Because everyone is probably sick to death about talking about Mass Effect 3, I apologize. If you are sick of people talking about it, please press the back (<---) button on your browser and continue looking at the forums. I however, am not sick to death of talking about Mass Effect 3 because I feel like all of the major discussion surrounding it has been about one thing, namely the ending. Allow me to get that out of the way now: The ending of Mass Effect 3 is terrible, but the people getting themselves in a frothing rage about it are more terrible. Ok. Done. No more ending talk. Also, there are no real spoilers, so feel ok about that if you for some reason have yet to play it.
Instead, I will talk about the other parts of the game, namely the 20 hours that it took to get to that terrible ending. Because up to that ending, Mass Effect 3 does exactly what it should. It responds to what you did in the previous games in various ways, though unfortunately not really in gameplay-relevant ones, and is basically a giant fanservice parade, to the point where it strains the credibility of the plot. Since Bioware has inadvertently dug themselves into a hole by giving you the ability to kill off your Mass Effect 2 party members, all of them with the exceptions of Garrus and Tali (not coincidentally the only returning party members from the first game as well) appear at various points in the game, usually involving them doing something totally badass... only for them to give some sort of lame, half-hearted excuse as to why they can't cruise with you on your radical spaceship to fight the reapers. It's delicious candy for anyone who liked the last game, but that is how every serious sidequest goes down. Because seriously, who actually went out of their way to do most of the fetch quests in the citadel? Of course, even more insane is what happens when you let them die. While I'm sure most of you are anal-retentive about that kind of thing and are incapable of letting anyone die, I wasn't and I let Tali die in the collector base, which had an entirely different character do what I assume was ostensibly the same thing. Except for the part where you can't negotiate a peace between the Quarian and the Geth without her alive.
Otherwise, the game is basically what Mass Effect 2 was, but there are no hacking minigames (sure, I'm fine with that) and you can customize your weapons in a way that echoes the first game, but without the whole pesky “Incredibly poor inventory management” thing. That is also to say that it is a passable third person shooter, as long as you are willing to play it that way. For my part, I was using an imported Vanguard and thus basically used Charge+Nova for the entire game, to the point where the combat stopped even being remotely challenging and was basically a joke the entire time. I'm sure if I was playing on insanity or whatever I couldn't have abused it as I did, on Normal it does the job for literally everything. It's a pity too, as the weapon arsenal seems greatly expanded, something that I'm really only getting into with my forays into the multiplayer.
Speaking of that, the Multiplayer is functional and enjoyable, if only in the vacuum of me having not played a ton of Gears of War and other real Third Person Cover-based shooters. It's a pity that it also exposes one of the other ugly things about ME3, namely that there are only three types of enemies. Cerberus, Reapers and Geth, which all in all results in a little more than a dozen enemy types overall. The complete randomness of the progression seems flawed in some fairly serious ways. While I'm fine with a bit of randomness, the fact that it is all random makes it discouraging, as the chances of me getting a new race or weapon is somewhat less than I would desire. While I literally got sick of Modern Warfare 3 after like a day of playing, you can't deny that it works.
All these things being equal, I would like to close by saying that I went back and I played a few hours of Mass Effect 1 today. Holy shit. To say that it is a radically different game than the other two is perhaps something of an understatement. I can tell you already that one of the things I now, retrospectively, miss in Mass Effect 3 is the very distinct, very pronounced 70s/80s sci fi tone, equal mixes of Star Wars and Star Trek with a thick, thick film grain filter and lots of lens flare covering the entire thing. Sure, half of the supporting cast is not much more than living codex entries, substituting personalities for lore-porn, and sure, the gameplay is kind of ass. But it seems clear to me in remembering these things that, regardless of whatever else the series has become, the first game is very much of a clear vision, one that knows exactly what it wants to accomplish, even if I still think that hybridizing shooters and RPGs usually is not for the best. Something that the ending could have taken some tips from.
Other stuff (in bullet point form)
- On anime: The last episode of Excel Saga is either brilliant or incredibly tasteless. I'm inclined to say both. The series itself? Sure. I admit to liking insanity, even at the cost of it being obnoxious on occasion. Best parts are the parts that don't actually involve Excel, which is more than one would think.
- Also Ghost in the Shell is a goddamn bizarre movie. I wasn't expecting nearly as much hamfisted philosophical dialogue as I ended up encountering. Perhaps more hilariously, its spinoff series: Stand Alone Complex makes the main character attractive and ditches all the "What makes something human?" nonsense in favor of Cyber Cops doing awesome cyber cop things. Sure, I'm not entirely sure if it insults the grand ideas of the movie, but it's a lot more entertaining to watch.
- Ranma 1/2 is kind of terrible in a way that I'm into. No wonder I've watched like 50 episodes.
- On other video games: I will probably play Icewind Dale II and finish it up this month. Honest. I'm on chapter 5 of 6. It's not like I have a ton left to get through. That game still isn't as good as Icewind Dale.
- League of Legends is still a thing. Now that I'm no longer in the same hall as the guys I play with however, I've been cutting back somewhat. Better the idiots I know than the ones I don't. Ziggs is a pretty good mid carry.
- As I said, I literally got bored of Modern Warfare 3 after a day of playing. My reflexes simply aren't up to the task anymore and I feel like an old man being wrecked by the ScopeXXSnipeXX420s of the world. It's a bummer that Black Ops II actually looks kind of intriguing.
- My Ironman playthrough of Wizardry 8 may be thwarted by me accidentally trapping myself in part of the level that I can't get out of. Which is a bummer since I was doing so well too.
- The Legend of Grimrock is cool. I got stuck but am too stubborn to look at a guide... yet.
- On real life: Having no close friends at home is a bummer.
- Finding a job so your parents don't invent chores for you to do is a bummer
- Cards Against Humanity is amazing. It's also horribly offensive.
- I am probably going to bed now.