On finishing Mass Effect 2

Yesterday I completed Mass Effect 2.   With a finished game save clocking in at around 29 hours, this is probably the most time I've put into a game that doesn't have

 This is the view from my home, too
Warcraft in the title in some time.   Getting to that point wasn't easy though.   I started the game on the 360, which is where I completed Mass Effect a couple years back.   I was able to import my save and make it to Omega.   I had just finished recruiting Garrus when I hit a big snag in my playtime, leaving the game untouched for almost two months.   When I returned to it, I couldn't remember the setup --  where I was or why I was there.   It was time to start over from scratch if I wanted to play in earnest, and there was no guarantee the downtime wouldn't happen again.   Deciding to do the right thing, I sent the game back (through Goozex) and moved on.  
 
Fast forward to May of this year and I'm ready to start the game again, but this time on Windows.   Of course Bioware didn't have the forethought to make a demo available, so I was unable to determine if my laptop could handle it.   I...acquired a copy to give it a test run and was pleased with the results, so I deleted it, grabbed a copy on Steam and picked up the Kasumi, Overlord and Shadow Broker DLC.   Of course I had to start fresh (since my save for ME1 was on the 360), but I bulldozed my way through the game and all the content and came out on the other side wanting more.  
 

The Game

 Now that it's all behind me, I have to say that this is my favorite Bioware game, surpassing everything they've done so far.   With compelling characters, streamlined and highly enjoyable gameplay, and a setting that is second to none.   JRR Tolkien was famous for his dissertation on world-building, especially as it related to man's need to create.   Taken from the point of view of religion, world building can almost be seen as method of worship:  the secondary creation of worlds through imagination as an attempt to become more like God, the original world builder.   I bring this up because Mass Effect 2 weaves its world building through the narrative a levels both high and low, both global and local, and it achieves something greater than just an addition of a made-up language, it does what sci-fi does best:   it holds a mirror to current events and experiences and asks you to re-examine them from a different viewpoint.    The conflicts and motivations behind your actions are real and substantive, and the history and background Bioware built serves not just for wow factor, but to build the foundation that makes these motivations viable.
 
Not my preferred team

Spoilers ahead, but the pinnacle of the experience comes to light in Shepard's decision regarding the Collector Base.   Does he take an advantage of the Illusive Man's offer  to use the technology on the base to better humanity, or does doing so abandon the humanity that gave rise to the quest in the first place?   Parallels can be seen in the Salarian/ Krogan genophage side story and to numerous smaller decisions made throughout.   Did you destroy the Grey Box?   Did you let Garrus kill in cold blood?  Did you agree with Mordin's choice in handling his student?   How about Zaeed and his vendetta?    Each smaller morality play is reinforced by and amplified by the greater threat.    Mass Effect 2 gives the player a literal interpretation of the subtext -- your enemy's weapons are literally the product of human sacrifice.   A liquefied Yeoman Chambers would have a word with you if you don't recognize the connection.  
 
Parallels to current events are also found in the human/alien subtext.   Cerberus is certainly a jingoistic NGO, but there's an undeniable truth behind their motives.   A failing bureaucracy gives the player either the excuse they need to go gallivanting around the galaxy or reason to pause and reflect on their role.  Is the sanction of a recognized governmental authority a necessary part of the player's moral code?   Did you question Cerberus' motives throughout or are you generally accepting of a sovereign entity making decisions a government will not?
 

The Future

If nothing else, I wanted more when I was done.    The Shadow Broker DLC was a fantastic icing on the cake, and I was left with a desire to do more, experience more, and shoot more things.  Rumors of additional DLC are out there, and I believe we'll see more on the download-able side of things.    Bioware was quick to label the most recent Dragon Age DLC as the FINAL one, a moniker that Shadow Broker did not share.  I am remiss however that there seems to be no word on the next chapter.   Dragon Age 2 is set for release in a few short months, and that game also featured a full expansion pack to boot.   Considering that Mass Effect is now Bioware's preeminent franchise, I'm baffled as to why we aren't hearing more.   Perhaps it has to do with the forthcoming PS3 release, but time will tell.

 My Shepard's choice
Most importantly however, Mass Effect 2 made me realize Bioware's biggest and most fatal mistake:  The Old Republic.   Tied to a well established IP that is controlled by another entity, The Old Republic is a missed opportunity to use the Mass Effect universe for the greater good of science fiction fans.    It doesn't take a legal scholar to guess that there's a pretty big non-compete clause in Bioware's contract with Lucas, and that would effectively kill any machinations for a Mass Effect MMO -- the first real shot that fans would have a science fiction MMO.    Star Wars is Science Fantasy people, and although the line is thin and sometimes blurry, Science Fantasy is only a half-step away from WoW.   
 

How My Game Went

  • Male
  • Soldier
  • Neither Renegade nor Paragon
  • Tali as the romance before the Omega 4 relay, Miranda after
  • Jack died on the Collector Base
  • I blew up the base
  • Kasumi kept the gray box
  • Tali took the blame on the Flotilla
  • Chambers died
16 Comments
17 Comments
Posted by dvaeg

Yesterday I completed Mass Effect 2.   With a finished game save clocking in at around 29 hours, this is probably the most time I've put into a game that doesn't have

 This is the view from my home, too
Warcraft in the title in some time.   Getting to that point wasn't easy though.   I started the game on the 360, which is where I completed Mass Effect a couple years back.   I was able to import my save and make it to Omega.   I had just finished recruiting Garrus when I hit a big snag in my playtime, leaving the game untouched for almost two months.   When I returned to it, I couldn't remember the setup --  where I was or why I was there.   It was time to start over from scratch if I wanted to play in earnest, and there was no guarantee the downtime wouldn't happen again.   Deciding to do the right thing, I sent the game back (through Goozex) and moved on.  
 
Fast forward to May of this year and I'm ready to start the game again, but this time on Windows.   Of course Bioware didn't have the forethought to make a demo available, so I was unable to determine if my laptop could handle it.   I...acquired a copy to give it a test run and was pleased with the results, so I deleted it, grabbed a copy on Steam and picked up the Kasumi, Overlord and Shadow Broker DLC.   Of course I had to start fresh (since my save for ME1 was on the 360), but I bulldozed my way through the game and all the content and came out on the other side wanting more.  
 

The Game

 Now that it's all behind me, I have to say that this is my favorite Bioware game, surpassing everything they've done so far.   With compelling characters, streamlined and highly enjoyable gameplay, and a setting that is second to none.   JRR Tolkien was famous for his dissertation on world-building, especially as it related to man's need to create.   Taken from the point of view of religion, world building can almost be seen as method of worship:  the secondary creation of worlds through imagination as an attempt to become more like God, the original world builder.   I bring this up because Mass Effect 2 weaves its world building through the narrative a levels both high and low, both global and local, and it achieves something greater than just an addition of a made-up language, it does what sci-fi does best:   it holds a mirror to current events and experiences and asks you to re-examine them from a different viewpoint.    The conflicts and motivations behind your actions are real and substantive, and the history and background Bioware built serves not just for wow factor, but to build the foundation that makes these motivations viable.
 
Not my preferred team

Spoilers ahead, but the pinnacle of the experience comes to light in Shepard's decision regarding the Collector Base.   Does he take an advantage of the Illusive Man's offer  to use the technology on the base to better humanity, or does doing so abandon the humanity that gave rise to the quest in the first place?   Parallels can be seen in the Salarian/ Krogan genophage side story and to numerous smaller decisions made throughout.   Did you destroy the Grey Box?   Did you let Garrus kill in cold blood?  Did you agree with Mordin's choice in handling his student?   How about Zaeed and his vendetta?    Each smaller morality play is reinforced by and amplified by the greater threat.    Mass Effect 2 gives the player a literal interpretation of the subtext -- your enemy's weapons are literally the product of human sacrifice.   A liquefied Yeoman Chambers would have a word with you if you don't recognize the connection.  
 
Parallels to current events are also found in the human/alien subtext.   Cerberus is certainly a jingoistic NGO, but there's an undeniable truth behind their motives.   A failing bureaucracy gives the player either the excuse they need to go gallivanting around the galaxy or reason to pause and reflect on their role.  Is the sanction of a recognized governmental authority a necessary part of the player's moral code?   Did you question Cerberus' motives throughout or are you generally accepting of a sovereign entity making decisions a government will not?
 

The Future

If nothing else, I wanted more when I was done.    The Shadow Broker DLC was a fantastic icing on the cake, and I was left with a desire to do more, experience more, and shoot more things.  Rumors of additional DLC are out there, and I believe we'll see more on the download-able side of things.    Bioware was quick to label the most recent Dragon Age DLC as the FINAL one, a moniker that Shadow Broker did not share.  I am remiss however that there seems to be no word on the next chapter.   Dragon Age 2 is set for release in a few short months, and that game also featured a full expansion pack to boot.   Considering that Mass Effect is now Bioware's preeminent franchise, I'm baffled as to why we aren't hearing more.   Perhaps it has to do with the forthcoming PS3 release, but time will tell.

 My Shepard's choice
Most importantly however, Mass Effect 2 made me realize Bioware's biggest and most fatal mistake:  The Old Republic.   Tied to a well established IP that is controlled by another entity, The Old Republic is a missed opportunity to use the Mass Effect universe for the greater good of science fiction fans.    It doesn't take a legal scholar to guess that there's a pretty big non-compete clause in Bioware's contract with Lucas, and that would effectively kill any machinations for a Mass Effect MMO -- the first real shot that fans would have a science fiction MMO.    Star Wars is Science Fantasy people, and although the line is thin and sometimes blurry, Science Fantasy is only a half-step away from WoW.   
 

How My Game Went

  • Male
  • Soldier
  • Neither Renegade nor Paragon
  • Tali as the romance before the Omega 4 relay, Miranda after
  • Jack died on the Collector Base
  • I blew up the base
  • Kasumi kept the gray box
  • Tali took the blame on the Flotilla
  • Chambers died
Posted by Joelteon7

I think on the PC you can go to sites where you can download saves which detail the specific choices people made. Considering you can remake your Shepard at the beginning of ME2, character looks wouldn't be a problem as such, so you could find a save file with what you did on ME1. Not that that's helpful now, per se. 
 
Couple of my friends and me have an on-going debate as to which is better: ME1 or 2. I say 2 plays better, they say they prefer 1. Elements of both are better than the other, for example, the elevators might have been boring in ME1 in that they took a long time, but much more interesting than "rotating cross-section ship that slowly fills up with green parts!!!!". Is this Bioware's best game? I couldn't say for sure, but it's damn well enjoyable. For a comparison: 
 
1st run through: 
Male; Vanguard; Paragon; Miranda (none from ME1); All my team and crew made it back. No retreat, no surrender!; Base went all ka-blooey; Kept; Cleared her name. (Veteran)
2nd run through: 
Male; Soldier; Renegade; Faithful to Ashley; I think I let Jack die, I can't remember.; Base was kept.; Not done yet.; Shouted at the Quarian council, so I think Tali got in trouble. (Veteran)
3rd run through: 
Female; Infiltrator; Mostly paragon; Can't remember (I know, terrible really); Everyone survived; Base went big-badda-bang; I destroyed the greybox; Tali was cleared. (Insanity)

Posted by xyzygy

I'm excited for a GOTY edition of this to come out. I'll be damned if I'm spending that much money on that much DLC, so I'm just gonna buy another copy of the GOTY when it's released, in addition to having my Collector's Edition. :D

Posted by dvaeg
@Joelteon7 said:
Couple of my friends and me have an on-going debate as to which is better: ME1 or 2. I say 2 plays better, they say they prefer 1. Elements of both are better than the other, for example, the elevators might have been boring in ME1 in that they took a long time, but much more interesting than "rotating cross-section ship that slowly fills up with green parts!!!!".
 
I'm pretty certain that it's accepted that 2 plays better than 1, at least from the point of shooting stuff.    You could say that your preference between the two lands on what story attached itself to you more:  do you prefer the chasing-the-bad-guy narrative or the building-the-team narrative?    Although I preferred part 2 by a large margin, it's inherently a choppy narrative, with the overarching story put on the back burner for 2-3 missions at a time while the player focused on a tangential quest line.   For something as important as the Collectors kidnapping humans, it was no biggie for me to take the time to fly across the galaxy to help Miranda's sister move so that I could nail her before flying off into the sunset.
Posted by LiquidPrince

You missed out so much by not importing. The experience lacks.

Posted by dvaeg
@LiquidPrince said:
" You missed out so much by not importing. The experience lacks. "
I wish I could have, but I don't even think it's possible.   I'd have to move my save file from my 360 onto my laptop for the Steam version.
Posted by LiquidPrince
@dvaeg said:
" @LiquidPrince said:
" You missed out so much by not importing. The experience lacks. "
I wish I could have, but I don't even think it's possible.   I'd have to move my save file from my 360 onto my laptop for the Steam version. "
If you can, replay the whole series on 360, before the third comes out.
Posted by dvaeg
@LiquidPrince: 
 
My... situation doesn't allow me to play on the 360 with any regularity.   Long story short, the only reliable game time I get is on my laptop on my lunch break.
Posted by LiquidPrince
@dvaeg: On a side note, I just bought an extremely capable Macbook Pro. How well does Windows work through Boot Camp? Can it run games as though you're running it on a regular PC?
Posted by dvaeg
@LiquidPrince
@dvaeg: On a side note, I just bought an extremely capable Macbook Pro. How well does Windows work through Boot Camp? Can it run games as though you're running it on a regular PC?
It works well, but it's still a laptop. I have the high end 15" with the HD screen. I get a reliable 70-80 fps on max settings in wow, with spikes of up to 125fps in some areas like Ironforge. It ran Mass Effect 2 quite well, and I've loaded up Dragon Age. It will sputter when theres a lot of spell effects going on.

One thing to note is that Apple's video drivers for Windows are always out of date, so you will want to read up on how to manually update them very year or so.
Posted by LiquidPrince
@dvaeg said:
" @LiquidPrince
@dvaeg: On a side note, I just bought an extremely capable Macbook Pro. How well does Windows work through Boot Camp? Can it run games as though you're running it on a regular PC?
It works well, but it's still a laptop. I have the high end 15" with the HD screen. I get a reliable 70-80 fps on max settings in wow, with spikes of up to 125fps in some areas like Ironforge. It ran Mass Effect 2 quite well, and I've loaded up Dragon Age. It will sputter when theres a lot of spell effects going on. One thing to note is that Apple's video drivers for Windows are always out of date, so you will want to read up on how to manually update them very year or so. "
I have the 15 inch i7 with 8GB's of ram and 7200 RPM hard drive. Is that comparable to what you have?
Posted by dvaeg
@LiquidPrince said:
" @dvaeg said:
" @LiquidPrince
@dvaeg: On a side note, I just bought an extremely capable Macbook Pro. How well does Windows work through Boot Camp? Can it run games as though you're running it on a regular PC?
It works well, but it's still a laptop. I have the high end 15" with the HD screen. I get a reliable 70-80 fps on max settings in wow, with spikes of up to 125fps in some areas like Ironforge. It ran Mass Effect 2 quite well, and I've loaded up Dragon Age. It will sputter when theres a lot of spell effects going on. One thing to note is that Apple's video drivers for Windows are always out of date, so you will want to read up on how to manually update them very year or so. "
I have the 15 inch i7 with 8GB's of ram and 7200 RPM hard drive. Is that comparable to what you have? "
15"  i7 with 4GB and 5400RPM drive.   Mine has the 512MB card. 
Posted by LiquidPrince
@dvaeg: So the faster drive and and more ram should help me I guess?
Posted by dvaeg
@LiquidPrince
@dvaeg: So the faster drive and and more ram should help me I guess?
Yeah. It will hold its own. Just don't expect to play competitive Modern Warfare 2.
Posted by WatanabeKazuma

I have never understood the Tali love, she's not a badly written charcter by any stretch but I just found her dull in places. I didn't like her reaction to Legion either, I did defuse the situation but in my head I did side with Legion over Tali, she came across as selfish in my opinion.
 
The importing does add a lot to the experience, but I was let down slightly by a few of the carry overs, mainly when you run into Kaiden & Ashley, underwhelming isn't the word.

Posted by dvaeg
@WatanabeKazuma Interesting. I found her reaction to be completely reasonable considering her problems on the flotilla with the Geth. She was found guilty of treason and exiled, and I thought it fit that she would be incredibly suspicious of a taking Geth.
Posted by WatanabeKazuma
@dvaeg: 
 
She was found to be innocent on my playthrough, the choices involving a potential war with the Geth is probably the thing I'm most interested in seeing in the next game.