Alright, I am cheating a bit because I haven't gone to sleep yet. But I'll make this report so that I don't have to worry about it tomorrow.
I first struggled with the installation of Red Alert 3 for about an hour before it actually started. The DVD was sitting in the drive for fifteen minutes straight or so before it initiated the install. I got very mad and used a lot of curse words, but it worked out in the end. However, I had to wait another hour before the three patches downloaded and installed one-by-one. I've managed to play through the longest tutorial I ever seen for a RTS, though it was pretty pointless at times and I had my doubts about whether or not to finish it. I then played the first two Soviet missions, and stopped at the third. My initial thoughts are these:
- definitely a change of ambience from Red Alert 2, as well as a change in gameplay. Not sure yet if that's good or bad.
- the acting seems a bit inconsistent. On the one hand, it's enjoyable and all, but I keep seeing small stuff that bugs me (like the fact that the Soviet attendant always gives you this smug look and speaks the same way all the time, regardless of the situation)
- the units are nice, but I've got yet to grasp how to actually 'play' the game
- missions seem very short, but I've only played the first ones, so maybe that's the reason
I sidetracked after that and downloaded a community pack for UT3, but later on discovered I actually did that already in Winter. So that was pretty pointless. This game gets hardly any support and additional materials, which is a shame, because personally I consider the basic choice of deathmatch maps pretty weak for UT standards. Oh well, I guess this is just how things are.
Anyway, Mass Effect. Not what I thought it's going to be. Got through the first mission. I still have to wrap my head around all the various options, probably read the 'manual' in-game. Right now this is a slightly 'RPGised' Gears of War, which is fair I suppose, given that I very much liked Gears of War. Presumably the RPG elements are more accentuated later on. I don't particularly like the fact that the protagonist can again be either good or bad with little in between, though the dialogue options so far were rather subtle, which I liked. I'm not sure about the setting (a fantasy-esque SciFi... I usually like one or the other, Star Wars excluded), but I suppose it'll sink in sooner or later.
Suffice to say, I'm eager to see both games in full action, which will commence tomorrow. I'm also planning on installing Bioshock, but that probably won't happen before the weekend. I may be tempted to have a match or two of UT3 in the meantime, as well as perhaps a Soulstorm battle, or maybe a mission from Company of Heroes or Supreme Commander (Forged Alliance). The latter two are a bit less likely however.