Mass Effect EP20: The Last Elevator

By Shamus Posted Monday Dec 17, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 63 comments

Link (YouTube)

And so it ends. Er, again. I don’t think I have anything more to say about the game at this point. I’ve played it several times, written about it, watched the Spoiler Warning play-through twice, and referenced it time and again during our review and LP’s of the subsequent games. This might be the most analyzed game on the site by this point, which is strange to me.

Mass Effect is not really that central to my gaming identity. I’ve spent more time in Minecraft than in all of my repeated play-throughs of all of the Mass Effect games combined. In fact, it’s possible I’ve spent more time with just the Technic pack than with Mass Effect. I spent far more time with Borderlands, Morrowind, Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim, than with any Mass Effect game. I’ve spent more hours with the Half-Life franchise than with the Mass Effect franchise.

I think the controversy surrounding the games and the developer had the effect of magnifying the perceived importance of this title, at least on my site. I would like to take this time to say that whatever we think of the game, good or ill, I would officially like to move on.

Except I just remembered that I took some more potshots at the game in this week’s upcoming Walking Dead Episodes.

Okay, I hope to move on eventually. Thanks for watching.


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63 thoughts on “Mass Effect EP20: The Last Elevator

  1. zob says:

    Hey Shamus, apparently there is a new unofficial patch for System Shock 2 out there. That would be a good game for future Spoiler Warning seasons.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Correction, unofficially official since it was obviosly made by someone in possesion of original codebase.

    2. Neko says:

      I hope it’s as easy to record and stream as the Deus Ex playthrough! =P

      1. I rather enjoyed seeing Shamus’ demon-haunted computer strut its stuff. It kind of adds to his recent article about troubleshooting it.

  2. Gruhunchously says:

    After coming to mentally associate Mass Effect credit sequences with bitter disappointment and uncaring nihilism from the Spoiler Warning cast, I found the end of this episode very jarring.

  3. Tvtim says:

    Saren’s an easy fight. I’ve gotta admit, the first time I did that, I was surprised as hell that he shot himself when all the Paragon options were picked.


  4. Thomas says:

    Whats with the ME series and all the sex symbology at the end of their games?

  5. Lame Duck says:

    I’ve got to say, I’m really looking forward to watching the Fallout 3 season again.

    1. el_b says:

      ‘cant stop the signal baby!’

      even when three dog is dead :P

    2. Xanyr says:

      Agreed, it’s one of my favorite seasons

    3. StashAugustine says:

      I’ve been waiting for that for a while.

      1. James says:

        i still miss the viddler bar comments, they really did add alot to the show. but viddler made a bad business decision by taking videos that i assume don’t cost that much to host, add ads that cant be skipped, make them interactive, and then CHARGE the people who want to host videos,

        where as Google host videos ad adverts and pay the content makers some of the ad revenue (if the choose to monetize) and viddler wonders why YouTube is the largest most sucessfull most popular video hosting site.

        on a final note the technic pack is amazing, ive spent more time in that then in vanilla, and MC is one of my most played games of all time as well. in case people haven’ tried it do, its simple to install you need to have an actual MC account but its what 20 bucks.

        also Tekkkit the multiplayer version of Technic is great fun with friends. :)

        1. Thomas says:

          To be fair Viddler never had a chance. The ads and stuff didn’t really decide, Youtube is just the most popular so it’s got a lot more money, it gives better opportunity for video creators to be discovered and its much more likely to have videos you want to watch. Look at Blip, doing all sorts of cool things, arguably better than Youtube, doesn’t ban really popular accounts incorrectly, looks nicer. Has nothing like the following or money Youtube has.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:


            Id be pretty happy if blip rose enough to rival youtube,and we got some equilibrium at that point.Until a new one rises to the task,that is.

            1. Mattias42 says:

              From what I have gathered and for what my opinion is worth, Blip seems to have started to get a reputation as the more reliable tool for the professional.

              SF Debris and the whole of Channel Awesome (That Guy With The Glasses and others.) for example, have moved from YouTube to blip, simply because take-down notices aren’t treated as Fire-And-Forget to the same degree by them.

              Shamus talked about this in his article about SF Debris, (Thanks by the way, it was what led me to that show.) but automated take-down notices, 3-strikes rule and a guilty-until-proven-othervice attitude that sadly they need to have, YouTube is starting to be quite a hassle for anyone that tries to make a living through them.

              1. Thomas says:

                It’s helping, there’s a popular superhero film review guy on Youtube who now only uploads the audio to Youtube and links to Blip with the footage. But I don’t think Blip works unless you’re famous elsewhere. Didn’t Campster say he was getting something like 500 views tops on Blip? Channel Awesome must pretty much rely on their own website to redirect too.

                Still. Cardgamesftw got taken down (again =D) it’d be cool if he decided to skip the hassle and start moving stuff to Blip. Hopefully they’re still making money because of the low overhead, and they’re by far and away the best competition to Youtube (and if Blip became successful we wouldn’t even have to give our video viewing habits to Google anymore!)

                1. Mattias42 says:

                  The superhero guy I take it uses edited clips like SF Debris? Because the alternative sounds mindbogglingly stupid, legally speaking.

                  I guess the best approach if you want the visibility of YouTube, but minimize the risk of take-downs is to follow The Angry Videogame nerd and The Nostalgia Critics example. (Blanking on their real names…)

                  Basically have a YouTube page but only use it as a place to put trailers for those not familiar with the names.

                  Convoluted and inefficient, but better then having hundreds of hours of work and your livelihood go “puff”.

                  1. Thomas says:

                    Yeah edited clips. He used to use stills, which was fine, but clips are easier for him and more attractive, but Youtube pretty immediately started shutting down his videos.

                    1. Mattias42 says:

                      Huh, hadn’t even considered the clip show alternative…

                      Any chance of remembering a name? Wouldn’t mind taking a look at his work.

                      But honestly, what is it with old media and being terrified of people talking or even thinking about their stuff? Why do they think people buy merchandise and DVDs?

                      I seriously doubt it’s an futile attempt to empty the eldritch portal to the cash dimension they have in the gaping wound of unreality that used to be their wallet…

                    2. Thomas says:

                      Here’s a link
                      I enjoy the videos a lot, the reason why all the videos on the front page seem a little obscure or not very superhero is because he’s done enough of these that he’s almost run out of superhero films. If you can think of a film more than 2 years old, he’s probably reviewed it.

                      It is ridiculous the way they take things down, the only reason they probably haven’t done themselves serious harm is that people are good at getting round it and finding other outlets, but when you’ve got people going around reminding others that your 7 year old film exists and telling them why it’s interesting… it’s madness to take them down. I can understand that they want to stop people putting the whole thing online and there are so many videos they need an automated tool, but surely you could use the running time to distinguish them?

                    3. Mattias42 says:

                      A bit disjointed, but we appear to have hit the reply limit, so I’ll say thanks for the link up here instead.


                      I do completely agree on the point below though, for such clever men to be such fools…

                      *Edit*Oh, the irony…

              2. Raygereio says:

                To be fair though: blip, and the various other not-youtube videohosting servies are thankfully still relatively invisible to the various corporations.

                As far as I know youtube is the only one that’s targeted by corporations and other jerkwads that fart out take-down notices by the truckload. And once you reach that level incomming paperwork, you’re pretty much forced to just give up and automate that nonsense. Dealing with everything case-by-case would take manpower roughly equal to that of the Korean People’s Army.

                1. Vimeo was becoming a good YT alternative, until they messed up their search functions a bit.

                  Even YouTube has been screwing with how you can search. I have a number of bookmarks that search for specific things set to the old “most recent” filter, which doesn’t really exist anymore. I’m thinking that was done to cut down on people trying to locate the most recent shows, trailers, and whatever that were getting C&Ds sent to YouTube/Google.

                  1. Raygereio says:

                    Vimeo was becoming a good YT alternative, until they messed up their search functions a bit.

                    Vimeo also decided to ban videogame content back in 2008 because some “artists” couldn’t deal with Let’s Play’s being more popular then their “art”.
                    So screw Vimeo.

                    1. Mattias42 says:

                      I’ll give Blip that, aside from a few fits about people using workarounds to download videos and being a bit flaky about what constitutes a commented video, they are becoming quite a haven for LPers and reviewers.

                      That and the quality of service they have had so far has given a soft spot for them, I will admit.

    4. AJax says:

      From what I can remember of that season, it was probably the most rage-induced bile-fest out of the entire series history. And that’s saying a lot. Can’t wait!

      1. Dave B. says:

        I also remember it as the season when Josh began the trollpocalypse. The world will burn! Or not, because that would require the Incinerator.

    5. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wait,how do you know fallout 3 is next?They said its a surprise!Youve ruined the surprise!!

    6. I hope Shamus will give credit to whoever did them, but what I liked a lot about the Fallout 3 season was the opening title cards. Some must have been pretty labor intensive, taking some of the old 50’s-style art deco signs and making them spell out “Spoiler Warning.”

      I also wonder what kind of debates the videos will spark. When I watched it initially, I hadn’t read the Fallout Bible. Now that I have, I’m pretty sure a lot of the assertions made by some (mostly regarding the 1950’s motifs) aren’t correct if one considers the Fallout Bible the final word.

      Also, the ending of the series was the best of any season yet, I think.

  6. Thomas says:

    The ending was no grating for me on a rewatch, but I’ve really had my say on that so, the pacing was really nice in that whole last mission. They had nice soaky bits to make you feel powerful and then the turrets and dropship as nice challenge for the guys who weren#t quite as overpowered as you lot =D

    I had good memories of getting through all the corridors in those fights by just pointing Wrex and Garrus at the end and sitting back as they obliterated everything instantly and ate bullets like it didn’t matter.

  7. silver Harloe says:

    What the?

    I never played these, but I followed the comments vaguely and I thought I remembered how ME2 starts with your resurrection. I assumed therefore ME1 ended with your heroic sacrifice. Now I’ve seen the ending and … buh?! So 2 also starts with killing you out of hand just so it can have the resurrection? How did anyone even buy ME3?! That’s soooo crap.

    1. Thomas says:

      It was their take on the metroid-losing all your skills and armour thing

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yup,that was one of my (numerous) complaints about 2.Why kill shepard in the beginning?What does it achieve?And if you really wanted that,why not kill her at the end of me1?Whats the point of the fake out death then?

      1. Thomas says:

        I said the reason =D At the start of every Metroid game some horrible accident happens and Samus loses all her powers. They thought, we need someone to reset Shepards power level and decided that killing her would a) be very sci-fi b)tie her to Cerberus. It’s just the equivalent of ‘military records lost’ in ME1.

        And that’s why their are no story affects, why the issue is never raised it again. They did it because they thought actual death was cooler than the usual debilitating wound or whatever that explains a powerloss and were too short sighted to realise that maybe it should also have story implications

        1. Fleaman says:

          I believe that what you have described is

          A) an extraordinarily bad idea. Really just frighteningly inept.

          B) exactly what happened.

    3. AyeGill says:

      The entire franchise reeks of no-one having the slightest plan for what would happen in the next game. They’d finish this on a triumphant note, then decide they wanted to kick the next one off with your ressurection.

      1. Mattias42 says:

        I think that the start of ME2 works well, but as the series as a whole the further potential for awesome is squandered by playing it safe.

        I hate to admit it, but despite all else, the lines “Commander Shepard has been recovered. Project Lazarus will commence.” still give me shills of the good kind.
        And then Bioware have ONE tiny and SKIPPABLE conversation in the NEXT game about the hero coming back from death itself

        But that’s kinda my whole point, isn’t it? Nifty idea, piss poor or no followup. This series in seven words.

        What a shame.

  8. Hydralysk says:

    I also feel I’m sick about being sick about ME3 if that makes any sense. Though to be fair, now my eternal reaction to hearing anything kai leng related will be yelling “$@&# KAI LENG!!” no matter the context, so I may never escaped completely.

    1. Wedge says:

      One of the things that I think draws so much discussion is the fact that the ME series has been called the “Citizen Kane” of video games, or at least that it had the potential to be that. Frankly, if ME is the best video games has to offer, we should just quit now while we’re ahead. Also, it’s been so much at the forefront for me, personally, because of Spoiler Warning, and again lately because it’s December and therefore “let’s reopen every old discussion that happened this year” season.

      I feel you though–I’ve said my peace on ME3 and the series as a whole, I’ve bitched all the bitches I have to bitch, and it’s time to move on to better things. Like The Walking Dead! The Walking Dead is better things.

      1. Hydralysk says:

        I’ll heartily agree to that, TWD is my personal game of the year, though I’m going through Metro 2033 (2010 I know) and I’ve got to say I haven’t had such a fun time in an FPS since HL2. The atmosphere they build in that game is amazing.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Frankly, if ME is the best video games has to offer, we should just quit now while we're ahead.”

        Heck no.Not even at the time.Yes its a great game,but it was nowhere near as good,or as impactful as half life 1 or starcraft 1.

  9. LunaticFringe says:

    I think that ending scene with Udina really shows how they had no idea what they were planning for the sequels. It’s really odd to hear stuff like ‘the other races are scared, they’ve never faced a threat like this’ and Anderson’s speech after playing Mass Effect 2. By the second game they just blame the geth, send Shepherd to deal with ‘pockets of resistance’, and upped Citadel security a little bit (not enough to stop Legion from entering though).

    1. James says:

      on the legion entering note i just did it recently, for comedy.

      you speak to citadel customs who talks about being cautious about geth infiltration (legion is stood 2 ft from me at the time)
      legion then says “Geth do not infiltrate”
      and we have a genuine 3 minuet thing where the entire citadel fails a spot check on a geth, its unintentionally hilarious, because legion joins you so late in the game devs must have not thought people who actually go the the citadel with legion, aside from the throwaway conversation most people will miss. and this is hardly the worst crime the game makes. just a funny one

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        I’d be kinder to it if the game hadn’t hammered in the whole ‘the Citadel was attacked by the geth, Sovereign was a geth dreadnought’ plot point. Though to be fair this more stems from the Mass Effect series’ issue of ‘every institution is run by idiots and act like idiots (even ones the writers are trying to make super-serious and competent like Cerberus)’.

      2. anaphysik says:

        Legion was actually supposed to be recruitable WAY earlier in the game than he ended up being. (Probably all squadmates were to be available at any point, as well, except that got screwed by multi-disk requirements on the consoles.)

        Plus, if they really didn’t think anyone would have seen that, they almost assuredly wouldn’t have written it. Only a few rare easter-egg-type things (e.g. “Duckpocalypse” in Episode 3 of the Walking Dead) get made even though very few will see them; that Legion moment did *not* feel like one of those.

      3. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Geth do not intentionally infiltrate”

        It was a good joke at the time,but later it just became a testament of “These people are bloody morons”.*sigh*

    2. Thomas says:

      It was incredibly stupid of them to let the story diverge that much. How on earth did they ever expect to write a trilogy where humanity may or may not have declared partial war on the other races by the second game?

      I mean look at KotoR and ME1, there is almost zero long-term divergence in either game. In KotoR whenever you do something drastically different, it’s always isolated in a pocket. So you save or enslave the wookies, but that doesn’t greatly affect how the questline plays out, any consequences are only shown in a change of NPCs at the end and it then has zero affect on the rest of the story. It won’t get more than mentioned. And then right at the end, they have budget for maybe one hour of game where the stories diverge between the two.

      And in ME1 you basically don’t even have that. Presumably they spent their full budget, but even with that they basically make a 15 hour game(sidequests=bulk and could have practically been procedurally generated) without even devoting any resources to divergent storylines.

      and then they were going to try and write something where choosing the council was a meaningful choice?

  10. Kian says:

    I think the reason ME has a perceived impact so far beyond it’s actual relevance is the tragedy of missed opportunity it represents. The original was really an amazing game, despite some shortcomings, and attracted an audience that Bioware didn’t expect.

    The second game was a better game, mechanically, but it dropped the ball on several counts.

    The third just continued the decline and finally murdered the franchise.

    There were standout moments on the second and third games, of course, but the main plot was a huge letdown. Think just how many games, in today’s age of gaming, allow you to port saves? Mass Effect did take some big risks, but the guys at Bioware, for whatever reason, just couldn’t deliver on everything. And on some counts they actually retreated from controversy, as if it was a bad thing.

    The first game had one inoffensive nude scene, then the second did away with nudity and only hinted at the sexy times, and the third had people showering in their underwear. The first tried to innovate with a limitless ammo system, while the second and third went for the tried and true methods.

    Still, at the end of the day, I’m glad Bioware did it and managed to finish it. It’s too bad the studio had to close and will never produce a game again. ME4doesnotexistshutup.

  11. Jokerman says:

    Are you banning anything Mass Effect from this point on? :D

    1. el_b says:

      Depends on how bad the next game is I guess. The reason why it’s the most mentioned game on the site is that it has the most series dedicated to it and they are amongst the longest series with Multiple very deep storylines.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    In retrospect,the ending of this episode is hilarious.”Oh how brave of this game to give you such a bi choice in the end,how on earth will they follow up on that?”,and then they just say “fuck it”,and disregard everything.Priceless!

    1. Wedge says:

      I forgot about the whole “it’s going to be an all-human council now!” if you let the council die, and how that got swept under the rug in the first five minutes of ME2, with some BS about picking councilors for other species that could be kind of “puppets” for human interests but never, ever, even once in the entire two games acted that way.

      I apologize for the run-onedness of that sentence.

  13. fawstoar says:

    Fallout 3! Hooray! The one season I have yet to watch…

  14. newdarkcloud says:

    Interesting, so Casey Hudson was always the Project Lead. I wonder what triggered this shift from ME1 to “Artistic Integrity.” From what I’ve seen of interviews and the like, it wasn’t the departure of Drew Karpyshyn.

    Also, I think it’s interesting to see how different your opinion of the series and Bioware are from this to now. Really shows a dramatic shift in expectations and opinions.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      Going back to 2004 or so, all the comments are “Oh, Obsidian’s a bunch of hacks who can’t possibly stand up to Bioware.”

      1. JPH says:

        I still agree with that sentiment.

        1. Indy says:

          And yet I feel Fallout: New Vegas was better in story, scope and gameplay than any recent Bioware game (ME3, DA2, TOR).

          1. JPH says:

            I disagree.

            And to clarify, I’m not a fan of Bioware. But I’m even less a fan of New Vegas.

        2. StashAugustine says:

          They do different things- Obsidian does open-ended stories with deep plots, Bioware does characters and melodrama. I’m fortunate enough to like both.

      2. Lord of Rapture says:

        Ever since playing KOTOR 1 and 2 back to back, I was waiting for the day for the general sentiment to reverse against Bioware. Unlike most who saw the ME3 ending, I could only feel a sense of warmth and delight seeing Bioware’s good will crumble around them.

  15. wonch says:

    “I’m really looking forward to Mass Effect 3”


    1. In the spirit of Chris’ retrospective “reviews” of his early reviews (at least HL2), it’d be funny if the Spoiler Warning crew would go back and find all the things they said that now drip with irony or were the exact opposite of expectation. :)

  16. Ramsus says:

    Spoiler (I have forgotten how to do spoilers here again)

    Arcanum is another game where you can talk the main villain into committing suicide. And personally I found it a bit better than the way Fallout or Mass Effect handled it.

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