Video Game Inspires “Mass” Frenzy

"Mass Effect 2" will knock your socks off

There is a new threat to humanity out there, and the Normandy is once again in the center of the action.

That's all I'll say about the plot of "Mass Effect 2," the hotly anticipated sequel to the 2007 "ME" hit game from BioWare.  Well, that's all I'll say about the plot.  I'm not going to surprise you if I say the new title is the most cinematic experience you'll have had on a game console up to now.  Right up to the Martin Sheen cameo - you can't miss it.  BioWare (a division of Electronic Arts (ERTS)) has gone totally Hollywood with its newest title, and the results jump off the screen.

So does the sound.  Check out the clip we've put with this write-up, and you'll see:  the sound is terrific, and compliments the frantic action perfectly.  The characters and much of the plot line is back from the original "Mass Effect," but you can see two years of improved technology in the look of the game, and how the characters move.  It's no longer "Polar Express."  Now, think "Avatar."

BioWare CEO and co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka is quick to credit that technology, and the BioWare crew able to put it to use.  "We're trying to deliver the cinematic experience," he says. "It'll grab you, and won't let you go."  He's right.  Even watching someone else play is cool.  It's just more realistic, even when you realize you're talking about "realistic" creatures that don't actually exist.

The video game industry has been slumping for some time now, and no one is feeling that as harshly as BioWare's parent company.  But we still see the occasional big hit, like "Modern Warfare 2," and it looks like "ME2" will follow suit, when it's released on January 16th.  What they have in common is the social gaming aspect.  You can go online, and play with friends.  That's key in today's gaming world.  Dr. Muzyka says "social gaming is not a fad.  they're playing with other players on the internet in a meaningful way, and they'll be on the leading edge of innovation."

Yes, it's tougher to create a hit game these days.  But come up with great graphics, social access, and a dose of anticipation, and you just might have a whopper on your hands. 

Scott Budman also notes that "Mass Effect" is a trilogy.  So, more on the horizon.
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