33 CommentsVisual Novels / By Scamp /

I wrote a lot about Mass Effect

IllusiveMan1

When I finished Mass Effect 2 last winter, I created some flimsy justification in order to write a big auld post on the game. People then expressed an interest in reading my thoughts when I finished Mass Effect 3. So here you go, I’ve given you guys that plus way more besides. Perhaps my anime blog isn’t the correct place to post this stuff, but I had so many thoughts spilling out of my head that I had to write something about it anyway. This is more for me to get these thoughts out of my head so I can move on with my life than it is for anyone else’s enjoyment. But for what it’s worth, here are my long-winded thoughts on Mass Effect 3 and the franchise overall.

This post is full of spoilers.

Gameplay

This will probably be the only time I mention the actual shooting gameplay in this post, but for what it’s worth, ME3 has easily the best gameplay of all the games. As part of the general internet backdraft anger machine that ME3 had created, one of the complaints was that they had dumbed it down to bring in a bigger audience. So with that in the back of my mind, I played the game on hard difficulty. Actually I played ME2 on hard as well, but I played sniper in that game so it was fairly easy to hang back and let my squadmates run up and get their asses handed to them. My main issue was just running out of medi-gel. This time though I went full on shotgun tech armour bastard, running up to people and detonating myself in their face. I don’t even know if the earlier games had a melee attack, but I abused the shit out of it in this game. Anyway, because I was running face first at the enemy, it made the game super difficult. The first time I met a pair of banshees, it took me about 10 tries to beat them.

I genuinely enjoyed the gameplay in Mass Effect, to the point that I am quite intrigued at the idea of playing the multiplayer. Seems weird for the game to have multiplayer given it’s a single player RPG, but resources they put towards the multiplayer didn’t in any way drop the size and scope of the rest of the game so I guess it’s not really an issue. I haven’t touched the multiplayer yet, and feel a bit weird doing so at the moment because I’m still stewing in the aftermath of the game’s story. But I am really interested in jumping into it sometime soon. If you have ME3 on PC and are willing to put up with my noobishness and that I am terrified of playing Mass Effect without the ability to pause and stare around the battlefield to cue up my attacks, then leave a comment with your steam username and I’ll gladly join up with you oh wait durr no Steam because EA wants us to all use Origin because they’re stubborn like that. Well, leave a comment with Origin username then.

Goodbye moral choice bullshit

I said in my post on the first two Mass Effect games that I thought the whole moral choice thing was bullshit. Morality is not quantifiable and just because someone is short tempered doesn’t mean they also are a space racist. A calculating person who reasons that curing the genophage is a bad idea is more likely to not be the kind of person who will randomly interrupt conversations to punch someone in the face. I particularly disliked this in ME2 where people could die because you didn’t adhere to one side or another on their bullshit morality spectrum. Very quickly in the franchise, I took to ignoring the paragon/renegade system altogether and simply chose whatever I thought my Sheppard would choose.

ME3 dealt with this by making it a non-issue. Paragon and Renegade still exist, but they’re all part of this larger ‘reputation’ bar that filled up with your actions. The only appreciable change they made was a sort of score tally of how angry your Sheppard was and how the scars damaged their face, which I actually quite liked. It kept score of your decisions without hampering your option to do anything. Every single time one of the choices where you could choose one of the specific paragon/renegade options, both sides were open for me to choose, unlike previous games where the renegade option would normally be greyed out, with sometimes the paragon one too, hampering my ability to do anything with the situation. So good job bioware. Hopefully other games that try to tackle stories with areas of grey in the morality scale won’t try to make the choices binary and hamper your decision-making as a result.

Tuchanka

The story of the genophage is my favourite part of the whole series. Back in ME1, talking to Wrex was such a strange experience because the guy was so hopeless. There was a real sense that he had nothing to fight for anymore and was basically dead inside. His reasons were fighting were as though he was looking for an excuse to die, because this was the only way he could justify his existence. Pretty apt calling him ‘dead inside’ since that’s exactly what his whole species effectively is. That’s what made Mordin’s story in ME2 so absorbing. It was impossible to disagree with his logical reasoning behind why the genophage had to be instated. And indeed in ME3 there’s the very real threat that curing the genophage will result in another Krogan rebellion. If logical, why feel guilty? Problematic….

The thing with the genophage is it crippled the krogan people mentally. They felt that with the genophage in place, their people could never advance again. With no hope for the future, you get people like Wrex in ME1. You get Tuchanka turning into this desolate wasteland where nobody can be arsed to invest in infrastructure to make something for the future generations. It’s all petty rivalries and clans and infighting. The krogan are sort of a brutish race anyway, but there is still pride there that can develop into a race that can stand proud. The mission on Tuchanka in ME3 where you explore the underground city with its great halls and statues show that once the Krogans had a great civilisation. Once upon a time they too had hope.

Wrex’s development through the series from that sulking hollow beast in ME1 into the sharp talking, confident inspiration leader in ME3 symbolised what the Krogan people would go through if they could cure the genophage. Tuchanka is mythologised quite a bit in the games to the point that it practically has a personality of its own. The fact that it was the Mother of All Thresher Maws that wiped out the reaper was symbolic of the planet in general. It was brutish and uncivilised, but the awesome raw power and determination to defend its homeworld represented the Krogan people and Tuchanka as a whole. Plus it was FOWRKING OOORRWWSOMEE watching a giant thresher maw crash through the landscape as you fight reaper troops and run past about 20 brutes to set off those hammers, culminating in that shot of the thresher maw taking down the reaper.

I touched on Mordin earlier. His story in the larger Tuchanka narrative is one of redemption. There is always that edge to his story that he can’t quite explain why it is he had to go to Omega and set up the clinic to help the downtrodden. Similarly, while he tries to rationalise his reasoning why he has to go cure the genophage, there’s always this edge to him that you feel he is living a life fairly similar to Wrex in that you get the sense he’s just waiting for an excuse to die. In his sense though, you feel he can’t live with what was effectively genocide and his whole life since then is him trying to help needy underprivileged people to put his mind at ease. His death is painful, but in that good way in that you felt he achieved what his narrative arc set him up to do.

DLC

I played ME3 with the extended cut, as well as the Citadel, From Ashes, and Leviathan DLC so I understandably had a rather different experience of the whole product than those who played it at launch. Admittedly I don’t play enough games to have DLC problems ever come up. I don’t play games at launch. Too expensive and for years I didn’t have a machine that could play it anyway. It didn’t really do anything to my Mass Effect playing experience either because I love the franchise enough that I knew I was going to get the DLC anyway. The one part I didn’t like was that the cost of DLC by EA never drops. There’s not even a bundle deal if I already know I’m in. So for both ME2 and 3, I didn’t buy all the DLC because it would be dropping too much money on the table. Would a bundle deal seriously be too much to ask for EA?

Anyway, the Citadel DLC is written primarily for people who have already finished the game long ago and doesn’t really fit in well with the regular story. It’s actually kind of jarring because it’s way more difficult than the characters are making it out to be. As I said, I play the games on hard, so I was getting my ass handed to me while Sheppard was joking about how she keeps getting into these messes. It does oddly have the best boss battle from the entire franchise because, without saying any spoilers, you get to see your own tricks used against you. It’s one of the most effective methods of showing how powerful Sheppard really is.

As for the other DLC, a big part of the criticism is that they are required to make greater sense of the ending. Which I can sort of see with Leviathan. It fills in a chunk of the lore and makes the ending feel a little big less of an asspull. It’s hardly required though. From Ashes does nothing to the whole Reaper story. I think Javic’s importance has been way overstated. He’s neat to have around, but saying you miss massive lore dumps or story beats without him really isn’t true. Most of the time when I brought him on missions, he just said generic soldier stuff and the occasional asshole comment about primitives. The one exception to this was him debunking the Asari religion when I brought him with Liara to the Asari homeworld.

Squadmates development

The one part of the story where I genuinely feel that Javic really added to the story was the development of Liara’s character. The first game makes a big deal that she’s quite young and has an optimistic, slightly naive view of the world. I thought this was just part of the sexy blue alien hottie idea they were pushing, which it does still feed into. But events in ME3 really start to break down her worldview and give her a much sober, bleaker picture of the world. She sounds pained and sorrowful a lot of the time. Javic is the key to unlocking that feeling when he destroys her naive beliefs about how wonderful the Protheans are. Without Javic, that story doesn’t have nearly the same impact.

The part I like the most about the game is how it delivers on 3 games worth of individual character arcs and overarching story threads (yeah yeah I’ll get to the ending itself in a bit). It’s interesting to look back at the first game and realise how unremarkable your crew are. Garrus is just some grumpy C-SEC officer, but now he’s a special advisor for his people’s survival, practically a Sheppard mark 2 in his own right. Tali is just some kid on her pilgrimage  but by game 3 she’s an ambassador for her people and a fully fledged admiral who can barely believe her position. Liara is naive kid to weary controller of information across the galaxy. And I’ve already praised how Wrex changes throughout the story. The things I wanted to see in previous games are realised here. Tali stepping onto her homeworld is a hugely powerful scene that caught me welling up a bit. Much like the story with the Krogan, it’s about finally being able to have pride in yourself and your people again as represented by your homeworld.

Let’s start talking about that ending

All right here we go. First off, the game does lose its head of steam towards the end. Kai Lang is a crappy villain, introduced because the game realised they couldn’t make you have a boss fight with the Illusive Man because that would undermine the strength of his character. But having this new guy with no personality wasn’t a great move. To make the indoctrination idea more prominent, they really should have made the character you fight be someone else, like maybe Miranda Lawson. What also bugged me towards the end was how dragged out it was. There were several dramatic inspiring speeches within the last half hour and it started to get a bit silly. You didn’t need Admiral Hackett’s speech for example. His point was made far more saliently by simply showing the huge fleet from all species warping in at the one point.

Then came the magical star child. I thought the purpose of those dream sequences with the kid were supposed to represent Sheppard’s struggle with her failings to save everyone. It was kinda dumb, but at least thematically sound with the rest of Sheppard’s story. I don’t get why the representation of the Reaper’s AI was the kid though. How do those two tie together? And then there was the reveal of why the Reapers were created. I’d already figured they were created as some way to stop civilisation evolving too far, but to make the reasoning be because they’ll create AI that kills them seemed a bit off-message. It was a small part of the story in the first place that only loosely connects to the larger themes. I’m no professional writer and neither are you, and the alternatives I’ve seen for how the story should have ended are almost universally worse.

That said, I thought the story was leading towards a similar way to how Gurren Lagann turned out. That if they kept evolving they would destroy themselves, so the Reapers were keeping them from evolving too far. That would have fit the narrative of not just how the Quarians turned out, but also the Krogans and the Rachni and all the various story threads that had been running through the franchise. Even the humans, whose first contact resulted in instant war. Sheppard fighting the Reapers and showing them that they could evolve in such a way that means they don’t destroy themselves would have been more relevant to everything you had achieved as Sheppard throughout the story. The way the Reapers are presented here still loosely connects to that idea, but not strongly enough and it makes it feel like a bit of an asspull. It seems weird to say the plot of Gurren Lagann, a story where robots are powered by manly spirit, has a better final story reveal than a hard sci-fi like Mass Effect, but it really does fit the plot better that way.

The very very end

What I don’t have a problem with though is the final decision you like to make. I gather the main complaint here is that the ending didn’t take into account all the decisions you had made in the game until that point, instead gave you a bunch of options and you chose. Which also happens to be exactly how the previous 2 Mass Effect games ended as well. This ties in with the moral choice bullshit and how I play the games and decision making process in that game. I make whatever decision I felt was right for my Sheppard to make in their story. This normally meant I drifted towards Paragon. However at the end of ME1, I chose to leave the council to die to save the massive human fleets. That was the renegade choice, but that made more sense for my Sheppard to make in how I envisioned their story. Same with ME2. I went mostly Paragon, but at the end I chose to save the Collector ship even though that was the Renegade choice.

By ME3, it felt to me that the creators had realised the moral choice thing was dumb and stopped factoring it into gameplay, and thank fuck they did. If the ending had roped me into a decision based on those previous paragon/renegade choices I made, I would have been pissed. In my mind, that would have gone way further against the entire point of the games way more than leaving it a multiple choice at the end. It’s about Sheppard making those key choices at key moments, and none more important than right at the very end.  The story I had built up required my input at the end to choose what my Sheppard would do. To drive this point home further, the first time I played that last mission, I accidentally went for the ‘choose nothing’ option. This was because I thought there would be another option to save the galaxy, but instead the magical star child went “well fuck you then” and walked off. Which made no fucking sense in the context of the story Sheppard had gone through and was a massive kick in the nuts. Apparently that ending was added in the extended cut as Bioware saying “fuck you needy whiny fans and your entitled bullshit moaning” in a very End of Evangelion way. Which in a way makes it understandable and kinda awesome in a messed up way.

But I reloaded the final mission and instead went for the humans and machines are one choice, which made far more sense in the context of the narrative I was building. The entire story is about everyone working together and all that. By becoming one with machines, it overcomes the final barrier between themselves and the Reapers that were the one creature left that were against the rest of the species. It does fly in the face a little bit with the idea that you can have pride in your people when everyone becomes homogenised, which is why I’m not totally cool with the ending. But hey, it works for the most part. And considering how this ending was billed as being literally Hitler, it’s far better than I was expecting.

Final words

Now that I’ve finished the game, I’m more than a bit pissed off at the reaction it got. What the hell were people expecting with how your choices over the games would factor in? If you saved the Rachni Queen, that meant a rachni popped out and changed how the final reaper boss presented choices to you? Having everything factor into this crucible and the creation of that Dues ex Machine device represented the numerous rivalling factions of the galaxy join together to defeat this enemy was enough for me. It fit the narrative just fine. I get that I had a different experience with the ending because I had the extended cut and DLC so I can’t truly understand what position they were in, but the ending doesn’t invalidate the previous 30-40 hours of story the rest of the game delivered so perfectly on. I’m pissed off that this franchise I love so much is going to be remembered for a disappointing ending by a bunch of fucking whiny twats for inflated expectations that didn’t make sense for what the game was trying to do anyway. Fuck you guys, seriously. I hate you. Yes, especially you.

*cough* where was I? Ah yes, Mass Effect. I rather like Mass Effect, as you may have gathered from this post. It’s my favourite game of all time by quite a considerable distance. Which isn’t quite the astronomical praise it sounds like given that I’m not a hardcore gamer or anything. So let’s make this more impressive by saying the three Mass Effect games combined are my favourite piece of entertainment ever. As in all of entertainment, from books to movies to anime to sports to whatever. Mass Effect is my favourite out of all those things. Perhaps recency bias is coming in here, but nostalgia is a considerably stronger emotionally manipulative power and Mass Effect manages to overcome than even that, so I think I’m safe with that statement. It’s not perfect. It’s attempts to push progressive boundaries in games means it stumbles every now and then in its efforts. It’s got that bullshit moral choice stuff for the first 2 games and I sort of hate how that factored into how the second game ended. Plus the ending is a bit off an asspull. But even with all that, it’s my favourite thing.

I feel a bit like I’m standing on the edge of a deep dark hole, and just one step will send me spiralling into Mass Effect fandom. This must be how the first people who saw Star Wars felt, or the original Trekkies. One step and suddenly it’s 10 years later and I have an Liara hug pillow and have built a lifesize reconstruction of the bridge on the Normandy.

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33 Comments

  1. dany
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    This sort of reminds me of Film Crit Hulk’s uncharacteristically harsh reaction to the criticism of the ending.

    And yeah, I’m with both of you on this. I rather liked the ending. I admit I was, in a way, a little disappointed that it didn’t blow my mind in a mind-fuck surprise kind of way, and I’m not completely on board with the symbolism of it, but it works fine. I was and am satisfied.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Some interesting reading there. Not sure I agree the story is entirely about the inevitability of the cycle, since the ending is specifically about breaking out of that cycle. It’s a bit Madoka-esque actually. You can’t beat the system, but you can change it.

      Although interestingly the part I found myself agreeing with a lot was the top rated comment’s bit on the rewriting of everyone’s bodies to make the homogeneous going against the point of the story. I see what Mass Effect was going for with that, but it really goes against the pride in your individual species the entire story was getting at.

      • Posted March 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        I thought the same thing, honestly. Mass Effect has always had a message that diversity is power, and letting people and cultures from all different origins communicate and work together makes for a stronger society than if all of these races were left to fend for themselves. The difference between this cycle and the others is presumably that its races managed to set aside their differences to unify under a single banner. They’re strong because of their differences – not despite them.

        Suggesting that the only way for people to ever get along (or indeed survive) is to make everyone fundamentally the same has some pretty disturbing connotations at the end of the day.

      • Scamp
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        At the same time, Mass Effect did have a strong point to make about the futility of escaping this cycle. If any of the endings were ‘perfect’, that would have destroyed that meaning. I’m not exactly happy with the ending, but none of the endings were great which in itself is sort of the point.

      • Stef
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        The original ending doesn’t give the player any look at what the choices entail for the future, so I think it’s more resonant with the idea of entering something entirely new. Who knows what it means to fuse machine and organics?

        I think the extended ending kind of gives that “homogenized galaxy” vibe because it says too much of the aftermath when it’s not really the message it tries to give. Joker and EDI looking into the distance is good enough to drive the point home.

  2. Posted March 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was hella dumb that my choices of how to deal with the Rachni and the Geth in previous games didn’t actually mean anything since ME3 makes you make those exact decisions again. Although my perspective on it is kind of skewed since I played all three games back to back and was making decisions like that with the knowledge that I would need allies in the future. It would probably suck if you couldn’t get the Rachni on your side in ME3 because 5 years prior you chose to kill a freaky bug monster in a game you didn’t even know would be getting a sequel.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      I played each game about 4 months apart, so I have roughly the same view you have. It never quite occurred to me that you were basically making the same choice with the Rachni, but giving them the second chance was essentially the same idea as giving the Krogan another chance. Yes they could, and have a good chance of doing so, fucking you over again, but you believe in the principle of giving them the chance

    • Posted March 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Not to shamelessly plug my own website or anything (okay, you caught me, that’s precisely what I’m doing) but I wrote many, many words on Bioware’s philosophy of player choice and how it inevitably leads to railroading and downplaying of what should be world-defining events like the fate of the Rachni and Geth.

      When people complain about their choices not meaning anything in ME3, I think they’re feeling this same sort of fatigue, realizing that while they’re given literally thousands of options, the sheer number of choices in the game precludes them all from having any lasting impact on the plot, setting, or characters.

      Back in the Neverwinter Nights era when the production value of writing a whole story branch to wrap up (or carry forward into the rest of the game) a big decision was a bunch of text-based dialogue and script triggers, it was much easier to make it seem like a choice meant something – changed something. With today’s standards Bioware would need a stable of environment artists, animators, voice actors, and literally millions of dollars worth of effort just to put a similar bookend on a single multifaceted choice. They can’t afford this… so they write them out, downplay them, minimize their influence and impact, or railroad your reactions. Anything to keep the illusion of choice at every turn – even at the cost of any actual choice.

      • Scamp
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        See, I think each individual choice is its own reward. They’re not all supposed to create some sort of tangible end. They’re attempt to do that with the paragon/renegade thing was terrible. It’s not ‘choice’, and it bugs me that people bitch about the ending not having that when it had as much ‘choice’ as the rest of the entire series. Making the decision of how Sheppard reacts is its own reward as you shape how their character and story is told

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        You won’t hear any arguments from me that the ending had the same degree of choice than the rest of the game – my beef has always been that Bioware-styled RPG’s don’t let you actually impact their central narrative or characters. In that sense, the ending actually has more choice than any other part of the game because it concludes definitively in one of three dramatically different (in a story sense; the actual cutscenes are practically identical) ways based on how you act. It’s one of the only places where you can make a meaningful choice.

        Paragon/renegade was indeed a terrible misstep, but not because the core concept of giving Shepard personality-defining points of view as dialogue options was flawed. Rather, it’s representing complex character traits as points on a binary scale that ruined it… that and making many of the options inconsistent with one another. Bioware themselves can’t seem to agree if it’s asshole/nice guy, chaos/order, or good/evil and regularly mix up the three.

        In brief: you shouldn’t be punished with greyed-out asshole choices because you didn’t kick enough puppies earlier in the game. That is silly. A one-time puppy kicker is not one tenth the asshole that a ten-times puppy kicker is.

        What I want from a “choice” mechanic is meaning. Consequences. If I exterminate a species it should stay dead. If I depose a council it should be reformed. If I kill someone their absence should change things in different ways than their continued existence would. In Mass Effect the species I killed came back to life, the council I deposed was replaced with one identical to the last, my human-centric citadel had no preference to aid Earth, and every ally I lost was replaced with a different-named doppelganger who shared their exact competencies and carried out their role in the plot.

        In Mass Effect 1 I appointed Anderson councilor. In Mass Effect 3 Udina inexplicably ran the show. At the end of Mass Effect 2 I destroyed the Collector Base specifically to keep it away from Cerberus. By Mass Effect 3 TIM had salvaged the Reaper from it anyway. I was nice to Conrad Verner. Conrad Verner later told me I was a massive dick.

        I would love to make decisions as Shepard with lasting consequences. I’d love if Morinth had her own recurring subplot of deceit and persecution by the Asari after I spared her, if there were no Rachni for the Reapers to corrupt (or Shepard to save) because I had ordered their execution, if the Geth couldn’t attain individual sapience because Legion was destroyed in the suicide mission or sold off to Cerberus. I’d love to screw up crucial negotiations with an Asari diplomat by being too abraisive – or a Krogan by being too soft – and lose out on something tangible for my mistake.

        None of these things are possible if the resources needed are spread over a hundred thousand similar options. They all end up reduced to one-note closers, unsatisfying “remember me?”s, or confusing retcons where no one event ever has any bearing on any other even when it seems like it should.

  3. Usny
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    “but the ending doesn’t invalidate the previous 30-40 hours of story the rest of the game delivered so perfectly on.”

    This. This is what I always tell people that try to tell me ME3 is bad because of the ending.

    I’m glad you liked the series so much too, Scamp. ME2 and 3 are my favorite games of all time.

  4. Gamen
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I think the real reason it stuck in some fans craw was because they had fallen for the PR that was coming out before the game. It was hinted very early on that because this was the final game in the trilogy and there were no sequels to worry about, they were going to go all out and have wildly different endings based on all your choices. And so the game came out, and when the fools who bought into the hype founds their choices were reduced to points for opening up a variety of mostly identical endings, they went nuts.

    There are (or were before the EC) other issues: Reducing the Reapers from cosmic horrors created from the rendered down flesh of entire species to automatons that can be killed or enslaved with the press of the right button. Marooning the remains of your crew on a planet which is unlikely to have edible food for both turians/quarians and humans/asari/etc, if any at all. The lack of an epilogue to explain what exactly we saw. Et cetera. The EC mitigated some of those issues, though the Reapers motivations remain unchanged.

    Personally I would have preferred the original, leaked justification for the Reapers actions; that use of the eponymous Mass Effect is slowly destroying the galaxy. I think it ties in better with the rest of the games.

    But all the shit is dropped on you in the last hour, leaving the rest of the games untouched. Easy enough to imagine a different ending.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Falling for PR is dumb, although I suppose it’s Bioware’s own fault for talking so much prior to release on promises they obviously couldn’t fulfil.

      I don’t really have a problem with any of the things you raised. The Reapers being controllable would tie into the idea that you can control the galaxy, which I can see fitting the story if you had chosen the Illusive Man view of looking at the story. Plus the Normandy being downed on the planet is hardly an issue when they just defeated the Reapers. I think they can handle some early survival problems.

      The Mass Effect destroying the galaxy idea is interesting, but the Mass Effect idea barely played into the story at all, so I can see why they did away with that idea. Although their solution wasn’t particularly good either.

      • Shengar
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        “but the ending doesn’t invalidate the previous 30-40 hours of story the rest of the game delivered so perfectly on.”

        For ME3 as a single game, its true. For the whole franchise, is it not. The problem is, no matter how much you try you play your game differently, you cannot escape the narrowness of the ending.

        “Falling for PR is dumb, although I suppose it’s Bioware’s own fault for talking so much prior to release on promises they obviously couldn’t fulfil.”

        Another agreement here. Bioware problem is that they offer the game like it have the reactivity of Planescape: Torment in term of player-choice. To make thing worse, the lead writer said in many previous interview that he gonna make different ending that is not like any other game, just for gamer to see the ending look like a Deus Ex rip-off.

        Too many people have invested their time on the first two games. Mainly because they one to see each ending that they being promised to. Well, if your daddy said that he gonna bought you a new video game console when you got good enough score to topple a record, and later fulfill it just to see your dad gave an Ouya, who wouldn’t gonna gone mad?

        Yeah, its about emotional investment. Because you know, I can see that Scamp too rather emotionally attached to his Shepard.

        “The Mass Effect destroying the galaxy idea is interesting, but the Mass Effect idea barely played into the story at all, so I can see why they did away with that idea. Although their solution wasn’t particularly good either.”

        Its actually gonna make more impact later on in the story. The stupid thing is, ME lead writer and creator, Drew Karpyshyn, was replaced by someone new that doesn’t know a fuck about where the game would be directed on.

        Drew Karphyshyn originally want to focus the effect of eezo and mass effect on the game. These somehow have been subtly hinted throughout the two first game rather good. In the first game, they’ve shown the effect of eezo and mass effect on human society and galaxy. In the second game, there we have the Biotic God(/sarcasm), and the sun in Tali recruit mission. But somehow, the new writers went an asspull and give us organic vs synthetic bullshit about political correctness of diversity.

        There are many inconsitencies within the game. One tiny example, thing I saw is a frikkin Dreadnought in Earth’s atmosphere. In earlier game it was stated that any ships beyond Frigate-class are impossible to land in any planet except if they have strong enough mass effect core to hold their weight. Sovereign used this fact to show its technological prowess in the first game and yet, they easily put a Dreadnought under Earth atmosphere just like that? No no, I am certain someone called that pwned big ship as Dreadnought.

        To whole incosistencies continue with many on the character writing. In ther first, we were given Ashley with belieavble hair of a marine. Then, she somehow let loose her hair for no apparent reason. In first, all the character zip themselves in protective, skimpy-but-covering combat space suit. In second game, then we have a justicar with her cleavage exposed, and ooh, high heels too. Not too mention an escaped criminal who wear nothing but a strap over her tattoed body.

        Yes, it is true that ME is more interactive than many other AAA title game. And it also quite true that the story is more than your other standard AAA title, but ME is not an example how a story should told in the medium of video game, not mention the whole bags of incosistencies and political-correctness.

        Well, I can agree with you on many things about anime and medium of storytelling, but likely, this one is not the case. You’ll probably being invigorated by Tuchanka mission, which is I agree, well executed. And yes, Mording is too a favorite character, but it seems one character can’t hope to save a whole franchise.

      • Scamp
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        No, and you are an idiot. Stop falling for PR. And that ending you’re on about with Eezo and mass effect has an even smaller part of the story than the organics vs synthetics, even in the first two games, so you can’t complain about that part of the story being too small and then say that’s the better solution.

        Saying the ending invalidates the entire franchise is the height of fucking stupidity. It delivered on every single characters’ arcs and gave them each finality. Liara, Wrex, Mordin, Garrus, Tali etc. They all had arcs that were finished long before the actual ending that was practically a formality by that stage.

        Talking about inconsistencies with the dreadnought is silly. How about things like the medi-gel changing purpose or the fact your guns suddenly need ammo? Technology changes and they toss out a one-word reason why. And jesus christ your final line is the dumbest of them all. “one character can’t hope to save a whole franchise”? How about EVERY FUCKING CHARACTER, and how about you contradicting your own argument by saying one scene can’t ruin a whole franchise?

        Christ, you are one of the dumbass Mass Effect whingy fuckwards I’ve been bitching about in this post

      • Stef
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Your comparison with Torment is more on point than you think. The game had only one ending, but several ways to make it resonate with the way you played. In many respects, it’s a lot similar to ME3.

      • nazaren
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Shengar’s arguments are basically why I changed my perspective and made peace with the ending. The arguments against it became so pedantic and ultimately boiled down to the most anal nitpicking I’ve ever seen.

        Granted, a lot of things don’t make much sense when viewed though a ridiculously powerful magnifying glass (catalyst-citadel, Ilos conduit, among others)… but that’s no different than almost any other story in any other medium. The tiny inconsistencies are just that. It’s splitting hairs for the sake of it.

        Drew Karpyshyn’s original storyboard wasn’t promising, especially if you take into account his body of work. I think it would have felt no less “ass pull-y” and probably more abstract than what we got… but we’ll never know, so there’s no point of arguing for that.

  5. Mr. Monkey
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Wait, if Mass Effect is your favorite piece of entertainment of all time, how did you consistently misspell the name of the main character in this post? Sorry, it just bugs me…

    • Scamp
      Posted March 30, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      It’s my Mass Effect and my Sheppard, so I can call her whatever I want =P

      • Mr. Monkey
        Posted March 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        So Javik is yours too now? Cause you got his name wrong too, like a true primitive would… and Kai leng… Sorry I’ll stop now.

      • Scamp
        Posted March 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        My favourite anime is Code Geese with Lelooch Lamperudge and Seetoo

      • Stef
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        You’re going to Hell for this, Scamp.

  6. nazaren
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Just after launch, I was “Holding the Line” and screaming that ME3 ruined it’s predecessors and all that. Now, after time, Leviathan, and the Extended Cut… I’m pretty much fine with it.

    I still have a problem, mainly with how (imo) the series’ main focus was never primarily on AI vs Organics, and how that ties into the ending. That casts a bit of a negative light on everything else, but I can deal with it.

    ME3 does soooo much right, and is so powerful when it capitalizes on the previous games’ narratives, that it constantly erodes any negative feelings I have about it or the series. And I can’t stress enough the importance of the EC… a lot of people decried it as adding nothing substantive, but it makes a world of difference compared to the vanilla.

    In retrospect, I think a lot of the outcry had to do with the finality of “Shepard’s story”, and people didn’t want to let go. I know that’s been trumpeted before (and dismissed, even by me)… but multiplayer balance changes and weekend events just ended, and there’s a buttload of whining, even though the support for it over the past year has been absolutely stellar. People want more, and they’re very upset about it. Maybe not directly related, but it’s something to ponder.

    Smart move skipping Omega. I love me some Aria, but it was the worst $15 I’ve spent in a long time.

    I have to say the multiplayer has been a constant surprise in how much fun it is. I highly recommend it, especially in it’s current (and final :<) form. I was totally against the idea of it, but I adore it, in practice. Like I said, official support in the way of patches, balance changes, expansions, and weekend events just ended (like a week or two ago), but it's final form is fantastic. There are bugs, some more annoying and prevalent than others, but it's worth it.

    Sorry, that was really long, but I love the series =P Thanks for the write-up!

    Origin ID: Valindus
    Eastern US, play Silver and Gold.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      The synthetics vs organics being dropped out of nowhere was a bit random. They did kind of make a big deal out of the fact the Reapers were synthetics, but that wasn’t really the way I was expecting them to go.

      I’ve seen the view on the multiplayer shift over time as more and more people seem to enjoy it. I’ve never really gotten why people bitch about multiplayer when it sits so separate from the main game. Doesn’t that mean you have something extra to enjoy? idk, not much of a gamer or anything.

      • nazaren
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Yeah… in its defense, the original idea(dark energy, eezo, etc) wasn’t that great either, but I would have preferred the ambiguously motivated Cthulhus from spaaaace instead of, well… menacing space gardeners.

        Also, sure, the reapers were essentially saving organic life from extinction… but man, they didn’t have to be such dicks about it. They clearly enjoyed eradicating life a bit too much.

        The multiplayer was originally viewed with disdain because a) people thought it shifted resources from developing multiplayer, and b) “its multiplayer, in my Mass Effect?!”. Once people actually *played* it, they came around. There are still the lore junkies that hate it, because it does bend and stretch the lore, but IMO never breaks it.

        That’s the general thought line when multiplayer is attached to a primarily single-player game/series… and often it is a poorly implemented piece of shit which (possibly) shifted resources single-player.

        Definitely wrong this time around.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Essentially, multiplayer modes are being pushed into loads of games recently whether or not they have anything of substance to offer or any resonance with the core concepts of the game. They’re mandated by publishers to check off a feature on the back of the box without any further thought put in.

        A purely story-driven, singleplayer game like Mass Effect doesn’t have much to gain from splitting its resources into effectively developing a whole other game alongside it, and potentially a lot to lose. Luckily in this case, there’s enough overlap with ME3′s cover based shooting to make a fairly entertaining coop survival game even without the RPG mechanics, and some genuine care and thought seems to have been put into it. The fact that it’s frequently updated and well-supported by the developer at no extra cost also helps a ton to reinforce this.

        Other primarily singleplayer games mandated to include a multiplayer mode have not exactly been so lucky.

        Did you know Bioshock 2 had a multiplayer mode? I didn’t, and I didn’t care when I found out. Turns out nobody else did either. The same fate befell Rage, Dead Space 2, Far Cry 3… and the third FEAR game. We don’t talk about the horrors of the third FEAR game. They didn’t even exist.

  7. Shengar
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    “I still have a problem, mainly with how (imo) the series’ main focus was never primarily on AI vs Organics, and how that ties into the ending. That casts a bit of a negative light on everything else, but I can deal with it”

    Well, it seem that you too, can noticed that ME Trilogy primarly wasn’t being mean to have theme of organic vs synthetic from the start. This is what happen when you give the place of lead writer to someone new and kick out the original lead writer out of the team. Just imagine Mushishi’s author or director replaced when the series still running.

    • Immanuel
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      yeah Mass Effect 3 was just a confused mess. The writer just dismissed story commitments by the previous games. Doing that made some scenes truly bizarre. Especially how a landmark character comes back (Miranda) only to be poorly reasoned out of the plot.

      What’s really damning was the fact that the characters replacing the ones that were lost were not nearly as well developed. In Mass Effect 2 the intergalactic intrigue was merely the backdrop of truly skillful character development. In Mass Effect 3, the focus gets lost and we only get to experience some lackluster political/sci-fi narrative.

  8. Cirith
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Hmm… No the “the ending is horrible” crowd was more convincing, and I will not risk getting disappointed by playing the third part. (Well since I know how it ends it shouldn’t disappoint me anyway.)
    Also, I never finished ME2, and I have problems with finishing things after they have been unfinished for a while. (I still have to watch the second Spice and Wolf season and the rest of eureka seven and the rest of kurau phantom memory and planetscape torment and…)

    • Scamp
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Your loss

      • Cirith
        Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:27 am | Permalink

        I wonder. It’s not like I’m a big fan of the gameplay, so I play games like this mainly for story and interesting NPCs. And I consider “synthetics who kill everyone because otherwise they would be killed by synthetics” quite stupid so it would lessen my enjoyment of the rest of the story.
        I suppose I could play it because I like some of the crewmembers, if I ever finish ME2.

  9. Erif
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    “Mass Effect games combined are my favourite piece of entertainment ever. As in all of entertainment, from books to movies to anime to sports to whatever.”

    I find this a bit hard to swallow, but I’m glad you played and enjoyed ME3.

  10. T1g
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I just beat the game too and I pretty much agree with everything you said. Legion’s story arc made me incredibly sad when i began to realize what his full backstory was, while going through CYBERSPACE. and then it ends in the best way ever and it was really heavy and I can’t believe people had problems with this game.

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