Spoilarz Ahead My Thoughts on the Mass Effect 3 Ending

Along the lines of Gabe from PA I would like to give my thoughts on the ending of Mass Effect 3 in response to This article on Gamefront

Brevity

I agree that I view the entire game as the ending so I don't have a problem. Also you could consider the entire sequence on the citidal to be the ending in which case the ending was plenty long, you just got to interact with it instead of just watching it.

It’s Confusing

“I made some synthetics to kill you every 50k years so you would not be killed by synthetics”

So the AI who turns out to be the villain had flawed logic, that's what made him the antagonist.

Lore Errors and Plot Holes

I view the explosion of the Mass Relays to be different from that in the Arrival. The force is being dispersed through the network so its not wiping out the systems. That's how I interpreted it, that's the thing about a work like this its open to interpretation.

As for the question as to why Joker is traveling through the Mass Relay I thought about just how long I was up there, not just awake, but from the looks of things I was out for a while. Its entirely likely that the squad, even if they wanted to look for my body, had to pull out when I got zapped. They would have fallen back to a shuttle and gone to the Normandy. At that point it is possible that a strategic retreat was being called for or that the Normandy was being sent ahead as a nimble forward scout (with the capability to contact earth forces) to notify the rest of the fleet which system they should evac to so that they did not just go from one bad reaper fight to another. They said it took the Reapers a long time to take out the Prothians likely due to similar events.

Key Philosophical Themes Are Discarded

I really don't get this part of the argument either.

Player Choice Is Completely Discarded

But all of my choices affected which of the three I chose. I took Synthesis and in retrospect I wish I had chosen control relative to how I thought my Shep felt. I could not destroy because the Geth and Quarians had achieved peace, it did not seem right as I would be changing my view on the idea that synthetics and organics can live in peace. I did not try control, because I was not confident. Now since I looked up other endings I see that control works (unless you think the whole thing is indoctrination) I would have chosen that option as I think my Shepard would believe that he should not control the way life evolves. At least in my ending Joker and EDI can have some borg ass kids. PEACE!

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Progress Report on Clearing the Backlog

I wanted to give an update on how the game backlog is going.

Update: I got a few games for my Birthday and Christmas so they have been added in also ambassador titles.

PS3

  • Vanquish
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Assasins Creed 1, 2, Brotherhood
  • Borderlands - Only DLC Packs left
  • Darksiders
  • Fallout 3 and New Vagas
  • Infamous
  • Little Big Planet
  • Braid
  • Prince of Persa
  • Valcuria Chronicles
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Crysis 2
  • Shadows of the Damned
  • Heavenly Sword - New addition
  • Prince of Persia the Forgotten Sands
  • Renegade Ops
  • Limbo
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Wii

  • Metroid Prime 1-2
  • A Boy and His Blob
  • Monster Hunter Tri
  • Final Fantasy the After Years
  • Muramasa
  • Phantom Brave
  • New Play Control Pickmin
  • The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past
  • Cave Story
  • Super Metroid
  • Lost Winds 2 -Forgot I had that one there
  • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
  • Kirby Return to Dreamland

3DS/DS

  • Chrono Trigger I had to give up on this one due to it being too long since I last played
  • Legend of Zelda the Ocarina of Time
  • Starfox 64 3D
  • Zelda Links Awakening DX
  • Pokemon Heart Gold
  • Final Fantasy III
  • Dragon Quest IX
  • Street Fighter 4
  • Locke's Quest
  • Zelda Spirit Tracks
  • Mario and Luigi Bowser's Inside Story
  • Mario 3D Land
  • Mario Kart 7
  • Pushmo
  • 3D Classics Kirby
  • Plants Vs. Zombies
  • Cut the Rope
  • Zelda Minnish Cap
  • Metroid Fusion

PC

  • Red Alert 3

This is all software I either have access to via trades with a friend or already own. None of these are second play throughs, even the really old stuff, I never had a SNES or game boy growing up. From the looks of things I should have no problem hanging onto my cash for some time. The only exceptions I may make is if I am looking for a new multiplayer game and I want to get in on the community on the ground floor. Other than that I am going to have to hope that upcoming stuff I am interested in is not impossible to find when the time comes.

PSN ID: Conniption-Fit

3DS Friend Code: 3903-7607-3337

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Sigh

Everyone seems to be getting pretty wound up about the slide pad cradle for 3DS.  Maybe I have bigger problems, but it does not bother me.  Here's what I think:

  1. Its ugly, I won't say it isn't, but I actually don't take my 3DS on the road to play (I drive to work, no time to play portable games) that much I use it on Sunday afternoons at home and before bed.  I take it out to street pass and maybe I will have time for field runners. Thus I can leave the cradle at home keep the looks elegant on the road and not give a shit at home.
  2. It makes the machine bigger in my hands.  The 3DS feels small in my hands this looks like it will make it more comfortable.
  3. Added costs - the thing will be offered as a pack in for any games that need it, don't want those games you're good.
  4. It gives the 3DS the same number of inputs as the Wii U controller, thus it will be a viable second input.  You won't be able to stream full games over to it, but because Pokemon Battle Revolution proved the DS could be used as an input for a Wii game the 3DS will be perfect for second and 3rd player.
  5. Anyone who has not bought in already can just get the inevitable all in one redesign.
  6. It is better than shoehorning dual analogue controls onto the existing hardware and adds more gameplay possibilities i.e. FPS, Monster Hunter
So some people say this shows that the 3DS is doomed, but so long as a follow up system's games are still playable on my 3DS plus the ugly add on I don't care. 
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How I feel about Free to Play

So I have a few random thoughts about the games industry right now.  I don't pretend to know what will happen, but I thought I would share my feelings as an armchair analyst.
 
First of all let us discuss the idea of Free to Play.  What is interesting about this is that that there is no one approach.  I feel better about some models than others.  For starters the big dog Zynga and their ilk.  As someone who has never played one of their games it appears from the outside that either you have very strict limitations on how much you can get done in a play session. You can remedy this one of three ways:

  1.  pay them money
  2. Take a survey sacrificing tonnes of your Personal Information which they are already mining some of for merit of you playing.
  3. Harass your friends advertising the game and if I understand the TOS giving some of your friends personal information away if they have not opted out of the platform or blocked the application.
Overall I find this model pretty gross. The games from the outside hardly seem worth the costs in cash or inconvenience of having marketers up your ass.
 
Second we have the in game purchases model. So you play Team Fortress 2 for free, but you can buy novelty hats.  League of Legends has this, with an added twist.  Your characters need to be purchased, either with points awarded for paying or with space dollars purchased with real dollars.  The free champions rotate in and out week over week.  I am a little ambivalent about this aspect of the model, because you will get accustomed to a character and then if you want to use them to remain competitive you either need to have farmed enough points to keep that champion or fork over some cash.  Otherwise you need to be comfortable loosing your competitive edge every week.  I like LOL, but I forked over for the digital collectors up front to avoid the issue.  It will be fine so long as they don't introduce new Champions which break the balance.  
 
Third is Age of Empires Online.  A game where you get only a couple of Civs up front and then you pay 20 to get the rest.  I feel like the GB crew calling that akin to shareware is pretty spot on. I have no issue with this model as it is essentially a huge demo where you get to keep your progress if you purchase.
 
Please let me know if I have missed any models and how you all feel about the Free to Play trend.  My biggest concern is how much room there is for games set up like this.  Will it be the same as the MMO where Blizzard got the audience willing to pay a monthly fee and everyone else starves?
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Keeping your message consistent

As gamers we all know the pain of main stream media confusing our hobby as "for children".  Problem is greed has lead publishers to add to that confusion.  Case in point Halo.  This is an M rated game, and whenever congressional hearings talk about kids playing murder simulators we point to the rating and say well they should not have it at all.  Parents should be reading the ratings, sure but what about Microsoft mixing its own messaging. 

Case in point  above we see the toy marked 8+ and the game rated M so essentially 17+.  The message to an uninformed parent is that the franchise is for pre-adolescents and up.  Yes they should still read the rating on the game, but why confuse the message.  Why market the game to an audience which is not supposed to play it.  The answer is simple MS actually wants the game bought by as many people as possible regardless of their age.  Maybe I sound like a jerk.  Feel free to correct me.  Intentional or not the message is mixed and leaves the door open for critics of the medium to accuse MS of marketing violence to children.
 
You say "Dude its a toy its only judged by whether or not the kid will choke", not so.  Bioshock manages to keep consistent in its message to the audience. 
 
 
 

 
 

  See the constancy?  The Rosie toy has a 17 and up sticker.  No room for assumption completely aligned with the game.  If game makers and publishers need to keep the message consent as 2K has done.  Don't give the impression that games are for kids and maybe people won't assume it as much.  At the very least we won't give ammunition to those who make that assumption.
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What if Nintendo Did Achievements

In all likelihood, they will miss the boat on this one come the Wii U, but if Nintendo were to do achievements I imagine it would look like this.
 


Its less about competition and more about sharing what kind of gamer you are with your friends.  Other pages could give statistics like your multiplayer singleplayer and online as a pie graph.
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All sizzle and no steak.

After watching E3 play out and as I continue to work through my backlog, I am growing concerned that game mechanics are taking far too much of a back seat to storytelling and whiz bang showy cut scenes.  I also believe we have been gradually moving this way since this generation started. Despite the fact that game horsepower is advancing we find that the bigger games have more linear levels, turret sequences, QTEs and overall more homogenous design.   How I feel about this is that despite an increase in horsepower resulting in more options, and empowerment they have resulted in flasher sequences where you push a button when it flashes on screen. There are exceptions to be sure, Bioshock keeps you in control, decisions impact things in Mass Effect, and the way that guards change their behaviours based on fear in Batman is cool, but I would expect that to be the norm not the exception.  

The thing that kills me the most is that I feel like the designs are overall taking a step backwards.   I feel like games of the PS2 generation did not really lean on the crutches outlined above as much as we are seeing now and that we still had amazing action packed sequences where we still had full control without needing to wait for a button prompt. Consider the following two sequences released relatively close in this generation of hardware. Spoilers ahead

  
  

  

  

While I will admit that the end boss of Uncharted looks great with the rain and sweeping camera, but ultimately the player has very little involvement with the game at this point.   The Zelda boss, running on inferior hardware, is not as visually impressive, but the player is actively controlling some badass actions.   Careening around the pillar jumping back and forth and waiting for the opportunity to strike is amazing.   I will admit I am comparing a fantasy franchise to one attempting to stay grounded in reality, but I feel like by and large bosses like the one depicted in Uncharted are more the norm.   I will admit that Zelda adheres to the rule of three, but for me that formula is still fun and a lot better than a QTE or worse, you get to a turret sequence or my personal favourite, you need to take out the helicopter, conveniently there is an RPG here, use it to take out the helicopter.  

So the PS3 undoubtedly has a great deal more horsepower than a Gamecube, more powerful than two of them duct taped together even, so why then is Uncharted’s boss battle inferior?  My assumption and concern is that with all the animation that we expect from HD systems studios are being made to devote more resources to animation and effects than game design.   If we continue our current course the strains of consumer expectations on visuals will actually hinder interactivity going forward.   Games with a greater emphasis on player agency like (from what I have seen so far) Bioshock infinite will become fewer and further between in favour of flashy games which take control away.   This is one reason I am personally not that eager to see a jump to a new wave of hardware, as I would rather see development costs lowered by familiarity with systems and game designs evolve.
 
Edit: for a better comparison on two humans fighting.
  

  

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I'm not worried about one Wii U controller per system, here's why

A lot of hubub has come about since the announcement that Nintendo does not plan to sell separate Wii U controllers.  Many, including the writers on this site belive that means that the promise of the system won't come to pass.  I expect that smart developers will have options in place to make this a non issue.  I can off the top of my head think of several easy options to provide players: 

  1. Have a two player setup where, if competing one player sits with their back to the TV.  Not possible in all household configurations.
  2. You pass the screen controller around and play on classic controllers or Wii remotes and nunchucks.  This would take away the time sensitivity in a situation like picking plays, but it would be a conciet.  For card games it would be a bummer to not be able to plan ahead, but it does allow you to hold back your hand.
  3. Households with DS systems can use download play to suplement the main screen controller.  This would not be capable of handling full game streams, but could handle Uno cards and play picking. If my DS can download an Okamiden Demo I am sure it can handle this.  At this point it even becomes a trojan horse to sell their handheld.
I would imagine placing those options in the SDK by Nintendo so that developers can offer all three in their games.  Housholds with DS systems get the best deal, but  developers don't have to count on a DS being in the room to implement a variation of the multi-screen play style.  I have also read that it can support multiple controllers if even if they don't plan to sell them seperately . Again the key for them is to offer options, if your pal brings thier pad over, let them sync it up, if they have a DS or 3DS let them use that, again even Nintendo is thinking along these lines  . 
 
I realy think they want to empower us with what they want, but are scared of what they ran into with GBA connectivity and the costs associated with that, but if we have enough options through, hot swap, 3DS and another owner's pad we should be safe.  
 
I personally think they are most scared of hater math
 
Before anyone who reads this blog challenges me, I openly love Nintendo stuff, recognize the warts, but am nontheless a fan.
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I still do LAN parties, smaller ones though

I am curious to know if I am unique, even with robust online environments my friends and I still tend to get together for multiplayer.  We like to make a day of it get a day off form our wives bring the monitors and PS3s together and play through a co-op campaign.  We will fart around with competitive multiplayer online, but we tend not to do anything requiring serious coordination across a headset.  Does anyone else go to this extent?  Maybe this could be another win for Vita or Wii U as not having to lug the monitor around and still play the full fledged game (in the Wii U case I would still need to bring the console). 

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