Mass Effect 3 EP10:
The Space Tits Discussion

By Shamus
on Sep 6, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

In this episode Chris mentioned a bit written by an actual armor smith, commenting on the various tradeoffs between sensible gender-obscuring armor and absurd stripper armor. It’s a pretty good read. As I’ve said in the past, I’m not against stripper armor in principle. My ideal game is one where everyone gets to choose just where they want to appear on the spectrum between boring and ridiculous.

It’s like a costume party. If a woman shows up dressed as a skimpy french maid I’m not going to be some puritanical killjoy and send her home. At the same time, I wouldn’t stop a woman as she came in, hand her a bikini, and say, “Here, you’re wearing this”. In any case, I give Mass Effect a solid thumbs up for their armor and uniform designs for Shepard.

Also we mentioned “I Remember Me”, a quest from the original Mass Effect. It’s a situation where Shepard has to confront a woman who has been kept in brutal slavery since childhood. I found it to be gut wrenching. Here’s an excerpt.

Also, Two Best Friends Play Prison Break.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!202011251. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a big-ish sort of number.

From the Archives:

  1. AJ_Wings says:

    Ok, I don’t know if it’s just me or I’m seeing things but I want everybody to focus really hard on 6:49. Look at Shepard’s neck. Did Shepard just twist her head 60 degrees to the back? because if that’s the case, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR NECK?

  2. Keredis says:

    Aren’t Drell supposed to work like those hallucinogenic frogs, or whatever? Isn’t that one of Mordin’s relationship comments?

    • Luhrsen says:

      I remember that being stated. Just like the chemistry proofs showing you could become addicted to Quarian sweat.

    • Sherlock says:

      Mass Effect does make mention of the idea of different drugs for different races. Turians and Quarians have dextrose based amino acids. They even mention that Turian alcohol kill any non-Turians who drink it.

  3. rayen says:

    okay what the heck does josh whisper at the very end of the video… i’ve listened to like 6 times and i can’t understand him…
    “Keep that hip” ?
    i have no idea.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    12:08 – It makes no sense when connected with the previous game,where he clearly stated that he always thought it was a necessary evil,and no matter how much he regrets doing it,he still would do it again if given the choice.Thats the whole problem with me2 and 3,they dont work as parts of the whole,they are too disconnected.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      This set of character development works. Even in ME2 I always got the impression that Mordin was trying to convince himself as much as Shepard. Right down to the post mission conversation where he says he’s already dealt with the emotional fall out.

      Go rennegade on Tuchanka and Mordin finally breaks down and screams “I made a mistake.”

      I think it works – but I don’t like some of the other aspects. His singing and repeated invocation of “Had to be me” feel like flanderization.

      • Zukhramm says:

        Another thing is, while I know that games, especially of this kind are supposed to let the player have an impact on things, but sometimes people change their minds, regardless of what you tell them, sometimes they keep their opinions, regardless of what you tell them.

  5. Luhrsen says:

    Part of the problem with Asari “looking like you desire through telepathy”, is that they still look exactly the same in photos and video that you can look at.

    • Raygereio says:

      The Asari really are just blue lesbian spacechicks with a screwed up culture.

      People make a big deal out of that one background conversation between 3 drunken guys in one corner in ME2. But really, that was just a throw away joke. Heck, one table away from that conversation was another one that mocks the Talimancer-crowd.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        “People make a big deal out of that one background conversation between 3 drunken guys in one corner in ME2.”

        Because its an interesting concept worth exploring.But,instead of that,we got to see photoshop tali*sigh*.

        • Raygereio says:

          Really? I thought it was a really idiotic concept that makes a race that’s already essentially nerd wankbait into even bigger wankbait material and doesn’t at all fit within the established setting.

          As for the Tali reference. I was going to wait with pulling this one out, but why not…
          For those who don’t know: if you romance Tali you eventually get a unmasked picture of her in your cabin. Now for starters, I already hate that idea. It’s the Hitckcock-thing: Whatever you’re imagining will always be better then what Bioware can show you. So it’s a really dumb idea to unmask Tali in the first plase because it will always be a disapointment.

          But, I digress. Below is the picture.
          http://i.imgur.com/VdoLF.jpg
          To the right is what you get ingame. What’s that to the left? Why, it’s a “attractive woman in field smiling with sunset”-stock picture!
          http://www.gettyimages.nl/detail/foto/hammasa-royalty-free-beeld/123488108
          They didn’t even had an art guy drew something, it’s quick photoshop job.

          And speaking of photoshop jobs.
          http://i42.tinypic.com/2e1hpmv.jpg
          If you haven’t played ME3 and don’t know what that is. Just wait.
          Thinking about it though, maybe ending ME3 with a picture that symbolizes how the development team didn’t care is thematic apropriate.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            “Really? I thought it was a really idiotic concept that makes a race that’s already essentially nerd wankbait into even bigger wankbait material and doesn’t at all fit within the established setting.”

            I personally never wanted to see asari as wankbait,so every little straw that they added to the race was welcomed.Naturally biotic,slightly telepathic*,wise,strong,long living,all those are great concepts and add more over those impossible tits and heels.And having a telepathic race that appears to everyone like they are similar to them is also a nice concept.But sadly,in the end,asari are nothing more than space strippers.

            *One of my gripes with leviathan dlc:Theres no such thing as telepathy,they use pheromones and quantum entanglement.Dont ask.

            • StashAugustine says:

              I would like to say the asari gained more depth in ME2, but then again I ignored Liara through most of my first ME1 playthrough. All I know is that Illium changed my opinion of them from being 80% strippers, 19% trying to kill me, and 1% Liara into a race with some very interesting cultural background.

          • rrgg says:

            I can’t speak for everyone of course but I don’t think the reason people liked tali was because they couldn’t see her face. They liked her because they were able to interact with her for two whole games and really enjoyed her personality. It’s not the Hitchcock thing and it doesn’t hurt the game in any way so I don’t see why it doesn’t make a decent easter egg.

            As for the two winter sky images I think it would be a bit of a stretch to claim that they are exactly the same.

            • newdarkcloud says:

              It’s the same reason why the fog in Silent Hill was so effective. When you obscure something just enough, you allow the audience to fill in the background or the overall figure on their own. Just like how your mind can scare you better than anything else can, so too can it create more pleasant images than anything else can simply because it knows you and your tastes better than anyone else.

              But you are correct. Tali was appealing because of her character. She was relate-able and dependable in her own way, but she has this embarrassed teenager side to her. It’s cute.

              • rrgg says:

                Not everything is improved by omission, otherwise stories wouldn’t need to be any longer than “A thing. The end.” When people pick up a story it’s because their interest has been piqued and they want to know more. Don’t assume uncertainty is a pleasant experience to most people, that is why it works so well in horror.

                That said though the picture doesn’t really add or take anything from the story. In game Shepard should have had other ways to know what the quarians look like: the other times Tali took her mask off, getting really close to her helmet and squinting through the fog, searching the spaceternet (sp?). The fact that the player never gets to see what they look like doesn’t amount to more than a running gag.

                • newdarkcloud says:

                  I agree. However, Quarian appearance has been a mystery for two games. By now, we have all created a perception of them in our heads. Nothing Bioware could do would match everyone’s perception. Most were bound to be disappointed.

                  • Will says:

                    I think this is the key point. In general it’s OK to show your audience things, and ok to not show them things and let them guess. What can be problematic is if you don’t show them and draw attention to it in a way that induces them to guess, and then show them, and the thing you show them isn’t top-notch. Great mysteries and things rely on letting the audience guess and then showing them why your way is better. However, if the best you can do is B+, it’s best to never show at all or show before the audience build up their anticipation.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      And its even worse when its not b+ but z-,like in this case.

                    • guy says:

                      Yeah, I don’t agree that it’s automatically better to show things than keep them mysterious. For instance, the Suul’Ka thing I linked to in the previous thread was an example where the fan reaction to the revelation was not, “That was so much cooler in my head” but “Wait, that’s what they are? That explains everything

                      But mysterious things are inherently interesting, so whatever is revealed about them had better be at least as interesting as a mysterious thing. I mean, the Reapers spent a decent chunk of the first game being mysterious but no one complained about “Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh” because that was cool. I don’t think we’d see nearly as many people talking about how Quarians should have stayed mysterious if we got something actually interesting out of it.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I thought they still looked like you see, it’s just that you’re attracted to different things. It’s basically a handwave of the asari’s status as fanservice race in ME1.

      • Jarenth says:

        This is how I interpreted it, too. They still look essentially the same, but different races interpret and value different elements of their makeup. So their tentacles look like hair to humans and like crests to turians, because that’s what the respective races go for in their own females.

    • Warrax says:

      Add up everything we know about the Asari, how they’re portrayed in game along with all the other background lore, and I find that they just stretch suspension or disbelief a little too far. Even in the Mass Effect universe, the idea of a race that is basically just built to pander doesn’t fit with the rest of the setting. I think that may be why Rutskarn was having trouble verbalizing what he took issue with because yea, they just sort of leave you with a feeling of wrongness if you aren’t completly taken in by the space boobs.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I always thought that it was just that they look like the females of the race of the person looking at them, since all Asari identify as female.

      Of course, this could be fanon that I cooked up in my brain. I don’t really know for sure.

      • Tohron says:

        Of course, as some people have said earlier, their appearance looks the same in video and photographic footage, so they still end up looking almost identical to human females and significantly different from all other females – even if there are physical traits humans don’t notice that make them more identifiable to other races.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I don’t buy the space-tits theory discussed here. Space elves, sure. The telepathic ability of Liara is integral to the original story, Asari biotic ability is a major driver of the backstory (and comes back to bite them in this game), and the Asari strippers are even a (minor) plot point: the evidence that the cycle of destruction results in decadence. Athyta makes this point in ME2, and it players out in ME3 with several cracks about “wish they’d spent more time training commandoes than dancing.”

      Here’s what I want to know: why do asari have breasts in the first place? Given their reproductive process, they don’t sound like mammals.

      • Fleaman says:

        Taxonomic classifications like “mammal” are pretty nebulous even for extant species on Earth. Anything that nurtures offspring has a potential use for mammary glands. Alternatively, they could be nutritious fat deposits like the warts on a warthog, shaped into boobs by convergent evolution for the purpose of cradling the freakishly large heads of hominid-shaped young.

    • guy says:

      They do not look like others via telepathy. That would be incredibly dumb.

      The only mention of that theory was during a tiny side-conversation during a bachelor party where three people who must have been on their fourth beer by that point suggested it. By then they’d have thought swapping beverages with the Turian in attendance was a good idea.

      Then it somehow got picked up by the internet and treated like it was somehow a canonical explanation instead of an amusing drunk people incident.

      • StashAugustine says:

        Mordin also theorizes something’s up. “Asari offers… intriguing, actually. Not sure why. Pheremones unlikely. (deep breath) Must be neurochemical.” I’m pretty sure that asari have the same physical appearance no matter what, its just that different people find different things to look at.

  6. Phantos says:

    I think I’ve always been okay with Mordin wanting to cure the Genophage in 3. I don’t think it’s sudden or out of character. Throughout 2, no matter how much I pressed him about it, no matter how much talk he gave about it being a necessary evil, I always got the impression that that was just what he told himself.

    A couple of lines, like the one about being hard to sleep some nights I think supports this. And when he shouts that he “made a mistake!” right before he goes up the tower, I don’t think there was any doubt. He strikes me as someone who never gave himself time to regret about it, until time started running out. And even if he didn’t regret it as much as I believe, it’s pretty obvious it wasn’t a choice he made lightly.

    For all of the brainless nonsense of ME3’s plot, this is one part I think they nailed.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      That’s how I interpreted it as well, so I wasn’t incensed by his change-of-heart. There were tons of hints that he was just trying to atone for what he perceived as a pragmatic, yet sinful, thing to do. The dam breaks for all of us at different points, and that was just his.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I’m okay with it, but that might be personal feelings projecting in. I considered the genophage a horrible crime from word one, so it might be that I was looking too hard for reasons for Mordin to convert.

    • guy says:

      Yeah, he always struck me as being morally repulsed by the genophage but justifying it to himself as a cruel necessity. Then one day he couldn’t repress his guilt with that explanation. And the Krogan hospital rattled his self-conviction pretty badly, even if it didn’t entirely fall apart during that mission.

    • Indy says:

      I hope Josh tries to delay him without shooting him to illustrate the powerful emotional intensity of that scene.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    18:00 – You mean not everyone went through the ship in 1 and 2 and tried speaking with everyone between every mission?What kind of weirdo wouldnt do that on their first playthrough?

  8. Keredis says:

    That Reaper game-over… since it was so quick, I just scanned the entire system (getting killed by the Reapers) until I found everything, then died one last time, and went back and found everything with the bare minimum of scans. It was actually a really helpful mechanic, automatically taking me to the “reload” screen instead of having to manually do it.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I did that too. It was an easy way to get all of the resources and it wasn’t even inconvenient at all.

      • Sigilis says:

        Nope not even inconvenient enough to make me go into the ini files and search exhaustively for the variables that governed the function of the whole scanner/reaper thing and modify it so it would be way faster. It may have been less of an annoying time sink than scanning every single planet in the entire universe using that obnoxiously slow surveyor but it was still a little too much of scour these functionally identical places for stuff for my tastes. Why couldn’t we have more of the fractal terrain generator/mako sections?

      • IFS says:

        It does make the reapers less intimidating when a central game mechanic has you essentially giving them the finger as you fly away.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          Yeah. I guess reducing the Reapers to a mild annoyance is pretty bad for their image, but it’s not like this game made them out to be particularly strong in other aspects.

          Besides, it still beats the probing in ME2.

  9. l3f4y says:

    The bartender from ME2 on the Citadel says Quarians and Turians can’t drink the same alcohol that the other races do, thanks to amino acid and DNA differences. And he serves you krogan ryncol, which sends you to the men’s restroom. With an all-female party. Batarian ale is also pretty tough, and a Batarian on Omega will try to poison you (as well as any other humans who come by), but obviously it doesn’t work because Shepard. You can then force him to drink his own poison, which works just fine. Mordin makes some technobabble comment on why it didn’t kill you, if I recall correctly.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because you are undead at that point.

      • topazwolf says:

        To be fair this is actually quite a feasible explanation. After your “accident”, almost every piece of you has been patched or entirely replaced by cybernetic or bio-engineered components. I wouldn’t doubt that Shepard has a bionic (or even krogan like) liver.

        • Carlos Castillo says:

          There are several points in Mass Effect 2 where Shepard’s shows an enhanced resistance to toxins/drugs/etc…

          – When you wake up in the Cerberus base at the start of the game, but they haven’t finished “fixing” you, they have to hit you with increasing doses of sedatives to keep you stable.
          – When you go drinking at the citadel
          – When the Batarian bartender tries to poison you
          – In “Arrival”, they try to keep you sedated for the Reaper’s arrival, but you wake up early.

          • l3f4y says:

            When I played Arrival, I thought this was a nice touch. They mentioned that they had been increasing the sedatives and I thought “Awwwww yeah, I’ma wake up and kick some crazy butt. You can’t keep Shepard down!”

  10. meyerkev says:

    So here’s a question?

    I know that if you do the Turian mission and not the follow-up, the bomb will explode and wipe out the Krogan clans. What happens if you don’t do the Turian mission at all? Does the bomb still go off?

    /Since the Turian mission is basically a giant lootdrop that’s also lulzy easy until the very, very end, I always do it.

    • Raygereio says:

      Nope. The bomb essentially doesn’t exist until you do the first mission.

      For reference:
      Once you acquire the mission “Tuchanka: Turian Platoon” (Note: you can miss it. Victus won’t give you this mission after the main mission “Priority: Tuchanka”) it will always be available.

      Once you completed “Turian Platoon”, you’ll get the follow up mission “Tuchanka: Bomb”. This mission is timed and can be failed (with the bomb blowing up) if you ignore it for 3 missions.

  11. Michael says:

    We’re Spoiler Warning: We ruin spoils!

    Oh, Chris. Can we get that as an introduction next week?

  12. LunaticFringe says:

    Well since the gender issues in Mass Effect got brought up, I have to ask: do they ever explain why Eve wears a niqab? It could easily just be a result of ‘less is more’ design philosophy or just laziness, but I don’t think they explain it in-universe.

    I got kind of uncomfortable about it because the only justifications I could come up with were really questionable:

    Option 1: Krogan are driven by sex and the Selfish Gene, thus either they as a culture or the ‘women’ themselves cover up in order to prevent brawls/sexual assault/etc. Which doesn’t entirely make sense as apparently female krogan can defend themselves easily.
    Option 2: Mass Effect is all about the neo-colonialism, presenting traditional Middle Eastern garb as the ‘alien’ or ‘other’ to distance itself from the Western ‘normal’ (or in ME’s case, human, ignoring the fact that the other ‘developed’ civilizations in the Mass Effect universe all share similarities to Western culture, structure of the state, etc.). GASP! Western-centric views in Mass Effect? Never.

    • Raygereio says:

      I don’t recall her choice of clothing ever being explained.

      But I didn’t atribute real-world socio-political reasoning to is. I saw that robe thing as part of her character being a shamus, a mystic.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because aliens!

    • Khizan says:

      My guess is that female krogans are a Big Deal, in the story, and so they wanted to show a clear differentiation between the males and the women without having to give them lizardtits or other obvious sexual characteristics. So they gave her krogan robes. Maybe it’s ceremonial, I dunno. I never had a problem with it.

      I never really considered it as something about male dominance, probably because it seems rather clear exactly how unwilling Eve is to put up with any BS from, well, anybody, ever.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        Eve also, however, mentions how males are politically dominant, even citing the clan wars as a purely male contest with females largely considering it to be pointless. She cites female involvement in politics as one of her main goals as well.

    • lasslisa says:

      Or, the original reason for flowy robes in deserts all over the world, it’s for protection from the environment.

    • Guy says:

      Because the full-body covering gives some protection against infection and Eve has a compromised immune system.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        Not buying it because in the Extended Cut female krogan are shown wearing these in general. This is ignoring the fact that an envirosuit would just be a better option.

    • ehlijen says:

      What if they wear robes just because the artist thought it’d make them look distinct and interesting?

      They’re aliens. They fashion choices are not bound by 20th century human context.

      But if that’s not goog enough (and it might not be, given how bad bioware is at avoiding human centricism):
      Tuchanka is a nuclear wasteland. Fertile female Krogan are rare. Wearing something that protects from the environment as best as is possible without going into expensive life support gear is perfectly reasonably.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        We’re getting a lot of ‘head canon’ examples here, but I’ll try to stick to what Bioware shows us: In the Extended Cut, the krogan baby scene shows a terraformed Tuchanka that clearly has an improved environment, yet the females are still wearing the robes.

        And actually, we are partially bound by 21st century concepts, because the writers are working from that perspective. Your ‘they’re aliens’ point highlights the neocolonialist critique of this design: in order to make them appear as the ‘other’, a Western company designed female krogan with clothing similar to that of Middle Eastern culture. Bioware presents the advanced civilizations of asari, salarians and turians as all being very grounded in Western notions of state, culture, economy, and monotheistic religion in the case of the asari. While the underdeveloped species of the krogan are shown as being a product of their uplifting by these advanced civilizations (similarities to the White Man’s Burden are obvious) and they share some gender inequality issues with current Middle Eastern society. This is a clear case of a writing team projecting modern culture issues onto a fictional universe.

        • Klay F. says:

          I just going to present the most likely scenario. The modelers and animators were much too lazy to bother with creating a model visibly different from the male krogan model, so they decided the best way to cover up their laziness was to throw a robe over a male krogan model, change the proportions around randomly, and call it a day without thinking about the ramifications of their laziness.

          • LunaticFringe says:

            Yes, I will totally accept ‘the designers/animators were lazy and just did this because it was easy, ignoring their cultural bias’ over some deliberate attempt. To clarify I’m not calling Bioware racists or anything, I just get uncomfortable when they try to project this notion that 21st century socioeconomic hierarchies are a constant even in the future. Bugs me way more then the asari because they treat it like it’s normal rather then being aware that they’re constructing societies based on a Western-centric viewpoint.

            • ThirteenthLetter says:

              “I just get uncomfortable when they try to project this notion that 21st century socioeconomic hierarchies are a constant even in the future.”

              You haven’t exactly backed up the notion that they’re doing so in this case; you’re just asserting it, based on nothing more than an outfit that looks vaguely Middle Eastern if you kinda tilt your head and squint.

              • LunaticFringe says:

                I’ve backed this up numerous times through brief examples, but I’ll restate them further: the major, ‘successful’ races of the series, asari, salarian, turian and human all follow traditional Western societal examples. Their state models are all democratic to some extent, companies referenced exist in a capitalist market regulated by the state, they’re secular or at least moderately influenced by monotheism (asari) but it’s not a state religion, their diplomacy follows the logic of 20th century global politics (with the Council basically being similar to the UN veto powers) and even their accents are grounded in American English.

                In contrast, the ‘unsuccessful’ species, like the quarians, batarians and krogan, have traits that are associated with the East: some quarians have foreign accents, quarians and krogan both follow clan-like hierarchies (ships and captains for quarians obviously), batarians are shown defending slavery as a cultural trait, something not uncommon to modern politics (their autarkic isolationism and worship of the state also brings a comparison to North Korea to mind), the use of tribal rituals conveys a more engrained spirituality to their cultures (quarians with the Pilgrimage, krogan with their puberty rituals), etc. Eve’s robes are not the only example of a Westerncentric viewpoint, they’re just a glaring one.

                This dichotomy is exactly what neocolonialism points out. It highlights how media produces assumptions to reinforce the status quo. Authors project their cultural assumptions onto their material. We live in a global community where the West is on top (the Council races), it’s institutions are good, and that is why it is successful, while the East is below, it’s institutions are traditional and in need of Western modernization to make them better (little things like Eve believing that female participation in politics will end clan conflict, i.e. applying a modern Western notion of equality on a traditional patriarchal society), and that they’re in this position because their culture, economics or politics are backward. Mass Effect vigorously reinforces the notion that the modern geopolitical situation is a constant and that entities grounded in Western concepts succeed and are ‘normal’ while those based on alternative cultures are regulated to the back and are the ‘other’. Eve’s costume is not in a vacuum, it’s contextually grounded in a series that embraces the Western world as an ideal, and that is why it’s more questionable then not.

  13. Raygereio says:

    Shamus.
    Between you completely missing Liberty Prime in Fallout 3 and missing Cortez here, I have to ask: Do you always roleplay your character being nearsighted and deaf, or something?

    I can understand missing something that isn’t referenced by dialogue, is hidden away in a corner and doesn’t draw attention via light and/or sound. But Cortez standing right there next to consoles you use, produces sound and has the big “Please interact with me” circle pop up over him if you even so much as look at him sideways.

    • Shamus says:

      I never went down in the basement. I didn’t use those consoles. I went down once, spoke to Vega, and decided he wasn’t worth the loading screen on subsequent visits.

      And really. ALWAYS nearsighted and deaf? You’re talking about games I played YEARS apart.

      • Raygereio says:

        I went down once, spoke to Vega, and decided he wasn’t worth the loading screen on subsequent visits.
        Fair enough and just so we’re clear, I think you interpreted my post as hostile or accusing. It was meant as one part joking and one part “how?”.
        Also, I recall you mentioning (or having this be mentioned about you in SW) about you missing things in games often. But that can easily be my dumb memory.

      • Aldowyn says:

        You never used those consoles? No armor customization, no upgrading weapons, none of that? You can change your loadout before every mission and at certain parts during missions, but for any more than that you need THOSE consoles.

        • lasslisa says:

          Eh, I never did that either. My armor’s fine. My weapons are fine, and if they’re not fine then I’ll change them at the start of the mission. Mass Effect is not a game that I play for the purpose of twinking out my gear.

        • Hitch says:

          There’s an armor station in the Captain’s quarters and the start of every mission lets you customize weapons. Those consoles are not necessary.

          • ehlijen says:

            The shopping one is nicely convenient and the weapon upgrade one (not the work bench, the one that let’s you up a Shootpistoliser I to a Shootpistoliser II and further) is not repeated anywhere else in the game.

            Also, the 5 button is right there on the elevator. Curiosity alone should make everyone press it once.

        • Khizan says:

          You can modify armor in the captain’s quarters, just like ME2.

          However, there’s a bunch of consoles and he’s STANDING RIGHT THERE with a big talk to me circle over him, so I have no idea how people manage to miss him.

          • Hitch says:

            I’m not sure he’s there the first time you can go down there. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see Cortez until my second trip down. I went down, had the stupid conversation and fight with Vega and left without talking to Cortez. I did talk to Cortez later when I came looking for model ships.

            • Lame Duck says:

              I feel strongly that in a game about your last ditch attempt to save the galaxy from an army of genocidal space Cthulus searching for model ships should not be an activity that you do. You should get a game over if you collect them all.

              • ehlijen says:

                Why? It’s not like you never make interstellar trips that can take days that give you lots of time to kill.

              • Hitch says:

                “It all up to you, Shepard. Only you can save the galaxy. You’re our last hope.”

                “I’m gonna need some new weapons and armor.”

                “That’ll be cash up front. Paid in full.”

                One of the silliest tropes of the genre if you stop to think about it.

            • ehlijen says:

              On the first trip down he’s at the workbench thingy on the wall to the right of you coming in, very out of the way. Later he switches from standing between the shopping and armour console and welding stuff on the shuttle engine to the right.

          • StashAugustine says:

            I had no trouble finding him the first time, but I lost him when he ended up working on the Kodiak.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          To be fair, you don’t really even need weapons depending on what class you use. I used an Adept and I recall Shamus saying he used Vanguard. Those classes can totally get away without using anything but a pistol (or an SMG w/ lighter parts). I know I didn’t use those consoles all that much on my first playthrough.

          • Ira says:

            You can chalk me up as another person who completely missed Cortez. I decided early on that I didn’t give a darn about Vega, so I never went down there. Ever. By the end of the game I was going, “Wait, why is the game acting like it’s a big deal that the shuttle pilot died? Did he even have a name?”

  14. Christopher M. says:

    My problem with Cortez is simply this: With all their vaunted inclusiveness, BioWare removed the option to be a space conservative. “Sure – it’s your game, play your way! Oh, by the way, we decided you agree with gay marriage. Have fun!”

    Not that he shouldn’t be there – but it would be nice to have the option to disagree.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      From what I’ve seen I don’t think that typical social conservativism exists in the Mass Effect universe, even Ashley believing in a god was made to be a big deal so apparently the human race is largely atheist by this point. Terra Firma is probably the only example of cultural conservativism shown in the series, but they don’t seem to have any platform for social issues.

      That’s one thing I really liked about the original, the fact that they didn’t just assume the player was fine with working with aliens and let them be a little bigotted and humancentric. Created an interesting dimension to Shepherd’s story: yes, he’s efficient and heroic for saving the Citadel, but he’s also a bit racist. Possibilities like that added more to the morality system then a choice between Space Jesus and Chaotic Stupid.

    • zob says:

      So you are allies with aliens. You are trying to get their help. You are highly tolerant of omnisexual Asari. You live in a universe where interspecies marriage between Asari and Humans (male/female) are accepted. But you are so against gay marriage that you’re willing to antagonize your only competent shuttle pilot. That’s a very specific kind of space conservative.

      • StashAugustine says:

        You don’t have to be tolerant of them, at least in ME1. And I would argue about differences in how the different races approach sexuality, but it would go way too far into R&P territory for this blog.

        • zob says:

          It has nothing to do with religion or politics it’s simple military logic. Antagonizing your only competent shuttle pilot just because you don’t like who he was legally married to and keep using the same pilot is just DUMB in a normal setting. It’s SUICIDALLY MORONIC in ME3 setting.

    • Ariadnethread says:

      Seriously?
      That’s like being bothered you don’t get the chance to play space conservative and disapprove of women in the armed forces. It’s completely irrelevant to whole tone of game. What would be the point?

    • lurkey says:

      Psssst. Dude. Play Dragon Age 2, and when you get your male mage companion, always pick diplomatic dialogue options when talking to him. You would love them hilarious results!

    • StashAugustine says:

      I think it’s just the conclusion of “Oh, let’s make it so you can’t be mean to people anymore” (see Diane Allers.) I have always been disappointed in your inability to romance someone without sleeping with them, though. Liara in ME1 felt too young and Jack in ME2 had an unfortunate “screwing the therapist” vibe to it.

      • Klay F. says:

        And here is where I champion ME1 yet again. I’m not sure about Liara but I romanced Ashley in my first ever playthrough of the original game, and when she approached me right before the final mission, I flat out rejected her advances, because its what my Shepard would do. “Look Ash, we are about to head into god knows what, space nookie is the furthest thing from my mind right now. No offense.”

        Rooting around in a save game editor, I found out that the game still considered me to be in an active romance with her. I was actually relieved when I found out.

        • StashAugustine says:

          I heard you can do that with Liara, too. But, do they still act as if you slept together (as opposed to merely falling in love) in ME2/3?

          • Klay F. says:

            I don’t remember Ash or Liara ever specifically referencing your sexytimes (or lack thereof). With Ash/Kaiden the only acknowledgement ME2 EVER gives that you had a relationship with her/him is a portrait on your desk. With Liara its better, though still not good.

      • Merle says:

        I don’t think Shepard and Jack sleep together in 2 if you go for the full-romance path, actually.

        That is…they sleep together, probably, but they don’t sleep together. Clothes stay on. I figured it was more of a “you’re safe with me, you can relax and rest” than “ooh sexytimes”.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      That made total sense to me. We as a culture have grown beyond that in Mass Effect’s world. Being gay is just another thing that happens to some people while the rest don’t give a shit.

      I actually thought that was a great idea on Bioware’s part. If only I could get passed the suspicion that they did it just so that they could write a few gay sex scenes, then I’d be totally content.

      • Christopher M. says:

        I have a definite problem with the idea that “accepting gay marriage” is somehow a higher ideal than “opposing gay marriage.” Personally, I’m of the opinion that we as a culture will not “grow past that,” and that this will remain every bit as contentious – and even-field – as abortion well into the future. To arbitrarily decide otherwise is just as arrogant as deciding that there are no homosexuals in the future.

        To put it more simply: You can have your fantasy world where you are right about all the current issues. Don’t kill mine in the process.

        • krellen says:

          Well, too bad. It is.

          Acceptance is ALWAYS a higher ideal than intolerance.

          • StashAugustine says:

            I was going to post a reply, then I remembered what site we’re on.

          • Cineris says:

            @Christopher M:

            Bioware made a choice on how they chose to represent their world, and it happens to be one that (surprise, surprise) reflects political correctness. I don’t really have a problem with that, there’s innumerable choices that could be in the game but aren’t due to authorial discretion. Although you’re correct in pointing out this seems like an entirely irrelevant addition to the game for the express purpose of shoving it in the player’s face. But that’s not really surprising given the direction Bioware has been headed lately.

            It’s just as much a ridiculous issue that female humans in are all equally butt-kicking in physical combat as the males despite huge disadvantages in height/weight/muscle mass/etc.
            But creating a game where women are depicted as disadvantaged in physical combat would be pretty outrageous. We accept the fiction more readily than the truth.

            The games industry as a whole doesn’t really have the spine to stand up to social bullying from political correctness. Look at the Spoiler Warning hangout where they talked about Anita Sarkeesian — None of the hosts really seemed to be behind Sarkeesian, but the threat of being lumped in with a group of trolls basically led to them giving tentative support to her endeavor. Thing is, you don’t need to be an internet asshat to object to Sarkeesian’s silly project, yet it’s almost impossible to take a principled stance because PC Jezebel writers are all too happy to use fallacious reasoning to boil the issue down to “With Us/Hate Women.” That distinction is entirely artificial and intended to bully people into tacit support of their ideology.

            @Krellen:

            Way to confuse “ought” with “is.”

          • Soylent Dave says:

            So is acceptance of intolerance a higher ideal than challenging (refusing to tolerate) it?

            How about accepting fascism versus refusing to tolerate revolution? Which is better?

            (as I’m sure we could all think of examples like that, the point is we all think our ideals are higher and nobler than those we despise (or oppose) – that’s why it’s so easy to demonise political opponents. Because opinions are wholly subjective)

            • StashAugustine says:

              I have sympathies with your argument, but please remember that we’re supposed to be discussing Mass Effect.

              • Soylent Dave says:

                Well in Mass Effect there definitely are objectively good and bad choices

                The only problem is that it’s a Bioware game, so ‘good’ usually translates to ‘space hippy’ and ‘bad’ becomes ‘petty asshole’

                (although sometimes they do it brilliantly, it must be said)

            • Klay F. says:

              At the risk of lengthening this retarded argument and incurring Shamus’ wrath (though I hope not), I have to point out the ridiculous strawman you’ve constructed. You are intentionally misrepresenting krellen’s argument by introducing situations that have nothing to do with the issues being discussed.

              This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with ideals. It has to do with two consenting adults making a decision that affects THEM AND ONLY THEM. Your fascism argument is completely and totally irrelevant.

              • Soylent Dave says:

                My initial bit was a ludicrous strawman, of course. That was really the whole point.

                I was countering the equally ludicrous idea that “acceptance is ALWAYS a higher ideal than intolerance”

                It isn’t – there are things that we mustn’t tolerate, because to accept them would be monstrous. Extreme examples make that point more easily; it’s not an attempt to misrepresent Krellen’s argument, but to shine a light on how extreme (or how ‘black and white’) that particular statement was.

                Of course, in line with the second bit of my comment, the things we each find ‘monstrous’ will be entirely subjective – there’s no universal constant for ‘good’ and ‘bad’, just what we each believe to be right.

                Human society doesn’t operate from any objective morality – western civilisation has things that most of us believe to be right, that most of us believe to be wrong; those things are the basis of our laws. But the fact that we require such laws be defined kinda proves my point – codification would be unnecessary if it was merely human nature to believe these things right and wrong.

                For the record I loudly and openly support gay marriage, because I believe it to be right and fair. I’m also aware that marriage legislation does affect more than the individuals involved (taxation, state benefits and so forth) – although to extend the concept of a married persons tax allowance to Mass Effect would probably be stretching things just a little bit..!

                I’m also aware that other people have their own reasons for either agreeing or disagreeing with; some of which I can appreciate, some of which I may find absurd. This isn’t really the place to talk about that, though.

                I was really just making the point we all think our beliefs and opinions serve a higher ideal than those who disagree with us. That’s human nature, too.

        • Sumanai says:

          People who hold a particular view will naturally hold that view to be in some manner superior to others, at least when the topic is something they are willing to be vocal about it. If the option to disagree with someone you are working with, therefore risking the souring of your professional relations with them, is important enough to you, I have difficulty believing you don’t hold your view in some way superior to the one they’ve presented.

          For example, if I hold a view that there’s no right answer to something, I’m not going to start an argument about that something with someone I work with.

          However, if I believe that someone is wrong and that it’s important that I correct them, then I might.

          If you can’t avoid being unquestionably for it, going beyond just offering consolation or non-committal comment, then there’s an obvious option missing, but otherwise it just paints Shepard as being polite.

    • Irridium says:

      You do get the option. When he’s talking to you in the bar he remarks that the view is nice. It then pans to a guy dancing. You are then given two options, you can say “what about me” which starts a relationship with him. The other option is to say “I prefer the dancers”, which then pans to the Asari.

      Besides, the galaxy is being attacked by ancient horrors from beyond the stars. There’s far more important things going on than worrying about who’s screwing who and whether it’s right or not.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        The ‘galaxy is being attacked by ancient horrors’ argument can apply to pretty much any of the personal conversations and experiences in the game however.

        “Liara! What are you doing hanging out at a coffee shop? Shouldn’t you be trying to use your Broker connections to improve our chances?”

        “Joker, why the hell are you hanging out at this nightclub? I just came here to secure the mercenaries we need to take back earth, get back to the ship!”

      • Sumanai says:

        Ugh. I don’t like those choices. So you either have to be a dick or gay? That’s not really giving options for people who want to be nice. Or nasty, for that matter.

    • Cody211282 says:

      What does political affiliation have to do with this at all? Your given the option to completely bypass Cortez even being interested in you just by saying you like women, why do you need the option to be a complete and total ass to the guy just because you and him do completely agree?

      • Sigilis says:

        You may not be aware of this, but if a game offers a character and a choice of interaction, the natural state of a player is typically to look for the way he’s not supposed to act. Or at least that’s how it seems when you run a game. Make a sympathetic NPC and people want to be horrible to him. Make a villain and suddenly they’re interested in what motivates him, and want to join him. You can’t win either way.

        I personally might not have wanted to spit on him for his personal preferences, but roleplaying an opinionated character is certainly within the realm of acceptable things for me. They could have even had people respond to your actions with disgust, but then that would introduce more complexity in a series that is already at the breaking point of the writers as far as dealing with the interactions they already have. Also, it might not contribute anything to the actual story which would make the GM very frustrated with Todd, that antagonistic, egotis… I mean… It might not move anything forward.

      • Christopher M. says:

        You don’t get any such option as a FemShep. And even that is less “I don’t agree with this” and more “I’m not interested.”

        • Cody211282 says:

          I’m not interested is all there needs to be. Why would you go out of your way to be a dick to someone who is trying to help you and nothing but friendly?

          • StashAugustine says:

            You can let Samara shoot herself because otherwise she’ll have to kill her only child. You can then execute the child for no good reason. Being a dick for no good reason is something that happens a lot.

            • Cody211282 says:

              Ok but point I’m trying to make is why would you basically bully a crew mate because of his sexual orientation?

              Hell if you want to make fun of him just mock him as he cries over his dead husband.

              • LunaticFringe says:

                Um…am I a terrible person for wanting to mock his dead husband? Because I felt Cortez’s backstory was incredibly cheesy and ham-fisted. It felt like a bad plot to a Hallmark backed movie. Next to the child and Earth I consider it to be the most obviously manipulative part of the game. Mocking him would’ve at least made it interesting (and I mean, come on, this is the game where you can execute Samara’s daughter for no reason) as opposed to contrived.

                • StashAugustine says:

                  Yeah, I have this feeling I would like Cortez-the-man but I didn’t really like Cortez-the-character. He did have some good banter with Vega though.
                  And honestly, this would have been the perfect place to allow the player to disapprove of his lifestyle. You allow the player the freedom to rebel against the writer while also being totally in-universe justified in telling him to shut up.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          You can say “I’m not interested.” I told him I had no interest in a romance. (I was already in the middle of rekindling my romance with Liara.)

    • ehlijen says:

      And I wanted the optiong to play a jaded, nihilistic shepard who wants the reapers to win and will sabotage the war effort every chance she gets. I didn’t get that, because that is not what this game is.

      In fact, given the ‘humans and aliens, vs or with?’ theme of the series, I think trying to split humanity on such matters hurts the premise of the game of a united humanity trying to make its name in the galaxy. At least that’s how the first game started.

      Look at it this way: You don’t actually have to talk to Cortez. You can evasdrop on him listening to his husbands last message and go ‘not touching that’ and talk with manly muscle testosterone mountain on the other side of the cargo hold about being a macho military man if you prefer.

  15. Nyctef says:

    The codex (at least in ME1 and 2) is written in-universe, so it isn’t always consistent. For example, the ME2 entry for the Citadel describes the events of ME1 as an attack by “a large geth warship” which mirror’s the Council’s position on the quote-unquote “reapers.”

  16. False Prophet says:

    In Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar books, ginger affects the Race (reptilian aliens who invade Earth in the middle of World War II) like a narcotic. Some enterprising humans become ginger-dealers to their new conquerors.

    And on a first-season episode of Babylon 5, Lennier tells Londo that alcohol turns Minbari into violent psychotics. Meanwhile, alcohol seems to affect Centauri much the same as humans. Narns have shared drinks with humans and Centauri as well, with no unusual effects.

    • ps238principal says:

      Then there’s the ET’s from “Alien Nation” who get drunk on spoiled milk. They also get a kind of meth-effect (or, in high doses, a PCP-like Hulk-out) from some kind of goo that only tastes like dish soap to humans.

      But narcotic Krogen would make evolutionary sense, kind of. If whoever touched/licked you became intoxicated, then they’d be easier to kill.

    • Hitch says:

      When they were talking about that, I thought of the possibly of an alien race that got high off human sweat. Enterprising or down on their luck humans could make money by lettin the aliens lick them. I could see polite society looking down on then as prostitutes or drug pushers, or a combination worse than both.

      • ps238principal says:

        I find that in sci-fi, we humans aren’t so much addictive as we are delicious.

      • Indy says:

        You’re reminding me of the guy on the Bioware forums who believes, with scientific backing, that quarian sweat is a human hallucinogen.

        • Sumanai says:

          He believes it has scientific backing, or it actually does have scientific backing?

          • ps238principal says:

            I think I’m sensing a potential kickstarter for some “research!”

          • Indy says:

            Here’s the link if you’re interested.

            It makes a few assumptions but derives that the dextro form of urea in a Quarian’s sweat is a neuro-toxin, a depressant (rather than a hallucinogen like I said above) and a stimulant. Oh, and a performance enhancer.

            He also cites it took 40 minutes to come up with the theory so it’s probably wrong.

            • anaphysik says:

              I dunno, if he came up with it after bumping his head because he fell off a toilet while trying to hang a clock… well, *then* it’s plausible.

            • Sumanai says:

              Pretty likely it’s wrong, but it’s a topic on a hypothetical composition and effect of an imaginary species’ sweat. It wasn’t going to be an exact science anyway.

              What I was curious about was that if it was possible to be true based on the information given by the game and what is known in the real-world about chemistry, and not just a random claim.

              I’ll try to remember to check it later, just in case I can make heads or tails of it then, but I’m guessing I’ll walk away with nothing.

    • ehlijen says:

      In Torchwood Season 3 (children of earth):
      the aliens want more human children to get high on

  17. Phantom Hoover says:

    You really misinterpreted the deal with the Asari appearances. The only time I can remember that being touched upon is the bachelor party on Illium in ME2, and the point there is not that they all see the Asari differently, they focus on different characteristics (the Turian on the tentacle head, the Salarian on the skin colouring, the human on the fact that they’re anatomically human from the scalp down). That’s kind of dumb too but it’s not what you were making it out to be.

    • ehlijen says:

      Indeed. I thought it was actually a poke at the fact that the major alien races were all designed by the same artists and feature common elements that artists like.

    • ps238principal says:

      It’s kind of surprising that everyone seemed to think that the Asari appearing “how the viewer wants” was a largely positive thing. In a lot of sci-fi/horror, it’s often the case that, sure, the cosmic horror that wants to mate with (and probably consume) you will reach deep into your psyche and pull out whatever it is that’ll turn you on, 100%. The problem is that often the victim isn’t even aware of what it is that turns them on at a base level, and often has a problem being confronted with it.

      The concept, in a negative form, can be everything from PG-rated, where the character sees someone other than the person they’ve declared as their true love, to the unrated-film-available-only-by-password-protected-download area, where the character discovers that what really gets their motor running is illegal in most developed countries, requires at least three participants of which only one survives, and whose only written mention is on clay tablets found at the site of an ancient crater that the local tribes refer to as “where the gods said ‘eeew, no.'”

  18. rrgg says:

    As far as armor goes I can’t even stand it when it’s designed as some sort of hulking, spiked, unrealistic monstrosity. Something like Sauron’s armor I guess makes sense given his character and setting (so long as the author wasn’t going for “sane”) but if my character has to wear it then no way.

    This is probably why I am never going to touch any fantasy mmos. In something like Skyrim if need be I can always turn the difficulty down to easy and stick to beating up elves and wizards with an iron sword and mix and match armor types at will. I don’t want to ever feel like in order to to do well I need to end up as Clanky McSpikerton with the 20 lb. double bitted axe.

    • Traska says:

      A lot of MMOs have “appearance” armors. So you can have armor you’re actually wearing, and armor it looks like you’re wearing.

    • Keredis says:

      Well, the movies also claimed that Sauron made sense as a giant lighthouse eyeball, so…

    • ps238principal says:

      It’s part of the whole “rule of cool” thing, but I say there’s an addendum to it. It’s a maxim I’ve come to call “with great power comes great accessories.” Basically, it means that the more godlike your powers, the dippier your costume/armor/outfit can be without it being immediately considered silly. Superman is a great example. Nearly everyone agrees he looks pretty cool, but the dude is wearing read and blue with his underwear on the outside of his pants. Galactus looks completely ridiculous, but he eats planets, so he can get away with it. Sauron is Evil McEvil who forged the One Ring, so they made him look the part, even though his armor is straight out of a Todd McFarlane fever dream.

      As a side note, at least D&D 4e included the use of armor as a weapon. If you have all those spikey bits, giving someone a hug is definitely considered a hostile action.

      • Keredis says:

        3E had that as well. You could add spikes to any suit of armor heavier than chainmail (i.e., any suit of armor that had places to strap spikes) and it would let you deal bonus lethal damage on any grapple.

      • rrgg says:

        I get that there is a cyclical element to it (person in stupid costume is cool and powerful > fans equate stupid costumes with being cool and powerful > want more stupid costumes), but what I don’t get is the people who start it in the first place. What caused someone to go “I am going to create a character that is super strong, super fast, and has laser eyes. Also he is going to look like he’s wearing underpants.”?

        Maybe seeing weird shapes and bright colors just strikes a dormant nerve with some people.

        (YES, I JUST CALLED ALL THE PEOPLES BABIES BWAHAHAHA)

        • Aldowyn says:

          Maybe cause it was decades+ ago and people are weird :P

        • Hitch says:

          When Superman was created his costume did not have the little red Speedo look so familiar today. He actually wore much larger trucks and the costume (although very brightly colored) resembled the trunks over tights commonly seen on circus strong men of the time.

          • ps238principal says:

            Now he’s got some Kryptonian nano-suit-armor-stuff. It’s basically the same outfit, but now it can show battle damage, heal itself, and it’s got little “plate” lines on an otherwise skin-tight costume.

            I think just about every other character has something similar going on with their costumes post-New 52, too.

            • Hitch says:

              So, the same as it ever was, but now they’ve added a technobabble explanation for how his suit gets repaired after every big fight when it gets torn up just to show how tough the fight was.

              • ps238principal says:

                Yep. And I still remember the days where his suit was as indestructible as he was, or at least, the cape was (I think he was swaddled in it for his trip from Krypton). There was also a time where he supposedly wadded up his street clothes down into a super-tight ball and tucked them into a pocket in his cape.

                I’m pretty much of the decision that secret identities, with a few exceptions (Batman, for example) are not only stupid, they’re impossible in this day and age.

      • Klay F. says:

        Also, in Dark Souls, there is a set of armor later in the game called the “Armor of Thorns” meaning that if you dodge roll with that armor on, you will damage whatever you roll into. Its great fun.

  19. Traska says:

    I watched the Shepard video, despite never having played Mass Effect at all before.

    Damn you Shamus, I wasn’t looking to start any new games. Now I have to.

  20. lurkey says:

    Why yes, Mordin did try to set up Ms Krogan with Garrus, because you see, that one time in Mass Effect 2 Garrus remarked how Krogan chicks dig dudes with scars so he can expect to be popular with them and Bioware is very environmentally conscious company and never lets even tiniest fraction of a joke to slip unrecycled. Hey, you get Mordin singing in this very same episode, and be prepared for the glorious return of calibrating, favourite shop on Citadel and many, many others!

    Mordin changing his mind about Genophage didn’t seem out of place for me though. There was this scene after his loyalty mission where Shepard asks him how can he be so calm and dispassionate almost instantly after being deeply shaken and disturbed with all that Maelon business, and he explains that Salarians got fast metabolism, short life span and no time to mope and angst. He probably thought through it in his rapid Salarian ways, arrived to the conclusion “Genophage = Very Bad Thing” and since then worked to fix it without too much of inner torture and ruminations.

    However, Shepard does get to ask him later about how comes he changed his mind, and his anguished, dramatic “I WAS WRONG!!!!!” is glaring OOC.

    • Aldowyn says:

      *shrug* Just because they process things faster doesn’t mean they can’t still bottle things up. It doesn’t quite fit with how calm he seemed after the loyalty mission in ME2, but I can see Mordin as being torn up inside over the moral dilemma and eventually changing his mind. I mean, this IS kind of a big deal, and it’s only been a few months IIRC.

      • lurkey says:

        Eh, I’m okay with him changing his mind, I thought it was clear from the post? What I didn’t like was the melodramatic delivery (aka “I WAS WRONG!!!!”). Just because the dude is into a tandem of human opera composers doesn’t mean he’s obliged to act it out in life; there’s enough melodrama in everything by Bioware, no need to force one of rarer rational character to do dramatic reading.

  21. ps238principal says:

    Shamus: “How many PHDs would you have by the time you hit 300 years old? And what are they all doing? They’re table dancing. They’re strippers.”

    To be fair, it’s probably a much quicker way to pay for all those PHDs than most other professions. At least, the ones that don’t involve smuggling.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      There’s also the possibility that Asari might have higher requirements for PhDs than humans because of their longer lifespan, which means that they might have longer schooling as well.

      I wish Bioware would go into that a bit more, but it’s not required. Really, it’s a minor point.

      • Irridium says:

        Indeed. 300 hundred years for an Asari would be, what, 20 or so years for a human?

        And of course this brings up the question, is Shepard kind of a pedophile for being into Liara? Which nobody cares about because sexy alien babe.

        *sigh*

        • StashAugustine says:

          Liara is probably around 20ish in human years. She’s basically just out of college.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          That’s true. I think Liara said that she was around 100 years old. To an asari, that’s around 10 percent of her maximum lifespan.

          As far as I am aware, asari aging works different than ours. Once they are old enough, they start doing tons of risky stuff, gaining experience and having one-night stands and other crap. Then, they settle down for a little and begin having children for real.

          • StashAugustine says:

            Asari culture is basically the writers coming up with fanservice and then hastily trying to justify it all.

            • newdarkcloud says:

              Pretty much. No argument there.

              Though the question does remain: Are they jailbait?

              • ps238principal says:

                It’s a funny thing to ask. As noted above, some equate “living 1,000 years” with “living a human lifetime” and are stretching events out to match. I’m guessing she’s not jailbait, unless whatever they call “pre-adolescence to young adulthood” lasts, what, 200 years?

                I think this comes largely from fantasy novels, where elves and their ilk are seen as being “mere children” at only 100 years old. Unless they learn and biologically mature at a slower rate, then this time-and-event-stretching wouldn’t apply.

                • StashAugustine says:

                  It’s never quite made clear how fast asari mentally and emotionally mature. It seems to be rather abrupt cutoffs for the various stages of emotional maturity, but it’s unclear where a 30-year-old asari matches up on human terms.

    • Khizan says:

      How many PhDs would I have? Probably none. I would assume that the average quality of life for an asari is high enough that higher education is probably more of an “I want this” than “I need this.”

      • Klay F. says:

        There is probably less of the “get a college degree or you are worthless” mentality that plagues American culture.

        • ps238principal says:

          I’m of the opinion that’s largely due to idiotic and lazy people in H.R. They often have no clue as to what’s required for a given job (especially when it comes to anything involving computers). All they can go on is “if we want a programmer who does X, Y, and Z, they must have a degree in X, Y, and Z, since I wouldn’t have my job without a degree in Managerial Baloney.”

          This overlooks the fact that a great many job skills can be acquired via unofficial channels. Not to mention that a great many skills are often far ahead of the curve on actually being applied in the real world vs. what gets taught in classrooms.

          This isn’t to say that I’m going to consider someone without a medical degree when I’m looking to be cut open and have something removed from my innards. I am saying that for a great many jobs in this world, employers have become lazy, inept, and clueless when it comes to hiring people that can actually do a job. They’ve gotten even lazier about on-the-job training, which has to be done in any case, since no two workplaces are alike.

      • ? says:

        This. Not everyone has it in them to study a discipline long enough to get PhD. And asari are not smarter than other species. Also, in order to get PhD there should be some original research. After first generation gets their 20 PhDs there might be nothing left to research, and either the title becomes worthless and is awarded for 5 page essay or requirements are raised and it takes 100 years to get one.

        On the other hand, by this logic there should be no salarian scientists, since their lifespan is so short. Mordin disagrees.

  22. ps238principal says:

    I do find it ironic that a talk about heterosexual fantasies, boobs, and realistic non-sexual armor was followed a few minutes later by a comment about how the one homosexual character is hard to see because their outfit doesn’t stand out from the other crew members’. :)

    • Sigilis says:

      Well the problem is that he wasn’t some random badass or a terrorist or something, he is an Alliance pilot and is therefore bound to wear the exact same thing as everyone else. And it wasn’t as if the devs didn’t try to get you to talk to him at least once, in this very episode we heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth as the final farewell of a doomed man played in the background. If you ever went down there to upgrade a gun or use the armor thing you would have probably noticed him no matter how flamboyant he isn’t. In any case, I would prefer it this way than if they gave him a hot pink and white set of armor and had him sashay over to you in the beginning of the game.

      You know, what they did with Kaidan last time.

      • ps238principal says:

        Actually, I thought pilots were among the more showy military personnel out there, at least in fiction.

        And I’m not saying that he should be wearing pink armor (though that would be an interesting statement on equality in how stupid the quartermaster can be when handing out the gear) or have a rainbow-colored scarf. He’s just… blah. And for a named character with a speaking role who adds a touch of drama to a game, it seems a strange, if not lazy, decision, especially given all the sexual/emotional emphasis they put on the other (mostly female) characters.

        We’ve seen fellow military personnel with unique haircuts, tattoos, or differences in how they wear their uniforms. They could have made this guy an unusual age, added muttonchops (very stylish among adventurers I hear) or something to make you think “Maybe I should ask what’s up?”

        On the flip side, I would have loved it if they’d made several generic people on the ship “the same person.” Every time you talked to them, they’d be affronted that you didn’t remember the conversation you’d had with them in engineering or on the bridge. They were just another faceless nobody to you, and they resent it. Then, in the end, they die a heroic death and nobody can place the face or remember their name.

        • anaphysik says:

          Muttonchops AND a bonnet (which now reminds me of MC Frontalot’s “AND a hat”). Then Shamus wouldn’t have a problem noticing him. Of course, then Shamus probably wouldn’t dare talk to him :P

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Make him wear a visor!

      (for those who don’t get the reference, watch SF Debris’ review of Naked Now)

  23. Slothful says:

    I still can’t believe how much Mass Effect is like Star Control. The Reapers running after the Normandy looks like it was directly taken from Star Control 2, and instead of a game over when they catch you, it should play some battle noise and open up a screen where the Reapers contact you and start telling you about how they want to destroy all of humanity.

    Also the Asari are basically knock-offs of the Syreen, whose whole shtick was being alien space babes who fly around in phallic rockets, and their main tactic was to use their hypnotic songs to lure the crew from other ships through the void of space. It was silly, but it was back when videogames still had a sense of humor. The Syreen were even hinted to be distantly related to humanity via some alien tomfoolery, explaining their resemblance to humans.

    And of course, now that the Reapers are harvesting all sentient life in the galaxy (which is somewhat reminiscent of Star Control 3), all the military forces in the galaxy are engaged in awesome ship-to-ship combat, which was the entire point of the Star Control series, the Normandy is staffed entirely by landlubbers who wouldn’t ever dream of engaging another ship in combat. Even the shipboard AI who was specifically designed for ship-to-ship combat has decided that flying around in the most advanced ship in the galaxy is boring and its talents are much more suited to running around on the surface of a planet shooting at things. It’s such a wasted opportunity.

    • ps238principal says:

      Apologies to everyone, but I simply must:

      LAUNCH FIGHTERS!
      LAUNCH FIGHTERS!
      LAUNCH FIGHTERS!

    • anaphysik says:

      Mein Gott! Star Control sounds totally freaking awesome. Spent enough time on the wiki to realize I was spoiling myself of something so cool I must experience it firsthand. Gorramit, I want to play these games so bad. But, *time*, where will I get the time T_T.

      Where can I get the Star Controls? GOG? Steam? Elsewhere?

      • tremor3258 says:

        GOG has it, it’s definitely worth picking up – if I were to give some advice, no matter what you’re doing, check the hyperspace map every once in a while.

        • anaphysik says:

          Hm… since story, culture, and OMGTONSOFALIENS interests me more than *pewpew* hard combat, it sounds like I ought to play SC2 instead of SC1.

          But it seems there are 2 versions of it? The original Star Control 2, and The Ur-Quan Masters http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php which appears to be an update of the original

          Is there any substantive reason to play the original over the update?

          • guy says:

            None that I’m aware of.

            Regardless of which, if you get homeworld coordinates for a species, write them down immediately.

          • K. Sleet says:

            Ur-Quan Masters is an open source port of the original game, so the story, game mechanics and so forth are all the same. You should have a much easier time running it, though, and you can play it on a wider variety of platforms.

            It’s still a pretty playable game by modern standards, too. Just a) don’t worry about it if you lose crew, because it’s going to happen, b) there’s no need to obsessively loot every planet and especially planets you don’t quite have the hardware to mine safely yet, c) there is a time limit so don’t get too lazy.

    • Soylent Dave says:

      The Geth (when they aren’t playing Battlestar Galactica with the Qaurians) bear some resemblance to the Mmrnmhrm.

      Although the Geth / Quarian / Cylon / 12 Colonies bit is also provided for by the Humans / Androsynth.

      Cerberus Corp are the Druuge.

      Taurians are the Yehat.

      I’ll stop now.

  24. Sumanai says:

    The boob/nippleplate thing depends a lot to me how it’s handled.

    Assuming that you can’t change them in the game and it’s a power fantasy, it fits with the theme to have boobplate. But the bikini armour goes too far, in part because it’s not really a power fantasy, but a sexual fantasy. And you really shouldn’t mix that level sexual content with violent content. In part because it’s just ridiculous at that point, even for a power fantasy.

    I know I’m not feeling powerful in my underwear, but maybe that’s because I don’t wear thongs.

    And I’d say the male characters should have breast plates that are shaped like muscles. It just feels strange to have the men either in a sort-of-practical armour or completely bare, the latter being similarly ridiculous to the nippleplate, when the women are going around in boobarmour.

    But when the game, and its makers, are acting like it’s a serious, realistic or grown up game, the armour alongside other visuals needs to keep up with the claims. So believable looking armour, you can make it fancy with detailing.

    When it’s the player’s choice, the bikini armour especially should never be forced in any shape on the player’s character. So if there’re stats that are tied to the the bikini, and the bikini alone, that’s not cool. Even worse if you are forced to start with it.

    Boob/musclearmour is not as bad, but I think the player’s should be given a choice regarding all three basic types.

    The same of course applies on the male side, the rare times that happens.

  25. Eärlindor says:

    Hint: a krogan army amounts to very little against Reapers.

    I have said everything I intend to say on the matter. As far as I’m concerned, BioWare murdered Mordin before he ever officially died.

  26. Spammy says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, Rutskarn, for echoing my sentiment about the Asari: They kind of rub me the wrong way as a species. They’re magical sexy bisexual space elves who live forever and have perfect bodies and will have sex with anyone. Oh but they’re the best space wizards and extraordinarily wise because they live forever… but they’re still the fanservice race in what is supposed to be a serious game.

    I don’t think fanservice is bad. But fanservice is not serious and you shouldn’t mix your fanservice in with your seriousness. I was basically sighing every time I saw Benezia in the first game because she’s wearing this ridiculously low-cut dress. And same for Samara. And no, don’t say that they need to let off heat or something. That’s a stupid justification for all the boob focus.

    I like some Asari characters. But I think they should have done something else with the race.

    Like, why do they all have boobs and refer to themselves with female pronouns?

    • StashAugustine says:

      Benezia and Samara were both bad because they were completely unnecessary fanservice. Jack and Miranda are both excessive, but it does make a little sense. The evil queen and the paladin don’t need to be showing off their chest.

      • ps238principal says:

        Another thing that bugs me with video games and movies/TV is high heels. The current movie Catwoman, Samara, and 7 of 9 are all examples of this idiotic trope. I can’t speak to the effect of having breasts (apart from some moobage) when one is trying to move around quickly, but I’m pretty sure stilettos aren’t doing anything to make one terribly effective when it comes to dashing around in combat.

        It’s one thing if someone is dressed in eveningwear or a character is always “in style” when at home/work, but making spike heels part of “action heroine” wear is as ludicrous as if they made every male character wear Gene Simmons’ platform boots without tongues being firmly in cheek.

        • StashAugustine says:

          “Those high heels- do they hurt?”
          “I don’t know, do they?”

        • newdarkcloud says:

          Yes! The badass warrior chick wearing high heels trope is really stupid and annoying. It just doesn’t make sense.

          • McNutcase says:

            This is why my SR3 characters have all so far avoided high heels. The current in-progress character is probably closest to “freakshow”, considering the (currently – it changes frequently) bright blue hair and little red sundress, but she’s sticking to flats because you can’t kick ass in heels. Or rather, you can, until you break your ankle.

            • Spammy says:

              I’ve only put the high heels on my female characters in costumes that high heels would be appropriate in… although really, considering the tone of Saints Row 3, putting high heels on a female character means much less to me than high heels on, say, Samara. Although SR3 has two exemptions in that A: the game is not serious and B: I want to play pretty pretty dress-up.

          • Scow2 says:

            We do not truly know Asari physiology. It’s highly possible that while for humans high-heels are an uncomfortable, movement-inhibiting luxuries, that it’s possible that for the Asari, they are an ergonomic development that enhances their mobility and speed because of oddities in their feet shape. And it’s also possible they don’t wear anything covering the area above and somewhat between the breasts because that patch of skin is particularly sensitive to the pressure applied by clothing or armor. Also, you’re applying human sensibilities to asari culture – they might not care about it, but find that amusing that humans and other races do.

            I’d rather have a fantasy race with justified fanservice than having everything try to appeal entirely to Mainstream Human American cultural fashion values.

            We may cringe and see the Asari culture’s fashion sense as oversexualized, but keep in mind that there are a lot of cultures on Earth that find the fashion of First World Countries to be gratuitously sexual – the West see Muslim Burkas (or however their spelled) as offensive. But the numerous Muslim men and women I know find American female fashion to be offensively oversexualized (I’m talking t-shirts and slim jeans here).

        • anaphysik says:

          Exception: High heels are a valid tactical choice if you’re Samurai Jack :P

  27. Moewicus says:

    So, the Asari look the way they do because of Space Objectification Rays?

    Huh. That explains a lot, actually.

  28. newdarkcloud says:

    By the way, I know that you’ve already moved on from your discussion of the ending and the uproar about it since you talked about it last episode, but I wanted to put my thoughts on it down real quickly.

    I honestly don’t think that people wanted the ending to be changed just because it was bad (although I’m certain that was the central motivator). I think that the reason that people wanted an ending change was because they wanted Bioware to acknowledge that the ending was bad and that people had grievances of it. I honestly think that if Bioware had just said “Yeah. We made a mistake. It happens.” then the backlash would have been lessened severely. Bioware’s PR team is just as responsible for the problem as the writers who approved of the ending.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Speak for yourself, I totally wanted the ending changed solely because it was bad. Having Bioware admit it is simply them acknowledging a glaring, basic flaw that should be obvious to anyone. Making the ending not suck would be way better. Because the ending wouldn’t suck then.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Yes, but I’m arguing that we wouldn’t have such an indignant rage about it if they were just more transparent about everything instead of hiding behind PR excuses and bullshit.

        We’d obviously still be disappointed in how it turned out, but we would probably not be so angry. The grievances with the ending went by and large unanswered, which was a huge contributor to the rage we all felt.

  29. James says:

    Not going to lie the “I Remember Me” quest brought a tear to my eye.

    • Indy says:

      I agree. I loved that quest so I picked the Colonist background for every character.

    • anaphysik says:

      After seeing that, I’m kind of sad I went Earthborn with my Shep. Shooting some dumb xenophobic terrorist in the face just because I’m a Spectre and can is nice and all, but pales in comparison to the depth of ‘I Remember Me.’ Damn, that was good.

      (Although mainly Talitha’s script and delivery are very good. FemShep’s lines in that vid were pretty horribly stilted (usually I am an unabashed supporter of FemShep – but mainly because her lines are /better/, not necessarily the /best/; this was just a downright weak performance for her though). Anyway, Talitha knocks the scene out of the park.)

  30. Cyclone says:

    The Asari do not mind control you to think they look like a sexually attractive member of your species. They have some kind of pheromone/neurochemical that triggers the “want to fuck” part of your brain. Of course, why/how the hell a species evolved the ability to sexually attract aliens with DNA that goes the wrong way around is a question for the ages…

  31. AxiomaticBadger says:

    Funny, the asari never bothered me, and never really came a cross as pandering either. Or rather, the pandering always seemed to be something bolted on afterwards, once they had established “high-tech longlived human-looking race” to fill out the “Space Elves” bit.
    Perhaps if they weren’t found in every occupation and thematic role.

    Also, arguing about their physical characteristics is ultimately pointless, doubly so when you factor in the existence of one or more progenitor races.
    Yes, they have lumpy chests. They could be breasts, but they could be nutrient humps like the krogan have, or be where their eezo nodes are located. The larger the lumps, the stronger the biotics.
    Hell, they could be EGG SACKS.
    Them having breasts is no weirder than them having 5 fingers.

    Three quick notes about previous episodes.
    1. Earth is getting owned significantly harder than anywhere else, as can be demonstrated through the war assets.
    2. The largest human colony has a population of about 4.15 Million. The population of Earth is 11.4 Billion.
    3. Cerberus is trying to stop you because they’re indoctrinated. They have so many troops because they’re indoctrinated.
    That guy piloting the Atlas? He was a dentist a week ago.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I really, really like that they explained where Cerberus was getting its hordes of troops from. It still has a lot of holes, but it does make a certain amount of sense.

  32. Zaxares says:

    0:30: And let’s not forget the Citadel itself! It’s a giant, phallic-shaped object that’s the seat of all power in the galaxy! ;)

    2:00: That’s a good question, Chris. The drug trade isn’t something that’s talked about much in the ME-verse. We do know about red sand, which is supposed to a highly addictive drug made from element zero that gives its users slight biotic powers, and that a lot of criminal organisations fund their activities from the manufacture and sale of it. Judging by some of Mordin’s dialogue in ME2, drugs certainly affect different races in different ways, however. (The line where he’s telling his assistant what drugs to use for batarian patients as opposed to other races.)

    2:28: … Uh, Shamus? You realise that you just described the Drell, right? ;) Mordin even tells you about that special quality of theirs if you romance Thane!

    3:18: Yeah, that’s one thing I found a bit odd about all the other races. Without exception, all of them seem to enjoy mind-altering substances like alcohol. There is no race that frowns, or even bans, such behaviour outright. Javik seems to suggest that the Protheans did not approve of “diversionary” activities, but aside from gambling, they didn’t forbid it either. (Granted, Javik might have been lying about games of chance being “punishable by death in the Empire”.)

    6:31: Also, their skin looks markedly different from humans. It has a bumpy, raised texture not unlike the leathery skin that some lizards have. (Mind you, you don’t see this in early games. It only seems to have been introduced in ME3.) It’s easiest to see if you’re romancing Liara and get some close-ups of her during the love scene.

    9:26: It’s also possible that most asari don’t mature emotionally as fast as other species. And by that, I mean they don’t really give a lot of thought to really trying to maximise what they get out of their life. I mean, think about it. If we, as humans, had a puberty that lasted for 2 centuries, would we really have the mental drive to forego physical pleasures like sex or drinking or general partying and instead sit down to really devote ourselves to an education or career? No, I somehow doubt it. When you have an abundance of time on your hands, you generally don’t tend to feel the same sense of urgency to get things done.

    Sure, due to their long lifespans, asari scientists or politicians or warriors will develop skills and experiences that no other race can match (except the krogan), but most asari we see in service roles or dancing in bars are probably the species’ equivalent of high school teenagers who are just getting a job so they can pay the bills while they party harder every chance they get.

    11:15: On a totally random note here, I just want to say that the new voice actor for Mordin does an exemplary job of maintaining Mordin’s character. I know that the voice is different, but the style of speaking and the rapid-fire syllables often make me forget that it wasn’t his voice all along.

    13:47: Can I also mention that I love the additional armor options they included in ME3? Even if most of the time I go with the pre-set armors because they’re better than the modular set? (Seriously, most of the presets have higher bonuses than the modular sets can legally reach.)

    15:40: Yeah, this is one thing I have to say Bioware does REALLY well in its games; armor design. If you play the multiplayer mode of ME3, you can clearly see that the female characters are female, but it never feels sexually exploitive. There’s no bare skin or ridiculous proportions. The armor always gives the sense that it’s sturdy and protective, despite still outlining a female form.

    Like Shamus, I believe in giving choices to the player. The player should be able to wear skimpy outfits if they want, and they should have the option of wearing bulky brick-houses if they want too. Just as how you wouldn’t wear a bikini to a street protest, you wouldn’t wear a full-plate suit to a beach party. There’s a time and place for outfits of all types.

    17:44: No, there are several other characters in the game that use that crying animation. I believe Liara does, at one point. I think Ashley does too, in her final goodbye. Actually, wait… I think all the love interests do (apart from Garrus and Tali) in the Extended Cut.

    18:10: Really, Shamus? So you can only tell people apart by their clothes? Racist! ;)

  33. Even says:

    One thing I hate about Cortez and Samantha is the feeling of them being there just to have gay characters in the game as if trying to make a statement. It’s just the way it’s blatantly painted out the first time you meet them both that annoys me. I don’t really care what kind of characters you make, but I do hate it if you start using them as vessels for your own agenda without even trying to hide it. New Vegas was much more smooth with this and I only wish other game writers had their sense of tact.

    As for the asari issue, I don’t think it ever really was pointed out clearly. If you really wanna go down that road, I guess somesort of weird adaptive pheromones would make a bit more sense than telepathy.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I can see that argument with Cortez. It is a little in-your-face and could have been done with a better degree of subtlety.

      However, I honestly didn’t realize that Traynor was gay until someone told me. In hindsight, the line about EDI’s voice should’ve made it obvious, but I honestly thought that was just a little joke and thought nothing of that line. Nothing about her character screamed to me “Hey! I’m a GAY chick.” Though that might say more about my inability to grasp details than Bioware’s overtness.

      • AxiomaticBadger says:

        Hang on, there was an post about this on the Bioware blog. Worth a read.

      • StashAugustine says:

        I’d heard about it before, and it’s easier to pick up on if you played FemShep. But yeah, Traynor didn’t feel like she was in there to make a statement or anything.
        Also, I’m pretty sure Bioware’s agenda here is simply “We’re sorry about DA2, all right? We do understand that not everyone is bisexual. Yes, we can write gay men, ok?”

        • lurkey says:

          I took DA2 thing more not like “everyone is bisexual” but like “everyone is into your character, whatever gender they are” and found that actually convenient. I could build a character I wanted to without being denied access to secondary fluff, that’s one minor annoyance less.

          And speaking of New Vegas being smoother? If you have Confirmed Bachelor perk, you find out Arcade’s gay in the very first conversation, there’s a doctor in some NCR camp who hits on the PC like there’s no tomorrow and Manny Ortega is possibly harboring a crush on Boone. Neither Veronica nor Christine were too shy about their sexuality either; there was also very verbal (and very damaged) 1st Recon’s Corporal Betsy. I see a lot of ham’n’cheese in how both Traynor’s and Cortez’s storylines were handled, but agenda? Not seeing that.

          • Even says:

            You’re kinda missing the point there. It’s smoother as in that they generally come off like a reasonable part of the world instead of blatant pandering or whatever and the game doesn’t throw them in your face or force you to work with them. All in all they’re a fairly minor part of the game’s meat and they never steal the show. That’s not to say it would steal the show in ME3 but you’re in a much smaller world in terms of actual interactable characters and with the narrow cast it’s hard not to perceive them as just a couple of filler characters who seemingly only got the gay card since whaddyaknow we gotta pander since we’re Bioware and it’s what we’ve been doing a lot the past few years. The hamhanded delivery and the fact that they’re both romancable characters doesn’t really help.

            I may have not explained myself well enough, but point remains, New Vegas is smoother, because A. They’re only as important as the player character may deem them to be(which is also true for most NPCs in general and it’s a good thing for roleplaying). and B. They fit in to the world.

            As for agenda, I wasn’t saying there has to be one. It’s just the poor delivery and their tradition of pandering that give the vibes.

            • LunaticFringe says:

              I think there’s also a bit of an argument there for the gay characters of New Vegas being characters first with their sexuality as a element of it, while Mass Effect 3 (at least in the case of Cortez) brings their sexuality as the main characteristic. Arcade, for example, is a very interesting character because of his position in the story and his beliefs: He’s a classic idealist, driven by a belief that the world can be a better place, while ultimately regardless of your ending he never achieves anything to close that goal. His endings range from horrible (gutting himself after serving as Caesar’s doctor) to moderately sad (he still runs the clinic, has to deal with an influx of refugees, and despite the massive change of power in the Mojave things are never really improved). Cortez, in contrast, largely has dialogue relating to his sexuality (his entire backstory, Vega and his conversation about bears, etc.) and his position in the story at the end is to be killed if he hasn’t worked out his relationship issues.

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