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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 ten moments in Mass Effect's second entry that players must experience. Note
that these aren't in any way listed in terms of value. DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE REVIEW, SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT.
Listen To The Mad Prophet's Sermon
entertaining fellow can be found down the hall to the right of Club Afterlife's
main entrance, across from Harrot's Emporium.
Description: The Mad Prophet is a parody
so overt and biting that it's borderline surreal and depending on your tastes,
offensive. This guy's nothing more than a parking lot preacher of the Batarian
race, who routinely shouts feverish and often outlandish condemnations to the
average passerby. I have to say that I couldn't help but burst out laughing as
I heard this guy. I half expected him, much like in my personal experience with
similar impassioned figures, to start hawking tracts from his religious
affiliation to Shepard and the rest of the crowd while simultaneously damning
them to be cursed due to their inferiority.
fact that he's literally standing on a crate, his own personal "soapbox", and
citing doctrine from a religious text he frequently refers to as the "Word"
only adds to the subversive metafictional spectacle taking place. Of course,
this being Bioware after all, there's clearly an alternate reference here as
well: the character Gorton Colu, a preacher in KOTOR that spread similar hatred
toward non-humans in his rants. Nice
twist huh? There's even a T.S. Eliot reference thrown in there.
Mad Prophet is abjectly entertaining, with such irrational and bigoted gems as:
"The Protheans cast off the lesser races: the Krogan, the Vorcha, and the
Humans. 'And so they dwelled in filth, on worlds made of dirt and ***, and
there they lay until they stumbled into the skies,'" and desperate babble like "The
end times are upon us! Repent and restore your souls to glory!" After listening
to this Batarian spew ludicrous vitriol for a while, it's clear that the "Mad"
in this Prophet's name most likely means he's crazy. Or he could be "mad" and "crazy". Go figure.
Conduct The Shortest Interrogation Ever
Condition: This event only
happens during Thane's Loyalty mission. Shepard also must have a high Renegade
Description: This moment in
Mass Effect 2 is one that I absolutely recommend to players; it's a guilty
pleasure that you'll never get enough of. The basic premise involves Shepard helping
Thane track down his son Kolyat in the Citadel, where he's been contracted to
After prodding a couple people for information, players
discover that a criminal by the name of Elias Kelham is involved. He's been
bribing Captain Bailey for quite some time, but is nonetheless willing to
assist Thane and Shepard in acquiring Kelham so that they can discover who
Kolyat's been hired to kill. Soon, Bailey arrests Kelham and allows Shepard and
Thane to interrogate him, warning them that they have a limited amount of time
before his lawyer arrives.
is where the scene gets interesting, and has different outcomes, depending on
how you play your cards. As Shepard, you can intimidate Kelham by inflicting
bodily harm on him, try to persuade him with Charm, or rough him up and
threaten him. However, the most impressive display of Shepard's dominance occurs
during the first Renegade response; Shepard invokes the Spectre card, and by
sheer force of will, along with a well-placed M-6 Carniflex, Kelham caves in
and confesses without a hitch. It's a moment of pure badassery that you can
never get enough of.
Go Fishing On The Presidium
Condition: Eavesdrop on
Kargesh and Rukar
Description: You'll get the
opportunity to check out this moment by walking near these Krogan on level 27
of Zakera Ward. If you listen in on them for awhile, you'll eventually hear
them arguing over whether fish are in the Presidium's water and pick up the
assignment. Players can find someone who can assist Shepard by heading to the
28th level, where they'll find a Groundskeeper inside of the Dark
Star Lounge. Inquire about fish and he'll jokingly remark that there are in
fact, no fish; the waters in the Presidium are used as a reservoir. The Turian
will then direct you to the Gift Shop.
fun comes when you decide your plan of action. Paragons can choose to tell the
hapless Krogans the truth, or you can take the route I did, discovered purely
by accident through one of my playthroughs: you can buy a fish from the Citadel's
gift shop and trick the Krogans into thinking it came from the Presidium... for a
price, of course. It's a nice guilty pleasure and easy buck to make.
Review The Shadow Broker's Intel
Location: Shadow Broker's
base near Hagalaz.
Condition: Initiate the
Lair of the Shadow Broker mission and defeat the Shadow Broker; must have completed
downloading this DLC, players can help Liara hunt down the Shadow Broker and
track the elusive figure to his base. Once there, players can take the baddie
down and afterwards, have free access to the Shadow Broker's resources. True to
its name, the base is filled with lot's of intriguing accessories, including
terminals Shepard can access to customize his character, as well as a terminal
to pick up a shipment of resources between missions. Players can also open the
shutters in the main lobby for an impressive view outside; it's clear the
Shadow Broker had serious taste. However, the real entertainment comes in the
additional content players can invest themselves in.
there's several investment
opportunities Shepard can participate in that reinforce the influence the
Shadow Broker had as an information broker. There's also a video log filled with
amusing and cryptic scenes that players can return to view in-between
assignments. The most interesting ones involved scenes with a few of your
squadmates - especially Samara, by far the most entertaining - and a couple had
a few familiar faces, including one clip that actually reveals an important
plot point. Yet, these weren't even the tip of the iceberg.
could also delve into the Shadow Broker's dossiers,
detailing information that provided excellent snapshots of different character's
backstories as well as interests; hint: one has a crush on a fellow squadmate, one's
a poet, and another is a notorious MMORPG player. Other dossiers allowed
players to glimpse at events peripherally related to the main plot. All-in-all,
the experience gives players a feeling of near omniscience and unprecedented
power; something no player should miss out on.
Watch The Dancing Turian
Condition: Initiate Thane's
Description: This amusing
treat occurs during the stealth segment of Thane's loyalty mission. In it, you
get to catch a glimpse of a character that's completely antithetical to their
personality. You remember the Presidium Groundskeeper? You know, the calm, cool
and collected Turian that doesn't
dance? Simply follow the mission, updating Thane as you go like usual. However,
once you get inside of the Dark Star Lounge, do a little searching and you'll
see a Turian mopping the floor with his awesome dance moves.
those markings and that head fringe, let alone skin pigmentation? It's
definitely the Presidium Groundskeeper, and boy does this guy get down on the dance
floor! The scene's pretty hilarious and is a great easter egg for players to
find; it in fact became a popular meme for quite some time among the Mass
Effect community, and started a search for other hidden jokes in this game.
Hopefully, the normally grumpy fella will warm up and join us on the dance
floor in the following sequel.
Crash A Bachelor Party
Condition: Visit the Eternity
Description: This is one of
that I enjoyed listening to. Quite simply you can head to this club on Illium
after you've completed your mission on Horizon. Inside, you'll meet a few
interesting people, and even have the chance to eavesdrop on a Turian trying to
put the moves on his Quarian friend. However, in the Private Lounge of
Eternity, you'll spot something far more interesting, and entertaining: a
Salarian bachelor party.
definitely enjoy this scene. The Salarian's comrades -a Turian, and a Human - banter
with him about the ceremony's purpose, as an Asari dancer moves sultrily in front
of them. The conversation is filled with lively and smart dialogue that's
effortlessly performed, as well as a few token moments of pure comic genius.
favorite moments of course, are the Salarian bachelor's gradual conversion to
the experience in spite of his previous reservations, and their arguments over
which race the dancer resembles the most. The Human's irreverent comments are
especially hilarious - one would imagine Judd Apatow was his writer - the
Turian's dry sense of humor is an excellent contrast. It shows just how devoted
Bioware is to maintaining its fiction, as each of the characters are
distinctive, and never feel the same.
Help The Blue Rose Of Illium
Condition: Visit the
Memories of Illium store
Description: There's quite a
few noteworthy moments on Illium, but this perhaps can be taken two ways:
either as a hokey, but heartwarming encounter, or a chance for players to
express the inner jerk within Shepard. Once you arrive at the Memories of
Illium store, you'll spot a Krogan named Charr reciting some fairly Byronic
poetry, in true bard fashion. By speaking with the Asari merchant Ereba,
Shepard will learn that the two have been in a relationship that she's
merchant fears that Charr may only want to be with her for reproductive
matters, although he's aware that any children the two have will never be
Krogan. It's then up to Shepard to help Ereba out, since we know practically
every NPC you meet in this game will be unable to make decisions for
Shepard can convince her to break up with Charr, or, for an added
moment of amusement, Shepard can convince her to stay with him. You get a
discount either way, but if you take the Paragon route, you'll have the
opportunity to see the two again on Tuchanka for another amusing conversation with
a bit of culture shock
Location: The Citadel
Condition: visit various
are another of the subtle things that make Mass Effect 2's universe so
fascinating and engaging. They not only are well-performed, with
tongue-in-cheek clarity, but they also convincingly critique an advertisement
format currently being developed, recreating the feeling of awkwardness that
would most likely result from an individual's personal information being used to
Among them are a fake advertisement for a film based on
Shepard's exploits during the battle on the Citadel; an Asari burial robe ad
that uses a ham-fisted tagline as their selling point ("We'll help you leave a
good-looking corpse,"); and a commercial for a "biotic amplifier" that can help
Shepard express his "masculinity". There's a Batarian fast food commercial with
a hilariously long disclaimer following it, and even multiple ads for an all-Elcor
performance of Hamlet that's fourteen hours long.
favorite, however, is a series of exaggerated quips from a local "Tupari" vending
machine, including one that shows just how much the Alliance has capitalized
off of Shepard's image: "Commander Shepard drinks Tupari. Don't you want to be
like Commander Shepard? Commander Shepard
is referenced under license from Alliance military recruitment services." These
well-designed adverts display Bioware's devotion to attention and detail in the
all the nuances of the world they've created, and are a pleasure to experience
of the Citadel advertisements can be seen here.
Give A Spectre's Endorsement
Location: The Citadel
Condition: Visit the
Citadel's various stores
Description: This was one of
the most entertaining things to do as Shepard. Simply visit the various stores
once you reach the Citadel, and depending on how well your conversations skills
are, you'll be able to earn discounts. Of course, you can intimidate them to
get the desired outcome, but I strongly recommend that players go the Paragon
route, since you'll be deftly rewarded.
who charm merchants will have the honor of recording a short endorsement speech
by Commander Shepard, which will automatically play each time you enter: "I am
Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite store in the Citadel." The funny
thing is, though, that you can endorse more than one and as a result, end up with
the sound byte playing at each store. The amusing scene eventually turned into
a popular meme that continues to be used by fans of the series - including this
blogger - as their own personal stamp of approval.
Be A Renegade
Location: Various places
Condition: Choose either
Intimidate choices, or use the Renegade interrupt action when it appears
Description: I'm a pretty
diverse player when it comes to my gameplay approach to Mass Effect. However, I
myself can't resist the thrill I get from Mass Effect 2 living like a rebel.
Some of Shepard's latest choices are especially sadistic in comparison to the
ones available in the first game, and reflect the game's darker shift, as well
as emphasize Shepard's new role working with Cerberus.
players who follow the Paragon path have noted that it's difficult for them to
make some of the choices that Renegades make. The Renegade philosophy, after
all, is primarily concerned with morally neutral efficiency, regardless of the
costs, as well as an overall lack of restraint. A few examples of this are
demonstrated in Shepard's choice to abandon the refinery workers in Zaeed's
loyalty mission in favor of ensuring that the mercenary Vido Santiago won't
have a chance to escape; the confiscation of Veetor for Cerberus questioning; destroying some of the heretics instead of rewriting
them, so that chances of the Geth gaining too much power is prevented.
course, the preservation of the Collector Base instead of its destruction, so
that Shepard will have a chance of gaining useful technology to fight the
Reapers. The choice of keeping Archer's brother within Cerberus' clutches is
one of the choices that epitomize the Renegade position best. Of course, few of
us actually play for that reason, among those who can stomach some of the
things Shepard does.
play Renegade for a chance to embrace the rogue and fearless hero within us
that we can't always express, whether it's knocking an Eclipse guard outside of
a multi-story building for talking smart; castigating a crowd of Admirals in a
trial for a friend you care deeply for; putting a group of smug Turians in
their place; even calling the Council out on their crap with a half-hearted
reinstatement. We can be jerks,
sure, but we're not bad, just misunderstood. Besides, we get the job done, and it takes nerve to make the choices we do, so respect us; we dare you to try
walking in our shoes.
I've offered my own list of the things I think players must do while playing this amazing game. In fact, I had to cut some down, much to my dismay. However, I'm sure there are myriad other experiences that players can name, and I encourage fellow Mass Effect fans to participate as much as possible in this dialogue. It'll definitely help us tide the waters until Mass Effect 3 arrives and we suit up again. Four days left, until this series reaches it's culmination. It's been a journey, and I'm glad to continue sharing it.