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    Mass Effect is a science fiction franchise created by BioWare. The main games follow the adventures of Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre, as he/she tries to protect the galaxy from an ancient and malevolent alien race.

    The Mass Effect Franchise Poll - Please vote on all three questions

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    SpaceInsomniac

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    Poll The Mass Effect Franchise Poll - Please vote on all three questions (1119 votes)

    Q1 - Mass Effect 1 is my favorite 27%
    Q1 - Mass Effect 2 is my favorite 65%
    Q1 - Mass Effect 3 is my favorite (please do not consider multiplayer when voting) 5%
    Q2 - I never played the multiplayer. 31%
    Q2 - I only played a game or two of the multiplayer. I didn't like it. 8%
    Q2 - I played a bit of the multiplayer. It was okay. 33%
    Q2 - I played loads of the multiplayer. It was great. 24%
    Q3 - I enjoy the series, but I never did finish the third game. 14%
    Q3 - I hated the ending of Mass Effect 3. It was really stupid. 24%
    Q3 - I thought the ending of Mass Effect 3 was just okay. It could have been better, though. 45%
    Q3 - I always liked how Mass Effect 3 ended. It was pretty good. 13%
    Q3 - I loved how Mass Effect 3 ended. People were crazy not to love that ending. 1%
    I just want to see how other people voted, probably because I never played Mass Effect enough to vote. 4%

    Before the next chapter in the Mass Effect storybook--unrelated to the original trilogy as it may be--I thought this would be make a fun poll. Which was the best game of the trilogy? How much did people enjoy the mutliplayer? And now that the dust has settled, what do people think of that ending?

    Please use your multiple choices to vote on all three questions.

    Lastly, please tag spoilers if you care to discuss the plot or ending to any Mass Effect game. There are still people who haven't played all three games, and with any luck, the long rumored HD remaster / compilation will eventually become a reality.

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    craigbandicoot

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    Answering the questions made me realise that oddly enough I bought ME3 and never started it because of all the brouhaha around it at the time.

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    Sinusoidal

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    #2  Edited By Sinusoidal

    I'm one of the freaks that prefers the first game. It tried to do so many new things at the time. ME2 was surely much more polished, but along with the bumps, it lost a lot of the quirks that made the first game so interesting.

    Never played 3. Not really interested.

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    Newfangled

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    Oh god, it spawned a poll. The thread... it's... multiplying.

    *Selects show me the results*

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    zaccheus

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    The first one is great for the story, but as someone who played it recently it's rough... really rough. Second one is a near perfect game and the third one just doesn't hit the story throughout as well as it should. It's better with the DLC and the extended endings now that I have played those, but it doesn't really save it.

    I have fallen in love with DA: Inquisition recently which makes me super excited about Andromeda!

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    Redhotchilimist

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    #5  Edited By Redhotchilimist

    @craigybourne said:

    Answering the questions made me realise that oddly enough I bought ME3 and never started it because of all the brouhaha around it at the time.

    Too true. I only played through it last year. I think it's got some real shitty parts(Opening until Mars is done, ending, Cerberus, Rachni Queen resolution, killing/saving the council resolution, dream sequences, a plot that recquires you to fight sentient spaceships in a game with zero space combat gameplay, multiplayer map missions) and some real good parts(Genophage resolution, Quarian/Geth resolution, final interactions with your team, Citadel DLC).

    I love how the thread keeps growing. For the record, I like Mass Effect 2 the most, but I don't love any of the games. They all have their faults that make them frustrating for me. Mass Effect 2's greatest trick is that since it focuses on what it's good at(self-contained, character-focused story missions) the faults(retcons, change in tone, main plot/not setting up shit for ME3, planet scanning, me still not liking the gameplay very much) aren't that big a factor. Both ME3 and ME1 are very in your face with their flaws. ME2 is not.

    By the way, I still recommend this blog to anyone who's interested in reading about the thematic changes from game to game in the series, and a story analysis of pretty much all of it. It covers the change of focus from worldbuilding to characters specifically. I don't agree with the conclusion, exactly. Shamus Young loves Mass Effect 1 a lot more than I do, and I prefer 2. But I think the criticism is reasonable, it's mostly a case of different tastes and priorities. And I will back him up on 3 any day.

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    csl316

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    Carrying the Mass Effect 3 train over here. Game of the Generation!!!!

    I'm absolutely serious, I loved everything about it.

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    DookieRope

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    I put a stupid number of hours (100 or so) into Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and never finished the story. After I YouTubed the ending I didn't have much drive to drop 20-40 hours into the game just to get to that god awful climax. I really hope the multiplayer in Andromeda is good. Maybe they've done away with blind boxes. Nah, probably not, they probably doubled down on that shit.

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    rethla

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    ME1 is the best game, the multiplayer was ok i guess but i wouldnt mind at all if they skipped it.

    The ending of ME3 wasnt good but the rest of the game wasnt good either and the ending wasnt the dealbreaker.

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    MindBullet

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    Mass Effect 1 is the best in a... Conceptual sense. It does the space opera thing real well. Unfortunately, it hasn't aged well at all and I find it the hardest to go back to.

    ME2 isn't perfect, but it's my favorite of the series, and one of my favorite games of all time. #TeamVinny

    ME3 gets a lot of crap, but most of it comes from the ending drama and I think it's colored perception of the rest of the game. That Citadel DLC is one of the best bits of the series ever. The multiplayer was surprisingly cool, but I never spent much time with it.

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    ll_Exile_ll

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    The "ME1 is the best in the series" proponents always like to point to the story as being the best in the series, but as far as I'm concerned that misses the point. I agree that ME1 has the best main plot out of all three games, but that's not the true strength of Mass Effect.

    The thing that makes Mass Effect so special, as far as I'm concerned, are the characters. Mass Effect 2 and 3 are so monumentally better at developing and portraying characters and telling character driven stories. Mass Effect 1 often resorts to using the characters as lore dispensers rather than spending a bunch of time developing them as people. Obviously there is still good character development in the first game, but a large percentage of the conversations with the companions serve more to establish the universe and lore rather than the allow you to get to know individuals.

    Mass Effect 1 also doesn't do a very good job of allowing the characters to have a personal role in the core narrative. Characters don't even have their own lines of dialogue during missions, no matter who you bring with you they're going to say the same things.

    Mass Effect 2 and 3 not only a do better job of developing and allowing the player to get to know the characters, but they have a bigger role in the game. Mass Effect 2 obviously has its wide array of loyalty missions which really put the characters at the forefront as well as an incredible final mission whose stakes are entirely about the characters you've just spent 30 hours with.

    Mass Effect 3 does a fantastic job of giving an integral role for the characters to play in the various story arcs of the game (Wrex and Mordin in the Genophage arc, Tali and Legion in the Geth/Quarian arc, Thane Miranda and EDI in the Cerberus arc). Those stories have so much more meaning because characters we've gotten to know and grown attached to over the course of 2-3 games have their own personal investments tied directly in with these stories. ME3 also has a ton of great character scenes on both the ship and Citadel and what really needs to even be said about the Citadel DLC with regards to characters, it's phenomenal.

    In summary, the characters are the number one reason I think Mass Effect is fantastic, and ME2 and ME3 do so much more on that front than the first game. It's close between ME2 and ME3 for me as my overall favorite, but even though I think ME3 has higher highs than 2, some of the missteps (the terrible side content, limiting of the dialogue options, ending) take it ever so slightly below ME2.

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    LawGamer

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    ME1 has the best story and did a good job of setting up that universe, but the combat was always crap and the visuals have not aged well.

    ME2 was the best balance in the series.

    ME3 was . . . not good. Even putting the ending aside it was not very good. The beginning was just as much a mess as the ending, the system scanning mechanic was half-baked, it was chock-full of stupid auto-dialogue that removed player agency, looked bad, and doubled down on a tired and simplistic paragon/renegade moral system by removing any choices in between those two.

    The ME3 multiplayer I definitely could have done without. It was repetitive, boring, took too long, was unnecessarily linked to the single-player campaign, and was just a vehicle for shitty microtransactions. You don't get any credit in my book for just copying Horde Mode and putting a Mass Effect skin on it.

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    Pilgore

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    #12  Edited By Pilgore

    First game, aaaaaallll the way. Second is one OK. Story was wank. Collectors....pfff...so dumb. They looked like Power Ranger henchmen.

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    MezZa

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    ME2 was my favorite, but the other two are close behind. ME1 is great in its own way, but its the only one I don't ever see myself replaying. I typically start at 2 and play through 3 when I want to revisit the series now. I also played a ton of the multiplayer, and thought that the ending was okay. Could've been much better and cooler. I typically don't play that final mission anymore because there really isn't much in it for me. I don't need to sit through all those cut scenes and conclusions again.

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    deactivated-629ec706f0783

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    Kinda wish there was a different option for ME3. The ending was whatever to me, I had a lot of issues with ME3 that had nothing to do with the ending. I agree with Jeff when he says by the time you got to the ending in ME3, the other stuff had piled up so high that the quality of the ending didn't matter

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    OurSin_360

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    ME2 is my favorite, Played loads of the multiplayer and loved it(still think about playing it to this day), and I thought the original ending was Okay and even the "improved" endings didn't seem to make much of a change to it IMO.

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    Zevvion

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    The "ME1 is the best in the series" proponents always like to point to the story as being the best in the series, but as far as I'm concerned that misses the point. I agree that ME1 has the best main plot out of all three games, but that's not the true strength of Mass Effect.

    The thing that makes Mass Effect so special, as far as I'm concerned, are the characters. Mass Effect 2 and 3 are so monumentally better at developing and portraying characters and telling character driven stories. Mass Effect 1 often resorts to using the characters as lore dispensers rather than spending a bunch of time developing them as people. Obviously there is still good character development in the first game, but a large percentage of the conversations with the companions serve more to establish the universe and lore rather than the allow you to get to know individuals.

    Mass Effect 1 also doesn't do a very good job of allowing the characters to have a personal role in the core narrative. Characters don't even have their own lines of dialogue during missions, no matter who you bring with you they're going to say the same things.

    Mass Effect 2 and 3 not only a do better job of developing and allowing the player to get to know the characters, but they have a bigger role in the game. Mass Effect 2 obviously has its wide array of loyalty missions which really put the characters at the forefront as well as an incredible final mission whose stakes are entirely about the characters you've just spent 30 hours with.

    Mass Effect 3 does a fantastic job of giving an integral role for the characters to play in the various story arcs of the game (Wrex and Mordin in the Genophage arc, Tali and Legion in the Geth/Quarian arc, Thane Miranda and EDI in the Cerberus arc). Those stories have so much more meaning because characters we've gotten to know and grown attached to over the course of 2-3 games have their own personal investments tied directly in with these stories. ME3 also has a ton of great character scenes on both the ship and Citadel and what really needs to even be said about the Citadel DLC with regards to characters, it's phenomenal.

    In summary, the characters are the number one reason I think Mass Effect is fantastic, and ME2 and ME3 do so much more on that front than the first game. It's close between ME2 and ME3 for me as my overall favorite, but even though I think ME3 has higher highs than 2, some of the missteps (the terrible side content, limiting of the dialogue options, ending) take it ever so slightly below ME2.

    This man is mostly correct. Although I would say the (implied) universe building is also part of what makes ME great. On top of that I actually found the gameplay to have penetrated being merely surfacable in ME3 and it actually gained a fair bit of nuance and depth that I really liked. I also think the characters in ME3 are actually a bit more developed than in 2. At first I hated the smaller roster as much as anyone, until it dawned on me that there were no 'superficial' characters in there at all, whereas ME2 did have a couple of those. They also spoke to me a bit more. Even the incredibly standard James Vega was an awesome dude to talk to.

    For all those reasons, I like ME3 the best. That's without even discussing how fantastic that multiplayer is. I absolutely do not hate the original game. I can still replay it through nostalgia eyes that make me enjoy it. But it is not anywhere close to the two others in terms of quality, character building and even the universe building (and obviously the gameplay is terrible too). While I felt the universe building was great at the time, going back to it recently (now to be exact) made me realize how much they actually upped that part in 2 and 3 as well.

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    deactivated-61665c8292280

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    I don't understand why the poll explicitly wants to exclude Mass Effect 3's multiplayer from the opening question, since the question is so general anyway. If we were to include the multiplayer, Mass Effect 3 would almost certainly be my favorite in the franchise. I played an absurd amount of that game's multiplayer and still maintain it's one of the best cooperative "Horde" modes ever produced.

    Without multiplayer--well, that's a different story. I finished the Mass Effect 3 singleplayer only once and never returned to see the revised ending. Mass Effect 2 has what is far and away my favorite singleplayer experience of the three. With 1 and 3 being somewhere neck and neck beneath it. I don't think Mass Effect 3's narrative is as bad as its reputation, and I don't think Mass Effect 1's rough-around-the-edges quality ever gets totally outmuscled by its world-building, mythology, or character work.

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    OpusOfTheMagnum

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    @sinusoidal: Yup! Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins are two of my favorite games. None of the sequels in either franchise really clicked with me. The lack of depth in the RPG systems and the shift from a focus on a great story with interesting characters to likeable characters and kinda lame plots outside of them turned me off as well.

    I still remember how disappointed I was after picking up Mass Effect 2 at the midnight release, wondering what happened to the systems I had enjoyed so much previously. Or why I could no longer launch a universe consuming biotic power.

    I never played much of the third games for either. Meanwhile I've replayed the original games many times. They aren't perfect but still a ton of fun on the higher difficulties and feel so much more unique.

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    OpusOfTheMagnum

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    #19  Edited By OpusOfTheMagnum

    @zevvion: Thats actually why I dislike the newer entries. The characters in the first game still worked really well and comparing multiple playthroughs seems like a weak argument from my perspective. Different characters absolutely have different reactions, opinions, and lines in Mass Effect. There's a reason I never took Ashley's racist ass out on missions.

    I also think the overly "independent" characters would come off as off tone for the first game. I've never enjoyed the trope of the military sending some SO guy out to find a bunch of maverick civvies and create a unit. In one when a character goes rogue, it is considered a threat to the unit. Having to really work to save Wrex when he wants to go off is an example of characters being impactful and developing really well.

    These guys are supposed to be a part of a military unit, and that means giving up some of your individuality in the field. The characters in the original game never seemed larger than life, where as most of the characters end up that way in ME2. I assume similar trends exist in 3. Even Liara is reworked to become more dangerous, edgy, extreme, etc.

    I could be wrong, but were the characters actually impactful in main missions or the core plot in 2? I don't really count the character specific missions, where obviously the character in question is going to play a big role.

    I liked the characters in 2. They were fun and certainly more fleshed out, but I felt that the core plot suffered significantly because of the focus on characters, and the character stuff for me was cheapened by the need to have the core stuff seemingly there to justify the character arcs.

    Sure the characters had things to say, but they definitely did that in the original as well. As a whole I felt the Mass Effect 2 plot was straight up bad. Had that game shirked the need for Bioware games to deal in world ending events, I think it would have made the character arcs that much stronger and created a more even experience overall.

    Mass Effect plays better than 2 does. Not ashamed to say it even if no one else agrees. Mass effect 2 never let me singularity 93 guys all at once.

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    burncoat

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    Mass Effect 2 I've sunk 244 hours into. I loved the characters, the combat, how everyone interacted with everyone, and it was the first game for me where you could import an old save and actually have an impact. There was a lot of expansion of the original universe that made it feel more alive and lived in and just drew me into the world more. Bioware relaxed a bit and had more fun, poking fun at the dumb, lame things fans loved about the first one, like Shepard's dancing or chronic reporter punching. Shepard's Paragon voice didn't sound like a stiff tool and he got into the role a bit more. Harbinger was an awesome antagonist that felt like an ominous, ever present threat when facing the Collectors. The DLC is so damn awesome, also. There are so many things I could talk about that I wish I could focus on because I love that game so much. My biggest gripe, apart from Kaiden/Ashley telling Shepard to fuck off, is a personal one. On the PC version of Mass Effect 1 Garrus has a terrible, low-res, slimey face texture that they never patched and required you to download a texture swap tool to fix it (and even then it stuck out because it was a fan-made texture to fix this specific problem). And what do they do when you're reunited in Mass Effect 2? Blow off half his face. It felt like such a gut-punch that I just took personally.

    Mass Effect 3 took the great little universe that 1 and 2 had established and then systematically dismantled it. It took arguably the worst character from the novels and put him in the game as a weirdo edgelord. It reduced all the great and important decisions you made to numbers going up on another screen, or sometimes trivializing them entirely. Rachni Queen is back no matter what. Harbinger was ignored. The humanoid Reaper was ignored. The dumb child that Shepard has nightmares over felt incredibly out of place (especially if you were a Renegade or experienced bigger tragedies in Shepard's backstory). The Dark Matter/Energy plot about suns going nova before their time was dropped despite clear hints of that in ME2. You can clearly tell that there was a direction shift and writer change for Mass Effect 3 that didn't understand or capture what made the first two games and the first few books great. The characters and their storylines are the only great parts about ME3 and I really want to go back and get the rest of the DLC just to experience them again.

    Mass Effect 3 just had too much to deliver and not enough planning or time to do it. They struck lightning and when they tried to bottle it up they captured maybe half of it.

    The multiplayer I really enjoyed, though. It was a fun little horde-mode game that I pal'd around with friends in. The combat felt great and fun and really felt like a power-trip to me. Getting to play as the other races finally was so great. I beat ME3 once and then never tried to finish my Renegade run. I sank more hours in the multiplayer than I did the story.

    I'm excited for Andromeda, but after 3 I'm going to be keeping my hopes and expectations down. And maybe I'll wait and see if Vinny likes it. Still wish you didn't have to play as a filthy human again.

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    Zevvion

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    #21  Edited By Zevvion

    @opusofthemagnum: To each his own. To be clear, I do not hate Mass Effect at all. Not anywhere close to it. But Mass Effect as a trilogy is something I replay at least once per year and I left the original out of that routine for the past 3 years or so. Not because I hate it, but just because it isn't as good comparatively. As for the character stuff, it is just so much more fleshed out and numerous in 2 and 3. It was more akin to like a 'Wrex will remember that' style mechanic, whereas in ME1 it was at very specific points with very specific conditions and there were only a handful (or even less?) across the entire game. If you brought Wrex to Fist, he would kill Fist. But he would always kill Fist, regardless of what you say and the options are very binary. Literally any other squadmember would yield the exact same result and dialogue. In 2 and 3 each squadmember has a different stance on each scenario and will respond differently according to you.

    I'm not saying ME pales if you play it multiple times, but to answer the question which game is out favorite, you have to view this globally. You can't say 'I liked Mass Effect the most when 2 and 3 weren't out so ME is my favorite'. You have to compare it. When ME2 released I thought it was clearly better than ME1 by comparison. If you liked ME1 best, then you had to have had the reaction of: 'This isn't nearly as good as the original' when playing ME2.

    Saying the original played the best is just madness though. I can entertain the thought that you like to play it the best, but that's not really the same as it actually having the best mechanics.

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    Nodima

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    OK, so, it's been a long time since these games came out and there are enough ramblings in this thread already that get at what I'd get at 0 or don't - so I'll keep my response brief.

    Mass Effect 2 was my favorite in the series (as a Playstation user, I've never played the first in the series although it was re-released at some point for PS3), I thought the ME3 multiplayer was good enough but I only played it until my War Readiness was maxed out (or appeared maxed out, I don't think I had all three options available to me at the end) and I thought the ending was "okay".

    By "okay" I mean that the ending was pretty bad, even after it was revised, but it was not what made that game a huge disappointment for me. What made that game a huge disappointment was everything that came before it; Mass Effect 2 isn't necessarily a genius piece of game design, as I had zero deaths during the Suicide Run on my first playthrough because your team's needs were fairly transparent. But it was very, very skilled at establishing characters' back stories and their motivations for joining your crew, even the DLC characters (that came packed in with the PS3 version from the beginning). As a game that was designed primarily to build relationships with people, it was lovely.

    Where Mass Effect 3 failed for me was its reliance on ending all of those relationships; one of my least favorite tropes is fan service in the pursuit of finality, whereas I would rather have stories progress naturally and not feel like a simple checking of boxes. Almost every scenario in Mass Effect 3 felt either generic or forced, and it didn't help that the apocalypse was upon the Earth from the very beginning of the game. For how long that game takes, and how dangerous the Reapers were presented through the two games, it's excruciatingly easy to forget why you're out in the galaxy doing what you're doing, and the pacing of the game often feels at odds with its story. And then, again, most of the major story beats felt forced rather than natural, shoehorning characters into events just to try and create an emotional payoff by leaning on relationships built in another time and place, oftentimes undermining the actual levity of the moment with eyerollingly obvious callbacks and "hey, that guy!" scenarios.

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    aktivity

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    #23  Edited By aktivity

    ME1 is still the best on both story and world building for me. Absolutely hated combat in ME2, also didn't like the main plot. Or how stripped down everything felt. The only exceptions being the beginning- and suicide mission. Thankfully they did a much better job with the game-play in ME3. Too bad the rest of ME3 was kinda meh for me because of how they dealt with decisions you've made in the franchise. Played a surprising amount of multi-player though.

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    MrWakka

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    #24  Edited By MrWakka

    ME2 will win the best game, but it was also something of the downfall of the series. It stripped out most of the rpg elements in favor of becoming more of a cover shooter. Something that was continued into ME3, and looks to continue into Andromeda. The multiplayer was alright, I played it to get the galactic readiness up then a few more times after, but it didn't hook me.

    Personally my favorite is probably overall ME1. It was rougher in the gameplay than later entries, but much of it could have been polished instead of discarded. I like loot, what can I say, and the weapon modifications made it possible to create some very different weapons and styles. (Wrex with a shotgun with explosive weapon mods, worked out well.) The story felt better in terms of the main story line and the universe felt larger. ME2 was still fairly good if the terminator baby was a little stupid and the collectors just never quite coalesced into interesting villains. The Illusive Man was interesting, but ME3 kind of ruined any potential there. ME3, well, it has been analyzed to death. Between the change from the intended ending, the terrible actual ending, it just kind of fumbled it.

    Ultimately the continued focus on being a cover shooter and the declining level of storytelling kinda leaves me only mildly interested, if that, in Andromeda. I was for awhile hopeful, but the more that is said and revealed the less interested I become.

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    TheHT

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    Mass Effect 1 is my favorite.

    I played loads of the multiplayer. It was great.

    I always liked how Mass Effect 3 ended. It could have been better, though.

    (Mass Effect 2 has the best feeling combat (especially for Vanguard), but I really wish they'd kept the grenades, Mako, and gear options from ME1).

    (Also Mass Effect 2's story is good but feels almost like a sidestory. Great characters though.)

    (ME1 is everything I love about Mass Effect, sans the surprisingly satisfying multiplayer).

    (ME3's ending was disappointing after they released that Reaper DLC. While I personally appreciated the guesswork, that DLC makes the ending feel complete, despite not actually being at the end; the crews reaction while playing it on some GOTY video pretty much mirrored mine. Like the Javik DLC, it's basically essential, which is shitty.)

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    GundamGuru

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    #26  Edited By GundamGuru

    @newfangled: This is all your fault you know. You did this.

    @ll_exile_ll said:

    The "ME1 is the best in the series" proponents always like to point to the story as being the best in the series, but as far as I'm concerned that misses the point. I agree that ME1 has the best main plot out of all three games, but that's not the true strength of Mass Effect.

    The thing that makes Mass Effect so special, as far as I'm concerned, are the characters. Mass Effect 2 and 3 are so monumentally better at developing and portraying characters and telling character driven stories. Mass Effect 1 often resorts to using the characters as lore dispensers rather than spending a bunch of time developing them as people.

    In summary, the characters are the number one reason I think Mass Effect is fantastic, and ME2 and ME3 do so much more on that front than the first game. It's close between ME2 and ME3 for me as my overall favorite, but even though I think ME3 has higher highs than 2, some of the missteps (the terrible side content, limiting of the dialogue options, ending) take it ever so slightly below ME2.

    So, I'm an "ME1 is the best" proponent, but I disagree that the characters were unequivocally better in the later games. Of course this is going to be somewhat subjective. At least half the characters that were introduced in ME2 and 3 are not well developed characters.

    Many of the best character stories people remember from later games in the series involve characters introduced in ME1. Miranda, Jacob, Jack, and Thane are all squandered after ME2, and everybody's top list is mainly characters from ME1 like Garrus, Tali, Wrex, Liara, and Joker. Sure we got a few interesting new characters like Mordin and EDI, but for every one of them, we got more flat characters like Grunt, Samara, Jack, Jacob, Miranda, Vega, or Cortez (who exists solely to deliver his hamfisted sexuality aseop) or confused characters like Legion (whose basic personality design got retconned in ME3). Several new characters are never developed beyond their defining trope: "daddy issues" for Miranda, Jacob, and Jack, "lifelong mercenary" for Thane and Zaeed. Grunt's personality is literally just his race: Krogan. Several of those beloved loyalty missions were narratively predictable, with simple motivations. The Illusive man is consistently inscrutable in his motivations, all the way up to the end, and his appearance and set up as a galactic business god comes from nowhere, and only serves to prop up ME2's poorly established plot. The "indoctrinated" copout was used far too often.

    I could go on for awhile, but suffice it to say the best moments in later games owe themselves to the setup and development in the first one. They never consistently recaptured the appeal of that first crew. The later characters were as much bad as they were good.

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    RonGalaxy

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    #27  Edited By RonGalaxy

    Mass Effect 2 is the best, but let's be real: the ending is bad and the boss fight against the-giant-robot-dude-made-out-of-people sucked shit. I think the ending to me2 is far worse than me3's.

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    eddiephlash

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    I'm in the never-played-3-because-of-the-controversy camp, but I really would love to go back and play it sometime. Is there a good guide as to which DLC is worth picking up? There doesn't seem to be any goty collections for it like there were for 2.

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    TPoppaPuff

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    #29  Edited By TPoppaPuff

    Mass Effect 2 was the best. Game of the generation in fact. (#ImWithVinny). With that said Mass Effect 3 had the best moment in the series and most people never saw it. Mordin's death in the tower in his final redemption mission was the most heartfelt moment of the series and stands up there with any other game.

    @freedom4556 While overall you're assessment of the majority of people's favorites coming from the original game, my counterpoint to that is that it was the second game that made me love those characters and I feel like I'm probably not alone. I liked Wrex and Tali enough but found the rest of the characters rather bland. I hated Garrus in the first game. Liara while often in my party was quite boring and was really only in my party because she was always set up as the default love interest for default Shepard and her story arc was prevalent throughout that game like the Rachni mission. Kaidan always seemed destined to die before I ever played the game and didn't really care for Ashley much either aside from her willingness to shoot everything.

    It was only in the second game that I fell in love with some of those characters. Tali's story is where I came to love the character. Her story throughout that game was fantastic and that's where I came to care about the character. Wrex became more than just a 1-note character. It was the second game where he was given a sense of depth he didn't really have before. He was more than just a kill-first angry grunt; he was a character created with more believable internal struggles leading the Krogans. I felt more like I understood the his plight even though the time spent with him was pretty brief. And while I can't say ME2 did much for Kaidan (dead), Liara (indifference), or Ashley (bitch), somehow the game got me to completely turn around on Garrus. I went from hating him the most of all the original's companions to liking him the most of all the ME1 companions. He went from being a pain in the ass wet noodle to being a vigilante with a new sense of devil may care attitude. He had a complete turnaround from the original game into being a character I wanted to have in my party. I actually enjoyed talking to him in the sequel. For some reason when he first appeared on screen in ME2 I inexplicably fist pumped. I loved Garrus, Tali, and Wrex because of ME2, not the first game.

    Mass Effect 2 did characters better than any other game in the series. While Mass Effect 1 gave us the stone it was Mass Effect 2 that chiseled out the thing to be admired and worth displaying. It wasn't the storyline but the storytelling that gave those characters depth and a sense of life they previously didn't have much of.

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    LawGamer

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    Mass Effect 2 was the best. Game of the generation in fact. (#ImWithVinny). With that said Mass Effect 3 had the best moment in the series and most people never saw it. Mordin's death in the tower in his final redemption mission was the most heartfelt moment of the series and stands up there with any other game.

    I would actually argue the secret best moment in ME3 is when Tali jumps off the cliff to her death if you side with the Geth. I say that only because you get the Paragon interrupt to try to stop it but she dies no matter what you do. It's the only time the game is willing to subvert its own expectations with the dumb Paragon/Renegade system. Usually Paragon = good result and Renegade = bad result, so it was refreshing to see the game take some agency out of the player's hands for once.

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    SpaceInsomniac

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    Mass Effect 2 is the best, but let's be real: the ending is bad and the boss fight against the-giant-robot-dude-made-out-of-people sucked shit. I think the ending to me2 is far worse than me3's.

    Please tag spoilers in this thread.

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    Quarters

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    #32  Edited By Quarters

    I think ME3 is incredibly underrated compared to the other games. There is some excellent character moments in that game, and I actually loved the ended, especially post-Extended Cut. It was a great thematic wrap-up, and felt appropriate, even moreso in hindsight. It feels like the right ending for that series.

    Even looking outside the base game, ME3 also had the best DLC of the series by a mile, that added some truly great stuff (I'm looking at you, Citadel DLC). It isn't perfect, but I think it is absolutely the best of the series. It blends some of the best attributes of the plots of the previous games and also has the smoothest gameplay out of the bunch. Add to it some mildly improved graphics and some great performances, and I just think it's a great game.

    As for the multiplayer, I could take it or leave it. I played it a few times, it was fun, but I just don't care about competitive MP. Good on them for making it not suck, I guess.

    @eddiephlash At the very least, get Extended Cut (it's free), From Ashes (gets you a new companion, who is worth it), Leviathan (helps to set up some important mythology stuff), and Citadel (a great send off to the characters). Omega is fun and has some cool action stuff, but it doesn't amount to a ton story wise. Only get that if you really like the gameplay or Aria/Omega.

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    GERALTITUDE

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    ME1 is my favourite of the three, but ME3 multiplayer is by far the best gameplay, loved it.

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    redwing42

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    ME 1 is my favorite because it has the best sense of exploration of the entire series. Yes, the Mako could be a huge pain, but actually going down and exploring planets instead of just going to a single location on a planet made a huge difference.

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    SpaceInsomniac

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    ME 1 is my favorite because it has the best sense of exploration of the entire series. Yes, the Mako could be a huge pain, but actually going down and exploring planets instead of just going to a single location on a planet made a huge difference.

    If the direction of the latest Dragon Age game is any indication, the new Mass Effect should be back to feeling far more open and explorable than ME2 or ME3.

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    Shindig

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    I felt the journey to the ending of Mass Effect 3 was the thing that made it. Shepherd is knackered at the end of that game.

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    azulot

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    #37  Edited By azulot

    One of my favorite experiences in any video game was getting Archangel in ME2. Something about Garrus is just completely relatable and he's definitely best-friend-on-your-side-until-the-end-material. In ME1, I loved all the conversations with him and getting to know his backstory and why he loves calibrations so much. My husband got to watch me play through the entire series when ME3 came out and he could tell just how freakin' psyched I was to seem him take that helmet off. Another of my favorites, as it seems many others, is Mordin's death in ME3. I still get teary eyed. These games really have some great characters.

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    Whitestripes09

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    I loved about 95% of Mass Effect 3. It was an experience seeing your Shepard conclude their story and wrapping up all the conflicts after three games.

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    avantegardener

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    #39  Edited By avantegardener

    @whitestripes09 said:

    I loved about 95% of Mass Effect 3. It was an experience seeing your Shepard conclude their story and wrapping up all the conflicts after three games.

    I think that's pretty fair, some stuff resolved better than others, definitely felt some of it was rushed and or lazy. Your personal investment is really the payoff, you feel like this is your crew and you've been through some shit. The ending is at best, unsatisfying.

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    mems1224

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    #40  Edited By mems1224

    Its really really hard for me to choose between ME1 and 2. I gave it to 2 because it plays a whole lot better even though the rpg mechanics took a huge hit and it wasn't as atmospheric. I also didn't enjoy the overall story as much as the first game but it had way better characters and stories tied to them. The DLC to ME2 was also incredible and some of the best DLC ever made.

    I loved most of ME3 but the ending really soured me on the series. Apart from the awful ending I also wish your choices had more weight to them. I don't like that all your choices throughout all 3 games boiled down to just making a meter go up. I loved that multiplayer though, it was so much fun with friends and I can't wait to see it in Andromeda

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    soimadeanaccount

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    2, never played multi, ending is ok. Pretty much the majority, I guess I am just boring like that.

    I like ME1 world building, but I don't get how it could be consider as having a better story. The characters were too close as tokens (even Ashley). I mean I like them fine, and I can't argue that they work as a mean of world building, and they do grow and change as real characters. I guess walking such a tightrope and manage to make it work is admirable on its own. Tali and Garrus are good, but I don't have the same amount of fervor many seems to have regarding them. Wrex is probably the one that stood out in ME1. Never care much for Liara, and I probably favor Kaidan more than most for battle efficiency. I actually save Kaidan over Ashley, but reroll a save to have Ashley instead to transfer to 2 and 3 after Sentinel got shafted after the revamp.

    ME2 is a character story, there's no question about it. It also has majority of my favorite character of the series, Mordin, Legion, Thane, missing only Wrex and apparently being like by me is like a death sentence. There's something about just focusing on doing what they do best in ME2 that makes it appealing despite the story didn't really go anywhere, although that opening is certainly something else. Plus Modrin singing.

    ME3 is difficult to judge, coming in from the angle of a resolution to ME2 characters' stories and resolving the character arc it is memorable and impressive. Everyone I like most pretty much has to die except Wrex, but it is either him or Mordin, it is like they know! Mordin singing as everything blows up around him as compare to it being a funny scene back in 2. They know what they were doing...they fucking know exactly what they were doing! But as a follow up the the world building that ME1 set up, it is kind of doesn't stand out. Although how much can you really rein in yet another people unite to save the universe story? Its highs are very high, probably the highest in the series, but its lows are also disappointing. Also that Citadel DLC.

    However I wonder how much the reception of the series has to do with fatigue and knowing a little too much the background mechanics about these games. People say they wish their choices affect more about the ending, but is that really it? The whole choices and carry over promise I feel like sets an expectation that is impossible to meet. Even before ME3 releases the GB crew were already talking about the state of the game could be very different at the end of 2 depending on your choices, how could anyone really address every little thing and make it meaningful? Even the transitions from ME1 to 2 were becoming very game-y once you start to see where the seams are.

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    Blackout62

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    As an ME1 man I feel like there needs to be a fourth question asking yes or no toward the Mako. I don't know what was wrong for everyone cause I was graceful with the Mako.

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    GundamGuru

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    @tpoppapuff: The only thing I would say is try to imagine all your favorite moments from ME2, but with new, different characters and see if they still hold the same weight. What if it were a different Turian or Quarian in those missions? Would you have pumped your fist, then? For a character you didn't have preconceptions about? Consider how a playthrough would've been if the whole original crew had died in the opening. ME2 didn't earn those character moments, and it consistently failed to deliver with the characters that were its own. That's why I think it's strange to hear ME2's character stories praised all the time, they're just as often boring as they were awesome.

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    Giantstalker

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    #44  Edited By Giantstalker

    Mass Effect 1 is my favorite, I've finished it a couple times and don't mind how it plays at all (including the Mako)

    Mass Effect 2 is a fun action shooter but really doesn't rise much above that; a little disappointing to me, lots of dud characters

    Mass Effect 3 is the one I bought and then never played. It's been installed on my computer for years

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    s10129107

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    I only played a little of ME3 multiplayer but I really liked it. There wasn't a thing for that.

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    Teddie

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    Mass Effect 2, the Official Giant Bomb Community Game of The Generation, is my favourite because i really like character-based things. That said, the recent Mass Effect threads on here made me really want to replay ME1 since I skipped over it completely in my recent "replay" of the series... good thing it's on sale on PSN right now.

    I remember playing a bunch of multiplayer but falling off pretty hard after spending soooo long grinding for one of the "ultimate" loot chests or whatever, only to get absolutely nothing I wanted to use.

    ME3's ending is dumb, but I got over that a long time ago. They basically retconned everything of consequence with the update, so replaying it and seeing it again recently was just a huge "whatever" moment for me. I did play the Citidel DLC for the first time though, and that felt like a true sendoff for that series, and easily my favourite content in the entirety of 3 (and maybe even the series as a whole).

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    SpaceInsomniac

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    @mems1224 said:

    Its really really hard for me to choose between ME1 and 2. I gave it to 2 because it plays a whole lot better even though the rpg mechanics took a huge hit and it wasn't as atmospheric. I also didn't enjoy the overall story as much as the first game but it had way better characters and stories tied to them. The DLC to ME2 was also incredible and some of the best DLC ever made.

    I loved most of ME3 but the ending really soured me on the series. Apart from the awful ending I also wish your choices had more weight to them. I don't like that all your choices throughout all 3 games boiled down to just making a meter go up. I loved that multiplayer though, it was so much fun with friends and I can't wait to see it in Andromeda

    Same here. If you haven't already, and you play on console, be sure to sign up for the multiplayer beta.

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    ArbitraryWater

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    #48  Edited By ArbitraryWater

    I already said my piece about the first game in that other thread: It's an alright piece of world building and sticks to that late 70s/early 80s sci-fi tone the best with the film grain and the synth music. It's kinda unfortunate that it plays like garbage and a lot of the supporting characters seemingly exist for lore dumping purposes.

    Mass Effect 2 is my favorite, though I do sometimes wonder if I'd like it as much or be as enchanted with the cast on a replay now as when I first played it back in 2010. I won't really defend the main plot, because it's nonexistent for most of the game up until the end, when you fight a stupid skeleton robot baby and it's all sorts of dumb. It's probably best to acknowledge that it basically exists as a framing device for Shepard to hang out with a bunch of cool characters and engage in the video game equivalent of a very good season of a serialized Sci-Fi TV series. It's also a kinda middling 3rd person shooter.

    Aside from the ending, which I still think is sort of awful (not "Send death threats and passive-aggressive cupcakes to the developer" awful,) Mass Effect 3 fumbles a bit in regards to resolving the dangling plot threads left by the other two games. Ending things satisfactorily is hard, and even though I think ME3 does an alright job resolving some of those arcs (The Genophage stuff, a lot of your companions individual stories) it sure does a piss-poor job at some of the other ones (The Rachni Queen, a lot of your Mass Effect 2 party members not named Tali or Garrus.) It revealed a lot of holes and weaknesses for me in the way that Bioware writes their games (well, it made me realize that Dragon Age II might've not just been a one-off fluke), and that carried forward in my general distaste for Dragon Age Inquisition. The multiplayer was legitimately really good though, especially for what should've been a throwaway mode.

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    NTM

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    #49  Edited By NTM

    None of those choices work for me. I like them all the same minus a few aspects. I find it hard to separate them as they're so connected to one another, and the experience is best if they're all played back-to-back. The ending of three I thought was okay initially, but disappointing that it didn't give an end to my Shepard even though that seemed like a lofty goal to accomplish. The last time I played it though it didn't bother me as much because it gave me closure for what I cared about, and that was the characters. I didn't play the multiplayer, so I guess it'd be that. Boring choice, though, so I didn't choose.

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    discomposure

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    I never did get the backlash over the ending to 3, imo it was just a little 'meh' but not awful - certainly not bad enough to tank my opinion of the entire game, which I still think was AMAZING.
    It's hard for me to rank the games tbh, I think they're best viewed as a trilogy - 3 parts of a whole, each with slightly different strengths. When I replay them I play one after the other & it's a fantastic experience. If I had to vote I'd go with 3 (what I chose in the poll) or maybe 1....or 2 lol. I went with 3 just because you've got an awesome mix of old&new companions and I found myself very emotionally invested in it.
    Never touched multiplayer

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