Posts Tagged ‘Miranda Lawson’

Relationships in Video Games – Time to Evolve

Dragon Age Origins Morrigan

Recently a rather interesting conversation broke out at Polish the Console about video games and relationships. While Kat has a less than secret crush on BioWare (and by crush I mean stalking)  I have found myself with a wanting for something more. Maybe it was playing a video game with the adult themes of Catherine that got me thinking about this but isn’t it time our relationships in video games grew up?

When I say “the adult themes” I don’t mean the sexual nature of the relationship. What I mean is the importance placed on the relationship and the value that it possesses and the effects that these relationships have on the outcome of the game. As a video gamer I want my game to have real consequences to my actions. In BioWare video games the only real consequence to a relationship is “I don’t get to see the sex scene with that other character” and anymore let’s be honest what are we really missing?

mass effect 2 mirands

Behold! The awesome rewards of a relationship...

Now to preface this let me just say that this does not have anything to do with writing or emotional attachments to NPCs. One thing I will never criticize or bemoan in any way is the writers ability to genuinely make me care about my party members. Who among us hasn’t agonized over one stupid little decision in a game that, in reality, had no real bearing on the outcome of the game? What I mean is that in games like Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect the relationships you enter into make little real and meaningful difference to the outcome of the game. You can still have a 98% identical experience in the game without a relationship; all you miss out on is a little smooching and a few dialogue options that will still give you the same ending anyways. While you may personally feel more passionately towards the outcome based on your emotional connection with the characters, you could still arrive at that outcome without being in that relationship.  In Dragon Age: Origins being in a relationship with Morrigan or Alistair does not mean you will live or die. It does not mean anything other than a small chunk of text at the end of the game.

In my life I am a 31 year old married man. I have a wife, two dogs, house, and no picket fence. I genuinely enjoy my life. However I look at my companions: my college friends, work friends, people I meet. I see my wife and my dogs and the life I have chosen. If this were Mass Effect 2 I could very easily flirt with my companions who were willing and suffer no real ill effects. If this were Dragon Age II then I could literally flirt with everyone I shared more than a passing conversation with regardless of sexual orientation and it would be okay.

In my real life I can almost certainly promise you that if I were to flirt with the girl at the local GameStop my wife would not be at all happy with me. In fact I would think that what would ensue would be a 4 hour impassioned apology from me and a well deserved lifetime of distrust from her.

But there’s more than just my ability (okay let’s be honest I have no ability I got lucky) to flirt with people. I have chosen a companion that I will put before all others. In my relationship I have said “I choose your missions before anyone else’s.” I looked my wife dead in the eyes and said “I voluntarily choose to miss out on a cornucopia of potential companion missions with friends and acquaintances to forge life with you and do your missions.” She then gave me a sword. Dead serious. She had a custom forged katana made for me. I’m that lucky. She also had my wedding ring made from sword. Again I’m very serious. She knows me.

Miranda Mass Effect 2

She's not even shooting something because for me.

In Mass Effect 2 when you choose to be with Miranda Lawson all you miss out on is a sexy video with another crew member and bit of “I want to be with you” dialogue. You still get to do all of their deep companion missions. You still get to fully complete the game. Hell Miranda doesn’t even give you anything that helps you. Come to think of it when you gain her allegiance SHE’S the one that gets something. They all do. Why didn’t we get a fancy new suit? We’re the ones risking out asses to help your families. Where’s my fancy pants?

But more than this nobody seems to care that you’re potentially in a relationship. In Dragon Age: Origins when Morrigan gives you a ring or Alistair and you become Ferelden Royalty what really changes? Do you miss out on any part of the game because you’re in a relationship?

This is what I mean by adult themes. It is the decisions that have significant weight in the world. It is saying “Yes I want this. This is my decision and there is no going back, there is no middle ground, and I have to stick through this.” In Catherine it was the seemingly inane questions that created a very black or white picture of the world. Ultimately you decided between Catherine or Katherine. That was your decision, it sucked, it was difficult, and it was one of the most gratifying and real experiences that I have had in gaming all year, because of the consequences.

This is what other games need to bring in. Make a relationship mean that in return you get some real and deep companion mission. Make a relationship mean that you are not, in fact, running around with everyone doing whatever you want. You have consequences for your decisions that will carry through the entire game based on who you choose to be in a relationship with.

The additional benefit to this is a terrific increase in replayability. In all likelihood I’m probably never going to replay Dragon Age II. With two play throughs I was able to do almost everything I wanted to. There is no more story to surprise me or grab my attention. However uncovering more about Isabela or Merrill would absolutely bring me back for another go-round if the stipulation was that I had to be in a relationship with them.

While this would certainly rub a lot of gamers the wrong way it’s something that would both intrigue and beguile provided it’s done correctly. Video gamers are growing up. Isn’t it time our in game relationships do the same?

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Rating: 4.4/5 (9 votes cast)

Mass Effect 2 – PS3 Review

If you are a hardcore (or even slightly more than casual) gamer then odds are you fall into one of two categories. Either you are the gamer who has played the critically acclaimed Mass Effect 2 or you are the gamer who has said “I would totally play this video game if it came out for the PS3.” Myself, I fall into the first category. I enjoyed Mass Effect and totally loved Mass Effect 2. When news broke that BioWare was going to be releasing Mass Effect 2 for the Playstation 3 I got very excited. I aslo found this very confusing since I had already beaten it. Twice. I was actually playing Mass Effect through again so that I could replay Mass Effect 2 with a whole new history of my character.

Miranda Lawson - Mass Effect 2

This helps bring you back to life. No joke.

For those who may not be familiar with the story let me give you the breakdown. You assume the roll of Commander Shepard a Council Spectre on a mission to clean up after the events of Mass Effect. You die a rather horrific death at the hands of a mysterious enemy only to be brought back to life by an controversial organization by the name of Cerberus. Your development is overseen by the fine backside of Miranda Lawson. After fighting your way out of the facility that help to recreate your glorious visage you meet the man who gave you new life. Martin Sheen.

He informs you that there has been a string of strange disappearances of human colonies at the fringe of the galaxy and you have been brought back to investigate. Throughout the game you assemble your team, shoot some stuff, blow some stuff up, have some conversations, and ultimately do what you can to help save the galaxy from a threat that will very well destroy everything to achieve it’s goal. That is because it’s goal is to pretty much destroy everything. So you can see the importance of helping out.

Mass Effect 2 – Controls

If you have played Mass Effect 2 then the controls are going to be pretty much exactly the way you remember them to be. If you haven’t then let me lay it out there: they are pretty damn tight. You will find yourself having a fairly good idea of what you are doing before you even start the game.

Where the game does a very good job is when it comes down to how you interact with your squad during times of combat. Bringing up a wheel that allows you to have your squad execute specific functions is fairly straightforward but what impresses is the lack of mistakes that are typically made. You almost have to try to make a mistake when telling your squad member to use a specific power on a specific enemy.

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Mass Effect 2’s controls get a 4 out of 5

Mass Effect 2 – Gameplay

The gameplay in Mass Effect 2 is smooth, clean, and very very open. When I say its open I mean you can go off and explore the galaxy, you can stick to what you know, or you can just follow the basic story. You decide what you do, where you go, who you help, or how you help them. The only thing the game makes you do is recruit your crew and fight some bosses. How you do that is left entirely up to you.  If your crew likes you and even if they make it through the end is left up to you.

And this is where the Gameplay either shines of fails. Lets face it, there just some people out there who flat out HATE open world games. If you are one of those people then this is not going to be a game that you enjoy. However this not open in the way that games like Fallout 3 and New Vegas are open. You can’t float around the Galaxy taking dinner plates and coffee mugs to store in a warehouse of a town you just brutally slaughtered so that you can set it up to be the most morbid and disturbing tea party of corpses ever imagined.

You have a mission to accomplish. Once you start your missions you don’t have much margin for error. I imagine you rarely do when everyone is shooting at you like they do in Mass Effect 2. But you are open to go about completing them however you bloody well like. You are open to go around the galaxy helping humanity and other civilizations or you are free to ignore the pleas of your crew and fellow galactic denizens.

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Mass Effect 2’s gameplay gets a 4 out of 5

Mass Effect 2 – Graphics

miranda mass effect 2

Yeah, she really does know how good she is.

When BioWare said that Mass Effect 2 would be build on the Mass Effect 3 engine I got all excited. I imagined that loading it up would open a hole to the heavens and a glorious warm light would bathe my system in a calming warmth and a choir of angels would sing as the game played. Yeah I was wrong.

The graphics on the Playstation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 are just as they were on the XBox 360 version. I don’t care what any side by side comparison online says. Unless you’re an overly nitpicky douche you’re not going to notice any difference other than things are a tad brighter on the Playstation 3.

The thing is that the graphics are still fantastic. The game still looks amazing. The worlds are still gorgeous and fascinating. The ship is still beautiful. Miranda still looks like a biologically enhanced smokin hottie who is better than you in every way, shape, and form.

Somehow my Comander Shepard is still ugly as sin.

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Mass Effect 2’s graphics get a 4 out of 5

Mass Effect 2 – Story

When it was announced that Mass Effect 2 would come out and not Mass Effect the big question became “How will they be able to create the story from Mass Effect so that people playing would have some idea as to what the hell is going on?” To sum things up BioWare issued out a digital comic that summed up the back story quite well that  allowed you to make the key decisions that were made in the first game to carry over into the new one.

The slight downside is that you don’t get the FULL back story. Ultimately this can leave anyone who never played the first Mass Effect to scratch their heads a bit, but its not going to be a total deal breaker.

Mass Effect 2 PS3 Kasumi

Someone is about to have a bad day

But you don’t just get a digital comic. You get the Mass Effect 2 DLC missions. So you get the bonus goods for the price of the main game. So you may miss a little here and there but gain a big win in the long run.

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Mass Effect 2’s story gets a 4 out of 5

Mass Effect 2 – Overall

Across the board 4’s can only give us one final tally. Mass Effect 2 is still gorgeous, still fun, still interesting, and the PS3 release gives us the DLC to also play. Overall Mass Effect 2 is getting a 4 out of 5.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Video Game Pin Ups: Miranda Lawson

Miranda Lawson was an interesting mix to the Mass Effect universe. Rather than simply leave the player to believe that she had reasonably attractive parents and took great care of her body, Mass Effect 2 flat out tells us that Miranda Lawson was genetically engineered to be a hot piece. Miranda winds up on the Video Game Pin Up list because of a few reasons:

Miranda Lawson - Mass Effect 2

Miranda Lawson's 2nd and 3rd best assets

Miranda is a confident and capable party member. She is intelligent, sultry, and fairly adept in the ancient art of ass kickery. She’ll call your bluff and knock you on your ass while she does it. This helps ramp up the hotness.

Sure she was engineered to do so, but who doesn’t love a little creative engineering? It brought about many advancements. Lets keep it up.

Also…she has an awesome Australian accent which helps push up the hotness a few notches. What guy doesn’t have that fantasy of a foreign girl.

Miranda Lawson - Mass Effect 2

Miranda's Top Asset

Mass Effect 2 goes to great lengths with its interesting choices in camera angles to let us see Miranda’s best asset. The infinite wisdom has once again shown through in game design to bestow upon us a thing of true wonder. Sure this is a game that takes place in space and we are fairly sure to have a trip to a few moons, but this is the kind of moon that once you land on it you take your time. You survey. Maybe take a souvenir or two. You don’t just drop on, plant a flag, and fly away. You build a damn colony and raise your kids there.

It’s absolutely magnificent.

For this reason we have absolutely no problem throwing down the Ass Stamp of Approval to Miranda Lawson. She does indeed have one of the best in video games

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Truly deserving of its own award

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Rating: 4.9/5 (8 votes cast)

Ugly Video Game Characters

In preparation for the eventual release of The Witcher 2 I find myself once again struck with a monumental problem with The Witcher. This is not a problem with gameplay, or graphics, or story but with the overall character itself. It’s the kind of video game that goes awry in the first 15 seconds because the main characters face flashed on your screen and you almost dive under whatever you’re sitting on because you’re afraid it’s so ugly it may just try and steal your soul.

Every video game has an ugly character or two and I can overlook them. But I find it difficult to get connected to, feel empathy for, or wish for the survival of my main character when all I can think is “Holy crap why did they make him so damn ugly?” I’m supposed to be living for a period of this person’s life. I’m supposed to assume their role and identify with them. Why would I want to? Is it supposed to be fun to have children and women run screaming at my very appearance and have farmers chase me with pitchforks until I eventually burn to death in a windmill (name that movie)? No, its not fun.

I know, I’m shallow. I’m a guy, its what I do.

Now you may be asking yourselves “What video games have such god awful ugly characters?” Well you’re in luck, I’ve made a short list for you:

Geralt of Riva: The Witcher

Oh crap, I think he just ate my soul.

Geralt of Riva: The Witcher/The Witcher 2

Let’s start out with the very reason for the post in the first place. Geralt of Riva is a damn ghoul. I mean just look at him, what redeeming quality is there in him. Everything about The Witcher’s main character screams “I’m going to sneak into your house in the middle of the night and abscond your virgin daughter.” He has all the look of Brett Michaels and none of the awesomeness.

And the most intriguing facet of The Witcher is the fact that you not only have numerous romantic conquests, but you get rewarded for them. Apparently when the world is going to shit and monsters roam the countryside any man will do when you need your quick lovin’ fix.

I can only imagine they sat in their design meeting and said “Man, Legolas was awesome. Lets make someone bad ass like him but instead of a bow lets give him a sword. That’s awesome! Now lets give him a large scar because scars are awesome! Okay now age him 30 years. Now make him look and sound like he smoked a pack a day for each of those 30 years. That’s AWESOME!”

Miranda Lawson: Mass Effect 2 - Ugly Video Game Characters

Please stop looking at me.

Miranda Lawson: Mass Effect 2

Oh how we here at PtC love our BioWare and pretty much everything that BioWare does. That being said, in Mass Effect 2, what the hell did they put on Miranda Lawson’s chin? What? What do you mean? That is her chin? Dear god why? Miranda should have been amazing! You start with Yvonne Strahovski give her a space ship and a gun and have her kill things. Throw in a sex scene and bam! That right there is a recipe for smokin’ hottie. Instead you get that…thing. Now she’s not all bad. There are absolutely worse looking models in the video game world. In fact everything before the Playstation 2 era is a bit…well….jagged and pointy.

Miranda Lawson Sex Scene - Mass Effect 2 - Ugly Video Game Characters

Mass Effect 2 has a butterface

The flipside is that the rest of Miranda is pretty damn nice. I find myself wanting to like her more. I feel this overwhelming compulsion to legitimately want to say to myself “I can cope with that” but to be honest I really cant. Is there a patch BioWare can issue that can fix her? Seriously?

In fact yes: BioWare (I know you’re reading this) please from all of us here at Polish the Console do something to fix Miranda Lawson’s god awful face.  Shave th chin down a bit. Make her less manly. Give her a softer look that makes the ass kickery all that much more…ass kicky.

Never in my life has underboob ever been seen in conjunction with the overwhelming desire to yell “PUT ON A HELMET!!”

Want to know the real head scratcher? We also think she’s hot. Explain that! So much so that she made into our Pin Up Gallery. Hell, even  we’re confused.

Nier: Gestalt - Old Nier

Nier Hungry

The Father: Nier

Once again I would like to state that I loved Nier. I thought it was awesome. I’m actually questioning its placement on this list because I loved it so much. I can play Nier for hours on end and never get tired of it. Nier is like having an ugly baby. You know its ugly. Whenever anyone looks at it they think its ugly. Nier is just that ugly. But you know what? It’s your ugly baby and you love it no matter what. That’s what Nier is to me. Nier is my ugly baby.

But Nier also tests the limits of how ugly something can be and still illicit a positive emotional response. Sure he’s supposed to be old. Sure he’s supposed to look like absolute hell. Sure his life pretty much mimics Gary Busey’s. But couldn’t they have at least dressed him in something relatively presentable? What’s this, no shirt? Are those raging pythons too big to be contained by anything that isn’t made of solid steel?

Marcus Fenix - Gears of War - Ugly Video Game Characters

Can he even wear a real shirt anymore?

Marcus Fenix: Gears of War/Gears of War 2

His can’t. Not at all. Not even mildly. Marcus Fenix of Gears of War cannot, at all, wear a normal shirt. Look at him. His wrist is the same size as his neck. Is this some medical condition we need to be aware of? How does he pick up nickels with those sausages he calls fingers? Can he even fit his hand into a pocket? This is a man that will crush a door knob when he tries to grasp it. I feel bad for any woman who attempts to hook up with him. If Marcus even thinks about it the woman feels sore.

Then there’s his face. Marcus Fenix looks like the guy you see out and around who never wears sleeves, always poses for the camera (usually some lame ass kissy face), and acts like a total douche to everyone around him while he sips his Long Island. You know who I’m talking about. It’s called the Jersey Shore. He looks like the kind of guy who would make a legitimate attempt to name himself after his favorite gym verb. I bet his friends call him Flex, or Bulk, or Pump. I just call him Giggles.

Killzone 2 - Ugly Video Game Characters

I petition to send them all the Helghan...now

Sev: Killzone 2

I’m sorry. Did I say Sev? I mean the whole damn team. Killzone 2 takes place on Helghan which is supposed to be an ugly planet full of ugly people. Good. Lets bomb them. They are pricks anyway. But holy crap can you throw at least one attractive team member our way so we can say “this guy would be fun to go out and watch a ball game with” instead of “why did he just reference Garza’s butthole and why is he so familiar with its odor?”

I mean yeah it sucks that Garza dies but I was kind of relieved I didn’t have to look at him anymore. Now what do I have to do in order to go rogue and not look at the rest of my team anymore? And for that matter what do I have to do in order to totally remove all mirrors from my immediate area at all times?

Max Payne: Max Payne

You know what? If you really want to know my thoughts, just read the caption below:

Max Payne - Max Payne - Ugly Video Game Characters

Can someone please get Max a stool softener from that gift shop in the back?

Now I ask you, who’s your ugly video game character of choice?

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Rating: 1.7/5 (25 votes cast)