Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 8)

The thundering rhythm of war.

War that might have been avoided had those in authority listened to Sordid Shepard and her warnings, but such is the cost of their denial. Denial that has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives. Denial that has rendered the entire universe impotent against seemingly invincible opposition. Which is why they deserve to watch their civilisations be extinguished, as they failed to acknowledge the staggering severity of this threat. Which would definitely befit one such as her. But the main campaign implores her to attempt to broker fragile peace instead.

So broker fragile peace she will.

Even if the salarians are repeatedly testing her patience, making her committed to their inevitable demise as they refuse to cease their scheming. The krogan have suffered long enough. They deserve to be freed from the shackles that have tightly bound both them and their future.

But those that have bound them would need to realise that greater issues than the ones they face exist, and that isn’t likely to happen in this universe or the next. Her adventures wouldn’t be nearly as eventful were she not required to navigate the confusing landscape of political aspirations, though. And their idiocy does afford a wealth of content. Hence why I’m not bothered by their incessant objections, but I am wondering how these civilisations ever managed to achieve anything but constant regression. You’d think that the lingering threat of extinction would inspire them to bury old grudges. But all that the salarians seem interested in burying is the bodies of their own people, as bleak as that is to envisage. It’s inconceivable how selfish they are. But maybe this is closer to existential commentary than I’d like to admit.

We should never have been alone in the fight.

Now that her revitalised character class has become far more formidable than it ever was in Mass Effect 2, I’m trying to decide which bonus ability best suits her approach. Notable considerations have included: Slam (inherited from Javik), Carnage (inherited from James), and Barrier (inherited from Kaidan). She’s currently using Reave (also inherited from Kaidan), as that significantly improves her biotic damage potential, but I’d prefer an ability that deals devastating damage to barriers. Not that I’ve found any matching that specific description thus far.

Besides Warp (which she can’t inherit).

Were I able to tear through the barriers of Banshees (and their accursed ilk), I could then repeatedly shoot the exposed flesh inside with a semi-automatic assault rifle empowered with Incendiary Ammo. A description that makes them sound like a horrific biotic space crustacean.

I’m definitely not buying one of those for her cabin. Unless it will latch onto the faces of her enemies (or their equivalent) and lay eggs inside them. Eggs that nourish themselves inside their fleshy chest cavity, and then burst out as baby biotic space crustaceans. I’m reasonably certain that’d be copyright infringement, though. But imagine if her space hamster could do that. There would be hundreds of furry friends crawling into the crevices. Henceforth, Sordid Shepard is no longer concerned with brokering fragile peace, and instead will endeavour to unearth the ancient Prothean technology that allows her to clone thousands of space hamsters. Such a thing must have existed. If it didn’t, it’s fairly clear why their civilisation was extinguished. They didn’t pay their adorable overlords enough respect to be deemed worthy.

Have a nice week, all!


Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 7)

Secrets of a race long extinguished.

Secrets that would have been lost were it not for Sordid Shepard handing them over to an organisation more questionable than her decisions. They claim that this technology will be used for the betterment of humanity, but I’m reasonably certain that this will go horribly wrong. Especially with them. They’re probably going to try to build something sinister like a sentient space station with it, then deny all knowledge of said space station when it starts eating its own inhabitants. Or something absurd like that. It really wouldn’t surprise me after all that we’ve seen.

And all that we’ve endured.

We even endured the final confrontation with no casualties, which is to be expected as nothing bad could ever befall Sordid Shepard or her squad. It’s inconceivable. So inconceivable that I’m unsure as to why I continue to humour the possibility that something could actually happen.

I’ve always been fond of how Mass Effect 2 concludes its main campaign, as you’re repeatedly encouraged to bring together a squad of loyal companions, and doing so allows each to make an individual contribution during the concluding events. You aren’t usually afforded the opportunity to bring together such an extensive squad. But I’m glad that you could, as the resulting experience is an exhilarating one-of-a-kind confrontation which perfectly exhibits the diversity present in Mass Effect 2. It definitely feels like the developers were experimenting with different mechanics. I do, however, lament the loss of the broad character development mechanics from Mass Effect, which is my only criticism of Mass Effect 2. But that’s only because I greatly enjoying tweaking statistics and obsessing over new equipment.

We may perish so that humanity may have hope.

Transitioning to Mass Effect 3 should be straightforward enough, as the majority of the changes introduced in Mass Effect 2 persist in Mass Effect 3. Character classes have been slightly adjusted, resulting in significantly improved individual proficiencies compared to their Mass Effect 2 counterparts. Sets of armour continue to be built from individual pieces. And weapons now utilise mods much as they did in Mass Effect. Considering the implications of these changes, especially those to biotic abilities, I’ve decided to carry Sordid Shepard forward as a Vanguard.

Which could be a terrible decision.

But being able to immediately prioritise the acquisition and use of an assault rifle helps considerably. Not only because assault rifles tend to have substantially more ammunition than shotguns, but because shotguns and pistols can be very finicky. Whereas assault rifles are incredibly versatile.

Combat now has an intensity that demands flexibility and is immensely satisfying for that reason. Mobility is also crucial to survival. You can’t entrench behind cover and weather the oncoming onslaught as reliably as you could in Mass Effect 2. Making these encounters not only more challenging but also more enjoyable, as every enemy presents its own identifiable threat and these can be dealt with in a number of ways. Enemies also seem to lack the armour that stifled biotic abilities in Mass Effect 2. Encouraging you to compose more diverse squads as most squad members are once again useful in some way or another. I’d begun to regret carrying her forward as a Vanguard as I didn’t feel that she was nearly as impressive as she once was, but now I’m starting to feel that she’s more impressive than she ever was.

Have a nice week, all!


Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 6)

How they wish for Presidium fish.

Krogan seem to be obsessed with the idea of them. Wrex mentioned them, the random krogan on the Zakera Ward mentioned them, and I’m sure that Grunt would mention them if I ever brought him to the Citadel. Not that I’m purposefully not bringing him to the Citadel, he just isn’t in the squad as much as his counterpart was in Mass Effect. Likely due to how biotic abilities have changed in Mass Effect 2. He also doesn’t like to stay behind cover as he has shotgun and an insatiable lust for ceaseless conflict, but that could be said of every squad member.

They don’t utilise cover or its benefits.

Or they refuse to acknowledge that cover even exists. Or, most confusingly, they run from their designated cover up to an enemy and fire at them while out in the open. Which is not the decision that I’d make in that situation, but then I don’t have a shield or a barrier to soak incoming damage.

Even if their varied protections do nothing to prevent their untimely demise, because those who dare to poke their head above cover for but a moment are quickly eviscerated. Which is truly perplexing when you consider that Medi-Gel is ludicrously limited in Mass Effect 2, and there are no ways to easily (and reliably) replenish it. Hence why Sordid Shepard usually finishes most encounters by herself. It’s easier than worrying about where her next Medi-Gel is coming from. I’ve always wondered whether the lack of ammunition was due to Insanity difficulty, as the difficulty level might alter the drop chance of Thermal Clips, but Medi-Gel is a fixed drop from specific locations. So I doubt that Insanity difficulty is affecting that unless there are less fixed drops available. But then Mass Effect 2 is such a wonderfully curious experience.

Threats of violence can be an excellent motivator.

The majority of the Missions concern the acquisition (and loyalty) of squad members, which is why I haven’t mentioned them as they’re all somewhat spoiler-ish. There are a handful of Missions that directly progress the main campaign, though. But they tend to appear quickly, as they’re (mostly) time-based. Even the DLC, which I’d not experienced prior to Mass Effect Legendary Edition, is confined to particular environments, and usually introduce mechanics of their own. Which serves to further confuse how best you should approach its abundant content.

It’s a fascinating blend of mechanics.

But a blend that doesn’t always highlight the strengths that Mass Effect 2 has. Missions and Assignments have such unusual diversity, which can be slightly disorientating when you’ve become accustomed to the mechanics established in Mass Effect. But it is also fascinating in its way.

Now that I’ve brought together the aforementioned team of misfits, it’s finally time to recover experimental alien technology and install it onto the Normandy. Because that’s clearly a good idea that won’t go terribly wrong. EDI will be overseeing the installation personally, as I won’t need to worry about viruses or glitches if she handles it. Everything will work as well as it can be expected to. I definitely won’t be drawn into conflict that I’m unprepared for due to amateurish mistakes. Conflict that has its own time-based repercussions that are never explained (or even hinted at), but that you’re expected to be fully conversant with. Not that I believe that these repercussions significantly affect the outcome of the final confrontation (or related achievements), but they do alter the events witnessed during that excursion.

Have a nice week, all!


Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 5)

We can rebuild her.

Mechanically, that is. Not literally. That’d be absurd and incredibly costly. Not that I’m suggesting that anything terrible would ever befall Sordid Shepard. That’d also be absurd. Her heinous actions have led to the loss of countless innocent lives, but never her own. Mostly because of the miraculous regenerative properties of the F9 key. Which is why she can allow herself to be consumed by the intoxicating rhythm of seemingly endless conflict while facing supposedly insurmountable opposition, as her mistakes can be rectified just as easily as they were made.

And she’s made many mistakes.

But then so have I, and the most egregious of those may be the decision to carry her forward as a Vanguard. Not only is she missing several crucial biotic abilities, but her base weapon selection is underwhelming, and so she lacks any semblance of the versatility that she once had.

I’m not sure if there are any discernible differences between armour, shields, and barriers but having to tear through those protections significantly hinders her biotic potential. What little potential she now has. Gaining Fortification (from Grunt) has made her noticeably tougher, but she still can’t take more than a few hits before she’s bleeding out and cowering behind cover again. It also doesn’t help that biotic abilities no longer affect enemies with armour, so if they have armour, and the majority do, then she becomes reliant on her weapons. Weapons that now require Thermal Clips. Thermal Clips that were introduced (but simultaneously don’t seem to exist) in Mass Effect 2. Because, despite what the loading screens might suggest, enemies with similar weaponry don’t consistently drop fresh ones. Or Thermal Clips.

A salarian after my own heart.

Medi-Gel is also ridiculously scarce, so I can’t rely on squad members taking hits and being able to recover from them. While the suggestion (also made by a loading screen) to wait for a break in enemy fire is useless, as there’s never a break in enemy fire. I don’t know how much of this is due to (or is being altered by) Insanity difficulty, but if I ever wanted to satiate my masochistic tendencies, and it would seem that I do, then this is the way to do it. This is going to be an experience. One that may see Sordid Shepard outlive my patience for these mechanics.

It’s already begun to wear thin.

Mordin has provided ample inspiration during this adjustment period, though. As I’ve begun to appreciate that I’m not the only one who desires to make things as difficult for themselves as they can be. But then he thrived in the situation he found himself in, whereas I’ve willingly invited it.

Which is far worse as I have no-one to blame for my suffering but myself. Sacrilegious as it would be, I could easily lower the difficulty to something that wasn’t so annoyingly tedious. But I didn’t- and I wouldn’t- because I’m committed to being constantly outmatched and losing hours of my time to enemies literally appearing out of thin air. Which is as frustrating as it is frequent. It is an incredibly effective strategy, though. You can’t shoot that which doesn’t exist. Nor can you predict which cover is actually useful, as you never know where they will appear next. You also never know when your squad will wander aimlessly into imminent death, as they leave cover once the encounter has concluded, but encounters sometimes immediately begin again, leaving your fleshy bullet sponges exposed as they’re now out in the open.

Have a nice week, all!


Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 4)

The beginning of the end.

The events that unfolded that day will have catastrophic repercussions for the continued existence of all life, and surprisingly Sordid Shepard wasn’t to blame. She might have influenced certain decisions but she did do the right thing when it mattered. Which is to say that she callously sacrificed hundreds of human lives to save hundreds of alien ones, which won’t appease various movements on the Citadel, but perhaps that is how best to describe them, as a movement from the bowels of the universe. Not quite as awful as Sordid Shepard but definitely close.

Not that anyone is as awful as her.

Even the various antagonists of the Mass Effect series aren’t as bad as her. They freely admit their genocidal desires and clearly decree that any who attempt to stop them will perish, whereas she is often regarded to be synonymous with unyielding hope. Only to consistently deliver anything but.

The final confrontation was one of those rare moments where everyone involved wasn’t maimed or murdered. Mostly because the option to let those in authority suffer for their continued ignorance never presented itself, as I’d happily conclude the main campaign in that way if I could. They couldn’t reject the truth then. Which is what they’ve done every single time it was mentioned to them, despite being presented with an abundance of evidence to support the claims made. But then I can’t blame them for not trusting someone who has willingly sacrificed hundreds of lives on multiple occasions. Even if, for the first time in her life, she was trying to do the right thing by warning them, they didn’t want to acknowledge that there was a species in the vastness of space that they’d not encountered nor heard of before.

But did you anticipate her disdain for all known forms of life?

Due to countless changes having been made to established mechanics (especially those concerning each character class and its proficiencies), transitioning to Mass Effect 2 won’t be as straightforward as it really should be. I have, however, considered the implications of those changes, and have decided to carry Sordid Shepard forward as a Vanguard. Despite leaning towards the Sentinel for its versatility. The revised combat mechanics will tear her apart in close quarters combat, but I’m hoping that her survivability will improve as she gains levels.

There’s less equipment in the sequel, too.

Sets of armour are now built from individual pieces while weapons can be upgraded. I actually prefer these mechanics as they remove much of the mindless busywork present in Mass Effect, but they do heighten the difficulty as you won’t be able to constantly acquire new equipment.

Mass Effect has proven to be a consistent challenge on Insanity difficulty, but one that I’ve steadily overcome by regularly acquiring better equipment. So I’m excited to see whether Mass Effect 2 will present an even greater challenge. I’m thinking that it will, as the character development mechanics are less likely to result in ridiculously overpowered squad members. But I’m good at ducking behind (and shooting from) cover. And I’ll need to periodically duck behind cover to push forward with her shotgun. I doubt that it’s going to end well for her, but that might encourage her to consider how people felt when she mercilessly shot them for no reason. Because people are going to repeatedly and mercilessly shoot her without any warning. But maybe that’ll be how she finds her eventual redemption from her wicked ways.

Have a nice week, all!