Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mass Effect 3 Day 9

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Completed the request from the Turian Primach, and should now be ready to free the Krogans of the Genophage.

Again, Cerberus is everywhere, and why is Cerberus stopping the Turians from defusing the bomb? If Reapers are not stopped, Cerberus will be gone too? Perhaps they are so strong that they can face the Reapers alone? Which is not a very far fetch idea because the army they have is so massive (you see hordes of them in every other missions) that they could conquer the Universe.

Now you don’t see the squad members standing at their locations forever as in ME2, it is nice to see Garrus sitting in the lounge chatting with Liara. Very nice change. The only odd one is, why is Wreav always so busy typing on the computer? Talking about Krogan using the computer, it is funny to receive an email from Grunt.

I am finding the planet scanning a nuisance now, mainly due to the Reapers, and I suspect some systems’ resource might not be available yet though it shows 50% harvested, if this is the case, the game should indicate 100% and reduce the percentage when new resource is available. I will continue to scan after every mission to see if I can get everything to 100%…

The available squad members in ME3 seems small, though I have met a number of ex-squad mates, only Garrus & Liara are in the team. I was happy initially to finally be able to bring another ex-squad mate back to the Normandy — Mordin, but I can’t bring him to missions, and he will just be at the med bay. Hmmm… Anyhow, my soldier Shepard’s favorite team is Javik and Garrus, this team will make the missions like cake walk. I do not know how to make good use of EDI yet, have to try a few more times.

Mass Effect 3 – War Readiness

As I gathered more war assets against the Reapers, I noticed this bar “War Readiness” did not change whether I have completed a mission or recruited a new squad member or not. I searched the net for information on this, and to my “horror”, I need to play multiplayer games and/or Mass Effect Infiltrator and/or the Mass Effect Datapad in order to increase it!

This is so wrong. The Mass Effect 3 should be a complete game by itself, and not require the playing of other games to increase the war readiness! I do not like Multiplayer games, and from what I read, you can only play the multiplayer game on Xbox which I do not own.

I am glad I do own an iPad, and for those who do not own either a xbox or iPad/iPhone will have their games crippled, which in my opinion, is seriously unfair.

I have since downloaded the Mass Effect Datapad, and is trying hard to increase the war readiness, hopefully it will be in time for my final confrontation with the Reapers. As for the ME Datapad game itself, it is not only boring, slow, not sensitive to touch on the buttons, but buggy too. I absolutely hate it.

Not sure whether the war readiness will be reset in a new game, if it does reset, it will seriously impact the re-playability of the game.

Bad move, Bioware, bad move.

Mass Effect 3 Day 8

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Completed the Missing Krogans mission.

I was pretty emotional at the end of the mission where Grunt asked Shepard to leave while he held off the indoctrinated Rachnis. While watching the cutscene, my thought was I wronged Grunt so much– he was a character that I did not like very much in ME2, mainly because in a dialogue with him in ME2, he mentioned that he would fight Shepard one day. Furthermore, a perfect Krogan is a perfect threat to the Universe. Never thought he would sacrifice himself for Shepard.

So in one of my ME2 play through, I “engineered” an ending where it was hopeless for the Krogan — Killed Maelon, destroyed the research data, and I even made sure Grunt and Mordin stay dead in the Suicide Mission. Not sure how the game will play out with such ending, but I am regretting that decision, and hopefully it is not the Infiltrator character that I wanted to import to ME3.

Man, am I relief to see a blood soaked Grunt climbed up before Shepard left the planet? Well done, Bioware.

Other thoughts from the last few days of playing:

1. The result of Bioware trying to fulfill every fans’ whims of returning characters, is we bumped into every one of them at every corner. I have lost count on how many I have met so far, it sure makes the Mass Effect universe seems so small. It could be implemented in a more discreet way like you only heard news of a few them from ex-companions, space out the encounters a little more, or some of them could have been with Shepard from the beginning especially the human companions and crew, as it was only 6 months after the events of the Arrival DLC, thus reducing the “they are everywhere” kind of feeling.

2. Cerberus is everywhere. The threat is about Cerberus or the Reapers? Or both? I have yet to find out. I thought there should be more missions like the Missing Krogans, where Shepard will try to reduce the Reapers’ strength by eliminating some of their lesser subjects instead of fighting the Cerberus. ME3 also totally eliminated the greyness of Cerberus Bioware was trying so hard to build in ME2. In ME3, they are just plain evil. The plot will be a lot better if Cerberus is portrayed the same (grey) in ME3, adding the twists that would make Shepard contemplate whether to support Cerberus effort or not in some missions.

Mass Effect 3 Day 5

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Aria T’Loak did lose Omega to the Cerberus. I wanted to laugh at her, but unfortunately, I wasn’t given a dialogue choice. I would probably help her just for the fun of checking what kind of assistance she could provide for fighting the Reapers. I find that generally there are a lot less dialogue choices in ME3, some doesn’t even give you a chance to say “NO”. You either reply “Yes” with a smile or not.

I realized I picked up a lot of side quests in Citadel without even talking to anyone, now you just need to run around to pick up side quests, how cool is that? In ME4, side quests will automatically update to your journal when you step into a location and save you from even running around. Gee… Are we over simplifying things nowadays? One of the fun part in RPG is talking to people whether important characters or not, find out some background information, and sometimes be surprised by a quest or gift.

Met Jack in the Grissom Academy quest. She looks a lot better than in ME2, and has a funny quote when you first met her, something like, “We are asking help from the Alliance and they responded by sending their King of Boy Scouts!”

I have done two N7 side quests in ME3 so far, and find them to be a lot better than the ME2 equivalent, good job.

Crashes: Encountered 2 crashes, one in day 4 and one in day 5. Both crashes needed a reboot of computer.

Mass Effect 3 Day 4

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The game opened up after completing the Palaven mission, so we have some degree of free play from here. Palaven mission itself is short, took about an hour plus for a shooter-idiot like me to complete on normal difficulty setting. (On a side note, Mass Effect is the only shooter game that I play, because I get disoriented easily and have difficulties in dodging, running from cover to cover, and that is also the reason why I will never play a Vanguard class, and even as a soldier, I would prefer sniping and play a supporting role.)

Coming back to the mission itself, the battles are fragmented– you go for one battle, go back to camp, wait for instruction, then go for another, so on and so on. The flow of the game is broken, and lost the intensity along the way even though the background of the mission is in the middle of war that you can’t win. Very much different from my original perception of the mission– I thought it will be like a suicide mission, trying to pluck the Primarch from the middle of a Reaper invasion, how easy is that going to be?

The Palaven mission could be a lot better and more intense if there were pockets of small skirmishes in between you and your destination just like the Battle of Ostagar in Dragon Age Origins. Man, that was a classic.

Anyhow, good to see Garrus back although the ME3 Collector’s edition art booklet already spoiled the information for me, he is a nice comrade to have not only as an old friend but also his abilities against synthetics and shielded enemies. The surprise squad member is EDI. I suspected EDI will take over Dr Eva’s body as Dr Eva looks so much alike the EDI’s concept drawing in the art booklet, but didn’t expect it to become a full squad member. Great, will bring it to the next mission, and yeah, as James commented, it will be too much a distraction.

Met another old friend Thane, too bad he won’t be joining Shepard this time, and it is sad to see him waiting for his death in the hospital. I will be meeting another returning character, Aria T’Loak from ME2 in my next gaming session, and eager to find out what is she doing in Citadel? Did she lose Omega? To the Cerberus or to the Reapers?

Other notes on Day 4:

After further planets scannings, it is confirmed that there is no point of visiting any planets at all in this installment. All the planets are barren and will have nothing interesting unless there is a mission tagged to it. It might have some equipment that will add to your war asset if your scanner detected abnormalities. Good or bad? I really don’t know.

The good is, it is more realistic as Shepard will have no time to visit these planets solving others’ problems due to the Reapers invasion, but… isn’t he wasting time running around Citadel, trying to talk to random people, check on Ashley, and etc?

Mass Effect 3 – Day 2 & 3

Warning- Spoiler Alert

The enemies’ AI has definitely improved, I am on “normal” and the battle seems tough to handle even for a small N7 quest. In one of the sub quest, I thought it would be like those 15 minutes Cerberus quests in ME2, that you just go in, shoot, retrieve object, and go.

I was surprised by the waves of enemies, and died a few times. The enemies are not only stronger, they will flank you from all directions/ camouflage and charge towards your positions. I have yet to learn an effective way of countering them, for now, my Shepard is relegated to guarding the back as the Squad mates usually ignore the enemies coming from behind. While in some battles, I was fortunate to be positioned in some unreachable ground like roof top, and picked the enemies one by one from there.

Final thought after day 3: The Illusive Man has no need of Shepard in ME2, they have wasted their billions of credits! A small team of Cerberus army alone will kick the Collectors’ asses hard.

Other thoughts: If Salarians were just lizards (they eat flies, lol) 50,000 years ago, they sure evolved in an extremely fast pace. What if our house geckos have evolved at the same speed? Will they be driving around our houses now?

Mass Effect 3 Day 1

Warning: Spoiler Alert

After playing the disappointing ME 2 Arrival DLC and watching the game trailers, I have sort of expected what is going to happen at the start of the game, so no surprise here. The game is smooth, and I am running it on the same machine as the ME2, which is a dated AMD 965 (Quad Core) with another dated nVidia 260 graphics card.

Control wise, I felt at ease, it is basically the same as ME2, with slight improvement– now we can leap, roll from cover to cover, and climb ladders.

The game was very intense for the first few hours as it should be, we are talking about Reapers invasion, but I was secretly worrying that the script will be so tight that we might not have the option to explore the world. The fear was eliminated after the Mars mission and visit to Citadel, Shepard is now in Normandy and have the option of exploring the world while the Reapers rape the universe or go straight to save the world.

Normandy is very much the same with minor changes and addition of the docking bay. While I was exploring the Normandy, I couldn’t help but miss my old comrades, with flashbacks like– this is where Kasumi used to stay, that is where Garrus used to hang out… and oh, Liara has taken over Miranda’s office, which means Miranda might not be a returning character!

The Collector’s Edition art booklet did spoil some information for me, now I know Garrus and Jack are confirmed to be returning squad members. Grrr…. I have been avoiding all game sites and forums afraid to be spoiled, and yet…

Other improvement/ changes that I like so far:

  1. Weight limitation, yes, it is really stupid to carry many guns behind your back. Now we have to choose which to bring with us on the mission.
  2. No more minerals mining! Yay!!!
  3. Different type of improvements we can make to the guns besides the standard upgrading of Vindicator I to Vindicator II.
  4. Like the Normandy scanner which can detect distress/ abnormalities in a large radius. Save the trouble of visiting planet to planet.

Neutral/ Negative changes:

  1. A distress signal that I have found on a planet is just some random treasure instead of able to land on the planet for a side mission. I hope we will still have some hidden side missions…
  2. Soldier can use sub-machine gun. Why do I even need this when I can use the assault riffle? Maybe for a long mission where ammo is scarce? Well, some other players might like this.
  3. Now you can’t heal to full health during a fight unless you use a Medi gel, and your health level is limited for the entire mission. Which is ok I guess, just have to be a careful Rambo…

The game so far is relatively bug free except in one area in the Mars mission– Liara and Ashley got stuck, a re-load solved the problem. Overall I think Mass Effect team has probably learn from their colleagues from the Dragon Age team– keeping most things in tact, and change only those that the fans dislike.

I am liking the game so far, and can’t wait for my next gaming session.

Mass Effect 3 Installation

Sometimes delayed gratification do pay off. I collected my Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition (PC version) from the local game shop on the 6th March, and did not try installing it until 10th March.

I was stumped when “Origin” was installed instead of the game, and the game just wouldn’t install no matter how many times I re-inserted the DVD, and tried clicking the ME3 icon. So I just put it aside and thought of figuring it out in the next few days. My initial reaction was, maybe I got a faulty disc.

I searched the Internet, and to my surprised that I was not the only one having problems on installing the game, many eager and adventurous players have gotten themselves in trouble when they tried to install and keyed in their product code, putting themselves in a fixed that they have to download the entire 10GB of content from EA website. Thank my lucky star.

I searched the net again a few days later, and followed the instruction from this post, and it just worked!

Here’s what happened, I updated the Origin when it started, and keyed in the product code in Origin. Exit Origin without clicking or typing anything else. When I re-started Origin, the code was still there, and followed the installation steps in Origin. Finally I completed the installation.

I installed the DLC “From Ashes” via Origin, this time, I did not exit and re-start Origin. Just key in the product code, and the process started automatically.

As for other “bundled equipment” from the Collector’s Edition, I didn’t try using Origin to install, but use social.bioware.com instead.

That’s how I install my game, DLC, and additional equipment, and hope the above will help other players caught in similar situation.

Final verdict, Origin might be a cool idea, but it is not cool to ship it when it is not ready at all, EA and Bioware should have tested the installation process more thoroughly.