Tag Archives: Mass Effect

How Do you Solve A Problem Like Miranda Lawson? A Discussion Of Romance And Character Creation In Video Games

The character creation tools afforded in many games are a funny thing. They can be unbelievably complex, and players can and often do devote full hours of time fine-tuning the perfect intrepid hero (or horrific monster) out of the numerous sliders, style choices and tweaks that alter the facial and body features of their player-character. It’s one of the defining tropes of the RPG genre.

Yet for all that creativity and time sunk into making your own character, once the game actually starts that huge amount of attention is often inconsequential. In some games, like Bloodborne, you rarely even see your character’s face after all of that effort. In the best cases character creators build a connection between the player and their avatar, but it never goes further than that. Other characters in the games you play never have anything to say about your character’s appearance, whether they have the chiseled features of a Greek statue or the twisted figure of a del Toro monster. It’s all the same to the inhabitants of Skyrim’s Tamriel or Fallout’s American Wasteland. It’s a small, forgivable but ever-present gap in video game logic.

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Mass Effect: The Next Trilogy We’d Want To See

At E3 this year EA teased Mass Effect: Andromeda with a brief CG trailer that hints at some kind of focus on terraforming/discovering habitable worlds, which is a tantalizing concept for a game set after the events of Mass Effect 3. Amazing possibilities burst out of those first few frames before the attention shifted to a conventional action sequence with a Commander Shepherd-looking Spectre agent, and Andromeda began to look a lot like an iterative sequel to the original Mass Effect trilogy rather than the brand new story within the Mass Effect universe that Bioware initially conceived.

Continue reading Mass Effect: The Next Trilogy We’d Want To See

Mass Effect Trilogy Trailer

Bioware and Electronic Arts have come together once again to release the epic Mass Effect series, collected as a trilogy. For those who missed it the first time, get the full experience from beginning to end and learn what the hype has been about for the last 5 years.

As one of the biggest fans of the sci-fi epic that is Mass Effect, I personally have very mixed emotions about this. I’m one of the ones who’s been invested in the game since 2007 and held my breath, carrying my character – and every painful decision, sacrifice, and choice through each edition of the game. I’m one of the ones who managed to keep his crew alive ALL through the first two and in the third only lost characters because it was truly for the greater good (I refuse to spoil any of it, even now). And now, the collected edition is here, and it is ALMOST ENOUGH to make me go through it all again and relive the ridiculousness and insanity and pure awesome that was Mass Effect.

If you haven’t gone through the Mass Effect experience and you’re any kind of a fan of science fiction or phenomenal storytelling, you owe it to yourself to get the FULL experience, from beginning to end, and really learn just how invested you can be in that universe of Mass Effect. And, don’t let the people who’ve lost their minds over the endings spoil it for you, the experience alone is FAR worth the trip.

Mass Effect Trilogy is due November 6, 2012.

(Surprisingly Not Crazy) Thoughts On Mass Effect 3′s Ending, Old & New (Mostly New)

Unlike Adam (aka CheeseBadger), I’m not a fan of the Extended Cut.

Sugarcoating a piece of crap doesn’t make it food. It might look more like food, but it’s still not edible. This is the case of the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut.

When you talk about Mass Effect as a franchise, one word comes to mind: choices. The choices we make throughout the series shape events within the game. Every dialogue you pick results in consequences. This is the reason why the first two games had so much replayability. While the story follows a single plot line, the variations are enough for us to play through the games over and over again.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for a majority of Mass Effect 3. The dialogues are the same lines read in a different tone. Most decisions are exposed to be frauds. One prominent example would be your choice of human councilor being invalidated. Regardless of your choice in Mass Effect 1, you end up with Udina in ME3. Another one will be the Rachni Queen. Had you released her in ME1, she would fall under the Reapers’ control; had you killed her, she’ll return in husk form, or something like that.

However, I would also like to point out there are also many parts of ME3 which were done right. The missions in Tuchanka, for one, have shown us glimpses of the game’s massive, unreached potential. Another great example will be the missions in Rannoch.

When it came down to the ending, BioWare choked, big time. Maybe more so than the New York Knicks against the Indiana Pacers in 1995.

My Character

The in-game default doesn’t look as good as the concept art. Just go with this one.

Before we get any further, I think it’s only right for you to learn a little bit about my character. I’m a guy, but I love me some FemShep. Hell, my “canon” Shepard is a FemShep, simply because I grew up watching cartoons and playing video games featuring Jennifer Hale’s voice. Call it nostalgia. Plus I like watching women kick ass.

You know, her voice is featured in 100+ video games, more than anyone else.

Anyways, Alexis Shepard is a paragade spacer, war hero. In ME1, she romances no one, saves the Rachni queen, picks Ashley over Kaidan, keeps Wrex alive, and saves the council. In ME2, she’s reborn. She gives the Illusive Man a finger by blowing up the Collector’s base. Throughout the journey in ME2, she falls for Garrus, because of his scars. They test his reach and her flexibility right before the suicide mission. Everyone gets out alive. Alexis 2 : 0 Reaper

In ME3, Alexis Shepard decides to help the krogans cure the genophage. She manages to repair the soured relationship between geths and quarians. As for Garrus, they talked about making that vid money and adopting Krogan babies.

TURIAN BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t even care if it’s krogan anymore. (Credit goes to Rossilyn on DeviantArt)

Why, BioWare? WHY?

It’s an allergy, and something got into my eyes, OK?

The Endings Pre-Extend Cut

After the Alliance finally completes the Crucible aka Reapa Killa, Shepard returns to Earth for a final showdown against the Reapers. She gets there, kicks asses, being a badass. Then she is told she needs to get all the way to the Citadel to activate the Crucible. To accomplish that, she along with a bunch of human shields have to rush to a beam which will take her directly to the Citadel. Once she reaches the Citadel, she sees the Illusive Man, indoctrinated and all. Admiral Anderson was there as well. Depending on your dialogue with TIM, Anderson may or may not die. Either case, TIM is gone for good after this one.

Come to think about it, it kind of looks like a penis with a huge dick head.

Then, you’ll reach the Catalyst, the kid who’s controlling the Reapers. Basically, he tells you that the Reapers exist to destroy everyone before the synthetics destroy organics and vice versa. Well, technically, Reapers don’t destroy. They just suck your essence or something to become even more powerful, or something like that. It doesn’t really matter. Bottom line, they’re here killing everyone before the civilization destroys itself.


The Catalyst then presents you with a few options:

  1. Control – You get to become part of the Reaper consciousness, and withdraw the Reaper forces immediately.
  2. Synthesis – Since Shepard is part synthetic, all thanks to Cerberus, she can jump down some light beams and convert everyone into part organic, part synthetic. Reapers will not reap anymore, simply because there are no classifications between organic or synthetic.
  3. Destroy – You blow up the Catalyst. Reapers die. All synthetics will die as a result. The geths you worked so hard to save, along with EDI, are no exceptions. If you were bothered enough to do side fetch quests or multiplayer, Shepard will survive. There will be no epilogue whatsoever.
  4. Shoot the Catalyst, and nothing happens.
  5. Throw your controller at your TV screen.

It’s really a matter of picking your poison, since the only difference lies in the hues of cinematics. They are completely identical. Whatever you did earlier in the game don’t matter; whomever you romanced doesn’t matter. The ending boils down to a number (the EMS) and three options.

In a nutshell, the relay network is destroyed, and your crew escapes from Earth for no good reason. They land on a planet where Garrus and Tali will starve to death. Somehow, the destruction of mass relays did not lead to a complete annihilation of the galactic system (as indicated in Mass Effect 2).

The Ending in Extended Cut

I’ll be honest. I just watched the gameplay footage on Youtube. I didn’t even bother to play through the game again.

First of all, there is an extended scene during the beam dash, in which Shepard calls for a pickup from Normandy. One of the two squad-mates you brought along will say goodbye. You’ll get a different version if he/she happens to be your love interest.


Second, there are a few more investigative dialogue options for the Starchild aka Catalyst.

Third, there is a new ending which allows you to refuse the Catalyst’s options. The entire civilization is wiped out and the cycle continues. EMS doesn’t change anything.

Fourth, the endings now include epilogues of sorts, narrated by different people depending on your choice.



Fifth, depending on your EMS, your crew is either stranded in the jungle-like planet after their escape or they fly off elsewhere.

Sixth, should you opt for the destroy ending and has a high enough EMS, your love interest will refuse to put your name on the memorial in the Normandy.

However, the Shepard breathing scene is not elaborated upon.

Do I like it?

Watching the extended cut for the first time definitely left a taste of bitterness. However, after watching it for multiple times, it’s not as bad as I first thought. It went from an F- to a C-.

Why don’t I like it?

There are quite a few reasons as to why I still find the ending not likable.

1. The beam dash scene makes no sense

Do you seriously expect a Reaper to allow its arch nemesis to say her goodbyes to her boyfriend? Come on. If I’m a Reaper, their asses will be grass. OK, even assuming that the Normandy has some sort of technology that keeps itself invisible from the Reapers, the logic behind this scene still doesn’t add up. Why bother wasting all that personnel on being human shields when the Normandy can drop Shepard off at the beam with no casualties? The melodramatic goodbyes are there solely for the fluffs.

2. The refusal ending

The Extended Cut was created in response to the outcry over the original endings. BioWare maintained that there would be no new endings. Yet, we see a new ending. That wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t feel completely unnecessary. Yes, we wanted an ending in which we get to refuse the Catalyst, but not at the expense of the entire civilization. This option feels like a middle finger from BioWare to some of us. Somehow, I find it comical.

3. The “Shepard is still alive” tease

This is actually one of my biggest complaints of the original ending. Given that Mass Effect 3 is supposedly the final entry of a franchise, fans would like closures on their characters. Shepard’s breath leaves fans in confusion. Is she alive? Is she on the Citadel? How does she manage to cheat death once again? Are Shepard and Garrus going to adopt Krogan babies? Plus, the scene has essentially betrayed the game’s very own theme – sacrifice.

I understand certain stories have ended on a cliffhanger, allowing audiences to interpret the protagonist’s fate. However, Mass Effect is not one of them. We know our protagonists way too well, and we dove into Mass Effect 3 fully expecting closure. Throughout the game, Shepard is tying up loose ends stemmed from ME1 and ME2. Showing Shepard taking a breath at the end only brings in more questions. You want to leave your viewers wanting more, not asking questions out of bewilderment.

4. Starchild aka the Catalyst

The Catalyst is just mind-blowingly lazy writing. Mac Walters and Casey Hudson essentially pulled a Deux Ex Machina with the Starchild. The last thing you want to do in the final stages of a story is to introduce a key character. The character will almost be impossible for audiences to relate to. As a result, it is extremely hard to empathize with Starchild.

The logic of the Catalyst is also very questionable. Destroying us before we destroy ourselves? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Imagine France coming out of nowhere and fire nuclear weapons at the United States and China, in attempt on ending all disputes over human right issues.

Even assuming that the Starchild’s logic is intentionally flawed, it is, as mentioned, hard to relate to the character. The Catalyst’s logic is right because “the writers said so.” However, a character’s authority doesn’t come from the writers, but rather his/her/its development. Walters, Hudson, as well as the guys behind Extended Cut, have failed to realize this point.

5. The Destroy ending invalidates what some of the players worked for

The speculations were indeed right. The Destroy ending will effectively kill off EDI and the geths. Now here’s the problem. A lot of us play as paragon Shepards who worked really hard to make sure that quarians and geths end up in peace. Hell, some of us picked the geths over the quarians because the latter were the ones who started the entire conflict. As much as I know life’s a bitch and then you die, Mass Effect 3 is not real life, and this goes to my next point:

6. Just because it’s sad doesn’t make it realistic

For those who claim “MASS EFFECT 3 ENDING REALISTIC BECAUSE IT SAD”, let’s keep it real for a second. Nothing about Mass Effect is realistic. Sorry for waking you up from your fantasies but I haven’t heard any stories of some big ass AI robots created for the sole purpose of killing invading earth yet. Hell, I haven’t seen a xenosexual couple yet. Oh wait, the last one is actually possible.

In case you haven’t heard, not every soldier who fights in wars died. Not every cop who fights crimes gets killed on the line of duty.

7. If I want a dose of real life, I’ll be listening to Wu Tang Clan

Unlike Mass Effect 3, Wu Tang Clan actually provide sound advices, some damn good ones at that. When I play video games, I’m looking for an escape. I knew I couldn’t kick asses across outer space in real life. That’s why I played Mass Effect. I don’t need video games to remind me life sucks.

What’s done right then?

1. The soundtrack

The final track pre-EC matches the game very well – great in the first 95%, sucked in the last 5%.

The remixed track sounds much better. The drums are pretty good. The tone sounds way more uplifting and much more “definite” towards the end. Sorry, I wish I could elaborate more but I’m no music critic.

2. The beam dash goodbye scene

*sniff*sniff* ONCE AGAIN, I’M NOT CRYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *sniff*sniff*

I know I know. It still doesn’t make sense. But there’s just so much fluff. Shekarian are so adorable. WHY??????

*eats a tub of ice cream*

3. The control ending is so much better

Pre-EC, the control ending is seen as the ultimate no-no choice, as electing for control simply means you’re giving in and the cycle continues. However, it’s explained in this one that by ascending to be the Reapers’ consciousness, Shepard successfully accomplishes what she had set out for – ending the reaping cycle. Furthermore, she has the full Reaper force in her hands. Now she can be the great American (or Canadian, if you play as BroShep) savior of the poor.

This totally happens in my head canon.

Bottom line

Extended Cut managed to present the ending in a way that makes it passable. Some plot holes were filled, I’ll give them that. However, it is still nowhere close to reaching its full potential. The most frustrating part about the original ending is its complete lack of ambition. The EC failed to fix that.

When you’re shooting a basketball, the follow through is as important as the stance and the stroke. ME1 is BioWare setting their feet; ME2 is their stroke; ME3 is their follow through. With a bad follow through, the shot is likely to miss. This is what happened to the franchise as a whole. It missed. When you miss a shot, you can rush into the post and bust your ass for an offensive rebound. However, BioWare didn’t realize that their miss was a game-tying shot, and responded with a half-assed effort a few seconds t00 late. As a result, the game was lost. Their fans were gone.

The EC is just too little, too late.

If BioWare by any chance decides to make a romance DLC, I’m game. Yea, the EC is good enough for me to purchase that DLC. (Credit goes to Siberfeder on DeviantArt)

We shall end this with even more Shekarian. Listen to Jennifer Hale’s heart-break in the second one. *bursts into tears*

Thoughts On Mass Effect 3’s Endings, Old & New

Mass Effect
is a series in gaming that is unique in many aspects. It’s one of the first to actually portray a truly mature, adult story, in a relatively Hard SF setting. It’s a series that has won many fans because of its engaging, emotionally resonant story and characters, that let you place yourself in the midst of a galactic saga that had social relevance and metaphor for our own, without being preachy or condescending. Along with this, the game has several choices and story branches, throughout all three entries in the series, that could potentially alter the story, it’s meaning, depth, subtext, and character development greatly. It’s in this that I can only regard what the Mass Effect story has meant to me, and My Story, My Shepard. With this in mind, I feel it’s necessary to give you some context for why I loved the original ending, what It meant to me, and why I accepted it as it was entirely, from the beginning of Mass Effect 3, to the very last scene. It goes without saying however, that this article contains SPOILERS, but I’ll say it anyway.

Some people play their Shepards or any game character, as extensions of themselves. In Mass Effect, the beauty of this was that it was meant to be played multiple times through. You were encouraged to explore the game, and see as much or as little as you liked. Since Mass Effect 1, I’ve had two game saves.

1.) My main game. Magnus Shepard, Renegade, Earthborn Survivor of Torfan, Ruthless Commander who’d get the job done at any cost. This was my “Canon” game. The one that mattered, the one where I made decisions I felt “My” Shepard would make, even if I didn’t personally agree with them.

2.) My alternate game. Veronica Shepard. Paragon, War Hero Colonist, who made the tough decisions and did everything she could to ensure her teams survival, at great risk to herself.

I am going to talk about Magnus, because to me, his story is the one I found more intellectually stimulating and meaningful, while Veronica’s story was more personally and emotionally engaging. Magnus Shepard was a bigoted, xenophobic, borderline genocidal control freak. He was cold and hard to everyone around him. In the first game, he made no thought of killing the entire Rachni Species, or shooting an insubordinate Krogan party member in the face, if it meant getting the mission done. He made the tough choices that many would never entertain making, and he made them without questioning himself.

Tough, racist choices.

All of this changed after he died in Mass Effect 2. Being resurrected via the Lazarus Project left him scarred, both literally and metaphorically. His choices led to the destruction of his crew, and himself, despite believing he had truly done the right thing. From then on, he continued to make the hard decisions, and choosing what he now began to believe were the “bad choices”, but held steadfast onto the firm belief that what he was doing was right. That it was for humanity’s sake, and that he’d be vindicated in the end. This is what led him to side easily with The Illusive Man, who represented the flip side of the coin for Magnus, a man who claimed to represent mankind’s best interests.

Magnus joined believing that what he was doing was the right thing, again, despite initially being led to believe he was making a “bad” choice by those he cared about. Slowly, his facade began to crumble, and he opened up to his old love interest, Ashley, the one person he felt vulnerable around. Unfortunately, even she rejected his decisions, claiming that siding with The Illusive Man was going too far. After losing even her, he became destitute, and even more firm in his belief that the ends would justify the means, and hurried his crew, not wasting any more time in approaching the Collectors, and in turn, the Reapers head on.

He was a man who had been broken, and felt everything that was lost so far, was acceptable if only to stop the threat that faced the galaxy. His team suffered HEAVY losses, on the raid of The Collectors base, and upon taking the base, was faced with yet another difficult choice, to preserve the base for study, or to destroy it. Believing his life was spared for a reason, he made the “bad” choice to preserve it, in an effort to gain the upper hand against the Reapers. Again it’d seem, he and the Illusive Man were but a shade of grey apart.

“There… EarthI wish you could see it like I doShepardIt’s so… perfect.” – The Illusive Man

In Mass Effect 3, now recovering from the scars he’d received during the previous two games, he found himself in the middle of a direct Reaper attack. Having spent so many lives at a great cost was beginning to weigh heavy on his shoulders, and seeing an innocent boy’s life taken, despite all the sacrifices he’d made, started to crack at his seams. Throughout all of Mass Effect 3, Magnus began to slip deeper into the hole he’d created for himself, making “bad” choices to kill many of his former crew (Mordin, Legion, etc), if it meant the survival of the human race. Believing once again, that all of this was for a reason, that his choices were just, despite the massive amounts of guilt they brought to him. All of this culminated in nearly everyone he knew, more or less being hurt by him. Every choice he made, brought pain to another life, and not even Ashley, his former love interest could console him at the final hour. When it came time to storm the uploading beam to the Crucible, (a term that literally means ‘”test”), he did it full on, with no more care for the value of his life, believing that this was it. By cruel and ironic fate, he awoke the only one alive, and struggled aboard the Crucible, activating it, and was presented with the famous choice so many players struggled with at the end of the game.

This moment was revelatory for Magnus. All this time, he had made so many bad choices, all in the name of destroying the Reapers. Of righting things for the universe. To make sure the ends justified the means. However, when presented with the three options before him, Magnus had an epiphany. That all of his choices, were made so he could be here, at this moment, to stop all the pain and destruction he had seen. The synthetic VS organic wars of times past, present and future, were naught but for his very whims. With a heavy heart full of regret, sorrow, guilt, and penance, he jumped into the Crucible’s light, sacrificing himself to unite all organic and synthetic life once and for all. He had spent his life making the hard, “bad” choices, and now, only moments before his death, got to repay everyone back, and repent for his sins, and the lives he had taken, only now seemingly for needless reasons. Synthesis united the galaxy, but death redeemed Magnus Shepard, and invited a peace internal and external, for himself, and the galaxy in turn. In my opinion, it was a brilliant ending, and everyone but me HATED it.

Sorry, wrong ending I loved that everyone else hated.

So Yeah. I liked the original ending. It was overwhelmingly deep and thought provoking for me. Magnus was a complicated, unlikable protagonist, with true depth and many layers to his personality. At one point, there is even a song inside Shepard’s cabin, that in my opinion, sums up the many feelings my Shepard had, and his decisions throughout the games. The song is called “Bad Choices” by Shout Out Out Out Out, and it’s inclusion was no random choice by the game creators I’m sure, since it’s lyrics read like a personal journal entry for my Shepard:

I’m self destructing I admit.

I make so, many bad, bad choices.

But here’s the thing, 

that I admit.

I always know they’re bad choices.

It’s a simple set of lyrics. It’s a brilliant song. It sums up my Shepard perfectly, and to that end, my Mass Effect game perfectly. I finished the game in awe, and found myself itching to play it again. Imagine my shock when, after going online to see the Internet’s reaction to such a brilliant game, I found nearly UNANIMOUS hatred at the game’s ending. All of this was compounded even further, when in defense of the game’s ending, which I didn’t feel needed defending, people began speaking about “The Indoctrination Theory”.

What is The Indoctrination Theory you ask? Well here’s a link to it, but I’ll try to sum it up for you as quickly and adequately I can. Basically, there are several allusions and implications throughout all three games, that The Reapers, have all this time, been controlling you. All of your decisions are an elaborate attempt to sway you to their side, as they have Saren, and The Illusive Man alike. Towards the end, there are several continued hints towards this, and ultimately, it is speculated the choosing to Control The Reapers, Synthesize, or Destroy The Reapers, is a test of your internal will, as this is a a mental projection inside your mind, and a metaphysical ending rather than a literal one.

Choosing Synthesis or Control resulted in the Reapers winning over your mind, and only Destruction won your will back from them, with the only hard proof to this assertion being the brief cutscene that you get only from destruction. The cutscene in question, shows Shepard buried in apparently Earth-like rubble, awakening for a half breath, before cutting away. This implies the ending was all in Shepard’s mind, and by choosing Destruction, you’ve defeated the attempt at “Indoctrination” The Reapers have made on you. Personally, I thought this ending was genius. Even though the new ending is decidedly more literal, the mere CONCEPT that The Reapers had indoctrinated ME, the player, was brilliant. I had spent nearly 4 years, gnawing at the bit to kill the Reapers, every last one. And what did I end up picking? Synthesis. Not killing them. I had successfully been indoctrinated.


But alas, it was not enough for the gaming populace who demanded a “new” ending to a game, claiming it was “broken” and didn’t make sense. While some of the more sensible detractors did make a few good points on logistical aspects, I found myself unable to empathize with them, because my gaming experience was so enjoyable. It was with a sense of relief then, that I was one of the few people overjoyed to hear that Bioware was not changing the ending, but were rather adding further closure, and character depth.

Not this kind of depth though.

Now, for the new endings. While I won’t go into all the specifics, (I’ll leave that to my co-writer, Jason, who I’m sure shares a different viewpoint on the original ending’s, and the series overall ending than I do), the new endings definitely provide closure in many aspects. Closure to plotholes, closure to the ultimate fate of many of the species in the galaxy, closure to Shepard’s fate him/herself, and a more final closure to the series all in all. In particular, I found the wholly new ending, which the Internet seems to have dubbed the “Rejection” ending, very interesting, and just as satisfying as the others. In it, you refuse to accept the choices given to you, claiming that it is one sacrifice too many, that the Reapers will be fought on Humanity’s/Turian’s/Krogan’s/et al’s terms. The AI you speak to responds angrily, and we flash forward to the distant future, to see a hologram of Liara T’Soni, explaining to an unseen viewer, all the details of the war against the Reapers, with the hope that a future races watching will continue. The hologram itself was a neat callback to an earlier scene in the game, where Liara actually does archive you, and all their information, for just such a use. The game ends on a new coda, with a child and her mother stargazing, speaking of you in legendary terms, as The Shepard Who United The Galaxy. It also illustrates that all of the information Shepard provided, along with the archived warnings and information, led to future races finally defeating the Reapers once and for all, effectively proving The AI wrong. Seeing Shepard spoken about within this context,  gains a bit more meaning, in terms of how legends are made, told, and passed down.

“Tell me more about The Shepard.”

The new endings will undoubtedly still frustrate many gamers. I have no doubt that no matter what Bioware put out, people would have found things wrong with it. So many people’s stories were very personal to them, as mine was for me, and satisfying everyone is nigh impossible, but these endings are a great attempt at bridging people who hated it, and people like me who loved it, to find some happy common ground in the middle. Because if there’s anything that we should take from playing Mass Effect, it’s that we can only all prosper, if we unite together. And that’s something worth fighting for, no matter what choices you make.

Full-Length ‘Take Earth Back’ Trailer for Mass Effect 3

There are fourteen days left until the Reapers reach Earth in Mass Effect 3. Are you ready? If you were watching The Walking Dead last week you might think you are; Bioware dropped a gorgeous pre-rendered teaser for the game during the show, but that wasn’t the whole picture. The 2-minute trailer that aired on AMC was a condensed version of the real deal; the extended trailer boasts a full extra minute of footage that rounds out the clip and packs on the adrenaline, even incorporating some of the stuff shown in ME3‘s first teaser way back in 2011:

I am shaking with anticipation for this game to come out, so watching this gave me goosebumps. That being said, this is the third version of the same trailer. Before AMC aired its edited version of the above cinematic trailer, a 58-second long  ‘trailer preview‘ was making its rounds on the internet. I’m a little baffled by that decision – they made a teaser for a preview of a trailer for a video game. I’m sure the idea was to generate a steady build of excitement, but I feel like all it did was take away the novelty, because with each subsequent trailer, a large fraction of it was already old news. When I add to that the fact that the trailer’s pre-rendered and therefore offers nothing relevant about the actual game, it gets a little ridiculous.

But I’m looking too deeply at this. The bottom line is, this trailer is fantastic and if it can drum up some excitement and bring more people into the series I’ll be a very happy FemShep.

This is happy, right?

Button Mashing: MW3 DLC, Hitman Absolution, ME3 Characters & More

This is Button Mashing, Grizzly Bomb’s video game news headquarters. Previews, interviews, rumors and all the latest stories relating to the biggest games, all in one place.

I’m The Wozz, and here are the most important things you need to know for the week of January 16th, 2012:

Modern Warfare 3’s First DLC Hits Jan. 24 on Elite – (Side Mission)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Elite subscribers are about to get their first downloadable pack, featuring new maps and multiplayer content. The first bundle is slated to kick off what Activision and Infinity Ward call a “Modern Warfare 3 Content Season for Call of Duty Elite,” which essentially consists of 9 months of periodic DLC.

The process will dole out all of the game’s future bonus content as it is finished and ready to go, as opposed to lumping several of them together in less frequent, individual packets, as promised to all paid Elite subscribers.

This initial release will include two maps, Liberation (a take on NYC’s Central Park) and Piazza (an Italian villa), which will be playable in competitive multiplayer, as well as Spec Ops Survival mode.

On top of that, Infinity Ward’s creative strategist, Robert Bowling, mentioned that future packs will include more varied offerings, like new game types and Spec Ops missions, and even the possibility of new weapons:

It is something that we’ve looked at,” Bowling said. “All of that stuff is on the table for us when we’re looking at what sort of content drops we want to do throughout the season.” Bowling added that there’s “a bunch of other stuff we want to experiment with” for future Modern Warfare 3 content drops.

Along with the two above maps, premium Elite members will get access to three more between now and March. Later all of that content will be bundled together and released for the rest of the Xbox Live community. As of now there is no word on a release date for non-Elite PS3 or PC players.

A Full List of Mass Effect 3’s Cast of Characters – (IGN)

Mass Effect is hands-down the most character-driven video game franchise out there, if not for its stellar writing and RPG interactions, it’s because of its unprecedented ability to bring some of your old friends and enemies, complete with your full relationship history, into each subsequent chapter (providing you haven’t killed them all, of course).

This means that fans will be dying to know who is going to make a return in Commander Shepard’s final mission. Well, IGN has compiled a list of confirmed characters you’ll reunite with in your battle against the Reapers:

Ambassador Donnel Udina
Ashley Williams**
Captain David Anderson
Captain Kirrahe**
Conrad Verner*
Jacob Taylor*
Joker (Jeff Moreau):
Kaidan Alenko**

Kelly Chambers*
Liara T’Soni
Miranda Lawson*:
Continue reading Button Mashing: MW3 DLC, Hitman Absolution, ME3 Characters & More

Mass Effect 3’s Bonus Content Announced

Bioware recently released some info on the bonuses you’ll receive if you pre-order Mass Effect 3. It’s pretty mild in terms of content but I’m going to write this article as an opportunity to release some of the pent up anticipation I have for the game’s upcoming release in March.

So here we go. The ME3 pre-order offers several in-game items that you won’t be able to get anywhere else (At least until they’re inevitably sold as DLC later in the year). Almost anywhere you reserve your copy you’ll receive the M55 Argus Assault Rifle. You can see it in action in this clip below:

As usual however, there is additional bonus content available depending on where you put down your reservation; buying your copy from Game Stop will also net you the ‘N7 Warfare Gear’, which includes the N7 Valkyrie Rifle and Defender Armor. Here is a preview of what they can do:

Meanwhile, EA Origin users can pre-order their copy of the game and receive the AT-12 Raider Shotgun. No video of that, unfortunately. It does kind of feel like an unbalanced offer, with Game Stop customers getting an extra item for their purchase as well as not being tethered to EA’s less-than-stellar digital service, but I suppose it’s not a game-changing loss.

Continue reading Mass Effect 3’s Bonus Content Announced

Prometheus: Hi-Res Images, Interviews and Teaser Trailer

For a movie that is allegedly a prequel to the mega popular and for the most part amazing Alien saga, the amount of news we’ve seen is scarce. Compared to the daily updates from movies like The Dark Knight Rises, its surprising that Prometheus has largely stayed off the radar, with the exception of a few pieces of news here and there.

For those of you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, Prometheus started its life as the next installment in the Alien saga, but it grew in the development stage into its very own movie. While still maintaining close ties to the Alien world, it turned into… well… we don’t really know yet. An origin story that needed an origin story, basically. And it all started because of this guy.

Continue reading Prometheus: Hi-Res Images, Interviews and Teaser Trailer

E3 2011 Preview: What I’m Looking Forward To

It’s June in Los Angeles, and while that means horrible humidity in the gridlock infested ‘City of Angels’, it also means that it’s time for my summer Christmas treat: The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or as it’s affectionately called everywhere, E3!

I have had the pleasure to go to E3 a few times, and I remember it being probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. It’s pretty much an assault on the senses, where strobe lights and booth babes puts stars in your eyes. The subwoofers buried under the exhibit floors, and concerts rattles your ear drums, and your fingers develop blisters from the severe button mashing and controller switching done at the conference. My favorite thing was to try out the Wii the year before it came out, being treated to one of the best experiences in gaming, and getting to brag about it on the intraweb. Although getting kicked out of the bathroom by Vin Diesel’s bodyguards so he could take a piss was a close second…

Regardless, I’m not there this year and this seems to be one of the best years to attend. There’s a lot of excitement in the air from the ‘Big 3’ and storylines are abound: What is Nintendo’s successor and will it appeal to the hardcore? How will Sony recover from the PSN debacle? Can Microsoft carry the Xbox for a few more years as it now enters it’s swan song?

 Like I said, I’m super pumped about this year, and while it may not encompass what everyone else is interested in, there is a comment section so feel free to say what you want to see. And with that, let’s start off with the honorable mentions:

Honorable Mentions:

Final Fantasy XIII-2

Other than the fact that FFX-2 was an absolute debacle, (yes, decent game…until you realize it completely ruins FFX’s story in my opinion) I’m still curious to see this game.

I have yet to beat the original, but I dug the combat system (although XII still has a special place in my heart). The trailer is below, but apparently it ruins the last game, so  SPOILER ALERT in case you don’t want it ruined for you. Also, apparently feathers are to Final Fantasy like doves are to John Woo…

Bioshock Infinite

I like the Bioshock games, I don’t love them. I get that I’m in the minority in that but my reasoning is that System Shock 2 is one of the most fantastic games of all time, so anything that is supposed to be a psuedo-sequel/spin-off has a hard time to capture my heart.

Still, they are considered great games and it’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. That and I LOVE the trailer.

The New Harmonix Game

I love Harmonix. The creators of Frequency, Karaoke Revolution, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central, should I keep going…? They are extremely innovative when it comes to music genre, and more importantly, we are at a crossroads in music gaming. Guitar Hero is basically dead, there’s no Rock Band this year. What does Harmonix have up their sleeves? Guess we’re going to find out this week…

UPDATED> New Harmonix Game will be: Dance Central 2!

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

I’ve been playing through the 2nd one and I dig it. It’s a lot less repetitive than the first, so I assume the third is even less repetitive and this 4th part of the series should be good times. And also my mentioning it gives an excuse for Dr. Kronner to a picture of Kristen Bell

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Now, I like the Elder Scroll games because you can do whatever the hell you want in them. I also hate the Elder Scroll games because they’re so absolutely non-linear that I never remember what the main quest is after I’ve decided to become an assassin, who specializes in real estate and being a traveling merchant.

Daggerfall remains one of my favorite games of all time, if not also the most frustrating because for the life of me, I have no clue what the hell I was supposed to do in that game.


Star Wars Kinect

Yes, I need an excuse to purchase the Kinect. Having my avatar wield a light saber with my movements would be that excuse.

X-Men Destiny

This is kinda a cool concept where you customize your character, decide if you want to go X-Men or Brotherhood and it’s written by X-Men Legacy writer Mike Carey. Obviously, not like Marvel Alliance where you pick up any character but it gives the idea of growing your mutant into a team and making your own storyline. Intriguing of course so I think it’ll be something this site will follow for the months to come.

Now, to the Things I Really Want to See…

In this order: 

Battlefield 3

I love Battlefield all the way back to the 1942 days. There’s something about mass chaos and being able to fly, drive, shoot, or snipe your way to glory. The battle also made me pee my pants a bit. I normally do not play a lot of FPS (I think Halo is overrated to be honest) but sometimes you just need to jump into a game and just go nuts. Plus it honestly looks like the most amazing thing I’ve seen in awhile. Or at least until the end of this conference. It’s a long trailer but considering it’s all gameplay, you better take a look at this.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

It’s freakin’ Zelda. Why the hell should I explain why you should be excited for this game? One more reason? Okay, with the new Wii motion plus, you can actually control where the sword strikes, hits, swings very accurately. Hold the sword to the right, Link will hold it ready to the right. Hold it back to charge, guess what? You just charged your sword. Again, this is stupid why I have to explain, because it’s FRIGGIN’ ZELDA.

Batman: Arkham City

A terrific game gets a sequel, and I know it’s be covered ad nauseam by us, with reveals of Catwoman and trailers and such, and it will only continue to grow as we inch closer to October. The first game was terrific and actually gets me to tell the story of Dr. Kronner’s first attempt with the game. He was on the rafters and was ready to swoop down to take out the bad guy. So he does his Batman glide down and you can see Kronner’s eyes light up as he has taken control of his boyhood hero, and is about to make his first victim feel the wrath of the Dark Knight. About 3/4 of his dive down on top of the victim, I noticed that his line was a bit off and that he was going to miss horribly so my eyes started to widen with glee. Kronner lands in front of the bad guy. Shot in the face. Dead. One of my favorite video game moments ever. Regardless of first try follies, I know he loves this game, I love this game, you love this game, and that most likely means you’re going to love the follow-up.


Contra is possibly one of my favorite games of all time. It’s also one of the most frustrating games ever this side of the first Battletoads (more specifically the speed bike stage, I mean C’MON).

So imagine my excitement that they are bringing it back. I mean, yeah, they brought it back once before for the Playstation and that blew ass, but it’s Contra.

If they go back to what made the originals awesome, we will have zero issues here.

So here’s the Gamespot link, because there’s no big news on it as of yet. I’m sure however, we’ll have good stuff to deliver by the end of this week…

Mass Effect 3

I love the Mass Effect series and it’s been one of the most engrossing games I’ve ever played. Plus, to actually carry your character over from the first game all the way to the last game without having to start new characters and stat distributions is genius. They have had the best storytelling and character development I have seen in games and it’s not surprising considering that Bioware, responsible for the Knights of the Old Republic series, is behind this effort. This is the last game of this trilogy and I cannot wait. Now if the combat system can finally be fixed…


The next first person shooter from ‘id software’, responsible for Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake? Yeah okay, I’m in. They always push the envelope on what to expect from shooters, but let’s be honest, when Half-Lifecame out, we began to look at Valve as the best FPS developer out there. But enough time has passed for id to reclaim the throne. I believe they have a great shot with this game. Check the trailer and judge for yourself.

Gears of War 3

Dear God yes. I love these games and it has the best co-op I ever played in my life (sorry River City Ransom). This game series really put me on edge while playing it, just like seeing the first bezserker in the first game to having bunches of fun on top of the giant riding things (my research is impeccable). Having one of the best single player campaigns ever really works in your favor but like I said, it’s all about the co-op. I think my old roommate and myself played through the first Gears 5 times on different difficulty levels and the second one 4 times just because it was that damn fun. So yeah, I’m pumped for this one and can’t wait to finish this trilogy off.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

We’ve mentioned Bioware before, and how awesome they are right? They did Mass Effect, Dragon Age, even the oldie but goodie Balder’s Gate. Well, they also did Knights of the Old Republic. They basically were in the golden age of Star Wars games with their RPG, and the FPS Jedi Knight series (which was AWESOME for multiplayer) and guess what? They are going back to Star Wars with this online game.

Now, let me get this straight, Galaxies was cool then sucked pretty fast. The outset was great, but the more you played the game, it made you miss being jedi because you had to be “chosen” in order to accomplish that feat. Instead I was a sniper killing farm animals while Kronner’s Wookie charged in with a giant hammer. Try doing that for 2 months straight. Regardless, if anyone was going to revive the series, Bioware was the right pick.

Check it out : HERE

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Yeah, another game I’ve pretty much talked about a lot.

So I’ll just post a new gameplay trailer, reiterate that Infinity Ward is behind it and they are better than Treyarch as a developer, and it’s full of pure awesomeness. That is all.

Wii 2/Project Cafe

Oh yeah. This is coming out. Touchpad controller? More powerful than 360 and PS3? HD? A callback to hardcore gamers instead of soccer moms? Well, I want this system. I’m watching the Nintendo conference as we speak so expect a report and that’s why I made this one last. Because I’m pretty sure that this will change gaming. Again. Like the last time. Sort of. Please don’t let me down Nintendo.


So that’s what I got. And I’ll be doing updates throughout the week. Especially after the Nintendo presser…happy gaming people.