Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Arts’

EA Thanks Loyal ME Fans’ Patience with Launch DLC… But You’ll Have to Pay for It.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

EA Money Grubbing Jerks

"Well, if anyone previously doubted my motivations, this should clear things right up..."

I don’t think it should come as any surprise that I’d only break “radio silence” on the site to bitch…

But yeah, that’s what’s about to happen. Call it Fanboi rage or something.

Last night, my long wait for Mass Effect 3 finally came to an end. I’ve spent the last month or so playing and re-playing the ME3 demo and wrangled three friends into getting online and playing the multiplayer portion of the demo with me. I went back and played ME and ME2 just to try to get in a fix while I waited.

I’m not against waiting. I actually like when the anticipation builds to a fever pitch and most of the best things in life are worth waiting for. Maybe not all of them but most of them.

What does set my Rage Level to 11, however, is arriving to pick up my game, which, I might note, has been paid for in full since the first day the game was available for pre-order, and discovering there is already DLC being sold the night of the launch.

I have no idea what Electronic Arts was thinking. We’re not talking about some Day One patch that has to be downloaded before I can play but a DLC package that requires me to pay extra to have all of the content on the night of its launch. PAID DLC ON DAY ONE. Let that sink in for a second.

This is like going to the movies and shelling out the cash for your tickets, sitting through a movie you’ve been waiting to see, only to have the lights come on before the climatic ending, and being told that to see the end of the movie, it will be an extra five bucks.

Dirty pool, EA.

It gets better. A little research and Crutchboy discovers that the DLC we’re shelling out an extra $10 for is actually the extra content available with the Collector’s Edition. So now you’ve not just slapped the general gaming populace in the face by providing paid DLC on launch but you’ve also pretty much invalidated the extra content the Collector’s Edition folks were looking forward to enjoying while the rest of us waited for the day when the DLC was made available.

Sure, those who shelled out the extra cash for the CE probably get some physical goodies. Though based on my own lackluster experience with the CE of SWTOR, I can’t say the extra 20 bucks was worth an ME coffee mug or whatever EA packaged into the game since you’ve gone and made the extra content, the actual meat of what you were pitching to those interested in the Collector’s Edition, available to any poor schmuck who feels obligated to give you an extra ten bucks on launch day to make sure they’re not missing out on anything.

This is the end of “us”, EA. I’ve shelled out money for your titles and I’ve been a loyal fan of some of your games for years. You disappointed me when I found my last purchase of Madden to be the version I got the year before with an updated roster and a new coat of paint. You disappointed me when you started tying all of your in-game content to pre-orders of titles I had no interest in or on playing demos of games I really didn’t care to play.

You’ve made some good decisions in the past few years, namely the purchase of BioWare and all of the intellectual property that entailed, but you’ve made some glaring mistakes that I’m finding harder and harder to ignore. Offering me paid DLC on the night of the launch of one of the most anticipated titles on my very short list is the final straw.

You’re not getting any more money from me. Oh, I’ll continue to play the titles I’ve already purchased but I won’t be purchasing any new games or any further DLC from you. I won’t be pre-ordering any more games, giving you the excuse to artificially inflate your sales numbers by counting pre-orders as full sales in the present fiscal quarter.

More importantly to me, though I doubt you’ll notice, will be my silence in regards to any of your new titles. I won’t talk about them, write about them, or recommend them to friends.

And sadly, that means I won’t be purchasing anything else your genius step-child, BioWare, produces in the future because you’ve taken a brilliant product line and applied your ever shadier business model to it.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

EA’s Bulletstorm bashed by Fox News

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Hey Fox, here's 3 tickets to the gun show!

Fox News disapproves of Bulletstorm’s linking of extreme violence and sexual innuendo

(Gamespot) – If the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity is true, Electronic Arts’ marketing department must be busting out the bubbly. That’s because one of its highest profile first-quarter releases, Bulletstorm, was just roundly slammed in a scathing article on

Titled “Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?” the piece criticizes the game for linking sex and violence via innuendo-laden awards in its skillshot system. Award names for feats of in-game carnage include Gag Reflex, Rear Entry, Drilldo, Mile High Club, Gang Bang, and Topless.

The article then goes on to quote two experts who decry the game as being potentially harmful. Dr. Jerry Weichman, a psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California, told that “If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant.”

Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, went one step further, linking sexual content in games to a spike in sexual assaults. “The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,” she said. (In fact, statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show rapes declined by nearly 40 percent in 2009.) also contacted the Entertainment Consumer Association’s Hal Halpin, who equated the ultraviolence in Bulletstorm to that found in some films. “I respect the creative rights of game developers to make a game like Bulletstorm in the same way that I appreciate Quentin Tarantino’s right to make over-the-top movies like Kill Bill,” said Halpin.

[Full article at]

Bioware gurus make it into Hall of Fame

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Drs. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk

(Gamasutra) – The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences is inducting BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk into its hall of fame, and the pair will speak at AIAS’ 2011 D.I.C.E. event.

The BioWare Doctors make the 14th and 15th inductees to the AIAS Hall of Fame, marking the first time the honorees have been a pair rather than an individual. According to AIAS, Muzyka and Zeschuk were chosen for “their emotionally engaging and detailed cinematic games,” which include Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age and other respected titles.

Epic Games president Mike Capps will present the award to the pair at February 10, 2011′s Annual Interactive Achievement Awards at the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas.

Muzyka and Zeschuk attended medical school, where collaborating on education projects like “Acid Base Physiology Simulator” and “Gastroenterology Patient Simulator” led them toward a career in game development; they formed relationships with programmers and game designers and founded BioWare.

Muzyka is described as an “avid poker enthusiast” who won the D.I.C.E. Summit’s traditional poker tournaments in 2006 and 2010, among other distinctions in the game business.

Conversely, Zeschuk is described as being interested in “gourmet food, music and fine beer (in no particular order of importance).” Both are also directors and co-chairmen at interface software company CodeBaby.

“We’re truly honored to represent our teams of passionate, hard-working, creative staff across the BioWare Group within Electronic Arts, and they all share this award with us,” says Muzyka. “Driving BioWare’s success past, present and future are the amazing family of people we have been privileged to work with over the years and our shared core values of quality in our workplace, quality in our products, and entrepreneurship in a context of humility and integrity.”

[Full article at]

Tenacious D to perform at BlizzCon 2010

Monday, October 11th, 2010
Time to melt faces.

Time to melt faces.

Last October, Jack Black starred in Electronics Art’s Brutal Legend as protagonist Eddie Riggs. This year, at BlizzCon 2010, Black will perform under the banner of Blizzard.

(Gamespot) – Blizzard today sent word that rock group Tenacious D, a band composed of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, will perform at this year’s BlizzCon during the closing ceremony on October 23. The band is known for its HBO show Tenacious D: The Greatest Band on Earth, as well as its two albums, live concert DVDs, and feature film Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny. According to Blizzard, Tenacious D will debut new songs during their set.

As in years past, BlizzCon will feature a variety of activities catering to the tastes of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo fans. Those in attendance will be able to play prerelease builds of Blizzard’s upcoming games, including World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Diablo III. The show will also include a variety of panels form Blizzard developers, casual and competitive tournaments, contests, a silent auction, and a merchandise store.

Some 20,000 tickets were sold at $125 a pop to BlizzCon 2009, though Blizzard has said that the event remains unprofitable. Highlights included the announcement of WOW’s third expansion, Cataclysm, as well as a live performance by metal maestro Ozzy Osbourne.

BlizzCon 2010 will be held October 22-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The event is sold out, but those interested in the latest Blizzard news can purchase a BlizzCon 2010 Virtual Ticket for $39.95 to watch more than 50 hours of content from the event over at

EA removes Taliban from new Medal of Honor

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Electronic Arts today said today they would be removing the “Taliban” as a playable character from their new military shooter Medal of Honor. Instead the will be replacing “Taliban” with “Opposing Force”. But we are guessing they will still appear “Taliban-ish”.

Medal of Honor came under pressure from the military after it became known that in the multiplayer portions of the game, players would be able to take on the role of terroist Taliban fighters.

In September, the commanding general of the Army and Air Force Exchange Services told sources that he would have Medal of Honor pulled from U.S. military bases worldwide because of the “well-documented reports of depictions of Taliban fighters engaging American troops” in the game.

A statement this morning on the Medal of Honor website, Greg Goodrich, executive producer of Medal of Honor, said the decision to drop the Taliban reference was driven purely by the feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers.

“This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team,” he wrote. “This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.”

Goodrich noted the change will not directly affect gamers or alter gameplay.


UK Official decries new Medal of Honor title as a “tasteless product”

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

EA catching flak for including the option to play as Taliban

Kids don’t play cops and robbers outside any more.  Hell, even when I was a kid, Star Wars changed the game to “Rebels and Stormtroopers???.  But why go run around outside when you can sit in front of a TV with your console of choice and not have to worry about your friends saying you missed (which was called every stinkin’ time even when it was totally obvious you didn’t… I’m looking right at you, Quail Creek Stormtrooper Brigade).  Even the question of who has to be the bad guys is resolved by the cold calculations of the console, making sure everyone gets their turn at being the “heroes???.

And as a society, we’re okay with the console taking the place of the outdoor adventure of whatever the latest variation of cops and robbers is because there’s always that one kid who decides he’s tired of being told he missed (when he DIDN’T!!!) and goes and gets the BB gun.  Once that happens, there’s the crying and complaining and the yells of “Why, God, WHY?!??? and the inevitable confiscation of your BB gun.  Let me tell you, folks, Stormtroopers can be the biggest crybabies.

Ahem.  I digress.

Electronic Arts is under fire from Britain’s Defense Secretary Liam Fox who declares that the newest entry in the “Medal of Honor??? franchise is a “tasteless product??? for allowing players to take on the role of the Taliban.  Fox issued the following statement in regards to the game:

“At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. It’s shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers. It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.”

Yes, because prior entries into the series didn’t portray anyone like the Nazis who, you know, bombed the crap out of your cities during World War II or anything…

While I am not belittling the loss of life suffered by British, or U.S. for that matter, troops at the hands of the Taliban, it seems inane that anyone would complain over what will be the multi-player option of the game.  Someone has to be the good guy and someone has to be the bad guy.  I’m certain that the single player mode will have us playing, at least at some point, as those brave soldiers from the Isles in an effort to stop the Taliban from succeeding in their goals.

The Medal of Honor franchise has typically been set in the World War II era and allows players to play through historical battles and, as I pointed out above, nobody was crying about the Nazis being available for play in multi-player.  Except for maybe Germany who has this weird thing about games with Nazis in them…

Gritskrieg – End of Line

The Microtransaction and Electronic Arts (Hint: They’re doing it wrong)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Some days I think it stands for "Evil Accountants"...

I’m a fan of the Madden series.  It’s been one of the games that’s kept me coming back for more every single year.  I wasn’t too happy when Electronic Arts landed their “exclusive??? contract with the NFL because I thought it would mean that they wouldn’t try as hard to produce quality products for the series.  I was wrong, the games continue to be top notch but with the most recent release, I’m concerned that EA is taking the microtransaction business model a bit too far.

For instance, I picked up my game on launch day, August 10th, and took it home to see how many improvements there were over the previous year’s iteration.  Upon loading the game, I found there was already “DLC??? available for the title.  Needless to say, I was a little surprised about this and went to see what could have possibly been added…

There were scouting reports, Ultimate Team mods (more on this in a moment), and a few other assorted “power ups??? that could be purchased with cold, hard cash.  It’s not that surprising to me after seeing the “add-ons??? that were made available for Mass Effect 2 shortly after launch; weapons, armor, more weapons, avatar items, pets… It was ridiculous.  And then they added DLC that included missions and of course I was interested in those so they had to be purchased.  So when everything is said and done in regards to ME2, I’ve now probably spent $100 on a $60 game…

Then there’s the “Ultimate Team??? in Madden 11 which is touted as being a mixture between Fantasy Football and Madden’s Franchise Mode to provide a “unique experience??? to fans of the series.  The Fantasy Football angle is provided via a Trading Card method.  You receive a “starter pack??? in order to begin your team and then as you play, you garner coins that allow you to purchase new “booster packs??? or bid on players being “auctioned??? by other players.  It is a new, fairly interesting means of enjoying a Madden game and certainly does inspire one to keep playing in order to garner newer, better players.

On paper, it’s a great idea.  However, let me tell you about my short lived experience with it.

I got my starter deck, all mediocre players, and moved a few around a few of them before choosing to play against the CPU in order to see what moves had been changed.  On the second play of the very first game, my first string quarterback was sacked and removed from the game with a broken collarbone.  He’s out for the season.

So my second string QB steps up to the challenge and I finish out the first game, losing abysmally to my CPU opponent.  I receive 450 coins for my efforts.  To put a perspective on the amount of coins, the booster packs are rated using Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  The Bronze pack costs 1000 coins.

I quickly jump back in the fray thinking I can hold out with a few close games to have enough to start building my team. In the second quarter, my second string QB is sacked and put out of the game with a concussion.  He’s out for the remainder of this game and the next.  I only had two quarterbacks.  This means I have to “promote??? a kicker to the QB position to finish out the game.  During the process of losing once again, I lose several defensive players and end up having to put some offensive men into an “Iron Man Football??? situation, having to play both sides of the line as the game progresses.  At the end, I’m awarded another 450 coins.

So where am I? I have a kicker filling in for my injured QBs, I have a Fullback playing as a Linebacker, a wide receiver pulling double duty as a safety, and one poor tight end playing as an off tackle.  On top of all of this, I still don’t have enough coins to purchase even the low end Bronze booster pack.

I start checking to see if there’s some means to get more coins without losing the other half of my team to injuries and sure enough, lo and behold, I can purchase more coins using Microsoft Points that I have purchased with real money.

I didn’t even look at the conversion rate.  Sickened by this ploy, I turned off the game and I haven’t turned it back on since.

I’m certain there is a game here that I will enjoy.  I could ignore Ultimate Team mode and simply begin my franchise as I have each time I pick up a new Madden title but the thing is, I’m starting to see a lot of corporate greed in the titles EA has been producing lately in the form of their version of “microtransactions???.

Let’s review the more traditional form of the microtransaction business model… First, the games that use this model are typically free to play for either a certain amount of time or you only have access to better “gear??? when you pay in for either a monthly subscription or you can use real cash to outright buy items for use in game.  I don’t have a problem with this model.  I have tried several free to play games and often end up paying something in to show my appreciation for them.

Games that use microtransactions may also release expansions that you must purchase in order to experience the content.  The base game is still “free to play??? and thus, one can continue to play the base game without the expansion if one so desires.  Again, this is a logical business model and I have, in the past, purchased the additional content in order to show my support of the game company since they have provided me with something I enjoy doing whether I pay for it or not.

Some of the shortcomings of the games in this field is that those people who are willing to spend large amounts of cash are often unstoppable in the gear they’ve purchased.  This, however, justifies the position of the company to provide a free to play product and to produce such content that allows them to continue to do so and thus I suffer through the butt whoopings I receive at the hands of those with the fat wallets.

Now, I just shelled out $60 for my copy of Madden 11.  I don’t want to find out that someone who is willing to shell out another $100 on top of the original sixty is completely skewing the playing field (pardon the pun).  You already have my money, EA… level the field.

It’s simple.  If you’re going to put together a game where you want people to constantly pay in so that they can have the best “team??? or “gear??? or whatever you’re hawking, don’t charge me up front for your product.  If I determine that I want to pay in because I appreciate the game or simply because I want to be able to compete at the same level as others who are playing, I will do so.  Now, however, you’ve forced me to reconsider my purchase because you have DLC and content available to those who are willing to shell out more money on top of the initial purchase price.

People will likely tell me to calm down, that I’m overreacting to one portion of a great game.  They might be right.  I can tell you this… if EA continues in this vein, I may be boycotting any series they produce which has a “pay??? mode.  I understand they have to make money on their products but in light of their recent decision to add an EA login to the requirements of DLC, forcing one who purchases a used copy to spend more money in order to play the used copy on line, I think they’re just milking us for everything we’re willing to pay.

There might be a great game in the Madden 11 box.  For now, though, it’s staying on the shelf until I cool down.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

EA may deliver Syndicate, and other goods.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Pre GTA violence and destruction!

(Gamespot) – Evidence continues to mount that Electronic Arts and Swedish developer Starbreeze are at work on a reboot of Bullfrog Productions’ classic cyberpunk tactical action game Syndicate. The latest comes by way of a trio of new trademark applications that surfaced in the US Patent and Trademark Office yesterday.

As spotted by Internet-sleuthing Web site Superannuation, EA’s three new trademark applications all bear the title “Syndicate,” and their purposes cover a range of products. The first is of the customary gaming sort, covering such topics as “computer game software” and “downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices.”

A second filing pertains to more online uses of the phrase, including “entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game.” The third filing has to do with cross-media tie-ins for the name, including board games, toy figurines, and playing cards.

EA’s latest overture toward the Syndicate franchise follows on from a copyright claim for the “Syndicate” name filed in June 2009 but not spotted until the following April.

As for Starbreeze’s involvement in the franchise, EA announced a partnership with The Darkness developer to “reinvent” one of the publisher’s “most acclaimed classic franchises” in February 2008. That game, which currently bears the title Project RedLime, was one of two commissioned by EA. However, the second, which was to star Robert Ludlum superspy Jason Bourne, was reportedly put on hiatus, according to the LA Times.

Game Review: Dante’s Inferno

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Dante's Inferno tells us to "Go to Hell" and we still give it a BG 4.

First Glance:
A game adaptation of Dante Alighieri’s first part of “The Divine Comedy” about a soldier’s quest through the Nine Circles of Hell.

Short Story:
You play as Dante, a soldier of the Crusades who returns home to find both his father and his love, Beatrice, murdered. While he mourns at Beatrice’s body, a dark presence appears and takes her soul down to Hell. Dante, now “hell” bent on revenge, follows her soul down to Hell determined to save her soul and send her to Heaven. Along the way, you learn why she is taken to Hell and more about Dante himself and his family.
The Score:
I’m giving Dante’s Inferno a 4. Not only is this game fun and exciting but it can also be a quick play if you are able to get a good amount of game play in. I also give this game a 4 because it’s an easy achievement game. A plus if you like achievements as much as I do.

Body of Review:
Dante’s Inferno is a very solid game. One of my favorite things about the game would be the cinematics. The in game cutscenes, the cinematic cutscenes, and the flashback cartoons are amazing and add a lot of depth to the game itself. As you travel deeper into Hell, you will have a flashback cutscene which is started by a close up of the cross that Dante has stitched into his body. In these flashbacks, you find out what kind of person Dante is and how Beatrice’s soul is snatched down to Hell by the Devil himself.

Another good thing about the game is the arsenal of weapons you have. First and foremost, Death’s Scythe. That’s right, Death’s Scythe. You acquire this weapon early in the game. After the games tutorial, you go to a cutscene where Dante is stabbed in the back by an enemy. While Dante tries to recover from the blow, Death rises from the underworld to collect Dante’s soul. Dante refuses and you go into what I consider your first boss fight. This boss fight made me hear something I thought I never would…Death begging for his life while Dante kills him with his own scythe and then takes it for himself. My mind was blown just by this first fight. The scythe is great for the classic hack and slash of demons and damned souls but sometimes there will be enemies that are too far away for the scythe to reach. For these enemies, you have a cross given to you by Beatrice before Dante went off to the Crusades. The cross is used as a ranged weapon.

The big head may be angry that we're wasting his dental floss...

Now along with these two weapons, you also have four different types of magic spells that you acquire through out the game. The gameplay is quite good in this game. It has a combination of hack and slash and also a button command system for certain enemies and boss fights. My favorite aspect of the fighting system is the option to punish or absolve certain enemies. To get this option, you can either grab some of the weaker enemies or wear down some of the stronger enemies. When you wear down an enemy enough, a right trigger icon will appear over their head, when this happens, press right trigger to grab the enemy with the scythe then you will have an option. You can either punish or absolve your enemy. If you choose to absolve them, Dante will use the cross to send the demon’s soul to Heaven. If you choose to punish them, Dante will show no mercy with Death’s Scythe. Choosing to either punish or absolve an enemy will raise either you Holy, or Unholy level, and also collect souls which you can use to buy different moves or upgrade your weapons as your levels go up.

I really enjoyed the button command system that was included with the fighting system. When you take on enemies, you will be given certain button commands to choose to punish, absolve, or even board a creature that you can control.

One of my favorite things would be the boss fights. You will take on a number powerful foes in this game, including Death, King Minos (who judges damned souls and sends them to a certain circle of Hell depending on their sins), Marc Antony and Cleopatra,  Cerberus, Alighieri (Dante’s father), Frencesco (Dante’s friend and Beatrice’s brother) and Lucifer Himself. Favorite boss fight: King Minos. The way you finish the fight is brutal!

All these things about this game are great, but the absolute best thing about this game has to be the overall look of the game. The environments are mind blowing. My favorite stage in the game is Gluttony. Since gluttony is associated with the digestive system, the entire circle of Gluttony looks like you are walking around the inside of a stomach and intestines of a person. As you walk around, the walls move and you hear the sounds of a stomach. It’s absolutely disgusting to look at and hear but it’s done so well you can’t help but appreciate it.

Like I said earlier, this is an achievement game. There is no achievement in the game that require you to play through the game on a certain difficulty, so you can 100% this game on the easiest level of gameplay, which is a big plus for me, because I don’t like games to be too difficult. I got all but 5 achievements just playing through the game once.

"Butt kicking for goodness!"

Ok, I know I had a lot of good things to say about Dante’ Inferno. In fact, I think the goods things I wrote about it may actually be longer than my first review. Anyway, there were a couple of things I thought could have been better about the game. First of all, there was the lack of a free roaming camera. I felt a free roaming camera could have been helpful and could have prevented a number of deaths that I suffered while playing the game. I also would have wanted to have a targeting system. There were times that I wanted to focus on one enemy to raise either my Holy or Unholy level and then Dante would start attacking another enemy in mid combo, which got a little annoying. The last thing I didn’t like was how Cerberus was portrayed in the game. Now when you think Cerberus, you think a giant three-headed dog. But, in the game, Cerberus guards the entrance into Gluttony, so to go along with the look of the stage, the people at Visceral Games decided to make Cerberus into a three headed worm monster. I didn’t like it at all.

Final Thoughts:
Dante’s Inferno is an incredible game. The combination of the story, game design, and controls is what makes this such a great game. And the ending left it open for more games. Perhaps it will continue to follow in the stories of “The Divine Comedy.”  It was one of my favorite games I’ve played recently.

Until next time, happy gaming everyone!


Game Review: Mass Effect 2

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Mass Effect 2, like its predecessor, scores a Busy Gamer 1

First Glance:
Bioware’s sequel to one of my favorite games ever. ‘Nuff said.

The Short Story:
Bioware has, in my opinion, a hit and miss history with sequels. I was not fond of the sequel to Baldur’s Gate but I was completely taken with the “addons” for Neverwinter Nights. So it was with some trepidation, and no small amount of excitement, that I dove into Mass Effect 2. There’s another huge game to be told here with some of the best voices in the industry, graphics that far outshine its predecessor, and a substantial universe to explore… again.

The Score:
If you read my review of Mass Effect, you know I loved the game. The only problem was that it was not Busy Gamer friendly in the least. A single playthrough could be accomplished in roughly ten hours but you were robbing yourself of one of the best game experiences you could have. The same holds true for the sequel. With the changes to the exploration portion of the game, you could easily invest several hours a day to gathering resources and finishing side missions without ever touching on the main story. As such, I’m forced to give Mass Effect 2 our lowest rating, a 1.

Body of review:
To say that I was addicted to Mass Effect would be an understatement. I had five complete playthroughs and a ton of different classed Shepherds to my credit when I finally took the disc out of my 360. I invested over a hundred hours and it was the only game to date for which I actually wanted all of the achievements. I’m telling you this because my expectations for Mass Effect 2 were the highest I’ve ever had for a sequel. Some aspects of the game failed to meet my expectations, others exceeded them. I’m going to start with the bits that disappointed me…

First, there was an overhaul to the weapons system. While the first game’s method of having to skill up in each weapon individually could be frustrating at times, I became used to it and actually enjoyed the process as I proceeded. The bonuses for excelling in a weapon felt earned and I had to learn to compensate for my characters low skill in a particular weapon which I felt to take additional skill. Anyone low skilled in a sniper rifle will tell you it took timing and patience to take down a target when you first got started. However, the ability to use any weapon in the game that your class is able to use is somewhat refreshing.

A skilled assassin and a tattooed biotic psycho as teammates... Behind me. I am a brave man.

Then there is the lack of “loot” in the game. Constantly on the lookout for better armor and weapons in the first game was something of a habit before too long into the story. My OCD lead me to try and get the same “skinned” armor for each member of my squad and I was constantly shuffling items to avoid having to convert items to Omni-gel. The ability to purchase new pieces for Shepherd and customizing the look of the armor is a nice touch but I miss decking out my team members in matching armor to look more like a squad.