Spoiler Warning S4E20: Follow the Yellow Brick Railroad

By Shamus
on Jan 7, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

So they filled the dialog in the game with irrational confrontational hostility. I suppose that’s easier that familiarizing themselves with the first game and learning characterization. (I totally need a fanboy rage emoticon. Pretend I do, and that I used it here.)

On the upside, an old foe returns in this episode, and you’ll never geth who it is.

I have to say I liked the bright sunlight mechanic. I wouldn’t want to put up with it for the whole game, and of course your AI companions aren’t actually properly programed to deal with it (I really hope they’re immune) but I thought it was a worthwhile idea for mixing things up. If you compare Mass Effect 2 to a lot of cover-based shooters, it’s actually a pretty smart game. Compare it to the mind-enema that is Kayne & Lynch to see how monotonous it could have been.

I’m really curious how BioWare views their play for the shooter market. Was this imposed by EA? Did it work to their satisfaction? Are they going to veer back towards more RPG elements now that they’ve “hooked” this new audience, or are they thinking they’ve hooked us RPG players (which, okay, they totally have) and can keep courting the Gears of Kayne & Killzone fans? I know a lot of us raged against this game, but did they even notice? Do they even see the thematic shift of the series as something that needs to be fixed, or are they saying, “Sales are good, keep doing what we’re doing”. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of their meetings.

Or, I guess, just employed there. Actually that would be way better because then I wouldn’t be a fly.

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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. Fede says:

    The video is set as private!

    Edit: not anymore!

    • Desgardes says:

      But, on the one hand, it does let us really meditate on the nuance of the accompanying post.

      They needed to have irrational hostility because the game didn’t have enough cohesion in the story. If they tried to come up with a valid reason to make everyone hate you, they’d run out pretty quick, you being like Humanity’s Great White Hope.

      As for Bioware, I like to think they noticed, because I am an animal, but, I don’t think they’d have to notice unless it hurt their bottom line, which I am absolutely certain it didn’t.

  2. Rhys Aronson says:

    The sun only drains your shields and doesn’t injure you. I would assume this means that Cerberus has made armour that protects you from the sun :D

    • Ringwraith says:

      They state that it’s emitting wavelengths that tend to fry electronics, it’s entirely possible that it’d cook you eventually, and your armour is probably somewhat resistant, though it eats through any technical equipment pretty fast, particularly the shields due to their nature of emitting their own fields causing the two interfere with one another pretty quickly.

      As an interesting side note, Grunt’s immune to the sun damage. Why?
      As he has armour, not shields.

  3. Robyrt says:

    At one point Mumbles suggests Cerberus rename themselves to avoid the bad publicity. This actually works pretty well in real life.

    • Taellosse says:

      Well, it’s done in real life. It’s debatable how well it works, since basically every time they’re in the news they’re still called “Blackwater” or, sometimes, “Xe, the company formerly known as ‘Blackwater.'”

      • swimon says:

        Also look at that logo it’s the most obviously evil looking logo since majestic 12 from deus ex (I would write just majestic 12 but apparently it’s based on a real conspiracy theory). Now I don’t know anything about them really (not being american and all) so I’m not saying that they’re actually evil. I just think that they should change logo and name to something that looks less evil than Xe, like babyeaters inc or something.

  4. X2-Eliah says:

    About the marketing.. See, here’s the thing.
    ME2 and ME3 have a new lead project designer, Casey Hudson. (Was someone else for ME1). Now, her job is to basically define what the game will be like.

    I’m certain somebody will be able to find the interview with her that I’m thinking of, the thing is, she said that the direction she wants to take the ME franchise is (iirc) making the game seem like an action-movie.

    That is one of the main reasons why I am not hoping in the slightest that ME3 even has a chance of being an rpg, or making sense.

    • Desgardes says:

      Ouch. But there are good action movies. This one’s just shaping up to be a Chronicles of Riddick. And that was the saddest analogy I could think of, and it keeps getting more apropos.

    • swimon says:

      Actually Casy Hudson produced the first mass effect too (he’s also a dude but that’s unimportant really). That’s one of the things I find maddening about the game, I can’t find whose fault it is (after all the most important thing is to know who’s to blame).

      The producer is the same and there are little change in the writing staff. If Lukas Kristjanson is the same guy as Luke Kristjanson (which I’m guessing but they’re not listed as the same on IMDB) then the only changes is that Mike Laidlaw didn’t work on ME2 they added 3 new guys to ME2 (ME has 6 writers ME2 has 8) and they changed lead writers from Drew Karpyshyn to Mac Walters. That is a change yes but it seems rather minor considering what a massive change in tone, direction and quality there are between the two games. I mean the shift is almost as big as the one between morrowind and oblivion and in that case 2 of like 4 writers changed and 6 so called “world builders” (also as a side note oblivion has 14 voice actors and morrowind 15 even though there’s very little spoken dialogue in morrowind).

      • krellen says:

        One other major change: BioWare was acquired by EA sometime between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2.

        • swimon says:

          yeah I’m leaning towards that too unfortunately. I mean the trailers for Dragon age looking like it was a game for the “cogs of angelic headgear” crowd while the game was essentially Baldur’s gate with a less interesting story was clearly their doing. I thought they would only change the marketing and stay away from the game designing (after all why buy an expensive game studio if it wasn’t good at making games). After all said Dragon Age was very classic and except for the marketing it wasn’t very “ekstreeeme” at all.

          But I have to admit that at least the tonal shift of ME2 reeks of EA pushing for Bioware to court the douchebag demographic.

          • sebcw1204 says:

            but douchebags have more money as a demographic because there are more of them. so as long as video games are made to make money, they will market to douchbags. this is one consequence of video games becoming “accepted” without benefit of being seen as art. i wish video games were unpopular again so they could go back to being about gameplay and story rather than graphics.

      • Aldowyn says:

        He did all the promotional sneak peeks and press stuff, it seems like, so despite his actual position, I just basically thought of him as the “ME2 cheerleader”. Pretty good at it too, I thought.

    • Tobias says:

      This all-new action-movie angle might be my main gripe with ME2. It’s just so hellbent on showing us something cool that it forgets to be a game. All those narrow escapes and spectacular saves Shepard does in this game happen in freakin’ cutscenes, which is the chief reason this ME2 felt so hollow for me. Hell, I’d have been content with freakin QTEs, but I want at least some part in what’s happening.

      This is something they didn’t do in ME1. Sure, that was cutscene-happy as hell, too (it’s ME, after all) – but everything it could do in-game, it did.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      The more I look at the story, the more it looks like a big complex project gone wrong.
      Lots of small teams work on small parts of the story, some decisions are made for something or other, and when they try to put it together, a month before launch date, after most character models, animations, dialogues are fnished already, they find out that the single parts are incompatible. So they try hard to somehow reconcile everything in the last second, add some dialogue here change a line there, in order to not have to throw half the work away.

      A good story is written by a good writer. I really don’t think that the story in ME II was written by one person, let alone a writer. This is the typical result of “we broke the problem into parts, had someone solve them, and then we put them together again”. That and less-than-optimal communication between the teams. And widely diverging ideas about the purpose of the game and meaning of characters within the groups. Possibly also bad project management, which could also be connected to tight availability of time/money.

      I’ve no inside information, but I think the signs are visible.

  5. Specktre says:

    Man, I really hated this whole thing with Kaiden/Ashley… so… freaking… much…

    Yet look at Garrus and Tali! They still trust you! They still follow you! And they’re the aliens for Pete’s sake!!!

    Though, one thing I have to keep reminding myself is that even if they did not suddenly go all crazy on you because “ZOMG! YOU’RE A DIFFERENT PERSON AND WITH CERBERUS!!!”, they still probably wouldn’t be able to go anyway. They are Alliance military, they can’t just go AWOL.

  6. scowdich says:

    I’m surprised nobody on the Spoiler Warning crew commented on the MASSIVE plot hole early in the episode.
    So sometime last episode, we were treated to a nice cutscene: Collectors arrive on Horizon, seeker swarms arrive, Kaidan is pretty much the first to get frozen and closest to the landing site. His friend Lilith (according to the subtitles) is next. We can probably assume there’s been a span of an hour or two between when the Collectors arrive and when Shepard does; they do, after all, take most of the colony with them. According to the mechanic guy (who’s name I can’t be assed to remember…was it Raul or something?) the Collectors definitely took Lilith.
    Ah, but here’s Kaidan, walking out from behind a crate after a massive battle with the Collectors, alive, unfrozen and totally unharmed! You’d think, if he got over the freezy thing earlier, he could’ve helped out a bit in the battle, even a little. And he could’ve commented on the whole “being frozen with my eyes wide open, most horrifying experience of my life, watching them take everyone but mysteriously sparing me” thing.
    My only hope is that this is Bioware dropping a subtle (?) plot hook for Mass Effect 3, in which it turns out the Collectors did something to Kaidan, turning him into some sort of mind-controlled traitor or something. Heck, it could even explain why he was all hostile!
    Of course, the way most technology works in this universe, one could reasonably expect (SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD) Kaidan to explode violently at the precise moment you defeat the Collectors at the end of the game.

    • Valthier says:

      Huh, the last part would be kinda cool. Now that you’ve said it it makes some kinda sense, especially since we know the Reapers are interested in getting to Shepard and as such Kaiden working against her would be more useful than Kaiden dead.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      You are clearly putting too much faith in the ME3 monkey-writers. Of course, it would make some kind of sense, and would really be cool, but c’mon – wasn’t the ME1 -> ME2 indicative enough of the existing trend?

    • Shamus says:

      Dangit, I meant to point this out. I mentioned it last episode and made sure to point out how he got frozen, but forgot to follow up on it in this one. But then, that whole scene was such a logjam of stupidity that you just can’t cover it all.

      • Cadrys says:

        I’m willing to posit a handwave that when the Collector ship ran away, the fields went down on any overlooked colonists. *More* to the point would be that Kaiden/Ashley is frozen in the same area as Lilith, out in the open, and there’s no reason that instead of Lilith being liquified before your eyes if you rush to the rescue at the end, it’s your former teammate instead.

    • poiumty says:

      I really don’t think it’ll turn out like that; more likely, Kaidan wasn’t the first one to be paralyzed, just the first one to be shown petrified. The collectors obviously didn’t kidnap everyone (as shown by the still-paralyzed people before this) and Kaidan was lucky enough to be left out. Also lucky enough to be nearby when the collector ship left, signaling the end of the paralytic state.

      Suspension of disbelief!

    • Deadpool says:

      That was my first thought. Ashley was the first one frozen and closest to the Collector’s ship and yet the last one taken, suddenly becoming abrasive? And the Collectors have a special interest in Sheppard? Sounds too fishy… I called it was a body snatcher/mind control/clone right away.

      It’d be an okay plan for aliens with an interest in Sheppard. Not a great plan for REAPERS but oh well… Maybe it’ll make sense in ME3. Somehow I doubt it…

    • Taellosse says:

      I’m not sure I buy it as being what the writers have in mind, but it is a brilliant idea. Never thought of that, or anything like it, myself. Now I actually kind of hope they do that. If I recall correctly, though, you get an email from Kaiden/Ashley later on where s/he apologizes to you somewhat, so I think it was just someone not thinking (either a writer or an animator, or both), rather than somebody being devious.

    • Veloxyll says:

      Kaiden/Ashley will be the last boss in ME3

  7. Valthier says:

    I didn’t actually realize before this that they’d basically copied and pasted Ashley’s dialogue. It does explain the assault rifle Kaiden thing from two episodes ago.

    I think I didn’t notice because Mass Effect came out in, what, 2005? So in my head Kaiden merged with Carth Onasi and thus “I’m not sure I trust you after this revelation that you’re with Cerberus/are Revan, I need some time to think” made sense. Maybe that was the writer’s problem too. I mean, Carth was a distrusting, gun-toting soldier. So maybe after the production team change they all replayed KotOR instead and forgot he was a biotic.

  8. Alexander The 1st says:

    …Wait, so for the same reason I can’t recruit Ashley and Kaiden now, I can’t recruit Tali and Garrus in ME3?

    ME3 just dropped in potential enjoyment. Hopefully if Tali’s still alive, at least we’ll get to see her face as she gets killed when the SR-2 gets destroyed. <_<

    • TK421 says:

      This actually, is one of my major concerns for ME3. Think about it this way, Wrex, Kaidan, and Ashley can be killed in ME1. Wrex, Kaidan, Ashely and Liara cannot be recruited (and the last one has DLC). Now, in ME2, everyone but Seth Green can be killed with Shepard surviving… meh. I really, really hope the ME3 writers aren’t so cheap as to give us an all new cast just to prevent wasting voice acting on people who may be dead in an imported save. I’m not sure I could stand a mass effect game without Tali, and I certainly want Mordin again.

      • Josh says:

        Considering Garrus and Tali are still the most popular teammates in ME2, I imagine if anyone is coming back for sure, it’s them.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          Yeah, I hope they do come back.

          Also, if at least, I want them to be awesome cameos, Wrex/Liara style.

          Where, if Tali survives, for example, she breaks off from the team, but becomes an admiral of the quarian fleet, and get a really awesome “Battlecruiser operational” crowning moment of awesome during the final fight.

          With Garrus, his combat taunts always sound like a cowboy, so I would not be opposed to seeing him jump from Reaper to Reaper, perhaps hacking one while riding on it towards other Reapers, then jumping off in a crowning moment of awesome.

          And those would be cameos if you saved them. If they do that, I think I could be happy with ME3.

          • krellen says:

            “seeing [Garrus] jump from Reaper to Reaper”

            When I was running a Mandalorian Wars era Star Wars campaign, I included a scene of Malak doing something similar (with bombers in an atmosphere) just to show off his Jedi awesomeness.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            If you saved garrus,then you get a cameo of him in 3 where he is on some huge battlecruiser,calibrating day and night.

            • acronix says:

              And his armor will still be broken.

              • Alexander The 1st says:

                I’m up for that.

                For bonus points, he can break more of it over time during ME3.

                Then still have Garrus fighting in space versus Reapers, even with a missing sleeve, boot, and maybe a hole in the chest or something. How would he do it? He’s BatmanGarrus. Silly things like total vaccums bow down to him.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I’d imagine there’d be few, if any additions to the recruitable squad, seeing as they have a vast amount of characters anyway and it’s coming to a conclusion.
        I think getting individuals to travel around with you will be the last of your worries.

        • Aldowyn says:

          If they bring mostly new characters in for ME3, ME2 becomes a narrative stopgap. NOTHING happens to advance the further plot, even if you look at in the most positive light. The Collectors show up and get owned, that’s it.

          3/4 or more of ME2 was recruiting and getting the trust of your squad, and that one mission was NOT enough to make up for that. Of course, knowing what happened from ME1 to ME2, you could just lose their trust for no particular reason *cough* Garrus/Tali *cough*

          I never liked the loyalty mechanic. It’s an interesting mechanic, but it’s too binary. Say a hidden scale that says how much they approve of you and stuff, and the higher it is the higher (slightly) their skills are and the more likely they survive.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The fact that it’s called “Loyalty” is very misleading is some cases, like why the hell aren’t Tali and Garrus loyal to you from the start considering that you’ve already saved the galaxy once with them. It’s better described as “Focus” as it’s all about their personal issues which are playing on their minds, and as such they perform better when they’re put to bed.

          • TK421 says:

            This is a good point, but it doesn’t stop my concerns entirely then, as I felt that too much of ME1 became throw-away dialog options in ME2. If the developer’s are thinking about story, you’ll be correct, but if they are not then Josh’s point about the fan’s choice might be a better motivation to have Tali back. I understand the devs don’t want to sink time, effort and money into large sections of the game that may never be played by some people because of previous choices, but isn’t that kind of the point of the choice idea? I mean, saving the council in ME1 managed to have so much effect in ME2 that you got a CONVERSATION… and… nothing else. I really hope ME3 is better in this regard.

      • Eddie says:

        Yeah, it’s a shame that no-one you work with has any technology that allows them to bring people back from the dead. You know, kind of like what Jesus did to Lazarus; ressurection. Oh wait, didn’t Mordin develop something like that…no, I guess he was too busy willing a Collector bee into existence.

        Actually, the ability to bring people back from the dead could have been used as a justification for why Shepard works with Cerberus; “Sure, you can leave us. I’m just going to be over there, hanging out with Roosevelt and Napoleon.” “Oh, hadn’t you heard, yeah we ressurected them while you were out.” “Hm? Did one of your friends die. That’s a real shame. Well, see you later.”

  9. poiumty says:

    You guys seem intent on bashing Cerberus to the ground. I actually gave Cerberus a chance on my playthroughs; after all, they RESURRECTED me, so i guess i kinda owe them. I could even understand TIM’s “betrayals”, in that he doesn’t want to get you killed, he puts you in harm’s way confident that you can handle the situation. But Kaidan/Ashley’s behavior? Retardedly irrational, more so that the game doesn’t even let you explain properly. I wanted to jump in my character’s shoes, smack Kaidan for being an idiot, and smack myself for not having dialog lines that explain the situation, even though it was SO EASY to do.
    The part where he says “ooh you’re working for cerberus now” was the instant where i noticed that the game has made up his mind to make Kaidan hate you no matter what you say. Thanks, Bioware.
    Also: the husks are a bit more of a threat on Hardcore and upwards, because they get a layer of armor. Part of why i think biotic powers are worse the more you up the difficulty.

    • krellen says:

      It’s a safe bet that at least 33% of all players played a Shepard who has as their character defining background “Cerberus fucked me over”. I was one of that group, and I think Shamus was too. If Shepard is a Sole Survivor, the very event that makes her Commander Shepard, the soldier actually capable of becoming the first Human Spectre, is a stupid-ass Cerberus plot.

      There is no way to ever make that “okay”. Sole Survivor Shepard would not work with Cerberus under any circumstances. Not even Renegade. There is nothing that would make a Marine forgive the bastards that killed her entire squad on a lark.

      • poiumty says:

        The way i see it, the background-specific mission in ME1 dealt with that. I don’t really care if 99% of an organization is corrupted if i’m working with the 1% that isn’t. I try not to generalize, here – Cerberus’s goals are still understandable, and the people on MY SHIP aren’t involved nor to blame for what happened on Akuze, regardless of their affilitation.
        This reminds me of a part in Deus Ex where (SPOILERS) after you break out from your former organization, you find your former quartermaster and ask him to get out of there, because the institution is corrupt. He refuses because “the only way to save the agency is for the good people to stay”.

        And yeah, i was sole survivor and imported that into ME2. Didn’t hate Cerberus.

        • Kanodin says:

          And the background specific mission for that one was Cerberus torturing one of your old comrades for an incredibly stupid reason. This does not help.

          Any event, you can logically accept working for Cerberus even with all that, that’s fine, but I can’t. That’s why we are arguing for choices, so people can decide based on the character they are playing and the logic they use. I guess what I’m trying to say is your reasoning is sound, on a personal level, but you cannot expect every individual to use your reasoning and frankly they shouldn’t have to.

          • poiumty says:

            Oh don’t worry, i never said they should. Merely pointing out some differences (since everyone’s like “how could you possibly justify this”), maybe playing a bit of devil’s advocate.
            I saw a bit of reason in blowing up the collector base too, more on that once we get there.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              I get why these things are there,I get that from certain viewpoints they make sense.But the thing is,why allow for freedom when for loads of people none of the actions would make sense?Why put that idiocy in the beginning where tim says he doesnt want to install a control chip into you?If you had one in your brain,thered be no problem.Yes,you cant work against cerberus,but at least it makes sense.

              This is why a game with no choice like half life 2 is way better than this.Having choice isnt automatically a good thing,you need to make it sensible,like in alpha protocol.

              Like Ive said when they played fallout 3,railroading is only noticed when it is done bad.When you do it right,people wont mind.Here,its done bad.Really bad.

              • Aldowyn says:

                Accepting the fact that the options given make some sort of sense doesn’t make up for the fact that there are OBVIOUS options NOT given.

                • Dude says:

                  Okay. About the control chip. Why do people assume TIM is telling the truth? He has, time after time, demonstrated that he’ll lie to Shepard’s face.

                  ME3 is going to be a massive disappointment and going to make me eat my words here, but I keep thinking that a lot of things that are wrong with ME2 are actually subtle hints that will be revealed in tremendous A-ha! moments in ME3. Like finding out that the reason you had no choice but to work for Cerberus was that there was a chip in your brain after all.

                  And that the Collectors aren’t “repurposed” Protheans but rather that the Protheans are the real enemy and the Reapers are a fake construct. I know it’s a bit off, but think about it. When was the last time a game even attempted at subterfuge?

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Except that he didnt tell you that,but he told miranda when you were not present,when she specifically wanted one to be installed inside your brain.

                • acronix says:

                  The other problem with that idea is that at the end of the game you can chose to blow up the Collector´s base which, if you recall, TIM wanted very badly.

        • swimon says:

          The problem is that if 99% of an organisation is corrupt then you shouldn’t work with the 1% that isn’t because either
          A) He/she has to answer to someone who is corrupt which would be bad.
          B) He/she were in charge of an organisation that was 99% corrupt. Meaning that he/she is probably completely incompetent.
          C) He/she has to take orders from someone incompetent (note that this one is the least likely).

          The difference in Deus Ex is that the organisation we’re talking about is the UN. It’s the worlds peacekeeper highly symbolic and the quartermaster doesn’t want to leave because he still thinks of the UN as humanity’s best and an organisation worth saving. I don’t really see how anyone could have such ideas about Cerberus (even if they were competent their shadowy nature means it can’t gain the same symbolic vitue).

          • poiumty says:

            Then replace “working with” with “working for”. But none of that matters in our situation.

            And it wasn’t the whole UN,just a branch dedicated to combatting terrorism. I can see how Cerberus is different, but they’re still working towards the same goal as you are.

        • krellen says:

          Do you know any Marines? I know a lot of them. A Marine doesn’t forgive when it’s their squad you’re talking about.

        • Veloxyll says:

          Given the Cerberus we’ve seen in the games, I have to ask: WHAT non-corrupt 1%?
          The ships cook is ALSO the ships janitor, which creates hillarious OH&S issues, and makes you wonder what other safety issues are aboard the ship. Joker and the Doctor both claim to not work for Cerberus, but for you; in the same way Shepard herself doesn’t work for Cerberus.

          TIM oversaw ALL THOSE FAILED OPERATIONS, and remember, he’s a control freak, so he cannot claim ignorance; He knew about everything his underlings were doing and let them get on with murdering humans. To resurrect Shepard, he lost an entire station worth of very bright doctors.

          It would be safe to assume, given Cerberus’s track record, that when Jacob said he stopped a poison killing the Council that he released it onto the ship that was carrying it, which was undoubtedly full of humans. Then crashed it into a human colony to make sure it wouldn’t harm the council.

          • Aldowyn says:

            I find it odd that the cook would be the one with the jobs that slip through the cracks (Taking another Sci-fi reference here, the “Charlie” as mentioned in Starship Troopers), as the cook is darn important job and would take up most or all of his time, considering he’s the only one on a ship with a considerable crew.

            And I don’t really count Jacob as part of Cerberus. That incident I’m pretty sure was in some other ME thing where he was the main protagonist…

          • Deadpool says:

            You’d be surprised how many restaurants has the guy who washes the dishes and cleans the bathroom also bake your bread or prepare the food… It’s amazing what liberal use of water, soap and gloves can do.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Actually,there is.If the story was done differently,with you not dying in the very beginning,but had a conflict with the council about the abduction of colonies,then went rogue and found miranda not knowing who she is working for,youd accept the funds.Later,when you find out miranda is cerberus,youd have a nice choice to either convince her to leave cerberus and make an enemy of them too,or decide to join her and cerberus and accept their funds now.

        I really,really dont know why they didnt go with this though.Its not like its a novel concept,its been done before.And its far more easier to think of than “you die and get remade”.*sigh*

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        What keeps amusing me is that, regarding the plot point of “Cerberus wants to unite the galaxay”, Cerberus has manage to unite the galaxy against Cerberus, almost to down to every single NPC. Mission accomplished.

        • Desgardes says:

          So Shepard is in fact a PR rep. They have the galaxy united against them, and now they bring back a hero to try and shift that hatred into something positive.

  10. Rayen says:

    It’s really nice of the level designers to put these big gaps of no shade in the middle of the road that you can’t go through without getting hurt. I saw the Turtle thing burst into flames (note; indiginous animals would either a) be immune or b) not stupid enough to walk into the sunlight) i heard EDI say sunlight hurts my sheilds, I believe you. Don’t hurt me for the sake of proving you can hurt me. Its like mike tyson saying he can break my nose, me saying okay, then him punching me in the face saying “i told you i could break your nose.” I KNOW!

    • Shamus says:

      I saw that as a way to train the player on how the mechanic worked. The bug died instantly. If they didn’t MAKE you go into the sun, may players might think the sun was an insta-kill, and wander around for hours trying to find a way through the battle zone that was in shade. Now the player knows that sun is bad and they can’t take cover through the sun, but they also know they can sprint through it if they need to.

      • RTBones says:

        I had the same thought. I mean, as a game mechanic, this _is_ something a little different, so the devs have to figure out a way to teach the player how it works without making them so paranoid that they quit playing the game because they’re running around in circles. I didn’t have any problem with the way they did it.

        The only thing bad I see about the whole thing is the AI (err…lack of AI?) You want to convince me the sunlight is bad, how about having my squadmates high-step their digital arses through those areas?

    • poiumty says:

      Except your shields would regenerate before any combat started, the patches of sunlight are both realistic (since no one just covered everything in shade because hey, maybe the sun went bonkers) and an indicator of the current threat. This isn’t bad level design, all the decisions are thought out.

      The only bad thing here is the AI.

    • krellen says:

      Indigenous life isn’t immune because the sun’s effect is unnatural – not-normal. The sun is putting out artificially large levels of radiation, not evolutionarily large levels of radiation.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I was looking for someone to say that, ty.

        The sun basically went pseudo-red giant for no particular reason and is now frying things. I just wonder how the bug lasted that long…

        • krellen says:

          My theory (which only applies if we assume ME2 makes sense): that sun is the Reapers’ “backup Citadel”, and they’re bleeding off its protective starry exterior to open up the other relay from dark space that they put in place in case something went wrong with the Citadel.

          • scowdich says:

            Or perhaps the Reapers are/were still working in collusion with the heretic Geth, and are burning out suns to somehow fuel their hard FTL burn back from dark space.

            • Jarenth says:

              Or maybe the sun is just aware it’s in Mass Effect 2 and trying to burn itself out as quickly as possible, in order to avoid being in 3 as well.

              • Joneleth says:

                The giant ‘You are here’ sign on the galaxy map tells me we are in the Dholen system. Here’s a thought. In ME3:
                1) Lure some Reapers to the Dholen system.
                2) ???
                3) Blow up Dholen.
                4) Profit.

                Nah, this is hyperbolic even by ME2 standards. I’m with Jarenth.

  11. Piflik says:

    I propose an Umbrella DLC…

  12. Dev Null says:

    My nominations for Fanboy Rage Emoticon:

    8@
    B@
    d20

  13. Vect says:

    Actually, it’s not spelled “Kayne”. It’s just Kane. Adam “Kane” Marcus, to be exact, but not that anybody needs to know that.

    And no, I’m not defending a series whose only “Achievement” is getting a fat man fired from his job for giving it a “Meh” review.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This dialogue is the worst part of the game for me.Its even worse than the ending “choice” for the station.It was even worse than in this video for me because at that point I already did a mission where I found some sensitive data about cerberus and kept it as a leverage for later on,and here,in the place where such data would be so useful as a proof I am just using cerberus to achieve victory,THE IDIOT SHEPARD COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THEM!!Gaaaah!!!Why the hell did they even include those missions where you can find sensitive cerberus data and do with them as you please,if you cant use them in the most obvious of places?!That is such a jerk move!!

    And the dialogue itself,oh my god is it bad!”So what if you were dead,and I was on a secret mission when you came to life and you couldnt find me when you tried to,you couldve at least called!”Gaaaaah!I have never,ever,ever witnessed such a whiny,needy,stupid conversation in my life!Even thinking about this still makes my blood boil!

    This dialogue is the highlander 2 of mass effect.

  15. Eddie says:

    This part of the game reminds me of the first hearing against Saren in the first Mass Effect, which, if I recall correctly, was the absolute worst part of the game. They force you to say and do stupid things and then only allow you to make even stupider justifications when someone calls you up on how stupid you are, stupid.

    • Shamus says:

      It’s very true, that first trial was ridiculous. Actually, the second one wasn’t much better. (A voice recording is “irrefutable”, really? I guess it would be, since they didn’t invite Saren so he could refute it. Gah.) But the second time the stupidity is going your way.

      • Eddie says:

        Perhaps the reason they had the first trial in the game was to make your shaky evidence seem irrefutable and reasonable in comparison to your angry shouting.

      • Ringwraith says:

        It’s actually not hard to imagine them taking the evidence as irrefutable, as they could probably match the voices perfectly and authenticate its origin and the fact that it hasn’t been tampered with. Though having to wait for them to run tests on evidence is hardly exciting, so it’s not like it comes up.

      • Josh says:

        Huh. I think I’ve got it – why don’t we just get a voice recording of Harbinger’s combat taunts, save it as “reaper.wav,” and send it to the Council in an email with the heading “This evidence is irrefutable!”

        Then they’ll have to help us! You just can’t refute fuzzy, low quality voice recordings!

        • Desgardes says:

          I concur, it was a poor quality audio-only off of a geth brain, notorious for being wiped clean, brought by a Gypsy of the galaxy, who everyone would figure would have an ulterior motive in giving an excuse to hunt geth. Sounds like something you’d need at least a daily recommended allotment of salt to swallow.

        • Aldowyn says:

          YES! :D

          BTW, I don’t mind most of those taunts, but hearing them every 5 seconds is incredibly annoying. Once a minute or so… wait, I’m thinking Insanity time. Well, several times slower.

        • Dude says:

          Pfft. In the future .wav is obsolete. They all use .vangelis.

        • Swedmarine says:

          Now all you have to do is send a message from your private terminal. Surely you can send messages from it and not just receive them from strange people?

          • Milos says:

            In the future primitive technology such is sending e-mails is obsolete. Instead you fly over in your space ship and talk to people face to face – that way you can always renegade-punch them if you get bored of the conversation.

    • Deadpool says:

      Oh yeah, ME1 had its fair share of stupidity…

      And yeah, I HATE how these sidequests have absolutely no bearing upon the game whatsoever…

      • poiumty says:

        Uh… this was a MAIN quest. You need to do it to advance the story. From a plot perspective, you need to test mordin’s anti-swarm thingy (that works), and try to stop the Collectors.

        • Deadpool says:

          I meant, the one where you acquire info on Cerberus, or the ones where you send sensitive data to the council/alliance instead of Cerberus and whatnot…

          • poiumty says:

            Oh, right. Yeah those were pointless. You replied to the wrong person so i was kind of confused there.
            I didn’t mind so much in ME2 because more combat makes me happy. But yeah, story-wise, pointless.

            Maybe they’ll do something in ME3, like the game will remember if you kept the information for yourself and you can give it to an Alliance commander and he’ll be like “yay i have cerberus info” and the whole thing will translate into like 20 experience points and nothing else will change. I can see through you, Bioware.

  16. Specktre says:

    Oh okay, so here’s something that bothered me from last episode:

    So you guys have pretty much prematurely let out that Harbinger is a Reaper, and he “ASSUMES DIRECT CONTROL!!!” So he basically does a super-Indoctrination where he’s literally inside a mook’s head.

    Here’s the thing: I want to know how the heck Harbinger can get inside the Collector General’s head from a million light-years away then from there jump into another mook’s head that’s another million light-years distance.

    Yeah, Sovereign did the same thing to Saren’s body at the end of ME1, but Saren was just inside the tower and Sovereign was just outside said tower. That’s far more believable to me than the double mind jump from millions of light-years away that Harbinger is pulling off.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well this is a race that has existed for several cycles of the galaxy,so them having a technology to send electrical signals over vast distances isnt that far fetched.For example,jump gates are so huge because they have to transport lots of mass.But electromagnetic impulses are basically massless,so maybe jump gates for those can fit inside a 1x1x1 meter box.Have one of those on the collector ship,and voila,instant hacking.

    • poiumty says:

      With their current technology, Shepard and TiM can communicate from god-knows-how-many miles away, instantly (the game explains this clearly in the codex). Reapers have more advanced technology, so it’s not a stretch to say he can easily uplink himself to a specially-prepared vessel (in our case, any of the Collectors, which we’ll find as being heavily genetically modified by the Reapers themselves, more so than even Saren).
      As for why the Collectors (and Saren) couldn’t use those imba-powers before Harbinger assumes control… you got me. I guess they require higher thought processes that only the Reapers possess.

      • psivamp says:

        The transmitter to TIM was explained as a quantum engtanglement. That way there is no way to trace the signal because it exploits Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”

        As for assuming direct control of mooks, darned it I know. Peter Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn doesn’t even try to propose a solution to his telepathic ability.

        • ehlijen says:

          Actually, who says TIM isn’t hidden away in a closet somewhere right on the Normandy? Eating all the snacks? Stealing all the left socks from the laundry?

          • Desgardes says:

            MY GOD, he really *is* Illusive. This whole time, everyone thought he was trying too hard to impress on Shepard his spooky Cerberus credentials, and that was all a facade to keep you from guessing he’s the one killing your fish. I DID TOO FEED THEM.

          • Dude says:

            If you read the Shadow Broker DLC logs, you’ll get a brief list of things TIM has been up to. On planets.

            But it’s entirely possible that TIM is, in fact, Miranda.

            • Swedmarine says:

              I would let this slip if it weren’t for the intro cut scene with TIM and Miranda summarising ME1 and speaking about how Shepard is the only person awesome enough to save the galaxy.

              • sebcw1204 says:

                the (sigh) illusive man… i know the illusive/elusive misspelling has already been pointed out. it still bugs me. i get bothered a little by misspellings in posts (please look up the usage of to/too and your/you’re), but in a “triple-A” game company SOMEBODY should have proofread this games cast list.

        • swimon says:

          ok is it ever explained more than quantum entanglement somewhere? Because I couldn’t find it.

          See my problem is that quantum entanglement is not instantaneous it has a speed of light delay, now I know that faster than light communication is possible in the mass effect universe so sending information to TIM instantaneously isn’t a problem. The problem is that the reason for using this device rather than normal communication is because it doesn’t really send a signal that can be intercepted and can therefore not be hacked (as far as I understand at least). But if it doesn’t send a signal then what do they send through the relay? If they don’t send anything through the relay shouldn’t there be a few thousand years of lag in your conversation?

          • poiumty says:

            Well, EDI says that quantum entanglement allows for “lag-free communication” when you access her in the briefing room. So i guess quantum entanglement doesn’t have a speed of light delay in the Mass Effect universe.

            • swimon says:

              Ah.
              Well why meticulously research a unique and interesting universe that makes sense scientifically (except for a few minor misses) when you can just rewrite the laws of physics so your super badass smoking ceo cliché can get a fancy phone :E

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            I thought that issue was still open,and there are some experiments that maybe prove ftl communication,but need to be repeated.So quantum entanglement could prove to be instantaneous after all.

            • swimon says:

              Oh? I hadn’t heard that. I thought that would violate causality.

              • Fnord says:

                It would violate causality (or imply relativity is wrong). But all faster than light communication violates causality, and FTL travel implies FTL communication. So you’re already in on that if you want Space Opera at all.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Well quantum entanglement doesnt really send anything,so technically its not ftl anything.It can work with relativity just fine.It would only show that spacetime is more distorted than we think.

                • Fnord says:

                  Any transmission of information faster than light violates either relativity or causality, whether however it’s transmitted. There is no quantum loophole. Now, there’s not really any reason to believe that you can actually transmit information FTL using entanglement, under current science, so we’re safe for now.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Relativity allows for wormholes,and quantum entanglement may very well work like a very small wormhole,so using it would not violate relativity.

                  But again,it is an open topic.

                • Will says:

                  Quantum entanglement has already been proven to be instantainous. You just cant transmit information with it, yet.

          • Piflik says:

            Actually, Quantum Entanglement is instantaneous…at least in theory…the thing is, you have to separate the entangled pairs after creating them to be able to transmit information from one to the other…and ftl travel (even theoretical) breaks the entanglement…so you first have to carry one half of the pairs to your destination with relativistic speed before you can use the communication channel…also, each bit can be only used once, so as soon as you transmitted as many bits as you have QE-pairs, you nifty technology is useless…

            And regarding the signal not being able to hack into…that is actually true, since QE doesn’t send information…you change the state of on half of a pair and his ‘brother’ changes to the same state at the same time…then the connection between the two break…

        • Raygereio says:

          “As for assuming direct control of mooks, darned it I know. Peter Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn doesn’t even try to propose a solution to his telepathic ability.”

          I’d rather have no explanation for something then a stupid one. *Glares at star trek*

      • Shamus says:

        I don’t have any problem with the technology behind the uplink. The only thing that bugs me is WHY DOES HE KEEP DOING IT WHEN HE SUCKS SO BAD.

        I imagine Harbinger must be the worst FPS player in the galaxy. He keeps jumping into these mooks and getting schooled. I’ll bet he sits there screaming “HAX!!!” every time he loses.

        The end of the game? When he releases control? That’s him ragequitting.

        What a n00b.

        • Deadpool says:

          You know, the delay MAY be the excuse. Maybe it’s faster than light, but it’s not instanteneous, and he IS millions of light years away, so maybe he’s just experiencing the mother of all lags…

        • Ringwraith says:

          Though isn’t he relaying it through the Collector general?
          Basically, he’s in direct control of the general at all times, and controls one of the basic drones through the general, which would make the question of distance more reasonable, as the general obviously has a relay of some sort directly in his hidey-hole.
          In fact, the Collector ship possibly has a relay in it too, so it could be being bounced through several specially-designed relay hubs.
          Also, to answer the question of why does he keep trying? Well, it doesn’t cost him anything to do it and it’s posing a bigger threat to Shepard every time than just the standard drone fare, therefore increasing the chances of finally finishing the job.

        • Veloxyll says:

          Well, obviously it’s actually all part of Harbinger’s plan. Any senselessness is just because the plan is too complex for your human mind to comprehend, just like Sovereign’s plan.

          • Aldowyn says:

            Hey, I liked Sovereign. What’s wrong with not being able to understand a race of beings that are essentially gods of destruction?

            • Veloxyll says:

              When it turns out their complex plan is to split up the fleshy meatbags and eat the juiciest ones. Eating meat and reproduction through murder are not alien concepts to the biosphere of Earth!

              That said, Sovereign knew how to be intimidating and make an entrance. Unlike Harbinger who just went “LOL, I’M CONTROLLIN MY DOODZ, TAUNTIN U SHEPARD. THIS HURTS YOU LAWWWWLLL”

              • Fnord says:

                I think part of the point is that the Reapers are not as inscrutable or above it all as they would like you to think.

                How often do you sit down with insects, explaining how they’re lives are meaningless, and you transcend their very understanding? Not very often; you just ignore or kill them. You don’t announce “I am the Vanguard of your destruction” before swat a fly. Sovereign was hamming it up for you, just as much as Harbringer is.

                • Veloxyll says:

                  If I remember this post the next time we have a bug to be destroyed I just might…

                  The main thing though was, Sovereign felt intimidating; Harbinger, on the other hand, never feels like a threat, just an irritant.
                  Which is kinda a role reversal from the first game I guess, where we were the gnat and Sovereign was the unstoppable killing machine.

                • Fnord says:

                  Fair point on the decline in threat. Based on the preview for ME3, we may well be taking out multiple Reapers. Saying it’s intentional is probably giving too much credit, especially with the darker tone in 2, but it’s apparently inevitable.

                • Swedmarine says:

                  Ah, but if you spend several thousands(plus) years in dark space with nothing else to do than waiting for your next chance to kill something, wouldn’t you try to extract as much fun as possible from that moment?

        • swimon says:

          It also makes no sense from a narrative point of view. Why would you have the villain taking control of the mooks, that means that every time you kill a simple mook you lessen the threat of the villain. Sure there are in universe reasons for why he still might be threatening but having his voice be associated with an easy fight can’t be a good thing. Isn’t this exactly why they had Saren’s theme music be the death music? So that you would associate him with death and defeat, it’s like this game does the same thing but in reverse.

    • guy says:

      The Collector-General is specially designed to be a cutout relay so Harbringer doesn’t have to suffer red lighting every time one of his vessels dies, i think. There must be some FTL relay or something.

  17. Pixelsocks says:

    I enjoy that Cerberus can raise the dead while parasol technology eludes them.

  18. swimon says:

    Also would miss shepard please but on a helmet. I know helmet hair but I’m guessing that a world where sunlight ignites everything might have a few things in the atmosphere that you wouldn’t want to breathe in.

    This bugs me the whole game, it’s even worse when your companions only put on breathers in incredibly dangerous environments (I think they even do it in hard vacuum at one point).

    • Ringwraith says:

      You can go and put one on, doing so actually increases your health.

      Though you miss all the facial animations as playing as a talking helmet for the entire game is a little odd.

      Your helmet is automatically put on where’s it’s a hazardous or otherwise unbreathable atmosphere anyway, so scans must have given the all-clear in this case.

      • swimon says:

        true but your companions only puts on a breather. And I get that scans are available I just don’t believe that a planet that has a sun like that would have breathable atmosphere (at least it would have bad long term effects, like 20 years after this Shepard gets lung cancer).

        • Ringwraith says:

          The breather thing only applies to characters that aren’t wearing full suits of armour, as they couldn’t be bothered to give them full re-skins for the odd mission where they would be needed, not to mention having to explain why they don’t use them normally if they’d surely give better protection.
          Also, that sun has only recently begun cooking stuff, which is kind of the whole point of why it’s being investigated.

        • Aldowyn says:

          also, it’s just radiation, and it doesn’t even say what kind. I’m assuming EM radiation, which is why it’s frying your shields, but not nuclear, in which case it’s absolutely fine.

          My problem is why the temperature seems normal. THAT there is no way, since that would change pretty much as soon as you could see the change from the planet… unless the sun is just some wonky thing that radiates just as much heat as a G type star from a normal distance.

  19. Deadpool says:

    Btw, metal is a GREAT heat conductor isn’t it? Should the floor be incredibly hot when over half of it is exposed to the Sun?

    • Aldowyn says:

      That part where the bug gets fried is misleading – just like when it looks like Shepard is going through re-entry at the very beginning. It is NOT heat.

    • scowdich says:

      Not to mention, metal being a great heat conductor would mean it conducts heat AWAY from the surface. Not that that gives the heat anywhere better to go, but still. Metal feels cold to the touch much of the time because it conducts heat away from your hand very efficiently, meaning the metal you’re touching does not heat quickly.
      Tile and ceramic, on the other hand, tend to feel cold for the opposite reason – they’re good heat insulators, so they warm up very slowly, even though the heat doesn’t move much.

  20. Supernaut says:

    In defense of the sun thing the sunlight only effects your shields it’s mentioned that it fry’s electronics once your shields are gone I’m pretty sure the sun will not effect your health or armor.

  21. RejjeN says:

    My assumption for the whole “Not leaving a trace” deal was that they used their mass effect fields to slowly lift the ship back into orbit (it doesn’t look like it’s actually parked on the ground), and just used the rocket-jump now because they were under heavy fire. Otherwise… pretty spot on, but it wasn’t quite enough to make the game unplayable in my eyes.

    More choice would have been nice though, my first Shepard was Paragon Sole Survivor so she was obviously quite suspicious of Cerberus…

    • Dude says:

      Er, wait a minute. There are signs of an alien visit all over the planet when you first get there. Unless the Collectors are basically the crew of CSI with a time stopping device they use to meticulously swab every wall and clean every stone, there’s no way they don’t leave any proof behind.

      Especially once you know they’re Collectors and can “gene tag” or whatever the shit Aria’s goons use to ID you, to eliminate other species from any sample.

      • Fnord says:

        Well, they aren’t done yet, so presumably all the frozen humans, etc would be picked up if you didn’t show up. And maybe the collectors don’t shed skin flakes, etc, like humans do. Or something.

        And “not a trace” is relative. All it means is that the investigation teams sent by the “Ahh, yes, the ‘Reapers'” guys are claiming it was probably slavers. Ignoring CSI level samples is probably easier than ignoring the gigantic space squid that destroyed half your fleet.

  22. Blanko2 says:

    why do all human colonies consist of one city/town and thats it.
    i mean, REALLY. you fly across the galaxy do settle on a planet, and its one crappy city.
    wow.

    • Aldowyn says:

      Because it’s a new, fringe colony? That’s like asking why people went to NA and only established Jamestown…

      In the Bring Down the Sky DLC in the first game, there’s actually a colony with a significant population, but it was one of the first. At this point, any colony’s age is measured in DECADES, if not years, and none of them would be more than a few hundred million, optimistically.

      • Blanko2 says:

        every colony you go to consists of one town/city.

        • SomeRandomDood says:

          Um, that’s how colonisation works? It’s not as if they have resources to drop twelvety million people, and 79 fully-formed cities from day one…
          Sorry to be so sarcastic, but frankly your objections are so silly as to make it hard to respond reasonably.
          Given: Timescale on planet – years to a few decades
          Resources: Thousands of people + basic survival and manufacturing gear
          Objective: Survive! Then expand.
          Pretty much the only way to colonise a [place] is to make a “beach-head”, make that initial settlement into a viable town, then expand from there. Assuming that they *can* make a go of it, and are not wiped out, whether by the planet’s harshness, or external factors. And remember that a human “generation” is 20 years, so basically most colonies will not even have had their first wave of children grow up yet to even think about needing to grow outside the town’s boundaries.
          So for almost all human colonies to consist of one township seems very realistic at this stage of humanity’s migraton to the stars.

          • Blanko2 says:

            thats a ridiculous assumption, there are several colonies with a large human population and several cities/towns.
            also, yes, if youre going across the vastness of space you need a massive beachhead. youre not going to send 300 colonists, youre going to send thousands. you need them to tend farms, mine, whatever.
            also, as mentioned above BDTS has a large colony. point is, the ones you visit only ever have one town/city.
            and like 20 people living in them.
            this isnt a country on the other side of the sea, this is a whole nother planet. getting in resources is not cheap, ideally you want a colony big enough that it can fend for itself, if something happens. AND IT ALWAYS DOES, geth and collectors and thorians and whatnot.

            • SomeRandomDood says:

              Never played “Bring Down the Sky”, so no idea what is in there. Also nice to see that you didn’t bother reading my post or bringing any arguments to the table (e.g. I specifically said in my post that the number of colonists in a wave are likely to be in the thousands, so which part of your anatomy you plucked 300 from, I don’t know).
              Your point of how few are seen is fair – however, I just blame that on the technology/software engine available for the reason so few are seen. A more blatant example of that from ME1 is when you are wandering around the Citadel – for a place jam-packed with all races, you rarely saw more than a few creatures on screen at a time.
              However, the basic reason for how few towns are available at any given settlement stands – you have presented nothing against that except your desire for there to be more.
              Agreed, more variety would be more interesting, but it does not take away from the basis that a single initial colony on a planet is a much more realistic scenario, even if less interesting from a player’s perspective.
              One final point (from ME1) was pretty much the whole Feros colony section was about how expensive it was to set up a colony, and how the corporation behind it was trying to turn a profit – and what ends the corporation were willing to go to to try to turn a profit…

              • Blanko2 says:

                i said 20, and thats from observation, all the colonies you go to are tiny and have very few colonists or buildings.
                so yeah, i agree with you and i DID read your post, thank you very much.
                but the thing is it never even tries to LOOK like it would have a viable population size for the colony.
                the citadel feels big (in the first game, the second makes it feel small, too) and so does wossname, omega. hell, even ilos feels as massive as they want it to be.

                the colonies all feel tiny and look tiny. and ARE tiny.
                which you say, yeah well they would be, and i say, really would all the ones you visit be?
                at the very least, the first colony you visit in ME1 shouldve felt bigger than a few prefabs and a train.
                and it just makes it really hard to believe that theyre kidnapping a lot of humans when they land on a spot that has one. town. and a seemingly very low population density. so what, they just make twenty stops on the planet, picking up a hundred dudes per stop?
                cuz if theres supposed to be (say) 2000 humans and there is one collector ship… and there are only tiny hamlets… well its not very efficient, for one, and low population density makes it really hard to “leave without a trace”. since traveling across a large planet takes time, regardless.
                and if you say, oh, all the humans in the colony of 2000 live in that one town, well they could have done a better job of making it feel large enough for even 500, let alone 2000.

                is that better?

                • SomeRandomDood says:

                  Yes – thanks for the response.
                  From that, I don’t think we are that far apart after all, just that we were coming to the problem from different angles.
                  Let’s sum up my feelings, and see if I am at last reading your feelings right too.
                  To me, having single colonies on the majority of human worlds feels reasonable as that is the way I would expect things to actually take place. That a population of several thousand are represented by Bob, his wife, and a badger all in front of two tin sheds I put down to software/hardware limitations and that I am being railroaded, shrug my shoulders, accept it and move on.
                  To you (if I am reading this right this time), showing a thriving (or at minimum workable) human colony should involve a *lot* more buildings (in number and variety) and a lot more people getting on with their lives trying to make the place a success.
                  I guess that we just differ in quite where we find the game falls down – but agree that it’s pretty shaky! I suppose it could be likened to some of the old TV shows, like Dr Who. Some might have objected most to the shaky sets and poor effects. Others might find the silly plots more annoying. But regardless, they still care enough to keep watching and sharing the joys and frustrations with the show.

  23. Aldowyn says:

    Female name rhyming with smelly: Shelly.

    Also, with the “you’re in the presence of a legend” line by Kaidan, I’m pretty sure Ashley says (or it may depend on some other variable) “presence of a god.” And you would think Ashley/Kaidan would trust you after ME1.

    On the topic of them not letting chars from the 1st game into your squad in ME2, does that mean they are OKAY with the fan favorites, Garrus and Tali, getting killed? That’s a bit messed up.

    And the Eviscerator is so much better than the only shotgun you don’t have… (not counting Claymore), I tend to use it as my shotgun all the time, since I get the assault rifle or the Revenant most times.

    Squadmates definitely get hurt, or shield down like you do anyway.

  24. GTRichey says:

    The most infuriating thing about the Cerberus railroading is the retcon of all the Cerberus operations you broke up in the first Mass Effect. Not that they simply write them off as ‘rogue cells’ but that such cells are entirely absent from the second game. Had the writers simply put some side quests where you’re fighting against Cerberus in similar situations to the last game it’d be much easier to buy the whole “that’s not really Cerberus doing that”. Many (myself included) may still be annoyed at being railroaded into working with such an incompetent organisation, but the justification from the writers would at least be believable.

    • Fnord says:

      I think that’s the Illusive Man lying to you again.

      Torture Shepard and squad: rogue cell.
      Torture lots of kids, get killed when Jack escapes: Illusive Man was not aware.
      [Spoiler events of Overlord DLC], get everybody killed: acting independently.

      Yeah, sure.

  25. SmallIvoryKnight says:

    Mumbles had the best line this episode:

    “I’m part of Happy Trails Ponies. Let’s fucking kick some ass.”

  26. Friend of Dragons says:

    Heh, when you first said that an old foe returns this episode, I was SURE you meant Kaidan, since I remember spoiler warning: ME1

  27. BeamSplashX says:

    I keep reading “Kayne” as “Kanye” and it makes for a very entertaining mental image.

  28. […] I owe kudos to Bioware for Mass Effect 2, and it’s all because of Shamus Young’s LP, Spoiler Warning. If you’re not familiar with the medium, LP is short for Let’s Play. It’s a […]

  29. N/A says:

    Am I the only one who liked Ashley more than Kaidan? It’s partly the voice acting, but honestly she just had more depth to me.

    • Sucal says:

      I preferred Ashley, but that was because she had the far better lines. Not to mention was slightly funnier. Plus I kept expecting Kaiden to put on a orange fighter pilot jacket and spout nonsense about not trusting you and the Jedi Council…

      Of course.. that’s it. The collectors stole him away and left Carth in his place.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I kind of liked them the same before this part.Afterwards,I wanted only one thing with ashley:To strangle her with my bare hands,then to force tim to resurrect her so I can strangle her once more.

      • Sucal says:

        But why would you want to kill her, she refers to you as godly. That must have been such an excellent night if she still has such a memory of it 2 years later.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yes,and then she goes on to blame you “for not calling her while you were dead”,and saying how you have changed because you “work for cerberus”.And in such a bitchy,whiny way that its unbearable.Sure,its not full 180 for her personality(like it is for kaidan),but it is at least a 90 degrees shift.

          And compare that to liara,wrex,tali and garrus.All have the problem with you working with cerberus,all are a bit stunned that you are alive again,yet none of them is so openly hostile.Its like they couldnt think of a reasonable explanation for why these 2 wouldnt come with you,so they said “Fuck it,lets turn them into whiny idiots.”Whats worse is that they didnt even bother to tweak the dialoge even the slightest,even though kaidan and ashley are completely different persons.

          • Nidokoenig says:

            Is there a mod for ME1 to make them both snuggle the bomb? I know it would require modding ME2 and then ME3 when it comes out to fit it all together, but I’d somehow feel better knowing the option exists.

    • Blanko2 says:

      i didnt really like one over the other, the only reason i let kaidan die was cuz i didnt feel like backtracking. i was like
      what.
      hes gonna die? eeeeeh, lets just move forward, shall we?

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        The only reason I kill off Kaiden everytime in ME1 is because having a Biotic/Ashley/Tali team was just so killer in the game, and I never really found a way to fit Kaiden in. So the one time I wanted to see what happened if Ashley died, I went Soldier/Liara/Tali.

        Of course, that strategy is killed in this game, since pretty much Tali/Leigon are the only True Engineers + Loyalty, whereas all the biotics are all “Oh, I don’t have Warp/Singularity/Pull/Shockwave. That’s their move.”

  30. wootage says:

    sorry, but they totally have not hooked all of us RPG players. I didn’t even buy ME2 ’cause they went in the wrong direction, specifically “character depth bad, boom-boom good”. And no, I’m in no way, shape or form hardcore RPG.

    But if you take away any chance of making a character choice that matters, it isn’t an RPG at all. ME’s paragon / renegade system is irrelevant, ’cause as long as you get enough points in one or the other, the outcome is the same.

    So really I guess the only way to you can actually affect things with character development is to screw up the paragon/renegade points so you don’t get enough points in either to get your way lol.

    Now as an FPS it’s kinda different because of abilities and teammates, but frankly way too repetitive because it’s a CBS, and therefore you will find cover and shoot with various weapons, possibly using some limited varieties of abilities and teammates to change things up. Which eventually settles into a rut, so it’s less fun to me than say, the Left 4 Dead games.

    Although those are incredibly limited in choices and linear as heck, every level plays differently from the last time because the AI Director in those games changes things up for you, so the experience is somewhat fresh every time.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      The Paragon/Renegade system in this, and the Open Palm/Closed Fist system in Jade Empire, both annoy me greatly, because they basically shut down role play. Like we see in this episode, Josh is complaining about not being able to do anything but suck TIM’s cock as a renengade, so there’s the choice of violating the show’s vision for its character or having to miss out on the red points, a valuable resource.

      Maybe I say this because I’m too much of a munchkin, but the pursuit of power should be possible without acting like a mental patient. Picking red or blue dialogue should be a choice you make to advance your character, not a calculation with a correct answer, and donning some medium armour and letting mudcrabs chew on you for a couple of days should be just plain nutty, instead of the correct way to get +5 Endurance at your next level up.

      • Swedmarine says:

        I don’t see why a Renegade/Paragon, Evil/Good system limits playing the role you want. If you see a dialogue option that fits your character then go with it. The moment you start choosing a response based upon which will give you what point you have stopped role playing your character and moved over into playing the extreme archetypes created by the writers.

        If this results in you not being able to do that-ultimate-badassery-at-the-end then it simply means that your character is too three-dimensional and original.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          So basically the system punishes originality?How is that a non limiting system.

          Compare that to alpha protocol where if you dont like someone,you can be a dick to them without anyone elses attitude towards you changing because of that(except in cases when there are more people present at the same time).

          See,its not really the good/evil system that is bad,its the fact that it is universal that is bad.Thats why I hate these universal moral sliders,because there is no universal moral.Here being full renegade means you agree with cerberus 100% of the time,even if you think they are a bunch of idiots.And that is bad design.

        • Nidokoenig says:

          The point is, I’m being given fewer options, such as special dialogue, weapons and abilities, for playing in a semi-realistic manner. I’m being heavily incentivised to drop the pretence of telling a story and farm red or blue points. I’m essentially being punished for not playing as a caricature.
          One note extremists are less fun and interesting than moderates, if only because moderates are more unpredictable. I’m all for local choices, where siding with one group gets you their reward and so on, mostly because it can set up temptations for localised breaks in my character to get an awesome item, weapon, or explore an interesting character flaw.
          It’s not a good morality or character system if you’ve got no incentive to re-evaluate and grow your character as you go, you will always be worse off if you suddenly switch or play a variable game from the start.
          As I said, I’m a munchkin, so if I have to choose story or gameplay, gameplay always wins and then these cutscenes are just wasting my time if they refuse to attempt to make sense. I’m either going to go all red or all blue, because purple characters are gimped. They could at least have some consequences for being lopsided, like having to resolve a conflict between two factions, one of which won’t trust a pure Paragon Shephard and vice versa.

        • Lalaland says:

          I have to disagree with you Swedmarine as failing to choose every offered Paragon/Renegade option reduces the chances of even being offered some choices at a another point of the game. If I want the ‘bonus’ dialog options (such as with the gang holding Mordin’s assistant hostage during his recruitment mission) I pretty much have to choose every single one of the stupid P/R options because otherwise I risk having too low a P/R score for it (as Josh does in that scene, as he was Paragon to love interests which meant he had too few Renegade points for that dialog).

          The Paragon/Renegade system serves two masters as both a ‘Morality Meter’ and a Speech/Charisma skill. As you do P/R acts, or idiocy labelled as such, you score P/R points which ‘level’ your speech skill and opening further dialog options. This really annoys me as it means I am forced to play a dangerously unstable idiot just so I can pass these dialog checks.

          It’s just so unnecessary, why have the speech checks at all if the scale is meant to reflect your moral alignment. No one in history has been prevented from saying anything because they weren’t ‘high level’ enough (‘I really love hot dogs but I’m only level 2 so I can only say they’re nice, Nooooo’). Equally why would choosing to interact with different characters using varying approaches (Paragon for some, Renegade for others) make me worse at talking to people? Why does Mass Effect think Sheppard gets more persuasive by talking to Krogan in the same way you do Elcor? If I’m being Paragon in Grunt’s loyalty mission you come across as someone who’s never heard of or talked to a Krogan before rather than someone who had saved the galaxy with one. The renegade options have you come off as a hyper-aggressive warrior which is what Krogan’s respect and is culturally appropriate. Your mealy mouthed Paragon options make it seem like you doubt your own crew in Krogan terms showing a complete ignorance of their culture and actually making the whole thing harder for Grunt and Wrex politically.

          • Nidokoenig says:

            In Jade Empire, Intimidation, Intuition and Charm checks could always be tried, but they’d fail if they weren’t high enough. The player character wasn’t voice acted in dialogue, though, so they didn’t have to have a less convincing sounding snippet for them. They also don’t have to have a failed-check snippet for the other guy any more.

            I think the inability to try and fail makes this a lot more irksome, along with having so much impact from dialogue rewards with people who don’t really matter. If you don’t have a sufficiently principled/intimidating reputation, you can make someone trust you or be afraid of you, which makes sense, but that reputation should come from large acts, like how you resolve a mission, and dialogue with important or famous people, such as cutting off the council or punching the reporter.
            Maybe the idea is that you can’t exude a sufficiently boy scout/tough guy image if you don’t do it often enough, but that’s getting a bit silly. It’s like if someone had the impression you didn’t love hotdogs as much as you say you do because you chose burgers over dogs that one time in the cafeteria.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Me2 is not that bad of a game actually.It suffers from the classic mistake bioware has been doing for a while now:”Screwing up the main story,but making the side quests and companions stellar.”I remember them doing this in original nwn,and the only thing that made me wade through that bore was how epic your henchmen were.

      And the gameplay in me2 isnt that bad either.It has interesting abilities like hack,different munitions,biotic warp combo,…It has dialogue interupts,which are great addition that should exist in every rpg.It has interesting upgrades(if you disregard the whole probing thing that is).And the game also has very interesting companions.Heck,even the bland miranda can be fun at times(fun as in nice to talk to,not fun as in she has an ass),and she is the blandest companion of them all.It still has some great things written in the codex.It adds the depth to the geth,and to genophage.It really is an excellent game.

      Yes,it has its problems,and boy are those BIG problems.But overall,its positives outweigh he negatives.Its something of an opposite to alpha protocol where the gameplay was broken beyond repair,but conversations and reputation system were epic.

      • Ringwraith says:

        I think the main problem comes from people not liking it as much simply because it’s not like ME1, for whatever reason. Still doesn’t make a bad game as ME1 was brilliant.
        Although I think ME2 is even better, I completed three times in as many weeks though, which is probably proof of that.

        • krellen says:

          ME2 probably appeals to gamers that like shooters a bit more than us old fogeys that prefer slower games. ME had shooting elements, but not nearly to the extent they appear in ME2. In ME, you could build your way to godliness and the combat system would break over your knee if you outlevelled it enough; in ME2, this is not possible and you have to actually be good at the shooting aspect to succeed.

          A lot of people like shooters, so there’s a lot of appeal there. It doesn’t appeal to me, and ME was divorced enough from it still to still be enjoyable, so I, personally, find the move towards more shooter-esque gameplay (and story) to be appalling.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Definitely a personal preference thing it as well with respect to the gameplay, it also never bothered me as I usually enjoy most genres.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Well,it differs enough from other shooters to grab my attention.The last one I liked before mass effect is half life,and before that it was the original call of duty.Me2 is a smart shooter,for the lack of a better definition.Though you can pause it any time you want to get a better look at the battlefield.I like that option.It makes fast past games(which I usually dont like,with the exception of starcraft,and the two Ive mentioned above)more to my taste.

            • Ringwraith says:

              It’s certainly not a mindless shooter, mind you, you have to use clever tricks, (or it helps a lot at least) on some of the ‘mindless’ shooters to survive at times, Serious Sam comes to mind.

    • SomeRandomDood says:

      Normally I wait a while for games to come down in price before I get them. However, after Mass Effect 1, I went out and grabbed ME2 immediately. If I’d known more about it before getting it, I may not have bought it at all. It dropped nearly everything from ME1 I enjoyed (yes, even the Mako! And especially never having to worry about ammo), and replaced it with cover-base shooter mechanics. Which I have never played before because that just never interested me. Now, having played it, just confirmed that I do not enjoy that genre.
      Not to say that I hated the game – some of the characters were enjoyable, and the second view on the genophage was very well done (here, I totally disagree with Shamus – the views presented in Mass Effect 1 were almost entirely presented by Wrex from a Krogan-biased non-scientific point of view. To have Mordin’s own perspective placed over it was, I thought, a good counterpoint rather than a retcon).
      I’ve played through ME1 at least once with each of the classes, and all the way up to top difficulty mode. I’ve played ME2 once. I keep on thinking about playing it again to see what all the attraction of a Tali romance is (although I agree, she is a very well realised character), but the thought of having to go through all the other bits of ME2…
      Oh well, to sum up, I think I’ll wait for at least the start of a “Spoiler Warning” on ME3 before I even think about getting that one.

  31. Jarenth says:

    Man, I’d be down with joining Happy Trails Ponies. Let’s fucking kick some ass, indeed.

    On the subject of Kaiden and Ashley: I remember reading on this site a few times that ‘male Renegade Shepard’ is considered in-universe canon. So it’s highly possible that they just designed and dialogued Ashley first, then when Kaiden was up next, the designers just decided ‘Screw this, just reskin Ashley’s model and have that guy do the same dialogue, I’m going home early for the weekend.’

    If Kaiden shows up in ME3 in a dress, that will count as confirmation.

  32. sleepyfoo says:

    It just occured to me that Cerberus could be “advancing the cause of humanity” by killing lots of humans as some sort of not properly thought out eugenics thing. This, combined with experimenting on humans (in stupid and torturous ways) and “recruiting” Shepard, is a 3 pronged ploy to improve humanities standing.

    The killing lots of humans could be covering up the removal of particularly retarded humans that would seriously negatively affect our interplanetary reputation. The Jack type projects makes humanity more of a threat, thus requiring the other species to think a bit before deciding to wipe us out. And finally Shepard, the war hero, humanities great hope, is the “new” front and face of cerberus. She has previously united the races against an outside threat, is the first human spectre, and is known to regularly work with non-humans (countering some of cerberus’s racist reputation).

    Unfortunately, TIM and most of his subordinates are idiots.

    Unrelated, the group is named after a 3 headed dog, yet only has one head/leader? I thing that somewhere is “The Illusive Woman” and “Steve” heading up their own branches of Cerberus.

    Peace : )

  33. Sucal says:

    Just curious, but are you guy’s using any of the DLC’s? I’m mostly wondering due to complaints about not having a better pistol. The Kasumi DLC, along with providing one of my favourite squadmates, also hand you ‘the gun that killed 2 presidents’, which is my personal favourite machine pistol.

    Ok fine, I mostly want to see what you guys would think about Kasumi’s mission, pulling off the great Heist and all that. Oh and getting Shepherds prom dress.

  34. some guy says:

    For the Kaidan/Ashley disaster, I wanted an interrupt where you could go “I’m getting tired of your disingenuous assertions!” ala Al-Jalani style…seriously, I hate railroading.

  35. CrushU says:

    I’m curious, did anyone else notice, around 8:00 mark, the circle behind TIM’s head looking like a halo?

    Symbolism!

  36. River says:

    The easiest way to explain why all the renegade options are “i love Cerberus” is to look at the “Evil is one big happy family” trope.

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    […] I owe kudos to Bioware for Mass Effect 2, and it’s all because of Shamus Young’s LP, Spoiler Warning. If you’re not familiar with the medium, LP is short for Let’s Play. It’s a […]

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