Spoiler Warning S4E13: Cheerleaders and Terrorists

By Shamus
on Dec 17, 2010
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

242 comments


Link (YouTube)

At the three-minute mark:

Hey, your videogame protagonist is so fat, she jumped up in the air, and got stuck.

Thank you, thank you. I’m here all week.

While BioWare games are always trope-filled, I think cataloging all of the tropes in Jack’s recruitment would be a lengthy undertaking. Jack herself is a few tropes, then there’s her breakout, the warden, his plan, his shield and boss fight, and the prison itself.

Having said all that, I actually enjoyed the gameplay here, even though the story is a bit bent. Later there’s Grunt’s recruitment, which is pretty good, story-wise, but which I thought was tedious from a gameplay standpoint. (Fight waves of Krogan in a brown industrial wasteland? Ugh.)

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!A Hundred!20202242 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. X2-Eliah says:

    To be fair, this mission is fighting a lot of similar enemies in a red scrapyard wasteland – so not much different from Grunt’s one, really – difference being, red is not so horribly overused by the industry as brown, yet.

    Edit – also, Rutskarn is planning to make out with Garrus? Must see.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Well, the red lighting is coming from the fact the emergency lighting is on due to the state of crisis you sparked. So at least they have a reason for that.
      The brown wasteland is because the planet is mostly used as a dumping ground for junk and empty hulks of ships, which have been exposed to the elements for years and years.

  2. krellen says:

    Clearly the solution to Ruts and Mumbles’s feud is for Garrus and Tali to hook up and forget them both.

  3. Kanodin says:

    On one sidequest I accidentally got my entire team stuck in midair. Wasn’t even in a fight, just somehow walked over the barrier of where the rocks were and was suddenly floating.

    • Nyaz says:

      Was it in Omega, near the prophet who shouts a bunch of crap about how humans are terrible and we’re all doomed? Because I remember accidentally bumping against the edge of the parked hovercar next to him and WHAM I was up in the air and had to reload the game.

  4. Jakale says:

    Cerberus IS good, they even replicated your mess hall NPCs.
    I didn’t realize Jack wasn’t wearing clothes til they started talking about it and I had to look to distinguish straps from tattoos.

    • winter says:

      Honestly, at that point just take the damn clothes off and let her go topless. It’d be more tasteful, if you ask me. (Uncomfortable, but then… belts are probably WORSE, if anything.)

      That character design… like… what were they thinking? Maybe it’s just me, but i don’t find it attractive very much at all. It’s clearly not a hit with the ladies. It’s not particularly sensible in-universe. What, exactly, was the goal with that design?

      • BanZeus says:

        I don’t think Jack was designed to be ‘attractive’ in a traditional sense. There’s a heavily implied rejection of classically feminine attributes in favor of the masculine; aggressive posture, shaved head, tattoos, going (mostly) bare chested, even using a boy’s name.

        There’s a large part of Subject Zero which is still a frightened little girl trying to survive, to protect herself in a cruel and uncaring world by talking and acting tough, IE. intimidation tactics.

        For costume… Honestly, most of the team wears silly and/or hideous outfits, so even though those belts must use prothean technology to prevent nip-slip, I can’t really single her out too much.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Yeah, she’s a classic “strong on the surface, traumatized deep down” character, though it is decently executed. And, as I mentioned it in the comments to the last episode, while I wish they’d at least put the tank top on her sooner I don’t think Jack herself would mind as long as she’s not physically uncomfortable. The “ridiculous armour” aside she probably uses her biotic fields for protection and clearly she wouldn’t be above the line of thinking “Let them stare at my ti*s, they won’t see the knife”. The one reason she doesn’t go topless all the time, which I don’t think would make much difference for her, is probably due to devs not wanting to flash “nudity” through the entire game (you know the rules, if there are no nipples it’s not nudity).

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

            Yeah, tank top. T-shirt. Something sensible by some sane measure. It could’ve gotten a “not classically feminine” much better than what they’ve put in. Tattoos and baldness are both fetishes that, at least seem to be, often overlapping. Combined with her clothes it gives the feeling that Jack was supposed to titillate first, and be a character second. Sort of undermines the seriousness of it all.

  5. Hitch says:

    I guess at the beginning of the game Sheppard is supposed to be pretty out of it. Jack glances out the window and sees the Cerberus logo painted on the side of the Normandy 2 and her immediate reaction is “Not these [redacted] bastards.” Why didn’t Sheppard put a bullet in Jacob as soon as he showed up in a Cerberus uniform? Sheppard, at that point, had at least as much reason to hate Cerberus.

    And I hate the misleading dialog wheel options. “I don’t work for them” should not equal, “I’m working for Cerberus….” How about, “Cerberus is a means to an end. As soon as anyone else gives me a ship and weapons, I’ll go back to destroying every Cerberus operation I see.” Neither Garrus nor Mordin have any love for Cerberus, they’re not going to report you to Miranda, and Jack might like the sound of that. But most importantly, don’t have the actual dialog directly contradict what was chosen.

    The Boss with the impenetrable shield with the one (in this case 4) easily exploitable weakness… do you really want to face the video game Boss with a shield that you can’t get through? Sorry, this guy planned well. Game over.

    • Hitch says:

      Actually, thinking about it, that would have been a good fight if the Warden actually had a perfect shield. See how long it took players to realize, “Hey! We’re not here to kill the warden.”

      “As long as you’re back there, you can’t do anything to us. You come out, we’ll kill you. If not, we’ll just leave now. Good on ya, mate.”

      • Ringwraith says:

        Anyway, the shields he’s using are the ones that they use to contain fighting prisoners, as shown during the grand tour at the beginning of the mission, where you obviously wouldn’t want the generator on the inside as they could break it and free themselves.
        He’s just adjusted them somewhat to shield himself instead, improvising a method of delaying you while reinforcements arrive.
        Besides, he can’t shoot out of it anyway.

        • Peter H. Coffin says:

          “Besides, he can’t shoot out of it anyway.”

          Which brings up the question of why killing him is the key to meeting up with Jack anyway.

          Wouldn’t it be hysterical if him being in there was simply a distraction to keep you from going through the door that Jack’s behind, that’s only really protected by the current spawn of mooks? Kill the current spawn, duck through the door at the end of the room (there’s always a door at the end of the room), and leave the Warden screaming impotent rage after you…..

          • Ringwraith says:

            Nothing stopping him from dropping the shield to shoot you in the back afterwards, or organise a counter-attack or otherwise escape the ship and come back to haunt you.

            • Piflik says:

              Just kill anyone outside…then he will starve in his bubble…

            • daveNYC says:

              It would have been neat if they had designed the mission so that the warden couldn’t be killed, and the final battle was just waves of mooks. After wiping the floor with the mooks, a convo would start with the warden, after some backstory and telling him off, you make a deal to take Jack and go, do the meetup with Jack, and then once on the Normandy, they give you option to keep the deal, or to blow the prison ship out of the sky.

        • Deadpool says:

          Which begs the question, why didn’t he use the shield generators on YOUR team?

          We them clearly holding one person each, he has three generators against three people…

          • Jarenth says:

            Most likely because, as was mentioned earlier, that wouldn’t make for a very interesting bossfight. Hey, the Warden captured you forever! Game over, I hope you saved earlier.

            Yeah, it’s a lazy explanation, but it’s all I’ve got.

            • Irridium says:

              But you have a ship with an AI that the warden didn’t bother to lock down. And we know EDI can wirelessly hack stuff. She did it with the collector ship.

              Or, you could use your character’s special strengths to break out. Like a soldier could just tank it out, a biotic could use his/her special force powers, engi can hack and stuff, and so on.

              Or, just have your teamates pull you aside and say “This is a trap, don’t go in there.”

              Better then the Warden sabotaging himself.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Shepard probably didn’t recognise the logo, seeing as Cerberus was simply a mild inconvenience last time and it heavily relies on a cell structure to keep itself hidden, so much so that two different cells wouldn’t recognise each other if they happened to bump into one another.
      A certain branch might use the logo while others use different ones or none at all.

    • Ernheim says:

      What I find odd is that all the aliens you recruit are perfectly willing to work with Cerberus, but none of the humans, even Kaidan/Ashley and Anderson, who practically idolise you, won’t take your word that they aren’t actively being evil. Despite the fact that Cerberus is a human supremacist group and thus seen to be working for humans, against aliens.

      • Avilan says:

        Well that is one thing that I actually believe: Cerberus is not a “human supremacist group” and more a “forward human interests” group.

        There IS a difference.
        If nothing else I seriously doubt an Asari Matriarch would be one of TIMs lovers* if they were really “Space Nazis”.

        *One thing you learn from the Shadow Broker DLC is a list of TIMs recent sexual exploits and that list includes a Matriarch “twice”.

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

        People have, in my impression, a tendency to hate something more, when they feel it’s closer. Cerberus is giving humans a bad name, so of course humans would hate it. Sort of how civil wars tend to have the highest body counts compared to the amount of people involved.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh em gee,this was like the bestes episode for like you know ever!

    And just because something is a trope doesnt mean its bad.Its when you execute a trope in a bad way that it becomes bad.But then again,if you do it particularly bad,it can go around and become good again.Which is a trope in itself.So if you do a trope about a trope it can be good even if the trope is bad or if you do the trope bad in the first place.But then again……..

    Also,the obligatory infiltrator plug in:That boss fight is so easy when you can just shoot all those things from your initial cover with a sniper rifle.

    I like it how prison guards react to an escaped prisoner with “Dont move!” instead of shooting on sight.

    • Hitch says:

      Prison guards (in general, I believe, but particularly in this case) think live prisoners are more valuable than corpses. If not they would have killed them all already. “Don’t move!” actually makes sense in this case. Not good for long term survival, but it certainly fits in with doing their job.

    • Aldowyn says:

      it’s also ridiculously easy when the boss bugs out and is actually on TOP of the shield.

      I wasn’t sure if it was the boss, and I was curious to see what would happen if I killed him without taking the shield down, and the fight just ended. I was kind of disappointed.

  7. Specktre says:

    There actually is a downloadable outfit for Jack where she sports this really cool black outfit with a jacket and everything. Unfortunately, she’s also wearing these really stupid silver shades that look like someone strapped a piece of duct tape over her eyes. X(
    But I take that outfit anyway, because it’s 100x better than anything else she has.

    It also comes with armor for Garrus which actually ISN’T damaged. But then his eyepiece is this really weird bright orange and he has a double-mic thing, which just makes his head region look busy. But it’s not as bad as Jack’s glasses.

    Then there’s Thane… again, the outfit would be really cool if he weren’t wearing the stupidest red beach shades. X(

    I’m seeing a trend here–BIOWARE, WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU PUT THOSE DUMB SHADES ON WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME OUTFITS???!!!

    • MintSkittle says:

      Pretty much all the DLC armor looks really stupid.

      Capacitor Helmet: Big blue glowing faceplate.
      Kestrel Helmet: Big blue not-glowing faceplate.
      Archon Visor: Double boom mics with a glowing orange band over the eyes.
      Cerberus Assault Armor: Cerberus colors and logo, helmet looks like a more angular, sinister N7 helmet.
      Inferno Armor: Looks more like a bright red high-temp hazard suit than actual armor.

      • Avilan says:

        I disagree. About the kestrel armor at least. The first DLC armors (the full body ones) are all stupid looking, especially the Blood Dragon one.

        And the kestrel helmet is not “blue”; it’s “Tint #2” so you set it to whatever you want.

        • Specktre says:

          I like the look of the Terminus armor and the Cerberus armor (minus logo), I just wish you could remove the helmets like the N7 and Kestrel variations. I have no idea what BioWare was thinking with ANY of those. It seems to me like people were screaming from the beginning, “Let us remove the helmet,” or, “What were you thinking when you made these shades/headset/whatever?”

        • Taellosse says:

          I didn’t mind the look of the Blood Dragon and Collector armors that much, but it drove me nuts that they were one-piece deals that couldn’t have their helmets removed. I refused to play with them after I learned that, even though they had some good stats, because I was always staring at those blank masks during all the cut scenes.

          Of course, I actually wound up always using the little eyepiece thing, rather than any sort of proper helmet, because I liked being able to see my Shepard’s face.

          • Nyaz says:

            Yeah, same here. I tried using the full body armor for a mission to try it out, but i was so annoyed at how Shepard turned into a robot doing fake emotions with swinging hands and bobbing heads and no facial emotion, so I went and turned it off as soon as I could.

          • Lalaland says:

            +1 for the eyepiece

            Why on earth wasn’t there a ‘remove helmet for cutscenes’ option? I wanted some of the other helmets but I couldn’t relate to the cutscenes with Shepard as just a blank lump of metal.

            • Avilan says:

              I use the +10% Headshot Damage Visor on all infiltrators, obviously. On others it tend to be a tie between the Kestrel helmet and one of the Dr Pepper bonus headgear depending if I want more bonus for weapon damage or powers.

        • MintSkittle says:

          Ah, I have my colors as green with blue highlights, so that’s why the faceplate is blue in mine. I didn’t bother changing the colors.

  8. Halfling says:

    So I take it that fem-Shep will be romancing Garrus? Because I don’t want to hear Mumbles and Ruts complain if you make out with somebody else.

    Also romancing Garrus is the only way to make him wear undamaged clothes after you recruit him. ;)

  9. poiumty says:

    This was probably not intended, but Mumbles sounds SO cute around the 4 minute mark.

  10. Integer Man says:

    For the record, the more agitated Mumbles gets, the more awesome things become. Rutskarn needs to be officially responsible for ensuring proper trolling of Mumbles.

    You guys are doing an awesome job with this series. Keep it up.

  11. RejjeN says:

    “Who would like to buy Shepard?”

    I can think of a few, for example: The Shadow Broker, The Collectors, TIM would probably pay to have her back, possibly some more.

    • daveNYC says:

      After dealing with The Collectors on that one colony mission, I had assumed that they were the ones interested in Shepard. The glowing Collector general guy always seemed to be kind of obsessed with Shepard.

      • Avilan says:

        As someone pointed out already earlier in this series:
        Yes, the Shadow Broker. The Blue Suns found Shepard’s body and sold it to the Shadow Broker who had a contract to deliver it to the Collectors.

        Liara got in the way (She was contacted by Cerberus at the time, and they promised to revive Shepard) and she and a Drell friend managed snatch the body from the ‘Suns and give it to Cerberus.

        Of course when the warden got the call from TIM, he immediately forwarded that to the Shadow Broker who told him the original deal was still on.

        • Shamus says:

          Yes, the Shadow broker wanted shep’s BODY, but now Shep is up and about. Is the Shadow Broker just in the business of collecting incredibly dangerous and willful heroes? What would the SB DO with her? Sell her? To who? And to what end? For there to be a buyer there has to be someone at the end of the deal that wants an alive Shepard.

          • BanZeus says:

            This clip, at 01:10, though it may not be the ‘real’ reason since it was cut from the final game.

            Edit: Actually, looks like the scene never happens, it’s just unused audio and in game video cobbled together.

            • Taellosse says:

              Actually, pretty much all of that sounds like audio that made its way into the conversations with Liara at the end of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, I think.

          • Specktre says:

            The Shadow Broker wanted to sell Shepard to the Collectors. Who’s to say they wouldn’t take Shepard alive? *Shrugs*

          • Taellosse says:

            The Shadow Broker wanted Shepard so he could sell the remains to the Collectors. They’d take a live specimen too, I’m sure. That’s implied in a few places in the original game, and then made explicitly clear in the comic series that follows Liara’s adventure right after the Normandy is destroyed, and again in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC when she opens up to Shepard about what happened after s/he died.

            Now why, if the Collectors wanted Shepard for study all along, they’d attack your ship with the apparent intention of vaporizing it and all aboard, I don’t know.

  12. Deadpool says:

    Mumbles’ microphone cut offs are getting a bit frustrating, but awesome episode nonetheless.

    I noticed Josh was being randomly nice to Jack when no one even asked him too… Then again, Josh WAS originally Paragon when Spoiler Warning first started. Maybe he hasn’t changed much since then…

    PS: Awesome cut out quote guys…

    • Irridium says:

      Thats because when your nice to Jack Cerberus will suffer.

      Ulterior motives are fun!

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

      Josh wasn’t The Original Player. Whatshisface started, Josh took over and cursed at all the Paragon and lack of Renegade points.

      • KremlinLaptop says:

        REVISIONIST HISTORY! BURN THE HERETIC.

        Randy was not the original player, but rather took over from Josh when it turned out Josh was a COMPLETE PUSSY AND DUMPED A BUNCH OF POINTS IN PARAGON (Randy later sold out, left the show for a rockstar solo career and currently resides in a Las Vegas gutter). Josh at some point has had a magnificent evil bastard transplant.

        I suspect Rutskarn donated some of it. Most of it. He has a bit to spare.

        Also whoever said troll Mumbles more? DO IT.

  13. eri says:

    Entertaining! But… I’m really missing the commentary. I realise that Mass Effect 2 has less to talk about, but as Shamus says, it’s not fun to discuss the things that the game does well.

    I always thought it was kind of absurd that the Purgatory guys would ambush Shepard. I mean, yeah, maybe the guy was an idiot, but it seemed more like an excuse to have a dramatic firefight than anything else to me. What would have been more plausible was, let’s say the Blue Suns didn’t want to give up Jack because they wanted to recondition her as a super soldier for themselves, rather than let her get back into Cerberus’ hands, whose work at Pragia they viewed as a failure. That way they’d have decent motive to attack Shepard, and, if BioWare were feeling bold, they could let the player actually do some role-playing, and speech their way through and end up without any killing at all.

    • jdaubenb says:

      How dare you suggest that there are any resolutions for conflicts that don’t involve shooting or at the very least punching bad guys in the face?!
      You are tearing me apart, with your disingenuous assertions, eri! [#mix-and-match-memes]

  14. Velkrin says:

    Josh needs to reverse the weapons he uses.

    Vs Shields: Fast Weapons (Auto pistols, SMGs, Assault Rifles)
    Vs Armor: Slow weapons (Heavy pistols, Shotguns)
    Vs Everything: Cain

    I have no idea what the sniper rifle is useful against. Chest high walls maybe.

    One last thing:
    9:59 – Railing Kill!

    The reference:

  15. guy says:

    You didn’t pick the hilarious option in Jack’s conversation tree. Mostly, it’s hilarious because of your companion’s responses:

    Shepard: I’m offering you an oppertunity to be my friend. You don’t want to be my enemy.
    Garrus: They tend to end up dying.

    Apparently Legion says: There is a high statistical probability of death by gunshot. A punch to the face is also likely.

    • Ernheim says:

      Is it even possible to have Legion at that point?

      • Keeshhound says:

        Not in the default game, but there was a time when Legion would have been able to join earlier; Dialogue had already been recorded, but Bioware decided that it would make the game too confusing for players that were new to the series (because people are more likely to buy the sequel to a game they’ve never played), and so they moved Legion’s recruitment to the end of the game’s timeline. The dialogue files are still functional though; you can find examples on youtube.

        • Avilan says:

          That’s not the reason; the simple reason would be that because of lack of space on the physical media (the DVDs for the X-box) it would mean constant swapping if they put legion where you could get him early. By forcing you to recruit him last, they could keep disc-swapping to a minimum.

          It had nothing to do with new players confusion.

  16. PurePareidolia says:

    I like that in order to rescue one psycho who’s not really interested in helping you beyond revenge at Cerberus, you obliterate an entire prison ship, all inmates, the corrupt warden and all the honest, hard working staff who are just trying to make society a safer place.

    You know what? At this point I think we can actually build a pretty good picture of who Bioware’s Canon Shepard is. He’s the default male soldier Shepard we see in all the promos (hence his use of assault rifles in cutscenes and the fact that femshep uses his animations, most noticably in the Kasumi DLC). He’s 100% renegade (see ME2 default New Game) and an unrepentant space racist and human supremacist (see willingness to work with Cerberus), born on earth (notice how the ME3 trailer focuses exclusively on Earth when it’s been pretty much insignificant in the series so far? This also adds to my xenophobe theory) and is either ruthless or a war hero but DEFINITELY not a sole survivor (obvious reasons).
    From this, aside from the choices made in the new game regarding the council and Rachni queen we can infer he punched the reporter, Garrus’ mission indicates he encouraged him to be a renegade (“glad to see you haven’t changed”). Obviously this means he recruited both Garrus and Wrex, though Wrex didn’t survive. This also means that Kaiden canonically died on Virmire (this wouldn’t be the case if he were female). It seems out of character for such a racist but I’d be willing to bet he romanced Liara or was at least nice enough to her that she wanted to bring him back and they have some actual fond memories of ME1. That’s not to say he’s a jerk with a heart of gold when it comes to his crew – Wrex’ death is testament to that.

    That’s all I’ve got right now, any other things that have seemingly one canon path with the other options tacked on and otherwise ignored that offer us some insight into who exactly bioware’s writing us as?

    • Avilan says:

      Um… I can’t argue too much about what you say except one thing:

      “otice how the ME3 trailer focuses exclusively on Earth when it’s been pretty much insignificant in the series so far? This also adds to my xenophobe theory”

      What? It has been pretty obvious for quite some time that the Reapers first goal is Earth, and humans. I know this is a common complaint about ME3 from the Fan-Dumb at the official Bioware forums (you know the ones that after ONE teaser trailer have publicly stated that not only does the fans know better than Bioware what the canon story is, but EA is Skynet and “Mass Effect has never been about humanity, so making the third game about earth is a total sellout to EA”) but those people have never actually paid attention to the game they played.

      The human race is the designated Reaper target in this cycle, and a vast majority of humanity still lives on Earth.
      Hell Shepard even states openly in ME2 “OMFG they are going to targer Earth!”.

      • GTRichey says:

        Hmmm maybe I missed something but the reaper’s target has always been all of civilisation or which humanity at this stage is the least advanced (I think). Humans are targeted by the collectors for I’m honestly still not sure what purpose since the ME2 story makes no sense. None of that is to say that ME3 shouldn’t focus on earth but if it is I certainly hope it’s justified better than what you propose.

        • Heron says:

          As I understand it, humans weren’t even relevant until they spearheaded the effort that took out Sovereign (the story of Mass Effect 1), at which point the Collectors decided that maybe humans might be the race they’ve been looking for (the story of Mass Effect 2). (The Collectors had been, well, collecting samples of various races for quite some time.) Shepherd takes out the Collectors, and somehow the Reapers find out and decide now would be a good time to move in and blow things up, starting with the one race that can actually threaten them: us. (That would be the story of Mass Effect 3.)

          This is not to say that the story of Mass Effect 2 makes any sense.

          • PurePareidolia says:

            I like how we’re the only race that can threaten them despite the Destiny Ascension having a gun big enough to punch a hole in any ship in the Alliance fleet, and the Turians developing a cannon that can tear through a collector ship like butter because we have one stealth ship and got incredibly lucky with it. Twice.

            • Nyaz says:

              Not to mention the Turian fleet which is bigger than the human fleet. Or if the Reapers are looking for easy targets, why not go for the Quarian flotilla? (Speaking of which, that would be an awesome mission…)

              • Avilan says:

                They are not looking for easy targets; they are going to destroy the entire galaxy. They START with the humans.

                • Nyaz says:

                  But wouldn’t it then make sense to take out the weaker targets first? Like a massive fleet of mostly civilian ships just waiting to get nuked?

                • Avilan says:

                  Actually the quarian fleet is the single biggest MILITARY force in the galaxy. AND yet contains mostly civilian ships.

                • Jarenth says:

                  I was under the impression they were going to start with the Citadel; to take out the collected governments of all sentient races in one single master stroke. Sovereign pretty much tells you that that’s been the Reaper MO for pretty much forever.

                  While it would certainly make sense for the Reapers to murder-fy Earth at some point, I’ve never once been given the impression that they were going to start there. The Turians do all the weapons-development and have the bigger fleets (note: I think. Something about the Dreadnought ratio in Citadel races, can’t remember); wouldn’t they make a more salient target?

                • guy says:

                  For each dreadnought non-council races get, the Salarians, Asari, and possibly now humans get three. The Turians get 5.

                • Irridium says:

                  @Jarenth: All the Reapers would have to do is send 3 to the Citadel. One nearly made it. 3 would make it a cakewalk. And since nobody believes Shepard, they’d have the element of surprise. Again.

                • guy says:

                  As I am so fond of reminding people, the Turian’s intel service salvaged Sovergien’s main gun. The reapers no longer have nearly as much of an advantage as before.

                • Veloxyll says:

                  Remember that all Harbringer knows for sure at this point is: The Citadel FAILED to activate – when Sovereign tried to deal with it in person, a Human fleet destroyed Sovereign. [spoiler]It then directed the Collectors to create a new Reaper using humans as the bio-matter core. But then humans destroyed it again for looking stupid. [/spoiler] So yeah, Humans constitute the biggest threat to the Reapers just now, they’d be my first target (assuming the reapers don’t know that Turians stole their spacelasers)

                • Irridium says:

                  I doubt those guns would do much in a surprise Reaper attack.

                  Especially if there’s 3-5 reapers.

              • Blanko2 says:

                i thought it was said somewhere that the human fleet was actually more powerful than the turian fleet.

                • Moriarty says:

                  it depends on your decisions in ME1.

                  If you save the council, most of the turian fleet gets rebuild after the attack on the citadel and the asari never lost the ascension to begin with.

                  If you let the council die, the turian and asari loose much of their fleet in the attack and the alliance takes over. Last episode, Shepard mentioned to that racist shopkeep that the alliance is the only defense the citadel has.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Well, there is that weird thing when in ME1 the Reapers are supposed to just wipe out all life (or at least all sentients I take it) into oblivion cause they can and cause they don’t like competition. Then in ME2 we learn that protheans were assimilated, rather than wiped out (this despite Sovereign spewing all that nonsense on how the Reapers’ motives were “unfathomable” and “beyond human understanding” and I think there was an explicit statement that they don’t want slaves or workforce or anything, they just want organics out). Also, now they want to actually make a ship out of human mincemeat. AND the reaper/collector general is downright obsessed with Shepard, though this could be solely because of the events of ME1. All this considered I think in ME3 we’ll learn, once more, that “humanity is special” for some reason or other and Shepard is probably “more special”. If in part 3 they’re gonna start throwing some crap about Reaper prophecies and how Shepard is destined to destroy or save them I’m gonna be pissed.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Sounds like I should be over at the Bioware forums…

        My problem is this: I don’t know if you’ve played Mass Effect 1 or if you’ve just forgotten, but the Reaper’s target is the Citadel. Their plan (spoiler alert) is to open the citadel relay and allow them to get back from dark space, kill the council and obtain census data on all of the council species so they can wipe them out as efficiently as possible using the mass relay network that they control all traffic through.

        Now you might be saying, the citadel has surely fallen leaving Earth defenseless and only Shepard and his reaper IFF able to pass through the relays! Well that’s fine except how is Shepard supposed to rally the galaxy’s armies then? Is he now supposed to kill all the reapers or does he have to lure them into systems with large enough forces to put a dent in them? because that would just be stupid.

        Or maybe the reapers flew all the way from dark space to Earth and started blowing up London because they have an intergalactic space grudge against Shepard whether he was born on Earth or not? That’s just… I don’t even know the word for that kind of stupid. The thing is, it looks like the franchise equivalent of suicide before it’s even started. They might explain it later but that trailer is hardly imbuing confidence.

        and don’t even get me started on how dumb the reapers ONLY targeting humans is because all the humans in this game are so boring that they might as well just let them die. That and the more they focus on humans, the more I’m reminded that the baby terminator is canon and the reapers actually only ‘recruit’ one race per cycle for no good reason.

        Anyways, my point was that Renegade Shepard is a human supremacist and would be far more invested in Earth than Paragon Shepard – if they had focused on the citadel or if more than one world were mentioned to have been attacked it might seem like the galaxy spanning epic space opera that it should be, rather than the first level of Halo 2.

        • Avilan says:

          Heh :)

          Heron explains it above.

        • jdaubenb says:

          You know, I could launch into a diatribe about how Bioware have been slowly abandoning the concept of “choice” over their last few games, but then, they never really were about giving the player any choices.

          The Mass Effect series is just the culmination of this. Unless you want to be a badass (evildonkey) space supremacist the game’s narrative breaks in a myriad of places.
          The trailer’s promise to feature even more browns and greys than the first two games, probably because the Xbox360 cannot render any colours besides blood-red, gunmetal-grey and unwashed brown, is probably a huge selling point for the “gritty realism … in SPACE!!!” crowd.

          • Avilan says:

            Funny, I don’t recognize anything you say.

            I have to point out, though that you must have watched a different trailer than me… or you expect a war zone to be cheerfully colorful.

            Anyway.

            The Mass Effect series IS about a badass. If you do not want to play a badass, don’t play Mass Effect. And why does the game break if you play a non-racist renegade or a paragon?

            As for “gritty”. Yes, it will be. Bioware has already stated that each part will be Darker and Edgier than the one before it, simply because the situation is getting that much worse.

            • krellen says:

              I loved Mass Effect because it was a final triumphant return to the optimistic and shiny future that Sci-Fi used to be about.

              Then EA bought BioWare and made the franchise into the same old gritty, dark, pessimistic bullshit I’ve had to put up with for the past twenty years.

              I get enough cynicism looking at the present day. I really don’t want my future ruined by it too.

              Can we please stop pretending that ME2 was “intended”? ME2 reeks of Executive Meddling. (Link actually included this time to show how angry I am. TvTropes, warning, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera)

              • X2-Eliah says:

                Agreed. Play through Mass Effect 1, right now, and tell me that ME2 – just as it is – is the natural successor and keeps with the artstyle, ideology, theme, setting, etc. etc.

                Now compare the ME3 trailer to ME1 ;)

              • jdaubenb says:

                Allow me to build on that: The first Mass Effect was about a plucky soldier (evildonkey) and his motley crew going against the odds, culminating in an exciting space battle, which to a large extend hinged on the aforementioned soldier being able to complete his ground assignment.
                While the game had its darker places, Noveria comes to mind, all the larger hubs were still optimistic and advanced in comparison to what we have today.

                In Mass Effect 2 you are an immortal superbadass who punches Cthulhu until it dies. The DLC even included “epic” one liners, that wouldn’t be alien in a Reb Brown movie.
                The Hubs were brown and oppressive – either because of criminal involvement or because of the human police state canon-Shepard’s actions brought about on the Citadel.

                Look, I am not trying to say that Mass Effect 2 wasn’t fun, but it was so extremely different in tone in comparison to the first game, that I, personally, cannot fail to notice that.
                The third game’s trailer then shows a war-torn city, lots of destroyed buildings and struggling human resistance. Doesn’t exactly sell me on the game. I will play it, just to see how Bioware wraps up the story, but with such a marketing strategy, I will probably not rush to store on launch day to get my hands on it.

                • Avilan says:

                  Since the citadel is blue, not brown, I wonder if you have something wrong with your graphic card?

                  As for the rest… to each his or her own. To me it seems ME3 is the logical, and intended, conclusion to a story that was obviously heading that way from the very beginning. But then I have no nostalgia filter for ME1.

                  • Shamus says:

                    These Mass Effect threads have pointed out logical failings, plot holes, inconsistencies, changes in tone, poor character motivations, and a host of other problems. You can say it was a good game anyway. You can say you didn’t notice or care about these issues. But dismissing it as everyone else having a “nostalgia filter” is troll science.

                • krellen says:

                  I was playing Mass Effect (the original) last night. What nostalgia filter is in place over things that happened yesterday?

                  Your filter is the filter of one that played ME2 first, so you’re reading things into the original that weren’t there.

                • Avilan says:

                  @Shamus:

                  The change in tone is deliberate. However I do not believe (as I say below) that ME1 is that damn “happy”. The main inspiration for the ME series as a whole is “80ies Sci-fi”. That includes Alien and Terminator, for example.

              • Kanodin says:

                I agree entirely. One point I would like to add: The original Mass Effect had a bright optimistic future, contrasted with an overwhelmingly powerful enemy out to destroy all that life. It wasn’t gritty, it was a truly dark idea made worse by all the good the Reapers would destroy.

                Mass Effect 2 ignored that idea as much as it could, and just gave us random mooks to fight instead of moving the plot forward. And now Mass Effect 3 has changed that cosmic enemy into one obsessed with humans, because as we all know humans have to be special.

                • Avilan says:

                  “Bright and optimistic future”.

                  Where?

                  This is what I don’t get; I seem to have played a completely different set of games; the set I played had things like Judge-Dredd like police (The Specters), War torn survivors of a Genocide war doomed to forever be on the move, biological warfare, severe racism, mad scientists, enormous amount of corruption, etc etc.

                  And this was only in ME1.

                  I am sure that for a person with decent income living on one of the large hubs, life is great. For everyone else… Not so much.

                • jdaubenb says:

                  @Avilan
                  “I am sure that for a person with decent income living on one of the large hubs, life is great. For everyone else… Not so much.”

                  That is part of the point.
                  In Mass Effect 1 it seemed possible to make a decent living. While it was already quite easy to fall through the cracks the Citadel and the optimistic colonists after you removed the Thorian on Feros (paragon yadda yadda…) made it seem that you could stake out an at least ok life.
                  In Mass Effect 2 the hubs are: a) run by criminals, b) governed by an oppressive police force and rising racial tensions, c) a bombed out atomic wasteland or d) Rapture in space.
                  The lawlessness that the first game confined mostly to the Terminus system has spread into all other areas of the galaxy, making it seem as if your life would be in constant jeopardy.

                  Concise: The first game had some rather optimistic frontier spirit in the more run down areas of the game/the colonies. Even On Noveria you could bring down a corrupt executive and save a whole species from extinction.
                  The second game feels much more jaded in comparison.

                • krellen says:

                  Optimism doesn’t mean everything is perfect now. It means, in the face of adversary, you buck up and think the best will come of it. Throughout ME1, there are places where bad things are happening, but the overall sense you get from the problems isn’t “problems will always happen, you just have to accept that you’ll have problems”, but rather, “yeah, we’ve got problems, but it’s okay, because we can fix them.”

                  ME2 doesn’t have that any more. It doesn’t feel like “yeah, we can fix that” – it feels more like “goddammit, why do I have to take care of all this crap myself?”

                • Avilan says:

                  I still don’t agree with you. It’s obvious that we view these things completely different.

                  Besides, remember that the inspiration for the ME trilogy are 80ies Sci-fi. This means everything from Star Wars, V, Battlestar Galactica, Alien(s), Terminator, and so on and so forth.

              • swimon says:

                Agree completely. That said I will probably like ME3 too, like I liked ME2 but it’s still a MASSIVE disappointment.

              • Avilan says:

                I can’t do anything about your anger.
                You are still wrong. ME2 was very much intended.

                (Edit: I notice that on the page you linked to the Mass Effect franchise is not mentioned at all. It is apparently a bad example of meddling.)

                • krellen says:

                  Shamus has already pointed out your trolling, so the only bait I will take is the bait to point out that I agree with Shamus.

                • Shamus says:

                  Why didn’t it foreshadow the collectors in ME1? Why did they never mention TIM? Why did it so firmly establish that Cerberus was so comically inept and ruthless if they planned on using them as the driving force in the next game? Why did they introduce all that stuff with the Keepers, the Citadel, the Council, the Protheans, and the Spectres, and then have to go to so much trouble to write around them, ignore them, and marginalize them in ME2? Why did they present Shepard as a straight-laced, clean-cut military type who hates Cerberus if they wanted us to accept teaming up with them in ME2?

                  In the second game we get that glimpse of a collector at the end of the beacon vision. If they had been planning ahead, that collector would have appeared in the first game. Hey.. who is that guy? What does that mean? Hmmm. And I’d be praising them for foreshadowing instead of mocking them for a sloppy retcon.

                  Either ME2 was written after the first game was done, or they deliberately sabotaged themselves in the first game.

                  Saying they planned this mess from the start is worse than saying they didn’t plan ahead. It means that instead of being short-sighted, the writers are just idiots.

                • Avilan says:

                  @Shamus: Well let’s agree to disagree.

                  You don’t see the dots, I see they are blatantly obvious. The collectors… Maybe they hadn’t decided on a concept art for them in ME1? I don’t care. To me it is not a big problem.

                  You call the writers incompetent idiots, for the “mess” that is ME2. I enjoy a good plot and an awesome game.

                  Oh and for TIM? The POINT of him is that he is the hidden man behind it all. Even if Cerberus started as a human Black Ops organization, you were probably not high enough in rank to be on the need to know basis about him. I don’t see a problem there at all.

                  By the way, I just find it funny that Krellen OUTRIGHT HATES every game I have liked for the last 2 years. It’s proof of the uniqueness of individuals :)

                • krellen says:

                  The only games I hate are ME2 and FO3. Are those the only games you’ve liked in the past two years?

                  Did FO3 come out that recently? (Wiki check: I guess by non-strict definition of “two years”, the answer is yes.)

                • Avilan says:

                  OKay, 2 out of 3. I basically exclusively play FO3, DA:O and ME2 for the last two years.
                  I have a limited budget, so I have not bought New Vegas yet. Probably won’t until next year.

                • krellen says:

                  Where’d you get the idea I hated Dragon Age from?

                  It’s not my favourite game ever, but I certainly don’t dislike it.

                • Avilan says:

                  Hence the “2 out of 3” :)

                  Edit: As for budget… that’s why I didn’t pick up ME1 until I stumbled over it very cheap a little while back.

                • swimon says:

                  I agree with Shamus completely in this case. The reason I don’t find TIM all that impressive or intimidating is that while he’s this unseen mastermind that no one has ever seen he’s the unseen mastermind behind cereberus.

                  I understand that in the world of ME2 they’re this super shadowy military organisation that “does what needs to be done”, but in ME1 where I’m introduced to them they’re a c-grade mook-squad whose only narrative job is to give us enemies we can kill without remorse. It’s like if in ME3 we would team up with the super advanced shadowy blood pack clan that fight for racial equality. If it wasn’t for the preceding game there wouldn’t be much fault with that. It’s just that that’s not the blood pack clan that we were introduced to and no matter how many times we’re told that they’re totally not incompetent thugs it won’t change our first impression.

                • Avilan says:

                  Well to be fair the Vorcha ARE incompetent thugs. That’s what they ARE. With a 20 year lifespan and a brain capacity of a 6 year old human… The Krogan blood pack members are definitely more competent and dangerous.

                • Deadpool says:

                  Btw, if the Illusive Man is this big, secretive guy, how come EVERYONE KNOWS OF HIM in ME2?

              • Blanko2 says:

                awe EA arent that bad >:
                and in regards to Sci-fi, really its more like fantasy fiction, i mean, faster than light travel is basically magic, anyway.
                i dont think sci-fi has to be cheery, regardless, just look a Blade runner! or Alien? or like, you know, sci-fi that isnt star trek or jetsons!

                • X2-Eliah says:

                  On this note, show me a *modern* sci-fi that isn’t all dark and broken and ‘the species have failed’ and edgy etc.

                  It’s just like all the comic-hero reboots, everything has to be dark and gritty – makes me sick.

                  I want my optimistic future visions of star trek, not the broken lumping of BGS.. More Asimov and Hamilton!

                • Blanko2 says:

                  man even old scifi isnt cheery! this is the thing!

                • krellen says:

                  My whole point is that everything – everything – these days is “dark” and cheerless. We need Star Trek again. Desperately. And I thought ME1 was giving us it, but then ME2 came and gave us a “reboot” instead.

          • Ernheim says:

            I really can’t see where the “even more browns and greys than the first two games” comes from. Yes, the trailer was very grey, and I hope that the end game is more visually interesting. But the first two games were very colourful. Both, particularly the second, use blue and orange loads, and it makes for a great visual effect. There are a few places they break away from the colour scheme; Tuchanka, Grunt’s recruitment mission, the various collector vessels, are all variants on grey and brown, certainly. But because of the scarcity of these places, it is less boring than, say, the relentless grey of FO3’s wasteland. In fact, making Tuchanka all greys, for example, contrasts it with all of the other places you’ve been and tells you very quickly “this place was screwed up.”

            • X2-Eliah says:

              The first game, yes.. The second game – see, here’s the thing, they still have that hint of brown everywhere.. Take Illium for example – sure, there is blue and all, but the sky? It’s brownish. The tone of the ambient lighting? Again brownish. Nothing that pops in your eyes, but I do notice that in my games..

              Citadel’s council floor they left clean, thankfully. The supermarket floors are in general a bit darker themselves – no white surfaces, etc. The sections of it involved in missions are also themselves dark and a lot more ominous in design & lighting.

              That’s the thing – you can put in white & blue panels in both games – but I guarantee you that most of the time, the lighting of ME2 (‘improved’ as it is) will make them look darker – ‘grittier’ – than in ME1.

        • Topazwolf says:

          I am reasonably sure that the reapers do not only recruit one race. They take all of them, but they only had the one force close enough to use at the time. So out of shear spite, they are going to focus on humanity and keep it from ever being lucky again. And I am pretty sure that Sovereign’s last message was (don’t quote me on this) “OMG, this little squishy creature by the name of Shepard actually just managed to delivered a fatal blow to me. I have only one request, that you find him/her and administer a slow and painful death! And while your at it, kill his/her entire F***ing race!”

          Once all the reapers get to the galaxy, they will probably divide and conquer all possible fronts. And they will probably recruit Krogan, fix their reproduction (like they had Saren do) and use them for a renewable work force/ baby making material. And if BioWare is smart, they will then have the reapers reveal plans to seed and aid in the development of other races so they can then be set to harvest later.

          • BanZeus says:

            Yeah, the reason only the Protheans got screwed over 50k years ago is they were the only species who had advanced far enough to be useful.

            [tangent]

            I wonder if, given an extra couple thousand years the Hanar would’ve become a second space faring species. I get the feeling they weren’t necessarily intentionally “enkindled”, maybe the Protheans on Kahje kept them as pets.

            [/tangent]

            • Shamus says:

              I had this idea I was playing with – totally outside of canon, naturally – that all previous Reaper cycles had them dealing with a single species. The idea is that any species that conquers its homeworld and gets into space naturally has intelligence and the will to expand. The Citadel – which is of supreme usefulness – acts as a sort of prize for space-faring species to fight over. They fight, one becomes dominant by either exterminating or enslaving its rivals. Then the Reapers pop in and Reap the champion.

              But this time around the Asari screwed that up. Their odd mating habits (and the fact that they made it to the Citadel first) had this kind of stabilizing effect. They want to mate with a lot of different species, so they naturally strive to minimize conflict.

              • BanZeus says:

                Sorry Shamus, I don’t buy it.

                Assuming there’s only one mass relay network, that reapers have “only” been around 37 million years, and they take at least 50 thousand years off between harvests; that’s still 739 distinct Klingon Empires before the first Orion slave girls show up.

                In addition, they’d be deliberately “breeding” the most aggressive and/or enduring resistance each cycle, that sounds like a plan just waiting to backfire.

                Then again, we’re trying to impose reason on a process happening on a ludicrous scale in a universe ruled by troll science. Plus the plan is, in fact, failing so you may be on to something.

                Addendum: “Troll Science” is my new favorite expression for December 2010.

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

                  Of course, they would only need to be quick enough to get there once the fighting is over and everyone is “okay okay, you got us” and still licking their wounds.

                  Statistically likelyhood of Orion slave tentacled perverts appearing before doesn’t really affect it, it’s how likely it is that the Ostp end up “owning” the Citadel and being able to hold on to it.

                  Although, any likelyhood of something like the Reapers actually taking that long to get stopped is unlikely by itself. And the plan itself is weird. Wouldn’t constantly stomping out any fledgling, non-controlled life form be easier?

                  But I’m overthinking. ME is a space opera. Nonsense and Science! should be expected. I’d just wish the games had internal consistency between them.

                  Benevolent Orion tentacled slave perverts. Damn. Still needs work.

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

                That makes me think the Asari as a race of perverts. A race of benevolent perverts, but still. And it fits. So well. Dear god. A whole race of restrained, charismatic, benevolent perverts.

                With tentacles on their heads.

  17. Neil Polenske says:

    Now I’m gonna be forced to search the webz for the webcomic Mumbles is talking about. That’s gonna take like, y’know…THE REST OF MY LIFE!

    Thank you Mumbles. Thanks a bunch…

  18. 13 CBS says:

    Ooookay, the “Garrus is so hot” banter went from amusing to downright disturbing.

    I blame Rutskarn.

  19. Supernaut says:

    Wait until YOUR kids are teenagers Shamus there is no fast forward then, trust me.

  20. TSED says:

    YES.

    PUNCHING.

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

    PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH.

    *I apologize for the allcaps in this message.

    YES.

  21. RTBones says:

    Good morning from snowy Heathrow. As the old Bon Jovi song goes…halfway there, living on a prayer. Starting about the time my flight leaves, flights for the rest of the day are cancelled. Ahh, travel in winter!

    But to the topic at hand: pop-up walls. Me, I didnt have quite so much problem with them, but then I didnt analyse them. If you stretch, they could be both a crowd-control – break up charging rioters sort of thing (or channel them down certain “paths”), or a vehicle impediment (assuming there is some sort of vehicle running around a ship that is a prison.) Yeah, yeah, I know. I _did_ say stretch. There has to be a reason for them SOMEwhere.

    I remember this fight for the door to the right that opened to spawn more mooks once you took down the boss shield. First time through I Elmo’d myself by camping over there too long. Second time through, I ended up where Josh did.

    • Ringwraith says:

      They could use those as barricades, to take cover behind if they needed to contain a riot as it’s much harder to displace someone blocking your way who’s standing behind something than open ground.
      A more blatant oddity would be pop-up walls in Gears of War 2.
      There’s no reason for them to be there apart from to take cover behind due to the fact that most of the ones you find are in places too narrow for vehicles, let alone being accessible to them. They still were pretty nifty though.

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

      Why would there absolutely have to be a reason beyond “more places where players can hide”? The designers might’ve not thought it further than that, after all there has been some indication already that a believable universe wasn’t exactly their main worry.

      Although, wasn’t it a zoo or something originally? They could be there, you know, to help with directing animals or something? Help trip up rampaging space bulls and so on.

      Which gives me a humorous image of a group of people trying to use them to direct a tresher maw into one of those tiny holding places.

      Ah, madness.

  22. Blanko2 says:

    i like miranda ):

  23. Jarenth says:

    Wow, I’d forgotten how stupid this section was. Or blocked out, possibly. The Warden doesn’t even give you a chance to walk into his trap.

    Yeah, Shepard, as you can see, this is actually an empty cell. I’m planning on capturing you, you see. So if you could jusy, y’know, walk in there, with your friends, and wait for the door to close… and you’re not doing that. Now you’re running back into the hallway and shooting my guards. Shepard, stop doing that and get into the cell. Shepard, you’re ruining my master plan! SHEPARD ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING

    I bet that was months of careful planning down the drain.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Turians are usually very orderly and honour-bound types, deception isn’t usually their forte.
      He probably hasn’t had enough practice.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Interesting note – in Turian culture someone with no facial tattoos is considered an untrustworthy pariah. The warden would be one such example of this.
        I guess that doesn’t mean he has to be good at it…

      • Avilan says:

        The fact that he has no facial tattoos is a hint that he’s a bastard…

        • Blanko2 says:

          or that the writers/artists suffered a disconnect, specially between ME1 and ME2. i mean really, whats more likely, that they did it on purpose or that they just forgot?

          • Avilan says:

            In all seriousness? That they did it on purpose.
            Again, I don’t get the hate for this game and it’s creators.

            • jdaubenb says:

              I’m with Avilan on this one.
              The warden was probably a hint for those players who actually bothered to read the Codex.
              I found him having no facial markings a nice continuity nod.

              • Irridium says:

                It would have been a perfect little line for Garrus.

                Garrus: “Careful Shepard, in Turian Culture barefaced Turians are known for being untrustworthy…”

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

                  That rather depends, is it a stereotype, cultural belief or actually based to statistics or facts?

                  Since surely Garrus wouldn’t warn about it, if it’s just a generally held belief.

            • Blanko2 says:

              i dont hate the creators. i didnt think ME2 was up to par.
              and there are just too many little oddities when you look at the details for me to readily believe that.
              theres also the fact that there are quite a few other turian assholes that have face markings.

              • Ringwraith says:

                It’s not a rule, it’s just a culture thing, as it stems back to unification war, so it’s more a stereotype than anything.

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

                  That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be used as a reference. However, if ME2 made an actual attempt to be a serious game, then it would be another thing. Since if someone is genuinely underhanded, surely he would do whatever he can to not appear to be so.

                  That said, my pattern recognition says “not intended”. ME2 deviates from the first one enough that it just doesn’t seem likely that there has been anyone paying attention to the ME1 codex in more than passing.

                  Avilan can claim what he wants, but there has been a much stronger indication, and feeling, that ME2 was, figuritively speaking, ad-libbed. It’s just inconsonant* with ME1. And I don’t see how that is related to how much anyone likes, or doesn’t like, ME2. Unless there’s a point in “liking something” where you’re officially a “fanboy of something”.

                  * Ran into this word today. Got an obsessive feeling to use it. Sorry.

                • Fnord says:

                  Even if the general plot was tacked-on, it doesn’t mean they forgot everything they did in the previous game. They included lots of references to the original, arguably more than is reasonable (hell, their compulsion to throw in references is part of the problem; the plot would make more sense if you were aligned with a completely new group, but no…).

                  It’s not like they just forgot to give face paint to all new turians. The bathroom turian has obvious facepaint, and the bartender has some, too.

                • krellen says:

                  I don’t think a few emails count as “reference to the previous game”.

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

                  Or taking names from things in the previous game. I mean really. How much has there been similiar to what happened in Fallout 3? Same name and supposedly the same, but actually different. Super mutants, but not super mutants. Cerberus, but not Cerberus. Reference for the sake of reference, but not if it’s too much effort.

                  I think they it’s a coincidence they decided that the warden wouldn’t have face paint, and that they didn’t really pay attention to the related piece of trivia. Or any trivia they didn’t feel was “cool” enough. [Move along.]“Cool” of course being “macho cool” or “hardcore”, because otherwise it’s “the nerdy type of cool” and we can’t have that in a new multimillion franchise. Can’t risk alienating the frat boys or the ones who keep calling themselves “hardcore gamers”.[Nothing to see here.]

                • Fnord says:

                  Not just the email and the news reports. Besides all the squadmates and politicians, you’ve got (potential) cameos by Conrad Verner, Fist, Rana Thanoptis (from Virmire), Gianna Parasinni (from Noveria), the Asari commando from Feros, and that woman crimeboss with the sidequest. And there’s the fact they felt compelled to recycle Ceberus instead of putting you in a new organization, despite issues that creates.

                  Don’t confuse making references with maintaining continuity. It’s entirely possible to do one without the other. Arguably, that’s Bioware’s mistake, trying to connect the games with by making references rather than maintaining a coherent connection between plots.

                  Edit: Sumanai: So your argument is that they make lots of trivial references, so that makes it less likely that this is a trivial reference?

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

                  No, my argument is that they only make trivial references that they feel are cool, and that it’s doubtful that they’d make a trivial reference based on trivia because they seem uninterested in the first games’ trivia.

                  I’ll try again: They seem to have ignored all the nonessential information, unless they’ve felt it would be cool to make a meaningless reference to it. If it’s something like “some have facepaint, other’s don’t. Latter are thought to be worse”, that’s not “cool” (“awesome”,”macho cool”,”hardcore”) it’s either irrelevant crap to them, or too much work because they’d have to pay attention to it while designing, or designating, models for NPCs. I think both, though more the latter, now that I’ve been thinking.

                  Okay, I’ll try shorter this time. They make lots of meaningless references, that don’t fit properly with the first one, according to what they thought was/would be cool and largely effortless. Facepaint stuff sounds like a meaningless reference that they wouldn’t think was all that cool, that would demand some effort.

                  Actually, screw all that. You didn’t get what I meant, and it doesn’t matter. How many Turians are there in ME2 without facepaint? Are they all unreliable, or safe to assume as unreliable? Because if it’s mix and match, even if the warden is the only important one, I don’t care if it was meant as a reference. A reference needs to be something those in the known can detect positively as a reference without wild mass guessing. Otherwise it might as well be happenstance, and I’m not giving trivia points for that.

                  Might as well claim Jacob is a reverse reference to Minsk.

                • Fnord says:

                  Re: the stuff you passive-agressively spoilered out:
                  There’s couple in the wards shop about genetic mods seem like a reference to the “vaccine controversy” side-quest/conversation in 1; there are ads for the elcor version of Hamlet mentioned in an elevator conversation. I’m not sure that medical controversy or theater qualify as “macho-cool”.

                  As for the rest, I’m not sure, but not very many. I mentioned the bathroom turian and and the bartender have some; so does the turian shopkeeper and the guard outside Mordin’s recruitment? How many turians do we meet?

                  You’re free to assign “points” however you wish, but SOMEONE made the connection.

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

                  Well, not really “macho-cool”, but “cool” still. These are people who still make The Plague -quests, however short, so vaccine-related might still be something they’d consider “cool”. Kind of bothers me how far they went with the Elcor Hamlet. We didn’t really need an example of it, although that would happen with a real newsfeed. Kinda feels like “oh man, wouldn’t it be coold if” -decision nevertheless.

                  I don’t know about the Turians, that’s why I mentioned about it. Does anyone you’ve mentioned do anything underhanded? If there’s no pattern or anything on the facepaint use, it could’ve been meant as a reference but that’s no reason for us to believe it to be so. Needs more supporting evidence, else it’s I’ll keep thinking it’s coincidence.

                  The point thing was basically me trying to not sound snobby while saying that “it’s not a proper reference”. So, yeah.

  24. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Sigh, I miss the comments within the vid, even though they tended to pile up and become unreadable after a while.

    Case in point: ~3:20 “this is not the droid you’re looking to charge into”

  25. Dude says:

    This is my favorite episode of Spoiler Warning since the one in which Three Dog’s pants explode.

    You guys hit just the right note. It’s like everyone had a very good night’s sleep and did this first thing in the morning.

  26. Dante says:

    You’re complaining about chest-high walls in this game? Go watch Yahtzees review of Gears of War 2….a game where EVEN NATURE ITSELF will provide you with chest-high walls

  27. Vect says:

    From the tone that the guys speak with, it sounds like they already hate their crew. Why do I get the feeling that in the finale, Josh will be laughing with joy as he sees Kelly being made into smoothie?

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