Mass Effect 3 EP26: Finish the Fight!

 By Shamus Oct 26, 2012 228 comments


Link (YouTube)

What happened to the artists at BioWare? I can’t believe this is the same company that brought us Jade Empire. The orange and cyan metal base motif is way overdone in this game. This has been a long time in coming, and I know Mass Effect 3 isn’t the ugliest game they’ve ever made, but it’s a pretty big step down from where they were a decade ago.

You could argue that this isn’t the same company that made Jade Empire. A lot of the old staff is gone, and the ones that remain are vastly outnumbered by the people hired since the EA acquisition.

The art here goes against everything the game needs to be doing right now:

  1. Keep the color palette fresh.
  2. Show (as opposed to tell) us about the Quarian civilization and culture, particularly what it might have been like before the Geth kicked them out.
  3. Make us care about Rannoch, and show us why they’re willing to risk their entire species to reclaim this place.
  4. Give us a glimpse of the vibrant, life-bearing galaxy we’re trying to save from the Reapers.

It’s really mystifying that they elected to make Rannoch a blue and orange rocky wasteland. Remember that we were already on a rocky wasteland when we visited the Turians earlier in the game, and the previous mission had us fighting Geth in a dark, blue and orange metallic area. I’m not insisting that Rannoch should look any particular way. I’m just saying it would have been better as almost anything besides what they gave us.


A Hundred!A Hundred!208228 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?


  1. Irridium says:

    I have a question. Why does a Geth fighter have a cockpit with controls and a storage area? The Geth could just download into the thing and fly it that way, kind of like what EDI does with the Normandy. So a cockpit with controls would be pointless. And what would they store in storage? They’re fighters, they exist to fight other fighters. I guess you could say it’s used to pick up salvage after a fight, but wouldn’t it be better to have specialized ships for that?

    Also, yes, Freespace is awesome. Fantastic series.

  2. Sorry, Josh, Han’Garrel (the admiral who was cool in ME2, but decided to go insane here, because writers, and you had to punch) *is* the Logain VA, not Zaal’Korris. :/

    EDIT: Also, I was disappointed with Halo 3′s “Finish the Fight” campaign because it was like it WAS suppose to end, but then that game got a crap ending too and Microsoft was all “LAWL! Moar Haloz!”

    • Irridium says:

      And now the Covenant are the enemies again because… reasons. I really hope they’re just outliers/remnants, and we get to see humanity and the Elites co-operating in some way. Will be really pissed if they’re just the bad guys again.

      There’s also the fact that I won’t be able to play Halo 4 online because my console doesn’t meat the hardware requirements. Which is a hard-drive capable of holding 8 gigs of data. I still own the launch hard drive that’s 20gb, with only about 12gb of it actually usable, and I only have 1gb available. I’d get a bigger hard drive, but I’ll be damned if I pay $80 for 120gb. Last time I tried to buy a new 360 hard drive I ended up buying a 1TB hard drive for my PC for $60 and putting my old 500gb drive into my PS3. Screw Microsoft and their overpriced products.

      There’s also the absurd fact that my console needs to be upgraded to play a console game.

      Does it sound like I’m bitter? Because I am. I like Halo. I want to play Halo 4. I want to play it online with friends. But I can’t, because my console doesn’t meet the game’s requirements.

      Ah, felt good to get that off my chest.

      • The Covenant shown in Halo 4 are, in fact, one of the splinter sects that formed after the Covenant dissipated. I think this one in particular might be an extremist/terrorist organization from Karen Travis’s Glasslands novel, but I’m not entirely sure. From what I’ve heard, this should be explained in the game.

        Also the Elites, technically didn’t side with humanity, just the Arbiter’s fleet. This was strongly implied in Ghosts of Onyx and expounded upon in Glasslands, which is technically the next book chronologically after GoO. Glasslands has the Arbiter and Lord Admiral Hood working hard to cement a truce and even an alliance, but there’s a lot of controversy over this in the Elite culture, especially in the groups who want to keep fighting (frankly anyone).

        For the record though, as much as this political intrigue should be interesting (it kinda is), Glasslands is an awful, awful, book that completely butchers the characters, particularly ONI, and above all the Spartans and Halsey. The Spartans suddenly turn into abused puppies and Halsey is now Space-Hitler. Oh and the Spartan program is magically now completely Space-Hitler’s idea and ONI hates her, wants to expose her crimes, and put her on trial, which is extremely hypocritical of a top-secret black ops organization that has just as much grime and blood on their hands–but this is different! because children! Not to mention the fact that exposing the S-II for what it is would completely destabilize an already crumbling UNSC AND the fact that ONI was originally behind the plan 100%, but hey, retcons. Ugh…. OH! And Travis gets to continue ruining things for two more books. Eric Nylund should’ve been the one to do this. It was originally his story after all, and he did good work. What crap.

        Also, dang! That hard-drive thing itself sucks but I didn’t know about the “system requirement” debacle. On a console. WAT???

        Sorry, this is just turning into downer after downer, isn’t it? :(

        • guy says:

          Karen Traviss has a… reputation among Star Wars fans. There was this thing with Mandalorians and Jedi.

          Essentially, she wrote the Mandalorians as perfect people who could do no wrong and the Jedi as all stupid and or evil.

          • Cradok says:

            When she did Gears of War, she wrote the Gears as perfect people who could do no wrong and the CoG as all stupid and or evil. Oh, and she wrote that all women were in breeding farms except for those that are too old, young or infertile. It came as no surprise when she made a mess of Halo too.

            My only question is ‘Why does nobody edit things anymore?’

          • Phantom Hoover says:

            Well, the Jedi are all definitely *stupid*. Whether they’re evil depends on how much you’re willing to analyse the ethical implications of the setting. That said, I’ve never heard anything good about Karen Travis’ writing, yet she’s apparently the go-to author for tie-in novels and Tycho from Penny Arcade said she was great. It’s weird.

            • scowdich says:

              From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!

            • StashAugustine says:

              She’s actually pretty good at military fiction- I enjoyed her first Republic Commando novel. When she starts getting to mess with large-scale events though, then you’ve got trouble- Legacy of the Force would come to mind if I hadn’t wiped my mind of that as soon as I finished.

        • Are you saying the covenant in Halo 4 are a Rogue Cell? Because I don’t think I could take that.

          I’m kidding – I’m not buying that game anyway.

          • Haha! Because I know you care so much (:P), technically, the Covenant no longer exists. It was pretty much broken and scattered after the war (though H3 does a terrible job of conveying this). So you have a lot of aimless factions, some of which are warring with each other I think–the Brutes and Elites would definitely be doing so considering the schism at the end of H2.

        • swenson says:

          Huh. Is that really what happens with the Spartan program and Halsey? I’m not a huge Halo person, but… that’s basically exactly what’s been happening in the past few years in Red vs. Blue with the Director (who previously worked with Dr. Halsey in RvB canon) and Project Freelancer (a competing program to the Spartan ones, more or less, again in RvB canon). And I know Travis is an RvB fan…

      • Phantos says:

        I actually forgot about the hard-drive thing. That is pretty dumb.

        Between that and the whole: “You’re not allowed to give us free advertising via Machinima” thing, Microsoft seems to be doing everything it can to f*** up that game’s release.

        • psivamp says:

          You can give them free advertising. You can still get some mild fame and recognition for it, but you can’t get money for it. If you get money for putting up videos of their game, you’re obviously stealing the bread from their very mouths.

          It sounds fairly stupid to me, too.

      • GiantRaven says:

        ‘There’s also the absurd fact that my console needs to be upgraded to play a console game.’

        *cough* N64 Expansion Pak *cough*

        • Bryan says:

          Oy. I remember having to get that to play Perfect Dark. Perfect Dark was mostly a good game, but man that was annoying. The first expansion pack I got was a third party device that didn’t work. My mom went out and bought me another one. Not only were they hard to find back then, they were hard to install. You had to pry the default pack out of there with a knife, and I was constantly worried it break when I had to do it. Doing it twice left me shaking with nerves.

      • Sumanai (Asimech) says:

        I would like to make a sort of “I told you so”/vindication type comment here:

        When the 360 was first released and they said one of them didn’t have a harddrive I instantly marked that as the trap model and made a mental note that the more expensive one was the only valid one.

        Then when they made new models, I again marked the cheapest model as invalid, since it had only 8 GB of space.

        All that time I cursed about how stupid it is to make a 20 GB HDD for anything, since even on 360′s release date 2.5″ HDDs weren’t really cheaper at all when moving under 200 GB, IIRC. I didn’t bother complaining online, since others had already done so and gotten responses like “it’s a console, it doesn’t need all that space because you don’t install things there”. You know, the same as when people complained about the amount of RAM, but with “it doesn’t have an operating system like a PC”, in both the 360 and the PS3.

        “Doesn’t need more space” my future-proofing arse.

    • Menegil says:

      Also, it is the same VA that gave us Kain from the Legacy of Kain games, Simon Templeman.

      The man is brilliant. He also voices Gavin Archer, from ME2′s Project Overlord DLC.

      EDIT: It also deeply annoys me that they gave such a brilliant actor such shoddy writing to act out. Here is one of the most distinctive voices in gaming, and we make him voice a grossly inconsistent character.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      The guy who does voice Zal’Koris is Martin Jarvis, an extremely prolific actor who’s been in almost everything ever made. I didn’t even have to check to know that it was him; he used to read audiobooks on the BBC during the nineties when I was growing up, and I listened to them constantly, so his voice basically narrated my childhood. It’s utterly ingrained into my consciousness.It was really cool to hear him in this series.

    • Phantos says:

      I was disappointed with Halo 3′s “Finish the Fight” campaign because it was like it WAS suppose to end, but then that game got a crap ending too and Microsoft was all “LAWL! Moar Haloz!”

      To be fair, Halo 3 got a crap everything*.

      *-With the exception of the soundtrack and Keith David.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Also, I was disappointed with Halo 3′s “Finish the Fight” campaign because it was like it WAS suppose to end, but then that game got a crap ending too and Microsoft was all “LAWL! Moar Haloz!””

      I dont follow the series,but are they focusing on a new story now?If thats the case,then whats the problem?If its new characters and new stories,then its basically something new only in the same universe,and theres nothing wrong with that.

      • Phantos says:

        About that “new characters, new story” thing: To be fair, they did add teleporting shark robots, at least…

        …But it’s mostly about the same main dude from the first games shooting the enemy that was completely and utterly destroyed forever in Halo 3. More recent titles have been spinoffs and prequels to compensate for this, because bringing back enemies that literally don’t exist anymore would be as impossible as it would be lazy.

        So marketing a game about “finishing” the fight… and then starting the same fight up again because money, well… There is something wrong with needless tradition for the sake of tradition.

        It’d be like if Mass Effect 4 had you Take Back Earth… AGAIN! From Kai Leng.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ah,I see.Well then,that is dumb.

          • Technically, Covenant are suppose to have a very minor roll in this because they’re non-existent now. At the end of H3, Chief was stranded on ship debris wandering though space and it eventually came up on a mysterious Forerunner planet at the end of the credits. The whole point of the new trilogy is supposedly about actually giving Master Chief a character and exploring it and his relationship with his AI, Cortana, as she slowly goes insane due to age, damage, etc. Ans since they’re stranded on a Forerunner world, it’s about exploring Forerunner culture, which has been a total mystery up to this point. The new enemies should be interesting but their design is completely generic and stupid. The new Forerunner weapons are also copy/pasted human ones, even though they’re suppose to be the most advanced civilization of ever and should have awesome tech. 343i is being horribly lazy, and not even trying.

            In theory, I like the premise of H4. I hated Halo 3′s ending and just wanted proper closure for the Chief–killed off, happy ending, I didn’t care–and then end it. Don’t strand him in space and say “the end”. But the new guys on the battlefield look so stupid, it’s frustrating. It’s also really contrived that the UNSC and Covenant magically show up for the fun-fest too, early in the game at least.

            I wrote up an overall analysis of the first trailers a while back, then again expounded on the new enemies and weapons, why they were so stupid and lazy, and how the problem might be fixed.

            I’m tempted to put the last post up on 343i’s forums, but I’m afraid that might be the equivalent of smashing my face repeatedly into a brick wall.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      The problem with HALO’s ad campaigns have always been that the ads tell more interesting stories than the games. Things like the documentary of the Battle of Mombassa are totally and excessively over the top as ads, but they seem like very interesting stories for the game to tell.

      Too bad it didn’t.

      Even ODST’s ads implied more interesting things than the game showed.

  3. Klay F. says:

    Every time I get myself riled up about the artistic failures of Rannoch, or Tuchanka, I remember that the absolutely worst, mind-fuckingly ugliest parts of the games are still ahead of us. Earth is such an eye-sore, its too painful to my eyes to look at now that I’ve played it once. It seems to me as if they keep trying to one-up themselves with regard to how ugly they can possibly make it.

    Also: Sorry Chris, our decisions carrying over to affect subsequent games is EXACTLY what the majority of people wanted out of Mass Effect. It is the reason it has been so successful a franchise in the first place. One could argure how well they kept that initial promise, but this was definitely one of its primary reasons for existing.

    • Yeah. My problem with Mass Effect 3 was that my choices didn’t matter enough. If it feels like I am having an impact on the plot and that what I am doing matters, I am more willing to look passed flaws in your writing (in part because it had to account for me).

      But since they so flagrantly threw most of my major choices away in favor of all of this Micheal Bay, style-over-substance crap, I’m doubly pissed because the story sucks and my choices were completely thrown out the window in favor of this poor writing. Honestly, it’s aggravating. I was mad that Udina became Councillor and even moreso when his coup began.

      “WHY ASK FOR MY OPINION IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO USE IT!?”

  4. silver Harloe says:

    I really don’t get the blood oath keeping you from dropping this game unfinished. Seriously, you don’t seem to be having fun. The game already killed mumbles, don’t let it kill all of you.

  5. LazerBlade says:

    I for one would like to see this LP completed. I just feel like I haven’t had my satisfaction of beating on this game yet. That in mind…

    Don’t you love it when big companies of non-artists try to sell something as art? Someone says “This is an artistic and beautiful story about the dark, gritty side of war and battle. It takes place inside of many dark brown and grey corridors to reinforce the darkness and negativity of war,” and so big companies say “All encounters must now take place inside of gritty dark brown and grey corridors.” Then someone says “Good visual art uses different colors from brown and grey. Often complementary colors, like orange and blue,” so big companies say “All encounters must now take place inside of blue and orange corridors.” The core problem is not that the environments in this game need to be more visually diverse -although they would be- the problem is that each environment needs to be its own artistic work.

    On my first run through this game I winked, assumed things would be explained later, chalked stupid writing up to mere demonstrations of the stupidity of the characters, made excuses, came up with ways things could have made sense, and other wise plowed through because I wanted to see this series climax and end. I hoped that this would all be worth it for the satisfaction when the credits rolled and the ending was still being turned over and considered in my head. Instead, after I put up with all of this stupidity, it culminates in a completely ridiculous, nonsensical and unsatisfying way. This is why after the first time I thought the rest of the game was good. Because it was the ending that ultimately made me hate it.

  6. Hitch says:

    The only game that ever got the willy-nilly weapon right was Saint’s Row the Third.

  7. IFS says:

    How does the reaper upgrade to the geth even work? its implied that its just a software upgrade, but that makes no sense as how would just reprogramming the geth cram the extra space in needed for sentience, which is stated to normally take several platforms working together to acheive anything higher than animal intelligence.

    • Ofermod says:

      Maybe it’s a software update that’s more efficient and cuts out ridiculous amounts of lines of now-superfluous coding?

      • Chauzuvoy says:

        Unofficial Geth Patch v1.2
        Published by [REAP]Sovereign

        This is the comprehensive mod to fix all the bugs in Geth 1.0 that the original developers didn’t have the chance to. Good luck finding work, former employees of Rannocorp!

        Patch notes:
        Fixes error in floating point addition.
        Removes dreadnoughtDesign.Logic
        Removes fighterDesign.Logic
        Simplifies Intelligence protocols for performance

  8. Jokerman says:

    Damn Shamus….go finish Dragon Age – its a great game. The deep roads do end at some point.

    • StashAugustine says:

      I gave up at the Dalish, although I’ll probably go back at some point.

    • Shamus says:

      I did finish the game. The deep roads are the reason I only did it once.

      • Jokerman says:

        My mistake.

        Did you enjoy any of it? I thought the landsmeet was great, feels like Bioware would never devote so much to a part that is pretty much all dialogue. Dragon Age 1 was the last true bioware game to me….sadly.

        • guy says:

          I think Shamus liked it but felt the game as a whole was entirely too long, especially the Fade and Deep Roads sections.

          Personally, I feel their reputation is somewhat exaggerated, but they’re still incredibly painful to wade through.

      • Khizan says:

        The Deep Roads were my favorite part of the entire game. The Broodmother was so genuinely creepy, and I just really love the Dragon Age dwarves. They somehow manage to avoid being “Tolkien dwarves in X setting”, which is damn near unique amongst dwarves in games, in my experience.

        The Fade was interesting the first time, but I downloaded a mod that lets me skip it and just awards me all the stat bonuses from it for all subsequent playthroughs. It was just too irritating as some classes to be worth my time.

        • swenson says:

          I didn’t mind the Fade when I did my (single) playthrough of DAO and didn’t really get why people were so annoyed by it. I found it fairly interesting, and it wasn’t too hard to get used to the switch in gameplay.

          However… upon reflection, I can see why it would get hideously boring after replaying it several times.

        • guy says:

          See, my problem with the Deep Roads is that you leave the dwarven capital city and spend a couple hours fighting darkspawn before reaching the Broodmother.

    • X2Eliah says:

      I did the deep roads as the very last game area before the landsmeet… In my opinion, theg ame pretty much went downhill a lot. I hated the landsmeet part (stupid selfish noble white dudes acting stupid and selfish), and i absolutely hated the final mission (zergrushing a reddish-brown area with tons of darkspawn? Right after deep roads? Oh hell no. Also, that dragon bossfight? YAWN.)…

      The game, imo, really was its best at the first half of the middle section, when you had the illusion of a big world, of having actual proper choices as to where to go next.. Beyond that, nope – bioware had to keep their linear train of preset mp trnsitions rolling.
      I just have major bone to pick with “rpgs” that are not open-world and have such linear maps.

    • I couldn’t stand anyone except Morrigan in that game, and only because she hated everyone as much as I did. The thing about “dark fantasy” is it’s really easy to make everyone so irredeemably terrible that the only drama involved is that I personally don’t get to kill them no matter how much I’d love to.

      I pushed through it because everyone kept telling me how great it was but it was so unsatisfying I never picked it up again.

  9. Bryan says:

    #0000ff versus #ff7f00, wheee! (And then some bits use #ff8000 of course. Because that’s a *totally* different color. …I might be a bit facetious.)

    Edit: Also, the last five seconds of this were *hilarious*. Speaking as a person who never played (and likely never will play) any of the ME games, anyway. :-P

    • Yeah, you could almost hear Chris facepalm!

      • Chris says:

        The problem is the game blows its strongest story arc first thing – the Krogan/Salarian story.

        Then there’s the Geth/Quarian story, which outside of the ending is probably the worst part of the game.

        Then there’s the Liara/Thessia segment. This floats somewhere in the middle. It’s good – I like the twin sisters thing, I like seeing the corruption of the Reapers have actual emotional stakes, I seeing that Thessia, too, is under attack. All of that is good. But it’s got Kai Lang doing crazy ninja Kai Lang things that make no sense, and a lot of it is the now-standard “20 minutes of fighting before you see the next story bit” style of combat.

        The other problem is that the Quarian/Geth thing just takes so much out of you in terms of how bungled and hackneyed it is that it’s hard to recover. That said, I’m actually optimistic about covering these segments as they’re, if nothing else, far better than where we’re at now.

        • You might be on to something there. the devs might have tried to do too many things at once, less might have been more, it’s almost like a developer mashup. (too many cooks in the kitchen?)

          A shame really, some things are awesome in the trilogy, most is ok, but the few bad or weird parts stick out like a sore thumb.
          Even though carrying/importing savegame states through the trilogy was not fully exploited as to it’s potential, it did carry choices through in various ways.

          Any chance of a Errant Signal covering the ME trilogy once Spoiler Warning is done with ME3, maybe looking at the carrying of choices from one game to the? (that feature is somewhat unique to ME besides the ME lore/setting itself, would other games be able to do the same? And which other games have? Baldurs Gate kinda did or?)

        • swenson says:

          You know what annoys me most about Kai Leng? Probably the same thing that will annoy Josh (and all of you) later: I am a VANGUARD. The whole point of my existence is pretty much to teleport into and bodyslam people. And yet I never ever ever can do this to stinkin’ Kai Leng, I have to keep pretending I can’t get near him and can’t hurt him or whatever!

          When I finally could get in a real fight with him at the end, I completely ignored everyone else in favor of just smashing him in the face over and over and over again. If Bioware was trying to make us hate him with every fiber of our beings, they succeeded.

  10. Luhrsen says:

    The end of the episode had the part of the game that made me stop playing for several days while I tried to make sense of what I was just shown. It was Legion showing you picture of Geth programs. To me the reaperized Geth looked slightly less powerful in terms of proccessing speed than the ten linked Geth. Ok that all well and good, but as they explained how it made them individuals I realized that means they lose their major advantage of linking into a single “mind the size of a galactic arm”. This seems like a downgrade in absolute ability just for the sake of being able to say, “Hey look they are real people now instead of difficult to understand emotionless machines! You should care!”

    And also, what happened to Legion? It says it has the reaperized code it just showed us. What happened to the thousand other programs that used to run on that platform? The only thing I can think of is that they where all condensed into the single ‘new’ Legion program. So that means it takes a thousand regular Geth to make one upgraded Geth which is less intelligent than ten normal linked Geth. Talk about destroying a race from the inside. The Reapers are geniuses!

    I have to cry now.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      That’s the thing, though; with the Reaper upgrades, they have both sophisticated individual power AND the ability to network and grow exponentially smarter.

    • SleepingDragon says:

      In all fairness it was already at least very heavily implied in ME2 that the unique design of Legion’s platform was already causing its inner consensus to develop a kind of “personality” going outside the usual “individual geth-programs cooperating” intellect. Now whether or not that is an advantage to the geth as civilization is debatable, though it is pretty obvious the devs did it to make the character more endearing to the, naturally anthropocentric, players.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      This had the potential to be interesting. Soveriegn claimed to be a nation with one mind, and the reaper code pulls the same stunt on the geth -making their consensus one mind (and since they don’t have to debate and argue, they can react much more quickly than they could when they were the consensus).

      So the question is, how do you take 1000 separate minds and forge an individual? I’ve always thought the Reapers just indoctrinated themselves. Massive groupthink -which leads to the god-complex they have. And the geth are getting this same treatment now -so does this really make them individuals, or does this make them mass-brainwashed?

  11. So right at the beginning, what are those black bits that vanish when the Geth fighter takes off?

    Also, does anyone think the “waggle the wings” thing is a reference to the original Battlestar Galactica? And where are these “wings,” exactly? The ship doesn’t seem to have any in the first place which tells me Joker is looking to let the wrong ship into the docking bay.

    • ehlijen says:

      I thought of that BSG episode (which was sort of redone in the new series), but I assumed there was an even older reference at work here?

      • scowdich says:

        Waggling the wings of an aircraft is (or used to be) a fairly common action. It’s sort of like waving hello, if you happen to know somebody on the ground is watching.

        • In this case, in the original BSG, Starbuck and Apollo lost the transmitter that would ID them as friendly while in a captured Cylon raider. Luckily, Starbuck had made an offhanded comment about waggling their wings if they misplaced it.

          The parallels between the Geth and the Cylons make me wonder if the line in ME3 was intentional.

    • Bryan says:

      Renderer bugs? This was Josh playing, after all.

      Z-fighting, with some weird geometry? Though they didn’t flicker, they just popped into existence, moved a little, and then disappeared, so probably not.

      That was a cutscene, so depending on whether cutscenes are actually live rendered in this game or not (it looks like they are, but it’s not easy to tell for sure), it might have been that someone was laying out the cutscene, and forgot to continue to include those objects at that point. Oh wait, Josh’s field-of-view changes are taking effect in the cutscenes too. OK, they must be live rendered, so it can’t be that.

      Doesn’t look like it’s the FoV change itself, either, since a couple of those objects were sitting more or less in the middle of the screen…

      Shrug. Probably just bugs. :-)

      • swenson says:

        Yes, they are rendered in-game. I use Josh’s trick for changing the FoV (it makes SUCH a difference in making it easier to actually do the combat sections!) and if I don’t turn it off before cutscenes (which I never do), you can see more of the surroundings than you’re supposed to, including watching character models teleport into location, stand really weirdly until it’s their turn to walk onscreen, etc.

  12. Admiral Hackett: “We only lost Earth a few weeks back.”

    So ME3 is played in real-time, then, or is it played in relative time where it just feels like weeks? Or did they anticipate the release schedule for Spoiler Warning? :)

  13. X2Eliah says:

    So, keeping in mind that I am genuinely serious:

    Why not do a Freespace spoilerwarning sometime next? (Maybe as an intermission week or two). Space sims are a ‘big thing’ now, with the Star Citizen kickstarter, Freespace is almost always meantioned when people talk about best games / best space games of past, it does have an interesting plot and enemy (ship) design, it has lots of mechanical and gameplay-structure aspects to talk about, it has fairly fast-paced in-combat action that’s interesting to watch, it is optimized for low-res so people watching the stream (shamus, rutskarn, chris) wouldn’t have trouble noticing all there is to notice.. What I’m getting at is that that game would actually be good for a spoilerwarning let’s play, and it would be a massive break from the current drudgery / fatigue of over-the-shoulder pretentious shooters (MEs, bioshocks, alanwakes, fallouts).

    • Otters34 says:

      Hear hear! Descent: Freespace: The Great War or its sequel would be a perfect counterpoint for a series like Mass Effect, an enigmatic foe that STAYS enigmatic no matter how many fighters you destroy, their goals and very existence baffling to all minds.

      Of course, as has been stated previously there are technical difficulties in making a space-combat sim Spoiler Warning-worthy, but an intermission episode where they deal with Shivans could be a neat one-off.

      • Phantom Hoover says:

        The thing is that FreeSpace doesn’t have cutscene or dialogue sections like the other games they’ve covered. The story is told through mission events and (de-)briefings; the former is probably too hectic for the viewers to follow and for the gang to keep up with commentary, and the latter is too static. It might work if you picked the right mission, I’m just not really sure which mission that’d be.

        • Otters34 says:

          Oh there are cutscenes. There are short ones that tell the tale of the Ancients and their desperate last years against the Shivans.
          Not nearly as many as in modern games though, admittedly.

          • Phantom Hoover says:

            Well yes, but they’re not ‘cutscenes’ in the modern sense as much as cinematic interludes between missions that don’t have much to do with the player. That’s probably the core of the issue; the FS games have a very impersonal narrative style.

      • Jonathan says:

        I bet all of us who played The Great War can hear the buzz of a Shivan fighter at 90m as we try to line up for a burst of primary fire….

  14. Vect says:

    Funny enough, if you make James fix the thing, he just goes “Erm, you sure that’s a good idea?” and starts punting it.

    Also, Simon Templeman voices Han’Gerrel, the asshole Quarian.

    • anaphysik says:

      “Funny enough, if you make James fix the thing, he just goes “Erm, you sure that’s a good idea?” and starts punting it.”

      AND IT WORKS!

      (Was totally expecting them to bring him just for that, but I guess Josh didn’t know about it.)

  15. Talbot says:

    This is partly why I got bored of Mass Effect 2. Every planet I went to was a brownish greyish rusted industrial wasteland. Why am I trying to save this crappy Galaxy from the Reapers, again?

  16. Avilan the Grey says:

    I don’t get why you guys insist playing games you all hate. I know that Shamus has extremely high standards for what games he likes (or at least it seems that way, but on the other hand he usually have misunderstood a major plot point here or there).

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because emergency induction port!Hate the game all you want,but that one scene makes it all ok.

      Seriously though,you guys should go around the ship and show these vignettes.Thats the best part of the game really.Your crew walking around,conversing with each other,doing various things,acting(to some extent)like actual people,and not just zombies rooted in place.

      • X2Eliah says:

        In my me3 playthrough, I actually missed out on those interactive scenes, becuase I just plain disliked moving through the normandy and its 4 or 5 bloody loading screens aka elevator. Plus, the lighting in this normandy is pretty bad.

        • StashAugustine says:

          The side conversations are easily the best part of the game. There’s also Ashley getting wasted, all the little side conversations between your crewmates, the citizens on the Citadel, etc. Doesn’t really come across in a LP though.

      • swenson says:

        On my replay (yes, this is only the second time I’ve played the game since it came out… this, coming from the person who’s played close to 150 hours of ME1 and ME2 each) I’m trying to get as many of those little conversations as possible, and I can’t believe how many I missed my first time through! They are absolute gold. Best are Garrus and Joker telling turian/human jokes and Tali’s emergency induction port.

        You mean a straw?

        EMERGENCY INDUCTION PORT.

        Also walking in on Tali and Garrus, though that may have been more because I totally called it back in ME2, I said they were flirting with each other, and everybody else said I was nuts. SHIP VERIFIED.

    • X2Eliah says:

      I feel like it’s just down to how the whole series started – there was ME1 which everyone disliked intensely, then came.. fallout 3, iirc, which was… well, you know, and then came bioshock, which also was well, you know. Playing games they intensely dislike is the SW shtick >:]
      Edit: fair’s fair, there are also the halflife2 and dx:hr seasons. So there is a precedent for playing games other than the most hated ones. It just somehow seems that the ‘disliked game’ is somewhat of a core factor for game choice… Well, that’s how it looks from the side, at least. Idk whether that’s true or not.

      • I remember “Probing Questions” in ME2. They were fairly clear that they generally don’t hate the games they play. They generally love every one of them. It’s just that you have to acknowledge that even the things you love can be flawed in some way. (In the case of ME franchise, many ways.)

        • StashAugustine says:

          Didn’t Shamus once say that he’d love to do System Shock 2 just so he can show how he’d react to a game he loved? I mean, I agree with most of what they’re saying in this season, but I still like Mass Effect.

          (Also, I love how everyone refers to Shamus as the ultimate authority around here.)

          • It’s pretty natural to think of Shamus as the “leader” of the group (I use that term loosely), since it is his blog and he and Josh were the only ones to stick with SW from the beginning. Also, he’s one of the older members of the crew (no idea how his age and Chris’s compare, but I imagine it would be close).

            Even if Josh does all of the actual work with the recording and the editing and the playing.

            But yeah, Shamus said he would love to do System Shock 2 in order to beat up a game he loves. Of course, then they started doing HL2 specials and kept gushing about how awesome the game is. (Just pointing that out. The gushing is justified, but it does kind of undermine the whole “beat up games I love” point.)

      • You also have to remember that even games they like (Fallout New Vegas) tend to fall apart when you’re not the one playing them since your brain is now freed up to look at the plot and non-shooty stuff. Even if you dislike the story behind ME3, you can still at least while away the hours shooting stuff and blowing stuff up. It’s only when you have to stop and think about what you’re doing and (at least according to the game) why you’re doing it that a lot of these games don’t hold up to much scrutiny.

        And the games SW covers are some of the better titles out there. Imagine if they did Borderlands. Even if you like the gameplay, try to be entertained by watching someone else doing the single-player campaign. It’s brain-meltingly stupid.

      • Ofermod says:

        I thought that they rather liked ME1? Or was that just them going back in hindsight?

        • You can like something and still rip it apart.

          For example, I like Star Trek. I’ll still laugh my ass off at the old show’s cheapness, its planets with no clouds, all of the parallel Earths, the women in miniskirts and go-go boots, and every alien race just being a new kind of forehead.

          I got the impression that everyone liked ME1 okay, enough to play it through, but that didn’t keep them from pointing out how ridiculous the Mako was, how stupid some of the dialog/voice acting was, where all the plot holes were, why Joker couldn’t just drop you where you needed to be, etc.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      They don’t, they just tend to dwell on the flaws of a game because that’s where most of the interesting analysis is. They do give games the credit they deserve when they do something impressive, like in Deus Ex, New Vegas, or the first Mass Effect.

      In a nutshell, they tend to LP games they wanted to be better than they were, not just games that sucked hard.

      Of course, there is plenty of fun to be had watching someone tear into a game they despise, despite how painful that can be for the LP’er. The Dark Id made a career off of it. Seeing them take the creators to task for trashing the series is pretty satisfying.

      The game might be wearing on the crew, but as long as they have interesting stuff to say about why it is the way it is, it will remain very interesting to me.

      • Avilan the Grey says:

        But when it comes to the ME universe this is really so. Shamus (and the rest) have thrown more bile on Bioware than No Mutants Allowed did on Bethesda (well almost, at least ;)).

        I get that ME2 and 3 were huge letdowns after loving ME1, but I also think their feelings about ME1 were nothing like mine. I saw ME1 as average written pulp SF with a compelling setting, and ME2 and 3 were no worse, writing-wise (except for THE ENDING). I also realized 10 minutes into ME1 that this story would center on humans, and Earth. They never did. etc.

        I loved the setting in ME1, found the writing acceptable (standard CRPG level of writing) but loathed the gameplay (especially the subpar combat and the horrifyingly awful driving). I loved the setting in ME2 and thought the writing about the same quality, while the gameplay was amazing. ME3 is basically taking the few really good gameplay bits from ME1, combine it with ME2 and get a great game. The writing is still at the same level.

        • Ofermod says:

          I don’t recall ME1 really having much to do with Earth at all. The closest you ever get is stopping on Luna for the one quest.

          As far as the writing… I think the problem is that the plot holes in the later ME games tend to be more glaring and obtrusive, as compared to ME1. I think even they admitted that the gameplay’s been getting better, but… to go from ME1 to TIM’s super-Cerberus Railroading in ME2, to Kai Leng and “Cerberus doesn’t kill civilians” in ME3… To me, at least, it seems like it’s been a downhill slide as written by someone who’s made Cerberus their own precious Mary Sue. Really, as Cerberus grows stronger in each game, the writing has been getting worse.

          • Avilan the Grey says:

            Keywords: First. Human. Spectre. Right there I got it (about Earth / Humans).

            As for Cerberus: They are large enough in ME1 to have a multitude of secret bases, secret experiments and assassinate top military personnel willy-nilly. To me, the stretch to ME2′s version was much much smaller than for a lot of people here, obviously.

    • Even says:

      I don’t think they really hate the games they play. Just parts of them. And this game has particularly many bad parts. The show just generally tends to accentuate the negative to a point where it starts to wear on them which results in them getting sick of the whole game before it’s done. It’s been a repeat pattern for a handful of seasons now. They should probably look into ways of avoiding this before they all burn themselves out and cancel the show. Can’t really blame Mumbles for bailing out and wanting to save this season from the worst of it.

    • Adam P says:

      You can criticize something without hating it. You can acknowledge something as being very flawed, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad game.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Josh pistol whipping enemies is so much fun.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The quantum entanglement thing really slipped unnoticed in this game.One of the few things that actually made some sense in me2,that had some hard science backing it up,and this game decides “Hard scifi in this series?Screw that!”.And the worst offender is the leviathan dlc.There is a line there that says something like “There is no such thing as telepathy,the creature uses pheromones at short ranges,and a form of quantum entanglement at long ranges”.Thats just…ugh!Words fail me.

    • Raygereio says:

      I don’t really get your complaint here.
      It’s not hard SF because they took space magic and explained it with other space magic? o_O
      Don’t get me wrong though, that Bioware decided to explain it like is still midichlorian-level dumb.

      As for ME being hard SF: it’s not and never was either. The games have been soft and squishy SF from the start. There is a tiny bit “hardness” in the use of kinetic weapons, but even that is burried under piles of space magic with regards to how those weapons work, are used and defended against.

      • I don’t want to speak for another, but the quantum entanglement is seen as kind of dumb because ME2 played it up as not only amazingly sophisticated, but also rare and quite expensive.

        Now everyone seems to have it by default.

        • Luhrsen says:

          Actually from the way communications worked in ME1 everyone seemed to have it back then too.

          • Hitchmeister says:

            The problem is consistency. This type of communications was somewhat wide-spread in ME1, which justifies anyone who needs it for plot purposes having it. Since then, they made a big deal about how it’s a rare thing and special that the Normandy has the capability. Then the writers seem to have forgotten that they said that and it crops up in places where, from their intermediate description, it doesn’t seem like it should.

            That’s why they need a story editor to make sure things are described the same way throughout the story, so nit-picky nerds don’t go crazy over stuff like this.

            • Isn’t this why franchises often have dedicated loremasters?

            • Mike S. says:

              [Just noticed that this partly replicates ps238principal's post. Whoops.]

              They are reasonably consistent. In the first game, the codex tells us that it’s possible to get real-time communication by shooting lasers through mass relay comm buoys: “Comm buoys are maintained in patterns built outward from each mass relay. The buoys are little more than a cluster of primitive, miniature mass relays.”

              (Which is interesting, since it implies that Citadel-level technology has gone some way to replicating mass relay tech on a very small scale, even if they never got as far as something like the Conduit.)

              So far, so great. But not so good for secret, untraceable communication, comms off the beaten path (say at the wrong end of the Omega-4 relay) or for a wartime situation where the enemy might blow up all your comm buoys. (As the codex says generally happens as the first move of an attack.)

              Enter the quantum entanglement communicator, which a) can’t be tapped, b) can’t be interfered with, but c) are point-to-point only. (A codex entry that was cut from ME2– and so isn’t necessarily canonical– says that there were QEC links between all Alliance ships and Arcturus Station, which Hackett could plausibly have gotten away with when it fell. It would make sense for the Council to provide a link to its Spectres as well.)

              The quarians were at least in the same system, so they don’t necessarily need a QEC to talk to Shepard. They probably did need a handwave to avoid there being lightspeed lag in the communications sometimes. (E.g., clever quarian engineering producing a bunch of disposable comm buoys faster than the geth could blow them up.)

              But once we’re getting close to the point that the quarian fleet is ready to bombard Rannoch, they’re near enough that comm delays can be ignored.

          • Communications in ME1 ran off of some sort of “FTL grid.” In ME2, EDI explains the Quantum Entanglement communication system:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2th352t62Ts

            Note that Shepard has never even heard of this tech before, not to mention that it appears to need two sub-atomic particles created in an entangled state. Does everyone now have a collection of these particles in a shoebox somewhere on every ship?

            • anaphysik says:

              It’s worse than that. Everyone needs to have created a pair with every other person they wish to connect to.

              It’s kind of funny; they could have gotten around this by having your com bay include little slots for QE’d-particle containers, and then whenever you met someone new and important, they could give you one of these containers like a business card :P (Or you could give them one; perhaps the entangling tech is run out of the Normandy or something, because of her prior QE comms room.) Show it onscreen a couple of times and then it can become an assumed offscreen action.

              • Luhrsen says:

                There could be an actual wall that fills with little blinking lights in rows as you pick up contacts.

                • That would have been too much like having a way to track your progress (or lack thereof) and could have created dramatic tension. We couldn’t have that! :)

                  I’d love to have fun with the language involved with that setup, though. “I have to go, Admiral. The Illusive Man’s particle is ringing.”

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        My complaint about leviathan is that it is exactly midichlorian kind of dumb.You have this unexplaind and implausible thing like the force(telepathy in mass effect)and you suddenly decide that you want to explain it with some technobabble for whatever reason,so you invent this just as implausible thing like midichlorians(pheromones and quantum entanglement in leviathan).In the end,you explain one ridiculous thing,that people have accepted because its a space opera,with another just as ridiculous thing because you wanted to sound smart and sciency.Its unnecessary and stupid.

        As for the general thing about quantum entanglement,its not a receiver for anyone who has the right frequency.Its not a phone.Its not a radio.Its a connection between exactly 2 points in space,and only those 2 points.You cannot suddenly reach a person from wherever,you cannot create a spontaneous new connection from half a galaxy away.You need to make it while these two points are close to each other,and then they will remain permanently linked.

        But dont get me wrong,Im not complaining that they are using a real world term incorrectly.On its own,the way quantum entanglement works in me3 isnt much of a problem.Its impossible,but thats ok,because its fiction.The problem comes from the fact that me2 explained this term,and explained that you cannot spontaneously create a new link from half a galaxy away,that you can have the link between exactly 2 places.So the problem is that me3 is,again,inconsistent with its prequel.

        • ehlijen says:

          It is possible that if you have an entangling machine, you can just make a new pair whenever you need it and pass one particle to someone you know what to talk to lot’s?
          Of course that implies that the technology has become easy and cheap to reproduce, which is the opposite of what has been established in me2.

          That said, maybe the comms hub in that room is also compatible with regular radio? The holothing is really just a display and the holopad is just a scanner. No reason you can’t just transmit that data through any kind of medium.

          • Mike S. says:

            Are there any quantum-entanglement communications not associated with the Normandy or Hackett? A lot of things become cheap if you’ve got wartime budgets/requisition powers and a crash-priority project. IIRC, the Manhattan Project would ask for items previously outside the dreams of experimental physicists, and just get them. (The one incident I’ve heard of their being turned down was when they asked for a sheet of solid osmium of a certain size… because it turned out it required more osmium than there actually was in the world at the time.)

            • guy says:

              The problem isn’t really just that they’re expensive. See, if two people need to talk to each other, they don’t just need to each have a QEC, they need to have QECs linked to each other, and I’m pretty much certain that the particles in them need to have been in direct contact when it was being set up. Yet somehow Anderson manages to get his hands on one linked to the Normandy, Hackett has one, the Asari Councilor might have one but possibly shares Hackett, and the Salarian Councilor has a different one. And that’s just the people I’m pretty much certain call you from places with no communication.

              • Mike S. says:

                Anderson’s the only one that strikes me as a stretch, though. (And even there, given that the Normandy was drydocked on Earth it might have had a QEC node from Alliance HQ installed that he managed to salvage.) Hackett having a QEC to a major Alliance ship seems reasonable. Ditto the Citadel Council setting one up to communicate with Spectres (and the Normandy stops at the Citadel repeatedly, so even if it didn’t have one at the beginning of the game it’s not implausible to have it after the prologue).

                It might have been nice to actually get those details explicitly. But the Normandy isn’t being called over QEC by random people without prior established need to talk to it, and authority to get a link installed. (Or am I misremembering?)

  19. ehlijen says:

    I think you need to revisit your policy of playing games through from start to finish. It seems you have a lot more fun with short series or one offs.

    Are you going to do the Trontrix level? It’s a rather unique part of the game and adds important info on the geth-quarian conflict. But it’s also 10 minutes of ‘hold the button to make the cutscene keep going’. I don’t think you have the time and energy to prolong this season any further, but leaving out the one non bro shooter mission in this game seems unfair?

  20. X2Eliah says:

    OH YEAH. Regarding the upcoming “welcome to the cyberspace” section, I’ll just say it out now that I liked it and still do remember it well. Mainly because 1) it was a nice break from the incessant fighting, 2) the design was fairly unlike the usual corridors-with-chesthigh-walls, 3) the colour scheme worked, imo, 4) it provided info on the geth/quarrian conflict, thus filling the lore-nut appetite, 5) … Not sure. So, yeah, that’s that – the cyberspace part was pretty cool.
    Also, looking back, I think it’s the last part of this game that I like.. After that, it’s all, what, generic missions and the finale?

    Edit2: By the way.. I sort of feel like the less I care/enjoy game, the easier and more enjoyable SW of it is, to me. Now that I’ve been broken on liking ME3, I actually am having fun watching this season. Yay!

    • SleepingDragon says:

      I’m just going to say I did not really enjoy the vibe that the cyberspace section gave to the whole conflict. I mean, I really liked the departure from “AI rebels and tries to kill all of its creators” theme (which happened in ME2) but I seem to remember that they were trying to drive this point home a bit too hard in that section (maybe for people who didn’t play the first two games and would likely have to make a decision between quarian and geth without the ability to make it all better?).

      There is a chance I’m misremembering it but I recall feeling that they were playing on too many human tropes with geth and showing the “anti-geth” quarians as too downright evil for it to work for me.

      • Mike S. says:

        As I mentioned in the comments to the previous segment, I read this as geth persuasion, not a neutral record. (I figure the scenes are accurate, but thoroughly selected to convince Commander Shepard to side with them.)

        Whether it’s true internal to the story or not, those sorts of editing choices are being made by the writers. (I.e., What scenes does the player see to illustrate the underlying facts they establish about the conflict?) It’s an authorial/editorial choice to show this sequence but not, for example, walk Shepard through a schoolroom full of quarian kids huddling against the explosions, quarian civilians who are bound by their captains’ and admirals’ decisions, but who primarily don’t want to die gasping, etc. (Not to mention making the main architect of the invasion personally annoying– and a direct threat to Shepard at least once– rather than charismatic but wrongheaded.)

        I’m guessing that this is because Tali is supposed to stand in for sympathetic quarians, and that overloading the pathos was seen as risking unbalancing the question the other way. I personally found it a difficult choice the one time I had to make it so far, and was vastly relieved the time I was able to broker a compromise. But there are enough people who hate the quarians and just want them all to die to suggest that they didn’t get that balance quite right.

        On the other hand, they clearly did a fantastic job of filling in the geth, especially in Mass Effect 2. Turning the primary enemy of the first game, who devastated Eden Prime, killed Jenkins and whoever made the last stand on Virmire, murdered everyone on the Citadel Presidium, decimated the Alliance fleet, and allied with the Reapers twice, into an object of sympathy is, I think, some effective writing.

        • SleepingDragon says:

          Again, I do like the subversion of rebel AI trope, I just think the cyberspace section would, maybe (a big maybe for me), work if we were fighting the geth as your typical evil machines up to this point and haven’t had the reveal handed to us a game ago.

        • anaphysik says:

          Turning the primary enemy of the first game, who devastated Eden Prime, killed Jenkins and whoever made the last stand on Virmire, murdered everyone on the Citadel Presidium, decimated the Alliance fleet, and allied with the Reapers twice, into an object of sympathy is, I think, some effective writing.

          Maybe. Something that needs to be kept in mind is that it was *totally* possible to think of the geth sympathetically even in ME1. *Because I did.* I disagreed completely with what they were doing, but saw how they might come to think like that. I recognized them as sapients – ones that just happened to be extremely hostile. (Our interactions with Saren reinforced this too, as he made it clear that Sovereign despised the geth as much as it despised organics.)

          I really love Legion’s stuff in ME2, but I can’t help but feeling it was still a complete cop-out for the writers to say “oh, those geth that you fought in ME1? Those were just the *evil* geth, not the real geth, mmmkay?”

          • Mike S. says:

            They were clearly sapients, and had clearly been handed a raw deal by the quarians. But insofar as they were worshipers of the Reapers that we couldn’t even talk to, there didn’t seem to be much hope of coexistence.

            There was certainly room for a future story in which, recognizing that they had been used by Saren and the Reapers, they chose a different direction. I think I’ve posted my idea for an alternate Mass Effect 2 in which the position of Cerberus and the geth are switched: The geth resurrect Shepard in order to try to figure out how to talk to organics, Saren having proved untrustworthy and the Reapers a trap.

            Eventually (after having given Shepard enough assurances and evidence of goodwill that it’s possible to cooperate) they hope to have an agent/go-between who’s able to go places one of the light-bulb-headed robots that massacred the center of galactic government can’t. Only Nixon can go to China, and only the Hero of the Citadel can broker peace with the geth.

    • I LOVE that sequence. It makes the Quarians look even more stupid, but who cares? It was a nice, well-executed non-combat sequence.

  21. Raygereio says:

    And here we have Legion’s terrible rewrite.
    ME2: We true geth rejected the old machine’s promise. We wish to forge our own path, with our own technology. We are Legion, a terminal of geth.
    ME3: Hold on. Let me just slap this Reaper code onto ours. There. Now I’m a real boy!
    *sigh*

    To cheer myself up, I went on the internet and I found this…

    http://i.imgur.com/qxnud.jpg
    If I’m honest, I’m not sure if she got a boobjob in between games or someone told Shep that the first Human Spectre should have some decent posture and not slouch so much.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gGShiM1Exc&
    Ah Jacob. The only reason anyone remembers you was because of that single line.

    • braincraft says:

      That is a good point. It really seems like almost every character pulled a complete 180 between games.

      Garrus: I quit the force to become a badass vigilante, ’cause I’m a MAVERICK. Then I joined the military. Guess working for the Man isn’t so bad after all!

      Tali: I’m an outcast from my society, but I’m okay because I have a home with Shepard and the Normandy. Then I went back to the flotilla, and they gave me a promotion. Guess there was no problem after all!

      Mordin: I did some terrible things, but I came to terms with the moral necessity of my actions. Now I’ve decided that exactly the opposite is morally necessary. Guess all of my agonizing ethical quandaries had a simple solution after all!

      Legion: We rejected the evil Reapers, choosing instead to forge our own path. Unless they have some neat stuff, then I guess it’s okay to reprogram ourselves with code taken from hyperintelligent master computers with a known penchant for corrupting and manipulating our kind.

      It’s not just that all the development from previous games was meaningless, but is in fact directly contradicted.

      • Raygereio says:

        I disagree about Garrus and Mordin.
        Garrus is not part of the Turian military in ME3. He’s working for them, but his role is sort of an Irishman in Braveheart deal. His character hasn’t changed from ME2. If you want to complain about him, you can go back to ME2 and how the default character growth for him from ME1 was renegade. Paragon influence was completely thrown out of the nearest airlock.

        As for Mordin. He said he came to terms with what he did in ME2. But in between the lines there was room for doubt. You can easily interprete his dialogue as Mordin telling himself he’s over it, but still loosing sleep over it.
        This is also why his sacrifice worked for me, unlike a certain other sacrifice coming. Mordin’s had built up to it and was a redemption of sorts.

        • anaphysik says:

          Mordin’s sacrifice works because I see *that* as his tragic flaw.
          The problem is that the game doesn’t care to ponder upon it.

        • Mike S. says:

          Tali’s also not that bad. She only gets the promotion to admiral if she doesn’t become an outcast thanks to Shepard’s speechifying. If she’s exiled, she’s back (I think without public knowledge) as an expert consultant on the geth.

          (While she probably should have put the screws to them and forced them to at least rescind her exile for that, a sense of duty when the admirals are about to put the entire fleet in jeopardy is consistent with her character.)

      • swenson says:

        I also disagree with you on the Garrus one. He talks about it himself, that he didn’t want to go crawling back to the turians, but he realized quite sensibly that, hey, the Reapers are coming. This isn’t the time to whine about how I want to be on my OWN and not have REGULATIONS, etc. etc., this is the time to man up and do something unpleasant so maybe, just maybe, we won’t all die.

        And then he ends up with Shepard anyway, but we can pretend that in between gun calibrations and Tali makeout sessions, he’s still advising the turians or something.

        In short, I do see this as a natural development of his character from ME2. He tries the vigilante thing. It doesn’t work out. Shepard shows up again and he’s reminded yet again that the Reapers are coming and, based on Shepard’s actions, that sometimes you have to do distasteful things for the sake of the greater good. Which is precisely what he goes on to do between ME2 and ME3.

    • anaphysik says:

      FemShep’s tracts of land do indeed get vaster as the sequels go on, something that was pretty noticeable. ME3 is and frankly annoying in this manner. (In ME2 it’s not so bad unless you have some non-Capacitor-Chestplate armor on.) The Capacitor Chestplate actually looks pretty cool, so double points there.
      (I’m glad someone made an image, otherwise at some point I’d’ve had to <_< )

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      My first thought upon seeing that image was “Wow,the colors simply vanished between the games.”

    • swenson says:

      You know, teeeechnically you could argue there’s an explanation for both boob expansions (although they’re awful explanations). First, considering that he keeps Miranda around, maybe the Illusive Man just likes big boobs. And second, Anderson makes some remark about Shepard being out of shape at the very beginning of ME3. Clearly she’s gained weight, and that’s why she has larger breasts.

      It makes perfect sense!

      Oh wait, no it doesn’t. I think Liara got a boob upgrade too. Then again, considering the lineage she comes from… I may be a straight woman, but Benezia’s breasts are still mesmerizing.

  22. SleepingDragon says:

    Well obviously those geth were on a camping trip when the quarian invasion struck, you know, sitting at a camp, chewing on RAM chips and watching old SF movies on a tourist TV.

  23. Henson says:

    To be fair, Mass Effect was always a blue and orange series, just in different proportions and frequencies. ME1 was blue blue blue with orange highlights. ME2 was orange orange and bluish-grey. Largely cool colors in ME1, hotter colors in ME2, but still overwhelmingly blue and orange. That said, I can see how it would get fatiguing…

    On an unrelated note, is anyone else missing a scroll bar on your browser for this website only?

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I don’t know that I would have blamed it on the Blue and Orange thing (and some of this is using blue rather than black to get us a Hollywood Night vibe).

      But I am certainly finding the color palatte boring. KOTOR has many colors. XCOM has many colors. Hell, Assassins’ Creed has more colors than this.

  24. baseless research says:

    By the way, I think you guys need to discuss at length sometime during this season where the fault lies.

    Or, to quote Josh, “Is it EA?”?

    • I’m going to be honest, I can’t blame EA for this one. Bioware knowing signed on with them specifically to make The Old Republic. EA gave Bioware tons of slack to just do what they wanted, and Bioware did exactly what Bioware wanted to do.

      So while EA can be held to task for doing many shitty things in gaming, they cannot be held responsible for what Bioware/Mass Effect has become.

    • SleepingDragon says:

      I disagree. I mean, we can throw around stuff like “EA ruined this” or “this is EA’s influence” but IMHO without an intimate knowledge of the design process on multiple levels it’s impossible to gauge which parts Bioware would and wouldn’t mess up or do right on its own.

  25. MrGuy says:

    So, not to throw “yet another gaping plot hole on the pile,” but…

    Here’s my understanding of how this went down:
    * Pre-reapers, Geth control Rannoch, live in uneasy peace with Quarrians.
    * Reapers attack the universe.
    * Quarrians elect to use the massive confusion to give political cover to an attack on the Geth.
    * Geth are determined to defend Rannoch, despite heavy losses.
    * Geth apparently see the situation is hopeless, and somehow contact the Reapers and ask “hey, could you take complete control over us and also give us some tech? And lend us a cup of sugar?”
    * Reapers oblige, apparently, but somehow this “enslaves” Legion and some other geth.
    * Somehow, we’re now at the point where both the Geth and the Quarrians are fighting the reapers.

    The Spoiler Warning crew more than adequately covered the “now is a perfect time to attack!” nonsense. But I want to talk about a few other things that make absolutely no sense.

    First, as of ME2, the Geth were fiercely independent. They would never have turned to outside help if they had any other options, i.e. if they had a chance of winning the fight. This must mean the Quarrians had (pre-Reaper intervention) such a massive military advantage that they could have easily taken Rannoch back at any time pre-Reaper invasion. So why wait? The nebulous threat of “sanctions?” Really?

    Second, why the heck do the Geth not withdraw? Again, fiercely independent. Even if we grant the Quarrians “it’s our homeworld, galdang it!” motive is sensible, that doesn’t extend to the Geth. They had a choice to defend Rannoch or….not do that. Let the Quarrians have it. We don’t get wiped out, and it’s not like AI are terribly sentimental about which rock they’re on. Why turn to the Reapers for help when we could just leave?

    Third, how exactly do the Geth get in contact with the reapers? Yeah, you’re an AI, we’re an AI, that’s cool. But how do they get in touch? Could any AI contact the reapers via “we’re both AI!” magic? Could EDI contact them? If so, don’t we have some Will Smith Floppy Disk potential somehow? Why aren’t we looking into this?

    Fourth, are the Geth very very stupid, or are the Reapers the greatest diplomats in the universe? Do the Geth not understand the Reapers will use them as pawns? That the Reapers will use them as peripherals to control? What do the Geth EXPECT from the Reapers? Do they actually expect the reapers will help them against the Quarrians and then…leave them in peace? Go forth, my AI brothers? How do they not see the reaper Control Signal coming?

    • Raygereio says:

      1. The Quarians didn’t have any military advantage. What they was a target of uppertunity: the Geth’s dyson sphere. They destroyed that, which seriously frelled the Geth up. See answer 4.

      2. One part answer 4, the other part survival. The Quarians don’t just want Rannoch. They want every single Geth destroyed.
      The Geth have defenses based around Rannoch, which gives them a chance of succesfully fighting back. Secondly, we don’t know if the Geth even have the resources to move everyone.

      3. Space magic. This is never elaborated upon.

      4. Actually the Geth are stupid. I think this is mentioned in game at some point by Legion. The Geth’s intelligence comes from Geth communication with eachother. The more Geth, the higher the intelligence. The Quarians destroyed the Geth’s dyson sphere and a metric assload of geth in the process. Result: the Geth became dumber.

      • ehlijen says:

        The geht had a dyson sphere? Since when? And why weren’t any missions set on that as opposed to that stupid dreadnaught?

        • Raygereio says:

          Legion in ME2 told us they were building it. It was supposed to be a megastructure capable of housing all geth in a single platform.

          It was destroyed by the Quarians as a crippling first strike before it could be completed. Ironic, because completion would likely mean every single Geth would go there, leaving Rannoch free for the taking.

          • ehlijen says:

            Ah, thanks.

            It would have been problematic for the quarians if the geth were building it out of or around rannoch + its sun, though.

            • IFS says:

              Given the position and size of the wreckage it was nowhere near the size an actual dyson sphere would have to be, in addition an actual dyson sphere, as theorized, is a spread out collection of sattelites around the sun, not a solid object. I think that while a handy sci-fi sounding term to use calling the megastructure a dyson sphere is inaccurate. Also the DS wreckage is the same as the fuel you can find in space.

      • Mike S. says:

        The quarians did have a new military advantage: Admiral Xen had managed to use the geth research Tali had contributed to (and that killed Tali’s father and a quarian ship) to come up with a countermeasure against their targeting.

        As I recall, one of the reasons given for the timing is that it was (plausibly) seen as a temporary advantage that the geth would eventually be able to patch out. And the quarians explicitly would have won, if the Reapers hadn’t intervened. That’s why, stipulating that the quarians would be better off on a planet than in a migrant space fleet even now (which I think is defensible, for reasons I’ve given elsewhere) the decision to attack wasn’t complete insanity.

        The geth don’t withdraw partly because it’s probably logistically impossible. (The quarians can just pursue and destroy them in detail.) And partly because they have just as much irrational attachment to Rannoch as the quarians. (Otherwise, why build their Dyson Sphere at Quarian Target #1 instead of an empty system no one cares about? Why repair and care for a planetary biosphere you have no practical use for?)

        We’ve seen that geth are perfectly capable of fervor: Heretic Reaper-worship, Legion’s cosplaying as Shepard (“…there was a hole.” Right.), the almost teleological approach to building a Dyson Sphere. (The quarians aren’t the only ones who need to answer “Why do you have to do this right now, when it creates an unnecessary risk of total extinction?”) All signs point to these AIs being terribly sentimental about which rock they’re on– or at least which solar system it’s in.

        The dispute between the main geth and the Heretics also suggests that the geth don’t get the Reapers. As Legion explained it, the objection to the Heretics wasn’t that the Reapers would turn them into tin puppets and then discard them, but that it would be a shortcut to the future that would keep them from making their own destiny. Even the geth who don’t want that seem to have an awe of the Old Machines similar to (and as misguided as) the hanar’s for the Protheans.

        (Legion understands differently. But it was out-consensused and turned into a communications relay.)

  26. Alex F says:

    That was the best ending to an episode you guys have ever done. It really is appropriate. The ending is, if you go straight through, only a few hours away, maybe 2 more weeks of recording. The problem is that the game spends the entire time getting worse and worse.

    I say that once Mass Effect 3 is done, you do Saints Row the Third or XCOM. Between this and Alan Wake, you owe it to yourselves to do a game that you enjoy and won’t have to struggle to finish.

    • I’m kinda glad this season is likely to be nearing it’s end so soon. That way, we can move onto the season on Skyrim, which (despite Bethesda writing) will be much more fun.

      But I’m curious as to how they’ll discuss the ending. I mean, the ending scene takes only a few 10-20 minutes, and there is hours worth of bitching to do on it. Will we have episodes with nothing but ending discussion and no gameplay.

  27. guy says:

    I think the base “AA” guns were actually ground-to-space weapons, since they apparently threatened ships in orbit. So they’d be positioned to give maximum coverage to prevent landings and not necessarily near any particular strategic location.

    Cheer up! After completing Rannoch, you will get to play the worst part of the game!

  28. “4. Give us a glimpse of the vibrant, life-bearing galaxy we’re trying to save from the Reapers.”

    Aw man I couldn’t agree more Shamus, did you wish as much as me that we could have gotten the chance to explore one of the Quarrian vessels? See how they live etc. One of the novels does explore it, but the games could have let the player walk around such a ship. (Tali’s dad researchship does not really count.)

    • Mike S. says:

      Though speaking of that: poor Jona. Mom killed recording a last message on the Alarei, Dad the first quarian to die on Rannoch in three hundred years.

      (Though I suppose that if Shamus & Co. resolve this the way they seem to be leaning, it won’t really have time to sink in.)

  29. Since Rutskarn had to bail, I feel it is required to uphold his legacy:
    Around the 13:30 mark. “Gethmallows? More like Gethmetal…”
    *bows*

  30. James says:

    No get them to work together, its the best way to completely subvert the message at the endgame.

    • I think either Tali or Legion were unloyal at the end of ME2, so cooperation is impossible.

      • anaphysik says:

        They lost Legion’s loyalty in the argument.

        Depends on what they did with the heretics in ME2. I forget.

        If they destroyed them, then all they need to do is do the geth consensus mission and have a high enough reputation.

        EDIT: They destroyed them (Josh likes big bada booms), so the peace option does exist. However, as you can see @9:04, Josh has significantly less than 4 bars of reputation, which is how much they need.

        But probably they’ll just keeeellll all the quarians :/

        (Of course, few of the factors involved for geth-quarian peace ake any sense, since the only actual thing you need to do to achieve G-Q peace is to shout down Gerrel :/ )

  31. Faust says:

    You know what I’d want to see as a Spoiler Warning? Spec Ops: The Line.

    Let them play a game they actually LIKE for once.

  32. RCN says:

    Lost access to the site, again…

    At least I have access at my Uni.

    Anyway, ME 3 started off so well… (I’m talking about the Krogan and Turian stuff, not the actual start), and it nose-dove so spectacularly…

    One of the things I hated the most about ME 1 now I miss so much. The fact that ME 1 was pitching idealism against pragmatism but never really made idealism cost anything. As Pragmatic Shepard (Calling that because Renegade lost all its original meaning) meant you were making sacrifices in order to achieve your objectives and do what needed to be done, but you got exactly the same results as Paragon. By choosing NOT to make sacrifices, you actually were never forced to.

    And then, in ME2 pragmatism gave way to pure unadultered assholishness. Renegade wasn’t about being pragmatic. It was about punching someone because you don’t want to face hard questions, it is about shooting the messenger because diplomacy is for sissies, it became about being a big blockhead, because other shooters were about big blockheads… Give me ineffectual pragmatism any day to THAT.

    Though thinking about it now, it seems one caused the other. The fact that pragmatism never achieved anything in ME1 really made pragmatic Shepard look like an asshole compared to space-jesus Shepard. After all, Paragon Shepard never hurt anyone’s feelings and was unwilling to pay anything for his victories, and was still victorious nonetheless, EVERY TIME. So they looked at that and just figured: Pragmatism = dickhead…

    In the end, that’s a series that set up a very complex galaxy and civilizations. Then boiled all problems into a Deus Ex Machina and turned all civilizations into something indistinguishable from a caricature. Kirrahe and Wrex were in the first game precisely to show that their respective species weren’t just caricatures (in Wrex’s case a bold move since he was also the first Krogan you met)…

  33. Slothful says:

    The Quarian eastern european accent is kinda apt here. This sort of insane ideology of keeping up feuds is exactly what keeps tearing the balkans to shreds.

  34. Adam says:

    I hate to throw a wet blanket over this pyro party, but there actually is a reason they didn’t just download Legion’s consciousness. It’s explained somewhat obliquely in ME2 and reiterated here that Legion’s chassis is rigged to regularly be able to contact the geth Consensus way back in the Perseus Veil, allowing him to range far beyond the boundaries of geth space while maintaining contact with the other geth, sharing what he’d learned about the state of the galaxy with them instantaneously. The reapers hooked him into their artifact to use as a signal booster, repurposing him the way they repurpose organics. Kind of symbolic, when you think about it.

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