aria: ([lord of the rings] eowyn)
valinor spider party ([personal profile] aria) wrote2013-09-23 04:11 pm

if you're out there in the cold I'll cover you in moonlight

i. I can't stop listening to Aims, Vienna Teng's new album. (Link goes to the soundcloud album stream she posted. Actual album comes out tomorrow!) Just want to listen to all of it on endless loop, particularly Level Up and Never Look Away. It is good fighting music, and being happy music. It's perfect as a ward against and an accompaniment to the onset of autumn; my brain doesn't know what to make of the cold, because in the general way of things fall and winter make me very happy, but last winter was the absolute worst and of course has attached sense memories, so ... we'll see how that goes. And listen to Vienna Teng on loop.

ii. Last week I went with a bunch of friends to see Dessa! IT WAS SO GREAT, of course it was; she played nearly everything I wanted her to, and I kept running into her in the bathroom because there was no proper backstage, so there was a lot of casual smiling acknowledgement while we washed our hands and I screamed internally. Also, quite by accident, friends I went with to the concert were my D&D group minus [personal profile] scribe, who was ... still out of the country, I think? Unsurprisingly these humans are excellent to hang out with whether or not we're slaying monsters and flirting with other monsters at the time.

iii. I just ... keep playing Dragon Age. Housemate A got Dragon Age 2 and everything! But my elf is nearly to the final battle and my dwarf is being the most hilariously best bros with Sten and I can't move on yet. (Also I got Wynne to ship my elf/Zevran; I'm not sure why I didn't get an achievement badge for that.) Polaris and I are considering whether when we run out of Dragon Age games we should try Mass Effect. I ... have the vague fannish osmosis feeling that it's good? I know some of you have played it! Please deliver unto me your Mass Effect feels, whatever they are; I would love opinions.

iv. Fic update: part five of eight complete! ONLY THREE LEFT. I'm starting to have this feeling like I'm hurtling shrieking towards the finish line, though mostly in a good way; I'm not sacrificing quality to time, it's only that I finally have my full complement of writing enthusiasm back. Getting it done is going to be a bit scary, though, because I want to have it all posted at the very last the day before Thor 2 comes out, which means I have to start posting it by very latest on Halloween, and I have to be done in time that Olivia can reasonably beta it, and ahhh. Current wordcount: 63,826. \o/
nextian: From below, a woman and a flock of birds. (Default)

[personal profile] nextian 2013-09-23 09:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Ok, here's the part where I opine about games I have never played all the way through. Please take all of this with a grain of salt-- I'm in Bioware fandom across the board and I have talked with a lot of people about gameplay/watched videos/etc, but it isn't my own experience.

What I've heard is that Mass Effect is gr8, it's really quite spectacularly gr8, but it's got a very different appeal than DA. It starts out as an extremely straightforward take on the tropes it's working with. It is a space marine heroic story about space marine heroism, and while there are elements of it that grow and change and get more complex through the games, it never really leaves that course. That can be tiresome, and it can be exciting. There's a lot more opportunity for cinematic drama, for example. The paragon-renegade system does a lot of the same work: it's about making moral choices, whereas in Dragon Age the emphasis is a lot more about negotiating differing loyalties. (Not that DA2 is identical to DA:O in that regard! In DA2, it's more about personal loyalties, and in DA:O, it's more about alliances because you are actually playing a diplomat's role, different appeals there too, but that's how I'd characterize the general distinction.) And maybe that's more about being a boy scout vs. being an asshole, rather than the right thing vs. the wrong thing, but it's still a morality system more than an alliance system, and it can be both awesome (renegade interrupts are the bomb dot com) and intensely irritating (see diagram.)

The other thing that's distinctive particularly from DA:O is that you are playing Shepard, and Shepard is definitely a person in their own right. There are a lot of different Commander Shepards with a lot of different personalities, but to keep the story through three games, they had to basically narrow down Shepard's concerns to a small universe of options, and you get a lot of commonalities between playthroughs.

As for the things that are not distinctive but are generally great, the supporting cast is, bar none, my favorite in gaming, and they all have clear and powerful relationships with each other. God. The ship interpersonal relationships, especially if you play it with all the deaths "as intended" at the most dramatic points, are fucking superb. It's a spectacular voice cast, with, as much as I now love him, the exception of Mark Meer (male Shepard). I have never played these games, and the emotional investment I have in the well-being of everyone on that damn ship is through the roof. Tali is my favorite. Garrus is the fan favorite. Liara is alien pansexual Jane Foster. There's a lot to appeal.

I'd just caution that the first game is apparently a bit amateurish on a number of levels, particularly the graphics, which are baddddd. So bad. So, so bad. And of course, that the vast majority of the internet hates, hates, hates the ending of Mass Effect 3. On the other hand, in response to fan outcry, Bioware released what I can only refer to as "the fix-it fic DLC", which is wall-to-wall character interaction and cute jokes and warm fuzzies, and which has made me cry multiple times. So there is that.
pearwaldorf: rey from tfa (Default)

[personal profile] pearwaldorf 2013-09-23 09:09 pm (UTC)(link)
All of this. My husband did a playthrough, and I loved everybody then, but it is so different when it's "your" Shepard interacting with the crew. One thing that's different from the Dragon Age games is that it is a sustained continuous story, and that leads to wonderfully continuous character development for your crewmembers. I became ridiculously emotionally attached to these characters; I suspect you might too.

Seconding the caution about the first game being a bit rough; I'm helping a friend through their first ME1 playthrough and it is kind of amazing how little is explained on what you need to do. If you have the option to play on a console, I would strongly recommend it, as the PC port is damn near unplayable, it's so bad. And if you need tactics or spec help, please feel free to ask!
juniperphoenix: Fire in the shape of a bird (Default)

[personal profile] juniperphoenix 2013-09-23 09:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooh, thank you for the soundcloud link! *listens*
juniperphoenix: Fire in the shape of a bird (Default)

[personal profile] juniperphoenix 2013-09-27 01:50 pm (UTC)(link)
It is so great! I miss her piano a little bit, but the new sound is really energizing.
starlady: headphones on top of colorful buttons (music (makes the people))

[personal profile] starlady 2013-09-23 10:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I am obsessed with Never Look Away and In the 99, partly because I got Level Up as a Kickstarter download and was obsessed with it then. Her show in November is going to be AMAZING.
zanzando: Sideview of Corvo Attano from video game Dishonored (Without Honour)

[personal profile] zanzando 2013-09-24 12:19 am (UTC)(link)
Fair warning: Mass Effect will probably make you cry just remembering some of its tremendous character moments after playing it.
I have a group of ME friends on twitter and we regularly fall into each other's arms when one of us does a replay, yelling "LEGION!!!" or "SEA SHELLS!!" or "KROGAN BABIES!!!" into the night.

The first game has some drawbacks because the gameplay (dear god, the gameplay) is somewhat halfbaked, and the graphics aren't as good as what we're used to nowadays, but it's also the biggest and most genuinely space-opera-epic game in the series, mostly in terms of options and play-time, as well as some of the character moments.
(However, some of the bittersweet to tragic moments you get in ME3 can be more poignant, not least because you know and love the characters at that point like your own children. Um.)

I - feel somewhat passionate about Mass Effect. FEM!SHEPPARD FOREVER.
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[personal profile] eccentric_hat 2013-09-24 01:14 am (UTC)(link)
Whoa, thank you for the Vienna Teng link! I didn't know the new album was coming so soon.
sentientcitizen: Rose Tyler throws her head back and laughs. (Default)

[personal profile] sentientcitizen 2013-09-24 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
Ah! I did not know Vienna Teng was making music again! Very exciting, thank-you for the link. :)
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[personal profile] luzula 2013-09-24 10:47 am (UTC)(link)
Oh wow, I want to see Dessa too. I was listening to her at the very moment of seeing this post--her latest album is, like, the soundtrack to my current relationship break-up. It's so good (the album, that is)!
gominokouhai: (Default)

[personal profile] gominokouhai 2013-09-24 10:58 am (UTC)(link)
> Vienna Teng's new album

Ooh, I like this. Thank you.
gominokouhai: (Default)

[personal profile] gominokouhai 2013-10-01 11:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I have just got what you meant about it (partic Level Up) being "fighting music". I'd heard the name Vienna Teng before, but never listened to any of her stuff; I'd be grateful for any further recommendations you might have.