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Category Archives: Games

 

 

What’s the Story?

In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard chased down a rogue government agent and discovered he was working for The Reapers – a race of robots that hide out beyond the galaxy. 50,000 years ago they wiped out the super-intelligent Protheans and all life and now they’re planning to come back. Shepard stops them from returning, but no one seems to believe him that Reapers are real.

In Mass Effect 2, Shepard battles a race called the Collectors, who have been abducting whole human colonies. Eventually, Shepard discovers that the Collectors are the Protheans, effectively brainwashed into being the Reapers’ slaves. They’re stealing people and turning them into goo to make a new, human Reaper. Shepard kills it. Still no one believes the Reapers are real.

In the opening of Mass Effect 3, the Reapers attack Earth. Also, the rest of the galaxy. Also, they’re nearly indestructable. Shepard leaves Earth and finds designs for an ancient Prothean weapon to destroy the Reapers: the Crucible. He must now unite all the disparate alien races so they can retake Earth and use the Crucible to destroy the Reapers.

 

What’s the Problem?

First, let me say this is an amazing game. Every choice you make over the last two games comes back into play. And some of those choices are whether your friends live or die. If they died in the last game, they’re absent from this. So any two playthroughs of ME3 are unlikely to be the same. I’ve finished it twice. Once I managed to unite two alien races by making a risky decision and then making a rousing speech. In the other, one of my friends had died in the previous game. She wasn’t there to talk sense to her people, so I didn’t get to make my rousing speech and her entire species was wiped out. My character accidentally committed genocide.

To be fair, you guys were kind of being dicks.

That’s the kind of thing that happens in ME3. Constantly. Little decisions have huge consequences…

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What’s the Story?

Desmond Miles lost consciousness after stabbing his would-be girlfriend at the end of the last game, so his friends plugged him into the Animus (a computer program that accesses forgotten memories, usually of one’s ancestors) to keep his mind from turning to goo. Now trapped inside his own mind, Desmond is forced to relive the final memories of Ezio Auditore, 16th century master assassin, as he hunts down the Library of Altair (another master assassin).

 

What’s the Problem?

Not Very Assassin-y

For a game with “Assassin” in the title, you don’t actually assassinate that many people. You kill a whole lot, but there isn’t the planned, methodical murder of high-placed figures that usually indicates assassination. Mostly you follow one clue to the next, get better weapons and armour, and climb everything more than three feet high.

Gah! No. Not that. Go AROUND that, and... oh, stuff it; just climb on whatever you want.

I get that they wanted “Assassin” in the title because it would sell more copies of the game than making up a name for the protagonists’ group, but still… if you’re going to call them assassins you can’t bitch whenever I stab a beggar for annoying me.

I'm about to get that "Kill one more innocent person and we'll boot you back to the last save point" message, aren't I?

 

Not Very Revelatory

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What’s the Story?

Before the events of Halo 1, the planet Reach was attacked and destroyed by the Covenant. This is the story of a group of Spartan soldiers who try to defend the planet and all die failing to do so.

 

What’s the Problem?

The Plot

is nothing. This is a game where they decided to come up with fun scenarios to play and then made a vague effort to tie them together with a storyline. The story does not drive the action at all. It feels like something that’s been put there to get you from A to B. Consequently, you don’t care about it.

Which is a problem, if they want me to care about the people in the squad and care when they die. Which apparently they do, because they keep playing heroic music when they cark it.

You can hear the music right now, can't you?

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What’s the Story?

During Halo 2, the Covenant attacked earth. This is the story of a group of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers who land in the city right after the Covenant leave. Specifically, the story of the Rookie, who loses consciousness and wakes up at night. He then retraces the steps of his fellow squad members by following clues (mostly wreckages) they left behind (at which point, the player plays as that squad member until whatever was wrecked gets wrecked).

 

What’s the Problem?

This is a very focussed story for Bungie. Rather than dealing with the fate of the universe, it’s just a story of a lost marine trying to find his friends. As such, it doesn’t have the overarching structure that most of the others do.

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Wow. Uh… this got long, so settle in. Or just skim until you find a heading you like.

 

 

What’s the Story?

The entire Halo array of deadly rings is on standby, ready to fire from the Ark. The entire Covenant army is attacking Africa, trying to excavate something from under a mountain. Turns out it’s a portal to the Ark.

This invasion of earth has been called on account of rain...

The Flood arrive on earth, so humanity burns half of Africa to stop the spread of space-zombies. The Master Chief and his new friends the Elites go through the portal, onto the Ark, and confronts the Prophet of Truth. The Flood follow them. They find a new Halo ring to replace the one the Chief blew up in Halo 1. They fire it, destroy the Ark and the Flood.

 

What’s the Problem?

They ran out of time on Halo 2, so Halo 3 is actually what was going to be half a game stretched out to a full game.

Probably the biggest problem I have with Halo 3 is that Halo 2 seemed to be leading toward so much, or give the promise of so much, which Halo 3 either didn’t recognise or didn’t deliver. For instance,

 

the Prophet of Truth

The Covenant were ruled by three Prophets. In Halo 2, Truth killed off the other two and started a civil war. This left him the sole leader of what was left of the Covenant (which was everything except the Elites). He also allowed the Flood to overrun the Covenant Holy City and fled away. All of this – combined with interrogating a purportedly sacred religious artefact, and breaking a couple of sacred promises and bases of their faith – made me think that Truth was using religion as a cover.

He was actually just in it for the power; he didn’t really believe. He knew that the Halo rings would destroy all life, not start the Sacred Journey to enlightenment. After all, he would have learned this from the sacred artefact, which would surely have told him (he tells everyone). Truth was, consequently, not planning on firing the Halo rings – only on saying he would as long as it served his political purposes.

Oh, yes, of COURSE you're all guaranteed a place on the Great Journey. Heh heh heh.

I was wrong. Truth believed everything, and was dead-set on firing the Halo rings. He believed everything he said and thought the rings would make him a god.

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