Spoiler Warning S4E4: Consequences!

By Shamus
on Nov 23, 2010
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

238 comments


Link (YouTube)

I forgot about the two most crucial bits of feedback we get from people:

  • Play games you really hate. The show is most fun when you’re tearing a game apart.
  • Stop complaining so much. It’s no fun listening to you bitch for an entire episode.

I am sorry to inform both groups that we’re not operating under some sort of complaint quota here. Our conversation is shaped by the game in front of us, not the other way around. Having said that, you’ll be glad (or sad) to hear that after this episode we’re done with the introduction to the game and we’re on to the fun stuff.

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!A Hundred!2018238 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. Thomas says:

    They only thing I hate is when they show you the new Normandy with the Cerberus color scheme and logo. The Normandy deserved better, damn it!

    • jdaubenb says:

      You deserve better!
      Would it have been too much to ask for Shepard to go and buy some nondescript casualwear? Why does every shirt you own have to be stamped with Cerberus’s logo?

      • Audacity says:

        Why does a secret, sneaky, hidden, clandestine, possibly illegal, underground political club even have a damn logo, let alone a uniform color scheme? The impression I got from reading up on them at TV tropes was that they are supposed to be a secret society with its fingers in everything human from business, politics and education to the Alliance Navy. So why does everyone know about them, and why do they have a logo? What kind of halfassed ineffectual shadow organization is this?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          *coughfreemasonscough*

            • Velkrin says:

              Cerberus spent all their money bringing Shep back to life and making the Normandy 2, so consequently Shepard’s budget is non-existent. Why do you think he/she has to find their own minerals and do their own research?

              He/she would buy clothes but since he was declared dead the alliance raided Shep’s bank account so they could build a fleet of cruisers for Admiral Surprise Inspection. As a result Shepard had to rely on what Cerberus had in stock. Thankfully Shepard expert elimination of superfluousness Cerberus staff in the first game lead to an excess of available clothing.

          • MrWhales says:

            I like the freemason licenses plates. It’s going from slightly obvious to, billboard here, or here

    • Skan says:

      I think Shamus talked about it in one of his articles but; Cerberus is super secret, why WOULD they put the logo on everything you own and a giant one with matching paint job on the Normandy, it’s totally stealthy!

      • Thomas says:

        Yeah, it’s right up there with having Legion in your squad. Especially while on the Citadel, or on Tali’s loyalty mission.

        • Skan says:

          Nearing the end of the game, when the romance scene comes up I was totally expecting a Cerberus brand on Sheperds butt, but they dont show his/her backside, which just makes me more sure that there is one.

          • halka says:

            Heh. And if not a logo, at least a barcode.

          • Nyaz says:

            Mass Effect 3: It turns out Commander Shepard is actually a clone! In fact, there are hundreds like him/her in tubes, grown by Darth Vad-… what do you mean that game’s already been done? The Force Unleashed 2, you say? Aww.

            • PurePareidolia says:

              See, that would make a hell of a lot more sense. You still have the problem with clone-Shepard having a completely blank mind and real-Shepard’s brain being burned up in atmosphere but it could work.

              Although technically your helmet is intact, so it’s possible Shepard is a clone with a brain transplant, assuming we ignore everything in that cutscene to do with regenerating dead cells and applying cybernetics to broken bones…

              I mean, Shepard was still overkilled in the worst way, but at least it’s a bit more plausible

        • Irridium says:

          Well at least when you took Legion with you during Tali’s loyalty mission you get something out of it. That thing is Legion informing the Quarians that the Geth are open to peace.

          • Sheer_Falacy says:

            Speaking of which, they should definitely do this – take Legion to Tali’s loyalty mission. It require putting off the loyalty mission for a bit but still, I think that’d be a good commentary moment.

      • jdaubenb says:

        They even broadcast Cerberus data signatures. So even if the dock you are landing at doesn’t have a window, your ship is yelling “Look at me, I am a Cerberus vessel.”

      • Newbie says:

        I never thought that… only the illusive man is secretive. Cerberus is a corporation not a gang. It’s just that lots of things they do is guarded (like a military experiment) Cerberus still needs to hire and to promote the technology they develop (or steal). So like BP they have a bad image but still not really a super secret assassin’s guild.

        • guy says:

          IIRC, in the first game they were an alliance intel unit that went rogue. However, the events of the first game involved uploading the fact that they killed an alliance platoon and murdered an admiral to cover it up to admiral hackett and the council.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Yeah, I mentioned it in the comments to the previous post but I think the writers are trying extremely hard to retcon Cerberus into a Lexcorp kinda thing (doesn’t TIM actually mention shareholders at some point?). The problem is they seem to be doing it in the tried and not-working way “if everybody keeps acting like it is maybe the player will forget about it”, this in a game series that prides itself of continuity.

          As for the logo being that of a front corporation, I’m not buying it, first there’s the “if you have to go to extra sources for a key piece of information than it was missing from the release” rule. Also, it’s not just Jack who recognizes it, the Quarian commando immediately knows you’re Cerberus, I assume either by the logo or they know the specific operatives you’re working with (Miranda and/or Jacob) in which case assigning you compromised personnel is yet another dumb thing to do. Also, don’t quote me on that but I think some of the colonists recognize you, the Council recognizes you, in which case you’d have to wonder why they haven’t yet done anything about a company they KNOW is a front to Cerberus and that must be used to siphon billions of credits (I quote Normandy as evidence, it’s an expensive ship, it bears the logo of a company, if they just stamped a logo a single tax inspection would reveal that something is very, very wrong with their books… what does a company doing whatever even need a battleship for officially?)…

    • Avilan says:

      It’s not the Cerberus logo. This has been discussed before; it is one of the company fronts of Cerberus; not Cerberus own logo. Jack knows the symbol because she has been keeping track of everything Cerberus since she escaped.

  2. Skan says:

    “Remember when this universe made sense?” No Josh, not at all. This universe never made sense, what with the space catapults and the tron helmets…and Conrad Verner

  3. SpammyV says:

    Why… why does Miranda’s jumpsuit clasp over the front? Kahn’s Godlike Pectorals, I was [i]joking[/i] when I said she bought it at space-Vicotria’s Secret! I swear, every episode I watch I find something new to hate about her design.

    Also, why are we working for Cerberus to answer questions about disappearing colonists and not answering questions that I think would be more important to Shepard: Who blew up the Normandy? Why did they blow up the Normandy? How did they find the Normandy when it was on stealth protocols/silent running? I mean, I haven’t been ressurected recently so I don’t know what goes through the rezzed person’s mind, but if I died in a mysterious attack and was brought back, I’d think I want to know who attacked me.

    • Matt K says:

      True, I mean it was a valid hook for New Vegas it should be a valid hook for ME2.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Just wait until they get into places that are vacuums or better yes, toxic atmospheres or ones with major pressure differences, and witness Miranda and a few others wearing friggin breathing masks and that’s it!

      • Avilan says:

        The only place where there is vacuum is on the Normandy memorial mission. No other place in the whole game has vacuum.

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          You know, I’m counting one exposure to hard vacuum as one exposure too many. I could swear it was more though… wasn’t the Collector base open to space in bits? Like where the Normandy crashed? Stuff like that?

          Eitherway, even if it’s just a foreign planet with a strange atmopshere I’d rather have a sealed suit.

          • Velkrin says:

            I think the disabled reaper was atmosphere free, at least after you complete the final objective. What makes the whole thing even more stupid is they use those same breathing masks during the trip to the flotilla.

          • Avilan says:

            Um… The point with Shepard’s armor is that you have the breather helmet on, just like in the intro. Shepard’s suit is exactly what you want, a fully sealed suit with oxygen.

            As for the derelict reaper etc… No, because their immense mass-effect fields holds an atmosphere in place.

            • KremlinLaptop says:

              “[W]itness Miranda and a few others wearing friggin breathing masks and that’s it!”

              I was never talking about Shep, I was constantly talking about Miranda and her space-age-spandex suit, Jack and others and how in non-breathable atmospheres AND in vacuum they were wearing their dinky breathing masks. Ones that even leave the eyes exposed!

              • Avilan says:

                Um… sorry you are right, there are TWO quests in the game involving places with vacuum, the Normandy Memorial quest, where you are alone, in your fully sealed helmet, and the Geth Heretics base which is stated by Legion to lack both atmosphere and gravity. I didn’t think about that one since I tend to take Tali and Mordin there anyway (It makes sense to bring those two) and both of them have fully covering helmets on.

              • wtrmute says:

                Actually, exposure of tissues to hard vacuum isn’t immediately lethal; the main issue is that you can’t breathe, because the pressure difference between the insides of your lungs and the outsides of your chest is too large for your chest muscles and diaphragm to handle alone.

                HOWEVER, if you happen to have a special elastic suit, then it can maintain mechanical pressure over you and help you breathe, as well as stopping your capillaries in your skin from bursting occasionally. It’s called Mechanical Counter Pressure suit, or MCP, and its viability was proven as early as 1968. However, most of those suits still have a full helmet to avoid blood pooling in concavities in the head.

                At any rate, the space-age-spandex isn’t all that physically impossible, particularly in the 24½ Century or whenever they are with active polymers which are able to mould themselves to the user’s body and avoid the concavity problem. The breathing mask, on the other hand…

    • BanZeus says:

      The “stealth” systems of the Normandy are basically just super efficient heat/radiation sinks. It can also move without thrusters by generating gravity using a mass effect field.

      Neither of these prevent you from using optics. Hell, omnidirectional radar/lidar would probably still be a great way to detect the Normandy if you didn’t mind instantly announcing your presence to everything at 300 million m/s.

      That doesn’t even begin to take into account reaper tech. Clare’s third law states,

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

      So, basically, a wizard did it.

      • SpammyV says:

        But… why have stealth systems/silent running at all if they’re that easy to defeat? So what, we can sneak up on everybody except people who might be looking for us and/or people who scan for people around them? It just sounds like you’re a ninja that can only sneak up on people who are sleeping or not looking behind them. Just seems silly is all. Then again we’re talking about the beginning of ME2. A Writer Did It.

        • krellen says:

          They’re not easy to defeat. The ranges of ship fights are far more than the typical ranges of visibility for any known species. The ME1 Codex explains that – fights happen at ranges were you’re not seeing your enemy, but targeting their radiation and/or heat.

          • Psivamp says:

            Um, that reasoning only works if these fights happen in deep space, and from what I gather most fights actually happen inside star systems where there is enough light to see things with a telescope or whatnot.
            Basically, if you’re close to a star, you can be seen in the visible spectrum. If you’re way the heck out in deep space you can only be seen in the visible spectrum if you have windows or create your own light. Which is why you would want to look for some kind of radiation — you have to radiate something or you’re just building up waste heat until you all boil on your stealthed ship.

            • Irridium says:

              The Normandy is specially designed to hold much more heat and radiation then normal ships. It discharges it like others but it can hold much more, which lets it be stealthy.

            • krellen says:

              The Normandy cannot stealth forever, and the stated reason it cannot is exactly as you say – because it can only hold in so much heat before its crew fries.

      • guy says:

        The thing, though, is that the first game indicates that Sovereign, a full-on reaper, can’t see through it.

        • BanZeus says:

          It was just a theory so you may be right, but I don’t remember that.

          I would like to point out that just because Sovereign didn’t see Normandy, doesn’t necessarily mean it couldn’t.

          • JoCommando says:

            Further, perhaps Sovereign was aware of the Normandy, and just didn’t care about such a small, insignificant vessel?

            I miss that old, genocidal curmudgeon. Real Villains employ robots – mutant-zombie hordes are for poseurs.

        • Arumin says:

          Sovereign can’t see the normandy because it’s basicly a machine so it would base it’s “sight” on scanners and such, and with the Normandy’s stealth systems it would be undetectable for Sovereign…

          Just my thoughts about it tough

          • guy says:

            The thing is, visual light scanners (Camera or Lidar) are extremely short range in mass effect, hence why the Normandy is at all useful. In theory the Reapers could have a magic gravity scanner or something that would detect a nonradiating ship not using a reaction drive, but then Sovergien would have detected it on Virmire and probably had it shot down.

            At long range, the collectors shouldn’t have been able to see the Normandy via cameras, either.

  4. Deadpool says:

    Btw, the excuse the Council gives for not helping Sheppard isn’t Cerberus, it’s the Terminus system. Apparently the Council races can’t go in the Terminus systems without starting a war against them, which they would win but it would cost them a lot of resources.

    It doesn’t make GREAT sense, but there it is…

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Remember when they used that exact same excuse on Shepard in the first game and we went through the Mu relay and then no war happened?
      And how in this game we reaffirm our Spectre status conditional that we stay *inside* the terminus systems?
      And how we’re flying a replica of the ship that was the hero of the citadel battle and clearly an alliance design?

      I mean, I know every single person you meet is fully aware you’re with cerberus, not the alliance, but you don’t see Tela Vasir being waylaid when she’s on Illium, especially since it’s a very valuable world to the Asari as well as galactic finance.

      Oh, and being an RPG protagonist your entire time there you help people and do things that would be of diplomatic value to the council.

      That defense doesn’t make ANY sense.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Meh, yet another square peg they try to fit into a round plothole. From a gameplay point of view it’s obvious this is a game that is played on personal or at best small squad level. From the gameplay point of view the Council can’t just say “Shepard! You’re alive! Thanks for saving our assess. Have a commando unit, oh and maybe a fleet or two” or we would be playing Masscraft 2. Yes, the reasons are faulty but in most cases writers don’t even bother with giving you good reasons as players just tend to ignore this kind of thing in favour of “I can shoot stuff, it’s awesome”, we’re just a geeky bunch who actually pay attention to this.

        • Jarenth says:

          I for one would play Masscraft 2.

          That is all.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            I’d only if they added more language options for prayers beyond “Native” (English), Latin and Greek. And also more options for food/drink. It would be awesome to look at a mass where everyone would be snacking on tortilla and drinking bright green soda or something. And more non-christian options in general, I know it’s the only religion that has them, but the fun in the game’s not about the realism.

      • Deadpool says:

        But the Council DIDN’T go to the Terminus system in either situation…

        Remember, Sheppard is a Specter. A lone ship, lead by a man who follows his beliefs and against the Council’s best wishes hardly an invading force make. But if a Cuncil fleet had flown into the Terminus Systems…

        The idea is that the Council can’t publically support you in this. You get re-instituded as a Specter to show to YOU that they do suport you, but they can’t do anything publically about it as long as you’re operating in the Terminus system.

        It still doesn’t explain why they can’t SUPPLY you, but it does explain your lack of back up.

        An interesting thought a friend had though is how come none of TIM’s “most badass people in the universe” list are Specters…

  5. Integer Man says:

    For whatever reason, this was a really good episode IMO.

    I thought they did a good job with the robot boss. A nice fun enemy that looks cool and is pretty easy to defeat if you’re smart. Plus it blows up when it dies!

    They do a good job at cinematics in this game. The Illogical Man’s backdrop is very nice (though you stand there thinking “Really? You spend your time staring at what amounts to a fancy 3D desktop background and thinking of ways to be a jerk to the people you’re manipulating”) and the ship reveal is awesome (though your logic strikes true).

    The comments about Joker realizing that he hated aliens all along (who knew?) were great.

    You guys better get Mordin ASAP or I solemnly threaten to sigh and slightly shake my head. That dude is the best part of ME2.

  6. General Karthos says:

    Something that made me go, “OBJECTIVE FAILED” was when it was mentioned that they could have brought in the ship at the end of the game. And I suddenly realized:
    A) Why didn’t I think of that?
    and, more importantly
    B) Why didn’t Bioware think of that?

    The answer for “A” being that I was glad enough to get a cool ship in the early going that I didn’t really think twice about it. The answer for B being… I dunno… I guess they wanted us to have a cool ship in the early going. One of the (many) things that made the first Star Wars Trilogy great was having this cool ship from the early going, but it was a cool ship that was practically falling apart. You felt like if the Millennium Falcon landed too hard, pieces would break off. There was no comparable ship in the prequel trilogy which was one of the (many) flaws with that trilogy. I guess Bioware wanted to make sure you got the Normandy for games 1, 2, and 3. Instead of Normandy for game 1, ten minutes at the beginning of game 2, ten minutes at the end of game 2, and for game 3.

    Still, would have been something cool, though it would have made the downloadable content slightly more difficult to work… I guess? I’m 99% sure that wasn’t the justification.

    Anyway, getting a new Normandy at the end of the 2nd Game would make you think, “Ah yeah! We’re about to go kick some Reaper ass!”

    I also love the interrupts. I think there’s one where you can kick this guy out the window of a skyscraper instead of waiting there while letting him raise the alarm about your location. Kicking the guy out the window still attracts the mooks to your location, but it’s just so damn satisfying….

    Anyway… who’s the President of the Mordin Solus Fan Club? ’cause I wanna join that.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Ships held together by hope, a good crew, and the love of the mechanic character in fiction tend to automatically make for very cool ships. See: Firefly.

      The Normandy felt like Cerberus just went into the sleek-cool-ship-store and bought the next gen iNormandy to give to Shep.

    • krellen says:

      That Renegade interrupt is during Thane’s recruitment mission.

    • Kian says:

      The problem I see with having the Normandy at the end is the loss of EDI. It would have been cool to run around the galaxy in a glorified transport, have it blown up by the collectors when your ship gets hacked, and then going back to Cerberus HQ to find the new Normandy with all the upgrades you developped for the old ship.

      But then how do you handle EDI, and her joining your team with Joker?

      • General Karthos says:

        I was almost 100% certain that EDI was going to go berserk and we’d have to enter the “computer core” to shut her down. (Also, does anyone think that putting Legion in the Computer core is a dumb move? It’s like… this is the guy capable of doing the most possible damage to the computer core, more than even Tali, and we have no really logical reason to trust him. Let’s put him in the computer core.) I mean EDI runs really counter to the whole “AI=Evil” thematic element of the first game. (Of course, so do “good Geth” who haven’t bothered to introduce themselves to anyone for the past three centuries.

        • Integer Man says:

          EDI was one of the nicer parts of the game’s actual plot. She had that vibe and they kept telegraphing that it was likely they went there and she wound up not being what you expected.

        • Nyaz says:

          I was totally expecting EDI to crap out at any point as well. I’m kind of glad she didn’t, because she is AWESOME, especially the part where -spoiler- Normandy gets boarded.

          EDI: “I love seeing humans on their knees.”
          Joker: “…”
          EDI: “That was a joke.”

          • Avilan says:

            I love how she starts referring to him by his first name after that ,”Jeff” and he starts calling her “her” or “she”. It’s cute :)

            Edit: this reminds me of a “what if” fanfic from Terminatorverse: A future where Skynet become sentient, and instead of panicking, the operators greets it and treats it non-threatening. Terminator never happens.

            It is possible this is the same thing; EDI by the end is just one of the crew; as much part of the Band of Brothers as everyone else. She has no reason to snap and kill everyone.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      There are still numerous more cool interrupts,like when that krogan is bragging,and you just shoot the gas tank below him.Yes,its really a cool feature.And it makes me wonder why it isnt more present in the newer games,and why it wasnt used long before.

      • Ragnar says:

        It was used before. Like 27 years ago in Dragons Lair. Quick Time Events are pretty boring to be honest. The only reason that it gives interactivity is because you are in a cutscene. If you have less cutscenes and let your player actually play the game instead of watching a video, then you wouldn’t need QTE:s.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_Time_Event

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Dialogues are not cutscenes.

          • Ragnar says:

            Perhaps not. But they are very closely related, especially in such a cinmatic game as ME2. The dialogue options are more often than not merely interruptions in a cutscene.

            And Alpha Protocol took this one step further with making dialogues multichoice quick time events.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well,if you want to equate this and alpha protocols dialogue with quick time events,them my question still stands:Here we have an actually good implementation of qte,so why arent more games doing it like this?

            • Ringwraith says:

              It’s a completely optional quick-time event, that missing has no dire consequences, so it’s almost nothing like a ‘normal’ QTE.

              • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                In a way it’s a proper quick time event, since “normal” QTEs tend to be just reaction tests.

                I understand Heavy Rain did similiarly, since there was a mention that the test audience thought all the QTEs were too easy, when in fact many failed but expected a reload.

      • FatPope says:

        Possibly because a holy crapload of people are entirely against quicktime events. I’m generally against them in their current form but not wholly of the opinion that they could never be used. Seriously though, you must have heard some of the backlash against them?

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          The backlash is against bad quick time events.I hate bad quick time events.And what Im saying is,why are bad qtes the majority,and good ones like in here are almost nonexistent?

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            Because making a shitty QTE just requires a decision to shove them in cutscenes here and there. Designing one that actually works demands more from the designers, and that would cut on their circle wank time.

            Man I went fast from amused to grouchy.

            Edit: I might just be reminescenting for the ever fictional good old days, but didn’t we use to have stuff like “running away from a boulder” as an in-game events, with the same controls as the rest of the game?

            Isn’t making it in a cutscene manner, with two animations (one for trampled, one for Safety!) and a couple of button prompts basically an admittance that the designers can’t design a control scheme that works for anything else except combat/faffing about?

            • Audacity says:

              I’m still pissed at that sequence in RE4. It ruined an otherwise flawless first playthrough because I did exactly that – Tried to run away from the damned boulder using the normal controls. – and died.

    • Integer Man says:

      I think Zaphod Beeblebrox was the frood in charge of that fan club.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Or,why didnt they just forget the whole killing shepard thing when you couldve just stolen the ship.You did it once already,so why not one more time?

    Anyway,enough bitching,since the good stuff is coming.Time to shift into glee fanboy mode.

    Well,there is probing…but it can be fun…in a way…sort of…well it is merely dull,its not really that bad.

    • Taellosse says:

      Well, not since the patch where they sped it up, anyway. The original version, which I played pretty much all of before the patch came out, was mind-numbingly dull to such a degree that it WAS bad.

      I literally would fall asleep probing for minerals, it was so boring.

  8. Desgardes says:

    And, now that I’m through about a week of it, I will say that the shorter episodes are nice. I mean, I didn’t mind the long ones, but I have infinite free time, being from the internet, and I can see how this will draw a much bigger crowd. So, step in the right direction YAY!

    EDIT: Do you find it more difficult to edit for time, now that you have the hard and fast 15minutes?

  9. Wolfwood says:

    Dont forget that the Normandy 2 isnt just better, its also bigger! ruffly 2 times bigger! XD

  10. Specktre says:

    While I see what you’re saying about Cerberus building a new Normandy, and it has some merit to it, Cerberus rebuilding that ship isn’t that far fetched.

    If you remember from ME1, Cerberus used to be the Alliance’s black-ops group before it went completely rogue. And in ME2, you can learn from EDI later in the game that Cerberus played a part in the construction of the original Normandy. And being a black-ops group, they were able to hold on to the schematics, get the parts needed, and build the ship at a remote location.

    • 8th_Pacifist says:

      The parts don’t come off the shelf at B&Q. They’re basically doubling the size and power of the most advanced FTL engine ever built. Everything about that project would have to be custom made, to exacting specifications, probably with tools that were custom made specifically to make those parts.

      It would be expensive.

      • Ringwraith says:

        This kind of the point, remember it took over 2 billion credits to bring Shepard back, and nothing quite says exactly when that cost was, so it’s very likely to be much higher. It’s also mentioned that they get some serious funding if you do some digging.

      • Taellosse says:

        Yes, though nowhere near as expensive as creating the original. R&D costs a lot more than recreating and improving existing technology. If they had access to detailed specs of the original Normandy, and people involved in the construction of it, making a bigger and better one would be fairly pricey, but nowhere near as expensive or difficult as the first one had been.

        • Ringwraith says:

          That, and the new one isn’t even bulit to its full potential, as it can upgraded further still with some prototype technologies.
          It was also probably be cheaper as there’s less red tape involved than the original construction, seeing as Cerberus are the soles ones in charge this time.

          • guy says:

            IIRC, the admiral in the first game said it cost several (I think 5) billion credits for the element zero for the original drive core. That would make the Normandy 2 cost 10 billion credits just for the engine. It’d also cost enough that I have to wonder why Cerberus didn’t rebuild the SR1 and also make a heavy cruiser instead of making a larger version.

      • Avilan says:

        On the other hand, Cerberus main cover is as one of Earth’s biggest Starship manufacturers (who indeed built the first Normandy, AFAIR). So they could build the new Normandy under the nose of the Alliance.

  11. Gale says:

    There are a lot of complaints about “why can’t I tell Cerberus to spin on a fat one and do what I want”, and for the most part, I agree. Shepard’s dialogue regarding Cerberus and TIM personally is, quite often, startling in its impropriety. But I was somewhat disappointed when Josh acted like there should’ve been a negative option when TIM said “the Collectors are wiping out colonies, and we want you to help us stop them”. ParaShep does “the right thing”, and is willing to put aside her differences if it means saving people, while ReneShep is a human supremacist, and isn’t especially bothered about working with terrorists if they’re helping her achieve her goals. There is no Shepard who would walk away from an organisation trying to prevent the ongoing destruction of human colonies. The choices in ME2 – and ME1 – have always been about giving Shepard opinions, rather than handing the player complete freedom to play themselves. This is something that has been noticed and discussed since 2007. If you want to talk about the pros and cons of that approach, then that’s a conversation that we can have, but there’s no sense in criticising the dialogue system for not being something it never tried to be.

    Moreover, the encounter with the Council is nowhere near as ridiculous as you describe it. They ask you to explain the rumours that you’ve been working with Cerberus, since you’ve earned the benefit of the doubt. You ask for help with colonist abductions, and warn that you suspect Reaper involvement. They maintain their stance that the Terminus Systems, as always, are outside the jurisdiction of the council, and that the Reapers are a really silly thing to accept without substantial evidence. They point out that working with Cerberus would make her an enemy of the council, but are willing to overlook whatever allegiances she might make, and are even willing to show support of Shepard herself by reinstating her as a Spectre, as long as she doesn’t cause trouble in council space. They never refused to work with Shepard just because of links to Cerberus – rather, they’re willing to endorse her, regardless of whether she’s working with Cerberus or not. They wish her luck in her investigation, even though they can’t take action regarding matters outside of council space. In the end, Cerberus are the only people who are actually doing something about the missing colonists, and Shepard isn’t willing to pass up their assistance, no matter how much she disagrees with their activities.

    Of course, the Sole Survivor background was handled terribly, just like the character background concept in general, and it does cause some (some? I mean “a ridiculous amount of”) painfully anachronistic moments where Shepard acts mildly annoyed with the organisation that has caused her that level of personal grief. The dialogue completely fails to account for Cerberus’ involvement in one of the most traumatic experiences of her life. It seems that Bioware either didn’t realise that they were going to use Cerberus so extensively in the second game, regretting their decision to attribute the thresher maw incident to Cerberus, or just plain forgot about it. Either way, it’s excessively poor planning on Bioware’s part.

    • Kian says:

      While I didn’t like how the council handled the situation (in my playthrough, the Council lived and Anderson was councilman, not sure how others see it), or the lack of an option to avoid Cerberus (at the very least let me repaint the ship), the reinstating of my Spectre status was a nice touch.

      Yes, no one offers me any support. Yes, they’re short-sighted and all. But as they say, it’s these failings that necessitate the existence of Spectres. They exist to do what needs to be done, whether the council recognizes the danger or not. In the meantime, you are safe from prosecution or meddling and free to ally yourself with anyone you choose.

      You can fly in a ship bearing Cerberus’ flag, even if they are recognized as terrorists, and no one can do anything about it because you are a Spectre. Cerberus gets a boost of good publicity on the side, which is probably why despite being a secret organization they stuck the insignia on the ship.

    • BanZeus says:

      Miranda sort of explains it by pointing out that the different cells are semi autonomous and that the ones you encountered weren’t using Cerberus SOP because they don’t have one. Given how much leeway TIM allowed me after I wiped out several of their research teams, sold their data to the Shadow Broker and forced one of their scientists to testify on Cpl. Toombs’ behalf, I find this plausible since a secret organization hardly needs to maintain good PR.

      • Gale says:

        Sure, but how much consolation is that to someone like Sole Survivor Shep? How much consolation is that to Jack? It was still under the leadership of TIM, who tells his people to achieve the impossible, gives them plenty of funding, believes strongly that the ends justify the means, and punishes failure harshly, that these projects had such dire consequences. Rogue elements in Cerberus are not rare. With a track record like theirs, the responsibility falls to only person who does his best to stay personally involved in all Cerberus projects: The Illusive Man.

        • BanZeus says:

          All true, though you could argue that sole survivor Shepherd and Jack are both extremely successful (or at least promising) products of Cerberus engineering.

          You make human weapons of mass destruction, they may not thank you. Heavy risk, but the prize…

          • Gale says:

            That’s pretty much the point. I seem to remember, though I may be incorrect, that one of those broken data logs in Jack’s loyalty mission saying something to the effect of “If I don’t get results from this, TIM’s going to have my head”. Cerberus is lead by an entirely amoral man who would never so much as hesitate to take the risk you described, and is willing to overlook virtually anything as long as it gets results. This is one of the most interesting things about TIM’s character, and is not something that can – or should. – be handwaved by saying “Oh, those were just rogue elements, proper Cerberus isn’t that bad”. This is why the lazy way the writers sidestepped the Sole Survivor issue is so aggravating to me.

        • Ringwraith says:

          You forgot that TIM explicitly states that once he found out just exactly what was going on Pragia, he shut it down.
          He’s not above having to do the house-cleaning that has to be done to stop those lacking moral limits, which seems to come up quite often when using good scientists (the ones they get a hold of, who probably got thrown out of the profession for breaking ethical codes half the time), they don’t know when to stop, so TIM puts a stop in for them.

          • Gale says:

            He did say that, yes. He might even have been telling the truth. But the fact remains that we have several examples of Cerberus projects going beyond the point of being ethically defensible. The only factor common to all of them is TIM’s management. If he’s hiring people who don’t know when to stop, then he needs to do a far better job at ensuring that his people know what the consequences for crossing the line are, that he has non-crazy scientists in place overseeing what the “unstable geniuses” are doing, and that he actually pays attention to what his cells are up to.

            He’s willing to clean house, yes, but he has repeatedly failed to keep the blood out of the carpets. The responsibility still falls to him, as the leader of Cerberus, not only to make sure he punishes his people for crossing the line, but to prevent that line from being crossed. The fact that Pragia was shut down and the people in charge were punished does not change the fact that so many lives were ruined. It does not change the fact that TIM has apparently learned nothing from the incident.

            • Avilan says:

              If I remember that log from Jack’s mission, the statement isn’t “TIM is going to kill me if I don’t get results”. It’s “TIM is going to kill me if he finds out HOW we plan to get results”.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yes,they tell you how they wont do anything about the colonies in the terminus systems,yet they have ashley/kaiden there on a secret mission they want to tell you nothing about.So either they are idiots they present themselves to be,or they are pulling wool over your eyes because you are a cerberus agent.I like to believe the second option because it makes bioware team better.

      • Avilan says:

        It is pretty clear if you read between the lines combined with TIMs admission afterwards, that The Alliance sent your old friend to Horizon at least partly because they knew you were going there; TIM suspected the Collectors knew about your relationship, so he let it slip to the Alliance that you were now a terrorist and probably mentioned Horizon in the process to make sure they would send your old friend and therefore make the Collectors come to that specific colony.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          So before they even knew you were alive again,they decided to send someone to a mission in the terminus system?Yes the collectors did choose the horizon because you had a former team member there,but I dont think their position there has anything to do with you.

          • Avilan says:

            Uh? Ashley / Kaiden already knows you are alive by the time they are sent to Horizon. They say as much when you talk to them.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Where?I looked it again,and they just say they had reports cerberus may hit horizon next,and rumors about you being alive,but they never said it happened before they got to horizon.Here:

              • Avilan says:

                Well what I can tell from TIM’s speech afterwards, he let it slip to the Alliance that you were alive, and it would be a heck of a coincidence if the higher-ups in the Alliance didn’t send Ashley there because you might be there, even if they didn’t tell her that.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Sooo,wait,you go to horizon because one of your former teammates may be there,becuase collectors are somehow probably targeting you,and they may attack one of your former crew,and they are there because alliance knows you may end up there,because you could somehow be alive and maybe working for cerberus?Then why was it horizon then,it really makes no sense.

                  One of these had to happen first,and its most sensible that that thing is ashley/kaidan being on horizon.Plus,when you ask about your former teammates even before you go on any mission,they tell you how ashley/kaidan is unavailable because they are on some secret mission.

        • Veloxyll says:

          I fail to see how it’s let slip when you dock with the Citadel in a Cerberus marked vessel, and, if you picked Anderson, had a meeting (scheduled) with the Citadel council. Oh, and talked to/punched a reporter.

      • Gale says:

        I’m going to have to go check this, but aren’t Kaiden and Ashley soldiers of the Alliance? AKA, the humans, who are helping their own colonisation projects? I never got the impression that the council had anything to do with Horizon.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well,In my playthrough humans were the council,so the line is moot.But I dont think its much different when you keep the original council.If it is,that would mean that humans are more competent.

        • Taellosse says:

          Horizon is an independent venture, not sponsored by the Alliance. They are a human colony, but not one approved of by the human government (regardless of the current make-up of the Council), as they’re in non-Council space. The Alliance convinces them to accept help, in light of the other lost independent colonies in the region, and send Kaiden/Ashley to oversee that help (aerial/orbital defense guns).

          Basically, there are three different kinds of colonies–official colonies (e.g. Eden Prime), corporate colonies (Noveria), and independent colonies (Horizon). The latter two generally are constructed outside of official Council space, in both cases because they wish to avoid government oversight (though for different reasons).

    • PurePareidolia says:

      So, you’re saying we’re not playing an RPG, but a linear third person shooter where we get to pick the dialogue options and that it was never meant to be anything but that? And that I should then shut up and agree to work with the terrorists who, even if they aren’t responsible for my character’s traumatic backstory, still killed Admiral Kohoku, wiped out several colonies and injected Toomes with thresher acid for the lulz?

      Also: Paragon implies lawful “I won’t let fear compromise who I am” type idealism. ‘The ends justify the means so I’ll work for my enemies to get what I want’ is renegade reasoning. Do you really think Cerberus is concerned beyond the fact their potential victims/test subjects/space zombie super soldiers are vanishing and soon they won’t be able to conduct horrific experiments outside the council’s jurisdiction anymore? Think about it – at what point have Cerberus EVER done anything that has benefited humanity, Shepard’s resurrection notwithstanding because that was so TIM could have a pawn that didn’t fail constantly and I’m talking about intentional benefits.

      Even if ParaShep is a ‘let bygones be bygones’ kind of guy, he would still have to have no sense of loyalty to the Alliance or Council or say, the families of those Cerberus murdered, or Toomes or anything which in this case makes that reasoning decidedly renegade.
      No Paragon Shepard would do this and Bioware knows it – notice how “agreed” and “super agreed” are the neutral/renegade options? A paragon would have said no and that would mess up the railroading.

      • Gale says:

        I’m saying that Shepard, whether Paragon or Renegade, is still Space Jesus, and isn’t simply a blank slate for players to project themselves onto. I’m saying that it’s not worth complaining about the fact that you can’t refuse to help save colonists, because both Shepards are into saving people when they’re being abducted en masse. The choice between “I’m going to need a team” and “Let’s do this thing!” might’ve been presented as neutral or renegade, but at a point prior to that particular choice the player is presented with the paragon option “If what you say is true, then I will consider helping you in this matter.” Shepard is, regardless of what the player wants, going to want to save colonists.

        Now, if you want to talk about the shitty way Shepard warms up to Cerberus within minutes and hasn’t even had a chance to be rejected by the council before going on missions at the behest of TIM, then hell yeah, let’s talk. But that’s not the point I was trying to make. In the situation Bioware set up in ME2, clumsy as it is, I don’t have a problem with Shepard ultimately allying herself with Cerberus. They’re asking for her help with humans disappearing in droves, and are not only the only people who believe in the threat of the Collectors and the Reapers, but they’re in a position to do something about it. I’ll talk your ear off with criticisms of how poorly they sold that to the player, and how prematurely they threw you in with Cerberus so they could get the game started faster, but I do not see a problem with not allowing the player the option of outright refusal.

        • PurePareidolia says:

          I started responding but then I realised that I’d just entered a fractal of plot holes and poor story choices from which there was no escape.

          So Shepard wants to rescue the colonists – sure. But Shepard’s goal is to stop the reapers, there’s no proof the collectors have anything to do with them until about halfway through when you discover the truth about them making it seem like a scam. Shepard has no reason to believe human colonies are being abducted at all until he goes to Freedom’s Progress, and I would be incredibly suspicious of Cerberus taking me anywhere named “Freedom’s Progress”.

          So Shepard visits a colony devoid of life apart from an insane Quarian who Cerberus could well have tortured and planted there, then just made up the collectors in order to get Shepard to help them using guys in suits. I’m sure Cerberus has no shortage of abandoned colonies to choose from. However Shepard takes them at their word, and doesn’t think anything of them asking to have Veetor despite the fact there’s literally nothing he could possibly know that he hasn’t showed us. But even assuming this section all made sense and was a valid reason to join Cerberus, why then do we have to tell everyone about it, putting off potential allies, including Tali who can recognize us on sight because of the logo problem. I don’t know about you but “gross incomptence” is a valid reason to tell TIM to get lost and seek out the Shadow Broker instead (I played LOTSB, but new game Shepard hasn’t).

          Now, I’d argue this colonies subplot should not have been in the game and was only an excuse to get us to work with Cerberus because it has nothing to do with stopping the reapers until at least the first collector ship mission. They could easily have gone the New Vegas route and just made us try find out who killed us but no, that would involve less character breaking and railroading. Help! I’m in a fractal! I can’t get out! Additionally, the council still owes us personally (if you were a paragon) and captain Anderson is sympathetic to our cause, not to mention at one point we find a derelict reaper, and an intact prothean beacon (if you do the sidequest), plus EDI is made with reaper tech – we should easily be able to prove our case to the council.

          And if you have played Lair of the Shadowbroker then you know the Shadowbroker is well aware of the reapers, and backs at least one council spectre, plus is a major information broker for most politicians. Again – we could have gone to him and provided we didn’t get murdered and sold to the collectors (which we could as long as TIM had the right info and we had a loyal Asari party member who had a personal vendetta against the broker which both do) then we could easily have used his information network to AAAARRRGHHH!!! I can’t take this any more! Everything that happens is based on something else that doesn’t make sense! it’s a massive nonsensical plot hole pyramid scheme and should have been scrapped and rewritten in it’s entirety!

          Sorry what was the question again?

          • Shamus says:

            “I can’t take this any more! Everything that happens is based on something else that doesn’t make sense! it’s a massive nonsensical plot hole pyramid scheme and should have been scrapped and rewritten in it’s entirety!”

            I think this is why these ME2 discussions burn so long and so hot. The circular self-justification stuff works for some people, and for them they keep countering criticism with other points, which are then supported by other points, and we end up chasing our tails for 120+ comments.

            Shame. I always wanted to know where the plot of Mass Effect was going – where the original writer envisioned the story should go. All of this stuff with the collectors – even if it made sense – feels grafted on. It obviously wasn’t part of the intended arc, and it clear no matter how it turns out, we’ll never see that original story.

            Worse, I suspect this is related to them pulling a bunch of writers away from the rest of the company to work on The Old Republic.

            • Avilan says:

              Shamus, where on earth did you get all this from? This is the story exactly as it was intended. Where did you get the idea that they changed creative leaders???

              Writer for Mass Effect: Drew Karpyshyn
              Writers for Mass Effect 2: Mac Walters, Drew Karpyshyn

              Project director for design, Mass Effect: Casey Hudson
              Project director for design, Mass Effect 2: Casey Hudson

              • krellen says:

                Drew retains writing credit for ME2 because he created the universe (this is common practice, actually). He did not actually do any writing (except maybe for a few dialogues, possibly) – Mac is the Head Writer for ME2.

                Design – being the settings, backdrops, etc – isn’t that different between the two games, as evidenced by the fact that they didn’t change people there.

            • BanZeus says:

              Ow, my carefully crafted delusion!

              The box is open, I can’t return it, therefore it’s a good story.

              • Avilan says:

                Hey, it might just be that I am easily entertained, but unlike a lot of people on threads like this one (Krellen! I am looking at you!) I not only love the ME2 story, I think the FO3 plot is acceptable (although suffering from Bethesdaisis), I find Pirates of the Caribbean 3 to be a really good movie, and the new Star Trek movie is the best one of the franchise yet.

                • krellen says:

                  I think we’re differently entertained. Flash Gordon (the 1980 one) is my favourite movie ever – seriously. I love kitsch, so I don’t need everything always to be awesome and amazing and fit together perfectly. But it’s really hard to try to be serious and awesome, yet completely fail and still come up with something enjoyable (Gremlins pulled it off, but I don’t know many other examples). ME2 tries to be awesome, but rather than basing it on a solid foundation (the first game), they just invoke the Rule of Cool from the get go and expect it to just float of its own accord.

                  Unfortunately, gravity still exists, and the whole house of cards collapses upon examination. It’s Schroedinger’s Plot.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              To be fair,the collectors themselves and making of a new reaper make sense with the overall story.Its just that they are presented in such a bad way.With gradually introducing them through a search for something different,say some newly discovered prothean artifact on one colony just before its disappearance,it would feel like a more natural continuation of the first game.And with a different introduction of tim,cerberus couldve not only make sense as your new employer,but also present itself in a more competent and scheming way.If they lured you to them instead of simply dumping this laughable story in your resurrected lap.,it wouldve been so much more better.

              • Avilan says:

                Oh yes, I agree that the writing could have been much better. I am just not calling it “bad”. To me ME2’s main plot events (which I recall Shamus had colored red on his graph when he reviewed the game :) ) is 4 out of 10, while the rest of the writing is 8 out of 10. Now 4 out of ten is not Bad, it is “almost average”. There IS a difference.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But this is bioware.They know better,they can do better,they did better.This is bad for them.Its in the same game where they did brilliant writing for almost every side quest and almost all of your companions(miranda excluded as being just average).So it is bad.Its just jarring when you have below average writing next to brilliant in the same game.

                  Though,I guess I shouldve expected this from bioware,since they do it all the time.Neverwinter nights,for example,was so bland,but had such an interesting characters that I went through the game only to hear the end of their stories.At least it got improved in hordes of the underdark a lot,so I guess I can hope for something much better to drive mass effect 3.

                • Avilan says:

                  …I don’t see any problems with Miranda’s side quest?

                  Other than that I agree with you; but unlike you I still treasure those “4 out of 10” parts because so many games would only do “2” there.

                • Jarenth says:

                  The main problem with Miranda’s side mission is that it involves excessive amounts of Miranda.

                  Oh snap

                • Avilan says:

                  You know, just like with the Neeshka (sp?) hatred in NWN2 I don’t get the incredible bias against Miranda in ME2. She is a bitch in the beginning, but other than that I don’t get whats so “bad” about her.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  The bad about her is that she is supposed to be this super sexy super smart genetically engineered prodigy,but she obviously is not that.She is just too bland.Which isnt bad by itself,but when coupled with all the rest of the quirky interesting characters you have,it becomes jarringly bad.And while her loyalty mission does improve her a bit,it still doesnt lift her above average.She still remains this bland character who brags about being special.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  Daemian Lucifer:

                  In short, she’s a Mary Sue. And some of us don’t like Mary Sues.

                • Avilan says:

                  I don’t think that means what you think it means…

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CommonMarySueTraits

                  Written as a better person than others, yet never shows any signs of it. Bland, so it’s most likely an attempt to make her seem more interesting. And those are just what others have mentioned. I’m sure we’ll see more over the course of Spoiler Warning.

                  Okay, so “Mary Sue” is usually about fanfic, but calling her “Canon Sue” doesn’t really make her better. And everyone here should be aware that this isn’t a fanfic we’re talking about.

                  http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/YouKeepUsingThatWord
                  (I am aware of the hypocrisy! And that I’m technically using ‘hypocrisy’ wrong!)

                • krellen says:

                  Viewing Mass Effect 2 as Mac Walters’s fanfic does make me feel better about it.

                • Avilan says:

                  @Sumanai: But… She is not written that way. I definitely disagrees that she is written as “better” than everyone else. She is written as someone who has been told her whole life that she is; but that is NOT the same thing. If anything, she is a deconstruction of a Sue.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But she is genetically engineered.So she should be super smart,but she doesnt act like that.She has not just been told she is a superhuman,she is a superhuman.But she never acts like that.And,arguably,she doesnt look like that either.I dont mind her arrogance.Morrigan is arrogant,and I liked her as a character,because she acted the way her background says shed act.

                • Jarenth says:

                  Avilan: That’s an interesting point… Miranda acting like a Sue just because she’s been told all her life how awesome she is.

                  Still, the unjustified air of superiority hanging around the character puts me off, even if it’s not intentional from her point of view (as it’s certainly intentional for the writers). I had the same initial reaction to Grunt, but at least he’s not making such a major deal out of it.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  krellen: But what would?

                  Avilan: I’ve been told a lot of time of my life that I’m really smart or that I’m really clever. But that’s not why I’m an annoying bastard, nor does it justify being one. Let alone mean that other’s should give my bullshit a pass. Especially after I shoot someone without provocation (was he even armed?) and then claim it was “too dangerous” while curiously lacking any support for my words.

                • krellen says:

                  I didn’t typo, Sumanai. I meant “does”.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  krellen: I didn’t think you did, I just read that as “doesn’t”. Repeatedly. Strange.

                  I guess I must’ve been feeling so negative I added one to your post subconsciously.

              • PurePareidolia says:

                I complain a lot about Cerberus but let me try elaborate on a way to make Cerberus work as your new employer: Cerberus isn’t a rogue black ops division/terrorist group as we thought, it’s an elite SpecOps organization integrated into the Alliance high command itself. TIM has been manipulating your military career for many years and is the one who originally put your name forward to Captain Anderson for Spectre status.

                Admiral Kohoku was one of TIM’s lieutenants in charge of some research cells who was suspected of conducting highly unethical experiments, including the one at Akuze, which is where TIM first noticed Shepard and began to be suspicious of Kohoku. Divided cellular structure meant that TIM couldn’t get much data on Kohoku, who in turn was always one step ahead meaning TIM was never able to act against him without jeapordizing his own standing with the alliance.

                When Shepard became a Spectre he saw a way to get Kohoku out of the picture permanantly. He lured Kohoku’s men to a thresher maw in a gesture meant to remind Kohoku of what he did to Shepard and the man was undeniably disturbed. He tried to recruit Shepard to go after TIM’s men, but unbeknownst to him, the data given to Shepard had been replaced with the locations of Kohoku’s men. TIM used the opportunity to assassinate Kohoku while Shepard cleaned house, got revenge and found Toomes who had been rescued covertly by TIM’s intervention (just like Jack) and had Shepard believe Cerberus had been destroyed and was nothing more than a group of useless terrorists with delusions of grandeur.

                When Shepard died Alliance high command was left without it’s human Spectre and needed him back, but TIM had a better idea. He would personally handle the resurrection operation, reconstructing him with advanced cybernetics resulting in the strength to headbutt a Krogan or beat own the Shadow Broker. Super Soldier in hand, TIM used the opportunity to bring Shepard into the fold, and work for Cerberus as an elite operative, but this time, working for the alliance, not the council. It was deemed necessary that Shepard have minimal contact with the rest of the alliance and his former employers lest he slip from TIM’s grasp and be unable to devote his full attention to the reapers – TIM knew full well the council didn’t believe in the “reapers” and Anderson was deemed too close to be informed. This meant continuing the deception that Cerberus was a two-bit terrorist organization, preventing Shepard from having enough credibility to be snatched away by the council or alliance proper and Shepard’s silver tounge had to be dulled in order to accomplish that, meaning information that made sense was on a need to know basis.

                Dossiers dictated only certain members of Shepard’s crew be allowed to rejoin him – Tali and Garrus were loyal to Shepard personally, Ashley/Kaiden were deemed too loyal and valuable to the alliance proper while Wrex and Liara’s prior connections to the shadow broker made them suspect – the latter was played up despite Liara’s help to keep Shepard in line. Joker and Chakwas were deemed low security risks and their personal connections with Shepard made them available for recruitment, with NDAs in full effect. Finally, the Normandy SR2 was constructed using improved versions of the original blueprints, which were provided by Cerberus just like in the game, and they have the best engineers in the alliance at their beck and call whether they know it or not.

                *sigh* All that and I still have yet to justify the collectors, any of the TIM missions in the game, the entire omega 4 relay section, the lack of reaper interaction, half your crew members and why TIM keeps emailing you when you tell him to get terminal sunburn and die. Among others.
                I’m not a miracle worker dammit!

                • Shamus says:

                  That’s some good plot doctoring. Re-casting your actions in the first game as TIM cleaning up those “rogue elements” helps a great deal, as opposed to just hand-waving the whole mess. You’re right, there’s still so much that is mangled, but at least this part looks more like a plot twist than a retcon.

            • PurePareidolia says:

              I agree, and not just about the writing. I have this picture in my mind about the kind of game Mass Effect 2 should have been that only gets more vivid the more I think about this game’s shortcomings. There’s so many themes form the first game that I think could have been expanded on and bought into gameplay – racism, cooperation and having to forgive old enemies like the Rachni.

              I picture reputations like New Vegas but on a massive scale where you try to unite factions and species and build an army to prepare for the reaper invasion. Meanwhile there’s an emphasis on research with the collectors being a promising avenue, not the main plot, and the Cipher allowing you to reconstruct advanced prothean technology, maybe even find blueprints for weapons, ships, armour etc.

              Meanwhile there’s NWN2 style loyalty mechanics rather than the simplified version we see with some characters being easier to gain points with if you imported a savegame (not to mention factions being friendlier at the start) – all designed to reinforce the themes of the game (loyalty, trust, putting old differences aside for the greater good). Lose too many points and a character may defect to a faction that opposes you, or leave altogether if you’ve allied everyone they sympathise with. Loyal teammates and romances can affect combat performance like Alpha Protocol and you have to pay close attention to your love interests who become high risk/high reward variables on a mission.

              All of this designed to make Shepard think deeply about who he trusts and who he wants to align himself with. Maybe Cerberus are stupid, but they’re the fastest way to the endgame, maybe the council is reluctant to help, but you’ll be have Spectres backing you up if you gain their favour. Aria can be a powerful ally, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, and the Shadowbroker’s favour can come at a high cost – Liara won’t take kindly to you working with him.

              You could still end the game roughly the same way, with the collector base revealing itself to be a gigantic superweapon capable of defending the galaxy from the reapers, then with them on the edges of known space and your alliances coming to fruition, and those of your crew who couldn’t handle the suicide mission dead, you’re set for the next game. There’s a few recruitment options, not much politics left, but mass Effect 3 is 100% dedicated to fighting the reapers and wiping them out once and for all, Return of the king style.

              I see the beginnings of that everywhere in this game, it’s maddening – I feel like it could have become some epic, freeform story all building up to the climax in Mass Effect 3 where all your choices come together and the amount of the galaxy destroyed by the reapers is chosen Fallout style by the alliances you made. But it’s like if Tolkein crossed out the two towers and had Frodo recruited by a dozen dwarves and a wizard to rob a dragon while the rest partied in Edoras for an entire book.

              Now of course this kind of game would be prohibitively expensive and I can kind of see why a lot of this stuff was streamlined but I’ve never seen so much wasted potential. This game could have been so perfect but they pulled out all the meaningful choices that could have kept the alliegences working, and the game mechanics that could have made the collector missions make sense in favour of something so streamlined it’s practically one dimensional.

              OK, so maybe my ideal vision of Mass Effect 2 is just me fantasizing about a AAA Obsidian title that’s not marred by bugs and cut content again, but I dare you to come up with a more epic RPG idea than “Space Cthulhu and friends are coming to kill everyone, are you a bad enough dude to unite the entire frigging galaxy that’s been warring against itself for centuries in a grand fight for it’s very survival?” Seriosuly, this is a space opera, it’s allowed to be ludicrously epic dammit!

              • PurePareidolia says:

                I think…I think I’m addicted to text. I need help.

              • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                “I have this picture in my mind about the kind of game Mass Effect 2 should have been that only gets more vivid the more I think about this game’s shortcomings.”

                “I feel like it could have become some epic, freeform story all building up to the climax in Mass Effect 3…”

                And that’s probably why so many, including the Spoiler Warning crew, complain so much and so strongly about the story. I know that’s why it bugs me so much. It’s not that the story is so bad, it’s that there are so many ways to make it so much better.

                The worst thing you can do is not to create a truly horrible story, but to create a bad one with potential to be much more.

  12. Robyrt says:

    “Play games you hate” and “Complain less” aren’t mutually exclusive. It indicates that you want some degree of tearing into the games you’re playing for their flaws, but not 100% of the time.

    • krellen says:

      Incidentally, if you want positive, put me on the cast when they do New Vegas.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Heck, I’m nothing if not a Mass Effect 2 fanboy.

        The civil kind, not the short-sighted ones who think something is the best thing ever and you’re moron thinking otherwise.

        That, and I’m good at passing over slight weaknesses in things for the sake of enjoyment. I’ll still notice them if I think about it.

      • Jarenth says:

        Only if you promise to complain about Steam sometimes.

        • Ringwraith says:

          There’s no doubt that I hate some of the underlying principles of Steam.
          The fact you can’t things up in offline mode without preparation is also fairly (very) annoying.
          It does a good job of giving with one hand while taking away with the other though.

        • krellen says:

          I suppose I could work in complaints about not getting to shoot things in the eyes, or how real-time makes certain builds and strategies less effective (it’s essentially impossible to survive with a non-combat character, for instance). Or how annoying Cadazors are.

  13. swimon says:

    I like the idea of the “actually do stuff” during conversation but I feel that it’s often poorly implemented. Sometimes it’s a little hard to tell what you are going to do when you push the button which made me reload after bad choices a few times.

    • Ragnar says:

      And the one with the Quarian in this episode is even worse, since you have no option to reload until about 15 cutscenes later. :-(

    • Avilan says:

      It’s a common complaint; more so in actual conversation choices, but I have never had a problem with it and my first language isn’t even English.

      • swimon says:

        well it has very little to do with language since there are no explanations whatsoever for what’s going to happen. Sometimes it’s obvious and awesome like with kicking the guy out of the window or blowing up the krogans since the camera angles clearly establishes what’s going to happen but for example the one when Mordin starts rambling really doesn’t explain if you’re going to punch him in the face or what. Really I think the whole thing could be solved better with at [shoot] or [kick] or like the one in video [shut off tv].

  14. Geoff says:

    The first time I played this, I totally thought the Quarian at 1:40 was Tali. Mostly because, besides by gender, they are so extremely difficult to tell apart and they sound very similar (maybe even the same?) I thought it was a very callous and off hand way of eliminating a character from ME1. Very similar to several of the character deaths in Serenity.

    Then it turned out it wasn’t.

    • krellen says:

      The Quarian that dies wears red, and Tali wears a sort of blueish-lavender-purple.

      • Ringwraith says:

        That, and Tali’s obviously the first quarian to start customising her suit. As she’s the only one with something different from everyone else that’s not simply colour.
        Maybe it was radically different experience she had in ME1 of being in a culture which praises individuality, like making yourself stand out from the rest, that led to the (very nice) cosmetic suit changes.
        I could also be simply making stuff up, though it kind of makes sense. I think.

    • BanZeus says:

      I love that young Quarians off on pilgrimage mostly return unharmed, but small, heavily armed rescue and recon missions regularly get decimated. The elite marines they send to recapture the Alarei get slaughtered.

      I can see why they designed the Geth to get smarter with time and be MORE competent in groups. All the Quarian robotics experts were probably in the room when they decided that.

      • Ringwraith says:

        That and quarians can’t afford suffering much damage to their suits, or it’s quite likely they’ll hop the twig anyway.
        I don’t think fancy shields are going to stop you from getting stepped on.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        I love how a team of QUARIANS who are ENGINEERS get killed by a mech. A standard security mech that should be vulnerable to say hacking it, distracting it with a bunch of security drones or overloading it or any number of things a Quarian should be able to do with their eyes closed. I mean, I know Veetor’s running it, but there’s no way he’s a more skilled hacker than Tali, especially in the state he’s in. And hacking does nothing if for example, you go for the optics as Tali is so fond of saying and the thing can’t see you. Way to make the best engineers in the galaxy look like a bunch of stormtroopers Bioware.

        • BanZeus says:

          I dunno, as much as I like Tali, I’d be willing to say that modifying an inactive/friendly heavy mech to attack anything that comes near when you have days to do it would be significantly easier than reversing the process in the middle of a firefight before it can massacre your team.

          • PurePareidolia says:

            Well I guess when Shepard did that to the various gangs in the Garrus mission they couldn’t do anything about it either, but I still expect a remote shutdown to be possible. It just seems like Quarians should be highly skilled at taking out robots.

            • BanZeus says:

              In their defense, they probably weren’t prepared to face that caliber of resistance and may have proceeded more carefully if they weren’t trying to beat you to Veetor.

              • PurePareidolia says:

                Indeed, that part would definitely have done it. I assume that’s how Tali managed to stay alive as well…

                • Ringwraith says:

                  You also have to remember that not all quarians are engineers, Kal’Reegar being a perfect example, as he openly admits that he barely knows anything technical other than being a marine, so that he leaves that kind of stuff to the techs.

            • krellen says:

              Tali is highly skilled at taking out robots. She’s the paragon Quarian, like Shepard is the paragon Human – each represents all that is best and good of their respective species. Shepard does many things average humans cannot – as Tali does many things average quarians cannot.

              Assuming Tali’s talents are reflective of all quarians is a bad idea.

  15. Irridium says:

    I’d like to Nominate Thane and Samara’s loyalty missions for you guys to do. If your picking and choosing loyalty missions that is.

    I just love them. Because they don’t have any combat. Its great.

  16. Mina says:

    I’m still boggled by the storyline in this game. They could have kept the basic premise in the game if you’d survived the collector attack with Joker, gotten a new ship out of the alliance or council, and you’d still have to fly about the galaxy to replace the crew that died from the collector attack. Writing something this bad took effort, we could have just had a bland story instead of an offensively bad one.

    • Avilan says:

      I said it in the first SW: They HAD to kill Shepard, the only other alternative was Amnesia, since she was way too powerful to last 2 more games (just think of it; by the end of ME you can be lvl 60. By the end of ME2 you can reach lvl 30, and I bet my right hand that the lvl cap in ME3 is lvl 60).

      • Jarenth says:

        Except they could have also just resetted your Shepard to square one, just like that. I, for one, would have understood why I couldn’t just start the game at twice the maximum level with a thousand upgraded shotguns.

        It’s nice of Bioware to try and justify this, but the cure ends up being worse than the disease.

        • Avilan says:

          And I disagree. I still think it worked pretty well.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            In turn I will reply that I disagree with you.

            Resurrection as a plot device is bad, since it raises questions about mortality within the fictional universe therefore undermining drama brought by death. You need a better reason than character skill/level reset to justify it.

            Especially since you could’ve just blown up the ship, and said that all the extra stuff went with it. During this Shepard could have suffered permanent damage to his/her body, also hospitalising him/her. Possibly some body part cloning etc. explaining skill negating since the parts would still be slightly different and it doesn’t take much to ruin your aim for example. Or just have Shepard get a major concussion that screwed his/her motor functions etc. slightly.

            You could even keep the “I tought you were dead” -bits by having it be Cerberus who saved and hospitalised Shepard from floating in space, other’s thinking that you suffered a re-entry because no body was found.

            And then cut to PurePareidolia’s redoctoring of the story.

      • krellen says:

        Easier solution: double-plus up enemies. Make Geth Primes be the Destroyers, Destroyers be the Soldiers, the Soldiers be absolutely nothing whatsoever. Then you can be “Level 1”, but tackling foes like you did at level 60 in ME1.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Its not any special of a game,but bloodrayne did the reset with no problem.In 1,the end boss was a literal god,and you were pumped up to the max.And in 2,you started by fighting mooks again.And I think that worked way better than this.

  17. Roll-a-die says:

    Forgive me while I go misogynistic, but I would like to start a list of Sci-Fantasy, Plausible, Ludicrous reasons Sheppard could have survived reentry. Mostly for humor

    1. Fem!Sheppard’s ass is so fine it generates a heat shield.
    2. The atmosphere is scared of Sheppard.
    3. Sheppard’s own awesomeness propelled her to skim along the atmosphere, gradually building a heat shield in the form of accumulated debris.
    4. Sheppard is the unconquered sun, the mass effect universe is the game of divinity.(look up exalted if you don’t get this. On second thought, if you’re under 18 don’t. And if you do, don’t blame me.)
    5. Sheppard landed on a moon somewhere after flying around the planet until she found one.
    6. Alliance n7 armor is build as a portable drop pod, allowing you to survive reentry.
    7. It was all a set-up, the illusive man is a reaper, the collectors gather your body and make up a replicate to take it’s place in the comic series.
    8. Secret Asari Biotic Sex Ability.
    9. Sheppard Bioported through the atmosphere.
    10. Plot Shielding.
    11. The illusive man is an AI who formed from the remains of the internet on earth, and gradually accumulated knowing until eventually it came upon the references to the Cerberus manifesto. From then on it became obsessed with seeing it through. To the point of creating an artificial Human-Prothean mix, from records found on Mars. That person is Sheppard. Your beta brainwaves never came up, because until the prothean beacon went off, you’re second mind was dormant. The events of both the first and second game are the orchestrations of the AI known as the Illusive Man, in an attempt to create a truly better human.E-de is just a secondary personality it uses when it want’s to endear itself to someone.
    12. The planet had not atmospheric pressure. Which for a gas giant() or plant bearing world would be fucking ridonculous

    • Ringwraith says:

      At least they mention Shepard was pretty much not much more than a crispy husk for the most part.
      We have the technology indeed.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      The answer is 10. The other options may have helped but 10 is the main reason. Shepard’s suit is an intricate lattice of railroads.

      • Irridium says:

        It was built from the flesh of children from Fallout 3.

        • PurePareidolia says:

          Of course – we are talking about Cerberus tech here.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Actually, the fact they had to rebuild most of Shepard goes some way to give an explanation of why dying in combat is properly fatal, as they’ve already rebuilt half of him/her with cybernetic parts, so there’s not a lot more they can do if s/he get shot full of holes again.

            Not to mention that it would take ages to bring Shepard back, leaving the Collectors to carry on unopposed, or at least without having to worry about the major spanners that Shepard tends to throw in the works of anything that gives anyone a funny look.

            • Irridium says:

              But that doesn’t make much sense. Legion is basically cybernetic parts and he has a giant hole in him.

              Instead of being “healed” he would just be “repaired”.

              • Ringwraith says:

                Well, they probably can’t recreate bodily functions completely, though they can patch it up somewhat.
                Also, if they started to go too far down that route Shepard runs the risk of losing his/her humanity, which is central to Shepard’s personality.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  She was a dead husk of a human. There’s just no way a couple of bullets would be meaningful in comparison to that. There also no way that her internal organs were anything else than a pile of mush, and most likely was turned into charcoal like the rest of her. Including her brain.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Maybe repairing the body is trivial,and the most work went into repairing the brain,and if shepard is to die again,their brain would again get severely damaged,and would require lots of resources to repair.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  That makes no sense! Either they’ve restored the brain, or they haven’t. You can’t just claim “the brain cells are alive, but they’re not”. Unless you’re Capcom. Or stupid. But I repeat myself.

                  If they’ve weakened the braincells’ functions, then Shepard is essentially crippled. All she should be able to do better than other, non-resurrected, people, is working as a front man. Woman. Zombie. You know what I mean! (btw, it’s zombie) Because she couldn’t possibly be better than most humans if she has lost brain functions permanently.

                  You don’t hear me going “Ooh, fear my aspie powers!” and going around shooting people to death. Not yet anyway.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  I didnt say that they didnt repair the brain,I said that it was the most difficult thing to do,and shepard dying again would require another plethora of resources to repair,which they dont have anymore.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  Yeah, but it’s vague stuff like that, that causes the audiences scepticism to flare up.

                  “Oh, we don’t have the resources.”
                  “I’ve stripmined like half the galaxy, what could you possibly need that I haven’t found?”
                  “Um… true love?”
                  Points at Tali.
                  “Um… the soul of an innocent being?”
                  “How did you collect one in the first place?”
                  “Magic.”

    • Jarenth says:

      13. The planet’s surface is made out of cotton candy and rainbows.
      14. Shepard was wearing Griftah’s Marvelous Madstone of Immortality.
      15. A wizard did it.
      16. Tax reforms (apparently, those solve everything).
      17. Two wizards did it.

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

        Bioware doesn’t have the balls for #13. Or #15 for that matter. Maybe #17 though.

        “16. Tax reforms” – Appropriate, because those cause everything.

  18. Lalaland says:

    I think the choice positioning on the dialog tree is a hint that they know that both options are definitely not Paragon. There’s just no way to work with the Cerberus we know from ME1 and be truly ‘Paragon’.

    I wished they had saved the Martin Sheen budget and wrote more dialog for the Council/Udina/Anderson so I could tell TIM to shove it. Let the player choose to have Udina dole out missions and have the Normandy crew revert to Alliance ‘surprise we were double agents’. Maybe force the player to do Jacob and Miranda’s loyalty missions and hey presto I can actually play a Paragon character rather than a self deluding Renegade.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      The fact that they thought it was good idea to pair off Shepard with Cerberus, despite not fitting Paragon builds, is telling of their abilities.

  19. Fnord says:

    You spent an awful lot of time bitching about “you can’t possibly understand” for a line that never actually appeared in the game; it’s just something you ascribed to a “Bioware stereotype”. The closest Veetor comes is “You don’t know. You didn’t see,” which is a pretty reasonable way to introduce exposition. Complaining is well and good, but try to complain about things that actually happen, rather than your caricature of the game.

    • Roll-a-die says:

      I shall present this in Mordin speech.

      “You don’t know,” assumption, indication of lack of capability to understand, aspects of topic at hand. Know, synonym of understand, understand, definition knowing in full, comprehending.

      “You didn’t see.” purely expository phrase intended to, ram home, hamfisted drama, force dialogue upon a strikingly linear path. A technique common in Bioware games.

      These words, you don’t seem to understand them. They mean the same thing, yet, appear to, confuse you by the merest glimmer of change. What tell then, does a mocking bird cry, if not the same things just different tones.

      • Avilan says:

        Huh?

        I admit English is not my native language but I don’t even get if you are for or against Fnord’s statement (which I agree with, insofar that the line “you can’t possibly understand” does not actually appear in game and that Veetor’s behavior (it is already stated that he has mental problems normally, and with high fever it gets worse, obviously).

      • Fnord says:

        Allow me to reply in kind.

        Problem not “know” versus “understand”. Problem “don’t” versus “can’t possibly”. NOT synonyms.

        “Don’t understand” implies lack of knowledge. Remedied by exposition. “Can’t understand” implies lack of capability. Exposition illogical.

        Team complains that “can’t” makes scene nonsensical. Correct. Only problem: “don’t” in scene, not “can’t”. Actual scene makes sense. Only stereotype illogical.

  20. Aldowyn says:

    My solution for Cerberus:

    RETCON! They aren’t sucky, racist terrorists (albeit a huge group_, they’re actually a super secret organization out for the good of humanity, only with questionable tactics. Which we never actually see, btw. Miranda is almost condescending towards the recruits that join Cerberus because they’re racist… There’s two sides of Cerberus, and ME1 showed one and ME2 shows the other.

  21. JoCommando says:

    So we’re done with the introduction and moving on into the “Just Like Old Times” phase of Shep’s journey. Even though there are other ways to convey this friendly, nostalgic sentiment, the writers keep coming back to this phrase like a touchstone.

    In this episode, Shep could have asked about the status of his former team members. I like to pretend that one of TIM’s answers could have been, “Oh, they’re parked in J LOT. Here – take this shuttle and go visit them.”

  22. GoodApprentice says:

    “Fun Facts About Mass Effect 2”

    •83% of players created their own face for Shepard
    •82% play as male Shepard, 18% as female Shepard
    •The Soldier class is far and away the most popular class at 65%
    •Archangel was among the most popular squad members selected for missions
    •10% of players never let The Krogan out of his/her thing
    •Only 50% of players have fully upgraded the Ship by the end of the game
    •14% of squad members die in the end-game, on average
    •36% of players chose the Renegade choice in the end-game

  23. GTRichey says:

    Your “theory” about TIM just bringing you back to grief you makes a lot more sense than the plot as it is… if TIM is indeed griefing you it just works better… As far as I’m concerned, this may as well be the canon storyline, eveything you face in ME2 is Cerberus’ doing. Not like anything that happens in this game makes any difference anyway.

  24. Zaxares says:

    Actually, in ME2 Joker is shown as being a lot more mobile than he was in ME1. In the first game, it was said that he couldn’t walk anywhere without crutches. He hobbles around a fair bit in ME2, but it’s still a vast improvement from the first game, so presumably Cerberus DID get him some treatments or cybernetic implants.

    And about the SR-2, the codex actually reveals that Cerberus was the original group who ‘suggested’ to the Alliance that they construct the first Normandy. They then stole/copied the blueprints and started building their own, improved version. They might have actually started building it even before Shepard’s death; my memory’s a little fuzzy on that part.

    • BanZeus says:

      Even if you worked 24/7 it would still take a long time to build a ship that size. The fact that the armor is no better than the original Normandy’s suggests it was installed before the original was destroyed.

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