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Mass Effect used to be a golden standard that game developers and story tellers were held to when it came to quality game development. With the recent announcement that the Mass Effect series is being put on hold, it’s quite evident that its status amongst gamers has changed significantly since its original release. I believe the reasoning for this loss of popularity and success is mainly due to the consistently shifting style of and approach to the series.

When Mass Effect came out in 2007, it became the pinnacle of Western RPGs, taking that mantle from BioWare’s previous hit Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Mass Effect was first and foremost an RPG. It was a sci-fi adventure where you could build your own character (to an extent), explore the galaxy, and save every sentient being from the threat of a super-intelligent alien robot named Sovereign. It had elements of cover-based third-person shooters, most notably borrowed from the recent success of Gears of War. However, it was much more about the exploration, character stats, and story-based dialogue choices than it was anything else.

From there, Mass Effect 2 came out and started to lean away from its RPG roots. Mass Effect 2 had a good balance between the remaining RPG elements and its expanded third-person shooter elements, making for the most critically well-received game in the series. I still prefer the original to Mass Effect 2 since I’m an RPG nut and a huge Knights of the Old Republic fan, two gaming itches that the original game scratched perfectly.

However, things started to change drastically when Mass Effect 3 came out. The gameplay was mostly focused on third-person shooting and, while excellent, it sacrificed many elements of Mass Effect that fans grew to know and love. The RPG elements still existed but the dialogue seemed less important and more an illusion of choice than the previous two installments. There was far less emphasis on exploration, in fact it was discouraged entirely due to the Reaper invasion in the story. There was a last-minute addition of a multiplayer mode that had some pretty cool influences over the main story but was largely unnecessary. To top it all off, it had an ending that threw all the RPG choice-based storytelling the player had made to this point to the wind in favor of an incredibly rushed and dissatisfying conclusion. BioWare made efforts to edit the ending and add more detail for fans who were disappointed by this, but the damage had already been done at this point.

After Mass Effect 3, there was a four year wait until Mass Effect: Andromeda came out. For starters, this is partially what killed the series since the damage done by the ending to Mass Effect 3 was the last interaction with the Mass Effect series many gamers had for four years. From there, Andromeda was announced and everyone was really excited for something to wash away the bad aftertaste of 3’s ending. However, things didn’t go as fans had expected. The story ended up being incredibly minimalistic compared to previous games which was disappointing after four years of waiting. There were barely any RPG elements left with the dialogue being as unimportant if not less important that Mass Effect 3. There was a huge focus on third-person shooting and, while fun, it lacked the substance that each previous game had with regards to why you’re fighting in the first place.

All this, and I didn’t even mention the horribly rendered facial animations that turned Andromeda into a meme that the internet started to hate on ferociously. That being said, this last statement about Andromeda being a meme is what fully killed the franchise. Andromeda did far more poorly than most anticipated, mostly due to insane levels of negative internet feedback. Regardless of why it did so poorly, it’s clear that Mass Effect is no longer the juggernaut in the gaming industry that it used to be. This is something that is incredibly sad for me, a huge fan of the series despite its flaws, to say. Considering Mass Effect is on hold indefinitely, there is very little chance of a sequel to right the series’ wrongs, at least any time soon.

I spend most of my days working towards my Writing and Rhetoric degree at the University of Central Florida, but I spend a lot of my down time keeping up to date on the best TV, movies, and video games the industry has to offer. Here I put all of that extended time to use discussing each of them in-depth.

Gaming

Google engineers successfully hacked the PS Portal to run emulated PSP games

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After about a month of work, a couple of Google employees have successfully hacked the PS Portal, PlayStation’s handheld streaming solution. Their project is not set for public release anytime soon, but the hack is purely software-based, eliminating the need for hardware exploitation.

Andy Nguyen, a cloud vulnerability researcher, and Calle Svensson, a security engineer, shared their latest project on Twitter. They successfully ran the PSP emulator PPSSPP on the PS Portal. They presented the 2005 PSP classic Grand Theft Auto: Liberty Stories.

https://x.com/theflow0/status/1759627938910089575?s=20

As a wireless streaming device, the idea of playing games on the PS Portal without a PS5 providing the power was considered impossible. It’s quite surprising how quickly Nguyen and Svensson have overcome this initial hurdle. It remains to be seen where their efforts will take them, but we will definitely keep an eye on their progress. Nguyen expressed that there is still a lot of work left to do.

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Gaming

Lady Gaga reveals collaboration with Fortnite for upcoming festival and addresses typo

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Lady Gaga, also known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has teased an upcoming collaboration with Fortnite Festival set to be unveiled soon. More pertinent to our specific attention to detail, Gaga has also admitted to a mistake made around four years ago, indicating her keen awareness of the franchise’s significant value.

Gaga shared a mesmerizing picture of her character in Fortnite and also retweeted a post from 2019 where she asked her fans, “What’s fortnight?”. She finally got the chance to correctly spell the title of the game, allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief after waiting anxiously.

Lady Gaga will be teaming up with other top celebrities to maximize their presence on the Fortnite platform. Travis Scott once hosted a live concert in Battle Royale a couple of years ago, while the Weeknd just premiered the music video for the song “Popular” at the Fortnite Festival.

https://x.com/ladygaga/status/1759986415415459972?s=20

 

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Gaming

Reflecting on Street Fighter 5’s tumultuous launch, Capcom looks back eight years later

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For those who may not recall, nearly eight years ago today, Street Fighter 5 was released in 2016 in a rather incomplete state. The content available was impressive initially, but the limited number of characters and lack of single-player game modes stood out. Capcom expresses regret for the entire situation, offering apologies years later for having “betrayed” players’ expectations.

On SF5’s eighth anniversary, the developers must be feeling nostalgic. They recently posted a Japanese-language tweet looking back on the mistakes made and the challenges that were eventually overcome. The number of playable characters has grown to 45, and the game has seen various enhancements, including the introduction of new abilities such as V Skills/Trigger II and V Shift. Even now, hundreds of thousands of players still choose to play this game instead of the newer Street Fighter 6.
Have you had the chance to try out Street Fighter 5 since it was first released? What do you recall about the game’s reception? Take a trip down memory lane in the comments section below.

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