The Star Wars of Video Games

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Out of the now six Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back remains my most favorite. I love the epic battle of Hoth, main characters parting ways, and the overall darker tone of the film. Life, in the shadow of the Empire, is harsh and cruel for those serving the Rebellion–as it should be!–. The events in this middle film leave you wondering how much worse things can get for Luke Skywalker and his ragtag group.

Lately, I’ve been playing through Mass Effect 2. Like The Empire Strikes Back, Mass Effect 2 is the middle chapter in an epic space trilogy. Currently I’ve played the game for over 18 hours. So far, Mass Effect 2 has largely been about constructing the perfect A-Team. The typical structure of the game has been: 1) Hunt down new team member, 2) Recruit them and take them back to the Normandy, 3) Eventually work through a “personal” mission to gain their loyalty. Wash, rinse, repeat. Yet, somehow, I have been pulled into this world filled with Krogans, Reapers, and a man named Shepherd.

What made The Empire Strikes Back so phenomenal, was that it took characters you had grown emotionally attached to in Star Wars and then took them to the breaking point. In doing so, a deeper emotional attachment occurred, one that would eventually  allow you to be able to sit through The Return of the Jedi. Mass Effect 2, while seemingly built on emotion, often feels false and empty. I can’t quite put my finger on it but something is off. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my time playing the game. I just think that my disconnect with the characters may have something to do with only playing about 5 hours of the first game before quitting.

The Normandy SR2

I keep waiting for that Empire moment in Mass Effect 2; I keep waiting for that moment when I am more emotionally bonded with the characters, like in a good book. As it stands, if the Normandy blew up again, with the entire crew inside, I don’t think I’d care. I’d slowly put down the controller and wonder why I had wasted so much time.

Connections

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In the hustle and bustle that has become everyday life, I am beginning to wonder how I ever found time to play such games as World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online. I think that when I was playing them, I was using them as a social means to hang out with friends from back in California. With the time difference proving to be too big of a drawback–I’m usually in bed by the time my friends get around to being able to game–, my friends and I all slowly walked away from MMO’s.

While part of me misses the thrills of leveling and exploring the various game worlds, I more so miss being able to hang out with friends in another state. Slaughtering the digital denizens, while shooting the breeze, created good memories for me. As a guy, doing something with other guys is just priceless, even if it is just playing a game online.

I don’t know if it is this way with every gamer, but I have a core group of friends that I have gamed with since high school. Since moving to Texas, I have kept in touch with them by phone, email, and occasional visits. I ultimately don’t want our connection to be lost due to distance. Though we may have walked away from MMO’s for the moment–Bioware’s Star Wars MMO is on the horizon–, we are all still good friends. I am thankful for friendships that evolve and change with time… and distance.

Dragon Age: Journeys

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Dragon Age Journeys

In a clever attempt at marketing, hype, and product synergy for the upcoming Dragon Age: Origins, EA 2D has created a browser-based tactical RPG by the name of Dragon Age: Journeys. Divided into chapter installments, subtitled The Deep Roads, the free-to-play RPG will serve as an introduction to the world of Dragon Age: Origins. This time killer will be available October 2009.

Dragon Age: Journeys Screen 1The age of the dragon is but a click away.