Mass Effect began here, with its first novel, Mass Effect: Revelation. Released in mid-2007, a half-year before Mass Effect proper was unleashed on the Xbox 360 and Windows, Revelation was meant to not only start the hype for what would become BioWare’s flagship series but also begin laying down the structure of the series’ large universe.
Authored by Mass Effect writer Drew Karpyshyn, Revelation follows the video game’s background hero Captain Anderson about 20 years before the events of the first game. We also meet a few of the series’ alien races along with the Citadel Council and first game villain, Saren. An Alliance scientist, Kahlee Sanders, is also introduced and she has served as the main link between the Mass Effect tie-in novels.
I first read Revelation when it was released in 2007, and have since read the second book, Mass Effect: Ascension, which I wrote a review on afterwards. Ascension takes place between the first two games and did an excellent job hinting at what was to come for Shepard and the gang in the second game. I recently received the first three novels (Retribution was released last year) as a gift so I decided to re-read Revelation and write a review on it, enjoy.
Playing just the first hour of a game can be so boring! Take our last review, Okamiden! Ugh, text text text text text run twenty feet text text text blah blah blah. Who wants to play that? That’s right, nobody. So no more first hour reviews, instead, we’re going to jump right to the meat and just play THE LAST HOUR.
How did I not think of this before? In a typical game, where is all the fun? At the end. Where is all the action? At the end. When is boring exposition thrown out the window for actual exciting gameplay? At the end!
So no more tired examinations of pacing, snoozing through opening cutscenes, and waiting for something, anything to happen, we’re going to jump right to it. If you want to see the first hour of a game, go play it yourself. Real gamers don’t play the beginning of games, anyway.
So to reboot the site with the bang that it deserves, here’s the last hour of Mass Effect. One of the most epic, balls-to-the-outer-space-wall finales I could think of in the three minutes it took me to decide to throw away the last four years of this site in one fell swoop. BOOM!
A Mass Effect film has pretty much been rumored since gamers saw the first trailer of the game years ago, and as with most popular series, the inevitable moment of the movie being announced has finally arrived. Whether it actually happens or not is still way up in the air, and Hollywood's track record with game movies isn't much help either. For every Resident Evil movie (four of them now), there are 10 ready-for-the-big-screen games that can't even get their films off the ground. Halo had Peter Jackson backing it and that was canned. David Hayter, legendary voice actor of Solid Snake and successful screenwriter can't even get enough cash to make a Metal Gear Solid film. And yet the Hitman movie is made.
The names fronting the money and penning the script are impressive though, so this might just happen, and if it does, here's my candidate list of actors.
New Game Plus is probably one of the coolest, most obvious, and underused features in video games today. There is no better way to get me to immediately replay your game than to give me every single item, weapon, magic, and point of experience that I finished the game with at the start of the my next playthrough. Yes, it makes everything Win Button easy, but it is so very satisfying returning to the boss the gave you so much trouble the first time and one-shotting him into oblivion. New Game Plus should be a required feature of every RPG and adventure game.
For the unaware, New Game Plus means starting the game over but loading your characters from when you last beat it. You generally retain most non-story items and weapons, and keep your existing level and stats. It's generally a nice reward for conquering a game, but as we'll see, can also be used for a variety of reasons.
Welcome to Mass Effect: An Audio-Visual Experience.
Often in life, people notice a gorgeous environment or model or visual effect or even just an angle in relation to the scenery. Thanks to the magic of image capturing, these moments can be preserved for future savoring and to remember the moment. The same experiences can happen while playing games. Due to the magic of screen/video capture software (Fraps in particular), these moments and experiences can be captured for display for others or self in the future.
While playing Mass Effect, I noticed a relatively high amount of impressive scenery and images being captured, from which this idea was formed. As far as the specific idea for an audio-visual experience, I'll start by saying that people do things for any large number of reasons. To narrow down, common reasons for playing games may include the desire to distract oneself, desire for competition, desire for mental stimulation, and/or the desire to get lost in a new subjective experience. The goal of this article is to give you a subjective audio-visual experience without needing to travel through the entire game yourself. If you are new to the game, it will lead you through its entirety, accustoming yourself to the environments, style, and action. If you have already played the game, it will jog memories and rekindle an experience trapped down in long-term memory. Great care has been taken to withhold any apparent spoilers for those who have not experienced the game while still keeping the experience intact.
This introduction may be withheld in future iterations of Audio-Visual Experiences (if any) to better focus on the experience. In addition, this installment will only be a pictorial experience due to a sudden, poorly-timed harddrive failure. Only the images were uploaded to the internet before the unfortunate crash.
Considering I've reviewed just about every other aspect of the Mass Effect series, I thought it would be appropriate to write a review on the game's first downloadable content: Bring Down the Sky. While the second DLC, Pinnacle Station, was more of an experiment in arena action, Bring Down the Sky was more familiar to the style of gameplay the full game offered. It was released just a few months after the release of the game in March 2008, seemingly indicating that there would be plenty more content available in the coming months and years. However, there would be just the two downloads available over the next two years, and the worst part? I really enjoyed Bring Down the Sky and would have happily paid for more like it.
With BioWare's latest RPG, Dragon Age, released and pimping downloadable content from almost the start of the game, it seems very likely that Mass Effect 2 will employ a similar strategy. In a recent interview with the Mass Effect project lead, Casey Hudson, he indicated that after the game's release (and hopefully a lengthy vacation), the developers would immediately move on to downloadable content. This is an exciting prospect and as long as I get my money's worth on the initial purchase, I have no problem paying for more content. Hudson also mentioned that when it came to DLC for the original Mass Effect, the game was simply not developed with it in mind, and that both Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station were larger efforts than should have been necessary.
With a bit of history out of the way, let's get into my review of Bring Down the Sky for Mass Effect.
Daddy issues: it's a common phrase thrown out to explain many character issues, especially against women. Psychologists call it the Electra Complex from the Greek mythology of Electra, a woman who had her brother kill their mother after she had been involved in their father's death. Many would say Electra had daddy issues, and she probably did, because of her response to her father's death at her mother's hand. While the complex is as old as mythology, it's still commonly used today in literature, television, and yes, even video games. This is the first in a sporadic series of articles on daddy (and mommy - Oedipal) issues seen in video games. And since I'm such a big fan of Mass Effect, it seems like the perfect place to start.
The number of characters in Mass Effect makes this a great place to begin, many of them are pretty complex, not only due to their parental conflicts, but because many of them are aliens and have a unique culture that let's the writers exploit Electra and Oedipus in new ways. The main character, Shepard, can recruit six additional characters along the way. Talking with them as the game progresses reveals their backstory and how they ended up where they are today. No too few of them are there almost certainly because of the ways their father was or wasn't present in their life. Let's take a look at some of the characters from Mass Effect and their daddy issues.
Pinnacle Station is the second, and probably final downloadable content for Mass Effect. Unlike the first DLC, Bring Down the Sky, Pinnacle Station is not a new set of story-based missions but is instead a series of arena challenges. This is a bit disappointing considering Mass Effect 2 is probably about six months away and BioWare could have explored that game's future content by introducing some new characters, locations, or even the new alien races. But sometimes you just have to take what you're given, and Pinnacle Station is the patient fan's reward.
I honestly don't have anything against arena fighting, and I was just looking for any excuse to put Mass Effect back into my Xbox 360. I was one of those gamers that actually enjoyed the combat in the game, especially on the higher difficulties. While more story would have been awesome, more combat that doesn't take place in the same warehouse as all the other big fights is also very welcome. So here's my first opinion on Pinnacle Station played on the Xbox 360 with my level 60 Soldier on Insanity.
I've been going through my large collections of games lately, which numbers in the hundreds, deciding if I can pass any of them off to gamers who can actually appreciate them for what they are. Not only do I have tons of games, but for 95% of them, I also still have their original box and manual. This makes some of them rather valuable for the collector, and hopefully I can provide.
However, there are a few games which I simply can not give up, some are worth quite a bit, others... well, they're mostly just meaningful to me. Let's take a nostalgic walk through some of the rare, obscure, and classic games I own that I could never give up.