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Default Mass Effect 2 - Plot Analysis @ Twenty Sided

February 18th, 2010, 00:27
Shamus Young takes a detailed, three-part look at the plot of Mass Effect 2 at his blog, Twenty Sided. Since it takes a close look at the overall plot and structure, it's a giant spoiler from start to end, so don't go near this unless you've finished the game:
The main plot of Mass Effect 2 not only fails to stand up to scrutiny, but it retroactively goes back and messes up parts of Mass Effect 1 which worked perfectly fine. It’s cheap, obvious, and tacked-on. It fails to exploit any of the great ideas set up in the original, and instead does a messy reboot and burns all of the bridges built by the first game. The only thing it keeps is the idea that “Reapers are coming from beyond known space to kill us all”. But it even screws that up, because it takes the very small number of things we know about Reapers and changes them for no good reason.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

More information.
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February 18th, 2010, 00:27
Good write up, sometimes these forced Main Story choices are annoying enough to break immersion. That being said ME1 had annoying stuff like that too, like when you were forced to abandon one of your team mates at that Krogan anti-genophage lab.

The human reaper nonesense was retarded though. Complete with it's own console-style mini game… sigh.
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February 18th, 2010, 05:06
Spoilers ahead….

{Reads the first bit about Cerebus and stops bothering}

Bull. Cerebus in ME1 and ME2 fit together just fine. In ME2 they are portrayed as a "group with noble intentions and questionable methods." In ME1, all we see are those questionable methods. What does this guy expect of the people running Cerebus? A bunch people with horns and pointed tails?? The best way to build up a really nasty group is to get a lot of people with noble intentions, feed them a lot of ends-justifies-the-means reasoning, then make sure they don't find out how rarely those ends actually happen.

I think the Mass Effect plot is one of the best ever - possibly the best. They've got some serious thinking points in this game. Cerebus is an excellent example. These folks are classic racists (speciesits… kingdomists… whatever) but they are the only ones willing to bankroll this fight. If the attacks had not been aimed at humanity they wouldn't have gotten involved but they were so they did - and because they did they stopped a far greater evil.

Shades of white, shades of black, shades of grey, and plenty of deep ethical questions to make you wonder if you really are judging correctly. Great stuff!
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February 18th, 2010, 06:30
Great game, there will always be haters, that's the nature of man (to quote a different game).
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February 18th, 2010, 07:24
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Bull. Cerebus in ME1 and ME2 fit together just fine. In ME2 they are portrayed as a "group with noble intentions and questionable methods." In ME1, all we see are those questionable methods. What does this guy expect of the people running Cerebus? A bunch people with horns and pointed tails?? The best way to build up a really nasty group is to get a lot of people with noble intentions, feed them a lot of ends-justifies-the-means reasoning, then make sure they don't find out how rarely those ends actually happen.
{Reads the first bit about how "ME1 and ME2 fit together just fine" and stops bothering}

Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
I think the Mass Effect plot is one of the best ever - possibly the best. They've got some serious thinking points in this game. Cerebus is an excellent example. These folks are classic racists (speciesits… kingdomists… whatever) but they are the only ones willing to bankroll this fight. If the attacks had not been aimed at humanity they wouldn't have gotten involved but they were so they did - and because they did they stopped a far greater evil.
{Reads the first bit about Mass Effect's plot being "one of the best ever" and stops bothering}

…no, wait, it must be done: aaaahh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-HA!

———————————————————————————————-

As to the article: brilliant. Concise, well-written and daring to actually analyze the story from a critical perspective, as opposed to merely drooling over the ever-so-weight ethical "choices." Bravo, Shamus!
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February 18th, 2010, 09:28
Is there that much storyline in mE2 needing 4 pages of analysis? :-)

However i do agree that the ME2 plot is very weak and really just a repeat of ME1 minus a rogue spectre. Once again its the Reapers controlling some poor Zombie-like alien race to do their dirty work.

Its hardly different from the first game.
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February 18th, 2010, 10:41
While I do not agree with everything he said (i.e there is lots of information between ME1 and 2 regarding The Illusive Man), I do agree with some of the points he made. Also, it is very well written and quite funny.

Examples: His points regarding the Alliance apathy being redicilous and how the Collector plan has failed long before Shepard arrives (the crew makes a comment aboard the Collector ship that the Collectors must be targeting Earth - which is crazy, their slight tech edge is nowhere near enough to target something that big).
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February 18th, 2010, 12:06
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
While I do not agree with everything he said (i.e there is lots of information between ME1 and 2 regarding The Illusive Man), I do agree with some of the points he made. Also, it is very well written and quite funny.
Are you implying that gamers should be expected to have read (crappy) filler novels in order to make sense of a MAJOR plot item taht is introduced off-hand and is central to the second game? Maybe there should be a warning - "you should have bought up our shovelware books so you'll know WHO and WHAT the eff is going on!"

And NFLed. if you actually read all of his stuff you'll know that Shamus isn't a 'hater' by any stretch … and dismissing all of his analysis as such in a single pass is a characteristic of a … dare I say … fanboi!

— Mike
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February 18th, 2010, 12:08
It is a good article, and treats the story in a much more critical way than I did (I had a few issues, but they did not keep me from enjoying the game a lot, even the main plot). However, I think that the author got too excited about his own criticism and went a bit too far on a few issues. Some comments:

- Cerberus is ME2 is "compatible" to what we know about them from the first game, but nothing more. Missed opportunities here, as the author points out.

- I don't mind the "restart" even at the beginning, in fact I found it very exciting. But I agree that it is unnecessary.

- The Reapers are a myterious post-machine, post-organic race. Who knows what their intentions are. I don't mind the mystery, but I expect to learn more in part 3.

- I agree with the criticism about the morality of the final decision, and not having any other choices.

- I am not sure how many humans exist in the Mass Effect universe. I imagine the number to be much higher than that of the current population of Earth, perhaps several times as high. Already we hardly care about hundreds of thousands dying in some areas that feel remote for us. I find it credible that the Alliance does not immediately put all its ressources into helping a few colonies in remote systems. Also keep in mind that the Alliance is doing something by sending investigators. This makes sense since at the beginning of the story no one knows what is going on there.
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February 18th, 2010, 13:19
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Are you implying that gamers should be expected to have read (crappy) filler novels in order to make sense of a MAJOR plot item taht is introduced off-hand and is central to the second game? Maybe there should be a warning - "you should have bought up our shovelware books so you'll know WHO and WHAT the eff is going on!"
Not at all. I certainly didn't. What I did do, however, is a quick search on various topics on the Mass Effect wiki page, simply because I am interested in getting a little extra bang for my bucks.
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February 18th, 2010, 13:55
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Are you implying that gamers should be expected to have read (crappy) filler novels in order to make sense of a MAJOR plot item taht is introduced off-hand and is central to the second game? Maybe there should be a warning - "you should have bought up our shovelware books so you'll know WHO and WHAT the eff is going on!"

And NFLed. if you actually read all of his stuff you'll know that Shamus isn't a 'hater' by any stretch … and dismissing all of his analysis as such in a single pass is a characteristic of a … dare I say … fanboi!
Calling someone a fanboi is so … internet typical.

I didn't read the article and don't care to. I enjoyed ME2 a whole lot and will replay it several times over the next few years, I didn't have a problem with the plot (the linearity of areas is my biggest negative of the game). If my enjoyment of the game combined with my comment that there will always be those who hate specific well-liked games makes me a fanboi then whatever. I realize that every game will always have detractors no matter what and that's fine.

And if my not wanting to read someone's analysis in which they completely slam something which I greatly enjoyed rubs you the wrong way then, well, that's your deal.
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February 18th, 2010, 14:42
Oh, you people. Over-analysing everything while the rest of the internet is just having fun with it. While Avatar was a bit too much even for me, I'm even enjoying the last season of Lost that recently started! My IQ must be below 50!
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February 18th, 2010, 15:52
Dear God, please don't let this guy analyze the Baldur's Gate games. Thank you, amen.
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February 18th, 2010, 16:00
Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
Calling someone a fanboi is so … internet typical.

I didn't read the article and don't care to. I enjoyed ME2 a whole lot and will replay it several times over the next few years, I didn't have a problem with the plot (the linearity of areas is my biggest negative of the game). If my enjoyment of the game combined with my comment that there will always be those who hate specific well-liked games makes me a fanboi then whatever. I realize that every game will always have detractors no matter what and that's fine.

And if my not wanting to read someone's analysis in which they completely slam something which I greatly enjoyed rubs you the wrong way then, well, that's your deal.
You are being as dismissive as your complaints against others. It's fine if you like something and that's your opinion. However, when you enter into a debate about the relative qualities (aesthetic, literary, gameplay, or otherwise) of something, its only fair and reasonable for you to read and consider the other arguments. Either ignore the argument altogether and rest with your opinion, or open your mind and change or defend your position by engaging in an honest debate (which requires reading and processing arguments to the contrary). Simply dismissing a priori any criticisms of this game valid or otherwise as coming from haters is simply as bad as dismissing others as fanbois.
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February 18th, 2010, 16:13
I find ME2 the reverse of ME1 — for me ME1 was all about the main plot, with weak cookie-cutter side quests. With ME2 I didn't care much for the main plot, while had a lot of fun playing the side missions and team members' quests.
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February 18th, 2010, 17:51
I agree that the side missions have a better plot than the main missions, but level-design wise I found the main plot areas more interesting. Some side-missions were almost like minigames.
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February 18th, 2010, 19:01
Originally Posted by Grandor Dragon View Post
Some side-missions were almost like minigames.
What do you call the human reaper fight then? It was almost as bad as Risen's end boss fight imo.
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February 18th, 2010, 19:12
Wake me up when its $10 or less. By that time I won't hate it cause it didn't cost anything.
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February 18th, 2010, 19:48
Originally Posted by Sergius64 View Post
What do you call the human reaper fight then? It was almost as bad as Risen's end boss fight imo.
Okay, true, but IIRC that's the exception. I haven't finished Risen btw, *because* of all the negative stuff said about it.
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February 18th, 2010, 20:00
Originally Posted by Grandor Dragon View Post
Okay, true, but IIRC that's the exception. I haven't finished Risen btw, *because* of all the negative stuff said about it.
Were you enjoying Risen up to the point that you stopped playing?

The reason I ask is because I think you're making a mistake if you stop playing just because of what *other* people said. While Risen's ending left a lot to be desired, it didn't change the fact that the vast majority of the game was quite good.
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