ME3: Thessia and Kai Leng (Spoilers)

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Other than the ending there is another part I have issue with the story and gameplay of Mass Effect 3: the Priority: Thessia mission and the villian Kai Leng.

Unlike the ending, I can see what the writers and director was going for when Shepard is trying to save Thessia from the Reapers. It is a losing battle, a conflict that no matter how much you try and what you do you lose. I get that. The theme and mood were very well presented in the story and dialog. But when the mission was over, and you are shown Shepard agonizing over the defeat; I just didn't feel it. I felt cheated.

It's because the game had to "cheat" in order for me to lose. I know it was meant to be a forgone conclusion, all wrapped up in the joke of a villian Kai Leng.

The first time I saw the guy (I didn't watch any spoilers until I played the game) I laughed at how silly he looked. But whatever; lots of badasses look silly (just look at the Final Fantasy series). Even before the first battle with him whenever he talked I just heard a high-pitched-Eric-Cartman-whining voice saying "Look at me, I'm so coo! I'm all ninja-like and have a katana! I can do everything and have no weaknesses! I have to be protected by the plot! I'm so coo! Please believe me! I'm coo right! So coo!"

So at the battle on Thessia I actually managed to take down most of his health until his life-saving cutscene intervened and totally denied my ass kicking of the cyber-ninja wannabe. So when he gets away with the Prothean VI and Thessia is destroyed, I didn't feel like I failed. I just felt cheated. I didn't share Shepard's agnozing after the fact (even though it was well acted and portrayed) because I kept thinking "I didn't fail, the stupid cyber-ninja cheated to win."

Maybe if the game handled it a bit differently I would have shared Shepard's agony in defeat. If they made it so you could save someone important, or give time for people to flee the planet, but make it really, really hard to do so than that would give me something to latch onto emotionally.

It was not a complete failure though. It was still satisfying to skewer Kai Leng a new one in the end (Renegade interupt or not). Compared with the other villians of Mass Effect Kai Leng fails on so many levels to intimidate me or leave a good impression in any way.

Eh, its a war, you cant really cheat, to me the purpose of that was to show that Kai Leng thinks way, way too highly of himself. Shepard makes him their bitch in every fight they have, and the end of Thessia was Kai Leng going, "Oh shit, this guys too good, better do what i shouldve done from the start"

Captcha: Easy as cake, somewhat appropriate for Kai Lengs difficulty

The_Blue_Rider:
Eh, its a war, you cant really cheat, to me the purpose of that was to show that Kai Leng thinks way, way too highly of himself. Shepard makes him their bitch in every fight they have, and the end of Thessia was Kai Leng going, "Oh shit, this guys too good, better do what i shouldve done from the start"

Captcha: Easy as cake, somewhat appropriate for Kai Lengs difficulty

Even the Phantoms were harder then Kai Leng. But I think the purpose of you losing was to show you that you aren't unstoppable and you have your weaknesses.

I didn't have a problem with that mission, but I do have a problem with Kai Lang. Did he really have to look that stupid and over the top? Remember how in Mass Effect 1 everyone looked normal and it all made sense. Then in ME2 they went kinda crazy with super assassin Thane and a JRPG-like Samara and even Kasumi was a bit unrealistic. But it wasn't really bad because those characters were written very well and because it helped to introduce a darker aspect of the Mass Effect universe not seen in ME1. But Kai Lang? There are no excuses. He's just a retarded villain's right hand man. And a walking cliche. He feels like he stepped out of a Metal Gear Solid game.

I agree completely with the OP. Whenever I saw Kai Leng I just wanted to chew out whoever designed the character and Shephard's defeat at his hands on Thessia feels so contrieved it is just silly. It is one thing to make an antagonist that you really want to defeat because the antagonist is well written and keeps you from achieving your goal. It is another thing entirely to make a Kai Leng, which has plot armor, goes into parodical territory of himself (unintentionally, I believe) when trying to look, be and feel bad ass and just feels completely out of sync with the game around him. Look at the difference between Kai Leng and the epitome of super-powered antagonists: Liquid Snake and The Boss, the latter two are way more powerful than Snake, but neither feels as embarassingly contrieved as Kai Leng, despite getting cutscene powers to hand snake his ass a few times and having near omniscient awareness.

Kai Leng never really bothered me, but I see where the OP is coming from.

I think a better way to implement it would have been for the the sequence where he grabs the VI to be a script that takes place within gameplay. He could simply have enough shielding to prevent you from killing him before he gets away. Maybe throw in some Cerberus troops spawns or a barrage from the gunship to keep the player from focussing their full attention on him.

Being defeated in a cutscene never feels like defeat because you had no hand it in. You just watch as your character gets defeated.

Yeah, Thessia's flooring and stability seem to have it out for Shepard, collapsing and screwing him over more than Kai Leng ever could.

Someone brought up a good point on Twitter: Gameplay Shepard is an unstoppable badass, never missing a shot with biotics raging. Cutscene Shepard can't hit the broadside of a barn, plinking away with a pistol that only exists in cutscenes.

Makes it a bit harder to buy the villain's credibility.

I didn't really have so much of a problem with Kai Leng beating you as he did kinda bring a helicopter to a gun fight. The issue I had with that whole sequence is how quickly Shepard got over it. One minute Shepard is sad and depressed and the next minute he's only slightly irritated by it. I was expecting him to be BURNING with rage at this but after the initial wave of grief he came off as pretty emotionless about the whole thing later which was a bit of a letdown for me.

They really did not need to make Leng such an over-the-top antagonist though.

Adam Jensen:
I didn't have a problem with that mission, but I do have a problem with Kai Lang. Did he really have to look that stupid and over the top? Remember how in Mass Effect 1 everyone looked normal and it all made sense. Then in ME2 they went kinda crazy with super assassin Thane and a JRPG-like Samara and even Kasumi was a bit unrealistic. But it wasn't really bad because those characters were written very well and because it helped to introduce a darker aspect of the Mass Effect universe not seen in ME1. But Kai Lang? There are no excuses. He's just a retarded villain's right hand man. And a walking cliche. He feels like he stepped out of a Metal Gear Solid game.

See, I thought the reason he looked like that was because of what the Illusive Man did to him. From the sound of it, he was just as killed as Shepard was but the IM brought him back from the dead just as he brought Shepard back. However, this time he went with Miranda's idea for a puppet rather than free-will and put the control chip into him, hence the weird...sun-glass thing? Honestly, I thought he kind of looked like Adam Jensen with Raiden (Metal Gear Solid 4) attributes...both characters that I wouldn't blink an eye to if they showed up.

I thought that was what made Kei Lang a good bad guy; this is what Shepard could have become, a mirror to show a different path.

Antitonic:
Cutscene Shepard can't hit the broadside of a barn, plinking away with a pistol that only exists in cutscenes.

Makes it a bit harder to buy the villain's credibility.

I could be wrong about this but I thought Shepard was hitting Kei Lang in the cut-scenes. Game play demonstrated that the dude had shields and even if he didn't have shields, you have to shoot him a lot to get his health to go away.

Sounds like more of the "boo hoo, the story doesn't cater to my every whim" reactions a lot of people have when bioware noticeably shitfs its focus towards an action game approach.

Sometimes the plot just up and kicks you in the balls. Half-Life did it, Baldur's Gate 2 did it (from the VERY START), Deus Ex did it. Not something you should care that much about. You probably just didn't like Kai Leng.

Antitonic:
Someone brought up a good point on Twitter: Gameplay Shepard is an unstoppable badass, never missing a shot with biotics raging. Cutscene Shepard can't hit the broadside of a barn, plinking away with a pistol that only exists in cutscenes.

Yesh, it's a disparity between the empowerment fantasy the game's meant to serve and the flawed character it's meant to portray. Once the game switches from an interactive medium (gameplay) to a visual medium (cutscenes), the former suddenly disappears and Actually Human Shepard jumps forth from the depths of the plot. They could have made a separate cutscene for each class, showing the powers of each (which would have delayed the game a few more months, cost a few more heaps of money and required an extra DVD) but the plot isn't really designed to be flexible like that: the point is, bad guy gets away, and nothing shepard does would change that. He could have launched a nuclear strike and nothing would change. So just suspend your disbelief on that.

Xenedus:
I didn't really have so much of a problem with Kai Leng beating you as he did kinda bring a helicopter to a gun fight. The issue I had with that whole sequence is how quickly Shepard got over it. One minute Shepard is sad and depressed and the next minute he's only slightly irritated by it. I was expecting him to be BURNING with rage at this but after the initial wave of grief he came off as pretty emotionless about the whole thing later which was a bit of a letdown for me.

Shepard, showing emotion? Have you even played the first 2 games? It's not just a flaw, Shepard is deliberately designed to be as emotionally neutral as possible to cater to both the people who go "NOOOOOOO! SOMETHING HAPPENED IN MASS EFFECT! MY LIFE IS FOREVER CHANGED" and the ones who go "Oh look, guy took shiny thing. What game am I playing again?".

tippy2k2:

Antitonic:
Cutscene Shepard can't hit the broadside of a barn, plinking away with a pistol that only exists in cutscenes.

Makes it a bit harder to buy the villain's credibility.

I could be wrong about this but I thought Shepard was hitting Kei Lang in the cut-scenes. Game play demonstrated that the dude had shields and even if he didn't have shields, you have to shoot him a lot to get his health to go away.

It's not just that cutscene though. Right from ME1, Cutscene Shepard is worth less than Cpl. Jenkins.

poiumty:
]Yesh, it's a disparity between the empowerment fantasy the game's meant to serve and the flawed character it's meant to portray. Once the game switches from an interactive medium (gameplay) to a visual medium (cutscenes), the former suddenly disappears and Actually Human Shepard jumps forth from the depths of the plot. They could have made a separate cutscene for each class, showing the powers of each (which would have delayed the game a few more months, cost a few more heaps of money and required an extra DVD) but the plot isn't really designed to be flexible like that: the point is, bad guy gets away, and nothing shepard does would change that. He could have launched a nuclear strike and nothing would change. So just suspend your disbelief on that.

This is a fair point, it's just a jarring experience that probably could've been done in a way so as to not be as noticeable. I mean, my Shepard doesn't even use a pistol, but here's one from Hammerspace for a cutscene. Shepard's already got an assault rifle equipped, why does he need another, more useless one?

OP, I felt what you felt the first time around. I was handing his ass to him and right in the middle of my soon to be victory, the cutscene happens and I "lose." It only slightly bothered me, but then I played it on Insanity and I felt rightfully defeated. So that's that.

I feel Garrus described this "villain" the best. "Lieutenant Bastard Kai Leng." Man, it felt good to stab him. >>

poiumty:
Sounds like more of the "boo hoo, the story doesn't cater to my every whim" reactions a lot of people have when bioware noticeably shitfs its focus towards an action game approach.

Sometimes the plot just up and kicks you in the balls. Half-Life did it, Baldur's Gate 2 did it (from the VERY START), Deus Ex did it. Not something you should care that much about. You probably just didn't like Kai Leng.

No. There's a very distinct difference between BG2s (or even the original BGs) way of driving home character vulnerability and plot-determined setbacks and Kai Leng's over the top cariacture of a "too cool for school bad boy". Jon Irenicus shares many traits with Leng, they are both powerful and arrogant, Irenicus also manages to have a character development that shows us that he's powerful but ultimately flawed and he's given clear motivations to wish to antagonize the PC. Kai Leng? He runs around looking like emo teenager meets ninja meets seven year olds idea of bad ass (he's only missing a trench coat) and his entire characterization in the game can be summarized with the words "Cool evil guy that keeps messing things up for Shephard".

Remember the Spellhold part of BG2? Where you rush into Jon Irenicus trap? Yeah, that part was great because a) Irenicus was set up to be a cunning opponent (who had it in for you), b) the trap had been foreshadowed and c) the child of bhaal had a good storywise reason to fall for the trap and why Irenicus was too powerful to confront. The Thessia bit is never foreshadowed, it is never established how cerberus found out about the VI (the people who know Shephard is headed there are Shephard, a few people on the Normandy and the Asari Councilor) or even exactly why they want it and it remains dubious that you can't win the scenario at hand (Shephard did blast a gunship out of the sky on Omega, remember?) because the game forces you into a cutscene while you are most likely kicking Leng's behind.

Well if you play Insanity exclusive like I do, Yes, it did feel like a defeat.

I wanted to rip that bastard in half. And I did.

I don't care how full Paragon you are but if you didn't take that renegade action to kick that jackass's... ass... then you have reached a new level of will my friend.

I didn't have a problem with him cheating so much as him gloating after I roflstomped him without trying. Thesia's fall did have a special meaning to me being that my Shepard was getting it on with Liara.

Gethsemani:

poiumty:
Sounds like more of the "boo hoo, the story doesn't cater to my every whim" reactions a lot of people have when bioware noticeably shitfs its focus towards an action game approach.

Sometimes the plot just up and kicks you in the balls. Half-Life did it, Baldur's Gate 2 did it (from the VERY START), Deus Ex did it. Not something you should care that much about. You probably just didn't like Kai Leng.

No. There's a very distinct difference between BG2s (or even the original BGs) way of driving home character vulnerability and plot-determined setbacks and Kai Leng's over the top cariacture of a "too cool for school bad boy". Jon Irenicus shares many traits with Leng, they are both powerful and arrogant, Irenicus also manages to have a character development that shows us that he's powerful but ultimately flawed and he's given clear motivations to wish to antagonize the PC. Kai Leng? He runs around looking like emo teenager meets ninja meets seven year olds idea of bad ass (he's only missing a trench coat) and his entire characterization in the game can be summarized with the words "Cool evil guy that keeps messing things up for Shephard".

Remember the Spellhold part of BG2? Where you rush into Jon Irenicus trap? Yeah, that part was great because a) Irenicus was set up to be a cunning opponent (who had it in for you), b) the trap had been foreshadowed and c) the child of bhaal had a good storywise reason to fall for the trap and why Irenicus was too powerful to confront. The Thessia bit is never foreshadowed, it is never established how cerberus found out about the VI (the people who know Shephard is headed there are Shephard, a few people on the Normandy and the Asari Councilor) or even exactly why they want it and it remains dubious that you can't win the scenario at hand (Shephard did blast a gunship out of the sky on Omega, remember?) because the game forces you into a cutscene while you are most likely kicking Leng's behind.

I think half the problem is that they didn't feel the need to characterize Kai Leng because he was in one of the books apparently. That is one of my major (though not to the degree of the part that shall not be named!) complaints about the game. Way too much was brought in from non-game parts of the expanded universe which made me not care.

I remember not really caring too much about it at first. Yeah, Leng cheated, but all's fair in war, etc. No, what got me was the email he sent afterward. Dude, using cheap tactics is acceptable, but then bragging about it? That made me hate him so much.

The last Kai Leng fight(At illusive base) on Insanity is a bitch. Especially if you're playing Vanguard.

bunch of one hit phantoms running around, soldiers trying to shoot at you and what not. it could've been designed better in my opinion.

I hated that guy so much and I think he doesn't fit in the game, but that Renegade interrupt in the Cerberus HQ (you know which one) was the most satisfying moment in the game.

Zeel:
The last Kai Leng fight(At illusive base) on Insanity is a bitch. Especially if you're playing Vanguard.

bunch of one hit phantoms running around, soldiers trying to shoot at you and what not. it could've been designed better in my opinion.

On the reverse, it is a joke with a Sentinel using a sniper rifle and armor piercing ammo. Overload for shield/barrier then boom head shot. I failed once because the game bugged and my Shepard got stuck and couldn't move.

Adam Jensen was an okay character. I like having a game make me lose, showing your player character utterly fail at something is effective. Call of Duty 4 for example.

Lupus80:
**snip**

Kai Leng. Kai mother-fucking Leng.

He's from the novels, and he's just as much of a pathetic, trying-too-hard, plot-protected loser of a Marty Stu there as he is in the game.

He was a terrible character in the novels, and just as terrible in the game.

Seriously, did ANYONE not take that Renegade interrupt? Anyone?

Anyway, I didn't really have a problem with it... I think the idea was to get the player to hate him so that he could function as a "final boss" type enemy. Of course, if you already read the novels, then you already hated him - a lot - so the effect was absolute overkill.

I felt that way too. "You didn't beat me. I kicked the crap out of you!" However, I did feel a sense of payback when Shepard finally got to fight Kai in a straight fight. I'm not talking about seeing him bleeding on the floor, nor even the very awesome renegade "That was for Thane, you son of a bitch!" moment. I'm talking about the actual fight.

Shepard mocks him for running every time they've met. "You ran from Thane. You can on the Citadel. You ran on Thessia. Running's all you're good at." And it gets to him. His only response is to shout "Shut up!" like a spoiled little brat. There might have been more, but I killed him so quickly that it cut off the dialogue.

Bara_no_Hime:

Lupus80:
**snip**

Kai Leng. Kai mother-fucking Leng.

He's from the novels, and he's just as much of a pathetic, trying-too-hard, plot-protected loser of a Marty Stu there as he is in the game.

He was a terrible character in the novels, and just as terrible in the game.

Seriously, did ANYONE not take that Renegade interrupt? Anyone?

Anyway, I didn't really have a problem with it... I think the idea was to get the player to hate him so that he could function as a "final boss" type enemy. Of course, if you already read the novels, then you already hated him - a lot - so the effect was absolute overkill.

One hundred percent paragon Sheperd, nice guy, never punched Khalisah Al-Jilani, Westerlund News in the face, never threatened or attacked via cutscene in all three games.
Until him of course.

OT: Yeah, that's kinda the point there OP, he cheated, he used a freaking attack helicopter because sniping in the face is too much for him, that's the point. The game wants you to hate him, wants you to blood lust after him. So yeah, defeat is sour when the enemy is that son-of-a-bitch.

IMO they should have made him a lot harder. When (spoilers) the kingslayer beat me in a cutscene in AOK, I did not feel cheated at all. Why? Because the guy had been kicking my ass back and forth for 5 minutes. It felt like a fight Geralt was going to lose sooner or later, he was just too powerful.

Kai Leng on the other hand? I beat him without taking a single hit. Not from him, and not from that gunship. Not a single hit. So obviously I felt cheated when the cutscene rolled around.

Lupus80:
Other than the ending there is another part I have issue with the story and gameplay of Mass Effect 3: the Priority: Thessia mission and the villian Kai Leng.

Unlike the ending, I can see what the writers and director was going for when Shepard is trying to save Thessia from the Reapers. It is a losing battle, a conflict that no matter how much you try and what you do you lose. I get that. The theme and mood were very well presented in the story and dialog. But when the mission was over, and you are shown Shepard agonizing over the defeat; I just didn't feel it. I felt cheated.

It's because the game had to "cheat" in order for me to lose. I know it was meant to be a forgone conclusion, all wrapped up in the joke of a villian Kai Leng.

The first time I saw the guy (I didn't watch any spoilers until I played the game) I laughed at how silly he looked. But whatever; lots of badasses look silly (just look at the Final Fantasy series). Even before the first battle with him whenever he talked I just heard a high-pitched-Eric-Cartman-whining voice saying "Look at me, I'm so coo! I'm all ninja-like and have a katana! I can do everything and have no weaknesses! I have to be protected by the plot! I'm so coo! Please believe me! I'm coo right! So coo!"

So at the battle on Thessia I actually managed to take down most of his health until his life-saving cutscene intervened and totally denied my ass kicking of the cyber-ninja wannabe. So when he gets away with the Prothean VI and Thessia is destroyed, I didn't feel like I failed. I just felt cheated. I didn't share Shepard's agnozing after the fact (even though it was well acted and portrayed) because I kept thinking "I didn't fail, the stupid cyber-ninja cheated to win."

Maybe if the game handled it a bit differently I would have shared Shepard's agony in defeat. If they made it so you could save someone important, or give time for people to flee the planet, but make it really, really hard to do so than that would give me something to latch onto emotionally.

It was not a complete failure though. It was still satisfying to skewer Kai Leng a new one in the end (Renegade interupt or not). Compared with the other villians of Mass Effect Kai Leng fails on so many levels to intimidate me or leave a good impression in any way.

Apparently Kai Leng was in a Mass Effect book in which he WAS supposed to be an uber psycho badass. I actually know exactly what you mean with your OP, but let me offer you another perspective on it: they intentionally wanted you to feel cheated.

They want you to think that KL is just the biggest pussy in the galaxy, that you could absolutely murder him in a fair fight. For people who might be unfamiliar with the character, I think Bioware WANTED to instill a sense of absolute pure hatred for the guy, the kind that Shepard gets after the Thessia incident. "The next time I see him, he dies." Or as Garrus suggests: "You bottle up all your anger and hate and then use it to rearrange every molecule in Kai Leng's body." Really I was looking forward to killing KL ever since the Citadel, but words can't describe how much I hated him and wanted to kill him in literally indescribable ways (edit: after the mission on Thessia).

That's why after the Thessia mission they have KL send you a letter to rub it in. He's just so over-the-top arrogant "Ha ha, I kicked ur ass, u mad?" To which all I could think was "YOU didn't kick my ass...you called in a fucking airstrike and leveled a building...and you STILL couldn't kill me!"

And of course during the fight when you do finally kill him, Shepard brings up the fact that he is, indeed, the biggest pussy in the galaxy, taunting him by saying "All you every fucking do is run. You ran away like a bitch on the Citadel, you ran away like a bitch on Thessia. Now there's nowhere to run!" and you blast his fucking face off with a shot from the Black Widow. And good god did it feel satisfying to kill him.

They didn't have a whole lot of time to build up his character for those who didn't read the books, but they still wanted you to have a vested interest, a true hatred for the guy. And that's why I think he's so god damn annoyingly arrogant.

I don't know if this has happened to others, but I was using my game-breaky prothean rifle from the DLC, and managed to kill him before his Phantoms, and the game would let me proceed, it said that he was still alive.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
IMO they should have made him a lot harder. When (spoilers) the kingslayer beat me in a cutscene in AOK, I did not feel cheated at all. Why? Because the guy had been kicking my ass back and forth for 5 minutes. It felt like a fight Geralt was going to lose sooner or later, he was just too powerful.

Kai Leng on the other hand? I beat him without taking a single hit. Not from him, and not from that gunship. Not a single hit. So obviously I felt cheated when the cutscene rolled around.

As I mentioned in my first response to this topic, I think you're SUPPOSED to feel cheated from that fight to instill a true hatred for the guy, a real sense of "I want that fucker's head on a pike!"

That said, I do agree. I've got nothing wrong with "you're supposed to lose this fight" fights in games. But generally they're supposed to be fights where you're getting your ass kicked from start to finish, instilling a sense of hopelessness. I've fought Kai Leng 3 times now, and here's how all 3 fights have gone:

Liara throws a singularity on him.
He shadow dances around the blue spot that appears with the singularity.
I unload a couple Black Widow rounds into his face.
Recharge shields.
Rinse and Repeat.
"I'm getting my ass kicked here, call in the airstrike and destroy the entire frickin' building."

I just lement over how much of Thessia was cut from the final game. It was originally going to be MUCH longer, including Javik and the Prothean AI getting captured by TIM and Cerberus and having a bunch of branching quests to do much like Tuchanka and Rannock had. Both of which were ALSO very cut down. Thessia was supposed to be a VERY big deal in the story, but all be got was a turret section and a straight hallway...

Kai Leng is a terrible character. He's the sort of character that emos who watch too much Bleach would put in their Mass Effect fanfiction.

He's also a terrible bossfight, a massive bullet sponge who runs really fast, ignores all your crowd management powers that you are supposed to use to fend off melee enemies, and can one-hit kill you in melee has no place in a pop and shoot cover based shooter.

RJ 17:
As I mentioned in my first response to this topic, I think you're SUPPOSED to feel cheated from that fight to instill a true hatred for the guy, a real sense of "I want that fucker's head on a pike!"

If you abrogate the rules of gameplay to make the player lose, their ire is not directed at the character that defeated them, but at the designer. This happens because when you suddenly break the rules of gameplay like this, you make the player notice that there are gameplay rules in the first place. They stop having an experience and notice, for a few moments, that they are playing a game.

They did this as well in Knights of the Old Republic, when you fight Malak on the Leviathan it's quite possible to be sufficiently manly and hard that you can annihilate him in a single combat round, but when you do that he turns on Super Cutscene Power and wins anyway.

I've written much about Leng, mostly in connection to reviews and how they couldn't use the defense of high scores for the game being "perfect up until the ending" when Leng and the writing/design surrounding him is a horrendous joke on it's own.

That said I am going to be constructive since I've said everything I can about how much Leng sucked. If they were going to do the Thessia thing they should have had Leng already in the temple with the VI when you got there rather than showing up after you recover the VI, even if that would have involved some major changes to the way the VI works and needed to be recovered.

If you showed up a bit too late and the bad guy already had the thing and rabbited, that would have been a little more tolerable than the plot armor boss fight. Especially if he wound up using a small army to keep Shepard busy during his escape.

This is sort of what I mean about writing, they could have had the same basic events, but made things more palatable in the way they progressed.

That said, nothing really excuses Leng's character design or truely terrible writing. He just doesn't fit in with Mass Effect.

One conversation I was listening to involving Leng (in an MMO) was about how political correctness might have fit into the whole thing. I never paid much attention before, but the point was that there were no asian, male characters in the game, with only one being mentioned (Keiji, Katsumi's ex boyfriend) even if there were some ladies. The implication being that Leng was added into the game, along with the two latino characters, to fill out a wide range of minorities and genders, and address a rising point that while asian women get into the media for being hot or exotic, the men don't see to get much attention outside of eastern media. of course the counter point in the same conversation was that Leng is both apparently Chinese, psychotically evil, and dresses like a villain from a C-grade Japanese production, which happens to reinforce a lot of negative stereotypes, political or otherwise making it kind of counter productive if that was the intent.

I am NOT saying that any of that is true, just that it did get me thinking, because honestly for all my ranting about political correctness at times, it didn't occur to me. Truthfully with some of the things I heard about the ending being created at the last minute and being jotted down on a cocktail Napkin, I could almost see someone at Bioware being told from on high "we have decided you need to insert a male asian character into the game that gets a decent amount of screen time, and he needs to look distinctively asian make him Chinese since we already had a Japanese character" and then figuring "well, we still need a henchman for the Illusive man... I guess we can make him Chinese... and distinctively Asian... we can make him a Ninja, yeah those are Japanese but nobody will notice, and tech-Ninjas are popular, look at all those other games.... people are going to love this!". That probably didn't happen, but it's uncanny because on some levels I could actually see it after hearing that conversation and it being a last minute shoehorned addition would explain soooo much.

GloatingSwine:
Kai Leng is a terrible character. He's the sort of character that emos who watch too much Bleach would put in their Mass Effect fanfiction.

He's also a terrible bossfight, a massive bullet sponge who runs really fast, ignores all your crowd management powers that you are supposed to use to fend off melee enemies, and can one-hit kill you in melee has no place in a pop and shoot cover based shooter.

RJ 17:
As I mentioned in my first response to this topic, I think you're SUPPOSED to feel cheated from that fight to instill a true hatred for the guy, a real sense of "I want that fucker's head on a pike!"

If you abrogate the rules of gameplay to make the player lose, their ire is not directed at the character that defeated them, but at the designer. This happens because when you suddenly break the rules of gameplay like this, you make the player notice that there are gameplay rules in the first place. They stop having an experience and notice, for a few moments, that they are playing a game.

They did this as well in Knights of the Old Republic, when you fight Malak on the Leviathan it's quite possible to be sufficiently manly and hard that you can annihilate him in a single combat round, but when you do that he turns on Super Cutscene Power and wins anyway.

Which brings up the 2nd part of the response you quoted:

RJ 17:
That said, I do agree. I've got nothing wrong with "you're supposed to lose this fight" fights in games. But generally they're supposed to be fights where you're getting your ass kicked from start to finish, instilling a sense of hopelessness.

There have been plenty of games with fights that you're not supposed to win. As Egoraptor points out: the first fight against Vile in Mega Man X is a great example of how to do such a fight properly. It opens up with ominous/evil music as Vile hops off the airship in his ride armor and he proceeds to just completely whip your ass up and down the screen. "You don't even know if anything you're doing is affecting this guy." The first time you play the game, you don't know that you're supposed to lose the fight, so you're fighting your heart out just to survive. Then you get imprisoned in that electric thing and Vile puts the squeeze on you only for Zero to blow the ride armor's arm off and save you. That's how you do a "you're supposed to lose this fight" fight the right way.

You don't have the guy dance around like an evil fairy as you just utterly destroy him before he can even land a single attack (through 3 playthroughs, Kai Leng has never - not once - landed a hit on me...even when you fight him in TIM's room). But that said, as I mentioned, I think Bioware wanted you to feel cheated about this fight to instill a true sense of hatred for KL.

Gethsemani:
snip

Yeah I remember Spellhold, and you don't have to explain anything about Irenicus's worth as a main villain, I've sat and analyzed that character more than I like to admit. I also remember how Irenicus runs away after you face him. In both cases, BG and Mass Effect, the enemy eludes you through plot power.

Sure, Kai Leng wasn't developed almost at all and was kind of an unfitting character to begin with, I can understand that. But people were focusing on the scene itself as if the game's "cheating them out of a resolution" whereas it's a pretty common trope.

It's one of the less significant problems with him, but who else is annoyed by the fact that
(in a game where taking cover to recharge your shields is a pivotal mechanic) the dipshit kneels right in your line of fire to pull energy out of nowhere and re- shield?! Ugh, the fights make so little sense.

And if he knew in advance exactly where you would be (including the middle of his stronghold, for fuck's sake) why did he not just lay a trap? Bust out your superficially badass one- liners AFTER you snipe Shepard's trigger arm off. This guy is almost as bad at ambushing as the Collectors.

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