Mass Effect 3 EP22: Relationships are Complicated

By Josh
on Oct 13, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Brought to you one day late by Shamus fighting off hordes of influenza ninjas. Or maybe he’s just playing XCOM.

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A Hundred!20202019Many comments. 179, if you're a stickler

From the Archives:

  1. Hal says:

    As an immunologist and vaccine designer, I can tell you without hesitation that influenza ninjas would simultaneously be the most exciting and terrifying development in our field . . . well, ever.

  2. JPH says:

    Hey now, what’s Shamus got against ninjas?

  3. guy says:

    My second ME3 playthrough was as an infiltrator. You can knock off slightly under half of a Banshee’s armor with a AP round Widow headshot from cloak. I am of the opinion that stacking as many offensive modifiers as possible on the highest-damage gun in the game should be somewhat more effective than that against any non-boss with offensive potential on the same order as Banshees.

    Banshees need to have the Ardat-Yakshi gene, but it’s apparently some form of recessive or comes in degrees, so a surprising percentage of the population has it given that everyone who fully manifests it is sterile.

    Screw Kai Leng.

    • Klay F. says:

      The Codex implies that the Ardat-Yakshi disease appears in asari pretty much how autism appears in humans, in that there are multiple levels of the disorder that together make up a “spectrum” based on how severe the disorder manifests. So many asari can fall in the Ardat-Yakshi spectrum, but only a fraction have the full-blown disorder.

      Now, I claim absolutely no expertise on autism or on genetic disorders, so I have no idea if this is even plausible.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Everything involving the Asari reproductive process, including genetics, amounts to “Because the writer said so.” Why would this be any different?

        • Klay F. says:

          Just to be clear, I’m not passing judgement one way or another on the explanation itself, I’m merely reiterating what the codex says using my limited knowledge of biology to fill in the chas…I mean gaps.

          As for reproduction, well, hermaphroditic species exist on Earth, so its not outside the realm of possibility. Also, I couldn’t give two shits what that damned Leviathan DLC said, telepathy definitely DOES exist in the ME universe.

          All-in-all, as much as I enjoy dumping on ME3, the stuff people are now picking to complain about is rather ridiculous. If you have played through the original game and accepted the ridiculous explanations for everything from asari reproduction to FTL travel, then you don’t really have a right to come back 2 games later and complain about the very things you previously accepted.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I had the impression that Ardat-Yakshi were fairly rare. Actually, I was under the impression there were only 3 basd on Samara’s dialogue in the last game.

      Also, why is Samara wearing red again?

      • IFS says:

        Samara said that there were only three that she knew of, so its not a complete retcon that there are more, though it is odd that she didn’t know that there were more than her daughters at the monastery.
        As for making banshees I think the codex says that the condition is recessive and banshees can be made out of anyone with one of the required genes.
        As for why Samara is wearing red I guess its because they just wanted to reuse her model from the previous game.

        • Jakale says:

          You’d think after two, she would have stopped breeding. Do they ever say if she has any normal Asari children?

          • IFS says:

            No all her children are Ardat Yakshi, she did say in me2 that the disease isn’t detectable until about 40 years of age, explaining why she had more than one child.

            • anaphysik says:

              “I have three daughters. There are three Ardaat-Yakshi.” (paraphrase, and ignore the incongruity of that second sentence.)

              So unless she has any sons, um, yes, all of her chillens are A-Y.

              Considering it’s genetic, you’d think they’d just test for it when they’re babies. But then again, asari genetics are basically SPAAAACE MAAAAAGIIIIIC.

              • Alexander The 1st says:

                That just brings up the question of life or death for an Ardaat-Yakshi potential when they’re only children, unable tonmake their own decision.

                Also, it’s possible they haven’t recorded it yet, because they want to hide their existence from anyone browsing the Asari DNA sequence – said gene is probably labelled “junk gene”, so Salarians can’t test for it.

                ~~~

                On the subject on the number, it’s worth remembering that Samara went Justicar 400 years ago, and Liara’s (A latent A-Y) is only 109. There could’ve been an influx since then, and Samara wouldn’t have known.

        • Thomas says:

          It was a straight up continuity error in the 2nd game. Samara’s dialogue and the codex contradicted each other. We had the spectrum thing and the ‘only three Ardat Yakshi in existence and I have three children’. I don’t think you can reconcile them without retconning one of the statements. The codex even claims that 1% of all Asari are on the AY spectrum which is a ridiculously huge amount (plus, Ardat Yakshi I was always interested what the spectrum was meant to be of. Do mild cases only slightly kill people whilst having sex? Give them a little bit of a tingle or mild paralysis?)

          • anaphysik says:

            “only slightly kill people”

            Yes, one should assume that mild cases only make them mostly dead instead of all dead.

            • drkeiscool says:

              But I’m not dead. I think I’ll go for a walk.

            • Bryan says:

              With a far-less-mild case of Ardat-Yakshi, well, there’s usually only one thing you can do.

              “What’s that?”

              “Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”

            • SleepingDragon says:

              I’d assume that, depending on where on the spectrum they are, they get more or less of a rush from the mind meld thing and do more or less damage to the other participant. I seem to recall a figure like 10% of “not having to be isolated but having it in the genes” being quoted somewhere in the codex but not completely sure of it.

              Overall I didn’t like the Ardat Yakshi retcon, I mean, it was obviously there just so they could tie banshees with it. Samara’s backstory and character also seemed better justified (to me) when AY were such a rare occurrence. That said I do think they made a good job on the banshee design. Yes, we could do without glowing nipples though I imagine they wanted to put some light accents in the torso area and peaks of curves are sort of a natural point for that (plus, if they didn’t put the light bit there they’d probably have to show an actual nipple and that’s always problematic). But nipples aside check the bit around 13:50, the cutscene where the banshees are approaching, this is probably the only time in the whole game when you can see the model in detail and it is creepy: the slender limbs and the slow but not quite shuffling way they move, the saggy bits of skin, the belly that looks almost pregnantish because of how skeletal the rest of the body is…

              • Thomas says:

                I think it was more that it just already didn’t make sense in ME2.

                The ME2 codex entry read
                ‘Contrary to popular belief, Ardat Yakshi are neither extremely rare (around 1% dwell on that spectrum) nor are they all murderers. Most cultivate and discard countless exploitative or abusive relationships during their legally marginal lives. Despite rumours of AY syndicates, by nature AY are incapable of long-term co-operation.

                As a disproportionately wealthy species, asari employ their economic reach and mediaownership to hide the AY pathology from the galactic community, placing most Ardat-Yakshi inmonitored work programs or seclusion. Only the most aggressive cases are sentenced to sanitariaand prisons or to the execution lists of justicars.’

                None of which makes sense with the 3 AY claim. Apart from anything, this codex describes all people on the spectrum as AY and that’s there’s no cut-off line of extremeness where suddenly they become an AY. Plus the sanitariaand prisons, the execution lists and the fact there was already an AY monastery for Samara to drop her children off at.

                I’m not saying this to make ME3 make more sense, we discussed this during the ME2 season and I’d dismissed Samara’s as a continuity error well before ME3 was even released

        • It’s totally a complete retcon because it’s in her code that she’s know about for centuries that Ardat-Yakshi have to live in a monastary. And her last daughter escaped from one.

          She must have visited it at some point.

    • anaphysik says:

      Not sure about in SP (Vanguard), but in MP you canNOT score headshots against banshees (also primes, brutes, etc.), outside of some glitching like with the old Kishock harpoon gun.

      Also, there are two types of armor-piercing and I’m not sure what you mean. There’s AP ammo (which Garrus has) which deals extra damage to armoured enemies like the banshee. And there are AP guns (e.g. widow, javelin) and mods (e.g. shotgun shredder mod, sniper AP mod) which work in a totally different way – they allow you to shoot through cover/walls/guardian shields/plating on husks and cannibals from the marauder’s buff (I think they might also shoot through brute’s armor plating, but I forget). This latter type has *nothing* to do with having armor for health.

      So, your damage boosts in that scenario might not be nearly as high as you think.

      Also: Shepard, really? *Two* banshees at once? Yeah, reaalll impressive. Go fight between 4 and *unlimited (8 max, new definition of unlimited btw)* in MP, without your superpowered abilities and see how long you last…

      • anaphysik says:

        “Also, there are two types of armor-piercing and I’m not sure *which* you mean.” sorry, typo.

      • guy says:

        Garrus’ AP ammo, level six and with damage boosting choices, on Shepard as opposed to by squad ammo. And I’m pretty sure that headshots with sniper rifles work on them, because I definitely do less damage when not getting headshots.

        • Luhrsen says:

          It’s just tougher to get hit detection on their heads. Even the huge flying mosters take extra damage from headshots. I could put one down with a single bullet by the time I got to Earth.

        • anaphysik says:

          “Banshees’ head is their weak spot, with each shot dealing 40% more damage. This was taken out with the Patch 1, but restored with the Patch 4.” http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Banshee

          So those stronger headshots could be from either a early build or the most recent one. (This is news to me. I knew about Geth Prime headshots being taken out quite early (as well as double damage against the Atlas if you shot it in the cockpit with an AP-mod), and I’d heard that headshotting primes was recently restored, but I didn’t know about banshees.)

          (And again, this might be a SP vs. MP thing.)

          (Also note that one version of Rank 6 of the Infiltrator’s passive does increase headshot damage, which would probably apply whether or not headshots award normal extra damage. It’s a measly 15%, though, so that’s unlikely to be the cause.)

  4. AbruptDemise says:

    Ugh, games are too easy nowadays. I remember when your fallen foes wouldn’t toss you their ammo drops, you had to walk up to them to pick them up, going uphill both ways.

    Really, though, Josh could not be any more of an amusing bug magnet.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ill admit,banshees have a really cool death animation.

  6. Ofermod says:

    Those tags. I haven’t even started watching the episode, and I’m already laughing from just those tags.

  7. rofltehcat says:

    Something non-MR/SW related: Could someone please invite me to the GW2 twentysided guild? Either the two people I added to my FL (FFJosh and Rason?) aren’t the ones I need to contact or they are never online :(

    Name’s Rragaar Chaggar / Panzen.4625

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Rutskarn is such a pro,he can end relationships before he even hits puberty.

    • Bryan says:

      That whole discussion reminded me of Pre-Ex Girlfriend, from way back when I was in college.

      Also… crap, it’s been a lot of years since I last heard that song, and I’m getting old. :-/

      Oh well, might as well enjoy it. Kids and their “music” these days. Get off my lawn! :-P

    • Volfram says:

      I should get relationship advice from Rutskarn, his seem to last longer than mine.

  9. Thomas says:

    ‘the Code demands that an Ardat-Yakshi cannot live outside a monastery that no longer exists.’

    It’s a very metaphysical (and specific) Code

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      One must obey a code that one must live by.

    • IFS says:

      Didn’t we already cover how stupid the code was in the me2 season?

      • Thomas says:

        =D I’ve got less problems with the code here and more on the philosophical implications of someone being not allowed to live outside a place that doesn’t exist. The ‘outside’ bit makes it even worse =D Is it implying that an Ardat Yakshi can live inside a monastery that doesn’t exist? Given that there are infinite non-existent monasteries and presumably a none zero number of monasteries that have existed, are we all not always living outside a monastery that doesn’t exist any more?

        And it must be a pretty thick code to cover the AY relevance to all states of a monasteries existence rather than say, saying ‘Ardat Yakshi’s cannot live outside monasteries’

        I just found the turn of phrase fun, I meant no serious point or criticism =D

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          I think her statement was meant to mean “A-Y can’t live outside a monastery just because one doesn’t exist.”.

          Ergo, even with your simplified version of the Code still would imply that.

          Instead, claiming that the rundown monastery is still *technically* a monastery gives Samara’s daughter a place to stay via a loophole in the Code.

          • SleepingDragon says:

            I do believe it was a poorly formulated shortcut for:

            1) According to the code AY must not be allowed to live outside of a monastery
            2) It is impossible to live in a non-existing monastery
            3) Your monastery no longer exists
            because 2 and 3 you cannot live in a monastery so because 1 you cannot be allowed to live.

    • lurkey says:

      ‘the Code demands that an Ardat-Yakshi cannot live outside a monastery that no longer exists.’

      Schrödinger-Yakshi, however, can.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      I think it’s supposed to be two statements. The code says an Ardat-Yakshi cannot live outside a monastery. Now since that monastery no longer exists…

      I think most people understand that. But a simple lapse of proofreading made it into a silly sounding statement. No one at BioWare noticed that and said, “Guys, overly literal minded games (ie most of them) are going to have a field day with this dialog.” Shouldn’t they know their audience better by now?

  10. ThomasWa says:

    Why isn’t there another monastery? Ugh, all this stupid forced drama is getting to me.

    • Thomas says:

      Because there are very few actual Ardat Yakshi, It’s a big continuity snarl from the previous game, which simultaneously declared there was a monastery full of them and that there were only 3 in existence, 1 of which was not in the monastery, but whatever the case it’s been canon since 2 that there’s only enough submissive ones to fill one monastery. And the Asari might be a little occupied to build a second one right now =D

      • ThomasWa says:

        Okay, I guess. Although I don’t see why Samara couldn’t just stuff her in a regular prison and give the staff instructions. I stand by the drama being forced.

        • Thomas says:

          AY are extremely attractive to all people and could easily have sex with the guards probably =D

          Besides it’s established in 2 that Samara’s code is rigid to the point of absurdity and she will follow that through no matter what. Here introduction was her threatening to kill the police force of a planet because they wanted to detain her for a day or two to do some paperwork/stop her from killing everyone her got in her way.

          This is all, including the ridiculous of it, entirely in-canon and consistent with everything that Samara has done as a character. Given her daughters were established to be at the monastery, once the game developers decided to have a level there, there was pretty much no other way it could turn out. I guess the monastery and monastery staff could’ve survived but that would be a bit anti-climatic

          • anaphysik says:

            “AY [and asari in general] are extremely attractive to all people”

            ‘Just because the game says that’s so’ is no reason to go around believing it.

            • Audacity says:

              This! a thousand times, this! These games creep me out, and have become worse with every installment. The Asari, and pretty much all the female characters in Mass Effect, always looked fugly to me. Not just in the sense of the uncanny valley, but there’s an overall fish-like quality to ALL of them. I think they made the lips and eyes too big on everyone. Sort of how I always imagined the “Innsmouth look” to appear.

        • anaphysik says:

          Samara’s a paladin. They’re designed to effect stupid, annoying narratives.

          • Spammy says:

            She’s the stupidest kind of Paladin. I swear the next Paladin character I play in D&D is going to come from an order where recruits are taught “Samara’s Folly,” which is believing that the Code is entirely inflexible and can force a Paladin to harm innocents.

            • SleepingDragon says:

              In all fairness I do like that she remained constant in that. I mean, yes, already in 2 it was pretty obvious the code was stupid, at best unsuited for the present times (who knows, it might have made more sense in ages past where Asari were less cultured and Ardat Yakshi built their feudal domains posturing as divine beings).

              That said it’s not good character writing when all your characters are perfectly reasonable and the code does offer a nice set of rules and a black-white world for someone in a, let’s say, fragile state of mind as Samara likely was at some point in her past. Overall I’m glad Samara stuck to the rigid stupidity of the code because, to me, it makes her better as a character. I prefer it better that she stays a fanatical/stupid lawful character than if we could simply para/rene her to just throw hundreds of years of following the code to the wind (although I’m pretty sure trusting her daughter poses at least a bending of the rules).

          • Volfram says:

            While I am an engineer, not an English major, I believe the word would be “Affect.”

            Props for daring to use it, though.

            • Mike S. says:

              Anaphysik has it right: “effect”=cause to come into existence, as opposed to “affect”=influence.

              Though I think Samara’s take on her Code here is, if anything, more plausible than in ME2. Taking a known body of rules and interpreting it too rigidly (or too loosely) is pretty much the human (and presumably asari) condition, and there are plenty of cautionary tales surrounding both.

              So it’s perfectly conceivable that there’d be fanatics running around willing to engage in violence rather than compromise their principles. But my suspension of disbelief falters at the idea that the asari would tolerate them as an institution, if their code extends to things like killing the local police detachment for following inoffensive routine procedures. Either a council of Code scholars interprets its way to mostly coexisting with modern asari society, somehow, sometime before they start spacefaring, or the Justicars wind up an illegal organization with a long tradition of martyrdom. (Possibly still folk heroes, but nonetheless the cops don’t react the way they did in ME2.)

              On the other hand, the Ardat-Yakshi are an invisible, disadvantaged minority on the one hand and legendary monsters on the other, so asari society tolerating summary executions is plausible enough. And they’re the whole reason for Samara’s becoming a Justicar. (Which in turn was the only thing she could cling to when her entire life fell apart four centuries ago.) So the impossibility of keeping her last daughter properly contained provoking a Javert-like crisis for her seems entirely justified.

              (As does her grasping for any way out that can plausibly be said to be consistent with the Code.)

            • anaphysik says:

              Well, I’m an engineer as well, but I do in fact actually know what I’m talking about. “Effect” is a rarely-employed verb which means ‘to cause, to bring about.’ “Affect” as a verb means ‘to change in some manner’ (plus, there’s a lot of other secondary meanings of “affect”). “Affect” is also a *truly* rare noun roughly meaning ‘mood.’

              In fact, being in the sciences *should* increase you chance of knowing the verb usage of “effect,” since effect(n.), effect (v.), and affect(v.) are all used quite frequently in paper/project titles, even as early as middle school.

      • gyfrmabrd says:

        Or, it was just a very tiny monastery.

    • Looking at the history of the Mass Effect universe’s architecture, there were probably several monasteries that are now smoking craters full of insane sex-crazed Asari, dead Cerberus mooks, and (just for flavor) rogue robots with heavy guns.

      They just build them one at a time, finishing the next one by the time the last one gets wiped out. On the up side, the population of Asari needing their services drops sharply in the time between one monastery being rendered unusable and a new one being completed. Nobody knows quite why…

      • el_b says:

        ‘smoking craters full of insane sex-crazed Asari, dead Cerberus mooks, and (just for flavor) rogue robots with heavy guns.’

        they need to make a comic of THAT story!

  11. Gruhunchously says:

    “You’d need a crowbar to get through there”

    I just know there’s some Half-Life related joke to be made here, but I just can’t seem to find it…

  12. Perhaps the Asari husks are to show you how your romancing advances appear to other NPCs?

  13. Spammy says:

    Asari Husks seem to be sort of going for that sexual horror vibe like Xenomorphs and roughly half of all Silent Hill enemies, so that can get a slide.

    The Asari themselves being a blatant fanservice race in a serious game does not get a slide, and I’m with Rutskarn on that. Bioware should have done something else with the Asari.

    • Jakale says:

      It’s kind of interesting to see the differences in Asari characters based on whether they’re supposed to be fanservice characters or just throwaway npcs. Samara’s daughters almost look ME1 levels of “no boobs here, move along.”

    • Thomas says:

      Even without the sex appeal, they absolutely stunk of those damned elves (huh could have sworn there was a TV tropes page). Had nowhere to go as a race except to be superior to everyone.

      My personal idea was I quite liked the idea of a race that fought social wars. Deliberately manipulating and encouraging other peoples art forms and society so that other civilisations would hold high opinions of them without even realising it. Making themselves sexy to all the other races and propogating through relations with other species so no-one thinks of going to war with them and are always ready to give them decent trade terms. It would be a whole different kind of battle, that no-one but the Asari would even realise they were fighting. They were meant to be good negotiators so it would have been fun to see how being a good negoatiator actually works.

      But I guess if it was too deliberate they’d end up looking like Solarians.

      • anaphysik says:

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceElves

        and

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CantArgueWithElves

        I had to make a new reply because trying to edit the first post marked it as spam. WordPress is more savvy than it seems, no doubt trying to protect innocents from TvTropes.

      • Spammy says:

        If Bioware still wanted to have the “can mate with anything” race, then they should have made them androgynous. You may have some that look more male to human eyes, you may have some that look more female, but they’re all genderless to themselves and they act like it. Why does every Asari act female? Why do they use the words “Mother” and “Daughter” when those both imply a gender that the Asari don’t have among themselves? Mother you could maybe sell me on, but why daughter?

        Nothing about the look or behavior of the Asari makes sense.

        • anaphysik says:

          Asari actually use both mother and father terminology (frex, Aethyta is Liara’s father). Not sure when this was explicitly introduced.

          (But yeah, I’ve never liked the asari element either.)

          Also, salarians should totally be the ones to mate with anyone; the ability to switch sex should be only one of many powers their frog DNA ought to give them.
          Oh that goofy Mr. DNA. JP was so freaking awesome.

          • Spammy says:

            I just played Mass Effect 1 recently and romanced Liara. She only uses the term father reluctantly, as I remember her words were to the effect of, “My… father, if you want to say, was another Asari.” It doesn’t sound like they use those terms often. But it still bugs me that they use terms with an implication of gender at all.

            Salarian reproduction is fine, according to the Codex they actually have an interesting mating system… it’d just be nice if dialog in the game actually reflected it.

            • StashAugustine says:

              If you ask Matriarch Aytheta about it, she’ll say that she’s Liara’s father. Shepard can respond with something along the lines of “Well, we’d say she had two mothers.” Aytheta responds, “Well, you would, you anthropocentric bag of dicks.”

              • anaphysik says:

                That’s what I was remembering. I don’t recall the Liara line Spammy mentions, but it could just be another retcon or a legitimate difference of opinion, but I don’t think Bioware likes those as much.

            • anaphysik says:

              With the salarian comment, I was just making a silly Jurassic Park joke.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            “Also, salarians should totally be the ones to mate with anyone”

            Bah,they have nothing on chambers.She can mate with space dogs even.

        • Alex says:

          The Asari being female makes sense, biologically. A population consisting only of women is already very close to being self-sustaining – the only thing missing is the father’s DNA to fertilise the egg. The donor parent’s role has more in common with genetic engineering than sexual reproduction, which is the only reason why the species is capable of reproducing with non-Asari in the first place.

        • Hitchmeister says:

          It would have been and interesting device to introduce the Asari as a completely androgynous race with no sexual characteristics one way or the other until/if your Shepard starts exhibiting a preference for one gender or the other and all Asari shift their appearance to be more attractive to Shepard. With the clear implication that they haven’t actually changed, just your character’s (and therefore your) perception of them.

  14. I am disappointed that no other posts are tagged “Rutskarn Giving Horrible Relationship Advice”.

    • Sumanai (Asimech) says:

      Likely that’s because of Josh’s editing.

      I’m also willing to bet that if Rutskarn writes the book it will contain the sentence “no witnesses” and it’s worse in context. Much, much worse.

    • anaphysik says:

      I’m disappointed that any of the posts need to be tagged as such. I expect/demand horrible advice from Rutskarn in EVERY EPISODE EVER.

      Also, Shamus, it might be wise to go back and mark appropriate posts with the “Rutskarn Sings” tag. You know, like a trigger warning.

  15. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Since we’re all making these jokes anyway -Josh is a very grabby boyfriend to all these asari.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      He felt really bad afterwards, though: When the girl confronted him later, he sighed, looked her in the eyes, and said “asari.”

      • anaphysik says:

        And after that he decided to hanar a consolation coupon like Rutskarn suggested.

        IMO, he ought to have just postponed dealing with the situation by simply saying “elcor you later, okay?”

        Incidentally, newdarkcloud, you are a horrible horrible man but one day – ONE DAY! – I’ll be even worse than you. ONE DAY! *shakes fist*

        Seriously, though, that pun was amazing.

  16. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    On the level itself -if the game had involved more levels like this or the Armstrong Station I think it might have been better. More levels where the reapers are hitting everywhere and we have to decide where to intervene. It would make the game feel more like a massive war.

    And this level itself was pretty good. But it wasn’t a particularly high point in the game for me.

    • IFS says:

      What if the game was more like the first mass effect where you had several trouble spots to choose from to recruit/save allies, and the longer it took you to get to some of them the worse things would be when you got there. It would make the game less linear, provide more choices (not going to say meaningful choices because we know how well bioware implemented those in this game) and it would show how the reapers are ravaging the entire galaxy, rather than just showing up on the planets shepard needs to go to next.

      • Jason says:

        The only place where that actually happened was recruiting Liara after Virmire, where she had some different dialog. Nothing substantively changed in that instance, and that’s the biggest case of it in the game.

        • IFS says:

          No but in the first mass effect the stakes were not nearly as high, so it made sense that there were only minor changes. Being allowed to go in any order in me1 allowed you to peice together the mystery of what the conduit is/what Saren is after by collecting the clues in any order. Allowing the player to choose where to go helped make the galaxy seem bigger, reinforced the mystery aspect of the game, and gave the player the sense of being in charge of the investigation like they were supposed to be.

          • Mike S. says:

            Weren’t the stakes basically the same? Fail to stop Saren, and the Reapers show up and kill everyone. (Only faster, since they get the Citadel and all its information resources on day one.)

            ME2’s stakes were lower, in principle, since the end-result of the Collectors’ success was one new Reaper to pick up where Sovereign left off. (There was the whole idea that the Collectors would go after Earth for human raw material, but still, that’s a threat to just one Citadel species, not all of them.)

            And, of course, once the writers decided the Reapers could just come back via standard FTL in a reasonable amount of time, which they had by the end of ME2, the relative impact is much reduced. I still wish they’d left dark space where it was implied to be: too far away in intergalactic space to arrive in the near term by any means other than mass relay. (They could still have invoked something like the Alpha Relay or a new Citadel-related plan if they really wanted a Reaper invasion for ME3.)

            • anaphysik says:

              I presumed that this discussion was ignoring ME2, since we all already knew how stupid both ‘the initial conception of the stakes’ and ‘the final reveal of the stakes’ were.

              Remember, at the beginning of ME1, we don’t really know about the Reapers coming back and killing everyone. We only suspect that because of meta-gaming, whereas in the actual narrative they exist only as a legend, and all we have to ‘prove’ them is a blurred, bizarre, incomplete vision. Sovereign is just a really powerful ship that Saren owns at this point, and our assumption of the stakes are ‘Saren is a traitor to the Council and up to some sort of do-bad-ery.’ Hell, the real stakes if you step back and look at the beginning are ‘this is a chance for a human to prove themselves as a worthy Spectre.’

              (Which is why it’s totally okay that your squadmates are basically ‘people you just met and who just feel like coming along.’)

              The Reapers aren’t confirmed until we actually get the full vision and talk with Sovereign on Virmire. We don’t know the real stakes until then. Hell, we’re still learning about the real stakes while we’re talking to Vigil.

              (Edit: Great, in moderation. I wonder why? These moderation filters confound me sometimes.)

              • Mike S. says:

                I didn’t hate the initial conception of ME2’s stakes. Human colonies disappearing mysteriously is reasonably a matter for concern, the more so if it’s somehow the Reapers’ plan B. (Or plan D, after “send the signal to the Keepers”, “take the Citadel with the rachni”, and “take the Citadel with Saren and the geth”.)

                But I was operating on the theory that Reapers actually showing up = Game Over. So any plot involving the Reapers would be dealing with their catspaws, with success meaning that they stay in dark space. (At least until the last few seconds of ME2, and then Arrival.) After messing up their last, best hope (and killing the only Reaper in the Milky Way) it seemed reasonable that they’d have to go a little smaller. On that level, building Sovereign II isn’t a *bad* plan, whatever one might say about doing it with people slurry or making it look like the Terminator.

                Though I would also have been happy for a sequel to decide that the Reapers were contained, for the moment, and concentrate on a threat from some other direction. Something with which Citadel space was already well-supplied, even leaving aside what might be on the other side of the next dormant relay some monkeys might decide to open. (There’d have been some fun sticking Shepard in the position of the turians circa the First Contact War with respect to some new species. Especially if his squad consisted of Garrus and Ashley. :-) )

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        But how can you tell a story in a game like that?What do you think this is,some kind of an rpg?No one can make such a thing in video game format,dont be silly.

    • anaphysik says:

      “Armstrong Station”

      ???
      You mean Grissom Academy? There’s coincidentally a system named Grissom in the Armstrong Nebula. In ME1 the Geth Incursion sidequest (the one with the neat operatic end) takes place around there.

  17. IFS says:

    I agree that the instant death attacks need to have some sort of tell that players can watch out for and avoid, fortunately while several different enemies have instant death attacks like the banshees they don’t tend to use them nearly as often, I think the banshees just have the largest reach for being able to use theirs.
    Also the banshees insta-kill attack is so much worse in multiplayer, because of lag you can be pulled several meters into the banshees grasp, sometimes even around corners or out of cover. As for getting them to drop you if someone hits one hard enough before it stabs you with its claw then it will drop you. Alternately in multiplayer if otehr enemies send you into bleeding out before the banshee kills you, you won’t be insta-dead and teammates or medigel can revive you.

    • Mike S. says:

      I’d thought the point of the instant death attack was to strongly discourage meleeing with them. Which is certainly frustrating with some classes, but it does encourage switching up tactics some. (E.g., Vanguards using lesser enemies with Charge to stay away from the Banshee, while using guns or distance powers to wear them down.)

      (But it may be worse in multiplayer, which I have very limited experience with.)

  18. Jakale says:

    Shamus, you should know by now that the best way to subdue any and all female characters is to hold their arms behind their back. Even just one arm will render them powerless and easily kidnapped, no matter what competence and ability they’ve shown previously.

  19. Jarenth says:

    Sectoid flu?

    Damnit. Better start researching.

  20. Deuxmains says:

    Did you guys say that the Banshee’s instakill was basically them sexing Shepard to death? Because as far as I can tell it involves them picking Shep up and forcing an arm straight through her torso.

    • anaphysik says:

      Hey, there’s still penetration involved.

      (▪▁▪)

      (▪▁▪)>┌■-■

      (┌■_■)

      YEEEAAAAHHHHH!

      I was going to make a reference to //traumatic insemination// as well, but decided that would be as evil as when Rutskarn taught us all about hemipenes. Oh, wait, I brought it up anyway… But seriously, some bugs mate in horrific ways and you’re best not knowing any more than that.

  21. anaphysik says:

    and
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CantArgueWithElves

    I had to put that link in a reply because trying to edit the first post marked it as spam. WordPress is more savvy than it seems, no doubt trying to protect innocents from TvTropes.

  22. Man, Shepard has a major case of the Derpy Hooves eyes when she grabs Samara (who forgets she’s a biotic again apparently). They set off both characters’ botox-like expressionless faces nicely.

  23. anaphysik says:

    Anderson seriously just said that screw Kai Leng is a bigger threat than the Reapers.
    *FACEPALM*

    • guy says:

      Yyyeeeaahhh. Usually, that sort of pronouncement is made about the guys who respond to a major defeat with, “Excellent. Everything is proceeding according to plan.” and mean it, because they’re in a way more dangerous than the guys who have a lot of raw power and will usually be setting up to turn out the winner once the guys who have a lot of raw power get defeated.

      Kai Leng is not one of those guys. He poses a threat only on the basis of his personal combat prowess, which is allegedly considerable and admittedly is on the order of a single Banshee with barriers down who is having a particularly bad day. There is no indication whatsoever that he’s more intelligent than is required to form English sentences.

      It doesn’t really make sense even for the character they were trying to create. His character type isn’t a large scale threat, he’s just muscle. He hurts people and breaks things on a relatively small scale, which is only a major issue if properly directed. Even assuming he were actually well-written and legitimately dangerous, TIM is the one who would legitimately pose a major threat. Kai Leng could be replaced by Grunt. Well, actually, no, Grunt is legitimately smart and knows grand strategy even if he usually just goes with the flow of Krogan Blood Rage.

      • Ofermod says:

        There is something to be said for the threat a skilled assassin poses. Pinpoint, surgical strikes even in places thought to be safe in order to throw the chain of command into utter chaos and devastate morale? Like you said, the Illusive Man would be the one directing him, and the more important one of the two, but given that Kai Leng would a.) be the one you’d be more likely get the chance to shoot in the face first, and b.) be the one more likely to stab you in the face, he would be the one to worry about.

        If, you know, written by anyone remotely competent, rather than some bad fanfic writers with a crush on Cerberus.

  24. hborrgg says:

    I really don’t care for the Asari. Aside from being in space all they are is a bunch of traditional fantasy elves. It’s just another long-lived, all female race that’s supposed to be way better than you at everything.

    It was kind of an interesting twist when you discover that the reason the Asari are so advanced is because they secretly built their empire on Protheon technology. But that’s the exact same thing the game claims humans did: We found a bunch of stuff on Mars because we were their chosen ones or whatever.

    Speaking of which don’t get started about when the game finally gets to Thessia. Seriously they made the Reaper invasion there out to be a bigger deal than they did with Earth. When you get back to the ship Joker says something about how the Asari must be wishing they had more commandos and fewer strippers right about now and the game railroads you into making some long-winded, moronic spiel that goes “I can’t believe you’re making jokes Joker! Can’t you see that people DIED today!!!”

  25. Lame Duck says:

    I kind of like some of the ideas behind Samara, but she seems to have been completely mishandled and the Code comes across as completely non-sensical and inconsistent. Attempting to kill herself because she can’t bring herself to follow the Code and without the Code she has no sense of identity would be some pretty interesting character development, but that’s really not how it comes across in that scene. “By the Justicar’s code…there is only one way to save Falere” makes it seem like there’s a clause in the Code that whenever there’s something that the Code tells you to do that you really, really don’t want to, you can choose to kill yourself instead. And there’s no emotion in any of the delivery!

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I think a show of emotions from Samara at this point would’ve been awesome. The whole point of her character is that she has practically killed off her emotions in service to the “Code of the Justicar.” If she showed some emotion here, it would show how grave and serious the situation is, and that she tries hard to suppress her emotions. This would be good character development.

      And yes, her code is the very definition of Lawful Stupid.

  26. Joneleth says:

    If you’re going to purge the monastery, why set them up the bomb? Just take off and nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way that makes any sense.

  27. Phantos says:

    You know, I was really looking forward to this season. But I don’t think I have it in me to sit through the stupidity and disappointment of Mass Effect 3 again. Even vicariously.

    I feel so bad, because I like Spoiler Warning. And I like listening to Shamus, Rutskarn, Chris, Pablo and Professor Stormpunch.

    But God, Cerberus. Just… I can’t. I’m sorry.

  28. Muspel says:

    I’m unsure if this is the best place to put this information, but the fourth episode of the Alan Wake season has been taken down from Youtube due to a copyright dispute or something. Don’t know how easy or difficult it is to sort that out, but just in case you were unaware…

  29. StartRunning says:

    Although I did like the level, it wasn’t a high point for me because I couldn’t get over the fact that Samara had told us in ME 2 that there are only three ardat-yakshi in existence.
    That was the part that I broke down and said to myself, alright, this games story is bad and has no real consistency with the previous games.

  30. RCN says:

    Godamn how I dread the 2-way fight with banshees.

    Worse yet, the 3-way fight you have with at least 2 banshees at a time and advancing marauder squads in the endgame. GAH!

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