Monday, February 22, 2010

Jungle, Desert, and Savannah

These are the landscapes I've been seeing a lot of playing Far Cry 2 a ton over the last week. It's not a perfect game by any means, but it's absolutely unmatched in terms of presenting a gorgeous wide-open world that feels alive in many respects. For a few reasons, mostly concerning the somewhat repetitive nature of it's mission structure, it's best enjoyed in small doses, but I've been cramming it in trying to finally polish the game off so that I can move my focus on to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. It's appeal hasn't suffered a whole lot, even so. I really like this game.

Elsewhere, I made a foray back into Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, which is fun. I want to keep at it and eventually finish it off before Puzzle Quest 2 eventually comes out. It's a shame about the warp gate hacking; without that the game would be a lot better. There's also DLC for the original PQ that I'd like to get, but it's overpriced on XBL. Maybe there'll be a sale sometime.

On the RPG front, I'm still working through Planescape when I get the hankering for some good dialogue and a weird world with crazy rules. A graphical update or a full-on Mass Effect-like fully voice acted remake of this game would be incredible. The next thing coming from the same people is Fallout: New Vegas. I will be anticipating that quite a bit.

Lastly, a new multiplayer game has caught my fancy, and that's Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Right now just the demo is out on XBL, and it's only one map and one mode, but it's huge amounts of fun, and it makes me want to play it more than any of the other several great multi-player games I have on tap. I may have to pick it up when it's released next month, but do I really want to spend a completion token on it? I don't even have any at the moment, though I have a few reasonably close. Questions, questions...

Oh, before I go I feel like I need to shout out a couple of iphone games that still get a ton of play from me, and those are drop7 and Words With Friends, an asynchronus Scrabble clone. I also bought UniWar for a few bucks last week, and it's pretty cool; a hex-based strategy game with three different factions. Canabalt gets pretty frequent play, too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mass Effect 2 Spoilers Galore

Two weeks, 50+ hours, and a whole hell of a lot of Renegade options later, I'm done with Mass Effect 2. The suicide mission was a success, and everyone lived, probably because everyone was loyal to Shepard and the Normandy was fully kitted out.

I completed 100% of the available quests in 100% of the star systems in the galaxy, but I was still short on credits and couldn't purchase every armor and weapon upgrade. Future DLC should bring more N7 missions so that I can finish outfitting and maybe level up to 30. Since everything went so right the first time through, and I'm pretty happy with all my individual decisions, I may not play the game again unless at some point I want to go back and do ME1 and ME2 with a new male/paragon Shepard and change things up.

The sense of purpose and consequence to all of your decisions in this series is unmatched in gaming. Throughout the end of the game, the "suicide mission," each decision I had to make was carefully considered, because regardless of your teammate's loyalties, there is a chance that any or all members could be killed. I tasked Tali with going through the vents, gave Jacob lead of the second squad both times, sent Zaeed back to the Normandy with the rescued crew members, had Jack maintain the boitic shield, and took Morinth and Legion into the final fight. There were other choices to make, but they didn't seem as crucial, such as "hurry on" at a door, or stay to fight. I hurried on, if I remember correctly. All teammates and all crew survived, and given the choice of blowing up the Collector base or surrendering it to Cerberus, I told the Illusive Man to shove off and blew it to hell.

For reference, other big Mass Effect choices:

Shepard: full Renegade, about 1/3 Paragon
Lovers: none, almost got Jacob, though
Council in ME1: dead, humans in charge
Kaiden: dead
Wrex: head of Clan Urdnot on Tuchanka
Liara: helped in ME2, looking for Shadow Broker
Rachni: extinct
Tali: loyal, not exiled
Garrus: loyal, helped him get revenge
Miranda: loyal
Jacob: loyal
Mordin: loyal, posesses Genophage cure
Grunt: loyal, killed Thresher Maw
Zaeed: loyal, got vengeance
Jack: loyal, got vengeance, killed guy
Thane: loyal, bonding with son
Samara: dead by Shepard's will
Morinth: loyal, still Ardat-Yakshi
Legion: loyal, destroyed heretic Geth
Quarians: advised against war on Geth
Collector Base: destroyed
Blue Suns: base destroyed (sub quest)
Blood Pack: base destroyed (sub quest)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Road Map To Success

Here's something. It's just an idea.

Mass Effect 2 Release Week

And, aside from a little Canabalt and Team Fortress 2 (am I back to this one again for my multiplayer fix?), Mass Effect 2 is all that I have been playing.

I went into it some on Call of Podcast 17, so I won't drone on too much here, not just yet, anyway. Look for a big info and impression dump when I finish the game. Suffice it to say, I am in love with this game. Allowing for the carry-over of your own Shepard and version of the world is the best thing Bioware could have done with this game. It makes everything so much more meaningful and personalized, and the ties to your memories of the first game make events pay off in a much greater way than they otherwise would with a stock character or entirely developer-directed story. The voice acting is, for the most part, extremely well done. Jennifer Hale is again absolutely awesome as Shepard, and some well-known voices can be heard in the most unlikely places in the game. The voice of BSG's Colonel Tigh is just one example.

The way the first 2 acts of the game play out, the rustlin' up of your posse and earning their loyalty, gives me warm tinges of memory of playing Final Fantasy III (and by that I mean VI) almost 15 years ago, particularly the latter half of that game. I'm curious if anyone else out there will mention seeing a parallel.