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!


Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 3)

Her redemption was nigh.

Numerous requests were made by the colonists of Zhu’s Hope and (unbeknownst to me) the majority of these awarded Paragon alignment. So Sordid Shepard briefly shifted towards the deeds of the righteous. For but a few moments she had begun to reconsider the heinous actions that led her here, and whether that would be how she would continue to conduct herself in the future. It wasn’t a difficult decision, though. She once again sank to the depths of depravity by exterminating the infected colonists, as no-one had presented a convenient alternative solution.

Those pacifying grenades were untested.

She wasn’t about the gamble with the lives of those involved with unknown chemicals, and would rather ensure their demise then blame the atrocities that she willingly committed on the colonists of Zhu’s Hope. They knew what they were doing. They knew the risks they were taking.

Even if the colonists were unwilling participants in an experiment conducted by an unethical corporation, that doesn’t change the fact that they defended the alien creature living in the depths of the colony. Not that they could’ve resisted its influence. Nor did they do anything but try to contribute to the growth of their community. Clearly making them the victims in this situation as they’d done nothing wrong, but such justifications fail to sway the actions of Sordid Shepard. As she carries a heavy burden on her shoulders. One that weighs as much as her conscience. Which is assuming that she even has a conscience, and that’s highly questionably given her actions. I’m fascinated by the consequences of these decisions, though. And how they’re going to alter the events of both Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.

That doesn’t sound good…

Of the things that I’d praise the Mass Effect series for, and there many, the events on Virmire have always stood out to me, as it was a very bold decision by the developers. Her actions there will have repercussions, but I chose not to fully embrace the senseless slaughter that could ensue. Mostly because I believe that this outcome affords the opportunity to experience unique dialogue in Mass Effect 2. Sordid Shepard may exist
to make irrational impulsive decisions, but I do enjoy hearing dialogue or witnessing events that I’ve not encountered before.

Even if it means exercising restraint.

With the main campaign of Mass Effect drawing to its natural conclusion, I’ve decided to revisit planets and complete any outstanding Assignments. I’ve also been speaking to squad members as I thought that each had their own personal Assignment. But it would seem that they don’t.

There is an Assignment for Tali, Garrus, and Wrex but the rest seemingly don’t have any specific interactions besides conversation. Liara regularly offers her input after major Missions. While Kaidan and Ashley provide little else besides exposition. Which is somewhat perplexing, as the three that you don’t really do anything for are the three romance options. Unless their romance counts as their personal Assignment. I know that each squad member in Mass Effect 2 has their own personal Assignment, which ensures their continued loyalty to you throughout various conflicts. I’m sure that I’ll be discussing those later. But, for now, as I’ve yet to finish Mass Effect, I’ve got to return to the Citadel and report to the council before recklessly throwing myself at the final confrontation. As Vanguards are known to do.

Have a nice week, all!


Mass Effect Legendary Edition: Intergalactic Renegade (Pt. 2)

It’s not the best choice.

It’s Shepard’s choice. And her choices usually result in the worst outcome in any given situation. Just ask the colonists of Asteroid X57. Not that you can, as they were barbarically slaughtered by the batarians. But she wasn’t going to let them instigate an uprising on a whim. Hence why, after the colonists had been sacrificed, she and her squad slaughtered the batarians for their actions. But then Sordid Shepard is known for making nothing but questionable decisions, such as agreeing to bring Ashley Williams aboard the Normandy after the introductory mission.

Or releasing the queen of a genocidal species.

That was, rather surprisingly, the Paragon dialogue choice. I’d have expected the opposite, but she did afford an entire species the chance to redeem themselves. Even if it was ill advised. But Sordid Shepard wouldn’t be where she is today if she made rational decisions based on logic.

Logic that suggests that they could be using her leniency against her. Or that this queen could be honest,
but future generations could deviate from the promises made. Which isn’t her fault. But also couldn’t happen were they extinct. There is, ironically, no better example of this than humans, as they’re not known to learn from the mistakes of their past. But are known to repeat heinous atrocities in pursuit of meaningless rewards. Which is exactly the kind of existential commentary that you expect when discussing the continued existence of a fictional alien queen. I rather liked her. Even if her children did try to eat my squad. But that’s why they were incinerated and why she is floating happily amongst the stars. I expect this decision to have significant repercussions, and that those repercussions won’t be pleasant for those involved. They’re probably going to try to eat my squad again. Or the population of an entire planet.

She has a point.

Sordid Shepard did have a fairly uneventful journey through the Artemis Tau cluster, though. She didn’t cause too many problems there. Mostly because she couldn’t. Had the opportunity to make things worse for those around her presented itself she would’ve taken it, as that has seemingly become her purpose in life. To ruin everything for everyone. But to also be surprisingly duplicitous as I sometimes mistake the best outcomes for the worst. Perfectly illustrating that she has no idea what she’s doing and neither do I. And that’s why these builds are so much fun.

They’re devastatingly unpredictable.

I’m not as experienced with Mass Effect as I am with Fallout: New Vegas or Fallout 3, meaning that Sordid Shepard is at a disadvantage as I can’t accurately predict what should happen. Making it more chaotic than previous Octogenarians. But probably making it more natural, too.

I can’t comfortably manipulate events and work towards my desired outcome. Which is as terrifying as it is exciting. I’m also slowly becoming accustomed to the heightened difficulty level, as I’ve now combed the universe and brought back an impressive haul of new equipment. Her survivability has definitely improved, too. Both because of that equipment and by investing in talents as she levels up. She can now confidently throw herself into close quarters combat and not be defeated lest her opponent has a sniper rifle, a rocket launcher, a nuclear warhead, or corrosive spit. Having completed the events on both Therum and Noveria,
I’m ready to visit Zhu’s Hope on Feros. I doubt anything untoward is happening there. Corporate leadership always puts the safety of their employees above all else, right?

Have a nice week, all!