The combat was probably the weakest thing about KOTOR, which isn’t probably a bad thing when the quest was so long, the characters so memorable, and a story that dragged on you for the ride. Republic solider Carth, Jedi Bastila, alien teenager Mission, her wookie Zaalbar, weird cat lady Juhani, and the evil droid HK-47 all have their deep but interesting back-stories, and provide memorable parts to the main plot. The Sith Lord Dark Malak made the first really great Star Wars villain since Darth Vader.
Bioware had a lot to live up to after they quit the KOTOR series. They said they were going to make a more original game cause apparently stupid shit like making sure every stupid alien having the right eye color is very important to George Lucas and fanboys. The result was a similar yet different game based on the old days of China.
Sadly we all saw Old Republic barreling head first toward free-to-play a long time ago especially when we heard of the downsizing. Never a good sign. Now we have better details on what you will and will not have access to if you opt for F2P.
So for those who loved the storyline of the game and the single player aspects you are in luck because you get that for free. As far as other parts of the game they decided to put you on a three times a week program (kind of like how your wife might do you). This means things like Flashpoints, Warzone battles and Space Missions will only be accessible three times in a week.
Now no F2P worth its salt is without add on items you have to purchase and in SWTOR’s case you can purchase Weekly Passes to give you unlimited access to all the above restricted instances. The same goes for Operations, there is no 3-day pass for that so you will need to purchase a weekly one. The problem here is that most purple loot cannot be equipped so what is the point of running an Operation if you cannot wear the loot. I guess that is the point.
Like other MMO’s before it namely Everquest and EQ2, you are have less Cargo Bay and Inventory space which can become an issue, but fear not because you can use Cartel Coins to purchase additional slots. Other things to make the F2P version a little less attractive and give subscribers a reason to keep paying includes priority login as far as the queues, a faster cool-down on Quick Travel and the ability to use the Emergency Fleet Pass. Finally you only get one Crew Skill slot with F2P, as well as a limited number of Field Revivals to use when you die.
So we all know why this is happening. Old Republic subscriptions has been dropping like zombies in The Walking Dead. The question is will this bring in new players or give subscribers a reason to go free-2-play instead. Only time will tell and speaking of which we still do not have a date when F2P will go live. The original word was “sometime this fall” and yet here we are. When SWTOR goes F2P will you start playing?
I remember looking into our official Obsolete Gamer crystal ball and seeing that DC Superheroes Online was destined for the free 2 play route and it came true. After playing Star Wars, The Old Republic for a weeks, sadly, I knew it was headed that way as well. When we reported that SWTOR were downsizing and then offering free 2 play for up to level 15, it was inevitable.
EA sent word via a press release that The Old Republic will indeed go free to play this November. In addition, the game will cost only $15 starting next week and will come with a free month of gametime. Now as expected, there will still be a subscription service for SWTOR that grants you access to additional content and features of the game. For the free to play model you can level all the way up to 50 and enjoy most of the features of the game.
Here is a breakdown of the two options for Star Wars:
Subscription – A service designed for players who want unrestricted access to all the game features via ongoing subscription or by redeeming a Game Time Card. In addition to gaining access to all game content as our current subscribers do now, subscribers will receive ongoing monthly grants of Cartel Coins, the new virtual currency that will be introduced later this fall. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase valuable in-game items including customizable gear and convenience features that will enhance the game play experience.
Free-To-Play – The first 50 levels will be Free-to-Play, with restrictions on access to new content and advanced player features. Some restrictions can be “unlocked” with Cartel Coins.
Check out the chart as well:
We will spare you the PR spin on the upcoming change. We all know the game had flaws and in today’s market gamers are not going to continue paying for something they feel should be free. Just like with DC heroes, the people left in mass droves after the first month and the spin began, but in the end it went free to play and SWTOR has followed suit.
Is this a failure for Bioware and EA, will you find yourself playing the game once it goes free to play?
Sure one could say that adding a free-to-play till 15 component to an MMO is a good move. By doing this you get people to try the game and the changes you made and maybe people will subscribe. In the real world of MMO’s this means the first (or second) steps towards free-2-play.
BioWare’s , The Old Republic was to be the World of Warcraft-killer, but the only dying we have seen has been its own. We first saw the signs when people reached max level quickly and complained about endgame content. We saw more signs with bugs not fixed and features not implemented a true sign the game was rushed even more than other rushed MMO’s. There was the promise of patches that would fix everything, but as each patch came, more people became upset and left.
Subscription rates dropped faster than a greasy Huttball and the PR spin was in full force, but it was clear what was happening. The game lost over 400,000 subscriptions, many leaving after the free month and now the EA backed company is following World of Warcraft in offering players to play for free until level 15.
We have seen the free trials and now the up to level 15 free play. With the release of coming titles like Tera Online, Guild Wars 2 and the Secret World, this is a march to free-2-play just like DC Universe Online and many before it.
Now with all that said I think Old Republic is worth a play through. The game has a good story and fun gameplay, just not really an MMO, at least not a monthly subscription MMO. You can try out Old Republic for yourself by signing up and downloading the game client at SW: TOR’s free trial page.
We all know from the Sony Online Entertainment spin of the mass exodus of DC Online Universe that the statement above translates into; we took a major hit and have to start cutting our losses. ~J.A. Laraque
The Downsizing of Star Wars: The Old Republic
Unfortunately, most of us who played and followed the latest Star Wars MMO knew that with the issues with the game and lack of positive changes that subscriptions would drop drastically after the first month. Regardless of the PR spin about an “active community” and how there were “millions of subscribers” we all knew that STOR would take a massive hit.
Now word out of Austin is that there were mass layoffs at the studio that developed the game. Some of the people from the studio were let go while a few others were moved to other projects, but the message was clear.
“We are bidding farewell to some talented, passionate and exceptionally hard-working people who helped make SWTOR a reality,” said Bioware co-founder, Greg Zeschuk. “We still have a very substantial development team working on supporting and growing the game, and we feel we are in a strong position, with your continued involvement and feedback, to continue to build Star Wars: The Old Republic as one of the most compelling and successful online experiences in the world today.”
We all know from the Sony Online Entertainment spin of the mass exodus of DC Online Universe that the statement above translates into; we took a major hit and have to start cutting our losses. EA itself in a statement just reinforced the rapid decline of The Old Republic.
“These are very difficult decisions, but it allows us to focus our staff to maintain and grow Star Wars: The Old Republic,”
I think almost everyone has been “refocused”, or know someone that has been and understands exactly what that means. With subscription rates dropping over 23%, most of us can see the coming storyline that will eventually lead to a free-2-play announcement.
We finally get word that the legacy system will be launched in April and some new flashpoints and warzones. The funny thing is the talk about the free friend trial. Sure, every big MMO has it, but it is telling with the latest news about subscriptions to Star Wars TOR. Will these changes keep you playing or bring you back?
Here is the official press release:
Build your legacy in the Star Wars™ galaxy! Continuing to deliver compelling new content for eager Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ players, EA, BioWare and LucasArts today revealed Game Update 1.2 — Legacy. Going live in April 2012, Legacy will introduce new high level group content and community-requested features including PvP Warzone Rankings and Guild Banks, along with enhancements to the game’s innovative Legacy system. This update also provides improved UI customization as well as gameplay fixes and the latest optimizations to combat balance. Also today, BioWare announced Star Wars: The Old Republic’s “Friends Trial*” program, allowing subscribers to invite as many as three of their friends for a seven-day free game trial.
“Prior to release, our main priority for Star Wars: The Old Republic was to deliver a high quality game and service, right from day one,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, General Manager of the BioWare Label’s MMO Business Unit and Co-Founder of BioWare. “Now that we’ve achieved that, we have shifted our focus to adding more content to the game and improving and refining the experience for our fans. Legacy is our biggest update yet and a great example of the kind of content players can expect for the months and years ahead.”
Game Update 1.2 presents the next evolution of the Legacy system. Players can now link their different characters together into a single family tree, giving them the power to unlock and share special Legacy-only abilities. Players can further customize new characters by unlocking different species from any class in their family tree. The Legacy system also provides fun new convenience items for player ships, including an on-board mailbox and Galactic Trade Network terminal. Companion Character affection and moral alignment will also benefit from Legacy bonuses, giving players even more control over their crew mates.
Beyond the much-anticipated game features like improved UI customization, PvP Warzone Rankings, Guild Banks and valuable new in-game items, the Legacy update will introduce challenging new high-level content for both experienced and new players to enjoy:
Game Update 1.2: New Content:
- Flashpoint: Lost Island continues the Kaon Under Siege Flashpoint from Game Update 1.1 – Rise of the Rakghouls. Players must survive a menacing island of mystery on Ord Mantell as they hunt for clues to the Rakghoul virus outbreak that ravaged the Tion Hegemony. But the answers to this riddle may prove fatal!
- Operation: Explosive Conflict sends groups of eight or sixteen Imperial or Republic players to a new zone on the planet of Denova, where traitors and mercenaries are selling the rare explosive mineral baradium to the highest bidder. Players will battle through hordes of Droids, mercenaries and deadly creatures all fighting for control of the planet and its valuable resources.
- Warzone: Novare Coast pits two teams in an epic battle to control multiple mortar locations and use them to bombard vulnerable enemy bases. Like the Huttball Warzone, Novare Coast can be played Republic vs. Empire or with players of the same faction fighting each other in a thrilling contest of wills to determine each side’s greatest champions.
Beginning tomorrow, March 6, current subscribers can start inviting their friends to join the galactic conflict as part of the Friends Trial* program for Star Wars: The Old Republic. For a limited time, current subscribers will have the opportunity to send an invitation to friends who have not played the game and who do not have an active, inactive or former Star Wars: The Old Republic game account. This trial experience will give new players seven days of free access to reach level 15 across all eight classes and experience the thrilling stories that make Star Wars: The Old Republic a unique MMO experience (some gameplay restrictions will apply). Trial members will also receive a limited time offer to purchase the digital version of Star Wars: The Old Republic on Origin.com at a special promotional price.
For more information on Game Update 1.2: Legacy and the Friends of Star Wars: The Old Republic Trial program please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com.
Well, some said it would be six months or more before we saw new content from Bioware, but it looks as if that is not the case. Today EA and Bioware announced the upcoming game update, here is the press release info:
Just one month after launching the fastest growing subscription MMO in history, EA, BioWare and LucasArts are prepared to release the first game update for the critically-acclaimed Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. . Launching next week on Tuesday, January 17, Rise of the Rakghouls will introduce new, higher level group content, game feature additions and continued balancing and bug fixes. As part of the commitment to the community, BioWare will continue to release game updates to subscribers throughout the year on a regular cadence. The next update is planned for March 2012 and will include new Flashpoints, Operations, WarZones and new game systems.
“A month ago when we launched the Early Game Access program for Star Wars: The Old Republic, we promised our fans that this would just be the beginning of our journey together,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, General Manager of the BioWare Label’s MMO Business Unit and Co-Founder of BioWare. “Rise of the Rakghouls adds a lot of the things our community has been asking for – additional higher level group content, features like anti-aliasing, PvP bracketing and more. In the future, game updates will be even more substantial, as we promise to continue to not only add to The Old Republic, but to also improve and refine the experience with the full Legacy System and new Guild features.”
Rise of the Rakghouls features a new Flashpoint and a new Operation as well as a number of changes made throughout the entire game, including level 50 bracketing for PvP WarZones, the addition of anti-aliasing and changes to Open World PvP on Ilum.
- Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege is a completely new and unique group combat experience located on Kaon, a planet in the Tion Hegemony, a strategically important sector of the galaxy that has remained neutral, Groups of up to four Republic or Imperial players must race to Kaon to eliminate the Rakghouls outbreak, securing the allegiance of the Tion Hegemony for their respective sides. This Flashpoint will be available for level 50 characters only and will feature Normal and Heroic modes.
- Operation: Karagga’s Palace, is a continuation of the game’s second launch Operation. In the Operation, teams of 8 or 16 players will face off against Karagga and the Hutt Cartel after the Hutts abandon their famous neutrality and breach agreements with both the Republic and Empire. Concerned by the threat of another combatant in the war for galactic control, both factions send teams of their most powerful heroes to confront Karagga and determine his intentions. This Operation will feature Normal, Heroic and Nightmare difficulty modes.
For more information on Game Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls, please visit www.StarWarsTheOldRepublic.com for the full details.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the classic Star Wars movies, with the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire locked in the middle of an epic, galactic war. Players choose one of eight iconic Star Wars characters, including the Jedi Knight, Jedi Consular, Smuggler, Trooper, Sith Warrior, Sith Inquisitor, Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent, becoming the hero or villain of their own personal Star Wars saga. Players team up with friends online, fighting in heroic battles reminiscent of the films, immersing themselves in a galaxy full of vibrant characters and planets, while experiencing visceral Star Wars combat.
This week I am a happy player because Bioware fixed a number of bugs dealing with the cover system for Agents and Snipers and they fixed the annoying bug where if you select for “Show Sith Corruption” to be off it used to not stay that way. It also looks as if they made a number of other fixed to the game which should make it even more polished.
Here are the full notes:
- Guilds that are currently leaderless will have an Officer chosen and promoted to Guild Leader.
Classes and Combat
- The Darth title is now properly granted to Sith Inquisitors.
- Corrected an issue that could prevent players from taking cover when targeting large NPCs.
- Fixed a bug that caused some abilities with activation times to be interrupted when used from cover.
- Removed some high-level harvesting nodes from Tatooine, Corellia, and Ilum.
Flashpoints and Operations
- General Ortol can no longer be pulled out of his room.
- Corrected an issue that could cause Kilran to behave incorrectly when defeated in cover.
- General Edikar now has the correct loot in Hard Mode and no longer enrages in Normal Mode.
- Gharj can no longer be pulled out of his encounter room.
- Fixed an issue that could cause choosing Nightmare Mode to not set enemies to Nightmare difficulty.
- PvP lockboxes now cost 70 commendations, contain more consumables, and always contain an item.
- Corrected several PvP items that were Bind on Equip. They are now Bind on Pickup.
- PvP vendors on Capital Planets now offer the correct PvP items.
- Commendations received via in-game mail are now correctly added to the Currency tab.
Missions and NPCs
- Number One with a Bullet: Players who choose dark side options now correctly receive the mission First Strike after completing this mission.
- First Strike: Players who did not receive this mission will now receive it upon entering their personal starships.
- Death Cloud: Players can now complete the “Toxic Waste” bonus objective regardless of how quickly they complete this mission.
- Corrected mission steps on several planets that could cause client instability.
- Fixed issues with some missions that could prevent pending rewards from being accepted.
- Fixed an issue that caused a client crash if a space station was destroyed in Space Combat.
- Group members no longer appear on all planets on the Galaxy Map.
- Corrected an issue that could cause map notes to disappear after logging out and back into the game.
- Corrected some map notes that referenced the incorrect map.
- Updated map notes for “travel to planet” steps in class missions on Nar Shaddaa, Hoth, and Belsavis to indicate the planet’s space station.
- Group members outside of a player’s phase are no longer prompted to roll on items.
- The In-Game Customer Service Portal no longer appears to hang while the “updating” message is displayed.
- The Guild interface now properly displays the guild member list when it is sorted.
- The “Show Sith Corruption” option no longer toggles off when transitioning between areas.
Miscellaneous Bug Fixes
- Taxi rides are no longer occasionally interrupted, causing the player to be dropped from the taxi.
- Using the /dismiss command now correctly dismisses a vanity pet.
- Corrected some issues that could cause players to become stuck on the loading screen when logging into a character.
- Players can now use emotes while riding a vehicle.
- Fixed a bug that prevented some text-only mail messages from being received.
- Graphics preferences in settings files are now consistent with actual settings in use.
- Being in Do Not Disturb mode no longer prevents characters from being logged out for being away.
- Corrected an issue that caused poor performance on some machines in indoor areas with shadows enabled.
- Fixed an issue that could prevent players from being logged out for inactivity.
The game should be ninety-nine cents on the App Store. The graphics are nothing special and the gameplay is all about jump kicking zombies and driving around an island never really feeling like you are in any danger. They also had to do what all zombie games do which is make all the zombies re-spawn which just kills the feel of the game.~J.A. Laraque
Games: Most let down, Most hopeful
The New Year is a time to look forward with all kinds of resolutions, most of them that you will not keep and it is also a time to look back on the year. When it comes to gaming there is always room for reflection and regret. There is also always that hope that the next game that’s coming is the one that will keep you enthralled for months or more.
A post like this could be long, but for me it’s simple. There are two games that I thought about the most in 2011. One let me down worse a blind date setup by your grandmother and the other brings me hope like a wink from that girl across the room.
Most let down: Dead Island
Less we forget, let’s take a look at this video.
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Seriously, how did we get from that to the game that was launched? I guess we should have known the game would be bad when a beta copy was released to Stream instead of the real version. I remember wanting this game thinking it would be a great experience. In the end I only loved the intro and only because of that stupid song.
The game should be ninety-nine cents on the App Store. The graphics are nothing special and the gameplay is all about jump kicking zombies and driving around an island never really feeling like you are in any danger. They also had to do what all zombie games do which is make all the zombies re-spawn which just kills the feel of the game.
The voice acting was nothing great and you never cared about the characters or yourself. I also hate games where they put up barriers to keep you from places you want to go, but it’s something stupid like wooden planks in the water or the world’s largest and steepest hill.
Totally let down by this game, I tried to do the boring missing and I even tried using weaker weapons for a challenge. However, in the end the game is just bad and it makes we wish I was that little girl.
Most Hopeful: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Sure, the game sold a lot and with backing from Bioware and EA I am sure it will do better than the last Star Wars MMO. I still had my doubts and did not read too much because I did not want to spoil the game one way or another and then I played it.
First off, complete voice acting, good voice acting including multiple choices and side quests make a great RPG. For the first time in a long time I care about the story and can’t wait to see it unfold. I think about my decisions, how I act, what I do. I love the companion system that helps you solo or is great in a group and they talk and interact in the story as well.
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Old Republic even has great PVP within warzones and open world. Sure, there are bugs and if you read the forums you will see just as many complaints and whining as any other MMO, but if Bioware stays strong and adds more content, improves little by little and fixes bugs quickly this could be a game you will play for years to come.
So if you have one game to pick for biggest let down and most hopeful which would they be?
Since a ton of us at Obsolete Gamer are playing Star Wars and the MMO section is a little thin we will be bringing you updates and patch notes on The Old Republic. This is the first official patch notes and it looks to correct a lot of bugs and nerf slicing which I loved so much. I did notice they did not address a bug where it resets showing your Sith corruption whenever you zone. Another major change is making the rewards for losing a PVP Warzone much less, that should bring out some whiners.
Here are the direct patch notes:
With this update, the first of many for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, we have addressed several high-priority bugs. We’ve implemented fixes for those players affected by performance issues on Taris and have corrected the problem preventing some pending mission rewards from being accepted. Additionally, the issue that could cause some gathering nodes to appear unharvestable has been addressed, and you’ll notice several bug fixes relating to Flashpoint and Operation content.
We’re committed providing the best possible MMO experience, and will continue releasing fixes and updates on a regular basis.
Thank you for playing Star Wars: The Old Republic!
1.0.1 Patch Notes 12/27/2011
Classes and Combat
Combat Bug Fixes
- Fixed a bug that could cause the global cooldown to display incorrectly in the UI.
- Abilities that require Companion Characters now always correctly require a companion.
- NPCs no longer attempt to engage vanity pets in combat.
- The tooltip for Acid Blade now displays the correct information.
- Fixed an issue that could cause Kira’s affection progression to become blocked.
- Companion Character dialogue now plays at the correct volume.
- Rewards from Slicing have been reduced to bring them into balance with other skills.
- Adjusted incorrect values for medium slicing boxes.
- Corrected an issue that could cause some gathering nodes to appear as unharvestable.
Flashpoints and Operations
- Crowd control immunity has been removed from several members of the Enemy Boarding Party.
Colicoid War Game
- An issue that prevented some players from mounting turrets in this Flashpoint has been corrected.
The Red Reaper
- Darth Ikoral now uses his abilities correctly.
- Mentor now resets correctly if he defeats the player group.
- All players in a group who have a daily Flashpoint mission now get credit for completing that Flashpoint.
- Fixed an issue that could cause players to instantly die when affected by Soa’s knockback.
- Turrets in Normal Mode no longer behave as turrets from Hard Mode.
- Players are now able to properly obtain loot from chests.
- The Ancient Pylons now spawn enemies at the correct intervals.
- Players no longer need to reset this Operation if they do not defeat Bonethrasher.
- Corrected an issue that caused some players to become stuck at the throne room door.
- PvP lockboxes can no longer be sold for credits.
- Fixed incorrect item rewards from PvP leveling lockboxes.
Missions and NPCs
- A New Master: Defeating Teeno no longer causes him to surrender on top of Phyne, making him difficult to interact with.
- General Faraire: All of Khourlet’s Elite Guards are now accessible by the player.
- Fixed a mission-related issue that could cause poor performance and client crashes on Taris for some players.
- Corrected several instances of non-interactive NPCs appearing and disappearing from the player’s view.
- Rewards for winning Warzones have been increased.
- Warzone completion rewards have been decreased.
- Corrected an issue that could prevent some players from entering the Voidstar.
- Made adjustments to prevent attacking players from reaching the doors in the reactor core before bridges are extended.
- Fixed a bug that could prevent players from accepting pending mission rewards.
- Targeting a friendly player no longer occasionally displays incorrect text for the character’s name.
- Corrected an issue that could cause some auction expirations to behave incorrectly.
- The splash screen no longer displays longer than the “accept changes” dialogue when changing resolutions on some computers.
- Master Looter now works correctly for items being looted from chests.
- The server select screen no longer displays over the character select after being disconnected for being away.
- Corrected an issue that could cause mission mapnotes to disappear when a new mission is obtained.
Miscellaneous Bug Fixes
- Special characters no longer display incorrectly in the French credits.
- Remaining baby names have been added to the credits.
- Corrected a link that displayed in French and German versions when the servers are unavailable.
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The thing about games like theses is you can easily believe the goal is to kill people and sadly like many Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft people only care about their kill count.~J.A. Laraque
A little game called HuttBall
So this is not so much a full guide as it is a small explanation of one of the PVP battle zones in Star Wars the Old Republic. Hutt ball is kind of like Rugby with guns and light sabers. The overall goal is to take the ball that spawns in the center of the arena to the enemies end. This sounds simple enough except the enemy team can do anything to stop you.
The thing about games like theses is you can easily believe the goal is to kill people and sadly like many Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft people only care about their kill count. The arena has two main hazards that can be used to your advantage. One is several fire burners than are on a timer and if you get caught on top of one when they go off you are as good as dead. The second are two acid pits that when you fall in them kill your pretty quickly. Also, when you fall inside them you walk slowly so the chances of you getting out are slim.
Looking at the arena there are various platforms that can lead to the enemy goal line and many ways you can get knocked off pretty much guaranteeing you won’t score. This is where knockback abilities come in. Almost every class in SWTOR has some form of knockback and this can be used to knock you into fire, acid or off the platform.
Another very useful tool is stuns or things to slow you down. First off, everyone can sprint when not in combat so when fighting you walk slower. Pretty much all classes can slow you down or stop you in your tracks with an ability. Stopping or slowing an enemy can be used for people holding the ball and for those going after the person with the ball. To combat this you can pass the ball to people.
Unfortunately, most people don’t pass or even know you can. Passing is done by clicking the pass button and then moving the icon over to where you want to pass it. Keep in mind if the person moves or is killed then the ball falls and respawns in the center. An enemy player can also intercept the pass.
Passing is great if your team is split between defending the ball carrier and moving ahead in case the ball carrier gets trapped or slowed or caught in something. The winning teams learn to pass to the right people at the right time and when done right can mean a quick win.
There are a ton of different strategies to this game, however, most people just run around killing with only a few really trying to score or defend. Perhaps there is because the game is still new or because like in W.O.W some people really just suck at anything besides pressing a button to kill someone.
Overall, the game is fun with a good team and if you go in as a guild or with friends it can really be fun if you another good team. The best part is there are no ties, if the score is tied whoever has the ball when time expires wins.
Just one tiny part of Old Republic that makes it a really great MMO.
Japan, I Left Your RPGs On The Sidewalk And Changed The Locks. We’re Through!
My dear and sweet Japan, it breaks my heart to write this message. I hope this tear stained letter lets you know that the way I felt about you… about us was something I will always cherish. While the flickering flame on the candle that represented my love for you has been snuffed, the moments we shared will always be emblazoned into my mind and heart.
Do you remember when we first met, my childhood friend? I was seven years old walking through the SNES rental section of Blockbuster looking for a new game to rent. My little childish sticky hands were all over the Aladdin rental box, a smile stretching from ear to ear as I imagined taking the fight to Jaffar. I skipped down the aisle looking for my mommy so that I could go home with Aladdin and enjoy the adventures of an Arabian night. The other games looked on as I gleefully took flight down towards the register. I was blind to their laminated glare.
Like a rifle’s laser scope, I could feel the pressure of a presence weighing down upon me. This entity’s gaze was fixated on me, reaching out for a friend. Slowly turning to my left, my heart went a flutter. Behind the plastic wrappings of the case was an unknown creature holding a wicked sword. Its white fur and pink nose were innocent yet it held a darkened tormenting blade that screamed out to me like a van with free candy. My grip on Aladdin loosened as he fell to the ground face down and like a handicapped older woman was unable to get up without my help. That is where Aladdin would remain though, living away his last breaths as I stepped closer to examine the enigma in front of me. My fingers raced against the title as I dared to utter the name, your name…
Final Fantasy III.
At the time I was ignorant to your true identity. How could I have known? I was only a child and you offered me the ambrosia of adventure. I brought you into my home and for the first time in my life, I learned from a game. I read, I established connections with a game’s characters, I felt remorse for a fictional struggle, and I…
Well, you know…
I fell in love.
Yes, I said it. I fell in love with you, Japan and your RPGs. I still wanted to take that magic carpet ride but not with Aladdin. You engrossed me into your adventures and made me actually care about story and my characters. I chose characters who statistically sucked but because I felt for their background, I strived to turn them into weapons of perfection so we could see their adventure through to the end. I never thought I would experience anything like this ever again. I thought our love was a once in a life time voyage, a one night stand that left me laying in my motel room bed dripping like a used whore.
I was wrong. You kindled my heart through and through for the years. You invaded my life like a powerful militant country raping and pillaging my childhood for resources. You attempted to take them by force but you didn’t expect one thing, Japan. I welcomed you with open arms.
Like Teth-Adam meeting his Isis, your power and my love for you flourished for years to come. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Suikoden, and the others. Month after month, year after year, it seemed like an eternity that our love would last.
Then things changed…
You became predictable. Another story about a hero who has amnesia? Another villain who dresses like David Bowie? What was that? Someone wants to destroy the world for no fucking reason? Wait, what? The hero can’t speak and can only express themselves by exclamation points and question marks? This is what you bring me?
Like a disgruntled woman on her anniversary, discontent with the predictable present of flowers and a dinner at Bennigan’s, my loins yearned for more than what you had to offer. I had seen too many movies on Lifetime. You were the villain in all of this. You were the man who didn’t lust for me and you know what, Japan? I stopped lusting for you. I went back home. I went West. I went to America.
The West showed me something that you couldn’t show me. They showed me how my actions can change the story. They showed me how my hero was capable of the greater good or the most unspeakable horror. America wasn’t one dimensional. They let me choose.
You forced me into this linear adventure with the same old characters. You took away the tragedy that I loved in you. There wasn’t any drama. You filled your games with twelve year old heroes who from the very beginning accepted their role as a savior. You are nothing like America and I’m sorry for that.
I love my complicated and deep storylines. I love my free reign in the events to unfold. I love not playing as a clean shaven emotionally complicated hero. I love The West’s Clint Eastwood attitude. It makes me feel like I’m in control. Not you! Me!
Knights of the Old Republic, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age have yanked me from your grasp. I didn’t secretly leave you. The evidence was there the whole time. They took what your wrought and pushed it to another level… a level that I’m afraid you won’t reach.
Japan, you are the clean shaven boy with flowers who took me to the prom, the one who promised to bring me home before 11pm. America is the boy I want to leave with after 11pm. He has tattoos, he smokes, and his motorcycle is fueled by the blood of kittens. At the end of that night, you hope I give you a kiss but America hopes they can pop all my cherries in one session.
I’m sorry Japan, but for now this is good bye. Your lack of creativity, your undying urge to force me into a position I don’t think I want to be in, your inability to manifest a story that hasn’t already been done, and making me play as a he-she has forced this.
Is this the life that you want to lead? Will you take the road that has been laid out before you or will we meet again somewhere else in our lives?
Good bye Japan…
I don’t want to sound bias but do video games lacking story make you want to play the sequel or even finish the game? I think a well-established story can motivate you to playing a game to its full completion. There are so many video games that I have picked up that I just can’t finish because the story and game play are so bad that I don’t even want to bother completing it. Do game companies just think of a good game mechanic and just say “Ya know what? Let’s just build something decent around this engine and hope it sells.” I honestly believe that even a game with a shitty engine could sell well if its story is captivating.
I used to be part the creative team for an online forum text based role-playing game. The game mechanics were simple. Write a 1,000 word role-play depicting what you’re doing that day in your adventure and myself or one of the moderators will come in and grade your writing and let you know how much damage you did if you were fighting, what you would be fighting, or how you should proceed given the options you are left with. Sounds tedious doesn’t it? Writing over 1,000 words just to illustrate what you were doing is a bit obnoxious but we did it this way so we got players to make actual stories and not just “NATHANIEL WALKED INTO DA BAR AND PUNCHED MACARTHUR SO HARD!” and then we’d have to moderate that. Instead we got a short story about the character’s adventure. You may ask yourself why anyone would play this game if it was obviously so tiresome to make a post this long just to advance. Well, compared to other message boards of the same category, we were the largest with around 150-200 active members. What made people keep playing and want to part of this world? It was our story, the world, and the characters within it. It ran for about three years with constant activity until we finally shut it down because we couldn’t handle the work load with our current staff and also come up with more stories since we spent way too much time moderating. The story overtook game play and also made a lot of people much better writers than they were when they first began at the site.
Lets take Final Fantasy for instance. Very few people actually anticipated the sequels to Final Fantasy because they needed their turn-based action. People kept playing Final Fantasy because the story made you want to fulfill the accomplishment of beating the game. You wanted to be that hero with the help of your ragtag group of adventurers, which saved the world. Stories make the game memorable and even make loyal fans keep playing. I still played Final Fantasy 13 even though I thought it was one of the worst stories in any Final Fantasy or RPG ever. I continued to play it because I believed that Square-Enix would turn the story around somewhere and make this an experience that was worth enduring the bland characters and adventure. Alas, ADD addled maniacs wrote it and it ended being a total piece of shit. I did think, though, that the game play was better but not worth the agonizingly retarded story. But you get where I’m going with this? I loved the Final Fantasy franchise because of the story and STILL completed this abomination of a sequel just because I loved previous stories and believed in the game’s track record.
There are games out there with good stories but are horribly paced. Red Dead Redemption has a good story from what I can tell by my six hours of game play that I put into it, however, I’ve had the game for almost 2 months now and I haven’t bothered to keep playing it because it is astoundingly drawn out. I don’t feel I’ve made a dent in the story because of all the “filler” non-sense in between pivotal moments in the game. The initial taste of story you are given doesn’t give you an urgency to want to see what happens next because the game takes so long to introduce you to anything worthwhile and intriguing.
Then, you have games that have a story that is apparently fleshed out but it sounds like a SyFy Channel Original Movie. I know it was a blockbuster game, but Assassin’s Creed’s story was horrible. The game play is atrocious and the story is almost vomit inducing. You know how in the Matrix when they upload the knowledge of Kung Fu into Neo’s head and it only takes a whole 5 seconds for him to be a total badass? Ok, imagine Neo learning Kung Fu but it requires him to deal with some past master’s life over the course of a few hours. That is Assassin’s Creed. The introduction to the sequel had me turning off my 360 almost instantly when they mentioned the word “Templar Masters.” For villains who take place in the modern era, aren’t masters kind of a childish thing to call them? That sounds like something a five year old who couldn’t think of a creative name made up while playing with his action figures. The main character himself looks like a chump and is way too foolish to be a hero, which is what this series is setting him up to be. He has to learn from his French ancestors how to fight better or something but if memory serves me right didn’t he learn how to be awesome in the first game? Apparently not, because he couldn’t even handle security guards who lacked batons or guns on his own. He needed a GIRL to save him. Good job, nerd. A chick had to back you up against rent-a-cops. I lost interest in this game within 30 minutes.
Some games have too much story. Think about Metal Gear Solid 4. Were we playing a game or an interactive movie? From what I recall, I got to sneak around some hallways for 5 minutes before being interrupted by 30 minutes of cinematic and dialog. If you’re going to make a game heavy in story make it interactive so I have something to do while you’re blabbing about your military and science bullshit. You know what I remember about the MGS4 story? Not much at all due to the fact that every single time the game would take control away from me I left the room to make tea or I put a pillow over my face and woke up when I noticed the talking ended. The story became way too encumbering and I only finished it because it was the finale to the series or so it was believed at that time.
If the gaming industry needs someone to look to in order to make games with decent game play but highly engrossing stories there is a little company called Bioware that completely decimates the industry with its captivating stories and player involvement. Dragon Age and Mass Effect are their two hottest franchises right now and it’s hard to argue that either has a monotonous story or boring main character. Commander Shepard is a bad ass and they sway from good or evil but the ends always justify the means regardless of the decision. The nameless Grey Warden leader in Dragon Age does what needs to get done despite the situation he/she is placed under. While I love both franchises, I dislike the villains and I feel they could do more than just have a villain who wants to shit dicks all over the world because they are evil. In Dragon Age, Loghain was a rather interesting character but they didn’t focus much on him. I feel if they did it would’ve been much more difficult to stomp on his dreams and kill him when it came down to it. The game always leaves you thinking that he is possessed by a demon or somehow working for the enemy, but he isn’t. He’s just a man with an opposing view and you aren’t really given a chance to understand his action because you get the option to decapitate him, which any reasonable person will do. Only a total pussy wouldn’t chop off someone’s head if given the option. Do note how I compliment the story so much in these Bioware games but I don’t even mention the game play experience. That would be because it is rather simple and nothing introduced has been revolutionary. It’s the story that kept me playing over and over and over.
So video game industry, this is what I’m demanding from you from now on. There will be no “ifs”, “ands” , or “buts” about this. I want a hero who isn’t a metrosexual and has a beard. Yeah I said it. I want more heroes with beards. I want a villain who has a really good reason to want to do the things they do other than just being a total chode. We need someone we could see siding with if given the appropriate circumstances. I don’t want “The dark forces of” to be part of a story anymore. I’m sick of one-dimensional villains. Why can’t it just be an opposing country or something? Sephiroth wasn’t born evil. He went bat shit when he found out how he was made and wanted to destroy the planet for his mama. See? I can side with that. He loved his mom so much he wanted to make her proud. I’m sick of Ganon being a total dick for no reason. I want likeable party members. I don’t need anymore Wakka’s or Snow’s who think they are hot shit but are incredibly obnoxious. Do the creators even play the games? Do they not notice how annoying these kinds of characters are? Get rid of them. If you want a fun loving side character make him a happy drunk or something. Don’t make the game a movie by leaving us on the sidelines with lack of interactivity. I don’t want to sit through dialog that I have no say in for thirty fucking minutes. If this scene really has to happen make it worth listening to. Don’t get all scientific and shit. I’m playing this game for entertainment, not to learn how to fucking make a clone in real life. This is all I demand from you. In return, I will give you my money if you don’t somehow fuck this up.
Do you guys think that the story matters in a game or are you fine with stories that are as bland as Tetris?
First I have to apologize because the plan was to be there in time for all the announcements and that just did not happen. However, we were able to get some pictures and some footage for the hour we had, but we promise tomorrow will be a full day and bring you everything we can from E3.
Now let’s talk about what we do have. I was able to check out some display cases holding the new Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, we did not get a spec or game list, but that will be forthcoming. For now check out all the colors.
Next up was something cool. As you know Marvel versus Capcom 3 is being released soon and we were able to test it out and it was pretty awesome. After playing we realized we needed to get some footage so here is some game-play footage from MvC3.
After this we made our way over to the south building just in time to see a trailer for the new Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic. Now please excuse the shaky camera, we are poor here at Obsolete Gamer.
Okay, so we admit we get a D- minus for day one coverage, but we will be back tomorrow for day two to make up for it so stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter page for updates. Now where did I put that alarm clock?
So Honorabili brought you some of the top PC games coming out in March, now it’s my turn and I pulled consoles duty so let’s do this.
Final Fantasy XIII – March 9th
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – March 9th
Mega Man 10 (XBL PS Network) – March 11th
God of War III – March 16th
Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – March 16th
Supreme Commander 2 – March 16th
Red Steel 2 – March 23rd
MotoGP 09/10 – March 23rd
Prison Break: The Conspiracy – March 30th
Final Fantasy XIII – I’m not a fanboi, honestly I did not like the way 12 played and the MMO had a lot in it I did not like, having said that the folks over at Square Enix have come back with a pretty awesome looking game with a battle system that looks really fun to play. We know it will have the great graphics and music, but the story and gameplay elements are what looks to be a excellent as well. Is it perfect, no, but I think XIII will be a winner for not only square but fans of the series.
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition – Yes, this game came out already but this gold edition will bring you not only the full game, but all the downloadable content as well as new playable episodes. If you haven’t played this game now is the time to get it. The single player is well done from story to action even though I personally felt the aiming speed was a bit slow. However, the mercenary’s game is excellent and is almost worth the price alone. Overall this is a five star game and with the added content it is a must play title.
Mega Man 10 – Keep in mind this is a XBL/PSN game and is the old classic style gameplay. Then again it is mega man and if you don’t like mega man or have beaten at least part 1, 2, or 3 you are not a real gamer and should be (threatening words towards our fans removed)
God of War III – Ever since Kratos unleashed his bloody beat-downs on the PS2 fans have been hooked and when the PS3 was announced the calls for a new God of War game came pouring in. If you played GOW 1 or 2 you have to get this game and if you never played the series before then come on in the blood is warm. They did the game right, they kept the things people loved from the series and added cool new features like using enemies as a battering ram and switching weapons on the fly. The graphics are incredible, the gameplay is bloody as ever and if you have a PS3 and you don’t pick this title up, you suck, there I said it.
Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening – This is an expansion to the popular monster slaying game and like God of War the BioWare gang decided to give the fans more of what they wanted and none of what they didn’t. They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel and instead kept to what they did best by bring you a good story and characters you care about. What you do get is a ton of new items, an expanded level cap and new members to join your party. In Awakening you can import your old DA character or start as a totally new one. A solid game and what looks to me to be a solid expansion.
Supreme Commander 2 – Supreme Commander is RTS and if you played Total Annihilation you will see the evolution of full-scale, full-size high tech war. In SC2 the strategy comes even more into play as you tackle the three different game modes, assassination where your goal is to kill the opponent’s Supreme Commander, supremacy which tasks you to wipe your enemy off the face of the planet and infinite war which lets you fight it out until you are sleepy and turn off the console. In face infinite war is good because it lets you try out various skills and tech trees without a time constraint. The game will feature 21 multiplayer maps and you can play with up to four people on the 360 along with XBL support for ladders and stat tracking. If you like futuristic RTS games then Supreme Commander 2 should be on your buy list.
Red Steel 2 – We have talked about how some games kept to what they did best, in Red Steel 2 the Ubisoft team decided to totally remake the game and not just because it is a Wii title. No longer are you in a modern day world, in RS2 you find yourself in a wild-west type world mixed in with ninja’s and computer hackers, if this sounds crazy well it is. This game is pretty much a hack and slasher with some pretty nice combos thrown in. Using the Wii remote you can swing to your heart’s content slaying anyone stupid enough to step in your way.
MotoGP 09/10 – Maybe motorbike racing isn’t for everyone, but Moto GP is a long running series of great racing games and with Monumental Games taking over they have the task of giving fans the greatness of the classic games with an updated feel. Some of the changes we will see in 09/10 are a time attack arcade mode and 20-player online matches. One of the biggest changes is incorporating the full 2009 and 2010 seasons into the game. There will be tons of customization from your bike to your gear and of course downloadable content for new bikes and features. Honestly if you like racing games in general then this is a game to check out.
Prison Break: The Conspiracy – Look I’ll be honest I put this game in the list because I liked the show (well the first two seasons anyway), but really this game doesn’t look to bad. It runs parallel to the first season of the show where you play Tom Paxton an agent of “The Company” and your job is to follow Michael Schofield into Fox River prison and find out what he is up to. The game mixes stealth and good old prison fighting and best of all it is voiced by all the original actors except the sexy Dr. Sara Tancredi (awe), but hey we get to hear T-bags awesome accent. The game price is worth that alone am I right?
So there you have it, now keep in mind there are more games coming out than what I listed and I am not saying that the ones not on the list aren’t good, but these are the ones that I believe will be fun to play and worth at least a rental. (yes, even Prison Break)
If there is one game that deserves to be the first trailer in our new category it’s Star Wars, Old Republic. Check out this trailer on the return to Taris from the folks over at Bioware.
Once home to a sprawling planet-wide city, Taris was razed long ago by the Sith Lord Darth Malak while seeking to eliminate the Jedi Knight Bastila Shan. Now, a post-apocalyptic Taris is being realized in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. After 300 years, Republic and Jedi leaders are moving forward with the efforts at colonization.
Watch insights from James Ohlen, Drew Karpyshyn, Scott Carpenter, and Mark How about the new environments – and adventures – awaiting players in our latest Developer Dispatch: Returning to Taris!
Mass Effect 2 review by Honorabili
WARNING: This review is not for fanboys or people who like simple games or dumbed down RPGs. If you have played as many RPGs as I have, you will find it useful.
One Sentence Review:
“More action-rpg space opera mayhem”
7 out of 10
Mass Effect 2 is a sequel to one of the better modern RPGs out there. Both Mass Effect games are a lot like Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR), taking some elements from the early Fallout games and Planescape: Torment. The game plays like an interactive movie done by a really good director.
I will assume that people who played this game have already played the first one. If you haven’t, you should stop reading this and go play ME1 instead before looking at this game.
You take the role again of Shepard, Captain of the Normandy. I won’t get into any spoilers but the intro of the game will leave you saying “WHAT THE HELL?!” You go around the galaxy recruiting/commanding a team of soldiers, scientists, engineers, etc. trying to uncover clues and complete missions that get you closer to attacking the home of the main baddies, etc.
I won’t cover spoilers and I am writing this review from the perspective of someone that has been playing RPGs from the mid 80s, both normal RPGs (table-top, pen and paper) and classic computer RPGs (non-MMO). Most media out there considers this game the next best thing to sliced bread but I have found some areas that I thought could have been better, especially since they were available in previous Bioware games.
In general, in both games I have a problem with the way they made the dialogue circle. It’s fairly evident after you have been playing for a few minutes that all the nice/good-guy/Paragon options are positioned towards the top of the circle and the asshole/bad-guy/Renegade towards the bottom. My beef with this is that in real life, there’s more to just the extremity of being super nice Jesus Chris Superstar or being Satan/Adolf Hitler. I wish they would have implemented more alignments than just good or bad. In reality nothing is black or white. How about a grey zone? The game has it but all the responses for most of those choices are half assed and you will usually end up getting screwed by the game when you try to apply a rational solution to a problem that compromises both sides.
I wish they would go away from this dumbed down choose-your-own-adventure system and go back towards the roots of more intricate RPGs. It’s kind of annoying how they only phrase part of what your response would be in the options. I miss the days of being able to look at 8-9 different responses that were worded out exactly as my character would deliver them. I would look at lines in Fallout 2 or Planescape: Torment and think “hey, that’s really clever, let’s see what happens?!” Now I can just click on the obvious choices and just keep making my guy nicer/more of an asshole. Like, it takes no skill or thought.
Some people have said that this is now more an action game than rpg. A big problem I found with the action is that there are NO GRENADES. Grenades have been a part of warfare for more than 100 years now. Are you telling me there are no more being used by the military in the future?
Mass Effect 2 vs Mass Effect 1:
ME2 is a lot like part 1 but many things are changed as well.
The first thing that you will notice is that character progression is pretty primitive vs ME1. The game lacks an attribute progression system (hell all attributes in general other than shields, HPs, DPS).
They have done away with the planetary landings/random missions (they are MUCH less in ME2) and your little buggy is gone, which they in turn have replaced with you launching probes (which magically mine minerals for you) from a point and click screen. This is a huge mistake as, at least to me, this was one of the funnest parts of part 1 and that’s the difference between me beating part 1 in 1.5 weeks playing a good 4-6 hours a day and me destroying ME2 in 3 days only. The probing is BORING as hell. I’m good at it but basically as soon as I would start doing it, it would put me in the mood to go do something else (like go play another game or go to sleep). You might say, “Hey, it’s a good concept” but it’s been done right in other games, like Star Control 2 (The Ur-Quan Masters, a 1992 space exploration/combat game, with rpg elements to it). They should have included the buggy and maybe added a chemical analyzer to it to manually explore and drop off mining drones. That might have given the game a feel sort of like Koronis Rift, a lost Lucasfilm Games classic for c64 and other 8-bit computers/systems.
The game was dumbed down even further by removing the inventory system. When you kill enemies the only thing they drop is generic ammo, which you adapt to fit on any gun. This is the same as the previous game, and yes it does make the game go a lot faster. It’s not very realistic though, at least from the perspective of loot. It would have been nice if they gave you bonus money for salvaging and selling the weapons/armor/equipment that enemies dropped, for missions where you can pick that stuff up (not ones where you run off a ship/space station that is blowing up). That part of the game just made no sense to me. Some people think this is an improvement of the game but a good part in just about every RPG is gear/weapons/armor/tool management. Many people who play RPGs care about loot and having special items for their characters. (Some real RPG purists will argue otherwise but the plug-and-play system of loot in this game is just silly).
The game now makes you research for weapon mods, which for which you get resources by probing/mining (the game killer for me). You still buy stuff at stores but they are mainly mods which lead to new research projects for which you still need to waste time mining. This feels like grinding except that you’re not killing anything except strip mining a planet through a simple little interface. Where’s the action?
The fight scenes are pretty nice but they are impaired by probing/mining in between missions. I’m only really bitching about it so much because if you want to unlock every item mod/ship mod, you will have to spend time grinding on the probes. That’s not my idea of fun.
The fights themselves are pretty fun, although they are easy, especially with the dumb A.I. (see below) and lack of challenge.
The story is nice, but essentially it’s more of the first game (which I love) but it lacks more secret/side quests. It would have been nice to see more of those that secretly integrated into the background of the main story. An example is in Planescape: Torment when you buy a little toy Modron (an artificial robot race in this fantasy setting) and he lets you go to a special Modron dimension that’s an endless Dungeon. I think something like that is unique in a game but I see how that could make a game company dedicate a lot of resources towards something like that. Some people consider Planescape: Torment to be a failure as a “product” but it’s more like what a real RPG (non video game) is like than many others.
I would have liked as well to have seen a LOT MORE interaction between characters while in missions. I purposely picked characters on missions that would have ethical problems with whatever the mission was at hand. I would have liked to have seen them interacting more with each other, maybe even arguing rather than provide a one liner like “Shepard I don’t agree with this, but you’re the Captain.” They had that in Planescape: Torment but I would like that developed even more than that so it seems like you’re dealing with real people/real characters.
Back to ME2, I would have liked more interactivity with my plot/dialogue choices and more challenging combat and NO grinding/mining (if I wanted that I would go play an MMO). When I played ME1 or KOTOR, I cherished every moment. As I played ME2 I just felt like “okay let’s beat it to say I beat it.” I liked the characters in ME1 more as well but that’s beside the point of this section. Fun Factor got a score of 6 out of 10. Bring back more non-predictable dialogue/plot and better/harder/more intense action and my love will return.
Overall, I found this game to be easy. There’s multiple difficulties but overall you won’t feel much of a difference unless you play it on the max difficulty. Doing that will sometimes create a situation where if the story dictates that you get screwed/ambushed by multiple enemies from multiple directions, you will often die then. That’s not really an issue for most of the game because you can just switch the difficulty on the fly through the options menu, and that IS useful.
The A.I. of the game is pretty linear/retarded (for the enemies). It’s not as bad as Dragon Age: Origins (that literally made me stop playing that game, although I bought that game). The biggest problem I had with the A.I. is that the enemies take cover really POORLY. In just about 95% of all combat in the game I have just been able to keep attacking the enemy even when they hide behind a box or wall. I especially love when they hide everything except the top of their head and I just unload a clip of sniper rifle on their sweet spot.
I would have liked the A.I. to get smarter as I set it on a higher difficulty, and not just lower my regen rate. Oh, yes, you have a regen rate in Mass Effect 2. Healing items are pretty common and they’re pretty useless unless you’re a really bad gamer. On the 2nd to last and even on the max difficulty there have only been about 2 real fights where I needed to heal my character. The rest of the time I just take cover and drink some tea and pretend I’m playing Gears of War.
The option to change the difficulty is nice (although it doesn’t do much) but the game is a cakewalk (for me). Difficulty Versatility get a score of 6 out of 10.
The best price for the PC at the time of this writing that I found quickly was from gogamer.com for $41.90.
For Xbox 360, on gogamer.com they have it on “sale” right now for $52.50, which is a bit steep for me, but then again I don’t buy console games as they are expensive.
The game took me about 3 days to beat which is longer than most new video games these days. The problem with RPGs is that unless they have dramatically different replayabilities then they’re pretty much a game you will play NOW and then again a year or so later. I can justify more paying money like that for a game you can play daily, whether a strategy game (any Civilization game) or FPS (Unreal Tournament series, Call of Duty, Team Fortress 2) than a game you will play sparsely like this one.
Most fans will pay the current amount for the game, if they like it enough to buy. If you are a fast gamer like me, especially for the console crowd, you’re better off renting the game.
I give Value a score of 5 out of 10. Too expensive for my blood to buy but longer than most one shot games out there.
I unlocked pretty much everything on my first run of the game, so I don’t think I’ll replay this for a while now. I’d probably replay Mass Effect 1 before I replay this one anyways (especially since I think ME1 is a better game).
If they add more missions, game modes through DLC then it would entice me to play it again (assuming they addressed at least some of the game design problems I had with ME2). The problem I have with DLC is that it’s simply a way for companies to milk you of more money for stuff they could have included in the game to make it a better game from the start. Business-wise it’s a good move (for profits) but it does make inferior games come out.
Some of my friends are as of this moment replaying it as a different class but the game overall is the same. For me that has the same appeal as watching a movie and then immediately rewatching it. Unless an rpg has a lot of different endings and side quests that are unique to that way you picked to play, then they don’t really have much replayability. Since I have really good memory, I will not go back to ME2 for a long while, maybe before Mass Effect 3 comes out. I give replayability a score of 4 out of 10.
The sound effects are nicely picked. You have many sounds from ME1 repeated but they did the job for that game and they continue to work for this one. Some of their menu interfaces have their own sounds and they are pleasant. The weapons sound authentic and that’s important for an action (rpg) game.
The voice actors do a good job and you will hear familiar voices (not just from the gaming industry) doing an amazing job with their characters. I think they add a great level of immersion to the game. Sound gets a score of 9 out of 10.
The music is great for this game but my beef with it is that it is not constantly playing. There will be some songs like the galaxy interface that you will hear over and over. Some songs, like the ones in your private quarters, are pretty epic, but you can only listen to them by going into that room (for which you hardly ever go into). I would have liked an option to force the game to play music constantly to be integrated, and you can make specific songs override what’s playing for dramatic effect in cut scenes or specific fights.
The music I enjoyed but if we can’t really hear it then it’s not really there. Music gets a score of 7 out of 10. It’s there and great, just absent.
Eye candy! This game looks just as good as ME1 and even almost as good as Dead Space. I think they did a great job with the ingame graphics and cut scene movies. Graphics get a score of 10 out of 10.
The game never crashed for me, even though I alt-tabbed the game a bunch of times. You’d expect a game with such a pretty graphics engine to go nuts from that but it never did. In fact, I purposely crashed the game sometimes to see if it could recover and the game relaunched immediately, with no performance hit. Stability/Reliability gets a score of 10 out of 10.
For PC, the controls are pretty standard. WASD moves you around, the mouse aims, F melee attacks, Shift pauses the game (so that you can issue squad commands and use powers), and Spacebar is the general use/run/everything else key. The controls could have been a bit better, such as including a crouch key, common in most other FPS games, rather than forcing me to run like a little girl for cover. The general action spacebar key sometimes got me killed because my character decided to stand up from cover rather than jump over it. Controls get a score of 7 out of 10. They are enough considering how easy ME2 is but they feel primitive.
The game runs pretty okay on my 2 year old gaming PC. There were moments, especially during heavy action sequences when the game did lag/skip frames. Most people will be satified with the overall performance of the game, especially since the graphics of the game are PRETTY. Performance gets a score of 8 out of 10.
My history with this game:
Overall, I like the game. (I’m not as much of a hater as you’d think, but I am critical). I have my opinions on what I wish they would have done differently and I hope they implement some of those changes especially for when we see Mass Effect 3, which is pretty much guaranteed to be made considering how much money this franchise makes.