A Review of a Review of the Mass Effect Trilogy

I stumbled upon a massive, novel-length review of the Mass Effect trilogy written by Shamus Young and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Apart from a few minor annoyances, I found hardly anything I could argue in his analysis. Unlike so many critics within the fandom who focus all their ire on the controversial ending, Shamus asserts that the narrative of Mass Effect lost its cohesion much earlier. He goes on to examine all the major plot developments and several important subplots and demonstrate that the deus ex machina finale that failed so many expectations was inevitable in the context of the numerous storytelling blunders committed throughout the second and third installment.

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Warframe

Among the several games I’ve been playing for a while but haven’t yet got to post about, the most recent is Warframe: a free to play, cooperative third-person shooter in a space-opera setting where humans have spread all over the solar system and became divided into three factions which wage constant war on each other. You get to play as one of the factions, the Tenno, who seem to be much more human and much less populous than the other two (the Grineer and the Corpus).  What they lack in numbers, the Tenno make up with the ingenuity of their use of warframes: the powerful, partly humanoid, nearly indestructible war machines that the Tenno operate remotely. The basic gameplay involves doing various missions in teams of up to four players. But there’s much, much more to Warframe than that — and not all of it is good.

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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This unique game draws the player into the frightening world of Senua, a young Celtic warrior, as she’s pushed over the edge of sanity upon discovering that her lover has been tortured and killed by the Vikings. She launches on a dream quest to wrest his soul from the clutches of death, a journey that takes her — and the player with her — through the depths of her personal hell. It’s an experience both disturbing and deeply touching, deeply human. A story of love and courage in the face of torment and despair, presented through incredible acting, stunning visual and audio effects, and last but not least, engaging and fun gameplay. Hellblade is one of those very rare games whose value reaches far beyond good entertainment.

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A New Home for Themed Challenges and Halls of Fame

Following the unexpected shut-down of the Bioware Social Network Forums, the Themed Challenges Group (previously mentioned in my N7 Day posts about Solo and Duo Themed Challenges) was forced to move to a different location (since, obviously, we refused to just lie down and bleed out).

Themed Challenges and Halls of Fame now constitute a dedicated site, Prestacious’ Challenges, hosted by the founder and leader of the group, a fabulous guy and a good friend, Prestacious. Along with the various challenge series, the new site also hosts the Gold Solo Speedruns Hall of Fame, and the Platinum Solos Hall of Fame (which is since recently under the management of yours truly).

The bulk of the Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer community has moved to BSN Unofficial Forums, so submissions for the Halls of Fame are mostly done there, in the Themed Challenges and Hall of Fame thread and the Platinum Solos Hall of Fame thread. However, submissions are also welcome on the Forum associated with Prestacious’ Challenges site.

Come visit us, get challenged and inspired, and get ready for the journey to Andromeda!

Modding Skyrim to Perfection

I’m a great fan of The Elder Scrolls games. Morrowind was the first role playing game I ever played, the first game I ever modded, and for a long time, my undisputed favorite across all genres and flavors. Then came Oblivion, which was the first game to keep me obsessed for a thousand hours and the first game (or any form of entertainment) that had me write fanfiction. It’s no exaggeration to say that these games changed my life, and I don’t mean just my “gaming life”.

So it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine that I had great expectations from Skyrim. It was to be larger, prettier and better than its predecessors in just about every way imaginable – and mostly it didn’t fail to deliver. Yet, even though I got it immediately upon release and tried playing it twice, I couldn’t get into it, and I never finished it.

It is only now, with more than a hundred mods installed, that I’m finally able to enjoy Skyrim the way I always hoped to.

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