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Profile for Quentin Gerlach > Reviews


Quentin Gerlach's Profile

Customer Reviews: 23
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Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM)
Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM)
Price: Click here to see our price
112 used & new from $306.24

124 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difference between 840 EVO, 850 EVO and 850 Pro lines...., December 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have edited my review since becoming aware that the 840 Pro doesn't support hardware encryption my company requires (TCG Opal) either - which basically means there's no benefit to choosing the Pro line over the EVO, except for the reliability grade that the Pro line gets. Samsung has put the Pro line at something like ~60 years reliability, EVO gets around 20. In all honesty, who really has a drive 20 years, much less 60 years.

My main reason for getting this drive is that Samsung finally supports hardware encryption out of the box with the 850 EVO. As I had the 840 EVO, this encryption support was sorely missed, as the work I do can involve confidential documents and processes.

The drive does have better specs than the 840 EVO, but the price point for the 840 line has dropped considerably in recent months, so if you're looking for a better price per GB, the 840 EVO is definitely your ticket (I recently picked up the 1 TB 840 EVO for around $350, a bargain for that size SSD). However, if you need hardware encryption, this drive is your best bet. EDIT: The 840 EVO does support hardware encryption, but you'll have to download a firmware update to get it. My results with this updating have been... less than exemplary - I've already RMA'd two SSDs because of some kind of corruption with the firmware. You may have better mileage than I do.

The only difference between the 850 EVO and Pro line, at least from what I can tell, besides price, is that the Pro offers a 10 year warranty, while this only gets 5. As most hard drives get replaced after ~4 years, I don't need the longevity of the 10 year warranty, though kudos on Samsung's part for offering it.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2015 12:56 AM PDT

Watch Dogs - PC
Watch Dogs - PC
Offered by Tons of Fun Toys
Price: $13.93
39 used & new from $4.92

10 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the wait...., May 27, 2014
This review is from: Watch Dogs - PC (CD-ROM)
It's perhaps inevitable that with Watch Dogs, there are some who would compare it to the other big open-world game based relatively closely on the real world: GTA. For those of you who think it's GTA vs Watch Dogs -- let me stop you right there. These games are fundamentally different, and so I would say "Why not both??" Yes, they're both based in an open world, and both basically allow you to do practically whatever you want. But in GTA, for the most part, there aren't many consequences for your actions. Run down a ton of people on the street, get some stars, and then lead the cops on a hilarious and explosive chase. If you die - no worries, you'll respawn at home (hospital - whichever version of GTA you're talking about), with various amounts of dollars missing from your wallet. Go back outside -- do the same stuff over again. And honestly - that's what makes GTA the great game it is. Knowing that you can do what you wish, and the game won't hold it against you. With Watch Dogs, this concept no longer applies. Now your choices start to matter. Now the consequences matter. As McFly would say, "This is Heavy, Doc...."

For those of you who have been under a rock the past couple of years - Watch Dogs has been a highly expected game from Ubisoft, who went so far as to delay the release of this game by around 6 months, just to try and perfect it. In Watch Dogs, you're in the city of Chicago, who's infrastructure and crime prevention system is run by a supercomputer named ctOS. In all actuality, this reality isn't that farfetched. Driverless transit systems are common (London, Seoul, Tokyo, DC, San Francisco, among others) and we all know the ever-prevalent security camera systems in many cities. The only difference here is in the game, everyone's information is also tied into the system. Characteristics, bank accounts, credit cards, school and criminal records - you name it, it exists in the system. So the question arises, "What if someone hacks the system?" And it's with this premise that Watch Dogs has you play in...

I won't lie - I downloaded the game a tad early, thanks to some various websites (I'm sorry, after getting burned on the last 3 preorders I've done for PC - Command and Conquer 4, Mass Effect 3, and SimCity 5, I don't intend on any game getting the best of me again), and I can really say that the game lives mostly up to its hype, although it still needs some work on the PC.

The environment of Chicago looks fantastic, and from the dry run I played, the main storyline is actually quite good. My main beef with the PC version is the driving handling is awful, and it's especially a pain when there's a chase going on, and you're trying to avoid hitting pedestrians, (trust me, watch what happens the first time you hit a street walker - go on, I dare you!) and your car just refuses to make that turn you need it to make.

I gotta give props to the Ubisoft guys - the NPCs in this game are some of the best I've seen yet. I remember walking towards an intersection, and just then an accident occurred, and everyone starts pulling out their phones and recording/taking pictures. Also, depending on what kind of reputation you get later in the game, people will start to recognize you, and either call the cops or try and take a picture of you, based on whether you choose to be good or bad. Pay attention to the banter and dialogue of the NPCs, and it becomes clear Ubisoft really worked hard on this aspect of the game.

The game specs recommend quite a beefy computer - but I was able to play it quite smoothly on my Lenovo W530 laptop (2.3 GHz Core i7, nVidia K1000, 256 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM), although I did have to turn off some of the reflections and ambient occlusion and all that. Only choppiness I got was from some cutscene videos that stuttered, though the audio came through no problem.

Online play is somewhat optional - the game early on forces a mission on you to at least attempt the online scene, so at least you can get a feel for the play, but fortunately, that's it - storyline wise at least. Online Decryption is actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be - having a team vs team, with everyone throwing their hacks around, is tons of fun.

All in all, Ubisoft did an awesome job on the game, which in retrospect they better have, since they took an extra 6 months to finish up. The game gets a solid 4.5 stars, but the originality of the concept bumps it up in my book to 5.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2014 8:45 AM PDT

Mastering System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
Mastering System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
by Santos Martinez
Edition: Paperback
Price: $39.55
51 used & new from $19.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but couple issues..., March 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have to give some props -- usually, when Microsoft releases a large update like the R2 releases for System Center products and Windows, it takes a long while for MS to release books and guides like these, like roughly 6-9 months. This time it was around 4 months. Hopefully this is a trend Microsoft will continue.

The book is quite good, as was its predecessor. My main faults with the book is that a bunch of sections are ripped directly from the previous gen's book, Mastering System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (which I also have). For instance, in Chapter 4, when they're describing how ConfigMgr implements its single-source storage for applications, the R2 version copies word-for-word the pages in the older 2012 book. This wouldn't be a problem, if the images matched up. But they don't, and what's already a somewhat hard-to grasp concept becomes more difficult because the GUIDs don't match.

Otherwise, the book does very well in detailing the new features Microsoft placed in ConfigMgr 2012 R2, especially with mobile devices and supporting other OSes, like Mac and Linux. A couple of the authors are also fantastic resources on keeping up with ConfigMgr, like Peter Daalmans -- his blog is available at

Since the glaring issues are few and far between, the book gets a solid 4 stars. By the way, for those who didn't know/see, Microsoft also released a updated help guide for ConfigMgr R2, which can be quite useful, find it here:
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2014 10:58 AM PDT

LIFX Original A21 Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Multicolor, Adjustable, Dimmable, No Hub Required, Pearl White
LIFX Original A21 Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb, Multicolor, Adjustable, Dimmable, No Hub Required, Pearl White
Price: $35.99
21 used & new from $32.39

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has potential, but most should wait for app update...., January 10, 2014
I was a Kickstarter backer for this, and I've been eagerly awaiting these bulbs since mid-last year. It's really quite interesting to watch a concept go through various iterations, and see the changes and modifications that one has to make to create something.

Downside to this is that things tend to be in beta when you get them, and although the bulb is done, it has some serious issues. The bulb itself is quite large, as others have mentioned, and has some serious heft to it. My main concern is that, besides the size, not every fixture is sturdy enough to support the weight of this. Especially older homes where the fixtures may not be as solid as they once were.

I didn't really have an issue getting the bulb linked to my wireless - fairly quick and painless, took around ~5 minutes. Again, the app feels like it's in "beta" -- many of the features and uses of this bulb can't be done until the app has the feature, and so basically all you can do is set a color (or a certain shade of white) and dim/increase brightness. Oh, and turn it on/off. Not much else.

Again, is it cool? Aboslutely. Does it have potential? Darn right it does. And if you don't mind waiting to see that potential, then you should absolutely jump on this. Otherwise, you'll want to check back in say a month or so, and see how things are going.

I'll update this review once those features are available
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2014 9:18 PM PDT

Buffalo DriveStation DDR High Speed USB 3.0 2 TB External Hard Drive (HD-GD2.0U3)
Buffalo DriveStation DDR High Speed USB 3.0 2 TB External Hard Drive (HD-GD2.0U3)
Price: Click here to see our price
71 used & new from $75.00

78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need speed?? Get this drive...., May 6, 2013
I just want to make something clear right now -- this drive reads and writes incredibly fast, IF you use it correctly. That means you need to have it connected to a USB3 port, and you need to keep the caching feature in the software on. As long as you keep those requirements in mind - this drive is amazing.

The secret to this drive is that it has a 1 GB cache of DDR3 memory, which allows the drive to write/read at ridiculous speeds. Used in conjunction with an SSD in my computer, I've gotten sustained speeds of roughly 200 MBps - read and write. As far as I've researched, that is the fastest a drive has hit yet.

The Buffalo software that's on the drive is pretty much unnecessary - again, unless you plan on turning off the cache ability, which you shouldn't - the software is really superfluous. You could use SecureLock to encrypt the drive - I find it's a little slow. I use BitLocker - works fine. You can also use any of the various 3rd party encryption tools out there...

Just a couple of concerns -- one, there's only one drive in here. So if you're paranoid about losing data, you may want another backup. Another thing is that there's no easy way to switch out the drive. This is like the pie in the sky for me - it would be nice if external drive makers made this easier to do - especially if the drive does fail. The third thing you'll need to be careful of -- since the drive temporarily writes to a DDR cache, if the drive loses power while data is in the cache, it's gone. Period. Had a power outage when I was copying data (thank goodness I was just copying), and there appears to be no temp power supply in the drive to allow the data that's in the cache to finish copying to the actual HDD. So it disappeared. Keep this in mind - I fixed it with plugging the drive into a UPS.

Besides that, this thing is a beast, and honestly, it's competitively priced with other drives of similar space, so I see no reason to look any farther for a external HDD.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Special Edition - PC (Includes: Game, DLC, Artbook, Poster & Soundtrack)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Special Edition - PC (Includes: Game, DLC, Artbook, Poster & Soundtrack)
Offered by Tons of Fun Toys
Price: $16.82
16 used & new from $7.49

137 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game -- hopefully won't go the way of the original..., October 9, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The X-Com series dates back to the early 90's -- I still remember the hours I spent on X-COM: UFO Defense... In fact, the game is considered by many to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) strategy games ever developed. With the randomly generated maps -- concept of fog of war and line of sight -- getting shot at from nowhere -- permanent death -- and that fantastically good music that so fit the mood of the game, it's no wonder many still play it, almost 20 years after it was released.

There's been many efforts to remake/redo the game, with how far computers have come since then, but no big game companies decided to take it on, until now, and I do believe I'm in good company when I say that Firaxis really have a winner on their hands...

First the box -- this is the special edition version, so you get the artwork book and a nice insignia thing. I appreciated the artwork book, especially when they showed some of the original designs and the updated ones -- it's really amazing to see how far things have come from the early 90s, in terms of the capabilities of computers. Poster was nice too - but that's all just fluff to me. If you're downloading it, be prepared to wait: there's 2 DVDs in the box, so that's around 13-14 GBs of data. Well worth it.

There's already tons of reviews and videos out there about the gameplay, so I'll stick with some lesser known ones, for some pros and cons:

- I really like the addition of new mission types -- the original only had terror, crashed UFOs, landed UFOs, and alien bases. The new ones adds VIP retrieval, bomb disarming, and I believe one other one (turns out its target extraction - there's a difference between it and VIP -- usually, in target extraction, whoever you save actually joins your team). This helps to shake things up, as the old one tended to get repetitive, especially once you researched heavy plasma. Shoot down UFO, send in soldiers, blast away those pathetic alien scum with some heavy plasma, clean up: wash, rinse, repeat. Now, things can still get tense -- even late in the game.
- The soundtrack really stands out to me. Music really has an ability to heighten moments and situations, if done correctly. The original did an amazing job of capturing the creepiness and emotion that danger really could be behind every corner -- and they did it again. Major props to whoever did the sound/music on this one.
- Multiplayer: this one your mileage may vary with. Me personally - it's nice to sometimes play as the aliens. It's also pretty interesting to see how others react in a given situation (some choose to barge, some choose to flank, some choose a decoy, some choose stealth) -- everyone reacts differently. It's also nice to know I'm not the only one who accidentally dashes instead of just moving to get a better shot.
- Medikit: thank you for allowing me to heal the soldier who carries the medkit. If anyone remembers the original, it was a PAIN to have to heal your guys. Had to be facing them -- couldn't heal yourself (had to drop it (throw it) - have someone else pick it up, then use it. Make sure you don't run out of time units. Ridiculous) It gets a whole lot simpler now. Thank you 2K.

- They took out base defense. This really annoyed me. In the original, depending on the difficulty and how well you were doing, the aliens would send ships to take out your base(s). It was a cool way to see your base from the battle mode, and it was an interesting way of keeping you on your toes. They took it out in this one, which disappoints me somewhat. Hopefully they might bring it back...
- Soldiers can't kneel (goin prone would've nice to add). This sucks. Cover is a big part of the game - don't use cover, and you're pretty much goin to die. In the original however, you could also kneel (while not in cover), which not only made it harder for you to hit, but increased your own soldier's accuracy. They got rid of that ability in this game, which really bugs me. Why can't I kneel while not in cover? Why can't I go prone -- that would've been nice to add... Maybe it's just me though.
- Stunning: this wouldn't be so bad, if it wasn't critical to the game. But it is. In the original, eventually you would research Stun Bomb/Stun Launcher, which made stunning the required aliens a whole lot easier. They took that away. The ONLY weapon to stun with is a close ranged one. You can research to increase its range - but it only goes from like 2 to 4. Plus its a hefty cost. This makes stunning a heck of a lot harder. Plus a bunch of the aliens you have to stun have to be injured before they can even GET stunned. What the heck?? Basically -- it becomes impossible. Be prepared to lose a bunch of guys just because of stunning.

Those are really the two biggest gripes I have -- pretty amazing, considering the game they remade. Guaranteed game of the year right here -- this game will certainly be responsible for me not getting sleep, and that not just becau... you hear that??

Someone there???...

UPDATE (10/12/2012) -- finished the game, and it really is quite good. I can definitely see indicators of a sequel coming out... I edited my list above, most good, a few bad. But it really is quite an excellent game. And challenging - dang Impossible mode...
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2013 1:02 AM PST

InfiGear Ultra Series High Speed HDMI Cable (6 Feet) - Supports Ethernet, 3D and Audio Return [Latest HDMI Standard]
InfiGear Ultra Series High Speed HDMI Cable (6 Feet) - Supports Ethernet, 3D and Audio Return [Latest HDMI Standard]

5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet reliability - plus to have 1.4b compatibility..., June 11, 2012
A note - I did receive a free cable for this.

With that said -- this cable is really quite good. Takes a beating as well. I've had it for about a month - which, in that time, I mainly used it for my Xbox 360 to the TV. Games look crisp and clear - though there wasn't much of a difference between this specific cable and any other. Thanks to Amazon finally bringing Prime Movies to the 360, I was able to watch a couple streaming HD movies on my TV, and they looked quite good as well. Here I noticed a bigger difference between clarity, though I can't really explain why. But this cable showed movies better.

This HDMI cable is also apparently compatible with the newest 1.4b standard -- I can't really speak to that, as not many devices are out yet that take advantage of the new standard (mainly that you can now route Ethernet [aka Internet] traffic through HDMI). A friend has one of those HDMI cable testers, and it did show its ability to do Ethernet, so you'll be set for the near future when devices do take advantage of that.

What really impressed me, though -- was that I tend to take my Xbox to a friend's house, where there are 3 kids - ages 11 to 3. They like playing Kinect Sports and such, and so my hardware tends to take a pounding just because - well, that's how kids are. Especially with the younger ones, the ripping of cables from the TV and stepping on the wires can be really hard on electronics, and I actually lost 2 HDMI cables just from the roughness. So having this cable still work like a champ after intense pulls and stomps speaks well of its construction. Major props for this.

Especially for the price, even when it does die out, getting a new one won't cost an arm and a leg.

All in all - this cable is well worth the price, especially after how I saw it hold up after "When Kids Attack" movie was over. Multiple times.

Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3
Price: $6.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good - incomplete in places though...., May 18, 2012
This review is from: Mass Effect 3 (MP3 Music)
I'll be honest - the Mass Effect series has probably had some of the best produced soundtrack music I've heard yet - bar none. As if the game doesn't already make your emotions go for a rollercoaster ride, the music just makes the ups and downs all the more poignant. Especially in Mass Effect 3, with so many situations being decided, and so many lives in the balance -- the composers did a great job of capturing the feelings and mood of characters and moments, and turning it into music.

With songs like "Leaving Earth" and "A Future for the Krogan", this soundtrack is definitely one you'll want to add to your collection, especially if you have the previous Mass Effect 1 and 2 soundtracks. I think my favorite has to be "I Was Lost Without You". Exceptional use of violins there...

There are a couple things that did bother me, though -- one was that it seems that alot of music from the previous games was reused in this game. It isn't necessarily a bad thing -- but as you start going through the game, it starts to bug me that they didn't do more original works of their own. Giving a nod to the previous ME games is one thing -- just completely ripping the older ME1 and ME2 music and popping it in constantly is another. Somethin else is that this CD is nowhere near complete. As others have mentioned - the CE edition includes two other tracks, but also, alot of shorter songs are missing. For instance, (hopefully not giving too much away here) -- Mordin's final scene has a fantastic song that isn't here, along with the Citadel's bar music - also quite popping.

It's unfortunate they missed alot of those lesser-known, yet just as good songs. Fortunately, there's a means to get them: Youtube.

Those are really my only two gripes -- but again, they don't detract from the quality of the music on this CD. Just wish it was more complete.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2012 7:08 AM PST 4PORT VGA Switcher 1920 X 1200 (1080p) & bandwith 650MHz with RS-232 4PORT VGA Switcher 1920 X 1200 (1080p) & bandwith 650MHz with RS-232
Price: Click here to see our price
53 used & new from $119.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great device - two small issues...., April 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got a couple of these for a conference that my job was holding -- with everyone wanting to show PowerPoints and pictures and the whole 9 yards, we needed a simple device that could easy switch between various computers. This switcher did not let us down. Works great -- easy as plug and play basically.

There were two small things I noticed -- more or less notes to keep in mind, as they might cause you a little grief if you come across them: one was that the inputs have to be done in order. On the back of the device, each port is numbered "Input 1", or "Input 2" -- so on and so forth. It happened to be, when we were plugging everything in, that "Input 4" was the closest for the first laptop we were plugging in. It wouldn't work. We thought it was something with the device, and for the heck of it, I just decided to replug the VGA cable into "Input 1". Worked no problem. I attempted the same steps again, and the same thing occurred. So one needs to start with input 1, and then continue from there.

Also, the remote works great, but unfortunately, they decided to use an infrared sensor to capture the remote's commands, so unfortunately, to be able to change the input channel, you have to stand directly (or at least pretty darn close) to the front of the box, where the sensor's located.

Again - these are just minor things in my book. As long as you keep those two things in mind -- the switcher works beautifully.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2012 12:37 PM PDT

Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition -Xbox 360
Offered by Delaware
Price: $87.85
81 used & new from $2.52

10 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long-awaited finale for a fantastic series...., March 6, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ever since the first game dropped in 2007, the Mass Effect games has proven to be one of the best developed, not to mention written, series done so far. The best known feature, the concept of player choice affecting the outcome of a story, is one that, to my disappointment, is something that isn't done enough. If anyone ever played Deus Ex, back in 2000, this concept - having choices, making decisions, and then having those decisions affect the game - it really was a bold step, and one done quite well. In my humble opinion, the Mass Effect series is a big step forward in that line - not only having your choices affect one game, but other games down the road. It will be interesting to see what comes next....

Anywho - Mass Effect 3 is the final chapter in Commander Shephard's story. Everything comes down to this game -- all the steps you took, all the choices you made, all the lives you spared (or didn't spare) -- it's effect is seen here. Something to note: if you're just starting the series with ME 3, trust me, go back and get the first two games. The story takes on a whole new meaning when you do.

The new features to come to Mass Effect 3 is, at least with the Xbox, Kinect support, and multiplayer. Kinect support is an interesting diversion, but after its 15 seconds of coolness is over, it really stops being used. You can use it to select options in dialog, and you can use it in battle to issue orders or tell which team member to use what power. For dialog, I think I used it like twice, while the battle commands actually were used for part of the first mission. Maybe others will get more use out of it than I did, but for me -- the top right and left buttons work just fine.

There are alot of strong opinions out there about multiplayer, some love it, some hate it, and I figured a good way to review it would be to keep it separate from the singleplayer portion. Multiplayer can and does affect your singleplayer, if you choose to play it, but you don't have to, if you don't like it. My impressions of it: it's well done, but nothing you haven't seen before. As anyone who played the demo has seen, there are 5 classes, and you start out as a human. Along the way, you can unlock other races in those classes, each with their strengths and weaknesses. You battle increasing difficult waves of enemies, and every so often, you're given objectives that need to be completed with a certain amount of time. I'll give BioWare credit - the AI is well done. They're tough, decently smart, and attempt to outflank you alot. I liked that the creators didn't have the AI spawn, but drop from certain portions of the map. But, like all other AI, eventually they get predictable. A real big gripe I have is that (at least on the Xbox, don't know about the PS3 version) unfortunately, it seems that BioWare fell in love with the A button. You literally use the A button for EVERYTHING. You want to run? Hold A button. You want to hide in cover? A button. Revive someone?? A button. Switch cover or jump over cover?? A button. Jump forward or side to side while standing?? A button. You get the gist. It bothers me because of this: you'll try to revive someone, and you'll end up going into cover. Or jumping into a bunch of enemies. It seriously gets to be a pain.

Besides that, and that eventually, the AI gets a little boring, the multiplayer was quite enjoyable. Feel free to play it or avoid it at your leisure...

Ok, so the singleplayer mode -- I'll try to write this as best I can, or those who either 1) haven't played the series before, and 2) to not give away too many spoilers. For those who've played before, alot of the old people return for the final showdown. It was quite surprising to see even a couple little (in terms of effect on story and ability to talk to) people return (Engineer Adams, for one - from the first SSV Normandy). The galaxy map is now nicely divided by territories, with certain systems having a nice big Reaper over them, to show where they are in relation to the rest of the galaxy. You now get to visit alot of the other races' worlds, something that was sorely lacking in the previous games. The graphics are quite good - at least to me. Even though I played the demo, I still found myself looking around at the cityscape just at the start of the game. And when you go to other worlds or places, prepare to spend some time just admiring.

While I'm on the topic of admiring the landscape, also pay attention to the music. The Mass Effect soundtracks are some of the best done for a video game I've ever heard. Even those who don't normally like soundtrack music admit that Mass Effect's is in a class of it's own. For a taste of what I'm talking about, look up on YouTube "Mass Effect 3 boy dies". Some powerful, emotional stuff...

I also like that the game gets going quickly. Mass Effect 2 especially suffered from this -- it felt like things didn't really start moving until you completed like 25, 30% of the game. Here, the initial mission is over, and things already have your blood pumping -- you know what you need to do, and what's at stake.

Your goal is to gather enough resources to confront the Reaper alien invasion. There are plenty of sidequests as well to this main objective, but what was interesting was that some of these sidequests were only available for a certain amount of time. That made sense - my problem was that the game didn't tell you how much time you got. I would get side missions, and say "ok, I'll get to those in a moment", and after, say, completing another mission, it would no longer be available. I didn't like not being told there was a time limit - so keep that in mind....

Some issues: There are times (actually, a quite a number of times) the game stutters and slows down way too much. I thought it was an issue with the Xbox not being able to handle the amount of graphics and data, but apparently it's a problem on the PS3 and PC as well. The game does eventually pick back up on its own, however. There's also a ton of loading screens. On the PC, it's not too big of a deal, since things load in 30 seconds. The Xbox is a different story. Be prepared to wait alot. This I attribute to the Xbox's age - it's an older console, and this is definitely one game which loses some points -- not because it couldn't be better, but because the Xbox just can't handle it.

That's pretty much the only things I didn't like about the game. It's a fitting end for Commander Shephard - one that guarantees he'll go down in video game icon history.

A note: If you ordered the Collector's Edition, it says it comes with the soundtrack. It doesn't. It comes with the code to download it. When you register your online pass with your EA account, EA then gives you access to download the soundtrack. To me, it's a really convoluted way to give something out, when all you had to do was just pop a 25 cent CD in the packaging, and put the music on there. Good grief....

I'll be updating this if anything else stands out to me. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions!!

UPDATED (3/11/2012) -- so I beat the game, and I must say, the game itself does really live up to the ME hype that EA and BioWare have been pushing out for it. It was quite good. They killed off a bunch of characters, but I mean - it's a galactic war, what do you expect?? What I did think was terrible, however, was the ending. I don't know who came up with that ending, but it was just not good. It doesn't fit with the storyline, and things that used to make sense now no longer. I'm not sure if this was because the rush to get this game out was that demanding, or if they just couldn't come up with anything better - I don't know. But the various endings - all were unacceptable. I even thought it might've been me, and maybe I failed to do something. But YouTube has all the possible endings you can get, and nope, BioWare just dropped the ball on it. I deducted one star because of it, since it's only the last 10 minutes that fails.

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