Archive for the ‘Mass Effect’ Category

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Played Lately: Week At A Glance

June 29, 2012

Well, this has certainly been a busy week for gaming, I’m sure my Raptr feed has not seen action like this in months. Here’s what has been occupying my time:

The Secret War

I’d originally planned on going into this “blind” but I caved during last week’s beta 4 weekend. My husband and I played a couple hours just to get a feel for it, and in the words of Mr. GC, “‘Ignite gas cans and draw zombies into the fire?’ God, I love this game!”

Zombie killling-wise, I’d say my sentiments echo his, but I do have my misgivings about the clunky feel of combat. Still, it’s something I can see myself easily getting used to. More importantly, I feel it’s a small price to pay to experience this unique game with its mystery-driven story and incredibly atmospheric setting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where Funcom has focused most of its efforts. I’ve seen people describe themselves as getting “lost” in TSW, and I have to agree with that feeling wholeheartedly. I look forward to playing in the early access this weekend — Templar on Arcadia.

TERA Online

I’ve been dabbling in this MMO ever since I bought it for half-price earlier this month. I have to say combat in this game is drastically different from all other MMOs and is very engaging. Graphically, it’s also a feast for the eyes.

Still, I’m not feeling the motivation to play it much. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m not making the connection because I don’t think the reason has much to do with the gameplay, which I actually find quite enjoyable. It galls me to admit that it might be due to the art style. Maybe I’m just being shallow, but you’d be surprised how much something that could have an impact on my experience. I’ll probably go into it a bit more in a separate post at a later date, but for now I plan on getting the most out of my free month and we’ll see where I’ll go from there.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

This is still my MMO of choice, and will probably remain so for a while even when newer games this year will come out and vie for my attention. Patch 1.3 was released earlier this week on Tuesday, and I had been looking forward to checking out the updates it offers.

I haven’t really had a chance, though. For the last few weeks, I’ve been playing on the Imperial side almost exclusively, concentrating on leveling up that Bounty Hunter I’ve always wanted, the class I’d dreamed about ever since the game was announced. Coupled with my husband’s Sith Warrior, we’re steadily making progress towards level 50 and I hope we can keep up the pace, as level-capping her is currently one of my MMO goals. Right now we find ourselves on Hoth, on the cusp of wrapping up Chapter 2.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

I swear, I’ve had this game and AC: Revelations sitting on the to-play pile still in their original wrapping since…damn, I think November of last year. In fact, I think I picked them both up during a Black Friday deal, telling myself that I’d better get it now at a good price since I had definite plans to play both at some point anyway. Famous last words. Incidentally, that’s also how I ended up with my unmanageable Steam to-play pile.

Okay, so it was probably a terrible, terrible idea to start this game Monday on the eve of the Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC and Mass Effect 3 extended cut releases, but I had a feeling deep down that if I didn’t open that box like right now it was never going to happen otherwise. And so, I spent the day playing Ezio and getting used to climbing walls and shoving around civilians again. I also discovered something about myself: I am way too impatient and bloodthirsty to make a good, stealthy assassin.

Mass Effect 3

No spoilers. I downloaded the extended cut for the ending first thing Tuesday and fired up my last save point that afternoon in order to see the changes. However, this time around I decided to choose a different ending, opting for red instead of green. Then, I watched the other endings on YouTube.

As you may know, I’d just finished the game earlier last week, with the original ending. I had a friend tell me that I should have waited for the extended cut to arrive before I did, but after seeing the new ending I’m glad I didn’t. Having played the original version so recently made me appreciate the new one all the more. It really emphasized for me my problem with the old one in the first place — not the actual events of the ending itself, but instead just how lazily the entire sequence was executed.

The new ending fleshed out the story, explaining some of the ramifications and the fates of my squadmates and friends. More importantly, it had feeling — which was what I felt was lacking in the original. I was almost brought to tears in the final moments, and that’s when it hit me: the storytelling is what I like most about these games, and the emotions they evoke. It’s not the what but the how, as in this was how the story should have been told, in the BioWare way that I know and love.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard

No spoilers. This week, I made my return to Tamriel in order to play the new DLC (I own the game for the Xbox 360). Thanks to the new content, I get to be a vampire lord! Er, a very nasty and ugly vampire lord, as in no one will be swooning over me anytime soon. Disappointed to say that playing as a vampire lord is a bit of a pain though, and I’ll probably only do as much as it takes to get my vampire perks, then go back to fighting and adventuring in my Nightingale gear.

I also get to ride a new flaming undead horse, which to me was a very timely addition, seeing as how one time these bandits shot and killed my last horse almost the instant I quick traveled and loaded into the zone. I wasn’t even on it! I’m not kidding, that actually kinda pissed me off, damn cowards that would shoot an opponent’s horse…

Uh, back on topic, so far I’m liking Dawnguard. Still, I’m not sure if it will be worth the money for some. As most expansions like these go, there seems to be one main quest line driving the entire thing, spruced up with some goodies like new weapons and locations, etc. on the side, but not much else. It also makes the gameplay feel more linear than I’m used to getting from Skyrim. You do, however, get to go deeper into the lore of the game, which is one of the strongest aspects of the Elder Scrolls series and incidentally something I happen to really enjoy.

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Mass Effect 3 Ending: I Hate It And I Don’t Hate It

June 20, 2012

Three and a half months later, I am finally finished with Mass Effect 3. I know I’m late to the party, but I wrote this post anyway because I was immediately asked left and right about my thoughts on the ending. Obviously, the rest of this entry will contain spoilers, so if you still wish to avoid them, feel free move along; I’ll understand. I myself have been dodging spoilers like a madwoman dodging missiles in a Michael Mann movie since March.

So here goes. After all that I’ve heard, I braced myself for the ending. From the hubbub, you’d have thought BioWare committed the worst travesty of travesties when it comes to the final moments of the game.

Now why do I feel like I’ve been punk’d by the entire internet? As the final scene after the credits played, I found myself staring at the screen and thinking…what the hell, it wasn’t that bad.

I sought to do some post-game research and discovered that those who dislike the ending mostly fall into one of two categories. There are those who hate it because it’s weak in providing different endings (read: there is essentially only one ending.) Okay, point. In this, I am in complete agreement. Especially after seeing that video, changing the colors in the cutscenes to make things feel more different is like rubbing salt in the wound and reeks of laziness.

However, with regards to the second camp, or those who are upset with the game because they wanted a “brighter” ending? What? Why? The hell with that, I say. A not-so-happy ending does not a sucky ending make. Some of the best stories ever told have “crappy” endings. The Fox and the Hound. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Romeo and Juliet. Pretty much almost everything written by Thomas Hardy.

Somewhere in the middle of playing the second game, I think that’s when I realized the Mass Effect series is one of those stories. In fact, I made up my mind right then and there in January of 2010, that this is the only way things could possibly end. The best case scenario could only be bittersweet.

Maybe deep in my heart I’ve always known it, expected it. It’s not just because of the “hero always dies” trope. It’s just that after three installments, I knew that Mass Effect has become so huge that to demand the “perfect” ending is an act of futility (or a programming impossibility). In such cases, perhaps deeply unsatisfactory and confusing story conclusions which lead to speculation, rage, etc. are an inevitability, and if I’m to ask my inner cynic, possibly even intentional. Because hey, they got us all talking about it, didn’t they?! If their goal was a memorable send-off, well then bravo, they’ve done it.

(And while I’m still in Cynical Mode, might I add that I feel Indoctrination Theory is grasping at straws (albeit some very dedicated grasping) and giving BioWare way too much damn credit? The irony is, I’m not entirely sure BioWare didn’t get exactly the result they wanted by having people formulate and discuss IT, under the guise of “Uh, yeah, we’re simply letting the players think and interpret things on their own! That’s it!” Of course, that does lead me to wonder if those who cling to the theory are in a way the indoctrinated themselves, desperately looking for the order from chaos (!) they are missing from the ending. But hey, now I’m just getting all meta.)

So ultimately all the choices I made over the course of all three games didn’t really have a smidgen of impact on the final ending, but I can’t really say it broke my heart. Let’s keep things in perspective; the ME series was never open-world, open-ended, open-anything. There really wasn’t ever that much choice to begin with, even going back to the first game (making Sophie’s choice with Ashley or Kaidan, anyone?) Always, I just made my FemShep do what I felt was best, and I am content with the result — even if that turned out, in the bigger scope of things, to be the only result.

Despite that, I’ve been allowed to make dozens of decisions that changed my journey in myriad ways. The game’s appeal has always boiled down to forcing you to choose between a rock and  hard place and then living with the consequences; for me that means no going back to an earlier save or “do-overs”. I’ve celebrated my smart choices, and likewise suffered intense regret from the not-so-smart ones. But all those choices, both good and bad, were mine, dammit. I lived with them, carried them with me.

In the end, it’s BioWare’s prerogative to write whatever ending they want, but for me it’s the entire experience that matters. I don’t think that would have changed, even if they’d decided to throw dog’s vomit into the last few minutes of the finale.

Still, while I’m not dancing with joy over the ending to ME3, I’ve nevertheless embraced it. And that’s not necessarily to say I didn’t like it, because I think I do, in fact, like it. What can I say, I have a soft spot for downer endings. Perhaps, speaking of Romeo and Juliet, the best way to explain my thoughts on this matter is with the following clip. Out of the entire last act the game, do you know which scene broke me down the most?

It’s this one (since I romanced the crap out of Garrus, obviously):

“Forgive the insubordination, but your boyfriend has an order for you…come back alive.” And of course, that was the one objective the game had to go and make me fail oh so spectacularly. Now I’m in that bar in the sky drinking by myself and Garrus is…well, wherever he is, we’ll still dream of turian-human babies together.

By now, you’re all probably sick and tired of the number of times I’ve extolled the joys of BioWare romances. But I do really enjoy them. I’m a romantic, but my favorite fictional stories always tend to be the ones featuring star-crossed lovers that end in tragedy. I’ll be the first to admit I may be screwed up, but to me it isn’t a great love story unless my heart feels like it was stabbed through with a dagger and torn out of my chest by the end of it. Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I did like Titanic. And Nicholas Sparks also has me eating out of his hand, so sue me.

Sigh. It always comes down to love and romance for me. Out of everything that happened in the ending, that scene with Garrus is probably what I’m most torn up about. Even though it has so little to do directly with the final moments, looking back at it after I’ve completed the game still leaves me feeling gutted. Like completely gutted. Lying on a fishmonger’s block, G-U-T-T-E-D. Yeah, I kinda hate it. But then again, that’s also why I like it. Which just about sums up my views of the ME3 ending.

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Developer Appreciation Week (DAW): Saying My Thanks!

March 21, 2011

Last year, Scarybooster came up with a concept — one that I would love to see become a tradition — called Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) where for one week, gamers put aside all their criticism, gripes, and general negativity to show our devs some love.

I thought this was a wonderful idea. I mean, we all play the games we do for a reason, right? We play them because we like them, and because we find things we enjoy about them, and because they are fun. But too often when I look around the blogosphere, these reasons are overshadowed by even the smallest grievances and complaints. So how great would it be that for one week, we get to bury all that for a change, and just focus on the good things? To lavish praise where it is due? To be given leave to be as big a fanboy/fangirl as you please?

Last year I participated in DAW with a post that thanked entire teams and companies for making the MMOs I have enjoyed over the last twelve months, and I think I will continue with that format today. It’s too difficult for me to even pick one creative team to focus on, let alone an individual person! As Scary himself says, it is such a hard process to find a specific developer to praise because each of them deserves it. It takes a team to make a game, and they’ve all done such great work in my eyes.

To Funcom and the Age of Conan team – Thank you. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into improving AoC and for the Rise of the Godslayer expansion released last year. You brought to life the breathtaking world of Khitai and gave me the chance — even if it was only for a brief time — to experience the meaning of true beauty in an MMO. To this day, the time I spent in AoC remains one of my most immersive experiences. To Funcom, keep up the good work and I look forward to The Secret World.

To Cryptic and the Champions Online and Star Trek Online teams - Thank you. Thank you for being the company that works its butt off. Cryptic will always have a special place in my heart, for all the great memories their MMOs have given me and continues to give me every day. In making Champions free-to-play, I was able to jump right back into a game I never truly really wanted to leave in the first place (technical difficulties) and I never realized how much more fun it was in that game to play with other people. F2P makes that easy — I look forward to fighting villains with my friends Blue Kae, Talyn, Oakstout and others again soon.

To Daniel Stahl and the hardworking men and women developing STO, the good things I want to say can probably fill a book. I was so happy to be part of their one-year anniversary in-game celebrations. The game has had its ups and downs, that is true…but I have seen much passion and effort in the past year reflected in the updates and Q&As, and you listen to your fans, which I respect immensely. I still feel this game is one of the more underrated ones on the market; issues with ground combat and complaints about the awkwardness of ship maneuvering abound, but rarely have I seen real praise for what I truly believe is a unique and innovative crew system. And no appreciation post would be complete without a nod to their Feature Episodes — I am eagerly awaiting the next arc, as my weekends feel a little more empty now without them.

To ArenaNet and the Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 teams - Thank you. Thank you for daring to be different, and for giving gamers the gift of more choice — from offering us subscription-free business models to other innovative approaches in online gaming. I was glad for my opportunity to delve into Guild Wars this last year, and I am eagerly awaiting to see what Guild Wars 2 will bring. It is hard not to get excited, when each piece of news or information that comes out is filled to the brim with creativity and interesting ideas.

To Turbine and the Lord of the Rings Online team – Thank you. Thank you for giving me a home in Middle Earth and for the months of joy LOTRO has given me this past year. I’ve always thought of the game as my “MMO spa”, a place to which I can escape for a relaxing game session — and going free-to-play did not change that. My compliments to the developers, who have worked so hard in ensuring that when I log into LOTRO, I feel as if I’m entering a different world. They’ve done so much in creating an immersive experience and fostering a fantastic community, I can’t help but repeat a thought I had last year — that if J.R.R. Tolkien was alive to play the game today, I think he would be damn proud.

To Blizzard and the World of Warcraft team – Thank you. Thank you for still being willing to take risks even after more than six years of success. Despite what others may say, I did think Cataclysm was a gutsy move. I know I’ve complained enough times about my disdain for WoW endgame, but have rarely ever talked what I did like about the expansion — questing and leveling. Yes, I know I say that about practically every MMO I play, but the new quests in Cataclysm were really something. Even if it was only five levels, I personally enjoyed them for what they were. Questing my way through each zone was like working my way through a storybook, and for the first time in years, I actually felt interested and excited about what WoW quest text had to say again.

To BioWare and BioWare Austin – Thank you. Thank you for advocating a bigger focus on lore and character, for pushing the boundaries of video game writing, and for putting story first. Thank you for making groundbreaking RPGs in recent years like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and delighting me with choices, consequences, and interactions with the game environment and NPCs in ways I’ve never imagined. Thank you for the desire to bring those elements to MMOs. To the Star Wars: The Old Republic team, I appreciate all the weekly updates on the game, even the Fan Fridays and the tiniest lore reveals. Not too many companies do that for their fans.

To Trion and the Rift team - Thank you. Thank you for releasing a complete and polished MMO. And the more I play Rift, the more I find to like about it — from rifting to artifact collecting, from the soul system to running dungeons with my guild. I’ve seen for months people saying Rift is a fun game, but that Trion hasn’t really made any huge breakthroughs or done anything that new — but I tend to disagree. For one, the devs have bent over backwards in some cases to listen to their players. Yet they’ve also stuck to their goals, to bring about their vision for the game. And finally, they made full use of the beta process and managed to pull off an incredibly smooth launch. I feel Trion has in fact managed to do something very few MMO companies have done before. I know it’s a different argument, but it counts for something.

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Have Game Tie-In Novels Gotten Better?

January 25, 2011

I’ve been reading a lot recently. I take my Kindle everywhere — I read during lunch, I read before bed, and thanks to handy mobile apps I’m also reading on-the-go while walking the dog or waiting in line at the grocery store. I even read when I’m playing games at my PC during loading screens. This has led to a flurry of activity on my Goodreads page, so I’ve been talking books with my friends a little more than usual as of late.

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of reading Mass Effect: Revelation, and expressed my thoughts of it in an overall positive review. I was a little surprised at how much I liked it; after all, the book had been on my to-read list for many months and I’d been putting it off in favor of other stuff I wanted to read more. Revelation is a pretty short novel, and I was planning on saving it for when I needed a light and casual read. When it turned out being better than I thought, a discussion with Blue Kae resulted, and we both agreed that for some reason game tie-in novels seem to have gotten a lot better in the last couple of years.

That isn’t to say that I think all video game novels have become literary masterpieces overnight, because certainly things have still been pretty much hit or miss for me. Still, I too get the sense that the bar has been raised. I think part of it has to do with better authors penning these types of novels, but I also wonder if the nature of games coming out nowadays makes a difference. In the last few years, we’ve seen games — single-player and MMOs alike — put a lot more emphasis and importance on lore and storytelling, perhaps making the novels based on them simply that much more interesting and enjoyable to read?

I’ve been pondering this, especially since Revelation is such a good example. Not only are the Mass Effect games powerfully story-driven, in my opinion the awesomeness of their gameplay is only rivaled by the incredible feat of world building the Bioware team has managed to pull off. It probably helped that the author Drew Karpyshyn is the writer for the game too, and a great storyteller (his Star Wars: Darth Bane books can attest to that as well).

Still, even the best writing wouldn’t matter if you can’t make someone care enough to pick up the book. What amazes me is that so many people are drawn to Revelation and the other Mass Effect novels in the first place, and find that they enjoy them…even though Revelation makes no mention of Shepard — the ultimate badass who is THE face of Mass Effect — or even any of his companions from either game. Some games are so immersive now that lorehounds are finding just as much enjoyment out of a prequel or a background story about a secondary character. Revelation, for example, tells the story of Anderson and how he almost became a Spectre. If you ever wondered about that from the first Mass Effect game (I know I did), this book has all the details.

On the whole, I think game tie-in novels are getting better and better, but I still don’t know if I’d approach them the same way I would with other fiction, and admittedly there’s probably always going to be a part of me that will remind myself “I’m reading a book based on a video game.” Despite that, it’s uplifting to see the good reviews some of these novels have gotten, and how more books based on video games seem to be able to stand on their own as general sci-fi or fantasy, that even non-gamers can enjoy.

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My Top 5 Gaming Highlights of 2010

January 3, 2011

A good Monday and a Happy New Year to all! I hope 2010 was a good year for everyone, because I know it was for me. For my first post of 2011, may I present the top five things that gave me much joy in the last year:

5. Mass Effect 2

For me, single-player console games can generally be placed in one of two categories: 1) games that I love and that I’ll sit down and play the crap out of until I finish, and 2)  games that don’t really impress me, but I’ll still feel obligated to plug away at until I’m done, usually over a long drawn-out period of time. Mass Effect 2 was a new experience for me because it didn’t really fit in either category. I positively adored the game, but still it took me almost a month to complete — and what a great three-and-a-half weeks that was. This Bioware masterpiece was like good food; I wanted to take the time to savor the flavor, so to speak. Slow, measured bites are where it’s at.

Oh, and I also got to sex up Garrus. That was all kinds of awesome too.

4. Goodreads

So this isn’t directly related to gaming, but most of my friends on there are gamers, and gamers have great taste in books! It’s certainly made an impact on me this year because I’m pretty sure I’ve read more in 2010 than I have in any other year of my life, and Goodreads had a lot to do with it. I didn’t make my account until October, but it has since invigorated my passion for reading by connecting me to my friends’ reviews and recommendations. Thanks to their opinions and suggestions, I was able to enjoy many exceptional titles in the last couple of months.

3. The Terrific Tauren Two

2010 was a big year for World of Warcraft with the release of Cataclysm in December, though I hesitate to put the expansion on my top five. Don’t get me wrong — I was excited along with millions of others, and I had a blast experiencing the new content and getting my Night Elf druid to level 85. Still, currently I can feel my interest in endgame waning already. Not that I had much of an interest to begin with; I fear I lost the taste for raiding and item progression shortly before taking my extended leave of absence from WoW back in early 2009. I guess you can say I live for the journey, not the destination, and as a matter of fact, the most enjoyable aspect of WoW for me has always been the leveling.

I returned to WoW some time in May of last year. With the knowledge that Cataclysm will change the face of Azeroth, I wanted to do something I had never done before — roll a Horde character and experience levels 1 to 60 before the old world content goes away forever. It was a wonderful adventure, made even better by my husband who joined me on my journey. WoW is really the only MMO we have in common these days, so I do get the feeling he missed doing things together during my break from the game. A pity I don’t share his enthusiasm for the endless gear grind, which compels me to find a new leveling project for us.

Eh, what’s this? New Worgens? How convenient! Unfortunately, “The Terrific Worgen Two” doesn’t really have the same ring, so clearly another cutesy alliteration is in order.

2. Minecraft

Minecraft is like morphine in two ways: One, it is insanely addictive, and two, apparently it has analgesic properties. Because I’m not exactly the queen of good posture, normally I’d sit down at a game and play for a couple hours, until my butt or shoulders or something starts to hurt. In this way, my body is like the perfect alarm system to tell me when I should take a break.

Well, Minecraft broke it.

In about a week, I’d racked up about 60 hours in this game. I’d log in after dinner, think naively to myself, “Oh, just for a half an hour or so” and before I know it, it’s 3am in the morning. I don’t usually get carried away like this; all I can say is Minecraft took my Fall of 2010 by storm. The beauty of it is its simplicity. Here’s an infinite world with blocks for you to play with, now go nuts!

Of course, it was Blue Kae’s multiplayer server that really took my enjoyment to a whole new level. In addition to the joys of Creating and Exploring, having others to play with added the aspect of Sharing. And with that, the golden trifecta of Minecraft is complete.

1. Star Trek Online

It might not be the best MMO on the market, nor has it made much of a splash in the genre since its release in February of last year, and hey, I don’t even think I play enough of it these days…but no contest, Star Trek Online made the biggest impact on my gaming life in 2010.

Posts about STO dominated my blog last year, and I also played a lot of it. More than that though, I’d say it’s likely the reason I’m still blogging today.

This isn’t a STO blog, and it was never meant to be one, but dammit, there’s something about this game that makes it incredibly fun to write about. No doubt, some of it has to do with my attachment to my character T’Androma and writing about her adventures, and one of my best blog-related memories was being completely floored that there were people actually interested in what I had to say on my fledgling site. For me, what began as a series of early posts with fellow starship captains sharing their in-game experiences quickly grew into a network of friends, a network that is still growing today, introducing me to more games and wonderful people in the blogosphere. Certainly, I credit STO for starting it all and opening up my eyes to the gaming community at large.

And there you have it, the top five things that made my 2010 a great year in gaming. Here’s to an even better 2011!

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Mass Effect 2: The Conclusion

February 21, 2010

It’s been tough getting time on the Xbox this past week with the TV tuned to the Winter Olympics more often than not, but I finally did it. More than 55 hours of gameplay later, I am done with Mass Effect 2. I think my past posts on this game have done more than enough to show how much I adore it. Like many gamers have stated, it definitely lives up to the original and surpasses it in many ways, so what more can I say? Bioware does it again, and I’m proud that they’re a Canadian company. While I’m aware that their Austin branch has their hands full right now developing Star Wars: The Old Republic, how awesome would it be if they made a Mass Effect MMORPG one day? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s salivating at the very idea, and I think the IP contains all the main ingredients that would make it a successful one.

Warning: The following post contains spoilers for Mass Effect 2. You have been warned!

Areas covered: Omega 4 Relay and Ending

The game is over and Shepard saves humanity once again! But, seriously, spoilers ahead, beware.

Things couldn’t have worked out better for my Shepard. Not everyone made it out alive, but if they had, where would be the fun in that? This last part of the game required Shepard to delegate some rather tough responsibilities to her companions, and not all of them came through on their tasks, to say the least.

In the end, I lost Jacob and Grunt on the final mission, and chose to blow up the Reaper technology against the Elusive Man’s wishes. Miranda also abandoned me because I lost her loyalty when I chose Jack’s side over hers in an argument. I didn’t care enough about her to get it back, and as a result, I found her office chair empty after the credits finished rolling. Bitch.

So, how was this a good ending? Well, in the end I got to tell the Elusive Man to stuff it, which is something I’d been waiting to do ever since he told me why he brought me back to life. Not only that, I also managed to get his two Cerberus stooges off my ship. Grunt, AKA Wrex-lite, who proved far less superior than his tank-bred origins boasted was never one of my favorite teammates in this game anyway, so I can’t say I was all that disappointed to lose him. Sadly, however, the one companion I really can’t stand is still alive and well, taking up space in my cargo hold and being a precious waste of oxygen. Oh well, guess you can’t win them all.

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Garrus is In, Kaidan is Out

February 17, 2010

It looks like I’ll have to re-order my list of top 3 Bioware boyfriends to include Garrus Vakarian, who as an in-game love interest has just blown Kaidan Alenko out of the water. For an alien, he’s proving to be much more adept at satisfying my video game romantic needs than I could ever have imagined. I’ve just passed through the Omega 4 Relay to start my suicide mission, and who should I find waiting for me at my quarters but my favorite Turian, who’s just in time for our blowing-off-steam session.

And what a sweet and utterly adorable scene that was. It’s much shorter and low-key than the racy love scene we were treated to in the first Mass Effect, but the beauty here is in its subtlety — Shepard and Garrus do not even share a kiss (though I admit it wouldn’t have been a very pretty sight getting lip-locked with a character that, well…doesn’t even have lips) but this is still one of the most romantic and touching moments I have ever witnessed in any video game. The chaste scene is for the best…lest we forget the good Dr. Mordin’s warning about chafing (and um…ingesting) when it comes to Human-Turian sexual relations.

So, while Alistair of Dragon Age still takes gold when it come to being my best Bioware boyfriend, Garrus can claim second place, and thus his royal whiny-ness Kaidan Alenko gets booted out of the top three (that’s for Horizon, you dirtbag!). See, Garrus? The galaxy may be messed up place and you’re quite possibly the most awkward and weird-looking alien thingy that ever existed, but yes, there are still some things in this life that can go just right.

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