Mass Effect 2 – Some more thoughts

As I’ve mentioned in my last post I met Garrus and the conversation has been brilliant. Upon returning to the Normandy, Shepard smiled which is one of the first times Shepard has smiled all together and it was quite nice seeing it reflected what I was thinking, too. It is nice to see Garrus and more so seeing him alive and well. All the interactions with the crew and former squad members such as Joker, Doctor Chakwas and now Garrus have been great. True, some seemed a bit too much reminiscing about the good old times, but perhaps that’s just because I’ve been playing Mass Effect 1 so much lately.

“Some women find facial scars attractive. Mind you most of those are Krogan.” – Garrus.

“Hey, Commander, we got Garrus back! That’s great, because he was totally my favourite. With that pole up his ass.” – Joker.

“There’s something about him. I just want to hold him close and whisper, “It will be all right”. – Kelly [about Garrus].

“With barely contained terror: You drive a hard bargain, human.” – Harrot [after convincing him to let the Quarian set his own prices].

The prison ship was interesting yet very short. I expected to be double crossed the minute I spoke to the guard, though I expected a full blown prison riot instead. The concept of having a prison ship for prisoners of all worlds for a fee is an interesting idea though as it allows each respective government to ignore what is really happening.

Exploration would have been nice though; the two side characters presented on a silver platter at the beginning were interesting, but there wasn’t enough.

“Shit, you sound like a pussy.” – Jack.

I’m not sure what to think of the combat so far. I miss the Mass Effect 1 combat and leveling system and this seems very limited. It’s a shame the squad members only have limited abilities and I can’t have a mixture of Liara/Tali and several biotic or tech powers each. I’m also not all that sure that I’ve understood the equipment menu, but seeing that I’m not struggling against enemies, I guess I’m all good?

The game does seem very easy, or at least the combat is. It’s shifted from enemies already present in a room and lack of cover to having cover coming out of your ears and being rushed constantly which I don’t think is varied enough. I’m playing this first playthrough on normal [which I always do with new games] and the only time I’ve had a little bit difficulty, which is to say I’ve died once, was closing the shutters in Garrus’ hideout, but that was only as I rushed to the switches expecting enemies to come at me for the end of time.

The options don’t seem to work that well either. Just like Mass Effect 1 I’ve set my squad to use only their defensive powers and abilities independently, yet they always use Overload which I would class as an offensive power.

“Ok, Shepard, glad you’re back, but keep an eye on that last one. We can only hold so much crazy.” – Joker [about Jack]

“It seems like Garrus has finally worked that stick out of his butt, but now he’s trying to beat guys to death with it. I can’t believe I like the old Garrus better.” – Joker

The first genuine dilemma occured on a Cerberus assigned mission to locate and secure an imprisoned Cerberus’ agent. The agent was interrogated and the information saved in a computer. EDI informed me that “the information could adversely affect Cerberus if it were ever circulated publically” and the options available were to upload the date to the Alliance or to Cerberus or keep it for myself. One would assume that the order is ‘good’, ‘without consequences’ and ‘evil’, yet whilst I wouldn’t have hesitated to help the Alliance as much as I can in the first game, I’m not sure it is something I’d fully support now as there have been plenty of changes I don’t particularly agree with. Yet on the other hand Cerberus has been helpful bringing me back from the dead and giving me a ship, but I’m under constant surveillance by EDI and clearly not fully in charge. Keeping the information to myself could prove useful in the future, perhaps using it to gain information from Aria or others.. After deliberating it for a while I decided to upload it to the Alliance.

Upon completing that mission, I received a message from someone called Billy. Who is Billy?

“A stubborn enough person can survive just about anything.” – Zaeed.

“‘Citadel’. A film by Risa Uvardsen.

“Why don’t you just go to Fishdog Food Factory. Ask for their Tummy-Tingling-Tuchanaka Sauce.” – Turian shopkeeper.

One of the things I would have loved to have seen at least a snippet of in Mass Effect 1 was Francis Kitt’s theatre production of Hamlet featuring an all Elcor cast designed to let the viewer judge Hamlet on his actions rather than emotions. The Elcors are quite fascinating, although perhaps a little bit too reminiscent of HK-47 minus the desire for constant killing. My wish has been fulfilled! One of the advertisment stands in the Citadel had a short advert on it, including this Elcor quote:

“Insincere endorsement: You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have heard him in the voice of Elcor.”

I have started endorsing stores on the Citadel and I’m already getting the feeling that this is going to be a problem later on with me endorsing every store. Also curious why every endorsement gets me paragon points!

“I’m Commander Shepard and this is my favourite store on the Citadel.”

“You look out there and sometimes it’s just like… you know, there’s all this… it’s like… you know?” – Joker.

A little while ago I’ve finally met Kaiden on ‘Horizon’ and we parted ways on rather bad terms. The conversation with him sort of echoed that dilemma I had earlier whether or not my loyalties lie with the Alliance, Cerberus or myself and I found myself trying to explain that there’s a bigger picture to everything whilst knowing that’s a standard excuse.

It’s interesting how the game makes me think about good or bad and that there’s not really an ideal way. Yes, the Illusive Man orchestrated the attack on Horizon, but civilian losses aside it gave us a chance to explore it and the Collectors would have most likely attacked another colony instead anyway.

I’ve also been thinking about the choices that carried over from Mass Effect 1. Side characters aside, I’ve had conversations with the council, seen the arguments between Udina and Anderson and met Kaiden. Had Kaiden died would I have seen him as a picture at the Normandy crash site instead of Ashley? Saying that, it did bug me a little seeing her picture there. The Normandy crash site mission was beautifully done, yet she didn’t die in the attack on the Normandy but months before that on Virmire. As for the council, would Anderson or Udina have put a new one in place? Who would have reinstated my Spectre status?

“I’ve been around. Ran with ganges, wiped out some gangs, joined a cult. Kept the haircut. Murder, assault, kidnapping, drugs, stealing, arson. Done it all. And that’s the boring shit. Piracy, theft of military craft, destruction of a space station and vandalism. That was a good one. There is no reason I should be alive but I am. You know why? Instinct. It’s worked for me so far and I’m not going to change.” – Jack.

I am now on about 23 hours playtime and I’ve got Zaeed, Mordin, Garrus, Miranda, Grunt, Jacob and Jack on my team. Achievements stand at 210GS. Time spent mining is about an hour. Next up: Recruiting Tali! Fingers crossed I’ll get to see the Flotilla, even though part of it was detroyed by Cerberus.

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