Spoiler Warning S4E46: Geth Who’s Coming to Dinner?

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

Some people claim that Mass Effect 2 is not a brown corridor shooter. Allow me to retort:


Link (YouTube)

Gah. I haven’t been subjected to such high doses of brown since the original Quake.

It’s not just the lack of color, but also the overbearing industrial style. It’s as if everyone in the galaxy lives in warehouses. Yes, we get some nice color in Jacob’s mission. And the non-combat areas of the game are at least as vibrant as the ones in Mass Effect 1, perhaps even better. But as soon as we start fighting it’s back to flat, boxy, linear, and monochrome.

Let’s list the missions in the game. Industrial corridor shooter levels are in bold. Levels which are lively and varied are in italics. Areas that are a mixed bag are in unadorned text.

Core missions:

Project Lazarus
Freedom’s progress
Horizon Colony
Investigate Collector Ship
Dead Reaper
Collector Base

Recruitment & loyalty missions:

Recruit Garrus
Recruit Tali
Recruit Thane
Recruit Jack
Recruit Samara
Recruit Mordin
Recruit Grunt
Garrus: Eye for an Eye
Grunt: Rite of Passage
Jack: Subject Zero
Jacob: The Gift of Greatness
Legion: A House Divided
Miranda: The Prodigal
Mordin: Old Blood
Samara: The Ardat-Yakshi
Tali: Treason
Thane: Sins of the Father

I’m sure some people will argue with a few of my classifications one way or the other. Maybe Garrus: Eye for an Eye and Miranda: The Prodigal should be in bold because most of the action takes place in a warehouse far away from the interesting bits of the Citadel. Maybe Recruit Tali should be given credit for being colorful and well-lit, even through it was a sea of concrete and industrial crates. We can bicker over individual entries, but I think the trend is clear.

Again, we see the Jekyll & Hyde nature of this game. Omega, Illium, and the Citadel are all bright, colorful, and feel lived-in. (By space opera standards.) But once the shooting starts it’s like we’re playing a late 90’s first person shooter – warehouses, crates, and nondescript industrial stuff. What happened to places like Virmire and IIlos? Does every battle need to be close-quarters? There was no reason to smother players in crates like this.

You could argue that Mass Effect 2 has just as many interesting areas as Mass Effect 1, but since it’s a far larger game the overall percent is worse. Still, it would have been really nice to mix things up with an ice world. Or some alien ruins. Or a beach. Grasslands. More residential stuff. Gardens or temples. I think the game just has too dang much industrial scenery.

Lair of the Shadow Broker was really, really good, in that it presented spaces that looked plausibly residential, detailed, and interesting. (At least, until your reached the titular lair.)

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A Hundred!202There are 122 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Newbie says:

    I think it might have been easier for bioware to make the games combat longer distance if the sniper rifle was less like a magnifying glass and more like a telescope.

    I also disagree with the Collector ship mission. I liked that one as an environment. If the mission had been shorter and hadn’t tried to make you fight 3000 enemies then I would have thought it was a perfectly acceptable mission (ignoring certain plot holes that have already been pointed out).

  2. Zah says:

    I can live with industrial art direction what I bugs me is that Mass Effect 2 felt like everything was in its own little vacuum and that while that little chunk of the game might be good it has absolutely no effect on anything else going on.

    Tali/Legion and Miranda/Jack are the only pairings that seem to have any kind of contact and it took a DLC character like Kasumi to actually get a squad member that actually tries to make the player feel as though that character is more than a bunch of pixels on a screen by the way it comments on the gossip on board the Normandy.

    Sometimes all it takes is that round-table discussion or that little bit of dialogue from a character telling the player to ‘check up’ on another squadmate like in Mass Effect 1 that makes a big difference.

    If Bioware is going to market itself on writing and consequences that matter and will be commented on it actually has to make an effort not just send me emails.

    It’s something Mass Effects distant cousin Alpha Protocol managed to do.

    Since he was mentioned:

    Jacob could have been a better character if he wasn’t a ‘tutorial’ character that lived past their use-by date. If it were any other developer Jacob would have left the party or died by now. Honestly they should have kept him somewhat loyal to the alliance so his conflict would be him as a double agent rather than daddy issues. Or hell he saved the Citadel in an iphone game make him a rival even a spectre. We could have had Anderson Jr but we ended up with a doormat.

    • eric says:

      I thought BioWare gave up interesting inter-party banter after Baldur’s Gate II or so. Hell, that game had damn near entire quests and outcomes that hinged upon having multiple specific party members.

      • krellen says:

        Mass Effect 1 had it – but most of it was in the elevators that I seem to be the only person that liked.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Nope,I liked those too.Way better than the generic loading screen,plus offers a sense of the places being connected.

          But there is some inter party banter in 2 as well.I liked when garrus and tali were discussing the elevators from 1,for example.

          • lurkey says:

            Which was the one and only party banter, if I recall correctly. While some NPCs like Joker or the engineer couple did offer some amusing quips about the party members, the complete disinterest of the party itself to each other (save for the scripted Miranda-Jack and Tali-Legion conflicts) and only being connected to Shepard made them somewhat hollow.

          • Luhrsen says:

            What has two thumbs and liked the elevators better than loading screens?
            ^_^
            d—b This guy!

        • Desgardes says:

          Well, they were pretty good loading screens, but I really loved the elevators for the banter that happened in them. And on the citadel, I’d ride the one between C-sec and the bay like 12 times to make sure I’d heard all the notices.

          • Someone says:

            Same here. Each time I was at the Citadel I spent 30 minutes “pairing up” different party members and riding the elevators up and down, just to hear what they have to say to each other. I was really disappointed when they didn’t do that in ME2, and I still don’t understand Tali’s hostile reaction in the one they did put in.

        • Irridium says:

          I enjoyed the banter. Although the elevators themselves could have gone faster… its still better then immersion-breaking loading screens.

          Also, Dragon Age did this nicely. Your characters talk to each other all the time. There’s even more activators for this with a certain mod. It fleshes them out, makes them more interesting, and its just a joy.

        • Cody211282 says:

          I loved the elevator party talks, and it was one of the things I really missed in the second game. Also another thing that I didn’t like was that they had the damn mission debriefings dumbed down to a spread sheet, I would have liked it if you got to talk to him(like in ME1) and have your party talk about what happened(like in ME1). I honestly felt that took more out of the game then damn near anything else, it broke immersion and made it feel like every area mission happened in was only around because bioware needed a place to have you shoot a bunch of mooks.

      • lurkey says:

        Dragon Age wasn’t bad in that sense, you could at least get a feeling what the party members thought of each other when they weren’t sulking in their static spots around the camp. The pooch even had in-the-camp interactions!

        • Aldowyn says:

          ME2 fails miserably in the NPC interactions. The crew literally have more interactions with each other than your squad does.

          DA:O was especially awesome in that department, even better than ME1 iirc.

  3. poiumty says:

    For the record, i never actually argued about the corridors. I argued against the color pallete. That list had nothing to do with what i was talking about. The only truly brown levels in this game are the ones on Tuchanka (understandably so), the collector ship, Grunt’s recruitment mission and half of Tali’s loyalty mission. The yellowish brown in Tali’s mission is due to the lighting, in normal light the dominant color would be white as they use the same crates they used on Freedom’s Progress and so on. Oh, and there’s a sidequest on a planet full of brown fog, iirc.
    Overall, you still can’t call it a brown corridor shooter.

    Mass Effect 1 had the same type of level design, people just didn’t notice it because of the Mako and how the level design included alternating driving and shooting sequences. In fact, yes, this brings up a valid point about the Mako that i didn’t notice so far: integrating driving sessions allows the level design to be more diverse and have more open areas without feeling empty and dull. See the Overlord/Firewalker DLC: driving areas including ice and lava planets, and beautiful wide-open areas devoid of corridors. Because you have a vehicle.

    The level design is like this because this is what makes for good gameplay in a cover-based shooter. You probably didn’t notice it in ME1, but it was the same there. Wherever there wasn’t a vehicle, there was always a narrow path with crates in it.

    I loved the story missions in Mass Effect 1, but there were only 3-4 of them of note (apart from Liara’s recruitment which wasn’t special). The rest of the game was conversation and sidequests. Sidequests which involved repeating the same pattern to arrive at the same 3 types of dungeons recycled over and over again: warehouse full of crates, mine full of crates and space freighter. Full of crates. So in retrospect, we can say ME2 was a step forward in level design. You’re not doing any of the non-important sidequests, but i don’t think you give them enough credit. Unlike ME1, each is unique in setting and some don’t even have combat.

    • swimon says:

      That’s not entirely true. ME2 is a lot more corridorish than ME1 in that there is only one path at any given time. ME1 had problems with this too but take eden prime for example. Where you meet Ashley Williams is in a field and later where Saren shot Nihlus you start on a hill overlooking a rather empty space with geth and husks in the distance. Or hell take the recycled warehouse you go through 20 times (for which there is no excuse ME1 really dropped the ball there) it’s not a corridor at all but a big square room with a lot of boxes in.

      Now ME2 was not completely without these bigger more free rooms, there was one in Jacob’s quest where you get to that more circular field and then there were that room in Garrus’ recruitment mission where you have to shut the door and then there were…. None. Ok so there’s probably some more of these rooms but they’re incredibly rare.

      This is what I really don’t like with ME2’s level design by making it all a big corridor you lose a lot of the unpredictability and strategy. In ME1 you had to keep an eye open so that your enemy wouldn’t flank you and then you’d try to flank them. It made your movement and positioning important. In ME2 most of the fighting is the same, you hide behind your cover and shoot the enemy when he looks out of his, sometimes you shoot your special abilities when he looks out.

      • poiumty says:

        Wide areas with crates in them are in both games. The boss in Grunt’s recruitment mission, the areas in Jack’s recruitment mission, Grunt’s loyalty mission, the area on Horizon with the turrets…
        It’s understandable that they’re harder to see, because corridors are much more obvious in this game (even more so with the lack of a vehicle to offer contrast), but they’re there.

        • swimon says:

          As I said I probably missed a few but in ME2 they’re the exception instead of being the rule as they were in ME1.

          Also I might have been vague on what I meant. The level design in ME2 makes the combat very undynamic (unless you play like Josh) there is very little incentive to move around which makes most of the combat a stalemate. Take the boss in Grunt’s recruitment mission he’s in a big area true but it’s not like you use that area. The mech makes sure that if you move you die.

          I think this is a necessity from how they designed the combat. In the first game your movement was enforced by the fact that you got flanked all the time but in ME2 you don’t have enough health to survive a flanking and because they mapped everything to space there has to be a small delay between you pushing the button and starting to run or else you’d just run into walls all the time, this makes the running sluggish and further disincentivizes moving.

          I say this because I recently replayed the first game and while the combat has flaws (the unpredictable nature of it means you’re going to die sometimes because the enemy swarmed you) it’s a lot more dynamic and even though you need to pause more often it still feels a lot more fast paced. You’re constantly watching your back and running from cover to cover trying to outmanoeuvre the enemy in ME2 you mostly sit still and try to shoot at their head sticking out.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      What made 1 feel less corridory were the transitions.Here,you get a cutscene,then fight some enemies,then another cutscene,a boss fight,a cutscene and youre back on the ship.In 1,you walked from your ship to the mission place,had some people to talk to on your way there,or you had mako to drive you to your mission place.And while there were lots of samey places,it felt way bigger and railless exactly because of these transition places.

    • eric says:

      I kind of have to disagree here. The first game does have a lot of copy-pasted areas (mostly on the “unexplored planets” or whatever), as well as corridors, but they’re punctuated by some pretty wide-open areas like Virmire, even in the non-vehicle sections. Furthermore, the non-combat sections of the game are generally much more interesting and open, especially the Citadel. Compare that to Illium and Zakera Ward, and I think you’ll find Mass Effect 1 has quite a bit more variety. The only area that really felt like a real place to me was Omega, and even the lack of variety (there’s the poor part, and the really poor part) kind of reinforced the fact that it was just a box with a matte painting around it. Mass Effect held a lot of combat in areas designed for non-combat, while Mass Effect 2 seemed to be, for the most part, designed with that in mind, even if it made absolutely no sense architecturally and aesthetically.

      • poiumty says:

        The “compartimentalization” was one of my foremost complaints for ME2 as well. You rarely shoot people in areas where you talk, and vice-versa. The game seems to abruptly and tangibly switch from “this is a combat zone” to “this is a non-combat zone”.
        Though i don’t feel the same about the quest hubs. I thought the Citadel was rather boring, really.
        And i prefer loading screens to those bastard elevators.

        • eric says:

          If you replace the loading screen movies with short ones, the loading screens actually get really short. The game makes you watch the video at least once before proceeding, which is just absurd. On my system, with replaced videos, most areas load up with a couple of seconds. Criminal on BioWare’s part.

          If I had to watch a 30 second movie every single time, though, I’d definitely take elevators.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            That is agonising to me that they’d force you to watch the first loop before loading. That is not what a loading screen is for, and frankly, if I’ve seen them once, I’ve seen them a hundred times. I wants me my elevators back. Perhaps we use a Space Elevator to Earth? And all your comrades have something to say as you descent to the final fight?

          • poiumty says:

            That has the hallmarks of “bad console port”. Loading times are the same on each X-box, so they made the movie length appropiate to what the loading time was.
            Either that or some dumb coder forgot to set the flag for “skip if finished loading”.

        • Aldowyn says:

          Ah, the elevators weren’t that bad. People seemed to think they lasted a really long time, but they never did for me.

          As far as the level design is concerned, I think ME1’s main missions are better (Virmire remains EASILY my favorite part of the entire series. ME1’s ending blows ME2’s out of the water, though I DO like the mechanics in the end game.), but ME2’s everything else are at least as much better. ME1 has really good ones and AMAZINGLY bad ones, while ME2 has “okay, I guess” and “Brown corridor shooter”. I actually prefer the latter to the crate mazes in the ME1 side quests.

  4. Zukhramm says:

    They did not actually change what the trial was about. Regardless of whether Legion is with you or not, what Tali is charged with is sending back geth parts that were not properly disabled, that is, sending active geth to the fleet.

    • Integer Man says:

      Was going to say – changing the trial would 1) take a lot of additional effort, 2) be too cool for Bioware, 3) take the focus off of Tali’s father which would make this less of a loyalty mission.

      Kinda cool, though.

      • eric says:

        But again, it runs into the colossally stupid issue of “we’ve been asked to join the Migrant Fleet, so they can charge us with a crime we committed upon stepping through the door”. This way makes more sense, with Legion being used as “evidence” against Tali.

        • Zukhramm says:

          BUt the thing is, Legion isn’t. They just get some trouble when entering, and the nduring the trial asked if it’s a threat, and that’s it.

  5. Zagzag says:

    How can you defend Tali on a charge of bringing active Geth onto the fleet, while sitting there with your own active Geth? Surely someone would object to this, as Tali is basicaly repeating the crime she was already accused of treason for supposedly committing.

  6. Sydney says:

    I’m pretty sure BioWare painted themselves into a corner, as far as level design goes, with the new gunplay mechanics. Since cover is much more important than it was in ME1, they need a good excuse to fill every combat with convenient chest-high walls.

    The Virmire beach run on foot with ME2’s mechanics would be suicide by another name. So would the Chora’s Den fights, or the krogan battlemaster on Therum.

    Whether the original combat mechanics should have been kept or not is a whole other question.

    • Fnord says:

      You know what I did a lot of in ME1, that I very rarely did in ME2? I took cover around a corner or behind a doorway. You can take cover behind things that aren’t chest-high walls.

    • psivamp says:

      I think they also painted themselves in a corner with the multiple classes. In order to keep any one class from being significantly more or less challenging than the others, the encounter distance has to be fairly uniform. Could you imagine using the short-range build Josh uses to take out snipers?

      • Sydney says:

        If it was actually possible to Charge up to sniper perches? Sure. Infiltrators countersnipe with their tac-cloak, Soldiers bang back with raw firepower, Adepts Pull, Engis use the Drone, Sentinels have all sorts of options, Vanguards fly right up.

  7. Kanodin says:

    In regards to getting control of Tali’s life for no reason, that’s always a delicate balance. Give the player too little control and they feel like a merc with a gun as someone put it yesterday, give them too much and we have situations like this. What I like is when they give the ability to influence people pretty strongly, but more importantly give the option to let them decide for themselves.

    Also I would like to hear that suppressed rant about the Riddler.

    • Talson says:

      One day I’d like to play a game that completely nails that balance. Give the player the ability to make lasting, meaningful, branching decisions, without feeling like the supreme leader of whatever general area of space his/her matter happens to be occupying.

      • swimon says:

        I actually thought they did it pretty well here. You tell Tali what you think she should do and she tells you what she wants to do but you can still go against her will and present the evidence to the board after all what’s to stop you. It made sense to me, if you want to honour her choice you just don’t speak up.

        • Talson says:

          That’s true, but I meant playing a game where you aren’t the party leader. You’re the advice guy, and things you advise on doing just happen to … well happen.
          Seems in every game you’re put in a leadership role where you’re given complete, easily recognizable authority over any decisions that need to be made. This particular case did this by making you Tali’s lawyer and giving you the final say in the matter. The way I mean would probably involve a long dialog tree with Tali in which you convince her that it’s best for the present that she isn’t exiled, either through saying that the future research she could do is valuable, or saying that her father’s research needs to be shared (or that it will be found out when the clean up crew goes in, regardless of the verdict). The game could have also given you the option, if you failed to convince Tali (it’d have to make it clear you did so) to talk with the admirals sentencing her and convince (they all want something, be it a public endorsement for war or peace, to some of the research you stole from the ship (assuming you didn’t just copy it to a local device and leave the original intact)) the them to vote her innocent and have the verdict cut her off as she’d try to take the fall for it.
          I’d like something that doesn’t feel like you had to have the final word in no matter what.

          EDIT: I’ve never actually done the choice where she decided to take the fall, since I always thought of that as the “mission failure” option. You did come to the ship to investigate and hopefully clear her of the charges after all.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            You can clear her of all charges by being high enough paragon/renegade.So I picked that one,because it both keeps her fathers name clean,and her safe.

            • Talson says:

              Me too, I’ve never actually lacked for paragon/renegade points for any of those options in any missions. The only times I was lacking were in the Miranda/Jack and Tali/Legion confrontations. On later play-throughs I just did Jack/legions missions last.

              • Alexander The 1st says:

                I wonder if Josh won’t have enough. This should be interesting…

                • daveNYC says:

                  He definitely wouldn’t have enough for Miranda/Jack. I’ve never had enough paragon points to pull that one off, need to get the Shadow Broker DLC and see if that puts me over the top.

                  Hopefully he has enough for the Tali/Legion one.

                  Sadly, I’ve encountered the Miranda/Jack confrontation post-suicide mission on a runthrough where I romanced Miranda and nuked the Collector base. Specifically, this means that Miranda loves me, and that she quit Cereberus without giving notice. The Jack/Miranda confrontation still involves Miranda defending Cereberus, even though at this point she should be coming around to the idea that the only thing Cereberus has managed to not suck at is bringing Shepard back to life.

                • Alexander The 1st says:

                  @DaveNYC: For both of those conflicts, I just wore the Death Mask (IIRC, that’s the right name of the mask – gives 10% bonus to paragon/renegade), and was always able to make them work.

                  In fact, I think the only paragon option I remember missing is those Batarians (Fun fact: After playing DA:O with a mage recently, the first name that came to my mind was Genlock or Goblin for the Batarians…I need to play this game again…) who you could paragon/renegade at the entrance to Afterlife. Never sure what they ever did.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Since he probably wont do mirandas loyalty,miranda/jack fight is irrelevant.

          • Luhrsen says:

            That’s what’s missing from this loyalty mission! There should have been an option like Mordin’s/Kasumi’s/Cerberus Agent’s to copy the file for later.

      • Matt K says:

        Alpha Protocol actually did a fair decent job with this. If people like you, you can exert some influence over them, but everyone has their own agenda.

        • Sydney says:

          Still, the game hinges on your actions.

          I’m with Talson: It would be interesting to play a game in which the PC holds, say, the Zoe/Miranda/Rhinox role. Second-in-command with some influence, but who doesn’t get all the customary Primary Protagonist Perks.

  8. Talson says:

    “The farther in this game I get, the worse my powers get”

    That’s sorta how it’s supposed to be man. You leveled up your charge as much as possible and as the enemies you fight get stronger, that higher level charge does less damage and their higher level guns do more damage to your shields.

    • poiumty says:

      Add to this the fact that he isn’t buying upgrades for all his stuff because he doesn’t hack things much and suddenly the game is much harder than it’s intended to be.

      Plus, Josh isn’t the best ME2 player in town. Not that i could play even remotely like that while talking at the same time, but it’s still not good gameplay.

    • Raygereio says:

      “The farther in this game I get, the worse my powers get”

      If only Josh’s class specific ability didn’t revolve around exposing oneself from cover and warping oneself’s fragile body right in front of the bad men with the big guns.

      I still maintain that noone involved in the development of the vanguard class got the memo that ME2 was going to be a cover based shooter.

      • Talson says:

        Because of that, I can honestly say my time playing said class was never boring… during combat… usually… when the enemies aren’t on uncharge-able terrain… or members of the blood pack… or still alive… or husks… or… ummm… wait… ummmm… I’ll get back to you guys on this.

        • Fnord says:

          There is sort of a weird curve in terms of power usefulness, especially for classes like Vanguard which defined by one key power. In the beginning, all your powers suck because you have no points in them. Then, as you improve Charge (or Adrenaline Rush, etc) it starts to get better and better. Right when you max it out, it’s awesome. Then, it doesn’t get much better, but enemies keep get harder, so it starts to feel less useful.

          But the upgrades issue is real, and Vanguard is probably not he easiest class (though it’s the fastest, so there’s that).

          • Talson says:

            That’s true, but unless they’re going to put requirements outside the talent points there’s not much they can do about it. There’s some sort of this with the research upgrade projects, but it doesn’t feel like it does enough. I’d like to see research projects that add additional effects to specific abilities. Like having to choose between additional shields or maybe a faster rate of fire for a few seconds after you charge. I mean this IN ADDITION to the mutating of the highest level of the power. Just imagine, every time Josh charges something that doesn’t die (Like harbinger (which I gotta say, Josh is having a much harder time with than me, I usually just open fire as soon as the drone starts to glow and levitate, and usually have him halfway through his armor by the time he actually starts to attack me) or the heavy mechs) him unloading his eight round shotgun into it with the rapid fire of a sub machine gun.

      • Electron Blue says:

        But it’s so FUN!
        Seriously, never had any problems using charge, and I played Vanguard first. It just takes quick reflexes, elbows, and a good feel for where the nearest cover is. Hell, I even played Vanguard-style with a Sentinel, utilizing the burst of depleted tech armor and shotgun training. That was a fun playthrough.

  9. Fnord says:

    Fun Fact: In that spot where Josh complained about all the geth and died, if you rush forward into the hallway, you can stop further geth from spawning.

    While some of the missions are a bit monochrome, I think you’re rather overstating the case. Collector ship is “industrial corridor”? Well, it’s brown, but I don’t see much in the way of crates and heavy equipment. Nor is the suicide mission, and describing the Geth architecture in Legion’s loyalty mission as industrial is stretching it. Nor are the missions uniformly brown: many of those missions are more white/gray, and Legion’s mission has the green/red sensors and electric blue against black.

  10. Aulayan says:

    In Defense of the “Taking control of Tali’s life” here. Josh hit the nail on the head. Shepard’s her Captain.

    For every other culture that might not matter *as much* but for the Quarians? I’m sure they listen to their Captain on everything.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I know why Josh rushes these,but it still bugs me when he doesnt simply wait while the two hackers in his team turn half the geth against each other.And I kinda regret not taking legion here so I could have three hackers.Incidentally,anyone else thinking that infiltrator with dominate special is a bit of an overkill?

  12. Specktre says:

    Well the Geth and the Heretics are no longer connected like they once were, but there still is a kind of connection, as Legion will explain in his loyalty mission. It’s almost like he’s looking at himself being shot at in a mirror–both ways. And I also believe he can “feel” the Heretics being terminated.

  13. RandomMagicJ says:

    I’m pretty sure the guard who talks to you before getting on the shuttle to this ship says the geth are building more of themselves and that’s why there is so many.

    • lurkey says:

      He did, and I always wondered what do they build more of themselves from, in huge quantities too? It seems quite unlikely that a secret research ship would have a fully functional geth assembly line, and those geth definitely didn’t look made of scrap metal and old clocks’ parts.

      • Vextra says:

        I assume that the Geth are somewhat like the Replicators, and use nanotechnology to assimilate material from the surrounding Quarian hull.

        At least, thats the Justification I use.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well,the only things that they couldnt find just lying around are the blue boxes.Armour should be plentiful,as well as servos and weapons.

        • swimon says:

          actually from what I understand Geth don’t use blueboxes. I get this from the fact that the blueboxes was used as an explanation for why AI’s can’t be copied or moved from one computer to the next but that’s exactly what Geth can do.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Oh right,I forgot that geth are actually vi,not ai.Well they,they can make themselves from whatever.

            Though a more rundown look would make them better in this stage.

          • Inyssius says:

            Right. Geth treat their bodies the way we treat cars, entering and leaving them with ease, but moving from bluebox to bluebox effectively kills a quantum AI and makes another one–one with at most coincidental resemblance to the original. For all intents and purposes, the bluebox is the person; the programming is only seed data.

            (And, remember, almost every part of a Geth platform has Geth in it; that’s why Tali had to be very, very careful in sending only the safest of components back to the Fleet. If they need blueboxes, literally everything they make must double as one. That seems unlikely.)

    • Talson says:

      I think it could make sense that there’s so many. Tali has been sending back bits and pieces of geth to that ship for just under two years (spotting her a few months to mourn shepherd, and get to work). Combine that with the Quarians wanting as realistic of geth as possible to work on, and you’ll have about thirty or so geth that were on that ship.

  14. James says:

    it least it didn’t go to the fallout 3 school of dark grey/brown texture mapping for EVERYTHING (Point lookout is DLC so doesn’t count)and at least the narrow industrial corridors arn’t all brown, some at silver and white and some are purple, and omega is crazy.

  15. Jack says:

    Was anyone else bothered that there wasn’t an option to destroy Tali’s father’s research? After Mordin’s loyalty mission you have the option to destroy Maelon’s research because you think it is too dangerous/the methods used to obtain it were wrong, but here, with a virus that could potentially be used to enslave an entire race, you don’t even get the option. One of the Quarian admirals even emails you after the mission gloating about how she will use the data to give the Quarians control of the Geth.

  16. Alex says:

    Honestly? One of the reasons I gave up on the first Mass Effect was because of the bland, sterile environments, of which there was little aesthetic variety from one mission to the next. I don’t think this problem belongs solely to the sequel.

    • Raygereio says:

      Agreed. ME1 was even far worse in this regard as all the side-mission took place is 3 levels. The only difference was a different allocation of boxes. Yippie.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Those were the non-story specific missions, which, could be argued, these loyalty ones are too, especially since ME1 had Wrex, Garrus, and Tali “loyalty” missions.

      The thing is, even main game has drab levels, which makes it worse.

  17. Sydney says:

    Wait a sec. Tali says that the parts she sent, even if assembled, wouldn’t make sentient geth. So, uh…what happened, exactly? We know from the final vlog that Tali was Rael’s only source of geth giblets, so where’d they get the stuff Tali was deliberately leaving out?

    EDIT: Specific quote:

    “It’s not testing weapons on prisoners, Shepard. I only sent Father parts. Even if he assembled them, they wouldn’t be sapient.

    • Kavonde says:

      She wasn’t the only one sending back Geth parts. Her dad needed to build a sentient Geth to test his virus on, and he had other Quarians sending him riskier bits on the down-low. Ironically, he didn’t want Tali doing that because he wanted to keep her from getting in trouble if something went wrong.

      When they activated their new Geth, it immediately hacked the ship’s network and started copying itself and building more Geth platforms. Hence the army of them. (Though Tali’s dad must have had a friggin’ warehouse full of random Geth parts to create so damn many.)

      • Sydney says:

        “We’d have an easier time of it if Tali’Zorah could send back more working material.”

        Sounds like they were pretty dependent. Which makes it sound like Tali’s two possibilities, “[either] I got sloppy and sent something dangerous [or] my father did this on purpose“, were both true.

        • Kavonde says:

          There’s more dialogue in there somewhere that implies they had more sources than just Tali, and they were trying to get ahold of better materials without getting her in trouble. That very line you quoted ends with her dad objecting to putting her at risk if she tried to send back riskier parts.

          I may be misremembering things a bit, though, I suppose. I am a card carrying member of the Tali Fan Club, so I’m inclined to believe her when she says she took every precaution with the Geth pieces she recovered.

          EDIT: I agree that they sounded pretty dependent on Tali, but that’s probably because she was sending back more Geth materials than anyone else. Which makes sense, because she’s kind of a shotgun-toting, Geth-slaughtering, galaxy-saving badass.

          • Sydney says:

            The next line is just that Rael doesn’t want her exposed to any “political blowback” from this. No word on alternative sources.

            Sounds to me like Tali was simply mistaken about how small or broken a giblet has to be before it can’t be Frankensteined into a new geth platform.

            EDIT: In fact, “more working material”. Not “salvageable” or “reparable”; “working”. Looks like Tali was inadvertently sending back just barely enough working parts to enable Rael to give them the Frankenstein treatment.

            • Kavonde says:

              Hrm. You may be right, actually. I swear, though, I remember mention being made of the materials coming from multiple sources, but it’s possible that’s just a conclusion I drew.

              Eh, regardless, the Admiralty Board declares Tali innocent if you present the research data, so there’s apparently a bit of gray area between “negligence that endangers the Fleet” and “it’s cool, none of us could’ve known and your dad was kind of crazy.”

              • Sydney says:

                Actually, talking to some of the Admirals after the hearing gives the impression that Tali wouldn’t have been on trial to begin with except that the Board needed a political arena. Still, at first I thought it was:

                “Tali did nothing wrong; Rael was the only one at fault, and the Admirals mistakenly thought Tali contributed.”

                Instead, it’s:

                “Tali screwed up, but it would have been forgiveable if the Board didn’t have an ulterior motive.”

                Interesting.

                • Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Hmm… I was also under the impression that Tali’s father had other sources for Geth parts than Tali. Probably less efficient sources, probably more shady sources but still. Since I can’t recall the exact dialogue I am not going to fight on this point.

                  However, I also assumed that what Tali meant when arguing her innocence was that she didn’t send anything that could reactivate spontaneously or under normal circumstances. I mean, clearly the components she delivered could be used in reconstructing actual Geth since that is exactly what happened, but Rael and his team had to circumvent security procedures and work really hard to get the job done. In short, the only reason the materials Tali sent were actually dangerous was because her father broke the laws and customs when working with them. Holding Tali responsible would be a bit like a case of accusing a Quarian of sending metals to the fleet which another Quarian refined and made bullets with to shoot a third Quarian, definitely a stretch.

                • Zukhramm says:

                  Yes, that’s the thing. Tali claimed she disabled the geth properly so that they could not activate on their own. That does not mean they could not be reactivated with the help of a couple of scientists. What she’s accused of is failing to make sure they could not activate on their own.

                • Sydney says:

                  “It’s not testing weapons on prisoners, Shepard. I only sent Father parts. Even if he assembled them, they wouldn’t be sapient.

                • Zukhramm says:

                  Exactly, which means that did more than just assemble them,

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              “Bypass Security Protocols if needed.”

              …Yeah, not Tali’s fault Rael ignored the Quarian motivational poster “RTFM before you turn machines that want to kill us all and endanger the fleet on.”

  18. rayen says:

    Again this game nulls the point of a moral choice by making the options angel and demon… Moral and ethical judgements often don’t have a right answer, and trying to make them have one just seems out of place.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      How come?The mission gives you a choice whether to incriminate talis father,or stay silent,then whether to propose war or wait(not peace,just wait a bit before you decide)to quarians.And all of those are worded in such a way that they seem like you picked the right answert.How is that angel and demon?

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Well, I’m somewhat with the OP on this one. This choice has nothing compared to the Genophage or the Heretics situations. Especially if you grab and chat with Legion before you get to Tali’s loyalty mission at which point urging the Quarians to go to war is pretty much just sicking two well meaning cultures on each other (unless you do not believe Legion in the slightest, though the game assumes you do).

        I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, there are situations in which the black-white choice is apparent, this happens. It’s just not always the case and the Quarian-Geth conflict has a lot of potential to be another grey area. This could have been easily achieved by putting more pressure of the Quarians, perhaps reveal to Shepard that they are not doing quite as well, that further existence within the fleet is eventually going to damage their biology or society even further to the point where it cannot really sustain itself? So that there is any reason why the “all or nothing” bid for their homeworld actually makes sense.

        On the other hand I imagine if Bioware wanted to make every loyalty choice in the game this “shades of grey” thing it would get tiring eventually.

        • Zukhramm says:

          But the comments you cane make about the war are moe like side things you can say in a conversation or two. The final choice of exposing the truth or have Tali take the blame for the crime is seemed pretty grey to me.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Just because you can be an inconsistent dick,doesnt mean the only choices are being a dick and being a good guy.Legion tells you that the geth are practically planning to form a new race of reapers.This can be pretty terrifying,and blowing up half of them,then goading quarians to wage war against the rest is a pretty smart way to at least slow them down,before the rest of the galaxy realizes this and does something about it.So telling quarians to go to war isnt that much of a clear cut bad thing.

          And you dont see the point in them doing this?They are living in junk ships,are being antagonized by the rest of the galaxy almost as much as the geth,they cannot even procreate without getting sick for a week,and you think they are ok just because their suits,the only thing that prevents them from dying in a matter of days,are clean?So what are they going to do?Try to find a semi-suitable planet to colonize,in a galaxy where loads of bad things happen to new colonies,or try to retake their homeworld,the one they could readapt to in just 2 or 3 generations.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            You are misinterpreting what I meant. My point was that if we get the info from Legion conversations as well as drag Legion along for Tali’s loyalty mission we learn that the war is unnecessary since the Geth are perfectly willing to go into peace talks as soon as they calculate it is realistic for Quarians not to just use those talks as an opportunity for a surprise attack (I’m simplifying but only slightly).

            Add to it what that Quarian commando says. Quarians at present are not really meant for big scale war. Their strike teams are pretty elite but they are a very tiny fraction of the populace with high grade (and high maintenance) equipment and even they barely manage to minimize the odds of their bodies killing them within hours/days of the suits being pierced. Additionally the Migrant Fleet can’t really be that powerful battlewise. Consider that compared to humans or Turians Quarians have a relatively small population, effectively all that population is housed within the migrant fleet, they grow their food there, all of their production facilities, workshops, schools… in fact all of their EVERYTHING is there. And far as I can tell they aren’t in a position to buy themselves a mercenary army.

            On the other hand Geth are, or at least should be, highly effective in whatever they focus on. Unless the Quarians have a superweapon of some sort (like the ability to hack the Geth that Rael was trying to develop) or manage to wipe out the Geth in a single swift operation as soon as the Geth switch into “full scale war” mode they are going to wipe the Quarians out. Heck, the one reason why they didn’t do so is because, contrary to the Quarian belief, they didn’t want to chase and finish off their Creators and simply stayed beyond the Veil.

            It’s not a matter of encouraging the Quarians to get back their homeworld, far as I can say it is encouraging them to horribly die trying and perhaps blow up a few Geth space stations along the way. In addition, losses on neither side are good from the Reaper Fighting perspective.

            Of course, if you start from the perspective that Legion is lying and the Geth are pretty much going to become new Reapers then sacrificing the Quarians to even slow them down might make some sense. Of course then we might as well operate under the trustno1 code and generally assume that all our team are Reaper agents or something.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Of course, if you start from the perspective that Legion is lying and the Geth are pretty much going to become new Reapers then sacrificing the Quarians to even slow them down might make some sense. Of course then we might as well operate under the trustno1 code and generally assume that all our team are Reaper agents or something.”

              Thats my whole point:Its not black and white,its difference in perspective.You can just take what you hear and go with it,or you can speculate on whats going to happen based on the data you have and go with that.Geth are uniting themselves and want just to coexist.Thats nice,we may have another ally against the reapers.But what are they uniting into?Its very possible this is how reapers began.Can we take that chance and just replace reapers with geth?Both options are solid,and neither one of them is the correct one.

              Yes,throwing quarians at geth does seem cruel,but what else can we use them for?They are basically specialized in fighting the geth(though they might not seem like that in where we encounter thm,but they should be),so lets use them for this.When they uncover what geth are doing,the council may finally decide to send a fleet there,since it seems they trust quarian data,even if they dont trust quarians themselves.

              And that is a real paragon/renegade dilemma:Do we try to patch things up and hope the geth-sphere will never become a problem,or do we address the geth-sphere before it becomes a problem,and use any means necessary.Its not good/bad,its idealism/pragmatism choice.Both can be good,both can be bad,it depends on the final outcome.

              • Sleeping Dragon says:

                Well, we’re not going to agree on this seeing as we arrive from different perspectives. I’m generally taking a stance that what companions say is roughly true unless we get evidence or at least hints that it is otherwise.

                Can Legion be lying through his… umm… teeth? Sure he can. He has plenty of reasons. An access to the only guy who has a history of success against the Reapers, spreading misinformation about the Geth, gathering data on organics pretty much in the open. We don’t know what is going on behind the Veil, for all that matters Geth may be building a doomsday device that will wipe out all organic life. In fact Legion himself may be misinformed, he has separated from the main Geth collective a while ago (though we are told he is contacting them every now and then I believe) and so may be unaware of any decisions that might have sprung in the meantime, and the Geth may have decided that they want to wage war against the organics after all.

                Or let’s even assume that the Geth are indeed full of goodwill like we are being told. Yes, it is perfectly possible that once they create the superstructure and build a single “The Geth” they might go haywire or their priorities might change or they may even suddenly reach some logical extreme in their calculations, one that would reveal that organic and tech-based life are ultimate mutually exclusive in the grand scheme of things, that simply wasn’t available until the achieved enough computing power. The thing is that this is a hypothetical possibility, sicking Quarians, the Council or effectively anyone upon them just for this possibility would be like deciding to destroy Salarians, because hey, they might one day decide that humanity is a threat and so devise a genophage for us, only this one will be to wipe us rather than sterilise us. Or let’s go to war with Asari, they might one day just turn into an all Ardat Yakshi race of space vampires and feed on everybody else to increase their powers to the point where they can live forever. I mean, after all Reaper-tech is based primarily on manipulation of mass effect fields, as are biotics, and Asari are the most biotically powerful race in the galaxy so maybe that’s how Reapers got started? An Ardat Yakshi race that was becoming sterile and so wanted to achieve immortality by building massive “ship bodies” for themselves? It is a theory as good as the one that Geth will turn into a Reaper, especially now that we know the actual Reapers have an organic based core. Yes, I am making this theory up as I go but with data as limited as the games provide we can justify almost any theory like this.

                As for what would Quarians be good for in the war effort against the Reapers? I assume that in ME3 we’ll learn that their fleet is a kick ass war fleet after all, as little sense as it makes. But putting the plot induced stupidity aside they have something else. Far as ships and resource management are concerned they are probably among the best engineers in the galaxy. Their life is dependent on the fleet, even people who are not directly involved in the working of the ships appear to have at least limited knowledge of engineering, they have extremely limited resources, they have been working with ships initially designed by a multitude of races. Yes, warriors are important, but there are Krogan and Rachni and Turians who are all good in the field. But they need ships that will get them there, they need specialists who will patch the holes in the hull and keep the engines going after the ship gets hit, the Krogan aren’t going to charge through the vacuum of space to headbutt the Reapers.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  While you give examples as to why salarians or asari are similar to the hypothetical geth threat,you forget a much closer one:The rachni.

                  The rachni waged war on the entire galaxy,they think in ways no other race does,and they nearly wiped out everyone.And then,we got the one last surviving rachni queen.She told us she was not from that war,she just wants to live peacefully somewhere.But,can we take that risk?Was the bloodthirst of her race really in rachni genes,or was it just the fluke of the moment?Shepard that killed the rachni queen would hardly believe someone as dangerous as geth would remain peaceful forever.

                  The truth is,we dont know the geth,they think in a way unlike anyone else in the galaxy.That can be a good thing,but it can also be a bad thing.We dont have enough information,yet we still have to make a decision.And making an informed decision without the adequate info is a tough thing to do.

                  Not to mention that even if legion is not lying,and even if he is not misinformed,and even if geth wont change their priority when they form a geth-sphere,there still is the problem of organics and their fear of ais.It might be that once they find out,its the organics that strike first,yet(similar to the morning war)geth end up winning.And condemning your whole species just because you think they are bad is a tough thing to do.

                • Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Ha, we reached the limit to the comment pyramid. Though in all fairness I think the discussion has run its course.

                  I was mentioning the Asari and Salarians as an example of what the logic you’re using leads to. It’s a logic of constant preventative strikes, because potentially anyone or anything can be lying, hiding a secret agenda or be something entirely else than they let us know. I find that an interesting interpretation of Shepard (at least I hope it’s just an in game interpretation), a character like this actually fits into Cerberus’s declared goals fairly decently (though the game does not always allow for smooth leading of such character, then again neither paragon nor renegade Shepard is really consistent in his/her logic). I guess I never really went “all the way” in this direction with my Shepard.

                  To be fair I let the Rachni queen go pretty much because I was all “wow, what a cool and weird race”. I imagine if this was a real-life choice it would take some much more serious thinking. Plus I am pretty trusting in computer games.

                  Anyway, I’ll be dropping out of this conversation since, like I said, I think it has run its course by now. I’ll be sure to check if you reply but I don’t think there’s a point in pushing the subject through so unless something really pressing comes up I’ll pass on further replying.

  19. Slothful says:

    When I first played through this mission, I was wondering why they couldn’t find some planet to set up a little research station on to test the Geth in. It’d sure be a lot safer than risking an entire ship falling to the Geth, since the Quarians can’t live without their ships.

    In retrospect though, why don’t the Quarians set up shop on a planet somewhere? They wouldn’t need to acclimate themselves, they could just stay in their suits and use the planet for farming and mining. Sure would be more resource-efficient than farming inside of a ship. In the codex it even mentions how eager the Quarians are to get some meat every chance they get, since animals can’t be raised aboard the ships.

    And on that note, how do the Quarians eat? HOW?

    • Luhrsen says:

      It says in the codex they grind up the food and pump it in.

    • Bret says:

      They tried to get a planet before.

      Didn’t get their permits in order, and they ended up on the council’s naughty list, which made everything harder.

      They’re trying now, but it’s apparently not easy.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Especially since these pesky humans have arrived and grabbed the few nice planets without asking,those dicks!

        Also,if settling on a planet were to become more efficient for quarians,theyd have to lose the suits.Otherwise,theyd just be replacing sterile ships with sterile domes,which is just as bad,only not mobile.

        • Viktor says:

          But less resource and energy intensive, easier to maintain, and safer. Having an entire planet producing oxygen that you purify is far easier than dedicating several ships entirely to O2 farms, for example.

          • Andrew B says:

            Cynical answer, because they wanted space gypsies and that doesn’t work if they have planets. Anything else will be, I suspect, post-hoc justification at best, fanon at worst.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            I wouldnt really call it easier to maintain and safer.Sure,you get oxygen and nutrients on the surface,but then you have to go out and get it(in the case of nutrients),which is less productive than farming.You also get more environmental wear and tear than in deep space.Yes,you dont have to have kinetic barriers to protect you from fast flying junk,and you get less radiation,but what about the slow moving erosion(from soil,wind,water and temperature),plant encroachment,animals and insects and gravity?Kinetic barriers cant stop those,and maintaining them is much easier than constantly maintaining and repairing your structures.

            Sure,its easier for us to maintain surface dwellings than spaceships,but thats because we dont have kinetic barriers which remove almost all of the dangers youd encounter in the black void.

            • Slothful says:

              I’m not saying that they’d all have to pack up and move onto a planet, I’m just saying that if a couple Quarians started up a little farm on a planet somewhere, they could make a bundle when serving to millions of meat-starved space gypsies. They wouldn’t even have to buy a whole planet, they could just rent out a plot of land.

              Heck, maybe a couple of Quarians left the Migrant Fleet behind just to get some decent space grub.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                And how do we know someone didnt already do such a thing on their pilgrimage?We see just a pretty small section of the race,the one that is the norm.But even in that norm,we see some who are pretty far away from it(talis father reactivating geth,for example).So who knows what other quirkiness other quarians exhibit.

  20. Zaxares says:

    Awww, you missed one of the most moving final messages from a quarian mom to her child. :(

    Looting in a friend’s place: I have to agree though, this mission is really weird. You’re essentially stealing from the Migrant Fleet, which is continually talked up as being a really poor, living hand-to-mouth existence. You should be ashamed of yourselves! :P

    This is almost as bad as Shepard telling the looters in Mordin’s recruitment mission that he doesn’t like looters when he’s been gleefully looting everything else in his path himself. XD

    On Legion not connecting with these other geth: Legion tells you that he is a standalone platform designed to be able to operate independently from other geth. Apparently he also has the means of preventing other geth from talking to him should he wish it. It IS strange that makes no attempt to try to negotiate with these new geth (or the geth on Haestrom) to try to get them to stand down peacefully though.

    Also, when you first land on the ship, EDI warns you that the geth have likely ‘built more of themselves’. Admiral Daro’Xen back on the Rayya also said that ‘given the necessary networking requirements for taking over a ship, expect between 20 – 50 units’. That seems about right for the number of total geth you kill retaking the Alarei.

    Meeting Tali’s father: It’s the first rule of roleplaying! When you see a dead body, LOOT IT! XD Also, whoever does not pick the Paragon interrupt in this scene has no soul. Nooooo sooooooul!

    Also, it’s OBVIOUS! Tali spawns a miniature combat drone inside her helmet to wipe her tears and scratch her nose. ;)

    And hey, they DID have a model ship sitting on the desk in the final room. (Which Shepard promptly steals. XD) That’s living space personalisation!

    The Alarei DID actually have safety features in place. If you listened to all of the audio logs throughout the ship, you’d realise that they turned most of the safeties off because Rael wanted more geth to be built, but they didn’t have enough parts to do it without bypassing safety protocols. That was how the geth escaped containment and overtook the ship.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Maybe legion did try,will never know.There is a conversation with him in which edi pops up and says “legion is trying to access ftl link”.We dont hear it,we dont see it,he doesnt even hint he is doing it,but apparently he did it.

      About the looting,the sad thing is that there already are plenty of other ways you can get the money(cerberus funding,scanning various parts),so at least there couldve been an achievement for getting the money only in “legal” ways.Oh well.

  21. Slothful says:

    By the way, the bit where Tali sees her dead father? Best voice acting in Mass Effect.

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