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Flawed features from Mass Effect 1 (that we still kind of miss)

Accidental Asari sex

What was wrong: Haha, oh man, what wasn't wrong with this?

Sha'ira, aka "The Consort", is best described as an Asari who watched a lot of Firefly and decided to hang out on the Citadel and base her life on Morena Baccarin's character.

If you complete a quest for her, she gives Shepard a key and some fortune-cookie advice. If you respond with "That's it?" as a dialogue option, you're treated to a fairly G-rated sex scene.

Dude, we're new to being Shepard! FemShep hasn't even decided if she swings that way yet. Plus, considering the Asari might brainwash other races to find them attractive, it raises some serious issues of consent.

Above: Advisor. Companion. Sexual predator

What was right: Snickering at a new player saying "Wait, what?" as they accidentally stumble into interspecies nookie.

What we don't miss

Not every feature of Mass Effect 1 had some redeeming quality. Good riddance to these.

The hacking minigame: Pressing five buttons in a row is an OK abstraction of some technical task, but you had to do this minigame to accomplish even the simplest tasks. Opening a locker? Hacking minigame. Dropping a beacon by some rocks? Hacking minigame. Pulling a dog tag off a corpse? Hacking minigame. Blatant discrimination against the fat-fingered and/or drunk.

Long missions, sparse autosaves: The three big plot missions of ME1 take a long time to complete compared the bite-sized chunks of the sequel. If they didn't feel like a slog at first, they did once you got killed by a stray rocket and discovered your last save was from 45 minutes ago.

Prefab shelters: From a story perspective, it makes sense why you'd keep encountering the same three structures over and over again. What's an interplanetary settler going to build a custom house out of on some deserted planet, rocks and other rocks? Heck no, they buy manufactured housing! And then strew the living areas with irregularly-sized crates to function as convenient cover.

Thankfully, ME2 was willing to bend believability a little, and gave us varied and interesting environments on side missions.

Space racism: For a bunch of human supremacists, Cerberus is remarkably chill about aliens hanging out on the Normandy. That's good, because the aliens were the most likable characters in both games, and the first crew's wariness didn't make them particularly sympathetic.

Above: Oh, you say you're suspicious of letting Garrus on the ship? Hope you weren't real committed to surviving Virmire, lady

Limited voice samples: Modern video game enemies make it a point to announce what they're doing to everyone in earshot. Usually, that works pretty well. Enemies in Mass Effect 1, however, mostly wanted you to know that they will destroy you, and that it is time to go, go, go!

Elevators: Much ink has been spilled over the infamous elevators, and there's no need to belabor the point. These are the only thing in gaming that has ever made us long for a load screen.

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70 comments

  • LEGOMatrix - November 17, 2012 8:24 p.m.

    This article is spot on! I am currently watching my flatmate, a massive Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9 fan, play through Mass Effect for the first time. It is a bit painful as he has no sense of direction and I get bored being his GPS (oh my god the Mako missions...). He is also a complete newbie to shooters and is playing it on piss-easy mode, and so has no use for changing the equipment. I figure by the time he finishes ME2 he'll be so in love with it he'll go back over ME1 on a harder setting.
  • RedOutlive. - March 22, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    The main problem of ME2 to me was exactly how BiowarEA decided to scrap all diversity of the game and replace it with cover based shooting, instead of trying to improve on what they had. The Mako was problematic but it could be improved, especially the steep mountain exploration part, instead everything was removed and simplified to the extreme... "Planet scanning" was a joke, the linear worlds became even more linear to the point it's not even useful to have a map, so the universe felt small. Plot was an utter joke. Combat is predictable with chest high wall placement, clearly trying to appeal to the casual shooter crowd. What a waste of a franchise
  • Darkhawk - March 22, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    "Oh, you say you're suspicious of letting Garrus on the ship? Hope you weren't real committed to surviving Virmire, lady" Haha so true.
  • Thoughtless - March 11, 2012 8:26 p.m.

    I agree with all of these things, the mako's thruster design is enough to drive a man to drink; but I believe space racism held it's proper place in the game, human nature always seems to work that way on it's own (ex:Aliens are new to me.....I hate aliens) also I'd say that the contact wars didn't help matters.
  • Vader999 - March 5, 2012 7:51 a.m.

    I actually hunted down Thresher Maws with the Mako. And I did have a Spectre-gear level 10 sniper rifle with lv. 10 explosive rounds, and I used that to take down the biggest Geth units with ease; I can take down a colossus with my hands tied in that game, since I also gave my assault riflemen (Wrex and Garrus) lv. 10 Frictionless materials and inferno ammo, giving them unlimited ammo and the ability to turn robots into energy sakura leaves. Or sometimes I arm their assault rifles with explosive ammo too, turning any would-be attacker into flames.
  • Tom_Traubert - March 4, 2012 2:04 a.m.

    "Blatant discrimination against the fat-fingered and/or drunk." Preach it, brother.
  • Ravenbom - March 2, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    Yeah, I miss the unlimited ammo and hate the inconsistency in the lore. BUT, as much as I miss it I recognize that the 2nd game is better without it. Sucks being a sniper though because one shot is a whole clip. I'm so with you on the everything we don't miss. The stingy auto saves was nearly unforgivable.
  • Ravenbom - March 3, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    I've gone through ME1 and now ME2 in anticipation of ME3 and one thing I'm really missing is the map in combat sections of ME2. Once again, I recognize that it plays better and more tense without a map but it's always odd to play an RPG without a map.
  • pin316 - March 2, 2012 12:36 a.m.

    the thing about some of your points is that the game made them irrelevant in various ways: 1) The whole inventory thing - the feeling of getting cool shit was only really valid first time around...for subsequent playthroughs you don't really care as; a) you know that you'll never be short of gear as it's frickin eerywhere, b) you don't care about weapons as you sell everything immediately to buy spectre stuff as it's impossible to not have the achievement that means it's stocked, c) there are no rare armors/weapons - it's stupidly easy to get the best ones as anyone who has thought 'really, another turian colossus armour, isn't that like 10 now' will testify 2) The mako combat awesomeness was completely nullified by the fact that the game takes away 50% of yourenemy kill xo for killing them with the make, turningg it into an uncredibly frustrating exercise in driving until you see a red dot, get out, shoot, get back in, drive to next red dot, hope mako isn't shot whilst your outsisde so you die when you get back in it 3) I didn't mind the button minigame, i did mind the bug that was never fixed where istead of varying between a 3,5 or 7 button sequence depending on difficulty the game just picked up the first one you did eeach time after laucnhing the game, and then got stuck on that difficulty until you turned it off
  • vortigauntSKUL - March 1, 2012 9:02 p.m.

    "Enemy is everywhere!"
  • PleaseSitDownICannotSee - March 1, 2012 8:22 p.m.

    I liked the music in ME1 a lot more than ME2. The first game really nailed the feeling of a futuristic/cold space vibe. ME2 has good music but something about the music in the first game (especially the wards music in the citadel) was just so much better.
  • snipes101 - March 6, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    I totally agree. The second game's soundtrack had an almost orchestral property to it while the first was for more electronic. Hell I still listen to the first game's soundtrack from time to time.
  • mothbanquet - March 12, 2012 7:25 a.m.

    Indeed, felt much more futuristic. ME2's soundtrack was 'less sci-fi, more opera'. And not in a good way.
  • ArmTheBomb - March 1, 2012 6:21 p.m.

    Wait, what's so wrong about space racism? That's what gave Ashley her character. It was also satisfying to change her outlook on aliens as the game progressed, it's what made her at all interesting.
  • Technomancer - March 1, 2012 5:33 p.m.

    The biggest plot hole with the heat sinks, was how did they manage to get everywhere, even the most obscure backwater planet, in just 2 years? That's not even counting the time it would have taken to study the Geth weapons and then develop the heat sinks. Then there's the biggest flaw, Jacob's Loyalty mission, the Hugo Gernsback crashed 10 years ago, how is it that they have the heat sinks there too?
  • BazyLastard - March 1, 2012 4 p.m.

    And about the inventory system, I'm playing through again right now and honestly if they just added a few sort options, heck even alphabetical, it would eliminate 90% of the frustration. "Do I sell this Incendiary Shots III" ammo mod? Let me scroll down and see if I have Incendiary Shots IV or V yet." Or by item type.
  • BazyLastard - March 1, 2012 3:57 p.m.

    Playing on the Xbox 360, it always cracked me up that the Alliance Fleet's most advanced ship had, apparently, the very first elevator invented. Every time I took it, I wish the stairs had gone all the way to the bottom level. However, when I played it on PC, the Normandy's elevator was much, much faster. Stairs still would have been better.
  • darkrider105 - March 1, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    I have to say that I loved the elevators in mass effect. If you could shortened the load times and just have dialogue between team mates or updates on what going on in the universe than I would welcome it back
  • winner2 - March 1, 2012 2:25 p.m.

    You read my mind with that last caption GR
  • mwe12 - March 1, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    that creepy smile....... (page 2)

Showing 1-20 of 70 comments

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