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    Default (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    So, there has been issues with the ending of Mass Effect 3. I have of course read Shamus Young's discussion of the Mass Effect Series. I agree with his points, but thought to add some of my own. And the statements that appeared in another thread, since it started derailing it.

    Mass Effect 1 ended with the defeat of the Reaper, Sovereign, and Its attempts to open the Citadel portal. The story was open to a sequel, to find more about the Reapers or find ways to defeat them. That was the storylines being produced for any possible sequels with plenty of area to explore.

    Then Mass Effect 2 came out, and we got, essentially garbage. The Game didn't follow up on anything, dumped you on an adventure that ultimately meant exactly nothing, told you something dubious about the Reapers in General, and left you with having answered not a single question, but left dozens more that made no sense based on the Sequel Setup for ME1. Despite this fact, many or nearly all of the game magazines evaluated the game as really great.

    Mass Effect 3 picked up haphazardly where ME1 had left off, and pushed you along to figure stuff out, but with the drag and idiocy produced with ME2, ended up blowing the story up. So we got the Famous Endings and the like.

    Well, to be honest, I think it really started with the decisions over ME2, and that what happened to that game was responsible for all of the later problems. ME2 was supposed to be a sequel to ME1 and telling you important things. ME2 did nothing of the sort. A good many though continue to refer to ME2 as a great game despite everything. It wins game of the year awards.

    So, do people agree? Disagree? Let's discuss how and when the Mass Effect Series became ruined, and how it ended up with the Terrible Ending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    That sounds like it's ... smaller scale? I love that to bits! Everyone should do this, always. Because the only alternative is to go the other way - grander scale. And you can't keep doing that, and it's generally not a better story. Take Mass Effect. They get progressively worse.

    Make a better story. Not a bigger one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    It's not about the scale of the map, but the scale of the story. The first one was about stopping a reaver. The third was about the extinction of all life above basic simian intelligence. I'm not sure where the confusion is coming from :p
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    ALL of the three games were about extinction of life above simian intelligence; the only thing that changed between them was the means. So yeah, still confused by your assertion.
    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    And the second one had you join what was essentially Al-Qaeda working for Space Semi-Bin Laden. Yet it gets really high ratings for the story. Apparently, reviewers never actually played the game or thought about it that much. Being able to hang out with your friends apparently counts for more than a terrible story idea. But maybe that is another thread?
    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    I don't recall seeing any of that being a concern in ME 2. That game was about assembling your posse of friends to do...something relating to something that I can't remember well.

    I recall learning about maybe 1 or 2 things about the Reapers in that entire game. Neither thing learned seems to have been present except for the couple of missions in which they were present for. Beyond that, the rest was just playing "Looking for Group of Players: The Video Game"

    Apparently the Reapers were not interesting enough, so they invented an entirely new enemy, as opposed to learning more about the Reapers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Seriously? "It wasn't about the Reapers, it was about something I can't be bothered to remember"?

    No, man. It was 100% about the Reapers. You joined Tim because HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WITH A POWER BASE TRYING TO STOP THE REAPERS FROM DESTROYING ALL LIFE. It wasn't ambiguous. It wasn't unstated. You may object to the fact that you weren't able to say "no, you're evil, I'm gonna let the universe get blown up rather than do anything for you." You may (and I do) object to the fact that the third game asserted that Shepard had been tricked into working for and trusting Tim, rather than--as it was for my Shepard, and as I was completely able to roleplay according to in the second game--"I'll work for you for now because you're second on my hit list after the Reapers, but don't expect to drop below that number-two slot." But this "it wasn't about the Reapers" tosh? That you weren't paying any attention to the plot until it blew up Earth does not mean it wasn't there.
    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    That's pretty accurate.

    Nothing you do in Mass Effect 2 advances the Reaper plot in any way except Arrival.

    And you might say "but giant Reaper baby", but that doesn't do anything. Even if the Collectors finished it it couldn't do anything Sovereign couldn't have done and probably can't even do what Sovereign could do. So it doesn't advance the plot either.

    Mass Effect 2 was a giant goddamn sidequest. With daddy issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    Not really because it was almost complete just by harvesting outlying colonies.

    It wouldn't have touched Earth unless it mounted an attack there. Which is less than stealthy and, frankly, beyond the capabilities of a single Reaper. Remember Sovereign needed a whole fleet of Geth to run interference and still lost as soon as he could be focus fired.

    So we're back to "nothing in Mass Effect 2 moves the story forwards".

    (Of course then it turned out in Arrival the Reapers were like six months away so their entire plot in Mass Effect 1 was the equivalent of inventing a portal gun because you can't be bothered to go downstairs to the fridge).
    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
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    The Collectors have one (count it) heavy cruiser that gets done over by the Normandy alone. They don't have enough of a supporting army to go after Earth and make anything happen. They'd be intercepted and destroyed in space for no benefit.


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    Oh but it is. At the end of Mass Effect 2 we see the Reaper fleet hanging stationary in dark space and it's when whatever half-assed thing they were trying with the Collectors fails that they fire up their engines. Sovereign was trying to turn on the portal for 1500 years, when they finally gave up on it they were only 6 months away all along. (Remember that from what we know about Mass Relays they would need to be hanging out by the other endpoint of the one formed by the Citadel)

    In reality, of course, this is a result of the shift in narrative priorities at Bioware since EA took over. Detailed consistency with the original work was never an objective of Mass Effect 2 or 3, because EA wanted bombastic military shootmans. That's why the first trailer for ME3 could just as easily have been for a Modern Warfare game down to having someone doing an impression of Soap McTavish narrating it.

    If they'd been consistent, the Collectors should have been building another Citadel, they should have turned it on as you destroyed the base, and the destruction of the Omega Relay should have been the endgame which traps the Reapers in the galactic core setting up the stakes of ME3.

    You can see the end result in Andromeda, where nothing makes sense and the setting falls apart if you poke it gently with a stick
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    Eh, ME2 and ME3 both have amazing character work, cool set-pieces, and good shooter gameplay. But both of them fall down terribly in terms of main story. It's less noticeable in ME2, because so little of the game actually deals with its main story, and because of how epically bad and out of nowhere the ME3 ending was. But in many ways, the things that were bad about ME3 were set up by ME2's failures to advance the story of ME1.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    Of course, all of these problems arise in no small part from the original sins of ME2, which, for all it's amazing character work, failed at being a sequel to ME1. Martin Sheen's Illusive Man is a good character (if sometimes written nonsensically), but to be frank, he should probably never have existed (given how massively different Cerberus is in ME1), or if he did, in a much less central narrative role. As it stands, putting Cerberus so front and center in two both required their big distracting role in 3, and pulled so much focus away from the Reaper plot in 2 that 3 had no choice but to drop the Crucible concept in Shepard's lap at the start, since ME2 had failed to lay any groundwork for uniting the galaxy against the looming threat of the Reapers or figuring out how they might be stopped for good. And once 3 had, of necessity, built itself around assembling a magic 'I Win' button, the developers felt they had to build a twist and a painful choice into the simple goal of ending the Reaper's galactic genocide to make it less cliche and obvious--and so we end up with the utter mess that is the Star Child. ME3's ending was epically bad, but it might well have been better if ME2 had itself had a better story.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Disagree. I honestly don't consider Mass Effect ruined at all, just a good trilogy saddled with an unfortunately crappy last ten minutes. (And a fourth entry that lost my interest before it was even released because of things that they decided to change about the game design, but that's tangential.)

    I have a hard time deciding between ME2 and 3 as my favorite of the series. 2 has by far my favorite crew members, many of the best character moments, and is just pretty solid all through; while 3 is more uneven, having extremely high highs (Tuchanka and the Genophage, the Geth vs Quarians, the Citadel DLC) but rather low lows (Kai Leng, the ending), but also improved a bit on ME2's already great gameplay.

    Both I feel are just better all around than the first entry though, especially in terms of gameplay. I ended ME1 interested in seeing the series continue, but not yet a big fan of it - it was only after ME2 came out that I came to really love the series. And the closest thing to "ruining" it for me is simply that Bioware has changed enough that they've started favoring a game design formula that I dislike, oversized open-worlds, hence my having not even played Andromeda.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I disagree and largely agree with Zevox. I can't go back and play ME 1. I like the story and characters, but loading issues and gameplay wise? Rough sell for me.

    I 100% ME 2 GLADLY and only haven't ME 3 because...it ended just right that I didn't want to replay it, I had my canon ending that I was perfectly happy with. My only regret with ME 3 was I never got to play the DLC, including Citadel which I heard amazing things about.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    So, was the character moments, crew members, etc all in ME2 Really able to surpass the poor writing and plotting in the game? What about that makes it actually work? Given the point was fighting the Reapers in total, how much was the side parts in ME2 really able to make the story relating to the Reapers even work?

    I mean isn't the entire point of Roleplaying Games the Story and how the player with their companions interact with the Story? Baldur's Gate 2 is one game that gets frequent mentions of being really good, with that being mainly, so I heard, due to the Story.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    The bad parts of Mass Effect 3 were Kai Leng, the ending, the lack of meaningful conversations with your crew and the war asset system.


    None of which were problems that it inherited from ME2 all were problems it created for itself.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Looking back, Mass Effect 2 was a very early warning sign of what EA were going to do to Bioware.

    The tone, theme, and intent of the work was very different, and it mostly carried itself on the strength of the party characters.

    Well, Mordin, Tali, and Garrus anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    So, was the character moments, crew members, etc all in ME2 Really able to surpass the poor writing and plotting in the game? What about that makes it actually work? Given the point was fighting the Reapers in total, how much was the side parts in ME2 really able to make the story relating to the Reapers even work?
    From the perspective of "fighting the Reapers" nothing in Mass Effect 2 mattered.

    The whole thing was one giant sidequest, of which the outcome mattered not at all to the wider plot.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-03-08 at 07:38 PM.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    So, was the character moments, crew members, etc all in ME2 Really able to surpass the poor writing and plotting in the game? What about that makes it actually work? Given the point was fighting the Reapers in total, how much was the side parts in ME2 really able to make the story relating to the Reapers even work?

    I mean isn't the entire point of Roleplaying Games the Story and how the player with their companions interact with the Story? Baldur's Gate 2 is one game that gets frequent mentions of being really good, with that being mainly, so I heard, due to the Story.
    I don't feel that the writing or plot of the game was poor. But even if I felt that way, yeah, I'd probably say so. I don't feel that the main plot has ever been the strongest part of Bioware's games - they almost always come down to you just fighting something big, evil, and dangerous enough that you just have to address it, since otherwise they can't let you play your lead as anything from a saint to a monster and still expect that you'll always want to follow the storyline. Which is fine and all, but ultimately ends up as just sort of your standard fantasy (or science fantasy in this case, I suppose) story.

    ME2's companion characters though? Mordin, Jack, and Legion together beat out anything else in the series as far as I'm concerned - and tellingly, two of those had their personal storylines become key to two of the absolute best parts of ME3. Then it improved upon Garrus and Tali and made me actually like them where ME1 had left me feeling fairly meh about them (and the Shadow Broker DLC later did the same with Liara), and had others that I liked to lesser degrees such as Thane, Miranda, and Samara. Really the only one who was on the same level of bland as most of ME1's companions was Jacob. And yeah, I honestly think I'd take their sub-plots over the main plot of the trilogy any day.

    At the end of the day, that's probably no small part of why the bad ending of ME3 never felt like it ruined even ME3 itself, much less the series, to me. The whole Reapers plot was never what made me love the series to begin with. That it was fairly sidelined in ME2 in favor of other things is, if anything, possibly part of why I feel that game is the most all-around solid of the three.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I didnít play ME2 because I was really pumped up to fight Reapers. Thatís part of the plot, sure, but thatís not my primary motivation for getting into Mass Effect. So the fact that weíre running around assembling our Magnificent Seven in Space to fight the Collectors is not an issue for me.

    In fact, Iíll even go so far as to say that the companion recruitment and loyalty missions are the core of ME2. Itís like a television series in that way. In-universe the Collector/Reaper junk is what really matters, but from my perspective itís the characters. Learning their history, accomplishing their personal goals, chatting with them on the ship, or even just having them make random remarks during missions.

    And much as I hate to admit it, iím willing to overlook plot holes and inconsistencies if the overall experience is enjoyable. Especially in a game that does a good job tightening up the mechanics of its predecessor.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    You know what was the real reason the Mass Effect Trilogy was ruined on a narrative level?

    The original purpose of the Reapers/ending was spoiled by a leak, and EA insisted they wrote another one.

    So all the thematic buildup, all the plot threads were either dismissed, retconned, or no longer fitted with the new story.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    So, was the character moments, crew members, etc all in ME2 Really able to surpass the poor writing and plotting in the game? What about that makes it actually work? Given the point was fighting the Reapers in total, how much was the side parts in ME2 really able to make the story relating to the Reapers even work?

    I mean isn't the entire point of Roleplaying Games the Story and how the player with their companions interact with the Story? Baldur's Gate 2 is one game that gets frequent mentions of being really good, with that being mainly, so I heard, due to the Story.
    Your question is based on the assumption that one finds the writing and plotting in the game to be poor.

    Because the parts that you are describing as the side parts? They are very much a main part of the story. ME 2 is about figuring out why the Collectors hunted down Shepard, why are they abducting entire human colonies, and if they have any connection to the Reapers as well as putting a stop to what they are doing. Getting evidence of the Reapers or some kind of tech edge being an extra plus.

    During the course of the game you find out a couple of fairly important things about the main story like why the Reapers harvest organic life, that the Protheans weren't just harvested and what that might mean for the Milky Way's inhabitants, why Shepard isn't going to have support in ME 3. Its not a ton, but some fairly important details.

    As for interactions with the story...you interact with the story plenty! The main meat of the story in ME 2 is recruiting you companions and earning their trust so you can go on the suicide mission with as great a chance of success as you can get. And its rather telling that you both don't have to recruit all of the companions or gain their trust, that's all up to you but it all affects the suicide mission as well. He'll, you can go on loyalty missions and STILL fail to get a crew member's loyalty! (Zaeed you prickly bastard)
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    You are right and wrong. You are right, Mass Effect 2 basically does nothing to move forward the plot of the Reapers. It did give us a couple of things. It established that Humanity was now at the top of the Reaper's hit list. It also established that Reapers are literally born from the races they wipe out which is something I always thought was super interesting. There were hints of that in ME3, but I wish they explored that even more. Like the Reapers not viewing what they are doing as extermination but as ascension.

    But you are wrong that it was bad for not doing so. Mass Effect 2 made things personal. By the end of it I cared about a lot of characters, from pretty much every single race in the game. Even the Geth. Even friggin Cerberus became a person and not just some racist insane scientists who should be shot as soon as they start to say Cerberus. I still thought they were evil, and still considered them a future enemy, but TIM would at least get a nod of respect and it made sense that people would willingly work for Cerberus.

    Shepherd really was fleshed out by the end of it as well. Before there were hints, but he was mostly a generic good guy space hero. But ME2 made him solid. I knew what he was willing to sacrifice to beat the Reapers, I knew what he loved and what he hated. He became much more of a person, and less of an avatar.

    So yeah, when ME3 rolled around with the Reapers coming in hot, I was already super invested, right from the word go. I cared about Humanity's stand, the attack on the Turians, uniting the Krogan, saving the Asari Aardant-whatsits, and making peace between the Geth and the Quarians. That's what ME2 accomplished.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I think there are two separate ideas of what equates a good narrative going on. Because russdm is right, that ME2 didn't really develop the main narrative of the three games. You are forced into working with TIM, and then by ME3 you're no longer working with him anyway. You defeat the Collectors, but they don't really matter by ME3 anyway. As far as grand narrative goes, the only real information learned is that the Reapers collect the conquered species to make weird robot reaper things. Which apparently then become cuttlefish.

    But that is not the only type of narrative. Honestly, ME2 works as a series of character vignettes. Each of these short stories did have narrative development, interesting twists, character growth, and roleplaying choice. They were actually very well written. Many would argue, myself included, that ME2's character stories was probably the best writing in the series. Now, if you're only interested in the main story and saving the universe from the Reapers, then yeah. ME2 will not work for you. But honestly, other than a few wow moments that story never really interested me. Shepard is going to save the world. There might be some non-standard game over if you try, but other than that Shepard beating the Reapers is a forgone conclusion. But will Jack ever come to peace with herself? Will Garrus go down the path of vengeance? Will Mordin ever not be awesome? These stories do have wiggle room for the writers to play with, and as a result interested me far more.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    What made Mass Effect great was the world building. That world building was much, much, more than just the Reapers. In fact, without that world building we really have no reason to care about most of the universe. Other than the simple "you're the good guy, saving the world is what you're supposed to do." Any good TV series is built on the characters, not the overall plot, especially considering how few shows even have plots that cover more than one season. So trying to claim ME2 can't possibly be good *because* it isn't working on the main plot the whole time would be to imply that no show could ever be good. Just looking at the OOTS, many of the best and most powerful arcs of the story have little to do with the overall plot.

    Considering that most people consider ME2 to be the best of the series, and one of the best games of all time, means that whatever issues you have with the game aren't shared by the majority of people.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    This thread makes me irrationally upset.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    Then Mass Effect 2 came out, and we got, essentially garbage.
    Stopped reading here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zevox View Post
    Both I feel are just better all around than the first entry though, especially in terms of gameplay.
    ME1 is an interesting study. You can see all the seams where they wanted to fit in more and couldn't without the project bursting - hiding massive load screens behind the elevator rides, cutting planets and female models, the palette-swap weapons and armor, the barren planets. If they remade it using Andromeda's engine I have little doubt that it would be both a phenomenal game and much closer to their true vision, but I don't know whether you could ever rebottle that lightning.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I liked 1,2 and 3, aside from Kai Leng and the ending - and to a lesser degree that they essentially reduced the Reapers from villains to monsters, which is always a bad decision.

    (Also worth noting? ME3? The ONLY game I have EVER played online MP on... But the nascent lootbox system - yeah, think about it, it was - made me gave up after a bit (I mean, not that I spent all that much time on it) because I wasn't prepared to grind and CERTAINLY not to spend money on random chance. (Ironically, had I been given the option to buy sensibly packs of the new character classes, I might have done.))

    One of the stupid parts of 3 was that Harbingers SHOULD have been a major player, a bad guy (and then ME2's slightly less connected plot would have at least been villain ground-work); hell, you could have dropped that Reaper fight on... Tuchanka, was it? (The ending fracked me off so much, I've never replayed any of the trilogy yet.) And then slapped THAT in the the final boss fight, and made it against HARBINGER. Or hell, do it a second time, since at least it wouldn't have been just More Of The Same like the Thanix mission was.

    Would have been so much more satisfying than poor Marauder Shields...

    (Even the expanded ending was more or less a throwaway cameo.)



    Incidently, you know the ME3 ending was bad when we have to start a new thread on it spinning off from a de-rail

    SEVEN.

    YEARS.

    LATER.

    (I know, because these forums explictly recorded for posterity, my immediate reaction on completeing the (pre-expansion) ending. Ah, the naiveity of me being mad at EA for poor quality control! Seems so silly nowadays, that you forget EA were actually, y'know, GOOD at making games, onc 'pon a time...)

    That is... Kinda an achievement, in it's own terrible way.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    This is really weird to me because ME2 is the only game in the series I actually enjoyed. One was just so...boring and tedious and the side missions and the characters felt wooden and the world just felt like "We're every other sci-fi world but different!". Three, as so many have said, was just a cluster-f that I've never gone back. I didn't even enjoy most of the game, what with it feeling less like a final game in a trilogy and more like a ton of small ideas hastily stitched together because the deadline hit.

    Two actually felt like an RPG and in it, a story. There were clear goals, the characters propelled a ton of the plot with their Loyalty Missions, the places you went were interesting and exploring the solar system with away teams was just so much more fun than that damned Mako. It wasn't a perfect game, some of the dialog was clunky and the characters that weren't Garrus or Mordin or some of the non-playable NPCS felt flat but the good made up for the not so good and I can't really say any of it was outright bad.

    3 wasn't a continuation on that bad. Three had no room, as so many trilogies grapple with, for their characters to really grow. The characters were already where they were going to be in the end, they'd learned their lessons in the first two games and now it was just...watching it all end. The new characters they threw in with the hope to distract from that problem didn't have enough time to grow, had to share the spotlight with characters you'd spent years growing to love and no amount of shipping a few of those into NPC roles (I will not forgive Mordin being used in a cynical attempt at drumming up emotions) could fix that.

    Bioware stopped making great games a long time ago, if they ever really made great games at all. People talk of Dragon Age: Origins and Jade Empire and the games they made before but having gone back to a lot of those...nostaglia played a bit part at least for me. I found Jade Empire to honestly be too annoying and boring to even finish even though it was recommended to me by a lot of people as "an amazing game".

    EA's meddling killed Mass Effect like it kills every game that they come into contact with. But Mass Effect 3's problems are its own.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I find that Mass Effect 2's plot is fine when you play it and don't think about it too hard. But when you do stop and think about it, it makes no goddamned sense whatsoever. What were the Collectors actually doing? Or trying to accomplish? We sort of assumed we'd get an answer in ME3, but we really didn't.

    Still, though, ME2's story structure is a welcome change from ME1, which followed some well-trod schemes, so I likewise can't agree at all that it was garbage. It actually let us explore the galaxy t hat ME1 had teased to us. And as stupid as the idea of being forced into working for Cerberus was in general, it let us explore it from a different perspective than ME1 had. So that's good.

    What it really shows, I think, is that there wasn't much of an idea of what to do with the Reapers after the initial reveal. ME2 and ME3 fastidiously avoid actually telling us anything, so we have to find out everything in the last ten minutes. And we know how well that went. Having us prepare for battle without the Reapers actively breathing down our neck was good. Not actually advancing our understanding of the core conflict was another. All we got was some vague indication that they're collecting human DNA.

    The gameplay, while it falls too much on the shooter side and is generally boxed into the "narrow corridors with chest-high cover" too much, is likewise better than ME1's awkward mess of a combination between a shooter and an RPG. Straddling the fence never did anyone much good. ME3 and Andromeda both refine it into being less static, but of course Andromeda had to ruin that with that power set nonsense.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    Incidently, you know the ME3 ending was bad when we have to start a new thread on it spinning off from a de-rail

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I find that Mass Effect 2's plot is fine when you play it and don't think about it too hard. But when you do stop and think about it, it makes no goddamned sense whatsoever. What were the Collectors actually doing? Or trying to accomplish? We sort of assumed we'd get an answer in ME3, but we really didn't.
    Even worse, if the Collectors hadn't attacked the Normandy at the start of the game, Shepard would still have been uselessly chasing nonexistent Geth whilst they succeeded at their stupid useless plan to build a single Reaper.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-03-09 at 11:10 AM.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I find that Mass Effect 2's plot is fine when you play it and don't think about it too hard. But when you do stop and think about it, it makes no goddamned sense whatsoever. What were the Collectors actually doing? Or trying to accomplish? We sort of assumed we'd get an answer in ME3, but we really didn't.

    Still, though, ME2's story structure is a welcome change from ME1, which followed some well-trod schemes, so I likewise can't agree at all that it was garbage. It actually let us explore the galaxy t hat ME1 had teased to us. And as stupid as the idea of being forced into working for Cerberus was in general, it let us explore it from a different perspective than ME1 had. So that's good.

    What it really shows, I think, is that there wasn't much of an idea of what to do with the Reapers after the initial reveal. ME2 and ME3 fastidiously avoid actually telling us anything, so we have to find out everything in the last ten minutes. And we know how well that went. Having us prepare for battle without the Reapers actively breathing down our neck was good. Not actually advancing our understanding of the core conflict was another. All we got was some vague indication that they're collecting human DNA.
    Everyone always harps on the ending of 3, but as I've said in the past the problem has always arisen out of how the first two games were structured. The Reapers are built up to be this unstoppable swarm of locusts that will devour the galaxy, and then for two whole games the galaxy does nothing to prepare for it. That leaves the writers in a nigh-impossible position at the start of 3 - you either ret-con the defeatability of the Reapers, or you introduce some serious Deus Ex Machina to solve the problem.

    This comes in the form of the Catalyst, the plans for which are handily located on Mars of all places just so Shepard can easily pick them up while fleeing Earth. The Catalyst then has to take on the full role of defeating the Reapers, and simply building it into a massive gun and firing it off to destroy them is narratively unsatisfying to say the very least. Hence Starchild and the very Orson Scott Card-ish choice to evolve to a higher form of being. It's an attempt to make the plot meaningful when the story is very pressed for time given what has gone on before.

    Basically, if you wanted a good ending to 3 we would have had to go back to at least the beginning of 2 and re-worked things from the ground up.

    As for what we actually got? I thought it was fine. Mass Effect 2 introduced all the character plots, and Mass Effect 3 finished them all satisfyingly. Given the constraints on the main plot, I thought it was executed competently (at least after the Extended Cut was put in, at any rate) and I liked the ideas they expressed for the Reapers.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I should clarify that I *don't* believe that ME2 was garbage, and the only thing that 'ruined' the franchise, insofar as it was, was how bad the ending was. Both games were overall fun to play and had great character moments. But, per Shamus Young's analysis, I think it's important to consider the ways in which ME2 informs the errors of ME3.

    I absolutely *adore* the characters and their loyalty missions in ME2. And while I'll never forgive the move to heat sinks, overall, tightening up the gameplay and making things more action-oriented mechanics wise was a good call. But all of that could have easily coexisted with a plot that actually advanced the story of stopping the Reaper threat. Just off the top of my head, ME2 could have been spent piecing together information about the Crucible, for example, and ME3 would have benefitted considerably from that groundwork.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    I like Mass Effect 3, and I didn't mind the ending to it. Mind you, my brain immediately thought the Star Child was BS, as in, a last minute ploy by the Reapers to trick us, and I rushed through the dialogue to get to the 'kill' option.

    There were a lot of things they could've done better, or more things, and so on. I would've liked the Reapers you fight to actually talk more. I would've liked for the Reapers to be constantly sending assassins after us. And Kai Leng was pretty forgettable. As were pretty much every new character.

    But the Ending? Really, I can't see it ending in any other way. Like you can change some details, such as the Star Child scene. But 'activate a superweapon to destroy/enslave all the Reapers?' that was really the only way things were going to happen.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    As a game. ME2 was better than ME1. The mechanics were better, and the character side quests were probably some of the best you'll find in any RPG ever. The main plot, though? Hot garbage from beginning to end. None of it made sense, and the hoops they jumped through to justify some of it...for example, rather than flying the Normandy to this important side-mission, we'll go there in a six man shuttle. All twelve of us. Wouldn't want to have any of the main playable characters present when the Collectors attack, would we?

    The beginning of the game set the tone for what followed, really. When you're so desperate to do a hard reset of the plot that you kill off the main character and then bring them back to life with space magic, you know something ain't right in Dodge.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Also, although Kai Leng might be the most egregious DMPC in Mass Effect, the trend was already set in Mass Effect 2.

    For neither TIM nor Aria T'Loak are you able to put them in their place in a conversation. You get the option to either agree with/fawn over them or disagree but only in the most ineffectual terms which the writer will never present as compelling.

    Quite frankly, it should have been possible to not only intellectually defeat both, break TIM on the legacy of failed and stupid **** Cerberus does because every time we see one of their operations it has ****ed up and killed everyone, and make Aria look like the ineffectual backwater pissant she is. It should have been quite possible, and in TIM's case inevitable, that you shoot both of them.

    Which would also have saved us from more Cerberus in ME3.

    They should not have survived the end of ME2. They were never presented as big time enough to be what they were in 3.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-03-09 at 02:29 PM.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    Incidently, you know the ME3 ending was bad when we have to start a new thread on it spinning off from a de-rail

    SEVEN.

    YEARS.

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    I'd say it has more to do with some people's inability to simply build a bridge and get over it already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    But the Ending? Really, I can't see it ending in any other way. Like you can change some details, such as the Star Child scene. But 'activate a superweapon to destroy/enslave all the Reapers?' that was really the only way things were going to happen.
    Indeed. The game tells you so many times in so many ways that conventional warfare was not an option.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    Everyone always harps on the ending of 3, but as I've said in the past the problem has always arisen out of how the first two games were structured. The Reapers are built up to be this unstoppable swarm of locusts that will devour the galaxy, and then for two whole games the galaxy does nothing to prepare for it. That leaves the writers in a nigh-impossible position at the start of 3 - you either ret-con the defeatability of the Reapers, or you introduce some serious Deus Ex Machina to solve the problem.
    Let's be honest here anything that would allow the galaxy to beat the Reapers was always going to be a deus ex machina because 1. You are a highly trained and armed individual and 2. you need to be the deciding factor in a huge battle between spaceships.

    So the question is only how well that deus ex machina is executed and I think we can all agree it was terribly executed.

    This comes in the form of the Catalyst, the plans for which are handily located on Mars of all places just so Shepard can easily pick them up while fleeing Earth. The Catalyst then has to take on the full role of defeating the Reapers, and simply building it into a massive gun and firing it off to destroy them is narratively unsatisfying to say the very least. Hence Starchild and the very Orson Scott Card-ish choice to evolve to a higher form of being. It's an attempt to make the plot meaningful when the story is very pressed for time given what has gone on before.
    Which of course was a complete failure and completely ignored everything that made the first two games amazing.

    Basically, if you wanted a good ending to 3 we would have had to go back to at least the beginning of 2 and re-worked things from the ground up.
    So you have your druthers what is the grand arch that ME2 does? What changes do you make that remove Kai Leng, the war asset system and the atrocious ending?

    As for what we actually got? I thought it was fine. Mass Effect 2 introduced all the character plots, and Mass Effect 3 finished them all satisfyingly. Given the constraints on the main plot, I thought it was executed competently (at least after the Extended Cut was put in, at any rate) and I liked the ideas they expressed for the Reapers.
    The ending was garbage and executed incredibly poorly. You also forget that they never planned to do the extended cut instead standing by the ending that didn't fit the rest of the trilogy.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Indeed. The game tells you so many times in so many ways that conventional warfare was not an option.
    But it shows the opposite.

    At one point you even kill a Reaper with handheld weaponry. A space technical with a fifty cal can fend one off by hitting its eyes.

    And quite frankly if you think "magically find a deus ex machina bomb to solve the problem" is an acceptable plot even for a trashy videogame you want to go back to school.

    That **** was even terrible in Gears of War 3 and that was mostly dumber than a sack of rocks with chainsaw bayonets.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    But it shows the opposite.

    At one point you even kill a Reaper with handheld weaponry. A space technical with a fifty cal can fend one off by hitting its eyes.

    And quite frankly if you think "magically find a deus ex machina bomb to solve the problem" is an acceptable plot even for a trashy videogame you want to go back to school.

    That **** was even terrible in Gears of War 3 and that was mostly dumber than a sack of rocks with chainsaw bayonets.
    It shows you using an entire fleet of an entire species to kill one. After it's already dying, Shep shoots it once dramatically, but it was already basically dead. You manage to kill another using the largest monster on the planet. Both times were incredibly difficult and unique circumstances. While every time the Reapers are faced with conventionally, casualties are massive and unsustainable.

    But okay. I get that you don't like the ending. Sure, that's fair. What would you have done? Because every time I hear the complaint that they shouldn't have used a 'deus ex machina bomb' I never hear a suggestion on what they should've done. Well, besides saying that we should've somehow been able to win a conventional war which doesn't fit with what the series has been telling us about the Reapers from the first game.
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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    But okay. I get that you don't like the ending. Sure, that's fair. What would you have done? Because every time I hear the complaint that they shouldn't have used a 'deus ex machina bomb' I never hear a suggestion on what they should've done. Well, besides saying that we should've somehow been able to win a conventional war which doesn't fit with what the series has been telling us about the Reapers from the first game.
    On Earth you destroy a landed Reaper destroyer with massed infantry rocket launcher fire. It might not have been a full size one, but it went down to man portable weapons.

    The one on Rannoch is clearly not being hit with anything like all the firepower of the several thousand migrant fleet ships. That would have vapourised Shepard given that he was standing in pistol range of the thing by the end.



    And here's the thing.

    The games have not been telling us that a conventional war with the Reapers is unwinnable except by dialogue in Mass Effect 3.

    The whole concept from Mass Effect 1, of the Reapers guiding the development of the galaxy along very specific lines becoming reliant on the Mass Relay network which have a central hub at the Citadel allowing the network to be cut there and enemy co-ordination to be disabled. And using that as a surprise attack/decapitation strike to start the war every time, and being so committed to that plan that they order their minions to build a new Reaper presumably to try and turn it on again (because that's the only thing it could possibly have achieved alone) when they can only possibly have been six months away all along* does not imply that they are militarily invincible.

    Either the Reapers are so monumentally bored of the cycle that their only joy is setting up stupidly convoluted Rube Goldbergian masterplans that even Nale would shake his head at, or they need the advantage.

    Remember also that Sovereign did not fight the Citadel's defence fleet even when it was presumably much weaker than it is now before the Rachni war, if the Reapers are allegedly so powerful he would not have needed to spend fifteen centuries trying first with the Rachni and then with the Geth to get enough of a screening fleet to get in and do his work.

    If the Reapers are so strong, Sovereign could have won the game any time he wanted. Showed up, smashed faces, won the game.

    He didn't.

    They're not.

    The dialogue in the badly written game might wring its hands about how invincible the Reapers are, but that's just a symptom of how badly it works as a continuation of the universe from the first and even second game.



    * And yes, they must have been there all along, because long distance Mass Relays require a send and receive relay. So the Reaper fleet in darkspace must be hanging out at a Mass Relay, they don't start moving until after the stupid Collector plan fails. Also they're close enough for realtime communication by Assuming Direct Control.

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    Default Re: (Spoilers)Mass Effect 2 ruined the Franchise, 3 was continuation of that

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    But okay. I get that you don't like the ending. Sure, that's fair. What would you have done? Because every time I hear the complaint that they shouldn't have used a 'deus ex machina bomb' I never hear a suggestion on what they should've done. Well, besides saying that we should've somehow been able to win a conventional war which doesn't fit with what the series has been telling us about the Reapers from the first game.
    It would have been completely ridiculous, but I've always entertained the mental image of Shepard surfing the Normandy into battle and punching the reapers to death.
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