Tag Archives: games

N7 Day

Just though to make my own little contribution to N7 day by posting the group photo of my last ME3 play through. The memories…

GroupphotoSml

Still, I would have liked an ending that was a bit different… just saying…

Mass Effect 3 Patch 4

It has been a while since there were any updates to the game (other than the DLC’s). High time some bugs get fixed. The full list of bugs fixed are available here.

The list was a bit random so I though I’ll group it a bit better (if possible)

Fixes

Single player

– Fixed Shepard’s shadow from not appearing after entering and exiting an Atlas
– Fixed a rare crash in the final mission level involving the firing of the Cain at the Hades Cannon.
– Fixed an issue with Ken/Gabby and Tali/Garrus ambient dialogues not triggering in Normandy engineering

Power evolution changes

– Sabotage power evolution 6 increased tech damage bonus no longer stacks
– Incinerate power evolution 5 now gives a damage bonus to frozen and chilled enemies
– N7 Shadow Sword Mastery power evolution 5 and 6 now apply to Shadow Strike damage

Character ability fixes

– Krogan Vanguard Rage bonuses now work properly
– Asari Justicar passive power evolution 3 power damage and force bonus now works properly
– Fixed Asari Justicar from not being able to activate Biotic Sphere within range of large enemies
– Fixed Flamer power of Vorcha from being activated simultaneously with the Reegar Carbine
– Fixed Atlas rocket applying damage over time on N7 Paladins using the Omni-Shield

Weapons

– Fixed weapons with natural piercing from having their damage reduced with piercing mods equipped
– Particle Rifle no longer replenishes ammo from ammo boxes and supply pylons
– Fixed SMG Ultralight Materials Mod not having impact on power recharge speed
– Fixed Armor Piercing Ammo not applying penetration bonus to secondary weapon
– Krysae no longer ignores enemy shield gates
– Fixed various weapon sound-replications for clients
– Fixed an issue with ammo boxes causing players to be unable to fire weapons after attempting to refill grenades
– Fixed an issue with the Krysae Sniper rifle not functioning properly on squad members (Firefight pack)
– Fixed seeking projectile powers occasionally failing to impact targets even though it appeared to impact

Enemies and NPC

– Fixed pathing for Banshees so they don’t get stuck in a teleport routine
– Fixed dropping Retrieve Objects that could potentially fall under the level
– Fixed an issue with enemies approaching a downed player to execute, but showing mercy and leaving
– Fixed an issue that caused the Retrieve Objective wave to not recognize the recovery of the object when it enters the retrieve zone
– Fixed Decoy that was blocking the use of ladders to NPCs and squadmates
– Fixed an issue with the Banshee being able to sync-kill players farther than she should be able to
– Fixed issue where enemies in Stasis surviving a biotic detonation would become un-synchronized for clients
– Fixed an issue that caused the Retrieve Objective wave to not recognize the recovery of the object when it enters the retrieve zone
– Fixed issue in which enemies surviving a detonated Stasis blast became invulnerable

Multiplayer maps

– Fixed an issue with Firebase Jade giving partial extractions when all players are already inside the extraction zone
– Fixed automatic revive at a specific spot in Firebase White
– Fixed a crash on Firebase Rio caused by heavy melee

Lobby, menu etc.

– Fixed an issue with Private Lobbies not staying private after the match has begun
– Fixed an issue in which purchasing multiplayer card pack purchases would not complete
– Fixed icons of powers disappearing from the Character Screen
– Fixed an issue with talent points remaining after a character promotion

Disconnects, unplayable maps

– Fixed quitting/disconnecting while holding Retrieve Object that could cause the Retrieve Object to disappear
– Fixed users logging off or disconnecting during gameplay from not being able to return online until rebooting the game
– Fixed an issue when using Biotic Charge before death that caused the match to be unplayable afterwards

Other

– Fixed tutorial tip that didn’t properly display an unbound command
– Fixed an issue in multiplayer where if a character has DLC weapons equipped, and the DLC associated to the weapons is deleted, the weapon loadout screen displayed no weapons
– Fixed the Encumbrance Bar from not updating correctly for the Earth DLC weapon mods
– Fixed player death camera beginning before a sync kill is complete
– Fixed Leviathan DLC Weapon Mods not carrying over to New Game +
– Fixed the health bar position of Tactical Scan on Swarmers
– Fixed bleedout effect that was disappearing when another player used an Ops Survival Pack

Exploits Fixed

– Fixed an exploit that allowed players to be invincible and invisible to enemies
– Fixed an exploit where players were able to use rockets from other weapons

PS3 Only

– Fixed an issue on PS3 where after accepting an invite, a player could get stuck in a multiplayer screen by entering the store from the promo screen and then exiting without purchase
– Fixed a crash when pressing PS button during the game’s boot sequence

PC Only

– Fixed the hint popup to update mouse left click and right click bindings
– Fixed an issue that made Origin users display their game as joinable when their game is full
– Fixed a crash on Firebase Rio caused by heavy melee

Xbox Only

– Fixed a rare crash (black screen) on Xbox 360: Upon booting up the game and attempting to reach the title screen, players will now be able to get to title screen to recover their save games. Progress to locked achievements will be reset. Achievements already unlocked will remain unaffected.

New stuff

– Players can no longer grab Geth Pyros over cover (Nooooooo !)
– Attempting to equip similar weapon mods will now present a ‘Slot Occupied’ message
– Disruptor Rounds consumable (all ranks) damage multiplier against shields and barriers increased from 100% to 400%
– All Batarian and Krogan kits will now stagger less than other kits
– Ops Survival Packs now grant a one second damage immunity when consumed
– Singularity power re-designed (see link for details)
– Melee creatures will now completely ignore pets (drones, decoys, etc.) rather than just having a chance to ignore them
– Krysae no longer ignores enemy shield gatesKrysae no longer ignores enemy shield gates
– Concussive Shot changes (see link for details)
– Marksman will instantly reload weapon ammunition when activated
– Can now headshot Banshees, Geth Primes, and Brutes for an extra 40% weapon damage.
– Can now shoot the Atlas’ exhaust port on his back for an extra 40% weapon damage.
– Successfully extracting from a match gives 10% bonus credits. This reward does not depend on your squad members – you must extract personally to get the reward.

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut sound track

For those that somehow missed it. The ‘sound track’ for the Extended cut is now available for download – for free (as far as I can tell).

Go grab it here.

Mostly it is just rework pieces of existing tracks from the already existing sound track. I like it though. Gives you a more ‘in depth’ feeling of the final few minutes of the game/story. There are 7 tracks in this download:

  1. Wake Up
  2. An End, Once And For All – Extended Cut
  3. A Future That Many Will Never See
  4. I Will Watch Over The Ones Who Live On
  5. I Am Alive An Im Not Alone
  6. We Fought As A United Galaxy
  7. Resolution

Thanks BioWare (or whomever released it). You scored some more browny points with me. Now the Earth DLC is next in line.

Enjoy!

Portal editor

No, this has nothing to do with real programming (those SharePoint guys…) 😉 Rather, it’s about the Valve game Portal 2 that now has a editor to create your own levels. See this.

This started me thinking… What if… other publishers can catch a hint and provide an editor to say… Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer. Just think…. You will of course have to share your maps to all the players that want to join in and so on but that would be obvious (unless you want to surprise everyone with hidden dangers and stuff hehe).

What would be needed? First a terrain editor (think of the old Sim City games), then buildings (think of the The Sims like games) and finally something like the Portal editor (though Sims editor also contain loose items inside buildings…). They can of course provide a series of ‘default’ terrain maps as well. If someone ever created something like this it could start a new game creation craze and perhaps some fun for a few million people (gamers). Perhaps better yet – what if you can ‘string up’ some maps in a sequence and you have the building blocks to create your own game/world. Of course, creating a fully functional game on its own would be a lot more complex than this. I’ve been thinking/dreaming of something like this for year actually. If only I had the time/skills/tools to do it…

Is someone out there taking notes? (throwing hints in BioWare’s/Valve’s direction hehe)

ME3 war assets

Well, I started a second play-through of the game to try and ‘max’ out everything I could or do it as best possible. In the process I discovered a few ‘mistakes’ I made during the first attempt – like loosing Miranda (don’t ask me how I managed to to that).

As far as alien assets I got all the possible fleets including both Quarian and Geth fleets. Previously I could not for the life of me get both – had to choose between them. It turns out you have to leave the Rannoch missions until the very end so your Paragon/Renegate is high enough to choose one of the ‘overriding’ dialogue options. In the first iteration I even managed to get Tali to commit suicide… ouch!

Another thing I discovered that I didn’t know before was that the Omega missions are not accessible if you have Mordin and the Genophase cure saved since Maelon isn’t required to get the possible cure anymore. I happened to have both so I missed the Omega mission(s) again. Then there was the pleasant surprise to have Miranda survive her Horizon mission. Again I managed to miss the critical dialogue decision the first time that managed to ‘save’ her.

So in the end I managed to gather a war asset strength of just below 8000 (7978). I promoted a couple of multiplayer ‘squads’ as well that helped and I could have tried to add some more if I wanted.

Of course to actually make use of all those assets you must play the multiplayer (each day to keep it 100%). I’ve started to really like it but there are a couple of things I could suggest they add to the multiplayer ‘experience’ – like having the ability to invite friends from in the game (say on the lobby screen or just after finishing a good game where you were impressed by someone).

I also like the new multiplayer manifest pages they added (e.g. mine). They should also add stats on your kills as well as kill count per weapon/power. This could make it useful to see what weapons/powers you do the best with so you can enhance it or improve how you play. Of course, this is also useful to see how your friends are doing and how you all can compliment each other.

A couple of screenshots of the war:

The fleets arrive!

This sequence really is the epic high-point of the whole ‘Mass Effect’ series. The moment you/Shepard worked to hard to achieved. Pitty it turned out to be all for nothing…

And starts to move towards Earth…

Open fire!

Engaging the Reapers

Fighters enter the battle…

Fighters start to move around

The Reapers starts returning fire!

Alliance ship gets blown to hell (and back)

Chaos, blood and guts and more chaos!

This is not war – this is carnage and the Reapers are feasting…

Update: Well I’ve finished the game again – this time with fleet strength maxed out so that when I chose the ‘destroy’ option (don’t get me started about the bad ending again…) that hidden/secret video clip plays hinting that Shepard may still be alive. To be honest – that is more like I would have liked the game should have ended… Alternatively, a clip of Shepard and Garrus meeting at the bar (in heaven) should have been played… (ok but Garrus is not dead yet in ‘my’ game’s ending…).

Multi-player in ME3

No, I’m not going to rant further about the ending of the game or how it destroyed the hopes and expectations we had before it was released (and with that I’ve started and ended the current rant… 😉 )

I’ve started playing the multi-player and yes, it is fun. I’m basically a novice as far as multi-players goes – last time I tried things like that was at LAN-parties something like 5,6 or 7 years ago… hehe.

One thing I’m not sure I like is that the multi-player is required for progressing the game. Yes, technically you can finish it without touching the multi-player but the impression given by the game/marketing is that you must also do the multi-player part. Perhaps it could have been better if they made it a completely separate game (with the same background story, plot etc…)

To me the ‘Mass Effect’ games should have been a single player since it tell’s a story with a single thread of events (but of course steered by decisions the player makes). The Multi-player should just be ‘additional’ or ‘extra’. The fact that it is so tightly integrated into the whole game indicates that they (Bioware) used resources that should have been used to improve the ‘main’ parts of the game to do things that isn’t suppose to be central. I’m not against having a multi-player part as long as it wasn’t impacting what should have been the best part of this game. That may be why some thing in the single player seems so lacking some aspects…. like a proper ending… uh…

The other thing they obviously spent a lot of effort on was the music/sounds. I very much like it but my concern is/was that it too got more attention than the actual ‘completing the core of the game’ did.

Well, of course, that is my opinion…

 

Mass Effect 3 ending (or not)

Unfortunately I had to wait an entire week for the ending due to some ‘family responsibility’ issues so when I managed to actually get to the ending it was… well.. I’ll try to explain.

I’m aware of the whole ‘Retake Mass Effect’ movement and that many others feel that the game’s ending was, well, not exactly the best thing since sliced bread. Normally I would try to be a bit more ‘diplomatic’ or neutral but I have to (unfortunately) side with the complainers… Don’t get me wrong, I still think the game is easily one of the best games ‘out there’ but something, somehow just isn’t ‘optimal’.

If I have to summarize the way the ending made me feel it has to be sad, confusing or unfulfilled. The graphics are awesome – especially the space battle scenes. Most of the game (start, middle and up to close to the end) is really good. But the ending part left me confused, perplexed, unsatisfied. Let me try to explain (but it probably would be spoilers for some).

First of the ‘finale’ part of the game feels like just one big cut-scene with no real ‘options’. Yes, the Catalyst give 3 options but it is not implemented in ‘Mass Effect’ dialog style. The whole scene feels dreamy (or nightmarish). Shepard’s reactions/dialog really does not suit the situation – especially since I’ve always played the renegate path when I can. The character’s personality seems dull or boring with no real ‘fire’ left in the spirit like I’m used to. In fact, the most part of the second half of the game I was starting to get that impression that Shepard isn’t ‘Shepard’ any more. I suppose it was done to make the character more ‘human’ but it just doesn’t fit what we’re use to… It could also have something to do with the indoctrination theory that some people have. Who knows…

There is the whole ‘saying goodbye’ part you (Shepard) must do to each character before you enter the final battle grounds. It is almost like they (Bioware) are telling you that all/some of you friends/mates will be dying (which is probably true but why so obvious? The radio dialog of some woman panicking and not knowing what to do any more – why isn’t Shepard allowed to intervene?

Then, the final run towards the ‘beam’ – it doesn’t seem you can do anything useful other than running while people, vehicles and stuff around you gets blown up. What happened to your squad mates? How did Anderson get up to the Citadel before you? Considering he’s an older man which should be slower… Inside the citadel, you end up in a part that has never been discovered (or else someone might have figured out the place has it’s own AI). Somehow the illusive man also makes it to there (though he might be controlled by the Reapers…). You (Shepard) shoots Anderson! Like you are totally being controlled by the Reapers but somehow still have enough ‘willpower’ to argue with the illusive man (and kills him). There are more questions than answers…

Finally the Catalyst explains your options, but movement is still so slow and impaired I didn’t even see where the other options are (I wanted to kill the Reapers but somehow wandered too close to the ‘merge with them option’. In the last cut-scenes the Normandy is flying through a relay and then intercepted by the shock wave of the exploding relay network – crashing on some unknown planet. Joker and EDI (in my ending) gets out both already a mixture of organics and synthetics.. plus some squad mates that happened to be with Shepard just before the final ‘run for the beam’?? How on Earth did they get back to the Ship? Why were they not still in the fight above the Earth? These events might be specific to my choices or how I played the game but you get the general picture – Confusion. Story wise things just don’t add up.

For a game I was looking forward to for such a long time this is not the optimal ending I have hoped for. No, I didn’t expect that winning (destroying the enemy) was going to be the only option or that Sheppard must survive. It seems like none of the 3 options at the end is a true win in any way. Actually, in 2 of them the Reapers actually ‘Win’ while the other option is to go on without any technology at all (or restarting from scratch – literally, just to be able to make all the same mistakes all over again). The ‘story’ is left in a state that begs for more answers!

The things that made ME1 & 2 so great was the way your choices could make a difference to the ending of the game. With 3 it seems (feels like) you might as well have started the game standing next to the Catalyst giving you the final 3 options – because those are the only options that has any real influence on the ending. These options really ‘suck’.

With an ending like this it would be hard if possible at all to have any DLC’s that are meaningful. Nevertheless, this is still is great game if you look at the whole trilogy as one (with one ‘weak’ spot – almost like the Star Wars movies with their Eps 1,2 & 3. The ME3 ending is like Jar-jar… hehe)

Update: there are several articles, blogs etc where people are moaning about the issue. E.g. look at Ars Technica especially the comments…

Update: Also see my additional post

Mass Effect 3

The following is just my opinion and comments on the game – or should I say the marvellous piece of ‘art’ that BioWare gave us. I have not completed the game yet – probably over half done I suspect. Warning – some possible spoilers…

Atmosphere

Compared to the first two games in the trilogy this one is much ‘deeper’, ‘darker’, ‘sadder’ with a gripping story. As a sci-fi nut myself I absolutely love this. The actual game play seems fairly much the same as the previous ones – some changes though but nothing that is too radical. Choosing and upgrading items is different but comes down to the same idea – that you have different levels for each weapon/armor/tech etc.

This game also has an ’emotional’ aspect that is almost unsettling. This is what makes it so good. You feel the characters ‘pain’ at times and because we’ve spend so many years playing or interacting with them it feels like we ‘know’ them. So, when something happens to them (spoiler to follow) it has a real impact on the player. Some events are unavoidable – thinking of Thane here… Others seems to be because of a ‘bad’ choice that might have been made somewhere – Mordin, Tali… Either way you make a choice there will be some consequence – and you’ll have to live with it for the duration of the game. I tried to be ‘smart’ at times to choose something that might give a compromise between two parties but then it turns out no compromise is possible – Quarians and Geth… And then more than once I let a radical (Renegate or Paragon) action pass by because I could not react quickly enough – or was still shocked at the cut scene playing where something happened I didn’t expected – Why is suicide by some characters allowed?

There is also some aspects that makes me wonder about Shepard’s personality. Being a ‘Renegate’ mostly player the part of Shepard doubting his/her own abilities when having to deal with galactic-wide choices doesn’t quite fit – e.g. the conversation with Adm Hacket, the repeating dream of the child that could not be saved… You get the feeling Shepard is ‘more’ human than in the previous games – which is probably a good thing (sorta). And then the is Shepard’s parents… why weren’t anything of them mentioned before?

Sound

Then there are the sounds and music of the game. This is another fantastic part of the game. The sound of a reaper when you come across it is unsettling (especially if you have surround sound with proper bass… next to your feet… Since I got the Collectors edition of the game I got the sound track as well and it is also good hear it away from the game.

Story

The story behind the game is ‘vast’, spanning thousands of years. When you come across the only living Prothean you get the feeling (through sounds/music/dialog) that he is really out of time/place, with a feeling of sadness, regret and frustration (something similar that old Buck Rogers must have felt in the 25th century except this guy lost not just a bit of time but he’s entire civilization is extinct for thousands of years!). Anyway, first hand knowledge of what the Protheans did (wrong) should be helping but somehow it seems that even that is enough. One interesting thing that comes out in the dialog is that not all civilizations get destroyed in each ‘cycle’. Some are allowed to go on to start the next cycle. Only the ones that could be a threat are attacked. In some ways this does make sense, in others not – No one is allowed to learn from their ‘own’ mistakes… meaning the same mistakes are repeated every time. Learning from ‘others’ mistakes just isn’t the same. This sound so similar to real life….

Other aspects

Politics sucks, just like in real life. But this is another aspect that makes the game feel more ‘real’. I still think politicians must be locked up (for 30 years or so and only then allowed to lead the people 😉 ). Otherwise they don’t have enough respect for the things in life that are really valuable.

There is some humour in the game – like the two engineers that has an argument about the Mako from ME1 and Hammerhead from ME2, squad mates making comments about each other ad so on. And what is the deal about the stupid dog in the shuttle bay? It looks suspiciously like some characters in Half Life…

Then there are a couple of irritating things as well. What is the deal with the security scanner inside the Normandy itself? The two girls working there are talking the most rubbish possible. Sometimes I wish I could just shoot them or something… 😉 Also, the weird walking/running locomotion of Sheppard makes the character almost look ‘unstable’ and almost ready to fall over or something.

I’m not there yet, but once I’ve completed the game I’ll post some more comments again. Unfortunately from a few things I’ve read on the net (I try to avoid it) the ending might be a shocker or tragic in a way that will let the player feel like it was almost not worth it. I hope depending on the ‘right’ choices that it won’t be that bad…

All in all so far I’m amazed at the game. I’ll be playing it through again and again…

Update:

Apparently many others also are not impressed with the ending of the game. See Facebook and Twitter for details. I know BioWare did a lot of hard work on this game and they kind of said in the past that Commander Sheppard’s storyline would end with the trilogy but… the current options for the ending just seems to be ‘too limiting’ or non-existent. What happens if the want to make ME4 one day? (trilogy in 4 parts… aka hitchhikers guide… 😉 )

Elder scrolls world

After being playing Skyrim (and Oblivion/Morrowind before it) for a while I googled a bit to find out about the whole world behind it – The bigger Tamriel or Nim, the whole fictional planet. There is such a massive world (size and story wise) that still needs exploring. I really hope/wish they (Bethesda) plans to have the rest of this wonderful world also made available to play and explore. In case you wish to see a simple map (fictional of course) of the whole place look here.

Apparently in the original Elder scrolls game the whole Tamriel was open to be explorable – but that game is ages old and I never got to play it (actually, I didn’t even know about it back then since it wasn’t the kind of game I would have been interested at the time). This got me thinking – wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole Tamriel/Nim was playable using the Skyrim level of graphics/game engine. Perhaps this is a bit of wishful thinking as such a game would be huge (in about every way possible including disk space, story, quest count, complexity etc.). Skyrim already pushed the envelope for PC specs but a game like this could go even further. Possibly the whole map will have to come in sections that must be loaded separately as you venture from one region to the next. Crossing the oceans might require some kind of ‘fast travel’ since it would be too easy to get lost as ‘sea’. It is not impossible that there could be isolated islands with its own treasures or adventures. Since it is an fictional world there is even the possibility for an totally underground world as well (aka Middle Earth idea). In Skyrim there has already been something similar – the Falmer/Snow Elves and Dwemer.

A game like that could keep you busy for almost a lifetime in itself. You’d need a separate life to play it… This is probably close to impossible or improbable but still, one could wish and dream.

Oh, and happy new year to all… 🙂

Update: I just thought mentioning that since the original post above I’ve come across some other postings by Skyrim/Elder scroll fans that Skyrim (the game) seems to have maps included for the ‘whole of Tamriel’ – check here. Perhaps Bethesda is planning something ‘bigger’ at some point. Lets hope…
Update 2: There has been rumours and speculation about a totally MMORPG game that is based on the Elders Scrolls. Bethesda has now announced a game like that. Due somewhere in 2013. It will apparently cover the whole of Tamriel and be situated something like a 1000 years before Skyrim. Wonder if they’ll ever consider opening up the whole of Nim or what will happen if you play for too long and use up the 1000 years 😉 ? See this.

Skyrim getting boring?

Well, I’ve now done/completed something like 80% of the accomplishments of The Elder Scroll – Skyrim and trying complete some of the smaller side quests – seems boring but still, I just cannot seem to leave it alone somehow.

As a personal challenge/goal I now have started selling weapons I take from bandits – then heading out again to get some more bandits to ‘relieve’ them of their ‘stuff’… This is almost more fun than some other more complex quests I’ve done before. Essentially I’ve become a weapons merchant (in the game of course… 😉 ) I still have a few thieve guild quests to do and most of the companions. Must say the (spoiler) werewolf transformation was a surprise… hmm

The wife is still sitting at home generating income – I actually use her (Ysolda) as one of the places I sell my ‘relieved’ items I gather. We moved to Markarth briefly to a fancy house but somehow Ysolda didn’t seem ‘happy’ there (not that her behaviour is any different from little house in our Whiterun…)

As far as horses are concerned… I’ve given up trying to find the ‘damn’ horse that ran away. Anyway, my armor and stamina are now strong enough to protect me along the way to destinations. Somewhere I lost a horse (one that I bought from Whiterun) and now I can’t buy a new one from the same stable.