Spoiler Warning S4E35:
The Plot Strikes Back!

By Shamus
on Feb 4, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

Did you enjoy the last three episodes of positive feedback and admiration? Did you like how we heaped praise on the game and talked about the profound philosophical ideas and questions that had been disguised in common sci-fi garb? No? Good. Because we’re finally through that part of the game. Gather round, everyone. It’s time for bile, and the first round’s on me. In fact, let’s make it a double! No! A triple!

Part the oneth:


Link (YouTube)

Part 2, Electric Boogaloo:


Link (YouTube)

Part III, Revenge of the raving haters:


Link (YouTube)

The triple episode is so that we can get this out of the way for our upcoming SPECIAL EPISODE ONE HUNDRED MAILBAG QUESTION ANSWERING OF EXTREME FEEDBACK.

In fact, let me tackle one of those questions now:

From Dude:

If you could give Bioware one suggestion. One and only one suggestion, that you think will make Mass Effect 3 better than 2, what would it be?

I would like the person who designed this part of the game to watch this episode. Then go sit in a corner and think long and heard about everything they did wrong. To make Mass Effect 3 better than 2, my advice is to point at this mission and say “don’t do this”.

The whole thing requires that every single person involved acts like an imbecile:

The collectors set aside their important collecting work to set an obvious trap for one dude. Why? Because he’s the mighty COMANDAR SHEPARD AKSHUN HEERO. They counted on the fact that Shepard wouldn’t just blast them without boarding them. Then Shepard DOES fall for it (thanks to TIM) and their plan fails anyway. They have the drop on him, they have the home field advantage, they have superior numbers, a more advanced ship, the guidance of a Reaper, AND THEY STILL CAN’T CLOSE THE DEAL. The story has now firmly established the collectors as bumbling fools. (In the episode, I asked why they didn’t lock the door. I was talking about a physical lock. I know there’s an electronic lock, which Edi hacks. Really, if they wanted to capture Shepard, all they needed was a deadbolt. If nothing else, they could just have flown off with him and left the Normandy behind.

TIM spends a great deal of his fortune bringing back humanity’s hope, but can’t trust Shepard to not give away that he knows he’s walking into a trap. His plan REQUIRES that Shepard blindly walk into a trap and escape anyway, which means his plan hinges on the gross incompetence of the enemy. Remember that in TIM’s mind, Shepard is the only hope for the galaxy. He’d rather risk the entire galaxy than suffer the chance that Shepard do something (what, exactly?) to tip them off, and then they would… do what, exactly? What was he afraid of that he was wiling to risk everything?

Commander Shepard is an idiot for going on board without having any sort of plan. What was his goal? The game never really gave you one except “Go on the ship. Okay, now fight your way back out.” Why didn’t he blow up the supposedly helpless ship? Why didn’t he look for the bridge / engineering and try to take control of it? Why didn’t he have explosives for wrecking the ship once he was inside? WHY DIDN’T HE STOP WORKING FOR CERBERUS AFTERWARD?

Joker is a moron and flies right in front of the collector ship, which is the worst possible thing he could have done. And he should know this, since the LAST SHIP HE FLEW was destroyed by this same gun.

EDI was not quite a moron on par with everyone else, although it seems like she could have noticed the bogus Turian signal a bit sooner.

All of this damage, where every character must act stupidly or illogically. For what? A bit of exposition?

I’m not against the idea of a betrayal, and getting inside the bad guy’s lair and learning their plans is a time-honored narrative device. It’s just that the writer completely failed to come up with a setup that made sense, and had to mangle just about every character in the story to make this fit. This writing is NOT up to BioWare standards, plain and simple. Yes, their games have logical failings now and again. All writers do. I know I do, and I strive to do better. But this is a new and abrupt low for this company.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!202020204There are more than 283 comments. But less than 285

From the Archives:

  1. Akheloios says:

    Video Privacy is killing Cinema.

  2. Kanodin says:

    “If nothing else, they could just have flown off with him and left the Normandy behind.” Dangit Shamus stop beating me to the better ideas.

  3. Zah says:

    Judging by Benezia in ME1 it seems like Samara is about right: The more Biotic power an Asari has the more cleavage she must show.

  4. Gamercow says:

    I think you could have curtailed the Joker bit to “Joker is a moron” because it encompasses his role in the whole game, doesn’t it?

    • Robyrt says:

      Consensus is that Joker is perfectly aware of how unhelpful he is. He’s been intentionally trolling Shepard for two games now and is poised to make a return in Mass Effect 3, where he will continue to drop you on the opposite side of the complex from the end boss, fly right into enemy laser fire, and gossip about you behind your back.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Well yeah, I mean now that the landing on planets a kilometer away from your target isn’t in the game he has to grief you SOMEHOW.

        “Hey Shepard, remember how you died last time? Whoops! almost got us killed again! It’s times like these I wish I had some sort of cybernetic reconstructive surgery on my bones, you know anyone who could manage that? Nah, probably not.”

        Oh hey, I guess he does have a reason for it now.

        Guys, better watch out for Garrus after you get the facial scar reconstruction machine. Just a heads up.

  5. Nyctef says:

    TRAP!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-q11J3ponE

    Also, this sort of trap is such a common trope I never really thought about it when I played through. And the gameplay is pretty good. But yeah, it’s pretty stupid in retrospect.

    • Nyctef says:

      Also: “We begin with what we want to happen and then we’ll work out some way to justify it later”

      Probably a lot of truth in that, given what they’ve been saying about having to set up the story for ME3. They also said that they won’t have that problem in ME3, so hopefully that’ll bring improvements.

  6. jdaubenb says:

    Word.

    This part of the game was the final straw for me.
    After the game forcing my hand in working with Cerberus, the amalgamation of Ashley/Kaidan and this monstrosity, I no longer felt invested into the story.

  7. Raynooo says:

    WHY ? Why do Collectors look nothing like Protheans ? Just as you said wy would they ever pick a race to COMPLETELY transform them, imagine the complexity of the process in order to (and they say it in the dialog) obtain mediocre soldiers who are sterile, weak, no biotics plus they seem pretty dumb.

    Sometimes it feels like the guys in charge of the story haven’t played the first game, only looked at the box art and back and were like :
    “Ok there are zombie stuff, robots, hot blue chicks, it’s in space and the hero doesn’t shave everyday ! Bam you’ve got a game coming.”

    And the learning how to use a gun in the middle of nowhere ; couldn’t describe it better than you did.

    In mass effect 3 we’ll learn that mankind were originally crab people that lived at the bottom of sulfur oceans but we were transformed by the Reapers in an evil scheme 150 million years long and that they twirl their evil moustaches and giggle in the emptyness of space.

    Also just a few details : you can see the debris of the Turian patrol ship in the cutscene where you land, it’s on the right in the first shot (Collector ship on the left). The fact that it’s completely destroyed should make it obvious that it’s the dumbest trap ever. Like a lion pretending to be dead next to the trashed corpse of a baby zebra…

    And there are no Turian reinforcements because TIM set them on a false trail so that you can be alone to investigate. Because Turians are… evil I guess ? I don’t know…

    Which proves again that Collectors are SO BAD at setting traps that TIM needs to help them. TIM and the Reapers working together would be the lamest surprise in ME3…

    • Vect says:

      Well, I’m pretty sure TIM’s the kinda guy who would take any opportunity to be a petty asshole to Turians especially (hell, he may have just sent the turians to some planet he’s doing Thresher Maw “research” on). Probably why he won’t have Garrus given proper medical attention other than having Chakwas slapping a patch on his face. He was a guy who fought in the Turian/Human wars (where he dealt with Saren apparently) and in the books he hired a guy as one of his superagents for specifically being a violent racist.

      http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Kai_Leng

      • Raynooo says:

        So extended universe confirms that TIM is a real, living human ? That is kind of a disappointment. What’s with the eyes then ?

        I hope he sends Turians to make sure that Thresher Maws don’t get tummy aches after eating Turians, that is capital information and will give us the opportunity to play a sole survivor Turian who joins Cerberus…

        On patching Garrus : yeah why doesn’t any character ever mentions it afterwards ? I mean even Tali, Liara or Wrex should be like “Dude, where is half of your face gone ?”

      • Luhrsen says:

        Yes but still the Collectors should have been expecting an armada of Turians to arrive unless TIM told them he was sending just you. How would they have known he would intercept the message?

    • Sydney says:

      They do look like Protheans, as far as I can tell. Look at the statues on Ilos; same basic body shape, but the statues are more willowy than the Collectors. We’re not sure how much the Reapers changed, and how much the Protheans stylized the statues.

      Everything else that happens in this mission is pretty much unsalvageably Trofy-worthy.

      • Raynooo says:

        Prothean looked more like human/cthulhu hybrids to me but I might be biased. Anyway here are a few screenshots from the first game.

        There

        There

        And there

        Third link shows something a bit closer to a Collector but still more human than insect and that is supposed to be a flashback/message.

        • Sydney says:

          Basic morphology is the same. How much do we look like, say, the proto-humans of 50,000 years ago? And that’s without extensive genetic modification.

          • swimon says:

            well we didn’t suddenly grow an exoskeleton…

            Even if it makes sense how much they differ visually (I’m not a biologist what do I know) it’s bad story telling. If they looked like the statues in the first game it would be clever and subtle foreshadowing, as it stands now it just seems stupid and serves no real purpose.

            • Sydney says:

              Look how much Saren changed in eight seconds when the Reapers decided he should. Or look what happened to Grayson in Retribution. The repurposing can be quick.

              Besides, I don’t understand the idea that every plot twist has to be foreshadowed. Why can’t it just be something you didn’t know before, and find out now?

              We had no idea that Aeris would die, but I didn’t hear people saying “How were we supposed to see that coming”. Sometimes things just come out of nowhere.

              • Raynooo says:

                I agree that this being a surprise might be better than if they were the exact clones of the statues (which could indeed be stylized (is that a word ?)) but the statues don’t look insectoids and if you intend to remove everything that makes them what they were (intelligence, free will, etc) then why bother using a smart species ? Why not force-evolve bud begs ?

                Otherwise 50 000 years is obviously not enough for a living thing to change that much, that is if they are dna based and the rules of their evolution is the same as ours which is less than certain, IIRC Quarians have a different NATURE of DNA (Turian-Quarian bar talk on Ilium).

                On the Saren transformation, I though that he had been heavily mechanically improved and what was left of him was a robot/geth zombie skeleton but I haven’t read the “official” wiki on that so I could be wrong.

                • Sydney says:

                  He was implanted and modified, yes. Same for Paul Grayson.

                  But same again for the Collectors.

                • Taellosse says:

                  No, Quarian and Turian DNA isn’t different, their biology just uses a different strain of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins, not DNA) than other species. So they can’t eat the same kinds of food (it’s either not nutritious for them, or outright poisonous).

              • Specktre says:

                I agree on the point that the Collectors being Protheans is not really a big deal. At least, that is to say, I didn’t think it was that big a deal and it doesn’t bother me.

                Vigil in ME1 talked about how there were those who were Indoctrinated, went to other worlds as “refugees” as betrayed their own people to the Reapers. There are also references to the Reapers using Indoctrinated servants until they were spent, then discarding them.

                The first Indoctrinated Protheans used for the purposes of collecting other races for Reaper reproduction probably looked like regular Protheans but, as is mentioned in ME1, prolonged and/or intensified Indoctrination decreases the effectiveness and usefulness of the slave. Thus, over time to compensate for the degenerating slave, the Reapers (as Mordin later says) “replace [everything with] tech” with each passing generation and have to practically rebuild the Prothean slaves from the ground up.
                So in the end, the Reapers have effectively rebuilt the Protheans as worker drones. The changing of DNA simply comes with the reconstruction process. (And yes they have Biotics–saw a comment in here somewhere where someone thought they didn’t; just look in the codex, change the game difficulty, or simply read the health meter and notice that the bar is purple, not blue, and says “barrier” not “shield”)

                • Raynooo says:

                  That would be me, I thought only Harbinger activated Biotics since I couldn’t find any reason to play on harder modes.
                  I didn’t link barrier to biotics too, I was too used to thinking it’s a regular shield that needs different ammo :)

              • PurePareidolia says:

                It’s not that it’s unforshadowed, it’s that it’s completely pointless and is a huge stretch.

                Also, how does EDI know what Prothean DNA looked like? Did they recover the cryopods from Ilos or something? Shouldn’t they have mentioned something like that if it happened? recovering actual prothean bodies seems like it might be kind of relevant, especially if they’re intact and presumably preserved mostly intact. At least it sounds like something Liara might want to mention seeing as she’s apparantly been there since ME1 (if the photo in her apartment is anything to go by). I dunno, I’d find it interesting.

                • Klay F. says:

                  I never understood why people get so pissed just because the Collectors don’t look exactly like the statues on Ilos. Do all statues on Earth replicate the human body? No. Why are we demanding that Prothean statuary do this?

                • krellen says:

                  There were also Protheans in the beacon vision, who did look like the statues.

                • Irridium says:

                  True, but statues on Earth still resemble what humans kind of look like. Sure its stretched, but you can still see they’re human-looking.

                  The Collectors don’t have to look exactly like they do on Illos, but I’d expect them to at least be somewhat similar.

                • Sydney says:

                  Fifty thousand years. That, by the way, is the same time span between early, Savannah-dwelling homo sapiens and modern-day people.

                  And we haven’t spent that entire time getting genetically modified and altered with cybernetics.

                • Slothful says:

                  Also, THERE’S A PICTURE OF THE PROTHEANS IN THE GODDAMN CODEX

                  …It bares no resemblance to bugs.

  8. GabrielMobius says:

    The only other character in a video game that repeatedly betrayed me and I could do nothing about was Reaver, from Fable 2. And he did it in the same, to-your-face manner as the Illusive Man does. And I’m finding it really hard to pinpoint which one is more annoying.

    In each case, you’re railroaded into working with them for no good reason, when you should legitimately just give them both the finger and a good shot between the eyes as a parting gift. Reaver might come out on top in the annoyance scales only because of what he did during the last fight of the game.

    I sincerely hope these incidences don’t become commonplace in game design. One of my favourite things to do in a game is to finally see revenge doled out onto the guy that betrayed you, even if it takes the length of two games to do it (Moebius the Time Streamer from the Legacy of Kain games, for example). But just straight up having them betray you over and over again to your face with no possible chance of paying them back is outright ridiculous, and does need to stop.

    • Raynooo says:

      Yeah let’s Moebius that guy, kill him, destroy his soul and the desacrate his corpse ! Best way to end a villain EVER !

    • Vect says:

      Well on Reaver in the third game:

      He doesn’t really betray you, but there’s nothing you can do to him and when you’re King, he’ll pretty much profit from any decision you make (Build a brothel? Yay, fun! Build a schoolhouse? Well, looks like Reaver Industries has another building contract! WORK DOGS WORK!).

      • GabrielMobius says:

        That bastard comes back in Fable 3? Are you kidding me?

        • Vect says:

          Oh yeah.

          This time he’s gone from pirate to full-on Captain of Industry. He makes use of child labor, shoots protesters (and apparently uses executions in place of firing people) and holds orgies with Balverines and chickens. And yes, once again you can’t do anything against him. Hell, once you become ruler he’s amongst your board of advisers.

          • Retlor says:

            Mind you, the issues you have to decide on in that section of the game are so mind-numbingly stupid and poorly written (worse than anything in ME2) that I began to appreciate Reaver’s hammy OTT villainousness over my self-righteous allies.

            • Taellosse says:

              Don’t forget pointless! The choices are utterly pointless, too. Since if you’ve been playing even remotely smart, you’ve got vastly more money than you could possibly ever spend by that stage of the game, and can easily just plunk the requisite 6 million golds into the treasury as soon as you access it (what is the value of millions of golds in a setting where you already own every item available for purchase and every piece of property that can be bought? Paying hookers and giving to beggars not only gets old, but comes in such small numbers that it hardly matters). Then all of the “hard choices” between things that will bring increased revenues versus things that are actually remotely intelligent in the long term are not just stupid and badly written, but also meaningless, as there’s no real urgency to any of them.

              • Irridium says:

                Which is a shame, because the King part could have been such a great thing. Forced to choose between being a “good” king and making everyone happy, then having them all die, or being “bad” but saving them all. Would show that just because your liked, doesn’t mean your a good leader, and that sacrifices must be made in order to live.

                Or something like that. Just wish Lionhead didn’t cock it up…

          • PurePareidolia says:

            So you’re king and you can’t just decree he be executed?
            Man, what is even the point of being King if you can’t execute anyone you want?

        • Galad says:

          ok, I’ve only played Fable: the lost chapters for a few hours, so I only have a passing knowledge of the weird fable world..And I respect Peter Molyneux as much as the next “Average joe” on the internet..But I’ve read Shamus’ exposition on the extensive retardation Fable 2’s story is..And come on..Whoever thought this was a good idea (Reaver coming back and not getting blown to pieces and have his corpse not desecrated) needs to stop trying to be a writer. Right now. Of ANYthing -_-

  9. wtrmute says:

    Well, I just hope we get a mission in ME3 where you can find out the Illusive Man’s location and then throw him into that sun that’s always behind him…

    • swimon says:

      It really shouldn’t be that hard one of your eyes is a camera just have it store what you see when you talk to him. Then use said footage to get a view of all the stars in the background then just find a place in the galaxy where you can get that view. With the technology they have it should take seconds for a computer to find the right star he’s orbiting.

      • Someone says:

        Or just tap into Shadow Broker’s database, if it has the number of cigarettes he smokes every day then it must have his location too. Miranda probably knows where he is too, she was there with him during that scene at the start of the game.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh god,this mission.It wasnt just stupid,but generic as well.I have forgotten about it even.Why?Why have you reminded me?!Damn you guys!

    And interesting fact,one of the things I often like to point out is that mordin says the collectors are too sterile and cant progress,and how change,mutation,art and stuff is the key to progress.And he seems to say it in this mission!And even despite that,despite one of my most favourite quotes from the game being in this mission,I have forgotten about it completely!Thats how bad it was!Grrr!

    *sigh*Ok…Lets see how this one wouldve worked(because that will calm me down):
    You find out that collectors are hovering above another colony,and have been picked up just a few moments before they disappeared from the sensors,but now that people know they are there,they can see them with a telescope.It seems they are preparing for another raid,so tim tells you to go there and stop them before they start.When you arive,you see a shuttle leaving,and assume it carries the bugs,but tim orders you to board the ship and surprise them.So you creep up to the ship,board it,and go some way,before you find out its a trap!The shuttle comes back,and docks with normandy,releasing bugs inside,but thanks to mordins studies,the crew remains intact.Meanwhile,collectors ambush you,but they didnt count on you having an AI,and thanks to it,you manage to leave the ship in the nick of time.And edi also finds out about iff while this is going on.There,much less of a stretch,same result.And all that just from the top of my mind.

    I never got the point of that training.You already have a character built around the weapons you have from the beginning,and here you get a new one,that doesnt fit at all.

    Yes,collectors being protheans is another great idea,with a poor delivery.*sigh*

    Hey,shepards boobs really have grown between the games.

    Josh,why arent your companions using their powers?Did you turn off autocast?

    • Raynooo says:

      Your plot is better, you should ask for a job on ME3 QUICKLY.

      What happens if you have a soldier character ? Do you HAVE to choose Claymore Shotgun ?

      • Kanodin says:

        Actually you can pick up a special assault rifle and sniper rifle if you already have training in them. The claymore is the best of em though, don’t let Josh tell ya different.

        • Kojiro says:

          I don’t know much about the Claymore (although the single-bullet clip in a close-range weapon thing sounds like a major disadvantage), but in my opinion the Widow (sniper rifle) is where it’s at. It’s one of the few standard weapons capable of one-shotting many enemies, even on the higher difficulties, and taking out the tougher ones with only a few more shots. You basically get to kill anything, from any distance, with minimal ammo, provided you know where to shoot. And unlike, say, a shotgun, only having one bullet loaded at a time isn’t an issue, since you are (or at least you should be) at enough of a distance from your opponents that this is a non-issue. Sniper rifles are distance weapons; if your opponent can reach you before you reload, either you’re in a bad area or you aren’t sniping right. Also, that’s what the invisibility power’s for, if you’re an Infiltrator. That also increases the sniper rifle’s damage by a percentage, which, with the Widow’s already high attack, just makes things better.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yup,widow is a perfect weapon for an infiltrator.You get slow down when you zoom in,you get to down your target in one shot,and you get to cloak and reposition yourself afterwards.

            Plus,I dont get why people keep saying how ammo is the issue on insanity?Am I just being too conservative with it?Im over halfway in the game,and Ive emptied just my machine gun reserve just once,which is the weapon you use before you evolve your powers enough to rely just on your sniper+cloak and incinerate(and hack when fighting robots).

            • Friend of Dragons says:

              Well, if you’re using the machine gun, I’m not surprised you don’t have issues. It has tons and tons of ammo, which is one of the main points in its favor.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                I was using it up until the point my cloak lasted longer than its cooldown.Now I rely mostly on sniper rifle,incinerate,and my squadmates.And heavy weapons from time to time.I whip out the machine gun only when someone has a shield that cant be overloaded in one hit,or when Im stuck melee enemies.

          • Kanodin says:

            The reload time is short enough that having only one bullet loaded is not that much of a handicap, and more importantly the Claymore will kill pretty much any non boss enemy with that one shot. Compare with the shotgun used here, sure you get 8 shots but you’re gonna need 3-4 per enemy, so for me the Claymore was always a much faster killer. Finally you will basically never run out of ammo when you’ve got 11 and then 20 shots that all instakill most enemies. This has been me rambling about shotguns, we hope it has not taken up too much of your time.

        • Vect says:

          Probably just his playing style. He’d rather just shoot them really fast rather than just pure firepower.

      • Vect says:

        Also, you can get the Claymore from Grunt.

      • Robyrt says:

        A soldier has access to a choice of all 3 upgraded weapons, of which I always found the machine gun to be strongest. It has near-infinite ammo, it works on everything, and it can go full-auto to emulate a shotgun.

  11. Raynooo says:

    Also : the pre-last-mission cutscene seems to confirm that indeed the Collectors only have this one ship.

    You know, the one that can be destroyed by us using regular state of the art weaponry (Turian guns aren’t that expensive), the same one they apparently planned to go and harvest EARTH with even though ONE poorly calibrated small alliance AA gun had it run away after 5 shots.

    Nice job Reapers, harvesting an entire spacefaring civilization that had spreaded in the entire galaxy and turning them into a one ship dumb sterile acarians…

    • Avilan says:

      It’s not turian guns; it’s guns reverse-engineered from Soverign…

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Actually that makes it very plausible the Turians could take down a collector ship. I mean the Normandy is a stealth craft with only one main cannon and you can tear through the collector ship like butter if you have the Thanix cannon. Logically the entire Turian Fleet should have no trouble with obliterating any collectors or reapers that got near them now. Especially since they probably have vastly upscaled versions of the guns.

      • Raynooo says:

        So maybe we should have let the Collectors try to harvest Earth and enjoy the show while sipping ice tea ?

        I hope ME3 writers won’t forget about how awesome Thanix cannons are…

        • PurePareidolia says:

          The most likely scenario if they do remember that is that this means the reaper fight will just be a standard space battle won through sheer force of arms, rather than anything remotely interesting, hence your recruitment of all the other races.

          This makes me sad.

    • Kavonde says:

      Hey, those guns were calibrated PERFECTLY!

  12. swimon says:

    I also like that EDI can hack the collector ship even while commenting that there’s some one else in the system. That someone else have to be the reaper right? So now EDI is a faster computer than a reaper or what? I mean the reapers are supposed to be like the pinnacle of technology the end of what’s possible but I’m sure a human mad AI that seems comparable to a thousand Geth is a reapers equal.

  13. Kojiro says:

    You know, there is one good thing about this mission (or two, counting the upgrade you get during it; the Widow is amazing, although of course you’re getting something else): It completely justifies the Paragon option at the end of the game. No, not for the in-game reasons your character states, but for far more obvious ones, that being that Cerberus, and specifically The Illusive Man, simply cannot be trusted. Not with the big thing at the end, not with their own forces, not with a lemonade stand.

    Now, before you say “but we could have given the thing to someone else”, that really isn’t an option. Sure, you could call the Citadel or Earth or whoever, but TIM would know, since you’re doing it from a Cerberus ship. A good portion of the people there don’t trust you for various reasons (a good many tied to Cerberus, the pricks), and even those that do probably wouldn’t be able to mobilize immediately; getting an adequate crew ready and there would take quite a while, especially considering that, while the mass relays appear to be nearly instant, it still takes time to get around the galaxy. Meanwhile, TIM probably already has people waiting right outside the Omega 4 relay to swoop in the moment you clear the place. He is getting there first, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Even if you get the entire army sent there eventually, who knows what Cerberus will have gotten done by then. They may have even moved the station entirely somehow. Basically, if it’s there, Cerberus is getting it, and since it’s the end of the game, you (sadly) can’t kill them all like you’re doing in this mission to far superior opponents.

    The second argument against the Paragon option, and the bigger one, is “What about all the benefits this technology presents?” And yes, there would be a plethora of useful knowledge to be gained there. However, even setting aside the fact that giving people Reaper technology is exactly how the Reapers pull their tricks (after all, they control that, and you may get a lot more than they intended from this), there is a single major problem here, a problem that plagues you from the beginning to just about the very end of the game (or maybe the very end, if you don’t go Paragon). All that technology, all the potential super-weapons, the death ships, the revolutionary ways to destroy anything in your way and all that; it’s all going into the hands of one man, and his name is TIM.

    I could go on there, but honestly I think that says far more than another overly-long paragraph could.

    So, instead of preserving the thing, blow it up. Give Cerberus the biggest middle finger possible, do what you’ve wanted to since the very moment you met The Illusive Man, in the form of the greatest resignation letter ever, and give him a definitive “Fuck you”. The Paragon option isn’t stupid, it’s what you’ve been begging to have an option for since you started the series, and I say, take it.

    TIM’s probably going to betray you in ME3 anyway. There’s no way you’re seeing any benefits from that thing. May as well get a fireworks display out of it.

    • John Magnum says:

      I picked the Paragon option on my Renegade playthrough. I figure that the ME3 plot is gonna happen no matter which one I choose–we’ll be fighting the Reapers with or without the Collector base tech. Blowing it up was me flipping off the Illusive Man.

      The case that Reaper technology inevitably corrupts those who study and attempt to use it is a less metagamey defense of the Paragon choice. I’d still like to hand it over to the Systems Alliance, although… Well, honestly, everyone you work for in the Mass Effect games kind of sucks. The Systems Alliance goes from being comically apathetic to gratingly apathetic. The Council is always utterly useless. TIM is horrible. There’s no one worth turning the tech over to.

      • Vect says:

        Well, it’s unfortunate you can’t somehow bluff TIM and get Mordin to hand it off to the STG. Those guys definitely know about the Reapers and I can bet they actually have competent-ass researchers as well as know how to keep it a secret.

        • John Magnum says:

          Oh man the STG! Those guys rule hard. I’d forgotten about them. I would seriously quit working for Cerberus and the Council and the SA if I could work for the Special Tasks Group.

          They’re one of the very few political entities in the game that seems to actually be doing anything. Them, the quarians, and the krogans. The turians don’t have anything they’re trying to do. The asari don’t have any goals. All the gigantic empires of the galaxy just sit there and live on the Citadel. When the geth begin attacking people, the galactic government sits on its ass. When human colonies disappear, the Systems Alliance sits on its ass. What are they doing instead? Nothing. They have no goals and no projects.

          But the STG actually gets stuff done. They and the quarians and the krogan actually give the impression that their political factions have goals and clout and are making things happen.

          • Kojiro says:

            While I can’t say anything about the STG, it seems that the Krogan, Quarian, and even the weirder species like the Geth (non-heretics) and the Rachni are joining your side, at least if you’re Paragon. It actually makes for some delicious potential in ME3: After having flipped off Cerberus,you can next do so to the Council, for their steadfast refusal to ever do anything useful even after you saved their lives, and save everyone again anyway, with the help of all the other people they screwed over, ticked off, or just don’t like. You’re basically gathering a big group of the Council’s rejects, and you’re going to prove that the Council is completely useless and irrelevant.

            Well, you’ve sort of already done that, a few times, but this time you’ll actually have other people on your side who can back you up. Personally, I’m hoping for a complete political overhaul for the Paragons who did everything right in the previous games. After saving Earth and the galaxy, and crushing nuisances like Cerberus, get back home and throw out the trash. Said trash being the Council, especially that turian one with his air quotes. Smarmy jerk.

            Meanwhile, the Renegades can probably have them killed outright, hopefully at least one manner of this being cutting them off during a distress call from them and ignoring them, in keeping with the proud Renegade tradition from the first game. Maybe you’ll get to paraphrase the turian’s dismissal of the Reapers while you’re at it. That would also be great, albeit not quite on the same level. Perhaps more personally satisfying, though.

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              That is pretty much my theory for ME3 plot, and the trailer seems to confirm it (the whole “if Shepard doesn’t bring help…”). About half the races of the galaxy are in a position where they are likely to side with you for some reason or other: Wrex (if he survives of course) unites the Krogan and he’s a pal, Tali SLIGHT SPOILER is a candidate for the admiralty board and we learn that there are elements within the Quarian society who want to make good with the Geth who, in turn, have essentially sent their representative, or more likely a walking, talking embassy to seek you out specifically. Not to mention the Rachni who, if you let them go, effectively pledge themselves to your cause.

              The para/rene of ME3 is most likely going to be a difference between making an all out federation and gently pointing out to the council that they maybe should include the other races in the grand scheme of things or (rene) giving the council races a finger and saying “we’re the ones running the show now”.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          Okay, you know what? We probably are being supported by the STG in ME3.

          They want you to go out and get a crew again [Possibly without Krogan, giving who you’re working for, while they come up with an epic plan to take down the Reapers.

          Their first shot? Reaper-Genophage. Then, Human-Genophage, since without humans, the Reapers have no leverage.

          As for their final solution, anti-Reaper-indoctrination. Then you get to ride one into the final battle.

          Or you know what? League of One remnants.

      • Kavonde says:

        I picked the Paragon option for my Renegade Shep, and the Renegade option for my Paragon Shep. My reasoning was that ParaShep seems to be all about saving lives and stopping the Reapers, and the Reaper tech could (at least in the short term) go a long way to defeating the Reapers with a minimal loss of life. RenShep, on the other hand, is a cocky bastard with a slight immortality complex; he’s confident he’ll find a way to stop the Reapers, and if he doesn’t, he’ll be dead, so whatever.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The only reason Ive picked the paragon option in the end myself was exactly this:To screw tim over.

      But I doubt that cerberus is just waiting to swoop in once you clear the place because it seems that reaper iff is not just software but an actual object,that only your ship has(and the collector ship youve destroyed before you entered the base).So before anyone gets the access to the collector base,you have to get out.However,I wasnt going to let myself be dragged into giving this awesome piece of technology to tim.

  14. Zah says:

    After letting the 3 parts sink in I just have to say I notice a trend:

    If your game is published by Microsoft Game Studios it’s likely the story is an analogy for the bleak reality of game development. Fable 3 made constant nods to the troubles that have kept the series from being the ‘best RPG ever.’ Then there’s Halo: Reach which might appear to be Thermopylae in space but can also be a reluctant goodbye to the fans by a studio looking to escape a franchise they lost control of. Then there’s Alan Wake which Rob Zacny discusses at length on The Escapist. Also if you’re Bungie or Bizarre Creations you will actually jump ship to Activision of all publishers just to get out of making another Halo or Project Gotham Racing title.

    If your game is published by EA then the design philosophy of ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ isn’t just a guide but a mandate. Either by having absolutely nothing to say about a complex conflict that is the result of decades even centuries of historical events (Medal of Honor 2010) or by producing a sequel to a game that was rough around the edges but had enough interesting ideas behind it to gather a fanbase then fill the sequel with nothing but bland antagonists to shoot, protagonists with nothing to say or any hint they might have developed through the events of the game and when the game isn’t throwing enemies at the player will throw in-jokes and references to the previous title, the genre as a whole or to various inspirations behind the universe blemishing what could have been a vastly improved sequel by constantly breaking the fourth wall. For your consideration Mass Effect 2 and Dead Space 2.

    I’d go on to share my feelings on Square Enix, Activision and Ubisoft but its 3am here.

    • John Magnum says:

      Of course, Dead Space 1 was also published by EA.

      • Zah says:

        This is true but I see 2010/2011 EA having a different goal to the EA of 2008, a year which saw them taking chances with games like Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge.

        EA has been taking chances, they do make incredibly polished games, they do go all out on the budgets and their shift to creating franchises at the cost of say licenses such as James Bond is admirable.

        I don’t however look to EA as a publisher that’s going to provide a title with artistic or literary merit. A bit like Capcom. If you get an EA game (even developed by a ‘partner’) it’s all budget, it’s all polish and it’s a bit of (stupid) fun.

        Maybe Crysis 2 and the Dragon Age and Mass Effect sequels which are being released this year will make me eat my words but I’m fine with that.

    • krellen says:

      ME1 was published by Microsoft Game Studios.

  15. Sara Pickell says:

    Oh man, the part that sucks the worst is that if he’d just told you it was a trap, you could have dropped into local space and gone straight for it’s engines like a bat out of hell. Blow it’s engines before it can raise it’s mass effect barriers, bring in boarding parties behind it and captured it for realsies without ever risking a confrontation with it’s main gun. Then you could work out a proper plan and go in and take control of the ship, take it’s IFF (he hints that he had considered the possibility of you needing it), and have a Collecter cruiser at your disposal without risking more than the lives of a merc crew or two, or twenty. (Blue Suns when you want the body count high and the job mostly kind of done!)

    Edit:
    And while I’m thinking about it, given the level of cunning we’ve seen from Cerberus so far, you could probably space Miranda by leaving her a note saying to meet you in the airlock for debriefing.

    • John Magnum says:

      This reminds me: At some point I think he’s like “We’ve got options”, implying that there might be multiple ways to get an IFF or to get through the Omega 4 relay. But, of course, the one you actually go through is “Go onto another derelict vessel and fight your way through but then it comes alive and you have to fight your way off and the Normandy makes a daring escape phew!”

      The Reaper derelict is, however, much much less worse than the Collector derelict. The remnants of the science team are a bit intriguing. There aren’t the multiple layers of compound stupidity of the trap-within-a-trap-within-a-trap of the Collector vessel. The fights are MUCH easier (take Samara or Jack or both and just spam Pull and Throw, wheeee). The story of how the ship originally became a derelict is much more plausible than “some random turian patrol shot it down, then went to get McDonald’s” and evokes some of the galaxy’s broader history in a way that we got a fair amount in ME1 but which hasn’t been very present in ME2. Hopefully, the Klendagon mass effect weapon ends up being a MacGuffin in ME3; that would actually be an effective way to introduce a plot point before it becomes relevant. It makes sense that it comes up in ME2, and it would make sense for it to become more prominent in ME3. Unlike all the stuff in ME2 that should have been foreshadowed in ME1 but wasn’t.

  16. Andrew B says:

    This is easy my least favourite railroad of the game. Speifically the bit after the mission where, as Josh pointed out, you defend the Illusive Man off screen. What the hell? Really? Really?! As that krogan scout might say, “rrrraaaaagggghhh! “

    • John Magnum says:

      I hate how they force you into the mission. The Spoiler Warning crew didn’t really try to avoid it, but when Joker alerted me I did. I was like “No, don’t wanna do this mission. I wanna do loyalty missions.” But you get locked out of the galaxy map until you talk to the Illusive Man, and once you’re out of that conversation it’s again impossible to use the galaxy map until you do this mission.

      • Andrew B says:

        Strangely I don’t mind this as much as the ending. I quite like the idea of a mission so vital and time critical that I can’t just div about and get to it in my own sweet time. I’m well aware that this is a personal thing though. The immersion breaking aspects of being able to just pootle about when the galaxy is DOOMED annoys me more than the forced mission, but I appreciate that it’s the very opposite for others.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I like those interrupts as well,but lets face it,the mission itself is pretty dumb.Plus,unlike in other games,there are consequences if you wait too long before going to the end mission.

          • John Magnum says:

            And in this specific case, it’s not like the ship was gonna go anywhere. The Collectors aren’t going to do anything until Shepard springs their trap. TIM knows the ship isn’t going to do anything until Shepard springs their trap. And Shepard hates this mission and doesn’t want to do it anyway. This is actually a place where there isn’t really any in-game urgency to justify forcing you into the plot. If you did a few more loyalty missions before getting around to checking out the derelict, it would still be there, and everyone involved would know why.

            The only urgency is that if you faff about for a while, it becomes more apparent that the whole “a turian patrol shot it down” thing is an obvious fabrication. But since that explanation was never convincing to begin with, it’s not a huge loss if it gets disproved.

            • anaphysik says:

              In fact, isn’t it better in-world to not go after it immediately. I mean, when it’s just sitting there acting all derelicty, the Collectors can’ very well attack colonies.
              Grah!

              • Jarenth says:

                So, basically, this mission forces you to go in dead ahead when it would logically be better to allow you to faff about some more, and the final mission allows you to faff about as much as you want when it would logically be better to force you into action.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Actually,the last mission does it right:You can take your time,but there are consequences if you do.If they did that for the other obligatory missions,it wouldve been an improvement.Though,the first one has too small of a window for something like that.

      • Hitch says:

        Well Josh, Shamus and Mumbles have all played through the game before. I don’t know about Mumbles, but I’m sure Josh and Shamus had already tried to avoid this mission and discovered it’s impossible. When they saw it trigger, they knew it couldn’t be avoided and didn’t waste the viewers’ time by showing the futility.

  17. Volatar says:

    Someone is going to photoshop a pair of breasts onto Yoda now, and you guys will be very sorry.

    • Irridium says:

      You mean someone hasn’t done that yet?

      Damn the internet is slacking.

    • Kolobus says:

      Oh the internet has already gone much farther than that. There is official Lucasarts imagery of Yaddle, a female Jedi who was the same species as Yoda. A year or so ago a picture started floating around of a Yaddle “love-aid”. I’d go into further detail, but I’m afraid Shamus would perma-ban me for describing it. Suffice to say, it is a picture you can never un-see.

      • Luhrsen says:

        Personally I was so disappointed when I found out Yoda was just another alien. The “When 300 hundred years old you reach…” bit had me believing that’s just what the “Force” did to you. So disillusioning.

        • Kolobus says:

          I agree. I went from thinking of Yoda as the previous incarnation of what Luke was becoming (a kind of transcended being who existed to teach until another came to take up the role, at least that was my impression at the time) to just another alien.

          Although on the other hand it opened up all sorts of ideas. What were Yoda’s regrets? Did any of Yoda’s friends have embarrising stories about his crazy teenage years? Were there any photos of a long-haired Yoda bumming around the downtown area of the swamp, smoking cigarettes and trying to look aloof? More seriously, was his enlightenment attained through the Force or through time?

        • Taellosse says:

          He said “900 years old,” not 300. /pedantic.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yeah,but its just yoda with hair.Thats not the same as yoda with massive cleavage.

        Plus,that thing with the bed is tame compared to other stuff floating on the web(like leia-chewbacca-r2d2 threesome).

  18. Vect says:

    So are they actually going to get the upgrades from the Squadmates? I know they want people to die in the endgame, but I doubt Tali’s amongst their sacrificial lambs.

    • Kojiro says:

      Well, Miranda’s nigh-impossible to kill early on (she actually can’t die, even if given the wrong job, for the first part of the missing), although I know she’s on their hit list. Jack, half the time they seem to like her, and Shamus wrote that article about her that was somewhat positive, but the rest of the time, yeah. Also, she’s the only person that will die from a certain part’s absence, so if they want her dead there’s no issue to it…

      Okay, first, let’s knock off the people they definitely aren’t killing: Mordin, Tali, and probably Garrus. That’s three. Grunt, they seem to like, and he’s also, when Miranda’s forced invulnerability is gone, the hardest person to kill without doing so deliberately, so his survival is likely. Samara, likewise, is on their good list, although then again they may trade her for Morinth. I am almost certain they’ll like Legion, too, although they may miss his loyalty mission due to the small window available (unless they don’t mind killing… Yeah, it’ll probably be done). And, let’s see… Thane, I think they’ve said mostly decent things about him so far, but at the same time, they’ve kind of ignored him mostly. Suppose he depends on how many they want dead; there isn’t any hate, but ambivalence versus affection, he’s towards the middle or bottom, it seems.

      So, those left. Jack’s 50-50 it seems, and Miranda they will actively try to murder. Jacob, meanwhile… I can’t tell if they think he’s okay, or if he just gets points by virtue of not standing out much in any obviously horrible way and not being Miranda, which arguably falls under the former. So, by my calculations, from least to most likely to die:

      Mordin – Tali – Garrus – Grunt – Samara/Legion – Thane/Jack – (Morinth) – Jacob – Miranda

      That seem about right? I didn’t count the two DLC characters, as I know so little about them.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You can practically do legions loyalty mission as soon as you get him.I know I did,and I had no spare missions at that point.So I ended up doing practically nothing while on the shuttle(though there might have been one of the generic missions you get at that point,Im not sure).

  19. SpammyV says:

    Holy boop how much content and multi-episode posts have we gotten in the last week or two? Spoiler Warning Crew, have more anniversaries. It’s like we’re getting the presents!

  20. Piflik says:

    Well…how can you expect the Collectors to not lose, if Shepard simply loads an older save whenever she dies? :D

  21. Fede says:

    I totally hated this part of the game.
    You have already pointed out why the plot is stupid from every point of view, and i agree, but the single aspect that made me rage the most was the “select a new weapon training” out of nowhere.
    Up until that point i really disliked how weapon training was fixed from the start (and, playing a biotic, i was in the worst case scenario), and in a game with such a limited amount of character skills it could have added more depth having the choice between spending experience points on powers or weapons.
    Then, out of nowhere, Shepard picks up a weapon from the ground and learns how to use it.
    It’s even more baffling if you think that a non-biotic Shepard could learn and spend points on a biotic power (gained by completing a loyalty mission), but he can’t learn how to shoot a shotgun except in that point of the game.

    • Ringwraith says:

      The system makes sense for getting the upgraded versions of certain weapons, as they are rare things that come with FRM, (may be a different acronym though) so can’t be mass-produced like the other weapons once you acquire their schematics, although being forced to pick only one still fails make a whole load of sense.
      Though I really don’t care, I get my shotgun back as an engineer, so I’m happy.

      • Fede says:

        The fact that you can pick up a unique version of a weapon does not bother me. The part that i’m complaining about is that you learn to use a new category of weapon right in the middle of a mission, without anything to justify this learning.

        • Ringwraith says:

          I wasn’t saying that the spontaneous “Aha!” moment of picking up a new weapon skill made any sense, as it doesn’t.
          At least the class specialisations in the first game made sense.

    • monojono says:

      It’s especially bad when you consider that they went to all the trouble of killing you off and resurrecting you to explain why you lost your skills at the beginning of the game, but don’t even try to justify you gaining a new skill here.

  22. Hitch says:

    I can’t help but notice in part 2 you finally independently concluded that what I suggested back when you were discussing format changes was a good idea and sped through most of the boring repetitive shooting, only slowing don’t a bit when the commentators had something interesting or amusing to say. We’ve all seen Josh charge and shoot thing with his fire-shotgun enough.

    Elmo vision isn’t nearly as much fun as his Fallout 3 “Stop shooting me!” defense.

  23. RTBones says:

    I will say – I didnt care for this mission either. I dont have the …intense?… dislike for it that you guys do, though. But I do think it could have been handled better. Sheppard is a smart girl. They could have fixed it. I am reminded of a scene from Serenity:

    Kaylee (I think, to Mal): What makes you think it’s a trap, Capt’n?
    Mal: (after talking to Inara) Y’all were listening I take it?
    Crew: (grudgingly acknowledges)
    Mal: Did you see us fight?
    Crew: (grudgingly acknowledges)
    Mal: TRAP!

    Sheppard then goes, knowing its a trap, but does it because its her job. Yes, this doesnt address the issue of the “derelict” and “why wasnt it looted earlier” or even “why the h3ll wasnt it blown up earlier.” Mordin tells you at the end – its to access the Collector databanks to “verify” the IFF requirement. Not perfect, I know, but it would be something. Sheppard could even ask after the ship that “wounded” the Collectors.

    Now, my beef? Why the h3ll couldnt I b*tch-slap TIM for doing this to me AGAIN? Why the h3ll couldnt I quit Cerberus? If TIM comes after me, I can go all Jason Bourne on him. Have the cheerleader (Shamus’s favorite gal) come chase me down to convince me to keep going. My source of funding dries up (since I just gave Cerberus the finger) – so now I work off my own credits. Mordin, too, could chase you down to make the argument you needed to access the info to get the IFF, regardless of the ethics of TIM. If convinced, you could have a big scene where Sheppard says, “Oh by the way, y’all aint getting paid no more,” and based on your Paragon/Renegade and the loyalty mission status, NPCs could agree to help or not.

    I do have to defend Joker, at least a little. Yes, the flying into the forward arc of a gun that could shoot him down is bad. But he _is_ just trying to grab a bag of knots to get out – extend, disengage. He’s not trying to maneuver evasively, he’s trying to haul the mail. Even if he turns, there’s a chance the Collector ship gets at least one shot off. Yes, Collectors have to “work more” to get the shot off, but the possibility exists they can shoot before he gets his coordinates plugged in.

    Defense of Joker #2 – from the way y’all screamed at Joker in this episode, it would seem that you don’t like the character period. I think he actually has some neat dialog with Edi as they try to take back the ship. Maybe this is just a case of pent-up frustration being vented…?

    Now, the Mr. “Imma Salute Ya Taylor” comment after the mission that didnt seem to make sense? I took the first part of it (the “so, the Illusive Man didnt try…” part) as intended sarcasm, possibly poorly delivered by the voice actor.

    • John Magnum says:

      I took it to mean something like “Okay, TIM led us into a trap, but he wasn’t actively colluding with the Collectors to kill us.”

    • Josh says:

      I actually do like Joker, it’s just sometimes the plot railroads him into doing some really stupid stuff. Kind of like Shepard.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Like joining Cerberus while they spend billions of dollars on reviving you while he still doesn’t get Brittle Bone Syndrome fixed, and he still has to hobble around?

        When you guys pointed that out, it made me laugh because I didn’t realise it, but that’s totally true of the scenario.

        • Avilan says:

          The fact is that Cerberus HAS worked on him. He is MUCH healthier in ME2; in ME1 he can’t walk without crutches and still has a high chanve of breaking a leg. In ME2 he is strong enough to walk, and shoot a gun without breaking his shoulders or arms.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Think Ive cured jokers condition.Simple treatment would…No,no,no.Would cause liver failure.Never mind,start from scratch.”

          Hey,if mordin cant fix it,no one can.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Joker’s great, he did get even better in ME2 as he picked up even more sarcasm and snarky comments.

        • ehlijen says:

          And a chance to actually contribute more than just a couple of lines. With a less liked or known voice actor, Joker would probably have been lost to obscurity after ME1. Thankfully, he wasn’t.

      • RTBones says:

        Oh, that much I’ll grant you. Thats the one thing you know will happen – we’re all going to be on the train, like it or not.

        I think Seth Green did a fantastic job voicing Joker. As others have said – he’s got some great lines in ME2. I hope we actually get to use him more when ME3 comes out.

  24. rayen says:

    So i don’t know if anyone brought this up yet but i would like to remark on something other than the terrible plot rails in this episode. The Collector home world is in the galactic core? really? I would like everyone to note what scientist currently believe is in the galactic
    core;

    1 super massive blackhole
    12 stellar objects (aka Suns of varing sizes but at least 5 are red giants)

    I think it’s worth mentioning that the stellar objects are moving near the speed of light, oh and occaisionally the gravity of the black hole causes them to do weird things like seemingly implode and reform. the idea that any planet/ship, no matter what tech they have, could survive such a place is ludricrous. it might as well be in the center of a sun.
    and actually that would make more sense.

    Also i would like to hypothisize something right now. Having never played Mass effect 2, I think the illusive man is a cyborg robot thing and playing you and will betray you in 3. the way the camera keeps going to his eyes and the fact that they seem robotic is my evidence for this.

    • Sydney says:

      No, he’s just a regular human with cybernetically-enhanced eyes. The novel series (yes, they’re canon) goes into some detail about his backstory.

    • guy says:

      It’s close enough to a blackhole that it’s apparently pretty typical for ships to exit the mass relay inside the event horizon. The Reapers have serious magical tech.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Well, seeing as the mass effect allows “artificial gravity” in a sense, by simply giving stuff enough mass to exert a significant gravitational field, it’s not implausible to carve out a safe zone right next to a black hole if you have a strong enough field to cancel it out.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      They probably wanted to play on that – they do note that they think it’s unlikely in-game, but consider this – is not the best place to put your unknowable villains in the one place nobody with a least half a brain would even try to go? I mean, if the Collectors weren’t already there, I’d suspect that’s where the Shadow Broker would attempt to set up base.

      Then the only people you have to worry about are those who have a quarter of a brain, like Cerberus. But every villain has to have flaws.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,it does seem ludicrous at first,but it is a place created by the reapers,the guys that found a way to distort time,space and energy in miraculous ways.Their tech can turn a 40 something ton tank into a balloon,a huge hundreds(thousands?)of tons weighing spaceship into a massless photon particle.Their tech can let a ship go over thousands of light years in a blink of an eye.I wouldnt put taming black holes past them.

      See,sci fi has two things it can do:Disregard our current view on science and/or disregard our current view on logic.If it does the first,no biggie.It is practically the very foundation of the genre.If it does the second,however,then there is a problem.

  25. Zukhramm says:

    Actually, Jacob’s line means he agrees with you. What he’s saying is “Oh, so the Illusive Man is trying to explains that he didn’t betray us. I don’t believe him.”

  26. LurkerAbove says:

    I know there isn’t really a good reason, but I’ve always drawn a connection between the Ardat-Yakshi and the Anzati from Star Wars.

  27. Jennifer Snow says:

    Hey, Shamus, I’ll tell you what I would have done to make this a better game: skip all this bullshit about the “Collectors”, which is painfully stupid anyway.

    I also would have ditched Shepard as the main character. Game 2 would be about, not the military, but a human cybernetics engineer, and would focus almost exclusively on the Geth, learning about them, backtracing their connection to the Reapers, finding factions within their shared intelligence, and eventually either setting them free (by helping them escape from council-occupied space) or destroying them. Shepard would have had some cameos during the game and possibly either oppose you slightly or fight at your side briefly. (Needless to say, you face massive opposition from all sides on the whole Geth issue.)

    Then, in the last game, you’d play as a human who was captured by the Reapers and turned into some sort of bizarre cybernetic creature, possibly rescued at the end of 2 by Shepard and the engineer. You have all kinds of information about the Reapers, but everyone questions whether you’re more Reaper or human, so you have a *really* hard time convincing people to take action on your knowledge, especially since it seems really bizarre. However, you take your skeleton team of people who believe you and manage to start doing some damage and uncovering Reaper weaknesses.

    So the Reapers take action and begin annihilating people. This culminates in you realizing you’re going to have to go through the mass relay to where the Reapers are in order to shut them down. You assemble a fleet of humans, who sorta kinds believe you and are willing to go with Shepard, but you don’t have enough ships.

    This is the cool part–the various people you’ve interacted with in the past start to show up to help you. If you kept Wrex alive, he shows up with Krogans. If you saved the Geth in game 2, they show up with a fleet to help you. If you saved the Rachni, they show up to help you. If you destroyed the Geth, you get some Quarians. You all go through the mass relay and there’s this epic space battle. Your small fleet is getting its ass kicked. Finally there’s nothing to do but crash the Normandy into the Reaper Mothership and try to fight your way through to central control with your dream team consisting of the main characters from all 3 games with all their ludicrously badass equipment. There’s a plot twist and a final showdown and the credits roll.

    As I see it, all the problems with Mass Effect 2 stem from the fact that they decided to keep Shepard as the main character. This is why instead of a really interesting new game, we get the resurrection of Space Jesus and a plot that looks like the inside of someone’s colon. I have no idea why they decided to do this, and I am SO glad we’re getting a new main character for Dragon Age 2. Let’s hope it’s a much, much better game.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Not bad, but in the end it boils down to ‘crash into alien mothership and take out the big baddie’ – which, I fear, will be the case in ME3 either way, but still, it is something I would really, really hate seeing. Like, at all.

      Remember? “We are each a nation, independent of all weakness.” There is no grand reaper bubba, no mothership.

      Personally, my perfect ending for the ME3 would be that the reapers can’t be beaten.. You can throw your allied armies against them, you can choose to fed off invasions for a time sufficient for evacuation, but you can not just magic the whole Reaper race away by beating a crustacean-ic T1000 on a ‘mothership’.

      • Josh R says:

        Doctor who spoilers to follow, I can’t work out the tags so I’ll just put that here.

        yeah, with the numbers of reapers shown, I think the only solution they’ll have is a doctor who “all i need is a delta wave!” or “I can just change the settings of this reality gun and it will kill all my enemies”
        or… a mothership destruction.
        which will really be annoying.

        • Veloxyll says:

          Shepard finds a Scroll of Genocide and targets it on the Reapers. It’s the only logical solution.

          • Irridium says:

            No, he just finds their “off” switch.

            • Taellosse says:

              Nah. A magical computer virus that will spread through the whole Reaper fleet. Possibly uploaded (somehow) from a Macbook.

              • ehlijen says:

                Nah, Shepard will be able to find the head honcho reaper and convince him with a few lines of dialogue to:
                Paragon: Make peace with organics and never hurt another thing.
                Neutral: To give humans another chance and just go to sleep for another 50,000 years
                Renegade: Commit suicide and blow up the entire enclave…sorry, reaper fleet.
                Either way, all the reapers will be gone from the galaxy and shepard will get to bone his favourite party member some more.

          • Sekundaari says:

            But what if it’s blessed? What’s the symbol of Reapers?

            Of course, a cursed scroll might cause a bit more trouble.

      • daveNYC says:

        I’m with you on that. I’d like them to make ME3 have two sections. One where you have to gather resources to build refuge planets (one for each major race, Asari, Human, Turian, etc) like what’s-it’s-name in ME1, and the second section is you buying time so that the races you have built refuges for can get to them, and as a bonus, you have missions where you can either save a few of the races you don’t have refuges for, or you can use them as bait or red herrings for hunting Reapers.

    • Taellosse says:

      Not a bad alternative plot, but a new protagonist isn’t necessary to make ME2 not-stupid. Step one is simply the fact that there’s no real need to kill off Shepard in the first place. There are better ways they could have come up with to sever his/her ties to the Alliance, Council, and previous squadmates if they really thought that was necessary (I don’t think it was), and even better ways to explain away a change in appearance and class if they felt that was really needful (again, I don’t think it is).

      Step 2, I agree, the Collectors aren’t really necessary, though I don’t mind their conception nearly so much as their execution. The concept isn’t actually a bad one. But they were implemented very, very badly. Throughout the game they feel like a distraction from what you should really be focusing on, and at the end when their true goals are revealed, such as they are, it comes off looking so gimmicky that any shred of dignity they retained as a villain was washed away.

      Step 3, Shepard either needs to be working with a different organization than Cerberus, or they needed to work a LOT harder to justify the relationship, and make TIM a much more convincing ally than they did. His behavior surrounding EVERY ONE of the main plot missions was cartoonishly stupid, and completely at odds with the image they were trying to cultivate of a highly intelligent but ruthless manipulator. He’s, by turns, inept, foolish, and pointlessly mean.

      The whole game feels very much like what I suspect it really is–an interesting outline that was executed by a different writer and changed in essential details by too many other hands.

      • Jennifer Snow says:

        Oh, I’m not saying that they HAD to get rid of Shepard to make a good game, just that it would have been a shit ton easier to do so given that they don’t seem to have a clue what to DO with Shepard NOW. I see it as the primary problem with ME2 *as it exists*.

        I thought the entire premise of ME2 was so dumb that I’ve never gotten it and probably never will. The series never appealed to me that much in the first place.

        Oh, and I’m not recommending “crash into mothership” as THE ending. I was more laying out AN arc that could be used in order to demonstrate that there was really, really no reason for them to eff this up as badly as they have.

  28. Tohron says:

    I believe this:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiotPlot
    is the trope you’re looking for to encapsulate this plot sequence.

  29. Josh R says:

    it seems they could have avoided a lot of the stupidity by having everyone not believe you were the real shepherd.
    Would provide adequate motivation for kaidan/ashley/anderson/council not helping you, and just saying “I saw your body, I saw you die, people can’t come back from the dead”
    Then you’d have a proper motive to work for cerberus “Like it or not, we’re all you got.

    Also I think they should have put in some non-standard-game-overs in, if you tell the illusive man to piss off, and sever(sp?) all ties with him, after a few missions you get told you have to contact him, and if you then refuse to your ship gets flooded with more and more collectors til you die, then plays out what would have happened to the universe if you had failed.

    And, of course, they should have had shepherd die at the end of ME1, with a long FO3 style monologue of what a hero/dick he was, giving a proper explanation of why he needed to be resurrected. At the least, this should have been done the way valve changed portal.

    On the whole though, I did not have much of a problem with the plot in this game. I enjoyed the shooty gameplay, and my appreciation of cool set pieces, (fighting on every side on a bunch of platforms? AWESOME! [endgame Boss] Fantastic!) overrides the annoyance of plot holes.
    Just like at the end of bioshock 1, it made absolutely no sense, but still I enjoyed having to go up against a non-sensical enemy, because the fight was pretty cool.
    I guess different strokes for different folks, but it would seem the sales figures back the shooty non-sensical fun, which, whilst a shame for the die hard rpg fans, is enjoyable for the people who just enjoy a shooter with good stories.

    I’m a little amused at the fact that you switched to shorter episodes to make it less of a time sink and then end up just posting tons more of them lol

    I’ll put it another way: I have no intention of buying Dragon Age 2. If they announced it was going to be a cover based shooter where you shoot at dragons, I’d pre-order it now.

  30. guy says:

    Honestly, what really pissed me off the most was TIM not telling you it was a trap. Even stranger, he didn’t tell EDI, who could be trusted to keep her mouth shut even by a raving paranoid lunatic. It’s extra annoying because TIM could have told me “Hey, Shepard, the Collectors have set a trap for you. Board their ship and steal some data anyway” and I’d have been all “That sounds like a perfectly fine plan” because it actually is the best shot at getting the rather important data. A trap that you know is a trap can potentially become a reverse trap.

  31. Becoming Insane says:

    You’ll find him in a thong, listening to Justin Bieber…
    For A, DO NOT WANT. And for 2, you really think that Justin has enough staying power to last into 2183, let alone 2011?

    • Kojiro says:

      No, but TIM is exactly the kind of person to have such terrible tastes, and since he does nothing all day except sit in a dark room and plot ways to screw you over, he definitely has time to look through old music libraries and archives until he finds that.

  32. Inyssius says:

    What is the Illusive Man doing in there?

    He is playing Skyball, calling you, and having sex with supermodels.

    I AM NOT JOKING. THE SHADOW BROKER HAS A FILE ON HIM. THAT IS WHAT HE IS DOING.

    • Bret says:

      Also, calling for hits on Popes.

    • Wolfwood says:

      Illusive Man Profile:

      Cigarettes smoked today: 4
      Drinks consumed today: 7
      Daily skyball score: 160/0 (fifth consecutive perfect game)

      Suit Worn Today:
      -Giuli Vorn
      -Light linen blend, 2200 thread count
      -Single-button closure, besom chest pocket, five interior pockets, four-button cuffs, side vents
      -Built-in protection from close-range weapons fire
      -Plum

      Sexual liaisons (past week):
      -Sani Shelani, Illium Entertainment’s Sexiest Human Alive
      -Brooke Karrigar, Skyball Champion
      -Vela Vicious, Fornax Dream Girl 2185
      -Staci and Stephi Strong, the “Terra Firma Twins”
      -Matriarch Trellani (twice)

      Messages sent today to:

      -Citadel
      -Illium
      -Omega
      -Earth
      -Horizon
      -Eden Prime
      -Thessia
      -Palaven
      -Tuchanka
      -Migrant Fleet

      Man he has it good! XD

  33. Wolfwood says:

    Um just a thought, Episode 100 is going to be Josh mining minerals isn’t it? while yall continue to be awesome and answer some questions.

  34. Chris B Chikin says:

    I’m generally pretty forgiving about bad plots. Occasionally in a game I’ll get a bit of a niggling feeling that something’s not right; that there’s an easier way of doing this that the writers aren’t letting me consider. Generally I can let it pass though, because it’s easier to enjoy the game if I’m not picking holes in it. There have been two occasions where that’s not worked though:

    The first was in Fallout 3 when you first come out of the vault and for some reason you’re meant to start looking for your dad. I was like “Why? This son of a bitch just left me without any justification or explanation, and messed it up so badly that at least one person got killed in the process, not including the dozens of guards and a warden I personally had to shoot my way through to escape, with nothing but a fucking BB gun. Fuck my dad; he’s already screwed my life massively once. Maybe I can make a new life for myself in the wasteland. I wonder if that bar in Megaton’s hiring?”

    The second was this mission. As well as all the points you guys touched on about why the premise was retarded, I was also thinking “So the Turians disabled it? Then they told the Illusive Man? The Illusive Man who heads up an organisation with a history of anti-Turian/anti-alien/anti-everyone-regardless-of-species acts of brutality? The Turians disable a ship belonging to a race they, being a council race, don’t believe exists, and they just hand it over to Cerberus? How, in any galaxy, would that make sense?

    The plot holes were so glaring that I was sure it must have been my fault. Clearly, I’d missed some bit of dialogue that would make sense of this clusterfuck. But I checked the Wiki and nope it’s exactly as I read it; purely fucking retarded.

    Can we go do something fun now?

    • Shep says:

      Not that I’m defending the shoddy writing, but the Turians quite clearly didn’t “hand it over” to Cerberus, the Illusive Man tells you the transmission was intercepted by Cerberus. Plot-convenient, yes, but not a plot hole.

      • Chris B Chikin says:

        My bad, so I did miss I dialogue bit. But still, if the Turians had found it then we would know they found it because at that moment our inbox would have the following message in it:

        Dear Commander Shepard,

        We are sorry. Some Turian Scouts just found a Collector ship. It seems you were right all along; the Reapers are coming and we are total dumbasses. Your SPECTRE status is reinstated and we are now placing you in command of out entire combined fleet in order to defeat this menace. Please accept our apologies; we did not realise it was possible to be so dumb.

        Love and kisses
        The Council

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          Nah, the Turian ship did get destroyed, and from what I remember, it was a distress call. TIM intercepted it, and then deliberately prevented it’s response crew; because they didn’t know it was a Collector Ship perhaps, they may have just described it [This would be a good prank from the Collectors’ end, since being more subtle about the prank, not “We found a Collector ship”, more like “We found a giant ship that overpowered us with a giant frontal cannon on its front. Wink Wink, Hint Hint.”] the crew wanted a response.

          TIM specifically said he was giving them updates on the protocol to keep them away before you got there first.

          • Chris B Chikin says:

            If the Turian ship was destroyed then how did it “disable” the Collector ship?

            You think this entire chapter was just an exercise in breeding plot holes? I wonder if they reproduce asexually

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              Wasn’t it “but not before disabling it”?

              The only plothole this entire excersise would fix is that they didn’t finish off the collectors.

              • Chris B Chikin says:

                But if they managed to disable it how did it destroy them? If a ship is disabled it is incapable of destroying your ship; that is the definition of a disabled ship! If the Collectors were still able to destroy the Turians then they must have had at least one working weapon left, and therefore would not be disabled :P

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Their ship still couldve been in a critical condition after the battle and exploded within a few minutes.Granted,this would leave lots of debris floating around,so you still can say that presence of nothing is a clear sign of a trap.

        • Jarenth says:

          If Mass Effect 3 opens with this exact email, all will be forgiven.

      • Luhrsen says:

        Still a plot hole from the Collectors side.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Actually,the council knows about the collectors,they just never saw them as agents for the reapers.

  35. Sydney says:

    I don’t think uninstalling all the cover would have saved them from Josh. Anyone else, maybe. Josh, no.

  36. Sucal says:

    I think the main reason why you can’t say no to Samara is the same reason why you can’t say no to Jack… You don’t piss off the overpowered biotic who could punch a hole through several bulkheads and walls.

  37. Fat Tony says:

    I think Miranda + Jacob would make rather cute babies.
    /stupid as shit, but cute.

  38. ehlijen says:

    I thought they did explain the Turian patrol not being there (if you make shepard ask that is). But that just made things worse.

    Apparantly the story is:
    -The turians attacked the collector ship
    -The collector ship was disabled
    -The turian ship failed to not blow up on its own for no reason/’due to battle damage’ but not before:
    -the turians sent out a distress call
    -TIM intercepted the distress call and STOPPED it going to the turian navy. How do you stop a radio or whatever signal? This only makes sense if Cerberus (a by humans for humans terrorist organistation) is a vital link in the military of an alien race!

    Who buys a story like that?

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      TIM delayed them by giving them updates on the scenario. Also, I don’t think it was reported they blew up, but that they were in need of help.

      TIM probably said something after the original broadcast along the lines of “No, we’re okay, we’ve got just enough fuel to make it to the nearby Mass Relay. False Alarm.”

      • Taellosse says:

        “We’re all fine here…now…just had a slight…uh…weapons malfunction…How are you?”

        Dude, friggin’ stormtroopers didn’t buy that line! I have a hard time believing the Turian Navy would be that dumb! ;-P

      • ehlijen says:

        And TIM has that kind of influence on alien military’s decision making processes and still can’t keep 90% of his own organisation from going rogue every second sunday?

    • guy says:

      I think TIM was actually lying about the Turians because there’s no way they’d believe it was a real message.

  39. Nyaz says:

    Don’t worry, this mission is only the second most stupid mission in the game.
    The most stupid one is the last mission.

    Which I am STILL trying to forget because it was so damn horrible and contrived and AWFUL in every way.

    So what do the Collectors DO with those floating platforms most of the time anyway? Just… float around for fun? And why are they full of chest-high walls?

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Why did they fly you up into the air and attach other platforms one at a time instead of just upturning the one you were on? why did they have important computers on floating hex platforms? Why not, if they must use infantry on other platforms, they just not join them onto your platform, thus giving them superior mobility as well as great tactical advantage? Why don’t they just make your platform spin around really fast for several days while showering it with gunfire for good measure?
      There’s just so much wrong with that ambush it’s not even funny.

      Why not flood the area with seeker swarms like they do during the suicide mission thus overpowering Mordin’s countermeasure?

      • Taellosse says:

        Why do they come at you on the stupid hex platforms at all? It is established in the last encounter with Collectors, and in virtually every other fight with them, that they are each of them perfectly capable of flying unassisted. Why didn’t they just swarm you on your little floating platform and gun you down? Chest high walls don’t do any good if you’re surrounded!

        • PurePareidolia says:

          Of course that raises the question why biotic Shepard can’t just fly back down or why Tech Shepard can’t hack into the thing to gain an advantage – because I mean, you wouldn’t want class, species or other innate abilities affecting that nice cover based shooter we’ve got going on. That stuff wasn’t in Gears of war at all.

  40. poiumty says:

    Shamus: “I dunno pick somebody, whoever’s levelled up so we don’t gotta do too much level up time”.
    You said that at the companion select screen. Were you seriously unaware that companions level up automatically to your own level? And that enemies don’t give xp…?

    Your biggest complaint with the plot seems to be “why are we working for Cerberus”. Well, thinking about it, is there any way we could NOT work for Cerberus? Think about it:
    – they have the Normandy. It’s THEIR ship, you’re just borrowing it. Even if you were to forcefully take command, there’s still EDI and whatever hold TIM has on her. She could probably take command of the ship at TIM’s request, and make you go away.
    – they fund all your companions. They even fund you, at the end of each mission. No payment means you’ll lose most of them.
    – they’re about the only large-scale organization that actually BELIEVES in the Reaper threat. You can clearly see how things are going for Kaidan back on the Alliance side, what with putting him on a random colony with 3 broken laser guns and no antidote to Collector bugs.
    – even if you were to join the Alliance, there’s nothing written anywhere that more Normandies have been produced after the failure of the first model, and the cloaking ability of the old Normandy DOES come in handy in ME2, like (off the top of my head) Legion’s loyalty mission. Being a SPECTRE doesn’t net you high-class equipment for free, as you may remember: you got the old normandy from Anderson.
    – TIM is actually the dude who supplies you with the DOX. As in, the people you need for your squad. Without TIM, you really wouldn’t have the first clue where to look aside from Garrus (who went incognito), Tali, and Liara who just can’t help you at the moment. Even if she eventually becomes the Shadow Broker, it’s Cerberus who first gives you the information needed to pinpoint the whole thing and start the events in the DLC.
    – the IFF is the only way to deal with the Collector threat. Again, Cerberus.

    So how exactly would quitting Cerberus help us in any way and not end up in Shepard being petrified and eventually turned into Reaper slushie or something?

    • Shamus says:

      I meant “whoever has their skill points allocated”.

      Like the derelict trap, the setup of working with Cerberus requires that everyone behave like an idiot.

      The council has to be idiots and not believe in the collectors.

      You have to be a helpless babe and not have any way of finding things out on your own, unable to give yourself direction.

      Kashley has to be an idiot and reject you.

      Cerberus has to… actually, I guess they were already idiots. No change.

      • poiumty says:

        Oh, well, thought you worded that awkwardly.

        The council were pretty idiotic since Mass Effect 1, making someone with crazy-dreams a Spectre then still not believing him. I mean, if you’re crazy, then you’re not cut out to be a Spectre. If you’re a Spectre, then they trust you enough to believe you. But they choose the middle path.
        I always thought this universe requires a bit of excessive suspension of disbelief…

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Also note that Cerberus being Cerberus explains why they’re so good at almost getting Shepard killed – that’s standard operating procedure for how they treat their employees. So is failing at simple tasks, making exceedingly questionable leadership decisions and acting in humanity’s worst interests.

        Maybe one of the writers did play ME1?
        Now I don’t know what to think.

    • Irridium says:

      The only ones Cerberus paid are Kasumi and Zaeed. Everyone else has no idea what your there for until you tell them.

      And yes they do control EDI. But then later you free her from that control. You should then, at that point, be able to call TIM, tell him to kiss your ass, then leave.

      There’s also the possibility of you doing the Shadow Broker DLC beforehand(like Josh did), where you should be able to just tell Cerberus to fuck off there.

      With Liara, you’d have all the intel you’d ever need.

      Actually, I wonder if we could get TIM’s location from her, so we can kill him. If the Broker knows the fine details of his clothes, I think he’d know his general area of residence.

      • krellen says:

        Simpler solution to making you not have to work with Cerberus:

        DON’T KILL SHEPARD IN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES.

        • ehlijen says:

          Or if you do, have him rebuilt by someone who doesn’t think feeding colonies to a thresher maw is a sound buisness strategy.

          For someone as supposedly allknowing and allpowerful as TIM, Cerberus does an aweful lot of stupid-evil things ‘without his knowledge’. You don’t get to claim to be an amazing intel source when half of what your organistation does is ‘go rogue’.

        • Alex says:

          Yes, definitely. Don’t start the next session of an RPG with “Oh, by the way? A new big bad appears and kills you. Then one of your archnemeses from last session raises you from the dead and tells you you work for them. No you can’t refuse.”

          If ME3 doesn’t start with the new Shadow Broker kidnapping Shepard and revealing Cerberus installed a loyalty chip in your head while they were fixing you, I’m going to be very disappointed.

      • poiumty says:

        Cerberus pays everyone, not only Kasumi and Zaeed. Miranda, Jacob, Mordin, Garrus. Some people, like Thane, refuse the payment, but this isn’t a charity mission, you know. Just because it’s not mentioned doesn’t mean everyone’s working for free.

        We give EDI control of the ship, not all her software. There might still be some override program in TIM’s control. Nevermind the apparent incompetence, he’s bound to try to protect his investments somehow.

        As for Liara, there’s still the problem of the ship, plus the fact that just taking everything that belonged to the ones who saved our life and using it for ourselves would be a pretty assholish thing to do, renegade or not.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          You mean as assholish as sending your “only hope” in a trap 3 times in a row?

          Or as assholish as using human colonies to test the lethality of rachni,thorians and husks?(yeah,the whole “rogue cell” thing,no one but miranda buys that crap).

          Oh,more came to mind:As assholish as luring a bunch of guys on top of a tresher maw to get slaughtered for…what was the reason for that anyway?

          • poiumty says:

            I only count one trap. You were prepared for the other two.

            So they performed some unethical tests. This is probably why they’re the only ones in the galaxy with the money and resources to bring a dead person back to life. If we consider Shepard for the ultimate badass that he is, they more than made up for all the lives lost by simply having you back out on the field.

            And one last thing: even if Cerberus is evil like that, why do we have to be the same and backstab them? I mean, i could see us bringing TIM to justice or something after all of this is over, but as long as we’re working for the same goals it kinda feels wrong to flip off the most convenient thing we have right now. Even this trap mission had a tangible effect on what we’re trying to do, here.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              You werent prepared for horizon,you lacked tons of info,you werent prepared for collectors ship,and you werent prepared for the dead reaper.And the missing info,couldve helped you a lot,but was witheld from you because….errr,yeah.

              Its not that theyre evil,or unethical,but dumb.Turn people into husks to…what exactly?See how lethal they are?Yeah,I can tell you that.Why not disect those husks to see how they tick and how to easily dispose of them?Thorians,same thing.Heck two women on another planet with less funding developed a gas that kills them in an instant.Rachni,yeah,theyre lethal all right.Check the records of a huge war to see how lethal they are.

              And the reason for why to backstab tim back:To find a more competent employer that wont withold crucial information just because he thinks…that youll use it wrong?I dont know what his reasoning is anyway.Heck,this mission that has a tangible effect,if he was straight with us from the beginning,we couldve used it to completely skip the dead reaper.Not to mention,not risk our lives this much.

        • Irridium says:

          The only ones that I could see being paid are Miranda, Jacob, Mordin(although perhaps they pay him by giving him a lab), and thats about it.

          Garrus: He’s your old friend, he’ll work with you no matter what.
          Tali: See Garrus.
          Samara: Swore herself to you. Doesn’t care for money or material goods.
          Grunt: Your his Battlemaster. Okeer may have been paid, but I doubt Grunt is. And I doubt he’d care if he was paid or not.
          Jack: TIM paid for her, but he’s not paying her. I doubt she’d accept money from Cerberus anyways.
          Thane: You already covered that.
          Legion: Why would TIM pay a Geth? Thats just stupid. Especially when this Geth was already sent to find and “study” you.

          As for everyone else, yeah they’re on Cerberus’s payroll, but they’re not if you choose the paragon ending. And yet they still stay with you, so now everyone is basically working for free. Unless ME3 starts with them leaving.

          As for EDI; If TIM really did have some of EDI’s control, why didn’t he use it after you basically told him to fuck off?

          After going through what TIM and Cerberus put me through, I wouldn’t care if I was an asshole to them or not. In fact, I’d go the asshole road, since they’re such massive dicks.

          • poiumty says:

            Something about Garrus’s conversation with his sister (?) in those files after the Shadow Broker DLC suggested that he was being funded.
            Tali: well, she’s pretty much your fangirl the way she was talking about you in those logs back on her recruitment mission, so i can see why she’d want to join you for free.
            Samara doesn’t need/have material possesssions, she kinda just gets free stuff. And there’s still my other point about you not knowing who the hell Samara was unless Cerberus told you. Though judging by the aparent size of Illium, you were likely to trip over her sooner or later.
            Jack gets her payment from Cerberus’ logs, which are ON THE SHIP.
            Grunt and Legion are optional characters, and yeah they don’t get paid.

            The paragon ending doesn’t make you stop working with Cerberus, it just ends with you doing to TIM what Renegade shep did to the Council. Besides, there’s ship maintenance costs and the crew needs to be paid, no matter how much of a galactic superhero you are. SR1 was funded by the Alliance, SR2 is funded by Cerberus. TIM is just letting you do whatever as long as the goals are the same.
            And no matter how bad they were, you stopped the Collectors with their help, didn’t you? Ends justify the means and all that.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              I bet when you do the Paragon ending option, in ME3 TIM denounces you as a “Rogue Cell”.

              Or maybe he does it anyway, with the Renegade option starting you off finding him trying to make a Reaper in the base, as a “Shocktrooper versus the Reaper invasion, for the betterment of mankind.” Optional Proluge for the win!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Oh boy,are there ways for you not to work with cerberus…

      How about this:You have mordin,an extremely respect scientists of salarian stg,so why not turn to them for help?They already did some very questionable work,so for them operating in the terminus system would be piece of cake.

      Or this:The alliance wont help you because you are working for cerberus,but are willing to let you be spectre again because of what you did.So why not give them all the info you collected about cerberus,along with this ultra advanced ship with an ai no less,in exchange for funding your mission in the terminus systems?How could they refuse?

      The shadow broker/liara,like mentioned,would also be a perfect person to employ you.

      There are only 2(3 if you use dlcs)companions that would stop working for you if you were to quit with cerberus,and one of them,jacob,isnt really fond of them,so he could be persuaded.Kasumi would gladly help you just for that grey box,and the rest may even praise you for giving the finger to these guys.So you could even go solo on this one.

      Plus,there are so many ways that you working for cerberus couldve worked.Make miranda as your only contact and funder,and let her tell you about cerberus only after her loyalty mission,for example.There you go,a secret organization that actually does operate from shadows.

      • Becoming Insane says:

        That’s a good point.

        However, I still kinda see the reason you might want to work WITH Cerberus (not FOR them):

        They have massive amounts of resources.

        Which is another reason the Paragon ending really bugged me. I mean after blowing up the Collector base, you basically give a big ol’ middle finger to the Illusive Man and Cerberus, losing what could very well be an important ally against the Reapers. I mean, sure you might not like them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Sure,I had no problem for joining with them with my renegade shepard.Until tims first betrayal,that is.Resources are nice and all,but if you have to constantly watch your back because tim is an asshole,its not worth it.

        • Bret says:

          Oh no!

          How will I ever manage a military campaign without incompetent assholes who turn every project into a massacre at my back!

          I may never be able to get whole units of marines slaughtered for no reason!

          Who will send me into traps now?

  41. Nighty says:

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Assuming control,
    This hurts you

    • Kavonde says:

      There once was a drone named Ksh’plggy
      Who loved to just dance and get jiggy.
      But a dark voice took hold,
      Said “I’m assuming control,”
      And Shepard killed him like it was no biggy.

  42. daveNYC says:

    He’d rather risk the entire galaxy than suffer the chance that Shepard do something (what, exactly?) to tip them off, and then they would… do what, exactly? What was he afraid of that he was wiling to risk everything?

    Go on the ship with a four person team?

  43. Dude says:

    Nail on the head. If they can look away from the drooling Gears of Wars fanboys and listen to the others, the overarching complaints seem to be about the paper thin, full of holes, stupid main mission structure. If they changed that alone, ME3 would be awesome. It’s not that difficult to do, either, which is the thing that bugs me the most about ME2. It’s EASY to fix all the things they messed up. All it takes is a two hour rewrite.

    Judging by the teaser for ME3, though (earth is burning etc), I’m not very optimistic.

    • Avilan says:

      Just out of curiousity, what exactly is a Gears of War fanboy? I assume I am counted among those by several people here since I genuinely love this game (although I have never even looked at Gears of War).

      And that again? WHY is it bad that Earth is attacked? It is after all something that logically must be expected after the plot of the first two games. People don’t see that are frankly drowning in a river in Egypt.

      • ehlijen says:

        It’s not that earth is under attack that’s the problem. It’s the way the trailer presents ME3 as yet another ‘war is hell, but I’m badass enough to beat it’ story where you get to fight bad guys in brown ruins. Bioware in the past has excelled at doing things different than that for gamers that liked games other than presumably gears of war (I have not played it myself either).

        It doesn’t have to mean ME3 is going the same logicl-light approach as ME2, but it does nothing to dissuade that expectation.

      • Dude says:

        A GoW fanboy is the main demographic that comprises most of the revenue from retail games. Shepard/ME2 took a huge LEVEL IN BADASS and learned how to BLOW SHIT UP and CRANK IT UP TO ELEVEN and a dozen other tvtropes pages specifically to tap into that market segment.

        I suppose it would be depressing to say that we should feel lucky that they bothered to include a mission like Mordin’s or Jack’s (the dialog on that one is nearly as good as that in Mordin’s according to me) in there at all. But that’s how it feels like.

        Also, what is wrong with the earth invasion? Nothing. Except, you know, it’s a kick in the face for what the Reapers are supposed to be: cyclic harbingers of extinction for the entire galaxy. Sure, there’s a reason why they’d pick Earth (Shepard/humanity has their attention, which, even if contrived, is goodish enough for Gears of War logic). But if they’re focusing only on Earth, and only on humanity (which is likely, considering that’s the whole plot of ME2 with the stupid Collectors et al), then it’s just a tremendous waste of potential.

        It’s like a new season of Star Trek set in, of all the planets in all the solar systems in all the whole wide galaxy, a little coffee shop in some back ass alley on a sordid, morbid rainy day in Gloucestershire.

        I enjoyed the shit out of ME2, don’t get me wrong. I had my two weeks of glorious wonder.

        But then I played ME. After ME2. And if ME hadn’t had that grand space opera feel to it, and hadn’t made so many promises that fell flat in the sequel, it would’ve been okay that ME2 was a corridor shooter.

        • Avilan says:

          Took a huge leven in badass? LOLWUT. Seriously. 10 minutes after I land on the citadel in the first game I push a gun in some guys face that is just following regulations asking him if he know who I am, my reputation up to that point, and if he wants to get a third eye. Shepard is just as badass in the first game, minus the interrupts. Because the first game didn’t have them.

          As for the invasion of Earth. So you didn’t pay attention to the plot? The whole point is that the Reapers select one (1) species per cycle that they “harvest”, and simply kill all others. Humanity has become their target this cycle. Hence they attack earth. It might not be the plot that you want, but it’s the logical plot for us who has paid attention to it. Oh and warzones tend to not be pretty.

          And ME1 is a corridor shooter, just with a worse combat system. 99% of all combat in ME1 takes place in corridors and rooms with random cover. While you shoot people.

          The rest of your rant about the second game is hard to reply to since I just don’t see what you see.

          (Edit: About Tropes: WOG is that this trilogy is based on one thing and one thing only: 80ies Science-fiction tropes. So of course it will be full of them).

          • krellen says:

            Reapers harvesting a species to make a new Reaper is really stupid, you know.

            And whose face did Shepard shove a gun in right away? I don’t remember that.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Reapers harvesting a species to make a new Reaper is really stupid, you know.”

              Why?Even tali says about geth that they are both synthetic and organic.Mordin says that as manufactured species,collectors cant progress.So why is a blend of organic and synthetic life stupid?Its an excellent way for a machine race to evolve.

              • PurePareidolia says:

                Because their process appears to be
                1) kidnap millions of people using highly mutated bug people
                1.5) ASSUME DIRECT CONTROL
                2) place humans in blender, set to liquefy
                3) fill custom race-specific reaper chassis with soylent green
                4) ???
                5) Insult rudimentary creatures of flesh and blood, espouse infinite timeless nature of reapers with no beginning or end and assert that you transcend organic understanding due to being a perfect AI hive mind. OH WAIT, that was the first game. Let me try that again:
                5) Be the cyber fetus.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Just because you say something in a silly way,doesnt make it silly.For example:
                  1)Cut open someones chest
                  2)Tie a few blood vessels together
                  3)???
                  4)Heart surgery is born!

            • Avilan says:

              It is not “really stupid”. It’s not even slightly stupid.

              And it’s the guy in charge of the guy’s dead wife’s body. One of the renegade options is to demand the body back at gunpoint, and when the guy argues that you wouldn’t shoot him in front of everyone you slam him against the wall, push the gun to his face and basically tell him (and this is BEFORE you become a spectre) that you don’t care because you are a badass that has killed people like this before.

              • Sara Pickell says:

                Seems pretty stupid to me. “Let’s go harvest these aliens!” “We’re machines.” “Yeah, but we need organic stuffs!” “So we’re going to liquidate them, killing off their organic components, and use them for lubricant?” “No, it’s not lubricant it’s… it’s… it’s…” “And if we wanted the essence that allowed them to fight back in the first place, wouldn’t it be infinitely better just to take and study their brains, you know the bits that make them them.” “But juicy stuff is better!” “Can’t we synthesize that juicy stuff on our own? I mean it’s not like we don’t already have organic followers and it’s not like the formula for ‘organic shit’ is so desperately complicated that it can’t be made from base elements by a species of super genius uber robots like us.” “but we want their genes!” “So… again we can’t have our organic followers hire some people to pretend to run a blood drive and just bring it back for study.” “But we’re EVIL!” “And bloody retarded to boot, it seems.”

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Sure,when you look it like that,its stupid.But when you look it like that,the whole cycle from the start is stupid.

                  Take a look at it from this perspective though:
                  Reapers share mordins point of view(after all,great minds think alike)that manufactured beings stagnate because they lack culture,mutations,and such,and thus cannot evolve.And evolution is what leads to progress.Reapers clearly want to progress,because what sapient life wouldnt?However,they cannot just evolve artificially because metal doesnt change,and pure logic can lead you just to a certain point.So they need to add a random element,something organic life is perfectly capable of.So,instead of just scorching every planet and make sure nothing but them can live anymore,they leave the planets to develop naturally.They only interfere when life advances enough to leave their home planet,and then subjugate them with ease.They sift through the conquered organics,turn some into keeper-like races(collectors amongst them),incorporate some into themselves(build a new reaper or two),and eradicate the rest.Rinse and repeat.This way they can procreate without just churning out the same reaper over and over again.This way they can evolve and progress.

                  And there are plenty of evidence for this:Tali comments how geth are blurring the lines between organics and synthetics by having religion.Sovereign despises organics,yet still doesnt want to break the cycle and simply scorch the galaxy.And why would a machine despise anything in the first place?Protheans did something that reapers didnt expect:They tampered with the keepers,showing how reapers still have plenty of room for improvement.

          • Dude says:

            Right. You don’t see the train wreck I see.

            I don’t know where you’re getting the whole one species deal, because ME1’s main idea was that the Reapers were planning to invade via the Citadel mass relay and destroy all the species that were advanced enough to be on the Citadel. Unless I’m missing a chunk of dialog somewhere, ME never revealed the Reaper’s intention of “ascending” any species, human or likewise. The human-centric focus comes squarely in ME2, and feels just as forced as the introduction of the Collectors.

            ME1 was not just a corridor shooter; that’s what I saw, at least. It was also a–derivative, sure, what isn’t?–rather ballsy attempt to make a space opera game with decent world building, and enough RPG to be RPG. It had a bunch of things wrong with it, but its story and its universe were a lot less flawed than most other games.

            ME2 is a corridor shooter with talking. Most of the talking is useless. Most of the new world building it does is stupid. Most of the new things it introduces directly contradict the original. Heat sink clips, Collectors, Cerberus being idiot visionaries and saviors rather than retard baddies, the council’s utter stupidity, etc etc etc.

            • X2-Eliah says:

              My thoughts exactly. Besides the council being stupid, that was quite prominent in ME1.

              But otherwise, fully same thoughts.

              However, there’s Skyrim, so who cares about Shoot Effect 3 – the CoverShot.

              • poiumty says:

                Skyrim’s gonna be a blast, what with Bethesda’s excellent writers! I mean just look at what they did to Fallo-

                Oh wait.

                • Kavonde says:

                  Apparently they overhauled the animation system! No more people standing woodenly still when you talk to them; now they’ll move their arms slightly! It’ll be almost as advanced as the animation system in Knights of the Old Republic.

                • X2-Eliah says:

                  Oh? You say they are worse than ones on ME2, or Gears of War?

                  Y’know, I enjoyed bloody Oblivion much more than ME2, all things considered. And there is a bit more to making a good game beyond having a good writer (of course, it helps) – open world design and content comes to mind.

                  Edit – in any case, our opinions on this differ. So just accept that I like the stuff they make, and will enjoy Skyrim, regardless of any derision ‘because it is cool’.

                • Kavonde says:

                  X2, I believe you have mistaken “poking fun at Bethesda’s chief weakness as a company” for “savagely hating them and everything they stand for.”

                • X2-Eliah says:

                  Quite possible. The fact that the majority of people who take the opportunity choose the latter makes it, well, a bit clearer as to why I jumped to the conclusion.

                  For instance, see the edit in Avilan’s post below. I wouldn’t call that poking fun, nor would I call it anything reasonable.

                • Kavonde says:

                  Eh, so he didn’t like Oblivion and he hopes he will like Skyrim. I fail to see how that constitutes a rabid attack on all things Bethesda.

                  Honestly, I didn’t like Oblivion nearly as much as I did Morrowind, myself, and I liked ME2 (for all its terrible main plot) more than either. Different strokes; some people like open-world RPGs, some people like story-driven RPGs, some people like Japanese RPGs, some people don’t like RPGs at all and want to play Team Deathmatch til their eyes bleed. C’est la vie.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  I always find it weird when people like oblivion more than morrowind,when to me it felt like morrowind with nicer graphics and more restraints.

            • Avilan says:

              We don’t KNOW the full plan of the reapers by the end of ME1. We don’t find out about the whole plan until the end of ME2.

              (sarcasm)Of course some people are of the opinion that if it’s not mentioned in ME1 then it cannot happen. Because all of the plot must be revealed by episode 1 / book 1 / chapter 1… (/sarcasm)

              The use of the Citadel is to make it possible to take control quickly over all space-faring species at the same time no matter the purpose for the species in question

              As for the rest: having played both games I strongly disagree on all points.

              Edit: Skyrim? I hope it will be better than the awfulness known as Oblivion.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Sooo,just because trailers show reapers invading earth,you assume they are invading just earth and no other planet?And even if that is the case,it was humans who killed sovereign,so it makes sense to start by wiping them out first,then proceeding to the rest,since they cant go with their original plan of striking the citadel first and spreading from there.

          About the gears of war driving the market,why is this a bad thing per se?Remember gordon freeman,that personification of mute protagonist every single “we want to be cool” fps since doom tried to emulate?Yeah,he is the badass star of a game series that has very well told story,rich lore,and fleshed out characters characters,along with a solid(if a bit cliched)story.And all that despite being linear as hell,with no character points,and no branching story and dialogues.So please,explain to me how does gameplay tell you anything about the game other than what its gameplay is like?

          • Dude says:

            Not at all. I’m hoping Earth isn’t the only planet they invade. It’s the same kind of hope that I have for Deus Ex 3 to not suck ass, though. Big toss up.

            Also, Gordon Freeman is a rather shoddy example of a badass. He’s more in the Clint Eastwood/Cobra category than the generic buff soldier space marine #456 badass category.

            There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bare bones shooter/cover based shooter with some tool you control that you don’t give a tin shit about. I’ve played enough shallow games to not admit the appeal of intellectually hollow entertainment.

            Reducing Shepard to that same stupid space marine stereotype (I’m Commander Shepard, baby, you’re in the presence of a GOD!), and then shaping and twisting the entire Mass Effect core to fit that kind of entertainment, though, that was unnecessary. Just to sell more copies.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Gordon freeman uses a crowbar to kill brain sucking monstrosities from another dimension,he slaughters hundreds of trained soldiers from human,alien and human-alien hybrid races,and he has two races of incomprehensible beings using unimaginable powers fighting over him(g-man and vortigaunts).I call that certifiable badass.

              On the other point,mass effect 2 is not a bare bones,generic shooter.Loyalty missions are proof of that.Yes,the main story took a hit,but you cant say that it took a hit because the gameplay was changed.Loyalty missions prove that the game can be deep and intelligent with its current gameplay,so the reason why the main story was dumb is something else.

              And the only thing I see wrong about the gameplay in 2 are the clips and probing.Everything else was an improvement over 1.Its more power centric,you dont have to spend 15 minutes to sift through your inventory after just a single mission(I timed it during my second playthrough in 1,and this is with extensive knowledge of the items),you have qtes that actually work,you dont tug around weapons you arent proficient with,your powers are more meaningful than +1% on your shields,there actually is a reason to use different ammo now,…The minigames though,…Well,your mileage varies.I like all three about the same(bypassing and hacking in 2,and the circle with obstacles in 1).Josh apparently doesnt,so there goes.

  44. Kavonde says:

    Something interesting for you guys: somewhere in ME2, on one of the little hidden side mission planets, is another Prothean beacon that plays a new version of the vision from ME1, except with Collectors in it.

    Here’s the original (albeit slowed down).

    And here’s the ME2 one.

    So, this is one of two things. It’s either a retcon showing that the Protheans were actually two or more species living symbiotically (the Cthulhu-heads and the bug-heads), or it’s a message showing the Protheans being turned into Collectors. If it’s the latter, then it turns out that the whole “Collectors” thing was been part of the series’ canon since ME1, and Bioware always intended the Protheans to return as a slave race to the Reapers (albeit possibly not as bugs). However, if THIS is true, then we’re left to wonder who built this updated beacon. Prothean survivors who escaped a Reaper lab? Collectors who regained some free will?

    Interesting stuff, right? So then the question is, why was this hidden away in a side mission in some dark corner of the galaxy and never mentioned again, while so much stupid remained in the main plot?

    • Avilan says:

      I don’t get the conspiracy theory that “the new writers” pulled “collectors out of their asses”.

      I have just stared at the vision from the ME1 beacon 4 times in 4 hours (as I said I play 4 characters parallel right now) since all my characters just killed the Thorian. To me it’s obvious that the Protheans are changing into… something. Several of the images shows them doing that. What you don’t see is the end product, but that might be because A) the concept art of the collectors was not finished and B) they didn’t want to spoil.

      (Edit: Oh and that beacon is not that hard to find; when you go mining it is on one of the planets you are bound to try).

      • Kavonde says:

        Sure, but it’s still a non-plot side mission you’ll only find in the course of playing the worst minigame ever.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Uhm, unless that Beacon’s on Uranus, I don’t see how anyone is guaranteed to go to it while mining. Especially since I didn’t find it, though I did not mine more than I had to.

        Also, regarding the beacon, I’m sure they try and pass it off as you only get incomplete images every time – every beacon you see makes it clearer, but interestingly enough, not longer.

        This was probably a rogue packet that only got this beacon, since it’s the only longer section of it.

    • krellen says:

      The fact that ME2 retconned the Prothean beacon to show Collectors does not prove that Collectors were planned from ME1. It shows that someone at BioWare realised the “Collectors are Protheans!” thing was really stupid, and hacked in some kludge to try to lamely justify it.

      Look carefully at the vision: the Collector bit is rendered in a different art style from the rest. It’s quite clearly an added on piece, not something “planned all along”.

      • Kavonde says:

        Yeah, the actual Collector is clearly a retcon. I’m just saying that the Protheans being enslaved by the Reapers thing could’ve been canon from the start.

        I mean, the ME1 vision is clearly about some kind of disturbing cybernetics surgery. It’s not a stretch to say it had to do with the indoctrination of the surviving Protheans. (And still could have served as a “the Reapers wiped us out” message.)

      • Avilan says:

        No matter how many times you argue that, or similar “conspiracy theories”, it still doesn’t make them true. It all still boils down to you having a clear opinion on where you wanted the story to go, and then it went somewhere else. Which you cannot accept.

        Anyway, what I said, above, is: It is obvious, from watching the vision in ME1 that Protheans are being transformed.We just don’t see the end result.

        To quote myself:
        “I have just stared at the vision from the ME1 beacon 4 times in 4 hours (as I said I play 4 characters parallel right now) since all my characters just killed the Thorian. To me it’s obvious that the Protheans are changing into… something. Several of the images shows them doing that. What you don’t see is the end product, but that might be because A) the concept art of the collectors was not finished and B) they didn’t want to spoil.”

        In other words: The final picture being added on the orignal vision?

        Duh.

        • acronix says:

          I always assumed they were just grossly getting killed, but I haven`t seen those visions in a year now.

          I should reinstall…or look for a gallery.

          However, I think that, if it`s true that they were planning the collectors, not adding the last bit wouldn`t have been a spoil. I mean, we would have been left with “What are those things?” and then in ME2 those players that remember get a “prize” for paying attention.
          Also, for the prothean becons to have information of the protheans being changed, it means the surviving protheans of Illium (was it Illum?) knew of that. Why didn`t they put such IMPORTANT information on the virtual intelligence? Why does it say, when asked about the reapers intentions, that “they may be incomprehensible to organics”, if they saw how they changed them? Though this would only imply that the protheans-as-collectors thing was a buttpull on the plot, but not that the whole “assending” species was.

        • krellen says:

          It all still boils down to you wanting to see the whole plot “twist” has having been planned all along, and then playing Mass Effect 1 looking for your preconceptions to be corroborated.

          I can’t speak for everyone that played Mass Effect 1, but I think you’ll find the opinion that the vision shows Protheans being transformed to be a vast minority position. I suspect most people had no idea what it meant (and just accepted Shepard’s “I saw death” explanation), and of those that tore it apart looking for meaning probably just got “we’re being killed, by machines”, because that’s what the images really seem to say (over and over – “we’re being killed” “machines” “we’re being killed” “machines”, etc. etc. Try watching the slow video again with those phrases in mind.)

          • Jarenth says:

            I have to say, watching this slow-motion video, that I can also identify a few clear parts of organic flesh turning into cybernetics. The last few seconds of the video, for example.

            Whether or not that refers to the Proteans or something else entirely (Husks, perchance?) I’ll leave up for debate.

            • ehlijen says:

              No, all I’m seeing is flesh being ripped apart by having random (contemporary earth made btw) circuit boards shoved through it.

              It looks more like a deranged cyberpunk butcher at work than anything transforming.

  45. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wow,my shepard just said stop shooting me.So is she quoting Josh,or was Josh quoting her?

  46. Sekundaari says:

    “until it stopped shooting at them”

    So close…

    “No one has had an opportunity to study a Collector genetic code in this detail.”

    What? If the actual structure of the molecule is so unique (quadruple helix stuff), why would you need detail for that? Or does EDI actually mean no opportunity to study Collector genetic code, period?

    “Protected by sophisticated Fabrication Rights Management (FRM) technology, this weapon is nearly impossible to reproduce and prohibitively expensive.”

    Without knowing what Mass Effect 2 DRM is like, I can’t decide if this is a decent joke or rubbing salt in people’s wounds.

  47. Zaxares says:

    Turian patrol: Yep, you missed it. XD The Illusive Man does say that the ‘turians were wiped out, but they managed to disable the ship first’.

    Also, the Collector Ship is the FIRST time the Illusive Man lied to you. He didn’t specifically lie to Shepard during the mission on Horizon, although he did withhold the fact that he let it slip to unspecified sources that Kaidan/Ashley would be on Horizon.

    Not blowing up the Collector Ship on sight: Shepard also needed more information about the Collectors. Why were they abducting all these colonists? Where are they taking them? How do they get through the Omega-4 Relay? And what’s their connection to the Reapers? Remember that Shepard and TIM at this point have no real idea about the Collectors’ real strength. Are there disparate factions within the Collectors the same way that humans or batarians or turians have separate political entities? For all we know, the Collectors abducting humans are a rogue organisation like Cerberus, and the majority of the Collector race could have been peaceful. On the other hand, there could be an entire Collector HOMEWORLD, with MILLIONS of Collectors and dozens, if not hundreds, of similarly-sized ships that are all in service to the Reapers. There’s no way that anything short of an entire species’ military that could stand up against them. They needed more information about the Collectors and their strengths and capabilities, and simply blowing up the Collector ship as soon as they saw it would have been contrary to their needs.

    Although I will admit that the Collectors do look like total inept fools for letting Shepard walk right into the middle of their ship and STILL failing to capture him. Have you SEEN how huge that ship is? Why not send EVERY ONE of the Collector guards to stop him? Send ALL the Husks, all the Collectors, all the Scions at the same freaking time and overwhelm Shepard and his crew? Instead they just send mooks in ones and twos like every other silly evil villain. :P

    • Jarenth says:

      “They managed to disable the ship, but then they got wiped out.” How does that even work? Did one of them trip and hit the self-destruct button by mistake?

      “Whew… it took some effort, but we finally managed to disable this enormous Collector vessel. Now to transmit this information to whoever is interested, so we can warn the galaxy of this imminent threat.

      Oh wait blargh, we are now dead”

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Fire,breached hull,leaky reactor,there are numerous ways a ship can get so damaged that it will get destroyed pretty soon,even if it doesnt get hit anymore.Granted,only few of those would end up in the ship being completely obliterated and unnoticeable.

      • ehlijen says:

        If playing Battlefleet Gothic has taught me anything, a single destroyed ship can explode with enough force to wipe out an entire fleet…

        Or they decided to ram the collectors after loosing really badly?

        Neither of those leave enough time to send a distress call afterwards, containing the result, though. That requires a very specific level about to be destroyed.

  48. Shep says:

    Wait, I’m confused about this debate about Turians blowing up their own ships or whatever. Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought the whole point of the story was that there was never any Turian patrol. The Collectors sent out a fake distress signal ostensibly being from a Turian patrol that had encountered a ship and disabled it, knowing that the Illusive Man would be listening.

    This was to lure the Illusive Man into sending Shepherd to investigate, allowing them to spring their trap. However, the call was ent with the wrong protocols, meaning the Illusive Man would never believe it was genuine, but sent you in anyway, thinking it too good an opportunity to miss, and not wanting to tip off the Collectors that he knew it was a trap.

    This is of course pretty contrived, requiring the Collector’s plan to be intrinsically flawed and the Illusive Man to send you, his most valuable resource, unprepared into a massive trap, but there you go.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      *sigh*Why isnt tali into girls?Now I have to choose between a character I like more and companion I like romancing the most.

      Great comic by the way.

  49. PurePareidolia says:

    Something to note: Everyone in the game has a covered neck – no matter how low their neckline, they’ll always at least have a collar – Miranda and Jack are the most obvious examples of this but I assume it’s a necessary part of the facial animation tech – using two different models – one for the body, one for the head but it’s literally on everyone with the possible exception of TIM who barely moves anyway.

    • ehlijen says:

      Yes, it is so they can use seperate models for the head and torso and don’t have to worry about the gap always lining up just right. TIMs model is not reused by anyone else in the game, nor does he ever have different head models (helmets etc), so they could pay a bit more attention, but even then, the gap’s just moved a bit further down to the chest which is covered on him.

    • Dude says:

      If ME2 were Oblivion someone would’ve modded it by now so that the neck and body seamline wouldn’t be visible and it would be nude mod central.

      ie, ME2 should’ve been Oblivion with better animation. Oh wait, Skyrim.

  50. Benny Pendentes says:

    “If you could give Bioware one suggestion. One and only one suggestion, that you think will make Mass Effect 3 better than 2, what would it be?”

    Make it more like Mass Effect 1. Or at least give a frickin nod to established canon and develop on existing tensions, instead of changing *everything* people liked about the first game.

    They were so proud when they announced that they had listened to every complaint and adjusted things to make those complaints go away, apparently having forgotten the Greater Internet Dickwad Rule.

  51. Nyquisted says:

    “I know this bugs you.”

    My cheeks hurt after that.
    Golden. :)

  52. superglucose says:

    Really this needed to be a smoking gun. In fact, my entire feeling on Mass Effect 2 in retrospect was basically this: TIM needs to be a smoking gun. He has to be setting up Shepherd somehow for some reason… even if it’s as simple as setting Shepherd up to be a fall-guy and then come in saving the day going “AHAAAAA! Cerberus SAVED THE GALAXY BITCHES!!!” There are too many times that TIM sends you in with faulty/fake information and apparently tries to get you killed for him to be on the level.

    I think what would be interesting is if he started out trying to fight the Reapers but eventually got “Indoctrinated” or whatever their speshul word for “Brainwashed” was. Still doesn’t explain how this particular trap failed… But this whole sequence still doesn’t make much sense, nor does why the Reapers are so fascinated by humans, let alone shepherd. Shepherd didn’t defeat Sovreign, Joker and the human fleet did! Shepherd didn’t even stop Saren by himself/herself, s/he had a lot of help from a Turian, a Quarian, an Asari…

    Oh and on the subject of Joker, the whole “brittle bone disease” thing is pretty stupid. In the year 2011, we can preform hip replacement surgeries. They literally replace large tracts of bone with metal replacements! Why can’t we do this 150 years in the future, eh? Why wouldn’t some doctor have seen Joker and said, “ok, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to pull out all of your leg bones and replace them with hollow tubes of metal”? Et voila, he can walk without having to worry about breaking his legs!

    Great game, or greatest game?

  53. Slothful says:

    This mission fired for me RIGHT after I got Thane. After that, EVEYBODY on the Normandy, including Thane essentially ambushed me with their sidequests, even though I had never even had time to say “hello” to Thane first.

    I blame this mission for how everything went horribly wrong in the first game.

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