Beyond 2012: Five things to look forward to when that Mayan calendar flips again

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Let’s not beat around the bush here: the last Star Trek was f***ing magic, and this returns with the same director and perfect cast. Here’s hoping for the same mixture of exhilarating action, spot-on humour and warm, fuzzy feelings we got from the last one.  Continue reading

How to write the rules of attraction

A poster on a video game forum sparked a very interesting debate. (Presumably, a) he initially complained about the lack of LGBT-focussed mods for Morrowind, which resulted in a few short list of recommendations, and he said that they weren’t really what he was looking for. I pointed out a few others, including my own, where gender simply wasn’t specified. I’m very much of the view that the player decides how the game goes, and I mentally award brownie points every time I’m allowed to follow my whims and scowl disapprovingly any time I can’t. Bethesda’s games are very much designed in that way, so it follows automatically that I should avoid restricting the player. Continue reading

Mass Effect movie “has a script”

After lodging in Development Hell for a spell, it looks like the Mass Effect movie is back in motion. G4 reported today that it had spotted a passing mention at Deadline of a script by Thor‘s Mark Protosevich for Legendary Pictures. Contradicting last year’s information, this script is based on the first game, and stars the male version of Shepard.

Where Legendary previously said they would definitely not cast voice actor Seth Green as Joker, they’re now insisting that no decisions have been made.

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Mass Effect 3

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The night before the Extended Cut DLC was released for free (today), I finally finished Mass Effect 3 to see what all the fuss was about. My Effective Military Strength was well over 5,000, so I had nothing to worry about, except a sense of dread not wholly related to the predicament of the galaxy.

In Mass Effect, Bioware created a universe easily the equal of Star Trek or Star Wars: a compelling, fully-realised history, geography and political landscape. It has characters you care about, worlds you want to save, and Mass Effect 2 enjoys a well-deserved 96% rating on Metacritic: it’s almost perfect. So why was ME3 so roundly criticised by its fans? Why isn’t it as good as ME2? And is the ending really that badContinue reading

Game gear – how to dress like a hero

There’s something so satisfying about wearing a t-shirt of your favourite thing: it’s literally close to your heart. I wear my Foetus t-shirt as a pyjama top, since my pleas for the albums to be released in plush cases so that I can cuddle them have thus far gone unanswered.

These days, it goes far beyond an oversized tee with a logo on it. The bigger the brand, the wider selection of merchandise, and there has never been a better time to be a fan of video games, since you can now wear your love on your sleeve … arms, legs and feet.  Continue reading

Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is not that bad

So I finally caved in and had a go on Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer. Like probably most people on the server that night, I did so reluctantly, after hearing that it was impossible to get the “preferred” ending (best of a bad bunch by all accounts) unless my Something Something Thingamajig level was at 5000, and that it was practically (though not literally) impossible to reach that through the single-player campaign alone. I’d been so dreading the ending that I’d been stalling playing the game altogether, dragging out side quests trying to avoid the conclusion, but I would have to face it sooner or later, and that included choosing whether to go the multiplayer route. A comment I read last night made my decision for me: “it’s more fun than grinding through that awful minigame”. Aye, the game of chicken with the beacons and reapers is fun for … ooooh, about 25 seconds, after which it makes you want to crawl on your hands and knees back to Bioware and beg for the mining gig back.  Continue reading

The Changing Face of Games

Today in Skyrim, I tried to walk to Morrowind. I’d read that Bethesda had included the Vvardenfell landmass, and tried to climb to the top of a mountain so that I could peek over the peak and see Red Mountain in the distance. Unfortunately, I hit the game’s built in barriers and had to turn back, suddenly feeling desperately homesick for my pixellated paradise. Thwarted, I bumped into an ice troll and decided to leg it, conjuring a dremora and hiding behind a rock. I let the red-faced beastie do my combat for me; I just plain didn’t feel like fighting today.

Trolls of a rather nastier variety greeted Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler, who shut down her Twitter account after a barrage of spiteful personal insults, in part sparked by Bioware’s decision to include the dialogue-light “Action Mode” and combat-light “Story Mode” in Mass Effect 3. More insidiously, some fans were offended by the game’s inclusion of romance options for female and gay characters, leading to the astonishing claim that Bioware is “neglecting the straight male gamer”, despite having four dateable females in Mass Effect 2. It seems that some fans are offended by Bioware letting players play the game they want, when and how they want it.  Continue reading