Mark Sachs (ksleet) wrote,
Mark Sachs

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Afterlife Blues update.

It's a Christmas miracle!

Hmm, was there anything I actually wanted to mention here? Well, as I said, fight scenes are really fun to draw. I'd never realized that before. Man, imagine all the time I've spent drawing comics where people talk to each other and work out their problems when instead they could have been throwing punches and exchanging gunfire!

Oh, and speaking of people talking to each other and exchanging gunfire, I finished playing through all the Mass Effect 2 DLC yesterday. Started with Firewalker, then did Kasumi's Stolen Memory, then Overlord, and finally Lair of the Shadow Broker... and that was the right choice, as it was pretty much a straight line of increasing awesomeness from beginning to end. Shadow Broker in particular is a magnificent addition to the game; if you buy only one DLC, get this one. The aforementioned Lair is easily the most spectacular environment in all of ME2, there's lots of fun fighting and conversations, and it solidly wraps up the Liara plotline which was kind of sitting on the floor at the end of the original game (in fact, it did an amazing thing by actually getting me to like Liara, at least a little bit.) You even unlock what I can only describe as a cheat room at the end. But oddly enough, my favorite part of Shadow Broker is a little epilogue scene after the main story ends. I'll put in a spoiler...'s the bit where Liara visits the Normady and has a little heart-to-heart chat with Shepard. Specifically, it's the bit right at the end, where she asks Shepard two questions. First, does Shepard really, seriously think they can beat the Reapers? And second, why fight so hard: is it for life in the galaxy? For love? For personal survival? And you, the player, get to choose Shepard's answer.

I found this fascinating because in most games the protagonist doesn't get to have any motive or agency. They just do what they do because all the other doors besides "go through this to fight the evil" are either locked or just painted on. But not only does Shepard have a motive, it's a motive the player can influence. Actually seeing Nariya Shepard, the character I created three years ago and have played through both games with, say "I have no idea how we're going to win, we have hardly any chance against an enemy of this scale... but I'm going to keep fighting, because the people of this galaxy deserve to live and I'll do what I can to help them survive" colors the entire Mass Effect experience for me and gives it a reason to play out as it does. I hope we see this sort of thing again in ME3.
Tags: afterlife blues, comics, games
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