Mass Effect 3 Tomorrow: The Preparation begins!

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Mass Effect 3 box artOur copies of Mass Effect 3 have shipped (yay for free release-day shipping!) and we’re anxiously awaiting their arrival.

I played ME1&2 this past summer at Graev’s behest.  I was reluctant to give them a try, but quickly found myself actually playing through them from start to finish without even wanting to play other games.  That’s rare for me when the game is singleplayer.  I loved playing them.

Graev is, at this very moment, “polishing up” his ME2 play-through to be fresh on the story and get in the mood, and I’m going to have him fill me in on the details since they’re already fuzzy for me.

We’ve heard a few rumors (no spoilers) that the decisions made in previous games don’t carry over all that much into the third game.  I played 1&2 on the PC, but ordered 3 for the Xbox 360.  I’m sorta hoping that it doesn’t matter now because I’m screwed either way.  Regardless, getting them both on the Xbox 360 allows us to play the coop together.  Coop, from what I’m told, does impact your story.

We’re both worried about the recent trend of Bioware games. Dragon Age 2 had good combat, but was turned into an entirely different game with a lot less abilities.  We were at Bioware’s Dragon Age Origins presentation during E3 2008 when they said that Dragon Age Origins was the beginning of the series about the origin of your character and made it sound like the rest of the games were going to build on each other. DA2 felt rushed, was full of retcons, and reused areas (blocked off paths with rocks to make the areas ‘different’).  DA2 should have been a side game called “Dragon Age: My Life in Kirkwall.”

ME2 straight up got rid of loot entirely and streamlined the weapon system to make  telling which gun was better very weird.  ME2 was also pushed into more of an action and less RPG direction. It wasn’t at all as disappointing as DA2, though, and like I said I really enjoyed the game.

Hopefully ME3 doesn’t follow the same downward trend.

I think I hear Graev doing vocal warm up exercises in preparation for the Kinect voice commands.

  • For those who will want to know it’s launched in Asia and yes you can unlock with a proxy a-la steam releases 🙂

  • I loved ME2, it’s one of my favorite games ever but I was highly disappointed with DA2. I feel the EA taint is working it’s way through Bioware but am hopeful they didn’t get to ME3.

  • DA2, SWtOR, if ME3 goes down that path it’ll be strike 3 for the EA/Bioware thing.

    I gave EA/Bioware a pass on DA2 because I was hopeful it was just a fluke.

    SWtOR was what convinced me that EA is poison.

    A poor ME3 will let everyone know that the poison did it’s job and EA officially killed Bioware completely.

    It’s hard to understand how a game company can go from DA:O, ME, KotOR, and BG to DA2 and SWtOR =(

  • @iLkRehp: The same goes for Mythic making DAOC then making WAR (common denominator is EA), SoE handling EQ then changing everything over to Free Realms. It confuses me as well.

    I think it’s all about money. I really do.

  • Did you try out the demo. I found it moderately challenging. Steering while sprinting was very awkward too.

  • Yep, SWTOR burnt my BioWare bridges. It is too easy to keep saying this is their last chance with every new inferior game they release. There was no way I was going to buy ME3 prior to extensive community feedback confirming that it wasn’t yet another EA shovelware product.

  • I was going to reinstall ME 2 and replay the game to get the story fresh in my mind, but then I thought that would ruin my experience with ME 3 right after, to much of a good thing if you get my meaning. Instead I just reinstalled Deus Ex: HR and should be finishing that up by tomorrow night at the latest, just in time to install ME 3 🙂

  • Boycotting this because EA/Bioware have really gone down the path of excessive monetisation.

  • I have went back and forth about ME3. I recently replayed ME and ME2 and while I didn’t care a lot about the lack of RP in ME2 it still had a decent story over all. But like DA2 and SWTOR I too am a bit worried about ME3 ending up being half the game it could be. I will go on the record saying that this is the last change EA/Bioware are getting from me. If I feel like I wasted $60 on ME3 I will not buy another one of their games at full price. That plus with my wife and daughter playing so much on their DS and 3DS lately I may just break down and buy another 3DS and join them in that regards and move away for a time from buying new PC games.

    All in all I remain hopeful that ME3 will be worth the money. However I doubt it will give me that chill that ran down my spine during the opening of ME when Shepard is walking around the Normandy SR1. There was just something about that opening scene that has always stuck with me. It was one of the few times that a game really put me in the feeling that I was a part of a movie or something.

  • I really don’t mind them cashing in and making money, get paid, it’s a business. However, nowhere does it say that in order to make money you need to drastically drop the quality of the product. . .it just seems that EA thinks that’s what you have to do. . .and they’re idiots.

  • Keen have you seen this video from Totalbiscuit on his complaint about ME3 about their DLC on launch day… watch it… not sure if they have changed their stance on it since this vid came out

    watch it.. your thoughts?

  • I’m torn on the subject of launch day DLC. I’m always skeptical, even cynical, about whether or not it was actually going to be part of the game and they just chopped it off to make an extra $10.

    Using a recent example, Reckoning’s DLC recently announced is acceptable to me because it simply adds fun content to do on the side once I have finished the 100+ hour game. If a 30 hour game ends on a cliff hanger and then sells me the answer to that cliff hanger on the exact same day the game launches, then that’s chopping off the end to make a buck.

    In my opinion, launch day DLC should be free to all who buy the product and register a code that comes in the box.

    On the other hand, if I have faith in the company not to rip me off, it’s their prerogative to create more content and charge for it, even on day one.

    This does not change my desire to play Mass Effect 3, just more disgruntled by the way these publishers are treating us.

  • I am slowly but surely going to have so many companies on my do not buy from list, that I’ll just have to stop gaming all together.

    It’s always about the money. Always has and always will be about the money. They just want to get as much as they can, for as little as they can. There is a fine line between buying and not buying something.

    Eventually you will have a game with commericals and if you watch the commercials you’ll get something extra in the game. Sounds crazy I know but they never had commericals on YouTube.

    If they sell a butt load of games then it tells them to do it again. When the game fails it also tells them that our customers are not happy. Eventually the person making these types of choices in business get thrown to the side for doing something stupid. They will sit around an oak table and laugh years down thre road about how stupid they were.

  • i didnt miss the loot in ME2, although i would have liked more armor and weapons.

    more than anything tho, ME2 had a really good story and although some RPG elements were removed, it added a lot more complexity to the entire cast. (i still think im one of the only players that loves jack. im so moved by her story and her complexity that i need to be with her in the end of my saves.)

  • @Thomas: This is why companies spend so much on magnificent cinematic trailers instead of putting those resources into development; they want to ensure a healthy box sale, especially when they are courting the casual crowd, which will be less critical pre-release of game mechanics.

    Once the game is launched, probably too early, they figure somehow things will work out for the best; if things go South then there is always F2P to continue a lower level stream of income.

    It is a shame that this trailer left a longer lasting positive impression than the game it touted…

  • I, too, agree with the opinion that Bioware has generally produced diminishing quality games of late; certainly EA may be a contributing factor in that trend, IDK. My two cents regarding DLC and profits, though, is the following: bemoaning a company’s aim to sell games and reap monetary rewards is uninformed at best and hypocritical at worst. Ofc Bioware/EA wants our money; that’s kinda how a free-market economy works. Folks often throw the word “greedy” around, hop up on a soapbox, and proclaim their undying conviction never to buy another xyz product again. If quality is sacrificed for the sake of a profit margin, I agree – that sucks. If content integrity is compromised because of a profit margin, again, I agree – bad practice. And if consumers are bilked in to order experience a game in its entirety, yes, terrible business philosophy. However, as long as a DLC or a flashy non-essential item for purchase or whatever other extra you can name remains just that, “extra,” I have no problems at all. What I see are opportunities that enrich and lengthen (when done with care) a game that I enjoy.

  • @ink: I think most people like the idea of DLC prolonging their game play experience; the problem is when it is “offered” up front as an obvious attempt to charge more for the game at release. Every game could simply cut out a portion of the finished product and charge an extra fee by claiming it is additional DLC. Many people will perceive it as an insulting attempt to PR spin a gratuitous money grab much like the Asian microtransaction model of purposefully compromising one’s game play experience unless they buy themselves out of debtor’s prison.

    It stinks of EA and reaffirms my contention that BioWare no longer exists as the company we once respected for their dedication to quality and customer service; it is just EA masquerading in a BioWare skin face mask…

  • @Gank: no doubt – I totally agree that the DLC model has great potential for exploitation, and already too much historical precedent to evidence that claim (viz. most microtransactions). If game parts are removed prior to release and then “sold” back as alternative additions so as to allow the consumer to part together a frankensteinian, “complete” game, I would certainly tend to feel extorted. I think the opening day DLC for ME3 is bad timing on Bioware’s/EA’s part; whether it was done in good faith or not, it leaves a bad taste. Nonetheless, I guess I try to look on DLC favorably if and when I can – when I think about how much it costs to go to the movies or see a show, visit a museum or even go out to lunch, etc., I always tend to consider the dozens of hours of entertainment and pleasure that I get from video games as a bargain. Perhaps that outlook makes me too forgiving of the DLC trend …

  • The more I have thought about the launch day monetized DLC for ME3 the more it has annoyed me. I love the series and have really tried to buy more titles new at launch to support the industry, but I can not help but feel that the DLC is being used more in this instance to milk the consumer and less to incentivize and encourage new purchases. The short summation of my rant on my blog is that ME2 used Cerberus Network to reward a new purchase with lots of DLC for free. Good deal. ME3 has choosen to lock launch day content behind a price tag for all but those that spend $20 more for the collectors title. The DLC is only $10, so why should I buy it new for $60 and then drop $10 when I can wait a short time and get it used for $55, pay the $10 but save $5 overall? Yes, it is only $5, not that big of a deal. It is not the DLC I am opposed to, it is using it as a way to exploit rather then incentivize that I object to.

  • I dunno. I think Total Biscuit’s video on the subject was a really good exploration of what is wrong with the handling of ME3 specifically, but… In the grand scheme of things, I just don’t see it as a huge problem.

    That said, I’m in the (small, likely hipster) camp that feels Bioware and the ME series specifically are pretty overrated, and seeing as I couldn’t get past the first few hours of the ME1, I come at the whole issue as an outsider. Frankly, I don’t care so much about linear narrative in games, preferring the emergent kind seen in oldschool MMOs or Dwarf Fortress, so I don’t get all worked up at the thought of missing out on one sub plot or character.

    Now, while I don’t necessarily think this is an especially unethical business decision, I do think it’s a stupid one – destroying consumer good will and trust. I think it’s clearly a step backwards from offering the content as a free bonus to people who sign up for an online element, for example. While I think that has its own ethical issues if the information is used for advertising and collection of personal information, it at least feels much better to the consumer.

    Ah well, hope the game lives up to expectations and everyone enjoys it, even if it’s not my thing. 🙂

  • I just finished ME3 (after playing 1 & 2).
    So 1 is still my favorite. 2 has a nice story. But who designed the ending of ME3 ? It looks unfinished, and like other games you have multiple endings (I was given the choice of 2).

    I don’t know how to express my feelings. Cheated ? Robbed ? Taken advantage of ? Sucker ?
    When you get two cinematics exactly the same except 5 seconds and one in blue, one in red, what do you say ? (see just above)

  • I played ME2 first. While I had given up on BioWare games years earlier having grown severely tired of the recycled characters, stale plost, juvenile dialog, and rigid faux-choice way BioWare controls its games. But my daughter played it and loved it. And we like to share game experiences, so I played it and it didn’t suck.

    It was not earth shattering. It was definately tedious with the resource gathering and all the loyalty missions. I mostly didn’t feel ‘epic’ but, rather more like a High School Guidance Counselor for a bunch of whiney teens that couldn’t be bothered to even try to solve their own problems… But the final ‘suicide mission’ was really fun and made up for the other game issues.

    Eventually, I picked up ME1 on Amazon super-sale for $3. I straight-lined the plot and got done in 13-hours which was the longest 13-hours of gaming in my life…

    But, knowing this, I didn’t rush out to buy ME3. And I am forever grateful for that decision. If they ever managed to fix the game with a proper ending, I may reconsider. But as for now… I’m done with BioWare games.

  • ME3 ending……. utter fail that ruins the entire game, and possibly the entire franchise.

    I am so saddened and disappointed.

    One of the greatest game trilogies of all time ruined by one of the most mind bogglingly stupid and insulting endings ever.