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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Reviews #2

Default Mass Effect 3 - Leviathan DLC Reviews #2

September 1st, 2012, 15:29
Here's a second small collection of Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC reviews.
Off to IGN first, who say the story elements impress but not the repetitive combat for a score of 7.5/10:
While the combat isn’t as motivated or as strong as it could be, let me be clear: the story told here is exciting, and worth playing for the weight it holds within the entire series. It does an amazing job of making you feel awkward and uneasy as you’re exploring strange areas that are decidedly unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Some of the set pieces, like the ocean wreckage you’ll come across, are desolate and destroyed, but beautiful just the same, and will have you stopping to take in the new environments unique to the series. The locale also makes a perfect place to surprise you with Leviathan’s final revelation.
CVG agrees on the way to a 7/10 score:
After multiple helpings of multiplayer add-ons comes the first slice of campaign content since From Ashes, which launched with the game six months ago. Most have seen the end of Shepard's war against the Reapers. Thanks to the recent Extended Cut, some have seen several. This is a problem.
…and 1Up's RPG column isn't strictly a review but their post agrees the story saves the DLC from combat "mediocrity" but the 6 month delay is a real issue:
You could play the Leviathan content as part of your initial playthrough, in which case you'll be able to experience it in the right context. However, coming nearly six months after the game's launch and numerous sales, I have to believe most hardcore fans — the ones most likely to care about the topics revealed in Leviathan — will have already played through the game. In that case, you'll be playing through the DLC after beating the game, possibly months after having done so, and the DLC is simply not structured to remind you oh-my-god-the-Reapers-are-coming-and-we're-all-going-to-die, even though that's the mentality you need to have to see a point in what you're tasked with doing.
More information.
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September 1st, 2012, 15:29
I really don't have an issue with going back in time and playing through another story within the Mass Effect universe. I got it last night after watching some of those new endings. Personally, I still enjoyed it for its entertainment value.
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September 2nd, 2012, 19:44
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
I really don't have an issue with going back in time and playing through another story within the Mass Effect universe. I got it last night after watching some of those new endings. Personally, I still enjoyed it for its entertainment value.
I too generally enjoy playing through new stories in familiar RPGs, and even replaying old stories in some cases. But I've got no desire to revisit Mass Effect 3. The ending morphed the experience for me. The game changed. I started out as a participant, and ended up watching someone else's story.

The game world in RPGs that I love is somewhat like a wild, untamed landscape; or a partially built building, or city. I change that landscape, or building, or city as I play. And when I'm done I stand back and look. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I'd done this or that differently. And I go play again to find out. It brings a certain satisfaction.

In one of the post game interviews, Casey Hudson said something to the effect that the designers couldn't change the ending because the story with a changed ending wouldn't be their story. It's true that its his story, his artistic integrity. But its also true that his ending changed my Mass Effect world into a nearly-static world where my choices made essentially no difference.

Mass Effect was attractive as a world where I could make a difference. But I felt left out of Hudson's ending. Hudson's Mass Effect became just another non-interactive video on a shelf with thousands of others. In the world of non-interactive videos, Hudson's work doesn't hold a great deal of interest for me.

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Last edited by RPGFool; September 2nd, 2012 at 20:03.
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September 2nd, 2012, 22:16
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
In one of the post game interviews, Casey Hudson said something to the effect that the designers couldn't change the ending because the story with a changed ending wouldn't be their story. It's true that its his story, his artistic integrity. But its also true that his ending changed my Mass Effect world into a nearly-static world where my choices made essentially no difference.
Exactly. It brought the same kind of despair, that you find in Greek classic tragedies, where man cannot change his own destiny. I can appreciate it when reading a story or watching a film, but when playing a game, it just doesn't make sense.
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September 3rd, 2012, 09:34
I understand that this is the biggest complaint of most people, regardless of whether the end destroyed pre-existing lore or had plot holes or whatever.

Strangely, that aspect of the ending, the supposed lack of control over the outcome, matters little to me. Is it maybe because as an RPG fan you *only* like that sort of gameplay, or simply because you expected it to be something different? Personally, I don't need all my games to be like that. I just played it and let it all wash over me.

It is what it is. If it didn't have any RPG stuff at all, I may still have enjoyed it for what it is. (I actually enjoyed much of the combat.)

Hmm, I think I actually like being rewarded with a pre-set and cool end cinematic. If I had a choice, I'd be too worried that I'll choose the less rewarding ending and miss out, lol.
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September 3rd, 2012, 14:06
"[S]upposed lack of control"? Let me make it simple. This game give the player specific choices to accomplish specific goals. The player makes those choices and apparently accomplishes those goals. Subsequently the game's ending undercuts and reverses the outcome of the player's choices. Hence the the player cannot accomplish the specific goals by any means. The goals are controlled solely by the game designer, not by the player.

As for Hudson's cinematics, when I feel the desire to be washed over by non-interactive cinema, Hudson's cinema isn't in the running. Scores of directors stand heads and shoulders above Hudson. Moreover, their works, unlike Hudson's, are generally devoid of major plot holes, unsupported plot elements, and deus ex machina gimmick endings.

To each their own.

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Last edited by RPGFool; September 3rd, 2012 at 14:42.
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September 3rd, 2012, 15:44
Yeah, to each their own. These flaws (if you choose to see it that way) did little to destroy the amount of fun I had playing through the three games. *shrug*

It's like people going crazy over Spielberg "destroying their childhoods" by releasing Episode I. LOL, pretty sure that counts as a mental disorder in the DSM-5.
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September 3rd, 2012, 19:28
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
It's like people going crazy over Spielberg "destroying their childhoods" by releasing Episode I. LOL, pretty sure that counts as a mental disorder in the DSM-5.
I wasn't aware that Spielberg was responsible for Episode I.
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September 3rd, 2012, 20:10
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
In one of the post game interviews, Casey Hudson said something to the effect that the designers couldn't change the ending because the story with a changed ending wouldn't be their story. It's true that its his story, his artistic integrity.
Is it, though? The ME series has had 12 writers, and some had very different ideas for the ending.
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September 3rd, 2012, 20:45
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I wasn't aware that Spielberg was responsible for Episode I.
Aw crap, Lucas, Spielberg, it's all the same. (Not that huge a Star Wars fan )
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September 3rd, 2012, 21:39
Originally Posted by Raggie View Post
Is it, though? The ME series has had 12 writers, and some had very different ideas for the ending.
And none of the remaining 11 had any input into the ending. As Patrick Weekes posted on penny arcade (supported by the ME3 iphone app), the ending was a case of Hudson + Walters + locked meeting room. The 11 other writers saw the upcoming train wreck but were powerless to stop it.
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September 3rd, 2012, 22:55
Originally Posted by Gaxkang View Post
And none of the remaining 11 had any input into the ending. As Patrick Weekes posted on penny arcade (supported by the ME3 iphone app), the ending was a case of Hudson + Walters + locked meeting room. The 11 other writers saw the upcoming train wreck but were powerless to stop it.
Sounds to me like Hudson thought he knew better than professional writers. Looks like he was wrong. At least the extended DLC from the ignored writers made the ending acceptable if not better.

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September 4th, 2012, 00:54
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
Aw crap, Lucas, Spielberg, it's all the same. (Not that huge a Star Wars fan )
Star Wars? Jesus…
There is a big difference between two of them. Lucas never directed (and I bet never wrote) IQ200 and still irritating as hell kids in movies. If you really want to see what is George Lucas about, watch his movie THX 1138, it's more than 40 years old sci-fi movie, but still doesn't look silly today and is a genuine masterpiece.
99% of Spielberg's movies have superinteligent kids that not only their intelligence fails in a critical moment but are also utterly annoying. And although he directed so much stuff over the years, it's hard to believe that the same man, also 40+ years ago, made a roadmovie masterpiece (without kids) - Duel.
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September 4th, 2012, 12:18
Spielberg also did The Colour Of Purple.
He did movies apart from action movies, too.
My favourite one with him involved is The Goonies - because of a very special character there (don't want to spoil too much for those who *still* haven't seen this movie) …

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September 4th, 2012, 13:13
Goonies is not actually a masterpiece, but is worth watching. There was one stellar performance there. Anne Ramsey. Then again, is there any movie with her where she wasn't brilliant? And I know you didn't talk about her.

IMO The Color Purple is pretty hard to completely understand for someone who lives out of USA. Maybe I'm wrong since I watched it when I practically knew almost nothing about racial segregation. Then again, I've read many dystopian books at that time (example Huxley's Brave New World) so I'm not sure, to me the movie while being drama based on actual stuff simply looked as too much of fiction with things that are not possible in a human society. Perhaps I should rewatch it but I didn't see it available for rent here.

In a way this could seem as an offtopic here, but it is not.
Imagine if you watched a movie with a lousy ending and then they make a short that explains something that should have already been in the movie. Today's shorts that come after the movies do not touch the main story. And if a movie has a lousy ending, noone makes a new one.
Take your avatar as an example. After How to train your dragon there were three shorts, each with it's own substory. And instead of rewriting an ending, which wasn't in fact a disaster like ME3's one, they're making a series with new adventures for cartoon network (2 seasons) and a full movie sequel is planned for 2013.
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September 4th, 2012, 15:11
I agree with you joxer that the ME3 team would be well advised to move onto a new project in relatively short order. I believe BioWare's failure to do that in the case of DA2 was a mistake that has mortally wounded the Dragon Age franchise.

IMO BioWare's incessant arguing over the value of DA2, rather than listening to fans and moving on, has disenchanted the entire Dragon Age franchise to the extent that only a truly stellar new product can revive the franchise at this point. I think BioWare is committed to making a better game than DA2 but not a game comparable in quality to DA:O, which is to say I agree with JDR13's following comment posted in the ongoing DA2 thread:

If they were smart they would just forget about DA2 and make a real sequel to DA:O.
But who am I kidding…

IMO if BioWare had moved on quickly from DA2, a better but less than stellar product might have at least preserved the franchise. Instead, they churned and churned the DA2 controversy until the extent of the damage spilling over into the entire franchise had essentially reached a flood stage. Given the current level of damage, I don't think the DA2 franchise can be revived by a merely-better-than-DA2 game.

As I see it BioWare's current ME3 problem is comparable to the DA2 problem in its earlier stages. Given BioWare's apparent commitment to DA3, it appears they plan to keep fighting, tooth and nail, to convince everyone of the artistic value of DA3, all the while issuing mulitplayer DLCs and some single player DLCs here and there. Meanwhile fan interest in the franchise as a whole will likely suffer, ebbing to increasing lower levels. By the time BioWare recognizes the extent of the problem, the fan base could be long gone.

The "So Be It" ME3 ending could end up foreshadowing the real world future of the franchise.

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Last edited by RPGFool; September 4th, 2012 at 15:36.
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