Spoiler Warning S4E34: All Downhill From Here

By Shamus
on Feb 3, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

189 comments

I think there were at least three conversations which we named “the best part of the game”. If there was one episode that I’d like the writers at Bioware to see, it would be this one.

More like this, please.


Link (YouTube)

As promised near the end of the episode, here is my epic 5,000 word journey through the Mass Effect lore as it pertains to Mr. Mordin Solus, MD: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:


A Hundred!202020209I bet you won't even read all 189 comments before leaving your own.

From the Archives:

  1. Raynooo says:

    These two episodes had really great conversations between you guys, only regret is that Rutskarn couldn’t really appreciate the mission.

    On the downhill part, Legion has some interesting moments (his point of view on pretty much everything is different from most of the crew) and his mission had a kind of moral dilemma and had you thinking about the nature of conscience and free will.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Seemed a bit too much like the stereotypical case of the thing (free will versus etcetera) – I mean, every third-rate American school debate is about that gunk, and, really, everything is just so saturated by that particular ‘choice’ that it really comes across as lazy.

      • Raynooo says:

        I was thinking about the part where they say that renegade Geth follow ancient gods because of a calculation error (something about a misplaced comma or whatever) and how that could be translated into a biological situation and therefore are we like a digital neural network where free will is an illusion based only on former experiences (ie : we’re just complicated machines whom behaviour could be predicted) or are we different from the Geth.
        And if we’re different are they really alive then ? Wouldn’t that be the cross between really alive and simulating life ?

        But I might be looking too much into it :)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Samaras mission is also a nice one.Plus,theres no shooting in that one.

      Thanes mission as well.

      Talis mission is also nice,though there is some geth fighting in there.But geth are an interesting enemy,plus you shoot at them with tali in your squad,so its cool.

      • poiumty says:

        They should really do Tali’s mission, if only to discuss the overarching moral choice a bit. I found that to be the most interesting choice by far. Still not sure what i’m gonna go with in ME3.

      • Irridium says:

        And that is why Samara’s and Thane’s missions are my favorites. No combat at all.

        Can’t decide whats more fun, chillin’ at a space-club doing various stupidly funny things, or playing good cop/bad cop with Thane.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I especially liked Legion’s dialogue because it ties in with the main plot of the ME series (the fight against the Reapers). It’s a nice twist to discover the way the Geth are thinking after having them as “yada yada evil robots, rebelled against their makers and all that” in ME1. And some of the conversation involving the relations between Geth and Quarians, including the ones that you can trigger if you take Legion to Tali’s loyalty mission are pretty much golden.

      As for the moral dilemma in Legion’s mission I’d say it has the potential to be at least as weighty as the genophage dilemma. The problem for me is that it is only skimmed over in the writing during the said mission. The dilemma is mentioned but unlike during this mission various points of view are not discussed at length. This may also be due to the fact that the genophage has been featured extensively in both games so the players are somewhat more familiar with the subject matter and have had more time to develop their own opinions on it.

      • Falcon_47 says:

        Totally agree to this, in Mass Effect 1 we only see the Geth as the bad guys who just went rebel on their creators, there’s not much in the way of actually giving them some deeper characterization (only managed to read the codex in a quick glimpse), so it was actually a surprise to me when in legion’s loyalty mission you get to know so much about them, how they’re organized, their beliefs, etc. Pretty much one of the best loyalty missions.

        On a side note, never tried taking Legion on Tali’s loyalty mission since i always went for Tali’s mission straight away (and because since Grunt doesn’t talk much in Mordin’s mission i always assumed that Bioware had ignored the second character you choose on those missions), will have to try that on my current playtrough, thx…

        • Will says:

          There are certain combinations on each loyalty mission that result in a few bits and pieces, Legion + Tali is an obvious combination, but there are some others as well. If you do pick the correct second character you get some extra dialogue, exactly how much varies (Tali’s mission gives you quite a lot of extra dialogue) and if not, you don’t.

    • Becoming Insane says:

      And that is the reason why Legion is one of my favorite squadmates (that, and they get the Widow). Here’s to hoping you guys choose Legion’s loyalty quest to do!

  2. krellen says:

    Even I like this mission.

  3. Audacity says:

    That definitely was a refreshing break from ME2’s usual brain hurty-ness. I can see why Mordin is such a fan-favorite.

    One thing I don’t understand though, was Mordin’s initial plan to erase the research data. Whether he planned to let the genophage continue (the better call in my opinon) or not, the data could have been useful. Destroying perfectly good research because of the means by which it was obtained doesn’t seem like Mordin. The data is amoral regardless of what means, moral or immoral, were used to obtain it. Why erase it?

    • Vect says:

      Probably his way of trying to leave the past behind.

      • krellen says:

        Exactly. His way of trying to assuage his guilt. His actions drove Maelon to do what Maelon did – Mordin feels culpable. By destroying the data – the legacy of Maelon’s actions – he feels like he can absolve himself of the guilt of what Maelon did. If no data exists, Maelon did not do these horrible things.

        There’s also a future morality argument here; if Mordin keeps the data, and saves the data, and uses the data, it might be viewed as an implicit approval of the methods used to unearth the data. He can say he disapproves of the methods, but by keeping the data, he’s really saying that the methods are okay, so long as they produce valuable data. This is the sense in how the mission mirrors the Nazi scientists the gang talked about in an earlier episode.

        • Audacity says:

          I hadn’t considered that, but it makes sense. Maybe I should just throw in the towel and finally play the ME games, after another three or four AP replays.

          About the Nazi Science comparison. I don’t understand this idea that because you use data that was obtained through sick perverse means somehow implies that you approve the methods used to obtain it. I mean the Nazis, and Imperial Japanese, did some really Gorram, Fracked up things, but that doesn’t mean that organ replacement surgeries are inherently evil because they were developed from Axis research. Nor does everyone who receives a heart transplant share some sort of moral culpability along with the people who perpetrated the atrocities.

          • krellen says:

            The end justifies the means. Many people before and since the Nazi scientists have used the excuse of how valuable the data is to justify their horrible experiments. The more we use such data, the more we reinforce the idea that, no matter what we say, it really is okay to do horrible things if the result is good enough.

            • Audacity says:

              Again I don’t understand, the data and the methods used to obtain it are two separate things. Saving more people’s lives through heart transplants doesn’t mean we’re slowly approving of Unit 731’s horrible actions more and more. That’s like saying you implicitly approve of Nazi research methods if you don’t smoke, because they discovered the initial links between smoking and lung cancer! How does that make any sense?

              Not trying to start a flame war or anything; I am genuinely curious as to why you think this.

              • Nidokoenig says:

                The data, in terms of the experimental results and scientific theories built on them, rather than the physical reality they approximate, are a direct result of those methods. If you’re using data from a particular source, you are supporting that source as having produced the best answers to that question. This invites the question of whether the methods could be justified as useful and a net profit for humanity and may lead to someone picking those methods up again. Disregarding and destroying that data and punishing anyone who played a part in producing or using it shuts this question down, because no good ever came of it. Supporters of inhuman methods are left arguing that they might possibly do some good in theory, which does not justify the cost in pretty much everyone’s eyes.

                • Zukhramm says:

                  How about this?

                  There’s a room with two doors. Go through one, you die, go through the other, you escape. There’s two people in the room, one of them forces the other to go through one of the doors, to see if he dies or not, he then writes on the wall which way out is the safe one.

                  Now it’s our turn to enter the room. What should we do? Disregard the answer in front of us, intentionally entering the door of death? Pick one at random?

                  At best we’ll find this knowledge ourselves, and at worst will never find it at all. And that’s the same with the data in the mission, or any real situation. You might claim I justify the exepriments by arguing to keep it, but I disagree, I don’t, and if someone else then decides to do more of these experiments that was their choice, not mine.

                • Nidokoenig says:

                  Your example invites one, very easy, get out clause: That room is an immediate clear and present danger, so all the moral flexibility of war and general emergencies kick in. The moral imperative is to use all available information to escape that room and hopefully neutralise the other door’s threat, and especially “neutralise” the killer.

                  There’s a difference between justifying something and demonstrating its usefulness. By using that data, you are showing that that line of experimentation is scientifically useful, which may be part of what pushes that next guy to do more of those experiments. If data produced from such experiments is never used as a matter of moral choice, it is the same as it being actually useless, and they are devalued the same way. And let’s remember, when Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan or the Soviet Union did experiments like this, it was part of a system where millions were killed. This increases the weight of responsibility to prevent recurrences, to the point where simply providing someone with the evidence that this system might work becomes a grey area.

              • krellen says:

                Yeah, if you do it once you can write it off as a “well, just this time”. But each successive time you do it, you reinforce the idea that the value of the data really does excuse the horror of the research methodology.

                The individual researcher might not “get away” with the repercussions of their research, but if the data lives on, that will be reason enough for many people.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You can always twist it around and say “If we destroy these data,then those who suffered for them have suffered in vain”.Thus you arent excusing the researcher for their unethical methods,but are honoring the victim of those methods.

                • Nidokoenig says:

                  Which is why this is a great scene, there are multiple perfectly logical ways to analyse the situation, and the way to resolve it is based on your particular moral assumptions: do you honour the dead by using information gained by experimenting on them, or by shaming and punishing their killers to hopefully prevent such experiments in future?

                • Audacity says:

                  @Nidokoenig and krellen – So you guys are saying we shouldn’t let evil actions have any net benefit to society, lest some sick bastard try to use it as a rationalization down the road?

                • krellen says:

                  That would be the basic argument for why you would destroy the data, yes.

                • zob says:

                  That won’t work. Our entire civilization is built on evil acts.

                  • Shamus says:

                    “Our entire civilization is built on evil acts.”

                    Er. Do you mean:

                    * Human civilization, in general
                    * Western civilization, specifically
                    * The human civilization of the future as presented by this game.

                • zob says:

                  Human civilization in general.

                • Will says:

                  Define “Evil”.

                • zob says:

                  Slavery, invasion, torture. Those are more or less clear cut examples. There are more, but going into details would most likely starts flame wars.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Well,slavery isnt really that clear cut like the rest.For example,turning the prisoners into forced work force would be kind of slavery,but it would benefit the society,thus not really be an evil thing.And,if you were also to give harder jobs to criminals sentenced for worse crimes,while reward good behavior with easier jobs,youd also make sentences much more meaningful.

                • zob says:

                  Daemian, are you trolling me? Seriously:
                  “It is kind of slavery but it benefits the society so not really evil” just because they are prisoners?

                  I won’t even answer that.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  No,Im not.I really do think that making prisoners work their time instead of just lie around and trade cigarettes would be beneficial.And that can be equated to slavery,from certain points of view.

                • zob says:

                  Ok then I have three words for you:
                  “Arbeit Macht Frei”.

                  Hint: It is evil.

                  • Shamus says:

                    You’re equating making murderers and rapists work during their sentence with making innocent men, women, and children work in a Nazi death camp. Keep in mind we’re talking about a society on the brink where getting food & water is a lot of work. If we catch a murderer, we throw them in a cage and give them precious supplies for years?

                    Also, you are very, very quick to call people Nazis and racists. I don’t like your inclination to heat up debates with rhetoric like this. You’re new here and you’ve already begun two or three hot discussions.

                    EDIT: Ah. Not as new as I thought. I see you left a few (perfectly reasonable) comments last month. Still, more discussing ideas and less ad hominem.

                • zob says:

                  Bear with me this one is a little long.

                  I may have got misunderstood so let me clarify. My nazi comparison came solely from this: ““It is kind of slavery but it benefits the society so not really evil”

                  This line of thought is evil, knowing that you are doing something that is (maybe slightly) wrong and rationalizing this with concepts like “benefit of the society”.

                  There comes the nazi comparison. People in those camps were technically criminals according to their laws. And using them as a workforce with promises of freedom(which was a lie of course) or better living conditions (not getting tortured) was beneficial to that crooked society.

                  This comparison may be uncalled for and if anybody feels that way I apologize. I thought showing what is at the end of this road would be easier to imagine.

                  Now let’s slowly get back to my original point. Most you did heard about Socrates or Aristotle. They are more or less accepted as founding fathers of western civilization. They lived in Ancient Greece and gave us many wonders to think about. Oh and Aristotle said “some men are slaves by nature”. (to be fair Socrates was anti slave)

                  That’s why I said this[we shouldn’t let evil actions have any net benefit to society, lest some sick bastard try to use it as a rationalization down the road?] won’t work.

                  Aristotle was just one example from ancient times. thousands like them existed throughout history. Evil things happened and as a civilization we prosper.

                  I really hope this explains things more clearly and we can agree on the fact that we are not nazis :)

                • Nidokoenig says:

                  The idea behind hard labour for violent criminals, or for soldiers of a defeated army, is to create an alternative to murdering them outright, which is what happens in resource poor areas. Wiping out Jews, gypsies and gay people in a nation that had set itself up as an industrial powerhouse did not serve any such purpose, it was purely a drawn-out method of execution. (I’d just like to note, as a bisexual myself, I find the Auschwitz reference unsettling, but references to Nazi experiments and death camps are central to the discussion, so it’s not coming out of nowhere. Let’s all just be careful, all right?)

                  Just because every civilisation has some dark secrets does not give us license to throw our hands up and say “fuck it, might as well use data from unwilling human guinea pigs!”, or force us to hard reset to the age of wood and bone and start civilisation over again. Just because my father’s a rapist doesn’t mean I have to kill myself to protect society from being tainted by something he created. There is a line to be drawn, and I think most people understand, if not agree with, drawing it somewhere before using data from human vivisection. The connection between the inhumane act and the data is recent, strong and irreplaceable. The longer ago the act, the weaker the connection to the current use and the easier it is to replace that data with humane research done later, the less it encourages repetition of those acts.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  @zob

                  Well ok,maybe I wasnt as clear the first time around,so here goes:
                  We all think how every living person has certain rights,no matter where they were born,when,or what they are doing in life.However,this I disagree with.When a person commits a crime,they no longer should have the same rights as everyone else.They dont respect the rights of others,so why should others respetc their rights?Our judicial system already kind of works like this:We remove rights to be free,and rights to live in some cases,from criminals.Yet we still give them rights to free meal,exercise,and entertainment(book,tv,and even internet in some cases),and this is what I consider wrong.Technically,it would be slavery to make prisoners work while serving time,and dont give them privileges they have now.But I dont think that would be evil.These are people who dont care for the rights of others,so why should they enjoy them?Why should slavers enjoy the right to not be slaves?Why should thieves enjoy the right to have their properties intact?Murderers the right to live?Etc…

                  And yes,nazis kind of did this.But the difference is that they labeled all jews as criminals.They removed the rights from people that respected the rights of others.And that is what was evil.Not the fact that they used them as forced labor,but why they used them as forced labor.

                  This is why I said that slavery isnt evil per se.

                • zob says:

                  @Daemian so it boils down to our different views at the prison system.

                  @Nidokoenig
                  So, when some quack mad doctor finds cure for AIDS by testing on involuntary human subjects we have to purge this data. At least bury it 500 years so somebody else wouldn’t repeat the experiment. Even though we sentenced this mad doctor with the harshest of the punishments.

                  I can’t do that. I can’t make that decision.

                • Nidokoenig says:

                  I can. Look into the history of using aversion therapy, invasive brain surgery and other horrid methods of “curing” sexual deviants. I absolutely could not use data that comes directly from unwilling human test subjects. I would rather live in a world were millions die to disease than risk this world becoming one where hundreds of thousands of undesirables(it’s never the “good” people) die in fiendish experiments. Consider the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, which ran until 1972, well within living memory. We are still in a world that requires decisive action to protect human life from unethical experiments.
                  If unethical human experimentation were such a rare event that we could be sure that using data would always save orders of magnitude more lives than encouraging the practice endangered, I might take a more nuanced view, but we don’t.

                • zob says:

                  @Nidokoenig I won’t continue this discussion. What you “can” scares me.

    • Skan says:

      You could pose pretty much the same question at the endgame choice, couldn’t you?

      • Audacity says:

        I don’t actually know what the endgame choice is, so… maybe?

        • Raynooo says:

          Basically the same choice except it’s millions of lives that has been sacrificed instead of what ? A hundred Krogans maybe ?

          Also you kinda feel less concerned because you’re surrounded by stupidity.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Not really,because here the data can be used almost exclusively to cure the genophage and probably nothing more,so the only reason to keep it is if you want the disease cured,which I doubt many do.The data from the collector base,however,can be used in numerous ways.Granted,most of those are probably new weapons and armour,but those would certainly be very useful against the reapers.

            • Raynooo says:

              Ah yes didn’t see it that way. But maybe research for a cure could lead to the discovery of a bio weapon ?

            • guy says:

              I personally think the “Keep it around” option is the best one. It might be important later, e.g. Rachni wars 2.0, but there’s a reason the Genophage was used in the first place and then enhanced. Keeping it around opens up options. If you keep it, you don’t have to use it, but if you get rid of it you can’t

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Yeah,but lets not forget that mordin is a genius and if he wanted,he couldve cured the genophage in a single day.He already has the needed data to do it,so he doesnt need these.

                • Raynooo says:

                  Also the endgame data are a problem because as Legion (and Sovereign in the first game) said : you let the Reapers choose your technology for you. They already know anything you might learn from the Harvesters.
                  IF (and admittedly that’s a big if) they realized it, wouldn’t they have only left “fake” or weak technologies so that we focus on what’s in there and waste energy and resources on things the Reapers have already predicted ?

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Reapers would never expected organics to do such a thing.For example,protheans disabled the keepers “betrayal” action,and not one of the reapers inspected them after their last cycle to see if they were tampered with.No one was meant to make the connection between the collectors and the reapers as well,which is evident by advanced tech they have on their ship and in their base,as opposed to tech found on citadel and mass relays.So theres a good chance that this tech is something reapers wouldnt want organics to know about.

      • monojono says:

        The endgame choice seems similar, but has one crucial difference: the information you gain from the ‘horrific experiments’ might be crucial in stopping the ones who were behind the experiments, and who are planning to kill all life in the galaxy. Imagine if the Nazi scientists discussed had discovered some superweapon and were going to win WW2 when we captured their concentration camps. Not using the information gained to try and stop them couldn’t be justified in the same way as some people argue that the actual Nazi research (or Maelons research here) shouldn’t be used, since it may be the only way to prevent more of the same crimes.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,the data could end up being useful,however they are mostly focus on curing the genophage,which is something mordin doesnt want.And just having those data exist anywhere is a risk of someone continuing maelons research.Plus,mordin already is collecting tons of data regularly about how the disease is working,so he doesnt really need more.

    • Raygereio says:

      No, Mording destroying a potential Genophage cure does make perfect sense.

      The Genophage isn’t killing the Krogan, it’s – for a lack of a better term – culling the Krogen horde down to more reasonable numbers.
      If the Genophage is ever removed and the Krogan are once more able to pump out insane numbers; then the Krogan become pests, something to be eradicated – just like the Rachni. All the Krogan were, are and can be will be gone then.
      The way I interpreted Mordin’s point is that the Genophage is what allowed the Krogan a change to live as a species after the Krogan Wars.

      • Sydney says:

        The krogan were NEVER able to pump out massive numbers, except for that awkward phase after the Rachni War and before the Krogan Rebellions.

        On Tuchanka, pre-uplift, natural predators like the thresher maws kept krogan numbers steady. About one uneaten survivor per thousand children. Taking that away by giving the krogans future-weapons caused their numbers to go absolutely Zergling crazy.

        The genophage balances out the future-weapons; instead of one uneaten survivor per thousand children, we have one uneaten survivor per one child – but one birth per thousand fertilizations.

        • Raygereio says:

          “The krogan were NEVER able to pump out massive numbers, except for that awkward phase after the Rachni War and before the Krogan Rebellions.”
          Erm, yes they were. The Krogan pre-Genophage pump out babies like bunnies. The only thing keeping the Krogan population pre-uplifting down to the numbers that their surrounding could sustain was the violent nature of both the Krogan’s themselves and their surrounding.

          • Sydney says:

            Yeah, that’s what the rest of that post said. Tons of births =/= tons of krogan adults.

            • Raygereio says:

              Then what was your point? Besides making me confused.

              • Sleeping Dragon says:

                The point was that from a purely mathematical point of view the genophage only brought the number in the “Krogan surviving to adulthood” column to roughly the same value it was before the Krogan uplift. The morality of it is another discussion whatsoever.

                Mordin makes a lot of comments about it, if the Krogan did win the rebellions they would just keep spreading throughout the galaxy, wiping everything in their path. Once no real big enemies would be left the various clans would turn on themselves turning one planet after another into Tuchanka’s lookalike nuclear wasteland. That is assuming they wouldn’t get hold of some even more powerful planet/star/system busting weapon (this, of course, does not take into account Reapers arriving and wiping out the Krogan).

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I kind of agree with you,but not quite.The original genophage wasnt there to just calm the krogan down,because turians had no chance of winning.No one had the chance of winning over the krogan.However,once the disease spread,krogan became very vulnerable,and suddenly they couldve been eradicated with ease.So mordin actually did save them by reinforcing the 1 in 1000 babies survive,because if the turians found out that krogan were adapting,they sure wouldnt have tried to reinstate the disease.

        • Sydney says:

          And if the original team of salarians hadn’t come up with a birth-restricting genophage, the turians would’ve probably used a lethal disease instead. They saved lives too; better 1/1000 than “kill ’em all”.

        • Raygereio says:

          “So mordin actually did save them by reinforcing the 1 in 1000 babies survive”
          @Daemian Lucifer: That’s what I said, wasn’t it?

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            In a way.The original genophage wasnt as noble as mordins modification.At least in my opinion.

            • Raygereio says:

              I don’t know. It was intended as a weapon, true. But from what I understood it was never meant to eradicate the Krogans. It was always designed to limit Krogan population.

              The way I saw it that if the Salarians really wanted to eradicate the Krogans they could have made a genophage variant that completely sterilized the Krogans. But they didn’t, so it is my asumption that the same reasoning of “solve the Krogan problem by not killing the Krogans but by turning a locust’esque horde into something more stable and not in need of continuously more room to live in” went into it originally.
              But again, that is just my asumption.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Yes,but it was like that because no other weapon worked on them,they were just too adaptable.Plus Im prone to thinking that the original genophage was meant as a complete sterilization plague,and the 1 in 1000 live births was just the result of krogan resisting it somewhat.

                • poiumty says:

                  No, i’m pretty sure Mordin makes it clear that the original genophage was a mistake, hence why they rushed to modify it.
                  Mistake as in accident-mistake, not intended-mistake.

                • guy says:

                  No, the original Genophage worked the same way as the enhanced Genophage, but random mutations were cropping up to replace the originaly obliterated DNA for reproduction, so the number of live births was slowly rising. The codex entry on the genophage is pretty neat, it seems it worked by replacing bits of original DNA in every Krogan so removing the original virus or whatever wouldn’t end it and gene therapy had no base of reference to start from.

  4. Sydney says:

    This is the best conversation in the game! Let us all talk over it and take away its emotional power and dramatic value!

    I love you guys. Seriously. During some of the all-fighting episodes I’ll play Tetris in another window and just listen to your commentary.

    But that was like trying to watch the “I could have saved one more” scene from Schindler’s List while getting poked in the back of the head. Takes the magic right out.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      You could just play the game, you know. This show is kinda about commentary and not a video-feed of the game itself.

      • Sydney says:

        I can’t even count how many times I’ve played this game.

        I’m just saying, most LPers have the sense not to trample over great dialogue. Even the hyperactive nutbar types like DeceasedCrab (another favorite of mine) go quiet during dramatic moments or important conversations.

        • Jarenth says:

          Funny, I had the opposite thing. I tried to listen to the commentary, honest, but my attention kept shifting back to Mordin because — no offense meant, really — he’s just that much more interesting.

        • Desgardes says:

          But they aren’t lping in the strictest sense. They are hanging out while one of them is playing a game. Then talking about the game. It’s really why this is the most superior group. They aren’t showing you something, they’re dissecting what they’re seeing.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Thats probably why I like spoiler warning and not other lets plays.If I really care about a game,I play it.So Im not here to see whats the game about,Im here to hear what others think about it.

        • Shamus says:

          So we should spend 10 minutes not saying anything? And then talk about the stuff we saw LAST EPISODE in the following one during the combat? No thanks. I’d rather keep things spontaneous. When I watch a movie with the commentary on, they don’t usually shut up when the actors start talking. It’s understood that you’re already somewhat familiar with what’s going on. The subtitles are there for those that need / want them.

          • Desgardes says:

            I can think of one instance where the actor make them shut up. Serenity, the pilot episodes of Firefly. Is it a bad sign that I can do the lines to either the episode or the commentary?

          • poiumty says:

            Let’s-Players usually become quiet while the dialogue and cutscenes of a game are in effect; it’s something i’ve noticed a lot. This comes from the philosophy that LPs are made to make you see most (if not all) parts of the game without actually playing it, while the commentary is put there to entertain you during the gameplay you’re not participating in. This was probably never meant to be a Let’s Play, but i figure some people approach it like that.

            Personally i don’t have much against conversation over dialogue, especially in an RPG which consists of around 40% dialogue such as this one. The problem appears when what you’re saying is less interesting than what the character is saying… so if you’re particularly hyped about a certain conversation and you want people to know how good it is, it’s logical that people who haven’t played the game are going to want to hear it without the commentary overlap.

            • Sydney says:

              ^ Yeah, that’s basically my point in a nutshell. Most of the time, yes, keep talking over the dialogue. But when all you’re saying is “Look at how great this conversation is”, it’s just self-defeating because nobody can tell. Either the dialogue gets lost in the commentary, which is tragic, or the commentary gets lost in the dialogue, so why bother.

              98% of the time, the commentary is more interesting than the game, which is good because that’s why we’re here. But for the remaining 2%, get out of the way.

              Of course, this episode contains pretty much the last of the dialogues that are good enough for it to matter, so…meh.

          • Hitch says:

            The Twenty Sided blog category for this series is “Lets Play,” but Spoiler Warning has always been less about showcasing and demonstrating the game (like many other Let’s Plays) and more about providing visuals and context while the hosts to discuss their analysis of the game, and mostly it’s weak points. The weak points of whatever game is going on. They dwell on the flaws because I think they’d like people to be more aware that games could be better, so maybe the game publishers will try to provide better games for a more discerning audience.

          • Deadpool says:

            I’m with you here, ou SHOULD have been talking through it all.

            But I must admit, the dialogue is so good here I found myself zoning you guys out and listening to theg ame instead and having to rewind. Not my denouncing your methods, just pointing out it’s the only part of all of Spoiler Warning that made me do that. Truly a great gaming moment.

        • Andrew says:

          To be fair, I had never played the game, but their talking didn’t bother me. I just assumed the chatter was for people who had played already, and listened to the game instead.

  5. Ateius says:

    This was also the high point of the game for me, though there is one part that I absolutely hated. One of the paragon dialogue options – I can’t remember which – not only doesn’t have Shepard say what the dialogue indicated, but has her come off as the most sanctimonious self-righteous asshole this side of the Omega Relay. I was absolutely shocked when I heard what “I” said to Mordin, and immediately reloaded the save to pick something else.

    • poiumty says:

      Agreed. I’m actually surprised Josh chose the paragon options in his debate with Mordin; all the paragon options just sound like Shepard being a shortsighted righteous idiot who doesn’t see what’s in front of him. While Mordin makes damn good points about the genophage being the artificial counterpart to Tuchanka’s hostility and how he, as a scientist, had no better alternatives, Paragon Shepard goes on and on about how he’s WRONG because the genophage is BAD and it HURT people and it’s WRONG and what he did was BAD and he should be ashamed because it’s BAD and WRONG and BADONG-

      Just look at this female here!! Were her sad puppy tears as she died worth saving the galaxy from certain krogan clusterfuck, Mordin? WERE THEY??

      • Zukhramm says:

        I think they mention it in the episode or the last one. If you pick the paragon options you make Mordin argue his side more, which means we get more Mordin.

  6. RTBones says:

    Shamus – you make the proposition that Maelon didn’t make his argument as well as Mordin. I would tend to agree. Maelon is the younger of the two, more idealistic, more hotheaded, less able to hold his emotions in check (i.e. not act on them). Mordin, being the older of the two, is more worldly, more experienced – as well as being more jaded and cynical about the world.

  7. Sydney says:

    Oh, and as for why Maelon hadn’t deployed the genophage cure:

    He hadn’t finished it. He was, in Mordin’s estimation, years away from finishing his work. But his crew had made enough breakthroughs that any schmuck biologist could take Maelon’s data and complete the cure – no further genius needed, just years of scientific legwork. Which is why it’s so dangerous, in Mordin’s opinion, to keep the data around.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    As for how mordins team did it without atrocities,they did the simulations first,yes,but then they did a few experimental drops on tuchanka before spreading the new genophage across the galaxy.

    It really is a great mission,and I love it.Its sad we didnt get something like this for the main story.

    While commenting on all these episodes,I came to a realization that mass effect 2 is a lot like communism:Great idea with terrible execution.You have all these superb ideas like reapers reproducing by harvesting genetic material from the race they think is most successful,protheans turned into slaves just like the keepers,shepard having to work with someone as despicable as cerberus,…Those all sound great and intriguing.But their execution is laughably bad.

    Oh,and a question for Shamus,not connected with spoiler warning:Considering your thoughts about prey,and its ghost children enemies,what do you think about dead space 2?

    • Sydney says:

      Y’know, I’m with you on that.

      I like ME2’s plot, but I don’t like its storytelling (with a few happy exceptions).

    • guy says:

      It’s also indicated that they used live tissue samples and some cloned organs, which is quite different from experimenting on entire sentients.

    • Vect says:

      From what I understand, Shamus is probably ambivalent of Dead Space, seeing the game of how NOT to do Survival Horror. Specifically, giving the main character effective ways to fight back against the monsters and relying on jump scares. I’m not sure how he feels about the villains being Scientologists.

      Personally I always favored the “Keep The Cure” choice for pragmatic reasons. Essentially keep it around as a Chekhov’s Gun to be used when I need it. It’s good to have the option.

      I usually try to base the choice on what seems like it’ll pan out the best rather than try to play Good/Evil.

    • somebodys_kid says:

      I must politely disagree here and say that I don’t think communism is a good idea at all, irrespective of its execution.
      I will agree, though, that the Mass Effect Universe is full of fantastic ideas with quite a bit being poorly or insufficiently implemented. I think the Genophage or the Quarian/Geth storyline is a much stronger thread than the Reapers.

  9. Roll-a-Die says:

    You know I finally thought of 2 words that, at least, acceptably defines Bioware’s level design. “Tunnel Fetish,” think about it. You spend your entire time walking through single linear corridors. Even places that shouldn’t be linear, but are, IE the areas around cities in Jade Empire, or the Forest of Kashyyk in KotOR.

    Just a few words of thought.

    • Sydney says:

      And when they tried to break the mold, we got the Mako and the Hammerhead.

      • Roll-a-Die says:

        The Mako was actually pretty good. Better than scanning planets at least.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Indeed.If only it was as stable as hammerhead.*sigh*

        • poiumty says:

          *insert the word NO repeated about a dozen times*

          To be fair the Mako wasn’t ALL that bad, it’s the repetition that got to me. Oh yay, ANOTHER planet to explore… with the Mako… somebody kill me. Sure, it wasn’t necessary, but i wanted level 60.

          • Irridium says:

            They mainly just needed less planets that had super-steep mountains you needed to climb over. And maybe a bit more to find.

            Hell, if they can bring back the planet exploration of 1, but with smoother surfaces, and using the Hammerhead, that would be fantastic.

          • Someone says:

            I actually thought the story mission drives on the Mako were pretty nice and assuaged that feel of “the galaxy of corridors” ME2 seems to suffer from.

            Its the random planet exploration parts that really sucked.

            • Avilan says:

              I mind the “galaxy of corridors” far less than the “galaxy of 1000000000 identical mines because of course all ore in the entire galaxy is placed identically on all planets”.
              (Not to mention that you had to drive to the identical mines in a helium-filled tank over absurdly sharp rocks).

              At least the corridors had different layouts and different textures.

              (Speaking of mines, by pure luck I stumbled over the one mine on the Monkey Planet and found the missing data piece without having to go through the 5 other monkey habitats first. Phew. (especially since I am playing four parallel characters in ME1 at the moment, so I could drive directly there with the other three, too)).

  10. PAL2000 says:

    Hey Shamus, in part 4 of your history of Mordin, it says the video that had the reason Mordin was the greatest was removed. Can you show it to us some other way, or were you just rickrolling your readers?

  11. eri says:

    Josh: regarding your framerate problems, do you have any anti-virus software running in the background? Might want to disable it, or better yet add an exception to stop it from scanning your Mass Effect 2 directory. Might want to disable all background programs that you don’t need. Also, since Mass Effect 2 is v-synced by default, and possibly doesn’t use triple buffering, the framerate will get cut in half if it drops below 60. Considering you’re recording already at 30 fps, it’s possible that it’s going down to 20 when there’s a heavy CPU load.

  12. Specktre says:

    I agree, this is one of the best parts of the game. You have great conversations with Mordin. And I also like how the Paragon/Renegade choices at the end are handled; you don’t have a binary system like the game’s final choice at the end (which was retarded as can be), you choose between four options–this is how all the Paragon/Renegade stuff should be.

    • Ringwraith says:

      At the endgame there aren’t a lot of choices given the circumstances anyway, if you think it through a bit.

      • Specktre says:

        EDIT: Gah, I had a whole thing typed up but I can’t get the spoiler tags to work…

        Isn’t it suppose to be and ? Yet I’m not seeing those red bars…

        [Humility] … assistance?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Oh there certainly are.Sure,they boil down to either destroy or keep the base,but there are so many ways to do it.Destroy it as a final act of “Fuck you tim!”,or keep it and say “Fuck you tim,Im calling the alliance here”,or keep it and say “Fuck you tim,Im studying this myself,then Im blowing it up”.Basically,Im mad because you never get to say “Fuck you tim”.

        • Specktre says:

          I was basically kinda going to say this, but more in depth.

          At any rate thanks for the help guys.

        • Taellosse says:

          I definitely agree that there needed to be more options at the end, but I believe the “blow it up” option does leave the door open for a “Fuck you TIM.” Not literally, since there’s no profanity in ME, but in that final conversation, as I recall, you do finally have the option to say, “We’re done. My crew is loyal to ME, including EDI, who’s going to disable all your little spy cameras, and I’m taking MY ship and doing things MY way now.” I’m pretty sure it was the final Paragon dialogue choice with him.

  13. Cookie Of Nine says:

    I liked where the SW team talked about how different cultures with different ethics interacting can cause some interesting situations.

    It reminds me of earlier in the game during Mordin’s recruiting mission, his assistant goes missing, and if you get him back, he has an argument with Mordin about his methods (and yours, if the rescue was violent).

    Mordin believes his assistant is naive, and that there are many ways to help people, both through killing, and by healing. The assistant believes that doctors aren’t supposed to behave that way.

    First of all, Mordin may not actually be a medical doctor, he’s certainly a xeno-biologist, and your ships “tech specialist”, but I don’t think that is it stated that he actually has a medical degree. More importantly though, even if he were actually a medical professional (which is likely, he does run a clinic), there is no guarantee that he was required to take the Hippocratic oath or a Salarian equivalent, since the ethics of medicine for his race could be far different.

    I’m not sure of the timeline, but even with the short 40-year lifespan of Salarians, Mordin may in fact be old enough to remember life before the humans showed up, so it makes sense that some of our preconceptions of what it means to be a doctor may be completely foreign to him.

    Definitely through both Mordin and Legion (and to a lesser extent Tali), the Bioware team was able to provide interesting discussions and situations, as opposed to the common Sci-Fi and fantasy tropes.

    • Sydney says:

      He also has the best last words:

      “Tell them…I…held…the line…”

    • guy says:

      Mordin is a former member of the Salarian Special Tasks Group, the Salarian commando force that inspired the Spectres, actually. I presume he was a biological warfare specialist as his main job (hence why he was part of the Genophage team), plus probably some sort of tech expert and got serious combat training as part of the job.

      He also killed a Krogan with gardening equipment.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Mordin is old by Salarian standards, in fact I believe he is in his fifties or at least fifty. Yes, that is 50 to a Salarian life expectancy of 40, wiki claims this is rare but not unheard of, so there is lot of talk that he may, in fact, be absent from ME3 simply because his age will catch up with him.

      And yes, I fully agree with the whole Hippocratic oath thing. In fact Mordin could be shocked to hear that a human doctor, where he to follow his oaths to the letter, would be bound not to defend his patients and could consider this immoral. He is clearly fairly tolerant, even if he finds the viewpoint naive, but I just want to show how easy it is to spin the “morality of a doctor” thing around.

  14. guy says:

    I like that this one has a nice, unclear ethical debate. In the end I side with Mordin, since I agree that no other solution for the Krogan population explosion exists short of killing them all or completely destroying their techbase and killing all the ones off Tuchanka while hoping no would-be conqueror decides to get himself an army. It’s still a hard debate.

    On the subject of keeping research gained through unethical means, I think it’s worth keeping while putting the researchers on trial for war crimes. In the end, the data itself is simply information. The unethical ways of gathering information tend to be the better ways, since fully accurate simulations are essentially impossible and non-fatal tests can’t tell for sure how things kill people. It’s monstrous to do things like stick people in pressure chambers until they die, especially without informed consent, but refusing to use the results won’t bring them back and will kill other people due to not being able to design safety equipment as effectively. The fundamental truths about the universe have nothing to do with the morality of the way they were obtained.

    Incidentally, I liked LEGION’s loyalty mission’s moral choice a lot less, mostly because the Renegade option was really bizarrely chosen. I personally decided, between the arrival on the station and getting to the core, that mind-controlling the Heretics to fight against being mind-controlled by the Reapers was hypocrisy of the highest order and blew up the station, which Shepard justified on the basis that they might end up serving the Reapers again. It really pissed me off.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Sigh yes. About a half of stupidity in ME2 writing is not the choices but the justification of those. In fact the most annoying part is that the player often doesn’t know the justification before making the decision.

      • Fnord says:

        I actually didn’t mind that particular justification too much, unlike the ending choice, though I can see that there would be other reasons not to reprogram them.

        The final choice at the end of Mordin’s missions has four dialog choices, not two. That would have been nice for a number of other choices, like Legion’s.

    • Josh R says:

      I also thought of the implications for the quarians, should they return to a war.
      You’re effectively superpowering their enemies, and while I may not be tali’s biggest fan, I didn’t think it was my place to go around interfering in that war.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      It wasn’t mind controlling them, it was correcting an error in their programming that was leading to irrational and destructive behaviour. Killing them does nobody any good.

      The justification that really gets me? “I won’t let fear compromise who I am”.

      • krellen says:

        That does bug me, since the real justification is “this stuff is too dangerous to try using – just look at what happened on the ‘dead’ Reaper!”

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ah,but these are sapient machines.If we were to treat it just like an error in their programing,we could use it to justify mind controlling anyone.See,jack is this psycho because of an error in her brain,so if we fix it(lobotomize her),shell become a docile,productive member of the society.

        • Gale says:

          So… You’re opposed to psychological therapy for trauma victims like Jack on the basis that it counts as “mind control”? Your example only sounds reprehensible because you jammed the word “lobotomise” in there for no particular reason. It would be analogous if the Legion choice was to either kill them or insert a program that crippled their intelligence and turned them into simple machines again. But that’s not what the choice was, so at best, your comparison is inapplicable, and at worst, it shows outright hostility towards the practice of psychiatric medicine.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Therapy does not work that way.You dont repress traumatic memories,you confront them,learn to live with them.In fact,repressing a traumatic memory and replacing it with something else is one of the things that psychiatry is actually healing.

            And even if we disregard that,who are we to say that these machines have a faulty programing simply because they disagree with us?

            • Gale says:

              “Therapy does not work that way.You dont repress traumatic memories,you confront them,learn to live with them.In fact,repressing a traumatic memory and replacing it with something else is one of the things that psychiatry is actually healing.”

              Uh… What? When’d I say that therapy worked like that? I asserted that equating “fixing” with “lobotomy” implied terrible things about psychology in general, but I didn’t intend to say much at all about how therapy does work.

              I think the confusion stems from the fact that I have a thoroughly different understanding of what choosing to reprogram the Geth entails than you do. I’m assuming that “repressing a traumatic memory and replacing it with something else” would be roughly how you would describe it in human terms? I don’t think that’s how it is. After all, nothing is repressed. In fact, that’s one of the potential dangers raised by Legion in regards to reprogramming them; not destroying them returns them to the Geth network, with all their memories of Sovereign and how they worshipped him.

              And that’s significant; the rogue Geth saw the Reapers in a way that no Geth has ever conceived of anything – restoring them to the main network shares those memories and experiences in precise, perfect detail. It means that all Geth will have, effectively, worshipped the Reapers for a time. Legion doesn’t know what effect that might have. There’s nothing repressive about it. If we’re using the psychology metaphor, I see it like snapping your fingers and going from clinically depressed to perfectly fine. No process of recovery, no dealing with the issues that troubled you, no learning from the experience. You just don’t think things are so bad any more. You remember how you used to feel, but it seems strange and alien, like the memories of an entirely different person, and you have no idea how that person became you.

              Of course, that’s not a perfect metaphor. It can’t be. It’s not possible to express concepts like this in human terms, because Geth are, quite fundamentally, not human, and it would be unrealistic and unimaginative to think of them like they are.

              As for your other point, we aren’t saying anything about the rogue Geth programming. Legion is. He looked into their network, and noticed the differences from how normal Geth functioned. And I’m going to assume that he’s somewhat familiar with the workings of normal Geth.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                “I think the confusion stems from the fact that I have a thoroughly different understanding of what choosing to reprogram the Geth entails than you do. I’m assuming that “repressing a traumatic memory and replacing it with something else” would be roughly how you would describe it in human terms? I don’t think that’s how it is.”

                Yep,this is where we differ.I do see it exactly like that(well,in a way,because like you said,its a completely different kind of organism than us).Ok,lets leave it at that then.

          • Taellosse says:

            If you’re looking for an organic analogue to reprogramming an AI, a closer one than therapy is brainwashing. It’s not a perfect comparison, since in real life brainwashing is nowhere close to as easy, straightforward, or reliable as writing software (even, presumably, the extremely complex software necessary to reprogram artificial intelligences), but it’s a much more apt comparison.

        • Avilan says:

          No we couldn’t.

          Because they are not like us. And I, and Legion, both mean that seriously. It is not racism; racism in this case would be the opposite, to refuse to understand that machines, even if they are sentient, work differently than biological life forms.

          Just look at why the geth are normally impossible to hack for any length of time: if they get hacked, they get overwritten by a backup. In other words they are already doing this to themselves!

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Ok,so we are free to be racist towards krogan,because they are not like us.If you shoot a krogan in the heart,he has a backup.So its ok to incapacitate them and then harvest them for organs,because they have so many.Its also not racist to treat hanar differently,because they also work completely unlike any other race in the universe.They dont even have vocal cords,so why should we even communicate with them?And so on,and so on…

            And this is whats so brilliant about that mission:It makes people think about where the line is?When can a creature really be considered sapient?When can it be considered to “have a soul”?And,like in all the good missions in the game,they dont give you an answer,they just make the question and let you think about it.

            • Avilan says:

              So in other words you didn’t actually read my comment?

            • Gale says:

              Are you kidding? Are you kidding? Please tell me you’re kidding. I’d hate to think that you just equated “don’t assume human reactions from lifeforms that aren’t human” to “shoot aliens because fuck them, it’s not like they’ll die” and meant it seriously.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                No,but hyperbolically.

                Here,without the hyperbole,if a krogan told you “Its ok to brainwash my kin,thats how we roll”,would you accept it?Then why accept it for geth?

                • Avilan says:

                  Because I pay attention to the game?

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  And who else,beside legion,told you that this would be ok?Did you ever speak with the other side?

                  Codex doesnt count,because like the case is with genophage and many other things,it only lists the things known to humans,and thus may be very lacking in information.

                  Im mordins mission,for example,you get to hear the other side state their case before you choose anything.Here,you dont.

                • Avilan says:

                  Yes Legion told me so.
                  On the other hand, as I pointed out above and you ignored:

                  If a geth gets corrupted (hacked), it gets overwritten by a backup!!! They are (all of them) already doing this! Nobody asks the hacked geth if it wants to be wiped out and restored? It just happens!

                  This is why you have to plant the virus in their base, directly in their main servers.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Yes,overwritten by copies of themselves,not by something completely different.Thats like saying that chopping a worm in half and letting it regrow is the same as chopping a worm in half and stitching a pebble on to it.

                  EDIT:In fact,now that I think about it,geth backing themselves up and using those in cases of emergency is perfectly analogous to damaged tissue regrowing itself.And what legion is proposing is analogous to cosmetic surgery:A dangerous process used to change your looks to better fit with some picture society has about beauty.So if you want to,say shorten your nose,thats fine.But is it fine if someone else wants to shorten your nose without ever asking you,just because you have the longest nose in the town?Hey,it wont change who you are,it will only make you be like the rest of your townsmen,so whats the harm in that?

    • Deadpool says:

      Y’know, I always felt that this decision was a no-brainer, but the game DID have it backwards.

      Ways I see it, these guys hae shot at me at every turn. They’ve killed hundreds, thousands, millions… And wouldn’t hesitate to kill every man, woman and child in the galaxy. Here I have a choice to, through some serious atrocity, not only get a ton of them off my back, but to also increase the chances of success in my big, bad mission of defeating the Reapers and saving the galaxy. Or I can be nice about it and just make them go away.

      HELL no. I need all the help I can get and the forfeited any chance at sympathy the moment they decided my life and that of everyone I know and hold dear is worthless. Yeah it’s an awful thing to do to someone, I don’t care. I need every edge I can get and these jerks’ rights are so far from the top of my list of priorities I’d need a god damned telescope to see it from here…

    • Raynooo says:

      Agreed, they decided for you why you did this, either don’t have Shepard justify herself (himself) or let us explain why we did things. I blew the station too but that was certainly not because I feared Geths.

      At some point IIRC Legion implies that heretics barely represent 5% of the Geths, not sure blowing THIS station (not even the entire 5% !!!) would have Quarians winning the war…

    • Avilan says:

      Heh. I really like how the Renegade and Paragon options were inverted after you learned how the Geth works.

      During the whole mission arguing for the geth to be re-written is renegade (due to the whole mind control thing) until Legion explains how it works. Then it becomes the opposite.

  15. NonEuclideanCat says:

    I love how Mordin’s reaction at the very end is essentially “Goddamn I need a vacation. Let’s go to a beach”.

  16. Warden says:

    It always bothered me that Biowares usual approach to giving you a mixed image of a character/group was to have character give thought, but with a qualifer. “Cerb is bad, but does some good thing”.
    Whereas in Vegas you’ve got different thoughts coming from different people without the “but…”

  17. Someone says:

    My fanboy sense is tingling: there was a mention of New Vegas!

    Seriously though, as much as I love FONV, I cannot say that Caesar’s Legion is a “grey” or a “morally ambiguous” side. The NCR may not be perfect, but they are clearly the best available option and they are much MUCH better than the Legion, which is essentially, completely and rather irrationally evil. Sure, you can actually join the Legion, in an unheard of display of player freedom, but it’s position is very questionable and somewhat poorly written.

    • Gnrlshrimp says:

      I think you’ve missed out ont he reasoning behind the Legion’s actions. They do not simply slaughter for the sake of slaughtering, but to unite everyone under the banner of Caesar. Basically, Caesar’s long term goal was to bring everything under his control in a dictatorship.

      There’d be a lot of violence involved in the process, yes, and it is far more brutal than the NCR’s methods, but once Caesar controlled everything there would be peace. Peace through military force, yes, but peace all the same.

      In comparison, even if the NCR were to deal with every threat to them and establish control, they’re still struggling to create a democracy, one that’s constantly suffering from corruption. Less bloodshed involved in the process, but the end result is a lot more unstable and the possible threat of some attempt to steal power from within, resulting in further conflict, would remain.

      I suppose most people would favour the uneasy peace of the NCR over the years of constant warfare before Caesar could establish total control, and I did side with the NCR too. But my point is that in the setting of Fallout, Caesar’s Legion is not totally evil without reason, but convinced that the only way to create peace is through force.

      • Deadpool says:

        I think the main problem with Caesar’s Legion acceptability as “grey” is their treatment of women. Ultra violence, burning down cities, slavery, I can see all of those as particularly useful in a budding society in a harsh, lawless environment like this. And it WORKS, as examplified in Cassy admiting their roads are MUCH safer. People are scared of the legion, and the slaves provide the much needed manpower for rebuilding. Their assimilation tactics also fend off the possiblity (at least for the time being) of dissent from the inside.

        But the treatment of women adds NOTHING to this goal. It serves entirely to show Caesar’s Legion in a negative light and one of the weaker points in New Vegas.

        • Kojiro says:

          I think (or, rather, heard) that the slavery and treatment of women partially came from (in addition to the obvious source, Rome itself) the “Nolan Chart”, which has four areas based on high/low amounts of personal/civil freedom and economic freedom. Independents are high in both, House is low in both (House controls everything; while you could theoretically do a lot, House has to let you do it), and the NCR has high personal freedoms but somewhat weak economic ones; all the issues the traders have, the heaps of paperwork, the unnecessary and crushing regulations. The Legion, meanwhile, there’s a lot more you’re allowed to do with your money, provided you aren’t a slave or a woman. Heck, the fact that you can buy and trade slaves at all, that’s already a huge, and to most a terrible, allowance. This does, however, raise the issue of why the guy who restricts almost all freedoms is (at least on the surface) less evil than the ones who allow for a good amount of choice if you’re not in one of the groups they hate.

          Of course, it could also just be that they’re the bad guys with a leader who happens to not be pure evil but somewhat clever, though still a bastard. That is admittedly rather likely.

      • Someone says:

        Thing is, the NCR already have the Peace and Stability part down, and are moving on to more high end goals, like establishing trade and helathcare, rebuilding infrastructure and so forth. And all of that without needless brutality.

        The game did not convince me that NCR is suffering from internal conflicts, at least not ones threatening peace and stability. Corruption doesn’t matter, because even if some officials may gain too much power and be tempted to misuse it, the Legion officials seem to have absolute power over anyone lower on the food chain by default, and gleefully partake in its misuse.

        Another big problem with Legion is what they stand for. As I mentioned above, NCR tries to rebuild humanity and improve the lives of people. Legion, on the other hand, just enslaves people and integrates them into the army (or its crude economy it has, I suppose). Legion cultivates medieval magical thinking and destroys every piece of technology they come across. If Caesar ever managed to “unite” the wasteland under his rule, he would throw humanity thousands of years back technologically, by destroying priceless artifacts of the bygone age. Moreso. he’d end up creating an empire of ignorant savages worshiping cult of force, unable to make any scientific progress.

        Caesar’s cult of personality is a threat to stability of his Legion in itself, many people predicted that when the almighty dictator will finally kick the bucket, the Legion would be torn apart by the internal struggle to fill the power vacuum.

        I would actually buy it if the NCR/Legion war was presented as a problem of conflicting cultures. If Caesar came from the savage tribes of the lawless East and simply didn’t see any other way to rule than establishing an authoritarian dictatorship and killing everyone who disagreed. But Caesar comes from the West, where the NCR established values of democracy and basic human rights.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      No, the ‘yes man’ options of robot overseers is clearly the best option. Then NCR/House, and Legion comes last – because the Legion embodies many of the weaknesses the other factions have (as commented above), and bolsters with a large amount of inner issues as well.

      • Kojiro says:

        Yes-Man is arguably one of the best, but you can’t outright say he’s better than the NCR; both have their strong and weak points. I will say that the Legion, at least on the grand scale and to the greatest number of people, is the worst, although some may agree with certain aspects of their philosophy (hopefully not the parts involving slaves or the treatment of women). However, I don’t think that, when you look at it closely, House is nearly as good as the NCR. Yes, he keeps control, but he does it through being a dictator. He is far more authoritarian than the Legion, and while he’s not as obviously cruel, he cares nothing for the people he protects. The game even spells this out with the snowglobes; they’re perfect little worlds that the owner can observe and admire from above, without being a part of it. He can hold it in his hand, and if he so chooses, turn it all upside-down with a thought. House has turned New Vegas into another ornament for his collection, and a monument to himself. The only reason people are safe there is because he would be rather upset if someone broke his favorite toy.

        • Deadpool says:

          The slavery part is actually okay. I know we’ve all been condition to hate slavery as this unequivocal evil, but it DOES have its uses. Manpower is valuable in the Wasteland, and is really the only reason the Legion can keep up with the NCR militarily despite the fact the NCR is like five times its size. Having slaves doing the menial labor frees up a lot of hands into the military, which is what a group needs to spread into the wasteland and bring in the rule of law.

          So, while despicable, there’s an advantage to it. The treatment of women thugh… I can’t see the advantage there. It’s purely a bad guy trait. It cheapens the Legion ever so slightly…

          • Someone says:

            It’s not an advantage if the NCR can achieve the same level of military power without it. If anything, it’s a crutch needed to make up for OTHER failings of their philosophy (disregard of technology, for example).

          • Kojiro says:

            I’d rather not get into a discussion on exactly what’s “okay” with slavery; interesting as it would be, as you say, it’s a loaded subject, and… Actually, I don’t particularly care about that, but it’s off-topic. What I will say, though, is that, although there are obvious benefits to it, what the Legion does goes far past what is necessary. There are different “levels” to slavery, so to speak, and while, say, one like the kind on Illium in Mass Effect 2 is arguably alright, the Legion practices the worst sort. They basically make their slaves into things, items to be bought, sold, used, and discarded. It goes beyond economics into outright cruelty.

            As an example of this, albeit one I need to check myself, if you target their slaves in VATS, allegedly they have no health in their legs. Basically, the Legion broke/severely injured their legs so they couldn’t run away, and then gave them massive loads to carry around and other backbreaking (under normal conditions) tasks to perform. Another good example, check the receipt you find in Novac again. Specifically, the second “item” purchased in it.

            The woman thing, meanwhile… I think that might be one of Caesar’s personal biases slipping in, really. In addition to his attempts to emulate the original Caesar, there are hints that he personally is a misogynist, and possibly homosexual. (No, I’m not implying that those always go together; please don’t be offended, people reading this.) He’s also probably not exactly right in the head, even ignoring the tumor, which probably wasn’t there when he started the Legion. Not only is he trying to recreate what he sees as an ideal empire, he just flat-out doesn’t like women, and since this is Caesar’s Legion, it shows. I could be wrong here, but that’s how I see it, at least. No, it doesn’t really have a good reason, but it is an in-character thing, and it’s a flaw on someone who otherwise could compete for the Best Faction Leader in the game. It actually adds some depth to him, in a way; at first it looks like it makes him simpler and more stereotypically evil, but when you think about why he’s like that, it goes the other way.

            That is, assuming I’m correct. As with earlier, he could just be a right bastard.

            • Bret says:

              You know, as much as I hate Cerberus (And dear lord I hate Cerberus), I hate Caeser’s Legion even more.

              Some of what Cerberus does (not much) could be almost justified, from a Renegade point of view, if they were halfway competent. (they are not)

              The Legion?

              They’re sexist, slaving (we’re talking Batarian level stuff), technophobic morons. If the NCR wanted to bother, they could all be dead inside a year. No snipers or airstrikes (whoops! Sniper comes along and they’ve got no response), no medicine (so, any casualty is a fatality), military doctrine that is both inefficient (So, taking down the guys in important looking armor makes everyone scatter? Never read an issue of Sgt. Rock, have you Caesar?) and unnecessarily sadistic…

              What I’m saying is, taking actual Romans, dropping them into a radioactive wasteland, and telling them nothing would get you a better government within a week. Not exactly ideal.

              • Kojiro says:

                Oh, believe me, Caesar’s Legion is the last of the factions I intend to join; even Mr. House, whose ethics and morality are miles from mine, ranks higher to me. The above was just an attempt at analyzing them, and Caesar in particular. You don’t have to like the guy to think that he’s an interesting character. I find him intriguing and worth examination, even though I intend to, on my “ideal” playthrough, raid his base with Boone and put a round from an anti-materiel rifle through his skull.

                On a related topic, I made it a point to kill Vulpes Inculta when I first met him, even though it meant instantly failing a quest. Later, when the Legion sent a guy to tell me that Caesar wished to meet me and had forgiven me for Inculta’s death, I killed that guy too. I really don’t like the Legion.

  18. Kristin says:

    With the sick krogan, I love the Paragon way of sending him back.
    “blah blah you’re not helping Urdnot.”
    “Blah blah but they said I was helping Urdnot!”
    “Blah blah they lied now get out of here. But it would take a real badass to get back while injured.”
    “I can do it.”
    “You? Ha. I said a badass, not a scout whining like a quarian with a tummyache!”
    If you have Tali, she then takes offense. “Hey! I’m standing right here!”

  19. Ramsus says:

    I like this “mute everyone else” idea. Probably something to do one of those all combat episodes.

  20. Zaxares says:

    Nooooooo! You guys missed Grunt’s extra health upgrade! D:

    Also, Maelon hasn’t developed a cure for the genophage, but he’s made significant strides towards it.

    In the previous episode, Mordin explains how they tested the genophage. They ran simulations and tests on cloned tissue samples. High level tests were performed on varren. At no point did they ever perform a test on a live krogan subject. (Although, this was the new, improved genophage. No information is ever provided about whether they tested the original genophage 1000 years ago on live krogan.) Admittedly, this approach was likely bad because it meant that the salarians couldn’t be 100% sure that their new genophage would work, but I think it shows a strict line that they weren’t willing to cross.

    I don’t think it’s all downhill from here though. Jack and (especially) Tali’s loyalty missions are also quite moving and thought-provoking.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      No, no, no. It isn’t an upgrade to Grunt’s health. It’s an upgrade to “the health of all Krogans on the team” somehow I can’t help but roll my eyes every time I see this description. Who are they trying to fool?

      I know Jack raises a lot of ire and I am in the minority who genuinely like her as a character and her mission is pretty much a “go down a corridor and shoot stuff till you get a cutscene” thing (with a few smaller twists along the way) but there is something really precious by the end of it. Specifically, I really like the “they did such horrible things to us that there had to be a good reason” line of reasoning. This is how many people actually deal with traumatic events, by eventually arriving at the conclusion that there had to be some kind of superior reason for this. Yes, they could have worked a bit more on exploring the subject but I can see how this is a game and not a psychology textbook.

      • poiumty says:

        Since Grunt is an optional character, i don’t think they wanted to spoil that you could get him by saying “This upgrade is specifically for the krogan known as Grunt”. Same with Legion.

      • Avilan says:

        I agree. Not to be too political but I have a friend who lost her son in the Vietnam War. She keeps repeating that very phrase; stating that the war MUST have been good and right because she refuse to have had her son die for nothing.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I dont think only minority likes jack.I like her,so does Shamus,and there have to be more.Shes really a surprise character.She pushes people away from herself,acts all tough and bitchy,but once you scratch the surface,you figure out shes just a troubled little girl that was tormented from her very birth.Its hard to deal with something like that,and this was presented very well.

      • Taellosse says:

        Jack grew on me, too. I didn’t like her at first, but after her loyalty mission, she becomes much more human, and less of the caricature she’s portrayed as in the promo material and beginning of the game.

        I just wish the model designers had the sense to give her a top that was physically possible. I get the urge to show off all the skin art, but those leather straps simply wouldn’t stay on unless they were glued in place. I appreciate gratuitous boobage as much as the next straight male, but breaking verisimilitude way outweighs that for me.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Yeah, the model is ridiculous, I’d say at least give her the tanktop she gets later as base clothing and a different texture for it once she’s loyal. I actually think that is what drove a lot of people away from the character, that the graphic design was clearly there to show the flesh.

  21. hewhosaysfish says:

    @Shamus
    “Mr Mordin Solus,MD”?

    Dr Mordin Solus, MD.

  22. Slothful says:

    What’s with Grunt’s eye at the 14 minute mark? It’s…weird…

    But yeah, when I got to this part of the game, I accidentally told Mordin to wipe the data, when I wanted him to save it. The thing is, that regardless of the moral implications of the acquisition of data, it could always be useful later. It’s part of that old pack rat instinct I’ve got. Don’t throw it away if there’s a chance you could use it.

    The data could also have more uses than just how to cure the genophage; if you have a record on file, you could consult it to show just what lengths some are willing to go to cure the genophage, and it could also tell you what to look for if there might be another errant scientist trying to kill the genophage. Having a record makes everything easier.

    That being said, what I love most about Tunchaka is how Wrex is trying to unite the Krogan, and through beating the crap out of each other, the Krogan are establishing the cornerstones of civilization. They could use a janitor to clean Tunchaka up though…

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>