‘The perfect final goodbye to Mass Effect’

Nevin Jones | writer

Strap on your N7 armor and prepare for some fun, because “Mass Effect 3: Citadel” is a blast.
BioWare has finally delivered a worthy add-on to its epic conclusion, which brims with action and endless laughs. “Citadel” is a final love note that all fans of the “Mass Effect” series will enjoy.
This downloadable content (DLC) features fan-service to the highest degree, and I do not mean that as a negative. People have spent six long years with this series while growing attached to the characters along the way. It seems only fitting that BioWare’s last DLC with this group of characters brings them together for one final hurrah.
At the start, Commander Shepard and his crew are ordered to take mandatory shore leave on the Citadel. The war has been tough on them and Admiral Hackett wants them well rested for the final assault, so Admiral Anderson gives Shepard his swanky apartment to enjoy.
After getting setup in the apartment and giving it a little exploration, Joker invites Shepard out to eat some sushi where things, of course, spiral out of control in a hurry.
The plot is a wacky conspiracy to steal Shepard’s identity and effectively ruin his life, which may sound a little ridiculous, but BioWare uses it as an excuse to get the band back together. Every squad member from the series appears in some way.
This gave the writers a chance to flex their wittiness a bit and deliver the funniest dialogue moments of the series. One mission allows Wrex and the seven squad members from “Mass Effect 3” to join you for that polished third person combat we all enjoy. As you might expect, non-stop one liners and hilarious banter keep the smiles coming.
After the main story is through, the DLC still has hours of content left exploring a new hub area of the Citadel called Silversun Strip. Here, you can have personal meetings with every previous crew member, partake in multiple mini-games, and buy party supplies for the last available mission of the game: throw a party for your friends.
Yes, the last mission of “Citadel” is throwing a massive party. You can choose to have it be a nice and calm party, or throw a ridiculous, drunken dancefest. The choice for me was a no-brainer. Watching all these characters drunkenly interact is comedy gold. All of the dialogue overflows with in-jokes and references that will get a laugh out of every fan.
“Mass Effect 3” abandoned some of the lighthearted atmosphere of previous games and latched onto the apocalyptic end of the world vibe. “Citadel” steers the feelings back to that warm, fuzzy kind of fun and manages to bring out real emotions. It pulls at heartstrings and makes you care for these characters one last time.
Fans have had their disagreements with BioWare along the way, but have always loved the world they crafted. This is the perfect final goodbye to Mass Effect. It doesn’t change up any major combat components or fix that questionable ending, but I couldn’t picture a better way to say farewell.
Thank you, BioWare, for giving “Mass Effect” fans one last toast with the characters they love.

Alcohol required

Todd Miller | writer

After “Project X” thudded to flop status, I was surprised to see another partying-young-adults movie come out so soon. The producers must have been halfway through already and figured they may as well finish, despite the fact that this “genre” is slowly sinking into the gutter.
In “21 and Over,” it is Jeff Chang’s (Justin Chon) 21st birthday, and his old high school friends, Casey (Skylar Astin) and Miller (Miles Teller) come to town to show him a good time. However, Jeff has an interview with a medical school in the morning and doesn’t want to disappoint his father, Dr. Chang (Francois Chau), whom all three describe as “the scariest man on Earth.” After some provoking from Miller, Jeff agrees to go out for one or two drinks. Of course, Jeff overindulges and passes out in a drunken stupor. His two out-of-town friends must figure out where he lives so he can get up in time for his interview.
On one hand, the idea is interesting because this “genre” of drinking/party films is still somewhat new. The reason it hasn’t taken off is that every movie is essentially the same story of things getting out of hand over and over again. “21 and Over” is no different. This movie was written and directed by the same two men who wrote “The Hangover.” I will give “The Hangover” some credit for putting an interesting twist on this usually cut-and-dried story, but I don’t know why their creativity didn’t last. This movie is just scene after scene of graphic nonsense and mediocre jokes. And the whole thing is so predictable. I nearly left early.
There were only two things that kept me from walking out. First was the character called The Chief (Russell Hodgkinson), a genuinely funny role. The other interesting aspect is a side-plot involving the three young men’s friendship this long after high school, and what Casey and Miller learn about Jeff after they find him carrying a gun and how he met female lead character Nicole (Sarah Wright). I won’t spoil what’s going on there, but it was interesting to see that one, not outright stupid, plot thread move along, even if it’s somewhat hand-waved near the end.
The actors did a great job handling what would otherwise be dry and cookie-cutter characters. Really, it seemed as if everything about the movie was good except the movie itself. The plot was lame and could’ve been anything I’ve seen before. The writing felt bland and uninspired.
The movie was also overly graphic when it didn’t need to be. Some physical comedy is OK, but there’s a line between funny and awkward. I could’ve done without seeing anybody naked or watching Jeff puke in slow motion.

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