Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mass Effect Ride - Now Available!

Yesterday, the Mass Effect ride at California's Great Adventure opened up to an early preview for a limited audience. IGN was among the crowd and brought a live video stream of the ride via Facebook. Later, they had an additional video of the full ride, from line-up to the exit. The ride comes with a costumed performer, portraying Conrad Verner...and I heard a collective groan from the blogging audience on that one.

The ride is a 4D landscape, meaning a 3D video with your seats moving, along with sprits of water and steam that may hit you to coincide with the action on the screen. Which is something that's difficult to capture on a video camera, so you can't really get the full experience of the ride from the video. The story is that you are on a "vacation tour" in the Mass Effect galaxy, and you're being guided by Conrad to one of the planets as you leave the Citadel. Or at least I think it's the Citadel...the bay doors like to stay closed during take-off. You set off on your cruise spaceship (har har) to go through a Mass Relay, you happen to run into the Normandy where Conrad freaks out and fanboys (which is kind of amusing to see that the actor really gets into it), and make it to your destination plant...which is currently being attacked by a Reaper. So it's up to your weird cruise ship and the Normandy to take it down, with cameos from a digital Garrus and Wrex. When you exit the ride, artwork from the games can been seen in some of the hallways. The cosplayers in the video, including Rana, the model for Samara and Morinth, are not part of the attraction. Just an opening day promo. But at the front of the ride line there are replicas of Shepard's armor, both male and female. Curious to find out who built them.

Ride response from the videos has been mixed. Some people like it, and others find it just okay. It reminds me a lot of the Star Trek experience in Las Vegas, but without the bar and extensive gift shop and museum. They had a 4D ride as well and it was fun. Cheesy, but that's what you pay for. You block out the world for 3-5 minutes by being a Star Trek nerd and go about your business. They could have gone in a multitude of directions for this attraction, but given their space and size limitations, it's nifty. I think kids will like it, or at least Mass Effect fans who understand the nuances of Conrad or what the heck a Reaper is. Bwahhhhh.

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