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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Florae and Faunae of Feros

Sorry for not posting yesterday: things are pretty hectic. I was planning on playing some Mass Effect last night but I ended up watching the kids instead. However, it's not all bad because I've got a lot of achievement-related news to discuss today. While sitting down with Mass Effect on Monday night, I unlocked a whole slew of achievements and advanced the story along as well. And I also picked up a couple unexpected achievement, so it turned out to be a great night for me!

When I last left you, Commander Shepard and crew hand landed on the colony planet of Feros. Once known for its sprawling Prothean ruins, Feros had recently come under attack by the Geth. The question was: what were they searching for? Of course, I could totally tell you what the Geth wanted...but I won't.

What I can tell you is that the thing being searched for had a number of bad effects on some of Feros' colonists and only Commander Shepard could help. Of course, playing the part of the Renegade saw me "accidentally" destroy most of the colony myself but that's neither here nor there. In fact, I was awarded the Medal of Heroism achievement for my "help" on Feros...so there!

Besides picking up a medal, I also unlocked a number of the biotic-related achievements. Rather than keep you in suspense, let's take a look at the Mass Effect achievements and gamer points that I earned for myself on Monday.

Barrier Mastery [15 GamerPoint]: Did you know that you can earn this achievement simply by using the Barrier power over and over regardless of whether or not Commander Shepard is in combat? I earned most of this achievement while walking the grounds of the Citadel's Presidium. Earning 15 gamer points for simply staring out over an artifical lake is not too shabby!

Warp Mastery [15 GamerPoint]: Much like the Barrier Mastery achievement, using the Warp power outside of combat counts toward the 75 required power uses for this achievement. Basically, I commanded Shepard to use his Warp power, whenever possible, against any and all walls or objects that stood in his way. Lo and behold, Warp Mastery and its 15 gamer points were soon mine!

Throw Mastery [15 GamerPoint]: Any guesses as to how to earn this achievement? Once again, by simply using the Throw power while in-combat or outside of combat counts towards the 75 uses of Throw required for the Mastery achievement. Not only did Shepard throw Geth around like little metallic rag dolls: he also targetted helpless crates, walls and lockers too!

Pistol Expert [10 GamerPoint]: This was an unexpected achievement that I picked up while finishing up my business on Feros. There are quite a few enemies to kill as you finish up with the Feros colony and its deep, dark secret. Somehow, I managed to have Shepard and his lowly pistol steal enough kills from Ashley and Tali to earn the Pistol Expert achievement. My trick was to let Ashley and Tali weaken most enemies with their assault rifles and shotguns and then move Shepard in for the pistol kill right before the enemies were totally finished off.

Dog of War [25 GamerPoint]: Another unexpected achievement! I picked up the Dog of War achievement for having killed 150 organic enemies. I can almost guarantee that you'll pick this up as you finish up on Feros due to the large number of organic enemies about. I'm not whether the 150 kills must be performed by Shepard or by Shepard and crew. In any case, kill everything you can in the game and too can become a Dog of War and pick up 25 gamer points!

Medal of Heroism [25 GamerPoint]: The investigation of Feros starts off as any other assignment. And then things get crazy! And then they get weird! Then weirder! And then you discover that Shepard is nothing more than an over-qualified gardener. Strange stuff happening on Feros these days...

In any case, I killed all the big bad guys, I killed the Geth, and I killed any and all Krogan bounty hunters who felt the need to take pot shots at Shepard and crew. Oh, and as his last act on Feros, Shepard ended up killing someone in cold blood in one of the most shocking cut-scenes that I've seen in a video game in quite a while. I can only imagine how difficult some of the moral choices will get as I work through
Mass Effect's main story line. I wonder if I'll have the guts to finish the game as a Renegade: there is bound to be countless decisions that will see Shepard performing or watching cold and heartless acts.

Any time I sit down and clear 6 achievements worth 105 gamer points, I'm a happy man. Tonight, I'll continue my journey through the Mass Effect universe though I doubt I'll pick up any achievements. I've got a couple systems that I need to explore to take care of some extra assignments that have been dropped in Shepard's lap. However, I expect to run into a bit of enemy resistance which should help me come ever closer to earning the Life Mastery, Singularity Mastery, and Stasis Mastery achievements. These work in the same way as the previous biotic-related achievements; although, both the Singularity and Stasis powers must be used in combat to be counted towards the Mastery achievements. All three of these powers are pretty darned powerful though and I don't expect too much difficulty in clearing each of these achievements soon.

I'll be back tomorrow with a little more Mass Effect game-play news. I've got a lot of gaming left to finish GTA IV and Fallout 3 are released later this year!