Mass Effect Series From a Newb

**MASSIVE SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD** IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF MASS EFFECT 1, 2, AND 3 DO NOT READ

PRE-GAME INTRODUCTION

I believe I’d initially heard of Mass Effect 3 after it was announced for release on the Playstation 3. Imagine my disappointment when the first game wasn’t also on that system. To be honest, I never heard of Mass Effect prior to that. In fact, this series was one of the major reasons I finally broke down and purchased an Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Gold.

After the rumblings about the ending of ME3 came roaring onto the internet, my interest in the whole thing spiked sky high. My God, the nerd rage was insane 😛 I WAS impressed with the 402 cupcakes sent to the BioWare offices though.

A few things about the ending. BioWare had absolutely *no* intentions of ever actually substantially changing the ending of the trilogy when responding to the widespread fan disappointment. Expanded upon, yes. Changed, never. Nowhere in the blog post, and subsequent press releases for the Extended Cut they made, did BioWare say they would do so. It all just came off as *really* polite corporate-speak way of saying “Shut up, calm down and wait a minute. New content is coming.”

I speculate BioWare and EA knew exactly what they were doing when the trilogy ended as it did (possibly fully intending on including the Extended Cut, but for whatever reason couldn’t do so). But the ferocity of the fan outrage, I’m sure, caught both BioWare and EA completely off-guard. I also believe that the Extended Cut *was* already in the pipeline, either nearly or fully completed, judging by the line in the blog post about  “…re-prioritizing the Mass Effect 3 post release content schedule…”, BioWare just pushed it up to placate unhappy fans.

I can understand fans’ disappointment in not getting what they thought they were promised but I’d have to play through the games to make a better judgement. Now, onto the games….

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First impressions of Mass Effect 1 are WOW! This is, for lack of a better term, storyful. What I mean by that is that I get *completely* smacked in the face with tons of story. It is full and immense (this even after just about an hour of gameplay).

Catherine Shepard, normal face

Two hours in, my only *real* issue with the game is getting used to the controls. This is slowly going away as I get used to them. Another issue I’ve discovered is that cutscenes can’t be skipped which is frustration personified. Not so bad but if I keep getting killed (like rescuing Liara), there’s no way to skip the dialogue. For the most part, now that I’ve got a handle on the controls, after about 4-5 hours of gameplay, it has become immensely enjoyable. Another small beef is the music is ever so slightly repetitive but the upshot was that the musical production team and musicians did a bang up job *really* contributed to the emotional highs and lows of the final scenes.

I *was* shocked that I beat Saren the first time I tried considering those krogan hunters were so difficult to kill. It wasn’t altogether as impossible as I thought going into it but more annoying. But as heavily equipped as I was with Ashley and  Tali I knew I could handle the situation like a BOSS if you’ll pardon the expression 😄

Mass Effect had me literally yelling “aww $#@&!!” at *every* boss fight and almost every other fight for that matter 😛

Having beaten the first Mass Effect in a grand total of 32 hours 17 minutes, I must say, WOW! Just wow! This is overall an immensely terrific game! The voices, the story, the ending! This game is *definitely* a whole bunch of fun. Overall stress out moments were a bit dulled from some minor spoilers I accidentally discovered before playing but it was no less thrilling and heart pounding.

Now. On to Mass Effect 2.

Having gone through in about the same amount of time as the first game (close to 35 hours), it has the same exact high production quality as the first game. I did like the improved time-based hacking ability which was a vast improvement to the twitch reactions of the first game.

There were some minor annoyances though. The planet scanning was incredibly tedious considering I really didn’t even need most of the raw materials I discovered. I found most of the planetary scanning unnecessary except on the of chance I find a random lost signal. Tedious.  Also, some of the controls changed but that was to be expected. Minor but acceptable. In a few places sound completely dropped annoyingly for a few seconds.

What amazed me the most though was that somehow I beat the final boss in one go. Amazing because I consistently died on enemeis that were supposedly “simpler”. Now, most of that was because I did tactically stupid mistakes, but still I expected to die at least quite a few times for the final boss fight. But I sadly lost a team member on the suicide mission, which made me sad. 😦

Overall, I am very pleased with this chapter of the game.

Mass Effect 3

This game ended after about 34 hours or so and it was GREAT! I went Renegade FemShep all the way. I *was* a bit annoyed that I

Scary Face Commander Shepard

couldn’t holster my firearm after a fight but the feeling eventually faded. Stupid battle roll though. >_< That contributed to *many* *many* accidental deaths…

I played through the Extended Cut and made the decision to not activate the Crucible. I stayed alive. So the choice I made makes the Reapers continue their work.

CONCLUSION

So overall, I really enjoyed playing Mass Effect. I played through the Extended Cut and Shepard didn’t go out quite a spectacularly as I would have thought/hoped/expected (in my renegade ending). The series is *very* amazing with incredible writing, music and voice acting. It had me screaming in frustration at the crazy level designs and enemies (the controls were no help sometimes), crying when some of the characters died (okay so one of them *was* my fault, but no matter, I STILL cried :P), jumping for joy at the end of Mass Effect 1 and so on. The complete original ending *definitely* was not as bad as it was made out to be, in my opinion… The Extended Cut if anything was the part that got confusing to me with Shepard alive and still on the Crucible. i mean how and when and where did she (in my case) eventually die? The jump to the end, with the child and the storyteller, left no concrete clues. But okay, I’m fine with that…

Pre play opinion has changed slightly. Your decisions over the course of the games admittedly DID NOT affect the ending *as much* as apparently had been promised, but wasn’t the whole point of those decisions was to affect everything else beforehand? In my opinion, it was *definitely* not nerdrageworthy (new word coined :P). Which, now that I’ve gotten a chance to see the “original” endings, I have no idea why people were so upset with it. I mean so what if Shepard died (and possibly lived again) on the Crucible? And apparently your Effective Military Strength DOES, to a point, affect what choices you are offered. So it’s not like Shep died in vain or anything.

Anyway, loved the games and are *definitely* worth the more or less 100 hours (more if you get ALL of the DLC) of your time. Have fun! 🙂

The Inspiration to Succeed – Finding Motivation as a Black Female Gamer

There have been several articles recently discrediting female geeks and downgrading them to the insuffable title of “booth babe” as we supposedly vye for attention at the mostly testorone fueled events through out the year. While these hurtful posts are mostly based on the biased opinion of so-called journalists, they just strike a difficult chord in my ever beating heart as I attempt to join an industry that more or less does not want me.

Not only am I a woman, but I am a black woman. Not only am I a black woman, I am not a size zero. If there is some imaginary ranking throughout the industry then I am most certainly on the bottom of the totem pole. Also, within my beloved hobby of eleven years, I find myself the underdog as I claw my way to show that my cosplay skills are measured by the might of my sewing machine and not my BMI.

Cosplay and gaming reminds me of highschool. I was quite active in highschool. I cheered. I played clarinet. I was a Captain in ROTC. I was on National Honor Society. I stayed busy. My highschool was not very big, however, and I was pretty much in the middle when it came to popularity. I was a gamer and a cosplayer, but no one knew it really. This was all before social media, so I did not exactly volunteer that information to my judgemental peers. I kept looking for a day when I would be able to share my subcultures with likeminded individuals since my small, rural, Southern town knows nothing about any of it.

Highschool pictures of Me

I never expected to be thrust right back into a world of judgement.

When placed in discouraging situations, one looks for inspiration. I look no further then Gabby Douglas, the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics who is sixteen years old and African American. How inspirational it is that Gabby not only left her hometown at a young age to pursue her dream, make it to the Olympics, assist her team in winning the Team Gold medal, AND win a Gold medal for herself in the Women’s Gymnastics all around! Her entire Olympic dream is built on taking risks and pushing yourself to greatness. At 24, I am thoroughly impressed with her just as I was as a young girl looking up to Dominique Dawes, another African American gymnast who was apart of the Magnificent Seven in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics which I remember watching on a vacation to Washington, DC as a bright eyed nine year old.
There is just something about these powerful black women beating the odds in a sport not necessarily tailored to African Americans. I liken gymnastics to both gaming and cosplay. These are all passions that AAs perhaps do not even have a chance to discover – at least in my particular generation. We obviously had a better chance at becoming involved than my parent’s generation, but it is only just now growing into something many AAs are able to discover at young ages. I never even knew there were other black female gamers until a year before I became a Frag Doll Cadette. That may sound strange to many people, but I was never in a position where I could know that information. Even moving away to college I found myself being the only African American woman involved in the Japanese/anime club and the only African American woman that owned a gaming console. I knew that I was not the only one in existence, but I just did not know where they were!

Gabby Douglas at the London 2012 Olympics

Dominique Dawes – Olympic Gold Medalist

We all have different situations in life – different paths that take us different places and allow us to discover different things. I am glad that I was an inquisitive child that fell in love with gaming and, eventually, cosplay. Seeing Gabby take that Gold really makes me want to push to realize my dreams despite whatever odds may be faced to me. So rejection letter after rejection letter is not going to stop me now. I am only just beginning.

me at my first event as a Frag Doll Cadette – Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles!

“You wanna be known as the “Lonely Wolf” for the rest of your life, man, or what?!”-Joe Higashi

This month, the ladies of TLG are writing about their three favorite video game males that simply makes them melt whenever these hot guys grace their tv screen! In this post, I will share with you my three most favorite handsome male game characters and how great an influence they have been in my gaming life! First, we will start with….

The Lone Wolf himself, Terry Bogard.

     I first saw Terry in Fatal Fury for the SNES back in 1992/1993. I fell in love with him the first moment I saw him. In 1994, my older brother obtained the first animated movie of the anime trilogy “Fatal Fury” and let me tell you, I must have watched that anime a hundred and fifty times. The first movie told the story of how Terry and his younger brother, Andy, as children witness the murder of their father, Jeff Bogard, to a man named Geese Howard, to which he becomes the man that Terry loathes and has to defeat at the end of the movie. Not only do we see Terry and Andy grow on their journeys, but the movie highlights how they both become friends with Joe Higashi, a famous Thai kickboxer, and how Terry falls inlove and deals with the loss of a young woman-Geese’s female companion-by the name of Lilly, who we learn upon their first meeting, that she is the very little girl who witness Terry and Andy’s father being murdered when they all were children.

So, the series really goes in-depth of the ups and downs that Terry goes through, not just in his training, but battle with proving to HIMSELF of being a great fighter and fighting at his best against the best! We also see that the tender side of Terry as we fights with a curse that he believes he has: Every woman that he falls inlove with died in some tragic way. This is something that I feel a little close to Terry with. No one I have fallen in love with has died, but the losses are very similar to what Terry goes through when each of these events occurred in his life.

Terry Bogard is, by far, one of the most respected male video game fighters of our time. Terry is simply one of kind. Everyone knows Terry from his signature Fatal Fury hat, his sleeveless jacket vest with the white star on the back, to his infamous Chuck Taylors sneakers. It’s almost safe to assume that Terry Bogard is simply the greatest fighter that has ever graced the gaming world and we are still seeing more of him today. In his famous words as he turns and looks over his shoulder, “The storm is comin’!”

Geek is Chic: Then vs. Now

 

When in the course of human events we discover that gaming is suddenly applicable to all aspects of life (and somewhat more accepted by the “mainstream”….*GASP* no, really?!), some of us old-school nerds sit back and gaze with wonder upon the hordes of people suddenly willing to wear the label “Gamer” or in public. As I go to Youtube to catch up with my checklist of “must watch” panels and demos from my favorite moments and methods of media entertainment, I have mixed feelings about the fact that, popularity and hype-wise, Comic-Con seems to be the new Ozzfest. Though I no longer reside there, it warms my little geekish soul that my hometown of San Diego plays host once a year to the mecca for all things simultaneously nerdly and fantastic.

The mixed feelings come when I can’t decide if I am more excited and vindicated because it is FINALLY cool to have a heated debate about the physics-bending, quantum theoretical applications necessary to justify Han Solo explaining his legendary Kessel Run in distance instead of time, or if I am annoyed that it has taken so long for the sheer awesomeness of Nerdom to be recognized. (I’m sure my residual bitterness towards my hobbies not EVER being considered cool when I was a kid is what fuels the inner conflict I’m experiencing here…‘Cause everyone loved getting picked on for wanting to stay in and perfect Chun-Li’s moves in Street Fighter II instead of going to the mall *gag*. Oh Freud would have a field day. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar…except when it’s a SPINNING BIRD KICK!!!! But I digress…)

I suppose that my point in this instance (if there really is one) is that I am thrilled to death that my little gamer-nerd child gets to grow up in a world where geek is chic, but I’m a little jealous that it didn’t happen sooner.

In other news, DID ANY OF YOU WATCH THE PANEL FOR THE FIREFLY 10TH ANNIVERSARY CAST REUNION AT COMIC-CON?!  Oh Em Gee, it was  AMAZING!!!  *explodes in a cloud of fanglitter*

**ATTENTION** We interrupt this commentary to inform you that in a spastic fit of fandom, your commentator has temporarily incapacitated herself. Tune in next time when she will hopefully have her business together. We now return you to your regularly scheduled gamer blog.***

~ Ms. Kitty =^.^=

P.S. SPINNING BIRD KICK!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Albert Wesker and Jack Krauser

**WARNING: Minor Plot Spoilers Ahead**

To set the record straight, I LOVE RESIDENT EVIL with almost every fiber of my being. I’ll admit the dogs jumping through the window scene DID scare the crap outta me. Anyhow, in Resident Evil 1, the first few appearances of my first love Albert Wesker didn’t impress me at all. He was such a jerk especially to Barry. I wanted to strangle him for that.

After a while though, his cocky bad-boy attitude, strength and resilience, just made me so drawn to him. Even though I really hated him for beating up Claire then kicking Chris’s ass at the end of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, that heart pounding rush was insane. 🙂

Albert’s smart and deviously scheming though. I DID feel a twinge of regret when I accidentally discovered that he “died” — again — in Resident Evil 5. Although knowing him (and Capcom), it probably won’t be for too long. 😀

My next lover boy is Jack Krauser!! OMG Krauser! I can say that seeing his body as he  dropped down one-handed in front of Leon in their first fight, is what did it for me. Straight truth. The facial scar was a bonus. And his knife skills were BOSS 😛

The number of times it took Leon to kill the bastard in Resident Evil 4 in BOTH battles frustrated the heck out of me SO many times.

Too bad he only lasted for the one game… I would have liked to see some back story on him or if the Las Plagas would have saved him after getting killed off by Ada Wong.

Thanks for reading and play ya later! 🙂

TLG Staff: Meet The Classy Ladies of TLG!

I, Blackessence, am so proud of the team that has formed for TLG! TLG is being presented by beautiful women of all walks of life and I love them dearly! So, today we at TLG, will conclude our introduction of the beautiful women of TLG by presenting you with a young lady who is not only an awesome gamer, but a budding actress and model as well as a great mother to her young daughter! TLG presents to you…

 

Hey, Gamers! My name is Kelly Green and I’m from Sydney, Australia! I’ve been playing games since I was 8 years old and I bought my very first console at 8 years of age after saving up birthday and pocket money to buy a sega master system II. These games were hard as there was no such thing as save points or respawning. You were given three lives and soon as you died, it was GAME OVER!

My first PC games came in the form of “guy games” as they were targeted for the male audience. However,  I felt myself being drawn towards them. Classic pc games such as DOOM and Duke Nukem were both that I played constantly. I still remember some cheats to DOOM to this day! lol!

From then on, I was hooked! I would purchase the latest gaming console  ever released, with the exception of the game cube. PS3 has been my constant companion up until this year when I was surprised with a Star Wars limited edition xbox 360. I like to think of myself as a first and third person shooter kind of girl with games like Borderlands, Call of duty: Modern Warfare, and many others under my belt! Though, my first love has always been RPG’s-Final Fantasy having to be the big one (7-12) along the Witcher, Nier, Starwars: The old republic. I’m also a horror fan and my favorite games in that genre include Projet Zero, Resident Evil, Dead Island, and Dead Space. Currently, I am awaiting my copy of Lollipop Chainsaw to arrive!  I game on the Nintendo Wii, too! But, I only use for fitness as I like the Just Dance franchise as well as the Zumba franchise, and the other games like Wii Sports. I will basically try any game! But, in order for me to get a good feel of a particular game, it takes me all of an hour to decide if the game is a Yay or Nay!

 

 

Ms. Kelly sure does bring international spice to our team! She was the final young lady to join the awesome ladies of TLG! We appreciate all of you being patient in the uploading of these intros as we felt it was important that you all knew who will be bringing you all AWESOME content to this blog! Please, spread the word and thank you all SO MUCH for the support! -TLG Staff

TLG Staff: Meet The Classy Ladies of TLG!

If you haven’t been able to tell already, our staff is growing beautifully! TLG has gained a wonderful line of young woman to represent our movement of gaming equality! So, today we present to you another of our awesome TLG staff of Lady gamers! We introduce to you…

 

I am a Sims 2 & 3 Machinima Director as well as site owner of a vibrant community revolving around Sims Machinima and Voice Acting. Still hanging back in the shadows of the gaming community, but I like to think I’m known around the Sims world at least by a pinch. I would love to jump in and get myself known out there though, I’ve just never had the opportunities.

Gaming is a big hobby of mine. To me, Customization, Interaction and Storyline are the solid foundations of a good game. I love RPG’s like Final Fantasy and Mass Effect, and I’m recently getting into the Elder Scrolls Series. Skyrim? All I can say is WOW. Still, I can whoop any guy in Battlefield while applying lipgloss. (And I have!) The gaming industry has surprised me time and time again, and I am looking forward to what comes next.

A few other interesting factoids about me include that I have suffered from delusions of gradeur since I was a child, I enjoy sushi, art on any medium and chickens. You can find me on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 under the name of tribillio — look me up and let’s play!

 

Ms. Tribillio and I, BlackEssence, have known each other for a very long time! So, it feels super nice to have her on the team to help spread the love of gaming and to keep the Sims Community alive and kickin’! Stay tuned as we conclude our introductions of our beautiful ladies of TLG!