Failure is an option

So, as i'm sure the internet was aware the dlc add-on ending for Mass Effect 3 hit the digital market. So naturally having played all three games through multiple times over i decided that I would play through this expansion that provided clarity.

Now I played through it and made up my mind about the revision, i can finally put this series to rest in my eyes and move o with my gaming habits, at least that's what i thought would happen.

Potential Spoilers from here onward.

However one thing caught my attention in this ending, and i apologize if it was previously there and this is just me not paying attention to the dialogue choices, but there was an option to object to the choices that were presented to the player at the end of the game. This set the cogs off in my head.

The failure of the hero was taken into account and there was no true resolution to the characters lives after that point, you lose, you become another part of history and are just a reminder for the next cycle and the coming threat. I felt sad knowing that Javik had come all this way for Shepard to bottle it at the last moment and him having to relive the horrors of his past life. To Liara who as she feared would watch as the people and life she had being swept away by the reapers. All the hope and faith that was put into this plan and into Shepard was to no avail. All of the galaxy looked upon this one soldier to save them from their fate and he collapsed under the weight. For me it was one of the bleakest and depressing stories that i had experienced and I made it happen.

But i feel that this could have gone even further, I now want to experience a Mass Effect where Shepard lost Wrex and Ashley/Kaiden on Virmire. Who chose to let the council burn in order to get a better shot at taking down Sovereign. Who chose not to prepare against the Collectors instead believing that recruiting these people would be enough. And how some races can be deemed as more worthy of support than others. And eventually leaving Shepard virtually alone in the final battle against the reapers.

So i'm going to do that then, i have already worked out most of the choices that i would have to make throughout the games in order to give myself the lowest possible advantage against the reapers and to see if i can make that ending even more bittersweet.

For Mass Effect 1 the choices that i'm going to make are as follows:

  • Kill Wrex on Virmire, along with the other squad member (probably Ashley)
  • Kill the Rachni Queen
  • Kill everyone on Feros
  • Let the council die in the attack by Sovereign

I will most likely do a few of the side missions that have somewhat reoccurring consequences in the later games, such as the Helena Blake quest and the Bring Down the Sky dlc, just to add some more history to my Shepard's failure.

Now Mass Effect 2 is a little bit trickier than the first game as you can fail the final mission and be left to repeat play through the game again, so I worked out the possible characters that could be left alive knowing that they can still potentially die in the third game, my objective with this game is to kill off or ensure that all of the squad will die at some point before the ending of the final game. So without further ado:

  • Kill Zaeed on his loyalty quest.
  • Deny Kasumi the memories of her lover.
  • Garrus' loyalty cannot be failed either way so it will be ignored. The same goes for Jacob. However if i need to complete another mission in order to continue the story then i'll have to purposely send the loyal member to do the wrong job on the suicide mission to ensure they die
  • Give the evidence over during Tali's trial and offer no thoughts on the Quarian war effort.
  • I decided that i am going to complete Samara's loyalty quest but kill her and take Morinth with me instead this is down to for-knowledge of her fate in Mass effect 3, I guess Bioware didn't have time or want to do anything truly meaningful with that character.
  • Allow Mordin's quest to be completed but have him destroy the data so it effects Mass Effect 3.
  • Lose the tail entirely for Thane's loyalty mission.
  • Ship Legion off to the Illusive Man.
  • Complete Jack's loyalty quest and Miranda's. Now I know that the argument between these two can result in losing the loyalty for one of them so i'm going to side with Jack and drop Miranda in the final assault. With Jack in Mass Effect 3 being limited to a side quest and it being time sensitive meaning i can ignore it a prescribe her to her fate, while also killing off Kaylee Sanders and the children of Grissom academy.
  • Leave Grunt in his tank.

With that in order that would leave Kasumi, Garrus, Jacob, Tali, Morinth, Mordin, Thane, Miranda and Jack for the final assault. This excludes the potential of three members dying in the journey to the Collector base the members most likely to die at this point would probably be Jack, Thane, Kasumi or Tali as these characters normally have the lower chances of surviving the finale. But for the purpose of this plan, i'm going to assume that this is definitely the final group i'll have with me. So I'll send Garrus into the vents in order to eliminate him early and so there is less of a chance of him surviving in the fire teams. With Jacob Miranda leading the first diversion group. Then for the biotic barrier, this is tricky as i'm unsure if the person that dies at this point in the level is dependent on weather or not they are loyal, so to be sure i'll have either Morinth or Jack hold the barrier as i am sure that everyone involved in that part survives, taking the other loyal biotic along and probably Mordin. Tali, and the other will then have to go as the second squad.

At this point I'll have reached the tube scene were the other crew member are being held. I'm going to do some side missions after they have been taken from the Normandy to ensure that the majority of them die in the tube chamber as their fate is time sensitive, but just to make sure absolutely no one else will make it back to the ship i'll send Tali along with them so there can be no chance of survivors. And Tali's death will relieve me of two future squad mates for the next game. For the final leg of the game i'll as mentioned before bring along Morinth and Jack two loyal squad mates at this point, if perhaps one of these has died because an unforeseen circumstance i'll have Mordin tag along instead. Leaving four or five of them to guard the room and sealing their fate. The reason for the two loyal squad mates is from my understanding to ensure that two people apart from Joker can be alive to pull you onto the ship at the end. Assuming that all of this goes well then i should finish the game with two squad mates left alive in the game.

Which finally brings me onto Mass Effect 3 , essentially this is where most of my payoff (or lack thereof) will take place with the games and the recruiting of squad members would leave me with a potential of five squad members. Now the goal with this game is to essentially make tactical losses throughout choosing the options that will either give me the least amount of war assets or in some cases decrease the amounts that I already have. And these are the choices that i'm going to make though the game:

  • Side with the Salarian's and prevent the Krogan cure from being released. But also killing the Salarian that attempts to administer it. Due to my actions in Mordin's loyalty mission in the last game Eve should die as a result of making the cure. I am also going to leave the bomb on Tuchunka armed as this will also lead to a loss of war assets coupled with the withdrawal of Krogan troops when they find out about the cure.
  • Going to save the indoctrinated Rachni and lose Arlak company, there is also the hidden loss of the Rachni attacking and killing key personnel on the crucible project.
  • Side with the Geth in the conflict but not recruiting or trying to convince the admirals to stand down meaning that the two sides should destroy or decimate each others numbers, at the worst i get one group with severely lacking numbers. And doing none of the planet side missions.
  • Ignore all sidequests asking for the acquirement of any artifact or item.
  • Leave the current boss of the Eclipse alive, assassinate the Turian general asking for weapons for the Blue Suns.
  • While on the citadel there are multiple choices that you can make to ensure that the citadel war asset decreases with time, such as siding with the cop wanting to bust small time dealers or allowing too many refugees inside the citadel.
  • Killing the Virmire survivor when going after Udina. Eliminating a squad member.
  • Ignoring the call from Grissom Academy. And the Cerberus scientists attempting to defect.

After doing all of these things and avoiding most of if not all of the side missions leaving me with hopefully the bare minimum of potential war assets, for the final battle which should be around this point under 3000 hopefully. So during the final assault with my bare bones squad there should be an opportunity for two squad mates to die on the final sprint to the beacon, however i am a little unsure of this as the ending may have also removed this chance to kill of your two squad mates. Oh well, at that point it doesn't make that much of a difference. But my thoughts at this point was to originally to kill off Vega and perhaps Javik and then to choose the destroy ending that would then cancel out the Geth, Reapers and EDI. But from what I can tell that was revised in the new endings so instead i'll be choosing as mentioned right at the top of my post the reject ending and thus bringing the sad and disappointing story of Commander Shepard to its grim ending.

I know that what i'm doing to all of these characters is horrible and that this plan probably highlights my abundance of free time, but hey i finished university for this year so i have got some free time on my hands. I'll likely post any updates or changes to the plan if anything i didn't predict happens and i'll write on if all of the build up to the failure was indeed worth it. I know this isn't the first failure Shepard run but I hope it'll be fun. I've been the best, now it's time to be the worst.

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My thoughts: The Last Story

So recently i got around to finishing my first playthrough on The Last Story, after a three week hiatus from playing games thanks to assignments.

So my first main thought about the game is how the story feels so disjointed, for me it wasn't so much an actual overarching narrative in the first part rather a collection of mini stories that the characters happen to have fallen into. One example of this that I can remember clearly was about chapter 20 I was wandering around the hub world and all of a sudden a cut-scene focused on a hooded figure, to cut it short I was then saving a young girl from a cult in an abandoned bar.

There are a few other instances like this, such as Yorick's family history story, that makes me wonder why they weren't just made into fully fledged side quests. Maybe Mistwalker wanted the players to experience some of these instances in order to flesh out the stories and the characters but I felt that it clouded the overall narrative of the piece.

Also while I enjoy the gameplay systems that the game employs I didn't feel like there were enough strategic moments present throughout the game that really pushed me to use tactics, bar the odd boss fights. Too many encounters I dealt with by just going full force on attack. As usual with squad mates in rpg's the ai is completely bloody useless at changing to suit the battle field.

The characters overall I thought were bland and generic, the voice work mostly felt flat to me with Syrenne being my favourite voice actor, I don't know if it was just her actual talents or the use of a Mancunian accent that made my day. But compared to Xenoblade chronicles pretty disappointing.

I've been listening to the soundtrack for a while now and the standout tracks are Toberumono and the battle theme music Chitsujo to Konton to. The main theme was pretty forgettable for me.

In the end I understand that it isn't truly fair to judge the two games side by side but for my money Xenoblade is probably the better game. Not to say that the game isn't good but put between the two and I know which I would choose everytime.

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