Mass Effect: Andromeda- A Greatest Hits Throwback (Spoilers)

Since Mass Effect 3 hit the shelves in 2012, video gamers who’d loved the groundbreaking and ultra successful original Mass Effect series were eagerly awaiting the 4th installment. You can see my previous blog on the original Mass Effect here. If you don’t know about the original, it was an amazing game. Unreal graphics. Totally awesome voice acting. Leaps and bounds from playing Super Mario on Nintendo. Having said that…expectations were pretty monumental for the 4th game and unfortunately BioWare failed to deliver a game as breathtaking as any of the originals (Mass Effect 2 was the best one in my opinion). Now, Mass Effect: Andromeda is not a BAD game as some of the popular reviews have stated. Is it a great game? No. But, it’s entertaining. And that’s probably enough to keep the payroll at BioWare going on schedule. Below I’ll go over some pros and cons from the game if you’re so inclined to continue reading. (WARNING: SPOILERS) At the very least, it’ll make your play-through a little more enjoyable…after all you’re gonna invest 50-75 hours of your life if you complete the game.

See that guy above? That’s Drack. He’s by far the best character in the game and if you’d like to have an enjoyable play-through…take him everywhere. This game lacks in character development which leaves the journey feeling pretty flat. It’s too bad because Drack has some good dialogue and emotional moments in the game that would make some Hollywood writers kick themselves for not writing it into their movies. ‘Parents aren’t meant to be a goal or a finish line. We’re the starting line. Where you go from there? It’s all you.’ Now that’s a damn good line. Especially considering the fact that a lot of younger gamers out there might not have the opportunity to learn life lessons from competent and wise elders. Some young gamers might have a horrible upbringing and may glean some wisdom from that line. So, kudos to whoever wrote Drack’s dialogue on the BioWare staff. Damn fine work. Drack stands out because he’s a character that’s got depth, whereas all of the other characters are kind of just there. Even Ryder, the main character, is a bit boring. That’s not good. But hey…Drack is good. So yeah…..use Drack. He makes the game fun.

I played-through the game twice. Once as a male Ryder and once as a female Ryder. I never completed the male play-through because playing as a female Ryder was more enjoyable and what I thought was the more meaningful choice for the game. Sometimes you sit down to play a game and you can be either a male or female and the gender choice seems arbitrary, which it usually is. In this game, it made sense to play as the daughter to the original Pathfinder because #1 she is the older sibling of the twins (her and her brother are twins) #2 it stings a little more that the father (Pathfinder) sacrifices his life for his daughter rather than his son and #3 the female Ryder’s voice-acting is better than the male Ryder. The male Ryder’s voice acting came across as boring and robotic. It also kinda makes more sense in the relationship with Reyes Vidal to play as a female because…what testosterone filled leader runs out of a storage room holding hands with a random smuggler after a forced make out session precipitated by possibly getting caught and killed? What a dumb scene that was. So, whether you’re a male or a female or what have you….I think you’ll have a more enjoyable time playing as a female Ryder.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is clearly a throwback to Mass Effect 2. Throwback Video Game Day! #tvgd #awesome It’s basically the J.J Abrams Star Wars. A safe bet. Familiar for fans. Entertaining but…not too risky or original. And that’s fine. It’s unfortunate for seasoned gamers and die hard fans but it’s not entirely disappointing because there’s still some value in it. It’s clear to see all of the similarities in the story arc and details in the game. The main character is thrown into a situation where their choices will alter the universe, they have to assemble a team of unlikely allies to defeat a superior adversary (one of which is a tough, bad ass Krogan- exactly like ME2), the superior alien race is mysterious and no one knows where they came from and they genetically manipulate those that they destroy (similar to The Reapers) and the ship looks exactly like the one in Mass Effect 2 (The Normandy). There are more similarities but those are just some of the glaring ones. Mass Effect: Andromeda is not very original…and that’s fine because it’s a fun action game to play. If the gameplay were bad as well…. then yeah, the game would be total shit. So, if you’re gonna play it. Just be open to some mindless entertainment and don’t expect to enter groundbreaking new territory. I mean, the crew at BioWare couldn’t even come up with a better back story for the bad guys (The Kett) other than, they’re imperialistic and want to assimilate the inhabitants of the Andromeda Galaxy at any cost. That’s a real easy way to not put the time and effort into creating character depth and an engaging story. War is complicated. Leaders and Warlords are complicated. I’d imagine that there would be intricacies to mass warfare on a universal scale. Not just…we’re going to kill you. You’re bad. I’m good. The end. In Mass Effect: Andromeda. It is what it is.

Mass Effect™: Andromeda_20170313104053

Here’s another big kick in the junk for veteran gamers. Your choices don’t matter whatsoever in any real type of way. For a detailed list of the consequences of your in game actions, click here. I had a big problem with Dragon Age: Inquisition for this same reason. When you watch a fictional film or read a book, you suspend belief and get involved emotionally, pretending that the characters choices and lives have meaning. It’s the same with a video game. When a consumer invests their time and money into an adventure, they want to escape reality and be entertained. They want their time to be valued. And when the story is flabby and the choices they make have no real meaning in the progression of the game, it’s a big let down. The game places a big value on the initial decision to make your first outpost military or scientific. It seems like a big deal that will effect the rest of the game….and it does not have any effect apart from inconsequential reactions from team characters and npc’s. Mass Effect? More like…Mass NON Effect. Har har har. There are several choices to be made but none carry the weight of choosing between Ashley or Kaiden in ME1 (your choice leaves one of them to die in a nuclear explosion-removing that character from all future games). Also, I would have thought that the programmers would expand on the squad choice dynamics that were introduced in ME2. In the final mission of ME2, you had to travel with 3 companions but also assign tasks to your other remaining companions. If you sent the civilians back to the ship with a companion that didn’t have the right skills, they’d die. If you didn’t choose the right teammate to lead squad #2, they’d die. There were various options where some or all of your team could live depending on the choices you’d made as a leader. That was cool. We all know it’s a video game and it’s just entertainment. But man….THAT FELT REAL. The choices in Mass Effect: Andromeda seem real at first but they’re just messy, fake versions of formerly effective features made to draw an audience in. It’s a disappointment but again….take the game for entertainment value. Worthy of one play-through and then returning it or trading it in. I only choose a handful of games to play each year so I’ve got high standards when investing my time and money into a game. So, if you like action games and stunning visuals. Go for it. If you’re looking for something more….wait until something like Kingdom Come: Deliverance comes out.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s in some way added to your knowledge base and your life in a positive way. As always. Do you best. Be kind to yourself. To your neighbors. And to animals and plants alike. And Follow The Golden Rule as best as you can.

Dragon Age Inquisition is Good… not Great


Since I’m an adult (ha!..right) with precious time to spare (another ha!…kind of), I try to choose my games wisely. That being said, the video game industry has really come a long way in the last 20+ years, hasn’t it? Remember playing Nintendo’s Dragon Warrior as a little kid and having your mind blown? The amount of progress is astounding when you make comparisons but still…that doesn’t mean every new game is going to be a gem. I wrote an earlier review on this game that is mainly related to it being a good play-through on PS3, which I still stand by, but boy am I glad that I didn’t buy a PS4 just to play DA:I.


Ok. First of all, the games in the Dragon Age series are some of the best that I’ve ever played. DA:O was the pinnacle of awesome…I’ve played about 6 different play-throughs and it’s still exciting. As cool as Hawke was, DA:2 was a flop (and I base that solely on the recycled environments. I had to shut the game off 10 hours in because it was so boring and I never revisited it). And Dragon Age: Inquisition is good…maybe even really good but it’s not great and doesn’t come close to Dragon Age: Origins (I’ll explain why in the list below). I have hope that the staff at BioWare will be objective and ask themselves the important questions as they plan further games. And here we are with the list. I’ll try to keep it as concise as possible. Criticisms are in the front….positives are at the end. Hang in there. I’m a huge fan and want nothing more than to help improve these games…because I love the story!

1. The beginning was better than the ending. What do I mean by that? All the events leading up to establishing your base at Haven, Haven getting attacked by Corypheus, you being anointed ‘The Inquisitor’ and your first few journeys out (especially if you chose to support The Mages. Wow!) were more thrilling and emotionally charged than the games ending. They were actually phenomenal and flawless. I thought I was playing the best game I’d ever played before. How cool was it saving your townspeople during the attack on Haven? How amazing was walking through the snowy tundra after the battle at Haven and finding your team? That moment, and the scene that followed….was one of the best moments in the game. John Stevenson at The Writers Block provides a pretty stellar review, which is well worth reading (I’ll try not to copy you John but…I just had to write a review too). Also, all the reviews on Kotaku are very good. Basically, the games ending was flat. You traveled the world, found Skyhold, built the Inquisition, raised a huge force…I guess? ( A War Assets type situation would’ve made more sense here. You are the same company that created Mass Effect…right BioWare?). Essentially as you moved forward in the game, it felt like nothing that you did in terms of growing in power, forging alliances and gaining agents mattered (it didn’t) and the big final climax that you thought would take place at your castle Skyhold (the one that you’d been rebuilding all game specifically for protecting from an assault) didn’t take place there and it was really quick and boring. The game could have ended after thwarting Magister Alexius because that storyline, and the storylines that led up to it, were phenomenal and engaging. Temple of Sacred Ashes, Haven, Alexius’s time warp, giving the first speech at Skyhold and meeting the Divine in the Fade all were way more powerful than the ‘Hey I found you Corypheus! Bang, you’re dead. Mark of the Rift. Schwing! Go back to the Fade. Bye. Roll Credits’. It went from ‘Greatest Game Ever’ to ‘Boring and Trite’.

2. Why have a power score if it’s meaningless? At first I thought it was kind of cool. Similar to the War Assets of Mass Effect. That’s a great mechanic. The ending changes based upon how much power and how many allies you have. If you have a lot of power, your whole ‘main crew’ lives and survival rates are high. If you don’t have a lot of power, maybe some of your crew dies, maybe your army is decimated….maybe you can’t even beat the game! How exciting! Since BioWare had implemented that before, I thought that it was a no brainer they’d do it again or tweek it a little. Nope. Nothing. So, you basically just gain power for no other reason than to advance the game and choose missions (because the missions cost a certain amount of power to unlock). That’s fine, unlocking missions with power had controlled your leveling to an extent.. but that’s all it did and that was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. This was an RPG, right? So, let me get this straight….all the hoopla about establishing base camps in the various immensely detailed and beautiful environments in the game, the companions urging you to increase your power and size of the Inquisition, the alliances that HAD to be made….were meaningless because it had no impact on the games finale? That makes sense right? NO! Not at all. Sorry BioWare, you dropped the ball on that one. For whatever reason it was, poor planning, politics, greed, technical issues etc….you ‘shit the bed’ and it made for a lifeless experience. There could have been a small ‘forces’ bar and that would have sufficed. RPG fans LOVE to see that they are making progress in the game. Oh, I just liberated this area….my Influence bar just went up AND my ‘Forces’ bar just went up, showing me that I command 1,700 troops now. That would’ve been nice.


3. It was way too easy! RPG’s are supposed to be fun for all ages. Never can a video game company use the cop out that games are scaled down or shortchanged because of the age of their consumers. Many elements that hardcore fans and 18+ gamers expect, do not need to be eliminated because a larger group of 10-14 year olds will be playing the game. That’s where the difficulty setting comes in to play. Remember in Fallout: New Vegas where you could play Hardcore mode and you actually had to remember to eat and drink in-game? That was cool. Too hard for a ten year old you say? Ok…they can just set the game to ‘normal’ and poof! Problem solved. Not Dragon Age: Inquisition. One, all of the elements that DA:O fans wanted to see, that may have been too difficult for a younger or casual gamer to handle, just weren’t there, normally or in the hard settings. Two, this game was way too easy. On my first play through I tried the normal setting…after about 15 hours I was way too good for the game and destroying every enemy that came my way. So, I started over on the hard setting, which only took me about 40 hours until I was way too good and destroying every enemy. Then…I tried the nightmare setting….which was more like the hard setting. So essentially the gameplay settings are as follows. Easy=Extremely Easy. Even a dead person could play on this setting and win. Normal=Easy. Hard=Normal. Nightmare=Hard. I know lots of work goes into these games, but come on. BioWare figured it out before…there’s no legitimate reason to why they couldn’t make it work again. The games difficulty was way too painless and I certainly do not consider myself a master RPG gamer. I play about 3-4 games a year, totaling maybe 200-300 hours of gaming, so usually the hard setting is REALLY tough for me. But not this time.


 4. Why half-ass the strategy and customization? Just do it….or don’t. Here’s one of my biggest issues. BioWare promised us, in all the press materials leading up to the game, that we’d be able to customize castles, take over territories, lead armies etc. etc. and what we got was just watered down customization options. Don’t make an RPG with strategy elements if you’re not going to fulfill them properly. Take the expansion Dragon Age: Origins- Awakening for example. It was an add on game, yes. But it added some cool elements that fans were yearning for. Elements that you’d think would be improved upon in the next full fledged game. Nope. So, ok…you can build a Mage Tower or a Templar Tower that states in game, that it’s only a cosmetic upgrade, and it has no bearing on your progress. And it serves no real purpose because your castle Skyhold never gets attacked. Woopdy doo. You can choose to create a Training Grounds or an Infirmary, and again this is a cosmetic upgrade that has no purpose other than to make your castle look different. Yay! Who cares? Oh and you can build a Chantry or make an Herb Garden. If you build the Chantry you get gold….or more followers….maybe? If you build the Herb Garden you get….wait for it…..6 POTS where you can plant herbs!! You’re the almighty Inquisitor and you get only 6 POTS!?! And you have to farm it yourself. What!?! What would’ve made a hell of a lot more sense would be….Build the Mage Tower or Templar Tower…get power points and a defensive bonus if the castle were attacked. Build the Training Grounds for an attack bonus for your troops. Build the Infirmary for a health bonus for your troops. Build the Chantry to gain more followers and power or spirit magic resistance for your troops. Build the Herb Garden to have a constant supply of herbs, farmed by your followers and deposited in your inventory. That would make a lot of sense right? The armor and weapon customization was a decent mechanic and tool, why not make the castle customization similar? You looted some weird materials off this Red Templar, sent it in for research and now you can have a special upgrade for your armor/weapon. Likewise, you found some strange materials in a ruin you excavated, you have your dwarves work on it and now you can have a special upgrade for your Mage Tower or your Front Gate or your Dungeon. Also, when you took over a keep…you couldn’t do anything with it. NPC’s just showed up along with some merchants. It would’ve been cool to choose what type of keep it would be (Military, Espionage, Political) and subsequently what bonus you would get (A recruitment bonus or attack bonus for your troops, A spy bonus or more secret areas unlocked to explore, A political bonus with more options for allies, gold and power). Ya know…the little things….allowing you to ‘see results’ from missions that you undertook and an actual impact in your game would’ve been nice rather than a childish…’Well I beat that mission. NEXT!’. Lastly, the judgments, which were very cool, lacked something that was established in DA:O-Awakening. Why weren’t there judgments or requests from regular townsfolk, nobles or members of your Inquisition? It would’ve been very rewarding to have you judge a petty squabble between an Inquisition Mage and Templar, or choose to commit troops to protect an Inquisition farm from attack or bring the citizens to the castle for protection, or to settle a nobles dispute that would gain you gold or influence. Again, the little things….that were developed in an add on to DA:O…that a fan like myself thought would be expanded on the grander scale of DA:I that simply…did not happen. If you’re going to make an RPG, with such a rich storyline and advertise that it’s going to be groundbreaking…you better satisfy your more mature fans (18+ or just veteran gamers) who expect this greatness that was promised.


5. Harvesting and gathering loot. This can be fun sometimes. But seriously, with a game of this scope you don’t want to spend 10-15 hours harvesting and looting because you’ve already got 100+ hours of gameplay to go through (if you play out a majority of the missions). Remember the PC game FATE? It was a cool dungeon crawler but one really awesome element that it had was this dog that you could call and it would grab your loot for you. Then it would take a certain amount of time to leave, drop off the loot and become available to you again. Wouldn’t it have been cool to have a few squires that would follow well behind your party and grab all the loot for you, then one of them would report at your castle and show you what was looted and harvested? It would solve the constant problem of clearing your inventory, pausing to loot each corpse after a battle and stopping to grab every herb or mineral you see. I understand that this was done to a small extent in the War Table where you could send your advisors out to gather materials, but frequently the mission would come back with 5-10 herbs, a very tiny amount, considering that you can gather 5-10 herbs in a few minutes of gameplay. And it could be a simple option that you could turn on or off (for people who like gathering herbs). Want your squires & spies to follow you and scour every area you go to and then report their findings back at the Skyhold? Or do you want to do it yourself? That type of situation could also lend to a unique storyline with your subordinate(s). Are you putting them in danger? Can they be killed while doing this? Does it affect your overall power score? Ya know…just some simple detail. I mean, you have a nice dialogue with the short, cute, female scout in every place you go to…in which her character didn’t really have any purpose other than to brief you and fill some time. Why couldn’t that person serve a real in game purpose like I just mentioned? Ya know….the devil is in the details…or lack thereof.

6. Character approval means nothing. Remember in Dragon Age: Origins you had the character approval bar? And the higher that bar went, you could inspire Minor or Major abilities in that character such as combat bonuses. And the lower the bar went, the more pissed your character was with you…and they may even leave your party….or try to kill you? Now THAT WAS COOL. In this game, there’s no point to the approval system other than when you make decisions, some on screen text will tell you who approves or disapproves of your actions. There’s no status bar where you can check how much a person likes/dislikes you. And there’s no incentives such as combat bonuses or unique relationships (that I could tell). It’s just another area that fell completely flat. It’s as if BioWare started to create this portion of the game and just stopped at some point. Just another example of how DA:O is better than DA:I.



7. You don’t get to appoint characters in branch off missions. Remember at the end of Dragon Age: Origins when you had to choose 4 companions to lead the second team that would defend the gates at Denerim while you took on the archdemon? A pretty simple side mission and very effective for engrossing you in the game. But again, nope. Nothing even remotely similar throughout the game. You’ve got this great group of characters. Iron Bull and his team of chargers. Blackwall. Cassandra. Dorian etc. etc. and you have to leave them out of battles because you only can pick up to 3 companions to join in on your missions. There was so much potential to work off of elements that were successful in past titles. Wouldn’t it have made sense to include the other companions in your sieges, for example the siege on Adamant Fortress and the final battle? Maybe your second team covers your back or attacks from another flank? Maybe, like in the ending of Mass Effect 2, if you choose characters who aren’t suited properly for the specific task….they will die…or someone else will die as a result of the lopsided team. It’s the little things, ya know?

8. You’re BioWare. Should you listen to the fans? Absolutely. Every single one. Look, I know you’ve won game of year and accolades upon accolades for this game. Congratulations. BioWare as a company and all of those involved in the creation of this specific game deserve all of that praise. This is a very good game that just falls flat in some key areas. And if you’ve learned anything from the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle, it’s that your fans know best. I’m sure there’s an amazing team at BioWare but the truth is….you didn’t live up to your expectations with Dragon Age: Inquisition. You didn’t pull a George Lucas prequels blunder….but if you don’t heed the advice of people outside of your internal ‘team’ then your games will continue to be lackluster. I love this game…I really do. I’m probably going to play it again but stop my campaign after Alexius is defeated.. where it starts to go downhill and it becomes obvious that your choices are meaningless. Now for the positives! The environments are amazing. The animations are fantastic. The armor/weapon customization is great. The loot is great. The War Table and missions associated with it were great (although could’ve been tweeked a bit more to make it more realistic with consequences for choosing the wrong advisor). The castle decor and style customization is really cool. The combat is good (though the AI wasn’t as effective as DA:O where you could choose their tactics). The talent tree is good. The writing was really, really good. The early plot twists and turns were awesome. The soundtrack and in game ‘bard songs’ were great. The characters were great and well developed. Dorian…amazing character. Solas! Perfect! The crossover from previous games was awesome too by bringing in Leliana, Hawke and Morrigan and it was done really, really well. Playing the ‘game’ in Val Royeaux was great. The Inquisition influence bar and perks were cool. The judgements were a lot of fun. The Avvar clan was amazing. Those small Inquisition War Table missions to build a bridge etc. were a really nice touch. The Dragons were AWESOME!!! The Solas & Flemeth twist at the end was cool. There are lots and lots of plusses for this game. But the minuses are just too big and they keep this from being a great game. Even though the gameplay and technology of the time in DA:O is about 6 years old, that’s still a much, much better, tighter and more fulfilling game. And I know that BioWare wanted this to have the same impact that Oblivion did at the time that it came out…but it just doesn’t. It’s just another game. DA:I was too big and some really important details were missed in the grand scope of it all. Details that make or break games for the consumer. I’m still a HUMONGOUS FAN. I would pay BioWare 200 or 300 or 1,000 bucks if they finally created the perfect, earth-shattering RPG. I love this series and the world that BioWare has created. I’m just telling the truth in the small hope that company folks and designers at BioWare, and other video game developers for that matter, will say ‘Ya know what….the fans are right. Let’s do better!’.


In closing, BioWare did a very good job. The game was great….and then once the shortcomings became evident and the storyline got flabby, it dropped to being just ‘good’. So, they did make 1/3rd of the greatest video game ever. If I were 10 or if this were the first RPG I’d ever played, like I did many years ago with Dragon Warrior for Nintendo, I would lose my mind and praise BioWare as if they were Gods. But that’s not the case. They’re just people….in a big building sitting in front of computers and arguing in meetings. BioWare is a huge company that makes lots of money, with CEO’s and Presidents and a PR & marketing team that gets in the way of the creative department. There are so many people collaborating and so many rules to be followed that I understand why certain things do or do not happen in games. But the fact that I understand how hard it is for a big company to create a flawless game does not detract from the truth that DA:I isn’t flawless. It’s just good. And being just good….is a big disappointment in such a story rich franchise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. and that it’s improved your video game life, your knowledge of the Dragon Age Series or the next video game that you’re about to make or play. Thanks for reading. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Even plants and animals. Have a great day!

Dragon Age: Inquisition on PS3

It’s kinda pointless writing a blog about Dragon Age: Inquisition because Kotaku has provided several stellar reviews of the game, which makes it unnecessary to read any others. That being said, it’s hard to find good information about a new blockbuster game on a last generation console….hence why I am writing about Dragon Age: Inquisition for the Playstation 3. I won’t go too in depth regarding the plot and storyline because well, read Kotaku’s blog if you want to get the full review. All else aside… this post will be helpful for people who still rock the PS3 that are on the fence about buying this game. And so we begin…


First off, YES THE GAME IS WORTH THE MONEY!! If you’re a fan of the franchise already, a fan of the fantasy genre or just a fan of RPG games…buy this immediately. I’m about 35 hours into my first play through, I’m extremely engaged and there’s no end in sight. It’s rumored that this game can take almost 250 hours to complete if you do all the side quests along with the main storyline and that’s a pretty awesome deal for $50-$60 bucks. Of course, the graphics don’t look as good as the PS4 but they’re still good. There’s no drop off from Dragon Age: Origins (the original game in the series) and the scope of the game is huge. So what?….it’s not gonna look as pretty on the PS3 but it’s still going to be a lot of fun.


Secondly, the writing is spectacular. Friggin’ Phenomenal. The writing and dialogue in the previous 2 games was great but this one just blows them out of the water. Nice job Bioware. In DA:I the gameplay is great, the storyline is fantastic and the plot twists will make hollywood screenwriters jealous. Seriously….this game is like playing an epic movie. It’s amazing. I actually got misty eyed at one point (during a plot twist that I did not see coming AT ALL)….I felt like I was sitting back watching a great film. Technically you don’t notice any sound issues or drop-offs on the PS3, some cut scenes (which I gather look awesome on PS4) can look kind of crappy on PS3….but there’ve only been a few that I’ve noticed. Bugs? Yeah….there are bugs. I don’t know if this is exclusive to the last generation consoles or the whole game in general….but you will need to save often and keep different save files open. Occasionally there will be some severe gameplay glitches but nothing that removes you completely from the story or action. Your screen will freeze and the system will shut down occasionally….which REALLY SUCKS! But I think that’s due to the huge amount of memory running on the old console. It’s nowhere near the amount of bugs in Fallout: New Vegas. It can be annoying, but not detrimental to the flow or your focus in the game….most of the time. Just save every 15-30 minutes and you’ll be fine.


Dragon Age: Inquisition has made some improvements in terms of mixing an action rpg game with a bit of strategy simulation (creating your castle and making improvements to it etc. etc) but I think there’s still more to be desired out of it. Not a bad thing at all. I wrote about the Dragon Age: Origins-Awakening expansion, which I really liked, and Bioware incorporated some of that detail into Inquisition and I think it goes over well. But…there’s always going to be room for improvement, which I’ve noticed briefly and read about extensively in reviews on the game. I’m not sure if some features in this part of the game are exclusive to PS4 though….either way, it’s still fun.


M.A.V.B.L.O.G. SCORE- 9.5 out of 10.

To keep it short….Is Dragon Age: Inquisition worth a purchase on a PS3? Absolutely. I think the game plays well on the last generation consoles….and if you don’t have the money right away to buy a PS4, definitely don’t wait on it. Have fun and play Dragon Age on PS3. You can always replay it a few years down the line once you’ve picked up a PS4. I mean, Bioware will probably have worked out all the bugs by then and probably added some more cool DLC’s. So, if you’ve got time to dick around playing video games….pick this one. It certainly is not a waste of time.

As always. Be good. Be great. Be better! And follow The Golden Rule. Have a great day! …..oh yeah, and don’t forget to exercise once and a while….video games can turn you into a zombie. Right?

The Mass Effect Trilogy

Old news….I know. But there are probably some folks out there that are into video games who haven’t played the Mass Effect series. There are tons of blogs out there about these games which you can see here, here, here, here and here…so I’ll just outline some cool things about the game, give a general overview and explain why I think it’s worth a purchase and play through. After all….it’s only $39.99 now for all three games in the Mass Effect Trilogy. Pretty amazing deal.


First off, if you don’t like science fiction….don’t play Mass Effect. But if you do like science fiction…..GET IT NOW!! As a gamer, I know very well that a really good video game release is similar to a really good movie release…..few and far between. Each Mass Effect game has its uniqueness to it, which is great. I think they perfected the mechanics in the 3rd game as it had a little bit of both of the good qualities from the first two games. No gamer will ever be entirely pleased unless they themself design their own perfect video game…but these were really, really, really solid. Overall though, it’s an exceptional RPG action game with fantastic artwork, very few glitches and bugs, great writing, an immense amount of options, amazing voice actors and it’s extremely entertaining and immersive. There are so many combinations and variables in this game that you could probably play it 50 times without having the exact same outcomes. It’s fun and well worth the money. Plain and simple.


Without giving away too much to the newbies to this series, the first game plays more like an RPG with action elements in it. The second game plays a lot like an action game with RPG elements. And the third game….well I felt it combined both pretty well. If you can handle the slight gameplay changes….and you enjoy both the action genre and the RPG genre…you will be satisfied. Also the celebrity cast of voice actors includes people such as Martin Sheen, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lance Henriksen, Keith David, Seth Green, Adam Baldwin and Freddie Prinze Jr.. That just adds to the overall quality and makes you feel like you’re playing a movie….but it’s YOUR MOVIE.


Now, there were some serious issues and outcry from fans (myself included) over the blatantly flat ending of Mass Effect 3. Wisely though, the game creators took note and updated an extended cut version (which is good) and is available to download into your console for free. It goes without saying that when you invest 120 hours of gameplay into something….you want the outcome to be believable. The original ending was ATROCIOUS….but since recently playing it again…..I noticed that the developers fixed the problem and the ending (whichever you choose based upon the decisions you make throughout the trilogy) is satisfying. (See below for my spoiler/opinion on the ending).


Are there lots of great games out there? Sure. Are the new console games going to blow away the old PS3 & XBOX games? Probably. But I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t play one of the highest budgeted and lauded games of recent years. The Mass Effect Trilogy is a lot of fun. You can play as a woman or a man. You can play as a bad-ass or a boy scout. You can have relationships with the other characters as a friend or lover. You can escape into an expansive world, which you actually have a hand in creating, and come away feeling like you’ve accomplished something on your terms. Have you ACTUALLY accomplished anything other than wasting your time playing a video game? Maybe…..The writing in these games is so good and the characters are so different that you encounter racism, xenophobia, sexism and a multitude of moral decisions that need to be made. You might actually learn some things and encounter social situations you may never see in your day to day life. You may even improve upon your own personality. People frequently complain that games only promote violence, but one of the overall themes of this game is tolerance and cooperation. It’s just a video game… but Mass Effect is also an exercise in morality. It’s escapist entertainment at its finest which is like crack for video game junkies. But it’s also a very intelligent game with a lot of heart.


M.A.V.B.L.O.G. SCORE- 10 out of 10. It’s fun. It’s fun. It’s fun. And it leaves you wanting more. Regardless of the minor flaws…..this game is awesome. You create your character from top to bottom and you have some freedom in how you design and play your very own Commander Shepard throughout the series. I highly recommend investing the 100-120 hours it takes to complete the trilogy.

Thanks for reading. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to those you encounter. Even animals.



If you’ve played all the games you’ll know what I’m talking about. So for those of you on the fence in choosing an ending… ya go. In the first game your mission is to defeat the bad guys (Saren & The Reapers) of which, Saren gets indoctrinated by The Reapers so he is essentially working for them. You win. In the second game your mission is to defeat The Collectors who are working for The Reapers. You win. In the third game the villain, The Illusive Man, becomes indoctrinated by The Reapers and after his death you are given three choices: CONTROL (of which The Illusive Man tried but couldn’t succeed…and btw you die) SYNTHESIS (of which The Catalyst TELLS YOU that it never worked sucessfully in the past……and btw you die) DESTROY (where you’re guaranteed to defeat your enemy The Reapers……and maybe you’ll die) or REJECT (where you reject the options The Catalyst presents….. and btw EVERYONE DIES…..and then someday in the distant future people figure out how to defeat The Reapers). It’s pretty clear cut to me that destroy is the only true option. The Catalyst is an ancient Artificial Intelligence or VI that controls The Reapers and IS THE BAD GUY (because it controls The Reapers who have terrorized the galaxy for millions of years). It is giving you these choices because NO ONE has ever made it that far, which is probably a manual system reset that the AI cannot choose. Also, if you have a high enough score and you choose the Destroy ending….Shepard lives. It’s the ONLY outcome where Shepard lives. So yes….Destroy is the ONLY option because it goes along with your character and the entire storyline of the series. Find bad guy. Defeat bad guy. Save galaxy.