I Shouldn't Have Feared The Reapers

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A large part of the appeal of an RPG for me is that it's possible to play through the games in vastly different ways, railroading people through content does not seem the best way to do this. Nor for that matter do RPGs fit well with the idea of a pressing and immediate narrative: The world is in danager and the only person who can save it is currently level one and struggling to take out a rat in a prison somewhere.

RPGs are about developing as a character and the best ones structure their stories to give you time to do this. What would I have suggested for Mass Effect? have the levelling continue from previous games when you import your character, the gameplay changes they made were mostly bullshit anyway...

The more linear a game becomes (I don't just mean, storywise I also include variety in the way you can level your characters, number of problem solutions etcs.. ) the harder it is to call it an RPG.

Dennis Scimeca:
I Shouldn't Have Feared The Reapers

Believing in the story screwed up my game of Mass Effect 3

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A lot of issues came out of Mass Effect's inconsistent handling of the Reapers as a galactic threat. We oscillate back and forth between "they're just really strong" and "they're unkillable death spewers." We're shifting from "We're in immediate danger of extinction" and "We're kinda approaching the endangered species list."

In that sense, I don't think that side quests are the issue in and of themselves. It's more that the overall tempo of the story has to be carefully managed. Even without the side quests, ME3 had some issues maintaining a consistent tone and tempo.

Where side quests do need some love, though, is in making sure they feel a bit more 'on the way.' Mass Effect had issues with the side quests being so important to character elements and preparation for the ending.

(Maybe a better system would have been trimming down the side quests' connection to Readiness, and instead just having them add to Reputation and a sense of Notoriety. Then, instead of each individual mission pledging a new resource to your cause (though there should be a few), you'd be updated periodically to see how many more folks have signed up because you're Shepard. This would happen automatically (or, you know, as though there are other people out trying to build support for your cause), but would be based on how well-known and well-loved you've made yourself.

The earlier in the game you gain that notoreity, the faster your growth, the longer you wait, the harder it is to get support. Now we've tied the side quests directly to the tempo of the game.)

While I agree with a lot of your points - and this is a problem that anything but super linear RPGs have - of course as soon as you take away sidequests and the such fans will start screaming about the game being too linear. So its a bit of a conundrum.

I will say reading through the Codex helped with this problem a little and put things into perspective. There's an entry (can't remember which one off the top of my head) that explicitly mentions that, at their current rate, it will take the Reapers about a decade to completely wipe out the population of Earth.

Shepard's time has come
Here but now he's gone
Krogans don't fear the Reapers
Although they may be slightly insane... we can be like they are
Come on Shepard... don't fear the reapers
Shepard take my hand... don't fear the Reapers
You'll be able to fly(in space)... don't fear the Reapers
Shepard is the maaa-an...

Laa la laaa la laa ...

I think this is an excellent idea, it isn't a problem for me at all because I've played so many RPGs I know the deal by now but it would be really nice if you didn't have to know the deal and things were just laid out for you, still giving you choice but making it very hard to skip something on accident. Great idea for a game like Mass Effect, terrible idea for a game like Skyrim.

370999:

WanderingFool:

Really, its only ME2 where it seems odd that Im trying to save human colonies and fight the reapers, yet had to waste time finding squadmates. I think you have maybe 4 or five missions total that actually are part of the main mission (stop the collectors). All the rest are pointless (storywise) side missions or squad mate recovery/loyalty missions.

Another thing I didnt really like about ME2...

In fairness to ME2, the reasoning behind that is because of how completely unknowable the collectors are, you are trying to assemble a team which could give you a fighting chance. The resolving their personal issues does stand out a bit but it's partly related to getting them in the right frame of mood for the mission, like any good suicide mission you are trying to deal with any lingering problems to ensure full commitment.

Oh yeah, I get that. But still, I was personally fine with the six Squad members setup in ME1. I felt that those six squad mates were more flushed out. Hell, I only cared about maybe half the squad mates (minus the two DLC characters), and of those two of them were already squad mates from ME1. I would actually have been fine with a few more mates, if they served a more support role and not a direct comabt role. As much as I loved Mordon, I never took him on any missions, save his loyalty mission obviously.

Course, this is all just me.

Did anyone else get this?

I raced through the early main missions up until the one where there's a bomb on Tuchunka. I then went off gallivanting around the universe side-questing for a while reasoning that it would do the usual time pause RPG thing. Only, just when I was about to go back to the main missions, I got an email from Wrex saying something along the lines of "agh, a bomb went off, no idea who did it, so many of my people are dead!"

"Holy crap!" I thought, "Bioware really blindsided me there." Oddly, when I checked I could still do the bomb mission as normal: only difference was it gave me less war assets on completion, which kinda lessoned the impact.

WanderingFool:

370999:

WanderingFool:

Really, its only ME2 where it seems odd that Im trying to save human colonies and fight the reapers, yet had to waste time finding squadmates. I think you have maybe 4 or five missions total that actually are part of the main mission (stop the collectors). All the rest are pointless (storywise) side missions or squad mate recovery/loyalty missions.

Another thing I didnt really like about ME2...

In fairness to ME2, the reasoning behind that is because of how completely unknowable the collectors are, you are trying to assemble a team which could give you a fighting chance. The resolving their personal issues does stand out a bit but it's partly related to getting them in the right frame of mood for the mission, like any good suicide mission you are trying to deal with any lingering problems to ensure full commitment.

Oh yeah, I get that. But still, I was personally fine with the six Squad members setup in ME1. I felt that those six squad mates were more flushed out. Hell, I only cared about maybe half the squad mates (minus the two DLC characters), and of those two of them were already squad mates from ME1. I would actually have been fine with a few more mates, if they served a more support role and not a direct comabt role. As much as I loved Mordon, I never took him on any missions, save his loyalty mission obviously.

Course, this is all just me.

Fuck I shouldn't post at 3 in the morning.

I do agree with you to a point. Like how the ME1 crew was almost more, you know, quiet as people, like instead of how with the ME2 gang who were cliches, Miranda was the ice queen, Jack the "Troubled" one, Mordin the Professor, Thane the spiritual assassin, and they could really put across this character to you immediately with the ME1 gang you had to work to get it.

Take Ashley, she seems like the Vaquez but she actually has a lot more stuff going on underneath it. Hell take Kaidan, the so called boring one, and while he is kind of similar to Jack, it's a lot more low key. a lot more banal which lends it an air of being more realistic.

Personally though, I prefer the more magnificent seven vibe from ME2 (Yes I'm aware that ME1 was closer to that number) but I do very much get your point. I suppose I just like cheese and ham a bit too much.

I justified my frequent runs to the citadel as Shep's increasing alcoholism and need to replenish the booze supply. Even with all my running back and forth I somehow missed my floozy secretary from ME2.

Captcha is a Toyota add? Seriously?

I agree with most of the article and subsuquent commentary in this thread. Where ME3 lost me, in terms of plausability, pacing and the like is this; With a galactic war on that will determine the fate of all life Shepard spends more time fighting Cerberus than Reapers.

It actually got to the point where, while I liked fighting Reapers and their minions, they were only on screen for such short periods of time that, to me, it felt like they were not all that serious of a threat. When the Reapers "appeared" in the side quests ala planet scanning that felt like a cheap, token way of getting them some screen time.

With Cerberus on screen for such large amounts of time it really dimished the sense of urgency I had to work on main plot quests. I won't even mention how contrived the entry of the Cerberus "space ninja" felt and played either.

Tbh, my thoughts would be to have relegated the cerberus stuff to side quests tied into the main plot and fleshed out the main plot/reapers much more. I mean, they are the big bad so they should have the majority of the screen/combat time.

Final fantasy 13 conveyed being restless and constantly chased quite well by removing towns and minigames to dawdle in but removing sidequests altogether sounds pretty bad, it would make the game stale and monotonous. Like FF13.

It would be fitting if you had limited "time" for sidequests so that you have to pick them carefully since you can only do so much in one playthrough.

WanderingFool:

SirBryghtside:
Yeah, that's always been a problem in Mass Effect games. Shepard has to go and hunt down Saren before he destroys the Citadel! ...so she goes and collects squadmates. Shepard has to assault the Collector base before they kill more innocent civilians! ...so she goes and collects even more squadmates.

While that is true for ME2, in ME1, you had two of your squad mates before you even finished Eden Prime. And you had three more from just trying to find evidence against Saren. The only one you do go looking for is Liara, and you actually need her more for her understanding of the Protheans than as a squad mate. So Me1 had a means of getting squad mates just like ME3... in fact, you actually get atleast three squad mates before you are able to even get to the Citadel.

Really, its only ME2 where it seems odd that Im trying to save human colonies and fight the reapers, yet had to waste time finding squadmates. I think you have maybe 4 or five missions total that actually are part of the main mission (stop the collectors). All the rest are pointless (storywise) side missions or squad mate recovery/loyalty missions.

Another thing I didnt really like about ME2...

OK then, it's been a while since I played ME1, so my memory's a little hazy. Now that I think about... yeah, you're right. So it's only ME2 that's weird - and even that's semi-explained at the end of Mass Effect 3, TIM talking about how he needed to fill the ship with sympathetic faces rather than plain Cerberus troopers, so that Shepard wouldn't suspect them too much. Not a *great* explanation, but it does sort of make sense.

Perhaps it is not a question of what the game is directing you to do, but rather what you feel is right - do you try to eliminate the Reapers as quickly as possible in an effort to save the majority of lives (while taking the risk of not having all possible reinforcements at your back), or do you take your time to make sure you do the job right, simultaneously allowing countless lives to be sacrificed in order to ensure your victory.

As the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy, it seems like ME3 is a pretty complex game.

I internalised this struggle. I knew the Reapers were tearing up my home. I knew that millions of people were dying by the day.

And I knew that if I came back with anything less than full strength and threw myself blindly at the Reapers, it would all be for nothing.

Now, I know the game plays out much the same, and I know Shepard cannot "fail" to stop the Reapers, but MY Shepard doesn't know that - her timeline is limited to only her experience and while I played it so was I thanks to the narrative.

It might be heartless to ignore the deaths of so many while grabbing artefacts or trying to get some R'n'R on the Citadel, but if Shepard fell apart halfway through the game (gee, that pistol barrel looks mighty tasty right about now) then again it's all for nothing. Given that Shepard is plainly struggling to cope, I'm OK with the how it played out.

Though I was always on edge after that "slurpee" curve ball they threw in ME2. For me the quality of the presentation meant I took on the role and made the choice to delay returning to Earth - not because it was a game, but because I had to be sure of having a chance of victory.

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