Spoiler Warning S4E14: Let’s Talk About Our Feelings

By Shamus
on Dec 20, 2010
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I have to say, the Miranda interview had a lot less fan service than I expected. I seem to remember that every time I visited Miranda I was treated to the boob-cam and the butt-cam whenever she spoke. Maybe it only does that if you’re male Shepard. Or maybe that happens later in the game.

Miranda is both voiced by and modeled after actress Yvonne Strahovski. (And I am so glad that we’re on the internet, where I don’t have to try and pronounce that.) I know we make fun of Miranda for being “ugly”, but Ms. Strahovski herself is not so:

me2_miranda.jpg

You can see the resemblance, but something was definitely lost in translation there.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!2020204264. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a big-ish sort of number.

From the Archives:

  1. Avilan says:

    It’s the same for male and female Shep.

    This is also true with all animations, which is one theory why there is a small but devoted Fem!Shep player group among men (about 18%). Because of this, and Hale’s good voice acting, Fem!Shep becomes The Ladette (See TV Tropes). Which some of us find very sexy.

    • krellen says:

      Do Kasumi’s loyalty mission. Put Shepard in the dress she gets as informal wear from that mission. Go talk to Garrus (up to the just pre-romance part, where Shepard sits and chats with Garrus). Note how Shepard sits. Facepalm.

      • Patrick says:

        I haven’t seen the part you’re talking about, but I did take notice during the dialogue with Aria that female shepard crosses her legs like a man when sitting. I chalked it up to having not worn a skirt in over a decade, if ever.

        • krellen says:

          Yeah, when talking to Garrus, female Shepard sits like a man, with legs open. It works in pants, but when you put her in a dress – not so much.

          • Aces McGee says:

            C’mon, Josh already showed she’s a foul mouth, ass kicking, borderline alcoholic. I’m sure female Shepard knows stories that could make sailors blush. Any pretense Of Shepard being a lady is thrown out the window from the very beginning. In all honesty, having her delicately cross her legs would actually seem out of character if you think about it.

      • Avilan says:

        As I said; The Dudette.

  2. Henebry says:

    The photo of the actress has disappeared from your server.

  3. Avilan says:

    …And… The video is set to private, again :)

  4. LadyTL says:

    I played Female Shepard and after a couple conversations with Miranda I was given a ton of butt shots. I think it starts after a certain level of relationship with her.

  5. Avilan says:

    About Yvonne Strahovski… I have seen stills of her looking much more like Miranda; the face transfer is basically perfect until Miranda’s face starts moving (talking, smiling etc) simply because the game engine isn’t perfect, it dives right into Uncanny Vally

    And Shamus, you are right; Jack’s face is very beautiful. That’s why I said that I find her very attractive despite the tattoos, and without them she would be stunning.

    Edit: As for plot holes; I don’t want to start all over again, but the one thing I DO have a problem with in this game IS the basic concept of being tied to Cerberus no matter what you do.
    I can definitely understand that you have to go through the tutorial working for Cerberus no matter what background you picks (you do not fly the shuttle, after all), but at two points you should get the option of buggering off:

    1: when you report to the Citadel for the first time and
    2: In this conversation with Jack. I assume that if you do these before Miranda and Jacob are loyal, you would have to fight them, like you would Leliana in DA:O if you defile the sacred ashes.

    • Factoid says:

      Personally I dont’ mind tattooed women, I just think she’d look better with hair.

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

        Interestingly, because I couldn’t catch a proper look at Jack in the previous video, I googled her. I got a picture of a woman cosplaying as Jack and she looked good with a shaved head.

        The Jack in the game? Blegh. In my case it could be the unbelievable sharp widow’s peak (or whatsitcalled) and her hairline in general just feels a bit off. Too “perfect” in the way that someone went through files of “facial attributes of the perfect woman”.

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

          Thinking about it, I think the problem is the hairline looks like from an Illustration of a Human Hairline or something.

          Also, I can’t stop feeling bothered by her tattoos. I suspect they’re the reason I keep thinking she’s wearing a skin colored shirt with a pattern on them. They just don’t look right for tattoos. Or my mind is refusing to register the “top” she’s wearing. Presumably for sanity reasons.

          I guess her looks bother me so much because she’s kind of more on the surreal/abstract end of the scale than the others and it keeps bugging me. Also, she moves strangely, which might be also be the cause.

          Edit: I now know one additional reason why her head bugs me. Her skin changes to a lighter shade a bit before the hairline. Giving the impression her face is cowered in something.

      • swimon says:

        Or with a personality… Yeah she just annoys me.

    • TSED says:

      I think that Jack is the most attractive of all of them.

      Yes, including Tali.

      Shaved heads don’t bother me and I actually really dig tattoos, so what do you know. But then, I’m big into counter-culture girls so I suppose I am not the one to talk to.

      Unfortunately, Jack’s personality is awful. No offense ladies, but I’ve dealt with girls WITH that kind of personality to realise just how doomed that direction is.

      (A: the doomediest.)

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

        I’m bothered by the fact that a girl with a shaved head and tattoos is still considered to be “counter-culture” and we’re going into 2011. On the other hand, I thought that the Finnish government had legalized gay marriage several years ago, but apparently that would’ve been too efficient. (They legalized registered partnership or something. Of course getting the whole talk and paperwork done on a single proposition just wouldn’t have wasted enough tax money, so it was out of the question.)

        Edit: Not that I’m saying I’m for or against. I’m sure Shamus won’t appreciate it if we start talking about politics. I was just moaning about politicians being lazy or inept, like you do.

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

          Damn. I meant to delete most of that, since I just remembered how volatile the topic is, or was, globally.

          Shamus, if you feel at all unsure whether to delete that comment or not, I’m supporting deleting. I’d rather not be the cause of a comment lockdown.

        • TSED says:

          Well, let’s be honest. Most guys wouldn’t want to bring her home to meet their mother.

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

            I wouldn’t want to bring her home, show her my home, or tell her where it is. But that’s not really about her looks, so I’m not sure if it counts.

            However, if I had any reason to believe she’d behave like a human being (no talk, let alone acts, of any type of harming anyone or anything), and preferrably like a polite one too, I don’t see why I would be against her meeting my mother. But she’s not easily fazed by small things like tattoos or baldness in a woman. Might depend on what type of tattoos though, but not tattoos themselves.

            But this is a woman who started laughing when Sauron’s eye first appeared on-screen. So I’m not sure if it counts.

            Apparently it looks like a flaming vagina.

  6. scowdich says:

    Just FYI, the Miranda Ass Cam really comes into focus (hurr hurr) when she’s giving you her loyalty quest. Two long, lingering shots of Miranda’s ass; she even faces a window so you can get a good look.

  7. Moriarty says:

    the problem with garrus calibrating speech is his timing.

    The choice wheel pops up the exact time you figure out you’re going to get the calibration-speech, so when you’re trying to skip it the wheel pops up and you end up asking him the same thing again.

    Of course now you’re getting impatient and try to skip it again …

  8. JoCommando says:

    Even Shrekified as her face is, I still prefer the current Miranda to the one featured in the early trailers and box art. That one always struck me as very plastic, like the titular robots in I, Robot. If nothing else, that someone even attempted to capture Strahovski’s likeness shows that their intentions were good.

    Still, once I have Grunt all other conversations pale in comparison. Whether channeling your inner Wrex or playing the principled Captain Picard, the script gives the sense that you might be influencing how the perfect Krogan will mature. We all know that’s not the case, given the railroad (I’m betting he’ll be linear like Garrus as Josh implies, in spite of the nuances to which Mumbles refers) but the illusion is nice for now.

  9. Anaris says:

    Cerberus gives you money after each mission in the reward screen. I too think the whole Cerberus-plot is a giant mess and about as bad as it gets, but sometimes it feels like you complain about things more for the sake of complaining, either ignoring whether it’s true or just not caring.

    • Shamus says:

      We often discuss things we notice in the game because we know if we missed anything, helpful and polite people will leave us comments that will lead to interesting conversations.

      Or sometimes we get comments like yours.

      • Gil says:

        And this is why I love your site, Shamus!!!

      • Anaris says:

        You are, of course, absolutely right. I will refrain from posting personal opinions from now on.

        Cerberus hands out money for each and every mission, for surplus medkits and heavy weapons ammo you collect and for collecting technology on missions.

        • krellen says:

          There’s a line between personal opinions and insults. You crossed it. (I am well aware of this line, because I toe it constantly.)

          • wtrmute says:

            I don’t think he was insulting about it, you know, but people in different countries (heck, in different families) have different levels of resistance to criticism. From where I was looking, Shamus lashed out at nothing; I’m sure he saw an insult there.

          • Nihil says:

            “Sometimes it feels like you complain about things more for the sake of complaining” is an insult? Seriously? I have spoken more blunt criticism than that to my high-school teachers without receiving any reproach – and some of them were Sgt. Hartman-grade hardasses.

            After reading the exchange above, it seems to me that Shamus should apologise to Anaris more than Anaris should apologise to Shamus.

            • krellen says:

              That’s not the insult – the phrase you cut off after that is.

            • Shamus says:

              Compare:

              You are incorrect about X.

              To:

              You are incorrect about X because you are lazy, or a liar.

              There was simply no reason to tack that on, as it moved the discussion from details about the game to a needless attack on someone. (I assume it’s against me, even through there are four of us on the show and we all follow the comments.)

              • Anaris says:

                Why would I attack you? Why would you assume it was directed at you specifically, there is no reason for that. I didn’t mention anyone in particular, I don’t think it was you who commented on the lack of Cerberus funding anyway.

                First I posted a bit of information, then I pointed out a feeling I had. The two points are seperated, one is a fact, the other subjective without any proof. And it doesn’t claim to be objective either.

                • thebigJ_A says:

                  It doesn’t matter which of the four you were referring to.

                  You called one or all of them either lazy, or a liar. That is an insulting attack.

                • Gale says:

                  “You called one or all of them either lazy, or a liar. That is an insulting attack.”

                  Or maybe, and this might sound a little naive to you, but maybe when he used the words “sometimes it feels like”, he didn’t actually mean “fuck you”, but rather “it feels like this, sometimes”. How many ways are there to say something negative, but still politely? How easy is it to make such things sound offensive or understanding simply by saying the same words with a different tone? Are you seriously going to tell him what he meant, when all you have to base your opinion on are the simple words he used, bare of any real tone or expression?

                  You might have a problem with how he worded it, but frankly, disregarding his comment as a spiteful and meaningless attack – and continuing to do so, ignoring all protestations to the contrary – is pretty insulting as well. Are you seriously going to keep your initial interpretation as the only possible answer, without considering that there might’ve been a misunderstanding of intention, without even demanding that he explain himself?

                • Sekundaari says:

                  I think I agree with Gale here. I guess I could see an insult in the OP, if I tried to see one, or if I’d remember Anaris had a history of trolling or such. But without those, I don’t.

                  I also agree with wtrmute above. Different standards in different places.

                • Andrew says:

                  Going to have to second agreeing with Gale here. Saying “this is the impression I’m getting” isn’t the same thing as “this is what I think of it”.

        • Deadpool says:

          for surplus medkits and heavy weapons ammo you collect and for collecting technology on missions

          That’s not handing out money!

          Funding = You give me money and I do whatever the hell I want with it.

          Paychek = You give me money and I do whatever the hell YOU want.

          Barter = You give me money and I give you things you want.

          • swimon says:

            Slavery = you do what I want without payment but I will supply the tools (a ship) and I guess I could buy things from you.

            Ok I kid mostly but still.

          • Aldowyn says:

            But that doesn’t account for the money you get from Cerberus at the end of every mission – literally called “funding” and accounting for a good half of all the money you get.

            • Vect says:

              Might possibly just be how they call it. Seems Cerberus will twist words/fabricate BS in order to make themselves look good (like how Miranda says that Cerberus is equivalent to the STG, which is like comparing the IRA to MI-6 for a loose comparison). THEY call it funding, which is enough in their eyes.

      • MrWhales says:

        ouch. I’m going to get a band-aid for me eyes.

    • JoCommando says:

      Still, it’s good to see someone arguing the case of the downtrodden Cerberus Accounting Department. They are less sympathetic, however, since the last Head Accountant went rogue – and for the record, Miranda was completely unaware of their work.

      Given the importance of Shep’s mission, I can see where Josh was coming from. You’d think TIM would provide the equivalent of the Cerberus Visa Card (“For goons on the go…”) to fund the saving of the galaxy. Giving out allowance piecemeal is sort of odd. All part of the gameplay & story segregation, I suppose.

      • Anaris says:

        It just doesn’t make sense really. Either TIM is lying out of his ears or the most incompetent shady character ever. He has the funds and intellect to build up Cerberus, then promptly half his cells go rogue and he doesn’t know? Yeah, right. Just bad writing more likely, I haven’t seen that many railroad tracks since a friend of mine who was GMing a DSA pen&paper game said “No, you can’t go there. Because. Go there instead.”

        • JoCommando says:

          I agree, to a point. POSSIBLE SPOILER: The newly-unrestricted EDI will tell us that there are never more than a dozen operations running at once because TIM wants to have personal oversight, so we now know he’s lying when he claims not to know at least the scope of what his people are working on.

          I think where the bad writing comes in, as Shamus said in the video, is our inability to call TIM out on this. Miranda, being basically a high-level flunky gets a pass, but the inability to run down that litany of evil deeds to TIM himself is galling.

      • Rayen says:

        For the record can we not refer to The Illusive Man as TIM? Because my name is Tim, and i dunno why but refering to him as TIM hurt my feelings…

    • Gale says:

      “Sometimes it feels like you complain about things more for the sake of complaining, either ignoring whether it’s true or just not caring.”

      While I’ve sometimes gotten that impression as well, I think the problem mainly stems from the fact that their commentary is a reaction to what Josh is doing in-game, while what they’re actually saying is either based on what they remember from their own playthroughs, or are points that they just thought of, but lack the ability to investigate, since they’re not the ones in the driving seat. Moreover, they’re more occupied with providing witty banter than scrutinising every little detail of each minor cutscene, so on the occasion that an explanation might have been provided, it’s very easy for them to miss it. For example, when they were recruiting Jack, they laughed at how the boss built this big forcefield to hide behind, but left all the projectors outside of it – even though those projectors were shown in use twenty minutes earlier, not as a defensive shield, but as a prisoner restraining device. It lasted all of three seconds in a cutscene they’d already watched, so it’s not surprising that it didn’t really register when it happened, or that they just took them for a videogame contrivance when the boss used them to hide behind.

      It’s probably a little unfair to say that they care more about complaining than checking to see if their complaints are accurate. I think that it’s simply a consequence of the Spoiler Warning process – the draw of the show is hearing them make fun of the narrative issues a game has, but because it’s entirely unscripted, they don’t really have a chance to spend half an hour fact-checking before they make a joke. Things like Cerberus funding take the form of an easily-ignored gameplay contrivance, a box in a “Mission Success!” Screen, and is something you could easily fail to register unless you were to sit down and try to figure out what it was exactly Cerberus was doing for Shepard.

      • Anaris says:

        Yes, and that’s why I wrote “it sometimes feels like” and not “it’s like that, you’re stupid”, as that would just have been silly and insulting. Personal feeling without any claim to be the absolute truth.

  10. Newbie says:

    I have just thought of a wierd plothole…? The asari? They live thousands of years? 50,000 years ago the reapers destroyed all sentient life? Am I missing something the asari went from basic animals to sentient beings in about 5 – 10 generations? Then they built spaceships and discovered the citidel? And nobody remembered these doomships that came and checked they weren’t clever enough? The Reapers are either very lax, or the asari are very forgetful…

    • Xakura says:

      You’re confusing generation with lifespan, as far as I know, we don’t know how fast they reproduce.

      • Newbie says:

        Yeah yeah but still upgrade the number of generations it’s still too short… need at least 2000 generations really… and although it is suggested they are a bit free with their bodies they won’t be able to do that, the child stays with the mother until about 100 so I’d guess that is the generations suggested.

        • Xakura says:

          I wish you wouldn’t throw around numbers like spaghetti to a wall. Look below, I’ve done some estimates as a response to one of your other liberal uses of mathematics.

        • reg42 says:

          I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I seem to remember something in the Shadow Broker DLC which says one of Morinth’s kids age, and it was around 40. They lived apart.

          I haven’t played in a while, so it’s possible I’m wrong about that.

          • krellen says:

            40 is the age at which Morinth rejected monasticism and fled Asari space to live the life of a predator. Her precociousness is something Samara greatly admired about her daughter (I got the impression that Morinth was the youngest of the sisters.)

            • Aldowyn says:

              I’m pretty sure Samara says outright that the other two decided to stay wherever, and Morinth was last and went off on her own.

              Also: I think Asari lifespan isn’t much more than 1000 years, but they reproduce by at least 150 I would assume (Liara was about 100, as I recall, and we all know what she got up to…) So it’s possible that they were semi-sentient at that point – think Neanderthals.

              50k years is a REALLY short time for an entire galaxy to evolve, though. 500k works, but why not just go a million? :D

    • rofltehcat says:

      Well, I guess the Reapers only destroy life that has reached a certain level of development. They are so super intelligent and powerful that they might not see the potential in a few monkeys (either blue and hairless or pink with little hair) that are living in tribes and are maybe starting to use simple tools and fire.

      Also, with the Asari living longer I could imagine them being able to see bigger pictures more easily. Also their scientists could research stuff for much longer, their leaders live longer (easier to unite big nations, more stability). So instead of having to teach hordes of students they can send their best and brightest to learn directly from the great masterminds instead. And they don’t make the impression of learning any slower than humans and they are more intelligent than humans, too. Humans just seem to be more adaptable but also have a lot less stability, which makes technological progress a bit harder because people might have to fight for survival at times, waste resources in wars or knowledge might be simply lost.

    • Grudgeal says:

      The Reapers’ harvests attacked and ‘harvested’ species who’d been using the Mass Relays, or had made contact with species using Mass Relays. The Asari might have been sapient, but pre-FTL stage, when the last harvest occurred. With the Reapers not knowing they were there because they hadn’t made contact with any Mass Relays and the Protheans not knowing they existed, they got passed over.

    • WILL says:

      The Reapers seem to only wipe out civilizations that have space travel or have discovered the relays. 50,000 years is not enough to recreate any sort of sentient life, so I doubt they just wipe EVERYTHING.

      And I’m not justifying it because Bioware didn’t, I think it was explained in the first one by Vigil.

      So… not much of a plot hole.

    • Patrick says:

      Asari discovered the mass relays circa 500 BCE, if I’m not mistaken. It’s quite plausible, I think, that they entered their Space Age around 1000 BCE, if not later, and may have been in their Stone Age when the Protheans were purged — as were all the other Citadel races, including humans. The Reapers only take note of spacefaring civilizations.

      As far as lifespan goes, 1,000 years is the optimum lifespan for a modern Asari. It seems likely to me that this lifespan has become possible for them only recently through gene therapy or some other technology, and that pre-spacefaring Asari likely had much shorter lifecycles, allowing them to progress from Stone Age to Space in a timeframe comparable to humans.

    • daveNYC says:

      I forget, do the Reapers wipe out all sentient life, or do they wipe out species based on their tech level?

  11. Corsair says:

    Not thousands of years. Thousand years, tops. And that doesn’t mean a 1000 year long generation cycle, a Human generation is about 20-25 years, but Humans tend to live at least twice that, more often three times that, sometimes four times that, and in Mass Effect, I believe it goes up to six times that.

    So instead of 50 generations, it’s probably been closer to 150. And if that still seems short to you, keep in mind that Homo Sapiens Sapiens evolved 50,000 years ago. Given the Asari have a significant lead-in on Humans, it’s reasonable to assume that during the last Reaper Incursion, the Asari were in their version of the Bronze Age. I doubt the Reapers go after every planet, probably just disable the Mass Relays and obliterate all interstellar civilizations.

    • Andrew B says:

      That’s still very short. I mean, even taking a 30 year generational cycle for humans, that’s 4,500 years. While not within the realms of history that’s certainly within the reach of sentience. And if we assume the Asari have been space-faring for chunk of time, I think you’re looking at Roman era to modern day.

      Mind you, I also think this is a case of looking too closely! It would be nice to think everything makes sense, but I’m willing to let something this minor slide, personally. (Of course, I realise other people are a LOT more strict on this sort of stuff than me.)

      • Xakura says:

        First off, you are making some pretty broad assuptions as to how close or how much they care to inspect the asari homeworld. Do you notice the ISS daily? Is it bothering you, beeing up there?

        Furthermore, if say a reaper got real close some 4000 years ago (what we generally associate with Egypt and Mesopotamia). What do you think you would infer from their mythology and possibly written accounts? (Hieroglyphs). “Yes, this is clearly irrefutable evidence of a machine-race of genetic harvesters” or “These guys are just as bonkers as the rest of the early civilizations.”

        And how do you know they haven’t already? Dun dun dun!

        • Newbie says:

          Yeah but the asari’s live longer. They would see this as news from about the 1800’s no one alive but only a few generations since someone noticed it.

          • Xakura says:

            Useful if you include the numbers you assume.

            A human generation is approx. 30 years. We can live to be a hundred, the asari to a thousand. Assuming some similarity, we can set their generation to 300.

            Year 1800 was approximately 7 generations ago. In “asari years” that equals 2,000.

            So 50,000 years equals 170 asari generations. 170 human generations then becomes ~5000 years. Which is a bit closer to 4000 than 200.

            • Newbie says:

              50,000 Is 50 asari life times. The change from each generation will be severly reduched for asari as they live so much longer (therefore they can’t produce as many children because overpopulation would be one bad generation) The impact of each earlier generation would be much higher on the younger. So less change. The fact humans find it hard to change through each generation even with the little impact of the older generations shows that technological advancement is hard. So I estimate the 50 asari lifetimes would have as much impact as 10 human generations. So 1800 is not a bad guess considering. But it is just speculation and just one that keeps nagging at me.

              • Xakura says:

                Again, you are just inventing stuff, imagine what progress could be made if Einstein lived to be 1000. Humans spend half their life just getting up to speed on science and technology.

                And no, just no. There’s a difference between “some asari live to be a thousand” and “an asari generation lasts a thousand years”. You really need to get lifespan and generation sorted out. This is not hard, just divide by ten, and look at humans. Some humans live to be 100. Our generations last a fraction of that.

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

                  Edit note: Most ninja’ed by Taellosse about an hour before.
                  Go team Too Lazy to Check Comments Further Down!

                  A lot of geniuses, or supposed geniuses at least, have a habit of getting stuck thinking a certain way. I vaguely remember there being several people in history who slowed down science because the newer, less incorrect, ideas were put down by them. It was only after them dying that progress was again being made.

                  Of course that doesn’t mean Asari couldn’t work in a another way. They could, say, have a more combative attitude in science circles. Sort of “go on, prove me wrong then” instead of “I laugh at your ideas and have you banned from all places for as long as I live”. Although Asari seem to have a rather blind subjucation to Matriarch’s words, but I’m not going to start arguing about this simply because I don’t feel the need to get into such things. After all, they could’ve made incredible progress by blind luck.

                  Just, it’s not as simple as “if only he lived twice as long, he’d make twice as much” because he could’ve make just as much and just kept drawing attention/support away from new sources.

                  Oh! There’s one thing. If the Asari saw the Reapers in the space, but were ignored by them for having too low tech, they would’ve most likely just written/drawn stuff about “gods in the sky, judging” or something even more vague. Considering how fast some people ignore elders when they’re “rambling” and the fact that the Reapers wouldn’t have been seen again would make everyone think ol’ Matriarch Jill’s a bit bonkers. But she’s always been a bit special.

    • Newbie says:

      Yes but the generation changes would be only as pronounced as the human ones. If you think about it the asari should need at least twice as long (if not 10 times) for them to evolve like us? So they would need to be basicly in the steam power range before the Reapers came. If the Reapers didn’t think that they might be a threat that might evolve too quickly and enough to be nearly as advanced as the Reapers they can’t be as clever as they are suggested…

      • Taellosse says:

        This is an entirely baseless assumption. Just because the asari superficially resemble humans does not mean they display the same kinds of psychology or sociology. They’re an alien species that developed on an entirely different planet under very different circumstances.

        There is considerable implied evidence to suggest that they are, as a species, less inclined to violence and more oriented towards resolving disputes through diplomacy. This suggests that it’s entirely possible they were far less warlike during their development than we have been. While technology often advances through war for us, it also degrades–Dark Ages are probably a rare or unheard of thing in asari history. There is a reason the arc of technological advancement has gotten steeper for us as society advanced, and it isn’t because we’re getting smarter–it’s, in part, because we’ve gotten better at preserving essential knowledge through upheaval (and ensuring that the upheavals are less catastrophic). A species that is less inclined towards violence to begin with would probably have an easier time ensuring the preservation of essential information across time.

        There’s also no reason to assume that older Asari would impede developments made by younger ones, just because that sometimes happens with humans. What we know of Asari culture actually suggests the opposite might be true–the stratification by age that they display probably serves to partially isolate the age groups, which would minimize that kind of friction. And the fact that Asari culture actively encourages the young to go out and explore, but return home later–which strikes me as an imperative that would predate spacefaring–suggests that their culture is very open to accepting new ideas and developments, regardless of their origin.

        When discussing how rapidly an alien species develops, there are very few assumptions you can safely make about how they would mature. Since asari have physical forms similar to ours, that gives you a limited basis for comparison, but don’t overdo it–there are a lot of things that are demonstrably different about them, too. We don’t even really know how rapidly they physically mature. Nor how much their lifespans have lengthened with the development of advanced technology. You can’t assume they’ve been routinely living 1,000 years apiece since they mastered the art of fire.

        And none of this covers the fact that technology does not develop in a linear, predictable fashion. It advances in lurching hops, as someone is struck by inspiration and figures out how to do things in a new way nobody ever thought of before. There’s a large element of random chance involved. If the asari, as a species, just got a series of lucky die rolls, they could have developed a spacefaring culture much more rapidly than humans did, simply because they had more regular strikes of inspiration.

        • BanZeus says:

          Agreed, and that doesn’t even take into account their discovery and subsequent use of mass relays which, if you buy into Sovereign’s rhetoric, railroads their cultural development from there on.

          Humanity went from discovering the Prothean ruins on Mars to being a galactic power in ~30 years, but for the 6 million years leading up to that they’re just another kind of primate, at least from a Reaper’s point of view.

        • unnamednpc says:

          “There’s also no reason to assume that older Asari would impede developments made by younger ones, just because that sometimes happens with humans.”

          In ME1, Liara tells you that her theories on the Protheans have been mostly ignored by the greater Asari scientific community because at 100-something, she is still considered a child. That doesn’t sound like young, innovative Asari can generally hope for ringing endorsement from their elders.
          Then again, that was ME1, so maybe it just doesn’t count anymore?
          -In Soviet sequel, backstory retcons YOU!-

          • Aldowyn says:

            More “barely more than a child” than literally “a child.” I’m thinking a generation can’t have been too much more than Liara’s age – and definitely not double or triple, like many are suggesting. 150 seems reasonable to me.

            • Will says:

              Also to be fair, her ideas were seriously radical with very little evidence to support them. It’s one thing to be open to new ideas, but quite another to accept any random theory that appears on your door step.

              • Taellosse says:

                This. Also, keep in mind, what you were hearing from Liara was her point of view, not the absolute truth. As a parallel example, in periods of high unemployment like this one, many people who have trouble finding a job tend to attribute the difficulty to their age–e.g. if they are young, they say employers are all looking for people with more experience, while if they are older, they say employers want kids fresh out of school they can pay less. The truth of the matter is that the odds are just against them–there are more job-seekers than jobs, and the pool if applicants is large and highly competitive.

                By the same token, Liara could easily have been attributing the lack of credence paid to her theories to her youth, when the truth of the matter was her case was insufficiently compelling due to lack of evidence. The Reapers were very thorough, we are told, in removing evidence of their existence, and almost all useful information about the Protheans. Liara even says herself that her case is a bit tenuous, when it comes to verifiable data–a lot of her conviction comes from intuition and unquantifiable subtleties.

                Taken objectively, Liara sounds an awful lot like one of those conspiracy theorists that run around claiming all key events in human history are the work of the Illuminati (or that aliens are responsible for the monuments of ancient civilizations). The people who propound such theories are very sure of themselves, but they are not generally believed, because their evidence is tenuous at best, and Occam’s Razor suggests they’re probably wrong. One can presume that the Asari scientific community is no less skeptical than our own of unsubstantiated claims like that. Just because Liara turns out to be right doesn’t mean her proof was strong.

            • BanZeus says:

              Samara has a 440 year old daughter and claims to be nearly a thousand years old, meaning she could have been well over 500 when Morinth was born. It’s also implied in the flavor text for Sapiens Justicar that Samara isn’t a matriarch yet, which means could theoretically have more children.

              • Will says:

                It seems likely that with a potentia lifespan of 1000 years and the ability to breed for a substantial chunk of that period, the concept of a ‘generation’ wouldn’t really apply the same way it does to humans.

      • Dee_Dubs says:

        @ Newbie: I very much doubt Asari generational change (at least in terms of culture and technology) would be slower than human, simply because there is more time in each generation in which change can happen. Technology and culture are not locked during each generation (hell, even the idea of generation is just a rough yardstick used in long term estimations).
        Look at the amount our world can change in a single generation (used here as shorthand for a 30 year period). Now even assuming the Asari are several times more conservative than humans, they’ve got a generational period somewhere in the region of 300-400 years. You’d end up with several times the amount of change per generation.

        A lot of people seem to have gotten too caught up in thinking in terms of generations (a very vague measure to begin with). At the end of the day, the Asari had a maximum of 50,000 years in which to go from too primitive for the Reapers to care about to a space-faring race. For reference, the entirety of recorded human history to date has only been around 6,000 years.

  12. Integer Man says:

    I too hated the fact that ME1 took a choice of a paragon option and made you fall head over heels for Ashley (or whatever her name was). I’m sitting there the rest of the game going “What? Really? No. No, you don’t like her. Shut up.”

    Managed to dodge the romance aspects of things, yet in ME2 my character still keeps her picture on his desk. Stupid Shepherd.

    Yet another aspect of the “I wonder what this conversation option does…” system

    • Velkrin says:

      The trick is not to talk to her after a certain point. I forget where but if you talk with her (or whatshisface if you’re femshep), at all, after that point then the game bugs out and decides you should learn about the birds and the space bees.

      Knowing of this bug and taking care to ignore Ashley helped me avoid getting her picture in ME2. That and I blew her up.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hey,tali has a pretty face.But yeah,jack is prettier than miranda in the face department.Even though she is too skinny.

    Garrus has as many dialogue options as the rest of the crew.Its just that that calibration thing sticks easier than the rest of the blow offs.

  14. Drexer says:

    Seeing as I ended up laking the time option to properly comment on the ideological/artistic divergence between Mass Effect 1&2 on the previous commen thread, I’ll just post here the thoughts of mine that have been festering inside my head since I read all of those comments. Apologies ina dvance for the lengthy writing and whatever parts might be full of gramatical mistakes or parts less clear; I currently lack the time to do much beyond watch the video, so I won’t have much availability to elucidate much more.

    The setup and story of Mass Effect, more than the optimistic tone that was referenced before, was mainly a very classic science-fiction setting. Space here was protrayed as the infinite frontier, with our knowledge of discrete parts of it clashed with a large mass of unknown in between the main branches of the mass effect grid. In general it is an almost perfect copy of the themes at the core of a space opera, the eddification of it as a new time for discovery similar to the naval discoveries of the 15th century for Europe, the main conflict not visible but as a quest for truth or discovery instead; for that same reason, the full story of the Reapers was kept under wraps until the climax as well, for that is the main drawn of the science fiction epic, the mistery itself.

    The Reapers part in this was thus rightfully fit. The fact that their motives were an unknow was the classical Lovecraftian edification of what horror should be and that fits greatly into the exploration theme. At their core, the Reapers were edifications of the danger of the unknown; they were the concept of pure evil as seen built from motives and logic beyond our human concepts, they were the ‘hole in things’ and the dragon of Saint Jorge all along. When faced with an enemy such as this, born out of the unknown, the proper way to battle it, can be nothing other than the search for knowledge, and the edification of Mass Effect was just that; you(as the player and as a human) contained no special skills of your own, and your quest in the end was nothing more than a long search for answers with those answers edificated in the presence of your various companions. It’s an hard task for game designers to impair the sense of intelectual accomplishment to the player when you’re supposed to achieve it as a character, but here by shifting that task upon your own work as the game progresses, the discoveries and companionships you form as direct opposition to the Reaper menace fulfill that role.

    Of course even after all of that, as this was a videogame we needed a boss battle. The de facto ending of the game’s climax was the meeting with Virgil and the subconsequent jump through the mass relay into the citadel. Here, for all we care Sovereign had lost; its plans were know and we had managed to put ourselves into the pivotal point of it, so intellectually we had already won the fight. Thus the existence of Saren as an opponent. Saren’s edification as an anti-you, and the end game revelation of his cybernetic enhancements brings once more the theme of a confrotnation of intellectual merit to the table; except here the intellectual component has turned into the concept of a battle between transhumans. While Saren represents the transhumanist who seeks his betterment without any regard towards his old humanity, with his body changed by edifications by the part of the Reapers(again edifications of the unknow, of what lies beyond the horizon, of the dark fringes beyond which lovecraftian horrors lurk), we as Shepard represent the transhuman with his roots still firmly set upon our past; our strength and power comes not from drastic enhancements to ourselves, but through the work of a lifetime and through alliances with teammates that complement ourselves; this was also a big aspect as to why the suicide we force on Saren was so important from a storytelling point of view, it served as the most direct and just battleground where two transhuman might met, dialogue versus teh brawn. In the end, even after this the physical boss battle served was best confrontation so as to end the game, the old tale of intelect vs brawn when faced with unsourmauntable odds; in here we had already achieved victory and this was nothing more than a formality, we here David versus Goliath, Batman versus Joker, the Man with No Name versus the Bad, Luke and Vader versus the Emperor and the measly insignificant human against the vast and unknow universe and we came out triumphant.

    This seems to be where Mass Effect 2 most diverged from the first. Despite the darkening of the mood, which all by itself could not justify a change of theme(after all so did Empire Strikes Back and it still mantained many of the same aspects of episode IV), the 2nd game showed us a shift towards the use of force for an estabilished goal. The fatc that pretty much from the beggining we have as an objective the Omega Relay somwhat lessens here our task, because the torch then has passed from triumphant discoverers who find the path by themselves, to measly taskmasters who do what they are told so as to achieve a preset goal. Even our ultimate inspection past the Omega Relay and into the climax, even though it is supposed to be a journey of discovery, turns into a simple reaction to teh thing we are confronted with. Here, the mistery that is discovered is done such with little or no effort by our part and we lose the sense of uniqueness that makes us believe that only us Shepard(the player) could have done this and assembled this team. Even beyond that, the only confrontation we have with this monster(because if before it was only the concept of a monster, now it fully takes the form of a monster and surprise! there is a giant coakroach behind the door and now despite opening it again and again it is not scary anymore) is purely physical. We lose all aspects of the intellectual growth towards the role of Homo Galactus and we just unload ammo upon ammo towards the problem. We have regressed towards the Homo Sapiens of ago, whose accomplishment could be defined by ‘USE rock ON bug’.

    Unfortunately, the teaser for Mass Effect 3, only seems to create a greater feeling of this. Here the cat is out of teh bag pleanly, and the immense presence of the Reapers on Earth seems to tie us ever closer to the roots that we were trying to shake. While before the confrotnation was towards the unknow and our exploration of it was the pathway towards a solution and steps which made us abandon our lesser feats to elevate us an example of the species, here we have to come back to our home, not to solve the problem as a transhuman but to use the above appointed rock on the bug. In the end, it seems that our role here has been relegated towards the application of brute force, which has always been the anti-thesis of the space opera. While there might be a physical confrontation, when dealing with the concepts of science-fiction, we are directly tied to the fact that we reached beyond our planetary orbit by using our intellect, and as such that would be the tool that we would refine towards the world of tomorrow and upon which our betterment relied. The obsession upon a strictly physical confrotnation might fit with purely macho-militaristic concepts such as Halo, but here we are trying to portray the post-Sapiens human, and clear-cutting the way towards only a physical confrontation as the teaser seems to indicate is quite wrongly built upon the initial story.

    Once again, sorry for any errors or ortographical mistakes. Just my two cents any way.

    • Xakura says:

      This is the greatest thing I’ve read on the Internet in a long while.

    • swimon says:

      Nice analysis. I don’t know if I completely agree since there is still a quest for discovery and truth in ME2. After all the quest is to get behind the omega4 relay, what is there is an unknown that we need to discover. Still very thought provoking.

      • Kanodin says:

        I would argue that any information you get during mass effect 2 is incidental, as opposed to its being pivotal in the first game. The biggest revelation was that the Collectors are Protheans, an interesting development certainly, but it changes nothing your goal is still to kill all of them and save the people. Or that they are building a new reaper, interesting (if in execution silly and nonsensical) but it comes right before you just kill that monster anyway.

        Contrast this with the discovery that Reapers exist in Mass Effect 1, that changes not only how you perceive the situation but also how you then act on it. You’re plans must change from fighting one man to stopping an entire army from attacking the heart of civilization.

        Now obviously you can’t have world shattering revelations in every game of a series, but new information should effect the plot and not just be some interesting tidbit.

        • krellen says:

          Reapers being Protheans also makes no goddamn sense – the design of the Collectors is nothing like the statues that are all over Ilos. If the statues on Ilos weren’t Protheans, what the hell were they?

          • Specktre says:

            Mordin actually explains this bit in the game when you talk to him after this discovery. Basically, after generations of Indoctrination, the Protheans start to waste away and need to be rebuilt and restructured again and again.

            As Mordin says, “No, brain–replaced by tech; no digestive system–replaced by tech, etc.”

            After generations of this, the Protheans are basically turned into cybernetic drones. The Reapers’ choice of using an insectoid form might come from the idea of insects such as the worker ant, which labors non-stop with little or no rest.
            Again remember that the Keepers on the Citadel were also bred and engineered by the Reapers and one of the crewmen on the Normandy wonders aloud if the Keepers were once a different race rebuilt by the Reapers.

            • krellen says:

              Just because they made up some stupid excuse doesn’t mean it makes sense.

              • swimon says:

                Also the excuse doesn’t fit since we find out that they’re the Protheans from a beacon and those things sent out a signal before they were captured by the reapers so the fact that they don’t look like the statues is still not explained.

                • Specktre says:

                  I didn’t think it was that far-fetched. Also, I think you may be reading too much into the statue bit. Who’s to say this process didn’t take a long period of time? That certainly seems to be the impression given when Mordin refers to several cloned generations. The change from from a humanish-type being to the more insectoid would take time as the indoctrineated Protheans slowly become more useless in their zombified state.
                  The statues themselves seem to show a tortuous process of change since we see tubes coming from the mouth, eyes, what-have-you.
                  Also, who’s to say that all the Protheans were captured when the message was sent? The process of galactic harvesting by the Reapers did not happen instantaneously.

                  Saying “Oh, they don’t look like the statues!” is just silly.

                  But… I’ll admit the argument for the pyramid-beacon you find in the ME2 side-quest has more weight to it.

                • krellen says:

                  I might be able to buy that they turned into insects because that’s what the Reapers wanted if there was still at least a vague resemblance, but the thing that really ruins the whole idea for me is the crests on their head. Those sorts of things do not just evolve out of nowhere, and there is no sign whatsoever that Protheans had a head shape even remotely like that before “becoming” Collectors.

                  A more plausible explanation for me? That EDI and Shepard are wrong about Collectors being Protheans, which is based largely off the idea that Collectors have four-strand DNA, which “only Protheans have”. Maybe someone else has four-strand DNA too, and we just didn’t know before now. After all, galactic knowledge of pre-Prothean cycles is almost non-existent.

                • Will says:

                  More likely reason: Art Directors do not follow the boundaries and logic of evolution when designing aliens.

                • bit says:

                  @krellen

                  For reference, a Prothean from the front and side;
                  http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100202095561/masseffect/images/5/5d/ME2CodexProthean.png
                  http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081024145311/masseffect/images/thumb/2/21/MEvisionSEQ3031.jpg/731px-MEvisionSEQ3031.jpg
                  And a Collector, ditto;
                  http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100911145751/masseffect/images/5/52/4339724174_c77bd73ec9.jpg

                  It’s definitely a bit of a stretch, like how you could say Salarians resemble Humans, but I wouldn’t say there’s zero resemblance; their bodies are built very similar, with the chest basically uniformly thick before sharply tapering down into the abdomen, slightly lanky, uniformly thick arms, angular thighs and shins. You can even see a bit of the tentacle structures and wavy skin below the exoskeleton. The head’s a bit off, I’ll admit (it’s mostly the lack of the tentacles running down the front of the neck) but with a bit of imagination, you can see them as “red Protheans with bug armor.”

                  Or maybe I’m just thinking crazy thoughts. I do then when I’m tired.

              • Drew says:

                Just because it’s not what you were expecting doesn’t make it stupid. I think it’s entirely in line for what the reapers would do; the Protheans sassed them in more ways than one, and that kind of behavior can’t be tolerated. Subjugating a race so completely serves as an object lesson to other races that might try to put up a fight of what happens if oyu try, while at the same time torturing them in as many ways as possible; physically, as the labor they’re asked to do degrades their form, mentally in that they’re presumably aware of being jerked around puppet-like, and emotionally–if, back when the collectors were new, another Prothean got a look at what the inevitable future of their species was, the effect would be incredibly demoralizing. It also gives the whole “Rachni were just a pawn of the reapers” thing a bit more credence as it insinuates that this is just what reapers do to intelligent space-fairing races that are too stubborn to be made into reapers.

          • PurePareidolia says:

            Maybe we should ask Liara – I bet she’d have a lot to say about these findings.

            Oh wait, we can’t.
            I guess it just slipped Shepard’s mind…

        • swimon says:

          I’m not saying that there isn’t a difference between ME1 and ME2 what I’m saying is that there are still discovery and intellectual pursuits in ME2. ME2 wasn’t just hitting bugs with a rock is what I’m saying even if I agree that it was much closer to that compared to it’s prequel.

          • Aldowyn says:

            I’ve always said ME1 won in the story department. ME2 (largely) had better execution, and certainly more variety in the squad mates, but the basic story isn’t nearly as compelling as that of the first.

            I predict that very little of ME3 will take place on Earth – only the final level, and perhaps not even that. It’s just not possible to take on that many Reapers with ANY application of force. Something more subtle is required.

            One of my biggest issues with the trailer, though, is WHY THE HECK DO ALL THE REAPERS LOOK LIKE SOVEREIGN!!! Seriously, after the horrific final boss fight of ME2, can’t you at least give your art team some free rein to make something else, now that you have a (very good, actually) excuse?

    • Specktre says:

      Bravo, Drexer, bravo.

      EDIT: Have you been reading Joseph Campbell or one of those guys?

    • Irridium says:

      I think I love you.

    • TSED says:

      That was incredible. Please treat yourself to your favourite food tonight. Please. Do it for you.

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

      Interesting, and very good. Even though:

      “Apologies ina dvance for the lengthy writing and whatever parts might be full of gramatical mistakes or parts less clear;”

      Gaah!

      I’m calm, I’m calm. Okay. Right. Anyway.

      In a way ME1 had the attitude that exploration and progress is good, that without it we will stagnate. The Krogan being an anvilicious example of this. And while exploration can, or will, lead to dragons, we can fight and defeat them.

      ME2 has, from Spoiler Warning and comments around the net, given me the impression that it has twisted that attitude. That ultimately it’s about roots, and anything else will lead to trouble. And that no matter how many dragons we kill, a new, bigger, one will always come around just because we went too far once and disturbed the first one.

      Closer to Lovecraft, who I understand was, in a way, afraid of scientific progress. But also degenerates into strength worship, as if the writers were threatened by some physically stronger beings in their childhood and can’t shake the trauma.

      So ME3 would seem to end up a story about a person who barely defeats the final behemoth, but not without having his most important place, his home, scarred as a reminder for all the eggheads who dare to want to know.

      Sorry about the stab and the armchair psychology, but how many times have we gone through the same clichés? Do we really need another futuristic setting where humans are the focus, not just because we can emphatize with them better or because it’s from a human’s point of view, but because “humans are special”? Is anyone actually impressed by the promise of The Battle Coming to Earth? I don’t know why, but to me that’s not interesting.

      I am already on Earth. If I want to see monuments, I can search for pictures. I support scientific research and yet another scaremongering piece is not going to deter me from that point just because, again, they make a point of noting that “the trouble comes back to earth! Even you’re not safe!” as if it changed anything. Every moment I breath, I’m effectivelly poisoning myself because oxygen is in fact harmful, but not breathing kills me faster. Burning fast and dying is for those afraid.

      In fact, the story, if it really takes the direction of either mine or Drexer’s, will end up being the dream of a coward. A dream of someone who gets up from the bed and is thankful he doesn’t have to do or find out about anything new therefore potentially scary. Who is afraid that tomorrow someone will find out that, for a fact, there are no gods to protect us or who think we’re important. That there’s another intelligent life out there, and every sign points that we’re nothing special. We’re just dime in a dozen. And behind every corner there’s danger.

      Whereas it started as a dream of a brave person. The dream of theist scientists, who are not afraid that their gods are disproven, but are confident in their own beliefs. And that even if they are wrong, at least now they know. Dream of a person who doesn’t care if there are millions of other intelligent beings, because all that means is that we’re not special. And who actually needs to be? It’s not like it really changes anything but the perspective, which was wrong anyway so it’s better corrected. Of a dream where behind the corner might be danger, but that we can deal with it if we truly try, and that behind another there’ll be wondrous things.

      Again, sorry. Apparently I get idealistic when prompted with the right input.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Earth coming under attack was inevitable, from the moment we learned of the galaxy-cleansing scourge of the Reapers. It’s so common there’s no way we could not have predicted this as soon as we met Sovereign. (EPIC conversation, btw.) I believe it’s not so much to say that we are not safe, but to impress upon us that this is indeed, a dire threat – also to elicit a bit of “Holy **** time’s up! Now what?”

        Kind of nice, actually, after the Reapers effectively doing nothing in ME2… I think when we look back at the story, you could look back on ME2’s contribution to the story and see… that it doesn’t exist. (except, depending on ME3, the whole Cerberus thing.)

        • Ringwraith says:

          I did like the fact that Earth was pretty insignificant in the Mass Effect universe, and that humanity wasn’t all-powerful or anything and are basically the newcomers to the galactic society.

          Though the games have been about humanity proving their worth and showing that they can stand up with the big three of asari, salarians, and turians, and making sure their input has an effect. It’s stated that technology tends to stagnate somewhat until another race joins the citadel races, and proof of new ideas can be shown by the concept of carriers and fighters introduced by humans. Being the newcomers to an already-established society means that everything is looked at from a slightly different perspective, and this curiosity has led to discovering the Reapers.

          The subsequent discovery and termination of the Reaper’s plans has obviously rattled their cages, as this has been one of the few instances of a race managing to strike back effectively, the last known proof being the massive crater and derelict Reaper that was on the receiving end. The protheans began to get close to a threatening position, as they had started to unravel the technology behind mass relays and had managed to build a one-way primary relay, the Conduit, as well as eventually discovering the purpose of the Keepers and countering it to give future races a better chance of survival.

          As such, the Reapers would be concerned with dealing with the biggest threat to them first, before they can start to ruin their usual plan as by knowing about the way that the Reapers purposely leave the mass effect technology behind to throttle technological development, so technology remains at a level that they can easily overpower, technology may start to divert beyond the expected levels of advancement, which would only make the threat posed to the Reapers greater. Like how the Thanix cannon, designed using tech pinched from Sovereign, utterly obliterates the Collector ship, as the Reapers don’t usually expect this level of technology and thus haven’t bothered or deemed it necessary to develop or implement ways to counter it. Therefore they need to take action now or be overtaken and overpowered by the Citadel, and by extension, all spacefaring sentient races, as the Reapers do nothing but technologically stagnate by being in hibernation in dark space most of the time.

          Humanity discovered them first and have already managed to thwart their usual plans and also their contingency, so they are obviously the biggest threat.
          That, and most of humanity’s population and infrastructure is still based on and around Earth, so wiping it out would deal a crippling blow that they may never fully recover from.

          Also, that seems to have rambled on a bit, much longer than I intended. Sorry about that!
          Feel free to ignore it, as I was typing my thoughts as they came to me, so there’s going to be holes and things I haven’t thought of yet.

          • Aldowyn says:

            Like the fact that we don’t actually know the situation in the rest of the galaxy – I assumed that the Reapers had just begun their invasion and EVERY major world looked like that. If that many have made it out of dark space, I assume all the rest have, and Sovereign says that they will “blacken the skies of every world”.

            • Ringwraith says:

              Probably, though if Reapers were everywhere then looking for help would be largely useless, as everyone would be having to deal with the Reapers in their own backyard first.
              They’d still probably prioritise humanity first however.

              • Aldowyn says:

                I’ve mentioned this before somewhere – I don’t think Shepard’s looking for that kind of help. My guess is that there’s some kind of failsafe made by whoever made the Reapers (I’m assuming someone did make them, here.), and that’s what Shepard is trying to do. In which case the game probably never touches Earth…

                • Ringwraith says:

                  Bioware are incredibly with smoke and mirrors when it comes to trailers if they feel like it, like making everyone think that the cutscene they were showing was invented to sort of prove the severity of the sort of consequences there are in the game, when in fact they showed the beginning with the destruction of the Normandy and Shepard’s death, certainly caught me off guard.
                  Also, having an entire conversation with spoilers looks kinda odd.

        • Avilan says:

          Not sure what you mean with “doing nothing”; they are abducting thousands of humans and turns them into goo.

          • PurePareidolia says:

            To what end? to make a human reaper?
            Why do they want to do this? It’s a terrible design for a space ship and it doesn’t seem to have any real value to them.
            What purpose could goo serve in a giant robot? It’s a slurry of bone, fat and muscle, probably highly degraded by whatever liquefied them in the first place. Is it fuel? Is it lubricant? is it packing material? It’s demonstrably not for assimilating anyone’s minds because said people’s brains have been liquified.
            Why do they need humans? Wouldn’t any organic material be fine for this purpose? wouldn’t other materials be far, far superior?

            Best I can tell, there’s literally no point in any of this, when they could just have had the collectors land at the citadel asking for an audience with the council for diplomatic purposes, then just stunned everyone and activated the citadel relay. Nobody knows the collectors are a threat, most people don’t think they exist and they have highly advanced technology they frequently barter whenever they do surface – the council as no reason to suspect foul play if they ask for a boarding permit. If not, why not get some robots, stick them in Quarian environment suits and have them do it? Don’t even need to let them know you exist until a laser arcs through the council chamber windows, killing anyone with lungs and allowing the robots as much time as they need.

            So basically, “doing nothing” translates to “doing nothing remotely productive”.

            • Ringwraith says:

              The Reapers are using technology far beyond anyone’s current understanding, in fact Sovereign states that they cannot be possibly understood by such undeveloped races.
              Anyway, the human-robot shape is probably the core of the Reaper, and they build the generally squid-looking shells around it afterwards, as this would be explain why most of the Reapers seem to look mostly the same, although there are differences in size and proportions.

              • Aldowyn says:

                Hey, a quasi-reasonable answer to that question! That I’m sure Bioware never thought of!

                Anyway, the Reapers are supposed to be using the human genetic code with that mess, but I don’t see how reducing them to space goop and pumping it into a giant Terminator shell is using their DNA structure…

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

          That still counts as “even YOU are not safe” -message by the way of “Earth is under assault”. And I’m sick of it, because I feel it’s boring and overused.

          About ME3 not being based on Earth after all, Alien 3 anyone? (I kid, I kid.)

          I didn’t really base my assumptions about ME3 on anything vaguely solid. I’m not sure it would count even as conjecture. And even if I end up being right, I won’t have the right to say “told you”. Not that it would stop me.

          But there’s one thing that’s bugging me. I thought the main thing in ME1 was stopping the Reapers from coming, and now they’re coming anyway but with just a few years of delay. What. Of course there’s a possibility that someone or something will start the Citadel. I’m guessing The Illusive Man, just for the heck of it.

    • Blanko2 says:

      huh, the more i read of this, the less i feel i liked mass effect.
      i dont know if thats true, i remember liking it, but when i think back on the game it just doesnt ring any of the happiness bells.

      also, dispute the claim that saren is a transhuman trying to improve himself with disregards to his humanity, since he wasnt disregarding his humanity by choice, he was disregarding it due to sovereign’s mind meld. so really, hes not disregarding anything, he is being taken over and his humanity is being forcibly removed.

      which just leads to the “fighting against insurmountable odds” since saren went in what to expect and yet he still succumbed, as did matriarch benezia, both of them being (supposedly) vastly more powerful than you.
      course then you have to kick their ass, proving that youre better than both of them and thus would stand some chance of succeeding.
      “oh even two of the most powerful people ever couldnt beat him”
      “yeah? well i kicked their asses.”
      effectively they become the Worf, theyre played up as these hyper powerful people and you still beat them, and, in fact, you never actually see them kicking ass.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Bravo. A+. Would read again.

      Something this makes me look immediately at is our confrontation with the shadowbroker – we meet a being of nigh-infinite knowledge and despite that DLC being otherwise excellent, intellectual challenge is nowhere to be found, at least for us. We play the role of Liara’s dumb muscle who is apparantly strong enough to punch out a space ogre.

      What I find significantly more interesting about that confrontation is it illustrates perfectly the difference between mass effect 1 and 2. Liara is our holdout from ME1 – a space opera character through and through – her story is one of matching wits against this being of inscrutable aims and ungodly intellect. When she finally meets him, she essentially disarms him with her knowledge, reducing him from a galactic mastermind to a slavering beast for Shepard to beat down with his bare fists. The battle had visibly already been won before confrontation started but it struck me as interesting the vastly different approaches taken by the protagonists.

      Which reminds me – I started a new game as an engineer and was talking to Ken and Gabby (the engineers who work with Tali who are my favourite Cerberus crew members) and I was amused when they started insisting they “wouldn’t bore me with tech”. This caused an immediate pang of WWFOD? syndrome – an all too common affliction in RPGs characterised by suddenly really wishing you were playing fallout because they would have handled the situation so much better. Case in point: here – If this were fallout I’d be able to chime in with something clever, impressing them and triggering more intelligent conversation options. Just like if I were a soldier I could have extra dialogue options for if we were planning something, or if I were a biotic I might be able to bypass a gap or jump up to a ledge whilst on a mission – especially if I were a Vanguard.

      It’s probably too late to add that kind of thing but I’d love my class having an effect on how I play the game beyond defining what powers I can use or not.

      I just realised how completely off topic that went.

      • Aldowyn says:

        *chuckle* I don’t really care, you made a really interesting point.

        Half of these conversations are just aiding me in my ultimate goal of making the ultimate game, so TY everyone! XD

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

        I’m getting a strong feeling that ME2 is less about doing stuff, and more about watching while others do stuff. After all, the player is Shepard. She apparently isn’t really doing most of the impressive things, but just mopping up after it’s done.

        What you’re describing as an effect of your class is something I prefer over what Hacking/etc. usually provide in games. Different routes to locations, possibility to avoid combat or impress NPCs etc. It’s all much more interesting than being able to get your hands on a Rifle +1 and couple of potions.

  15. Deadpool says:

    So Garrus is Batman (actually, with the Archangel name and the kill’em all attitude, he’s more like Azrael really), Jack is Annihilus (kills people because she fears death), Miranda is a Kira Yamato (genetically engineered to be perfect)… I wonder what kind of analogues we can find for the rest of the crew.

    I’d imagine Mumbles’ idea of what happend to Chakwas seems to be more or less right. I’m 90% certain TIM mentions trying to find Sheppard’s old crew when trying to revivie Sheppard. Hence Joker and Chakwas and him knowing that his old party members are unnavailable for the mission in your first conversation with him.

    I don’t mind the Renegade Garrus. He was always leaning more heavily torwards Renegane from the beginning. Despite following all of the other RPG tropes, I’m glad that this game doesn’t make you out the be the uber mind manipulator who decides your crew’s lot in life: You convinced him to try the Paragon way but he reverted to his own path eventually. I’m pretty sure it stemed from lazy (or just cheap) programming/writing but it WORKS.

    Cerberus pays you for missions, but it’s peanuts. They don’t even ay for FUEL for the ship! I guess theoretically they got people searching for info for you for the forced missions? Still stupid.

    EDIT: Oh and at 13:42 “So, like a regular woman then?!?”

    I miss the in video comments… And the drinking game…

    • swimon says:

      Well he’s not a fictional character but Mordin is clearly Oppenheimer. Uses science to do something he feels is right but he still feels guilty about it and finds solace in Hinduism (Mordin might have found it in Buddhism I don’t really remember but still).

      Also Thane is every good guy assassin ever written yet still manages to be awesome.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      And legion is iron man.Or would that be tali?

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Really the Garrus thing is more fuel to my “renegade soldier Shepard is canon” theory.

      But what I find interesting is in the shadowbroker’s Dossier on him where it suggests Shepard’s influence is hindering his own leadership abilities, implying that while he looks up to Shepard, away from him he’s far too independent for the paragon path to stick.

      • krellen says:

        Speaking of the Shadowbroker, did anyone else find it completely lame that the Shadowbroker was some mysterious super-powered alien species we had never heard of before (and will never hear of again)?

        • PurePareidolia says:

          YES.
          Why would you even have a mysterious identity that is revealed to be a different mysterious identity – it’s a terrible cop out that robs the encounter of any sense of satisfaction – oh, so turns out my theories as to his identity could NEVER have been right and I guess I’m just going to punch the guy who runs space wikileaks to death because brilliant leader and tactician that I am, that’s apparantly all I’m good for on this mission.
          It’s like saying “no, it wasn’t the butler who did it – it was the grocer down the lane who it turns out is a serial killer – who knew?”

          And we know they’re never going to be mentioned again because they’re specifically stated to be grounded on their homeworld.

        • Avilan says:

          Yes and No.

          At first, definitely, but mostly because I had been hoping to find out that he was one of the “lesser” races; having him being a Volus would have been hilarious.

          However I do think it works. Not in a “Oh God that’s so cool!” way but more in a “ok, that’s nice” way.

      • Deadpool says:

        Which further follows the theory that Garrus is his own man REGARDLESS of whether Sheppard it Renegade or Paragon. Garrus is Renegade. He believes and will follow Sheppard, but he does have thoughts and feelings of his own.

        I find it refreshing…

  16. Vextra says:

    The most annoying and infuriating thing about the Cerberus Connection, for me, comes in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC. In it, there is a character who does some pretty evil things, and you have the option of calling them on it and their hypocrisy. This character then, quite rightly, hits back at You for being the ultimate hypocrite- you are in effect, working for an organisation infinitely worse than the Shadow Broker’s, and your methods are even more questionable. It’s a real Screw You from Bioware to the player, because the criticism is extremely valid, and there’s just no way a Paragon Shepard can in anyway justify their position, breaking immersion completely.

    • Kanodin says:

      Oh yes that line. I honestly was not bothered by being called a hypocrite, I was, but I was also given no choice in being one. All that line did was remind me of how much I hate the writing in Mass Effect 2.

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

        In other words, it broke immersion. And, not having heard it at least, brings in mind Bethesda. Blaming the player, by proxy, for something that’s not their fault? Not cool Bioware, Bethesda.

        • Blanko2 says:

          yeah at least in bethesda games its to be expected!
          did it happen in morrowind?
          cuz if not its actually only happened in two games. unless it didnt happen in oblivion and i cant remember that it did, either, but it seems like it wouldve.
          definitely happened in FO3

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

            Well, if you consider that not getting a choice in game and get called out for it is the same as punishing for even playing, then I’d say yes.

            Vvardenfell itself is a punishment for playing Morrowind. Cliff racers, Clannfears and so on. The locals. And it’s not like you can get out. Expansions don’t count, those are just further punishment.

            With Oblivion I have a feeling someone once mentioned a quest that had something like it. Do you get something bad if you go through all parts of the arena?

            Now I know. The auto-leveled enemies are a punishment just for leveling your character. And in both games the multipliers for attributes could be considered a punishment for trying to roleplay by using skills naturally. (I don’t need to hear how anyone didn’t have trouble with either, because I still had with both. Power leveling is not something that comes naturally to me.)

            I don’t know about quests, but I don’t usually remember them from TES games anyway. And Steam’s Oblivion keeps crashing.

            Anyway, it mainly brings to mind Bethesda, even if they don’t do it as such. Also I’m trying to see if people start drawing parallels between Bethesda and Bioware and see what types of comments that would bring out.

            • Blanko2 says:

              what? in morrowind you get a bajillion choices.
              you dont get anything bad, you can convince the reigning champion to give up without a fight, or you can actually try to beat him, depending on what you do with a quest he gives you. and after you win you can just fight some enemies in the arena.
              the auto-leveling was badly implemented, but its not a bad idea, really.
              and i didnt power level and still didnt have a hard time with the game, either. im only having a hard time with this mod i have that makes all the combat ridiculously hard, so you need to specialize.
              i think it just might bring bethesda to mind if you watched the FO3 SW (dunno if you did) since the crew really raged on about it in that one.
              comparing bioware to bethesda:
              bioware is better at railroading, since you cant tell as easily when all the dialogue options lead to the same conclusion.

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

                I think you misunderstood. You can’t choose not to be in Vvardenfell in Morrowind, and therefore avoid being waylaid by Cliff racers and being constantly called “outlander” in a way that implies it’s an insult. I also meant it to be taken tongue-in-cheek. Way too long time since I last played Morrowind, I’m not going to make serious complaints about it without at least checking a wiki or something.

                Auto-leveling enemies did not work for me, at all. And it was made clear I would have to mod Oblivion in order to play it. I’m glad you don’t, but that’s not changing my situation. Not to mention I’ve met people who seem to do efficient leveling (what I meant by “power level”) without thinking, if you have even a bit of that it’ll help a long way. I don’t, so I end up screwing myself along the way.

                And I think that auto-leveled enemies are a bad idea, because they serve no sensible purpose. If everyone is supposed to be defeatable, but a challenge, from the start of the game to the end, why have the player character go through such a huge scale? Why not, for example, have damage go from 10 to 20 when the PC goes from “a sword” to the über claymore and Bladed 5 to 100? Much easier to balance, and you don’t have to fiddle with a scaling script. Sure, it’ll make leveling feel pointless, but so will auto-leveling. And as a bonus, if the PC won’t get the Super sword at the level the designer is expecting, he won’t break the game. Also, there’s the thing about RPGs being self-auto-leveling and so it’s not really needed.

                The Bioware-Bethesda -comparing is more of a “what if people compared individual quests etc. to another ones’?” in order to see if their views would change for characters/writing in games. Sort of a “what if this game wasn’t made by my favoritest company?” -thing. It’s sort of a hobby. Interesting comparison though.

                • Blanko2 says:

                  you dont get to choose to be in rapture in bioshock and therefore not have to deal with FUCKING TURRETS STOP SHOOTING ME IN THE FACE I JUST ZAPPED YOU WITH AN ELECTRO-BOLT, either.
                  or yknow, you dont get to choose to be in hyrule and get spammed by skeletons at night. so i dont see how that is a valid complaint…

                  auto-leveling worked in fallout 3, at least for me it did. and it worked in risen and a bunch of other games that have it, so i still think its just implementation, rather than the idea of it. yes, in oblivion i did get a mod that removes it because it was really badly implemented (stupid bandits in glass armor!!). in FO3 i didnt feel like i had to.

                  and as for the comparisons, oh i see.. hmm interesting, i dont know if i could do that, id probably have a very hard time finding a parallel sort of quest. specially with ME2 since it doesnt have very fleshed out side-quests (i dont consider loyalty missions to be side-quests, really).

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

                  Yeah, that’s why the disclaimer “…if you consider…” in the post. Like I said, not exactly a serious complaint. Or a well thought out one, as you pointed.

                  Skill progression in combat abilities felt diminished in Fallout 3. After the game starts tossing out different enemies (example: albino radscorpions) it gets worse, and there was already a problem with friendly NPCs getting killed because the PCs level is too high so hostile NPCs are too powerful. I circumvented that by resurrecting them, so no biggie. I understand that some of it was because of broken items, but those could’ve been fixed by not having such a huge scale for them (worst shotgun vs. the best).

                  I still think that it’s solving a problem from the wrong direction. Auto-leveling lowers the effect of PC leveling, so you might as well just adjust the leveling itself to go through a smaller scale. I don’t see a point in damage going from 10 to 1 000 if enemy health goes at the same time from 100 to 10 000. Or if it goes only 100 to 5 000. The same could be achieved by having the damage stay still (the former) or go from 10 to 20 and leaving the enemy health at 100. It’s still 10 hits and in the latter from 10 to 5 hits.

                  It bugs me mainly because I see it as a waste of developing time and effort. Except in Oblivion, but the biggest problem is the few minutes of game time and then crashing. Haven’t bothered searching for solutions yet. Also, it feels like the only reason they’re going that way is just because they’re afraid of going against RPG tropes, instead of it being the best approach.

                  Comparing doesn’t need to be just about parallels, but also to contrast. Also about picking up individual cases of minor similiarities in writing, like subtext or the same tropes being used. If you just think about the games, you might not get anything, but if you play them you might start noticing similiarities. I don’t know if there are many, but one has to have hobbies.

                  Although, people might start seeing parallels where there aren’t, and while it would be amusing for a short while, in the long run it would be annoying and unfair towards the developers. There goes next month. Well, I’ve got books to read, so might start with those.

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

                I don’t think I was clear about my point, so I’ll try a more succinct version.

                I believe that the best implementation of Auto-leveling will end up being no different from having very little leveling. And that the latter will be easier and faster to get right, so developers should do that.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Yep, that pretty much made the character my favourite in the entire game because she realises how bad the railroading is and I want her on my crew in ME3 SO MUCH. I don’t care how expensive it is – if I can be resurrected from being spaced I think TIM can shell out for a few new organs and maybe some more blood. But it also made me shake my fist angrily at of Bioware’s writers. Oh how angrily I did shake it.

  17. eri says:

    I get the feeling that the vast majority of BioWare’s dialogue is written independent of the situation that’s actually occurring – which is why you get some really well-written and well-delivered lines, but the actual flow of the conversations is just stilted, stilted, stilted. I guess you could take some time to write a few more lines with alterations to make the transition between topics smoother (see Planescape: Torment) but that’d be a lot of extra voice to record, and I don’t think you could use “general” lines like “getting back to those other things…” etc. too much without them getting really repetitive.

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

      Which is why, if I remember correctly, Shamus suggested once in a column that games stop obsessively using voice acting. I might be projecting though, because I personally feel that few games are actually improved by them, and several would be improved by dropping them.

      Also anyone who complains when a budget title, from a small developer, doesn’t have spoken dialogue should have The Stupid beaten out of them. Especially if they use a phrase like “in this day and age”.

      • RTBones says:

        An old title that I have always enjoyed is Anachronox. At the time it was developed, voicing all the lines of dialogue would have meant enormous resources for the company and many disks for the consumer, so the devs decided only to voice bits and pieces. The game is IMO hilarious, in part because focus was more on the writing than the talking.

  18. Rayen says:

    does anyone else just want to yell “stop saluting you dumbass!” everytime jacob salutes sheard? i know i do. there needs to be a loosen jacob up mission.

  19. BanZeus says:

    Despite thinking Jack wasn’t intended the be a fan service buffet, I will admit that the purpose of the camera angle at 11:00 is probably not showing off her ink.

  20. Groboclown says:

    I noticed that when you talked to Miranda, she said “Cerberus isn’t as evil as most people believe.” So, they’re not totally evil incarnate, just mostly.

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

      With a sniper rifle.

      A space lizard batman with a sniper rifle.

      So I think he’s essentially the penultimate Batman. (always leave room for more)

      • Aldowyn says:

        That. Was. Awesome.

        Can we make a litho or a poster of that? And give it to all the regulars for Christmas?

      • Zaxares says:

        Actually, considering that turians have carapaces, he’s more like a space cockroach Batman with a sniper rifle.

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

          I’m so happy you decided to go with cockroach instead of, say, dung beetle. Or lobster.

          Although, Space Lobster Batman with a sniper rifle sounds kind of dangerous.

          But now I can’t help but wonder what boiled Turian would taste like. And if they go bright red from it.

  21. deiseach says:

    “Miranda is both voiced by and modeled after actress Yvonne Strahovski. (And I am so glad that we’re on the internet, where I don’t have to try and pronounce that.)”

    I feel the same way about Shamus. And deiseach

    • Shamus says:

      Shay-muss. Rhymes with “famous”.

      About 50% of people that guess end up pronouncing it “Sham-us”. I don’t take offense. I’d rather have a unique name that occasionally gets mangled than be one of six guys in the room named “Dave” or “Mike”.

      (With apologies to the Michaels and Davids our there.)

      • Irridium says:

        This makes me wonder if anyone tried to make any horrid “sham” related puns in your lifetime.

        And in completely off-topic news, Steam just started its Holiday sale, and I’m already down quite a bit of money.
        This sale goes to January 2, with new “daily deals” each day along with more deals staying in effect for the duration.

        This is going to be a long couple weeks…

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

        Close to “shameless”, unlike the man himself.

        I would’ve originally (pre-Spoiler Warning) guessed Sha-mus, ‘a’ similiarly to the ‘a’ in Goa’uld, same with ‘u’ except shorter. But that’s how it’d be pronounced in Finnish, assuming it were a Finnish word or name. It’s still how I say it out loud, but I speak in Finnish and people have a… reaction when I pronounce things “properly”. Such as English words and so on.

        Although, if your name ended up as a word in Finnish, if proper form would be followed, it would be transformed into “samus”. Extra heading consonants end up dropped, unless there’s an existing word without them, when taking words from other languages. Although I’m not completely certain that “samus” doesn’t mean anything.

        And no apologies to those named at birth Dave or Mike? You horrible person!

        • deiseach says:

          “people have a… reaction when I pronounce things “properly”. Such as English words and so on”

          A friend of mine is Norwegian. His name is Arve, which is pronounced “Uh-ire-veh” (say it really fast). Man, it is completely unpronouncable to those whose only fluent language is English, which makes me feel really stupid. Thanks for nothing, Scandanavia!

        • Ernheim says:

          I think that it’s originally an Irish name. Except they spell it Seamus. The Irish really don’t like phonetic spelling (see Sean, Siobhan, Niamh)

        • Sekundaari says:

          Using “Goa’uld” as pronounciation advice? Umm… sure.

          But yeah, in Finnish the ‘a’ in Sha-mus (Sa-mus) would be like the vowel in “cut” and the ‘u’ would be like the (short) vowel in “look”. ‘A’ and ‘u’ would be those sounds in pretty much every Finnish word ever, and it’s similar for other letters too, usually each letter always corresponds to the same sound.

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

            Look man, I was desperate. You know what it’s like, right? First you try to think of something, then your mind starts giving out. And in the end all you’re left with is Stargate.

            Well, at least Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin know my pain.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        I wonder if anyone’s called you Shee-mus..

      • somebodys_kid says:

        I forgive you. Though the number of people that misspell “Michael” is alarmingly high.

      • deiseach says:

        I guessed it was Shay-muss even before watching Spoiler Warning (which proved tremendous while digitising my wife’s gargantuan CD collection – many thanks for that). I assumed it was an Americanisation of Seamus. Or should that be Americanization?

        • krellen says:

          It’s actually an Anglicisation – Seamus is an Irish name, and the English decided they didn’t like Irish names one bit when they conquered the Irish, and thus changed all the Irish names to something else. Seamus -> Shamus is actually one of the milder changes.

          • deiseach says:

            I’ve never encountered an English person called Shamus. Lots of James’s, which is what Seamus is. I think you are overstating the extent to which the English changed names. It’s no different to James being Jaime in Spain. Place names, on the other hand . . .

            • krellen says:

              My last name was the English grouping together four of the largest Irish clans, deciding they were all “close enough”, and giving them all the same name. They went pretty hog-wild for it.

              Of course, there was a lot of name changing at Ellis Island, too.

              • Taellosse says:

                Yeah, but that’s distinct from the American trend of taking an existing name and giving it a more phonetic spelling. Seamus -> Shamus, Sean -> Shawn, etc. To my knowledge, that kind of thing has mostly been going on for only about 50 years or so.

  22. Kelly says:

    Huh, thought Miranda looked familiar, and what do you know, it’s Sarah from Chuck.

    If Mass Effect 2 is anywhere near as T&A happy with Miranda as Chuck is with her actress, then yes, that would be too much fanservice too little substance thank you for asking Mr Cameraman.

    • Aldowyn says:

      Apparently you haven’t played the game yourself, if you hadn’t noticed that – used to be I couldn’t get Sarah out of my head when talking to Miranda or Miranda out of my head when watching Sarah. That accent…

      • Kelly says:

        No, no I have not. Don’t really care to either. Just doesn’t look very interesting.

        HOWEVER I will say that Chuck invades my thoughts constantly when chatting with Arcade in New Vegas.

  23. RTBones says:

    [bows humbly]

    Captain Sheppard’s neither pirate nor is she a buccaneer
    Regarless of our Jack-al’s lunicidal malcontented sneer.
    Miranda’s Cer-ber-us’s girl, a cheerleader who think’s she’s cool
    Engineered geneticly , like TOTALLY CEREBRAL, fool!
    Alliance soldier Jacob, no one knows why he is here.
    Captain Sheppard’s neither pirate nor is she a buccaneer!

    [wanders off in search of more whiskey]

  24. Blanko2 says:

    miranda just has too much uncanny valley spilled on her. the characters not modeled on actual people dont get that same effect.
    but the model she is based on does have quite a jaw. :P

  25. The_Unforgiven says:

    Ok, at the time of writing this, I’ll admit I haven’t watched the entire video yet, but Miranda says she’s genetically modified, and that even her looks have been modified to give her an edge. SHE’S UGLY AS SIN! How is being /that/ ugly going to give her an edge?

  26. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

    “Best training and education money can buy” and she wasn’t taught etiquette or history (in a way she’d actually understand why certain things happened, not just “War X start in year Y”)? Or even mentioned about psychopaths or sociopaths so she wouldn’t be so smug about “being able to gauge people’s motives and ambitions”, since that stuff tend not to work on them. Apparently what the money can buy in the ME universe is somewhere between “a piece of paper” and “none”.

    While I’m not actually very good at predicting things in stories, I have an uncanny ability of detecting smug bastards. Especially the sort you’ll have to tolerate because they’re the writer’s or a manager’s pet. The conversation with Miranda was one of a long line of “I hope I’m wrong” “Dammit” -combos, which is why I wasn’t ready to give her a second chance before.

    And they’re so annoying, because you never, ever, get to wipe the smugness off their face. If there’s ever a choice to attempt, it’s just an illusion or a trap. And it’s always interesting how their flaws are poorly, if at all, defined. So whenever she does something mind boglingly stupid, it’s because “she’s not perfect, see!” instead of it just being bad writing.

    But how could anyone hate such a flawed, fragile diamond of perfection? She just has a dramatic past #26, Freudian Excuse and/or was brainwashed to go wrong. It’s not her fault, she just couldn’t help herself.

    Jack’s not as bad as Miranda, but still annoying. Apparently she’s “edgy” and that you’re “too square” to “get” her. And therefore are not allowed to agree fully with her in dialogue. Sort of how it was with the vampires in Fo3. For some reason, my mind keeps thinking she’s wearing a skin thight shirt, with stupid looking squiggly bits. Also that she has escaped from Rock Band.

    Please romance Garrus, or someone, actively so you don’t end up defaulted to Jacob. He might be the sharpest tool in the shed, but it’s a shed of rust, failure and logos. Also stupidity and madness. And heavy railroading. I’ll stop now.

    • Blanko2 says:

      i’ll state again, i like miranda ):

    • Ringwraith says:

      Also, you’ve not met people who come from wealthier backgrounds and had private education or whatnot and seem to think they are better than everyone else.
      It happens.
      It can even come across as if they are looking down their nose at you even if they aren’t actually aware of it sometimes.

      • Blanko2 says:

        i didnt think she was that smug after i did some missions with her and whatnot, really…

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

        I think I’m looking for something that isn’t there. Did you attempt to defend Miranda in your post, or am I just assuming?

        In real-life I’m not, or rather don’t allow myself to, judge others as quickly and I always try to give another chance. Still, sometimes people are too different to actually get along, and in those cases I’d give up and avoid them. The thing is, in fiction you don’t really get “high class diction, with a smug overtone” without the character ending up as smug and overconfident. And in games this is often combined with “can’t get the satisfaction of shutting them up”, which is The Problem for me.

        That’s not to say they always are, but there’s a small change in tone usually when they’re not. I was never really bothered by Niles(?) in Buffy, or most high class characters in British series for example. I’m actually pretty certain the particular type posh speach I’m annoyed by isn’t used by many in real-life. I know Stephen Fry doesn’t have it.

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

          “speach”? What in the name of anything holy is “speach”? I have no excuse for that one. I just. I can’t. There’s something really badly wrong with me.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      The way I see it, the writers were sitting around a table going “hey, what if we wrote her as a deconstruction of a Mary Sue?” and they were all enthusiastic and decided to throw in every cliche they could regarding Mary Sues and when it came to deconstruction they were all: “now what?”
      “uh, make her insecure…but not too insecure – she’s never wrong, remember?”, “oh, and a tragic backstory with daddy issues”
      “yeah, we’ll expand on those in the loyalty mission a bit, maybe have an Asari point out her stripperiffic costume and see if we can figure out some more tomorrow, but don’t worry you guys – we can make her a real femme fatale with a heart of gold”

      and then when it came time to do her romance sidequest they decided she was too self deprecating and nobody would really want someone with such personality flaws so they decided to up her confidence a bit, lower the camera some and make her open up a lot easier to the player despite her video insisting “Shepard will have to work to earn my trust”.

      and then when it came to making Jack’s conflict they thought they’d better keep any dissent against Cerberus to some lines in the ending and play up the Cerberus loyalty to the point she would be happy to insist that Jack’s torture was justified.

      and by that point she was just a mary sue begging for sympathy while going out of her way not to earn it

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

        They’d still be idiots for deciding to attempt a deconstruction of a Mary Sue without actual thought behind it.

        It’s nice how you managed to depict bad storybuilding in a way that sounds likely.

        Though it does make me wonder, if they were trying to deconstruct a Mary Sue, why not allow the player dialogue choices that would at least hint that something more might be behind it? Oh yeah, inept storytelling.

        I also can’t help but imagine a self-deprecating Miranda as a Mary Sue that complains how pathetic she is, while all the other characters keep fawning how great she is. Which would’ve been even worse, since everyone would keep making out of character references to her in conversations.

  27. Jokerman89 says:

    I knew you guys thought Jack was sexy when i brought it up, Just knew it…I dont mind her personality either A bit Crazy/Schizophrenic, but my character is renegade and its hard not to come off as schizophrenic yourself.

    I think She is the 2nd best Female LI of the Mass Effect series. I think only Tali(of course!) and Thane are better.

  28. Thomas says:

    One comment: the audio. I think you guys should turn down the game a little more so your commentary is easier to listen to. I find myself listening to the actual conversation and not being able to hear the commentary. Especially since in this game, the subtitles make it easy to understand what’s going on without listening.

  29. Avilan says:

    Speaking of Asari lifespans; the step-daughter / Salarin step-father discussion on Illium is really neat, I think.

    Imagine living with; and truly loving, a person you know will live at the most 50 years, while you will be 1000. Imagine your daughter loosing her father at the tender age of 40 or so.

  30. Zaxares says:

    Mumbles’ comments about Jack at 13:45 are EXACTLY why I would not bring Jack on my crew. She’s a borderline psychopath! >.> She’s too driven by rage and a lust for violence to be reliable or trustworthy. Frankly, she is a danger to society. I understand that it’s not really her fault and she really is quite a tragic character, but my instincts nonetheless are to either keep her faaaaaar away from me… or to put her out of her misery.

    Also, I believe others have already mentioned this, but you DO get payment from Cerberus for completing missions, finding salvage, medi-gel etc. It’s not so much an actual paycheck, but given that the events of ME2 are presumed to take place over the course of a few months, maybe you just never get around to actually receiving a deposit into your bank balance. (Which the ads on the Citadel so HELPFULLY tell me is currently 0 credits.) I’m assuming that Cerberus is already covering things like the cost of food and supplies, and the crew’s pay because I never get asked to shell out stipends for my men. :P

    Finally, I have to say that I really don’t see where people are coming from when they say Miranda is ugly. She’s not exactly my ‘type’ either, but nothing about her face strikes me as being uncanny valley’ish (aside from the odd weird facial animation bugs that plague a bunch of characters in-game).

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      In all fairness you should probably keep a lot of characters that get into parties in cRPGs way away from anyone. In your average game in a fantasy setting you’ll get your share of assassins, thieves, evil warlocks etc. Occasionally it is explained that it is a short termed alliance of convenience but very often it is not or it is clearly an excuse and you would just escort the person under guard to the “door” (meaning here: any obstacle that only that key character can help you overcome) and then either chase them off (if you were good) or finish them off (if you were sane) so they don’t stab you in the back later.

      Heck, anyone who played pen and paper after a while realises that the odd party of a lawful good paladin and chaotic evil necromancer isn’t so much odd as it is standard.

      • Avilan says:

        Agreed. Compare Jack to say Korgan in BG2, or Xsar or Tsar-Teel in BG, or Ignus in PS:T…

        Plus, the idea of “the worst of the worst” in a strike team is older than Hollywood. It is a trope in itself, and the ME series is built on Tropes and nothing but Tropes.

        • Ringwraith says:

          So much that it broke the wiki for them.

          Still, it pulls them off well, which is all that really matters.

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

            Your Mileage May Vary.

            Or rather will, as can be seen by both Spoiler Warning and comments. Both person to person and trope to trope.

            (Or case of trope use by case of trope use, but that’s doesn’t flow as smoothly.)

  31. Aces McGee says:

    You know, Humans like Jack are the reason for the bad Cerberus groups in the first game. Hijacking a Cerberus ship and crew, would inevitably lead to some type of “rogue” activities. In all seriousness, a game where Shepard steals a ship, gets a pirate crew together and goes vigilante, Charles Bronson style, would be fun. No strings attached and no motivation other than justice, vindication, and freedom.

  32. Blanko2 says:

    oh i just remembered something.
    miranda hasnt impressed you yet?
    SHE BROUGHT YOU BACK FROM THE DEAD.
    YOU WERE DEAD. NOW YOURE NOT. AND ITS BECAUSE OF HER.
    sure its like magic-y but if it were YOU then itd be damn impressive.

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

      I’ve had NPCs hand me sweet loot for no apparent reason and I still remained hateful of them. You can’t bribe people to genuinely like you.

      Also, if she can do it, why won’t she bring Shepard back to life after dying in combat? Or was it that she was the one who shoved a needle into Shepard’s corpse once real doctors finished with it? You know, stuff that nurses can take care of, but she did it because they wanted her to feel good for helping.

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