What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Jason Reich

Jason Reich, TV comedy writer

The veteran of The Daily Show and Robot Chicken says the L.A. lifestyle is conducive to board gaming and tells us how Lewis Black rejuvenated his view of games.

By John Teti • April 27, 2012

In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.

Jason Reich is a television comedy writer who won four Emmy Awards for his work on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. His other credits include Best Week Ever and Lopez Tonight, and he just wrapped up a stint writing for the upcoming season of Robot Chicken. (Full disclosure: Jason and I were co-workers at The Daily Show for a couple of years when I worked in the show’s field-production department.)

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Jason Reich: I’m working my way through Eternal Sonata, which is this RPG that was released 4 or 5 years ago. I’m not well-versed in that genre, but I heard it was good and found it on a discount rack. I’m definitely a video game dumpster diver when it comes to catching up on old titles. And I think it’s gonna be a pretty heavy Fez weekend. I’ve just dipped my toe into it, but its been sitting on my Xbox hard drive. It took me a little while to get into it, but once it starts opening up, I’m really getting involved.

Gameological: It is a bit of a slow burn. For the first hour I was like, “Hm, it seems a little thin. Pretty, but thin.” And then after a while I was scribbling in my notebook and decoding weird languages, and I think it’s great.

Reich: It was one of these things that I was following with interest while waiting for the release. I got started and was like, “Oh. Is this all there is?” And then slowly as you start opening up the end to—it took me forever to figure out how to interpret that stupid map. [Laughs.] But once I got that under my belt, it started to reveal itself.

Gameological: Yeah, the map is a low point. You play a lot of board games, too, right?

Reich: I do. I would like to play more. I don’t have a lot of people who are—who know that they’re fans of board games. So you have to introduce people to it slowly. But I’m hoping to, especially now in L.A., where everybody just goes home early. And if you’re gonna drink, you probably should do it in your home. It’s a much better place for sitting around and playing board games. I’m hoping that my life out here is much more board game-heavy.

Gameological: What do you like to play?

Reich: We are playing a lot of Pandemic right now.

Gameological: That’s a good one.

Reich: It is really good. It’s really interesting, my wife—she’s not as competitive when it comes to board games as I am. I’m a lot more interested in the spite aspect of various games. But she’s really into [Pandemic]. She likes the co-op aspect of it, and she likes the theme. We’ve been consistently getting our asses kicked by it. But we’re gonna be introducing it to some friends later this week. I’m interested to see how they respond. I think they’ll be into it.

Gameological: Have you played Forbidden Island by the same people, another co-op game?

Reich: Yeah. I think it’s the same designer. I haven’t played it, but now that my wife is into Pandemic and she kinda sparked to Settlers [Of Catan] when I introduced that to her, I’ve been looking into a lot more games for us to stock up on, and that’s one of them.

Gameological: Which is the more game-savvy writing room, The Daily Show or Robot Chicken?

Reich: That’s a good question, actually. That’s a hard question to answer. We had a couple of poker nights with The Daily Show people, and I still play with some of those guys.

Gameological: I was never invited to those, I’ll just point out. The field department never got invited to anything. And what about video games? I know Jon likes shooters.

Reich: Yeah, he was into shooters. We played many, many hours of Guitar Hero on the Daily Show staff. [Laughs.] That was certainly where I honed my Guitar Heroism. The Daily Show was great because you could call up Nintendo—like, I got a Wii for us at one point—where you just say, “Hey, you know, it’s one of those fringe benefits of working with Jon.” So there was a lot of Wii gaming. One of the reasons I got back into video games as much as I did is that when I left the show, my parting gift from the writers was an Xbox 360. That has held a fair place of honor in my apartment ever since then.

Gameological: That’s sweet. That’s a nice gift.

Reich: It was a great gift. Now that I think about it, I remember doing something for Lewis Black on the show—this was right after Grand Theft Auto III came out, way back when, and I hadn’t played games since I had the original Nintendo as a kid. So we had a copy of the game, and we had to play it to write this segment. I remember picking it up and thinking, “There’s a whole new thing happening with video games now.” That sparked my interest. At least, it made me aware of what was going on, and then getting the Xbox a couple of years later was like, “Well, all right. I guess I know what I’m doing with the next few years of my life.”

And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.

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193 Responses to “Jason Reich, TV comedy writer”

  1. Still burning through Avernum. It’s not terribly deep but there’s a lot of content and the progression is parceled out in that perfect, drip-by-drip way. It’s sort of like Baldur’s Gate in that way, minus all pretensions of plot or characterization. Just a lot of stumbling over stuff out in the world.

    Beyond that, I got the Elder Sign: Omens iOS game and I’ve been loving it. I’ve been lamenting the fact that moving for grad school (plus grad school itself) has made Arkham Horror games way too much of a hassle to set up, so it’s nice to have a variation on that in my pocket. I’ve heard the actual board game is good too (and designed to be less complicated than AH).

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Avernum, like most spiderweb games, is excellent. Even having played through it already years ago, I’m finding it hard to let it go to play some of the other things I want to be playing…

  2. Aaron Riccio says:

    This week’s article reminds me that I should pick up my drumsticks and dust off my set so that I can justify my long-ago purchase of Rock Band 3 (w/cymbals). And at some point, I should really get to stepping in Dance Central 2 . . . I have to stop using the fact that I can’t really move far enough way from the Kinect as an excuse for not “gamercising.” 

    In terms of more serious catching-up, though, Saturday’s given entirely over to DASH4; I suppose for a break on Sunday, I’ll be participating in ME3’s Operation: Exorcist long enough to win a commendation pack. Anybody want to join me on the ol’ XBOX?

    • ElDan_says_Fuck_Disqus says:

      My interest in Rock Band 3 died out pretty quickly as well, I think it was just fatigue over peripheral-based games, plus the tracklist having a real “best of the rest” feel. I need to go back and play it, though, the keyboard seems like a perfect match for that gameplay style.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Maybe I’m just a lazy asshole, but my interest in it died off when I realized it was extremely uncomfortable to try and play lying down.

  3. root (1ltc) says:

    Eternal Sonata? Play Resonance of Fate! Really!

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I can’t tell if you’re being serious. And yet . . . I actually finished Resonance of Fate. And haven’t actually finished Eternal Sonata. So . . . maybe you’re onto something here. (You’ve reminded me that, now that I’ve finally done everything in Lost Odyssey, I need to actually finish The Last Remnant, too.)

      • Peter Smith says:

        The charm of Resonance of Fate is that it’s incredibly mellow and low-key for an RPG; The cast are a trio of friends who aren’t distinguished as heroes by anything more than their guns and their willingness to wield them for the idle rich, and chapters frequently begin with, say, the two guys watching TV on the couch when it cuts out due to a black-out.

        Storyline missions include:
        – Going to a long-lost, monster-infested cold storage facility to get a bottle of expensive wine, deciding your employer probably can’t tell the difference, and swapping the labels with a cheaper one before drinking the good stuff together at a bar.
        – Letting the lady of a group go on a very well paid job from an obsessed nobleman that’s pretty much a date-for-recompense in disguise, then shooting your way past the guards as the guys to spy on them.

        I think its one weakness is that there’s no strong sense of progression to the gameplay. Your actions in combat are to run and shoot, and though the game has an interesting way of portraying running and shooting, it isn’t good at mixing it up as you proceed further.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          I mean, once you get past the silly voice-acting that SEGA is known for and crazed sequences that Tri-Ace is infamous for (Dinner Dance?), sure, the game is somewhat addictive, and since I grew up on Soul Blazer, I liked the “place tiles to bring towns back to life” aspect. (Where’s my Dark Cloud 3?)

          As for storyline missions — how about the one where you dress up as Santas and throw presents at hysterically greedy little kids?

        • duwease says:

          Alright, I just got talked into finally trying Resonance of Fate.  Between the mission descriptions and evoking the Soul Blazer town restoration aspect (which I loved), I have to do it.  Why were these two aspects skipped in the reviews??  I never knew the story was anything different, and knew nothing about town restoration.

        • caspiancomic says:

           You know, I glossed over Resonance of Fate when it first came out, but that description makes it sound like something I should seriously check out.

        • Peter Smith says:

          Resonance of Fate doesn’t have a strong revival-of-civilization aspect like Dark Cloud or Soul Blazer. 

          You place energy tiles which theoretically restore power to zones of the world (a neat grunge-rustic clockwork tower), but you don’t get to see society revive or people’s lives change in response to it, all it does is let you access new areas or hook into a junctioning-esque power supply planning mini-game, nor does it let you do anything but uncover or recolor tiles which are already laid out.

          You can, however, place your own save points on the map, which I found oddly satisfying in a ha-ha-now-I-have-a-foothold-on-Level-9 way.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Eternal Sonata is not a bad game, but man was the story insufferable. It’s still on my shelf, taunting me, and whenever I try it again I get almost immediately turned off by a long, terribly written and oh-so-earnest cutscene…

  4. root (1ltc) says:

    Derp. I guess since this post is here I’ll just say I’m playing IIDX and Muchi Muchi Pork, still. Manpuku is no joke.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      And I used to be impressed that I could beat the occasional [insert Asian stereotype here] at Dance Dance Revolution. Or that I could actually make it through most of the DJ Hero songs on the highest difficulty (some of the hyper-rotations and spikes would always trip me up). And here you are crushing IIDX. Holy shit. 

      I’m going to go back to PaRappa and Elite Beat Agents and hang my head in shame. Maybe have Freezepop yell at me in Amplitude. But hey, maybe I’m not the only person looking forward to Theatrhythm. 

      • root (1ltc) says:

        Eh, I wouldn’t call what I do with IIDX as “crushing it”. IIDX sim programs have a so-called Extra Mode which renders more than half of the charts impossible for me to clear.

        Regardless, it takes a special breed of crazy to play the game at all, much less for ten years as I have done. It’s certainly not for everyone.

  5. root (1ltc) says:

    OK I give up. I’m trying to reply to Aaron Riccio and it keeps making a new thread.

    • ShitMcFuckensteinAVC says:

      DIIIIIIIISQUUUUUUUUUS!

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        It’s been said before, but there’s a reason it’s pronounced “Disgust.”

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        It’s just reached the threshold of maximum allowable scintillating comments.

      • Merve says:

        Disqus notifies me when someone replies to one of my comments, but it e-mails me when someone tags me in a comment, even though I have it set not to e-mail me!

        FAIL.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          Incidentally, how *do* I tag someone in a comment? (::evil plan to start bombarding people with e-mails from Disgust::)

        • Merve says:

          @google-19efbd0104cbaffa5782aef5b7104019:disqus: You type @ followed by the person’s username. So if I wanted to tag myself, I’d type “@ Merve” but without the space.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          Much obliged! I promise to use this power only for good (note how I’m not tagging you — or rather, don’t, because I’m not tagging you); i.e., for responding to people once Disgust has hit its reply limit for sub-threads.

  6. Staggering Stew Bum says:

    For me it may well be another well intentioned attempt at getting into Demon’s Souls this weekend. I know there’s a lot of Demon’s Souls love in the Gameological Society, so somebody please enlighten me: when does this game become enjoyable?

    Am still stuck early on with a low soul level and everywhere I go I keep getting my shit fucked up by endless waves of arseholes who I wish would just leave me the fuck alone so I can go about my business and feel like I am making some sort of progress. This isn’t escapism, this is my life in video game form. But I want to like it so will persevere for a bit before probably scampering back to the warm bosom of Crack Effect 3.

    • Raging Bear says:

      I got my rental copy of Dark Souls this week. I really only got it out of curiosity, mainly as to how open-worldy it was. By and large, it went exactly as I expected it to: very, very ragey.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         Those coming into Dark Souls expecting the usual “grind/upgrade until you can dominate your foes” schtick will be sadly disappointed.  In Dark Souls, skill will always be the mitigating factor in fights, not your level, equipment, or abilities.  Your upgraded weapon is no good if you swing it poorly and leave yourself open.

        I suppose that’s why I have a hard time fully recommending it.  If you willing to commit and deal with long periods of hair-pulling frustration, you may very well get drawn in by the atmosphere and design.  But if all you ever get from it is the impotent rage, then it will likely never click for you.

        Speaking of grinding, one of my friends regularly uses it to bypass “puzzle”-y bits in RPGs.  When confronted with the Midgar Zolom, he didn’t go the usual “catch a Chocobo and cross the area” route, but rather he just kept fighting random encounters until he was high level enough to beat it.  It’s certainly an unorthodox solution, but he got the Beta skill early on, which certainly made the game much easier from that point on.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           That said, the Drake Sword makes for a damn good equalizer early in the game.

        • Raging Bear says:

          Oh, I knew what I was getting into, as I have the first. I wouldn’t want to seem like I just whine when something’s difficult (but, who am I kidding, I absolutely do); it’s as much the idea of being penalized enormously for ever fucking up at all that makes me too tense to enjoy it even when I’m doing well. I really only rented it at all thinking the exploration aspect might make the this one more worthwhile (for me, personally) than the original.

        • Raging Bear says:

          Ok, much to my surprise, it seems to have clicked with me. At least, I played all weekend then bought it. Gawd help me.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Hey, don’t sweat it – it’s a fairly divisive game. I hated it when I first played it too, but having enjoyed Dark Souls so fucking much has made me wonder if I shouldn’t give it another chance… then I remember what I like about Dark Souls is the exploration, and decide against it.

      • doyourealize says:

        Yeah, Demon’s Souls definitely isn’t as exploration heavy as Dark Souls, and if you’re already familiar with the mechanics of the game, that might actually take away from your enjoyment of Demon’s Souls.  Multiplayer’s a lot better on the first game, though, unless Dark Souls has figured out its problems.

    • doyourealize says:

      Something just clicked for me with Demon’s Souls, and I’m not sure when that happened.  It’s different than a lot of games because once you figure it out, you can literally beat the game at SL 1.

      If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work, but give it a little time and try to figure out its quirks.  You might find yourself addicted.  How long have you been playing and where are you?

      • Staggering Stew Bum says:

        Beat the gelatine dessert monster thing in Boletarian palace and have levelled up to about soul level 15 (early days I know). Have tried three of the new worlds that have been made available but have copped severe arse kickings everywhere I go so has been difficult to hold on to the meagre number of souls I accumulate.

        Am not looking for an easy ride, difficulty isn’t a big deal, but I do like to feel the illusion of progress.

        • SamPlays says:

          I’ve been playing Vanquish recently and it’s probably the closest example of a tough-but-fair game I can think of in recent history. I was shocked by the difficulty of several early levels but once you get accustomed to using your suit for defense and offense it became enjoyable (and the difficulty continues to ramp up as you progress). Also, it’s probably the best example of what Contra should look and feel like in this generation.

        • doyourealize says:

          There’s some good beginner guides out there, one as a sticky thread on the GameFaqs board.  There’s an excellent weapon in 4-1 (Shrine of Storms) that’s difficult to get to but gives you enough power to stand more of a chance in the early going.  I’m also willing to help, if you’d like.  My PSN ID is doyourealize.  I’ll look for you this weekend.

          I know the game’s not for everybody, but I could honestly say it’s the best game I’ve ever played without exaggeration (and easily the most played), so I feel a little sad whenever I hear about someone too frustrated with it to keep going.  I understand why people do this, but I do whatever I can to try and get them to experience what I experienced.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          @doyourealize:disqus : Stuck at it with Demon’s Souls this weekend and all it took was leveling up my HP a bit, and most importantly getting a decent shield, and I was away. Was playing way too cautiously (you know, like you’re apparently supposed to) but with the confidence that I wasn’t going to get taken out in only two hits from every random enemy, well…. we can afford to be quite bold. Also, getting the hang of rolling away from enemy attacks is rather satisfying.

        • doyourealize says:

          Nice.  I’m guessing you found the Steel Shield in 2-1.  Any invasions or blue phantoms yet?

          I started another game yesterday, too.  Want to go through once more for old time’s sake.

  7. dreadguacamole says:

     I was planning on spending the weekend with Risen 2, but so far it’s been a bit disappointing. I’m reserving judgment until it opens up a little bit. That’s all theoretical, though, since there’s a Beta weekend for Guild Wars 2 as well, so that will probably eat up my life, not just my gaming time.

  8. doyourealize says:

    He definitely hit the sweet spot with board games, a few really good one in there, Settlers especially.  Dominion’s another good one, if anyone’s interested.  It’s a card game, but you only use a portion of the cards when you play a game, so it’s different every time.

    As for me, I’ll finally be beating Mass Effect 3.  I’m back at Earth now, and I love the epic feel of everything.  It’s something I’d usually think was a little corny in a movie or novel, but spending three 30 hour games with the same people, you care a lot more and the epicness just seems appropriate somehow.

    Also maybe start FFXIII-2 and download Fez.  And I downloaded Tribes Ascend the other day, so I’ll see what that’s all about.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       Please make another post once you’re done with ME3.
      I want to hear the emotional thing.

      PS: I haven’t played a good board-game in a while. Hero Quest was sort of the apex of it all, and using my brother’s Warhammer armies… I don’t have the time, I don’t have the motivation to keep doing that, but I do miss it.

      • doyourealize says:

        Ah, Hero Quest.  I remember spending a few months of my life with nothing but that game, expansion packs and everything.  My cousin has a more modern Hero Quest-y game that takes hours to play and each game is several quests long, but I can’t remember what it’s called.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Space Hulk maybe… it was basically Warhammer 40K in a small scale… I do remember there being about 5 billion pieces in that box… I also remember my brother cussing like a docker when the box fell off its shelf and spilled all over the floor after I pulled on something below it which was totally unrelated.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          Ooh, Space Hulk was my first exposure to Games Workshop.  A friend’s uncle had it and ran it for us once or twice.  Years later I bought WAY too much 40k shit on credit, painted about 1/4 of it (I was a pretty good painter but far too slow), then threw it all out when I was in one of my religious phases.  (Could have easily sold it to a friend for $1000 too…dumbass!)

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Descent?

        • doyourealize says:

          I think that’s the one!
          @dreadguacamole:disqus 

        • Sukaluski says:

          Runebound?

      • doyourealize says:

        …and @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus 

        Finished the game, and I’ll share what I thought…this is a little long.

        !!!SPOILER WARNING FOR MASS EFFECT 3!!!

        And if the internet gods need to delete this comment, I’ll understand and I won’t hold it against you.

        First off, a question.  Isn’t the “paragon” option (control) supposed to leave everything intact?  If so, why are the mass relays still destroyed?

        Maybe that’s what the controversy is all about.  I couldn’t figure out if fans were mad about Shepard’s fate, or the fact that all the endings seem kind of samey, or maybe something else.  In any case, I think part of the problem could be that the definition of “ending” in a video game means “after the player stops playing”.  With this definition, the ending was a bit of a disappointment in that after you make your final choice, it doesn’t seem to matter much what you did before that.  The fate of the Normandy seems very disjointed from the rest of the game, and almost tacked on.  I remember reading that the ending was written by one person before the game was completed, and the rest of the game by other people, which could explain the disjointedness, though I don’t know if that’s true.  However, I in no way think the fan reaction to demand a change to the ending is warranted (although if BioWare wants to do an epilogue DLC, I’m all for it!)

        Look at it from another perspective, however, and the ending becomes epic and involving.  What if the “ending” begins when you come back to Earth?  From here, you get to speak with everyone, individually, one more time…say your final good-byes.  You share with Liara and joke with Garrus and remember with Tali.  You can see the result of your attempts, or lack thereof,  to join the galaxy to fight the Reapers.  Krogan and Asari and Salarian all fighting together on Earth.  You could choose to be more bigoted if you wanted (at least I assume you can) and piss off the whole galaxy and leave the fate of Earth up to humans.  If Tali died in Mass Effect 2, you can’t talk to her before the final battle.  Even if you have some stand-in quarian, it’s not Tali.  After that, you get an epic battle to take down a Reaper while being holed in by fucking brutes and banshees.  You get to talk face-to-face with the Illusive Man (who was a little over-the-top, I’ll admit, shaking hands and all) and have a final quiet moment with Anderson.  And about those last few minutes, Mass Effect has always been about sacrifice, and I think it’s fitting Shepard needs to make one last sacrifice.  The child, though, (was that supposed to be God?) was kind of over-the-top, and I was left wondering why there always has to be one last twist, one more piece to the puzzle.  Why couldn’t the Reapers just have been destructive machines who come around every once in a while to destroy and harvest?  And why couldn’t the Crucible just have been some massive weapon to destroy them and stop the cycle?  That’s an artistic choice, though, and I didn’t design the game…I just played it.

        And I loved playing it really.  All three games.  The most epic, grandest video game story ever, I think.  I mean, just the fact that  you get to create a character and watch him/her grow through three different games…has that ever been done before?  And your choices do matter, even if it’s not as much as people wanted (who dies in ME2, whether the collector base is destroyed, how many resources you gather, and your galactic readiness all can change what you see or choose).  I have issues with the ending and other things about all three games, but overall I loved the experience of Mass Effect, and can’t wait to play ME3 with my second character.  I’m even thinking maybe I’ll start over from the beginning with a third character.  We’ll see.

        I started writing this thinking how great the series was as a whole, and after writing it, I think it’s even better. And even if the last few minutes were god-awful (they weren’t), there’s no way that could change my mind about the previous nine hours.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Cool.  I’m starting to read these less hesitantly, since being so close to the end and having already heard about

          SPOILERS

          the relays being destroyed, and just talked to the Prothean VI (before it was stolen by Kai Leng, DAMN YOU!) I can kind of guess where it’s going.  Still looking forward to it.  I seriously doubt I’ll be one of the ones ANGRY with the ending, especially since, like you said, having a continuing storyline and relationship with characters over three games is awesome enough on its own.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          *Most likely spoilery*

          I think the whole outcry was because in a game that was all about choice, the ending boiled down to 2 to 3 options, where all of your choices in the previous three games unltimately meant nothing.

          Also, it’s been raised that a lot of the last bit doesn’t make much sense. To edumacate yourself on this, I suggest you watch this:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythY_GkEBck&feature=player_embedded

          or if you’re not into that whole brevity thing, read the first bit of this:

          http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/9727423/1

          Puts the ending in a new perspective. On my second playthrough, with maxed galactic readiness and chosing DESTROY, I found the ending cut scene (and easter egg) quite moving.

          • doyourealize says:

            I’m at school right now (as a teacher) and I unfortunately can’t watch or read either of those links, but I thought at first that’s what the outcry was about, and then I read that petition, which asked for the ending to be happier, so that’s what confused me. Either way, though, I still think it’s an overreaction. Like I said earlier, if you consider that maybe the “ending” begins when you arrive on Earth, you can see how your choices affect it much more.

            I’ll take a look at those links later and see if it changes my mind.

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      Ah, yes.  Seconding Effigy_power, let us know what you think of the ending (with spoilers marked, of course…I’m still 4 or 5 missions away from the end).

      I’ll be playing more Star Wars:The Old Republic (found out I don’t totally suck at PvP as a Sith Juggernaut, so am slowly building a set of Battlemaster gear), going to the local board game shop with my wife for a few hours, and maybe getting around to some ME3.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         I played through it, lived it all… I just like hearing what other people think.
        And boy, is it hard not giving anything away…
        In any case, you don’t get to have a 15 minute explicit sex-scene with Jack, which means the game is a failure. Personally.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          Jack is pretty hot, but I still always go for my honey Liara over the rest.  (And fuck Ashley…I was glad she died in ME1, racist bitch.)

        • Merve says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus: I let Kaidan die. I’ll take xenophobic over boring any day.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Kaidan’s weird Faux-hawky appearance in ME3 made me wish I had let him die. Ashley’s a jackass, but at least she’s easy on the eyes…
          I just always found that Jack and Samara had been made with more care, graphics-wise. Both a much more distinct from their respective race-counterparts than any other girls… Vega in ME3 has the same quality.
          EDI was sort of cool, in a Futurama-reference “2000 ton bootay” kind of way, but when they gave her that “Weird-Science-Nerd-Wet-Dream-Robo-Porn-body”, I lost all interest there.
          The fact that she was built with rock-hard metal tits is so unbelievably immature, it really seemed like a dumb thing…

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus  – The funny part is that it took Ashley until the third game to look even remotely attractive.  She and Anderson had the same problem in ME1 – weird fish lips and bugeyes.  That probably contributed to why I wasn’t interested in her romantically as well.

          Just to clarify – I didn’t let her die BECAUSE she was ugly or racist, I was still broken up a bit at having to sacrifice a crewmember, but I’ve had over a year IRL and several years in game to get over it. =P

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           @Effigy_Power:disqus , I do agree that EDI’s design is a little over-the-top, but I guess I always rationalized it by remembering that the body she inhabits was designed for infiltration and espionage.  There are, after all, many ways to infiltrate an organization (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, Know what I mean?).

          I did, however, really like tracking the story of her emerging personhood, how she had to modify her behavior routines to allow for the possibility that she might care for something besides herself and the overall mission. 

          *SPOILER*
          So obviously I was pretty mad at myself for inadvertently wiping out her at the end of the game.  I just forgot which side was which option.

        • Staggering Stew Bum says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus EDI’s Robo Porn body is briefly mocked by Jack if you take EDI along with you on the Grissom Academy mission:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbLzvvT15OQ

          As for the sex scenes, there may not be one with Jack but the Liara sex scene in particular was so lovingly animated that I’m sure half of the Bioware programmers are secretly packing Avatar fleshlights.

        • Merve says:

          EDI’s robot body would have been fine if the boobs had been about 30% smaller.

      • The Guilty Party says:

         I wish I knew how to stop Star Wars: the Old Republic.  It’s the first MMO I ever hit level-cap in, so I just went and made another character, and another, and I don’t know. It’s fun times.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          I was down to about 3 days left of my cancelled subscription when patch 1.2 came out…and I got a guild invite from doing the heroic mission in the Black Hole district on Corellia, so suddenly had a reason to start playing again.  (Both previous guilds, the leader quit the game and the guild disbanded.)

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          UPDATE: Last night, after realizing how angry it was making me, I perma-ragequit SW:TOR.  Sold all my stuff and deleted all but one of my characters (the one I play with my wife).  Biggest reason:

          I’ve never been great at PvP, but finally joined a guild who did it fairly regularly and was good at it.  But since SW:TOR doesn’t allow more than four people at a time to queue (even though all warzones are 8 people per side), and warzones are always randomly chosen (so I kept getting stuck in my least favorite one, Huttball), I often ended up playing against my own guild.  The big downside of this is when I join a guild I always try to be helpful and friendly toward other members.  When I’m forced to fight them, and especially when they’re constantly kicking my ass, it took ALL of the fun out of it and just made me angry with them.  (I can’t say “Hey, leave me alone guys” because that would make me sound like a wimp, which I am, and they want to win too.)  So once I took a break from the game for a couple hours and thought about it, since PvP was the only thing I was really doing, I was getting stuck in that mental circle of “gotta do more PvP that I don’t like, so I can get more gear to help me in PvP…that I don’t like.  Wait, why am I doing this at all?”

          Really the only reason I’ve played so many MMOs is for the social aspect.  I’ve been trying to recapture the fun of the first two years of WoW, where I had a big social group to talk to…but I guess it’s never going to happen again.  So I think I’m done with MMOs for good unless a really good cooperative one comes along.

      • doyourealize says:

        @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus and @Effigy_Power:disqus 
        I’ve heard such horrible things about the end (no spoilers, just that’s it’s bad and even unethical), I’m not sure the actual ending can live up to it.  We’ll see, and I’ll let you know.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          I’ve heard all of the outcry and tried to avoid spoilers as much as possible…but I have a feeling I won’t be as angry about it whatever it is.  And from what I heard, the new ending stuff Bioware is doing is more just to show what happened to your friends after whatever choice you made.

          Honestly, I was kind of disappointed by the slideshow/video clip endings of Deus Ex:Human Revolution too…but not enough to get pissed and demand a new one.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Well… it’s something that needs to be experienced, I am sure. Just to make it clear, I didn’t like the ending because it didn’t seem as thought it was connected to the rest of my game experience. That is what bugged me. I thought it was… tacked on, something last minute.
          Now, a ton, and I mean a ton, of people were super-pissed that they didn’t get the kind of odd happy-yay-yay fantasy they somehow expected from a trilogy where the fate of the universe just got progressively worse. I don’t think I am spoiling anything by making that very clear. Anyone expecting a clean, happy uber-win for the good guys has played the ME trilogy with rose-colored glasses. The theme of all three games is sacrifice and I was perfectly accepting of that.
          I think it’s a question of perception, but… well… you’ll see. The good thing is that the ending requires very little to do, and the game is probably the most engaging and awesome right before it, as in before the last 5 or 6 minutes of the game, so nothing is lost by playing it.

        • Merve says:

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus: I just finished DE:HR a couple of days ago, and to be honest, it’s not strictly the ending that I have a problem with, but the entire Panchaea section that didn’t work for me, narratively speaking. (Gameplay-wise, it was still top-notch.) SPOILERS: the big plot twist where everyone with biochip augs went nuts just seemed so over-the-top for a story that was, for the most part, quite a bit subtler.

          So, when I got to the end, having three choices (I didn’t unlock one of them) wasn’t a huge disappointment, comparatively speaking.

          That being said, I really did love the gameplay in Panchaea, because it forced me to change tactics. I couldn’t just shoot at bad guys from cover anymore; I had to face them head-on with a P.E.P.S. gun. And I have to give props to the designers for really nailing the quasi-survival-horror vibe. It’s proof that you don’t need nighttime or zombies to make a scary game.

          Panchaea also featured what was by far the best boss fight.* Sure, I guess one could run around Typhooning all the robots to smithereens, but it was more fun to hide behind cover, hack all the computers, and take ’em out with EMPs.

          *Actually, the boss fights were far better than how I’d been led to believe they’d be, and they were far too brief to have a significant negative impact on the game. In fact, I thought the second boss fight was a genuinely cool boss fight, requiring both skill and quick reflexes. (The whole invisibility/speed combo really threw me for a loop.)

          As for the ME3 endings, I probably won’t reach them for another month or so. (In fact, I might delay experiencing them until the new ending DLC comes out.) In any case, I doubt whatever ending I experience will enrage me.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          @Merve2:disqus  – The twist with the augs didn’t bother me in the least, I loved it.  It had been foreshadowed for a long time, back to when your own system started having problems…I suspected something was going to happen when everyone was ordered to the LIMB clinics for “upgrades”…and like you said, it made you have to change strategy for the final level.

          My favorite boss fight was the guy in the artifact room.  I had to use up about three guns full of ammo to take him down (because I kept missing trying not to get shot myself), but it was very satisfying when I did.

        • Merve says:

          (Tharr be spoilers in this post!)

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus: It was very well foreshadowed, I’ll give it that, not just with Jensen having augmentation problems at the beginning, but with all the biochip recalls as well. (And I guess I should have seen it coming, seeing as the “kill switch” plays a large role in the original Deus Ex.) My problem with it was more with, for lack of a better phrase, the tonal shift in the storytelling. I don’t want to give the impression that it was game-ruining – DE:HR is still one of the best games I’ve played in a while – it was just slightly disappointing, that’s all.

          As for the boss in the artifact room, he was super-frustrating because I just kept dying. Eventually, I realized that I could kill him by lobbing gas and frag grenades at him, then finishing him off with a few well-placed rifle headshots.

    • JReich says:

       I taught myself Dominion on Isotropic and play there pretty frequently. The interface is pretty good and games go quick. Look me up for a game sometime. (I posted about this last week as Stummies since I’ve been playing under that username.)

      dominion.isotropic.org

      • doyourealize says:

        Thanks for the heads up. I’ll check it out. I’ve also been playing Catan at playcatan.com. You can only play the base game for free, but it’s a nice distraction. Not as fun as playing with friends at the table with you (most are interested in moving as quickly as possible, but you can adjust), but still fun.

  9. Raging Bear says:

    I will be playing Prototype 2. Possibly with the sound off, because there’s nothing about that dialogue I need to hear. I mean, they would have had to try pretty hard to make the “evil corporation” storyline tolerable anyway, given that this is probably the thousandth time that trope’s been dragged out this month alone, but instead they went the “scientists being openly giddy at the prospect of injecting viruses into orphans with cancer” route (this sounds like it should be a joke. But they’re serious).

    Overall; still fun. You still can’t sneeze without killing a dozen innocent bystanders, but they made the bystander’s patter off-the-charts douchy, so it’s hard to feel bad about this. The targeting is really atrocious, and there are a few other issues but, tendril attack. Very much hell yes to the tendril attack. I think they’ve finally one-upped the glory of projectile-nailing people to walls.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       If I play Prototype 2, it will once again be because I fell head over heels for the “Open World” concept and enjoy pulling helicopters to the sky.
      The targeting was always terrible, even on PC with a mouse, where it really shouldn’t be. I remember that the whip-fist’s long range attack often targeted hapless pedestrians instead of the soldier with the bazooka right next to them… way to guess my intent, game.

      • Raging Bear says:

        Yeah, the targeting’s still exactly like that. The only time I’ve actually died so far was because I repeatedly targeted the same random destructible object outside my field of vision instead of any of the huge group of guys shooting me.

        There’s not a lot more to do in the map so far, but the good news is that everything you do does seem to lead to actual skill boosts instead of just trophies, so that’s a plus. Also, you start with some of the later upgrades from the original (at least, the air dash and stealth consume) so freely roaming/attacking checkpoints and such is a bit more fun right from the beginning.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           As cool as Stealth Consume is, it made many of the missions much too easy, even if it was of vital importance for others…
          And once Glide is upgraded with Air Dash… even helicopters can’t follow you for long.

  10. angrypeter says:

    I’m still working my way through Xenoblade Chronicles, I’m only about 15 hours in but still really enjoying it and for an ADD gamer such as myself, that is a major accomplishment for Xenoblade. Also after hearing people talk about it in this thread last week (?), I picked up Radiant Historia, always good to have a pocket RPG around, and am hooked on that as well. Good recommendation whoever that was!   

  11. Chip_Dipson says:

    I just started Fez this week, and I very much agree that it is a slow burn kind of game. Plus the music is really good in a get-under-your-skin kinda way. It’s probably going to take over the weekend.

    My wife and I are always looking for a good board game to play. We tend to like games that can be played in about an hour or less. Carcassonne was a hit in our house, but our current addiction is Ticket to Ride.

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      We bought Carcassonne: The Castle a few weeks ago, which is virtually the same game, just with walls around the playing field.

      We also tried out Wiz War, and loved it enough to buy our own copy.

      • Chip_Dipson says:

        I’d recommend The Princess and the Dragon expansion for Carcassonne. It adds a lot more depth to the game, without sacrificing it’s simplicity. Plus it ratchets up the competitive smack-talking considerably.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           It really is the perfect boardgame… I did enjoy the Rivers Expansion, but otherwise I like the original game the best.
          I really wanted to get into Catan, but found it way too encumbered… Mind you, the card-game version of Catan is really quite fun.

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          Oh yeah, the Catan card game is fun, and short, which I like too.  It’s kind of funny…in theory I don’t like board games that take hours to play, but in practice I’m the one that MAKES them last that long by double checking rules, which bores my wife.  So I hate playing board games with me, apparently.

  12. stakkalee says:

    Me and a buddy both just got new laptops so this weekend we’re going to have a marathon multiplayer Civ 4 session.  God, talk about videogame crack.  I haven’t touched Civ 5 yet – anyone have any opinions?

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      I’ve heard from multiple sources that Civ 4 is lightyears better than 5.  (Here’s the Amazon reviews page for instance – http://www.amazon.com/Sid-Meiers-Civilization-V-Download/product-reviews/B004774IPU/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 )

      • Effigy_Power says:

         I prefer Civ 5… while it’s not in any way more complex, I’d even say it plays a little less detailed, it is more fun… The problem is that I don’t quite know why, but I feel like I got to enjoy the good parts of the game more while being less weighed down by the boring minutia.
        Then again, if that’s what you’re looking for, IV might be the way to go, I guess.

      • The Guilty Party says:

        Pfft. People on the internet are disappointed by every sequel, ever. I saw yesterday someone claiming Baldur’s Gate II was ‘too pretty’ and lost the spirit of the original.

        Anyway. Civ-wise, I think there are two types of players. Without passing judgement:

        1) They play more or less ‘as intended’. You build cities, expand, engage in wars and diplomacy and generally mirror a real empire.

        2) They try to beat the system. If carpeting the landscape with tiny cities every other space and zerging with cheap troops even against tanks is the most powerful option, they’ll do it.

        From what I gathered, group 2 was pretty disappointed in Civ V. As part of group 1 though, I was delighted. I have won with many different victory types; I had always just done cultural wins before.

        They did remove some stuff though, like religion. I was never a fan of their implementation of it though, so hey.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          It’s coming back in the next expansion. Hooray, religion! It always makes everything better, amirite?

        • The Guilty Party says:

           @HobbesMkii:disqus As long as it’s not another ‘rush to the few early religion-giving techs’ deal. That always bugged me. A properly integrated religion that affected culture or something, I could see that being cool.

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          It’s going to be completely different from 4. You’ll get a spirtuality meter that fills up depending on civilization-specific factors (sea-faring civs get more spirituality points when they’re near the coast, aggressive ones get points when they defeat enemies), and when the meter is full you get to add another god to your pantheon which will grant some perks.

          At least that’s how I remember it. They talked about it in a Eurogamer article.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        It’s a matter of taste, really. IV is a bit deeper, V does battles a lot better and is a lot easier to get into. It also gets rid of unit stacks, which I’ve always hated.

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          Diplomacy is also much more interesting (both because of city states and because other civilizations won’t hold a grudge against you because you didn’t give them free iron 2000 years ago). Speaking of iron, limited resources are great as well. I can’t say I like 5 better than 4, but it’s a new and sufficently different take on the concept that you need to figure out all over again, and that’s really all I need.

  13. duwease says:

    Continuing to work on Mass Effect 3 and attempt to finish up Sam & Max: The Devil’s Toybox.  I also picked up Civ V but am trying to keep that addiction box closed for now..

    • Effigy_Power says:

       I was very disappointed when the 3rd season of Sam and Max switched from the point&click style to this weird consoley ability thing… I loved the Telltale Series, but the last season really killed it for me.

      • duwease says:

        Yeah, but when Sam & Max started back up it was a league of its own when it came to the adventure games available.. I can forgive streamlining the programming to make it console-friendly for profit reasons if it means more sweet, sweet sardonic adventuring.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           It’s certainly still funny, but… this is going to sound incredibly pretentious… the last Season felt like it had lost its purity.
          I wanted Sam and Max to be point and click, because it had been point and click always. Instead they pulled a Monkey Island 4 and wrecked it all. For me anyways.

      • Destroy Him My Robots says:

        I think it’s probably the best controller setup for what was still a classic point-and-click. It plays so much better than Grim Fandango; Monkey Island 4; and, weirdly, Tales of Monkey Island. And The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is clearly one of the best episodes they’ve ever done.

  14. Swadian Knight says:

    I’m still playing Legends of Grimrock, and I have to say I’m getting way more out of it than I originally thought I would. Other than that, I’ve picked up The Walking Dead: Episode I and I’ll dedicate some time to the brilliant bit.trip runner.

    Best part is I have an extended holiday coming up, so this “weekend” only ends wednesday morning for me. Should be fun.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       Yeah, sounds like a typical weak Swadian milk-drinker celebrating his time off.
      (Mount and Blade insults… we sure are Geeks)

  15. UninvitedChristopherGuest says:

    So people are still do the video game thing? Typical.

  16. SteveHeisler says:

    I finally finished Demon’s Souls with the help of a Black Phantom who kept invading my world, then wrote me a message saying he wanted to help me kill the final boss. Enemies, becoming friends!

    I’m back to Fallout 3. Will there be a point when I don’t get mercilessly slaughtered all the time? That’d be nice.

    • stakkalee says:

      I had to get up to the high-teens levels before I really felt like I could hold my own against multiple opponents; fucking super mutants.  Have you found Dogmeat yet?  That mutt saved my ass more times than I can count in that game.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Yeah, the leveling system is a lot different than Oblivion. Ironically, by the time I got up to about level 18, I was a little concerned that I was never going to be able to find something that could hold its own against me ever again. Fallout: New Vegas has a better mix for keeping things tough but not too tough, in my opinion.

        • stakkalee says:

          I do prefer the leveling in Oblivion and Skyrim.  Straight XP is fine, but tying the leveling to actual skill-usage makes it so much more fulfilling when you hit that next level.  It feels more natural and encourages you to experiment with different play-styles.

        • SamPlays says:

          @stakkalee:disqus I haven’t played Elder Scrolls games but what you’re describing sounds exactly like the level-up system in the Ratchet and Clank games. The only way to upgrade your weapons was to use them. Being prone to obsessive-compulsive gaming behaviors, I would run around using the dumbest weapons just so I could level-up everything. A total waste of time but the sense of fulfillment when you leveled-up was immediately gratifying.

      • SamPlays says:

        I became quite attached to Dogmeat and was devastated when he died. I could have reloaded my game but I had made to much progress to go back. I felt the same way about my first horse dying in Red Dead Redemption but then I realized there’s plenty of horses to go around in that game. 

        As for getting slaughtered in Fallout 3, I focused my character almost purely on weapons and other perks that allowed me to advance some other skills somewhat. I can’t imagine getting through that game without firepower, though. I understand that you possibly play the game different ways (i.e., there were doors and computers that were not accessible in my game), but the difficult enemies that HAD to be encountered just made it seem like guns were the way to go.

      • AuroraBoreanaz says:

        When I heard that companions could die, I pretty much always sent them back to home base as soon as I got them, unless they were absolutely required.

        I used them far more in New Vegas, where they’d only get knocked out, and get back up after the fight was over.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           Yeah, if they get hit really bad by Cazadores, they will keep “dying” and getting back up until the poison wears off (you can’t give them an antidote).

    • The_Misanthrope says:

      The way to turn the tide in any Fallout game is to get yourself kitted out with better weapons and armor.  Don’t spend your hard-stolen caps on it, though.  Just survive an encounter with the Talon Co. (if you’re good) or the Regulators (if you’re bad) and loot the corpses.  Later, employ the same tactic with the Enclave (you likely will have BoS Power Armor at the point, too).

      Fallout:  New Vegas made things a little more manageable with its companion system.  With my trusty modded holorifle and the dynamic duo of Boone and ED-E, I was able to handle most threats while they were still a speck on the horizon.

  17. OhHaiMark says:

    I’ve been playing Super Mario 3D Land and I’m pretty impressed with the game.  There’s a huge flair and joy taken in the use of the 3D environments and puzzles.  Quite refreshing, being honest.  It’s a wonderfully fun game and that’s about all you can ask for from a Mario game.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I really want Nintendo to hurry up with their next iteration/bundle for the 3DS so that I can justify getting it without feeling ripped off the very next day.

      • OhHaiMark says:

        Honestly, I’ve had a blast with my 3DS despite the lack of many AAA titles.  I love the thing a lot.

  18. HobbesMkii says:

    This interview sucks, Teti. He didn’t say one slightly controversial thing that I could expound upon in a 1000-word manifesto about why Game X was better than Game Y and why Mr. Reich has his head up his ass. He just sounds like someone who has a fun, slightly casual interest in gaming.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       I was thinking that too… No Starr-ian “Games are a waste of time” lines I could latch on to…
      Well, if you’re not giving me anything to vent, I am off to pick a fight with a 13-year old on why Transformers are for girls or something…

    • JReich says:

      If it’s any consolation, my head is up my ass a fair amount of the time, though John and I did have a very pleasant conversation without much opportunity for me to prove that. Um…LA Noire sucked? Is that even mildly controversial?

      • HobbesMkii says:

         No, I already had that opinion earlier in the week.

        • JReich says:

          I have failed you.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           I just picked up LA Noire at Gamestop for 16 bucks, with an intact DLC code.  I am enjoying it purely on a sort of bargain-bin level, where the shitty qualities are easier to accept due to how cheap it was.  As a game, it is a small collection of minigames and clue hunts that get old fast (and if you don’t actually want to play them, the game is cool with that).  As a story, I really have been enjoying the strong performances.  Yes, the rod up Cole Phelp’s ass has got a rod up its ass, but the supporting cast is pretty fun.

          Also, because Gamestop was running a “Buy 2 PS2 games, get 1 free” sale, I picked up Capcom Classics Collection, Prince of Persia:  Sands of Time, and Shadow of the Colossus.  The latter two are egregious blind-spots in my game-playing history.

        • Merve says:

          @The_Misanthrope:disqus: I was lucky and got a real bargain-bin deal for L.A. Noire: 5 bucks plus tax as a download from Amazon, so I won’t feel bad when it inevitably disappoints me. I’m going to hold off really getting into it until the summer, though. I don’t have the time to game for long stretches at the moment, and as far as I can tell, the save system doesn’t let you save mid-case. (*insert standard grumbling about console ports here*)

      • Effigy_Power says:

         “LA Noire sucks” is basically the Gameological Society’s “Dawes”…

  19. caspiancomic says:

    I, too, bought Eternal Sonata out of an EB bargain bin a couple of years ago. I was mostly looking for forty to sixty hours of pure, unironic, original flavour JRPG. And holy shit, did I ever get. The game has as close to zero original ideas as it’s possible for a game to have (although the underlying musical conceit is kind of interesting). But I got exactly what I wanted out of it, so I actually really enjoyed the experience. I mean yeah, the story made basically no sense (and no points will be awarded for saying it doesn’t have to because it’s somebody’s deathbed fever dream), and the cast of playable characters would have been twice as memorable if it was half as large, and the one archer chick (Viola?) basically cheesed the entire game, but hey. I liked it!

    However I totally, totally understand how someone with a low tolerance for JRPG shenanigans would absolutely despise it.

    • JReich says:

      I like it okay, I guess. The combat is pretty fun but that seems to be all there is to it. No exploration or side quests or anything…you just fight 20 identical battles, then a miniboss, rinse and repeat. I wouldn’t mind so much if the cut scenes weren’t as excruciating as they are. I’m having a good time with it but also sort of can’t wait for it to be over. Would definitely try something else in the genre though – sounds like Xenoblade Chronicles might be a good choice.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       That low tolerance for JRPGs is my personal beef… My girlfriend made me play Xenosaga I and II early in our relationship, probably in order to test my constitution score, and it really, really annoyed the hell out of me.
      I’ve tried a few since then, but simply decided that the whole genre isn’t my thing. I am sure that I am missing out on the odd gem of absolute greatness (I did play FF12, which I did love), but that’s a risk I can take.

  20. 3FistedHumdinger says:

    Playing the first episode of the Walking Dead game.  It’s an adventure game!  Like, old-school adventure game!  When I got the demo, I fell off the couch in amazement; I elbowed my wife and asked her “Can you believe that someone actually made of these again?!”  She played it, and then bought the season pass then and there.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       Well, the adventure game era got a pretty good rebirth years ago already. Telltale Games showed that a-plenty with the Sam and Max Seasons, which were mostly excellent, and the lesser, but still fun Monkey Island Sequels. There was also another Broken Sword game, which was really quite good.
      Overall, even though adventures still live in a niche environment, they managed to crawl back from where they had been pushed by shooters and sports-managers.

  21. I’m off to be ultimately disappointed by Mass Effect 3. Picked it up on sale. Also reading Night’s Black Agents, a spies vs. vampires tabletop RPG

  22. kicking222 says:

    I had no idea Jason Reich was writing for “Robot Chicken”; that might make me try watching it again. I met Jason seven or eight years ago when I saw his comedy duo (which was AMAZING), and he was incredibly nice and personable and, even when not performing, funny. Plus, after a long hiatus, I was also single-handedly re-hooked on gaming thanks to “GTA III”.

  23. In a classical story, the theme is expressed through the arc of the main character. One of the reasons Mass Effect 2 has felt so hollow to me is that Shepard is a blank slate. There’s no guarantee that s/he will undergo any change as a person. There are no real consequences that my moral decisions have (only my tactical decisions affect who survives). Even when/if these decisions affect the events of Mass Effect 3, there’s no guarantee that they will have any effect on Shepard the person. 

    • Merve says:

      Even having played just 10 hours of ME3, I can tell you that that’s something they handle much better in the third game (within the limitations of an RPG structure, of course). At the very least, the game allows you to select dialogue options that show Shepard’s line of thought in shifting from “paragon” to “renegade” choices and vice versa.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        In ME1&2 I almost unanimously chose Paragon options, but there have been multiple times in ME3 where I felt completely justified in going renegade, and it worked in my overall story just fine.  I LOVE that in games, where an occasional “dark side” choice doesn’t make people react to you like total scum.

        SPOILER

        Example – No way in hell I was gonna let Udina live after betraying everyone AND getting ready to shoot an ambassador.  Kaidan’s moving too slow – so BOOM!