Mass Effect 2: New Game

By Shamus
on Feb 5, 2010
Filed under:
Game Reviews

I’m going to be playing through Mass Effect 2, and spewing running commentary into Twitter. Later I’ll take those entries and use them as a framework for a more comprehensive review. I did this with Dragon Age and it really worked out well. BioWare games are so large and so dense with stories that a lot of the smaller details can get lost in the shuffle, and I think Twitter is a good way of capturing this stream of reactions.

(Note that you don’t need a Twitter account to follow along. This RSS feed will deliver the goods without you needing to create an account.)

While I will avoid big plot-twisting spoilers, I will mention characters I meet and locations I visit. And I’ll be spoiling Mass Effect 1 stuff freely. If you want a complete information blackout, you should probably avoid reading my Twitter. Unfollow me if you must. I won’t be offended. I know how it is.

The first question most people will ask is about what “save” I’m using. So let’s talk about that.

You can begin the game by importing your save game from Mass Effect 1 and thus begin the story with all of the crucial events set to your own personal version of the Mass Effect continuity. Which character did you romance? Which characters survived? Did you go for the Paragon or space-jerk behavior? When presented with the ham-fisted binary choice to genocide a species or unleash them to bedevil future generations, which did you choose? And what happened to the council at the end? These were important decisions. They essentially form the backstory for your particular Shepard.

Except, you can’t do this if you played the original game on the Xbox and the sequel on the PC. If you no longer have your save game you will be handed a “default” Shepard where someone else has made these decisions for you. Did you foolishly change computers in the last two years? Ah well. You probably left your saves behind. (Oh? You didn’t change computers? Then your computer will probably have trouble running the game.)

The developers had a feature (during testing) that allowed you to manually set all of the conditions at the start of a new game, but they removed it before release because they hate their fans and desire to sow frustration and misery. So we must resort to hacks and workarounds to compensate for their sabotage.

You can go to one of the save file repositories and scavenge for a game with the right combination of decisions. I will point out that the possible permutations are numerous, and even finding one with the correct core decisions can be a challenge. And if you broke from the pure paragon / renegade paths and forged a trail through the middle ground, your search will be that much harder. Check out the decisions that impact the second game. A quick examination of the decisions reveals that there are about 5,566,277,615,616 (5 trillion) possible combinations. (Ignoring the fact that some combinations aren’t possible, like NOT recruiting Wrex but then having Wrex die. Still, we could trim out those possibilities and still end up in the millions. Even just the crucial plot points will be in the hundreds or thousands.)

What is with you, BioWare? Do you think people wouldn’t care about what they did in the first game? Did you really expect everyone to back up their saves and stick to the original platform? Why would you remove such a crucial feature? A player without Mass Effect 1 saves will be locked into using the “default” path and thus be unable to explore other versions of the world. It walls them off from a lot of content and greatly reduces the replay value of the game.

Fie.

Here is the game I’m using:

Name: John Shepard
Background: Spacer War Hero
Class: Vanguard
Level: 60

* Pure paragon, no renegade points at all.
* Saved Kaidan.
No romance.
Kept Wrex alive.
* Saved the Council.
* Saved the Rachni Queen.
Treated Conrad Verner nicely, and persuaded him via Charm.
Completed UNC: Asari Diplomacy.
Returned body of Nirali Bhatia to her husband.
Completed all Feros colonist quests, killed none of the colonists.
Made Garrus Paragon-esque.
* Picked Anderson for Council.

* Denotes a decision I would have tackled differently if I hadn’t been obliged to use someone else’s save.

So…

Time to start a new game.

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A Hundred!207There are 127 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Avilan the Grey says:

    I have been digging through the save games online since I do not own ME1. I found a few that I liked in theory but it seems I have to use the name… And for some reason all the save games I like have names for Shepard I can’t stand.

    Oh well.

    (Edit: Come to think of it, is there a save game editor for ME1?)

  2. Borislav says:

    Well good luck to you then. I started the game with the default “choices” not because I didn’t keep my saves ( I didn’t actually check ), but because I wanted to play more of an evil jerk in this one. The game is very interesting, although I played it 2-3 times and haven’t finished it yet, but I still don’t like the skill system they used. If every character had a unique set of abilities, the game would be much more interesting imho ( currently, they have only 1, and it is unlocked after a quest it seems ).

  3. acronix says:

    I wonder if the decitions of ME1 carry on ME2 only in the shape of dialogue lines. That would make all the decitions you took in the previous game pretty much useless. On the other hand, it would serve well to the ambient and make the player feel like their decitions really had repercutions.

  4. Avilan the Grey says:

    Acronix: As far as I understand it, some decisions you made in ME1 does matter in ME2. Plus, you get a significant level and money bonus (starting lvl 5 instead of 1) if you import a character.

  5. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Wait. Can you or can’t you carry over previous saves?

  6. Avilan the Grey says:

    Can.

    (and look at that, I forgot about the new “reply to this” feature. Too much computer games too little sleep.)

  7. Nyaz says:

    Ha, I actually dusted off ME1 and played through it once more before ME2 was released. I didn’t bother with the mind-numbingly boring sidequests, though (in ME1, that is… sidequests in ME2 are okay) just so I could have a character to import.

    • Jarenth says:

      Yeah, I did this as well. Played through Mass Effect 1 in… I think four days. And that’s including a few sidequests as well. But hearing tales of your previous exploits on Galaxy News Radio / mentioned by random NPC’s made it all worth it.

      Plus no way in HELL would I have saved Ashley. So, there’s that.

      • DM T. says:

        I simply waited with ME1 until the price dropped to just under $15 and then made the purchase.
        1st and only run-through went on October ’09 so I still have the saves on my machine, though I need to reinstall Vista :P

  8. Adam says:

    I thought you got the choice to determine the big plot points (Wrex, Ashley vs. Kaidan, saving the Council) when starting a character fresh? Granted, there’s a ton of flavor that comes from the side quest completion, but I thought there was at least _some_ flexibility.

    • Avilan the Grey says:

      Unfortunately, as Shamus writes, they disabled this feature for the Evulz.

      • Adam says:

        Talk about a bait and switch! Every review I’ve seen mentions it as a feature!

        • Tobias says:

          And it is there! Well, kind of.
          After the first hour or so (that is, after the tutorial), Miranda asks you a few questions about the events in ME1 to determine “if your memory is intact”. At that point, you can even deviate from your own save game.
          However, these questions only touch basic decisions, I think it’s only three – which crew member you chose to let die, whom you picked for council and something else, I don’t remember right now.

          • Avilan the Grey says:

            Is that in the shuttle? Or does she ask again later?
            In the shuttle you can only answer normally AFAIK, you can’t change anything.

          • Tobias says:

            I didn’t try, because obviously I wanted to carry my actual decisions over (and I remember all of them because I couldn’t deviate from them even in ONE playthrough!). But it seemed to me that the game interprets your answers in that scene as choices.

          • empty_other says:

            I got 4 questions, where the 3 first questions she answered herself based on my savegame, then a fourth question about whom i picked for council where i could choose, even though i am pretty sure i answered that at the end of ME1.

  9. Volatar says:

    Shamus… apart from level (10 higher than me) and class (I was soldier) that is 100% exactly the same as MY play of ME1!

  10. Link says:

    Having imported my old character from ME1, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of the minor details and sidequests get a mention or a reference in the new game.

    Without spoiling too much (hopefully), these include:
    – What you did about Fist
    – What you did to the asari scientist working on indoctrination in Virmire
    – How you handled Helena Blake
    – How you handled the administrator on Noveria
    – Whether you allowed the rogue biotics to kill the doctor responsible for their L2 implant problems
    – Whether you chose to save the colonists in Bring Down the Sky
    – Email from various characters you interacted with in the original

    Sometimes the characters show up again letting you chat with them, other times you get bits of news regarding the events you helped shape in the first game.

    Granted these are only small things, but it really helps foster a sense of continuity when a lot of these details are acknowledged in the sequel.

    • pinchy says:

      That was actually one of the more annoying things for me. I like how some people from the past showed up, but it seemed like everywhere I visited someone would come up to me and say “Hey Shepard you won’t remember me but on xyz you saved me from some sort of horrible fate”.

      There’s a galaxy of millions of people/blue people/other aliens out there and it seems that everyone knows me personally, if it was like “hey that’s the guy I saw on the news” then I have no issue as that is plausible, but there was just too many (largely irrelevant) people returning for no other reason than to say hi or to get me to perform yet another minor task that is distracting me from my mission of saving the galaxy.

  11. neothoron says:

    I guess the reason for Bioware not to allow new players to choose the beginning is that these choices do not make sense for a newcomer.
    “Did you kill Wrex on Virmire?” “What’s a Wrex, and why should I care?”

    • Slycne says:

      They could have easily provided default options for that though, just like how you can choose between the default appearances or customize your own.

      • Veloxyll says:

        They could also have let you choose after you play through the game once. But nope, if you don’t have Mass Effect 1, you get just the single set of starting conditions, missing out on all the other choices.

  12. k3rni says:

    I decided to buy ME2 for my new and shiny Xbox, after playing the previous one on PC. So, no import for me at all.

    I went through the krogan part of the game just yesterday, and it seems the game decided that Shepard’s past self killed Wrex (which he didn’t). Any way to change this? Perhaps I haven’t paid too much attention to the shuttle dialogue. Oh well.

  13. Raygereio says:

    Conrad Verner is bugged in ME2, by the way. He always says you shoved a gun in his face.
    Then again; the man is two fries short of a happy meal, so maybe it’s not a bug, why knows.

    Oh, Shamus concerning your drive-by about the system requirements ;). If you’re computer could run ME1 – unless smoke started coming out of it, or something – you’ll be able to run ME2.
    In fact, ME1 felt like a bad port as I had a lot of slowdown issues. ME2 runs a lot smoother and only feels like a port because of the controls.

    • Shamus says:

      Point taken on the system requirements. You know, I just sort of assumed 2 years=higher system requirements. I didn’t actually look it up.

      It’s really cool if they didn’t ratchet up the requirements.

    • Nyaz says:

      I totally agree with this. My computer ran ME1 much worse than it did ME2, I had to run on medium/high at 1440×900 to get it to not go “WAHH WAHH WAHH”, whereas ME2 runs fine on high at 1680×1050. A very pleasant surprise!

    • 6thfloormadness says:

      I never had any issues with ME1 on my computer (but then I have a gaming rig) but I thought it was a better computer port than ME 2 due to interface issues. It is easier to issue commands and choose abilities when you pause in the first game.

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, ME1 ran like crap on my laptop but ME2 is pure pleasure on the same system. :)

    • pinchy says:

      I was pleasantly surprised on this too, compared to ME1 on the same PC ME2 ran better, didn’t have weird graphical issues and didn’t crash at every cut scene in the last third or so of the game.

  14. John says:

    Fortunatley for me I’m a meticulous save-game saver. Mainly because windows can crash easy, but also for machine switching purposes. I actually did the first mass effect on a friends computer as my own machine at the time couldn’t run it. So I’m all set on that front, having a blast playing through with my Soldier character from ME1, and the impacts on the story are numerous and is definitely adding a lot more depth for me. 20 hours in right now and loving it.

    2nd playthrough I’ll make a new custom character, probably a Vanguard. I can’t believe they get Shockwave biotic power, thats just nasty. (I have it maxed on Jack right now and its awesome.) Plus like ME1 you can add a custom talent skill to a new game start, so that should be great.

    Regarding what you said about the choice from ME1 thing if starting a new ME2 game, I think they do. Miranda and Jacob question you about ME1 events while you are all riding along in a shuttle, and you have multiple choice answers. And they asked me 3 questions, even with the import, before saying it was silly. Maybe with a new game they ask you more questions? I don’t know, haven’t tried it yet.

    • Avilan the Grey says:

      I think it’s the opposite; without imported savegame, you just get TWO questions, no options except “Paragon answer” “Snarky Answer” and “Shut up I ain’t answering your dumb questions”.

  15. Tobias says:

    I’m really glad that a) I knew save games could be imported before there was any chance for them to be deleted and b) Mass Effect is a real paragon as far as the location is concerned: As any proper Windows program should, it stores your savegames in the user folder, more precisely, in “My Documents”, which happens to be a location I backup anyway. (The downside of this practice is of course a cluttered “My Documents” folder, but I can live with that)

    Btw I love it that you’re twittering your comments again, Shamus. It really felt like I was missing out on something fun when you did it with Dragon Age – now that I’m already 20 hours in the game (and have a marathon ahead of me when I get back from work in a few hours), I’ll always know what you’re talking about.

  16. Valaqil says:

    Shamus, you have “Saved Kaidan” italicized, but no asterisk preceding. Was that one a decision you would change, or not?

    Since you chose a file with heavy Paragon points, I’m curious: Why would you be (half/mostly/leaning/etc) Paragon but not save the Queen/Council? (Obviously, I would expect most people would rather have nuance than a walking cliché, but I’m still interested in the reasoning.)

    • Shamus says:

      Re: Kaiden: Fixed. Thanks.

      On the council:

      I was never all that crazy about the council to begin with, from a paragon standpoint. They have incredible power and not much accountability. They weren’t “evil”, but I saw the council itself as alignment-neutral.

      In the final battle: In-character, you couldn’t be sure you were going to win against the Reaper. And prolonging the battle would cost the lives of thousands more civilians. (The population of citadel is in the millions.)

      So… trade the lives of many many civilians in order to save the lives of the three leaders more or less responsible for things getting this bad in the first place? Eugh. That doesn’t sound very paragon to me.

      Of course, out-of-character you could see this as a simple choice to spare or abandon the council, but in-character I think letting them go was the right thing to do.

      • Nyaz says:

        I only saved the Council I could see them be all awkward as I said “I TOLD YOU SO!” to their faces. Bwahaha.

        Oh. Right. Killed thousands. Uhm… ahem. Woops.

      • nilus says:

        Yeah I had the same issue. It seemed like blowing up the council was the right choice, although the fact that leads to the humans taking over always seemed odd to me.

        Oh look our leaders are dead, okay I guess you guys can run things now.

        • krellen says:

          It’s more like, “Okay guys, your fleets have been destroyed. Ours is still intact. We’re taking over, and there’s really not a lot you can do about it.”

          By not saving the Council, you pretty much ensure the military dominance of the Alliance.

          • Valaqil says:

            There’s the military dominance, sure, but one other explanation I’ve seen mentioned is that the other races “look up to” the humans for their bravery/sacrifices by focusing on destroying Sovreign at any cost. I can’t remember how well-supported that is by in-game dialogue though. (It’s been a while since ME1.)

      • swimon says:

        Actually you don’t just save 3 people by saving the council there are roughly 100 000 people on the ascension (which is more than the number of humans that die saving it). The problem is just that you find that out in ME2 ^^.

        Also: you would save Ashley? But she was sooooo boring, just a human marine stereotype with no defining characteristics, sure Kaidan wasn’t exactly a hoot either but I liked the way he played off Joker in the beginning and he had a much more enjoyable voice :P.

        • Bret says:

          She’s named after Ash from evil dead, has a nice character arc depending on your paragonness, and quotes poetry.

          Sounds like a decent enough character from all I’ve heard, if you don’t mind some human centricism.

      • It’s mentioned in ME2 that the Destiny Ascendant, the ship the Council was aboard, had a crew in the tens of thousands. When it comes down to numbers, I’d say it’s pretty even.

        EDIT: Ninja’d. How does that happen on a blog?

  17. nilus says:

    Just read you twitter feed. Why are you looking at Miranda jaw anyways?

    Look forward to reading your twitter feed on this(can’t wait till you get to here Mordin sing), are you still going to do a some up review of the game when you are done.

  18. Matthew Allen says:

    Shamus, why not Anderson for the council? Udina was an ass the entire first game.

    Even if Udina was a politician, I’m still vindictive. *grin*

    • Shamus says:

      I forget why I made this choice. Udina is just as short-sighted as the council.

      I guess I didn’t want to see Anderson go into politics? Hm.

      • krellen says:

        Even in my Renegade run I picked Anderson, because I hated Udina. He was ineffectual, arrogant, and, worst of all, distrusted Shepard.

        I can’t fathom why anyone would pick him.

        • nilus says:

          I actually think Anderson is the renegade choice for the end. Udina is a jerk but hes a politician. He is the one who should be on the council, even if hes a jerk.

          Anderson would much rather stay in the military.

          • krellen says:

            Udina might be a politician, but he’s a bad politician. Not as in evil, but as in performance – his ability to compromise and get things done is lacking.

            Military leaders often go on to become great politicians. Many of the US’s greatest Presidents and Congress member were former military leaders. Anderson’s already out of the non-political side of the military by the end of ME anyway (you have his ship, he’s been assigned to bureaucracy on the Citadel, etc.) So it’s not like you’re “sparing” him by not picking him.

  19. Dev Null says:

    Wait, but aren’t you currently playing 1? Or at least kibbitzing over someone’s shoulder as they play 1 and recording it for video? You could use that save game…

    I think I’ll play 1 again, finding any downloadable content that I might have missed the first time round, and use that save to play 2 when the price drops…

  20. Factoid says:

    Had to unfollow. Playing through the game at a snail’s pace due to time constraints. No spoilers for me.

    Let us know when you’re done so that we can safely re-follow.

  21. Spider Dave says:

    I saw saving the rachni less as dooming future generations and more as giving an extinct race another chance at survival after they were hunted to extinction. So, yah know, right on board there.

    I noticed early in the game, Jacob and Miranda (and maybe the Illusive Man too-memory fails me) ask you some questions regarding past events, ie Why did you kill Kaidan, why did you destroy the council, etc. Since I was playing my old save, there weren’t many options, but is it possible that if you aren’t, you can choose responses in that conversation in such a way that you choose your background? It seems reasonable to me- it happened in Kotor 2 with a conversation with Atton.

    • Rick W says:

      If there’s a way to change history through your responses, I didn’t see it.

      After that conversation, when I realized the game was just going to assume I let the Council die, I decided it would be worth replaying the tutorial again to import my save.

      I’m so glad I did, although one thing seemed to default to the Intimidate/Renegade option anyway, although I’m sure I didn’t do that and probably used the Charm/Paragon option.

      And the game made me regret my one Renegade decision.

  22. GTB says:

    Finally.

    For the record i’m probably in the minority but I was severely disappointed in this one, especially after how much I liked the first one. Too many sweeping changes to something I thought was pretty much perfect in the first place (with some minor exceptions).

    • krellen says:

      When you figure in the roughly 60-70% of people that will say any game is great no matter what the game is, the split on “like/don’t like” is a bit more even.

      • nilus says:

        Krellen, honestly I would say its more like 60-70% of people on the internet will complain about a new game no matter how good it is. Especially if its significantly changed.

        The best gauge is Meta Critic which is showing a 97% positive. The Lowest review listed is a 75% and the 2nd lowest is a 90%. I’d say the split is mostly likes.

        • krellen says:

          Oh, please. Shamus has many times addressed the culture of reviews. They really don’t prove anything.

          Actually, if anything, it proves the existence of those that will say a game is great no matter what.

      • Sheer_Falacy says:

        What? That’s silly. You could argue that most people won’t play a game unless they think they’ll like it, but there are many, many games that people don’t like.

        It did better on metacritic than ME1 (astoundingly well on metacritic, actually), so yeah, you’re in the minority.

        And there are games with 60 on metacritic and lower.

      • Avilan the Grey says:

        Krellen, I am sorry but this (just like your posts about FO3) sounds more like sour grapes than anything. You don’t like the game, so you assume / pretend everything that points to the majority loving the game is somehow “fake”.

        You have the right to not like something. You have the right to state your opinion. But this attitude is just so… No Mutants Allowed.

        • krellen says:

          My point is that the majority loves just about every game – especially games from major publishers.

          The gaming population simply is not very discerning; they’ll consume anything. Therefore, I find the idea of trying to marginalise people that see flaws as whitewash, at best. It’s like our opinions don’t matter simply because we’re in the minority.

          Considering this is a blog for an outspoken gamer who isn’t particularly mainstream, that attitude seems quite out of place.

    • swimon says:

      I felt like that at first too, mostly it was minor gripes. The only major complaint was that there were no real hub world that give you that nice insight into their soceity like how the citadel worked in ME1. I haven’t found anyone that is as good as the citadel yet but Illium is close.

      Also once you get a bit further with the crew they more than make up for the annoying combat changes and mission layouts. Mordin is a really interesting character and Thane is simply unparralleled by any game character.

      • krellen says:

        I fully admit to loving everything about Mordin. I thought I was going to hate him when I met him, but his loyalty mission turned me around.

        But a few good characters does not make a great game.

    • Shamus says:

      I can certainly see where GTB and Krellen are coming from. Even though I think I like ME2 better (pending time to finish and digest the game) it IS a massive change.

      Games ARE their gameplay, and changing the gameplay means alienating some people. It’s unavoidable. I loved Prince of Persia. Loved the story. But you could take that same awesome story and put it into (say) an RTS game, and it wouldn’t do much for me.

      • krellen says:

        It’s not just the gameplay. I have problems with the story, too. Especially the prominence of Cerberus, considering how many of the side missions I did in ME1 were related to tracking them down, eliminating their cells and exposing their activities.

        • Taellosse says:

          See, that totally worked for me. It takes the story to a darker, more morally ambiguous place, certainly. But it was also perfectly believable. And it is regardless of the type of Shepard you’re playing–if a Paragon, you’re working with Cerberus with the utmost reluctance because they’re the only way you can get the resources you need to do the job you know needs doing–the Council and the Alliance are too busy being in denial to give you more than token support. You’re given the chance to remain continually suspicious of the Illusive Man’s goals and agenda right through the end. If you’re a Renegade, you don’t much care what they were doing before–stopping them was just a job before, and you don’t really have an issue with their methods anyway. Your goals are aligned now, so you may as well team up. And if you’re playing someone in the middle, you can, as usual, pick a bit from both columns.

          • krellen says:

            The story could have worked, had BioWare actually had one of their good writers doing it.

            As it is, the introduction of Cerberus in ME2 is weak and quickly swept under the rug (“We’re with Cerberus” “Why aren’t you trying to kill me?” “Well, we’re not.” “Okay.” Seriously. That’s it.)

            A Paragon Shepard’s reluctance to work with them is weakly displayed, if at all, until the end of the game, and the case for “no one else will help” is so poorly made as to be laughable. By the time you get around to asking anyone for help, you’re already apparently entrenched enough with Cerberus that they refuse to help because you’re with Cerberus. It’s a plot built entirely on circular logic – you’re with Cerberus because no one will help, and no one will help because you’re with Cerberus.

            And that ignores the fact that the Collector threat is given absolutely no build. You wake up from being dead (which, for the record, is a real bad way to start a game unless you’ve got the concept of Torment going for you) and there’s these Collectors and you have to do something about them right now, and Cerberus just so happens to be there to do it.

            In ME1, Saren and the Reapers are introduced slowly, giving the player at least some lead-in to recognise the threat. You’re going to Eden Prime to make a pick-up, and Saren attacks. There is at least some justification for Shepard to want to do something about Saren. That same justification is not given in regards to the Collectors.

            Even when you learn it was the Collectors that attacked the Normandy in the first place, no exposition is made to reflect upon that, no comment is given. It’s completely ignored.

            The opening should have been at least ten to fifteen minutes, including something identifying the attacker as Collector to justify Shepard’s need to move against them.

            And that’s assuming that killing off the PC in the first five minutes is a good plan in the first place. Which it isn’t. BioWare doesn’t have the writing chops to pull off Planescape: Torment.

          • krellen says:

            Actually, it’s even worse than I described, when you consider what Cerberus is responsible for in the first game. Here’s a list of their “great deeds”:

            1. Lured Alliance Marines to their death by Thresher Maw. Twice. And if you pick “Sole Survivor”, one of those times was your squad.
            2. Murdered an Alliance Admiral. Kahoku was killed by lethal injection.
            3. Tortured Alliance Marines. Corporal Toombs had Thresher Maw acid injected in his veins.
            4. Destroyed an Alliance Colony. Dragon’s Teeth were planted in the Chasco colony, converting the entire population into Husks.

            The fact that Cerberus is directly responsible for the death of your team if you picked the “Sole Survivor” background yet the game absolutely does not address this with even a single line (my one complete play-through was with a Sole Survivor) is a huge oversight.

            Between ME1 and ME2, Cerberus somehow went from terrorist organisation engaged in dangerous research adversely affecting humanity to shadow organisation with a strong pro-humanity agenda. ME2 has a different head writer than ME1, and it’s clear the guy they got has no clue what the hell he is doing.

          • Nalano says:

            I played an Sole Survivor femshep in the first Mass Effect. I destroyed three Cerberus research facilities, discovered three colonies turned into husks by Cerberus, and killed a scientist in cold blood for what they did to me on Akuze (thus sparing Cpl Toombs jail time). I hated and continue to hate Cerberus in Mass Effect 2.

            The main point as to why I’m working for them is simple: They brought me back to life. Like, from the dead.

            That doesn’t mean I trust them. Indeed, there’s many opportunities to undermine their efforts in the game: Half the N7 side-missions have possible “report to Anderson on Cerberus misdeeds” resolutions. Also, without giving away spoilers, you can really thumb your nose at the Illusive Man during the main story.

            But as for the galaxy’s distrust?

            Your ship’s crew is ambivalent at best about Cerberus or work for Cerberus not because they agree with Cerberus’ principles but because they’re tired of Alliance red tape or are ardent defenders of your principles. Practically everybody you bring from Mass Effect 1 onto your ship is on your ship because you’re you and go out of their way to point out that they view you and Cerberus as separate entities – especially your helmsman, your doctor and your engineers.

            Most of your squad also hates Cerberus – Tali and Jack in particular – and the only one on your squad who would defend Cerberus is Miranda… who I hate with a passion. And whom a number of others have severe interpersonal issues with. Even the most pragmatic ex-STG Mordin immediately destroys all bugs in his lab.

            Anderson defends you to the Council to the point where they keep you essentially above the law, despite the fact that you’re working for a known terrorist organization and the primary human threat to the Council.

            Cerberus didn’t change. It’s still doing mad science (Jack) and assassinating people (the Quarians). But terrorist organizations have political ends – always did. And Cerberus is basically the money of xenophobic survivalists – and it was this in Mass Effect 1, too. (That’s why it’s called Cerberus. They kinda viewed themselves as the Minutemen of human space).

            It’s easy to see how Cerberus came to be, and it’s easy to see how it gets its funding and support, and it’s easy to see how its ends come in direct contrast to a Paragon Shepard, who is multi-speciesist. So it’s like right-wing extremists latching onto a war hero… right up until that same hero espouses leftist opinions.

            So I look at it thus: The Illusive Man may be in control of the most shadowy human cabal in known space, but you’re motherfucking Shepard, savior of the galaxy, and ultimately speaking it’s you in charge.

          • neothoron says:

            @Krellen: Don’t agree with you.

            About Cerberus going from “terrorist” to “well-intentioned extremist”, it is more about Shepard going from the Alliance’s official point of view to Cerberus’: Of course Cerberus is not seeing itself as “terrorist”! But in both cases, they engage in unsavory actions for God knows what ends.

            As for the argumentation “no one else will help you”, let’s review the two reasonable options:
            -The Council does not want to get implicated with human colonies. Thank you very much.
            -The Alliance is a more complicated case:
            1- Illusive Man has been feeding them with information of Shepard working for Cerberus, probably before you even woke up. That’s not circular logic, that is deliberate action by Illusive Man to prevent you from getting help from the Alliance.
            2- They don’t have the power (can’t watch all colonies at once), or the will (would rather rebuild fleet/battle geth/battle Cerberus), or the information (where was the last strike?) to deal with the “Colony disappearances” problems. And in the rare case where they could have a chance of obtaining information, Cerberus has the power to preempt them (as shown in the first mission assignment). In short: Alliance is nearly powerless to do anything about that problem.

            On the other hand, Cerberus is offering you a top-of-the-line stealth ship with a competent crew, accurate (as far as you know) information to fight, and, most importantly, both freedom/authority to do the missions as you see fit and a mission assignment that seems to be the “right thing to do” – as far as Shepard knows.

            Would you rather go back to the Alliance alone in a shuttle and beg them to listen to you?

          • krellen says:

            I would rather have a story that did not hinge on the main character dying for no discernible reason in the first five minutes.

          • neothoron says:

            What do you mean by “no discernible reason”?

          • krellen says:

            Killing off Shepard does not advance the plot – it derails it. Instead of continuing the story of the Reapers, the game stops and takes a two year break to divorce it from the original game. The threat that kills Shepard is simply an unknown – there is no apparent reason for it to be in that system, for it to attack the Normandy, or even for it to detect the Normandy (that issue is never addressed, even later.)

            There’s just no reason why the story has to open with Shepard’s death. There are a plethora of other routes that could have been taken to the same destination without being so overbearingly heavy-handed and clumsy. Two years of quiet desperation as no one will believe you, two years of exploring the disappearances of Human colonies, two years tracking this threat – perhaps peripherally aided by Cerberus now and then – before having the plot reach the point of having to work with Cerberus to reach your goals. And instead of having yourself thrust without ability to question into the “must work for Cerberus because there is no other choice”, the story could have built to make it obvious that there was, in fact, no other choice – show us that Cerberus is the only option, don’t tell us.

            • Avilan the Grey says:

              ???

              I strongly disagrees with everything you write in this post.

              1. It advances the plot as well as twisting it.
              2. Of course it kills Shepard for no apparent reason. Duh. It is a new enemy that Shepard does not know about yet!
              3. It doesn’t HAVE to start with Shepard’s death. But there is nothing wrong with it because it does.

          • neothoron says:

            If I understand your meaning, you say that you would rather have had Shepard – for example – survive the attack of the Normandy – and get him to live/investigate/whatever two years without making notable progress.

            While it would be interesting, I see a problem with that solution: Shepard is not a character that is very well-characterized (the way JRPG protagonists -for example- are).
            Depending on the player, having Shepard spending two years making no real progress and becoming desperate enough to accept Cerberus’ help could go anywhere from “natural consequence” to “character derailment”.

            The “Rocks fall Shepard dies” scenario has the merit of getting Shepard out of the loop at the same time as the player is. While one can complain that it’s lazy/bad writing, no one can complain by explaining the multitude of ways that “Shepard” would never have gotten in such a dead end.

            (Besides, it gives that much leeway to write comic books and novels about the time between ME1 and ME2)

        • krellen says:

          I just find the build-up and introduction of the main plot line and major villain sloppy and poorly executed – something I’ve come not to expect from BioWare. I don’t have to look any further back than the previous example in this very series to find what I am looking for.

          I just expect more from BioWare. I suppose I shouldn’t expect as much from EA, however.

          • JKjoker says:

            i agree with what Krellen said, although i think the worst thing from the Collectors was not the build up but the fact that once they appear the threat never grows any further, i kept expecting they to come up with some new weapon or eldrich abomination, but nothing, what you see the first time is what you get the entire game

            i also dont understand why Cerberus goes out of their way to revive Shepard, they say he/she is a symbol but they never use him/her like one, nobody but the npcs agree to help him, most of the galaxy never gets informed that he/she “got better”, and of the npcs only Mordin is relevant to the plot (and only because he is a brilliant scientist), the rest could easily be replaced, “being Shepard” never really accomplishes anything

            even if they *really* wanted his name to lure important npcs (they really need a stronger reason than that, they could have given Tali or the Aliance crucial Collector information justifying the need for a “trusted face”), it made a lot more sense to make a brainwashed clone/giving some infiltrator his face or replace him/her with a replicant (that knows or not who he really is) by the last NPC’s faction

            The plot is pretty weak, during my first playthough i was able to ignore most of the plot holes and just enjoy the ludicrous solve-everything-with-a-gun action but during the second i feel they are banging my head with a sledge hammer, and the ending… it just makes no freaking sense

            • krellen says:

              I just finished a re-replay through of ME1 and now I’m sitting here wondering how in the hell the story got to ME2 from the ending of ME1. Especially a Paragon ending.

              ME1 brought me to tears the first time I beat it, and did so again this time. ME2 never even came close to moving me. The new writer doesn’t deserve his gig.

      • Taellosse says:

        Well, games are their gameplay up to a point. I didn’t care for most of the changes to gameplay in this game, but I enjoyed the story enough that they were ultimately not determinative for me. The reason why is because all of those changes were tweaks and adjustments, rather than wholesale transformations. If they’d turned ME2 from a 3rd-person shooteresque RPG into, say, an FPS or an isometric action game, it probably would have been another matter.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You will mention characters you mention?Well,I think it would be hard for you to not mention characters you mention.

    Yes,I know you meant ‘meet’,and Im surprised no one has spotted this one yet.Your fanbase has moved a bit away from geeky,it seems.

  24. JKjoker says:

    i finished me2 yesterday and i can tell you the changes are completely irrelevant, the most important ones: kaidan/asley dies, what you did with the “fan”, the wrex situation and what you did with the council only change 1 minor npc dialogue (that has no consequence in the game, the wrex one changes several minor npcs in the krogan planet, nothing to get exited about), the rest either change 1 line of some dialogue somewhere or they just send you a “mail” to your computer saying “hello, thanks a lot for saving xxx when you did yyy, i love u!” or “hello, thanks a lot for not saving xxx when you did yyy, f u!” so i wouldnt worry that much about picking a character, you should import something however, the extra money and resources you get save you a few hours of playing the minigames

    what really pisses me off now that i want to replay the game is that you have a 10~20 minute UNSKIPABLE cutscene BEFORE you get to make your character so if you want to test a few be ready to watch that thing a lot, it pisses me off almost as much as the hacking & bypass minigames that you have to play 2394872423947 times unless you are ok with missing half the upgrades and money (and the scanning minigame you have to play to afford the upgrades), i tried finding a way to skip them but no luck so far

    • nilus says:

      Are you playing on PC or 360. I find that on the 360 most of the cutscenes can be skipped but it seems to like you to hit X for some of them and start for others. Working on my 2nd play through now and I find I am skipping a lot of things that have not changed.

      About the only thing I thought was important was the conversation with the Asari on Illium if you let the Rachni live. Nothing happens in ME 2 but it sounds like the Rachni might be an ally against the Collectors in ME 3 if you saved them in 1. I like the idea that your actions will carry over from all three games.

      • JKjoker says:

        PC, everything can be skipped except the cutscenes before the char creation, the cutscenes when you start the “suicide mission” and some dialogue lines with special animations (like when the illusive man is lighting up a cigarette, you can skip the line but not the animation), edit: oh, and there was one “shuttle leaving planet” cutscene i couldnt skip but forgot where exactly

        looking at the MINDBLOWING (not) effects of the choices in me2 i dont have any expectations for me3 c&c, Bioware loves the “illusion of choice” approach to c&c where choices are hyped a lot but self contained inside a small mission/dialogue/town/planet without any effects over the rest of the game, its not like i dont understand, doing it right would cost a lot of money for content a lot of players might never see, but they should stop promising things they cant deliver

    • Avilan the Grey says:

      The mini games does not bother me at all. They are quick, relatively easy and actually pretends to have something to do with computers (no leading water in pipes or anything).

      The choices are not that important, true, and I would rather go with a character with a decent name (which you can’t change during import) than “everything chosen as I want it”). But I am picky enough that if I am to play a character than I did not build the foundations for (as I have to since I don’t have ME1) I will at least make sure that most of the choices are things I can live with.

  25. General Karthos says:

    Am I the only person who thought there were some pretty important choices? Keeping Wrex alive or not wasn’t important? Picking a Romantic Interest had no effect on the game? Letting the Council live vs. die? (Granted, I roleplay a little more deeply than the game specifically permits, making choices based on what I think my character would feel, rather than what I personally feel is the right choice, so some of these choices felt bigger to me than they might otherwise.)

    While we’re on the topic of choices… what are the other choices yu would have wanted Shamus regarding the killin or notg the Rachni Queen? Are you going to be able to tag her or something? Not likely. She’s the last of her kind left. The last Queen of an insectoid species. Queens are pretty important to many insects. If you kill her, the species dies. If you let her live, it’s pretty difficult to keep her from laying eggs and hatching insect babies.

    You just sounded frustrated that there were only two choices in there. Wondered what other choices there could have been.

    I always enjoy your reviews, even when we disagree on the merits or demerits of a given game, so I’m looking forward to this review.

    • Shamus says:

      General Karthos: The only thing I objected to was that you couldn’t take the most obvious and likely action: Walk away.

      I didn’t want to commit genocide right then, but that didn’t mean I should cut her loose and let her run off with nobody looking. Maybe tell the Alliance? Drop her off on an uninhabited planet? Consult with some other people and get a more informed opinion on the risks I was taking? As a spectre, I should have notified the council and left the decision to them. Making the decision on my own on the battlefield just felt wrong. Leaving it to a higher power and then have them NOT TELL the player what they did with the queen might have been a nice dig at the indecisive player. (If you cared so much you should have made the decision yourself!) Kind of like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Alliance (or the council) would tell you they had their “Top Men” on it and send you away with a pat on the head.

  26. Nico says:

    I forgot to take to my ME1 save off my hard drive, so I grabbed one off the internet as well. I choose to keep the council alive because I not only felt that they were somewhat of a stabilizing force (important after Reaper attack) and that by keeping them alive would put humans in a better light amongst the other races in the galaxy. It seemed like a nice one-shot deal to bump humans up to the level of the other ‘important’ races. Anderson got elected to the council because Udina was a mistrustful jerk – at least Anderson seemed competent and willing to try unpopular opinions if it would best serve mankind and the galaxy.

  27. ProudCynic says:

    Argh. The removal of the ‘choose-your-own-background’ feature is really, really irritating–it seems like something EA would do so that people have to buy the first and play through it if you didn’t want the game to assume you were an ass who killed Wrex and then left the Council to die. Hey, wait a minute…

    And it’s biting me at the moment, too. I played through the game after a few marathon sessions last weekend with a female Vanguard, and now that I want to do it again with a male (even if I have to suffer through inferior voice acting) to try things a few differently (namely, to see if I can get all of my team out alive and romance Tali, who in a change from Ashley and Liara has more personality than a glass of warm water) but my male save file made more than a few bad decisions that are beyond correcting unless I want to sink a dozen or so hours into the original.

  28. Knight-Templar says:

    I wonder, since you hate Bioware, as we all know from your talk about archetypes, what do you think so far of the characters in ME2?

    Ok that was a joke, I know you don’t hate Bioware, but I do wonder what you think of the characters in Mass Effect 2 in relation to other Bioware characters and games.

    • Shamus says:

      REALLY liking Mordin. Jacob is pretty cool as well. I’m NOT liking Jack, but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to. Miranda is arrogant in a dull way and has the same jawline as Shrek, but I might warm to her later. It feels like there just isn’t enough dialog with her.

      It’s still early. We’ll see.

      • krellen says:

        Mordin is definitely the high point of the game. Legion is a pretty nice twist, too (not really a spoiler, since as soon as you find out who Legion is, you’ve seen the twist.)

      • Sheer_Falacy says:

        Jack has pretty good reasons to be fucked up. Not quite the same reasons she THINKS she has, but pretty good either way.

      • Sean Riley says:

        Oddly enough, I did like Jack. Apart from Mordin, she’s the only crewmate who seems to have anything approaching a sense of humour.

      • Knight-Templar says:

        I never liked Jack and as a Shotgun Jedi (Vanguard) I didn’t really need her biotics. My plan for most battles was: Squad mates bring down shields and armor, I charge through and rip them apart.
        So she wasn’t useful in gamplay and was not a person I liked. Good thing she was intresting or I wouldn’t have done her Loyalty Quest.

        Mordin is useful Intresting and a really good person, everything needed to build a strong conection to the player.

        Jacob is a intresting and likeable, but again my class made him useless in combat.

        Miranda was intresting, disliked her at first but grew to like her. She was very useful in ccombat, she could bring down Shields and Armor. But It felt as if she never wanted to talk, Archangel had the same issue.

        You have yet to pick up my favorite Squad members yet it seems, trust me it gets better. Much better.

        • Sean Riley says:

          I played as an Engineer, so Jack’s biotics were insanely useful, as were Archangel’s combat skills. My battle plan tended to be: Drone turret pushes enemies out of cover. Archangel overloads their shields, and Jack pulls them out of their hidey hole to face death by masses of bullets. Worked well.

          For me, the useless ones were Tali and [REDACTED — the last crew member made available] since their skills mostly overlapped mine.

  29. Sucal says:

    I’m mostly curious to what you think about a certain power, ie the Soldiers Class ability to help you line up shots. Are you one of the people who considers it a game breaker or merely a feature? I also noticed that you mentioned about the different choses and such in reference to the PC version.

    I hate to state the obvious (and will sound like a jerk for doing so) but ME2 was originally made for the 360 or at least the entire trilogy is meant to be anyway. Which means that Xbox owners (who would rarely change consoles) are more likely to benefit from the saved game feature thing, because they are more likely to have the saves around. Off course that makes it ironic that they were boasting about the Mass Effect 2 collectors bundle, which came with the Larger then normal memory capacity Console.

    Anyway, that’s a rambling and nonsensical post completed.

  30. Taellosse says:

    Referencing the comment about getting stuck in midair during a mission: that happened to me once, too, on Jacob’s loyalty mission. I tried saving and reloading the save. I reloaded in the air still, but now I was able to walk down off of the invisible ledge and proceed, fortunately. Also, it tends to autosave during missions pretty regularly (or, at least, it does on the 360 version with autosave enabled), and you can reload that without having to restart the whole mission when something like that happens.

    I ran into another weird glitch just this evening on an N7 mission: one of the bad guys I took out died but didn’t. His body went all limp and ragdolly because his health meter zeroed out, but he didn’t actually turn into a corpse (i.e. become set dressing that can be walked through and disappears a minute or so later). Whenever I went near him, my squad mates would try frantically to shoot him (which made his dead self jerk about amusingly, but did little else), and occasionally I’d hear him shout something (even though he was dead) when I was a distance away. It was amusing but not particularly bothersome until I got to the end of the mission and it wouldn’t let me end it because there both was and was not an enemy still in the area. Fortunately, saving a loading fixed it in this case as well.

    • pinchy says:

      I had the same getting stuck in the air thing happen to me too, right at the end of the crashed ship side mission. As you said though it’s not the end of the world and restarting it worked. I probably should have tried making a new save and reloading but seeing I knew the route then it took like 5 minutes (if that) to get back where I was anyway.

  31. potemkin.hr says:

    @ Shamus:
    Which version of the game did you buy, considering your DRM issues?
    Digital download or classic boxed version?
    Just my personal curiosity… :)

  32. Vegedus says:

    I actually back-upped my saves from the first go around rather carefully. That didn’t stop me from playing the game again in anticipation of ME2, partly so that I could have something to port over that was a bit more interesting than all paragon. Other reasons were that I’d have the choices of this character fresh in mind, and that I could make sure to get max levels and explore all the sidequests I skipped the first time, and so on.

  33. Taellosse says:

    And reading this morning’s Twitter posts, yes, that is Claudia Black and Simon Templeman as admirals in the Flotilla. They both do other voices here and there, if you listen for them, which is probably why they aren’t credited with a single role.

    Seems like the PC version is prone to the same bugs as the 360, but they’re happening to you more often. You’re less far in the game than I, and yet have encountered more glitches. Still, at least they mostly aren’t too horrible, and can be dealt with by saving and reloading (thank god this game is a save-anywhere game).

    And regarding the whole “the solution to everything is to shoot it” issue, they actually aren’t all like that. Samara’s loyalty quest has no shooting at all, and neither does Thane’s. Most of it is all about the shooting, though, I’ll admit.

  34. Taellosse says:

    “Okay, so I unlock new armor for G, and the NEW one is ALSO blown open? Whaaat?”

    Quoted for truth. This drove me batty when it happened.

    • JKjoker says:

      same here, his wound doesnt heal either and he is going into hazardous planets with a busted up suit (altho Jack barely covers 30% of her body and Mordin leaves most of his face exposed), oh yeah and while Jocker in the intro scene is wearing a helmet thingy his skin was exposed to open space and nothing happened to him, thats just wrong

    • Robyrt says:

      So true! And there are not one but TWO companions with broken armor for the entire game.

      Maybe if they let me sell some of my 200,000 excess Palladium, I could have bought G. some new armor. I know they sell it on the Citadel because I bought that very outfit in Mass Effect 1!

      • neothoron says:

        He keeps that armor hole as a keepsake (think of the evil colonel in Avatar who keeps his scars though he could have them healed)

        • Taellosse says:

          That’s fine, but why would he replicate the damage to an entirely NEW set of armor? That’s the part that makes no damn sense here–after you get his loyalty and get the second outfit for him, it ALSO has the battle damage. Makes no sense.

          • Sucal says:

            Perhaps he considered the weapon damage to be a reminder of what he went through. Or (paragon) Shepard forced him to make an equal amount of damage, as a message about why revenge is bad or something like that.

    • neothoron says:

      Why would you think that “Change appearance” means that you’re getting a new armor for him?

      Couldn’t that mean that you reconfigure the armor to show different colors?

      If that’s the kind of thing that drives you batty, maybe you’re taking that too seriously.

      • Taellosse says:

        …because for almost every other party member, its obviously a different outfit? Jack, Miranda, Jacob, Mordin, Thane, and Samara are all wearing some variation of ordinary clothes in both their outfits. The second outfit, while generally similar to the first one, is clearly different clothes. It seemed most reasonable to assume that when Brute and G. change their colors, it is also new armor–especially since all armor in the first game was a set color and if you wanted a different look it meant different armor. I suppose the N7 armor for the PC in this game could suggest that it isn’t, though–that’s a fair enough point.

  35. I just want to remind people that this was planned as a trilogy from the start.

    So choices made in ME1 will either color or affect things in ME2, but the conclusive result may not reveal itself until ME3.
    Certain things that carries over from ME1 in the save game to ME2 is put in the background but will be brought out front together with your choices in ME2 to affect ME3 in a larger way.

    I don’t envy the guy in charge of plot threads at BioWare, that must be a major pain in the ass.

    Also, Cerberus was introduced in ME1, in ME2 you find your self working with them reluctantly and more details on them is revealed (if you take the time to talk to the ship AI), in ME3 their actual intentions and involvement will be revealed, as will the Shadow Broker, what the Rachni is up to (if you let the Queen live), your love interest from ME1 (if any) and what the impact of you cheating on her/him during ME2 will have etc.

    I truly hope things unravel well in ME3 and it’s received as well or better than ME2, as that could mean a possible ME 4,5,6 savegame trilogy rather than just a tentative ME4. (my guess is that ME4 will pick up a generation or so after Shephard, and you will most likely not be a descendant)

    By the looks of it BioWare is kinda doing the magic savegame trick with the upcoming Dragon Age expansion as well.
    And I kinda hope other devs also copy what BioWare is doing. Imagine if BioShock let you carry the savegame across to BioShoch 2?
    Or if GTA IV let you carry the savegame to GTA V?

    • Not only a Dragon Age expansion, but a DA2 has also been announced.

      Is it just me, or are we in some kind of Golden Age of CRPGs?

      • JKjoker says:

        i think some gamers are bored of the endless wave of straight shooters and are looking for something different like DA or at least a shooter with a “twist” like ME or Bioshock (temporally?) increasing demand for that kind of games

        i dont think DA, ME and the other pseudo-rpgs released these days are good enough for being called part of a “golden age” imho, in fact the collapse of gameplay variety looks more like the period before the 1983 videogame crash than a golden age

    • Axle says:

      The savegame trick is actually not a new one (not even for bioware).
      It was in baldur’s gate, some of the SSI D&D games (like the krynn trilogy) and, if I remember correctly, it was possible in Sierra’s Quest for glory series.
      Also, it is a must for expension packs, since they usually continue from where the main game stopped.

      I agree with you that it is a great thing that more companies should adopt and not just for RPG. But I think they should have provided a system for guys like me, that lost their save game file over the years…

      By the way.
      How come you are so certain of what will be in ME3?

      • krellen says:

        You do remember correctly, Axle.

      • Baldur’s Gate 2? Isn’t that just your regular character import?
        I must admit I played BG and BG2 only once so I can’t recall but I seriously doubt that story choices you did in BG1 affected the storyline in BG2.

        Now if you pulled out some old text adventure series then that is more plausible as I’m sure a text adventure would be the first to do something like this.

        And Dragon Age expansion is different too in that the choices you did in DA:O will affect the storyline in the expansion (but in a much lesser degree than Mass Effect obviously)

        Most expansions out there let you carry the character over but that’s pretty much it.

        I’m curious if it’ll be BioWare or somebody else that will make a game where the choices are even more dramatic than Mass Effect, obviously you’d have to forego the pre-written story plot and write intersecting story pieces or interchangeable branches, would be a pain to make though, especially a sequel.

        Procedural Stories maybe Shamus?

    • (reply to Somebody Else, I swear I hit the correct reply, no idea why this is shown further down)

      More like the golden age of BioWare, have those guys ever made a single dud? (I certainly can’t remember) so assuming that Star Wars: Old Republic won’t flop, (how can it with all that voiced dialog, nuts)
      then BioWare’s track record is pretty much flawless.

      So when people are talking about which game to nominate for an award my first reaction is “Um, which BioWare game?” *laughs*

      2007/2008 was the year of Mass Effect, 2009 was the year of Dragon Age, 2010 is the year of Mass Effect, I can only assume Dragon Age 2 in 2011 or 2012, and Mass Effect 3 in (wait for it) 2011.
      And Demiurge seems to have gotten the PC porting under full control, which means ME3 PC will technically be even better than ME2.

      Golden age in CRPGs? Who knows, there certainly have been some like, Risen, Ego Draconis, etc. But it’s kinda like the golden age of BioWare from what I can see.

      • JKjoker says:

        Bioware games are not bad, but they are not excellent, imho most of the time they just scratch the “adequate”, always reusing cliches and simple formulas again and again, that said, the rest of the games released lately are sooooo bad, generic and dumb that BW’s things always feel above average.

        Like someone said in one of the me2 reviews Bioware seems to have a +3/for 3-6 months modifier to PR, the first 3-6 months everyone is like “BEST GAME EVAH, 10/10” then they are like “its good but not that good 7/10” and once the sequel is about to come out everyone is like “it was actually pretty crappy, i hope they fixed X, i hated Y”

        in this i agree with Roger Hågensen, this period was definitely a golden age of Bioware, this pattern continued up to Dragon Age, for some reason it did not happen to ME2, the game is getting a lot of flak from forums, comments and blogs, it even got several first week reviews under 8, i think this is a sign that BW’s golden age is ending.

        This surprised me a lot because i personally liked ME2 a lot more than DAO, while i feel BW put more resources and work into DAO, ME2 is just more fun to play, imho the generic scifi-24-like formula is more interesting that the generic medieval-Tolkien formula (i’ve seen this one way too many times to care), ME2 makes more effort to spice up the repetitive combat with little things like the level with the sun flare or the one with the biotic poison and the game ends just as its starting to get annoying. On the other hand DAO’s combat gets boring in the first 5 hours (10 at best), by this point you’ve seen everything the game has to offer in gameplay so you have like 30-50 hours of rapidly increasing boredom peaking at the ending where you have to fight wave after wave of useless lvl 10 mooks to get to the pretty disappointing last boss

        • Avilan the Grey says:

          Most reviewers I like and trusts gave ME2 REALLY high scores (higher than DA:O). Most people that gives the game “a ton of flak” are the “They Changed It Now It Sucks” people.

          Personally I think this is definitely one of the games I will play over and over. I prefer it to DA:O (DA is longer, but the characters in ME2 are more interesting, as is the setting).

          As for “Golden Age” of Bioware: That was a LONG time ago. It ended with BGII. However I do not know anyone that do not still enjoy the old games; the “Hmm when I think about it that game was not awesome” have I never been exposed to.

      • Blackbird71 says:

        Actually, I think more voiced dialog will eventually be the downfall of Bioware games (whether with Old Republic or later). Voiced dialog means paying more for voice actors, which means to keep the budget down, you have smaller dialog options, which gives you fewer conversation choices, less character development, and a narrower game path, which is the antithesis of what Bioware games used to be known for.

        They’d do a lot better to go back to a Baldur’s Gate-type dialog setup, where a few lines here and there are voiced, but most are just text. It really gives the writers a lot more freedom in opening up possibilites for the players.

  36. My stupid graphics card bombed out horribly and fried out 3 of my harddrives along with it. Inside one of those drives were my ME1 save games. Oh woe is me. I’ll eventually replay through it to get a personalised start to ME2 (when I eventually buy it) but seeing as it mean realms of text to go through and the writing wasn’t particularly great, I may be a while in that endeavor.

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