Mass Effect 3 EP12: Space Magic Town

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 11, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 246 comments

Link (YouTube)

I’m not sure why BioWare has so much trouble with translating real-world ladyfaces to their game. They based Commander Shepard on model Mark Vanderloo, and I think they nailed it. But the in-game versions of Yvonne Strahovski (Miranda) and Jessica Chobot (Diana Allers) seem to come from a deep crevice at the bottom of the uncanny valley. For the record, here is the real Chobot:


I forget where I stole this image from. If only there was some sort of way to tell by looking at it.

I didn’t know anything about her before the game came out. Now that the game is out, the only things I know are that:

  1. She worked at IGN.
  2. She was in the game.
  3. Some people had strong opinions about her.

I don’t know. It was certainly an odd move. As I understand it, she’s a journalist. What was the motivation for putting specifically her in the game? Was this a publicity stunt? Were the developers fans and looking for an excuse to bring her in on a project? Did they have a “Warfront Reporter” character idea and were looking for a personality to use?

I don’t know. Even after interacting with the character, I’m still not sure why she’s in the game. She’s not bad or offensive. She’s just incongruously conspicuous. I spoke to Allers a few times looking for a new vector for lore, worldbuilding, exposition, or roleplaying. There might have been some paragon and renegade notes in there, but for the most part I just couldn’t understand what purpose was served by having her in the game.

At the end of this episode… I have no idea why Cerberus would take over Omega. To save time, can we just make a list of the stuff TIM hasn’t invaded?


From The Archives:

246 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP12: Space Magic Town

  1. scowdich says:

    Chobot’s inclusion is especially jarring because there was another reporter that Shepard had interacted with in the past, that could have fulfilled her role perfectly (not Al-Jilani, but the other one, the name escapes me at the moment). Unfortunately, the character died – canonically – by crashing her space-car while sending a tweet.
    I wish I had made that up.

    1. Jeff says:

      That lady who improved traffic controller conditions or somesuch, I remember her. She was in ME2 as well, no?

    2. guy says:

      To be fair, she crashed her space-car into a Reaper on purpose, because screw Reapers.

    3. Dovius says:

      To be fair, she did this during the Reaper invasion of Earth after realizing that her reporting had accidentally led the Reapers to one the evac points for civilians.
      This might’ve not left her in a stable mental state.

      “You want to know how a human dies? At ramming speed.”

    4. Mike S. says:

      While I’d rather have had Emily Wong in the game, and Bioware’s later efforts at PR by Twitter have somewhat soured me on the form, I found her liveblogging the Reaper invasion to be affecting and well-done when I read it the day the game came out. For me, at least, it put a face on the casualties much more effectively than the boy in the game itself– she was a character in the first game and a constant background presence through news updates in the second.

      Would I rather have had her in Chobot’s position? Sure. But that said, I don’t think the Twitter sequence was done badly at all. And damn if the room doesn’t get all dusty when she posts her last words.

      (If anyone missed it: )

      1. Ateius says:

        Emily Wong’s “twitter feed”: Damn it, I choked up. Why was this writing not in the game instead of the stupid kid?!

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          That’s my main complaint. I would have loved having Emily Wong embed on the Normandy. Or die awesomely.

          But not off screen.

          But Chobot didn’t bother me. Embeds are a big thing these days (I mean, they get their own movies, like Generation Kill, about Evan Wright of Rolling Stone). My only real complaint is that her line reading is a bit flat and that she salutes too well for someone standing in a docking bay begging to get on a ship.

      2. Shamus says:

        Wow. That was excellent stuff. Gripping.

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          As interesting as a side story as it was, would’ve much preffered at least a reference in game.

          Or even still, have her be on the ship during most of the game, then have her death be begun during the final strike on Earth. Maybe have her somehow get off Earth via the airport (Perhaps via Kodiak with Normandy stealth systems, like the Kodiak you use?), join you at the Citadel, then drop down and report during the final attack on Earth, part of the last minute farewell via QEC during the last part of the game.

          Then end the conversation with the “Dr M taking us in. Our Reaper weapon might be only way to damage ship. Flying low.” tweet as a spoken message…

          then have the conversation from there tied in.

          Would’ve been great foreshadowing of the upcoming final battle, I’d think.

      3. some random dood says:

        Wow. Just wow! When I read something like that, it really makes me wonder what went wrong with whoever did the plot.

      4. Josh Russ says:

        If they made a movie about the game – this should be it’s plot

    5. Eric says:

      Her inclusion was an obvious publicity stunt.

      Aside from the fact that her character sucks, Chobot is a terrible actress and she exists mostly for fan service (I mean, she got her job at IGN over a photo of her erotically licking a PSP, way to go Western world), her employer, and EA marketing shill, IGN, got a ton of exclusive coverage on the game leading up to release including review copies well in advance of almost every other site.

      Nope, nothing suspect about that.

      I can’t wait until the next Battlefield game features the Iron Chef serving marines or some such crap.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        The thing I find sad about Chobot is that when you listen to her speak, she really does know about video games. She’s not just some dumb sexy bimbo that chose this career path for easy cash. She genuinely loves games and thought that the easiest way to break into the industry was to utlize her sex appeal.

        I kinda wish it weren’t the case that the industry picked people just for their looks, but it’s true and it worked for her. Now she’ll forever be known as that chick who licked a PSP.

        1. Eric says:

          On the one hand, it’s a sad state of society and the games industry in general. On the other, she made the choice to market herself that way, and I’m sure she’s very happy with the money, fame, legions of drooling fanboys and career opportunities that she’s received. I’m not inclined to be very sympathetic.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Don’t be. I was thinking more towards the former. It’s sad because of what it says about society as a whole.

            Chobot can get all the criticism for that that people give her. Like you said, she made her choice.

            1. ehlijen says:

              I think this says less about her than about IGN, or even EA. She wanted to be in a game she likes? That’s cool. The sleep with shepard part was…wierd, but if she asked for it, why not.

              But IGN needed to have distanced themselves from chobot on that issue, not used as a marketing point. They can’t both brag to have a reporter in the game and be expected to give an impartial review. But of course impartial game reviews don’t exist, so what’s the point in decrying.

              EA letting a fan into the game was cool. But it should have been a lottery, not ‘hey we pick this reporter’. And they should have not let the sleep with shepard thing happen.

        2. MrWhales says:

          It’s unfortunate, because I have no idea who she was, and so when they were like “Look who this is!” I couldn’t help think they put Snooki in the game because that is who the character face looks like. But then the breasts are slightly normal sized.

          1. ps238principal says:

            It looked to me like whatever they wanted to inflate her model’s breasts with spilled over into her digital cheeks.

        3. Deadpool says:

          I haven’t read much of what she writes so maybe she is but I can see why people wouldn’t think so. I remember the interview IGNORE did BEFORE she got her job and she showed a cursory knowledge of gaming if even… Then she was the face or IGNsider, a video of game hints which gave out SO much erroneous information that it was a weekly watch fir me and my friends just for the laughter (n example: They recommended the sniper rifle against the tank in L4D and headshotting them.) Yeah she didn’t write the show but her hosting did not help her credibility as a knowledgeable gamer AT ALL…

      2. Vect says:

        Well, I know that Fallout: New Vegas did the same stuff for Old World Blues, where they had IGN dude Jace Hall as the Toaster and the lady from a PSN show as the Light Switches, Stealth Suit and Christine pre-Autodoc.

        Personally I thought it fit pretty well. They were given minor roles that were at least fun to ham up and generally did a good job.

        1. Raygereio says:

          The big difference (besides Chobos’s VA work being painfully bad and Jace Hall and Veronica Belmont having done pretty good jobs) is that Chobot – a woman whose sole claim to fame is that she’s somewhat pretty and licked a PSP once – was used to market ME3 via IGN. I do not recal this being the case with Old World Blues.

        2. ps238principal says:

          In addition to the marketing angle, the OWB voices were just that: Voices. They didn’t try to shoehorn the actors’ actual looks into the game.

      3. Deadyawn says:

        Okay, I know that example was made in jest but, seriously, having the iron chef in any game would be totally awesome. Mainly becuase iron chef is awesome. Just saying.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Today you’ll be eating *dramatic pause* TUNA FISH!!!

        2. Play Suikoden 2 sometime. There is an entire Iron Chef subplot with the Chef you hire for your castle. Other chefs come and challenge him and you have to help him in a cook off with judges. The subplot even has its own ending and credits, it is incredibly awesome.

  2. newdarkcloud says:

    About Kasumi: I played the PS3 version of the game, so I didn’t have to pay for her at all. She came with it, along with Lair of the Shadow Broker and Project Overlord. As a character, I liked her. She was always pretty upbeat. I liked her mission, but feel that they could’ve done more with the character.
    As a squad mate, she was very useful. She had a move called Shadow Strike, which was like an Infiltrator cloak. She got next to a foe and struck him for high damage. She also came with Overload and Flashbangs and could do the Vents at the Suicide Mission. Still, I would not have paid for her, to be honest.

    About Diana Allers: You are correct. I have no idea what the purpose for her character is. She adds very little to your War Assets and doesn’t add anything to the story or lore. They didn’t even use her to explore Shepard’s new-found character. It seems like she was added just for the sake of adding Jessica Chobot.
    And you are correct again, she suffers from Miranda-face syndrome (though imo she contracted a worse form of the disease). I honestly don’t know the cause of it.

    About Aria/Omega: My god that was stupid. Aria and TIM teamed up in the books to re-capture one of TIM’s experiments regarding indoctrination/huskification (though she was being manipulated the whole time). I guess TIM decided to take over in the chaos after things go wrong, but it’s just stupid regardless.
    And while I understand the problems people had with Aria (frankly, I wanted to put her in her place too), it didn’t bother me that much. I just thought the game was saying “Cerberus is so awesome even Aria can’t take them.” and THAT is what pissed me off.

    1. Mike S. says:

      Aria’s informed awesomeness may annoy me more than Cerberus’s. Cerberus is Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius, continually surprised at how this week’s awesome plan inexplicably blew up in its face. It’s always doing something– something stupid and counterproductive, sure, but something.

      Aria gets to sit there smugly and give orders to people who should just squash her, despite being no more than “queen” of one rock, and if she ever actually does anything cool it must be the novels and comics I haven’t read. (Well, except for probably being Aleena in Wrex’s story in ME1. But for that to cut any ice, I’d have wanted to see a callback to it in ME3. Get her and Wrex together for a scene.)

      At least in ME3, Shepard can finally spit in TIM’s eye. But she has to sit and take it from an Aria who doesn’t even own her stupid rock anymore?

      How about when she’s trying to get you to take time out of your busy schedule to run criminal errands for her, you get to either a) tell her that any force smaller than a planetary army isn’t worth your time, or b) if you really need a bunch of two-bit mercs for some reason, give you a chance to go around her and, you know, hire them directly. (I’m pretty sure that either Earth’s or the Citadel’s defense budget can comfortably cover all three’s annual expenses with what they spend for coffee.) Or Paragon/Renegade persuade her that if the galaxy where she keeps all her stuff is overrun, that may interfere with her future plans, so get with the fricking program.

      I liked Kasumi, myself, and didn’t mind paying for the DLC. FWIW, there’s a connection to Allers: she comes from the planet Kasumi’s loyalty quest was set on. Which, Allers tells you late in the game, was depopulated from space by the Reapers. (No landings, no husk factories; basically it was too small for them to bother with. They’re presumed to have only taken it out because it was an industrial center– because it had a binocular factory.)

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Even I will admit, that scene where Aria tells the asari councillor just overlook her intrusion looked incredibly stupid to me. That, to me, felt incredibly forced. “I’m so awesome politicians obey me all the time!”
        I guess I felt better about it since it was just a side quest and not something I was subjected to over and over. It was just once and done. I admit I would have liked her more if I could put her in her place.

        And I didn’t know that about Allers. Of course, I didn’t care about Allers, but that is interesting.

      2. Raygereio says:

        if she ever actually does anything cool it must be the novels and comics I haven't read.

        Not really. She does come from ME’s extended universe, but she is not a “cool” character. Aria is basically the same problem as post-ME1-Cerberus in that a certain writer loves his personal wank material a little bit to much.

        That was already obvious in ME2 really when the game gave Aria a grandiose introduction, even though the player was given no reason to give a crap about her. You could just here Mac Walters going “Oh man! Look at this awesome character! Whoo!”.

      3. krellen says:

        I thought Aria WAS Aleena. I had to go back and replay ME1 to verify that the names were different. It would have been about 10,000x better if she HAD been Wrex’s old foe instead of some new character.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Well, there are hints that they’re the same (e.g. “Better luck next time”), but it’s never made explicit. And with Bioware’s recent heavyhandedness, I’m somewhat inclined to think that without a ‘reveal,’ it was just coincidence.

    2. ehlijen says:

      I have to disagree on Kazumi.

      When you meet her, she’s written as the uberstealthy superthief that suprisees everyone. When she explains her plan, she talks as though she’s the bees’s knees and you’re just there for some extra muscle and banter to make her look pro.
      Then she gets shut down the second she walks into the estate, but no that doesn’t stop her from following in stealth mode. BUT THEN: she still needs you to do ALL the work! To lead you into a trap she didn’t see coming. And she never admits that her plan went wrong, that she needed busting out by you and that maybe it wasn’t a good plan to begin with. Instead, you need her ninja cartwheel permission to finally kill the boss.

      And after the missiom, after her complete failure as a thief, hen she’s reduced to line spout machine #2 (after Zaeed), she just keeps making statements as though she’s a stealth ubermachine.

      I liked her less than Miranda.

      Aside: Do not start the Arrival DLC with the Kazumi mission dress as a femshep’s current civilian outfit…

      1. Mike S. says:

        Though it’s the *only* outfit that looks remotely plausible for clubbing during Samara’s loyalty mission. None of the default outfits work, and neither does the white suit male Shepard gets for Kasumi’s mission.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          For male Shepard, I had this colonist’s outfit that made sense for clubbing. I thought the female version worked too, to be honest.
          I don’t know if it’s DLC, I had the PS3 version.

          1. Mike S. says:

            To me, that one looked too much like a farmer who’d just come to the big city in his overalls, trying to make it in the hottest club in town. :-) But it is pretty much the only thing that doesn’t look like either a uniform or formalwear.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              That’s why I picked it. It’s the most casual out of all the “casual” outfits.

          2. ehlijen says:

            Yeah, the male civvi leathers look somewhat badass. The female equivalent to that screams ‘I just tilled the fields!’ to me, for some reason. Probably because all the new colony inhabitants in the first game wore it?

          3. Littlefinger says:

            It looks like Marty McFly’s jacket from Back to the Future!

        2. Phantom Hoover says:

          Any choice of clothing other than the Chakwas smock is simply unacceptable.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        I liked the beginning of the mission because it felt like a heist straight out of Hollywood and you didn’t need to kill anyone.

        Then it became another combat sequence. Pity.

        1. Mike S. says:

          I was disappointed that it wasn’t possible to even get through the party sequence without killing at least some of the guards. (Or at least I didn’t find a way.)

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            The only guards you have to kill are the ones in the office. You can avoid any other fights in the party.

            That does kinda suck.

        2. ehlijen says:

          I know they were going for something ocean’s eleven (or inspiration to that anyway) theme.

          But that theme doesn’t work with the shooter genre. And in those movies it tends to be the guy with the original plan fixing the setbacks. Here you busted Kasumi out with brawns. And she never admits to her plan having been bad and not having a backup.

    3. Eärlindor says:

      I noticed that Diana Allers helps you keep/increase war assets you already own–maybe even add new ones at times. Apparently, the status of your war assets can change fairly regularly.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Yeah, you can do three interviews with her (one in her room after Tuchanka, two when she asks to go to your cabin). If you pick a coloured option you get some kind of war asset effect.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          You add 10 points to the war asset. This results in a net gain of 35 if you let her on the ship.

          Even if War Assets mattered, that wouldn’t be significant. More than Al-Jihlanti (sp), but hardly significant.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Oh yes. Without a way to get her brutally killed for you amusment, not worth the smugness.

            (Note that I’m talking about the character, not the actual person. I don’t know her).

    4. FalseProphet says:

      I liked Kasumi (also got her free with the PS3 version). I agree she could have been developed better. As an Infiltrator, her Shadow Strike was a great coup-de-gras to my sniper shots: bring baddie down to minimal health, launch Kasumi guided-ninja-missile to finish the job. Mostly, I really liked her loyalty mission. It was a nice change of pace from the “walk down corridor, shoot everything in the head, rinse, repeat” solution to almost every other mission.

      Aria just reminds me of those NPCs tabletop GMs create so your characters have to grovel before them to get the next quest, and then they’ll just insult and demean you the whole time.

  3. Littlefinger says:

    Josh, what the hell is your job? I thought you did something in moderation (internet moderating) and now you start going on about chemical formulae?

    1. LunaticFringe says:

      Could just be a random interest. I have a degree in political science but I knew exactly what he was talking about, oxygen and ozone molecules are also taught in the most basic high school chemistry courses because their structure and bonding is so simple.

    2. ps238principal says:

      Be careful. If you ask too many questions, this little orange symbol starts flashing in the corner of his vision and then the punching begins. :)

    3. Paul Spooner says:

      Welcome to the internet! We have a Wikipedia. Some of us like to browse it to satisfy curiosity. We occasionally even learn about things outside our field of expertise! Reading one article after another in one continuous unbroken train of thought, moving from topic to topic… quite hypnotic.

      1. ehlijen says:

        You’re the captain. You’re entitled.

    4. anaphysik says:

      Are you crazy or something? Josh *never* does anything in moderation!

    5. Hitchmeister says:

      By the way, the smell of ozone is what you smell when an electronic device burns out. A transformer burns out and there’s that distinctive smell? That’s high concentrations of ozone. Air purifiers put out the same thing, just much milder.

      (Former electronics technician — I’m very familiar with ozone.)

    6. Aldowyn says:

      He writes articles for the Escapist occasionally. He used to do anime reviews IIRC, and he had something on there again recently… 4 in the past 2 weeks.

      Here you go.

    7. ehlijen says:

      The nature of Ozone is high school level chemistry (or environmental studies if the school teaches it), isn’t it? Why is such knowledge so suprising?

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I learned it in 9th grade. It is really simple.

  4. LunaticFringe says:

    Ah yes, the indoctrinated hanar quest, where Bioware continues their tradition of repeating/degrading their memes.

    Really doesn’t help that Jessica Chobot is a pretty bad voice actor, her performance ranges from hollow to talk-as-fast-as-you-can-but-not-in-a-charming-Mordin-way. I’m told that you can ‘romance’ her as well. Most of the criticism/anger directed her way seem to come from two ideas:

    1. Some consider her to be a ‘sexy girl gamer’ stereotype who does it for attention (the PSP licking thing being the highlight apparently).
    2. Her inclusion while working for IGN shows that Bioware is ‘buying off’ a major gaming site by including one of their personalities in the game.

    I don’t really have a strong opinion either way but I do find it to be an odd choice that could’ve been completely cut from the game with no effect on the overall narrative.

    1. Hitchmeister says:

      She did several puff pieces on IGN gushing over ME3 in the run up to the release. People tried to say they were the good review EA bought by including her in the game. Except they clearly were not reviews and made no pretense of being objective.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Not quite sure why she was in the game, although I DO agree she didn’t do a particularly good job, but I will attest to her as a genuine gamer/nerd.

    2. Sumanai says:

      Of note is that it’s irrelevant whether IGN* was being bought or not, since the very situation where they’re clearly being buddies with a game company to such a degree undermines any claims to journalistic integrity regarding any positive press they give to that company. Which makes the move really stupid for them.

      * I don’t actually know where she works or worked, I’m going by the image.

  5. rayen says:

    he needs omega so he can sit in a nightclub and say fuck. the suit and tie staring at the sun doesn’t allow for lap dances and cursing.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Nuh uh. According to Shadow Broker files, he spends lots of money on the finest human and asari hookers to give him lap dances and booze and sex.

      While that seems like a joke, I’m being dead serious.

      1. ps238principal says:

        I wonder why he didn’t start a Cerberus base on making escort-bots or some kind of Eau De Garrus that would make him irresistible to women of all species?

        Maybe that’ll be a “Rogue Cell” that’ll be covered in a Rated-M DLC someday.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          If you beat the DLC, you get a production facility of sexbots to add to your War Assets. They have units working on the Crucible as well as units of the front lines of any major battle to provide “emotional support”.

          +2000 War Asset Points.

          1. ehlijen says:

            But if you didn’t save the betrayed master sex program, all sexbots are indoctrinated and will sabotage the crucible?

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              In which case, the Crucible might not get built. That can only be a good thing.

              1. ehlijen says:

                Or it gets built. With 3 vibrate functions you get to pick from in the end game…

                1. paercebal says:

                  > Or it gets built. With 3 vibrate functions you get to pick from in the end game…


                  I’ve read that, and now, I cannot unread it!

                  My eyes! Please, burn my eyes!

        2. Raygereio says:

          I wonder why he didn't start a Cerberus base on making escort-bots

          EDI’s body says hi.

          1. ps238principal says:

            Well obviously that was a failure, as it didn’t result in several hundred deaths of Cerberus personnel and probably came in under budget. He’d most likely rather go play tag with a Thresher Maw than have dinner with EDI’s homage to Dot Matrix from Spaceballs, ’cause Mama Illusive didn’t raise no fools.

            1. Mike S. says:

              If you bring EDI with you on anti-Cerberus missions (and on at least one, you have to), the bot’s Cerberus headcount is at least up there with Jack’s or the Thorian Creepers’.

              (And of course since the EVA-bot is being teleoperated by another Cerberus AI project under the orders of the Lazarus Cell’s handiwork, it’s like a threefer every time it shoots someone.)

          2. Phantom Hoover says:

            Wasn’t the Cerberus spy bot named after a woman he used to know?

            1. Raygereio says:

              Ayup. A woman who looked nothing like the absurdly sexualized gynoid.

              He basically copied Miranda’s – a woman who used to work under him (pun not intended) – body and gave the thing the ability to asume various facial appearances, then proceded to name it after a dead woman he once knew and program it to follow his commands.

        3. anaphysik says:

          Naw, it should be called “Rouge Cell” no doubt?

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Yes. That should be the name of the DLC. “Cerberus’s Rouge Cell.” It’ll be available only on Origin and cost $20.

  6. guy says:

    Wait, they reverse the options?

    That’s kind of dumb, releasing the Queen should be Paragon either way, because you’re giving the Rachni a chance at redemption instead of killing them to be on the safe side. It shouldn’t swap so Paragon is always the correct option.

    Loyal Grunt’s death fake-out was actually pretty nice. I decided to save the breeder queen because I am dumb, then he had a big, dramatic fight against at least ten ravagers complete with massive personal awesome and stirring music, and I was all, “I sure hope this turns out to be worth it!” and then he walked out of the cave covered in blood and asked for food.

    The Shroud Tower is still intact because Kalros.

    What is WRONG with that room? Especially Kaiden’s shadow, that has no reason to exist, but couldn’t they just despawn the whiskey or something?

    Honestly, Aria’s initial appearance in this game would have been a great first impression. The mild and understated way in which she calls up a head of government is better at establishing her as a high-level power broker than the completely over-the-top way she acts on Omega. However, since it’s not our first impression of her we must wonder how exactly some two-bit crime lord with delusions of grandeur from outside council space can just call up whichever Asari councilor is alive in this timeline. The only thing I can imagine is that they’re sisters or cousins or something.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Wait, they reverse the options?

      That's kind of dumb”

      Its also insulting to renegades because the really stupid option is renegade.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Hey, paragons can’t hug all the stupid. You’d feel left out :P

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yeah,I still remember that dumb choice in the first game where paragon thing to do is to let that clearly indoctrinated salarian out of a cell.Just why?

          1. ehlijen says:

            Because getting him killed by a nuke while enjoying freedom to its fullest makes the slightest bit of difference, totally…

          2. Tohron says:

            Why? Bonus XP! What do you mean that’s not a valid character motivation? :p

            1. StashAugustine says:

              I always feel a little bad whenever I make a deliberately stupid choice just for the XP.

              1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

                I hate that. I hate when I metagame like that, but I just can’t seem to help myself… the lure of that XP (especially in a game with a set amount of total XP) is just too much.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  Or worse, a game with a set amount of reputation and a reward for collecting all of it.
                  ‘If I don’t do this I might not be able to do unrelated action X later’ is a terrible reason to do anything.

          3. Phantom Hoover says:

            Because he’s an unarmed Salarian and at this point the nature of indoctrination isn’t entirely clear. I knew he was going to attack me, but who cares when he goes down with one shotgun blast?

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Regarding the shroud, it just hit me this Let’s Play: BioWare pulls a lot of plot devices out of their shorts in this game.

      The Crucible, Murray the Star Child, and now the Shroud.

    3. Aldowyn says:

      I can definitely argue either way for that decision. It’s also Paragon to say “I can’t risk that this alien queen from a species definitely established as hostile will go on a killer rampage” and kill her… actually thinking about it that sounds like a renegade too. It just depends on who you consider most important, I guess. Or something. I obviously don’t know what I’m saying >.>

      1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        Really, that illustrates the fundamental problem with any system of this kind: That you’re assigning hard black/white values to things that are gray.

        1. some random dood says:

          Think someone covered this before, and considering the few choices on the wheel these days, I think it would work. Simply double the options, making the stance you take part of the option. From this, could have had Rescue Queen (deserves chance of redemption); Rescue Queen (powerful ally); Leave Queen (does not appear reliable or safe); Leave Queen (screw that alien bitch). So you can make it more clear why you chose the way you did, and feel more reasonable about the game taking note of your reasons so that paragade doesn’t feel so arbitrary.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Mordin’s loyalty had such a setup for the data choice at the end.

            >erase data (genophage was right decision)
            >save data (genophage is wrong and should be cured)
            >erase data (data is tainted by the cruel experimentation used to obtain it)
            >save data (data is amoral / better to have it and not need it than not have it at all)

            2&3 should have been paragon and 1&4 renegade, but they buggered it up and made saving the data always paragon

  7. Littlefinger says:

    I think Kaiden was jealous of Garrus’ ME2 run with the bloody bandage on his cheek and is trying to outbadass Garrus. Needless to say he failed miserably…

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      What’s Ashley’s excuse? She does the same thing.

      1. Littlefinger says:

        She won’t allow the filthy non-humans anywhere near her?

        I know, she’s not thà¡t space-racist, but it’s the best I can do.

        Maybe it’s her way to give penance to the lives she failed to save. Give up her beauty or something (speaking of, what the HELL did bioware do to her hair? I liked ponytail Ashley)

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          You are far from the only one.

          1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

            I wouldn’t have minded if her hair was down, if she had just cropped it short enough to reasonably fit under a helmet. That actually would have been a good change. Give the character a style update, while still having it make sense for the character.

        2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          BioWare discovered how to do long hair, and now they’re showing off.

          Too bad it isn’t that good.

      2. kanodin says:

        eh, at least she outbadasses Kaiden.

      3. Alexander The 1st says:

        Ashley beats Kaiden out because at least she was calibrating weapons in the first game.

        1. ehlijen says:

          She calibrated weapons before Garrus made it cool?

  8. Michael says:

    Wow. And we think we’ve had it bad with diseases like MRSA.

    In the future, you stay in a hospital for any length of time and your shadow picks up a bug!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      What we’re seeing here is… the shadow broke her. Finally.

      1. Chauzuvoy says:

        I fear this show has had a massive effect on my sense of humor.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      That shadow thing must be why he was keeping his hand inside his stomach.

      Really,that scene is so full of bugs.Is it just me,or has the quality control seriously dropped in the third game?

      @Paul Spooner

    3. LunaticFringe says:

      Hey, who turned out the lights? Hey, who turned out the lights? Hey, who turned out the lights…

      1. Indy says:

        There’s already skeletons in suits acting as Cerberus soldiers. Now if only there was a time traveler that was convinced they had already met Shepard…

        1. Jarenth says:

          In this narrative, that role would be filled by the player.

  9. newdarkcloud says:

    To prevent my last one from going to long, I’ll make this a separate comment.

    Josh, it is explained that people have either special gloves or cybernetic implants in their fingers that allow them to interface with these keyboard.

    Also, the intervening in people’s conversations really creeped me out. It felt so weird and intrusive and stalker like.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      You mean,like this?VGCats has a comic for every me3 related thing you have to say.

      And really,what is up with that?What was wrong with classic quests?And why,during the whole development time,did no one say “Hey,these quests are kind of creepy,we should redo them”?

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        It was kinda creepy in ME2, but not all of the side-quests were like that. There were some that were pretty well done.

        But these debates that you settle really make Shepard out to be a creeper. I’d honestly rather have random strangers ask me for help. At least then I can renegade interrupt them (possibly).

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Besides, you’re friggin Commander Shepard. It actually makes SOME sense for some people to randomly ask you for help!

          1. Alexander The 1st says:

            I think Conrad made this less popular.

    2. ehlijen says:

      But if the keyboard is holographic and the fingers don’t actually touch anything, you’d hold your hands in a completely different way. Try typing without resting your hands on the keyboard. It’s wierd.

      As to the conversations, I think there’s one that sounds like it calls you on the intruding part(‘erm thanks…who was that?’), but it’s ok, because the other one is a shepard fanboy :(

      1. ps238principal says:

        I could almost buy it being something like the sub-lingual voice tech that’s being worked on. It reads very slight throat muscle movements and broadcasts speech to whoever is on the other end of your transmission. Basically, you “talk” without making any actual noise.

        In this case, the holo-keyboard is just there for the human’s fleshy shortcomings and the finger-implants and perhaps some neural space-magic are what’s really “typing.”

        That, however, is a far more thought-out concept than Bioware put into this, as we’ve seen these holographic controls explode before.

    3. Indy says:

      Where is that explained? I’d be interested in that.

      In regards to the conversations, I’d be remiss if I didn’t put this here.

      EDIT: Ninja’d while looking for the link. Drats.

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          Because apparently standard keyboards are too simple and we need to do surgery to type.

          I’m having a hard time envisioning this technology catching on.

          1. Mike S. says:

            I kind of feel that way re the rise of the onscreen keyboard, and the decline of smartphones/tablets with actual keyboards to a niche product. But at least for the moment, here we are. (When I replaced my original Droid, I had to choose between a hard keyboard and decent battery life, and reluctantly chose the latter.)

            So maybe once everyone is used to typing on their omnitool 90% of the time, they’re fine with the same interface for other installations. (And if you really want a keyboard, you carry a future-Bluetooth one around. But Shepard uses that slot in the backpack for another gun instead.)

            1. Sumanai says:

              The level of haptic feedback that people requires varies, but it remains to be seen if most people can adjust to no feedback, as that’s what would happen with holographic keyboards.

              I actually have a smartphone with a full qwerty keyboard, for example, but I’ve noticed that using the virtual keyboard has gotten easier. There are however days when using the touch screen feels really hard, so it’s possible that it feels easier because I’m exerting more unconscious effort into it.

              Also there’s the fact I type with my thumbs on the phone.

          2. Irridium says:

            With a physical keyboard, you’d need one for every single race and all their dialects.

            With a holographic one, you can just generate a keyboard for any language on the fly, anywhere.

            1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              Let me be a little clearer:

              I can but holgraphic keyboards, I can buy projected keyboards, I can buy hard-light, and I can buy learning how to type on air like they do in Minority Report.

              What I can’t buy is that in the future, the technology would require implants in your fingers or wearing special gloves. I can’t see people getting their fingers cut open to operate a keyboard.

              1. ehlijen says:

                They might not have to. Putting some chip into a glue-on fingernail shoul be sufficient, surely?

    4. FalseProphet says:

      The keyboards and panels are basically an advanced version of this, but I’m assuming the “hard light” actually provides some kind of haptic feedback.

      EDIT: Ninja’d. Although here’s a place where TNG’s Siri-esque speech input would make more sense some of the time.

      It’s the Star Trek:TNG approach to technology: don’t use a robust, older technology, even as a backup or redundancy, if there’s a fancy new inefficient and unreliable way of doing it. Keep a dangerous virus in a sealed bottle? Nonsense! Force fields will work fine. Environmental suits to protect us from radiation or just the elements? There’s a vaccine for that!

      Also, those eavesdropping sidequests are still a step up from the fetch quests in Dragon Age 2, where you just find special loot in dungeons labelled “If found, please return to Ser Scatterbrain, Hightown Market, Kirkwall”.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        ME3 has a version of that where you just randomly find something. Then you run into one of those conversations like above, then walk up to them and say “Hey dude I randomly found this while randomly exploring some completely irrelevant planet!”

        1. zob says:

          You know, in that order those quests make some kind of sense.
          While walking you overhear a random question about something and suddenly Shepard remembers that thing he brought from that planet and goes “Oh so that’s what that paperweight is actually used for”

        2. Indy says:

          My favourite is “Hey, I found this Reaper code fragment.” NOTHING BAD CAN COME OF THIS.

      2. ehlijen says:

        Actually, solid holograms are feasibly in ME. After all, you stab people with ‘your holograhpic PDA’.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Filament quickly manufactured by your omnitool, not hologram.
          (Of course, it’s not clear if that was BioWare’s intention, or merely their reaction after lots of people complained about stabbing people with light.)

          1. ehlijen says:

            Whatever the technobabble, if you can make a blade out of it, you can make a solid display out of it, too.

      3. Zukhramm says:

        I don’t mind how they worked in Dragon Age 2. Really, I don’t need a boring conversation to get a stupid fetch quest (see SWTOR). Actually, I don’t need stupid fetch quests at all, but if they’re going to be there, keep them out of the way!

        1. Luhrsen says:

          Of course some of us play the game partly FOR the side fetch quests and want a conversation to give it story integration.

          1. Zukhramm says:

            You’re the first person I’ve heard about who does that.

          2. ehlijen says:

            It really depends on whether the game justifies the existane of such quests, but mostly I agree.

            If there is a big urgent quest defining the plotline, too many optional side quests lead to ‘do things in the order of least important to most, just to be sure you get all the XP before the big fights’.

            ‘Fetch quest’ was supposed to be a derogatory term for quests that the game writers didn’t put much mental effot into, an insult. Questing isn’t a process that should be streamlined out of having character interaction. We might as well go back to ‘This door needs a blue key’ otherwise. I want more immersion from single player RPGs, not less.

  10. Michael says:

    So, why did we go to the hospital and then proceed to NOT talk to the Asari who killed Joker’s family?

    You even get the possibility of killing her off. Isn’t this the kind of thing Regina Cuftbert Shepard likes doing? Killing dudes?

    1. ehlijen says:

      What? I missed that part. Where’s that?

      1. Indy says:

        The asari with PTSD and is constantly asking for a gun is implied to have killed Joker’s sister. Going to the Spectre terminal and authorizing patients to have guns gets her to kill herself.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Thanks, will have to actually look at that at some point. I didn’t any of those conversations had any interactivity at all.

          1. Mike S. says:

            They’re not interactive, but there are a few like that where you get bits of the story each time you pass by. Then at the end there’s sometimes a choice to make at the Spectre terminal. In this case, whether to authorize the gun.

            (I actually did, my first playthrough, thinking that contributing to Citadel defense might help her work through her issues by defending others. Oops.)

            1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              These are an interesting concept, I have one objection though:

              They take for bloody ever to play through and they only do one segment at a time and you have to leave the area between segments.

              I ended up playing elevator tag just to hear all of them, and I still probably missed a few.

              Also, far too many of the conversations sound like a duet of monologue reading. Take a breath, folks, and let the other person talk (PTSD Asari gets a pass, since the point of the therapy is to let her talk it out).

              1. Littlefinger says:

                There’s a neat trick to that: if you go over to them, listen to part
                5B of the conversation, quicksave and then quickload, they will continue with their conversation and you get the whole story in a few minutes, rather than piecemeal. I don’t think it works on évery conversation, but it does work on most of ’em.

                that said, I never realised it was Joker’s sister. Where did you get that?

                1. Indy says:

                  The connection is only made by the player and not stated in game. She talks about a sixteen year old girl on a planet and says her name. (I’ve forgotten the details) Then Joker talks about his sixteen year old sister on the same planet with the same name. And the galaxy is too small for coincidences.

                  1. anaphysik says:

                    Hillary on Tiptree, I think.

            2. Luhrsen says:

              Too bad “Citadel Defense” turns out to be a meaningless term. :(

              1. Mike S. says:

                I choose to believe that the Citadel inhabitants and the armed forces caught there managed to hole up in various wards, well away from the part Shepard arrives in via the beam, and (in endings in which the Citadel doesn’t actually explode, anyway) carried on an expensive holding action that kept many of them alive till the Reaper troops ceased to be a threat one way or another. (And I choose not to allow the lack of onscreen demonstration of this to influence my belief. :-) )

                Therefore the assistance Shepard provided in getting a militia organized, shore up morale, and deliver assistance was very important.

                1. Indy says:

                  I would have LOVED to see some evidence of that. Or of the dinosaurs that I got for the Krogan to ride.

        2. Mike S. says:

          To expand, the asari and a farm girl named Hilary escaped an initial attack by husks (and the asari’s former partner, turned banshee), and survived for a while. But then Hilary’s leg was broken, and her cries were giving their position away. The alternative was pretty certainly both of them dying, but the resultant PTSD seemed like a pretty plausible result.

          In a much later conversation with Joker, you learn that his family lived on a farm on that planet, and that his younger sister is named Hilary.

          (It was long enough later for me that someone else had to connect the dots for me, but when they did…)

          1. ehlijen says:

            Ouch :(

            Do you get to tell Joker when Liara brings him the news that his sister may have escaped?

            1. guy says:

              She, uh, didn’t. The Asari Commando silenced Hilary fatally with her bare hands. That was a contributing factor to ending up in psychological counseling.

              1. ehlijen says:

                Yes, so I have just been told. I was asking if you can tell Joker that you know his sister is dead in any way.

                1. Mike S. says:

                  You can’t. The game doesn’t even draw your attention to the fact (which a dialog option along those lines necessarily would). It sort of functions as an Easter egg of despair: if you’re paying attention, you the player realize that a thread of hope two of your crew are clinging to is false. But either Shepard isn’t supposed to make the connection, or the commander doesn’t choose to tell Joker.

                  To some extent, that’s justifiable. On a narrative level, it’s obviously the same person, because otherwise it’s just kind of stupid and random. (I happen know two people with the same first and last names, and it’s just a coincidence. But you don’t put that sort of detail into a story unless you’re going to do something with it. Even if it’s just to say something about coincidence.)

                  But on a realistic level, it’s a half-overheard conversation about someone from an agricultural colony of at least thousands with a common first name. That’s not persuasive evidence that you have something to tell Joker, or reason to make him more worried than he already is.)

                  1. ehlijen says:

                    Thanks for the answer!

                    Yes, there is every reason not to tell Joker as a sensible human being. And yes, it would have been difficult to implement. But I still feel like that’s something pretty important that some players might want the choice in.

                    Just as you say, why name use the same name if it’s not the same person, I say why let the player discover dramatic information and then force them to sit on it as opposed to telling the person it matters to.

                    Or, if you don’t tell Joker, have an option to agree with Liara that telling him is bad idea. She as the shadow broker has got to know if shepard can find out by running in circles.

  11. Littlefinger says:

    The one scene that kind of endeared Aria in my heart* (only a little) is when you go drink a lot of alcohol at the bar. Josh. Go drink a lot of alcohol at the bar.

    *even though it goes against her character and neither one ever acknowledges it…

    1. Chauzuvoy says:

      Breaks character? Involves Drinking Alcohol?

      I get the distinct feeling Josh is going to be doing that.

      1. Littlefinger says:

        The drinking alcohol is totally in character for Joshephard. Aria’s response is … not.

  12. lurkey says:

    I stopped talking to Allers woman after two words – “Reality TV” – and pretended she doesn’t exist for the rest of my game. And the writer who thinks this abomination upon humanity still exists and thrives in the far future, I pretend he doesn’t exist either.

    And I hate the motherloving Aria for the same reasons Shamus does. There were strong rumours about a DLC where you’d retake Omega for her, but it seems some little birdie told her writer(s) she is, woe, not that popular.

    1. Indy says:

      She says that but I got the impression it was a straight up news show. I always went down there and she was reporting the events of the war.

      1. Adam says:

        Aaaaand now that DLC is real and out, and it’s actually pretty good. I do think that Bioware went the correct route in making all of the DLC involve characters that aren’t in your party in the base game. They knew they couldn’t get the voice actors from the regular game back for long after the normal dev cycle wrapped, so (for example) Omega revolves around Aria and Nyreen instead of anyone from your normal party.

  13. Spammy says:

    Does anyone else think that the reporter lady looks way underdressed compared to anyone else in the Mass Effect universe? The clothing look seems to trend towards either body suits or long arms and sleeves that cover the arms, legs, and (in general) the chest. And then we see the reporter lady in a dress that looks much thinner than other people’s clothes and the top of which looks like a modern tank top. Also her dress only seems to come to the knees.

    It just looks out of place compared to other people’s clothes.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      It even more jarring since she’s a reporter working for the Alliance military. I’d imagine she’d have less strict dress code than a soldier, but I would expect them to want her to dress more conservatively.

      1. ehlijen says:

        They try to excuse that in a conversation with Traynor and Allers. Apparently they’re pandering ‘to the Asari and Salarians’ and not to the player at all…

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Honestly, I forgot most of the crap involving that character. I guess that’s something. I don’t honestly care all that much either way. She’s a nobody and she can stay that way.

          1. ehlijen says:

            I mostly remembered it cause it was another ‘hey, traynor is into girls’ moment and I’m shallow and disgusting that way.

            Allers can go get stomped by a reaper. I wish there was a renegade option to load her into the cannon Garrus’s calibrating…

            1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              If you throw her off the ship, she dies covering another battle.

              1. ehlijen says:

                Huh. Thanks. I never paid attention to happens to her after she’s out of my sight.

        2. Spammy says:

          But that’s not even what sexy clothes look like! Her clothes don’t look like what the sexy Asari types wear!

          1. ehlijen says:

            As I implied, it’s not working. She’s clearly meant to be eye candy for the player.

    2. Indy says:

      What she needs is a giant pink plastic sock.

    3. Hitchmeister says:

      One of the “running around on the ship” outfits for femshep is a very similar dress to that in ugly shades of gray. The maleshep equivalent is a rather nice leather N7 jacket and jeans.

  14. Eric says:

    Am I the only one bothered by the immense gameplay/story segregation in this game? The whole “leave behind Dag/Grunt” scene is so comical because you have to have him hold off this big wave of Rachni no matter what… plow through the two-dozen on the way to the queen? Well guess what, now there’s “thousands” of them (i.e. 6 in a cutscene) and those ones you blew through like tissue paper are now apparently hell-spawned horrors which demand someone be sacrificed just to hold off.

    Give me a goddamn break, game.

    It’s not like is the only time this happens. Even stuff like the Quarian vs. Geth conflict… Geth are a big deal? Just send in Shepard, he’ll destroy their ships one by one in about 10 minutes flat. The simplicity of the gameplay and the near-invulnerability of Shepard basically invalidates any and all sense of urgency, such that when they need to have some sort of dramatic event happen, the entire game world logic has to bend over backwards to make it happen. I mean, that was the entire premise of Mass Effect 2!

    Also, seeing this game played a second time (because I cannot drive myself to play this turd again) is really enlightening… the number of cost-cutting measures taken, like in dialogue etc. really makes BioWare’s “epic conclusion” look like some cheap cash-in (which it was, but never mind that).

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its the problem with many games.Few developers realize that games are a separate medium and that you cant just tell the story through cutscenes,like some movie with game in between scenes.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Could be a lack of communication between the level designers and the writers (who’d be in charge of the cutscenes I imagine?).

        But yes, few game writers grasp that players are NOT real characters and that it is them they write, not just the PCs. Something that is of concern to the character may very well not be to the player and it takes good writing to make a player accept something as a threat they don’t see as one themselves.

        1. FalseProphet says:

          The problem with Shepard is that the writers want to have it both ways. They want her to be both an old-school RPG blank slate that the player can project their own persona on–mostly in ME1 as part of its KOTOR DNA. But they also want her to be a developed character with drives and motivations, e.g. “Some kid died!”, or it becomes hard for them to justify the plots they’ve written. Then it gets messier because her character isn’t consistent throughout cutscenes and the Paragon/Renegade track makes her even less consistent.

          The SW crew mentioned this during the Deus Ex: Human Revolution season, although Jensen had a few more hints at the personality he was intended to have. E.g., if you chose the asshole route on some of the early sidequests, NPCs would make comments like “this isn’t like you, Adam”, and you could interpret that as Jensen being a decent guy until his girlfriend being killed and his body being replaced with augments turned him into a surly jackass.

          1. ehlijen says:

            I was actually more talking about:
            The player routinely kills these things in a hearbeat
            The character is worried about facing 3 of them and needs to be rescued by an NPC

            But your point is of course true as well. I just thing they are two seperate factors that game writers tend to get wrong.

            1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

              That’s standard Cutscene Incompetence, I’m afraid. Far too common.

            2. StashAugustine says:

              “The player routinely kills these things in a hearbeat”
              What difficulty are you on? I was thinking “How the hell is he killing those things with one melee attack?”

              1. Aldowyn says:

                Me too. Ravagers are NOT easy on any respectable difficulty. In some ways (AKA RANGE) they’re harder to kill than Brutes (hence being introduced later). They’re certainly not that easy to kill. That sequence seemed more like Cutscene Power to the Max than the other way around :/

                1. ehlijen says:

                  I’m not talking specifically about Ravagers and I’m using hyperbole, yes. I have faced them on normal and casual (renegade replay, just wanted to fast forward through the fights), and will soon on insanity (provided I’m good enough to get that far…). I never said anything about melee either, always used sniper rifles or the mattock for headshots (I think, I seem to hit harder there than just anywhere, but no clue if it’s actually their head?).

                  But Shepard still fights them often, successfully and never with lasting injuries. Basically, enemies the player has just defeated about 10 of (I think you fight something like 10-12 in various fights that mission?) are not suddenly unbeatable because the writers tell you your character is scared.

                  1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

                    I think it was that Grunt/Dag was oneshotting them in that cut scene, including in melee.

                  2. anaphysik says:

                    Actually, having rewatched the scene, it *is* completely stupid, but not for the reason you mention:

                    The Ravagers aren’t even in your way! Seriously, listen and watch. Dagg says that the exit is ‘down that tunnel’ and points the other way, and then Shepard and co. run that way; not through the path of the (slow-moving) Ravagers. Heck, they seem not to even notice Dagg until he runs in there to attack them (or if they do notice them, it’s only because Dagg shouts like an idiot).

                    Really, there’s no reason they couldn’t have avoided the Ravagers by simply running away down the correct tunnel.

                    (Also, Shepard’s an idiot, since she apparently has no idea which way to go, and has to be corrected by Dagg :P)

                    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Give her a break,she had a tough time recently because some kid died.That would make anyone disoriented.

                    2. anaphysik says:

                      (won’t let me edit, so I should clarify: “but not (only) for the reason you mention”)

  15. rrgg says:

    I hope you guys get around to randomly kicking her off the ship. I tried one playthrough with her and one without her but I never saw any reason to walk up to her and yell “get off my ship!” once I’d already committed.

    Also, for those who don’t understand just what a chaotic stupid “eff you” choice saving the breeder is on behalf of the game, this is the update Josh should be receiving on his war asset screen in the near future:

    Alliance Engineering Corps
    Military Strength: -100

    The last reports from the AEC were little more than officers screaming about rachni flooding into their barracks, scything through unsuspecting scientists. After a brave, but brief, battle, the core of the Alliance Engineering Corps was wiped out by their traitorous alien “allies.”

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I love that choices matter in this game. With 100 fewer war assets, we might not be able to defeat the Reapers in this playthrough.

      Yep, choices totally matter.

      1. Indy says:

        But without those engineers, the Crucible mightn’t be finished by the end of the game.

      2. rrgg says:

        I realize you’re probably being a bit sarcastic here, but to get into specifics:

        I’m the kind of person who really loves charts and numbers so seeing that there actually were marginally different degrees of success based on exactly how many war assets you had really did end up endearing the whole system a little bit more to me. I began to see how the little tiny 5-10 war asset opportunities the game keeps throwing at you could start to add up and actually have a significant impact in the end.
        Now personally I think the chart still needs a lot more complexity and variation (ooh! and maybe they could have also added a bunch of random numbers and probabilities, that would be awesome!), but I think an ending like this really could have worked.

        The real problem is the fact that I had to look up the information online in order to play it this way. In the actual game all of this is completely hidden from the player or not really brought to his attention. So as a result he has no idea what war assets do in the end, what conversation options are inexplicably going to net or lose him some war assets (compare that to games like Galciv where the costs and benefits of each moral choice option are clearly spelled out) or why he should care in the first place. If the player doesn’t understand what a mechanic means then it might as well be meaningless.

        Anyways, as for Regina’s fate. The extended ending supposedly reduced the EMS required for the “best” ending from 4000 to 3100, but even then I think that ship has long since set sail. Unless Josh is just going to cheat or has a lot of multiplayer planned.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          It actually doesn’t take that much multiplayer to get that high. I can get to 75 in a few hours.

          Two things: They should make it more clear that the crucible is damaged because your fleet isn’t strong enough in subpar endings.

          As to your comment comparing it to GalCiv… This isn’t a strategy game, it’s (supposedly) an RPG. Do YOU typically know the exact benefits and drawbacks when you’re making a moral choice on the spur of the moment?

          1. rrgg says:

            Well, I guess a lot compared to the amount of multiplayer I played (none).

            It’s not that the player needs to be given omniscient knowledge about everything (in fact there are a lot of choices in the game that would be broken by telling the player the effect, not that I consider that a good thing), but there a lot of places where the game could be giving a lot more feedback. For instance, did you decide to help the rachni queen without realizing that it would lose you some krogan strength only to find yourself locked in and unable to change your mind? Did you sabotage the krogans’ future without realizing that “Full Salarian support” amounted to only one, wimpy fleet? Did you allow the Quarians to be wiped out thinking that the upgraded Geth would be a far more powerful ally against the reapers? (according to war assets they aren’t)

            The point is that the player needs to feel a bit more involved than just flipping a coin and hoping he get’s lucky. A little more cluing in and a lot more feedback so that he knows what just happened when it happens can go a long way. As apposed to now where you get notifications but very little information about what the update was and none about how much it changed.

            Think about it kind of like kinesthetics for your brain.

        2. some random dood says:

          To paraphrase, the best ending is not to play.

        3. Mike S. says:

          If someone involved has an iOS device (and in a group containing multiple gaming geeks, the probability approaches 1) you can also gin up preparedness with the ME3 Datapad app.

          It starts very slow, but eventually it’s possible to get around 3% per hour– given sufficient tolerance for playing some fairly tedious Space Farmville. Which for me was evidently greater than my interest in multiplayer with strangers. I’m basically a single-player sort of person– especially in ME, where the pause button is my friend. :-)

          (Playing with friends can occasionally be fun, but I’m on a PC and all my ME3-playing friends were on consoles.)

    2. Eric says:

      Hey, you know what would have made EMS interesting?

      Instead of some bullshit insignificant numbers that really don’t correlate to anything practical or realistic, instead make them correspond to mission completions and have them deployable like units in a strategy game. Planets are invaded throughout the game, with the Reapers’ decisions based on where you do missions (i.e. ignore the Turians too long and they invade and wipe them out).

      You can’t save every planet, every system, so you have to pick which ones to visit and rally all the forces you can. Meanwhile, you need to use the EMS you have acquired to combat Reaper invasions on other worlds and maintain supply lines between critical planets. A battleship would be ideal for a planetary defense, but a merchant company would be essential for ensuring that munitions get to the front lines. Your success at the end of the game, as well as Reaper opposition, would be measured by your strategic decisions in the full theatre of war, with losses ranging from devastating to tolerable.

      Nah, screw that. Let’s just go pop some more moles.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Smudboy did talk extensively about how the ems could be improved.Make it so that more ships in orbit means more fleet survives,and more ground troops can be deployed.More ground troops means less enemies for you to fight.And stuff like that.And its not like stuff like that is new.Ive been replaying some c&cs lately,and those games did it in the last century.And even then it wasnt a new concept.When you get to choose a tougher path in the game,it usually means that you will have easier time later on,and not that youll get a different colour/cinematic in your ending.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          I expected EMS to be used in a way similar to the Suicide Mission. You’ve gather your forces together. Now, it is time for you to lead them into battle to decide the fate of the entire galaxy. You choose which forces do each task and fight. Not everyone will make it back, but you will have to minimize casualties as best you can.

          1. ehlijen says:

            I was hoping for that, too, despite it not making sense. Shepard is not an admiral, or even a Fleet command officer. Leaving that task to an experienced Admiral was a sensible call (though one could argue that it should have been a turian or a quarian, not a human, but that’s a different problem).

            Could make for a neat expansion game though? A homeworld style RTS, with the option for a historical scenario based on your ME3 savegame?

            1. StashAugustine says:

              Even if you didn’t personally command it, EMS should have modified the London mission dynamically- too few ships and the ground support is weak, too few scientist and the Crucible takes too long, etc.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                Definitely some good ideas in this thread. I like Eric’s basic ideas, although that’s WAAAAAAY more open-ended than Bioware wanted (I wish to mention a linear game is a legitimate design, even for an RPG, if the reasons for the linearity are present and make sense). For sure the having to choose who to save at what point and if you wait too long, too bad the Reapers wiped them out.

                It’d be interesting seeing Hackett deploy forces pretty much like Shepard did in ME2 at the end, based dynamically on what forces you have… Certainly make the ending a lot more interesting to watch. (Although the fleets arriving cinematic was pretty impressive. That was a LOT of ships)

        2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          I like Smudboy, but I get the impression he either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that some of his simple fixes are probably monsterous (or as our host would say “non-trivial”) programming tasks.

          He was trying to convert ME2 into an RTS with role-playing elements strapped to a shooter and around the 30 minute mark I said “man alive, it’d take like 6 disks and 2 x-boxes running in parallel to pull this off…”

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Bioware already did that with all the people theyve introduced.But if they went for tighter game in 2,with less characters(6,like in the other two,and maybe with more of the original crew)they still couldve pulled of some of what he was suggesting.For example,having your team gain xp for doing various stuff,like decription,data gathering,etc.It just feels like they went too far with 2,and then had to incorporate all of that into 3,so they focused on that more than on making a good game.

    3. ThomasWa says:

      That actually makes me wonder: Wasn’t the Paragon/Renegade system supposed to be a “moral” choice, as opposed to a “will this solve the given problem/provide a benefit to us or not?” question, the latter having a definite answer?
      And it would have been so easy to fix:
      If Shepard killed the Queen in ME1:
      Shepard points out the indoctrinated Queen as unsaveable. Dagg/Grunt radios in, they’re almost overrun.

      Paragon: Save the Krogan team, abandon mission. Get war assets, have to fight Rachni throughout game. Maybe a follow-up mission, in which you assault the now consolidated Rachni forces with actual troops to back you up. Grunt survives, even if not loyal.
      Renegade: Screw the Krogan, finish mission, , boss fight maybe, destroy queen. No war assets, no Rachni. Actually war assets later on, because someone else somewhere else in the gameworld doesn’t get eaten, extra mission/assets. Grunt survives if loyal.

      1. rrgg says:

        Much better!

        At the moment all the choice really does is ask “do you remember if you killed the queen in the first game or not?” To which the answer was more often then not “No! I didn’t import a save from the first game.”

      2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I know they handwave it, but I really wanted to see a drop in the number of Ravagers, or some sign that I was having an effect by doing this mission. Or maybe see a rachni soldier fighting in the final battle.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Oh look ME1 actually has a non-superficial impact! Impossible!

  16. TMC_Sherpa says:

    No Red Dwarf love?

    Ah well, I caught it Shamus

    If I could figure out some ascii art that did the Rimmer salute I would add it here

    1. Shamus says:

      I am so glad someone spotted that.

  17. Irridium says:

    Wait, it was Cerberus that took over Omega? Huh. For some reason I thought there was a criminal uprising of sorts that overthrew Aria.

    Brain probably preformed mental gymnastics so I wouldn’t go crazy at the thought of Cerberus invading another place that would be full of people who’d shoot them dead.

    Taking on a council race at their home planet and invading a big criminal hotbed would be quite the challenge. But not for Cerberus, apparently. Somehow.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Yeah. TIM is apparently so powerful and influential that he was capable of overthrowing the biggest crime boss in the entire galaxy without anybody knowing a thing about it. Not even the Shadow Broker can predict his next move.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Well, the key to victory is the element of suprise:

        No one can predict you if you don’t make sense!

        1. hborrgg says:

          I can’t wait until SW gets to the Geth part. That’s the exact explaination they give for making shepard do everything.

    2. LunaticFringe says:

      Bioware does attempt to handwave it with ‘they have Reaper tech’. But that largely fails due to the player constantly encountering Cerberus and defeating them easily. Yes, Shepherd is Space Jesus, but he/she is also using weapons that are available to other factions. Not to mention that you don’t really encounter Cerberus’ heavily augmented troops in situations like the attack on the salarian homeworld, which would’ve at least helped to make the ‘Reaper tech’ argument more plausible.

    3. zob says:

      TIM is god he works in myterious ways.

  18. Gruhunchously says:

    Looks like Kaidens been tagged by the Vashta Nerada. Shame, he was a nice guy.

  19. Shamus, what I would have done if I had a say in the development of ME3 would be:

    If 50-100% Paragon then you get Emily Wong as the War reporter on the ship.
    If you did not help her in any way she will not be available.
    If you helped with everything (all her the quest(s) she had) you get some extra benefits from that.

    If 50-100% Renegade you instead get Khalisah bint Sinan Al-Jilani, Westerlund News Reporter as the War reporter.
    But only if you did NOT punch her.
    If you “beat” her with words you get extra benefits from that.

    If 0-50% Renegade/0-50% Paragon then you get a choice between the two, otherwise the benefits are the same as above.

    Throughout ME3 she (regardless of which one it is) will remote operate a camera so at times you will see “shaky cam” like angles. But they vary a little Paragon/Renegade wise ad which reporter and how you treated/treat the reporter.
    Also though possible I’m not sure of the difficulty in Unreal Enginde to do this. but showing the camera angle for these scenes on a big screen at the citadel with spectators would be interesting.
    And then some canned responses based on the perceived Renegade or Paragon angle the reporter gives. Would only need like a few of these throughout, to show how Shepard is presented to the public.

    The last hurrah shot the reporter will broadcast will be on Earth during the final assault, with shepard crawling towards the beam thing. And if the reporter hates you she says “I hope you die horribly Shepard” or something like that.
    If she likes you she might say “Shepard, Thank you!” (in an emotional way, it does look like a one way trip after all)

    Also during ME3 the dialog with the reporter will vary depending on what you said/how you treated the reporter in previous ME’s. and during ME3 i you say the wrong (or right? things) the reporter may get pissed and leave.

    Keeping the reporter around may help give leads to certain items or resources, or she got a “lead on something”. etc.

    What a shame they didn’t do that, what I explained would fit right into ME3.

    1. Lalaland says:

      This is what happens when someone properly thinks through an idea and a far better use of the media than as a ‘spare f— buddy in the cargo hold’. ME3 and Chobot/Allers is what happens when half baked ‘cool’ ideas get greenlit. I was really disappointed by the sheer pointlessness of having a reporter on board.

  20. Ravens Cry says:

    I’ve done a (very small) amount of 3D modelling, and I find a face that can be described as male tends to be much easier to model than one described as female.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      The traditional artist explanation I hear is, and I quote: “Men are naturally ugly -even the good looking ones.”

    2. Deadfast says:

      Allers looks like she stuck her head in a hornet’s nest. Whoever modeled her face must have realized that as well. They either assigned an inexperienced modeller because all the experienced ones were otherwise busy or an experienced modeller that was told to move on to a different task before he could turn in what he’d consider the finished product because EA deadlines.

    3. Mike S. says:

      It’d be interesting to know if that perception varies at all by gender. I can imagine different ways it could break down: (straight) men being predisposed to give more scrutiny to female faces and vice versa, or one sex being predisposed to give more scrutiny to faces in general than the other. (Or, of course, no difference at all, with both men and women finding female faces harder to persuasively replicate in the same proportions.)

  21. burningdragoon says:

    “Typing” on light keyboards is weird and kinda silly, sure. What’s weirder/dumber is when EDI, a super advanced AI, does it too. Cuz… typing is clearly the most efficient way for a computer to use a computer.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      I believe that I may call this the “Minority Report effect” from now on.

    2. The “human”-ness of artificial entities will rely on apparent inefficiencies. Emotional simulations (a sense of humor, attempts to have tact, etc.) are inefficient for a computer-based intelligence, as are most physical motions (appearing to stand like a human and affect poses that fit with one’s dialog and setting). Heck, just having to walk from place to place on a ship would be enormously wasteful from an AI’s perspective.

      In a way, her typing something could be considered insidious, as it’s basically a trick to seem more human. It would have been funny/cool if they lampshaded it by having someone point it out.

      1. Ravens Cry says:

        Actually, whatever Vulcans will tell you, emotions are important for decision making process if faced with equal or incomparable choices.
        You could waste time and dither all day, or you could do it because you like one more, an emotion.

        1. Luhrsen says:

          Remember Legion had no emotional investment and so could not make a decision in his loyalty mission.

        2. There was a subject I think I heard about on the excellent NPR show Radiolab. He lost the “gut feeling” that would let you choose in equal (or apparently equal) situations, so having something like that would be necessary, yes.

          But the simulation of emotion is inefficient. The AI might “feel” something and act on it, but having to then have an avatar express it is, in theory, a waste of energy. It takes 17 watts to frown and only 9 watts to smile, but only a fraction of a watt to process an appropriate emotional response and move on.

  22. StashAugustine says:

    To be fair about the sidequest design, basically every RPG has you interject yourself into random people’s lives.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Most RPGs have random peoples lives interjected onto you. There’s a difference.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Try the computer version of Temple of Elemental Evil. The entire first chapter is supposed to be about you barging your way into every house in town asking people if you can fix their personal problems for them…Tthe game gets great after that, though, and you can just skip that part and make up the xp difference by grinding random encounters. Still, not a great start to a game :(

        1. SleepingDragon says:

          In all fairness Forgotten Realms setting has “adventurer” as a sort of viable occupation within the world setting. As in, there are individuals/groups that just wander the world looking for stuff to fix/break (depending on alignment) it is actually viable for a villagefolk to just wait, or send a word out, for adventurers to come along to fix a problem (though technically they just as often cause problems).

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      What annoyed me here was that some of the “problems” you solve result in non-intuitive results (sort of the LA Noire “What is Cole Phelps gonna yell now?!” problem) and others result in the characters doing the bleedingly obvious. Examples:

      1.) The Salarian and Turian discussing selling guns. If you support the restrictions on gun sales, the two people form a militia and sell the weapons to the Citadel Defense Force, when the original argument you sided with was “don’t arm the people, it would be dangerous.” And if you side with the guy who wants to sell weapons for personal defense, crime shoots up.

      2.) The two doctors talking about how to triage patients. If you support the person who wants to treat everyone, he suddenly comes up with the idea of… soliciting donations from rich patients. You mean to tell me that a hospital named after a president of dubious death because of a major donation is just now thinking about raising money through private donations?! What, did the whole institutional development office die when earth fell?

      3.) The two CSec cops debating whether to enforce all the laws or focus on major crimes. If you support the “enforce all laws” officer, CSec is spread too thin and they can’t defend the Citadel -but if you only enforce the major crimes… crime doesn’t shoot up. Did we learn nothing from the police procedure reforms of the late 90s? Seriously, crack James Q. Wilson’s book on the subject, or at least read the article on Broken Windows.

  23. Dirigible says:

    Is it just me, or does Kaidan have really big muscles? His chest looks much larger than his torso was in ME1, and he was in armour then.

    1. Indy says:

      Well human pectorals continue growing as they move from puberty to middle-age.

      Nah, that was garbage for the asari, it’s garbage for humans.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      Well, he had 2 years after Shepard died. Maybe he decided to focus on his training to better himself.

      Or, maybe he was jealous of Vega.

      Or, the modelers aren’t used to high details.

      Probably the second option.

      1. lurkey says:

        Totally “better himself” option, because building up body mass for a half-biotic/half-tech makes most sense in ME2-3 logic. *sage nod*

        1. Phantom Hoover says:

          When you’re that useless you better damn well be able to absorb a few stray shots to the chest.

  24. Zaxares says:

    2:50: I know! That scene is so silly considering the Ravagers are all bunched up close together. They don’t/can’t fire at you when you’re too close, so that’s the perfect opportunity to murder them all with shotguns and/or grenades!

    3:09: That scene is a lot more poignant if it’s Grunt you’re talking to, but I agree it’s rather hilarious if Dagg is present. (That said, I think Dagg’s lines are a lot cooler than Grunt’s.)

    6:00: The Shroud idea kinda breaks down if you consider that any krogan that don’t happen to be on Tuchanku at the moment miss out, which apparently is quite a big chunk of their race. You can bet that after the events of ME3, if everybody survives, there’s going to be a LOT of angry krogan out there.

    10:36: Yeah, this scene with Kaidan made me go “Bwuh?” too. XD If it’s Ashley in the bed, it looks like he’s totally scoping out her boobs too.

    11:14: Those are supposed to be bruises, but they only look like bruises on Ashley. On Kaidan it just looks like he’s got a sooty face. XD

    19:24: I didn’t really mind Chobot’s character in the game, although I did raise an eyebrow at the fuss they raised over her inclusion. I hadn’t seen her real photo prior to today though; she REALLY has large cheek bones! XD

    21:23: I always thought the Illusive Man attacked Omega for two reasons:

    1. It’s the closest outpost to the Omega-4 relay, and he wanted control over it because he was doing something with the Collector Base (destroyed or not).

    2. Omega has a large core of element zero, which would give him not only a vast store of wealth, but also a critical resource for the manufacture of ships, weapons and other munitions.

    1. IFS says:

      3:09 The scene with grunt is a lot more awesome though because he can survive it.

      6:00 Most of the krogan females are on tuchanka though, and as far as I can tell curing them would eliminate most of the issues the genophage causes. After all the krogan are always concerned with fertile females, not males.

      19:24 I didn’t really mind her character that much, but the uncanny valley and the terrible voice acting were enough that I tended to avoid talking with her if possible. It irritated me that when multiple people want to visit you in your cabin you don’t get to choose the order to meet them in.

  25. newdarkcloud says:

    Also, interesting side-note, Samara’s face was also scanned into the game. So it’s still a mystery as to why Miranda and Diana had such horrible face models.

    1. Wait, Samara had a face? Where?

    2. paercebal says:

      I believe this is a variation on the uncanny valley (the uncharming valley?).

      Yvonne Strahosky is not a classical beauty, but has an huge amount of charm. When she was digitalised as Miranda Lawson, the process did indeed capture some of the less beautiful parts of her face in great detail, but failed to convey Mrs. Strahosky’s charm. Add to it a ridiculous body (sorry Bioware, but, Miranda’s body is an epic fail)…

      I guess Jessica Chobot’s model suffer from the same problem. The digital portrait is not as faithful as needed to mirror the original, and misses Mrs. Chobot’s charm.

      I guess Samara got away with it because the original face is already somewhat exotic, and because at no moment Samara aims to be charming.

      On a similar vein, I found Felicia Day’s rendition in Dragon Age 2’s DLC (Mark of the Assassin?) much better done as an DA2 elf (with the cat-like face). I guess this is because they didn’t try to render perfectly F. Day’s face, but instead, offer an “elf version” of F. Day’s face. Anything “uncanny/uncharming” thus could be explained instead as “elf-like”.

  26. Lalaland says:

    The failure to do something interesting with the idea of an embedded reporter really annoys me. It would have been einteresting to use Allers as a propaganda tool to justify your choices with the wider universe and to optionally outright lie to cover your mistakes/choices.

    It is particularly galling to me as I’ve always found the interplay of media and military to be one of the more fascinating aspects of conflict. In Irish history it is notable that in the period from 1916-1921 (aka War of Independence) the IRA (not the modern one, don’t ask it’s a long answer) lost every one of the large set piece encounters. The Rising was a failure, the assault on the Customs House a failure and any other time geniuses decided to line up barely trained volunteers/terrorists versus a standing army.
    The IRA won by co-opting the media and making sure that British atrocities got wall to wall coverage in British newspapers. There were units dedicated to bringing foreign journalists on a ‘tour’ complete with blindfolds and all the drama that makes for a good news article. It was this propaganda campaign that won Irish independence rather than force of arms.
    When the Allers character first showed up I was naive enough to believe I could use her to spread my propaganda to ‘reverse’ negative effects of my choices (ie propagandise the Salarians if you cure the Genophage or vice versa). This would have fed into the ‘have your cake and eat it too’ criticism of Bioware plotlines but at least your media asset would actually count for something rather than just stealing Zaeed’s bunk, Dirty Den 4eva!.

  27. Rodyle says:

    Damn. Which Mitchell and Webb episode was Ruts talking about? -_-‘

  28. Dev Null says:

    That is a serious lot of teeth in that Chobot snap. I mean like “make the Tiger Shark nervous” amount of teeth.

  29. anaphysik says:

    Magic shadow and whiskey shenanigans should probably go in the credits.

    I often favour British spellings, but ‘whisky’ just looks weird to me. Odd?

  30. Pearly says:

    What always gets me about this game is that Udina had white hair in ME2, and Kirrahe was bright green in ME1.

    Being made Councillor gave Udina a complex or something, I’m assuming.

    We’ll just have to assume that Kirrahe went through Salarian puberty or something, I don’t know.

  31. Thomas says:

    Bits like this compose of the reasons I like this game. (Apart from the much much better gameplay :D )It’s a game about people putting the universe right but seeing people die at every point, giving their lives up, often futily and seeking moments of humanity with each other and then after the wreckage, there’s a beginning but it’s only a beginning and you can look back and realise all that was lost behind you.

    I feel like the best way to experience ME3 is default playthrough then winning playthrough, if you can get through the first without becoming a ball of hate.

    As I said, I uninstalled the EC, it spoilt this image of the game for me.

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