Mass Effect

New Mass Effect 3 Teaser Trailer

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New Mass Effect 3 Teaser Trailer

Mass Effect 3‘s marketing is getting downright meta. Now we have a short (just shy of a minute) trailer for another trailer, which in turn is (presumably) a trailer for the game proper. We’re going deeper!

The full trailer will be shown on February 19th during AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s hard to say much more about it, so check it out courtesy of MachinimaTrailer on YouTube.

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Mass Effect 3 Voice Cast Revealed

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Mass Effect 3 Voice Cast Revealed

Seth Green, Freddy Prinze Jr, Tricia Helfer, and Martin Sheen. What do they all have in common?

They will all be joining you on your adventures in Mass Effect 3 coming on March 6, 2012.

While some of these actors, like Green and Sheen, have appeared in past Mass Effect games, others, like Jessica Chobot (playing a character named Diana Allers), are newcomers. Nonetheless, most of the cast of Mass Effect 2 are retained – unless you decided to remove the characters they play from your crew in the prior titles.

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MMOs and the Trouble Of Eternal Life

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MMOs and the Trouble Of Eternal Life

There’s been talk of a Mass Effect massive-multiplayer-online-game going ’round, much as there’s talk of an MMO any time a franchise is successful. On the surface such talk is often tempting. An open-ended exploration of a favorite franchise! Revisiting beloved locations and characters! Taking part in the ongoing story of the setting!

But like many fictional bids for life eternal, these temptations mask great peril. Let’s talk continuity.

Comic book fans are intimately familiar with this intellectual bugbear. When your favorite series’ writers can change every few years, emotional climaxes reversed for the sake of retreading well-trodden ground, and your hero can fall victim to ill-conceived redesigns whenever the suits decide to tap into their caricature of the latest zeitgeist, you learn to pick and choose the version you like and throw out the rest.

Of course, continuity can be a very good thing; an overarching narrative between related works leads to more storytelling opportunities and the potential for greater character growth. Most of all, continuity lets us tell new stories with old characters without having to retread the same well-trodden ground or invalidate past classics. But no story can last forever; the ever-wandering hero is as static a figure as the hero who never grows at all. Without an ending, can anything really begin?

A creator’s greatest challenge is knowing when to stop.

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[CES 2012] Mass Effect 3 Kinect Support, Interview with Aaryn Flynn

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[CES 2012] Mass Effect 3 Kinect Support, Interview with Aaryn Flynn

With Mass Effect 3’s release only a couple months away, BioWare held a private hands-on demonstration of the game’s Kinect support during the Consumer Electronics Show.

Mass Effect 3 uses the Kinect to allow players to interact with the game through vocal commands. This neatly avoids the potential difficulty of adapting a conventional third-person shooter to a format more suitable to the Kinect, while still capitalizing on the Kinect’s hardware. Players can issue commands to main character Commander Shepard or allied characters in combat sequences, interact with the environment, or select dialogue options by voice.

Mass Effect 3 for the Xbox 360 will support voice command in English (British, American, and Australian), French, Italian and German.

A trailer for Mass Effect 3‘s Kinect support has been released.

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Role-playing is not stat-grinding

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Role-playing is not stat-grinding

The role-playing genre has begun to stagnate.

It’s hardly crippled. Some giants still garner worldwide attention, such as the Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Fallout franchises. Even after the massive spectacle of genre excess that was Final Fantasy XIII, people still anticipate the next title. But these and lesser-known RPGs are islands in a teeming sea of shooters and action titles, often on the verge of being swamped.

And yet “RPG elements” have proliferated to the point of an industry standard. Most games include at least a token narrative executed with varying degrees of proficiency. Many also include some form of level-based advancement, perks, and/or equipment. Some even include the dreaded moral choice system. In a very real sense, the original niche of role-playing games has become the dominant paradigm.

Yet role-playing games, particularly “classic” role-playing games, continue to define themselves by rigid accordance to traditional mechanics. This conservatism probably represents the greatest handicap to the genre. Just as other games have begun to adopt “RPG elements,” perhaps it’s time for RPGs and their fans to seriously consider abandoning some of their own.

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Bioware to produce Mass Effect anime

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Bioware to produce Mass Effect anime

Bioware FUNimation, and Tokyo-based T.O Entertainment are working in concert to produce an animated Mass Effect feature film due for release next summer.

“Over the last few years, we have revealed different pieces of the Mass Effect world through different media,” said Bioware executive producer Casey Hudson. “Extending the story through an anime medium is another amazing opportunity for us… Partnering with FUNimation ensures that we will bring this rich universe to life with the utmost quality and the same attention to detail that the Mass Effect games are known for.”

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Top 5 Aspects Dragon Age 2 Looks to Improve

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Top 5 Aspects Dragon Age 2 Looks to Improve

Dragon Age 2’s demo has dropped and, as with anything involving Bioware, it’s kind of a big deal.  The first game appealed to gamers by playing to more traditional role-playing elements.  The game won many RPG-of-the-Year awards and continued Bioware’s run of high quality triple-A titles.  The game however, was not without its faults.  Bioware, not content to rest on its laurels, is shaking things up in hopes of a more rounded product.  So here are my Top 5 Aspects Dragon Age 2 Looks to Improve.

5) Art Style

Even the sky is darker...muhahaha

The first Dragon Age held true to its roots.  While this gave the game a great tradition to ground itself in, it also gave gamers the feeling of “been there, done that.”  While everyone can appreciate the rich history Bioware was drawing from in the first game, it didn’t do much to set itself apart from previous incarnations.   Thankfully Bioware has overhauled the look of the game, striving to set apart Dragon Age’s world from other medieval fantasy-based games.

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Top 5 Games of 2011

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Top 5 Games of 2011

The new year is upon us, and that means we have a whole year to game before the Mayans return from outer space to harvest us for batteries to power their space dance parties.  And what a year we have to look forward to!  2011 looks like it is going to have an impressive slate of games for us to devour.  With that in mind, it is time to look ahead to what should be the best titles of the year.  So here are my Top 5 Games of 2011.

5) Little Big Planet 2

Booga Booga

Little Big Planet is fun on a disc.  The original introduced us to Sackboy, undeniably one of the most identifiable mascots Sony has ever created.  The game play was also no slouch, transporting us to a whimsical world full of fun challenges and colorful settings.  Evil sumos and skeleton bridesmaids are just some of the fun characters you can find in Little Big Planet.  Little Big Planet 2 looks like it is going to be even more fun making everything bigger and better than the original.  Plus, I hear there are evil cupcakes.  Now that is something I can relate to.

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Garrus plushie!

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Garrus plushie!

Thanks to a significant fraction of the Mass Effect fanbase, Garrus Vakarian, everybody’s favorite turian Space Punisher, made the transition from chaste token alien crewmate to full-blown love interest in defiance of anatomical and, indeed, biochemical barriers. But can he survive an even more taxing metamorphosis – into plushie form? Read On