How BioWare Can Bring Us Back With Mass Effect 4

Warning! Spoilers, obviously, for basically everything Mass Effect.


I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I still think about Mass Effect a lot.

Not just for my work here, where I’ve written widely on the subject of that huge, deeply affecting (in many disparate ways) game universe and trilogy. I still have a (broken, somehow) Normandy SR2 model on my shelf from San Diego Comic-Con 2011. I still have Mass Effect 3 vistas as desktop backgrounds. I’m still in the market for a good recording of the Reaper BWAAAAH noise so I can use it for my text message notification tone (update: Ron Whitaker found me that tone right before publication, and it is indeed informing me of text messages as you read this).

And yet, if it was released tomorrow, I doubt I could be persuaded to pay out of hand for Mass Effect 4. It’s not just the weak ending of Mass Effect 3, or the frustrating way in which BioWare handled and continues to handle the situation (they’re never going to let go of the line of reasoning that most people’s anger was about players not getting a choice in Shepard’s death, it seems). It’s that a lot of the magic has been leeched out by an extended period of animosity, by gradual changes to the formula I fell in love with from the start, and by repeated extensions, additions, and addenda to the final story that have simply made me tired of it. The worst thing that happened to Mass Effect 3 wasn’t its ending, it was everything that came afterward that tried to smooth out the rough edges.

But Mass Effect 4 is coming, regardless of how I feel about it, and as Lead Writer Mac Walters has said, it won’t be about Commander Shepard. That’s probably a good thing, but BioWare’s going to need to make other changes if it means to rekindle some of the fan dedication it lost during the last two years — and making excuses for Mass Effect 3′s ending isn’t on our list.

1. A Tighter Story

Mass Effect has already gone as high as it can go in terms of stakes. With the end of the galaxy having been circumvented by the actions of players across three games, it’s going to be hard for BioWare to create a story that has the same kind of weight. The answer, then, is not to make a game about saving the world, saving the galaxy, saving humanity (because the game will undoubtedly be about humans*), but to make a more personal, tighter story in which the stakes are about the people involved.

The best way to do that is for BioWare to forgo the grandiose ideas of Threat to All Life and instead make the game about a handful of characters we can really get behind, and how the brave new world of humans as part of an interstellar community affects them. This is really what BioWare’s good at anyway: an ensemble cast that players come to really know and like, who represent a variety of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. That’s where Mass Effect was at its best, and Mass Effect 4 should drill down to that experience and leave the saving of the universe to Halo. What continues to work about Mass Effect is its expansive universe, so spend time putting us there rather than having us traipse around it, while only experiencing it as a celebrity or from behind a gun.

And speaking of guns….

*We’re guessing the rumors are true and that Mass Effect 4 will concern humanity’s first contact with aliens, which specifically were the turians after the discovery of the Charon Relay. It’s a tense time for humans and has a lot of potential.

2. Fewer Guns

For the love of god, please, dial back the shooter-ness of Mass Effect and get back to the sci-fi. By Mass Effect 3, RPG elements had taken a serious back seat to Gears of War-style running and gunning, and while the gunplay in the third installment of the series was a big step forward overall, combat in Mass Effect has never been all that great. By the end, the focus on accessibility had robbed the game of some great customization, and add to that squad mechanics that were functional but a bit iffy, the necessity to cover the game in chest-high walls, and no end in sight of cookie-cutter third-person shooters with similar mechanics, and you wind up with gameplay that was just kind of boring.

Mass Effect 4 doesn’t have to be about a super-soldier. The DLC for Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 hinted at some interesting possibilities in terms of contextual gameplay, like gathering evidence at a crime scene, infiltrating organizations and parties, and piecing together information based on clues. Those things can really add to the universe of Mass Effect, much more than playing another soldier can. I’m not saying Mass Effect 4 should be divorced from its combat, but it’d be nice to get a game whose focus is on maintaining the game universe, not on giving players more of the same game mechanics.

While we’re on the subject of what to retain from earlier games…

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61 Comments on How BioWare Can Bring Us Back With Mass Effect 4

Foehunter82

On November 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I agree with you completely. However, I think that if they make a prequel game (or trilogy, or whatever), they will inevitably try to retcon the hell out of the original trilogy using the other games. They’ll probably incorporate the Star Child into 4, 5, and 6 however they can to excuse themselves for screwing up the ending to 3. Then, their argument will be “See? This was the plan all along. The fans just didn’t understand because they didn’t have the prequel trilogy to explain everything.”

Personally, I’ll wait ten years until the entire Mass Effect series is sold for $5 on Steam after EA/Bioware goes under and has to sell their assets to various other developers THQ-style. Who knows? There might be a Humble BioBundle sold around that time containing every single Bioware game ever made for $6.

Rhys

On November 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm

The biggest one is to simply apologise and admit that certain decisions they made regarding the third game (i.e. the ending and the From Ashes DLC that was partially included on the disk) were morally wrong. Not only to the customers and fans, but to those who worked tirelessly on the series only to see their voices ignored by a pair of egomaniacs who took it upon themselves to write the ending to a story of which they weren’t even any part of the genesis, and an increasingly corporate climate that saw nothing wrong with charging customers who’d already spent $60+ dollars on the game an extra $15 (or whatever it was, the actual price point isn’t even relevant so much as the principle of doing it) on a DLC that was frankly the most important squad member in the game and one that had no right even being left off the main game, let alone released on day one. They can also reassure people that they won’t be trying any more of those online brain farts whereby you have to play online for 12 hours in order to increase your single-player stats in order to see a ten second extension to the final cutscene.

Alas, those responsible are still at the helm, and still see fit to try and warp their technical failures as writers and game developers – not to mention their repeated lies pre-release and seige-mode/artistic snobbery tactics afterwards – as some kind of victory against the great unwashed instead of one of the biggest middle fingers in videogaming history. Until that changes, and until a few heads roll, BioWare does not deserve your time and it sure as hell doesn’t deserve your money.

Matt

On November 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Not sure what the point of a prequel would be when we already know how it all turns out and do we really want to fight turnians? All the squadmates would probably be humans if its the first contact war, just doesn’t sound that interesting. I wish they would have had the courage to make one of the endings canon and just move way foward in the timeline.

SweetPea

On November 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I really don’t want to see a prequel, especially not one about the First Contact War. Too many turians, not enough asari strippers. But seriously, no prequels please.

Draxanoth

On November 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Bioware is done. They should sell all their IP to CDProjeckt Red.

Aedelric

On November 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

“How BioWare Can Bring Us Back With Mass Effect 4″

They can’t.

lol

On November 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

@Rhys

They are still at the helm because they make money for the company and keep the ship floating.

What you think video games are made on hopes and dreams?

lol = troll

On November 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Sorry ‘lol’, nobody’s interested in your bull. Your vapid attempts at waving away exceptional acts of company dishonesty as “they’re a bizness doodz deal wiv it” don’t hold any water because if you’re alienating hundreds of thousands of your consumers then you’re not an effective money-making entity. It’s a simple concept that only the wilfully blind or terminally ignorant couldn’t possibly have a grasp on.

Go back to trying to claim that EA made the original Mass Effect and KOTOR like a good little fantoy. The grown-ups will debate in your absence, child.

Rhys

On November 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm

@lol – so because they’re not going bankrupt therefore they must be doing well? Never mind the fact that much of the company’s assets have now been liquidated and placed under the EA banner, that ME3′s price was slashed by a third or half in most mainstream stores within a month or two of release, or that the majority of paying customers have voted with both their wallets and their keyboards to voice their dissatisfaction for the last three years.

You either know absolutely nothing about business or you’re trying to play devil’s advocate and failing miserably. Either way, you’ve contributed nothing. Either try harder or find somewhere else to post your naive ramblings.

Matt

On November 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Bioware lost me when they tried to pass off the ending to the original Deus Ex, down to the same color choices corresponding to destroy/control/synthesize, as their grand plan to conclude the Mass Effect trilogy, then acted indignant when people complained about it. Then their expanded ending DLC patched in Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s “fourth option” of rejecting the three color coded endings initially offered and just blowing up everything.

I’m done with a company that has become so openly dishonest since it’s absorption by EA that it shamelessly steals it’s endings from other developers, then unloads on the consumers that bought the game for calling them out on ripping off one of the best games of all time (Deus Ex) and a solid follow-up to the same (Human Revolution).

Michael

On November 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Just let it die already…Its over…Move on to something original and new…They screwed up and the only ones to blame is the entire staff for letting this happen in the first place…

some1unoe

On November 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I honestly thought that the ME series was great. and honestly, the ending was expected and reasonable. a well written closure even. the valiant hero always dies. it is a must for closure. and you probably had an inkling that this could be coming anyway in your playthrough. (they did give you the good ending of shepard breathing if you got enough points anyway, so that’s another plus factor).

You know that feeling you felt when you realised that your Shepard, when presented with the three options, had to die, had to sacrifice himself, no matter what? I think THAT was part of the experience. It’s the same with the time we had to choose between Ashley or Kaiden, and with the time we had to choose which team members to send off in the collector ship (knowing that they might die, esp if you didn’t search online for the ‘all-survive’ option). It was the feeling of ‘oh sh*t, sh*t just happened. k lets make the best decision possible’. That feeling of sadness mixed with courage. I think it was deliberately meant to do that, which is why it was good.

I feel that for a video game to be able to elicit such an emotional response from me really says something positive about that game. Sometimes you’re faced with a tough choice of having to choose between worse and worst. That’s life. This is also another reason why I felt the game’s ending was excellent. Sorry your shepard couldn’t live.

axy1985

On November 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I thought I was the only one. I still think back to Mass Effect, and heck why not, Mass Effect 2 and nostalgically smile. Mass Effect was a good game, but completely destroyed the franchise for me. I would’ve rather have Bioware pull the plug with ME2.

I don’t think I can be lured back to Mass Effect to be honest. Even if its a prequel. It can be hundred of years before the original trilogy, and I will still know that there’s a star child hiding out there somewhere, waiting for an absurd and out of place ending.

Roy Batty

On November 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

@Phil

I hear what you are saying but…
I can’t really stand any of it any more. I bought the ME1 sound track (mostly because of Jack Wall) but I can’t stand to hear it anymore. Reminder of the old days. I have no confidence in the dev team and yes no apology = no sale (well maybe when it is in the $5 bin).

It is kind of like the time just before Picket’s Charge during the American Civil War. Before = Still a chance – after DEAD MEAT! Epic Fail!

-Or-

Titanic before the iceberg – we got a chance to get to NY – Titanic after the iceberg – MEAT POPSICLE!

If people really wanted to send a message to EA – then they would not buy it at all. Sadly there are too many fanboys and too may that lack the disciple to effetely send said message.

Peace!

Koobismo

On November 1, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I admire your optimism concerning the “Fewer Guns” point, Phil, but I can hardly muster such in myself. If anything, I’m expecting a full-on military tactical shooter with extra romance and bromance bits… Gods of Gaming, I wish I was wrong. Maybe they’ll move back to their core audience, instead of chasing the elusive CoD Money Bunny? Here’s hoping.

GM

On November 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

The idea that any new game has to be a sequel is just plain ridiculous.

The end-state of the galaxy from playthrough to playthrough has a -ton of variables: true.
Some of these variables are really huge and important-seeming, like which species survive and which might be eradicated (including whether Reapers still exist): true.
Others are implied but still really far-reaching, like how long before the relay network is repaired (days to weeks in Blue, months to years in Red): true.
OMG WTF there is just simply no way to take all that into account in a sequel: false.

False, false, false. Just because you can’t see how it could be done doesn’t mean it can’t be done, and done well, and done in a way that most people will be satisfied with. BioWare pretty much specializes in games that branch and create wildly different experiences and storylines. Ever compare your Paragon full-trilogy playthrough with that of someone who started with the third game and went Renegade? Ever play a little something called Dragon Age: Origins?

That thing had six different versions of the first act. Sometimes characters or environments would show up in other origin stories, sometimes the main plotline later on. Sometimes BioWare just made stuff that only a fraction of players ever saw. That was 2009.

All they need to do to make a sequel work is create a satisfying story reason why one ship and its crew need to get out away from the tiny sliver of the galaxy that was connected to the relay network — the same network that transmitted that weird energy pulse of whatever color it was — and bam, that’s the bulk of the story. Give everybody their Act I, acknowledging and respecting the status quo post-trilogy, and then get us to the equivalent of Ostagar to start the rest of the game. Maybe your ship has a geth engineer, maybe hers has a quarian, maybe mine has a quarian with a geth living in his suit with him.

Maybe that group of krogan you fight are sanctioned by the Wreav administration, and they represent the threat of further expansion. Maybe they’re a splinter group Wrex wouldn’t mind seeing blasted out of the sky. Maybe they’re among the last of a dying race, and suddenly they’re much more sympathetic.

I don’t want to get all fan-fiction-riffic, but the point is: THERE ARE WAYS. I keep seeing the argument that it’s impossible. No it’s not; it’s complicated. And so what?

GM

On November 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Oh dammit. My first line has a typo: it should read, “the idea that any new game has to be a PREQUEL is ridiculous.” Sorry.

R.J.

On November 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

Could these things work? Quite possibly, they are certainly good ideas. Unfortunately, BioWare either did not understand or refused to publicly acknowledge what people were upset about, and actually blamed long-time supporters for being unrealistic when all they really wanted was for the company to make good on its own promises. These things concern me far more than than the problems with the ending itself. You can recover from a botched product if you actually try to learn from the experience, but that doesn’t seem to be the culture at BioWare these days.

Also, when I hear that Mac Walters and Casey Hudson, the two people most credited with making that abomination of an ending, I can’t help but think lessons won’t be learned. I can’t trust when Walters says ME4 will feel “like Mass Effect” when apparently he thought space magic in three different colors felt like Mass Effect.

Honestly, I’d say the thing that would actually give me some confidence is if they knew when to walk away, but since they belong to EA, BioWare won’t be allowed to do that.

*Sigh*

On November 2, 2013 at 1:52 am

@some1unoe – your lazy, tiresome reasoning for the backlash towards the ending could have been disproved within seconds if you were a bit less biased. There are, for example, at least half a dozen articles on here that make it clear that the ending was hated because a) it was badly written (if you actually know what writing is, instead of basing your judgement on the lowest common denominator of superficial emotive tropes as you have done), and b) broke several specific technical reassurances that BioWare made in the weeks and months leading up to release date.

Anyone who still uses the pathetic “it’s good because Shepard dies and the rest of the game is sad” (which is rubbish anyway, there’s a variety of tones in the ME series, not just sadness) and “people who hated the ending just found it too sad” (again, absolute rubbish – it’s more to do with the fact that there’s no way of making Shepard live regardless of the choices you make, and nothing within the very limited final choices themselves that justifies Shepard’s death) having had over a year and a half to educate themselves on the many valid reasons why the ending didn’t work and why fans were so upset, clearly have no intellectual capital to be entering the debate. You’ve made no attempt to engage with the argument, and therefore we will make no effort to engage you or your decreasing number of equally blinkered fanboys into it either.

Go back to IGN.

AOPrinciple

On November 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Phil,
I’m very glad to see your name at the top of another Mass Effect article. I think that, far and away, your (and other GF journalists’) coverage on and interaction with the issues surrounding Mass Effect 3 and following have been the best in the professional industry; it’s always nice to see a link to another GF article on Mass Effect.

As usual, I think I agree with everything except, maybe, #3. In the case that they decide to make ME4 a “prequel” per se, I think it would be strange not to include some references to the original trilogy. Obviously, if it’s a prequel or sequel then they must tacitly reference at least the broadest narrative strokes of the original trilogy, and I don’t necessarily want to have a conversation with Garrus’ dad, either, but neither do I want them to sever meaningful ties with 1-3 simply for the sake of allowing 4 to be a standalone title in some way. As I imagine what effectively ignoring the events of 1-3 would look like in a future story, I think it would create a sense of denial instead of independence. As you said, they’ve already raised the stakes as high as they could have been raised and, given that this is the backdrop and ultimate reference point for any other narrative in the universe, no matter how “tight”, or “personal”, or whatever, they can’t very well just ignore the elephant in the room and expect it to feel contiguous. I don’t think you were suggesting that they “ignore” anything, but if 4 takes place in the same universe at all, not to reference the trilogy in some significant ways would be tantamount to actively ignoring it, I think.

More than that, though, regardless of how unnatural it might feel, I don’t know how they could ignore the trilogy narratively.
(I’m thinking of a recent interview with Mac Walters: http://www.complex.com/video-games/2013/10/new-york-comic-con-interview-mac-walter-mass-effect-walter-white-moment)

I’m having a hard time understanding how it’s possible that story-line could avoid relating to the events of the trilogy “at all” while still being Mass Effect “at its core”. Mass Effect is named and themed after, and steeped in the context of the mass effect phenomenon. The reapers were behind the mass relays and so the existence of the technology in the first place. How can you create a standalone title that could call itself “Mass Effect” while not having anything to do with the trilogy? If you include in the game any race that makes an appearance in the series, you set the story chronologically, and we can then know whether it is a sequel or a prequel. If you don’t include those familiar faces for the sake of giving it it’s own character, again, I don’t see how you could call it Mass Effect.

KRS

On November 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I think people need to stop focusing on the ending of Mass effect 3, did you not all experience the game up until the end? I dont know about the rest of you but mass effect 3 all the way up until the end was some of the most compelling and emotion fueled game play I have EVER experienced. Bioware is one of the few companies you will find that are willing to release a new ending TOTALLY free just because we asked for it. After which i think the ending is acceptable! If people’s main problem was with not being able to have Shepard live as one of the options needs to just deal with it, not every story has a happy ending and i think the bitter sweet endings given to the players sets mass effect apart from all the other RPG’s that always have happy “EVERYONE LIVES” endings. I think overall it makes the ending more compelling and more emotional that way

Foehunter82

On November 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm

@AOPrinciple: What they’ll probably do is a sort of “same technology, different reality.” Sort of thing where Shepard and the other characters don’t exist. In other words, Mass Effect 4 will be a reboot sort of thing. Kind of like Sony has done with every Everquest game (I know, they’re MMOs, just follow my point please) that they have made. They’ll tack a number on it to make it seem like a sequel, allow rumors to persist that it’s a prequel, and when the game is released, everyone will find out that it’s a reboot.

I could be wrong, but if a reboot doesn’t happen now, it will at some point in the coming years, anyway. By then, I won’t care enough about it if EA/Bioware is tied to it in any way. They’ll likely take the Tomb Raider route, and create an entirely separate trilogy of Shepard as he was coming up through the ranks of the Alliance military, and then release a rebooted version of the original trilogy. The truth is, a reboot is the only hope I have for the future of the Mass Effect series, but it’ll probably be ten years before it happens. With the reboot, the story will inevitably be rewritten, and hopefully the ending will be changed.

To those that keep arguing that the death of Shepard is the only reason people complain about the ending, I tell you this: I suspected Shepard would die when the upped the ante in Mass Effect 2. Shepard’s death has not and never will be the reason we complain about ME3′s ending.

R.J.

On November 3, 2013 at 12:32 am

@KRS

No, the problem was not that people wanted Shepard to live, that was only a symptom of the fact that the ending was divorced from the rest of the game. Despite what BioWare said leading up to release, your choices did not actually matter in the end. And yes, we all experienced everything up to the ending, and for many, that ending was, and perhaps continues to be, so awful that it utterly taints everything that came before it. If I even try to start playing again, there is always the plague of the Star Child lurking in my mind, even from the first minute of ME1.

And BioWare did not release the Extended Cut “just” because we asked for it. They spent a solid month utterly denying that there were any problems at all before they would even acknowledge that so many people were upset with being handed three flavors of space magic. And following the release of the EC, they behaved as if it was somehow a failing on the part of their fans that we weren’t willing to just imagine everything for ourselves, as opposed to, you know, following through on their end with some basic storytelling. Also, of course it was free. Expecting people to pay for it after what happened would have incited even more outrage. Besides, I’m not so sure they didn’t make it back by upping the price on the Omega and Citadel DLC by $5.

Finally, I’m not usually one to nitpick wording online, but I think it is a bit sad that concluding the trilogy on a note that is merely “acceptable” is ok with you. Personally, I expected BioWare to make good on the numerous promises it made in previews and present me with those widely varying outcomes that reflected the big decisions I made up to that point like they said they would in all those previews. That did not happen, so I can’t say that it was at all acceptable, even with the Extended Cut. As Phil said in this article, there is a difference between biting off more than you can chew, and actually promising something you know you can’t deliver.

Bocki Bignose

On November 3, 2013 at 1:40 am

You can’t reason with people like KRS and some1unoe. They’ve had the better part of two years to actually try and find out what the reasons were for the hatred and they’ve either failed or flat-out refused to do so, preferring instead to kid themselves that the ending was fine and that people only disliked it because they wanted it to be happy. If they haven’t seen this for the dense straw man argument that it is in the last sixteen months, they’re not going to now. Leave them to their laughable delusions.

GazH

On November 3, 2013 at 2:04 am

@KRS

“If people’s main problem was with not being able to have Shepard live as one of the options needs to just deal with it..”

I never had a problem with Shepard dying in the end, not at all, I actually wasn’t expecting him to live through it – I did expect him to live long enough to see the fruits of his battles though. What I DID have a problem with was that Shepard gave his life to the machines that he’d been fighting through the whole trilogy. He’s fought through hell and back, died once in the process, been shot to pieces, crawled up to the control console, seen his friend die. Then little Starbrat turns up and says, “Hey, you know, if you just kill yourself through one of these 3 ways, everything will be alright.”.

Really? Would your Shepard listen to this? Would he believe the words of a machine, one controlled (or controlling) the Reapers? Seriously? Shepard is a fighter, he’s not going to jump into a beam of light in the hope that it’ll work, just because some Reaper-child told him it would. It’s a complete change of character to how he was all through the series.

Assuming you went ahead and played Shepard as he would be played and shot the Starbrat, you hear the roar of a Reaper, which on replay only emphasises the point that Shepard can’t trust this thing. It’s that whole change of character that I hate, that we’re just supposed to happily jump into the fire because the Plot Device(tm) told us to. No. Not my Shepard.

On topic: What if Mass Effect 4 is actually the story of the kid right at the end, after the credits? He does ask if he’ll ever go out into the stars..

MarkEMark

On November 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

The way Bioware can win me back is via creating a new franchise that is amazing or making a great DA3 game.

Like others have expressed, Mass Effect is broken.

DA isn’t broken because while 2 sucked, it didn’t really affect the world/universe all that much and most of the complaints I had with 2 are with the mechanics of the game and not the story itself (in fact the story is the only thing that kept me playing through to the end). In theory I can pick up DA: Origins and enjoy it. I can’t do so with ME1 and ME2.

MarkEMark

On November 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Also I agree with GazH. Shepherd dying was never my issue with ME3. It was the whole change in the approach to the theme (that made no sense) that buried it for me.

thedog

On November 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Hate to bring up old wounds, but @KRS, First off, Bioware never gave us a new ending. They refused to give us a new ending. They simply tried to explain the first ending to those of us that they thought didn’t understand their “Awesome” ending. Just more detail for a bad ending.
Secondly and still very important, Most people, as explained by several people, didn’t care so much about Shepard dying as they did the really bad ending. Now pay close attention. As it was pointed out a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. If you completed the best ending (which they lied to us, telling us we didn’t need multiplayer to get, yet you couldn’t reach it on the first play through without it), Shepard didn’t die. They showed his arm breaking through the rubble, which actually means none of the endings actually happened, and the reapers are still going strong.
In conclusion, do more research before spouting inaccurate drivel.

AxΣtwin

On November 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

I’ve had 2 days to think about my reply to this topic. My thoughts are as follows:

No, they can’t bring us back with ME4. They burned a large part of their fanbase with ME2 and an even larger part with 3. If the rumors are true and the next game is a prequel, I think most gamers will see it for what it really is; a lazy copout where EA/Bioware are trying to avoid the real issue at hand.

For the past year and a half I’ve seen so many people try to make the argument “it’s not the destination that matters but the journey that is important”. While, I tend to agree with this idea in general, it is not applicable here. Actually, I take that back, it is applicable once and only once. That’s the trouble with a static medium, such as books, movies and video games with a strong singleplayer experience. If the destination is undesirable, then you won’t want to go back and re-experience the journey again.

If G.R.R.M lives long enough to finish A Song of Fire and Ice series, and the ending is bad, do you really think readers are going to re-experience the whole thing all over again? No, they’re going to say “well, I enjoyed the series as a whole, but the ending left a bad taste in my mouth, so I doubt i’ll re-read the whole thing over again”. A story, no matter the medium always three parts. A beginning, middle and end. You can forgive a weak beginning, you can forgive a middle that manages to lose all the momentum the beginning managed to gain *cough*theentiretyofmasseffect2*cough* however what you can’t ever forgive is a poorly written weak ending. That exactly what we got in the resolution of ME3 and by extension, the Shepard trilogy.

That is exactly what the ending of the Shepard trilogy was, weak and poorly written. The entire basis of the ending revolved around a deus ex machina that came out of nowhere. No, the single sentence, in the text of a back water planet in ME1 and again in ME2 doesn’t count as “foreshadowing”. Even if it does, it only cements the idea of how poorly written the entire thing was. Good foreshadowing is both out in the open often presented to you in a way where you have to acknowledge it and innocuous at the same time.

Back to George for a moment. If the ending to his series does suck, does make a lot of people angry. Which lets face it, probably will, George really isn’t THAT great of a writer and his ending will most likely piss off A LOT of people. When that happens, do you really think these people are going to pick up anything new he happens to write? No, they won’t. They’ll still feel burned, and as a result with be cynical of anything George happens to write in the future.

That is exactly what we have here with the Shepard trilogy. Many of us have been burned and left very cynical a long the journey this trilogy has taken us. Cynical not only of the past, but of the future as well. We’ve learned not to trust anything……ANY-THING Casey Hudson says, any and all writing talent went out the door when Drew Karpshyn left, the two doctors who founded Bioware clearly never had any real power within the company and finally EA will always cater to the lowest common denominator. You saw it with DragonAge 2, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 and there is no reason to think the next Mass Effect game will be any different.

MarkEMark

On November 4, 2013 at 4:15 am

Mass Effect 2 was better than Mass Effect 1.

Just saying.

Bioware might have lost some stubborn die hard fans (like Axetwin) with ME2 but they probably gained way more.

Better shooting mechanics and biotic/tech interface, better enemy and friendly AI, no crappy Mako driving missions, side missions that didn’t seem repetitive (large part due to no Mako).

Also, the story upped the stakes of the first game considerably and felt like a good sequel.

Sure it wasn’t perfect, the resource mini-game was a grind and perhaps they streamlined the character and weapon customization a little too much (it needed SOME streamlining in my opinion though) but I don’t think you’ll find many people that will say 1 is better than 2.

Fry

On November 4, 2013 at 5:00 am

@MarkEMark: Generally you might be right, but I’m afraid you won’t find many here that agree with you on that.

ME2 made some gameplay improvements over the first game, yes (providing you ignore the massive decrease in dialogue options and almost complete removal of RPG elements to cater to the casual audience) but the story was nowhere near as good. They used death and reanimation as nothing more than a poorly-developed, unfired Chekhovian gun in order to justify setting Shepard back to level one, and then didn’t even bother having Shepard react to it that much until the third game. That sort of technology should have been a massive part of the universe, not just a deus ex machina to get from point B back to point A. As horrifically butchered as the ending, and arguably the intro, of the third game was, the rest of the story was actually pretty solid and didn’t feel like it was distracting us from the central conflict of defeating the reapers. I can’t say the same about ME2, where so much time was spent on other tasks without any real indication of how it might affect the final result – you just needed trial and error, a really cynical way of adding replayability.

And the loyalty missions, while a nice idea, were massively overrated. The results were often completely unintuitive as many of the deaths were down purely to chance and had nothing to do with whether your teammates were actually loyal, and in some cases they actually managed to miss perfect opportunities to integrate the loyalty power upgrades into the final mission (e.g. Jacob unlocks a very good biotic ability after his loyalty mission, but if you use him during the part where you need the big biotic shield then you fail that section and a character dies. Conversely, if you use Jack or Samara then you always succeed if they’re loyal and sometimes even succeed if they’re not, provided they have good weapons and upgrades). The only decisions that really matter and seem somewhat realistic are whether or not you upgrade the ship, and whether you choose to enter the Omega 4 relay straight away to rescue your crew or leave it and let most of them die.

Where ME2 DID improve massively over the first game was in its characters. It has one of the best casts in videogame history, certainly much better than either of the other two games.

MarkEMark

On November 4, 2013 at 6:42 am

@Fry

Nitpicking the tech used to bring Shepherd back is pointless. It was explained in the game that it was expensive, groundbreaking tech and for the same price Cerberus could’ve obtained an armada of warships. If you want to complain about anything you can complain about the bad investment that the Illusive man made here (it’s much more logical to obtain a fleet of warships especially with the Normandy 2 in its ranks) but even that is not too big a deal because the Illusive man is an enigma. A man whose motives and objectives are a mystery (another thing that ME3 failed to deliver on).

All sci-fi/fantasy asks us to suspend our sense of disbelief to an extent. The problem is not taking their word for it, the problem is when the fiction breaks its own rules. I don’t think that anything that happens in ME2 contradicts or nullifies that explanation away though I’m happy to be corrected (FYI- I never got into the expanded fiction beyond the games and some of the expansions).

I didn’t have a problem with ME2 distracting from the central conflict for 2 reasons. First is obviously that the reaper threat was meant to feel like it was a way off. The game starts off with you searching for Geth. establishes Cerberus (against the Alliance), and the main threat seem to be the Collectors raiding human colonies outside of citadel space. The only Reaper that Shepherd encounters in the main game is derelict and while the Collector threat is very real, it is confined to a hit and run outfit operating out of the Galactic core area. If you’re going to complain about ME2 distracting from the main conflict then that same complaint can be leveled at ME1.

Second, distracting from the main conflict is necessary to the theme of the game (tolerance which was reflected in the game’s plot as well as political realism vs idealism which was reflected in the Paragon Renegade options that the story could diverge)

I can agree with you about the loyalty mission’s effects on the suicide mission not making sense but I think the suicide mission overall was a good idea that was well executed. Delegating the right person for the job added to the tension. Also when I lost characters for not upgrading some parts of my ship (I sort of gave up after I didn’t see any immediate reward/benefit) really caught my attention in a way that ME1 never did (The closest it came was when you had to choose between Kaidan and Ashley and even then I kinda saw it coming a good few minutes before I had to make it).

AxΣtwin

On November 4, 2013 at 7:20 am

Like I said, EA caters to the lowest common denominator.

thedog

On November 4, 2013 at 9:25 am

@MarkEMark, no…… what your saying is just your opinion. In my opinion, ME1 was the best of the lot. Some of us do like the rpg elements that were taken out. Don’t get me wrong though, I did enjoy 2 as well, as I like a good shooter, but it wasn’t as good as 1. They took away my crouching (heathens). Then 3′s covers system just stunk. Don’t know how many times I was running for cover, just to brush up against something and take cover out in plain sight with everybody shooting the piss out of me. Hate that auto cover bs.

SweetPea

On November 4, 2013 at 10:23 am

I have to agree with thedog here. While ME2 is better in some things than ME1, it’s worse in many others. In my opinion, even in the combat system.

MarkEMark

On November 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

@thedog, sweetpea

Fair enough guys. It is my opinion after all but I think I justified it pretty well. At least you guys can see the merit in 2 unlike Axetwin who seems to think it has none whatsoever.

At least we can agree ME2 was a great game

Axetwin is just a hipster who is unwilling to listen to reason.

thedog

On November 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

@MarkEMark Well, just like yours is yours and mine is mine, it’s his opinion. I love rpgs, but I’m not going to criticize some one who doesn’t like them. I may wonder about their sanity, but to each their own.
I get slammed on quite a bit because I hate (not dislike. I hate) mmo’s. I am a solo player, so multiplayer is not my thing, but every dev out there (seems like every dev at least) is pushing multiplayer. I tend to be quite vocal, because I really get tired of single player campaigns getting the shaft. It’s my opinion, but it’s one I know a lot of people share. This is his opinion, and I understand it completely even if I don’t totally agree with it.
What we need are games that everyone can enjoy, but companies like EA are trying to phase that out for the sake the money. They make a crummy single player campaign, and when it doesn’t do well, they say that people don’t play the single player so they phase it out. It’s all excuses.
Now see what happened. I got all emotional and got up on my soap box to preach. Sorry, got carried away.
If everyone respected everyone else’s opinion, gaming would be better all the way around.

MarkEMark

On November 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I understand it’s his opinion. Everything anyone says is obviously an opinion. I completely disagree with it that’s all. The only reason I’m “agreeing to disagree” with is due to my assumption that you’ve read, understood and still disagreed with what I said rather than because you have any valid counter points to make of your own (because if you do I haven’t heard them).

MarkEMark

On November 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

My last post sounded a bit blunt when I read it back to myself.

What I ultimately mean is that I will agree to disagree with someone if I can see that they’ve read and and tried to understand what I’m trying to say so credit to you for doing that.

thedog

On November 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

@MarkEMark I understand your points and I agree with some of them, but you seem to like shooters more than rpgs. More action. I could put out points but it would be like someone trying to describe why they like burger king more then Mcdonalds. In the end it all boils down to taste and opinion. All my reasons won’t mean much of anything to you. You might understand where I’m coming from, but probably around 98 – 99% of the time I won’t change your opinion, and it’s really kind of hard sometimes to actually put down a factual reason vs this just tastes better to me, kind of reasoning. We are what we are, and we like what we like. I can’t put down a real good reason why I love shrimp fettuccine more than I love steak. I love them both but prefer one over the other. Why do some people like blondes over brunettes? Thin more than shapely? Dogs over cats?
Point is, every likes what they like and all the reasons in the world most likely won’t change anyone’s mind. So I just smile and nod my head, then get back to what it is that I like.

Kevin

On November 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

some1unoe,

Nobody really had a problem with Shepard dying. Most of us kinda figured it out. The issue was more all the choices you made before didn’t matter, since it all came down to a linear ending with three different color swaps. That and the ending was so full of plot holes it became a garbled mess.

This was supposed to provide closure for a story. instead it made most of the (very well done) story about Shepard worthless. Me I viewed the gameplay mechanics of ME3 as the best done (even if I didn’t like the whole dudebro style, it was well done) of the series, even if the characters were incredibly shallow. (Only Legion and Tali stood out as memorable.)

They could “bring me back” if they released a game that was coherent. More like the first 2 ME’s and DA:O, KOTOR, Jade Empire, etc. Make games that are good entertainment and a great story. Make characters we care about that aren’t cookie cutter stereotypes. Look at what they did with Ash. They took an incredibly compelling character in ME1 (most chose to save her, and it wasn’t just that she was a female) and dumbed her down in ME3 with a boob job. She should have walked into battle with a thong and stillettos, at least that would have been honest.

Do I have complete trust in them like back in their golden age? Nah. I do think in the end if they are going to succeed, they need a new IP. Too much bad blood in the Mass Effect universe.

MarkEMark

On November 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

@thedog

I get it. Often it comes down to taste. But discussing the finer points of anything can refine your taste and that’s basically what I see reading and commenting in these forums as (me trying to refine my taste via the exchange of ideas).

If you don’t want to discuss the finer points with me then I’ll wait for Fry (and maybe Axetwin if he stops acting like an child) to respond.

Thanks for your understanding though.

thedog

On November 4, 2013 at 11:40 pm

@MarkEMark I have no problem discussing the finer points of games. I guess I’m just used to people with short tempers and little patience for ideas that differ from their own. What I said is still how I feel though. Sometimes it’s just hard to pinpoint a finite reason. I prefer ME1 for it’s rpg elements. It’s combat is maybe a little more unrefined but I liked it better. I hated that they took away the crouch. In ME2 you had to stand unless you were close to cover. In 1 you could crouch even if the cover was farther away, making it harder for you to get hit. They should have combined the two ideas and had both.
I agree with fry. The story was better in one. I didn’t mind the loyalty thing. It was nice to the extra attack for them and it was just a side mission to get it. Wasn’t crazy about the mini games in 2 either. The searching for minerals on planets got old realllllllll quick. I actually preferred the Mako driving to scanning planets, although the mako did seem to spend a lot of time in the air. Instead of the mako, you got the hover craft in 2. Big improvement there.(sarcasm dripping from my lips, or in this case, my finger tips). There are tons of smaller things. How the game felt and flowed, the dialog, the romances (they felt kind of cheesy, rushed). Look at Jack. It says she’s done things with guys and girls, but when your fem Shep talks to her she prissys up and says she doesn’t do the girl thing, which she already said she had earlier. Wasn’t my fem Shep hot enough for her? She’s a walking contradiction.
Like I said, I still enjoyed 2, just not as much and in a different way. It’s almost like comparing DA:O to DA2, but with ME2 being much better. They had a very different feel to them.
Anyway, that’s the basics for me on my opinion.

Fry

On November 5, 2013 at 12:41 am

@MarkEMark

Not going to make a big thing out of this but I just had to take issue with the idea that the Lazurus tech didn’t need to play a huge part in proceedings.

As you correctly state, the most important facet of any story (especially sci-fi) is internal consistency. In that regard, the tech doesn’t really damage anything on a purely face-value/scientific level because, as you said, there’s nothing before or afterwards that explicitly says it can’t happen and TIM had almost unparalleled patience and resources to make it happen. However, where it does stretch credulity is the idea that someone would come up with a machine like this, and it would either be the first time it had ever been done (or at least discovered) despite the massive amount of old technology and schematics available as far back as previous cycles, or that this would be the first but nobody would think about trying to copy some of the design for it. Even TIM himself doesn’t seem interested in taking his idea forward any further, and this is a guy who wanted to use the human reaper to advance humanity. It seems incredible to me that not only would TIM put all this time and effort into resurrecting a single human being, but that nobody else would either attempt to confiscate the tech to prevent him from abusing it, or try and make their own version of it. Hell, I wouldn’t have put it past TIM to just sell it to the highest bidder during the third game. Instead, this potentially groundbreaking piece of equipment was ONLY used as an excuse to why your level 60 Shepard was back at level one. I think it was a sad waste.

It’s the same as with Superman. Nobody minds that he has established powers but they do take issue with the idea that people in Metropolis are too stupid to know he and Clark Kent are the same person just because he wears glasses. I have similar problems in believing the multiple diverse, often cunning races of the ME universe wouldn’t think about using the Lazurus Project to their own ends. Any attempts to say that TIM kept it from them or whatever is just a guess – all we can take from it is that death and reanimation was used as no more than a gameplay device, and that should have been the first clue that Hudson didn’t have a clue how to tell a story.

AxΣtwin

On November 5, 2013 at 4:57 am

I didn’t really want to get into this because the whole topic is irrelevant now given how old the game is. However, you’ve called me out twice now, so let’s go a few rounds. Let me warn you, I am NOT some hipster who refuses “listen to reason” and acknowledge ME2 superiority simply because ME1 came first.

First things first, and let me just get this out of the way. From technical stand point, yes, ME2 is better. It looked better and it controlled better. Then again, this isn’t worthy of any significant praise because that is what you’d expect from a sequel. What you don’t expect from a sequel is for them to take a large number of gameplay elements established in the first game and just outright remove them. Like for instance, the inventory system. It was your standard clunky console RPG inventory system and instead of trying to fix it, it was just yanked altogether.

I am not blind to the flaws of the first game, and believe me I know, ME1 had a ton. However the first real mistep EA took with ME2 was to not fix or try to improve upon those flaws, but to just remove the problem issues. However, that’s not the real problem here, it was the removal of a lot of elements that made one scratch their head and ask why they were removed in the first place. Alternate dialogue based on the order you do the missions? Removed. Large areas to run around and explore? Removed. Class upgrades (i.e. prestige classes)? Removed. Achievements that unlocked persistent passive bonuses for subsequent playthroughs? Removed. A level cap that took several playthroughs to reach? Removed. A skill system where each skill point improved your character in more than one way? Remo….well not removed but seriously dumbed down to its most basic form. I could go on, but I won’t……..but I could.

The point is while you expect changes from prequel to sequel, many of the changes from ME1 to 2 made no sense. Imagine if in Diablo 4, the game says “see this weapon? This is the only weapon you’ll be able to use until the plot says you can use something better”. That is exactly what ME2 did. How does that make sense? How is that a natural evolution of gameplay? It’s not. How does it make sense that in the first game you never had to worry about ammo, only heat management. In 2, the game wont fire unless you have ammo cli…..sorry “thermal clips”. Sure, from a lore standpoint it made sense, not from a gameplay standpoint. A better way to have done it would have been to have the thermal clips act as a way to fire without worry, but then when it was depleted, THEN you have to worry about heat management. Depending on the weapon, a certain amount of shots in quick succession would have overheated the weapon. THAT is natural evolution of gameplay.

Then we have the story. Oh god that story. I always want to say ME2 had no story, but that’s entirely unfair, and untrue. ME2 did have a story, it’s a shame much of it was a rehash of the first game though. In the first game you are chasing Saren, to stop him from using the Geth from slaughtering/kidnapping entire settlements of people to experiment on and to also prove the existence of the Reapers. The second game has you chasing Harbringer to stop him from kidnapping entire settlements of people to experiment on and to…..say it with me now, prove the existence of the Reapers. Despite the massive battle that took place at the end of the first game, the council is still denying the Reaper existence and refuses to acknowledge the fact more are coming. OH! AAAAAND the Council dying is considered the canon ending of the first game, which puts Udina in charge of the new human only council. How did the youngest race in this collective of races become the dominant species in charge? More importantly, why did the other races allow this to happen?

To top it all off, the finale of the story, has you going toe to toe with a Human Reaper. Yeah, a Human Reaper. If we are such an inferior species to the Reapers, why the eff did they base a new Reaper lifeform on us? All of those appendages would put it at a serious tactical disadvantage during ship to ship combat, and they can’t seriously be stupid enough to think it would have worked as a Trojan horse. You’d think the final boss would have been Harbringer since he was established as the antagonist of the game, but no, its a Human Reaper.

Speaking of the final mission, if you don’t grind conversations with every one of your squadmates, then they die. Not everyone, just the one you didn’t grind the conversation with. You grind conversations until they give you a single mission just so they don’t instantly die in the final mission. Yeah, sure you also get a special skill from them, but that good idea is completely ruined by the suicide mission that has the loyalty stat as the basis of success instead of ….oh I don’t know, actual strategy.

That is everything off the top of my head. It’s been a long time since I’ve delved into this topic because I’m noticing more and more people coming around to the idea that many of the problems with ME3 actually started in 2.

GEO

On November 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

How about a plan B story-line where in case we lost this battle we had sent a colony of humans and other races in a huge ship to a galaxy beyond the relays to colonize other habitable planets so that our races do not die out but on our journey we encounter new races and a new conflict with other enemies where we would join and help the new races trying to survive. It would still be mass effect but it would take place in another place with a different story that has nothing to do with shepherd and the war in the Milky Way. That way it can be shaped in any way possible by both the core story and the choices the player makes.

Phil Hornshaw

On November 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

@Geo

I don’t know, wouldn’t a Mass Effect that takes place outside of the Mliky Way be Not Mass Effect, by definition? The physics might be the same but everything else would have to be fundamentally different. I suppose maybe if you dragged along a crew of various races along with humans, you could keep it sort of similar — like Star Trek or FarScape with Mass Effect’s various races. But at the same time, that undercuts everything that we like about the series: namely, the expansive, deep and pervasive galaxy as it has already been established.

I see potential there, maybe, but I also think it would necessarily be very different from what we’ve come to know and expect from Mass Effect. Then again, though — Star Trek Voyager. So maybe it WOULD work (although Voyager was not nearly as big a departure from the Star Trek formula as this would be from Mass Effect’s).

Allusive Man

On November 5, 2013 at 9:05 pm

They are really shooting themselves in the foot if they are making a prequel. Nobody (well, almost nobody) wants a prequel.

MarkEMark

On November 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

@Fry

Your points are interesting questions, but don’t make the story for ME2 suck. There were (at the end of ME2) so many ways in which this could’ve been addressed. The most obvious being that TIM was indoctrinated (established but not elaborated on in ME3) and that the tech used to fuel the Lazarus project was discovered and implemented due to that. The reaper obsession with Shepard would also have played into that. As it happens Bioware kinda dropped the ball on that in ME3 but it that’s not ME2′s fault.

Also, I never got the impression that the galaxy believed Shepard to be dead. Only Cerberus and and a handful of others really know how Shepard really came back. That’s at least how I interpreted it. If you can point me to a scene or a conversation in ME2 where this shows this isn’t the case then I’ll change my opinion of this. But even this won’t matter too much because…..

Mass Effect 1 also had examples of this sort of thing and it didn’t ruin the game. The Rachni queen for example. How does she get off the planet if you spare her? Where does she go? How? Something can be thought of to justify this of course. But so can it be done regarding the Lazarus project.

MarkEMark

On November 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

@Axetwin

The only real criticism you’ve made is that structure of the ME2 story loosely resembles the story in ME1. Perhaps. Doesn’t make it a bad story and much needed insight into things like the Genophage and the Quarian fleet were elaborated on thanks to that story.

The denial of the council was a little too much but it isn’t impossible and doesn’t make ME2 suck either.

The rest of your complaints were about the design of the game mechanics which I don’t agree are intrinsically bad ones with the exception of this “Alternate dialogue based on the order you do the missions”. I can agree that is less than ideal but it didn’t wreck the game.

In fact I think the removal of large areas to explore was a good decision because the Mako segments blew.

AxΣtwin

On November 7, 2013 at 3:49 am

I’m sorry, how is the removal of 90% of the RPG mechanics not considered a “legitimate criticism”?

On its own merits, ME2, is a good game. However, when you put it in the context of a sequel, it is inferior to it’s predecessor. If this game had come out 10 years ago, during last gen consoles (Xbox/PS2 btw) it would have been universally panned by gamers. Much like how Deus Ex: Invisible War was and still is to this day. Invisible War on its own is a pretty good game. However, when you hold it up to the original Deus Ex, you see a lot of flaws in its design. A lot of the intricacies both subtle and major were gone. That is how I feel about ME2. A lot of the intricacies of the original game that made it fun to repeatedly play through, were suddenly gone. Which left us with a game that is trying to maintain huge scope of the original but with only a fraction of the inner workings of the original. That is why, while ME2 is not by any means a bad game, it is however, a bad sequel.

Oh, and btw, I would rather have an entire game dedicated to the Mako (which I never had an issue with, it’s a tank and it drove like a tank so I don’t know what you were expecting there) than ever, and I mean EH-VER touch that Clapton-awful planet scanning minigame of 2. Now, I know you acknowledged that fact it was a bad addition, however you keep bring up the Mako, so I’m bringing back up something that is still considerably much much worse.

DJS

On November 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

Most game developers over-promise what the abilities of the final product may be, or what it may be like during launch. I always look at the Fable games as a great example of this… Every game they over-promised what you would be able to do and each game became progressively more sloppy and less satisfying to me.

MarkEMark

On November 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

@Axetwin

It’s not a legitimate criticism because it was broken to begin with.

Now I agree that they COULD’VE improved them so that these RPG mechanics would work but removing them also made a better game.

Your Invisible War analogy helps your argument quite a bit I guess but the difference is that not only did Eidos strip away what didn’t work, they also stripped away what did work.

The strength of ME1 was in its narrative and scope, it was broken as an RPG and pretty bad as a shooter. ME2 kept what worked (narrative and scope), and chose to become a pretty good (but not great) shooter with streamlined RPG elements rather than being mediocre at both.

Roy Batty

On November 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm

@MarkEMark

I think Axetwin has some valid points in particular that ME1 made you feel like you were in a BIG galaxy. The maps that you had to drive the Mako around were HUGE and open. Even the Citadel was enormous compare to ME2…everything just felt BIG – you were immersed it ME1′s universe completely.

ME2 by contrast felt claustrophobic this was a definite detraction from the original game.

And I think both of you hit on something earlier. It is really a difference in people who like RPGs vs. people who like shooters.

Those that like RPGs tend to be strategic thinkers always looking for an edge in battle above mere twitch skills. Those that like shooters really don’t plan beyond a tactical level. You might argue that is not true but it is. Tactical minded people tend to let tactical developments drive strategy which may win a battle but will ultimately lose a war.

Strategic minded people on the other hand will only deal with tactics in the context of winning strategy (i.e. winning the war as a whole).

ME2 is a near pure shooter without the expanse of say a BF series. I enjoyed ME1 and ME2 but ME2 did have problems that would reach maturity in ME3 where the story could no longer “carry the day” because it had been hollowed out.

Personally I had to look past the stupidity in ME2 (the stuff that Axetwin pointed out) and focus on the characters and their stories.

Anyway, Peace!

Underlaw

On November 8, 2013 at 6:00 am

BIOWARE IS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BURN THEN ALL !

Mike Black

On November 8, 2013 at 11:48 pm

One can never be ready to ME3 behind, this game ruined the franchise almost completely. However if ME4 is a really good game, people might forget and maybe forgive.

For the new ME4 to be succesful, IMHO, all these are needed:
1. No Origins, make it through Steam, EA.
2. Reasonable Plot. That is sending Walters on a 2 year trip to Antarctica while making ME4.
3. Natural plot resolution without Diabolus Ex Machina tricks. That is sending Casey along with Mac.
4. No Day One DLC’s. Cut content for cash grab is something that EA likes and a reason why EA is hated.
5. No autodialog. No eavesdropping sub quest system.

I really hope that Bioware will make two trully great games. DA:I and ME4. Anyway it will be interesting when those games launch.

GEO

On November 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

I know this is besides the point and getting off -track but I was just thinking that we do not know much about Admiral Hackett one of the greatest leaders in the mass effect universe. He does have some serious battle scars on his face that I am sure tell a mean and interesting story. Where did he come from, how did he make it to admiral, his past and history and what direction is he leading the survivors of the war with the reapers. I think he would make an interesting character to explore.

Henry

On January 29, 2014 at 5:29 am

So more crying about the end of ME3 and not any real info on ME4 nice

Mick

On February 16, 2014 at 4:45 am

“Making games is hard, breaking new ground is a challenge, and Mass Effect can work incredibly well without the requirement of being “first,” “most” or “best” anything. The fidelity of the universe and the depth of the characters are plenty to carry the game — let that speak for itself. Return to the roots of great role-playing titles, and skip the marketing speak.”

Hate to say it-but I have a bad feeling about this. Electronic Arts dominance of Bioware has made the company dominated by the marketing arm that loves hype while being extremely risk averse in terms of actually letting the creative people do anything innovative. I half expect them to promise fans the sun and moon and deliver them a half-baked, by the numbers shooter and crap out a couple of patronizing press releases when their fanbase calls it a wet turd.

“…the General Manager of the company has posted on Twitter. According to him, the game is ambitious, beautiful and fresh, but not recognizable. He further added that he has tried his hands on the game and it was absolutely enjoyable…”

Well would you look at that!

HansIngram

On February 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm

My personal suggestion to those who still hold a grudge against Mass Effect 3, the “false advertising”, “broken promises”, or the ending issues needs to deal with it.

Most of that was dealt with in the Extended Cut. The plot holes were resolved (actual plot holes. Starchild is not a plot hole, and did not come out of nowhere. The Catalyst was actually introduced near the beginning of the game). People got closure, and the choices you made had an impact on the fate of the galaxy. People may not like the outcomes, but as long as your choices dictated which cutscene you got, that isn’t false advertising.

Bioware was cleared of that back in 2012 by an advertising agency. In addition to two lawyers who said that the things Hudson stated technically wasn’t advertising, and wouldn’t hold water on a court of law.

Yet, people are still trying to convince the world that they lied about stuff. They pretend to know the law, or how advertising works better than two lawyers. Hah.

That also goes with being upset about Bioware being in bed with EA (for nearly 7 years now) and “supposedly” tarnishing their game’s quality.

Don’t like Bioware’s game quality? Think they’ve gone downhill? Want to do something about it? Stop buying their games. That’s the only way companies listen these days. Not petitions, videos with hundreds of thousands of views about the ending controversy, or getting real vocal about it. Hold your wallet for the next game. That’s how it’s done.

Money talks louder than words.

Hans

tython34

On April 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm

They cannot bring fans back unless they fix the mass effect 3 ending. Period. No one wants a prequel. The fans have spoken on numerous occasions that they want the story to go forward.

Trust has been lost. I hope ME4 crashes and burns and Bioware comes crawling back to its fans and gives them what they want for a change.