Posts Tagged ‘Mass Effect 2’

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

Mass Effect Movie

Friday, June 4th, 2010

(Hollywood Reporter) – Legendary Pictures has picked up rights to “Mass Effect,” the Electronic Arts-BioWare video game. Mark Protosevich, the scribe who wrote “I Am Legend” and worked on “Thor,” is in talks to pen the movie, which will be produced by Avi and Ari Arad as well as Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.

“Mass,” which debuted in 2008, is an epic sci-fi action game set in the year 2183, focusing on a human soldier and his starship, the SSV Normandy. The galaxy-spanning story involves a long-extinct race of aliens, dormant beacons and more alien species than you can shake a lightsaber at.

The project is still in the early stages of development, though any game-to-screen undertaking would require a massive commitment. So far, humans vs. aliens movies have tended to be set on Earth, which makes those films easier to shoot while making them relatable for mass audiences.

One of the by-products of the success of “Avatar” has been showing that moviegoers will follow and invest themselves in non-human characters if given a reason to, which opens the door for more alien movies.

The players involved all have experience in undertaking giant-sized production. Legendary’s credits include co-producing such tentpoles as “The Dark Knight,” “300” and the recent “Clash of the Titans” remake. Avi Arad is the former chairman of Marvel Studios, whose Arad Prods. is developing a feature film version of video game “Drake’s Fortune.”

CAA-repped Protosevich is known for his large-scope sci-fi work. In addition to “Legend” and “Thor,” the scribe worked on remakes of “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “The Bride of Frankenstein,” both still in development at their respective studios, and is writing the English-language translation of “Old Boy” for Mandate.

Tull called “Effect” “ripe for translation,” saying it had “depth, compelling characters and an engaging back story.” Arad described the game as “a parable whose conflicts mirror the ones we currently face in our own world. This story emphasizes the need for all cultures to learn to work together.”

Casey Hudson, who exec produced the game series, said BioWare always “thought ‘Mass Effect’ was perfectly suited to be a motion picture,” while Pat O’Brien of UTA-repped EA said the game was seen early on as having cross-over potential by EA Entertainment, whose mission is to take key EA titles and develop new ways to expand their audience.

“Effect” will fall under Legendary’s co-production and co-financing agreement with Warner Bros., who will distribute the film worldwide.

BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk will serve as executive producers, as will Hudson.

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.

(more…)

Did Bioware tame down Mass Effect 2? Dev says no.

Friday, February 12th, 2010
Bioware claims no scenes were pulled from Mass Effect 2

Bioware claims no scenes were pulled from Mass Effect 2

(Kotaku.com) – Mass Effect 2′s tamer sex scenes led some to believe that BioWare held something back, after the 2008 uproar over Mass Effect started by the Network That Must Not Be Named. But a dev sternly denies that charge.

User Menelaos1971 opened a forum thread on the subject, calling the sex scene in Mass Effect 1 “a step in the right direction for Rated M games,” but implied that the uninformed uproar over it chilled BioWare’s intent to extend the theme in the sequel. He also alleged that BioWare was given orders from EA that an M for violence was OK, but not nudity, because it might affect sales. “Or was it just EA lawyers,” Menelaos1972 wrote.

Stanley Woo, a member of the QA story team for the game, replied forcefully:

“It’s kinda funny that this topic keeps coming up over and over again. People who claim to be old enough and mature enough to handle sex and nudity in a game seem to believe that any lack of sex and nudity in the game is a sign of self-censorship. They generally don’t believe that a game can be called “mature” without explicit sex and/or nudity.

Let me tell you, folks, that as a developer full of mature individuals, we are also free to not have explicit sex and/or nudity in our games, no matter what you, Fox News, the government, or Bunky the Wonder Clown has to say about it. We have never considered it a “problem,” it is simply a choice we have made and we have every right to make that choice.”

Mass Effect Redemption Sells Out!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Redemption bridges the gap between ME1 & ME2!

(Press Release) – Following up on last week’s news of the explosive first issue of Mass Effect: Redemption disappearing out of stores across the country, Dark Horse and EA announce that the series’ second issue will be reprinted as well.

Mass Effect: Redemption tells the exciting back-story that led up to the events of Mass Effect 2, the recently released video game developed by the award-winning creative team at BioWare. The game’s lead writer Mac Walters takes up the pen to give fans exclusive insight into the events that unfolded between the conclusion of the original Mass Effect, and the beginning of Mass Effect 2. Scripted by John Jackson Miller (Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, The Invincible Iron Man) and drawn by Omar Francia (Star Wars Legacy), this four-part series explores the exotic and dangerous future Milky Way of Mass Effect, revealing previously unseen locations, aliens, and enemies of this rich science fiction landscape.

The Mass Effect trilogy is an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players will step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, commanding a crew of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich futuristic storyline, stunning space exploration and emotionally engaging characters, the game delivers an unparalleled cinematic experience. Mass Effect 2 was released on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC on January 26, 2010 in North America and January 29, 2010 in Europe and has been rated ‘M’ for Mature by the ESRB and ‘18+’ by PEGI (please visit www.esrb.org and www.pegi.eu for more information on ratings). For more news from the development team, please follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/masseffect2 or visit the game’s official website at www.masseffect.bioware.com.

“We knew we had something special on our hands with Mass Effect” said Dark Horse Director of Public Relations, Jeremy Atkins. “Even still, watching this series sell out issue by issue is exciting, indeed!”

For those who have yet to read the explosive first issue, it is also currently available for download on iTunes for just 99 cents.

Mass Effect: Redemption is the fifth title to arrive in Dark Horse’s ever-growing stable of comics available on the iPhone platform. Other titles available now include Gerard Way’s smash hit Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, Terminator: Death Valley, and multiple titles the critically acclaimed line of Star Wars comics.

DARK HORSE AND EA ANNOUNCE MASS EFFECT : REDEMPTION

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Mass Effect : Redemption

THE YEAR’S MOST ANTICIPATED NEW COMIC SERIES EXPLODES OFF OF THE PAGE AND ONTO YOUR iPHONE!

(Press Release) – Tomorrow, the year’s most anticipated video game Mass Effect 2 is released nationwide. In celebration, Dark Horse and Electronic Arts Inc. announced that the comic will be released to the iPhone mobile comics platform.

Mass Effect: Redemption tells the exciting back-story that led up to the events of Mass Effect 2, the eagerly anticipated video game developed by the award-winning creative team at BioWare. The game’s lead writer Mac Walters takes up the pen to give fans exclusive insight into the events that unfolded between the conclusion of the original Mass Effect, and the beginning of Mass Effect 2. Scripted by John Jackson Miller (Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, The Invincible Iron Man) and drawn by Omar Francia (Star Wars Legacy), this four-part series explores the exotic and dangerous future Milky Way of Mass Effect, revealing previously unseen locations, aliens, and enemies of this rich science fiction landscape.

The Mass Effect trilogy is an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players will step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, commanding a crew of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich futuristic storyline, stunning space exploration and emotionally engaging characters, the game delivers an unparalleled cinematic experience. Mass Effect 2 is scheduled for release on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC on January 26, 2010 in North America and January 29, 2010 in Europe and has been rated ‘M’ for Mature by the ESRB and ‘18+’ by PEGI (please visit www.esrb.org and www.pegi.eu for more information on ratings). For more news from the development team, please follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/masseffect2 or visit the game’s official website at www.masseffect.bioware.com.

“We’ve been trying to figure out a way to not only profit from these new technologies, but to use them in a way that it would drive customers into the stores of our loyal retailers” said Dark Horse Director of Communications, Dirk Wood. “We came up with the idea of this staggered release in hopes of accomplishing just that.”

Mass Effect: Redemption is the fifth title to arrive in Dark Horse’s ever-growing stable of comics available on the iPhone platform. Other titles available now include Gerard Way’s smash hit Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, Terminator: Death Valley, and multiple titles the critically acclaimed line of Star Wars comics. The first issue will hit iTunes February 3rd, just in time for the release of second issue of the series.

For more information, please visit www.darkhorse.com/Features/Mobile.

Mass Effect 2, free DLC for lunch. We mean launch.

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Mass Effect 2, which launches January 26, will be buzzing with tons of additional content in 2010 (to add even further to the game’s immenseness). Xbox Live has noted that we can expect to see several add on features in the marketplace such as “planned episodic combat via DLC,” weapon and armor packs, new downloadable characters for the “campaign experience,” new downloadable worlds, as well as “full campaign expansions for download.”

Also mentioned is that the game will carry “periodic updates,” which features DLC, via Mass Effect 2’s unannounced in-game “Cerberus Network.”

And to dazzle us fans a little bit more, posted via Bioware’s Twitter, the studio indicated there will be launch-day DLC and it won’t cost anything. Hear that? Not that any of us BusyGamers would even get around to loading up (or even you for that matter, ME2 is 2 discs HUGE) more content on day one of the launch, it’s should keep our science-fiction appetites well catered to for a good while.

Official Tweet: “Addressing rumors: BioWare will not be charging extra for any new Mass Effect 2 content on launch day. More DLC details next week.”

[Source]

Must haves for new Xbox-ers!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

HO, HO, I puHOwned you.

So I know some of you out there are late on the get go, heck I’M ALWAYS late on the get go. I’m speaking to those of you who just now managed to be on the adequate behavior list, and ole Santa went and decided to drop you a Xbox 360 down your chimney last week. Now you have all that cash that your Aunt Edna and Uncle Willard passed on to you since they found out that you wern’t a Jonas Brothers fan, and bought you the boxed set last year…ahh what to do with all that fat dough.

Well I thought that I would convey on to you some vital info, since we do mingle some games around here with our busy lifestyles. Yes, we are awesome, and yes we occasionally get to fire up a console now and then. That being noted, I’d like to compile a few ‘must haves’ for new Xbox 360 owners out there. We know, since you’re here, you understand our BusyGamer Theology, and may not have, nor want to take risks on game titles that (a) you know nothing about; (b) may have the potential to just suck, and really suck; or (c) cost too much to risk beer money on.

So here below are some definite titles to consider, I’ve also tried to keep the genres varied (to cater to your playstyles). But these are games that I refuse to vendor back to my local resale shop, hence the fact I always come back to them. Kinda like bad girlfriends, only less pricey.

I could be running over prostitutes.

RANDOM CHAOS GAME
Grand Theft Auto IV – No questions asked. They should ship this to you when you buy an Xbox 360. You’ve seen it, you’ve heard the controversy in it, and yes, it’s all what they make it – AND MORE. For a 2007 game release, it is still one of my favorites that does not lose any thing on replay. It’s always fun running down pedestrians, chasing criminals (and the law), jacking a new Ferrari because you scratched yours on that old lady crossing the road, or taking over the local Burger Shot at gunpoint with my friends online, to see how many cars we can pile up in the lobby.

ROLE PLAYING GAME
Mass Effect – As much as I write about this game, and anticipate the sequel coming January 26, no surprise that I would put this on a list. And for someone new to this console, a $19.99 game that is well rounded, fun, surprising, beautiful, and well deserving of a play through with a new character type, this is a steal. A Science Fiction, RPG, third person shooter, with action reminiscent of Starship Troopers meets Star Trek meets Space 1999, hell I’m sold. AND a great story to boot!

We still look the best in armor.

FALLOUT 3 – Can you say HUGE? Let’s add a few DLC’s and then HUGEAMOUS! Yeah, this game is big. Not too good on the staying busy with your normal life, but a fantastic RPG game set in a post-nuclear-fallout environment. This game makes me feel like a character out of Road Warrior, mainly because my armor never matches and I’m always out of ammo. Guns and melee weapons are great, tons of quests, playthroughs will guarantee new things to discover, and if you think you’ve seen it all – just download some new content episodes, available online via the Xbox Live Store.

SPORTS GAME
Madden Football – Since one comes out every year just pick one. If you don’t care about the new rosters, and you plan to create all your friends on your hometown team, then buy one that is 2 years old. They all offer pretty much the same thing, and seeing my name on the back of a Texans jersey is damn exciting in my book. They all play great, and football video games are good party starters, plus injuring your friends for the season is fantastic too. Madden Football + beer + bowl of Doritos = win, no matter how you look at it.

Claymore, or less, I win.

FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
COD:Modern Warfare 1 or 2 – Like a story where you (the heroes) get to shoot the terrorists (the enemies) in a third world country? We do. Like a game that boasts an arsenal of real military weapons that you get to test drive, in a world where that would be impossible to the general population? We do. Like a game that offers hours upon hours of online multiplayer gameplay, with so many unlockables, that they themselves have wikisites dedicated to them? We do too. And again some could argue that the Halo series overpowers this, but I vote no, (my article, my rules), and lets add even more varied teamplay to the dish, better maps, and well executed co-op missions to challenge you and your war buddy.

STAR WARS GAME (yes it gets it’s own category)
Star Wars : Battlefront II – One thing that makes the Xbox 360 superior to other consoles, is BACKWARDS COMPATIBILTY! That brings this Star Wars title (from the original Xbox) to the table that won’t get pawned at the store. As much as I love the Star Wars franchise, a majority of the serious Lucas games are a big fail. Most of them. Not this one, BFII is still kicking butt at my house from a ‘console ago’. If you need a blaster fix, this is your game. The story starts at Episode III and goes on into Episode VI and beyond, even includes the fan based cosplay club, the 501st, in the story line, /WIN!

Old, but never outdated.

There you have it, these are all great games (my all time picks). And they most ALL have won awards for how bad a$$ they are, in their respective categories. As for the older titles, well it’s a bonus – because NOW they are discounted, and can be readily found at your local “previously-played shops”. So get to it, their are plenty of old worlds to fight battles in, and all in all, these worlds definitely deserve being saved again, and again, and again….

Mass Effect 2 Cinematic Trailer Cracks Skulls!

Monday, December 28th, 2009

As we get closer to 2010, Bioware is unleashing more and more info on the second release of the Mass Effect Trilogy. This trailer came out this week from G4TV.com and depics some stunning cut scenes that show some very ‘live action’ footage. This video looks spectacular, over the top, blood and guts, and we are very intrigued about the character ‘Miranda’ (the brunette seen in the white armor above) who is noted as being the genetically manufactured ‘perfect woman’ (hell yeah to that!).

The Mass Effect series continues on Xbox 360 and PC January 26, 2010. And you bet your Asari ass, BusyGamer.com will be on top of it. Well, yeah… that’s what she said.

[Source]

Mass Effect 2: Stepping onto the Normandy

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Gamespot released yesterday this video “12 Minutes of Mass Effect 2″ that highlights some of the new gameplay featured in Bioware’s 2010 sci-fi double disk release.

As seen in the reel, those of you familiar with the first game Mass Effect, will see some old and new places on the Normandy (your huge warship), new combat play, and what looks like a new ‘collecter’ feature not seen on its predecessor. We see in Shepherd’s private quarters a display area for ship models he can acquire, along with 2 wall aquariums where he can show off his latest catches. This will appeal to some of you hardcore explorers out there who like to unlock every item in the game.

Another very interesting detail is the new inventory system on the ship to view your weapons, and what looks to be some background info on your armory, some 3D imaging of the guns, and even new ways to customize your battle armor, on and off the ship including your casual wear.

Mass Effect 2 launches on Xbox 360 and PC January 26, 2010 worldwide. No release for PS3 is currently noted.

[Source]










OFFICE MATE
Categories
Archives