Mass Effect Legendary - my thoughts while I play these games (spoilers as I play)

There are several aspects of the ending of ME3 that bug me. They start with the mission to Thessia. Kai Leng shows up (we’ll ignore how horrible his character is here, that’s a separate issue) and you have to fight him. Fine. So you fight him, and you have to “win” the fight, ie. not actually defeat him but get him below x% health. And then there’s a cutscene where you’re defeated by a gunship. What? I mean, I get that the plot dictates that Kai Leng has to make succeed in getting away with the Prothean VI, and that’s fine. But if the plot dictates you must be defeated, then have the player defeated. Like in the Arrival DLC. I hate in any game where you succeed in a mission and then get beaten in the ensuing cutscene because of the dictates of the plot. This is a particularly egregious case.

Next, the offscreen “oh BTW the Citadel has been captured” renders whole swathes of minor quests and conversation interventions in the game ultimately futile. The various people you helped, the shopkeepers, the refugees down on the dock, the medical clinic. All gone with a snap of a finger.

Finally, some gaping plot holes at the end. The Normandy swoops in to evac your squadmates. What? If it could just show up there, then it ought to be disgorging every last crewmember that can hold a rifle to sprint towards the conduit, not just saving Liara or Garrus. Is the fate of the galaxy on the line here or not? Then we pass through the conduit, which the Reaper forces clearly know about because they’ve been defending it, and we’re met on the other side by…nothing. Are the Reapers super-intelligent and overpowering, or aren’t they? They can snap their fingers and take the Citadel without a fight, transport it halfway across the galaxy, but they are powerless against one soldier almost dead on her feet limping through an empty corridor? They know you’ve been transported there, because they’ve just been defending against you getting through!

The glowy kid and the magic ending choices actually don’t bother me so much. Well, I don’t much like that the synthesis ending exists, but that’s not a problem because I can just not choose it. It’s the sections before where they snatch agency away from the player by having the setbacks occur in cutscenes/off screen, and the nonsensical bits near the end that grate on me.

That said, I think the biggest problem with ME3 is just that the writers had painted themselves into a corner. A single reaper is nearly enough to defeat a massive combined fleet in ME1, and now there are thousands of the things, plus their minions. Hence, the Crucible. Okay, but at every turn the Reapers should be able to just wipe you from the map. Given the level of mismatches we see in the cutscenes showing, for example, the Turian fleet vs numerous Reapers, the entire war should be over in a couple days. In many ways the entire game doesn’t make any sense because the are constantly switching from overwhelmingly powerful to surprisingly easy to defeat depending on the needs of the plot. And it’s difficult to see how this can be fixed without modifying huge chunks of story that was already fixed in place by ME1&2.

And so, we just enjoy it for the awesome characters, and pretend not to notice the incoherent parts.

Here is the other thing I realized about ME3. It felt like the game had established that we are supposed to care the most about Quarians, Asaris, and Krogans. They setup some interesting stories on two of those.

  • The Quarians with the Geth
  • The Krogans with the cure for the genophage

In order to earn their full powered alliance, but had massive and satisfying conclusions to their stories in ME3.

The Asari? Not so much. We just went there and fought Kai Leng, a useless character who was obviously invented for no reason other than to add another antagonist to ME3.

The Asari get ripped off and we needed a conflict setup in earlier games for them to payoff here.

Well…eventually you’re met on the other side by the Catalyst who says “I guess our plan didn’t work, we’ll try something else.” So it’s possible they gave up at that point.

My nitpick was: why didn’t the Reapers just turn off the beam? Did they ever explain that?

(I guess Paragon Shepard’s answer would be [They underestimate us.] “The Reapers have the Citadel. They think they’ve won, and that’s the best time to hit them.”)

I thought the scene in the asari temple (before Kai Leng) was interesting, where it explained that they were so advanced because they were able to get information from a prothean beacon, and it showed that old statues of their gods looked like protheans.

But yes, they didn’t get as much love at the quarians and krogans.

The Asari are never really struggling though.

They are kinda pretty well set. Idyllic society (with a few small cracks), long lived, powerful military, well established and well liked in the galaxy…there really is no struggle they need to cope with.

Also, they have sex with everyone (which is not to say they are promiscuous). Hard to dislike them.

I meant to ask…

Did you build your fish tank?

Not really. I did end up with a few fish, but I think I missed that “feed fish” button on the side of the tank and they did not make it. I read there is an auto-fish option later, but I never pursued it. Mine was mainly empty.

In ME2, Kelly will offer to keep your fish fed if you flirt with her enough to get the dinner date. In ME3, there’s an Aquarium VI that can be purchased at the Elkoss Combine terminal (at the near end of the Presidium map, to the left after you exit the elevator, next to Barla Von and his bank).

Just be careful not to buy the Khar’shan snapping eel because it will eat all your other fish! I learned that the hard way…

I’d like to see a Mass Effect game taking place in the series’ rich past. Something about the Rachni Wars, or the Krogan Rebellions, the Morning War, or First Contact War. Of course, the first two wouldn’t have any humans in it. And the First Contact War had relatively few casualties on either side, and ended with a Citadel-enforced peace. The Morning War would probably be too depressing, considering that about 1% of the quarian population survived.

Yes, the past would probably be a berter way to continue. Would love to play something like that b

There’s some incredibly deep lore in this storytelling world, but I question, quite emphatically, whether it would be appropriate fodder for a new game.

Bioware’s whole thing is that the players feel like they’re helping to unfold not-yet-written history. When you get to the end of the ME trilogy, or as you play through DA, you have the incredibly satisfying sense that this is your version of the story, that you contributed to its shape. It’s a bit of a magic trick, some very clever game-design sleight of hand, but it’s hard to escape that feeling.

If you went back into the past, to explore some of those established historical events, though, the outcomes are already determined. You know the krogans can’t win their rebellion, that the turians will inflict the salarian bioweapon on them. You know the rachni will eventually be beaten down and eradicated. You know the humans and the turians will glare at each other over Shanxi, but before full-scale war breaks out, the Council will intervene and broker peace. What is there for the player to do, except play mad-libs in an existing framework? What effect will they have on the overall story?

I agree that this would be easy for them, that a subset of players would be happy to go back and fill in gaps, but I disagree, strongly, that it would be all that exciting narratively.

Wait, what? It will?

I buy it every time and I’ve never known/noticed this!

Honestly, instead of a sequel or prequel, I would like Bioware to just make a new trilogy that is in the spirit of Mass Effect(your choices matter, characters are amazing, etc.) and have a whole new story.

That’s a pretty good point. And it would be even less fun to relive the Morning War as a member of the quarian species, knowing that your efforts are in vain and your people will be exiled from their homeworld.

I think the next sequel needs to jump ahead a couple hundred years or so, to where the Reaper war is long over, but the galaxy is now starting to have to deal with its lingering aftermath -the krogans expandng after the end of the genophage, the now-suitless quarians (and maybe the geth as well) jockeying for a seat on the Council, the newly emergent rachni seeking more settlements enroaching on Council space, and so forth. The protagonist would likely be a human Spectre (or perhaps you’d get your choice of race with differing backstories and play styles for each), and given their longevity it’d be entirely possible for Liara or Wrex to return in some form.

If I remember correctly, it doesn’t do this if you have the Aquarium VI (and therefore the tank has plenty of food), but it does if you don’t have the VI and the eel needs to eat.

Probably why I didn’t see it, I always buy the VI ASAP. I love a full aquarium.

I guess I bought the eel without the VI the first time I played and I was too scared to buy it since then.