A bright March sky behind a dripping icicle.
Skywatch Friday 4.38: Behind the drop.
A bright green wedge on top of the thickest key lime pie encountered thus far. Consumed and enjoyed at the Oyster Bar in the bowels of New York’s Grand Central Station.
Thursday Challenge 24.3.2011: Green.
IRE-NOR on Dublin’s Aviva stadium on 17.11.2010.
Who Do You Love 30.3.2011: Sports.
PE for peto (predator). This is a snow leopard.
Alkukirjaimet #18: PE.
I have two ice hockey heroes.
Yesterday they amassed 7 points in Ducks’ crucial win over Avalanche.
The lion’s share was claimed by Teemu Selänne, the original finnish flash from 18 years back, proved that powder is still dry. A hat trick accompanied by a duo of scoring passes. He’s now sharing the eighth position in the points statistics, not bad at all for a second string winger.
The other hero – Saku Koivu – got two scoring passes.
Despite the heroics on ice, Anaheim’s position remains precarious – with an average of six games to go, they have not confirmed their playoffs slot yet.
The tenner I use the most, Snow Leopard.
Yy Kaa Koo Nee #60: Tenner.
The plot doesn’t really continue where it left off in part 1. Quite the contrary – the protagonist gets killed in the very first act and ends up being anonymously resurrected by a bona fide terrorist organization. Jack Shepard is actually a non-person for a good chunk of the game. Even if the character is believed dead, his actions from the original live on – a lot of familiar faces appear as do results of decisions made in Mass Effect.
But the truth is soon revealed, and the mail plotline kicks off. Shepard is off to assemble a motley crew of incompatible professionals to go against the escalating threat against the civilized galaxies. The quest takes Normandy to a variety of planets, moons and space stations. Thankfully the drive-around sections of the original have been dispensed with – vehicles exist only in additional downloadable content to the game.
The crew collection takes a good while, and ensuring the individual crewmembers loyalty brings in a new dedicated mission per person. The individual missions are pleasantly complex, mindless slogging through dozens of geth or other opponents doesn’t pollute every mission Shepard’s posse undertakes. But there’s no shortage of combat, plenty of shooting occurs during the saving of the galaxy. Shooting has been simplified considerably since the original – the skills of the character have been replaced by good aiming, the guns and ammo are treated a lot simpler. This smooths out the experience a lot, to me the obsessive-compulsive inventory management was one of the least appealing aspects of Mass Effect.
The biotic and technological powers of the characters are simpler as well, and Shepard’s computer-guided companions quite adept at using them without manual intervention.
The difficulty curve is smooth in the sequel. The original featured a final fight that demanded skills no previous battle required. Here the last combat is again different from the main game, but certainly beatable without extra attention. Unlike the original, finishing the final fight doesn’t end the game. Which is a good thing since there’s plenty of downloadable content to enjoy in addition to the main game. Especially the latest piece Lair of the Shadow Broker is well worth the money, and it expands the universe a lot.
The budget of the game is considerable indeed, the game took about forty hours to finish, and I by no means explored every nook and cranny of the universe. There’s plenty of graphical fireworks and music, and the voice acting is certainly worth an extra nod. The highlight for me was Martin Sheen as the mysterious patron, Seth Green returns as the wisecracking pilot of Normandy. The likes of Carrie-Anne Moss and Tricia Helfer (from Matrix and Galactica, respectively) hid themselves well, picked them out only from the credit sequence.
Especially when compared with the original game, the issue of achievements was handled very well in Mass Effect 2. A normal playthrough nets a good chunk of the points – and there’s little need to finish the game multiple times.
Mass Effect 2 consumed a good chunk of playtime during the last year, and I’m definitely looking forward to the final part of the trilogy due out towards the end of the year. According to Bioware developers, the gameplay of the finale will be significantly shaped by the decisions taken in the two first parts – exactly the kind of role-playing game I want to see from the start to the finishing line.
To tide over the intervening period the franchise offers both books (Drew Karpyshyn’s trilogy will be expanded by at least one further novel) and comics (at least four series are either being published or already available in collected form).
No spring yet in 2011, this is an older image of a wood anemone.
Two 4 Tuesday 29.3.2011: Spring / Fall.
Even imaginary rules have a rationale. Such as authors’ rule #23: Never respond to reviews.
The counterpoint provided by Jacqueline Howett’s self-destructive spiral in these comments.
Cherry blossoms from Osaka.
Moody Monday 28.3.2011: Blossoming.
My trusty D450.
See It Sunday 27.3.2011: Camera.
Record companies sue Limewire for a sum equal to the entire money supply of the world.
Spoilers of various kinds from more than 70 movies compressed into a single montage.
The Wire, rendered as a Victorian-era book.
Pure genius, attention to detail and time spent on this are considerable indeed.
Terry Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork City Watch turns into a television series. No mention of a release date, nor anything on whether this will be an animated series or an exercise of CGI trolls.
Early spring is the season when mother nature’s handwork is most visible in Finland. This picture of an early pennyworth is from May 2009.
Photo Friday 25.3.2011: Mother Nature.
Spacehack – a collection of ways for amateurs to participate in space exploration.
Slow Loris have quietly evolved into youtube darlings, even I fell for the big-eyed prosimians back in 2009.
However, as the truth about the trade in these fascinating creatures emerges, they hopefully will be left to roam the jungle canopies rather than poached, cruelly doctored and basically left to die in the hands of wannabe ticklers.
[ via Boing Boing who have an awesome image to accompany the article. ]
Historically hardcore, Smithsonian disagrees.
My favorite vintage obsession, classic (and not so classic) interactive fiction games.
Shutterday 19.3.2011: Vintage.
Photo Thursday #200: Process.
LI for Lisko (lizard).
Alkukirjaimet #17: LI.