For the last several weeks Josh and I have been plotting the death of Miranda. Killing Jacob would be a nice bonus, but killing Miranda was our top priority. We even valued her death above the survival of beloved crew members.
We consulted this flowchart, which details the outcomes of all of the various decisions and who will live or die. Note the instances where Miranda gets a free pass. She’s never considered for death in any of the stuff in the first stage. If you pick a non-loyal biotic to create the bug shield for you, the game will kill one of your two squad members, but it will never pick Miranda. She will always survive as leader of the second fire team, loyal or not. (That mission will kill ANYONE ELSE outright, except for Jacob and Garrus, and they must be loyal to survive.)
After reviewing the options, we’d decided to send her cranky, non-loyal ass on the escort mission, which will kill any non-loyal character who attempts it. As you can see, the game doesn’t make her available for that job.
It was only random luck that allowed her to die. I would have been very disappointed to find out we couldn’t kill this aggravating Mary Sue. In the end, I feel like we won.
I get where they were going with the suicide mission. I also get why people didn’t like it. I thought it was a great experiment. I can’t think of another game to even attempt something like this. The decisions make sense, and if you know the strengths of your team and use that knowledge to assign them duties, you can do very well. It gives the player a lot of power over the game. I like that Commander Shepard actually got to do some sort of “commander” type stuff, instead of just hosing things down with bullets.
I think this show is very much a magnifying glass. We see the faults of a game more readily, but we also notice small moments of brilliance and bring them to light. Mass Effect 2 was a game of extremes: The set-up, the role of Cerberus, the Collectors, the Illusive Man, all of it was almost Capcom-level childishness. But the side-quests were excellent. Even the worst of them surpassed the standards set by other games. And the good ones – Mordin, Tali, Samara, Legion, and Jack – were exquisite. They were thought-provoking, witty, interesting, clever, and at the same time they managed to enrich the Mass Effect setting. This was some of the best writing I’ve seen in years, including the stuff we see in the original Mass Effect.
Now I’m wondering who will pen the plot of Mass Effect 3. The person who wrote Mordin’s loyalty quest, or the person who came up with the Terminator Reaper… thing? And if they’re the same person, will they be getting help with their multiple personality disorder? And if not, then which of their personalities will write the next game: The the Isaac Asimov personality, or the Ewe Boll?
This is where I usually troll you by pretending to announce the next game we’ll cover, but this time I’m going to be straight with you. No jokes, no tricks, no deceptions. Here is the straight dope:
It won’t be Daikatana.