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Mass Effect General Thread: This is My Favorite Thread on Talking Time

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’m not sure if they updated the model or I just didn’t notice it before, but I like how you can really tell that Mordin is a very old Salaraian in the remake.
 
Appear to have accidentally started a romance with Jack. I almost always avoid this; no idea what I did. Well, I’m breaking it off as opposed to just not finishing the conversation line. Of course if you skillfully avoid romance in the first place, the line just ends with Jack telling Shepard to fuck off. (rude to femSheps who don’t have a choice even though Jack is written as queer)

Noticed some honest to g*sh banter between Tali and Garrus on the Citadel which I think I might not have seen before because I don’t take them there together that often.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I'm open to suggestions for all wacky activities to do in ME2. There are only a few items I'm committed to:
  • Romance Jack, because I never saw it before
  • Create a hostile workplace and seduce my administrative assistant into feeding my space fish
  • Destroy the data in Mordin's loyalty mission, because this is necessary for a certain outcome in the next have
  • Tell the Illusive Man to go fuck himself off at every opportunity, because I love hating Cerberus
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
Deeply distressed that I may have initiated a romance with Kaidan entirely by accident. A dialogue option came out way flirtier than the prompt indicated, and he noticeably reacted to it. So I reloaded my save and mashed through the conversation again to pick a different option, but that ended up just as flirty! I'm just taking an interest in my crew's lives, Alenko! Don't start thinking you're Space Boyfriend material.

Meanwhile I'm relishing every opportunity to take Ashley's racist ass down a peg.

ASHLEY: Can we talk, Commander?
SHEPARD: My door's always open. What's on your mind?
ASHLEY: I just don't know if we should be letting these aliens have the run of the sh--
SHEPARD: SECURE THAT SHIT, WILLIAMS
ASHLEY: Ma'am! Yes ma'am! O_O

And then I run off to have more adventures with my cool alien friends while she grows moss standing around in the cargo hold. Don't worry, Williams. You'll see some action once we hit Virmire, I promise.
 
It is ridiculous that you can take Legion on Tali’s loyalty quest. Makes less narrative sense than like recruiting Morinth. Anyway, yes, I do the former one hundred percent of the time out of respect for More Content.

Managed to not even accidentally start Miranda’s romance somehow, even though I think you can just politely reject her. Feel bad Jack will be stuck at “Fuck off!” forever but the important thing is she still has the loyalty circle.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Sovereign has been destroyed, Mass Effect 1 complete. I played Shephard as a mix of Paragon and Renegade, not a human supremacist, but willing to make sacrifices and laser focused on her mission. Not adverse to playing nice and making allies though, when necessary. Basing her off of Keri Russell's character on The Americans.

Saved the Rachni queen, sacrificed the council - although I chose the dialogue option that made it clear that I was doing so for the strategic purpose of making sure we killed Sovereign, not out of a desire to save human lives over the council. Also managed to get Saren to kill himself - don't think I've managed that before. I wonder if they made it easier? I thought you had to be maxed out on Paragon or Renegade to do it - although I was maxed out on charm and intimidate, so I guess that was enough.

Other thoughts:
- I think Feros and Ilos benefit the most from the graphical update. Feros has always just looked like brown sludge to me - but the extra detail and lighting did a much better job of selling the idea of a colony in collapse. And Ilos felt downright creepy, with all those weird prothean statues (fossils?) around.
- The timescale in Mass Effect feels a bit weird. Like, it's only been 26 years since first contact between humans and aliens? That feels short, given how comfortable most of the humans seem to feel in the Citadel. And 50 000 years feels recent for the Prothean extinction. Most of the Citadel species would have evolved by then - Homo Sapiens definitely had. And Asari lifetimes are already in the thousand year range!
- For all that's made of the gameplay improvements from Mass Effect 1 to 2 (and I'm definitely in the Mass Effect 2 camp), I think the improvement in the writing in 2 gets overlooked. So many of the dialogue prompts in 1 are completely misleading, with Shepard saying something completely unrelated or opposite to what the prompt implies. And sometimes the three or so prompts seem completely identical, so there's nothing to suggest what Shephard will actually say, other than the position on the wheel, which can also be misleading. If memory serves, that's all made much clearer in 2.
 
And sometimes the three or so prompts seem completely identical, so there's nothing to suggest what Shephard will actually say, other than the position on the wheel, which can also be misleading.
My favorite part about this I've found through save-scumming is how many of them also have identically-worded things that Shepard ends up saying (though usually it's top and middle, bottom seems to always be different from the others). It's not half of them or anything major like that, but I noticed several.

Another big thing I noticed with the crew conversations on the Normandy is how they will elaborate or omit context depending on how thoroughly you go through Investigate options. I messed up and missed a couple with Ashley for instance and she has a LOT LESS to say than I'm used to.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Oh that's interesting. I like anything that makes the conversations feel more like real conversations.
 
- The timescale in Mass Effect feels a bit weird. Like, it's only been 26 years since first contact between humans and aliens? That feels short, given how comfortable most of the humans seem to feel in the Citadel. And 50 000 years feels recent for the Prothean extinction. Most of the Citadel species would have evolved by then - Homo Sapiens definitely had. And Asari lifetimes are already in the thousand year range!
Yeah, the timeline makes no sense to me. How the he*ck are humans so thoroughly integrated into galactic civilization? Feels even weirder in Omega.

Saved LotSB for last even though there’s some profit in doing it early. No more cheevos for collecting lore in Overlord or like being stealthy in Arrival. (pointless, ultimately) Arrival bad. As a qol improvement, the remaster should have removed all random N7 missions; truly felt worse than planets in ME1. Yes, my fault for doing them.

BTW you don’t need to flirt with Kelly, maybe? I was just friendly in the first conversation but flirtatious afterwards just to be safe. Never got her to dance (didn’t want her to!) but she did feed my fish. Kasumi called it a date, though...

ME3 as a vanguard is so much more fun than ME2... No More Bullets. Also the writing for Shepard is better and additionally feels more coherent if you switch it up from time to time.

Be sure to reset your talent points before importing!
 

karzac

(he/him)
Yeah, the timeline makes no sense to me. How the he*ck are humans so thoroughly integrated into galactic civilization? Feels even weirder in Omega.

The thing is, I'm often on the other side of this debate - I think people underestimate how quickly people adapt to a new status quo. But even still, 26 years feels too short. 50 seems more believable to me - enough that most adults have always live knowing about aliens, but there's still many who remember first contact.
 

ThricebornPhoenix

involved in mankind
(he/him)
- The timescale in Mass Effect feels a bit weird. Like, it's only been 26 years since first contact between humans and aliens? That feels short, given how comfortable most of the humans seem to feel in the Citadel.
Most of the humans I remember encountering were pretty young, probably half or more were born after the war. Humans had already been spacefaring for a long time, and discovered eezo (space magic) and Prothean ruins (proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life) on Mars several years before the war. The Citadel isn't too much of a jump from that, I think. We maybe see too many humans relative to other species, but otherwise I'd say it's plausible enough.
 
I just did the merc recruiting scene in Omega where the kid says "I grew up on Omega" so yeah, timeline is kind of weird, or his parents were extremely excited to move off Earth to a floating strip club.

Which... yeah. I hate the start of 2 so much. I just came from having this amazing freedom and seeing all these hints of varied cultures and worlds of varying ecology but nope, we're immediately just going to go into a gross sexist place with combat scenes to mimic Gears of War.

Oh and we've decided guns need to be reloaded now just to mess with you.

I never had the DLC for Kasumi and Zaeed so excited to see them. I'm really only vaguely aware of what their deals are.
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
The timeline is weird; agreed that 40 - 50 years feels more appropriate. I do feel like there was some minor detail somewhere that explained that the Reapers don't kill ALL life when they sweep through the galaxy, they just kill the societies that had become super advanced, but I can't remember WHERE I learned that detail. So yeah, the Asari were probably around somewhere and were spared the axe the last time.
I just did the merc recruiting scene in Omega where the kid says "I grew up on Omega" so yeah, timeline is kind of weird, or his parents were extremely excited to move off Earth to a floating strip club.

Which... yeah. I hate the start of 2 so much. I just came from having this amazing freedom and seeing all these hints of varied cultures and worlds of varying ecology but nope, we're immediately just going to go into a gross sexist place with combat scenes to mimic Gears of War.

Oh and we've decided guns need to be reloaded now just to mess with you.

I never had the DLC for Kasumi and Zaeed so excited to see them. I'm really only vaguely aware of what their deals are.

Zaeed is one of my favorite characters because his entire plotline is " *extreme Cockney accent* I gotta find Vito", which he does in the first mission you can do with him, which is available at the beginning of the game if you bought the DLC, and then he literally does nothing else. It's kinda hilarious in it's awkwardness. Kasumi's mission is cool though!
 
The timeline is weird; agreed that 40 - 50 years feels more appropriate. I do feel like there was some minor detail somewhere that explained that the Reapers don't kill ALL life when they sweep through the galaxy, they just kill the societies that had become super advanced, but I can't remember WHERE I learned that detail. So yeah, the Asari were probably around somewhere and were spared the axe the last time.
Yes, that’s their deal. You hear it from the child at the end of the game.

Anyway, the thing about the DLC characters is that sometimes they have Something to Say about whatever just happened so you have to decide if you wanna go down there and check on them even if everyone else is tapped out.
 

karzac

(he/him)
The timeline is weird; agreed that 40 - 50 years feels more appropriate. I do feel like there was some minor detail somewhere that explained that the Reapers don't kill ALL life when they sweep through the galaxy, they just kill the societies that had become super advanced, but I can't remember WHERE I learned that detail. So yeah, the Asari were probably around somewhere and were spared the axe the last time.

Yeah, they say that at the end of Mass Effect 1 - but they don't really say why that's the case with the Reapers. I guess maybe it's just like crop rotation or herd management? Don't want to eat their food before it's ripe.

EDIT: Oh I forgot one more thing - I still don't get the complaints about Liara. Like, she's not a super interesting character and she's a bit naive and overeager in ME1, but I didn't really find her annoying or whiny. Definitely get the complaints about the Asari in general as a sex fantasy trope, but Liara in particular seems fine? Every other character complains way more than her (granted, some of them, like Wrex and Kaiden have legit stuff to complain about, but Garrus is just mad that he can't be a bad cop, and Ashley has a huge chip on her shoulder about her grandfather who probably made the right call in surrendering and saving his soldiers' lives).
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Yeah, it's the old "AIs are always bad and evil and out to destroy organics" trope from bad sci-fi. The idea is that synthetic intelligences once created will conquer and destroy their inventors and then spill across the stars to cleanse it of organic life unless stopped. This explanation is somewhat different than the original planned one (mass effect/high tech depletes dark matter/energy which is necessary for the universe to stably exist), where the reapers were harvesting civilizations at certain points in development in order to prevent the depletion of dark matter and to allow for newer civilizations to exist and grow.
 
EDIT: Oh I forgot one more thing - I still don't get the complaints about Liara. Like, she's not a super interesting character and she's a bit naive and overeager in ME1, but I didn't really find her annoying or whiny. Definitely get the complaints about the Asari in general as a sex fantasy trope, but Liara in particular seems fine?
The main thing really is that she still gets used as a huge sex fantasy trope if you even faintly express romantic interest in her, I've never seen complaints about her being whiney. She's barely an adult in her own culture, is portrayed with Big Bang Theory levels of social awkward nerd trope despite everything else about her, Asari partnering is this incredibly meaningful and intensely intimate thing, and she knows Shepard for like a week before the slightest of flirting makes her throw herself at them with interest to have that with them. And then there's the incredibly bad confrontation if you try to pursue both possible romances where the sex fantasy intensifies. ME1 was really really bad about this and she gets a SIGNIFICANT writing glow-up for 2 and 3 that highlights how bad it is even further in hindsight.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Man, the Mass Effect 2 opening with the Normandy getting destroyed is one of the all time great video game openings. And the quality of filmmaking on display is just miles ahead of the first game. It's definitely helped by improved graphics and animation, and the fact that most of the scene appears to be pre-rendered rather than in-engine (as opposed to most of the cut scenes in ME1), but there's other stuff too. The editing is just much smoother and more dynamic, and the characters talk in the cutscenes - in the first game, the main characters are often silent in cutscenes, and Shephard always is, not wanting to have them speak without a player prompt which makes them feel stilted and lifeless. Here, Shephard says a few lines outside of the player prompts - although she still uttered a slur against Joker when I chose the "there's no time to argue" option, so their definitely still not entirely on the money in terms of flagging the tone of the dialogue choices.

It's annoying that I can't make minor adjustments to my Shephard's face - it's either accept as is, or start from scratch. I accidentally make her cheekbones too sharp and her cheeks too sunken in the first game and I just want to slightly adjust it so it doesn't look like she has knife poking out of her face.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
I honestly just kinda personally headcanon Liara as some sort of deeply sleazy con artist just trying to get laid.

"This isn't at all a sex thing. My people have a solemn spiritual practice where when we choose to have a child, we need someone to psychically imprint off."
"And really, it's a huge honor any time any of is wants to imprint off a member of another species. Essentially, if you participate in this ritual, you'd be the first person to instill your whole race's sensibilities into one of our children."
"Don't you think this sort of level of trust would help alleviate the impression everyone has that humanity is kind of racist?"

"Ah, you've finally become enlightened enough to participate? Cool, cool. So, in order to really get properly in sync, and imprint off your mind, we're gonna need a lot of skin contact, yeah. So again, not at all a sex thing, but could you strip down to your underwear and get in this bed? Oh, and we also need to grope eachother's boobs a bit, to really establish the connection. Oh, and I need to stick my tongue in your mouth too, that's where the thought-readers are."

Where's the freakin' space diplomacy baby, Liara? Huh? The one you totally said was the point of this whole thing?
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
The charm/intimidate outcomes on Saren require a pretty high score (not the highest in the game, though! that would be the Exogeni corporate lackey on Feros), but they also require that you took some matching Paragon or Renegade dialog options with him on Virmire.

The timeline of humans' involvement in Mass Effect's setting is definitely too compressed for plausibility, but I appreciate that the cause of human power isn't because humans are in some way special, but because the violent circumstances of their first contact with alien life ensured the human government was highly motivated to gain every advantage possible, and because their physical location in space made it politically convenient for the Council to give them uncommon opportunities to expand as a way of censuring the increasingly fascist batarian government.

The Reapers always reaped both organic and synthetic beings, so I was inclined to interpret the "organic vs. synthetic" framing of the conflict as merely a reflection of prejudice inherent in galactic society, inflamed by the shocking nature of the geth situation (which the quarian government deliberately emphasizes a a way of safeguarding their own authority). Although they're flesh-and-blood, the uplifted krogan are thematically synthetic as well, even getting some who were grown in tanks and born adult.

Rather, the Reapers just seem to Reap anybody who is starting to grow strong enough to challenge them, and designed galactic culture so that they could see the trend coming and decapitate the nascent threat at minimal risk to themselves. I mean, that not at all how it plays out in the end, but it's traditional to substitute your own fanfic for everything that happens at the end of ME3, right?
 

karzac

(he/him)
Other things that are improved in Mass Effect 2 - the encounter design is way better, with enemies taking up clear positions that need to be flanked or sniped. And the armor/shields/barrier dynamic encourages a really dynamic use of weapons and abilities.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Weird that Garrus stays in his torn-up suit the whole game. You'd think Cerberus would give him a new one?
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
It was DLC in the original release. You can swap him into an alternate outfit from the get-go on the squad select screen.
 
Progressed a little more with Kelly and the assumption is indeed that Shepard had some kind of flirtatious relationship with her. I thought maybe it was possible not to have but I guess not. (I ultimately did flirt with her in ME2, but not in the first convo) Back to resenting the decision to tie your fish to that character. BUT in my new interactions with her, I've developed real sympathy for her. She's a very depressing character and will apparently end her life if you're mad at her for reporting on you to the Illusive Man. (reloaded when I realized)

I've traditionally thought of myself as liking ME2 or 3 about equally but vastly preferring 3's gameplay, but now I just think I like 3 more. It's just really weird and stupid that they structured a whole game around supposedly sympathetic people guilelessly working with Cerberus considering how the organization is portrayed both within the game itself but especially its sequel and predecessor. Some of them are sort of dealing with that in 3 (Miranda/Kelly) but not to be too carceral, maybe Gabby and Ken should just stay in prison until the end of the war... "But Cerberus was the only group willing to take a truly existential threat to civilization seriously!" Well, I guess it's guess it's kind of fucked up to have made a racist terrorist organization that in this made-up story.

Other thoughts about irredeemable villains... even though I think the narrative is Too Soft on Cerberus, I like less than ever that the apparent sequel is following the Destroy ending. Mordin's singing was a hit in ME2 so they brought it back in a big way in ME3 but my main takeaway from that convo with him was how repulsive he was confidently insisting it was a morally uncomplicated matter to exterminate the Collectors because they were "culturally stagnant" or whatever. (realistic! definitely a type of guy...) Yes, I know this is a shooting video game about guiltlessly dehumanizing and murdering your enemies. One of my favorite moment's in the correct ending is when that Husk is like, "damn, got my interiority back; don't need to be swarming people anymore." Love that the ME3 multiplayer apparently added a hero Collector... maybe they still can't make art to Mordin's satisfaction, but that's fine. Don't get me wrong, I buy and like Mordin's arc in ME3, as far as I remember.

On a lighter note, I'm happy for her, but I don't believe Jack's evolution to a fully self-actualized teacher in six months either! Why did they feel the need to compress the timeline like this? Not necessary.
I honestly just kinda personally headcanon Liara as some sort of deeply sleazy con artist just trying to get laid.
Not good but this makes me like her more, like a soap opera villain.
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Bumped the difficulty up to Hardcore and will probably go up to Insanity sometimes but it's not really what I want. (absolutely no danger from enemies; I just want them to have a ton of health so I can play with ragdoll spells like Shockwave and Slam)
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Had no idea Claudia Black voiced Aethyta, too!
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Other things that are good about ME3 compared to 2: fewer bullshit sidequests, really. They feel pretty vestigial in 2, which feels very good if you just do the core storyline (including loyalty quests) and (non-vehicle) DLC and, to me, hollow and depressing if you explore everything. (in a way even the first game doesn't because hey, you're just freely wandering around outdoors... kind of nice, even though I prefer a corridor) Normally feels like there's a reason you're doing whatever you're doing in 3. Of course I ultimately love these games and if I'm going to play one, I'll play all three - probably won't go to Andromeda after this but who can say. Thinking of BioWare RPGs I'd happily play alone... my kingdom (sixty American dollars) for the ability to just be allowed to DL Dragon Age II on a new console, even though it was a flop.
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Don't think I took Liara to Sur'Kesh before because I was surprised and delighted by some interactions specific to her. Javik's got a lot of dialogue about Grunt's vibe... wonder how much if any he has if Grunt was kept in the tank. (will never find out myself)
 
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