Spoiler Warning S4E49: I Don’t Even…

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Mar 8, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 122 comments

Full disclosure: This episode was recorded over a week ago. We got to the end of our usual four-episode session, but we were right in the middle of blowing up the Geth base. We couldn’t save the game and so we decided to roll forward and do the first episode of the next week. We were all a little tired and so we wound up with what you have here: Fifteen minutes of disjointed events, loveless angst, confusion, slurred speech, and bone-headed mistakes. For example, at about the three minute mark I talk about the feud between “Jack and Samara”, when I should have said “Jack and Miranda”.

Link (YouTube)

The whole thing with the entire team getting on the shuttle was another great example of the clumsy writing that clings to the main plot of this game. Really, it’s not that hard to come up with a reasonable justification for this. To have the whole team pack up and fly away with no clear destination or goal is just lazy. It’s like starting a sentence and then not even bothering to


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122 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning S4E49: I Don’t Even…

  1. Brandon says:

    By and large, I’m willing to forgive a lot of the crummy writing in Mass Effect 2, just because I enjoyed playing the game so damned much. This is probably one of the few places in the game that I really can’t excuse though. They give some vague handwavey reason for the entire group to climb on a shuttle and fly off, just in time for the collectors to show up and snatch the crew. It’s clumsy and weak writing with the obvious intention of setting up the urgent scenario of rescuing your crew… which I thought was a bad thing anyways, because it essentially means you can’t do any more of the good side missions before going to the end of the game (Unless you’re willing to lose some of your crew.)

    Oh well. I kind of liked playing as Joker and getting another glimpse into his character.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “(Unless you're willing to lose some of your crew.)”

      Yeah,you cant leave them to die!Theyve been so well fleshed out and deep characters.

      1. Integer Man says:

        End boss is just about as fleshed out.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          One more reason to stall the last mission.

        2. Jarenth says:

          I see what you did there.

      2. Brandon says:

        Well, I actually liked Kelly and Dr. Chakwas, and they are the first two to go if you dally.

        Also, I was playing a Paragon Shepard, so uh.. it made sense in character to play as though I couldn’t risk my crews lives.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          I think it’s safe to say that everyone likes Kelly.

          Chakwas though.. Idk. Drinking on the job, having the personality of a clam and is old.. Pass.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Which kelly are you talking about there?

            1. lurkey says:

              Kelly the Xenophile Fish Feeder, I guess. I like her, alright – when she’s dramatically being turned into slush. So I, too, would like to see one more mission – ’tis an easy way to make the finale a bit more emotional without losing too much. “OMG Kelly is melting!” has more impact than “OMG someone I’ve no idea who she is is melting!”

              1. Mumbles says:

                what did i tell you guys about using her first name :|

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Hook,line and sinker.

                2. BeamSplashX says:

                  Yo man, you’ve got to chamber up those issues with Kelly’s name.

                3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Sup dawg,I heard you dont like kelly chambers,so we put kelly in your chambers so you can grumble while you mumble.

                  (thanks for the inspiration BeamSplashX)

                4. Integer Man says:

                  Oh that’s bad…

        2. Integer Man says:

          Yeah, but the timer only starts ticking after a certain point. Delay the ticking timer.

          Agreed on Kelly and the Doc. Both needed larger parts in this game, particularly since you were being asked to care about them in the end. Overall, decent characters who were a little wasted.

          1. Bret says:

            The Doc is the last to go, actually. Tough old bird.

            The other first to go one is Gabby. She and Ken are pretty great, so it’s rather a loss to break up the double act.

            I mean, they aren’t exactly deep, but smartalec engineers who you can play poker with aren’t bad to have around.

          2. Brandon says:

            Which is great if you happen to be psychic and know that after a certain point in the game, a timer is going to start.. but the first time through, you have no such luck. Unless the game’s been spoiled for you.

      3. Slothful says:

        I never forgave myself for letting Scotty’s girlfriend, Yeoman whatserface, and guy who kept on talking about his wife and kids die.

    2. eric says:

      I’m of the opinion that overlooking things crucial to gaming as a medium is not really the best way to progress games as a form of storytelling and artistic expression. “Well, Transformers 2 had bad writing, but I overlooked it because I like explosions and boobs so much!”

  2. Mumbles says:

    The longest time the Spoiler Warning cast has shut up for a video game is in this episode.

    1. Integer Man says:

      Well, of course. Logically it would have to be for Mordin.

      And yes, the awkward silence is golden.

      1. RTBones says:

        For me – it’s the cough at the end of the silence that Mordin gives which makes this awesome in its awesome-ness.

        Best. Scene. In. The. Game.

        1. Mumbles says:

          Agreed. I remember being delighted out of my fucking mind when it happened in game.

          1. Sydney says:

            I’m just relieved you didn’t all drown it out with effusive praise about how great the song we were all missing is.

            1. Raygerieo says:

              I loved it where Rutskarn (?) started to say something during it and was immediatly hushed up.

          2. Deadpool says:

            Second best dorky Gilbnert and Sullivan… Here’s number 1: Errr… Spoilers


            I miss Reboot…

        2. Miral says:

          The song needed to be longer.

    2. Slothful says:

      I kinda think that his song is poorly executed though; he’s a bit of key here, a bit off meter there, Bioware has that wierd lag between lines…

      And really, he should have just played some orchestral background music outta those space-headphones of his to accompany himself.

  3. Raynooo says:

    First time I went through this I was in this exact situation, didn’t know what to do so I went for a random bullshit unimportant mission and then Miranda’s all “Let’s get everybody on the tiny ass shuttle” which -as we’ve clealry seen before- barely contains 4 or 5 seats.

    Having a full (DLC included) team that must have felt like a rush hour subway, everyone bumping into each other. And I didn’t get to do my mission.

    I even thought this was a bug or something it comes out of nowhere and as you said makes absolutely no sense.

  4. Monojono says:

    The reason you still have a countdown to escape the geth ship even if you choose to rewrite them is that the computer virus will be sent out in an EMP that will kill organics for some reason…yeah, that makes all kinds of sense.
    And while its not as stupid as a lot of the other stuff in the main plot, the ‘everyone get on the bus for no reason’ is definitely the most glaringly noticeable piece of idiocy in the story since you were forced to work for cerberus.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Legion says it will send out a huge ftl burst that will infect the heretics not on the station.A burst with the power of 1.21 petawatts.And it will kill all the unshielded organics.He then adds as a side note that the station is not shielded.Even if the science here doesnt make sense,the pure humour in this excuses everything.

  5. Integer Man says:

    I like the design decision to make you choose between Tali and Legion, though I think I like Legion more than other people do and I know I like Tali less than others. To take two good but similar characters and put them in conflict and force the player to choose – that’s cool.

    Of course, I wasn’t forced since I had enough goodie two shoes points, but still, the idea is sound.

    With Jack and Miranda it was just kind of a “I really don’t care about either of you; settle it in the airlock or something”

    1. RTBones says:

      The thing about the fight between Jack and Miranda is that it is essentially the proverbial “cheerleader vs. the punk chick” cat fight – something anybody that has ever been to an American high school has seen eleventy billion times. Me, I don’t have the anti-Miranda angst that many of the Spoiler Warning crew have, so their scene made me chuckle. On my first play-through though, I didn’t expect to lose one or the other’s loyalty. I expected to be able to talk to both and get them to settle down, even if you lost the romance chance with one or the other.

      With Legion and Tali, it gets trickier because you have two similar and relatively well regarded characters with a _much_ deeper conflict you have to choose between. It is that deep conflict with potentially broader repercussions that draws us all in.

      Oh – and when I got to the Legion/Tali conflict, I also had the Paragon points to nullify the situation.

      1. krellen says:

        After the fight, you can go talk to the one you lost later – if you’ve got enough points, you can get their loyalty back just by talking.

        1. RTBones says:

          Yeah, I read that after my play through. I did try to go back and talk to Jack, but I am guessing when it happened I didn’t have enough points.

          1. Chris B Chikin says:

            Not sure if it’s possible for Jack and Miranda or whether the option’s only there for Legion and Tali.

            I also had the Paragon points to ignore the Legion/Tali dispute and after the Miranda/Jack one I wasn’t terribly bothered about getting Miranda back on my side anyway. Probably, I would have spaced her if I could, paragon or no. I was like, “Wait Bioware, you’re making me choose between Jack and Miranda? I thought you were trying to make the decisions in this game difficult!

            Glad I had the points for Legion/Tali though – I’d have hated to lose either of them, although at that point I didn’t realise there was only a chance for, like, five whole minutes of dialogue with Legion in the entire game.

            1. krellen says:

              You can, at the very least, talk Miranda back into loyalty.

              1. Alexander The 1st says:

                Not that you ever would.

                For these parts, I always used the death mask, which gave you extra paragon/renegade, so it was a breeze to do both of them – still, if forced, I would’ve spaced Miranda.

                1. Integer Man says:

                  I was surprised how much I wound up hating Miranda especially since I enjoyed a lot of Chuck and her actress is on that.

                  I think it was the gratuitous use of odd camera angles and the bit where she was closely tied to the whole railroad you into working with Cerberus thing.

                  Jack at least was a tolerable character after the loyalty mission. Miranda just made me feel like the game designer was trolling me.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This gets even worse if you do all the available missions,so you get on the shuttle to….just fly around I guess.

    As for the conflict,at least this one makes sense.Unlike the other one that is about…what was it about anyway?

    1. Raynooo says:

      Jack- “Mommy, Miranda won’t acknowledge that what Cerberus did to me was bad !”

      Miranda- “Nuh huh, using children as cannon fodder to torture but not kill a lonely scared child to turn her into a killing machine can surely be seen as a positive thing from a certain point of view.”

      My FemShep- “Bitch-know-it-all-perfect-genes and wear-a-goddamn-t-shirt-when-in-space-void better shut the hell up before my totally average normal person elbow punches them to oblivion.”

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Oh right,right,it was a whining contest,and they both won first place.

      2. Alexander The 1st says:

        Is it bad that the first thought that the word oblivion referred to the Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion?

        Sounds like it was the perfect fate for Miranda. Strand her in Oblivion, the game.

      3. Bret says:

        Totally a normal human?

        Odd language to use about Chiba City Chopshop Street Samurai. Shepard’s possibly a pretty good biotic, and definitely a top of the line combat cyborg zombie.

        And Miranda’s line was, if I remember “No it wasn’t Cerberus! Nu-uh! I’m telling!”

        In character, and Shepard got to tell them both to shut up and kill each other later, at least.

        Just glad they cut the Grunt Mordin argument. Now that one didn’t make sense.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          They shouldve added mordin/jackob argument:

          – I can totally do 400 situps in one go!
          – Well I can bench press you 400 times in one go!

        2. Raynooo says:

          Well normal in the sense that you weren’t a 6 million dollar (wo)man project using either genetics or um questionable ethics on children.

          1. Bret says:

            6 million, no.

            4 billion, yes.

            Mass Effect 2 Shepard is further from human baseline than either Miranda or Jack, and considering Cerberus is involved, at least some of the testing is almost definitely nasty.

            And Miranda may be more gene modded than most, but pretty much every Alliance soldier is at least minorly boosted. Zaeed might still be baseline if they didn’t have the standard soldier-boosts when he served with the Alliance, but he’d be the only baseline human in your party.

            1. ehlijen says:

              The line was actually something like ‘in excess of 4 billion and no end in sight’ or something like that. So yes, if the station hadn’t been attacked, it would almost certainly have been 6 billion. The laws of referencing demand it.

            2. Raynooo says:

              Well as long as TIM doesn’t lie on this point (why would he ? Well ok he’s an idiot…) he specifically asked for you to be rebuilt exactly the same, so the 4 billions and more spent rebuilding you didn’t involve any improvement (except apparently they gave you an adamantium right elbow), just mechanical replacement for whatever couldn’t be grown back (they can make your charcoal heart beat again but couldn’t grow human eyes ?).

              UNLESS Lazarus went rogue and modded you…

        3. SpammyV says:

          I would like to imagine that Miranda and Jack are having their bitch-off, Tali and Legion are fighting over who’s hogging the seat, Samara is trying to figure out if she can use biotics to block soundwaves, Grunt, Thane, and Garrus are punching each other in the arm to see who will flinch first, Mordin is practicing his singing, and Shepard is going, “I swear to God if all of you don’t shut up RIGHT NOW I am going to pull this shuttle over!”

          1. Bret says:

            Five Hours later, a bar on Illium

            “Never seen a woman get that angry before. Poor bastard next to me evaporated from sheer panic. Was obvious she’d crash the shuttle into a sun if they didn’t knock it off.”


            “And they weren’t shutting up. Well, I knew what to do. Slapped on my breathing gear, said I was going to the bathroom and got the hell out.”


            “I shit you not, the next thing I knew the cow was flying the shuttle into the Omega 4 relay! Barely made it out before it got swallowed up.”

            “Uh-huh. You going to pay the tab?”

            “I was the only one who made it out alive that day.”

  7. James says:

    I suspect the Change in lead writer from Drew (cant spell this bit) Karpyshyn (thats googled), to some chap called mark. had a small effect on the direction, Drew is the man behind all three novels and the lead writer of the first game, basically the whole ME universe is his baby, Drew isnt on the ME2 team because hes working on ST:TOR, lets look in contrast at the two Cerberus’s, in ME1 they were mysterious, you never met anyone you could talk to, and they did ONLY horrific experiments, there formmerly a Alliance Black Ops organization thats went completely rouge, and is self funded by people who want to see the advancement of the human race (probably mostly Xenophobes)
    in ME2 they should have not bothered with rouge cells in a shady organisation and just said, that each cell is independant like a resistance movement, and TIM doesn’t answer to you (……yet(maby)) so Miranda would have a good argument against the Jack argument she simply wouldn’t have known about the project, and we could have this is a Saren/Sovereign doubt moment for Miranda against TIM. plus Cerberus doesn’t have to be “good” (relative) why not make them horrific, it’ll make the im working with you on this thing because the council wont help me, you saved my life, and you have a plan (that involves not trusting me at all and trying to get me killed alot) would that not be prefrable.

    1. Jeff says:

      You make some very good points, but I’d like to introduce you to spell check and paragraphs. I’d have skipped your post, but again – you make some good points.

      The change in tone from ME1 to ME2 could very well be due to the changing of lead writers. As well as the change in how organizations were portrayed, obviously. Cerberus didn’t seem all that incompetent in ME1, they had their samples under control until we showed up and killed everything. They even made the admiral and marines investigating disappear. Actually, I don’t recall them being stupidly incompetent in ME1, hm.

      They certainly didn’t paint the logo of their secret organization onto the side of their replica of the unique, highly recognizable, human-turian top of the line military ship.

      1. daveNYC says:

        Except for being a pro-human xenophobic group, their main skill set seemed to involve killing humans.

    2. Raygerieo says:

      While it may seem easy to just point at one guy – who until ME2 just did small work and never had a big project thrown his way – and say “It’s his fault”. I’d say the problem lies a bit deeper then that.
      Given that the director of both games was the same dude, that Drew Karpyshyn was still on the ME2 writing team – just not as lead writer and that Mass Effect was supposed to be a trilogy from the start (and logically speaking this whole story was thus planned out); I’d say we’re not looking at one man’s soggy fanfiction, but at something that was planned by the whole designteam.

      1. Sydney says:

        “One [person]’s soggy fanfiction” just entered my lexicon. I expect to get rather a lot of use out of the expression.

        *Zelda YOU GOT A THIIIING music*

        1. Integer Man says:

          You got a thing? Awesome. Will never be able to hear that tune the same way again.

          1. Kavonde says:

            Seconded. Thanks ><

        2. Jarenth says:

          Is that a reference to 8-Bit Theatre, or am I reading to much into this?

          1. Sydney says:

            Which part?

            The soggy fanfic bit is just a great expression that I’m stealing. I first encountered “YOU GOT A THIIIIIING” during the Freelance Astronauts’ LP of Master Quest.

            1. Jarenth says:

              I’m fairly certain I first read the YOU GOT A THIIING somewhere in 8-Bit Theatre. Hold on…

              …nope, mr. Clevinger’s archive is as confusing as it is funny. Anyway, if you’re not getting the obscure reference then it wasn’t the obscure reference I was getting at anyway.

              1. Simon Buchan says:

                It’s used by the Freelance Astronauts as well.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I agree because this is not the first time bioware slaps a poor main story on excellent side stories.

      3. LurkerAbove says:

        You make a good point, and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But I really liked Drew’s Darth Bane novels, so personally I put more blame on the other guy :P

  8. Skeletor says:

    Strangely this series has caused me to buy Mass Effect 2 and I am enjoying it quite a bit. I also rewatched a couple episodes of your lets play of Fallout 3. Then I bought Fallout 1 based off of all the nice things you guys said about it. It is awesome, thank you guys.

    Also an other great episode and taking your pants off cures all problems.

    1. Raygerieo says:

      Well, it’s not like Mass Effect 2 is a bad game. It’s main plot is utterly stupid and falls appart if you even do so much as glance sideways at it and the vast majority of the characters are bland and uninteresting. But it still has pretty solid and fun gameplay (as long as you’re not a masochistic as Josh and play a vanguard.

      *sigh* Looking at ME2 and DA2, the whole “let’s drop all pretense we care about writing and just pull something nasty out of asses and wrap it up nicely with pretty gameplay bonnet”-thing seems to be BioWare modus operandi now. It’s not like ME1, Jade Empire, DA and other BioWare games had stellar writing, but at least they were passable and had the occasional cool bit that stood out from the blandness that surrounded it.

      1. Klay F. says:

        The problems is that “passable” in the videogame industry is tantamount to winning the Hugo or Nebula award in sci-fi. And THAT, my friends, is a sad thing.

      2. Zukhramm says:

        Is not judging the writing of Dragon Age 2 just a bit too early?

      3. Raygerieo says:

        At least we still got Obsidian. I still maintain that Mask of the Betrayer and KotOR 2 are the best videogame stories out there and Alpha Protocol and New Vegas also didn’t disapoint in this department.

        Yes and no. No in the sense that I’ll admit that I haven’t played the game full yet; I’m about half-way. Yes in the sense that of what I’ve played through so far does not exactly fill me with the warm, fuzzy feelings of joy and comfort.

        1. Zukhramm says:

          Oh, it’s not released until Thursday here so I just assumed it was not out elsewhere either.

          But it’s too bad to hear, because judging from what we heard before release the type of story told seemed to be something more appealing to me than the one in the first Dragon Age or in Mass Effect.

          1. Jarenth says:

            You’re not playing it yet because Europeans get shafted for no reason.

          2. Raygereio says:

            Oh, it’s not released here until friday.
            But since I preordered the PC version (I had a coupon that would else go to waste) I downloaded the pirated (yarr) console version last week. Just to give EA the middlefinger for the DRM. I know; completely insignificant. But it made me smile.

            As for the story; don’t worry yet. Everyone’s opinion is different, after all. Maybe you’ll like. Heck, maybe I’ll like once I’ve played through it completely. Who knows.

      4. Bret says:


        Vast majority?

        You using that new math I hear so much about?

        Let’s see, bland and uninteresting:

        Harbinger and the collectors
        Kaiden if you didn’t nuke him proper

        Very interesting:


        Sure, some of the people not on the list were dumb or hateful (not too many, though, fortunately) but that’s hardly an overwhelming majority.

        1. Raygereio says:

          Why yes, I indeed use a newer version of math. One that can count beyond 7, unlike yours apparently. You should try it.

          Bad jokes aside. What’s your point? For one that’s hardly a comprehensive list of every single non-background character in ME2 and secondly those mentions are just your opinion. For instance you think Thane is interesting apparently, while I could do little else but groan at his angst.

            1. Jarenth says:

              I never knew what this song was a parody of, but I guess I know now.

              Thanks. ;)

              1. Specktre says:

                Oh that’s awesome! I never saw that parody.

              2. Slothful says:

                …I knew of both of those songs, but I never put two and two together…

                ..to make 11 in base 3…

                Either way, my destiny has been vindicated, thank you.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Why didnt you put tim in the first group there?Unless you count “extremely infuriating” as an interesting trait.

        3. Jarenth says:

          Counterpoint: Nuking Kaiden means not nuking Ashley, which leads to a Mass Effect 2 that has Ashley still alive.

          I’d give a universe like that over to the Reapers with a smile on my face and no regrets.

          1. Bret says:

            Ash may be… prickly (objectionable, sort of racist, irritating, overly prone to poetry quoting, pick your poison), but she’s not bland.

            She feels like a person. Maybe not a person you like, maybe a person you’d even prefer dead, but that’s an entirely different issue.

            But then, it seems Ray is using the same math as I am, but defines “bland” as “I do not like them for arbitrary reasons of my own and bland is the easiest thing to say”, so apparently my use of words is, as the kids say, streets behind.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Id take bland over bitchy and infuriating every time.

          2. PurePareidolia says:

            But if Ashley dies, then we’re left with a universe in which Kaiden has survived.

            1. Jarenth says:

              I’d still take Kaiden or Ashley over Miranda any day of the week.

          3. Raygereio says:

            “But then, it seems Ray is using the same math as I am, but defines “bland” as “I do not like them for arbitrary reasons of my own and bland is the easiest thing to say”, so apparently my use of words is, as the kids say, streets behind.”

            No, I don’t. Bland means dull, insipid, devoid of any distinctive characteristics beyond some stereotype and thus incapable of invoking any sort of emotion of like, nor dislike. And I do not label a character thus for arbitrary reason, I don’t roll a die for every character to see if I like him, don’t like him, in this case just find myself not caring enough to even muster up any emotion.
            This is based on my opinion. And you are apparently annoyed because…why? You disagree with me? Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, you know? You like them? You utterly hate all of them? Hey, more power to you. But say so instead of this passive-agressive crap.

            Correction: But if Ashley dies, then we're left with a universe in which Carth Onasi has survived and that is just plain unacceptable.

        4. Integer Man says:

          For whatever reason, Thane didn’t do it for me. Other than that, the list is pretty dead on.

      5. lurkey says:

        I think that Jade Empire is sadly underrated in the sense of writing. Sure, it was way too short and controls were rather awful on PC, but story and writing were really good, NPCs interesting and side quests mostly not yours true and tried “Fetch twenty bear asses”. Why it is apparently their least popular game, I have no idea. Maybe because they didn’t have EA’s unstoppable hype machine to back them up then.

        1. Raygereio says:

          Jade Empire got plenty of hype back in it’s day. Probably more so then with DA2 as BioWare had just released KotOR and there wasn’t some stupid marketing guy going “awesome and button are now connected!”, but then it were the magazines and gamingsites themselves that were pooping their pants in anticipation.

          Jade Empire isn’t bad, true. That’s not to say it doesn’t have flaws. Let’s take the morality system for instance; the Open Palm and Closed Fist thing. I remember it being promoted as not just being generic black/white, but instead would present us with two viewpoints neither of which was unambiguously good or evil. Guess what it turned out to be? Generic good vs. evil, copy-pasted straight from KotOR. Hey, doesn’t the problem of a shitty implemented allignment meter sound familiar?

          As for the story. While I’ll admit that the writing in and of itself isn’t bad (it’s been a while, but I don’t remember any dialogue that made me want stab myself in the head) and some of the character certainly are worth a second or even a thirld look, I find that it’s story is just uninteresting. It’s generic peasent-hero save the day and get’s the girl/boy fantasy.
          That’s not so say it’s all just boring, it has one scene made from awesomonium that overshadows everything else. Anyone who played the games knows what I’m talking about. But at the end it’s story just has that one moment that sticks with you and nothing else.

          But hey, isn’t KotOR’s story similarly “average”? Yes, I certainly think so. Heck, it’s one moment of awesome isn’t even half as good as Jade Empire’s. So why does KotOR live on, while Jade Empire almost forgotten? Simple; KotOR had the existing fanbase of Star Wars to latch on to. Just like Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights are still remember because it’s D&D. Jade Empire didn’t had that, nor did it get a sequel like Mass Effect and Dragon Age to keep a fanbase in existance.

          That said; I remember having no problems whatsoever with the controls on the PC. Can anyone tell me what the problem there was supposed to be?
          Also; anyone else remember that hissy fit BioWare threw over one review that gave Jade Empire a 7 and had BioWare demanding a rereview. Ah, those were the days.

          1. lurkey says:

            I’d say “hero saves the day” is a plot; a backbone, if you will, to the story’s meat, tendons and blood vessels. It was nothing new, but aren’t there just a very few basic plots at all? Now, how exactly the hero saves the day, and the said world he saves – that I found very interesting.

            As for controls, Jade Empire was a rather shoddy console port. I found that out only after playing the game and wondering who could come up with the idea the a fighting game needs no mouse pointer and why save games are not customizable and why movement in combat feels kinda wonky.

            Bioware threw a hissy fit? Muaahahahaha! :D Well, they gotta feel so lucky now with EA, since no big review site would ever dare to give them less than 8 ever again.

  9. DNi says:

    Oh, hey, I just realized something about Legion’s loyalty mission: that to Legion, the two options (destroy the heretics or rewrite them) are essentially the same. As Shamus (and Mordin) explain, mind control would eventually lead to cultural stagnation.

    But the Geth rely on each other for sentience. By destroying, by killing, other Geth, Legion is not only diminishing his own (for lack of a better word) humanity, but the humanity of his entire race.


    Also, regarding the conflict between Tali and Legion: you can get Legion’s Loyalty back much more easily than you can Tali’s. In fact, you probably could’ve gotten his Loyalty back right just then.

  10. Ateius says:

    This sequence – the Collector ambush – is actually one of the high points of ME2’s plot for me. Not because it’s well-written, as it’s just as dreadful as the rest of the plot, but because once it gets going they manage to convey a very good sense of urgency and dread, a sense of atmosphere that is too often lacking elsewhere.

    And the game becomes something other than a brown corridor shooter for a few minutes. It’s debatable whether it has been turned into something better, but at least it’s different.

    1. krellen says:

      This mission does actually have many aspects of survival horror in it – including the chance to just die outright if you linger around the monsters too long (or go down the wrong corridor).

      1. Chris B Chikin says:

        I didn’t realise you could actually die in this bit. I guess I expected invisible walls between you and the action or something. But I agree that it is one of the strongest moments in the game. As Shepard, you’ve spent a good couple of hours by this point carving a bloody path through these guys with the ease of any badass space marine. Now suddenly you’re some pink, fleshy dude with no guns who can barely walk, watching as dudes tougher than you are ripped apart and/or dragged away screaming. Your impotence is terrifying.

        I actually think the reason none of the Collectors killed me was really because I was too scared to find out if they could!

        1. Zukhramm says:

          I died like five times in the engine room before realizing I needed to stop moving.

      2. Simon Buchan says:

        I managed to hit a bug in this section – I beleive reloading at a certain time – before passing the elevator on the 2nd floor that disabled AI and events, meaning I was standing notchalantly around with a bunch of Collectors looking at Kelly? flailing indefinately in the elevator. It was to my memory the funniest bug I can remember hitting myself. It kind of ruins any element of fear for later runs, however.

  11. Hitch says:

    The most disappointing aspect of Mass Effect 2?

    Not having Kaiden around to kick a crate to block the doorway right after you melt the last Geth and the countdown is running out.

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      No doubt, bringing Miranda would’ve had similar results.

  12. Kavonde says:

    Man, I hated the shuttle thing even on my first playthrough. So damn transparent and just bad.

    I actually came up with a way it could’ve been less awful, though. How about a warmup-to-the-final-mission mission? Like, the group needs to go blow up another Collector base or something, all tactical-style, with Shepard leading the main group and the others running support. Then you’ve got a legitimate reason for everyone to be going off at once and you have an opportunity to kill off a character or two to drive home the whole “suicide mission” thing.

    Honestly, I dug the whole “select your specialist for this task” part of the final mission, and I wish it would’ve come into play sooner. It would’ve made the recruitment missions more interesting, too, in that you had to pick up people who could fill specific roles before the next main plot mission forced itself on you. So if you recruited Tali, Mordin and Thane first, you might find yourself short a combat specialist to hold off waves of husks during your visit to Ashley/Kaiden’s colony, and have to put one of your squishier members at risk.

    Too late for all this, obviously, but maybe they’ll do something similar in ME3.

    1. Chris B Chikin says:

      I like the idea…kinda. In practice, I know I’d just hate it if I couldn’t take Mordin or Tali on missions because I could foresee a high chance of them being killed.

      Part of what makes the suicide missions good is that you do get a bit of warning about what is going to be required of the people assigned to certain roles. You know this job requires a technician, so you send Mordin or Tali (unless you really hate Miranda) or that this one needs a leader, so loners with no military experience like Jack are a bad call. You don’t get such warnings before the other missions (because for some reason you keep trusting TIM every time he says it’s not a trap) which would make it a game of Russian Roulette on your first playthrough and spoil some of the fun that comes from getting to know your more interesting (but squishier) teammates.

  13. Miral says:

    The very thing that you railed about having to go through to kick off the mission is essential to understanding why it works that way.

    Basically, the idea is that you find a mission to do on the galaxy map, and just *after* you’ve committed yourself to it (and called in to say that you’re on the way to rescue the drowning kittens) you discover that the IFF activation is imminent and the Normandy is immobile. You can’t leave those poor kittens to drown, so you ALL head into the shuttle to travel to the mission you just selected from the map. (That bit isn’t really justified; you should have only taken the squad members for the mission — the change basically just screams “plot point, something bad’s gonna happen to the Normandy”.)

    But while still en-route to the mission (the shuttle is slower than the Normandy, so it takes a while), you pick up the distress call and head back again. So you never do actually go on the mission, but the selection of a mission to go on is critical to your reason for leaving in the first place. Shepherd says exactly this, if you actually listen to the dialogue.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not bad writing and obvious railroading, of course. But at least it is partially justified in-world.

    1. Kanodin says:

      Except if you’ve done all the missions, which isn’t that difficult if you just breeze through every system looking for anomalies, then they don’t even hide the rails. It’s just galaxy map->shuttle to nowhere.

      1. daveNYC says:

        That’s what happened on my first play through. Hell, I think I triggered the shuttle by trying to go to Omega or something. I remember talking to the TV saying ‘no, I don’t want to get on the shuttle’.

        Painfully stupid.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Just for laughs,heres a simple way to make shuttle be more plausible and interesting:

    Move the dumb trap mission back,and invent some other way to get on the reaper.Heck,tim already said he had suspicions about the iff,so why not just say “Our scientist team stopped reporting,but they were investigating iff”.

    Anyway,before you enter the relay,tim tells you that there was a turian distress call from near the relay,and that collector ship is sitting there dead.He also tells you that its probably a trap,but you can use it to your advantage,and have edi sabotage their weaponry,because they arent counting on her.

    You go there and have your whole team divided to search the ship and find some other ways to one up the collectors.They spring the trap,but you are ready and the fighting starts.However,you didnt count on one squad of collectors going to your ship and abducting everyone,and you have no way of contacting edi or joker,because they are jamming your radio.

    When you return,the collectors run away because their weapons arent working anymore,and you find out your crew is missing.So you can stay and do more missions now,or jump after them.If you wait too long,their weapons get fixed,and someone on your ship dies despite the upgrades.If you wait even longer,your crew starts dying in the base.

    Not the best idea I had,but still better than this “use the shuttle” crap.Though you dont get to control joker my way,so thats a minus for that method.

    1. Raynooo says:

      Well too bad for Joker but any reason to actually move your team somewhere would be better than what they did.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Well, technically, he could still do the whole part of the mission he just did, and cause a nice little splitting mission where every other room you go to a the other team [Switching between Shepard and crew/Joker each time].

        1. Raynooo says:

          That would be nice ! Having to control each sub-team of your commando to complete a mission involving everyone, kinda like how you had to free your own main character in Dragon Age (if you chose to be imprisonned that is).

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            Yes. That, and the Redcliffe fade.

            That was my favourite part of the game, because I had un-wittingly chosen the worse class in the game – not mage.

  15. Rasha says:

    Fuck… yes. That is all any sane human can really say in response to the awesome of Mordin singing.

    1. Slothful says:

      Honestly, when he sang that song, I had one problem with it: He didn’t sing it fast enough.

      Because that song normally is the point in the show where they decide to show off the singer’s elocution skills by singing it at speeds that baffle me a little to this day.

      And then here’s this Salarian whose deal is that he says everything at a million miles a minute…

      Dammit Bioware, I want my proper space-operetta!

      1. Harry says:

        Surely, for a Salarian, singing it slowly would be the more impressive feat?

  16. Slothful says:

    Those random-planet missions saved my ass after I finished the endgame.

    For some reason, all of my crew started firing off loyalty missions left and right after the dead Collector ship mission (including Thane, even though I had JUST recruited him. Slow down a little will ya?).

    Either way, once someone wants you to go fix their personal problems, they won’t give you a normal conversation until you do, and they stagger their conversations so that you only get a new one after finishing another mission. I used those random-planet missions to explore the rest of Legion’s backstory after I went and finished the endgame.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      This is one of the big problems I had playing through. Instead of queuing up conversations and then letting you go through all the ququed ones rather than just one, the game just delay the conversation sequence if you don’t do them at the earliest possible point.

  17. Exetera says:

    No. Never mind. I have hyperactive pattern recognition. Ignore this non-post. Its original content was silly. To not leave a nonce post, I will make other random commentary.

    I actually didn’t think that the Legion/Tali fight was all that bad. I mean, Legion is trying to swipe weapons data… Certainly, it’s better than the other one, which is basically just Miranda refusing to admit that Cerberus might have made an error. That said, it’s these conflicts which make it painfully obvious how awful the dialogue unlock mechanic is. I mean, I would maybe understand it if Paragon were a stand-in for an empathy stat and you could only resolve with Paragon… but you can also resolve these conflicts with Renegade which makes no sense at all.

    I was kind of disappointed by all the time skips during the confusion. Sometimes the confusion discussion is very funny. I guess it was needed not to end the episode on confusion, though, which would have been pretty silly.

    I want to see some clowns come out of the shuttle after the team does.

    1. Bret says:

      Renegade is ruling by fear.

      You tell them to stuff it until you’re done. No matter what they hate, no matter what moral objection someone had?

      They fear Shepard too much to risk getting out of line again.

      1. Exetera says:

        Might this perhaps not be the correct method to motivate internal loyalty?

        1. Jarenth says:

          As has been pointed out earlier, ‘Loyalty’ is really a bad term here; it’s more that resolving their issues allows people to be completely focused on the mission. This new interpersonal conflict acts as a distraction, which you can handle by

          – Picking a side, causing the ‘winner’ to feel good and focused and the ‘loser’ to be all mopey and distracted.
          – Solve the problem acceptably for both sides.
          – Tell the troublemakers to can it, there’s a universe to save, and you can deal with your issues in your own time.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Not by fear,but by focus.You simply say that end justifies the means,so they need to focus,or youll focus them into oblivion.Renegade is actually a pretty good way to handle these conflicts.

  18. Zaxares says:

    Timer if you choose to rewrite the Heretics: Yep, you DO still get the timer. ;) In order for the Reaper virus to affect all the Heretics in outside star systems, the base will push the virus out through the FTL comm channels using a powerful electro-magnetic pulse. However, the radiation surge that results from this action is also strong enough to kill any unshielded organic within its radius. Expected twist: the interior of the Heretic base is not shielded.

    Tali vs Legion: You guys DO know that you can pick one side or the other, then after the argument, go back and talk to the guy you pissed off and try and convince them around to your way of thinking? (There’s another Paragon/Renegade option available there, and it’s easier than the initial choice. However, this second attempt will still ruin a romance you were pursuing with the person if you sided against them in the initial choice.)

    Collector attack trigger: The Collector attack is only scripted to happen IF you have completed at least 50% of all recruitment/loyalty missions (although it seems N7 assignments can count against this too, as you found out. More research needs to be done on it). Thusly, if you have still the majority of missions and quests sitting uncompleted after you do the Reaper IFF mission, you actually have a good amount of time available before the attack takes place. Bioware didn’t want to lock the player into a situation whereby if they chose to do the Reaper IFF mission first (and pick up Legion) that they’d be automatically forced into the end game sequence of quests.

    Everybody onto the Shuttle!: I agree that this was a very poor, hamfisted way to make it so that no squadmates were accidentally left on the Normandy when the Collectors come. There were MUCH better ways that Bioware could have done this. Incidentally though, Shamus, the Kodiak shuttle DOES actually have FTL ability (although nowhere near as effective as that of the Normandy, of course). You actually see the shuttle go into FTL in the cinematic just after the very first mission where Shepard first wakes up.

    Random funny observation: Hey, Cerberus crewmen lining up on either sides of the corridor pointing your guns at the door? Didn’t you guys ever watch A New Hope? You guys are SO screwed. :P

  19. Gamer says:

    The hilarious thing is that I thought it was my fault that the crew was kidnapped my first run through. I thought that one of my choices caused me to leave the shuttle because I didn’t think that the writers were stupid enough to do something like that. After playing through it again and realizing that you can’t not be a dumbass. I was pissed.

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