What Are You Playing Wednesday

A young girl playing with a model Normandy ship from the Mass Effect 3 "Take Earth Back" trailer. She is standing in a field of sunflowers and a ladybug is flying next to her.

Yesterday was the release of Mass Effect 3 in North America but that isn’t the only game out there right now so we ask you:

  • What games are you playing this week?
  • Would you recommend those games to other Border House readers?
  • What games have you ranting?
  • Are any of these games ones that you want to see covered on the site?

I played a lot of Saints Row: The Third this past weekend. At this point I have mixed feelings about the game. I adored the character creation. When the game is extremely silly and ridiculous it can be funny. But, if I step back and listen to what is being said it is uncomfortable at times. I don’t want to pass judgement yet, but I can say that I am enjoying the game a lot more than I expected.

I also received my long awaited copy of Mass Effect 3 yesterday. I was very excited to import my Commander Maleena Shepard and continue her story. If you haven’t read the series on our Shepards now might be a fun time to browse that:

So, what games have you been playing?

61 thoughts on “What Are You Playing Wednesday”

  1. I’ve finished Amalur and put a second playthrough and also TOR on hold to replay ME2 again in anticipation of ME3 (more for immersion than having a save, since I already have about 6 for importing). I’m also playing A New Beginning (classic style adventure game, very fun though also rather heavy handed with its story). And I played a bunch of other adventures last week as well.

  2. For some reason, I’ve become incredibly addicted to Dr. Mario, as I’ve just got my hands on a Super Gameboy (lets you play Gameboy games on a SNES), and it’s the only game I have for it. It’s a fun little game!

  3. This past week, I’ve played a little bit of Icewind Dale, Dungeons of Dredmor, and Revenge of the Titans on my PC. I also started Monster Tale and Radiant Historia on my DS.

    Spent some time last Wednesday playing Magicka, got one other person to join my scheduled multiplayer session, and we had fun.

    Thursday’s Left4Dead 2 event was quite successful, with some fun 3 versus 3 action. Here’s hoping the multiplayer sessions go smoothly again, this week!

  4. I got a Vita the weekend after it launched and have been playing that mostly. I’m been pouring tons of time into Super Stardust Delta and some into Lumines Electronic Symphony. But just yesterday, Motorstorm RC came out (free for the Vita) and Journey came out for the PS3

    I can’t wait to put my time into Journey, but I’m going to wait until I can do it all in one sitting. I’ve been waiting for it for so long.

  5. I got Mass Effect 3 yesterday and was all excited to play it, but then found out I was affected by the character face import problem (see here: or here: – assume that you shouldn’t read comments on either link). Since I’m pretty emotionally attached to my Shepard looking like herself, and it’s basically impossible to recreate that using the character creator manually, I can’t play until they fix the issue. I am really frustrated. :(

    1. That’s lame, but so long as I can still have a buzzcut and those wicked glowing Renegade scars, Hayden Shepard is good to go.

      …You can still keep the glowing Renegade scars, right.

      1. Good question, Ari. I don’t have any imports with renegade scarring unfortunately (and it doesn’t seem like you can add it during character creation) so you’ll have to let us know. I’d imagine they’re tied to Shepard’s character record though, rather than her/his appearance.

        I too was quite disappointed when it threw up an error importing my ME1 Shepard. And then, to add insult to injury, I couldn’t get her no nonsense ‘hair pulled out of my face’ pony tail anymore either. (The closest equivalent having these strands of hair hanging loose, COMPLETELY DEFEATING THE PURPOSE.)

        In the end I just went with the shaved head option. I figure that in the time between games she became a little more jaded and world-weary, and ditching her hair completely helps reflect that. But it still would’ve been nice to have the same Shepard I went through Mass 1 and 2 with. :/

      1. Your facial scars are reset for the game. However, if you continue to follow Renegade options, they will re-emerge.

  6. Depressingly, almost nothing. My thesis supervisor is cracking the whip (as well he should, I’ve been slacking). I finally got the first installment of premium Elite content for MW3, being stuck in the PS3 ghetto (thanks for being upfront about the wait times, Acti-Blizzard) and I’ve only played one of the maps. Even then I felt vaguely guilty about it. No, Activision, no I will not link my Elite account to my Facebook account. My supervisor, my boss, my parents, and all of my various professional contacts in the real world really don’t need to know about all of the pretend Russians I killed/got killed by. Especially considering my supervisor, while knowing that I play vidya games, is under the delusion that I play only the “creative” and “artistic” ones, and I’d really rather not shatter it.

  7. I’m looking to buy Dear Esther and Stacking (a PC newcomer by Double Fine, formerly of XBLA) this week.

    Mass Effect 3 has me irritated this week, mostly because absolutely none of the reviews are mentioning Origin. Seriously? That’s a no-buy issue for me. It’s got to deserve at least a tiny nod in reviews.

  8. Well, I picked up Mass Effect 3, but as my partner does the actual gameplay (I get to side-seat drive decisions) we won’t be starting it until Saturday ;_;

    I’m still working on FFXIII-2, now in Chapter 3 and enjoying it. Though I do miss my incredibly badass Ladies’ Night core party of Lightning, Fang, and Vanille.

    1. Though I do miss my incredibly badass Ladies’ Night core party of Lightning, Fang, and Vanille.

      Seriously. Serah’s just no substitute.

      1. I’ll just echo this. They were my core party as well. I still think it is a big mistake to have gone with Noel and Serah as the protagonists.

        1. Agreed, Olivia and Deviija. Serah is growing on me (i.e. I don’t hate her and there are things about her I enjoy), and I don’t want to drop-kick Noel as much as I usually do the Obligatory Dude Protagonist. But I still want my badass lady party back.

  9. I got really bored with Crimson Gem Saga (PSP) really quickly. The graphics are okay, but the battles are repetitive, the dungeon designs annoying, and the story is almost non-existent, just a string of fetch quests. Even after I understood the trick to dealing more damage (press X at the right moment after an attack in case it was a critical hit, and get an extra hit, which can crit again), I still got to a point where I kept getting wiped out every two battles. That’s where I gave up and decided that I had better games to spend my time on.

    I’ve tried my hand at Lumines, which looks fun and flashy, but is a little limited in gameplay. I suppose trying to master it would be fun for some, but eh, I’ve never been a huge fan of Tetris either. So, after a few days I’ve mostly moved on from this as well.

    Next up is Grandia (PSN download). I just started it today, so I can’t really say yet what it’s like.

    1. I adored the first Grandia (II not so much and never played III). It’s definitely pretty dated, but I found the characters to be very charming. I started a PSN replay a few years back, I really should finish it one of these days. It’s one of my all time favorite JRPGs. :-D

    2. Like Kimiko, I’ve been experimenting with some PSP/PS1 on PSP games in my collection, with limited success. Legend of Mana looked promising, but I was in the middle of not one, but two, other open-world style games when I tried it, and wasn’t up for a third; Blazing Souls Accelate was awful, for a few reasons; Tokobot had a neat concept and was poor in execution. Next up is Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion, which has a pointless prologue bogging it down. Any and all of the introductory business could have been dealt with as flashbacks to the main story–in media res is a GOOD thing!

  10. I got 100% completion on FFXIII-2 at the end of last week (my first ever platinum trophy!)

    Since then, mainly Kingdoms of Amular which I am reasonably enjoying. I like the slightly cartoony art style and the general gameplay, though I have to say I don’t think it’s really doing anything new – just an enjoyable example of the genre. Am I the only person, though, who finds the lore uninteresting? It doesn’t really communicate the story to me – talking to everyone feels just like being cornered by the party bore. Maybe I’m just a horrible person…:-)

    I’ve also been playing a bit of Star Trek Online, now it’s free to play. It’s okay, I guess, though the concept is better than the execution. As MMOs go I don’t think the tutorials actually explain some things very well and it has the dullest character skill set I’ve ever come across!

    I did play the first half hour of Uncharted 3 but decided that just wasn’t in the mood for it. I’ll get back to it later.

    I’m looking forward to ME3, but I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish off a few more games before I buy any new ones.

    (Of course I’m still suffering from the labyrinthitis so some games are not going to get played until I can without feeling nauseous!)

  11. ME3. I’m only a few hours in, but the gay characters have been refreshingly realistic and deep. Love ‘em, and I’m surprised that I also love James Vega. I really misjudged him.

    I was one of the only females at the midnight release, and I believe the only other women there were there with boyfriends. I was chatting with a guy who was there to pick up the new Street Fighter and not an ME fan, and he was talking about how odd the sudden gender swap of Shepard was. I told him there had always been the option to play Shepard as a female, and it was good to know I wasn’t the only one who had no clue that this option was available when I first played the game.

    Also shows that EA should have been playing up the female angle a lot sooner.

    1. See, this is one of the problems; where the character can be defined by the player, the advertising seems to always show the male version (Skyrim and Kingdoms of Alamur are both recent examples.)

      In the ME series it’s particularly surprising as every professional review I can remember points out that the voice acting makes the female Shepard a better character than the male. Yet the stats Bioware have gathered show that only around 20% of players play femshep.

      Mind you, even with the better voice acting, the default accent is fairly ‘posh’. Am I the only person who would love to play a Geordie or Glaswegian Shepard? :-)

      1. I, for one, find the Canadian accent of BroShep adorable, even if he’s a bit wooden and sounds like a voice-over, rather than a voice-actor. :)

        Also, Mark Meer (I believe that’s him) has been great in the role of Mordin this go round. He’s a far better character actor than a lead.

    2. Yeah, I was also at the midnight release and I think there were maybe 10-15 other women (out of about 100 people there). About half of those looked like they were actually buying the game. ME3 came out on the equivalent of my Friday in my workweek (which I took of to get/play the game) and I’ve already finished it. Now, I’m hoping some friends will finish it this weekend so I can gush.

      I also loved the gay characters. It was striking to me how the game felt so pessimistic (okay, certain galactic annihilation can do that to you) but at the same time, you ended up seeing some really small beautiful things culturally (across all species) that made it really feel like a future worth saving. It was heartbreaking, in a good way.

      I’m also glad people have mentioned the import trouble- I thought I was just vastly unlucky. I re-created my FemShep because I was dying to see what happened, but I felt sort of disconnected, like I was playing someone else’s character.

  12. Still Crusader Kings 2 it’s great. ME3 isn’t available till Friday but since demo left me disappointed plus hefty price for game and From Ashes DLC and general feeling in my gut that I will be hating this game for its bombastic US-centrism even more then previous installments I’m putting ME3 on hold.

    1. “I will be hating this game for its bombastic US-centrism”

      What? The game starts in Vancouver. I don’t want to spoil anything else, but it’s not US centric. Period. Where are you getting this?

      1. I’ve been over this already so I don’t feel like hijacking this thread and BH in general for this personal grudge of mine but that’s exactly how ME the series “shout” in my face.

        PS. OK US/Canada-centric or NorthAmerican-centric which isn’t any better in my opinion

        1. I really don’t get that vibe at all from the series. Individual nations or even cities are very rarely mentioned (and typically off-hand… so far the largest mentions in ME3 have been London and Vancouver, with a passing reference to NYC as well). It’s really a sense of “humanity” rather than “specific nationality”. North American dialects are certainly prevalent but not exclusive for the characters, as well.

  13. I finally got around to grabbing Tiny Tower for my (now two-generations-dated) iPad. It’s simple and silly, but a good app to have when there’s a few minutes between meetings (and the freemium stuff isn’t getting in the way, at least so far).

    We’re still unpacking boxes from our move, so none of the consoles are accessible, but a friend gave me LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, so I know what I’ll be playing soon.

    As someone who hasn’t played ME at all, how easy is to to get into ME3? Would I be better off grabbing ME2 first? Do I really need to go back to ME1 (does ME1 even exist on the PS3?)?

    1. Adam, every review I’ve seen so far has been pretty firm that jumping right in at ME3 is not advisable; you’re missing tons of context and emotional investment because it’s the third part of a trilogy. You’d at least want to go back to Mass Effect 2, though I’d personally recommend starting back at 1.

      The PS3 edition of ME2 does come with a playable comic so you can get the feel for ME1 (and make decisions as though you’d played it), although to my knowledge ME1 itself isn’t available for the system.

      1. Thanks, Lassarina! Know that ME2 at least tries to fill in the gaps from the previous one gives me a good path to follow (and probably allows me to hold off on ME3 until it’s cheaper, anyway).

    2. One other issue of jumping straight into ME3 is that the choices Shepard makes in the previous games can (if you choose to and if you’ve made sure to save your data) be carried over into the game(s) immediately following it (ME1 choices carry over to ME2, ME1 and ME2′s choices to ME3). These choices include who lived and who died in the previous instalment, who you helped and who you chose to kill, if you did the side missions etc.

      If you start from scratch in ME2 or ME3 the game assumes a default set of choices for the player and you’re stuck with them. This means that you’d miss out on meeting certain characters and having access to some story content.

      If you’re more interested in just playing and less interested in storyline, then going into ME3 wouldn’t be a big issue IMO. But if it’s story, emotional investment and the full ME experience that you’re after, then I’d seriously consider starting earlier.

    3. What others have said is true, to fully enjoy the experience, you should go back and play all of them. And no, ME1 is not available on the PS3. When you first play ME2, you’re given the opportunity to make choices you would have made in ME1.

      But if you’re not up for that investment, I understand. There’s a great site called where you can pick and import another person’s Shepard and choices… but again, no PS3 support. Sorry.

  14. I’ve been playing Cave Story+, finally. It’s a lot of fun – good platforming and clear controls, with graphics that grow on you after a while. I’m at the final run of the game, though, where you have to fight three bosses in a row without ever recharging your health or saving the game – which makes it dramatic, but also terribly tough, especially since I apparently neglected to pick up an important weapon along the way. I’ve taken a break for a while, to recharge, before attempting the final run again.

    Also been playing some Anomaly: Warzone Earth, which is sort of the reverse of a tower defense game. The voice acting is atrocious and, I can only assume, horribly stereotypical. Ever mission gets 4-5 unsubtle references to some extremely well-known aspect of English culture, or London, such as “That thing makes Big Ben look like a midget!”, “Keep this up, and the Queen’ll have you over for tea and crumpets!”. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think an English military commander would constantly blurt out such references in the middle of a war. The gameplay is fun, though, and surprisingly challenging even on “casual” (or maybe I’m just terrible) – you really need to think how to (re)configure your convoy as it runs through the alien-infested city blocks, especially in the later levels where some of the enemy types are just plain cruel.

    Finally, I just got Vessel today – a puzzle-platformer about using liquids and liquid-based monsters to solve puzzles. The fluid simulation is pretty good, and it’s a lot of fun to play around with. I haven’t gotten too far in yet, but it looks like it will be worth the money.

    1. I’m not a fan of Diablo clones as a rule, but Divinity’s humor and music give it a charm that elevates it above the rest IMHO. The music in particular is some of my favorite music from a fantasy setting outside of a few Japanese RPGs, with themes which are both fitting to the areas where they’re played and make for excellent standalone tracks. If anyone is curious, here are some examples:

      - The theme of Verdistis, a bustling city that is the largest in the game:
      - A theme that plays in an idyllic forest area (aside from some hostile orcs setting up camp):
      - A military fortress’ theme:
      - A theme played at a seedy tavern full of boisterous drunks and brawlers:
      - A theme played at a smaller, more laid-back tavern:
      - The theme of the Rivertown slums:

      The sequel, Divinity 2, excels in the same areas. I’ve also heard good things about the music of Beyond Divinity, the game that comes between them chronologically, but I haven’t played it because it’s supposedly worse in all other respects.

  15. All iOS games again this week:

    -Beyond Ynth, a puzzle platformer where you play a bug that pushes a box around trying to collect gems and avoid obliteration by acorns, fire, sunlight, and cold. Pros: Fun and challenging gameplay, a fairly unique concept, good graphics, runs well. Also, there is a built-in menu option that links to a YouTube solution of the level without exiting the game, which comes in handy. Cons: Controls can be confusing because “jump left” and “jump right” are different buttons. Overall: Recommended, possible accessibility issues

    -These Robotic Hearts of Mine, a puzzle game where the goal is to rotate all the hearts until they are right-side up. Refreshingly simple layout and gameplay, with a story woven in between each level. Also gives the option of skipping a level, if you’re stuck and just want to read the story. Each level has a minimum amount of moves you can finish it in, but you can take as many moves as you need, and there is no timer. Recommended.

    -Blockwick, a puzzle game where the goal is to get two or more blocks to touch. This is made more difficult by immovable walls and other blocks in the way. Each level has a secret ball that can be found tucked under a block. Levels are untimed and the number of moves is not recorded, making this a very stress-free game. Recommended.

    -Pocket Frogs, a simulation game by the creators of Tiny Tower. The game allows collecting and breeding frogs and keeps track of how many different types of frogs have been caught/bred. There is a pond minigame where the player guides the frog over a pondful of lily pads, eating bugs and breeding with other frogs on the pond. If you like collection/progress simulation games, Pocket Frogs is especially good because, like Tiny Tower and unlike Facebook games, you are not limited by a number of moves per day or forced to spam your friends. Recommended.

    -Sword and Sworcery, a point-and-click adventure game that also has a simple combat interface. I haven’t played much of it yet, but it’s shaping up to be great fun. Plus, it comes highly recommended by Llamaentity.

    -Fractal: Make Blooms Not War, a puzzle game where you push around and add colored hexagons on a board. When enough hexagons congregate in the same area, they form a “bloom” and are cleared. A few powerups and chain reactions add to the excitement. Recommended.

  16. I’ve been exploring Morrowind again. Still a great world, bizarre world. I’m 9 hours into it, playing with fancy visual mods, and a few gameplay mods. Even though I’ve invested nearly 100 hours into it, I’m still finding new things. Hell, I’ve barely touched the expansions!

  17. Finishing up Radiant Historia. Must find all the sidequests! I’ve been trying to do it without a walkthrough, but I think I’m going to crack soon and look up what I’m missing.

    Also, finally got around to playing Auditorium. The recent announcement of the sequel’s Kickstarter reminded me that I’d gotten it in a bundle a while back. It’s relaxing, although whenever I solve a puzzle by repeatedly tweaking positions I wonder if I did it wrong.

  18. Finished playing Uncharted 2 last night for the first time. Gotta say I love Elana and Chloe, but damn that last boss battle was giving me a heck of a time. And I was even playing it on easy mode :( Can’t wait to hop back in with Uncharted 3, but I think I might switch over and play some more Amalur first…. or go buy ME3 and dissapear into it for several days >.>

    1. Oh yes, the final boss battle in Uncharter 2 was throw-the-controller-across-the-room frustrating for me. I’m honestly not a big fan of boss battles in general (especially if QTEs are involved…) There’s more than one game I’ve had to abandon just before the finishing line because I couldn’t get through the final boss.

  19. Reinstalled Syndicate Wars after completing the original. So far, in the first EC scientist-acquisition phase, but the suggestion to avoid V1-2 mods entirely and OSP weapons has improved the research progress considerably.

  20. There are games other than ME3? : )

    My partner and I have been playing off and on with Skyrim, which we also just acquired, since launch. We had no problems with face imports, and I’m glad that the final eye option for FemShep is mostly fixed, though there remains noticeable clipping. Don’t care for the new civvies at all.

    Also don’t care for the direction of the game, the new characters, the lack of other characters, etc. I get that any of the squadmates from ME2 could have died on the suicide mission, but why then is (only) Brokarian recruitable? Also the child in the intro was over the top, as well the dream sequence following soon thereafter. Shep could have been through a crabtonne of shit that could haunt them, so why this? And EDI. And poorly-implemented Latino Vega. (Dislike him so much.) sldjflskdjflksdjf sdf I didn’t expect to enjoy the game, so I’m not terribly surprised, but I am disappointed.

  21. Mixing it up between Hot Shots Golf on my Vita, Another Code R on the Wii, Tales of the Abyss on the 3DS and Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky on PSP. I’m really struggling to get into Abyss. A lot of people seem to say it’s their favorite Tales game, which makes me wonder if maybe the Tales series just isn’t for me. It’s not bad…there’s just nothing about it that grabs me and makes me want to keep playing yet and I’m closing in on 10 hours of gameplay.

    Hot Shots is pretty standard, just what you’d expect really if you’re familiar with the series all all. Really, I’m just biding my time until Gravity Rush comes out in June (Did anyone else see the trailer Sony released for it this week? I was v. pleased to see the player in the commercial was a girl. Nice change of pace from Sony’s usual dude-centric marketing tactics). I am really, really impressed with the Vita hardware though, I think I might actually like it better than the 3DS (of which I am a great fan). I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about the UI: it’s the most fun I’ve had browsing on a console ever. Not a fan of Sony’s strategy with memory though; it feels like a system that is very much designed around digital content, but they’re charging an arm and a leg for memory cards (and there’s no internal memory at all).

  22. My copy of ME3 won’t arrive until next week D: D: D: I finished Ghost Trick (AMAZE) so in the meantime I’m watching Fringe :P

  23. ME3. Have been utterly enthralled by the level of execution so far. I’ve cried six times (two happy tears, four of soul-crushing sorrow), have laughed so much, and been more tense and involved in the story than any other game. Or movie. Or book. Or any piece of media, really.

    But now that I’ve been spoiled for the endings and the Problem with them, I… don’t want to finish. It’s stupid, but I feel honestly betrayed by BioWare.

  24. As I suspected I’d do last week, I finally bought Dragon Age: Origins for PC, which I just finished the main campaign of last night. I now know the joy of modding games to fix bugs and make them generally shiny, though my favorite mod is the one that lets me romance Alistair as a male character. I’d underestimated just how much of a difference that would make to my enjoyment of the game – I think it’s my favorite playthrough so far, largely just because of that.

    Now I’m starting to work through Awakening and noticing for the first time just how jarringly different Anders is in this game versus DAII.

  25. No ME3 for me, as I’m only a couple hours into the first game.

    I went into my portable adventures in Kimiko’s post above.

    On the console front, my main gig is still Kingdoms of Amalur. I’m exploring the Plains of Erathell and enjoying it a lot. The storytelling in this area, between backstory and side quests, seems better than Dalentarth’s.

    Mega Man 9 on the PS3: it isn’t something I could knock out in an evening, for a couple of reasons, so I’m taking it a continue or two at a time in between other things.

  26. Might have taken the day off yesterday to play the new SSX.

    The characterization in the game is a lot blander than it was in previous iterations DESPITE more actual background story for each character. What’s always been nice about the game is that the male and female racers are generally about even in stats (except for Kaori who is far and away the best trick-engine in the game sorry, Mac).

    Setting aside an unfortunate in-game comic about one of the women (Alex), wherein her panties feature prominently, SSX remains true to snowboard culture with its grunge-inspired costumes and stylish winter jackets.

    The cast is pretty diverse for a game about a sport dominated by white dudes from America, Canada, and Europe and stars the pleasantly alt-culture Zoe. All in all, not a bad effort.

    And the game is fun if you like that kind of stuff.

  27. I’ve been holding off on starting ME3 – I almost don’t want to play it, knowing that it’s The End. Cheesy, I know. So… started a bounty hunter on TOR instead, and am contemplating searching out a copy of one of the Gabriel Knight games for the nostalgia factor. Probably The Beast Within – werewolves, Bavaria, and FMV = good times.

  28. I’ve just fired up ME3. It only came out in the UK yesterday, and I was in the pub at an unavoidable social engagement (the local arts centre was having a beer festival!) last night.

    Interesting thing I noticed: when customising Shepard, the skin tone slider is darker on the left, lighter on the right. A curious reversal from most western RPGs; given that we read from left to right in English that implies darker is the default starting position. I can’t remember if it was the same in the first two games. I also can’t tell if I’m reading too much into this, but I’m pretty sure it’s usually the other way round.

    Anyway, it’s hello again to my South Asian Earthborn Sole Survivor Adept FemShep this weekend!

  29. Please tell me that’s not true – my renegade char will lose tissue rejection scars? I just died a little.
    Just like when i saw the new, skinny, sexxxy Shep when i began my primary, predominantly Paragon playthrough. And just like when i did not have an option to gun down a holographic, 3′, delusional, in-denial idiot who deserved it more than any of the tyrants that had ever existed in the universe – and instead was spoonfed a choice imposed from above with a preachy conformist message when the game is about an individual standing up to seemingly unbeatable odds and making a difference.

    Trouble is – ME3 is outstanding and magnificent even with these 3 heartbreaking things.

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