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Default Mass Effect 2 - Why the Final Boss Sucked (and Why It Doesn't Matter)

March 5th, 2012, 21:24
1Up's The Grind discusses the final boss in Mass Effect 2 - why it sucked - but why it doesn't matter:
About the best thing you can say for the baby Reaper is that it wasn't as disgraceful as the baby Alien from Alien: Resurrection. Yes, both creatures were grotesque fusions of human and eldritch alien killing machine that served as foul effigies of mankind, but at least the Reaper didn't call Shepard "mama" and single-handedly undermine the ineffable horror of one of cinema's most iconic monsters. Small favors and all that.
In light of how absolutely tepid its final boss encounter turned out to be, that fact that it ultimately didn't ruin the game speaks a lot for ME2's quality. Although the boss itself made a poor climax for a mission around which the entire game was structured, the reward was in the mission itself. By focusing on the dynamics of the team the player had assembled and strengthened over the course of 30-40 hours of play, the final battle made use of the full RPG party in a way no other role-playing game has ever accomplished. ME2's final assault on the Reaper base drew obvious inspiration from The Dirty Dozen, but it reworked that concept into something wholly unique and intensely satisfying. Only players who had taken the time to invest themselves into their team and come to know their comrades' capabilities could survive the final encounter, let alone hope to come home with no casualties.
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March 5th, 2012, 21:24
By focusing on the dynamics of the team the player had assembled and strengthened over the course of 30-40 hours of play, the final battle made use of the full RPG party in a way no other role-playing game has ever accomplished.
Really? Or is this just more ME hype?
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March 5th, 2012, 22:16
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Really? Or is this just more ME hype?
Agree with your (implicit) observation that there's a certain amount of hype here. As I recall the actual number of NPCs that can be controlled here doesn't come close to the full RPG party.

SPOILER — NPC selection criteria for success or failure of the final battle boils down to six (or maybe eight) NPCs (leader of first team, leader of second team, Sheps two companions, the duct crawler, and NPC to accompany survivors). END SPOILER

You don't really even see most of the above NPCs (or the rest) in action as I recall.

The finale of DA:O, on the other hand, similarly used the entire RPG party, and allowed the player to control more of the NPCs (and use their unique player-chosen specializations) during various portions of the finale battle.

Different games and different choices and impacts, but both made use of the entire RPG party.
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March 5th, 2012, 23:05
So having the "right" party composition resulted in a instant win button with cutscene? :/
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March 5th, 2012, 23:25
Well I think it was more just that the final mission could play out in different ways depending on party composition and development, and it could have a significant effect on the story and who lived and died. I didn't personally think it was all that revolutionary or anything, but it was at least a nice attempt at making things meaningful.
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March 5th, 2012, 23:46
ME2 already ruined the Reaper idea way earlier in game with the stupid Collectors nonsense they threw together. So by the end of the game, I didn't care.
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March 6th, 2012, 01:43
—>Thrasher

I thought your initial question was rhetorical. Fadec gave the right response to your query — party composition in different parts of the finale, and party development accomplished throughout the game resulted in different endings and impacts. I personally enjoyed the ending and ME2 as a whole. IMO the game depth and story depth wasn't huge (it wasn't shallow either, just wasn't really really deep), but the breath of the story (places, characters, and stories associated with each) was quite large. Lots of places and personalities to explore.

The ending was well fit to the game as a whole and generally satisfying.

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March 6th, 2012, 01:53
Different endings is not the same as "the final battle made use of the full RPG party in a way no other role-playing game has ever accomplished" in my book. Battle to me implies tactics.

Just seems like that statement was a major case hyperbole….
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March 6th, 2012, 02:14
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Different endings is not the same as "the final battle made use of the full RPG party in a way no other role-playing game has ever accomplished" in my book. Battle to me implies tactics.

Just seems like that statement was a major case hyperbole….
You're right - a wee bit of overstatement that. Wonder how many full pages (or screens) of advertising that cost? (heh).

Seriously IMO ME2 was a good, solid, and enjoyable RPG. Though it was neither revolutionary nor earth shattering, it wasn't a money grabbing rip-you-off. Seemed clear to me that at lot of work, attention and care went into the game.

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March 6th, 2012, 02:51
No, it actually wasn't hyberbole. At least I can't think of any RPG that did something like this. Here's what went on:

Spoiler

It's actually possible to get everyone, including Shepard, killed at the end of the game.

As far as I know, this type of end game is unique. I don't know if it was all that fun to pick perfectly good characters to do various jobs then having them get killed anyway but it DID make the end of the game far more emotionally powerful. I had three coffins at the end of my game that were there because of my choices - and a bunch more that were still alive because of my choices, too. The way that was played up in the CGI and in the music was extremely well done.

And that's Mass Effect's biggest strongpoint. The stories in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 are pretty good but it's the story TELLING that makes these games great.
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March 6th, 2012, 03:10
In a sense it is one of the best uses of your entire party in a battle just because very few other games ever make any attempt to have your off characters participate in any way. In that regard it doesn't necesarily need to be completely amazing to be better then most everyone else.
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March 6th, 2012, 03:25
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
No, it actually wasn't hyberbole. At least I can't think of any RPG that did something like this…

It's actually possible to get everyone, including Shepard, killed at the end of the game.

As far as I know, this type of end game is unique. I don't know if it was all that fun to pick perfectly good characters to do various jobs then having them get killed anyway but it DID make the end of the game far more emotionally powerful. I had three coffins at the end of my game that were there because of my choices - and a bunch more that were still alive because of my choices, too. The way that was played up in the CGI and in the music was extremely well done.
I think the general idea is strong, but the actual execution (in my opinion) is very poor - it's simply far too easy to get the "best" ending. The results of the final mission are not at all representative of any choices, but the result of how much content the player is willing to complete (any completionist-type players will automatically get the "best" ending).

Rather than giving the player difficult choices that have various repercussions, the player is given a black and white "checklist" - did I upgrade the ship, or for some inexplicable reason, ignore it? Did I complete the loyalty missions for all the companions? Do I have a basic grasp of common sense for selecting which crew members should do each task based on their class? The idea was solid, but the execution was far from ambitious or satisfying, as it failed to make you ponder your actions throughout the game or wonder if you could have chosen differently for a better outcome. There are no difficult choices to make that would cause the ending to play out differently, so the only way to get a less than stellar outcome is to deliberately do so by outright skipping side-quests and not upgrading the ship.

Ironically enough, Bioware themselves previously accomplished this sort of ending much better with Dragon Age: Origins. Various endings could take place based on actual choices, and there was no easy way to get a "best ending." Some of the political choices towards the end were pretty varied, and at times, it was a bit difficult to decide what to do. DA:O's ending wasn't as ambitious as it could have been, and some of the answers to the most interesting and difficult choices will never be known (*ahem* Morrigan situation…thanks again for DA2!), but it was far more satisfying than ME2 and a really strong ending overall.
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March 6th, 2012, 03:35
Yeah, it seem just a little more sophisticated than pushing 1 of three buttons in DE:HR. Talk about unsatisfying…

Instead of making 1 of 3 choices you are making X of N choices and then watching the results. Where it's really obvious what are the good and bad choices. There's no tactical combat in that.
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March 6th, 2012, 04:08
"…so the only way to get a less than stellar outcome is to deliberately do so by outright skipping side-quests and not upgrading the ship."

Oh, is that what it was? It certainly wasn't obvious to me. Wait a second, that can't be right. I did Jack's loyalty quest and she still got eaten by bees!

DA:O's handling of the end game was definitely much better. I don't think it was quite the same thing, though. You weren't going through the final 'dungeon' having party members dropping out right and left. So the author was still right in saying 'like no other game before it', IMHO.

P.S. Uh, Thresher, there was the fourth option! Still, all four just led to rather unsatisfying stock footage clips and endings that didn't seem very well thought out to me. Very disappointing after the game had done so well at exploring the whole "haves" vs. "have nots" vs. "have whether they want them or nots" deal. But then they played Deus Ex's original theme music after the credits and completely made up for it.
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March 6th, 2012, 06:44
Well it was MUCH better then the 3 buttons in DE, but I agree with some of the complaints mentioned. I played through everyone's story because in my opinion that was probably the best part of the game. I think alot of people did that. So I never really got to see that there were so many consequences that could happen if you don't do it. I had to read online to find out that there were so many different ways that it could go. I didn't really get that feeling as much when I was actually playing.

But still it did create the feeling of a tense final battle and everyone working together to accomplish something, so I definitely have to give it credit for that.
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March 6th, 2012, 11:13
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post

P.S. Uh, Thresher, there was the fourth option! Still, all four just led to rather unsatisfying stock footage clips and endings that didn't seem very well thought out to me….
Wait, there was a fourth ending? What was the fourth ending?
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March 7th, 2012, 18:38
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I think the general idea is strong, but the actual execution (in my opinion) is very poor - it's simply far too easy to get the "best" ending. The results of the final mission are not at all representative of any choices, but the result of how much content the player is willing to complete (any completionist-type players will automatically get the "best" ending).

Rather than giving the player difficult choices that have various repercussions, the player is given a black and white "checklist" - did I upgrade the ship, or for some inexplicable reason, ignore it? Did I complete the loyalty missions for all the companions? Do I have a basic grasp of common sense for selecting which crew members should do each task based on their class?
While the choices were not difficult, they were still there. I know of a few people who lost crew members because they picked the wrong NPC for the task. The only better way to handle this would be to make the player lead each of the task groups himself, with the assigned NPC under his control.
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