By Shamus Posted Thursday Jan 20, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 121 comments

I’d have to say that a room full of freshly murdered people is an odd place to have a job interview. Also, “how long can you stare at the sun” is a pretty unconventional interview question.

Link (YouTube)

Thankfully, the writers showed us that we can just dismiss Nasana’s (I’m sure you’ll let me know if I spelled that wrong) entire personal guard as animals worthy of butchering. Shepard gets to her office and admits she gunned down everyone just so she could get here and talk to Thane. This had to be an awkward moment, being told that the person who just killed your entire workforce isn’t even here to talk to you. Imagine how the conversation would have gone if Thane hadn’t dropped in at that moment. What do you do in that situation? Talk about the weather?

“So… did you try that new Elcor seafood place downtown?”

“No actually we just got here. Haven’t had time to… you know how it is.”

“Oh. Tried it last night. Good bread.”

“Yeah. Elcor always have good bread.”

“Although, they do that just so you’ll fill up.”



“So… you said this guy was coming to kill you? Do know when he’ll… no, I guess you wouldn’t. I wonder if we should go, and come back later, or? Are you going to be here all night? I mean, assuming you don’t die horribly?”

This is one of those situations where it’s fun to look at a quest setup in an RPG and play “what did this place look like yesterday?” You know, before the player character marched in and began their aggressive headcount reduction: There would have been fifty dudes with automatic weapons and rocket launchers, all clanking around a posh office tower comprised entirely of corridors and warehouses. Nasana had a headache from trying to do office work in a dark room, again. Maybe installing the red lights in here was a bad idea. Sure, it gave the place that certain… severity that she liked to project, but it was murder trying to read the daily reports about the new and dangerous enemies she’d acquired. And the sun! Every time she looked away from her amber monochrome monitors she wound up staring directly into the sun. Sometimes it made her so angry she thought about hiring a council spectre to assassinate one of her close relatives. Downstairs, her Salarian minions sat around the unfurnished warehouse, talking about how much they loved their job. Sure, the hours were crap and there was nothing to do but stare at the sun all night (?!?) but they never had any responsibilities and nobody ever tried to kill them.

And yes: We’re doing the Shadowbroker DLC. We actually did the entire DLC in one long session, and the episodes will run to the end of next week. We usually only do one week at a time, but we were compelled to keep going and unravel the mystery. That, and we were in the middle of a firefight at the end of every episode and couldn’t stop to save the game.


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121 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning S4E27: CHALLENGE THE SUN TO A STARING CONTEST

  1. Dude says:

    The DLC features one moment that directly insults us, pretty much. (Where Liara talks about omni-gel.) It is, otherwise, quite lovely. It’ll be nice to see Josh wiggle because all the Liara interrupts are Paragon. :D

    1. Sydney says:

      My favorite thing about the omnigel conversation is, Liara says omnigel-proofing stuff was a new security development. So why do the “ancient safes” in Tali’s mission have it?

      Then again, why do they contain modern credit chits. I suppose the quarians installed that feature.

      1. Someone says:

        Well, you could reduce pretty much everything into omnigel in ME1, and ME2 mentions that cerberus pays you for “recovering tech”, so when you pick up money you may may actually pick up ancient artifacts or something.

    2. swimon says:

      I thought that scene was kinda funny actually.

      There’s a part earlier though that is way worse when an assassin or whatever reminds us how stupid the main quest is and essentially goes “na na na na na you can’t make sense in this game”.

      1. Sydney says:

        Right, yes.

        Spoiler Warning Cast Folks: Is Shepard a Sole Survivor in this run? That conversation’s even better if she is, because [redacted] brings up the whole Cerberus Akuze thing.

        1. krellen says:

          Better? You call that better?! I wanted to scream back “I KNOW! I AGREE! LET’S TEAM UP AND KILL THEM INSTEAD!”

          1. Sydney says:

            And listening to Shamus and Rutskarn scream that will be better than missing out on it ;-)

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m going to get this off of my chest right now that I found the Lair somewhat disappointing (though I’ll probably repeat it once we get deeper into it and the comments start seething with this sentiment thorough). It pretty much reflected what I found wrong with the game as a whole: somewhat too much combat, too little actual choice, the main plotline that was just clichés in their mediocrity often without any real justification and just forced on the player by the writers (not as bad as the initial Cerberus thing, which is called by the DLC, but still). It also didn’t help that it was released way after I had removed ME2 from my drive and it suddenly brought in all the stuff I was expecting to only appear in ME3 (the resolution of my romance with Liara, the Broker’s identity) as a direct result I only really got around to it during this season of SW. On the other hand it had the same good stuff that the game had as a whole: a few nice scenes, a few nice lines in the dialogues here and there and some fun background/secondary info that was simply enjoyable to read or watch.

      What I really disliked about it was, enter the spoiler tags the Shadow Broker himself. Since the first game the Broker was built up as one of the galaxy’s greatest mysteries. Someone who knows about everyone but about whom very little is known. A hidden power with unknown agenda. I was expecting that this is going to be one of the big reveals, something like the Broker turning out to be one of the councillors, or perhaps an organization represented by some surprising character like Anderson, or the consort. Turning him into a huge berserking alien, your average shooter boss (with an indestructible shield no less), was strongly on the disappointing side, even if we are told this is not the original SB. All that time when Liara was standing in front of that console I was waiting for something like the real Broker tuning in, saying something along the lines how she may be his representative in place of the Yagh or something. I still half expect that that little floating VI in the Lair is gonna turn out to be the real deal in part 3 (if it’ll even call on the events of a DLC) which I guess shows how much of a let down this has been for me.

      Seeing as it took this season for me to get ME2 off the shelf to get through the Lair I can only regret that you’re not going to do Dragon Age as maybe then I’d finally get around to Witch Hunt…

      1. Taellosse says:

        If you didn’t like Lair of the Shadow Broker, you’re going to hate Witch Hunt. Lair is a complex maze of interactive choice by comparison. Not to mention they actually took the trouble to do things like create new locations. Witch Hunt takes place entirely in recycled areas from Origins and Awakening, sometimes for no good reason at all. And the ending is singularly unsatisfying, because it fails to meaningfully resolve ANYTHING. Just about the only good thing about it is the companions–you get 2 new companions that are pretty well done, and your Mabari hound returns after his inexplicable absence from Awakening.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Oookaaaay… I think I am going to give this a pass after this description. I was assuming this would give some sort of resolution to that plotline. Thanks for the warning.

          1. Taellosse says:

            Yeah, it was probably the single most unsatisfying and annoying DLC for any recent Bioware game. I was pretty upset with the ending.

            Didn’t help that I bought it 2 days after release, and fell victim to a (very common) bug that caused the ending to be WRONG for my Origins playthrough (it behaved as though I had refused Morrigan’s deal when I hadn’t). Fortunately, they’ve since patched it so it works properly with all the various permutations of Origins and Awakening endings. It’s still unsatisfying, though.

      2. Irridium says:

        What pissed me off about Shadow Broker was the following:

        NOTE: In case I mess up the spoiler tags, the following contains Shadow Broker spoilers.

        So you get the the Broker, an entity who’s built up as basically having all the knowledge in the galaxy. A meet-up that I thought would be on the same level as when you first meet Sovereign, or Vigil. A meeting where you could ask questions about various things, probably even cover some plot holes in the main game.

        We meet the one character in the galaxy that has more knowledge then anything, and anyone else in the galaxy. And what do we do on this momentous occasion?

        We listen to Liara talk a lot, then we PUNCH IT IN THE FACE! RAWR!!

        Thats what disappointed me the most. A scene that could have had the same impact as Sovereign and Vigil, a scene that could have covered plenty of plot-holes, a scene that could have been memorable. Instead we get you punching some space-ogre.


        End Spoilers

        1. Jarenth says:

          This is very true. Though it did strike me as an amusing revelation that there is really no ‘Shadow Broker’ at all. If the Space Ogre was able to take over from the previous ‘Broker’, and Liara takes over from him, without anyone noticing, you could make a point that the ‘real’ Shadow Broker is the information network itself. The person who carries the official Broker title is just a figurehead, really.

  2. Sucal says:

    I’m not sure a comic book based off a ride counts. Anyway, lets go see how much more Liara’s character has been derailed over the two years since we have died, as go and fight the Giant Space Flea from nowhere.

    1. Sydney says:

      Ever had a close friend / significant other die violently? Changes you a bit. Just saying.

      1. Deadly Kwob says:

        Maybe it changes humans, but Asari are supposed to have a different perspective on lovers dying. Since it happens so often to them.

        We’re not to that point yet, but the scene with Liara on the Normandy really pissed me off. She came across as a weepy human teenager with her first crush, not a 1000-year-lifespan alien that goes through lovers like we go through pet hamsters.

        1. Danel says:

          Isn’t Liara essentially a weepy 1000-year-lifespan alien teenager with her first crush?

          1. swimon says:

            Pretty much, which is why I thought that scene was one of the better in ME2. It’s way worse when she goes around being the “action girl” of the moment who can flay you with her mind and her only character trait is how much ass she’s kicking.

            It’s too bad really because I thought that she was one of the more interesting characters of the first game, it’s a shame that they had to make her so “badass” in such a forced way.

            1. Sydney says:

              Isn’t that the point?

              It’s telling that her first line (about few humans having faced asari commando units) is just something her mother said in passing before you started fighting her – or am I still the only one who recognizes that? Liara’s sort of ad-lib faking her way through being “tough” now, and it shows.

              I read Liara as being sort of lost, not sure who she is. Until the end of LotSB, where she finds a place where she “feels like she belongs”. Which is what made LotSB so satisfying for me.

              I spent all of yesterday beating on BioWare for the contrivance and lunacy that is Thane’s recruitment, but they do know how to develop a character. It isn’t unrealistic to imagine a person changing this much over two years, especially since the “changes” are obviously superficial and ill-fitting. New role, new demands, same personality underwriting it all.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                You are definitely not the only one who notices that. I think that’s pretty much the first thing anyone notices when they see Liara. “WTH, her mom said that!”

                1. Sydney says:

                  That single line is one of the best examples of showing a little and telling a lot. “Liara is now in a power role, and has to play her part if she’s going to succeed – but she’s an archaeologist, self-admittedly bad at dealing with people. She’s making do.” Expressed in three seconds.

                  Very elegant, very nice. I’ll forgive BioWare a lot for the occasional moment like that.

                2. krellen says:

                  I never got that, probably because by the time I got to Ilium I was already really annoyed with the game and not really paying attention. Thanks for pointing that out – that is a good thing.

              2. swimon says:

                I’m not saying that the character development doesn’t make sense, it does I think. My problem is that I don’t find the direction they take the character to be especially interesting. In the first game she was really interesting because she didn’t really fit in. She was awkward and uncomfortable around people and had spent most of her life at dig sites, sure she could handle herself but she wasn’t a soldier, cop or mercenary she was an archaeologist. This made her interesting and unique.

                In this game she went from that into an information agent who’s trying to get revenge on the people who betrayed her. which is a lot less interesting and I feel like it was only done to make her more “badass” because everything in ME2 needs to be more badass. Sure the change makes some sense considering what she went through in ME1 and the beginning of ME2 (I think it’s a little weird how someone with her social skills becomes an information agent but whatever) but it doesn’t amount to a very interesting character IMO.

                1. Sydney says:

                  I’ll drink to that.

                2. Desgardes says:

                  You are a liar. She so belonged in mass effect 1. You even gave the justification yourself. She is an archaeologist I don’t know how many of them you know, but the ones I know shoot nazis and commies. And are total badasses.

                  As far as the not feeling it’s an interesting direction, I can see where the seeming homogenization would maybe leave you dry. But being an information agent isn’t that far a stretch from her wheelhouse. She is a nexus, not the person on the ground needing to deal with people. The skills she needs are to be organized, be secretive, and be careful, all skills she had from her archaeology days. Information services, especially clandestine ones, aren’t about making friends, they’re about utilizing resources.

                3. Will says:

                  Indiana Jones was an archaeologist…

                4. Sekundaari says:

                  Some archaeologists shoot aliens instead. And some prefer sabers and kill demons and stuff.

                5. Irridium says:

                  Don’t Archeologists in WoW also get bone-raptor mounts?

              3. Simon Buchan says:

                Also, it’s immediately followed by a D&D reference. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse :)

        2. Sydney says:

          Dying, yes. Which is why I included the word “violently”.

          Also, I like how off-screen events don’t actually happen and the plots of the two games together take place over the events of two and a half days. Two years. Two years, and the life-altering experience of participating in the Saren war (including helping kill your mother*), and the trauma of watching your first close friend/lover get blown up. And a new social role entirely. It would be ridiculous if Liara hadn’t changed.

          * I’m calling Liara being present for the Benezia fight canon. As evidence, I hold up Liara’s threat/warning when you first encounter her: “Have you faced an asari commando unit before? Few humans have.” That line came from Benezia. I doubt Shepard would have bothered relaying that word for word.

        3. olivaw says:

          a 1000-year-lifespan alien that goes through lovers like we go through pet hamsters.

          I don’t buy that. I believe the phrasing was that he asari are ‘philosophical’ about their lovers’ short lifespans, not that they dont’ give a damn and will just go find another one. Sure, we see Benezia, but we also see Nelyna. They’re not space-praying-mantises.

          1. Taylor says:

            Well, some of them are. Like, three of them.


            1. Audacity says:

              About that, how the hell would such a trait even develop? What purpose could it possibly serve for survival, and how the hell would it be passed from one generation to the next, if the only way of passing it on results in death? Of all the head-desk moments I’ve heard of in ME2 this seems one of the worst.

              1. Electron Blue says:

                It’s called a recessive gene. The…space-vampires, forgot their name, are actually sterile. There are plenty of diseases in humans that work this way – hemophilia is the most famous. As for how it developed, likely a mutation in the gene that governs how they mate that sends it into overdrive.

                1. Grudgeal says:

                  It’s called a recessive allele, not a recessive gene. Genes are not recessive or dominant, it is the individual variations of those genes (the alleles) that are recessive or dominant (or co-dominant, or partially dominant or… You get my point).

                  Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

                2. Sydney says:

                  And now all I can see is Psycho Mantis ranting.

              2. poiumty says:

                It’s made pretty obvious that it’s not an inheritable trait, and it isn’t evolutionary baggage either. Looks to me more like a disease than anything else.

                1. AMRIV says:

                  Actually, I think they state the opposite.

                  When you talk to Samara you can ask her about her other children and she will say she has three children, there are three Ardat Yakshi, and that “It is as it sounds”.

                2. krellen says:

                  In addition to AMRIV’s spoiler, Ardat Yakshi are stated to be the reason behind the Asari prejudice against the “purebloods”.

                3. Audacity says:

                  @Krellen – So… What did the Asari do before they had space travel, or before they encountered other races*? How come they didn’t all just turn into crazed-sex-vampire things if they all carry the (utterly useless) genes to be such? I understand how recessive genes and such work, and can be passed through several generations without manifesting. However, if every member of the breeding pool carries them then exponentially higher numbers of children will be born with those characteristics, like the Irish and red hair for example.

                  *And why do they just happen to be able to breed fertile offspring with almost every other race in the galaxy? Let’s not even consider why all these races have physically compatible “equipment.”

                4. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You can explain it in various ways.One would be that mixing their genes with other species resulted in a mutation that made ardat yakshi easier to get than it was before.

                  Also,asari breed through skin,or something like that,which is why they can breed with anyone.

                5. Will says:

                  Because even when two Asari breed, the odds of an Ardat-Yakshi are still pretty low. Obviously Samara has some form of genetic defect which when passed down to her offspring result in Ardat-Yakshi but does not affect her. Which does make it sound a lot like a disease, which it could be for all we know considering there’s no reason to assume Asari biology mimics Human biology, especially in light of their apparant flexible morphology.

                  But if an Asari breeds with another species entirely, there’s zero chance of Ardat-Yakshi, a non-chance is always better than a small chance. It’s also why ‘purebloods’ are looked down upon and not banned outright.

                6. Avilan says:

                  This is my personal fridge brillance regarding Liara’s power level:

                  Both her parents are asari Matriarchs at the top of their power. This might have had the upside of giving her stronger powers.

                  As for Ardat Yakshi: My personal belief it is that pre-space flight, the mutation was VERY rare, and almost all children with it was simply killed. When the asari noticed that mating outside their species avoided this completely, the modern mindset came into play. EDIT: @Will… as he said.

  3. RTBones says:

    Having not played this DLC, looking forward to seeing it. If all the interrupts are indeed Paragon, it should generate some lively discussion amoungst the SW cast – in addition to building up a little frustration in Josh so that he goes Reginald on something in the next mission. :D

  4. Ouchies81 says:

    I have to admit you guys, this new season shows a lot of polish and professionalism.

    Great job!

  5. Nyctef says:


    .. Shut up, Thane.

    1. Toasty Virus says:

      This just made my day, I’m away to watch it.

    2. Kibbin says:

      At least the ocean still loves him.
      Isn’t that right ocean?

      1. xXDarkWolfXx says:


      2. Someone says:

        I love the awkward silence when Josh tells the cast that Thane’s homeworld is a desert. You can almost hear the Aquaman jokes drowning in quicksand.

        1. Kibbin says:

          He should still call every other team member old chum and label each episode with his own title “I call this the tale of when I and some others saved a space station by pointing our guns and shooting a lot”

  6. Deadpool says:

    I think it’s hillarious which of the two guesses is closest to the truth.

    Btw, the Doom comic was AMAZING for all the wrong reasons…

    1. Groboclown says:

      I was going to say the same thing. Personally, I prefer the dramatic readings on YouTube of the Doom comic.

    2. Someone says:


      1. Groboclown says:

        Why can’t we find a way to safely dispose of radioactive waste and protect the environment? Even if I personally stop this alien invasion, what kind of planet will we be leaving to our children? And our children’s children. And… … oh, the humanity!

    3. Someone says:

      To be fair, I think the comic perfectly portrays the inner monologue of an actual gamer playing DOOM.

  7. Jarenth says:

    I honestly thought Mumbles in the beginning of the episode was just calling shotgun for something. And it took me way too long to remember GTA 2, too.

    Also, Rutskarn and Shamus: I know you guys are trying to mentally prepared for being disappointed by the Shadow Broker, but that’s not going to work. BioWare has disappointing nerds down to an art now.

    1. lurkey says:

      Ooooh yes. I was never interested in any of ME1-2 DLCs until I stumbled upon several glowing reviews of this one – and not by one of them kneepadly big review sites, mind you, but random gamers. Well, more a fool I was to trust so easily…the question is, if this Cinematic Experience (no airquotes, because this DLC is exactly that) is the pinnacle of quality, how awful must the others be?

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I liked Bring Down the Sky from ME1, at least. I haven’t played any of the ME2 DLC, sadly, except the free ones that came with the Cerberus Network.

        1. Sydney says:

          Bring Down the Sky just felt like more of the same to me. “Here are some prefab buildings. Go in them, shoot the guys. Here is a binary moral choice; both options are stupid.”

          The fight for the main facility was a barrel of fun, though – loved that =D

          1. Aldowyn says:

            So would you prefer the arena that is Pinnacle Station? All it is is more “Oh look, go shoot stuff. Yay!”

            At least the moral choice was properly Paragon/Renegade.

          2. Hush says:

            I actually liked the choice at the end-it really felt like a Paragon/Renegade dilemma while the rest of the game’s choices might as well have been ripped off of KoTOR’s “Light vs. Dark side” system. Let the hostages live and let a real bastard of a terrorist live to cause more shit later, or take him down for good but sacrifice the hostages to stop Balak from harming more innocents later. Neither is really right or wrong, it’s just a distinction between putting the present, and thus the individual, first, or putting the future, and thus the multitudes, first.

            I’m not going to contest the lack of a third choice, though. It seems to me I could’ve just said “Okay, fine, go walk,” and when he starts walking away, I put one between his four eyes. It probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome at all and you might get even more Renegade points for that(by blatantly breaking your word in an otherwise straightforward deal), but I’d like to have given it a shot.

            But it’s a small complaint. I liked the choice as it was, I just wonder what you makes you think the choice was stupid.

            1. Sydney says:

              Both options hinge on Shepard behaving stupidly.

              “Okay, blow them up.” And then he stands there goggle-eyed while Balak does it? Not to rip off DMotR, but “parlay means the other guy is flat-footed”. While he’s inputting the command to detonate the bomb, blow his brain out.

              “Fine, leave.” And then he stands there goggle-eyed while Balak sets the timer? Not to rip off DMotR…you get the picture. Plus, there’s a warship in orbit with the best damn pilot in the Alliance at the helm. Wait for Balak to take off, then get Joker to shoot him down.

              Or snipe him before he even starts talking. Why, exactly, does Shepard refuse to fire on a known terrorist until they’ve paused to chat?

              I don’t mind railroading. But railroad me into intelligent choices, don’t force me to fail.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                he’d already set the bomb, that was the whole point. And I don’t think Shepard knew that he was the main baddy until he started talking.

                1. Sydney says:

                  Still. Batarian. Shepard himself says “two eyes good, four eyes bad”. And he has a sniper rifle.

              2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                I agree.Not to mention that you couldve just opened the door to the prisoners before you spoke to balak.

                But it was a funn dlc.Especially with the radio station.”I never heard it,but I spoke to someone who did”,hilarious.

      2. poiumty says:

        Wait, what? How was Lair of the Shadow Broker bad? It’s certainly better than Overlord or any other companion DLC, it features a pretty fun (and short) vehicle section and the rest is just more of the same ME2 combat in action. At the end, you get a special reward in the form of a second base with extra text and video logs of primary and secondary characters in the Mass Effect universe (some of them being really awesome).

        So again… why is Shadow Broker awful?

        1. lurkey says:

          Just as I said – it’s one bloody Cinematic Experience. You just ride Illium-Broker Lair Express comfortably, admiring loooooooong detailed pretty cutscenes that pop up every ten minutes…oh, and sometimes stopping to mow some mooks too. Since I hate racing games, the chase sequence, which I got the hang of after twenty or so restarts left me cold, speaking mildly. And then you get to show how Oh-So-Intergalactical-Superduper-Badass you are in that ridiculously over the top (and cinematic!) boss fight. Sure, the dossiers were fun to read, but were they worthy all that chorus of oohs and awws? Not for me, no.

          But – just as I mentioned – this was the only ME DLC I ever played. I’ve no problems believing others were worse.

          1. poiumty says:

            So… you didn’t like the DLC because it had cutscenes and showed Shepard being just as badass as he is throughout the whole game?

            Did you even like ME2 in the first place? You sound like one of my friends who couldn’t play Mass Effect 1 because the main character sounded unbearably badass and cliche no matter what line you picked.

            1. Jarenth says:

              Chiming in here: the problem with Lair of the Shadow Broker is that the reveal is poorly designed. The whole draw of entering the Lair of the Shadow Broker is so that you can find out just who the Shadow Broker is, and without wishing to spoil anything (even though it’s probably been spoiled well and good in earlier Spoiler Warning comment threads) the final outcome is kind of a letdown.

            2. lurkey says:

              A little correction: I didn’t like because it had too many cutscenes for my taste. It’s a DLC of a shooter game, is it really odd of me to expect things to shoot at instead of endless cutscenes to watch? In fact, it felt like one big cutscene with short shooty bits to me. Also, things like “Oh lookie, we get to meet the infamous Shadow Broker now, who might it be? Why, but some dude of the race we’ve never heard about before and likely will never hear again, but who cares when he’s sooo badass!” didn’t really help.

              I…sort of like ME2 for what it is, i.e. semi-mindless shooter, although I still prefer Diablo 2 when I want a “KILLKILLKILL!!!!” type of relaxation. I did love most of NPCs though and Mordin’s right at the top of my best liked companions of all games (fighting for that spot with P:T’s Morte), but in ME2 case the good bits weren’t able to counterbalance the bad bits enough for the game to feel great. It’s just goodish.

              Regarding Shepard – got no problem with him in 1. It was established from the beginning s/he was a v. capable soldier who was about to get the promotion of his life, but then shit happened and off he went to save the world because he felt it was right. Badass, but not over-exaggerated one. Now, Our Zombie Saviour Shepard of 2…yeah. That guy irks me.

              1. Taellosse says:

                It's a DLC of a shooter game, is it really odd of me to expect things to shoot at instead of endless cutscenes to watch?

                Well, it wouldn’t be odd of you, except that’s not what ME2 is. It is an action-RPG. So, you know, cut scenes that develop a plot and advance characterization are kind of to be expected. I realize many of the mainstays of the RPG genre are lacking (customizable statistics, choices between different powers to purchase and improve with level ups, extensive inventories, collecting loot and selling it, etc.), but it is still plot and character focused, has some character customization, and things like dialogue trees, exposition, and moral choices (even if some of them are stupid and irritatingly binary). As DLCs for an RPG go, LotSB is pretty good, actually, if only because it resolves Liara’s character development in a (to me, at least) satisfying way. Bioware’s certainly put out plenty recently that are much worse.

                1. lurkey says:

                  Dude. Static cutscenes, no matter how pretty, does not make a RPG. Nor a shooter. And again, it’s not a mere presence of cutscenes that annoy me, it’s overabundance of them. LotSB has way too big a concentration of them for such a tiny shorty adventure.

                2. Taellosse says:

                  @Lurkey: I’ll grant that there’s not a lot of interactive dialogue in LotSB, and an overabundance of static cutscenes (though some of them are still pretty good) but that doesn’t change the fact that the game as a whole is NOT a shooter.

          2. Kavonde says:

            You know, it sounds like you’re angry at a game billed and hyped as a cinematic action-RPG for being a cinematic action-RPG. That way lies madness.

            Also, one man’s “ridiculously over the top (and cinematic!) boss fight” is another’s “actual boss fight with special mechanics and everything, and not just shooting at someone with more shields and armor than an average mook.”

            1. lurkey says:

              Also, one man's “ridiculously over the top (and cinematic!) boss fight” is another's “actual boss fight with special mechanics and everything, and not just shooting at someone with more shields and armor than an average mook.”

              Not arguing with that.

      3. Avilan says:

        For ME2 there are three must haves and one pretty good:

        This one
        Firepower Pack (the guns are just awesome)

        The pretty good one is the Kessel armor one.

    2. Someone says:

      I was thinking Metal Slug, especially with the notorious RAWKET LAWNCHAIR!

        1. Audacity says:

          If that’s what you were going for… your Ahnuld impression sucks, Mumbles.

            1. Vect says:

              And of course, if Josh chooses the Ravager, I’m expecting “HEAVY MACHINEGUN” will pop up.

  8. bit says:

    I haven’t played Shadow Broker, though I do intend to and keep procrastinating on it. Honestly, I’d rather NOT have it spoiled, so before I watch this episode, can anybody tell me if they start it?

    1. Sydney says:

      They start it. You’re safe if you close the video once they get to the end of Thane’s recruitment, they don’t spoil anything until then.

      1. Bit says:

        Cool. I don’t really want to cut it off half way, so I’ll just watch this after I play it.

  9. Fede says:

    In this episode Josh briefly mentioned one mechanic that i really disliked: paragon\renegade points used as a charm\intimidate skill. I hated it because everytime you choose the middle options in a conversation, you are in fact losing an opportunity to gain skill points. I would have preferred to have one or two skills dedicated to that(charm and intimidate, like in ME1, or maybe a single, more general one, e.g. Persuasion).

    1. Sydney says:

      You know that in ME1 middle options robbed you of skill points too, yes? If you didn’t have enough Paragon or Renegade, you couldn’t upgrade your Charm/Intimidate further. And after certain threshold amounts of Paragon/Renegade points, you’d get more Charm/Intimidate capacity and a free bonus rank.

      You can just grind through the main story four times on NG+ and max out both skills without ever spending a skill point.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I mentioned this in my giant long rant yesterday…

        1. Sydney says:

          I think the justification is that Charm/Intimidate aren’t “powers”, they’re just social skills.

          Go take a genuinely friendly, polite Ned Flanders type and tell him to act intimidating. Hilarious failure ensues. Now get Mr. Burns sweet-talking. Humiliating failure ensues.

          Taking the middle road – which I suppose would map onto Marge – just leaves you no good at either.

          1. Fede says:

            @Sydney: I don’t really agree with this justification (my criticism is toward Bioware, not toward you). However, even assuming that it works from a “game world” point of view, I still thinks that it is a bad design from a game mechanic standpoint. Conversations already have little consequence, and a system like this really increases the level of metagaming.

            @Aldowyn: I didn’t read yesterday’s comments. After reading what you wrote, yes we are basically saying the same thing.

            Edit: fixed a typo.

            1. Fede says:

              I wanted to edit, but i clicked on reply… sorry for the double post.

              1. Sydney says:

                I think it only increases the metagaming if you go in with a metagamer’s attitude. If you treat Charm/Intimidate just as things that might come up – if you don’t worry about min-maxing so you can always pass a Persuade check when it’s available – I think it works fine.

                Yahtzee said it well, though – if you really do want to see the end of every conversation tree, you’ll have to go all one way. But if you already have that goal in mind, you’re metagaming already.

                1. Nidokoenig says:

                  The problem is, the system isn’t complex enough for acting naturally to come across as believable, your character just ends up like Captains Janeway and Archer, flip-flopping from one set of guiding principles to another based on what the voice inside their head is telling them to do today. You never get mixed Paragon/Renegade checks that would encourage mixed gameplay. Nobody likes a psycho, and almost nobody likes a total boy scout, but the system is actively designed to boost and encourage all-red or all-blue paths and gimp purple characters.
                  That, and the fact that most Renegade checks are effectively Intimidation checks, which made sense in Jade Empire because you were deliberately laying low and had no reputation, but in Mass Effect, where you’re a galaxy famous bad-ass, possibly with a Krogan, psychotic biotic, assassin and/or The Motherfucking Archangel in tow, people should shit themselves if you so much as look at them funny. You shouldn’t have to run around flipping the bird at randoms just to make quota.

                  It’s all very well saying I should just roleplay naturally and forget the consequences, but the fact remains that I’m then choosing which part of the game I’m prepared to ignore completely. When one of those things is my character’s behaviour making sense in a story-driven RPG, that means somebody screwed up. I’m perfectly happy with having to do multiple playthroughs to use different skill sets or experiment with meaningful decisions, but having to do multiple runs with my character as a psycho with in-game benefits, a boy scout with other in-game benefits, or a caricature that vaguely resembles a sane-ish human but gets diddly just boils my piss.

                2. Deadpool says:

                  The only way around this is to cheat, and a long cheat at that.

                  Mass Effect 1 had a glitch that allowed you to max both Paragon and Renegade in a single playthrough. Do that, then import your character into Mass Effect 2 and quickly max out your passive… You should have 99% of paragon and intimidate options open to you…

                3. Sydney says:

                  I almost always get “mixed” characters based on the character I’m playing. Pro-human will get you mixed. Pro-military will get you mixed.

                  If you align yourself not with “Paragon” or “Renegade”, but with ideas instead, you’ll end up stiffing some people and supporting others.

                  I’m currently in the middle of a run as an Infiltrator who’s perfectly willing to break the civilian law, but is fiercely loyal to the Alliance Navy. He’s almost evenly-split between Paragon and Renegade; strictly adhering to military protocol, pro-human, law-breaker, generally kind to people.

      2. krellen says:

        You can get six points (out of twelve) in either with no score at all. A 25% score (relatively easy to hit) lets you get to 10 in either. You only need a high score (over 75%) to get to 12, and only a tiny handful of checks (Feros and Saren) require skill that high.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont see what the problem is.I played it leisurely myself in both games,and I ended up with renegade bar overflowing both times.If I min/maxed,I guess Id get both bars full by the end.

      Not to mention that in 2 your class skill also doubles your points in addition to improving your combat skills,so you end up having to only half fill the meter.And if you transfer a character from 1,youll already have it 1/3 full.

  10. Exasperation says:

    The important lesson to take away from this episode is that saluting is a renegade conversation option. So all those times he salutes you for no apparent reason? He’s just farming renegade points.

    1. Desgardes says:

      Now that she’s saluting back, I think we know who’s coming to her quarters know what I mean, nudge nudge, know what I mean, say no more, know what I mean?

      1. somebodys_kid says:

        “I’m afraid I don’t quite follow you”

  11. xXDarkWolfXx says:

    I think Miranda is the aquaman of mass effect 2
    filling the role of Ashley from mass effect 1

    1. Sydney says:

      Miranda’s passive power is probably the best single power in the game. Makes Insanity runs much easier having that constant DPS boost.

      1. somebodys_kid says:

        Also, her possession of both Overload and Warp means she can hit any baddie at any time and not have to wait for one or more health bars to be removed.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          The only problem is she dies fairly easily, but if you keep the enemies thoroughly distracted that doesn’t matter.

          1. Sydney says:

            Which makes it extra-strange how nigh-invulnerable she is during the endgame.

  12. Aldowyn says:

    Thane’s philosophy is really interesting. I’ve heard of that kind of thing before, but the drell in general and Thane in specific are really interesting. Also, Hanar are apparently a lot cooler than anyone thought.

    Shamus, there’s only ONE drell in the rest of the game, and he’s a special case.

    Also, I am sad because I am NOT going to watch you guys do the Shadow Broker DLC… sad :(

    1. Sydney says:

      I can think of two others that you meet. One in a loyalty mission, one in a DLC. I’ll say no more, except that I met the DLC one first, which took a lot of the edge off meeting Thane.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        total? I haven’t played any of the DLC, so I dunno about that one, but I’m assuming the one in the loyalty mission is the one I’m talking about…

        1. Sydney says:

          Remember that only a few thousand drell were saved from their homeworld, and most of those stay with the hanar.

          1. Will says:

            What, an alien minority that we don’t see very often for a reasonable reason? Preposterous!

  13. Kolobus says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this series, you guys prompted me to replay both ME1 and ME2. I haven’t done Shadow Broker yet (just finished Firewalker) but I’ve already had the conclusion spoiled by a well-meaning but over-excited friend. Can’t wait to see what you all think.

    On a side note, was I the only one who wondered why Josh was so forgiving (relatively speaking) to this part of the game in the text of this post before realizing it was Shamus?

  14. Integer Man says:

    Love your comments on the conversation that would have happened without Thane and the idea of picturing the place yesterday. That kind of stuff is why I watch. Well, that and I like Reginald’s bonnet.

  15. Someone says:

    You can actually see Liara’s secretary quietly leaving in the background, at around 11:06 .

  16. Johan says:

    For the question “have there ever been any good Comic Book spinoffs” I can say that Avatar: The Last Airbender had at least one that I liked (can’t remember much, but it was the story of Sokka being Wang Fire and being a Martyr in the Fire Nation)

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Futurama comics are also nice.

    2. Will says:

      Wang Fire has an entire mythology dedicated to him if you know where to look, many fans consider him to be the most powerful and badass character in the Avatar universe. (Effectively the Avatar universe’s Chuck Norris)

      Ironically, a lot of it is actually pretty amazing, and then you get Wang Fire\Berserk crossovers and it all goes horrifyingly right.

  17. Dante says:

    Ruts did the porno music like seconds after I started doing it…that’s awesome.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Thank you Rutskarn for reminding me that mako wasnt completely removed from mass effect,it was only converted to its original form.

    Awwww,you didnt go to the bachelor party and you didnt shoot the fan in the leg:(

  19. Zaxares says:

    Belly shots: Hey, we don’t know asari physiology. Maybe their hearts or another vital organ is located in their bellies?

    Also, something that’s always bugged me. WHY DOES LIARA HAVE EYEBROWS? No other asari you ever meet has them! :P

    1. Velkrin says:

      It’s a disguise.

  20. Stephen says:

    I liked how, if you switch out the details very slightly, Shamus’s description of the shadow broker is almost exactly correct.

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