Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obsessed? Never.

That is an outright lie. There's one thing in video games I love more than everything else (and I do love a lot of things about them), and that is a story. And nobody does a great story better than Bioware. (That's right, I said it. Suck it, SquareEnix.) So to celebrate and break in this shiny new blog, I thought I'd start off by talking a little bit about the game I'm most looking forward to in the next... ever: Mass Effect 2. Warning - spoilers for ME1 and all the videos released for ME2 ahead.

I'll leave my thoughts about Mass Effect the First for another post (probably a review, better late than never!), but suffice it to say that there isn't much that I didn't adore about it, and my undying love for Raphael Sbarge's voice (Carth from KotOR and Kaidan in Mass Effect) had nothing to do with it. Okay, maybe a little to do with it.

Anyway, Bioware promised when the game came out that this would be a trilogy where we'd play the same character the whole way through. Badass!, thought I. Now instead of just overidentifying and getting way too attached to characters for one game, I can do the same over the course of three! So long, normal social life!

That promise and my attachment to Shepard did me no favors when Bioware started releasing the first trailers for Mass Effect 2, where they told us that Shepard was dead, wreaking havoc on my emotional well-being. Jerks.

Fortunately, any interviewer EVER who talked to the lead guys about it afterward pointed out that they'd already promised to let us play as Shepard for all three games, and the Bioware people did the best they could to skirt around that issue. Even better, by the time E3 rolled around, they didn't have to deny it anymore - Shepard was NOT dead, but that didn't mean she wouldn't BE dead if we didn't get things done in Mass Effect 2.

Constant threat of death if we try to do too much (save too many people in a dangerous situation) or too little (don't recruit enough badasses before going off to the final planet or wherever). Love it.

The other thing that is gonna be amazing about Mass Effect 2 is the fact you can import your Shepard from ME1 into ME2. Not only that, you're not just playing the Shepard you imported, you're playing all the decisions you made, good or bad. Let some of your party members die? They're not magically coming back - they are GONE. I assume the decision about whether to commit genocide on the Rachni is going to be a big influence on the game, too, and maybe whatever sidequests we did, too.

According to Casey Hudson, one of the exec producers on ME2,

"The Mass Effect savegame doesn’t just contain a couple of your big choices. It contains countless decisions you’ve made, both large and small. These things could each potentially carry forward and affect your story in Mass Effect 2. This has never been done before on this scale, and it means you’re actually continuing your own story from exactly where you left off."

I don't know what decisions are going to carry over - how "small" are they talking here? If I convinced that random lady and her brother in law on the Citadel not to do genetic manipulation on her kid, is that going to play into the game? Somehow I doubt it. All I know is, now I have to go back through the game again and make sure every single decision I make is absolutely the one I want to stick with for Mass Effect 2. Darn, I have to play through it again. Shucks.

Ok, the last thing I'm going to discuss for now. When I was younger I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure books, but it was always annoying to me that most of the decisions were "oh, too bad you picked a legitimate option but we arbitrarily decided it's a bad one, you die, go back to the page you were at and pick the other choice, dummy." In Mass Effect, yeah maybe some of those decisions you make WILL be an insta-death, go reload and hope you saved recently. But in the final battle, there's a chance that not only you will die, but your party members as well. My roommate can attest to the fact that I was a mess at the end of the Virmire scene, and I didn't even like Ashley that much.

"Part of what makes the final mission dangerous in a more profound way is that each squad member could potentially die a real, story-based death during that mission as well. You might have an ending where Shepard’s entire team survives, or where the entire mission is a bloodbath and everyone (including Shepard) is killed, or anything in between. And for all characters, death in Mass Effect 2 means they won’t show up in Mass Effect 3."

Not like I wasn't going to do every sidequest ever anyway, but now I have to or I will let down my poor, helpless party members.

Speaking of party members, I guess not all of the ones from ME1 will be on your squad in ME2. As sad as this makes me (Kaidan! I need you with me!), it does make sense. Tali can go back to the Quarians, and maybe if we're out by the Flotilla we can help her out and she can join up with us for a little bit. Garrus is probably going to either be a Spectre or go back to C-Sec. Maybe Kaidan will be working with Anderson or something, but at least he's not going on this suicide mission with me, there is no way I could ever let him die. That would kill me. At least Joker is sticking around, but I'm wary about getting too attached to the characters now that I know Bioware is totally cool with killing them off. Seriously, emotionally attached, guys. You're killin me here.

To wrap this up, Mass Effect 2 looks awesome. Gamestop even said it was the best RPG shown at E3. (Duh.)

Want more info on Mass Effect 2?

Mass Effect 2's official website
Bioware's twitter
Mass Effect 2's twitter
Gamestop's E3 Editor's Choice Awards
Casey Hudson's post about ME2 "Just the Facts, Man"
Great video review of ME2's new trailer at IGN
Another great article about ME2 at E3

1 comment:

  1. I'm very curious myself how the "Import-A-Shepard" system is going to work.

    It'd be nice to capture even the tiniest nuances of who you made your character become - I'd be deeply pissed if the only carryover was "Kaidan/Ashley is, yeah."

    It would be great if, say, because you sided with the evil Ambassador the world was going all fascist, and if you sided with the Captain everything was bright and Star Trekky.

    Or, if you punched out the interview lady (which my female Shepard did, and I laughed and laughed) then the news agencies hate your guts or something. Maybe I am just overthinking it.