The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 14
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.
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.
in point? Try this: "Are you supposed to use your assets, to win concessions from me?"
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.
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
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.
THE DEATH OF 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
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.
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,
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.
THE HUMAN COUNCIL
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.
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."
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.
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.
N7: ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG SITE
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
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.
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.