I really have fond memories of the original Mass Effect. Sure, it had its silly moments. (“This evidence is irrefutable!”) But it still felt like a season of a really good sci-fi show. Each planet was an interesting place to discover. Like an episode of Trek, you visited a new place, got to know it, and solved some problems. And in each episode, you moved the overarching plot forward a step, building up to a season finale.
And yes, we really did savage Mass Effect 2. Over time, my opinion of the game has grown worse: It was weak in exactly the way it needed to be strong. The gunplay changes made sense to me from a marketing perspective – popup shooters really are king of the world right now – but there was no reason to turn the story into hash the way they did.
But even after unloading all this hate onto Mass Effect 2, EA, and BioWare, I still feel a certain connection with the game. I still love the original, and I still hold out hope that Mass Effect 3 could give me what I was hoping to get from Mass Effect 2. And so I find myself defending the game from its own publisher. (Protip: This link leads to the actual article.)
The Mass Effect 3 campaign and DLC circus is just really sleazy. I understand that EA doesn’t value their products as anything other than a source of revenue, and doesn’t regard them as artistic endeavors at all. I get that. But aren’t they supposed to pretend their stuff has some sort of merit?
A lot of this goes back to the Extra Credits Open Letter to EA Marketing. It’s not that these people are shallow and money-grubbing. I can understand the grubbing of money. But their own marketing seems almost infused with this raw contempt not just for the medium, but for the audience itself.
Crysis 2 has basically the same plot as Half-Life 2. So why is one a classic and the other simply obnoxious and tiresome?
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