GamerSushi Votes 2012: Biggest Disappointment

It’s a sad fact that when you have the highs of a year, there will unfortunately be lows. With so many big name titles getting their next iteration last year (and in some cases, wrapping up a planned trilogy) it was inevitable that gamers at large would be let down by some of them. Not saying that these games were bad across the board, but when you wait fifteen plus years for something, well, expectations tend to be a little inflated.

So, here’s a list of games I’ve put together that generated the most stink during 2012. This isn’t me saying that I think these games are awful, but rather these are the games that critics and players won’t stop bashing. Let’s put it to rest once and for all. What was the biggest disappointment in gaming for 2012?

Biggest Dissapointment of 2012

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Mass Effect 3: Omega is a Non-Essential Side-Story

mass effect 3 omega review

As excellent as Mass Effect 2’s Lair of the Shadow Broker was, BioWare might have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to post-release DLC. While it would be unrealistic to expect that every piece of Mass Effect DLC would be up to the same standards, it kind of laid the implication that any quests given to the player outside of the main game would advance the story, or at least fill in some background information.

To BioWare’s credit, Mass Effect 3: Leviathan did dredge up a more fleshed-out history of the Reapers, but the newest effort for Mass Effect 3 DLC, Omega, doesn’t add anything new to the story, or change your perception of the established characters you’ll be interacting with.

Shepard is contacted by Aria T’Loak, the Pirate Queen of the space station Omega, to help her take her throne back from Cerberus, who threw her out before the main campaign of Mass Effect 3. Because of Aria’s dislike of your squadmates, you’re going in without any familiar faces from the Normandy. I’ve never bought into the character of Aria as much as BioWare seems to want me to, and being saddled with her for a couple hours just demonstrates how one dimensional she is. While the end of the Omega campaign has her softening a bit, for most of the time she grunts and threatens her way through dialogue sections, being so predictable that a new character, Nyreen the female turian, calls her on it. It doesn’t help that the voice actress behind Aria, Carrie-Anne Moss, sounds like she’s collecting a paycheck for most of her lines, only occasionally dipping into having any emotion besides bored anger. Continue reading Mass Effect 3: Omega is a Non-Essential Side-Story

Star Wars: The Old Republic is Free-to-Play Done Wrong

the old republic free to play

Despite The Old Republic failing to grab me during its initial launch (and the error I had with getting my purchased copy of the game to actually validate so I could play past the first month) I was willing to check out its new free-to-play option. Besides clogging up my computer’s drive with gigabytes of game files, I wasn’t wasting money on it, so I figured there was no harm.

While The Old Republic might not suck up your hard-earned dollars, it has no problem with begging for them anyways. Right from the outset, you’re bombarded with the many awesome features that paying customers get access to, including the different playable races for the classes. I understand that BioWare and EA have to make money somehow, but beating players over the head with it just seems wrong. Even the Legacy system, which I unlocked during my first month as a Bounty Hunter, was closed off to me unless I was willing to plonk down some cash.

That’s in addition to the really weird gating that The Old Republic places on its free users, such as being unable to hide your helmet, send in-game mail or use more than two tool bars. For an MMO structured so similarly to World of Warcraft, you will need to have at least four bars available for use once you’re past level 30.

You can buy all these option of course, but those cost Cartel Coins, TOR’s new in-game currency. The amount of Coins you get and if there’s a discount (or free Coins) depends on whether you’re a free user or a preferred customer, someone who had subscription time paid for up to two months before the game went free. Of course, if you had the Collector’s Edition, there are more Cartel Coins for you to use.

Blocking out such basic things for free users as helmet toggling (which is necessary because the armor design in TOR is laughable) and action bars means that this MMO will do everything you can to get you to pay a monthly fee. If you’re looking for a way to experience The Old Republic’s decent player stories, you can do that, but anything beyond there is for paying customers only.

Has anyone else gone back to TOR? Have you reactivated you subscription, and if so, why?

Skyrim Dragonborn DLC Gets a Trailer

It’s crazy to think that we’re almost a year out from Skyrim’s launch and we’re still getting DLC for it. Bethesda’s long-term commitment to their games this gen have been nothing short of astounding, at least where Xbox 360 and PC users are concerned. That aside, the trailer for the upcoming Dragonborn DLC for the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out and it features a whole host of new features and areas.

Personally, I haven’t played any of the DLC for Skyrim, but Dragonborn looks like it will be a pretty meaty add-on, so I might consider picking this one up. In reference to the PS3 joke above, how do you PS3 owners feel about how Bethesda is handling the DLC for Skyrim? I hear that Dawnguard doesn’t even have an ETA yet, and who knows how long it will take to get Dragonborn.

What are your thoughts about the DLC? Are you in for more Skyrim?

Borderlands 2 Expands Already with Scarlett’s Booty

borderlands 2 dlc captain scarlett and her pirate's booty

Considering I’ve beaten Borderlands 2 twice and conquered the end-game raid boss known as Terramorphous, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m hungry for some Borderlands 2 DLC. Gearbox, who apparently know their target audience better than I thought, were happy to oblige with Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, a DLC adventure that takes you to the Wurmwater Flats in search of Captain Blade’s lost treasure.

Once you hit level 15 in the main game, you can take a trip out to the town of Oasis where you’ll meet your new BFF, Shade. As you might be able to tell from the title, Pirate’s Booty is, well, pirate themed, and as such you’ll be running across all sorts of re-skinned bandits and a few unique enemy types like the Anchorman and the Cursed Pirate. While the desert setting is bereft of water, the new Sandskiff will carry you ably across the sands, provided you don’t slam it into too many sandworms.

While it is fun to get back to Pandora, Pirate’s Booty is kind of lacking in payoff, although is does shine through with the classic Borderlands humor in some parts. Shade is hilariously creepy and this DLC contains two of my favorite new quest-givers, one of whom gives you a great quest riffing on DRM, “Don’t Copy that Floppy”. Unfortunately, Captain Scarlett herself is a lackluster villain, joking the entire time about how she’ll betray you, so it comes as no big surprise when she finally does. You can see the end of the DLC coming a mile off, so the feeling of running back and forth for little to no reason is more prevalent during these quests. To be fair, Handsome Jack set a high standard for villainy, but Captain Scarlett doesn’t even come close to hitting that mark.

If you’ve been hankering for more Borderlands 2 like I have, then Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty will be right up your alley. It’s a good jumping off point for Borderlands 2’s season pass, and it adds even more Badass Ranks to obtain. There’s another high-end raid boss that seems to address the ways players were able to beat Terramorphous and a brand new currency called Seraph crystals (which, to be honest, I didn’t see once during my playthrough).

Has anyone else played Pirate’s Booty? What did you think of it? Was this a good first installment for Borderlands 2 DLC?

Gaming with Consequences

xcom enemy unknown

Recently I’ve been playing the hell out of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and I’ve been really enjoying it, despite its difficulty and the fiddlyness of the controls (though I hear using an actual controller smooths this out – I’m on the PC). One of the aspects I enjoy the most is being able to customize your soldiers and give them individual names. The problem with doing this is that I’ve grown kind of attached to my little polygonal troops and XCOM has no problem killing them off on a whim.

I try to be as careful as I can in a given mission, but sometimes the game just works against me. For the most part I’ve been quick-saving often (autosaves are disabled by default) but during a particularly tough mission today a box truck exploded, taking out two battle-hardened soldiers. I was almost done the mission and had killed about nine Chrysalids along the way, so I didn’t feel like reloading and doing the whole operation over again just to save two troopers. Granted, they were generic ones that I hadn’t given special names to, but this is the first time in XCOM that I hadn’t felt the need to call a mulligan and rolled with the consequences.

Dishonored is a game where this sort of approach can also apply, given the inherit stealthy nature of the mechanics. While you do have the option to go hog-wild on the guards you’re facing, the game rewards you for taking a quiet, non-lethal approach, something that can make people into perfectionists, quick-saving constantly.

So, my question for you guys is, do you accept the consequences of your actions in games like these? Do you prefer to reload your last save because you know you could have done it better?

The Retaliation Co-op Pack Breaths New Life Into Mass Effect 3

mass effect 3 retaliation

It’s been more than half a year and I’m still plugging away at the multiplayer mode for Mass Effect 3. While the mode was a little basic to start off with, the various classes and maps that have been added to the game since release has kept its longevity going, and the new pack for Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer, Retaliation, brings a whole new enemy faction into the mix.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news on Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode, Retaliation reintroduces the Collector faction from Mass Effect 2, but this time around they pack an even bigger punch. Collector captains are the brand new foes and in addition to being tougher than the regular Collector trooper, they can also release Seeker Swarms which block your power usage, something that can be downright terrifying when you’re facing down a couple Scions or a Praetorian.

New player classes have also been bundled with Retaliation, including a turian Havoc (a jetpack-using close combat class) and a volus Adept and Engineer. Yes, those little balls of asthma are now playable, and they’re just as hialrious as you expect. Watching a volus roll around and blast Collectors is quite the sight, especially considering they can’t take cover and just sort of stand behind most obstacles (which works because of their short stature). Cerberus and geth also get new types added to their lineup in the form of the whip-using Dragoon and the grenade-launching Bomber, respectively.

BioWare could have let Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer languish, but they’ve shown a surprising amount of dedication to it. They even put up a whole new web portal for stat tracking, including the brand new N7 challenges. Even though this is the last pack for multiplayer, new classes will continue to be added. While there are still server problems and synchronized kills from the large enemies continue to be frustratingly random and Vanguard-inhibiting, this new feature for the Mass Effect series is still going strong, and is a large part of why it’s staying high in my personal top ten for this year.

Is anyone else still playing ME3 multiplayer? What do you think of Retaliation? Anyone going to hop back in now?