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Mass Effect 2: Electric Boogaloo
Because really, the world needs more references to Breakin' 2.

So, I finished the game last night. Overall, I liked the it, though I didn't have that overwhelming sensawunda that I got from the first game. The plot felt a bit more obtrusive, especially as publius1 noted you could tell as soon as you saw a lot of cover objects that there was going to be a fight coming. A lot of the mechanics were a lot better from the previous game -- there were fewer categories to spend upgrade points in, and the powers were actually relatively useful and relevant (AI Hacking and Burninating in particular). I loved the fact that I no longer had to manage my inventory (just keep track of upgrades) or keep track of omni-gel levels, and while I won't say that I loved the hacking minigames, they certainly beat playing "Simon Says".

Plot-related items behind the cut to avoid any additional chicken cacciatore incidents.Collapse )

All things considered I did like the game -- now I need to go back and finish my second playing of my "keeper" character from ME1, and then import that into ME2 and do a couple of playthroughs there, though I'm betting that I've got at least a good year to year and a half for that.

Though Civ V is coming out in the fall, supposedly (damn you, rysmiel for posting that link.....).

Note to self
Stop getting a quick lunch from the Chinese food truck that parks outside of the building.

The food, while edible, isn't particularly good, and you always feel nasty after eating it.

Reasons why it doesn't suck to have a corporate Blackberry
(One in a vanishingly small series.)

Getting the e-mail from Corporate Communications that because of the expected snow tomorrow (and the fact that most everyone that could possibly manage it was going to work from home, overwhelming the corporate VPN) the campus was shut down for tomorrow.

Still no word from the Uni about classes tomorrow, though. Which means I'll probably be slogging my way there tomorrow afternoon because we have our first test. Dammit.

Broke down, and now I will be Effecting Mass two.

I haven't finished my second playthrough with the save I plan to import, so I'll just be spinning up a new character to play through the first time. I'm currently working my way through Noveira, and I still have lots of side quests to complete as well, so rather then be playing it through for the first time in a month or two (Bioshock 2 is out in about two or three more weeks as well) after everyone's done and dusted with the game I'll just not import a character right away.

On the gripping hand, after having run through it once, I should have a better feel for what to do with the import, once that playthrough is finished.

FINAL REVIEW, Assassin's Creed II
So, without spoiling the ending for people, as a bunch of friends are still going through it, I really liked this game. I'm tempted to go through and play it again from the start, and take a bit more time in doing it, but with Mass Effect 2 coming in the next couple of weeks I may forego that until after I've finished ME2.

(On an unrelated note, after having gone through the first bit of Dragon Age: Origins (just got back from becoming a Grey Warden), I have a feeling that I'll just be bringing this game with me to trade in for store credit when I go to buy ME2. Just can't seem to get into this game at the moment, for some reason....)

It took me a bit to figure out some handy tricks (the location section of the database will tell you the buildings that you've seen that have glyphs on them, making them much easier to find, for instance), and I never really did any of the side missions in each city the first playthrough (just going along with the plot I ended up finishing the game a lot quicker then I thought). Also, now that I kinda get how the combat system works, and in particular how to deal with enemies that have pikes (axes, maces, hammers, and so on), it'd be nice to go through some of the combats again.

Ah, poor Enzio.....

General, Organic and Biochemistry textbook (and associated study guide) arrived at the house yesterday.

Class starts in T - 6 days and counting.....

Oh, yeah.....
Happy birthday, merhawk. Hope you get to spend it doing something fun.

Assassin's Creed II, partial review
In a nutshell, this (so far) looks like the game that Assassin's Creed wanted to be.

So, a confession. I never finished the first game. Made it maybe 2⁄3 of the way through, dropped the game for a few months, restarted from scratch and made it through the first mission, and then just quit on the game. While an interesting setting/idea, the basic gameplay went

  1. climb towers to reveal map of the city

  2. pickpocket mission (x2)

  3. interrogation(x2)

  4. eavesdropping

  5. The Big Kill

Along the way, several optional missions to help out citizens in distress and quests to find various collections of items rounded things out. Unfortunately, this same formula was repeated in all 9 missions of the game, meaning that after the third quest (or thereabouts) things rapidly turned into a tedious, repetitive slog and the desire to finish the game quickly evaporated. Even in the side quests for the various flags, spending hours hunting through a section of the city for that one last flag or two (that had no actual bearing on the game at all) made the eyes bleed, and I can only imagine the hatred and rage felt by people that had 90 or more out of 100 of the things, and had to try and backtrack through the cities and lands to try and figure out which ones they had gotten and which ones that they were missing were.

Fortunately, Assassin's Creed II seems to have fixed most of these flaws. The basic flow has moved from hitting the marked spots on the map to get the Plot Tokens to go forward and centers now around interacting with characters and getting tasks from them to advance the plot (much in the same vein as Mass Effect), most of which end up breaking down into several smaller tasks. The various side quests now are for the most part things that are identified on the maps and have actual use and bearing in the game, making it worthwhile to make the effort to complete them. The "Eagle Vision" ability is now useful in helping to find hidden items of interest (like unmarked side quest items), and notoriety is something that can go up and down based on your actions (instead of being constantly "on" in the first game). Fighting has even gotten some major attention, with several different types of enemies (with different weapons and modes of attack), all of whom don't fall for the "turn a corner and dive into a pile of hay to suddenly turn invisible" trick.

To be sure, there are some drawbacks. The need to periodically head back to the Villa to empty out the tax chest after it fills up tends to break up the game flow (and having to backtrack across an entire city to get to the one exit is not all that fun), and between that and all of the side quests it tends to get in the way of the main story line a bit and make things feel a bit cramped, but after having played for a couple of evenings I'm still interested in playing the game, as opposed to just going to Wikipedia to read the plot synopsis and skipping the game entirely.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the time between now and when Mass Effect 2 comes out.

Finished plowing through tGS. On the whole I liked it, though right now I think I just want to go to sleep, so a more detailed review will have to wait.


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