Mass Effect 3 EP5:Enjoy the Movie

By Shamus
on Aug 21, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Note: Consider the comments to be a live-fire exercise in plot spoilering from here on. No need to spoiler tag things for the plot of Mass Effect 3. We plan to discuss everything, including the ending, long before we get there. Have at it.

As a counter-point to what Josh was saying: I’m okay with the protagonist not having a lot of characterization. I don’t need my protagonist to voice my own inner monologue for me, mostly because I’m sure they’ll never get it right. This reveals a pretty big difference between the way different people step into the shoes of a character. Some of us want to have an empty vessel and fill in the margins with our own ideas. (Gordon Freeman of Half-Life fame.) Others want a complex character to get to know along the way. (James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2.)

The advantage of Gordon is that he never “breaks character”. The writers never stuff stupid words in his mouth and make me hate him. If he ever said, “Don’t worry Alyx baby, I’ll never let those Combine bastards hurt you!” it would shatter my connection with the game. Probably forever. However, another player might see that as the only reasonable thing from him to say. With an empty vessel, we can both have our own Gordon. The disadvantage of Gordon is that we don’t get to have a deep, interesting character reveal.

Both approaches are valid, but a game really, really needs to know which one it’s trying to do. And it needs to stick with it. Shepard in Mass Effect 1 was mostly an empty vessel, and I expressed my personality by making decisions. How did Shepard feel about those decisions? That was for me to decide.

Then Mass Effect 2 comes along and they move the focus from the universe to the character. Suddenly TIM is obsessed with you. HARBINGER is obsessed with you. You come back from the dead. Shepard is no longer an observer with a gun. The camera keeps pointing at your face and we keep expecting to see something: Rage, tears, confusion, laughter. Instead we get the deadpan, “I’m not working with Cerberus.” These events demand a personal reaction because they’re personal, but we don’t get one. Paradoxically, it makes Shepard seem like more of a brick than before.

So now the game has gone all the way and decided to ram some character down your throat. YOU LOVE THIS CHILD. YOU ARE UPSET ABOUT HIS DEMISE. Its possible that the biggest problem with star child isn’t the kid himself, but Shepard, who wasn’t designed to support this sort of inner turmoil.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!2302 comments? What, did somebody start a flame war or something?

From the Archives:

  1. Stefano Marone says:

    actually they wouldn’t have needed to kill a named character. The kid would have worked fine… if he had more screen time. Maybe if the whole tutorial was about saving the kid, and then, the kid was blown in the shuttle (with many other nameless and regretless characters)… it would have worked.

    • Astor says:

      yeah, like you go out of your way to get the kid to a shuttle, and then while you are running to your ship the shuttle gets owned and your are all like “oh noes! I led the kid to an untimely death.” Then in the dreams the kid should be essentially voicing Shepard’s guilt, over the kid, over all others who died (like ashley/kaidan and others), and all of his many failures. Of course, this should have come next to a real view of the Earth getting owned, I never really got a sense of that.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thats because earth itself was never established.They took the easy way out and simply decided that because we live on earth,theres no need to establish it.

      • Winter says:

        Actually yeah, that would be interesting. The forest could grow more “crowded” as the game progressed. Kind of not in the same tone as the rest of the game, though. Maybe that’s the real problem–wrong tone for this game, where you’re really desperate and you don’t feel like there’s time for that. (Of course, if they lampshaded that weirdness it could make everything better.)

        This sequence is like 1/10th as awesome as Metal Gear Solid 3’s The Sorrow.

        • Thomas says:

          How do you mean by crowded? They add the whispers of other teammates who’ve fallen. Do you mean more visibly crowded?

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            I suspect so.

            Especially since adding fallen teammates, while it has a potential connection…

            Ones who have to die:

            Mordin
            Leigon

            Not anyone else to my knowledge – I mean yes – they *can* have more die, but…nobody else *has* to die.

            Maybe that’s why the place seemed bland every time I was dream-sequenced there.

            I mean, can you imagine if, after saving the Admiral Koris and letting his civilian team die out…

            The next sequence pulled a MGS3 (Shown above), showing *all* of the quarians you left to die in that sequence, all with custom wounds and such?

            Bonus: You could’ve had a couple of helmets blown off, and *that’s* how you see a Quarian face for the second time, if you got Tali’s photo and took a look at it.

            You do that for Palaven, Tuchanka, Rannoch, Thessia…*That* would’ve been appropriate Pathos, I think.

            Also, canonically sound – Shepard made a point to remember all the cruisers the Alliance lost in the fight against Sovereign – I suspect Shepard would’ve been able to remember who everyone was. Maybe even say a word in his dream recollecting them if Bioware thinks everyone too dense to bother counting who got killed.

      • TooManyBandages says:

        The thing is that I can see exactly what they’re trying to do.

        On one hand, they’ve made a flat ‘child’ character that is jarring, hard to identify as actually /BEING/ a child instead of a dwarfed adult, and who the writers gave us only one sequence to ‘bond’ over before knocking off. As soon as you see this kid you can see a neon sign on his back: “I’m representative of all of humanity! I’m going to meet a tragic end!”

        On the other, for most Emergency Responders I’ve ever talked to, tragic events involving children are made twice so. Because they involve children. It’s a raw part of the brain that rachets up everything when a child’s involved. Proper use could have made that symbolism so much more powerful, and actually apart of Shepards’ development as a character. How many days would she go thinking that the death of the kid didn’t effect her, before she started to show signs of PTSD?

        Though that brings up another point altogether. It’s a game, so we likely don’t want to include the reality of stress disorders, but Shepard has handled the stress of continued loss, traumatic scenes, and plain out genocide without much more than a group hug needed. Lordy this character is a sociopath, or just really, really mentally resilient.

        • Adam says:

          Shepard being unusually mentally-resilient is established all the way back in the first game. Liara mentions that acquiring the Prothean beacon’s message without getting the Cipher first should have driven him/her insane because s/he had no way of interpreting it, but managed to force it into the form of weird dreams through willpower. (Or something like that. It’s been years since I went back and played ME1. Point is, they actually did foreshadow Shepard’s emotional fortitude a bit, if accidentally.)

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Or maybe they could’ve killed Emily Wong instead of letting her die over Twitter considering people generally liked her a lot more than Kalisah Al Jilani or Diana Allers.

  2. Tse says:

    Wow, those arms. I’ve seen 12 year-old girls with more muscles.

  3. Littlefinger says:

    Mumbles was very quiet this episode.

    Onto the topic at hand: the problem with giving Shephard in particular characterisation through the kid isn’t that it’s done so half-assed. It’s that Shephard gets very little if any characterisation outside of that unless done through the player’s input. Which leads to this jarring situation where Shephard’s personality is 97% equivalent with how the player plays her in dialogue, except for this single piece which the player gets no say in.

    (by the way, dictionary suggests to replace half-assed with ‘self-assured’)

    • Littlefinger says:

      The whole matchstick arms Shephard got jarring during the Rescue KaiShley scene on mars to me. But this is not a thing that’s unique to Bioware unfortunately. I recently played bulletstorm (great fun game) in which the only female character talks like she should be as buff and strong as the men, and in a few scenes she acts like she does in a similar fashion as what happens in this episode. However, the arms look like toothpicks.

      The sad thing is, there is no reason Bulletstorm shouldn’t and couldn’t have done so. They made it more than clear that the character is capable of holding her own in a fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVfhFhRRZZo

      edit: this was not meant to be a reply to myself.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        But unlike that one in bulletstorm,shepard is full of cybernetics.Geth are all slim,but you dont mind them being superstrong.So why is it a problem when the robot has some skin over its internals?

        Or are people deliberately forgetting that shepard is a machine because its a major part of the ending?

        • Shamus says:

          I always forget about it because the game seemed so hand-wavy about it in ME2 and I’m never sure just how much of ME2 we’re supposed to pretend didn’t happen. It’s like: What parts got replaced? Organs? Skeleton? Muscles? How extensive is it?

          “Shut up, kid. You’re back to life and your eyes glow if your take too much Renegade-juice.”

          But yeah, they actually do remember she’s got robo-parts at the end.

          • Deadpool says:

            Just in time for it to make no sense… Why does random killing beam kill Shepard and not random Dreadnought?

          • guy says:

            I got the general feeling that roughly everything was, given that the purchased upgrades for cybernetics are improved SKIN. But yeah, could have been less ambiguous.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats why it feels so fanficy.They just picked parts of the previous games that they remembered,and integrated them into their fanfic.Whats worse is that 2 already was a fanfic of 1.

          • Jace911 says:

            I just assumed that Shepard is basically the Terminator at this point, considering how ridiculous some of the stunts she pulls are.

            Earth: Sliding down a sheer hundred foot metal wall onto a metal floor…
            Rannoch: Thrown into the air and falls a hundred feet or more to a hard metal walkway…
            Earth 2.0: Takes a partial hit from Harbinger’s death laser (Way to epicly nerf the Reapers, Bioware! Apparently all of our ships are made of tissue paper since Shepard can survive a shot that we see blow cruisers in half)…

          • Deadfast says:

            Yeah, I already brought up the issue with Shepard carrying Kaiden as if he was made out of styrofoam last episode. People pointed out the same thing – you’re augmented (for me an unknown factor). Frankly, I don’t buy that because I was never explicitly told. You’d think having superhuman strength would be something of a feat you’d want to point out. But then again, nothing about the ME2 death/undeath makes any sense.

            • Sigilis says:

              This might be helpful: if Lair of the Shadow Bowser is canon, then Shepard managed to kill him with her elbow. How many non-cybernetically enhanced 70 pound waifs could do that?

              If it helps (because you didn’t help Liara, shame on you!), you could pretend she either used her biotics or some other source of mass effect fields to lighten the load. All armor does have those mass effect based shield things, so maybe they can reduce the mass of the armor/wearer assembly a la the Mako.

              Also, the armor you wear may increase your effective strength in the way a power armor suit does. A couple dozen powerful servo units could really help you when carrying a grievously injured comrade.

              There are innumerable ways to lift a Kaidan. I hope you get past your issues with the whole cybernetic augmentation thing, and focus on what’s really horrible: Kai Leng.

              • Deadfast says:

                Hey, I haven’t played the game, I’m just bashing it one Spoiler Warning at a time. Can’t wait for Kai Leng though, judging by the outrage he has created I’m not walking away sane once he shows up.

                • Guy says:

                  I think you might be a bit disappointed or at least not to the same level of range, because what made me well and truly flip out and decide to follow the main plot to his death as quickly as possible was how pathetically easy he was contrasted with his cutscene god mode. And then after spending 15 seconds beating him up and several times that hiding from a gunship, you suffer a massive setback in a cutscene.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well,it was mentioned here and there in the codex.But you are correct,the game doesnt convey that to you properly.And its easy to forget about it when the game forgets it as well,only to remember it when its needed to continue the plot.

        • Corpital says:

          Because the skin over your internals does not seem to be very strong because you aquire new scars at the beginning I think.
          And the magic scar removing thing in the medical bay got stolen and you have to buy a new one.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Random point of interest: Said female character was voiced by Jennifer Hale. I didn’t realize this until the last hour of a LP. (Of course that was a Tobuscus LP, and he tends to… dominate the attention at times) Quite a shock when I realized that.

    • Lame Duck says:

      You can tell Mumbles wasn’t there because she didn’t get mad at Shamus for referring to Chambers as “Kelly”.

  4. Paul Spooner says:

    The impossible geometry interior is a fun example of how you can get away with nearly anything as far as 3D layout goes as long as it’s just slightly obfuscated. A normal person’s sense of direction is just barely good enough not to get completely turned around in a shopping mall. Inside a game, where you don’t have the same inertial sense, it’s trivial to trick the player into thinking they are inhabiting a congiguous world when it’s really an Escher-esque paradoxical architecture.
    This is fine as long as the players aren’t altering the world. As games become more adaptive and responsive, its going to be a real problem for level designers.

    The “stop trying to play the game and enjoy the movie” comment is spot on. It’s unfortunate that “games” are moving in this direction, but the flattery of personal power and glory makes it rather inevitable. For those of us who don’t share the common drives and desires it’s bound to be rather frustrating. For everyone else, it’s a good time to be a “gamer”.

    • Thomas says:

      Here it’s less an escher trick and more just doesn’t make sense on the map though, it could still fit in the ship, it just seems to be way too close to the hull.

      Ship layout always confused me in ME2, you could see the core through Mordin’s lab and through Thane’s room in life support and it’s behind the lift in engineering. I tried to work it out on the glimpses of map, because I think you’re just getting out of a different door on the lift all three times but it’s so confusing not having the ship all lined up one on top of the other

      • guy says:

        It actually looks like it’s above the “wings” that stick out from the very bottom of the hull, but it’s difficult to be certain.

        Regardless, now that it’s been pointed out (I thought it was towards the back, not the side) it will bug me forever. The QEC is literally the least replaceable component on the ship!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Having a linear game isnt a bad thing on itself.Half life is linear,but it still works.But unlike other games that use cutscenes for their story telling,half life doesnt yank control from you to show your character doing something awesome or stupid that they couldnt or wouldnt do in game parts.If you infused your cutscenes only with stuff that everyone is doing while you are playing,they would be less jarring,and linearity would feel less forced.

      • Ant says:

        I remember in Half Life 2 that you had to constitute yourself prisoner for no reason (you are alone) twice. And both games are full of cutscenes that aren’t cutscene because you can move in a room. So I don’t think that Valve should be used here.

  5. Sozac says:

    I think Anderson dying in the tutorial would be the most affective. Hackett could’ve probably taken his place for the holomessages, or maybe the British guy you meet for like a minute on that final walk to the ending. But Anderson is a character that may not be every fan’s favorite, but he is someone that Shepard could believably be sad to see die.

    Also, on the topic of faces, Bailey’s probably gets the most effed up.

    And I didn’t really think when doing the fight thing with my male Shep of how dumb it would be with Femshep. Seriously, none of the punches actually landed for either person because it looks like they only modeled that fight for male Shep. It looks really bad and is much more pointless.

    Also, good to hear Rutskarn reads Cracked.com (http://www.cracked.com/article_19654_6-painful-things-nobody-tells-you-about-fighting_p2.html). Or at least, that’s how I read about the whole scrawny people can fight better if they want to fight/like to fight more than the other person.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I think Anderson dying in the tutorial would be the most affective.”

      Yes.And he was right there.Its not like he does anything important later.You could just have him tell you stuff in your dreams,like “Dont give up!Avenge me!”.

      And in the end,you could have either his ghost next to you,or have one of your teammates being killed by tim.

  6. Deadpool says:

    Traynor is pretty good character… Way better than Kelly for sure. Too bad she was the ONLY romance option for a female character in ME3…

    • scowdich says:

      Couldn’t a female character also romance Kaidan, Liara, or Garrus? I mean, they’re not new options, but they’re still there (unless you’ve killed them off).

      • Deadpool says:

        You can CONTINUE romance with them, but you cannot start a single heterosexual relationship with a female Shepard in ME3.

        I’ve been playing a no-nonsense, all business Shepard and decided that now, at the very end of this mess, to get involved with someone and found out there is no such option…

        All I have is Traynor and the PSP licking wonder…

        • Thomas says:

          Are you referring to the controversial gaming news site lady? Because you can romance her (which I thought was plain weird, I really wouldn’t like to know that a million people are having sex with my face and body.)

          I really liked Kelly, she was optimistic. I thought it was a bit stereotypical to break the cutie though.

          Traynor’s okay, her actual appearance always bugged me for some reason and I didn’t get a hugely strong sense of character (particularly when shes flirty, her voice always felt so wrong there) but she has a fairly nice arc, and as Shamus said, her role fits very will.

          +Mechanically a huge improvement. It was generally a great thing that they stopped making you have to go into conversation mode to find out that someones got nothing to say, but with her especially in her info role, it completely rocked

          • Deadpool says:

            Yes, you can sleep with her. Not exactly a relationship, but whatever.

            Still, FemShep has no ME3 specific male romance options. Somehow I felt this was a gross oversight…

            • scowdich says:

              On the other side of the coin, the only new romance option for male Shepard in ME3 is Cortez. Although, being able to romance Kaidan is new for mShep as well.

              • Deadpool says:

                Fairly certain Liara can be used as a new romance…

                Kaiden might be as well, but he was dead in my game.

                • Aldowyn says:

                  … Really? What if you didn’t import and are playing a brand new shepard? Still can’t romance any of the main people?

                  … What happened to ME3 being friendly to new fans? Or was that just Casey Hudson PR BS?

                  And I definitely didn’t like Diana Allers (“Controversial gaming news site lady” is Jessica Chobot, btw), although I liked the concept of sending the news reports back home.

                  • Deadpool says:

                    I could never take her seriously because I remember her as the host of IGNsider, the FUNNIEST show on XboxLive.

                    They recommended using a Hunting Rifle against a Tank… In Left 4 Dead…

                  • Thomas says:

                    If you create a new person you can choose to have old romances from the previous games to continue. This is a problem only if you chose to not romance people in the previous games

              • Thomas says:

                The worst thing is, you can’t romance Tali as femShep :(

          • StashAugustine says:

            It was really weird that you could sleep with Allers but not be sarcastic to her. I mean, did Chobot show up at auditions and say, yeah I’m cool with random dudes watching FemShep screw me, but I better not get insulted. I mean, I only brought her on board the first time so I could make fun of her.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wait,you mean you cant romance vega?Bioware actually made a companion that you cannot have sex with?!My god,that is such a new ground for them!

      • Sigilis says:

        They probably tried to make it work, but the resulting romance scene must have looked a little odd. (Be warned, tvtropes link)

      • LunaticFringe says:

        Amazing considering if you check out some youtube videos of Vega there are plenty of comments along the lines of ‘why didn’t they let us romance Vega? He’s got the best body/is the hottest/etc.’.

        Personally I thought he and Cortez would go well together.

        • Sigilis says:

          Pretty sure that relationship is canon if you do Cortez’s personal issue repair missions. Or maybe I’m thinking about that fan fiction I read…

        • StashAugustine says:

          I think it’s mostly FemShep fans pissed there’s no hetero options. (I think Kaiden can be romanced, but he’s died on Virmire twice now.)

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Vega is built like a weight-lifter. I’ve known a few who were like that – college football linemen. It probably isn’t common, but especially given that we see him working out all the time it probably makes sense.

    • Phantos says:

      Traynor was the only character in this series that I felt would make a good match for my FemmeShep.

      But I’m a jerk with my characters, so I rejected the shower invitation. To confirm just how scared my Shepard is of human relationships. I like to think that’s why she loses the chess match. She’s great at battle-strategy, but maybe at the expense of the strategies and rituals humans learn when engaging each other. So I see it less as “I chose Option B, so I didn’t get the achievement” and more “She just missed out on something good, because she’s too battle-minded.”

      I know, I’m fan-fictioning all over the place with that one. But it’s probably the only place where BioWare didn’t slap me on the wrist and say: NO THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN, I AM TAKING THE BALL AND GOING HOME

      • Sigilis says:

        She lost at chess because she doesn’t know how to play chess. Listen to her explanation of why she lost: Shepard Plays Chess. S/He thinks chess is an RPG or something and that your pawns are Krogans with the hit points to survive attacks.

        Also, I felt really uncomfortable when Traynor started hitting on my Female Shepard. Especially since my Shepard had been with Liara for approximately the entirety of recorded history and the whole shower seduction thing came out of nowhere.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          This game had a real problem across the board on maintaining the difference between being a nice boss and coming onto your subordinates in ways which would be massively against policy, sexual harrasment…

          It got to the point I was afraid to do paragon conversations with any possible romances on the grounds that I’d end up breaking up with someone I didn’t know I was in a relationship with. I just want to tell Cortez to take a break for his mental health, and I just want to tell Kaiden/Ashley to get well soon and get back into the fight -not my bunk -especially since Shep was with Liara.

          I really wanted gate-keeper dialogues at some point -like the scene where Ashely/Kaiden and Liara talk to Shepard. I admit, though, they may be in there and I just haven’t seen them in my 3 playthroughs.

          • Jarenth says:

            I actually really liked Cortez’ Do You Like Me Yes/No dialogue scene for how subtly unsubtle it was.

            • Sigilis says:

              I imagine when designing the Cortez romance, they made a conscious decision to make it very clear when you actually committed to it. Otherwise, you’d have a lot of problems with people complaining how they were shocked and appalled that their Shepard was suddenly gay for that mopey, useless dunderhead whose voice actor makes an audible clunk when he tries to speak Spanish. Seriously, he was a fighter pilot who was trained to provide close air support and he only… what was I talking about?

              Oh yeah, the new romance options are annoying. Just stick with Liara from ME1, and the whole plot and characterization will make slightly more sense.

        • Thomas says:

          However, this is what I really credit Bioware with, they make these romances play out pretty frictionless. If you choose to romance that’s one world, if you don’t choose to romance, they make it so the person didn’t have attachment to you and didn’t ask for it. So I liked that when I decided the Traynor thing was icky we could have a nice game of chess instead and never have the thing come up or be offered

      • paercebal says:

        I know, I’m fan-fictioning all over the place with that one.

        No.

        You are ROLE-playing.

        This is what Bioware games should be about, if there were no hardware/software/authoring constraints.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Traynor did not age well with me. By the time she was wanting to put kill counters on her console every time she analyzed something that resulted in a strike mission I wanted to throw her off my command deck. I really can’t put my finger on what, she just grated on me.

      Maybe fangirlish? She’s just so excited to be on Normandy I want to tell her to put her tongue back in mouth, calm down, and do her job without gushing.

      On Vega’s nicknaming -Loco I liked. Lola I did not. Sounds like a bad come-on. I would have preferred Loca.

      • Syal says:

        Yeah, Lola is not a good nickname.

        But it does make me picture Vega singing ‘Lola’. (“I’m not the world’s most physical guy…”)

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Lola’s worse when you question him about it, and he mentions it’s the name of one of his friend’s girlfriend/sister (Honestly, can’t remember the *exact* details, but it was one of those.).

        Though at that point, I was like…”How does my FemShep turn him down?”, cause I figured this was dialogue where you would initate the romance.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Kelly replacement?Bah!We want the original kelly!Who is going to have sex with everyone on the ship now?

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ok,Im saying lots of negative things about bioware during these episodes,but the way they establish things for new players without making it feel boring or stupid or infuriating to the returning players is actually good.They dont resort to “whats a paladin” lines,and thats a big plus.

    • Sigilis says:

      That is an excellent point, Shepard is never made to ask incredibly dumb questions just to recap things for the player. It is not a trivial thing to catch people up on two games worth of events and characterization without resorting to some really heavy handed exposition. This is one area that the Codex really helped with, for me. Even though I had played both games before getting ME3, I would have been hard pressed to recall every fact about the universe. Having a guide to the galaxy really helped put me back into the mindset required to make weighty decisions about what race lives or dies, and reminded me of what was at stake.

  9. guy says:

    If they didn’t want to kill a named character because any one of them would symbolize something different, they could have had a crowd. Every named character who died for any reason could have appeared, flickering in and out of visibility. Major characters, especially ones Shepard killed herself, could be the most clearly defined, with random incidental guards killed by Thane being only shadows. The dead squadmates do whisper in the later ones, but the focus seems to be on the kid, even though Tali’s whisper hit me way, way harder.

    “Total obliteration of a planetary population, even a relatively small one, is virtually impossible absent destruction of the biosphere” —Starfire book series

    Why are the dream sequences in slow-mo? That’s just annoying and pointless.

    I continue to believe that Shepard is practically entirely cybernetic by this point, hence her hand-to-hand capability. As evidence I cite the upgrades avaliable to melee damage in ME2 and the headbutting a Krogan incident.

    • Corpital says:

      With the new face everybody would give up after being threatened to be headbutted…

      I really like the idea of characters killed in the past showing up instead of the kid. Exspecially as a sole survivor they could have made something out of your past, since loosing the 50people you serverd with on Akuze were the damn reason you got to be a spectre.

      There was even a sidequest in ME1 where you tracked down one of your unit killing Cerberus scientist for what they did. He was a complete wreck.

      Speaking of killing Cerberus: after ME2 it felt good to mow through them again.

      • IFS says:

        The colonist origin also had most of your friends and family dead in your backstory, and it had a very well written sidequest where you meet another survivor who was taken by the raiders.

        • guy says:

          Every background had its own quest. All the childhood backgrounds have one that shows up on the citadel if you took that background and each of the career backgrounds is closely associated with a quest that shows up in each playthrough. For instance, if you picked Ruthless then a quest where you track down a pyschological discharge who is running a biotic commune turns out to be your former commanding officer, who you kind of drove nuts by getting your troops killed in droves

          When it comes to dream sequence stuff associated with your background, they really needed to do something for Ruthless. See, in the Ruthless background Shepard sent basically her entire unit to die on purpose because it was needed to kill all the Batarians on Torfan. And it worked so spectacularly it got her selected to be the first human Spectre, because the council wanted someone who was willing to sacrifice everything to get the job done. And there’s some conversations where Shepard talks about it and it’s perfectly possible for Shepard to come off completely unbothered by it because it was necessary and she has no regrets for giving those orders. So the bits where she is clearly upset by sacrifices in the course of a successful mission struck me as off. I sort of figured Ruthless meant she wasn’t quite right in the head wrt losing people, in a manner that was extremely useful to a military commander. Now, the breakdown after Thessia seemed in-character (although my overriding emotion was wanting to rend Kai Leng limb-from-limb with my bare hands and see about getting the writer responsible for his plot armor fired, so it didn’t really work for me) because a lot of people died for nothing where just about everyone else died for something and the pointlessness of the whole thing hit Shepard a lot harder than the mere fact of the deaths.

          • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I choose to believe all those shadow figures are the dead from Shepard’s backstory.

            I think I’m just in “They changed it now it sucks” territory. There were no dreams in prior games, it feels like an intrusion in this game. And you know, in this one having a psychologist aboard might actually make sense. You could talk it out with Kelly or her suspiciously similar substitute, using the usual mechanics for describing Shepard’s character -including the option to tell the councilor to talk to someone else.

          • anaphysik says:

            Ruthless is like a double bonus: you get your soldiers that died AND the surrendering batarians you slaughtered.

            (Always imagined my Earthborn/Ruthless-turned-Paragade/pro-alien Shep as feeling incredibly guilty over that latter part. Especially since she was rewarded for doing it.)

        • Indy says:

          “I Remember Me” is my favourite Mass Effect quest, possibly my favourite in any game. It’s just so well done, the dialogue makes sense and has an impact on the player and there’s a lot of tension in the scene without ever threatening a “Game Over” screen.

          The only thing I could fault it on is that it takes place in the docking bay for no reason.

          • guy says:

            Oh yeah, that one was great. I was fond of the spacer quest, but “I Remember Me” was much better. And the femShep voice acting was perfect for the situation.

            “I’m going to take a step forward now, okay?”

      • Phantos says:

        I like how you hear the voices of dead squad-mates at least. And a LOT of squad-mates died in my playthrough.

        I always felt bad about killing Wrex. I saw restoring the genophage as some karmic balance for that. But literally the next dream-sequence that happens, they play one of his relevant voice-clips. Even though I’d accomplished what he wanted all along, I knew the guilt was never going to go away.

        But it was still a pain in the butt going slow-mo through samey shadow people, trying to figure out where to go.

        • Aldowyn says:

          I don’t mind the idea of the dream sequences, it’s just that the kid wasn’t established very well. I can see what they were going for, and I think actual psychological things happen that way – unconsciously fixating on something of no particular importance as a symbol – but the player doesn’t have nearly as much as a connection. The Mass Effect universe is different enough (and LOOKS different. I mean, there’s a reason New York is the one that’s always attacked – it’s the most readily identifiable city in the country), that earth doesn’t feel like Earth, and thus we need more motivation then “LOOK KID! EARTH! DEATH! EXPLOSIONS!”

          ANYWAY. Having dead squad members show up more would have helped a lot, I agree.

          Although given my fascination with trailers, plus the miracleofsound song “Take It Back”, I was totally fine. I get invested really easily XD

          • StashAugustine says:

            My biggest problem with the dream sequences was that halfway through one, I just thought, “Yknow, this looks all nice and Aliens-y with my FemShep, but I have this bad feeling it would look like a MaleShep is chasing the kid for completely different reasons.”

            Oh, and unrelated, Take It Back is awesome.

          • Naota says:

            Even if Mass Effect’s Earth looked exactly like this one, felt exactly like this one, and had landmarks I can see from outside my own window, I would not be able to care about it. The planet is so big and abstract a thing to be protecting, and so overplayed and worn out a trope, that it’s effectively meaningless by itself.

            If Bioware wants me to care, they need to build up characters and events that I will grow to care about – not assume I’ll automatically care about this planet in a work of fiction because it happens to exactly resemble the one I live on.

            Investment from the reader/viewer/player is something you must build up; something earned over time. You can’t take shortcuts there by pointing a big gun at a child or the Earth. At best we only care about those in the impersonal abstract, and at worst we’re completely apathetic or even resentful. The kid is so obviously manipulative that I want to call him on his bluff: “So you think I give a fig for this convenient wad of polygons? Try me. Go right ahead and shoot him.”

  10. IFS says:

    I hated all the dream sequences except for the one after mordin died, and even then that was only because I really liked mordin and felt genuinely sad that he was gone. It wasn’t that I had a problem with them giving shepard a character, but that the character they were giving her was directly contrary to the character my dialogue/choices had already established.
    The dream sequence could have been greatly improved if walking away from the kid had any impact, such as ending the dream with shepard marching angrily towards the reapers as opposed to sadly trying to catch some kid I didn’t care about.
    Also the slow-mo running was annoying as hell, why can’t I move at normal speed? Hell why can’t I just charge the kid.

    • Sigilis says:

      I hated the dream sequence with the people you got killed because I got the bare minimum of people killed, so it was just like three people saying their stupid catchphrases so often they lost all meaning and weight. All of them were terrible because they slowed you down so much it felt less like a nightmare sequence and more like a simulation of walking in a pool made of molasses.

    • StashAugustine says:

      Be kinda like Metro 2033’s hallucinations then. Which is a good thing.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway did a fairly good job of that kind of thing. During the sections when you’re alone, there are infrequent hallucinations of Nazis, so you start which ones are real and thus his own grip on reality.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I will second any statement that spews hatred on those dream sequences. I didn’t mind that they were interactive, but that slow down made them far too tedious. I hated whenever those woods popped up on screen.

      I think another problem is simply trying to establish Shepard as a character far too late. I understand Josh’s call for a character instead of a brick. However, that should have happened in the first game. When they establish this character in the third game, there is a very high chance that it will be extremely incongruous with the character the player envisioned. It’s not a bad idea, but it’s just far too late.

      • Aldowyn says:

        See, that’s the problem. Mass Effect lost more and more of the role-playing aspects as the game went on. Role playing is good, no role playing is also fine, but be CONSISTENT. The biggest failure of mass effect as a series is its ability to remain consistent, thematically, mechanically, and with its own lore.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        “When they establish this character in the third game, there is a very high chance that it will be extremely incongruous with the character the player envisioned. It’s not a bad idea, but it’s just far too late.”

        Yeah…this happened to me with Altair in AC:R.

        I’ll readily admit I was one of the few who seemed to enjoy AC1’s Altair as a character (I think if they had added subtitles, it would’ve solved plenty of people’s problems with the character), but they really overcompensated to make him more Ezio-ish.

    • scowdich says:

      A problem I have with the dream sequences is the fact that my Shepard, a spacer, dreams of a forest. Is that something he ran into a lot as a kid on the Alliance fleet?

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The other two didnt start from the get go.I stopped playing 1 the first time I tried it precisely because of the huge ammount of cutscenes in the beginning.The ones where they talk about you,then the dialogues on your ship,then the attack,and then you get to play for a bit the tutorial levels,which are then followed by the talkings on the ship,talkings on the citadel,short bit of exploring,then the council,and only then do you get to free roam completely.

    • Aldowyn says:

      I’m okay with the dialogue in the beginning of ME1, because it’s used to establish the setting the first time (vastly important, especially for sci-fi, and pretty well done in ME1), and most of it can be skipped later on. The Citadel, however, takes FOREVER (more establishing setting, probably too much. ME1 has severe pacing issues just overall (not that the others don’t. Although IMO ME1’s pacing may be the worst of the three…)), especially if you’re the kind of person that does every quest.

      ME2 and ME3 decided things had to start out with a big BANG, whereas I prefer having a little bit of lead up, THEN the bang, and then the slow, building lead to the finale. It definitely makes sense for ME3, but the pathos didn’t have enough to build on.

    • anaphysik says:

      Hey, at least in ME1 you actually get a chance to walk around your ship and check out the codex and TALK TO JENKINS, etc at your leisure, before talking to Anderson+Nihlus and popping down to Eden Prime.

  12. AJ_Wings says:

    4:40-5:00 Yeah I know this complaint sounds like a broken record but GOOD GOD the facial models and animations look TERRIBLE. Jesus christ what happened here. I feel very creeped out by this scene and it’s not because of how Bioware intended it to be.

    • rayen says:

      And oh my god what happened to joker? he looks like panda. or like he’s been hitting the bottle a little too hard and going through a goth phase…

      • Moewicus says:

        For me, the worst part wasn’t that his face was messed up—but srsly, what’s wrong with your faaaaaace—rather, the really disappointing thing is how flat and inexpressive he is. His face barely moves, except for his mouth, and his arms are stock still. Unless I missed something, it’s his first appearance in the game and it falls completely flat. (The callback to hanging up on the Council was nice, but not that great.)

        • Ateius says:

          I think the crew touched on this earlier – the facial models are more detailed, but the animations for them have not improved, and in some places seem to have regressed. The result is a sharp descent into the Uncanny Valley. With less detailed models, our minds can fill in the many subtle movements that show emotion and so on, and we let decent animations of the main parts pass as acceptable. The more detailed the textures get, the more jarring it is that those many small movements are not there, and while the general animation might be okay, we’re left unsettled because the subtle telltales we’re expecting from a very human-like face just aren’t there.

          Basically Bioware needed to step up their animation to keep pace with texture/model improvements and failed big-time.

          Also is it just me or is EDI’s voice different?

    • LunaticFringe says:

      It’s the mouths that get to me personally. I find myself staring at them, trying to figure out why they’re so off-putting. I think it might have something to do with the limited mouth movements coupled with faster lip movement to try to cover it up.

  13. Lame Duck says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem weird to anyone else that Raynor talks about the new, top-of-the-line quantum entanglement communications system, given the fact that you were able to have a real time conversation with TIM from within the galactic core in the previous game? In what possible way could that be improved upon?

    • Thomas says:

      Conference calls!

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I may be wrong but I seem to recall this was a new thing back in ME2 and the only one we know about was the one with TIM. On top of that it was just between these two addresses (TIM’s base and Mormandy) so I think it’s a new thing outside of that case. There may be codex entry about it or it may be mentioned in the codex entry for something else but I’m too lazy to search for it now.

    • IFS says:

      Didn’t they state that it could only link to TIM’s end, and nowhere else?

      • Thomas says:

        That’s how they work, you can only have them with one receiver and one recipient, so to be honest, I took brand spanking new to mean that they had made more of them that could go to other places

        • Luhrsen says:

          I found this strange in ME2 when they said it was brand new. After all I had no problem talking in real time to Admiral Hackett, the Council, and the Shadow Broker agents in ME1. O.o

          • guy says:

            That was a communication network that transmitted via comm buoys near the Relays. So the QEC explained how you could talk to The Illusive Man without worrying about governments listening in or not letting you use the network, which is limited bandwidth, meaning live communication for civilians is hideously expensive and only avaliable when the military isn’t filling up the network (priority messages to and from Spectres automatically jump to the head of the line) and tightly controlled.

    • guy says:

      They appear to have violated fundamental principles of Quantum Mechanics, because unless there’s some extremely weird story about how one of them changes hands, it seems there must be at least three connected to just two recievers. Namely, Anderson has one (which I guess he hauls around or something?), there’s at least one for Hackett and the Asari councilor, and both the Salarian councilor and the genophage saboteur call you up on the QECs and probably don’t share their comm with Hackett because the matters they call you about need to be strictly secret.

      • Aldowyn says:

        How hard to you expect Mass Effect to be? IIRC quantum entanglement only applies to the spin of a couple of quanta, which is just a biiit hard to translate into friggin’ video and audio. (Well, not really. You’d just need a lot of them and then use binary formats)

      • Sigilis says:

        Actually, in the tertiary codex entry detailing the networking protocols used when routing datagrams via a hybrid QEC/laser system they discuss this very problem. If I remember correctly, it states that when the devs want to you chat with someone, they prefer to give you a face to face rather than an IM chat.

        Here is the transcript from a more realistic exchange to illustrate their reasoning:

        SlrnDLTRS_666: Shepard, why you so stupid?
        Commander_Shepard: Who the hell are you?
        SD: I think you’re[sic] plan might have long term issues, so we’re gonna take our toys and go home.
        CS: No seriously, who are you?
        SD: You should make your the sacrifices of your friends meaningless to appease me!
        CS: I can’t punch you in the face over chat, but this conversation is over.
        Commander_Shepard disconnected.
        —-

        Also, there is probably more than one way to send a message in the Mass Effect universe. So she probably used that.

        • guy says:

          But… she used the QEC pad. It was clearly established as the QEC pad. You do have a point, but it would have been nice to establish that QECs and regular communications used the same pads. Especially since the Reaper attack would have left the comm network in tatters, necessitating the use of QECs in many circumstances and implying certain things about the galactic situation when they weren’t in use.

          • Sigilis says:

            I figured it was like displays today, you can hook them up to different sources and as long as the format of the data from that source is valid, it will display the image. The alternative you present as assumed would be like having a telephone that could only communicate with one other telephone. This is obviously false because the pad is grey, not red.

            • guy says:

              I guess I’m just thrown because in ME2 I only ever remembered it being used for calling The Illusive Man and figured it must be a QEC with integrated display. Your way does make more sense, it’s just not how the identical-looking pad worked in the previous game. That had a projector associated with the table that folded under the pad that was always used for every other display purpose.

              • Thomas says:

                And they even make distinct pads for Hackett and Anderson.

                How about the other pads are on a revolving table and when a different person needs to call, they just switch pads?

  14. Jeff says:

    Did anybody really care about the worthless kid who didn’t listen to you, and got himself killed?

    I cared more about the senior officers being dead in the intro, even if they were even dumber.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Uuugh….This conversation with the joker….During the whole season of ME2 spoiler warning I was defending the council saying how they are just doing something in secret,and not telling you because you are with cerberus.And here,the writers tell me “Yeah,that smart thing that you thought of,well we thought of that too.But we decided to go with the dumb thing because we are awesome like that”.Its just….Ugh,so rage inducing!!That conversation right there shows how the writers knew how full of plot holes their story is,but simply said “Fuck it,we get paid either way,so why bother?”.

    I dont hate bad stories.I know people like to rage about twilight,or eragon,but I dont(I make fun of them,but thats different).Incompetent writers dont anger me.But when you have someone who shows you that they know better,but simply doesnt give a fuck,that is infuriating!

    • Thomas says:

      The weird thing is, it even feels like the council was doing something behind closed doors. Everyone feels way more prepared and accepting of the situation than you’d think and in the end I concluded they must have got the STG and people on the job. Except it’s also game canon that they were idiots and did nothing

      • IFS says:

        I feel like it would have been an interesting reveal to have had the council reveal that they had been preparing for the reapers in secret the whole time, that they passed it off to the public as a geth attack to prevent a panic, and finally that they didn’t tell you in me2 because they weren’t sure they could trust you because cerberus.
        Yeah it would suck to be taunted for having had no choice about cerberus again, but at least it would show that governments in the mass effect universe are capable of something resembling competence.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Hey,a thought just occurred:Instead of just finding out the plans for the crucible on mars,why not have it half build already?By the council,in secret.That wouldve been a smart thing to do.

          • IFS says:

            It’d still feel like a bit of an ass pull, but no more than what we ended up with. I always liked the idea of the crucible being powered by Haestroms decaying star (the one they made a big deal out of in tali’s recruitment in me2), and having had it been set into that state of rapid decay by the protheans as a way for the next cycle to power their superweapon.

    • Phantos says:

      when you have someone who shows you that they know better,but simply doesnt give a fuck,that is infuriating!

      Obvious, hopeless stinkers don’t upset me. No one expected Big Rigs to usher in a new renaissance. It’s when a group of people who could do better refuse to, out of apathy and sloth. Seeing the greatness that could have been, and knowing the only ones who could unleash it were people who didn’t want to is what sticks in my craw.

      It pains me to see a company like BioWare sitting next to a goldmine, and harvesting so much dung instead. So many great characters and ideas forced to play through a juvenile series of events. Mass Effect 3 is such a waste of potential, I’d swear I was watching The Dark Knight RisesWHOOPS, DID I JUST SAY THAT OUT LOUD

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      BioWare has lost their lampshading privileges with me. You do not get points for pointing out stupidity that is not necessary, that it is within your power to fix, and that you put there in the first place.

      • Raygereio says:

        No one should have lampshading privileges to begin with.

        Some writers seem to be under the disillusion that if you lampshade plotholes and other crap that’s wrong with your story, it somehow makes it okay.
        No. No, it does not. Lampshading works when it used for comedic effect. It is not a frigging bandaid for your broken ass plot.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          It can work in serious works too.But only if the work is strong by itself.Most common example is the line “How did we survive that?”

          • Raygereio says:

            That line is exactly what I meant with comedic effect. You can put humor in serious works after all.

            I honestly can’t think of a single example of lampshading hanging that both works and isn’t humerous in some way.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Tvtropes to the rescue!

              “Dante hangs a lampshade towards the end of the Inferno segment of The Divine Comedy, over the fact that he seems to be running across so many Florentines in Hell that he knows or has heard of.”

              • Thomas says:

                I hate humour lampshade hanging so much more than normal lampshade hanging. Particularly Joss Whedon lampshade hanging. He’s a great writer but it would be nice if he just wrote tighter plots than say ‘Hey look I’m aware the Tesseract is a sucky Macguffin’ or ‘I had that nerve cluster moved’

                Thing about humour lampshade hanging is it feels like all the laughs you get from it are really predicatable too

                • some random dood says:

                  Wait, what???
                  You like ME3 and complain about Josh Whedon? Are you sure you are in the right place?

                  • Thomas says:

                    Serenity and Dr Horrible are some of my favourite all time films and I love the characters in The Avengers … I’m just fed up of him asspulling his plots ;D. Did anyone really feel satisfied with that nerve cluster stuff?

              • Raygereio says:

                I’d argue that that was intended as humerous.

  16. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I don’t like Vega, I don’t like the character design or his arc, I’m not saying he is necessarily a bad character but I personally don’t like him. So when it came to this fight scene here I was mostly just rolling my eyes and getting through it. I actually remembered it as “and then there’s this stupid convo during sparring where they’re trying to make Vega a deep character, oh and I think it has an interrupt”, watching it now I see there may be more to the dynamic than I remember. So, does somebody actually know how much influence on the conversation and/or character relations these interrupts have?

    • IFS says:

      Watching it now it doesn’t seem like the conversation went any different for Josh when he missed the one interrupt than it did for me getting all the interrupts. Can someone point out what the differences are in dialogue for each interrupt?

    • LunaticFringe says:

      My reaction was somewhat similar, it was more a case of just expecting Vega to be a bit of a cliche. After the shuttle idiocy when he started the fight I thought ‘oh great, macho bullshit right off the bat. Let me guess, you had some tragic mission where you’re the only one that survived?’ Yep. They tried to give him some depth but he’s still pretty stereotypical.

    • Aldowyn says:

      *shrug* It’s perfectly okay to not like a character, even a squad mate. If you have characters some people like and some don’t (Tali seems to come to mind), that’s a sign of a deep (and therefore probably better) character. Not saying Vega’s an example, but something to keep in mind.

      And yeah there’s a lot of insignificant interrupts that don’t really make any difference, certainly not outside of the conversation. In fact, I’d say the only areas in the entire game where ME1 and ME2 really matter (except for dead people changing a single quest) is Tuchanka and to a lesser extent the Rannoch missions.

      • guy says:

        Oh, the effect on Rannoch is huge. Apparently if you did ME2 too badly wrong it is literally impossible to get the best Rannoch ending no matter how paragon/renegade you are.

        • Aldowyn says:

          Don’t you just have to exonerate Tali? Pretty sure the Tuchanka situation is quite a bit more complicated. Maybe not… possible it’s just Mordin loyalty and keeping the research to get the best ending. Definitely more complicated in ME3 though.

          • StashAugustine says:

            In ME2 the first time, I saved the geth heretics. I really couldn’t decide whether or not it was right, so I just decided, “Hey negotiation = good right?” Turns out that makes it harder to save the geth and quarians. I think, in addition to the speech check, you also have to have Tali exonerated completely, save Koris, do the fighter mission, and a few other things. Destroying the heretics will allow you to miss a few. So yeah, saving heretics + screwing up Tali’s mission = unwinnable on Rannoch.

          • guy says:

            According to TV tropes, you have to get a minimum of 5 “points”. If you skip either loyalty mission or fail to exonerate Tali, you’re practically screwed. If Legion and Tali are both dead and the Heretics were never resolved, you ARE screwed. Though you need to do at least one other Rannoch quest to even get the speech check, apparently.

            On Tuchanka, I believe you have to save the data and keep Wrex alive and get Mordin’s loyalty. Certainly the ingame “BEST ENDING HERE” hints I was getting after completing the genophage mission indicated I only needed to have kept the data.

            • Aldowyn says:

              So, in other words, those two areas are the best example of stuff actually carrying over in the entire dang series. Oddly enough, they’re also among my favorite moments in the entire series.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              You know, I already knew that before I went into the Rannoch quest, but I realised “Whoops! I already knocked 2 of 7 possible points out [From saving the Heretics]! I should really pay attention to what I do now…”, and then when I got to… The dialogue options just before the speech check, I though something had gone wrong somewhere, and that I *had* messed up, because the speech check isn’t there. “Whelp, I’m going to save the Quarians then, I guess…” AND THEN THE SPEECH CHECK KICKS IN ON THE SECOND DECISION! Most tense moment of the game.

              But what I like most about that…I saved the Heretics, which while making it notably harder to do the quest…gave me a larger army.

              Worth it, I’d say.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I have exactly one complaint of the Rannoch scene. Regardless of what you might have advised them for/against at the end of Tali’s trial in Mass Effect 2, they go to war with the Geth anyway.
        This isn’t necessarily bad, since it is quite clear that the Quarian admiralty is completely incompetent. But having such a popular and high profile military figure who has experience with the Geth arguing for/against war should have some ramifications.

        As for Tuchanka, no complaints. It was very well done in my opinion.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I made fun of vega earlier,but going hand to hand with someone who is essentially a machine with skin over it takes balls.Kudos white jacob,kudos.

    And on that note,guys you forgot that shepard is more machine than man now.She can fire a widow without a problem,a gun that was designed to be operated by geth,and that would shatter the shoulder of any human who tried using it.

    • Thomas says:

      Isn’t the first widow you get one that’s been modified to reduce recoil? Maybe the second Widow is the full out Legion one, but the first one says that it was such an impression weapon, they spent ages trying to make it suitable for mass market.

      I’m not sure if they ever gave a reason for why you can use a Claymore though

      • guy says:

        You’re confusing the Widow from ME2 with the Black Widow from ME3. In ME2, on the Collector ship, Shepard can get herself the Widow, the Claymore, or a unique machine gun. No mention whatsoever is made of them being modified. Internet consensus is that Shepard’s cybernetics make her just that awesome.

        You eventually do get the full-on Legion Widow in ME3, but it’s not for general sale.

    • Deadpool says:

      Hmmmm… Those Cerberus upgrades are awesome.

      Although I always love how artificial muscle somehow takes less space than real one in fiction…

      • guy says:

        It makes sense to me. If cybernetic upgrades instead of just replacements are a thing in your setting, that must mean they’re superior in some fashion. If artifical muscle weren’t denser, then there wouldn’t be people even considering lopping off healthy limbs and replacing them.

        • Aldowyn says:

          No one said there was in ME3, was there? That was a Deus Ex thing.

          But yeah it makes sense. I mean.. metal is denser than muscle.

          • guy says:

            While cybernetic enhancement is not obviously a big thing in ME (though since they’re undetectable they might be and genetic engineering certainly is) it definitely exists. One of Saren’s corporations was working on artificial enhancements, IIRC, and the reinforced skin upgrades aren’t from specialty stores. So while it’s not as popular as deus ex it does exist. At a guess, genetic engineering and cloned limbs is preferred by a vast majority of the population but some people have weird rejection issues or want better performance and get cybernetic enhancements.

    • Corpital says:

      You know, in my FemShep playthrough I also thought I won because of all the tech in my body. But here? Vega clearly lost because he was trying not to laugh. “Don’t let my good looks fool you” yes indeed.

      It seems Mirandas stuff got thrown out of the airlock, EDI took her clothes and Regina got her jaw.

      Also: Vega groaning for half the conversation made me feel *really* uncomfortable.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Hispanic Jacob actually. Not that Vega annoyingly tries to remind you of that constantly or anything.

    • Klay F. says:

      Unfortunately, multiplayer manages to completely eff that up too. The last time I played multiplayer, my character was a salarian infiltrator whose weapon was, you guessed it, the Widow.

  18. Thomas says:

    I thought all the level design and art for ME3 was way way more detailed than ME2 and there was more of an effort at making places feel like places… yet for some reason, they chose grey as their main colour for almost everything in the game, so everythings looks a lot more boring than the more basic levels in ME2, which at least they’d tint red or blue for coolness.

    I really enjoyed how different all the character interaction in this game was too. I appreciated crew moving around, sometimes you listen, sometimes you talk, sometimes you go out to the bar and here you fight. Good stuff.

    As to the dream sequence. I thought it was an okay sequence, it’s just they never try anything like that at any other point in any of the games, so it just plain doesn’t fit in and feels too artsy.

    I really don’t understand why they didn’t make it so you could run in any direction and come across the kid, plenty of other games have done that and it would stop immersion breaking.

    However if they had time and were clever, what they should have done is have three different ways the dream can play out. 1. Follow kid, etc. 2. Run away from kid = running away from fears, fears chase you noises get louder, they keep shoving the kid in front of you and you have to run the other way and 3. Stand still and have everything close in on you.

    They could even have made a mechanic out of it. If you think about the Extra Credit episodes on lonlieness, that would have been the perfect thing to invert and stick in a dream sequence. Mechanicising guilt is the easiest thing ever. I mean we talk about running away from guilty. Being swamped by guilt. We understand it in a spacial way already

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “They could even have made a mechanic out of it.”

      What,and make it so that the ending isnt resolved by a push of a button?Who would want such a stupid thing?We all know that having a button press ending is the way to go!

      • Indy says:

        There’s no ‘push the button’ mechanic in the dreams or at the end of the game. Just walk to where you want to walk.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Push the button for the ending” doesnt mean literally push a button(well it does in human revolution).It means that you can choose the ending by doing something mundane,without any thought,and without taking into account any of your previous actions in the game.

    • StashAugustine says:

      Yeah, I mentioned this earlier, but Metro 2033 had something similar, where running towards and away from the light had different effects on the ending. This idea would also mean you could precisely time it so that you didn’t hear noone but Mordin and Kaiden for ten minutes.

  19. StranaMente says:

    One of the problems with Shepard’s face is the eyelashes. The low eyelid should have less lashes than the upper one. Here is the opposite, and it looks like she could use an exorcism at times…

    About dreaming of the kid, making him appear more often, even during the waking moment would have fuelled the indoctrination theory even more, and would have been… dangerous. :-P

  20. Sleeping Dragon says:

    RE: Shepard’s personality

    In ME 90% of roleplaying choices are attached to an arbitrary morality slider. Most players don’t think of the choice in terms of roleplay but in the terms of maximizing their paragon/renegade scores because otherwise we “fail” the conversations later on. For example “xenophobe” choices are pretty much exclusively renegade but this also ties these choices with stuff like helping alien mobsters, because you go renegade, unless, of course, you’re willing to sacrifice mechanical success for roleplay but I can’t see many people doing it on their first playthrough. The fact that the choices on the dialogue wheel are on the vague side (okay, I will refuse, but will I be angry about it or not?) doesn’t help the whole character building thing either.

    I’ve been saying this for a while and I’ll say this again, allowing a player to convey personality and/or attitude is one of the very few things that DA2 did rather decently, precisely by limiting how it ties to the mechanics, first by not having the morality slider, and second by making it so that rivalry with a companion character was still a good thing so you didn’t have to suck up to them as bad as in DA1.

    • IFS says:

      I also feel like DA2 did the morality meter concept better than other bioware games, and I feel like it handled the dialogue wheel better than any of the mass effects, first by not having the skip dialogue and choose dialogue buttons be the same as each other (at least on consoles) and second by giving an icon to show how the line would be delivered.

      • For all of the problems that DA2 had, the dialogue wheel in it was the best implementation of the concept. When I selected a choice in DA2, I had a pretty good idea of what was going to come out of Hawke’s mouth. Unlike say LA Noire, which I would select ‘doubt’ expecting Phelps to express some measured skepticism and instead got him accusing a man of murdering his wife with a tire iron.

    • Ateius says:

      Thing is, in ME1, it was possible to roleplay out your paragon/renegade/neutral choices by how you want your character to act, not for purposes of mixmaxing, and still have enough Space-Jesus/Hitler points at endgame to have Saren off himself with either option. Y’know, as long as you don’t be neutral all game.

      It requires doing pretty much all the content and dumping a lot of stat points into Charm and Intimidate, but it’s possible. I did it my first way through, just playing my character as I liked.

      In ME2, though, you’re right. You really do have to go pure renegade/paragon or else past the 50% or so mark you won’t have enough Jesus or Hitler points to do anything. It was incredibly infuriating for me to discover that, let me tell you, and be forced to limp through the rest of the game without being able to make those important influential decisions.*

      (*decisions may not be important or influential. Bioware’s story may at any point choose to ignore any or all of your decisions in order to advance the plot.)

      • IFS says:

        I did like how they changed it to a reputation bar in ME3 and added your paragon and renegade points together.

        • guy says:

          It’s a straight add and not some sort of cap system?

          My second playthrough is going to be much less confined-feeling.

          • Sigilis says:

            You can only increase your reputation, but performing Paragon or Renegade actions change the proportion of paragon or renegade ‘points’ derived from that reputation bar. I’m not actually sure what practical effect this has.

            • StashAugustine says:

              I really don’t think it has any aside from possibly influencing some comments other characters make, and I think some change in the Control ending.

              • guy says:

                I know for sure at least one encounter I only had the red option and blue was greyed out. As for practical effects beyond dialogue… not sure really, I think that the standard is that the charm/intimidate options “win” the conversation and get what you want, so there’s no truly major forks (though in at least one case someone dies from red and probably not from blue. But they weren’t important)

              • Eärlindor says:

                Yeah, if you’re mostly Paragon and your Effective Military Score sucks, you only get the destroy ending. If you’re mostly Renegade (and your EMS sucks) you only get control.

            • Aldowyn says:

              Supposedly the ratio determines which way you can do it, not IF you can do it. And generic things like completing quests increases the bar without changing the ratio, just adding “reputation”. I haven’t tested it much to see how well it works in practice, but it’s a good idea in theory.

            • newdarkcloud says:

              It has no practical effect. With enough general Reputation, players will be able to take either the Paragon or Renegade options in any conversation.

              Bioware did this specifically because of all the bitching people did about ME2. It’s one of the improvements I love about ME3.

      • guy says:

        Yeah, I think it was just 6-7 points for the Saren option. There was one that was stupidly hard on Feros, but it would have been possible to get both Saren options without totally ruining your combat effectiveness and depending on the Quarian teenage girl to body-block incoming fire. Which she was suprisingly good at, really.

    • anaphysik says:

      There’s only 1 Charm/Intimidate check in ME1 that absolutely requires more than 10 ranks (Charming Jeong on Feros takes 12 ranks (Intimidating him only takes 10). Convincing Saren at the end requires 12 ranks ONLY if you didn’t C/I him on Virmire (which only requires 7 ranks to do so); otherwise 9 is sufficient.

      What this means is that in ME1 you really only needed to hit 25% of the Paragon and Renegade bars in order to open up all the necessary ranks of Charm and Intimidate; that is, it was far more important to simply devote ranks to the skill (which only has a mechanical effect) than it was to farm for P/R points (which has a roleplaying effect).

      Now, it would have been better if Charm and Intimidate had been a single skill (Persuade, I guess), but…

      (Anyway, getting P/R points in ME1 was easy. At the end of my playthrough I easily had ~90% Renegade and ~80% Paragon.)

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Okay, yes, I hear what a lot of people in this comment thread are saying, that you don’t really need to max paragon or renegade scores to pass almost everything. The thing is, unless the player is doing an nth playthrough or they go to a forum/wiki to read about it they won’t know. The game presents the paragon/renegade stat as a gate thing: if you don’t have one or the other high enough you can’t pass to the “awesome” and have to settle for “meh.” I actually played through the whole game and didn’t know what alterations they did to the system in ME3, I assumed it worked like it did in 2.

        • anaphysik says:

          Well, part of my point is that in ME1 it’s (relatively) easy to tell how capable you are at passing the persuade checks (how many ranks did you put in Charm and Intimidate?). And that ranks are only weakly correlated to P/R scores (your maximum allowed ranks increases by 2 (including one real rank for free) at 10%, 25%, and 75% (but you don’t need that last one in all but 1 case, as I described), plus you get a free rank in both skills when you become a Spectre). 25% is easy to hit even accidentally (maybe if you never do any side missions you won’t hit it; or if you choose *only* P or R like some weird person).

          In 1, all you know is that more ranks = more persuade options, which simply encourages you to put skill points in C/I (also, you know that you can’t ever need more than 12 ranks, and that you can boost both skills). In 2/3, all you know is that more P/R = more persuade options, which encourages you to blindly get more P/R points, and to only choose 1 to boost.

          (FWIW, I was fortunate enough to know about ME2’s wonked system before playing it, so I was fortunate enough to make the command decision to grab the save editor and use my full P/R points from my ME1 playthrough instead of the 50% of max that normally import. Made the game a lot better, and let me just play however I wanted. However, even going in blind to ME1 should let you use all the C/I options you want, assuming you devote skill points to them.)

  21. Eärlindor says:

    Oh gosh, I hated how you’re railroaded from the very beginning of the game to finally getting back on your ship after visiting the Citadel the first time. Just like Josh: LET ME WALK AROUND MY SHIP AND DO THINGS ON MY OWN. Stop dropping me from one place to the next with little or no transition. Geez.

    11:39 – That disguised loading screen room on the ship is a bigger pain when you realize that you could simply walk through the scanners on the Citadel now… T_T

    13:13 – Yeah, Joker’s eyes are freaky, and the beard no longer looks real. More like plastic or paint on his face.

    I was actually disappointed with the first conversation with Vega because no matter whether you go Paragon or Renegade, the outcome at every stage is always the same. Whether you’re nice or rough, you ALWAYS remind Vega of his CO. You always have to fight him, and you always play the shrink. I’m just thinking back to the conversations you could have with Ashely back in ME1; depending on what you picked the conversation could go in a different direction and you could potentially skip parts, or take it down a different path. And other than Vega asking about the N7 program later, this is really the only meaningful interaction you have with him concerning his character. It’s essentially his big back story reveal right off the bat as opposed to the previous two games where you spent time getting to know your squad before they eventually told you their stories.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Funny enough I actually work at a high security building where you have to go through security checks like that, first rule is no personal talk between guards. I know that Mass Effect doesn’t actually do military convention all that well, but come on, on duty in front of your commanding officer? Though now I’m just nitpicking.

      • Raygereio says:

        I understand why they did it. Otherwise people would complain about how those two guards look lifeless and like pieces of scenery.

        But yeah, it is a bit jarring if you’re even remotely familiar with such protocols, or are in possession of common sense.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        “I know that Mass Effect doesn’t actually do military convention all that well, but come on, on duty in front of your commanding officer? Though now I’m just nitpicking.”

        As I think someone mentioned before, they’re the guard patrol who brought Joker to the ship, and now they’re stuck here.

        So *technically*, you’re not their commanding officer.

    • Indy says:

      I love that Vega’s dilemma here is tied into the plot of the second game. He basically had to choose between intel to stop the Collectors or his team. He picked the intel and you took down the Collectors without it, making his team’s sacrifice pointless.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      On the PS3, those scanners are obnoxious. You can easily spend up to a minute just having those scanners scan you. I still don’t get why they did it. They render more stuff at a time in some missions without slow down or loading times. All it tells me is that they were rushed and didn’t optimize the game.

      • guy says:

        To be fair, a lot can potentially happen in the War Room. Tali, Wrex, Legion, two Quarian admirals, the Primarch, the Dalatress, and probably a bunch I’m forgetting, plus replacements for potentially dead squadmates, may or may not be there and can have a lot of different dialogues. Still, a minute is excessive.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I had that problem with my ME1 LP. When I’m playing without FRAPS, the normandy loading screen scanners literally don’t get to the back of the airlock. With FRAPS, it took a good 30 seconds plus sometimes.

  22. Keredis says:

    I love how Josh managed to troll his dreams until the dream gave up and threw him at the kid.

  23. ehlijen says:

    Fun thing I noticed: Have a look at the glass walled conference room in the old science lab (11.31). Notice how it says ‘Normandy’ on the glass wall?
    If you go inside and look out through the same wall, it still says ‘Normandy’ and not ‘ydnamroN’, as it should.

    What’s the deal with that?

    • LunaticFringe says:

      SPACE windows! They’re clearly magic.

    • Lame Duck says:

      Whatever device it is that translates all the alien speak into English must also be able to translate backwards writing into English.

    • Indy says:

      It’s like an ambulance.

      • ehlijen says:

        Ambulances are still wrong at least one way around.

        My guess is actually that the graphics designers simply used the same texture for both sides, because they couldn’t be asked to make a reverse one.

        • Exetera says:

          You wouldn’t even need to make a different texture for the reverse side, just set the texture coordinates up correctly. Or you could even use a single double-sided polygon with, naturally, the same texture and texture coordinates on both sides.

          • Naota says:

            It’s not always this simple: either don’t you flip the texture coordinates and end up with the word backwards on one side, or you do flip them and get geometry that doesn’t fit unless it’s perfectly symmetrical.

            Assuming the window is a “D” shape, flipping the UV element would give you a backwards D which must be fit over a D-shaped part of the texture sheet.

            You could of course make two elements for the interior and exterior of the window, or even just a smaller piece for the part with the text on it (I’ve done this for things like shell casings before), but this naturally takes up more memory.

    • ps238principal says:

      Here’s the test: If the area around the word “Normandy” explodes during space combat, then it’s like a flat-panel display that shows viewers on either side the name of the ship.

      Otherwise, it could be like those stickers on the doors of restaurants where they’re transparent on one side and have an ad for their latest combination of cheese, meat by-products, and cheese.

      • ehlijen says:

        Those exist? Never saw one. Huh.

        • ps238principal says:

          Ours are pretty low-tech, really. It’s basically a window sticker with an image on the out-facing side (the ad) and an opaque, usually black, color on the inward-facing side. You see through it because it’s perforated with a regular pattern of tiny holes.

          They may have fallen out of fashion for one reason or another, so they could have been supplanted by some other space-age technology for making us crave cheese-like food-like substances.

  24. LunaticFringe says:

    I’d also have to disagree with Josh’s point on the child, mostly because ultimately I would prefer a brick character over character development that comes off as extremely manipulative. Killing children is one of the more recent and lazy ways in gaming to try to create an emotional response. This could be done well, but most developers seem to think that simply throwing in a dead child makes the content more serious. Mass Effect 3 tries to extend this by reinforcing it through the dream scenes (and I actually do like the whispers of dead allies) but because they never establish the child it doesn’t really add any depth and comes off as forceful.

    • Aldowyn says:

      “because they never establish the child” Exactly.

      They do a bit but you never meet him and even when you do it’s so full of symbolism and … bad acting, tbh, it doesn’t work. He shows up… three times? before the actual death scene. Once, in a grassy area (by himself, for some reason) with a toy plane, once running into a building, and then the scene where you talk to him.

      He doesn’t feel like a kid, and the more you see him the less he does. That’s his biggest problem.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        It’s the same problem Earth had. If we had some establishing shots. Let’s say that Shepard took time during his/her forced shore leave (with someone watching him/her) to just look around Earth and/or reminisce (if you had the Earthborn background). He/she could’ve met the kid there and talked to him a little bit. A paragon can offer to buy ice cream while a renegade can do something jerkish.

        This would establish everything before the game starts, give the player some emotional attachments and give the writer an opportunity to catch new players up on old events.

        • Aldowyn says:

          Mentioned that idea upthread a bit. But yeah, that would have been nice :P

        • Exetera says:

          Speaking of the Earthborn background, does anybody else think it’s a bit silly that Shepard cares so much about Earth when two of every three Shepards (any non-Earthborn) has no background with Earth and may not have even seen the place before getting arrested and dragged there?

          • guy says:

            It’s the capital and spiritual home of the human race and has a lot of people on it. So Shepard could be expected to react like that because for her it’s the only reality there is. Lots of Americans would care if DC actually got destroyed despite how overplayed it is in media.

            • Aldowyn says:

              Actually it’s even more important than that, since, like most sci-fi settings, a very large portion of the entire race is on Earth. I think the largest colony is about a billion, and Earth has like.. 12 billion? in this setting.

              It’s the motherworld, guys! It’s like Europe getting destroyed to the colonists in NA in the 1600s

              • Exetera says:

                I dunno… My impression is that Earth getting attacked should feel more like the American position on Europe getting in trouble in the 2000s. Which is to say, not all that much for people without significant ties to it. See, for instance, the US response to terrorist attacks in Europe (or rather the lack thereof) or to the recent debt crisis (primarily pointing and laughing). Maybe that impression is wrong, but honestly Earth just doesn’t feel like a significant entity in Mass Effect 1 and 2.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              But the thing is,shepard was never established as a character.He was always an empty vessel for the player.And the player never cares for some planet that bears the name of their homeworld.

              • Pete says:

                “Kharak is burning.”

                Those few who get that know what I mean.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Damn you!I was resisting the urge to reinstall and replay it for so long now…Gaah!And when the heck will number 3 come out?

                  • Eärlindor says:

                    I thought Sierra went under or something. :/

                  • LunaticFringe says:

                    There’s a bunch of copyright issues with the Homeworld license because Sierra tanked, Relic employees have actually mentioned that they’ve thought about doing a Homeworld 3. Unfortunately due to THQ’s current financial situation they’re focusing on their cash cows, Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. Relic could find themselves being sold off to another publisher sometime in the near future as well.

                • Raygereio says:

                  The music, the VA with the beaten down voice, the scenery with the exploding Taidan assault frigate.
                  That scene was beautiful.

                • Sigilis says:

                  It is incredible how much I cared about that dust ball the first time through, even though it gets mentioned about twice before… you know. I blame the manual for its historical section, Adagio for Strings for being the perfect musical accompaniment (piano ‘music to cry by’, you wish you were this), and Pete.

                  For making me reinstall it and consuming significant quantities of time.

            • Indy says:

              But on Earth, the cradle of life is in Africa and these same Americans you’re talking about just can’t relate to the conflict going on in central Africa. Forcing Shepard to relate to Earth is just… It makes a leap that is never explained or reinforced. Shepard cares because the writers say s/he does.

          • anaphysik says:

            Actually, it should be noted that an Earthborn Shep might *hate* Earth. (Mine did.) The Earthborn background has Shep joining the Alliance basically to leave the ghetto that is Earth.

            (ME3 spoils this a fair bit, but in ME1 I got the feeling that even though Earth had an enormous population, it was still the ‘backwater’ part of human space. I mean, for one the Systems Alliance capital isn’t even on Earth. Or even in the Sol system, for that matter.)

    • guy says:

      You know, I think the problem is pretty simple: Because the events of the game are not real, things we automatically care about in real life (namely death of children) don’t carry the same weight. We care a lot about Legion even though he and in fact his entire kind of thing is not real because effort was put into selling it. If no effort had been put into making people care about him, we would largely not have cared about his death. No effort was put into making people care about the kid, because people care about real kids so of course they’ll care about this fake one. But it doesn’t work that way, and it makes it look sloppy, ruining what carryover it does have.

      • Indy says:

        Comparing the kid to Legion is a really great idea. Both were killed for an emotional impact, but one was established, relatable and most importantly, killed for narrative reasons based upon the character’s own development. Guess which one.

        • Raygereio says:

          Neither.

          Legion was killed of for no narrative reason beyond “MOAR SACRIFICE!”. Yeah, people might go boohoo because it’s a liked character, but beyond that. What is there to it?
          Legion’s suicide has no build up to, doesn’t redeem Legion, doesn’t fulfil his character’s story. It basically does nothing that can make suicide meaninfull and genuinly well done and as a final insult the reason we recieve for his death don’t make a whole lot of sense to boot.

          • guy says:

            He’s actually got TWO death sequences. The one where he commits suicide for some reason via a manner that makes no sense, and the one where he attempts to strangle Shepard and gets stabbed in the back by Tali. That one… is much more effective.

            Legion: “Does… This… Unit… Have… A…”
            Tali: “Yes, Legion, yes it does.”

            Tali’s death carries the dramatic weight of siding with the Geth.

    • Raygereio says:

      I think the central issue is that Bioware loves telling us things over showing us. Here we’re expected to care about earth and about this kid, for no other reason then the character we play does.
      It just doesn’t work. This earth is not my earth. It’s not something I know and have a connection to. Thus if Bioware wanted me to care, the first time I see it should not have been when Bioware dumped it’s corpse on my lap and shouted “BE SAD NOW!” in my ear.
      It’s incompetent storytelling.

      This is actually a similar problem Dragon Age 2 had. One of your siblings dies in the first minutes of the game and then the game expects you to care about the death of this non-entity of a character you didn’t even had a conversation with.
      Sad thing is, Dragon Age: Origin – while hardly perfect – did do this a lot better in the various origin stories as they established the character’s life before wrecking it.

  25. StashAugustine says:

    Nice Max Payne shout-out, by the way.

  26. Psuedocrat says:

    Replaying that sequence with the kid nowadays, I’m always afraid of bumping into the slenderman in the woods.

    Although since the player is the one following a small child in the middle of the woods, maybe that means that Shepard is supposed to be the slenderman?

  27. ps238principal says:

    Here’s another thing I don’t quite get: The Alliance too Cerberus’ version of the Normandy and just put their decals on it?

    I’m sure they went over its systems and what have you, but given that it’s (supposedly) more advanced than the original, how could the Alliance even begin to trust it to not have booby traps or some other shenanigans from Cerberus hidden somewhere, like the self-aware V.I., for example? True, Cerberus is incompetent and perhaps whatever intel they gather would lead to the operator listening in turning into a rampaging mutant, but still…

    I’m trying to think of any modern example where a large vehicle was taken from one military and re-decaled without it being a direct sale from one governmental entity to another.

    • Indy says:

      Traynor claims they ‘removed all the Cerberus tech’. I think that’s supposed to comfort you but I was left wondering if the life support was installed by Cerberus.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      To be honest I guess most of the hardware could be searched and scanned and such, though some of the “Cerberus tech” was actually “Reaper tech” (parts of Sovereign) which should make at least some people uneasy. Myself I would, without even knowing it’s an AI, get rid of the Cerberus VI, or if for some odd reason I’d really want to keep it, dissect it codeline after codeline first (which they didn’t do because I’m pretty sure it would reveal EDI is not quite what she claims to be), because it would be just too easy to leave nasty surprises in there. And yes, the fact that EDI is an unshackled AI makes this threat unlikely but this argument couldn’t be used with the Alliance because that would reveal she’s an unshackled AI.

  28. Halfling says:

    Why does Mumbles sound like Randy when she has a cold?

  29. Mikeh5 says:

    I hated Earth’s false importance in this game. The Turians have the largest Army and Navy in the Galaxy. The Salarians have the greatest scientists. The Krogans are the greatest individual warriors and with the Genophage unchecked they become an endless swarm of deadly fighters.

    I thought the solution was obvious. Hold Palaven. Screw Earth, the Turians massively outnumber humans to my knowledge; In a war of galactic genocide Earth is not as important as defeating the Reapers militarilly. By forcing a show down at Palaven we could lure Reaper forces away from Earth for a sneaky Alliance team to bust in the back door with the Crucible and free Earth, then hit the Reapers again and again, bleeding them out ship by ship. If the Turian homeworld is the one place the lines are holding at all why are we not fighting on the ground that is actually working for us?

    But nah hurling a giant fleet at the Reaper’s strongest position works too. Forget I said anything. Human ethnocentrism ftw.

    • Indy says:

      Why has nobody considered a ‘Scorched Earth’ approach to fighting the Reapers? The relays were proven to be effective at wiping out planets, I imagine Reapers aren’t that much better at withstanding it.

      • Thomas says:

        Dude that’s a little dark. Sacrifice a couple of billion lives so that the Reapers can’t turn them into soldiers? We’re in a moral quagmire there. At the very least it would turn the entire remaining Alliance fleet into a bunch of unstable headcases who could seize control of a dreadnought and open fire on the Turian homeworld at the flop of a hat

        • LunaticFringe says:

          As opposed to the actual ending, where dozens of capital ships fire at the Reapers WHO ARE DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF EARTH and miss plenty of times? Indy’s idea has some merit and would actually be a great Paragon/Renegade moral choice: eliminate the Reapers and possible husks in a pragmatic fashion, or hold on to an idealist perspective that most can be saved?

          • Thomas says:

            Um yes… still dark in comparison to that. The accidental part annhilation of earth is less dark compared to the deliberate total annhilation of earth. :D

            I don’t think it would even work as a renegade choice (especially since some Renegade is pro-human) I think it’s a lot more advanced than anything paragon shepard has ever done, and I don’t think he’d be able to convince any generals or soldiers to carry out the act. We’re talking about 14 billion humans, 90% of the human race or whatever, all the concentrations of tech and research and art, our entire culture.

            I’m not really convinced it would even help. Humans make cruddy Reaper fodder compared to Turians and Asari and Krogans and if _every_ homeworld was destroyed they’d just land on the colonies and do it. Even with ground advantage the Reapers are too powerful to stop from doing that, it would just focus their forces even more, at least they bogged down on a ground war in Palaven and using forces to fight the resistance on earth.

            And the psychological damage to the soldiers… you just made them commit genocide. I don’t think many would have the willpower to get over the fact the act was necessary, compared to the emotional damage

            Compare it to TIM, who was indoctrinated by the Reapers, and attacked human resources in relatively small numbers compared to this. He thought he was being practical and making the hard decisions. Shepard shouldn’t be more extreme than TIM, unless maybe the Reapers were reigning TIM in from the real hard choices because it would do damage to them

            I guess it’s only an option, but I think fans would be annoyed, I’d be annoyed. Maybe I’ve got no right to, if it’s an option, but they’ve clearly been struggling for resources in this game, and if they devoted their time to a far out solution like that, and skimmed ever more on the more middle ground solutions…

  30. Raygereio says:

    Random gripes about the Normandy:
    The Normandy was kinda dark in ME1. There were a lot of shadows and the ship just suffered overall from a lack of lightbulbs. I guess it’s supposed to be atmospheric, but it’s just as silly as StarTrek’s red alert dimming all of the lights. It’s generally considered a good then when people can see what they’re doing.
    Then we got the Normandy 2 in ME2 and there was proper lighting. Rooms were lit and you could move around without bumping into things. Sweet joy!
    And now the Alliance got their paws on it and apparently immediatly ripped out all of the lamps and we’re back to badly lit rooms again.

    Look at all of those screens in Liara’s room. Now look at where the console is. If Liara is working at it, two thirds of those screens would not be in her view. Being forced to constantly move your head back and forth to watch the entirety of your screen is not comfortable.
    What the hell is the point of those things? Besides creeping you out as they follow you as you move around in the room, that is.

    Also, I don’t know if it was fixed in a patch. But there’s a section of floor in the cockpit (a small ramp of sort, if I recall right) that if you stand on it, glitches you out and prevents you from moving. Only option is to reload.
    It bugged the hell out of me as that was (for me at least) a natural space to stand when talking to Joker and EDI.

    • Deadfast says:

      Hang on, Liara’s screens follow you around? Forget not being able to see two thirds of them, imagine how great the work environment has to be when your monitors decide to abandon you every time somebody walks in.

      • Even says:

        Sometimes they bug out and keep following whatever way you’re facing regardless of your position. It looks kinda ridiculous when you run/turn in quick circles. (Keep the camera towards the screens and then do the WASD dance)

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        Also, kind of counter productive to the Shadow Broker if whenever anyone walks in on her, all her super confidential information screens turned to face the person who walked in on them.

  31. Piflik says:

    When you create a protagonist, you have really just two options that are mutually exclusive: make it a character or an avatar. Bioware tried to do both with Shepard and failed miserably (at least in my opinion).

    If you want player agenda and meaningful choices, you really need to have an avatar. An empty vessel for the player to drive around in, to connect him directly to the game world. You can’t put much characterization in there because it will inevitably contradict the player. If your avatar suddenly cares for someone that the player doesn’t know or like, it disconnects the player from his vessel. Adam Jensen is another example where they tried both, but it works better (for the most part of the game), because his obsession with Megan isn’t shoved right into the player’s face. You have the one sidequest and one encounter with her, but Jensen’s detached demeanor works in his favor on these occasions.

    On the other hand, if you want your protagonist to be a fleshed out character, you can’t allow the player too much freedom. The player is not the protagonist. He is along for the ride, observing the protagonist, but he should not be the one to make the big decisions. The player can decide if he wants to attack from the left or the right (small scale decisions), but the protagonist decides if he kills the Rachni Queen or saves the Krogans. The player is not writing the story, he is experiencing it.

    I think this is also one reason why so many people complain about the railroading in ME (especially concerning Cerberus in 2…I mean apart from the sloppy writing). Shepard feels like an avatar, while he is, at least partially, a character. I don’t know anybody, who complained about railroading in Baldur’s Gate or Jade Empire, and in these games you have just as much, if not less freedom. If the player was aware, that he is not playing his own story, but Shepard’s, it would still be just as stupid to work for Cerberus, but it wouldn’t be the game forcing the player to work for them, but the protagonist deciding and the player watching.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      This statement reminds me of the Jak and Daxter games. In the first game, the story was a very loose one and they didn’t need Jak to have a whole lot of emotions. He was quite clearly more of a player avatar than a character in his own right.

      Come Jak 2 and 3, and they wanted to radically shift directions. Since that meant making Jak more of a character and less of an avatar, they needed to give him a voice and lampshade the fact that he’s no longer mute. I don’t quite know how well that worked, but it’s definitely something noticeable.

      I don’t know what I’m trying to say with this comment. It’s simply an interesting observation.

  32. Zaxares says:

    3:32: Was that from Doom 3, Rutskarn? I have to say, that sequence is still one of the creepiest I have ever been through in a video game. “They took my baby…” *shiver*

    3:56: Huh. I never knew the game would just move you to the kid too if you took too long! My estimation of ME3 just took another hit. :/

    I didn’t have a problem with these dream sequences personally, but I dislike them on the basis that the game basically makes assumptions about who and what your Shepard is. As somebody on the BSN complained, “what if my Shepard is a racist, trigger-happy Rambo who does what he does simply because he’s good at killing things, he LIKES killing things, and he would not care one iota about some random kid he’s never met before?”

    This ties into what Shamus talked about with silent protagonists. I VASTLY prefer silent protagonists in RPGs because they allow me to invest much more of myself and my personality in them. Voiced protagonists ruin this sense of immersion for me because they never quite get the inflections right or, like the ME series and Dragon Age 2, they flat out say things that I personally would not have said. At that point, Shepard and Hawke (as well as other pre-generated characters like Adam Jensen from DX:HR or Geralt from The Witcher) cease being “my” character. They are someone else’s character whose path through the game I’m helping to guide.

    This doesn’t mean that voiced characters in RPGs makes for a bad game. I still think The Witcher series and DX:HR are superb games, but it doesn’t scratch the same itch that DA1 or the classic Bioware/Black Isle games did.

    4:48: WHAT?! But I LIKED Bastila! :( I want to press my slimy, mucous-covered lips against hers in the cargo hold again! (Bonus points if you get it.)

    6:35: I agree, Shamus… But I still LIKED Kelly better. :( I was saddened that there was no way to get her to come back on board the Normandy if she survived in ME2, although I can understand the writers wanting to avoid more plot entanglement.

    11:15: Huh. Good catch, Josh. I never even thought of that!

    15:08: That’s an interesting point you bring up there, Josh. About people asking whether Shepard had any insight on the afterlife. And as it turns out, there is actually a cut conversation with Ashley where she asks Shepard this very question. And Shepard’s answer is that they don’t know. They don’t remember anything. Whether that means there’s nothing beyond death or whether they simply don’t remember it is up for debate. I’ve always wondered why that conversation was cut. I thought it would have made an excellent addition to the game.

    18:07: Ehh, I’ve never really spent a lot of time staring at men’s chests, so I wouldn’t know, Shamus. *laughs*

    18:41: This is one scene that’s always bugged me. I mean, yes, FemShepard is supposed to be just as good and skilled a fighter as ManShep, but just LOOKING at her and Vega squaring off? She looks MUCH too scrawny to be a skilled pugilist. (You don’t really notice it when she’s in armor, but with those exposed forearms? It becomes REALLY obvious.) If you’ve ever seen professional female martial artists or law enforcement/military types, their musculature is DEFINITELY not something you’d miss. Sure, it’s a game and all, but it’s immersion-breaking.

    Mind you, I’ve heard all the arguments that Shepard could have “alloy-reinforced bones” and “cybernetic implants” that level the playing field, which is why I’ve never gone on a rant about it. It’s just one of those things that you watch and your brain goes, “Hang on, that shouldn’t be possible.” And it’s hard to shut that instinct off.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I guess that scene would be easier to swallow if you go full renegade in 2,and dont use the scar cream.Or do those not transfer when you import character?

    • StashAugustine says:

      Rut’s reference is to the dream sequences in Max Payne (the original). They were really good from a story perspective, but required lots of fiddly, frustrating platforming in the middle of a shooter.

  33. Lame Duck says:

    I just noticed how weird the scene with Kaidan at the beginning of this episode looks. It’s meant to be a really personal moment and she’s whispering but Shepard is stood about two feet from his face and she has absolutely no body language whatsoever.

  34. burningdragoon says:

    You can’t even go into the opposite sex’s bathroom on your Normandy. Railroading bullshit.

    >.>

  35. Chauzuvoy says:

    So in KotOR, when you face down Darth Bandon, you got the opportunity to say “You killed Trask, you monster!” Or something. And I had completely forgotten who he was. It was funny.

  36. Andrew_C says:

    Does anyone else think that forest looks suspiciously like it was recycled from Dragon Age, or Dragon Age 2? Just seems to have a Dragon Age vibe to it.

    EDIT: spelling (twice)

  37. sab says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but I’m surprised nobody brought up Bring down the Sky DLC for M.E. 1.
    At some point in there, you had to choose between saving the hostages or killing the bad guy. It actually took me a couple of minutes to make that decision, since you were in contact with one of the hostages throughout the whole mission.
    That was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make in a game.

  38. Varre says:

    I like to pretend that Freeman doesn’t have a PhD, and is actually the maintenance guy from Black Mesa, since the extent of his knowledge of physics appears to be plugging in over-sized, novelty plugs and see-saw puzzles. The problem with your totally mute protagonist is that any abilities or knowledge they have that can’t be demonstrated in-game is an informed ability; compare Isaac Clarke in DS2, who’s shown building a weapon from a flashlight and medical equipment, rewiring fuseboxes, and such.

  39. Merle says:

    I’d just like to note that Shepard doesn’t actually pick up Vega and throw him – she does a (decent, to my inexperienced eyes) hip throw. It’s more that she pulls him forward and off of his feet – not a bad Paragon move.

    Didn’t expect to like Vega, but I just couldn’t not like him. He’s got a neat personality and I liked him as Shepard’s sort-of protege.

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