Mass Effect 3 EP13: You Big Dumb Jellyfish

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Sep 12, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 174 comments

Link (YouTube)

Volus! Volus is the name of the species I’m always forgetting. Anyway, Elcor are my favorites. I’d always hoped that we’d get some Volus, Elchor, or Hannar on our ship. Squad members would have been awesome, although I would have settled for someone on the ship who did a thing. I was really sad to see they were basically abandoned after the first game so we could tell more stories about the humanoid races. Or actually, just a story about the human Cerberus vs. human Alliance.

I have nothing to add on the ending of this episode. I think it speaks for itself. Although to be perfectly fair, the game did continue normally once Josh clicked on the popup. But still, what on Earth was that popup doing in the game at all, much less in the single-player gameplay?


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174 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP13: You Big Dumb Jellyfish

  1. Josh says:

    Elcor, damnit! There’s no “ch” in “Space Elephant Man!”

    1. swenson says:

      Well, there’s a “c” and an “h” at least…

    2. anaphysik says:

      But there is in “space pachyderm.”

      (And since we’re correcting Shamus, it’s ‘hanar,’ not ‘hannar.’ Also, the names aren’t capitalized, foolish Human! Or as the Spathi say, ‘Hunam!’)

  2. Littlefinger says:

    Anachronox namedrop!!

    For all of you who have failed to notice this game when it first came out:
    you start the game getting punched in the face by a midget. It’s also a sci-fi rpg where one of your party members is a planet.


    oh, and it’s on GOG.

    edit: listening to Chris’ explanation, I realise just how much of Anachronox’ plotline I’ve forgotten. That just has to be rectified.

    1. Jeff says:

      The story didn’t end, did it? I recall it kinda being being abrupt, with no follow-up.

      1. Michael says:

        The entire story was judged to be too big to fit in one game, so there were supposed to be sequels/expansion packs. I believe Tom Hall has set a deadline of about 2020 for an Anachronox sequel, and if he hasn’t made one by then he’ll just release the story outline.

        I’d rather have the sequel.

        1. Littlefinger says:

          the problem is that the IP was in the hands of Eidos, now Square Enix. Tom Hall claims to have tried to buy/acquire the IP but failed. :-(

  3. lurkey says:

    Chris, Anachronox gives you a planet for a party member, and you say bars make no sense?

    1. I’m glad to see Mogo from the Green Lantern Corps got some other roles. Still, typecasting…

      1. Mike S. says:

        He’s still bitter over losing the role of Unicron to Orson Welles.

  4. ThomasWa says:

    So…the racist slur wasn’t even a renegade interrupt? Yeah. Wow. This game dropped the sci-fi thing pretty hard. See, clever science fiction would have pointed that out. Calling a sapient alien lifeform by the name of an animal would be a slur, but this game is more interested in one-liners.

    1. Raygereio says:

      Hanar are a different species: specieist slur.
      The VA sounds rather awkward to me. It’s like the Jennifer Hale looked at that line and didn’t know if she had to sound outraged or just laugh.

      Also, I guess this is somewhat of a shoehorned in callback to ME1:

      1. ThomasWa says:

        So originally it was a renegade option. Huh.
        You’re right, I just couldn’t figure out how to spell speciesist. It’s still a form of xenophobia that the writers should have picked up on and at least commented upon. Better yet, drop it entirely, since it’s not exactly a one-liner so awesome it needed to be in the game in the first place. (More-so considering what it says about Shepard’s character. Talk about human centrism in this game.)
        Not that I feel offended or anything, but as far as speculative science fiction goes, that was a very stupid mistake to make.

        1. Klay F. says:

          To be fair, I believe Bioware was trying to be funny here, and for what its worth, I laughed my ass off at the line, not because it was funny (it wasn’t), but because of how out of place it was, and how out of character it was for my paragon Shep.

      2. Entropy says:

        Yeah, Mark Meers version is actually a fair bit better delivered, if I remember right.

        1. Jeff says:

          It always sounded like Shep was almost at a loss for words. “You big stupid” is already kind of playground-ish. If it was a human, it’d likely be “You big stupid ape!”

  5. Gruhunchously says:

    I think it’s fair to say that the business at the end of the video was entirely Josh’s fault for having a sub par internet connection. EA and their online authentication is completely blameless, and, in fact, can do no wrong.

    1. Indy says:

      It’s obvious that the stream and vent were running on LAN as well. But the moment that internet goes out, you lose the rights to play all of your games. It even stops Solitaire.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Many board game companies have departments that send out torchbearers to set fire to your board games if you ever lose your connection as well, and justifiedly so.

  6. newdarkcloud says:

    That ending is one of the best I’ve seen in a Spoiler Warning history. I was wondering “Why is this episode only 13 minutes long!?”, then that came up on the screen. Awesome.

    The text made it seem to look like only multiplayer is disabled. Do they really have Always-Online DRM on the game? If so, that was incredibly stupid.

    1. Wraith says:

      Yup. You can’t get to the main menu if you don’t have an internet connection. When I had trouble connecting the first time I started up the game I almost got rabies.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        That’s awesome. EA does NOT want their customers’ money, do they?

        1. Keeshhound says:

          What are you talking about? If they’re seeing that pop-up, then EA already has their money, just like with the ending.

          1. guy says:

            What’s funny is that the always-online DRM has a habit of wrecking your efforts to reach the online store where you exchange money for random packs of items and characters. So EA is literally preventing people from giving them money.

            1. Mike S. says:

              No joke. I had to get manual help over the phone to pay for SWTOR, and the fix didn’t stick. When it came time to buy ME3 the Origin site wouldn’t accept any of my credit cards, and it basically took a multi-day ordeal to finally get to someone who could fix it. And the EA boards made it clear that plenty of people were getting the same error and having to go through the same struggle.

              The brokenness of the most fundamental aspect of their business (successfully taking money the customer is shoving into their face) really dwarfed any issues with game design in my mind. I get why they might skimp, hit a crunch, or even fundamentally disagree with me on what constitutes a satisfactory resolution. But surely they want my money.

              (If I didn’t love the ME series as much as I do, I would have just given up– there are plenty of reputedly great games I haven’t even touched yet.)

      2. Raygereio says:

        You can play ME3 offline, but you must first set Origin to offline mode. Otherwise failure to connect to EA’s servers will result in ME3 throwing a hissyfit and locking away the DLC and saves that had DLC.

        Edit: I choose to believe that the word Origin send this post into the moderation queue.

        1. Ronixis says:

          My 360 version now has the opposite problem: it can’t connect, so it only starts up when I disconnect the system from the Internet.

    2. McNutcase says:

      Ayup, this episode is going in with Fission Mailed as one of the best ones.

    3. MrWhales says:

      I remember a time when SW wasn’t long enough at 30 minutes. Such simpler times.

    4. AJ_Wings says:

      Best ending of an episode in the season so far.

  7. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Observations in no particular order:

    1.) I like that the Salarians refer to the Spectres as STAR. It helps with the idea that there really are languages, we’re just getting stuff translated.

    2.) I remember when Anacronox was advertised on the back of the original Deus Ex CD Case. I always thought it was some type of online game thingy. May need to actually check it out. Add it to the already copious list.

    3.) I’m not totally on board with the “grunt’s perspective,” especially since Shepard often is the grunt. But Vega I like. Except for his lack of a uniform. He reminds me of some people I’ve known who were soldiers and marines.

    4.) I recall early on that I couldn’t find things on the map of the citadel -in fact, I’m not positive that when the game was released it was possible to change the map to different levels. But by now the xbox version at least lets you find the nodes by checking the map regardless of where you are on the citadel.

    5.) Fighting the reapers with foot soldiers makes sense to me. As Smudboy says: “Cains and Fleets.” I have long thought that the plan should have been to drag the reaper fleets into a gravity well so that they had to expend all their energy lowering their mass – and then hit them with Cains and Fleets. And maybe call it the 999 plan, or something.

    6.) And the big thing in American military planning is the fear that swarms of small boats could penetrate the area defenses of a Carrier Group and kill the carrier. I’m not sure rubber dinghies would do it, but there was that wargame several years ago… (I’m aware of the accusations that the opfor commander was god-moding.)

    1. ehlijen says:

      Small boats with powerful outboarders, torpedoes and a few people on board at most. Not oversized floats with whole platoons bunched up so one reaper beam can get them all.

      The ME equivalent would be fighters with cains strapped to the wings. Or possibly shuttles delivering one or two cain troopers apiece.

      1. anaphysik says:

        “ME equivalent” – Which sounds like a plausibly successful idea, appropriately enough.

      2. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

        The thing is, those small boats probably would have been far less effective against the older WWII-era battleships, actually, given the armor belts/many smaller guns. Which, given that the ME universe hasn’t yet converted entirely over to carrier warfare…

        1. ehlijen says:

          WW2, yes. WW1 (post Dreadnaught’s ‘all big gun’ revolution but before any air threat brought on the idea of adding rapid fire AA defences) would have been fairly helpless as well though. That’s when destroyers were invented to combat the possible threat of torpedo boats.

          And belt armour meant nothing if a torpedo could be set to detonate underneath the keel (usual cause of death for big ships from torps).

          All that should mean little in a universe where you can change a ship’s mass with a button, though. Or even just in space.

          On the ocean, battleships became outdated once the limitations of gravity and horizon made moving fast and staying out of sight the superior defence to thick armour. In space, neither of those limitations apply. If your shells travel at relativistic speeds and you have better sensor than stealth tech in an environment where line of sight always exists, the advantage goes back to the gun and armour approach. So ME didn’t ‘not evolve to the carrier stage’ it moved back from the carrier stage to the dreadnaught stage (and was maybe about to move back to the stealth over armour stage with the prototype normandy).

          However, space cinematics only care about both sides being in the screen at the same time and will make the setting bend over backwards to allow that.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            The dreadnaughts are still powerful, but falling out of style in the game to carriers. Once humans invented quantum torpedoes, it became trivial to overwhelm the barriers and GUARDIAN systems that defend dreadnaughts. And the torpedoes are carried by fighters.

            Of course, part of the reasons humans came up with that system is because the Citadel’s equivalent of the Kellog-Briand Pact limited the number of dreadnaughts the humans could make.

            Not that this bit of codex trivia ever matters in game (grumble grumble grumble)

            1. guy says:

              I got the impression Dreadnoughts were still where it was at. GUARDIAN lasers absolutely shred fighter squadrons; any attack run is more-or-less a suicide mission. It’s possible for sufficently large volleys to break through a dreadnought’s kinetic barriers; it is also possible for the Destiny Ascension to smash them.

              Not that carriers are useless, but the galaxy seems to regard the dreadnought as more powerful and important, and while it’s possible that is leading up to Space Pearl Harbor convincing them otherwise, that impression did last through the major fleet engagement at the end of the first game.

            2. ehlijen says:

              Still, with relativistic speed guns and long range detection to use them, a fighter squadron would need some kind of distraction to get close enough to actually use it’s maneuverability advantage before being shredded by a dreadnaught’s main gun at range. In space, anything can go really fast (fighter advantage #1 over battleships gone). In space, anyone can see really far (advantage #2 over horizon crippled ships). In space, gravity doesn’t affect gun ranges (advantage #1 of missiles over guns). Add near instant impact times and computers to calculate trajectories well enough and fast enough and fighters will be picked off at extreme ranges like any other target. We just don’t see these extreme range fights because they’d not look dramatic in a cutscene.

              Technology as described in the ME universe should favour big gun + tough barrier ships like the Destiny Ascension in the absenece of stealgh technology (which the Normandy was just introducing). Carriers help, sure. But carriers would lack the range and obscurement advantage they enjoy over gun vessels in naval engagements and thus can’t face dreadnaughts without help. Without stealth (or lack of sensor range, but ME doesn’t seem go that way) to give them back that advantage, they hit no harder (any warhead you can put on fighters you can put on a shell), no faster (shells can move as fast, if not faster than fighters) and would be structurally weaker due to launch port requirements.

              Small ships with big guns might be an alternative, but apparently big guns in ME means big eezo cores which also brings big ships and good barriers so why not go big.

              Fighters would have their uses: guarding relays (where the enemy jumps in close enough so they can overwhelm them in time), planetary defence (where the enemy can’t target into the atmosphere from so far away you can’t swarm him) and covering big ships from enemy fighters in those situations. But fleet vs fleet in open space means big guns win.

              1. hborrgg says:

                Generally, what happens in warfare is that combatants try to seek some sort of “low -energy” combat that mitigates risk. This means that if armor can’t provide enough protection, then the preferred engagement range will probably be whatever distance those computer targeting programs can reliably hit an enemy craft times 3. Were ships will be seen buzzing around in irregular patterns and wildly firing at the direction they’ve been assured the enemy is in.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  In ME we are told shots are not taken without a proper firing solutions (see also: Newton, Space Badass).

                  That suggests the capability to acquire them and that suggests that armour and barriers are the superior form of protection. At least until the reapers show up (who are depicted as oddly short range, so why is everyone flying towards them?).

                  1. Mike S. says:

                    Though the Codex claims they start firing their main guns at extreme range while the other side is taking evasive action. Drill Sgt. “You do NOT shoot from the hip!” may be oversimplifying to communicate doctrine. (Since “yes, we fill civilized systems with dense, high-speed meteors every battle, but don’t compound the problem with poor firing discipline” isn’t as pithy and memorable.)

                    1. Kian says:

                      A firing solution might not mean “Yes, this shot will definitely reach it’s target,” but rather “No, this shot will not hit anyone important after it misses it’s target in a timeframe I care about.” Any shot that misses and manages to leave the planetary system is probably not going to bother anyone for thousands or millions of years, if at all ever. You just have to be sure not to hit any of the planets in this system first.

                  2. rrgg says:

                    If only combat had evolved even further, we would all have heavy bronze rams mounted on the front of our spaceships and the reapers wouldn’t stand a chance!

                    1. Mike S. says:

                      Hey, Doc Smith’s Lensman series had ftl starship combat decided by boarding actions with melee weapons– space axes, even, “a combination and sublimation of battle-axe, mace, bludgeon, and lumberman’s picaroon”– and it’s a classic!

                    2. Thomas says:

                      I was disappointed by those books really. When you hear about them it all sounds so cool and in some ways a lot of the tech is still cool but the whole human aspect was so… I don’t know, dull maybe? Unbelievable

    2. anaphysik says:

      “1.) I like that the Salarians refer to the Spectres as STAR.”

      Um, pretty sure he doesn’t. Bau simply says he’s with SPECial Tactics and REcon(naissance), which if you didn’t know is precisely what ‘Spectre’ stands for (which makes no real sense if you consider it multilingually, unless the Systems Alliance was forced to come up with an appropriate division name and abbreviation for use in translation devices, right after they met the Council races).

      EDIT: Hm, I see he does use “ST&R” in his e-mail. Still, I don’t think it in any way indicates actual differences in language. (And, in fact, the abbreviation still matching the translation makes even less sense – usually one would keep the (transliterated) abbreviation of the foreign term; e.g. we don’t call the KGB the CSS (although calling the SSSR the USSR is a counter example), the BRD/DDR the FRG/GDR, etc etc.)

      1. Mike S. says:

        Though I’d actually never noticed that STAR is a more straightforward and natural abbreviation of the Corps name. (Especially in the context of
        Earth newly learning about the galactic government’s superagents.) I now wonder if they started out as STAR Agents or something early in development, and then became Spectres when someone decided it was more badass. Which is arguably true.

        (It has some negative connotations thanks to James Bond, but given all the reasonable questions raised in the series about the organization– Jondam Bau is the only one who’s even reliably loyal to the Council, let alone sapient decency– those are plausibly intentional and earned.)

        1. Thomas says:

          Spectre definitely sounds cooler.

          It also gives a much more intuitive knowledge too. If you said the Councial had a unit of Spectre’s, the first thoughts are 1. Unseen. 2. Black Ops. 3. Elite.

          STAR would probably suggest elite, but it doesn’t convey the covertness at all, it makes them sound more like the SAS but even less secretive. A widely publicised N7 maybe.

          1. Mike S. says:

            Though in practice, Shepard flies around in a unique ship announcing herself, Saren is the most distinctive-looking turian in Citadel space, and Tela Vasir picks fights in crowded urban environments. They don’t do the covert thing very well, do they?

            But I agree that Spectre is a more evocative name. STAR is just, in retrospect, a more obvious one, so that I’m surprised that I needed it pointed out to me. :-)

            1. Thomas says:

              Shepard flies around in a unique stealth ship :D

        2. SharpeRifle says:

          I’m thinking they didn’t go with STAR to keep people from thinking they operated outta Racoon City. Or the lawsuits that could potentially have happened. Oh and the cool factor too. Gotta be cool for the kids.

    3. Entropy says:

      Well, STAR is Special Tactics And Recon. Which is an English Acronym.

  8. Wedge says:

    I really enjoyed the idea behind the Elcor–they were the most alien of the alien species in the series (except maybe the Hanar), and I wish we had spent more time with them. One thing always bothered me though–they don’t have hands! Or any kind of analogue for hands! I don’t understand how a species could create civilization or technology or even evolve to the point of having abstract thought without the ability to manipulate objects.

    1. anaphysik says:

      I think they can use their front limbs as hands as well, but that they only lift one of them at a time; seem to recall hearing that somewhere.

    2. Corpital says:

      I have no problem to imagine hanar building and manipulating stuff, but I DO have a problem with them developing space flight on their water world. While it is possible they swam to the few dry islands on the planet, built things that needed fire and created the foundation of an industrie. But it just feels so improbable, even with prothean technology.

      Of course you only think this way until you hear the excerpts from the Blasto movie. I *really* hope we’re going to hear those.

      1. Thomas says:

        Times like this I wish i was scientist enough to try and create a working water progression of civilisation.

        You can still make heat in water right? And presumably water still gets hotter and if you could heat just a part of it you could then make steam which would still have pressure and all the rest. Could you decompose the water into oxygen with enough tech so all your metals are available? But i guess the problem is finding a cheap way of making heat.

        Would generators still work under water though? You could still make electricity right? I mean fish can make electricity. So you could use that for a lot. But how would you make metals (or something else) to conduct it usefully.

        It’s a fun question, i wish I knew just how much you could do without access to fire

        1. TMC_Sherpa says:

          I know very little of the lore behind ME but if the planet they are on is similar to Earth then there may be tectonic activity so while they may not have ready access to fire it could be substituted with magma/lava/geothermal energy. I guess the real question is why would they build things? I don’t know if there are alpha predators or other reasons to build protective structures.

          1. Thomas says:

            There would most probably be predators in any environment. Are Hannar amphibious or are they wearing some kind of suit round the Citadel, because that would be more dodgy for me than the tech maybe

        2. Deadpool says:

          Check out the G’woth from Fleet of Worlds series. They had over to travel out of the water for fire still though… But Lerner and Niven did a good job with water society and technology.

          1. Thomas says:

            You could build flotation devices to get out of the water so that’s fine :D. I’ll probably check that out, thanks for the heads up on it

      2. ? says:

        Isn’t their whole backstory ‘they were uplifted by protheans’? Protheans put some mass effect thingies in them so they can levitate over land and manipulate objects, leaving more tech behind to be reverse engineered.

  9. Adam P says:

    No server connection might mean cloud saves are disabled.

    So if this was the end of the week in episodes, does that mean there will be no episodes coming tomorrow or Friday?

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So reapers suffer from conservation of ninjutsu as well.Or technically the other way round:The turians lose 85% of their troops in the beginning of the war,and then they prevail.

    Both the second and the third game seem so small.I blame the loading screens for that.The elevators in 1 may have been boring at times,but they gave you an illusion of everything being connected,instead of a bunch of nodes you travel to.Its also weird how with advance in technology these two games become smaller instead of bigger.

    1. LunaticFringe says:

      The Citadel in the first game had a much more ‘grandeur’ design philosophy as well, places like the Council chamber, CSEC headquarters, etc. all felt like big, bureaucratic areas with big rooms and visual tricks to make them seem even more complex (even the markets felt like a space strip mall, while ME2 feels more like a bazaar and ME3 just has terminals).

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      The line wasn’t clear to me. I took him to be saying that 85% of their casualties are KIA, not 85% of their army. An 85/15 split dead wounded is astoundingly high. An 85% dead, and some smaller percentage wounded, and some other medium percentage unhurt would be the end of the Turian Hierarchy.

      1. ehlijen says:

        Wouldn’t be the only time ME makes ridiculous statements about casualties.

        After shepard gets hit by harbinger, there is a line that goes something like: “Our entire force was decimated!”

        So what? Everyone lost 10% of their health bar? :P

        1. Hoping for anyone in movies/TV/whatever to get the actual definition of “decimated” correct is like hoping the average police procedural will have a realistic portrayal of how computers work.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            Ship sailed long ago. But it’s worse in this case, because neither definition would be correct. 1 in 10 was not killed, nor were 9 in 10. 10 in 10, with Shepard excepted were killed.

            The word Coates was looking for was “Anhilated.”

          2. IFS says:

            New Vegas had a radio broadcast about how caesar’s legion used decimation as a punishment, similar to how the romans used it, though they got the details of the practice right they didn’t actually use the word decimate.

          3. anaphysik says:

            Except that outside of a technical field, it’s heavily prescriptivist to insist on ‘proper’ usage for a word that’s descriptively developed a (basically opposite) meaning. The newer usage is considered standard English by *many* dictionaries and linguists. (The older usage is still correct, but, *as it was originally*, is used to refer specifically to a type of punishment meted out.)

            (Whereas CSI/whatever can be objectively incorrect representations of contemporary technology and police methodology, using ‘decimate’ in this fashion reflects standard English of our times and thus presumably also 2185.)

            1. ehlijen says:

              Mostly. It was actually meant to mean ‘remove specifically the 10th of a people that is most capable of serving in the military (men from the mid teens to mid twenties)’, ie the idea was to leave a people in existance but to destroy their ability to effectively fight back in the near future. The act was usually applied to entire populations, not only their military forces.

              It’s not clear if the master intended it that way, but he sure came closer than ME3 soldier guy did.

              1. guy says:

                Uh, decimation was generally a punishment for mass desertion in battle, where ten percent of a unit was executed, sometimes by the rest of the unit.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  It was? Latin teacher was a liar then…

                2. hborrgg says:

                  The word means to kill off 10%, although form of punishiment was generally the context.

                  1. ehlijen says:

                    Yes, but I thought it was punishment for insurrection, not for desertion.

                    1. I wish someone had been punished for Insurrection. That whole scene with Riker steering the Enterprise with a joystick made my brain bleed.

                    2. Mike S. says:

                      @ps238principal: I observe there are about ten main TNG cast members, and Data was killed in the next movie…

                    3. Killed yet not killed. He pulled a “Search for Spock” on the conveniently available backup android.

                    4. Mike S. says:

                      “At no point in the Starfleet regulations covering unit decimation and other forms of discipline is the selected individual forbidden from performing a routine data backup. Nor from doing a ballistic analysis of the pentagonal trapezohedron used to make the selection, before determining where to stand during the selection process. I believe you will find my actions entirely in accordance with all rules and procedures.”

                      (Sure, the Federation wouldn’t really have rules on decimation But you can certainly see the Romulans or the Mirror Universe Terran Empire having terms and conditions codified.)

                    5. I figured the Terrans would just use their Agonizers.

                      Or use the “press a button to make people in your quarters disintegrate” device that goes BOI-OY-OY-OY-OING when it’s activated.

                    6. Mike S. says:

                      Only Kirk had that one. :-) Though you have to wonder if non-mirror Kirk was tempted to bring it back with him. There’s no end to situations that might prove useful for. (“Khan has taken over the ship!” “Relax, gentlemen– I just have to go to my cabin for a moment.” Would have saved a lot of trouble a decade or so later, too.)

    3. Winter says:

      Technically i think what he was saying was that, of those hurt, 85% were dead and 15% were wounded. In other words, very high fatality rate. (Compare/contrast to the Iraq War where the majority were (are?) wounded.)

  11. slipshod says:

    The ending made my day. Hysterical.

  12. Alexander The 1st says:

    So long as you don’t stop in the same way you were going to for AC2 if the DRM kicked in, that’s a pretty awesome ending to the episode.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      This season promises to be too hilarious to NOT keep going, despite DRM.

  13. False Prophet says:

    I agree about the lack of non-humanoid crew members. Why not a volus quartermaster? Or an elcor technician? (I almost said communications officer, but that would get old fast.) If Shepard’s really supposed to be about uniting the galaxy against the Reapers, how about some actual evidence of that?

    Even with the human NPCs, why are so many of them Alliance military? There’s that Star Trek/Babylon 5 influence coming on too strongly: why are all the significant human characters military?

    The most prominent human civilians–Udina and Al-Jilani–are mostly portrayed as unnecessarily obstructionist and a threat to Mary Sue Shepard’s agenda, and of course TIM’s a Villain Sue. Outside of sidequests, you rarely deal with any human politicians or bureaucrats outside of Udina. Except for retail clerks you seem to never deal with human entrepreneurs or business people. You get sent on mining surveys by the military as opposed to a civilian government agency. Almost all the scientists you meet are Bond villains working for Cerberus “rogue cells”. You get called to Earth to discuss the Reaper threat and only talk to the Alliance military Chiefs of Staff. Not one civilian politician or bureaucrat wants to talk to you, not even a minister of defense.
    You go to Grissom Academy and the person in charge is Alliance military. The majority of Alliance war assets are military. There are a small minority of scientists and journalists whose contribution is minimal, and no politicians, bureaucrats or business leaders. Is the Alliance military the only human organization that regularly deals with the Citadel on humanity’s behalf? Because that’s starting to sound like a junta.

    I’m not saying the Alliance military wouldn’t be at the forefront of the war with the Reapers. But between the shooting things, building alliances, and the Crucible project, science and diplomacy are just as important as the military for victory. For Earth, even more so since the Alliance military seems less effective against the Reapers than the other major powers. If you want to make a World War II analogy, it wasn’t just the big battles that won the war. It was the political conferences, the alliances, the espionage, the scientific developments (Bletchley Park, Manhattan Project, etc.), the industrialization, and the support from the homefront too.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      That’s a very interesting point. The games did get much more military-centric as the series progressed (though I would argue that they always were).

      In Mass Effect 2, we did deal with human colonists. We also had human civilians in the party like… Jack, Miranda, and Jacob (ugh). Yeah, there are not many big non-military human characters. I wonder why that would be.

      1. Thomas says:

        In the Codex, as far as I understand, its been canon from beforeME1 that the Alliance basically took control by almost a coup after somewhere.

        Always felt it would have been more interesting to look into, because the human governing system seemed absolutely terrible from the description

    2. HBOrrgg says:

      Although in WWII all of those civilian factories and resources hadn’t been instantly glassed by a ton of invincible reaper ships. But really all that fact does is poke even more holes in the scenario that the writers are trying to create.

    3. guy says:

      I seem to recall that the Alliance people you meet at the start are referred to as the defense committee, but I forget if that’s their actual name or Shepard is just being snarky towards a military leadership group.

      That being said, I’m pretty sure most of the humans you encounter on the Citadel are civilian diplomats or workers, at least until ME3, where it basically becomes a major military base. Which is entirely logical, because it is strategically located. Shepard is in the military and usually pretty busy, so most of her interactions are with military personnel and her interactions with civilians are brief. Though really, there should have been crew avaliable from the other races in ME3. In the first game, your military superiors threw enough of a fit over the non-human squadmates you did get, because the Turians are clearly trying to steal technical details of a ship they designed! I so wanted an oppertunity to point out that worrying about Garrus stealing tech for the Turians was completely stupid.

      But anyway, inviting anyone other than squadmates from alien species aboard would have made too much trouble politically and possibly caused the Alliance to pull the crew, although you’d probably keep the ship because it might technically be your ship and I can absolutely see the Turian councilor smugly telling the Alliance military that if they wanted to keep their fancy ultra-expensive frigate they shouldn’t have gifted it to a Council Spectre.

    4. ehlijen says:

      While the game is clearly military focused and possibly shouldn’t be as much, I’d like to add:

      -Shepard is a mid ranking officer on a mission. It makes some sense that Hacket or some of his advisors would deal with most civilian inquiries.
      -There are a lot of non military humans shepard interacts with:
      Bailey, Udina, Allers (not technically miliatry), Al Jilani, the cerberus scientists, the civilians you rescue on benning, doctors at the hospital, a lot of sidequest givers…
      -you serve on a military ship (and it has been established as such in ME1). It’s somewhat natural that many speaking parts will go to the ship crew which would naturally be military

      Did they miss a chance by not showing more human civilians? Yes. But that place was ME2, I’d say, not ME3.

    5. SleepingDragon says:

      So for a while when/after playing ME2 I was so sure that the point of the game was largely to show council and council races as being all but incapable of any real action because they are mired in bureaucracy, influences from various groups and the whole “must keep ordinary people unaware and comfortable” line of thinking (I mean, the persistence in “there are no Reapers” was so strong within the council half the people out there were betting these guys were indoctrinated). At the same time we were exploring the terminus systems with their plenty of guns, unconventional thinkers and militant societies.

      I honestly thought in ME3 we’d see Shepard turn to those outsider races and societies, I mean, even Volus could provide economic support, and the stance towards the council races would be a “let the council die/save the council at horrible losses” of this game. I saw no other possible reason so I assumed those cultures were not explored because they were being saved for the final game…

  14. HBOrrgg says:

    Ha ha, supporting that refugee just lost you 2 war asset points. I hope you can live with that guys. (Yes I am being sarcastic here.)

    edit: I’d like to think that Salarians probably can’t even be choked that way and that grabbing the guy’s neck would be the equivalent of, say, squeezing a human’s arm really hard.

    1. Keeshhound says:

      That would certainly explain why he can still talk.

      [is grabbed by idiot human] “Shepherd, stop the upload! And you, what the hell do you think you’re doing? I breath through my stomach, you twit.”

      Of course, they couldn’t possibly have gone that route or it would make renegading to save him an even less defensible option than it already was.

      1. HBOrrgg says:

        But the press button symbol came up! Those are supposed to always fix everything and make it all better!

  15. Thomas says:

    Purgatory shows you the advantages and disadvantages of ME3 art design. Its much more complex than in ME2, makes more sense as a place and a feeling of being larger and more used. There’s more nooks and crannies and more angles to explore

    but the colour is also washed out and it all feels grey and lifeless. ME2 made no sense and looked stupid, but it was always exciting, here it’s more real, more detailed and interesting, but somehow gives the impression of boring (never was this more true than Solarian homeworld but I wasn’t in time to comment there :D)

    (Also I didn’t compare Omega in ME2 and Purgatory here because making Purgatory more boring could have been a valid design decision and possibly was)

  16. Eärlindor says:



    Ending: Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…

  17. guy says:

    When that renegade interrupt popped up, I was sure that was the option to whip out my gun and shoot the strangling guy and make an immediate dive for the console, not the option to walk over and punch the guy. Because the first is how Mal would do it and the second is stupid. Also, I remembered the guard dude as being huge and ripped and the animation as being less terrible, mostly because that would have made more sense.

    Male Shepard’s delivery of “Because he’s a big stupid jellyfish” is equally terrible.

    Why is the hanar defense network largely automated? Why is it networked? Why is it networked with the intersteller communications system? Why did someone who wanted to sabotage it travel to the Citadel instead of either transmitting from where they were or going to the homeworld? Why did he tel- wait, indoctrination makes people stupid. That last one is sensible.

  18. HBOrrgg says:

    On the “infantry running around with laser guns” trope.

    If you were going to try and present a realistic future based on where our current technology is heading then yes, just about every single problem should be solvable with either a nuclear warhead, tiny flying gunbots that have perfect accuracy or something else equivalently overpowered (unless you make all of the problems lame talky ones I guess). But that would also be really really boring. The reason I try to stay away from science fiction isn’t because they necessarily unrealistic or because they start nerfing so many things to facilitate a bunch StarWars-like epic and space battles (I prefer that they do that, in fact), but because so many authors just can’t figure out how to do this while keeping things balanced and consistent.

    When something like the Reapers show up and start nuking the earth, my first thought isn’t “Wow, they’re so advanced!” it’s “WOAH WOAH WOAH! YOU CAN’T DO THAT IT’S TOTALLY NOT ALLOWED ‘CAUSE IF IT WERE THEN WE WOULD JUST DO THAT TO YOU!”

    1. This is where I re-state that ME2 would have made a lot more sense had the result of one’s Reaper excursion been some kind of countermeasure to the standard “death from on high” attack (jamming their drones or blocking their destructo-beams) resulting in close combat with fighters and ground troops being the best strategy.

    2. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I dunno. Even with all our high-tech weaponry, we still fight our wars with infantry. Horses, tanks, manned aircraft -all may go -but we keep the infantry.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes,but thats because our wars are about conquering resources.For that you need to establish ground control,and vehicles are still not precise enough for that.

        But yes,realistic space combat would be incredibly dull to watch.Especially if you had weapons as fast as those in mass effect.

        1. Tohron says:

          I wouldn’t be sure about that. If you’ve got hundred-kilometer-wide antimatter bursts and batteries of high-intensity lasers firing at interpolated enemy positions 10 light-seconds away, then the skill required to not die could certainly make things interesting.

          1. ehlijen says:

            It wouldn’t be skill, it would be luck. If your survival depends on which order the enemy decides to shoot the ships on your side in, that’s not skill.

            High Realism F22 flightsims in the late 90s where a little like what you describe, though, if you’re into such games.

        2. Paul Spooner says:

          Speaking of Ground Control, wasn’t that a great game? Something about the tactical vehicular combat, the meaningful artillery, the rpg elements. Ahh. Why couldn’t have they done something like that for ME3 space battles?

  19. Lame Duck says:

    Am I the only one who thought that it was pretty unclear what that renegade interrupt was going to do? It comes up as the Salarian is saying to leave him and it seems like letting someone die to get the job done is the epitome of what renegade is supposed to be and yet that’s the option to save him.

    1. guy says:

      I thought the renegade interrupt was to solve the problem with a gun and still stop the upload instead of dithering long enough it became one or the other.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Instead it’s “We don’t need to save *every* homeworld, just Earth.”

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      I had Kasumi, so I could get a perfect ending which saved them both.

      BUT, if I was in that situation, I would think that Renegade is screw him and shoot the hanar.

      This just highlights the biggest problem with Paragon/Renegade. The thresholds between them are unclear unless it’s “Do the right thing” vs. “Be a jerk for no reason.” This is an even bigger problem with Mass Effect 3.

      1. Michael says:

        Honestly, this one is a pretty good example of Bioware flat out punishing the player for not buying the DLC in the previous games. IIRC, and I could be wrong, every single piece of DLC from ME1 and ME2 (with the exception of the item packs in 2) grants you additional resources or alternate options at one point or another in the game.

        The Arrival alters the opening cinematic, and if I recall if you also have Bring Down the Sky they interact giving you a better ending to a later quest.

        Kasumi’s Stolen Memories here gives you both endings.

        Zaeed allows you an alternate solution to a quest involving a volus, though I can’t recall the details.

        Overlord might only grant additional dialog in the mission with Jacob… no, wait, it affects the mission with Jack, giving you access to another weapon.

        Off hand I can’t remember what else Arrival effects, and I don’t know what Pinnacle Station does, as I’ve never played through that DLC at all. But, there you go.

        1. Thomas says:

          Yeah but it does fit with the idea they’ve put that pretty much all the missions that you went out of your way to do, DLC or no, give some kind of mission ending reward in ME3. I’d have been more disappointed if they weren’t included.

          … and I think the idea that things don’t go perfectly, you have to make costs and sacrifices, actually fits really well with the idea of the game. It’s not a bad thing that you have to let a Spectre operative die to save the Hanar and that you’re forced to make that decision. Even without any of the DLCs you can still get plenty of War Assets if you take your time, so nothing has actually been locked out from you.

          In a way, the best playthrough is a bit plain and disappointingly narratively, because everything goes so well

          1. Michael says:

            Having managed to execute a perfect playthrough, I agree.

            That said, yeah, there’s a fine line between “we acknowledge that you did the DLC” and “you didn’t buy all our DLC? Screw you buddy!” And where this specific example falls is kinda subjective.

            The Arrival bit I recall, is more an example of the former, the sequence at the school that keys off Overlord is the latter. (“You picked the ‘right’ choice at the end of Overlord? Here, have a free gun upgrade.”)

            This? Subjectively, it feels like it’s more of the latter than the former, because of how completing the DLC offers a third option out. For reference, if you’ve finished the DLC it alters the entire quest plot to incorporate Kasumi, which is definitely the former. It’s a nice callback saying, “hey, you played the DLC, here’s a cool thing with this character you know.”

            But, when you come to the end… that’s the problem (for me), there’s no way to take a third option if you didn’t [finish the DLC]. Though, to be honest, I’d prefer if there was no way to get them both, even with Kasumi around, but that’s me.

            It feels like it’s deliberately screwing the player (in a very minor way) for not buying the DLC, which feels really scummy to me.

            1. Thomas says:

              That all sounds pretty sensible, I got given Kasumi for free with the game so I’m not a particularly great person to judge this one. Although, every mission which can contain a player from the previous game has a similar ending with someone dying if that character didn’t survive, so at least they’re aren’t being particularly malicious about it, they were just following the pattern set with all the other characters.

  20. I love how Bioware apparently realized how embarrassing the earlier sparring scene was and had Shep’s punch happen off-screen complete with a cartoony camera-shake, for so great was the blow that it made its own shockwave.

    Seriously, what happened? I’m re-watching the ME2 Spoiler Warning, and it seems like the animation on just about everything actually got worse. Couldn’t they have ported over the reporter-punching animation from the previous games and just re-skinned it or something? Even the lip sync looks worse somehow, though that could just be the result of seeing so many other flaws.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      I get the feeling that this game was seriously rushed, and they didn’t have time to touch up their animations. I also notice that there seems to be a bit of jerking and jumping between dialogue animations, which was a problem in Mass Effect 1, but seemed to be a completely fixed in Mass Effect 2.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Yeah. The problem was that EA needed to cash out on their money making machine at that moment.

    2. Khizan says:

      I wish they’d just given us a good old fashioned Adam West *BIFF* for that one.

    3. SleepingDragon says:

      Well, seeing as Regina is a vanguard her punches are actually capable of creating shockwaves… oh wait, I forgot, it’s a cutscene so she’s a soldier at that moment.

  21. Muspel says:

    Shamus, you would have loved the Elcor romance in Mass Effect 2.

  22. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

    Also, I still hate the War Assets, in terms of how asset A compares to asset B. They make NO SENSE most of the time.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Yep. An elite fighting force of a couple of units is apparently almost as useful as AN ENTIRE ARMY!!! How does that make any sense!?

      1. Michael says:

        Also, a complete army is worth as much as one soldier who you played to death in multiplayer, because that makes sense…

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          And a single multiplayer soldier is worth 3 loyal squadmates from the previous games, who are all either the very best, or highly influential in their respective fields.

  23. Hitchmeister says:

    Aria’s criminal, inept mercenaries actually seem like a valuable war asset if you don’t know they’re numbers on a spreadsheet and you think you’ll actually get to do something with them. Who better to send in first to see what kind of weapons the real soldiers will be facing?

    1. ehlijen says:

      I actually thought it was better to have them work for me than do their own thing. I wouldn’t trust them to get anything done, but I would trust them less not to get in my way if left to their own devices.

    2. Alexander The 1st says:

      To me, Aria’s argument was actually quite persuasive:

      1.) They’re already armed and have large forces.

      2.) Having them pointed at the Reapers means the Terminus Systems aren’t going to drain Alliance/Council resources.

      3.) They’re willing to break laws to win. If you’re not going to win this war conventionally, might as well use people who aren’t bounded by ethics and morals to fight unconventionally.

      That last one is also why I love the Quarian fleet – while the Turians had the most powerful fleet as a result of the Farinax Treaty saying “This is the proportion of dreadnought you can have”, the Quarians, being banned from Citadel politics, decide to outfit their liveships as dreadnought. Yes, it’s dangerous, but that’s why Rannoch is so important to them – they can leave civilians normally on the liveships on Rannoch, then add an unconventional amount of dreadnought.

      I mean, if the Terminus gangs had bypassed Farinax Treaty regulations…they could be *very* useful.

      1. Mike S. says:

        If a bunch of mercs are able to build enough dreadnoughts to exceed the fleet limits set by the leading galactic powers, then we’re looking at another Cerberus situation. You could certainly have an ignored frontier brew up a threat no one’s paying enough attention to (examples left for the student of history). But if a trio of merc/gangster/pirate organizations operating largely in known space in two-bit local conflicts doesn’t seem like a good candidate for that.

        There might be an interesting plotline in them being merely three of hundreds or more of such groups (living off an industrial base in the Terminus that’s much bigger than Citadel intelligence has really quantified) and introducing a charismatic leader who can get them all pointing in the same direction for a change. But Space Genghis Khan is a different sort of story, and probably doesn’t fit in the same storyline as the Reaper War.

        (It might have been a better story for the third game, if they’d followed my preference and left the Reapers a background looming threat who could only get back to the galaxy in a reasonable time by getting someone to open the Citadel relay. But that ship sailed back in ME2.)

  24. Moderately Bemused Statement: That was a well cut ending, which shows the perils of over-dependence of online features or content control!

    Mocking Exclamation: Rutskarn, you suck!

    Challenging Question: Rutskarn, Do you dare as your punishment for not watching the live stream, to actually speak as an Elcor for one full episode?

    1. Thomas says:

      That sounds more like HK-47, it’s impossible to write Elchor :D

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        More like the HK-50s really. They’re the ones that go overboard with their pre-speech messages.

        1. Thomas says:

          I’ve been out KotoR’d :)

  25. Winged Sloth says:

    Noooooo!! The game has learned to renegade interrupt!!!!!

  26. Vect says:

    Why is it that doing a salute with Vega is considered a Renegade response? Is the game saying that acting like a Jarhead is bad?

    And I just assume that with the Mercs it’s not so much their troops but the fact that evidently they have the equivalent of planetary fleets you can toss at the Reapers. An

    On the other races: I can sorta see why they wouldn’t be suitable squadmates. Still, guess they could’ve used another non-humanoid species that are capable of moving at a higher speed than waddling. Or I guess they could give a Volus character some experimental weapons platform that lets it fight on par with a squadmate.

    1. At a guess, it’s the shifting definition of Renegade. While we’ve come to hope that Renegade interrupts lead to something outlandish, action-hero-esque, or shooting someone in the face, it’s (I think) supposed to entail being more gung-ho, direct, or with a taste for deeds over words. I guess by showing you’re with the men in the trenches, you earn points towards doing things later like knocking someone out over speech-checking them.

      Neither Renegade or Paragon are meant to be good or evil. You’re still the hero, after all. Renegade is supposed to let you play more like John Wayne while Paragon is angling more towards Captain Picard.

      Of course, as you’ve probably seen, the choices for which is which and what you should or shouldn’t be able to do seem to be all over the place.

      1. Thomas says:

        I was very confused with this one. Even after doing the scene twice I couldn’t figure out what the interrupt was getting at.

        Besides throughout ME2 and ME3 it’s always been Renegade Shepard who pulls rank on people and forces them keep a distance and refer to him correctly. Paragon Shepard wants to give them a hug too badly to even make them call her Commander. In fact a fairly standard dialogue choice in all the games that you get most conversations with crew is either to be more down with the troops (paragon) or correct them into calling you Commander and respecting your rank (renegade)

        1. It makes me wonder if the writer(s) or whoever on each mission/scene that wasn’t crucial to the plot was told, “Here’s how many points the player can get during your part. Just put them wherever and don’t clock out until you’re done.”

          It might explain the lack of consistency.

    2. Spammy says:

      An Elcor could be a good squadmate. Imagine an Elcor covered in armor with a giant turret-sized gun on his back he controls with a targeting helmet that points it at where he looks. He could just waltz through battles like a living AT-AT with a cool voice. And he’d have the coolest combat taunts too. “Bloodthirsty excitement: Come on Shepard, we’re not done yet.”

      1. Imagine the game A.I. putting the Elcor between you and what you’re trying to shoot.

        Still, if it got KO’ed in combat, I’d like it if you could then use your Elcor squadmate as a chest-high wall.

      2. Vect says:

        Main problem would be the fact that it’d be way too slow as well as having trouble with crossing Chest-high walls, particularly in hallways that compose of chest-high walls.

        That and combat animations as another said.

    3. SleepingDragon says:

      I think the real reason we don’t get non-humanoid squadmates is combat animations. There is a lot of animating of a character for combat, all that running about, firing, using cover, firing from cover, using various skills… and you can’t really base it on motion cap… in fact a number of combat rules would have to be altered for these characters because of things like model size. For example it would be difficult for a volus to vault over cover or for an elcor to use the same cover fields that human-sized humanoids do.

      Still does not excuse the lack of such characters on the actual ship and the overall minor roles they play in the game.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Bioware animators admitted that even the krogan were hard for them to do, since they had to force them onto a human frame, which made them walk and turn funnily (this goes back to the first game).

        (Of course, part of the problem is that everything we do in-game also *just has to* take the form of three people shooting dudes.)

  27. Michael says:

    Without the connexion to ME3 servers your Galactic Readiness (raised by playing multiplayer) will default to 50%, and any assets you’ve promoted from multiplayer will not appear.

    There may be some sort of online DRM thing going on as well – no idea. It was funny to see that pop-up in single-player!: I’ve seen it a lot – it generally appears in multi just before what would have been a victory…

  28. RCN says:

    NOOOOOOO! You left the citadel without hearing the spoilerrific trailer for Blasto: Partners in Crime! There’s no point in the entire trilogy where you get a larger insight into the Hanar and the Elcor!

    Oh, and Anachronox namedrop. NICE. Chris, I now officially forgive you for the Gamification episode and badmouthing James Portnow. Its funny how you can draw so much parallels from Mass Effect to Anachronox, since even though both are in the Sci-Fi genre, Anachronox was a comedic one where everything was absurd on purpose. And Mass Effect everything is absurd thanks to incompetent writing. (Ok, lets be fair, ALMOST everything).

    One thing I don’t like is how unprofessional the 3 mercenary groups come off as in the game. They receive lots of praise in the backstory, and I found it nice interacting them in ME3 in a way that doesn’t involve just shooting every member you find in the head. But come on! The leader of the Blue Suns come off as a horny teenager that lets his dick think for himself; the Blood Packs doesn’t sound like they would even be capable of counting their paycheck, much less have any need for it; and the leader of the Eclipse, supposedly the more level-headed and professional of the bunch, is a COMPLETE PSYCHO that doesn’t seem like she’d be capable of functioning on a leadership role on any conceivable level (and who you can change for the no-backbone chirply Salarian she has for second-in-command). I like Mercenary companies in games or story-telling in general, but they really have to look like they’re worth paying for.

    Finally… I NEVER found how to complete the Hanar Diplomat mission! I was so excited to be working with a Salarian Specter, but the game just bugged. I walked all around the citadel 3 times looking where to meet up with him again or the consoles, but nothing showed up. I think the mission just bugged.

    And now… after watching it play out… I’m glad it did.

    1. Mike S. says:

      If you have Kasumi, you can save both of them. (If Kasumi’s nonloyal, she dies saving the hanar homeworld; if she’s loyal, she fakes her death.) The interaction with Kasumi also makes the quest feel a bit less empty, though the general outline is of course the same.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Though I think Bau has some interesting comments here that Kasumi did not. Like how his comments about the asari mistress give some cultural insight into the hanar whereas IIRC Kasumi simply says ‘squick.’

        Basically, the problem being that I think if Kasumi’s there, some of Bau’s lines don’t play; but since most of the dialogue occurs over the radio when you’re just running around the Citadel ‘overworld,’ there’s no reason they couldn’t have let the dialogues play out in their entirety.

    2. el_b says:

      The blood pack are probably the best of the mercenary groups simply because they made of giant armored meat shields anyway. It’s basically two of the toughest races just zerg rushing you with flamethrowers and rocket launchers.
      The blue suns are just the generic incompetent mooks and frankly after the second game I’m surprised that any of them are still alive. I like to think that after zaeed was betrayed the new leader just started hiring anyone who looked the part rather than actual soldiers.
      The eclipse are easily the dumbest and worst and it doesn’t surprise me that the leader is a barely functioning lunatic. The only thing you have to do to qualify to join is kill anything sentient, including A member of one of the slow fat and an unarmed Races.No training required. Hell in number two someone is allowed in for killing a volus Who are pretty much incapable of defending themselves.The only good thing they did is give us a laugh by giving one the force.

      1. Vect says:

        According to the Shadow Broker DLC, Zaeed got betrayed for being a shitty leader who treated everyone as expendable mooks. The reason he sucks as a Fireteam leader in the ME2 ending is because treating people like they’re expendable was not a valid tactic.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Except, of course, that having a terrible fireteam leader really ought to get one of their squadmates killed, not them…
          (Which is how many of Zaeed’s stories go, with him being the only one to make it out alive.)

          1. RCN says:

            You know what? I really wanted to get Zaeed for my team, because he sounded the most fun of the DLC squad mates. I don’t remember if the problem was because I never figured out which DLC would give him or thought it was too expensive, but I know the fault is at the inscrutable system used by EA to buy DLCs.

            1. anaphysik says:

              Zaeed was pretty fun. Brought him and Mordin on most missions. Zaeed doesn’t add, well, *anything* to the plot or narrative, but his voice acting is awesome and his lines are awesome. (Also, having him lets you skip having to deal with Miranda in your party right after Freedom’s Progress, which is nice.)

              Still, I would’ve liked it if he’d had narrative relevance and were part of a non-DLC, smaller, core team. The idea that fits best to me is that of a batarian general in exile. With TWO manky eyes! :P

              (Seriously, though, ME2 should’ve only had ~8 squadmates, with only 4 of them new; VS, Liara, Garrus, and Tali, plus Mordin, Legion, batarian-Zaeed, and probably someone like Okeer. Wrex could be a temp squadmate for those that saved him (becoming a full squadmate again in ME3), since that would contain the writing expenditure better and since Wrex actually *does* have a good reason for not traipsing around with you in ME2.)

              (Is your name simply meant to be the cyanide functional group on a generic alkyl chain? Or is it initials or something (which apparently is a more complicated paradigm to my mind than “simply” chemical formulae…..)?)

              1. RCN says:

                Nah, just my initials. Usually I go by Sandro The Master or a variation, in honor to the eponymous Hero from Heroes of Might and Magic. But if the site doesn’t require registration, I go by RCN.

                And I made my mind. My next play through (Renegade femshep) I’ll buy Zaeed. As soon as I figure how to defeat EA’s DLC system.

                1. anaphysik says:

                  Zaeed is part of the “Cerberus Network” system.

                  If you got a new game, you automatically got a bunch of free stuff: Zaeed (guddamn awesome), Firewalker (meh), Normandy Crash Site (actually neat and poignant), the Eviscerator (awesome shotgun), and the Arc Projector (pretty good heavy weapon, but most importantly *looks* really awesome on your back XD).

                  If you got it used, then it costs a whopping $15, unfortunately *BOO!*

                  (Note that you don’t actually need the Cerberus Network pack to download other DLC, just the ones I mentioned above.)

                  From what I recall, it was actually a fairly simple matter of 1) create account, 2) link account to product key, 3) download .exe’s and then run them.

                  If you have Zaeed free, I’d definitely recommend traipsing about with him. Lots of fun dialogue. If you’d have to pay… well, I probably wouldn’t pay $15 for the above, but that’s your choice, now isn’t it? ^_^

    3. If you save that Spectere guy during the virus choice, you should have a small cutscene showing Blasto helping to defeat the Reapers.

      1. Mike S. says:

        “Blasto? I thought you were a fictional character!”

        “And this one had heard Commander Shepard had perished at the hands of the Collectors. But perhaps this exchange might be delayed until we have forestalled the Reaper forces from precipitating solid waste excretions upon this position.”

  29. Ateius says:

    I’m gonna have to respectfully disagree with the cast on the depiction of the Citadel. In ME1, between the various overlooks (there were a few points that let you gaze out over the arms stretching into the distance) and the fact that you actually walked around inside the giant ring, letting you see its curvature as it dwindles away on either side of you, it really made the Citadel seem like a huge place. It helped that it also had a lot of interior maps for you to run around in, and as mentioned earlier in the comments, the elevators to make many of the sections feel connected rather than the disjointment of loading screens.

    In ME2, it was disappointingly small and cramped and I don’t recall any epic vistas to differentiate it at all from Omega. I’m certainly not getting the feeling here, either, although I haven’t played ME3 so maybe there’s something they aren’t showing in the episode.

    1. ehlijen says:

      There are a few cutscenes where you’re flying around the ring in air cars and you do have a vistas of at least the ring section (windows in the hospital, the get-away with Garrus, balconies on the presidium).

      It’s a lot better than ME2. Probably not quite as good as ME1, but that’s the trade if to make it a lot less annoyingly navigatable.

      1. Mike S. says:

        The one thing I wish is that during the big chase scene that leads to the Citadel Tower, we’d gotten a view of the Relay Monument and the big krogan statue. It actually makes sense that they’re not in sight in the main ME3 locations in the Citadel. We’re in a different place, and not having everything in line of sight makes things feel a little bigger. But we know both are near the Tower, and it would be a nice callback to the locales of the first game.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Though I can see why the council would have dismanteled the mass relay that let the Geth board the station right next to the council chambers…

          1. Mike S. says:

            You might think, but according to the gardener in ME2 it was still there.

            (It figured prominently in my personal rewrite of the ending. :-) )

  30. Open Source Idiom says:

    From my digging through the leaked game script, I found that there were plans for the Hanar to play a larger role than they did come ME3’s release, up to their appearance as an unique enemy type in one level. Completing Kasumi’s mission would have originally spawned a second level on a spaceship that was under indoctrinated Hanar control, and the player would have had to liberate it. I’d like to think that the sequence involving Kasumi and the console would have been transposed there.

    Presumably the entire thing was dropped to the rushed deadline that Gruhunchously alluded to above, given that it would have involved generating new sky boxes and other such assets.

    It’s also why Zaeed’s mission was so seriously neutered. The original version had him hired by TIM to take you down, but it involved a a crash landing on another planet, and was partially set on Omega, so that all disappeared along with the rest of Aria’s plot. I also get the sense that the producers were worried about how fans would react to the largely in character mercenary antics.

    Long post, first post, and I’ve not even watched the video yet. Strike, strike, strike.

    1. Thomas says:

      It’s a good post though. I’d assumed there were time/money constraints that had caused a lot of this, but I hadn’t realised whole missions like that were cut. It did seem oddly short and out of place for one of the character missions (even if it was a DLC character).

    2. IFS says:

      So Zaeed’s mission was originally going to be somewhat interesting and not completely stupid? Huh, for me Zaeed wasn’t loyal so he somehow died in a silent gunfight that took place over the course of a few seconds from his last call to when I opened the door. The gunfight had to be silent because otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have heard if from 20 feet away and through one door.

    3. SleepingDragon says:

      I’ll second Thomas, yes please, keep them coming. I’m not the kind of person who goes hunting after leaked scripts and other such things so this does give me at least glimpses at interesting stuff that never made it.

  31. Zaxares says:

    3:26: You also get a sense of his “down-to-earthness” when you see playing cards with refugees and he swears and throws down his hand whenever he loses. He feels “real”, fleshed out in a way that Jacob never did. That said, I did like Jacob’s personality in general. He’s just like a robot when it comes to his romance.

    10:44: Man, I was SO disappointed with Jondam in this scene. The three other Spectres we’ve seen (Shepard, Saren and Tela Vasir) are all total badasses, and this salarian can’t even overcome some regular human goon in hand-to-hand combat?? (Kasumi survived in all my playthroughs so I got the best of both worlds anyway, but COME ON! A Spectre should be better than that!)

    11:11: To be fair, the hanar ARE pretty useless in a military sense. ;) They’re almost helpless outside of an aquatic environment, and I think they don’t even have a proper military fleet.

    13:11: … OMG, I can’t believe that actually happened to you ON CAMERA! XD And yeah, that is a totally BS thing that Origin does. Why does it even matter whether you’re online when you’re playing SINGLE PLAYER?! This is, by far, the dumbest thing that EA has ever included in their games.

  32. Nersh says:

    This is driving me up the wall. What the heck happened to the run/walk animations? It’s like Morrowind! Worse! They were great in the first two games — why’d they change it to this?

    Also, apparently, in the grim darkness of the future, people can actually hear each other in clubs without having to scream.

    1. Regarding the club thing: I’ve noticed in some movies and TV shows, a scene in a club will start out with the expected shouting to be heard over the din (which is all added in post production, natch). As the scene progresses, you might notice how it goes from shouting to speaking loudly to speaking clearly to speaking in hushed tones as whatever is being revealed unfolds. Some scenes can end in whispers, even though the club is still going on around the principle actors, and most of the audience never notices.

  33. LunaticFringe says:

    It is a shame that the more interesting species were regulated to the background, probably the most we ‘see’ of them is this trailer for Blasto the hanar, with his elcor partner and volus chief of police.


  34. rtbones says:

    + 1 for the Anachronox reference.

    Massive facepalm for “must be connected to internets” DRM. While it makes for a great SW episode ending, it makes for a very frustrating gaming experience, especially if your internet connection is shaky.

  35. 4th Dimension says:

    We paddle or we die!

  36. Paul Spooner says:

    Around the six minute mark: Hearing these absolute morons discussing casualties is infuriating. Are they even listening to themselves? “We’re getting wiped out whole platoons at a time!” “Is there a way to get them patched up, back into the fight?” If this is the best strategy we can come up with, yes, please, wipe out all the organics. We’re clearly not living up to the “intelligent” part of intelligent life.

    Even the second time around, the “armies of infantry in rubber dinghies” thing made me laugh out loud. It’s funny when this happens in Civ II, but when large chunks of a game is spent seriously discussing this tactic, you know you’ve made a wrong turn somewhere.

    Classic writer myopia.

  37. Venalitor says:

    I find it strange that you keep ripping on Cerberus and the mercs. Even in gameplay they aren’t any worse than other non-Sheperd factions, however it does seem that a faction’s, I’ll go with “intelligence,” is defined by how little they do.
    Also, with regards to the show vs. told. We are told that the Blue Suns are competent soldiers and that Cerberus is elite. We are also told that Sheperd and its team are the baddest asses in the galaxy, or close to it. We are shown that the player is at best moderately competent and the AI are all bumbling buffoons. But, yeah, the game could use to tell us about the successful operations that are run instead of only showing us the ones where the fan has blown shit all over the room already.

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