I’m writing these reviews bearing in mind that these games have been out for a while. I also address the Mass Effect 3 Ending controversy which I would be remiss in not addressing as it is a big thing in the gaming community right now.

Elder Scrolls Skyrim

Skyrim. You may have heard of it. It was awarded PC Game of the Year, RPG of the Year and Overall Game of the Year. It may have come to your attention through commercials or as you surfed the web and stumbled upon endless references to it. And if not I am here to tell you there is an amazing little gem at your local game store called The Elder Scrolls Skyrim. It is an action adventure RPG where you are Dovahkiin ‘Dragonborn’ and as such are on a quest to find what that really means, why dragons are suddenly appearing after being thought long extinct and your place amidst a civil war that brews erstwhile. Magic and melee play a crucial role in your quest and are deftly handled as you can mix and match the two (sword and spell) or double up (fire and more fire). It is an amazing buy and is available for all systems, I highly recommend you shuffle out and get a copy now.

If you do play video games and (somehow) haven’t played it yet there are some things you have to ask yourself. Do you like video games really? Do you like fun? If the answers are yes then the only holding you back must be a severe deficiency of cash or lack of understanding as to what this game really is. Well let me tell you; it is an adventure at your fingertips. It is hours upon hours of gameplay sending you on tasks that range from dragon killing to retracing your steps after a wild drunken night with a stranger. The controls are tight, the music is epic, the gameplay is totally immersing all while telling an intriguing story. There have been many improvements made from previous installations. For instance, Skyrim finally makes it possible to grow as a character while you grow as a player whereas before you had to make advanced decisions about your character’s stats and makeup before you even knew how the game worked. Not to mention the addition of kill cams, the upgraded constellation of perks and a much smoother third person mode. Whether you are new to The Elder Scrolls series or a gamer who has dabbled in the other titles Bethesda has to offer and didn’t think them up to par, Skyrim will surprise you like it surprised me.

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect is a title that used to inspire the greatest feeling of unbridled joy in the hearts of gamers everywhere. Tales of how everyone’s various decisions produced vastly different outcomes shaping every gameplay experience in a new and different way made was a major part of what made it so great. Now with the last instillation it seems all that has vanished.
At this date the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3’s ending is overshadowing what is an amazing trilogy of games. Somewhere between EA and BioWare the ball got dropped on the finale and as a result the backlash has been absolutely brutal. Going as far as earning EA the title of Worst Company of 2012 (and they beat out Bank of America to get it Yikes!). However as lame, confusing and dissatisfying the ending was, it was a small portion of an absolutely amazing series overall.

When I saw how my adventure ended I didn’t really know what to make of it so I shrugged and started playing all over again. I was just unwilling to dismiss three whole games because the last ten minutes were bad (okay awful but my point still stands). Mass Effect is by far the most immersing game I have ever played, and though titles like Batman, Uncharted and Skyrim all managed to get me deeply involved Mass Effect will do it on a much deeper level and moreover it’s personal. The choices you make can range from minor to life altering but I found myself taking each one seriously. From relationship choices to who gets sent out on a mission, all of these things can effect the outcome of your story and by the end of the first game you have a character that you have put quite a bit of yourself into. When the tough choices came I often found myself sitting in front of my XBox thinking hard about which option to choose feeling seriously torn about what to do. Regardless of what I picked my decision was final and I would have to deal with the repercussions of my actions across all three games. That is an experience I don’t take lightly. The draw of the game wasn’t so much the story as the players ability to be drawn in; it wasn’t about the missions it was about the ethical and moral choices you would have to make to complete them.

That said the ending really was trashy, but even then there is the ‘Indoctrination Theory’ floating around that explains the ending in a way that makes that confusing flustercuck make a reasonable amount of sense. So if you’re worried that all your hard work will result in nonsense there is always that fallback.

As for Mass Effect 3 in and of itself (and excluding the end) there were a few things I wish could have been handled differently, like the way you would get to missions. Let’s say travel to the far end of the universe to discover a cure for a rare unknown disease, but never talk to the person who needed it. You’d just overhear a phone conversation, get the mission and turn it in (though the concept is hilarious when you really think about it). I also would have liked to have seen the war assets take a greater part as you spend two and a half whole games trying to gain their favor only to find out about most of their contributions through copious amounts of text. Not to mention the various bugs (like characters disappearing while speaking or the way Shepard’s eyes roll up sometimes) but given all of that the game did right. These issues are minor complaints in comparison.

Overall Mass Effect 3 is not a game to be overlooked, I highly recommended it and it’s prequels played in order to get the full effect (on Xbox since it is currently the only system that allows you to transfer your character across all three games). No game is perfect and the ending of the last one was crap, but that was 1% bad in a sea of 99% awesome. Go get you some awesome.


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