Damn If Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

My Mass Effect love fest will continue now, if you are still sensitive to spoilers then stop reading after this sentence.

I finally finished my final run of the suicide mission at the end of Mass Effect 2 and have all my main crew and secondary crew survive along with my paragon Shepard.  I think in total I played the final mission 4 times and it is still one of the most epic and tense final mission of any game I’ve ever played.  Despite the cheesy terminator looking human-reaper hybrid that took the place of the final boss it was still really good.  I can see where they were going with the idea of the human-reaper it does fit with the story and what the reapers are trying to accomplish, but it definitely came off a bit hokey.

The stress I felt during the final mission was enough to make my arms stiff and my eyes fixated on the screen for the last hour or so of the game.  It starts with the final assault on the Collector base with the Normandy coming through the Omega-4 relay.  The game switches from pre-rendered cinematics of the Collector’s blasting the Normandy to in-engine cut scenes of your characters reacting to the attack.  These cut-scenes seem to be where your decisions to upgrade the Normandy come into effect with a noticeable load time in between scenes where the game is figuring out if your ship can take these blasts.  That’s when my tension starting rising and I began questioning if I did enough work to my ship.  Luckily I made it to the base with everyone in tact, that’s when my decision of my technician and fire team leader would come into play.  Two times I lost Legion after a rocket to the face and finally decided to put Tali in the tubes and she performed admirably.  I’m not sure if I lost Legion because he sucked in the tubes or my choice of fire team leader being Samara who I changed to Garrus on the same run I switched to Tali.  It’s my understanding that there are several places you can lose party members, but after the opening I only lost characters right before the final boss.  With Garrus as my fire team leader and Mordin escorting the secondary crew back to the ship I didn’t lose anyone and was quite surprised.  Despite each cut scene playing out with my crews success I was still on pins and needles all the way up to Shepard’s slow motion jump to the Normandy.  I was never sure what throw-away decision I made that the game kept in some crazy behind the scenes algorithm that was calculating my ultimate doom.

So it took a couple of tries but I managed to save everyone and watched the ending of the game for a 4th time.  While I felt the ending of the game was very satisfying having lost a few characters, it didn’t feel as satisfying having rescued everyone.  I just didn’t feel the stone cold resolve in the characters that I did when they were standing next to the space caskets of their fallen comrades.  The final image still gets me every time with the entire reaper race heading towards our galaxy and Shepard staring off into space knowing he has to do something about it.

Which leads me to Mass Effect 3, probably my most anticipated sequel in quite some while.

The wealth of content that could potentially be in Mass Effect 3 is staggering to me.  They’ve built such a deep and rich universe and only a fraction of it has been explored in the first two games.  The structure of the game looks like it’s going to be in a Dragon Age type direction, with Shepard massing an army of aliens to combat the threat of the reapers.  This can be key to some of the major decisions you made during Mass Effect 1 & 2.  For instance, if you chose to save the rachni in Mass Effect 1 then Mass Effect 2 acknowledges that but perhaps in Mass Effect 3 you can recruit them for the final showdown with the reapers.  Also the connections you made with the krogan and quarians in Mass Effect 2 could come back to help or haunt you in the sequel.  The decision on whether to return the geth to their former selves or flat out destroy them could also be interesting.

The love interests you chose throughout the first two games could also play a role in Mass Effect 3 that is if they decide not to go the Hollywood route with a different girl for a  different sequel.  But the fact they have your first choice’s picture in your captain’s cabin and you can simply ignore all the potential mates in 2 would lead me to believe that they would not do that.

I can’t imagine how Bioware is gonna handle all the players who lost their Shepard at the end of Mass Effect 2.  Do they just lose their character and have to create a whole new Shepard? Do they have you create a whole new character who isn’t Shepard? Could they take one of the existing characters and have something happen to them so that the player could customize him or her to play as?  I’m not sure and it seems like a pretty daunting task.

And finally, what sort of choices would they have you make in 3?  This potentially being the last game they could lay on some pretty heavy stuff  without having to carry it over into another game.  The coolest thing they could do in my opinion would be a Darth Vader type turn where Shepard would make enough renegade choices throughout all three games so that he sides with the reapers and becomes their champion of doom.  That would be cliched but it would also be one of the most interesting parts of the game.  Imagine players game stories be do drastically different from one another that one player would be the ultimate hero of the galaxy in the end and one player would lead it to it’s destruction.  It’s kinda crazy and something I hope the good folks at Bioware are contemplating.

Needless to say I’m super excited about the next installment of this franchise, it’s definitely going to be one to remember.

On a unrelated note, I purchase Darksiders recently in hopes of getting Red Faction for 5 bucks.  I’ve played about 4 hours of it and despite some screen tearing and a drops in frame rate it’s turning out to be an awesome game.  Perhaps I’ll give it some more time in the next post.

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