Mass Effect 3

I am consumed with hype to play Dragon Age 3, which I did not expect, because I found the second game so awful I quit after a few hours, and because, in the end, I was disappointed by Mass Effect 3. But people whose tastes generally align with mine – people who loved the first Dragon Age – seem to love it, and that got my attention.

Anyway, thinking about that made me want to set down some final thoughts about ME3.

+ Most polished iteration of the ME combat system to date. A joy to play.
+ Multiplayer. The horde mode in this game was an absolute blast.
+ Tuchanka mission. Yes, everyone talks about. With good reason. At the time, I likened it to the kind of story that I’ve only seen on Deadwood, and loved a great deal. (Renegade options here).
+ Mordin. Related to the former. The writing and voice acting for Mordin is, IMO, the best in gaming to date.

– The story, overall. I’ve been very disappointed with where the story went after ME1, and it all culminated with 3. Plotlines involving unbeatable enemies tend to result in conclusions that are very unsatisfying for me, and this was no exception. Once they hit the Asari homeworld and found out about the uber secret super magic thingamajig that would save the universe, I checked out. The ending was not, in the grand scheme of things, a big deal to me because of that. There was no way the story could end in a way that I was going to like.
Grinding. Once again rearing its ugly head – here, much required to get the “best” ending – and since best in the ME games means character survival, it was important to me.
– The Tali and Garrus missions were a particular disappointment. Bad story, bad maps, and, in the former, a bad turret sequence.
– Maps generally were not very memorable.

Diablo 3 Impressions

Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls – PS4 Edition. Played through campaign with my daughter (13). We just unlocked Adventure Mode, so will update later.

Overall we’re having a great time.

+Loot engine is fantastic. 99% of drops relevant for your class. Automatic sorting of loot to appropriate player.
+Visuals have a great feel – modern take on Diablo. Act IV is a real high point.
+Skill system (once you turn on Elective Mode)
+Difficulty tuning (the game starts out way too easy – but eventually Expert, then Master, got it to where it felt a lot more like the challenge of Diablo II.
+The final boss encounter of Act IV, and the final two of Act V, are top notch. Better than anything in the predecessor games. Boss phases! Bullet hell!
+Crusader is blast.
+Treasure Goblins

-Act III drags and its palette set is drab. Azmodan fight was pointlessly easy.
-Act IV flings so many named demons and angel bosses at you, with such short fights, that they are very forgettable (kind of like the endless bosses of Dark Souls 2)
-no really memorable monsters, unlike Diablo 2
-Story is context for action, and here it is…not good. The cinematics are amazing but lack something compared to D2.