5 reasons to hate Mass Effect

Raising our beef to the galactic level

Mass Effect is one of the greatest series of this console generation – in the top three, easily. But even our dearest loved ones get on our nerves from time to time, like when they make you take really slow elevator rides, or clutter the whole house with piles of tedious inventory. It's better to get these things off your chest from time to time, rather than let everything build up, so here are our five biggest grievances with our dearly beloved space opera. We hate because we love.


1. The suicide mission


Above: "I died because I was so distracted thinking about how we didn't finish our chit chat. derp" -Legion

Furthermore, even completing each character's loyalty mission doesn't ensure they'll survive the assault on the Collector base, even if you select the correct person for each task. For example, I sent my loyal Legion into the vents as the tech specialist, but he kept getting killed and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out there was a dialogue option I had missed while talking to Legion after his loyal mission, and only after exhausting all options for post-mission small talk did he manage to make it through the mission. Would a robot's performance really hinge on whether or not you talked about his feelings beforehand?


2. The Mako

It's like BioWare designed the Mako's handling and controls to be as annoying as possible, and then designed the terrain of each planet to play off that shittiness for maximum frustration. The thing handles like it weighs less than a pound – and don't blame the planets' respective gravities, because it doesn't seem to affect Shepard when he's outside the vehicle. A Schwinn cruiser handles rocks better than the Mako – if a single tire hits any minute irregularity in the terrain, the whole thing flips on its back like a goddamn turtle.

And why do the shields take so long to recharge, even with squadmates with maxed out tech on board? Throughout the course of the game you could practically read an entire Mass Effect novelization during the time you're forced to spend waiting for your shields to charge (seriously, you should have a book handy).


3. Mining

"Oh, you hated the Mako? So you hate exploring awesome alien landscapes? You hate seeing the breathtaking majesty of all the horizons in the galaxy? Here, have this shitty minigame instead then, you little shits."
–Some asshole at BioWare


4. Forced flirting


Above:YukoofJohnny Wandersums it up perfectly

Nothing says romance like having it shoved in your face with the force of a thousand clueless pick-up artists. It's painfully obvious who the "canon" romance options are in both ME1 and ME2, and the dialogue becomes so ridiculous that it's impossible to take seriously. As female Shepard, say anything remotely friendly to Kaiden or Jacob, such as "hey buddy, I don't want anyone on my crew to die, and that includes you I guess" and they respond saying they're "flattered" and would be totally interested in sexing you up too. What the!? If you're playing paragon, it's impossible to avoid their advances, and often the dialogue wheel does nothing to warn you that you're about to enter the sexytime talk zone.

And speaking of romance…


5. Only girls can be gay in space?


Above: One man, one woman

Even in Mass Effect 2's expanded smorgasbord of intergalactic romance options, which includes no less than three girl-on-girl options, there isn't a single option for male Shepard to romance another dude. And even then, it's still a step back from the first game, because all three girl-girl hook-ups are confined to side romances – all six main romance options are hetero, whereas at least in one you could have a main girl-girl romance with Liara. Despite the tastefulness of each romance's presentation, the one-sidedness of boy-girl or girl-girl only options makes it feel suspiciously like a skeevy attempt to titillate straight male gamers as opposed to actually being inclusive to girls who like girls.Why even include girl-girl options if you're not going to include boy-boy options too?

We can only hope, given BioWare'sinclusive stance on the romance options of Dragon Age 2, that Mass Effect 3 will include a romance option for people who want to play as a gay male Shepard too.

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1. The suicide mission


So, the end of Mass Effect 2 is quite cool and cinematic. What's not cool though, is the stringent and obtuse rules that govern who survives and who dies. First, if you don't go directly to through the Omega 4 relay to the Collector base after obtaining the Reaper IFF, a huge chunk of your crew (non-squadmate) will die, and although the dialogue hints at the urgency of your mission, there's nothing that explicitly indicates the consequences if you decide to wrap up any outstanding missions before continuing through the relay. Seasoned gamers are used to ignoring the disconnect between the urgency of the narrative and the reality of being able to dick around until you actually select the mission to continue, and it's easy to mistake that to be the case here.


Above: "I died because I was so distracted thinking about how we didn't finish our chit chat. derp" -Legion

Furthermore, even completing each character's loyalty mission doesn't ensure they'll survive the assault on the Collector base, even if you select the correct person for each task. For example, I sent my loyal Legion into the vents as the tech specialist, but he kept getting killed and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out there was a dialogue option I had missed while talking to Legion after his loyal mission, and only after exhausting all options for post-mission small talk did he manage to make it through the mission. Would a robot's performance really hinge on whether or not you talked about his feelings beforehand?


2. The Mako


It's like BioWare designed the Mako's handling and controls to be as annoying as possible, and then designed the terrain of each planet to play off that shittiness for maximum frustration. The thing handles like it weighs less than a pound – and don't blame the planets' respective gravities, because it doesn't seem to affect Shepard when he's outside the vehicle. A Schwinn cruiser handles rocks better than the Mako – if a single tire hits any minute irregularity in the terrain, the whole thing flips on its back like a goddamn turtle.

And why do the shields take so long to recharge, even with squadmates with maxed out tech on board? Throughout the course of the game you could practically read an entire Mass Effect novelization during the time you're forced to spend waiting for your shields to charge (seriously, you should have a book handy).


3. Mining


"Oh, you hated the Mako? So you hate exploring awesome alien landscapes? You hate seeing the breathtaking majesty of all the horizons in the galaxy? Here, have this shitty minigame instead then, you little shits."
–Some asshole at BioWare


4. Forced flirting


Above:YukoofJohnny Wandersums it up perfectly

Nothing says romance like having it shoved in your face with the force of a thousand clueless pick-up artists. It's painfully obvious who the "canon" romance options are in both ME1 and ME2, and the dialogue becomes so ridiculous that it's impossible to take seriously. As female Shepard, say anything remotely friendly to Kaiden or Jacob, such as "hey buddy, I don't want anyone on my crew to die, and that includes you I guess" and they respond saying they're "flattered" and would be totally interested in sexing you up too. What the!? If you're playing paragon, it's impossible to avoid their advances, and often the dialogue wheel does nothing to warn you that you're about to enter the sexytime talk zone.

And speaking of romance…


5. Only girls can be gay in space?


Yeah, yeah, asaris are technically mono-gendered, but let's be real – anatomically speaking, they're indistinguishable from blue-skinned human women except for their tentacle-esque hair. Even the Galactic Codex: Essentials Edition 2183 (included with the collector's edition of Mass Effect) states that "while asari have only one gender, they are not asexual like single-celled life—all asari are sexually female."


Above: One man, one woman

Even in Mass Effect 2's expanded smorgasbord of intergalactic romance options, which includes no less than three girl-on-girl options, there isn't a single option for male Shepard to romance another dude. And even then, it's still a step back from the first game, because all three girl-girl hook-ups are confined to side romances – all six main romance options are hetero, whereas at least in one you could have a main girl-girl romance with Liara. Despite the tastefulness of each romance's presentation, the one-sidedness of boy-girl or girl-girl only options makes it feel suspiciously like a skeevy attempt to titillate straight male gamers as opposed to actually being inclusive to girls who like girls.Why even include girl-girl options if you're not going to include boy-boy options too?

We can only hope, given BioWare'sinclusive stance on the romance options of Dragon Age 2, that Mass Effect 3 will include a romance option for people who want to play as a gay male Shepard too.

Apr 28, 2011

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