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mass effect

Mass Effect Trilogy

…lot of the crunchier elements of the first game in favor of a more action-oriented sensibility. In terms of the play style’s evolution, Chris Remo of Gamasutra refers to Mass Effect 2 as a genre experiment, saying that:

If Mass Effect was a sci-fi shooter saddled with excess RPG micromanagement, Mass Effect 2 is the ideal evolution. If Mass Effect was an RPG that tips its hat to third-person action games, Mass Effect 2 may be less satisfying than expected.

Isaac Handelman expands on this, stating that ME2 felt like a more “confined experience,” but the…

June 27th

Norms Aboard the Normandy

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition has continued to invite new critical re-evaluations asking how the games (as well as games in general) have changed over the past decade-plus, and how they still maybe ought to change. Here are two of my faves this week.

  • Mass Effect 5 needs to recognise that aliens are people too | PCGamesN Jeremy Signor, in an overview of racial essentialism in Mass Effect, traces the problems and storytelling limitations of characters who are made to act as stand-ins for their whole species.
  • So nobody in Mass Effect

May 16th

…join the conversation this week.

  • ‘Mass Effect Legendary Edition’ Unifies the Series’ Fractured Release Order | Waypoint Rowan Kaiser breaks down Mass Effect‘s convoluted, fragmented release history.
  • It’s Time to Reckon with Mass Effect’s Police State Heart | Paste Grace Benfell critiques neoliberal police power and its concentration in Commander Shepard.

“While they are nominally responsible to the galactic government, there is no situation where Shepard can fall out of favor or lose their standing. Because your violence is the state’s, everything is permitted.”

Critical Chaser

An empathetic letter to a…

October 2020

…Mark Brown identifies the tension of mastery against living the fantasy in action games, suggesting some ways developers can go about making their games enjoyable for both player types. (Manual captions)

  • Mass Effect Expanded What Games Were Capable of (For Me) | GTDM – First Five

    Alex remembers how Mass Effect solidified the concept of role-play and story in games for a generation that largely grew up on consoles. (Autocaptions)

  • Is The Last of Us Part II One Big Guilt Trip? – Games As Literature (21:23)

    The Game Professor argues that player agency and character choices

  • Oct-Nov Roundup – ‘Game Changers’

    …because of its impact on games you used to love. That’s practically the definition of a game changer, isn’t it?

    Last but not least, Pete Haas chose to kill off Kaiden Alenko Who didn’t? He was rubbish. Mass Effect’s triumph was that your actions had consequences in subsequent games: in a medium where decisions can be erased by random data loss, they have to migrate beyond the game they originate in to have that kind of an effect. Of course, Mass Effect 3’s ultimate failure was to remove the player’s volition, to fail to live up to our lofty…

    April 15th

    …of the rest of England’s population either. That doesn’t stop England being a nation. Our experience of any community is built from a mix of individual isolation and the impression of interpersonal links. In this way, Skyrim is a nation in its own right.

    From Skyrim to Tanelorn, Patrick Holleman profiles the rich community space of a Minecraft roleplaying server named for the work of fantasy novelist Michael Moorcock. Meanwhile, Krystian Majewski compares the worlds and gameplay of Suikoden and Mass Effect and discovers some interesting parallels.

    Speaking of Mass Effect— you know we couldn’t go one…

    Geometric image from Nier: Automata

    April 2nd

    …Serve a purpose

    Trans representation in Mass Effect: Andromeda has been a source of irritation for many, who found it hamhanded and shallow. These two pieces go a long way towards explaining the problems to anyone unfamiliar with the arguments at hand.

    • What’s in a Name?: Mass Effect: Andromeda and Inclusion – Not Your Mama’s Gamer Lee Hibbard makes clear what the problem is with the trans representation in the latest Mass Effect game.
    • Mass Effect Andromeda is another failure for trans representation • Sam Greer compares the trans characters in two Bioware games, showing

    This Year In Videogame Blogging: 2017

  • The Orcs of ‘Shadow of War’ Face a Fate Worse Than Death | Waypoint – Cameron Kunzelman and Austin Walker Austin Walker comes back to the Middle-Earth series to join Cameron Kunzelman in a discussion about fantasy slavery, loot boxes and existential horror engendered within.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda

    • Does Mass Effect: Andromeda get past old colonial ideas? Not quite | Gamasutra – Katherine Cross Katherine Cross finds that Andromeda attempts to challenge the legacy of colonialism only replicating “a kinder, gentler form of it.” Only in escaping its fantasy can we truly critique it.

    This Year in Videogame Blogging: 2019

    …discusses the growing movement to design schools around the certainty of mass shootings (captioned). More abstractly, that’s also the argument Haydn Taylor made for GI while looking at games’ tendency to whitewash depictions of Nazis, and also Josh Tucker’s sentiments at The Outline: “No shit, video games are political. They’re conservative.”

    Moreover, Natalie Flores argued for Paste, games don’t need us to defend them, “because they’re part of the problem“:

    Videogames are ultimately eager to reflect and perpetuate the problems that lead to mass shootings. They don’t need to be wholeheartedly defended. And until this industry hires

    October 31st

    Alex at Batrock explains ‘Mass Effect: The Road to Shepardition’ and why a Mass Effect film would miss the point:

    That every Shepard belongs to the player means that there is no single Mass Effect canon. Different Shepards created different universes, and to watch a movie that asserts that something you know in your heart is blatantly wrong is to bring pain upon oneself. The movie removes power and agency from the hands of those most dedicated to the subject matter: the players.

    Michael Clarkson at Discount Thoughts believes we’re witnessing the emergence of a