In Mass Effect 2 I've found that in some cases I don't even click to fact that I'm playing nonessential content until after I look back it later once I've walked away from the game. The balance they've struck with is the key. These extras aren't purely off the beaten path nor are they beating me over the head to go do them because it will help me out. They happen naturally, within the context of the events in the game.
A couple of important mechanics are at work behind the scenes. One of them is picking up these extra missions as a passerby to conversations in the world. This is significant because it's a built-in test of whether I care to take the mission or not without directly confronting me with the decision. When I walk by and stop, I'm taking the initiative to listen. Another clever trick is the quick payoff for what I'll call assignments of opportunity. These are things that happen seemingly spontaneously in the level. For instance, helping someone out of jam that I didn't even realize was in that situation before I intervened.
Here's a few of the missions Shack took today in case you got occupied by other quests during the day:
- Good Old Games added some sweet vintage Acti games to its library
- The BFBC2 PC beta started today and there's a demo out for 360
- C&C4 also started a beta today
- New trailer shows of the Predator in AvP
- Details on multiplayer matchmaking in Bioshock 2
- Downloadable version of Afterburner headed to 360 and PS3
- 2K offering $1 million for the first person to throw a perfect game when MLB 2K10 hits
I know we have some serious photographers so I thought I'd share this cool look into the past thing
Here's an unexpected combination of a trackhoe and waterskiing
Damn, wish I could have preloaded BC2 beta while I was at work :( Time to setup VNC again.