joiedecombat: (Shepard lives!)

Now that I've calmed down some, let me discuss Mass Effect 3.

Stuff I did not like: )

The Ending )

Now, with the negativity out of the way, Things I liked: )

As I gain some distance from the ending, I think, overall, it has not ruined the experience for me, and I'll be able to do another play through, perhaps through the trilogy as a whole. I'm just going to... turn the console off after the last talk with Anderson, and imagine my own ending from there.
joiedecombat: (surmounting obstacles)
I finished a complete replay of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 yesterday, in preparation for ME3 coming out tomorrow. TL;DR about plot structure ensues. )

In the meantime, I've started playing Final Fantasy XIII-2, which is extremely pretty but seriously, wtf is going on? I have no idea. I like Noel, though. I choose to believe he's somehow a descendant of Squall - he looks a lot like him with no scar and slightly longer hair, and he's got that wing pattern on the back of his shirt, and it's not like Final Fantasy fandom hasn't embraced any number of theories on less evidence than that.

(Don't you dare try to fix Noel and Serah up into a romance, game.)
joiedecombat: (surmounting obstacles)
I've had the opportunity, earlier this month and again this weekend, to participate in weekend beta tests of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and since the NDA has been lifted, some thoughts:

Read more... )

Meanwhile, on another note, regarding Persona 4 The Ultimate In Mayonaka Arena, aka the Persona 4 fighting game:

Akihiko. What have you been doing?

joiedecombat: (Dragon Age)
I finished Dragon Age II this weekend, so... my observations, let me show you them.

First, the gameplay. Cut for spam, no spoilers. )

About the storyline. May include some minor spoilers; I'll try to be vague about anything major. )

Companions and other characters. Again, may contain some spoilers. )

There was probably more I meant to say, but this is spammy enough for now and it's stupid o'clock, so I'll let that be it.
joiedecombat: (Dragon Age)
  • The graphics are improved from the first game. It's not the most gorgeous game I've ever seen, but the character designs are mostly more polished, and the environments are a lot more interesting. I'm not far in enough to have an idea of how much variety there will end up being, but Kirkwall makes the inadequacy of the Denerim maps from the first game really glaringly obvious - it's more like something out of FFXII.
  • Not sure about this new elf design, though. Ridiculous anime ears and odd noses aside, they are spindly as hell. Merrill looks like she's liable to snap like a twig at any moment.
  • The primary difference I'm noticing in gameplay between the first game and this one is that the PC no longer chases enemies automatically when they're targeted; abilities have ranges outside of which they're not available for use. This is kind of annoying (although it does prevent me from accidentally pulling a Leeroy Jenkins). There's also no easy way of switching targets.
  • The rogue's abilities are great fun. My favorite so far: Back To Back, which allows the rogue to ninja vanish and ZHOOP across the battlefield to any companion. It's proving highly useful.
  • Combat animations in general seem to be more exaggerated. I am okay with this; my dual-wield warrior from DAO never seemed this much like a walking Cuisinart.
  • Aveline is my buddy.
  • Other than that, though, I haven't gotten a lot of opportunities to chat with my companions, which I'm hoping is just because I'm still fairly early in the game. Bethany and Varric are both still kind of opaque to me.
  • On the other hand, the fact that Varric calls Bethany "Sunshine" is adorable.
  • I have run into a couple of callbacks to decisions from the first game, the most notable of which was a random encounter involving the ramifications of the Brecilian Forest sidequest.
  • I am okay with not being able to change companion characters' armor, on the basis that having to micromanage everyone's gear gets tedious and it allows for them to put more detail into their designs. I'm sure it pisses some people off, though.
  • Damn but there's a lot of vendor trash. I really hope I'm not going to need this stuff for sidequests or crafting in the future, because even with comparatively less gear to wrangle, my inventory fills up awfully quick.
  • I love having a fully-voiced player character. I do not love how tiny all the text is.
joiedecombat: (AWESOME)
Recently finished playing Jade Empire. It was unexpectedly short, but still a BioWare RPG, with all the usual trappings: a karma meter, an assortment of endearingly dysfunctional party members, dialogue trees with plenty of opportunities for snark, a major third-act twist, and a male love interest who not only has no problem taking orders from a woman but is generally more concerned with her mental health than the chances she might get hurt saving the world (indeed, he pretty much takes it as given that she'll kick everything's ass handily).

I found the gameplay of the PC version kind of unwieldy, but the combat system being built around various martial arts styles was fun, and I kind of want to replay a bit and experiment more with it, since I ended up relying heavily on two or three out of like two dozen possible styles. (Admittedly, the ones I used were really badass - the longsword style, which basically made me a walking cuisinart, and White Demon, which is straight up just hitting things really hard until they die. And occasionally some Paralyzing Palm for variety.)

The flyer minigames were freaking annoying, but fortunately mostly skippable. It really is an awfully short game, though; I did every sidequest I could find and still finished it in just a couple days. I didn't get all of my party members' backstories out of them, though, so there's still some replay value in that as well.
joiedecombat: (Shepard lives!)
To absolutely no one's surprise, I got my copy of Mass Effect 2 on Tuesday, and yes, I have lost some sleep playing it.

I'm not going to comment too much yet because I am only partway into it and still forming opinions. But the overall effect so far has, overwhelmingly, been one of "nothing is the same any more."

The game takes place two years after the first one and, without going into specifics, Commander Shepard has missed a lot of stuff. Most of the game's main plot does not particularly involve revisiting things you did and people you knew in the first game, but when it brushes up against them, you find that, well, things have changed. If it weren't for the fact that you also inevitably have scads of brief non-plot-related brushes with minor characters from the first game, most of which are rather gratifying if you played Paragon, it'd be pretty damn depressing.

As it is, I had occasion for my Shepard to return to her quarters post-Horizon, after getting smacked especially hard by how things had changed... only to find that the fish in her fish tank had all gone belly up.


Not exactly one of the top three crappiest days the character has had, but still seriously high on the list.
joiedecombat: (Dragon Age)
As my previous posts suggests, I finished a play through Dragon Age. And had an OMG WAIT THAT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN reaction to the consequences of one of my decisions.

I can't yet give an overall verdict on the game yet, though. Partly that's because there's still a lot of stuff I haven't tried out yet - four other origins and a bunch of sidequests and different choices and all - and partly because my D: D: D: reaction to the aforementioned spoiler is coloring my opinions and the part of me that reacts to how it works as a story (which is very well, really) is running up against how I intended it to play out in a kind of silly way.

Also, the fact that for some reason the choice that I made was not accounted for in subsequent dialogue - even though it was an unavoidable choice and I didn't have to go out of my way or do anything special to take the option that I did - struck me as a bit sloppy. In a game with so much depth and so many different choices, I could understand if bits were unaccounted for in some sidequest or optional extra bit someplace, but why on earth wouldn't you cover all the bases of the main, plot-critical decisions?

Of course, it's no skin off me to go back through and rearrange my choices a little, but the sudden, unexpected dissonance made me uncomfortable.

ALL OF THAT SAID, it's a great game, and I do not have enough things to say about how much I love how the party interactions. My biggest complaint right now has nothing to do with the ending at all, it's that, having gone all the way through the game with a human noble, when I try starting another origin it feels somehow wrong to play a different character type... my brain has latched onto the character I played first, which is also a problem I had a bit of with Mass Effect, but the wider variation of character backstories and the fact that the Dragon Age PC, unlike Commander Shepard, isn't fully-voiced makes things much worse this time.

I expect I will get over it. At the very least I want to play a male Dalish elf so that I can romance Zevran free from the temptation of Alistair's presence. /shallow.

I will probably write some fanfic. So much of the stuff that would ordinarily be between-the-scenes in a different game is actually played out in Dragon Age, so I don't know how much fic I will write, but the impulse is there all the same. Alistair will probably feature heavily, to no one's surprise.


Nov. 12th, 2009 05:19 pm
joiedecombat: (:C)
Someday I will learn not to go looking up information online when I'm in the midst of playing a BioWare RPG. I end up spoiling myself for the big wrenching stuff even when I'm trying not to. You'd think I'd have learned from Mass Effect.


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August 2012

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