Ongoing Investigations: Case #157

There was no way my apartment was not getting the Mass Effect 3 demo the day it came out. I will avoid spoilers but I am sure some people are going to be upset that I mention you fire guns and fight Reapers. That aside the demo lets you make a temp Shepard with the normal amount of customization and you even get to make a few key previous game choices. You play through the first mission that is a basically a tutorial and then it jumps ahead to the earlier E3 demo. The first part is very cinematic where the second half is a good sample of the new game play. Since the second half is further in the game they give you more weapons to play with and more power points to see how the new abilities feel. A few quick notes. The cool down for powers is extremely short in first part and terrifically slow in the second half. They clearly want you to experience the new combat shooting system with minimal power use in the second half. The new game plays is even more run and gun than the previous games. I think it is a bit harder but you still have the power wheel to pause the action and a story mode if the action is too frantic. I also noticed that you could not upgrade your weapons like you could in the E3 demo. I also have played a little with the Mass Effect multipalyer. The mode is thankfully cooperative. I would not want to step foot into a competitive version of the game. So far the gameplay revolves around  surviving waves of enemies with a few random mini missions to break things up. 11 waves of increasingly tough enemies is fairly grueling. But once you get the hang of it the game is fun if a bit brutal. Expect to fail missions a lot. They do give you a good amount of experience even if you fail. You use the money you earn in missions to essentially buy booster packs of upgrades and items. The items you get are random so you can expect to grind quite a bit. The only lame thing is to play as an aliens race you have to randomly unlock them buying the expensive version of the booster packs. Over all the demo made me look forward to the game in March and made be not worry about the multipalyer so it accomplished its mission.

I had the pleasure of seeing the premiere of Justice League: Doom at a special event held at the Paley Center here in NYC. The movie is based on a famous Justice League storyline from the comics known as The Tower of Babel in which Batman has contingency plans on how to take out each member of the JL stolen and then used against them. The basic premise remains the same, but the ways in which each member is neutralized as well as the ultimate villain are different in this new animated film. And it is executed fantastically. All of the stories are being told simultaneously which brings in a lot of tension as we switch from hero to hero. The writing is snappy and of course Batman has all of the greatest lines but it meshes well with the serious nature of the story. It gets very dark and what happens when Batman realizes what is going on as well as how the JL take that information is an excellent, thoughtful finish to the action packed story. This is a great addition to the DC animated library and a wonderful swansong for late great writer Dwayne McDuffie.

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