Saturday, March 31

Garuss Cosplay from Mass Effect

“Fighting a rogue Spectre with countless lives at stake and no regulations to get in the way? I'd say that beats C-Sec.”
Garuss. He's like the blue police man of the Mass Effect series. He's the dude with the sniper rifle that never misses. He's got Sheppard's back and is right behind his Commander which in the modern age can mean all   kinds of things.

Either way Garrus  Vakarian has proven to be a fan favourite for Mass Effect cosplayers and these pictures of Garuss in cosplay costumes are pretty much evidence of that!

ME3 DLC New Ending Official Press Release!!

After a huge amount of internet angst, our bads, protest cup cakes Bioware has announced a DLC that will give a new ending for Mass Effect 3.

Here's the official Press Release from Ray Muzyka, CEO of Bioware.

"As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created.

This past three weeks have incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their unrealistic expectations. Our bad.

We owe it to the fans who have stood by us for 3 of the greatest games Bioware has ever made. To that end, I'm pleased to announce that Bioware will release DLC on April 31 that will expand on the original ending to give insights into the themes raised and our stoic fans more closure.

The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game.

Given Casey screwed the pooch with his bold but flawed approach, I've brought in some real talent to add some dimension to the ending. Akiva Goldsman, writer of films such as A Beautiful Mind, Cinderalla Man and Lost In Space has come up with a great ideas.

We think given Akiva clearly knows a thing or two about space movies, he should have a crack at explaining what all the different explosion colours meant.

We'd have got that dude that created Lost but apparently he's back in his meds.

Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it. The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us.

The DLC will thus be released for free when you buy the already released 'From the Ashes' DLC.


Also the internet abounds with rumour that Martin Sheen has been paid a second salary to come in and do some new scenes.

Bungie's Final Multiplayer Stats

Today marks the day that Bungie no longer collects and manages the statistics for Halo multiplayer matches. 343 is now charged with this responsibility. That was the last official tie that Bungie has the the Halo universe. They can still have the glory for making the first 5 Halo games....

Bungie has made this wonder graph below which explains the stats related to the Halo multiplayer realm. It's a monster and a half of goodness. How many of these numbers did you contribute to?

Friday, March 30

Every ME3 ending has a silver lining

ashley sheppard sex bra scene

There is a silver lining to the fiasco ending of the Mass Effect 3 game.

All game producers will now be making damned sure their games have awesome endings, or at least one's that make sense.

You can just imagine that every major video game that's nearing completion will have 'test screenings' that they do for 'fans' (but not the zealot fans I hope) so they can avoid making mistakes. I guess the difficulty for that is production cycles and the like. It's not like it's very easy to 'tack on' a new ending. Well... Bioware might think so.....

There is now a risk that the hero will win everytime as that appears to be what the people want. I'm happy to let those people eat cake sometimes though. While it's a crazy ending, I loved how ME3 went for something bold and utterly original.

I trust that Frankie and co have the Halo 4 ending well in hand - given Halo 4 will be the first in a trilogy, the ending of that game wont be as important to fans as the ME3 ending.

Klencory: This is not the ending you were looking for

mass effect sex scene traynor female sheppard

I lied. Here's another post on the Mass Effect ending.

One fan asked the question a few years ago.... about the Klencory planet found in the original ME game which has the following data

"Klencory is famously claimed by the eccentric volus billionaire Kumun Shol. He claims that a vision of a higher being told him to seek on Klencory the "lost crypts of beings of light." These entities were supposedly created at the dawn of time to protect organic life from synthetic "machine devils.""

Shol has been excavating on Klencory's toxic surface for two decades, at great expense. No government has valued the world enough to evict his small army of mercenaries.

Klencory can also be a destination for the Normandy in Mass Effect 3, at which point its entry has been updated to read:

Klencory is famously claimed by the eccentric volus billionaire Kumun Shol. His once-ridiculed visions of "beings of light" protecting organic life from synthetic "machine devils" don't seem quite so far-fetched now. His private army of mercenaries are well-established on the planet, waiting for husks to come knocking in on their door. In all likelihood, they will be obliterated by the molten metal of a Reaper orbital bombardment, on its way to somewhere important.

So because of this planet Codex sounding similarly similar to the actual Mass Effect ending people are saying  "Woah! This was the planned ending all along!"

This is probably red herring as we all know the original ending was supposed to revolve around dark matter...

Interestingly enough in the same link as the Klencory note Screwoffreg 'relayed' his prediction for Mass Effect 3.

"There are two endings I wouldn't like for Mass Effect 3. One being a random GOD LIKE force that saves the Galaxy or another being that to defeat the Reapers, everyone has to become a primitivist and destroy the Relays, Citadel, etc. Both would make me pretty unhappy as those endings have been done to death."

Touche dude.

Thursday, March 29

Judge Dredd Cosplay

Dredd having a beer after a tough day being the law
When I discovered comics it wasn’t just the Justice League and Batman that took my fancy, I found a true affinity with Judge Dredd comics. My dad had a wonderful ability to get AD Comics from a retailer friend with the cover ripped off which meant I got them for free. I loved Dredd because the tales often had a cool sci-fi thing going on and the stories often had a twist or unexpected ending.

At time some of the stories from the Apocalypse War were amazingly intense battles lead by a heroic Dredd - it’s now as an older and wiser geek I realise they were direct references to the East West relations that were worrying the world in the 80s.

Anyways above is just to give an insight on why there is an enduring Dredd legacy – and cosplayers everywhere love dressing as their favourite Judge and swearing all DROKK like!

Moody Dredd

Young Dredd cosplayer
Family Dredd

I am the law judge dredd

Halo 4 Warhouse map concept art

warhouse concept art halo 4
The weekly update from 343 contained this wicked concept art for the Halo 4's multiplayer map Warhouse.

BS Angel says of Warhouse:

Inspiration for this map came from a wide variety of places, including oil refineries, giant mechs from films and cartoons, NASA imagery of gas giants, naval shipyards, and aircraft carriers, to name a few. We also referenced numerous well-developed sci-fi places throughout its development.

warhouse concept art halo 4 

Because Warhouse is a symmetrical map, our greatest challenge was making sure players know where they are at any given point, and yet having it make sense as an inspiring visual story. There are lots of complex mirrored paths which could be overwhelming, so we had to develop landmarks and key features to give players a sense of unique position.

warhouse concept art halo 4 

We wanted this playspace to be similar competition-wise to older symmetrical maps in previous Halos, so we sought influence from those, and also from the industrial close-quarters combat in more recent games. There are many paths from the center room, allowing you to surprise opponents from unexpected directions and separate them from their comrades. 

There are also numerous over-and-under pathways that can be used to sneak up behind opponents who are holding their ground. Since this map is symmetrical, one team doesn't have an advantage over the other based on where they spawn or what part of the map they control.

Take your cupcakes and shove them

Bioware's protest cupcakes have arrived and they said this!

"Today, we received the 400 cupcakes you collectively sent us through your donations to express your feelings about the endings of Mass Effect 3. We want you to know; we are indeed listening to all fan response and acknowledge your feedback. We appreciate creative and thoughtful attempts like this one.

The gesture certainly gained our attention both with its creativity and deliciousness. However, while we do appreciate that fans were creative in how they expressed their views, after a lot of discussions, we decided ultimately the reason that they were sent was not done in the context of celebrating the work or accomplishment of the Mass Effect 3 team. This is a subtle, but important aspect in determining how to pass the feedback to the team.

BioWare regularly works with many deserving charities, as such it was decided that rather than passing out the cupcakes to staff or wasting good food, to donate them on behalf of our fans to a local Edmonton youth shelter. We know that for the kids that have to use this facility, something as simple as a cupcake is a rare treat and would definitely brighten up their day. Thank you to the fine folks at the local youth shelter for accepting the donation and to the fans who donated the cupcakes.

Please keep providing your feedback on Mass Effect 3, we’re still listening."


All that sounds nice and all but I read this line:

"we decided ultimately the reason that they were sent was not done in the context of celebrating the work or accomplishment of the Mass Effect 3 team."

Which is a thinly veiled fuck you to the senders. They just added to their food bill for no reason!

What do you think?

Meet the Siren from Bioshock Infinite

Here's the Siren, another of the enemies to be found in Irrational Games' Bioshock Infinite. Looks a mite scarier than the Boys of Silence eh?

Sounds like the Siren re animates people that Booker has already killed and sounds like an interesting premise!

Wednesday, March 28

One more post on No Effect 3

No Effect 3 logo
Ok ONE more post on the ending of Mass Effect 3 or No effect 3 as the person who made the above logo has suggested. Anyways... on with it.

The lastest theory doing the rounds is that Commander Sheppard is in the some stage of indoctrination by the Reapers. And thus the ending is not reality and the choices we are asked to make are really the choice to resist the indoctrination process or accept it. 

There’s some very interesting reasoning around this indoctrination – this good doc has some questions that need answers.

A key point from it is this statement:

"How is the Illusive Man controlling Shepard if she isn't indoctrinated? The script has gone to great lengths in both Mass Effect 2 and 3 to establish that no control chip was placed in Shepard during her reconstruction. If anything, beating the audience over the head with this fact seems to encourage us to question the possibility of this scene.

The Illusive Man saying "look at what THEY can do" indicates that it was, directly or indirectly, the Reapers who made Shepard fire the gun - therefore Shepard is indoctrinated. Period. This scene cannot make sense and is not possible otherwise."

It’s a nice idea but I’m not sure that actually what is going on here... but suppose it's a valid theory. I’m just wondering where the opportunity to indoctrinate Sheppard occurred in the first place. If indoctrination is a slow passive process – then it sure didn’t start just after Sheppard when up to meet the God Like Reaper Child. Did it start to happen earlier – exposure to Saren and Harbinger perhaps? Or was it the dreams he had of the child? Who knows.

I’m not wholly convinced of the theory – however it seems a pretty neat way to make sense of the mind fuck ending that ME3 threw up.

Regardless of the indoctrination theory the google doc also has this gem of an argument to highlight how stupid some of the plot points are at the end of the game.

“The Child states that without his intervention, synthetics would destroy all organic life. For him to be so absolutely assured of this theory, it must have happened at some point in the history of the galaxy. However, if "all" organic life was extinguished at any point in time, organic life would not presently exist. The Child's assertion is disingenuous.”

It’s certainly a paradox eh?

But wait there’s more!

"However, again for no reason at all, he presents Shepard with the options to destroy or control the Reapers, both of which would bring this alleged "chaos" to the galaxy, which he spent untold aeons labouring to prevent. And he's just totally cool with this.

He could have never appeared to Shepard, never brought her up to the Catalyst room, or simply never said a single word... and Shepard would not have understood the purpose of the devices in that room, thus preserving the Solution."

Sounds like the Reaper child shot himself  in the foot? Or maybe writer Casey Hudson...

This guy gives a really cool spin on the story – what if Mass Effect was Lord of the Rings and you couldn’t destroy the ring at the end?

You might have heard was there was a different ending to ME3 planned.

The internet says the original Mass Effect writer, Drew Karpyshyn had this to say a once proposed ending:

"The Reapers' goal was to find a way to stop the spread of Dark Energy which would eventually consume everything. That's why there was so much foreshadowing about Dark Energy in ME," Karpyshyn wrote.

"The Reapers as a whole were 'nations' of people who had fused together in the most horrific way possible to help find a way to stop the spread of the Dark Energy. The real reason for the Human Reaper was supposed to be the Reapers saving throw because they had run out of time. Humanity in Mass Effect is supposedly unique because of its genetic diversity and represented the universe's best chance at stopping Dark Energy's spread.

"The original final choice was going to be 'Kill the Reapers and put your faith in the races of the galaxy in finding another way to stop the spread with what little time is left' or 'Sacrifice humanity, allowing them to be horrifically processed in hopes that the end result will justify the means.'

That could have been cool.

But it gets worse. There’s the now infamously deleted Patrick Weeks post to think about.

Week’s post had this to say about the planned ending:

“And then, just to be a dick… what was SUPPOSED to happen was that, say you picked “Destroy the Reapers”.

When you did that, the system was SUPPOSED to look at your score, and then you’d show a cutscene of Earth that was either:

a) Very high score: Earth obviously damaged, but woo victory
b) Medium score: Earth takes a bunch of damage from the Crucible activation. Like dropping a bomb on an already war-ravaged city. Uh, well, maybe not LIKE that as much as, uh, THAT.
c) Low score: Earth is a cinderblock, all life on it completely wiped out”

Why on earth did that get changed (if it’s true). That seems like a compelling story ending.

There's been a lot of rumour about Casey Hudson ignoring people or simply writing what he wanted etc and if that’s true, I’m really not sure I’ll ever buy another game that Casey Hudson is involved in again. He seems a nice guy but if he ‘panic’ with the supposed rewrite   I will distrust his future judgements. 

It will be bloody interesting to see what he comes up with in April. 

Let's hope the ending was not the indoctrination 'it was all just a dream theory' - I think that's fans just being pretty darn clever but none-the-less deluding themselves. I think ME3's producers and Casey tried to do something cool and ballsy but it simply backfired on them. 

Sunday, March 25

ME3's Samara's model doing cosplay of Samara


Rana McAnear, was the actress who provided the model for Samara in Mass Effect 2. McAnear has gone a little life imitates art and is using her fine Samara features to take cosplay to some kind of meta- level.

You might have seen us feature McNear before on Gears of Halo. Apparently she now shaves her head for easier Asari hair tentacle application which sounds like real commitment to the cosplay cause!

Saturday, March 24

The Top Ten Video Game People to Follow on Twitter

You night recall a while back I did a post who had the top ten Halo twitter accounts. I thought it would be interesting to do a list of industry folk in the gaming industry who have interesting things to say.

Obviously, jjsgearsofhalo is the best twitter account to follow but here's some other producers, designers and other cool kids to follow:

Major Nelson - Microsoft promo guy who has his finger on the pulse. What's come out and when. Often gives out Xbox codes....

Cliff Bleszinski - Cliff is the guy who made the Gears of War franchise the monster that it is. 

BS Angel - Jessica Shea is a Queen of the Halo community and indeed is the community manager for 343 industries who are making Halo 4.

Halo Waypoint -These guys are forging the Halo community from the Microsoft side

Marty O'Donnell. He makes Halo sound like Mozart. Who knows what his Destiny will be?

Casey Hudson - The guy in charge of Mass Effect 3 and man, does he have some issues at the moment so he should be a very interesting follow!

Rod Fergusson - a big deal at Epic games and basically the guts of Gears of War.

Jessica Chobot - IGN's pin up girl that will help you 'strategise' any time. You might also know her as Dianne Allers in Mass Effect 3.

Gary Whitta - not really sure what he does but he's a Lego fan...

Ken Levine - he's making Bioshock Infinite. If it sux, blame him. 

So... who is awesome that should also be on this list? Leave your suggestion in the comments!

Mass Effect 3 News Wrap Up

mass effect bra sheppard ashley
No idea how this got here

Mass Effect 3 News Wrap Up

Big week or two recently for Mass Effect - it was released and then the proverbial hit the fan so there has been lots to talk about.

First up, it's my blog so here's my ME3 Review and here's what I thought of the ending. I enjoyed it because it was sooooo out there. The team at IGN shared their wise thoughts on the game too.

This chap who knows a chord structure when he hears one pointed out a clever musical motif used in the War Room on the Normandy.

Bioware caved and suggested to the internet they were going to change the ending of the game which seems a lil crazy - at least it means we'll get some more DLC perhaps.... Bioware also announced a fix to the face import problem at has effected the Xbox and Playstation versions of the game.

I also regurgitated some bollocks about what the N7 programme is all about.

Whad I miss? What are your views on the conclusion of the game? What do you

Friday, March 23

What is the N7 that's on Commander Sheppard's logo all about?

n7 logo mass effect

What is the N7 that's on Commander Sheppard's logo all about?

N7 represents how far Sheppard has progessed through Interplanetary Combatives Training programme. What it means is that they are the best of the best at being a soldier.

Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) is the Systems Alliance's premier school for leadership and combat expertise. The Interplanetary Combatives Academy, is often known as "N-School" or "the villa," recruits officers from every branch of Earth's militaries to partake in grueling courses at Vila Militar in Rio de Janeiro.

The highest grade of training, N6, provides actual combat experience in combat zones throughout the galaxy. If the trainee survives these scenarios in "admirable and effective fashion," he or she finally receives the coveted N7 designation. N7 is the only ICT designation that may be worn on field or dress uniforms so it was sure amusing for Sheppard to find the Geth we know Legion wearing it in Mass Effect 2 - it was kind of an homage to the man.

If you've played through Mass Effect you'll recall that James Vega was asked to go through the ICT programme.

Me3 Face Import Patch on the way

ugly commander sheppard mass effect

A patch for the Mass Effect face import problem is on the way:

Chris Priestly of Bioware has said:

"We have fixed the issue of faces not correctly importing into Mass Effect 3. It will be included as part of the next Mass Effect 3 patch"

"The not completely good news is that I do not yet have a confirmed date for when the patch will be available."

This is good news as I accidentally made my female Commander look like kind of a pretty monkey

Recon for everyone!

A note on Halo Waypoint has let everyone know that we will soon all 'can haz' recon armour.

"As part of the final transition of Halo services, we will begin unlocking Halo 3 Recon armor for all Halo 3 players in the very near future. This process, which will be done in waves, is expected to last several days. As always, thank you for your patience, and we’ll have more details for you in next week’s Halo Bulletin."

Those were the days eh... when people would shoot themselves with a orange cone and be awarded recon for their troubles... that was great marketing by Bungie! Also remember when Halo 3: ODST was gonna be called Halo3 : Recon? Not such good marketing....

Thursday, March 22

Bioshock introduces "The Boys of Silence" for Infinite

boys of silence bioshock

Bioshock introduces "The Boys of Silence"

They are blind but can hear you… quite well.. they’re gonna be pain in the ass for you in Bioshock Infinite

Shawn Robertson, the lead artist for the game stated “if you anger them, they can call in backup." Check out the video!

Final Fantasy to have Mass Effect uniforms

final fantasy mass effect uniform

Ever since I noticed Dead Planet 2 had Marcus and Dom from Gears of War turning up, there's been plenty of blatant cross promotional things in the gaming world. The latest is that Final Fantasy players will be able to adorn their characters with Commander Sheppard's Mass Effect N7 uniform.

Let's hope Final Fantasy's ending finds itself with a fan approved ending eh?

The Normandy

normandy mas effect 3

This is a test post, but enjoy the Normandy.

Wondercon Cosplay 2012

Prime Time
Here's some random cos play pics from the fans of Wondercon 2012

aqua woman cosplay
Aqua Woman

dead pool


mortal combat cosplayers group
A mortal crew

Wednesday, March 21

Bioware caves, ME3 will have an expanded ending.

Bioware has caved to the internet haters and wreakers and is going to change the ending of Mass Effect 3. Here's the official word and here's my views on the ending. 

To Mass Effect 3 players, from Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare

As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.

I believe passionately that games are an art form, and that the power of our medium flows from our audience, who are deeply involved in how the story unfolds, and who have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism. At the same time, I also believe in and support the artistic choices made by the development team. The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game.

Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it. The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us. This is an issue we care about deeply, and we will respond to it in a fair and timely way. We’re already working hard to do that.

To that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I’m honored to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.

Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.

The reaction to the release of Mass Effect 3 has been unprecedented. On one hand, some of our loyal fans are passionately expressing their displeasure about how their game concluded; we care about this feedback, and we’re planning to directly address it. However, most folks appear to agree that the game as a whole is exceptional, with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score and a review average in the mid-90s. Net, I’m proud of the team, but we can and must always strive to do better.

Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.

If you are a Mass Effect fan and have input for the team – we respect your opinion and want to hear it. We’re committed to address your constructive feedback as best we can. In return, I’d ask that you help us do that by supporting what I truly believe is the best game BioWare has yet crafted. I urge you to do your own research: play the game, finish it and tell us what you think. Tell your friends if you feel it’s a good game as a whole. Trust that we are doing our damndest, as always, to address your feedback. As artists, we care about our fans deeply and we appreciate your support.

Thank you for your feedback – we are listening.


Tuesday, March 20

This is not the end, my friend?

mass effect 3 ending

Bioware has posted on facebook the following re the Mass Effect ending PR clusterfuck:

"We are aware that there are concerns about a recent post from this account regarding the ending of the game. In this post it was stated that at this time we do not have plans to change the ending.

We would like to clarify that we are actively and seriously taking all player feedback into consideration and have ruled nothing out. At this time we are still collecting and considering your feedback and have not made a decision regarding requests to change the ending.

Your feedback and opinions are of the utmost importance to us. We apologize for any confusion this has caused. Our top priority regarding this discussion is to keep communication with you, our loyal fans, open and productive."

ME3 Ending Did Not Suck, was just a David Lynch movie ending

The Mass Effect 3 ending. There has been a lot of talk about this ending lately. As Bono might say, maybe too much talk. Any way, having finished the game and having LOVED the ENDING, I’m gonna talk about it.

You too, can join me if you like. Or else scream into the void. People are mad as hell. There’s petitions to change the ending. In it, Sheppard dies. WTF? There’s a baby in space that talks. A 2001 Space Odysessy ending if you will. WTF?

The ending is so crazy it’s a" fuck chick's a dude" type Blue Velvet ending. And it was awesome.

The blindside ending is that the ‘Catalyst’ turns out to be some kind of ‘Baby Reaper’ in control of the Reapers and this took a lot of people by surprise. A lot of now angry people.

The ending I got was just ballsy, science fiction writing. It’s my view that Casey Hudson and the Bioware  team took a determined decision to not go the easy route of the 'hero saves the day and everyone is safe ending' and I applaud them for it.

Why does the video game have to have a traditional 'heroic' ending. Why can't we be totally played. We were in the original Bioshock - would you kindly? So why do we care that all actions to get get us to meet the crucible were largely just a round about way of demonstrating we were NEO from the Matrix and were able to plug into the machine? This guy gets it. This guy does run a reasonably sane argument why it sucked...

It’s not like this ending hasn’t been hinted at. Even as far as the first game when Commander Sheppard encounters a Reaper dude of some kind ( shortly after you choose to let Wrex live or die)  it tells him this is all about something he cannot comprehend. Given some fans cannot comprehend the ending, I reason the ending was telegraphed to us in the first game ! I jest. A little.

While I’m not really sure that the Reaper’s goal of “preventing organic life from wiping itself out by creating synthetic life’ is a real hook on which to base the extermination of a whole bunch of races and worlds, it certainly gives an answer to why Mass Effect is Mass Effect. It’s kind of like a Halo argument how the Forerunners meddled in the affairs of other races because they are in charge of the Mantle, except I think that piece of fiction makes a little more sense.

While I wasn't sure why the Normandy was flying away from Earth (whatever was happening to the Reapers was not going to affect organic life) I loved they crashed landed on some strange random planet. The suggestion Joker et al might become the Adam and Eve's of that planet was a sweet little touch.

There is a post-credits sequence where a man and a child are seen on an alien planet looking to the sky. They talk about how the galaxy is full of stars and planets with other being on them. The child wants to hear another story about Sheppard. It’s a cute little ending that probably is a little too cute but I like how it’s a gentle echo to remind us that the universe continues to chug along as a result of Sheppard’s actions.

I'll trying to figure out why the Prothean's built the Crucible knowing (?) the Catalyst was the er... Citidel and seeing as they'd have known they didn't actually build it themselves why did they not wonder about that issue...)

I mentioned in my review a quibble about the big deal that was made about the choice to save the Rachni Queen throughout the series and ME3’s writer Mac Walters said “[The presence of the Rachni] has huge consequences in Mass Effect 3. Even just in the final battle with the Reapers." Well I didn’t see one damn Rachni that was on my side in the final battle charge. I feel cheated in that regard and I imagine that sentiment will be shared be several players.

Overall I applaud Bioware's choice to deliver a bewildering David Lynch style ending to the Mass Effect trilogy. I think we can all agree it was better than the Lost finale.....

Update: Bioware has caved into the pressure, ME3 will have an expanded ending.

JJ Reviews: Mass Effect 3

Sexiest A.I. ever?
If blogging has been light in recent times, it's because of Mass Effect 3 - the year's best game for a fact and it's only March.


I first got in to Mass Effect by accident when I found it cheap. ME2 did the business and more and like the hugely massive and nearly impossible expectations that one had for Halo 3 and GOW3, the promise of Mass Effect would could only be that it would be the most biggest, bad assess space opera ever.

And so it was.

I find it weird to say that the initial Reaper invasion of Earth where innocent children were blown from the slay, an awesome slow gas burner start, that's indeed what it was - and it had to be the slowburn because the game's plot only got faster and more brutal as my 'Aubrey Sheppard' sought to defend against and defeat the Reapers.

The first few missions were easy enough and simple enough to get into the spirit of things. Find a Turian soldier there, battle a marauder there, pick up a female Krogan there, arrange for some illegal trade in guns there, telling The Illusive Man to frack off there, give advice to an A.I. with big silver tits about how to pick up humans there and the scene was set.

Cerberus were quickly up to tricks with Sheppard and the Illusive guy was probably a bit pissed that the Commander prevented him from capturing what were apparently the finest young minds humanity had to offer (they seemed pretty dumb though).....

By this stage I've got used to the game play. It's a strong improvement on the prior games and the running, ducking and diving options now available feel quite natural after coming off a lot of Gears of War lately.

Mass Effect has always made it clear that decisions have consequences. The original game this painfully clear when the choice came to kill the Krogan Wrex. A key choice in that game was to decide whether to let the Rachni Queen live or die. Well ME3 makes sure the chickens come home to roost in that regard. Finally a true decision in ME has had a massive influence in this game. To this end, Mass Effect's promise that decisions have consequences has never been borne out so well. Kudos to Mass Effect's writers.

Mass Effect 3 is a killing machine. Millions of people are dying all around me. Planets are being decimated, I'm deciding the fate particular species and I'm sending major characters to their deaths. Some characters are also sending themselves to their own deaths. The game gives some of them glorious endings, others unsatisfying ignoble good byes. With the Reaper attack threatening the existence of the galaxy as we know it, I guess that's c'est la vie.

A key element of ME2 was Cerberus and The Illusive man directing Shepard to his own ends. ME3 features a heavy sub plot of Cerberus plots that help lead us to one inevitable conclusion - it's all going to  end badly for everyone.

There's a certain character betrayal which seems like it was telegraphed from day one which is all a little to Da Vinci Code like for me (even though I never pick them myself in the books!)  - it's a trivial complaint none-the-less but it did lead us on a wild goose chase.

So now I'm tired of finding strange prothean disks for lazy scientists so I'm going to charge in to save the day. Am I ready? I'm kind of ready. Have I made the right decisions? Are my Geth troops up to it? Should I have been nicer to the Salarians? Is my reasonably respectable paragon leading Sheppard up to the task. Will the Alliance battle as brave as the Krogan?

This is truly a Galaxy at War.

The final dash through, taking out the Cerberus base is a long affair with no real consquence but to serve as a chance to give the Illusive Man the finger and set up the finale run which was long, fun and had just the right amount of sentiment in saying goodbye to a few friends before Sheppard stepped up to save the  galaxy.

Then there was that crazy ending. It's caused a stir, and rightly so but I think it was a brilliant ending and I'm gonna have to spend a whole different post talking about it. I am truly satisfied with the efforts of my Sheppard, despite him kind of turning into NEO from the Matrix..... well that was my ending. I didn't get shot by Martin Sheen.

I'll trying to figure out why the Prothean's built the Crucible knowing ? the Catalyst was the er... Citidel and seeing as they'd have known they didn't actually build it themselves, could they not see that their own plan had a gaping hole in it? Or did I just miss something here?

If I wanted to quibble, a big deal was made about the choice to save the Rachni Queen throughout the series and ME3’s writer Mac Walters said “[The presence of the Rachni] has huge consequences in Mass Effect 3. Even just in the final battle with the Reapers." Well I didn’t see one damn Rachni that was on my side in the final battle charge. I feel cheated in that regard and I imagine that sentiment will be shared be several players.

Overall, game of the year for 2012. Halo 4 is gonna have to be amazing to beat it.

Update: ME3 is going to have an expanded ending.

Monday, March 19

Lego Halo Masterchief

Lego freak, Gary Whitta, found this green Masterchief made of lego. Nice work!

Saturday, March 17

Don't ask?

You did?

Halo: The Thursday War novel announced

Tor Books has just announced the title and release date for the second novel in the Karen Traviss’s “Kilo-Five Trilogy” of Halo books, the follow-up to last October’s Halo: Glasslands. Halo: The Thursday War will release on October 2, 2012.

Halo: The Thursday War picks up immediately where Halo: Glasslands left off, with forces on Earth and among the Covenant threatening a peace that is precarious at best. With a splinter group among the Sangheili pushing for war, some human colonies rebel against earth authority; and as ONI policy continues to shift with the volatile situation in space, the discovery of a trove of Forerunner technology on Onyx provokes leaders on Earth to seek uses for it in the conflict. For the fight is far from over….

“I wanted to focus on what it feels like to operate in a fragile ceasefire that’s turning into a mass of small, unpredictable wars where the enemy is much harder to spot and define,” says author Karen Traviss. “It’s not about big set piece space battles, superheroes, and hardware; this is a messy conflict seen at close quarters by real people with their own problems, whether those people are human, alien, or artificial intelligences.”

Traviss, whose first foray into the Halo Universe came with the short story “Human Weakness” in fall 2009’s New York Times bestselling “Halo: Evolutions” anthology, launched her new trilogy last fall with the acclaimed bestseller Halo: Glasslands. A veteran author who has penned number one bestselling novels in the Star Wars universe, bestselling novels for the Gears of War franchise (she most recently served as lead game writer for Gears of War 3), as well as her own science fiction series “The Wess’Har Wars.”

“From the very first page, The Thursday War propels you into a universe on the brink of chaos,” says Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director, 343 Industries. “It will immerse you immediately and enthrallingly into the events and circumstances that will come to define the state of the Halo universe in Halo 4. I can’t wait for fans and newcomers alike to experience the sequel to Glasslands.”

Thursday, March 15

Did you know Carrie Anne Moss is Aria T'loak in ME3?

Did you know the the supreme Aria T'loak of Omega was played by Carrie Anne Moss? Une momento - is this why the ending of Mass Effect is apparently at a level of Matrix Revolutions bad?

Wednesday, March 14

Research suggests: play with friends, win more Halo: Reach

You might remember Aaron and Winter's study of Halo: Reach players - they asked us and some other cool sites out there to help lure in some Halo players to assist with his research. Well they've done the work and have some findings to share and I think they are pretty cool!

The paper focuses on the "questions of whether playing with friends has an impact on your or your team's performance. It turns out that it does, even after we control for the overall skill level of the team, which is cool."

Here's a bit from the conclusion which proves beyond all doubt I am an awesome Halo player because I'm 34:

"Although the typical age of our respondents was close to 20 years old, the distribution shows a long tail, with a large number of players over 30. Age correlated with several aspects of game play: older players (24 or older; 29.7%) tend to exhibit somewhat less within group con´Čéict, exhibit greater pro-social tendencies (e.g., fewer betrayals), and are slightly more skilled (more kills per game). This latter point is counterintuitive given that younger players often have greater free time in which to invest in the game."

This touches a cord with me - I hate the douches, dickheads, and teenagers that ruin the gaming experience - and that's probably a sign of maturity. Haha!

I think the key take away from the research is the suggestion that teams can win matches if team mates actually know each other at some friendship based level - it seems obvious but now it's been concluded as being so:

"Both team and individual performance in Halo: Reach are improved by friendship variables and teams composed of friends, on average, win more games than teams composed of strangers. However, if overall skill correlates across friendship ties, then highly skilled groups of friends could tend to win often than groups of strangers because the skilled friends are more skilled than an average stranger"

It's probably because they don't run round betraying each other with blue stickies to the face....

This research could do with what I'm calling some 'stress testing' so Aaron is looking for more volunteers so if you're still playing Halo: Reach, check out this link and see if you can help  (I gotta admit I've dropped off multiplayer myself due to lots of campaign runs for CE, Gears and now ME3).

Here's the full findings of Friends FTW: Friendship and competition in Halo: Reach. Also check out Aaron's blog, Structure and Strangeness.

Monday, March 12

Sunday, March 11

There's a petition to change the ending of ME3. Really?

This is the end, my friend?
So apparently there is a fan based campaign based on a petition to get Bioware to change the end of Mass Effect 3. WTF? I’m only about 10 percent through the game itself (and loving it) so have no idea what I’m in for. Are the Humans building a Halo installation of Prothean design? Who knows, who cares. For me , in an RPG, the journey is the point of the game. Not the ending. Sure it’s cool to have a good ending. Halo 3? Gears 3? The Sixth Sense?

Yep, but dear petitioners, where were you for that ME3 ending when you had to shoot the arms of a totally not scary Reaper? Where were you and your petitions when there was that lame as ending to Halo 2?

Perhaps I judged Christina Norman too harshly yesterday. She basically told fans to play the games and don’t tell producers how to make their games and it sounds like this petition is what she was talking about.

I read that ME3 shipped 3.5 million units of awesomeness. 20,000 random names on an internet petition hardly sounds like a real winter of discontent.

Without having finished ME3, I say man up, enjoy or get over the ending and save your pennies for the sequel / prequel ME4 and get ready start your bitching again…..

This is what EDI looks like in ME3

In ME2, EDI looked like this:

In ME3, EDI looks like this:

and this:

We all know in real life she looks like this:

It's no wonder Joker has a massive crush on EDI then eh?

Saturday, March 10

A sneaky look at some Halo 4 concept art?

Some dude put this picture on the net - supposedly is a picture of a publication that 343 Industries slipped into a few people's grabby grabby hands at the GDC.

If this is a concept image that made it into the actual  Halo 4 campaign... well... is that some kind of giant in there?

Halo Fan Art

I found some Halo fan art on the google thingy. Enjoy.

They.. came..from...behind