Mass Effect 3 EP29: The Fall of Shepard

  By Shamus   Nov 1, 2012   174 comments


Link (YouTube)

Sooner or later we get to a bogged-down section of the game where all we can do is repeat previous criticism and watch Josh shoot things and scream over us when he sees a bug. This is perhaps not our show at its finest. When this happens, it comes up now and again in conversation:

Man, you guys don’t seem to be enjoying yourselves. You’re just nitpicking endlessly. Why don’t you quit this game, or skip over the boring parts?

Well.

If we quit whenever we hit a tough spot, we’d never finish anything, since just about all games have a point where they settle into the mechanics and combat for a while. My final take on Human Revolution was that the game “warmed my heart”. I was delighted to see a classic game revived with such care and maturity, and with so much faithfulness to the intent of the original. But even that game had a number of slow spots, rough points, logic holes, and sections where we couldn’t do anything but bitch & moan about the same problems we’d been covering for the last three hours.

As Chris said the other day:

I’m not sure pointing out every minor plot hole, idiotic Cerberus master plan, or awkward “geth rise up outta the floor!” glitch is worth a 15 week, 10 hour YouTube epic. They’re incredibly intimidating for new viewers to get into if they haven’t started at the beginning, they’re a huge timesync for the people who follow all of it, and there are plenty of times where we absolutely do run out of things to say – look at pretty much any combat section in the latter half of the Alan Wake season where the talk about the mechanics had been exhausted and there was no plot in sight.

That said, the format of the show has always sort of been about pokin’ around the entirety of the game’s experience. Wacky bugs, idiotic-but-subtle plot holes, and a “hey let’s talk about this since we’re doin’ it right now!” structure have been core to what it is. And a large reason for that is because it’s so easy to do it this way – we get together on Sunday nights and over the course of three or four hours have a week’s worth of content. Josh bears the biggest brunt of the responsibility by far, having to sync the Ventrillo voices against the footage and then compile/upload the episodes, but even that’s pretty light effort compared to what it can take to produce four separate twenty minute episodes of video content these days. Minute of footage to minute of effort, we’re running at pretty much max capacity.

But if we start putting in the time and effort to discuss in advance what parts of the game we want to cover, the range of topics we want to discuss while we’re doing that part, make sure we’ve all played that section in advance, have a save at the ready for Josh, and closely moderate our conversation during play then things take on a different tone. It’s a more structured show (if we’re not going to seriously structure it it wouldn’t be worth the effort to cherry pick bits, as we’d get to them and more using the current format). It’s also a more heavily edited show, and would likely require far more time on Josh’s part to complete. At that point we’re not going to be as capable of pushing out 4 episodes a week without it impacting our day jobs/other activities.

Ultimately I don’t know if “Spoiler Warning” as we know it could really function as a 4-episode a week show if we had to put a ton of effort into planning content, preparing topics, or skipping from game to game. But that doesn’t mean a more focused piece of media with the SW crew isn’t necessarily worthwhile – we’ve tossed the idea of a podcast around for ages. And I’d love to do a more rapid-fire show that looks at indie games and all other manner of titles for about 15-30 minutes at a time once a week – SW mostly reserves indie titles for special one-off episodes. Even just deciding upfront that we’ll cap Spoiler Warning weeks at, say, three could be an interesting change when dealing with these mega-huge titles like Mass Effect. It would ensure if we had something to say we’d need to say it soon without forcing too much structure on us.

In short: I agree that the current format definitely promotes burnout, especially when we’re slogging through a game that collectively has us in the dumps. And it has other problems, too, like the aforementioned new viewer issue. But I’m not sure there’s an easy fix that doesn’t ultimately result in “Let’s do a different show!”

You basically can’t change Spoiler Warning. If you’re going to edit the show, then you need to edit the footage. And if you’re going to edit the footage, then you might as well make it worth your while and really edit it. And since Josh is already at capacity time-wise, the show would have to come out less often. And if you’re going to do all that, then you’re making a very different show.

So that’s why things are the way they are.

That said: We could change the format as long as it doesn’t involve more work for Josh. But I think we really need to complete Mass Effect 3 the way the designers intended: Bitching and moaning all the way to the end. The show began with this game, and it would be a shame if we didn’t see it through to the end.


A Hundred!20202014Many comments. 174, if you're a stickler


  1. Ryan says:

    Talking about Borderlands 2: I feel like Chris did /not/ play as Zer0. Going down the bloodshed tree means I get to be in deception basically 24/7.

  2. Deadyawn says:

    I guess all I have to say is that as long as you guys are willing to muscle your way through games, bitching and moaning the whole time, I’m willing to keep on watching you do it.

    EDIT: After having wacthed the video I also want to say that I never really got the hang of that reaper fight either. I think I just got lucky after a couple of deaths. The whole thing was pretty stupid though.

    • Naota says:

      I’ll second this. Even the slowest episodes of Spoiler Warning most redolent in suffering have moments where I wish I could join in the conversation to point things out. If that’s not a prime indicator of my continued entertainment, I don’t know what is.

    • Phantos says:

      Sometimes I would move out of the way of its’ lasers, and it still counted as a Game Over.

      And at the last time you’re supposed to lock onto the Reaper with the Hammer of Dawn, the game glitched for me. It didn’t “charge”, and the lasers didn’t all form up on the reaper. And at that moment, the game is going in slow-motion, so even if it corrected itself, it would always move too slow to matter.

      What should have been a huge capstone moment was ruined for me. I’m not fully convinced that part of the game went through a lot of playtesting.

      • Luhrsen says:

        What I found hilarious was that those hundreds of mass driver shots from space didn’t crater the whole continent like the codex says it would.

        • Gruhunchously says:

          Don’t pay attention to the Codex in this game. It’s just there to give you headaches.

        • James says:

          its odd these guns are REALLY REALLY small comparatively to the rest of the games these are literly projectile turrets tacked onto the side of the ships, which is odd, NEVER before now have we seen side mounted turrets its ALWAYS guardian lazers and main guns, its just fucking weird, the quarian’s supposedly have been fitting dreadnought guns to their ships but we don’t see any of them, and none of them are used, cus if they were Shepard would be dead, as we read in ME1 codex and heard in ME2, a dreadnought hits with the force of a 15kt nuke

        • Jace911 says:

          Not only that, but the explosions in the cutscene (And even the stupid gameplay segment) would be knocking Shepard on his ass at the very least, if not jellifying his internal organs.

          Here’s a measly (By orbital bombardment standards) 100 tons of TNT:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgLzgdbfeJE

          Now imagine several of those going off in quick succession less than a hundred meters away from you.

      • ThomasWa says:

        The problem is it’s written like a scene in a movie, not a game.
        “And then it all goes like Slow-Mo, like the Matrix, dude, and it’s super dramatic, dude, and then Shepard points her laserpointer really hard and the fleet goes BADADADADUM and blows the Reaper up and it’s so awesome and cool!”
        “What happens if the player doesn’t point the thing at the other thing at the right time?”
        “What Player?”
        The Devs scripted a scene to be “cool” and “dramatic”, instead of setting up a bossfight that would result in a dramatic fight during (the normal) gameplay.
        Chris brings up God of War, but how much more awesome would it have been to Charge all over the Reaper, attacking weakspots at close range, and Charging away from incoming attacks? (Different classes would need different approaches, obviously, but that’s what game design is for.)

      • Lalaland says:

        I feel as if they were counting on their audience being familiar with the ‘Hammer of Dawn’ but I’ve never been able to stomach more than a level or two of Gears of War so I never got far enough to use the thing. I died a lot until I worked out that the ‘tracking’ is something that takes time to charge and can be interrupted without resetting. Once I did that and copped that targeting only happened at the moment of firing (as Tse points out above) it was a doddle. So the whole fight went from ‘frustrating mess’ to ‘tedious make work’ to get back to the plot which made the dramatic score and swooning from the other NPCs all the more ridiculous (of course we’ll top that by killing a reaper with a bazooka soon)

    • I never really got the hang of that reaper fight either.

      Yeah, this section is a real pain.

      • Naota says:

        Imagine Josh’s attempt at this fight, on a harder difficulty, interspersed with 40-60 second loading screens courtesy of aging Xbox hardware after every death.

        It’s not just a pain; it’s the worst boss fight ever conceived. Nearly 3400 words and I still feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of just how awful it is on so many levels.

        It is an astounding failure of design (spacial, audio, ui, control, and visual), storytelling (context and premise), and presentation unsuited for the game and its tech in just about every way.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          I wish to speak in defense of this boss fight. I had a lot of fun with the boss fight (the turret section I could take or leave). Trying to pull the laser left and than juking to dive-roll left like Max Payne, and then try to get the designator charged before the Destroyer can get off a second shot. And that moment where you have to make the call -do I risk the split-second of time it takes to finish the paint, or do I dive out of the way and start it again.

          What, as a narrative point, maybe it’s not that great. But I continue to have fun doing it.

          • Ofermod says:

            The thing is, there’s nothing to indicate that you should move *towards* the laser briefly so it will start moving away from you. That’s about the opposite of intuitive.

            At least, I *assume* that’s how the mechanics of the fight works. I could be wrong, though.

            And from a narrative point, the questions will *always* be “Why doesn’t the Reaper just sweep horizontally? And why isn’t the laser gouging giant trenches such that Shepard eventually gets trapped?”

            • Tse says:

              After many deaths I figured out that the laser targets you only at the moment it fires. So, if it starts firing while you move left, start moving right and vice versa. No rolling required. I don’t know how Josh managed to kill the reaper before it could fire at the last part of the fight, though. He may just be better than me. It took me several dozen tries to figure out the pattern.

              • Zagzag says:

                Both me and my brother played through this section without dying once. Neither of us are stupidly good at games in general, or specifically at Mass Effect. I thought the scene didn’t make a lot of sense, but I didn’t hate is as much as most people here seemed to, althought I’m guessing not spending hours staring at the loading screen significalntly endeared me towards this scene in comparison to others.

                • Klay F. says:

                  I should also point out that you can paint the target much faster if you stand still. So you can juke and dodge right up until its obvious that the laser will miss you, then you stand still to finish painting the target. Thats the reason it took so long for Josh to finish this part.

                • Tse says:

                  I guess it’s the fact that the laser’s behavior is telegraphed, but not well enough. Some see it, some don’t.

            • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              I didn’t see any hints, but it is a long standing tactic in videogames -the AI aims where you were when it shoots, so you make it shoot in a useful direction while you dodge. It’s the bullfighting style of bossfighting.

              Again, this is neither good nor bad, but I enjoyed it.

          • SleepingDragon says:

            I suppose it could sort of work as a set piece but for me personally almost everything reaper related has been an annoyance at this point. I know this is a recurring sentiment in these comments but I wanted reapers to be the elder god thingies, twice we’ve seen a single one control or manipulate an entire civilization. In ME3 we see them being blown to bits all over the place and when this sequence came up all I could hear was Ashley in the first game going on about how she can’t really do much against a reaper with her gun. It is, as always, a case of varying mileage, but to me this didn’t feel like “this is awesome, I get to take on a reaper on foot” but more like the devs screaming in my ear “Do you feel awesome already?! Do you?!”.

            Also, up to this point I was still hoping there was some sort of big reveal trying to redefine everything I thought about the gameverse, some kind of really twisted, smart reasoning behind the reapers, the fact that the conversation with this dying reaper contained nothing but more vague and cryptic oneliners pretty much sealed it for me it wasn’t going to be the case which may have soured the whole Rannoch sequence for me. The fact that I was able to make geth and quarians be all friends without even really trying probably didn’t help either, it felt too much like reapers are the source of all evil in the galaxy and everything just becomes wonderful once you blow one up.

            • Lalaland says:

              I actually selected the wrong mission and kicked off the final encounter on Rannoch before doing the Geth fighter base (the labelling confused me and I thought I was doing the Geth side mission) forcing me to choose between the Geth & the Quarians. Initially I was stunned and quite admiring that Bioware had the fortitude to make the players choose between two of the fan favorite crew members. Then I checked online and discovered that no it was the poor labelling that forced me to choose and that if I had just done that mission I could make Super Happy Peace Time between two diametrically opposed forces.

              It stuck in my craw pretty hard actually as peace deals between long term warring parties are never sorted out by an outsider coming along and basically berating both sides for being foolish. The only agreement that’s likely to foster between the combatants is ‘the outsider is a jerk and biased in your favor’.

              It tasted of the crap ‘comedy’ I’d heard in my youth where comedians made the ill advised attempt to poke fun at the two sides in conflict in Northern Ireland. While the topic should have screamed ‘stay away’ all too many fools seemed to think that skimming the headlines on the latest atrocity was all the research they needed to do to understand the motivations and history at play.

              Deals in these cases largely come around because both sides have fought each other to the point of exhaustion and have finally realised that the siren call of total victory is really just drawing them onto the rocks of all out killing on a massive scale. Rannoch established that either side could have achieved total victory, or would have seemed close enough to it, that Sheperd basically saying ‘Stop being so childish’ would have been told to ‘Hop it we’re closing this deal’.

          • anaphysik says:

            A sequence like this that relies on a “cool” factor can only work if you are able to pass through it on your first or second try. Anything that takes longer than that has lost whatever flashy appeal it may have had and spirals down into frustration with the mechanics.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          I agree completely. I played on the fucking PS3. Because of the poor optimization for the console, loading times are a pain in the ass!

          Combine that with the instant kill Reaper death laser, what should have been an easy, one-time cinematic piece turned into a long, tedious, frustrating, rage-inducing, 20-minute long exercise in unpleasantness.

          Fuck this section. And fuck the section with the three Geth Primes. Bioware sucks at designing combat sequences.

          • Cerberus Public Relations says:

            “This hurts you”
            — Bioware

          • Naota says:

            The nearly minute-long loading times were absolutely ruinous, not just from a tired-of-waiting standpoint but also because they handily sabotaged your muscle memory, concentration, and sense of continuity. You weren’t able to work out a rhythm or experiment with the fight mechanics because the tiniest failure meant instant death and a minute-long time out, so by the time you got back in you’d forgotten all of those super short term sparks of intuition that come together to make things like the Turbo Tunnel “possible”.

            I totally agree – if this sequence was just a faintly challenging set piece I’d still consider it kind of dumb, but I wouldn’t have even bothered to bring it up in conversation. It isn’t. I blew through the rest of the game with maybe a half-dozen deaths on Hardcore, and the damned Rannoch Reaper stalled me for more than 40 minutes of repeated failure the first time.

            At least the Geth Primes was still a contest rooted in your ability to play Mass Effect. This was a boss fight from Devil May Cry with the lethality of Commander Keen and the controls of a plodding TPS cover shooter. The rules are nothing like anything else in the game. The controls, the tedious full reloads on death, the constant time pressure, the sudden requirement for you to die several times to work out the fight mechanics, and of course the titanic difficulty spike. Where did this even come from?!

        • James says:

          i had the same issue, playing my first playthrough on hardcore, because i started at level 30 and having completed me1 and me2 on hard, id continue as i started, this was a fucking chore, dodge dodge dodge get scraped DEAD, reload (1 minuet later) do it all again, when i finally killed it i was fucking delighted,

          Also i started the game with MAX reputation, i had EVERY option available from the start which is nice, but removes ANY hard choices cus i can just pick what i want

        • IFS says:

          Yeah this boss fight is one of the most stupid, contrived, and unecessarily difficult boss fights in history. Something that I don’t think anyone pointed out is that the reaper, supposedly a super-intelligent space cthulhu, continues to sweep its laser vertically, when if it swept it across the plateau horizontally then shepard would be incapable of escaping, being held back from leaping off the edge by invisible walls, and instakilled.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      +1 on the willingness to watch.

      And besides,if you were to change the way you guys do the show,we wouldnt have some gems like punching the walls in fallout 3.Or the incinerator.

      • James says:

        or tunneling out of rapture, love me some tunneling out of rapture XD, also josh killing the whole of the brotherhood of steel, during the help the brotherhood crap was amazing

  3. guy says:

    I loved Rutskarn’s totally lost “what?” about halfway through. Sums it up so well.

  4. Deadpool says:

    I like the current format. There are a ton of people doing the structured look at things. NO ONE is doing what Spoiler Warning does.

    Maybe it could be more successful as a structured show, I don’t know. But it certainly wouldn’t provide what it provides now, which is that unadulterated, unfiltered reaction to a game. That “buddies sitting on the couch, playing a game together” feeling.

    That’s what makes Spoiler Warning unique. Maybe it’s not the best it can be, but it’s certainly why I keep coming back. Can’t speak for the rest.

    • anaphysik says:

      Well, Two Best Friends Play does sort of do that as well. But 1) they have a *wildly different* tone, 2) they edit their takes to create a highlight reel as the final product, and 3) It’s not clear to how what extent they rerecord or ‘script’ themselves.

      (Note: I’m *not* talking about their longer playthroughs (the ones that can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSw1tcher/videos?view=0 ), which I haven’t seen, but rather their shorter videos that can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/show/twobestfriendsplay/videos?view=0 . Although it’s interesting that the subscriber count on the former is higher, despite the much larger view count of the latter.)

      They do share the same desire for trolling as the SW crew, though :D

      • Dues says:

        That’s pretty simple to explain actually. The shorter videos are funnier because they cut out all of the ‘boring’ parts. They are edited down videos that are supposed to be as funny as possible.

        The longer videos allow for discussions that aren’t all jokes all the time, they let you see the whole game, etc. so they have them for a reason. They just aren’t edited and parsed down into what the two best friends think are the absolute highlights of a play through.

        • Deadyawn says:

          This is pretty much spot on. I was under the impression that they don’t actually script anything in advance and I feel as if they have said that at some point although I’m not sure. Their main series is just them playing the first hour or so of a game and cutting it into 10-20 minute highlight reel (which is really damn funny). Thier full game LPs are quite similar to Spoiler Warning conceptually, as in its simply the game with them talking about it and then sometimes talking about completely different stuff. As anaphysik said, it does have a very different tone and its also a different dynamic as its almost always just the two of them meaning there is a constant back and forth between them. But the basic idea is the same.

          Anyway I like them and would say they are worth checking out.

        • anaphysik says:

          I was meaning more specifically that I thought it was odd that the long-form video series (which also updates much more frequently) actually has *more* subscribers than the short vids (160k vs 90k).

          The videos in the long-form series seem to have a strong tail on them as well, where newer batches of vids have lower viewcount, increasing as you go back until it eventually saturates at around their subscriber count. So I guess a significant number of their viewers watch their vids on a delay (or perhaps let a number of them build up in their box and then binge on them). But both of those viewing methods don’t play terribly well with how youtube handles channel subscriptions, so most of the time those subscribers will be getting flooded with videos they don’t plan to watch for quite a while.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I agree. I like the way SW does things.

      But I always get concerned in these parts where it becomes a chore instead of a fun little critical discussion. They happen, but they can easily be some of the worst to watch.

      This is an exception since Josh is voicing frustrations that I had in ME3, especially this boss.

    • Sumanai (Asimech) says:

      There’s definitely the advantage that SW showcases the amount of drag that video games end up having at some point, which often doesn’t fully sink in if just told about or fast forwarded through.

      Also these parts start my sympathy pains with gusto. Sympathy pains are this context a type of physical and mental discomfort I get when instinctively imagining myself playing through the section. It’s pretty efficient at telling if I might enjoy the game or be able to finish it (in the hypothetical situation where I don’t forget to even try).

      I don’t know if this is unique to Spoiler Warning or if I could get the same info another way, but still without playing the game, but these are the benefits I get from the current format’s low points.

      Also the puns and derailed topics are rather interesting.

  5. nerdpride says:

    I thought this Spoiler Warning was really fun actually. Partly because Josh dies.

    I remember I watched Freelance Astronauts play through ME1 instead of Spoiler Warning. I dunno if I can watch your videos from that early, sorry. Oftentimes it’s more fun to laugh at bugs or quirks or at other people laughing. FA did really silly stuff with a man-woman hybrid Shep, with spawning the tank everywhere. And oh Jenkins, you shined in that first FA episode. They didn’t even try to explain Normandy or Alliance or anything close to plot, they just went with “this is generic sci-fi, sorry you can’t read any text anywhere.” And it was still fun.

    Seems like you’re doing fine to me. Maybe try to keep the “yeah this is really X” comments to a minimal number per video.

  6. False Prophet says:

    I concur with some of the previous commenters. Spoiler Warning is pretty unique among Let’s Plays in its combination of analysis and trolling. I remember being frustrated with the format at times. At least three times an episode, someone starts making an interesting observation, only to be cut off by someone interrupting. But every one is an equal offender in both categories, and after a while I learned to appreciate the trolling as much as the analysis. I’m cool if you keep doing what you’re doing.

  7. Ofermod says:

    “It is not a thing you can comprehend”… the Reaper really was right! He was talking about the ending, and Bioware’s Artistic Integrity! They’re geniuses!

  8. Deadpool says:

    Btw, that chat with Rutskarn reminds me of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnSzNvaUfag

    Wish I could find it in English…

  9. Amnestic says:

    Gethspenst?

    And Josh’s playstyle is indeed how I did Vanguard as well – Charge, Nova, combat roll back (for Banshees/Brutes) and repeat. Hilariously satisfying.

    Watching Spoiler Warning since FO3/Bioshock and I still like the setup you’ve got now. I like how it sometimes devolves into just trolling while still hitting on intelligent analysis when necessary.

    Urgh, this ‘boss battle’ annoyed me to no end. Did not even remotely ‘buy it’. I would’ve been more convinced if there had been a God of War ‘climb the reaper and stab it in the face’ QTE with Shepard shotgunning the Reaper’s laser eye.

    • anaphysik says:

      “And Josh’s playstyle is indeed how I did Vanguard as well – Charge, Nova, combat roll back (for Banshees/Brutes) and repeat.”

      I did the same, but I had quite the opposite reaction. I was so burned out on that by the end of the game that I basically cannot play Vanguard in MP and just all around hate the class :(

      • StashAugustine says:

        That phase-through-the-ground glitch doesn’t help either.

      • Pete says:

        Despite playing import Vanguard and having enough skill points to unlock anything I could want, Ive never actually unlocked Nova for some reason.

        Im starting to suspect that might have been a very good thing.

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          I find the charge/shotgun combo much more fun. I usually saved Nova for when I was surrounded and needed a “get away from me!” button.

          • anaphysik says:

            ME2 was better in this regard, since it didn’t have Nova consuming everything. Also, its Charge animation and feel was a lot better.

            (That being said, I replayed some parts of ME2 recently and it felt really stiff.)

  10. Duhad says:

    I was right there with Josh, F THIS BIT! It took me forever to do!
    Also ya what the hell Reapers? Why did’t you close your face? It could have saved you from getting killed! OH MY GOD, WHATS WRONG WITH YOUR FAAAAAACE!?!

  11. Okay, that turret section where you can shoot at the Reaper? I hate that.

    You can’t harm it, it doesn’t slow the Reaper down in any way, and the very idea is stupid. It’s a REAPER.

    It’s so incredibly pointless. I refuse to do it. The very idea insults my intelligence.

    • anaphysik says:

      This was one of the big scenes (along with moving Eve’s container) that BioWare previewed way back when. Even then people were highly (and rightly) skeptical about it. I’m slightly surprised Bioware kept it in after the meh response, but then again taking it out would admit that they aren’t perfect and ARTISTIC INTEGRITY.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Whenever someone unironically calls on “artistic integrity” to defend ME3, I want the worst for them. I want their luck to be only ever so slightly worse. I want them to drop that extra penny they get in change. I want their lottery ticket to come back “You lost.” Nothing overtly bad, just I want every small thing to go wrong.

        • anaphysik says:

          My Cantonese suitemate from my first year of college taught me some nice curses. The mildest of which, puk gai, he translated as ‘I hope you trip and fall onto the street; I hope you are a cursed person.’

          Wiki has more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantonese_profanity#Puk_gaai

          • Klay F. says:

            I thank Sleeping Dogs for my knowledge of that curse. I had to look up what it meant, but I’m glad I did.

            • anaphysik says:

              The other two primary ones he taught me were diu lei, which translates well to ‘fuck you’ and is about as offensive as it is in English (very in most settings, yet common in others), and hai lou, highly offensive since it confers disparagement onto all the ancestors of its target. He translated it a bit awkwardly as ‘fucking-people’ (‘fucking’ being used as an adjective here). A more accurate translation would be ‘cunt people,’ I think.

              Most importantly, though, he also taught me how to apologize!
              deui m jyu; the ‘m’ is pronounced like a dipping hum.

              I haven’t put tones on any of those since I’m absolutely rubbish with them myself, even in something ‘simple’ like Mandarin that has relatively few tones and tone sandhi; I’m helpless in the face of the many more rules in Cantonese. And when it comes to curses and subsequent desperate apologies, you’re probably better off not spending the moment worrying about them anyways!

  12. Dude says:

    I’ve said this a couple of times before, I think, but this show is at its best for me when you’re talking about things you like about a game. Or, talking about a game you like.

    The criticism and the hate is good, but it reaches saturation after about four hours into a game like Mass Effect 3, I think. I haven’t commented much on this season here, if at all, because all my comments would be dude-bro nod after nod. This part sucks, yeah, and this part sucks, and this part sucks too, bro, Cerberus is lame, etc.

    What you could try doing is alternating between games you think you’re going to spend the majority of time criticizing, and games you’re going to love more or less.

    You know, Mass Effect 3, then Bastion, then Skyrim, then Saints Row 4 (should be out by the time Skyrim is done), then another grand poop show (uh, Assassin’s Creed III?) and so on.

    • anaphysik says:

      I think part of the problem is that we all spent SO MUCH time discussing and dissecting ME3 on this site (Shamus especially) that most of the main topics feel beat to death. If the season had started two months before it did, it might not be so bad for the commentators right now.

      On the other hand, I’m glad that the rage at the ending was finally allowed to blow over so that we could all focus our attention on the *many* other problems in this game. And currently the comments sections have been having some cool ‘fuck you Bioware, we’re gonna come up with some *good* storytelling ideas’-type conversations regarding the geth, so that’s been fun :)

    • X2Eliah says:

      I agree with this post. Buut everyone already knew that.
      Um. So, yeah. That’s all for now.
      *dramatically drops mic on stage, walks out*

  13. The Defenestrator says:

    Man, and the Reapers used to be so cool and impressive.

  14. anaphysik says:

    Shamus: “Your mother and I will discuss it with you when you’re older, Rutskarn.”

    SO THE TRUTH COMES OUT.

    The Spoiler Warning relationship web becomes ever thicker….

  15. Chris says:

    Bitching and moaning in the sloggiest parts of the game is spoiler warning trademark. It was good to see Josh fail multiple times as well. I like the show, keep doing it.

  16. anaphysik says:

    [Chris likens the Rannoch Reaper sequence to a God of War bossfight, unironically]

    *facepalm*

    [Chris calls Galaxy Quest a “stupid movie.”]

    *now connecting to hireanassassin4cheap.com*

    • anaphysik says:

      Ah crap, I only put in a nickel, and they gave me Agent Fortyskarn. So you’re probably fine, Chris, but please apologize to everyone in the general vicinity of you, and their dog.

  17. A solution to the making it clearer when you die without making it nonsensical is to make the screen become mostly greyscale, EXCEPT for the enemies, who become less saturated but still retain some amount of colour.
    Increase the contrast, but decrease saturation.

  18. Tvtim says:

    It took me a few tries, but the “trick” to the reaper-laser-pointer-orbital-strike-thingy-of-pointlessness is to stand still, that causes the targeting laser to um…target faster. Figured that one out on about death 4 of my play-through of the game; moving and lasing was actually counter-intuitive of what you were trying to do…other than it did help you avoid the ‘massive overkill on a single person beam’.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      If I remember correctly, my technique was to run all the way to one side then stand still while targeting until the reaper beam got close, then run all the way to the other side and target from there while the reaper tracked very slowly in the other direction. Whatever worked, I only managed to do it after reading online that anything that seemed to make sense in the game didn’t work. The sequence was maddeningly frustrating until I got the gimmick, at which point it just seemed silly. It never came close to “epic” which I think they were trying for.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        I think this is being too hard on it. The targetting laser works like your regular weapons -so of course aiming and standing still would make it target faster, the same way it makes your guns more accurate. I was looking for cover, because that would make it target faster still. And making the boss shoot left while you dodge right is a classic in the gaming genre.

        I think the larger problem is that Mass Effect -being a “realistic” cover based shooter is, much like DX:HR, not a game that called for Boss Fights.

  19. Vagrant says:

    I feel like I need to say that the Fallout (3 & NV) episodes were my favorite. I realize I may be in the minority. Either way my favorite thing about this series is Josh gaming the system followed by things going Horribly Wrong. More structure seems like it would preclude that spontaneity that I so enjoy. Josh’s playstyle has made me do a second playthrough of more than one game because it looked so fun. Also, inventory management, more of it please. Even if its only one episode dedicated to showing how it works.

    • Lame Duck says:

      One of my favourite moments in Spoiler Warning history is Josh’s desperate attempts to get the GNR quest from Three Dog while fleeing from a gang of his invincible Brotherhood of Steel guards.

      • Indy says:

        “The look on your face says it all.”

        Stealing a baby, killing a certain Star Paladin, warming up to Liberty Prime just in time… So many classic moments.

        Oh and not just one but two(!) corpses yelling at him about stealing crappy knick-knacks.

    • Raygereio says:

      I feel like I need to say that the Fallout (3 & NV) episodes were my favorite. I realize I may be in the minority.

      Well, I for one fully agree and being a white, straight male I’m certainly not in any minorty.[/bad joke]

      Fallout 3 especially for me. Mainly because it felt like the crew only got to the point of “Okay, we’ve said everything we could have said” at the very final episode. That game just had so much one could discuss/mock.
      But I think what really helped in those two series is the type of gameplay. It allows the player a lot of freedom to screw about. This unlike for example Assassin’s Creed II or here in ME3 that are both a lot more rigid in their design.

  20. Dues says:

    Here is my suggestion. Have you noticed that during the long stretches of the game where you have run out of things to talk about for a while, you almost always end up talking about other games?

    Usually someone tries to get the others back on topic and you end up repeating yourselves. There are a lot of games that you are never going to be able to show with this format. Why don’t you talk about some of the games that you won’t cover, during the times that you have nothing else to talk about?

  21. JPH says:

    I’d love to get in on a podcast if you guys ever decide to do that.

  22. Greg says:

    Okay, I feel slightly better about this. A few episodes ago I was feeling like my enjoyment of this game had pulled the wool over my eyes, because when looking at each event logically, I could not disagree with the SW crew that it made no sense. Up to this point, I have found very little to disagree with in this season, despite having mostly enjoyed ME3.

    But the narrative complaints on this particular boss fight? I strongly disagree with. Mechanically, yes, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony; if you die multiple times, it just gets too frustrating. This boss fight could have stood to be a bit easier (targeting laser paints faster, fewer required hits to kill the thing, what have you).

    But setting aside that the road to this moment made no sense, this particular fight itself was one of the better moments, I felt. This is one of the smaller Reapers, not a Sovereign-style one, so it’s understandable that it would be slightly less durable. “Remember when these guys were space elder gods that took entire fleets to kill?” Josh asked. You are literally hitting it with the combined firepower of the largest fleet in the galaxy (possibly second-largest compared to the Geth). Multiple times. And it still takes several vollies to down. It’s one of the toughest things out there, so tough that the fact one could be taken out by a frickin’ sandworm is even more unbelievable (one of the few parts of the Tuchanka storyline that I despised even on my first playthrough; I’m sorry, but a Reaper should not get killed by any giant organic beast).

    You have to paint the target because, yes, the fleet can all see the Reaper itself, but the target is basically its small, armored, glowing red eye/weapon thingy, which they cannot precisely hit using manual targeting, especially not all at once. The Reaper can’t pinpoint target you either because its weapon is just not designed for such pinpoint targeting (possible, it’s clearly an anti-ship/mass destruction weapon), or because the first volley that hit it in the eye and stunned it also knocked its targeting systems slightly out of alignment. This would actually make sense, because the longer you go without hitting it the more accurate its weapon gets (notice how it’s better able to follow your dodging when you’ve let it take 3 or 4 shots at you).

    By the way, what is the problem with a stunned robot? It needs to reboot its targeting program/reroute power/bring w/e repair ability it has to bear. Robots get stunned all the time, even in this series itself.

    They need such pinpoint targeting because of the Geth jamming towers, which have been mentioned fairly often both in the mission to rescue the Quarian admiral and in this mission.

    I’ve already written too much, but this is a case in which I feel like you guys were far too dismissive of the justifications for this battle. I gladly concede that the events leading up to it require massive stupidity from characters all around, but given those events, this particular fight made sense, and (at least for me) felt pretty awesome.

    Well, up until it fell over and we had a five minute long conversation with it that in no way lived up to the conversation with Sovereign. It should’ve just fallen over, said maybe one or two things, then died.

    • Nick says:

      That works, up to one point:
      How does the targetting laser get through the Geth jamming towers?

      • Raygereio says:

        Because the jamming towers don’t stop or bend light in their area of affect?

        An analogy would be the police trying to figure out how fast you’re driving. You could mess up their attempts using a radar speed gun using a jammer. But that jammer would do nothing against a ladar speed gun.

        A better question would be why a laser is even necesary. The fleet isn’t using missile, we’re using mass drivers. If those canons from orbit can spot a laser dot, they really ought to be able to spot a reaper as well.

        • Luhrsen says:

          However the towers should jam the signal sent by the targeting laser itself.

          • Raygereio says:

            That’s not how targeting lasers work.

            • Luhrsen says:

              Yes it is. The laser merely calculates the distance to the target from it’s own know position and then sends that data to the artillery. That data signal is what would be jammed just like everything else. Doesn’t matter how effectively the laser itself is working.

              • Raygereio says:

                Nope. That’s not how the laser targetting systems used for missiles and the like work. Basically a laser is pointed towards the target and your laser-guided bombs works out the position of the target based of the reflections.

                This is what makes these things so usefull. No signal that can be detected is used, it’s just a little light source.

                • Luhrsen says:

                  You are half right. But unless the missle/bomb is housing it’s own laser inside its body it is usually simply told how to adjust course by radio based on the calculations from the laser painter. And cannons almost never have a line of sight to a painted target. If they did what would be the point of painting it. We can hit things we can see with awesome accuracy now. And we don’t even have the supercomputers they should be using by then.

                  Possibly you are mixing in how camera equipped missles/bombs track a prerecorded target?

                  • Alex says:

                    Ray is right, you are wrong. A laser designator and a laser rangefinder (what you’re thinking of) both bounce a laser off the target, but what they do with it is completely different. A laser designator is just a more precise spotlight – you shine it on things you want to die, and the camera in the bomb/missile looks for the bright spot and tries to land there. A laser rangefinder works like active sonar – it flashes a pulse of light and times how long it takes to bounce back.

                    As for the comment about “what would be the point of painting it”… have you ever used – or seen someone use – a laser pointer for its intended purpose? Putting a bright dot on something so people know where to look it isn’t exactly rocket science.

                    • anaphysik says:

                      Which would give us good reason to paint the slow-moving, moderately-large Reaper *once*. But it doesn’t explain why we’d need to do it again. (The charge-up time could, I suppose, be explained as pointing at the Reaper long enough for a ship in orbit to find the pointer.)

                      Now, I can’t remember what the in-game blahdiblah is for this pointer. But I do seem to recall it being all special and synced to the fleet and whatnot blah blah, which does seem to indicate it’s more than just a laser pointer.

      • Amnestic says:

        Space Magic.

    • lurkey says:

      I found it easy to suspend disbelief of the targeting thing. After all, it is established that the Quarian fleet has seriously buffed up for the war, so both firepower and Euclid’s C-Finder are possible.

      What is dumb – well, everything else.

      Starting from the Reaper deciding to chase the vehicle on his own pointy, mantisy, ineffectual legs. Why? Did he forget how to fly? Did Shepard poking him into the peeper make him go berserk, like “That does it, you dipshit – now it’s personal. I’m soooo cherry tapping you and then I’ll totally teabag your corpse!” Shepard’s going RATATATAT at him with her stupid turret is additional comedy gold.

      And now, the boss fight itself. The Reaper sloooowly lumbers closer, flailing that beam of his about like a broken mining laser…is he playing cat and mouse with Shepard? Then boom enters Archimedes II, the Reaper crumples into heap, then straightens up, probably thinking “’tis only a flesh wound!”…and keeps snailing after the lone human like a broken T-800 who might’ve been terrifying for a wounded humble waitress, but not really scary at all when compared to the space Cthulhu that the Reaper is supposed to be. Let’s not forget Shepard’s conscious decision to duel the thing and her stupid pompous speech before it…everything is so stilted and ridiculously over-the-top that the plausible idea of laser-guided orbital strike gets completely lost in the unintentional comedy.

    • SleepingDragon says:

      Most of the stuff I would like to put in response to this I’ve already put in a previous comment so I’ll just put in a bit of a summary here. And just to let you know, I’m not criticizing your enjoyment of the section, I have found myself to be more critical and nitpicky of games in recent years and it really varies how much you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and such.

      So for a brief summary: at this point I was fed up with how reapers were retconned/downgraded from how they were pictured in the previous games. Yes, it is a “smallest reaper” but the very idea of those was created precisely for this kind of sequence, and even putting that aside why is there only this one, smallest reaper here when this is about wiping out an entire civilization and controlling another? The SW team has discussed how ineffective the “eye” weapon is against individual humans, fair enough, but why does it even use it in the first place and not just walk up to you and stomp on the cliff until it collapses and buries you underneath, the fleet hardly hits the “eye” with their barrage, and it is such a barrage that they’d hit it eventually just on blind luck. The very concept of taking a reaper on on foot doesn’t work for me, probably because it conflicts with my expectations from the previous games.

      Yes, most of these gaps can be filled, it’s the smallest reaper, the reapers thought that this one would be enough because they had the geth under control, even the amount of accuracy we see is only with the targeting laser, the reapers have been exaggerating their military potential and so on and so forth, but the moment I need to think stuff like this up to make the scenario work is when it crumbles for me. Bottom line is it worked for you and didn’t work for me.

      • Lalaland says:

        Yup the ‘snack size’ reapers were such a blatant ret-con to let Sheperd use that Awesum Buton one more time. It was just one more reason the Reapers ceased to be any kind of real threat for me, instead they were just the latest chest high wall to overcome. From Space-Cthulu to Awkward-Mook in one fell swoop

        • Mike S. says:

          Given how “The Call of Cthulhu” ends– the ship rams Cthulhu, and injures it sufficiently to make its escape– being able to take out one lesser space-Cthulhu with overwhelming physical force doesn’t seem that much of a stretch of the metaphor. They are to us as we to insects and all that, but a swarm of killer bees can get the occasional win against an isolated human.

          (Which “victory” mostly means attracting concentrated effort, and insecticide.)

          • Keeshhound says:

            Yeah, but Cthulhu comes back. There’s a fairly large difference between “if we work together we can inconvenience the elder god long enough to run away, hopefully it won’t hunt us down later,” and “We’re gonna kill that sumbitch and I’m gonna mount his stupid eye-laser thing above my bed!”

          • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            I’m still bothered by the existence of a weak spot. These are reapers. They don’t have weakspots. You just have to plow them with enough firepower to take them down.

            The second game should have been the quest to find firepower.

      • Mike S. says:

        Sending a minor operative to Rannoch makes some sense because the geth/quarian conflict is kind of a sideshow as far as the Reaper invasion goes. We know from Saren that the Reapers basically hold the geth in contempt. They’ll use them, but they don’t consider them a major threat or asset. And the quarians may have a large fleet with upgraded armaments, but they’re also the smallest and most vulnerable spacefaring power by orders of magnitude.

        Sure, if the geth are going to throw down the welcome mat it’s worth the least bit of effort (which is what they expend) to have the geth take the quarians off the board. Especially if the geth self-indoctrinate in the process, and make themselves easy to wipe up or use as cannon fodder later. But the Citadel and the Council species are reasonably going to be the first thing they’d concentrate on.

        But it’s also true that if the question reaches a level like that, how charitable one’s read is is going to be proportional with how much one enjoys the game. There aren’t a lot of adventure stories that really stand up robustly to a jaundiced eye.

  23. Kdansky says:

    It shows off another issue: Most games are padded with filler content to the max. It’s easy (with practise) to talk about a hundred hours of Starcraft 2 multiplayer, or Chess, or even Street Fighter. It’s downright impossible to talk about a game like Mass Effect for such a long time, because most of its gameplay (the shooting) is complete filler. I would enjoy a game where I only make decisions and skip all (or at least most) combat (and I made one, see my blog), but those are insanely rare.

    Games that don’t pad: Portal 1/2, competitive multiplayer games, aaaand that’s it.

    • Ofermod says:

      Doesn’t ME3 have a mode that basically does that?

      • Raygereio says:

        Basically ME3 has several “modes”. Story, Action & RPG. RPG is normal play. Action is normal combat, but dialogue choices are auto-picked for you. And finally story mode is normal dialogue choices, but combat is really easy to the point where you just one shot everything and nothing can hurt you.

        The issue is naturally that while story mode allows you to fast forward through the combat, it does not fix the combat’s crappy gameplay. But the dumb idea known as Heppler mode has already been beat to death anyway.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ive been noticing something these past few episodes,but I always forget to mention it:
    Where is the map?Did Josh turn it off,or have they removed it from me3?And if so,why?

    • Indy says:

      You mean the little radar with red dots? That was missing on the basic HUD in both 2 and 3. It is, however, present when you bring up the power or weapon wheels. It’s almost useless given the combat takes place in corridors or box courtyards so it’s no great loss that this has been obnoxiously hidden.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ah,yes,thank you.Blame my faulty memory for this one.

      • Matt K says:

        I was actually wondering the same thing myself (having only played ME1). The nice thing about the min-map is that it allows you to have a better idea where the enemies are at and especially since it doesn’t appear to point out when the damage is coming from in game. Again I’m thinking of SR3 which had both and made the combat easier since you weren’t getting blindsided by some goon you had no idea was left.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The problem isnt really in the powers,but in how this classes powers are unbalanced.Infiltrators work completely different*.Especially on the highest difficulty,were you need a solid combination of your powers,your teammates powers,and your weapons in order to beat the enemies.

    *Granted,in me2,but I dont see much of a change in gameplay between 2 and 3

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If only you had a giant worm to take down that reaper.Or a hand held black hole launcher.But no,you only have a measly fleet of warships that fire measly huge shells at the measly speed of light.

    By the way,we discussed this earlier,but wouldnt a super fast slug create a nuclear explosion in an atmosphere?How is this fleet able to fire anything at a planet without killing us?

    Also,if anyone is well versed in ballistics,Id really like to know the speed of mass effect bullets.It has to be fast enough to penetrate a tank,but slow enough not to ignite the air around it.And it uses very small bullets,so small that a single block of metal gives you thousands of shots.

    • Mike S. says:

      I don’t think Bioware really ran the numbers on those bullets– I’d be surprised if it was actually possible to get the pellets described that a) wouldn’t expend most of their heat and kinetic energy on the air in front of the gun, but b) would do so on armor and human tissue.

      Someone on the Bioware boards once calculated that to equal a mere 9mm bullet (which is as nothing against energy shields and 22nd century armor), a grain of sand (estimated at .015g) would have to be accelerated to about mach 27. I don’t have the chops to figure out supersonic drag or friction, but I’d at least intuit that such a bullet would hit air pretty much as if it were a solid wall, and vaporize pretty soon afterward.

      (The heat sinks take a lot of flack, but the ME1 gun mechanics strike me as very much the same sort of handwavy science fictional explanation for an already-selected game mechanic.)

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I know I said this before,but god damn that lens flare is annoying!

  28. Abnaxis says:

    Mo’ Yakkity. Long sequence Yakkity Sax -> normal time to troll Rutskarn saying something embarrassing followed by “you’re going to cut this right?” -> Mo’ Yakkity -> Done. Boring sequenced finished in a few minutes of video time.

    It could be overdone if you do fast forward sequences *all* the time, and I don’t know how much extra effort it actually takes to edit on Josh’s part. However, I generally enjoyed those sequences (like the metal-gathering in the Pitt in Fallout 3) and it didn’t break the tone.

    It seems like Yakkity sequences could be used to speed up games like ME3, or allow you to do a game which has one really long slog in an otherwise fairly eventful experience (Deep Roads).

    • anaphysik says:

      I enjoy yakkity-times in Spoiler Warning, but that actually means *more* work for Josh, not less. Plus, it makes timing the sessions more complicated as well.

  29. Even says:

    I remember dying even more than Josh on that boss the first time. It’s pretty easy once you get it, but there’s really nothing to prepare you for it .

    As for the nature of the show I’ll say this. Open criticism and voicing out genuine grievances is the one thing you should never change, no matter what direction you go. With the gaming media by large being what it is, there’s a certain liberation to hearing/reading somebody openly speak their mind without hesitation yet with reasonable arguments, especially if it’s something that’s been troubling yourself as well. And even if you disagree, you can always appreciate the fact that they’re at least being honest and not just trying to kick up a shitstorm on purpose.

    The “bitching and moaning” though, well, I can tolerate it if not enjoy all of it. The novelty wore off some time ago for this season.. though I suppose it’s more that it all echoes my own grievances with the game a bit too much when I’ve been trying to distance myself from it, because I can’t recall a game that’s been as mentally draining as this one when trying to come into terms with all the bullshit. It’s part of the reason why I advocated skipping some of the end content, because frankly, it’s just not going to be fun for anyone as it is.

  30. Lalaland says:

    I’ve always enjoyed a touch of spleen with my SW so I’ve no issue with how this season is going if anything I feel it’s the games in question that cause most of the issues. While the ME1 series is clearly a first try effort there are so many interesting ideas and characters there was always new topics to discuss. ME2 & ME3 have few characters and fewer ideas threaded together with Gears of War shootiness that just leaves nothing for the observers to discuss while Josh does his killing. Then when we get to the talkie but the Bioware Goldun Riter effect happens and all that tedium has nothing to vent at except the game itself.

    I enjoyed all three games but trying to replay ME2 the way I had ME1 I started to rage at it so much I just didn’t enjoy playing it again (some of those renegade dialogues, yeesh). Some of the same thing is happening here, everyone knows where this one is going and that post each shooty bit we’re just left nothing but some inane nonsense choices and dialogues that will further infuriate.

    It is perhaps unfortunate that the SW crew don’t have the DLC crew member for Thessia, his dialogues with Liara are some of the best. She viewed the Protheans as space hippies of immense knowledge who enriched the galaxy, he was a soldier in their all conquering imperial army with naught but contempt for her and every other ‘inferior’ race the Protheans encountered. The back and forth of ‘Your gods were our bored scientists who amused themselves by letting you primitives meddle with biotics’ and her dawning realisation that everything she thought she knew is wrong is one of the games highlights for me.

    Of course that makes his splitting into Day 1 DLC even more grubby but that’s a rant for another day.

    • SleepingDragon says:

      Yeah, that was a low move, I think this is a really nice piece of development for Liara, and also a second trope subversion relating to protheans.

    • Otters34 says:

      Already said this, but I loathed that revelation. The fact that now EVERYTHING that was assumed at the start of the first game turns out to have been pretty much wrong is sure cool for the plot, but the protheans being a nation of conquerors and tyrants with a cold disregard for other species maddens me to no end. It’s based on the idea that OF COURSE an extremely advanced society and culture like them would have to be warlike and imperial to get so much power, because no human nation ever managed to get like that peacefully!

      It’d be great if the sole consistent part of the galaxy were the protheans as benevolent and enlightened scientists, with Javik as a symbol of their slow fall into barbarism on account of the Reapers and not as Joe Prothean.

      At least his actor was quite good.

      EDIT: Not saying it doesn’t make sense in the context of the series, but good guy aliens would be a nice change of pace.

      • Lalaland says:

        I see what you mean it does seem that every team of writers since ME1 has been overwriting what we know about the past. I enjoyed it as a subversion of an idealised vision of the ancients such as that which affected Mayan studies for years. For me it was about bursting the self congratulatory myth the Asari had been telling themselves and everyone else (the bit about a small core of Asari always knowing this was a lie though was lame, secrets just don’t last that long).

        In the case of the Maya it seems as if the pre-eminent scholar in the field, J Eric Thompson, was as influenced by his own bloody experiences in WWI and a desire for peace as he was by his research. This led him to interpret the Maya as a peace loving people wholly devoted to astronomical investigation. It took later research and translations to realise the Maya were as prone to internecine warfare and brutality as any other people in history (and possibly more so). There’s a great PBS documentary on this called ‘Cracking the Maya Code’ that I can’t recommend highly enough

        • Mike S. says:

          I’d still have preferred that the Protheans turn out to be merely as bad as the current Cycle’s Citadel government, rather than worse. The Citadel as is may be blind and authoritarian, but their rule offers species a lot of autonomy, takes its protective responsibilities somewhat seriously, and mandates some baseline sapient rights guarantees. (E.g., the ban on slavery that so ticks off the batarians.)

          Something like that, ideally with different virtues and flaws, would have been preferable to a monolithically aggressive empire that says anyone who can’t resist deserves what they get. It would still have subverted Liara’s hopelessly idealized view of them, while remaining consistent with the idea of a species that, when it was dying, tried to at least leave a warning for the ones who might come after them.

          (That the Evil Empire managed to expand further and develop technology in advance of the current pluralistic regime also carries some unfortunate implications.)

          • Otters34 says:

            The Mayan analogy is something I honestly missed and thank you for pointing it out. I understand wholly the appeal of the apparent mythically great awesome guys to turn out to be something totally different, but I don’t see what good it does by occurring here. They’re long past, and the only thing we knew for sure the protheans did(before From Ashes) was study humanity when they were at a much lower tech level, and that a group of some of their last members gave their lives to sabotage the Citadel. Pulling the curtain back now and declaring “They were just as bad as us” doesn’t make them more interesting, but less. The number of brutal space empires in sci-fi is staggering, the number of thoughtful enlightened nations that wanted the best for everyone is way, way fewer.

            And I bet this was supposed to be revealed way earlier by Mr. L’Etoile. Which would have been kind of hilarious.

  31. X2Eliah says:

    Oh, yeah, because I definitely am that guy, I’ll mention this: During the very last bossattack, Shamus rants about all the quarian weapon-attacks striking the ground and not even hitting the part that Shep lased… exactly as the main volley of quarian weapon fire hits the reaper-thing straight in the face. The first potshots were done to make it stagger back and point its face up a bit – to make the main volley more effective.

    Yeah, I am nitpicking and being grossly unfair right now, but honestly I’m just sticking with the show’s tradition :P

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Yeah shepard,we were totally hitting the ground around the reaper on purpose.We are so badass that we can hit a small target from orbit and even make it dance,old west style.”

      My problem with that cutscene is:Why were the bullets suddenly flying slow enough to be seen?While you are painting the target,we see only the explosions,which youd expect from bullets that travel faster than the speed of light*.But in the cutscene they suddenly slow down so we can see them traveling for some reason.Pick one of the two and stick with it,dont alternate.

      *Well ok,there is no way to predict what a superluminal projectile would look like,and even if it would give out just such a small explosion.

      • anaphysik says:

        Pretty sure the slugs *at most* travel at about .013c. (See “Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son-of-a-bitch in space” talk.)

        Too fast for us to see moving, but let’s not go crazy.

        EDIT: Also see codex:

        A dreadnought’s power lies in the length of its main gun. Dreadnoughts range from 800 meters to one kilometer long, with main guns of commensurate length. An 800-meter mass-accelerator is capable of accelerating one 20 kg slug to a velocity of 4025 km/s (1.3% of light speed) every two seconds. Each slug has the kinetic energy of 38 kilotons1 of TNT, enough to destroy the infrastructure of a mid-sized city and kill half a million people.

        Because of air friction, planets with atmospheres do not feel a slug’s full devastation. Atmospheric drag reduces impact force by 20% per Earth atmosphere of air.

        Alternatively, if we really crank up that velocity…. http://what-if.xkcd.com/1/

  32. baseless research says:

    Okay, 2 things.

    – Am I correct that as of now on, Josh is in uncharted territory? He hasn’t played past this point? Or what was that about?

    – Shamus, I just noticed: the blue and orange colour scheme? It’s pervasive on your site :p

    The Twenty Sided Title: gold* and blue. The comment section: metal grey, blue and orange. Links? Always blue**. You have been infected by the same disease

    *yes, it’s technically more yellow than orange.
    **nevermind that it’s an internet standard. Shut up.

    • Chris says:

      Normally we play games Josh has already completed.

      However, in Mass Effect 3’s case, he’s playing each section before we record. This week was the first where he wasn’t able to do that, which is why we had a bit more confusion/deaths than normal. It was that, or we delay ME3 by a week again, which no one wanted.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        And it was fun seeing him spend all his medigel on that one geth prime,only to have to cover in fear when 3 primes surround him.

      • Steve-O says:

        It’s the uncertainty and messing up where the laughs come from. The format of the show is fun and should remain this way. Everyone complains about “Top Gear” challenges because they are scripted, people like spontaneity. We don’t want a glorified 20 hour tech demo, we want to hear YOU guys praising, bitching and ripping games new ones depending on what they deserve.

  33. I’d love to see either a podcast or one-offs of other (possibly indie) games. Maybe Chris, Shamus, Ruts, and random guest? (since Josh is busy) Ooh, see if Randy wants to do a one-off of something being Cuftbert? You could even do bits and pieces, like an ep where you pick the worst/best Skyrim quests, or show off what you think are the coolest bits of (insert game here). It’d also give you guys a chance to do more gameplay/plot dissection. Plus, I get a lot of my gaming news from you guys (and commentors), so I’m all for hearing about (or seeing) other games.

    That said, I love Spoiler Warning, and do not want it to change. I miss Mumbles, but part of the magic (imho) is the occasional bile-spewing. Also, the ridiculous antics. Heehee, trying to break out of Rapture, Three-Dog, peasant-bowling, becoming Kaesar, ect!

    • Lalaland says:

      I wholeheartedly agree, I think a ‘hey look at this bit’ series would be nice filler for when the some of the crew are unavailable or things break on SW. There are a lot of games that do interesting stuff but would be a poor match for SW like Spec Ops: The Line. Mechanically a shooter which has proven to be a source of pure bile/black hole for tangents but there are moments and design elements that could be shown and discussed in an episode or two of a show like you proposed.

  34. SleepingDragon says:

    At least they weren’t poltergeth.

  35. Yeti says:

    “If we quit whenever we hit a tough spot, we’d never finish anything, since just about all games have a point where they settle into the mechanics and combat for a while.”

    I was replaying the n64 zelda titles (nostalgia from childhood!) and was shocked as to how /little/ sword combat there actually was. The first “real” sword fight I had in OOT was in the Forest Temple against the skeletons (stalfos?). I wonder if this is why I remember the sword play from OOT/MoM being so great: it was restrained, there was more to do than just fight stalfos. I don’t like “forced” variety, but I think many games would benefit from more variety in their gameplay so when you do give the player a SUPERAWSUMSETPIECE that showcases the main mechanic it is actually memorable.

    I know Chris criticized HL2 for having too much forced variety, but I think anyone would agree that being forced into “platforming in precarious situations/small arms combat against weak foes/a boat with a gun” is a hell of a lot better than “kill all these dudes in this room/kill all these dudes in this room/kill all these dudes in this room.”

    • Lalaland says:

      I think some of the complaints regarding HL2 was that it thought it’s variety was far more exciting than it was and so over extended what might have been interesting diversions into long winded slogs. The coast bit in the car bored me to tears and the boat was enjoyable initially but then wore out it’s welcome again.

      I think a lot of FPS developers simply underestimate the difficulty of making a car feel ‘right’. Making pretend engines accelerate at the correct rate, brakes to slow a car at the right rate and turning the right way have pages and pages of code devoted to them in driving titles. Adding all that code for a temporary diversion in an FPS would be daft so games use a wonky version of walking physics instead and boy does it show. Making the player then spend a few hours in the not-quite-car is very, very silly as it leads some players such as myself to bemoan the car handling while getting distracted form everything else in the game.

      • lasslisa says:

        Heck, just borrowing a friend’s car, it doesn’t feel “right”. It may actually just be impossible to make a car that feels right to everyone.

        • Lalaland says:

          :D Too true, I drove a Renault a while back whose gearbox felt like I was stirring porridge not selecting gears (stick shift of course, auto is pretty rare here in Euroland).

  36. Irridium says:

    So, unrelated, but it seems Mass Effect 3 has people down. So here’s some news to make you happy. XCOM Enemy Unknown was a financial success for 2K.

    http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2012/10/31/xcom-enemy-unknown-a-success-more-dlc-coming.aspx

    So there’s that.

    Also, screw the fight with the Reaper. Died 15 times before I figured out how to actually do this damn sequence.

    • Amnestic says:

      Glad to hear that, especially since Sleeping Dogs, the other recent game I’m playing, has apparently done far below expectations and projected sales. In a bad way.

    • Keeshhound says:

      That’s great news; XCOM has its share of stupid problems, but it’s still an excellent game and it’s nice to have something to point to next time someone tries to claim that older games simply won’t do well in the current market.

  37. Ateius says:

    I love the show the way it is. Each season is its own “Let’s Play!” with a cast of four commentators who are not only generally humorous, but also have a lot of really good insights into game design, and the tangents are often the most interesting parts of the discussion.

    Besides, having one clip showing some combat and a brief discussion of “the combat is really dull and repetitive” really wouldn’t carry the same weight as actually seeing Alan Wake (or Shepard, for that matter) shoot the same dudes in the face over and over and over during the course of a season. Sometimes you just need to let the game speak for itself on matters like these.

  38. rayen says:

    I sure this is all through the comments through all the seasons Where a tough spot comes up and a show change is wanted, BUT, if you want to do a podcast or something else in the vein of spoiler warning But shorter or more to the point or more edited, I am a trained video editor, working in another field. It’s my hobby now. Just sayin’ if you guys are interested in doing something like that.

    As for Spoiler Warning. Don’t care how slow it gets, Never change =D.

  39. krellen says:

    Let me get this straight: we just discovered that Reapers have a weak spot, AND that, knowing this weak spot, they are relatively* easy to destroy.

    And yet instead of taking that knowledge, disseminating it to the rest of the Citadel races, and taking the fight to the Reapers with a real chance to win, instead we have to keep building this ridiculous super weapon that we don’t even know what does?

    Only complete idiots would stick with that plan. Which I suppose does explain why the Council would pick it.

    This game makes me SO MAD, and so sad, because it didn’t have to be this way. I think at the heart of it, the problem comes down to one simple thing: they decided to make a shooter, instead of a role-playing game, and needlessly tied their hands, forcing all problems to be solved at the barrel of a gun.

    (*relative compared to the pain caused trying to destroy Sovereign.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Shooters can be really smart too(spec ops the line).They can also have coherent stories(half life).

      The problem comes from,what someone mentioned previously,that they came up with these arenas and set pieces first,and then filed in the blanks of the story later.

      • lurkey says:

        It says something about the industry when shooters is the dominant genre, and yet whenever one needs an example of smart or coherent shooter, there’re always the same two titles – Spec Ops and Half Life.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well,there are others.Theres metro 2033.And then…err…there are others,Im sure of it!

          • drkeiscool says:

            What about the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game? I heard Call of Pripyat was also pretty good.

            • lurkey says:

              S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s story isn’t anything special, although it does tell a beautiful story through atmosphere and environments. I don’t know if it counts? Plus, I wouldn’t call it a pure shooter, it’s at least half horror.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                “Plus, I wouldn’t call it a pure shooter, it’s at least half horror.”

                Ah,the pitfall of the stupidity of naming the game genres after their mechanics.

                • krellen says:

                  We name music genres after their mechanics. The only reason we don’t for film and literature is because there are no “mechanics” for those.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    No we dont.We dont name our music by the gender of the vocals,by the instruments used,or by the number of people in the band.Or are you saying that comedy is mechanics in the movies?The difference between a heavy metal love song and a rap love song are the same as between romantic comedy and romantic tragedy.Those arent different mechanics,those are different moods conveyed by the songs/movies/books.

                    And yes,in some cases the mechanic does reflect the mood,like in the found footage movies or in instrumental music,but that still doesnt mean we use mechanics as our yardstick.

                    • krellen says:

                      Music is defined by instruments used, the tempo, the style of vocals. Rap is rap regardless of subject. People don’t listen to “love songs” or “breakup songs”. They listen to pop, or synth, or rock, or jazz.

                • JPH says:

                  The problem is that some genres (shooter, platformer, racing, etc.) are named after mechanics, while others (horror, RPG, art game, etc.) are not. That’s where the confusion comes from.

              • drkeiscool says:

                Spec Ops: The Line could also be considered half horror due to the surreal horror of going crazy.

                Although I’m probably stretching that example to be argumentative.

                because i love s.t.a.l.k.e.r. so much

              • JPH says:

                It’s a shooter. The fact that it has spooky atmosphere doesn’t make it not a shooter.

                Genres can overlap. It happens a lot.

        • JPH says:

          And Metro 2033, System Shock 1 and 2, Bioshock, Deus Ex, Borderlands 2, so on and so forth.

          If you don’t think there are other examples beyond Spec Ops and Half-Life, then you aren’t looking.

      • krellen says:

        Spec Ops still required all problems to be solved at the barrel of a gun. Including the final one.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          And does that make it dumb?Or incoherent?Again,gameplay has nothing to do with how smart the story or the characters are.

          And if you want to be pedantic about it,the ending of mass effect 3 is displayed via dialogue and pushing a button.So there you have a solution that doesnt require shooting,but is dumb as hell.

          • krellen says:

            I don’t think “dialogue choices” is a particularly character-focused game mechanic, which keeps my point just as relevant. Especially since the choices are the same no matter what you do in the game.

        • Irridium says:

          I saw it as damning the fact that shooting is the only solution. Like “See this? This is what happens when ‘shoot stuff with guns’ is the only solution.”

  40. Gruhunchously says:

    The longer this game goes on, the more I’m convinced that the central intelligence that controls the Reapers isn’t really the Catalyst at all.

    It’s Wheatley.

    • SyrusRayne says:

      You know what, I’m calling this canon. This makes everything better. Literally everything about the series is better now, thanks to this comment.

      Perhaps a small timeline might be useful for those who wish to embark on this journey with myself and the honorable Gruhunchously.

      Mass Effect 1 and Portal 2 are concurrent.

      Between Mass Effect 1 and the beginning of gameplay in Mass Effect 2, the Collectors recover Wheatley. Wheatley orchestrates indoctrination of The Illusive Man, as well as everything involving the Collectors and Cerberus from then on. All the rogue cells, all the stupidity.

      Thank you, Gruhunchously. You saved the ME series.

  41. RTBones says:

    We can see clearly now the Reaper’s gone
    We can see all of the plotstacles in our way
    Gone is the laser that had made it blind
    Oh what a fright is this sight, is this trite, and pointless melee

  42. Neko says:

    If you do Sovereign’s loyalty mission, you unlock a new outfit you can select for him at the squid squad screen!

  43. l3f4y says:

    You KNOW they dislike a part of a game when Josh is complimenting something about the Mako.

  44. Artur CalDazar says:

    The quality of the show remains good. I’m having trouble watching, but that’s because I don’t want to be “that guy” correcting minor irrelevant mistakes.

  45. JJ says:

    Honestly, the parts where y’all are complaining and completely off topic are the funnest for me – and often lead to my wife checking to see if the reason I’m convulsing in my chair is laughter or heart attack.

    Maybe that makes me a sadist.

    I will certainly watch any other shows/formats you all put out but I’d be very sad to see this format go away.

  46. Steve-O says:

    I watch your show because it’s unscripted, surprising and funny. If a game makes you FEEL like bitching about it, then there’s an underlining reason for that and it should be addressed. Keep the show as it is, unedited for the most part where possible. Please.

  47. Dirigible says:

    I had another problem with Rannoch – isn’t Legion’s whole problem with the Heretics that, rather than work towards sentience themselves, they decided to take the easy way out and be uplifted by the reapers? Then Mass Effect 3 comes around and suddenly the Geth are obsessed with the Reaper upgrade, because it’s “beautiful” and “true sentience”. Maybe you could make a case for them only having problems with the servitude, not the shortcut, but this ignores the people who were “too smart/prepared/determined to be indoctrinated,” most notably, Saren. Even the dead Reaper indoctrinated and killed the Cerberus scientists, so surely there’s no way the upgrade code would be “clean”.

    • Mike S. says:

      Agreed. The problem also extends to EDI: she’s a murderously panicked AI crossed with Sovereign, and this causes… no problems whatsoever. (Where every other Reaper artifact is at the very least an indoctrination risk for nearby organics.) Any exposure to Reaper thought patterns is a trap for organics, but treated as a non-problem for synthetics, even under circumstances that should provoke intense, justified scrutiny.

  48. ghost says:

    I watch spoiler warning so I don’t have to play the games. I actually enjoy watching other people play some of these games much than I enjoy playing them. And you guys snark in the ways I would.

    So I like the long format videos of you playing the game.

  49. Sveder says:

    I don’t usually comment, although I am a fan. I have zero idea what the nay sayers are talkin about. This episode is so hilarious I can barely spell “talking” right as I’m laughing out loud at the end. Keep on doing exactly what you do and remember that the minority is usually the vocal one, and the majority is usually quiet but right.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!