Mass Effect 2 results

This past weekend I finished my second playthrough of Mass Effect 2 in anticipation of the upcoming release of Mass Effect 3. After picking it up after leaving it for a year and half, I'm amazed at how engaging and rich the entire experience still is. It's a fantastic game, and definitely my favorite new game to come out of this gaming generation.

My character has remained consistent throughout the events of Mass Effect 1 and 2. My Shepard, Jane Shepard, has been a Paragon in most cases, and able to talk herself out of any problem. She's also been incredibly thorough, completing all side missions, and collecting nearly everything spanned across the galaxy. Well prepared and powerful.

Wish Fulfillment

Around the release of Mass Effect 2, Anthony Burch (of Destructoid fame, at the time) released two videos talking about decisions and possible decisions you can make in the game depending on how consistent and thorough you play it. The videos are from January 27th, 2010, and February 3rd, 2010.

I'm not that big a fan of that obnoxious website, but both these rants brought up the idea of Wish Fulfillment in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. If you want something bad enough, you can have it! You can have your cake and eat it, too. If you want this character to live, you can play the game to the point where they will live. Want all characters to live? You can do that too!

There was one point where you had to make a decisions between two team mates, and one or the other was going to die. It's the only scene between the two games where you can't have your cake and eat it, too. It wasn't really a tough decision for me, though, because I didn't really like either character. And so far, the consequence has been nothing but a palette swap.

But in Mass Effect 2, you can get on everyone's good side, and have everyone be happy with each other, despite the natural conflicts between some of the characters. As Anthony mentions in the second video, when characters are fighting and it makes you choose, it should actually make you choose one over the other, rather than choosing some dialogue where both are still your friends.

Consequence

The idea of Wish Fulfillment dances around the fact that actions have consequence, and we aren't seeing any of these consequences. That's what Mass Effect's continued Save File persistence throughout the series is supposed to represent. If you make a decision in a prior game, those decisions come back to bite you in the ass.

Mass Effect 2 didn't penalize you for making decisions in the first game. The overall story of ME2 didn't change. The only thing that changed were certain dialogue choices, and some random people from the first game may make an appearance. Here's the list of all choices in Mass Effect 1 that had bearing in Mass Effect 2: Save FIle Transfer on Mass Effect Wikia.

Mass Effect 3 needs to have these consequences finally come to life. They say they're going to, but they actually have to do it. And not only that, but make some of your "good" paragon decisions thrown back in your face. The Paragon/Renegade system isn't about Good v. Evil, it's about Nice v. Mean. So far you could be either, and it didn't matter. There needs to be a clear distinction that a Paragon choice you made in the past was wrong, rather than (possibly) making all the Renegade choices wrong.

Entire areas of the game need to be inaccessible depending on the choices you've previously made. Certain quest lines should only be available based on your decisions. And even certain allies in the past, should now become enemies because of something you did. Mass Effect 3 should be a radically different experience for those who have played through the previous games, rather than just a different character saying different things in place of another character.

Romance

Romance has been a big part of Mass Effect, and Mass Effect 3 is (supposedly) when all your choices come to fruition. As male or female Shepard you have 2 choices on who you can get involved with in Mass Effect 1. In Mass Effect 2, you have 3 choices for either gender, and neither of these choices are the same from the first game. In ME2, you can cheat on your lover from the first game.

Well, that's what I did on my first playthrough. As Female Shepard, I definitely went for Liara, the blue female alien, and then I cheated on her. I think it was more for curiosity sake if anything because a romance between Female Shepard and Garrus was completely ridiculous.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted (or needed) to play Mass Effect 2 a second time through was because Liara had a prominent role in a DLC mission, and I wanted to make things right. The Shadow Broker DLC pack allowed our relationship to continue in Mass Effect 2 in a cute scene aboard the Normandy.

Alternate Lovers

Outside of those 3 romantic choices in Mass Effect 2, there are 3 (or 4) other instances where you can get physical with other characters. One of these can only happen if you're male Shepard, and it's with Jack during some random conversation. The other 2 options are with Samara and Kelly Chambers, both of which I did in addition to Liara in my game. Like all romances, the more you talk with the character, the more you bond, and the eventual romantic options start to crop up.

With Kelly, keep talking with her after missions, and eventually you will have the option to invite her up to your quarters for dinner. This is also beneficial because she was automatically feed your fish for you. After you complete the final mission, and both of you are alive, talk with her again. She'll send you an email after the conversation about some private time in your quarters. Go up to your quarters, and invite her up using the comm system on your desk.

With Samara, if you continue talking with her after missions, the final step is when she starts to ask about how you feel about her. You can say "just friends" or "something more" or something like that. Steer the conversation towards trying to seduce her. She'll ultimately reject you, but leave her quarters. You'll find her in the crew quarters next door looking out the window at the FTL drive. If you talk with her, her response is simply, "Please?"

I guess there's a fourth alternate romance option, and that's with Morinth. You can talk her into having sex with you, but this kills you instantly because she's an Adart-Yakshi. This romance cannot persist because it's Game Over.

Anyway, after continuing my romance with Liara, then going after Samara, and getting physical with Kelly, the photo of Liara is still standing in Shepard's private quarters. This photo (on your desk) is your romance from the first game, and if this is tipped over, that means you've cheated. So, despite sort of cheating on Liara this time, the game doesn't think I've cheated.

Hopefully this will come back at me in the next game, or at least be touched upon. If anything, I can say that I've done every possible lesbian relationship on a single save. High Five.

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 is a mere 3 weeks away! I'm excited.




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