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

karzac

(he/him)
Yeah, Mass Effect 1 combat is dead easy, even on Normal mode, so it should be a breeze on the easier difficulties. And if you play one of the powers-focused classes, you can get by without shooting anything very much at all. Adept, Engineer or Infiltrator are all good choices.
 
Mass Effect 2 is the game where you have to fire guns the most often, especially on higher difficulties, because powers don't affect enemies with shields/barriers/armors as much. (they do "stagger" them; who cares!!) However, one interesting thing in ME2 is physics skills instantly kill unshielded husks (doesn't happen in 1 or 3) so you can have fun with that on lower difficulties. ME3 has a lot of powers to play with, they affect more enemies, and I think the higher difficulties don't change anything about that, just gives them a bit more HP and a lot more damage potential. (I wish enemies in ME3 had way more HP and were incapable of denting your shields because I just want to ragdoll them, personally) I would adjust the difficulty from Insansity to Normal or even Narrative all the time in ME3 depending on what I felt like.(well, Narrative mostly to end an irritating bit on Rannoch ASAP) Particularly with Vanguard it's very possible to play without almost ever firing a gun, because in 3 they have a skill without a cooldown. This makes the occasional section where you're expected to shoot jarring. (didn't have fun during the opening of Citadel without my cooldown reducing armor...)

ME1'll probably be fine for you on Narrative. Hope you enjoy it!

Annnnnyway, playing Andromeda. Compressed timeline once again makes no sense. Liara's VA comes back and sounds weird. Everyone is kind of boring. I'm not used to the combat at all, but I'm trying something different. (tech skills only - looks like the Engineer profile gives a lot of benefits to constructs which I'm not using right now...) It's truly Mass Effect 6/10 and there's a great chance I'll clear it out for the third time.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I’m not sure “use a class with Biotic powers” is really the best solution for someone who is t having fun with the combat; you’re still ultimately pointing a crosshair at enemies; you’re just pressing a different button.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Yeah, but the aim assist on powers is waaaay more generous than on shooting. As long as you've got line of sight to your target, you'll hit. You can also direct your squadmates' powers more easily than you can direct their shots, and many powers are one-hit kills on lower difficulties.
 
You can pause and move the camera around in the first three games when you use powers, which also have the aim assist in Karzac mentioned. (actually you could probably pause to line up shots, too)
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
If you can play Bioshock on easy, you can DEFINITELY play any ME on the easiest setting. I like shooters and I still like power-based classes more than Soldier, but honestly all of the classes are viable and giving squadmates orders to use their powers is a big chunk of the game too. Just basically DON'T roll Soldier since it is mostly shooting-oriented (it gets some powers in ME3/Andromeda but that's 2 games deep) and pick a class that sounds cool to you and you should be totally fine.
 
Me2-3 engineer is fun because of constructs.
I played first run 1-A engineer class.

Current run I'm doing infiltrator (missing assassination skill from 1)

My evil scorched earth run I'll do Adept I think
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Ok, that sounds good. Thanks for the info, everyone. Will take some time, until I can play it though, don't have any money at the moment. But for now, it's wishlisted.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Just finished the Arrival DLC for ME2, which I had also never done before. It was neat to have a Shepard solo mission, especially with the pseudo-stealth stuff at the beginning, but overall this felt more limited and railroady that the other big DLC packs. Seemed like they were working with a smaller team on a smaller budget - you're given very little choice in how you deal with the crisis (and it's such a huge crisis that it feels sort of silly to have it relegated to a side mission) and there's a whole bunch of dialogue that Shepard says without any player input. Kind of an interesting experiment in presenting an impossible situation, but ultimately didn't quite work. Still enjoyed though, and between this, Shadow Broker and Overlord, ME2 had some great DLC.
 
My problem with Arrival is that is impossible to buy that Shepard Has To Blow Up This Star System Right Now! or Else the Reapers Will Win considering how things just kind of arbitrarily happen both in this game and especially ME3. (would never deny the plotting in this franchise is a mixed bag!) It's like no, Shepard doesn't need to do this. Why would it matter if the Reapers show up now? They just kind of randomly show up all over the place in ME3 and it's fine. I mean, it's bad. I wish it weren't happening! But it doesn't seem critical at all to just blow up this planet. Also, the DLC emphasizes the "once you've been too exposed to this alien race, you have to be executed along with the entirety of this race and its vastly more numerous slaves, who aren't even people anymore" thing which I don't particularly think is an amazing story to tell over the course of 100 or so hours.

I think I'm pulling away from Andromeda... good... good...
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I think of Arrival as being less of ME2s finale and more as ME3s prologue; makes the pointlessness of sacrificing an entire planet to stop something that was about to happen regardless a bit more palatable.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Yeah, I mean, I did it in the middle of the game - which the game pushes you to do - so it didn't really feel like either of those things
 
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Eusis

Obsessive girl
(she/her, they/them)
Oh, yeah...

that’s a dumb time for the game to tell you to do it
As DLC the game allows you to play it sooner than later, but yeah for my replay I did it earlier anyway! In the original game I'm pretty sure it was the last DLC I got and played so that just occurred naturally.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
IIRC, it was originally released so late after ME2 that it was basically a lead in to 3.

Or else I’m misremembering because I replayed 2, with all the DLC just before 3 came out
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Arrival was indeed more a prologue to ME3 than part of ME2. It came fairly late.

If your only experience with the series' combat is the original version of Mass Effect 1, it's rather difficult to say. ME1's gunplay was pretty sluggish and awkward. In Legendary Edition, they don't improve the chaotic level design of the first game, but they do make the guns more pleasant to aim. Muddling through it isn't much of a challenge, but I don't know of anybody who likes the action gameplay.

ME2 and ME3 are structured as more conventional third-person cover shooters (an important distinction from first-person shooters, because they're adapted for slower movement and less precise aiming: it's more about positioning yourself and using the right tool for the job, less about aiming and reacting). If you're not confident in your ability to aim guns or enjoy aiming guns, in those games you can play as an Engineer (whose main gameplay gimmick is to launch homing projectiles and command a combat drone) or a Vanguard (whose main gameplay gimmick is to use the move Biotic Charge to ignore cover and punch enemies in the face). Alternatively, if you play as an Infiltrator (probably the most powerful class overall), you get a rather gentle introduction to the concept as you cloak around the battlefield and snipe enemies without being put under much pressure.
 
I am displeased that they "fixed" the 10% credits carryover from ME1 to ME2, almost entirely because I hadn't started ME2 yet; it's now much closer to what it was originally with a 100k maximum. I can't even find negative sentiment about what I assumed was an intentional change, so patching it seems really weird. I would've rather they patched the Conrad scene, consistency with ME3 be damned.
 

Eusis

Obsessive girl
(she/her, they/them)
I am displeased that they "fixed" the 10% credits carryover from ME1 to ME2, almost entirely because I hadn't started ME2 yet; it's now much closer to what it was originally with a 100k maximum. I can't even find negative sentiment about what I assumed was an intentional change, so patching it seems really weird. I would've rather they patched the Conrad scene, consistency with ME3 be damned.
Things like this makes it feel like the closest to canonical approach - and the approach that works best with their tone and attitude over the series really - is to chase paragon ideals through a renegade filter. Shepard comes off as someone who probably means well, or ends up meaning well in the end, but can get fed up with the assholes in the galaxy easily. At least you'll have moments where you're sad and sympathetic no matter what, and inversely they'll eventually just snap at someone about something anyway.

And also, yeah, weird inconsistencies like that which seem to be Bioware assuming renegade more often in some ways in spite of us ostensibly defining Shepard ourselves.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
The Conrad scene in particular was less an assumption of renegade, and more that when they were making ME3, they didn't record the dialog for the paragon continuation because of the bug that forced ME2 to always play the renegade continuation, and recording new dialog was out of scope for the remaster. They also didn't restore any cut content, like the almost-completely-functional same-sex ME1 romances.
 
This close to doing the right thing for myself and deleting my Mass Effect Andromeda save data. Here's hoping!

I don't think the same-sex romances (Liara aside) were almost functional in ME1 and they weren't really cut content. They did have Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer record all Shepard dialogue even if intended for only one Shepard, so same-sex content could be modded in to an extent but the sex scenes were buggy and some of the dialogue was gendered. (never did this for myself; just ignored romance until ME3)

RE: the gay stuff in ME3... it's funny that they make you go through like six checks in the bar to ask if you're really sure you wanna kiss Cortez and also that Kaidan just out of nowhere confesses his love to MaleShep because like why else would a maleshep player have kept him alive? (have heard this is baffling to people who weren't going for the romance and I believe it...)
 
Things like this makes it feel like the closest to canonical approach - and the approach that works best with their tone and attitude over the series really - is to chase paragon ideals through a renegade filter. Shepard comes off as someone who probably means well, or ends up meaning well in the end, but can get fed up with the assholes in the galaxy easily. At least you'll have moments where you're sad and sympathetic no matter what, and inversely they'll eventually just snap at someone about something anyway.

And also, yeah, weird inconsistencies like that which seem to be Bioware assuming renegade more often in some ways in spite of us ostensibly defining Shepard ourselves.
I think what Paragon and Renegade mean vary from game to game. IMO the best characterization for Shepard can be found in ME3 because the writing is better and and both options are a bit more moderate - Renegade isn't often xenophobic and Paragon isn't always so dorky. I don't really get the sense that Renegade choices are assumed - if anything, Paragon choices are because you rarely get more or better content by committing genocide. (to this franchise's limited credit...) Destroy ending aside. (but that's Paragon in terms of Upper Right dialogue choices)
-
I don't know how tight money in ME2 is now, with all the DLC. And of course there's the daily LotSB stuff but it's immoral for a video game to encourage you to check it out every day so you should ignore that.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
So I've been fully indulging in thinking about the writing in this series lately. Mass Effect is a series with a lot of authors, not all of whom were in agreement with each other about some important details. Naturally, this gives us license to take what we want and ignore the rest. Buckle up, folks: I'm about to talk about lore.

What's the major theme inherent in Mass Effect's setting? Don't say "organics vs. synthetics," I'm going to ignore everything that happens at the Crucible because it's dumb. Mass Effect's universe is widely discursive so that it could accommodate a variety of scenarios, allude to the classics of sci-fi, support short stories with their own ideas, and so forth. As a result, it's not always easy to find unity of theme. Mass Effect 2 had a very consistent motif of intergenerational conflict but even that's only the loyalty missions, which make up generously a third of the game.

You've got to go back to the basic premise of the setting to find it: the Reapers. What's the insidious thing about the Reapers? Not their overwhelming technological and military superiority, not their unfathomably ancient campaign of serial genocide, not their unflinchingly ruthless and thorough methods; rather, it is that they are in control. This is most explicit with the notion of Indoctrination, their system of mind control that subverts a subject's will, or eradicates it, according to their needs; the mindlessness of husks, the Collector General's possession, the conversion of whole races into tools like the Keepers, the loyalty of Saren's minions, the despair of Saren and the ambition of the Illusive Man both turning to betrayal - these are the overt examples. More than that, the Citadel and the mass relay network are a trap to induce galactic society to develop the qualities they desire.

The Reapers thus personify (to the extent that unknowable machine gods that compare themselves to nations can be called persons) systems of control. And control is the idea that permeates it all. The conflicts dotting the galaxy, the grand and the small, are all about who's controlling whom and how, everything from Thane's alien philosophy about whether and when his body is acting independently of his soul, on up to Javik's takes of the haughty supremacy of the Prothean Empire. And the hero, Shepard, is above the law, but somebody is still holding her leash, and the player is given the opportunity to decide whether she resents it.

It's often blended with your traditional sci-fi cautionary tales, of course. The culture of the authors is criticized by amplifying its dilemmas in space. The quarian/geth drama is another retelling of Rossum's Universal Robots, in which artificially created slaves overthrow their masters, a motif that has yet to lose its vitality over a century later. The krogan reflect (among other things) the human capacity for rage, short-sightedness, and self-destruction. The batarian descent into fascist isolationism is a story that's come true several times in history. Ecological catastrophe shows up in the drell backstory. Rachni are straight out of Starship Troopers in questioning the ethical repercussions of going to war. A lot of this stuff isn't exactly subtle.

But all of it is adjacent to control. The four most powerful aliens - the asari, the turians, the salarians, and the volus - show how control is exerted through diplomacy, hierarchy, information, and money respectively. The quarians lost control of the geth and now they themselves are controlled by the exigencies of their precarious existence; the salarians exerted a horrifying form of control over the krogan; the drell became servants to the hanar; the batarians keep slaves; rachni drones go berserk when they don't have a queen; and don't even get me started on the vorcha.

And the development of these systems of control extends from the Reapers' influence. The periodic culling of spacefaring species and enablement of easy travel ensures that any species that discovers the mass effect will get to live out the colonialist dream of freely harvesting the material wealth of uninhabited worlds. To explore this galaxy is to exploit it, and to exploit it is to develop social structures which excel at exploitation and control. With the revelation that the reason why they Reap is to reproduce, to transform successful younger races into new Reapers, it is evident that induction into galactic society is simply the first step in the process of becoming a Reaper, the ultimate practitioners of exploitation and control.

But the Reapers themselves are controlled. They describe themselves as like nations unto themselves, and that sovereignty, that total disregard for any outside power, is evident in everything they do. But they are not free. They are an automatism, a self-perpetuating and self-rationalizing system which is superordinate to all other wills but has no will of its own. Systems like that exist in reality already. When you notice how natural it is to externalize and amplify such systems through the metaphor of an insidious enemy that uses brainwashed agents to systematically turn people into goo for their own inscrutable purposes, you've noticed the anarchist reading of Mass Effect.

Taken in that light, ending it all with a choice between eradicating the existing systems of control, repurposing them to humane ends, or changing human nature in some vague way that renders the dilemma meaningless takes on a certain vitality, doesn't it?
 
this is why I like the og ending. The relays must be destroyed. People are left in some ways in the stone age. The Normandy survivors live sans space travel shipwrecked. Their ancestors tell the story of the trilogy as myth.

It's really awesome
 

chady

(He/him/his)
I had forgotten what a big shift it was going from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2. Less ability trees, but the ones you have are more useful. Less weapon and armor options, but you also don't have to deal with your inventory after finding piles and piles of guns and weapon upgrades. The combat and cover system just being generally improved.

Back when I first played ME2 I remember being disappointed by the more action-y, less RPG direction it took, but right now it is just clicking for me.
 
on a bit of a break now that Gears Season 7 on, but have some thoughts on future of ME

1. Sadly I think they will abandon Andromeda
2. But they should bring some parts of it, general world design, combat
3. I want a new story to be developed, maybe hundreds of years after trilogy
4. Perhaps it can find saves from Legendary and Andromeda to have fun world state easter egg stuff
5. I want the story to be over X games and you bring your character into future games
6. SOMEHOW - I want you to pick race. I want to play Krogan or Quarian. It could work like DA: Origins where each type has a opening chapter, before getting to the main story
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
SOMEHOW - I want you to pick race. I want to play Krogan or Quarian. It could work like DA: Origins where each type has a opening chapter, before getting to the main story
You could pick your race in ME3 multiplayer. Yeah, I think a big time jump would be good. Andromeda was a good setup, but it ran into development issues. It’s really too bad that they didn’t have a bit more time to work on it and then make some DLC & a sequel.
 
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