First Ever Blog: The Mass Effect 2...Effect

Posted by Tonic7 (238 posts) -

Hello Internet. 
 
I've never posted a blog on the internet before. Not on this website, not ever. So, welcome to the first edition of my blog. No, there will not be food...just food for thought! (Yeahp, that's humor). 
 
Anyway, I thought that since this is a website about videogames, I'd do my best to blog about one. Right now, I'm staring down about 30 pages of term papers due in about a week's time, so I figured I'd take a break from that writing and move to this writing - it made sense at the time. So, let's talk about Mass Effect 2. Firstly, I was a tremendous fan of the first game but, unlike most people, I was only ever able to play through it once. With few exceptions, I find that I do not enjoy a single player game experience the second time through (this even held true with Dragon Age Origins, despite many attempts to play an entirely different type of character). I thought the first Mass Effect game was fantastic, though, and as a huge fan of science fiction literature, I appreciated the respectably good storyline and interesting characters. Yes, Liara and I boned. Yes, I liked it. Moving on. 
 
Mass Effect 2 comes along, I play through it and absolutely love it. That is, until the ending. You see, I had managed to avoid all plot spoilers except for the fact that a friend of mine told me there was a huge moral dilemma you had to face at the end of the game (not exactly like the first, but something similar). This came as no surprise to me - it is a Bioware game, after all. However, when I finally got there -  *Spoilers* I'm talking about the part where you can choose whether or not to destroy the empty Collector ship/home world/base - I had no idea what to do. My Shepard is mostly a "good" one, although I did choose some of the rebel options throughout the game. I knew which decision aligned with which morality, and I think that's why I had such a hard time deciding. Logic told me that ANY technology would help against the incoming mass of Reapers, but I also found it difficult to choose the rebel option. I chose the rebel option. I'm not sure why, maybe because of a deep-seated badassery inside of me, I don't really know. But what I do know is that after I chose that option, I was devastated. Nobody on the Normandy would agree with what I had done; they all seemed pissed off that I had chosen to give Cerberus this technology, even if I told the Anonymous Man (was that his name? Ha) to fuck off. Then, people of the internet, I did the unthinkable... 
 
I reloaded my save and chose to destroy the ship. 
 
This has really affected how I look back on Mass Effect 2. Even in the first game, after I shot Rex in the god damn face, I didn't undo what I had done. It was part of my storyline, my Shepard, and these were decisions that had to be made and lived with. I realize that this may sound extraordinarily roleplaying-esque. You're thinking, "Come on brah, it's just a vidjagame, who cares if you go back and change a decision like that?" Well, as I said, I have a hard time playing through single-player games twice. I think this has a lot to do with how I interpret the story and interact with and interpret its characters, plotlines, etc., especially if there are "decisions" involved. For some reason, I haven't played Mass Effect 2 since, although I'm fully aware that the new DLC let's you get back together with Liara. 
 
So, Giant Bomb, has something similar ever happened to you? Do you find yourself unable to replay single-player games? Tell me about it in the comments!

#1 Posted by Tonic7 (238 posts) -

Hello Internet. 
 
I've never posted a blog on the internet before. Not on this website, not ever. So, welcome to the first edition of my blog. No, there will not be food...just food for thought! (Yeahp, that's humor). 
 
Anyway, I thought that since this is a website about videogames, I'd do my best to blog about one. Right now, I'm staring down about 30 pages of term papers due in about a week's time, so I figured I'd take a break from that writing and move to this writing - it made sense at the time. So, let's talk about Mass Effect 2. Firstly, I was a tremendous fan of the first game but, unlike most people, I was only ever able to play through it once. With few exceptions, I find that I do not enjoy a single player game experience the second time through (this even held true with Dragon Age Origins, despite many attempts to play an entirely different type of character). I thought the first Mass Effect game was fantastic, though, and as a huge fan of science fiction literature, I appreciated the respectably good storyline and interesting characters. Yes, Liara and I boned. Yes, I liked it. Moving on. 
 
Mass Effect 2 comes along, I play through it and absolutely love it. That is, until the ending. You see, I had managed to avoid all plot spoilers except for the fact that a friend of mine told me there was a huge moral dilemma you had to face at the end of the game (not exactly like the first, but something similar). This came as no surprise to me - it is a Bioware game, after all. However, when I finally got there -  *Spoilers* I'm talking about the part where you can choose whether or not to destroy the empty Collector ship/home world/base - I had no idea what to do. My Shepard is mostly a "good" one, although I did choose some of the rebel options throughout the game. I knew which decision aligned with which morality, and I think that's why I had such a hard time deciding. Logic told me that ANY technology would help against the incoming mass of Reapers, but I also found it difficult to choose the rebel option. I chose the rebel option. I'm not sure why, maybe because of a deep-seated badassery inside of me, I don't really know. But what I do know is that after I chose that option, I was devastated. Nobody on the Normandy would agree with what I had done; they all seemed pissed off that I had chosen to give Cerberus this technology, even if I told the Anonymous Man (was that his name? Ha) to fuck off. Then, people of the internet, I did the unthinkable... 
 
I reloaded my save and chose to destroy the ship. 
 
This has really affected how I look back on Mass Effect 2. Even in the first game, after I shot Rex in the god damn face, I didn't undo what I had done. It was part of my storyline, my Shepard, and these were decisions that had to be made and lived with. I realize that this may sound extraordinarily roleplaying-esque. You're thinking, "Come on brah, it's just a vidjagame, who cares if you go back and change a decision like that?" Well, as I said, I have a hard time playing through single-player games twice. I think this has a lot to do with how I interpret the story and interact with and interpret its characters, plotlines, etc., especially if there are "decisions" involved. For some reason, I haven't played Mass Effect 2 since, although I'm fully aware that the new DLC let's you get back together with Liara. 
 
So, Giant Bomb, has something similar ever happened to you? Do you find yourself unable to replay single-player games? Tell me about it in the comments!

#2 Posted by AlwaysBeClothing (1423 posts) -

I actually did the same thing.  I play paragon as fuck but the Illusive Man made a pretty convincing argument so I did what you did.  Then everybody on the ship gave me a bunch of shit about it so I reloaded and changed back.
 
That said, it didn't stop me from enjoying the game about 4 more 100% runs, but obviously it impacted your opinion of the story.  Maybe that's a good thing, that you felt strong enough about the characters and the universe involved that you wanted to go back and change it.  The game is kind of about setting up for ME3 so I don't think its unfair of you to set it up the way you want the story to unfold.  Its also hard to do another play through since you're deliberately picking the opposite of what you did the first time.  In any case, as long as you enjoyed the ride, I'd say it was worth seeing.

#3 Posted by SSully (4059 posts) -

Good first blog! Most people just spam quest and write a sentence, so this is a nice change of pace. 
 
Personally it all depends on the kind of game. I have managed to replay both uncharted abouts about 4-6 times each, but when it comes to Mass Effect i cannot manage to get past the citadel. Yet when it comes to fallout 3 I can replay it many times over, same goes for oblivion. I think the reason for this is because Mass Effect is much more linear, and much more personal. The decisions you make come from talking to many, and i mean MANY people. When i go back to play the game again i just get tired of hearing the same old dialog over and over. Yes i know i can fast forward the dialog, but i feel that is one of the major aspects of games like mass effect. That is why when i first play RPG's I make my character in my image, I make the decisions and play how I think I would actually play if I were in my characters position. 
 
Which is exactly why I try to NEVER redo something in an RPG during my first play through. I have made SO many bad decisions while playing Mass Effect, but to me that is what is fun about the game. After I see the outcome of what I did I either feel a great sense of satisfaction, or if i messed up, I feel really disappointed. To me I feel that disappointment is a great drive when playing the game. To put it simply, and to extend from my last point, I play the game the way I would play in real life. And living with the decisions I make, whether it be good or bad, make the games experience so much better.  

#4 Posted by Klippinidas (25 posts) -

I nearly made the same mistake. I was good through the whole story (and the whole first game). My male Shepard is good and my female Shepard is bad. That's just how I rolled. But at that part, it took me a little while to decide. I already knew the Illusive Man was no good, and I destroyed the Collector base. The only heartbreak I experienced was when three of my crew members died. I pretty much wanted to go back and fix it. I could live with Zaeed dying, Legion was a bummer, but something I accepted, but when Thane died, I was just bummed out way too much. I tried to go back to figure out a way to save him, but it wasn't meant to be.  
 
The only up-side to that is that it felt more realistic and true. In a real battle like that, or a movie, you can't expect all your favorites to make it out alive. But after Thane died and I finished the mission, I sure felt good about going into Mass Effect 3. It felt like a real blow to my Shepard, since I thought Thane was one of the coolest characters from that series (next to Garrus), so like you said, it defines your character and your story.

#5 Posted by TheKeywork1989 (50 posts) -

I, like you, am very much the same when it comes to single player campaigns. Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Both Uncharteds, all of the Assassins Creeds, Dragon Age, all were one time through. I absolutely loved all of those games but I tend to do so much that it makes it seem like another play through would just be daunting (Fuck you AC2 feathers). Shit even couldn't bring myself to play the DA:O expansion because I had spent like 50 hours on that game? 
 
As far as the ME2 ending, I think I remember telling you how it ended with like 2 of my people dying. Which was kinda a bummer but I don't think I even wanted to redo that. I play these games for the stories for the most part, and with the story in ME I just get swept away until I check the time and 6 hours have past. 
 
Great blog man, I'd read more forsure.

#6 Posted by Tonic7 (238 posts) -

Thanks for all of the responses everybody, and some great points to be sure. I still loved Mass Effect 2 as a whole, and I can proudly say that I managed to keep everybody alive without looking at any strategies guides/spoilers/tips. My advice: always trust Garrus to command, ha. Or for sexual advice.
 
In thinking more about games I've played through multiple times, a lot of N64 games come to mind. That was my first real console experience, so it has a special place for me. Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, Goldeneye, etc., I've beat those games plenty of times. But, noticeably, they lack the really essential "human" element that make ME2, Dragon Age Origins, Uncharted, etc., so compelling. Modern games have a great way of telling an engaging story, and I think that the way my brain is wired I simply invest all of myself into that first ride and experience. That I interpret  single-player experiences as "my story" does not lend itself to replayability, perhaps, but it is the way I love to play.
 
Again, thanks for the responses everybody. 
 
Also, to the person who had Thane die...man, you have my sympathies, ha. I felt the same when I had to put Wrex down like an old, misbehaving dog.

#7 Posted by Klippinidas (25 posts) -

Haha, yeah. My jaw literally dropped and I wasn't even sure what to do with myself. I always checked on him to see if he had any new insight to share with me, so it was nuts to me. But like I said, it's part of my story now and it shows how well Bioware handles their characters and stories. 

#8 Posted by skadbob (230 posts) -

You're stupid. 
 
Hah... that will never get old. But seriously... I have the most difficulty replaying through choice-dependent single-player games. Choosing new story paths the second time around kind of feels like I'm betraying my original experience. Even when I reload a previous save to change something, I end up feeling a little disconnected from the game.
 
Going back through an actually well-written game with good characters like ME2 and playing differently just for the sake of seeing different story and dialog options is kind of like watching the deleted scenes, "alternative endings", or the "special director's-cut unrated rerelease" of good movies for me. More often than not, doing so just completely breaks down the fourth wall for me, and the stories and characters just seem inconsequential as a result. It's a totally valid way to play, and I think it can be enjoyable, but... I'd rather preserve the story without any cognitive dissonance.
 
This goes back to your "c ome on brah, it's just a vidjagame..." statement; saying all this is beginning to make me feel more self-aware of just how roleplaying-esque I can get... but that is  what an RPG should do right? From a design perspective, I think it's interesting to think about whether or not these kind of games should make invested players doubt their decisions so much that they feel like they need to reload old saves to retry everything. But realistically speaking... having such a major choice at the very end of ME2 (when it is unclear when the next installment will be released)... well, some might call it a bold design choice... but I think they could've done better. 

Hopefully ME3 will make you feel better about your decision!

#9 Posted by skadbob (230 posts) -
@Tonic7: How the hell did you justify going to Naxx and killing KT over. and. over. again. every. single. week??? 
 
Also, forgot to say... great blog!
#10 Posted by LiquidPrince (15606 posts) -

Nah, I just played with what I felt was right, and I 99% of the time what I felt was right was the Paragon choices. I have a feeling that in Mass Effect 3, if you didn't save the technology, your gonna save the universe, but die in the process, whereas if you did save it you survive, but maybe not as such a big hero.

#11 Posted by Claude (16251 posts) -

Oh man, pretty cool first blog. I would have to say I try and try but never complete most games a second time. Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, GoldenEye 007 for the Wii  and The Witcher are some of the games I still pick up and play trying to complete a second time. And I never completed older games a second time, usually I traded them in after my first playthrough and moved on to the next game. It's a rather new phenomenon for me, this trying to play a game twice to completion. Maybe one day I will finish this task.

#12 Posted by TEHMAXXORZ (1199 posts) -

Lol'd at the Liara bit, ha ha ha, but seriously nice first blog. Better than my first one.... I still have night-mares of what I wrote. Good thing I deleted it.

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