Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mass Effect 3: You Cannot Escape Your Destiny, Shepard

Okay, I broke this up into two parts because I talked about my personal feelings on the game and the changes in the gameplay. They didn't mesh so well together, so I've broken them up. We'll start with my personal feelings on the game first. Also, my feelings have morphed a little as I thought about this, so I wanted to post what I initially felt and then add a final word.

This marks the finale to a sweeping space drama. The reapers have arrived, and they’ve started to systematically destroy all organic life. Shepard is again at the helm preparing to make a final assault that will hopefully save all organic life and “take back earth.” It’s up to Shepard to do everything he/she can to unite organic life and build an interspecies army to oppose the reapers along with finding the resources he/she needs to strengthen their attack.

I really enjoyed this game right up to the last twenty minutes or so.

The Mass Effect world is just as engaging as the first two games and added even more great elements over what we already had. It took me a while to write this because I wanted to truly think about how I felt about this because of how I interpreted the endings at first (and there is an addendum at the end of this). Conversations with friends about it have been over the top mostly because of the endings. We’ve debated it, denied it, headcanoned it, laughed at it, cried at it, but at the time of this writing it is, what it is.

So, I wanted to thank some people for putting up with some ranting from me.

And regardless of the endings, I wanted to thank Bioware for introducing this world to us, for lovingly crafting it. You can see they put so much of their heart into it. It’s been a long time since I was this attached to a game. I’m not sorry for all the hours I’ve devoted to this game or for even getting a Spectre tattoo. This will always remain one of my favorite game series ever. The characters, the stories, everything about it is just so damn perfect. Well... not Mako or the Hammerhead, but that’s a different story. It even opened the door to me meeting some of the most amazing people online and offline.

Slight spoiler warnings from this point forward, but only slight.

The story is amazing. I loved it. While I love many games, so few games make me truly passionate about them, and whatever gripes I have with the ending doesn't take that away from it. The fact that it's even sparked this much ire in fans shows how much this series has touched so many people who have played this series. 

This third game felt like the perfect culmination of all my hard work in the last games. I loved watching the consequences/rewards of my actions meant for the characters I loved so much. The tone of this game was so somber, as expected since this is the end, but there were many great moments both happy and sad that made this game extraordinary. So many tears were shed and so much laughter bubbled from my lips.

And even for the decisions that weren’t major, it was nice to see some of them weaved into the story, and I appreciated how they were consistent with some things like the arguing couple, refund guy, and Conrad Verner, bringing them with us from game to game with us like they were old friends. When I first saw the arguing couple in Mass Effect 2 still arguing, I was so pleased and again with refund guy and again with Conrad on Illium. Those were some of the moments that made the game magical for me. They cared enough to make this world "feel" consistent and real.

And that doesn’t end in this saga. This was a labor of love--even if I don’t agree with everything and there are other things I would’ve liked to have seen--I think they did so much to really connect the characters and their players. Sure this is a game, but it’s a game that really tries to reach out and make you care about it beyond “Pew! Pew! Pew! Shoot ALL the aliens!”

The endings. First, allow me to say this. The ending(s) didn't upset me as much as it did many other fans because these options are still fine for SOME situations, but I do still feel that the ending(s) severely crippled an otherwise great game. The options presented were interesting and could have been well done, but in my opinion, the last twenty minutes effectively pissed on all the things that you’d accomplished in the first two games and made it feel like it was all for naught, not to mention the earth-sized plot holes because really, Bioware. Retconning your own canon. You’re not DC or Marvel.

On Shepard’s end I coped with the ending I chose, but for the Normandy... I don’t even know what to make of that. I think that was my main gripe (aside from wondering if I even should’ve imported my Shepard, but I would’ve missed so many great moments). That seemed so off. The ending for this game felt incomplete mainly. There seems like there should’ve been a final option to tell the catalyst that you’d go down burning with earth rather than come to some “compromise” ending with the reapers. I don’t know if the writers just got lazy there, if they were rushing to meet their deadline after a delay, or if they felt they’d written themselves into a corner, but the ending(s) were a little disappointing.

If you enjoyed it, I’m happy for you. I’d love to hear why for more reasons that just “it was different” or “Shepard wasn’t supposed to live.” I’m tired of that. That tells me nothing. I want a well thought out reason why you like it, what made you like it, how you interpret the events. Maybe I’ll love what you have to say and headcanon it. And for that reason, I don’t think the endings should be completely scrapped. I think they will make fine endings for some, but that doesn’t take care of the plot holes... yet.

That’s neither here nor there, though, and I don’t want to end this sounding bitter because I’m not. I truly enjoyed this series. Will I ever replay it? Probably. I still have many Shepards to herald through to the end, but as far as creating new Shepards go, I’m done for right now. One of these endings is perfectly acceptable for all my Shepards, but if there was anything that I got from this game, it was that the end reflected my overall choices and not just that moment. So, it’s not really desirable to end them all the same, even if some come with slight variations.

An ending doesn’t have to be “perfect” to provide closure, but it needs to give some feeling of finality. I never expected there to be a promise of my Shepard surviving, especially not my renegade. I expected her to go down in a blaze of glory, and I would’ve even been okay with that, if she’d just ran into battle at the end and no real outcome was given because that’s how I’ve played her, to be that person. Then, I truly could have ended the game how I wanted in my mind.

Addendum: I just wanted to add this because I didn’t want to rewrite what I initially thought of the endings. I wanted people to see what went through my mind first with those endings because I think that’s important. I think that’s part of what they wanted. 

I’ve decided that either this is the most brilliant way a game has ever ended that got saddled with some plot holes and too much ambiguity or I’m looking at a steaming pile poo that they better try to pass off as brilliance once they make an actual statement about it. (And this post on BSN probably sums up many of my feelings best. Warning for extreme spoilers.) This still doesn’t negate some questions I have in regards to the ending (or even the feeling that in a way this is still too limited a choice), but if this is where they were going, well-played, Bioware. Well-played.
Continue Reading…

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Initial Random Thoughts

Just started Mass Effect 3, and wanted to post some thoughts as I was playing. I'm not happy with how you can't truly import your character in if you've been holding on to them since Mass Effect 1 without any tweaks. I'm lazy I wanted them to just port in like that did in the second game, but here's what my main two look like now. Chance's brow should've been a little higher, but oh well, I said I was lazy. This is as good as it's going to get right now. 

Jane - Paragon
Chance - Renegade

Anyhow, this is mostly just a conscious stream of thought about what's going on in the game. I'll write a competent review when I'm done with the whole thing. Spoilers! Spoilers everywhere! Mind the cut.

Continue Reading…

Sunday, March 4, 2012

[App Review] Nova Launcher

A couple of weeks ago, I made a post about launchers on G+. I'd reshared a post from one of the Android related pages I follow that had compared a few launchers that were compatible with ICS. I was excited to see that post until I saw that my phone needed to be rooted. I'm no stranger to rooting, but I haven't rooted my Galaxy Nexus because I haven't had the need to. I'm mostly satisfied with it in its unrooted state.

Prior to discovering that post, I'd tried Go Launcher. Now, I'm very much a Go Launcher fan, but Go did not work all that well with ICS (and still doesn't as far as I know). There weren't really any compatibility issues per se, but it did some wonky things to my screen size that annoyed me a little from an aesthetic standpoint. Hopefully, they'll fix it soon.

In the mean time, I've finally found a replacement launcher that works well--Nova by TeslaCoil, the creators of Widget Locker. Again, I found this through one of the many Android related pages I follow on G+. Nova comes in both a free version and a paid version with the paid version unlocking things like gestures and the capability to hide apps. It does not require the user to be rooted.

Nova supports multiple dock bar. It allows you to add up to 7 icons on your dock. Nova has given ICS users the ability to add more home screens (with a limitation of 7 home screens) or delete home screens. You can resize widgets as with the stock launcher, but with Nova, you can resize any widget as long as you have the option checked in the settings. I think the thing that I love most, though, is the ability to remove the search bar, freeing up valuable screen space. I actually like having the search bar on one of my home screens, but not every single one.

Nova brought back the ability to long-press and add widgets to them home screens, a functionality I'd greatly missed since switching to the Galaxy Nexus. You can also customize rows and columns to suit your needs. I tend to stick with the default settings, but I know many people do like to tweak that.

The only real problem I'm running into is that the launcher lags and forces itself close every now and again. This isn’t a constant thing, but it’s happened a few times. Another thing that may or may not annoy ICS users is that, unlike the native launcher, it doesn't have the dedicated market button at top when opening the app drawer. I'd gotten used to it, but it's not a deal breaker for me. Also, the $4 price tag on the paid version seems a little steep for the few features that it adds.

If you’re expecting something fancy, this probably isn’t for you. This is basically like the stock ICS launcher, but with more customization options. It is a great application that allows you some control while having the full ICS experience without having to root or sacrifice some of the things that make ICS great.
Continue Reading…


This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.



PSN: DigitalTempest | XBL: DigitalTempest | Steam: DigitalTempest | Raptr: DigitalTempest

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.

Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

Tiara's bookshelf: read

really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

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