Friday, March 19, 2010

Mass Effect II

I'm currently enjoying Mass Effect II for XBox - I'm about 15 hours into it. It's kind of funny, though, that nearly every character you meet has some connection to your earlier life in Mass Effect I. It's like there are only about 100 people in the galaxy, and you met them all the first time, and they were just waiting for you to come back. Also, everybody in the galaxy treats you either as some kind of living god or with haughty disdain - no middle ground. Just once, I'd like to meet somebody who doesn't care much about me.

It's a fun game, though, and an engaging universe they've set it in. The world you walk around in is actually much more fun than the game part, which is mostly a simplified first-person shooter with a couple of dry minigames tacked on. The decision-making character interaction parts are also thoroughly enjoyable, although I'm too much of a namby-pamby to choose most of the renegade actions. They've done a good job of giving you a chance to explore your moral code as well. A fun experience - even better than the first one, I'd say so far, although the ending of the first one was pretty awesome.

Is this a "game" in the sense I've been discussing in earlier posts here? Not really at all - it's more of a puzzle, or actually just an interactive story. But we've conflated all of these cinematic computer experiences as "games," based on the initial arcade-game offerings (which were actually much closer to true games or sports) so I guess I'll stick with the vernacular.

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