Mass Effect 3 EP3: TIM the Toolbox

By Shamus
on Aug 17, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

262 comments


Link (YouTube)

The talk about Deadspace was a reference to this: EA Says Dead Space 3 Has To Sell 5 Million To Survive. As a thoughtful commentator I would like to invite the captains of this particular industry to go out of business as soon as possible. How stupid do you have to be to continue to spend more and more, to make games that can’t possibly hope to meet their ever-increasing sales projections? I had many gripes with Dead Space 2, and none of them had anything to do with how much was spent on the game. In fact, my own wishlist of changes (getting rid of the quicktime-event driven spectacle, cutting way back on the total number of encounters, and cutting back on the NPC conversations) would have made it cheaper.

So now Mumbles has explained to me that I liked Jack and forgot. Actually, looking back: I loved her loyalty mission, but I still think her boobstraps were juvenile pandering. In any case, I’m wondering if my idea holds true: I have been thinking that the ME1 cast were far and away the most popular companions, but maybe ME2 wins in that department. (If not, it’s not for lack of trying. If you go for all the DLC then ME2 Shepard has enough people to form a baseball team.)

It’s true that I argue that BioWare might have used shared models to save money, and I even offer an example of how I used a similar technique myself. To rebut my own argument, I’ll point out that I was ONE GUY with a budget of weeks.

When Mumbles and Chris start singing “We’ve got dead chick”, they’re singing to the tune of Ice Hair, which you should not listen to under any circumstances.

Here is Digital Gumballs, the blog where Mrs. Mumbles and Mr. Gumballs write about videogames. This is the post about girlfriend mode, which you are encouraged to discuss over there and not here because… basically because I see where that thread is going and I don’t want to get on that particular ride right now.

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Footnotes:



A Hundred!A Hundred!2020202262. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a big-ish sort of number.

From the Archives:

  1. Paul Spooner says:

    Random comments to follow:
    Too bad the spacestation isn’t huge. That would have been really fun to be able to explore… unless it was homogeneous boxy rooms filled with boxes… which it probably would be.

    Actually, you could just wear a facemask facemask if you have proper skin support. Maybe they have some sort of monofilament suit that they wear all the time to prevent capillary rupture?

    If you care about the characters, you have to take the world around them into account at some level. The characters don’t exist in a contextually neutral void. The surrounding narrative informs their actions. In this case, the narrative usually makes them all look like idiots.

    On the “castle of AAAAaugh!” moment… Maybe there’s an emergency text insertion feature for just this reason? I know I’d put that into my user interface if the person typing a log suddenly got killed. Perhaps this is a similar situation?

    That cannon sure is powerful. Good thing nothing in this universe can shoot through walls! Honestly, what happened to environment damage? Isn’t this a solved problem already?

    Re: Character model homogeneity. Yeah, the drawback of the hyper-realism is that everything looks samey. Contrast with TF2 or Psychonauts. Much more cartoony, but also distinctive. Even if they hand-modeled each character, they are going to have fairly similar shapes if you are going for a “realistic” style.

    Maybe they can’t control the tram? I dunno. Would have been cool to have a HL2 run-along-the-tracks segment instead.

    Oh illusive man… how we love to hate you and all you represent.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well you could always say something funny,like primus postum.

      Hey guys,we should totally spam this season with first posts,so that Shamus has to bring back his first post puns.

      • And now this comment doesn’t make sense.
        On environment damage: very few games actually have environment damage, because it is difficult to create while maintaining verisimilitude.

        • Paul Spooner says:

          Personally, I find verisimilitude damage and environment damage to be inversely proportional. Could just be me though. If you’re going for photo-realistic, it’s certainly much more difficult. Just another reason to have representative graphics.
          But yeah, when it’s done wrong it looks really silly.

          • I completely agree, I used the wrong word in my post.
            When I said verisimillitude I actually meant suspension of disbelief. My reasoning is if you shoot a wall with a pistol and the wall explodes, sending fragments out at highway speeds in every direction, then people are going to giggle, not be immersed.
            And I am entirely in favour of representative graphics.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I had assumed the datapad was either being dictated, or she was trying to send an e-mail via PDA.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        So…her dying breath was “SSSEEEEEENNNNNND!”?

      • Klay F. says:

        This could also be seen as poking fun at the cell-phone culture thats prevalent today. You have teenagers who almost never look away from their phones even when doing other things that require their full attention (like driving a vehicle). You have people who, in earthquake and tsunamis, instead of getting themselves to safety, tweet about the being in an earthquake or tsunami.

        • Sagretti says:

          My wife read an article the other day about a gentleman that sent a message saying they should stop texting and driving… shortly before driving straight off a cliff.

        • Jakale says:

          Hardly, messages from people writing in odd situations is a long staple in gaming. Take the first Resident Evil: progressive journal entries with the last written by a fully turned zombie. For that matter, Monty Python had that “Ahhh” written on the wall joke in Holy Grail.

          • Klay F. says:

            Yeah but most of those are old games. Most game designers are smart enough to not do this now. And while I haven’t played ALL the games ever, its been easily a decade (or more) since I last saw this happen in a game.

            • Jakale says:

              Fair enough, and it’s true that most of the recent games I’ve played that do the diary of a dead man thing don’t do the “Help me, diary reader. I’m currently being eviscerated.” thing. It still pops up, though. Skyrim actually does both the “Hmm I’m kind of worried about noise downstairs. I think I’ll go check.” type and the other one. I think it’s sometimes just hard to leave it to environmental storytelling and people’s imagination when you really want to tell it like a short story.

  2. Nyctef says:

    Re: cover system, it feels like they pinched some ideas from Deus Ex HR. Not enough, unfortunately, but it was definitely an improvement.

    • Nyctef says:

      Liara does have a dialog line where she explains that the Prothean stuff had been here all the time, but there was so much other junk on Mars that nobody had seriously gotten round to inspecting it properly, and given that they weren’t looking for stuff on the Reapers they wouldn’t have recognised it if they did.

      • Klay F. says:

        Unfortunately, that doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny either. This is ALIEN technology we’re talking about here. How do you not get around to studying it? “Meh, it only jumped our technology forward a thousand years.” Its also retardedly incongruous with how much importance they placed on the beacon at Eden Prime in the first game. Why was all this alien tech in our back yard less important than one light years away? In fact, during the first game, I had (logically) assumed since they never mention Mars ever again, that Mars had pretty much been completely picked over for Prothean tech.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          They might not have recognized the significance if they saw it the first time. We’re still making discoveries about the ancient world today based on both new discoveries and reviews of old ones in light of new information.

          The problem is less that this is a stupid plot hole -it’s not difficult to hand-wave it -it’s that there are so many of them, and it’s in the service of something as bad as the Crucible.

          • McNutcase says:

            Let’s not forget, Mars is an entire planet. It’s got a surface area similar in extent to the entire land area of Earth (Wikipedia backs me up on this) and that means there is a LOT of it. I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that in a mere couple of hundred years (overstating a touch there, as I recall) we’ll have been able to comb the entire surface area of Mars.

            • Klay F. says:

              Let me be clear, its not that these questions exist that got me irritated. Its that the Bioware writers didn’t even bother to record a single line of dialog or write a single line of text handwaving the question away. I most likely would have been satisfied with just a handwave, but they didn’t even bother with that. Fan conjecture only goes so far when you have basic plot questions like this lying around LITERALLY EVERYWHERE.

              Also, there has never been reference to multiple Prothean sites on Mars. Just the one. Again this could have been solved simply by changing certain words to their plural forms.

            • Nick says:

              Fair enough, but then it becomes a bit of a megacoincidence that Shepard stumbles across it right now

              • SleepingDragon says:

                Right, I mean, it was clearly impossible to put some sort of hint somewhere in the endgame of ME2 that maybe the protheans had other counterplans for Reapers like the one with the conduit and that news would make the few people who are influential and believe Shepard push for more extensive study of all the junk we’ve found.\

                But then I can see how introducing that kind of thing in a way that wouldn’t be awkward and out of nowhere would be really hard. After all it’s not like ME2 had anything to do with protheans… oh wait.

                It’s almost as if there wasn’t really that much coordination between the plots of 2 and 3, but who’d pay attention to rumours circulated by haters.

                • newdarkcloud says:

                  While I hate to defend Bioware, at the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker (or as I call it, the true Mass Effect 2), Liara says that the Shadow Broker you just defeated was looking for all sorts of Prothean devices because he believed they held the key to stopping the Reapers.

                  • Keredis says:

                    The thing is, optional (paid!) DLC is not the place to put information/foreshadowing of the main plot device.

                  • SleepingDragon says:

                    Well now, that would actually be correct, I completely forgot about it, especially since I know I was ranting that we can’t actually use that every scrap of info on Reapers and anything related from the Broker’s database to, you know, prove it to the council.

                    That said I’d be willing to buy it if not for the fact that Liara herself says that the reason why the Crucible plans weren’t located earlier was simply the crapton of prothean stuff that was there and we just got lucky (unless, of course, I’m missing another line). She could, in theory, be trying to cover the extent of her knowledge but I honestly can’t see a reason for that that doesn’t seem even slightly stretched. And while I am normally willing to let fanon and stretched reasons explain minor problems… well, let’s just say that with plotholes like the ones this game has these minor gripes are no longrer stuff to be winked upon but become proof that there indeed was no plan.

  3. IFS says:

    With the dlc me2 shepard has a total of 12 companions, or disciples if you really want to hammer in the unnecessary space jesus “symbolism”

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    *sigh*The awesome button.Why does that idiocy exist?Ok,they tried it in 2,lets say that was an experiment.It sucked there,so remove it.You have buttons galore,use them.

    • Tse says:

      Awesome button? It’s just a “do” button. Saints Row 3 has an awesome button. In fact, the Mass Effect series desperately needs an awesome button. Just imagine doing a wrestling move after every charge, reloading in slow motion like Max Payne, enemies becoming localized infernos from fire powers, shattering them into bloody chunks with cryo powers, making a Wheatley-like combat drone, launching people bouncing around the environment like living pinballs, melting off skin with warp, entangling enemies’ limbs with singularity, making grenades split into 50 before exploding and so on…. Of course, you would need an awesome resource in order to balance it or maybe quadruple the recharge time after doing something awesome, but it would make the combat so much more fun.

      • McNutcase says:

        Exactly. I have a real hatred for control overloading, or the “do stuff” key. Controllers have lots of buttons. Keyboards have even more; and heck, even the average mouse these days has the equivalent of at least three plus the wheel, and many have more than that (Josh’s insane 17-button mouse being an outlier; I’m happy with my 5-button mouse) and really, there is no need to have one button for so many contradictory things.

        And I love the Awesome Button in SR3, because it’s exactly what it claims: do whatever you were about to do, but in a more awesome way.

        • StashAugustine says:

          It’s really bad in MP, cause they scatter in interactive objects (dead players and objectives), confusing the matter even more. Try taking cover next to one of those radio objectives. You also don’t need the squadmate commands or pause menu, so there are easily enough buttons.

        • MintSkittle says:

          Off topic, but your mentioning of mouse controls makes me want to put this out. I have a trackball, and it does not have a scrollwheel. In all my PC using years I’ve never had a trackball with a scrollwheel. It aggravates me greatly when I come across a game that assigns a function to the scrollwheel and has no way to rebind it or alternate keybinds with that function. Also, tutorials that wont advance until you use the scrollwheel.

          • McNutcase says:

            Anything that can’t be re-bound is Fundamentally Wrong. That’s one of the Commandments of Binding, along with Thou Shalt Allow Bind-Stealing and Thou Shalt Have Thy Default Binds Resemble The Prevailing Standard (otherwise known as “you’d better have a good reason to not be going WASD”)

          • Deadfast says:

            I can feel your pain, although mine does not stem from a mouse but rather the keyboard. I don’t use WSAD, I use ESDF. Actually, .OEU because I also use the Programmer Dvorak layout.
            So far the biggest offenders were Mirror’s Edge (wouldn’t let me bind forward to Period), The Witcher 2 (wouldn’t let me bind anything to a key that didn’t have a letter on it) and Just Cause 2 (running forward would randomly swap weapons for those laying on the ground, eventually patched out).

        • SleepingDragon says:

          I know that for a while we’ve sort of dumped the simplification of controls onto consoles because of the controllers but I’ve held controllers in my hand, they DO have more buttons, like you said, so what on Earth is the reasoning behind this?!

          • newdarkcloud says:

            Exactly. The issues you guys are complaining about with everything being on one button for the PC… I have the exact same complaint on the consoles (I played ME3 on the PS3). I was screwed over more than once by the game misinterpreting my commands.

  5. A solution I just came up with for the “saving money by reusing models” problem is to code a procedural variations program, kind of like procedural terrain, then map the data across your standard body, saving the resultant body types that are good and deleting the ones that are crap. Bioware could have done this: they had 42 coders and I’m sure that they had a large enough budget to spare a programmer for a week or two.
    In fact, you could even put the procedural generator into the engine itself and use it for rendering miscellaneous NPCs with actual variation.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I was thinking this too. Surely it cannot be so grievously difficult to allow them to specify values to adjust height, weight, girth, shoulder width, bust, hip, and waste size.

      Variety really is the killer here, as I mentioned with the pre-programmed actions. Everyone acts the same!

      Maybe this was the limiting factor: they had to use characters that were ballpark of the mocap actor.

    • Then again, that would be at least 1000 lines of code, so integration into the engine might cause more trouble than it’s worth.

    • MrWhales says:

      Besides the “what is this, logic?!?” comment. If the idea came up in the first place, I’m sure it was squashed to save on tinkering with a new toy when they can just make the models like always, especially since it isn’t ever brought as that big of a deal.

  6. JPH says:

    Thane has a lot of fans.

  7. Phantos says:

    RE: “That tiny mask won’t protect from a vacuum”:

    That’s… not entirely true…

    • anaphysik says:

      Except you ought to actually read that link:

      “The experiment of exposing an unpressurized hand to near vacuum for a significant time while the pilot went about his business occurred in real life on Aug. 16, 1960. Joe Kittinger, during his ascent to 102,800 ft (19.5 miles) in an open gondola, lost pressurization of his right hand. He decided to continue the mission, and the hand became painful and useless as you would expect. However, once back to lower altitudes following his record-breaking parachute jump, the hand returned to normal.”

      No, you won’t EXPLODE or FREEZE or whatever, but it’s not like it’s painless or harmless to be exposed to hard vacuum; water still gets stripped from your skin, eyeballs, etc., and other insidious effects occur over time as well.

      (Of course, I’m pretty sure this area is only at Mars-atmospheric rather than high vacuum… but they still have the same silly outfits no matter where they go. In ME1 everyone *did* have proper suits (i.e. proper helmets to add to their proper bodysuits), but I forget what Liara’s was because why would I use her instead of Wrex and Garrus? (In seriousness, I think it was the same helmet that you, Kaidan, and Ashley wore.))

      Aaaaaaanyway, we already covered this bile during the ME2 playthrough, youuuu guuuuuys! Jack’s was the silliest.

      • Sigilis says:

        This setting seems to have shields that can maintain atmospheric pressure in areas exposed to space (see the ME2 ending oculus fight). It would not be too much of a leap to say that personal shields can maintain atmospheric pressure, but masks are needed to provide a supply of breathable air. That way you don’t have to have faceless companions in all of the abnormal atmosphere missions.

        • Klay F. says:

          Then why waste time with bulky, encumbering body armor, with helmets that severely restrict your field of view? You need one or the other, both is just silly.

          • Sigilis says:

            A space marine without body armor would look silly, that’s why. But a busty blueberry with a face obscuring helmet or, god forbid, bosom obscuring armor is unthinkable.

            That aside, I think everyone should be wearing the battle suits that Cerberus seems to manufactured a million of, even if I can’t see their Bioware face animations. Pardon, I mean because I won’t have to see their animations.

            • Klay F. says:

              But during combat you won’t be looking at how the characters emote. So its a moot point. And if you need to have a conversation in the middle of vacuum, then for christ’s sake don’t make it an important conversation where characters are required to emote. You won’t see fiction where somebody proposes marriage while both people are wearing bulky, face-obscuring spacesuits. At least I hope to every god ever conceived that won’t ever happen.

              • *Blah* says:

                That is a brilliant idea for a story.
                Just saying.

              • anaphysik says:

                You won’t see fiction where somebody proposes marriage while both people are wearing bulky, face-obscuring spacesuits. At least I hope to every god ever conceived that won’t ever happen.

                Funny you should mention that, since such a thing almost happens during the excellent Planetes (unfortunately, the bulky face-obscuring masks on the bulky spacesuits happen to be partially up at the time, so I guess that technically it doesn’t count.) I won’t spoil when.

                I really do recommend Planetes to anyone looking for some hard scifi anime. Top-notch stuff (barring a couple zanier episodes).

            • Ringwraith says:

              It’s a hold-over from 2’s characters who didn’t really wear ‘full’ suits, which didn’t have a closed suit or anything, so making them wear helmets would clash completely with their appearance.
              Can you imagine Miranda/Jack/Jacob/Kasumi with a helmet on without it looking out of place?
              (Although admittedly they managed to give Thane a pretty good mask-thing).

          • Ringwraith says:

            As the armour’s designed to stop bullets once shields are down, or at least lessen their impact.
            It was clearer in the first game, where there was an entire codex entry on body armour, and also an actual damage reduction stat for armour, whereas it was simply merged into giving you extra health in the second (and third), because at the end of the day, that’s what it was doing anyway.

      • James says:

        In ME1 Liara used female body armor, light to be exact, she used the EXACT same armor as Kaiden only it magically had brestigels (im making that a word) on her.

        In ME2 she was a DLC companion and tbh i didn’t check when we were storming that stupid station cus i was busy fighting the 6bagillion dudes he had

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      According to that page,it actually is true.You wouldnt instantly die in a vacuum,but you would slowly lose the use of the exposed body parts.So with that mask liara should slowly go blind and lose half of her face.

      EDIT:Ninjas are everywhere!

      • Paul Spooner says:

        Plus, maybe she’s an alien? I dunno. Vacuum support skin isn’t that difficult to imagine. Seems like someone would have mentioned it at some point in the series though. So yeah, probably the artists were just thinking “awesome alien head too cool to cover up with a helmet use a clear facemask instead woot!”

        • anaphysik says:

          Several human characters have the same silly mask thing as well – see ME2’s helmets (again, Jack is the most silly in this regard – though admittedly it’d be sillier if she had an proper encounter helmet but the same other wear :P).

          • Klay F. says:

            With this, its a situation of: The way they did it in the first game was perfect, why did they need to change it? These needless changes to the characters undoubtedly cost money to implement. Its pretty clear to most of us that the end result of those changes is an absolute RIDICULOUS waste of developer man-hours/money.

            • Raygereio says:

              “These needless changes to the characters undoubtedly cost money to implement.”
              Did they? If that was really the case, I doubt they did it. No matter how badly Bioware wanted people to cossplay as their characters.

              What’s really different?
              In ME1 you could equip your followers with various armour (mostly just various retextures, but whatever). You can’t do that in ME2 and 3. Instead you can just swap between 2 armours.
              As for the vaccuum. In ME1 your followers equiped a helme that matched their outcit. In ME2 and 3 your teammates either do the same thing, or put on a generic mask.

              I’m not seeing what cost huge ammounts of resources to develop here.

              • Adam Rhodes says:

                The armour being the real model in ME1 saved money because enemies and generic NPCs wore the same stuff as your crew. In ME2, a lot of NPCs got personalised looks. I mean, sure Miranda(‘s ass) looks nice in that skintight suit, but nobody else wears that. In ME1, everyone wore the same armour or dress or suit with only the colors being different.

              • Klay F. says:

                Somebody had to design all those unique clothing sets, which mean yes, it did cost money.

  8. anaphysik says:

    On squadmates: well, there are basically 3 *great* team members (Legion, Wrex, and Mordin – Garrus and Tali are only ‘alright’); ME 1 has 1 of them and ME2 has 2 of them, so *obviously* 2 is better. Numbers don’t lie, Shamus.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Youre wrong.Wrex,garrus and tali are all awesome.

      • False Prophet says:

        Garrus and Tali are awesome when you take their arcs from ME1 and ME2 in toto. Wrex is pretty awesome based on his ME1 presence alone, with his king of Tuchanka cameo in ME2 just the cherry on top.

        A lot of the ME2 teammates are pretty well-developed characters–in their own self-contained stories. But enough care wasn’t put into integrating them into the plot. They have no real connection to the Collectors plot, no real reason to risk their lives on it, and no ties to any one else in the crew besides Shepard.

        Jack has the distinction of being the only interesting human crewmate (I liked Kasumi because her loyalty mission was a nice change of pace from the usual “walk down corridor, shoot everything”, but her character wasn’t nearly as developed), and the only thing connected to Cerberus in any way that’s good (maybe because she hates them more than me). And I totally agree that she works even better in this game: they basically make her the Wolverine of Kahlee Sanders’ School for Gifted Biotics and it’s genius.

        • anaphysik says:

          No no no… ZAEED is the best guddam human character, /clearly/.
          Of course, I maintain that he should’ve been a batarian instead.

          • Sozac says:

            It would be cool if that happened, but kept the voice actor so it made no sense. I would love a Batarian with whatever that accent was, just so I could be like wtf.

            I have to disagree with you that Wrex was the only great ME1 character. He was definitely the best, but Garrus and Tali were also very good in their own ways.

            For 2, my 3 faves were Mordin, Thane, and Jack. I’m surprised Thane isn’t there for anyone in their favorites. I really liked him in 2 and was genuinely saddened by his sacrifice in 3 even though he didn’t have much longer to live anyway.

            • Serdic says:

              I would have loved more Zaeed – would have been great to visit and have more stories.

              Also, Thane’s death guts me every time. I know it’s coming, but it’s a train wreck you can’t stop.

            • Thomas says:

              Thane I liked but he’s also a bit plain because he’s so nice. He was always my romance in the end, because he’s the one who feels like he’s contributing and getting a real relationship out of it, whereas the others are more sex/crush focused. (I also liked Grunt though)

              I think my character list is:
              Tier 1: Tali, Garrus, Mordin, Legion, Zaeed, Wrex
              Tier 2: Vega, Cortez, Grunt, Jack, Kasumi, Thane
              Tier 3: Miranda, Jacob, Samara, EDI
              Tier 4: Ashley, Kaidan, Liara

              And it’s only the last tier I dislike

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Nope,I loved garrus and tali long before 2 was even announced.

          • Raygereio says:

            Genuine question: why did you like Tali?

            I ask, because I honestly don’t recall her being more then cardboard cutout through which the writers introduced the quarian people to us in ME1.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              – Good VA.

              – Alien dialogue (“Keelah se’lai”, etc.) which, despite the universal translators, still can’t be translated. Make her feel very alien. Ironic, given that the Quarians are the most human-like.

              – Kind of like Vega is for this game, Tali gets to be all “This is amazingly fantastic” to all the space stuff that should be, by all points of reason, completely bland to N7 Shepard and the others.

              – In fact, she tends to be the most surprising member of the party when talking to her, more likely to change her tone over the course of ME1 (Contrast: Wrex).

              – Alongside with Garrus, one of the two members in your team you can get into an argument about the lore they’re talking about – with Garrus you can be all “Just because I’m a Spectre doesn’t mean we don’t do things right here.”; with Tali, you can get into an argument over the Geth revolt.

              Which is the same reason quite a few people like Mordin. Because you can get into an argument with the character about the Genophage.

              • Sumanai says:

                The first part of the Geth revolution argument was done well. There were good, sensible arguments for the player to choose for a change.

                I can’t speak for any potential continuation, as I didn’t raise the topic in my previous games, and I stopped playing that one later. Can’t remember why exactly, but I’ve likely lost the save file.

              • Eärlindor says:

                Pretty much this. To quote Shamus from season 1 of SW, Liara is smart, Ashely’s capable, Tali is both.

                I enjoy the Quarian culture, the whole exile thing, and the conflict between them and the Geth.

                Also most of the stuff in this vid about Tali too. (~6min)

            • anaphysik says:

              I liked Tali because talking with her helped flesh out the geth, and actually made me sympathize with the crazy robots I had to shoot in the face. Tali, otoh, probably didn’t like the fact that I took such opposite conclusions from her and her culture :P

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Her amazement of your ship and your culture.Her coping with being thrust into this hunt with you,away from her people and everything familiar.Plus quarians are awesome by default,so all this is just bonus.

            • theNater says:

              Tali’s smart. That’s always cool, and it really stands out when she’s compared to Liara, who is supposed to be smart.

            • Otters34 says:

              I don’t really see much improvement in the combat, it looks like the first game except with more stupid crap blurring around the screen, and more eye-rolling flips for no reason.

              As for the characters being the main reason liking the story, that does seem to have been the main draw, is seeing the characters again through the series. I personally never liked the characters that much, due to them being more or less either intros to the various races and their issues(quarians being introduced by Tali, krogan by Wrex, asari by Liara…), or else to provide a smattering of backstory to make the place seem deeper, like Kaidan’s experiences at BAaT and Ashley’s family being ostracized after the First Contact War.

              But that wasn’t a problem to me because I thought the series would be ABOUT the setting, about the world and its peoples, and that the first installment would set up the necessary framework to be expanded upon by later installments. We all know how that went. So now to me it’s like a show where a small cluster of fan-favorites that I’m ambivalent towards get all the glory, with everyone else being in the background and filling in space.

              Also, that new prothean relic is an awful contrivance. Thanks for making this series of missed opportunities and bad choices so enjoyable, guys!

      • anaphysik says:

        FWIW, Garrus and Tali are in fact next on my list of best characters. Plus, Tali gets some bonus points narratively for bringing the Migrant Fleet into the story. Garrus is a cool dude but has nothing going for him narratively. Obvs I still used him with my Wrexy for the entirety of ME1, since they’re so great together XD

        (Which brings up one of the major problems with ME2 – almost no one in your party has any narrative relevance (excepting Legion, Mordin, and Tali). At best, the rest are just ‘cool dudes who can totally kill other dudes.’ Except we already *had* Garrus as the ‘cool dude who can totally kill other dudes.’)

  9. Gruhunchously says:

    They reuse a lot of musical cues from the first 2 games, don’t they. The scene where they discover the Prothean artifact has music taken from Mass Effect 1, and has a variation on Saren’s theme mixed into it, even though Saren’s role in the plot has long since ceased.

    For such a prominent character in the first game, everyone seems to have forgotten about him now.

    • Klay F. says:

      What music they don’t reuse from ME1 and ME2 is instead replaced with that idiotic Hans Zimmer “BWWWWAAAAAAAAA. from Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Its from the “Drooling Imbecile” school of music composition.

      • Thomas says:

        I really like the tinkly piano music. My brother actually stopped what he was doing to comment on it. Fog horns in general are the most overused piece of score ever. It was worst in Shutter Island

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      1st rule of character importance:

      If a character dies at the end of a game, nobody cares about them in the sequels.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Saren’s Theme was the Game Over music in the first game as well. Rather clever really, his theme played when he ‘won’.
      I think it’s still there to try and trigger some condition hatred when reused, seeing as you’re subjected to it every time you die in the first game, you associate it with failure (or something else that’s not exactly happy).

    • bit says:

      ME3 is actually really cool with the reoccurring musical motifs, which is the word you’re looking for. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the game.

    • X2Eliah says:

      True, yes. The music here is a remix of the previous games, with some incredibly generic standardized tones thrown in (reaperhorns+sadpiano).

  10. burningdragoon says:

    Everybody sing the song of Ice Hair!

  11. Sucal says:

    Liara doesn’t have Biotic power…

    She has PLOT POWER as Biowares favourite. I mean, she practically rapes you at the end of the game, and you can’t protest or anything.

  12. lurkey says:

    Funny Chris would mention “Lost”, a TV show with huge ambitions and even huger failure of an ending. So, while I were cool with ME3’s endings (stupid game ends stupidly, everything fits) as someone whose measurement unit for suckitude is now “Lost ending” I can totally emphatize with people massively disappointed with the RGB ending.

    On a more positive note, really loved the soundtrack of Mars. Most of ME3’s music was nice, and not only Mansell’s bits.

    Also – oooooh Liara, point, point that gun at the hologram! Strike a pose! Hey baby, you so badass, baby!

  13. Phantos says:

    RE: “Liara’s breathless, emotionless voice acting is starting to grate on me.”

    If anything, it’s too breathy. She’s “Bubbles” from Trailer Park Boys doing a Batman impersonation.

    And not one other Asari talks like this in the entire franchise. Not even her mother. Either it’s a case of bad direction or Ali Hillis being wrong for the part.

    And even then, it would be a lot less annoying if she weren’t this game’s Miranda.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      “She’s “Bubbles” from Trailer Park Boys doing a Batman impersonation.”

      First time I read this, I thought it was going to be Bubbles from Power Puff Girls.

      <_<

    • Ringwraith says:

      Just because she doesn’t sound like any other asari you hear doesn’t mean it’s ‘wrong’, seeing as human voices are varied enough as it is.

      While we’re (sort of) on the subject, I quite liked her voice, even when I kept hearing twinges in Lightning’s in Final Fantasy XIII (where I think she did a good job also).

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I agree. I didn’t mind Liara’s voice. The VA did a good job. I think the fact that the actress’s Lightning voice becomes more noticeable is simply due to the fact that Liara has changed since ME1.

      • Sumanai says:

        Wasn’t the main point of why humans were special in ME2 because we’re so different from each other? (This is a rhetorical question meant to mock that part of the game.)

        Anyway, I don’t know about how it is in this case, so the following is general storytelling talk:

        In fiction it’s not necessarily important if something is wrong technically, what is important is if it feels wrong. Believability is more important than realism*, for example. If everyone from a species is shown to have a certain type of voice, (some) people are going to assume they all have that type of voice for an unknown reason and feel jarred when one member of the species talks in a different way for no apparent justification.

        * A lot of stories are ignoring so many real-life events or physics etc. that including certain hard to believe historical events in your story “because it really happened” isn’t really sensible. If you’re ignoring the “it really happened” argument until you directly benefit from it, you shouldn’t use it at all.

  14. Sigilis says:

    There was an awful lot of commentary about the body models in this one… shame all of that stuff happening in the game got pushed to the sidelines while we got a discussion of boobs. Actually, I’ve changed my mind, I think we need to pay more attention to breasts in games. Mammary variation is something I hold dear to my heart.

    Varying bosom size would increase immersion to an extent, however the average player would probably not notice any significant change. Even Shamus was unable to distinguish the titanic pectoral accessories on Liara’s mother from the more modest torso model that the average Asari Commando sports. The price of making unique body models for a larger number of characters is more easily identified. For one thing, aside from the obvious cost of generating new models for each character you would also have to create or deform the models of the armor and clothing. Animations would also have to be reworked in order to account for different body shapes in order to avoid clipping and other oddities.

    These are not unworkable obstacles to creating more unique models, but demanding this additional expense on top of the already outrageous budgets of modern games seems a bit hypocritical. Essentially you are asking for more graphical fidelity and complexity while simultaneously decrying the exorbitant cost associated with providing more graphical fidelity, for a change that you might not even notice.

    Personally, I think that busting the bank for some more varied models is a luxury games should not be penalized for overlooking. Facial and clothing variation is a much more cost effective means of achieving the goal of differentiating characters.

    • Shamus says:

      “demanding this additional expense on top of the already outrageous budgets of modern games seems a bit hypocritical.”

      Yeah, which is why we weren’t demanding it. I said more than once in this episode that I was explaining why this was happening, not that it was some kind of outrage. Rutskarn called it a nitpick as well. It’s just an interesting thing to note.

      • Sigilis says:

        Somehow these nitpicks managed to edge out the stuff on Mars that was frustrating and dumb to me. I figured it was something that really irked you guys about the way that most characters in the games are presented, i.e. as an abstraction based on some very broad class. All Turians are alike in outlook and appearance, all Asari are very similar in their composition and attitude, etc. And that the model ‘nitpick’ was merely an expression of that.

        Or you guys were just really frustrated with the game from the outset and every nitpick is going to be like a gas expanding to fill all of the episodes. This game seems to dance on the edge of hatred for the crew, or maybe it just sounds like that.

        • Shamus says:

          Remember back in the first episode where I explained that I was irritated and not feeling well during this recording session. I’m sure that’s the big reason. I was really unhappy and everyone else was just trying to follow the conversation.

          • Paul Spooner says:

            Plus you’ve basically said “sorry for complaining and hogging the conversation” in every one of the episode posts. I’m taking this as a promise of reform. Hope you feel better!

          • Raygereio says:

            I don’t know. I’m liking the vitriol.
            It’s ontopic (meaning: about the game that’s being LP’ed), there are valid points being made and unlike for example a certain DLC featured in Spoiler Warning people know what they’re talking about.

            I honestly think you have nothing to apologize for, Shamus. Well, unless you feel like apologizing for putting out decent content, that is.

            • Sigilis says:

              Agreed, I wouldn’t tune in if I didn’t like little rants. Or big rants. On review my comments read as more confrontational that I intended. That things other than what I expected are being discussed is not a negative thing to me, in fact its the reason I watch: to get new perspectives on games that I would not have had otherwise.

              I apologize if I conveyed dissatisfaction in my commentary, it was not intended.

        • guy says:

          The part on Mars that was frustrating and dumb to me is in the next episode, I think.

    • Tse says:

      Saints Row did it well. There was occasional clipping, but it was rare. People had the same height, though.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Actually, if you use a consistent “default” character, you can use the vertex map as a deformation lattice to automatically re-size all clothing, armor, animation skeletons, etc. Of course, you have to set it up beforehand, but it’s a solved problem, technically speaking. And, as was mentioned above, procedural methods are very applicable here.

    • anaphysik says:

      “titanic pectoral accessories”

      must… steal… that phrase…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      To be fair,the thing that was happening during this discussion wasnt that interesting.Josh was charging and novaing his way through a bunch of mooks.Not much to say about that other than “Haha!Vanguard is so ridiculously overpowered.”

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Engineer is pretty overpowered in this game as well though. Turret and Drone spam makes every confrontation into “Pick off anything that hasn’t died yet.”

        It gets even better when you recruit Tali to the team – Two drones and a turret makes your 3-man team a 6-man team.

        Now if only Tali had the turret skill too…

        • StashAugustine says:

          Doesn’t she have a second drone?

          • Ringwraith says:

            Hence the three additional men in that three-man team.
            2 got hilarious if you took Tali and Legion out on a mission while you were also an engineer. Prismatic drones!

        • Taellosse says:

          I haven’t played with all the classes as extensively, but I think it isn’t that any particular one is overpowered, so much as every class probably has a combo strategy that makes most fights pretty damned easy. For the Adept, it’s Singularity and Warp. Particularly in this game, if you keep your gun weight down, and buy up some cooldown boosts, you can spam that combo almost endlessly, and there are relatively few enemy units that aren’t utterly destroyed by it.

          But each class also really fails, or at least struggles, under certain conditions. Vanguard runs into major issues whenever you can’t get close to the enemies, for example. And Adept has problems when enemy units are arbitrarily immune to the gravitic effects of Lift/Pull/Singularity, and like to close into melee range (such as Brutes, Banshees, and Guardians).

  15. Thomas says:

    I don’t think Jack’s straps were pandering at all. Her character arc is that she’s been so abused she treats her body like a thing and sex is nothing but manipulation. She’s got no pride but peversion. In fact if you have sex with her when she first lets you, she will never ever be loyal to you. She’s the other end of the pandering stick, the one they hit you across the face with and tell you to smarten up.

    And when you gain her trust and loyalty and she grows as a person, she gets more respectable clothes that cover more.

    I feel like the characters _in_ ME2 were by far and away the best. So Garrus and Tali are still there, but ME2 did a lot of good stuff with their characters. I don’t even hate Miranda. Her sex sequence was the least icky because at least it related to a very strong unspoken part of your relationship, that she’s had this pressure cooker life and needs a trophy almost in everything she does. The only character whose not in the ME2 squad who I loved was Wrex, and then I’d take Vega and maybe Edi. Ashley and Liara can go jump in a hole

    • Hitch says:

      If I remember correctly (and my memory is probably worse than Shamus’s (I know that’s wrong, what the proper possessive form of Shamus?)), in the ME2 Spoiler Warning, they did Jack’s loyalty mission, but then never used her again so they could change her into her less revealing outfit which they had unlocked. Mainly because they were biased against the character by the silly belt top outfit she wore.

    • Taellosse says:

      They weren’t pandering because they were inappropriate to her character, they were pandering because they defy the laws of physics. It is totally in keeping with her character that she’d wear very little (for multiple reasons–both the history of abuse you mention, and her extensive tattoos–people who get heavily tattooed tend to like to display their body art, and are far more likely to wear minimal or no clothing than the average). But that particular arrangement of leather straps WOULDN’T STAY ON. If they were tight enough to remain in place during even normal daily activity, they’d have been squashing her breasts down quite noticeably, and even then the first time she started to run or jump about–which she does a fair amount of just in her intro–they’d have slid right off her breasts. If they were loose enough to leave the normal shape of her chest intact, as they do, they’d slide off simply by her breathing and walking.

      Many of the outfits in Mass Effect are less than altogether practical (Armor shaped to emphasize a woman’s breasts is the opposite of rational. Breathing masks that are firstly connected to no visible air supply and secondly fail to actually cover the entire head are useless in nearly every situation they see use in ME2), but they’re generally not outright impossible. The glaring, absurd exception is Jack’s base ME2 outfit.

  16. Sozac says:

    Game Grumps is AWESOME! No offense to SW.
    But yeah, both ME2 and DA2 seem very character focused with little to actually do with the plot. I mean, in DA2 you do a lot more stuff, but it can’t hit the grand scale of stopping a Blight. I really want to see where they go with that, but for ME2 it was sort of the same. You do a lot on a small scale, but by the end you haven’t progressed the overarching story, but you got a bunch of new things added onto it. Also, I still hate how much time they spent making Cerberus an extra bad guy. They already have the Reapers, which can already make new enemy types. IDK, Cerberus was just my least favorite enemy in the game. I liked them more when they were just incompetent terrorists that you would stumble across doing crazy stupid things. And you were like “Damn, should’ve known Cerberus would try cloning Thresher Maws and unleash them on a nearby colony.”

  17. Zombie says:

    On mechanics: The changes to biotics between 1 and 2 were amazing. In ME1 the Saren fight was by far the most annoying boss fight I have ever done, as biotics went where ever you were pointed, and didn’t lock on to your target, meaning while Saren was trying to be the Energizer Bunny, I couldn’t hit him with my powers, meaning I was forced to fight him with my woefully underpowered pistol and my ok Shotgun. Thankfully I brought Garus and Wrex. So it wasn’t THAT bad.

    • Thomas says:

      And then from 2 to 3, you can actually use your biotic powers properly in day to day fighting instead of shooting

    • swenson says:

      Really? I’ve always maintained that the only way to do the Saren fight is as an Adept with Liara and Kaidan. It’s so simple then! Between the three of you, it’s easy to lock him down with Pull, Throw, etc. so he barely even gets a chance to fight you.

      • Irridium says:

        Yeah, he was pretty easy to fight as an adept for me as well. Had Ashley and Wrex with me. I just waited until he stopped hopping around to shoot at you and unleash my biotic fury.

      • Zombie says:

        However, I was a Vanguard, and in ME1 they were basically just glorified adepts, except they were able to use a shotgun. And I thought, “Hey! I got him to kill himself! No boss fight for me!” So I was mad I had to fight a boss after using half my medi-gel in the proceeding sections.

  18. Ateius says:

    The ultimate reason for bringing TIM back better be so we can shoot him in the face. I really don’t like the character, mostly because I associate him with all the railroading and contrivances of ME2.

    • Thomas says:

      His actual character plot contrivances aside is brilliant though. I’m waiting for Kai Leng to show up before I full gush though.

      If they’d made the character of TIM a more integral part of ME3’s plot it would have proved the game hugely. There was so much I wanted to know about where he came from, why he was like he was, what he hoped to do. Instead we only get the (awesome) logs at the end.

      If we could totally rewrite games to fit our dreams, the main focus of ME3 would have been on the three ideological standpoints of Sovereign, TIM and Shepard (Anderson?). Destroy, Control and Hope. Everyone is still fighting the Reapers, but as a more subtle indoctrination people begin to ask, what happens after? The Krogans respect the value of destruction, the Salarians understand control and consider hope naive…

      It doesn’t have to exactly be that, but they excel at character so they should have shaped their story so more of it was character focused. TIM was a huge missed opportunity, Sovereign the same, a chance to begin to have a meaningful motive for the enemy

      • guy says:

        I hate Kai Leng and everything to do with him and his stupid ponytail and plot armor and combat taunts and HeadsIWinTailsYouLose fight and and…

        Sorry, my first playthrough ran into his first bossfight a couple of hours ago.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          True, that’s fair, but…

          The thing about Kai Leng is that he’s kind of like the Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow Gary. He’s overly smug, annoying, and he keeps trying to fight your characters regardless of whether it’s clear you want to run him through a meat grinder slowly…

          …Can you imagine if the last fight you had with had a Paragon option to spare him? I don’t think anyone would’ve taken it.

          • Jace911 says:

            I wanted the Renegade option to break the glass in front of TIM’s chair and send him spinning out to a very cold, then a very hot death, because as satisfying as the existing Renegade option was the setup was absolutely retarded.

            “Hurjagahurjagahurjaga, I beat Kai Leng so I’m not going to bother making sure he’s dead. Just gonna sit down at his chair and randomly type shit while my two friends also turn their backs on the Adam Jensen wannabe for no reason. Hurrdadurrderp.”

            • Merle says:

              I think it’s just pure, utter contempt for the worthless bastard.
              Even if you miss the Renegade interrupt, Shepard still stabs him with no real trouble – it’s just a little more badass with the interrupt.

              They knew full well that he wasn’t quite dead, they just didn’t care. He wasn’t worth the effort to kill until he made himself slightly more troublesome.

      • Sigilis says:

        Er, in this hypothetical dream plot, who would represent hope? Sovereign/Harbinger/The Reapers are hardly the naive dreamers who want love and peace for all, I think. And Anderson/Shepard are clearly in favor of blowing the enemy up because that’s what soldiers do, and they have a reasonable distrust of anything that leaves any Reapers alive because of the whole indoctrination thing.

        Also, this is the first time I’ve ever heard a hint of positive opinion about TIM, so I’m looking forward to having my mind blown by your advertised gushing.

        I completely disagree about the idea that TIM should even have had the importance to the plot he had in ME3 let alone more. It took me an entire day to stop screaming obscenities at my computer after each encounter with Leng or TIM. Any more involvement and I would have had to travel to Bioware and congratulate them personally on making me hate their game so much, since their intent was clearly to make me do so.

      • guy says:

        So, having gotten to the final conversation with TIM I actually kind of like him as a character now. Cerberus is still dumb, however.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I liked the final conversation with TIM. It might not make a lick of sense, but the decision to let the player plant small pockets of doubt in the his head in order to finally break his will at the end was very smart. Let us use the mechanics in an interesting way.

        Fuck Kai Leng. Enough said there.

  19. Phantos says:

    I was actually physically angry that Jack wasn’t a squad-mate in ME3. My favourite non-Garrus character in the series, and the game prevents me from bringing her into the final battle… or any battle. Especially considering she doesn’t really have any good excuse not to be on your team after her side-mission is completed.

    I think ME2 is still my favourite of the series, because of how strong the cast was. Even the characters I only had a passing interest in were better than Liara and Vega in my book. When you get that many neat, interesting creatures into a single story, you can almost get away with anything.

    • IFS says:

      I felt really dissapointed that Wrex and legion weren’t available as squadmates for at least part of the game. Say have Wrex ba a squad member starting at Sur-Kesh until after Tuchanka and Legion from when you find him until after Rannoch. I know there is an excuse for Wrex but really how long does it take mordin to take a tissue sample?

    • Zombie says:

      Heck, I was mad that if you start a new ME3 game without a save from a previous game, apparently all the good and ok characters (Thane, Jack, Samara, Legion) got killed, and the terrabad characters, Miranda (cause you loved her, right? Of course you did) and Jacob, survived. And its all the more sad, because Jack makes the whole School level (I don’t remember what it’s called) epic, while without her its just another level.

    • Thomas says:

      I think Jacks reason feels good to me. She’s never loved and got close to anything in her life before, wanting to stay around the kids and protect them rather than return to be a biotic psycho with you doesn’t feel forced

  20. Chris says:

    I feel sort of bad that we’re ~40 minutes in and already producing episodes with references that require liner notes.

    Edit: AND NO ONE GOT MY JOE ESTEVEZ JOKES AND I FEEL BAD

  21. Nersh says:

    That Charge ability is beginning to do horrible things to my ears.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      “RRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHH”
      *Charge bash effects*
      “GGGGGRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
      *Nova slam effects*
      “RRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHH”
      *Charge bash effects*
      “GGGGGRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
      *Nova slam effects*
      “RRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHH”
      *Charge bash effects*
      “GGGGGRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH”
      *Nova slam effects*

  22. Mr Charles says:

    The first time someone pointed their gun at the Illusive man’s hologram, I brushed it of as Liara just being startled by his appearance. But Shepard and co. continued to do this for the entire game, and by the end it really started to piss me off.

    The thing about the character focus is, you only really get major pay-off for a handful of the cast you’ve grown to love, with most relegated to single side missions, ranging from okay to Jacob. Coupled with a far more obtrusive and moronic main plot that ruins what was positive in the overarching story, you get a very disappointing game considering what was promised, albeit with a few high points.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Honestly, I expected that this would be how they handled the ME2 cast. Simply put, there were too many variables to consider with all these characters. That was by far the easiest way to do it.

      Doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it definitely shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

  23. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    So, I’m willing to allow that everything’s just bigger in the South, but does Liara’s chest actually qualify for “big?” Samara, yes -canon balls strapped to a beanpole -but Liara?

  24. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Girlfriend mode aside, I’d like games to come with a “company” or perhaps a “mother” mode. I’d like to avoid starting my pitch of ME2 with “well once you get past Jack’s character design, the game is really quite good.”

    And while reasonable costuming is to be prefered, the answer to this question is known: clothed in such a way as to let everyone imagine what she looks like naked, without actually being so. Mae West, Cecil B. DeMille, and Gene Rodenberry made a fortune off the Theiss Titillation Theory

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Disclaimer, I in no way support discussion of the “girlfriend mode” in this thread. I thought “Girlfriend mode” was in reference to the difficulty and complexity of the game.

      But yeah, a “g-rated visuals” mode would be a welcome addition to any of these “mature” games. Unfortunately, refer to the above discussion about the cost of additional character models. When it’s “turn off blood” that’s easy. When it’s “change the whole character design, clothing, and animations” it’s probably going to be prohibitive.

    • Thomas says:

      I don’t have insight into Bioware’s mind, but I’m pretty sure that Jacks appearance is meant to make you feel uncomfortable. Her character is meant to be a deliberate, embittered eff off to society and she chose everything about herself from the hair, to the piercings to the tatoos to convey that message and shock people

      See post above. Having her dressed properly sexily would have ruined the character because then she wouldn’t have this culturally broken attitude and it would be an appearance that invites people in and suggests she wants positive attention from people and believes it’s possible. If they had to clothe her, then they should drop the sex angle entirely from her character and just make her normal and ragged like the bonus costume.

      • McNutcase says:

        No matter how much she wants to shock people and turn them off, I have difficulty believing she’d voluntarily wear an outfit that she essentially has to glue to her nipples.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        It’s not just Jack. How many movies -even R-rated movies -have you gone to where the camera was set 12 inches behind the lead actress’s butt for half her dialogue? Even movies with more-than-suggestive sex do not have every woman in film slut-strut from start to finish.

        For an industry that supposedly keeps thinking it’s making Hollywood blockbusters, the cinematography drifts into snuff film far to frequently.

        And it’s obnoxious.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      It exists, Mario Galaxy had ‘co-star’ mode where you helped the main player (in fact I recall Miyamoto wanting to have parents play with their kids specifically). The term ‘girlfriend mode’ was actually originally used by some forum goers to describe it.

      Edit: I also made a mistake and thought this was a reference to difficulty. Feel free to delete this comment if need be and I’d comment on Mumbles’ article.

  25. Eärlindor says:

    Guilty as charged. As much as I enjoy the characters, I can’t get passed to stupid overarching story because it started off GREAT, and it could’ve continued to be GREAT, but it wasn’t–in fact, it got dumber. It REALLY hampers my enjoyment of these games.

    What doesn’t help in ME3 is that all the characters are substantially weaker than they were in previous games, and even good characters from ME2, like Mordin, got completely murdered (… no pun intended actually), so I couldn’t even enjoy those. The one thing that would’ve made it tolerable was taken away… okay not entirely: Javik was good. EDI (minus the “sexy” body) was good. And the Virmire survivor (especially Ashley) was good (minus the Cerberus ragging). And you know what? … I’d be a big jerk not including Garrus and Tali, but on the whole, the characters–even the good ones–were a big step down in ME3 compared to 2.

    Yes. Combat has improved in ME3 by leaps and bounds, but there still is a reliance on cover, which I hate. The level design is also bad, which I think Chris alluded to, but to add to that, the spaces are really counter-intuitive and it’s not apparent where you’re suppose to go. That’s pretty crazy given how linear the levels are.

    I actually thought the Citadel was a VAST improvement over ME2, and felt much closer to the original. You had not just a hospital, but docks, the embassy, the presidium, etc. Though the individual spaces were great, admittedly none of them felt connected like in ME1, save for by a single elevator.

    3:40 – Flashlights in futuristic games bug me. Everyone really should have some kind of night-vision.

    9:27 – Jack actually had an awesome jacket and shirt (DLC–RAAAGE) outfit for ME2, but they also block her eyes with the STUPIDEST sunglasses (BIGGER RAGE!).

    Jack in ME3 felt really weird to me. I have a hard time believing the Alliance would hire a convicted psychopath with a criminal record miles long. And I also have a hard time believing should would have cleaned up her act as much as she did.

    Screw TIM, and screw Cerberus. They have no business being the chaotic stupid, Galactic Empire they have become in this game.

    • Eärlindor says:

      “She” not “should”. X(

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      As I recall, it was the fact that she worked with Shepard that gave her the free-reign to work freely at the Biotic school.

      Plus, she only cleaned up her act because it gave her reign over the teaching there. She still could go all evil, but because the Alliance gave her the capability to train other biotics to not have as bad a life as she did…she seems to have taken to it.

      • Eärlindor says:

        It just seems super contrived and unbelievable.

        • Thomas says:

          Eh if you loyalty mission Jack and max out relationship in the second game she’s already stopped being a psycho, she’s just embarrassed about talking about it now. She never actually liked killing people, it’s just that she didn’t trust a single person and in defense she refused to let people get close enough to show themselves as trustworthy. Shepard broke that cycle in 2 and so broke her need to lash out at anything around her. When she says go away Shepard, we’ve talked enough, she means it’s over and the way she’s viewed the world has been destroyed.

          So her care bearing up really isn’t much of a change. It’s maybe a little weird that they trust her, but I suspect Grissom is used to broken rejected biotic cast-outs and is a bit more flexible

  26. Raygereio says:

    Note on Kai Leng: While this is his first appearance in the games, he was set up in the Mass Effect novels. And when I say “set up” I mean just introduced as a mindblowingly stupid character. His greatest accomplishment was stealing someone cereal and peeing in their vase (Yes, I’m dead serious).
    Fun fact: the Kai Leng described in the novel is completely different from the Kai Leng in ME3. BioWare! *jazz hands*

    Now, to give praise where it’s due:
    I could not stand Jack in ME2. She did not at all feel like a real character to me, but as a really obnoxious hollywood’esque caricature of a person with sever mental and physical traumas.
    To my surpise, I ended up liking her in ME3. She’s was a character all of a sudden. I was actually kinda annoyed that she wasn’t a squadmate and we instead had Sergeant Meathead dumped on us. The fact that Jack’s outfit in ME3 even has the lights on the back where weapons go makes it feel like it was at leat at some point planned for her to be squadmate though.

    And back to hating on Bioware:
    On the subject of BioWare and sexism. I’d like to point out that Jack’s outfit in ME3 has her nipples erect and kinda huge in size. No reason. It’s just there.
    Miranda’s bodymodel (shared by TIM’s sexbot) has a cameltoe: http://i.imgur.com/vVmPb.jpg
    Again no in universe reason for it, it’s just something to make you feel creepy while playing this game. Though if I’m honest I’m not sure if that’s so much genuine sexism as it is general immaturity.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I’ll bet the character model artists kept getting dictums to “add more model fidelity!” All those facets have to go somewhere. And what’s the point of adding more facets if no one can tell afterword? Gotta make that detail stand out!

    • swenson says:

      I thought we all agreed to pretend the book in which he peed in a vase never, ever, ever happened?

      The book that never happened also included such idiocy as batarian slave raids on the turian homeworld, the surest way to commit suicide that I can think of, a major character’s severe autism being dismissed as being “unstable” when she was twelve and having a temper, and biotics getting new implants (yes, implants, not amps). Kai Leng peeing into a vase and stealing Anderson’s cereal are the least of its problems.

      • Sigilis says:

        Which book was this? I heard the novels were interesting, and was planning on picking them up at some point. Gotta know which one to avoid.

        • Raygereio says:

          Gotta know which one to avoid.
          All of them. I’m not joking. Don’t spend money on them. They’re all pretty awfull.

          While you’re at it: also avoid the comics. The only good thing those brought us is the hilarious picture of TIM raping a Turian.

        • Taellosse says:

          The ones by Drew Karpyshyn aren’t bad, and are at least reasonably consistent with the established universe. Those being Revelation (which takes place before ME1; Ascension, which takes place shortly after ME1; and Retribution, which takes place shortly before ME2.

          The one to avoid is Deception, which is written by W.C Dietz, who apparently made little or no effort to familiarize himself with the Mass Effect universe before churning out a book on contract, and is filled with massive errors in setting lore, consistency, and internal logic. That one takes place between ME2 and ME3, and was meant to set up some elements of the final game, but mostly failed horribly. When the book was widely ridiculed, a revised edition was promised, but so far nothing’s come of that.

      • guy says:

        “batarian slave raids on the turian homeworld”

        What. For serious? I mean, the Turian homeworld’s moon makes an appearance early in ME3. I cannot possibly imagine anyone raiding anything in that entire star system without being reduced to a fine paste before landing.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Well there’s also the whole ‘half the times you talk to Miranda the camera is pointed at her bum’ thing.

  27. burningdragoon says:

    My favorite thing about this part of the game was discovering the mail slot challenge. Huge grin on my face every time. That being said, Josh makes Vanguard look super fun.

    Re: Liara’s chesticles, remember the “story” setting for the demo? That was… silly.

  28. rrgg says:

    When creating an action game what you are generally looking for is a way to give the player a lot of control with a limited number of controls. If you make it too simple and add too much context sensitive buttons then you are taking control away from the player, but if you go crazy and hotkey an action to every single button then you are still taking control away as they struggle to remember what does what and which keys they are supposed to babysit. Throwing a grenade into a wall when you meant to action roll because the buttons are clear across the keyboard and really close together isn’t much fun either.

    So far I haven’t really been using the powers much for this very reason. I might hold shift and use something whenever I first walk into a room, but after that groping for the right numberkey every time it recharges just feels like it’s taking away valuable time that could be spent just shooting people. So in that respect ME3 somehow managed to fail on both ends of the spectrum.

  29. AJ_Wings says:

    Slightly off-topic Question: Is there a recent PC shooter that lets you bind different various functions into different keys that were originally on one key? I see this complaint gets raised in a lot of modern shooters but I don’t remember a game, well the ones I played, that gave you the option.

    • Raygereio says:

      I can’t think of a single game that does that. Recent or non-recent.

      Sometimes you can do this by mucking around with things like the game’s .ini files.

      • McNutcase says:

        As I understand how input handling is generally done these days, it’s likely to range from “arcane” (scrabbling around in ini files to find the actual input primitives, manually assigning separate buttons to them, hoping it doesn’t get “repaired”) to “impossible”. A depressing number of games obfuscate their initialisation into blobs of data that are stupidly hard to edit, as well; it’s getting less and less easy to fine-tune things.

      • ehlijen says:

        I also cannot remember a game ever that let you split normally combined actions to several buttons.

        I think there were a few that would allow combining things into one button (though mostly this was done through input device drivers overriding normal values, ie telling the computer that Joystick button 2 is really a and x at the same time). Most games wouldn’t even allow that without manual mucking though.

    • Ringwraith says:

      There are quite a few games which have different combinations of actions for bindable actions. Last time I checked, Call of Duty has a “Melee”, “Steady Sniper Scope”, as well as “Melee/Steady Sniper Scope” and possibly “Sprint” and “Sprint/Steady Sniper Scope” (although it has been a while). Thus letting you choose what buttons you want to do multiple actions or to separate them out completely.
      Also any game that allows two key binds for once action helps this problem, it doesn’t separate them, but allows you to use different buttons for different parts of the combined actions. I tend to abuse this with anything which combines Use and Reload.

      • McNutcase says:

        Interesting. I have to admit, I was not expecting Call of Duty to be leading the way in doing controls sensibly.

        Sometimes, there’s a “default to doing something useful” thing going on. I make sure all my bind setups, regardless of game, have E as Use; one game has it as Do Stuff, and when there’s nothing under the crosshair to Do Unto (which could mean poking an interactive object, at least three different ways of interacting with NPCs, or calling for a player to follow you; it’s my poster child for control overload) it does… nothing. Another game, all it really does is pick things up or activate interactive objects; but if neither action is available, and my current weapon isn’t full of ammo, it’ll reload it. Which is useful.

        The second game is Borderlands, by the way. Please don’t get me started on how annoying it is to have “press” and “hold” do different things. I’ve become very tired of accidentally starting to use the crappy vendor trash I just wanted to dump into my invisible leather^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hspace-age tardis so I could convert it into arbitrary currency units at the next vending machine.

  30. RCN says:

    One thing I can say for ME3 is that combat was fun again. I mean, GODS! In ME2 you felt being a biotic was the most thorough waste of time in the galaxy, since your powers did precisely NIX to anything with any sort of protection (which was EVERYBODY on any difficulty setting above normal).

    I mean, the far a away best biotic power in ME2 was, without a shadow of doubt, Barrier. The power that lets you stay with your head popped out of cover for a few seconds more than normal. So you can whittle down all those shields and armors and barriers at a steadier pace (because some of them regenerate! WOO!)

    Now, even when they are protected to your powers, you can make a biotic combo to detonate that protection. The powers interact in a lot of more sensible ways. AND they have a nice mechanic that makes sense on why a biotic would carry light arms. (In ME2 it always felt weird that I could learn to use sniper rifles, even though I was grateful since it made the final stretches of the game possible as a biotic.)

    Of course, after seeing Josh’s charge/nova slaughterfest, I feel kinda impotent in my biotic build…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But werent power detonations in 2 as well?

      Thats why I loved infiltrator so much.You just use disruption ammo on your sniper,and barriers go down.Then you incinerate the shield,and voila.Also cloak,for that extra damage against tough guys.

      • RCN says:

        There were? I guess I just stopped using biotic powers after the tutorial since I noticed they did precisely nothing to everything. It was all about choosing the right weapon for the right defense.

        I know I actually liked fighting the husks because they were one of the few enemies without defenses, so I could just use biotic push to send them into some crater, cliff or hole.

        • Ringwraith says:

          The combos weren’t nearly as developed as they are in 3, pretty much only Warp detonated stuff on the biotic side and I think Overload could pop some tech powers, although I could be remembering that part wrong as you can do that in 3.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Husk had crazy defenses on the highest difficulty though.Still no match for the maxed out widow though.

          As for the combos,didnt really use them.I preferred staying in the back with my sniper while the teammates did the melee thing.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Or just taking all the area-of-effect upgrades for powers tended to make the ubiquitous secondary bars a breeze. A single Incinerate or Overload would deal with armour, and a good Warp explosion on one unlucky target would deal with barriers.

  31. Jace911 says:

    Anybody else notice how Regina abruptly decided that helmets were too mainstream for her during the tram fight?

  32. Khizan says:

    “118 comments. Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!”

    Oh man! Let’s see if it does!

    Edit: It did! It totally did!

  33. Winter says:

    OH BOY RUTSKARN TALKED ABOUT BOYS WITH BOOBS SO NOW I’M GONNA DO IT TOO!

    I’ve been waiting to make this comment since Mass Effect 1, knowing that some day… SOME DAY someone would say something that warranted it. I was expecting someone to suggest the Asari had dicks first, though.

    Anyway, it would have been neat if they had included more alternate sex designs in the game. Boys with boobs would be one of the obvious ones (even if they were gag boobs), girls without would be another option. (What’s with the reptilian races that have mammaries? That doesn’t make any damn sense!)

    I’m not saying it’s something that you necessarily want to do, but if you even look at the tremendous diversity here on Earth–even just among mamals–you’ll see that it’s really bizarre that all of these aliens run around with basically human sexual layout. Like, somehow the Asari developed into a mono-gender race with head tentacles but otherwise developed into totally human-looking females? I’m not saying it’s not possible, but it’s weird and it’s even more weird when that’s everyone. At least lampshade it or something. I dunno.

    I guess as you went on to discuss the point of the alien species isn’t really about “hard scifi aliens” but more about presenting them as an allegory for humanity. I think that’s kind of boring and lifeless, myself, but so it goes.

  34. LunaticFringe says:

    I actually groaned when I found out that the scientist’s name is ‘Eva Core’. Would’ve been ok if they lampshaded it, but the whole game takes itself so seriously it just comes off as hack writing.

  35. Keredis says:

    I must say, I’ve never been a fan of videogames where, if the enemy would just DO NOTHING, they’d win, because you’d be unable to progress. Like when Cerberus sends that Tram to go fight you, after yours stops working. I mean, they could have just sat on their end of the tunnel and played Euchre, and they’d have won.

    • Syal says:

      No, man, see they had to shut off your Vanguard power to make you use the tram; if they were playing fairly and Cerberus was sitting there playing Euchre, Shepherd would have just Vanguarded her way to them and killed them all anyway.

      And the paragon option would have been sending the tram back for your friends to use, with renegade leaving them behind and doing the rest of the mission by yourself.

      • Keredis says:

        That actually would have been pretty hilarious. But then they’d have to actually explain why they never allowed you to use Charge any other time when you couldn’t get to an area on foot.

        Hell, Cerberus could have just kept the doors shut there and fogged up the glass screens to prevent you from seeing them, since you can’t charge without having an enemy to lock onto.

  36. X2Eliah says:

    Random thing to say: this isn’t as bad as I feared, pre-season. There’s the nit-picking, sure, but for now it’s either been relevant/on-point, or Mumbles/Chris/Josh have spoken out against unfair comentary. So that’s actually.. really great, imo.

    Josh, are you planning to go all vanguard when you encounter Cerberus Nemesises? Because.. idk if they do that in single-player, but in MP they mostly instakill you when you charge in melee range. :\ So annoying.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Nope, they do it in singleplayer too. Although that hasn’t stopped me from out-meleeing a couple sometimes.
      You can also shatter their swords to prevent them from doing it.

      • bit says:

        What on earth are you talking about? Melee was my primary way of taking those little buggers out. Then again, I was invisible and had enough melee buffs to take down an Atlas with two hits, but it’s far from impossible. Wouldn’t the charge stun them too?

        • X2Eliah says:

          Only if it is not under any other effect (like stagger or pushback) from anything else. If iti s, your charge won’t stun them and they’ll insta-kill you.

          • IFS says:

            I’ve said this before but if you back up immediatly after charging/while nova-ing you can pretty easily avoid almost all instakill attacks (multiple banshees can still be a problem, but thats about all that can threaten you).

  37. Vect says:

    Thing with Kai Leng is that you need to have read the books to know anything about him, something that not all fans are guaranteed to do. That and in the books he was arguably more Anderson’s enemy than Shepard’s.

    In my mind, they could have done a bit more with his character, like consistently refer to alien companions in slurs. He comes off instead as a really annoying guy you just want to bash in, like Gary from the early Pokemon games as a previous person said.

    And on Liara’s voice actress, I’d say that she’s trying to channel Lightning from FF XIII since Ali Hillis uses the same voice in that game as well.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Mass Effect 1 came before FFXIII, and even ME2 came somewhat before FFXIII, although it’s hard to say when the voice work for them was actually done.
      Lightning and Liara also aren’t quite the same voice, you just hear bits and pieces of the other in them.

    • SleepingDragon says:

      Okay, I’ll be honest, as much as I like reading and as much as I like expanding on an interesting setting I have a very bad opinion on “companion novels” for games in general and I absolutely hate it when they make it a required reading for some event/character/plot twist to make sense.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Bioware expressly stated that they wanted to include the characters from the novels as easter eggs for those who read them. After playing through the game first, and then reading them, I can say that it really didn’t work. It just raises too many questions for non-readers. Once we make it to the end, that’ll become more apparent, especially when they namedrop Greyson and what they did to that character in the books.

        • Keredis says:

          If you want to include characters as Easter Eggs, then do just that: Make them Easter Eggs, but keep them out of the plot. Or at least give the option in game to ask, “Who is this guy and why should I care?” Give the chance for some exposition for those who want it.

          Hell, Baldur’s Gate 2 even did that with party members from the first game. “I’m sorry, could you remind me who you are again?”

  38. Zaxares says:

    2:05: It’s particularly egregious in multiplayer, where it results in situations where you run over to try and revive an ally, only to end up ducking into cover into the wall beside them. On higher difficulties, this can mean you miss the window of opportunity between safely getting your ally back up and when the big, nasty enemy comes walking around the corner and forces you to run.

    7:54: Yeah, the ME1 crew still remains my favourites. (Especially Tali. <3) But I have to admit I bonded quite well with Mordin, Kasumi and to a lesser extent with Miranda as well. It might just be because we've known those characters the longest and we've had a chance to see them grow and develop.

    8:12: I actually hated Jack in ME2, although I sympathised with her history. I was pleasantly surprised with Jack's growth in ME3; I honestly thought that Bioware would not be capable of making me like her, but they proved me wrong.

    10:24: I imagine it's similar to the way airports have warnings written or messages broadcast in different languages. If the Mars Archive had alien staff working here on a frequent basis, they might have done it to help make them feel more welcomed.

    14:12: It's also worth mentioning that Bioware is one of the few (only?) companies that will even DARE touch same sex or alternative sexualities in their games. How many other games do you know, RPG or otherwise, that have homosexual love interests? Usually it's like homosexual people don't even exist in the game world, or if they do, they are portrayed as weird, disgusting, morally corrupt or downright evil.

    15:39: Yeah… It was UNBELIEVABLY dumb of Cerberus to send that second tram over after the bomb had disabled the first tram. I mean… WHY?! They're already trapped out there! Just leave them where they are and get a shuttle to fly you away from your current location!

    17:37: Actually, if you look closely, Tali has a LARGER chest than most Quarian females. Umm… Not that I've been looking closely. *cough*

    18:40: HEPLER said that?? Wow… Considering Jennifer Hepler herself is a female gamer, that's… strange.

    19:30: Ehhh, not exactly true, Shamus. The story is that it turns out there was a second Prothean bunker hidden deeper beneath the first one that humans found in 2137, that they only discovered recently. The datapads found throughout this mission tell the story. I won't deny that it's AWFULLY convenient though. :P

    • newdarkcloud says:

      The tram thing is even dumber because we are playing as FemShep in this case. It makes more sense as male Shepard because you took the radio from a male soldier. In this, we see a female speaking through the radio of a male soldier. This doesn’t make sense.

      There’s no real solution to that as the Virmire Survivor could be either gender and Liara is female as well, even if they are less well known. I guess you could have made it a female soldier and let Liara do it.

  39. Even says:

    3:49 “This is cruel even by Cerberus standards.”

    When did they ever have any standards?

    I felt like there really should have been some interrupt option there or maybe Joker cutting in over the comlink. It just makes Liara seem dumb and anyone listening even dumber for not even challenging it.

    • SleepingDragon says:

      I’m not sure if it’ll happen since the mission may be optional but after one map there is Hackett’s “a lot can be said about Cerberus but they never hurt innocents” line ;)

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Did he actually say that!? I must have missed it then because I would have remembered a line that stupid.

        Cerberus does nothing BUT kill innocents.

        • Sumanai says:

          And its own employees, if memory serves.

        • Keredis says:

          The conversation with Hackett takes place after N7: Cerberus Abductions.

          Shepard: “Cerberus still denying responsibility?”
          Hackett: “Yes. And for once, we’re inclined to believe them. Gunning down innocent humans isn’t their usual M.O.”

          • newdarkcloud says:

            Gunning them down isn’t, but kidnapping, drugging, experimenting on is all fair game.

            • Keredis says:

              Also, if you add the Mars mission, asphyxiating via depressurizing living quarters, and… gunning them down. Assuming that you count “unarmed scientists” as “civilians.”

          • SleepingDragon says:

            It hurt more because when that dialogue started I was actually expecting that the devs are finally going to give the player a nod and call Cerberus on their BS. Like, Hackett will say “Yes, but somehow whenever we catch Cerberus in the act it always turns out to be one rogue faction or another”, but no joy.

            If that’s a direct quote from the dialogue (about “gunning down”) than I suppose he is technically correct. Still, it seemd like a wasted opportunity to make at least a little bit good with the players.

            • Keredis says:

              Yeah, that’s a direct quote. Just rewatched a LP to make sure. And Admiral Hackett never seemed like the sort of person to defend a terrorist organization that’s been launching an all-out assault on Alliance forces on a technicality.

  40. Danath says:

    Big breasts but the ability to cover them is best out of the options outlined. Lots to comment in the episode, but still gonna mention it. Big breasts don’t LOOK as big when covered, wheras parts pointlessly hanging out looks weird and nonsensical in every setting involving combat.

    Jack in some of the ME2 DLC gets an alternate outfit that’s basically a jacket and stuff.

    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.joystiq.com/media/2010/03/me2newcostumesdlc.jpg

    This alone made her a much much better character to me, although I still would never have recruited her in the first place considering how unstable she supposedly is.

    For femshep, again DLC armor… Kestrel.

    http://i1118.photobucket.com/albums/k616/aislinntrista/Moira%20Shepard/moirashepardarchangel2.jpg

    She has boobs, but it covers them up with what looks like actual armor, I loved it.

    • Chris says:

      Both of those outfits are actually really great – especially Jack’s, who gets an outfit that’s still totally with her character but less… fanservice-y. I’m sort of sad neither was in the base game.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You know,weve reached a weird place when instead of buying outfits that will reveal more skin,fans are buying ones that will reveal less skin.

        • Ringwraith says:

          It happens more often than you’d think. For all the pandering and exploitation of such things that’s meant to happen, the opposite seems to happen around about equally or so.

  41. Lame Duck says:

    Honestly, I think the Mass Effect series does OK with body model variety, at least relative to other games. You get a decent amount of variety in Mass Effect just because the different races have different bodies and they seem to make new models when they feel the character design really needs it (e.g. Vega).

    Dragon Age Origins was so much worse purely because Wynne’s whole thing was supposed to be that she was really old and only alive because of magic, but her having the same body as the twenty year olds completely undermines this. It’s also a much bigger problem in Bethesda engine games because the fact that you’re constantly stripping people down to steal their armour makes it so much more obvious that everyone’s physique is the same.

    More models would be nice, but if they were going to spend the resources on it, I would much, much prefer them to spend it on making female versions of all the races rather than more individual variety.

  42. Sumanai says:

    The way I see the “people focus on negative parts of Bioware games” is that, well. Imagine a restaurant that has great appetisers, but suffers from a distinct stench of rat poop. Over the course of the years you’ve visited that place the smell has never left and in fact it has gotten slowly worse and lately a smell of dried vomit has added itself into the experience.

    To me it makes sense if someone goes from
    “That place has great appetisers, but that smell is bad” to
    “What is up with the smell? Do they ever clean that place up? Seriously, what is wrong with them?”

    To finalise the analogy I’ll have to add that their drinks have gotten better, but nothing remarkable, and their desserts have gone worse.

    About the breast-thing:
    One reason why the female physique could bother people more than the male physique is that Mass Effect doesn’t have “muscle armour”, like Batman often has, but does have “boob armour”. The male armour looks vaguely practical, while the female armour is definitely not practical. The structure is weaker and if you get a good impact on the chest the centre part (cleavage) could hit hard into the sternum.

    Also, close to what Chris mentioned, the female armour (and clothes for that matter) makes a special case of pointing out that the person wearing that armour has knockers. It raises the question “why is it important for me to know that this person has a bust and what size that bust is?” In context (no shaped armour for males) it’s an unnecessary detail, like batnipples.

    The whole problem, and the “everyone has DD cups” strangeness, could be avoided with non-boob armour & loose clothes for everyone, but of course that’s not going to happen.

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