Spoiler Warning S4E33:
Strip the Flesh, Salt the Wound!

By Shamus
on Feb 2, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

Rutskran sings in this episode. You are honor-bound to listen to it in its entirety. No cheating, no skipping ahead. No turning down the volume or leaving the room.


Link (YouTube)

Really interesting conversations in this one, near the end. The change in quality and depth between this part of the game and the main storyline is simply shocking. The story is more coherent. The characterization is better, and there’s more of it. Even the fights are more interesting and better staged.

The main story is so quarantined from the rest of it, and so brief, and so much worse. I would love to know how this game was constructed.

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  1. Sydney says:

    I totally agree with Ruts, the game feels like one of those “Crisis of the Week” TV shows. Y’know: Inspector Gadget is walking along when Team Rocket shows up and steals River, so he finds a new Sailor Scout whose signature monster card foils Brain’s plan yet again.

    • Zukhramm says:

      Actually I’d like the game more if it was more like that. Maybe no main plot at all, or one less urgent, something a bit less high stakes than “save the universe”, but with just these characters traveling around on their ship, encountering different planets and places with different missions.

      • 8th_Pacifist says:

        Hmmm…

        Part of the problem might be that here the overarching plot and the ally of the week plots are working at cross purposes. Doing the side stuff takes away from the momentum of the main story, and just doing the story prevents you from seeing all the great stuff in the loyalty missions.

        • Sydney says:

          What?

          Your mission, as given by the Illusive Man in your first conversation with him, is “Build a strong, loyal team of experts; when you’re ready, go through this portal”. Recruiting your team and helping them clear away their distractions is your mission.

          • 8th_Pacifist says:

            And that’s the only link. None of the loyalty missions have anything to do with getting through the portal. In KOTOR you had to go to these four planets to find the Star Maps so you could find the Star Forge. In Mass Effect 1 you went to these three planets so you could find information on the conduit and get to Ilos. (Yeah, fetch quests. Maybe not the best way to do it but still better.) So despite them being still pretty disconnected, there’s more of an illusion of them being the same strand.

            Here none of the character missions contribute to the main plot beyond “you have gained this character’s loyalty”.

            • Sydney says:

              Here none of the character missions contribute to the main plot beyond “you have gained this character’s loyalty”.

              That’s a direct contradiction; loyalty is the main plot.

              Loyalty is the plot-coupon in this game. Instead of map pieces or Sacred Stones or Conduit intel, it’s loyal people willing and able to focus entirely on your mission.

              Put it this way: No, the loyalty missions aren’t linked to getting through the Relay. The loyalty missions are linked to getting back out alive.

              • 8th_Pacifist says:

                I do get that. I’m just saying it makes the game feel less unified.

                • Sydney says:

                  Yeah, pretty much.

                  On the one hand, it allows more sidequests. If you just followed the main thread in ME1, you’d skip almost the whole game. Citadel, Therum, Noveria, Feros, Virmire, Ilos, game over. In ME2, the main plot extends to eight or more recruitments, eight or more loyalty missions, and the main plot missions.

                  It’s impossible to be super-focused on the main task and still succeed, a la ME1. But it’s possible to do sidequest-type missions and not be completely off in faffing-about territory where all of ME1’s sidequests lived. Instead of one tight rail and a cloud of sidequests, it’s just one blob of semi-sidequests halfway between on-task and faffing-about.

                  Not sure which I prefer, to be honest.

              • Zukhramm says:

                Still would have been nice to have the characters you pick up be relevant in some way other then “they’re really powerful!”. At least you want to Okeer and Mordin for reasons relevant to the Colector threat speficially, some similar motivation for the other characters would have been nice.

                • Sydney says:

                  The dossiers try. They really, really try. Tali and Kasumi as tech experts, “Archangel” for his deputy-leader potential, Samara and Jack for a biotic presence. And that shoe drops in the endgame, where you need to know the story reasons for recruiting each of those people.

                  But…yeah, I didn’t buy that either. Exactly why do we need to bring Jacob, Zaeed, Grunt and Thane along for this ride?

            • Avilan says:

              Why would there be a stronger link?

              • Zukhramm says:

                Because we’d like there to be?

              • Sydney says:

                How does a link get stronger than “This is the whole reason we decided to resurrect you”?

                The whole point of bringing Shepard back is because she’s so good at leading motley crews of aliens against impossible odds. So they revived you and had you do exactly that. Recruiting and winning over these people is literally your reason for living.

                • Piflik says:

                  The problem with ME2’s storyline is that there is no golden thread, no narrative (at least that’s the problem I have with the storyline)…just disconnected episodes…like a TV series, where everytime an episode is done, the primary supporting actor is recruited into the main cast for the rest of the season…

                  The reason for that is obviously the possibility to do all the missions in any order (more or less). It is difficult to squeeze a narration in there, since the writers can’t know which path the player would take. The only way I can think of would be ridiculously expensive…

                  I am not rally a big fan of linearity in games, but when it comes to story, there is a bit of a need for linearity…you have to find some sort of balance and I think Bioware has found the exact opposite balance I would have chosen…they made each chapter completely linear (including the level-design), but the order of the chapters can be determined by the player…I would have liked sequential chapters, that can support a (good) story, while the chapters themselves can be approached however the player wants…if he’s the talkative guy, he can talk his way through most encounters, if he is a sneaky guy, he can avoid them, if he is the aggressive guy, he can Rambo through the level. But I guess they would have had to do some actual effort to make that work…like levels that aren’t one line from point A to B, or, you know, CHOICE…and I guess the investors weren’t very keen on paying them for creating assets most players wouldn’t see or hear, because they chose a different path…

                • Taellosse says:

                  Personally, I’ve got no problem with the essential structure of “recruit a team of super bad-asses to save the galaxy.” My problem is that what I’m saving the galaxy from is so much more stupid and nonsensical than the first game. And feels very much like a distraction from that larger goal until the very end, when the true scale of its stupidity is revealed.

                • Avilan says:

                  Sorry Taellosse, but why is it more stupid this time than the last time? I see no difference in the level of stupidness.

                • Piflik says:

                  Well…in ME1 you had Saren as your main antagonist..you didn’t know anything about the Reapers and when they were introduced, they were some kind of enigma…a Phantom Menace…and then you learned more about them and their Circle of Life, revealing the real threat to the species of the galaxy. It all culminated in the big battle for the Citadel with you defeating your nemesis (Saren) and the Species of the Council defeating theirs (Sovereign). That is not a bad story.

                  In ME2 Bioware killed the mystery surrounding the Reapers and substituted it with stupidity…Harbinger gets his ass handed to him by three puny people in romper suits multiple times during his quest to create that Human-Reaper (stupidity in itself) that is in the end killed in open conflict by the same three people…

                  Everything that was interesting about the Reapers, has been retconned…in ME1 they were single-minded, efficient, galaxy-wiping killing machines, leaving no trace of their or their prey’s existence. But now suddenly the Proteans aren’t extinct, but enslaved and degenerated into the Collectors and instead of purging the galaxy of life, the Reapers abduct humans to create a new one…supposedly because of their high genetic diversity (which is bullshit by itself…I mean how can the human race be the one with the highest genetic diversity? The Asari mate with any other Species in the galaxy…you cannot get more diverse than that…) and because they destroyed Sovereign (which is also bullshit…Sovereign could only be defeated, because Asari, Turians and Humans worked together)…if Bioware foolows that trend, you will be fighting Reapers in ME3 like you were fighting Geth Collossi in ME1…

                  The decision to use the Reapers as antagonists was wrong, I think. They should have stayed the abstract threat they were in the first game, retaining their mystery…I mean, they are machines. They didn’t evolve to do what they do, they were built and programmed to do that…what Shepard should have done in ME2, was uncovering the origin of the Reapers, who built them and why, to find a way to stop them without having to battle each one of them, because how they were written in the first game would make that impossible…but hey…now one Reaper can be killed by three people, so they aren’t really that much of a threat anymore…

                • Avilan says:

                  I don’t get this because what you are saying goes against the first game.

                  The reapers are the antagonists in ME1! From the start!

                  As for the rest… you don’t hand Harbringer’s ass to anyone. You never fight him! You never even see him in “person” unlike Sovereign The only reaper you fight is a barely sentient embryo.

                  • Adam says:

                    Notably, a barely-sentient embryo that you’ve significantly weakened beforehand, and which only dies after you pump two high explosive rail-gun rounds into its face, or else used several platoons worth of ammunition on it.

      • rofltehcat says:

        Captain’s Log. Some day, Some month, 2184 CE.
        We’ve arrived in the Omega-Epsilon-Whatever-System.
        Just during the last months, the crew will soon start scanning every inch of the planets in this system. We will begin at Omega-Epsilon-Whatever 8, the outermost planet in this system.

        (maybe some walking around on board, having trouble because something needs repair and nearly kills the whole crew… maybe some Q… although Q could be funny in ME :D )

  2. Ringwraith says:

    Maybe the game was constructed with these missions first and then they got near to completion when someone asked the question “How do these all connect together again? The plot? What plot? Ah, so that’s what we had forgotten, I knew we’d forgotten something, just couldn’t think of what it was.”

    Though I enjoyed the whole thing massively anyway.

    Also, nice Borderlands reference.

  3. psivamp says:

    I didn’t play Mass Effect 2 until I’d started reading Shamus’ posts on how amazing Mordin’s loyalty mission and storyline were. It really is a high point in the game as far as quality of – well – everything.

    • Sydney says:

      It was his posts about Jack that got me into it. And Jack’s loyalty mission has, in my mind, one of the best single lines in the game. You won’t get it unless you’ve played it, so don’t spoil it for yourself unless you already know:

      “This is a bad place.”

  4. somebodys_kid says:

    I must say, another great episode with great conversation near then end. It’s wonderful how the dreadfully awful and superbly crafted portions of the game elicit starkly different reactions from you; from lampooning with awful singing to serious discussions with historical parallels. I enjoy this dichotomy from you all, but I wish the game itself was bit more even handed.
    Nevertheless, I look forward to the completion of this mission, and I really hope the next game you choose also has this sort of Jekyll/Hyde type of gameplay and story so we the viewers get the best of both worlds from you hosts.

  5. Rhys Aronson says:

    It’s kelly who has the Space STD obviously, I mean have you heard her opinions on aliens?

    • Markus says:

      I’d like to know how she got it though. Sexytime with a Varren? Why? When?

      On the story. I’m pretty sure it’s all written by different people and Bioware didn’t have enough time to write everything again and just thought:
      meh, this is good enough. Most of the stupid players won’t notice anyways.

      • Veloxyll says:

        You think the crew spends all their time on the ship when it’s docked at a respectable spaceport?

      • Irridium says:

        Makes sense since they seem to be trying to court the COD/Halo/Gears crowd.

      • Noumenon says:

        On the story. I’m pretty sure it’s all written by different people and Bioware didn’t have enough time to write everything again and just thought:
        meh, this is good enough. Most of the stupid players won’t notice anyways.

        Or perhaps it was written by different people to appeal to different audiences, with the mainstream preferring stupid and the less numerous Shamus types having a few sidequests for them to really love?

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Yeah, I was so sure of this that when they mentioned Jack I was going “huh? what? how do you even make that connection?”.

  6. Gale says:

    “Why is killing this Krogan renegade interrupt, when you’re going to be shooting your way through his team regardless?”

    Well, you don’t just shoot him. You set fire to him so violently that he burns to death in seconds.

    It sure has hell isn’t a paragon interrupt.

    • Sydney says:

      They seem to struggle with the fact that there are no “neutral” interrupts. Like shooting that Mech in Garrus’s mission. So they have to pigeonhole them all into paragon or renegade, or else leave them out altogether.

      • RTBones says:

        Indeed. You and I have bitched about this before, Syd. Why the HELL is there no “middle road” to trod? The writers seem to want (or perhaps, they themselves are constrained) to make you go one way or the other, when you really want to split the difference.

        • Sydney says:

          I do see how this case is Renegade, because you’re making things easier for yourself by killing this guy in an excruciatingly painful way.

          But a non-sapient Mech, downed in one headshot, when you’re going to do that another thirty times over the next five minutes…that should’ve been a neutral interrupt. Working within the existing engine, I’d’ve settled for both the Paragon and the Renegade interrupt icons onscreen, and whichever one you take gets the same result (with no morality points).

          • Galad says:

            How about the fact that you’re using Garrus’ gun to kill that mech? I don’t know how this would fly given Shep and Garrus’ supposedly different cultures and species, but even if they’re friends isn’t that a bit disrespectful, hence this being a Renegade interrupt?

            As for the krogan renegade interrupt in this episode, I cringed a little inside..

            • Sydney says:

              Yeah, if you’ve been around a burn ward…it’s not a nice way to go. Donald Cowart, anyone?

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                And yet you use fire ammo constantly and burn people left and right.But this time,you burn someone while theyre speaking,and thats not cool.

                • Sydney says:

                  Well, they’re attacking you already. One thing to blow a guy up while he’s trying to get you in his machine-gun sights, another thing to blow a guy up while he’s babbling on like an idiot.

                  I think the Mech-sniping counts as Renegade because of the “killed it in parlay” thing as well, but…it’s a Mech.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Nah,its clearly renegade because youve wasted garus’ precious ammo.He planned to save that bullet to do a two kills at once.And youve ruined it.Plus you probably squeezed too hard and messed his perfectly calibrated trigger.

        • Irridium says:

          Its because there are only 2 triggers on the controller.

      • DNi says:

        Well, that’s because neutral interrupts would be dumb. Sorry, but I’m always annoyed when people complain about the morality system in Mass Effect and how certain actions shouldn’t be considered Renegade or how they should be Paragon or whatever.

        Look, Renegade/Paragon system is flexible. It’s not like the Light/Dark Side system from Old Republic and how a single evil decision would forever wreck your Light-Side character. For one, the Renegade isn’t entirely evil (maybe a little corrupt at times). Secondly, it’s not either/or — making a Paragon choice does not lower your Renegade score. Finally, there are more than enough opportunities to completely fill out your Alignment in either direction.

        During my last playthrough of ME2, I played Renegade Shepard, maxed-out alignment. And you know what? When prompted to kill either Samara or Morinth, I killed Morinth. I let Tali take Veetor back to the Flotilla. I took Dr. Archer’s brother away from him in the Overlord DLC. And I was still able to pick every single Intimidation option that came up.

        It’s not perfect, no, but your Paragon can still execute the bad guys in cold blood, and your Renegade doesn’t have to be a human supremacist.

        • RTBones says:

          For my part, I’m not arguing that. You can do either, and not be Lawful/Chaotic stupid. One of the reasons we are having this discussion, however, is that this is how the game “comes across.” The INTENT may be as you describe, but I suspect *most* (not all) players don’t see it or interperate it that way. As Shamus (and Josh, and Ruts, and Mumbles) have said at points in the playthrough – how in the h3ll is XYZ choice RENEGADE/PARAGON? What makes a decision one way or another? Intent of the developers is one thing, perception by the gaming public is quite another thing entirely. To me, the developers do a poor job of explaining to the player just what they mean by PARAGON/RENEGADE.

        • Zukhramm says:

          A single evil act would wreck my character in KotOR? What? I did the whole Korriban academy the dark side way and could still end up very far towards the “light” side of the scale.

          I just don’t see the point in having a morality point scale in a game like Mass effect, in Star Wars, sure, the force and all that, but in Mass Effect 2 that system seem to in no way improve the game.

          • Sydney says:

            It’s not about your inner moral character, it’s a reputation tracker. Are you loved or feared?

            And that worked in ME1 for two reasons:

            1) You were really famous, so everyone knew that reputation, and
            2) Charm/Intimidate were separate skill checks, so your reputation didn’t govern your silver tongue/scowly eyebrow abilities.

            But in ME2, nobody seems to recognize you, and at the same time your “reputation” governs your speech checks directly. Which completely misses the point.

            “So this guy has no clue who I am, but my gentle reputation that he doesn’t know is enabling me to sweet-talk him.”

            They tried to fix it with the Renegade cyborg-face making you “scarier”, and then re-broke it by having that still work if you buy the Med-Bay Upgrade and heal your scars.

            • Galad says:

              “But in ME2, nobody seems to recognize you”

              I guess you’ve been playing a different ME2 than the one I’ve been watching here.

              • Sydney says:

                A few important NPCs recognize you instantly, yes. But most of the random people you come across (and can Charm or Intimidate) don’t recognize you.

                The looters in Mordin’s recruitment, for an example off the top of my head, seem to have no idea that it’s Commander Shepard telling them to get out. But your “reputation” still allows you to persuade them.

            • DNi says:

              It’s not about your inner moral character, it’s a reputation tracker. Are you loved or feared?

              I’m sorry, but that sounds like a really esoteric after-the-fact justification, and not an actual gameplay mechanic.

              1) You were really famous, so everyone knew that reputation, and

              You were famous on the Citadel. Most of the places you visited were remote, or otherwise cutoff from the rest of the galaxy.

              2) Charm/Intimidate were separate skill checks, so your reputation didn’t govern your silver tongue/scowly eyebrow abilities.

              Yeah, but the only way you could raise your Charm/Intimidation skills was by raising your Paragon/Renegade scores.

              • Sydney says:

                The way it worked in ME1 was that people did know pretty much who you were at all times, wherever you went, and those that didn’t know couldn’t be Charmed or Intimidated until you’d told them you were Shepard the Spectre (which you did at the start of every conversation anyway, so that ended up a moot point).

                You got free Persuade points for having a lot of reputation, and you could invest more if you liked. It modeled persuasion as a mix of reputation and social skills. And no matter how many skill points you had, you couldn’t just fill your whole Charm bar until you had a sparkling reputation and the respect of the masses. Jeong on Feros wouldn’t respect/fear you enough unless you had both a fantastic reputation and well-honed negotiation skills.

                Then ME2 buggered it all up by discarding the social-skill persuade stats (so the whole thing rested on reputation), then taking away your reputation by having half the people you meet not know who you are. The evolutions of your class’s passive ability are supposed to be the “social skills” part, so a Champion vanguard will be a better talker than a Destroyer vanguard, but…it doesn’t work for me.

                I see what they were trying for, but it’s unconvincing because the social skills part was always supposed to complement the reputation bonus, and that reputation simply isn’t there when you’re trying to charm Random Thug #17 who doesn’t know anything about your glowing reputation and by all rights shouldn’t trust you at all.

            • Zukhramm says:

              What it exactly represent is irrelevant. I would not enjoy the game less, but rather more, if your effective speach skill depended not on a Paragon/Renegade score.

              There are some things bothering me, the first being that the game telling you “this opinion is this kind of points, that action is that kind of points” makes choices a little less interesting. The second is that it makes neutral and realistic character that have different types of opinions depending on the subject or situation. Sure, with the reputation interpretation it might make sense, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

              Then there’s the fact that the meter is omniscient making unrelated moments connected. My opinion on the genophage in a private conversation with Mordin affects my ability to threaten someone else on a mission.

              And my last complaint is… I don’t remember. But the point I was going to get to through it was that I’d love to see a game that tracks your reputation (preferebly with individual meters for different groups and people rather than one that knows all you do) that has two separate scores. One for actions and one for attitude or personality. Maybe I’m angry and annoying, hating everyone, but when something serious happens, when someone is hurt or needs help, I’ll do it. Or maybe I’ll gladly tell people how much I care and how much I’ll help, but when it comes down to it I do not?

              • Sydney says:

                “My opinion on the genophage in a private conversation with Mordin affects my ability to threaten someone else on a mission.”

                THIS. This is my biggest gripe against ME2. ME1 did a good job of making your actions known, with the news reports on the Citadel and stuff. “Oh, shit, did you hear Shepard slaughtered all those drugged scientists? That’s messed up, that Shepard’s a monster.” In ME2, nobody knows what you do, so it just comes off as everyone having ESP.

                • DNi says:

                  This is my biggest gripe against ME2.

                  Your biggest gripe with ME2 is that it doesn’t adhere to an incredibly obscure, possibly made-up interpretation of the moral alignment/conversation system?

                • Sydney says:

                  Yes.

                  The other common complaints make sense in-universe, but don’t make sense out-of-universe. This issue makes sense out-of-universe, but doesn’t make sense in-universe. A bigger problem in my opinion.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  So unlike the rest of the skills where you need to slaughter bunch of things and fetch a few letters for people before you can be able to create a more effective barrier or lift field or use your omni tool more skillfully,you think a skill that depends on you honing your speech patterns so you can use them more successfully in later conversations makes less sense in universe?

                • Sydney says:

                  Other way around. It used to make sense, in-universe, that reputation plus skill would help persuade. In ME2, however, most people don’t seem to recognize you, and the skill aspect has been abstracted away, so there’s no real reason for one Shepard to be better at persuasion and another to be worse.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But there is.In 1 your reputation helped you a bit,but to make most of it(assuming you didnt replay the game a few times just for this),you had to go fetch some stuff and kill some dudes.So basically,killing geth(or even killing someone no one will know about,like pirates on some god forsaken world)and doing some courier jobs made you more of a skillful talker.How does that work in game anyway?Its pretty meta.

                  In 2,on the other hand,the more you are sweet talking people,or the more you are threatening them,the better you become at these things.Thats your justification right there.Go to a debate club and argue left and right for a year,and youll see how you are much better at debating.Yet if you try to use those skills to become a boxer,youll end up bloody and bruised.

                  Or,at least,thats the theory of it.In reality though,while the concept in 2 is sound,the execution of it is…lacking,to say the least.Instead of getting better at sweat talking by trying to help people in need and trying to be polite and diplomatic,you get better at sweat talking by being a pushover and an idiot.While instead of getting better at forcing people into submission by being ruthless and focusing just on the big picture and necessity to not waste time,you get better at it by being a dick and an idiot.So basically,you get better at talking by being an idiot.Which is quite sad…There are few exceptions though,but most of those are in the interrupts,which is another reason why these are awesome(hey,Im praising a qte,I never thought that be possible).

                  Its what they used in morrowind,and Im sad that almost no one uses that system any more.By using a certain skill,you are improving that skill.Its a solid real world concept thats not really that hard to implement in video games.Heck,it is,in a way,already being implemented by many shooters and platformers that dont let you upgrade your character.The more you play,the better you are at those games.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Thats how it worked in 1,but not in 2.In 2 renegade is pretty much the equivalent of evil(Oh you agree with this thing cerberus did?Well because cerberus is evil,you are evil as well,here are your renegade points),and renegade is pretty much the equivalent of good(You told tim to go fuck his mother and punched him in the balls?Well thats ok,hes a bad dude,so you get paragon points).Not to mention the evil glowing scars you get when you are paragon.

          Morality systems always bugged me.It was tolerable in 1 because,like Sydney said,you had these skills to level and renegade/paragon was there simply to help you develop them better,nothing more.But it still had its problems(like getting renegade points for not releasing that clearly indoctrinated salarian).

          • Sydney says:

            Siding with Cerberus gets you bad-reputation points because Cerberus has a bad reputation. Making it known that you’re just working with them, not for them, gets you good-reputation points for opposing the guys with the bad reputation.

            Guilty by association for Renegade, enemy of my enemy for Paragon.

            But nobody except TIM knows what you say to him, so…again, the “nobody knows your reputation” problem in ME2.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Yes,telling everyone you see “Im using cerberus resources,but Im still the one calling the shots”,and telling tim “Our goals are the same this time,so we can work for now” is clearly you siding with them.Especially when you keep a bunch of their dirty secrets as leverage(or sell it to the alliance),and give one of your crew members full access to their secrets so she could get her revenge.

              Im all for justifying lots of bad things in mass effect 2,but this one is simply beyond any justification.Its just the old dumb trope of “all the evil guys are one big happy family”,and I hate it.

  7. Nyaz says:

    Oh my god, someone else thinks Borderlands is a terrible game! Finally! I thought I was the only person in the world that was bored to tears by that terrible mess of shooting-looting-sand-blahhaaargh.

    • Desgardes says:

      I wasn’t bored until my second playthrough. That’s a lot of shooting to get through to kill people. It just stopped being fun. That was it, it was fun, then it wasn’t.

    • poiumty says:

      The good parts of that game outweighed the bad parts for me. I have 3 characters at or over level 61.

      … i like shooting things?

    • Irridium says:

      Yeah, got old for me rather quickly. I couldn’t play online due to crappy internet, and I was just bored on my own.

    • Cineris says:

      While I had some good fun with Borderlands, I definitely agree with criticisms of it.
      The main game’s campaign is probably one of the most dumb and boring ever created. You do journal fetching quests for probably half the campaign to listen to a whiny female character who you probably hate. The General Knoxx expansion was by far the best distillation of the good elements of Borderlands (new and interesting characters and enemies, locales that aren’t just rehashes with slightly more or less grass and a different postprocess effect).
      Borderlands probably would’ve been a much more interesting game if it weren’t geared towards consoles, though. Having the ability to choose between different “action skills” or even having the ability to use more than one “action skill” would’ve made the game substantially more enjoyable just by providing gameplay that was more than just standard-fare shooter gunplay.

  8. Zukhramm says:

    What I like about Mordin is that while he feels what he did was neccesary, he’s not just saying that it was and letting that be all. Even thinking it had to be done, he still feels bad about having to do it.

  9. DNi says:

    The main story is so quarantined from the rest of it, and so brief, and so much worse. I would love to know how this game was constructed.

    From what I understand, very compartmentalized. Bioware wanted to avoid situations like ME1’s Caleston, wherein they put a lot of effort and money into content they might not be able to publish.

  10. RTBones says:

    On the interrupt…if I had to guess, there is no Paragon option because, when you shoot him, he immolates. Not exactly a Paragon “way” of doing things. They could have given you an option to NOT immolate him, but that would mean extra work for the modellers and animators. And they had a budget and schedule. So there. :P

    To carry the Nazi analogy a little further along (though sideways) — Hitler was a mass murdering f*ckhead, but he could make a speech. I think that is the allusion the writers were looking for with the “no paragon option” speech. Dude is trying to stir up up his troops. Also? You really wanted to get Hitler? Why not get a spy to be one of his cameramen, hide a sniper rifle in a spotlight, and as we say in hockey, “TAKE THE SHOT!!” This also is what the writers COULD have done here, but chose not to.

    See how I did that? Ring around the rosie with a bow on it.

  11. Galad says:

    “Universe demands diversity” He may be your favorite character because of his “scientist salarian” song, but I’d like him best because of that.particular.line. It turns him from a superbly played voice act (which he looked like to me until now) to a fleshed out impressive character.

    That is, if I were playing the game by myself so I could really make a comparison..

    • Sydney says:

      Agreed. Shows Mordin’s love for all life, and his regret that any life has to be extinguished to preserve the rest. The fact that he regrets the fact that the rachni had to be exterminated really made him come alive for me; everyone else just treats them like “those bad guys we beat”.

  12. Raygereio says:

    What bugged me the most in Mordin’s mission was Mordin comment on the side that humans have this amazing genetic diversity.

    Only in the real world humans aren’t that diverse genetically for a number of reasons. Heck, it’s especially stupid considering the fact that we’ve been stuck on a single planet for so long, while other species have had the chance to spread out to different habitats and begin to really diverge from each other.

    The “HUMANS ARE AWESOME AND SPECIAL AND PRECIOUS!!” vibe from that comment just rubbed the me wrong way.

    Edit: I should really not pause the video and post a comment.

    • Sydney says:

      The idea is that once an intelligent species gets into the galaxy, national borders break down and eventually the concept of race disappears. The species slowly approaches an “average”, with only slight variations, because it’s one big melting pot for all asari, or all volus.

      It’s pointed out in the novels that this process is starting to happen to humans too. By the late 2100s, everyone is already so mixed-race that it’s getting hard to tell races apart. So while we don’t have much genetic diversity compared to the non-sentient species on Earth, we have more than the civilizations which have been living in galactic society for millenia and have bred “races” out of themselves.

      I also don’t see how “more genetic diversity” = “better”. It’s just…more differences between individuals, for now, until we homogenize over time just like everyone else. Newest on the block, not “special”.

      • Raygereio says:

        Whoa there; race is a very fuzzy concept biologically and genetically speaking. More often then not there are more genetic differences between two cacausian males then there are between one cacausian male and a asian one. So, just forget about that concept.

        Once a species gets into space and start colonizing planets, unless that race constantly interbreeds on a massive scale between different colonies that race should become more genetically diverse.
        And genetic diversity is actually really important. The most obvious reason being resistance to diseases and infection.

        • Sydney says:

          Don’t get hung up on individual examples. “Racial traits” get bred out. Height differences get bred out. All the various superficial differences slowly normalize over hundreds of generations of seeing your society as all one group, rather than dozens of disparate groups.

          Freely-accessible gene therapy only makes this happen faster. For example, gene therapy seems to be the new vaccination (see: Citadel: Family Matter), even for humans. The other species, being more advanced, surely have that part down by now given how far even humans have come.

      • Cybron says:

        Eh, that still seems dumb to me. Wouldn’t it be that the propagation of the races across space (creating more distant/isolated communities) CREATE diversity, not erase it?

        • Sydney says:

          Apparently not. Evidence: It hasn’t. See: All the other species.

          Fiction, remember?

        • Raygereio says:

          @Cybron:
          Correct.

          @Sydney:
          Handwaving this and saying “Oh, it’s just fiction. It doesn’t have to make any sense” is lazy excuse and it’s the sort of bad attitude that gives us crap like ME2.

          • Sydney says:

            It does make sense. The explanation given is the social pressures of finding out we’re one among many bring us together, creating a melting-pot effect.

            It isn’t self-contradictory, and it’s possible, and it’s up to the authors, so there it is.

            I don’t like it either – it’s clearly there so they don’t have to model various heights of turian or whatever – but disliking it doesn’t mean it’s nonsense. It bugs me when people conflate “I didn’t enjoy this plot element, it didn’t suit my tastes” with “This plot element was stupid and illogical and poorly-written.”

            And, again, genetic diversity is a fact-statement, not a value-judgment. Our genes being more random than those of the other intelligent species isn’t ever treated as an explicitly good thing. Liara, for example, suggests that it’s part of why aliens fear us; you look at a human and don’t know what you’ve got. Look at a salarian, you can hazard a safe guess.

            • Raygereio says:

              Wel, yes. Every one constantly interbreeding until there’s a single genetic structure without any deviation is theoretically possible. True. A single population can become homogeneous over time if they go through bottlenecks, or if a colony was started with a way to small of a genetic basis.

              But that’s a recipe for disaster. It would take one bad flu season to wipe such a homogeneous species out. And for a spacefearing species that has colonies on different planets to become homogeneous over time to such a degree is patently absurd. That would require a massively on the government level organized breeding program.
              You can disagree with me, that’s fine. But personally I like my stories to have some logic to them. Nor do I want to have to jump through mental hoops to justify the writer’s lapses in judgement. I guess I’m just snobbish like that.

              • Sydney says:

                Once again: “I didn’t buy it” isn’t the same thing as “This was objectively stupid and could never make sense”. That’s just arrogance. I didn’t buy it either, but at least I’m not willing to declare anyone who did buy it an illogical fool.

            • Kale says:

              I don’t remember Liara saying that in biological context. From my perspective that line was about the supposed human mentality towards problems and the general fast growth and adaptation to the new systems and what not.

              Also, it’s interesting to me that Shamus mentions the human variations like short, tall, and fat when as far as I’ve seen the ME universe keeps mostly a standard human, give or take age and coloration and whether they’re on your crew, and fills the short and tall, skinny and fat gaps with aliens tailored for that. Volus getting both short and fat, Quarians and Salarians generally being slim, and Krogans being tall. After those, Asari and Turian seem like the “Human, except for…” proportionally speaking (I know Quarians would fit there too, but I mentioned them already and they have clearly different proportions, so relax). That finished we get to have the “weird” aliens that aren’t humanoid like the Elcor and the Hanar.

              Come to think of it, were there any Keepers still hanging around anywhere?

        • Nidokoenig says:

          There’s no driving force to create genetic diversity, though. If pretty much everyone will live a full life span and breed, you don’t get better adapted outliers taking over, because there’s no selection pressure to thin out the base line masses and create that opportunity.

          That and in the Mass Effect universe, in terms of time and expense rather than distance, space-faring races are a lot less spread out than any species prior to air travel.

          • Sydney says:

            Interesting points I hadn’t considered. With natural selection turned off, would a species regress to the mean? I have no bloody idea. Anyone here know?

            Not sure about the travel thing. I mean, military craft can get from anywhere to anywhere in a few hours, but the novels sort of sell colony life as “you stay where you’re born”, kinda the way continents/countries/cities are on Earth. I still feel like you’d get a very Speaker for the Dead-y setup where each colony has its own cultural identity. But apparently not in this universe, so, fair enough.

            I’d really like to get a look at a colony that’s had nothing bad happen to it. Zhu’s Hope was all Thorian’d up, Freedom’s Progress and Horizon were abducted and gone…what does a regular ol’ colony look like? What does Earth look like?

      • Nasikabatrachus says:

        I’m fairly sure genetics doesn’t work that way. One white person’s genes plus one black person’s genes does not equal a mocha colored baby. Traits are digital, not analog. Josh was correct to say that humans aren’t very genetically diverse: there’s more genetic diversity within Africa than there is between different groups around the globe. This is how we trace the spread of humans out of eastern Africa and across the globe. While a hypothesized future in which racial differences are difficult to discern because of global mixing of populations might well seem more homogenous, I would expect humans to be more genetically diverse in that scenario and not less so. As I understand it, this would basically be the opposite of the Founder Effect, which is a good example of how genetic diversity is decreased in given populations. Of course, I’m no biologist, so if my understanding of this is flawed I would be glad to be corrected.

        • Sydney says:

          I think you’ve got the idea. Or, if you’re wrong, I’ve been wrong in exactly the same way since high school.

          But, as I understand it (read: barely), that stuff applies in a completely natural state. Without medicine, without gene therapy, without vaccinations and all that jazz.

          Species-wide interbreeding over millenia, coupled with tech that allows you to go into your fetus’s genome and fiddle with it, and medicine advancing to a point where natural selection loses its power? Regression to the mean is at least imaginable in that extreme case, given enough millenia.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The thing most people in this block of comments forget is that all babies receive loads of genetic modifications before theyre even born.And that is what really kills diversity.

      • Raygereio says:

        Wasn’t genetic modification treated as something new and still experimental in ME1? I might be remembering that wrong though, it’s been a while.

        But even it was commonplace; that does not negate the issue that having a lack of genetic diversity is very bad thing to have. Species extinction level of bad.
        Nor would gentherapie root out all possible variations in different populations, not unless those modification rewrite almost the entire DNA instead of just of the couple of genes that contain hereditary diseases.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Its relatively new for humans.Thats why humans are so genetically diverse when compared to others.

          • Kale says:

            Just a thought, but wouldn’t gene therapy conceivably allow more variation based on what the parents/ or adults if they have that kind of gene therapy wanted?

            Instead of waiting for a positive mutation to appear, a gene controlling a certain trait could just be altered to allow it. Variation would depend on what society appreciates I’d imagine, but still. All sorts of new phenotypes would be possible by tweaking some things, and you always have rebels of society that might try to get radical changes like fangs, tails, and whatnot.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              But how would you know which mutations are beneficial or not without extensive experimentations?Fixing the problems first before trying to improve the template seems like a reasonable thing to do.Thats why it would remove diversity first,and then maybe add some new mutations later.

  13. RTBones says:

    One of the things I like about this loyalty mission is that it shows Mordin actually wrestling with his inner demons. (Wait, a character with DEPTH?! We can’t have thaaaat….) He believes in the “stated” reason for the genophage, but has misgivings about the consequences of it. Put another way – they blinded him with science.

    • Atarlost says:

      But the more artificial medicine takes over the roles of natural resistances the more this is permitted. The gene relatively prevalent in Africa that provides resistance to Malaria at the expense of producing anemia when a person carries two copies is not so advantageous when mosquito netting and insecticide reduce the prevalence of Malaria. It’s completely bloody* useless in a spacegoing society. That’s one bit of diversity lost.

      Resistance to any disease with a macroscopic vector will tend to vanish in the sterile environments of an advanced civilization. Take this far enough and you get Quarians: proof that someone on the ME writing staff thought this way. There would be greater diversity on the homeworld, but in space there are no plagues you don’t bring with you.

      * pun intended

  14. MelTorefas says:

    Hey Shamus, this Penny Arcade comic reminded me of your rants about fear, difficulty, and immersion breaking load screens: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/2/2/ (note: not entirely work safe).

    (What? I’ve never played ME2. >.>)

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Perhaps later. Trying to determine how scale-itch got onto Normandy. Sexually-transmitted disease. Only carried by varren. Implications unpleasant.”

    I got that line before I recruited jack though,so Ill side with Shamus and say its miranda.

  16. Cyanide says:

    I put up a similar comment earlier comparing Mordin to Josef Mengele or Shiro Ishii, and it’s a comment I stand by. Not necessarily because I identify the Krogan with Jews or the Chinese or anything like that, but because both of those scientists used their talents to commit unforgivable atrocities. The genophage targeted not the Krogan who were currently engaged in fighting, but the innocent ones that were unborn, and that’s really where the genophage goes from biological weapon to war crime.

    And yeah, you could argue that all Krogan are equally violent and need to be controlled, but this is clearly untrue in Wrex’s case. And if it’s true for one Krogan, who knows how many other reasonable Krogan Mordin’s work ended up killing?

    To me, that’s the whole point of the Paragon/Renegade dichotomy during this mission. A Renegade says, “Well, it was for the greater good,” and a Paragon says “There is no ‘greater good.'”

    • Sydney says:

      What do you think Mordin should have done?

      I’m not being rhetorical here, I’m curious what you think about it. None of my friends play Mass Effect, so I never get to have this conversation.

      Should he have wiped the krogan out altogether? Let them recover to attack the galaxy again and either die in war or kill a ton of reasonable non-krogans? I don’t even know what my opinion is.

      The genophage is my favorite part of the Mass Effect storyline so far. I’m glad Spoiler Warning finally got up to it so this conversation can happen.

      • Bret says:

        I’d say Mordin did the best thing, really.

        Didn’t kill people with medicine. Didn’t wipe out a species. Didn’t allow the galaxy to fall into another Krogan rebellion.

        And, by fortunate coincidence, that meant the Krogan were forced into going in a new direction. A Wrexier direction.

        IMPERIUS WREX!

      • Zukhramm says:

        Remember that Mordin did not make the genophage, and did not make the updated genophage in the imidiate threat of destruction like the original one was. The new genophage is there to stop the Krogans from slowly overcomming it (how slowly, I don’t know). While I think just maintaining it is less bad than creating it, the situation is less dire, right now, the justification for releasing the original genophage was that it was that or destruction.

        In the end of the mission, I chose to keep the cure (I don’t remember if it was a completed cure or if it was unfinished, but that’s irrelevant), but not telling Mordin to use it.

        I’m not sure what I would do, but Mordin in conversation claims that taking the Krogan off their planet, lifting them up in space and letting them fight and keep Rachni planets destroyed their culture, that they were not ready for it. With that in mind, I don’t think instantly curing it would be a solution.

        Maybe a solution would be to slowly keep developing new versions of the genophage, slowly rising the fertility rates, and see how the Krogans adapt when it’s changed slowly rather than instantly give them the explosive growth back. Combine this with Wrex’s plans for the Krogans, if he’s aware of the plan, maybe he can work the Krogan culture to be “ready”, whatever that means. The birth rates might not even need to be restored, only raised to a level were the Krogans do not feel burdened by it.

        • Taellosse says:

          All excellent points–the Salarians are clearly prone, despite their reputations for being crafty and intelligent, to making hasty decisions. When the rachni showed up, their solution was to uplift the krogan, who had just reached the stage of nuclear technology a generation before and irradiated their entire planet, and throw them at the problem. When that worked but created a new problem just about as bad, and even the discovery of the turians couldn’t solve it, they created the genophage to fix that one.

          Personally, if I could insert any dialogue I wanted into Shepard’s mouth, I’d have him suggest to Mordin that developing an effective means of voluntary birth control for krogan might be a good step, instead of artificially forcing them to maintain a static population. It would doubtless be somewhat challenging to inject into a society built like the krogan one, but still a better first option–especially when the immediate threat of total annihilation is not in play.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ah,but mordin did not create the genophage,just modified it to be as effective as before.Like he said “Easy to exterminate.Hard to keep as before”.He is well learned in history to know what would happen if krogan population exploded again,yet he doesnt want them to be completely eradicated.Imagine what would become of the race if everyone found out krogan are adapting to genophage?Turians would go berserk and probably wipe them all out.So its not just krogan and their violence that mordin wants to keep in check.

      And wrex not violent?Well maybe by krogan standards he is a bit tame,but the dude is a pure murder machine.He may be wise because of his age,but he still enjoys fighting.A lot.

    • Sydney says:

      Oh, look! An actual moral dilemma without an obvious good answer and an obvious jackass answer.

      More of this, please.

    • zob says:

      You do know that your comment is racist and condescending, right? You can’t apply “our” human standards to judge actions of other species.

      • swimon says:

        nice one ^^.

        Personally I think Mordin more closely resembles Oppenheimer (to the point where I think it was intentional). He used technology to do something morally grey that he thinks is right but still feels guilty over. Said guilt drives him to a crisis of faith which he tries to “cure” with Hinduism. It’s an interesting character and a hard moral dilemma, truly excellent writing.

      • Cyanide says:

        I can, and I did, apply my own standards to another culture. It’s called “moral absolutism,” and it’s pretty common to most major religions and a good deal of other philosophies. You may not agree with it, but there it is all the same.

        That said, the Oppenheimer analogy is much better, and I wish I had noticed it myself. Still, not the kind of person I’d want on my ship or trust with my life. Like the Salarians, Oppenheimer was great at playing with things he didn’t fully understand (See: Pictures of him walking around ground zero of the Trinity test in no protective gear but a pair of surgical shoes).

        Sydney asked what I would have done in Mordin’s place. I’m not going to pretend it’s an easy choice, or that all of the choices wouldn’t lead to miserable consequences. The writers did a good job making sure there were no easy outs. But ultimately I feel like the right thing to do would be to let the genophage slowly reverse itself. There are three endgames here:

        First, the Krogan numbers grow, and everything is sunshine and rainbows and puppies with butterfly wings. The lion lies down with the lamb, and peace fills the galaxy. Yeah, I don’t think it’ll happen, either, but there’s always a chance.

        Second, Krogan populations (and hostilities) grow, and the Council races are forced to annihilate the species altogether. Now, that seems ghastly to us. But everything we know about the Krogan tells us they’d much rather go down fighting anyway. And frankly, since the Krogan completely saved the galaxy that one time, I think the Turians at least owe them an honorable death.

        Third, Krogan populations explode and they take over the galaxy. It’s bad, but, as they say, the means justify the ends. However, if the “greater good” is still keeping you in doubt, remember that the Reapers are going to show up; ME2’s ending shows them heading out of dark space. Who do you think has the best chance of beating them? I don’t think the Reapers are going to be interested in talking or strippers, so the Asari are worthless. And I don’t think the Reapers are going to want to play games of espionage, so the Salarians aren’t much help. Maybe the Turians and humans could put up a fight, but it’s pretty clear compared to the non-genophaged Krogans they couldn’t put up sufficient numbers over time.

        Of course, none of that matters, since Shepard is a super-badass who, from the way things have been going so far, will be able to kill a Reaper with his bare hands by ME3. I’m sure by the end of the game he’ll be able to just punch the genophage to death, then wrestle the millions of Krogan who try to rebel into submission, all at the same time.

        • zob says:

          You “can” and “did” apply it. My point is that is racist and condescending.

          • Shamus says:

            It’s not racist to hold one general set of ideas above another. If ideas compete across racial boundaries, people that espouse those ideas are not automatically racist. That way lies madness.

            • zob says:

              I am sorry but I can’t agree with that. When we don’t really know much about about another race’s culture, holding our beliefs over theirs is condescending and racist.

              Seriously how many times did we bring “civilization” to the “savages” in the history of mankind?

              • Shamus says:

                If I think my ideas are superior because I have reasoned them through, then I am not a racist, regardless of who who opponent is.

                If I think my ideas are superior because you are a savage, I am a racist.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You can reason that males are smarter because they have bigger brains than females.That doesnt mean you arent a sexist.

                  Put in another way:You cant reason something correctly(unless youre lucky)when you dont know all the facts.

                  • Shamus says:

                    Right, but NOW we’re talking about the ideas themselves. I didn’t say you couldn’t be a sexist, I simply argued that the very act of thinking your ideas are the best is not IN ITSELF sexist or racist.

                • zob says:

                  Just a minor detail I am not a savage, you just see me that way. Point is you don’t really know me.

                  To clarify I am not talking about “kill the inferior” kind of racism I am talking about racial/cultural bigotry.

                  Let me give an example in ME universe. Krogans naturally live 1000 years and have 1000 offspring in a pregnancy. And those kids become adults in couple of years. Some of you are parents just try to imagine that for a moment 1000 kids. Others think about it, 1000 siblings. Would you care about them? Living a 100s of years in constant war, what would have happen to them. How do they cope with it. (We humans usually can’t cope with prolonged war)

                  Now putting human concepts like family into this picture as an anchor point to understand their society is perfectly natural. But expecting them to act like a human family is racist.

                  I don’t know maybe bigotry is a more applicable term here. Then again I am pretty sure this issue stems from race.

                  • Shamus says:

                    Very interesting. Yes, I think we’re using different meanings for “racist” here. I actually support your point in another thread where I argue that while forced labor of prisoners is generally considered wrong for us, a wasteland society can’t be judged by the same standards, because they can’t spare the resources to feed prisoners.

                    I dislike using the word “racist” in this way, simply because it forces us to use the same word for “someone who hates another solely based on their appearance or heritage” with “someone who is being unreasonable with people in very different circumstances”. Having said that, I can’t suggest an alternate word.

                    Bigotry might be a better word, but bigotry is almost synonymous with racist. We need a word that says “someone who uses preconceived notions to judge another in different circumstances”, but without the race-hate baggage.

                    EDIT: A better way of saying this is that the problem is not a result of racial divisions, but of the judge not taking into account extenuating circumstances, whatever they are.

                • zob says:

                  I am glad that somebody finally understands what I was actually trying to tell. I am usually bad at this.

    • Irridium says:

      But why is Wrex reasonable? Its because he recognizes the situation the Krogan are in. If the Krogan didn’t have to deal with the Genophage, chances are there wouldn’t be much reasonable Krogan.

    • Vect says:

      Well, you could argue that if news gets out, Mordin would have Mengele rep in Krogan eyes.

      Not saying he is, but people mights see him as such in-universe. Wrex for example would want to choke-slam him unless Shepard uses his/her amazing powers of persuasion to get them to cut it out.

      • Bret says:

        Maybe, but the most likely response would probably be something along the lines of “He’s damn lucky you vouched for him, Shepard, or he’d be dead already. Let me know if you change your mind.”

        Wrex already implicitly trusts Shepard and vice-versa, assuming they’re both alive. Which is one reason he’s better than most of the returning cast.

  17. Jarenth says:

    So the main thing I took away from this episode is that Mumbles consideres it a good idea that the Nazis were brought up.

  18. Johan says:

    Dear Josh,
    I think your idea of engaging Krogans in melee combat is the best one in the world.
    Sincerely,
    Entertained Viewer

  19. Hey Rutskarn, funny that you describe Mass Effect as a soap,
    as the Mass Effect trilogy is exactly that…A Space Opera,
    and that’s what BioWare did intend it to be. Just like Star Wars (classic trilogy).

    They may fool around with how it plays.
    But Mass Effect is basically a space opera, and I think they managed to do that very well.

    PS! Shamus, for some reason the blog software either hates me, or comments with urls, or only my comments when they have urls. (maybe the å letter in my name triggers something when urls are in the comment as well?) You’ll find one comment from me in limbo under “Ask Me a question” thread.

  20. It’s interesting that people compare KoTOR and ME2.
    Unlike ME1 which was pretty standalone (aka it had closure at the end),
    ME2 is basically Act 2 in the trilogy with ME1 being Act 1 and ME3 being Act 3 in the overall story arc.

    Obviously BioWare had to have ME1 more or less self contained as they did not know if it was popular enough to warrant a trilogy.
    So even if ME1 is not originally part of the trilogy, ME2 and ME3 “are”.
    Just like the original Star Wars trilogy, there Episode IV had closure as well.

    So it’s interesting how much the classic Star Wars trilogy and the Mass Effect “Sheppard” trilogy mirror each other.

    If the Mass Effect movie(s) really do happen I hope they re-edit things a little.

    For example, I would not end Mass Effect I where it ended,
    I might have let it run a bit longer and ended with the intro of Mass Effect 2 (OMG Sheppard is dead?)
    And then started the Mass Effect II movie wit the very cool “zooming around the molecules of Sheppard as he’s rebuilt) it’s a nice place to overlay opening credits as well.

    The ending of Mass Effect II movie would be the same as the game I think, as the looming threat of the Reapers approaching is a nice cliffhanger for Mass Effect III. Kinda like how in Star Wars V Empire Strikes back where the alliance was amassing their forces, Han Solo missing, etc.

    As a singular game ME2 may not be as solid as ME1, but as a part of the trilogy it fits pretty well.

    You discover the threat in ME1, start building your team, and defeat the threat.
    But the threat is not over (ME2) and you have to make an even stronger team.
    ME3 will be the Act 3 showdown.

    The only thing which is a shame is that there isn’t any more Reaper mythology revealed in ME2, you do not really know that much more about the Reapers in ME2 than you did in ME1 (well a few minor things you do find out, that somebody “did” kill a reaper in the past etc but… (I’m guessing the collectors / Proteans, since that beam that tore through the reaper and scarred that planet sounds like the beam the collector ship has.)

    I’m just hoping that ME3 ties things up nicely. As ME3 if done badly could ruin the entire trilogy. But if done right it can elevate the experience of the entire trilogy. (stuff done in ME1 and ME2 affect things inME3 in ways you expected AND ways you did not expect for example).

    I suspect I’ll end up replaying all three due to how things turn out in ME3. *damn you BioWare you clever bastards*

  21. Zaxares says:

    It’s Varren! VARREN! Not Skag or however it’s spelled, VARREN! :P OK, nerd-rage over now. But Jack? Really? The consensus in all the threads I’ve seen seem to be that it’s Kelly who’s the culprit, considering her… *ahem* universal love for all alien species.

    ME2 Romance Simulator: … Really? Clearly the people who said that have never played a REAL romance/dating simulator game. ;)

    Best Renegade Interrupt in the game: I actually considered this scene a tribute to all those tabletop players with DMs who have their villains give long, dramatic speeches before they finally get down to the rumble. There’s ALWAYS a player who tries to jump the gun and interrupt your lovingly crafted speech. ;)

    Mordin the Nazi Doctor: Perhaps if the situation were reversed? Say, Mordin was an Allied doctor who unleashed a devastating biological weapon against the Germans. It stopped the Nazi war machine completely in its tracks, but the Germans would then have to live with cancers and crippling birth defects for the rest of all time. It was justified by the thought that “this will not only stop the war, it will stop the Nazis from being a threat EVER AGAIN.”

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Your last bit:You mean mordin was like oppenheimer?

    • Andrew B says:

      This interrupt annoys me. Or rather, the interaction between this interrupt and a cutscene in Zaeed’s loyalty mission annoys me. In Zaeed’s mission, Z basically does exactly what Shepard does here. In response, Shepard tears him a new one. Then you do this? Gah!

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ah,but zaed is not the one in charge,you are.He needs to learn his place.You on the other hand,are god send savior of the galaxy and can do whatever you want.

        • Bret says:

          Ah, but when Zaeed did it, there were hostages at risk.

          Here, everyone in the room except (probably) you, Mordin, and possibly the third party member is a maniac planning on galactic war. No risk to innocent people.

          Which partially explains why the interrupt switches to Paragon if left alone long enough.

      • Avilan says:

        …Because 1) he does not follow orders and 2) he risks the life of civilians doing it.

        In fact, the two situations are not really the same at all.

  22. Sree says:

    There’s also an indian guy in Mass Effect!! He only shows up once but it was all worth it! :)

  23. superglucose says:

    I’m actually impressed you guys made the comparison and actually thought about it. Usually people are way too knee-jerk when it comes to Naziism, focusing on what happened and not why.

    (In short, the NAZI party piggybacked off the rough economic times, blaming the Jews for the rough economic times and calling them essentially traitors to, well, Germany.)

    Focusing on the “why” shows maturity and intelligence, something that’s usually lacking in situations like these. Frankly if you had asked me how I thought a mention of the NAZI party would have gone on a “spoiler warning” I don’t think I would have given you any credit to be able to imagine a situation in which genocide is an understandable choice. Oh, and you’re completely right: it’s a difference between perception and reality: the NAZIs believed the Jews to be dangerous which was clearly not the case, while the Salarians viewed the Krogan to be dangerous, and quite frankly, the Krogan were winning a very bloody war vs the rest of the galaxy.

  24. Eljacko says:

    ‘Cause he’s bad, bad Shamus Young!
    He hates on games that I think are fun,
    But at the end of the da-a-ay,
    There are games he likes to play!

    Do-do do-do do-do.

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