Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC and Other Stories

Spoilers Aplenty - Just Sayin'...

So BioWare have officially announced the Leviathan DLC as you can see here:

It also has a trailer – Check this shit out!

Well that’s brilliant! 800 MSP for some DLC which will give you more narrative into Kasumi’s mission, I should assume more narrative when Balak shoves a gun into the back of your head (if he survived you encounter in Mass Effect 1’s DLC – Bring Down the Sky) and has already been pretty much confirmed to give you some more dialogue with The Catalyst.

Looking back at the DLC for ME and ME2 this does look rather promising. Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station for ME1 for me felt more like XP drives as opposed to anything that added to the story, so they were all good with me. Like a couple of little side-plots that didn’t matter if you got them or not. Then ME2 came out, and with it the DLC’s came thick and fast with the following DLC:
  • Normandy Crash Site
  • Firewalker Pack
  • Zaeed – Price of Revenge
  • Kasumi – Stolen Memory
  • Overlord
  • Lair of the Shadow Broker
  • Arrival

Not to mention the Cerberus Network, a crap load of alternate appearance packs, weapons etc etc. BUT the crux of it is this, look at the playable DLC above - much more than the 2 packs for ME1. And of them, the only one I don’t like that much is the Firewalker pack, because let’s face it the M-44 Hammerhead is shit compared with the Mako. Fact. And it doesn’t really add anything, apart from like a silvery orb at the end of it. Whoop.

Normandy Crash Site felt like a very personal little side-quest, added nothing to the story but I ensure I do it every time I play through.

Zaeed and Kasumi DLC introduced us to a couple of the franchises best characters. Zaeed for his gruff British, hardman status and Kasumi for being a funny, Japanese kleptomaniac. Not to mention their skills as well.

Overlord DLC

Overlord gets me every time, the first playthrough of it I thought “Shit the bed, the sound of that electronic shouting is just pissing me off!!” but then as you progress through and realise what happened to David…”The square root of 906.01 is 30.1…it all seemed so harmless…” – honestly? My honest opinion? I’ve never been quite as moved by a computer game as the reveal in Overlord. My next playthrough of it made me realise that the shouting throughout – even at the start when it just sounds like shouty noises, is David screaming “Please make it stop”. Urgh, now I’ve got goosebumps and shivered a little.

Now we move onto the 2 heavy hitters of ME2 – LotSB and Arrival, 2 of the best chapters in the ME trilogy in my opinion. LotSB follows on from some of those little side missions that you did for Liara on Illium, where Cerberus, being the nice chaps they were – kinda – gives you some intel on the Shadow Broker which Liara can use to find out where he’s hiding. It all culminates with some brilliant story-telling, epic battles, funny asides (“Remember the days when you could just slap Omni-Gel on everything?”) and a great ending which sets you up nicely with Liara’s story going into ME3.

Then you have Arrival. An absolute must for any player wanting to go from that Eden Prime run with Cpl Jenkins to meeting The Catalyst. Part way through ME2, Admiral Hackett gets in touch and tells you about an Alliance deep cover agent who had been captured by the batarians in their space. It’s up to Commander Shepard to make use of the Normandy’s stealth drive, and his own badass-ery to get the agent out and back to their project. It turns out, that the agent had found a Reaper artefact on an asteroid, set up a massive base around it and it was indicating the imminent arrival of the Reapers into that particular system. What makes things worse is that, that particular system’s Mass Relay is known as the Alpha Relay – able to jump to any other relay in the Galaxy – which is presumably why the Reapers parked outside the Galaxy nearby to this system.

Arrival DLC

Originally the project’s plan was to slam said asteroid into the Mass Relay, destroying it and delaying the Reapers arrival by months or years. But after a while you find that the entire project has become indoctrinated, and you have to fight your way through all of them to launch the asteroid, since they are all of the opinion that they must just sit and wait for their master’s glorious arrival. Anyway, you end up sending the asteroid into the relay just getting out in the Normandy in time as the resulting explosion destroys the nearby batarian colony and Cdr Shepard becomes a mass murderer of over 300,000 people, hence his incarceration on the Earth at the start of ME3.

On to ME3 – most of the DLC so far has been multiplayer DLC, so I wont go into that (even though the MP on ME3 is brilliant) and a lot of pre-purchase DLC involved robo-dogs and hoodies. I’m here for the Story based DLC, of which there have been 2 chunks of thus far – From Ashes and the Extended Cut.

Both have caused controversy, firstly From Ashes - the Day 1 DLC. This caused uproar amongst the ME community because if you didn’t go for the Collectors Edition, you had to pay 800 MSP to play it, which is about £6.99. The reason this got peoples goat was because there was a lot of hoo-ha about the From Ashes files being with the normal edition of the game, prompting theories that it was never meant to be DLC – just a part of the normal game, and that it was cut out and sold as DLC to earn a quick buck. Whatever, I don’t care I got the Collectors Edition.

Javik - The Last of the Protheans in From Ashes DLC

Anyway, From Ashes for me was another thought provoking piece of DLC and a fantastic addition to this was the extra scenes through the game, the addition of Javik the Prothean, and the addition of unique dialogue from squadmates through the mission. One thing that rankled me in ME2 during the DLC was that, apart from Liara in LotSB, nobody said anything. From Ashes hopefully was a sign of things to come in ME3 DLC.

Then came the equally controversial Extended Cut DLC – probably the best DLC in all the ME games. Right, I played ME3 and felt let down by the ending, but I played through again, and enjoyed every second – up until the crappy old ending. Then a load of shit happened with cupcakes and donations to a charity and finally the Extended Cut was released. And all was forgiven. The ending made more sense, and actually felt like an ending! Except the Star Gazer bit, I don’t like that. EC adjusted the endings and added a 4th “fuck you” ending to the series. For me, it was a resounding success, brilliantly signing off the series and giving me personally the sense that any future ME games will either be prequels or set way off in the future – fortunately Liara will probs still be in it…man if those titties get any bigger…

Anyway, I read today that Leviathan (which was hinted at heavily on the BioWare forums shortly after EC released) has officially been announced by BioWare and is going to be 800MSP. It looks like it’ll follow the plotline in the post I did a few weeks back ( anyway I read the article and thought – YES!!!! AMAZING!!! I cannot wait. I really can’t, I’m giving myself and my wife’s ears a break from ME for a while, while I plough through KotOR and KotOR2, and I’ll probably jump back in once Leviathan has been given a date.

But then I thought, I’ll look through some of the comments on the GameSpot UK’s article.

Then instead of being elated at the news of DLC, I was angry at some of the comments. Ignorant, closed-minded and generally thick as pig shit gamers moaning about – the ending…still. The ending is vastly improved, and is a better ending(s) than you get with a lot of games, you’re not funnelled into 1 ending like the CoD games or things like that, and the ending scenes show you the effects of some of your decisions.

But no, still lots of moaning and whinging and lots of “OMG it’s not even free, well fuck you BioWare” type comments and lots of “urgh BioWare didn’t listen to us, they just want our money, they suck, the only way to change things is to boycott them.” – these weren’t actual posts, but paraphrases of a lot of posts.

Right, firstly let me get this clear – I hated the original endings. They were sloppy, confusing and left too much open – they seemed rushed. Secondly, the EC addressed an awful lot of what was wrong with the original endings, and makes the game that much better for it. I would have given the game a 9.9/10 before the EC, but with the EC it gets a perfect 10. The game itself was brilliantly put together, the combat vastly improved, and the character development out of this world.

A misquote from Abraham Lincoln which is still true says “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.” It was actually “fool” not “please” but the point stands and still makes sense!! You will never make 100% of people happy with 100% of what you have done, it’s just that some people are unwilling to shake off this view that BioWare are suddenly bad game makers and poor story-tellers – which is just a complete crock of shit.

For those people though who go on about the ending, and how they’ll never play it again? More fool you. The game is epic, the endings are amazing and the experience of playing through the 3 games is the best gaming experience I’ve ever had. If they want to miss out because of some misplaced sense of pride or something, then I’m not going to coax them back, let them come snivelling back when people have forgotten that there was even a ME3 without the Extended Cut.

But yeah, so BioWare have announced Leviathan DLC – personally I can’t wait, and am going to amuse myself with other games while I await its arrival onto my Xbox 360. Happy Days!

Toolbox 24

Epilogue: Something else that’s confused me. A lot of comments on various sites have been along the lines of “Why should we give a shit about Earth? It’s barely touched upon in the other games and your Shepard might be a spacer or a colonist – so I don’t get why the importance of getting Earth back.”

Really? People want more motivation than the fact that we live on Earth, and that it’s where human’s originate from or in other words – it’s our home planet. It really confuses me that people could really be so thick as to question the importance of Earth, like it needed an explanation. Like some of the people who don’t get why it’s so important don’t realise that the Earth in Mass Effect is a future sci-fi version of Earth from the here and now. Hence why you can see Big Ben in the Earth finale. Really though, if anyone can explain why people feel so detached from wanting to save Earth, I’m all ears.

Even Miley Cyrus get's it. Durrrr.....

Right one point I can kinda get, why should the other races give a shit about Earth when their own homeworlds are burning? Like Palaven or Thessia. Right, basically to start with, it’s made pretty clear that Earth faces the brunt of the invasion, the batarians got butt-fucked by the Reapers due to their own shortcomings and the fact that most of the government and influential people were indoctrinated by Leviathan. That much is clear. The Reapers rolled over the batarians before they could warn the rest of the galaxy. Then they assaulted Earth and Palaven seemingly at the same time, however Earth got the brunt of it because A: Commander Shepard has continually bitchslapped them, and B: It’s made abundantly obvious in ME2 that humans are versatile creatures, and that when the Human Reaper is being made, it looks like a human – not like a Reaper Cuttlefish.

So it would make sense for the galaxy at large to assault the Reapers en mass at the point of the fiercest fighting – then it’s made clear that the Citadel is the Catalyst for the Crucible, therefore the battle should shift from Earth to the Citadel. Then the Reapers move the Citadel to Earth – their most heavily populated point, so the battle still focuses around the Citadel, but they need to sneak in the back door – via Earth. London. Possibly Hyde Park. I’d like to think it’s Hyde Park.

Anyway, epilogue over. See you later.