Tag Archives: mass effect 3

The Xbox Will Not Have DRM – We Did It!

As has already been covered on the site today, Microsoft had the breaking announcement that they will not have any restrictions on their content, and there will be no 24 hour online checks to make sure that you didn’t commit the ghastly crime of borrowing a game from your friend.

The crazy thing about this is…They listened to us. 

For really the first time in history, we the public have an EXTREMELY influential voice on the direction of an industry. Microsoft had their big announcement at E3 last week and it was met with nearly universal disappointment. No one liked the path that the industry would go if DRM was put into place and was successful. The public took to twitter, blogs, Facebook, YouTube and whatever other type of media we could get to and told Microsoft that we thought it was a bad idea. And they listened.

This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, but this is by far the largest scale that it has happened. Last year’s ending of Mass Effect 3 was met with so much scorn that they decided to give us an add on at no cost in order to placate the masses. The general public is even starting to control the direction of other industries as well, multi million dollar industries like college sports.

In December of 2011, Dennis Erickson was fired from Arizona State University as its head football coach and the search for a new coach got underway immediately. A new coach, June Jones, had a contract agreed to, and ASU “leaked” the story that they were going to hire him. The fan backlash was so extravagant that they pulled the offer from Jones, and ended up hiring Todd Graham. This move ended up being beneficial for the team, however we will never know if the University officials made the right decision in the first place.

The fact that twitter and Facebook is so prevalent in the world now can completely change the way that companies market to the public. No longer do companies have to pay a focus group to test their ideas and find out their opinions from an extremely small sample size, they can now just test what whatever crazy idea they have on the general public, and if the public hated it they can say, “JK! LOLZ!” we didn’t mean that! We’re going to do exactly what you wanted!

So now general public…What else can we change??


Mass Effect: Citadel DLC – Third Time’s a Charm

Well, Mass Effect fans, it’s been a fun, crazy journey, but we’ve finally received the closure we’ve wanted from the series. The final piece of DLC content, Citadel, has released, and in many ways is the epilogue to this fantastic series that fans deserve.

Reviews indicated that it’s the closest thing to a true ending that the game can have without clashing with the real, controversial ending, and I’m okay with this; one of my biggest complaints wasn’t that the ending of the game was bad (it was); the issue was its stark dichotomy with the rest of the plot and characterization of Shepard, and how it offered nearly zero closure to these characters we spent so much time with and with whom we forged such meaningful relationships.

Well Miranda...you've outwhored yourself. Great job.
Well Miranda…you’ve outwhored yourself. Great job.

Citadel exists as a love letter to fans, and this is all I ever wanted. Maybe this means I’m emotionally fragile and needy, but this is the type of content that makes me excited to finally start my second playthrough. This DLC, combined with the other strong DLC offerings, and the expanded ending, finally gives me the incentive to finish the game again, but more importantly, feel good about the bittersweet ending.

It took them three tries at an ending, but they seem to finally understand the closure that fans have sought from the very beginning.

Well, Mass Effect fans, what say you? You excited for Citadel? Do you forgive Bioware now? Or have you just stopped caring.

Finally. The warm and fuzzies I've always wanted. *tear.
Finally. The warm and fuzzies I’ve always wanted. *tear.

Guest Post: What’s in a Conclusion?


We have a guest post today submitted to us by Courtney Lee, who is taking a look at how the endings of modern video games have become more complicated — and as a result, some work and some don’t. Check it out:

Video games have evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Gamers are doing much more than saving princesses and collecting coins now – they’re navigating through large worlds and complicated stories. Players control their characters through epic journeys that rival the stories of Hollywood blockbusters and popular novels.

Two recent games – “Batman: Arkham City” and “Mass Effect 3” – demonstrated what’s great and what’s wrong with storytelling in video games. Fans had high expectations for both titles, but only Batman lived up to the considerable hype. What was the main difference between the two games? “Mass Effect 3” featured a controversial ending that upset numerous fans, whereas “Arkham City” presented a satisfying conclusion.

The vague and the definite

Part of the controversy surrounding the ending of “Mass Effect 3” was its ambiguity. Lucas Siegel, an editor at Newsarama, told LiveScience that fans felt cheated out of receiving a clear conclusion to a series that they had played for years.

“After the hundreds of choices you make, there are only small differences in the end, and some things, the fates of certain parts of this world, are left open to interpretation, rather than being flat-out told,” Siegel said to the news source.

“Arkham City” took the opposite approach and was lauded for its story. GameSpy wrote that the video game’s plot and finale were even more satisfying than Christopher Nolan’s film trilogy. Paul Dini, the game’s writer and part of the production team behind “Batman: The Animated Series,” used all of the toys in Gotham City’s sandbox to give gamers a tragic confrontation between the Caped Crusader and the Joker.

Downloadable content as a supplement

After “Mass Effect” fans made it clear that they weren’t happy with the ending, the game’s publisher BioWare released downloadable content (DLC) to explain the conclusion. Game Informer wrote that the expansion pack resolved many plot holes, but that it mostly consisted of dialog and featured few new challenges.

“Arkham City” received DLC that focused on the story’s conclusion. Instead of ham-fisted exposition, gamers were put into a supporting character’s shoes as he tried to make sense of what happened over the course of the game’s events. “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” gave Robin the spotlight and was almost an entirely new game.

Where games are headed

Both titles represent the cinematic nature of modern video games. “Arkham City” demonstrated the medium’s storytelling potential, while “Mass Effect 3” showed that there’s still room for improvement in some respects. The controversy surrounding BioWare’s game may motivate publishers to craft satisfying stories and conclusions to avoid upsetting their fans. But as of now, players can rest assured future games will remain interactive and action oriented; perhaps with stimulating storylines gamers will enjoy. Video games like “Batman: Arkham City” and “Mass Effect 3” are available at online retailers like Newegg and Amazon.

ME3: Leviathan Review

Hey everyone! I’m back this week to break down the new Leviathan DLC released for Mass Effect 3. While most of DLC for ME3 so far has been nothing but multiplayer content (the one real exception being the Extended Cut) Leviathan provides us with our first real addition to the campaign of the single player story. And while some might find the content lacking when compared to the stellar content found in Mass Effect 2’s Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, Leviathan is more than enough incentive to dust off your save file and join Shepard once again as she/he struggles to save the galaxy from the wrath of the Reapers once more.

[The non-spoiler part]

Leviathan offers us with yet another reason to hop back into the single player campaign. In my case, I dusted off my saved game and started a new play-through on the Insanity difficulty. For those of you wondering how exactly new DLC fits into the story after you’ve beaten the game, it doesn’t. Leviathan takes place before you make the final “push” to take down the reapers and actually offers some interesting insights into exactly what the Reaper menace truly is. The DLC offers players with new locations to visit, new guns and mods to fight the good fight with, and even a new power to help Shepard battle his/her way through to the end of the game. For me, the DLC took about 3 hours to complete. Of course I was also trying to not fall behind on the regular missions of my new Insanity play-through, so I’m sure for some of you Leviathan will be beatable in 2 hours or so.

Do I feel that Leviathan was worth the purchase? You bet. Both the scenery and “space detective” parts of the DLC offered new and engaging content unlike anything else seen in Mass Effect so far. That, coupled with the new weapons and powers, means that the content will offer players both immediate and long-term benefits over the course of their playthroughs. Meaning that if you were like me and just waiting for a good reason to boot up Mass Effect 3’s single player again, you now have that reason.

[The spoiler part]

Now for those of you who have already played through Leviathan or don’t care about spoilers, let’s break down my favorite part about this DLC. The reveal. While arguably not that much of a reveal, given the added information provided to us already in the Extended Cut, the fact that we finally get to meet the creators of the Reapers is actually quite awesome. And convincing them to finally get off their lazy butts and help all us “weaker” races fight the good fight? Even better.

We also get a bit more information on our old buddy Harbinger, who has been a pain in our butt since he first started “assuming direct control” back in Mass Effect 2. As it turns out, he was the first reaper ever made, and has since been leading the harvest in the Catalyst’s eternal mission to “save” all life in the galaxy. So while it isn’t all that surprising to learn that Harbinger isn’t just some “regular” Reaper. The fact that he was the first, simply adds to his repertoire.

It’s also fittingly ironic that the Catalyst wasn’t just made to run the Reapers, but to save organic life from the synthetics they kept making. Only in the end it came to the conclusion that synthetics could only be “stopped” if they were never made in the first place. Leading to the eventual harvest and decimation of all organic life sufficiently advanced enough to create synthetics. I mean, its a stupid plan when you look at it as an outsider, but you can’t really argue with its logic; no matter how impersonal or monstrous its line of thinking might be.

It’s also fun to see where both Harbinger and the Catalyst get their arrogance and douchey-ness. As the Leviathans, despite not technically wanting to kill lesser species, were really no better than the Reapers are now. I mean, being wiped off the face of the galaxy sucks. But being mind-controlled and ruled over by giant Cthulhu squids isn’t a ton better; trading one tyrant for anther and all that jazz. Regardless of how “new” all these revelations may or may not be, they flesh out the back-story of the Mass Effect universe in ways previously only seen in the last 5 minutes of the game. Thus making the inclusion of the Leviathan DLC a wonderful new layer to the previously spotty background of the Reapers.

All in all I feel that Leviathan is a unique and exciting new addition to an already amazing setting. Throw in the fact that you also get 400 points towards your assault on the Reapers, some sick new weapons, and a rather OP new power…. and you really can’t lose. So while Leviathan may not have quite the emotion and gripping game-play that we saw in Lair of the Shadow Broker, it’s darn close; and well worth the purchase in my mind.

So dust off your save files and get ready for an adventure people! Because Shepard’s got a mystery to solve and some galactic history to set straight…

Watch Me Make Endings Better (Spoilers)

Frequent show contributor and At the Buzzer movie review Gary Sundt and I are working on a few scripts to break our way into Hollywood (admittedly, Gary is doing a better job than I). I need this to happen, because right now I feel like I’m the only person on the planet who knows how to write a good ending.

Good endings aren’t hard. All you need to do is find the right blend of the ENDING TRIFECTA (patented by me). The ending trifecta is composed of resolution, satisfaction, and artistic closure. Like the perfect recipe, you need a little of each to really have a great ending. If you resolve everything by explaining what happens to every character, but the resolution is that every character is killed in a horrible fashion, this satisfies the resolution and artistic closure of your ending, but offers no fan satisfaction (unless the fans hated your characters). Likewise, if you attempt to satisfy your fans by offering a cookie cutter happy ending, you might sacrifice true character and event resolution, as well as the final exploration of your artistic themes.

It’s a tough balance. Except it’s not. Watch me cover some universally maligned endings and demonstrate how they easily could have been made better. Continue reading Watch Me Make Endings Better (Spoilers)

In Further Defense of the Ending of Mass Effect 3

That’s right, another post about Mass Effect 3. I promise it will be my last one. Probably.

Yesterday, it was announced that Bioware would be releasing their answer to the fan outcry due to Mass Effect 3’s much maligned ending. This answer is the form of an extended cut DLC package that will offer additional cinematic and epilogue scenes. Some fans will still be disappointed because, unless some miracle happens, the additional scenes will expand off of the controversial ending that came blindsided players out of nowhere and will surely ignore the “indoctrination theory” that most fans (including myself) were hoping for most. Continue reading In Further Defense of the Ending of Mass Effect 3