Friday, 19 February 2010

I was so excited, I coughed up my spleen

Well, my Mass Effect total space bastard experiment has come to an end for now as I’ve just finished Mass Effect 2. Don’t worry, I won’t be spoiling anything in this blog, I wouldn’t want to ruin the fun for you, but my Commander Shepard probably would. In fact he’d tell you all of the possible endings, then kick your wardrobe door off, urinate on your favourite jeans and then murder your favourite pet.

I generally succeeded in keeping up my total streak of evil. When someone asked me to do something for them, I’d usual find a way of saying yes that was counter productive and got a lot of people killed. It was fun and I enjoyed being bad.

My main concern all of the way through was if I would actually survive the end of the game, being this completely self involved, mercenary space dick who would sooner sell his grandmother to pirates than remember her birthday. After completing it last night I am happy to report that I will continue my dick-ish streak in to Mass Effect 3.

The most brilliant thing about Mass Effect 2 though, in my opinion, was that I knew there was a possibility that my twisted embodiment of Commander Shepard might not make it all of the way through. This is no spoiler as the game box and various adverts all make you question your survival chances in the game. The developers even went as far as calling the final mission ‘the suicide mission’, just to really brand the point on both brain hemispheres that your adventure might end more abruptly than you would like it to.

Not knowing what would happen to my character or crew meant that every time control of the characters was placed in the hands of cut scenes, all of my internal organs would jump up and down, writhing inside of me, wondering which bump, scrape or flesh wound would kill who.

It was probably the most exciting, tension filled, final mission of my gaming career thus far, and the sheer exhilaration of it all was nearly enough to make me vomit pure chunks of astonishment, peppered with flecks of dismay and relief.

Many games will say they have multiple unique endings, but not many can claim to be as dynamic as Mass Effect 2 manages to be. The game remembers all of the judgements you made throughout your play through, and then uses this as a rule book as to who gets a bullet sandwich, and who can dance away to live with even more of your charming self another day.

I just hope that the threats of your poor judgements having a serious impact in the third game of the trilogy are carried out properly and noticeably. If it just leads to hearing a few additional sound clips of how irresponsible I was to let her do this, or how it was ‘monstrously wrong’ to solve all of my disputes with some fancy shooting, then I will be severely disappointed.

BioWare have set expectations high for number three, but judging from what they achieved in their latest game, I have quite a bit of confidence that they will pull it off. Just let me continue to kick unarmed people out of windows and rummage through the wallets of the various corpses lying around and it will all be fine.

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