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15 July 2011 @ 07:44 pm
I really should be getting back to that video game meme. For now, I'd rather blather about my latest joy.

Due to my fondness for Fallout - with all its sci-fi world building, sidequests out the wazoo, PHAT LOOT, believable characters and dialog - various friends suggested that I play Mass Effect. It was a good recommendation. The tactical squad combat wiped the floor with me for a while, but I'm getting the hang of it, especially after scoring some super upgraded equipment. The plot is interesting and well written so far. I just wish I had the choice of speed reading the dialog like I do in Fallout, but that's a minor annoyance.

Why the title? After my frustration with KOEI's latest parade of Squeenix rejects and Bieber-banged pretty boys, it's nice to be the target audience for the game developers' concept of character attractiveness. Say hi to Kaidan, one of the possible love interests. He has a brooding, down-to-earth intelligence reminiscent of Lu Meng, which to those who know me is instant win. I don't care how cheesy the romance scenes wind up being. DO WANT

(Click the pics for hi-res awesome)

In addition to Lieutenant Sexypants, I'm traipsing around with my new best virtual broski. Quite aptly named, Wrex dispenses gravelly snark and facefuls of shotgun by the boatload. All he wants to do is zoom a zoom zoom zoom and a TICK TICK BOOM.

Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
SIBERIAN WINTER: ME2 / legiongreatfountain on July 15th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Mass Effect 1 is absolutely wonderful. The plot is one of the better crafted space operas I've ever seen, the system is fairly intuitive, and the characters are A++. I actually really enjoy both human romances? I have no time for Liara but both Kaidan and Ashley's scenes are amazing. :3

If you're playing on 360, you can skip dialogue with the X button, as far as I remember. :D? And also, lol, that's Grunt, from ME2, not Wrex lD Wrex is my jam, though, ahhhh so perfect♥
The Heavy Metal Matador: Vault Boy Winkingrydain on July 16th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
Derp. Thanks! *finds actual Wrex picture*

I am indeed playing on the 360. I've been afraid to touch buttons during dialog because I don't want to skip the whole thing by mistake. I'll see if I can page through like in Fallout.

And of course I already want to write fic when I'm only a few hours into the plot and don't even have a story idea. All I know is that I don't feel like hunting through umpty bazillion wrong-feeling Shepards to find one I want to read about. Trying to characterize a non-blatantly-self-insert Paragon!Shepard is going to be a mindfuck. I haven't worked with WRPG player characters before - I'm more used to fleshing out other archetypes who are relatable, but obviously not me.
SIBERIAN WINTERgreatfountain on July 16th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Certainly! XD

Yeah, you can skip the current line to the next if you press X. The only issue is if the dialogue wheel comes up and you're pressing X it'll pick for you. (I usually circumvent that by holding the stick to the left side so at least I'm picking a conversation option, not making a dialogue choice.)

I'm like that too, I read very very little ME fic because I find most Shepards interchangeable, tbh. I prefer to write for my own. I've found that crafting Shepards as characters before you really start to play helps a lot, but I don't know if that approach will wok for you. All 5 of my Shepards are distinct from one another to me not because 2/5 are men and the other 3 are a various combination of looks, but because I know who they actually are. I went overboard and have a whole document full of quirks and lifestyle choices, but. A lot of the Sheps in fandom are Paragon!Femsheps, and while I appreciate them--I play 2, for god's sake--there has to be more than that for it to be anything I want to pay attention to. :/
The Heavy Metal Matador: Kuribo's Shoerydain on July 16th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
A lot of the Sheps in fandom are Paragon!Femsheps, and while I appreciate them--I play 2, for god's sake--there has to be more than that for it to be anything I want to pay attention to. :/

Oh, definitely - Paragon!FemShep has some snark and interest in her lines, but she needs the player's own quirks and details to be a person rather than an interchangeable All Things to Everyone. I would guess that a lot of people have trouble filling out that detail beyond the few tidbits that the game lets you choose from for back story.

I haven't gone deeply trawling for fic - I just got turned off by my initial look at a random Kaidan/FemShep with a buttload of reviews. The writing didn't interest me in taking a chance on a Shepard introduced as a manipulative bitch, and it began as tl;dr angst, as if the setting doesn't already have enough drama in it. To hell with that - I want to see two mature and badass adults being all compatible and stuff, not Sex and the City in SPAAAAAAACE.

I didn't think of a backstory for my current Shepard - I figured some inspiration would come to me, much like it eventually did for my Fallout character. I do have some ideas centered around the tech & biotics concepts. Game!Shepard is a sentinel, and Fic!Shepard will also have some abilities in that vein. I finally nailed down some character development procedure for a site article I'm working on, so this will be a great way to try it out.
SIBERIAN WINTER: DA2 / varric. greatfountain on July 16th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, it takes someone with some creativity to make her less a cardboard cutout and more of a person.

I have that issue with a lot of Mass Effect fic--it's why I stick to OCs for the most part. Shepard and Kaidan are portrayed as highly compatible personalities if you're pushing the romance, and I really liked that, while there was certainly romance to it, they weren't angsting and miserable about it. These are two grown, badass adults, and a lot of fic seems to miss the maturity both of them are shown to have. There's more than enough drama possibility going on without adding any extra :l

I didn't have a background for my original run-through either, until after I'd played her through the first game twice and the second... three times? It took a while to settle on her class, and even longer for her personality and history to really take shape for me. The others are crafted around their classes and history choices. I've been playing an Enginner Femshep and an Adept MShep lately and digfjdgfdgk I love character classes. Idk where I'm going with this, just that I love this gaaaaame~
The Heavy Metal Matador: Cao Ren Sunsetrydain on July 16th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's definitely going to take some time in the Mass Effect world for me to get Shepard backstory inspiration. I have to get that natural, internalized sense of setting. I experienced the same with Fallout. (Which I also wanted to write fic for, and now I am because the world got into my head and took off.)

Nonsensical misery is one of my most loathed romance tropes. Angst can be endearing in awkward high school stories, and it makes sense for mercurial people who thrive on highs and lows of relationships. For two military leaders battle-hardened into protocol-minded srs bsness? I might expect some exploration of war weariness, past traumas, or even PTSD, but randomly acting half their age out of the common misconception that relationships are "boring" when people genuinely get along - pfft. I hope I get inspired for something more to your tastes.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Johnny Cashrydain on July 17th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
Well, barf.

I'm working on my character profiles already because I have a story idea and enough setting absorption to dig into my preferred themes of relation. I made the mistake of reading too far down in Kaidan's wiki article. I figured it wouldn't be any hardcore spoiler because he's mostly absent from ME2, and I already know the big old relevant ME1 spoiler.

All I'm going to say is that some Bioware writer needs a swift kick in the ding-dong because my Shepard would never be that callous. It would be fine if you had a choice, but it seems that you don't - guess they felt the need to trot out the drama llama instead of letting reasonable friction play out from the conflict of Shepard working with Cerberus. Pisses me off to see this happen in a series geared toward player-driven continuity and copious room to role play.

So glad my fic is going to be ME1 only. I refuse to let my squee get harshed. BRB, rickrolling the parties responsible.
SIBERIAN WINTER: 仮面ライダー電王 / モモgreatfountain on July 17th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
I fully admit that I found ME2 fairly disappointing when compared to ME1, and the way they handled the human romances from ME1 was definitely part of that. That said, the ME3 spoilers point toward an appropriate resolution, so I at least am hopeful.

The only plus to the whole thing is that ME2 doesn't actually take that long in real-time so my MShep who romanced Ashley didn't find it that hard to stay loyal.
Doness: Dun WTF?!donesschen on July 16th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
That IS a picture of Wrex from ME1. Grunt is more yellowy-orangey. Wrex is bright red.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Hello Kitty Cao Renrydain on July 16th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
The picture was originally a blue Krogan from a hasty image search for Wrex. I thought he was a palette swap or something and didn't realize he was a different character. I updated with an actual Wrex screenshot after she told me I had the wrong guy.
Doness: Xiahou Dun stroking bearddonesschen on July 16th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
OH, ok. I was too late then XD
SIBERIAN WINTERgreatfountain on July 16th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
It was originally a picture of Grunt, actually. :)
Doness: Xiahou Dun stroking bearddonesschen on July 16th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
Aha, quick edit XD
Perpetual Endless Noise Machine: Scud - Scud: The Disposable Assassinpenm_rx3 on July 16th, 2011 09:29 am (UTC)
/D Another fan is born <3 Next we hang out or something we should rant

Comicon is going to reveal the movie, although its generally worried about as a bomb project. We're not sure if its Shep's tale and therefore would have the original cast. Bioware has officially stated that ME3 will be the last installment of Shepard's tale, but fans have been pleasantly informed that they're happy to work on other projects (possible mmo otw). tl;dr its a good time to be invested and to be a fan, because LOTS is coming out.

Not-Karth is a possible playable teammate for ME3, so you're lined up and good!

Chroma Keychromal on July 17th, 2011 09:15 am (UTC)
Oh awesome. Completely coincidentally, I bought ME1 and ME2 on Steam about eight days ago for $15. Money well spent, I was hooked on ME1, and completed it and started ME2 yesterday. XD

It's well-written, has way above average voice acting, and is a lot of fun on the PC. Like most games with FPS elements, I couldn't imagine enjoying it without a keyboard and mouse, and appreciate being able to play it at higher resolutions and qualities than game consoles on my PC.

It's like the best possible mix of Star Command 2, Babylon V, and for some reason, playing it through as 'red shepherd' (female), which for some reason, reminds me of Elizabeth Weir from Stargate Atlantis. Wrex is awesome, as is Thane from ME2.
The Heavy Metal Matador: Dezolianrydain on July 17th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
Knowing your avid appreciation for sci-fi, I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the writing and world building. I was fond of sci-fi myself many years ago - read a bunch of Bradbury, wrote a neverending novel about some kid my age on an extraterrestrial colony - but fell out of touch with the genre for some reason. I've also been jaded by typical game scripts, especially because I just got through a title (inFamous) that wasted its nifty premise on oversimplified Good Guys Bad Guys blah.

The world of Mass Effect draws me in, is solidly thought out, and even pings my old sci-fi nostalgia. I get the same sense of believable futurism, drama, and OOH SHINY AESTHETICS that drew me to Phantasy Star II as a kid, to the extent where I find myself listening to the PSII soundtrack while working on my Shepard back story.

I've been taking my time with my first playthrough, and I have ME2 lined up and ready to go thereafter. Console play isn't bad, though the aim rather annoys me - I'm not sure it snaps to targets all that much. I've been having fun abusing biotics and tech and letting Wrex handle most of the firepower. The squad AI is competent in my experience.