Blog 766: The Reapers Are Coming

I am constantly perplexed by villains.

As a fan of high-action fantasy and space opera, I demand villains that can operate on a grand scale — that can deliver conflict and challenge appropriate to my delusions of grandeur. However, as a slave to coherence and consistency, I demand villains whose motivations and actions can plausibly produce that level of challenge and conflict.

Now, I reject the notion that dumb action and plausible characters are mutually exclusive, as Hollywood and the AAA industry often seem to think. By all means, it’s a balance that’s hard to strike, but I think there’s rarely been as glorious a failure than the monstrous, enigmatic Reapers of the Mass Effect trilogy.

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Blog 765: Uncharted Worlds

Earlier in the year, I decided that the wilderness areas of Baldur’s Gate were actually a good and enjoyable thing. I stand by that reasoning today, and look back fondly on that experience of replaying a game that really is a classic.

Except I’ve just been replaying Mass Effect, and it has areas that fulfil a similar function — “uncharted worlds”, optional planets you can land on which contain only side quests. The difference is that… they’re not particularly good or enjoyable.

But why?

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Blog 594: The DLC Effect 3 (Part 2)

I’m never quite sure how to feel about scattered little DLC packs as opposed to monolithic expansions; I always get the feeling I’m paying more money for less content. Then again, expansion packs like Warcraft III‘s The Frozen Throne are ultimately more valuable than the base game, making the total infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe expansions have just been underpriced all along?

Either way, I laid down my wonga for all the Mass Effect 3 story DLC packs. Last time From Ashes was good and Omega was unremarkable — so let’s see what I have to say about the other two packs, Leviathan and Citadel…

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Blog 593: The DLC Effect 3 (Part 1)

Yep, I splurged on all the story DLC for Mass Effect 3. No horse armour, just companions and mission packs here. Having said that, all four cost me a total just shy of what I paid for the whole game on release day… And all these packs are from 2012.

Digital economies suck.

My self-restraint sucks too. Herein lies a report on the first two packs, From Ashes and Omega.

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Blog 592: Mass Effect the Third

Mass Effect 3 might have introduced even more truckloads of plot-holes than its meandering predecessor managed to do (and it did that without even telling a story), but by ‘eck, its mechanics are spot on.

Having said that, I still loaded up on DLC for this run, so I might even have something new to report once I’ve put the vanilla game through the wringer.

Come on then, let’s pop the heat sink on combat and mechanics one last time…

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Blog 591: Mass Effect 2: Shep ‘arder

Mass Effect 2‘s biggest problem is its plot. I’ve been through that a million times and it gives me no pleasure (except perhaps in the reinforcement of my own belief that I’ll be Doing It RightTM when it’s my turn).

So let’s harp on about combat and mechanics again.

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Blog 590: Mass Defect

I have played, and spoken of the Mass Effect series many times before… But not for a while. I’ve only ever played Mass Effect 3 once (when the extended ending DLC came out, I only replayed the ending), but I can’t exactly dive straight into the final part of a trilogy, no sirree.

So, let’s go back to the beginning…

(Might be spoilers.)

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Blog 504: Re-Ending

Yes, sweet readers, Mass Effect 3‘s “Final Cut” DLC is finally here.

I thought the original ending was a bit floppy and unsatisfying, but that’s life. I wasn’t going to go marching to BioWare to demand blood, I just moved on. Narratives are allowed to shoot themselves in all of their feet if that’s what they want (hell, I’m sure I’ve conked out at many a finale in my own projects). But everyone else bayed for blood, and now that baying has been answered by free — free — DLC.

This post is spoiler central, and won’t make any sense unless you’ve already completed the game.

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