Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Launch Day: Mass Effect 3

I recently wrote a post about how I was starting to really appreciate the RPG, especially those in the fantasy realm.  I was having a mental debate about which title I wanted to play between Skyrim and Kingdom's of Amalur: Reckoning.  Playing both was simply not an option, at least not at the same time.  Skyrim won out, and I wrapped up the main quest late last night after a couple of days worth of hard work.  Reckoning would be next, or so I thought!  March 6th was the scheduled launch date for Mass Effect 3, and while I had plenty of time invested in Reckoning, my love for science fiction prevailed and I grabbed a copy of Bioware's finale to a wonderful trilogy.

I feel no guilt.  Even though I had over eighteen hours with Reckoning, Mass Effect 3 returns me to my roots by putting a gun in my hand, while retaining my recent enjoyment of RPG's.  Now, I am not new to the Mass Effect universe having played the previous two games.  The first I picked up at launch in 2007 and spent the next few days playing through the story in about 32 hours.  I still have not beat the second game, even though I have probably played more of it than the first.  I had a copy on the Xbox 360 and had made it all the way to where I was ready to head off through that Omega 4 relay or whatever it was called when the box took a shit leaving my ass high and dry.  I didn't have another 360 as backup and I wouldn't be buying another one anytime soon as my frustration with the system had peeked and I swore I'd never again buy a Microsoft console!  Haven't we all said that a time or two?

I waited quite a while before playing the game again, starting over completely, this time on my PS3.  The game was in my local K-Mart bargain bin and I hadn't anything on my plate at the time, so what the fuck?  Once again I have made it to the relay, but lost interest.  I will go back and finish it, that I know for sure.  I know what to expect after catching up with the story via some youtube videos, so I was not at all blind heading into the finale.  Like a true gamer, since that day when my last 360 bit the dust, my attitude has changed dramatically and I gave the Microsoft console yet another chance.  And since my PS3 play through wasn't complete, I didn't see any reason to buy the third game for that console since even though I have had the shittiest luck with the Xbox 360, it is my console of choice!  From the achievement system to the ergonomics of the controller to LIVE versus the PlayStation Network, I prefer the 360.  Picking up Mass Effect 3 on the box was a no brainer.

Being broke doesn't help when you want to grab the latest games at launch, but thankfully I had an extra copy of Modern Warfare 3 laying around the house to use as trade in fodder!  That copy of the game that I obtained for free wound up granting me $35 credit towards the purchase of Mass Effect 3.  Add a few other turds I had in the pile, and I was all set to pick up a copy on launch day without putting even the slightest dent in my wallet.  By six o'clock that evening, I was installing disc one onto my 360 hard drive.

I install every game I play on the 360, as I am sure most people with the space on their drives do.  Disc two installs shortly thereafter and I launch the game knowing I still have the annoying online pass code to enter.  What ever happened to the convenience of console gaming?  Put the game in and play just doesn't appear to be an option any longer if you ask me!  Nevertheless, it is time to fire the fucker up and begin the quest to save the Earth! 

I knew what to expect from Bioware and even though, I was blown away with the intro sequence.  Simply jaw dropping in scope, with gorgeous visuals and epic sound, the fate of our home world looks pretty bleak!  I only got to enjoy Shepard's time on Earth for mere minutes before the Reapers start popping up totally fucking up every aspect of our civilization with reckless abandon!  The remaining duration of my stay is spent fighting to board the Normandy as all hell breaks loose from every direction.  The Reapers mean business, and it is clear that anyone that doesn't have the means to escape the planet is pretty much doomed.

The picture above I found via google and it pretty much sums up what Earth is going through at the start of the game.  Serious shit is serious!  I spent the next six hours of my life playing and am officially hooked!  The only thing I miss honestly is the visual fidelity that the PC version would have afforded me.  But I stand firm with my decision to play it on my 360.  The PC version may look better, but without 360 pad support, I just don't see the benefit of the graphics boost being enough to justify me suffering through the game because my hands are just not what they used to be.  Like Skyrim just days prior, I anticipate my next play session.  I look forward to exploring the galaxy and saving civilization from the dire straits the Reapers have planned for not only humanity but each alien race in the Mass Effect universe.  Read some reviews from any outlet you choose and it is clear that this game is a winner.  I have read quite a bit of the media leading up to the launch, and even so I seldom put weight behind what I absorb until my own opinions are in the mix.  But I can say that everything I have read pretty much squarely hits the nail on the head concerning this title.  This is a game that even if you have no familiarity with the prior games in the series you could very well pick it up as your starting point.  It stands on it's own as a solid experience that any fan of the genre should add to his or her collection.  This is one time that I can say I am thankful for having an extra copy of Modern Warfare laying around collecting fucking dust!

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