Starry Night: Mass Effect 2 Vid Wave

Perhaps you’re one of those people who isn’t playing Borderlands, or Dragon Age, or frothing at the mouse in anticipation of Modern Warfare 2. Perhaps you want to see something of a popular sequel to a reasonably entertaining science fiction role-playing game. If you are such a person, then you are in luck. Three such videos have turned up, and can be inspected below. They’re swollen with game footage, and developer jabber. I have to admit I entirely ran out of Steam on the original Mass Effect and never got to the end, but perhaps the improvements here, fun-looking characters, and general turn for grimness, will prove entertaining. Having hammered through a chunk of Risen and a portion of Dragon Age, I’m certainly in the mood for some RPG that doesn’t involve potions, wolves, or daggers. (And assuming that Mass Effect 2 is suffering from the same marketing-failure as Dragon Age, I have some high hopes for it.)


  1. James says:

    There’s ALWAYS room for wolves…don’t be silly.

  2. CMaster says:

    Mass Effect was one of those funny games that while I had a good enough time playing (though not great, and the fact that the only stuff worth doing was the storyline quests, everything else being pretty dire) and certainly can’t complain about value (picked it up for £5 just under a year ago) all I can think about now is the things they did wrong with it. The biggest one being that Bioware apparently don’t get science fiction. At all.

    • CMaster says:

      Oops – also meant to mention that I am keeping an eye on this sequelying thing though.

    • James says:

      Really? I thought they did a pretty good job with the concepts involved, if not the execution.

    • CMaster says:

      I’ve never come across such a throughly anti-science Sci-Fi story setting I don’t think. Sure, cautionary tales are common enough and authors like Crieton have made plenty from impalusible technology is dangerous, but ME’s was so pervasive with its “Science is Dangerous, Technology Will Kill Us All, Things Were Better in the Past” that it puts the Daily Mail to shame.

      Then they just seem to decide that Alien Races have no individuals. Rather than the potted biographies you normally get upon talking to RPG characters, in ME you get a potted racial history. Talking to characters normally involves arguing about the actions of a species as a whole. (I know a couple of your crew were counter-stereotypes. But that only really exaggerated this).

      Top that off with their inability to get rid of the old freelance adventurer model, with a shop on board your own ship, nobody ever explaining to you what powers a SPECTRE actually has or giving you even a modicum of training etc. Basically, Bioware seem to know how to make D&D like RPGs and looked a bit lost to me in this venture away (disclaimer – never played more than the demo of other Bioware games).

    • James says:

      I can understand the lack of individuals comment, but the “science is dangerous” stuff doesn’t make sense to me…what are you talking about? All things were better in the past? What gave you that impression?

    • jalf says:

      Where do you get the anti-science part from? I can’t recall anything in the game saying things were better in the past. People got wiped out in the past. Every 50,000 years or whatever it was. And have been doing that for millions and millions of years.

      I think ME said pretty much the opposite thing. People were making things better. With and without technology. The Normandy was a pretty good example. It wasn’t some ancient relic of semi-magical technology we no longer understand, but a sparkling new prototype. People used science to deal with the Rakhni, uplifting the Krogan, and used science to deal with the Krogan afterwards. And when learning more about the Reapers, they didn’t say “we need to abandon our foolish technology and do as the ancients”.

      One of the things I *liked* about the game was that it actually dared to be somewhat upbeat about the future. It’s not all doom and gloom, starvation and pollution. It actually makes many things better. It’s not eternal total galactic war. People, and races, actually get along fairly well.

      The only bit of science that ME described as bad or dangerous was the Reapers, and they’re only technology in the loosest sense of the word. They weren’t built or designed (at least not by anyone still alive). And to the extent that a solution to dealing with them was proposed in the first game, it was “more technology. Bigger guns! Catch up with them!”

      If it was anti-science, then surely the solution would have been to go digging for some ancient artifact whose magical powers would make it all ok.

      Am I just mysteriously forgetting all the anti-science bits? Got any examples?

    • Tei says:

      The sad thing is that almost all classic science-fiction has a anti-technology and anti-science agenda. :-/

    • James G says:

      Actually, I kind of get where CMaster was comming from, but think the issues of things like the Cerburus Co-orporation were more statements against co-oporations than they were against science. Hell, even in the real world it can sometime be difficult to pick out which criticisms of big-pharma are rooted in anti-science attitudes, compared to those rooted in other reasons.

      I’m also interested to see how they explore the Geth rebelion. In the original game, there were hints that it was the Quarian’s fear of the Geth, and their attempt to strike against what they had developed, that prompted the rebellion, rather than the creation of an A.I. itself. If the decide to explore this more fully, we may have a better message than ‘don’t play god.’

    • jalf says:

      True about Cerberos, but again, isn’t that more a criticism against secrecy, than against technology?

      Reminded me more of David Brin than Crichton – pro-science and overall an optimist outlook. And all the bad things come from secrecy and people working out of sight of the public (such as on the ice planet whose name I forget)

    • Bananaphone says:

      Yeah, don’t get this at all. Not sure where he got the anti-science vibe from, and I thought they did a good job of coming up with their own original sci-fi universe. The codex really fleshed things out. Odd criticism.

    • CMaster says:

      My view that the game was fairly anti-science came from the fact that a large number of the side quests as well as two of the main quests revolve around the results of horrid experiments, normally gone wrong. As you cross the galaxy, you come across numerous piles of corpses as the result of experiments. Added to the fact that scientists are weird people who isolate themselves in the middle of nowhere – you saw nobody save the guy who poked at Keepers as a hobby doing any such work on the Citadel for example.
      The fact that AI is banned in council space and even what rudimentary intelligences are allowed have a tendency to rise up and try and kill their creators (although in the Geth/Quarian case, it looks like the Quarians may have started it).
      All the really cool stuff comes from technology of the past, or was simply lying around anyway. Relatively little was achieved by genuinely new discoveries.

      Of course, there are plenty of other things I felt ME got wrong. Impressive with all the little failures that all around I felt it was a pretty good game.

      As a complete aside, anyone else ever find it somewhat suspicious that while in “our” time in the ME universe, the galaxy is full of a collection of sentient species, the bulk of which live reasonably harmoniously and a few outsiders, while the Protheans were the sole spacefairers of their age? Were the Protheans actually conquerors/raving xenophobes?

    • Bananaphone says:

      That stuff is just in there to make the stories and world interesting, and all of it is very common to sci-fi. I really doubt Bioware has gone all Michael Crichton anti-science crazy. That you interpret the story that way says more about you. ;)

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Methinks you mistake ‘science fiction’, with the shooty-shoot bang-bang of ‘space opera’.

      Think ‘Lucas’ rather than ‘Clarke’ or ‘Asimov’ and I suspect you’ll be much happier with the characterization of the alien races (among other things).

      As for all the ‘cool things’ coming from past discoveries? I have one word, and three parts of an acronym for you: SSV Normandy. Much hay was made of it being leaps and bounds beyond anything any of the other races had managed to develop, even after all the time they had to play with Prothean technology. And the final scenes of the game add a big ol’ exclamation mark to that statement.

    • Tem says:

      No matter how much you hold yourself against characterization, the story was from a human standpoint in a galaxy with a relatively small set of dominant races. Not much was done with more than (4?) of them, due to room in the storyline.

      Most places you go, characters are classified first by species, then by race, then by locale. See: Stargate.

      Of course once you get to know individuals, the individuality comes out… but what do you expect first?

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      The game you’re talking about is not one I recognise.

      At all.

    • jalf says:

      My view that the game was fairly anti-science came from the fact that a large number of the side quests as well as two of the main quests revolve around the results of horrid experiments, normally gone wrong. As you cross the galaxy, you come across numerous piles of corpses as the result of experiments. Added to the fact that scientists are weird people who isolate themselves in the middle of nowhere

      Again, I interpreted it more as “science in secret, with no oversight or responsibility for what you’re doing, is bad”, rather than “science is bad”. Science, when carried out in the open, is obviously a good thing in ME. (Think of the Normandy, all the nano-augmentations and such, medigel, the scientific work behind defeating the Rakhni as well as the Krogan (even if in the latter case it had a dark side as well, *some* solution had to be found, and that solution was science.)

      ME presents a huge number of benefits, improvements and solutions, and pretty much all of them (except for the mass relays and the Citadel, which turn out not to be such wonderful things after all) are due to modern science. Even the most crippling diseases can be cured, pollution is pretty much a solved problem, radically different species are able to live in harmony together, spaceship technology is improving quickly and so on.

      It’s more like pro-science, anti-secrecy David Brin than anti-science Michael Crichton.

      All the really cool stuff comes from technology of the past, or was simply lying around anyway. Relatively little was achieved by genuinely new discoveries.

      Really? The Normandy’s stealth field comes to mind as an obvious counterexample.

      All the element zero stuff works too. Sure, the stuff itself has been around forever, but so has iron or silicon. We still use both today in our civilization, and I don’t think it’s anti-scientific to say that much of our technology is based on those.

      Humanity discovered how to *use* the stuff, and that enabled them to travel to the stars and meet this flourishing inter-species civilization (who had discovered the same thing). isn’t that pro-science?

      If anything, I think it’s telling that the relays turn out to be traps. The ancient relics that everyone have relied on are *not* just there as hyper-advanced technology to be exploited by modern species, as everyone had assumed. They’re laid out to trap, ambush and wipe out those who use them. In other words, the message is “build your own damn technology. You can’t trust those ancient artifacts”

      And the key to victory turns out to be the a “new” breakthrough (new as in discovered by the protheans, rather than left around forever by the reapers) who managed to unlock the technology behind the relays themselves. True, it happened to be the Protheans, rather than a modern species who achieved this, but still, I consider it pro-science. The key to survival was not “ancient semi-mystical relics”, as in all the stuff the Reapers left behind, but “stuff discovered by the species trying to survive the reapers extinction cycles”. Whether something good is discovered by Humans, Asari or Protheans, I’d still consider it pro-science.

      What do you think the Council races are going to do after ME1? Go digging for more prothean technology to save their butts the next time, or try their damned best to build their own mass relays? The former would be anti-, the latter pro-science.

      As a complete aside, anyone else ever find it somewhat suspicious that while in “our” time in the ME universe, the galaxy is full of a collection of sentient species, the bulk of which live reasonably harmoniously and a few outsiders, while the Protheans were the sole spacefairers of their age? Were the Protheans actually conquerors/raving xenophobes?

      Yeah, that seemed odd to me as well. But I think there are two more likely explanations:

      One might be sheer coincidence. The number of species about to rise up and take to the stars must vary with each reaper-extinction-cycle. And of course, space is really really big. The various species might simply never have met each others. Some cycles may see only one race discover the citadel, others might see five or ten. It would even make a certain sense for the cycles to be interleaved: If in one cycle several species show up, that means there are more species to go looking for more – for other species who are sentient, but don’t yet have the technology to go into space, and then give them a hand — leading to still more species coming to the Citadel. And that inevitably means more species getting wiped out by the reapers in that cycle — so the next cycle might have very few species turn up – most of the candidates were boosted up in the previous cycle, so they’re no longer around.

      And then, after such an almost-empty cycle, more species are going to be about ready to discover space flight, and so we’re back at a crowded cycle.

      An alternative, and probably most likely, explanation is simply that so few traces were left in the first place. The “present-day races” knew next to nothing about the Protheans. The reapers made a point of removing every trace of the past civilization, after all. So present-day archeologists may have 1) uncovered traces of other races, and simply lumped it all together under the “Prothean” name, or 2) by coincidence, no traces of other races have been left.
      But keep in mind how closely the present races intermingle. Would archeologists in the next cycle really have enough information to tell them apart, and to actually count them as different civilizations? Even if they did uncover remnants of different species, would they be considered different civilizations at all? It is never explicitly stated that the Protheans were a single species. It may simply have been a catch-all name for “the entire inter-species civilization that existed last time around”

  3. jti says:

    I really hope they do some proper sidequests this time. Not just a roomfull of enemies and a short box of text as a reward. Like when I searched for armor for Korgan and what could’ve been meaningful ended up being a sorry excuse for a quest done 10 times already… It made Mass Effect fail in my book, even though I liked the main quests.

    • James says:

      Very true, that quest (and several others like it) was a big let down. I still wouldn’t say the game “failed”, but the side quests were certainly not it’s best feature.

    • Thranx says:

      I concur. Dragon Age’s side quests aren’t much more interesting from a story standpoint, but they are far more varied and feel like you’re doing something quite different with each one. A couple have been well written, but generally they’re lower end on the awesome scale. That’s to be expected… they’re SIDE quests, but at least in DA they’re more varied and fun.

      That said, I’m hoping they’ve learned to put some more time into those, and will include said knowledge in their development of ME2.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      side quests are to games what b-sides are to music.

  4. Rinox says:

    I’ve said it before and said it again…I have a feeling ME2 will be the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ of the trilogy (and as such surpass the original by some lengths).

    • Poindexter says:


      But what does that mean for the third game? A race of short furry primitive aliens that can win against much more technologically advanced civilizations?

      Dibs on Wicket for my party!

  5. Sagan says:

    This has interested me for a while, and the second video reminded me of it: Am I the only one who sometimes finds voice over worse than reading text? The thing in the second video is, that I feel like they are talking too slowly. Like nobody would talk like that, complete with dramatic pauses.
    Usually in situations like that I turn on subtitles and read the text to get through the conversation faster. Especially since I often feel compelled to choose every option in dialogues once. And that is just unbearable when they talk slowly like that.

    • Urthman says:

      “There’s only…one…rule…

      Don’t …



      with Aireya!”

      Seriously? Was the first Mass Effect’s dialogue that ridiculously bad? I don’t think I could sit through 30 minutes of that crap, much less a 40+ hour game. Gah!

    • Urthman says:

      (Has there ever been a game or movie so totally pleased with itself for using the word ‘fuck’?)

      “No, really Mass Effect 2. You’re cool. You are. You’re totally badass. Really.”

    • Psychopomp says:

      “Seriously? Was the first Mass Effect’s dialogue that ridiculously bad?”


  6. Po0py says:

    That Asari said “fuck”.

  7. Lars Westergren says:

    Hm… wasn’t all that fond of the first one. Maybe.

    One thing that annoys me in the videos is how everyone has a bit of a macho swagger when walking and talking. Don’t know if it is an attempt to make more lifelike character animations, or if they have been watching too much MTV. I expect them to blurt out “Enough talk, lets slap some biatches!”

    I prefer my bad-asses to have a dangerous ninjalike stillness.

    • Chalkster says:

      In the first vid, you’ll notice he either chooses the renegade or neutral conversation paths.
      In the second, Shepard is in the kind of environment where it pays to look like a tough guy.

      Maybe it’s less like that in different parts of the game.

  8. Morph says:

    Hmmm. I really quite liked Mass Effect, but am finding Dragon Age a bit dull. So I have no idea what to think about Mass Effect 2.

  9. Alexander Norris says:

    Thanks to SA, I managed to get a write-up of the first hour or so of the game and for once. This looks like it’s going to be ace. I'm glad that they've completely reworked the combat.

    Shame they've added limited ammo, though.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Is the limited ammo applicable to every weapon, or just the heavy weapons? They explained their ammunition system via the in-game fiction in the first one, so I’m kinda wondering why you’d need bullets for your guns in the sequel.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Every weapon. They’ve re-revamped the combat system since the first images we got, including removing HP/healing in favour of regenerating health and sadly, adding ammo management to every weapon. Apparently, they’ve at least given an ingame reason for the change.

    • Chalkster says:

      Limited ammo was part of the in game fiction for Mass Effect, too.
      In Wrex’s story about Ailena, the asari commando, he talks about running out of ammo and having to kill some mercs for more.
      As for how this applies to Shepard having to use these weapons…
      I dunno lol

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You read that codex entry wrong.

      Unlimited ammo is part of the fiction. Mass Effect’s guns shave off slivers of metal from a block of metal as ammo, which means you’d only need to replace your “magazine” every week or so. The fact that Wrex ran out of ammo is specifically given as an example of how badass his fight with the Asari was (because he fired off enough rounds that he actually ran out of ammo).

  10. Thranx says:

    “Perhaps you’re one of those people who isn’t playing Borderlands, or Dragon Age”

    I am most certainly not one of those people. Add torchlight to the mix and gaming’s a full time job lately.

    “Im certainly in the mood for some RPG that doesn’t involve potions, wolves, or daggers”… if that’s a reference to Dragon Age… THERE ARE NO DAGGERS. I feel like a hyper nerd, but that’s kinda been getting on my nerves. All the weapons in the game called “daggers” are actually short swords. *shrug* Very odd.

    On topic… I am looking forward to ME2. :) Yay for shooty shooty over hack-n-slash.

  11. SirKicksalot says:

    As long as it has MORE CHEESY ELECTRONIC MUSIC, I’m sold!

    I haven’t watched the videos, but I remember that a few months ago, in Game Informer, they said ammo is still unlimited. The reloading thingy is actually a quick ventilation system to cool the weapon.

  12. Frosty says:

    I personally don't understand a lot of the criticism people seem to be throwing at Mass Effect but each to their own. That video with Garrus in was highly disappointing though. I really didn't like the way Shepard seemed so trigger happy without any player input, was he always like that? Was it a affect of the choices made in the cutscene? I'm not sure but I know I never saw or played Shepard like that which worries me oh so slightly.

    But perhaps this is just another sign of Bioware being ultra stupid with their marketing campaign. Hell I'm still not bothered about Dragon Age despite the massively positive reviews, especially the RPS hivemind opinion. Now as a PC RPG player doesn't that point to a massive problem in Bioware's advertising campaign?

    • Thranx says:

      I think Shepard just seemed more grumpy/angry in general. I’m hoping that’s because the player had played him as a grumpy/angry/just shot ’em style of play. If he’s like that through the whole game, it may just be annoying.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Yes, but it also points to your tendency towards being overly cautious, if despite overwhelmingly positive reviews and massive praise from internet folk, you still don’t want to play one of the best RPGs of the decade.

  13. Jeremy says:

    I liked the first one pretty well, it was definitely worth the 20 bucks I paid for it. There are definitely some improvements to be made overall for it to truly hit sequel status though I think. For one, the whole “tactical” side of things was worthless. It seemed like you could maybe tell your companions to do 1 thing before they just went haywire and decided to charge in (had that problem with Dragon Age until I learned a few things about tactics and such). Trying to place a companion in cover proved nearly impossible, and if possible, mostly worthless. I’m not saying I want some “cover mechanic” as in the days of console, but if you make cover available, make it more useful. That for me was the biggest issue, a lot of times I felt like battles were a roll of the dice, and when battles are 75% of the game it needs to be focused more on set rules.

    Other than that, little nitpicky things here and there. I’m really done with those ridiculous “help me stop quarreling with my lover” type of quests. I am a Commander, in space, saving the world.. nay, the universe, and I need to help Jethro patch things up with Maria? Please stop that nonsense.

  14. The Sombrero Kid says:

    it’s literally impossible for this to be bad, there’s a bit of a niggle about that bitch video, but if the first mass effect was star trek, this one is definitely blade runner, the music is totally vangelis-awesome!

  15. Army of None says:

    “Perhaps you’re one of those people who isn’t playing Borderlands, or Dragon Age”


  16. Mal says:

    Game Informer sucks.

    • Mal says:

      Gah, ignore the last post; I can’t figure out how to reply to other people’s posts. :(

      Is anyone bothered by the lip-syncing? It feels a bit off.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      it’s amazing how quick people are to forget how truly awful lip-syncing & facial animations were before mass effect, maybe it’s the uncanny valley thing.

    • Alex says:

      I’d say use Half-Life 2 more than Mass Effect as an example of a great leap forward in lip-syncing forward, but I do agree. Borderlands sure is a pretty game, but its lips flap more than anything else.

  17. Gubbins says:

    I just recently purchased ME from Steam, and I’m still really early in the game, but so far I enjoy it, the combat is a little stiff and I’m still trying to figure out how the hell I stop my team mates from getting killed all the time, but overall it’s got great atmosphere and I love reading the little codex pieces.

    ME2 looks good from what I’ve seen but I’ll admit I haven’t really been following it all, what’s notably different this time around, other than it looking like this will be the grim and more depressing part of the story.

  18. MisterX says:

    I loved Mass Effect, a really enjoyable game.
    can’t wait for the sequel

  19. Psychopomp says:

    I don’t like Shepard’s new voice actor. Sounds like a meathead fratboy, to me.

  20. kyrieee says:

    Will Sheppard’s ass look even better in this one?

  21. Wooly says:

    Yay! I’m glad to see Garrus, even if he’s may not be a party member in ME 2 (although I hope he is). I was a little worried after that BITCH video that we’d have have too many characters like… *her.* BITCH.

    While EA/Bioware’s… unusual marketing campaign may be a little alienating to us, I think that it’s probably being quite effective at drawing in a wider crowd (read: consoles) who might not otherwise be interested in this sort of game. Considering they’re still using that tact, I’d say it’s probably working. BITCH.

    • Nerd Rage says:

      Same. Garrus and Wrex were my ME1 party, I’d love to get the band back together. I played the game so both of them would end up where they need to be for ME2. I’ll avoid spelling it out even though I think spoiler season has passed on this particular game, but it’s possible that certain things had to be done in order for Garrus to end up sniping at mercs, and I did those things. It’s definite that certain things had to be done for Wrex to be available in ME2, and I did those too. I’m ready for Shepard’s Save The Galaxy Reunion Tour: Heavy Weapons Edition.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      But… but…

      Now I have to worry about whether I take Garrus and Tali for old time’s sake or whether I pick Legion and someone else interesting because they’re new.

      I don’t like having to obsess about party composition. :(

    • Chalkster says:

      I’d hate to have to choose between what appears to be the geth party member and Tali…
      Or that crazy ass krogan with Wrex.
      I love hearing characters bitch at each other…
      I always picked Garrus/Wrex or Ashley/Liara in the first game :D

  22. groovychainsaw says:

    I ran out of steam with it as well, stupidly went for a force (…its definitely the force dammit) user and unwittingly had limited myself to using only a pistol. For the entire game…. Which involves a lot of shooting…. Damn. Could have done with a bit of a preview of the character classes first Bioware? You know, to see if it worked? Anyway, it says a lot for the game that I persisted (and got really good at throwing barrels around) through the story, and only came to a dead halt going through all the incredibly boring side missions (I’m a bit of a completest, so couldn’t bring myself to skip past them all).

    Happy ending though – I came back to it recently (with the advance word on the sequel being good), gave up on the crappy side missions and got on with the main story. I was only about 6 hours work from the end, and found myself pulled through with an entertaining final section, and the game suddenly seemed a lot better than I’d remembered (right down to the graphics appearing to have improved … weird, huh?). So now I’m keen for more. don’t know what that says about me, but maybe Kieron, give up on the side missions and push through on the main story, you may end up liking it despite yourself! :-)

  23. Adventurous Putty says:

    Yeah, Shepard’s new actor is…off. In fact the dialogue in that second video in general was pretty off. Here’s hoping the “LOOK AT ME I’M SO HARDCORE” thing doesn’t extend to all the game’s characters. After all, the writing of the dialogue in ME 1 was one of its strengths.

  24. Frosty says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Yes, but it also points to your tendency towards being overly cautious, if despite overwhelmingly positive reviews and massive praise from internet folk, you still don’t want to play one of the best RPGs of the decade.

    I can't deny that and you probably have a fair point but whereas the RPS review made me actually care for Borderlands (a game I cared nothing for previously) and invest in it Dragon Age has just not grabbed me.

    Perhaps I am all Biowared out? I'll get round to it sometime I guess.

  25. WilPal says:

    I love RPG’s, but this game looks so boring.

  26. Jocho says:

    Am I the only one who’s really worried about this whole “darker” Mass Effect? The first was, in my opinion, a really stylish and believable (if you accept the premises) game, but almost everything about this sequels atmosphere, colour-palette and attitude worries me.

    And, worth noticing, is how this change in attitude maps coincidently well with EA buying BioWare. Will we soon have to blame EA for another crushed studio? I hope not…

  27. shiggz says:

    I’m with you on the approaching fantasy burnout. Even if they just dialed down the magic and potions. Making a more real and raw game. Even Mass Effect spilled into the fantasy shtick.

  28. sfury says:

    Combat still feels awful.

  29. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Looks… awesome :D So excited!

  30. cjlr says:

    Most gratuitous use of the work ‘fuck’ in a serious RPG?

    Smoldering generic rage?

    This is sounding a lot like Dragon Age: anyone who actually cares about this game should totally ignore all pre-release material. This has descended from a sort of Trek/Wars pastiche to, like, Die Hard In Space.

    You’re winner, EA Marketing.

    • dhex says:

      die hard in space sounds absolutely fucking amazing.

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah, if your game has already been parodied by Douglas Adams 30 years ago, maybe you should go back to the drawing board.


  31. Senethro says:

    I’ll be playing a difficulty above normal and picking FemShepherd I think. Should force me to play a bit smarter with the combat and solve the voice acting problem. Jennifer Hale is maybe a bit too ubiquitous, but at least shes not grating!

  32. Matzerath says:

    Mass Effect seems another of those games where people either are bored silly by it or are on their fourth play-through. I’m too early in to know where I’ll end up, but something about it is definitely capturing my interest. I personally think the acting is quite good — some nicely defined personalities in the peripheral characters, and no dialogue so far has pained my soul. Certainly as classy or more than the pulp origins it’s doing homage to.

  33. Kadayi says:

    My suspicion is that ME2 is both going to delight and disappoint. Delight in that it’s going to be a more polished version of ME2 that addresses many of the previous titles flaws. Disappoint in that its going to continue to deliver unimaginative game play. Pretty much everything in ME consisted of ‘Go here, shoot that’, which was all very well, but it never engaged me with the game to the extent of something like the Witcher did, where in I really had to think about which choice to take at times free of any frame of reference. Where as with ME it was cynically a case of ‘which choice nets me the most Renegade gain?’.
    The worrying thing with these videos (aside from the welcome return of Garius) is how broadbrush shirt on their sleeve it seems the revealed NPCs are. It’s like Bioware are writing the game for these guys: –

    And I’m not one of them.
    As per as others have said, that a game is set in the future doesn’t necessarily make it science fiction. ME was unadulterated Space Opera. That’s not to say that Space Opera is bad, but it’s important to understand the distinction. For me the issue with ME was that there was always the sense that the main quest was a priority, which kind of made many of the side quests seem rather trivial in comparison. Where as I think if they were better integrated into the main storyline in some way as stepping stones, they’d have sat better. The static nature of the environments and NPCs didn’t help either. Obviously it’s useful to know that the doctor is in the medical office, but it wouldn’t hurt to have them standing somewhere else, or doing something differently occasionally.

    Yes You’re right, I’m deliciously evil

  34. Dominic White says:

    EA have a goddamn schizophrenic marketing division. Sometimes they’re right on the money, sometimes it’s like they’re broadcasting from another planet.

    A key example of this is the Brutal Legend ad campaign. Compare and contrast, people:

    Internet trailer:
    link to

    TV ad:
    link to


    • mootpoint says:

      Oh… thanks a lot, now my ears are bleeding after seeing that last one. That song reminded me more of german Ajax commercials than of anything even vaguely resembling metal. Euch! Bleh!

    • Bobsy says:

      Really? Ajax must ROCK in germany.

      Rated M fo’ mature!

  35. cjlr says:

    I’d like to quickly add that space opera is very much a specific flavour of science fiction, and not something completely different.

    In my humble but correct opinion, naturally.

    • Kadayi says:

      Claiming you’re right isn’t much of a counter argument tbh. There isn’t much to ME that couldn’t be repackaged in one form. In fact Bioware do that quite a lot:-
      That it is the same tale repackaged in different clothes, doesn’t make it bad. In fact it’s a variation on the classic monomyth distilled by Joseph Campbell in ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’ :-
      The hero starts in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unusual world of strange powers and events (a call to adventure). If the hero accepts the call to enter this strange world, the hero must face tasks and trials (a road of trials), and may have to face these trials alone, or may have assistance. At its most intense, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with help earned along the journey. If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift (the goal or “boon”), which often results in important self-knowledge. The hero must then decide whether to return with this boon (the return to the ordinary world), often facing challenges on the return journey. If the hero is successful in returning, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world (the application of the boon).
      ME doesn’t make you think about the idea of what makes you human like Phil.K.Dicks ‘Do androids dream of electric sheep?’ or consider the potential consequences of Time Travel like Ray Bradburys ‘A sound of Thunder’ , or contemplate the impact of alienation & obsession as in JG Ballards ‘Vermilion Sands’ . Those are science fiction stories in the truest sense because they utilize the future & the mythical to examine the present.
      ME is about as Science Fiction as Star Wars.

      Yes You’re right, I’m deliciously evil

  36. EBass says:

    Having played 50 hours of Dragon Age since the morn of thursday, I think I am Biowared out and watching more RPG makes me feel sick. But I’m sure I’ll feel different when January rolls round.

  37. skizelo says:

    In that 2nd video… I can’t think of a dumber time to dose someone than right in front of his two heavily armored friends.

  38. Bobsy says:

    Now let’s see, Mass Effect. I liked the combat. I quite liked the political setup where everyone’s shit-scared of the big bad humans taking over. I quite liked some of the quest lines – the giant zombie plant was pretty fun.

    But overall the thing that I remember most was how boring it was. My party (with the notable exception of Garrus – good to see he’s returning) were all duller than day-old ditchwater. I started with a male Shepard but he was so tedious in the first five minutes that I immediately switched to a lady Shepard, who was only slightly less boring. The smooth, clean, pretty, Star-Trek-i-fied world was too clinical and idealised for my liking – give me Borderlands/Firefly over this any day. Spaceships should not have carpets – they should be like submarines; claustrophobic, dingy, practical.

    So far in Dragon Age the only party members I don’t really love are Sten (too quiet) and Morrigan I just dont get on with. I couldn’t form relationships with anyone in ME, but Dragon Age has me aching to be a part of their lives. ESPECIALLY MY ADORABLE DOG!

  39. TeeJay says:

    I have just got Mass Effect off Steam and have played the very first mission/intro. So far I am very bored – it is just one (albeit pretty) cut-scene after another, with tiny bits of clunky shooting in between, with massive “highlighted” signposts on everything, which for me gives it a very childish and consoley feeling. The dialogue ‘choices’ don’t actually seem like choices with the words only vaguely connected to what the choice is ‘listed’ as and no obvious reason to choose one other another. The interface is very clunky with a second and a half delay in bring up the inventory with annoying and useless ‘pop ups’ to get rid of. There seems like a large amount of text to read through re. controls, interface and ‘background’ – all of which better games introduce in-game.

    I am hoping that I will quickly get used to stuff and things will get better soon, but for such a big-name game I am unimpressed so far. It feels a bit like the developers really want to be making (albeit ‘interactive’) made-for-TV sci-fi instead of games.

    • Vinraith says:

      You’re still playing the tutorial. It’s a few more hours, I’m afraid, before the game properly “opens up.” Even then it’s still a little bit linear for my tastes, but it does end up being an enjoyable experience if you give it a chance.

  40. Klaus says:

    I could have sworn I had some type of dream involving that alien in the picture. Deja vu of some kind.
    I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Anyway, I don’t think I particularly cared bout anyone in Mass Effect, it wasn’t even hard to make the choice on Virmire. Could have flipped a coin.

  41. Bronte says:

    “(And assuming that Mass Effect 2 is suffering from the same marketing-failure as Dragon Age, I have some high hopes for it.)”

    I didn’t get this. I thought Dragon Age: Origins has a fairly powerful marketing campaign behind it…