March 9, 2012
Maybe it’s because I’ve played the opening on Earth way too many times, but I hate it now. I hate two particular points. There’s this point where Shepard and Anderson come across a couple husks and you have to shoot them. Even if you don’t shoot them, they just run away from you. Even if you do shoot them, they keep coming till you run out of ammo and Anderson tells you that you need to get moving. The second part is after you’ve hailed the Normandy and you’re holding your position till it arrives. You can’t proceed until you empty both of your weapons’ clips. It’s kind of lame, because my imported level 30 Vanguard can charge into the enemies, decimate them and it won’t move anything along because I’ve got to run out of ammo for the sake of Bioware’s attempt at dramatic tension. Playing the game on Insanity as I am makes this a pain, because instead of just killing everyone in the most effective way, I have to crouch behind cover and keep from getting killed while I pop off enough rounds to trigger the Normandy’s arrival. It’s stupid and I am disappointed that Bioware would sacrifice playability for a false sense of tension.
Right away after getting off of Earth, you’re off to Mars. You go looking for information from the Prothean Archives there and this is pretty classic Mass Effect combat. What I was surprised at, was my leveled up Vanguard was able to wipe out the Cerberus forces all by himself. Ashley and Vega did almost nothing. Hell, because I used the Biotic Charge to zip all the way down the hill, I killed everyone before they even got involved in the fight. Thankfully, you run into Liara really quickly, and you’re able to dump Vega. I don’t see myself using him much. I don’t need a soldier class squad mate and Freddie Jr.’s Latino act is wearing thin after just a couple hours into the game. If that motherfucker calls me “Loco” one more time, I’m putting him out the airlock.
There’s also the bit at the end where you’re chasing down the synthetic operative after the talk with The Illusive Man (TIM). The game wants you running after her, but again the Vanguard can charge at her and always catch up. At one point, I was actually ahead of her. And, my maxed out biotic charge should do damage to her shields, but again, for the sake of the story, Bioware ignores logic and makes her invulnerable so that she can slam Ashley’s head into the wall and hospitalize her. I understand they’ve got the Ashley/hospital story they want to do, so why not just make the whole thing a cutscene? Why bother making it playable if the powers you have don’t do a damn thing? It’s not fun and it doesn’t ring true.
Still not in control of your destination, you’re off to The Citadel. You can go visit Ashley and meet Dr. Chakwas (Dr. Annoying and Useless) and before that you can pickup your new embedded reporter Jessica “We Want IGN to Like US” Chobot. I took her along because I’m sure she’s useful and she added a whole 5 War Assets to my readiness. There are a couple side missions you can overhear and get added to your journal and you can buy a medi-gel upgrade at the hospital. Then you’ll talk to the Council and get blown off, and then you get a job from the Turian councillor to go help out the Turians and I guess gain them as allies for the fight back on Earth. I swear they said The Citadel was bigger than ever, but so far it’s looking pretty small. Maybe more of it opens up later.
March 12, 2012
So, The Citadel got much bigger. As the story progressed new places kept opening up. It still doesn’t feel as big as The Citadel from Mass Effect, but it feels bigger than the one in Mass Effect 2. Like the Normandy, there are lots of background conversations going on and sometimes you can join in on them a bit or pick up side missions by overhearing something being needed. Your crew also shows up at various places on The Citadel and from time to time they’ll have longer scenes with Shepard and you get a lot of character development. They really do add a lot to the experience of working with a team in a way that building a huge team that you had pretty shallow experiences with in Mass Effect 2.
I was hoping to actually see the Turian home world, but since that’s being fucked up by the Reapers, one of its moons will have to do Menae is a pretty bland mission. You’re on a rocky moon and everything is gray. The ground is gray. The Turians are gray, and the husks you have to fight are gray. It’s pretty gray. It’s not hard except for the brutes and marauders you fight at the end of the mission.
Now you’re onto to rescue the female Krogan that you’ve probably played a million times from the demo. There’s more to it in the main game, and it’s exactly what I played at TGS.
Fucking Atrium. Most of Grissom Academy isn’t that hard, even on Insanity. The Atrium though, is a nightmare. It’s a courtyard battle that reminds me of the bullshit courtyard battle near the end of Gears of War 2. You don’t really need to defeat every enemy on the battlefield, just enough to trigger certain doors to open. The first door leads to a hallway that loops around so you can get to the back of the Atrium and the second one is in the back of the Atrium and leads to the guy we rescued from Project Overlord. I still have no idea how I got those doors to open, I’m just glad they did.
The Krogan home world is just as brown as it was in Mass Effect 2. There are more missions here now. The part where you kill a Harvester is pretty cool, but the final Harvester encounter is a bit of a pain in the ass. I’d say I was stuck there for 30-40 minutes (on Insanity).
I didn’t want to break my promise to the Krogans, so I warned them about the Salarians’ tampering with the Shroud. This meant that Mordin would fix the Shroud and cure the genophage. What I wasn’t expecting was that Mordin would have to die in order to fix it. I guess that if I hadn’t warned them, maybe Mordin wouldn’t have died, but my conscious wouldn’t allow me to let the Krogan believe that the genophage had been cured when it really hadn’t. So while Mordin died, I saved a race that we’ll hopefully be extremely grateful for the sacrifices we made.
So, no matter if you saved the Rachni Queen in Mass Effect or not, the Rachni are in Mass Effect 3. Kinda lame, but it turns out the Reapers create an artificial Rachni Queen if you killed the real one. If you allow the fake one to live, she will eventually turn on you.
Attack on the Citadel
I was surprised that The Citadel gets attacked mid-game. You get to shoot Udina and meet Kai Leng who I had read about in the novels. I don’t remember him having biotics in the books, but all of a sudden, he’s got shit glowing from his hands. Whatever, they retconned a bunch of stuff in Mass Effect 3. I’m over it. I was sad to see Thane die, but it seems like it’s an inevitable death for Thane, who was terminally ill to begin with.
After the attack, you can still go to The Citadel, but it’s not all fucked up and injured people are everywhere and smoke is billowing up from lower levels. It’s a nice touch. There’s a side mission with Zaeed where if he was loyal in Mass Effect 2 he survives, and if he wasn’t loyal in Mass Effect 2, he dies in Mass Effect 3. My Mass Effect 2 Zaeed wasn’t loyal (the only one who wasn’t) and the bastard dies on me. I would’ve liked to have his war assets, but I’m guessing I’ll be okay without him. It’s kind of a fitting end for a shitbag like Zaeed anyway.
The Quarians and Geth
So, after the attack on The Citadel, you finally meet up with the Quarians and sabotage a Geth dreadnaught where you run into Legion and find out that rewriting the Geth in Mass Effect 2 was a really bad idea. Turns out that it made the heretic Geth turn to the Reapers all the more readily and made everything worse for everyone. There’s a great bit of dialogue with Legion back on the Normandy that says something like “You made the choice you thought was correct at the time. We make our choices and we can’t go back and change them.” I think this was less for Shepard and more for the player. I wound up telling Legion that hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had destroyed the heretic Geth.
You also meet up with Tali again and I rekindled my romance with her. Liara finds out and when I take both of them out on the Geth mission, Liara makes a comment about me and Tali being together. I loved that Bioware worked that into the story. I thought it real life, it would be a little awkward taking both of your girlfriends out on missions and Bioware made sure it was. There’s also some banter between Tali and Shepard while you’re walking around on the dreadnaught that’s a little suggestive and EDI chimes in over the wireless to remind Liara that in Mass Effect 2, Shepard and Tali started fucking each other. I’m sure Liara appreciated that.
I’ve found that I’ve been playing things quite Paragon in Mass Effect 3. It’s not a conscious choice, but I’m trying to get as many people to work with me and I didn’t want to lie to Wrex after all we’d been through together. I still have more Renegade points than Paragon points, however. I’ve been rough with people I don’t need. I’ve also made it a point to be hard on Vega whenever possible, although I was supportive of his decision to accept the N7 commendation.
I also really like Cortez and Traynor. While Vega is a useless party member (so is Ashley, always was), Cortex and Traynor have great voice acting and are interesting characters. Vega’s a brash asshole and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s fake latino bullshit is annoying. I tried sleeping with Traynor but that didn’t work, and I have a feeling that with as nice as I was being with Cortez that if I wasn’t already fucking Tali, Shepard would’ve turned gay.
Lastly, I hate Diana, but I still tried fucking her. I’m a scumbag, I know.
March 13, 2012
OMG, the Geth
I have always liked the Geth. Not the things they do, necessarily, but I love the concept of the Geth. I also sympathized with the Cylons in BSG, so go figure. Mass Effect has always done interesting stuff with the Geth. In Mass Effect they were kind of faceless and they were annoying enemies when you were stuck fighting them in the Mako, but in Mass Effect 2, they really became much more interesting. The Geth battles in Project Overlord were great and the stuff with Legion was fantastic. I loved getting more backstory about the history of the Geth and the Quarians.
Mass Effect 3 has even cooler Geth stuff. The mission where you sabotage the dreadnaught and meet Legion has a tough and slightly annoying battle, but the virtual reality bit where you’re only shooting Reaper code inside the Geth server is different and cool and you get even more background about the Quarians’ history with the Geth. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I want prequel games including one covering the Morning War.
I also played through the bit where you rescue the Quarian admiral last night as well. I’ve gotten very effective at fighting Geth. I maxed out Energy Drain and I’m taking Tali with maxed out Energy Drain and Garrus with maxed out Overload and I’m mopping the floor with the Geth.
My plan tonight is to do the one remaining side mission on my board, an Asari distress call, and then take on the Reaper base on Rannoch. I’m coming my Quarian friends. I want your fleet.
March 14, 2012
I wound up the Geth/Quarian stuff last night. I managed to end the war, gain the Geth as allies (with Legion’s demise) and brought the Quarians home. At the same time, I got to see lots of great stuff with Shepard and Tali. Tali told me she loved me and as a reward for being so awesome, she gave me a photo of herself, unmasked. After all this time, I finally got to see what she looks like. I was afraid the Quarians might be hideous under there, but earlier in the game, Javik did mention the Quarians always being quite attractive. There’s still that three fingers and toes thing, but I can look past that. Where as Liara is always moody and distant, Tali is always affectionate and it turns out, Tali’s hotter than Liara.
The Asari and Thessia
The first Asari encounter I had was the Ardat Yakshi monastery where apparently Morinth’s sisters were. I just got curious and checked the Mass Effect wikia about Morinth and found out she winds up being an enemy later on. Shit. Turns out that like with rewriting the Geth, not killing Morinth in Mass Effect 2 was a bad choice. Samara’s story stuff in Mass Effect 3 looks much cooler and she winds up being an ally.
On Thessia, there’s a lot of tough banshees to deal with, but nothing too daunting. You get to learn a little bit about the Reapers’ roll in the cycle of destruction and then Cerberus comes to fuck your shit up. Kai Leng again has biotics somehow even though he didn’t have them in the books, and he steals your new Prothean stuff. Thessia’s in ruins and your off to Horizon to hopefully track down The Illusive Man and fuck his shit up.V
March 15, 2012
I went into Horizon expecting it to look like it did in Mass Effect 2. I liked getting to see the kind of lab Paul Grayson was in in Mass Effect: Retribution. The Illusive Man never ceases to amaze me with his control issues. He can’t just kill the Reapers, he has to control them. It’s also scary that he would lure in humans to experiment on them, seeing as Cerberus is supposed to be pro-human. The game’s codecs, however, say that Cerberus is less pro-human and more anti-alien. I guess I can see the difference there.
I really loved the scene after Horizon with Tali in the lounge getting drunk. There’s a great bit where Tali is explaining how she gets alcohol into her enviro-suit and she references an “Emergency Induction Port” and Shepard says, “That’s a straw, Tali.” And she talks about Miranda and thinking she was a bitch, but she respected her as a soldier and respected her for opposing her own father. Tali also tells Shepard how Tali’s father wouldn’t like Shepard and that he’d never believe she had a human boyfriend.
So now Shepard’s off to take down The Illusive Man (and Cerberus). You have to take EDI along with you, so I’m hoping there will be some great EDI stuff like there was for Legion and the Geth in the virtual interface sequence when you took down the Geth fighter squadron. I got past the front line before I had to stop playing for the night so hopefully tonight I’ll be able to kill The Illusive Man and then make my return to Earth to sort out the Reaper invasion.