eponymous_rose: (ME | Victus)
Back to Part Two (in which the best dialogue wheel of the game is discovered, Shepard has a fan club, and our heroes hold the line)

A Picspam Recap of Mass Effect - Part 3 (in which lots and lots and lots of things explode) )

Well, if you stuck with me through all that, you deserve a cookie or something. Now you're about as prepared for Mass Effect 2 as you possibly could be without playing the game yourself! If you get a chance, though, please let Hathur99 on YouTube know how awesome they are for putting together these excellent game playlists. Without those playthroughs, there's no way this post would've ever come about.

And here's the requisite link: Episode 1 of Mass Effect 2. (As you might expect, there are spoilers in the comments of some episodes.) Enjoy!
eponymous_rose: (ME | Victus)
Here's a thing I forgot to post this weekend:

After making my last Mass Effect post, I came across Hathur99's YouTube channel, which contains an awesome cinematic plot-based playthrough of all three games (Mass Effect 3 currently in progress) for those who may be interested in the story and fandom but aren't big on the gaming - with most of the battle scenes cut out, the games run much more like a movie or TV show. And as it turns out, the first game doesn't scan so well in this movie format - it's a fun game, but free-form exploratory stuff doesn't keep the plot moving very well. Since ME2 and ME3 do translate extremely well into movie/TV form, I figured I'd do a quick summary of the first game for folks who might want to jump straight into the playthrough for game two, which is essentially set up as a TV show with seventy-four 10-to-20-minute episodes. There are also a lot of familiar voices in ME2 that also might be a bit of a draw for folks - Martin Sheen! Seth Green! Shohreh Aghdashloo! Adam Baldwin! Claudia Black! Tricia Helfer! Carrie-Anne Moss! Michael Dorn! Armin Shimerman! Other folks I am probably forgetting! C'mon, all those exclamation points can't be wrong. And it has a really killer first eight minutes.

This also might be helpful for folks who want to start by playing Mass Effect 2 (either because of easier availability or because of the more streamlined gameplay). Or for folks like me, who kinda forgot the entire plot of the first game for a while, there.

Okay, okay, I'm mostly doing this because I enjoy creating humorous write-ups/picspams to poke fun at my favourite fandoms. In case you, y'know, hadn't noticed that about me. I know I hide that tendency well.

Warning: Each of the following posts contains about 30-40 entertaining screencaps. Abandon hope, all dial-up users who enter here.

A Picspam Recap of Mass Effect - Part 1 (in which the Normandy has a perfectly ordinary shakedown cruise, creepy nightmare visions are had, and hey, killer robot zombies, those are always fun) )

On to Part Two (in which the best dialogue wheel of the game is discovered, Shepard has a fan club, and our heroes hold the line)
eponymous_rose: (ME | Victus)
Because I do these for all my fandoms, eventually, have The Epic Mass Effect Introduction Post! Mass Effect was sort of my gateway gaming experience, and I finally got into it after seeing a post on my flist, so hey, maybe someone else is just waiting for an excuse?

Okay, and also I wanted to do something geeky for Pi Day. Happy 3/14! Well, belatedly, because it took me longer to write this up than anticipated.

Mass Effect is a trilogy of sci-fi games for the Xbox, PS3, and the PC (I've only played the PC versions of all three) - the first came out in 2007, the second in 2010, and the third just came out last week. It's produced by Bioware, a Canadian video game developer that I first heard about via its employees doing an awesome smack-down of someone on the forums complaining about the same-sex romance options in their games. So that's a plus. (Note for Dragon Age players: yeah, Mass Effect does better than nearly any other sci-fi game I've encountered when it comes to acknowledging the existence of queer and/or female gamers, but that's not saying much. Expect a bit of a step backwards on that front, though the games do eventually stagger into the 21st/22nd century.)

Logistics-wise, Mass Effect is a cross between an RPG and a shooter, with its primary focus being interactive storytelling. Being someone who rarely has the patience for RPGs, and who finds shooters boring as heck, the way I latched onto this game surprised me. Generally speaking, you wander around the universe in a more-or-less free-form exploratory way, you stumble across plots, and you eventually find your way back to the overarching story. Whereas most games would have dialogue cutscenes between battles, the Mass Effect games keep it interactive throughout - so you can decide how your character responds to any given query, probe for more information, be sarcastic or sympathetic or totally uninterested, have your character get romantically involved, and occasionally make massive, galaxy-shaking decisions. Those decisions (and your user-created character) carry over from game to game, and affect your gaming experience in a variety of ways. Essentially, the game adapts to your decisions.

So it's up to you: should you be someone who upholds the law at all costs? Someone who does whatever it takes to get the job done? Someone who spends all their time (and credits) buying new fish for their fish tank? The choice is yours!

(This is a more-or-less spoiler-free intro! That took some doing, let me tell you.)

The Epic Mass Effect Introduction Post, or: what the heck have I been on about this past week )

Okay, for all the gentle mockery up there, I really do think this is a seriously impressive trilogy of games - especially given its sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor - and I'd be thrilled to see more friends giving it a shot. Don't take it from me - the first game had great reviews, the second won Game of the Year, and the latest game in the series has received perfect scores from something like 50 big-name reviewers, so far. Bioware is pretty darn good when it comes to listening to the fans and making the right changes. So if you've ever wanted to tool around the galaxy in your own ship, now's your chance!

But, you know, make sure you have the time. It took me a while to get into the first game, but without even realizing it, I got completely sucked in. Even if you just blast through and only do the main plots and ignore most conversations, you're still looking at about 60 hours for all three games. Taking your time, it's more like 100 hours (it's like... three seasons of a TV show). And because of all the decision trees, there's a ton of replay value. And ME3 has a new multiplayer mode that's a lot of fun as well. And there's the downloadable content for extra gameplay. Er. Yeah. It's a lot of great stuff.

The cool thing is that the first two games are often on sale via Steam (all you have to do is install the Steam platform, find the game you want, make the purchase, and it's yours to download whenever you want - I often have to uninstall and reinstall due to disk space issues, and I've never run into trouble). I got the first and second games for $15 total. Given how many hours of awesome that works out to, that's a pretty sweet deal. Full-price, they're $20 each, which is still a fantastic deal. The third game just came out, so it's still expensive (and only available to download via Origin, which is EA's answer to Steam), about $60, but it should come down in price fairly soon.

And with that, I will finally stop typing. Whew. If you know folks who might be interested in the game, feel free to send them here! If you're already a fan and have spotted the many mistakes I've made in this post, please do point them out. Or just point and laugh. That works, too.

I should go.
eponymous_rose: (Default)
Mass Effect: Interregnum by The Naked Pen.

So, first thing about this fic: it's, uh, 250,000 words long (including the separate one-shot story set in the same universe). It's also in-progress, although the current story arc has just concluded with the latest chapter. The fact that I've now read it twice in its entirety should be a bit of an endorsement, right there.

It's a genfic (the T rating is for f-bombs and violence, about on par with the game itself), and as the title suggests, it takes place in the two-year gap between ME and ME2, following everyone's favorite turian ex-cop around Omega. And while it starts as a pretty light accounting of Garrus's wacky misadventures as he accidentally recruits the galaxy's least professional vigilante squad (complete with somewhat over-the-top noirish monologues), the latest couple story arcs have taken a turn for the incredibly dark that have made the whole fic go from "mildly entertaining with good action scenes" to "holy crap this is awesome... with good action scenes".

I am extremely impressed that a fic of this length has managed to have such organic and gradual character arcs that you can transition seamlessly from laugh-out-loud hilarious moments (the horrors of elcor karaoke, the most unfortunately named starship in the universe, the mental picture of a salarian wearing blue jeans, the gigavolus, and oh, the banter) to absolutely devastating developments serving to remind you that you know exactly how this story's going to end, and that it definitely isn't going to be happily ever after. It's also taking a huge chance in that it's essentially an entire fic about OCs, with the exception of Garrus, but the original characters are all entertaining and extremely memorable, to the point where I can't read other fics speculating about Garrus's squad without thinking of these versions. And I am such a sucker for a well-written action scene. Always.

Anyway. If you're looking for a long, action-packed read that digs into Garrus's character and morality (especially dealing with the transition from Shepard's black-and-white situations to Omega's infinite shades of grey), you could do a lot worse than this story. It's a great read.
eponymous_rose: (Default)
Doing yet another Mass Effect playthrough (paragon through game one, renegade through game two, which has been entertaining), and I just got to the Shadow Broker mission, which never fails to make me full of happy. And lo and behold, YouTube has the sky car chase scene! Or, as I like to call it, "Shepard and Liara banter awesomely whilst explosions are had". So much love for these two. (I skipped ahead a bit to get to the good part.) The only problem is that the person making the video is a much better driver than I am, so you don't get to hear Liara make comparisons to the Mako. Ahem.

Also, have some pretty Shepard fanart. I love this guy's art - he's done a few other ME characters, and has some cool original art as well.

In other news, I haven't done a plug for [livejournal.com profile] ds9_rewatch in a while: we're still going strong, and we're going to be starting our second rewatch of "Profit and Loss" (2x18) at 9PM Eastern Time (in about forty minutes). If you don't have the episode, they're all up on Netflix, or if you join the community and check the "locked post" tag, you should find what you need. The chat's always a fun time and requires no downloads or fancy browser plugins, and is also 100% free of ads: right here! Hope to see you there. :D
eponymous_rose: (Default)
Bit of downtime research-wise, so! I got the Kasumi and Shadow Broker downloadable missions, and played through both. SO COOL. Semi-spoilery vague ramblings follow:

The Kasumi one was incredibly entertaining - yes, yes, what ME2 was really missing was a wacky heist mission. With hilarious commentary and a little black dress. Kasumi's awesome. I futzed around in the vault way longer than I had to, just to hear her little cutting remarks.

The Shadow Broker one? Amazing! Love that Liara gets this whole epic character arc, and her banter with Shepard was golden. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, HIGH-SPEED CHASE IN FLYING CARS. Yes, more of that in ME3, please. "What kind of weapons does this thing have?" "It's a taxi. It has a fare meter." Also: "Truck!" "I know." "TRUCK!" "I KNOW!" They are so hilariously panicky and snarky in that whole scene. The crazy angles of the fight on the ship were really disorienting, which kinda worked well. I'm getting super-reliant on the Magical Radar Button, though - I would've been lost for ages otherwise.

Getting access to all that extra personal info/chatroom logs/etc. about the squad at the end was awesome, too. Plenty of angst to go around, but lots of hilariousness, too. Of course Legion is a hardcore gamer. And Grunt's search history cracked me up. "dinosaurs" and "sharks". Yes, Grunt. Earth is pretty awesome. And Jack, well, of course she'd get kicked out of every message board there is for violating TOS. "bypassing worksafe filters". Oh, Jack.

Anyway. The Shadow Broker mission in particular was really, really good character-wise and continuity-wise. If this is a sign of things to come in ME3, it'll be awesome. AND MORE FLYING CARS PLEASE.

To sum up, here is a really nifty and well-edited fanvid that shows off how pretty this game is: You're the Conversation. Nice to see something more contemplative and character-based - it's hard to do a Shepard-centric fanvid, since everyone plays her (or him) a bit differently, but this one gets right to the core of the character. Cool song choice, too.

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