Follow thanklessgrind on Twitter

Heads Bludgeoned

Dear Diary: 6th March 2010 Sam's avatar
Spoiler Warning:
Dear Diary
Dear Diary,

Mass Effect 2 let me down badly yesterday, I hope our future is salvageable.

Just when everything was going so well and I thought nothing could go wrong, Mass Effect 2 goes and does something really stupid just as I get to the climax. Even before it was released I was aware that my actions in the main body of the game would ultimately shape how well the final mission went, but until I got to that point myself, I didn't know there was a big portion of dumb luck thrown in there too.

So, there I was, through the Omega 4 Relay with my team and the Normandy intact due to my diligent resource collection and obsessive research measures. I've defeated the GLaDOS clone in the cargo bay and I've made my team choices for the first part of the final mission. Obviously I'm sending Legion down the access tubes to hack the doors open because he's a robot and Samara is heading up my second team as Miranda suggests I need someone who can command loyalty through experience.

Things go swimmingly until I rendezvous back with my second team and then just when I'm starting to think about the next part of the mission, Legion attempts to head butt a missile into submission. One team member down. I had no idea why Legion wasn't the right character for his hacking mission and so was already a little frustrated that the game hadn't given me any indication that I should have used Tali instead. So, being a perfectionist with the ability to turn back time, I reluctantly loaded up an old game and started again.

This is where things started to get really annoying. Not only was I forced to replay the action section against the 343 Guilty Spark clone, but it turned out the twenty minutes worth of cut scenes were also unskippable. My frustration levels were pretty high by then as this process was ruining what should have been an epic conclusion to sixty-five hours worth of play. A few dozen Collectors later I was back in the same position and this time watched Tali take a missile to the face. This was shortly followed by my controller being flung across the floor and the console being turned off for the night.

A conversation with Ian later I found out that it was actually Samara who was causing the death of Legion and Tali. This is because each crew member has a hidden type, the Justicar being a ‘Lone Wolf' type character unsuitable for leading missions. Wait a second, what? Of course, Ian only found all of this out on the Internet after having the same issues so it can't just be me being a little bit thick and I have to ask, what on earth were Bioware thinking when putting together this last segment of the game?

It's bad enough that I'm supposed to deduce that one chosen crew member ends up dying because I opted to lead up a completely different team with another character, but it just becomes ridiculous when you factor in the length of time it takes to try again with a different set-up and some very strange hidden type appointments.

Surely a venerated member for the Asari community who also happens to be around one-thousand years old has enough experience to command loyalty? Miranda even told me I made a great decision after choosing Samara. Likewise, choosing Zaeed as the second team leader also results in a crew member's death and I would have though that after founding one of the galaxy's largest mercenary organisations, he might know a thing or two about combat leadership.

I've come way too far with Mass Effect 2 to throw the towel in over this, so I'm determined to give it another go this evening with my new found knowledge of hidden character types. However, I don't think I'll be able to shake the disappointment I feel towards this section of the game, especially when I was hoping for something extra special to top off the prodigious experience I've had so far.

I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. Until next time diary.

Editor Opinions
Ian's avatar

Not wanting to pick the most obvious choice for everything, I gave Thane the job of leader of the other squad in the second section of the mission. Useless bastard couldn't cope and ended up getting shot in the cutscene at the end. Unlike you I didn't have to replay nearly as much to correct this error of judgement. It is a shame that we both ended up looking up the ins and outs of this sequence on a wiki instead of letting it play out as nature intended. The real reason we were both ended up replaying it was probably more for the 'keep everyone alive' achievement than anything.

I am a bit concerned that given how pretty much any character on your crew can die, Mass Effect 3 isn't going to star any of them prominently except for Joker. I got pretty attached to some of these characters, well except for Jack, Zaeed and Thane. Jack is basically Eliza Dushku with a shaved head and bad tats. Zaeed is barely a character really, I'm not sure why they didn't give him more dialogue considering how well developed Shale the DLC character in Dragon Age was. I'm guessing they decided on the whole DLC character concept a little too late in development to write tons of conversations. Thane and me never really clicked, I know a lot people on the net seem to love him, maybe it's because I got him real late in the game, and was too distracted by his comparatively low-res face to care about his sob story.

I still think it would be fun to purposefully try and lose as many characters as you possibly can. Get in the vent Grunt, I know you can do it! Garrus, you're on Biotic shield duty. Everyone else obey this Geth!

Tags: dear-diary, mass-effect-2