Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mass Effect 3 review update

Okay, here's the deal.  When I did my reviews of Mass Effect 1 and 2, I did so after completing insanity an going through all the classes.  I'm on my fourth playthrough of ME3 as in Infiltrator.  I'm trying to get through it with all potential choices, and when coming into ME3, there are a LOT of potential choices to bring into the game.  I've still got a LOT of choices to do and bring into ME3 to play through all options.  It will take until I get through all playthrough, and unlike when I did my ME1 and 2 reviews on my old livejournal account, I AM employed.  So, it will take a while to get through all three games as all 6 classes.  And I've got three to finish, and I need to see all four extended cut endings.  I do want to say that I like the extended cut endings from what I've seen on youtube.

So, it's gonna take while.  Just started my ME3 Infiltrator, and it takes about a week and a half to get through, depending on my schedule.

Of course, I know that by the time someone actually reads this, my review will be finished. But, that's what a blog is for; to share your thoughts and to archive them on the internet.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

ME2 Review repost and current thoughts.

Here's my reposting of my ME2 review. Originally posted on March 14, 2010 on my livejournal.

Okay, having finished my Insanity playthrough, I'm ready to do my review.

First off, the game is short, if you ignore the BS planet scanning, and if you've beaten the game and imported an ME1 character, you can do just that.  I'm serious; all you need to "win" the game is 30,000 Palladium and 15,000 Iridium to get the necessary upgrades to the Normandy, and you get more than that on your second playthrough with an imported ME1 character.  (You get 5 levels, 50,000 Credits, and 10,000 of each resource, plus 100,000 more credits for getting more than a million credits in ME1, plus 200,000 more credits on a second playthrough, plus 50,000 more of each resource on a second playthrough.)  I honestly believe that this game is on 2 discs is because of the damn planet scanning.

Now, for the gameplay; it's both similar and nothing like the ME1 combat system. A first time player could jump into ME2 without doing the tutorials and reading the instructions without being too confused; you aim the same way, you use your powers the same way, and use the conversation wheel the same way.  The only major difference is the improvement the cover system and the change is the use of medigel.  You have control of when your character takes cover with the touch of a button, instead of pressing up against a wall with the joystick.  I take cover when I want to, and not when the game thinks I want to now.  As for medigel, it's used to revive fallen party members.

And your party members aren't retarded circus monkeys in combat either.  You can control them individually now, too.  That's saved me a lot of frustrations too.  And they don't get in the way of fire either; all bullets pass through; though they complain when you shoot them.

As for my other complaint, the morality system, I had no problem with this, so long as I do it right.  I've honestly never had a problem with it; Illium gives plenty of morality points, after all, for both "alignments".  I just make sure I've done both Illium and Tchunka before I have the "conflict moment"; where two of your characters have a conflict with another character after you do both of their loyalty missions; like when Tali and Legion have their conflict moment.

The story is good; Shepard gets brought back from the dead to continue the fight against the Reapers and their slaves, the Collectors.  Shepard has to gather a team and go through Omega 4 relay to stop the Collectors.  The mission is a suicide mission because no one has returned from entering the Omega 4 relay. 

The way the story works is par for the course for Bioware, as are the character interactions.  The characters feel alive, and, unlike the first game, you have a quest attached to each of them. 

As for the guns, I find I've got less of a problem with the "Ammo thing" than I thought I would.  Ammo is plentiful, and so long as I aim properly, I don't worry about wasting it.  And the aiming mechanism is much improved over ME1; but since you don't put any points into your guns, it has to be.

As for favored class, this time, it's Soldier, Adept and Infiltrator.  I know, surprise to me, given how much I hated Engineer and it's variants in ME1. 

I also like change in the hacking; the scrolling text and the "connect the pairs" are far easier than the "push the buttons in order" hacking of ME1.  They're also more fun too; I've never liked the "Quick time event" fascination that some developers have, and I've never liked those events.

My only real complaints are the size of the text, the planet scanning, and the Insanity level. I've already ranted on the planet scanning and text, so I'll say one thing about the Insanity playthrough; it's completely cheap.  You die WAY to easily on Insanity.  It's hard for all the right reasons, yes, but that doesn't make it any less cheap.

As for party members, I found that, since I don't need an engineer in ME2, I don't bring Tali along in ME2.  She was in my party every time in ME1, because she was the fastest advancing and recharging engineer variant in ME1.  Now, I tend to bring along Garrus and either Miranda or Jack (depending on whether I need to remove barriers or I need crowd control.)

I do like Legion, however, because I get what he's talking about when talking about how the geth work; but I'm a computer networking technician, so of course it makes sense.

As for the DLC, I've got Zaeed and the tank.  Zaeed is a good character, and his mission is very interesting.  As for the tank, it takes care of all the problems that the Mako had; it handles smoothly, it has better aim (once you're used to it), and it CAN'T BE FLIPPED OVER!  I'm serious; I spent 2 hours just trying to flip this thing over, and it doesn't happen! A vast improvement over the "Oh, I hit a bump, I'm flipping over and I'm stuck" Mako.

EDIT: And now I've got the Kasumi DLC.  Kasumi is a lot like Zaeed in mechanics; her conversations are like Zaeed in the respect that when you talk to her on the ship, she tells stories instead of has party conversations.  Like Zaeed, her loyalty mission is at the start.

As for her loyalty mission, it's like playing through a chopped down Ocean's Eleven.  Shepard and Kasumi go into a criminal's hideout and steal an item that Kasumi wants.  Shepard goes in under the cover of a criminal mastermind named either Solomon or Allison Gunn(depending on the gender of your Shepard), and works to get into the vault and steal that item.  Once you get the item, you and Kasumi have a fight for your lives to get out.  Your reward? A new SMG, and a new casual outfit for Shepard.  It's a good mission; hard combat(It's hard because you only have Kasumi in your party.), good puzzles, and a low need on the Renegade and Paragon meters for the intimidate/persuade checks.

Kasumi also comments on your romance choices.  So far I only romanced Miranda with Kasumi installed, as I switched back to Dragon Age to prepare characters for the Awakening expansion.

If I think of anything else later, I'll add it to this review, but for now, I like this game.  It's way too short a story and a game, but what's there is great.

And now, my current thoughts on ME2; I still agree with my stance on the game, but now I've gotten both Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival.  Both contribute to the story massively, and both have long reaching effects.  Lair of the Shadow Broker is Liara DLC, and is the story of HOW Liara becomes the Shadow Broker.  She's the Shadow Broker in ME3, but her dialogue in ME3 plays out differently if YOU put her there. She also remarks on your romance options, if any, when she comes aboard the Normandy once her mission is over.  And if you previously romanced her and cheated on her? She remarks on that too.  And it's also possible to continue your romance with her too!

But it's Arrival that shows the urgency of the Reaper threat.  The Reapers are coming in through the Alpha Relay, which is in batarian space.  It's a solo mission, and a stealth one(which is FAR easier with an infiltrator with the tactical cloak ability), but you don't get penalized if you suck at stealth; you just have to shoot your way through the batarian prison.

It's when you get to the asteroid is when things REALLY pick up; turns out the scientists that were going to destroy the alpha relay are indoctrinated, and are trying to HELP the Reapers return.  So Shepard has to fight and kill them in order to stop the Reapers from coming through.  You have to restart the machinery to send the asteroid into the relay, and fight your way to the Normandy.  And, depending on when you complete it, a different being taunts you.  If you do it before the suicide mission, you get the Collector General.  If after, you get Harbinger.  But, it's the mission that's cool.  

All in all, I LOVE Mass Effect 2.  Great story, superior gameplay to ME1, and far more distinct classes than the previous game too.I recommend it to anyone who likes RPGs. 

Next up, is my first new review, ME3.  I will be reviewing it with the context of having the extended cut DLC as the ending, not the original "pushed out too early" endings.