Mass Effect 3 Ending Thought (100% Spoiler Free)

I just had a spare thought today rewatching all the endings and the super duper secret ending with over 5,000 assets:

If you're not smart enough to understand the genius of the ending in Mass Effect 3, that's fine, but don't let that lead you to demand something from Bioware that you don't need/deserve. Bioware is a team of people from (probably) a lot of differing opinions and backgrounds and there was probably a ton of discussion that went into the decisions at the end of Mass Effect 3. But just because you don't like it, or don't get it: don't bother me with your inability to understand it and clog up Bioware's time with some petition.

Not everyone needs a happy ending in life.

The ending of Mass Effect 3 is about warfare, futility in the face of an unstoppable adversary, and having no good choices in war. Not about some pre-conceived notion of victory. The point Bioware makes is the same that Linkin Park made 10 years ago in their debut album: "In the end, it doesn't matter".

All responses are welcome, but this is my opinion on the subject.

NOTE: WE DO START DISCUSSING THE ENDING BELOW, SO BELOW THIS POINT IS NOT 100% SPOILER FREE, BUT A SPOILER-FREE TYPE PRODUCT SUBSTITUTE.

Edit// I am super grateful for all the responses, I don't think I ever intended for the language in this post to sound so offensive. I didn't do a great job making my point. I do stand by my original post to say that petitions for this are dumb, but the GB community has provided some insight that I hadn't encountered before. I'm really interested to see of Bioware will hold their ground or not in the coming months.

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Caging an elephant during a rocket riot in a borderland...

 So as many of you know, I do not post to this blog unless I really have something to say. The last time I chimed in was for a look at OnLive's actual practicality as a gaming platform. And while OnLive still hasn't hit mass market yet, I had a few really interesting days of gaming and music that I thought was definitely worth sharing with the general Giant Bomb community. 
 

Xbox 360 USB Support

 Xbox's New Transfer Interface
 Now granted, support for USB devices in Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been out for a little while now, I never saw a need to use it until recently. That said, I wanted to share a few words on how useful it actually was for me. The reason I needed to use it was because I was going to a friend's house who did not own a ton of XBLA titles and we needed to kill a few hours before heading out to the concert we were going to see that evening (see Kissfest section). I really wanted to bring over almost all of my multiplayer XBLA games but that would've required about a billion 512MB MU's that Microsoft was selling for crazy prices. Luckily, I had a 4GB Kingston USB drive that never gets used anymore, so I loaded the entire thing up for Xbox use and used the new transfer tool in the dashboard to get my content over to the USB stick. I really love that you can select what to transfer and what profiles to transfer with just the press of a few buttons. If you haven't seen the screenshot for it, I've pictured it to the left of this column. It's really useful. Upon return to my home, I just put the USB drive back in and selected to transfer everything back and within a few moments it was all back the way I left it. VERY awesome.


Rocket Riot

I purchased Rocket Riot w/ Lumines during the spring cleaning sale Microsoft had where it was basically a 2-4-1 deal and I couldn't pass it up because of it's faux-retro look and crazy gameplay. However, this game quickly soured on me during the singleplayer because basically, it's the same thing over and over again for 80 levels with no change as to the gameplay at all with only slight variations in the later levels. It's not a good thing, however, it proved to be fairly fun with a friend. There are 50 really difficult co-op levels but here's the kicker: it doesn't save your progress…whoops! So should you have a friend and want to get to level 50…you need to have 3-5 hours on your hands in one sitting to do so…needless to say by level 32 we wanted to call it quits and go grab a pizza at the local Papa Johns only to come back and find out that none of our progress had been saved. Lovely.


San Antonio's 99.5 KISSFEST

Was a blast, sold-out show featuring Free Reign, Cage the Elephant, Flyleaf, 5-Finger Death Punch, and Three Days Grace. Some amazing performances by all, especially Three Days' drummer who DJ'd his own drum solo… total respect for that guy. However, many of you may not now that Borderlands' opening song "No Rest for the Wicked" is performed by Cage the Elephant, who were just amazing on stage. As someone who played Borderlands always humming that damn song it was nice to finally see them onstage. I highly recommend anyone to go see them while they aren't huge ;)


That's all for now folks ;)    
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Quests and SXSW 2010

It's 4am and I'm still addicted to these damn quests. It's been over a year since I wrote my last piece about OnLive and I'm really looking forward to first impressions of that service as well as Natal for 360 later this year. However, since it's so late, I would like to share these pictures from Microsoft's Xbox Live party at South by Southwest. Enjoy.
 

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Thoughts about OnLive from a former ISP tech.

Hello again Giant Bomb community,

I thought the first day back on the site after my hiatus should be my thoughts about GDC and the biggest thing to happen at GDC: OnLive.

OnLive Controller
OnLive to me is going to be a godsend for playing PC games on my Macintosh that I normally would have to play on the console (Unreal Tournament is a great example) that don't necessarily play well at all on the consoles if it works. However, this is a pretty big "IF" since all the reports I've read indicate that it doesn't work nearly as well as you would hope it does. For instance during the Giant Bomb video over at OnLive, you can clearly see Jeff attempting to play Burnout and the framerate is ATROCIOUS. Not to say that this is indicative of the end product. Everyone should remember this is a WORK IN PROGRESS and the final product will speak for itself. When I was doing focus group testing at Retro Studios for Metroid Prime 3, there were some pretty big bugs even weeks before ship-date that the coders hadn't coded into the latest build yet. These things will improve, so all the haters out there need to keep that in mind.

Can you imagine how amazing this service will be if it works as advertised? Now, please don't mistake my extreme optimism for ignorance or naivety but the repercussions for the game industry, as a whole would be astounding if this service works even 50% as well as they advertise. Can you imagine not having to download demos or videos on Xbox Live? Imagine having massive server farms render videos for you! This technology could change a lot of other technologies and industries in a massive way...IF it works. My prediction is that a big entity such as Microsoft will purchase this company. Actually, I'm more convinced that Amazon.com will be the people to purchase OnLive if it works like they say it will. It makes sense in Amazon's new direction with subscription services and would expand their digital services beyond things like MP3 and Kindle Books.


Service Diagram

There are a few very basic reasons why I think OnLive will work. The number 1 reason why I think this company will succeed or at least have some very good traction right away is that MAJOR publishers are supporting OnLive right this moment (at time of article). EA and Ubisoft are just two names on a very impressive list of publishers and developers that support the service. Reasons why systems like Phantom and GameTap failed miserably was due to lack of support from game publishers to get titles on their platforms that people ACTUALLY CARED ABOUT (sad face). The next reason is that the man behind OnLive, Steve Perlman was responsible for pioneering two very important internet video/rendering services; one of which the world still uses a lot of: QuickTime. If you look on Wikipedia he is not only a successful man in the industry of online video but has spent 7 years developing new technologies just for this service. That type of commitment shows that his executive team is very serious about this service and it is not merely a rich man's experiment.

List of Support
The last leg of my argument for OnLive is also one of the only things that will ultimately break it: Internet Service Providers. I think this is the first time I've been able to talk about this due to contractual obligations, but I used to work at a service-firm (who shall remain nameless) for 6 MAJOR internet service providers including Frontier, Charter, Time Warner, Consolidated, CenturyTel and a host of smaller ISPs. They absolutely have the throughput and technology to ensure that we can get connections from these OnLive server-farms to your house in very low-latency ways. I've been to the data-centers and I've seen the fiber being laid to more and more places personally, so I know for a fact the service is there to make this possible. DISCLAIMER: Time Warner still provides my internet access. I think the most major issue with OnLive is that the internet service providers are reluctant to allow users to tap more of their network and pull even more data in order to keep their profit margins incredibly high. In fact, the amount of pure greed I saw at the ISP level is second probably only to cellular providers in terms of doing anything to maintain that 500% profit margin. That's why we see things like usage caps and throttling on networks. ISPs certainly have the resources to permit things like file sharing and it's an absolute crock to think that they do not. I live in a town with less than 5,000 people at last census (2004) and we're capped just the same as the people who live in Austin, Texas - for no reason at all besides keeping profits high.

I hope this column has added something thought-provoking to discussions of OnLive that I'm sure are occurring now; this service has a very real potential to permanently change the way we play and rent video games - and I for one, hope it actually works as advertised.

by Jacob Casper
UnlivedPhalanx on the internet

Jacob Casper has written for a slew of technology-based websites and newspapers in San Marcos and Wimberley, Texas and is currently studying for a degree in journalism for these markets. Contact Jacob online at: JacobCasper@gmail.com
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Support Smaller Developers

I've been really enjoying this title called "Switchball" in the days following my surgery and now between classes in college. I would highly checking out this gorgeous $10 title. I've been getting a lot of value out of it and it's probably one of the best looking arcade titles I've ever played. The focus is more puzzle and less action. You have to switch the ball into different forms to accomplish different things to get to the goal. Probably my new favorite marble game.

Switch that ball!


CLICK HERE to download Switchball's demo on Xbox 360
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A Slew of Impressions!

Man it has been a crazy month, I haven't updated since the election due to a busy touring schedule with Phased Orange and family matters... not to mention finals creeping closer than you'd like! Unfortunately my surgery is coming soon which means I am going to be playing HELLA games over the next few weeks, this is due to a no-stress order by Mr. Cardiologist which also means I am not going to be on tour with Phased Orange until after Christmas (hella bummer man!).

I have started many titles though between sessions with the band, and I'd like to share some initial thoughts on them and wrap up a few games:

Not as exciting as it looks...
Final Thoughts: Turok

Dinosaurs were never so boring... wait no they were actually.


Besides stating the obvious, Turok for me was a HUGE letdown even for a bargain bin title. The biggest problem with Turok is that it felt like a corridor shooter, but out in a huge field. It's really hard to articulate exactly how bad of a taste it left in my mouth. You try to take Turok seriously when he says anything, but you take one look at the dude's hair and it loses a lot of "cred" yo. Not to mention that I played nearly the entire game by using the knife and it was a one-hit kill for dinos, soliders, and pretty much everything. I can safely say that you can pass up this game no matter what price it is and feel pretty good about it. The bland narrative didn't help either.

Woosh! What were we doing?
Early Impressions: Nights: Journey of Dreams

Um....dude what?


So Nights was a game that I was REALLY looking forward to. I used to play the original game at my friend's house when I was much younger during sleepovers and whatnot. I am truly at a loss for words to describe how BAD this game is... really. The flying joker or whatever the hell he/she/it is calls itself Nights. The problem with this is that Nights looks pretty masculine save for the eyes with a distinct lack of breasts or feminine features... however the character is voiced by a girl or a REALLY prepubescent english boy - it's hard to tell. Either way Nights brings little children to the dream world to "dualize" with them (or become one with them). As if that didn't creep you out enough the whole game looks like it was ported from the Dreamcast and the controls are so broken that my cat might be better than me for all I would know.

Not the Banjo we remember!
33 Jiggie Impressions: Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

Shiny as ever... and as weird.


So it's pretty good. No really. I entered into this game with zero expectations that Banjo could be properly revived and I was immediately blown away by how true of a remake some aspects of Nuts and Bolts was. The title sequence for instance, has the exact same theme (redone of course) and the exact same layout around Spiral Mountain. What impressed me most was the art style, which was the same kind of bright primary colors you found in the original Banjo title (I didn't play Tooie). The next thing I noticed, was that even though I HATE HATE HATE doing this in games... is that I WANTED to spend a lot of time in vechicle creator and customize my ride for challenges. I found it not only rewarding, but lots of fun. The ONLY thing I wish, is that the revival of the franchise onto the Xbox sparks a truer sequel with platforming as the focus. That said, I haven't finished the title so I am not sure what the state of the ending leaves to be desired.


Next blog: Fallout 3, Dead Space and Gears of War 2


Happy Trails!
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Yes We Can!

Our President-Elect
Roy S. Khan said it best:

This is a moment of belief
This is a moment made of dreams
You found me here today,
On the coldest winter night.
This moment is our right.

God Bless the United States.
5 Comments

First Impressions: Turok

Turok Screenshot
I saw this game for $19.99 at a bargain bin at my local Best Buy here in San Antonio and I had wanted to try this game out for a while, but not for full price. After playing for about 2 hours, I have some initial impressions about exactly how this game is gonna turn out:

+Plus+
+The game starts off almost exactly like Halo's first level after the initial cut scene. I don't know how to describe it, but it just felt exactly like that opening level where you as Masta Cheef rush to get to the bridge, it was kind of like that but in reverse because you were trying to get out of the ship.
+ Fighting Dinosours is really awesome at first, but then becomes a huge chore.
+ You run faster with a knife.
+ Unreal Engine makes things purdy.

--Minus--
-Knife beats EVERYTHING! One hit kills for everything that I've seen so far in the game.
-Bow is NOT a stealth weapon.
-AI is useless for friendlies.
-Frustrating checkpoint system makes mistakes a big deal.
-You learn all of the above the hard way
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