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Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
You're better letting the council survive even as a renegade because it changes almost nothing. There's still 3 slightly different councillors next game and Udina is still in charge for the humans regardless.

Yes, but when you're roleplaying as a character instead of approaching things from an omniscient, meta perspective, it's fun to make decisions that are IC, even if the outcome is not optimal.

For instance, I prefer not to make peace between the geth and quarians. Adding more nuance to their conflict is fine, but ME3 went too far in the other direction by completely whitewashing the geth. You don't commit genocide by 'accident'. Besides, it makes Shepard a more grounded character if she's not magically able to resolve every ancient conflict by telling both parties to make up. Speaking of Udina, him suddenly turning into a traitor in 3 is silly. Him being the opportunistic contrarian who doesn't fawn over Shepard was more fun. Hell, have one of the Alliance officers who are always nice to you be the Cerberus patsy instead.

Honestly, I don't think Tali should've been a party member in 2. Her 'arc' feels like a regression. You meet her on Freedom's Progress, and she loses control over her team and needs you to fix things. You meet her on that other planet, and she's holed up somewhere and needs rescuing. Then she gets put on trial, and needs you to bail her out again. She's better in 3, but it makes her promotion to admiral really unearned after having been such a passive damsel in distress. Also makes the romance uncomfortable, honestly.

I'd have preferred her to cameo as a significant NPC and show she's making something out of herself among the quarians and trying to help you on that front (she'd have a lot more justification not to rejoin your crew than say Liara, who's not doing anything useful and trying too hard to be edgy). And have Daro'Xen be a party member in 2 (hell, have her be the one who was experimenting on geth instead of Tali's dad. She fits the geth expert role better. Tali's dad can simply be a hardarse admiral). Tali can then come back as a stronger party member in 3.

Shame the plot mandates you kill Tela Vasir. She would've been a neat party member/ally...if she'd kept her edge and not joined the 'cult of Shepard' (which, let's face it, most party members are card-carrying acolytes of). I could see Elpsis clicking with her.

As for Garrus, yes, he improved as a char and the romance is quite sweet. But...what is he doing on Omega? He knows the Reapers are coming and so he goes off to Space Tortuga to play Dirty Harry and kill some thugs. And just like in 1 he needs you to tell him whether to kill a criminal or not. I think they could've kept the Omega arc...but not have him throw the towel and go rogue because he was 'fed up'. He could've been there to investigate rumours of Collector activity, but when he sees all the injustice, he decides to 'expand his mandate'. His decision whether to kill Sidonis or not could be based on in which direction you steered him in 1 (I think if you don't import an ME1 save, the game just assumes you made a bunch of Renegade decisions, so default Garrus would be Renegade). And if you suddenly tell him to do something that's inconsistent, that affects what he thinks of you. Hell, maybe have him be involved in recovering Shepard's body.

Vega was just a stereotypical, disrespectful meathead. And while he's supposed to be the new guy and thus the audience surrogate for people who are new to the ME games...his ignorance is really over the top. Surely he'd know why krogans don't like turians. Being a grunt is not the same as being stupid. It's especially silly since his 'arc' involves being made an offer to join the Alliance's special forces programme...which would require brains as well as brawn.

Valiens Nantaris Valiens Nantaris
 
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Siobhan Kerrigan Siobhan Kerrigan

On the one hand I like that Shepard is able to force a truce and peace between warring parties because otherwise they'll be annihilated. I do think though that Quarian/Geth peace would not last. Of course it's largely irrelevant considering in Destroy the Geth get zapped.
On the other it is a story expedient to be able to do so. I don't think they could have had the story with you unable to resolve the issue, at least for now. That wouldn't narratively be satisfying given the apocalyptic nature of the story.

Udina's betrayal is stupid. No question there. He's not indoctrinated, so his actions are completely illogical. What was his plan, take over with Cerberus and...what? It's like seizing the capitol and expecting to be in power.

Regarding Tali, she admits she's not qualified and that she's only an honorary admiral because of her name and Geth knowledge. So I give it a pass there.

Xen is an underutilised character sadly. Having Tali's father die however adds to to the melodrama and gives Tali a reason to be on trial, so I understand that.

I wanted to meet more Spectres in general. You only ever meet 2 non human ones AFAIK. Vasir and Jordum on the Citadel. I'd like to have seen them be more useful, even if just as side roles. As it is it feels like there's only 3 Spectres in the galaxy. Shame as it's an interesting idea which is mainly an excuse for the protagonist to be without much oversight.

Him recovering Shepard's body with Liara would be a good plot thread to use. Shame.
Archangel as his alias is interesting, but ultimately doesn't go anywhere. He rejoins as soon as you ask and he's done almost nothing. Even Aria doesn't really care.

Vega is a baffling character. That first cutscene where he argues with Shepard he looks like a growling ape. On the plus side you don't have to use him. Though his constant flirting is a bit annoying since he's not a romance option (not that I'd choose him but still).

Replaying again the biggest issue I had with the Trilogy was actually the detour in ME2 with you dying and being resurrected by Cerberus. Something the player has no choice in, and then you leave at the end regardless of your choices. Even if you wanted to play an ultra humanist you actually can't.
I am convinced the start of ME2 was one of those elevator discussions for a big picture concept and everything else had to be fit into that.
They wanted a shocking start, a big talking point but going down that path was not easy. So therefore they essentially have a detour for a game where very little except character development happens. You have 8 recruitment and 12 loyalty missions but only 6 'plot' missions.

I do like the ME2 final mission though. You feel like a commander of an operation where choosing the right skills is essential to succeed. Compare that with ME3's generic final battle through bland ruins where the rest of your squad...does...something?
But I could write an essay on how bad the mission leading up to Star Brat is, but I won't get into those weeds.
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
On the one hand I like that Shepard is able to force a truce and peace between warring parties because otherwise they'll be annihilated. I do think though that Quarian/Geth peace would not last. Of course it's largely irrelevant considering in Destroy the Geth get zapped.

You misunderstand my point. I don't mind the option being there. My point is that I find it more interesting from a roleplaying, character-building perspective to play my character as not being the all-powerful hero who always achieves the optimal outcome and gets everything right.

Especially since the narrative already does its best to bend over backwards to hype up Shepard (time and again characters who are vaguely critical are vilified, stupidly obstructive or inept) and, let's be real, so many party members are, as the clone says, part of the 'cult of Shepard'.


Re Tali, she's not bad, but the near-constant damsel in distress thing in ME2 is rather unappealing for me and I feel it also undermines her romance (which personally also feels inappropriate and uncomfortable to me for other reasons...she's the kid sis). As for the trial, if it had to happen, I'd have preferred her to speak up for herself or just be more active in it. And, well, she never demonstrates any particular geth expertise. She's fought plenty of them...but, as you know, being able to kill something in personal combat isn't the same as being able to lead. As many 'Jedi generals' show in the clone wars. On the other hand, the quarians' leaders are consistently, mind-boggingly stupid...so I'll concede it's fully in-character for them.

Besides, she just rejoins your crew anyway and thus spends much of the game as another grunt. Admittedly it's better than with Liara, since we do see Tali exercise some responsibility and be self-aware that it's a position she's not ready for, whereas Liara becomes Shadow Broker, brags about it, then loses her ship and is useless outside of being the blue chick with a gun (and Tali moves on with her life if you don't date her...whereas Liara's life never stops being about obsessing over Shepard, except for that brief interval where she obsesses over Feron instead). But agree to disagree.


'Replaying again the biggest issue I had with the Trilogy was actually the detour in ME2 with you dying and being resurrected by Cerberus.'

Shepard dying for a skill reset was unnecessary. 'Levels' are a gameplay mechanic anyway (much like how Jack can ragdoll mechs in cutscenes...but is a lot less impressive in actual gameplay). At the start of ME1, Shepard is already a respected marine with the rank of Lieutenant Commander and a graduate of the N7 special forces programme. She is considered skilled enough to become an unaccountable special agent who works for an oligarchic galactic council...and yet is 'level one' because the game would be dull otherwise.

Besides, story-wise dying is pretty meaningless. It isolates you from your old support network and somehow forces you to work with Failberus...yet it has no repercussions for Shepard as a person. Until ME3 they never question Cerberus' story about their 'resurrection'. This would've been a nice opportunity for char dev...but Shepard's personality remains static in ME2, outside from a brief moment of vulnerability in LotSB.

Apparently the original plan was for Shepard to be resurrected by the geth...which makes more sense than making a comically inept group of space fascists so prominent they end up turning into the Empire in the next game.

I actually once read a rather interesting reimagination of ME2 where Shepard is brought back by the Shadow Broker (which is a collective of people, not one big monster) and Cerberus is the enemy and collaborating with the Collectors (while plotting to backstab them). Sadly, it's not an actual story, just essentially a scenario description.

Valiens Nantaris Valiens Nantaris
 
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Siobhan Kerrigan Siobhan Kerrigan

Yes, I do agree with you that there's no characters which are not proven right by Shepard's mastery. By ME3 it does reach messianic levels.
In ME1 you're a skilled soldier, the first spectre learning of an ancient secret. Plenty of people doubt you as they should. Your actions do save the galaxy, but it's preventing an apocalypse not cancelling it.
By ME2 you're Christ like resurrected because you're the only person capable of stopping the Collectors. There are still some doubters though and your achievements, whilst considerable, do not change the universe.
By ME3 you literally solve 4 of the most ancient mysteries and conflicts, ones which have gone back over a thousand years at points. And you change the galaxy forever. After Udina no 'ally' doubts you.
It is a big step up each time.
Look at it this way though, you do have the option either through bad choices or previous decisions to resolve things how you want. You can trick the Krogan, purge the Geth or Quarians and kill your allies. It's hard to get the best endings, you have to make the right choices in all three games and then find every little doodad in the galaxy to get the right magic juice points to choose your optimal colour of choice.

The funniest thing is that everyone calls Liara a great information broker. She's certainly good at detecting who Shepard is dating! Minor things like what the Catalyst is or where the Cerberus base is...not so much.

Tali is kinda useless game wise except the Geth missions in ME2/3 because you don't fight enemies which make her skillset that useful. Garrus or the Virmire survivor has good skills which can work against almost anyone. Tali is best used against machines...of which there are very few in the latter two games. I, like most people, like her for how she's written and acted but she's not especially good in the latter part of the trilogy.
In ME1 because you fight lots of Geth and other machines plus you have annoying locker decryptions she's probably the best companion of all.

And in ME3 you simply carried over your level from ME2, so you usually started at level 30. It wasn't that hard a thing for them to do!
Being raised by the Shadow Broker would have been interesting, makes more sense than the Geth who have no reason to do so.

They could have achieved the same thing by having the clone plot from ME3 Citadel DLC to frame Shepard. Therefore Shepard has to clear their name, picking up allies along the way to stop Cerberus and the Collectors.

But I think they wanted shock value so we got what we got.
 
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken
Writer
By ME3 you literally solve 4 of the most ancient mysteries and conflicts, ones which have gone back over a thousand years at points. And you change the galaxy forever. After Udina no 'ally' doubts you.

Yes, and, as you know, I prefer the hero's bosses to have more...bite. They're not supposed to have the meta knowledge that the annoying maverick is the protagonist and they're NPCs.

Y'know, it would've been funny if Hackett turned out to be a Cerberus agent. He does make you do shady stuff in ME1, after all. Or...Anderson. What better way to be a deep cover agent than to pretend to be the nice space daddy who 'always has your back'?


'The funniest thing is that everyone calls Liara a great information broker. She's certainly good at detecting who Shepard is dating! Minor things like what the Catalyst is or where the Cerberus base is...not so much.' I am reminded of Lana constantly failing at her job as spymaster, but always being shoved in the player's face. At least Lana didn't stalk you, I guess.

They could have achieved the same thing by having the clone plot from ME3 Citadel DLC to frame Shepard. Therefore Shepard has to clear their name, picking up allies along the way to stop Cerberus and the Collectors.

But I think they wanted shock value so we got what we got.

I like this alternate scenario. And, yes, probably shock value. Though ironically all the Cerberus quests are optional in ME1. Now I did them on my first playthrough, but someone who didn't probably was like 'ok, who are these guys? Is this supposed to affect me somehow?' Whereas the geth are the bad guys you spent much of the first game fighting.

Here's the resurrected by the SB scenario I mentioned. The dude who wrote it also has a scenario with a Renegade galaxy. Sadly, it's all in scenario format, not narrative.

Thing with Cerberus is that it's all over the place. In ME1 it's a 'rogue black ops group' that conducts experiments that are both inhumane and terribly dumb. I guess the analogy they were going for is Nazis...but the Nazis didn't experiment on their own soldiers (or 'ordinary Germans' that didn't fit their criteria of ideological impurity or 'inferiority')...but on people a good portion of German society would sadly not care much about.

In ME2 they suddenly have their logo plastered everywhere, which is totally what a black ops group would do. They miraculously manage not to bungle what's probably their most ambitious project. But they're still a small group...where supposedly every cell that does something bad has gone rogue (absurdity aside, this makes them even more inept). Then in ME3 they're suddenly the Galactic Empire with a silly plan.

They could have justified Cerberus being more potent (though not superpower levels) in ME3 by having it use the fact that Shepard worked with them for propaganda purposes, as well as cash in on having 'saved the Terminus colonies' from the Collectors. Could've been fun if one mission involves crashing a Cerberus recruitment operation, and to have to use persuasion to sway the locals from joining instead of just shooting everyone.

Valiens Nantaris Valiens Nantaris
 
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Siobhan Kerrigan Siobhan Kerrigan
The thing about Anderson is that all their interaction with Shepard takes place off screen. Or most anyway. He's already your Captain in ME1, you barely talk to him again, then a brief chat in ME2, but then there's 6 months before ME3 where you talk with him but in the game itself you just get status updates.
I wouldn't have minded having another mission before or after Eden Prime in ME1 where he's still in command. Let you see him more, earn that empathy your character has.

Speaking of, though most won't I miss the option of staying with Cerberus. Obviously can't be done to have the 3rd game happen but being forced to leave them is kind of annoying.

I'm trying to pinpoint where TIM went from genuinely interested but ambitious to Indoctrinated. I mean, Harbinger must be pissed - if they'd put the control chip in Shepard it would have been game over for the galaxy.
By ME3 he's definitely on his path to being a megalomaniac but he still seems somewhat rational. But later on he's basically a sneering villain trying to blow up Krogan and start wars. So when does he stop thinking rationally? Impossible to tell probably.

Really the only thing Cerberus actually does properly is revive Shepard. Everything else fails dramatically in ME2 and you need to go rescue them. Or in ME3 they're always thwarted by you.
 
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