Mass Effect 2 Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Mass Effect 2 RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network This Was the Best Decade in Gaming History, and I Can Prove It https://www.gameskinny.com/w33ve/this-was-the-best-decade-in-gaming-history-and-i-can-prove-it https://www.gameskinny.com/w33ve/this-was-the-best-decade-in-gaming-history-and-i-can-prove-it Sun, 29 Dec 2019 14:27:56 -0500 Ty Arthur

The decade is coming to a close, and while there was controversy — and a few franchises flopped  the last 10 years provided some of the best moments in the history of gaming.

If you lived through the 2010s, you witnessed new, powerful console launches, new developers knocking it out of the park, and new, exciting tech releases from the ill-fated Kinect to the still burgeoning VR field.

All of that and more led to an unforgettable 10 years in gaming that rivaled much of what came before. Don't believe me? Let's take a look back at the industry's defining achievements over the past 10 years.  

The Early 2010s

Certain moments will live forever. Lady Gaga's meat outfit. Rebecca Black's Friday. Kony 2012. The color of that stupid dress. Marriage equality. "But her emails." Leo finally getting that damn Oscar. 

For me, the decade began in earnest when I put GLaDOS into a potato in Portal 2. The combination of humor and disturbing horror sold it as much as the game's top-notch voice acting and rock solid gameplay. That overall package had me sitting in awe, thinking: "Did modern video games just become amazing right this second?" 

Aside from the hilarious legacy of Portal's sequel (which itself will never be a follow-up since Valve sadly can't count to three), the 2010s kicked off in earnest with notable returns from major series featuring big changes. Mass Effect 2 ditched the extraneous RPG elements and somehow came out better for it; Dead Space 2 ramped up the horror and gore of the first game; and, of course, Starcraft 2: Wings Of Liberty arrived with a makeover and revamped multiplayer.

The early 2010s proudly brought the gaming universe a re-tooled horde mode in Gears of War 3, and it's one that stood the test of time. Aside from still holding the title of "one of the least toxic cooperative multiplayer modes" ever made, horde in Gears of War 3 remains the gold standard of multiplayer. Horde is one of the primary reasons why fans return to the Gears series even after the IP switched developers.

While those big-name AAA franchises made their marks, Minecraft became a phenomenon. Mojang's smash hit created an enduring legacy that can't be denied, even if the survival/open-world LEGO mashup has been endlessly emulated. Somehow the pop phenomenon still has hundreds of millions of active players, showing Mojang's vision wasn't just a fluke. 

Between an insane number of skins, seeds, maps, and mods, Minecraft has to be one of the most expansive gaming experiences of all time, and it will probably still be up and running long after we are all dead and gone. As we move into the next decade, we're preparing for Minecraft Dungeons, which could possibly be a game we'll still be talking about in 10 years. Who knows?

      OK, maybe it wouldn't have been the worst
thing if we didn't know about this guy...

Another low-key title that had a bigger impact than many realize — though not Minecraft big — came in the horror genre. 

Amnesia: The Dark Descent kicked off the "defenseless" horror subgenre that has seen the likes of Outlast, Layers of Fear, and Alien: Isolation follow in its footsteps. Although the Amnesia series is now quaint when compared to what came after it, it brought the horror genre to the masses. Why? Because big-name streamers loved it.

Reaction videos to Amnesia's scarier scenes caught on like wildfire, and it's partly to thank for the sudden spike in video game streaming personalities in the early part of the decade. Without Amnesia, it's possible that the likes of PewDiePie and Markiplier might remain relatively unknown.

       It is an absolute tragedy that this didn't catch on.

Despite all of the unexpected successes, there were some "sure things" that ended up nosediving in the early part of the decade. Nintendo — normally a pillar of stability — saw the Wii U ultimately flop, even though the hardware itself had some fantastic applications.

If you haven't experienced Rayman Legends local multiplayer using both the Wii U pad and your television screen, then you missed out on a critical piece of amazing gaming history.

While the Wii U has been consigned to the dust bin, other parts of the early 2010 gaming landscape caught on like wildfire and still haven't gone out.

Though I point blank hated Skyrim, credit must be given where it's due. Bethesda captured the imagination of a generation with that particular Elder Scrolls entry, and Skyrim managed to remain popular enough to see re-release some dozen or so times across multiple consoles throughout the decade.

Without question, Skyrim played a large role in the success of the 2010 console cycle, but it had an even bigger impact on the PC landscape. Simply put, Skyrim is the king of mods, and has born an entire generation of modders that have created some truly fantastic experiences. 

To date, Skyrim has more than 56,000 downloads available on Nexus Mods. Yeah, a lot of them are nude mods, but between the total conversion mods and extremely clever gameplay tweaks, Skyrim can be an amazing game with the right modding.

The mod effect went well past Bethesda's fantasy baby this decade. Other open world games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are getting a slew of mods, but everything from XCOM to the Resident Evil 2 remake are finding extra play time through some pretty genius mods.

While story took a back seat to open-world exploration in Skyrim, storytelling as a whole wasn't left in the dust in this early period of the decade. Plenty of games weren't afraid to go with more mature or unexpected themes, from the devastating opening of The Last Of Us to the mind-bending twist in Bioshock Infinite

Story rich or story lacking, open world or linear, the early part of the 10s was drowning in genre-defining games... but things would take a turn just a few years later. 

The Mid 2010s

         Telltale looking at Telltale and getting ready to pull the trigger       

Has a developer ever risen so quickly and then fallen so far as Telltale? The Wolf Among Us and the first season of The Walking Dead are still hallmarks of interactive storytelling, but sadly, the development team, under immense pressure, faced insurmountable hurdles.

A badly aging engine, lack of new ideas, and overspending on major franchises weighed the dev down by the time Game Of Thrones Season 1 ended. Sadly, things did not improve, and the company shuttered later in the decade. We never got to see the heights this style could have reached if material like Stranger Things, Hellraiser, or True Detective had been made available.

While the Telltale name is currently clawing back from the dead, it appears this new version of the company won't feature the same people (which may be a good thing) and will work on a much smaller scale. Will we ever get anything as compelling as Bigby's murder mystery or Clementine's journey to adulthood? Probably not, but at least we've still got our memories. 

       Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

Another amazingly bittersweet moment arrived in April 2016 as the beloved Xbox 360 finally met its end. While Games With Gold is still offering up free titles each month and a handful of games are still hitting the platform, production on this console legend officially stopped. If you've still got a 360, be sure to keep hold of it -- because no more are being made! Microsoft managed to bring out the longest-running console cycle in gaming history, lasting more than 10 solid years. 

The next-gen got off to a rocky start not long before the 360 ceased production (remember the horror that was Assassin's Creed Unity?) but the decade's trend of disappointing trilogy conclusions with Dead Space 3 and Mass Effect 3 would come to a shattering and conclusive close with The Witcher 3.

Without question, The Witcher 3 put CD Projekt Red on the map and showed that an open-world RPG could be story-rich and offer more than just endless fetch quests and following map markers. Even more impressively, The Witcher 3 remains one of the very few titles to feature DLC that is easily as strong as the base game.

Considering the many amazing ladies of the series (oh, and Geralt too, I guess) just made the leap to a Netflix Original Series, it seems The Witcher franchise is going to live on for quite some time.

The same time period didn't just see the arrival of some truly great games it also saw a change in how games are developed and the ways in which developers interact with players.

Although the method had been around for some time, it was around the mid-2010s that Early Access started to become a vehicle for on-going development. 

Though Early Access has seen its fair share of hate and has been legitimately abused, it gave us titles as diverse and satisfying as Darkest Dungeon, Slime Rancher, and later, Subnautica. Early Access has shown that supporting developers along the way and allowing tweaks to be made from fan feedback can result in better-finished products.

      Should have called it Baldur's Wind Dale: Temple Of Elemental Torment.

Rising alongside Early Access, the crowd-funding revolution also emerged in the 2010s, giving us an amazing crop of old-school RPGs like Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2

Fans wanted classic isometric games utilizing tactical real-time-with-pause or turn-based combat, but publishers just weren't willing to take the risk. They couldn't see that nostalgia equals money. Kickstarter and Indiegogo stepped in.

While Obsidian and InXile got snapped up by Microsoft in 2018 and it would seem are now cranking out some very off-brand console titles we still had a good number of years where fans had the final say on what would get released in those instances.

Kickstarter would later grow to feature revitalized classics such as Shenmue 3 and the Castlevania-adjacent Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Whether you asked for a refund and still think its a scam or are eagerly playing along, Star Citizen showed just how massive a crowd funding campaign can become. Somehow its still earning crowd funding revenue, having raked in more than $250 million from fans who know what they want and are willing to pay to get it.

Outside the realm of the typical gaming sphere, a surprising new genre would emerge and make a bigger impact than anyone suspected: absurdist games meant entirely for Let's Plays, reaction vids, and water-cooler talk.

"Classics" like Goat Simulator and Octodad: Dadliest Catch saw gamers re-thinking what truly makes a game great, while also laying the foundation for newer entries like Untitled Goose Game.

The Late 2010s

      Welcome back, Nintendo!

Breath Of The Wild was exactly what Nintendo needed to retake its position near the head of the pack. A major shift in gameplay towards an open-world style gave the Zelda franchise and the Switch a serious shot in the arm.

A brand new design for Nintendo's latest console didn't hurt either, as the combination of permanent home base console and mobile device re-captured the imaginations of gamers. While the controller and movement-based games like 1-2 Switch don't seem to have caught on, Nintendo is still very clearly back into position as console innovator. 

Another open-world game that defined this same period, but on the PlayStation 4, was Horizon Zero Dawn. The combination of old and new styles with a gripping mystery of humanity's past pushed forward by a fiery main character gave many players a reason to stick with the PS4. 

Considering the lauded Red Dead Redemption came out in 2010 and Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most highly anticipated titles of 2018, it's clear that the open-world trend has reigned supreme this decade.

One game refutes that claim, though, is Fortnite.

You might love to hate it, but you have to ask yourself: has any other title done more to bring gaming into the public consciousness? When Star Wars and Avengers hold in-game events in Fortnite, I think it's clear we've surpassed fandom boundaries and hit the big time.

The concept of Battle Royale has been around for quite awhile, and one could argue it hit its stride with PUBG not long after getting popular through the DayZ mod to Arma 2. That being said, it wasn't until Fortnite that the term became a household name and a genre giant in its own right. 

The resurgence of Battle Royale aside, Fortnite still plays a major role in live streaming, catapulting it to a previously unknown level of popularity with celebrity appearances and major eSports events. Fortnite managed to hit just about every platform imaginable, including mobile phones, and that's another area of gaming worth looking at that made a huge splash in the '10s.

      Not only is this peak 2010s, I'd argue it was also the
reason the internet was invented

Forget Angry Birds and Candy Crush, because there was an absolute explosion of mobile gaming covering every conceivable genre this decade. Aside from the clear cultural significance, Pokemon Go's launch started the AR craze meant to get gamers off the couch and out into the world of sunlight and exercise.

Even if you didn't care for the change in mechanics from the other monster-collecting titles, Pokemon Go was the gift that just kept on giving, from Pokemoan dildos (yep, they exist) to a Chuck Tingle erotica book, to a news cycle that kept bringing up new insanity every, single day.

While some games got smaller and more mobile, others got larger and more tethered VR broke into the mainstream. The PSVR brought true virtual reality to console gamers for a (sort of) affordable price for the first time.

Meanwhile, a number of dueling PC VR platforms are now pushing the boundaries and getting the tech where it needs to go. Vive and Oculus are currently duking it out, with the Oculus Quest now ditching wires and even the PC entirely for a more liberated experience. We haven't seen the best VR has to offer yet  that's for sure  but what's available today is already impressive.

If virtual worlds are less important to you than the interactions that occur within them, the late 2010s were a time when communities really started coming together through platforms like Twitch and Discord.

While the former popped up in 2011 and the latter in 2015, it hasn't been until recent years that they've really come into their own. Whether a mobile gacha title or a graphics-intensive PC shooter, pretty much every game worth playing has its own Discord community where players help each other out and forge new relationships.

New consoles, new tech, new ways of communicating, and new and returning franchises made this is a decade to remember in gaming history.

Looking Forward to 2020 and Beyond

That all about brings us to the present: 2019 was filled to the brim with major gaming news. Bungie parted with Activision but kept the Destiny series; Blizzard stepped in it with their poor handling of eSports players discussing Chinese democracy protests; and Xbox Game Studios snapped up Double Fine back in August.

On the release front, the tail end of the decade hasn't slouched with top-notch new games in a number of surprising genres. Disco Elysium came out of nowhere, and yeah, it deserves the hype. If you miss Planescape: Torment style text-heavy experiences, you want to play this one. The movie snippet experimentation with Telling Lies is also well worth experiencing and shows gaming can be just as interesting and story-rich as cinema. That's not to mention Netflix's Bandersnatch.

As the year ends, we're seeing more changes to the gaming landscape with monthly game services like Game Pass, PS Now, EA Access, and more coming into prominence. Even the mobile gaming crowd is getting in on the monthly subscription action with Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. If you want to try out a bunch of games for a low monthly price, there's never been a better time to explore what's available on console, PC, or mobile devices.

Of course, the obvious next step of this digital revolution was the advent of the all-streaming Stadia and XCloud. The effect of those changes is still anyone's guess, but it sure looks like we're barreling towards a digital future with a Netflix style library of games.

As Google and all-streaming services come into the spotlight, the console wars still raged between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The PS4 managed to become the fourth best selling console of all time this gen, and some killer exclusives likely played a big role there. How the PS5 and Xbox Series X stack up against each other still remains to be seen.

Far more happened in this decade than we ever could have covered in one article, and I'm sure you'll be happy to tell me which games and events I missed that made this the best 10 years in gaming history.

For now, it's time to look toward the future, as next-gen consoles are well into development and are expected to arrive next holiday season. Major titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Baldur's Gate 3, and The Last Of Us 2 are mere months away, and we can't wait to see what the next 10 years have in store! 

What were your favorite video game moments from 2010-2019, and do you agree that it was the best decade in gaming history? Sound off in the comments below!

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Steam Summer Sale 2017 -- The Best Games Under $5 https://www.gameskinny.com/xuodn/steam-summer-sale-2017-the-best-games-under-5 https://www.gameskinny.com/xuodn/steam-summer-sale-2017-the-best-games-under-5 Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:37:09 -0400 Adreon Patterson

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Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition 

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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As the OG of the Batman Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Asylum follows Batman as he must fight his way past nefarious foes in order to stop the Joker from once again trying to destroy Gotham City. It would be unjust for any gamer to sleep on this hallmark game with its detailed world design, revolutionary combat system, compelling storyline, and stellar graphics.

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---

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All of these games are just a sampling of what the Steam 2017 Summer Sale has to offer. Make sure to check out our other Steam Summer Sale articles for even more savings on great games. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/h/a/shadowrun-returns-574d8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/h/a/shadowrun-returns-574d8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163178","description":"

Shadowrun Returns

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Regular Price: $14.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 1.49
Buy it on Steam

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This PC version of the tabletop game allows players to join any five races and six classes as they hunt down the Emerald City Ripper in this gritty, futuristic CRPG. Despite a sparse saving system, Shadowrun Returns showcases smooth character development, excellent combat scenes, and highly interactive gameplay in a cyberpunk, turn-based atmosphere. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-de16f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-de16f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163177","description":"

Mass Effect 2

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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Bioware's follow-up to the highly successful Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 once again puts players into the space boots of the stoic Commander Shepard as he must assemble a diverse team in order to stop an alien species known as the Collectors. The spectacular melting pot of diverse characters, stellar interactive storytelling, excellent voice acting, stunning visuals, and improved gameplay will hook any gamer interested in science fiction RPGs.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/u/t/outlast-d0cdd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/u/t/outlast-d0cdd.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163176","description":"

Outlast

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 2.99
Buy it on Steam

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In Outlast, a first-person survival horror game predicated on stealth and strategy, players become investigative journalist Miles Upshur as he maneuvers his way through the dilapidated Mount Massive Asylum. The top-notch horror elements and thrilling gameplay would be great for any gamer to experience, especially horror fans and fans of SOMA, Amnesia, and early Resident Evil titles.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/r/a/transistor-eb2bf.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/r/a/transistor-eb2bf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163175","description":"

Transistor

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 2.99
Buy it on Steam

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This indie sci-fi action game lets players become the famous singer Red as she battles the robotic force of The Process, all while keeping the sword-like Transistor from those who would seek to acquire it. Players are thrust into a futuristic city where they battle enemies, solve puzzles, learn new skills (or Functions), and journey through a story rich with RPG undertones. Any gamer will fall in love with the effervescent visuals, stellar combat system, and lush soundtrack.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/r/borderlands-be3c5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/r/borderlands-be3c5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163174","description":"

Borderlands 2

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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In the sequel to 2009's Borderlands, players (as four new characters) once again must complete missions while acquiring loot on the planet of Pandora. This FPS is worth any gamer's time (especially fans of the first-person shooter genre) as it manages to build upon the original's strongest points -- humor and role-playing systems -- while adding a sense of world structure that fleshes out the Borderlands mythos. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/i/f/life-strange-b2636.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/l/i/f/life-strange-b2636.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163173","description":"

Life is Strange Complete Season (Episodes 1-5)

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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As an episodic adventure, Life is Strange showcases twelfth-grade photography student Max Caufield's strange ability to rewind time and how it influences the butterfly effect of her universe. Following the episodic drama format, gamers are swept up in some truly great character development, tackling of taboo issues, and novel gameplay mechanics.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/o/m/tomb-raider-084f5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/o/m/tomb-raider-084f5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163172","description":"

Tomb Raider

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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This retelling of Lara Croft's origin story follows the iconic heroine as she helps herself and her friends escape the island of Yamatai while being hunted down by a strange cult. Despite some qualms about the multiplayer mode and sometimes disconnected narrative, gamers should still enjoy this game with its splendid graphics, excellent third-person gameplay, and amazing character development -- especially for Croft. This action-adventure title from Square Enix reinvented the Tomb Raider brand and has overwhelmingly positive Steam reviews for its hard work. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/i/this-war-mine-e4ebb.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/h/i/this-war-mine-e4ebb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163089","description":"

This War of Mine

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 3.99
Buy it on Steam

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This war survival game based on the Siege of Sarajevo deals with civilians surviving a post-war society through everyday decision-making. The player must keep various characters' health, hunger, and mood levels stable while gathering tools and materials for survival. Every decision can make or break survival -- and some of the decisions with which players are faced range from difficult to excruciating.  

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/t/metro-2033-redux-06109.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/t/metro-2033-redux-06109.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163073","description":"

Metro 2033 Redux

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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Set in post-nuclear war Moscow, Metro 2033 Redux deals with survivors living underground, having to kill human and mutant enemies in order to get ammunition and other resources -- as well as survive. This game can be endless fun; with an enthralling plot, realistic, detailed environments, and graphic horror elements, this is an FPS that has seen a cult following develop around it -- and for good reason.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/r/garry-mod-459d6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/a/r/garry-mod-459d6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163072","description":"

Garry's Mod

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Regular Price: $9.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

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A devil-may-care sandbox game, Garry's Mod allows players to manipulate ragdoll physics and props during gameplay. With its bizarre nature, user content is able to flood the game with the Physics Gun (manipulating ragdolls), the Tool Gun (creating buttons and controllable props), and the Havok Physics Engine (creating contraptions with props). Its openness allows players to roam free without any constraints. Garry's Mod is a zany sandbox creation game that focuses on creativity and mental agility. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/d/middle-earth-shadow-mordor-3cc28.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/i/d/middle-earth-shadow-mordor-3cc28.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163071","description":"

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 3.99
Buy it on Steam

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Taking place between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor follows the combined body and soul of dead ranger Talion and Elf Lord Celebrimbor as they take revenge on Sauron for the death of their loved ones. This Tolkein-based, Peter Jackson-influenced action-adventure game boasts stellar combat scenes, great lore, an expansive open world, and the Nemesis System, which allows non-playable characters to uniquely react to the protagonist accordingly through each playthrough.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/n/d/endless-space-4cbb7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/n/d/endless-space-4cbb7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163070","description":"

Endless Space: Collection

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Regular Price: $19.99
2017 Summer Sale Price: 4.99
Buy it on Steam

\n

Endless Space is a turn-based, 4X sci-fi adventure game allows players to choose or build a civilization and expand their empire to conquer the galaxy through a series of victories. This edition collects both the Endless Space base game and the DLC, Disharmony, providing players a great user interface and great accessibility for endless replay.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/e/steam-summer-sale-64f89.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/e/steam-summer-sale-64f89.jpg","type":"slide","id":"163068","description":"

After what's seemed like an eternity, summer has finally arrived. Sunny beaches. Scorching, hot weather. Family vacations. Weird tan lines. 

\n

But there is another image that's conjured when talking about summer -- the Steam Summer Sale. Summer truly doesn't begin until the gaming community can buy some amazing games and other items on the cheap. 

\n

The true pull for the sale is the incredible discounts gamers can get on some of their favorite games. There are individual games, expansion packs, DLCs, bundles. Any and everything a gamer could want or need is available with discounts of up to 80%.

\n

This is not only a big deal for the gaming community but for the online community as a whole. Articles, blurbs, and blog posts from indie sites to major players are written up days before the sale. Just like offline life, the internet goes crazy over discounts.

\n

Let's take a look at some of the best games under $5 for Steam's 2017 Summer Sale.

"}]]]>
My dad could beat up your dad: Father's Day video game battle royale https://www.gameskinny.com/l2ng8/my-dad-could-beat-up-your-dad-fathers-day-video-game-battle-royale https://www.gameskinny.com/l2ng8/my-dad-could-beat-up-your-dad-fathers-day-video-game-battle-royale Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:21:23 -0400 Ty Arthur

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/u/round1-5a30d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/o/u/round1-5a30d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160316","description":"

Now that the dust has settled and the match ups are finished, we want to wish all the gaming dads an amazing Father's Day this year!

\n

What did you think of our dad vs dad picks, and what other video game Father's Day grudge matches would you like to see go down?

\n

Let us know in the comments section below!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide10-d1c50.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide10-d1c50.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160314","description":"

James McCloud (Star Fox) vs. Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

\n

So, these are maybe the two coolest dads a kid could ever dream of having, and picking one is sort of impossible for anyone who grew up in the late 80s or early 90s.

\n

Anthropomorphic rat ninja dad who dispenses wisdom and lets you eat inordinate amounts of pizza while playing with dangerous weapons, or anthropomorphic fox and sunglasses-wearing space pilot with a gun dad who lets his kids blow things up in glorious 3D?

\n

How this battle would go depends on the arena: one one one, or does James have his ship? Even while piloting a spacecraft, I get the feeling Splinter has the edge here, with his mystical ninjitsu alerting him to the presence of enemies and his ability to bite through solid metal.

\n

Since James was previously taken down by a pig-man, we know he doesn't fare well against other anthropomorphic animals as well... I think in this case Splinter wins, although that probably starts a war between Fox McCloud's crew and the ninja turtles, which I now want to see in some sort of comic book form.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide9-68a55.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide9-68a55.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160313","description":"

Harry Mason (Silent Hill 2) vs. Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy 7)

\n

Here we've got two dads trying to keep their daughters safe in a world gone mad.

\n

We've also got some serious "firsts" with both characters. Silent Hill 2 was probably the first time we saw an on-screen rape in a PlayStation game, while Barret was among the first foul-mouthed characters to throw out those four letter words in a major U.S. RPG release.

\n

Barret's gun arm and access to materia seems like an insta-win, but don't discount Mason just yet! He battled the supernatural forces of Silent Hill and came out the victor (at least for a while anyway; never mind what happened in the beginning of the next game).

\n

Plus, he's Sean Bean in the movie, so... oh wait, never mind, Bean dies in literally everything. Barret Wallace for the win.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide8-cf3f6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide8-cf3f6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160309","description":"

King Of All Cosmos (Katamari Damamcy) Vs. Octodad (Octodad: Dadliest Catch)

\n

You'd think the King Of All Cosmos would win this one without working up much of a sweat -- being the ultimate god of all creation and maker of everything and all that -- but that's not how it would actually go down.

\n

We know the King has some curious behaviors and dislikes. I'm picturing Ocotdad's loving tentacle suckers wrapping around the King and he'd immediately yield while screaming something like, "icky, icky, icky!". He'd then blame his loss on his son.

\n

But how would Octodad get through the gauntlet of the universe to even start the fight? He can't even walk through the kitchen without destroying everything in his path or getting stuck to every single object!

\n

Octodad would have a terrible time just getting across the road to fight the King Of All Cosmos, but something tells me his horribly treated son, the prince, and all those nephews and cousins would probably roll up everything to help out the secret octopus dad.

\n

You reap what you sow Mr. Cosmos, and you've sown some serious ill will with your family...

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide7-3a75c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide7-3a75c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160307","description":"

Kratos 1 (God Of War) Vs. Kratos 2 (Tales Of Symphonia)

\n

Who deserves the name more -- a spiky-haired anime dude with a sword, or the bulging muscled, rage-filled man who kills gods left and right?

\n

Both have a shameful past and try protecting their families to varying degrees of success. Kratos 1 has the upper hand in the pure strength department, but Kratos 2 is a couple of thousand years old, and he's learned some tricks along the way in all that time.

\n

We also have to consider this: Are we talking sleek, height-of-his-power Kratos 1 from earlier in the series or is this hipster neckbeard Kratos shackled with a little kid the whole game (where they are totally NOT copying The Last Of Us)?

\n

Eh, you know what, either way, I feel that while Kratos 2 is rooting around in his menu screen trying to select Demon Fang, Kratos 1 would have probably already torn him apart with the Blades of Chaos and then completed a couple of threesome sex mini-games.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide6-23d9e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide6-23d9e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160303","description":"

Booker DeWitt (Bioshock Infinite) Vs. Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)  

\n

Oh, boy (or in this case, oh, girl), you really don't want either of these guys to be your dad! Both did some pretty heinous stuff to their respective daughters, and neither can really claim the moral high ground in any way.

\n

Handsome Jack really only imprisoned and sacrificed his daughter the one time, though, while Booker DeWitt just keeps. on. doing. it. in. every. single. reality. Elizabeth gets him back though, killing him off in universe after universe.

\n

In a knock down, drag out fight, who would come out ahead? It's a tough one -- Booker can swap between realities to get the upper hand and find a universe where he has the advantage. But Handsome Jack does have a whole lot of firepower on his side, from the entirety of Hyperion Corporation to potentially controlling the world-destroying Warrior after opening the vault.

\n

If Jack gets his pet Warrior, the win goes to him (unless Songbird constantly shows up to thwart the Warrior), otherwise I see the grim-faced DeWitt coming out the victor and then probably learning some other devastating truth about his past to make him even more hard boiled than before.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide5-b2888.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide5-b2888.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160299","description":"

James (Fallout 3) Vs. The Sole Survivor (Fallout 4)

\n

These are both some seriously lazy dads with a "Meh when I get to it" approach to parenting. Apparently, the post-nuclear war U.S. wasteland does not spawn good fathers.

\n

Liam Neeson might have a special set of skills for finding wayward children, but James sure didn't. Meanwhile, the Sole Survivor keeps having to go on just one more fetch quest before he can really start looking for Shawn...

\n

James has a whole lot of scientific equipment at his disposal, not to mention the security guards from Rivet City. But then again, the Sole Survivor is decked out in full power armor and probably has a legendary minigun with the wounding property or a 16 mini nuke MIRV launcher, so I'm gonna give the win to Fallout 4's awful dad.

\n

To be totally honest, I feel like rather than fighting, they'd both team up to go do a bunch of random quests instead before devoting their monthly 5 minutes to searching for their children.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide4-974ef.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide4-974ef.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160297","description":"

Hojo (Final Fantasy 7) Vs. Henry Lawson (Mass Effect)

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Both of these sci-fi mad scientists spawned some high quality genetic experiments who managed to break free and make their own mark on the universe. Neither is much of a fighter on their own or without any injected upgrades; Hojo is your typical lab coat and Henry's an intergalactic business man.

\n

Instead, the question becomes: "Could they get their offspring to help them, or would their kids try to help the other to kill their own evil parent? In both franchises, these kids end up turning on their fathers.

\n

You can't discount the Sephiroth effect here – just how effective would he be against Commander Shepherd's team? That sword made short work of the Midgar Zolom, but would he fall against laser fire and psychic powers?

\n

Seriously though... Miranda Lawson's form-fitting outfit. I think that's a major KO right there, no matter who the enemy ends up being. Sorry Sephiroth, but you can use all the earth-destroying black materia that you want, and I still think Lawson and the crew of the Normady are going to come out on top.

\n

In the end, I see both of these dads ending up six feet under courtesy of their own children.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide3-c333f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide3-c333f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160296","description":"

Joel (The Last Of Us) Vs. Lee (The Walking Dead)

\n

Good lord, look at the sad eyes both of these post-apocalyptic survivors have! They'd do just about anything to protect their surrogate daughters, and its the pain of the past that drives them forward.

\n

My first instinct is to say "Joel wins, sorry Lee" and move on -- Joel is a stealthy killing machine in The Last Of Us!

\n

But first, let's consider a few things. Lee's a big guy, and while he's reluctant to engage in violence, he's been known to do so to devastating effect. He's not afraid to teach a little girl to kill, and even the impending doom of becoming a zombie won't stop him!

\n

I think we're going to have to boil this one down to which choices you made in Telltale's Walking Dead. Hard-as-nails Lee who makes Clementine put him down would probably come out the victor. Sappy Lee who decides to go zombie rather than teach a tough lesson definitely loses to Joel.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide2-790f3.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide2-790f3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160292","description":"

Michael De Santa (Grand Theft Auto V) Vs. Ethan Mars (Heavy Rain)

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It's the bad dad world cup up in here!

\n

Michael De Santa is the definition of the uncaring white trash dad (oh, woe is me, I'm rich and bored in suburbia and I hate my kids!) while Ethan's life has gone down the toilet since his son Jason died because of his inattentiveness. 

\n

Despite that early-game apathy, both go to extreme, absurd lengths to protect their kids.

\n

Michael assaults a whole boat filled to the brim with pimps and drug dealers to keep his daughter from being in an impromptu porno shoot, while Ethan goes through some serious Saw levels of torture to find his other missing son, Shaun.

\n

Michael's got the street smarts and gun-fu on his side, of that there's no doubt, but Ethan is the bumbling guy who just won't die, no matter how hard you try to kill him. 

\n

Without Michael's full GTA 5 crew to back him up, I'm going to call this one a draw -- they'd end up killing each other or getting themselves thrown in the clink via misadventure.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide1-f2d10.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slide1-f2d10.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160290","description":"

Bowser (Super Mario) Vs. Dr. Light (Mega Man)

\n

It was never really clear to me if Bowser was the progenitor of all the koopas and goombas or just the biggest, baddest one around.

\n

But for our purposes, we're going to assume he's somehow sired the whole lot of 'em (probably with that big tease Princess Peach, who keeps getting "kidnapped" and showing up in Bowser's castle all the time to be "rescued" by a clueless Mario).

\n

So with that out of the way, which would win: an army of koopa troopas or an army of robots? Dr. Light never seems to make as devastatingly powerful robots as his nemesis, Dr. Wily, but Mega Man and his cohorts always manage to upgrade themselves with screen-clearing weaponry because of a little help from dad (or dad's digital ghost, as the case may occasionally be).

\n

On the other hand, it seems like koopa troopas and goombas can pretty much only die if you jump right on their heads (or you run at them at full speed after having recently eaten some magic mushrooms), so that superior fire power might not be helpful.

\n

This one's a tough call, but I think with his endless minions piloting airships and massive, maze-like castles the robotic crew would have to fight through, eventually, Bowser would come out on top and tear Dr. Light to shreds. 

\n

Now I have visions in my head of Dr. Wily and Dr. Robotnik teaming up with Bowser to create an army of robotic koopa troopas... 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/v/cover11-de27e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/v/cover11-de27e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"160315","description":"

We've already looked at the best and worst video game dads -- and there's plenty to pick from in the latter category. And of course, daddy issues are at the heart of more than a few quests to save (or destroy) the world. In short, there's a disturbing number of fathers in the gamingverse who have genetically created monstrosities and made the world an (un)safer place.

\n

With all these hero dads trying to save their kids and villain dads who let their offspring die horrible deaths, the question has to be asked: Which dad would win in a fight?

\n

Every eight year old out there thinks his or her dad can beat up YOUR dad, and today, we're going to unleash our inner adolescence to pit all the gaming papas against one another in a battle to the death!

\n

WARNING: There are some spoilers throughout (some of these dads aren't revealed as such until the end of their respective games), and we assume you know how each of these games concluded. Proceed at your own risk!

"}]]]>
These Are the Very Best Space Exploration Games You Can Play on Steam Today https://www.gameskinny.com/tc1yi/these-are-the-very-best-space-exploration-games-you-can-play-on-steam-today https://www.gameskinny.com/tc1yi/these-are-the-very-best-space-exploration-games-you-can-play-on-steam-today Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:00:02 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

[{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-shpace-c15ce.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-shpace-c15ce.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155968","description":"

Space travel isn't just a dream anymore. It's something we can all experience in the comfort of our own homes. We're rather spoiled for choice, but there's bound to be a title in this list that everyone will enjoy.

\n

Which of the games in this list have you tried out? Are there any that weren't mentioned that you love to play? Let us know in the comments below!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-mass-285e6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-mass-285e6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155967","description":"

Mass Effect

\n

Price: $19.99
Buy it on Steam

\n

Out of all the titles mentioned, this series is more than likely the one everyone has heard of, as well as the odd one out.

\n

Rather than acting as a space simulation game like many of the previous mentions, Mass Effect creates an entire universe and story based on the technology and species that inhabit the galaxy. Exploring space both physically and through the lore in which the series is tied to is fascinating. It is the closest we, in this age, will ever get to experiencing the reality of galactic life, and while it is heavily influenced by the culture and anthropomorphism of the human race, it has enlightened many gamers on what could happen in hundreds or thousands of years.

\n

While exploration itself is limited to roaming tiny pockets of the galaxy, each of these serve a story purpose of some kind, whether it’s major plot points or small portions of dialogue. It’s this story that has caused Mass Effect to gain such a huge following, and if you’re yet to try them out, it is one such series that acts as a great starting point on your intergalactic journey.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/n/g/engy-7efac.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/e/n/g/engy-7efac.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155966","description":"

Space Engineers

\n

Price: $24.99
Buy it on Steam

\n

Another early access title, Space Engineers combines a multitude of space faring and adventuring aspects into one game.

\n

After building your own spacecraft, your very own engineer will travel the stars in order to claim spots for outposts of different uses. Getting this far does have its dangers, though, as another facet of the game is survival. The engineer will face many trials and tribulations as they use their trusty jetpack to travel from A to B, but it’s the vessel with which you travel that will be your main means of defence.

\n

Construction and resource gathering are of high importance in Space Engineers so they play a part in your success just as much, if not more than the spaceflight. Exploring space on foot is surprisingly enjoyable, but be careful not to let yourself be subject to an unfortunate death due to lack of oxygen or other fundamental resources. Considering it’s still in early access, the developers appear to be hard at work in adding as much as possible to the full game experience.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-kerb-55885.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-kerb-55885.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155965","description":"

Kerbal Space Program

\n

Price: $39.99
Buy it on Steam

\n

Space exploration and simulation titles show off a lot of what we can actually do in the stars, but they often leave out how we got there in the first place. Kerbal Space Program works to solve that problem.

\n

Using realistic physics and rocket building techniques, you are tasked with sufficiently leaving the atmosphere of Kerbin, the Kerbal home planet, to then reach the vastness of space. This is much easier said than done, however, as it can be extremely tricky to gain enough thrust to achieve safe orbit. A catastrophic crash landing is very possible, and there is no shame in saying that many of your failed rockets have experienced this.

\n

An exploratory segment of the game is also available once you make it to space. Visiting various moons, setting up your own space station base, and going on the offensive on asteroids are all options -- among many, many others. But the game takes a more minimalist approach in this regard. It’s a game that may look insignificant and almost childish, but behind the facade lies an extremely in-depth and sophisticated title.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-starpointgemini2-e9230.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-starpointgemini2-e9230.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155964","description":"

Starpoint Gemini 2

\n

Price: $34.99
Buy it on Steam

\n

Starpoint Gemini 2 manages to meld space exploration and RPG tropes into a game that awards progression and fulfills specific role requirements. Unlike other space exploration titles, this particular game is host to a campaign that follows a specific character, Adrian Faulkner, the son of the hero Gabriel Faulkner from the previous Gemini war. This option provides players a little extra context and purpose for their space travels, but the free-roam option still remains, alongside the campaign.

\n

Versatile careers pander to wide range of player interests, and the focus on capital ships in free roam is a refreshing take on exploration instead of the smaller vessels that many players are used to controlling. The initial class that is picked upon character creation also adds that RPG depth, so similar to the campaign, gamers that satiated by clear progression, Starpoint Gemini 2 is a great starting point when delving into space exploration.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-eve-babe-82730.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-eve-babe-82730.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155963","description":"

EVE Online

\n

Price: Free to Play
Get it on Steam

\n

EVE isn’t new by any means. As one of the most popular MMOs of all time, EVE Online has garnered a huge fanbase since its initial release -- and it has gained quite the reputation, too. 

\n

EVE Online allows players to create their own unique character, play with friends, and head out into a hugely rich universe that is set thousands of years in the future. Five thousand star systems lie in wait for players of the MMO, each with plenty of possibilities. With the choice of many ships at a player’s disposal, natural advancement of skills, and an open, player-driven economy, this is an MMO that has been defined by its players.

\n

However, be sure to be vigilant in the world of EVE Online, as every player essentially dwells within the same version of the world. Battle can commence at any given moment, so epic starship battle fantasies will no longer be well, fantasy. Underprepared players may have to face off against a battalion of vicious dreadnaughts. If you want to sink an abundance of time in a space-filled adventure, this is the game you want to seek.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-hellion-56700.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-hellion-56700.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155962","description":"

HELLION

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Price: $24.99
Buy it on Steam

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HELLION takes a different approach to space simulation and exploration and demands that you focus on survival above all else. As you begin to establish yourself as a space faring adventurer, dangerous hazards such as a decompression, temperature fluctuation, and the harsh vacuum of space will be quick to envelope you.

Many games denote the exploration of space as a constantly exciting and marginally safe affair – not HELLION. Watch your oxygen, keep one eye on your fuel, and look out for any hostile faces that may spare no expense in tossing into that deadly vacuum.

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HELLION is also currently in early access, so the game’s developer is regularly engaging with the community for feedback as to where the game can and should go next. Many features are already in place, but plenty more, such as ship-to-ship combat, ship modification, asteroid mining, and gas giant harvesting, are in the works. It’s shaping up to be something interesting indeed.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-elite-b0266.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-elite-b0266.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155961","description":"

Elite: Dangerous

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Price: $29.99
Buy it on Steam

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Elite has been around longer than some of us have even been alive, but its latest iteration has managed to recapture many wannabe astronauts’ imaginations.

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The entirety of the Milky Way galaxy is opened up in Elite: Dangerousand you are free to explore it at your leisure. Of course, it is impossible for just one person to sail the stars, so one of the many attractive aspects of the title is the satisfaction gained from discovering a star system amongst billions -- and with friends. 

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Along the way, you will engage in frightful space pirate battles, acquire new ships that will allow you to travel even further into the unknown, and eventually reach the center of the galaxy itself. There is much to be seen and discovered in Elite: Dangerous, and for those of you who are willing to take the time to tackle the game's steep learning curve, a rich experience most definitely awaits.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-planet-0d208.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-planet-0d208.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155960","description":"

We insignificant humans crave to explore and discover the unknown. Things that are alien to us are just all the more tantalizing to our exploration-centric brings. In short, we are desperate to uncover the mysteries of what lies beyond.

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As gamers, space exploration games are the closest we are ever going to get to that dream of discovery. We may be in the comfort of our own homes, but there are some gems out there in gaming land that allow us to reach for the stars without our backside leaving that comfortable recliner.

If you’re after a space faring adventure on your PC, here are the best ones currently on offer.

"}]]]>
5 Best RPG Moments That Aren't Bullets, Swords, and Mayhem https://www.gameskinny.com/uaebq/5-best-rpg-moments-that-arent-bullets-swords-and-mayhem https://www.gameskinny.com/uaebq/5-best-rpg-moments-that-arent-bullets-swords-and-mayhem Sat, 25 Feb 2017 10:11:42 -0500 Rob Kershaw

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Planescape: Torment -- What You Did To Deionarra
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[SPOILER WARNING!]

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Among a multitude of sad stories and poignant asides, Deionarra remains one of the most tragic figures in Black Isle Studios' masterpiece. She appears as a ghost at the beginning -- a former lover of you, The Nameless One -- but it isn't until the end, in the Fortress of Regrets, that you discover her true fate.

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One of your splintered states, the Practical Incarnation, lays out the facts bluntly: Deionarra was manipulated into loving you and then sacrificed. The Practical Incarnation knew that her intense love for The Nameless One would compel her to remain as a ghost awaiting The Nameless One's return, unable to pass to the afterlife. It also knew that her tormented soul would act as a link to the Fortress, just as The Practical Incarnation needed.

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Deionarra was nothing more than a tool to be used and discarded, and this devastating reveal was the depressing cherry on the gloomy cake of your time in the Fortress. Arguably the best-written RPG of all time, Planescape: Torment is finally getting a deserved successor in Torment: Tides of Numenera, and if it contains moments anywhere near as heart-wrenching as Deionarra's tale, we'll be ecstatic. And in tears, obviously.

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I'd love to hear your choices for best RPG moments -- so leave a comment and let me know which ones had the most significance for you.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/2/me2-2d20c.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/2/me2-2d20c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"151316","description":"
Mass Effect 2 -- The Suicide Mission
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Far and away the pinnacle of an altogether stellar series, the ending of yet another BioWare space adventure -- this time its own IP -- proved to be a profound departure from the norm. Faced with the prospect of an overwhelming fight to infiltrate the Collector base and take out the Human Reaper within, you need to select the team who will accompany you, as well as other members who are assigned different tasks.

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ME2 pulled no punches, and if the team members you selected in each instance weren't loyal or strong enough, or if you'd failed to make the appropriate modifications to the Normandy, there was every possibility of seeing your comrades fall. The pressure of trying to do the right thing and keep your team safe under impossible circumstances was one of the standout moments from the series, and the devastation you felt if any of them failed to make it to the end was heartbreaking.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/a/l/fallout3-aafae.JPG","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/a/l/fallout3-aafae.JPG","type":"slide","id":"151318","description":"
Fallout 3 -- Leaving The Vault
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Though the Fallout series has its share of incredible moments, there's nothing quite like the sense of wonder and potential that greets you upon opening the door to the outside world from Vault 101.

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The horizon laid out before you, a wasteland of immense scope awaited your exploration and you finally realized that, after the isometric viewpoint of the first two games, this was the perspective you had craved all along -- the sense of total freedom to go and discover -- and to see the world through the eyes of the dweller. It was a momentous feeling.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/o/t/kotor-0b425.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/o/t/kotor-0b425.jpg","type":"slide","id":"151315","description":"
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -- Darth Revan Revealed
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[SPOILER WARNING!]

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BioWare's sprawling space opera was the ultimate fan service to Star Wars lovers. It was also a damn good RPG filled with memorable characters. But as anyone who has ever played it knows, the pivotal moment in the game was finding out that Darth Revan -- responsible for all manner of atrocities across the galaxy -- was actually... you.

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Since your mind had been wiped and then brainwashed to the Light side by Bastila, the twist came late in the game and ultimately led to a choice of agreeing to help defeat the Sith or ousting the current leader of the Dark side, Malak, and taking his place. The revelation was unlike any that BioWare had offered up before, and it secured KOTOR's place among the greatest RPGs ever made.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/t/m/ttm-92c00.png","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/t/m/ttm-92c00.png","type":"slide","id":"151313","description":"
To The Moon -- When Johnny Meets River
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If I had my way, I'd put pretty much the entirety of To The Moon in this list. It's one of the most beautiful and moving games ever created, and it's filled with dialog that taps into the ordinariness of everyday conversations, while simultaneously making each one feel special. Also.... that music.

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But the scene where Johnny and River meet for the first time on a park bench and talk about the origin of their names, the stars, and the carnival prize John won -- which he gifts to River -- is just wonderful. With echoes of the equally lovely Before Sunrise, it's capped off by the pair arranging to meet at the same time, in the same place, the following year. Tissues at the ready.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/e/r/aerith-37b8f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/e/r/aerith-37b8f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"151321","description":"

Picking the highlights from a vast catalog of RPGs is an almost impossible task. Sure, I could roll out that scene in Final Fantasy VII, or talk about Link obtaining the Master Sword in Ocarina of Time before he was actually ready, but some of the best RPG moments have actually been the simplest ones.

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As I'll demonstrate, the act of opening a door, simply sitting on a bench, or discovering the truth about yourself can have as much impact as skewering a character on a sword.

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So here are five role-playing scenes that hold a lot of personal meaning to me for very different reasons -- and don't involve bullets, swords, or mayhem.

"}]]]>
Sex and the Shitty: Why RPGs Should Break up With Relationship Quests https://www.gameskinny.com/1t6l5/sex-and-the-shitty-why-rpgs-should-break-up-with-relationship-quests https://www.gameskinny.com/1t6l5/sex-and-the-shitty-why-rpgs-should-break-up-with-relationship-quests Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:00:01 -0500 Rob Kershaw

If you've watched RPGs develop over the last twenty years, it won't have escaped your attention that the relationship dynamic has changed. Once studios moved away from creating adventuring parties filled with clichéd D&D classes and started developing them into more nuanced groups with thoughts, feelings and actual conversations, role-playing improved dramatically in almost every aspect. Except romance.

BioWare should be applauded for dragging CRPGs out of the wilderness in the late 90s, resulting in a thriving gaming genre which continues to innovate with each new release. But with Baldur's Gate II they were also responsible for bringing relationship quests to western gamers. A well-meaning act, to be sure, but as we look at almost every similar party-based RPG since (and even some single-character series), a horrible picture becomes painfully apparent. Relationship quests have failed.

A Modest Beginning

In truth, it wasn't the most auspicious of starts for romance. In Shadows of Amn if you played a male character, you were given the option of hitting on Aerie (an elf who would throw herself at you almost immediately), Viconia (an evil elf) or Jaheira (an elf who had literally just lost her husband in a horrible murder but, you know, romance). Female characters got one option: Anomen, a misogynist. Not the best way to represent a user base which -- depending on the poll you consider -- is either equal to or greater than the male base.

If you wanted to hook up with someone in your party, you needed to wait until they initialized a conversation with you, and then pick the "correct" response to continue to keep their attention. It might have taken a dozen or so interactions over the course of the game to fully complete the relationship quest (namely, get down and dirty), but that was the problem -- the end goal wasn't a relationship, just sex. You could argue that Jaheira's sub-plot was slightly more rounded than that of the other two female characters, but only because she didn't dump you after the deed was done. 

There are two factors here that fundamentally destroys relationship quests: the writing, and the mechanic that delivers it.

What Makes A Relationship, Anyway?

When you program a relationship -- for that is what any game developer is doing -- you're immediately restricting a player to whatever you believe that relationship should look and sound like. By their very nature, relationships are incredibly complicated connections. They rely not just on what is said, but what is not said. How people look at each other. The way they move. Their body language. These are all factors which a dialog-based role-playing game simply cannot emulate.

As such, the only tool available for the player to use in order to win over the object of their affection is words, spoken or written. And in every mainstream Western RPG to date, the only way that tool has been implemented is in the form of a selection of words or sentences, from which your response can be chosen.

Whether you believe that the romantic relationship is developing accurately is therefore entirely dependent on the quality of the writing that makes up each portion of the conversation -- both what your prospective paramour says, and your response. Is it believable? Are the options open to you completely representative of what you would want to say, or happen?

The answer -- regardless of the game you play -- will always be no.

A Difference Of Opinion

The reason that this method of delivering relationships in games will never work is because they are condensed into a mechanic which is far too simplistic to be able to cope with their nuance. What works narratively for one gamer will seem laughable to a hundred others. There is simply no way of creating a relationship quest that everyone will find realistic, thus dooming its inclusion in a game immediately.

What these quests fail to consider -- amongst many other things -- is the effect that they have on characters not involved in that relationship. In earlier BioWare games you were either involved with a character or not, and the opinion of others in your party was rarely offered, if ever. If you started a romance with one character, you immediately cut off ties to every other potential partner.

Are relationships never acknowledged in real life by anyone mutually connected to the two people involved? Do people who are dating immediately commit themselves to the first person they are attracted to? Of course not, both of these scenarios would be ridiculous. Yet, here it is in digital form, and gamers are expected to swallow it as a real representation of life? Come on.

In addition, the balance of sexuality was also dubiously weighted. Take Mass Effect for example -- in the first two games, female protagonists were able to romance both male and female partners, whilst male protagonists were offered strictly heterosexual relationships. It almost seemed as though the games were catering for the stereotypical adolescent male gamer, failing to accurately represent societal progression and acceptance. You could almost hear the drooling masses salivate about the prospect of seeing digital girl-on-girl fun times. Yet the awkwardly rendered scenes that depicted almost every coupling (and which game artists still haven't resolved) make it a hollow experience, regardless of the genders involved.

From the Mass Effect imbalance we moved to the extreme opposite in Dragon Age -- especially in the second game, where over half of the recruitable characters were bisexual and able to be romanced by either gender. It felt like overkill in the other direction, as if BioWare had decided that sexuality itself was the problem with relationship quests, rather than the way in which relationships themselves were portrayed.

Other RPGs fare no better in this regard. The Witcher was notorious for giving Geralt a series of ladies to bonk his way through, and the mechanic of offering gifts (also used in Dragon Age 2) came across as a little tawdry. The po-faced nature of the scenes in CD Projekt Red's offering stood in stark contrast to games which lampooned the very idea -- like the Fable series. Partners were simply window dressing, as superficial and gratuitous as every third scene in an episode of Spartacus.

But What Have You Achieved?

Even if the way romantic relationships were approached and developed in games was represented in a realistic manner, they would still fail. Why? Because in pretty much every respect, they have been reduced to a mere facet of the game rather than an essential and pivotal part of the story. To return to Mass Effect again: your relationship reaches its climax when you do. Literally. The entire purpose of this quest is to get your target into bed, regardless of what superfluous dialog surrounded that escapade. After that? Meh. Don't worry about it -- we'll just repeat the same thing for the next two games. Oh, and if you happen to have the same player character on your team in the next game, forget any meaningful carry-over of romance. It just gets reset, and you have to woo them all over again.

It reduces the relationship to the equivalent of a trophy -- another step towards platinum status where you can congratulate yourself on achieving... what, exactly? The plot hasn't been altered in any significant manner. There's no mention of you not wanting your significant other not to get involved in the forthcoming war because you don't want them to get hurt. There's no remark about your future plans together once you've killed whatever Big Bad is currently threatening the world. It's a superficial side quest, nothing more, and treating it as such undermines the entire purpose of including it in the first place.

Maybe the sands have shifted in that direction after a failed couple of decades of experimentation in the arena. Both Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny jettisoned relationships of this kind altogether, and their absence certainly didn't hurt either game. Similarly, the forthcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera will also be steering clear of them.

And until romantic relationships can be represented in a realistic manner in RPGs, they're frankly better off without them.

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Mass Effect: The Ultimate Meritocracy? https://www.gameskinny.com/dwy25/mass-effect-the-ultimate-meritocracy https://www.gameskinny.com/dwy25/mass-effect-the-ultimate-meritocracy Fri, 17 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Samuel Schenerman

Tali: Is it common for human women to be front-rank fighters, Chief Williams? I know that salarian women do not serve in the military.

Ashley: It’s becoming more common, but it took a long time to prove that “ladies” could handle an assault rifle or a shotgun.

Tali: On the flotilla, we don’t have the luxury of sexism. We need the best hands for every available job.

Ashley: Sounds nice, but I don’t think I could get used to the uniform.

The above quote from Mass Effect 1 perfectly summarizes in a nutshell the argument of this post: that BioWare's massively successful RPG series shows a universe that, while obviously flawed, portrays a place where merit and ability above all else determines one's lot in life. Mass Effect does plenty of things right; it's three games tell a compelling story, the third person shooter mechanics are tons of fun, the dialogue options offer a real sense of player agency, and much more. One thing that the best science fiction does is to take complex philosophical and/or political issues and comment upon them while at the same time telling a gripping story of future happenings, events, and technology. Star Trek, in particular, is famous for tackling issues such as racism, climate change, and war (among many other important topics) in its' 726 episodes and 13 movies.

The writers at BioWare, like Gene Roddenberry, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and other great science fiction authors and visionaries, portray real life issues before, during, and after the galaxy wide conflict with the Reapers. Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, in particular, grapple with what it means to be a person and self determination in the face of negativity, specifically in relation to the Geth and their search for true sentience. The same conflict between the Quarians and Geth explores how prejudice and ignorance can hamper, and (if the player's decisions go the wrong way) ultimately, foil any possibility of peaceful coexistence for the two races.

However, what this post deals with is BioWare's treatment of social mobility and meritocracy across the various space faring species of the Milky Way galaxy. The following are various examples of a progressive worldview the races of the Mass Effect universe share in relation to merit, not species, class, etc.

Commander Shepard

At the start of the game the player customizes Shepard's appearance. His or her race, gender, and various other appearance based attributes can be and are changed at will. This basic fact makes meritocracy a default setting at least in the Systems Alliance. A black woman, an asian man, skinny or fat, old or young, all are welcome in the Systems Alliance and all are allowed to succeed or fail on their own abilities.

As part of the customization in the first game, the background history of Shepard can be customized. Either option, whether she/he grew up in space, an orphan on the hard scrabble streets of Earth, or on a small colony world, Shepard only got where he/she is because of their (from now on I'll just use their for convenience sake) talents and drive to succeed. The psychological profile as much as the pre-service history shows how no matter the path, Shephard got their promotion to Commander through hard work and ability, not family connections or personal wealth.

Whether holding off hordes of enemies to protect squadmates, surviving while the rest died, or simple ruthless determination, all psychological profiles show a person whose drive and talent put them on track to become the first Human Spectre. Their last name wasn't Udina, or Grisham, or Anderson, but they were still able to become a symbol, not just for Humanity, but for the whole galaxy. 

Equal treatment of LGBTQ+

The most influential and powerful Human in the galaxy, if the player chooses, can be gay. Or lesbian. Or bi sexual. Or any gender/sexual orientation. Through its' romance system (and character customization), Mass Effect allows its' player to choose their character's sexual orientation. This shows that the Mass Effect universe's races don't judge their members by gender or sexual orientation. This, however, was not without real world pushback. 

Mass Effect 3 garnered a ton of controversy for including gay romance options. Steve Cortez, the shuttle pilot on the Normandy, turns out to be homosexual. However, tragically, he is also a widow. Romancing him takes a lot of finesse, tolerance, and patience. Even if you (like me) choose to play as Femshep, or just don't pursue a relationship with him, Cortez is still a great character with a ton of depth and backstory. BioWare, as usual, put a significant amount of time and effort fleshing out Cortez as a character, and not just the obligatory gay man put in for affect.

Although lesbian relationships had been included in the previous game (ME2) with Kelly Chambers, the final game in the trilogy opened up options for same sex relationships for the male Shepard as well as the female gendered hero. Both games have bi-sexual characters; the aforementioned Chambers in ME2, and Samantha Traynor in ME3. For the first time in a flagship AAA game, both males and females had the option of engaging in same-sex relationships in game with the same characters. True meritocracies discount gender identity and sexual preference in determining the "winners" and "losers" of society. And this is the case with the species that populate BioWare's ME universe.

The Asari

If you count Liara, then all three Mass Effect games include same sex relationships. However, I don't count her. Although in appearance all Asari resemble human females (and the voice actors match said gender), they are most definitely not. They aren't all women. Or all men. Or gender fluid. They are mono-gendered. Asari biology allows for reproduction with any gender of any species. So, as a society, Asari not only won't, but CAN'T judge other Asari by gender or sexual preference. Take it a step further, and when dealing with other species, Asari in particular are truly gender blind.

If there is one race whose sexual freedom is truly progressive and accepting, it's the Asari. For a species that lives more than 1000 years, sexual and reproductive rights are trivial and don't generate controversy like they do on present day Earth. As long as it's consensual, Asari are free to copulate with whomever they like. Whether it's a female Hanar, a male Elcor (well, it probably happens), another Asari, and so on, all Asari can, and do, have consensual sex with any willing partner.

In addition, the idea of "mother" and "father" can have very different meanings for Asari. So there is no stigma attached to having "two mothers" or "two fathers," like there is in many places of 2017 Earth. Below are some snippets of conversations between Liara and her "father," Matriarch Aethyta:

Aethyta: So, yeah. My dad was a krogan.
Liara: Yes, I'm aware of that.
Aethyta: So that makes you a quarter krogan. 
Liara: That's... not how it works.
Aethyta: I'm a thousand years old. I've had kids with hanar. Don't tell me how Asari reproduction works.
Liara: Wait... I have a half sister who's part hanar?
Aethyta: I thought that wasn't how it worked.

Aethyta: Just take care of yourself out there, okay kid?
Liara: I will, Dad. 
Aethyat: Hey, I've called a few friends. Commandos. Eclipse girls who owe me some favors. They're all yours. Just tell 'em where to go.
Liara: You're giving me... Asari commandos?
Aethyat: We'll, you're too old for me to buy you a damn pony.
Liara: You're the best father a girl could wish for.

Talk about gender identity meaning nothing. If taken out of context and just given the audio transcript, most would think it odd that a "female" called their "female" parent "dad." However, Asari aren't males or females. They treat everyone equally, regardless of their parents race or sexual preference. If nepotism occurs, it occurs in a meritocratic way as well. I guess 1000+ year lifespan truly does impart wisdom.

Krogan

At first glance, this may seem like an odd choice. After all, Krogan society is heavily gender biased. However, this is simply due to numbers. With the Genophage severely curtailing Krogan births, female Krogan are guarded fiercely. This has resulted in a society divided on classic male/female gender roles (i.e. males as hunters and warriors, females as childcare providers). However, unlike in human society, this gender divide did not make female Krogan second class citizens in comparison with their male counterparts.

Putting gender aside, Krogans are fiercely egalitarian, in the most Darwinian and harsh sense. Although fiercely selfish and bloodthirsty in nature, Krogan respect others simply on their merits, nothing else. I mean it literally, NOTHING else. One of their most damning insults is, "you're not worth killing". That's as Darwinian as you can get.

Natural selection doesn't take into account the color of a turtle's skin, or the gender of a slug. Similarly, Krogans don't care if you're Human, Asari, Turian, Salarian, or a Thresher Maw. If you show yourself to be capable, then you're accepted. When the rare Krogan is born, its' status is decided purely upon the survival of the fittest principle.

When coming of age, only those Krogan who pass the Rite of Passage are allowed membership into their Clan. In ME2, Shepard helps Grunt pass his Rite of Passage by, among other things, killing a Thresher Maw -- this test many, many Krogan don't survive. In order for Clan Urdnot to approve his membership, Grunt must show that his inclusion in Wrex's Clan is merited. His skill as a warrior and survivor are proven by his successful completion of the Rite.

Wrex is able to see that Grunt is a good judge of character by Grunt's pick of Shepard as his ally in the Rite. So, for all their regressive views of violence and its' role in problem solving, Krogans are meritocratic to a fault in choosing the members of their clans.

 Gender and Racial Equality

I touched on this before with Commander Shepard, but I'd like to go into more detail with this entry, specifically among Humanity.

By the 2180s, Humanity seems to have mostly abandoned any racial, ethnic, or gender bias (at the very least among its' own kind). Depending on your choices, Captain Anderson can be a Council Member (either way he gets promoted to Admiral and already almost was the first Human Spectre), a former female convict becomes an invaluable Alliance instructor for young biotics (Jack), a clearly crippled individual is allowed to pilot one of the Alliance's most important ships (Joker), and a clearly Middle Eastern (and possibly Muslim) criminal is allowed to redeem himself and become an integral member of the player's squad (Zaeed).

Religion, ethnicity, skin color, gender, they all don't seem to matter to Humans. Even the ultra xenophobic Cerberus employs Zaeed, Jacob, Miranda, and Kasumi. When given the chance, even criminals such as Kasumi and (technically) Shepard are allowed to re-assimilate into society after having proven their good qualities and their intentions. Just because Kasumi is Asian, Zaeed is Middle Eastern, and Miranda was genetically engineered, it doesn't mean they can't succeed in the universe of Mass Effect.

The Squad

Ultimately, the greatest sign of meritocracy in the Mass Effect universe has to be your squad mates. All species, all genders, even artificial intelligences are represented in your squad across all 3 games -- hell, even a friggin' Prothean is accepted as part of the gang, and he just woke up after 50,000 years of hibernation.

If you look at the picture above, Humans aren't the majority. For Commander Shepard and their team, all that matters is that you are the best in the Galaxy at what you do, and you're useful to Shepards mission. What other group includes the first truly sentient Geth, a Prothean, EDI, two Krogans, and a bunch of former criminals (Jack, Jacob, Miranda, Kasumi, Zaeed, Thane, and technically Shepard themselves)?

If you need one example of how Mass Effect is a meritocracy, then look no further than the squad mates Shephard recruits to their cause.

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Mass Effect 2 Is Now Free and How to Get It https://www.gameskinny.com/o8cjg/mass-effect-2-is-now-free-and-how-to-get-it https://www.gameskinny.com/o8cjg/mass-effect-2-is-now-free-and-how-to-get-it Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:54:09 -0500 Henri Herrera

Mass Effect 2 is now completely free for users of Origin in it's Standard version -- that's without the DLCs, "Arrival" and "Lair of the Shadow Broker" as well as missing some weapons and armors among other content.

Mass Effect 2 is the second games of the trilogy developed by BioWare. Released for PC and Xbox 360 on January 26th 2010, and for PlayStation 3 on January 18th 2011. In the game we assume the role of Commander Shepard in the galaxy of the 22th Century, where humanity is threatened by species known as the Collectors. Our goal is to gain the trust of a diverse team in order defeat an enemy in a suicide mission. The player can affect the story of the game in numerous ways through dialogue, and other actions.

BioWare originally announced Mass Effect 2 would be part of the December gifts, but after five days the game was pulled due to an apparent mistake on BioWare's part and returned to the original price. Now there is another chance of downloading it for free.

To get Mass Effect 2 for free you need to register or already have an Origin account, then simply head over the the games store page and hit download. It will be available only for a limited time, so hurry up and get it before it's over.

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5 Games You Need to Play to Prepare for 2017 Releases https://www.gameskinny.com/kuxr3/5-games-you-need-to-play-to-prepare-for-2017-releases https://www.gameskinny.com/kuxr3/5-games-you-need-to-play-to-prepare-for-2017-releases Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 Naomi N. Lugo

2017 is officially here. While you may still be reeling from the tide of solid releases in 2016, the new game release calendar, unfortunately, just isn’t going to wait.

This year is set to see quite a few sequels and comebacks from major franchises. Below is a list of games that, if you didn’t get a chance to play them the first go-around, you should play right now. If you have played them, you should replay them in anticipation of these new titles.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

In anticipation of South Park: Fractured But Whole

Stick of Truth was exactly what the next gen South Park game needed to be. It’s combat, albeit simple, was fun (the “summons” were definitely a highlight), the humor was very very South Park and it all actually tied into the franchise nicely.

In other words, if you haven’t played this game yet go now! There isn’t really a better time to do so. The Fractured But Whole is slated to come out soon, on March 30. TSoT is a little bit more forgiving to your schedule too since the play time is about 15-20 hours.

Bonus: If you’re not caught up on recent seasons of the show it might be a good idea to start a marathon. At the very least watch season 13 episode 2 and season 14 episodes 11-14. That whole superhero franchise thing definitely seems like it will be a huge part of the new game.

The Resident Evil series

In anticipation of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Ok, so you may not have time to play every game in this series, but it might be worth playing one or two to hype yourself for the latest installment. There’s a small window for this one since Resident Evil 7 is supposed to release later this month on Jan. 24.

Through the demo, gamers have been able to see a game that seems to depart from the formula of its siblings. There have been reassurances from Capcom saying that this new game will not completely abandon all that makes the series what it is.

Knowing that tidbit of info, it might be a good idea to venture back into the franchise. Even if it’s just to enjoy the 'amazing' voice acting of the first.

The God of War series

In anticipation of God of War

The reveal of God of War was a highlight of the E3 2016 Sony press conference. The public got a new view of an older and paternal Kratos. A huge development for the character since past games. Big changes are coming to the God of War universe.

Playing the older games of the series would be worth it just to see the progression of the protagonist. Just look at the description for the game on its website:

“With new purpose and his son at his side, Kratos must fight for survival as powerful forces threaten to disrupt the new life he has created..."

The game doesn’t have a solid release date yet but is rumored for late 2017. That’s plenty of time to at least get started on past games.

The Mass Effect Trilogy

In anticipation of Mass Effect: Andromeda

Another game rapidly approaching release in March is the latest in the Mass Effect series, Mass Effect: Andromeda. On March 21, players will be able to explore a whole new galaxy within the Mass Effect universe.

It’s still not entirely known if Commander Shepard will have any sort of role in the game, whether it be through lore or otherwise, what we do know though is through trailers and words from BioWare. A 2015 blog post from the developer reads, “this game is very much a new adventure, taking place far away from and long after the events of the original trilogy.”

Playing the first trilogy before this release might be a good idea not only to catch up on the inner-workings of the game’s world, but this game could signal the start of something completely new. No need to miss out on a solid story line in the hype of the new.

Red Dead Redemption

In anticipation of Red Dead Redemption 2

The original Red Dead Redemption could debatably be called one of the best games of all time. Its beautiful open world is paired with a strong story and a highly personable underdog of a hero.

Fall can’t get here fast enough. The good news is though, you have plenty of time to play the first game. Especially if you never got around to finishing it the first time.

Chances are, the story of the first game is going to play into Red Dead 2, but of course, all the details aren’t out just yet.

What are the games you are playing or replaying to get ready for 2017 releases? What other games should be on the list? I would love to hear your thoughts via the comments below!

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New Mass Effect Andromeda Trailer and Information https://www.gameskinny.com/ljys3/new-mass-effect-andromeda-trailer-and-information https://www.gameskinny.com/ljys3/new-mass-effect-andromeda-trailer-and-information Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:00:17 -0500 Lampstradamus

N7 Day (November 7th) recently passed us by and along with a recent issue of Game Informer, we have a slew of information about the next entry in the Mass Effect series, as well as a cinematic reveal trailer.

The cinematic reveal trailer gives us a taste of what we will be getting with Mass Effect: Andromeda. The trailer shown to us is backed with a monologue from one of the characters, and goes through several shots of the environments we might be exploring and  some of the events we may will experience.

The Ryder siblings.

When we get to pick up Mass Effect: Andromeda we will be stepping into the shoes of either of the Ryder family. Specifically we will play one of two twins, Scott (voiced by Tom Taylorson) or Sarah (voiced by Fryda Wolff). The Ryder family can be customized with players being able to edit the twin they don't play as, as well as the father, Alec Ryder.

For the game itself, there have been a lot of reported changes.

One of the major changes that many fans have been wanting for a long time: unrestricted romance options. 

Specifically speaking if you're playing a female protagonist and want to romance a female character, you can do that. The romance options are no longer gender locked.

For those of us familiar with the class system of the old games, it has been changed to be more flexible. Instead of locking into a class at the start of the game, you will fall into a class as you spec into skill trees. And if you want to respec to change how you play, you can.

If you were a fan of the loyalty missions from Mass Effect 2 and disappointed they weren't in Mass Effect 3, be glad because those loyalty missions are returning. 

And one of the bigger changes is that the Paragon and Renegade system is gone. You still have different dialogue choices that will personify your version of the character but it seems that you might not have to invest in being completely Paragon or Renegade.

Are you happy with these changes? Or do you wish the old mechanics were merely refined further? Let us know in the comments below.

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Is This Just Fantasy? 10 Hilarious Game Songs You Won't Believe Are Real https://www.gameskinny.com/xysxd/is-this-just-fantasy-10-hilarious-game-songs-you-wont-believe-are-real https://www.gameskinny.com/xysxd/is-this-just-fantasy-10-hilarious-game-songs-you-wont-believe-are-real Thu, 08 Sep 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Richard Sherry

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I hope you've enjoyed this journey through the strange but entrancing world of video game music, and had a laugh or ten at these weird and wonderful songs.

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Some may have made you question the sanity of their creators, but all are entertaining and contribute to the colorful tapestry that is gaming!

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What are some of your favorite hilarious video game songs? Leave a line or two down in the comments!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/9431fc1d628423dfd92b34534e1215ce.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/9431fc1d628423dfd92b34534e1215ce.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9540","description":"

Rick's Adventure Music (Portal 2)

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The Portal series had to feature on this list, right?!

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This unmatched masterpiece is short and sweet, and manages to parody a huge swathe of music in such a small time that it never fails to make me chuckle.

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Rick the Adventure Sphere is a fantastic character, and his adventure song is as memorable as anything from Portal 2. It's even funnier when you realize that Rick is voiced by the famous Nolan North, whose other work includes Uncharted's adventurer Nathan Drake.

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Best Line: "Dun di di DUN" (only kidding): "HANGING BY OUR FINGERS FROM A MOUNTAIN!"

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/48672cdaa94dfa52ab78df1b4a38cb04.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/48672cdaa94dfa52ab78df1b4a38cb04.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9548","description":"

Philistine (No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle)

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Another over-the-top game with a deservingly entertaining soundtrack!

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"Philistine" is the theme song for a boss battle with Margaret Moonlight, who sings it as the last thing her enemies ever hear. It's also full of her slinging insults at hero Travis -- calling him a "geek", a "bore" and of course a "goddamn philistine!"

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Best Line: "Thigh high socks are my absolute territory, Go on and drool, the Otaku cannot resist."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/95d584e52ede24f879303c43fb3251a3.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/95d584e52ede24f879303c43fb3251a3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9547","description":"

Scientist Salarian (Mass Effect 2)

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This is not only one of the funniest moments in the Mass Effect series, but unlike most attempts at game humor, it also manages to be heartwarming and characterful.

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It shows us another side to everyone's favorite Salarian, as Mordin sings Gilbert and Sullivan with a big smile on his face. This scene really brought Mordin into our hearts, but was also so unexpected and entertaining that it deserves its place on this list.

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Best Line: "I'm quite good at genetics as a subset of biology, Because I am an expert which I know is a tautology."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/e9d816a216762c9be942943e3ef440a8.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/e9d816a216762c9be942943e3ef440a8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9541","description":"

Oh No You Didn't (Mercenaries 2)

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In a world of mercenaries where money is the only thing that matters, there can be few things worse than failing to pay what you owe. 

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This song is a side-splitter for so many reasons, but most of all is the contrast of violent lyrics with upbeat and simple musical style topped with silly falsetto and vocal harmonies.

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Best Line: "First you try to trap me, then you bust a cap in my ass (Oh no you didn't!)."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/18a01f1ebe7f54989691b0e1d706ebb8.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/18a01f1ebe7f54989691b0e1d706ebb8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9545","description":"

End Credits (God Hand)

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This song is wondrous. Its huge charisma is matched only by its ginormous ridiculousness. It talks about using the crazy power of the God Hand to dish out "ball buster" punches (ouch) and to work out your stress (come again?!). The video features the game's characters busting out some funky dance moves, interwoven with wonderfully insane scenes from the game.

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Best Line: "Dragonkick your ass into the Milky Way (Milky Waaay)."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/08c851be81b53515f6a019ed53c58f27.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/08c851be81b53515f6a019ed53c58f27.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9544","description":"

There's A Zombie On Your Lawn (Plants vs. Zombies)

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The end credits song for Plants vs. Zombies is annoyingly catchy and amusing. A singing sunflower reflects on the cholesterol value of brains and gathering an army of flora to take on the undead.

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It's silly, it's funny and oh, there's a zombie on your lawn!

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Best Line: "Road cones protect my head."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/c0450e14f072297c0b27a03c3c32f22e.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/c0450e14f072297c0b27a03c3c32f22e.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9546","description":"

DK Rap (Donkey Kong 64)

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This one is more funny for its cringe value than anything. Hearing the DK Rap song is a real pinch-yourself moment. Is this all a dream? A spoof? Nope, it's Donkey Kong 64.

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The DK Rap is what would happen if Run DMC lost all their talent and decided to write video game music. It's one of the worst game songs, but hell if it isn't hilarious for it.

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Best Line: "Come on Cranky, Take it to the fridge..."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/c2054ded2ec972e3c6935cbb55627dce.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/c2054ded2ec972e3c6935cbb55627dce.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9549","description":"

All Master's Rap (Parappa The Rapper)

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Parappa The Rapper is a game that's full of bonkers scenarios and strange raps. The Bathroom Rap has to take the cake as the weirdest though.

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Featuring a whole host of the game's characters all desperate for the toilet, our titular rapper must take each one on in a rap battle with the highest stakes imaginable -- getting one step closer to the bathroom.

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What could better sum up the artistry of rap music than that...?

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Best Line: "In the rain or in the snow, I got the funky flow, but now I really gotta go."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/aab7488d90d55a4c7a3f2556fb5204e3.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/aab7488d90d55a4c7a3f2556fb5204e3.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9543","description":"

The Great Mighty Poo (Conker's Bad Fur Day)

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Conker's Bad Fur Day is the king of low-brow humor. The potty-mouthed squirrel meets his match, however, when he encounters this defecation debacle.

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A giant, sentient poo makes for a memorable boss battle as he spouts an incredulously hilarious operatic performance whilst Conker must dodge the disgusting projectiles aimed his way, launching toilet paper at the poo before flushing him down the drain.

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It's rude toilet humor at its most potent, and for better or worse is certainly a one-of-a-kind gaming experience.

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Best Line: "Sweetcorn is the only thing that makes it through my rear, How do you think I keep this lovely grin?"

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/f776273da37e5af568c556cb26aa79c6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_80/v1/gameskinny/f776273da37e5af568c556cb26aa79c6.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"9542","description":"

The Tale of the Nuckelavee (The Bard's Tale)

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I'm so thankful for this game's existence.

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The PS2-era classic The Bard's Tale is one of the funniest games to ever grace the world. Focusing on a disapproving narrator and a sarcastic Bard who is more interested in alcohol and sex than heroism, the game parodies fantasy RPGs and is full of laugh-out-loud moments.

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The Bard's Tale is littered with comical songs; including a celebration of beer and the unforgettable "It's Bad Luck To Be You". And who can forget "Here's To The Bard", sung by a hall of Viking warriors hurling insults at The Bard for his blunders.

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"The Tale of the Nuckelavee" is one of the funniest gaming songs of all though. Not only are its lyrics hilarious and pointed, but its circumstance makes it all the more hilarious. The group sings a raging song about the evil Nuckelavee and make some less-than-polite comments about the unknown man who set the beast free.

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And who might that "dimwit", "asshole", "ox-head" be? Well none other than The Bard himself of course!

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Best Line: "And if they ever should find the fool, We'll hang him upside down by his tool..."

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screen-conkersbadfurday-2d473.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screen-conkersbadfurday-2d473.jpg","type":"slide","id":"132863","description":"

They say good things come in threes, so I'm rounding off my trio of video game music lists (Stop and Hear the Music and Waxing Lyrical) with some fun.

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We've seen how game music can be moving, epic and interesting; now I give you 10 video game songs that will make you laugh with their ridiculousness, offensiveness and hilariousness!

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If you need a reminder that games can still be weird and irreverent, look no further than these beauties.

"}]]]>
5 games that should be backwards compatible with Xbox One https://www.gameskinny.com/urjfd/5-games-that-should-be-backwards-compatible-with-xbox-one https://www.gameskinny.com/urjfd/5-games-that-should-be-backwards-compatible-with-xbox-one Sat, 16 Jul 2016 11:29:57 -0400 Joseph Ocasio

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Backwards compatibility is an important feature for gaming. It helps preserve our gaming history and helps ease us into a new generation of gaming. Sure, it's great that we're getting Definitive Editions/Remasted versions of games like Bioshock, The Last of Us, GTA V, and Uncharted, but we know that not every game has a chance at that.

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So here's a more cost effective way to let us keep the games we love and still preserve them without having to buy a PC. It's also better than PS Now and it's god awful subscriptions.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/l/call-duty-modern-warfare-game-desktop-wallpaper-2560x1600-d998f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/l/call-duty-modern-warfare-game-desktop-wallpaper-2560x1600-d998f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"126817","description":"
Call of Duty series
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Say what you will about the Call of Duty series, but you know at least one person who loves at least one of the games in the series -- whether it be the "classic" WW2 era Call of Duty games (Call of Duty Classic, 2, 3, and World at War), the Modern Warfare series, or the Black Ops series.

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With Call of Duty 4 being remastered, why not let people try the other games of the sub-series they like and let pessimists replay the OG games they love so much?

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On another note, why isn't Black Ops 2 backwards compatible yet? Black Ops 1 is and Black Ops 2 is the most requested game for backwards compatibility. So it only makes sense.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/d/e/a/deadrising2casewest-69e36.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/d/e/a/deadrising2casewest-69e36.jpg","type":"slide","id":"126809","description":"
Dead Rising 1 and 2
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O.K., I'll admit, I'm starting to cheat with 2 games instead of one on the list, But it's hard to choose one game, especially if it's part of a franchise. With Dead Rising 3 an Xbox One exclusive, Dead Rising 4 coming later this year for Xbox One, and the series 10th anniversary coming up, it makes perfect sense to put both Dead Rising 1 and 2 on Xbox One.

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Dead Rising was one of the first open world games on 7th generation of consoles and is still a fun, zombie slaying good time. Dead Rising 2 improved the game with it's weapon combination system and some great DLC storylines. Hell, Dead Rising 2 was even remade with Frank West as the main character, as Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. So come on Capcom and Microsoft, give us more Dead Rising on Xbox.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crackdownfinalbox-b2f71.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/c/r/a/crackdownfinalbox-b2f71.jpg","type":"slide","id":"126784","description":"
Crackdown
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Originally known as "that game with the Halo 3 beta," Crackdown surprised people by actually being pretty fun. Created by David Jones, the creator of the GTA franchise, Crackdown puts players in an open world city as a super powered cop that was tasked to take down the biggest and baddest criminal organizations. 

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Sure, there was little plot, but Crackdown made up for that with great super powers, an excellent open world, addictive grinding, and some great Co-Op action. With the third game coming next year, it'd be a great idea to let gamers who never played the original see where it all started... but lets never make the sequel backwards compatible.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-2a675.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-2a675.jpg","type":"slide","id":"126783","description":"
Mass Effect 2 and 3
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Mass Effect 2 and 3 are two of my favorite games of all time. I can't tell anyone how many hours I've put into these excellent games from Bioware, since the first game came out when I was still in High School. The epic storylines, addictive gameplay, complex characters, fantastic worlds, and so much more make Mass Effect one of the greatest franchises out there.

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With Mass Effect 1 already being made backwards compatible and Microsoft confirming compatibility with multiple disks not being a big issue, it makes sense to bring these epic sequels to Xbox One.

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Grand Theft Auto IV
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GTA IV holds a special place in many gamers lives, as it was the first GTA game on HD consoles. The story of Nikko Bellic coming to America and getting involved with the criminal world of Liberty City still holds it's own, even against the antics of Micheal, Franklin, and Trevor.

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Sure, there are things in GTA IV that haven't aged as well. Mission checkpoints are nearly nonexistent -- making you restart missions from the very beginning if you fail, car controls feel more stiff compared to other titles, and Roman can get downright annoying. That said, the world, gameplay, and storyline are still worth playing. In addition, seeing how improved Red Dead Redemption was when playing it on Xbox One, it would be amazing to see what Microsoft and Rockstar could do with GTA IV to make it a better game.

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I love GTA V. It's one of my favorite games and one of few open world games that lasts 30-40 hours that I can replay over and over again for so many hours. But sometimes I love to go back to past installments and see how much has been improved, while experiencing the story over again.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xbox-one-backward-compatibility-6c0b2.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/x/b/o/xbox-one-backward-compatibility-6c0b2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"126780","description":"

Say what you will about the Xbox One, but if there's one thing that it has over the PS4, it's this little thing called Backwards Compatibility. True, it's a bit silly that it has taken a few years for the console to be compatible with dozen's of its predecessor's games -- with more to come -- where as the Wii U was backwards compatible from the start. However, that shouldn't stop us from celebrating the dozen's of titles that have become available with the system.

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Assassin's Creed 2, Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect, and so many more have given us reasons to go back to the past and play the games that kicked ass. With more on the way, here are just a few games that should be added to the Xbox One backwards compatibility list.

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Top 5 Mass Effect Teammates For Players New To The Series https://www.gameskinny.com/g2sv2/top-5-mass-effect-teammates-for-players-new-to-the-series https://www.gameskinny.com/g2sv2/top-5-mass-effect-teammates-for-players-new-to-the-series Mon, 20 Jun 2016 23:21:45 -0400 Cody Drain

There hasn't been a new entry in the Mass Effect series since 2012's Mass Effect 3, the final game of the trilogy covering the story of Commander Shepard, and his or her battle against the mysterious and devastating Reapers. The good news for Mass Effect fans is that the newest entry, Mass Effect: Andromeda, is finally visible on the horizon. As I covered earlier this week, the game recently received a new teaser trailer for this year's E3 conference, and is still on pace for a release sometime in "early 2017."

With that said, now is the perfect time for those who are curious about the Mass Effect franchise to dive into the original trilogy and experience it for themselves. New players might be curious which of Shepard's various teammates throughout the series are the most helpful in the various firefights they will find themselves in through all three games. Here are my top 5 teammates for new Mass Effect players, presented in no particular order along with the games they appear in.

[Image source]

Liara T'Soni

Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2*, Mass Effect 3

The operation to rescue Liara from a detachment of Saren's forces, including a final showdown with a particularly hardy krogan commander and his geth troops, is in my honest opinion one of the most difficult moments to overcome early in a first playthrough of Mass Effect, but the reward is well worth it. Though she is a researcher and academic by trade, Liara has powerful biotic abilities that give her flexibility on the battlefield. Powers like Warp and Throw (only ME1) are good single-target choices, while Singularity can hit multiple weaker targets at once, freeing up Shepard and the squad to focus on more urgent threats or pile onto the enemies left defenseless while in the radius. In the first Mass Effect, her Barrier can be the key to Liara surviving heated battles, since she won't be able to take as much damage as, say, Wrex. Liara's also great for setting up biotic combos with Shepard and the other teammate as well.

Liara's an available teammate from fairly early in Mass Effect and even earlier in Mass Effect 3, but you'll only be able to team up with her in Mass Effect 2 during the "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC. You can compensate the rest of the time using Miranda and/or Samara, as necessary.

Garrus Vakarian

Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

The always-dependable Garrus is a great choice for general damage-dealing purposes. Players who choose classes like Engineer or Infiltrator for their Shepard might find Garrus a godsend for the more chaotic firefights they encounter throughout the series. Abilities like Overload (which fries enemies' shields) and his Armor-Piercing Ammo are tailor-made counters for hardier enemies. Meanwhile others, like Concussive Shot, make for good crowd control. As an added bonus, he's available early on in every game in the series, meaning that Shepards with glaring combat weaknesses have the option to compensate relatively quickly. Garrus isn't the flashiest or most unique ally, but he always makes battles easier, and that in itself is a great asset.

Urdnot Wrex / Grunt

Mass Effect (Wrex), Mass Effect 2 (Grunt, pictured above)

This will probably come as no surprise, but the two krogan teammates Shepard encounters throughout the series are natural tanks, great at attacting and soaking up a ton of damage before dishing it back out to enemies. Wrex in Mass Effect is particularly handy to have around, because his biotic abilities further extend his versatility and survivability in battle. He has many of the same abilities as Liara (not her Singularity though, unfortunately), but isn't a pure biotic. The meat of his power comes from his weapons, while his biotic powers can soften up tough targets for both himself and the rest of Shepard's team. Grunt eschews biotic power and serves solely as a tank, but an incredibly sturdy and powerful one. One particular research project, his Claymore shotgun, makes him devastating at close range, making him a great decoy for players who prefer to snipe from afar with Shepard rather than charge right in.

Thane Krios

Mass Effect 2

For those players who do like to charge right in, and therefore chose a class such as Vanguard for their Shepard, here's a quality sniper to consider to cover your back. While Garrus can operate as a sniper, and a pretty good one, Thane seems to be, more equipped for the job. For example, his biotic powers (especially Warp, one of my favorite powers in the entire series) are perfect for softening targets, which can then make them susceptible to one of his perfectly placed sniper's bullets. His loyalty power, Shredder Ammo, acts exactly as its name suggests, which can benefit him up close with his SMG, and from afar with his rifle. The only downside to Thane is that he isn't available until fairly late in the game (and only in Mass Effect 2, sadly), but at least this gives you time to tailor Shepard's skill tree and determine his or her vulnerabilities. Thane's precision can make the final "suicide mission" a much easier affair if he's added to Shepard's squad. 

Tali'Zorah vas Normandy

Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

I have to admit, I saved my favorite teammate for last here. In all my time playing the Mass Effect series, Tali almost never leaves my squad when she's available. Some part of this probably has to do with my personal fascination with the quarians, but I prefer her over almost everyone else because her skill set can easily turn the tide of battle. She's pretty frail, as teammates go, which makes positioning key to keeping her alive. She primarily uses SMGs and shotguns, which makes her skilled in mid- to close-range combat. It is her tech powers as an engineer, however, that make her valuable on the battlefield. She can hack electronic targets, making her particularly lethal against the geth (naturally, being a quarian and all), but also against targets such as Cerberus Atlas mechs in Mass Effect 3.  My personal favorite among her skills is her combat drone, whom she affectionately calls "Chatikka" in Mass Effect 2. Once fully upgraded, it's capable of wreaking absolute havoc on targets, distracting or outright destroying them. It can be used in tense firefights to buy a few seconds, which can be critical to get a wounded Shepard into cover to heal. The other teammate, or Shepard for that matter, can also use the drone to distract enemies, and then flank them for easier battles. She can also use Energy Drain to take the shield energy of enemies to refuel her own, and in Mass Effect 3 she can deploy a defensive drone to complement the offensive combat drone and protect herself, as well.

For the Mass Effect veterans out there: does your Top 5 list look completely different? Do you have any insight you want to share with newcomers? Please feel free to leave a comment below!

[All other images source]

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These Are DUMBEST Ways Anyone Could Die In A Videogame https://www.gameskinny.com/zc7gk/these-are-dumbest-ways-anyone-could-die-in-a-videogame https://www.gameskinny.com/zc7gk/these-are-dumbest-ways-anyone-could-die-in-a-videogame Tue, 24 May 2016 10:33:26 -0400 Rick Ormsby

Let's take a trip down memory lane with 10 of the most idiotic ways a player can die in a video game. From failing a quick time event to simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, there's so many ways a player can become their own worst enemy. While some of these deaths are mindbogglingly frustrating, others are almost brutally enjoyable to watch. 

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Sciencing the Shit Out of Mass Effect Weapons https://www.gameskinny.com/14dr0/sciencing-the-shit-out-of-mass-effect-weapons https://www.gameskinny.com/14dr0/sciencing-the-shit-out-of-mass-effect-weapons Fri, 13 May 2016 04:00:50 -0400 Larry Everett

I’m probably one of the few people in the universe who liked the basic mechanics of the original Mass Effect weapons. I thought that it was great that I didn’t have to worry about finding cartridges on the ground in order to replenish my ammunition. I believe that is one of the original tropes of shooters that was tired by the time that Mass Effect hit the scene. I was glad to see it gone. Of course, the cartridge system came back in Mass Effect 2, but in the game universe the guns worked on the same mechanical principles.

I do have a tiny beef with the guns of Mass Effect. Not as big of a beef as I have with the faster-than-light travel, but we can get into that on another day. The problem I have with the guns is a simple one: why is there recoil on any Mass Effect weapon?

"But it’s still a projectile weapon, Larry, of course, it’s going to have kickback, duh."

But would it? Would it really? To answer that question, we have to examine how the weapons in the Mass Effect universe work. So let’s science the shit out of that first.

Element Zero

Everyone knows what a macguffin is, right? It’s that thing in a story that has some kind of unexplained ability that moves the plot forward. Generally, the macguffin isn’t usually important to the overall plot but it helps move everything from point A to point B. Well, Mass Effect’s macguffin is element zero. Element zero doesn’t just move the plot forward, it kind of controls everything. In fact, element zero even affected the title of the game series: Mass Effect.

Element Zero, or eezo, comes from solid matter that is affected by the energy of a dying star. Although it’s unlikely that we would discover a brand new element when mining near a supernova, we do know that many of the existing elements that aren’t hydrogen or helium were formed when stars exploded. So I’ll give BioWare an A+ on the scientific creativity here, and give them a pass on eezo on the whole. I mean, this is fiction after all -- and if the only thing I have to suspend my disbelief on is this fantastical element, I’ll buy it. But that doesn’t excuse weapon recoil, yet.

According to the Mass Effect codex, eezo “releases dark energy which can be manipulated into a mass effect field, raising or lowering the mass of all objects within that field” when subjected to an electrical current. A positive charge makes the object more massive and a negative charge makes it less massive. I question the use of dark energy in the explanation of the effects of eezo. It seems that the writers are using dark energy as an anti-gravity, but that’s not exactly what it is. And for the purposes of this piece, it’s not really necessary to go into what dark energy is, but if you do want to know there’s a great video that you should watch about it.

Applying eezo to weapons

Of course, the way we hairless apes would first want to use this new discovery is by making weapons. In the Mass Effect universe, we applied this mass-reducing properties the ammunition in our guns. We take a sliver of metal, dip it in eezo, shock it with a negative current, and a explode a small bit of propellant behind it. And there you have a superfast bullet.

Thanks to the introduction of element zero, it now takes less force on the object to reach a specific acceleration. Mass, force, acceleration! Oh shit! Those are physics terms I can start plugging numbers. So let’s do that. This is simple physics, so don’t be scared.

Let’s math

Let’s take a weapon we know, like the Beretta 92 series. The 124 grain (or 8.04 gram) 9 mm bullet will travel at 335 m/s out of the barrel of a Beretta 92S, the standard US Army pistol with a 127mm barrel. We can calculate the acceleration with Newtonian physics v2=v02+2as. The first v is the ending velocity. The second v is the beginning velocity, which is 0. The a is acceleration, and the s is the length of the barrel. We solve for a like this:

a=v2/2s

For the Baretta 92S the acceleration is 441830.70866141732283464566929134, or to simplify, let’s say 4.4 x 105 m/s2.

But we need another formula to calculate the force on the bullet, which is measured in newtons. And everyone should know that force equals mass time acceleration. I’m sure you have all heard that before.

F=ma

Plugging our numbers, and we get 3537.6 N. This is good times and not super big or small numbers. I can work with this. So now we know all the numbers that it takes to kill a person with a Beretta hand gun. And we also know, thanks to Newton’s third law that there is disbursed 3537.6 N pushing back on your hand. (The exact calculation for recoil is much more complicated, and there is actually a really nice wiki page on it.) For the sake of argument, let’s say that’s the amount of force that causes the kickback you see in Mass Effect, because that’s very similar to the kind of kickback that you’d see in real life.

So that would mean that if there was significantly less force applied to the bullet, there would be significantly less or no kickback.

Thanks to eezo, we can reduce the mass of the bullet. So let’s be really efficient and reduce the bullet to 1/10th its mass. Using the same amount of force as the Beretta example, that would push the bullet to 4.4 x 107 m/s2. To give you a reference, that’s over 10,000 times the speed of sound. And if resistance and gravity wasn’t a factor, you could literally shoot that bullet to the moon in less than a second. That’s insane and completely inefficient and unnecessary.

So let’s reverse that. Let’s see how many newtons it would take to push a bullet of less mass to the same speed. Our mass is 0.0804g and the acceleration we are looking for is 4.4 x 105 m/s2. Well, that’s easy, we just plug that into our force formula: F=ma, and we get, unsurprisingly 353.76 N. To put that in perspective: a ten year old is exerting that amount of force on the Earth right now by standing still. And that’s hardly enough force to push your hand back the way that Mass Effect guns do.

Now you might be thinking that they could be increasing the mass of a smaller projectile. Maybe they are, but as you can see, that would be even less efficient. And do I even have to talk about the Geth beam weapons whose projectiles have zero mass because they are literally beams? No, I don't.

As usual, science is about testing and testing. What do you think of my hypothesis? Am I wrong? Could this be done a different way? Let me know in the comments below.

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Mass Effect Ride Coming Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/0b4h2/mass-effect-ride-coming-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/0b4h2/mass-effect-ride-coming-soon Sun, 01 May 2016 05:59:38 -0400 _Glitchchic_

Mass Effect will be opening up a new Theme Park ride at Great America in Santa Carla, CA. It will launch on May 18th of this month and is called Mass Effect: New Earth 4D.  

 This up close and personal experience will place you on the Normandy with Commander Shepard. A live action performer will be playing the part of captain on your voyage while interacting with the holographic screen. You, along with the other ride participants, will be seated in an 80 seat theater equipped with motion seats, wind effects, water, leg pokers, neck tinglers, and surround sound. 

“It’s very important that we create an attraction that fits seamlessly in the world of Mass Effect, while including the elements we know are critical to making a good amusement park experience. We want to ensure that dedicated fans and park-goers being introduced to the franchise alike walk away thrilled and excited.”

-- Christian Dieckmann, Corporate Vice President of Strategic Growth at Cedar Fair Entertainment

Also to come to Great America theme park rides are Rabbids and Assassin's Creed. Nintendo may also soon be in the mix of up and coming attractions. The new Mass Effect game, Andromeda, is set to release sometime next year. 

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Video Game Adaptations for Film (That Would Work) https://www.gameskinny.com/o2x7r/video-game-adaptations-for-film-that-would-work https://www.gameskinny.com/o2x7r/video-game-adaptations-for-film-that-would-work Tue, 29 Mar 2016 10:24:24 -0400 Ricardo melfi

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Potential Movie: The Duke: Nuk'em All or Land of the Babes

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Yes, I know that the Duke hasn't exactly been that popular since the 90s and his return to video games wasn't exactly well received, but let's face facts; you can't hate on the Duke.

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With the return of 80s style movies, older action heroes gracing our screens once again (and kicking ass doing so!), parodies of 80s tropes and more, who couldn't see a slick comedy/action/sci-fi with the Duke played by, gee I dunno, the Governator? Maybe even throw Seth Rogen in there for comic relief? Yeah, I'd pay to see that, but then again I am a child of the 90s and love crude, crude humour (admit it, you do too). 

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Well that was the last I had for you here at GameSkinny!

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Each video took more than eight hours to produce, and were all made for fun and entertainment. I want to know what you all thought of my videos, so please leave a comment below, and I'll be happy to reply. If you like them, why not check out more on my YouTube channel Shark Tank Gaming.

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Potential Movie: Abe's Exoddus or The Oddworld Inhabitants

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I was watching the trailer for Warcraft the other day, and don't get me wrong, I think it will be awesome. The trailer is fantastic and it has one of my favourite actors, Travis Fimmel in the lead (though what's up with that Ragnar accent yet again? Is he Viking in Warcraft as well? I digress).

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It got me to thinking, if a movie like Warcraft has been made and the graphics look fantastic, then why hasn't our resourceful, little buddy Abe, a.k.a Stitchlips,, not made the cut? It has a dark and gritty (yet engaging and original) story, cannibalism, aliens, traps and body possessions; the list goes on. I could really see a big budget studio take this on, and if they stick close to the original material, it could be a gold mine. Who doesn't remember sending those helpless, poor Mudokons to their doom, by accident of course...right?

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Who do you think should play (or voice) the main and supporting characters?

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Potential Movie: Mass Effect or Dawn of the Reapers (3-Part Trilogy)

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Absolutely one of my favorite gaming franchises since, I can't even remember, Mass Effect had it all except a proper ending. (Or did they? Look up 'The Indoctrination Theory' and prepare to have your mind blown!) Still, it has everything you loved in a game, but as a movie, it may not be that engaging. Passively taking in Shepard's story may not have the same effect but...I don't care. Seeing Commander Shepard on the big screen would be glorious, especially if done as a sci-fi (duh)/action/psychological thriller (yet again). Imagine a crazy twist or journeying into Shepard's mind while the Reapers toy with him? I'm already salivating...

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Who do you think should play (or voice) the main and supporting characters?

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Potential Movie: FarCry (3)

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By far my favorite FarCry of them all. I absolute love the storyline and the characters in the third installment, especially Vaas. (Anyone else see a little bit of the Joker in there?) If you actually look further into the story and the symbolic/psychological undertones, you have some great material for an action/adventure/psychological thriller. Take my money...

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Who do you think should play the main and supporting characters?

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*Video courtesy of YouTube channel, WatchMojo.

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 With all of the video game movies that are produced eventually being churned out as horrible, B-grade disasters, I've always wondered why the film industry selects games that don't work as movies? With so many story rich titles out there prime for the red carpet, for the life of me, I just can't understand it. Once, just once, I would really love a team or studio to tackle a game they really understand AND have the budget to pull it off (pointing fingers at YOU Uwe Boll).

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I haven't found a video game adaptation that I have really enjoyed yet, and those that I can stand seem to be getting fewer every year with little hope on the horizon.

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Having said that, I created a few mock trailer videos of my own, inspired by games that I love (and would make killer movies) in hopes that maybe, just maybe one day, we can see some justice done.

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Click next to check out which titles I think would rock the world and put games on par with comic book movies! ENJOY!

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*NOTE: Please select the highest display settings for best quality! YouTube has a habit of marking them down.*

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The 10 Best Bars in Video Game History https://www.gameskinny.com/uvfvt/the-10-best-bars-in-video-game-history https://www.gameskinny.com/uvfvt/the-10-best-bars-in-video-game-history Thu, 17 Mar 2016 03:51:01 -0400 Brandon Morgan

Most video games aren't about relaxing, having a nice pint of Guinness, and telling tales from a bar stool. Instead, you would find yourself visiting such a location to receive a new quest or job, sell your loot, or perhaps speak to an NPC about a missing item.

Sadly, a lot of players will duck into these dives and then find themselves outside in an instant. No one takes the time to really take in the universe and the setting. Well, we think that should change -- and these ten bars should help immensely.

100 Rads

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl

After the collapse of civilization, even those hunting their way through the Exclusion Zone in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl need to relax for a moment from the worries of the post-apocalyptic world.

100 Rads, the closest civilized establishment in the wastes, can get you away from anomalies and into the loving arms of other fighters.

Shotglass's

Wing Commander

Shotglass's, which is run by a fellow named Shotglass, runs a legendary bar in Wing Commander from 1990. This is obviously a classic.

There is not much to do within the iconic bar, but the single track that plays is absolutely wonderful. The ambiance is the reason to be there.

Sierra Madre Casino

Fallout: New Vegas

While the Sierra Madre Casino from Fallout: New Vegas' Dead Money expansion is basically empty, you cannot argue against the aesthetics.

The hologram cashier will pay you in pre-war dollars instead of chips. There are numerous gamblers missing, though.

The Blue Casket

Grim Fandango

The Blue Casket from Grim Fandango (1998) feels more like a slam poetry establishment than anything else. Here, the player will experience dark undertones and morbid poetry being told.

Olivia, the poet in question, has some great lines for those willing to sit through it.

The Hairy Bear Inn

The Witcher

While the name may imply a sleeping spot to some, to others it implies the only gay bar within The Witcher. We're positive CD Projekt RED did not intend for that to happen, but with a name like that it is hard not to assume.

The beer is said to have been made from dog urine, though, so be wary of your pint glass.

Fighting McDonagh's

BioShock

Of course, there are quite few bars and nightclubs within the game world of BioShock and BioShock 2, but Fighting McDonagh's stands out for, well, the fighting.

The pub is a nice, old-fashioned Irish establishment filled with spirit and flair. And did we mention fighting?

The Pelican Inn

Uncharted 3

The Pelican Inn, as seen in Uncharted 3, was once a nice little establishment with an old-fashioned, western-themed pub downstairs. That was destroyed, however, after Nathan Drake got into a massive brawl.

The "classy joint for sailors" is probably home to numerous drunken brawls on a weekly basis, though.

The Grim Guzzler

World of Warcraft

Believe it or not, The Grim Guzzler is the only spot in World of Warcraft where players can meet the virtual alter-egos of Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain, the band made of Blizzard employees.

With the right in-game item, players can even get them to play a tune in the bar.

Hercules

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Hercules is the only known openly gar bay within the world of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony. The player may not like what is on the table, but the party sure is bumping.

Gay Tony certainly knows how to throw a bash.

Afterlife

Mass Effect 2

Afterlife is the single most impressive in-game bar of all time, and it is only featured in Mass Effect 2. The atmosphere, the feeling, the racism -- it is all exactly like a real bar would be in space.

Of course, don't trust the Batarian behind the bar. He isn't a fan of humans.

Honestly, any gamer would be lucky to spend an evening in one of these bars, as long as they were armed with a laser pistol, a revolver, or a pair of brass knuckles. Seriously, they are all really dangerous places to drink. You have been warned. 

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Top 5 Mass Effect Companions https://www.gameskinny.com/gugoy/top-5-mass-effect-companions https://www.gameskinny.com/gugoy/top-5-mass-effect-companions Tue, 10 Nov 2015 06:21:12 -0500 Samantha Wright

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There you have it!

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These are my top five Mass Effect companions, the ones I fell in love with.

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With the amount of companions available in the Mass Effect trilogy, you almost certainly disagree with me with some of my choices, so which companions did you like best? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

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1. Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect)

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Both I and my version of Shepherd loved Garrus. Not only was he a decent fighter, he was also very sweet and was entirely loyal to Shepard.

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He also had one of the personalities that resonated with me the most. He was dark: "It's so much easier to see the world in black and white. Gray... I don't know what to do with gray."

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And he was awkward, especially when pertaining to the optional romance you could have with him (which just made me love him even more): "So... your, uh, hair looks good. And your waist is... very supportive."

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How could you not love Garrus?

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2. Grunt (Mass Effect 2)

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Two Krogans on this list? Yep. Two.

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Grunt was my go-to companion in the second game. Like Wrex, he was strong and made a great fighter to play through the game with. He was a different Krogan though. Being tube-bred, he had slightly different views and I wanted to know them all.

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His loyalty mission was one of my favorites too (and one of the most difficult, which was a nice surprise considering how easy I thought the majority of the rest of the game to be).

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Did you hear some of Grunt's one-liners? Like Wrex, he was insanely funny. 

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"I don't need luck; I just need ammo."

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3. Liara T'Soni (Mass Effect)

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Liara was my female crush throughout the Mass Effect trilogy. Plainly, she wasn't annoying (she didn't just complain about everything and seemed to have a real personality). Have you seen her design too? She is downright gorgeous. She has a nice shade of blue and has subtle features. I love it.

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Liara also becomes a huge asset in the second game. I don't want to spoil anything in case someone hasn't played the games yet, but trust me when I say she becomes super important and that made me love her even more.

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4. Urdnot Wrex (Mass Effect)

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Wrex was one of those characters you wanted on your team and knew you needed on your team. He was strong and fought well, especially on the harder difficulties. As a Krogan on the good side, he was also able to shed some light on a whole bunch of issues (particularly towards the end of the first Mass Effect).

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Wrex also had some good comedic lines to lighten the mood: "Anyone who fights us is either stupid or on Saren's payroll. Killing the latter is business. Killing the former is a favor to the universe."

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5. Legion (Mass Effect 2)

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Despite being a Geth, Legion was undoubtedly cool. He saved Shepard and his team by sniping some baddies. He created conflict by being a Geth, especially with Tali. He shed light on the Geth, knowledge that none of the crew had known one before. He just looks amazing too! He obviously looks like a Geth since he is one, but he still proudly wears the colors assigned to him by Shepard.

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Let me just point out how adorable the term "Shepard-Commander" is as well.

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N7 Day is upon us!

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Mass Effect day, affectionately called N7 Day, just passed, and since companions are such a huge part of the trilogy (they can make or break a playthrough) here's my top 5 companions from the Mass Effect trilogy as a tribute.

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No eye for fashion: The worst dressed characters in gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/tg0fn/no-eye-for-fashion-the-worst-dressed-characters-in-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/tg0fn/no-eye-for-fashion-the-worst-dressed-characters-in-gaming Fri, 11 Sep 2015 02:30:01 -0400 katlaborde

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Any horribly dressed characters that I missed? Sound off with your own fashion expertise in the comments below! 

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Image source: Flickr

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Jill Valentine (Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
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Okay, so Jill Valentine's outfits aren't always bad, she looked quite lovely with her beret in the original game, but by the time she made her return in RE3, she wasn't as fashion savvy. She looks as if she's on her way to a night on the town rather than fighting off an army of the undead. While the city was falling in to absolute chaos, she was probably just in her apartment picking out the perfect shade of blue tank top for the occasion. I really doubt Nemesis gave a $#!! what you looked like, Jill! 

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Image source: Resident Evil Wikia 

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Tingle (The Legend of Zelda
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What is Tingle you ask? Well, nobody knows, but one thing's for sure, it has an eye for outfits made for 6 month olds. I suppose when you're the size of an Ewok, you can fit into little green onesies. Oh, and that red pair of underpants he wears on the outside? It's not doing him, err it, any favors, unless he was going for jolly Christmas elf, then he's pulled that off flawlessly. 

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Image source: Zelda Wikia

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Rachel (Ninja Gaiden
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Like Ivy, Rachel's choice in attire is all about one thing and one thing only: T n' A! While I don't find any of this inherently offensive, her costume just comes across as silly. Whether it's the gawdy head band or the dominatrix get up, it's impossible to take this character seriously when she walks into frame. And you know all this is amplified tenfold by the physics Team Ninja is known all too well for. Rachel, you're trying way too hard, honey! 

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Image source: Team Ninja

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Pigsy (Enslaved)
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His name's Pigsy for a reason, and no, not just because he resembles a pig, but also because his clothes look like something a pig would roll around in. Calling him repulsive would be a compliment. The fact that he is an ally makes you question the kind of company that Monkey and Trip keep. Let's just say he looks as if he should be restrained from getting too close to any elementary schools. 

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I will admit that the belt buckle is pretty sweet though.

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Image source: Enslaved Wikia

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Jack (Mass Effect 2)
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On first glance, it could be thought that she's brandishing a muddy, skin tight shirt, but no, that would be a step up from what she's NOT wearing. The theme-less design is, in fact, tattoos and what she IS wearing is just a few tiny belts strategically covering her lady parts. People always say the fashion sense of the 80's was a bit ridiculous, well things haven't gotten much better in the future either. 

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Image source: Comic Vine

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Lynch (Kane and Lynch)
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Remember Kane and Lynch? No? Yeah, well neither do I and that's probably for the best when one of its main protagonists sports a sweaty wife beater and greasy sweat pants. His choice in clothing is more akin to a lazy couch potato than a crazed bad ass. Well, I guess it does fit with the crazed part, I suppose, but that's no excuse, he could have at least put forth a little effort.

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Also, I don't get how female gamers can complain about the lack of sexy men in gaming when the above photo exists. What's sexier than a middle-aged, gruff man eating cereal while wearing his tighty whities?!

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Image source: dome.fi 

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Quiet (Metal Gear Solid 5
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Alright, this one just doesn't make any practical sense what so ever other than the fact Kojima wanted to create a character that would be popular with the cosplay world. Sure, throw a rock and you're bound to hit an inappropriately dressed female character, but come on, fish net stockings and a bikini top? If they were going for the whole less is more approach, just having her flat out naked with camo body paint would have made more sense. 

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Image source: Kotaku

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Tidus (Final Fantasy X
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I don't even know where to start with this one. I can only imagine what the designers were thinking when they were putting together this mess of an 'outfit'. A yellow jacket crop top thing with leather overalls and uneven shorts? Oh, and a blue shoulderpad just to add a bit of flavor! The character designer must have had his kid's birthday party the day before and when he saw the clown, he thought, 'Perfect! That's exactly the look I was going for.' 

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Image source: Gamefaqs

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Ivy (Soul Calibur series)
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What's wrong here isn't necessarily what she's wearing, but what she's not wearing. Look, I'm no prude and I've never really had a problem with the more well-endowed women in gaming, but come on, Ivy's get-up is downright ridiculous. It seems like everything is just going to come spilling out at any moment. You can't be fighting against a tough opponent while wondering if you're going to have a nip slip! I suppose the Soul Calibur series felt like it had to up the ante in order to dethrone the scantily clad king, Dead or Alive.

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But hey, that whip sword is pretty kinky! 

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Image source: Wallpaperhi

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Sometimes you can't help but wonder what designers were thinking when they created these amazingly awful outfits. From the overly tacky to the completely nonsensical, our first impressions of these characters were met with confusion and laughter. 

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The following is a list of some of gaming's most fashion challenged heroes.

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Image source: Gadgette

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