It’s the Little Things That Matter In Mass Effect 3
The Earth is burning. Mankind stands on the brink of extinction. And all I can think about is how pretty I’m going to make my future space gun look. And how much I like an old friend’s new haircut.
The Mass Effect 3 demo I caught at Gamescom came in two distinct parts, one a combat section showing the game’s more balls-to-the-wall features, the other a slightly less balls-to-the-wall section setting up the game’s story.
First up, the combat. The floaty, over-the-shoulder basics of the last two games remain unchanged, but the whole thing looked a little more involved. Players taking cover can now do a few extra things like roll out, and some melee kills come courtesy of a swish cinematic kill where Shepard whips out his/her omniblade and stabs an enemy in the heart.
Behind the scenes, a few additions to the gunplay and team command I saw were a more nuanced upgrade system (you can now level up individual traits and specific ammo types rather than general fields) and a workbench, upon which you can customise your weapons with new parts, tweak their stats and even change their appearance.
During this combat sequence, fighting Cerberus on an alien planet, Shepard kills a bunch of guys, encounters a mech (which if you can kill just the driver you can take command of) and shows off the game’s increased verticality, with more stages now spanning different levels and including more things like ladders and long drops. Not that they made a great difference to the action, but they do help in breaking up the feeling that the game is an endless parade of flat corridors.
The other stage I saw was the game’s first, on an Earth in the midst of the Reaper invasion. And while all the explosions and collapsing buildings and sombre orchestral pieces were just fine, at the end you get a look at Ashley, your old Space Nazi friend from the first Mass Effect.
Her new look has been shown before, but this was the first time I got a real good look at her. She seems much nicer now. Not that you really speak to her, but her makeoever, which includes a dramatically more feminine haircut, makes her seem friendlier. More pleasant. At least towards humans (disclaimer: she may still hate aliens).
From these two stages, it was nice to see that despite being lumbered with the shell of a game that’s nearly four years old, enough additions and tweaks have been made to make the game interesting on a level beyond just wanting to see how everything pans out in the end.
So, “EVE Online” Is Just Basically a Fraud Simulator?
As you may know, EVE Online has an economy that’s entirely player-run: banks, trading, the whole nine yards. Stealing and fraud are not banning offenses, so people can go hog wild. Which they do, to varyingdegrees. This is a game where one guild infiltrated another guild, then literally killed all the leaders and stole all their assets.
Still, this latest fraud is impressive even by those standards: a Ponzi scheme that netted them over a trillion ISK, or $50,000 in real money, if you could sell ISK, which you can’t under the rules of the game.
So were these guys griefers? Con men? Jerks? No, they just wanted to beat the game in a different way, and demonstrate that it was possible to do so within the rules established. They even feel kind of bad about ripping people off. They’re not in legal trouble because no real money ever changed hands, and the rules are pretty clear that in-game fraud is allowed.
In other words, they’re just very good at the game. Of course, now they’ve got thousands of players gunning for them to get some revenge, so we’re sure that’ll add a little spice.
Udon’sMega Man Tribute book is loaded with Mega Man fanart from talented artists (including Ashley Davis, whose entry is beyond wonderful). The company couldn’t use all the art submitted to its recent contest, however, because given the current market for Mega Man, a 2000-page book would be unprofitable.
Deviant-Art user soul-rokkuman rounded up entries not chosen for the official book, and compiled them into a fanbook called Art Buster. You can download the massive 187MB PDF for free and browse through more Mega Man art than you can comfortably deal with right now. It’s as unabridged as it can be — that idiot Cutman got nowhere near this project.