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Author Topic: Mass Effect Impressions: Release Day Edition  (Read 22216 times)
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naednek
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« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2007, 04:15:25 AM »

I could have rented it tonight, but instead of I pick up NBA 2K8.  What happens?  I put it in the xbox 360 and it won't load.  Take it out, and there's a nice ring around the disk.  I should have picked up mass effect
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« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2007, 04:22:57 AM »

I played through the first mission.   So far I would say I am enjoying everything about the game except the combat.  If you compare the combat to KOTOR it seems pretty good.  But if you compare it to Gears or Uncharted it is seriously lacking.  Of course ME is an RPG and not a shooter.  But it will take time for me to adjust.

Am I crazy or is the voice of your codex the same guy that did the narrator voice in Crackdown?  Captain Anderson's voice sounds familiar too.
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« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2007, 04:25:02 AM »

If I really liked KotOR is this game more of the same just not in a Star Wars setting?
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« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2007, 04:36:37 AM »

Only finished Eden Prime so far, but enjoying it. As you say, combat is a bit clunkier than some games (e.g. Halo 3 which I've been playing), but cutscenes, conversation, story, etc are better. Haven't hit the main stuff yet so can't judge it too much. Interface for equipment and upgrades is a bit clunky, but it's not really a big deal. Can't imagine it bothering anyone enough to hurt their enjoyment of the game.
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« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2007, 04:59:20 AM »

Quote from: leo8877 on November 21, 2007, 04:25:02 AM

If I really liked KotOR is this game more of the same just not in a Star Wars setting?

It's much more like a shooter.  I was actually surprised at how "shootery" it is compared to KOTOR.

I'm only done with the initial planet but things I like so far:

1) I like the dialog system a lot.  It's interesting to see what my character says and I find myself wanting to listen to the dialog rather than skip past it.

2) The voice acting is great.  I think I heard Keith David and Marina Sirtis so far.  Very well-done and (obviously) professional.

3) Visually the game looks great.  I'm not bothered by the texture pop-in upon loading, though it is there and noticeable.  Frame rate seems spotty at times but not deal-breaking at all.


Things I'm not wild about:

1) It really reminds me of KOTOR in that you are on this alien world and yet you have a fairly narrow path you must take that leads you from point A to point B.

2) Combat will take some getting used to.  I'm playing on Normal and I hope I don't regret it.  I'm also not sure if I can drop it down mid-game or if I'm stuck with Normal.

3) The tutorials are... not great.  Most stuff I figured out on my own but I would have appreciated an optional section to teach you how to use cover, open secured doors, etc.
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« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2007, 05:02:58 AM »

Quote from: denoginizer on November 21, 2007, 04:22:57 AM

Am I crazy or is the voice of your codex the same guy that did the narrator voice in Crackdown?  Captain Anderson's voice sounds familiar too.

Pretty sure that Anderson is voiced by Keith David. 
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« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2007, 05:57:19 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 21, 2007, 05:02:58 AM

Quote from: denoginizer on November 21, 2007, 04:22:57 AM

Am I crazy or is the voice of your codex the same guy that did the narrator voice in Crackdown?  Captain Anderson's voice sounds familiar too.

Pretty sure that Anderson is voiced by Keith David. 

100% sure.
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« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2007, 06:14:04 AM »

Well I'm done playing for the night.  I've put in 7 hours per the game, but more like 8 after reloads and such.  So impressions:

Quite simply I LOVE this game.  It does remind me of KOTOR a bit, but with more action.  Sure the controls are not fully like Gears, but they are close enough for me.  I love the story (Jack Bauer in space), the graphics, and the rpgness (Is that a word) of the game.  I can definitely see myself playing through multiple times too. 

Just to be fair, I have noticed some of the buginess. One the texture pop in which is very insignificant for me.  Two getting randomly stuck when moving in combat.  This has happened to me twice.  the first time it got me killed, the second time it went away after 5 seconds.  Third, I did have one moment where a conversation would not start, it might have been my not doing something, but who knows.

All and all I can easily look past those minor issues for a great story, graphics and depth. 


Some random things:

There are real choices:  I was not kidding when I said it feels like Jack Bauer in space, twice I've made decisions where other rpg's would not let me go to that extreme.

I actually want to listen to the conversations: many times the story is just added fodder for rampant killing.  Here there is a reason for things and the conversation and voice acting are so good that I actually pay attention to what's being said instead skipping over it.

Best presentation in a long time: I don't know, the game feels like a movie a lot of the time, they use great angles and closeups to add to the drama and really keep you engrossed.

On the negative side I'm shocked Bioware which is known for releasing quality titles would let some of these bugs slide.  They've made a tremendous game, but they've given people a reason to whine because of one to many bugs.  I wonder if they could have gotten rid of a few with another 30 day or so in the cooker?  they still could have been out before Christmas and probably would have gotten 9.7's instead of 9.4's.

Anyway bottom line.  If you like a great story, characters and presentation.  If you are a KOTOR or Jade Empire fan, or if you just like a good game, I'd recommend it.  if you want Gears or Halo or some FPS with a little rpg thrown in, then you might be disappointed that it's not what you were expecting.
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« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2007, 06:32:37 AM »

Not very far in thanks to Rock Band but combat is starting to click- though I don't love it yet like I did KOTOR combat (yes, I thought it was awesome).

Menus will become easier as I get used to them, but I agree that I don't like the inventory system so far.

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« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2007, 06:36:33 AM »

Finally pulled myself away from Rock Band long enough to put in a little over an hour.  The visuals are nice and I really like the story so far, but it's even more "shooter-y" than I feared and I'm having a hell of a time with it, even on the easy level.  Was really hoping for more RPG and less action shooter.  frown
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« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2007, 06:45:48 AM »

Quote from: StitchJones on November 21, 2007, 06:14:04 AM

On the negative side I'm shocked Bioware which is known for releasing quality titles would let some of these bugs slide.  They've made a tremendous game, but they've given people a reason to whine because of one to manbugs. 

If ME can avoid having a major, game stopping bug occur late in the game then it will actually be less buggy than KOTOR. 
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« Reply #51 on: November 21, 2007, 06:59:37 AM »

So far all I've done is read the manual; I tend to read the manual cover-cover for RPGs like this before I dive in. Something that's made me nervous right away is the minimal references to pre-service history and psychological profile.  My concern is that these 2 character aspects may have some bearing on the effectiveness of your class and specific talents. This wouldn't be the 1st Bioware manual that didn't give you enough info to avoid nerfing your character for the end game.
Does anyone know if these 2 character aspets have any effect on combat, tech and biotic talents?
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« Reply #52 on: November 21, 2007, 11:58:06 AM »

Granted I'm a late comer to the console world...360 being my first. But I just can't help feeling a game like this is so much more fun on a computer.
The console controller is just so limited as to its functioning many menuse and issuing on the fly stuff.

Given the choice I'd choose a PC for RPG's over Consoles any ole day of the week.

But I'm gonna hang in there with this. I can see if and when the controls become intuitive, and second nature that the other aspects of the game will really shine through. Right now I feel I'm having to concentrate too much on menu navigation and other things that just aren't fluid yet.

I miss my keyboard and mouse...... crybaby
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« Reply #53 on: November 21, 2007, 01:04:03 PM »

Quote from: Arclight on November 21, 2007, 11:58:06 AM

I miss my keyboard and mouse...... crybaby

Leave the past behind man!
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« Reply #54 on: November 21, 2007, 01:35:55 PM »

Quote from: StitchJones on November 21, 2007, 06:14:04 AM

*what StitchJones said*

I completely agree all around, short of the 'bugs' of the game. I've put in 5 hours (still on the Citadel) and I'm absolutely in love with the game. Mass Effect just screams Bioware, and it shows all around. Short of the occasional texture loading issue (which is not that big of a deal in my eyes, IMHO), and long loading times (it's oddly faster to use the insta-travel instead of walking through those elevators of doom), this game is amazing and just feels so much like an interactive movie.

Some greats - the voice work. Not only does everybody sound fantastic, but some of their lines are just classic. For fun, bring Ashley into the 'dance club' you find and talk to her. smile

Different things will seem to happen based entirely on your current party members. I think one recent conflict would've gone MUCH differently afterwards if I didn't have a certain someone in my party at the time...

Combat, while simple (more or less) does work. Yeah, the AI isn't exactly the smartest thing in the book on either side, but they know enough to watch your back. I do highly recommend purchasing the addons for your armor that'll regenerate your life, so at least you won't constantly have to use Medi-gel after each combat to keep everyone healed.

Now, if you'll excuse me - back to the game. biggrin

Last thing - what class did you take? I went Infiltrator. Pistols and the Sniper Rifle will be my mainstays, although boosting both the Electronics and Decryption skills (for hacking everything in sight) will become quite useful later on methinks... Also, I highly recommend boosting up either Charm or Intimidate, and do so early. I've already found multiple conversations where I could change things up by using my talkative powers.
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« Reply #55 on: November 21, 2007, 01:41:36 PM »

Put about 3 hrs in and I am enjoying myself.  Died a few times from not paying attention, but the game seems to auto save befor ea major fight, so I didn'y have to do any major backtracking.   Liking my Vanguard as he seems to be a CQB expert and that's what I like.  Also using the Shotgun is loads of fun.   Only major dislike is that it reminds me so much of Kotor with the way things are laid out.


Game looks freaking awesome on my LCD tv simply amazing.


Saved right after recruiting Wrex and on my way to see The Fist.   Can't wait to see what happens tonight when I get home
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« Reply #56 on: November 21, 2007, 01:52:21 PM »

Of all the nights to develop a migraine headache!  I slept most of last night and never fired up the 360.  That's ok.  I still need to read more of the up front stuff in the strategy guide and read through the manual again before I'm ready to lose myself in the game.  I'm mentally preparing.  I always do this with major epic games.  I take a few days to prepare.  I'm also heading out to PA tonight for Thanksgiving.  I probably won't be starting Mass Effect until Friday evening when I get home from work (yes, I have to work on Friday). 

I actually won't bother to post any impressions.  They are not needed with a game like this and people know I don't get bothered by the little things that others get hung up on.  I will however post my experiences with the game.  I'm fully expecting a religious experience playing this one, similar to what I got playing the KOTORs.
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« Reply #57 on: November 21, 2007, 01:56:36 PM »

Well, I've only logged about three hours so far so I'll refrain from commenting too much on other aspects that I haven't fully explored, but I have to say that this game is a quantum leap forward in terms of polish and presentation compared to Bioware's previous efforts.  I loved me some Bioware (with the exception of Jade Empire) but their games have always felt kind of stilted and limited. 

Minor spoiler (first hour):
Spoiler for Hiden:
You would never have seen anything like the in-game shot of the huge ship lifting off from Eden Prime in an "old" Bioware game.

Bioware cutscenes are traditionally just two characters standing ramrod straight with the camera alternating between over the shoulder shots as they talked with very little unique animation.  That's not the case at all with ME.  Plus you've got efforts to eliminate loading screen (even if the elevators take forever I'll take it over a NOW LOADING screen) and even if the game still has more technical hitches than something like Gears of War, the result is still way more than the generational leap we've seen from most developers.

And I have to say that the conversation engine is revolutionary IMO for the the genre.  Again, no more locked down cameras.  The camera intelligently frames even the most mundane dialogue exchange with interesting angles, depth of field effects, etc.  Bioware's character and facial animation system really shines too as the characters work through a gamut of emotions with no jarring transitions.  The interface itself works perfectly- exploratory dialogue on the left, paragon choices in the top portion and ruthless on the bottom.  And the fact that you can preselect an option before the other person finishes speaking makes it all perfectly smooth.  The result is the first RPG where on the fly conversations have exactly the same effect as traditional animated cutscenes. 
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« Reply #58 on: November 21, 2007, 01:58:36 PM »

Two more things:

1) One of my guys (not sure his name but the weaker one at the start, not the lady) got stuck on some farmers and I didn't notice until I was pretty far away.  I had to backtrack and "help" him figure out how to walk past three farmers.  Ugh.

2) What happens when a character dies during combat?  It seems they revive themselves once the combat is over.  Are they using some revival item to do this?  Is there an XP loss when they die so should I be restarting the combat at my last saved game?
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« Reply #59 on: November 21, 2007, 02:05:47 PM »

Quote from: warning on November 21, 2007, 01:58:36 PM

2) What happens when a character dies during combat?  It seems they revive themselves once the combat is over.  Are they using some revival item to do this?  Is there an XP loss when they die so should I be restarting the combat at my last saved game?

I think it's just the standard character knocked out for the duration where the penalty is you don't get his or her help.  The manual seemed to imply that the experience pool is evenly distributed even among people not in your party so I don't think you the pool changes if someone gets knocked out.

But that's all supposition- I wonder if the strat guide explains any of this stuff?  I might have to grab it. 
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« Reply #60 on: November 21, 2007, 02:20:47 PM »

I'm fighting the urge to get this one, but my gut feeling tells me to pass. I don't know what it is about Bioware games. It's either the slow and plodding pacing, UI, or what. I barely got through KOTOR and made it 1/4 the way through Jade Empire before getting bored of it. It could be that I'm just sick of RPGs in general. The whole sci-fi space epic story is intriguing though.
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« Reply #61 on: November 21, 2007, 02:29:13 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 21, 2007, 02:05:47 PM

Quote from: warning on November 21, 2007, 01:58:36 PM

2) What happens when a character dies during combat?  It seems they revive themselves once the combat is over.  Are they using some revival item to do this?  Is there an XP loss when they die so should I be restarting the combat at my last saved game?

I think it's just the standard character knocked out for the duration where the penalty is you don't get his or her help.  The manual seemed to imply that the experience pool is evenly distributed even among people not in your party so I don't think you the pool changes if someone gets knocked out.

But that's all supposition- I wonder if the strat guide explains any of this stuff?  I might have to grab it. 

you're correct...party members are 'knocked out' rather than actually dying, and they come back with no penalty as soon as combat has ended.  even if they're down for most of a battle, they still gain the same amount of experience.  it's a system Bioware has been using since KOTOR...works pretty well and allows your party members to play large roles in the story without concerns of having to resurrect them every time they go down to avoid missing out on something.
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« Reply #62 on: November 21, 2007, 03:11:18 PM »

Any "Kah!  Chinnywannabadabooboo" dialogue moments?  icon_cool
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« Reply #63 on: November 21, 2007, 03:24:05 PM »

My character is a vanguard, and I'm liking the combat/biotic action.

One thing I will say is that Saren is "ok" as a main bad guy, but right now has not entered my top 10 villains list.  The matriarch however just seems like a really cool badass villain chick.  Maybe she will turn out to be the ultimate buy guy.
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« Reply #64 on: November 21, 2007, 03:28:25 PM »

If you are interested you can get some good background on Saren and Capt Anderson by reading the prequel novel.  It's not great.  But it does set the scene for the campaign fairly well.
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« Reply #65 on: November 21, 2007, 04:20:34 PM »

How's the humor in this game?  I'm thinking along the lines of HK-47, that evil robot in KOTOR.
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« Reply #66 on: November 21, 2007, 05:35:18 PM »

Quote from: denoginizer on November 21, 2007, 03:28:25 PM

If you are interested you can get some good background on Saren and Capt Anderson by reading the prequel novel.  It's not great.  But it does set the scene for the campaign fairly well.

Yeah, the novel does a VERY good job setting up the game. It made for a great read (and being able to see places like the Citadel in person verses reading is always cool), and set up the game perfectly.

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on November 21, 2007, 04:20:34 PM

How's the humor in this game?  I'm thinking along the lines of HK-47, that evil robot in KOTOR.

The game so far is quite serious. You'll occasionally get a smile out of your teammates depending on who you have and where you might be, but all around it's been a serious game so far.

And about the experience thing - everybody always has the exact same number of experience points. Doesn't matter if you leave them behind on the ship, or they drop dead 5 seconds in (which has not happened for me so far) - they'll always have the same experience as you.
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« Reply #67 on: November 21, 2007, 05:37:15 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on November 21, 2007, 05:35:18 PM

And about the experience thing - everybody always has the exact same number of experience points. Doesn't matter if you leave them behind on the ship, or they drop dead 5 seconds in (which has not happened for me so far) - they'll always have the same experience as you.

And let me just say:  thank goodness.  I'm much more likely to experiment with different squad builds if I feel like I'm not penalized.  Having to constantly grind to keep characters roughly equivalent levels is a mechanic that can go bye-bye as far as I'm concerned. 
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« Reply #68 on: November 21, 2007, 07:20:48 PM »

Quote from: warning on November 21, 2007, 01:58:36 PM

1) One of my guys (not sure his name but the weaker one at the start, not the lady) got stuck on some farmers and I didn't notice until I was pretty far away.  I had to backtrack and "help" him figure out how to walk past three farmers.  Ugh.
My one negative with the game so far.  That took me a little time to get my squadmate unstuck and was mildly frustrating.  Then I found when I initiated conversation with an NPC, my team member would magically appear behind me after the conversation ended.  It would have been good if the NPCs had a little give when running into them.
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« Reply #69 on: November 21, 2007, 07:23:51 PM »

i will add that if you leave the auto level option off, you better be ready to check and assign points fairly often.  i went all the way through eden prime up to the last part, and it was kicking my behind.  it was frustrating me to no end and then i found that i had leveled 4 times and was still basically a level 1 guy in skills.  after i took care of that, i was able to get through the last section pretty easily.  you should definately be using your biotics/techs during the big fights.  they're not just helpful, they can be the difference between a win and a loss.

playing as in infiltrator.  it took me a moment to figure out what i was missing with the hacking.  they should have put a better note about it.  it also looks pretty simple, which is good and bad. 

so, even though i'm not trained and can never be, with the other two weapons, it looks like i can still use them.  any reason why you would?  to me, a trained pistol user > untrained assault rifle. 
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« Reply #70 on: November 21, 2007, 07:58:26 PM »

After putting in about 5 hours this morning, I have certainly changed my mind about ME.  I'm really enjoying it, now that I've figured out the screwy interface and the stuff they didn't bother to put in a tutorial.  I still don't really care for the combat, but I've only had to draw my gun twice in the last 3 hours, so it's not a huge deal.  The RPG elements feel exactly like KOTOR, which is just what I was hoping for.  The story is fantastic, the graphics are amazing (I haven't really experienced any slowdown yet), and the VO & sound work are top notch.  There have already been some gut-wrenching story moments (the guy whose wife was killed springs to mind), and the storytelling is incredibly well done.   I'm completely hooked.

Quote
i will add that if you leave the auto level option off, you better be ready to check and assign points fairly often.  i went all the way through eden prime up to the last part, and it was kicking my behind.  it was frustrating me to no end and then i found that i had leveled 4 times and was still basically a level 1 guy in skills.  after i took care of that, i was able to get through the last section pretty easily.

I completely forgot to assign any skill points to my supporting characters.  After 5 hours, I just barely checked their stats and had to allocated 14 points to each one.  No wonder they were dying so easily during that last fight.   smile  I'm keeping a couple points in reserve for myself, as I'm still undecided on the exact specs I want to have.  Since I'm so completely awful at shooters, I've had to plug a bunch of points into skills that add defense and health.  Not exactly optimal choices I'm sure, but you have to play to your strengths and weaknesses.  I've mainly been using pistols, but may switch to shotguns.  We'll see how it goes.
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« Reply #71 on: November 21, 2007, 08:22:13 PM »

Ok guys really noob question here; if I take the default appearance of Shepard am I stuck as a soldier?  Do I get to change that somewhere else?  Or do I have to create an entirely new avatar to change what class I want to be?
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« Reply #72 on: November 21, 2007, 08:28:47 PM »

Quote from: leo8877 on November 21, 2007, 08:22:13 PM

Ok guys really noob question here; if I take the default appearance of Shepard am I stuck as a soldier?  Do I get to change that somewhere else?  Or do I have to create an entirely new avatar to change what class I want to be?

Select to customize your character and when you get to the appearance section you will have the option of taking the Shepherd face or making your own. 
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« Reply #73 on: November 21, 2007, 08:29:25 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 21, 2007, 08:28:47 PM

Quote from: leo8877 on November 21, 2007, 08:22:13 PM

Ok guys really noob question here; if I take the default appearance of Shepard am I stuck as a soldier?  Do I get to change that somewhere else?  Or do I have to create an entirely new avatar to change what class I want to be?

Select to customize your character and when you get to the appearance section you will have the option of taking the Shepherd face or making your own. 

Thanks, Kevin.
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« Reply #74 on: November 21, 2007, 09:06:54 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on November 21, 2007, 06:45:48 AM

Quote from: StitchJones on November 21, 2007, 06:14:04 AM

On the negative side I'm shocked Bioware which is known for releasing quality titles would let some of these bugs slide.  They've made a tremendous game, but they've given people a reason to whine because of one to manbugs. 

If ME can avoid having a major, game stopping bug occur late in the game then it will actually be less buggy than KOTOR. 

I never encountered a gamestopping bug all the way through.  The ONLY issues I had were frame rate.  Other than that is came down to whether you liked something or not.  Most of it I liked.  And I don't like rpg's!  I will pick ME up again in 6 months or so cheap and probably play through again.  I want the story to fade from memory before I go through again, so, I can be surprised all over again.

I am sooooo glad you guys have this puppy and are chiming in.  Welcome to the Alliance.
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Arclight
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« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2007, 09:10:28 PM »

I'm wondering how my choices are going to pan out? Sometimes I'm a hard-nosed marine...FOR THE CORPS!!! and all that stuff...other times I choose the sensitive modern male....Sometimes, with no spoiler...I'm down right brutal...........I must be causing havoc with the game wondering how to pidgeon hole my choices...

I love that I can do that though. Life isn't always one way...Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you dont......
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« Reply #76 on: November 21, 2007, 09:58:27 PM »

As far as my choices, I just think, what would Jack Bauer do? Tongue  So it mostly winds up:

Save innocents if possible: Yes
Do a person in trouble a favor: Yes
Take *#%^ from anyone: HEEEELL NO!
Allow some dirty, murderous villain to live:  Oh no.  You have to die.  icon_twisted

It's left me mostly Paragon, but I have a nice little chunk of the other too.

Oh yeah, get Wrex and the Taurian in the elevator together.  They have one conversation that's classic.
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« Reply #77 on: November 21, 2007, 10:40:29 PM »

Where do you see that you're a Paragon?
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leo8877
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« Reply #78 on: November 21, 2007, 11:12:40 PM »

Quote from: Arclight on November 21, 2007, 10:40:29 PM

Where do you see that you're a Paragon?


Start > Squad.  You can see bars that are colored depending on how far into each one you are.
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« Reply #79 on: November 22, 2007, 12:10:04 AM »

Quote from: leo8877 on November 21, 2007, 11:12:40 PM

Quote from: Arclight on November 21, 2007, 10:40:29 PM

Where do you see that you're a Paragon?
Start > Squad.  You can see bars that are colored depending on how far into each one you are.

Obviously you have to be targeting yourself, and they'll show up as curved bar things around your head. You'll also see the gains/losses in the rewards window if you get any.
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