Monday, 18 January 2010

A child of two worlds

If an Adept and an Engineer had a baby, it would be a very ugly baby. But say they did, their baby might be something like the Sentinel. A child of two worlds and many interests, a jack of all trades but master of none of them. The Sentinel is just that, having access to some biotic powers and some tech powers as well as an above average use of firearms he has developed to compensate for his wimpy heritage.

The Sentinel class is one that lacks focus, but this may actually prove to be their greatest strength, granting the versatility that his parents lack, able to take on smaller living enemies as well as larger synthetic ones. This could prove to be a large incentive to play the Sentinel in ME2.

I know I was meant to do this yesterday but I was asleep and lazy so I'll do it now and pretend it was on time, hopefully doing the soldier in the evening. I'll try and keep it shorter as well as the last article was over 1,400 words long, but thats the problem with biotics, theres just too much to talk about.

But anyway, whats the Sentinel actually like in ME2? Having never played them in ME1 I dont know what to expect, though with Kaidan as their only ambassador, its not looking good...

Good, so not like Kaidan, who, unfortunately for Carla is still ALIVE. The randy bastard tried to get it on with my character, ha! You're not even good enough to be in the same room as her, get out! Oh well, it was my loss as I didnt bother talking to Liara either so on the way to Ilos Carla Sheperd just sat and cried in her room, alone. Maybe Kaidan will try again, and my character, in desperation will go with it, lets hope not.

The main thing that stands out about the sentinel is the tech armour, some kind of holographic armour suit that is generated on top of your shields. This increases your shield strength with +25% at level 1 and presumably +100% when maxed out. This should enable the sentinel, which is a powers class to last longer in straight combat and do more interesting things. Melee isnt out of question either, with the armour exploding in a concussive wave when depleted, knocking back the enemies that are near to you.

This will give you a second chance when fighting husks and varren but could be useless when the enemies are at longer ranges. After it explodes there is a cooldown before it can be used again but its only short, and should only become a problem when you're really in trouble. I can see this being constantly activated in the background, like a constant buff. It looks amazingly cool as well, though why the characters dont have any covering their face is odd and more than a little bit foolish.

Sentinels also get access to the throw biotic power and can toss their enemies away with a flick of the wrist. You can upgrade this to push field which works a little like shockwave but you get to control the movement of multiple enemies at the same time. This complements the sentinel at both short and long ranges and should add some interesting tactics into the fray.

Warp is the only other biotic power that sentinels have access to and its a good choice in my opinion as it potentially complements their other skills and strategies as a sentinel. You open enemies up for attacks from other players and quickly get rid of barriers and armour that grant immunity to your other powers.

Tech powers stolen from the engineer include cryo blast, which fires a glob of ice at an enemy, hopefully freezing them solid and setting them up for being shattered or just allowing you to run away like a big sissy baby. The other power is overload which can be used to damage an enemies shields or do direct damage to mechs. Armour grants immunity against overload though so it will only be useful sometimes agains the larger mechanised enemies. Overload was a god send as the Infiltrator and should work as well for the Sentinel. Again, it adds to the controlling/ debuffing role of the Sentinel. It also seems to reveal stealthed enemies so that could be an invaluable tool for detecting hidden enemies. This also reveals a massive counter to the Infiltrator, but I'll discuss that later.

There another power seen briefly in the video (only on the power development screen) that isnt used called Slam. I can only assume this is something that improves your melee in close combat but I cant be sure, there is no information about it on the internet.

This does give me hope though that there might be extra powers for each class which are only unlocked when certain ranks in other skills have been reached. Thinking back, this is how several skills were unlocked in ME1. The team at bioware are perfectly capable of making videos with skills maxed out but some hidden so this might be what they are doing. For example, in ME1 Lift was unlocked when Throw rank 7 had been acquired. Maybe there will be stuff like this in ME2.

Sentinels, as another powers class only get access to the heavy pistol and the submachine gun, as well as the heavy weapons that everyone gets. The tech armour will make gunplay more interesting, with the sentinel being able to get much closer and in the middle of the enemies than the adept or the engineer. Tech armour will make you last longer before you have to hide and this should let you lay some bullets down and do a lot of damage.

Sentinels seem like a good choice for the indecisive player, with them having access to a fraction of the powers from the other focus classes and still being able to hold their own in a gun battle. It could be very fun to play as you'd have an answer to everything that could be thrown at you. It could also be annoying though, and the constant lack of high level powers might turn it into a bit of a grind, spamming cryo blast and throw for the entire game.

I'll play the Sentinel, but I'm trying to decide whether to play it before Engineer and Adept, or after. It would be a good introduction to tech and biotic powers but I might play the Engineer and Adept before so I get a proper experience of these classes. The only things Sentinel has going for it is the Tech Armour and the versatility granted from being what he is. I might find a place in my heart for the Sentinel and hopefully they wont just end up being the unloved child of now divorced parents, crying themselves to sleep, every night, in the future.

The final class before the amazing Infiltrator next, the hardened Soldier.

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