mass effect

All posts tagged mass effect

The Mass Effect 3 conclusion has been extremely controversial, and much maligned. I’d like to inductively construct better game choices for the ending based on the consistent values of the series. I do not want to comment on silly things like Indoctrination Theory and the numerous logistical plot holes. I believe the deep disappointment fans had with ME3’s conclusion comes from a violation of the values players were taught, which they may feel even if they don’t understand them…

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The Wachowski brothers are back to their usual pop subversions, borrowing a pulp aesthetic and making it Oscar-ready for the cultural exiles of the Academy. Speed Racer is on its way, rawr. I'm not sure why overly hyper-kinetic movies have always been deemed "videogame-like." Am I so desensitized that I don't find the majority of video games all that fast? Or are they really just not that fast, except the few outliers that the non-gaming populace get exposed to regularly? I imagine if their knowledge of what the "videogame aesthetic" is comes from arcades at movie theaters, then the latter is probably true.

But I don't think it's just us gamers. Look at investors, playing their silly game with the Fed. After two weeks of anticipating a 0.5% rate cut, which was a number pulled out of the ass of the rumor monster, the market got 25 points. And boy did they whine and cry, as if any of the trouble right now has the slightest malleability by the Fed. But it's all a game to them, you see, and it's called Guess The Fed. The market itself is apparently too uneventful as is, they need to keep the market fluctuating to feel like their treading and afloat.

It's a great end to an insanely busy week. Tonight's our holiday party, tomorrow is Xstine's, and on Sunday, Dan has to buy me dinner for betting me Mass Effect would be a bomb. I bet a million sales in a month, and boy did it deliver.

The game is awesome in the way watching an episode of Battlestar Galactica, or Star Trek. It's an unabashed sci-fi space opera with great acting, a great cast, and "cinematic feeling" hard to quantify, but wanting in any other game out there. It captures my long-standing belief that sci-fi differs from fantasy not from being about the future, aliens, high-tech weapons, or any such trappings, but by being about defining how something works, and making that integral to the story. And I haven't even mentioned the graphics, which again show the UT3 engine off, and have beautiful art design pulling in the practical futurism of Syd Mead into a real 3D environment. There are levels that look like real-time concept art… I haven't seen anything like this since Metroid Prime.

This is what makes Star Trek science-fiction, but Star Wars fantasy. Sci-fi strives to explain why things work the way they do, and those explanations have consequences on the choices the characters have to make. Fantasy, on the other hand, assumes a world works a certain way, and expects us to accept it, and often that means that the quick answer to the why is "magic." This is how a game like Final Fantasy can be considered fantasy, and not sci-fi, even though there are guns, robots, and high-tech sets. A fantasy you swallow, but science-fiction you dissect.

There was a time I greatly respected Silicon Knights. Once upon a time they were a brave developer putting out the likes of the nuanced surival horror game Eternal Darkness, and the honest remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. And of course they made video game vampires cool with Blood Omen.

Then they drifted aimlessly on the aptly named title Too Human, unable to finish, only to blame the game engine the way a shitty gamer blames his controller. Silicon Knights is now suing Epic for lack of 360 support on Too Human. But get this, the part that really makes me laugh is that they are claiming Epic sabotaged their support to put their resources into Gears of War.

Waaah.

First, if the lawsuit is successful, a huge precedent will be set that will essentially damn future engine developers for things not within their control. The specific issue was that Epic hadn't gotten UT3 ready for the 360, which was because they got their own dev stuff late. So poor customer service due to the realities of console development is now sue-able. Well christ, let's start suing Microsoft and Sony for making things too next-gen, I mean it's breakin' our balls right?

Second… sabotage? Oh I see, because Epic has absolutely nothing to gain if Too Human had been released with amazing UT3 driven graphics. Or I know, Too Human having twice the development time as Gears of War means it's twice as important, right? This is going to be the most difficult thing to prove in court, as there is a fine line between an Epic Games sabotage, and just imcompetent support.

In the end, there's just a couple words that throw water onto Silicon Knights' disguise, melting the witches into the pool of bullshit from which they spawned. Bioshock. Stranglehold. Huxley. Mass Effect. Rainbow Six: Vegas. Fury. None are Epic games. According to Silicon Knights, they all want to sue Epic too, but so far they've been pretty mum. Guess all that praise from the press makes it hard to file frivolous lawsuits.

Let me summarize with just four words what the jury is going to say: shut the fuck up.

We had a great movie summer this year, but after E3, it looks like we're going to have an even more amazing holiday season for games. Some the ones that really caught my eye:

Call of Duty 4
Echochrome
Mass Effect
Super Mario Galaxy
Boogie

Also amazing was the Wii Fit "game" that Nintendo introduced, causing me to seriously consider picking up more shares in their stock. Their ability to make disposable fads never ceases to amaze me. Or maybe I'm just so shaken by the prospect of Metroid Prime 3, Smash Bros. (this year!!!), and Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. But even more amazing was EA's admission that "we are boring people to death." Games like Boogie and EA Playground are spreading the crepuscular rays of hope that the industry's great heartless game factory has a human pulse.

And although I keep swearing not to, I can not help but criticise Sony once again for it's utter disrespect for gamers. Hot on the heels of Microsoft's announcement of an awesome retroactive 3-yr warranty for the 360, Sony decided to drop their own bomb. Playstation 3, the 60gb version, is shedding $100 off its tag. Brilliant right?

And then Hirai tells us that that SKU of the PS3 is no longer in production. How disingenous can they get? If that kinda of bait-and-switch is what they think E3 is for (remember the original Killzone 2 trailer? See the latest in comparison), then they've truly lost their minds. And if they haven't, that would be even worse.