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Old 05-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #1
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Mass Effect - the Legacy

Nope, not a piece of DLC, though I'm sure there's plenty coming. Now that we've all finished Mass Effect 3, I was just wondering what people thought of the trilogy as a whole?

I guess it was a brave move by Bioware, introducing us to a sci fi, squad based RPG/shooter, and personally I enjoyed the trip. do you think we'll see more of this? Would you play another trilogy set in the ME universe?

What about the series as a whole, now that the hype has calmed down a bit? Sure, there were some horrible bits, from the Mako to the Terminator Reaper to the Starchild, but did the good outweigh the bad?

What about DLC, and did it impact the game for good or for bad? I didn't buy any DLC and didn't feel that I missed out, though I could see people being annoyed at missing out/paying extra.

I think in the end it started to bore me a little - do some missions, back to the citadel, check all locations there, back to the ship, talk methodically to all crew members in turn, scan some planets, repeat - and a lot of the big emotional moments fell flat in 3, I thought, but overall I thought it was a hugely impressive achievement by Bioware and was a wonderful ride.

Where does it fit in the gaming pantheon then? Right up there, or middle of the road? Important or not?
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:43 AM   #2
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Re: Mass Effect - the Legacy

needless to say: there will be SPOILERS ahead!

Overall I found the trilogy very nicely put together, with a different tone for each of the games. Mass Effect 1 introduced the universe and let us explore, finding out about an ancient threat. Mass Effect 2 makes us gather resources in form of minerals and crew for the upcoming struggle. Mass Effect 3 was all about war. The Normandy turned into something resembling more of a submarine than anything else and every action was geared towards gathering war assets. I found it a fitting conclusion to the series and enjoyed playing very much. I loved the fact that I could carry one character through all games and really hope that's something we will see more of in future. It's not particularly novel, of course, Baldurs Gate 2 already let me import the paladin I played in the first game (I don't know what it is, but in DnD I always play paladins).

Is it perfect? Hell no. Plotholes galore and a weird focus on American and British cultural sensibilities regarding the human race were striking me as odd. Was there any warship in the alliance fleet that didn't have the name of a city either the US or England had a battle at? Why was Shepard named after the second man in space? I assume it would have been to much to ask from mainstream US audience to play {insert first name} Gagarin? I don't remember encountering all that many humans of Asian, Latin American or African descent apart from some token NPC. My office has more racial diversity than Mass Effects crew and I'm not on an intergalactic spaceship. Kai something who is supposed to be Gagar... eh sorry, Shepards Nemesis in ME3 is Asian, but he's just a puppet for the invisible man who of course has to be white US-American.

Human chauvinism goes all the way through from ME1 to 3. Without humans the galaxy would be going to hell anyway it seems. Humans bully their way onto the council in record time and are still not contempt. Without "us" the races of the galaxy could never work together it seems, with the council being as blind and stupid as the republican tea-party considers Washington to be I guess. The only alien races that are shown as truly competent in warfare are the Turians (btw.: "we" beat them already) and the Krogans. All the other races crash and burn as soon as the reapers show up. The oh-so powerful Asari can't withstand a reaper invasion for a fraction of the time the humans on Earth hold out. On the other hand they gave the reapers their strongest ground unit yet in form of the banshee. Well done.

Mass Effect is also a game that shows just how stupid boss battles are. Some of the worst moments in the Mass Effect series are boss battles. The battle at the end of ME2 for example? Or the moronic reaper-battle on Rannoch? It doesn't matter how sophisticated the game might have been, suddenly fighting a 'rule of 3'-battle (hit 3 times the red dot) or some other gamey-nonsense reminds me quite quickly that its just a game after all, instead of trying to be much more. Kai Lawn or whatever his name was, was one of the worst culprits with being depicted as some kind of badass, just to be underwhelmingly easy to deal with once the fighting starts. I didn't get hit once by him, only by his bloody helicopter. In the final fight against him the only threat were the waves of enemies falling from the roof or coming from the ground.

Then the spacecraft... it always strikes me as odd when spacecraft are depicted as ships. As if spacecraft of the future would have anything in common with 17th century naval warfare or line battles of napoleonic times. That was what the last battle was: a bloody line battle, as if Admiral Hackett wanted to recreate Waterloo (with the Reapers as French). And why in the name of Duke Wellington did the allied fleet attack in a way that the earth was 'behind' the reapers? Didn't they specifically remind us in Mass Effect 2 that it's important to be sure that you don't miss a target, since each projectile fired from an alliance dreadnought has the same force as a handful of nuclear warheads? How many projectiles missed and hit the earth now? I don't think that any sane commander would risk so much collateral damage, given that space gives you plenty of opportunity to attack from any angle you see fit. Also: Space is BIG! Why did they stack in a way that the reapers had almost no chance of missing a shot since they would hit 'something' anyway. Might have limited the number of casualties if they would have just spread out a bit.

In the end the good outweight the bad for me. I even liked the ending. It has been a great experience with plenty of memorable moments. My favourite moment of the series is on Tuchanka in ME3, where Mordin sacrifices himself for the cure to the genophage. That made me realize that Bioware managed that I actually cared for this virtual being, which is by no means an easy task. The strongest part of the series are the characters and the choices that bring us closer to or alienate them.

(more maybe later, after ME-fanboys tore my posting to shreds )
Currently playing: Dark Souls 3

Last edited by Li-Ion; 05-03-2012 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:47 AM   #3
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Re: Mass Effect - the Legacy

Ha, I never really thought about the Western-centric (otherwise known as the America! Fuck yeah!) view of the universe that is at play here. I wonder if there are any parallels with the War on Terror? A shadowy organisation operating outside the rule of law - it's pretty obvious that the Illusive Man is Dick Cheney.

I guess that is all par for the course though, given that the US is the biggest market. I don't think you're going to risk anything like a Russian or Asian protagonist with a game with this budget.

As a corollary to that, most people including me, played as a soldier, so your audience is a pretty conservative one - best not to do anything to piss them off.

I also played through the last game on the Casual setting; I just had no appetite for the boring combat of the previous two games. I'm aware that the combat was better, and I guess I could have made it more interesting for myself by playing a biotic or vanguard, but I really just wanted to play through the story and get the trilogy closed out.

I didn't have Mordin or Garrus with me in the last game, so a lot of the Tuchanka sections felt slightly flat. I didn't realise that it would have been Mordin rather than the generic Salarian that would have played out that section until after I finished the game. It was well done, but there was definitely something a bit odd about it without Mordin - it was mostly Krogan posturing which I noticed in that section.

Definitely agree that the characters and some of the more adult themes - the genophage being the highlight - were the strong part of the trilogy. In the end it was a fantastic achievement, a good and sometimes compelling game, and it's weaknesses weren't too overpowering. The first game was probably the highlight for me.
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