Countdown To Mass Eff3ct, pt 6: My Top Ten Overrated Moments - lmvalle Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Countdown To Mass Eff3ct, pt 6: My Top Ten Overrated Moments

Folks, humanity has been counting down the days, and we've finally reached that inevitable moment: the Reapers are on the horizon, and will invade the planet Earth this March. Mass Effect 3 will be upon us, and all of the galaxy's Shepards - both male and female- will begin their journey to conclude the current gen's most definitive RPG franchise. This blog series will pay tribute to the franchise as we brace ourselves for the upcoming finale by chronicling my own journey and experiences with the Mass Effect series. We'll continue this series with a look at the moments or assignments in the franchise that I feel are overrated or disappointing in the Mass Effect franchise. This is not a condemnation so much as a chance to shed light on different moments that were a bit underwhelming in comparison to our expectations. Some will be dramatically unpopular, but I stand by them and even invite more dialogue. DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE REVIEW, SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT.


10) LORD DARIUS

This Warlord is met by Spectres with a Renegade alignment in Mass Effect 1. The mission: try negotiating with this wacko once you reach his outpost on the planet Nonuel. What Shepard ends up doing is listening to the arrogant *** verbally torture you while questioning your battle prowess. If you're playing as Fem-Shep, you'll hear even more condescending and sexist drivel from him.

Case in point? Try this: "Are you supposed to use your assets, to win concessions from me?"

However, the story does begin to get interesting: Shepard learns that Darius and his band were hired by the Alliance to fight off Batarians during the Skyllian Verge, in exchange for supplies from the Alliance. However, he claims that the Alliance now wants a stake in the Element Zero that he controls and broke negotiations by illegally mining in his territory; they've clearly used his criminal history to distance themselves from the crime boss and further their own motives. It's an interesting and edgy premise that challenges the image players often see when they think of the Alliance, and in light of the situation, players almost want to sympathize with Darius. Almost.

Darius is intentionally unlikeable; he demands, with megalomaniacal timbre, to be referred to as "Lord Darius", or "your Lordship", and mocks Shepard's intelligence. If players don't immediately break negotiations with him and humor him instead, he'll then ask that all Alliance miners pay him a fee and provide a cut of any Element Zero they discover - clearly an extortion deal being established.

Darius will even demand that the Alliance allow him to make red sand, and out of all the ridiculous notions you'd imagine, "Lord" Darius will even ask Shepard to say "please", obviously a projection of his own superiority complex. It then becomes easy to see what Hackett really wanted: a chance for Shepard to tie off a particularly annoying loose end without officially sanctioning it. It's a dirty move, but when you've toppled "Lord Darius" and his henchmen, you won't regret it. A pity his bark was bigger than his bite.


9) THE DEATH OF BENEZIA


Matriarch Benezia. The two words probably strike fear into any player who remembers the brutal pwnage they suffered when they first faced this deadly Asari biotic. Players had hopefully recruited Benezia's daughter Liara by the time they reached Noveria, and learned about the conflicted relationship the two shared with each other, especially given her mother's reputation as a de facto traitor to her people.

The base where she operated was well-guarded, but an even fiercer enemy than hired goons awaited players: hordes of Rachni, the aliens long thought extinct, ran amuck. Benezia protected an even greater secret, and when the inevitable confrontation came, she was completely uncouth.  Benezia was also ironic, monologuing about the power of motherhood while reminding her very daughter - if you brought her with you - that she would not grant her any sympathy in a cool tone of voice. Benezia was clearly an evil, twisted woman; or so she seemed.

Soon, we watched as the infamous supporter of Saren changed completely; in a genuine moment of desperation, Benezia revealed that she was being controlled by the pervasive and maddening effects of indoctrination, and had managed to break free temporarily. Its source: Saren's flagship Sovereign, for reasons that would later become clear. She would also reveal important details about Saren's plans, and praise her daughter before falling victim to the indoctrination yet again. After defeating her one last time, Benezia praised her daughter and exhorted her; she then uttered, out of all things you'd possibly imagine, these clunky words: "No light... They always said there would be a... ugh." Facepalm, perhaps?

The line, while novel, reeked of melodrama and completely broke my connection with the events happening. I spent my time trying to guess whether it was a reference to the famous aphorism or an allusion to an aspect of Asari culture I'd overlooked (it's supposedly related to a religious belief they have). Of course, folks might be thinking I'm a bit too critical here, but I want to be clear: I still value this moment in the narrative, sure. However, hearing that line was like a sour note in an otherwise perfect song: it might've happened only once, but it's something that's incredibly hard to forget when you're deeply involved in the experience. This of course, can be forgiven, which is why it isn't high on my list.


8) THE HUMAN COUNCIL


Obviously, the people in the image above aren't the Human Council. Yet, given the newly-elected leaders' attitudes and snobbery, you might wish they were present. I mean, in the context of this playthrough, Shepard sacrificed the Destiny Ascension and was completely responsible for the power the Human Councilors acquired in the Citadel, and by extension, Humanity. It was something I'd planned all along, as I would later reveal to Anderson, and what did I get in exchange? Nothing; they couldn't take a minute out of their "precious" time to acknowledge the Spectre who killed Saren, one of the biggest threats to Humanity.

In my Renegade playthrough, this segment especially seemed rushed and underdeveloped. Players could've been given a little history on these figures to offer a bit of context to the events that transpired after Shepard's death. Instead, they were virtually censored from the game in an integral period in the main narrative, and had no sense of character to compensate. I think it's time for that Turian air-quote we love so much: "Ah yes, Human Councilors: supposedly the newest members of the Citadel who oversee the affairs of the Galaxy. We have dismissed that claim."

 

7) ELANOS HALIAT

Starting off, there's so many things wrong with this guy that I can't even begin to count them. Shepard runs into this whiny space pirate during a mission on Agebinium, after the homing beacon of an Alliance space probe is suddenly activated. Players are then informed by Hackett that this is a highly sensitive event; the probe has a sizeable nuclear payload, and it's Shepard's mission to retrieve it. Players reach the location and find it deserted, only to be surprised by an explosion that traps Shepard's squad inside once they reach the payload. Then, this loser appears via hologram.

Elanos claims to have been a legendary pirate who was shamed by the Alliance during the Skyllian Blitz. Depending on your playthrough, Elanos might even blame you for the disgrace he now has. Regardless, he complicates your mission by activating the payload's timer, forcing you to deactivate them before you're blown to smithereens.

Outside, you'll discover that your Mako was moved over to his camp, and that his comrades eagerly await your approach. However, these bozos aren't that much of a challenge; you can sneak up to your Mako and use it to deal the damage, or you can snipe them from afar if you're an Infiltrator, ending this skirmish far quicker than you'd imagined. So much for Elanos Haliat, the legendary pirate leader, who also happens to be Turian, despite the distinctly human facial model players see.

 

6) N7: ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG SITE


We're approaching the median in this segment's most disappointing and overrated moments, and this event occurs in Mass Effect 2. Players will get this mission after completing Jacob's Loyalty Mission, which will allow you to scan the planet Joab in the Enoch System. The premise? A Blue Suns base is rumored to be conducting illegal operations there, and a Prothean signature has been detected.

You'll battle waves of Blue Suns Legionnaires and Troopers once you get inside the place, and even find a PDA that leads you to another mission. However, the most intriguing find you'll discover is a Prothean pyramid with another beacon you can access. Once Shepard does, you're treated a scene done in similar tradition to the original vision players were exposed to in the first game. However, the only thing unique about the amusing scene is that you'll see Collectors at the end of it instead of a Reaper. Meh.

So, why is this disappointing? Unlike the beacon Shepard encounters in ME 2, the first vision was a driving force in the narrative that assaulted our consciousness with perplexing and fascinating images shrouded in mystery. Without the benefit of having any knowledge outside of Shepard or the world at large, we instantly connected with the experience Shepard faced as the Spectre sought to unravel the mystery. Various developments continued to manifest, and the repetition of this vision maintained the suspense of the narrative's central conflict as it slowly unveiled before us. In contrast, the rather pithy vision in Mass Effect 2 only has peripheral relevance to the story, and merely reaffirms what we already knew.

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