Saturday, 28 January 2012

OPINION: Mass Effect 3 for the Love of Character or Trophies

January 27, 2012

It shouldn't be a debate and I know that it's silly, but I still can't decide if I'm going to play Mass Effect 3 on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Right now, I'm leaning towards Xbox 360, and if you know me, that's crazy talk.
I'm Greg Miller, IGN PlayStation executive editor, and I'm obsessed with PlayStation Network Trophies -- Sony's version of Achievements. I have Platinums (see: 1,000 Achievement points) in children's games that have eaten up my adult life. Stuff like Hannah Montana: The Movie, Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I try to play every multiplatform title on my PS3, but only part of that is because I love watching my meaningless PSN Level rise. The jaded will say I play so much PS3 because I'm a fanboy, but it's literally my job to know how everything's running on the PlayStation platform. I take that responsibility seriously.

Therein lies the problem. I have a completed Mass Effect 2 Xbox 360 save I really like. Kara Shepard's red hair and Paragon values have carved out a place in my heart -- we even saved the entire crew on our suicide mission without the use of a guide. I want to see how her story plays out. But I really like Trophies.
Mass Effect 2, of course, had a yearlong head start on the Xbox 360, so it makes sense that I made a home there. When Mass Effect 2 came to the PlayStation 3, I bought it and recreated Kara, but I could never finish the game. Video games draw me in because of story. That's why I pick up the controller each and every day -- to be entertained by the adventure at hand. However, I knew all the twists and turns ahead of PS3 Kara. Jacob's dad, Mort's song and all the choices had played out for me before. The thrill was gone, and I'd be damned if I was going to tarnish my Shepard's good name and alter her play style. Kara is a defined person to me; changing her moral alignment would bastardize what she means to me.
So, PS3 Kara sits with an unfinished save. Unloved and waiting on my half-hearted promise to come back and get her ready before Mass Effect 3's launch. I tried creating a Renegade character on PS3 -- Obama Shepard -- but I found myself burned out shortly after taking what I knew to be a roofie in the Afterlife nightclub.
Yeah, I had sex with the guy on the left.
I'm sure the choice is clear to you -- the reader with no vested interest in my PSN level -- play on 360 and continue the journey. Here's the thing, though: I never beat the original Mass Effect. I got bored with it. So it's not like my Kara and I have years of history together. I whipped her up at the start of my 360 journey, so what's to keep me from doing the same thing this time around on PS3? Wouldn't I start with my entire crew? Wouldn't I now default to a red headed version of Shepard that already looks a lot like my Kara? Wouldn't I be earning those precious PSN Trophies?
In my completely warped mind, it almost makes sense. The only holdup is news that characters I met in Mass Effect 2 would act like we hadn't met before in Mass Effect 3. Can I really stare into Jack's gleaming forehead and listen to her talk like we hadn't raided her prison? Can I meet Thane and act like I haven't chased his son? I mean, I slept with Garrus -- can I really start over as just friends?
The more I write, the clearer it becomes. I'm going to play Mass Effect 3 on the Xbox 360. I don't care how many discs it comes on because this while frickin' trilogy is based on characters, and I can't get enough of mine and the world we've created together



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