What’s Wrong with Mass Effect 2?

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What's Wrong with Mass Effect 2?

Why is Shamus worried about Mass Effect 3? Because of Mass Effect 2, that's why.

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I think you yourself put it best when you said "In hell the dialogue is written by bioware"
For the record I actually have read all of the article.

Seemed like a hell of a lot of nitpicking to me. People should really stop getting up in arms about the "stories" we're hearing about EA interfering with the franchise, all you're doing is upsetting yourselves. If some hard evidence comes out which clearly outlines EA's involvement in making the game worse in any way, I will eat my damn hat.

To be fair, Bioware pretty much never writes good plots anyway. They're mostly good at creating a cast of memorable characters.

i like the game and the dieing part i agree with you on that part and only that part

Sparrow:
Seemed like a hell of a lot of nitpicking to me. People should really stop getting up in arms about the "stories" we're hearing about EA interfering with the franchise, all you're doing is upsetting yourselves. If some hard evidence comes out which clearly outlines EA's involvement in making the game worse in any way, I will eat my damn hat.

It's cool if you don't need stories that make sense or characters with discernable motivation. But, you know, some of us DO. And we're no longer getting it.

I don't care if it's EA's fault, or BioWare's fault. It's something that BioWare fans are no longer getting. That's why people are getting worried about Mass Effect 3.

Kahunaburger:
To be fair, Bioware pretty much never writes good plots anyway. They're mostly good at creating a cast of memorable characters.

I agree. Last year I played KoTOR to get an idea on how "story-based" RPGs handle to "non-RPGs" like Diablo, and I had my own share of complaints about the story in that game. The characters really did stick out for me, though, such as HK-47 or Mission.

I haven't played any of the "Mass Effect" games, but some of the plot-holes (which sound un-credible or non-coherent) that Shamus listed sound like a good way to ruin a story--whether it is told in a video game or not.

I'm praying ME3 will be more RPG-ey than ME2. Seriously. All I'd like would for it to be more like 1 than 2. I know I'm just dreaming though.

on some show even if they know its a trap they go in anyway so can't really fault them on that one

why every game that tries to shorten the voiced answers fails so laughably? Ultimately it should be constructed around what the short options mean and try to convey.

So is this a recap of Mass Effect 2, or a season of Spoiler Warning?

The general candor from all the staff on this site seems to be portents of doom and gloom for mass effect 3. You know though guys, fear is infectious. I know you talk amongst yourselves, you must at points, and from a non-insular, outside perspective this is simply tantamount to so much whining and quailing. I'm not saying woes are endemic to your staff, I'm sure some of your readers share them as well. But for the most part there's a lot of unsubstantiated anger and paranoia.

A lot of your "points" are actually not points at all but simply the result of your interpretation of events. Take this for example:

Shamus Young:
At one point they fed colonists to the thresher maw in order to test the effects of feeding colonists to a thresher maw

No, they lured an alliance military unit to a thresher maw to test the combat viability of the thresher maw. They also were experimenting with being able to CONTROL thresher maws. You have forgotten some pretty important details here and built a case on those flaws (the phrase "A castle built on sand" springs to mind). I could go point by point but that isn't the issue. The issue here is not that you are using examples to build a thesis, but trying to use examples to support a conclusion. And you're shoehorning to do it. You should have double checked your facts or at least run this by someone playing the devil's advocate, someone presenting a differing opinion. From the looks of it though there is nobody on the staff who possesses one. I can't speak with absolute authority but it would seem you yourselves have fallen into a trap, groupthink.

As for Cerberus, what about them seemed bumbling? Yes Shepard mows them down but then again, let's all remember that Shepard is some kind of legendary hero. I mean you don't presume the reapers are bumblers because Shepard thwarts them at every turn do you? To see how the average individual matches up against Cerberus look at how people who aren't Shepard in mass effect one wind up when they cross paths with them. We have scientists who are so scared of them they'ed rather kill themselves than go up against them, we have a high-ranking military official who can't find anything on them and is then somehow abducted and killed and the death completely covered up, we have a hardened soldier who was driven insane by their experiments. They are neither bunglers nor idiots. Shepard is simply awesome.

EDIT:
On the subject of Railroading my hat goes off to Woodsey once again:

Woodsey:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
I have raged against the railroading (I have to work with Cerberus?),.

I have to work with the Alliance? I have to become a Spectre? I have to oppose Saren?

There's always some railroading, and you at least have the chance to play it as if you are undermining them or agree with them (or a mix).

Complaining about railroading is ridiculous. Games have to have practical limits and constraints, sorry. I'm sure we've all dreamed of the game where we could do anything we wanted to but it hasn't come along yet. Development has costs, media has storage limits.

Double post, ignore

Then we get to the "trap." ... Worse, they didn't even need to beat him in a gunfight. They could just have flown off with him and left the Normandy behind.

They tried this. The reason things didn't work out was because EDI was hacking their systems. Thanks to EDI you're able to escape before they can bring all their systems back online.

What was his goal? What was he planning on doing if there hadn't been a trap?

You were there for intel - just blowing the ship away would have made it a bit more difficult.

You're standing on a pile of technology, intel, and proof that the Reapers exist, but apparently it's "too dangerous", because ... I guess everyone else in the galaxy is too stupid to be trusted with it?

How about because EVERYTIME anyone anywhere in the Mass Effect universe begins jacking around with any kind of Reaper Tech the end result is invariably indoctrination, and Shepard having to fight through a ton of Husks.

As for "false binary choices" what the hell do you expect them to do? Come up with every single conceivable option possible? I mean they're already tracking 1000s of choices you make throughout the series - I mean a single new option is an entire new permutation of choices for the devs to deal with. If you're going to allow these kind of decisions and make them flow though multiple games - you're going to have to make sacrifices in order to be able to make the game's storyline coherent, and be able to make the various major permutations manageable from a programming standpoint.

I assume that was an Arrival spoiler as well. It's probably still new enough to warrant a warning also.

The plot of arrival and the Mass Effect 2 plot seem like they should have switch. On that note, did anyone else notice that the loyalty missions were written better than the actual plot?

Shamus Young:

Sparrow:
Seemed like a hell of a lot of nitpicking to me. People should really stop getting up in arms about the "stories" we're hearing about EA interfering with the franchise, all you're doing is upsetting yourselves. If some hard evidence comes out which clearly outlines EA's involvement in making the game worse in any way, I will eat my damn hat.

It's cool if you don't need stories that make sense or characters with discernable motivation. But, you know, some of us DO. And we're no longer getting it.

I don't care if it's EA's fault, or BioWare's fault. It's something that BioWare fans are no longer getting. That's why people are getting worried about Mass Effect 3.

Uh-huh. I'm not sure who this "we" you're refering to is. Some select crowd of well hidden gamers, maybe? Regardless, I'm just not seeing the points you're making. Most of these "plot hole" (yes, I like sarcastic air quotes) you're picking out just seem to be the most minute problems you could possibly pick on.

I mean, honestly, you're pissed because Shepard didn't whip out his/her phone and take a snapshot of the Reaper? What was he going to do next, upload it on his Facebook profile so his squadmates could all like it? The council wouldn't see the evidence in that case, I bet they all blocked Shep's friend requests.

You know what I cannot stand about people that go "I hate Bioware, they killed my Pa!"?

You guys are always criticizing. That's your problem. It's good to point out the flaws in a game, yes. But it's just annoying to watch a miserable git constantly whine and moan about said flaws. Can you guys at least acknowledge that ME2 is leagues better than most other games nowadays (in terms of characters/plot and immersion) and then tell us about what can be improved? At least then, I'd love to listen to you.

on LOTR, I am distinctly certain the eagles were scared of mordor when sauron was "alive"

Damn it you TVtroped me. Goodbye 3 hours of my life.

Sparrow:

Shamus Young:

Sparrow:
Seemed like a hell of a lot of nitpicking to me. People should really stop getting up in arms about the "stories" we're hearing about EA interfering with the franchise, all you're doing is upsetting yourselves. If some hard evidence comes out which clearly outlines EA's involvement in making the game worse in any way, I will eat my damn hat.

It's cool if you don't need stories that make sense or characters with discernable motivation. But, you know, some of us DO. And we're no longer getting it.

I don't care if it's EA's fault, or BioWare's fault. It's something that BioWare fans are no longer getting. That's why people are getting worried about Mass Effect 3.

Uh-huh. I'm not sure who this "we" you're refering to is. Some select crowd of well hidden gamers, maybe? Regardless, I'm just not seeing the points you're making. Most of these "plot hole" (yes, I like sarcastic air quotes) you're picking out just seem to be the most minute problems you could possibly pick on.

I mean, honestly, you're pissed because Shepard didn't whip out his/her phone and take a snapshot of the Reaper? What was he going to do next, upload it on his Facebook profile so his squadmates could all like it? The council wouldn't see the evidence in that case, I bet they all blocked Shep's friend requests.

Well, completely changing the nature of an established organization for the sequel isn't exactly "minute." Neither is Shep being forced to act out of character by the plot.

Reading this article made me relize that Cerberus sounds oddly like Aperture Science. Especially the "At one point they fed colonists to the thresher maw in order to test the effects of feeding colonists to a thresher maw." part. That's something I'd expect GladOS to do...

You make it sound so... pants on head retarded.

Seriously though, couldn't get through 10 hours of ME1, and got ME2 for free for having DA2 and have next to zero interest in playing it... especially now.

BioWare, IMO, does not make very good games anymore. Mediocre games, I think. DA2? It has it's moments, but it's not good. BioWare has really, completely, fallen off my list of competent devs I pay attention to.

cynicalsaint1:

Then we get to the "trap." ... Worse, they didn't even need to beat him in a gunfight. They could just have flown off with him and left the Normandy behind.

They tried this. The reason things didn't work out was because EDI was hacking their systems. Thanks to EDI you're able to escape before they can bring all their systems back online.

What was his goal? What was he planning on doing if there hadn't been a trap?

You were there for intel - just blowing the ship away would have made it a bit more difficult.

You're standing on a pile of technology, intel, and proof that the Reapers exist, but apparently it's "too dangerous", because ... I guess everyone else in the galaxy is too stupid to be trusted with it?

How about because EVERYTIME anyone anywhere in the Mass Effect universe begins jacking around with any kind of Reaper Tech the end result is invariably indoctrination, and Shepard having to fight through a ton of Husks.

As for "false binary choices" what the hell do you expect them to do? Come up with every single conceivable option possible? I mean they're already tracking 1000s of choices you make throughout the series - I mean a single new option is an entire new permutation of choices for the devs to deal with. If you're going to allow these kind of decisions and make them flow though multiple games - you're going to have to make sacrifices in order to be able to make the game's storyline coherent, and be able to make the various major permutations manageable from a programming standpoint.

Honestly the plot hole is at the very beginning when you "die" so Cerberus can bring you back... it's still faceplamingly bad, from then on it was a game of "Fuck with Cerberus as much as is humanly possible"

But your remark about reaper tech is well taken and was missing from Shepard's reasoning for destroying the station, but was certainly my reasons.

Shamus Young:

Sparrow:
Seemed like a hell of a lot of nitpicking to me. People should really stop getting up in arms about the "stories" we're hearing about EA interfering with the franchise, all you're doing is upsetting yourselves. If some hard evidence comes out which clearly outlines EA's involvement in making the game worse in any way, I will eat my damn hat.

It's cool if you don't need stories that make sense or characters with discernable motivation. But, you know, some of us DO. And we're no longer getting it.

I don't care if it's EA's fault, or BioWare's fault. It's something that BioWare fans are no longer getting. That's why people are getting worried about Mass Effect 3.

I'm a "new" BioWare fan, mostly because I play approximately two or three unique games per year (for time reasons, and because, when I really enjoy it, I want to replay it), but I have to say, that the series of complaints you provided in this essay are vastly more coherent than the quick dig in and subsequent firestorm surrounding the most recent Stolen Pixels strip.

(... and yeah... Cerberus is variously hyperorganized and managed by bumbling idiots, sometimes both at the same time.)

cynicalsaint1:
As for "false binary choices" what the hell do you expect them to do? Come up with every single conceivable option possible?

The problem isn't a binary choice, it's a false binary choice. How about we take the smart option, like...

"Hey, Citadel. This is Shephard. I am standing on a dead reaper fetus in the middle of a reaper factory right now. I'm sending you a picture and coordinates. Cerberus wants this place too, so if you don't want the pro-human superterrorist group building reapers you should probably send someone over here."

Seems like Shamus and I have the same opinion on the Mass Effect 2 story. It's obvious they didn't have the trilogy planed out when they started development on the first game, otherwise things like Cerberus and the act 2 twist (which was really cool in theory, but came across as weak due to a lack of buildup) would have been properly built up from the beginning. Making things up as you go along isn't really the ideal way when you're making a trilogy, not saying it's always a bad idea, but it's clearly not working out for Mass Effect.

Still, I'll save the final judgment for when the third part comes out. It's possible some things will make more sense or at least come off in a better light once you have the entire context.

I definately agree with this and think that only a bit of a rewrite for cerberus would have made the story that much more compelling. I don't see why the organisation couldn't have still been the shambling group of terrorists that Shepard repeatedly mowed down in the first game. The could have chanced upon Collector intel from an abandoned outpost and just beleive that they have the ability to make use of alien technology, maybe with one good scientist to accomadate other story points. I would have much preferred a charasmatic fanatical leader to the white-eyed demigod of the Illusive Man.

Its a bit of an overused trope, but why not give Cerberus some sort of ability to instantly kill Shepard, tied to his regeneration? Along the lines of 'they restored his genetic code, they can cause it to break down', maybe with a remote signal. This gives a story-relevent reason for his 'death', and a reason for him to work for Cerberus.

Not perfect, but that's half the logical problems solved right?

sravankb:
You know what I cannot stand about people that go "I hate Bioware, they killed my Pa!"?

You guys are always criticizing. That's your problem. It's good to point out the flaws in a game, yes. But it's just annoying to watch a miserable git constantly whine and moan about said flaws. Can you guys at least acknowledge that ME2 is leagues better than most other games nowadays (in terms of characters/plot and immersion) and then tell us about what can be improved? At least then, I'd love to listen to you.

Is it a problem to be constantly critical? Or is that a character trait? And I don't think calling someone a git for being critical is a good way to get them to side with you. For the record, Shamus did mention that despite being one of Bioware's worst stories, it is still better than most out there.

OT.
Shamus, even if Bioware had junior writers working on Dragon Age 2, that still doesn't absolve them from having their Lead Writer David Gaider act like a jerk online. The story is still disjointed, dull, and in the end meaningless (IMO), so it would be nice if he accepted some of the blame instead of shouting "fuck you I can do what I want and Leliana is still alive regardless."

Jandau:
Reading this article made me relize that Cerberus sounds oddly like Aperture Science. Especially the "At one point they fed colonists to the thresher maw in order to test the effects of feeding colonists to a thresher maw." part. That's something I'd expect GladOS to do...

Well, someone brought it up already but it wasn't feeding colonists to the thresher maw, it was luring the Alliance military into combat with it to test its possible combative capabilities, as well as controlling it. He may of chosen a "colonist" "survivor" shepard so his memory might be hazy, but that is exactly what the actual quest was about. Specially since Thresher Maws are rather picky about where they live, and its damn hard to transport giant killer worms like that.

Sparrow:
I mean, honestly, you're pissed because Shepard didn't whip out his/her phone and take a snapshot of the Reaper? What was he going to do next, upload it on his Facebook profile so his squadmates could all like it? The council wouldn't see the evidence in that case, I bet they all blocked Shep's friend requests.

He's "pissed" because the main character's actions don't make any sense. He can solve the problem driving the plot but he doesn't for no reason. If you're paying attention at all, you should be going '???'.

What's everybody's deal? He's just pointing out some plot holes and concerns. I thought the article was pretty mild.

this does a good job of illustrating why Im worried about me3, none of the promo vids for it look like it will have a good plot, they make it look like it will have a summer block buster movie plot, which means a stupid plot with some good action scenes and Im worried that me3 will be just that, a stupid stupid plot with good voice acting and some decent action, really I would prefer it the other way around, a really good plot with good voice acting and some ok action scenes since there are tons of good action games out there but they almost all have shitty plots

Sparrow:
Seemed like a hell of a lot of nitpicking to me. People should really stop getting up in arms about the "stories" we're hearing about EA interfering with the franchise, all you're doing is upsetting yourselves. If some hard evidence comes out which clearly outlines EA's involvement in making the game worse in any way, I will eat my damn hat.

You're kidding, right? Mass Effect = good story. Everything before it = good story. Enter EA. Mass Effect 2 = bad story. DA:O = simplistic story. DA2 = bad story.

I don't see how it isn't obvious. Like Shamus said, it's not so much that EA is intentionally interfering with Bioware's story-writing as it is that they're interfering with everything else and thus adversely affecting the story-writing. EA is likely to cut Bioware if TOR isn't a success, anyway. They've been looking for some studio that they can squeeze a golden calf MMO out of for years.

I have raged against the railroading (I have to work with Cerberus?), and plot before (TIM runs a very loose and destructive ship). My main reason for liking ME better than ME2.

Soviet Heavy:
Snip.

Yes, it is a problem to be constantly critical. It's not fun to discuss anything with a person who hates everything. At least in Yahtzee's case, he's funny and you know that his reviews have to be taken with a massive dose of salt.

Heck, look at Metacritic's reviews for the game - 96%. That is an overall, excellent package. It's just annoying as hell to constantly see that other 4% be a common topic of discussion for an otherwise fantastic game. And no, I'm not one of those guys who thinks that reviews are the only way I'll know if a game is good or not. I would be the best judge of that. However, aggregate reviews are a good starting point to judge a game.

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