The Old Colony Effect 3 Podcast

I did another guest appearance on the OSMcast! and this time I am talking about Mass Effect 3. If you were active in any geeky circles you probably heard that the fecal matter hit the rotary impeller when the fans of the game learned of the ending to their beloved trilogy. Basil, Kevin, and I discuss the good (of which most of the game is made of), the bad (the ending and some other sticking points), and the ugly (most of the bad behavior all around). Still, I think we find a lot to like about the game and even have some good ideas on how to rectify what went wrong.

OSMcast! Mass Effect 3 – 4-16-2012


Ongoing Investigations: Case #163

Nickelodeon decided to stream the first two episodes of  The Legend of Korra before it airs on TV so I decide to take a look as it was up only for a weekend. The Legend of Korra has a good deal of the same vibe as the original series while at the same time has enough new elements and flourishes to feel unique. How well it will do in capturing the magic of the first series while being able to stand alone has yet to be seen but so far it has been striking a nice balance. The Legend of Korra starts 70 years after the ending of the original series. Most of the main cast is dead but their actions still reverberate in the world. Things definitely have changed as the political structure has clearly been radically altered by Aang’s group and the over all tech level has increased. There are now cars and airships giving the world a very 1920 feel. I am cruious how the fan base will react to this change in the setting. The show makes good use of these changes but I wonder if it is a choice that will alienate any of the original fanbase. The people I asked on twitter seem to approve of the change but they are mostly the more casual (aka sane) fans. Korra herself is much more of a confrontational headstrong Avatar than Aang’s Zen monk persona. Aang felt like a childish Dalai Lama whereas Korra feels like a hot blooded martial artist. Also the whole progression of the show seems different. Aang clearly had to go a defeat the evil Fire Lord by a certain date. The main antagonists are clearly going to be Amon and his Equalists but what exactly their agenda is has yet be be seen. I assume part of the show will be discovering what the deal with the Equalists is. That could lead to some interesting detective work not present in the original. There is also a bending related sport that seem like it will be a major component of the show. I know Pro-Bending and Blitzball are different but it was the first things that popped into my mind when they started playing the game. The production staff is clearly still aware of the opinions of the fan base. They go as far as to make a reference to the whole issue surrounding Zuko’s mother that was so much a point of contention with the fans. So far it seems like a solid show that builds on the original in a variety of strong ways. I look forward to seeing more in April.

Nichibros (The Daily Lives of High School Boys) finished up by starting its episode in reverse order, High School Girls Are Funky had a segment before the true show began but really their best material was the episode before with the rock. The last segment seemed oddly sentimental for the show but then it shows its true colors. True colors being so hilariously random and a little awkward. This was a show that surprised me from the beginning and became a highlight every week. Consistently amusing and rarely let a joke go for too long. Though I still don’t understand why Tadakuni was shoved out as the lead for so long. The show mentioned a S2 in the end credits but it was rather tongue-in-cheek so who knows if that is really in the cards. I sure hope so though!

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #160

After writing about the Zelda franchise recently, I had to get playing the DS release Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks because, hello, you get to drive a train. In this adventure, you are trying to restore the train tracks that connect the realms as well as stop the resurrection of an evil lord who has stolen Zelda’s body. With sword, er stylus, in hand I set out on this small but mighty adventure. I was actually surprised by how long the game was and how much was packed into that little cartridge. Zelda’s ghost is your guide, but she is also your partner in fights for certain areas which is a nice addition to the gameplay. Your path is very straightforward since you can only travel by train so the map has but a few outposts to discover, sadly. Despite loving trains, at times traveling was tedious and long since the only way to open portals was, for the most part, done with side errands that I didn’t engage in. Still I had a blast with the train driving and the first part of the final battle in which you must take on a giant evil train was quite fun. There is a noticeably low count of enemies in this game, but bosses still gave me quite a challenge throughout. My favorite was in the fire temple, it was just enjoyable to play! But I cannot emphasize enough to Nintendo: please quit it with the stylus heavy games already or at least make it optional especially for things like walking. The accuracy is just not there and it takes some of the portability out. Also flute playing gave me nothing but frustration throughout the game because no one really teaches you how to do it correctly. One thing that stood out to me as the game went on was even though there was much hand-holding, you got so used to it that when it didn’t explain something it was damn hard to figure out. This happened multiple times to me, I’m okay with not haing hints but I’d like consistency about it otherwise it is just confusing. Overall, it was an enjoyable game experience, and I spent the better part of a weekend playing it nonstop, so it hooked me quite well. I love the Wind Waker-esque world so it is great to continue to see additions to it.

With my roommate playing so much Mass Effect 3 that he actually took a week off from work I too have been sucked into to the hype. And since I have a iOS device I decided to try out Mass Effect: Infiltrator. Having sampled a bunch of iOS games the first thing I noticed is that anything other than simple puzzle games and time wasters have an annoying learning curve where you spend time learning the touch screen control scheme and wrangling it into something you can play. As much as writers like to claim that phones will kill the portable gaming machine market the fact that any full portable console has intuitive control scheme make the far more suited for full-fledged games. Infiltrator is a side story about a Cerberus operative who goes rouge. The story is fairly minimal. If you are expecting the complex moral decisions from the main game you will be sadly disappointed. They give you paragon/renegade choices but they are super simple and seem to have little effect on the plot. The combat is a system where upgrades are essential to succed. You have to grind the low-level missions to get the upgrades you need to the later story. The first thing you should to is buy the sniper rifle and the beam rifle. Then upgrade all you weapons and the pull ability. Everything else is supplemental. You need the extra weapons for get the style bonuses from switching weapons to get real money. If you just rely on the assault rifle and the shotgun you will have a very hard time getting gold on any level past the first few.Once I got the hang of the game it was fun but it is really small especially for the price. I am looking froward to seeing how this compares to the Mass Effect 3: Datapad app considering that is free.

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