Friday, February 26, 2010

Shorter bits.

I had another drastically shortened session with Mass Effect 2 last night. Usually if I only have an hour I wont even bother turning on an RPG. An hour is just not enough time to get anything done. This also hearkens back to the unskippable half hour cut scenes of PS2 RPG's; there is nothing worse than turning on a game, watching two videos, and turning it off. (Metal Gear Solid excluded, of course). Mass Effect 2 is divided up into much smaller, juicer bits, so it is easier to jump into and out of. This fits with the general slimming down of the genre that Bioware has done elsewhere in the game. They are trying to expand the market for their game while not alienating the old one. For the most part they have succeeded, but there are some things that the great big nerd side of me (that wishes 2nd edition D&D was still used) misses. For example, I have always liked the little numbers that float up after a critical hit in most action RPG's. They are just a little confirmation that all the work I have done experimenting with weapons and powers has paid off. Mass Effect 2 offers no such feedback; just a health meter or three that goes away in chunks with each hit. I liked seeing the numbers behind the scenes. Having that side of the game shut off from me is a little disappointing.

Bioware has also pulled off another personal first for themselves here: they have created a character so unlikable that I will never use her, probably never talk to her, and actually wish that the mission to rescue her was optional so I could skip it. My Shepard is about two degrees shy of Luke Skywalker, so busting into (and then out of) a prison to rescue a homocidal biotic chick felt more than a little out of character. Talking to Jack just makes it worse. She enjoys killing for the sake of killing, encourages you to steal your own ship and become a pirate, jumps around the engineering deck like a monkey, and is generally unpleasent to interact with. Dragon Age had a few clunkers, but Morrigan's dark humor was at least interesting and Alistair's whining could be explained by a rotton childhood. Jack, though, I just don't want to deal with ever again.

Where's Minsc when you need him?

Go for the eyes, Boo, go for the eyes!

And Boo!

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