owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
We finished playing through the main storyline of Mass Effect Andromeda this weekend. I've heard many of the complaints about the game, and I'm hard put to really disagree with any of them -- sub-par graphics, too many meaningless sidequests, an uncomfortable colonialism narrative, etc. But ultimately, I enjoyed myself. I found most of the characters interesting, played out a satisfying romance, and for the most part had fun with the gameplay. Since I feel no deep personal investment in the Mass Effect series overall, I feel like I spent less time comparing it to the other installments, and more time appreciating the game for what it was.

Rather than a straight up review, I'm going to tell you about my Sara Ryder and use her story as the framing devise for my thoughts on the game overall. Spoilers ahead.

Pull up a barstool and settle in as I tell you a tale of a lady, her spaceship, and her traveling companions. )
owlmoose: (kh - roxas)
Was I really going to post three times a week this month? So much for that. I'm really behind on writing other things, too. I took a brief business trip this week (to a meeting in Southern California), but that's no real excuse since I was back to my hotel room every night before nine. Then again the trip was fairly draining, especially since my flight home got in four hours late.

We did start Mass Effect: Andromeda yesterday and are still on the first set of missions (what feels like the tutorial level). Started with f!Ryder, of course. I feel like it's too soon to have an opinion, really, but it's got promise anyway. There's some housework and chores to finish first, and I have evening plans, but I hope we get a little more in this afternoon. I'll probably be taking a semi-hiatus from Tumblr for the duration; we'll see.

Otherwise not much to say really. We're going to DC and New York for a week next month, so I'm looking forward to that. I hope you are all well!
owlmoose: (ff12 - balthier)
Title: Another Round
Fandom: Mass Effect/Final Fantasy XII
Rating: Teen
Wordcount: 1142
Characters: Garrus/Balthier
Spoilers: Implied, for Garrus's recruitment mission in ME2
Notes: Written for the 2016 Final Fantasy Kiss Battle, to a prompt by [personal profile] lassarina. This is [personal profile] justira's fault, entirely. My first time writing any sort of ME fic at all, so be gentle.

Also on AO3.


Garrus flipped a credit chit at the bartender. "Another," he said.

The asari shot him a hard glare. "Haven't you had enough already?" In answer, Garrus glared back, and the asari picked up the chit with a heavy sigh. "Fine." She tapped the chit to the reader, then frowned. "Huh."

"What?" Garrus drained the dregs of his drink and pushed the glass to the side. "Something wrong?"

"It's been declined," the bartender said.

Garrus clicked his mandibles in irritation. "That can't be right," he said. "Try it again."

The bartender crossed her arms. "It won't work," she snapped. "Besides, like I said, you've had enough."

"Fine," Garrus rumbled. "I'm sure another bar on Omega would be happy to take my money."

"Be my guest." The bartender tossed the chit at his face, but before it could hit him, a hand snatched it neatly out of the air.

Garrus turned; the hand belonged to the human man sitting next to him at the bar. The man studied the chit, pushed it toward Garrus, and then pulled another out of his vest pocket. "Let me cover it," he said.

The asari looked at him, glanced at Garrus, then turned back to the man. "You sure?"

The man shrugged. "Why not? I hate to see a good fellow go begging for a drink. And I'll take another of these" -- he tilted his own empty glass in her direction -- "as long as you're at it."

"He's not exactly begging," the bartender grumbled, but she took the proffered chit and verified it before pouring the two drinks and handing them over. Then she slid around to the other side of the bar, as though to avoid any further conversation, not giving them another look.

Garrus turned toward his seatmate, who he thought might provide better company. )
owlmoose: (da - brosca)
This question, asked by [personal profile] spindizzy, was actually for Monday: "You didn't seem to enjoy Mass Effect as much as you did Dragon Age - would you mind talking about it and/or why it didn't grab you?"

In a way, this question is a little unfair. True, I didn't love the Mass Effect games nearly as much as the Dragon Age series, but then it's rare that I've fallen as completely in love with a game as I did Dragon Age: Origins. So that's a high bar to set it up against.

Also, I did like Mass Effect, quite a lot. I enjoyed playing all three games, found strong points and favorite missions and characters in each. Commander Shepard, as played by Jennifer Hale anyway, is one of my favorite protagonists of all time. (I've never played as m!Shep, so I can't comment on that interpretation of the character.) The series was worth playing, and I might pick it up again someday for a Renegade run, and I still need to replay endgame to see the Extended Cut ending. But I didn't connect with it fannishly at all, and it's never going to rise to the level of most beloved game.

Cut for length and ME spoilers. )

All that said, who really knows why I connect with one game, one fictional universe, and not another? Sometimes I can say exactly why, but other times it's more nebulous. It's also entirely possible that Bioware fandom set my expectations for Mass Effect much too high. Maybe if I'd played the ME games first, I'd like them better, or if I'd spread them out over the years rather than binging on the whole series within a few months. In the end, I'm glad I played them, and that's always enough to hope for.
owlmoose: (ff7 - sword)
[personal profile] vieralynn asked about my favorite aspects of the Final Fantasy series, and how these aspects compare to other fantasy/rpg video games.

My favorite aspects of the Final Fantasy games are characters, world building, and story, pretty much in that order. When I sit down to play a new FF, or come back to revisit an old one, these are the things I am looking for, and hoping to sink into. Of course, not every FF game has these in equal measure: the lack of world building in FFXIII kept me from investing as much as I would have liked, for example, and the stories vary in quality quite a bit, and even the games I love most (FFX, X-2, XII, and IV) have a dud character or a flat plot point here and there. But overall, I would say these have been the series' strengths for me.

As I mentioned in my answer to [personal profile] lassarina's question about RPG gameplay, I haven't actually played that many RPGs outside the Final Fantasy series, but the one other series I have invested in, namely Dragon Age, succeeds in all three areas listed above. Excellent NPCs across the board, interesting stories mostly told well, and a fascinating setting in the world of Thedas. So no wonder I've been drawn to it, both as a player and as a fan. Mass Effect is also pretty strong in these respects, especially the storytelling, but I didn't connect as strongly to the characters or the setting as I did to Dragon Age, or my main Final Fantasy fandoms (Spira and Ivalice). (I'm still not really sure why that was. Probably that's another post for another day.)

I think it's pretty safe to say that, so far, I've found the Dragon Age games more compelling across the board, in all three of these areas, than any of the most recent Final Fantasy titles (FFXIII and its sequel). And although I have some hope for FFXV, for various reasons I don't trust Square Enix as much as I used to -- especially not in how they handle characters and character development. It'll be interesting to see if I continue to be a fan of the franchise going forward.
owlmoose: (B5 - Ivanova)
Actually, we finished a few days back, and started playing Mass Effect 2 on the same day. I'll hold my thoughts on ME2, though, so this post can be clean of spoilers for it.

Virmire through the end. )

So overall, I'd say I enjoyed the game, certainly enough to continue on to ME2. Gameplay was pretty fun once I got used to the controls, although it helped immensely that I could hand the controller off to T whenever I got frustrated. And I did get frustrated, particularly when the Mako was involved. (Believe it or not, Mako missions were his favorite thing.) If I ever replay, it will definitely be on Casual (we played on Normal with the targeting assists turned on). Good characters, story with a few twists on the usual expectations, the sense of a deep and interesting universe that I hope I get to explore more. I haven't fallen in love the way I did with Dragon Age, but I suppose time and future games will tell.
owlmoose: (ff8 - squall)
Having never played this game before, it's hard to say how far in I might be. We've played 30-some hours, with sidequests as preferential to main-line quests, but we've also finished several of the major missions as well. Maybe we're nearing endgame? The only main plot quest I've triggered that we haven't done yet is Virmire... and I'm spoiled enough that I don't want to go to Virmire. Not until I absolutely have to.

Also it turns out that the Bring Down the Sky DLC mission, mentioned by a couple of people on my last post, is included in the game already, which is nice. I like it when old games come with extras. :) We played through that this evening and found it fun.

Thoughts and commentary )
owlmoose: (ffx2 - paine sword)
I promised many people my thoughts, but I don't have much to say yet. We're maybe 12 hours in. Picked up Liara but have otherwise been focusing on sidequests so far. Playing a fem!Shep Infiltrator named Jane (I tend to use the default name my first time through any RPG). She's a Spacer, a War Hero, and a Paragon through-and-through. The shooting part of combat isn't going too awfully, but I am worse than useless at handling the Mako. (May-ko or Mah-ko?) Fortunately, this is what I have a husband for.

Some questions and slightly more spoilery things under the cut. )

Thanks to fandom osmosis -- and the fact that we attempted ME2 first, so we ran through the tool that lets you set up your choices and create an import -- I've been spoiled for quite a bit of this game, so I can relax my usual anti-spoiler rules a little bit, but I'd still appreciate it if everyone could keep spoilers vague and to a minimum in comments. Thanks. :)

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