I have a long and complex history with the Mass Effect franchise ranging from deep all-consuming obsession to rage quits and yells of BOSH’TET! I first played Mass Effect in April 2012 and I finished the series in Dec 2013 – here’s my journey.
I picked up Mass Effect after hearing my brother rave about it
As I mentioned in my previous post I found it really difficult to progress in the story simply because I was very bad at shooter games. Some time later, with improved skills, I cautiously placed Mass Effect 2 in my disk tray on the promise that the combat had been improved vastly and with the hope I’d improved somewhat.
I played through 2 + 3 with the default decisions from 1. I dived head first into the Mass Effect universe and I loved it – I made choices out of sheer enjoyment of the story rather than worrying about risks and repercussions and as the ending of 3 loomed before me and I saw the community uproar surrounding it I found myself dreading the final missions of ME3.
I soldiered on through – I got to Earth, started saying my goodbyes to my team but never made the final assault. I wasn’t happy with the choices I’d made and the way they may have shaped (an already terrible – from what I’d read) ending. I stopped. I was hooked in, emotionally attached and I couldn’t stand the thought of things not ending well.
The return to Mass Effect
This began after a large break from the games – I missed my squad and set off once more (now using Genesis to make my ME1 decisions) in another ME2 play-through. I was much more conscious of my decisions and paragon/renegade percentages (and the dialogue trees that could be unlocked) in both 2 + 3. I also added Zaeed and Kasumi to my team as well as heading to the Lair of the Shadow Broker with Dr T’Soni.
It was one hell of a ride…but not everyone made it.
I couldn’t resolve Jack + Miranda’s fight and lost Miranda’s loyalty…and Zaeed, man that dude would not be loyal after I saved the factory workers. This had the usual repercussion in 3 which bugged me all the way through. I also had a major issue with Galactic Readiness being tied to Multiplayer which I couldn’t access on my 2nd hand copy of the game (NO WAY AM I PAYING FOR THIS EA!) I rage quit and played Minecraft instead…until the Mass Effect Minecraft Texture Pack surfaced and I got the (scale) itch.
Maybe this time?
Began using my 2nd ME2 save mentioned above. I rushed it and made some major mistakes in my haste to just get the ending over and done with – then I got to the Citadel DLC and missed out on Miranda and Zaeed I kicked myself – the family wasn’t complete…
I prepped for the final mission, EC downloaded, tracked down the Illusive Man but I just couldn’t face finishing it, it wasn’t right yet.
Time to do this right.
ME1 interactive comic – done. ME2 was re-completed with everyone loyal and surviving, YES! Now I’m on ME3 ready to take the Yahg by the horns and stick my boot up the Reapers’ proverbial. Multiplayer passes had also become free so I won that moral battle and could work on my extra galactic readiness even though I squeezed every war asset I could in-game.
I landed on earth. I said goodbye.I made the final push. I picked a colour…
There are lots of reasons for not playing in this way; anticipating dialogue checks, running through the repercussions on the wiki, restarting and reloading to fix things. I know I’m playing in a formulaic, tick box way but the sheer joy I get from the game isn’t changed. I never really wanted to play the ending, I didn’t want it to be crap or unsatisfying (I knew basically what will happen but it’s different when the controller is in your hand, right?) but most of all I didn’t want to say goodbye.
I won’t gab on about what I thought of the endings, I’ve got a dedicated post here that does just that – but what I’ll take away is that it’s the journey, not the destination, that counts.
And if you still feel crap after beating the game then play Citadel DLC to cheer yourself up.
Has anyone else found it really hard to finish this series? I’m now replaying ME1 – ME3 stress free with no focus on paragon/renegade or galactic readiness – anyone else found their 2nd, 3rd, 4th playthroughs to be far less stressful?