Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

LFL15- More Human Than She Thought

Boom, higher function thinking already. If those petty human drinks won't get her buzzed, then a pinch or jug of medicine will do the trick. Or maybe just whack her out so much that she thinks it did the trick before the nurses have to come in and pump her stomach. As long as she blacks out before the end it will be good times.

This week's TWC voting incentive is another batch of Sins Facts! Guaranteed to start up a conversation at any party! Not guaranteed to start up conversations that don't exists mainly of “Leave me alone”!

DDG updated over the weekend at well! That just draws blank stares at parties.

Long, Only four urinals! Review: Mass Effect 2- Mass Effect's biggest downfall is its fan base. The games are talked about like they're the greatest gift ever bestowed on humanity and while that's always a good sign to temper the hell out of your expectations, it's still oversold by even the Internet's standards. It's your standard fantasy RPG but set in space, that's all. Just swap "magic" for "biotics" and then it follows your typical Lords of the Rings scenario. A bunch of races that dislike each other band together to fight a larger big bad guy. All the races have their silly names and the game is overjoyed to shove lore down your throat at the drop of a hat, and if that's your thing, I can see why you like it. For people not into that, it's a kind of cheesy space RPG with mediocre gun fights and Force powers. Something that always annoys me with these fantasy/space kind of games is that with all the other races and the abilities they have, it's always humans that are considered special. Media always treats humans as if there's just something inherently awesome about them so they can do anything and everybody wants to be with them. It's even worse here because the game beats you over the head with the "humans are special" garbage from the very start but your human crew members are the least likable of the bunch. The game starts with your character dying to save Seth Green! Power of the human spirit, my ass.
The gameplay is weighted far too heavily on the shooter side for my tastes, with the game sending mobs of enemies at you when just a few would have been all that was needed. It just gets boring. Run down some corridors, enter a big room, enemies pour out, seek cover, kill everybody, and repeat. You don't get to explore or investigate. You run from place to place talking to NPCs or shooting them in the face. Playing the game as a magic user is especially dull. You're dependent on the powers' homing abilities but they're terrible at it. Simple straight shots will veer into the ground or not arc around fairly open obstructions. Even after pumping all of my skill points into increasing my powers and lowering the cool down time, you still spend most of your time waiting behind cover for your skills to work again so you just wind up using the guns anyway.
The non-combat sections are built mainly on conversations and endless dialogue trees, but as previously mentioned, most of the characters aren't likable and I didn't care about their backstories. The “moral choices” you have to make are usually pretty corny. The good side is ridiculously boy scoutish and the bad side requires mustache twirling. The camera is constantly zoomed in with close-ups of the plastic-y characters that aren't sure where to look in conversations. There's a very frequent bug where characters' eyes will drift off and point in odd directions during conversations. It makes even the hammiest attempts at drama hilarious. I also ran into frequent sound synching issues where the audio would lag by around two seconds from time to time. Nothing says fun like watching a character drop the ground, die, and then you hear the gunshot. Or laser pew. Not sure what the technical term for sci-fi magic guns firing is.
I gave it a few hours but wasn't having fun, so I called it quits. Aimlessly wandering around, busy work, and long boring conversations with NPCs are some of the main reasons I don't like RPGs any more and Mass Effect has all of that in spades. You're supposed to be this war hero super captain of your own ship but the game has you doing all these piddling time wasters. You have a whole crew that does nothing but sit around the mess hall all game so why can't I assign them to pick up supplies, mine for resources, or tackle the simple missions? I shouldn't have to wander around talking to strangers to get to my next mission. I do have to commend them on the (non-human) character designs. The aliens are pretty spiff to look at and there's a fairly decent amount of variety above and beyond the Star Trek “slap a weird forehead” on it look.
One minor thing that really bugged me for some reason is that the women's bathroom is built identically to the men's room. There are just two door-less urinals in the ladies' room. Granted, I haven't been in a women's restroom lately or in the space age, but I don't think open urinals are a common feature. And seriously? There are a grand total of four urinals for an entire spaceship crew?
Sins Committed: Repetitive combat, Reams of NPC dialogue, Unlikable characters, Pro-human propaganda
Virtues Acted: Good character designs, Martin Sheen needs to do more voice acting