Mass Effect 3 EP19: Walk it Off

By Josh Posted Saturday Sep 29, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 163 comments

Link (YouTube)

Wherein Bailey survives a gunshot wound by being TOO BUSY TO DIE. Also, Shepard is an owl and Cerberus attacks the center of galactic government with shuttles.

Welcome to the Stupid. Enjoy your stay.

So, spoilers, Udina wants to take over the Citadel and declare himself dictator so he can circumvent the bickering, useless council and actually save the galaxy. Not necessarily an ignoble goal, especially with how terribly useless the council has been, even if he’s using Cerberus to get what he needs.

Though why anyone would rely on Cerberus for anything is a completely different problem.

I didn’t necessarily have a problem with this turn for his character (aside from relying on Cerberus, which is just dumb), and it was even foreshadowed early on if you talk to him after the initial council meeting. He’ll mention how his political clout “can move mountains” but even that won’t be enough to save earth. It makes sense that he might attempt more drastic action given the apocalyptic circumstances. Of course Cerberus can’t run a hotdog stand without everyone dying so that still doesn’t make sense, but I actually rather liked the idea behind this development, even if the execution was lousy. In my mind, it made him a much grayer shade in what is otherwise a tsunami of black and white.

A bit like Saren, actually.

So of course, the game immediately discards these shades of gray as soon as the mission is over, with dialogue between Shepard and Kaiden/Ashley that not only made my head hurt, but also went something like this:

“Man, that Udina guy was really evil, wasn’t he?”

“Yeah, he was totally evil. Sometimes you can never tell when people will suddenly turn evil for no reason.”

“Yeah, being evil is bad. People shouldn’t be evil.”


Not only is this a terrible way to conclude this phase of the story, but it completely discards the entire characterization of Udina. He was never “evil” in the past games, but he was more politically savvy and more willing to play dirty than Anderson. He was the pragmatist to Anderson’s (and, often, Shepard’s) idealist. He wasn’t always right, but he was usually after the same thing you ultimately were; he just looked at things through a different lense than you did/were allowed to. (As an aside, this is what Renegade really should have been about; hell, a proper pragmatic Renegade might even want to support Udina’s coup. Instead, Renegade became “I am a space racist and/or a complete idiot, also I shoot people in cutscenes, but never when it would actually be useful.”)

Instead, the game flushes the whole theme – and the Udina character – out the airlock, and never looks back. Nobody reflects on whether Udina might’ve actually been right – or even argues that Udina had his heart in the right place, but that trusting Cerberus in the long run was just too dangerous. Of course, that would mean the game was actually aware of what a joke Cerberus is, and we can’t have that, can we? But when we talk about the game falling flat, this is the sort of stuff we’re referring to. There’s no reflection, no coherence of themes or characterization here. There’s no pathos to this chapter, but it would’ve been so easy to invoke it.

And that’s a damn shame.


From The Archives:

163 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 EP19: Walk it Off

  1. Thomas says:

    Okay here are the positive things: It’s a pretty cool surprise, much better than the ambush in ME2.

    The Citadel felt too safe. The galaxy is at war and we spent most of our time in an area that was ignoring the war. Breaking that up gave Bioware the potential to have an end of all days feeling (they didn’t use it though)

    Yay Illusive Man!

    It’s nice that it’s the Solarian councillor and I like the Udina reveal because the game had persuaded me that he was a good guy and I was just thinking about selecting him as councillor next time.

    … but it’s just all very stupid. There was a scale this could have worked. If it was a small Cerberus strike team using double agents to take out the council as quickly as possible, +dding in the Reaper indoctrination, it would have made more sense. But they needed to not show fighting everywhere, but just in a small area, with maybe a tech expert blocking over reinforcements. The games actually not badly set up for this apart from the cutscenes and dialogue, because when you travel all the environment indictators suggest a group is moving just ahead of you, wiping stuff out, blood trails etc. But ‘they have control of all the docks’ is just… uh. It makes it seem like the Council doesn’t actually have a military

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “The Citadel felt too safe. The galaxy is at war and we spent most of our time in an area that was ignoring the war.”

      Yeah,why is that?Ok,so one reaper failed to take it by surprise,but citadel is still controlling mass relays,so why didnt this fleet of reapers capture it and turned the grid off.That would still cripple everyone,even if they dont have the element of surprise anymore.

      1. Thomas says:

        If they’d handwaved it, I would have accepted the handwave because the idea of the rims of the galaxy slowly but invetibaly turning Reaper read as they head towards the centre was good (and then we suddenly go to earth? It would have been okay if they’d included a climax at the Citadel first, but they didn’t and we get the silly ‘now the citadels on earth already’ thing. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they had had something planned inbetween and ran out of time/money).

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          What should have happened is that we spent ME2 figuring out how to use the Citadel to control the relays, and Cerberus (which recall has been indoctrinated) had to slip in to open the relays up and let the reapers spread across the galaxy.

          Faster. As the distance from the Batarian arm of the galaxy to our arm (Orion Arm, if I recall my Farscape correctly) was like 3 months.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh,hai damage.Hows your penetration life.

    1. IFS says:

      Not so great, I went to see the doctor and he recommended I get a mod to improve it

      1. el_b says:

        I went and got the extended barrel and it did wonders till I caught Incendiary Ammo. don’t be like me and watch where you shoot.

        1. IFS says:

          My doctor went on about safe shooting and muzzle discipline, he says those ammo powers can warp your lifestyle, they can be very dispruptive.

          1. el_b says:

            tell me about it,Every time I unload its like I’m going through a shredder. next time I’ll remember to use my barrier.

            if you will excuse me I need to go on load up some cryo ammmo to let my biotic lash cooldown.

            1. IFS says:

              Yeah but lately my fire rate has really been getting to me, time was it only took me a few seconds to cool off and I was ready to go at it again, but lately I’m on these heat sinks my doctor perscribed and I just can’t do anything until I get a new one.

              Be straight with me, am I an addict?

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ok,this thing started bugging me for some reason,but how the hell do the bullets in mass effect universe work at all?The codex says that they are metal shavings sped to near light speeds.Wouldnt that leave huge gaping holes in everything?And a single bullet should completely explode a person?

    And what is the point of armour anyway?How can anything other than mass effect field stop such a thing,or even slow it down?What the hell are those shields made off when they can completely block off stuff even better than mass effect fields?And having bullet proof glass is even worse.

    It is a cool concept,I admit,but if you think about it just a little,it falls apart completely.Especially when gameplay treats it just like any plain regular bullet.

    1. Dasick says:

      Huh. I thought about it as well. Good thing that the Bros are too busy not reading things, and Heplites are too busy not shooting things to ever notice.

    2. James says:

      I think the codex, at least in ME1. say the gun had a computer that worked out how much metal and at what speed it needed to do whatever it was the bullet decided to do, you cant damage glass or walls that would be too much work silly Daemian, or licence the GeoMod engine from the RedFaction guys.

      The shields in Mass Effect were always odd i felt, there were Barriers that reacted to high speed kinetic impacts, but didn’t stop you shaking hands or pressing against walls. so they were an activated thing rather then a constantly on “passive” defense.

      so all of this would indicate a EMP or jamming device could ruin a persons ability to fight. by just shutting off the computers in your gun and suit.

      Finally, this is something kinda tangential, the armor in the game is weird it focus’s on aesthetics over praticality, Ashley’s armor is a dress thing, Liara’s is a skin suit and a lab coat, ect. i’d have much preferred everyone had 2 armors, Non-Combat and Combat (basically how ME-1 Worked)

      anyone else think Mass Effect needed more Space Marines (like proper 8ft 1 tonne space marines?)

      correct me if i’m wrong at all there

      1. Thomas says:

        It didn’t, because those always look stupid no matter how appropriate =D

      2. Din Adn says:

        Well, technically, they could have been like the shields in Dune, which were always active, but only stopped high-speed/energy impacts in order to avoid suffocation and such. To be fair, they were really halfway a contrivance to allow for knife-fighting in space, but still. There’s precedent.

        1. Poncho says:

          If the shields thought every conceivable object was a potential threat, they’d be useless, so yeah they only activate when a projectile is coming at it very fast.

      3. Zombie says:

        Every squad member technically has 2 different armors you can set it to. But for some of them (Garrus and Tali) it’s just a recoloring of their armor with some extra stuff added on. Liara and Ashley both have actual armor for their second armor set though.

      4. newdarkcloud says:

        In Mass Effect’s world, Kinetic Barriers are designed to only turn on when high by things going at high speed specifically to avoid the awkward lack of contact effect they would cause by always being on. I don’t know how this would work with Biotic Barriers, but I imagine it is some kind of training.

        However, this is what the armor is for. The armor is for when someone comes up to you with a melee weapon. Since Melee Weapons couldn’t be swung fast enough to trigger shields, soldiers need armor to protect from them. It’s also where the shields are generated (unless you have a Biotic Barrier, I guess).

    3. I think everyone’s analysis is trying to use an equation that looks something like:

      [Mass of projectile] x [velocity of projectile] + [space magic damage bonus] – [effectiveness of target’s space magic and/or armor] = [damage result]

      What’s really at play is more of a flow chart, the relevant path in this case looking like this (all arrows assume a “yes” result):

      Did the target get hit? –> Did the hit cause injury? –> Is the target a character voiced by Michael Hogan? –> Target lives.

      1. hborrgg says:

        That said though I rather liked Bailey. So the whole “I ain’t got time to bleed” response was a welcome relief.

    4. Alphadrop says:

      Actually it wouldn’t asplode a person. It would create a small hole all the way through and do less damage than a 9mm bullet as the persons body would barely use any of the kinetic energy of the projectile which would fly off for a zillion miles.
      Modern firearms work by mushrooming the bullet inside a person to cause damage, a surprising amount of a person isn’t that vital to the running of said person so little hypersonic flechette rounds like in Mass Effect are an even dumber idea when you use them against Krogan with their backup vital systems.

    5. Khizan says:


      This is a fairly amusing explanation of a relativistic baseball.

      I imagine that similar things would apply to any relativistic projectile in atmosphere.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Hey, thanks for those! I haven’t followed xkcd in a very long time, on account of it starting to be shit, but those spinoffs by Randall were actually pretty fun and neat.

        (Odd tangent: one of my friends, who shares his name with the first US president, knew Randall from high school.)

    6. Porecomesis says:

      That reminds me of how, in Mass Effect 2, when you told Garrus that he shot you when you were going over the bridge to where he was, he says “Concussive rounds only”.

      Excuse me: how the hell do you have concussive rounds with bullets the size of a grain of sand? That are fired from a sniper rifle? That is not how physics work.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Concussion rounds are probably significantly bigger, thus when sent by the same sniper rifle with the same force, the unmodified mass of it prevents it from going as fast, or as strong. Hence why you can see him shots before they hit.

        This way, they still trigger shields, but not fast enough to go through them.

      2. Adam says:

        In ME1, the writers did their damnedest to make sure they had an explanation for every single piece of supertech, usually by way of mass effect fields or holograms. Everything in that game looked, sounded, and behaved that way for a specific reason explained in-game, or in-codex. The guys who fulfilled their role in ME2 and 3, on the other hand, barely seem to have been on speaking terms with the ME1 team. When it’s addressed at all, guns seem to swing wildly between portable railguns and star wars-style blaster rifles. Heck, even as far back as ME1 I remember them talking about plasma blasts in a few cases.

        The answer to your question is “Shut up, and watch the fireworks! We spent a lot of money on them!”

    7. Loonyyy says:

      As Alphadrop mentioned, the speed has nothing to do with it. Being near the speed of light doesn’t change the impact mechanics. Regular bullets fly around the speed of sound, right? That’s incredibly fast, and if you collided with say, a brick wall moving that fast, you’d certainly explode.

      But the thing is, the bullet has a bunch of other mechanics in play. Firstly, the energy of the impact isn’t relevant except for calculating how much energy is imparted to the person, which is a byproduct you’d use after other calculations to work out stopping power, how much the target gets knocked back. The energy of the bullet isn’t exerted on the person, it keeps most of it. The actual impact between person and bullet depends on the tensile strength of the surface, and the change in velocity of the bullet. So, the bullets that actually penetrate would probably just fly through people. Bullets which don’t would then become part of a conservation of momentum calculation.

      Momentum of Bullet(Initial)=Momentum of Bullet(Final)+Momentum of Person.
      Depending on the coefficient of restitution of the armor (e), and the mass of the bullet, you could end up with a person being propelled by the bullet, which might actually be dangerous. But I don’t think there’s any mention of the mass of the bullet. If I say, it’s a sliver, like, I dunno, .1 grams, then if the bullet coalesces with the body (Least velocity outcome), and I guess the person+space armour is 200kg (The bigger numbers give outside estimates), the final velocity of the person could be as much as 1.5*10^5 m/s. Which is bad. So now I’m imagining the scenario where any decent armour is actually a massive danger thanks to inertia.

      1. Khizan says:

        The speed here has everything to do it because the energy imparted by a relativistic collision is simply so massive that it -does- change the mechanics.

        This is not “tiny hole through entire citadel”, this is “gun that fires fusion reactions.”

        1. Poncho says:

          The bullets would probably explode the second they left the barrel of the gun, but maybe the guns create a tunnel of mass-effected space like the relays do.

    8. guy says:

      The bullets are not anywhere near the speed of light. Dreadnoughts only accelerate projectiles to 1.3% of light speed. The bullets go fast, but not that fast.

    9. Poncho says:

      1. Armor: Is mostly power armor for heavy lifting, protection against environments, pressure and gravity protection, magnetic boots for zero-g environments, etc. They’d also have integrated computers, Medi-Gel applicators, the kinetic barriers, and scanners to react to the environment. They don’t really protect against bullets, and the ME1 codex goes on to say something like “modern weaponry always outpaces protection.” Biotics tend to have “Soft-Suit” armor, which I guess has better connection to their nervous system and doesn’t impede biotic generation as much, but Shepard can be a biotic and tends to wear “medium” armor in all the games.

      2. Bullets made sense in ME1, sort of. In reality, anything moving that fast would probably vaporize in a fireball the second it left the barrel due to friction with the atmosphere. However, the game could argue that they create a corridor of mass-effected space between the barrel and the target to assist the projectile. The whole point of using the tiny fragments and venting heat is so that ammunition wasn’t a concern, but ME2 decided that reloading and ammo control was an interesting combat mechanic even though there’s a poorly justified lore reason.

  4. Spammy says:

    Dangit Undina. First you go and start smearing shoe polish in your hair to darken it (which you totally didn’t need to do), and then you do this.

    I haven’t played ME3 yet so I didn’t know this would happen, and I’m kinda upset. Yeah, Udina was an asshole, but I always felt that he was our asshole. He didn’t like Shepard or Anderson, but that was because they kept interfering with what he was trying to do with the Council. I guess what sums it up is when you first meet him on the Citadel and he’s having a meeting with the Council. He’s outraged at the Council for doing nothing against the Geth after Eden Prime and he’s outraged at you for letting Nihlus die and making humanity look incompetent.

    Plus, he kinda sounds like someone doing a Tony Jay impression, which is always worth bonus points.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      On the one hand, Udina’s betrayal seems out of character. He hates Cerberus as much as the next guy, and he was always “our SOB.”

      On the other hand, to the extent Udina gives reasons, they are the best statement of Cerberus’s goals and methods. The Council wasn’t working, so we had to. It’s the same pitch TIM gave in ME2.

      I’m still not terribly fond of it.

      1. Thomas says:

        I’m not fond of the phrase ‘our SoB’ because he’s ‘ours’ on account of being a human supremacist who doesn’t really care for aliens. If he wasn’t ours then he’d be once of those Asari or Turian council members we hated for being hostile towards us and only looking out to their own interests and trusting the word of their own species.

        … I think maybe they’re a bit fairer to him in ME1 maybe because my first introduction to him was through ME2 and it always seemed to me that they were protraying him as a slimy self-serving toad who would do everything illegal if it served him best. I mean they show a videotape of him doing deals with Cerberus in the shadow broker which isn’t exactly an anti-cerberus stance.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Even still, if you see Cerberus do nothing but terrorize and slaughter humans and aliens in equal measure, you’d think that would be enough to dissuade even an ardent pro-human, anti-alien jerk from siding with them. Especially when they seem to be actively opposing you in every possible way.

          1. Thomas says:

            We can assume he was already up to his neck in it by then. His dealings with Cerberus probably predate the invasion and it takes the Alliance a long time, up to Benning even, to realise that somethings gone drastically wrong with Cerberus, they ascribe the first attacks to rogue cells and stuff =D

        2. anaphysik says:

          With Anderson as the Councilor in ME2, Udina is ‘ours’ in the sense that Anderson using his (somewhat informed) great bureaucratic intuition to get good policy through whilst preventing his views from entering the picture.

          “I mean they show a videotape of him doing deals with Cerberus in the shadow broker which isn't exactly an anti-cerberus stance.”

          Not true. Udina has 4 videos involving him:
          * Angrily pushing a C-Sec agent on the Citadel.
          * Boarding an aircar.
          * Observing an asari dancer in the Afterlife club on Omega.
          And then one with Anderson punching Udina in the stomach.

          It’s actually someone quite diiferent in the scene you mention… it’s Anderson.

          David Anderson:
          * Meeting with an unnamed Cerberus agent on the Citadel Presidium.

          1. Thomas says:

            Oh dear I screwed that one up. So it’s still unexplained why I thought Udina was suggested as being Cerberus connected in ME2. Oh well must be madness. I still never liked the guy =D

            1. anaphysik says:

              Well, it is a minor point, and Udina is still a jackass regardless.

  5. Dasick says:

    You know, I’m not even watching the Spoiler Warnings this season*, but the amount of stuff wrong with the game you guys point out… I mean, the sentiment “ME3 was 99% perfect with 1% bad ending” that’s going around really gets my blood boiling, hotter with every little bit I learn about the game.

    *Not giving you any views on this one. Can’t in good conscience support Origin, EA, BioWare and Mass Effect 3.

    1. el_b says:

      You realize that they don’t work for any of those companies right? You’re only robbing yourself of hilarity and them of video views.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Yeah, this. The only things you could be supporting by watching this are good discussion, funny hijinks, and terrible puns.

        Also, SW has been been hating on *TONS* of stuff in this game. Absolutely no way are they subscribing to the ‘99% awesome 1% bad’ idiocy.

    2. Raygereio says:

      Not giving you any views on this one. Can't in good conscience support Origin, EA, BioWare and Mass Effect 3.

      Erm, wha? You’re basically boycotting MacDonalds by not using Lunix.

      the sentiment “ME3 was 99% perfect with 1% bad ending” that's going around

      That is a very understandable sentiment for people to have. Sure, one can see more bad stuff in ME3 then just the ending. But most of ME3 isn’t worse then the likes of ME2. And a lot of people really liked ME2.
      That sentiment basically just means that the ending was really, really bad. Worse then anythen else in ME3.

      1. Dasick says:

        At least one person every season gets the game being Spoilered, quoting the show as the inspiration. I also got the impression that some people on the crew wouldn’t own the game if it weren’t for the show.

        At any rate, watching footage of this game is almost painful to me. I’ve decided to skip out on this game when I first saw the demo footage, and everything I’ve learned about the game since has made me glad I’m not getting it… and so sad that I was right :(

        I’m still here because there is some pretty good discussion going on, in the write-up and in the comments. Very insightful and interesting.

        That is a very understandable sentiment for people to have. Sure, one can see more bad stuff in ME3 then just the ending. But most of ME3 isn't worse then the likes of ME2. And a lot of people really liked ME2.
        That sentiment basically just means that the ending was really, really bad. Worse then anythen else in ME3.

        It’s not just that there is “bad stuff” in the game. The game’s ending is on par with the rest of the story. Mass Effect 2 was better in the sense that you had hope in that your choices are making a difference. ME3 is just one big false-conclusion after another one. Rachni queen. Counselor. Geth.

        Even the start of the game makes little sense. ME1 establishes that Reapers are screwed without the citadel relay. ME2 (Plot-integral DLC!!) retcons it a bit, but it still establishes that you shut down their other way into the galaxy. THEN HOW DID THE REAPERS GET THERE? It’s as if everything you did up to that point has absolutely no meaning… oh wait.

        Just saying that something is “perfect” is an obvious hyperbole. Calling Mass Effect 3 “nearly perfect” is not only a hyperbole, it’s wilful blindness to everything else that went on in the game. This just illustrates perfectly the problem with the VG industry. The real reason why EA and their likes are dominating the market is because the gamers are enabling them.

    3. ehlijen says:

      More accurate would be 98% on par with the rest of the industry, 1% better, 1% argh my soul.

    4. StashAugustine says:

      It basically comes down to this: Most people (including me, to a much more limited extent) are willing to overlook plot holes they liked other parts of the game. People basically treat Mass Effect as a hanging-with-Garrus-simulator rather than a deep, intellectual plot-focused game.

      1. Dasick says:

        Too bad BioWare didn’t have you as their marketing director :P You would have sold more copies, and took away nerd-zerkers'(like me!) justification for raging.

      2. MadHiro says:

        Even just as a ‘Hanging with Garrus’ Simulator, the game fails miserably. How much total time do you have with the guy, between conversations and shooting beer bottles? Ten minutes, max? This isn’t Jade Empire. You aren’t growing with these characters.

        Besides, he’s busy. Calibrating.

  6. Raygereio says:

    Udina's coup really annoyed me. What was he trying to accomplish? Udina working together with Cerberus in and of itself could have setup a tragic character moment for Udina: The obstructive bureaucrat gets caught up in red tape, tries to do the right thing and only makes it worse. Hell, the Cerberus party line is still “humanity first” and “the ends justify the means” so pulling them in isn’t that outlandish.
    But instead he works together with Cerberus to take over the citadel because… well, just because. Apparently he thinks that by having humans kill the council and conquer the citadel, the entire universe will magically decide to get of their high horse and/or ignore their own problems and drop everything to help the humans.

    There's no logic here. It's in many ways the same problem as the ending. The writers throw complete nonsense and absurdity your way and then try to pretend everything is normal in the hope the audience doesn’t notice it. It’s honestly depressing how often this technique works for crappy writers.
    Mind you, this is a problem many writers have when they want something to happen but fail to connect the dots between starting point A and desired outcome C. It’s also not someone new to Bioware. Take ME1 and its “irrefutabel proof” audio recording (which Bioware hilariously made even more absurd in ME2 as we made a forgerey of an audio recording in the Kasumi DLC).

    Worst thing is, I actually kinda liked Udina's writing at the start of the game: Two people who were antagonistic towards each other before, now setting aside their differences because there's something bigger and more important going on.

    Also: YES!! I know this would happen sooner or later. I honestly don’t get how that glitch in the cockpit area got through QA. I found the places where your character glitches out and gets stuck to be natural places for your character to stand or walk over when talking to Joker & EDI.

    1. Thomas says:

      Okay well the official game answer, is that Udina was spooked because the Solarian was about to expose his Cerberus connections and ruin his chances of doing what he needed for humans. So he called in Ceberus to assassinate the council, which he would miraculously survive leaving him defacto ruler of the Citadel and able to requisition the Citadel defence fleet for Earth.

      But Cerberus betrayed him and started trying to take military control of the citadel instead of a quick assassination strike

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        And remember Cerberus is indoctrinated. I’ve suspected since playthrough 2 that this is actually the reaper’s first attempt to take the Catalyst.

        They are less subtle once everyone realizes the importance of the Citadel.

      2. Keeshhound says:

        Which still makes no goddamned sense because how is that going to benefit Cerberus? How does holding the galactic seat of government (thereby inspiring everyone to attack you and reclaim it) aid the goals of a terrorist organization with no legitimacy, real or imagined, in any way?

        1. Raygereio says:

          I honestly don’t recal the game telling me that. Guess I forgot or missed it.
          But even that doesn’t fix the problem. Like I said: it could have made for a tragic character moment for Udina, but instead he’s presented as someone who out of the blue decided to be evil and really dumb.

          Cerberus has no goals of their own in ME3. They’re indoctrinated.
          Turns out implanting yourself and your men with reaper tech and salvaging reaper tech and displaying it openly in your base was a bad idea. This despite reaper tech’s wonderful trackrecord. Who would have guessed…

          1. ehlijen says:

            Pft, you talk as if you could simply be sure that an irresponsibly released thresher maw would simply eat the first people it comes accross. Science needs to be proven by observation! Now pass me the popcorn.

            1. Thomas says:

              Incidentally I’d like to complain once again, that the point to tell us that Cerberus are indoctrinated is at the start of the game not the end. It’s mystery value is severely diminished when there’s no sign of an explanation before 30 hours in and it makes events like this even more ridiculous

              1. Raygereio says:

                I don’t think I quite understand that post, but you’re complaining that we weren’t told at the beginning of the game that Cerberus is indoctrinated?

                We were actually. Back in the mars mission. Sure, it wasn’t completely spelled out for us. The game was still trying to put up the facade that Cerby was using the Reapers and not the other way around.
                But it was implied with your average Bioware subtilty: extreme heavy handedness.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  And again, I need to point this out. TIM was indoctrinated well-before the events of Mass Effect 1. He was serving the Reapers even when he was resurrecting their greatest enemy.

                  There is barely any cohesion of logic to his character. He is an incompetent fuckwit even to the guys he unknowingly serves.

                  1. Thomas says:

                    Lies! *I can’t hear you*

                    @Raygerio what I’m complaining about is they don’t tell us outright. They keep hanging this darn mystery on us ‘Why are Ceberus acting like this? This seems extreme even for Cerberus’ etc. Because it’s only a hint it’s not an idea we can get a grasp on or explore. We have to excuse everything with, ‘I guess they’re indoctrinated’ instead of what they should have done which is just plain out and out tell us and instead be drip-feeding us more details about what’s going on in TIM’s mind and how it’s happening instead of flicking the evil switch.

                    (Also have other people noticed that I’ve begone overusing quotation marks recently? I’m not sure where it’s come from or how long it’s been happening and I’m finding the thought pattern hard to remove)

                    1. newdarkcloud says:

                      I mean, but it’s so obvious. You don’t enhance your troops with Reaper tech and turn tons of people into husks WITHOUT being indoctrinated.

                    2. anaphysik says:

                      What are these “quotes” that ‘you’ ‘speak’ of?

                    3. Thomas says:

                      Yeah but remember they only actually officially tell us that Cerberus use Reaper tech right at the end of the game. I’m pretty sure someone even comments on being surprised they have Reaper tech at that stage of the game

                    4. newdarkcloud says:

                      They are shown to be huskified in the Mars mission! That’s at the very beginning of the game.

                    5. Thomas says:

                      Yeah but they’re aren’t straight up telling you. And they forget about it at least twice when they reintroduce the concept by the end. For it not to be a straight up flip the evil switch they needed to flat out tell us, as in literally tell us, and start exploring the Ceberus side of things. So those logs at the end of the game, should have been in the middle, minimum and preferrably towards the beginning. Think of it in ending terms, they asked us to feel sympathy for TIM, but they only started building that stuff up the level before it happens, and even then it’s optional

      3. Ateius says:

        “…which he would miraculously survive leaving him defacto ruler of the Citadel and able to requisition the Citadel defence fleet for Earth.”

        Yeah, speaking of which …

        Are they all on lunch? Why are shuttles full of Turian marines and Asari commandos not flooding the Citadel?

        I’m assuming that, even with their own worlds under attack, the Council races did leave some ships at the Citadel, since they know as of ME1 that it is the central hub for controlling the mass relays and if it’s captured then every system becomes instantly isolated, which sort of ruins all defense plans forever.

        (Why the Reapers aren’t actually doing this is another discussion entirely…)

        1. Alexander The 1st says:

          Sabrdance’s theory of this being the Reapers’ first attempt to take the Citadel silently (That is, with the comma disabled), and that it could’ve worked had it not been for Shepard and his little ship too, coming in to speak with the Salarians councillor.

          Course, that brushes against the idea that the Reapers didn’t know it was the Catalyst until the Cerberus Base Raid, but perhaps they only wanted Cerberus to do this for the relay control capability.

          1. Thomas says:

            Or even just for disorganisation value. Even ignoring all the other special things about the Citadel, it’s still where all the leaders meet, through where all the communications are routed and where all the diplomacy takes place. It would probably give you a couple of weeks of compeletely leaderless resistance which would benefit the Reapers. Heck even just assassinating the council would have helped them

          2. newdarkcloud says:

            Wait, how can the Reapers NOT know where the Catalyst is!? They are all being DIRECTLY CONTROLLED by him!!! WHAT THE FUCK!?

            1. Thomas says:

              Well that places him above them in knowledge known. He doesn’t physically speak with them and since they’re tools to him I don’t know why he’d bother giving them his location. I also like to think that it’s more that he set their directive than he literally controls their every action (of course the Extended Cut had to ruin that as usual)

              1. newdarkcloud says:

                But then why would they care? That’s like a loyal Cerberus employee suddenly demanding to know TIM’s exact location. Literally nothing good or useful could come from that. It would only compromise security.

                (Yes, I do know the risks with assuming Cerberus is even semi-competent. Deal with it.)

                1. Thomas says:

                  ? I thought I was arguing that the Reapers wouldn’t know the Catalysts location and you were arguing the other way?

                  1. newdarkcloud says:

                    I think I lost track for a second. I do that sometimes.

                    Anyway, we know from the extended cut that the Catalyst directly controls the Reapers. We also know that the Catalyst knows where he is. It’s not a huge leap of logic to think that the Reapers already know of the Catalyst’s location. If they do, I screws up the plot even more than we all thought it was.

                    1. Thomas says:

                      But why would the Reapers care to know the location? That’s like a loyal Ceberus employee…

                      =D Now we’ve got that sorted. I’m pretty much discannonfying (I’m a Mass Effect fan, I totally have authority to do that) most of the EC apart from the two shots of the Normandy because the EC is stupid and it creates ridiculous plot holes. At least it’s fairly rational to suppose that the Reapers were sentient beings created with impressioned orders from the Catalyst that they then filled out before. Now we have the ridiculous situation where TIM had to inform the catalyst that the catalyst was the catalyst and they should move it to safety. Heck if the Catalyst is the Citadel, why wasn’t it possible/easier for it to just straight up take control of the gates itself. If it built the gates, why didn’t it make sure it had that functionality installed. Infact why couldn’t it take itself over when Ceberus invaded.

                      Before the EC we could at least say that the Catalyst is meant to be an impartial adjudicator, and although it commissioned the Reapers, it’s forbidden from making any direct choices itself. But none of that makes sense if it straight up controls them. If it straight up controls them, what does being a Harbinger or a Sovereign?

                      Gah… and this is without complaining about Shepard doing that stupid stopping and having a five minute conversation whilst everyone around her dies and the last chance to save the universe disappears. The EC took a heroic action and made it about Shepard being an idiot and if she hadn’t been an idiot maybe Anderson would still be alive and saving the world wouldn’t have come so close. Stupid EC

  7. lurkey says:

    The same problem with Udina as everyone – “a bastard, but our bastard”, two people who doesn’t like each other but work toward the same goal and cooperate, no explanation why he did what he did…however, it fits with general ME3 feel: in ME Shepard was a sci-fi protagonist – part brawn, part brains, some flaws for flavour, tons of determination and truckload of luck. In ME2-3, s/he turned into this extreme powergaming fantasy Miss Unique O’Flawless McChosen-One (who nonetheless forgets she’s a biotic or sniper in cutscenes and works for Cerberus). And since Udina doesn’t like our lil’ ~*badass*~ Mary Sue, by ME2-3’s brand new binary logic of course he is evil, duh! Motivations, shmotivations.

  8. Eric says:

    Udina’s coup and alliance with Cerberus was basically just another bad attempt at a twist without the proper quality of writing to make it work. It definitely could have made sense to me, if Cerberus weren’t grossly incompetent morons all the time and he actually spent time trying to justify it to people. Maybe the signs of it could happen much earlier in the game, with Udina outright threatening that he will take “drastic measures” should the Council not be able to do their jobs properly, etc. Wartime is stressful and people can come up with many solutions to what some see as problems – for Udina, it’s allying with former enemies, something that others would be repulsed by given the group’s history.

    If Cerberus had been written as basically just a rogue pro-human quasi-terrorist faction it actually could have worked, too. They have a private army and the technology and skill to get stuff done. But then you throw it all out the window when Cerberus ends up revealed as being controlled by the Reapers anyway. Here you could have salvaged them for Mass Effect 3, BioWare, but instead you just turn them into another incorrigible villain so that the player can shoot them a bunch. The best part is that the Reaper twist doesn’t even change a thing about them. Their indoctrination isn’t “tragic” as I think it was supposed to be, it just confirms that they were both evil and morons all along.

    To be honest, some of these problems could have been fixed if the game was simply longer. The war against the Reapers lasts weeks, not years – if we had been able to see alliances shift and fall apart, be reforged etc. then we could have got a much better understanding for the situation and everyone’s motives. Though, I guess that also assumes BioWare’s writing was somewhat competent.

    Also, your squad member not noticing Udina’s obvious attempt at overthrowing the Council is pretty hilarious. I mean, seriously, you’ll take Udina’s word over Shepard’s, even after we have had three games to demonstrate he is in an asshole, and you may have been in love with Shepard in the past? It’s just moronic and yet another poor excuse to set up drama without giving good reasons for it to happen in the first place. I think the official subtitle for Mass Effect 3 should be “Failure to Launch.”

    1. Thomas says:

      They don’t portray TIM at least as a completely incorrigible villain. It’s more of a tragic villain who had the right idea but let it get horribly twisted. If they’d expanded it, it would have made a pretty good story (although not for Mass Effect) because the idea it carries with it, that even self-sacrifice and total devotion towards the benefit of others can be a bad corrupting influence if you don’t moderate it somehow.

      1. anaphysik says:

        *[insert confused blubbering]*

        Buh-wuh? Are you confusing TIM with Saren or something?

        1. Ofermod (Formerly Keredis) says:

          They did try to make TIM seem like a Well-Intentioned Extremist, although I only ever got the feeling that he was one at the very end of ME3 during the final conversation, and by then it was far too little, too late.

          1. Thomas says:

            @anaphysik, I made a ridiculous screen sized post on my thoughts about TIM’s character is amazing and he totally deserves all my pity:D don’t make me rewrite it

            @ofermod I guess it’s a little more complicated than Well Intentioned Extremist. It’s like Well Intentioned Extremist With Bad Intentions. He’s egotistical and meglomaniacal but he genuinely did think that what he was doing was the best for humanity and he’s characterised like this pretty much from the beginning of two. His problem is that he actually can’t see the difference between his views and the views of humanity and he doesn’t let anything enter his perceptions that might tell him he’s wrong, to the point where he creates this really warped image of Shepard because he refuses to believe that Shepard genuinely doesn’t like him/think well of him.

            So it’s not like they were making him out to be a nice guy, but there was a seed of good and self-sacrifice there, just a hideously mutated Reaper seed that could only ever create poisonous fruit

            1. anaphysik says:

              Well, nearly no one thinks of themselves as being evil. Don’t forget that.

              1. Thomas says:

                That’s what I really like about him, they really drive that idea home and show how much his mind craves respect from the one person he’s decided is on level with him in the universe and everything comes down to his warped vision (which even fits in nicely with his robot eyes and the indoctrination)

                It was by far the more interesting choice, with lots of the bad criminals it basically comes down to low emotional empathy, they don’t see why other people deserve things they don’t have, or why it’s not right to hurt someone for what they want. Or they just get carried away by society, situation, or emotions or desperation.

                But TIM was genuinely altruistic. He had poor empathy, but in ways that was because he was projecting the way he saw himself (as completely sacrificial for others, willing to do what it takes to help them) onto other people. He decides that they can make the same sacrifice he sees himself as making

  9. IFS says:

    Huh, I didn’t know cerberus upgrades included 180 degree head swiveling, wonder why thats a feature?

    On a more serious note I hated the citadel invasion for all of the reasons people above have stated, but the idea of cerberus attacking the citadel made a tiny bit more sense when you get to sanctuary and learn that they were trying to scare people off of the citadel. Of course it still makes close to zero sense, but slightly more than zero sense.

    Also I used EDI as my tech specialist a lot too, I think it had something to do with how long it takes you to get Tali back in your party, she actually did have some interesting dialogue on the geth missions.

    1. Indy says:

      Is that the reason? They were trying to scare people to go to Sanctuary? Was that actually said or was it a conclusion some people reached?

      1. IFS says:

        Thats just my theory, its the only thing that makes sense to me, especially since, as others have stated, cerberus stands zero chance of holding the citadel and Udina’s coup is doomed to failure.

  10. I don’t get why Rutz is noticing only Joker’s unsettling doll-eyes. Vega has way worse ones, and just about every human character has what look like backlit golf balls rolling around in their skulls. Shep’s rolled up into her head as if she was auditioning for “The Exorcist” last episode.

    I’m trying to figure out why Bioware apparently made more work for itself by losing the relatively better character modeling and animation from the previous game, then tried to re-code it, apparently knocking off for 7-11 Taquitos before they shipped it.

    It’s the video game equivalent of early Marvel animation. The animators wanted individual characters to look “good” (like in the comic books), which resulted in craptacular cartoons where everyone moved like they were paper dolls with two points of articulation.

    At least it makes me appreciate the character construction and natural movement in Half-Life 2 all the more.

    1. anaphysik says:

      “Shep's rolled up into her head as if she was auditioning for “The Exorcist” last episode.”
      One of them did actually comment on that, if quietly. Mentions of possession, etc.

      1. I think it was Rutz as well. It’s just odd they limit it to one character at a time when it seems to be a galaxy-wide epidemic of some sort. It’s a pity Morden can’t fix it like the Genophage.

        1. anaphysik says:


          But if Morden were in this game it’d definitely be cooler.

      2. Ah, I think I might have found the problem. It appears to be related somehow to contact lenses.

        That’s the kind of stuff one finds when doing semi-random searches for what people have been up to with the Source Film Maker.

        1. anaphysik says:

          I always thought Shep was critical because of the Cipher. But now I see it’s because of their SPECIAL EYES.

  11. Phil says:

    I got the sense that Cerberus was being helped by something, or someone, and isn’t aware of it. Despite all their incompetence’s, “fate” is on their side. On Thessia it’s mentioned that during every cycle, there was always some splinter group working against the whole. I think it’s a stupid, contrived reason to keep Cerberus in the game.

    1. Thomas says:

      I think the Reapers gave them Reaper tech and were indoctrinating TIM since a long time,

      1. Keeshhound says:

        Apparently the Reapers have fallen prey to the Sunk-cost fallacy.

        Reaper: “You have to be kidding me!”
        Harbinger: “What is it this time?”
        Reaper: “ANOTHER Cerberus base just exploded! Can we PLEASE just let these assholes drown under their own incompetence now?”
        Harbinger: “No, we’ve put too much time and resources into them to stop now. I don’t care WHAT it takes; we will make Cerberus a credible threat to the galaxy even if we have to indoctrinate every single one of them!”

        1. [Later]
          Harbinger: “I think you might have been correct. Y’see, I was kind of encouraging Cerberus to do stupid things and explode their bases. It was part of the plan.”
          Reaper: “Do tell. This ought to be good.”
          Harbinger: “My goal was to make them seem like a joke, so nobody would take them seriously and wipe them out before we were ready.”
          Reaper: “That seemed to work out well.”
          Harbinger: “Yeah, except… they do it without me telling them to. I think there’s something wrong with their DNA. If we melted them down and made a Reaper out of them, it’d spend all day reading fanfic and carving planets into the shape of Derpy Hooves. Then it’d probably fall into a black hole and take half of us with it.”
          Reaper: “So get rid of them.”
          Harbinger: “I told them to NEVER invade the Citadel.”
          Reaper: “Good. So they’ve already put the invasion on their Google Calendar?”
          Harbinger: “Four times on three different dates.”
          Reaper: “Great…”

  12. Kian says:

    The fundamental problem with the coup is that it would have been pointless even if it worked. Udina wouldn’t have taken over the Council, all the governments would have simply refused to acknowledged the Council’s authority and disbanded the Council entirely until they could get their representatives back.

    Cerberus wouldn’t be able to hold the Citadel for any length of time. There are millions of people on the Citadel. And there’s no point in holding it if the other races aren’t going to obey you anyway.

    1. el_b says:

      All in all it would have just been ‘sooooooo much paperwork'(insert udina impression).

      1. anaphysik says:

        Shamus as Udina: “I’m fed up with all this damn diplomacy! Just shoot someone already!”

        1. anaphysik says:

          correction: “I’m sick of this damned diplomacy bullshit! Just start shooting people!”

    2. Indy says:

      “There are millions of people on the Citadel.”

      Have you SEEN Cerberus? They can field billions of men from any random shuttle or behind any corner.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        But only when the reasoning for it is stupid.

    3. Thomas says:

      Udina didn’t want the same level of coup though. I think he was planning to be the ‘only survivor’ of an attack on council members, which probably would lead him in a leader position for a couple of weeks. He could have used the scare tactics then to put in some emergecy draconian measures and mobilise the fleets. (Also he was after the Citadel fleets and not the individual race fleets)

      Whereas the Reapers/Cerberus were aiming to create chaos and take over the Citadel rather than controlling the council

  13. Alk says:

    I actually hated this game the most when it tried to shove its own opinion down my throat, whether with characters like in this case or with choices. You see, bioware, in an rpg game you are not allowed to do that, especially if you make a brick of a main character for me to “relate”
    Bioware games have a tendency to offer a choice and then very obviously tell you what their writer considered the “right” one. They can make an interesting character and then just blow it by telling you exactly who he was supposed to be
    That’s a thing about characters, you know: people tend to overthink their personalities and actions. And when the writer shows that kind of disrespect, they usually feel stupid for ever caring

    This game is such a wasted opportunity on so many levels. They just set the bar too hight with stupid marketing and then misplaced priorities in such a bizzare way that failed to satisfy almost everyone

    1. el_b says:

      It is impossible to Play Your own character on Mass effect since all of the best options will be grayed out. Pretty much anyone who tries to play it to their own morality will end up A grape Palladin. All of the best options make you Capt. America With a brain disease and all of the worst ones make you an Internet troll with a shotgun.

      1. Ateius says:

        I know I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll say it a million more: ME1 let me play the character the way I wanted, I ended up with roughly equal paragon/renegade score, and thanks to dumping in skillpoints I had enough influence to make Saren kill himself with either option in the endgame.

        I tried doing the same in ME2 and started running into the “all grey options” problem at around the midpoint.

        1. StashAugustine says:

          ME3 also made it so Paragon/Renegade is largely irrelevant- it adds them together, the worst that can happen is that you can’t resolve a situation with the exact words you wanted to say.

          1. Indy says:

            Or even the words you choose to say.

            1. Thomas says:

              See I had problems way before this. The voice acting alone ruined my chances of role-playing, because both performances are very loaded. The way they say anything gives a very strong sense of character and the only way you can role-play one is if your chosen character happens to coincide the voice work. Me, I always work out my character, tweak around with the creation until it’s perfect and then on the first line of dialogue it sounds completely different than I imagined and the tone isn’t right and the words aren’t right.

              People were complaining about the lack of roleplaying chance even in ME1. Paragon Shepard was this gandhi kind of wisdom spouter and all the people who’d imagined a character who was kind and good intentioned but firm and not wet were disappointed. And then in ME2 they wrote Paragon to be a lot more tough (I think Shamus even praised it on spoiler warning) and all the people who wanted to RP the first type of paragon shepard were left to dry.

              I contend the only games you can really roleplay in(consistently, there’s plenty of chances you’ll be lucky and the character you wanted has been written for you) are text-based RPGs and even then only if a lot of time has been spent creating dialogue options. Fallout 3/New Vegas probaly had the best balance of modern sensibilities and roleplaying

        2. anaphysik says:

          “I tried doing the same in ME2 and started running into the “all grey options” problem at around the midpoint.”

          I knew about the stupidness of this before playing, so I just opened up my imported save file in gibbed’s editor and changed the P/R point totals from 190 (what it imports, equal to 50% of the max 380 that could appear on the ME1 bars) to 300 to better reflect their actual values from my ME1 playthrough (301P, 361R). Never had a problem. Yay PC and its ease of save-game-editing.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “You see, bioware, in an rpg game you are not allowed to do that,”

      Actually,you are.Rpg doesnt define whether the story will be linear or not.The problem here is that the first game set things up in a non-linear fashion,and later they decided to go with linear thing anyway.

      1. Alk says:

        Yes, thanks for a correction

        The problem here is the game designer/writer telling me what I was supposed to feel and basically imposing his opinion. Now I see 2 ways these games can work: you either come to your own conclusions about situations and characters, or you have a player character who already has a system of values and an opionon, you basically just take a spin on it

        I get the feeling that here they didn’t know what they were going for and ended up with a weird mashup where they constantly make assumptions about the players feelings at any given moment(you care about this kid/you want to save earth/Udina was such an evil bastard, wasn’t he?)

        And the story really falls apart every time the game wants to show you its take on things, because it always ends up imposing them on you, not just telling you what characters feel

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        That’s the problem. They subverted the expectations they themselves set up.

        I had a debate with a friend on this. He said that Mass Effect has always had Shepard as a rigidly defined character whose subconscious was only slightly affected by the player. I argued that Shepard was a player avatar that skirts the line between being a character of his own and being the player’s cipher. I was a rather interesting discussion.

        I suppose that’s why he loved ME3 much more than I did.

  14. Ryan says:

    That’s the shotgun pistol. It’s up there for best weapon in the game. Of course, vanguard’s charge/ nova combo is so powerful that your choice of weapon really doesn’t matter.

    1. IFS says:

      Yes the Talon is a better shotgun than most of the actual shotguns. Also when the guardians (those mail-slot guys) use it they somehow gain a massive increase to accuracy with it enabling them to shoot you from across the map with it.

      1. ehlijen says:

        I never found it that great. It is the only shotgun that can be equipped with a scope though, by virtue of being a pistol. If that’s your thing. It probably isn’t.

        1. IFS says:

          No for me its the fact that the talon holds more ammo than any of the shotguns except the scimitar, and the scimitar tends to be my go to shotgun as I tend to just spray bullets at anything that survived charge-nova with a few hit points intact.

          1. ehlijen says:

            It does? Do you mean with or without the pistol mag mod?
            I thought it was 4 base, which is less than the Katana or the Geth plasma shotgun (which I favour). Being able to add that mod is nice, but I prefer barrel+choke, actually.

            1. anaphysik says:

              Pistol choke? What?
              For pistols, armor-piercing mod is usually the mandatory one for me.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Ok,a question about mods:There is a mod for reducing weight,and a mod for increasing ammo capacity.So what do these two do when you give them to companions?They dont use either weight or ammo.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  I hear that companions are actually affected by weight, but the value is just invisible to the player.

                  1. guy says:

                    According to the Wiki, no they aren’t. That certainly fits with my experience, where handing the lightest guns possible to Liara and EDI didn’t seem to give them anything close to the recharge level I’d get with those. It definitely seemed like they were running at the base cooldown times.

        2. anaphysik says:

          Funnily enough the main weapon I’m using in my Borderlands (original) playthough is a scoped shotgun.

          Also interestingly, in that game I almost exclusively prefer weapons with scopes (over ironsights).
          Whereas in a 3p game like ME3, I generally can’t stand scopes.

          Also, Chris, the first Borderlands also has shield enemies (the Crimson Lance Defenders), but they don’t have the mailslot.

  15. hborrgg says:

    If you take James with you on only one mission from here on out it should be the first rescue mission on Rannoch (order him to do all the hacking, it’s amazing).

    1. anaphysik says:

      It is. It really is.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Yes. I laughed when I saw that.

  16. Halfling says:

    Rutskarn’s puns just didn’t Hackett for me this episode.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I dont steven want to know how you guys keep coming up with these puns.Its like there is some pun bishop you are getting these from.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        Props on the second one.

  17. meyerkev says:

    Given that you’re a Vanguard, rolling with Edi and/or James is not smart.

    Edi is tech, but Garrus and/or Tali are better tech, since they have faster cooldowns (though Edi’s damage per power is higher). James is shooty, but you don’t need shooty, you need powers you can use to create biotic explosions, since you’re always WAY, WAY out in front of your companions.

    1. Khizan says:

      Vanguard doesn’t really, since it’s so hilariously overpowered you can just solo the world, basically.

    2. anaphysik says:

      BAH. You should bring the squadmates whose comments you want to listen to, not base your decision purely on shootyshooty gmaeplay.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        ^ Why I will never play Insanity.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          I never play Insanity because I don’t want my RPGs to be stupidly difficult. I have friends that swear that Insanity is the only mode to play ME on, but I hate that mentality.

          1. Irridium says:

            I played ME1 on all difficulties. It worked for me, since I played it as more of a strategy game. I would sit back, take pot-shots, and basically order my companions around and tell them when to use powers and all that. Sometimes I even joined the fray.

            In ME2, I played the first level on insanity, and just stopped. Couldn’t do it. Just too boring. All the gameplay really is if you’re not a Vanguard is “sit in cover and shoot/cast power, suck thumb while health recharges.”

            There just isn’t that many ways to play other than shoot dudes. And it was, well, boring. I suspected ME3 was the same, and while it made some improvements, it still was about the same.

            1. StashAugustine says:

              I play a lot of ME3’s multiplayer mode. It’s a lot tougher even on Silver, and incredibly hard on Gold. I like it a lot- it’s challenging, forces you to get good builds and actually highly mobile for some builds. But I don’t want that kind of challenge in my story-focused character drama. (Please copy to the designers of Dragon Age.)

          2. anaphysik says:

            (I generally play all my games on Easy. I value ‘experience’ over ‘challenge.’ Especially in games like Mass Effect wherein the challenge is essentially divorced from the fundamental experience of the game, and in fact can be opposed to it IMO. (Certainly pure-challenge games I can enjoy on higher difficulties. At one time I’d beaten most of Frantic 2 on its highest difficulty.))

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I’m glad I’m not the only one who plays on Easy mode. Very rarely am I looking for a challenge. Even when I am, it isn’t the kind of challenge playing on higher difficulties would provide.

              The kind of challenge I like is the kind from games like Hitman, where the dare you to figure out how to accomplish all of your objectives.

  18. anaphysik says:

    Instead, the game flushes the whole theme ““ and the Udina character ““ out the airlock, and never looks back. Nobody reflects on whether Udina might've actually been right ““ or even argues that Udina had his heart in the right place

    So… a LOT like Saren, actually.

  19. newdarkcloud says:

    Y’know. I think now’s the best time to say it. I think that Bioware really improved on the hacking minigame compared to the ones from ME1 and ME2. Unlike those minigames, the ones here are simple, unobtrusive, and generally only take a few seconds. That makes it so awesome.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Meh, I kind of liked the minigames. I don’t mind their absence in ME3, but it does feel like the standard ‘drop anything remotely disliked rather than fix it’ thing.

      (For the record, I played ME1 on PC, so I experienced the better version of the minigame. And one thing I didn’t like about the ME2 circuit minigame was how laggy and ‘sticky’ it was on my crappy computer.)

      1. Ryan says:

        I kind of enjoyed the minigames, as I usually played as a tech class, and they added a level of immersion to the idea that Shepard actually was tech-savvy.

        Really, I don’t like the way the games abandoned the idea that you’re special because of the cipher, not because you’re you’re so good at killing ALL THE THINGS. I mean, my ME1 Shepard was kind of a nerd, good at hacking and diplomacy.

        1. Thomas says:

          I think there needed to be an even more middle ground hacking minigame. I both appreciated the removal and missed it. It was like when they removed the six-axis balancing in Uncharted, and it became a lot less irrating but also felt a lot more stupid.

          They needed something, which doesn’t change to a special screen, doesn’t require much thought/time/concentration but feels good. Even just waggling a thumbstick around might have worked

          1. anaphysik says:

            Hm, I can’t see the thumbstick button on my keyboard. Where is it?

            1. Thomas says:

              I feel like there are less tactile things you can do with a mass and keyboard. The best thing you could do is somehow create a mini game that makes people jab at different keys really quickly like film hackers, but that would be a long mini game. I really don’t know what you could do in a short space that would feel satisfying. Maybe flicking some lock with the mouse

  20. Viktor says:

    Halo had good shield-wielding enemies, but only because the Jackals were easy to flank and died to a couple shots. You had grenades, melee, scopes, or flanking as ways to take them down. They required tactics, but let you make decisions, and worked well in conjunction with other enemies. The fact that Halo promoted movement and had multiple easy-to-use offensive options was key. These guys seem to be much tougher, drastically reducing the ways you can deal with them. Extra difficulty is not always a good thing, EA.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      After ME2, difficulty is a good thing (except Banshees, fuck Banshees.) Guardians do have a lot of ways to take down: mail slot, concussive shot, pull, shockwave, drone. Note that Vanguards have only one of those powers, and it’s their least useful one.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Vanguards actually have both Pull and Shockwave (in SP; in MP you have teammates :P ). But *both* of them are terrible. (Shockwave was a more useful in ME2 where it insta-killed husks.)

        I’m not sure why’d you’d say “After ME2, difficulty is a good thing.” For one, I think his point is ‘more health =/= more tactically difficult, just more annoyingly difficult,’ where ‘tactically difficult’ is what people who find hard difficulties to be fun would presumably obtain enjoyment from.

        1. Thomas says:

          I was greatly saddened that they removed the lifting off ground = dead husks feature. Made them a lot less fun to fight and made the pull/shockwave/through biotics feel more useless.

        2. StashAugustine says:

          My point was that ME2 was far too easy (playing on Normal, haven’t tried the other levels.) I agree that just making enemies health sinks isn’t the way to go, but I did think that ME3’s combat was difficult in a good way, with lots of different enemy types that each had their own role and weakness (with the exception of Phantoms and the aforementioned Bandshees.)

          1. anaphysik says:

            If it was too easy for you, you should have turned up the difficulty.

            Just like how I don’t care for difficult gameplay and set it to Casual before the game began.

            It was only ‘too easy’ from your perspective and gameplay desires. That’s *precisely* the point of having difficulty sliders :/

            (Although the point of enemy variety is a bit divorced from difficulty level, and is a reasonable point in turning ‘boring difficult’ to ‘fun difficult.’)

            1. anaphysik says:

              I guess another good comparison would be how I played ME1, ME2, and ME3 SP on Casual, but can enjoy Gold matches in ME3 MP.

  21. AJ_Wings says:

    I totally called out the awful neck animations a few episodes ago. Hooray for me!

  22. anaphysik says:

    Also, Shamus: is all we’re getting about your recent Experienced Points a tweet? Normally you make a post here, often including some extra comments or points that didn’t fit into the article. And we get our own thread to play around in :D

    1. StashAugustine says:

      I saw that article and immediately thought: I have a lot to say, but no way in hell I’m getting involved in a gender politics debate on the Escapist.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        If StashAugustine wont come to escapist,the escapist will come to StashAugustine:

        Lol f4g lol,ur moma .

        (I assume that is what youre fearing,because Im not reading comments there either)

        1. lurkey says:

          Nah, you didn’t quite catch it – your punctuation’s too good. As in, “exists”.

        2. Gruhunchously says:

          The Escapist forums, surprisingly enough, are relatively coherent (as far as grammar and spelling is concerned anyway), but sometimes trying to determine what people’s points actually are is a headache inducing exercise.

          However, the majority of commenters seem to think that their opinion is the absolute truth, and are completely unwilling to back from an argument or make any concessions to anyone else, no matter how ridiculous they start sounding. Watching a heated debate on those forums is like watching fifty giant stones repeatedly smashing into each other (until some of them get bored and leave).

          1. anaphysik says:

            Also the stones are wear-proof.

  23. Zak McKracken says:

    “Cerberus can't run a hotdog stand without everyone dying”
    …this just made me smile, a lot.
    And it made me wonder whether the ME series reveals at any time what on earth (and elwewhere) Cerberus is actually earning money with. I mean: okay so dead sienctist don’t ask for money, but doesn’t anyone who works for cerberus eventually get paid? Where does that money come from? If every single project ends in dead employees and zero achieved goals? Why does anyone still work for them?

    1. Thomas says:

      Ceberus information broke, which is the most valuable source of income in the Mass Effect universe, they also get donations from powerful wealthy human extremists and run several dummy corporations, presumably using their illegal technology to get ahead of the competition and dominate the market

      1. Indy says:

        There’s also writers’ powers. That’s probably where the largest part of their money and employees come from.

  24. Zak McKracken says:

    okay, obvious: Because TIM told you to, and agreeing was the only option in your dialogue tree. Damn, these guys are good!

    1. Zak McKracken says:

      also: failed to make this a reply to my previous post. Sorry for spamming the comment thread. I’ll go fail at something else now.

  25. Gruhunchously says:

    Garrus’s comment about gunfire not alerting enemies takes on hilarious new meanings considering Josh’s antics in the elevator a few moments previous.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.