC OPTION?

Could a DLC fix this? Could the scene at the Citadel be all just a dream in Shepard’s head? Maybe. In ME2 Liara T’Soni, a pivotal character in many ways was relegated to a a few pages of dialogue and nothing more. Fans were initally put off by this since her role in ME2 is a lot bigger than what you imagined. Then Bioware made us all happy by releasing “The Lair of the Shadow Broker” which tied up that end which was more relationship in my opinion and not plot based.

But the post-game scenario, (when you finish the game and all) will return you to the bridge of the Normandy before you attacked the Illusive Man’s base. How can you insert the DLC “Ending” when plotwise, you haven’t ended it yet. It’s not like the Dragon Age DLC there you are either in camp or in your estate.

EPILOGUE

Closure is what fans were expecting from this game and sadly so was I. Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II endings were abrupt but enabled characters an epilogue on what happened afterward. It was easy to accept since you knew they had a sequel in development. Much like in “Return of the King” in The Lord of the RIngs trilogy, you knew what happened to all of the other charcters after they defeated Sauron. But in the case of ME3, you know that this was “supposed” to end the story. This has no comforting ending. We were hoping for a story that we could sleep soundly with. Apparently many are losing sleep over this.

QUESTIONS QUESTIONS AND MORE QUESTIONS

The game was understandable up until the conflict with the Illusive Man. Then everything went to the twilight zone.

  • Who is that kid on top of the Citadel?
  • Who made the Reapers?
  • Why were synthetics out to kill organics every 50,000 years?
  • How did your squad on Earth ended up at the Normandy running away from the blast when you were all together at the final charge to the Citadel?
  • Why did the kid show two choices? Why give you a choice at all? It seemed that he was still controlling everyone to the very end.
  • Who is that father and son in the snowy background after the credits? The tale of Shepard?

In the end, Bioware has only succeeded in creating more questions than answering those already here. Sure it tries to have the unconventional ending like the Matrix Revolutions but that doomed the franchise. 

DID BIOWARE REALLY HAVE AN ENDING IN MIND?

This is a short game. It can be completed under 30 hours without multiplayer. Did Bioware really know what they were doing with the game? As a filmmaker, the ending is uninspired. Though the scenes leading up to the end is very good. The fall of Thessia, the Quarians and the Geth, Fall of Earth, the hope that you bring across the galaxy, the personal conversations witj your crew are all well thought out of. The ending felt as if the wrtiers/ creators could not decide on how to end it. 

How would you explain the purpose of the universal extinction? Was the end an afterthought? “We’ll create this magnificent spcae opera and think about the ending when we get there.” 

HOW DO YOU FIX THIS?

If this game will be patched, this will be a very large patch. It would definitely cost Bioware a fair amount of money since they would have to do all new voice acting and animation. Only time will tell if Bioware will stick to their ending or give in to player’s demands. But as of now, I will be nursing a broken heart. Not only did my Shepard not survive. But there’s no one else around me that matters.

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The Reapers are finally upon us

http://youtu.be/bG2mdZ23eP8

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about videogames so what better way to start than with Mass Effect 3.

This is my most anticipated game since Final Fantasy X came out in 2001. I almost gave up on the first game. It was clunky, pointless, going nowhere and the action was terrible. It was already hard enough pointing and shooting let alone trying to use your biotic powers. Exploration took forever and that just fell off a cliff somewhere never to return.

Mass Effect 2 convinced me that it is the greatest trilogy ever made for videogames. The story and the action blended so well that the final approach tot he Collector’s base made me cringe at the throught of losing one of my crew memebers.

I’ve been playing the demo at least once a day. Whether it was the single player or the multiplayer, there are big changes to the visual aspect and the pace of the storytelling. The previous games were slow buildups to an epic finale. This feels like a rollercoaster ride from the start.

The Reapers arrive on March 6, 2012 for North America.

You probably won’t hear from me until I finish the game.

Have you pre-ordered yet?

YouTube – Dragon Age II Rise To Power .mov.

The follow up to one of the best RPGs of 2009 is drawing near. This latest video from Bioware gives us a glimpse of the gameplay and the characters that our “Hawke” will be going through.

It is known that the game will NOT follow the character you made in Dragon Age: Origins or in Awakenings. But instead put you in the shoes of a new character named Hawke (which could be male or female). Think of it as Commander Shepard of Mass Effect placed into the world of Thedas.

I’ll actually miss being called “Warden” by everyone in the game. Now they’ll just refer to me as Hawke or “The Champion”. That’s just weird for me at the moment. But look on the bright side, I’ll probably live longer than any Grey Warden and there will be more adventures with thus character than the Grey Wardens.

But I do wish Bioware fixes the bugs with the DLCs and expansions for Origins. Especially if they plan on using the choices you made in that game carry over to make the world that Hawke has to fight his way through.

Dragon Age II hits shelves on the busy day of March 3, 2011.

Mass Effect 2 DEMO on the PS3

Recap comic book

One year after Xbox and PC gamers got their hands on the best game of 2010, it’s finally coming to the PS3. For my review of the Xbox version of the game it can be found here.

But why only Mass Effect 2? What about Mass Effect 1? How will Bioware have decisions from the first game carry over to the second game if there is no first game for the PS3?

In a recent podcast , PS3 Mass Effect producer Jesse Houston was interviewed by the Bioware Blog on the challenges and changes with the PS3 version.

Bioware has employed an interactive comic book type prologue to explain the events of Mass Effect. Dark Horse comics, who also published Mass Effect: Redemption, which narrates the events in between the opening events of the game to the present. During these comic book sequences, the player then has a chance to decide the path of the story that their Commander Shepard experiences in the first game.

I just recently completed a playthrough of the PS3 version and there are differences. Though it’s still the same game, the PS3 is graphically superior. The shading is not as vivid as the Xbox but there’s a lot more detail. I can the weathering of the uniforms and the difference between the armor that Shepard wears and the fabric of the Cerberus uniforms of Miranda and Jacob. Though there were a few sound issues during the demo it’s still fairly the same. Button layout was initially a bit confusing. On the Xbox, the Right Bumper was used to bring up the abilities menu and the Right Trigger is to fire the selected weapon. The PS3 is the opposite, R1 will fire and R2 will choose the abilities. I kept forgetting that and ended up either firing weapons I didn’t want to or abilities. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon enough. The interrupt triggers for paragon and renegade decisions are still there and so far I haven’t made a mistake just yet.

Judging from the demo, I’m definitely buying this and playing this again. The PS3 version also comes out with the 3 DLCs (Overlord, Kasumi, and Lair of the Shadow Broker).

One can also infer from the podcast that the holiday 2011 release date for Mass Effect 3 will be simultaneous for the PC, Xbox and PS3.

Mass Effect 2 for the PS3 lands on January 18.

PS3 version

Should I get a PC?

It’s been bugging me for quite some time. As an avid gamer, I find it difficult to say that I do not have  gaming PC. I have long sworn away from PCs and dedicated almost my entire time and income to console games which are much easier to maintain than PCs. That said, I want to get one.

There’s the benefits of work of course but then there’s this.

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy 11 Online since it came out on the PS2 in 2004. I have not been drawn into World of Warcraft or even Everquest. Square-Enix has managed to create a platform where PC gamers are able to interact in the same world as console gamers on both the PS2 and Xbox360.

The most recent release, Final Fantasy XIV is currently available on the PC with the PS3 release initially scheduled for March of 2011 has now been delayed. Though the date hasn’t been changed on the Amazon.com website, IGN reports sometime in 2011. That said, the main reason has to be the space limitation on the PS3. Unlike the PC version, the entire game can be delivered in it’s full high resolution glory with all the graphic drivers and assets installed in the hard drive. On consoles, there is the sticky issue of the SKUs of the PS3. Remember when there were 20, 40, 60, 80, 160, 320 GB PS3. Yes, that’s what’s causing this. Sure you can replace your own hard drive on the PS3, but how many people know or even want to do that. Thus, the game has to fit the current generation of PS3s.

That said. I could wait a little longer while I upgrade my hard drive.

Those who purchased the North American version of Final Fantasy 13 should have a coupon inside for FFXIV for an in-game item.

Choices choices choices.

Parasite Eve : The 3rd Birthday

The 3rd Birthday SQUARE ENIX

For a lot of people, Aya Brea is a stranger. But those who remember the “other” survival horror game on the PS1, Parasite Eve was something different. The storyline is very much similar to Capcom’s Resident Evil which involves zombies, mutated monsters and a mystery. If Resident Evil has Jill Valentine, Parasite Eve has Aya Brea.

One of the lesser known Square-Enix franchise, the last game was on the PS1 in 2001 and one developed solely for the Japanese market on their mobile phones. The game was completely ignored for the PS2 until now. The game was announced in 2008 at the DK∑3713 event in Japan.

Thank you Square-Enix for bringing the game back. I hope this may lead to a much bigger game on the PS3.

The 3rd Birthday comes out in Japan on December 22, North America and other regions on March 2011 for the PSP

Parasite Eve Trailer

Lair of the Shadow Broker

Mass Effect 2 Lair of the Shadow Broker Trailer [HD]

If you only had enough money to buy a single Mass Effect 2 DLC, this should be the one. This is to answer the fans who complained that Liara didn’t have enough screen time in Mass Effect 2 after everything that the two of you went through in Mass Effect 1. This fills in critical scenes between Shepard and Liara.

This may actually have some replaybility compared to previous DLCs both for Mass Effect and Dragon Age. But that changes with “Lair of the Shadow Broker”. I suggest that you have at least reached the 2nd half of the game before playing this DLC. It would actually even be better if you chose Liara as your love interest in the first game which will make this one more interesting.

DLC will be released on Xbox Live on September 7, 2010 for 800 Microsoft or Bioware Points.