16 February 2012

Demo watch: Mass Disappointment 1

Those who have read this blog may think I'm biased to Bioware. No I'm not. Because if I were, I would have loved Mass Effect 3 demo without reservations and failed to see its enormous flaws. Or maybe because I'm Bioware fan those flaws were even worse to me. As a result, I had a nightmare where out of shape Schwarzenegger played Shepard in a clumsy action flick and it ended when wounded Shepard in his fevered dreams became a new Illusive Man...

Hello, I'm quite snappy looking new official female Shepard in promo art but wait when you see me in the game...

It doesn't look like Mass Effect

If ME3 were a movie, it gives a feel they changed the director of photography and shot to digi instead of film. There's no depth to the graphics, everything's flat, plastic and too crisp, lit in an unimaginative bulk lightning. The game looks like any Hollywood summer blockbuster and that isn't a compliment. Character models were a whole lot better in ME2. Shepard moves without weight to her actions and the only expression they granted her (or him if you go for male Shep) is awkwardly wrinkly angriness. Framerate at least in PS3 version is horrible.

It doesn't feel like Mass Effect

You can choose the overall experience of the game between action, RPG and story. Action concentrates on shooting enemies and the conversations play as cut scenes with no input. RPG is what should be your typical ME experience while choosing the story cuts down action. Of course I chose RPG. Oh dear... The fact there even is a choice for action only tells a lot. This "RPG experience" advances as a shooting gallery. Shepard's combat roll from cover to cover is straight out of Army of Two. Heck, the whole game plays like Army of Two or some other run-of-the-mill EA shooter. Oh, there are gaps to jump over and ladders to climb! And because there are them, there are lots of them. What a great addition to interaction! All the enemies are copies of those seen in any mediocre sci-fi shooter to the point of being childish.

It doesn't read like Mass Effect

And this is the most important factor where ME3 fails. There's no intelligent depth to dialogue or conversation choices anymore, like dubious moralities you have to live with. Everything's simplified and clichéd, as if the script was pummeled with a dummy bat. Again, just like from any Hollywood summer blockbuster. All characters just annoy. They brought back at least three characters from ME1 I could have done without. I didn't like Wrex much in the first place and he's even worse here while Kaiden is wooden as ever (or, depending on your choices, Ashley, who's just as obnoxious as ever and this time looks like a man in drag). Anderson's VA shouts all his lines without emotion or character's seen it all weariness. Oh dear. And Shepard... She isn't Shepard we knew and loved. She's just angry suckah who everyone keeps pushing and commanding around. Do this, go there, shoot that, come here, follow me, take cover... No no no!

... Yes, I'm butt-ugly in-game! Better to go with your own design.

Ah, and why do I get this Sixth Sense feeling? In very early to the demo Shepard flies through a room after an explosion and the world slows down as the camera pans over her knocked out figure. And then Anderson orders her up. And soon she sees an annoying frightened kid who disappers when she had her attention elsewhere for a second. And later she sees the child again. "I see dead pople". Because I'm afraid the whole game happens when Shepard is dead. It's some afterlife dream or whatever. Oh great. Plot twist of the century... Or, the boy is autistic and the whole Mass Effect trilogy happens in his head. Oh great99! I hope I'm so wrong on both counts.

ME3 gives an impression that some mediocre EA inhouse team tried to copy Mass Effect. There's no Bioware's trademark polish, sense of style, wit or suspense. The game suffers from the old trilogy syndrome. The first is good, the second part removes all the bad parts, betters the good points and adds more of them while the third part is Return of the Jedi... So, yeah, we got Han Solo back but even he's a bambling idiot there. Same goes for ME3 and its Shepard.

Instead of what could have been the game of the year we have the disappointment of the year at hand here. Unless demo showed only the bad parts and the good parts are in the final version... But why whould have they chosen the bad parts to the demo as demos' point is to sell the game?

But hey, I probably will get the game anyway, just waiting for a discount. And if I'm wrong, and yes, I would really like to be wrong, I'll let you know.


NePaul Wilson said...

Having not played the ME3, I can see your dislike from what you've played. However I didn't play the ME2 Demo which if I'm not mistaken, has dialogue as well as certain other things cut form it for the sake of the demo. I'll reserve my judgement for the actual game. That being said the only thing about ME3 that has really disappointed me so far is all this DLC crap, that is driving me insane.

I for one am happy to say that Mass Effect 3 is the last Bioware or EA game I will buy (Which means I would never know the ending to Dead Space 3 unless I looked it up on Youtube or something, but I think I can live with that).

But hell, at least it's one hell of a way to go out. At least there are plenty of Reapers in the game, aside from Yahg, they are my favorite species.

Shunichiro said...

I added one more chapter to my initial lament where I somewhat reserved my harsh judgement. I really hope I'm wrong about the game, that it really delivers, but still I won't buy it full price, I just don't dare. What is this DLC thing you mentioned? As I have said before, I haven't read anything about the game beforehand and the demo was the first encounter with it for me in any form. Isn't the game complete when you buy it off the shelf and need to download DLC in order to progress or something else as severe? Whatever, EA stands for Evil Alliance for a reason!

But you know, bloated big Arnold as Shepard wasn't a handsome sight in my dream... (even though I enjoy his 80's movies alot). I have been so damn depressed about the demo the whole day. And about everything else, like running out of pens and papers and payday looms so far away...

But maybe tonight I will continue ME2 on PS3 and perhaps write an entry with pictures of my Shepard in it.

NePaul Wilson said...

Well at the current state, there are at least a vast number of DLC (though most of which is pertaining to the multiplayer) that are attached to things such as the artbook, toys, and other stupid things. You'd have to spend well over $200 to have the complete Mass Effect 3 game. To me that wasn't even beating a dead horse, that was just slaughtering it in ways I can't even begin to describe. So yeah I'm fed up with EA and disappointed that Bioware doesn't stand up for themselves about how THEIR game is marketed.

Speaking of the artbook though, they have one on the Bioware store, The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, there's one that has the paragon and renegade symbols in the front, only 1000 copies were made. Guess who owns one of those 1000 ever made? Me. It's beautiful I mean the art is just breathtaking, if you have any doubts about the game, this book reminds you why Mass Effect is such an amazing story, game, world, and work of art.

There is also massive spoilers to Mass Effect 3 (such as the endgame) but I don't dare look into the ME3 section of the book (it's broken into three sections, one for each game). Though there is an amazing concept art of a something I think would blow your mind, I'm positive it won't make it into the final game because of the way the image is shown and most art like that never makes into the game, but just how a concept of how deadly or beautiful something can be.

At any rate, I know how you are feeling, payday is a way away for me too and college is a drag and ME3 is so far away, yet so close. Funny how something as small a video game can really ease one's day in ways that almost seem like magic.

Shunichiro said...

I knew it was a wrong move when Bioware signed with EA and this ridiculous DLC business just proofs it. They should have stuck with Microsoft even though that would have meant smaller market (no PS3 conversions, only Xbox and PC). Also, I'm almost 100% sure "The Old Republic" was originally going to be "Knights of the Old Republic 3" but EA forced Bioware to turn it into a MMORPG. It reminds too much of a single player game to be a plausible online game. If there's ever going to be "Dragon Age 3", I bet it will be an on-rails shooter where you ride a dragon and roast orcs... and to get all the levels and more attacks for your dragon you need to buy them from an online marketplace!

I so would like to play ME1 again! If only I had a working Xbox... Or I might search for a PC version. It's been released on a budget label, including all the extras, if I'm not mistaken.

NePaul Wilson said...

Well from what I've heard about DA3, there is suppose to be Multiplayer. I don't think I need to go into details about the rumor because just saying 'multiplayer' is enough.

Bioware really did sell there souls when they allowed themselves to be bought out by EA, sure a smaller market would have been on PC and Xbox, but it's still pretty much that way now. Hell the PS3 version doesn't have ME1 and while they have genesis, it isn't anything like ME1 and misses out on all the small choices which is something that really makes Mass Effect special.

Well regardless of what happens I'll still consider ME3 the greatest game ever made (even though I haven't played it and barely know anything about it), I'm devoted to the series and the world and that is enough to keep me happy. Aside from the DLC business there's very little Bioware could do the game to really make me hate it unless they just make all the choices I've made completely useless or obsolete.