As promised, we’re dredging up THIS crap again. The column is long, but I could fill double the space on the same topic and not run out of things to say. The problem with Mass Effect isn’t “the end”. The problem is a massive shift in tone, genre, gameplay, and lore that happens gradually throughout the story. Some of us manage to hold on longer than others, and a few people manage to hold on to the very end, so when the dust settles none of us can agree on the exact point where it all went wrong.
When did Mass Effect fall apart for you?
- The death of Shepard at the start of Mass Effect 2.
- Railroaded to working with Cerberus and all the attendant dialog shenanigans to make that happen.
- The focus on “building a team” of badasses to address a problem that can’t be solved through strength of arms.
- A Reaper is now personally interested in Shepard and taunting him/her like a teenager. “This hurts you.”
- The nonsensical treatment and frustrating conversation with the Virmire survivor.
- The moon logic of why The Illusive Man sent Shepard to fall for an obvious trap.
- The terminator final boss of ME2.
- The false choice at the end of ME2 that renders the entire game pointless.
- At the start of Mass Effect 3, when the team you built is completely scattered, thus rendering the previous game even more pointless.
- “We fight or we die.”
- We just found the plans for the most important artifact in the galaxy to stop the Reapers. And it’s on Mars.
- Kai Leng.
- The dream sequences.
- Cerberus is somehow fielding a massive army capable of attacking points all over the galaxy all at once.
- The Citadel moved to Earth? WTF?
- We somehow built a huge weapon and we don’t know what it does.
- The final conversation with The Illusive Man.
- The conversation with the Starchild and the revelation of the purpose (LOL) of the Reapers.
- The final choice.
- The final cutscene.
I re-played ME1 right before ME2, so for me the tonal clash was really abrupt. If it had been years between games, then it might have taken me longer to notice. And if I hadn’t played ME1 at all then I might have accepted the whole game. And if I skipped the first two games then I might have been just fine until the Starchild.
And when the story collapses, how bad does that hurt? Maybe you’re just annoyed that you played a videogame with a kinda dumb story. Or maybe you’re livid, because you’re incredibly invested in this story and this particular flavor of sci-fi space opera is so rare that there literally isn’t a single modern AAA alternative.
This debate isn’t going anywhere.
Having recently played Unrest, I want you to realize I’m completely serious when I say this: I’d love to see someone throw a couple of million dollars at doing something along the lines of Mass Effect 1, and I want them to put Adam Decamp on the writing staff. This fountain of perpetual nerdrage smells like a business opportunity to me.
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