Big Shepard Waiting Time

Since well over a year or two ago I’ve taken to the habit of having FRAPS running in the background in case I feel the need to screenshot things for whatever reason – be it for a specific purpose or just because I like a scene or expressions at play or whatnot and think it’d be nice to keep. Considering how BioWare have declared that today is (or yesterday was, seeing how it’s almost midnight at the time of posting) officially FemShep Friday and how Mass Effect tends to be one of the main contributors to the latter reasoning, I decided to take a dive into my archived FRAPS screenshot folder in celebration of the fact that BioWare is finally acknowledging Jennifer Hale’s fantastic performance in promotional material.

Incidentally, I also discovered that I have a lot of screenshots of my own Commander Shepard.

If you’ve prodded through my backlog of posts (or simply been around that long) you might remember my own personal Commander Shepard, named Kate. If you do, you might also notice she actually looks a wee bit different from the last time I showed any images of her – for my most recent playthrough about half a year ago or so I actually went and tweaked her appearance in the Mass Effect 2 facial editor as opposed to trying to keep the same face across both; for some reason though I’m not sure why… I also ended up changing her hair from dark red to black. It seemed more fitting at the time, and the changes overall struck me as making her look a triffle older, closer to the 27 or so that I believe she’s actually supposed to be.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure where exactly she expects that camouflage colour and pattern to blend in, but seeing as how the only stealth in the game exists via complete cloaking devices anyway, it seems like a smaller quibble. It really came out of my quirky tendency towards using yellowish orange as my player or team colour in games, while at the same time wanting to avoid looking like a card-carrying Cerberus member since predominantly paragon Kate never really did see eye to eye with most of their organization.

I’ve been contemplating whether or not to do one final playthrough before Mass Effect 3 or not, just to cement the events clearly in my memory before I get started. So far I’ve been leaning towards no… I’ve played through it enough times by now that most of it should be rather solidly in place. On the other hand, with less than a month to go I’m starting to feel a tad antsy. I’ve been cautious about browsing around too much in regards of Mass Effect 3 due to the claim of there being some spoilers circling around; I’ve seen some of BioWare’s own promotional material, but little else – while the main premise has pretty much been obvious from the first reveal trailer, as far as details are concerned I’m hoping to discover them as I go, rather than knowing of them beforehand.

Of course, I have heard some people mumbling something about the story supposedly being disappointing or whatever from people who have spoken to/forumed with/whatever people who supposedly have read the early leak before I kindly told them to shush about anything spoilery and while I do understand why some are concerned, I’m kind of not, really. Let’s face it, there are some very simple things I want out of Mass Effect 3.

One. I want to see the conclusion of Kate’s personal war against the Big Menacing Robo-Cthulhu from Outer Space; it’s not so much about whether the story surprises me as getting to see her journey conclude. So long as I can get with their take on that, I’m good.

Two. I want to see how things mend between Kate and Kaidan Alenko for this last leg of the journey and how they pick up after the rather tense encounter at Horizon. And… If Raphael Sbarge’s audioblog entries are anything to go by, I won’t be disappointed there.

I realize a fair few other people will likely have significantly greater requirements on hand for Mass Effect 3 to live up to its promise and hype but as far as I’m concerned, BioWare would likely have to try pretty hard to mess things up.

Of course, this being Femshep Friday, BioWare also took the time to finally release the quite anticipated FemShep Trailer, which… most people with any interest in Mass Effect 3 have probably already seen. I’m not exactly a fan of the new default face, nor one of what seems to be the clear visual intention behind it – some of the artwork for it wasn’t that bad, but the parts I liked about that seem to have gotten a wee bit lost. That said, Kate has always had a custom face anyway and I’ll be sticking with that one so it isn’t exactly going to change my experience any. And beyond that, giving Female Shepard and the absolutely stellar associated voicework by Jennifer Hale a central spot in official promotional material is so long overdue that I’m going to applaud the sheer existance of this video regardless. I may not appreciate their new face, but an official video of female Commander Shepard where she gets to kick arses and punch gorillas? I’m totally on board with that.

The trailer ends with “Tell your friends we’re coming for them.” I can’t wait to tell them! Silly little space robot Cthulhu!

Oh! oh! Do I get to fly the Hammerhead? I want to fly the Hammerhead. And dodge trucks. At the same time!


17 Responses to “Big Shepard Waiting Time”

  1. 1 Coragon
    February 11, 2012 at 11:30

    *squeeeee* Im dying of expectation as well. I have an attitude towards ME3 that can be summarized as follows:
    “Just let me play the game once or twice, please. Then they can bring in the 2012-apocalypse, my life will be complete.”

    I have never played(or liked) a singleplayer game as much as Mass Effect(and ME2), and my own problem is to choose what playthrough to settle with for ME3. Choices choices.
    I got a femshep, maleshep with Kaidan, maleshep with Ashley, maleshep romancing Ashley, maleshep romancing Liara, renegade shep, paragon shep..uh…yes, I’ve played this game perhaps a bit too much. Well over a dozen playthroughs.
    There’s never been any game I’ve grown so attached to, so I dont think I’ll stretch it too far when I say its one of the best, if not THE best, series I’ve experienced.

    As for the many complaints and concerns about the game, I just call it the “Skyrim syndrome.” Whenever a game gets massivly hyped, you get a -ton- of people complaining about it, into the very tinyest of detail. Not because it is bad, or anything but awesome, but because it is under the spotlight and the hype, and people like attention and desperatly finding flaws in other peoples expectations. So far, the arguments as to why “ME3 will suxx!1” I’ve seen on most game forums is ridicilous, just as they were against Skyrim.

    Perhaps the only concern I have is that ME3 wont be available across steam, and will be an origins-exclusive game. Although im not in a state of panic over this and will outright refuse to buy the game or anythin( as some people go), I dont have the best experience with Origins and it would be nice to have the whole collection in the steam games library.

    The game itself I have no doubts will rock. My main question remains “How the hell will Shepard be able to win?” and it will be exciting to try and unravel that mystery, because as far as villains go, reapers might be among the more badass in the whole of the gaming universe.

  2. 2 Cobs
    February 11, 2012 at 23:01

    I was quite happy to finally see a FemShep trailer, indeed! And incidentally quickly got to finishing my paragon FemShep’s journey through ME2.

    I initially lost all my old saves thanks to my PC dying, and therefore had to go through new play-throughs, albeit my Slokka Shepard, the ardent renegade, was long since finished… *cough* The ends justify the means, no? Right? Of course I’m right…or Slokka Shepard will shoot me in the head…with a very, very, very big gun.

    And squeeeeeee indeed, Cora! Oh, and the 2012 thingy is just ’cause the Mayans accidentally dropped the next calendar wheel, which was supposed to stand next to it. Honest.

  3. 3 LoLDrood
    February 12, 2012 at 19:53

    Oh sh- that’s coming out next month?! Damn, I gotta put together a computer upgrade plan soon.

    I was never concerned with camo outside of the pure aesthetic of it, since 90% of the time you’re in Metal Starship Interior at ranges under 50yards, so camo is pointless anyways.

    So long as there’s a satisfying conclusion to the Evil Space Cuttlefish, and my ren Shep can go back to being snugglebunnies with Liara, I’m pretty much happy.

    …I totally have Joker’s hat. 😀

  4. 4 Serenais
    February 13, 2012 at 14:24

    ME3 is probably going to be THE game of the year for me, if MoP fails – or comes in 2013, though I doubt Blizzard will do something a silly as that. Diablo III or not. Serenais Sheppard (yeah, silly name, but I believe the last game where I didn’t name a character “Serenais” was Dune 1) needs to finish her task. And reading above all this, I guess I should make sure that my saves remain, somewhere…

    And all this will become a torture with international shipping, since the local postal company tends to delay those by up to two weeks for whatever reason. *shakes fist and activates Righteous Fury*

  5. 5 Kuronan
    February 13, 2012 at 19:45

    I want Mass Effect 3 more then anything else in the world right now, it’s the completion of the legacy, the finale that I have loved even more then any other game I have played, and I would need to count every limb on my body, nails and flexing parts included, to name all of them.

    Mass Effect carries more power, emotion, strength of heart and morality then any other game, including the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic (Though that one comes damned close, I had to remake TWICE because i was uncomfortable with my character’s decisions.)

    Personally I have had a romance with Tali, though I’m not gonna go all fanatic about it, it was a surprising moment the first time she said she loved me, I wasn’t sure it would work, sure enough I was proven entirely wrong, although, more then other characters, she needs more dialog.

    The only thing I would really ask Bioware to do is add the affection system present in all other games, but exclude gifts except in some cases, like personal items or a ring, so people would have to work for it and be rewarded accordingly rather then (and I see this far too often) “Just give her gifts.” other then that, I fully trust Bioware to make a game that will send ripples through my body and aftershock that will last until the day after I finish it.

    Finally, to the above comment… I’d recommend trying out ST:tOR while you wait, it’s an amazing game, don’t judge that because it’s an MMORPG, it won’t have story… trust me, It is worth EVERY. FUCKING. PENNY. Don’t even get me started on PvP balancing, the game is so balanced, your gonna laugh at the concepts of “nerf” (which, in a way, is also made fun of already in the game) and “op”,

  6. 6 CN
    February 20, 2012 at 00:01

    I’m not a RPG player, but Mass Effect got me really hooked.. I really look forward to seeing all my favourite characters again.. Garrus, Wrex, Mordin (Why not a teammate, Bioware? WHYYY?), Legion, Liara (dem eyes, mmmm), Tali, Joker, Ken & Gabby, Matriarch Aethyta.. and the list goes on..

    As for vehicles.. This might sound like a blasphemy, but I liked the old Mako better than the Hammerhead. First, I don’t really mind cheesy vehicle handling (M1 Abrams drifting in Operation Flashpoint, anyone?), second – design of the levels involving the Hammerhead essentially turned the game into a 3D platformer. So Hammerhead & dodging trucks is okay, as long as I don’t have to jump across lava streams.

    I’m also curious about replacing the mineral scanner minigame. Sure, it sucked. But I considered it an improvement over the ME1 mining and exploration mechanic…

    Finally, Mass Effect 3D-chibies! http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=94379

    • 7 Nhani
      February 20, 2012 at 05:59

      To be honest, I actually liked the Mako better also – but not quite for the same reasons. The thing with the Mako was that it was a tank, I mean okay, not tracked or anything, but it could take as good as it gave! All while having the agility to jump over incoming dumbfire rockets to dodge them.

      In short, the Mako felt like it could survive more than a stern glare. You still wanted to be mobile and at least try to avoid fire, but it didn’t just collapse under scrutiny. The Hammerhead, by comparison, must’ve had its hull made out of origami for how durable it was. And unlike the Mako, the Hammerhead was very poor at telegraphing how damaged it was – by the time you got visual signs like fire, it was really on its last legs.

      Of course, the problem with the Mako wasn’t really the Mako so much as it was the environments they made it traverse – it simply wasn’t made to scale all the insane 80-degree slopes BioWare put everywhere – in spite of how often players ended up having to scale said slopes.

      Also, I’ve seen those low-poly models before! I deeply wish I was even half as talented as that, because they are glorious.

      • 8 Coragon
        February 21, 2012 at 14:43

        *points above* That.

        I also liked how the mako was included in the main story, and was an essential part of the Normandy’s arsenal. Its an essential force multiplier for Shepard’s crew.

        The hammerhead, also being more flawed then the mako in many regards, didnt feel like an essential part of ME2’s story. not just in the sense that it wasnt part of the main campaign(it was a dlc after all) but the hammerhead story feels really detached from the main story, imo.

        I like the hammerheads design however and if they improved that I could see it compete with the Mako. Oh, and if they added a machinegun to it.

        The new “Take Earth back” trailer ( -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYXPsls5p_4 ) shows -both- combat vechiles in heavy action, so maybe we get to use both of them in ME3, or choose between one of them. At the very least, I think one of them is making a return.

        Personally, I find the idea of driving a mako over hordes of husks on earth metropolitan streets irresistable.

  7. 9 LoLDrood
    March 9, 2012 at 00:59

    Welp, picked up my copy today, had to deal with Origin bullshit despite getting a hard copy. Only WHOOPS! The game can’t import faces that were made in ME1. So, guess i’ll be waiting XX days until they fix something that should never have been a problem. Thanks EA!
    And March had been going so well…

    • 10 Nhani
      March 9, 2012 at 15:43

      It has to do with the fact that faces in Mass Effect 1 are actually constructed quite differently from those in Mass Effect 2, while 3 maintain more or less the same system 2 did. Of course, they provided backwards compatibility in 2, so it seems quite a weird oversight that they wouldn’t implement that in 3.

      That said, unless they’ve explicitly said it’s something they’re patching in, I wouldn’t expect it added; it’d be much faster just to reconstruct the face (or as close as you can get) in ME2 or 3 than wait for the feature to be implemented; if you’ve got good screenshots to work from, it isn’t too much work, at least. I actually did redesign Kate in ME2 some time back just to have a working face code – paid off now.

      As for Origin, I don’t find it any different than the many games that require Steam or GFWL or Uplay to run – different name, same crap. In some ways I actually find Origin better than Steam – though in other ways I find it worse, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I’ll tolerate it the same way I’ve tolerated Steam infiltrating games like Skyrim and GFWL being a part of Arkham City/Asylum.

      I’ll write about more detailed thoughts later on when I’ve played through the whole thing and had time to process my thoughts on it. Though the short of it is some quirks and changes are weird, some things are slightly annoying, but the majority of the things I play the game for are totally awesome so I don’t mind. Oh and running the multiplayer with friends can be a total blast.

      • 11 LolDrooD
        March 10, 2012 at 03:35

        Bioware has said that they’re working on fixing the import problem.
        I suppose I could just try to remake my sheps, but I don’t have screen shots of them. I already spent my hours making them look the way I like, and I’m disinclined to spend hours more trying to re-create them.

        My trepidation with Origin has more to do with me trusting EA about as far as I could comfortably give Hitler a piggyback ride, then anything else. Though it DID have the added bonus of not only locking me out of being able to even install Mass Effect until I eventually figured out that I needed to use my SWTOR info to get in, but also made the game completely unplayable; any time i would use the mouse, the FPS would drop to about 2. I had to go in and turn off the in-game thing to get ME3 to run correctly.


        • 12 Nhani
          March 10, 2012 at 05:38

          Origin certainly does have its odd quirks in places, though I found that for both Mass Effect 1 and 2, it effectively offered me a choice to authenticate them either through disc or through Origin, as opposed to enforcing the latter method like Steam would, so aside from bugs and missing features, I’m inclined to put it on even ground with Steam (the voice chat settings default to push-to-talk and privacy features default to highest, compared to Steam which defaults to speech-activated and lowest, respectively) in spite of the issues, and it’s certainly higher on my list than the much resented GFWL which I’ve had nothing but trouble and annoyance with every time I’ve had to deal with it.

          As for the face, the potentially fastest thing you could do is reinstall Mass Effect 2, import (either from ME1 or from New Game +) your old character, take a few screenshots during face generation, then use those for reference. Typically it’s a whole lot quicker when you can overlay the two images to see what’s “wrong” and not.

          Mind you, I recreated Kate long before this to fix a few issues that’d always annoyed me with her appearance prior that mostly came out of working from the lower fidelity ME1. Unless they make the ME1 to ME3 face importer actually convert the face to the whole new system rather than just import it, I’d probably still advocating redesigning the face in either ME2 or ME3 simply for the sake of having a face code. Those things are quite useful.

          • 13 LoLDrood
            March 11, 2012 at 01:36

            I tried to do the screen shot thing to tweak an import, but I just couldn’t do it. I had a tough time getting good shots to work from, and given the amount of subtle tweaking that can be done, I would forever have that niggling doubt in my head that i got something wrong.
            Is that overly anal of me? Yeah, probably, but there it is. 😦

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