Why Mass Effect 2 was a disappointment, but why Mass Effect 3 will be amazing:
Preface:I am going to be comparing the games purely on story. There are clear technical improvements, graphical improvements, and dumbing down between the two games, but those are irrelevant to this discussion. The story of Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 are the only things that matter in this post.
Mass Effect 1
The first Mass Effect had the advantage of being a totally new world, with new creatures and technology, but it doesn't use those as a crutch; and also has an engaging story full of twists and hard decisions to make.
Let's start with the bullet points of significant plot twists.
- Saren kills Nhilius and gets in a super strange space-ship, Sovereign.
- "the beacon" is discovered by Shepard, which has some strange effect on him.
Then there is some basic character recruitment stuff which will give you your crew members.
- Shepard becomes a Spectre
Shepard also learns about the protheons, and their viscous cycles of domination.
After some adventuring and deciding the fate of an entire species, as well as sacrificing one of your crew members:
- Shepard learns that Saren is a tool of the Reapers.
Suddenly the guy we thought was the "big bad" now is the "medium bad" and there is an even larger, more sinister thing at work.
- Reapers built the mass relays
- The citadel is a relay.
Shepard learns most of that from a cool conversation with Vigil.
Then the player has to defend the Citadel: We fight Saren and destroy Sovereign. The player also has to decide the fate of the Council, and also who they want to nominate for the position.
What a ride, right? Let's see what ME2 has for us...
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 has one of the coolest openings I've played. It is pretty epic, and sets up the character creation/recreation really well, but it is downhill from there...
- The Illusive Man is introduced, but we don't know his motives. Will he turn on Shepard? Who knows!
- Shepard has to collect some people.
- Collectors are collecting people for something... who knows what...
- Shepard has to collect some more people.
- Shepard has to collect a few other people.
- Don't forget to upgrade your ship... yeah..
- We the data chip or whatever to use the Omega 4 Relay.
- We fight through the collector ship, maybe some of your people die, or maybe they don't.
- Giant robot that runs on human blood.
- Robot dies.
- Decision: Explode, or irradiate? There's no way to know how either choices will effect the game, and they only change how the Illusive Man reacts to you.
- Oh noes, a lot of ships be attacking teh universe!
I assume that after reading that, you can understand how the story differs between the two games, and how the first Mass Effect was much more engaging in terms of pure plot and story.
Mass Effect 3 did excel in its large selection of flushed out characters, but when the whole game revolved around those characters, with very little other story stuff happening, it greatly diminishes the story experience.
Good movies, books, T.V. shows, and comics, all have great characters, but also have an engaging story that is enhanced by those characters.
The Mass Effect 2 story just feels weak.
But because of Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 will be the best Mass Effect game.
Movies and books all have a beginning, middle, and end. If you look at the Mass Effect series, you can see that starting to form. Here, take a look:
In books and movies: (commonly)
Beginning: The basic plot and characters are introduced. The plot is clearly established as the momentum for the story.
Middle: The characters are flushed out, and the plot is further developed.
End: Now we know the characters, so the plot can take center stage.
Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 very easily fit into those first two spots.
Now that the characters have been flushed out and established in Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 can now focus on an engaging story line, and less about character recruitment.
Thanks for reading!
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