Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vanguard Insanity

Insanity game award.
Well I finished playing Mass Effect 2 on insanity level with a Vanguard character.  I’m all set for Mass Effect 3.  I’ll use this save game to import my character for Mass Effect 3.  I must admit I really came to like the Vanguard class while doing this insanity run through.  I think when Mass Effect 3 arrives my first play through will be with a Vanguard.  I used the Mass Effect Genesis downloadable content so I was able to make all the major decision choices of Mass Effect and have them incorporated in this Mass Effect 2 play through.
The biotic power Charge is fun when you get the hang of it.  I can say that Charge probably got me killed as many times as it saved me!  Seems I had a skill for charging into a group of enemies or finding multiple enemies that show up as only one dot on the map.  Hate it when that happens.  Then again charging is great way to recover you shield strength and get a few seconds to find some cover to hide behind.  Thanks to those who left me some Vanguard play tips when I was starting.
Generally Charge is a great biotic power if you think before you charge.  If you’re not in some critical mission failure situation you can use Charge to scoot around the outskirts of battlefield to your advantage.  Once you get a feel for the fight and the terrain use charge to attack isolated or weakened enemies.  After you slam into them use the weapon of your choice to kill them and then take cover. Charge is also handy for knocking enemies of ledges to let them fall to their death or combined with other biotic powers such as Pull.

Here's a short video of my Vanguard using Charge during the Collector Ship Infiltration mission to move forward to open the vents for, Kasumi, my technician.  Followed by a couple clips of charging to knock enemies off platforms and the popular charge and blast away (with your weapon of choice) move.

Many times when you pick off an enemy in this manner you’ll have positioned yourself on the flank or behind the other enemies.  You’ll be able to easily shoot them in the back.  When they begin to react to you that opens them up to attacks from your squad.  Then continue to “rinse and repeat” with Charge.  A great little side benefit of using Charge is that your shields get recharged.
Oh two things of interest on this play through.  I had a change of heart and didn't kill off Tali.  Also, I didn't have enough Renegade or Paragon points to kill Smara and make Mornith a member of the crew.  When the cut scene played Mornith asked for me to save her but I didn't have any dialog choices to save her.  Not sure why I couldn't kill Samara, perhaps I didn't use the charm or intimidate option at the right time.  Mass EffectWiki's advice is:

                     "Shepard then has a choice to kill either Samara or Morinth if the charm 
                     or intimidate option was used. Killing Samara is considered to be the 
                     Renegade outcome, though Paragon Shepards are also able to choose this 
                     outcome as it is dependent only on having a high score in either morality, 
                     not in a particular one. Has anybody saved Mrnith and killed Samara?" 

So if you want to save Mornith perhaps your outcome will be better.  Here is a video of Shepard interceding to help Mornith if you haven't seen it.

When are the Mass Effect 3 Collector Editions going to arrive; on March 6th or a day or two before?  I’m ready are you?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mass Effect Firing the Arc Projector

Arc Projector
The Arc Projector is my favorite heavy weapon is Mass Effect 2.  I hope that it along with my favorite Mass Effect 2 characters make it into Mass Effect 3.  You can get an Arc Projector by download through the Cerberus Network.

Although the M-920 Cain with its devastation and mushroom cloud after effect is the big boy of Mass Effect 2 heavy weapons, there are many reasons why in most instances I like the Arc Projector more. (See Firing the M-920 Cain post.)

A Husk hit by the Arc Projector.

Here is why you should consider the Arc Projector as your everyday heavy weapon.  You can carry enough ammo to get off 10 shots. (I think that's the max, if somebody knows the max Arc Projector ammo leave me a comment.)


“The Arc Projector ionizes targets with a nonvisible laser to ready them for a high-voltage electrical attack.  As the lightning-like bolt hits its first target, a sophisticated auto-targeting system paints succeeding targets with the ionization laser, allowing the electricity to take the path of least resistance and arc between them. An entire enemy strike team can be shocked to death with a few pulls of the trigger.”


The Arc Projector has a two second charge time compared to four for the M-920.  You also get the benefits of the biotic powers Overload and Reave when firing the Arc Projector.  It is a great area affect weapon to use against multiple targets as it jumps from target to target.  It destroys shields, armor and health as well as paralyzes targets for a few seconds.  In many cases this gives you enough time to finish them off with a weapon or biotic power.  In addition to all this it also detonates pyro and other explosives doing additional damage to your targets. Check out the video and you’ll see these affects and why the Arc Projector is a good choice to take with you especially when outnumbered.



Any mission that has multiple targets, or waves of enemies is a good one to take the Arc Projector with you.  For example when you retrieve the Reaper IFF you could use the Arc Projector to great affect on the packs of Husks and Scions along with other area affect weapons such as the InfernoGrenade.

The main negative with the M-920 Cain is that it is a heavy weapons ammo hog.  If you are maxed out on heavy weapon ammo, the most you can fire the M-920 is twice.  So you have to make sure that your one or two M-920 shots are fired at the right time in a mission.  (Don’t miss the Human Reaper like I did.  Yes, I missed him.) Granted, however that two hits from the M-920 kills just about anything with the exception of the Human Reaper and some other “bosses” on insane difficulty level. (I used the Cain on the dual Mechs towards the end of Garrus’s loyalty mission on insane difficulty and one shot didn’t kill them.  It did wipe out their shields and reduce their armor to about 50 percent, which was very helpful. See video below.)



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Demo more video

As I promised here is more video from the Mass Effect 3 Demo for Xbox 360.  I've broken it down into several videos so they aren't to long.

The first is the opening sequence and Commander Shepard's trial.

Here is the rendezvous with the Normandy where Shepard and Anderson have to hold the pickup zone from Scions while waiting for the Normandy to arrive.

Finally here is part of the beginning of the fight with Garrus and Liara on the Salarian home world of Sur"Kesh, to save the Krogran Female.  Also shows the biotic power Nova.  Looking at it now I can see that Nova did have an affect unlike what I said yesterday.  Obviously I just didn't see it while playing the game.  The ending is on my previous Mass Effect 3 Demo post.  The squad point system for Vanguard and the Assault Mastery is shown also.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Demo

-->Alright, I downloaded the Mass Effect 3 demo for Xbox 360 tonight.  Here are my first impressions.
  • The graphics are awesome.  (Better than Mass Effect 2 and I thought those were great.  Mass Effect 3’s graphics are better.)
  • It was hard to aim.  The aiming recital is light blue and then turns red when pointed at a target and doesn’t show up well against targets.
  • The “action” seem slow in the sense that the running, turning, scrolling left/right/up/down seemed to take longer.  (I did feel this seemed to become more normal as I played longer.)
  • There is some type of weird auto-targeting.  If you are shooting at an enemy and take cover when you pop back up you will auto-target a different enemy rather than the one you were shooting at.  I don't like this.
Ashley, Shepard and Anderson
I played as a Vanguard.  Vanguard is becoming my favorite class. 
    •  I had the following biotic powers and ammo:
      • Charge – seemed the same as Mass Effect 2
      • Had a new power Nova that is a high powered shock wave that gets its power from your shields.  So it drains your shields when you use it.  I used it several times and didn’t notice any affect.  (Perhaps I didn’t see shields, armor or health go down.  But certainly enemies didn’t get knocked over like with Shockwave.) 
      • Pull
      • Shockwave
      • Assault Mastery
      • Fitness
      • Cyro Ammo
      • Incendiary Ammo
      • Squad mates had Warp Ammo and Armor Piercing Ammo
      • All ammo seemed the same as Mass Effect 2 
      • I’ll update weapons after I render the video.  But I had a pistol, assault rifle, submachine gun, shot gun and some heavy weapon. 
      • The squad point system for biotics is more like Mass Effect but they now have a WOW like tree for some powers.  But is more an either this or that affect for your powers.
Vanguard Point Allocation
Assault Mastery Point Allocation
New Alliance Normandy

  • Characters encountered:
    • Wrex 
      •  A female Krogan.  (Never before seen in the game.)
    • Garrus 
    •  Liara 
    •  Ashley 
    •  Vega 
    •  Admiral Anderson
    • Mordin 
    •  No Miranda, Kasumi, Grunt, Legion, Zaeed, Jack, Thane, Jacob, Samara/Morinth in the demo.  Not happy about how it appears that EA/BioWare has not given Mass Effect 2 characters an import role.  None have been mentioned as squad members as of yet.    Hope I am wrong about this.

Tomorrow I'll try to get some more Mass Effect 3 video up.  It's rendering right now but it's a big file and I can't stay up waiting for it to finish.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mass Effect Liar of the Shadow Broker

Liara T'Soni in the Lair of the Shadow Broker
Regardless if you are a fan of Liara T'Soni or not you should get the downloadable content the Lair of the Shadow Broker.  For fans of Liara this assignment brings several missions with Liara (although technically it’s just one mission though) and also some closure perhaps, for those of you who romanced Liara in Mass Effect.  You should download this most importantly because it’s fun and there are some worthwhile rewards.
All of the missions and fights in this assignment are exciting and challenging.  From the bombing and fights in the Dracon Trade Center, to the “car” chase through Illium resulting in a show down with a rogue Spectre, to the fight on the exterior of the Shadow Broker’s ship and the final show down with the Shadow Broker; it’s all good.

SPOILER ALERT:  The following video, although clocking in a bit long at 10 minutes, shows The Lair of the Shadow Broker assignment through cut scenes and limited game combat.  So if you don't want to see the game play or know how it ends if  you haven't played it don't watch.

The car chase through Illium is especially fun and a big change of pace from the usual Mass Effect events.  I especially like the segment on the outside of the Shadow Broker’s ship.  The graphic effects of a ship on the edge of a planet’s atmosphere are well done with the wind, lightening and other affects.  Also working your way through the maze of the exterior of this ship to find the access port is challenging and fun.  Through in some good fights along with lots of cover and lightening arresters holding lots of lightening that you can discharge and there is a great deal to like about this segment of Shadow Broker.
Shadow Broker
Once the mission is over you get access to the Shadow Broker’s Intel Center.  I won’t go through every thing in Intel Center but there are information dossiers on characters that makes for some fun reading, mineral survey information that for example will show you where all the planets with Element Zero are and a video surveillance room where you can watch videos of people the Shadow Broker was keeping an eye in the sky on.  There are also numerous upgrades and resources to be gained making this must have content for the Mass Effect fan or gamer.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Mass Effect Universe

Mass Effect: Revelation
Since this blog is supposed to be about all things Mass Effect, I think for this post I’ll talk about something other than the video games.  What, there are other Mass Effect things besides the video games???  Yes there are!
Have you ever read any of the Mass Effect books?  I’ve only read one.  I read Mass Effect: Revelation some time ago.  Since then, another three books have been released.  Mass Effect: Revelation is a prequel to the original Mass Effect video game.
This book provides a great deal of background information about Mass Effect in general and specifically the characters David Anderson and Saren Arterius.  Additionally there is much to learn about the Citadel, Council, races, and theory of mass effect fields etc.  I do feel that reading this book helps to make playing the Mass Effect video games more fun because you have more information about the characters, locations and technologies and that gives you a greater connection to your overall game experience.
If you enjoy Mass Effect and are interested in diving a little deeper into the Mass Effect Universe I recommend that you read Mass Effect: Revelation or one of the other Mass Effect books.  When I decide to read a series of books like this I always start with the first book and go from there.
I enjoyed reading Mass Effect: Revelation and do recommend it to anybody interested in Mass Effect.  Although I felt that Revelation was fun to read as entertainment, I doubt Revelation or the other Mass Effect books won any high-end literary prizes.  But then again that's not their purpose.
Star Trek: Destiny
Halo: Flood
I feel that they are on par with any number of similar genre franchise books such as the Star Trek or Halo series of science fiction books.  The Star Trek books were a spin off of the original and subsequent television shows.  The Halo series of books owes their success to the Halo video games and both provide a similar blueprint for Mass Effect books to follow. 
There is certainly enough content in the Mass Effect Universe to sustain the production of these type books.  It would certainly be hard to catch up to Star Trek in the number of books released but Mass Effect can match the quality of the story lines and quality of the writing.  Perhaps EA/Bioware or Del Rey Books should try to publish one or two Mass Effect books a year?  If they were to allow wide variety of authors to submit books such as the Star Trek series it wouldn’t be difficult to produce one or two books a year.  Additionally by allowing other authors to write for Mass Effect they would perhaps give some unknown writers a chance at being discovered, as well getting new characters, stories and ideas that they could draw upon for future video games.
Yes, I think there will be a fourth Mass Effect video game in the future.  It won’t include Commander Shepard as EA/Bioware has said with certainty that this is the end of Commander Shepard’s story.  Who’s to say there aren’t other protagonists and antagonists worthy of a new Mass Effect video game after Commander Shepard?
As for other books, I’m currently about to finish the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and highly recommend George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Seriously, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the best series of books I’ve ever read.  Once you get all the characters straight its awesome.  Pulse you can watch it on the new HBO series Game of Thrones.
The Mass Effect books are available in the iTunes store for iPad so perhaps Mass Effect: Ascension is next on my "to read" list.  So if it is on the iTunes I'm sure you can get it electronically for a Kindle or a Nook also.  If you're old school you can get it in paper back!
Sorry no video with this post.  I didn’t think that a video of a book or me reading would have any entertainment value!!!!  lol

Almost immediately after this post I came across stories about mistakes in the fourth Mass Effect book, Mass Effect: Deception.  There is one link but you can find many other links to similar stories with a quick search online.  It seems EA/BioWare/Del Ray books hired Mr. William C. Dietz, a professional writer with a significant resume of science fiction books, to write this book instead of using Drew Karpyshyn.  Mr. Karpyshyn is a Mass Effect insider and author of the first three Mass Effect books.  Seems the new Mass Effect author may not have researched the Mass Effect universe in depth.  Fans noted so many errors that they started posting the errors online and asking EA/BioWare/Del Ray to fix the errors.  You can see the document here.

Score one for the fans and EA/BioWare/Del Ray as they did the right thing and have recalled the book and promised to correct the errors and re-issue the book.  If you have one hold on to it as it may be a collectors item some day.

BioWare Community chief Chris Priestly posted a message on their official forums responding to complaints of fans:  "The teams at Del Rey and BioWare would like to extend our sincerest apologies to the Mass Effect fans for any errors and oversights made in the recent novel Mass Effect: Deception. We are currently working on a number of changes that will appear in future editions of the novel."

In spite of this gaff I still recommend the books for fans of Mass Effect who want know more about the characters, politics, technology of Mass Effect.  If you're a starving writer perhaps you should submit a novel.  Just be sure that your writing doesn't contradict Mass Effect lore and other factoids from previous video games, books and comics etc!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mass Effect Hard Fights; At least to me!

All games, Mass Effect included, have some parts, fights or boss fights that for some reason are harder than others.  These might vary from person to person.  Some people breeze through things I find hard and vice versa.
Two fights that for some reason usually give me fits are “Stop the Collectors; Investigate the Collector Ship” and “Grunt: Rite of Passage.”  Perhaps they give you fits also, perhaps not?  What fights give you the most trouble?
For the most part you can beat any fights in the game with any squad mates.  There are some fights though where your squaddies and their biotics/weapons/armor make a big difference.  I usually take characters with me that I like because of their story line. But there are some fights where you need to take certain squaddies rather than your usual peeps.  Also where in the timeline of game play you accept the assignment also makes a difference.  For example are you doing a mission early while you are low level and with less fire power, armor and biotics?  Some fights are harder than others.  A harder fight might be more difficult if your character is still at a low level.
For example, I almost always take Miranda with me.  As I said in an earlier post I max out her Warp and Overload biotics.  Miranda is great at stripping away shields and armor so you can kill things.  On Insane level all enemies have armor and most have both shields and armor.  So I find her useful.  Plus I like her storyline.  She’s my go to girl in Mass Effect.  The third character I try to pick based on who I think is best suited for the mission. 
But here are two assignments that I find hard, where having the right squad can really make your life much easier.
Collector Ship
The first is “Stop the Collectors; Investigate the Collector Ship.”  In this mission you go to a disabled collector ship and quickly end up in a fight on the flying platforms in the collector ship.  For some reason this fight is just a huge blood bath for me. I have found that in order to be successful you have to kill the Collectors and the Collector General on the flying platforms as fast as possible.  You can’t let the Collector General close in on you; that’s always bad in this fight.

 Additionally there are two Scions on the platforms that will wreak havoc on you and your team with their Shockwave.  The Scion on the moving platform that moves from directly in front to your right is the most dangerous.  Killing this Scion is a priority as the other is so far away it’s not much of a threat.  Between killing Collectors bust the Scion with biotics or weapons fire whenever possible. Once it is killed your chance of success goes up dramatically.

Another is “Grunt: Rite of Passage.”  This is another hard one for me.  Although the last time I did it was on Insane and it went rather well.  I think that's because I brought Zaeed and punted Miranda. In this fight you need to do as much damage as fast as possible and preferably also do simultaneous damage to multiple targets; i.e. area biotics/weapons attacks.  In addition to bringing Zaeed I also retrained my biotics and swapped Reave for Inferno Grenade. Combined with Zaeed that gave me two really good area affects weapons to use on the packs of Varren and Klixen. Staying alive against the Thresher Maw is relatively easy.  But trying to kill the Thresher Maw is harder than running out the clock because you expose yourself to its attacks in order to attack yourself.

In the fight against the Varren and Klixen it is best if you can kill them at long ranges before they get to you.  However that's just not going to happen, as you’ll be over run by the packs eventually. So what I try to do once it becomes a close in fight is get as many together as I can in a group and use my area weapons; in this case the Inferno Grenade works great.  Observe and learn grasshopper.

What fights do you find hard?  How do you approach them?  How do you fight “Stop the Collectors; Investigate the Collector Ship” and “Grunt: Rite of Passage?”