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Mass Effect 2 Day#11: An Old Friend and a New Foe

Day 11 of Mass Effect picks up one more team member and surprisingly alienates me from another. The alien culture stuff remains cool in this session as the first major mission is nicely put together and written with a fun end battle. The second one, eh, not so much but certainly not terrible. The session ends with a real choice that I have to make that changes the team dynamics, and despite the fact that I’m not exactly happy with how it went down, I’m happy I had to make the hard choice. Spoilers within.

Next step in to head to Haelstrom looking for Tali, the quarian who was on my ship from the old game. I’m not sure when she became someone I’m to recruit for my team, but I like the characters from the old game, so I’m not crying. When we land, we learn that the sunlight here burns our shields off, so there’s a bit of strategy to staying in the shade. There’s lots of fighting against the geth (mutinous robots the quarian created) which I always find at least a little fun. I find radio link to the quarians here — they’re pinned down and protecting Tali.  I agree to help, but before I can get into the complex where Tali is,  a dropship blocks the entrance we need to go through with a fallen pillar.  We need to get explosive charges to blow the pillar. As I’m going, I find journals that tell me it turns out Tali is here investigating why the sun is so crazy. I get the explosives during the subsequent fights. I blow the pillar, and find a communicator to talk to Tali with inside the complex. Tali unlocks a door so that I can cross a field to get to her and the marine (Rieger) guarding her.

I exit the complex and enter the next building. I open a security console to see a colossus geth outside. I head outside and see Reiger, lots of geth  and the colossus which Reiger tells me self-heals.  Reiger wants to help us fight the colossus, but he’s wounded already. I paragon qte to stop him from fighting and have him guard us instead, hopefully saving his life as Tali asked me to. I run into the fight and it’s very big. I die once when the game makes me leave cover when I didn’t want to.  But it’s a really nice fight overall, probably the best in the game so far. I have to work my way across waves of geth to kill the colossus and then get to the door. It’s challenging but I do it. I find Tali and she joins my team — she’s bitter about her team getting killed for a mission which she never really understood the purpose of in the first place. I saved Reiger by having him not be stupid. Tali saved, we go back on the Normandy. When we get back on the ship, Tali seems to hate Cerebus and is standoffish. I talk to Tali a bit more — she’s happy to be on my team again, but doesn’t trust Cerebus.  She also tells me that Reiger survived.  I upgrade some stuff, and on my way to the galaxy map, Kelly tells me that Tali has a thing for me. Space stud hooooooooo!

Next stop is to go to Pragia for Jack so she can blow up the prison she grew up in. There’s a CS of landing with thermal sensor readings all over the planet.  Jack’s nervous, and I tell her to get a hold of herself. We land and it’s a nice rainy overgrown planet. We go inside base and Jack tells me about how other children were taken here. We see a video log about the Elusive Wan not knowing what went on here, so it seems this was a rogue operation. We get attacked by dogs, and I get pretty roughed up because my team doesn’t seem to be around. More Jack stories as we wander around. She was fought against other kids in an arena. The writing here is fine, but boy I do not like Jack as a character. A security station we pass has a message that Jack was to be kept alive at the expense of the other kids.  She doesn’t accept it, but we just move on. There are lots of Blood Pack to fight here for some reason, but we deal with them handily. The more she talks about her life here, the more it seems self-fulfilling and not backed by fact. There’s a  final battle against the Blood Pack here; we try to talk to them before the fight, but they won’t say why they are here. I die once sniping because my team doesn’t have my back and something rushes me, but the next time I don’t rely on them and I do fine. We finally enter Jack’s old cell and find Arresh, another child raised here.   He also escaped, but he hired the mercs to take him back because he wants to start another lab like this one. It doesn’t really make any sense. He’s crazy but Jack wants to kill him. I make paragon choice to stop her and we tell Arresh to get lost. We  look around room at objects and Jack remembers her time here. When she finished, we blow the base CS as we leave.

We cut back to the Normandy to see me immediately called in on a fight between Miranda and Jack. Jack’s pissed about Cerebus’s role in her youth; Miranda says that it was a rogue cell. I take Miranda’s side, mainly because I hate Jack. Jack storms off and I get control back. I try to talk to Jack, but she won’t talk to me and I can’t get my paragon or renegade choices yet so there’s nothing left to say.  Fuck her. Anyway, I get Tali’s loyalty mission — she’s been accused of treason by her admiralty board for a reason she doesn’t know. I go back to Illium to see if there’s anything new from Liara. I of course have to pick my party first, and I learn that Jack’s not fucking loyal?!? What the hell did I waste my time on that base for? Oh do I hate that character. There’s  nothing new from Liara. I decide to make up for that waste by investigating a side galaxy. There’s a quest to find a signal on a mine for Cerebus. I land and fight a bunch of the Eclipse gang at the mine. Normal difficulty fights, nothing much to say there. I  get to the mainframe. There’s not enough info on the signal to answer the mystery of its existence but that’s mission end so I guess there are a few of these around. I end the game tonight with some clean-up: scan a couple planets, buy some upgrades, and that’s my night.

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3 Responses

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  1. Matt says

    Okay, so as I mentioned in my voicemail, I had thought you had finished this game, and so my apologies if the e-mail I sent you contained any spoilers.

    That said, I’ll probably through in my two cents on the game parts you mention within these posts (I’ll reply to older posts after this one, so don’t worry about the continuity skip).

    So, first off, the fight to get past the Colossus is probably one of my favorites in the game; I’ve gone through it 3 times by now, and it’s still just a lot of fun; plenty of cover, the right amount of geth, and one of the few times when it really does seem like you have to consider battlefield strategy.

    I should also note that I was surprised about the sudden recruitment of Tali, but the Illusive Man did say that he wouldn’t rule it out. Besides, Tali, is one of my favorite characters from the game, so I was not only pleased to see her return, but also rather happy that she is one of the romance options this time through; she’s such a sweet kid, by golly.

    Also, on a side note, I’ve been very impressed with the voice acting in the game (well, aside from Shepard, who tends to deliver a lot of his lines a little too monotone). The actor who voiced Reiger pretty much hit the nail on the head with that of a straightforward solider.

    As for Jack, something I noticed is that when you’re recruiting people, it seems like BioWare really wanted to make up for the apparent over-indulgence of “good guys” from the first game by starting out the game giving you Miranda (who starts off as a cold-blooded bitch), Moridan (a doctor who kills mercs and displays their bodies as warnings), Grunt (a blood-fury Krogan), and Jack (a self-proclaimed pyschopath). Jacob is normal, but when compared to the others Darth Vader looks like a member of the local knitting circle.

    The mention of the lack of Paragon/Renegade choices does point to perhaps the biggest weakness of the BioWare morality system: as a gamer, I do not want to be put into a position where I cannot play Shepard as either a Hero or a Rogue, especially if the option is the thing that I was thinking about, myself. But this means that in order to ensure that freedom (and get the “good” options in future conversations) I need to choose either all Paragon or all Renegade options as I go through the game, regardless of how I would like to play the character. This way, I can be sure that I’ll have the important options open to me later. It’s not a fatal flaw, mind you, and I think that the QTE interrupts introduced in this game have some serious potential to work around that issue.

    For the record, I can tell you (without giving away spoilers) that Jack was loyal, if for a brief time. Basically the fight between Jack and Miranda can (but not always) result in losing their loyalty, depending what choices you make. Of course, I personally can’t blame you for picking Miranda over Jack — I understand the point behind her character, but man, she needs to watch some Disney films or something.

  2. Douglas says

    I don’t think anyone I know who’s played this game likes Jack much. 🙂 I didn’t know that you can actually lose the loyalty of any character once you’d gained it, however.

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  3. Michael Hartman says

    You can resolve the argument without losing either character’s loyalty assuming you have paragon or renegade high enough.

    Matt: Great point about how you basically have to go full on renegade or full on paragon in order to be “high enough” to have worthwhile paragon/renegage options available to you. This is indeed one of the flaws in the Bioware system. They would honestly be better off treating paragon/renegade as simply a “score” or indicator of your character’s morality rather than making it a stat that you need to pump in order to unlock more paragon/renegade options.

    This is why starting with ME2 I simply jacked my paragon and renegade scores to the max right off the bat. Then the rest of the game I could play my Shepard the way I wanted to and still have all the various options available.

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