All About WiiCubeM1
I just finished a 2 week marathon playing the Paragon and Renegade paths in all 3 games, having bought the Trilogy pack 2 months ago and recently gaining a lot of free time.
I have to say this (some spoilers alert, for those who care):
The first game was incredible with atmosphere and scope. There was so much to do, so much to see, so many interesting people, and I loved the Mako sections, as boring as some of them were. However, the gameplay was clunkier than I thought it would be. The upgrades were tedious, I rarely utilized the abilities other than Barrier (and that was only when I felt bogged down in a fire fight), and I never used the cover system. I somehow didn't even notice it until I fought Beneziah. It all worked once I figured it out, so it didn't take away from the experience, but it took some time to get over the initial annoyance. Altogether, it was a great game with a few issues that could have been improved.
Mass Effect 2 was a completely different experience. The story was streamlined, the gameplay was altered, the upgrading system was heavily modified, but I felt it was all for the best. I went into this series for the individual characters and their stories, something Bioware has always done brilliantly, and I was not dissapointed. The only character I was disappointed with was Shepard himself. He went from the guy in the first game who was willing to make the tough decisions if I made him, but always came across as a man with the galaxy's best interests at heart, to either a glorified dick or the second coming of Jesus; there was no humanity. Everyone else, however, was interesting, varied, and I enjoyed just spending a hour walking around the ship and talking to them, from Jack and her childhood, to Miranda and her past, to Samara and her tough decision to kill one of her own daughters. They were all great people to just learn about.
The gameplay was altered in a way I enjoyed. I didn't have to worry about monitoring all of my equipment or switching gun and armor upgrades every 2 minutes depending on my adversaries, the cover system was definitely much more helpful to me personally, and abilities no longer felt tacked on or took a full minute to recharge. It was streamlined to feel smooth and still offer a challenge based on your own skill, not your ability to farm for XP and gear. The change suited my own preferences to how I like my shooters.
In the end, Mass Effect 2 was an amazing sequel. It improved where it needed to and streamlined where it needed to. I did feel let down by the fact that they replaced the Mako sections with that annoying scanning system, which took away from a lot of the scope of the first game, but the improved character interactions and the scale of variety of environments, along with the better gameplay, more than made up for it.
Mass Effect 3, despite what many people claim, is not what I consider "a massive letdown". Sure, it didn't really make any breakthrough changes to the story or gameplay and felt the same as Mass Effect 2, but I don't consider that a bad thing in any way. It tweaked the gameplay from the second game by adding the weight system which brought back the planning aspect from the first game, but didn't take away from action by having me switch upgrades to deal with new enemies on the fly. I had to plan my equipment before I left. Maybe I needed to focus on long-range combat, but keep myself varied if things broke out in close range and I needed keep my weight low so I could use my abilities when I needed them, so I'd pack an assault rifle with a scope and a SMG with the ultralight frame mod for those close situations, or maybe I'd be fighting in cramped quarters, so I'd grab my Graul Spike Thrower and a Arc Pistol, both with their respective melee attachments. It let me vary my play-style while still feeling simple and streamlined.
The story and character interaction did suffer slightly, in my opinion. One of the reasons I enjoyed the second game so much, as I said, was just the sheer amount of time you could spend with each character, just talking with them, doing their loyalty missions, and it just made them feel that much more fleshed out. The third game just seemingly glanced over a few of them (noticeably Garrus, in my opinion), and the returning characters didn't seem explained too well. So much happened off screen, and it all just seemed tossed aside with a few sentences for each. How has Thane been reconnecting with his son? How has Samara dealt with the grief of being bound by honor and code to kill her own daughter? It's slightly addressed, but not nearly as much as I'd like. Still, the scope of the war can be felt, and what is there is deep and emotional. My favorite additions are the little side-stories that you find on the Citadel as the game progresses, my favorites being the teenage girl talking to the turian officer and the crazy Asari huntress. You can gather how much this war has taken away from these people, even through such little interaction. I loved it. Mass Effect 3 delivers where it matters most and felt the most balanced out of the trilogy in regards to gameplay vs. story: neither took preference over the other to me.
Mass Effect 3 gets more hate than I think it deserves. My favorite will always be 2, but 3 was an amazing game in its own right. The endings left a lot to be desired (a LOT), but I've always been a firm believer in "It's not the destination, but the journey" and The Mass Effect series was one hell of a journey. I enjoyed every minute I spent with these games, and I'd do it again if I could, which is why I'm looking forward to Mass Effect 4. It probably won't match the awe of the first three, but I'll enjoy it anyway.
ALL drugs are soft drugs because they're either poor quality or "misunderstood".
/r/atheism takes itself way too seriously.
Conservatives are too religious and ignorant for their own good, but I'll take someone who can be educated over someone who thinks they know more than they ever actually did.
Legalizing marijuana will not stop all gang violence, pay off a portion of the national debt, or cure cancer.
A thought occured to me today, as I eat Mexican food... Why is it games today are held to such high standards that small flaws often lead to otherwise-amazing games being reduced to the likes of ET and Superman 64... Games like Skyrim, Super Smash Bros Brawl, etc.
The answer, at least what I think, is that these games were built to balance out all styles of play, leaving those who grind, or practice a single strategy, or are very devoted to a single type of play, to feel less accomplished when what was traditionally a difficult path to follow becomes open and accesible to many people. Skyrim no longer makes it a chore to become a mage, and Brawl no longer caters to those who play it competitively. Many gamers feel as though these games abandoned their fanbase for a larger audience, when in my opinion, they simply made the games more fun and less unappealing to those who would normally never even think about playing them.
The people who call Skyrim bad feel that because their once-difficult play style is no longer a chore to do, the game in and of itself is bad. The people who call Brawl bad feel that because they can no longer pull off the Wall of Pain or continuously spam Captain Falcon's down throw as they did in Melee, the game no longer has a competitive play because they can't rely on old tricks. These gamers feel betrayed by their once-favored companies, and their opinions are they ones most heard in gaming circles.
I am a huge fan of Nintendo and Bethesda. I've been with both Smash Bros and Elder Scrolls since the 90s, and feel the series have only gotten better with time. Many call me sheep, which I don't deny, but I never look at a game and judge it on how it caters to my play-style. I look at a game in its entirety before I make a decision on it's appeal. Skyrim has flaws, yes, but so does every Elder Scrolls. People who call Skyrim bad due to bugs, yet praise Morrowind and Oblivion, are not to be listened to. People who call Brawl terrible because they can no longer win every match due to competitive tricks such as L-cancelling and throw spamming due to tripping and tweaks to speed really don't have a case in my book.
In my eyes, and many others who never speak up, these people come across as the worst among us, the obsessive fanboys who hate even the best of games. Diablo III, a fantastic game, is universally hated and despised by PC gamers all around. Mass Effect 3, another great game, is considered terrible because many peiople found the ending sub-par. I'm not saying their reasons are unfounded and shouldn't be noted, for most are legitimate problems with the game, but to base an otherwise great game on a few chinks in the armor is a terrible thing.
Many nostalgic favorites, such as FFVII, Ocarina of Time, Pokemon Red and Blue, Wasteland, DOOM, and many others suffer many unfortunate problems, but few people will call these games legitamately terrible because of our memories of these amazing games as an experience, as a whole. Some people do, yes, but who among us takes them seriously? We defend theset games because we know, deep down, these games truly are great. We can overlook small flaws that don't affect the experience because we know they don't matter in the long run, but then we'll turn around and judge today's games on these same flaws and write them off as terrible, a disgrace to those that came before.
I'm deeply saddened by this current trend in gaming. It's a problem I can't ignore, but must to protect some of my integrity. As a fan of games as a whole, I only wish others could see them the way I do.