On the latest episode of After Dark, we take on Mass Effect 3 and the now-infamous ending, share our reflections on the Mass Effect franchise, and have a spirited discussion about sexual relations. Featuring Richard Naik and Brad Gallaway, special guest Michael Cunningham on loan from RPGamer.com, plus a special appearance from Tim "Brett Favre" Spaeth.
We should have known the conclusion would be trouble. Ending a game like Mass Effect 3 poses a special set of problems, because a central attraction of Western RPGs is that their systems respond to player choice. Mass Effect and its like are the classic case of games that generate stories through collaboration between designer and player. Drawing things to a close, however, requires the hand of the developer to show, often in ways that seem unattractive.
The Falmer are coming. You can hear guards whispering about them in Skyrim's towns. You can encounter them through their attacks on trading caravans or isolated, unlucky outposts. In the journey to Blackreach, if not before, you will encounter the Falmer. Blind and pale, they scurry through the caves beneath Skyrim, clothed and armed with chitin from their hideous insect livestock, communicating in primitive hisses. Considering only these characteristics, it would be easy to dismiss the Falmer as goblins by another name, like Mass Effect's awful Vorcha. However, the fiction surrounding the Falmer positions them as a touchstone for many of Skyrim's main ideas.
And here it is, the final part of Extra Credits' take Western role-playing game vs Japanese role-playing games. Here they look at why the Japanese RPG has fallen behind its Western counterpart and maybe how to reverse its course.
Extra Credits returns with more on the Western role-playing game vs Japanese role-playing games debate. This time they challenge our genre classifications and dare to imply that they are a bit antiquated.
A copious amount of blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids have already been spilled over Mass Effect 3′s ending. Several of the first few Google results concern the overwhelmingly negative fan reaction in some way, be it in the form of an online petition or a silly FTC complaint. The laser-like focus on the ending is a damn dirty shame, because outside of those five minutes at the very end of the game and a shaky first hour or so, Mass Effect 3 is about as good a series finale as I could have hoped for.
Among core gamers, Electronic Arts and BioWare's decision to deliver an additional squadmate as day one DLC for Mass Effect 3 continues to rile people who haven't yet finished the game and gotten angry about the ending. Fast-flying accusations and defenses about whether the content was stripped out of the game mostly miss the point.
With such seemingly opposite takes on the genre, the argument usually devolves down to proponents of each genre arguing that theirs is the best example of "role-playing." Extra Credits dares to jump into the fray to see is one group is right, or perhaps if one is more right than the other or maybe even if both are wrong. Clearly it's not an easy task or it wouldn't be broken up into three parts.
It seems that the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3 has been cranked to 11. An FTC complaint against BioWare is the latest individual action, and it's served to fan the flames of what's become a binary topic. People seem to either enjoy and/or accept the game's ending for what it is (Let's call these people Group A) or they are upset for a variety of reasons (or Group B). I have no horse in this race myself, as trying to play either of the first two Mass Effect games was met with rapid failure and disinterest that shortly followed, so it's interesting to observe this controversy from a distance.
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