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Captain Obvious vs Commander Sheppard

(Preferably Fem-Shep in a game of strip poker, but I digress.)

With the usual, since this is my third blog entry baring the title, apologies to Captain Obvious.

This one is a long time coming. Ever since Final Fantasy XIII-2 was announced as both an attempt to correct game mechanic issues with FFXIII, and a direct continuation/expansion of XIII’s story. Something(s) which has caused major bi-polarization among fans of the long running franchise, which until now, has always encapsulated a main “final” story into one game. Always.

And like that mess, the confirmed announcement of multiplayer into what is the final installment of the up until now single player Mass Effect trilogy has caused an instant two-sided storm of controversy with one half not understanding and wholly unable to comprehend why the other half is so upset. As one of the “other half” this is an attempt to explain why the game has become so diminished in the eyes of some while also trying to stay away from the typical Internet replay of “F*** Y**!” many have begun to throw out in reply to threats of canceled pre-orders and bargain bin sales which only Gamestop and Bioware/EA will see a penny of.

To address the central issue that multiplayer will effect singleplayer, lets take a look at the differences between Mass Effect One and Two. Not just how items, equipment, skills and powers were streamlined and made easier to use, but how the semi-flawed buggy roving in ME1 became boring plant scanning in ME2. That instead of fixing minor complaints of physic models and plain planetary landscaping, Bioware simply took the easy route and got ride of it. Much like how the Elcor and Hanar became more background species with no real level of interaction. The Volus comedic or racist sub-plots as Sheppard sought out the best of the best for his/her suicide mission to save and possibly unite everyone.

While such races would be ineffective in combat, imagine a Hanar who’s taken to cooking as a religion and wants to study under the mess sergeant. A Volus tech adding their skills to maintenance and upgrades. There were many missed story related elements that come off as ignored while combat became more related to Gears of War and Call of Duty. Such as:


The left-handedness of Sheppard and the whole combat team leaving the ship in the literal middle of nowhere for no real reason other than for the rest of crew to be captured. EDI to lose her AI restraints. With the excuse of ship upgrades, how difficult would it have been to establish the necessity to carry them out at Cerberus approved ports? Give excuse to have active sub-plots for the B-cast of the crew which happen in system. Then call for a final, or first, call to port with a bonus side mission that takes Shep away while aliens, and Jack, more then eager to make excuses not to about loiter around a secure Cerberus base before the Collectors pay a surprise and overwhelming visit. With Joker either having his more heroic and less incompetent moment of saving the ship with a freed EDI, or Shep and crew returning to save those few he can including the cripple from leftover invaders.


Much like how to some FFXIII ignored basic tropes of its own franchise much less the JRPG genera in general such as towns, Mass Effect 2 missed a number of opportunities to tell its ongoing story. Has changed and focused on aspects more in common with the already bloated domain of first person shooters. And while this may and likely is a cause of excitement to Call of Duty and Modern Warfare fans who also found the Final Fantasy series for the first time with XIII, much less the actual Star Wars of this generation which is Mass Effect, to an old school 8-bit JRPG fan such as myself this is only cause to be disappointed. Not seeing what first attracted me to the series. With current double talk from Bioware anything but comforting.

And while what comes off to me as confusing mention of multiplayer having an influence over single, though this just might be about building practice or skill and not required, even if their PR speak changes gears to hype up improvements about the single player game, there are just too many flaws in past examples to currently rethink my current position. I as well as others will have to hear and see any possible single player improvements from Bioware themselves. Not just hear assurances from the usual assortment of non-reformed Internet cultist who are still at the Kool-aid.

(And if you’re just now realized I used the Quagmire pic because I technically mentioned Fem-Shep, Lightning and her sister, all in a game of strip poker where even if Quagmire lost he'd win, take off ten points – I shouldn’t have had to tell you that just now…)

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