What’s Wrong with Mass Effect 2?

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OutrageousEmu:
You've never read one of the Jokers comic books have you? He tried that, and Batman escaped. They did the exact equivilant of that to Sheperd - they sent their gigantic fuck-off aerial weapons after him, and the guy took them out too. Like I said, Sheperd is that awesome.

I haven't read any Batman comics, you're right. And I don't particularly care to. The fact of the matter is, in all of those similar scenarios that I've read, it's almost always either the antagonists being stupid/incompetent or the protagonist getting incredibly lucky or having some form of deus ex machina.

OutrageousEmu:
Bane crippled Batman and he got out of that. Try to inform yourself occasionally.

Hence deus ex machina. You do not "get out" of being crippled. Anything that does so is automatically deus ex machina.

OutrageousEmu:
1. It tells you of the nature of the enemy they're fighting - what the Reapers are capable of and what their intentions are. It also tells them how to fight the threat off.

2. They didn't know that, but it was their one and only lead. Besides, they had EDI - if it could be read, EDI could read it.

3. What the hell does that even mean?

1) We already knew that. It was all explained in ME1, along with what awaits humanity, both by Virgil and the existence of the Husks.

2) I'm not sure what EDI has to do with it, but alright.

3) It means there was 1 Collector ship. Meaning there was only one ship going in or out of the system. There is no need for multiple IFFs, especially not in a multi-million year old Reaper corpse.

OutrageousEmu:
1. Yes, FOR NOW. They are hinking long term here, a thing both you and Shamus seem very very bad at. The Reapers will use the relays to come through.

2. No, telling them not to come through THAT WAY is not the ssame as not comign back period.

Look, here's how it works. The Reapers will stop at nothing to wipe out all life in the galaxy. STOP. AT. NOTHING. However, the Relay adds a degree of predictability - we know their most likely point of attack. If we destroy this, they will fall back, develop a new means of transport and we have lost the predictability - hell, the only reason they didn't destroy the Relay themselves is cause they didn't realise Shepard had the means to use it.

1) Problem: There is one, und precisely one, way in or out of the system containing the Collector base. That is the Omega-4 Relay. The Reapers couldn't come out through it without already being there. The only valid way a Reaper could come through would be if they finished building one. If they locked off the other side of the Relay, there would be no way for them to finish building said Reaper.

2) Yes, and the Reapers are coming from Darkspace off the edge of the galaxy. The Collectors, on the other hand, are an organic species locked inside the center of the galaxy. Even if they could navigate at sub-light speeds out of their hole, they'd all run out of resources and starve to death before they reached the nearest known inhabited system.

OutrageousEmu:
You mean like you did when you said without qualification of any description at all that KOTOR is better than Mass Effect 2.

You'll notice I brought something other than my own opinion. You used faulty logic to dismiss the accumulated opinion, instead insisting that Baldurs Gate 2 is better because....no reason at all given.

Yes, it's my opinion that Baldur's Gate 2 is better. I didn't bother supplying facts because there is no possible way to quantify it. Deciding the "best" in an artistic medium is an almost purely subjective matter. There is simply no way to reliably quantify an opinion over everyone. Thus "best" will always be a non-quantifiable metric. "Best Reviewed" and you'd have something, there's no way to argue that, but flat out "Best" is purely subjective.

Edit: I just realized something else as well, on the subject of IFFs. What the fuck is the IFF supposed to do? IFF stands for Identify Friend/Foe, and it's supposed to be used to signal friendlies vs enemies on radar and whatnot. If that's the case, why the fuck did the Collector's attack when you're using a friendly IFF?

I expect my video game plots to have some holes in them. I expect my movies to have some holes in them. Nature of the beast.

What I dislike is when the holes are gigantic gaping tears in reality that stick in my craw to the point where I can't focus on the rest of experience.

More than anything, what bothers me is the inconsistency of ME. I was psyched to hear I'd be going to Tuchanka to glad-hand Wrex and see what he's been doing as Padishah Emperor of the Krogan. I was a little upset to learn it was backhanding the canon.

Mordin/EDI explains to us that the genophage alters krogan fertility rates. Every other source of info about the genophage in the games (read: the krogan themselves), seem to think that the genophage randomly ends the fertility of 99.999% of the females of their race. Are the krogan just stupid? Is Wrex's propaganda network that tight? The krogan and the rest of the galaxy seem to have two different sets of info about how the genophage works, and it is NEVER ADDRESSED. That could be time constraints, but it could also be poor editing. Given the general daffyness of the rest of ME2, I'm much more inclined to think the latter.

Why is Subject Zero portrayed as aunstoppable face-wrecking badass when she's more of a squishy wizard in gameplay? Why is no one other than Mordin doing anything on the ship until you come over and poke them for conversation? Why does Garrus, a deeply loved character, have the shortest dialogue tree?

I don't think EA is responsible for these changes per se, but I would be upset if they didn't lift a finger to stop them. ME2 could've been great. Now it's just good.

fierydemise:

ShadowsofHope:
Because adding in an organization like such would be a blatant shoehorning of the universe with another vague organization like Cerberus that wouldn't really have any point to being there save to.. ehm, fill Mass Effect 2's plot? What is worse? Shoehorning and screwing around with established canon, or using material already there in established canon, and have you make morally ambiguous choices that you can't determine to be truly good or bad for the universe itself without the events of Mass Effect 3 coming into the picture later on?

Its a good thing the ME universe already has another pro-human organization all ready to go. Terra Firma. Just do a quick find and replace through the script change Cerberus into Terra Firma and we're good to go. Making it Terra Firma instead of Cerberus solves about 50% of the major plot holes in the game, there are still some issues like the mission to nowhere but one little change would do a lot.

True, though another reason why Cerberus was chosen was to give you the player, as well as Shepard through you a chance to visit the Terminus Systems (where Cerberus operates frequently) and explore another part of the Mass Effect universe. Joining Terra Firma would have had you still stuck upon the Citadel and Alliance Space like you were in Mass Effect 1, leaving you and Shepard without an opportunity to really explore beyond Alliance space.

While a few minor plot holes may have been filled otherwise, it would have deprived the player of the chance to really get involved and see more of the Mass Effect universe beyond the systems that the Citadel Council remains dominant over.

Agayek:
Edit: I just realized something else as well, on the subject of IFFs. What the fuck is the IFF supposed to do? IFF stands for Identify Friend/Foe, and it's supposed to be used to signal friendlies vs enemies on radar and whatnot. If that's the case, why the fuck did the Collector's attack when you're using a friendly IFF?

Just to center in on this point, I'll allow the others to take apart the rest..

Essentially, the Reaper IFF that you took from the Derelict Reaper was infested with an unknown Reaper-made virus that EDI and Joker don't pick up until after it has already infected the Normandy, which is why EDI disables the IFF after a few moments of the signal transmission, which was enough for the Collectors to get an idea of where the signal was being sent from. What they thought was an "Identify Friendly" signal at first turned out basically to be a "SHEPARD (Or his ship) IS HERE, COLLECTORS!" beacon due to the incursion of the dormant virus that within the program.

I read the first paragraph where he said that the death of Shepherd was an inept way of writing a story and then made no justification to his claims, realised he's a bad writer, and went elsewhere. The end.

ShadowsofHope:
Just to center in on this point, I'll allow the others to take apart the rest..

Essentially, the Reaper IFF that you took from the Derelict Reaper was infested with an unknown Reaper-made virus that EDI and Joker don't pick up until after it has already infected the Normandy, which is why EDI disables the IFF after a few moments of the signal transmission, which was enough for the Collectors to get an idea of where the signal was being sent from. What they thought was an "Identify Friendly" signal at first turned out basically to be a "SHEPARD (Or his ship) IS HERE, COLLECTORS!" beacon due to the incursion of the dormant virus that within the program.

That part I understand.

The question I'm asking is why the stupid thing was necessary to get through the relay.

Their trap depends on Shepard being an idiot and personally boarding their vessel, instead of blasting the ship at a distance or sending in a team of subordinates.

Quite right. It would have been far more realistic to have Shepard hunched over a console for 20 minutes while Grunt, Garrus and Jack described what they were seeing in radio despatches. Or maybe if they had just blown up the Omega 4 relay or parked a massive force within firing distance waiting for the collectors to mosey on through, we might have been relieved of all that tedious "pass though the relay and fight your way through the Collector base" nonsense.

Or maybe these decisions were simply concessions between telling a consistent story vs crafting interesting gameplay. The story was weak but the characters were strong, the combat was fun and I still played the hell out of it so I guess it wasn't a TOTAL failure. If ME3 captures the story of 1 and the mechanics of 2, it will kill. If not...it just be fun instead. I can live with that.

Sparrow:

I mean, honestly, you're pissed because Shepard didn't whip out his/her phone and take a snapshot of the Reaper?

Yes, I was, actually.

I don't know what the hell happens in the future, but taking pictures of military objectives, enemies and logistics is extremely common place. Every single mission carried out in today's combat involves heavy photography, both before and afterwards. It is a fantastic way to relay information and gather evidence for crimes/events that have occurred. Everyone from the Russian Spetsnaz to the US Marines do this.

And yet in the future no one does? With all the upgraded tech, they don't do it? Immersion wall hit. Big time. Especially considering this is huge military information - it wrecks of nonsense.

I agree it might seem a little nitpicky, but it really did annoy me because of the lack of common sense. And considering the tension between the council and Shepard is one of the key themes in the series, and it would all be avoided if he brought a fucking disposable camera, this just smacked me straight into a brick wall and I hated it. The first thing any military does when they discover something - whether it be the concentration camps in the 40s or new weapon tech or illegal activity - is take a shit load of pictures. I dunno, it just doesn't make any sense.

Agayek:

ShadowsofHope:
Just to center in on this point, I'll allow the others to take apart the rest..

Essentially, the Reaper IFF that you took from the Derelict Reaper was infested with an unknown Reaper-made virus that EDI and Joker don't pick up until after it has already infected the Normandy, which is why EDI disables the IFF after a few moments of the signal transmission, which was enough for the Collectors to get an idea of where the signal was being sent from. What they thought was an "Identify Friendly" signal at first turned out basically to be a "SHEPARD (Or his ship) IS HERE, COLLECTORS!" beacon due to the incursion of the dormant virus that within the program.

That part I understand.

The question I'm asking is why the stupid thing was necessary to get through the relay.

Because Mass Effect relays operate like doors in reality with a key code slot to open them. A ship has to provide the right codes for the relay to activate (door to open), and considering the fact that the Reapers built the relays, the Reaper IFF is needed to actually activate the Omega 4 Relay as the Council nor the Alliance nor the Terminus races have been able to control it/open it like the others you use consistently. Not that they would really want to anyways, as they would run into the Core of the Galaxy and likely get destroyed like all the other ships you see in the cutscene without a pilot competent enough like Joker is.

The only reason that the Collectors can use the Omega 4 Relay, is because the Reapers still essentially control it, and the Collector ships are all outfitted with a Reaper IFF. By using the IFF, the Normandy essentially registered as a Reaper (or another Collector ship) from the signal it was using, until the Collector drones spotted it and figured out otherwise, that is.

SillyBear:
-Snip-

Still wouldn't have made a difference either way. As far as the Council wants to be concerned, you'd just be showing them the image of what they perceive to be as a large Geth ship. The term "Reaper" to them is simply a menacing myth that Saren used to propagandize the Geth into following him in some sort of "Grand Plan" (taking over the Citadel, for instance). Fuck, they even have pieces of Sovereign's wreckage and they still consider it a Geth creation.

Honestly, it'd probably take a Reaper like Harbringer himself to actually converse with the Council to alleviate all doubt that the Reaper ships aren't just a Geth creation, but something much more.

I would bring up two items that I feel have been overridden by the debate of "hey is that a plot hole?"

1) those of you who state how much you hate ME2, DA2, and anything with an EA sticker. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS. It is not to say I hate these things, it is to say that if the company is failing to provide you with a product you want then you DO NOT GO PRE ORDER the follow up. This is why final fantasy continues to get worse in my opinion, because despite all the naysaying a good chunk of those naysayers keep putting money in Square's wallet. Rather then writitng about how crappy it might be and then devaluing your opinion by lining up like a drone, try some follow through! In the end, either Mass effect 3 will be a good game or a bad one, based on the perspective you are entitled to have! If you feel it doomed don't bother.

2) more importantly, I feel thus far that most people are forgetting something that ME3 will need to be a good game. It does not need to be "like mass effect 1 or mass effect 2" it needs; as with any good sequal, to have its own unique elements and while following the story and gameplay themes or 1 and 2 it needs to effectively function as an end of the hero's journey. We may not like some of the changes or we may love it, but either way it at least becomes memorable. My worst fear is that the writers and gameplay developers revert to all previous tools and thus bring nothing new to the table.

I do not mean to troll the rest of the people here but I did feel that ME3 is being picked apart before it can even be released.

ShadowsofHope:

SillyBear:
-Snip-

Still wouldn't have made a difference either way. As far as the Council wants to be concerned, you'd just be showing them the image of what they perceive to be as a large Geth ship. The term "Reaper" to them is simply a menacing myth that Saren used to propagandize the Geth into following him in some sort of "Grand Plan" (taking over the Citadel, for instance). Fuck, they even have pieces of Sovereign's wreckage and they still consider it a Geth creation.

Honestly, it'd probably take a Reaper like Harbringer himself to actually converse with the Council to alleviate all doubt that the Reaper ships aren't just a Geth creation, but something much more.

Throughout both games, Shepard has encountered many cases of hard evidence of a reaper invasion. He has talked to a Prothean AI - no evidence. He has spoken to both Harbinger and Sovereign - no evidence. He has uncovered many, many Reaper activity and hasn't once decided to film or photograph any of it.

Just the whole fact of that, is ridiculous. That would never happen in reality - and I understand Mass Effect isn't reality, but it was a really big immersion breaker for me and yes, it pissed me off because it somewhat ruined a little piece of one of my favourite games.

SillyBear:

ShadowsofHope:

SillyBear:
-Snip-

Still wouldn't have made a difference either way. As far as the Council wants to be concerned, you'd just be showing them the image of what they perceive to be as a large Geth ship. The term "Reaper" to them is simply a menacing myth that Saren used to propagandize the Geth into following him in some sort of "Grand Plan" (taking over the Citadel, for instance). Fuck, they even have pieces of Sovereign's wreckage and they still consider it a Geth creation.

Honestly, it'd probably take a Reaper like Harbringer himself to actually converse with the Council to alleviate all doubt that the Reaper ships aren't just a Geth creation, but something much more.

Throughout both games, Shepard has encountered many cases of hard evidence of a reaper invasion. He has talked to a Prothean AI - no evidence. He has spoken to both Harbinger and Sovereign - no evidence. He has uncovered many, many Reaper activity and hasn't once decided to film or photograph any of it.

Just the whole fact of that, is ridiculous. That would never happen in reality - and I understand Mass Effect isn't reality, but it was a really big immersion breaker for me and yes, it pissed me off because it somewhat ruined a little piece of one of my favourite games.

Doesn't matter. The point still is, no matter how much evidence Shepard brings in, no one is going to be convinced the Reapers are anything but Geth creations until something really punishing happens. For example, like I said, Harbringer speaking towards the Council, or even a Geth army fighting the Reapers might just break them out of denial.

SillyBear:

ShadowsofHope:

SillyBear:
-Snip-

Still wouldn't have made a difference either way. As far as the Council wants to be concerned, you'd just be showing them the image of what they perceive to be as a large Geth ship. The term "Reaper" to them is simply a menacing myth that Saren used to propagandize the Geth into following him in some sort of "Grand Plan" (taking over the Citadel, for instance). Fuck, they even have pieces of Sovereign's wreckage and they still consider it a Geth creation.

Honestly, it'd probably take a Reaper like Harbringer himself to actually converse with the Council to alleviate all doubt that the Reaper ships aren't just a Geth creation, but something much more.

Throughout both games, Shepard has encountered many cases of hard evidence of a reaper invasion. He has talked to a Prothean AI - no evidence. He has spoken to both Harbinger and Sovereign - no evidence. He has uncovered many, many Reaper activity and hasn't once decided to film or photograph any of it.

Just the whole fact of that, is ridiculous. That would never happen in reality - and I understand Mass Effect isn't reality, but it was a really big immersion breaker for me and yes, it pissed me off because it somewhat ruined a little piece of one of my favourite games.

Pretty much agreed 100% on all of your points.

ShadowsofHope:

SillyBear:

ShadowsofHope:
Still wouldn't have made a difference either way. As far as the Council wants to be concerned, you'd just be showing them the image of what they perceive to be as a large Geth ship. The term "Reaper" to them is simply a menacing myth that Saren used to propagandize the Geth into following him in some sort of "Grand Plan" (taking over the Citadel, for instance). Fuck, they even have pieces of Sovereign's wreckage and they still consider it a Geth creation.

Honestly, it'd probably take a Reaper like Harbringer himself to actually converse with the Council to alleviate all doubt that the Reaper ships aren't just a Geth creation, but something much more.

Throughout both games, Shepard has encountered many cases of hard evidence of a reaper invasion. He has talked to a Prothean AI - no evidence. He has spoken to both Harbinger and Sovereign - no evidence. He has uncovered many, many Reaper activity and hasn't once decided to film or photograph any of it.

Just the whole fact of that, is ridiculous. That would never happen in reality - and I understand Mass Effect isn't reality, but it was a really big immersion breaker for me and yes, it pissed me off because it somewhat ruined a little piece of one of my favourite games.

Doesn't matter. The point still is, no matter how much evidence Shepard brings in, no one is going to be convinced the Reapers are anything but Geth creations until something really punishing happens. For example, like I said, Harbringer speaking towards the Council, or even a Geth army fighting the Reapers might just break them out of denial.

No, it does matter, because you are only assuming it doesn't. And that is my whole problem with this. No attempt was ever made to provide proof - and the council even mention that all they have to go on is Shepard's word. They haven't encountered any piece of real evidence yet.

And it "not mattering" isn't the point. My problem is that no one even thought to provide evidence. It's ludicrous, because that is so far from what would actually happen it really hit me in the face.

I have got to ask if some of this is not reconstructive memory in favor of your arguement, S'.
Quite a few things are neatly explained away in ME2, as one other postered noted with EDI hacking the ship stopping it from just BLASTING OFF AGAIN(!!!!) with Shep' on board.

The only thing that really bothers me is the idea of The Alliance floating around like idiots, even though in the first game they seemed to be very effective.

ShadowsofHope:
The only reason that the Collectors can use the Omega 4 Relay, is because the Reapers still essentially control it, and the Collector ships are all outfitted with a Reaper IFF. By using the IFF, the Normandy essentially registered as a Reaper (or another Collector ship) from the signal it was using, until the Collector drones spotted it and figured out otherwise, that is.

The bolded bit is the part I'm trying to figure out. The Normandy registered as a Reaper. Why the fuck would they attack it?

And if you say "they looked out a window" I will slap you through the internet.

ShadowsofHope:
True, though another reason why Cerberus was chosen was to give you the player, as well as Shepard through you a chance to visit the Terminus Systems (where Cerberus operates frequently) and explore another part of the Mass Effect universe. Joining Terra Firma would have had you still stuck upon the Citadel and Alliance Space like you were in Mass Effect 1, leaving you and Shepard without an opportunity to really explore beyond Alliance space.

While a few minor plot holes may have been filled otherwise, it would have deprived the player of the chance to really get involved and see more of the Mass Effect universe beyond the systems that the Citadel Council remains dominant over.

Not inherently I don't think. Every line of argument about why Cerberus could potentially be involved in the Terminus could also explain the involvement of Terra Firma. I may be misremembering but I don't think there is any real reason why Cerberus has to operate out of the Terminus Systems. Additionally after ME1 Terra Firma was pretty poorly fleshed out, all we knew was they were a political party that opposed intermixing of species. You easily could have written Terra Firma to be like Sinn Féin, a political party affiliated with a para-military/terrorist group who presumably would operate out of the Terminus systems because they are lawless. Alternatively Terra Firma could be interested in why human colonies in the Terminus Systems are disappearing and send Shepard to investigate.

Overall I don't think coming out of ME1 Cerberus offers any obvious advantages to Terra Firma as an organization to back Shepard. Most of the defining of what Cerberus is came from the books and ME2, for the most part a quick find and replace on both of those plus a couple sentences explaining why a political party has a paramilitary wing (not at all unheard of even in modern history) and things are good to go.

Agayek:

ShadowsofHope:
The only reason that the Collectors can use the Omega 4 Relay, is because the Reapers still essentially control it, and the Collector ships are all outfitted with a Reaper IFF. By using the IFF, the Normandy essentially registered as a Reaper (or another Collector ship) from the signal it was using, until the Collector drones spotted it and figured out otherwise, that is.

The bolded bit is the part I'm trying to figure out. The Normandy registered as a Reaper. Why the fuck would they attack it?

And if you say "they looked out a window" I will slap you through the internet.

It registered as a Reaper to the Omega 4 Relay, which was necessary for the Normandy to even be able to traverse it. The drones that attack the Normandy in the first place after it clears the debris field are not affected by the IFF. Essentially speaking, they are the "guard dogs" that will attack anything that breaches the perimeter near the base on sight, save a Collector ship. Which the Normandy did.

After all, the Collectors built the things.

fierydemise:

ShadowsofHope:
True, though another reason why Cerberus was chosen was to give you the player, as well as Shepard through you a chance to visit the Terminus Systems (where Cerberus operates frequently) and explore another part of the Mass Effect universe. Joining Terra Firma would have had you still stuck upon the Citadel and Alliance Space like you were in Mass Effect 1, leaving you and Shepard without an opportunity to really explore beyond Alliance space.

While a few minor plot holes may have been filled otherwise, it would have deprived the player of the chance to really get involved and see more of the Mass Effect universe beyond the systems that the Citadel Council remains dominant over.

Not inherently I don't think. Every line of argument about why Cerberus could potentially be involved in the Terminus could also explain the involvement of Terra Firma. I may be misremembering but I don't think there is any real reason why Cerberus has to operate out of the Terminus Systems. Additionally after ME1 Terra Firma was pretty poorly fleshed out, all we knew was they were a political party that opposed intermixing of species. You easily could have written Terra Firma to be like Sinn Féin, a political party affiliated with a para-military/terrorist group who presumably would operate out of the Terminus systems because they are lawless. Alternatively Terra Firma could be interested in why human colonies in the Terminus Systems are disappearing and send Shepard to investigate.

Overall I don't think coming out of ME1 Cerberus offers any obvious advantages to Terra Firma as an organization to back Shepard. Most of the defining of what Cerberus is came from the books and ME2, for the most part a quick find and replace on both of those plus a couple sentences explaining why a political party has a paramilitary wing (not at all unheard of even in modern history) and things are good to go.

Potentially, it could have worked, yes. But, whatever. Same basic kind of organization, just one of them was used over the other. I can't explain much beyond that, considering I'm not a Bioware dev that worked on the game, mind you.

Kahunaburger:

Woodsey:

Kahunaburger:

Fraternization isn't bad because the military says it is, it's bad because it's:
A. Unethical to exploit a command structure for sex,
B. Disruptive to the chain of command to form ties with particular subordinates,
C. Unethical to form close emotional attachments to someone you might have to order into a dangerous situation, leave behind, order to his or her probable death, etc. (ME1 sort of gets into this, but then promptly drops it. ME2 doesn't address it at all, which is a particularly big oversight considering that you are going on a suicide mission.)

A) So don't
B) So don't
C) So don't

You play it your way, the rest of us will continue with our capacity to realise its not real and do what we want.

More to the point, it is bad writing for a work that emphasizes consequences as much as Mass Effect does to fail to understand the consequences of an major (potential) part of the plot. The point is not "don't have fraternization in mass effect," the point is "demonstrate the ethical implications of fraternization in mass effect."

Arguing that breaks from how people would realistically act in a game are acceptable because a game is "not real" is essentially arguing that the game is poorly written. This is because Mass Effect's writers want to write people who act like real people, and when they write consequence-free fraternization into the story, this is a failure to do so.

What Woodsey was trying to say is that military Fraternization rules are there because of people who can't make good command decisions involving someone they're sleeping with and for perceptions of favoritism among subordinates, real or imagined. There's nothing inherently wrong about fraternization, but it can lead to certain problems that most militaries believe aren't worth the trouble so they nip the whole thing in the bud.

Saying fraternization is morally untenable is like saying loans are morally untenable because OMG loan sharks.

For some, our heroes are above that, for others, we relish the potential tension and conflict involved in such matters.

I can't believe the conclusion drawn by this article was simply "shepard is overpowered, normal humans can't kill that many bad guys". Dear god is that painfully obvious and there is not a single RPG or action game on gods green earth that puts your character on an even footing with the bad guys, including ME1.

Yes Shephard can beat the Collectors because YOU are a badass. Yes, he avoids traps set for him because he's a hero against the odds.

I loved ME2 because it avoided that ghostbusters syndrome so many games get. "But I saved the universe in the last game, why am I a nobody now?" Well in ME2 Shepard is the saviour of the galaxy, his name is known by everyone you meet and his enemies are specifically gunning for him now. The game starts out by telling you that shephard is a big deal, only it doesn't just tell you, it shows you (you know, that magical technique all writers should use), hell, it even makes it interactive rather than just showing you. The collectors start the game by assassinating you because they're terrified of how badass you are after the last game. Cerberus agrees with them and spends all its rescources on bringing you back. It draws powerfully on the nostalgia of the last game by watching you become seperated from your crew, as well as conveniently setting up the plot for why Shephard loves/tolerates Cerberus and hates the Collectors.

To take a leaf out of Yahtzees book for a moment he often mocks villains who taunt the player character after you've just taken out thousands upon thousands of their minions and the ridiculousness of it. ME2 took this into account and made Shephards newfound reputation a serious plot point.

So the only point I can see you making is "lol, Shephard isn't that awesome, they should have told the player character to piss off and extended diplomatic relations with the alliance, that would have made for better storytelling."

-Summer Glau

He left out the worst plot part where you suddenly to decide to take all 12 members of the ship into the shuttle in my case for a mission that didn't even exist and I didn't attempt to do.

But then, I felt KotoR had a better dialogue system. Too often in ME2 you'd select an option and Shepard would say something completely different from what you wanted to say.

Worse surprisingly often Paragon/Renegade dialogue options would be word for word the same. Why is that even possible?

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.

I think maybe you didn't read the article? Because Shamus devoted an entire page of a 3 page article to say just that?

A lot of your problems with the plot of ME2 are spin and perception, Samus. Not all of them of course, but a lot of them.

As much as this was always meant to be a trilogy, the whole thing wasn't penned, planned, and fleshed out before the launch of the first game. Which is to say they probably didn't have Cerberus very well realized for its appearance in ME1, so the writing team probably set up their little scenarios and vilified them on the rough groundwork which damn near always leads to inconsistencies with the more refined and fleshed out Cerberus of years later and ME2. This is normal, especially given workflow for these things, if unfortunate to say the least.

I thought the trap ship was well explained within the mythos. Shepard and Cerberus were flying blind at that point. It was a trap, sure, but The Illusive Man deemed that the bait was worth the risk because any little thing could give them the critical puzzle piece they needed. EDI and Shepard also mitigated much of the normal risk in flying into a trap. Not telling Shepard was also very well thought out if not explained. Transmissions can be intercepted, spies can be anyone, anywhere, and anything. The paranoia necessary for TIM's role and success also plays into it.

As far as going through the Omega-4 Relay, it was a strategic necessity even if it was also a tactical nightmare or straight up insane to do so. They had no way of knowing if the Omega-4 Relay was the only way to and from the Collector Stronghold. The only safe assumption is that it wasn't, and being the only way in humanity knows of, they couldn't destroy it because that would removed the only known path of actually attacking the Collectors. Making it a kill zone would possibly be worth attempting but wouldn't solve the actual problem and wouldn't necessarily work either. Humanity's only two real solutions were to build up a military that can stop the Collectors whenever and wherever they showed or stop them at their source. One of those was actually feasible (the latter).

A lot of the plot holes and silliness with things like these are really only apparent in hindsight or from a meta viewpoint. At the ground level, within the narrative world, they make a lot of sense or were, at least, viable at the time. Shepard's resurrection was more a plot device for the audience, something to make the story a better experience even if it stretches one's sense of disbelief. Damn near all fiction has things like that and are generally loved for them. It's the universe giving a nod to the hero because the audience wants it to happen or so the plot can resolve on something like a high note. We call the bad instances of this Deus Ex Machina, and most of the rest 'convenient'.

CalPal:

Shamanic Rhythm:

How is this in any way 'raging' or 'unbridled fury'? Give me a single quote from the article which conveys such a tone. I think you're simply attempting to discredit his argument by exaggerating his dislike for the game, and conveniently ignoring the part where he says how despite these flaws he still found it very good.

It's a sad world where people can't make any kind of criticism without being railed upon for being 'too negative'.

This editor completely misses some of the details in ME2 that actually EXPLAIN everything he questioned. It's too damn long a list to write out and give specific details and arguments, and Pyrokinesis has already listed such examples, so yeah, go ahead and read that. We'll wait.

No no no. Stop. You didn't answer my question. I asked you where in his article he was 'raging'. Missing details in his analysis of the game is beside the point: we're discussing his tone here.

Bayushi_Kouya:
Mordin/EDI explains to us that the genophage alters krogan fertility rates. Every other source of info about the genophage in the games (read: the krogan themselves), seem to think that the genophage randomly ends the fertility of 99.999% of the females of their race. Are the krogan just stupid? Is Wrex's propaganda network that tight? The krogan and the rest of the galaxy seem to have two different sets of info about how the genophage works, and it is NEVER ADDRESSED. That could be time constraints, but it could also be poor editing. Given the general daffyness of the rest of ME2, I'm much more inclined to think the latter.

I think you missed the part where Mordin explains that his STG team introduced a second, different genophage when the salarians realised the Krogan were multiplying again.

Why is Subject Zero portrayed as aunstoppable face-wrecking badass when she's more of a squishy wizard in gameplay? Why is no one other than Mordin doing anything on the ship until you come over and poke them for conversation? Why does Garrus, a deeply loved character, have the shortest dialogue tree?

Since when is a disconnect between gameplay mechanics and dialogue new news?

OT:

Mass Effect 2 opens with the death of Commander Shepard. This is an inept way to begin a story.

Except that Mass Effect 2 isn't technically the beginning of the story, and any sensible player will have already emotionally invested anywhere between 30-60 hours in the character. Sure, it's a can of worms and entirely different problem of how a sequel should or shouldn't stand on its own narrative-wise, but there you go.

Honestly? I want more of what these "junior writers" are writing. It might not be what some conservative players want, but it's something fresh and experimental. I'm glad it's Bioware doing it. And while Dragon Age 2 might not have had the most archetypal Hero X Embarks on Generic Fantasy Quest to Vanquish Evil Y, I was most definitely intrigued to how they handled the narrative structure.

So I welcome the changes Bioware writers are doing with the RPG.

I'm happy to hear Shamus bring up the fact that Shepard died and it doesn't seem to affect him. To me, this was the biggest problem with ME2. You'd figure this would be a life-defining moment. People would be asking him about the afterlife, if he saw anything, what he believes happened to him. They do it now when people are declared clinically dead for a couple minutes, let alone years. And yet no one mentioned it. It has no effect on Shepard's psyche when it seems to me like a pretty big thing to overcome.

I disagree with his assessment about the BioWare team handing DA2 to junior writers, though. The same team as Origins worked on DA2, including the lead writer David Gaider. It shows, too. You might not like the direction of the plot, you might not like that in many ways you're set up to fail, but the writing is good. The fact that you feel frustrated or angry is good. It's what the writers were going for, I believe. This is a game which subverts the traditional hero's journey, and I personally really like that. Even if you don't, go back and read some of the dialogue. You should see similarities with Origins, enough to convince you it's by the same team.

Shamus, I have to say that was one of the worst critiques I've read, on anything gaming related. Ever.

Most of your issues were legitimately explained in ME2, or are just plain wrong\ill thought out.

"Mass Effect 2 opens with the death of Commander Shepard. This is an inept way to begin a story."

First off, Shepard dying was obviously a way to reset the character, in addition to tying him to Cereberus. Without that, there would be no reason he'd work with them, but now he sort of owes them. It's a perfectly fine mechanic, and I'm pretty sure Kratos died in GoW 2, and it worked fine as well (sure, him dying in nearly every game gets a bit old).

"In the previous Mass Effect, Cerberus was a clueless, fumbling terrorist organization."

What in the world gave you that idea? They were able to take out an Alliance rear Admiral! They had their hands in nearly everything Shepard encountered, from the rachni, to the husks, to the Thorian and its Creepers. They were evil enough to sacrifice human lives to achieve whatever ends they had in mind. They didn't care about humans, they cared about where humanity ended up. I at no point saw them as "inept".

"They build a ship better than the previous Normandy, which was the most advanced ship in the galaxy."

If by "better" you mean "more comfortable", sure. It's not like they created a vastly superior ship, but in two years time made a redesigned ship.

"They claim that all of the Cerberus agents you encountered in the previous game were "rogue elements," but that doesn't make any sense because this new Cerberus is both too competent and too focused to have countless rogue cells wasting resources and working counter to Cerberus goals."

Or that's the Illusive Man lying to Shepard (::gasp:: I know, startling to think about), so that Cerberus doesn't come off as evil and Shepard will work with them.

"They know more about the Collectors (the bad guys) than all other races combined."

Which at the start of ME2 amounted to next to nothing.

"The Alliance refuses to help you, because you're working for Cerberus. And you have to work for Cerberus because the Alliance won't help you. Even your own dialog tree works against you."

Either that or it is because they brought you back from the freakin' dead.

"Then we get to the "trap." The Collectors set aside their important collecting work to set an obvious trap for one guy."

Yeah, the guy responsible for taking down a Reaper. The one they perceive as the closest thing to a threat.

"Their trap depends on Shepard being an idiot and personally boarding their vessel, instead of blasting the ship at a distance or sending in a team of subordinates."

Yes, because Shepard ALWAYS sends his subordinates to do the job. It's not like he's the squad leader and goes out on every mission or anything like that. Not to mention they knew Shepard was looking for information on them, and he didn't know the Collectors only had one ship and one big base. Blowing up that ship from a distance would only make them lose their chance to find the Collector base.

"Then Shepard does fall for it, and their plan fails anyway. They have the drop on him, the home field advantage, superior numbers, a more advanced ship, the guidance of a Reaper, and they still can't kill him, thus establishing themselves as bumbling fools."

Or they just underestimated him? Given that they had all of these advantages, why would they expect that he'd be able to fight his way out, or that he'd have brought an AI on board which basically saved his ass?

"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."

Except that the ship needed time to power up, remember?

"What was he afraid of that he was willing to risk everything?

That if it looked like Shepard knew, they'd power up the ship before Shepard had a chance to get to the data module. It might be a huge risk, but I could sorta see how someone could think he'd have a better chance of completing all mission objectives that way.

". The game never really gave you a goal except "Go on the ship. Okay, now fight your way back out." Why didn't he blow up the supposedly helpless ship?"

Except for the whole part of "find information". Hard to do that if you blow up the ship. Not to mention they had no idea how the ship worked, or if it was even functioning. The important thing was finding a way to the collector base.

"Why didn't he have explosives for wrecking the ship once he was inside? What was his goal?"

If EDI went into the systems, found that all of the collectors in the ship were actually dead, they probably would have tried to take it apart and learn more from it.

"Remember that one of the great challenges that Shepard is facing is that nobody believes in the Reapers. So here we have one, all of a sudden. Then Shepard boards it and ... blows it up?"

The council already didn't believe that the ship was a Reaper, only that it was a Geth ship. A dead Reaper would not have been proof, and if I recall (I could be misremembering) they needed to do something to escape that had the effect of blowing it up. Oh, but you are right, the better thing to do was to have the Citadel send a team to a ship that would slowly turn them into mindless zombie husks while trying to verify what the ship actually was.

"How about taking a video and putting it up on YouTube, Shepard?"

Yes. I can see that now. "Wow, Shepard. That's the inside of a ship. This must mean the ship was once a sentient creature bent on destroying all life in the galaxy once every dozen million years or so, and there's certainly hundreds more on their way now!" Leap in logic, anyone?

"Remember the whole point of getting the IFF is to go through the Omega-4 relay (Which no-on has ever survived!) and kill the Collectors. But, if our only goal is to kill them, then why go to all this trouble to pass through the dangerous relay and fight them on their home turf? Why not just sit on this side of the relay and spawn-camp them? Maybe put down some mines for good measure."

The relays are linked. Unless the Collectors had business in that cluster, their ship would not appear at the Omega-4 relay. Even if they killed the ship, there would be nothing stopping them from building another, and again, Shepard didn't even know how many ships they had.

"In fact, why not just blow up the relay? When the game came out, people suggested that Mass Relays were perhaps invincible. But then the Mass Effect 2 DLC came out and gave us a mission where you have to blow up a relay, retroactively making the entire plot of Mass Effect 2 a needless risk and a pointless waste of time."

Yes, why not spend months on a project to throw a giant asteroid into the relay, which would then explode and kill everyone in the entire system, and strand anyone else in other pockets in that cluster. I'm sure there wouldn't be any problems with that.

"At the end you're given a false binary choice: Blow up the collector base, or give it to Cerberus. If you blow up the base, then you really did come here for nothing."

Yep, all for nothing, except taking out a dangerous pawn of the Reapers and stopping them from creating a new Reaper. Or as you call it: "nothing".

"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?"

True, it's not like it is possible there could be any indoctrination going on inside the ship, or that Cerberus is the closest faction that would lay claim to it before anyone else would?

"The idea is that Cerberus is so strong they can take the base from you. But if they're powerful enough to overcome Shepard, who captains the most advanced ship in the galaxy, then they didn't need him in the first place."

What is Shepard going to do, sit there and babysit it? The Normandy was damaged, who is to say it would be certain Shepard could hold out? That sort of technology could actually be too dangerous, and would upset the power balance, which could cause a war right before the Reapers arrive.

I really doubt you put any thought into this. More likely you saw a something that didn't make sense to you at the time and said "it must be a plot hole" then left it at that.

Rythe:

Kahunaburger:

Woodsey:

A) So don't
B) So don't
C) So don't

You play it your way, the rest of us will continue with our capacity to realise its not real and do what we want.

More to the point, it is bad writing for a work that emphasizes consequences as much as Mass Effect does to fail to understand the consequences of an major (potential) part of the plot. The point is not "don't have fraternization in mass effect," the point is "demonstrate the ethical implications of fraternization in mass effect."

Arguing that breaks from how people would realistically act in a game are acceptable because a game is "not real" is essentially arguing that the game is poorly written. This is because Mass Effect's writers want to write people who act like real people, and when they write consequence-free fraternization into the story, this is a failure to do so.

What Woodsey was trying to say is that military Fraternization rules are there because of people who can't make good command decisions involving someone they're sleeping with and for perceptions of favoritism among subordinates, real or imagined. There's nothing inherently wrong about fraternization, but it can lead to certain problems that most militaries believe aren't worth the trouble so they nip the whole thing in the bud.

Saying fraternization is morally untenable is like saying loans are morally untenable because OMG loan sharks.

For some, our heroes are above that, for others, we relish the potential tension and conflict involved in such matters.

The problem is that there is no "potential tension and conflict" explored in this issue. It is, in fact, completely unclear if the writers even realize why fraternization is problematic from an ethical standpoint.

The issue is that fraternization tends to be, IRL, seen as ethically wrong from a command perspective by the military in pretty much all cases. A major reason here, beyond the sexual harassment issue (and several dialogue options you have would be seen as sexual harassment IRL), that also influences the rules against forming business relationships with people under your command, is that it creates a conflict of interest. In the legal world, generally speaking, judges need to recuse themselves when a similar conflict of interest arises, and not doing so can cause a case to get thrown out. On the same note, attorneys can face discipline or criminal charges if they allow a set of clients to hire them in a way that creates a conflict of interest (the classic example is an attorney representing both parties in a custody case.)

So if I'm making an RPG about Judge Shepard, who presides over court proceedings on the Citadel, and Judge Shepard has to make a decision that affects business partners, either A. Judge Shepard would have to recuse her/himself or B. the writing would have to address the ethical implications of a refusal to do so, or C. the writing would have to explain how a future society might not have problems with this kind of decision, and address the meta-ethical implications of this system. This is because the RPG Mass Effect Court would, like Mass Effect, likely be trying to portray people who act like real people.

So, on the same note, if Shepard fraternizes with crew members, I'd expect the game to address this issue. Once again, I'm not saying "don't include an option for fraternization" - I'm saying "if you include fraternization, address the issue intelligently." I'd expect you to get Renegade points for violating your own* code of ethics, in the same way that you get Renegade points for torturing people or shooting civilians. As it stands, the game even goes so far as to give you Paragon points for hitting on subordinates, which is, at the very least, an odd decision. I'd also expect the crew to comment on the issue - at the very least, I'd expect Garrus and Zaeed to have issues with it based on their military backgrounds.

*Cerberus is, according to Jacob, less strict about fraternization than the Alliance. It's also, incidentally, less strict about feeding colonists to thresher maws. Shepard is a military man/woman, and such behavior (the fraternization, or the feeding of colonists to thresher maws) would go against his/her ethics code. Generally speaking, the Paragon/Renegade thing could very easily be seen as a "when you take away formal restrictions on Shepard's behavior by making him/her a Spectre or commander of a Cerebus vessel, does he/she stay true to ethical guidelines?"

double post lol

*sigh*

Here's my problem with all of your complaints leveled against Mass Effect's story, Shamus. You don't come off as examining the story with any degree of impartiality. You don't take any of these "complaints" and give it a thorough and HONEST examination. You do not consider all options, you do not rotate the puzzle pieces and see if they fit.

You make a very slanted interpretation of what it "must" mean, stopping occasionally to consider an even more preposterous explanation so yours will have the ring of logic to it, load it into your angry shotgun with all of the other things you don't give fair consideration to, and then take aim at the game and pull the trigger like a gun happy mook.

That isn't analysis. Heck, that isn't even good debate. It's propaganda, and I think a little more subtlety and open mindedness would do LOADS of good for your position.

It is VERY easy to don "hate shades" and make everything sound preposterous. You can do it to anything. We can sit here all day and TEARRRRRRR the story behind Portal into ribbons if that was our agenda.

You need to at least make it SEEM like you are considering other interpretations. Coming off like the Angry Video Game Nerd is not endearing people to your cause. It makes you sound petulant, and for me at least, it makes me wonder if you really give any of these points a fair shake, or if you're just jumping to the conclusion that best fits your agenda.

Is it possible that all of the many people who love Mass Effect came away with a different interpretation of the storyline than you did? And that it actually wasn't NEARLY as atrocious as you make it sound for many of us?

I'm no fan of metacriticesque numerical assignments, but both fan and critical response of Mass Effect 2 indicates the game is lauded. I thought it was pretty brilliant outside of your standard story hiccup here and there. So did everyone I know who played it. When you have this many people who love the story, is it possible that at least part of your hatred for the story is because you went in looking to tear it apart? Not that there are zero plotholes to fill, but that they aren't as numerous as you make it sound. The alternative is that a lot of us out there don't know a good story from our butts.

If you drank some happy juice and gave a more honest and fair examination, I think you might realize the points you come up with are not ipso facto flaws. They're one man's interpretation. At the very least, it would make you seem much more open minded, and thus give some actual WEIGHT to your complaints.

I'm not saying your conclusions are WRONG, per se, but it's hard to convince people of the 'correct' interpretation if you're only considering one narrow view of it. At the very least, I would be much more inclined to agree with you if you came off like an open minded person who gave the story every chance to work itself out for you, and not the opposite.

... or maybe I'm being as nitpicky of you as you are of ME2. ;) But even if you don't want to actually BE open minded on it, you at least need to SOUND like it. It helps your cause a lot more. But that's just me.

Here's hoping that BOTH OF US can rejoice in ME3's story.

honestdiscussioner:
Shamus, I have to say that was one of the worst critiques I've read, on anything gaming related. Ever.

Most of your issues were legitimately explained in ME2, or are just plain wrong/ill thought out.

...
[snippy snip of the many excellent retorts to Shamus' questionable points]

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude, come here and give me a hug! A great big hug! I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes incomplete story critiques on this great big crazy internet of ours!

I will feed your fish the next time you're out on a mission!

Sorry but putting Mass Effect in the title of the post seemed like a cry for attention to a poor article. Please write something constructive.

Shamus Young:

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.

See, this is my problem with this. Writing it like this makes it seem you find yourself and this 'we' you are referring to, whoever that may be, superior to other people. People who may care less about railroading and are better at filling in the gaps with their own mind in stead of just pointing them out and being annoyed by them.

For me personally I just see the ME games as Shepard's story which you play through. A lot is already set in stone, you're playing in retrospect and you can change a whole lot of details along the way. In short, this is how it all went down, but the specifics are up to you. That's the way I view this game, and it has provided me with the best entertainment of any game I've ever played.

SillyBear:

Sparrow:

I mean, honestly, you're pissed because Shepard didn't whip out his/her phone and take a snapshot of the Reaper?

Yes, I was, actually.

I don't know what the hell happens in the future, but taking pictures of military objectives, enemies and logistics is extremely common place. Every single mission carried out in today's combat involves heavy photography, both before and afterwards. It is a fantastic way to relay information and gather evidence for crimes/events that have occurred. Everyone from the Russian Spetsnaz to the US Marines do this.

And yet in the future no one does? With all the upgraded tech, they don't do it? Immersion wall hit. Big time. Especially considering this is huge military information - it wrecks of nonsense.

I agree it might seem a little nitpicky, but it really did annoy me because of the lack of common sense. And considering the tension between the council and Shepard is one of the key themes in the series, and it would all be avoided if he brought a fucking disposable camera, this just smacked me straight into a brick wall and I hated it. The first thing any military does when they discover something - whether it be the concentration camps in the 40s or new weapon tech or illegal activity - is take a shit load of pictures. I dunno, it just doesn't make any sense.

I agree emphatically. It's one thing for the Council to question where the hell I was for two odd years. Fair question, I'm curious about that myself. Why don't we ask the two Cerberus operatives I have with me? It is however another for the Council to ignore a potential threat that things like Sovereign represent when I come back and say "There's more of these damned things you know". That was pants on head retarded; but I'd have accepted it had I been able to do the following:

Engage with each council member privately with my team member of their respective race; helping me get my point across using the right cultural reasoning.

OR

What I like to call the 'missing third option'. At the end of the game, my choices shouldn't have been "Give the highly advanced tech to the known terrorist organisation with delusions of grandeur and a hard-on for xenophobia" or "Blow up this potentially paradigm shifting and life changing technological marvel out of a case of honour before reason AND spite"

Why can't I say to the Illusive Man, "Fuck you buddy" and then get on the horn to Admiral Hackett and be all "I have got some totally hot shit dude, come check it out"

Wham. Proof, vindication, advantage and acceptance back into my former command structure all in one fell swoop. For those who say 'What of the Cerberus folk in your ship?' I say "Fuck 'em, that's what happens when you sign up with terrorists"

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