I’m going to be playing through Mass Effect 2, and spewing running commentary into Twitter. Later I’ll take those entries and use them as a framework for a more comprehensive review. I did this with Dragon Age and it really worked out well. BioWare games are so large and so dense with stories that a lot of the smaller details can get lost in the shuffle, and I think Twitter is a good way of capturing this stream of reactions.
(Note that you don’t need a Twitter account to follow along. This RSS feed will deliver the goods without you needing to create an account.)
While I will avoid big plot-twisting spoilers, I will mention characters I meet and locations I visit. And I’ll be spoiling Mass Effect 1 stuff freely. If you want a complete information blackout, you should probably avoid reading my Twitter. Unfollow me if you must. I won’t be offended. I know how it is.
The first question most people will ask is about what “save” I’m using. So let’s talk about that.
You can begin the game by importing your save game from Mass Effect 1 and thus begin the story with all of the crucial events set to your own personal version of the Mass Effect continuity. Which character did you romance? Which characters survived? Did you go for the Paragon or space-jerk behavior? When presented with the ham-fisted binary choice to genocide a species or unleash them to bedevil future generations, which did you choose? And what happened to the council at the end? These were important decisions. They essentially form the backstory for your particular Shepard.
Except, you can’t do this if you played the original game on the Xbox and the sequel on the PC. If you no longer have your save game you will be handed a “default” Shepard where someone else has made these decisions for you. Did you foolishly change computers in the last two years? Ah well. You probably left your saves behind. (Oh? You didn’t change computers? Then your computer will probably have trouble running the game.)
The developers had a feature (during testing) that allowed you to manually set all of the conditions at the start of a new game, but they removed it before release because they hate their fans and desire to sow frustration and misery. So we must resort to hacks and workarounds to compensate for their sabotage.
You can go to one of the save file repositories and scavenge for a game with the right combination of decisions. I will point out that the possible permutations are numerous, and even finding one with the correct core decisions can be a challenge. And if you broke from the pure paragon / renegade paths and forged a trail through the middle ground, your search will be that much harder. Check out the decisions that impact the second game. A quick examination of the decisions reveals that there are about 5,566,277,615,616 (5 trillion) possible combinations. (Ignoring the fact that some combinations aren’t possible, like NOT recruiting Wrex but then having Wrex die. Still, we could trim out those possibilities and still end up in the millions. Even just the crucial plot points will be in the hundreds or thousands.)
What is with you, BioWare? Do you think people wouldn’t care about what they did in the first game? Did you really expect everyone to back up their saves and stick to the original platform? Why would you remove such a crucial feature? A player without Mass Effect 1 saves will be locked into using the “default” path and thus be unable to explore other versions of the world. It walls them off from a lot of content and greatly reduces the replay value of the game.
Here is the game I’m using:
Background: Spacer War Hero
* Pure paragon, no renegade points at all.
* Saved Kaidan.
Kept Wrex alive.
* Saved the Council.
* Saved the Rachni Queen.
Treated Conrad Verner nicely, and persuaded him via Charm.
Completed UNC: Asari Diplomacy.
Returned body of Nirali Bhatia to her husband.
Completed all Feros colonist quests, killed none of the colonists.
Made Garrus Paragon-esque.
* Picked Anderson for Council.
* Denotes a decision I would have tackled differently if I hadn’t been obliged to use someone else’s save.
Time to start a new game.
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