1 Year Anniversary!

I realized today that I started this blog about a year ago! I had no idea that anybody would want to read it, and even though people have it was never important to me to get very popular. This was more a personal project and it just helps me stay committed to getting through games and remembering what happens in each game. I especially like to make note of my favorite moments in the games I play. I am so proud of myself for sticking with this for a year. I don’t usually stick to things like this, but I am determined to keep this going!

In the year that has passed, many things have changed for me. Many of them were things I would never have seen coming. Even though times have been tough, I know things will get better. When I started this blog, I was in a long-term committed relationship that I never thought would end. It was over by January of this year. While I was devastated at first, it really was for the best. I’ve grown so much from that, and in a way I’m so glad it happened. I really like who I have become.

I have also dealt and been dealing with illnesses in my family. I have to be strong for everyone, and that gets really difficult sometimes. While I myself am not ill and I know I am lucky to be healthy, it is so hard to stand by and see my loved ones suffer without being able to help.

I’ve taken my first steps into continuing my education, by taking the GRE and beginning to research schools. I started a job at about the same time I started this blog, and I just started another job this week. All the money I am saving up will go to returning to school. It’s not easy working 2 jobs, but I have a goal and I will accomplish it.

Through all of these things, video games have been there for me. They’ve gotten me through good times and bad. I always knew I liked gaming, but I had no idea how important it would become to me. It’s even at the point where I contribute semi-regularly to a bigger video game blog. (You can read my posts here). I really never saw that change coming!

I’m going to continue gaming and blogging. I have found they are both things I enjoy quite a bit. I’m so excited that there are still so many great games to play, and the blogging helps when I feel overwhelmed because I can look back and see all the games I have finished.

Thank you all for reading!

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Mass Effect 2 DLC: Kasumi

This post will contain spoilers.

As part of a reward for starting a new job, I went and bought myself a bunch of Mass Effect 2 DLC. The Kasumi pack was one of them, along with The Lair of the Shadow Broker (which you can read about here) and Arrival. I know it may seem odd to play the Kasumi DLC after I already completed the Suicide Mission, but I heard it was fun so I did it anyway. The only thing I really didn’t like was how short it was! It was a lot of fun though, and I was glad I played it.

First, we had to go to the Citadel to meet Kasumi. There was a certain advertisement that I had to reply to with a password. Kasumi then started talking to me. I thought it was funny; she wants to be so secretive but here she is practically out in the open talking to me about her plans to steal something. Anyway she agreed to come work with me, but I had to go help her steal something back from Hock.

Hock is a rich man with all kinds of security, so we were going in with the pretense of attending a party he was throwing. Kasumi had papers for me to pretend I was a merc leader named Alison Gunn, and also a little black dress for me to wear.

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Stylish Shepard.

Hock wouldn’t let Kasumi into the party, so I had to do a lot of the work to get us into the vault. It was basically a series of fetch quests to get in. I had to record Hock’s voice, figure out what word he needed to say, find DNA, and cut off power to a barrier. While wandering around the party, I was amused to hear people debating about if Shepard was alive or not.

My favorite of the fetch quests was the DNA one. I had to sneak over a railing, kill some guards, and sneak through a window all in a dress and heels. I have no idea how no one heard me shooting guards, or how the second guard wasn’t alerted when I used Shockwave to throw the first over a railing. Oh well, it made it easier for me. Once inside, Kasumi helped me search for DNA. I loved this part which happened when I searched the couch:

Shepard: “Aha!”

Kasumi: “Did you find some DNA?”

Shepard: “No, but I found a credit chit!”

Once we did everything we needed to do and made it into the vault, we easily located the graybox that had all the memories of Kasumi’s deceased partner. Of course, Hock knew we were there and sent guards after us.

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Fortunately I had already had a chance to change back into my armor. We fought our way out of there, ending when Kasumi jumped onto a vehicle that Hock was flying, disabling the shields and allowing me to shoot him out of the sky.

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We escaped with the graybox, and Kasumi went through it. Her partner was telling her to destroy the memories. Understandably, she didn’t want to do it. They were all she had left of him. But they were too dangerous to keep, so I did it for her. I think it was best, and now she can move on.

This all took me about an hour to play through, and I wish it had been a bit longer. But it was still a lot of fun, and I’m glad I played it. Next, I’ll play Arrival.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Lair of the Shadow Broker

This post will contain spoilers.

Over the weekend, I finally took the time to figure out how to get some DLC for Mass Effect 2. It took a lot longer than it should have. I thought I already had The Lair of the Shadow Broker and Arrival, but it turns out it was just indicating that they were available for purchase. Since I have recently started another job I have a little more money to spend, so I gladly bought those two DLC packs. I was hoping that this one would be a little longer for how expensive it was.

I played the Lair of the Shadow Broker first and finished it in a couple of short sessions. All my training in Halo has transferred over to Mass Effect 2, so I was doing even better than I was before I played through all the Halo games.

I was so happy to see Liara again. I really related to her in the first Mass Effect game. As it turns out, she has changed quite a bit. I don’t really relate to her anymore which makes me a little sad, but she has fascinating character development. We set out to go rescue her friend, a drell named Feron.

First we had to find out where the Shadow Broker was. Liara left and told us to meet her at her apartment. Of course I knew something was going to happen to her. Sure enough, when we got there the place was cordoned off by a Spectre, and asari named Vela Tasir. Someone had tried to assassinate Liara, who was nowhere to be found. She had me look for clues because Liara wouldn’t just disappear like that and likely left a message for me. Vela Tasir was correct, and we figured out where Liara had gone.

Liara's apartment. She's got a nice place!
Liara’s apartment. She’s got a nice place!

We went to go find her in another building where she was meeting someone who could tell her where the Shadow Broker was. As we got there, the building started blowing up. Of course we rushed in to find Liara. Once we found her in there, she told us that Tasir was working with the Shadow Broker and had stolen the information that Liara needed. Tasir fled, leading to fun little sequence of a flying car chase. We caught up and had to fight her, and eventually we were victorious. She was pretty annoying to fight, because she kept teleporting around. I let Garrus and Liara focus on her, while I took care of incoming minor enemies.

With that done, we headed off to find the lair of the Shadow Broker. It was hidden in such an ingenious place I wasn’t surprised that no one had ever found it before. With Garrus and Liara, we fought our way over the top of the Shadow Broker’s ship and made our way inside.

Once inside, there were a few more skirmishes and finally we reached the Shadow Broker and found out what he is. He is a Yahg, and he had been taking from a pre-space flight civilization as a pet for the original Shadow Broker. He killed the Shadow Broker and took over. We ended up fighting him, and that was a tough fight. I learned quickly not to let him get near me, and when to run up and punch him. It was a fun but challenging fight. We took him out, and Liara became the new Shadow Broker! I think she can handle it, but I hope it doesn’t change her too much. At least we were able to save her friend, a drell named Feron. I got to talk to her for a while too, so that was nice.

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She gave me a hug!

In the Shadow Broker’s lair, I also found dossiers on everyone on my squad. Here were some of the parts I found funny:

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Poor Miranda getting pretentious messages on a dating website. I loved the user names.
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Grunt looking up information on a bunch of things.
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Legion is a gamer, and amazing at everything except the dating sim.

Next I might play the Arrival DLC, unless I decide to pick up the Kazumi DLC. Thanks for reading!

Halo 4

This post will contain spoilers.

I continued my playthrough of the Halo series, and yesterday I did something I’ve never done before. I finished a game in one day! And now I’ve also completed the Halo series. I’m happy I finished it, but a little sad too. All of the games were a lot of fun. I haven’t decided what to play next, but I’m looking forward to completing more games.

I’m getting more and more spoiled by newer graphics. When I first started playing, older graphics didn’t bother me. While playing through the Halo games, the improvements were very obvious and I know it’s going to be hard now to go back and play older games again.

While the game was short, it was a lot of fun. The armor mods were fun to play around with. I especially liked the thruster packs and the jet packs. The whole game also felt and looked smoother and better. My favorite weapon is still the Covenant carbine, but once again I haven’t specialized too much with any one thing and I could work with just about anything I was given. I am always happy to get my hands on a carbine though, and definitely get lots of headshots with it. My skills as a sniper have also improved. I have learned more of the patience required and I’m good at spotting where other snipers are hiding.

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My favorite weapon in Halo, the Covenant carbine.

Fighting knights and watchers was a fun challenge. They were a nice change from fighting Flood and Covenant. The end of the game was a lot of fun too. The trench run was a lot of fun, and I don’t know if it was just me but the music during that part sounded a bit like the music from Star Wars. At first I kept crashing during that part, but I learned quickly and started doing better. The ending was quite sad as well. I wish we could have saved Cortana but there was no way.

I really enjoyed playing through the Halo series, and I will have to find out a way to play Halo 5 once it comes out!

Character Customization: The Importance of Being Represented

I wrote another piece for the blog FemHype, about how important Mass Effect is to me. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the first and second games literally changed my life. I am so excited to get around to playing the third one. Since I didn’t get a chance to play anything this past week, I’m reposting it here. I hope you enjoy it!

FemHype

Mass Effect

RPGs are my favorite genre of video games. Part of it is my love of story; I grew up reading voraciously, and RPGs feel like another great way to receive a story. They’re like choose-your-own-adventure novels, but even better. Another reason is that they often allow you to decide how your character will appear.

When deciding what my character should look like, it’s always been an easy decision for me. Right away, I start making her look like me. People have questioned me about it in the past, and I spent some time wondering if I was vain or egotistical. Why didn’t I want to play as someone who looks different from me? Was I so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t imagine not being me?

After some reflection, I realized that there was nothing wrong with wanting to play characters that resembles me. The people questioning me were mostly white…

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