It's not. *bler*
And playing Mass Effect 2.
I went into this with mixed feelings. I'd enjoyed Mass Effect 1 but if you've been reading this for long you'll know that for me, one of the main kicks I get from RPGs is the immersion and character interaction. I don't think I'll be one of those that'll avoid combat in the new generation of games where they're making it possible, but I've never been interested in games that are pure combat either. I like, in order of preference:
1. Character development inside a believable plot with a world I can immerse myself in.
2. Adventuring, discovering new places.
3. Developing a talent tree that lets me do more things (see A and B above).
4. Kicking arse.
ME1 failed somewhat on the character development. It made up for it with a pretty cool plot, and after I got used to it I quite liked the challenge of the FPS-style combat. But yeah, I killed Ashley so I could sex Kaidan and then accidentally ended up sexing Liara instead because they were both so wooden I couldn't tell whether they were flirting with me or not. And the relationship was kind of "Oh look I seem to have a blue girlfriend" rather than the *anticipateexcite* that I got from the DA romances. Also, I found the talent/weapon/armour upgrading somewhat arbitrary and the new-place discovery was marred by becoming very samey - land on planet, wobble around in the Mako for a while, kill some baddies, find some minerals and oh yeah, make sure you cover the whole map including those spiky bloody mountains that make the Mako wobble some more, get nailed unexpectedly by a thresher maw, rinse repeat on a new planet. But yeah, the plot was cool and I cared about the outcome. I just didn't care about any of my companions.
So for me, ME1 was a fun game but didn't hit the mark in the right places to make it to my 'great' list.
However, everyone's been telling me that ME2 is much better, and quite a lot of folks who liked DA also liked this - with several people placing it in their top 5 list, which among the people I know is saying something.
I think I'm about a quarter of the way through the game - I've started on the second round of companion pickups and done a couple of personal quests, been spat on by Kaidan (what the fuck ever dude you're just someone's projection of the All American Soldier Boy anyway and Jacob has a nicer arse) and scanned about a hundred fucking planets.
Planet scanning - designed to prod me right in the OCD. Must.Get.All.Minerals. Must. Now I have so many minerals all the bars are maxed out but I'm not high enough level to use them. But I can't stop scanning planets OMG WUT.
Oh and I developed a cybercrush on Garrus. Which I'm kind of rapt about because I was beginning to think this would be another game where I didn't give a crap about the people I hung out with. And mostly I don't. Miranda is annoying and smug, Jacob is Kaidan with a different veneer (and Kaidan is boring), Grunt is Wrex with an existential crisis, Mordin is a stereotypical Asperger's geek scientist (and comic relief) and Jack is Tank Girl (sans tank). I don't have the rest of them yet. Garrus, on the other hand, has a pickup quest that tells you something about what he's been up to and gives him more character. We already knew he's not keen on rules and has a lot of integrity, and the quest they wrote for him fleshes this out some. He's also the only one that doesn't seem to have a stick up his arse. Thus, I like him. He just seems more real than the others.
However, having done a couple of personal quests I'm starting to feel a little more for my other companions. This is a good thing because they don't banter so other than my interactions with them and their personal quests, they really might as well be robots with guns. I am hoping that Bioware have done what Bioware do well and that by the endgame I will care enough to agonise over the inevitable sacrifice quests, be utterly thrilled when my LI flirts with me, and genuinely feel sorry to be saying goodbye after we all save the universe together. They are definitely growing on me, and this is an excellent development.
Meanwhile, I don't know if they deliberately made the puzzles easier, or if it's just because they've changed the style from hand-eye coordination to pattern-recognition but both types of hacking play to my strengths and I haven't found anything I couldn't hack in less than half the time it allows (once I worked out what was required, that is). And so far I've only had to run 2 timer-countdown missions - which I loathe, especially when the task is 'find this impossibly well-hidden thing in 2 minutes while being shot at or your party will wipe and you'll have to start again and by the way, you can't move forward in the game till you've completed this'. The less of those, IMO, the better.
I don't really identify with my Shepard, even though to all intents and purposes she is me*, she's also a military type and I'm So.Not. I even gave her the least military background that was available right back at the start, but let's face it, this game is a war game and there's no avoiding the soldieriness of it in your main character's interactions. Which for me, makes her much less relatable. However, she is still my puppet. And she will dance! Mwuahahaha! Shepard dances like a white girl, by the way. She has no enthusiasm. Probably because she's military and has a stick up her arse. Oh well.
Overall, I'm enjoying it more than ME1 and it's growing on me. It hasn't grabbed me from the start the way the DA games did (needs more dragons n shit) but I stuck with it through the "Why do so many people rave about this?" stage because I figure if that many people love it then maybe it's me not the game and I should give it a chance. I'm starting to be glad I did. If this carries on I'll probably join the raving brigade by the end. At this point I'm at the stage where I'm mildly looking forward to my next gaming session because I want to go do Garrus's personal quest. When I start thinking about strategies before playing I'll be hooked.
I am not about to start cosplaying Jack though. Sorry Dr Wheel.
* I managed to make her look vaguely like rivet though, which makes me happy.
Also, I found out how to get A Bard's Tale running on Win7. And checked to see if Dorky Project was dry some more. And made pizza - capsicum, feta, sun dried tomato, pesto and olives (for those wot like them) ftw.
This week I'm keeping Wednesday evening free for one pombagira who is having a birthday and a gathering at Fidels for celebratory purposes. And spending the rest of the time trying to think of something to say about labelling theory for my next essay, which is due in four weeks. Last essay of my undergraduate study OMG OMG OMG last one OMfuckingG I am so over this.
la la la