Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review: "Mass Effect" - I will destroy you!

I have been playing tons of Mass Effect lately, like, tons. My weekdays just went by so swiftly everytime.

Mass Effect was very enjoyable for me. Every party member has some character development, combat was FPS-like, thus making it fairly enjoyable, voice acting was good, content/lore was acceptable, a bit of romance and deaths of important characters (spoilers). Too bad the main storyline only lasts for around 10 hours.

Sidequests are barely tolerable. In outdoors sidequests you have to explore the whole damn empty terrain with your vehicle to look for various key items. Indoor sidequests reminds me of City of Heroes quests. Every damn indoor instance looks the same. Everytime you enter a building, you see the same textures, but a different layout. It get really really old after some time.

On the topic of vehicular combat, it is a fucking bitch. Getting down to shoot is at least a hundred times more convenient, and considering that you get more exp that way combat from destroying stuffs from your vehicle, you'd rather stay out.

I would really really love if planets are less mountainous. Some are okay, but there are a few which I felt breathless, the negative kind of 'breathless'. Travelling and bouncing around my Mako is irritating enough, don't make it worse with such irritating terrain. And the camera. God, why do they do this to my eyes?

I wished there were more conversation between party members. And I wished choosing paragon/renegade actually has a meaning, not just dialog and random people hating you or dying. I guess I shouldn't expect much, since paragon/renegade isn't as dratically difference as compared to light/dark side in KOTOR. Plus, I wish being paragon/renegade would grant you special bonuses like in KOTOR, intead of just letting you add more points to dialong skills (charm and intimidate) etc.

I kinda liked their character growth mechanics but it could've been better. Soldiers seemed like complete shit as compared to what the other classes can do. Only good thing about Soldier is that you don't have to suffer problems like choosing what skills to add to, since you don't have much anyway. The only other use for the Soldier class is to unlock the Assult Rifle acheivement.

Lore is good but some parts sounds like Warhammer 40k ripoffs. Just look at Tali's people, the quarian as compared to Eldars:

- Create bad stuff that will drive their race to extinction? Check
- Doesn't live on planets, ie live on ships? Flotila? Craftworld? hmm
- Pilgrimage? Hmm sounds like Rangers!

I wouldn't want to compare the Protheans and Reapers to Necrons and the old race in 40k which I can't remember. The mere mention of the concept between Protheans and Reapers scream "Plagarism!" in my mind.

The story is good enough. It's better than Icewind Dale series. Then again Icewind Dale has shit for story. But at least it has the 'omg so that's what they are for' factor. However, I find the Reaper's (aka the big bad evil boss) reason to destroy really lacking and disappointing.

I expect many many things in Mass Effect 2. If they did the same to ME2 from ME1 as they did to KOTOR2 from KOTOR1, it'd be great.

And I don't want planetary travel anymore please...I'd rather do 15 more Citadel quests than to wander aimlessly around 15 different planets in my crap vehicle (ya it's that bad imo).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Review: "Super Smash Bros: Brawl"

I have been touching on Super Smash Bros Brawl on ZhaoHan's Wii these few weeks. It's incredibly fun, and I feel that this game might make it on the competitive stage, although I shouldn't be the one to judge that since I didn't play SSB: Melee in the first place. There seemed to be many complains by the Smash World community about Brawl, mainly because they felt the competitve level of the game has toned down to a crawl. The creator of SSB series, Sakurai, states that he's trying to "make losers and winners feel happy" (summerized), so the community interprets it (probably correctly) as "I don't want SSB to be hardcore competitive like a SF2".

I do feel that Sakurai managed to accomplish that though I've never actually played Melee to make a comparision and make a judgement. I had a blast playing 4 FFA with all items on. Items are goddamn fun, fun because they are damn random and some of them are very creative (eg football). Stages are well designed too. I mean, only Nintendo can come up with such unique stages. I liked the Sonic stage, mainly because I totally recognize it from the first Sonic game I played about 15 years ago when I was just a small boy. Nostalgia is fuck awesome. Too bad I don't think I ever completed the game. Good thing I still have my 16-bit sega in my uncle's house :D...I hope -.-

There are many characters in the game, featuring characters from games like Fire Emblem (Marth, Ike), Kirby, Sonic, Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Metal Gear (Snake), and of course, Mario Bros themselves. There is no doubt that this game has their fair share of tiers. Characters like Pit is arguably better than Wario, but from what many people feel, the game is more balanced than it was in Melee. They are only afraid that the ultimate strategy in brawl, in the end, is to camp and wait instead of advancing and chasing down an opponent. In short, many feel that this game will favor people with no 'O'ffence. A thread has been created suggesting to do a 'Heavy Brawl', which is to increase the gravity of the game, since Brawl is very much slower (and more floaty) as compared to Melee (from what I experienced within 10mins of Melee long ago).

Well, my group of friends playing Brawl isn't really at that level of expertise yet, so I don't really care or feel what they felt. Right now, we are just playing the game for fun, and slowly exploring the details the game engine and the characters.

I'm awaiting the next Brawl get together. I hope my arms heal up then (seems to take a long time to heal, 4th day and it just got worse).