I’m not often moved to write about music but this thing has been a relentless obsession for so many days now, it’s hard to imagine existence without it. I try not to binge on it, and only allow myself to hear it a couple times a day, but even so, it haunts me all the time.
It’s splendid, just splendid. I know nothing about how this kind of music is made and what makes one piece better than another, apart from my own taste. What I like about this one is the richness and diversity of all the little themes, how patiently they are introduced and layered one on top of the other, and how well they work together to evoke in me a sense of distant sadness, far-away places, or cherished memories. Not necessarily joyful, nor painful, but life-changing. And ahead, striving for lofty heights beyond reach, grateful for every step of the climb. It’s such a rush.
The ME3MP Platinum Solos Hall of Fame (PHoF) is, I believe, the oldest community archive. The earliest entries in it date back to July 2012, possibly to the same day when the platinum difficulty was introduced with the Mass Effect 3: Earth DLC. Back then, even the best players needed about an hour to complete a platinum solo. Nowadays, veteran soloists can do it in under 15 minutes.
Playing solo, on easy difficulty, I finished the main story in about 30 hours (two weeks real-time), at pilot level 16. I did every mission that was available for the three factions, but I only spent as much time in freeplay as was required to do the tomb-opening challenges, and I only played the Tyrant Mine stronghold once, with random teammates. I talked to everyone in Fort Tarsis and did not sprint through it, but I didn’t dally around either. All in all, as a single-player game, Anthem has about the same amount of content as, say, Mass Effect 3.
I’ve been playing the newest Bioware multiplayer game, Anthem, for a week now and I’m enjoying it immensely. It’s stunningly beautiful, easy to get into and incredibly fun to play. The foundational world-building concepts are a fresh take on the magical-artifacts-of-an-ancient-civilization trope with a musical twist that I find irresistible. Despite the occasional lapses in logic, the narrative is engaging and well-executed. Among the substantial cast of characters, not all are rendered with equal depth, but they are all competently written and voiced. Where Anthem doesn’t shine, it’s decent, and there’s next to nothing in it that annoys me. That’s quite an accomplishment! My overall feeling is that this is the game Mass Effect Andromeda was supposed to be, if it only had the time and nourishment to mature properly.
Of the three books by Tim Powers I’ve read so far (the other two were The Drawing of the Dark and The Stress of Her Regard), I liked this one the best. It takes a while to get started, and it took me a while to finish it (about a month of semi-regular daily reading), but it’s a solid story, with no outstanding thematic problems, depicting a fairly believable dystopian future where alcohol is the main currency, cities have turned to warring states, and ancient shells of rusted cars are hauled by horses as a status symbol.