Pixel Count: EA Meets Star Wars

The big news of the week so far happens to be the semi-bombshell that EA and Disney signed an exclusive deal for Star Wars games yesterday, meaning that EA’s various developing arms will have sole access to the enormous Star Wars universe. While there is some skepticism rightly reserved for allowing the floundering EA to tackle a property that so many love and hold dear, especially after some huge missteps, I think it’s OK to have a little hope here.

When you break it down, what other publishing Goliath in the industry has the number of varied, talented developers in their portfolio that EA does? I can see an argument for Activision, but that’s the only one that even comes close to rivaling the kind of talent of DICE, Bioware, Maxis, Popcap, Criterion and Visceral. So we have reason to feel two ways about this. But for now, let’s dream a little.

So here’s this week’s Pixel Count. Hit up the poll and tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Which Star Wars Game Do You Want?

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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

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?

Today’s WTF: Mass Effect Trilogy Doesn’t Include Paid DLC

mass effect trilogy dlc

It’s almost like EA is goading us on purpose now. The recently announced Mass Effect Trilogy collection sounds pretty neat and looks even cooler (what with the unified designs on the disc labels) but it will only include the DLC that came free with the various Online Passes associated with the game, and you’ll have to pay for the other bits.

I’ve never heard of a collection of any work where parts of it were purposely left out and you had to buy them separately. Hell, George Lucas kept adding stuff when nobody wanted it. For those curious, here’s a breakdown of what you will get with the package in terms of DLC:

On PC, Mass Effect will include Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station on disk. For Mass Effect 2, Cerberus Network will be included which features Zaeed – The Price of Revenge, The Firewalker Pack, Cerberus Assault Gear, Arc Projector heavy weapon, and Normandy Crash site mission. For Mass Effect 3, Online Pass will be included granting players access to co-op multiplayer.

On Xbox 360, Bring Down the Sky and Pinnacle Station are not included with Mass Effect, however they are available as stand-alone downloads through Xbox LIVE. For Mass Effect 2, Cerberus Network will be included and Online Pass will be included for Mass Effect 3.

Information on PlayStation 3 DLC will be available soon.

Not bundling Mass Effect 2 with Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker is baffling, because those two add-ons were fantastic, and in the case of Lair, essential to the series’ story. Arrival I can take or leave, but regardless, I think that all the DLC should be bundled in.

What do you guys think about this? Should EA throw in the DLC or am I just making too much of a fuss about this? I get that EA is a business, but this just seems like an unnecessary cash-grab.

Soruce – Mass Effect Trilogy

Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC Dives Deep into Lore

mass effect 3 leviathan dlc

After all of the free multiplayer DLC and the Extended Cut, Mass Effect 3 is finally delving into story-expanding DLC and the first offering, Leviathan, details Shepard and company’s hunt for a mythical Reaper-killer.

If you’re really deep into the back-story of Mass Effect, then you might remember the ‘Leviathan of Dis’, a Reaper corpse discovered on a barren planet that was stolen by the isolationist batarian Hegemony (which later lead to their downfall through indoctrination, which dead Reapers still project). Turns out the Leviathan of Dis was referring to a creature that killed the Reaper, and if something organic is strong enough to take one down, then Shepard wants it as a War Asset.

Leviathan is a really story-heavy DLC, so don’t be surprised if the combat sections are kind of ho-hum. I’ll get into the story details in a bit (including spoilers) but I’ll run over the gameplay you’ll be doing throughout the DLC first. The new area on the Citadel promised by the DLC’s promotional materials is the lab of one Dr. Bryson which contains clues to the whereabouts of Leviathan as well as other experiments such as a live Husk head that you can take back to your cabin if you talk to James enough on one of your trips to the lab.

You’ll be using the clues in Bryson’s lab to pinpoint locations on the galaxy map that lead you closer to Leviathan; the more clues you use correctly, the more exact the destination becomes. It’s kind of fun the first time in a loose CSI way, but on the second and third trips back to the lab it becomes a bit more rote. It’s kind of like a point-and-click adventure game and, while it is different from what you do in ME3 proper, it’s repeated enough times over the DLC to become a bit stale.

Combat is likewise a bit samey, even if the final battle on a storm-tossed ship is pretty visually striking. A lot of what you’ll be doing is carried over from the multiplayer DLC, like escorting repair drones and carrying packages to certain destinations. Your squadmates actually interact with you during the DLC, which is a nice change from Mass Effect 2 where they were silent the entire time. Even if the gameplay isn’t that great, what about the story of Leviathan? Continue reading Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC Dives Deep into Lore

GamerSushi Asks: Thoughts on Day 1 DLC?

Javek

When the current generation of gaming started, I think we all had a set of expectations. We expected to see new forms of gameplay. We expected bigger games, bigger stories, grander ideas. We all hoped for stunning HD graphics, beautiful renderings of worlds we could barely imagine. I don’t think any of us anticipated Day 1 DLC.

A hotly contested topic in the world of gaming, Day 1 DLC has had more than its share of negative association. Developers have used this in all kinds of ways, ranging from the downright cruel to the sometimes puzzling. Opinions about this practice seem to fall all over the map, even here at GamerSushi. However, Bioware recently addressed the idea of Day 1 DLC at GDC.

Here’s a quote from Fernando Melo, director of online development at BioWare:

“Contrary to what you might hear on the internet, fans do want more content. They tend to say, ‘I want it now.’ The problem with day one content and the challenge around it is that the right answer for now is different for every player. There is no single right time, there is no single now. It’s subjective, and it’s unique to every player.”

The idea is that players want their content when they want it. Some want it the day the game is released, and others won’t want it until they’ve finished or are about to finish the game. Seeing as how most players don’t finish video games (a shocking 42% of players finished Mass Effect 3, which practically warrants its own post), this is a good incentive to keep players coming back for more.

Personally, Day 1 DLC only bothers me in certain instances. For the most part, I know that Day 1 DLC tends to be what developers do when they have shipped a disc, and then would like to include even more content that they can work on between the game going gold and the release date. It’s when developers include this content on the disc that I’m really annoyed.

What about you guys? How do you feel about Day 1 DLC? Go!

Source – IGN

Film Crit Hulk Smashes the Ending of Mass Effect 3

mass effect 3 ending

Just when you thought we left this debate behind, we drag it back kicking and screaming for one more go.

In what may go down as one of the most divisive topics in video game history, the ending of Mass Effect 3 has earned equal amounts ire and praise, and the Extended Cut DLC only served to add more fuel to that fire. Some people claimed it salvaged the tarnished legacy of the series, while others said that it all the EC did was spell out what was implied anyways.

We’ve given our thoughts on the ending, but this recent breakdown by Film Crit Hulk over at Badass Digest is too good not to pass along. If you’re still harboring ill-will about the ending of ME3, be warned: by the end of his article you might be more than a little upset.

I guess that because the author is behind a character he feels free to say what many of us held back for politness, or fear of the consequences, or whatever, but Film Crit Hulk says everything I’ve been thinking about the ME3 ending since March. I especially loved his tear-down of the video he imbedded, and his reasoning that Mass Effect 3 didn’t fail as a story, but rather didn’t deliver the indulgence we expect out of video games.

So what do you guys think of Film Crit Hulk’s rant? Does he make points that you agree with? Disagree? Is caps lock really cruise control for cool? Go!

Source – Badass Digest