Today, LusiGoblets, I am going back to my roots. Today, this editorial will be truly miscellaneous. I have not been able to pin myself down to a single game these past two weeks, so hold on to the handrail because we will be flying from topic to topic so fast that we will all likely forget who we are.
I forget if I have talked about Picross here at Lusipurr.com, but that series is dope. I actually never bought the cartridges, but Nintendo has been releasing ten dollar mini-versions on the eShop and man are they ever worth the price. Easy to pick up and play but also easy to lose a couple of hours to on the toilet. Or, er, or anywhere else.
Mass Effect 3 Is Pretty Stupid
I started replaying the Mass Effect series about a year ago and ran out of steam during the third one, and have recently decided to finally finish the job. It is strange, in that year, I have noticably changed the way I look at game design and Mass Effect 3 seems to me a product that is far less than the sum of its parts.
Because the combat is strong in terms of the execution of action. Shooting feels good and responsive and powers are satisfying while enemies are distinctive and varied, requiring the player to keep on top of their tactical approach. The backend of combat feels slightly less stripped down as well, bringing back some power of choice in upgrading powers, and benefitting greatly from the simple choice of slowing down Shepard’s power recharge time when she carries more weapons.
Yet the combat feels more disconnected than ever from the rest of the game, the improvements not evolving with the game, but separate from it, resulting in combat arenas that feel like they have no relevance when it could have been a great opportunity to bring a larger connection to these areas.
Thessia feels like an empty shooting gallery. This is a location fans waited three games to see and it is a half-hour snoozefest. Mass Effect 3 seems to think that building the location up through conversation and then showing how upset Liara is after the Reapers take it is enough to make a massive impact, but it severely underwhelms. A good example of how to do this properly is in the story-telling masterpiece, Avatar: The Last Airbender in which the great city of Ba Sing Se is also built up through references all throughout the first season and beginning of the second season, but then the last third of the season takes place inside the city where the heroes uncover and defeat a creepy conspiracy before the city eventually falls anyway in the season finale. The effect truly is devastating this time, having properly built up the city, explored the city, got the characters invested in the city, and then finally losing the city. If the fall of Thessia was supposed to have such a major impact, the game should have invested in this location.
Of course, Mass Effect 3 does not have the luxury of multiple seasons to relax into that sort of story-telling, but why not take a note from the first game in which each location is marked with specific layered secrets that make the players feel more connected to the locations than they may have expected. The failure at Thessia is a reflection of what the entire game does wrong.
It is truly a shame because the game resolves its relationships so well and Shepard’s friendships feel palpable, especially the ones that span multiple games. But once again this element feels disconnected. Ugh, what a missed opportunity, but I have talked enough about this. Moving on.
Dragon Quest V
Dragon Quest is the series I never expected to like, but has recently become one I have great respect for. While never reaching the heights of Final Fantasy‘s greatest moments, the series does a more consistent job using gameplay to create an air of adventure. Fairy tale characters and locations compliment the slow build of both levels and inventory to give a great sense of scale. I think that Dragon Quest V is my favourite. Following the protagonist through three decades of his life is a technique that I am surprised has not been used more often. It allows locations to be viewed over the passage of time (ala Ocarina of Time) but also uses first-hand experience of the hero’s backstory to make connections more meaningful and even to make some strong gameplay puzzles. Knowing how to get the hero’s childhood pet to rejoin the party is satisfying from all angles. Also, there are no level-up restrictions like with Dragon Quest VI‘s ability system.
Dragon Quest is a series with many issues, but it is also a series that requires an unique pace, even within the RPG world, and getting into that pace takes time, but I am glad I have slipped into it.
There is no relation between the term “LusiGoblets” and the rest of this article, but I would like the readers to change that! Come up with a connection in the comments below. It is like a contest, but not fun and with no prizes.
I also played Stick It To The Man (decent) and Kingdom Hearts (does not really hold up) and Final Fantasy IX (still awesome), but who cares? I want ice cream.