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.
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.
Although Raccoon City is getting hammered all over the Internet, I have to say that I did enjoy certain parts of it. The idea of playing as an Umbrella strike team member is pretty cool to me, and shifting the dynamic of power from being a solo hero to being part of a full assault squad struck me as quite interesting and full of promise. Unfortunately, the title's problems far outweigh the good bits.
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.
Last night on Twitter, I made a comment about shopping in the app store and apparently it wasn't nearly as clear as I thought it was. I had several replies chastising me afterwards, and I wanted to clarify what I meant to say. If you still want to chastise me after that then that's totally cool, but it seemed pretty obvious that I was not able to make my point in 140 characters.
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