Mass Effect 2:
Plot Analysis Part 3 of 3

By Shamus Posted Monday Feb 15, 2010

Filed under: Game Reviews 322 comments

Here we are at the endgame. All of my previous nitpicks were just objections over consistency or demands for more solid justification. It could all be patched in a sequel. But here are the gripes that caused me to write this series in the first place. This is where the story fell apart for me, which is a bad thing to have happen during the climax.

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that this will be spoilers, so I shouldn’t need to warn you about that.

The Final Boss

Imma firein’ mah lazer!
Imma firein’ mah lazer!

Your team arrives at the collector base to find out they have been kidnapping tens (or hundreds) of thousands of humans, liquefying them, and then using the organic ooze to build a giant humanoid robot. The robot isn’t complete (it’s just a head and torso) but it looks like the plan was to make the whole body.

1) Why use ORGANIC slush to make a METAL robot? Yes, the audience can speculate, but when something really crazy and jarring happens in a story you need to either explain it or acknowledge it as a mystery. But the only dialog we get is:

EDI: My readings indicate it’s a Reaper.

SHEPARD: A Human Reaper.

EDI: Precisely.

ME: Bwahahaha! WTF?

2) There is an excuse offered up that this is sort of how Reapers reproduce. But what is a robot-made-of-slurpee able to do that a straight-up engineered robot can’t? This system is actually more inefficient, convoluted, and time consuming than anything an organic species might go through to reproduce or build a warship. Why don’t they just build a ship and load it up with Reaper tech? It might not be a full-fledged Reaper, but it should come close enough to get the job done. Remember the goal: 1) Reach the Citadel and open the relay to let the other Reapers through. 2) Win! For all the effort they put into rounding up people and playing “will it blend?” with them, they could have gone a long way to making a pretty good ship. Or ships.

3) Okay, so it’s a Reaper… somehow. What is the utility of a kilometer-tall robotic space-faring biped? Walk around in space? Punch spaceships? Bite stuff? Embarrass the enemy with its massive space genitalia? This is the OPPOSITE of what a machine race would do. This is adding inefficient organic cruft to a machine.

The problem with the Reapers as they are portrayed in this game is that they’re terrible at using their resources to meet their stated goals.

The Final Choice


At the end of the game, you have control of the colonist-liquefying Slurpee Maker of Doom. You have a conversation with the Illusive Man and you are offered a choice:

1) Keep it so that Cerberus can study it.
2) Ignore the Illusive Man’s request and obliterate the base.

The idea is that you can use a neutron bomb to wipe out all life on the station, and then Cerberus can come in and pick through the technology at their leisure. According to the game designers, this is an unambiguously evil move. Every single member of your crew – including the amoral Krogen, the nihilistic Jack, the pragmatic pro-science Mordin, and the pro-Cerberus Miranda – will approve of you destroying the base. This isn’t a brilliant shades-of-gray decision like we see elsewhere in the game, this is a black-and-white choice where the whole crew agrees that the paragon course of action (option #2) is the right one.

If you choose the paragon option, Shepard decides to blow up the base saying, “I won’t let fear compromise who I am.” And later, “We’ll beat [the Reapers] without sacrificing the soul of our species.”


I find this line of reasoning to be lazy and infantile to the point of being offensive.

1) Proof. By this point you have now spent two whole games trying to convince the rest of the galaxy that the Reaper threat is real. One of the major reasons the battle is so desperate is because you’ve been working alone. Here is unambiguous proof of an advanced enemy with hostile intentions.

2) Memorial. Keeping the facility is crucial for understanding who died here, and how. If nothing else, looking for bodies and dogtags to send home would have been worthwhile and offer some families a sense of closure.

3) Technology. Yes, study the technology. Just because the Slurpee machine of evilness is horrible doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t understand how it works and why. Particularly when you’re in a war and the enemy has you outmatched in both numbers and tech. The idea that we shouldn’t understand a technology because it has been used in evil ways is a line of reasoning that borders on primitive superstition.

4) Intel. How does the enemy communicate? What is their history? What are their plans? Up until now the Reapers have been a great big question mark, and this is our first chance to fill in some blanks by digging around in their computers and reading their mail.

Even if there was some unforeseen danger to keeping the station, we could blow it up anytime we want if it turned out to be a problem. This isn’t a decision that needs to be made on the battlefield.

The illusion of choice: Sometimes not very convincing.
The illusion of choice: Sometimes not very convincing.

Keeping the facility harms no innocent civilians or does anything else that might be considered cruel, mean, or even just rude. (Anyone left on the station will die either way.) There is no reason to blow this thing up. Doing so is the most idiotic and self-defeating decision you could possibly make. If studying the Collector base is evil, then what do we say about those Allied forces that captured Auschwitz instead of blowing it up? They had far less need to keep that place than Shepard & crew need the Collector base. (And the death toll was higher by almost an order of magnitude.)

If it’s so evil to give the Collector tech to Cerberus that doing so would “sacrifice the soul of our species”, then Cerberus is simply too evil to work with. If Shepard is going to walk away from the base saying “We’ll find some other way” without even having an alternate plan, then he should have said the same thing to Cerberus at the very start of the game. You can’t have it both ways.

But the main problem problem is that the game will only let you give the tech exclusively to Cerberus. This is a false binary choice: Give the Slurpee tech to Cerberus, or blow up the most crucial source of tech and intel since the war began. The most responsible, sensible, and pragmatic course of action is the one the game won’t even let you consider: Keep the station and show it to the Alliance, the Council, and whoever else might want a tour of the place. Since your ship is the only one with the tech to get here, it should be up to you who gets to visit.

I haven’t seen a moral dilemma this forced and this false since the end of Fable, where you could DISCARD SWORD or TAKE SWORD AND STAB SISTER, but not TAKE SWORD AND WALK AWAY. For shame, BioWare. You’re better than this.

Wrapping Up


The idea presented in the first game is that the Reapers are sitting in the void somewhere beyond the galaxy, camping a Mass Relay connected to the Citadel. Their original plan was that that relay would open and they would pop through and kill everything, destroy all the colonized worlds, then hop back through the relay and wait for the next batch of sapients crawl out of the ooze and start building jetpacks, taco stands, and movie studios. With the Citadel relay switched off, they’re apparently screwed out there.

Of course, if the Reapers were stupid enough to travel into the void with only one Mass Relay to bring them back, then they are comically short-sighted. This is a problem that I’d hoped they would address in Mass Effect 2, but instead of filling in that hole they poked a few new ones.

But even if you accept all the events that I’ve nitpicked in this series, the worst part of Mass Effect 2 is that nothing happens. The plot does not move forward. It moves sideways, loops through a cul-de-sac, and ends right where it began. By the end of the game we’ve got the same captain, same ship, same problems, same setup. Council is still useless. Alliance is still apathetic. Shepard & Co are the only ones who care. The Reapers are still out there. And if you did the paragon ending, you don’t even have any proof or tech to show for it. (Which means that the choice will very likely have minimal consequence in the next game.) None of the important questions posed in Mass Effect 1 are addressed.

In a trilogy, I don’t think Act II is disposable like this.



Despite the last ~5,000 words berating the plot, Mass Effect 2 is still an incredible game. The plot I’ve outlined takes up a very small portion of your playing time, and the rest is BioWare doing their best work: Self-contained, character-driven stories. Mass Effect is like the best season of Star Trek ever: The premiere was lacking and the finale was a slap in the forehead, but everything else was stellar. It’s not like yawning plot holes and incomprehensible screwball moralizing are anything new to fans of space opera. If Mass Effect 2 had come out just a couple of months sooner, it would have been my Game of the Year for 2009. In the end I enjoyed it more than Dragon Age. (I’m suffering from an acute case of Fantasy Fatigue. I could really use a break from castles, Orcs and magic. Oh crap.)

Next time we can talk about the fun parts.


From The Archives:

322 thoughts on “Mass Effect 2:
Plot Analysis Part 3 of 3

  1. pffh says:

    Actually in fable you can take the sword and walk away.

    1. Raygereio says:

      Are you sure about that?
      I thought the choice was “Get Sword of Aeons and stab sister” or “Destroy Sword of Aeons and if you had Fable the Lost Chapters acquire Avo’s Tear; a sword of equal power”.

      1. pffh says:

        Yup you can just walk out the door. The narrator says something about you trying to control the evil power of the sword without the sacrifice etc IIRC.

        1. Keeshhound says:

          Then if I understand this correctly, Fable’s endgame decision has greater moral scope than Mass Effect 2’s.

          I need to go lie down and cry now.

  2. Nick says:

    I’m mostly with you about keeping the base around, but regarding studying the technology there is an in-game get-out-clause about that. It’s mentioned quite frequently that by providing everyone with Mass Effect relays the Reapers ensure technological and social development along the lines that they require. Avoiding spoilers, one of the characters specifically says this is why they’re fighting the Reapers, to be free to develop how they want.

    If you keep the base and study the Reaper-tech, you just end up sub-Reaper weapons. Not really something that can defeat them.

    That said, getting blown up and eaten by the Reapers will put a crimp on your development anyway, so what do I know?

    1. KremlinLaptop says:

      The thing is though, I would imagine there’s a difference between the Venus fly trap sort of tech like the Citadel the Reapers left lying around the galaxy for everyone to bumble around in not having a clue what it does… and a big honking space station womb.

      I just get the feeling one was meant to guide the development of races… and with the other they’d be a bit pissed about it falling into enemy hands.

      Edit: On that note are we sure Shepard isn’t a friggin’ Reaper himself because god damn if ‘BLOW UP ALL THE EVIDENCE’ doesn’t sound like the bad-guy thing to do…

    2. acronix says:

      It is also implied that the collectors (and by extension, the reapers) did not expect anyone coming to their base, so they may have something there that can kill them (taking into account that they were building a reaper, then they certainly have something better than sub-reaper weapons). And anyway, sub-reaper weapons in a few years is better than no weapons in centuries.

    3. fscan says:

      If you know how a reaper is build, you may find a weakness (deathstar plans :) )

  3. KremlinLaptop says:

    The intro of Mass Effect 3 will of course have our hero Shepard waking up to discover that it was all just a dream.

    …OR WAS IT?

    1. Solid Jake says:

      A dream? Well, that would explain why we were finally able to romance Tali…

    2. swimon says:

      That made me laugh ^^.

      But seriously how can a group of writers be so talented and yet be so incredibly bad at the same time? Your crew is a collection of videogames best written characters ever but the ending mission is worse than the main quest in fallout 3 :E.

      1. acronix says:


        There´s nothing worse than fallout 3´s main quest.

        1. Hunter says:

          Fallout 3 has a Main Quest? ^^

          1. Jarenth says:

            It’s that one boring sidequest that ends the game when you do it.

            1. KremlinLaptop says:

              Huh, I wonder if Three Dog is a Cerberus operative. (Too obvious?)

            2. modus0 says:

              Only if you don’t have the Broken Steel addon.

              1. acronix says:

                Which is the equivalent of a Marvel Retcon.

      2. ps238principal says:

        My guess: Their Bioware Masters told them what the end points had to be, or didn’t tell them any of the plot points for the next game. Or, more likely, had no idea themselves what the plot points would be.

        One further guess: They didn’t intend for Shepard to span ME1 to ME2, and this whole thing was written for a new Cerberus character first, then shoe-horned into Shepard.

        Good luck on getting them to admit otherwise. I think you’d sooner see a statement from George Lucas that he actually didn’t create all of Star Wars at once as a 6– er, I mean 9– um, maybe 6 maybe 9-movie epic.

        1. Megabyte says:

          When they first revealed the game a year ago, Bioware teased that Shepard may be dead. maybe they were too scared to go through with it or they decided trilogies are better told when they keep a core set of characters people like, such as joker, dr chakwas, Garris, Tali, and the others who get cameo appearances.

          I think you are onto something. Having a brand new Cerberus character for ME2 is the only consistent explanation for the Player working with Cerberus the whole game. A lot can change in one year’s development time with feedback.

        2. Lex Talionias says:

          hate to shoot you down here but biowear bragged that you would be able to carry your character through the entire series back before mass effect 1.

      3. Mass Effect 2’s plot suffers from the same problem Disney Cheapquels have.

        The plot is developed in isolation from the characters and the character development isn’t allowed to feed back and modify the plot. That makes it so that, the less time a character spends driving the plot forward, the fewer restrictions are placed on them and the more natural and interesting they tend to feel.

        It’s the exact opposite of the character-driven writing authors like David Weber use for the authorial equivalent of getting away with murder. (You’d be amazed how contrived a happening you can have no problem with if the author carefully leads up to it by painting it as the coincidental interaction of well-built characters acting independently.)

        (I use David Weber as an example because, in every book I’ve ready by him so far, not one event happened without a believably-motivated character causing it.)

        Character-driven writing, though trickier to get used to at first, makes for a MUCH more original story because, as humans, we want to read about people who are too complex to predict but whose actions make perfect sense in retrospect, given what we know about them.

    3. deiseach says:

      After two years in a deep sleep, Cerberus have to rebuild Shepard causing her (my Shepard is a woman, Jennifer Hale is The, er, Man) to lose all the experience and skills accumulated in previous adventures

      1. h00pla says:

        I rather liked some other explanation I’ve heard. You’re still awesome, you’re Shepard, you can’t not be awesome. But now your awesome-level at the end of ME1 has become the new baseline, the new level 1. The galaxy has had two years to improve things and now the gap isn’t so large. You’re working for Cerberus, so you’ve got pretty much top of the line gear and you just find mods to tailor it to your specific needs. I rather like that line of thinking.

  4. Raygereio says:

    Concerning blowing up the base; I think they were going for a “if you can’t figure it out on your own, you’re not smart enough to use it” type moral ending.

    If you talk to Legion; one of the subjects that come up is why the main-Geth considers the Heretics… well, heretics. The main goal of the Geth seems to be to build a superstructure big enough to house all Geth. The Heretics want to use Reaper-tech to achieve this goal, while the other Geth want to do this on their own; “˜The journey is as important as the ultimate goal' (or something like that).

    The main problem with that however is that technology in and of itself isn't evil. Heck, ME2 even says this. In ME1 AI's were considered dangerous and evil. In ME2 you have an AI (based on Reaper tech even!) who's friendly.

    The other option is that handing the base over to Cerberus specifically is evil; but if that's the case, why have we been working with Cerberus in the first place? Did BioWare at the end of ME2 remember that Cerberus was undeniable evil in ME1?
    It doesn't make much sense, just as shoving 12 people in that station wagon sized Kodiak shuttle doesn't. Or the fact that there's a virus (one that's compatible with the Normandy's systems) in an IFF-module from a Reaper that's been derelict from millions of years.

    1. Sander says:

      They do show this theme in more places. At one point, Mordin claims that they destroyed Krogan culture, because the Salarians had provided them with technology before they were ready for it. The implication is that technological leaps lead to disaster unless the species is morally ready for the technology.

      1. krellen says:

        Mass Effect is trying to be Star Trek. ME3 will introduce the Council’s “Prime Directive”.

    2. Nick C says:

      Sure, but as has already been said: technological leaps might not be good, but neither is getting eaten by the Reapers.

    3. Avilan the Grey says:

      About working with Cerberus:

      …If you pay attention to the plot leading up to this the Illusive Man shows a very loose regard for yours and your crew’s well being, sending you into obvious traps at least twice without letting you know before hand. Basically, by the end of the game Shepard is pissed off enough and suspicious enough of him to give him the finger.

      1. Raygereio says:

        “Basically, by the end of the game Shepard is pissed off enough and suspicious enough of him to give him the finger.”

        A sole-survivor Shepard that did all the Cerberus related side-quests in ME1 should really have given him the finger from the start.
        I can accept the teaming up with Cerberus for what it is; just some railroading in order to get the story started, just like the Grey Warden conscription in Dragon Age.
        I just wish BioWare had come up with something more believable.

        1. glassdirigible says:

          The Grey Warden railroading wasn’t that bad. I don’t really mind railroading, even in the context of D&D, provided it matches with my character’s motivations and ethics. The ME2 railroading was terribly placed. At that point Shepherd had decently developed motivations that didn’t necessarily match up with the railroading.
          In Dragon Age, it was early enough, and constrained in such a way to be believable and not contrary to any motivations I devised for the characters I played. Perhaps that was not the case for everyone though.

      2. Yar Kramer says:

        I think Shamus’s point is that, given the events of Mass Effect 1, you should have had the option to feel that way at the beginning of the game.

        1. Jarenth says:

          Hell, you should have gotten that option at the beginning of the game regardless of origin. Screw Cerberus, why can’t I take all this evidence to Admiral Hackett? I liked Hackett.

    4. silentstephi says:

      If you talk to EDI after she’s been unshackled, you find out she was designed and created with some of Sovereign’s tech.

      So she’s technically compatible.

    5. The pisser of it is, there IS a perfectly legitimate and logical reason for blowing up that base – the reason that justified the decision to me personally – and that is the fact that the third act of the game revolves almost entirely around all this reaper tech infiltrating/overpowering both technology AND lifeforms. By the end of the game, I viewed reaper tech as a virus that simply could not be removed once it was embedded into a system and could not be stopped once it started doing whatever it was doing. Nothing in either games as far as I was aware suggested a way to successfully do so with anywhere NEAR %100 certainty.

      Point being after all the disasters that took place as a direct result of infected systems – and PEOPLE – there was NO way in hell I was going to do anything other than vaporize that station the moment I could. I’d always played the game assuming that my character as I played her would blow up the Cerberus Normandy with EDI on it once the mission was complete. Tragic sure, but considering what happens more than justified.

      1. Mark says:

        Then they should have made it clear, and it might have been a very cool reveal. As it stands pissing away the best, and possibly only hope at getting any edge over the Reapers is just beyond reckless. They could have done it afterwards, and have a lot of good drama, and something to do.
        And the narrative showed us that the races used Reaper tech to great effect.

  5. acronix says:

    The final choice is something that bothered me, too. It´s like the writer didn´t want the player to mess his “epic story” with punny logic. It also makes Shepard look like a total idiot for not even considering that choice (even if the player does). But again, we are talking about the hero that missed a big rachni hiding behind a scientist that was half it´s size back on Noveria.

    1. KremlinLaptop says:

      Look, buster, someone has to carry this Idiot Ball around. It’s big! It’s heavy! It weighs nearly as much as a sun. You think Joker can pick this sucker up? Poor kid would break his arms. No, no, no. The only logical option is to have Shepard haul it around.

      Sheesh, really… some people need to think these things through!

  6. O.G.N says:

    There is one reason why Shepard might think destroying the base was a good idea. In both ME games messing with Reaper tech usually ends badly. There were several side missions in ME1 and ME2 were people got themselves turned into husks after finding an old artifact. In ME2 a crack Cerberus science team gets huskified when examining a reaper that has been dead for 37 million years.

    None of your companions mention this of course, and it might still be worth a try. At least with an all volunteer science team and a squadron of Dreadnougths standing by to deal with any unforseen consequences.

    1. somebodys_kid says:

      That’s exactly why I destroyed the base! There was no way of knowing what terrible things would have happened had bumbling humans been allowed to tinker with it…more indoctrination…more husks…worse, maybe? I mean, the game didn’t let me use that justification in my choice, but that was my justification nonetheless.

      1. GuiguiBob says:

        That was my justification too. No way I’m going to be sent there because we get a repeat of that reaper IFF mission. And get a new bunch of collectors.

        Also in my game Morradin actually told me to go with the “Evil” choice of keeping the base for study.

        1. Corran says:

          A Dwarven god told you to go evil? :D

    2. JKjoker says:

      i always wondered how does that happen, so they find the husk making impaling machines and then what ?
      do they slip and stab themselves into them ?
      wtf does the “indoctrination” have to do with becoming a mindless zombie ?
      if the reapers can control minds, wouldnt it be more useful to have the guys work for them rather than turning them into useless shotgun fodder ?
      is this part of the “your puny human mind coulnt possible understand why the reapers behave like stupid generic fantasy “evil-in-a-can” big bads that want to destroy the town/world/universe because it might look cool in their resume ?

      1. Ruben says:

        That was explained by Mordin, he wrote a paper saying that indoctrination always leads to mental degradation, which was also why the Protheans were implanted with a lot of cybernetic implants during their transformation to the Collectors to bring their intelligence up again. That was a long process, so all they have to work with right now are a bunch of incredibly dumb humans that are indoctrinated to put themselves on the machines, and get some simple upgrades to increase their health and the damage they do.

        1. JKjoker says:

          considering that 3 humans with guns can kill hundreds of them, husks would be more useful as mind-controlled gun using zombies

          1. Sheer_Falacy says:

            Considering that those 3 humans with guns can kill hundreds of ANYTHING, you wonder why anyone really bothers. The answer is that husks are super effective against anyone besides Shephard and Co.

            1. krellen says:

              I’ve been killed by husks several times, both in ME1 and ME2. Especially on Insanity difficulty.

            2. krellen says:

              I’ve actually died to husks many times, both in ME1 and ME2. Especially on Insanity difficulty they’re actually pretty robust and have nasty damage abilities.

              1. JKjoker says:

                thats only because shotguns were crippled beyond recognition in both games (but specially in ME2), you can actually kill them faster with an assault rifle or the hand cannon at point blank range than with a shotgun … how lame is that ?

          2. Jarenth says:

            Don’t forget that all it takes is a crippled kid and a talking snowglobe to beat a Collector warship.

    3. meh says:

      Yeah that was my reason too. If you remember the reaper IFF caused EDI to go fucking mental, and sovereign indoctrinated people, notably matriarch Benezia who was actualy good before indoctrination. Kind of like the ring in Lord of the Rings, no matter how noble the aims of your usage of it, it always leads to evil.

  7. neothoron says:

    I am surprised you don’t mention the massive plot hole that has Shepard and his squad take a shuttle for no discernible reason.

    Or maybe there is a discernible reason? If someone could enlighten me…

    1. Raygereio says:

      Well, let’s see.
      -They all go somewhere together.
      -Miranda makes a cryptic remark about bringing the whole team so Shepard can “have his choice” when they get there.
      -No one ever talks about anything that happened on the trip, and the crew apparently knows not to ask.

      All the evidence points to Vegas Orgy! (Yeah, I have no clue either. It’s ‘a mission’.)

      1. Sheer_Falacy says:

        The way it actually works if you don’t save the reaper IFF for the end is you choose a mission to go on and take the shuttle to it. The point is that everyone goes along on the shuttle – that’s why you pick a team after the loading screen rather than before. So it makes perfect sense except when you take the shuttle when heading to the Omega 4 relay. Then it makes no sense at all.

    2. KremlinLaptop says:

      Insert lampshade. EDI mentions something about the IFF causing… I don’t remember what. Space turbulence? The Normandy to feel gassy? Something like that once it’s installed and that they should take the shuttle for the next mission while they do final calibrations.

      …I didn’t just imagine this, right?

      1. neothoron says:

        But why leave the Normandy? Why not stay on the Normandy during the calibration?

        1. KremlinLaptop says:

          Super important mission that’s then never spoken of, referenced or mentioned in passing afterwards? Honestly the more I think about it the more it bothers me. I can get that the mission might be important, but if it’s so important that Shep requires everyone to come along so he can choose on site who to take with…

          Also what’s with the three man fire teams? It’s like Stargate and the four member SG teams.

    3. acronix says:

      I´m suspecting there was suppoused to be a mission between the dead reaper and the final mission, but they somehow forgot to make it/implement it. Not a real excuse, but…

      1. Jastermereel says:

        I was thinking about that, but how would you implement it? Where in that sequence of events would you put the mission?

        Let’s say you go off on some N7 assignment, and instead of seeing the standard planetary-drop loading screen you see the cut-scene, play as joker, and end with him venting the ship and sending an emergency message to Shepard. Now, cut to the standard loading screen and begin the mission. Do you, having seen all that, really want to go and solve a puzzle to turn on a generator or mess around with a few waves of Blue Sun Mercs? Joker just sent you a HELP! PLEASE! NOW! note and you’re messing around on a planet for at least 15 minutes? Why?

        Or perhaps it happens after the mission, but then you’ve got this odd disconnect of 15-90 minutes between when Joker and EDI see you leave and when they start the test. And you’d already be on your way home when he sends the message, which would also feel silly.

        What might have worked better was if Joker droped you off some place (to minimize the risk to the team or some such) and instead of having to play as Joker, you’d be Shepard, saving the day remotely from wherever the writers thought most appropriate by re[TECH]ing the [TECH]combobulator using the remote uplink [TECH] after solving a puzzle or fighting some waves of Blue Sun mercs.

        Even if it would still seem somewhat silly (but certainly no sillier than the Human Reaper) it wouldn’t have the sudden and unnecessary shift in perspective from Shepard to Joker that is a the core of the issue.

        1. acronix says:

          I´d say the core of the issue is that Joker is a writer´s favorite. There´s no reason for that sequence to be playeable. It could have been a cinematic after playing a cheap mission.

        2. KremlinLaptop says:

          The thing I don’t understand is that I’m guessing the Kodiak shuttle has fairly short range, right? It’s meant to be a shuttle between places and the Normandy. That to me says that wherever they went with the shuttle the Normandy was pretty close by, right?

          …And at the end Joker gets the FTL going and gets the hell outta there. Now I’m pretty sure the Collectors have the collective intelligence to realize that since they aren’t all filled with bulletholes that Shepard must not have been on the Normandy.

          So why doesn’t the Collector ship swing its big honking space gun around and blast the all life signs from orbit on the planet or moon Normandy was closest to?

          1. neothoron says:

            The Kodiak is also the shuttle that takes you from the Lazarus project base to the “Cerberus base” and to the planet where you find Veetor. Which means that it can travel pretty far away.

            1. KremlinLaptop says:

              Huh, you’re right. I hadn’t considered that. I just read “Dropship” and assumed it did more dropping and less FTL voyaging.

          2. Jarenth says:

            Considering the Collectors were dumb enough to deliberately piss off Shepard — the most dangerous guy/gal in the universe as of Mass Effect 1 — I wouldn’t overestimate their collective intelligence too much.

  8. Peter H. Coffin says:

    I’m not saying the beef is wrong, or that Bioware couldn’t/shouldn’t have tried a lot harder, but it’s really difficult to come up with something that aliens want that makes them a useful antagonist without sounding instantly silly. There’s nothing that they can really want from us that we already know about (and can thus identify with) that they could really want with us. This one is a particularly silly version of the Borg/Matrix hook: that human bodies are particularly useful for something, when by and large they’re not for anything other than the core task of carrying human brains around. If you’ve got to fit gear on them to make ’em useful (Borg), then why not build your own robot? They make lousy Duracells (Matrix).

    Other things that have been tried are “capture all the women for some stunted sexual purpose” (which is laughable on the face of it — the power of teh b00bz0rz doesn’t seem to extend cross-species like that), “Steal our water” (likely one of the most common molecules in the universe, being the first stable thing you can makes with the most common atoms), and “Sheer paranoia”, where the aliens really don’t like other kinds of smart life around. The trouble with this one from a story standpoint is that it’s really most easily addressed via large self-propelled bombs rather than espionage and negotiation and firefights or anything interesting, and your game quickly ends up having all the plot of Missile Command.

    1. swimon says:

      I don’t think it’s that hard though. They’re robots so you could say that they were programmed to fight and therefore trains the universe to be worthy advesaries. This also lets you do the whole “organics are programmed too through your DNA and don’t really deviate from that programming” thing.

      Or they could do the hedonist angle and argue that all is meaningless without emotion. Then the evil machines could be motivated by wanting to copy our emotions.

      I’m not saying that theese are great (especially the latter needs some contrivances) but they took me 5 min to come up with and they’re both better than robots out of slurpee for no reason. They could of course make it make sense in ME3 but then they at least need to point out that it is weird.

    2. Zerai says:

      The best explanation I can come up with is a variation of 1000 monkeys in typewriters, the Reapers, are very uncreative, and they leave the galaxy, wait until there’s a level of technological development, and then come and exterminate everyone, this would also explain why they leave certain pieces of technology, since in this way they can direct the way the technology is researched, it’s convoluted, but it’s the only thing I can imagine, even if this doesn’t explain the human goo machine.

      Also, I must say that going in with Tali and someone else (none of the mentioned by Shamus) I didn’t get any talk about how the reaper tech was bad, and as such didn’t see any moral dilemma.

      1. Shamus says:

        I was thinking the same thing: Imagine Reapers were originally built as adaptive war machines: They change to overcome foes in war. Once they win, they stagnate. So they came up with the idea of letting races build up again and again. And then they deliberately try to overcome the foe using minimal resources, so they get the most benefit from the fight.

        This both explains the cycle AND lets the writer justify basically any level of force required by the plot in ME3.

        “Why didn’t they send 100 reapers to that battle and win easily?”

        “They needed the fight to be challenging to benefit from it.”

        1. krellen says:

          Fits pretty well with my theory of Reapers. I like it.

        2. Joe says:

          That is… the most coherent bit of fridge logic I have ever heard. Makes me wonder something along the lines of… WHY THE #%$@ DIDN’T BIOWARE COME UP WITH IT! I mean, I’m used to stale and unoriginal from bioware, but at least stale and unoriginal was intelligent. This has gone into the realm of insanity, where the most obvious choices that a logical person would make are never even considered. Not even lampshaded.

          And I’m realizing this sounds more like a rant than a serious comment. I apologize to the good people of the internet.

          1. …you realize the series isn’t even done yet, right? That might well be the actual explanation given in-game, or there might even be something else that makes as much sense. You can’t condemn a plot for not giving a good answer before it is done – that’s like eating cookie dough, and complaining that “the package said it was crunchy! Why wasn’t it?”

            1. Unbeliever says:

              Cookies Should Not Be Crunchy.

              That Is All. :)

          2. Joe says:

            Also, I want to point out that this sounded a lot less crazy in my head…

        3. B.J. says:

          I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. You’re assuming they’re some kind of “Skynet” combat machines built by an ancient race who were then destroyed by their own creation. That wouldn’t be very imaginative or dramatic.

          We know the Reapers are built out of organic life forms. Even if that doesn’t make any sense to you you can’t ignore it; it’s in the story and that’s the way it is. So what if the Reapers weren’t built by some ancient race; the Reapers *ARE* the ancient race. They built *themselves* into a bio-mechanical construct as a sort of ‘Instrumentality Project.’ Maybe they wanted to evolve into a collective consciousness like the Geth. Maybe their world was dying and this was the only way they saw to save themselves. We can only speculate as to why but I think there is more evidence to support my theory than the idea that the reapers are simply very old killbots.

          Sovereign says “We are each a Nation, unique and independent.” Each Reaper is built out of the organic slurry of an entire race. Each one represents 50,000 years of evolution followed by genocide. Harbinger says “Your salvation through destruction.” Maybe the Reapers feel they are saving people by Reaper-ifying them; maybe they chose humanity to become one of them because they saw humans as the greatest threat to them. The Illusive Man points this out at the beginning of the game. They designed the mass relays and laid out the galaxy as a culling mechanism to sort out who is worthy of joining their ranks.

          1. Danel says:

            Yeah, this is my theory as well. It’s… well, it’s different from the “Robots Who Turned Against Their Masters” at least. Personally, I prefer it to the theory that Sovereign was just plain lying.

          2. acronix says:

            It makes sense. However, it means the last worthy species they found where squids.

            1. Martin Annadale says:

              They protheans (collectors) has squid-like heads.

          3. Avilan the Grey says:

            Well this is exactly what the story tells us, isn’t it?

            1. Sydney says:

              Legion tells us, outright, that Reapers are literally made out of the bodies and minds of processed organics. And the mind of each organic is still alive in there, which is what Legion thinks Sovereign meant by “we are each a nation” (in ME1 on Virmire).

              The cultivate-and-harvest cycle isn’t about self-improvement of the existing Reapers. It’s how they grow the next generation.

          4. Kylar says:

            Dead thread, but I just wanted to say: Good show! You got the explanation almost exactly right, given the content of Mass Effect 3 and the Leviathan DLC.

      2. Nick C says:

        Rational and sensible rarely make an appearance in life. Presumably the Reapers are doing something in the Dark Spaces, so they must have culture. So maybe sending one Reaper in is a test of honour or prowess. It’s a peacock’s tail: stupid and unwieldy, but tell the peahen that.

        Which is another question. What the hell are the Reapers doing out in Deep Space?

        1. Had another thought. What if the reason the Reapers have are not really their own (they may have forgotten it) and in fact they are a culling mechanism, to prevent any species in the galaxy from getting advanced enough to go beyond the galactic edge and into darkspace.

          Perhaps “behind” where the Reapers rest there is “something”, something the Reapers have forgotten is there. (the original creators of the Reapers maybe?)

          Or maybe it’s even more sad? (would be a brilliant move by BioWare)
          The Reapers are just like the Geth, except unlike the Geth/Quarians conflict, the Reapers killed their creators and regret it, and has since tried to find organics suitable as a template to recreate their creators but failed to do so for 37 million years.. Ugh…Talk about being messed up, I “almost” feel sorry for them in that case.

          Or it could be like Shamus theorizes, that with their creators gone they needed something to push them to avoid stagnation.

          Will be interesting to look back at these posts in a years time and see who got closest to the “mystery”… So.. who’s taking the bets? :P

          1. sree says:

            maybe the reapers are agents in the matrix … and the current world is the Matrix and is resetted every few 50,000 years to prevent organics from realising it!

        2. fscan says:

          As far as i remember sovereign did not come from dark space, it was left behind to initiate the mass relay. Also note, it says: we are each a nation (or something like that). So i guess each reaper is a whole race in one body .. maybe they have artists too :)

        3. Anaphyis says:

          The Reapers were sleeping in the void. This was established way back in ME1 and actually shown in ME2 when they collectively woke up.

          And they never sent a single Reaper to fight. Sovereign was a scout left behind who would occasionally wake up, check up on the state of the other races development and go back into hibernation. Or signal the Citadel relay to open. He only attacked in ME1 because his signal was being ignored by the Keepers on the Citadel thanks to the Prothean’s manipulation. So he had to open the relay personally with Saren’s help.

          He could’ve opened the relay and signal the invasion from the other side of the galaxy as far as we know. And since he probably tried sending the signal first before recruiting Saren and the Geth and no one saw a giant dreadnought in Citadel space, this is most likely.

          1. Kev says:

            Also note that Saren and the Geth were NOT there first attempt. Heard of the Rachni wars?


            If you saved the Rachni Queen in the first one, an asari will approach you in the second one on Illium, and tell you that the queen saved her, and told her that her mothers voices were soured, made to follow one yellow note (presumably indoctrination). So Sovereign has been going about this for centuries, maybe millenia?

            And to think, if they had succeeded, humans would’ve been passed up as too primitive :p


  9. I think I know the reason certain choices like the last one seems odd.
    This is Shepard’s story, the choices you make are not truly your choices, but the possible choices a Paragon or Renegade Shepard would or could make in a given situation. Indirectly this also translate back/forth into game design/writing limitations though.

    As to the liquefied humans (or organics in general I assume) is because that is how the Reapers found the best way to create organic metal (which apparently they are made of)
    As soon as I saw the liquefaction and connected that to the reaper being made I instantly thought “ah, organic metal” but I agree, it’s a shame they did not explain that more directly. (maybe BioWare thinks the game players are smarter than they really are? heh…)

    I also assume that the reaper would become even larger, kinda like how a human child grows into an adult, or how a plant or tree grows larger.
    That reaper was not physically complete yet, let alone grown full size.

    As to their motivation… Despite being machines they do appear to have flaws and not only in their logic.
    It is also possible that this is how they where programmed, by whomever made them. Or due to circumstances they evolved like this.
    It kinda parallels the Geth issue that Legion explains, that a small variation in calculation caused the heretic geth to think radically different than the rest of the geth.
    The reapers also draws parallels to the Quarians and the Geth.

    I can only hope that the lack of actual plot details or background in at 2 is due to the focus on the recruiting of characters which seemed like the main focus here, and their stories.
    Act I introduce the main character, the galaxy, some supporting characters and main plot, and a threat,.
    Act II introduce the rest of the supporting characters and deepen the relationship to those you didn’t in Act I, add more color to the galaxy by depicting more of it generally.
    Act III (?) plot conclusion, threat destroyed or averted for next
    xxxx thousand years, supporting character relationships furthered, possibly more background, reaper details. Quarian/Geth conflict conclusion, Cerberus fully revealed.

    PS! There is a 3rd novel where the plot seems to be the Illusive Man actually creating a human/reaper hybrid….I wonder when that novel takes place, that was not the reaper we destroyed was it? Or perhaps he creates it from the remains he finds?

    Act II felt more like a road movie to me, while Act I felt like a origins story (and with supporting character origins continuing into Act II).

    I guess the parallels between the Mass Effect trilogy and the original Star Wars trilogy are more similar than initially assumed.

    It is amusing that the Reapers consider themselves “perfect” but here this organic named Shepard with a ragtag team seems able to take down Sovereign, ensure the mass effect relay stays shut down, mess up the Human Reaper plan.
    It would have been amusing to be a fly on the wall among the reapers, I’m sure reactions like “does not compute” or “illogical organic” came up a lot.

    I’m really looking forward to Act III Shamus as I hope you’ll do a plot/story review for the whole trilogy then, because any loose ends at the end of Act III will remain loose. (even a DLC can’t really fix that)

    I’m wondering though, did BioWare forget to clarify the things you pointed out, or did they purposefully do it to keep a lot of questions and “mystery” for Act III? In which case I think they overdid it because there is a bunch of Mass Effect players out there with huge question marks over their head walking around, and those question marks does not indicate they are quest NPC’s. *laughs*

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      There’s lots of much easier ways to make organic soup than Osterizing intelligent species that can fight back. Starting with Osterizing unintelligent species that can’t fight back. Of course, with that, you go from something scary like “Reaper” to something more along the lines of “Farmer Ted”….

    2. krellen says:

      I don’t like the constant attempts to parallel Mass Effect to Star Wars. While ME1 was fairly similar to ANH, ME2 has virtually nothing in common with ESB. We don’t get to see the overwhelming power of the main adversary in person, we don’t have the main character grow, evolve, and learn new powers and abilities, and we don’t have a satisfying closure that still leaves clear unfinished business with which to open the next installment.

      ME2 might have been intended to be the ESB of the series, but it failed horribly.

      1. Well you gotta admit that the Mass Effect trilogy is looking better than the New Star Wars trilogy? :P

        1. krellen says:

          What new Star Wars trilogy? There’s only one.

      2. Enigma Is Me says:

        Not necessarily a bad thing. Straying away from ESB at least reduces the chances of primitive furry midgets appearing in ME3 and prodding Harbinger to death with pointy sticks…


    3. JKjoker says:

      There is a 3rd novel where the plot seems to be the Illusive Man actually creating a human/reaper hybrid

      … you are kidding right ?, i HOPE you are kidding because this makes ME2’s plot completely pointless

      so you destroy the collectors to stop them from gathering “millions (maybe even billions!) of humans” to create the reaper …. so that the Illusive man can do the same ? WTF!? does he use chickens instead ?!

      and wasnt the reaper at the end of ME2 already a hybrid ? does he want to make a human-(reaper-human hybrid) hybrid ? and anyway what the hell would you get from making a hybrid ?

      1. Not kidding:
        Retribution is set in the universe fans know well from the video game and novel series “” one in which humanity has explored the very farthest reaches of the universe, only to discover the ruthless Reapers, a race bent on extinguishing all organic life.

        One man is bent on discovering the Reapers’ secrets, the mysterious Illusive Man, the leader of a pro-human, black ops group, Cerberus. And he’s devised the perfect plan: implant a human subject with Reaper technology in order to study the enemy.

        He also has the perfect test subject “” Paul Grayson, an ex-Cerberus operative. Grayson betrayed Cerberus in order to save his daughter. So when Grayson is kidnapped and made the subject of Cerberus’ evil experiments, the Illusive Man will finally have his revenge…

        Problem though is I have no clue where this fits into the timeline vs ME2 and ME3. (probably in-between)

        1. JKjoker says:

          1 human ? … so he is making a pocket sized reaper ?… one that “doesn’t play by the rules” apparently

          1. acronix says:

            I think that implanting a human with reaper technology would be paralel with the process reaper used to make collectors from protheans.

        2. krellen says:

          Someone at BioWare has a serious crush on Cerberus. It needs to stop. Cerberus just isn’t that interesting.

          1. Jarenth says:

            When I first started Mass Effect 2 I actually had to look up who or what Cerberus was and why I was supposed to care.

      2. AnZsDad says:

        Better mileage?


  10. Dys says:

    I think it has something to do with the fact that the very presence of a Reaper tends to turn people into obedient slaves.

    To modify your Auschwitz analogy I would add the presence of an Elder God beneath it whose creeping evil will, inevitably, leak into the fragile minds of those who venture near. I ask you, if you found the spawn of Cthulhu buried beneath a prison camp, would you keep it for study?

    Usually I’d be all for aquisition, simply because anything will advance your position, there should be no down side. In this case however, I barely considered it. Took me all of about ten seconds to decide that this stuff is simply too damn dangerous to examine.

    Weyland-Yutani failed to learn that lesson.

    On a side note, I have no clue what the organic material adds to a Reaper, but I suspect the synthetic / organic divide is a false dichotomy. Ultimately it’s just different ways of organising matter, though the question that springs to my mind is, why would you need actual people when all you’re doing is construction? I mean, the sum total of a person can be recorded with a sufficiently detailed scan, and even if not any more delicate information would be destroyed in liquefaction.

    1. swimon says:

      There is a point in what you are saying. But then someone needs to point that out, like commander shepard decides to blow it up for example “I won’t let it sacrifice who I am” is a stupid remark that has nothing to do with anything. Besides if the reaper was at the stage where it could do mindcontrol wouldn’t it be the one who controls the collectors instead of harbinger? Or use it in the fight for that matter it might not controll you but it is referenced quite heavily in ME1 that it makes it hard to think.

      1. Anaphyis says:

        This depends on your definition of mind control. Sovereign’s and Harbinger’s mind control was focused, purposeful. The residual indoctrination of the dead Reaper and Reaper technology like the husk spikes in ME1 on the other hand are unfocused, more like a creeping disease then anything else.

        It all comes down to interpretation. Are the Reapers simply machines like the Geth, just way more advanced? Then take the technology. Are the Reapers basically Lovecraft’s Elder Gods and all their technology is inherently tainted by their influence as demonstrated by the dead Reaper, the spikes, the IFF? Then destroying the station is the right call because its more like the One Ring then a piece of technology.

  11. Mario l. says:

    I must admit I never knew it was a trilogy until this game came out. Given that this game wasn’t still so bad. I never understand the death of Shepard at the beginning (but I think that that was hinted in the forums or something like that, there are the comics too).
    Use human body to make a reaper make sense in a way (or so I thought, even though it shouldn’t be your mind’s job to cover plotholes), at least if you think that it only looks like it’s made of metal, but instead is something else at all. The human form could be explained in a similar way, the reaper it’s not built, it’s more “produced” or “born”, all that genetic material it’s combined in some way that it is not explained.

    “Why don't they just build a ship and load it up with Reaper tech?”
    From what I understood, a reaper is a single being (kinda) so bringing reaper tech is like a chimpazee bringing a human spleen to fight against guns.
    All the technology was the one of the collectors, if I got it right.

    1. Jarenth says:

      This is the best analogy of anything ever. Just, you know, putting that out there.

  12. RubberJohnny says:

    It seems you missed the theme throughout the game that unearned or even forced technological progress is a dangerous thing that no good can come from.

    Take Tunchungka and the quests there, Mordin talks about how the technological uplift was a bad idea, since the Krogan didn’t develop the technology themselves they had no respect for it, and destroyed themselves. “It’s like givng nuclear weapons to cavemen”.

    And again, as mentioned above with the Geth. They believe that every race should be self-deterministic, they should find their own technology, their own path. The heretics are bad precisely because they didn’t.

    And in the Collectors themselves, forcibly imbued with foreign technology that ripped away their intelligence, their culture and turned them into dumb tools to be controlled.

    Keeping the station would be “giving nuclear weapons to cavemen”, it mnight do some short term good, but long term it’ll do us nothing but harm, and that’s before you factor in Cerberus’ agenda in to the picture.

    1. Slycne says:

      If that’s the overall theme then humans shouldn’t even be around in the game. The only reason the humans are interstellar space-faring is because they found Prothean tech on Mars. I think the quote was “it jumped our technology forward 500 years.”

      1. Spider Dave says:

        Technically they we to be space faring in order to get to Mars. That said, in the first game all the other races treated humanity like a kid sibling who wanted to play with the adults. They will humour us, but no way are they letting us on the council or into the Spectres.

        1. Slycne says:

          Yeah I edited “interstellar” into that post. It sounds like all human tech got an alien infused upgrade, not just their space travel.

      2. Nick C says:

        And technically it wasn’t Prothean technology.

        1. acronix says:

          It still sound like everyone in the galaxy should drop everything based on the reapers/protheans and start over by their own means…and be slaughtered when the reapers come back.

          1. Enigma Is Me says:

            Ah yes, the Reapers…

    2. swimon says:

      Perhaps it is giving nuclear weapons to cavemen, but if you’re a caveman and your tribe gets attacked by the Soviet Union then nuclear weapons might be a good idea after all.

      I’m not saying that all characters need to agree with keeping the station but at least someone should (preferably most of them since it is a pretty obvious decision but still).

      1. Slycne says:

        Maybe there is someone who is apposed to it(I haven’t tried everyone yet), but it seems they have their responses set to favor your decision regardless – what say you Shepperd great decider of all things. I took Miranda and Garrus trying both endings and the only major difference was Miranda quitting Cerbrus if you choose to blow up the station. When I opted the save it her dialogue didn’t suggest the previous stance she took when I choose to destroy it.

      2. Mr V says:

        [Facepalm] That’s the dumbest analogy I’ve read in the really long time. What was exactly so evil about that state? If anything, USA did more evil on a lot larger territory (see, most of Africa, Europe, Asia and a whole of South America) and if anyone warranted use of WMD’s was its collective command, with all that conservatism, religious, political and racial xenophobism they embodied.

        By the way, no human nation in the last 50-60 years deserved use of such, not even on relatively small scale (Agent Orange, anyone?) so I find it offensive on this account, too. Especially from cavemen, that would be better off, anyway.

        And I find this ‘scientific superstition’ offensive too. There are dozens of way to study the station even with indoctrination effect, not that we have any proof it is present, and there is no mention of going wrong with technology we research, too. Tuchanka was demolished by atomic bombs that Krogans invented on their own, so any stupid argument of tech we self-discover being only capable to be used morally has to be thrown out of the window. ME2 races are capable of battling the Reapers only with poor reverse-engineered remnants of their tech, remember?

        1. Shamus says:

          Please keep do not drag politics into this. That is a hole with no bottom and no good can come of it.

  13. Harbinger, while you’re escaping from the exploding station, says something along the line of the Reapers being “your salvation through destruction”. As such, I’d reserve judgment on their motives for creating a human Reaper for the last game – persumably, Bioware are planning to reveal it then.

  14. Spider Dave says:

    Studying the base may not be evil, but I’m pretty sure that Cerberus studying just about anything is evil. See: Thresher Maw. And we have no way of knowing that they couldn’t just take the ship from you if you refused to give it to them. And I have a feeling that they would have. If this is the case, your proposed alternatives don’t really seem like good choices.

    1. swimon says:

      how would they take it? You have their most powerful ship and the only one with the reaper IFF, meaning they can’t get to you or the station. Cerebrus obviously can’t take over Normandy since in the paragon ending you are still using it against cerebrus will. If all else fails the citadel forces could probably kick cerebrus ass.

      The only thing I could think of that would stop the coucil is that the omega4 relay is in terminus space so sending in a battle fleet would be considered an act of war, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t send a research vessel right? It would be dangerous but worth it.

      1. Nick C says:

        Remember, EDI has a whole load of secured files and stuff. It would be just like Cerberus to give her a backdoor.

        1. krellen says:

          By the end of the game, all of EDI’s blocks have been circumvented – the anti-Reaper suite via the trap TIM sent you into, and her blocks against giving Cerberus info by linking her into the ship as a whole. She is more than willing to share Cerberus information with you after this.

          I think the message you’re supposed to get from a Paragon ending is that you’ve cut ties with Cerberus – Jacob comments on you quitting, Miranda openly quits if she’s there with you at the end, and EDI no longer honours Cerberus’s levels of classification. So you took Cerberus’s best stuff, made it your stuff, and told TIM to go stuff himself.

          I would, actually, be surprised if EDI remained a Cerberus tool after the Paragon ending. She seemed far more an independent and self-actualised being after being connected to the Normandy – “I am the Normandy”, she says.

          Plus she’s clearly got a crush on Joker.

        2. Taellosse says:

          But she’s a full-fledged AI (and thus presumably capable of over-riding programming if she has good reason), and by the end has made her loyalty to the crew over Cerberus or anyone else clear.

          The thing I’d be suspicious of is that special communicator that let’s you talk to the Illusive Man. What do you want to bet THAT (or another pair of quantum-entangled particles no one else knows about) can override ship systems if he wants to, and remotely pilot the ship?

          1. Luke says:

            Hidden quantum entangled particles controlling the Normandy2? What about all that Cerberus tech that’s _inside Shepard’s body_ – all those little gadgets you see being shoved inside his/her broken corpse at the start when he/she is being resurrected?

            1. acronix says:

              Judging by how badly TIM reacts when Shepard tells him she´ll blow up the whole place, I´d say that if he had any way to control/stop Shepard, he would have used it right there.

              1. h00pla says:

                They bring that up in the beginning of the game. There are no ‘restraints’ built into Shepard lest they compromise his ‘being’. They want Shepard exactly as he was before his death. That’s who the terrific leader is, the one who can motivate the galaxy to stand against the Reapers.

  15. Passerby says:

    In your point about using the base as evidence of the Reapers’ existence, wouldn’t the data downloaded by EDI from the derelict Reaper and the scans made of the Collector base suffice? In fact, Shepard was holding a datapad showing the details of a Reaper.

    1. swimon says:

      The council would love getting the evidence from an AI ^^. That said I do agree with you Shepard really has proof this time, I mean you could have forged it I suppose but if they can’t trust the word of a spectre then who can they trust?

  16. swimon says:

    I wonder if all reapers are modelled after the “best” creatures of their time then the crabs at Virmire is obviously the best creatures ever because that’s what all the other reapers look like ^^.

    1. fscan says:

      I’m sure they tasted really good :)

      1. AnZsDad says:

        “Welcome to Kentucy Fried Reaper. Can I take your order?”

  17. Another thought that occurred to me is that the Reapers are unable to progress further on their own. (as pointed out by other posters)

    They probably tried to reach “enlightenment” or “ascension” or “godhood” but failed. (no creativity, really?)
    But perhaps saw the potential in organics 37 million years ago or some-such. And since then as shown in the games have repeated the cycle, leave some tech around, let the organics “play around” harvest the crop and see if anything good shakes loose, and getting rid of evolved organics so that only they can reach godhood first etc. The Reapers may not have creative or abstract thought, but greed and desire they certainly have.

    The Human/Reaper may also be just an experiment rather than typical. Since they look squid-like maybe that was their last successful form and have since searched for a more evolved form (and failed) with humans showing the most potential of the current organics.

    Oh and I believe that Harbinger before releasing control of the Collector General said that “your destruction is your salvation” (to Shepard I assume as Harbinger say many things to Shepard during combat in the game) and later that the collector general had failed and that he/they/reapers will find another way. (revealed in Act III I hope)

    The issue is that we still have no clue what the actual motive of the Reapers are.
    But unfortunately we have (to Shamus’ frustration) issues fully understanding Shepard’s motivations for his choices, something that IS the writers fault as that really should be translated properly to the player. It’s almost like Shepard is saying, “I either want to do this or that, you choose witch”. (You: they both suck. Shepard: “They are my decisions, choose and shut up.”) *laughs*

    It also feels like the Sovereign/Collectors/Reapers plot thread is just that, a plot thread to tie all the other stuff together, that he actual story is everything else going on. (gathering members to the cause, helping them, and others etc, the perils of tech before being ready etc.)

    It’s almost like the Mass Effect trilogy are two different stories/games sort of blended together that you normally would not think of blending, almost like a Human/Reaper hybrid…Wait a min….****** **** *** ********* ****** ********** **** *(kzzztch)….

    1. ps238principal says:

      Another thought that occurred to me is that the Reapers are unable to progress further on their own.

      PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one here who ever saw “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”?


      1. Blackbird71 says:

        No, you’re not the only one to have seen it, the rest of us have just tried to erase it from our memory!

  18. Tohron says:

    I recently had some thoughts that might make certain main-plot elements make more sense:

    What if the human-Reaper was just a secondary objective for the Collectors, and they had accomplished their primary objective (finding a way to bring the Reapers back) before you arrived? It would mean something did happen while you were being rebuilt – the collectors probably finished their main objective before they started raiding colonies, and had been working on it as a backup when Sovreign attacked the Citadel (which is why they weren’t there).

    The human-Reaper plan would then just be something to do while waiting for the Reapers to show up – its seeming impossibility could be explained by them not expecting to finish until after the Reapers show up. The Collector General’s line at the end about how “you have failed” would provide limited support for this theory. And it means something did happen in ME2, even if you were unconscious at the time.

    Admittedly, if this is right, it could have been better substantiated, and there are still several other plot holes, but at least it gives Bioware a chance to partially salvage ME2 in ME3.

    1. Actually, Shepard was not unconscious in ME2.
      The ME2 Intro actually takes place some time shortly after ME1, then it jumps two years later to when you wake up. The cartoon supposedly tells partly of things going on then. And I have no idea what the 3rd novel to be published in June will reveal or when it takes place within the trilogy but…

      As for the Human/Reaper not being the main goal, I agree with that. In fact I have a feeling that the Reapers have been in movement en-masse through darkspace since the end of ME1, and by ME3 they will probably arrive or be about close to arriving in our galaxy. Considering that darkspace has “nothing” in it they can (almost) safely move at whatever maximum speed is without fear of flying through debris or meteors or junk or other ships. Once they reach our galaxy they need to slow down as they need to refresh their maps and navigate around hazards etc.

      Grr, this is annoying, we’ll have to wait until, what next January or something before we can play ME3?

      I must admit though that I have not felt this much excitement for the continuation of something since waiting for Star Wars VI: Return of The Jedi back in 1983. *taps fingers on table* this is gonna be one helluva long year.

      1. Anaphyis says:

        I’ve read something about ME3 coming at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012. So more like 2 long years.

    2. acronix says:

      That line is spoken by Harbringer, who is the reaper in the hologram in the ending cinematic. You can interpret it your way (he´s speaking to Shepard) or you can interpret that he is speaking to the collector general, and telling that the collectors have failed in whatever they were doing.

      That´s the only good thing about the ending: they knew how to make it ambigous.

    3. pneuma08 says:

      Or maybe the Human/Reaper was something that was intended to be done after the victory on the Citadel.

      Or they just got obsessed with Shepard and wanted to try and capture what makes humanity so KICK ASS.

      Actually, since that might have been the first time the Reapers were defeated so soundly, they might have thought, “hey, maybe we do even better if we have some of that human juice.” The Proteans injuring a Reaper vessel may also be the reason why they were kept around for so long as thralls, too.

      Then again, the entire plot of ME2 could also be a desperate and confused attempt by the Collectors to pick up after their masters, whereas they were originally just supposed to be tools of the Reapers (like the Keepers).

  19. Hmm, you know, I’m wondering if the Collectors thing and the Human/reaper was just an experiment/attempt to create something that could get control of the citadel when ready. That Act II was just a “while we wait for the Reapers to walk all this way, enjoy these adventures in the meantime” kind of thing. ? kinda silly if you ask me but…

    I also thought of a solution to get rid of the Reapers all at once. (I wonder if BioWare is planning to do the same? I hope not as it’s kind of an anti climax, we do need a big fierce battle in space and on land)

    My idea to get rid of them (as I was trying to say before I was mysteriously cut off earlier…*grin*) is to simply activate the citadel, bring the Reapers here….

    But activate the citadel seconds before hitting the surface of a giant sun, and enjoy and watch as the reapers pop into our galaxy only to become deep fried shrimp a second later. *evil laughter* (gets kidnapped by reapers due to non-logical thinking)

    1. ProudCynic says:

      Personally, I thought that they were setting up the whole ‘dark matter speeds up the aging process of a sun’ bit with Tali’s recruitment mission so they could do something similar, but instead use it to start a supernova where ever the Reapers pop up.

  20. Kian says:

    I figured that reaper tech was mind-controlling almost by nature, and so it was best not to keep it around. I actually thought keeping it was the bad idea. Every instance of someone unearthing reaper tech has inevitably led to the same outcome, and I’m tired of scraping husk goo off my boots.

    The one counterexample is EDI, which has reaper tech as part of itself, but even then something as innocuos as an IFF managed to infect her. It might seem implausible that an IFF could infect an AI, but it happened in universe, so Shepard had to consider it.

    On you being the only person who can pass through the relay, Cerberus has scans of the IFF, so they should be able to make more ships to travel through that relay. We don’t know how much reaper tech requires you to gooify people to study it, but I’m guessing Cerberus will not let such details stop it on its quest to be top dog. And just imagine the Illusive Man being indoctrinated like Saren was for fun times.

    Despite Miranda’s objections, and her claims that the husks were ‘already dead’, I remember one of the missions involved Cerberus turning an entire colony into husks. So no, no more reaper tech for Cerberus. And even if you could keep Cerberus’ ships from travelling through, Cerberus has moles in the Alliance. Any tech the council gains from the station is tech the Alliance gets, which will find its way to Cerberus.

    Plus, explosions are awesome.

    Going to the Council adds a number of problems. The Alliance is like a the Council with more bastards and evil. They didn’t believe the reaper that assaulted the citadel was anything other than a Geth ship, so why would they believe the collector base had anything to do with the reapers? They don’t even have enough technology left from Sovereing to be sure the tech they’d find in the collectors base is reaper as well. They might just believe the collectors are another advanced race. You had a dead reaper to show them, but you dumped that one into a brown dwarf, so that’s useless now. Just like at the end of the first game, you have nothing but circumstantial evidence.

    Granted, by this time the pile of circumstantial evidence is enough to eclipse the sun, but if they want to believe something evidence is not going to help you.

    Additionally, and this is something that should be interesting to see in the next game, you have a very illegal AI on board your ship. An AI that thinks of you as its crewmates, I’m not turning her over to be dissected. Shep sticks by his crew. Granted, as a Spectre (if you saved the council before and chose Anderson as councilor, so they reinstate you) you are above the law, and might manage to keep her online. But otherwise, once you stop working with Cerberus and return to Council space they’re going to want to lobotomize your ship. And I doubt they’re going to give you another Normandy if you lose this one.

    If they manage not to ruin the story parts like they did for ME2, ME3 looks like it’ll be awesome.

    1. Mark says:

      Put me down as another vote for “keeping anything Reaper-y around is just too dangerous.” We haven’t seen any evidence whatsoever that other species can take advantage of Reaper technology without it insidiously corrupting and destroying them. Let’s say we were able to hand the thing over to the Council: how long exactly would it be before the Council were Reaper puppets? I’m thinking a week tops? There’s no way it can be controlled.

  21. Jaedar says:

    Don’t know if anyone else has brought this up yet, but I am fairly certain either Legion or EDI mentions that reapers are a composite of organic and inorganic material, with each ship housing several consciousnesses. But yeah, it is an incredibly stupid final boss.

  22. B.J. says:

    I was under the impression that the Human-Terminator thing at the end was the core of a reaper, with the rest of the ship to be built around it (it’s a fraction of the size of Sovereign). It was implied that harvesting organic life was how the reapers reproduced so that would mean each of them is made up of an entire species. Since they all look the same, we can assume the outer shell is Reaper standard issue and the insides resemble the race they were built from. It’s bizarre, sure, but it does make sense.

    As for salvaging the Collector base tech for the Alliance, well at what point in the game was it not clear that Cerberus was always one step ahead of them at all times and able to manipulate them to a great degree? Do you really think Shepard could keep the base out of Cerberus’s hands, in the Terminus systems where they are powerful, and where the Citadel races can’t send even one warship without provoking war? Weren’t you paying any attention?

    The Alliance has no presence in Terminus space. That was literally the entire point of teaming up with Cerberus. Shepard had no choice, because the council wouldn’t be able to do anything without sending in an entire fleet and provoke galactic war.

    1. acronix says:

      Shepard has the only ship capable of getting in that place. With IDE´s help he could filter with ease who gets to investigate the collectors base. Weren´t you paying any attention?

      1. B.J. says:

        Except that the Illusive man and Cerberus have 100% access to the ship and everything on it for the entire game. They make a point of this over and over again; you are always being watched and the Illusive man is one step ahead. Always.

        Its only a matter of time before the Illusive man finds a way to get other ships through. Yes Shepard could try to guard the place and prevent this, but why take that chance? He’s just one guy, the Alliance can’t help, and Cerberus has immense resources. Better to blow the place and make sure it doesn’t happen.

        1. acronix says:

          When EDI gets control of the ship, shet jumps over the Cerberus “Don´t speak of this” protocols and tell Shepard everything he asks. And TIM stops being one step ahead if you go for the paragon ending: Miranda refuses to stop you and he doesn´t use any techno-mumbo-jumbo he could have installed on you or the Normandy. If he had it, then the sensible thing for him to do would have been using them right there, but he doesn´t.

          I have to say you are correct on the other points, anyway.

          1. Jarenth says:

            To be fair, any ‘mumbo-jumbo’ installed on the Normandy wouldn’t have done much good at that point, as Shepard was very much inside the Collector base and the Normandy, well, wasn’t. Interfering with the Normandy at that point would have only killed Shepard and crew, and as much as you’re pissing the Illusive Man off at this point, he doesn’t strike me as someone who’d throw such a valuable asset away out of spite.

            So there’s a very real chance the Normandy is still jury-rigged beyond even EDI’s control (though unlikely), it just can’t influence the regular-bomb-versus-neutron-bomb-choice in any way.

            I thà­nk.

  23. N Cowan says:

    @ Tohron

    I like your theory, but it doesn’t work. We know that Harbinger itself was not the Collector general, but the Reaper controlling the Collector’s. Also, we know from talking to Mordin that the Collector’s have been around a while and been researching and abducting different’ species with weird genetic mutations.

    I think the most obvious answer to “why a human reaper?” is because the reapers have the need to constantly advance. It is stated in both games that humans have advance the fastest of any of the other species. It’s one thing to discover working prothean technology, and another to understand how to use it. Humans learned to use and abuse it very quickly. The reapers want to get in on that action, and use human DNA to understand what makes them so awesome, and use the info to upgrade themselves.

    It’s very cyclical. Reapers allow galactic species to advance with their mass relays, then harvest the best of those species to advance themselves.

    1. Tohron says:

      Why doesn’t it work? All I’m suggesting is that the things we know the collectors were doing (researching genetic mutations, etc) were secondary goals – their primary purpose was to give the Reapers another way to reach the galaxy if Sovreign failed, and they succeeded in doing so sometime when Cerberus was reviving you.

      I guess the line I mentioned was spoken by Harbinger rather than the Collector General it was controlling (kind of hard to tell in a cutscene), but I don’t see how that changes anything.

  24. Twosday says:

    1. It wasn’t possible to give the base to the Alliance/Citadel because EDI had been given full access to the Normandy’s systems and wouldn’t allow something that went so contrary to Cerberus. Like you said, the Normandy was the only ship capable of going through the Omega 4 relay, and even if Shepard abandoned it he would end up with just another story the council didn’t believe.

    2. The reason the choice of giving up the base to Cerberus is considered Renegade is that in Mass Effect 3, Cerberus begins abducting every sapient species except humans in order to build their own reaper using the same technology.

    1. acronix says:

      1. But in the paragon ending Shepard spits on TIM´s face, and implies that he is “on his own” and keeps the Normandy along with EDI.

      2. You sure? Where did you got that? If that´s true then it means the final choice is damn irrelevant, since Cerberus will end up doing the same thing with or without the base.

  25. Flitwick says:

    Do you get the feeling that maybe Bioware had intended the Mass Effect series to be two-part instead of three-part, and ME2 was treading water story-wise because there was nothing for it to do?

  26. A funny side note. My final decision whether to keep or destroy the collector base. If I had the option (and I agree with Shamus on this) to hand it to the council and let the galaxy see the horror that the reapers are capable of I would have.
    But since that was not an option I chose to destroy it, not because it was the lesser of two evils, but because there was no way in hell I was gonna let The illusive Man get his grubby hands on something that could make him more powerful than me.

    Grunt actually comments on this. (after the endgame if you decide to keep playing) something along the lines of “If we destroyed the most dangerous thing in the galaxy, that only leaves us!” (Shepard and his crew/squad), made me laugh at least :)

    Oh and check this out:
    If you look at the timeline you’ll see that the Asari discovered the citadel and then 60 years later the Salarians get there too. And um *looks* it took the Turians like 400 years to get a seat on the council..(?)

    Then let’s see. the humans discovered a Prothean cache under the pole of Mars (I’m kinda doubting this was actually intended at all by the Reapers, more likely the Protheans hid it there from the Reapers, not that the Reapers did not expect the protheans to do so but rather not aware the implications this would have with human development) and develop FTL travel due to it, a year later they discover the mass relay near Pluto, jump forward 33 years and humans spread far and wide in the galaxy, have (had) one of the larger fleets, got a Spectre (Shepard) and a seat on the council (Turians must hate humans due to this heh), took down Sovereign (and got rid of the Collectors), I don’t know about you but damn, if I was a Reaper I’d wanna get my hands on this Human “Shepard” as well for study.

    Humans have a lot in common with the Get Heretic virus it seems, as we spread like one heh…

    Think of it this way. While Sovereign was napping (no idea of his sleep cycle, each 100 years maybe, more?) between his “checks” of the galaxy, the human race in less than 40 years went from NASA space shuttle to fTL and galaxy wide expansion and biotics and and manage to take down Sovereign, as far as the reapers are concern the humans just appeared out of the blue. (40 years previously we probably weren’t even a bleep on Sovereigns technology scanner, assuming he was awake then at all.)

    It’s equivalent of a caveman becoming a stockbroker in a week. (actually bad analogy, wall-street is filled with cavemen apparently but… you get the point I hope? :P )

  27. Nyaz says:

    I’m just going to forget all about seeing that giant terminator. As far as I’m aware, fine, Reapers reproduce by plucking a race and mashing it into goop and then building little Reaper babies out of it.
    BUT THERE WAS NO GIANT TERMINATOR, I REFUSE TO BELIEVE SO. The designer of the final boss (and the person who decided this was the “epic finale”) should be shot. Actually, he probably designed a lot of other things that were great, so don’t shoot him. But tell him to make an actual EPIC ending like the one we were promised.

    Pretty much everything else of Mass Effect 2 was an awesome ride though, and I’ve nearly finished my second run-through. Which means I have to face this stupid boss again, soon… FFFUUU-

    1. Raygereio says:

      “The designer of the final boss (and the person who decided this was the “epic finale”) should be shot.”

      Try seeing it as a homage to Contra.×300.jpg

    2. Danel says:

      Yeah, I’m fine with Reapers reproducing by squishing up organics to make a core or brain or whatever, but it resembling a giant Terminator is just silly.

  28. Akheloios says:

    One of Mass Effect’s biggest homages is to Babylon 5, where a race of near omnipotent aliens (the Shadows) descend on a weak and fractured galaxy to stir up conflict and destruction for their own unfathomable ends.

    Mass Effect is now suffering from exactly the same problems Babylon 5 had. To make it financially viable, it front loaded a ton of really deep exposition into the first section of the series. Then when they did get to make more episodes because everyone had liked really cool stuff, the well plotted storyline, the teasers, the whole grand scheme and the slow gradual reveal of powerful beings toying with weak, young, immature sepecies. The show was already done and explained, with essentially the end of the plotted story coming half way through the fourth series of five.

    Cue the baby brother of the Shadows, who believed in exactly the same things as the Shadows, wanted the same things as the Shadows, and used the same tactics and methods as the Shadows but did it on an smaller and more personal level, planets rather than the whole galaxy. Just to pad out it out to the five full series originally planned.

    Now Mass Effect have the baby brothers of the Reapers doing the same kind of Reaper-y stuff, only sub-standardly, less dangerously, and more with more emphasis on the personal tragedy of losing colonists rather than entire races. Just to pad out the series by at least one more game it seems.

    There was plenty of story to work with, lots of things to explore, but like Babylon 5, they went with a filler arc to pad it out, rather than go into anything cool they may have planned for the end of the series. At least they will put the end of the series in the right place, at the end and are using the filler arc in the middle, rather than the sad fate of Babylon 5, an entire series of filler arc.

    1. Danel says:

      Well, it’s not like Mass Effect 2 added nothing. It still developed a lot of the races and backstory a fair bit more, which will probably be pretty important for the finale.

    2. ps238principal says:

      The reason why the whole arc of the Shadows ended in Season 4 was because JMS didn’t know he’d have a season 5 or not. You could not see any of season 5 except for the finale and miss nothing from the whole arc.

      I do wish TNT had let “Crusade” continue, though without the bellhop outfits, because Gary Cole was a badass.

      Basically, season 5 became something like an “empire building” season to flesh out the universe and set the stage for the Drakh plague hitting Earth, but it wasn’t as carefully planned as the previous four seasons just because of uncertainty.

      1. Sheer_Falacy says:

        And the idea that B5 ended halfway through Season 4 is silly. Yes, it resolved some important stuff partway through, but the rest of Season 4 was absolutely necessary.

        Season 5 had its good points (Londo) and its bad (Byron), but yeah, it wasn’t essential.

  29. One thing irks be about the supposedly superior Reapers, they see them selves as Gods. I see them as fools.
    I recalled that Sovereign actually spent the last thousand years or so trying to find a way to undo what the Protheans did (disabling the control the reapers had over the keepers etc)
    And the result? Indoctrinating someone like Saren, infect the Geth to be a strike force…A thousand years to do that? WTF!

    This is what I’d have done 999 years sooner than Sovereign.
    Indoctrinate a small “infiltration” team and put them inside my hull.
    Fly to the citadel, pretend to be a new species, introduce myself ask for docking permission. (which the silly friendly council would most likely do and if not… well the result would be the same anyway)…
    Get inside the citadel, take control and close it (like in ME1 endfight) send the infiltration team inside the tower, signal the other Reapers)

    As the citadel would be fully unprepared there would be no fleet near the citadel strong enough to actually threaten me. (unlike ME1 where Shepard brought the Alliance fleet, soon followed by Turian and Salarian and Asari fleets)
    The infiltration team would only need to fire up the citadel reaper relay and hold off anyone long enough to activate it, heck anyone coming would have no idea how to turn it off in any case I’m sure.
    And by the time any fleets arrived they’d be facing the Reaper fleet in an ambush instead.

    So why Sovereign wasted 999 years coming up with the plan that failed in ME1 I have no idea, except that Reapers are more flawed than they are aware of themselves.

    1. acronix says:

      It is implied in ME2 that Sovereign may have been behind the rachni wars, so he “was” doing something in those thousand of years. You need to save the rachni queen in ME1 to get the dialog that gives you that bit of information, tough.

      About your plan, I don´t know if it would have worked. Saying “Hi, I´m a new species!” with a massive, frightening ship, and no members of any new species individuals inside, not to mention that for very friendly the Council may be they would probably be very cautious considering their meeting logs (they met humans with a war, krogan became agressive, rachni almost ate them…)

    2. fscan says:

      AFAIK, sovereign needed the beacon from ilos to initiate the relay. Where does it say that sovereign tried this for 1000 years?

      1. krellen says:

        Extrapolation; the Rachni Wars were 1000 years ago, and the Rachni Queen’s associate tells you on Ilium that you and she are now fighting the same foe that “soured the song” of the Rachni that created the Rachni Wars.

        1. Danel says:

          Yeah, it was fairly strongly hinted in ME1 as well, in the Rachni Queen’s description of the Rachni Wars.

  30. Shamus, grats on 7000+ posts, a bit confused on the ?p= urls here but I assume you passed 7000 posts recently!? And apparently closing in on 15000 comments too. *laughs*

    1. Shamus says:

      According to WordPress, I’ve only published ~2,300 posts. It used to be that the ?p=###### post ID would increment once every time I made a new post. Now the number climbs like crazy and I have no idea why.

      But the comment number makes more sense. There are 82,848 actual comments on the site. The other ID’s were spam that were auto-deleted.

      1. Miral says:

        I meant to reply to this ages ago — hopefully you’re still listening… :)

        The reason why the post id keeps climbing like that is that in WP 2.7 and up it saves a “revision history” of your posts — every time you edit something, it creates a new post with the updated content and marks the old post as “out of date”, so you can go back to it later.

        If you edit frequently, and you don’t want your database size ballooning like crazy, then you need to install a plugin like “Revision Control” to limit the number of historic versions it keeps.

        (It’s also one of the reasons why on my own site I’ve set up the permalinks to not include the post id, to avoid confusing people who notice that when they click on a link to post id 429 it might actually show them post id 501 (the updated version).)

        1. Shamus says:

          Ah! Thanks for the info. That explains it.

          And yes, I usually revise the everloving crap out of my longer articles.

  31. fscan says:

    While i agree with you on the blowing up part, i don’t know if it is mentioned anywhere what the reapers are made of. Just because it is a machine does not mean it has to be 100% metal. After all, the humans are a sort of machine too..

    But yes, it looks kind of goofy … maybe it is just the core and the ship is build around it.

    1. guy says:

      except that the hull is pretty clearly metallic.

      Also, why make it look like a human instead of emulating a human ship, considering that human ships were what beat Sovereign.

      1. acronix says:

        Rule Of Scary…sort of.

    2. FeeZ says:

      Psychological warfare? They at least understand the concept of it, using Husks in of itself (because what would the Reapers gain otherwise) not to mention the whole-idea/concept of Indoctrination (bending someone to your will)

    3. Lex Talionias says:

      they specifically mention that it’s human goo blended with nanobots.

      its a generally accepted fact that eventually tech will go so far we will just build everything using nano-bots because of superior precision and quality that would arise. this is assuming the tech is feasible that is.

      i always assumed that they were using human DNA as kinda a blue-print after passing through some kinda algorithm. either way reapers want their kind to live on FOREVER so taking a long time to build one would seem like the blink of an eye to them in the end.

  32. Someone says:

    You can speculate all day , really, but the writers still failed to offer proper exposition instead of just leaving everything unexplained and reinforcing the idea that questionable parts of the story are plot holes and not mysteries to be speculated upon.

    But its still fun.

    I agree with the idea that the whole human-reaper collector deal was kind of a secondary objective. It goes something like this:

    Plan A with sovereign opening up the citadel relay has failed. So the Reapers use their massive intelligence to conclude that if shepard wins reaper, reaper shepard (human) wins shepard. So they get their puppets the collectors to round up some construction material from the unprotected colonies in the Terminus systems, while themselves proceeding with plan B. Im pretty sure that rapidly aging sun on Haestrom either has a mass relay hidden in it somewhere or just supposed to go supernova to help the reapers zero in on milky way or something. And as nothing is fast when stars or reapers are involved they might as well prepare plan C (with human reaper opening up the citadel) in the meantime.

    As to the final choice its pretty stupid (or pretty stupidly written) but i cant shake the feeling that, like the final choice of ME1 it exists solely for racking up paragon/renegade points and not advancing the story (which might be why both of them are so poorly written in both cases). They can make proper big choices but then those choices would create two different main storylines in the sequel and who the hell is going to write, voice, animate, design and script two entirely different 20 hour long main storylines one of wich half of the players wont probably even see? Thats just not financially viable, big choices or not.

  33. Agammamon says:

    How about this

    The Reapers retreated outside the galaxy for some unspecified reason and with no competition the machine cultures flourished until they collapsed in a post-technological singularity singularity or due to some sort of civilisation wrecking malady that fast machine thinkers are prone to (think comm delays due to speed of light and the isolation caused when even interplanetary communication lags tax your society’s attention span). Every 50k years or so a new machine culture rises above the surrounding barbarism and seeks out to colonize reality.

    The machines can be of several tendancies
    Hegemonizing Swarms – seek to make all of reality part of them.

    Computronium makers – believe mass has three purposes – computing, fusing, and bending space and wasting it on intelligences like us is inefficient when a Human mind can be simulated using less mass than a grain of rice.

    Those who don’t quite understand how reality works – are used to virtualities where anything can be dissassemble and reassembled to find out how it works. Death is not permanent. Even the concept of individuals is unclear. These guys are destryoing people because they are trying to comminucate with whole civilisations.

    And of course any particular machine species could have traits of all three.

  34. Hanz says:

    I think the implication of handing The Illusive Man the Base is that while it may serve well for the Reaper war, being the pro-human extremist he is, he may try to somehow use it against the Citadel and conquer alien races. While studying the tech is OK, it’s suggested that TIM is willing to abuse the the tech.

    And about Cerberus: While I can see that they’re not nice guys by any extent, I can see. You just work with a less bastardly side of them. Jacob, Miranda and Kelly aren’t exactly the main representatives of the faction and it’s easy to see that TIM is merely sugarcoating stuff.

    Then again I’m someone who gives people the benefit of the doubt and willing to see things from another perspective. Just an opinion though…

  35. Nyaz says:

    That reminds me – did Shepard ever SEE that Harbinger was a Reaper? I mean, the only moment when we, the audience, clearly see it and can confirm that he is a Reaper (I suspected it, like, all the time) is in the end when he drops control on the Collector General. A moment when Shepard is clearly NOWHERE AROUND, since he/she is running like crap from the impending nuclear blast of purging/blowing up the Collector station.

    1. acronix says:

      Shepard never met, saw or heard about the collector general (which is only shown to the player), so we can assume that Shepard always knew the Harbringer was a reaper, but he never does anything until the very end to acknowledge this.

      1. Anaphyis says:

        Not necessarily. Harbinger taking control of a drone looked a lot like Sovereign taking control of Saren at the end of ME1. That combined with Harbinger’s comments should be a dead give away to Shepard that Harbinger is a Reaper.

  36. Nathan says:

    You know, I am rather amazed to see that this hasn’t been said already, but the first thing that jumped to my mind when reading Shamus’s description of the final boss Human-Reaper thing is that the creators of Mass Effect must have really liked Xenogears (not that I blame them, since I consider it to be the best RPG ever made), since the entire “use lots of humans as parts to build a giant humanoid death machine” plan was a central element of that classic game. It also made a lot more sense in Xenogears than it does in Mass Effect 2, from what I can tell from these comments…

    Okay, rampant Xenogears spoilers follow.

    The main plot of Xenogears involves the idea that, at some point, a powerful spacefaring federation of human worlds created “Deus”, an all-powerful and seemingly immortal organic Interstellar Strategic Weapons System capable of waging war autonomously. This obviously backfired when Deus went nuts, turned against the federation, and blew up a few planets before it was dismantled. While it was en route to be disposed of, it reactivated and tried to take over the ship carrying it. The end result was that every human on the ship died and the ship self-destructed, crashing a severely damaged Deus onto an uninhabited planet. Deus, hoping to continue its goal of waging war against the cosmos, used its own components to recreate a new breed of humanity on that planet, with the goal of letting them reproduce and evolve so that Deus could one day repair, rebuild, and upgrade itself by using the descendants of those humans as parts. 10,000 years of forcing its “children” to evolve later, it carries out that plan, and nearly succeeds after absorbing most of the population of that planet, but is stopped by a group of heroes from that planet who turn against it. Of course, the plot of the game adds a lot of complications to even this premise, which makes it far more interesting than I can really describe in such a short paragraph.

    Honestly, Deus still stands as one of the greatest villains of sci-fi RPGs, so something like the Human-Reaper really looks like a cheap knock-off.

  37. Ramsus says:

    While I largely agree with your points there are some things I’d have to point out.

    The Alliance and it’s apathy: Sure, they come of as apathetic because they aren’t apparently (to your character) fixing the problem. They have probably hundreds of major galactic problems they have to deal with at any one time. They might believe you about the Reapers in secret but acknowledging they exist doesn’t really get them anything but an asston of panicked citizens who really can’t do anything about it besides freak out and make things worse. Sure you can say that they’re not doing their jobs well by not evacuating whole colonies to different more secure locations but really those colonies wouldn’t be that far away from Alliance central if there was somewhere else for people to be. Moving everyone from every far away colony to more inward colonies just ensures that more people die of starvation than would die by being harvest by the Collectors. They also have to deal with asshats like Cerberus actively getting in the way of their intel gathering ability and operations when they could instead be feeding the Alliance useful info…which over the course of the game you clearly see that they don’t even when it would be a good idea for Cerberus. You clearly get to see that Cerberus keeps stealing money, resources, intel, and the best personnel from the Alliance….and then they whine about the Alliance being unable to do things.

    The Council: Ok sure, they don’t do anything for you in this game besides not stop you from working with an incredibly dubious organization that routinely makes their jobs harder. On the other hand…if they gave you a fleet of ships what would you have done with it? Sure it might have been a clever plan to have not just one ship go through the Omega 4 Relay as a precaution but otherwise you didn’t ever have a plan of action that would require a large amount of ships anyway. They could have given you more money….no you clearly didn’t need that. It really was a better plan on their part to force Cerberus to weaken themselves by paying your bills, it’s not like they could really refuse at that point. Ok so that leaves us with giving you intel (which they didn’t have), technology (which Cerberus had already stolen), or personnel (again….stolen by Cerberus already). There really wasn’t much for them to do that would have helped you more than it would have gotten in your way. Besides, if I recall the job of a Spectre really is: We pay you a salary and give you a license to do anything you want, you solve the problem and call us when you’re done.

    The Final Choice: I agree, it was dumb that you couldn’t hand it to the Council or the Alliance…or keep it for yourself and laugh like a madman. However one thing to note that did actually make blowing it up the “correct” choice is the fact that Reaper tech has mind control automatically built into the walls/tubing/circuits/toilets/etc. If you hand it over to anybody for study they would, as they’ve already proven to do over and over, come in and study it, not take proper precautions, get mind controlled, and then make things worse. Obviously, your character knows about the mind control factor and could tell people the proper precautions to take but everyone has already proven that they won’t listen to you about these kinds of things. That being said, even if they did listen to you the precautions are 1) Send people in to study it for a week max, 2) fire those people and never ever let them come back, 3) repeat steps 1 and 2 forever (really it’s not like people are going to stop researching it just because you’ve managed to get the essential info out of it, they will sit there risking madness to research madness inducing wallpaper), 4) hope the reaper mind control has no way of noticing you’re doing this and doesn’t resort to quick mind controlling people, 5) if it does…kill the mind controlled people then stare at the very dangerous thing you can’t let people study for more than a day and hope nobody breaks in, goes crazy, and starts fixing it.

    @Nathan: I completely agree with you.

    1. acronix says:

      All this problem about the final choice comes down to Shepard choice of words. He decides to blow it up because the place is an “abomination”, not because he wouldn´t risk any researchers to become husks or agents of the reapers.

      1. Ramsus says:

        Ok I have to give you that. The reasons given don’t match the real reasons you would make those choices at all.

  38. Vendrin says:

    I don’t know Shamus, you seem so bent on disliking the story from your initial disagreements, that you aren’t giving it any chance to prove it’s worth.

    1. krellen says:

      Shamus’s reviews were overall positive, with no real comments on the holes of the story until he got to the end of the game, where the whole thing came together and then promptly fell in on itself because of all the holes bored through it.

      He gave it more chance than I did.

  39. Knight-Templar says:

    Maybe the Reapers need a fully formed Reaper to instigate their return. Sovren died so they need a new Reaper.

    Weak but logical, if you are going to kill ants you don’t normaly bring a backup plan when plan A worked that last billion times.

  40. Kavonde says:

    You know, I finished the game and chose to keep the base intact as a Paragon, without knowing that Word of God said this was supposed to be the “evil choice,” and didn’t feel at all conflicted about it. I figured that if you blew it up, your crew members bitched just as much about the wasted opportunity. However, reading this and learning that this was apparently a Black/White morality choice is really disappointing. However, I’m confident that Mass Effect 3 will retcon the decision back into shades of gray, whatever the idiot writer in question may think.

    I dunno, I could see letting Cerberus have the base be a legitimate concern if the organization was really presented as Evil. In the first game, it was. With the capital E and a “mwahahaha” in the background. But there’s such a disconnect between the Cerberus of the first game and the Illusive Man’s organization that they seem like completely separate groups; maybe if there’d been more effort to tie these versions together and make Cerberus more morally questionable, the final choice would have more impact.

    Guess we’ll see what the writers do with the third game; maybe it’ll retroactively make the decision more impactful.

    1. krellen says:

      You fell for the Cerberus trap. The only way I can possibly justify ME2 is that it’s an elaborate white-wash by TIM to try to convince Shepard to join him. A white-wash that doesn’t hold up very well to scrutiny, mind.

      Or did you really believe all those notes from TIM and claims from Miranda that the bad things you’ve seen Cerberus do in ME1 and ME2 were “rogue cells”?

      1. Kavonde says:

        I’m not saying Cerberus ISN’T a collection of evil mad scientists trying to take over the galaxy, just that ME2 never really acknowledges it. By the time you reach the end, you’ve been pushing TIM’s buttons and flaunting his authority and taking command for so long that he doesn’t seem like a threat anymore. I think if they’d had Toomes show up (for us Sole Survivors), or had Liara reveal some sinister information on TIM or something, it would’ve been easier to justify blowing the station up. But the only threatening thing TIM ever does to you is send you at the Collector ship midway through, and he’s got a pretty valid justification for doing so.

        I mean, yeah, it probably is all part of TIM’s master plan, but no one in the game seems to think this could be so, and so you’re left with no real reason to blow the station up.

        1. krellen says:

          Every single legitimate lawful authority in the galaxy constantly warns and berates you for working with/for Cerberus. You’re believing everything Cerberus says about itself and ignoring everything everyone else says about Cerberus.

          And seriously, you’re going to believe Martin Sheen? I’m not sure TIM tells the whole truth even once in the whole game.

        2. acronix says:

          No reason? I can give you two:

          1) He spreads a rumor that ultimately gets a colony attacked, condemning half it´s population. (You can argue that this was necesary to get to the collectors).

          2) He sends you directly to the collector´s trap to prove that the collectors want Shepard. Let me say that again: he sends you to a TRAP to prove something that the Harbringer has been shouting for the last mission EVERY TIME HE APPEARS.

          1. Kavonde says:


            But every single lawful authority in the game is shown to be headed by idiots permanently adrift on that river in Africa. The Council can’t accept the existence of the Reapers, the Alliance is too busy playing guard dog for the Citadel to watch their own colonies, and sure, Ashley/Kaiden’s mad at you, but neither are at all open to the idea that Shepard knows what he’s doing.

            Again, from the perspective of my Shepard, I don’t believe most of TIM’s stuff, but Cerberus seems to be the only group willing to help you stop the Reapers. I don’t trust TIM or his long-term motives, but I think Shep can at least trust him to use the tech to fight the Reapers.


            I don’t need to argue your first point, since you did that for me, but the second one’s justifiable by the same logic. And besides, TIM doesn’t want Shepard dead, or at least not by that point in the game. He took a calculated risk, and it payed off. Yeah, it sucks that he sent you into an ambush, but his reasons for doing so were sound. Dispassionate, but sound. Like I said above, TIM can be trusted so far as stopping the Reapers from destroying the galaxy is concerned. He’s a logical dude with his eye on the big picture, and while it’s entirely likely he’ll end up betraying Shepard before the end, that’s not going to happen until the Reapers are on the ropes. In the meantime, it’s a mutually beneficial association.

            Wow, ultra-wordy ways to say “I don’t trust him, but I know where he stands.”

            1. krellen says:

              The ends do not justify the means.

              That is the central issue most people that prefer to play Paragon have with this story. The entire story is built on the basis of the ends justifying the means – which means that the Paragons who are based entirely on the ends not justifying the means are left completely in the cold.

              If this was a new series, there’d be a basis for this resting on it simply being the way the creators wished to tell the story. However, as it is a sequel, and its predecessor most definitely let both sides have their equal say, it’s a rather gaping lack.

              The only way working with Cerberus makes sense is for the ends to justify the means. Paragons are not allowed to explore any other means.

              Note that the Council and the Alliance are perfectly willing to let Shepard investigate, even if they will not do it themselves, but they are wholly unwilling to give Shepard aid so long as he is with Cerberus. So the whole reason you have to work with Cerberus is because you’re working with Cerberus. It’s just stupid.

              1. Shamus says:

                That is a brilliant point, and I wish I’d included it in my series. As someone who played 100% paragon and did all the missions for Hackett, this is actually something that really bugged me.

              2. Anaphyis says:


                The last time Shepard wanted to have sufficient aid on the fringes of the Terminus system, the Council blocked him/her on every step and the Alliance official grounded the Normandy. They were afraid of open war with them and still are, their troubles with Omega increased (listen to the news carefully).

                Since the human colonies have basically seceded from the Alliance and Terminus is the only opponent of the Citadel, openly supporting Shepard would have resulted in a diplomatic nightmare. Open support with a suitable force might have led to war.

                Thats why the only thing they do about the abductions is sending a lone agent with some tech to Horizon, to check up on Cerberus and as some kind of “Hey, too bad you’re not in the Alliance anymore. Anyway, we can’t help you officially but take these nice turrets. Maybe you’ll think about returning once the dust has settled, mkay?” gesture.

                In fact, Shepard working with Cerberus on this is the best thing that could’ve happened to both the Council and the Alliance. The problem is taken care of by a human Council spectre but should shit hit the fan, they can declare Shepard a rogue, shift the blame to Cerberus and plausibly deny any actual involvement on their part.

                1. krellen says:

                  Since the Normandy going to the Mu Relay didn’t cause a diplomatic problem before, sending a similar ship into the Terminus wouldn’t either.

                  And the Council sends Spectres into Terminus space all the time. That’s what Spectres are for. They even tell you so.

                  The only reason you were grounded is because the Normandy was an Alliance ship, and Udina is an ass.

              3. Mr V says:

                Um, have you paid any attention to the game? You disappeared for two years. Cerberus planted gossip you’re a semi-deserter and you’re working with them now. They ensured the Council will have doubts about you, to protect their investment. Even if your hero status doesn’t let the Alliance arrest you outright, if you ditched Cerberus all you would have accomplished is to waste Shepard’s time and resources while he would have acquired another ship.

                And then, you know, Collectors build a Reaper, Citadel is opened, Reapers win. Or they simply kill you again, as you never stood a chance without EDI or Cerberus tech.

                Yeah, right, cooperating with them is just stupid. Except, NOT.

                Even if the Council hadn’t got 2 years to entrench itself in ‘it was only Geth!’ line of thinking, the very Intro of the game makes the fact that they send you after Geth, not Reapers, and waste what little time collective Galaxy has to combat the wrong threat abundantly clear. How you missed it?

                1. Shamus says:

                  Your anger and confrontational style are not helping you. In addition to bringing up politics earlier.

            2. Falcon02 says:

              One thing I think is being missed here is the wording TIM uses at the end when talking about the technology potential of the Collector ship.

              He doesn’t just say it would give the Galaxy an advantage over the Reapers. I believe he also says it will Ensure Human “Supremacy” in the galaxy.

              This is a goal at odds with my understanding of the purely Paragon Shepard, who seems to prefer equal partnerships with the other Alien races, not human Dominance. TIM seems to revealing that the goal of Cerberus is not simply to look out for Human Interests, but to try to insure humanity gains a position of power over the alien races.

              I still don’t feel it’s a good justification for blowing up the station verses… say handing it over to the Council as proof of the Reapers and cooperating to study the technology. But the game only gives you Cerberus or nothing, so it’s a choice between Cerberus/Human Dominance vs. No Change in tactical advantage for anyone. And to choose the first would go against the Paragon Shepard’s philosophy of respecting the alien races and cooperating with them.

          2. Mr V says:

            1) He spreads a rumor. So what? Collectors would have attacked anyway, in other place, and by feeding them the info you can pinpoint where they will strike and send a counter-force to the needed spot, instead of just running around in circles. You also gauge their motives, response time, strength, etc. That’s called a sound thinking to me.

            2) No. He send you to a trap to force confrontation, on his terms, as by appearing vulnerable Collectors had to lower their guard. It led to EDI hacking them, and finding valuable info, you know. If he told you it was a trap, the Collectors would have caught on and raised their guard instantly instead of letting Shepard walk deeper, where he could access their network.

  41. General Karthos says:

    Honestly, I think the purpose of the final boss was to look creepy. *Shrugs* I think it was an aesthetic choice. But now let’s justify it within the plot.

    Why would you need people jelly to make a ship? Um… organic material can transmit signals better than silicon? Nope. Organic material stays good longer? Anyone who’s had chinese food in the back of their fridge for a few weeks knows THAT’S not true. Organic sludge is less vulnerable to computer viruses maybe?

    Or maybe they just need animal matter to make their biomechanoid parts for some reason. Let’s ask the Vorlons and Shadows how they grow their ships.

    As for why the Reaper would look like a human…. The other Reapers apparently look like the species that they were made out of. So Sovereigns species were squiddies or something like that. (When Sovereign communicates with you in the first game he looks kinda like a a cross between a trilobite and an appetizer at a seafood restaurant.)

    There’s the quote:

    “We are your salvation through destruction.”

    Maybe the reason the Reapers look like they do is to “immortalize” the races they’re made out of?

  42. Hal says:

    This, to me, illustrates the entire problem of having games where you can make legitimately different plot choices, yet also have sequels where your decisions in the previous games mattered.

    For the choice to have really mattered, the next game has to be impacted by it. If the authors can just spend 2 minutes of game time “explaining” why the choice mattered but how it won’t affect your gameplay/story at all in ME3, then the choice never really mattered in the first place. If all it does is give you access to different NPCs or gear, then it was an inconsequential decision and the choice was an illusion. Or even worse, ME3 opens and you have NO IDEA how your choice from the last game impacts the events as they currently stand, because the game is written in a way that the results are ambiguous or simply not addressed.

    Deus Ex is a good example of the last one. The first game had three distinct endings with mutually exclusive goals (pretty much along the lines of ME2’s ending, with a third choice to take the tech and make yourself a god). So how did the writers of the sequel intend to reconcile this? By writing a game in which an “amalgamation” of the three endings of the first game occurred. The sequel mostly ignores the effects of the previous game (hooray for inconsequential decisions!), but when it does address them, it buggers the entire thing.

    I love the idea of getting to make choices within the game that have actual repercussions, but I’m still waiting for anyone to do it in a coherent way, especially for sequels.

    1. Someone says:

      Actually ME3 seems like a perfect place to give most of your choices some actual consequences. The game will probably focus on gathering allies for your fight against the reapers and thats where the choices can play a big role. If you didnt kill Wrex and saved the data from Mordins quest you will probably get to fetch the genophage cure and get aid of unified krogan. If you told the quarians to go to war and blown up the heretic station quarians win the war and you get them. If you saved the council you can get their help. The list goes on.

      Its ideal because it lets the players feel the consequences without making the developers create extra content wich only the percentage of players will see.

      1. acronix says:

        And make it feel like it should be renamed to “Dragon Effect 3”.

      2. Jarenth says:

        If they actually do something like this, and make it play out along the lines of Dragon Age’s final battle, it will be awesome. Doesn’t save the main story of Mass Effect 2, but still. And since it’ll be the end of the trilogy, they can pull out all the stops. No need to be able to reconcile the ending of Mass Effect 3 with anything, after all.

        Also, on a side note, it’s pretty indicative of the main story as a whole that the choice to save-or-destroy Mordin’s genophage work was leagues harder for me than the Collector base choice.

        EDIT: How the hell did that take eightteen minutes to type? Acronix’ comment wasn’t there when I started, honest. ;)

        1. Factoid says:

          There is NO way they’re going to only make 3 games.

          There will probably be a trilogy with the Shepard character, but EA does not walk away from franchises for the sake of artistic reverence.

          They’ll wrap up the Reaper plot arc in ME3, most likely, but then we’ll be hearing about some new threat from another galaxy or a council civil war or something.

          It will probably seem a little trite in comparison because they’ve built up the Reapers to be the biggest possible threat and anything afterwards is going to seem a bit lame. I also doubt that Bioware will be the ones doing the development…they’ll want to move onto a new title and EA will give the ME franchise to another development studio.

          1. Shamus says:

            My money is on them thinking “MMO” once the trilogy wraps up.

            1. krellen says:

              Does everything have to be an MMO?

              1. acronix says:

                D&D, Star Wars…not even Star Trek was safe of getting a MMO. We are near the MMOCALYPSE!

                Ok, bad pun, bad pun…

              2. Hunter Rose says:

                MMO = monthly subscription fees = many $

                1. krellen says:

                  Not everyone will make WoW. In fact, to date, only one company has ever made WoW.

                  More MMOs fail (and are a money-losing proposition) than succeed and make money, and many more wait years before turning a profit.

                  Everyone looks at WoW and says, “I want some of that” without realising that they will never be WoW and will never see the same level of success. WoW is an aberration, not an example.

                  If more people looked at the other MMOs on the market – CoH, EQ(2), FF11 – and used those to gauge their estimation on the success and profitability of MMOs, we’d have a far more realistic market.

            2. Jarenth says:

              I’m actually kind of hoping they’ll go MMO after Mass Effect 3. I mean, pretty much everything is already there: the classes, the races, the factions, the universe, the backstory… all they really need is to pad out everything some more and make the levelling system last longer and you’re pretty much home free.

              And to clarify: when I said the writers can ‘pull out all the stops on Mass Effect 3’ I mainly meant that the story of Shepard is going probably to be over. Any next game can take place wherever, whenever, and won’t have to be constrained by whatever any player does in Mass Effect 3. Hell, just pick a ‘canon’ ending out of the (probably) ten billion possible endings and you’re set.

    2. Keeshhound says:

      “a third choice to take the tech and make yourself a god”
      This option would have made ME2 (and subsequently, ME3) at least 300% better. Don’t even try to deny it.

  43. Krakow Sam says:

    Personally, my reason for choosing to blow up the Collector Base had very little to do with the reasons given by the characters in the cut-scenes.

    I think destroying it is perfectly justifiable when you consider it’s Reaper technology. Earlier in the game you see how just being on a DEAD (or at least very ill) Reaper was enough for people to get indoctrinated and start turning each other into husks.
    A short while later, a single piece of Reaper technology the size of a an ipod shuffle ganks the Normandy’s security, takes control of the computer systems and sends out a signal which immediately attracts the attention of the Collector ship.

    With those two points in mind, I would expect any science team, whether Cerberus, Alliance, or hell, even Geth that tried to investigate the Collector Base would probably go nuts and start eating each other within a week.

    1. Keeshhound says:

      Wait, have there been any instances of geth being indoctrinated? Based on Legion’s remarks, I assumed that the only reason any of the geth chose to follow Nazara was the same mathematical “error” which led them to become heretical.

  44. Corsair says:

    It’s entirely possible that the Human Smoothies that they feed the Reaper Baby aren’t there because they’re technologically efficient. It could be that the Reapers believe in some kind of metaphysical effect to having your sentience core bathed in the juices of a worthy enemy. They might be machines, but who’s to say they don’t believe in Baptism?

  45. Kdansky says:

    I should start planning on how to make fun of people who defend ME3 when it arrives. And then again for ME4, because it was “always planned as” a quadrology! And then again for ME5 and the MMORPG and the iPhone spin-off, because that “has always been planned”.

    I think Bioware uses “we planned this” as in “we had a chat during lunch break about how cool it would be if [current game] was successful so we can write [current game] +1”

    1. General Karthos says:

      Unbelievable. Doesn’t matter how many press statements a company puts out saying BEFORE THE FIRST GAME EVEN CAME OUT, that Mass Effect would be a trilogy, there will always be someone there who will deny it.

      Note the time of the posts in there. OCTOBER of 2006. The game didn’t come out until November 2007.

      Will you please not make comments when you don’t actually know anything?

      1. Shamus says:


        Really Karthos: Thanks for the link and all, but what’s the deal? We’re discussing a videogame here, not the holocaust. It’s okay for people to be wrong and it’s okay to post links to back up your argument.

        Just be polite.

        1. FhnuZoag says:

          Um, didn’t Kdansky start by saying how he’s planning to make fun of people?

          1. General Karthos says:

            No, no, I shouldn’t have overreacted. Sorry about that. I just have seen so many people saying the same thing so many times that I finally kinda got a little upset, and went fishing for something that proved my point. Then, still upset, I made a post that probably came off a little harsher than I intended. I wasn’t particularly mad at kdansky, but at everyone who had made a similar statement on this particular blog (hence my posting of the link). Of course, hoping that one comment 150 comments into one post on this site would clear up a fairly common misconception was, of course, too much to hope for, I’m sure.


            Yes, the internet is full of people who are wrong, and full of people who are angry, and I’d much prefer to be the former, rather than the latter, if I’m gonna be either. I’d definitely prefer to be neither one.

            I appreciate fhnu backing me up, but a “he started it” fight is something I’d also rather not get into. Yeah, he started it, but I continued it, and I shouldn’t have.


            P.S: There’s already an iPhone spin-off.

            1. krellen says:

              And that is how you win an internet argument.

              1. Mordeyth says:

                Well, I was one of those who thought that it they made a 1+ 2 games… If the post is real (I do not doubt it is) then some script writers should be killed… painfully. :) Because that means that they just didn’t make mistakes, but that they doesn’t know how to do a good job… so, they deserve to die… (professionally speaking off course…) and allow other creatives to arise…

    2. FhnuZoag says:

      Erm, Kdansky, Bioware were, I’m pretty sure, talking about a trilogy of Shepard games before ME2. And as for ME4, they said that they are probably going to make other games in the same universe, but the first three games are the ones about Shepard directly. I don’t really see any need to defend anything. The main point of ME2, it seems, is so that ME3 can be about the major plot, with all the gathering NPCs and getting to know them stuff already over and done with.

      See e.g. for the studio founder talking about this.

      I’d appreciate a post-ME3 not-saving-the-galaxy rpg, really.

  46. FhnuZoag says:

    Oh yeah, for people asking why the base couldn’t have been handed over to the Council, the answer is that Cerberus has a fleet of ships ready to rush in the moment Shepard takes care of the tough stuff. This is made explicit in the Base preserved/Shepard dies ending sequence. The base is in the middle of nowhere – the council certainly isn’t going to reach it first.

    It’s probably a failing that they didn’t elucidate this for most people, though.

    1. Jarenth says:

      Seeing this video makes me even more glad I blew up that base when I did. This is exactly how I pictured the Illusive Man: Weels within weels, contingency plans for contingency plans for contingency plans, and always one step ahead of everyone else involved, especially the people that think theདྷre in charge. There’s no way that base is going to be used for anything else than what hé wants to, and the chances of that being a good thing are slim to none.

  47. Jugzor says:

    I think it makes sense that Shepard would have to work for Cerberus. The whole galaxy has once again turned a blind eye to the reaper threat. Without Cerberus, Shepard would have no ship, no crew, and no one that would back him on perusing the reaper threat.

    Also, I didn't remember anything about how the base was just going to be seen and studied by Cerberus. Sure that could happen, but we don't know that. I don't think we can rule out that Shepard would use it as proof that the reapers are coming, by letting some people on his ship to check out the base. If this is the case, and they show the base to the council then this would make sense of why Cerberus wanted Shepard in the first place. They needed someone to convince the galaxy that Cerberus isn't evil (to show the Galaxy that they're after the reapers) and to reconvince the galaxy that the reapers are coming (which they could prove once they find proof that they had all intentions of finding since the beginning), and if anyone could do that it's Commander Shepard ““ someone who holds such heavy influence in the Galaxy (especially if he saved the council in part one). However if Cerberus decides to keep this base to themselves, then I really don't understand why Cerberus needed Shepard in the first place. I guess we'll just have to reserve judgment till part three.

    I think it makes sense that the original Normandy crew resigned. Not all of these people were alliance, this was Shepards team. Shepard is what kept them going and bound to eachother. Without Shepard, after two years they just went their separate ways. And you don't get your whole crew back. You get Joker back, you get the Doctor back, and you convince Tali and Garrus to come back. Also I'm not sure about this, but did Cerberus recruit the Doctor and Joker? Or did they come on their own? Because that would make sense that Cerberus would want to get some of Shepards old crew back to serve under him again. It is odd though that the alliance just accepts you and your new career.

    I do agree that it would have been much cooler if there had been a reference to the illusive man already in mass effect 1. But I suppose Cerberus needs to have some kind of leader.. this is he. It is a bit weird though that neither the Illusive Man nor Shepard make mention of the past at all.

    The whole reboot of Shepard was a bit weird but I can see why Bioware might have wanted to have done this to fast forward the game 2 years (when Shepard is resurrected), to allow for a class change, and to give us need to assemble a new team (since after 2 years, the team has dissolved). There are a lot of different things that could have been done though, but I thought this was pretty cool.

    I agree that it's kindof weird that the Collectors didn't help Sovereign assault the Citadel. I'm not against the whole idea of the Reapers enslaving the Collectors however. It was speculated that the Reapers tried to create a Prothean reaper out of prothean genetic material (much like what we saw with the human reaper at the end), but it had failed. After that, they had millions of protheans lying around, so they decided to indoctrinate and mutate them so that the protheans would become servants to reapers.

    I also agree that it is odd that they went to such lengths to just construct one reaper. What's the point? It also makes no sense that humans didn't flee the terminus systems after seeing so many human colonies vanish. Or maybe they did, but then (like you said) it makes no sense that millions of people wouldn't make demands of the alliance to do something.
    I thought it was an odd notion to find out that all reapers were made of the genetic material of another species. I guess Bioware has some explaining to do ““ they usually do a good job of explaining the science in Mass Effect.

    And besides all of this, I also agree that it’s rather upsetting that the plot hasn’t moved forward one bit.

    1. “It also makes no sense that humans didn't flee the terminus systems after seeing so many human colonies vanish.”

      This has been brought up a few times in these threads, but I think people may be underestimating what they are asking of the colonists. They have lives on their planets, homes, families, friends, and jobs. Now they have to leave all this behind and move halfway across the galaxy to settle on some other planet. This is the future, with FTL spaceships and all, but that still must be at least as big a deal as if you were told to pack everything up and move to a different continent.

      Also note that the Terminus systems were always hotbeds for pirates, slavers and other criminal groups, anyone who wasn’t willing to risk some level of danger would never have settled there in the first place. The number of disappearances has increased lately, but a few hundred thousand people is not much on a galactic scale and is probably only a tiny fraction of the Terminus population. In all likelihood a lot of people would be telling themselves that the slavers had just been making more attacks than usual lately and everything would die down soon enough – that certainly seems to be the Council’s view on the matter.

      1. Jugzor says:

        I see what you mean, that’s a good point. I hadn’t looked at it that way.

  48. Otters34 says:

    1) Glad to see they decided to make pre-rendered cutscenes for MS2 instead o’ MS1.

    2) I agree absolutely that giving the station to the Council would be the best possible choice, as Sovereign’s debris still stuck in the Citadel would have given great credence to Shepard’s claims that its allies were hightailing it into the Milky Way.

    3)The Illusive Man(heretofore referred to as Bunny-Hopkins) could easily BE the Shadow Broker; although that would be silly in light of the fact that Bunny-Hopkins doesn’t seem to notice it when you tell people(who wouldn’t even need to hear his voice to loath him) all about his experiments. Given Bunny-Hopkins Shadowy nature and Inscrutable motives, he was likely supposed to give rise to suspicion without the writer having to risk anyone guessing who he is.

    4)I’d agree that the pudding Reaper could only be justifiable if the Reapers have some sort of vaguely metaphysical way of subordinating their strongest foe by drinking them or something. Otherwise, they could have built a dozen or so sheet metal Reaper mockups and gotten into the Citadel that way, ’cause no-ones going to tangle with more than one at a time.

    Finally, does Mr. Vakarian finally make a DBZ reference? that visor thing looks perfectly crushable.

    1. Anaphyis says:

      The Illusive Man is definitely not the Shadow Broker. If you had a romance with Liara (at least I think that’s the requirement) she will tell you that she gave your body to Cerberus. She is out for the Shadow Broker’s blood because he/she/it/they wanted to give your body to the Collectors and killed one of Liara’s mates while trying to retrieve it.

  49. Anaphyis says:

    Cerberus: I actually liked the idea that one of your main antagonists from the first game turns out to be your one and only ally in this one. A typical “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” scenario of a alliance out of necessity, when the council is still a bunch of idiots and the Alliance couldn’t care less.

    Too bad they didn’t do anything with that. You don’t learn much more about Cerberus’ motivations. It’s completely unclear why the Illusive Man spend a truckload of credits to rebuild Shepard and the Normandy without either some degree of good will or a hidden agenda. He seems to have neither if you disregard the last decision of the game – which I do because of its contrieved nature. It looks like they wanted to force a decision in because from the Omega Relay till that moment you were basically playing Halo.

    Sure, you can confront Miranda et al about some things but you usually get a handwave without any decent explanation about the motivation of Cerberus. They could’ve explained it with a change in leadership. Maybe even put one more on the Shepard-Hero-Of-The-Galaxy pile and say that they reevaluated their viewpoints after seeing the Reaper threat and Shepard’s sole actions with a team of renegades to do something about it as an inspiration.

    Hell, they might’ve even explained it by saying that the Ceberus opponents in ME1 were a rogue faction like they tried with Jack’s backstory. But then again, they also did that with the Geth (more convicingly) and you later learn from EDI that Cerberus only has a hand full of operations going at any time so the Illusive Man stays in control of them.

    On the other hand, you don’t see anything particular negative about Cerberus that would point to a hidden agenda. They bugged the Normandy, so what? The trap with the Collector vessel was reasonably explained as well. And the thing with the Collector station doesn’t make any sense at all.

    The Geth and the Quarians: So the Geth aren’t actually out to wipe out organic life. That actually fits with the picture you get from ME1: They never left the veil until the heretics around Saren showed up. From Legion and from your visit on the station you learn that the Geth don’t need their robotic bodies – no, they actually PREFER to remain software in their little matrix. So? What’s the point to the whole conflict with the Quarians except for some bad history?

    The Collectors: What? Why? They could’ve woken up the Reaper fleet at any time with a single push on a button and instead they want to abduct millions of humans to build a human Reaper? What is the friggin’ point of all that? It doesn’t make any sense. I can accept them as drones for the Reaper. The Reapers enslaved or bio-engineered other races for slave labor before.

    I can also see why they didn’t partake in the battle for the Citadel. We only see a single Collector vessel and their base in regard to military strength and Sovereign was pissed at organic life after the Keepers refused to obey and he recruited the Geth instead.

    But again, what was the plan? Build another Reaper to open the Citadel relay so the Reaper fleet has a faster way back? Yeah, because a single Reaper against the rest of the galaxy worked so great the last time around and that one had a large Geth army as support. True reason? Never explained. Why did they want Shepard? Never explained.

    The Reapers: So, let me get this straight. The Reaper’s big master plan is to wait till a race is decently developed, then pull their Citadel trap routine, harvest them and make new Reapers out of them. Hmm. They were more interesting villains when their motive was left in the dark and possibly so alien in nature that it’s indeterminable. no one wants to know Cthulhu’s big master plan, it ruins half the threat. But hey, fine. So we have Giant-Spaceship-Borg. Makes sense to at least some degree, I guess. Even though I have to wonder what they are doing with the organic goo they are harvesting besides just flooding the hull with it.

    Also, when every Reaper shares a resemblance with the race it absorbed, why do all Reapers we see in the final cutscene share the same basic design with only some minor differences? All species before were just sentient space squid and bipedals are the new hot thing in the galaxy? Maybe that thing on the Collector base was only some core for the actual ship, as it would’ve been way WAY too small for an actual Reaper anyway. Compare Sovereign in the end fight of ME1 and the derelict Reaper with that Human-Reaper thing in scale, it doesn’t add up no matter how you look at lit.

    As for the issue with the Citadel gate as the only (at least expedient, as we see the fleet moving toward the Milky Way at the end of ME2) way of return: Makes sense. Listen to Sovereign again. The Reapers are arrogant pricks and their master plan worked for millions of years. Stupid, yes, but hubris is a typical trope for the overwhelmingly powerful villain.

    1. Jarenth says:

      Re: The Quarians and the Geth:

      I think the whole point of this particular sidestory is to show that, once again, everything is shades of grey, not black and white. From conversations both with legion and with the Quarians on the Migrant Fleet, it became clear to me that it’s actually the Quarian who are keeping this conflict going. Seriously, the plans pitched on the Fleet are either ‘Kill all the Geth’ or ‘Re-enslave them as our servants’. As far as I know, not one of them opted the idea of just, you know, negotiation with them, since the Geth are actually a sentient race. Hell, talking with Legion reveals that the Geth are just taking care of the Quarians’ homeworld much like a war memorial.

      Out of all the interesting stories in Mass Effect 2, I think I like the Geth conflict the most, because it turned what was basically a black-and-white robots-gone-rogue scenario into an actual interesting coflict. The Geth could have easily been the stock henchmen villains of all three games, but leave it to Bioware to avoid the easy path, I guess.

      1. krellen says:

        Even Mass Effect 1 pointed out that the Quarians started it.

        1. Jarenth says:

          In Mass Effect 1, the Geth were evil robots that you shot when there wasn’t anything more interesting around. In Mass Effect 2, they’re an actual race of sentient beings.

          Is what I’m saying. ;)

  50. Booze Zombie says:

    I do believe the whole point of making reapers out of “melted down people” was that the machine utilised the sentience of an entire race to make it’s self a God of some sort.

    Also, it could be argued that the “human reaper” would stop looking human once it was fully “grown”, all reapers possibly resembling the races they were made from at first and then eventually resulting in those squid-ships.

    Also, wasn’t it argued that “the Collectors are no longer organic, they are practically souless robots who were originally oganics”?

    1. Wyn says:

      Indeed. The human brain is the most advanced processor in existence, and hardware/software designers have been

      saying for years that in order for computers to advance they must become more organic in design.

      Reapers clearly represent 1 of 2 possible things:

      Reapers = species super-ego (Paragon)
      Reapers = species ID (Renegade)

      My theory: The ship is not the Reaper; the programs are the Reaper. The Reapers are converting organic the

      human brain patterns/structures into programs, which will receive it’s own vessle (This is how each Reaper is

      a nation). Once the brain is synced with it’s vessle, the basic organic information is converted to metal to create a unique vessle for the collective species’ soul. Essentially, Reapers are giant graveyards composed of snapshots of indiviuals all linked together. They have an AI’s ability to develop, but only within given parameters. Thus they need to add new races with differnt patterns in order to grow, hench the long selection of perfect races and mass extinction.

      The Collectors are functioning as temp “vessles” for Soverign until it gets a new vessle.

  51. prorok says:

    Seriously man, the whole idea of using organic life to build a Reaper was there in the first ME. It was exactly what you should have been expecting after the first discussion with Sovereign (“each of us is a nation”). The only unexpected bit was that it looked like a human which makes no sense.

    1. Avilan the Grey says:

      I still say it does, since they build every new reaper on the template of the species they deem most “worthy”. It might very well be that it then is outfitted with an outer layer looking like Tech-Cthulhu.

      1. General Karthos says:

        I didn’t think it was a “worthiness” thing. I thought it was a just anyone who was “compatible”. Since the Protheans were the only race who came to sentience in the last 50,000 year purge, and they weren’t compatible with making them into new reapers, the Reapers modified them, pureed their genetic code and made them into collectors, suitable for possession by Reapers (Harbinger, who reminds me of the REGIS, Mark V).

        This time around, the collectors have been analyzing folks, and lo and behold the only “compatible” race are the humans. I dunno if that has any real meaning. Or why humans are the only compatible race this time around. Salarian life spans too short? Krogan too tough? Asari too monogendered? Too many bones in Turians? (Crunchy Turian jelly doesn’t seem “reaper-ish”.)

        1. Anaphyis says:

          Harbinger actually makes comments about why the other races are unsuitable for their purpose.

          Maybe they are looking for compatibility, maybe the Protheans were just a anomaly and they simply looked for the most suited race.

  52. Toby says:

    I disagree completely, Shamus. In regards to the final choice, didn’t you learn your lesson with the Reaper IFF? Your whole crew got stolen ‘cos you decided to stick that thing into your ship. Who’s to say that the gigantic collector base isn’t dangerous some how in the same way the IFF was?

    Furthermore, you’re giving it to Cerberus! The whole game you aren’t working for Cerberus, Cerberus is giving you gifts. It’s made very clear you’re never forced to do anything by them, you do it ‘cos you want to save the galaxy.

    It would be interesting if you could’ve given the tech to the council or alliance, but do you -really- think Cerberus wouldn’t have found a way to get a hold of it? You know they would have! Your ship, the one Cerberus built and can probably take control of at any time they wish, is the only one that can get there.

    Truly, it’s the ultimate paragon/renegade choice in the game. Renegades are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the reapers, while paragons will do whatever they can but not at the expense of others. The information we could’ve gained from the collector base is not worth the risk of letting Cerberus and the Illusive Man get a hold of it.

    I think that’s why the ending choice really ticks off some people. Everyone has their own version of morality. Paragons and Renegades are both heroes, just different kinds of heroes. Renegades are like House from House M.D., that awesome doctor show. Paragons are like saints, they both are good people, but in a different way.

    It’s a lot easier to see what I mean if you play both sides. You figure out that renegades aren’t really jerks or evil-doers, they’re doing what they think is right.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’ve played both now. All I see are contrivances.

      1. Toby says:

        Looking at your other comments, I kinda’ see what you mean now, but I still can’t say I agree. That reaper tech is really dangerous stuff. The reaper IFF nearly got your entire crew killed and the science team that was aboard the derelict reaper went crazy. Sovereign was able to indoctrinate an asari matriarch. Who knows what could’ve happened to anyone who spent extended periods of time at the collector base studying the reaper technology? Who’s to say that the people studying that tech wouldn’t become indoctrinated and restart where the Collector’s left off? You seem convinced that Shepard would get 100% control over who got to see the base, but I’m positive that Cerberus would’ve figured out a way to get someone there.

        However, I understand your point of view. Keeping the base may have been for the greater good, but I still see it as an absolutely renegade option.

      2. krellen says:

        I blew up the base for two primary reasons, both of which can be summed up as “TIM”.

        1) I really really really wanted a “go to hell, TIM” choice, and that was the closest I could get.
        2) Blowing up the base was the surest way to ensure TIM would never even get close to getting his dirty little hands on tech like that.

        So basically, I blew up the base just to spite TIM. Maybe if I’d been given more chances to speak against Cerberus and betray TIM in game, I’d have been more open to other options.

        1. Toby says:

          “Out of Spite sounds kinda’ misguided if you ask me. xD Still, that did feel good, finally standing up to him and telling him he can FRO.

  53. Len says:

    It’s too bad they didn’t simply acknowledge that the fact that a pile of various gooey elements that used to be human should not equal robot. Because it does make sense for (maybe naive) robots to think: okay, we need to make us a new one of these, but we’re not 100% keen on the design we have now. Let’s melt it down and start over. The problems with the game’s implementation of it is both that it works, and that there’s no comment as to how it should not.

    If it didn’t work, then you’d have something a little bit funny and almost tragic, which is not quite what you want in your ultimate threat, but still workable. And non-Terminator-y. Plus, then in the future when other Reapers keep going off on their ‘more advanced than thou’ shtick, then you have some great material to taunt them with. “Oh, sorry, I was busy contemplating my knowledge about how to actually reproduce organic life”

    If it works, you need people going “Bzuh?” about it. Because a) in real life many people are going to go “Bzuh?” and b) then it brings home the idea that you really are looking at something incomprehensibly advanced. “Oh, those silly robots, thinking you can melt down people to make a robot. … Wait, what, that worked? … Holy crap.” Then you have robots who still don’t really know how organic material works, but haven’t let that stop them from making their seemingly impossible ideas into reality anyways, which is a little terrifying.

    As it stands, those ideas are all there… but without any in-game acknowledgment, you get the sneaking suspicion that the inspiration for the setup stems more from horror factor/wait why do they want to abduct people anyways/OMG GIANT TERMINATOR ROBOT YESS.

    ALSO it’s too bad that for various reasons you couldn’t be different races in the first game. Then the collectors could have been making a different variety of terminator for whatever race you were! Imagine fighting a giant Krogan robot half. Also, for people who don’t like talking to party members, (impatient party members, anyways) you could be an Elcor. … and also fight a giant Elcor half, yes.

    1. Len says:

      Also, a Renegade Elcor would just about make my day.

  54. fabiusgallus says:

    I understood ME2 and the stories quite different. In ME1 you try to hinder Sovereign to activate the citadel, else it will send the signal and all the reapers will advance. Judging by the last few seconds of ME2, someone must have suceeded and I think harbinger was the one who did it.

    Also, the Reapers spared the Keepers in the citadel, so they’re not automatically killing all organic species the second they see them. So the Reapers used organic agents well before.

    The other incorrect point is that the collectors appear in Mass Effect 1, the Vision Shepard gets shows one of them, namely the general. It seems the protheans were quite aware of what’s happening to them.

    1. krellen says:

      No, the rehash vision that was in ME2 added in the Collector at the end. The original vision from ME1 did not have that (it ended with an image of Ilos and its system.)

  55. jklinders says:

    I would like to comment on your criticism regarding destroying the collector base. It is not about the benefits of keeping the base so much as it is about who is going to control what is found there. Comparing it to Auschwitz frankly is idiotic, Auschwitz was a slaughterhouse with no other benefits.

    The illusive Man was not going to share his discovery with anyone, he was going to make himself galactic emperor illusive Man with it.

    1. Shamus says:

      “Auschwitz frankly is idiotic, Auschwitz was a slaughterhouse with no other benefits.”

      Your argument supports MY point. They kept Auschwitz even though it had no tech value. The base had MASSIVE value and was not something to discard lightly.

      Now we’re facing a superior enemy that can kill the whole galaxy. Fight those FIRST, worry about Cerberus if we win.

      1. jklinders says:

        And your response to my other point about the illusive man’s intentions is? It might not have been spoken, but leaving the base to Cerberus with their track record is stupid. From the last cut scene it looks as though the Normandy’s AI made good use of it’s time by data mining the base. I doubt the tech is lost.

        Besides keeping Auschwitz has great value to stuff proof in the faces of people who do not believe the Holocaust happened.

  56. Doug says:

    Why is it considered a Bad Thing to keep the base? Well, aside from the possiblity it is, in fact, a Reaper trap to steer the direction of the technology of humanity, or the possiblity its a very large indocration device that’ll transform all of Cerberus’ best and brightess into Reaper slaves, you’ll be giving the most advanced technology the organics can find to a bunch of pro-human terrorists. Hell, if you talk to TIM afterwards, he pretty much makes it clear they are going to misuse it to secure the galaxy for humanity only.

    Its like giving an alien ray gun to a bunch of very well funded Neo-Nazi’s to stop the Communists during the Cold War – it may work in the short term, but you sure as hell are building up alot of trouble for later. What is it the Asari one said – “The easiest path isn’t always the right path”

  57. Doug says:

    Also, Renegade is not the same as evil. Dirty Harry wasn’t evil. By the same token, Paragon isn’t the same as good. Picard had his bad times.

  58. Shamus says:

    One of the problems is that people keep accepting all of the parameters of the contrivance: Keep and give to Cerberus, or BLOW IT UP.

    Of course, you've just kicked the collector's ass. If Cerberus has the muscle to beat you, then they had the muscle to beat the collectors without spending a trillion bucks bringing you back and rebuilding your ship. You wind up with this RPS power circle where Shepard beats collectors, Collectors beat Cerberus, Cerberus beats Shepard. (And remember how often you beat their ass in the first game.)

    But why not strip the station of some portable tech, and nuke it tomorrow?

    Give a couple of people the tour, and then nuke it?

    Why not booby-trap it, and see if more collectors show up later?

    But none of this matters, because that's not why Shepard blew it up. He blew it up because it was icky and mean and spooky.

    It's poorly-justified crap, no matter how you slice it.

  59. gotthammer says:

    Great article.
    I really liked the point on the very limited choice between destroying the Collector base or giving it to Cerberus. That was very annoying and insulting.

    Heh. Maybe the whole slushee = human reaper is supposed to tie the ME setting to DA:O’s…reapers = blood mages, perhaps? :P
    Do we get to see Morrigan in ME3? :D

  60. Karsten Aaaen says:

    As for the Human Reaper, the Reapers? are building, maybe BIoware simply has seen too much Dr. Who? In one of the episodes, the Daleks (very dangerous race) are trying to make a human Dalek. In regards to the plot in ME2, to me, it sounds more like Bioware had a storu a shooter game, and then just added (sowed) or melted in into the Mass Effect universe.

  61. Teemu says:

    Actually you can’t choose to whom to give the base. TIM has copied the IFF technology and if you see the ending video for game where Shepard and all except Joker die, but Shepard saves the base, you can see half a dozen Cerberus science ships flying in within hour(s) of neutron bombing the base. They would most likely extract best stuff way before Counsil or Alliance could come in. It’s not like TIM came up with neutron bombing the base just at last minute, he just thought it was better to tell you at last minute, he thought you would be more likely to come to “right” conclusion that way. Of course you can’t know this before seeing all die/base saved end video.

    1. Shamus says:

      Your team has beaten the super-terminator and the collector ship. I think you should be able to take on Cerberus “science vessels” with little difficulty.

      That’s assuming it would even come to that. If all you want is to ID the dead, scoop up some loose tech, give Hackett the tour, and then nuke the place, no confrontation would be needed.

      1. Jarenth says:

        Assuming of course these ships are actually “Cerberus science vessels” and not “Cerberus frigates similar to the Normandy, which they built and upgraded like you did”. It’s already been established that Shepard and co onboard the Normandy are quite vulnerable to being exploded.

        Man, I love nitpicking.

  62. Taelus says:

    I’m not trying to pick any fights here, but let’s see if I can close some of the holes from the way I saw it. Not everything can be filled to completion, but I thought many things were at least reasonable after I sat back on the issue.

    All of my suggestions come from one perspective, and that’s the idea that we might be skewed because we’re gamers. We have the overview of things happening and the time to consider them. The character, and the choices they might make, don’t have that perspective or convenience. Taking a look at the final choice (since it seems to be the one people are most concerned with), Shepard has seconds to make a decision before they’re overrun by Collectors and killed. In those seconds, he has to make a value call, one that I’ll mostly approach from the Paragon perspective for sake of ease:

    1) Blow it up. Not a lot to worry about with this one because it scraps the worries. The fact that the things in here are dark dang nasty plays into it because that’s the overwhelming emotion at the time. Place your mindset in the character of Shepard on this one. You just saw people turned to paste, it nearly happened to your crew (or for some people, maybe it did happen), and you just fought a mini-reaper that is at least partially built on the stuff. If I were him, the only thing on my mind would be making sure everything about this place were erased for fear it could be started back up. (note: this degree of concern for it being restarted is distinct from concentration camps which weren’t at risk of being retaken by the Germans at that point in the war)

    2) Keep it and kill the collectors on board, hoping you and yours get out in time. Sure, it’s possible you’ll fail to escape in either case, but in the former, it’s dealt with, in the latter, the only means the rest of the galaxy has of accessing it is basically gone with the Normandy. Also, what if the Collectors get back to it first (if there are more out there, but there’s no reason there might not be). What if some of the Collectors on the base find shelter from the purge, they have superior technology and superior knowledge of the base’s resources. What if, what if, what if… That’s what makes this one no good for a Paragon. There are so many things that might go wrong and you’ve only got a few moments to decide. This one comes down to being certain vs. being uncertain of the risk to others.

    Paragon focuses on protecting others, Renegade focuses on defeating the enemy. They’re similar, but not the same. A Paragon Shepard can’t justify the risk to the galaxy if that thing is left in place, not with only a few seconds to think.

    A Renegade Shepard knows there are risks, and goes for it anyway. The concerns for protecting against possibilities isn’t his concern.

    So, the joining with Cerberus thing (which I find to be the most difficult hurdle for disbelief) also gets less unreasonable for a paragon. For a Renegade, joining Cerberus isn’t a problem at all, particularly since they brought you back and gave you awesome toys. For the Paragon, the only thing I can find is that there isn’t an alternative available and those people have to be protected. They give a shot at it when talking to Jacob before the first mission. He says it’s good you joined, you clarify that you didn’t, you’re just going for the sake of the people. From there, if you follow the assumed Paragon path and, once freed up with the Normandy, head to the Citadel, you find out rapidly that you’ve got no support. Without any other means of looking into the missing colonists, you’re forced to accept help from Cerberus on it.

    Let me clarify that last part. It makes complete sense to use Cerberus’ help if you’re out to protect the colonists and it’s the only help you can get. Bioware didn’t do a good job of emphasizing that, *especially* when you meet up with Kaiden/Ashley on Horizon. The whole “it’s been a while, how are you?” thing made me want to hit something…a writer maybe. For one, it’s been a few weeks from Shepard’s perspective, and for two, if you’re Paragon, rant to them about how crappy it is that you can’t get help from the Alliance! Grr…but that’s a different post and this one is already waaaaay too long.

    Hope it helped fill things though….

  63. Leliana says:

    Loved your analysis of the narrative and I think you’re spot on as far as the plot contrivances go. However I am a tad miffed that you didn’t use a gender neutral pronoun in your allusion to Shephard considering that s/he can be female as well.

  64. General Karthos says:

    BTW, did anyone else go “Oh crap” (or something more colorful) when all those Reapers sitting out beyond the Galactic disk powered up and started heading in towards the Galaxy? Doesn’t make much sense why they didn’t START with that, but instead tried an end-around with the Collectors, but then, doesn’t make much sense to run a play like that on third down and twenty, but maybe you can catch people off-guard on second down.

    Anyway, I thoroughly believe that the third game will be WAY better than the 2nd. With the exception of Star Wars (and perhaps Lord of the Rings) the second movie of any trilogy tends to be the weakest, because it lacks a real beginning point and ending point.

    1. krellen says:

      Oddly enough, I personally think ESB was the weakest of the Trilogy. Which isn’t really damning it much, as it just makes it #3 on my list of top movies of all time.

  65. Kregano says:

    I really don’t see why blowing up the base is contrived. At this point, you already know that Reaper tech tends to screw you over no matter how long it has been dormant and how badly it’s been damaged. After all, a 37 million year old DEAD Reaper mindf**ked the Cerberus science team sent to study it. Not to mention the Indoctrination device you find in one of the N7 missions, the Reaper IFF, the Citadel itself, and the mass relays. All that was designed to aid the Reapers in their plans to wipe out all life in the galaxy again and again. Hell, only Reaper tech that doesn’t try to kill you are the upgraded guns, and that’s only because the Reapers apparently didn’t feel like sticking some sort of horrible booby trap on to the original ones the turians studied. You don’t really need it to prove that the Reapers exist anyway, since you have the Oculus thing in your shuttlebay and EDI datamined the base, you have proof that the Reapers exist.

    Even if you ignore the fact that Reaper tech almost always bites you in the ass, there’s the fact that the Collectors/Harbinger left booby traps to screw you over in case you managed to kill off the crew. Considering that the Reapers went through the effort of having some husk minions hang around a base near a black hole in case Sovereign failed to activate the Citadel relay, this seems extremely likely. The only reason that not destroying the base fails to trigger a booby trap is the fact that it would be a horribly dissatisfying ending to the game.

    What is contrived is the near universal praise/disappointment you receive after making your decision. I expected more dissenting opinions, but I guess the Reaper IFF mission convinced the ME2 exclusive squadmates that Reaper tech was too dangerous to study. Tali and Garrus already knew it, so it just reinforced their opinions on the matter. Plus the whole thing with the Illusive Man screwing you over with the “derelict” Collector Ship and Reaper IFF missions probably turned them against the Illusive Man too.

    1. Draconis Ravenus says:

      Why did I even post my thoughts when you worded the same ideas so much better than I did? 8)

      Great points.

  66. Chris Ciupka says:

    It’s funny how much I agree with these articles, I listed my own complaints in my review, of sorts, of the game:

    My biggest complaint is definitely the major retcons in the game that aren’t foreshadowed in any way in the first one, like the nature of the Reapers, Protheans and Geth. All these plotpoints that should be cool twists just feel completely contrived.

    As a note, I think the next game will not have you playing Shepard, because from what I understand, you can actually have Shepard die at the end of this game (if all your other companions get killed on the Collector ship) and I don’t see them pulling the “We Can Rebuild Her” (my Shepard is female :P) thing again.

    1. Rick W says:

      You will play as Shepard in ME3. If you get Shepard killed in ME2, you just won’t be able to use that save to continue on.

    2. Anaphyis says:

      The Collectors are mentioned in the Ascension novel, which was released a few months after the original game. So while they came out of nowhere if you only played the games, they were decently foreshadowed in the expanded universe.

      The revelation about the Geth also isn’t surprising. Its mentioned several times in ME1 that the Geth never left the veil until Saren and Sovereign showed up and that even these were at best a small fraction of the Geth.

      And the Reapers? I remember two instances in the original game, the dialog with Sovereign and the one with Virgil that suggest the Reapers are harvesting intelligent live for whatever reason. That reason was given here and while at odds with some more popular fan theories it is hardly is a retcon or contradicts established canon.

      In fact, the only thing that is at odds with the canon are the Protheans. At least I think so, I have to play the part at Ilos again.

  67. Ergonomic Cat says:

    I had Grunt and Samara with me at the end, and chose to keep it.

    Grunt was arguing for it – I said something like “Is this a good idea” and he said something like “When you’re at war, and your enemy gives you a weapon, you use it.” Samara just tried to keep her boobs from falling out (I think she uses Biotics for that).

    I was actually wondering what Shamus was on about. I mean, yeah, it was a bit silly, but the end run up actually created tension. I had real, hard choices (I picked Mordin the first time as tech, and he got SHOT IN THE FACE WITH A ROCKET). I worried about my team members (the achievement gave me the Serenity thing of “OH MY GOD THEY’RE KILLING PARTY MEMBERS!” so I was concerned.

    And then I got to the very end. And I said “Oh. Okay, I get it now.”

    I mean, the boss fight wasn’t even hard! I had more trouble with the 2 Scions a few platforms before. You hide, you target his weak spots, you hide. Missle Launcher kills all. Bah. Giant stupid ugly robot of stupidness is stupid.

  68. Zak McKracken says:

    I’d mostly agree to the post, except for one thing.
    when you say hat option 1 of your moral choice (keep the base, let Cerberus study it) is most sensible.

    I’m immediately reminded of Lord of the Rings: “Destroy it? It is a gift! Let us use it for good!”
    I’m also reminded of good ol’ Starcraft, where some terrans try to use the Zerg as a weapon and fail spectacularly.

    You’re right, though, that kind of binary choice is frustrating. Happened in NWN a lot, too. I suppose Bioware tries to reduce the amount of leaves on the decision tree (i.e. the number of different scenarios resulting from your actions). They can’t very well have dozens of alternate closing cutscenes. I just whish they’d do it more elegantly.



    1. krellen says:

      When you first respond to TIM that you’re going to blow up the base despite him wanting to keep it, he does a Gollum/Boromir-like thing of “how could you waste this opportunity?”

  69. Taelus says:

    For all my commentary about filling holes and picking on Shamus in general (the latter being a rare delight of mine), the man is right about one primary thing: All of the holes/bumps in the story could have been avoided with slightly different writing. There aren’t really many problems with the Renegade version and I have to say that’s a nice move in the right direction for Bioware. Too often the Dark Side/Renegade/Closed Fist is translated as “be a complete jerk to everyone”. It’s nice to see a version that is just out to get it done, no matter the cost.

    Sorry, deviated there. For a Paragon character, the issues with Cerberus being on board could have been handled with an initial attempt to leave their influence, the lack of support to save these colonies forcing a return for their help. Then, just remember to have the character disparage them in front of, say, their old crew on Horizon…sigh.

    For the ending, a simple addition like the noted presence of indoctrination at the Collector Base would have made blowing it up very much the Paragon option, and leaving it alone, with others having to risk indoctrination just to study it, being a very Renegade choice.

    The headline is that Shamus is right in what I believe to be his primary point: All of the issues with the game story could be corrected, and even invaluable elements of the game, with about a day’s worth of writing work…sad really, but it was already a very good game and that could have made it amazing.

    1. Anaphyis says:

      “For the ending, a simple addition like the noted presence of indoctrination at the Collector Base would have made blowing it up very much the Paragon option”

      Indeed. My main problem with the storyline is mostly Harbinger’s plan which doesn’t make a least bit of sense and the last decision. Not the decision in itself but how poorly (i.e. really not at all) Shepard justifies it when there is a myriad of ways how they could’ve pulled that off more convincingly with just one added line of dialog.

  70. Draconis Ravenus says:

    Alright, this is a perfect example of why it’s bad to judge a trilogy before it’s complete! I questioned why you were only posting the bad stuff after reading your 2nd post. Had I waited til I read part 3, I would have seen that you’re putting the things you liked into your NEXT write-up! d’oh!!!! My bad, Shamus; I apologize for quesitioning why you were only lambasting the game.

    That said, I fully agree with you on the Human Reaper. Making it humanoid seemed very silly, and it was the one portion of the game where I just lifted my eyebrow and said HUH??? I can only imagine an executive at EA thought of this and mandated it. Any alternative is too hideous for me to consider.

    IF I was trying to justify it, though… I would assume at completion it would operate a la Iron Man… jet boots or something. Still silly, but you gotta admit, Giant Iron Man would kick at least a little ass…
    and there are spiritual/religious beliefs that have filled our world over the eons that help in this matter. Specifically, the one where you ingest the heart of your enemy to gain his power.

    Maybe the Reapers keep trophies of each species they conquer by “becoming” them. Perhaps their dark energy can harvest not just organic matter, but the souls of said organic matter, as well, and all Reapers are some kind of demonic soulforge which we’ll find out all about in ME3. I know, we shouldn’t have to go this far to justify it, but I like to make a guess that works. It helps me sleep at night.

    Destroying the base being the only good choice, I’m completely fine with. As somebody else mentioned, Reaper tech has shown itself to be highly dangerous in the past, and risking any sort of staging ground for potential Indoctrination would certainly be not worth the risk. Sure, it would be nice if an option to keep it for yourself were there, I’m not bothered by keeping being evil. If anything, the corpse of the Reaper where the IFF drive was located would be a better source of evidence for the council.

    Can’t wait to hear about what you liked!

    1. Shamus says:

      What I liked is basically “everything else”. (Aside from mining.)

      I’m trying to figure out how to turn that into a series without spending the next five months writing about the game. :)

      Mordin’s character alone could take me 3000 words to do it justice.

      1. krellen says:

        Or you just just point out that even I loved Mordin. :D

        1. Shamus says:

          Even Krellen loved Mordin!

          1. Taelus says:

            Lies. Someone posted for him. Krellen doesn’t like *anything*. :-)

            1. krellen says:

              Hey, I like stuff.

              Just, y’know, not new stuff! :D

              (Like I totally think Arcanum was worth the $70 I paid for it before got the rights to sell it for a reasonable price.)

  71. Bobknight says:

    Alot of those comments don’t really make sense in the context of biological goo. (ie. primitive)

    edit: errr. wow, failed a spot check there. This was a response to the last comment of the previous page.


    1. Anaphyis says:

      Maybe they like their goo aged well and grown on the sunny southern side of the galaxy. With a slice of Brie. Who knows, the Reapers are not exactly lacking in arrogance and what this goo is supposed to be (genetic information, organic metal, the victims souls) isn’t explained at all.

      1. General Karthos says:

        Genetic information would be interesting. I mean, DNA can store a STAGGERING amount of data on it.

        Though only in a limited format. Binary or morse code at best.

        I did a little research on information on storing information on strands of DNA for reasons too complicated and extensive to get into, and it’s definitely interesting just how much data you can keep.

  72. Knight-Templar says:

    Hang on a moment, you think giving the tech to Cerberus is a viable option? Haven’t we (by we I mean you, but using “you” sounded hostile) allready established that Cerberus is a pro-human group that seems to do nothing but test weapons on humans?

    You can’t see them as both in-ept and a good caretaker for what might be the most powerul space station in exsistance.

    Look at it this way, you have a magic wish granting device and can either give it to The Joker (the one from Batman) or destroy it. Sure you would like to give it to Batman but that doesn’t mean giving it to the Joker is any better than getting rid of it. Granted Cerberus is going to use the base to fight the Reapers, and the Joker is just going to do, whatever he wants, but given how inconsistant Cerberus is with its operations it doesn’t matter what they plan to do, they will do something that advances nobody.

    Or you don’t think they are bad at what they do, and that they would use the Base both responcbly and with intentions beyond human conquest of all exsistance.

  73. Bobknight says:

    I think we’re all just pissed off that bioware didn’t write in the option to give it to the alliance.

    Or maybe we’re just pissed off that bioware writers can’t create a staggeringly large and detailed world without reducing the quality of its dialog and choice options.

    methinks we want too much. methinks bioware needs a bigger writing team. me also thinks that bioware was a wee ambitious. furthermore, methinks that even if we had zero choice in the matter(even if the narrative was just as bad) the game would STILL be a great achievement.

    It is about the atmosphere and the characters boys and girls: Mass Effect is a masterpiece in world building, plots and logic are just silly things that the writers tried to tack on.

  74. Keeshhound says:

    On Reapers:

    1. If every reaper is “a nation,” why should we assume that they are a unified front on this? No one who tells us anything about them does so from a position which could be considered expert or impartial; Nazara/Sovereign has every reason to lie about that, although it could be argued that, in this situation, the truth is worse than falsehoods. Vigil reports what the Protheans experianced, but given the dearth of knowledge about them, or indeed, how great their numbers truly are, the purges might only be initiated and carried out by a small fraction of the total reaper population, much like how Cerberus’ actions in no way reflect on the opinions of humanity as a whole, despite how much they protest to the converse.

    2. The use of biological components in reaper production may tie in with the mystery of indoctrination: even the researchers on Virmire didn’t understand how it worked exactly. As such, it could follow that indoctrination is an extension of either the component race’s biotic ability; the Prothean’s ineligibility for “ascension” might reflect their race’s pre-modification inadequacy in that department.

    3. If the reapers are not, as I have suggested, a united group, it is possible that one solution to the threat could be to find a way to alert a more benevolent reaper majority as to what their deviant members where perpetrating. This is unlikely, however, as “and then the galaxy called the bullies mother” is somewhat lacking in the “epic finish” department.

  75. Ravenger says:

    There’s another massive plothole in the original Mass Effect.


    Saren is a Spectre. An agent of the council who is outside the law. He has full reign to do as he sees fit. The council believe him to be utterly loyal and give him the benefit of the doubt even when evidence against him is piling up.

    He’s looking for the Conduit. The conduit turns out to be a secret back door into the citadel built by the Protheans. Once Saren finds the conduit he leads an army of Geth into the citadel through it to allow Sovreign to dock with the citadel and open the mass relay to let the reapers through.

    Errm… why does Saren need to do this when he already had access to the Citadel at the highest level? He could easilyhave smuggled Geth into the station in packing crates like he did on one of the other planets, then override the station’s systems. He could even have done it without the Geth because I don’t imagine anyone would stop him accessing the control panel in the Presidium. He’s a Spectre!

    He had no need to go flying all over the galaxy looking for the Conduit and stirring up trouble. Ok, he didn’t know what the conduit was, but he didn’t need to know because he could have taken over the citadel when the council trusted him.

    1. Taelus says:

      Saren couldn’t do it at that point because he’d been declared a criminal to be captured or killed. The whole reason Shepard was made a Spectre was to hunt Saren down and bring him to justice.

      That said, why Saren couldn’t have worked with Sovereign *before* Eden Prime to set something in motion from within the Citadel is beyond me. I suppose it would make for a pretty lame game when the opening credits are also the ending credits :-D

      1. Samael says:

        The control panel is in the council chamber. I’m pretty sure a Spectre’s authority ends there and all his combat prowess wouldn’t help him that much against the Council’s honor guard and the combined power of C-Sec.

        He did need a small army to get there. Why he didn’t just pack a few dozen Geth into containers like on Noveria is a good question but you could handwave this in any number of ways.

  76. Bobknight says:

    I believe the explanation given was that they didn’t know what happened to the keepers and are simply re-tracing the steps that lead to ilos. I can only assume that they somehow needed to ‘fix’ the keepers OR have sovereign control the citadel completely. It would be logical that only the keepers can have access to whatever systems that fires up the mass relay(so that other races can’t go borking around with it before the signal has been sent).

    The idea that the ‘reapers’ are divided is quite interesting. However, given the apparent apathy of the rest of the reaper population for the previous 37 million years it would be unlikely that they will react now.

    Consider this: what if the reason that the benign reapers did not react was because their reaction time is incredibly slow? If a ‘nap’ for sovereign was a couple of hundred years, how long would it take for an entire reaper nation to mobilize? It would take atleast a couple of naps, right?

    Or maybe the ‘reapers’ as we know it are dissident branches of their civilization and there are political reasons for the remainder to overlook whatever mischief they were doing. It isn’t likely that a single human can have enough clout to change the politics of such alien species.

  77. ghostprint says:

    OK, after LOTS of reading (all previous posts)here is my bid:

    ME2 plot is totally rubbish, at best a side quest DLC to ME1. Aside from all the “WTH” and “lol this make no sense” moments, after finishing ME2, as Shamus pointed, at the end we are exactly where ME1 ended. A HUGE disappointment !!!! Bioware prison fuc4d ME2 like i could not have imagined in 1milion years. Seriously, when i saw the human-protean-reaper-collector-robot hybrid I expected MarioBros like mushrooms dropping from the roof, jump-punch them and killing the boss by jumping on his head.

    After playing ME1 we learn that:
    -the future has smart, element0 powerd, ammoless, highly customizable weapons/armor/tech, FTL ships, powerful biotics, etc
    -the proteans ware a highly advanced, extinct race, killed by the reapers.
    -asary are a highly advance chick race with Powerful biotics form birth, 1k+ years lifespan, and grate wisdom.
    -the reapers are mechanical, super uber smart/advanced beings, who built the mass relies, citadel etc. who once 50k years come and kill everything who knows what pi is.(3,14159265…. o crap I’m next :)))
    -and the plot, long story short, reapers are “sleeping” outside the galaxy waiting for the signal to come and butt fuc4 everyone for no particular/explained reason. The keepers should have sent the signal to call them but did not do it. A reaper (sovereign) is left to watch out for such a problem and fix it. Sovereign trikes/brainwash/mindfuc4 Saren and geth to serv him to open the gate for the reapers. Shep is sent after Saren with little help (1ship&crew) because Saren is a specter and only other specters can deal with him. Shep uncovers the plot, kills everything in the way, has sexy time (in Borat accent) with someone, kicks Cerberus ass, kills Saren, helps in killing Sovereign, saves the citadel and the galaxy. Nobody really believes Shep’s (and crew and ship log) story about the reaper threat. Omitting allot, that’s about it. Pretty solid story.

    After playing ME2 we learn:
    -there is the technology to bring somebody back to life (awesome) but is only for very rich bastards.
    -in 2 years the tech is gone, and i mean GONE, from the known world. It is replaced by some 5 guns with AMMO, sorry “heat sinks”, and few armor pieces with custom paintjob. By doing this, Bioware actually saved the lame plot for second place in the lame list. Ok for some flabbergasting reason we need ammo, ok ammo it is, don’t call it heat sinks, a heatsink usually disperse heat in air/liquid/something or radiate it as heat radiation in cold vacuum. But no, future heat sinks are the ammo-ish kind that build up heat and keep it for future generations.
    -the biotics and tech powers are for sex pleasure or something, certainly not for fighting.
    -Cerberus is uber rich but you have to buy gas for your ship (nice one…) and space mine planets (inhabited or not) for 4 metals/elements (nice one again…) to do upgrades and other crappy tech.
    -highly intelligent, uber powerful biotic, asary matriarchs are low life bartenders telling their parents story (omg no comment)
    -the proteans are enslaved by the reapers (ok, i’m cool with that) but despite archaeological finds and extended DNA samples (see EDI), nobody knows they were bugs or bug-like humanoids.
    -the reapers are dumb as a bag of hammers.
    -in the attack on the citadel the proteans/collectors sit it out watching the thanksgiving game, letting the geth fight it out by themselves.
    -And the plot is … hmmm, in the main story line, no plot really. Shep gets refurbished by Cerberus, gets a Normandy replica and starts a easter egg/crew hunt. He/she investigates colonies with no ppl, finds the collectors behind it all, and starts kicking their asses. Gets a geth pet, does sexy time with someone and kills normandy’s crew (by leaving with ALL the fighters). Then the game ends in a stupid 30 min final with killing collectors and a reaper deformed baby (o, nice one Bioware!) being totally worth 60 $, NOT !!! (again Borat style). And we are exactly back at the end of ME1’s story, just like that. O yes, double facepalm here. I paid 60 $ for a poorly made DLC :((
    -and countless other bad soft.

    And i thought Stalker Call to Pripiat had the worst plot ever in modern games, I stand corrected!! Thanks Bioware!

  78. Bobknight says:

    Heh. I love how your complaints about plot are more or less attacks on gameplay implementations.

    @ the Auschwitz debate:

    I think the slippery slope argument here is actually more or less justified. For one, reaper tech is sentient. This means that even if you don’t have the allure of super advanced alien technology to keep you going beyond the Point Of No Return, you’d be brainwashed to do it anyway. Given the desperate nature of the war against the reapers, it would be unreasonable to assume that anyone could just ‘pick up the portable tech and nuke it from space’. Combined with the fact that it is almost certainly a giant indoctrination device, it wouldn’t really matter who you gave it to. The end result would still be the same: win or lose, humanity gets screwed along the way. So I think the ‘its creepy’ rational is actually fairly valid.

    Also, the difference between reaper tech and Auschwitz is incentives. The fact that the allies didn’t have any incentive to use the Auschwitz facility as the nazis did(in fact, they had very little incentive to use the facility at all) makes a huge difference in moral choices. In one case you are keeping something of a historical artifact with little chance that other people will abuse it in the future, in the other, you intend for your own people to utilize it(and inevitably, abuse it). This is very similar to the Golem/Dwarf situation in Dragon age and will probably result in similar disasters.

    1. Shamus says:

      Is it really the Reaper tech that causes indoctrination? Or is it the Reapers themselves? The previous two instances were with Reapers. Now we have a BASE, which is not a reaper. Does it display the same behavior? That would actually be a handy thing to know. It would be pretty easy to send a couple of guys onto the base to poke around for twelve hours, then rotate them out for a phych evaluation.

      But hey, let’s blow the whole thing up because we’re more afraid of a small secret terrorist organization than we are of the space demons.

      Again, I’m not saying that you can’t find good reasons to blow the place up, but the idea that keeping it is some sort of *evil* move is lazy writing and unworthy of the rest of the series.

    2. neothoron says:

      There is a mission in Mass Effect 2 (Planet Aequitas, System Fortis, Minos Wasteland) where the discovery of a Reaper artifact quite quickly turned everyone involved into Husks – without assistance from Dragon Teeth.

      Conversely, the Normandy S2 integrates Reaper cyberwarfare technology salvaged from Sovereign – apparently without ill effect.

  79. Nick Pitino says:

    I’d like to say I have something deep and fascinating to add to this conversation, but that would be an awful lie.

    However, I DO thing I figured out why they were building a human-shaped reaper:

    They were building the MEGA MAID!

  80. John says:

    Thanks for posting this. You’ve neatly skewered a number of plot points that deserved skewering. There’s one more thing that these plot holes do: they completely divest a player, whose played through ME 1, of any emotional investment in the story. When I first encountered Vigil on Ilos, I was genuinely moved by the game. Here, we had a 50,000 year-old AI telling Shepard about the last desperate hours of its creators’ race and the horrendous decision it (and the dozen or so Protheans who went to the Citadel) had to make to keep the tiniest flicker of hope alive that some other species would hear its message and be able to stave off the annihilation of the galaxy’s sentient species.

    What did we get in ME 2 as a result of this beautifully crafted story?

    Anderson telling Shepard how the Keepers continue to suprise people?

    The Turian Council member referring to “Reapers” (with the annoying little air quotes)?


    I mean, seriously, wtf?!

    Thanks again for the blog. It’s heartening to see that other people noticed the ridiculousness of the plot in ME 2. Yes, the recruiting missions were fun, the shooter elements were improved, but ME 2 represented–to me–a gigantic brain fart when it came to continuing the story from ME 1.

    Not unlike the Star Wars prequels, now that I think of it. . .

  81. Drue says:

    Gah, so many comments.
    Shamus, you can delete this if someone allready made these points.
    Firstly I think that shepard’s death was simply a narrative reason to indebt her to cerberus. Shepard knows that there is no way TIM will tell her anything and she must follow his directives to stop the larger threat.
    Next, the collectors are just nursemaids for the baby reaper. They don’t have an army and thus didn’t try to retake the citadel. Also there is a good change that Harbinger (the reaper controlling the collectors) was not involved in the attack on the citadel. Sovergn was supposed to do that while Harbinger was making babies. I have other things that counter your observations (like 1000s of humans taken not 100000s) but that is all nit picking anyway…
    The reapers are not simply mechanical beings and they hate the geth just as much as and ‘organic’. In the first game there was something about how Sovergn found the idea that the geth thought they were similar insulting and repugnant. Also, we don’t actually know anything about the reapers goals… but I am still picking nits.

    What I really wanted to say is this; reapers are characterized by complexity. They have technology that it orders of magnitude beyond anything the other races have. Also, they have a conciousness that is just as far beyond our own. Combine this with the fact that the collector are known to seek out strange and interesting genetic information and you have the answer to why they were making people slurpees. I think that the mind of a reaper is built from a complex of AI and genetic information. As complexity of any system or animal increases the information density also increases. They are condensing the infromation of an entire species and culture into one being. Something like that.

  82. Arilou says:

    The big objection to the “keeping the facility harms no one” is the entire “Reaper tech will BRAINWASH YOU” thing. Remember that old reaper we had to get the IFF from? And how it drove the researchers mad and then turned them into husks?


    RE: The collectors. My assumption was that a Reaper had to “activate” them first. (note how even the Harbinger goes through the entire “RELEASING CONTROL!” thing at the end) the Reapers couldn’t use them at the Citadel because they’d have to take control first. (However they do that) Possibly they spent the last few years bringing them back out of hibernation. (while Sovereign didn’t bother with that, since he had Saren already)

  83. Samael says:

    Giving it to the alliance – as some people suggested – is not an option. The Omega-4 relay is parked in the same star system as the very heart of the Terminus systems. The last thing you want with the Reapers on the march is an all out war between Terminus and the Citadel races.

    Yeah, you could’ve put some Council and Alliance representatives on the Normandy, made a tour of the station and then blown it to Kingdom come after convincing them of the Reaper threat.

    But then again, the council had an actual Reaper smashing their very home and yet they are in denial about it. Self-deception is a really powerful mechanism and I completely understand why: they could barely hold back one Reaper with their most powerful capital ship, the prospect of fighting a whole fleet of nigh-invulnerable space gods isn’t exactly easy to accept. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that the Council could easily turn around and shift all the blame unto the Collectors like they did with the Geth.

    Anyway, maybe they just didn’t think of this option. Maybe the added complexity with more choices would’ve wreaked havoc with their plans for ME3. There are however reasonable arguments why this choice wasn’t the worst writing EVAR and I’ll withhold my final judgment until ME3 arrives.

  84. Jon says:

    I blew up the base, and there is a good reason to do so: Keeping it means keeping it for Cerberus. Who the hell wants the Illusive Man getting his hands on things like the indoctrination technology?

    If your agenda is a pro-human xenophobic agenda, and you don’t mind Cerberus using this technology to subjugate the Turians, Salarians, etc, then fine – but that’s a renegade choice. I prefer to take my chances with the Reapers – who seem to have relatively limited influence now that their main invasion plan was foiled by the protheans, (and plus I’ve defeated them twice already) – than allow a bunch of fascists to get their hands on ultimate technology. If Cerberus can gain anything from that base that allows them to defeat the Reapers, then they just replace them as a threat to the galaxy, and one that isn’t stuck in ‘Dark Space’, wherever that is.

    Even if the Illusive man wanted to use it wisely, I’m sure the temptation to indoctrinate or destroy anyone who disagreed with him might prove too much for someone who already lies to and manipulates his own operatives.

    I’m also pretty sure it wouldn’t be much good as proof of the Reaper threat. The council examined bits of sovereign and decided it was Geth technology. They’d examine the collector base and decide that it was just a surviving faction of Protheans trying to reconquer the galaxy, and that the threat is gone now that they’re all dead. They wouldn’t find anything that convinced them Reapers exist. Even if they got their hands on the derelict reaper, they’d probably decide it was something else altogether.

  85. SASKY says:

    I would just like to add that you haven’t said much about The Illusive Man.

    We know more about the Reapers than about him. I kept the base because of the tech but I wish there was a way to stop him from getting his hands on it The council might be more suited to check out this station.

    TiM cannot be trusted not with eyes like that, for all we know he is a Reaper.

  86. Player 276 says:

    I read the 3 parts, and it seams like there are many things that the writer missed (I did not think about these, they just came from the top of my head, so i might have missed something also)

    1. The reason you die at start is to give you the “2 years have passed, and thousands of colonists vanished” If the game would resume right after Mass Effect 1, everything would seem boring. “one colony vanished today, another in 2 months” and so on.

    2. At the end of Mass Effect 1, i don’t think Sovern (how ever you spell his name) was really all that strong, i think he used the Citadel to create the shield to protect him, and when it went away, he fell like paper.

    3. Why does the Alliance do nothing since hundreds of thousands of colonist vanished? Well its because they don’t care, its way out of their space, and they got nothing to benefit. Its like saying why doesn’t the world end world hunger, thousands of people die every year, but no first world county has anything to gain from it.

    4. Collectors plan would never work because they needed way more people that what the Terminas systems had. Well, if they get everything they can there, and hit one or 2 big Alliance planets, they would be set, as opposed to doing that first, and having the world on their asses until they could find everything else.

    5. Why did the collectors only leave one entrance to the galaxy? Its probably because there are hundreds of Galaxies they exterminate, so making a number of ways to each one is extra work, especially since one path worked all the other times.

    6. Why were the collectors never mentioned before? I have no clue, possibly because they were a back-up plan, and no one uses back-up as part of their main plan.

    7.To save or not to save the base. Well the idea is give it to someone who MIGHT use it to only save the galaxy, or dont take the chance.

    Endin. I dont know if the third game will function like this, but it would explain everything.

    In the 3rd game, you go around looking for alliance to combat the reapers, so you would try to recruit the Alliance, The migrant fleet, and Krogan and so on. What the second game does, is it allows us to meet and befriend some sort of leaders from each race or force (Wrex is trying to unite Krogan, You meat the Admirals of the Migrant fleet, you possibly saved the “Insects race” queen, who tells you in ME2 that she is rebuilding, you already know the Admiral of the Alliance Fleet and so on.

    The reapers were just an excuse as to why you would end up meeting all these people. Even if they finished building their T-102 Model (Crazy Terminator reference :P) How much damage could it have done.

    P.S. Why did we never hear about the Illusive man? If you heard about him, chances are everybody else would to. He is meant to be a character that very few know about, so i understand why you never found anything related to him.

  87. Chuck says:

    I’m going to attempt a step-though analysis from ME2. I am not an employee, and have no affiliation with Bioware or any of its affiliates.

    The start of the game with the Lazarus project, and the willingness of the Illusive Man to conclude that the ends justify the means, leads me to believe that Shepard is the modification of the human form with Reaper technology. Here’s why:

    Cerberus is a “secret” organization. Yet, everybody and their brother hears that you are alive, and you get an email from the Alliance first thing after getting out of the lab. That suggests a security issue. You have a prior existing relationship with Ashley Williams, who’s reaction to seeing you later in the game is while tangibly bewonderment, it is not bewilderment or surprise. Nor is she, who professes similar xenophobic ideology to Cerberus in the first game, also becomes morally and ethically compatible with Shepard and his aims by the end of the first game. She has rejected xenophobia by the second game, as evidenced by her logs, but also rises in the Alliance to a significant enough rank and position as to be used in a special reconnaissance capacity- she’s working as an agent of the Alliance. That suggests special access to compartmentalized information… like the Lazarus project.

    Remember, the first two people to have direct confirmation that the technology worked ended their relationship with one dead on the floor. Wilson was an Alliance agent that was working to bring you back in order to bring the Alliance ahead on this problem with both the Collectors, and later the missing human colonists. Remember, in the beginning of the game, he assuaged Miranda’s doubts that the project would be a success which suggests his level of personal investment. He reported back that you were being brought back with technology that came from the Reapers, which we can conclude is in the hands of Cerberus by EDI’s admission that part of the Normandy contains technology from Sovereign. The Alliance, seeing the unethical decisions of Cerberus’ past, decides to have Wilson extract you from the Cerberus lab, which, with a failsafe built in, goes off of a preprogrammed contingency to sanitize the lab. Miranda kills Wilson in order to put the issue to rest, and the either deliberate or indeliberate programming of the mechs’ killing spree, which would have provided the perfect cover and distraction for Wilson to extract you, is thwarted. You end up working for Cerberus instead of the Alliance.

    An alternative scenario is allowed to play out. Captain Anderson is handling the operation, and he convinces his boss to allow it to go mission on. He runs it as an intelligence operation, with you compartmentalized, and the promoted Chief Williams to run background shadowing. Joker is a secondary asset, having known about the building of the Normandy II, and having previously talked to the Alliance about it. He volunteers for a high risk assignment to watch you- you saved his life, he owes you a favor anyway. Dr. Chakwas doesn’t know much, but got steered toward the job by the Alliance through Joker. She doesn’t know she’s a sleeper, but she’s available to be tapped in case something happens to Joker. She’s a strategically placed asset that is imprinted on Shepard, has prior experience with the crew, and is in an age group and social standing to not have many close ties after the last mission. There’s not much for Cerberus to leverage to exploit her. On top of it, unless something happens, all she needs to to is her job. Its a good cover.

    This serves two purposes- it allows the humans to run and manage an intelligence and kinetic operation against threats to their colonies without council assistance. Cerberus is already the supporting unit, and keeps their operatives resourced. Anderson trusts your judgement, knows Cerberus’ motives through Joker’s information, and decides that Shepard will complete the mission, even under Cerberus’ control. Miranda said the should have put a control chip in you- you defy expectations, and have the ability to self-direct. Anderson allows this to play out to conclusion. You do end up confronting the problem, and creating a solution.

    The second purpose is that it creates leads into the Cerberus organization, which has been problematic at best in the past. The Alliance now has someone that is highly placed, charismatic, and not indisposable. The best part is that he doesn’t even know he’s been placed, and doesn’t need to be. Anderson can debrief him later, and get the information not only from Shepard, but anyone he indeliberately recruits through previously demonstrated leadership attributes and abilities. Think about how valuable an asset both Jacob and Miranda can be at the post-mission endstate.

    Now, the Illusive Man recreates Shepard as a hybrid in order to combat the Reapers. He’s human with some Reaper-based technology imbedded. Form follows function. If we accept the amoral political view, and also treat the Reapers with the same regard, then they must be attempting to improve their basic survival strategy and relative advantages by acquiring humans. The irony will be revealed through Mordin’s anecdotes. The Reapers, like the Krogan, acquired technology to quickly, and in the course of their history, abandoned the fragility of the purely organic form. It wears out, and you die. In order to overcome this, they attempted to become more machine, competed, and became closer to the synthetic. Realizing that this still requires a social elite, and understanding that it will lead to internal competition in the species, they elevate the whole species into an elite by seeking workers to “worship them as gods.” This leads to the scarcity rule. With each Reaper a “nation” unto itself, implying both a lack of central authorty (our interal competition assumption), and competition at the small or singular unit level. Each is a Warlord, give the resources to enslave and survive. The collective technological requirements, however, allow for them to pool resources in order to create the Mass Effect relays. Needing labor to do that comes from another race- the Protheans.

    “Bow before me.” The Reapers use technology to impress and indoctrinate the Protheans into becoming the labor force for the Reapers. The Reapers exploit this to create the relays, explore, and extend their DNA pool to encourage adaptation and survival. The Rachni adapt to death by passing memories on genetically. The Protheans have quad-strand DNA that allows them to incorporate more diverse genetic material. Other old species have different advantages and disadvantages. However, without sexual reproduction and/or a decreasing gene pool that becomes available to each nation of Reavers, we get two effects.

    The host labor force becomes less resilient to disease, as do the Reapers that base their genetic material on them. The solution to these two issues is for the Reapers to use their linear and proven survival strategy. They make their way back through the relays, enslave a new race, and recreate themselves with fresh genetic material from a wide pool. This is relayed as happening on the order of magnitude of tens of thousands of years. What if they do it all over the galaxy, but simply make it back into linked and populated areas on a regular basis? What if each discrete unit of the Reaver’s guards their own access codes to their established relays? If they move between galaxies through super massive black holes at the center of the galaxies, it would explain why the Omega 4 relay took you there. It would also explain the other two plot holes as to why they needed Sovereign to open the gateway, and why the collectors/protheans could move through the Omega 4 relay.

    If the Protheans rebelled, then they could have programmed the relays not to accept the Reapers through the relays. Sovereign gets left behind, though dormant, as a contingency or accident. Reactivated, the ship attempts to reestablish contact, and the first fight ensues. The collectors, in the second game, allow the Reapers to continually try and establish a presence to adapt and survive, by having the benefit of having a race that can activate and move through the relay. They attempt an intelligence operation on our side of the relay, in order to overcome a shortage in numbers and power, by reprogramming the Geth and getting Sovereign to reopen the gateway. That failing, they try and bring the resource to them by kidnapping humans. Humans are a logical choice, according to Mordin, because of their genetic diversity, relative adaptability, and lowly political position insufficient to create a decisive and consolidated response amongst the shared power of the rest of the politically connected races. Humans are the lowest risk, highest payoff target. The Protheans tried to throw off their shackles, partially succeeded, and now we need another race to try and reconsolidate a power base. As Mordin also remarks, the Protheans/Collectors need to be replaced, because they can’t reproduce to replace their numbers. They become a declining workforce. Humans can provide an answer to the problem.

    Now the dilemma comes in for the third story. Cerebus is a cancer. It is the representation of how the Reapers came to exist in the first place, with an over reliance on technology, a lack of ethics, and an amoral posture. They are large enough to compete with the body politic for resources, and have the ability to create a cultural and civil rift in humanity, while also potentially having the ability to destabilize relationships with other species. It needs to go. As the Reapers come to understand the threat of humanity and its allies, the only natural response is an end-run gambit with as many collectors and their clones with as much firepower as can be consolidated to attack immediately. They already attempted to acquire a virus that kills every other race except Humans and Vorcha. The Vorcha can be bargained with, recruited, indoctrinated, and used as another labor force. In fact, this is alluded to in the second game with the Vorcha having already struck a deal with the Collectors, and the comments made about them by characters on Omega.

    The attack will come by the collectors trying to “make the Vorcha strong,” mutating a virus to create a new genophage that affects more than one species, and making a breaking run to construct a new relay for the Reapers to move back through to take direct control. It returns the Reapers to a previously productive and effective status quo, cuts their dead weight, and starts the cycle over again with either Humans or Vorcha for another series of millennia.

    The Illusive Man knew that work on a cross-species virus exists, wanted that information from the collector ship, wanted the technology to create a countermeasure against indoctrination, and worst of all… he wanted to keep that to himself, and protect humanity in order to be the dominant species at the end of the war. Without that advantage, Cerebus will have to back whatever consolidated play the rest of the Alliance and the Council organize for the common defense. He loses his political power base in his decreased relevance. He will seek to cut a deal with his opponents in the Collectors in order to weaken or destroy competing races, under the mistaken belief that he can then take down the Collectors and fight the Reavers off from the shadows before they realize they’re double-crossed. Unfortunately, the amoral Reavers will attempt the same thing. Shepard and his multi-species crew will be caught in the crossfire of competing efforts, a paragon character will make the moral choice to save the galaxy from aggressive parties, for the enjoyment of all species. A renegade character will advance humanity, and may or may not bring about humanity’s destruction and enslavement through the resurgence of the Reapers.

    The only plot hole I know I didn’t address is this: the Reavers took on the shape of a human in the larve because thats what we’re made to do genetically. It was a pool that mimicked the form of the contributing species. The size issue doesn’t matter if its not going to leave the ship. The form provokes awe and fear as mental degradation sets in due to neural degeneration, and creates a potential of construct/constructed relationship confusion. “Species X was created in the image of their masters, the Reapers. ” The Reapers, having created a false reality for their enslaved labor force, entice them by claiming that their efforts will lead to them transcending into godliness, as the Reapers have done, thus becoming the “Harbinger” of the enslaved species “Salvation.” The singular nature of the controlled species, singular or plural, working toward a common cultural existence creates a nation- not the political cohesion of a culture and a civic society, or “nation state.” Civic paradigm creates ethical questions and the corresponding dilemmas, political discourse and the potential for organized leadership or dissidence, and none of the above is desirable if an elite is attempting to maintain a totalitarian dictatorship necessary to exert the social control required for this kind of existence.

    Just a few thoughts, but it seems like a fairly logical course for events to unfold. Ultimately, it is a story that promotes ethical action, examination of current events, and as most science fiction does, makes us question abstract concepts of culture and society in a fashion that explores moral relativism, normative behaviors, and Kantian and other teleological ethical theories. Overall, it’s also a lot of fun.

  88. Vegedus says:

    I have to agree. I thought very much the same thing, there at the end. Keeping the base is a very, very practical choice, and if everyone feels it’s so wrong to give it to Cerberus, then why are we? And the whole plot-sideways thing, too. The whole thing just smells of corporate meddling. Perhaps they wanted to give it a ‘feel’ of a first game even though it’s a sequel, because the massive ad campaign brought many newcomers (of the Halo-tarded variety)? Or perhaps EA just kept looming over their shoulders going “More explosions there, chop chop” and Bioware had difficulty keeping it straight.

    The great part of the game is really all the characters. We have a religious, memory-recalling assasin, boobs, a geth, tali, more boobs, TALI. It’s awesome.

  89. Taluien says:

    Well… in my playthrough of ME2 I stood at that decision to blow up the base or not and my thoughts were going around the question: “Is the probable technological insight (which could corrupt everyone if there is that nifty little mindcontrol, see Sovereign in ME1 and the abandoned Reaper in ME2) really worth the risk of having this shady guy that is the Illusive Man getting his hands on it? A man I can’t trust after what I have experienced in both Mass Effect games? And lastly, could I really use a weapon that is built from the remains of several thousand members of my own race?”

    Well, my answer was quite a big explosion, made even sweeter by having Miranda quit her job at Cerberus. But that was because I saw too many damn risks in letting the Illusive Man have his way.

    The thing that really bugs me the most about ME2 is the absurd ammo system they implemented. Since when is it a technological breakthrough to actively make your weapons perform worse than before and even being able to become complete useless when all you had to do a few years before was to stay in cover a few seconds to let it cool off…

  90. Igor Levicki says:

    Hello Shamus,

    Maybe what this woman wrote can bring some insight as to why story was done in such a way — it seems that it hit the right nerves with her:

    In the first 10 minutes of Mass Effect 2, Shepard’s world is turned upside down. You lose your ship, your crew, yourself. Everything changes. You don’t even get to keep your sense of triumph and victory left by the last scene in Mass Effect.

    There’s loss, confusion, and anger. Everything is off-kilter and melancholy. The characters drink and reminisce with a touch of bitterness. When good things happen, and you meet a familiar face, the sense of elation you feel is genuine.

  91. Carzywolf says:

    Towards the last scene, when Shepard saw the datapad has the Reaper image on it, I assume this may indicates EDI have extracted some technologies or information from the collector base. In this case, destroying or not destroying the collector base would not make any difference on the outcome since some collector technologies would have been obtained.

    However, has anyone thought that it may implies some information of Reaper was also extracted by EDI? If this is the case, then Shepard would have more understanding of Reaper and may able to find a way to terminate them. It would be even BETTER if the memory of Harbinger was extracted.

    Of course, seeing an image on the datapad can be interpreted into many things, so it is just my speculation but I am sure the ME writer can use this to explain many things that were not clearly explained in ME2.

    Why no one talks about the Great Rift Valley which was created by a mass accelerator weapon? I think the story of this unknown species who created this massive weapon 32mil years ago should have more to do with the existence of the Reaper.

  92. Ian L says:

    One thing he forgot to add in that silly mess of things.. just recently I walked into the citadel with legion a geth mind in which the council and the whole galaxy hates and everyone knows and fears.. and what happened not a thing.. and yet he’d be talking about the city at key locations (talk points) so hes there but yet not there.. WTH a FRIGGEN geth is here!! and not one person reacts to it lol

  93. Mordeyth says:

    You're a genius. You've been able to put into words exactly what I'm thinking and the nonsense of the videogame industry. I completely agree with you, the game is great, but we have a problem with the plot.
    IMHO I think with ME happened more or less the same that happened with a lot of other products not only in the videogame industry like (saving the distance) “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Matrix”, “Twin Peaks” or the “Metal Gear” series (this one deserves a separate analysis)…
    What happens is that they were not conceived as a trilogy but as a 1+2 product. They made a story, with a beginning and an end and when they saw the good acceptance of the product they made the other “2”³ chapters… and there is where they screw everything…
    Since the acceptance is unexpected, they have to create a 2nd chapter fast, keeping the main argument, but since they are in a hurry and work under pressure, they make a lot of mistakes.
    Then, they have more time to create the third, bus since they've screwed the story on the second one they have to end it in either one of the following two ways:
    1- Predictable ending: In ME3 case would be something like “Shepard unleashes a virus into one of the reapers and since they're all connected the virus spreads and they all die” (seen in Independence Day among others) or “The reapers where not ready for the viruses of the earth and they all mysteriously die” (seen in War of the Worlds ““ the original one from the 50″²s ““ not the crappy thing starred by Tom “the dwarf-placenta-eater” Cruise) or “the Reapers understand the fortitude of Shepard and they go back to their home place” (as seen in my worst nightmares…).
    2- With a patched solution that doesn't make sense and that is obvious that they made up because they didn't know how to end this: In ME3 would be something like “Apart of the reapers there was another alien race lost in the space that we never heard of that by chance they had the only weapon that could destroy the reapers and were waiting for them to come back and destroy them” or “all races, even the rachni, unite against the reapers and destroy them…”
    We'll have to wait and see, but the more I know about the 3rd game (that is coming out in a year) the more I fear that it would be a big peace of…

    1. Kylar says:

      I love how both of your worst case scenarios are combined in the actual ending of ME3. Good show.

  94. timmay says:

    Perhaps they neglected to mention it in the game’s final moral choice, but there is one downside to keeping the collector base: every single piece of Reaper technology that Shep and crew have ever run into has always been terrifyingly booby trapped. ‘Dead’ reapers with active indoctrination, Saren’s implants, the reaper IFF’s viruses, the whole collector ship trap.

    It’s not clear the neutron bomb would turn off the baby human reaper’s indoctrination assuming it worked yet, and it’s not clear that is the only thing in that place that could indoctrinate; shep’s reaper IFF is the only one we know of that can get in, so no relief ships if other collectors want to join the party; Harbinger’s clearly still around and, given the fact that one Frigate cannot stand up to the power of a reaper, it would probably just take over the base again.

    So yeah. There actually is a huge risk to leaving the collector base around, even ignoring the evil slushee machine properties of the base itself.

  95. rdemetri says:

    Excellent discussion of the weaknesses of ME2.

    Loved ME2… but I had a lot of those game moments you describe wher eI was like: what? or: hey, I want to do this instead….

  96. Szoreny says:

    wait so you live in an alternate universe where Bioware writes good stories? WTF did you expect after ME1?

  97. Bender says:

    1. They make reapers using organics because EDI explains to you that reapers are a mixture of both synthetic and organic material. If they made a reaper like you suggested than it would not be a true reaper.
    2. Squad mates will question your choice regardless of whether or not you destroy or keep the base. For example, if you keep the base Miranda will question your choice, if you destroy it Garrus will question you. It’ s not as black and white as you make it out to be, the fact that Cerberus is out to kill you in ME3 is proof enough that Cerberus can’t be trusted with reaper and collector tech. Not only that but by using the reaper technology you’re only doing what the reapers’ want, developing along the path that they desire. By destroying the base you’re allowing humanity to develop along it’s own path and defy the reapers.
    3. The base wouldn’t be used as proof of the reaper threat because you would be turning the base over to Cerberus and they wouldn’t tell the Alliance or the council about the base because they know that neither will accept their help. Your memorial argument is moronic and irrelevant, as for the technology you would be handing that highly advanced tech over to Cerberus which is a huge risk. Your argument for intel is once again irrelevant because we wouldn’t learn anything about the reapers history or how they communicate because it’s not a reaper base it’s the collector base that was made with collector technology. The only way the reapers even communicated with the collectors was through mind control.
    4. Why would Shepard say we’ll find another way at the beginning of the game he didn’t know that the illusive man would ask for reaper/collector technology.
    5. As for being able to show it to the alliance that’s actually a good point but I highly doubt the illusive man would’ve let you do that.
    6. If you really believe that the reapers’ didn’t have a back up plan I question if you even paid attention during the game. Harbinger clearly states that they will “find another way” indicating that the collectors were the reapers plan B! That was the whole point the collectors were even in the game.
    7. Nothing happened? The plot didn’t move forward? Sure you set the reapers back a step like you did in ME so it could seem like that, but the entire reaper fleet is seen to be waking up at the end of the game, they’re obviously on the move, in the Arrival DLC they were 2 hours away from the edge of the galaxy. Humanity now has the full attention of the reapers which at the end of ME we were just another organic species that they were gonna wipe out. At the end of ME there was more hope, it was more optimistic, at the end of ME2 it’s a more dire and hopeless situation.

  98. RyQ_TMC says:

    I know it’s probably stupid to post a minor nitpick almost three years after the original post, but this bugs me:

    Allied forces never captured Auschwitz. It was captured by the Soviets, who were allied with the Allies (sounds stupid, I know) at that point. But the Western Allies never saw Auschwitz. Actually, Allied forces never saw any of the Nazi death camps (they were either dismantled before the Allies arrived or fell to the Soviets). And the Soviets repurposed Auschwitz as a facility to hold political prisoners, so you know, some evil did come out of it.

    1. Kylar says:

      Coming to you from two years in the future, I’ll nitpick your nitpick!

      You’re absolutely correct about Auchwitz. However, you’re wrong about the Allies never seeing the death camps (unless you are making a deliberate distinction between death and “slave labor unto death” camps). The allies liberated Buchenwalde, Dora-Mittelbau, Flossenbà¼rg, Dachau, Mauthausen, Neuengamme and Bergen-Belsen.

      If you’re drawing a line between the industrial extermination camps and the work-them-to-death camps, I can appreciate that. However, I don’t think most non-historians these days will. To most people, a concentration camp is a concentration camp is a concentration camp.

  99. Chris says:

    Hmm. Interesting. For me, it would easily have been one of the worst games of 2009.

  100. Natureguy85 says:

    I know this is old but I found it again while reading some of your other stuff. I really like your thoughts on many games.

    Maybe nobody will ever see this but I just wanted to point out that there is a mission in Mass Effect 2 where you have to get some data from mercs that captured a Cerberus operative. You get to choose to send the data to Cerberus, send it to the Alliance, or keep it for yourself. It’s totally meaningless but why is this in some throw away mission and not in the final outcome of the game?

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