Mass Effect 3 Review

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The.Bard:

Daystar Clarion:
Tell me about.

I'm aching to play the game (supid EU release) date, just so I can form my own opinion.

I won't be terribly surprised to find that I love the game and that all the hate is internet buisness as usual.

By the Goddess, I am so so sorry. That sucks. 8(

I can say this, I'm only ten hours in, but I absolutely love it so far. It's true to the manner in which I enjoy the series, and that's more than enough for me.

Is it perfect? No. No game ever will be. But I absolutely think this takes the best RPG elements from ME1 and blends them perfectly with the suave combat of ME2. It's damn good, and it's keeping me enthralled so far.

The hate is absolutely business as usual on the internet. I love the guy who posted that every single ending of the game sucks. Seriously, if one day after release you've already seen every single ending, your opinion is irrelevant to me. It means you're lying, or you set the game to action and skipped past every resulting "cut scene" that was left.

Oh, and lastly, I played the "From Dusty Cigarette Butt Ashes" DLC last night, and I thought fondly of Zeel. Good ol' Zeel, I imagine him in a straight jacket right about now, frothing at the mouth while they put an ME3-playthrough on a tv for him... hahah.

That's good to hear.

I too, shall be thinking of Zeel as I download The EA Brain Control Device From Ashes DLC.

I think his suspension is up, isn't it?

Daystar Clarion:

The.Bard:

That's good to hear.

I too, shall be thinking of Zeel as I download The EA Brain Control Device From Ashes DLC.

I think his suspension is up, isn't it?

Hmmmm. It might be. I'm sure 'll regret saying this, but I'm really curious to get a spoiler-free impression from him of the game in general. Maybe I'll send him a message after I've beaten the game, just in case he throws spoilers in.

You'll be happy to know in addition to From Ashes, their other Day 1 DLC, the "EA Marketing Troll Contractual Device Implant," is actually a free download on the disc - literally. Using nanotechnology embedded into the edge of the cd itself, all you need to do is pick it up to become a "Biobot," or whatever the popular term is. Biodrone?

This is why the people who pirate the game still retain independent thought enough to see through the facade. Cuz they never touch the disc.

I'm kind of curious to how The Escapist gleefully lies in their review of the game. Or, for that matter, how angry and hostile their defenses in this thread have been.

But as far as the game, having now played it and having my flatmate play it, we've come to the following conclusions:

- Your choices don't matter, or they've been retconned.
- All endings are the same, no matter what you've done in any ME game so far.
- The endings leave almost all questions unanswered, despite Bioware saying that they would be.
- Shepard is no longer your character, despite Bioware making a big deal (and a major selling point) about CHOICE. Everything is forced on you now for the sake of z-grade storytelling.
- The dialog wheel has been trimmed down massively for the sake of interactive movies. Goodbye last remnants of RPG illusions.
- The game has a massive bug at the end, which either is a huge plot hole or such a major design oversight that it feels like Bioware has just stopped giving a crap.

Personally, I'm sad that I spent the money on the game and how the amount of time and thought I've invested in the series as a whole has been utterly pissed on by a developer who seems to have fallen from being almost a surefire sign of quality into EA owned crap, who treat their customers with, at best, disdain and hostility.

SpiderJerusalem:

- Your choices don't matter, or they've been retconned.
- All endings are the same, no matter what you've done in any ME game so far.

Considering the amount of choices in all three games, I'm curious as to how you know these two things for a fact.

Other than that: Preordered via Origin, bought From Ashes, downloaded, waiting for EU release to clock in.

I feel bad about ME3, really bad
I LOVED ME1
It hit sweet spot between TPS and RPG
I loved every aspect of the game even those that a lot of people found bad/annoying
Setting, story, role system, gameplay, MAKO, inventory, EVERYTHING
It was RPG as much as it was TPS
And after Final battle there was ending song M4(partII) by Faunts. God, I love that song. I sat through credits, I was astonished, I was speechless, lines between game and reality blurred, that was best moment I ever experienced with any game.
After founding and listening to part1 of M4, I expected that it will be used for opening scene in ME2 (I simply knew there will be ME2)

Then I got my hands on ME2
And disappointments came one after another- role system was heavily cut, inventory was close to non-existing, way how thermoclips were done made no sense, even MAKO was gone.
ME2 wasn't RPG anymore, it was TPS with upgradable abilities and good non-linear story, but it was RPG as much as Fable. RPG-ultra-lite, RPG for dummies, babies first RPG, primitive, simplistic, dumb- all these things went through my head as I played ME2.
Rage, disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment are only few of emotions I have when thinking about ME franchise. As I finished I promised myself that I won't buy ME3 unless there is improvement. Developers claimed that they know about criticism, and they will try to make role system and inventory closer to one from ME1. I hoped it will be true. But from what I have seen and read about ME3, again it is only more ME2 (Now with 100% more Origin)

So let me conclude that I won't play this game.
My Shepard is dead
What I saw in ME2 was only reanimated, soulless husk
His soul left with the original Normandy

Karathos:

SpiderJerusalem:

- Your choices don't matter, or they've been retconned.
- All endings are the same, no matter what you've done in any ME game so far.

Considering the amount of choices in all three games, I'm curious as to how you know these two things for a fact.

Other than that: Preordered via Origin, bought From Ashes, downloaded, waiting for EU release to clock in.

Because between my flatmate, myself and the number of our friends who ALL bought the game and have no played it and compared results, we've narrowed it down to that simple fact. This has been confirmed by tons of people on the Bioware forums as well, including Devs who've essentially told gamers "tough luck, it's our game, nyahnyahnyah".

Biggest gripe is that almost everything in part 2 that was trumpeted as being important (The Rachni, the Geth, AI etc etc) have all been either retconned or are mentioned in brief passing. Hell, the game doesn't even recognize the fact that you've played through the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission! They simply ignore it!

Lazy development, lazy storytelling and a huge, huge disappointment.

The.Bard:

The hate is absolutely business as usual on the internet. I love the guy who posted that every single ending of the game sucks. Seriously, if one day after release you've already seen every single ending, your opinion is irrelevant to me. It means you're lying, or you set the game to action and skipped past every resulting "cut scene" that was left.

Or you watched them on youtube since they were up from about Thursday to about Sunday night when EA went around closing youtube vids. Or watched the walk throughs which have been up since about Sunday.

Can't really deny that the hate isn't businesses as usual, but I will state that Bioware's PR reps mishandling of certain leaks and several statements being revealed as misleading did fan the flames in significant ways.

BaronIveagh:

The.Bard:

The hate is absolutely business as usual on the internet. I love the guy who posted that every single ending of the game sucks. Seriously, if one day after release you've already seen every single ending, your opinion is irrelevant to me. It means you're lying, or you set the game to action and skipped past every resulting "cut scene" that was left.

Or you watched them on youtube since they were up from about Thursday to about Sunday night when EA went around closing youtube vids. Or watched the walk throughs which have been up since about Sunday.

Can't really deny that the hate isn't businesses as usual, but I will state that Bioware's PR reps mishandling of certain leaks and several statements being revealed as misleading did fan the flames in significant ways.

You raise a very valid point about the youtube vids. I can't deny it's a valid opinion, but if I was on the fence, I wouldn't even consider steering my decision around an opinion formed from youtube. The context, the feeling of being connected to the decisions, the gameplay... it's just not there.

Case in point, I watched a "walkthrough" of Heavy Rain once, and I thought it stunk. Played at a friend's house, and it seemed much less ridiculous. Same premise applies to me here: being in & connected to the moment is different than watching a video of it.

The leaks are tough. 3 major ones, none of them Bioware's fault. They were in a tough position where they couldn't elaborate or defend themselves without dishing major spoilers. I'm finding it nearly impossible to talk about what I think of ME3 so far with my friend who is still only halfway through ME2. Other than talking about the guns, I can't say anything without ruining some portion of the experience for him.

Plus - if you'll allow me a small not-directed-at-you rant here - hating Bioware is the cool kid thing these days. I personally know more than a few people who have never played a Bioware game and will still say they hate their last few games w/ straight faces. It's very hard to hear people complaining so vehemently without assuming they are just blindly following the masses.

Heck, more than half of this thread are posts accusing the Escapist of lying about the review. So we can't have differing opinions anymore? Ok, guys, it's fine if you don't like ME3 or Bioware. Some of us do. But you think Susan must be lying because she - and most of the other people reviewing ME3, it appears - like the game a lot? Grow up, you closed-minded judgmental jimminy crickets.

BaronIveagh:
did not get bylines, do not work in the field anymore and had my last gasp two years ago.

BaronIveagh:

Susan, the problem is that I've been told what to write by my bosses about more then one EA release. DA2 was a 'GOTY' and a '9 out of 10' before they ever let me see it, because EA was dumping more advertising dollars on us then God. Then I got to play it and it sucked.

DA2 came out one year ago, get your stories straight.

The best part of the game?

You can tell Chobot's character to go away and you never have to see her again.

And here I thought James was bad, but after a minute of talking with her, I'll take his jersey shore, random spanish shouting, douchebagness any day.

ZeroMachine:
I've been playing it all day...

This game... is like... if Awesome crapped out Awesome onto a silver platter made of Awesome and gave me two Awesome spoons to eat it with.

But... I threw the spoons away. Because it also gave me Awesome Biotics so I could eat the Awesome off the Awesome silver platter without my hands so I could continue playing Mass Effect 3 while eating the Awesome with my brain.

My one, ONE complaint so far, is that I don't have as much control in conversations as I would have hoped, ESPECIALLY near the beginning of the game. Control of Sheppard is taken away from me far too much for my liking.

But I don't care because the rest of it is AWESOME and totally makes up for it.

You shut up! I hate the game. I hate the entire thing. You know why???

BECAUSE I CAN'T MAGICALLY PLAY IT IN MY MIND WHILE I AM AT WORK!!!!!!

So thanks, Bioware. Thanks a frigging lot for giving me cocaine that I can't legally snort at my desk 8 hrs a day.

*sob*

I... I hate the world and everything in it. *sob*

Also, I need sleep when I go home tonight. And groceries. Do groceries raise my galactic readiness meter??

But... but what if I just skipped sleep and played ME3 all night instead??

I'm going to make a movie called "The Mass Effectist," and it's basically going to be "The Machinist," but replace every verb with "playing Mass Effect 3."

Here are my "life before ME3" & "life after ME3" shots:

image

CrazyBlaze:

Daystar Clarion:
I won't be joining the contingent of whiners and naysayers.

I'm sure there will be faults, there always are, but the overall experience is bound to be worth it.

I salute you. There is no game that doesn't have any faults. Everyone needs to sit back, take a chill pill and just enjoy the game they want to play. If they don't think they will like it, will no one is holding a gun to their head.

God I was beginning to think I was the only one who actually approached Me3 from a realistic perspective...It's true no game is perfect and although Me3 admittely has it's faults, it still by far does enough things right to get a thumbs up in my book, and I honestly think that things like day 1 DLC and the like should not be factored into a game review.

SpiderJerusalem:

Biggest gripe is that almost everything in part 2 that was trumpeted as being important (The Rachni, the Geth, AI etc etc) have all been either retconned or are mentioned in brief passing. Hell, the game doesn't even recognize the fact that you've played through the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission! They simply ignore it!

It's funny to see you accuse Susan of lying and yet do it in your next post.

Lair of the Shadow Broker was referenced several times including the Bossfight. It was almost impossible to miss.
And there is even a full mission for the rachni Oo

satsugaikaze:

I've had it [Origin] installed on my computer for a month now, and I haven't seen any noticeable change on my computer, whether or not it be spyware, adware, the thought police, my privacy instantly ruined and distributed to a hundred billion internet companies, or whatever people are getting butthurt about.

I'm not about to avoid something on some extremist principle, if that something involves a genuinely entertaining gaming experience.

You do realise that the whole point of spyware is that the user doesn't notice its presence, that it just sits there quietly watching and recording and reporting? That you won't notice your privacy suddenly being ripped away because it's already happened, that your hardware stats, software usage habits and favourite internet sites are already sitting happily as part of a corporation's aggregated database, with your assumption that it doesn't matter as naive as the Jews who registered their faith with the German government.

Just saying.

sindremaster:

DA2 came out one year ago, get your stories straight.

Interview me when I haven't been awake for 48 hours (since you should have noted that in various posts yesterday) and you get more consistent responses. And the DA2 thing was not what I was thinking of when I wrote that, but it's neither here nor there at this point.

The.Bard:

The leaks are tough. 3 major ones, none of them Bioware's fault. They were in a tough position where they couldn't elaborate or defend themselves without dishing major spoilers. I'm finding it nearly impossible to talk about what I think of ME3 so far with my friend who is still only halfway through ME2. Other than talking about the guns, I can't say anything without ruining some portion of the experience for him.

Plus - if you'll allow me a small not-directed-at-you rant here - hating Bioware is the cool kid thing these days. I personally know more than a few people who have never played a Bioware game and will still say they hate their last few games w/ straight faces. It's very hard to hear people complaining so vehemently without assuming they are just blindly following the masses.

Heck, more than half of this thread are posts accusing the Escapist of lying about the review. So we can't have differing opinions anymore? Ok, guys, it's fine if you don't like ME3 or Bioware. Some of us do. But you think Susan must be lying because she - and most of the other people reviewing ME3, it appears - like the game a lot? Grow up, you closed-minded judgmental jimminy crickets.

You do know that in the book, Pinocchio murders the cricket, twice, and sets up Gepetto as a child abuser, right?

As far as 'blindly following the masses', I'd have to say that is an interesting take, and as I said before, my own opinion was tainted, so I can say that my own objectivity on the issue is also questionable, as Susan herself pointed out, as my own opinion is colored by my own experiences.

As far as Bioware's mishandling of it: actually there were four leaks, and one of their responses to one leak turned around and bit them hard with the Prothean DLC. It probably would have been better for them to have issued a very carefully worded release that they would consider additional ending dlcs based on fan demand. While this would have continued the DLC rage, it actually would have significantly reduced the over all level of rage directed at Bioware, and propped up their reputation for listening to fans. Even if they released no such DLC, it would have diffused the initial reaction long enough to ensure higher 1st month sales.

NiceJobBreakingItHero:

SpiderJerusalem:

Biggest gripe is that almost everything in part 2 that was trumpeted as being important (The Rachni, the Geth, AI etc etc) have all been either retconned or are mentioned in brief passing. Hell, the game doesn't even recognize the fact that you've played through the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission! They simply ignore it!

It's funny to see you accuse Susan of lying and yet do it in your next post.

Lair of the Shadow Broker was referenced several times including the Bossfight. It was almost impossible to miss.
And there is even a full mission for the rachni Oo

It's funny to see you totally miss the part where I say "retconned" or not there.

Retconned: the game acts as if you did not play The Lair of the Shadow Broker, this has been confirmed by Bioware as being a glitch on their part. The game doesn't register you having helped Liara gain power and Liara even says "it's been years" despite you having made peace or rekindled the romance at the end of Shadow Broker.

There is a mission for the Rachni, yes, but your choices are not there. Let the Rachni queen go? Oh, too bad, she's been indoctrinated by the Reapers. Killed the Rachni queen? They bred another one!

The whole game is filled with crap like that, taking away the choices that they've given you and forcing you take part in the shenanigans which they want to see happen.

This is especially true with character development as well - my Shephard was a hard ass, someone who had seen death and been around it all his life, nothing phased him. Now the game is forcing him to have PTSD over some random kid introduced for shock value and causing him to be a weepy emotional mess for no other reason than because Bioware suddenly decided that choice is overrated anyway.

SpiderJerusalem:

NiceJobBreakingItHero:

SpiderJerusalem:

Biggest gripe is that almost everything in part 2 that was trumpeted as being important (The Rachni, the Geth, AI etc etc) have all been either retconned or are mentioned in brief passing. Hell, the game doesn't even recognize the fact that you've played through the Lair of the Shadow Broker mission! They simply ignore it!

It's funny to see you accuse Susan of lying and yet do it in your next post.

Lair of the Shadow Broker was referenced several times including the Bossfight. It was almost impossible to miss.
And there is even a full mission for the rachni Oo

The game acts as if you did not play The Lair of the Shadow Broker, this has been confirmed by Bioware as being a glitch on their part. The game doesn't register you having helped Liara gain power and Liara even says "it's been years" despite you having made peace or rekindled the romance at the end of Shadow Broker.

All I can comment on is this, as I always let the Rachni Queen live (and I agree that it's a bit lame that they "bred another one"), but you're just wrong on that, OR they fixed it really damn quick.

Double post on account of Reapers. My bad.

ZeroMachine:

SpiderJerusalem:

NiceJobBreakingItHero:

It's funny to see you accuse Susan of lying and yet do it in your next post.

Lair of the Shadow Broker was referenced several times including the Bossfight. It was almost impossible to miss.
And there is even a full mission for the rachni Oo

The game acts as if you did not play The Lair of the Shadow Broker, this has been confirmed by Bioware as being a glitch on their part. The game doesn't register you having helped Liara gain power and Liara even says "it's been years" despite you having made peace or rekindled the romance at the end of Shadow Broker.

All I can comment on is this, as I always let the Rachni Queen live (and I agree that it's a bit lame that they "bred another one"), but you're just wrong on that, OR they fixed it really damn quick.

I must have missed that. For my playthrough, Liara was continuously cold and distant through the first have - despite me having just ended the Shadow Broker mission before starting the third game, then there was a whole awkward scene where her and Shepard talked about how "it's been years" and never once alluded or even pointed to the fact that they had literally just (well, just, the game apparently picks up six months after part two, which is even more confusing - what were they doing the whole time?!) worked together and set aside that they were a couple.

But even after this, all of these things are little quibbles compared to the ending, which I hate with the fury of a thousand burning suns that is definitely not the ending that fans of the game deserve, nor is it the conclusive, all questions answered end that Bioware promised.

undeadsuitor:
The best part of the game?

You can tell Chobot's character to go away and you never have to see her again.

And here I thought James was bad, but after a minute of talking with her, I'll take his jersey shore, random spanish shouting, douchebagness any day.

I thought I was going to hate James, but I came to be really, really fond of him. Probably because of his banter with Esteban.

Nice review and spoiler free cannot wait until I have this game on friday damn europe

Susan Arendt:

undeadsuitor:
The best part of the game?

You can tell Chobot's character to go away and you never have to see her again.

And here I thought James was bad, but after a minute of talking with her, I'll take his jersey shore, random spanish shouting, douchebagness any day.

I thought I was going to hate James, but I came to be really, really fond of him. Probably because of his banter with Esteban.

I'm still early in the game, so perhaps he'll get better.

So far, all I've seen him do is randomly sprinkle "loco" and "cerveza" in his conversations while constantly doing pull ups and just generally being a meat-head. It wouldn't be the first time a character has surprised me.

BaronIveagh:
You do know that in the book, Pinocchio murders the cricket, twice, and sets up Gepetto as a child abuser, right?

OK, all jokes aside, I REALLY didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I'm not sure how your Pinnocchio spoiler fits into my assertion of youtube videos being a bad way to review a game. Can you elucidate this for me?

[Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minnit, I think I get it! I called the haters jimminy crickets, and THAT is where your reply comes from! AmIright?!? That seriously only took me 25 minutes to get. Oh yea. I'm bad to the bone.]

As far as 'blindly following the masses', I'd have to say that is an interesting take, and as I said before, my own opinion was tainted, so I can say that my own objectivity on the issue is also questionable, as Susan herself pointed out, as my own opinion is colored by my own experiences.

I'm deathly afraid of spoilers, so I have read next to nothing of this thread aside from names I trust, so I didn't see the exchange between you & Susan. I'd agree experience colors our perception, though. It's just a shame that - at least in mine - too many other people are making the judgment "[ME3] leads to [Bioware product] leads to [CRAP]" without the experience of actually playing it. Hate all you want, people, just hate it because YOU hate it in the little black prunes you call hearts, not someone else said you should. (And also, let us love it in peace.)

As far as Bioware's mishandling of it: actually there were four leaks, and one of their responses to one leak turned around and bit them hard with the Prothean DLC. It probably would have been better for them to have issued a very carefully worded release that they would consider additional ending dlcs based on fan demand. While this would have continued the DLC rage, it actually would have significantly reduced the over all level of rage directed at Bioware, and propped up their reputation for listening to fans. Even if they released no such DLC, it would have diffused the initial reaction long enough to ensure higher 1st month sales.

We'll never know for sure, but I don't think the fires were going to die down no matter what Bioware said. The raging Bioware lynch mobs were patrolling the internet in droves long before the first leak. But for what it's worth, I think they took the script leak, at least, like absolute champs. They could have tried to throw dirt over it, but they invited anyone reading to send in their thoughts and they would see if there were any improvements to be made. How much more fan-friendly can you get? I can't speak intelligently on the leaks beyond that, as I avoided reading anything about them, and in so doing, most of Bioware's responses. I'm guessing many others who were really into both ME1 & ME2 would have done a similar 'fingers-in-the-ears-whistling' approach.

SpiderJerusalem:
There is a mission for the Rachni, yes, but your choices are not there. Let the Rachni queen go? Oh, too bad, she's been indoctrinated by the Reapers.

What?

Oh fuck you, Bioware. Just fuck you.

Dude, it may just be the delirium setting in, but I think I've figured it out. ME3 is the greatest 4th-wall-breaking thing EVER released.

The husks... goddangit, the whole process of indoctrination.... don't you SEE!??!

image
I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PUT DOWN ME3 IN 155 YEARS!
Can you believe Bioware released Day 2347 DLC?!? THE NERVE!

LOOK! LOOK AT HIM! He's not dead. He's a guy who played MASS EFFECT 3 and was driven to hook himself up to a machine so he could play it 24/7!

The scientists... Saren... everyone who was EVER indoctrinated. They hear voices in their heads because they are suffering from lack of sleep!

NO! YOU shut up! I'm right! This is the greatest discovery in ever. They are totally playing ME3 all night. Of course I can prove it. That crazy guy in ME1, Manuel:

image
I'm playing Mass Effect 3 RIGHT NOW! ON THE FLOOR!

He mentioned Reapers. Don't you find it to be SLIGHTLY convenient that he mentioned "Reapers," when Reapers weren't even ANNOUNCED until the script leak this coming June??!??!

"Reaper" artifacts! Bull! "ME3 ARTIFACTS" is more like it!

Also, you can't spell "MEap3r" without ME3, can you?! Wait, can you? Crud, I thought you couldn't. Or was it you can spell ME3 with Reaper? Hmmm.

Susan Arendt:
The logic is perfectly clear: They genuinely enjoy Gavin's work and think it's a cool way to promote their game. They had his song "Normandy" playing on a loop over their booth at PAX, they've had him on BioWare TV before. They're fans. He, likewise, is a huge fan of Mass Effect, which comes through in his songs. He also has quite a following, which gives them some bonus advertising, word of mouth, and PR opportunities with hardcore gamers. It's a mutually beneficial relationship. I fail to see the mystery here.

BaronIveagh:
The problem word is relationship. It's hard to review games objectively when you have a relationship with the company, even via association.

While I understand that the staff at The Escapist is excited to play a new Bioware game, much of the site's reporting on Bioware in general is colored by this. Andy's review of one of the last trailers positively gushed with enthusiasm. I don't begrudge him that, but the problem is that it came through in his article.

One comment I've often gotten in writing P&P gaming reviews for Dark Reign is how surprised the book authors and editors are to get fairly positive reviews, because they know that I'm not easily won over, and can get rather harsh when presented with a sub standard work. Personal opinion, but I feel that the games media needs to consider being harsher with games. They hand out 8's 9's and 10's like candy, even to games that it's pretty obvious don't deserve them. And, again, before anyone freaks, this is not just an issue here or even to this specific game.

Well, that's my point, and I'm sure that people are lining up to call me all sorts of filthy names, but there you have it.

The phrase surrounding this whole issue is, and always shall be: "guilt by association".

Were it so easy to just say "This is my review, from my perspective, without any outside influence", then nothing would be so...conflictionary. The sad thing is is that this industry, and all aspects associated with it, is tainted by the actions of those wishing to precure a certain facade, or outcome. Like it or not, this is how it gets viewed by some. So long as an entity/individual associates itself with another that has ill repute, said entity/individual will be bound to the same stigma as the ones it associates with.

Let me put it this way: Susan Arendt>Escapist>Bioware>EA. Your review might be of your own, and might very well be your honest thoughts and critiques...but because of the associations, all I will ever take it as is just one perspective. Will I trust it fully? Absolutely not, nor will I ever fully trust anything coming from any line of association like that. The same goes for the other video game sites I frequent such as Kotaku, G4, 1up, Penny Arcade, etc. But I come looking at these reviews, regardless, for the different perspectives. The more one delves, the more one is likely to discover and learn. Though, I keep the above mentioned phrase ever at the forefront when delving in this manner.

Andy Chalk:
At this point I think all that needs to be said on this topic has been said. If you or anyone else has reservations about our integrity, you know where the door is. Please - please - don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

Mr. Chalk, after what happened with Extra Credits, questioning shall always be on my mind regarding this site. Especially when taken into context with what other Escapist contributors (MovieBob is the foremost in my mind) had to say about the unfortunate event involving them. Make no mistake, I enjoy what the Escapist has to offer - even James, Allison and Daniel still reference (and speak highly of!) the contributors and programs here - but as I said, I am ever-mindfull of what actions are taken and what the reasonings might be for them.

Now, I agree that since this thread is about ME3, some part of my post should reflect said game...

My brother just bought his copy and is currently playing it. I stopped at ME1, but he now has all three. I will reserve any initial judgments until he brings it to my place and shows me what he has gone through and gives me his view. Then, I might judge it...after playing a bit of it.

I almost called the game a no-go because of origins, but then bought it anyway. Installed origins and I really couldn't care less about it being on my computer. :I

CrazyCapnMorgan:

Susan Arendt:
The logic is perfectly clear: They genuinely enjoy Gavin's work and think it's a cool way to promote their game. They had his song "Normandy" playing on a loop over their booth at PAX, they've had him on BioWare TV before. They're fans. He, likewise, is a huge fan of Mass Effect, which comes through in his songs. He also has quite a following, which gives them some bonus advertising, word of mouth, and PR opportunities with hardcore gamers. It's a mutually beneficial relationship. I fail to see the mystery here.

BaronIveagh:
The problem word is relationship. It's hard to review games objectively when you have a relationship with the company, even via association.

While I understand that the staff at The Escapist is excited to play a new Bioware game, much of the site's reporting on Bioware in general is colored by this. Andy's review of one of the last trailers positively gushed with enthusiasm. I don't begrudge him that, but the problem is that it came through in his article.

One comment I've often gotten in writing P&P gaming reviews for Dark Reign is how surprised the book authors and editors are to get fairly positive reviews, because they know that I'm not easily won over, and can get rather harsh when presented with a sub standard work. Personal opinion, but I feel that the games media needs to consider being harsher with games. They hand out 8's 9's and 10's like candy, even to games that it's pretty obvious don't deserve them. And, again, before anyone freaks, this is not just an issue here or even to this specific game.

Well, that's my point, and I'm sure that people are lining up to call me all sorts of filthy names, but there you have it.

The phrase surrounding this whole issue is, and always shall be: "guilt by association".

Were it so easy to just say "This is my review, from my perspective, without any outside influence", then nothing would be so...conflictionary. The sad thing is is that this industry, and all aspects associated with it, is tainted by the actions of those wishing to precure a certain facade, or outcome. Like it or not, this is how it gets viewed by some. So long as an entity/individual associates itself with another that has ill repute, said entity/individual will be bound to the same stigma as the ones it associates with.

Let me put it this way: Susan Arendt>Escapist>Bioware>EA. Your review might be of your own, and might very well be your honest thoughts and critiques...but because of the associations, all I will ever take it as is just one perspective. Will I trust it fully? Absolutely not, nor will I ever fully trust anything coming from any line of association like that. The same goes for the other video game sites I frequent such as Kotaku, G4, 1up, Penny Arcade, etc. But I come looking at these reviews, regardless, for the different perspectives. The more one delves, the more one is likely to discover and learn. Though, I keep the above mentioned phrase ever at the forefront when delving in this manner.

I have absolutely no problem with you not taking my sole word as gospel. Reading several reviews is a very smart approach to any game, and of course, the only opinion that ultimately matters is your own. (This is why I encourage people to play demos whenever possible.) My issue is simply that if you don't agree with my take on a particular game, don't accuse me of being corrupt. That's it, that's all I'm really asking. There are many reasons why two people might end up having different gaming experiences, and to immediately assume that the reason I love what you don't (or hate what you love) simply must be nefarious is unfair and insulting.

CrazyCapnMorgan:

Let me put it this way: Susan Arendt>Escapist>Bioware>EA. Your review might be of your own, and might very well be your honest thoughts and critiques...but because of the associations, all I will ever take it as is just one perspective. Will I trust it fully? Absolutely not, nor will I ever fully trust anything coming from any line of association like that. The same goes for the other video game sites I frequent such as Kotaku, G4, 1up, Penny Arcade, etc. But I come looking at these reviews, regardless, for the different perspectives. The more one delves, the more one is likely to discover and learn. Though, I keep the above mentioned phrase ever at the forefront when delving in this manner.

Problematically, there is exactly one review in the world that can trust fully:

Your own.

Everyone else has different opinions than you, different axes to grind, and different agendas. I wouldn't trust an "independent" review any further than I'd trust one from a prominent gaming site; in either case, bias alone can skew a reviewer's opinion.

And yes, taking a variety of sources can be a reasonable way to getting a broader picture of a given product, but at no point does it anything less than disrespectful to say "yeah, but I'm not trusting your opinion because I think you've been bought."

Then how are you financed, Susan? Do you get no advertising revenue from EA, entities affiliated with EA or acting on behalf of EA? If you do, then you have a potential conflict of interest. Giving out near perfect scores to EA games raises concerns that a 'potential' conflict of interest might in fact be 'actual'. For example, to this day I struggle to think of a non-"nefarious" reason as to why your site gave Dragon Age 2 a perfect 5/5.

chainguns:
Then how are you financed, Susan? Do you get no advertising revenue from EA, entities affiliated with EA or acting on behalf of EA? If you do, then you have a potential conflict of interest. Giving out near perfect scores to EA games raises concerns that a 'potential' conflict of interest might in fact be 'actual'.

Hmm, now even I think that's unfair to Susan, as that's heading down the rabbit hole of advertiser subcontracting. I think it safe to say that nearly any game site, and quite a few non-game sites have received EA money indirectly, as google advertising could be acting on behalf of EA as you define it and they would never know it due to the way it works.

Wow, people actually accusing the website of being bribed by EA. People if that was the case, Yahtzee would have either been shut down or left long ago.

Seriously if you don't like the game, that's cool but you shouldn't get so worked up over people who DO like it.

krellen:

SpiderJerusalem:
There is a mission for the Rachni, yes, but your choices are not there. Let the Rachni queen go? Oh, too bad, she's been indoctrinated by the Reapers.

What?

Oh fuck you, Bioware. Just fuck you.

This is poor reason to say fuck you to Bioware. What letting her go suddenly makes here completely immune to the repearers? No it didn't.

The.Bard:

We'll never know for sure, but I don't think the fires were going to die down no matter what Bioware said. The raging Bioware lynch mobs were patrolling the internet in droves long before the first leak. But for what it's worth, I think they took the script leak, at least, like absolute champs. They could have tried to throw dirt over it, but they invited anyone reading to send in their thoughts and they would see if there were any improvements to be made. How much more fan-friendly can you get? I can't speak intelligently on the leaks beyond that, as I avoided reading anything about them, and in so doing, most of Bioware's responses. I'm guessing many others who were really into both ME1 & ME2 would have done a similar 'fingers-in-the-ears-whistling' approach.

Hmm... eh, I think I had a pretty good finger on the pulse of the angry mob pre forum lockdown over at Bioware.

And, the problem was that it's not clear that they did anything with that feedback. And, really, part of the problem was there was little to no response at all. They had one PR rep post on redit about the day one DLC issue and beyond that gave the silent treatment, other then to occasionally verify details.

erttheking:
Wow, people actually accusing the website of being bribed by EA. People if that was the case, Yahtzee would have either been shut down or left long ago.

Yahtzee drives more views to the site then any other feature, if you get down to it. Disposing of him would damage their bottom line far more then telling EA to bugger off.

Interesting discussion.
I can certainly appreciate how it would not be the most pleasent for the people who run or work for the site. I do think it is a good one to have though and is one that I would love to see more mainstream media outlets would have.
I can understand why a person may read more into the relationship with Bioware and the site then there may actually be given the optics of the appearent cross promotion with Miracle of sound and the positive reviews given to DA2 and ME3. Now I am not saying that anything happened, but if you are honest with yourself, you have to admit to the optics of this. Afterall, ME3 gets a good review and Miracle of Sound and Escapist get the exposure of being on Bioware Pulse. I am not saying that this situation happened but given the state of the media today it is not implausible.
What I really appreciate from the crew here is that you took the time to address the concerns in respectful manner with out over reacting . I think that the media overall would be improved if other sources of news took the time to do the same. It may not convince everyone but it is a good thing to see you addressing peoples converns

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