Mass Effect 3 Part 1: We Fight or We Doy

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Aug 15, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 518 comments

This is the 300th episode of Spoiler Warning. Seriously. We’ve made three hundred of these things. That is a lot of spoiled stuff. This seems like a great time to begin our long-delayed Mass Effect 3 season.

Link (YouTube)

I should probably apologize for this start to the series. Often people accuse us of “just looking for stuff to nitpick”, which isn’t really fair or true. We’re usually looking for stuff to talk about, and sometimes those things are positive and sometimes they’re negative. But in our first block of episodes, I seem to remember spending about two hours hating the game and whinging on about Every Damn Little Thing.

What happened is this:

Josh, Chris, and I spent about forty-five minutes trying to play Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and having our efforts thwarted by the awful interface, stupid Origin problems, bafflingly long menu loads, dumb DLC policies, and glitches. Before that, I’d been playing pub games with strangers and dying again and again to the AWESUM BUTTIN LOL that made me sprint when I wanted cover, do little somersault rolls when I wanted to revive a teammate, and enter cover when I was trying to run away or push a button. So I was in a bad mood. As a bonus, I had an eyeball-obliterating headache and I was getting sick.

So, I entered our first Mass Effect 3 episode in an extreme state of agitation. I was mad at everyone and everything, BioWare in particular. I think it would be fair to say that I was looking for stuff to complain about, since that was pretty much my mental state at the time. I dominated a lot of the conversation and most of it was complaining incoherently about small stuff.

This was all very unfortunate, since Mass Effect 3 has a few awful, terrible, no-good, Very Bad problems, but none of them were the things I was bitching about. In fact, I spent so much time complaining about trivial things that I missed the couple of important or noteworthy things.

Case in point: Shepard’s big “We fight or we die” one-liner. We’ve been waiting for two whole games for this moment, and our big speech boils down to:

Commander Shepard! We’ve fallen out of an airplane with no parachute! What to we do?

(Thoughtful, dramatic pause.)

We hit the ground or we die!

So… yeah. I was in a bad mood, complained too much, and kind of started us off on the wrong foot. Sorry about that. If it makes you feel any better, I hated making it more than you’ll hate watching it. And if that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.


From The Archives:

518 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 Part 1: We Fight or We Doy

  1. Henson says:

    Admiral: “That’s it? That’s our plan?!”

    Me: My thoughts exactly.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I was so glad when the Admiral called Shepard out on the stupidity of that line.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I have in the past defended this line as a motivational statement. Something equivalent to “Come-on you apes! You wanna live forever!?”

        By playthrough 3 it grated on me. The line before it about “not a time for strategy and tactics” grates even more. I hate the crucible more and more each time and really just want to let my fleet pants the reapers.

        1. Winter says:

          “Come on, you apes! You wanna live forever?” would have been fine. That would have been a perfectly reasonable thing to say. You could have gotten it set up as a choice and gotten paragon points for it and everything.

      2. Jakale says:

        And, yet, does Shepard get to call out anyone on their entire “how to deal with Reapers” agenda? I mean, yeah, it’s a stupid gun-toting badass one-liner number 147 thing to say, but what were they expecting?
        If the second game had actually had a purpose and we were on trial for the end of that game after we gathered up non-government specialists to find an actual way to fight the Reapers, then maybe Shepard could’ve provided an actual plan. As is, we’ve got no coalition of researchers, engineers, military specialists, etc. to call out of the blue to muster up a real defense. So there it is: almost completely unprepared and taken by, relative, surprise, the options quickly fall to, despair and die, or fight/run and maybe live. Not like Shepard is used to making tactical planetary-scale defenses, that I know of, so having her come up with a real plan on the spot is a bit unrealistic, though I’ll give that some sort of defensive retreat, or similar suggestion would have been more useful, had everyone not gotten immediately blown up afterward.

        1. Henson says:

          Granted, it makes sense that Shepard wouldn’t have a concrete plan against the reapers on her own, and it makes sense that the admirals wouldn’t have a concrete plan after disbelieving Shepard’s claims for two whole games. The problem is that the scene, from an audience perspective, makes the entirety of the Alliance, including Shepard, look really dumb. Realism is useful, but it’s not always ideal for the sake of drama.

          If Shepard’s goal with her speech is to put up a strong front in order to inspire, then the audience needs to understand this; otherwise, like the admirals, we’ll take her at her word that this empty posturing is actually her plan.

          Although, even taking that into account, it’s not a very good speech…

          I have to wonder if even asking Shepard for her plan was Bioware writing themselves into a bad spot.

      3. Jace911 says:

        The problem with the dialogue in the tutorial is because they wanted to shoehorn as many trailer-fuel lines into the Reaper attack as they possibly could.

        Take Shepard’s lines while they’re crawling through the rubble, for example: “We fight for the ones left standing when it’s all over.” or “It’s hard enough fighting a war, but what’s worse is that knowing how hard you try you can’t save them all.” Is that really what you’d say during the height of a hostile alien invasion while crawling through the ruins of an apartment building? No, it’s what you say when the camera’s on you and the marketing team needs a dramatic line for the upcoming trailer.

        It just makes the whole thing feel stilted and hamfisted, like Chris said. The Reaper attack could have made some sense (Earth is by batarian space, which is where they emerged, and they’re going after us because of the “humans are special and we need them to reproduce” thing from ME2) but in the end they tried way too hard on all fronts.

        And you know the ironic part? Despite my cynicism and rolling my eyes at certain bits, I was still hooked by this. I’m a sucker for pathos, and I hate it when it’s misused, but even when it’s mishandled it still reaches me on some level.

  2. Ryan says:

    I suppose this makes me the only person on Earth who prefers Mark Meer’s work to Jennifer Hale’s.

    1. Nyctef says:

      For me it has to be Paragon Meer, Renegade Hale. Always. I prefer Hale most of the time, though.

      .. although Meer nails the “big, stupid jellyfish” line :)

    2. X2Eliah says:

      Not the only one. Paragon works well with Meer. In fact.. I’d say that Paragon ladyshep is not all that cracked up as people make it out.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Paragon?Like anyone plays that.Everyone knows that shepard is one badass redhead girl.

        1. X2Eliah says:

          Yes, of course, how foolish of me to forget. All gamers want to be kickass McJerkfaces, right? Forgot I mentioned anything -_-

          1. Lalaland says:

            That’s what annoys me about being ‘renegade’ in these games. You’re not evil, you’re not an ‘at any cost’ type, you just randomly act like a jerk. Worse your actions have no coherence to them from one choice to the next whereas the Paragon options at least have an appearance of consistency.

            I actually can’t make it through a Renegade play through because I just can’t stand the awful logic free choices I’m forced into to max out the meter.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Paragon choices also have dumb things.For example,that clearly indoctrinated guy in 1,if you want paragon,you let him go.Why?

            2. Thomas says:

              I’m now of the opinion that Paragon should have been Pro-Alien and Renegade Pro-human. The problem is this is the first time there was a two choice system where both people were aiming for the same thing. When it as light and dark, one person would set a village free, the other would enslave and both would be happy.

              The thing is, we have an ‘at-all-costs’ guy, but it’s pretty easy to win without being him. So why pay costs when you don’t have to? You can basically choose between having everyone alive and happy at the end, or have races wiped out in war. That’s not choice. On a smaller level, with the punch or talk it out it’s okay, but renegade is a lesson in having everything suck at a higher level

              1. Raygereio says:

                I'm now of the opinion that Paragon should have been Pro-Alien and Renegade Pro-human.
                Aren’t they already? Well, sometimes that is. Bioware just can’t seem to decide on what paragon and renegade exactly are.

                1. anaphysik says:

                  I believe he means exclusively those. More like a faction/cultural tilt.

            3. Duhad says:

              Yep. For me I always play Meer for Paragon, then go back to do a Hale Renegade run, then get sick of how stupid Renegade is and quite. The one time I actually saw a good run with Hale/Ren/Shep, the player was RPing her as SFdebirs version of Janeway.

          2. chiefnewo says:

            Being a jerkass to everyone in the Mass Effect universe is what made it fun. Everyone is so stupid it was fun to play a Shepherd who just wanted to get on with it and not make friends.

    3. Serdic says:

      Not the only one. I much prefer Meer to Hale. I hated Bastila. For me, HK-47 nailed it in the better of KOTOR game.

      HK47: Statement: Oh, yes. My master had quite the collection of tortured individuals that seemed unable to confront their basic personality conflicts.
      HK47: Let me cite some specific examples.
      HK47: [mocking Carth] Mockery: “Oh, master, I do not trust you! I cannot trust you or anyone ever again!”
      HK47: [mocking Bastila] Mockery: “Oh, master, I love you but I hate all you stand for, but I think we should go press our slimy, mucus-covered lips together in the cargo hold!”
      HK47: Conclusion: Such pheromone-driven responses never cease to decrease the charge in my capacitors and make me wish I could put a blaster pistol to my behavior core and pull the trigger.

      So, I don’t play femshep, and I nuke Kaidan every damned time.

    4. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Prefer may be too strong, but I don’t find his delivery bad.

    5. Jeff says:

      I find Meer to be a lot more subtle than Hale. I tried Paragon-Hale in ME2 and didn’t get past the 2nd mission, it’s like SUPER-EMOTE SHEP.

      Meer’s Shep tends to sound more professional simply by being more collected. Kind of like Colonel O’Neil in SG-1.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I even like Renegade Meer. Somehow, saying this crazy stuff in the calm manner makes it even more scary and threatening. I compare him (a little) to Brock Peters in Star Trek VI. That whole speech about the Klingons being the alien trash of the galaxy doesn’t work if he sounds like he’s drooling evil. Same here when explaining, say, why he needs Salarian support over the Krogans.

  3. Simon says:

    I just noticed something interesting. I’d heard that the male and female Shepards used the same cutscene animations, maybe that was the case in the earlier games but not here. Female Shepard appears to take captain Anderson’s comment about looking “soft around the edges” slightly more seriously than male Shepard, holding two hands on her stomach instead of one, looking down more and lingering on it a little longer.

    Here they are:
    Female Shepard
    Male Shepard

    Don’t really know what to make of it really.

    1. Deux Mains says:

      There is also a slight difference when Shepard is about to fall off the ledge. Maleshep is hauled back with Anderson’s arm around his chest, while Femshep gets a hand on the shoulder to prevent an awkward boob grab. I like to think that the Admiral is a real gentleman, even while the Reapers are eating the Earth.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Priorities, and all that.

    2. Jeff says:

      They don’t share the same skeleton, so the animations would have to follow different scripts. Otherwise you end up with Dragon Age silliness with all the girls being butch and swaggering almost in-sync with the male PC during cutscenes.

  4. Rodyle says:

    Oh, for the love of god, Bioware. Please give some way to skip the tutorial. Most of us have been around since ME1. Hell, most of us probably already played this game once and wanted to see it with different choices along the way. There’s no reason for us to go through the entire combat tutorial again. It’s slow, uninspired and unchallenging.

    Also: lower that price a bit, will you? There’s no reason for it to be this expensive after half a year.

    1. Jexter says:

      Just checked the price, and surprisingly it seems to have lowered to 40 US dollars (was 60 about a month ago). I still think it should be cheaper, but it seems EA may understand at least a little that it makes sense to lower the prices over time. They’re still not lowering the prices nearly enough, and don’t comprehend the immense value of temporary deep discount sales, but it’s an encouraging development.

      1. Rodyle says:

        For us Europeans, it’s still 50 Euro (roughly 60 dollars). I told myself I wouldn’t buy it unless it went under 30; I won’t spend more money on such a poorly thought-out product.

        1. Jexter says:

          Yikes. Well, at least you’re not Australian.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          You can always do what I did and just watch the lets plays.Plenty of them are floating around to satisfy the curiosity.And you wont have to bother with the awesome button and origin.

          1. StashAugustine says:

            You’d also miss a lot. Some of the best parts of ME3 are the little random side conversations that a LP would probably skip.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              You mean stuff like emergency induction port?Nah,you can find all the interesting ones on youtube as well.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      But how can you not want to go through that again?!Look,it has biig things exploding and on fire and lens flare and shooting and stuff!You must like that!

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ugh,time for me to start bitching.I simply cannot hold it in anymore,but that opening crawl just irks me.

    One of my recent nitpicks with scifi in general is the confusion between sentient and sapient.Lots of authors use sentient when they want to say sapient,and it became a huge problem because people now dont know the distinction.But on the intelligent scale,it would go sentient->intelligent->self aware->sapient.I usually dont mind this much,and only correct people when they misuse it,because it really isnt their fault that scifi writers keep misusing the terms.Its not a major gripe.

    BUUUT,mass effect 1 may be the first game that used the proper terminology,and I applauded the writers for that,because it showed that they cared enough to go that extra mile in order to research what they are talking about.It shows deep respect for the work they are creating and for the people they are creating it for.This game crashes that in the very opening crawl,with that one word,showing that these writers dont care about the established work at all.So it became a huge problem for me,and just induced the rage the very first time I saw it.

    Whats even worse is that they later do use the correct terminology,so whoever wrote the opening crawl didnt even bother to consult with the rest of the team.And I dont know which is worse:Not caring for the work you are doing,or not communicating with the team you are working with.

    1. drlemaster says:

      Sorry, but could you please clarify? Are those arrows or greater-than signs.

      I always understood that sapient means human-like cognition, whereas sentient just means self-aware. But then sentient often gets used to colloquially in sci-fi to mean sapient. Or is that reversed, and years of bad sci-fi have left me confused?

      1. Swimon says:

        Sentient means that it feels, sapient means that it thinks. For example many people consider animals to be sentient but outside cartoons few consider them sapient (although some do). That said I wouldn’t necesarily put one above the other, the geth for example are clearly sapient but not necesarily sentient.

        Edit: turns out I was using an older definition, in modern use sentience is most often used to describe the ability to percieve. Any awareness (not necesarily self-awareness) seem to be sentience.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Sentient means perceiving the world around you.So one could say that a sunflower is sentient because it perceives where the sun is and moves towards it.It could also be applied to sensing emotions.Sapient means possesing wisdom,a step above being self aware.

        The terms sentient and sapient arent clearly defined,and definitions for them do vary slightly,which is why I usually dont mind when people use sentience to talk about human like creatures.Its clear what they mean.I mind it here because it was established earlier that mass effect universe does know the difference.

    2. Gruhunchously says:

      Mass Effect One had a lot of this, I remember. Lot’s of little things, whether they were the correct use of the word ‘sapience’, or how every species name wasn’t capitalized, or the constant references to ‘control groups’ in scientific jargon, made the universe feel researched and well thought out, like the writers actually cared. That’s not even going into the laborious descriptions of everything in the Codex, from mass relays to ship to ship battles.

      The other two games don’t have that same feeling, and as a result, there are a lot of inconsistencies. The GURDIAN lasers look like Star Wars blaster cannons, the secondary relays are just forgotten, and the final battle of Mass Effect Three outright defies pretty much everything the Codex describes space battles to be.

  6. Hitch says:

    Thank you, Chris. I’m watching the episode, listening to the argument and thinking, “The kid might have worked if the whole sequence wasn’t so ham-fisted.” You saved me from having to post this.

    On the other hand, I don’t have anything to add.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Anyone else moderately amused that Josh asked Chris’s opinion, Rutskarn interrupted, and then Josh went to Mumbles, thus cutting Chris right out of the opening? Got to be assertive if you want to comment on Spoiler Warning, I guess.

      And then when he does interject it is to say “he is right, and also he is right.” Now if only he was a rich man…

    2. ehlijen says:

      The kid just needed a tiny bit more effort. How hard would it have been to establish the kid as related to someone we’ve already seen Shepard like? Could be Hacket’s grandson, could be Ahsley’s nephew or something. Anything but ‘token only child in the world’ would have worked better.

      1. SleepingDragon says:

        Oh, I like this idea, actually having the child be related to one of the Virmire two (whichever has a better background for it) would be a very nice callback to the first game: did you have the relative or the other teammmate? how does the child perceive you depending on the first question? does the kid’s death have more or less emotional impact depending on whether their relative died?

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Oh! Oh!

          And if you take the Earthborn origin from ME1…

          …He could be Shepard’s nephew!

      2. gyfrmabrd says:

        It might also have worked a little better if the “child” didn’t look like a soulless plastic robot. From hell.

        1. Jeff says:

          Until I tried femShep, I thought the kid was Shep’s creepy hallucination.

  7. Hal says:

    “Commander Shepard, our food was stolen and now we’re lost in the middle of a jungle! What do we do?”

    “We forage or we die!”

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      – Shepard,we are out of milk!
      – We buy more,or we die!

      – Shepard,Its lunch time.
      – We eat,or we die!

      – Shepard honey,Im waiting you in the bed.
      – We have sex,or we die!

      Or,something like this

      1. ThomasWa says:

        -Shepard, we are in a body of water!
        -We dogpaddle, or we die!

        I urge everyone to leave their own version.

        1. hborrgg says:

          -Thomas jefferson Shepard! How do we oppose these tyrannical invaders?
          -We get liberty or death or we die!

          1. krellen says:

            That was Patrick Henry, actually.

            1. hborrgg says:

              Sorry, next time I’ll get it right or I’ll die.

        2. Jace911 says:

          “Shepard, fans hated the ending to Mass Effect 3! What do we do?!”
          “We retcon or we die!”

          *two weeks later*

          RIP BIOWARE

          1. Destrustor says:

            “-Shepard! We have been engulfed in molten lava!”
            “-We become fireproof or we die!”

            1. el_b says:

              quick, duck and cover!

          2. Lame Duck says:

            “People are becoming restless about the lack of a season on Mass Effect 3!”

            “We spoil or we die!”

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              Shepard. We need to use the bathroom real badly.

              “We crap… or we DIE!!!”

          3. Dragomok says:

            “Shepard, …!”

            “Wrex. Or we die!”

        3. ehlijen says:

          “Shepard, we are but burnt out, suffocated smears on a planet’s surface, having just fallen from orbit!”
          -“Then we ressurect or we die!”

        4. Irridium says:

          “Shepard, we’re being chased by lions, what do we do?!”

          “We run or we die!”

        5. A. Amel says:

          “Shepard, I ordered green shirts but they sent white by mistake!”
          “We dye or we die.”

          1. Jace911 says:

            *golf clap*

            Cave Johnson, we’re done here.

            1. Syal says:

              …should have been red instead of white though. Everyone knows those really do mean death.

        6. anaphysik says:

          “That’s your plan?!”
          (Deleted dialogue considered not dumb enough: “No deadman float, Shepard?! No drownproofing?!”)

      2. Keredis says:

        Those don’t exactly work, simply because the default result isn’t “Die.” I’d hope. As opposed to, say, being Indiana Shepard running from a giant boulder: “We avoid it, or we die!”

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          That is part of the joke.

          1. Keredis says:

            Ah. I had thought the joke was more an extension of the whole “Captain Obvious” bit.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              I will do the captain obvious joke next time,or Ill die!

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Poor Chris.You completely skipped what he was thinking about the game.

    Well one positive thing I can say about this intro is that they completely ignore events of mass effect 2.

    1. ehlijen says:

      And instead elevate the moronity that was Arrival to plot criticality :(

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Except it doesn’t even really do that. That’s only ever mentioned in passing.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          …and only if you played it on the save file you imported, otherwise they just fail to mention that at all as not to confuse people.

          1. IFS says:

            Actually if you import and didn’t play it there is a mention of it tucked away saying that a group of alliance marines did it instead and not shepard.

            1. Mike S. says:

              And they all died. (Costing you a bit of military readiness.) In general, all the ME2 DLC missions still get done without Shepard, but with worse outcomes. (E.g., Liara still gets the primary consequence of Lair of the Shadow Broker, but her rescue mission fails.)

              1. Thomas says:

                I think she loses mercs too for a galactic readiness hit.

      2. Indy says:

        It’s mentioned here but forgotten in the ending. Hmm, it seems like Bioware didn’t think this through.

        1. Indy says:

          Seriously, my favourite part of the EC press conference was ‘We couldn’t understand how players thought they had destroyed the galaxy.’

  9. SougoXIII says:

    Yay, the new season arrived! Do you guys know how many times I have to re-watched the Fallout 3 season for my weekly intake of bile and rage!? Do you!?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Same here. (Except the New Vegas season)

    2. Deadyawn says:

      Yeah, did also. I ran through both previous mass effect series again in preparation for this one. I am SO ready for you guys to tear this game a new one.

  10. Aldowyn says:

    I’ve had that trouble with openings before. There’s just rarely much to say.

    ME3 in particular the opening seems straight out of a blockbuster – sudden arrival of the conflict, setpieces everywhere, etc. etc. The part with the kid is pretty obvious, although I do like some of the little touches, like the animation for Shepard looking away when the shuttle gets hit. It doesn’t get really bad until later… which we’ll get to.

    P.S I’ve been doing a ME2 LP on YT similar to spoiler warning but with guest hosts, changing every week or two (including Exetera and TheSpecktre/Earlindor). Feel free to check it out and send me a message or something if you want to be a host at some point.

    1. Eärlindor says:

      Oh, I don’t know. It depends on the opening, and Mass Effect is the gift that keeps on giving. :)

      I should probably switch to one name for simplicity’s sake though…

    2. anaphysik says:

      Exetera… perhaps the Exetera I (sort of) know from tjskiffy?

      (Guesting on an LP would be kind neat. Guess I’ll have to see what you’ve already covered commentary-wise.)

      1. Exetera says:

        Indeed it is that Exetera.

    3. Klay F. says:

      Care to give us the link? I kinda want to see how much bile you guys manage to spew… :D

      1. Exetera says:

        It’s at Aldowyn’s YouTube page, although I’ve been reblogging the episodes.

        And, yes, there is some bile…

        1. anaphysik says:

          Yellow or black? My ancient physician says I have an abundance of both and need to find a way to to let it out.

        2. Eärlindor says:

          I started blogging them, but was waiting for Aldowyn to fix Episode 10. :P

          (A part of the episode loops. Skip from 16:10 to 24:45 (I think) to resume.)

          1. Aldowyn says:

            Yeah I know I’m lazy. I’ll probably fix it this weekend, I’ve been kinda busy at college orientation but I have free time now.

            P.S. the link on my name is to the YT site now.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What do you mean for no reason?They are batarians,thats reason enough for them to die.

    1. SleepingDragon says:

      I tried to repress as much of it as I could but I seem to recall that the first part of Arrival did its best to make batarians as nasty as possible, I mean, they were never portrayed as a sympathetic race but those bits I recall were less than subtle…

      1. Otters34 says:

        Meh, the batarians never got any kind of development besides being the obvious Bad Dudes species, so on the one hand they really aren’t a loss, but it still sucks because we NEVER learn what their deal is or why they’re such jerks to everyone, why they’re so xenophobic, why losing out on those colonies made them so mad, none of that will ever be resolved or even addressed.

        Them and the vorcha always jarred with the others, even the volus were more diverse than they were.

        1. krellen says:

          We get a few hints on why the Baatarians are so grumpy; it basically boils down to the fact that they used to be the new kids on the block, and then suddenly Humans show up and get all sorts of special treatment, setting back Baatarian expansion. So it’s really sort of a “forget you and forget your friends on the Council” sort of thing.

          1. Andrew_C says:

            Yeah that’s basically it. Didn’t help that they were colonising the same areas and every time there every a conflict the Council backed the humans.

          2. Eärlindor says:

            Yeah, the Batarian terrorist Balak tells you this stuff in the Bring Down the Sky DLC for ME1.

        2. Thomas says:

          Another point in ME3’s favour is that some of the races of hats from ME1, ME2 took their hats off. We finally got a none slimy helpful Volus! In fact several.

  12. Jace911 says:

    And the music begins again…

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    – How do we fight them?
    – We fight,or we die!
    – . . . Well duuuh.

    And people defend this saying that shepard is only a grunt.Sorry,but no.They are an officer,they should know something about tactics,and they fought the enemy,so they should know at least something.”Lets unite the galaxy”,or “I saved the rachni,lets ask them for help”,or “I know a brilliant geneticist,lets see if he can cook up some virus”.Anything.

    And if shepard really is just a grunt,why would admirals ask them about anything?They should already have some plans in the unlikely event that earth gets attacked.I mean the first contact war wasnt that far in the past.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      It’s also been established that he/she is far more effective at resolving major issues than any one else in the galaxy.

      Seriously, the Alliance would be useless without Shepard.

    2. Tohron says:

      … or retreat all available ships, so they aren’t slaughtered like lemmings one at a time, which seems to be happening whenever we see a battle cutscene.

    3. ehlijen says:

      Grunt or not, even with that answer, Shepard demonstrates more tactical acumen than the ‘let’s deny their existance and see if they leave’ admiralty board.

      1. Keredis says:

        That Admiralty Board is pretty much the worst collection of military officers outside of David Weber’s standard “Useless officer who got his position via family rather than merit.”

        Actually, that would have been a decent touch, to mention somewhere that many of the promotions in the military had been for political purposes rather than merit, hence why there are so many incompetent leaders.

        1. SleepingDragon says:

          Oh look, a lampshade that would actually (somewhat) work, but nooo, this game treats itself far to seriously to lampshade the stupidity of its characters.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Actually, Joker lampshades the Admiralty’s idiocy very shortly after this. Of course, that lampshade is totally out of place, since we should’ve seen, y’know, actually competent writing in its stead…

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The council is much worse.But Ill save that rant for when they reach citadel.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            But first… Mars.

            *sigh* I can’t wait until we get to the good parts of this game.

        3. Mike S. says:

          On the other hand, the whole story of Earth on the galactic stage is one of rapid advancement and innovation (e.g., putting up a respectable resistance against the turians in the First Contact War, repeating Japan’s end-run around the Washington Naval Treaty in space by substituting carriers for treaty-limited dreadnaughts, getting a Spectre and council status in a fraction of the time any other species took). It’s a very Campbellian story in that respect, and doesn’t really jibe with the Admiralty being incompetent.

          I tend to put the onscreen tactics and need for Shepard to resolve any important decisions over on the gameplay side of things: it would make more sense for important decisions to be made on the flag officer level, and for tactics to be smarter and less visual. But players are supposed to make the big decisions, and a visual medium creates demands for bright lights and explosions, so that’s what we get.

  14. Jexter says:

    Regina’s lips seem to puff out away from the rest of face. It has a very fish-like quality to it.

    This is part of the problem with making faces so much higher quality as graphics advance – it’s much easier to fall into the uncanny valley if you make a small modelling mistake.

    1. Thomas says:

      Also I find when I’m trying to make faces in that much detail I begin to psych myself and suddenly no-ones face looks right

    2. StashAugustine says:

      FemShep in particular tends to have fishlips. I actually tend to design my characters from other RPG’s so they have the same appearance as my first Shepard, which includes weirdly big mouths.

    3. Henson says:

      The look of ME3 Shepard (especially the default) reminds me of Vampire: Bloodlines and Thief 3; very plastic and almost cartoon-y. Does this game have an option for film grain?

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Iirc it did have film grain in 1st and 2nd (maybe – am not 100% sure on this), so probably it’s still there as an option.

        1. Dragomok says:

          Yes, the first one had film grain effect. I managed to play whole 20 seconds before disabling it.

          1. Lalaland says:

            Then you’re going to love Battlefield 3 where my investment in a DX 11 card meant I got to think my screen is dirty. Seriously my eyes don’t get dirty, I wear glasses and unless they’re caked with mud I don’t see the dirt on them

    4. Spammy says:

      There’s times when her lips look right, but more often than not they just seem way too wide, almost like they’re trying to jut out from the sides of her face. I noticed it right when Rutskarn called her a money, and it really did not help matters there.

    5. Torsten says:

      Animation of the facial movement seems to be the big problem. Anderson and the other npc’s look better than in earlier games, but it is the facial animation that does not look natural. It is like their eyes, mouth and other muscles are animated separately and they are not quite in sync.

      Since we are talking about the looks, does it look to anyone else like Shepard has fallen a little out of shape? There wasn’t that much sagging in the front or junk in the trunk on earlier games. Although it could just be another poorly made attempt from game makers to illustrate that some time has passed between this game and ME2.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        It’s just a throwaway line. Shepard’s model is not pudgy at all.

        1. Thomas says:

          I figured it was in universe reasoning for Shepard being not quite so badass as she was at the end of 2

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            But when you import your character, he/she is literally exactly as badass as you left him/her. They have the same levels and skills.

            I guess if you didn’t import, then it would makes sense. But then why not start the game with your character at level 10 or something.

            Of course, this is nitpicky even for me.

            1. Mike S. says:

              Eh– since it had been a while since I’d played ME2, when Anderson asked if I’d forgotten how to handle a gun it looked as if I kind of had. :-) It came back pretty quickly, but it actually worked that first time through.

    6. el_b says:

      seems to have Bell’s palsy from some angles, I’ll like mumble said she has marbles in her mouth. There is also something else about shepherds face that you cannot see on Josh’s graphical settings. Everyone else’s facial textures are insanely detailed, especially wrex, who has a lot more tone and color in his face than before. Sheppard however looks like she’s made of plastic, I’m sure that the PC max settings on Mass effect one look better.

      When the shepherd appeared and everyone was repulsed I really expected Josh to pull a plinkett.

      1. el_b says:

        Speech text has been going berserk lately, every time I look at my post I see more errors.

      2. Klay F. says:

        I’d say part of the reason Shepard has a case of plastic-face is because Shepard’s face is adjustable. You can easily see the difference between the default faces and the customized faces. All the extra detail on the default faces really help the face as a whole stay away from the super-symmetrical robot face territory.

        On a related on, whenever I play a game that lets me customize my character’s face, I alway add things like scars. Scars and the like do wonders for making faces appear less symmetrical and more natural.

        1. el_b says:

          I played male shep and made him a middle aged with a high hairline, a broken nose ( which came out wrong because I was only looking at it from the front) and a Lightly Pockmarked face. He actually looked pretty Badass especially in those heroic cutscene poses. My evil shepherd was basically the same but looked older and far more scarred. Mass effect is probably the only game where I haven’t tried to have a handsome character, it’s almost as if the engine doesn’t allow it LOL

  15. Thomas says:

    The little lieutenant person who you walk in on with the clipboard looked exactly the same as the Shepard I’d happened to design. Most confusing opening ever.

    Also, you really should have fixed her appearance :D We’re locked in for 30 hours now

    EDIT: Also thumbs up to Mumbles for reigning in on some of the grumpier comments =D

  16. FlashFire344 says:

    Annnnd we are back now! MOAR MUST HAVE MOAR!

  17. Tobias says:

    So, in between the last time we saw Shepard she:
    1) Got ugly
    2) Quit Cerberus
    3) and blew up a star system?
    Seriously. I have never played any ME, but you working for Cerberus seemed to be a major plot-point. How did you escape their magical conversation choice manipulation skills?

    1. X2Eliah says:

      It’s just like leaving Oz – you have to clap your hands and fork out the cash for taxi(Oz)/DLC(bioware).

    2. Taellosse says:

      By momentarily acquiring some of our own (courtesy of the Bioware writing team)! The end of ME2 dictates that you are breaking away from Cerberus regardless of the actual choice you make. If you elect to do what TIM wants, it’s semi-polite, if you choose to defy him, it’s full of threats and dire warnings, but you’re breaking up with him regardless.

    3. Merzendi says:

      Since Miranda and Jacob both died, Cerberus doesn’t have anyone who can give Regina her mind control pills. Since these were what forced her to work for them, she has since left, and is preparing her “leaving party” with The Illusive Man.

      1. Indy says:

        Of course, the mind-control pills had to be crushed into Shepard’s coffee. She only gets to sleep 4 times in the entire series.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yes,they shouldve killed anderson,and have him haunt your dreams.That would make sense,and would actually get an emotion from us.We know anderson,we spent time with anderson,anderson stuck his neck for us multiple times before.

    But tossing in a kid and expecting us to care just because its a kid is a lame move.Contrast this with the girl from aliens.We had time to get to know her,to have the characters get to know her before she got into any danger.Thats why when ripley was defending her we sympathized.Here,shepard dreams about one kid and we should believe they are somehow moved,yet werent moved by the sight of millions of humans being liquefied?Bullshit.

    And this moment is especially repugnant to me because modern warfare 3 uses the same cheap tactics to (unsuccessfully) tug your heart strings.

    Just seeing a kid die means nothing.Its all about context.

    1. Taellosse says:

      Oh, wow, that would have been brilliant. Anderson dies in the opening scene, then keeps haunting Shepard’s dreams. And then HE’S the form the Catalyst takes at the end! That would have worked so much better.

      They could have put that English SpecOps guy from the trailer, that you hardly speak to in the game, into the role Anderson ends up playing in this game perfectly well–you contact him periodically to get status reports on the Earth resistance, just enough to get to know him, so you care that he’s grabbed by TIM near the end. The scene after TIM’s dead wouldn’t be as touching, I suppose, but that’s a worthwhile sacrifice to make the actual end have some real emotional weight and tension, instead of having it feel ham-fisted and manipulative.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Idk though. If we throw away everything that happens after the big scene with Anderson at the end of me3, then that’s a pretty damn powerful scene. Seriously well-made, imo. The two just sitting back, their mission accomplished, with Earth visible in full view. idk if it was hammy, but for me it really worked (right up until the ascending magic floor panel, alas). Without Anderson being by Shepard’s side, it would have way less impact.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “If we throw away everything that happens before [b]and[/b] after the big scene with Anderson at the end of me3, then that's a pretty damn powerful scene.”

          Fixed that for you.The stupid really runs deep through the ending,so its dragging even that scene down.But that scene would work just as well with imaginary anderson beside you,telling you to finally let him go because it wasnt your fault he died.

          1. X2Eliah says:

            “Fixed that for you”

            I disagree.
            Let’s leave it at that, kay?

            1. Thomas says:

              There’s no point having all the fun now right? Lots of this to look forward to :D

              1. X2Eliah says:

                Surprising, I know, but I really don’t find arguing fun.

                1. Thomas says:

                  There was slight sarcasm there :D but I’m not going to pretend I don’t enjoy. Sometimes. (Other times I get stressed out and refuse to read the comments again. Nice thing about Shamus’ system is there’s not a lot of precious to not let topics drop off the page)

        2. Taellosse says:

          Yeah, except the game ending there would have felt even more anti-climactic than what we actually did get. Personally, I didn’t find the final face-off with TIM to be nearly as powerful as the analogous one with Saren. Maybe because I was still resentful of the naked railroading of the plot in ME2, but I didn’t feel like TIM was nearly as ambiguous and semi-sympathetic a character as Saren was, despite the epic voice-acting of Martin Sheen.

          Also, arbitrarily ending things there would have left the nature of the Reapers entirely mysterious, and made their defeat feel too easy. A couple of the things I liked about the EC is it offers context I can largely swallow as to the Reapers’ origins and motivations, and even the vanilla ending doesn’t leave me feeling the victory came too cheap–the sacrifice necessary to win is massive (on an emotional level, if nothing else) no matter what path you choose.

        3. Zombie says:

          They could have made it your love interest sitting next to you, or if you didn’t have a love interest, They could have made it a character you killed in Virmire (Or really the. If you killed Wrex, just, just no. Shame on you). For someone who had played since ME1, that would have been kind of powerful, the first person you really lost in this long, drawn out war sitting next to you, and Shepard saying something along the lines of “You did good (insert character from Virmire here), now we can rest.”

          1. anaphysik says:

            “the first person you really lost in this long, drawn out war”

            J-Jenkins? Is that you?

            1. Zombie says:

              Damn, I forgot all about him. The first person you lose in this long drawn out war that was kinda sorta fleshed out into a person.

              1. merle says:

                I didn’t miss Jenkins in ME1. I missed him in ME2, seeing him through Chakwas’ eyes.

              2. anaphysik says:

                I disagree. Even though you get just one (optional, iirc) conversation with him, Jenkins still feels like an actual person with actual motivations. Jenkins is the guy that joined up because he wanted to see robots and aliens and explosions and stuff. Okay, sure, so turns out life in the Alliance is actually way more boring than he thought, but then he hears about Spectres – a.k.a. James Bonds in space who do Cool Stuff(tm)! Okay, sure, so turns out he’ll never get to be a Spectre himself, but that doesn’t make them any less cool. What makes Jenkins work is that he’s the kid who’s happy even just being in a galaxy where Cool Stuff happens.

            2. Alexander The 1st says:

              Well hey, he meets the “Dies in the first mission” criteria that Starchild did.

              Or sure, everyone who started from ME2/ME3 would’ve been completely blindsided by the pull of Jenkins as the Catalyst, but it would’ve worked wonders for a starchild replacement.

              “Come on Shepard; you’re a Spectre, above the law.

              So here’s my solution – we either kill off all the reapers and AI around us, or we choose to control them, or we go synthesised.

              I mean, I totally want to be a cyborg. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Being able to rush into my first mission with a Bionic Arm!”*

              *This is Jenkins speaking – he is in no way sarcastic. That’s just how he was.

    2. lurkey says:

      I’d say the kid herself isn’t even that important – in the very beginning of “Aliens” we find out Ripley had a daughter, who had to grow up without a mother and died never knowing what happened to her. It’s obvious and believable that this haunts Ripley; also, for her it’s mere months since she last saw her daughter so it’s believable she projects onto Newt and then does everything to save her. James Cameron isn’t exactly known for subtle insights into human psyche, and yet he bothered to come up with plausible motivation for a plain action flick. Bioware, renowned for its writing, came up with this kid.

  19. Irridium says:

    I didn’t buy into the kid because its the first time we ever see a kid in the Mass Effect universe. That telegraphed to me that this kid was added for a reason. Most likely to die to try and motivate you. And then he did die, and sad music played, and I knew it would happen, and I wasn’t really affected in the least. Because it was so damn obvious I just couldn’t buy into it.

    Maybe if kids existed in the other games, maybe if it was someone I knew from a previous game, maybe if Little Lamplight didn’t make me hate all kids in videogames ever, then I’d be effected. But some random kid I’ve never seen before? Yeah it sucks he died, but it didn’t really make me feel any emotion. At all.

    Also, Chris, Battlefield 3’s got nothing on the Syndicate remake. Syndicate is truly lens flair hell.

    Oh, and I didn’t think the Shepard in character creator looked that bad. Yeah the hair was a wrong color, but really didn’t look that ugly.

  20. Thomas says:

    I’ve got a lot of problems with the beginning (more than the end actually, I uninstalled the EC) but I figure I’ll space out my moaning over a couple of episodes.

    I don’t mind so much they went for earth first, it was established Reapers were obsessing with it and going straight for the population centre was a really effective tactic, using surprise well and crushing most forces. As well, they’re simultaneously attacking the Turians (who are the strongest military force) and having incursions on the Asari (whose homeworld isn’t as vunerable due to biotics). I do have issue that no-one seems to have cared enough to find out and prepare when the Batarians got wiped out and the Reapers invaded the remnants of them.

    But the BIG BIG BIG flaw of Mass Effect 3 for me, is they blow up earth before you have time to see it. There should have been a prologue walking around a lovely _none-grey_ landscape, so we had reason to care, so we knew what it was like undestroyed. But as it is, Earth is meant to be a driving motivator, but I don’t know enough about it. It was never a home, I get 30 seconds of looking at a prison which then gets blown up. And it’s ugly. Even being destroyed it doesn’t look much better than destroyed earth.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      But its,like,earth,you know.You know what earth looks like,dude,so like,you can imagine what it will be in the future and stuff.

      And really,thats the biggest problem emanating from cheap emotional manipulation.Developers think that they dont need to put any work into stuff that can easily tug on the heartstrings of people,like putting a kid in peril,because people dont like seeing children in peril,or making the setting be something familiar like earth,or more specifically new york.Hey,you recognize this,right?And its in danger,so you should feel bad for it.

      1. Thomas says:

        We’ll get onto it, but they failed to establish earth so badly that I felt Shepard was being a xenophobic douche for most of the first half of the game.

        I’d have really liked a quiet prologue, there was a lot to discover about how the world had changed in a year, it would have been a good introduction to Vega and it would have been nice to see where all the human stuff started

        1. Keredis says:

          I spent most of the game wondering why Earth was considered strategically significant, and why we didn’t just assume that it was lost and sacrifice it to concentrate forces on fighting elsewhere/buying more time.

          1. Thomas says:

            This. Especially with the Turian homeworld being underattack. I couldn’t understand why Shepard didn’t think, okay you’re homeworld hasn’t been fully taken and you’re righting back, so because I believe in aliens helping each other, I’ll actually send the human fleet to help. Instead he was asking them to pull their fleet out of their battle to help the lost cause and accusing them of being selfish when they didn’t

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          I thought it was only half a year.

  21. newdarkcloud says:

    The thing about the Arrival is that it doesn’t really add anything to the story either. In fact, all it does is set up the opening to the game. Once the game begins proper, the status quo get’s restored. It only comes up in minor plots, going back to the whole issue of Mass Effect 2. Only the Shadow Broker DLC is referenced at all.

    I disagree with Josh that Anderson’s death would’ve felt poignant. Personally, I would’ve just been disappointed if that happened. Considering he is clearly meant to play a larger role, that would’ve felt more forced than the kid.

    But I do agree that the kid and Earth were just so obviously trying to get me to care that I was simply unable to. The “Take Earth Back” nonsense did not appeal to me. This felt like appealing to the die-hard military shooter fanbase when they’ve only ever been a fraction of the game’s fanbase. I didn’t like it at all. I think Chris is right. It would’ve been more powerful without Earth happening.
    (Though there’s still the issue of potentially losing several close people and only NOW feeling any kind of powerful emotion.)

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What larger role?He gets stuck in the closet until the very end,and is then used very briefly.But imagine if he was killed on earth,then haunts you in your dreams,then one of your squadmates gets in the ending with you(maybe your love interest),and they get shoot and are sitting next to you dying,and then you get the catalyst take the form of anderson.Much more meaningful than some random kid.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Well, a player going through ME3 the first time wouldn’t be aware of that. As a player coming from ME 1 and 2, you’d assume Anderson would play an important role, so killing him would look stupid.

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Sacrificial Lion would work. But then we’d lose Keith David’s VAing, and we’d have to redo the ending scene, which as has been pointed out up thread is really good.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            “But then we'd lose Keith David's VAing,”

            Not really,because we could still have him speak in dreams and such,instead of having to chase some random kid.

            “which as has been pointed out up thread is really good.”

            Doesnt mean it was the best possible though.

        2. SleepingDragon says:

          On the other hand killing Anderson could solve the whole councilor thing a touch more elegantly than “he just decided to quit sometime between 2nd and 3rd game.”

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Oh yes,the non choices.What is the point of previous games anyway when all your choices are insignificant in the end?If they really wanted the central elements to remain unchanged,why offer a choice about them in the first place?

            1. SleepingDragon says:

              Personally I think the fact that a number of major choices (saving the council and choice of councilor in particular) are overwritten proves there wasn’t as much forethought put into it as Bioware claims. For example the councilor thing was a big thing in 1, turned out rather cosmetic in 2 and while everybody was expecting this grand payoff in 3 they simply overwrote it. Even if they decided they really needed some of these for the set up (like Udina being on the council), though again, proof of bad planning, they could have at least compensated for it. Make it seem like Anderson is much more politicaly savvy after his years in that world, give him more contacts in the galaxy, make it clear Udina is still consolidating power…

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                This is my biggest disappointment with the franchise. Tuchanka (and Rannoch to a much lesser degree) was the only real time where your choices had any consequence to the plot.

                Someone once told me that it didn’t bother them because it made sense in the plot. To that I say, yes it does from a plot standpoint. From a design standpoint, it’s a failure. Why ask me to choose if you were going to disregard my choice.

                The ending is where that all came to a head with me. The flagrant disregard for everything I did really upset me. Fortunately, the Extended Cut made that so much better. Not perfect, but so much better.

    2. hborrgg says:

      An invasion of earth might have worked if we ever actually got the sense that there was some epic battle going on for the fate of the planet, but instead all I ever got was “Nope, they’re invincible. You go dink around in search of a mcguffin as we try to slow them down by bravely throwing bodies into their body-grinders!”

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        If only they knew that cains can take down reapers easily.The battle for earth wouldve been much shorter.

        1. LunaticFringe says:

          “I call this my 999 plan. What we do is get a bunch of Cains and charge them to 999%.”

          1. hborrgg says:

            He did demonstrate how effective he would be at rallying the people during an alien invasion.

    3. ehlijen says:

      He didn’t need to die, simply being badly wounded and needing shepard (+someone else, Vega? He was there too…) go get help and then Shepard being ordered to leave Earth not knowing if Anderson’ll pull through could have been enough for the bad dream justification but still left him available for the endgame.

      But yes, the Catalyst would probably have been better recieved if it had been Anserson’s shape. Bowzer in a tutu would have been better recieved, sure, but I think the alien machine taking on the form of a friend who just died in order to offer a horrifying truth and choice would have actually worked in a ‘truly too alien to like’ kind of way.

  22. X2Eliah says:

    Well, as with mass effect 2, the third game’s biggest problems are at the start and at the end. Which means there will be way less moaning in most of the following episodes. Yay!


    Edit: Also, yeah, agreed – the kid was a bit of a cheap trick. MumbleChris is spot on – as an analogy, an approximation of humankind and Shepard’s inability to save them, it works well enough. As a single kid you should cry about.. It’s just too far in the uncanney valley, I’d say.
    But! There was that conversation, where the kid refused Shepard’s offer to help (in that vent). Most people say it’s a stupid conversation – yes and no. If you look at it as an analogy for humanity, then, well, isn’t that spot-on? Shepard learned about the Reapers, tried to offer help to council/alliance, and they said “no thanks” – and mostly paid the price. This kid-element is an excellet framing device, a retelling of that arc in individual form.

    Also, here’s something that, imo, worked well in the intro. Reapers landing on Earth. Yesyesyes I know that it was hamfisted, bear with me. I mean, it’s good that we actually get to see first-hand how the Reapers conquer planets – How large they are, what tactics they use, how they operate, how big the sodding things actually are. In previous two games, all we knew was “omg they take over the galaxy! Planet by planet! Or not!”. Here, we see exactly how they do it. And that’s cool. It does detract from the misticism the Reapers had in the first game, but this isn’t the first game anymore. For better or worse, the story is at a point where conflict is at hand. Here, there is no room for misticism at this level. So.. Yeah. That was something that Bioware did right, in this episode.

    Edit2: Also I’m super-sleepy so Idgaf about the bitching and can’t make pretty sentences; that’s why the above reads as horribly as it does.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      But we saw already what reapers are capable of in the first game.We saw how huge sovereign is in the very beginning,and in the end we saw how easily he mows down entire fleets.

      I dont mind reaper landing on earth,but I do mind them laying so much senseless destruction.Its already established that they are harvesting people.So instead of them just FIRING LAZORS around,it would be much better seeing them shooting down just ships and jets,and taking whole buildings in them to liquefy the people inside.Or,if we just saw husks running around taking people by the dozens.Or if those evacuation ships werent merely destroyed,but captured to be processed.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        It is established that reapers harvest *some* of the people. Keeping in mind the plot of ME2 (Shock horror it existed?!?!?!), the harvesting is done to create a new reaper from human slushy – and that sort of was done with in that same game. Beyond that, no, it’s NOT established that reapers should harvest all people, nor is it established that they wouldn’t destroy most opposition.

        Also – “Senseless destruction”? The Entire thing the Reapers are meant to do on each cycle is to destroy the races that are advanced to spaceflight levels! Harvesting is a side-thing they do, at best, to ensure their own numbers increase. Beyond that, no, their prime directive actually is destruction.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          They already established that they need plethora of organisms for their harvesting,so laying waste to defenseless civilians is senseless.

          Also,there is a difference between methodical precision wiping of all intelligent life presented in 1 and senseless destruction seen in 3.What,were they cleaning the rubble of bones once they were done with this so that no trace would remain of previous civilizations?Or are current archaeologists that inept?

          Plus,we also know that those they dont harvest into new reapers they turn either into husks,or keeper/collector like beings.Heck,even in this game we see them churning out newer and newer husks,so them laying waste doesnt make sense even in the context of this one sequel alone.

          1. X2Eliah says:

            On the other hand, if you are a giant spaceship-lobster, it’s easier to just not give a damn and shoot all the humans in reach rather than setting up inflitration plots and tracking down the military leaders. Earth is the centre of humanity, so it does make sense that the Reapers would just cut the base node out of the loop. Are you seriously suggesting that the Reapers *need* every single non-military human? That’s ridiculous. They have time enough – they could blow earth up entirely and then spend a century picking off humans scattered on other planets. That’s what they did to the Proteans – as was revealed in ME1.

            The methodical infiltration presented in ME1 was done so because the Reapers hadn’t arrived, and Sovereign wasn’t all-powerful. He needed an agent able to misdirect political leaders, an agent able to open up Citadel’s arms from inside, to let all the Reaper fleet inside. Nothing in ME1 implies that there wouldn’t have been a swathe of destruction once the Reaper fleet used Sovereign’s gateway.

            Now, in ME3, the reaper fleet is here. There is no reason to muck about with agents and infiltration.

            As for cleaning the bones: you are aware of the term “slag it”, I presume? Funnily enough, big-ass sci-fi lasers would be just the right tools for the job. Nobody says they need to keep that particular planet habitable for the next cycle, even. If it stays, good. If not – plenty more planets in the universe live can live on.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              In earlier games, it’s actually implied that resources are pretty scarce. The Quarians constantly have to find new sources for basic resources and they are just one race.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Sure,its easier,but it was established that reapers dont go the easy route.It would be much easier for them to merely wipe all the planets from orbit,after all.Heck,they dont need to leave the galaxy,they could just do one big sweep and burn down every planet.But they dont.

              And no,they dont need every human,but why waste resources when you dont need to?

              As for slagging it,its established that they dont do that,since we do find some remains,like the prothean beacons.

              1. Thomas says:

                I’m completely in favour of this destruction of earth. This was meant to be a huge merciless threat, that was going to destroy civilisation. Seeing them tear chunks into a planet was a good way of doing that. The Reapers were going to send the whole galaxy in flames, and being delicate would have felt false. It’s just as I said above, they needed to take a little more time in the game doing it

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Delicate can still be terrifying.For example imagine if every building was left pristine,but we saw a quick scene of husks impaling humans onto spikes.Or dragging them kicking and screaming into a reaper.

                  1. Keredis says:

                    That would actually be even better. If the Reapers had some weapon that would paralyze people while leaving all the infrastructure intact… It would be the logical way to use your advance technology to subdue a population that you need alive (although I still don’t understand how that Reaper Reproduction Slurpee works, but that’s neither here nor there).

                    And they’ve done it before! If they had the technology to make those Collector Bug Things, then they could have easily come up with some kind of plan/technology during their long trek back from Dark Space. Maybe specifically make the Batarian husks designed for that purpose, rather than for shooting people from behind chest-high walls.

                    1. Thomas says:

                      But the Reapers don’t want the building left standing. They’re going to try and wipe out as much of civilisation as they can. The only reason they lose is because they didn’t do a thorough enough job

                    2. newdarkcloud says:

                      Do the Reapers want to wipe out civilization? It’s not exactly clear regarding that. How would that help?

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:


                      Which is much easier to do with whole buildings then by sifting through the rubble.

                      Well they could simply just burn the whole surface,but it was shown that they dont do that.Well,it was shown in 1,but subverted in 3.

                    4. Keredis says:

                      @Thomas There are also quite a few Prothean ruins left standing. Honestly, they could probably just let the environment tear down everything over the next 50,000 years.

                      Of course, there are also planets in the ME universe that were basically nuked into oblivion from orbit by the Reapers, so…

              2. Moewicus says:

                “As for slagging it,its established that they dont do that,since we do find some remains,like the prothean beacons.”

                I thought it was established that they do do that, but miss spots because [plot hole] and Prothean survivors.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Really?How does one melt the entire surface of a planet but misses a spot?That makes even less sense than what I thought.

                  1. Moewicus says:

                    Haha, my mistake, I confused “slag it” for “clean-up.”

                    “Slag” should have been a clue.

                2. Keredis says:

                  Also, how would they miss basically the entirety of Feros? That planet still had a ton of Prothean skyscrapers standing.

                  1. Thomas says:

                    The Asari talked about hiding stuff though. I think the idea is the universe is too big for the Reapers to get it all. The whole process takes them 100 years as it is

                    1. Keredis says:

                      So what happened to the Protheans on Feros? If the Reapers attacked them, why not as much destruction? If they didn’t, then what happened, since even a small portion of one planet is more than enough to repopulate a race.

          2. Moewicus says:

            A certain amount of “senseless” destruction by the Reapers is actually to be expected. If I recall correctly, during the conversation with Vigil in ME1 Shepard learns that the reason that installation survived the invasion at all is because the records of it were destroyed in the Reapers’ initial attack.

            Barging in and tearing up the place does makes a certain amount of strategic sense for the Reapers; the Reapers have massive dominance, but not omnipotence, so it only makes sense for them to leverage their advantage by wrecking the civilizations of the harvested races to the point that the latter can’t even begin to ponder a counter-attack. You’ll also notice that one of the LAZORS takes out a whole bunch of senior military staff within the first few minutes of the invasion of Earth, drastically hampering humanity’s ability to coordinate and react. I’d say that’s some pretty sensible destruction.

            Let’s also not forget that they have, by this time, been foiled at several points; their usual starting point is the Citadel, but its mass relay was denied to them by the Protheans; Sovereign was killed; and a larval Reaper was destroyed in the middle of Collector territory. Even ignoring the other points, given the events of ME1&2 we should expect them to quite aggressive.

            I also don’t see how it’s at odds with their methodical clean-up efforts afterwards. The Reapers expect to have lots of time, resources, slave-power, and do not lack for technology to complete the task. What is the difference between a shattered city and an intact city when you’re going to wipe it all out of history anyway? And based on the Collector base in ME2, I doubt that, even if they left the rubble for some reason, it would be any trouble to spray something and liquify the remains of the dead.

            As for what their strategy does to harvestable population? Probably not much. Right now, roughly 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. Even extrapolating the urbanization trend out to 90% of people living in cities, Reapers could kill more than half of the world’s urban population and still have at least a billion left over. The human-Reaper in ME2, meanwhile, had just tens of thousands of people put into it and it was partly functional, though weak.

            Really, though, the Reapers weren’t being aggressive enough. If anything, it smacks of implausible overconfidence on their part that they didn’t simply focus on destroying and forgo harvesting altogether. They should have realized that the cycle was in danger of being broken, since the Protheans had left information lying around and sabotaged the Citadel/Dark space link. I mean, it’s in keeping with the “Reaper” arrogance as established by the conversation with Sovereign, but the Reapers were still carrying a bit of an Idiot Ball there.

      2. SleepingDragon says:

        I take it I am not the only one who was greatly disappointed with Reapers far as the military was concerned. I mean, there was some decent buildup during the first two games: they have indoctrination, they have mastered mass relay technology far beyond anything all the council races did, they can transform or create entire races to do their bidding… Keeping all this in mind I was really expecting them to show up with some crazy war tech and the varying races of the galaxy coming up with some really creative ways to combine their diverse strengths (we are told that coexistence and codevelopment of so many races is a rarity among the harvest cycles).

        But no, the Reapers largely just use different colored lasers and destroying one is just a matter of having enough guns.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Or a single cain.

          1. Keredis says:

            Raises the question of, if the Cain’s so powerful, why haven’t they just mounted that sucker on… well, EVERYTHING, instead of whatever main guns vehicles currently have?

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              Probably because of the amount of ammo it takes up, but that shouldn’t be an issue.

              1. Keredis says:

                If it’s a small enough amount that you can carry two shots worth on your back, one Cain shot can’t possibly weigh more/be larger than a current shell for a main battle tank.

                1. Thomas says:

                  It was a very very small Reaper though wasn’t it? Like frigate class. In the codex don’t they suggest its mainly the Destroyer Reapers who seem to be pretty darn indestructible.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Youd almost think that that scene is one huge plot black hole.

    2. The Hokey Pokey says:

      Actually I would say that the game’s biggest problem is introduced right in the middle, but I will be patient and wait for SW to get there before complaining about it. I am looking forward to/dreading it.

  23. ? says:

    So.. where is the kid from?
    Should I understand that Systems Alliance headquarters or court or whatever is located within walking distance of civilian housing district? With no security force guarding the entrance? Yeah, humanity deserves to die. It does not even deserve to be immortalized as a Reaper hivemind. Was it the plan? Collector rouge cell creates human reaper and human stupidity destroys them from within? And indoctrinated Illusive Man sends only person who can stop this threat to Reaper masterplan… Commanderp Zombie Shepard!

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      The intro takes place in the world capital of Vancouver.

      1. ? says:

        Is it Canadian custom to keep unsupervised children in strategic military installations?

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Well military personnel can and often do have there families moved to the base with them. It’s not totally unrealistic.

          1. Keredis says:

            On base, yes. In the specific building that houses brigs and Admiralty boards? With ZERO adults around? That seems a bit unusual to me.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              You never snuck around where you weren’t supposed to as a kid?

              Yeah, me neither. But it is possible. I’m not saying it’s smart, but it’s really a nitpick compared to other things this intro does.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well technically its a few buildings to the left.

      2. Indy says:

        When is that actually said? I went though this level several times wondering where on Earth I was. I eventually thought it might be London because the Mass Effect universe is REALLY SMALL and the Reaper invasion probably hinges on where they hit in the prologue.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Somewhere in the Codex, probably.

          I remember it specifically being mentioned in the pre-release hype. They chose Vancouver as the place to destroy everyone because New York was too mainstream.

          Or something similar.

    2. Hitch says:

      Maybe it was “Bring Your Plot Device To Work Day.”

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        “It’s the perfect time to have your plot device tested.”
        “Did you know that you can donate some or all of your vital plot device to the Mass Effect foundation for children in ducts? It’s true!”

      2. Gruhunchously says:

        “Bring your Plot Device to work day…that did NOT end well”

        “And…forty contrived moments of forced emotion. Embarrassing. I mean, I realize they’re just new Bioware writers but still…low hanging fruit.”

        “Okay, here’s a ridiculous solve-everything McGuffin…well, you know, at least it’s not a contrived emotional moment, I’ll give it that, but still…not terribly original is it, not exactly grade A storytelling, even among video game plots”

        Fine, I’ll stop now.

    3. Eärlindor says:

      What’s even better is that the Alliance HQ should be Arcturus Station, not Earth.

  24. DGM says:

    Sorry you’ve been sick, but at least you’re back in the saddle.

    This is off topic, but I saw something at Rock, Paper Shotgun a couple of days ago and found myself wondering if you’d missed it while you were out:

    You being a fellow fan of System Shock 2 and Valve, I thought this seemed like something you’d be interested in (even if there’s not much there yet).

  25. Chauzuvoy says:

    I feel like this series is going to be like Rutskarn’s Fallout 3 series for me. I loved 90% of this game. (Well, loved 65%, liked 20%, was pretty cool with 10%, tolerated 4%, and absolutely hated those last 15 minutes.) And here comes spoiler warning to destroy it.

    Bring it on. This ought to be fun.

    1. Aanok says:

      This game deserves to be feasted upon. I stand by Shamus when he said that the game was not bad overall, but it had an infinite amount of untapped potential.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Like Ive said before:Mass effect 2 and 3 arent bad games,they are merely average.What makes them bad,however,is that they are sequels to an excellent game.And thats much worse.Stumbling upon a bad game doesnt infuriate people that much.But stumbling upon a really good game,and having your hopes raised,then smashed by an average sequel does piss people off a lot.

        1. Keredis says:

          I would go further, and say that the problem isn’t that they’re average. The problem is that they seem average because they have parts that are very, very good, and parts that are very, very bad. If it was just average across the board, that would be one thing. But when you have some scenes that are some of the best writing I’ve ever seen in a video game juxtaposed with some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen in a video game… well, that’s what pisses me off. They’ve still got great writers. They still use their great writers. They also apparently use complete morons too.

          Honestly, it seems like the problem to me is Cerberus. Whenever they’re involved, the writing quality seems to degrade fast, and Kai Sue (or should it be Mary Leng?) only makes it worse. Except for the very beginning, when Cerberus had nothing to do with the plot. I can’t blame “We fight or we die” on a rogue cell.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            FUCK KAI LENG!!! Stupid piece of crap Villain Sue!!! RAGE!!!

            Sorry. That’s newdarthcloud coming out. It’s not a pretty sight.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              I will relentlessly defend most of ME, but seriously, the hell with Kai Leng. The guy’s only character trait is “killed more interesting character” and that still holds true if he killed Kirrahe instead of Thane.
              And Cerberus is very loosely written in general. I’ll rant as it comes up.

              1. IFS says:

                No he has one other character trait, he causes everyone, himself included, to act like an idiot as long as he is onscreen, the guy is a living idiot ball held by the writers.

                1. Jace911 says:

                  It’s pretty sad when your major villain’s only claim to fame is that whenever he’s onscreen everyone becomes about as competant as a Resident Evil protagonist.

                  1. Keredis says:

                    Exactly as competent, sadly. To quote a Stolen Pixels comic, “I was already pointing my gun at him as hard as I could! What else could I do?”

                    Only it’s even worse, because Mass Effect added in interrupts SPECIFICALLY so you can, in fact, shoot people right in the face during cutscenes.

          2. Thomas says:

            I’d go even further, I’d say they’re far better than average. Just inconcept there are so few other games I’d even compare. It’s just they’re brilliant with these jagged craters and chasms of flaws tearing up everything. It makes it worse, if ME was merely bad or average we could all just forget about it, but it was great so it hurt people to have all this horrible rubbish everywhere. It’s like someone paying you enough money to let them poke you in the eye with a sharp stick

          3. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I think it was smudboy who said it best:Kai leng shouldve been the protagonist of me2.Then we would have that game actually contribute something,and he wouldnt feel like such a last minute mary sue in this game.

            1. Indy says:

              That would have been remarkable. Then Mass Effect would finally get that cover-based swordfighting gameplay we’ve all been waiting for.

              1. Keredis says:

                Every time I saw a Phantom, I wanted to pick up their sword and be a teleporting sci-fi swashbuckler. Screw shotguns, I want to use a future sword to hack and slash my way to fortune! Woohoo!

                1. Tam O'Connor says:

                  …Lilarcor? Is that you? How did you get out of that volcano I threw you into?

                  1. Keredis says:

                    Yes! I was wondering if anyone would get that reference!

                    Man, that would have been amazing. The ability to pick up a Phantom’s sword, and give it a VI with Lilarcor’s personality.

                    I would buy that DLC and replay the game in a heartbeat if they added that, sadly.

          4. swenson says:

            Re: Writing: Shamus said it best, of course. In heaven, videogame dialog is written by Bioware. In hell, it’s written by them too.

            “Commander Shepard, can I punch you in the dick?”

            – Sure thing!
            – I guess so.
            – Only a little.

              1. somebodys_kid says:

                I love this comic… I need to bookmark it.
                “I’m somebodys_kid, and this is my favorite comic on the internet.”

        2. Volfram says:

          “…Sequels to an excellent game…”

          Go back and watch Spoiler Warning Season 1 and say that again.

          The graphics are hideous, the dialog is largely moronic, the “choices” are in name only, and the gameplay is a chore. The only saving graces of the 1st game are Wrex, Tali, and Garrus. And I’m being generous including Tali.

          I have actually played…some… of Mass Effect. Every time I try to go back, my brain shuts down a little more. I fear if I ever try again, I will be found slumped over on the table with the game still running in front of me.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yes,there were problems with me1 as well.There are problems with every piece of art.But it still was a very good piece of work.Dialogue was mostly average to great in places(meeting with sovereign,encounters with saren for example),.The choices actually had meaning some of the times.The codex and attention to detail in building these alien races was also very good.

            And I actually did put the game down when I first started it,because I didnt like the opening.But after watching the first episode of spoiler warning,I want back to actually play it whole.After that,Ive replayed it multiple times.So yes,I still maintain that it is a great game.It has its problems(I WILL DESTROY YOU),but still overcomes them.

            1. Aldowyn says:

              Saren – probably my favorite villain I’ve seen in a video game. Loghain in DA:O wasn’t bad either.

              1. Keredis says:

                Saren was pretty good, but I don’t think he matches up to Jon Irenicus from BGII in terms of great villains.

                1. Aldowyn says:

                  I am sad to say that I haven’t played any Baldur’s Gate games (pretty sure Dark Alliance doesn’t count).

                  I will definitely remedy that situation at some point.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    The enhanced edition will be a perfect chance for you(and Shamus) to do that.And its merely a month away.

                    1. Aldowyn says:

                      No Baldur’s Gate II, as far as I can tell. Still a good idea… I’ll probably get it. *wikis*

                      Apparently they’re going to do a BGII:EE for next year…

            2. Deadfast says:

              I’m sorry, surely you got your Mass Effects confused. The phrase you’re looking for is…
              ENEMIES EVERYWHERE!!!

            3. Volfram says:

              “Mostly average” dialog and choices that have meaning “some of the time” are marks of a mediocre to bad game, not an excellent one. The codex was a fascinating read, but all of the lore and backstory was utterly wasted on a game in which half of the “choices” you make result in the same dialog and outcome regardless of what you choose. The Codex talks about a universe that’s alive. That is not the universe they give you to run around in.

              Yahtzee says that you should work on the end of a game before the middle so that you don’t run out of money during the part the player is going to walk away with, but you also need to invest some real time and work in the beginning of the game or your player is just going to walk away earlier. Like me.

              I honestly do not understand why Mass Effect is so popular. I’ll take Halo over it any day of the week.

              1. some random dood says:

                You were not the target audience for the original Mass Effect. The people who wanted story more than shooty-shooty-bang-bang were. Y’know – the ones they turned their back on thereafter.

                1. Aldowyn says:

                  I love Mass Effect because A: I’m a sucker for cliched storylines like this, B: I love sci-fi, and C: The best part of Mass Effect has always been, in my mind, the world that was built. Probably my favorite part of Bioware no matter what game it is. It sure as heck isn’t the famed “dialogue wheel” or binary choices that get undone later ANYWAY. One of the most egregious sins of ME3… Nothing that you’ve done before really matters, nothing.

    2. StashAugustine says:

      I kinda feel that it follows almost the same structure as DX:HR. I liked the first half, kinda bogs down toward the end, ending is frozen stupid, EC cutscene is all right. HR just had the stupid and the mediocrity switched around.

    3. swenson says:

      I hope that means you’re going to enjoy it, because I feel about the same, and I plan to thoroughly enjoy it.

      The thing is that Mass Effect 3 has so many parts that are just fantastic. The characters as always are great. So many bits of story are great. I love the Virmire Survivor nearly dying, which was totally unexpected to me, and meant a lot as my main playthrough is FemShep/Kaidan. I love all the quarian and geth stuff. I bawled my eyes out when Mordin died, and later when Anderson did, because they mattered so much to me.

      But then you’ve got the mediocre bits, like some of the actual gameplay that got tedious or confusing or whatever. And plenty of sequences were just sort of mediocre, not fantastic. And there’s characters like Vega, who I never really connected with. (mainly because I wanted Wrex back instead!) Yet overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it… right up until that last fifteen minutes. It still had its issues, though, and I will certainly enjoy hearing every single one of them ripped to shreds.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        – Shepard.
        – Vega.
        – Shepard.
        – Vega.

        No need to thank me.

        1. krellen says:

          Did they actually do that?

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Beats me.Didnt find a video of it,so I think not.

            1. krellen says:

              Boo. “Wrex.” “Shepard.” is the single best thing in Mass Effect.

  26. Okay, haven’t played the game, have seen TUN’s take on the ending, and… when I saw the scene with the kid, it reminded me of the kid at the ending… are they one and the same??? [as in: what if they were?] rewatch that dialogue with that in mind. “You can’t help me… YET!”

    1. Aanok says:

      It is the form taken by an alien god to manifest to Shepard. The kid just dies. I’m not even kidding.

      1. Irridium says:

        It would have been smarter for the thing to take the form of whoever you left on Virmire. Or any other squadmate that happened to die throughout the game. Or at least people you talked to/knew/helped out. Would have far more impact than turning into some kid you saw once.

        1. swenson says:

          Seriously, had it been Ashley standing there, I would’ve been even more of an emotional wreck than I was before. The dream sequences, I was like “Please don’t show Ashley… come on, you’re stirring up all the latent guilt I had after killing off Ashley because I wanted the FemShep/Kaidan ship… don’t do it… OH CURSE YOU, YOU SHOWED ASHLEY YOU JERKS.”

          But of course those new to the game wouldn’t have gotten it.

          Hmm… what if they’d shown, like, Thane or something? Admonishing you to do the right thing? He’s in the game… but I suppose he could be dead before the game starts, so never mind.

          1. Irridium says:

            It wouldn’t matter if you were new to the game or not. Those who imported saves could see all they lost. Those who didn’t could be informed of past characters/events Shepard experienced and why they mattered to Shepard.

            Basically, the flashbacks would let veteran players reflect on past events and let new players learn more about what happened to Shepard in the past.

            1. Irridium says:

              Won’t let me edit my comment right after I post. Huh. Just wanted to delete a paragraph, since I essentially said the same thing twice.

          2. Jace911 says:

            I would have cut out all of the Star Child bullshit and have the final conversation be with Harbinger trying to convince you that “ascension” was preferable to your current existence. He would first appear as Anderson, then change into different forms depending on who had died in your playthrough: Legion/Tali, Wrex if you didn’t cure the genophage, Mordin if you did, Virmire Survivor if they died, Thane, one of your suicide squad casualties if you lost someone, and finally the Virmire casualty before morphing into a massive holo of himself for the ‘reveal’ (Holy shit you’re actually talking to Harbinger!). The conversation would revolve around the personal losses Shepard’s sustained over the course of all three games, and Harbinger would offer up immortality as a Reaper as an alternative to activating the Crucible (Which just destroys the Reapers, full stop, no three colors bullshit. It’s a MacGuffin superweapon, we get it, don’t complicate it more than it already is). THEN you have the choice of either activating the Crucible (Which 99% of players will pick) or surrendering to the Reapers for the 1% who want a Godsquid Shepard ending.

    2. X2Eliah says:

      Hm. Well, they aren’t one and the same entity, not really. As far as the actual, living kid you saw in this video, well, next episode will be the last time you see him.

      But, there will be returns in terms of a dream-figure, and at the end, that artificial construct takes the kid’s form because Shepard gets kinda obsessed about the kid (re: dream sequences).

    3. Raygereio says:

      Guys, why are we using spoilers? This show is called spoiler warning, for Ao’s sake.

      I’ll probably talk about this some more later (if someone else doesn’t beat me to it), but the kid being the same as the star-child at the end, was likely part the aborted Shep-is-being-indoctrinated-plotline.
      In that context it kinda makes sense.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Personally,I put spoilers around things that werent touched yet.

  27. zob says:

    I was going to do a second run of ME3 when the Extended Edition released. I started the game, see the kid in the ventilation shaft and uninstalled the game.

    I have an idea why most people hated the damn kid. He is the personification of how sucky ending is. And after you finished the game you notice that they deliberately dangled the damn thing in front of you so many times to have some sort of whaminess in the end part. It’s not about a connection with earth, it’s writer patting himself in the back for his clever idea. “You connected sadness and human loss with kid now we show him in the end. See how awesome I am.”

  28. X2Eliah says:

    Actually – Shamus, what should the procedure be on spoilers in the comment section? Should we bother with yellowing-out spoily bits?

    1. Shamus says:

      I think the policy should be that it’s open season on Mass Effect 3 spoilers. We’re going to be openly spoiling the game as we go, and I think enough time haas passed. Since so much of the discussion to this game involves the ending, if we spoiler-tag everything the entire comment thread will be blocks of unreadable text.

      Note to self: Mention this in the next episode notes.

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        Yeah, with all the buzz this game has been getting, there’s no wayne that any of us don’t already know about the plot details.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          We can’t HAASibly be doing these puns again.

          1. SougoXIII says:

            Yeah seriously, it would be such a haasle to go through them again.

            1. Gruhunchously says:

              True, they do tend to make this place a little inhaasbitable.

            2. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Hoffnestly,the haas puns are so 1989.Reading them is such a hassel.

              1. Deadyawn says:

                This is your fault Shamus. I hope you’re happy. And don’t try to pretend that it was an honest mistake. I’m on to you…

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  Stop being so HAAStile to Shamus and the puns. It’s his blog, he can start what he wants.

                2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You mean,he should feel Shame?

      2. CTrees says:

        Also, those of us who are browsing from mobile devices will be much happier with fewer spoiler tags. Hard to highlight to un-hide on a phone…

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          You will browse from a computer,or have a hard time doing it!

          1. Dragomok says:

            “We browse from computers… Or we die!”

    2. Sciencegar says:

      I’m curious whether you’ll be doing the extended cut as well as the normal ending, in order to compare and contrast. Maybe a bonus video?

  29. Paul Spooner says:

    A few thoughts on the commentary:
    Having the player character the only person in the galaxy who can solve simple problems with simple answers doesn’t really make me feel heroic. It’s more discouraging than anything else. Like Shamus said, maybe they deserve it at this point.

    As far as a symbolic character, and projections of Shepherd’s psyche, this could be the case. There are signs of a metaphorical character. There’s a separated symbol space (the duct) and a brief removal from the “normal world”. There’s even some symbolic dialog. But this kind of thinking can definitely be taken too far. I mean, anything in a work of fiction could be taken as symbolic (Why do people walk around in Star Wars instead of flying on repulsor-sleds? They have the technology to do so, and it’s cheap as well. Clearly walking is just a metaphor for movement.) and in this case I would hazard that it’s just a cheap pathos shot.

    The bad field of vision may be indicative of the mood the designers are trying to set as well. The game is at a rather myopic spot. All you can see is what’s directly in front of you. Of course, Shepherd’s the one who is supposed to have the plan, who is supposed to be able to see the big picture. Are we powerful, or powerless? What is really going on? I’m with Shamus on this one, the writers didn’t have a big plan, or if they did, they weren’t able (or allowed?) to stick with it.

    1. Raygereio says:

      The bad field of vision may be indicative of the mood the designers are trying to set as well.
      You’re putting way more thought into the fov then the developers did. There isn’t anything deep about it; it’s nothing more then screwy fov which is a very common problem in videogames these days.

      1. Thomas says:

        They probably did put a lot of thought into it. It’s generally a pretty hard problem, because if the game involves a lot of interacting with people, shooting at small targets or corridors a big POV can be screwy too. At least they aren’t using Bethesda zoom.

        1. Thomas says:

          Well that doesn’t seem to be true. I’m compeletly boggled by why they chose that FOV. Must have been about cutscenes and talking with other characters? Even that feels a little hollow

    2. Eric says:

      I don’t know if Josh is reading this, but:

      Watch the game suddenly become 1000x more playable.

      1. As noted there the game is using the Vert- method. Rather than the Hor+ method that the WSGF champions.

        Unfortunately Vert- is typical for the Unreal Engine, and unless the game developers tweaked this then the default unreal behavior is used.

        I’m surprised though, in these console and PC days few have 4:3 screens any more, so why 4:3 see “more” is really don’t understand. 16:9 should be the baseline now.

        Hor +, or horizontal plus, refers to a behavior specific to certain games that support both 4:3 resolutions and widescreen resolutions. A hor + game is a game that when played on a widescreen monitor with a widescreen resolution, expands the horizontal component of the FOV while keeping the vertical component roughly or exactly the same. This is often considered the ideal solution for widescreen games, as it grants widescreen users a wider picture.

        Vert -, or vertical minus, refers to a behavior specific to certain games that support both 4:3 resolutions and widescreen resolutions. A vert – game is a game that when played on a widescreen monitor with a widescreen resolution, decreases the vertical component of the FOV. The aspect ratio is generally correct, there is little or no stretching or distortion. This is often unappealing to widescreen users, as it reduces the are of the picture available to them.

  30. Even says:

    Earth. I wish I could give a damn about it in this universe. All we ever see are the few glances at Vancouver at the start and then the monotonous rubble of London. If they’d established Earth somehow earlier in the series and made us actually feel familiar with the 2180s version of it, then there’d be a reason to care. As is, there’s just never anything interesting going on there and the one time something happens, you run away from it, only to later to return and visit one very specific place that you may not even necessarily recognize.

    1. Even says:

      And also, that kid.

      So many levels of wrong and I’m not sure which one of them pisses me off the most. It’s hamhanded. It’s cheap. It’s almost downright abusive. It doesn’t even work. It’s so stupid it hurts.

      I don’t think the Artistic Integrity (TM) really means anything at Bioware.

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        I don’t know, they sure seem to love to use artistic integrity to defend their more stupid actions.

        1. Thomas says:

          Guys people can make mistakes and I honestly don’t think they were trying to fail here, they got things wrong is all. No-one else has even attempted to make games like this, they’ve been exploring new areas of a young medium in lots of directions, they had a huge game to produce and there’s also sorts of time and resource limits that go with that and they chose wrong

          1. StashAugustine says:

            Yeah, I’m willing to let a lot of things slide when you’re making what amounts to a triple-A shooter, balanced for RPG elements, that has to account for at least 40 hours of game before it, where half the cast can die before it even begins, where the characters interact with each other realistically, etc. Can anyone even name something that comes close?
            /looks at Witcher 2
            …where the protagonist isn’t an asshole?

            1. Keredis says:

              The thing is, if you’re going to plan something on this scale, you really need to… well, PLAN. You should know what you’re going to do going in, and everything you write into the first game needs to be considered under the lens of “How will this work in later games?” If you can’t do that kind of planning, why would you even try to pull something like this off? It’s like trying to do one of those super-crazy triple sideways flipping Olympic dives by winging it while you’re in the air, instead of practicing and planning what you’re going to do ahead of time.

              1. StashAugustine says:

                Yeah, not saying they didn’t screw up a lot, but you gotta give them some credit.

          2. LunaticFringe says:

            My point was more in regard to Bioware’s response to its fanbase. Bioware has a huge issue with taking criticism, specifically they just can’t seem to handle anything that isn’t a veiled compliment.

            People can make mistakes, yes, but they have to RECOGNIZE the fact that they’ve made a mistake and improve their craft in response. This doesn’t render them immune to criticism under some ‘artistic integrity’ blanket. Bioware either just doesn’t recognize criticism, paints critics in a negative light (the whole Jennifer Hepler nonsense) or just completely scraps a concept rather then try to fix it (the Mako, planet scanning, etc.)

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I pretty much agree. If you made a mistake, that’s fine. But at the very least, own up to it. Don’t use artistic integrity as an excuse.

    2. SleepingDragon says:

      This (about Earth).

      Earth hardly factored into the ME games. Of course we know it’s out there, and it is the cradle of humankind and all that. But it was never a place that the players would connect to, the devs just assumed that “Earth is being destroyed” will connect emotionally because players live on Earth… but it doesn’t. In fact this neglect of building the emotional connection works doubly against the start of the game because we’ve been saving this same damn planet in about every second game for the last 20-30 years, the moment we hear/read “Earth is being threathened by an alien menace” most of us are becoming less interested in the plot. If Earth was one of the hubs of earlier games, with locations and characters that the players would know and like it would be a different thing.

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        Exactly. Hell my first response when Earth was getting attacked in Mass Effect 3 was ‘wait, why aren’t we pulling out all our ships and regrouping rather then focusing on some failed attack? Face it, Earth is screwed, we’ve got a whole galaxy to save. We don’t even know if the Citadel is still around, that’s the first thing I’d attack if I was a Reaper.’ But then of course the narrative re-enforces the point that Earth can be saved despite MONTHS of Reapers stomping all over it, because we ‘obviously’ care about it.

        1. Jace911 says:

          I’m one of the nerds that reads the codex (Not trying to be snide), and I think one of the entries mentions that Earth has a population of something like eleven billion people whereas the two largest human colonies (Eden Prime and Terra Nova) have barely nine million between them. Even adding up all of the other human worlds in the ME galaxy and it still seems like Earth accounts for the vast majority of the human species. Losing it would be like if every country populated by more than a few hundred thousand people suddenly disappeared overnight, along with all of their infrastructure and resources.

          For me, building up to retake Earth was more than some pathos “we don’t leave people behind!!1!” bravado; it was a matter of life or death for our entire species. And to the game’s credit, the narrative brings this up a number of times in conversations.

          1. Keredis says:

            Ah, okay. I’m far more used to games/books/movies/whatever where, while Earth is/was important, once Humanity spread to the stars, it really, really spread. As such, when I thought about Earth being attacked, I dismissed it similar to if ONE large country got wiped out: Tragic, but not on the scale that half of humanity would be. I never read the Codex numbers, so when everyone talked about how important Earth was, I thought it was just hyperbole.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              When Thessia falls, the asari councilor says something about “preserving continuity of civilization.” Given that the Reapers hadn’t really hit asari space before, the impression is that the fall of the homeworld is bad enough that it could destroy the civilization of the largest race in the galaxy. Given humans only discovered FTL in the past 100 years, I’d say losing Earth would be bad.

          2. SleepingDragon says:

            Oh sure, I haven’t read the entire codex but I did understand that Earth is a major thing, although technically those millions out there in the colonies would be more than enough for rebuilding the species I can see how completely wiping out the planet would severely set us back as a species (and the whole billions of dead thing). I don’t even have a problem with Reapers attacking Earth, we are told they are assaulting major population centers and apparently a lot of our commanding staff is there or around.

            No, my problem is that it doesn’t work for the player. The devs just decided that since it’s Earth there is no real need to establish any emotional connection, unless “the kid” or “the kid in the trailer” were their idea of doing this. In all fairness this is a difficult thing, because most stuff in this department (especialy destroying the “familiar symbols” like Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower became very cliche). The thing is, I actually liked that Earth wasn’t a big thing in the games but if they had the “take back Earth” thing planned from the start they would/should have used the first two to build some of that bond. Players don’t, or at least no longer, immediately become emotionally invested in the game because it’s Earth, saving the entire planet was kinda abstract in the first place but years of gaming made it even more an everyday thing…

          3. LunaticFringe says:

            The concept of ‘retaking the earth’ completely lacks perspective in a galactic conflict however. Wasting military resources on a fight you cannot win is not a sound strategy, but the game seems to constantly justify it while never really highlighting exactly HOW military forces are doing anything positive. Every mission with Sovereign-class Reapers just shows them stomping along, unstoppable. Throwing troops into the meat grinder that fails to even hinder the enemy assault, regardless of how important a position is, is a bad tactic.

            In regards to population, I’m reminded of Admiral Adama in the Battlestar Galactica remake. After the Cylons begin an unstoppable assault on the Colonies, he has to choose between defending fifty thousand civilians or leaving them to join the fight. He chooses to defend the civilians on the grounds that the people they can save are the future of humanity, not the ones left behind. Mass Effect 3 doesn’t really highlight it but after several months of Reaper assault (and the fact that we probably ended up bombarding the crap out of the planet with our own weapons during the final space battle) I doubt that there would even be one billion people left.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              They say that the Reapers kill 1-2 million people per day. Even if the game took a few months, that would be 30-60 people a month on average. We’d still be in the range of 10 billion or so by the game’s end on Earth alone.

              We can debate how realistic that is (personally this number is a little on the low side imo considering all the other races get decimated), but that’s the game talking, not me.

  31. Lame Duck says:

    “The reports coming in are unlike anything we’ve seen. Whole colonies have gone dark.”
    What, did the not receive any reports during Mass Effect 2, because that was the entire god-damn plot of that game?

    Also, this series does seem to have dropped right into the heart of the uncanny valley as it pertains to the people. Those faces are nightmarish.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      I didn’t mind the people, but the shadows being so black bothered me. When I first met Ashley, you literally couldn’t see half her face.

  32. Lalaland says:

    Mumbles are you doing a Cartman voice? Specifically the voice he goes for when he says “You shouldna done that. He’s just a boy. Poor little feller.”
    in episode 8 of Season 5?

    Or is this just my ignorance of US regional accents showing?

    1. Rodyle says:

      That actually Cartman quoting Slingblade.

      1. Lalaland says:

        Ahh so general film ignorance then! Cheers ;)

      2. Mumbles says:

        Honestly…it’s just me doing funny voices. Though I do love Slingblade.

  33. LunaticFringe says:

    To be fair Shamus, the first two hours of Mass Effect 3 are pretty bad (I find there’s a slight increase in quality during Tuchanka, then it vastly improves for most of Rannoch, but right after that it’s a nosedive to oblivion).

    Some other people have already touched on it, but my biggest issue with the opening is the blatant emotional manipulation. I’ve already made my statement about the child, let’s just say it’s a horribly ham-fisted action that could’ve conveyed some symbolism if done subtly, but that’s definitely not the case. Earth, however, is something else that bugs me. It’s not established at all, we finally get to go to Earth for the first time in the series and we don’t even get to walk around the building before it’s under attack. I don’t really care for Earth when it hasn’t been established at all. But again, I think that ties into the emotional manipulation. ‘Everyone playing the game is aware of Earth, therefore they’ll feel sad/angry when it’s attacked’ does not work as a motivation. I didn’t even know we were in Vancouver until Anderson mentions it later, and despite being Canadian I feel no emotional response to it being destroyed because it’s so badly set-up. This entire tutorial feels hollow at best and manipulative at worse.

    Also, I do really love Shepherd’s responses to everything. Not only is his responses to the council empty rhetoric, but when he talks with Anderson he comes off like a complete moron. I get that we need to establish the ‘gather your allies’ plot, but having Anderson explain this to Shepherd makes him come off completely clueless. Shepherd asking questions in the first game made sense because he was new to the galactic community, and at least in the second game he had been gone for two years as well. Now it’s just a sign of being incompetent, and you could’ve easily delivered the same information by having Shepherd explain this to the newcomer (Vega) and make it seem like he has a plan. Instead Shepherd is a pawn to the plans of everyone else for the rest of the game.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      The sad part is that’s what Vega’s character is for. He’s supposed to be the person who asks dumb questions, so that new players can get answers.

      1. Eärlindor says:

        And that felt like a big failure to me, because he didn’t even feel like the “rookie” he was suppose to be at all. “Oh yeah, I’ve been to the Citadel before. Oh yeah, I’ve fought alongside Krogan.” He didn’t ask all that many questions or show much ignorance.

      2. LunaticFringe says:

        As a result of this inability to set up a character for explanation, the series ends on this bizarre paradox: Despite Shepherd’s warnings, the leaders of the galaxy ignore the threat of the Reapers and do nothing, coming off as incompetent. But when it actually comes down to doing something, Regina ‘Cyborg Jesus’ Shepherd has no actual plan and even rejects strategy as an option, while it’s the characters in leadership roles that tell her what to do. Thus the leaders’ inability is reflected back onto Shepherd because she won’t actually DO ANYTHING about the problem until they tell her to. In short everyone looks like a bunch of idiots.

    2. Eärlindor says:

      Exactly. I don’t care about Earth in Mass Effect, but the franchise has made me care about the galaxy at large. It would’ve been more effective if Earth had actually been established as a “character” in previous games, but what would’ve been even better is if (say) the Citadel was hit by the Reapers instead.

  34. Lame Duck says:

    I made a comparison of ME2’s Regina and ME3’s…erm…interpretation of it.

    1. McNutcase says:

      OK, now I can see that she really does look wrong. Watching the video, I didn’t get it, because they’re both fairly unremarkable attempts at female faces, but with the side-by-side I can see that the nose, eyes, and mouth are all completely wrong, and she’s gone from a redhead to a washed-out strawberry blonde. And where’d her cheekbones go?

      And of course New!Regina is even worse, since Josh is a horrendous troll and apparently wants us to track him down and beat him.

    2. Lalaland says:

      The importer in ME3 is fundamentally broken but then again the one in ME2 didn’t work right either. I made a late 40’s-ish African male in ME1, in ME2 he lost 10-20 years to be come a guy in his 30’s and in ME3 he was simply an African Vega. He kept looking more and more like a rugby player as I went through this series.

      It’s a shame as I was enjoying playing as a slightly broken and weary captain in ME1. The game never changed it’s dialogue and Mark Meers voice was too young but seeing my Shep in the cutscenes changed the context just enough for me. ME2 broke that and ME3 broke it even further to the point where I’m not sure why I didn’t just use Default Shep in ME3 as it just wasn’t my Shep any more.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        My first Shep made it through all right, but my second lost her angular face and stooped being Hispanic.

      2. Jexter says:

        Wow, the character import tool really screwed up the face. It got nearly everything wrong – the eyes are a different slant, the nose is too big, and the entire skin complexion changed. Not to mention the hair.

    3. Shamus says:

      That’s pretty damning. The old version looks just… better. If you put those side-by-side and I’d never seen the game before, I’d guess the one on the right is the new version. (I suppose the hair on the left one looks a bit more high-def.)

      Now that I’m looking at it, the one on the left kind of looks like the models from SWTOR: Uniform, low-contrast plastic.

      1. Thomas says:

        To say a good thing character creation, there were much better female hair options this time around. Overall after putting in time, I could make something I was much happier with this time around

      2. ps238principal says:

        My first thought was, “Wait, Femshep was mugged by one of the makeup people who mauled just about every female swimmer at the 2012 Olympics?”

    4. Sumanai says:

      Is the ME3 Regina doing a duckface?

  35. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh,by the way,Josh do you have the dlc companion?Because he raises even more stupid about the game.Should I wait for you to get him,or vent whenever?

    1. Shamus says:

      We don’t have From Ashes, so I don’t know when we’ll get a chance to talk about that guy. (I’m not paying $10 for a squadmate that mangles the lore even more.)

      1. Eärlindor says:

        I actually liked Javik. His worst offense is that he doesn’t do all that much for the plot, when he should’ve been what Tali was to ME1 and Mordin was to ME2. As a character he really isn’t that bad. He’s this really bitter and fatalistic person and, I felt, almost delightfully frustrating because he refuses to change. Shepard is trying to help him and he actively resists his reach-out attempts up to the point he simply says things Shepard wants him to say to get him to shut up–Javik does kinda respond to Shepard’s treatment in some ways, but for the most part, it’s resistence–and Shepard realizes this and kinda backs off, but at the same time never really stops trying. You can tell this is what BioWare was going for, and yet the second tragedy of the character is that this idea is only partially realized, probably because he was DLC.

        In all honesty, he’s another wasted opportunity, but what is there is pretty good, which probably makes it worse.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          He’s got pretty good banter with the squadmates, too- especially with James and with Liara blowing up on him after Thessia.
          EDIT: Oh, and all the stuff he does with EDI *kinda* foreshadows the ending.

          1. Eärlindor says:

            Yes… it… does…

            Javik is also probably the most interesting of the ME3 squadmates. Definitely the most unique. He awesome gameplay-wise too. AND Prothean beam rifle. Heheheh…

            1. StashAugustine says:

              Unfortunately, I never really used that- I prefer low-weight kits so I can spam powers all over the place. Does look sweet though.

              1. Mike S. says:

                I gave it to my squadmates. Not only did it seem decent in terms of overall damage, but it was basically a laser pointer to let me know where enemies I hadn’t seen yet were. :-)

                1. StashAugustine says:

                  Also tells you your squadmates have funny ideas about what is a wall and what isn’t.

        2. Eärlindor says:

          Also, Javik doesn’t really mangle the lore all that much. :)

        3. SleepingDragon says:

          Spoiler tags because this will apparently not be on SW and it is sort of a twist.

          What I kinda liked was this complete retcon/subversion of the whole “benevolent, wise race that came from the past” (I’m sure there is trope for that) both on the smaller scale: making Javik not some fountain of wisdom but “just a soldier” trained to kill the enemies and not bothered much with stuff like science or fine arts, and on the larger scale: making the protheans a militaristic empire. It follows the first twist of Protheans being only perceived as creators of the mass relay network nicely.

          1. Eärlindor says:

            Oh, I thought the Protheans essentially being the Roman Empire was brilliant. The Romans conquered EVERYBODY and made them either slaves or citizens of the Empire. If you didn’t resist, you were annexed, and became, for all intents and purposes, Roman. If you did resist, you were conquered and turned into a slave.

            1. Otters34 says:

              See, that I find grating because of what it does to the universe.
              If they were a squeaky-clean bunch of largely benevolent science-type-guys, why would that be so bad? Having this big reveal of “Aha! Everything you knew about them was WRONG!”, with it turning out that they were ‘just as bad as you’ turns them from an interesting bunch of mysterious folks into another blame human-like civilization with a twist. All so…what, to explain away something nobody wondered about?

              1. Eärlindor says:

                Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Twists and shattered expectations are becoming the norm in storytelling these days–and that’s just it: it ceases to be surprising and special if you keep doing it. You don’t need a twist to tell a good story, or make it more interesting, or to add depth to it.

                But to play devil’s advocate here–and this is a bit of a nitpick, so pardon me–but concerning the “Aha! Everything you knew about them was WRONG!” comment, it’s not like we knew ANYTHING about the Protheans from the start, so they’re not really changing or retconning everything. Regardless, I know exactly what you’re trying to say.

                Having “a squeaky-clean bunch of largely benevolent science-type-guys” wouldn’t be bad at all. That just would’ve been classic storytelling brought to a futuristic setting. Allow me to elucidate:

                The Ancient Greeks were fans of tragedy in their stories and/or theatre. Tragedy being that a person of very high-standing standing is brought to their knees (typically because of some sort of hubris), and a moral lesson is learned. That lesson was typically “don’t challenge fate–don’t defy the gods.” These morality plays were used to teach lessons to the masses. The lesson taken away was “Wow! If something as HORRIBLE as that can happen to a god-appointed king, then the same thing can happen to me: a lowly farmer! I need to be careful!”

                In the case of Mass Effect (pre-ME3) the Protheans are our god-appointed kings. They could’ve been brought down by their own hubris (e.g. we’re too wonderful and perfect to fall), and the young civilizations take away from this “Gee! We don’t want to be as proud as the Protheans, the most advanced race in the galaxy! They became extinct! We need to learn from their mistakes!”

                See THAT is interesting! It can be just as interesting as a (non-abused) twist!

                And there would’ve been absolutely nothing wrong with that. In addition, like you said, was anyone really wondering about Prothean civilization? Some people were, sure, and I was one of them. But leaving your lost civilization a mystery can sometimes be one of the best things you can do for it. There’s nothing wrong with being left to wonder; there’s contentment in that.

                Aaaaand I feel like I switched gears and started talking about two completely different ideas. @_@

                1. guy says:

                  Actually, we knew ONE thing about the Protheans. Well, two.

                  1) They were the only spacefaring race in their cycle. No evidence of other species existing at the same time is found or mentioned.

                  2) They were pretty smart and good at figuring out and planning against this whole Reaper thing.

                  So Javik throws #1 out the window?

      2. PurePareidolia says:

        Mangles the lore yes, but he’s a godsend for the plot – he seriously fits in better than half the actual squadmates and his interactions with the rest of the crew (Liara in particular) are really important to her characterization.

      3. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ok then,rant away:

        My problem with javik isnt specifically about him.It is about shepard and how much of a non-character they are.In 1,shepard was important because they were the only one with the prothean code in their head(aside from the bad guy),and that played the major role in the game.In 2,that was gone,and shepard was important because…the illusive man said so.In 3,shepard becomes even less important when you get an actual prothean.Now why wasnt this actual living,breathing prothean tasked with deciphering codes found on other beacons?Heck,he fought against the reapers even longer than shepard,and yet we just cast him on the side in order to follow this empty brick.

        Bioware forgot that in order for people to play a role in an rpg,the protagonist actually has to be a character that they can act as,and not some blank slate running around doing whatever the plot requires.

        1. Eärlindor says:

          Okay, yeah, this is pretty much true. :/

          It does go along with what I was saying about how BioWare didn’t do anything significant with him and how significant a character such as he should’ve been.

    2. Thomas says:

      Is the companion properly implemented? Because I got given Zaeed and the spy last time around for free and all I could think of them, is that I’d feel ripped off paying money and not even getting a dialogue wheel conversation

      1. Eärlindor says:

        He sometimes gets a dialogue wheel, and other times he doesn’t. But then EVERYTHING other character in the game gets the SAME treatment. BioWare REALLY cut corners on ALL the dialogue in ME3.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          Flipside is that the characters actually talk amongst themselves. I’d take the interpersonal interactions over the loss of a little (generally insignificant) dialogue choice. And unlike Zaeed and Kasumi, Shepard actually talks back.

          1. Eärlindor says:

            But it’s not a little, it’s practically 90% of the dialogue the first two games offered.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              (Actually curious, not hostile)
              How much is actually lost? ME1 had characters have something to say after each main mission, ME2 basically had 3 conversations per (not counting loyalty missions, haven’t done a ME2 romance which I assume gives more.) There’s still about 1 or 2 conversations with each squadmate that use the full dialogue wheel. And that often didn’t actually affect what happened (ME1, I’m looking at you.) On the other hand, you’re losing the handful of one-off questions you could investigate.

              1. ps238principal says:

                For a second there, I was thinking you were talking about the conversations used to cover up the fact that you were spending half of your time on elevators.

              2. Eärlindor says:

                I think a good way of saying it is what Eric said below in point 4 of his rant:

                “Dialogue and role-playing options were cut down like crazy. Being able to be at least somewhat expressive is a big part of BioWare's games. Too bad that neutral dialogue is gone, as is the vast majority of non-essential conversations, investigation dialogue options, etc.”

                The dialogue wheel and the roleplay was the big thing about the game. When you cut it out, it not only limits the game experience, but it also feels cheap, rushed, and outright lazy. It was also frustrating because I had a hard time telling when characters where done talking, and I often skipped over dialogue by mistake.

                1. SleepingDragon says:

                  But… but “roleplaying options have been expanded: skills evolve several times and weapons can be customized!”

                  1. Thomas says:

                    I prefer the way you interact with the companions in ME3 infinitely over ME2 (apart from their actual storylines and lack of loyalty missions of course) having them talk with other characters, move around the ship, meat you up on the citadel, there were all sorts of varied ways you talked with them and it really made it so much better than being stuck in the cargo hangar and having to click to find out there’s no new dialogue.

                    And there were a lot of ridiculously funny scenes in crew to crew interaction too. Well if the Prothean is like that, I’m fine. As long as he doesn’t just stay in the room and cycle between 10 one liners that you click through

                    1. SleepingDragon says:

                      Okay, yes, I admit that I liked that the companions were more mobile and ther interactions between them were handled somewhat better, I actually think this is one of the very few good things that might have come from DA2. Which doesn’t change the argument about (further) limitations and simplification on dialogues, even if they didn’t want to put in dialogue options that affect things I would appreciate at least something like parts of DA2, by which I mean letting me have attitudes towards what is said.

          2. False Prophecy says:

            I’m glad they brought this idea over from Dragon Age 2. Whatever your issues with that game, the random party interactions were stronger than ever, and Hawke being able to interject at times was genius.

  36. deltarno says:

    Correct me if I am wrong (please do, otherwise I will think the internet is broken), but didn’t they switch writers, I think between the second and third? I remember the original writer having a completely different end to this game, involving the dark matter referenced in the second game. If this is true, then might we be somewhat forgiving, or at least stop blaming the previous writer for the mistakes of this one?
    If I am wrong, commence with the fire!

    1. LunaticFringe says:

      I believe that Drew Karpyshyn was the head writer on Mass Effect, then he was replaced by Mac Walters but still worked on Mass Effect 2. He completely jumped ship after 2 (in fact I recall him leaving Bioware altogether) but Mac Walters remained head writer.

    2. Raygereio says:

      They did indeed switch lead writers. I think overal writing team remained pretty much the same. Not that that mattered much as the writing team apparently wasn’t involved in the original ME3 ending.

      If this is true, then might we be somewhat forgiving, or at least stop blaming the previous writer for the mistakes of this one?
      No, because even if the entire writing team switched, the previous team still screwed up. If you start a trilogy (remember: this was meant to be trilogy from the start), then you plan ahead. Unless you’re a literary genius never before seen on the face of the earth, you have at the very least a clear idea of where you’re going. They didn’t.
      Sure, the posibillity exists that such a guide did exist, but was thrown aside. But the fact that apparently Bioware doesn’t even have some kind of database for their writers to use as a reference (devs have posted in the Bioware forums saying they use the fanmade ME wiki to look up lore and stuff) isn’t a good sign.

    3. StashAugustine says:

      IIRC, the dark energy ending was even stupider. The Reapers discover that the mass relays are destroying the universe, and you have the choice to let them destroy humanity so a human-Reaper can solve the problem (I’m going to be gracious and assume that was explained) or wipe them out and hope for the best. Makes more sense, but would probably be an even worse way to end the series.

      1. zob says:

        I don’t think anything can be worse than combining organic and inorganic DNA. Care Bears defeating reapers with their friendship beams is a close tie.

        1. Thomas says:

          It’s so confusing why this is even meant to be good. Oh gee they didn’t preserve our consciousness but at least everything is part metal and part squishy?

        2. StashAugustine says:

          Well, it makes more sense, but honestly I’m pretty sure people would have been even more pissed off about a choice between letting humanity be genocided by the Reapers and possibly dooming the galaxy to destruction.
          Genocided is totally a real word, btw.

  37. Keredis says:

    It’s interesting that Arrival is different from the other DLCs. In the other ones, if you didn’t do them, you… didn’t do them. Shephard never went to the Lair of the Shadow Bowser if you didn’t do the DLC, and so that one friend of Liara is dead (because she had to hire a bunch of not-as-awesome mercs to fight their way in). But not Arrival. Arrival, they don’t care whether you did or not, you’re a war criminal who’s grounded for what you did. And they don’t bother explaining it to you, it’s just “Well, you’ve been in jail and your crew abandoned you.”

    They also don’t explain who Vega is, or why Anderson is no longer on the council, at least not that I recall.

    Also, I still really, really hate “We can’t stop them by using strategy or tactics. The only way we can stop them is by fighting them or dying! But a very specific method of fighting that does not involve strategy or tactics, because they’re stronger than we are.”

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      The Anderson/Udina bullshit is explained in the Codex. They don’t ever mention it in game.

      1. Thomas says:

        I didn’t hate that, because they foreshadowed it pretty strongly in 2

        1. Ringwraith says:

          Especially if you poked through the Shadow Broker files in that DLC, as they showed a very bitter Anderson drinking his annoyance with the system away.

          1. StashAugustine says:

            I loved the shadow broker files. Legion’s gamer profile is probably the best- both funny and shedding a lot of light on the character, and in only a few paragraphs.

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          I hated it because it invalidated your choice. Yes, it makes sense. However, why give me the option if you didn’t care what I chose?

          1. Thomas says:

            I was happy enough that I’d chosen the right guy to guide the galaxy for a couple of years. Things didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but I’d chosen right and done the best I could do

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that front. To each his own.

    2. Thomas says:

      If you didn’t do Arrival, you didn’t do Arrival. You’re grounded for being with Cerberus and the Alliance sacrificed a lot of soldiers lives doing Arrival for you.

      1. Keredis says:

        Wait, seriously? That’s the explanation? But… why would Shepard have turned over the new Normandy to the Alliance? Why have they NEVER tried to ground you any of the dozens of other times you’ve docked places with your CERBERUS LOGO in plain view on your ship? Doesn’t being a Spectre cover just about anything? How did all my crewmates get away from being arrested by the Alliance but I didn’t? Actually, Gabby and Ken get arrested, I suppose. So how did Miranda and Jacob get away? And Chakwas and Joker? Why weren’t they locked up and on trial, if we were simply for working for Cerberus? Hell, who allowed Jack to get a job as a teacher for biotics after working for Cerberus, if it’s a criminal offense? Don’t they do background checks? It’s not like Jack is… visually generic, or that Shep & Crew were keeping a low profile during ME2.

        1. Zombie says:

          I think Dr. Chakwas explains that you took all the responsibility for everything that happened, or they just blamed you, so your crew got off free and Gabby and Ken got arrested for being AWOL or something. I could be wrong.

          1. Ringwraith says:

            Yup, basically you turn up with a ship with only Joker on it and turn yourself in, as there’s conversations with Adams and Joker about the refitting and concealing EDI’s true nature.

          2. Keredis says:

            Ah, okay. I must have missed that conversation.

            And while I get the whole “Just following orders, CO takes the blame for the troops” thing, that excuse doesn’t really work for the people who joined Cerberus of their own volition, before you did. I mean, if they were Alliance military who did what the ship’s captain told them to, that’s one thing. But Alliance military who quit to go join some terrorists and then did what their now-terrorist Commander who just so happens to have been their former Alliance commander tells them to? That excuse wouldn’t quite fly.

            1. Ringwraith says:

              Pretty much all the Cerberus crew disperse out into the galaxy before you turned yourself in, as they haven’t been cleared. Gabby and Ken have to be cleared by you in the Spectre office of their charges before they’re let back onboard.

              1. StashAugustine says:

                Idk what happens to Cerberus personnel other than Ken, Gabby, Kelly, Chakwas, and Joker. Ken and Gabby are imprisoned, Chakwas skates by on a technicality, but how did Joker and Kelly get off?

                1. Ringwraith says:

                  Joker explains how: he didn’t. EDI managed to convince the Alliance refitters she was a simple VI programmed only to respond to Joker, so they were forced to keep him around and under guard at all times. His escort becomes the two war room guards later after the flight from Earth.

                  1. Indy says:

                    Speaking of those guards, I hate that room and don’t understand why it was put in the game. That scanner just takes so long to do something I don’t understand. It doesn’t seem like a loading area, just a time-waster.

                    1. Thomas says:

                      It’s a loading area. A really badly placed one too. Same with the doors to Miranda’s office and Garrus’

                    2. Deadyawn says:

                      Uh. I hate that room too.

                      …At least it wasn’t an elevator…

                    3. swenson says:

                      What annoys me is that I’m running on a computer that I am entirely positive can manage to handle more than half the ship at the time. I know map loading is a Big Serious Thing in game design, but… really, does it require all THAT much memory to just load the whole thing? I assume it’s a console restriction, but wouldn’t most PCs be able to handle it?

                      Note that I know very little about how map loading and the memory it takes up works in game design, and even less about making games work on multiple platforms, other than it sounds hard, so I may be misrepresenting the difficulty here.

                      But still! At least with doors, it’s subtle. The stupid scanner is just annoying.

                    4. newdarkcloud says:

                      I’m pretty sure even consoles could handle that room. Really, it is just another example of poor optimization of this game.

                      Which is why I maintain that this game was a rush job. An obvious one at that.

                    5. Thomas says:

                      I’m not sure, but isn’t the length of time it takes dependant on how fast it loaded? I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a set time you had to stand there because I think sometimes I was out before the conversations ended and sometimes they fell silent before it finished.

                      At the very least Garrus’ door is dependent on load time

                2. swenson says:

                  Kelly wasn’t actually a member of the Alliance before joining Cerberus, so presumably she just went into hiding and they never arrested her. Joker actually was arrested too, although no charges were filed (I don’t understand why… I guess they blamed that on Shepard too?). He’s allowed back on the Normandy under guard (the two annoying chicks who guard the Random Scanner That Is Totally Not A Loading Screen) because EDI (still pretending to be a VI) refuses to cooperate with anyone but him.

              2. Keredis says:

                Edit: Scratch that, you ARE still a war criminal for destroying the Relay and all the Batarians even if you don’t do the DLC. Because that one Batarian commander shows up and tells you that he wants to kill you to get his revenge for what you did.

                1. Thomas says:

                  But he’s already been killing all humans everywhere and if you don’t do arrival he’s not talking in specifics

                  1. Keredis says:

                    Okay. I guess I had just assumed that I was being blamed for Arrival, since I knew that was A Thing, and there was never really any exposition that I noticed given about why Shepard turned himself in, other than knowing (from the wiki) the Arrival reasoning that it was because he was considered a War Criminal by the Batarians and was trying to avoid an inter-species war that would waste resources needed for the Reapers.

          3. newdarkcloud says:

            Dr. Chakwas used her vacation time, so she wasn’t breaking any rules.

            That’s her explanation for not getting court martial-ed for aiding terrorists.

            1. Keredis says:

              Even if that manages to avoid court-marshal, isn’t it still a civilian criminal offense?

              1. Thomas says:

                She explains something like, because she was always on the ship and just seeing to the wounded and not on missions, she didn’t actually do anything wrong.

                Kelly just bunked it as far as I can see. She couldn’t take being on the Normandy anymore so she left at first port, Miranda is being chased with everyone, Jacob went underground. As said, Joker, Gab, Donnely were arrested. Don’t know what happens to the cook

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  I don’t think they even mentioned him. Ah well, he wasn’t really a major character anyway.

                2. Keredis says:

                  I’m pretty sure aiding and abetting terrorists is still a crime. “I didn’t actually do anything, I just helped them not die after their terrorist activities so they could get back out there and do more terrorist activities.”

                  1. Thomas says:

                    Yeah, but I think a lot of the Alliance didn’t really want to punish these people, they said they’d alleviated Shepard’s sentence and the doctor had been working for them their whole life. This was like a bureaucratic kindness

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Vega is the dude who likes to salute and flex his abs.So basically,a white jacob.Theres your introduction.

      Anderson is no longer on the council because he didnt feel like it anymore.Theres your explanation.

      Not satisfied?Take it to the complaints department.

      1. Ringwraith says:

        To be fair to James Vega, there’s quite a bit more to his character than Jacob, and is often more liked than him for that reason (although I didn’t dislike Jacob for fairly level-headedness, but I also didn’t dislike Miranda either, so I’m just strange like that).

        1. Keredis says:

          I’m curious as to why he’s allowed to be on duty in a military base while out of uniform. Also, it would have been nice if they’d explained how you got to be on first name basis with him or something.

          1. Ringwraith says:

            It’s explained in one of the books or something, but basically it’s because he’s been Shepard’s escort since being detained, and he was a bit of a fan before meeting in person. Thus having six months of spending most of your time with the same friendly guy around doesn’t make it seem far-fetched.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              And really,why would you show that in the game?Its not like we got to bond with any of the previous squadmates by talking with them in the game itself…Oh,wait.

            2. Keredis says:

              And being the escort of a detainee means that you’re allowed to be out of uniform while on duty in a military base?

              1. Alexander The 1st says:

                I imagine that Vega’s not too big on following rules – I mean, he crashes your shuttle on Mars. And he saluted you here, even though you’re technically stripped of duty.

                I have this funny feeling it was treated like when you bring Leigon onto the Quarian fleet in ME2. “Let’s just pretend Vega’s in uniform, alright?”

        2. SleepingDragon says:

          Personally I found Vega’s arc to be strained and the character to be annoying. Jacob was just boring and unnecessary.

          1. Thomas says:

            I liked Vega… a bit. I liked that he was a jock and generally not someone that I imagine videogame writers would hang around with much, but he was a kind character too. The only bit that didn’t work, is I didn’t get the sense of N7 leadership material coming through, but I could believe it’s there.

            Jacob wasn’t particularly interesting, but I liked that his character had been written clearly enough from the get go that you could tell he’d been stationed there as a calming factor for Shepad way before you get told that. Also his storyline. Ouch.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              I think Vega is what Jacob should have been. He’s the kinda straight-man soldier, but actually has interesting dialogue and a real character arc, rather than being the Least Interesting Man in the World.

              1. Thomas says:

                I understand about Jacob being a bit bland, but I think they fill very different character roles, and I liked Jacobs place as the level headed one (not something Vegas fits at all :D )

                People talk about the Bioware set piece characters (although the article that gets quoted on this, the gaming magazine, is utter bull if you actually know anything about the characters it compares to each other) and Bioware normally did it. But they ended up coming up with a huge range of independant, strong characters that were all different from each other. Even people filling similar roles (Kaidan/Cortez/Jacob/Vega) have very different angles

            2. newdarkcloud says:

              I’ll actually say that liked Vega myself. I was so scared he would be another dumbass jock when I heard about him. Fortunately, characters are Bioware’s strong suite. He wasn’t the best (and you’re right, he doesn’t look like N7 material), but I liked the guy. Freddie Price Jr. also did a pretty good job with the voice acting.

              That said, I don’t care about the upcoming anime that depicts him before the events of ME3. Seems unnecessary.

              And Jacob. Nobody cares about Jacob.

  38. Phantos says:

    All in favour of pretending the intro stage never happened, and you just start the game on Mars or whatever, say “aye”.

    1. Thomas says:

      I still hate Mars. And arriving on the Citadel. If we went straight to the Turians I guess I could square that

      1. Keredis says:

        Yeah. I hated Mars, due in large part to that stupid chase scene. Especially since Josh is a Vanguard too… I’d imagine they’ll cover most of my problems with it when they get to it, so I’ll save my complaints for those episodes.

        1. swenson says:

          That was my problem with the chase sequence too! I’m a Vanguard, yet somehow I magically can’t just LOCK ON AND SMASH HER?

          But… the “she’s a robot” reveal is pretty cool, I have to admit. Freaked me out a bit.

          1. Keredis says:

            I managed to lock on near the end. There was one sequence where I had to stand there and wait for a few moments while she slowly climbed up a ladder. As in, there were about 5 seconds where she was within arm’s reach if there had been a “Grapple” button. It was… immersion breaking, to say the least. And then that bit when she’s revealed as a robot, and she just holds the Survivor by the neck for a few seconds while you point your gun at her as hard as you can. Would have been the perfect spot for a “Pull the damn trigger, you idiot!” interrupt, but then they’d have to have let you make CHOICES that might affect the world and result in skipping the whole “hospitalized team member” subplot.

            1. Indy says:

              I hate that she is supposedly in charge of the operation and commanding the soldiers, but when she grabs Virmire and stops to ask for orders, I couldn’t understand why.

          2. anaphysik says:

            IIRC from my own playthrough, you can in fact charge her. But she doesn’t stagger or anything and just keeps moving forward. (still, it’s not a bad way to close the gap, unless you count the RIDICULOUSNESS >[ )

          3. Deadyawn says:

            Hell, I was an engineer and I could still run fast enough to catch up to her. I mean, I can understand what they were trying to do and I usually resent it when a game gives me a supposed objective like say catch this guy that you simply can’t do but its so much worse when you actually CAN do it except the game just doesn’t recognize it for some reason. It’s just dumb.

            1. swenson says:

              So true. At first I was like “I’m supposed to chase her and stop her before she gets away, okay.” And then when I simply couldn’t get her (or shoot her or anything), I was like “Clearly I must be doing something wrong.” And then the end came and I realized “Oh, right, this is just one of those ‘failure is not permitted until it’s mandatory’ sections.” It did kinda take away from the impact of the scene.

    2. swenson says:

      Ditto. I actually kinda like Mars (mainly because Liara is there and because I like what happens to the VS; also because it looks nice and Martian), but Earth is just… so pointless once you’ve played the game once.

  39. Raygereio says:

    Re: Face.
    Just to be sure, Josh. You are fully patched? The patchnotes for 1.02 promised a fix for the screwed up import of faces.
    If you are, then that’s hilarious.

    Note sure where you were going with the faces comment. But Bethesda thankfully got rid of whatever horrible abomination of a sofware they used for the faces in the Oblivion engine and gave whoever was in charge of tweaking the sliders of the facegenerator a good kick in the head.
    The faces in Skyrim actually look pretty decent. Sure, it might not be the best possible. But coming from Oblivion, I was looking for humanoid in appearance and got that.

    As for why the reapers attacked earth. Two reasons:
    1. Marketing! It’s so that they could use the “Take back earth” tagline.
    2. Stupid writers. It’s one of the rather desperate attempts from the writers to make us care about what’s at stake. The problem is off course that this earth isn’t our earth. This is a new place that we’re now seeing for the very first time.
    It would have been a far better idea to have the central goal instead be to take back the citadel: a place that was a major hub in the two previous game and a place that you likely spend ages running around in, doing quests and talking to people in. Unlike this earth that we see here, it’s a place that you have an investment in.

    1. Thomas says:

      I agree to the second part of 2, but attacking earth feel fair to me. They start of the attack by going straight for the population centres of the two strongest military powers in the galaxy and as the codex for the Turians points out, not only is this demoralising and completely destroys the chain of command, but it forces them into straight up wars instead of guerrilla tactics, which favours the Reapers.

      They also go straight to harvesting large amounts of troops. They probably didn’t bring many/any with them, so they needed more ground forces if they were going to take the Asari homeworld and the citadel

      1. StashAugustine says:

        Yeah, I know a lot of people groaned about including Earth, but to be fair the other major planets are Palaven, Sur’Kesh, Tuchanka, Rannoch, and Thessia. I’m pretty sure you see every major species’ homeworld.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          The Reapers go straight for the head, hence why their usual attack plan is the Citadel, as civilizations tend to use it as their galactic capital, and then after plunging the rest of them in communication blackout, pick them off one by one.
          Seeing as they can’t access the Citadel directly anymore (not without using the single Mass Relay it has on its doorstep) and they’re working their way from almost the opposite side of the galaxy, they’re simply cutting off the heads of each race as they go.

        2. Indy says:

          I wanna point this out: Every other race refers to their planet as their homeworld. Every time the humans talk about Earth, it’s just ‘Earth’.

          1. Thomas says:

            Earth is newer and less dispersed though, the need to be distinct about that probably hasn’t arisen yet… that’s utter fankwank… Yeah it because we know what Earth is but might not with Thessia. I still can’t spell Palaven :D

      2. Alexander The 1st says:

        Also, there’s a codex item for Thessia that explains that, as Thessia has a boatload of biotic-capable species (Basically all natives, including the Asari, who , because they used the Prothean Beacon as their prayer statue, had a huge advantage versus the other races).

        It’s implied in ME1 that the time Sovereign tried to activate the beacon, the first thing he did was to indoctrinate the Rachni…and then it blew in his face.

        So then he went away and bided his time. But I’d imagine the other Reapers didn’t catch on, and instead wanted to play the “divide and conquer” strategy they do with attacking Earth and Palaven first (Taking out the larger armies and preventing anyone from uniting the races – assuming they hadn’t realised they failed to take out Shepard, it’s a plausible plan.), then once that was taken, and/or the Rachni were pulled into the game again, and perhaps the scouts they sent to Tuchanka had prevented the Krogans from joining any ground fights, they’d try to breach the Citadel.

        Attacking Earth here makes for a strategicly sound plan, as far as I can tell.

  40. Zukhramm says:

    Why are kids always shown laughing while playing? Seriously, did any of you do that as kids? I didn’t.

  41. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    New favorite theory: Shepard died in the first blast. The entire rest of the game is a dying dream!

    1. Eric says:

      It’d be more satisfying than the drivel Mass Effect 2 and 3 were. Not that the first game was all that great, but hey, I’ll take it.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      Better theory, Shepard was never revived. He/she is in purgatory, where his/her actions will judge where his/her soul goes.

  42. Eärlindor says:

    I REALLY hate that ME3 can’t seem to import the original default fem face–THAT FACE WAS PERFECTLY FINE! WHY DO WE NEED A NEW ONE? But, heck, there is a ‘okay’ replacement under custom faces. What boggles me is how on earth you guys’ fem face got so mangled. The eyes, lips–the whole facial structure–is completely off. How did that happen?

    I actually disagree with the Spoiler Warning crew on the characters and plot of ME3 here. In contrast to ME2, ME3 had a solid overall plot (up until the end, of course), but the writing (again, overall) was BLOODY HORRIBLE. Also, the characterization was much weaker in comparison to ME2. They weren’t horrible, but really sub-par in comparison to both the previous games. I mean heck, mechanically they cut out so much of the dialogue wheel it isn’t funny! There’s no rhyme or reason to when Shepard speaks for himself and when the player gets to pick. And when we DO get the dialogue wheel we get two stupid choices at opposite extremes of the spectrum.

    It’s obvious that a thousand corners were cut in the making of this game. There’s less dialogue, less exploration, and there’s only one friggin’ level hub–the Citadel. Everywhere else is a shooting gallery. The ONLY thing that really has been improved is the combat, everything else is just… awful.

    The opening sequence is definitely one of the game’s weak points. It’s implied that Shepard was put on trial for a crime that NO ONE has evidence for that he committed. Shepard says the stupidest stuff to the Admiralty (“This isn’t about strategy or tactics–this is about SURVIVAL!”), and he’s a total brick when he doesn’t want to leave Earth. The trilogy has been building up to Shepard running around the galaxy to gather alliances. We all know this is what Shepard has to do. Shepard should know this is what he has to do. A ground war against the Reapers is useless. WHY DOES ANDERSON NEED TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU NEED TO LEAVE. SHEPARD, YOU ARE A BRICK!

    The Reaper’s conquering methods are also absolutely ridiculous. Blow everything and everyone up with one laser a piece? That’s like farming a field with a spoon. They’re billion+ year-old, hyper-advanced machines. Why don’t they have more sophisticated weaponry? And since they need to harvest millions upon millions of people to create Reapers. Why are they killing them? Why not wipe out the resistance (i.e. the military) then harvest the people?

    And the list goes on…

    1. Thomas says:

      They definitely needed more hub worlds. They made the actual missions more hubby and detailed though. Tradeoff wasn’t quite worth it

      1. Eric says:

        How, exactly? There were like one or two times during the missions where you could even stop and talk to people, except for the final level.

        1. Thomas says:

          EDIT: I’m wrong it’s the same level of stuff as ME2. But the missions are more detailed and more varied in objectives, including the cerberus missions where you have a small playground to run around. Me3 needed 2 more hubworlds (that got killed off as the story went on, trapping you in the Citadel)

          1. Eärlindor says:

            Even if that’s the case, the tradeoff wasn’t worth it.

            1. Thomas says:

              I’m 50/50 on this. It hurts the atmosphere of the story, but then the majority of your time is spent fighting and it was really really awful in ME2.

              1. Eärlindor says:

                But the majority of your time is still fighting and it’s still awful. Sure, the combat itself has improved drastically, but that’s it. The level design is terrible. In a lot of places, it’s counter-intuitive.

                That aside, there doesn’t need to be all this combat. The game shouldn’t be completely isolating story areas from combat areas. What we need is a return to the first Mass Effect, and improving on that model, not what ME2/3 are giving us.

  43. StashAugustine says:

    Y’know, I’m willing to accept a lot of Reaper-related plot holes as “They’re Cthulhu in space, they don’t have to make sense.”

    1. Dovius says:

      That would be a perfectly acceptable explanation, if Bioware hadn’t been ruining that since 2 by constantly trying to explain them and thus ruining the awesome eldritch abomination feel that you got from the Sovereign conversation in the first game.

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        It’s actually kind of depressing going back to the Sovereign conversation after playing through Mass Effect 3. Now that you know how it ends Sovereign’s comments make him come off like a character trying to hide how stupid his motivation is rather then a legitimate threat.

  44. Sozac says:

    I hate how important they made the Arrival. I think when they were planning Mass effect 3 they didn’t know where to start and that’s why it was such a late and important DLC. So they made it to get a better starting point for the tutorial level. I didn’t get it because I already paid for the game. They shouldn’t make DLC important to the main plot.

    In fact, the best DLC I’ve played is New Vegas’. I like how the DLC had its own interweaving plot between them. I liked how it even tried to give your character a bit of backstory. Of course, I don’t know what happens if you are with Caesar when you do it, but oh well. And Lonesome Road was the only one with ties to the main plot, but it wasn’t “essential” to the main plot. Also, Old World Blues is the best one piece of DLC I’ve ever played.

    1. Ringwraith says:

      Although Lair of the Shadow Broker had some of the best banter I’ve seen in a game. It certainly was a good DLC that one.

      1. Sozac says:

        True, and I guess its harder for Mass Effect since basically everything you do has some connection to the main plot and the DLC that doesn’t sucks (I’m talking about you Firewalker!), but then again I actually liked Overlord a bit.

        Also, the comment below this one reminded me about Javik. I don’t know if it is Bioware or EA pulling that shit, but COMEON! In every game they just cut out a character and hold it over your head saying “nuh uh, need mo’ money”. Granted in ME2 Kasumi and Zaeed weren’t really fleshed out characters, even though they could’ve been. But Shale, Sebastian, and Javik seem like integral bits just ripped out. I don’t know if I can blame EA for the bad story bits in these franchises, but I can blame them for bullshit like this.

        1. Ringwraith says:

          Overlord was alright, just too short for its price tag.
          Although I still find these DLCs where you have silent squadmates a little weird. I know why they are, but it doesn’t stop it being somewhat jarring.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            I didn’t like Overlord simply because I hated the fact that you had to turn down the volume to play it. *Fighting Geth* PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!! *Running around* PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!! *Fight more Geth* PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!! It felt like it was drawing on horror tropes when it really shouldn’t have. That’s my own opinion. It’s not a popular one.

            I liked the story (and the ending made me feel sick, in a good way), but it was just so annoying to play through. It felt like I was supposed to be scared, but I wasn’t anywhere close to that feeling.

  45. Eric says:

    My thoughts on Mass Effect 3:

    It sucked.

    1) The plot was awful. Nothing more needs to be said. It wasn’t just simple, it was full of contrivances and holes at almost every turn, and revolved around everyone in the galaxy being a moron. No, this wasn’t just the ending – that was the worst of it, yes, and it was incomprehensibly stupid – but really the entire game was a gigantic mess.

    2) The new characters sucked. Vega is the least interesting person ever. And then there’s… uh, Cortez, aka “my sole character trait is I’m gay”? Javik is the only even remotely interesting one, and he’s paid DLC. Enjoy, suckers!

    3) The mission design sucked. Although the environments were a bit more varied than Mass Effect 2 and there were more interesting objectives, overall the game rigidly adhered to its linear cover-based shooting with big dumb boss fights.

    4) Dialogue and role-playing options were cut down like crazy. Being able to be at least somewhat expressive is a big part of BioWare’s games. Too bad that neutral dialogue is gone, as is the vast majority of non-essential conversations, investigation dialogue options, etc.

    5) Side quests sucked. Obvious, obvious filler, probably 10+ hours of it, in what is otherwise a 10-15 hour game. They couldn’t even bother writing interesting characters or scenarios for most of them. They did the same thing in Dragon Age 2 (overhear conversation, go find item, get XP and generic “thanks” line), and we all know how that game turned out too.

    6) The character system sucked. I know BioWare made a big deal of improving character creation. I don’t think it made one shred of difference. In Mass Effect you had to build your character from the ground up, unlocking new abilities over time that actually changed the way you played. Mass Effect 3 has (mostly linear) upgrades but very few of them give you meaningful new powers or abilities and the vast majority are just passive benefits. The class you pick is basically static so why even bother with leveling? It’s just a formality.

    7) The controls sucked. Hey guys, I have a good idea, let’s map every single action to the A button/use key! Oh, you accidentally dove out of cover and got stuck in the level geometry? Well, enjoy reloading a save.

    8) The game was extremely buggy and I had many, many broken quests, saw lots of glitchy animation in dialogues, lip-syncing problems, etc. Bah, who needs QA? Fun fact: EA outsource most of their QA and any issues discovered about 3-4 months before launch never get resolved because their entire system for reporting and fixing issues is extremely bloated and pointlessly slow and bureaucratic. When you end up with a game-breaking issue, thank EA’s exploitation of minimum wage labour in third world countries!

    9) The world was stripped down. This is an odd thing to express but I think the best way to describe it is to say that Mass Effect the first felt like a somewhat real place. There were lots and lots of planets to actually visit and explore. There were multiple major locations on each of the main plot planets. There was actual exploration, several hub areas with optional quests to run into, there were different outcomes to events based on the order you did certain quests in, etc. Mass Effect 2 cheaped out – it had some good hub areas but almost nothing interesting to do in them, and all of the main story stuff was done in confined mission areas; it was also much more linear.

    Mass Effect 3 has one hub, its design is exceptionally “gamey” (areas arranged not really based on logical needs of the setting, but on gameplay needs), many of them were built overly large to maximise the time spent running back and forth, and there was basically nothing of interest at all to do outside of the main plot. Since a new “side quest” appeared every single mission, you also pretty much had to spend 20 minutes extra every hour of gameplay just running back and forth to see if you had a new quest somewhere (not worth it). Even the codex entries were stripped down and most of them were reused from the first game. For games that prioritise exploration of exciting new galaxies and worlds, Mass Effect 3 had almost none of it.

    It wasn’t just that though. It was the lack of attention to detail. Even in this opening sequence there are tons of issues. For example: Shepard walks through a bench in the opening (a camera cut tries to hide it and fails). Anderson gives Shepard his gun and then magically finds another one during the fade to black. When Anderson saves Shepard from falling, the actual area in the level is tiny and the animators kept repositioning Shepard and Anderson to make it seem larger – in fact, there isn’t even a ledge there that they shimmy across, if I recall correctly. All in the first 20 minutes, the opening of the game, the sequence designed to be the highest-impact of all and to get people to say “wow, this game is awesome!”

    10) The multiplayer. It’s not awful, but thanks, EA, for taking development resources away from single-player story content and putting them into generic deathmatch and horde mode stuff. And no, sorry, copy-pasting those maps into single-player mode for side missions does not make up for it. It’s just the cherry on top, isn’t it? The final “screw you” to everyone who made BioWare successful in the first place.

    Mass Effect 3 was created to minimise costs and maximise returns, to kick out yet another game in a year and a half, and it did so by cutting almost every possible corner. It is not a terrible game, it’s just exceptionally bad considering the amount of money and number of people working on it. It’s a product of EA’s own complete lack of understanding why players enjoy their games, and BioWare’s complete lack of organisation, attention to their own characters, story, and lore, and their inability to hire writers who weren’t kicked in the head by a mule at birth.

    1. Sozac says:

      Very damning, and you put alot of effort into it even though no one else responded, but I gotta disagree with a good bit of it. I’m not gonna cover everything I disagree with, but 3 things that I liked that you didn’t was
      1.Vega (and Cortez, though to a lesser extent because he is just a “crew character” like Gabby, Kenneth, and Chakwah) wasn’t as bad as you make him out. At first when I saw him and heard him talk I was like “It seems Bioware spilled some Gears of War onto my Mass Effect”, but I actually grew to like him. He’s not a favorite character, but he had a lot of redeeming qualities about him. Like it was sorta fun to have this “macho” character that wasn’t just doing it because he was a Krogan. He was doing it because he wanted to prove himself because he may not have been “new”, but he was new to being on a “Shepard level”. I also like the whole mentor role shepard has. Idk about your Shepard, but mine looked a bit older and so it felt right to have like a protege. Anyway, I’m not trying to say you are wrong, but that is just my opinion.

      2. I played 3 times through and never had control or glitch problems. I’m not saying you didn’t, but I don’t know if it is as big a deal as you make it out to be. I never died from the fact A had a lot of uses (and I played on either Veteran or Insanity) and there were no glitchy quests.

      3. Lol, this doesn’t have anything to do with mass Effect, but Dragon Age 2 was REALLY GOOD. This goes with your “and we all now how that game turned out.” I had more fun in that game for the first playthrough than any of my Mass Effect series playthroughs. It doesn’t have the replayability of the first because of the restricted character choice options, but everything for me was perfect. And it was great in a completely different way than the first. I really hope 3 is a culmination of all I love about both, and if it is, I wouldn’t care how they ended it, that experience would get a 10/10 from me. While I could write an essay about why Dragon Age 2 was amazing for me, I don’t really want to. But yeah, that is just my opinion for whatever it is worth.

      1. IFS says:

        I will second points 1 and 3, but also argue that I have really enjoyed multiplayer and from what I’ve heard it did not divert resources from ME3 because it was originally going to be a seperate game that was then added to ME3.

        Edit: to be clear I’m referring to Sozac’s points 1 and 3

      2. Eric says:

        1) I don’t think Vega is a good character. He’s not awful. He’s just boring. His sole defining trait is that he… uh, wants to be a good soldier? And uses Mexican slang sometimes? Granted Mass Effect characters aren’t always incredibly deep or interesting but considering he’s the only new companion I would have appreciated something other than “and some dude.”

        2) I experienced many bugs, although this was with the release version, maybe they patched some out later. There were several quests that broke on me, like buttons I was supposed to press that I couldn’t press and had to load a save to fix, and the minor dialogue issues, while cosmetic, were still jarring. I downloaded the game via Origin (yay review copies) so I doubt it could be blamed on a faulty disc or anything.

        3) I thought Dragon Age 2 had good ideas (like parts of Mass Effect 3) but had fairly boring, overly melodramatic characters, the writing went between decent and horrible (though was better than most of Mass Effect’s), the gameplay was extremely repetitive and tedious (especially combat encounter design, I hope you like fighting 50 nameless thugs around every corner), the lack of ANYTHING new to see whatsoever past the first chapter made the game tedious, and there was no strong central story to make up for it, the minor quests were mostly awful, etc. I think Mass Effect 3 was a better game in terms of its “fun value” because I think the cover shooting itself is more engaging on a fundamental level (good RPGs usually have interesting systems and mechanics, rather than direct 1:1 engagement of action titles), but… I dunno, you’re definitely in the minority in really loving Dragon Age 2.

        1. Sozac says:

          A lot of ME characters can be boiled down to sole defining traits, but I actually thought Vega was pretty good. Not that there are THAT many mass effect characters, but by the end of his arch he would make my top 10. But that is just my opinion. Also, I only mentioned that so there is a bit of Mass effect talk followed by what will probably be a lot more Dragon Age 2 talk.

          I’m not really good at detecting when something is melodramatic, but it didn’t feel that way to me. I loved all of the characters, even Sebastian who was stuck in cut out DLC (fuck EA, they did it 3 times with good characters, they know I gotta buy it). I’ve heard how the writing can go bad. Like they have characters with their own wants, go sour if you don’t like them, but then a weird thing happen where they can hate you, but still be completely loyal. That didn’t happen to me. My first playthough was perfect with the whole character loyalty thing. Like Wrex it the first game, and Bioware does this a lot where characters will bend their ideals for the main character if they like you or respect you enough, and sometimes it feels like a copout, but for me it never did once in Dragon Age 2.

          Also, especially compared to the original. The combat was improved to the point where I enjoyed fighting. I looked forward to it. In Origins I tolerated it. In the mass effects it is satisfying. In Dragon Age 2 it was wonderful. But I guess that is our differing opinions. For me cover shooting is a bit too meh to be truly fun, especially when it seems like a futuristic reskin of Gears of War, not that Gears of War had bad combat, mass effect just always seemed a little bit worse than it did. There were plenty of fleshed out side quests along with the little ones. It isn’t a bad thing for me the small ones, just sorta neutral. Like they give them to you so you can do them along with the longer ones, like “Well, I’m heading in that direction anyway. Might as well get this woman’s purse.” For me they may not have added anything, except money, but they didn’t detract anything from the experience. But yeah, I know what most people didn’t like about dragon age 2 which mostly you didnt bring up, but for me it was great, all of it.

          1. Thomas says:

            I loved the implications of Vegas arc too. Holding a grudge against Shepard because her actions invalidate all the sacrifices he had to make his men go through? It’s nasty but pretty cool at the same. And as I said above, I like that he’s macho but actually just cares and is a decent person from a poorer background

            1. Ringwraith says:

              That’s the bit I like, where he’s conflicted over the sacrifices that were made for naught.
              Additionally, Cortez’s sole character trait isn’t that he’s gay, it’s more likely to be that he’s a guy who’s suffered great loss already due to the invasion, and the fact he’s gay is centric to him at all, which is nice. You could actually remove that part and he’d still be as good a character.

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                I actually liked Cortez as well. I liked how Cortez talks about his husband in passing because no one actually gives a shit if you’re gay or straight in Mass Effect’s future.

                These two characters were handled well imo. I don’t really understand the criticisms they get beyond the fact that Vega was probably unnecessary and we could have had room for a more relevant character instead. I never once used him.

                1. Sozac says:

                  I feel like Cortez was meh. Mostly because he was a “crew character.” I never really cared much about any of them. I liked them, but I won’t go out of my way to talk to them like I do with actual characters, but if they want to talk to me I’ll go do whatever. The gay thing really didn’t matter much for me, which I guess is good because that means Bioware didn’t play it up to much. Like it could’ve just as easily been a girl he was talking about. But still that was all he really had to him was this loss and the banter with Vega. He’s okay though, but every ME has that 1 character that isn’t really interesting. At least it’s a crew character this time and not a main one (I’m talking to you Kaidan and Jacob).

                2. Thomas says:

                  I’m Newdarkcloud infintely on the gay thing. The only reason you could feel like him being gay was his character trait is because gay people are so frickin’ rare in friction. He had loads of backstory and you could have changed the whole thing to ‘wife’ and it would have been a fine story.

                  As NDC (:D ) said it was just the way it was so casual, they never once made a thing of it, he’s just another gay guy same as all the other straight people and you don’t need to give him an arc about his sexuality. It’s just something that people do and there’s nothing strange in having a husband

    2. Eärlindor says:

      I pretty much agree with most of this. Mass Effect 3 is a complete mess.

  46. Lightningstrike14 says:

    I’m not sure if you guys have read this, but I’d be really interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on Hulk’s thoughts on the ending

    1. Eärlindor says:

      Aside from the fact that it makes my eyes bleed just trying to read it, this guy has no idea what he’s talking about. The game is not about fatalism. The ending is not art. Nonsense + nonsense =/= art, it just equals more nonsense. And Mass Effect 3 certainly is NOT Citizen Kane.

      EDIT: It’s also obvious that the writer has no knowledge of what the gripes with the ending really are. He cherry-picks lame arguments (“Wah! It was too saaaaaad”) and is completely dismissive and condescending.

      1. Sozac says:

        Chris gave a very great comment on Reddit which he sent to me on Twitter explaining why Hulk isn’t completely right (he does agree with some parts)

        1. Eärlindor says:

          I don’t have many disagreements with what Chris is saying here. I think he’s right. Film Crit Hulk is looking through an extremely narrow lens, and from a narrative perspective. I just still think that perspective is wrong.

          The game, and certainly the ending, has a lot of superficial qualities that would give the ending a seeming sort of sense, but fatalism was never a central theme in ME3. It was always stopping the Reapers, and unity through diversity. Then suddenly a new character shows up during what is known in literature or film as the “Falling Action” and tries to change that theme to “Organics vs Synthetics” in about fourteen lines of dialogue before trying to magically solve the problem in a heartbeat with a great, big, Deus Ex Machina of Stupid–even from a purely narrative perspective this is a big “No, no”, and with good reason.

    2. Exetera says:

      Hulk is a full-time film critic, and apparently holds some other job in the film industry as well. He’s busy. Thus, ask yourself when someone like that would find the time to play the full 120 hours of the Mass Effect series. The answer isn’t hard: he wouldn’t. Indeed, he gives every indication that he watched clips of some of Mass Effect‘s cutscenes on YouTube, and has no knowledge of the series beyond that.

      This lack of context is the major problem with his article: he attempts to call upon the beautiful ways the ending plays off of the themes and symbols built up over the course of the series… and falls flat, because he doesn’t actually know anything about how the series built up its themes and symbols. Heck, watch the way he talks about cycles: Hulk doesn’t seem to know anything about what the cycle theme actually means to Mass Effect as a whole (answer: nothing), just that the ending seems to focus around them as a symbol.

      In addition, Hulk falls victim to a whole lot of irritating strawmanning. He only addresses the weakest arguments, and only those within the scope of his expertise in filmmaking rather than his much more limited gaming experienced; many of the points he’s not qualified to comment on (eg. arguments from gameplay) he dismisses outright. He made the bizarre choice of using as his example of the form some rebuttal video nobody has ever heard of, when the gold standard of Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage is entirely ignored. (He then goes on to score points against the no-name video on semantics. I mean, seriously?) Even many of the arguments which are relevant to his film critic experience are misrepresented.

      I have a lot of respect for Hulk, and many of his articles are quite brilliant. Here, though, he tried to write about a long-running series in a genre that’s not his forté, without doing all of his research first. And that’s really a shame.

      1. Sumanai says:

        A good critic wouldn’t just browse over a book before passing final judgement, even if they’re busy. If he doesn’t have time for the product at hand, then he should have said that and leave it there, not belittle other critics.

      2. X2Eliah says:

        Let’s put it this way, if a critic doesn’t actually know shit about something, (s)he shouldn’t bother writing about it.

    3. Syal says:

      He equates options to pornography. I’m inclined to ignore him.

    4. Zukhramm says:

      What exactly is the point of making your own text unreadable? And no, I don’t care if there’s some site that can automatically un-caps it, if he’s gone out of his way to tell me he doesn’t want it read, I won’t bother.

  47. Irridium says:

    “This isn’t time for strategy or tactics!”

    Um… you’re fighting an enemy far stronger then you. This is exactly the time for strategy and tactics. They can out-gun you and out-man you through husks. The only way you can survive such power and numbers is through good strategy and tactics.

    I mean come on, Shepard’s part of N7, the Special Forces group of the Alliance. A group that would always use some sort of strategy or tactics to accomplish the mission!

    1. Ringwraith says:

      I think the point trying to be made (but oh so badly) is that sitting around a big table twiddling your thumbs isn’t going to get results quick enough, there’s stuff that needs to be done now.
      The line’s still silly though.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Then say that. “This isn’t the time to play on the big board. Get your war face on get on the field!”

        1. Keredis says:

          “The war’s already here. We’re going to need to come up with a strategy on the fly for this one, because every second we waste, our slim chances get smaller. We’ll have to adapt, and we’ll have to beat them any way we can. So stop standing there drooling and staring off into space, scramble EVERYTHING, do your damn jobs, and let’s start FIGHTING THIS WAR. Because if we fail, if we don’t do everything we can to win this, we won’t be the only casualties. Every human, every sapient being in this Galaxy, will DIE. Now MOVE!”

          1. Indy says:

            I’d like to offer you as a position as Bioware’s lead writer. We can still only pay you with what we payed the previous one, but enjoy the bananas.

            1. Keredis says:

              Hey, bananas are DELICIOUS.

          2. Eric says:

            Pfft, but that’s far too intelligent for “just a grunt” Shepard and kills the dramatic pacing and tension! And there wasn’t even a hint at lesbian alien romance options! Have you even played a BioWare game before? Golden rule = protagonist is a moron, every character wants to have sex with him/her. Get your head on straight, buddy.

            1. Keredis says:

              “These Reapers are going to kill us all dead if we don’t kill them first. And not just us! Not just humans! Everyone else in the Galaxy is at risk, even the Asari, and they’re far more advanced than we are in every way. We have to work together, and kill the Reapers, or we all die. As an old Admiral once said, ‘Hit them hard, hit them fast, hit them often.’ And that’s just what we’re going to do, together. I’m not going to say it’ll be easy, because it’ll be hard. VERY hard. But they’re not used to losing. They’ll never see us coming.”

              That any better?

  48. krellen says:

    So, the central problem with the Mass Effect series, I think, is a lack of pacing. For some reason, ME2 was about absolutely nothing (as Josh likes to point out), thus leaving us with meaningless filler and an ME3 starting in more or less the same place as ME2. Shamus harps on this too – it’s clear the story team just didn’t plan anything at all.

    A better ME2 would have focused on a search for proof of the Reaper threat – something concrete to bring to the Council and really unify the galaxy. Cerberus could still have played a role, offering a Renegade Shepard doctored evidence, stuff that would build a strong case for the Reapers but would ultimately be based on lies (lies that would push Cerberus’s pro-human agenda, obviously) – while Paragon Shepard would take a longer, harder path on each piece of evidence, but returning a far more genuine picture on the Reaper threat.

    ME3 could then open with war councils on how to address the Reapers, with previous games’ actions affecting just how much support you can have from other races. Paragon Shepards would work with a far more unified galaxy, with more diverse resources to pull from but also far more worlds to protect. A Renegade Shepard would not have as many allies, but would have a stronger Alliance to work with and much less territory to defend. The gameplay could have become far more reflective of an actual Commander’s work – you would command battlefields, rather than being a front-line grunt. While I would just go ahead and make it more an RTS, a realist designer would just have Shepard leading elite task forces against vital targets, while what the battlefields are would vary on Paragon/Renegade (more Human-centric battlefields for Renegades, more diverse ones for Paragons). Renegade Shepards would probably enjoy higher morale troops, and probably have slightly easier victories.

    The benefit here is that we don’t need the Catalyst and could actually fight the Reapers, instead of pursuing some nebulous and heretofore unmentioned McGuffin. If you can do your story without a McGuffin, that’s really the way to do it.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      I don’t know about the Crucible. I agree that it could have been implemented better (esp. the ending, but never mind), but I always got the impression that final victory against the Reapers would have to be some unconventional means.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Deus Ex Machinas in general are hard to implement well. The problems with the Crucible are: 1.) it feels like writing themselves out of a corner, rather than a real solution (though they cover this a bit with lines about how Liara is always looking for solutions in the Protheans), 2.) it goes against the themes and choices of the game (especially the idea that your actions matter -because in the end, all your actions matter is whether the Crucible works -whoop de do), and 3.) it is suspect from the start because every piece of Prothean technology thus unearthed, with the exception of the beacons has ended up being reaper tech in disguise.

        I still think that should have been the twist at the end: “Yeah, the crucible is a red herring -we planted it as a failsafe to make sure you wasted all your time on this rather than actually fighting the reapers.”

    2. Lame Duck says:

      The way I would have re-written the Mass Effect series would be to have you spend ME2 searching for a mythical anti-Reaper McGuffin weapon, with a reveal at the end that it’s actually a way to escape to another nearby (relatively speaking) galaxy. ME3 would then be about buying enough time to evacuate some people and choosing who is used as a distraction and who gets to leave.

      It would obviously be a very different direction for the series but it would let the Reaper’s maintain their scary alien nature (you wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) need to explain anything about them) and you could definetly spin some interesting choices out of that scenario.

      1. Indy says:

        That’s actually a good idea. What alternatives did Bioware come up with that ME3 was the most preferable?

  49. burningdragoon says:

    Don’t worry, you can get another crack at the “we fight or we die” line at the end if you need to.

    So, I never played the Arrival DLC and I don’t actually remember anything about it being referenced at all. I even remember references to the Batarians being wiped out, but not a relay being exploded. I could’ve missed it I guess.

    1. Indy says:

      It’s hidden in the most illogical place to put it. It’s an update to a War Asset.

      1. Keredis says:

        I actually read every single War Asset upgrade. I don’t think I ever read a single Codex entry, but I couldn’t get enough of those War Assets. For whatever reason, I just found that so cool, seeing the small changes to strength and composition, even down to specific ship names on occasion.

        1. Thomas says:

          I loved all of it, except most of the Codex were reused. Still the war assets contained so much good stuff. Even made me rethink a few choices

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          Should be the civilian militia of the Alliance fleet, IIRC.

          Mostly just talks about sacrificing an entire squad to blow up the relay.

          1. Keredis says:

            Gotcha. I think, since I was basically familiar with the plot of Arrival, I figured that bit referred to the scientists or whatever that are indoctrinated that you have to fight in the DLC.

  50. guy says:

    I don’t know what it is exactly, but in my experiment with the demo I could not find a female appearance I really liked.The most obvious issue was the hair, because my preferred video game protagonist female hair is a clean-edged bowl cut that hangs about to the ears, but just everything seemed wrong in some manner.

  51. Ateius says:

    Oh man. So glad I didn’t get this after ME2. The second Josh gets control one of my biggest gripes from ME2 appears: Taking the entire bottom-right quadrant of the screen for popups. “NEW ACHIEVEMENT! CODEX ENTRY! NEW QUEST! CODEX ENTRY! YOU FOUND A THING! CODEX ENTRY! HEADSHOT 5 MORE ROBOTS FOR ANOTHER ACHIEVEMENT!”

    I’m trying to be immersed in a game here, do you mind? Also, given how narrow the FOV is, I really need every pixel of screen real estate. Stop obscuring my vision.

    From game design to writing: It all falls down right at the start. As the crew rightly point out, where are the satellites, the outposts, the sensor nets? How can an entire armada of giant deathships approach the Systems Alliance homeworld and nobody knows about it until it literally shoots the floor out from under them?

    While we’re at it, where did all those husks come from? The Reapers have only been here for five minutes and we certainly haven’t been told about some long-running, losing battle over the colonies.

    This is how it starts. A major plot point leaps over its own hole and now I’m going to question everything the writers throw at me.

    1. Indy says:

      You really want the bottom-right of your screen to look at the detail of the chest-high wall? That’s absurd.

      Everything else, I completely agree with.

      Maybe, just maybe, they picked up several million husks from those deep space outposts we lost contact with.

      1. Keredis says:

        That’s yet another thing that bugs me. If we’re losing contact with deep space outposts one after another, in basically a line heading towards Earth, how is everything not at Defcon One? Why are important military leaders in a big open room with a giant freaking window, rather than in a war room bunker somewhere? Why are there no alarms going off, why are people walking casually? Why is the planet not in a state of absolute war readiness?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Because reapers dont exist!We are being attacked by imagination!

          1. Keredis says:

            Then we’ll fight them by weaponizing our hopes and dreams!


            And by wishes I mean hammers. Because that’s how I fight imagination. With a Dahlgren-style artillery piece that fires hammers.

            1. IFS says:

              My wish cannon fires thresher maws armed with cain’s

              1. Syal says:

                Mine fires confetti.

                …and bottled tears.

                1. Thomas says:

                  …there’s a codex entry about this. *don’t hit me*…


                  And all the husks were from Batarians. The fact everyone ignores the Batarians being invaded is the bit that doesn’t jibe with me. I quite like the battle strategy the Reapers used to attack earth. And it’s apparent in the first cutscene that the alliance are aware of the invasion (just) before it hits earth. Just not the scale and speed.

                  1. Ateius says:

                    There were three Batarian-ish husks shown in that segment. The rest were clearly the human types we’ve been seeing the whole series – which can’t be from human colonies/outposts because that very codex describes how the Reapers just ripped through the relays at top speed to outrace Alliance command structure.

                    More importantly – none of this is ever actually explained in the opening. It doesn’t help to read a codex entry however much later it takes for things to slow down and give the player a breather. Just a few lines would have helped – “Batarian space has gone dark,” “Unknown capital ships have bypassed the 4th fleet”, etc. Give a sense of outposts, screening fleets and sensor buoys going down in a cascading line of failure pointed straight at Earth, just like in the Codex entry. Suppressed panic. Organized chaos. Then they lose contact with Luna Base, the dramatic “They can’t be here so soon” line, and a Reaper shoots the building.

                    1. Thomas says:

                      First line of the game ‘we just lost contact with two of our deep space outposts’ Then it talks about fleets being on the move.

                      I actual disagree with you on the codex stuff. These are questions you only ask if you’re examining the game in more detail, people who are happy with ‘reapers attacking earth’ shouldn’t need to be bogged down in exposition. If you’re going to take hard critical looks at the tactical viability, you’ve been given the codexes and they should be interesting to you. General plot points in the plot, small details in the codexes and this is a small detail.

                      I do agree that the colonies/husks thing does disagree with the codex though. I think the husks come from the Terminus colonies which were in Batarian space and as ME2 established, aren’t under Alliance gaze, but they never tell you that.

      2. Ateius says:

        “You really want the bottom-right of your screen to look at the detail of the chest-high wall? That's absurd.”

        I want the bottom-right of my screen to see enemies flanking me from the right. I tend to play aggressively, so my foes aren’t all neatly arranged to my front playing peek-a-boo from behind their chest-high walls.

  52. anaphysik says:

    Cassandra Shepard! That’s good, Ruts! Even flows off the tongue well.

  53. Grudgeal says:

    I never understood the Reapers’ strategy, aside from the already pointed-out flaw of not just retaking the Citadel first, which they could easily do. Ok, so you’re pissed at humanity and you want them gone. How’s this for an idea: If you’re so powerful and advanced, nuke the Earth back to the stone age from space.

    Sure, landing on the surface like a bunch of undersized limpets (relatively speaking) is all good and dramatic, but if you’re so smart and so powerful I figure accelerating a few meteors or some other space-borne bodies to a significant fraction of C and just dumping them on Earth to create a new Ice Age would get the job done a lot faster.

    1. Thomas says:

      They need troops to take the Asari worlds and help fight on the Turian one…

      actually this is one of the things about overall Mass Effect mythos I’ve never understood. Why were the Krogans good at fighting wars? Wouldn’t the Turians just nuke their ships to dust before they even landed? Why is ground to ground combat important in this universe?

      (EDIT: In the case of the Reapers, as Zaxares below pointed out, they’re mandated not to wipe all species out, but process their DNA into Reapers(which is stupid), so they needed to land and harvest)

      1. StashAugustine says:

        “Why is ground to ground combat important in this universe?”
        Because it’s a third person shooter, obviously.

      2. krellen says:

        Krogan were good at fighting RACHNI, and at invading planets. Both require ground troops.

        1. Thomas says:

          I was talking less Rachni and more Turians, but it still stands. Surely anyone with a decent fleet can just blow all the Krogans up before they land? It’s not like Krogans build good spaceships. And if you’re being invaded you can just fly off.

          I guess maybe it’s because it’s illegal to fire on garden worlds, that forces ground combat? But generally space fighting and space bombardment seem to be so much more important. The Krogans should have been dead before they even touched surface in the Krogan rebellions

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            With krogan being so numerous,I can imagine them having a bunch of carriers that would simply launch suicide pods at the enemy ship.

            1. Thomas says:

              Actually that ones probably accurate. I could imagine a Krogan in a Basilisk from KotoR

      3. Keredis says:

        There were some situations where they actually made me think, “Okay, ground troops are kind of useful here.” Like where you had to go retake that one planetary defense cannon. But in general? Yeah, I had no idea why everyone was so insistent about getting the Krogan to help against the Reapers. Unless you were planning on BOARDING the Reapers and getting your murder on from the inside out, which would actually have been kind of a decent set-piece, assuming they could prevent indoctrination for a half-hour or so.

        1. Thomas says:

          ‘Boarding Reapers’ also highlights just how stupidly goofy sentient spaceships are

      4. Keredis says:

        Actually, the Codex even specifically talks about ground forces vs fleets in the ME universe, at least in the concept of the Systems Alliance:
        “Ground units are a specialized branch of the fleet, just as fighter squadrons are. This unity of command is imposed by the futility of fighting without control of orbit; without the navy, any army is pointless”

        Kind of contradicts why everyone had such trouble during the Krogan Rebellion. You’d think, like has been mentioned, that they’d have been rather poor at fighting in space.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      In fact taking the citadel was so easy,that they later do it off screen.

      Ah,but see reapers dont want to kill everyone,they want to assimilate them.The thing I dont get about this is,like mentioned on the previous page,why dont they use something like the seeker swarms to stun everyone and just send husks to collect them.

  54. Zaxares says:

    1:26: Yep. The Face import bug was NOT the best way to start the game. :P I was fortunate in that since most of my Shepard’s faces were template faces with slight tweaks, it wasn’t too hard for me to get back the faces I used, but it was a VERY legitimate complaint by a lot of players.

    I also agree that the faces in ME3 seemed to get this ugly “plastic” look, as you guys pointed out. This happened in Dragon Age 2 as well, and I’m still baffled as to how it came about. The face textures were absolutely beautiful in DA1 and ME2, so I really don’t know how they could have gone backwards in the sequels!

    3:50: Totally agreed, Shamus. I didn’t hate ME3. In fact, it had some of the most emotional, heart-tugging scenes throughout the entire trilogy. But it could have been so, SO much better. The ending just felt like a tremendous letdown. A “after all the build-up and hype of the series, THAT’S what it’s all about? Seriously?” feeling.

    6:42: Actually, I disagree. I thought the facial animations and body language in general was very well done in Dragon Age 1, and to a lesser extent, in Dragon Age 2. I’m mostly surprised that there’s such a huge discrepancy between the quality of the two series, unless the games had been built by two totally separate teams/studios.

    8:36: No, it did help. But all it did was slow down the Reapers’ arrival by a number of months. If Shepard hadn’t blown up the Bahak relay, the Reapers would have arrived through it in a matter of hours and the invasion of the galaxy would have begun. Shepard’s actions bought the galaxy some time, which the Salarian Unions and the Systems Alliance (as well as the Turian Hierarchy, to a smaller extent, as you learn from Garrus later) did apparently use to start buffing their defenses.

    10:47: Presumably the Reapers have extremely sophisticated jamming technologies, but yeah, it’s a bit of a plot hole.

    11:00: Yeah, that has to be one of the lamest lines I’ve ever heard Shepard say. :P I personally would have gone with, “The only thing we can do. We fight. Till the end.”

    12:24: And a former N7. :P Don’t forget that Anderson was actually recommended to be the first Human Spectre, before Shepard. He only failed because the Spectre assigned to evaluate him was Saren Arterius, and he hated humans and so deliberately sabotaged Anderson’s chances by giving him a bad review.

    13:00 Not quite, Chris. The Reapers possess such overwhelming firepower that their typical method of attack is to head straight for nerve centers and eliminate any chance for the opposing army to properly coordinate and mount a resistance. In past cycles, they did this by attacking the Citadel and taking control of the Relay Network. Since the Protheans sabotaged this, they now switched to going to each of the homeworlds and major settled planets instead.

    Plus, taking out the homeworlds also means you tend to cripple a race’s economy, which further hinders their ability to re-arm and restock. Finally, the Reapers are ultimately here to harvest the organic races, and since the homeworlds have the largest concentrations of populations, that makes it a logical place to start the process.

    14:22: That was one neat thing I did like about the import process. ME3 actually remembers which powers you picked and assigned points to in ME2, and preserved those choices into the third game. (Fortunately, there’s also an option to reset your points fairly early into the game so you could try out some of the new powers included in ME3 too.)

    16:50: I agree that that particular scene was a pretty ham-handed way, but the one coming up later actually did move me. You know the one I’m talking about. :P

    18:57: You can actually mod the FOV on PC, but it REALLY screws up the cinematics, so I eventually just had to suck it up and get used to FOV 70. I personally would prefer it at 85 or 90 though.

  55. Deadfast says:

    Since everyone has pretty much dissected the story at this point I’d like to comment on something else that was brought up – animations. I honestly can’t believe how awful they look. Quite clearly at some point during gameplay testing somebody complained that getting in/out of cover is too slow. So they sped up the animation. And then they said “Ah, good enough!” and left it at that. Now we’re stuck looking at something that seems to be playing at two times the normal speed.

    Oh, and please do fix the field of view Josh. I really hate the feeling of having my head stuck in a box, up to the point of getting motion sickness. What also doesn’t help is that the game doesn’t seem to support widescreen properly (yeah, in 2012). The horizontal always displays the same amount of information and it’s only the vertical that gets cut off as you go widescreen.

    1. Deadfast says:

      Actually one more thing. I’m sort of disappointed that Ashley is dead in this save. Because I totally wanted to complain about how much her look was changed (for the worse, without the ridiculous pink armor she was actually a believable female soldier). First time I saw her I thought it was Miranda…

  56. RCN says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of comments. I’ll avoid them for now on grounds that I didn’t finish the game and I’m avoiding spoilers of the endgame (and I’m watching a show called Spoiler Warning about the game. How terminally demented am I?)

    In any case, so far the thing that grates me the most isn’t even the baffling incompetency of the Council. It isn’t the stupid-ass lines Sheppard spouts whenever he should be saying something actually important. It isn’t even how the game keeps hustling me over the whole Cerberus deal even though throughout the whole of ME2 I always chose the options that riled the Illusive Man as much as possible, except in the end that I allowed the Collector Base to survive because I didn’t know that option was basically “give the collector base to the Illusive Man, because you’re actually THAT much retarded”. Oh, no, not even that. Or that Ashley is still alive because I fucked up in ME1 not knowing that choice would have Kaidan killed, because at the time my thought was “Ashley is incompetent, she needs the help, Kaidan can take care of himself”. Nope, even after she grilled me again and again on the whole cerberus deal no matter how much time and in how many ways I ordered her to shut up.

    Nope, the thing that I hate the most so far is the fucking Crucible. Really? Are we condensing all the smartest ideas the series had to a simple Deus Ex Machina McGuffin that’ll save the galaxy that came out of thin air? Fuck me…

    On the other end of the spectrum, I’m really invested in the whole pooling of resources and allies thing going on. Reminds me of the Neverwinter Nights 2 Crossroad Keep managing minigame in some ways. So far, that’s the thing that, more than anything, is saving the game as a whole for me.

    1. swenson says:

      How far did you get in the game? There’s quite a few bits I liked up to the end, where it got kind of generic, then… well, the ending. You know how people feel about that.

      1. RCN says:

        I just finished securing a Quarian/Geth alliance. Now a bunch of stuff popped up and I have a lot of scheduled R&R in the Citadel.

        I’m wary of going to the citadel because last time I did it in a routine Citadel drop I had to kill Udina (how the FUCK was he a cerberus agent?) and a bunch of the plot advanced and I’m in the mood for just the side missions for now. Still, I’m wary because the game said the readiness might erode over time, so I’m afraid of losing readiness for dicking around too much in sidequests.

        EDIT: Oh, I’d like to add this kickstarter

        As a big fan of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander, I’m all giddy for this stuff. Backed 100 bucks.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          The Citadel’s harmless, you can go back. I do have to say you’re out of the best part of the game, though.

          1. RCN says:

            I’m also running a checklist of every ex-squadmate NPC, because Bioware apparently had the idea to check each and everyone off one by one.

            Mordin Solus – Dead, kinda nice sendoff though
            Thane – Dead, nice sendoff
            Grunt – Almost died, but somehow still alive
            Miranda – Tempted to do her sidequest just to see if she dies at last
            Ashley – Almost had to kill her… disappointed I didn’t, but it is not the thing my Sheppard would do if he could avoid.
            Legion – Sacrificed himself too, still undecided if it was a nice sendoff because… unlike Thane and Solus, it felt like an arbitrary sacrifice.
            Wrex – Alive for now, lets see if I can keep it that way.
            Jack – Alive and a complete different character. Still doesn’t wear pants even though she is now technically wearing one.

            I didn’t hear from the black guy from ME2 yet (is it racist I don’t remember his name? He was so bland and yet he was my favorite Cerberus operative), nor from the Asari justicar (also can’t remember her name…). I’m sure their heroic sacrifice is soon to come too, though.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              You’re not alone- when Jacob popped up, I couldn’t remember his name for something like half a minute.

            2. Thomas says:

              If you happened to ever play an non-import playthrough, the pattern which ME2 characters is pretty clear. For most sidequests they have one character who gets established during the arc and will sacrifice themselves at the end. Instead, if you saved your crew member, they will show up on the mission and save everyone.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “I just finished securing a Quarian/Geth alliance.”

          Then you really,REALLY should avoid the ending.Seriously,once you enter the final stretch(youll know it),just turn the game off,uninstall,and never look back.Trust me,the crucible will be peanuts compared to what the game will do in the end.

    2. Thomas says:

      Yep, Crucible was one of the worst things for me, the thing about the end, is it’s at the end, it doesn’t affect the rest of the game, but you have to go through everything thinking ‘gee Shepard just happened to find a device that mysteriously solves everything the day Earth was attacked?’

  57. swenson says:

    I meant to mention this yesterday, but this is the same Regina Shepard face that was imported through ME2 from ME1, right? If so, yeah, there’s major bugs with importation, and I don’t think they were ever fixed at all. The way I finally did it is through using the Gibbed save editor to get my Shepard’s face values, which you can then convert (through an arduous manual process) to a face code which you can use in ME3. I ended up making a few minor tweaks because she still didn’t look right, but at least it got me more or less the same face in the end, slight unattractiveness and all.

    My Shepard may not be the prettiest girl in the room, but I couldn’t bring myself to work on that in either ME2 or ME3. She is who she is, I just have to deal with that.

    And I agree with everyone else: FemShep is and will always be a redhead. I don’t know why, but she just is to me.

    1. Indy says:

      Regina was a new character for ME2, after Conan successfully shot Saren across the galaxy. Regina’s creation was edited to save Wrex and make Anderson the Councilor.

  58. A tip to the SW team, seeing that a few of you do grab a lot of video, and use screen grabbing software (or attempt to).
    Here’s one you might not have tried yet

    Microsoft Expression Studio 4 (previously Media Encoder) support: screen, and window, and area capture. It used to have a 10min limit for screen capture but that was removed with SP2 of the software. Reportedly it’s really darn good. Haven’t gotten around to trying it myself yet though.

  59. Thomas says:

    So many comments! Who knew what foul beasts sleepthd beneath the depths to be disturbed by our reckless greed and Let’s Play mining

  60. Aaron says:

    We fight or we die

    Another stupid thing about this “rallying cry” is that these are not mutually exclusive options.

    1. RCN says:

      For me the really stupid thing about this rallying battle cry is that it is saying precisely what Sheppard spends the rest of the game telling everyone else NOT TO DO against the reapers. Really, if it is to hammer so hard the point you should NOT fight the reapers in direct confrontation, why say such an asinine thing?

  61. Merle says:

    I’m starting my second playthrough of ME3, and I have to say that I really only found three things to strongly dislike about the game: TIM, Kai Leng, and the ending. Maybe the Extended ending will change my opinion of the last of those.

    (Kai Leng is still a terrible idea, though.)

    And I figured the “We fight or we die!” line was Shepard snapping in frustration. Short for “You’ve had three freaking games to come up with some good plans, to build up our forces, I’ve been warning you for years, and you come to ME and ask for a plan? NOW?”

  62. Alexander The 1st says:

    “In fact, I spent so much time complaining about trivial things that I missed the couple of important or noteworthy things.”

    Reminds me of this particular comic, about the same basic idea.

  63. Thomas says:

    I was hoping this was going to be the most commented thread on the blog, because the idea that ME3 is the most discussed issue is pretty darn ridiculous :D But sadly it looks like people consider education and religion more controversial :(

  64. Glucose says:

    I realized I have serious mental issues when I saw they only survived the suicide mission with six squadmates and raged a little internally.

  65. Mycroft says:

    Sorry to Necro this post, but the Interwebs are a big place, it takes a long time to read everything. :-) Anyway, I had two comments to make, one relevant to modern day (2017), one to the ancient past of 2012-

    1.) With the coming out of Missed Defunct- Androbabies, I’ve finally decided the disgust from ME3 has faded enough where I would poke my head up & consider the series again. I was shocked to discover that ME3 for the PC is now at 5.6 on Metacritic! Considering that it was at 3.8 until well past 2012, I wanted to know what the heck happened.

    I feel like Ripley in ‘Aliens’- “Did IQ’s just drop sharply while I was away?” It would seem so. ME3’s ending was a storytelling disaster of Epic proportions. The Games media’s lashback against player dissatisfaction was also so great I thought at the time that something like Gamergate would have started Then. Pity it didn’t, because there would have been virtually no straws to grasp regarding Gamers being Women-hating Terrorists.

    So not only did IQ’s drop sharply, it also appears we have Goldfish memories, because with MEA I’m seeing the exact same kind of complaints come up that came up with ME3. Gamers may not be Misogynists, but we sure have an atrocious knowledge of history & and an appalling lack of Perspective.

    2.) Regarding the actual game’s opening sequence & plot, it was a huge misstep from the word GO. Dropping Shepard into the Alliance HQ without any explanation (in-game) was an amateurish mistake. Having the attack start Right There was story-destroying pandering to the lowest common denominator of action films.

    For any player with even half a brain, it creates a shattering disconnect between your actions during the game and the actions the Reapers are doing at the same time. Despite some ham-fisted attempts by Bioware to justify these two conflicting series of events (especially egregious in the ‘Citadel’ DLC), the fact remains that while we are dicking around eavsdropping on conversations at the Citadel, Millions of humans are dying on Earth.

    In a more logical story, there is simply NO WAY that Shepard & crew could do any effective recruiting given how fast the Reapers are obliterating the Planet. THEN we go to ask for help from the Turians, who are getting their asses handed to them by a different group of Reapers, and the same with the Asari, the most advanced Council Race. It’s not a matter of opinion to say that this entire plot is actiony schlock equal to ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’.

    Ironically however, Bioware was right about one thing- The Reapers should not have been able to be defeated conventionally. What they should have done is follow the lead of their betters, specifically a tiny little game that came out in 1993 called, ‘Star Control 2’.

    (Spoilers for SC2 ahead)

    In this game, at the start, your PC discovers that humanity & the Alliance of Free Stars, have lost the war against the Ur-Quan Hierarchy & the entire planet Earth has been put behind a Slave Shield with a Pre-Nuclear level of technology. Your Quest in the game then becomes finding the remenants of your old allies, new allies & technological Macguffins, to free Earth & start the War Anew.

    That’s just the *backdrop* to the start of the game though. If you’re paying attention to info you come across, you soon find that the stakes are worse than you imagined. The Ur-Quan, while brutal enemies, were the Nice Guys in this fight. They have another branch of their race, called the Kor-Ah, who don’t just make battle thralls or slaves of those they conquer, they obliterate them. Completely. Your PC then finds out you have about two years in game time, to find a way to defeat the Kor-Ah before they start their Death March & destroy all life in the Galaxy.

    If you’re invested in playing SC2 at all (Which most players would be, it’s one of the best games ever made.), when you find out about that time limit, it creates a sense of tension and creeping dread that no amount of whiz-bang explodies could even come close to. As the Clock keeps ticking down, that tension only increases. You cannot do a THING in this game without being reminded that time is critical. All of your exploration & fun encounters are bittersweet because you know time is running out.

    I cannot stress enough how wonderfully nerve-wracking this experience is. The entire experience is truly Epic in a way that makes a mockery of the normal use of that term. This is how Bioware should have opened ME3. I don’t mean with the Earth already defeated, I mean with the knowledge that, like the Arrival DLC, the Reapers are coming and when they do, the game is OVER.

    ME3 should have focused on stopping the Reapers in Dark Space, before they even get a chance to return to the Milky Way. Either finding a way to destroy them, or truly stranding them (Remember, even Reapers have a limit to how far they can travel in ‘normal’ FTL.), both could have worked.

    Using the method that SC2 did to create such incredible tension, would have worked far better than what Bioware actually did do, and would not have created such a huge psychic disconnect between Shepard bopping around being a Peeping Tom & the Reapers obliterating populations wholesale.

    Sorry for the long post, thanks for your writing, Shamus, much appreciated.

    P.S.- The Source code for Star Control 2 was released free to the community back in 2002. Fans have since created a free, modern-windows compatible version called, “The Ur-Quan Masters”. There is both a standard & HD version made & even with my spoilers, I can’t recommend the game strongly enough.

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