The Importance of Engaging

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No spoilers. Not much going on today, so we’ll just discuss various means of engaging with the game.

Butch:

About that Pro/4K set up. You want to do that before you get laid in MEA. Leave the current console for Mr. O.’

Feminina:

That would be good, if we had that much room in the house. Maybe I’ll drag the Pro onto the porch…what’s a persistent smell of mildew and no air flow?

Butch:

Bedroom? Done. You have more than one room, you have more than one place for a TV.

Feminina:

Hm. We only have about two feet of space between the end of the bed and the dresser/mirror. I guess it could go ON the dresser. Who needs a mirror?

Butch:

Two words dude: Wall mount. Can go anywhere. OVER the bed!

Ceiling mount!

I love this plan. What could go wrong?

Feminina:

Nothing! Nothing could ever go wrong!

Although…I don’t know, playing while lying in bed SOUNDS nice and luxurious and decadent, but what about those times when, in order to enhance your character’s ability to dodge or jump, you have to yourself weave from side to side or make specific leaping motions with the controller? All my careful habits are based on being UPRIGHT. I’m not sure I want to risk my character’s life by playing in the wrong position.

Butch:

You….uh….do that?

Not judging. Ok, judging a bit.

Don’t even WANT to know what you do in the flirty scenes.

Feminina:

What, you just sit rigidly stock still during combat? Only your rapidly moving fingers betraying that you’re not, in fact, a lifelike statue? Never the slightest instinctive lean to one side or the other as you drive around corners somewhere?

Uh-huh. Sure. I suppose I won’t judge you for your obvious lack of engagement with the game.

If there’s ever a flirty scene that requires careful handling of the controls to lean just so and put your arm around someone or something, I will probably lean in sympathy, but as long as they’re all dialogue, you can set aside your concerns.

Butch:

Um, I’m not sure that helped.

I’m a vocal gamer. Between swearing a blue streak, I am known to encourage “C’mon, Nomad, you can get up that slope,” cheer “That’s it Ryder! Nice move!”, praise “Nice dress, Triss,” or express frustration “Oh COME ON, Cora, you’re down again?”

That’s engagement.

Feminina:

Fine, fine. You engage by swearing, I engage by leaning from side to side while I drive and ducking when I dodge. IT HELPS THE CHARACTER FOCUS, OK?

And swearing. Lots and lots of swearing. That helps the character focus too. Pretty sure.

Butch:

And praising. And encouraging. And admiring dresses. Not JUST swearing. There’s some positive interaction.

Feminina:

Positive engagement: noted.

But it’s like 98% swearing, though, right? I just want to make sure I get the proportions right.

Butch:

92.

Maybe 93.

Feminina:

Dude, that little?!

Maybe I should dial it back.

Can’t Murder Now, Chatting

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Some spoilers for romance options and clothing in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

It’s Thursday, right? Didn’t sleep well. Kinda groggy.

But I played!

I’d have more, but Holy Moses I forgot how long that first “I’m gonna talk to everyone on my ship/castle/campsite takes in a Bioware game.

At least an hour, but I’m not sure exactly as I played for an hour and only talked to Drack, Cora, Lexi (I didn’t even finish with Lexi), and the first part of Vetra (you know, you do the cutscene, and they’re all “We’ll talk later” and you immediately talk later). So there’s more Vetra, I haven’t even found Liam (where the hell is Liam?), and there’s probably that Gil dude that’s in my Codex who I think I said hi to once, long ago.

Where the hell is Liam?

And where did you get that spectacular outfit? [note: reference to a screencap of Ryder in workout gear, as seen in this story] I found the wardrobe (And the stereo! I KNEW there’d be a stereo!) but all I could do with the wardrobe was trick out my armor, and switch from long sleeves to short sleeves to jacket. I could very much NOT switch to casual tank tops. How’d you do that?

And where the hell is Liam? Or Gil?

And aren’t you a cheeky blogmate? All “What about Cora? Don’t you like Cora?” when you knew she wasn’t gonna be into me. I tired, man! And she doesn’t like girls. You knew that, didn’t you?

And I suppose Lexi’s right not wanted to bang patients.

Where the hell is Liam?

I’m going to choose to think my flirt fest is completely in character. I’m celebrating! I just set up a foothold for humanity in another galaxy! And I haven’t gotten any in six damn centuries!

I’m also pleased I’m getting to know the characters. Another thing people forget (or not) about ME games is that the best stuff, the themey stuff, happened in the loyalty/character quests. Got Drack’s last night. Hope it’s good.

(We talked about that before we started blogging. We were very smart about it. And it is lost to time.)

Feminina:

I swear I didn’t know that about Cora! I haven’t flirted with her yet. We had that intense conversation about her feelings of loss and betrayal over not being made Pathfinder and stuff, and then I thought I’d give us a break. Come back later when she’s had time to process. Etc. Although now that I know she’s not going to respond to my flirtation, I may never speak to her again.

Kidding! Man, we’re textbook sexual harassment cases waiting to happen. Submit to my unwelcome advances or face career consequences!

I like Cora. She’s tough. Not everybody has to be into me in a romantic fashion. There’s another character I’ve talked to who was all “ha, you’re not my type, sorry,” and I still talk to…that person. No spoilers.

I think I found Liam down in the bottom of the ship somewhere? Near the Nomad? Gil hangs out there too. Working on the engines.

I went back to flirt with Suvi, but didn’t get the awkward exchange you mentioned. I just said “you know you’re not alone here” and she said “aw, you know I’m here for you too,” or something. Kallo remained silent on the matter.

I would totally flirt with Kallo, he’s kind of funny, but so far the option hasn’t come up. Maybe Salerians don’t romance outside their own species…there was never one as a romance option in the earlier games either. Prudes.

Oh, and I didn’t have the workout gear at first either…I don’t know exactly when it turned up in my closet. Maybe Lexi decided I was getting soft, all that driving around in the Nomad rather than running everywhere on foot like a REAL adventurer, and wanted to plant a subtle hint that I needed to spend more time on the treadmill.

But keep checking! It’ll be there! And it’s hilariously awesome. I love that I’m running around the ship having serious conversations with people with those giant headphones around my neck. Stay classy, Ryder.

Butch:

I totally need that.

As I always forget to change my gear anyway, I am going to spend all my credits and research on outfits.

Who needs another assault rifle? Know what we need on this ship? A sports bra that supports AND flatters.

Anyway, I DID change out my gear and it sucked. I got a couple new assault rifles, and they had more damage. More damage is good, thought I. So I switched it up, and, apparently, “rate of fire” isn’t “how many bullets come out as you pull the trigger” it’s “How OFTEN to do you have to pull the trigger.” So I’m all used to my trusty avenger, which you hold the trigger and unleash mighty death, so I pull the trigger and two shots pop out and it stops. I’m holding the thing down all “WHAT? WHAT’S WRONG????”

Not helpful.

Damage only matters if you’re shooting.

T SHIRT!!!!

Feminina:

I’m with you all the way. More outfits! I’ve already looted about 50 different guns and I’m sure I’ll loot 50 more in the next 500 hours. Why bother inventing my own minor modifications when I could be researching new images of Blasto for my workout tank tops instead? (Man, I hope you can do that. You probably can’t but it would be so awesome.)

Butch:

Exactly! After a long stint of shooting kett, a girl’s gotta chill. Plus, I mean, when you’re getting your flirt on, you really need more options than just long or short sleeves.

The jacket? What’s that? Is it chilly on the Tempest? I think not.

As for Cora, c’mon! You flirt with everyone! You’ve found a way to go up to loot containers and be all “How YOU doin’?” You can’t pass up a heart option! If there was a heart option that said “This will erase everything on the PS4” you’d be all “Worth it.”

Who’s gonna sue us? They left the lawyers in the Milky Way.

Hmm. PB, Suvi and Vetra seem pretty ok with me. Not sure who you mean.

But no. Cora was all “a commando friend of mine said that to me once. I told her thank you, but I’m not into women.” Sigh.

Ok. Down by the engine is where I found Vetra and had to stop. I’ll chill down there a while.

Flirt with Suvi again. It’s the second time. The first time is all feeling each other out, then Ryder kinda gets all silly. It’s worth it.

And salerians, meh. They have no exoskeletons. They’re not for you.

Feminina:

The ship can’t be that cold, if I’m comfortable wandering around in those workout clothes. I probably order them to turn up the heat for me. The privileges of rank and all. Everyone else is sweltering in their armor and I’ll just say “hey, you could put on tank tops too if you want, don’t blame me.”

It’s true, salerians don’t have exoskeletons, but those do have those cute little horns. And those big soulful eyes.

Butch:

You should see salerian eyes in 4K. So much more soulful.

Regarding tanktops, indeed, it would be much more of a bioware game if they all did put them on. Hand out Morrigan’s outfit. Done.

Maybe that’s why they all want to hop into bed with you. “Phew! Finally out of that outfit! I can cool off! Oh, yeah, that too.”

Feminina:

“Now with 20% more soul!”

I am missing out.

Butch:

TWICE as much soul, man. Twice. Can see all the little lines in his sorrowful irises. It exudes wistfulness.

I cannot wait to tell you what you’re missing in the sex scenes.

It’s Friday early! I blame Bioware.

Feminina:

Wistfulness?! Oh, man…I love me some wistfulness. Sigh.

I blame BioWare for everything.

Butch:

One of these days, you’ll cave and get a pro.

No, I retract that.

One of these days, Mr O’ will cave and get a pro.

Let’s Flirt Why Not?

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Some flirty dialogue spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Nothing. People wanted food. Kids were riled. It’s harder to cook on rainy days. Can’t just grill shit.

Too fucking busy this week. Mrs. McP had to go to a funeral yesterday morning, so she left at six AM, and kids are in the last week of this camp, and goddam it I just want to play.

I’m tired.

Feminina:

I actually played! Completed a major quest, wandered around the Tempest talking to people, flirted a bit. Guess what multiple people are telling me?

“Hey, there’s this thing on Eos, maybe we should go check it out.”

You’ll be going back there.

Butch:

You’re kidding? For real? “Go back to Eos?”

Tough shit, people. I got quests here, you know. And I’m gonna do them.

So when they’re all “Go back to Eos” I can be all “Pfft. Already done, sucker. Now, where’s that Scottish pilot?”

Feminina:

Seriously. “If I’d started an outpost on Eos, I’d sure what to drop in and see how it’s doing.”

Uh…OK. Got it. Something terrible is probably going to happen to the outpost. I’m on my way!

Right after I flirt with a few more people, take care of a few more things…

Butch:

They said THAT? Passive aggressive game herding? Not “Eos is being attacked,” but “Nice outpost you got there….be shame if something happened to it?”

Feminina:

There was a faintly ominous undertone to the exchange. I mean, on the face of it, it was all positive: “the colony is thriving! everything’s great!…don’t you want to go admire how great it is?”

I’ve got my eye on you, person on my ship. What’s your agenda? Whose side are you really on?

But whatever. I was going back there anyway, and I still will. Eventually.

Butch:

That’s so ridiculous! That would be like being in an all out Fallout 4 firefight and having some ghoul, out of nowhere, being all “Hey…that sanctuary….nice place…know what I mean? Nice. Place.”

I’ll take care of it. I’m never going to leave. At least so it seems.

Feminina:

Yeah! Although really, on reflection, it was more a “famous last words” sort of undertone from the speaker (like “wow, everything’s great, this is my last day before retirement and nothing can spoil it now!”) than it was a threatening one (like “hey, that outpost sure seems to be doing well AT THE MOMENT, hint hint”).

So I’ve concluded it’s more likely he jinxed us than he’s actively working against us. Probably. But one never knows. Either way, I blame him for anything that ever goes wrong with Prodromos.

Butch:

Hey, at least I just played and found those workers! Boom!

And I’m back on the Tempest, ok?

A whole lot of talking. Suvi is awesome. I like Suvi. And the flirting…did you flirt? Of course you did. When Ryder gets all “Heh…uh…yeah..whoo! Uh, better go, find a path…save everyone! Yeah!”

Wonderful.

Add to that the Salarian going “Kill. Me. Now.”

At least bioware knows why we buy the games.

Also talked to PB, and flirted, cuz of course. What’s she up to? We shall see.

So there. Progress. With Suvi.

Gotta go chat up everyone else.

Feminina:

I actually did NOT flirt with Suvi. Kind of just to be contrary…I saw the heart option and was like “Butch and Buttons like her, I’ll stay away.” Also, to be honest, the religious talk made me kind of afraid she’d take me too seriously or something. Which does an injustice to all the religious folks out there who are perfectly capable of flirting casually, and I apologize to them, but it was a concern.

I like that they bring that up, though, the question of whether and how people express religious feelings in that kind of high-tech, far-far-from-the-origin-of-human-religion environment.

Butch:

Dude, it was SO awesome. Ryder’s all “I just think that accent is cute…I mean, not just the accent…I mean…well! Whoo! Uh…Wow! Uh…” Cut to the Salarian, frozen, staring, obviously horrified: “Kill. Me. Now.”

Best bioware flirting scene ever. And that’s saying a lot.

“Gotta go…find a path! Save…everybody! Whoo!”

So you to not do something ONE TIME and miss the best thing.

Feminina:

That is like me. Siiiiigh. Hey, maybe I can still do it later. I do like the idea of horrifying that poor salerian.

Butch:

Dude it was the best.

One of the many things I like about this game (which I seem to be liking more than the rest of the Internet) is Ryder’s vulnerability. Shepard was SUCH a power fantasy. Dude had no weaknesses at all. Ryder is, in some ways, more believable and relatable. Watching everyone in the squad be at each other and then walk away as she says “okay! Good meeting…” good stuff. That’s how’d we be, right?

Two in a row in terms of bioware games I think the Internet judged way too harshly. So far.

Feminina:

Yeah! I thought that was a really interesting moment. Ryder is trying to be a leader, but isn’t really prepared for it, and this group of strong personalities with strong opinions just rolls past all attempts to control the discussion.

I’m sure we’ll see a character arc in this area, as we/Ryder become more confident and more familiar with making decisions and taking charge, and that’s going to be interesting to watch.

Butch:

And, in defense of the first trilogy, I didn’t play one, so maybe Shep wasn’t always such a monolith. But DAMN s/he sure was in 2 and 3. Almost to a fault. Indeed, I have a hard time thinking of another hero who was so confident and indestructible and respected. Everyone LOVED Shepard, Shep was the first human spectre, N7, all around super badass who everyone fell over themselves to be near.

It was one of the flaws of ME that people have tended to overlook.

That’s what’s so funny about all the hate on modern bioware. Everyone thinks these games are worse than they are, which means they don’t stand up to the misremembered flawlessness of the earlier ones. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love me some DAO and ME2 and even ME3 and DA2. But DAO and ME2, as good as they were, are not the flawless gems of games that people remember them to be. They had their warts, just like everything else. And, as cool as Shep was, he wasn’t as compelling as Ryder (or Gerlat, or Aloy, or even the rebooted Lara Croft).

Not at all sure why the hate for this game…. but I said that about DAI, too, didn’t I?

Feminina:

Shepard was an unwavering badass, that’s true. Which was fun, because badass, but it’s true there wasn’t as much character growth as if you’d started as some lowly soldier.

There’s some stuff in 1 about how people think you’re crazy because you’re having visions of galactic destruction or whatever, so you’re not quite as monumental a figure as in 2 and 3, but I think you were still pretty badass (although I played out of sequence, so my memory could be mixed up).

I would also argue that part of the character not being compelling was that you played as a guy and didn’t get Jennifer Hale’s amazing vocal performance. It makes perfect sense that everyone loves Shepard when she sounds that awesome. Watching Mr. O’s male Shepard, I wasn’t that impressed either (no disrespect to a perfectly adequate voice acting job by…that guy), but female Shepard was fantastic.

We’re All Playing the SAME GAME

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Buttons Update! Some spoilers for plot locations in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Buttons:

I’ve moved past Eos and on to Hravl (I know it’s wrong). I cleared out the majority of the stuff there, quick trip back to Nexus to check off some mission boxes, and then I returned to Eos before heading to… V… something; which is, I assume, the cold planet you’ve visited. However when I returned to Eos there was SO MUCH more stuff to do; I was quite surprised. So now I’m going around and hovering up mission icons.

I’ve started rotating my squad, but I think I already know the combo I’m going to prefer so I’m really only doing the others to unlock their personal quests.

My fierce space lesbian immediately took a shine to Suri; and now that you mention it was the same voice actress as Cait, I understand why.

I’m actually kind of… disappointed by how they’ve done armor/weapons/loadout stuff. It’s somewhat easy to compare weapons so you know what’s better/worse than what you have already, but the armor comparisons are missing altogether from what I can tell. I was on the Tempest shopping and found that I had to exit out of the buy/sell console, walk to the cockpit and to the loadout room on the left and check the stats there, then return to the buy/sell and navigate all that again; arg!
Also, I don’t know how I got it, but from the very start of the game I’ve been using an Assault Rifle that’s actually a grenade launcher. So when I look at all the other assault rifles (that I’ve unlocked so far) I see their damages are all between 30 and 100, but my ‘assault rifle’ does 200+ damage. So every fight is over very quickly and almost never a challenge. I’m not even using any of my ‘powers’ really.

I am enjoying the world building and the overall story, but I don’t think I’m playing it the way it was intended to be played. 😊

What’ve ya’ll been up to?

Butch:

I am going to ignore that cuz SPOILERS MAN! MAN OH MAN!

I kid. Sorta. I’m not off Eos.

Your Ryder looks a lot like mine. Mine is more Leliana. I have a thing where I pretty much create either Morrigan or Leliana. I’m not ashamed.

Pneumonia is about 92% better. I heartily recommend that you never, ever get this. This sucked. In two weeks I managed to lose five pounds, I couldn’t get through the damn supermarket without having to stop until three days ago.

And I’m not off Eos. I play very slowly.

Hands off Scottish Cait lady. She’s mine.

Feminina:

I haven’t been to Hvarl (or whatever) because I keep finding new things to do on the frozen planet that we both know we’re talking about. That other place is next on my list, whenever I get off iceball here. I just got into a big meaningful quest for…somebody…and now I’m in the middle of Repeated Death Combat. It’s going great, though. I’m totally fine. No muttered cursing and fruitlessly pounding the floor in frustration here.

Helpful tip that’s not on the loading screen but, it turns out, would perhaps have been useful to me: occasionally using your skill points to get better at things can make you more effective in combat!

I always seem to level up in the middle of a fight and think “OK, great, I’ll deal with that after the combat!” and then after the combat I’ve forgotten all about it. I had 62 unused skill points last night when I finally thought “you know, I’m kind of sucking here, maybe I could enhance some of my skills to get an extra boost.”

On the plus side, it’s fun to have 62 points to throw around. “I’ll take that, and that, and one of those, and a little of this…”

You two can fight over Scottish Cait. I’ve got my eye on Vetra.

One Small Step for Minecraft…

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No spoilers

Butch:

I’m watching Mrs McP play Minecraft. She’s never held a controller. It’s terrifying.

Feminina:

Terrifying because you know how easily she could become completely addicted and start hogging the console?

Butch:

It was on the downstairs, old console. I’ll be fine.

You take so much for granted. Junior is all saying “Just hit square” and she had to look down each time.

Feminina:

Oh man. Those are early days, indeed. Still, keep an eye on her. It could become dangerous.

Butch:

Well, it’s a lot less likely to get hooked when you start with Minecraft. I still don’t get why people seem to like Minecraft.

If I had come down there and she was playing Horizon? Then I’d be worried. Or chatting up Cullen. Then we’d have to fight.

Feminina:

Just encourage her to see the good in Minecraft. Such as…uh…bonding time with Jr! Yeah. Downstairs. On the old console.

Butch:

It was some sort of bonding. It was….unique. Not something I ever thought I’d see.

Feminina:

As long as it stays downstairs on the old console.

Butch:

Just….I’ll hide the games with flirting.

Feminina:

Definitely do that. If she discovers the flirting, she’ll never rest until she’s played everything.

Butch:

What saved me was that the kids had already won a bunch of trophies. You know our Mrs. McP. She would get ADDICTED to trophies. That little ping. She’d have to platinum EVERYTHING. If there had been one bronze trophy we’d have issues.

She’d be more into that than flirting.

Feminina:

That was a lucky break. Trophies are very boring when someone else already has them. I can tell, because I’ve yet to hear a single ping from MEA.

Butch:

MEA has some weird pings. Stuff you wouldn’t expect gets you one, stuff you would expect doesn’t.

Mrs. McP would still need them all. ALL OF THEM.

Feminina:

On the plus side, you’d have a lot of platinum in your trophy case and fellow geeks would admire you.

On the minus side, you would never see her again.

Somebody Could Still Want Something!

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Some spoilers for early Mass Effect: Andromeda points

Butch:

Well, not off Eos. But I’m close!

Remember in TW3 when everyone was saying “Dude…GO TO SKELLEGE? Like, NOW?” That’s pretty much where I’m at with the Nexus. I made my outpost (went science), picked up another memory trigger, and now the whole fucking cast of NPCs is all “They need you on the nexus. You should go to the nexus. Boy oh boy I’ve heard the nexus sure is great. I went to the nexus and it was the best place ever in the history of ever. You should go. Now.”

But have I? No. Because, despite the NPCs, there’s QUESTS man! Exclamation points! And they lead to quests RIGHT OVER THERE!

If you want me to leave, do not give me quests!

Oh, I think I forgot to talk about the end of the vault thingy.

That was awesome.

What have people got against this game? The whole “We best run” running bit was fucking great. And the end? When you think you’re screwed and you go back TOWARDS it? Fantastic stuff.

I dunno, man. I’m liking this game. It’s had a good balance so far of open world and not, I like Ryder, I like the NPCs, it FEELS like Mass Effect, it has some good set pieces like running there (That was a great run away bit), and I’m sure when I can get my flirt on it’ll be great.

Though I switched guns and the one I switched to sucks.

The next planet is that point at the end of the vault, isn’t it?

Feminina:

OHMIGOD THE NEXUS IS SO AMAZING! You’re going to love it. There’s like 12 Scottish Caits there all flirting and offering you buckets of booze, and piles and piles of loot everywhere, and ROBOT DINOSAURS, and fancy dress balls, and group hugs, and heists, and explosions…words fail at even describing the awesomeness.

Nah, it’s cool. You’ll get there eventually. Then you’ll pick up a bunch more quests. Such is life.

I too tend to be of the “but I still have stuff to do here, so I’m going to stay and do it!” mentality. I mean, otherwise I’ll just have to come back.

Of course, once you get somewhere else you’ll promptly get a quest that means you’ll have to come back anyway, so it’s sort of a wash in the end, but I like to tidy up loose ends as I go, OK?

So you stick around Eos as long as you need to. That outpost needs your support, after all.

And yes, the next planet is the one that the end of the vault pointed to. You’ll get there too.

Butch:

But…but there was an exclamation point! And a lost crew! And the quest marker is RIGHT NEXT TO ME and how can I not do that? HOW?

By the time I get to the Nexus the dress ball will be over, the booze will be gone, and Cait will be banging the ROBOT DINOSAURS. But at least my quest list will be pretty clear.

Funny you say that about loose ends, because the “mayor” of the outpost explicitly SAID “We’ll be ok here, and, don’t worry, I’m SURE YOU’LL HAVE REASON TO COME BACK HERE” (emphasis added.) NPCs are saying, explicitly, “Dude, c’mon, GO. You’ll be back to mop shit up later,” and I STILL feel compelled to stay.

By the way, I have five out of six companions. Drack has joined the crew, but I still have one slot all blacked out. Am I missing something? Someone? Someone cute?

(Decided to run with Vetra, who I knew you’d like, and PB for a while. See what happens.)

Feminina:

“No, seriously, our problems will wait until the next time you come back here, which you totally will, GO TO THE NEXUS ALREADY and get out of our hair, you’re making everyone nervous!”

You’ll pick up another companion on the next planet. It’s all good. Cute? Enh…you probably won’t think so?

Butch:

Nervous? Nah. I think that dude just wants to assert authority.

“I guess I’m the mayor…..” That was a tad presumptuous. Dude just strolls in and declares himself mayor. Obviously has power issues. The last thing he wants is some pathfinder mucking around making him look bad. Shit, even after the cutscene in which he was all “Who’s the mayor? This guy,” I got transported out of the outpost to a forward station. I fast traveled right back. Dude must’ve been all “Didn’t I show you out? DIDN’T I?”

Won’t think so, hm? Well then…PB? Scottish pilot? Fight for my affections.

(Watch, neither will be romanceable and I’ll be forever alone. Or stuck wtih Drack.)

Feminina:

Cora not doing it for you? She’s high strung, I’ll give you that. Intense.

Plus there’s the whole awkwardness of her having been your father’s second in command and presumed successor, until all of a sudden oh-hey-nepotism! he named you despite your plainly evident lack of training or qualifications. (Fortunately, that always turns out great! Look at video games! Every monarchy ever! The White House!)

Drack’s a great guy once you get to know him a little better.

Butch:

Ooo! I forgot about Cora! I sent her back a while ago, pre vault, to hang with Vetra! She IS cute! Not really digging the whole shaved head bit, but cute.

And she has perfected the breast defining armor. Ryder’s gotta take some tips for that. I’m not rocking anything all that flattering right now.

Feminina:

Yeah, Ryder’s armor is meh at best. Although I’ve got the N7 stuff, with the black line sort of defining the butt? Like, hey, each cheek needs its own armor plate! wouldn’t want anything to happen to either one of them…which I guess some might find appealing?

I dunno, I wear it because I have it on and can’t be bothered to switch. It’s hard to figure out which armor is better than other armor, so now that I think of it, that’s pretty much an argument for just going with what looks best.

Which MIGHT not be the pseudo-thong, in my estimation, although to each their own.

Butch:

My Ryder certainly did NOT get the memo that Bioware armor for women MUST be….custom made. Cora gets it.

Feminina:

Well, again, Cora was expected to be the Pathfinder after Ryder Sr. Naturally she would have put in the time and effort to get armor befitting the role. Ryder was barely awake when “oh, hey, your brother’s in a coma and your dad’s dead and also he made you Pathfinder.” No wonder she just grabbed whatever was lying around.

Butch:

She did. Indeed, my hairdo does have that “just rolled out of cryostorage” look. But then, I hear that’s very in.

Feminina:

If it isn’t, it will be. The Pathfinder sets the trends, man!

But once again we see how Cora has prepared for this: super short hair is hard to muss up. She was READY. And here we came along and took it all away from her. I wouldn’t blame her for secretly plotting against me.

Better go flirt with her so she’ll like me too much to turn on me.

Butch:

And she was the first one I sent back! Damn. Should’ve kept her around. To keep an eye on her. And get tips on the armor.

Feminina:

Keep your friends close and your frenemies-maybe-lovers closer. Especially if they have nice armor.

Butch:

The nice armor is KEY.

Very, very key.

Gotta get me some of that. Because, for the manyth bioware game in a row, I seem to have a crush on myself.

Feminina:

Well, that’s a testament to your painstaking Morrigan-and-Leliana-duplication skills.

I mean, your subtle roleplaying and character development.

No, wait, I definitely do mean your duplication skills.

Butch:

If she ever gets good armor, it’s over. The initiative, humanity, all of it. Ryder will just sit in her very awesome cabin on the tempest gazing into the mirror.

Skip High School: Play BioWare Games Instead!

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for Mass Effect: Andomeda and the dream of inexpensive child care

Butch:

Ok, fought dudes, followed conduits, went through another gravity well. PB is running off over a bridge.

I like PB a lot. I do not TRUST PB at all.

Anyway, I noticed that games have taught me a lot: hand eye coordination, how to survive a zombie plague, not to bang two sorceresses at once (unless they’re in different franchises), you know, life skills.

But I never thought it would taught me how to make sure that human civilization stands the test of time. It’s easy! We don’t have to do anything! We just have to NOT do something!

Specifically, we should never, ever, EVER build impossibly large underground structures with walls made of some weird metallic black stuff. We should never decorate them with weird glowing lines like something out of Tron. We should never build these, then put nothing in them except flowing goo, pyramids and the occasional container.

Because every singly solitary time a civilization has done this (and it sure seems to happen a lot), they disappear.

It’s all so clear to me now.

Feminina:

Yes! Put that down as yet another EXTREMELY useful thing video games can teach us! Don’t overcomplicate things, civilization.

We’re doomed.

But at least we haven’t built a bunch of vast, inscrutable towers filled with containers…or, well…at least the goo’s not there yet. As long as we can avoid the goo, we’re good.

Peebee is a little wacky. Did you take either of the QTEs (or, what would have been renegade/paragon actions in the last game) related to her? I didn’t. I intentionally left the first one, figuring I’d just see how it played out, and the second one I had just decided “yeah, I’ll jump first!” when it expired. Failure of quicktime decision making!

Butch:

[This message was eaten by Outlook and cannot be retrieved, but the gist was, Elon Musk is working on mysterious goo, why push a hot potential companion off you, and yes he jumped first.]

Feminina:

Oh yeah, Elon Musk has a vast underground complex full of lights and goo right now. Have fun with that, future explorers! Also with Peter Thiel’s repurposed offshore oil platforms riddled with clever traps and libertarian slogans. I already played BioShock, but someone will have a good time with it.

Right? Why fling some cute person away before I know what they want? I mean, it would have sucked if she’d sprouted fangs and gone for my jugular, but this isn’t a vampire game, so I felt pretty good about the odds. Plus, I’m trying to make friends here.

I assume you did the whole “don’t shoot at the aliens, try to be friends first” thing when you met the kett for the first time? Of course you did. I did, so obviously you did.

But it’s all part of my “we’re here to be nice” philosophy. Or at least “we’re here to be nice until someone starts shooting at us.”

Butch:

Thiel is also, I hear, into the idea of injecting himself with the blood of younger people to make himself younger. I kid you not. So that’s a pretty good game thing, there, too. The vampire angle….

Maybe we are fucked.

We’re fucked.

Of course I tried being nice! We are here to make friends! And more than friends! It’s Bioware!

Though last night, I got…what…scolded by either Ryder or Vetra because I came upon a bunch of remnant bots that were still blue and not attacking yet. So I just said “fuck it” and fired away, and someone was all, slightly sarcastically, “Well, better to be safe than sorry.” Like, dude. This wasn’t first contact. These things have been trying to kill me the whole damn playing session. I KNOW they were going to shoot at me.

After all, there were ammo crates around.

Feminina:

Ha! They (or yourself) scolded you? That’s awesome. And unusual, since companions tend to be, if anything, MORE trigger-happy than I am (remember all those times in DAI when you’d be proceeding through some remote wilderness and your companions would get all “Red alert! Attack!” and run off to chase a lizard or something? While you sighed and kept going, because you had places to be and they’d come back eventually? Good times.)

To be fair, there have been a couple of occasions where I went up to a remnant area and just quickly looted the containers and ran off and the machines stayed blue and didn’t attack me. So it is possible. But yeah, more often they promptly turn red and start shooting. Especially if there are ammo crates around.

Butch:

I remember that in DAI! At least they didn’t do it mid flirt.

Dude, this time was the time where there were actual turrets guarding a gravity well. They were NOT going to let me just stroll up to the gravity well and do my thing. This seemed excessively obvious. But no…no… should’ve just checked on the .000001% chance they were just hanging out by the gravity well.

Maybe they were. Now I feel bad.

Feminina:

Don’t feel bad. Turrets and a gravity well is not one of those rare occasions where the machines are going to chill. They would have shot at you, and you know it. Don’t let your nitpicking companions make you second guess yourself!

Butch:

Ever since the rather friendly turrets in portal, I second guess myself.

Though really…EVERYTHING in this game has shot at me so far. Basically, there’s two categories of things: Things that try to kill me, and things I could potentially screw. There’s no middle ground.

“Oh HEY! You didn’t try to kill me! Wanna go to dinner? See a movie?”

Feminina:

There are worse ways to subdivide the world. Probably. I mean, at least this one includes opportunities for flirting.

Butch:

That’s why we love bioware. Good narrative, clear categories of threat vs. romance.

Kinda like high school. With a better narrative.

Feminina:

Skip high school: play BioWare games!

A wildly successful yet controversial ad campaign to be announced soon. Please send us a check for the royalties.

Butch:

You learn the same lessons, really.

Feminina:

It’s mainly controversial with parents who were hoping the kids would be at class or doing homework or something so the parents would have time to play. At least, that’s my main concern.

Butch:

Mine, too, dude.

Can’t wait for that full day kindergarten.

Feminina:

So much shooting and flirting! Next year?

Butch:

One last year of really expensive preschool.

Without diapers and preschool, I’m gonna feel rich! Rich, I say!

Feminina:

Preschool is so nightmarishly expensive! We’re going to have to spend about $20 a day on the before- and after-school programs for O’Jr. and we’ll still be saving so much we’ll be rich. I may have to take up gambling.

Butch:

Add that to the fact that now that Mrs. McP has graduated I’ll have time to mow my own lawn and shovel my own driveway.

Think of the booze I’ll be able to buy!

Feminina:

Oh, happy day! Finally, your years of struggle and toil are paying off.

Butch:

Gotta get a bigger bucket!

Feminina:

It’s gonna be great. Live the dream!

I Feel Threatened by Change

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for some early plot points in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Ok, set off another monolith, got the rest of the murderer evidence, drove the nomad fairly well (it’s good to look for those paths), I’m at the third monolith.

Also met Drack the Krogan, and if he doesn’t join my team I’m gonna be pissed.

You MUST travel with Vetra. She rocks, and her banter with Liam is great. How did that Drack thing go for you? She was the one that talked him down. She was all “Be cool, Drack.”

And I found the last component. Gave some backstory, which was nice, and a metric fuckton of research data. Which was nice.

Made myself a sniper rifle.

I can see the mining thing being a pain. The first time I did it, I thought the ship was an enemy and got out and shot at it.

Feminina:

I talked Drack down myself, thank you. I can do my own situation-defusing! I don’t need no badass turian! Although I definitely want one. Next time I go back to and then leave the ship, I will absolutely take her with me.

It’s just weird, previous ME games (and even DA games) specifically prompt you every time you leave the ‘base’ area to choose who you want to take with you. This one, it must be buried in the ‘loadout’ options or something? And if you don’t actively change it, it just leaves you with the setup you had last time.

Which explains why I’ve been using the same gun the entire game. Mr. O’ asked “so what gun are you using most?” and I was like “I dunno, whichever one this is.” I am not finding the gear choices terribly compelling, I guess, so when I leave the ship it’s just “yeah yeah, that’s fine, let’s get on with it.”

I mean, I’ve flipped through the choices a few times, but they all seem more or less equivalent, and I just can’t be bothered. I built one of the pathfinder specials with research points and now I’m just going to lug it around forever.

“Gimme something that will shoot at things and something to wear that will prevent shots from hitting me. OK, great. I’m off.”

Which is all very well when it comes to armor and weapons, but obviously I’ve missed out on choosing different companions. Cora and Liam are probably really ready for a break by now, but too polite to say anything.

Butch:

Vetra’s kinda awesome. And her and Liam really don’t like each other, which makes for good banter.

It is buried in ‘loadout’. There is no prompt. Hell, I didn’t even know Vetra COULD come with me until I stared fidgeting with the menu. I haven’t checked if Drach can yet. Nothing was said.

You can also change dudes at the forward stations. I haven’t been back to the Tempest yet, but I switched Vetra for Cora at a station.

I played a bit more last night and activated the third monolith (good to know Soduku survived for millennia) and finally got to the door thingy and jumped in. Stopped there.

And when I opened THAT door, it went to “choose loadout.” The thing is, it defaults to gear loadout. You have to click over to choose dudes.

So there are times you get prompted. You just have to remember that is also the dude selection screen.

Just remember when you pick a new dude that they’re gonna have umpteen skill points cuz they’ve been sitting in the ship leveling up and wondering why they feel so much more powerful.

So choose different dudes. You’re gonna like running around with Vetra.

I got so used to the assault rifle in the old games, I’ve stuck with it. I just did build a sniper rifle, and I have plans for a shotgun. If they’re awesome I’ll let you know.

And I switched out my blade. That’s awesome.

Feminina:

I was so happy to see sudoku in ancient alien ruins. A great concept cannot be confined to a single galaxy!

I’ve seen the loadout prompt before, but yeah, it always defaults to gear and I guess I just assumed that was all it was. I will actively flip around until I find companions next time I’m onboard or near a forward station! It’s my new goal.

I do also mean to switch out my blade, but keep forgetting. I just have the omniblade at the moment. It still does a decent bit of damage in emergency close-up situations, but if there’s something cooler, I should get it.

Butch:

It took me a minute to realize that’s what it was. I mean, you go up, you find the glyphs, she talks about them, I think they’re important. I so tried to figure out something with just those two symbols, and on and on, until I just said “You know? I think this is just a sudoku.” And it was.

I have the omniblade II. How did I get that? I was just looting a container and did the “take all” (as one does) and I notice in the little text there on the left “Omniblade II acquired.” “Huh?” I said, but, sure enough, when I went to load out, I had Omniblade II. So I equipped it.

You’ve become such a good looter you got loot you don’t even know you got!

I am still mulling how the Remnants fit into theme. I should know soon enough.

Oh, and in the whole “Take what the game gives you?” My character introduces herself as “Sara Ryder.”

Feminina:

I think I noticed I’d acquired some kind of kett blade somewhere? But yeah, it’s definitely at the point where I loot automatically without actually looking at what I’m taking.

“In the cart!” I imagine I say, as I push my invisible loot cart around everywhere. I like the “sell all junk” button when you’re talking to merchants. That’s always a nice way a game can let you quickly clear out some inventory space.

I’m ALMOST tempted to go back and start the game again with the default name…but no. I don’t care that much about having people call me by name.

Butch:

Did they really record all those lines twice? Or when you meet someone is it all “My name is [awkward pause] Ryder?”

Usually, so do I loot without looking. TAKE ALL! But this thing, and an assault rifle I found, didn’t have icons. The icons in the box were just for “weirdassed probably useless gel stuff,” as they are, and then, to the side, popped “Omniblade II.” It wasn’t in the box! Or was it? Who knows.

I still haven’t met a merchant. I guess there aren’t many customers when your planet is only 9% viable.

Feminina:

They must have recorded them twice, because I haven’t noticed an awkward pause, it’s just “hi, I’m Ryder” or whatever. Recording a few lines twice is still small potatoes compared to the way they recorded EVERYTHING with eight different voices or however many it was in DAI. Now that was dedication.

You didn’t run into the guy on the Nexus who buys stuff? He’s around there somewhere.

Butch:

Dude I haven’t been BACK to the nexus. Or the tempest. I got the tempest, I tried mining some asteroid and got 73 iron, and went to Eos, where I remain.

I haven’t even got my flirt on! Which is so much more important than a merchant.

Feminina:

Fair! Very fair.

At some point you’ll pick up quests that require you to go back to the Nexus, but you’re quite right, until then, why leave the many potential adventures of where you already are?

Butch:

Especially when peebee is kinda cute.

I like midriffs, you like exoskeletons. We all have our tastes.

Feminina:

And there certainly promises to be something for everyone in this batch of companions!

I need to go back to the Tempest and talk to people, see if I can get any flirting in…one just gets so distracted by map markers, monoliths, attacking kett command centers without save points, etc. I think my past 3-4 play sessions have just been wandering around on this planet.

Butch:

ALL of my sessions for the past forever have been on Eos. There is some serious magpie shit here.

Magpie shit cramps your thang.

Too weird to be a T SHIRT!!!!

Feminina:

Yeah…that one is a bit obscure. Though true!

Butch:

Too weird for us is pretty weird.

BETTER T SHIRT!!!!

Feminina:

And also incredibly true.

The truth is weird, people. The truth is weird.

Humans. Always Wrecking the Mood.

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for early in Mass Effect: Andromeda and a significant plot spoiler for late in Mass Effect 3

Butch:

Got nothing new, as I decided to make a good dinner, as this damn bug has been making me live on turkey sandwiches and I am SO sick of turkey sandwiches.

But I’ll likely play today. I’ve decided that what I really need to find (I mean, besides a way to the cute Scottish pilot’s heart) are some themes. There’s gotta be some themes around here somewhere. This is usually the part of the game where we start to see themes. We can’t talk about banging aliens for the next three months.

Well, we CAN, but we probably shouldn’t.

[later]

Ok, played a bit. Ran around site 2, did the “secret project” bit but didn’t finish it. Fought a fiend. That kinda sucked. But then the mission objective was still “defeat the kett” and I couldn’t find the last damn kett. Ran all around forever until “Ah ha! there you are, BOOM.”

There’s a lot to do. Sure, there’ll be dumb fetch quests (this “find the dead dudes” thing acts like one), but at least I’ve found interesting stuff at both sites so far.

This going to be a “hubris of mankind” deal? Cuz so far the theme I keep hitting is “everyone is really fucking unprepared for this.” “Like, REALLY unprepared.” Including, dare I say, Ryder. She’s still all “I don’t know why he chose me,” “I’m not my father,” etc.

Feminina:

Dude, I did the secret project up until ‘defeat the kett’ and then couldn’t find anymore kett to defeat! I ran all over looking for some and finally gave up. It still says ‘defeat the kett.’ I’ll go back…sometime…

Hubris could be a theme. Also, I think, maybe a ‘you can’t get away from yourself’ kind of thing. I mean, they were all “we’re going to a new galaxy to make a brand new start and everything is going to be shiny and new and awesome in every way!” and now we’re here and people are still getting murdered, arguing about who’s in charge, getting lost, etc.

We can’t successfully run away from our problems, because–for humans as a species, and/or for each of us as individuals–half of our problems are ourselves.

I mean, yeah, that whole scourge thing isn’t our fault and threw an unexpected wrench in the plans, but if it hadn’t been the scourge it would have been something else. People would have started arguments over the best way to manage the perfect farmland on the idyllic, problem-free planets, if that’s what they’d found. There will be problems, because people (in this game, ‘intelligent species’) cause problems for themselves and each other.

Also, it would be a boring game if there weren’t anyone to shoot.

Butch:

That it would, that it would.

There were two of these kett, way up on this pylon or something, overlooking the lake. Maybe they were a couple, I dunno. They were just chilling all “Wow, what a view. Water, the sand….so nice…oh hey, humans. Isn’t this nice what do you mean I’m a quest objective?”

Hmm….I’ll play a bit more before I weigh in on the ‘running away from problems’ theme.

I WOULD say there was some sort of political tie in. They’re going to “Make Andromeda great” and, well, no. But this game had such a long development cycle that it can’t be that.

I kinda hope that this doesn’t end with Ryder MAKING everything all perfect and stuff. That’s often how games go. “This is about how humans are the problem…they mess everything up, they can’t outrun their problems, that sort of thing, that is, until Ryder shows up and then it’s ALL good.”

That wouldn’t sit well.

I’m very curious how this “First Murderer” one’s gonna end. I’m still not sure, and that’s cool. I have a feeling it’ll be themey.

Feminina:

Isn’t that just how it goes? The one time kett are just chilling, admiring the view, possibly making out (I don’t demand to be the only one who gets romance!), and I have to show up and kill them to complete a quest.

First Murderer is…interesting. See what you think. We can probably get some discussion out of it.

I agree that it will feel weird if everything winds up perfect because of Ryder, but I don’t get the sense that that’s the way they’re going. I hope. We shall see.

Also, you mentioned a couple of threads back how you solved the krogan genophage problem and why were the krogan still talking about it. I wondered about that too, but apparently, the arks left for Andromeda BEFORE Shepard solved the genophage. (So in the middle of ME2? Or even ME1?) So I guess we brought it with us and will have to solve it again. I don’t know why they did that.

Other than I guess Shepard did significantly rework life in the galaxy at the end of 3, so maybe they kind of had to in order to give us a halfway familiar jumping off point. So maybe that.

Butch:

They really were just gazing at the lake. Poor guys. But quest objectives are quest objectives.

I dunno why they did that with the timing, either. Except that it explains the whole Krogan/Salarian thing.

It was late in 3. One of the reasons that the whole Krogan/Salarian thing wouldn’t work now is that’s how Mordin dies. The cure is up in that tower, and he climbs it, knowing it’ll kill him, to release the cure. And Mordin was around for a long time, I think.

SAM: Life of the Party

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some minor spoilers for characters and mechanics early in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Well, when it comes to pneumonia, there are pros and cons. True, the cons are coughing so hard you almost barf and being tired and pulling muscles and stuff, but the pros are the kids get taken out of the house and you can play.

So, you know, a wash. Kinda.

Got on the tempest, which is a cool assed ship. Even cooler than the Normandy. I kinda love it. Flew to Eos, which I can tell will take some time. Did the bits of finding codes that make a quest longer than it needs to be. Now I’m about to turn on a generator and get attacked.

THOUGHTS!

I’m already kinda into Suvi. Just met her. She’s cute. She sounds like Cait. I’ll still play the field, no doubt, but I dig her.

This game is doing something the first three did that I never understood. The first games, and this one, do a really good job differentiating Krogan, Asari and Turians from each other. There’s folks in those races with different voices, personalities, etc. Salarians? They all sound the same, act the same, etc. I mean, are they ALL slightly neurotic people with very similar voices? They never are able to really get into that.

The memory fragment this is quite a reach, isn’t it? He just scattered them about the undiscovered galaxy? Even SAM was all “Look, just…don’t ask, ok?”

But, that said, I’m digging it. I figured things would pick up enormously once I got a ship, and, sure enough, I’m already finding it more interesting now that I have a ship. Though, nothing against Cora and Liam, I like Cora and Liam, but I want a couple of other potential squadmates, and soon.

I’m really not seeing what the beef is about so far. It’s good so far. I really think this game suffered from the same review bias as three (It’s not as good as ME2 so I’ll dock it a couple points even though very little is that good), which, as I’ve mentioned, is a problem as we tend to forget that ME2 was, though great, flawed itself. Also, I have a feeling that a lot of the reviewers who wrote this one up were the same reviewers who wrote up HZD, and, gotta admit, HZD is a tough act to follow.

Not disappointed yet. Step off, internet.

Feminina:

Focus on the pros. You can play! In between coughing fits!

I do like the Tempest. Nice Shakespearean, ‘brave new world’ reference.

The ‘memory fragment’ thing is SUCH a reach. Dad…dad…why didn’t you ever tell anyone you had the power to somehow stash memory triggers all over an entire, unexplored galaxy? Every time I find one in some out of the way spot on some uninhabited planet in a system we’ve never been, I think “…really, dad?”

And yet no one is interested in investigating this mysterious power he had! It’s all just “oh, sure, I’ll pick up ‘memory triggers’ left by my father on random planets where humans have never set foot, seems normal enough.”

I’ve recruited a few extra people, but I’m so used to traveling with Cora and Liam that I haven’t remembered to swap them out. In the two occasions that I’ve gone off the ship recently.

I’ve been in the one place lately, and dude, just…when you attack a kett command center, DO NOT DIE. I spent about 10 minutes on it, battling waves of dudes, achieved a couple of checkpoint-y objectives, and then died…and reloaded way back at the beginning. Fine. Spent another 15 minutes fighting waves of dudes, achieving objectives, died. Reloaded back at the beginning. Turned off the game in disgust.

Came back the next evening filled with nerves and terror and the determination to NOT DIE and did make it through, but…man…save points are good. It sort of added to the realism, I suppose, being that worried about dying (I mean, one presumably WOULD be somewhat worried about dying in the middle of a laser gunfight with a bunch of aliens), but it was also super, super annoying to have to replay all that stuff.

So, tip: someday you will attack a kett command center on an icy planet. When that day comes, be very careful not to die.

They do help you out by strewing health canisters everywhere. As usual in games, when you see healing everywhere, be very afraid.

Butch:

It’s a pretty super cool ship. Nice to give me a king size bed.

Yeah the memory fragments was a bit of a mess of a narrative device. But respect to the game for not even bothering to give a fuck about explaining it.

“Just…..go with it, ok?”

Maybe part of her brain is still frozen.

I didn’t even KNOW I could take the turian badass from the ship until just now. It didn’t really tell you “Hey, of the million people you met, this one will follow you.” I, too, have gotten used to a fighting style that includes Cora and Liam. But I think I just met a friend I’m going to like…..

Ugh. Hate that experience you describe. There’s reaper moments, and there’s disgust at save point moments. They’re the worst.

Healing or ammo: danger signs. That just happened to me.

I took advantage of pneumonia (which really, really, REALLY sucks) to play. What did I do, I ran around site 1 a lot. I got the nomad, I drove (or tried to drive) over to the monolith, said FUCK THIS and just ran to the monolith, met PB (I’m going to like PeeBee), did all that, got back in the nomad, decided to do the “First Murderer” bit cuz I thought it would be quick. It wasn’t. Found the first two pieces of evidence, got into a TERRIBLE fight, ran back to site two, got another quest, hit save.

I like PB.

But you know what I really, really don’t like? Driving. I HATE driving in games almost as much as I hate swimming. I’m TERRIBLE at driving the nomad. When I’m doing well, I look like I’ve had 27 drinks. When I’m NOT doing well, I get stuck and have to reload a save point. TWICE.

Fuck the nomad.

You know what else is a reach? SAM being able to talk to ghosts and shit. Ah, well. Go with it.

I’m into it. I like the whole creepy “they came close and died” ghost colony vibe. It’s just the right amount of creepy.

If only I didn’t have to drive.

Feminina:

Yeah, there’s a lot of driving. Good thing the nomad is pretty sturdy, because I’m constantly ramming it into things, driving it directly off cliffs, etc. (It will survive a fall off a fairly high cliff! Although there are limits.) I like your 27 drinks theory. From now on I’m just going to imagine that as soon as Ryder gets in that thing she takes a big swig of rum.

“All right…time to drive. Cora, pour me another.”

I predict you also find mining annoying. Or, partly it’s the mining itself, and partly its that fact that SAM has to tell you Every. Single. Time. you enter an area that can be mined. “This area can be explored for minerals, Pathfinder. You can launch probes via your mining interface.”

Really, SAM? Just like the last 15 times? Thanks for the heads up, man. I never get tired of your dulcet tones telling me that I can mine using the mining interface. It’s not as if I can see the symbol on my screen or anything.

I like that badass turian. Her name escapes me at the moment, but I like her. I should note, being a woman and therefore naturally obsessed with gender at all times, that I appreciate how they’ve included a few more female characters from other species, which we didn’t really see in the previous games (aside from the asari).

We’ve got what’s her name the badass turian, what’s her name the krogan scientist…I feel like we also ran into a female salerian at some point? (Although don’t I vaguely recall from previous games’ codex materials that female salerians are rare for some reason?…ah, thank you wiki, ‘social rules’ mean that 90% of them are male.)

Anyway, given you’d presumably want to send a healthy number of both male and female members of a species if you want to establish a population in an unexplored galaxy, I like to see a few of them.

I do like the king size bed in my quarters. That’s right, designers of this ship! YOU understand my priorities!

Butch:

And Liam? Try not to get car sick. Again.

SAM and mining… That and the radiation. “Radiation levels have spiked, pathfinder.” “Really? Once I went through that, you know, radiation barrier?”

Imagine having SAM in your head….all….the….time….

That would be Vetra, your turian companion. And yes, they have included many more women. Mix it up!

Social rules for salerians? What? I dunno. More of that “hard to animate” thing, I bet.

But why is she on about the genophage? I ended that! My little ending slide show (cuz I played the altered version) had a nice Krogan couple cradling a baby! Was it all for NOTHING?

The ship’s designers do understand me! And a view to boot! Shep had that windowless space. Kinda bland when you’re trying to get your thang on. Though Ryder doesn’t have a stereo, does she? Gotta get the tunes on. Set the mood.

I do hope I can romance some non squad mates. I do like that Scottish pilot….. but I may grow to like PB.

Feminina:

Yeah, Liam. Just because I always wind up driving nearly vertically up and down cliffs is no excuse to let your stomach get the better of you.

He wouldn’t have enjoyed the several minutes I spent going around in circles trying to squash one of those spider/lizard things that pop up. Just so you know, it turns out you really can’t damage things by driving over them with the nomad. I’ve tried it with the kett, so you don’t have to. I suppose the gentle approach to interaction with the outside world that allows it to survive my driving also results in not doing a lot of damage to other things.

Dad probably picked me to be Pathfinder rather than Cora just because he knew she’s too fierce and impatient to deal with SAM’s constant helpful comments. The radiation! The temperature! (Right now I’m on a cold planet, so every time I walk away from a heater or go outside he says “I’m registering a temperature decrease, Pathfinder.” Thanks! So much! The whistling icy winds definitely didn’t give it away!)

Cora would have gone right over the edge in twenty minutes. Me, on the other hand, after a youth spent playing video games with helpful tips on the load screens…I can handle it. (This is not part of the official backstory, but I’m filling it in.)

“Yeah yeah, SAM. Remind me to use my weapons to damage the enemy next time I’m in combat, will you?”

Butch:

I mean, it’s only a LITTLE worse than re-entering a hostile atmosphere that’s super charged with weird energy. I’m not THAT bad of a driver.

HA! “Come back here so I can run over you! And….that did nothing.” Nice try, though. I’d’ve thought it would do something.

SAM’d probably wreck a vacation. “I’m sensing an increased level of intoxication pathfinder.” Fucking buzzkill, that.

“Remember to reload by hitting square, pathfinder. The game can save your progress automatically, pathfinder. Always pick the dialog choice with the heart, pathfinder.”

Feminina:

“Please keep an eye on my alcohol consumption, SAM, so I can appreciate how TOTALLY WASTED I’m getting hahahahahaha!!!!”

Oooh…SAM’s going to be weird to have around while I’m romancin’ someone.

“This life form seems receptive to your amusing anecdotes. Try putting your arm around its shoulders in a casual fashion.”

“SAAAAAAAAAAM! A little privacy?”

Butch:

HA!

Yeah, I don’t really want to know what’s increased and elevated.

(I’m going to chalk all this up to the fact that it’s Friday and we haven’t had our usual derail in a while.)

Feminina:

“Pathfinder, I’m detecting–”

“SHUT UP SAM.”

Also, I assume we can answer SAM silently in our head, since it can talk to us that way? Otherwise we’re going to look really weird walking around talking to ourselves.

“SHUT UP SAM.”

Love interest: “What did you say?”

“Nothing. Sorry.”

Love interest: “Um, your anecdotes were amusing, but that angry expression you have on your face and the way you’re muttering under your breath is creeping me out. Later.”

And thus SAM destroys another budding romance.

Butch:

EDI never would have done that.

But maybe that’s why we couldn’t romance EDI (who was hot in ME3, and cool, and would have totally been on my list). I mean, she’d be all “Hey now….you’re thinking WHAT? Dude….uh, look at the time.”

Or worse, she’d come storming into your room all “You picked the heart option with Ashley? The HEART option? It’s so over.”

Feminina:

Plus EDI always liked…uh…that guy. The pilot. Too much. I want to say Seth Green, but that’s the actor, not the character. Joker. That’s the guy.

Anyway, she always liked him. Shepard wouldn’t want to interfere with their love.