Mass Defect: Starfeld

By Kieron Gillen on February 11th, 2010 at 10:03 am.

We had one fitted in RPS' cave, but it broke within the week.

I started the day with a micro-webgame which one Mr DMcCool discovered over at the Indie game Blog. “As far as I can tell its a hilarious minimalist critique of Mass Effect,” says DMcCool, which sounds so much the sort of thing I’d write, I’m just going to quote it. Tricky moral dilemmas! Memorable characters! Upgradeable characters! Questionable and repetitive gameplay! Shocking twists! It’s Starfeld.

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58 Comments »

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  1. Robert Yang says:

    Attention: It’s actually called “StarFELD.” This is very important.

  2. Ian says:

    I can’t be bothered replaying it to do everything in evil fashion but I (spoilers!) gave all the crazy deviants up to the police when they asked me to after being Mr Nice Guy. Muahahaha.

    Deep stuff.

  3. Nerd Rage says:

    They forgot the loading screen between each crew member’s room.

    • Premium User Badge

      Riaktion says:

      thats the worst bit of Mass Effect 2. I really hate that.

      Loading next comment….

  4. Lilliput King says:

    Despite being ill I wheezed uproariously at “let me fuck you for saving my puppy”

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      let me marry you for saving my puppy! And in the game..

    • CMaster says:

      “You drugged me and got me pregnant! What kind of captain are you?”

    • Jesse says:

      CMaster, it’s like we’re playing different games! I’ve got to go back and try to get that result…

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Your puppy is of an extremely rare and delicious breed. It would be a waste to let it age in human care.

      best moral choices ever

  5. Flaringo says:

    It’s just like I’m playing Mass Effect! :D

  6. D says:

    Is this spoiler free at all?

  7. CMaster says:

    If you be an asshole the whole way through, the last mission is pretty near impossible.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I did it!

    • CMaster says:

      I got to 1 seconds left a few times, which was ratehr frustrating. Particuarly as I made the “wrong” final choice on my “paragon” play through.

    • LionsPhil says:

      @CMaster: You think that’s bad? It’s possible to fail as the timer ticks over to showing -1 onscreen. Well-programmed this ‘ain’t.

      Tempting to run the thing through strings just to see if there are intermediate dialogue trees between the extremes, or a "save the people who hate you" ending; definately not tempting to play the "game" part again.

  8. Helm says:

    I laughed at the line ‘I’m a fully certified yoga instructor’

  9. Bowlby says:

    I get it – Mass Effect 2 is formulaic, I agree. It’s still a lot more fun than playing this.

    I admit, the “let me fuck you for saving my puppy” line would have made me laugh, if I had actually enjoyed the game long enough to make it that far, but whatever.

  10. GCU Speak Softly says:

    Not enough lifts, man. I loved those lift journeys.

  11. merc says:

    Well that was fucking tedious.

  12. sana says:

    That’s… utterly terrible.

  13. Wulf says:

    Really quite jocular, that. Also: The Internet has taught me that there are large sects of people who fail to understand tongue-in-cheek humour, and attack it even when it’s harmless. Also, also: These people usually fail at irony, too.

    “Let me fuck you for saving my puppy.” – probably the best line of the game. It makes a funny point about how characters in some games (not just Mass Effect) whore themselves out to the hero for performing the most mundane of heroic tasks.

    • sana says:

      Yeah, how dare people not be impressed by a bunch of pixels and 2 lines of hee-larious sarcasm? They better bloody appreciate everything some random flash user on the internet throws at them!

    • Lilliput King says:

      Guess what the internet has taught me?

      People don’t understand the meaning of the phrase ‘tongue-in-cheek,’ or the words irony or sarcasm. Minor quibble.

      If anything, it’s base satire. Most of the humour falls pretty flat, too.

      “and then I jerked off”

      HAHAHA

    • Wulf says:

      @Lilliput King

      Which is pretty much the point, isn’t it?

    • Lilliput King says:

      Hehe. It would be, if ME2 featured any jerking off.
      But it doesn’t. ME2 is hardly po-faced, yet never drops to such a base level to add humour to the proceedings. So what is it satirising? I’m amazed you actually like it. As a parody, it’s far too broad to score many points. As satire, it’s an inarticulate, childish critique. As a game, it’s fucking terrible.
      It’s not as clever as it thinks it is, and it doesn’t think it’s very clever. Did have that one good line, though.

    • Nalano says:

      Sometimes, Wulf, it’s not that we muggles don’t understand humor. Sometimes it’s just not all that funny.

  14. terry says:

    Jesus, those controls are absolutely abhorrent.

  15. GetOutOfHereStalker says:

    This is not Seinfeld in space and that’s terrible.

  16. LionsPhil says:

    I love the cutting parody of crappy romance subplots.

    Top tip: bypass most of the shonky flight “game” by hiding in the top or bottom left corner. You may very occasionally need to slightly move up to shoot an asteroid slightly overlapping you, but otherwise can just camp to victory, avoiding the terrible collision detection.

  17. LionsPhil says:

    Strings.

    So, yes, there’s an ending for “be a bastard and then inexplicably trust your crew”. It does not go well.

    I’m not quite sure how one would arrive at the fellatio UAC prompt.

  18. Jesse says:

    This game is still better than the hacking mini-“games” in ME 2. I would rather play this than scan for minerals, open wall safes, or hack doors.

    I think that’s awesome. Well done. Thanks for the link! This is just what I was whining about (sorry) the other day in the ME 2 Wot I Think comments. This game is almost more sophisticated in the sense that in your absence, other crew members can interact with each other, and even have romances of their own. I think Bioware should consider adding that feature in the next game, if they can do it for less than $500,000.

    • Enshu says:

      Exactly! I grow tired waiting when every single character in most of RPGs we have stops acting like there’s no one except for our hero/ine. It is almost sad they never really interact with each other these days. It would be nice to see them flirting, or arguing, or even hating each other, why is it always the player that gets all the girls? Or boys. Or girls and boys. Or aliens.__.

  19. Auspex says:

    I am a good captain!

  20. 1stGear says:

    Hopefully, a Bioware dev won’t flip a tit at it like they did with the Hellforge chart.

    • Nalano says:

      Well, the Hellforge thing was kinda silly in that it was somebody who liked Bioware games making a friendly satire about them and receiving a curt but sincere response from a Dev.

      This isn’t quite so friendly, tho I doubt it’ll generate much response.

    • Clayton Hughes says:

      I’m totally ignorant of the response to the chart. Is this available online somewhere? My Google-Fu is terrible.

  21. DMcCool says:

    The line that made me chortle beyond all others was most definately:

    Oh! Thank you for saving my puppy.
    As a mark of gratitude,
    Let me upgrade the lasers.

    Genius.

    Also, I made a thing be on RPS me! Yay!

  22. def says:

    Went about a minute and when I failed for the sixth or so time at the incredibly shitty space travel, I instantly lost all interest in it.

    Be funny all you want, but if your gameplay is shit, I am not gonna bother.

    • DMcCool says:

      I swear I’m the only one who LIKES the gameplay. Something so bleakly crap it reminded me of all the similar half-baked mini games in big-budget RPGs.

    • terry says:

      I have this real problem these days with games where people say “Yeah, that bit’s bad, but when you get past it… man!” It’s like someone trying to sell me a roll they’ve taken a crap into for lunch.

    • Mil says:

      @terry:

      You mean when people do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl461mVrMFo

  23. destx says:

    Oh god I love the music.

  24. sana says:

    Also, what the hell is wrong with the hacking minigames? They’re fun. It’s like memory, but without the memorizing bit. For me they started getting tedious on my SECOND playthrough. You’re all bloody wusses, that’s what you are!

    • Jesse says:

      I would insult your intelligence, but I’m going to refrain from kicking a man when he’s already put himself down.

    • sana says:

      Go ahead after a game of matching icons is no longer a concept of abominable difficulty to you!

    • Wulf says:

      The hacking minigames were actually one of the things about ME2 I didn’t like, either. Despite having bad sight, I found them incredibly easy and just ultimately repetitive. “Oh, right, purple bit there, that has a white block at the top…” About four hours into the game I found I could hack most things in 3-4 seconds. Then it just got boring, very boring… and I begun to wish that I could just push a button and have it done for me since I found it so mind-numbingly easy anyway.

      ME3 should have VVVVVV screens as hacking segments.

    • Nick says:

      Um, its not that they are hard, its that they are so mind numbingly easy as to be a massive waste of time and they may as well not be there.

  25. geldonyetich says:

    It was a nauseatingly poorly executed experience whose transparent redeeming quality could, in the right light and with the assistance of narcotics, be interpreted as a vital question as to what’s wrong with the world today.

    In other words, it meets all the criteria of modern art.

  26. robaal says:

    Long loading times is actually some sort of bug with the UT3 engine.
    If you set MassEffect2.exe affinity in Task Manager to only one CPU, click OK and then set it back to both cores everything in the Normandy loads in less than 5 seconds.

  27. Space Cowboy says:

    I got killed because I didn’t have sex with any of my crew mates D:

  28. Firndeloth says:

    I found this rather tedious. It wasn’t exactly biting satire. It was more … “Oh aren’t modern action RPGs a bit silly sometimes? Especially that second spacey shooter one Bioware did?” If you really disliked Mass Effect 2 or were severely disappointed by all the potential it deftly evaded, I suppose I can see why you would feel light-heartedly validated by this game. But I was severely disappointed by the side-stepped potential as well* and this just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I’m a satire snob. I just don’t think specifically frustrating or crappy gameplay can effectively satirize a game that had very specific issues with gameplay. In a general sense, the gameplay in ME2 worked as a customizable off-rails gallery shooter (which was certainly upsetting if you were expecting a more compelling and varied gameplay experience). I guess I just didn’t understand what is was saying with the game sections. Gameplay in ME2 is bad? Gameplay was too linear (it’s supposed to be pretty linear …)? That’s not satire … that’s generalized commentary. For me satire has to be in itself well crafter enough to entertain on it’s own merit whether or not the intent is to mock. Without something separately compelling, it’s just mockery. Which is fine, there’s lots of amusing mockery–this one just didn’t hit me right.

    *Partly because the things that went right were so well polished and executed that the things that weren’t at least first class were painfully incongruous and anything mediocre to annoying was outright appalling–it’s the Special Relativity of Entertainment Quality. And partly because bits of the later were … mediocre or annoying. Hacking min-games, the sheer volume of the crew as an exchange for depth of interaction, lack of connection between crew members (I wanted to see things like Grunt and Thane interacting … they could have had some interesting chemistry in conversation … alas the most I remember getting was Miranda and Hot Topic throwing stuff at each other). And the time scale was just silly. The way I played the game, I never felt Shepard came unduly close to his new crew members; but the game certainly had some unreasonable levels of emotional attachment in the cards if you, say, tried to romance Thane as the female Sheppard. I also was utterly befuddled by my inability to interact with Liara in a way that made any sense given that she was last game’s love interest … which didn’t make terribly much sense in the first place, but I preferred my Shepard moving way faster than his character would to telling her to bugger off. The lack of middle paths in ME1 and ME2 got really frustrating. Why couldn’t I say “I really like you, but we’ve been together for maybe a day or two , and I’ve known you for at most two weeks. I mean, we’ve had four in depth conversations, not counting on-duty conversations during Recon in the Mako. How about we leave sex off the table until after we hopefully-not-die on Ilos?” Meeting her in ME2 left me wondering if her character thought of the relationship as more than a one-night stand … which was weird given how hard she worked to find my body and her speech about spirituality and special bonds … in different playthroughs the only thing I could tell made having Liara as a love interest different was a hug and maybe a single dialog option. It’s been two years, so I expected awkwardness, but I expected to be able to watch the awkwardness and confusion unfold and effect the way Liara acted and spoke.