What is an RPG without the “R” and the “P?” [Mass Effect 3]

Earlier in the year, just prior to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, I aimed to tackle the original ME trilogy in a speedy manner. At the time, I only got through the first two games. Thanks to a recent lull, I was able to complete my original endeavor by finally doing a “speed-run” through ME3! How did things turn out? Click on to Virtual Bastion to find out!

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image by Flick user mrwynd (CC BY 2.0)

Just prior to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda in March, I chose to play through as many of the original Mass Effect games as I could. Due to limits in free time, I opted for a streamlined approach to the games in order to play each from beginning to end. I managed to make my way through Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 using the following set of rules:

  1. Play on casual to keep combat to a minimum.
  2. Choose conversation options from the right side (non-investigative) of the conversation wheel.
  3. If a high enough paragon level was attained, choose the paragon conversation options when presented.
  4. Ignore all extraneous interactions with anyone, anywhere.
  5. Ignore all sidequests.
  6. Ignore most looting opportunities.
  7. With team assembled, choose only two companions with whom to complete the game.
  8. Only upgrade Shepard and two companions.

Upon…

View original post 1,454 more words

What is an RPG without the “R” and the “P”? [Part 1 of 2]

This past March, in the few weeks leading up to Mass Effect: Andromeda’s release, I opted to take on the challenge of playing through as as much of the original trilogy as I could. But with time being short, and those games being long, I was faced with only one choice: speed(ish) runs! (Relatively speaking.) With rules, of course. (Otherwise there was no way in hell I was going to be able to reign myself in!) Surprisingly, I managed to make it through both ME 1 and 2, and I documented my progress on Virtual Bastion. Here’s part 1 of my 2-part post.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image by Flick user mrwynd (CC BY 2.0)

When I decided at the beginning of March that yes, okay, I’d invest in Mass Effect: Andromeda, I thought that it might be fun to play through what I could of the original trilogy before Andromeda was released. But with my gaming time being limited, and with upwards of a several dozen hours, if not more, required for each game, I knew that there was no way I could complete any of the games to their fullest extents in just a couple weeks. It was a quandary.

But then, I thought, what if I didn’t complete the games to their fullest extents? What if I only played through each game’s main story? Having never put less than a standard work-week’s time into any of my playthroughs of any of the individual Mass Effect titles, I thought it could…

View original post 718 more words

Mass Effect: Andromeda — Screenshot Theater

When life gets busy, there’s nothing like a good ol’ screenshot gallery, amirite?

Wait, what?

Nothing. Never mind. It’s just that I made this super quick Mass Effect: Andromeda screenshot theater video for Virtual Bastion’s YouTube channel, and you should totally check it out. Totally.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Being over three weeks old now, Mass Effect: Andromeda feels a little like old news. Most people I know who have it have already completed at least one playthrough. Speedy hares they are! I, on the other hand, am the tortoise in this gaming race — slow and steady. And yes, this is a fancy way of saying that I haven’t made much progress in the game since my first impressions post. (sigh)

View original post 304 more words

Initial Impressions of Mass Effect: Andromeda

ICYMI: I’m playing Mass Effect: Andromeda! Had a bit of a rough start, but I think we’re all good now. Click on to read my first impressions of the game as posted to United We Game.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Despite having a wholly exhausting Tuesday (the 21st – release day), I was determined to enjoy all that Mass Effect:Andromeda could offer that evening. The game downloaded in just a couple hours (score one for the new PC!).  After all my nighttime chores, I settled in, only to be met by…uh…sputtering? Well, not immediate sputtering. The game loaded up fine, and I created a new female Ryder. After that is when the sputtering started. The initial opening scenes cut in and out like a buffering video. It happened intermittently every handful of seconds or so, but then things smoothed out after the title card appeared. Once the story began, it looked like I was good to go. No sputtering, no “buffering.”

View original post 865 more words

Okay Mass Effect: Andromeda, You Got Me

It was only a mere 18 days ago that I decided to give in to Mass Effect: Andromeda. For whatever it was worth, I was on the fence about it for awhile, being excited, then not excited, then totally meh, and then excited enough to place my pre-order. The “me” of years past probably wouldn’t have been so flip-floppy about it, but what can I say? It just took a little more convincing this time around. What drove me into the positive about Andromeda? In large part, it was thanks to new gameplay videos and news stories like the one I riffed off in this United We Game post.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image (©Bioware) by Flickr user inforumatik (CC)Image (©Bioware) by Flickr user inforumatik (CC)

Regular readers might have caught a post I wrote a c ouple months ago in which I was a little down on Mass Effect: Andromeda. Unfortunately, I was harboring some bad thoughts about what Andromeda was purported to be back in early December, and that something was, as I perceived it, a mere shade of what I had hoped from a new Mass Effect adventure.

Well, here we are now, just twenty days away from Andromeda’s release, and…yep, I have to admit that I’ve changed my tune. I am now, fully and without exception, all aboard the Andromeda train. Woo woo!

View original post 814 more words

Unforgettable: Thresher Maw vs. Reaper Destroyer

United We Game‘s “Unforgettable” series is all about those moments in games that stick with you well beyond the credits. Having recently completed the Mass Effect trilogy, “Unforgettable” provided me the perfect opportunity to relive and discuss one of the series most memorable and jaw-dropping scenes: the Thresher Maw vs. The Reaper destroyer in Mass Effect 3. The scene between the two giants is brief, but it remains one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed in a game.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image from Flickr user Ryan Somma (CC)Image from Flickr user Ryan Somma (CC)

One of my favorite general moments in entertainment, from books to movies to games, is the unexpected save from the jaws of doom. Someone or a group of people is in the gravest of grave danger. The situation looks absolutely bleak, and things are only going to get worse unless help arrives. Only, there’s no chance of help. The end is truly nigh! But then, suddenly (or seemingly so) a savior comes out of nowhere to snatch the person or group right out of the clingy hands of death! And doom is abated once more.

It’s a classic scenario that we see over and over again – from Star Wars to Jurassic Park — and it gets me every time. I’m easily sucked into watching or reading scenes where it looks like curtains for our heroes, only for them to find…

View original post 445 more words

Thoughts on Mass Effect: Andromeda as an Open World Game

Since first publishing this post on Mass Effect: Andromeda over on United We Game, there hasn’t been much in the way of new news about it. Could it be that Bioware is waiting until E3 next month to offer up some more reveals? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Till then, here are my own scintillating (haha) thoughts on what could be and shouldn’t be in the new Mass Effect adventure.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image by Flickr user Beautiful Games (CC)Image by Flickr user Beautiful Games (CC)

It’s recently come to light that Mass Effect: Andromeda might be an open world game, one with a “seamless, open world galaxy,” as the headlines state. Seeing has how I’m currently knee-deep in the vivacious world of the original Mass Effect trilogy (on ME2 now, and loving it more than before), I couldn’t help but wonder what the games would have been like if they had been open world games, a la GTA IV and V instead of the mission-based games that they are.  Does the gaming landscape need an open world Mass Effect game? Would it be good for the series? Are we talking, like, No Man’s Sky meets Dragon Age: Inquisition or something else? And what would that mean for players? Would it have to be connected to the Internet to play? How…?  Why…?

View original post 765 more words

Mass Effect and that “Welcome Home” Feeling

We all like comfort. Cushy chairs, a big bowl of hot macaroni and cheese on a cold day, the embrace of a loved one. Comfort. The term can be applied to games too — those games that just make you feel good, feel competent, feel comfortable. I didn’t really think of Mass Effect as being my “comfort food” of games until I recently ventured back into its world. As I wrote in this article for United We Game, Mass Effect is a game (and a game series) that makes me feel welcome and feel like I’m really, truly home.

VIRTUAL BASTION

Image by Flickr user Beautiful Games (CC)Image by Flickr user Beautiful Games (CC)

Despite having a very full gaming plate right now (I’ll be back someday soon with more Twilight Princess), my recent experience replaying Red Dead Redemption seems to have infected my gaming motives, as I now very strongly want to revisit other “favorite” games from my past. To that end, I recently started playing Mass Effect. Again. The first one. The one that I played through four times (almost five and six) before deciding it was time to move on. Though its sequels remain fairly fresh in mind, it’s been a good eight years since I played the original game. Thanks to having a very robust urge to trade games in the past, we no longer had the original games, but we picked up the full trilogy for the Xbox 360 over the holidays. Now with this new impetus to…

View original post 581 more words