Mass Effect 3 – The Worst Boss Fight Ever

Apologies regarding my long absence – everything from the final week of the skiing season to the ending of the Mass Effect trilogy ruining a full-featured update (it really was that bad!) has kept me occupied lately. These things have tied me up long enough that I ran out of pre-planned buffer content, and for this I can only beg some measure of forgiveness. Notification, at the very least, should have been in order. These past eight weeks have been something of a familial event singularity for me, running the gamut from birthday gatherings to (alas) funerals, and so Seventh House has gone relatively neglected whilst I donned unbefitting shirts, feigned well-adjusted normalcy, and occasionally even woke up before noon. Unpleasantries and obligations one and all.

Regardless; the seven-kin have been satiated, I am back in business, business is good, and today I talk about the worst video game experience I have had in a very long time.

In light of what seems like the entire internet having already beaten this deceased equine into a fine paste, I had hoped to spare you all of more Bioware/Mass Effect-themed content at least for the near future. However, this “battle” was an absolute failure of design so far-reaching and insidious that I honestly couldn’t help but talk about why. The number of things wrong with the sequence in question is absolutely staggering, like some unholy amalgam of everything which should not be done when designing an encounter.

Barring of course the appropriate response to poorly-planned writing (ravenous stoats tossed through office windows in the dead of night; also impotent ranting) I had never expected to find myself here purely on behalf of game mechanics. Bioware titles have never exactly been the shining jewel of innovative design; I’ve always been bothered by their uninspired level layouts and awkward navigation, but “frustrating and broken” are not the words which spring to mind when I think of them. Their gameplay tends to take a back seat to the storytelling, and thus rarely risks pulling you out of the experience by taking centre stage. This formula works well for them. Most of the time.

The Skinny

If partial spoilers about Mass Effect 3 still concern you (I’ll be talking about the final battle on Rannoch – the Quarian homeworld), this is the opportunity to turn away and keep those rosy theories and preconceptions veiled in delicious mystery. Lord knows, you’ll need them to fall back on when the time comes. Where we go, only the bitter and disillusioned may follow. I am speaking, of course, about this:

In the final few minutes of the Quarian/Geth conflict on Rannoch, Shepard abandons common sense to fight a Reaper on its terms, effectively solo (the Flotilla is doing the shooting, but Shepard has the gun – it’s as contrived as it sounds). Everything is wrong with this encounter. It was stupid in-character, stupid out of character, stupid thematically, confusing, unintuitive, buggy, shallow, punishing, tedious, and frustrating. It threw out everything you had learned about the gameplay up until that point, yet it still hinged on a cheap gimmick rather than player ability to win the fight. It was the worst boss fight I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing.

Allow me to set the groundwork:

That doesn’t look so bad, does it? Think again – not pictured are the many times this person almost certainly had to die just in order to intuit the basic rules of the encounter. What you’ve seen is a practiced, perfect, entertainment-quality run; now allow me to paint you a picture of what it was really like to play this for the first time.

Whereby Doth It Falter? Let Me Count The Ways

Death Sucks, Then You Die Again:

Death is the only failure state. If you err in any way (and there are many, many, many ways to err), you die.

When you die, you load. On an Xbox 360 you load for 40-60 seconds minimum – long enough to sabotage muscle memory and actually forget what you did the last time. You load the same tiny area you were already in. It takes just as long every time even though nothing has changed except the positions of Shepard and the Reaper. Why does resetting the fight take as much caching as it does to load the entire level from scratch? Why is instant death the punishment for failure, and repeated failure a planned part of the encounter, when the developers know that the player must spend a whole minute staring at a loading screen every time it happens?

Problem? Nah. Who could ever get tired of seeing this?

What you did wrong is not made clear. What you must do right is not apparent. It’s actually possible to pursue what seems like an effective tactic (eg. rolling just before the laser hits or sprinting straight right/left away from it) and be rewarded with success for the first few stages of the boss fight only for the increased speed/proximity of the beam to render the very same method completely impossible later on. Worse still, because there’s no feedback you may try this same strategy two or three more times because you aren’t sure if it was simply a case of bad timing or human error.

Dying and reloading confuses the continuity of the fight. I still do not know if this boss had mid-fight checkpoints at all, let alone how many there were. Every single stage of the encounter begins and ends the same way: Shepard targets the Reaper while dodging its only attack from a tiny, restricted plateau of rock; the Reaper is locked in; the Quarian fleet opens fire; the Reaper takes no damage whatsoever, then steps forward and the process repeats.

I have no idea how many times this happened. Was it three? Six? Twelve? The only indicator is how close the Reaper is to you, and between all of those interminable loading screens it’s easy to forget how far off it was at the start of the fight, skewing your frame of reference. You can’t even entertain a temporary feeling of progression or accomplishment because you have no clear idea how far you’re being set back when you die.

There Is No Feedback:

The Reaper beam is inscrutable. As it approaches, the only thing you can see is a massive, noisy, perpetual explosion with no easily distinguished directionality or area of effect. Because the camera is situated almost parallel to the ground with no sense of depth, there’s no effective way to tell how close it is or what its angle is relative to Shepard. Sometimes it seems to almost go right through him without dealing damage, while others it will kill him from what looks to be easily out of range right up until the last second. It’s easy to die without ever knowing what you did wrong.

The Reaper takes no damage. Only the final killing blow inflicts any visible damage on the Reaper, while the rest just cause it to move closer to Shepard. Doesn’t this infer that the shot was completely wasted, possibly because the player did something wrong? Success here actually feels like failure and there’s nothing to tell us otherwise.

The targeting laser is even more inscrutable. For the first 20% of the lock-on process there is no visual feedback that you’re accomplishing anything by holding down the trigger. Depending on what you’re aiming at and whether or not you’re moving it locks on faster, but there’s no change in sound, colour, reticule, or shape to confirm that this is happening. There are so many hidden requirements with no feedback that to the uninformed the targeting speed just feels completely random.

Now which of these shapes actually means anything, and what smells like fresh bacon?

The controls suck. Even for a cover-based shooter ME3′s controls are awkward, slow, and clumsy. Shepard steers like he’s riding a psychotic Segway at the best of times, and nearly every action is punctuated with a long delay and a protracted flourish which takes away fine control. Sometimes the camera swings 90 degrees after a roll for no reason. A wrong button press can send you careening to your death, and a right one is nearly as likely to, considering how roll, slide, sprint, climb, and take cover are all bound to the same button. Shamus Young pretty accurately explains what state of mind the designers were in when it came time to decide Mass Effect 3′s control scheme with this image:

"Context insensitive" is the only way to describe this.

When your controls are just barely adequate (yet still endlessly frustrating) for a slow-paced, context-heavy cover shooter, why design a battle entirely around graceful movement and split-second evasion which they absolutely cannot provide?

The battlefield sucks, and the camera makes it worse. You battle this Reaper on a tiny shelf of rock walled in on three sides and maybe five metres deep. Short of an open washroom stall this is literally the worst possible place to take on such an enormous foe – it’s not only small, but uneven, jagged, and devoid of cover with no clear escape route. You are forced to look at the boss at all times to make progress, but you can bump into something you cannot see and get stuck, resulting in – you guessed it – instant death. Oh, and because there are no objects in the foreground to orient yourself with, there’s no way of telling how close you are to trapping yourself against either boundary wall. Again, instant death.

Everything Is Counter-Intuitive:

All established game mechanics are thrown completely out the window. Nothing you have done or learned about the game up to this point has any bearing on the outcome of the fight. You cannot use abilities, switch guns, or issue squad commands. Your health, shields, reputation, stats, and character build are absolutely meaningless. There is no cover at all in a previously cover-based shooter, leaving you with awkward movement controls extremely unsuited to a boss which would feel more at home in a DMC-like brawler game. This is the only section in the game where you’re required to do anything even remotely similar.

The rules of the fight are not explained. What’s worse than discarding everything the player has previously learned for one encounter? Giving no explanation of the new mechanics which replace them. This is the nightmare-stuff which Battletoads is composed of. Imagine that I’m a standard Mass Effect player seeing this boss for the first time:

I’ve been deposited on a tiny rock plateau and a Reaper is closing in. There’s nowhere to run or hide. My weapons are taken away and I’m given a target designator which makes noise when I pull the trigger but has no clear progress indicator at this time, so I’m not sure where to look, how to use it, or if it’s doing anything at all. Should I wait for some cue to begin targeting? Does the laser keep its progress if I stop shooting or do I need to get it all in one go? Do I fire all the time and strafe away from the laser? Do I roll away at the last second? Do I stop shooting completely and sprint out of danger? If I get any of these wrong I’ll die and have to reload again. Which is it?

I finally work this out get the Reaper locked in once. The fleet is shelling it but doing no damage at all! Shepard says that the Reaper is only vulnerable when its main gun is firing. Does this mean I have to time the targeting laser to trigger while it’s shooting at me? If I do that, I’ll have no time to dodge out of the way! Should I risk several minute-long loading screens to find out for sure? The Reaper gets closer every time the fleet bombards it and it doesn’t die. Does that mean I’ll lose if it gets right on top of me? It’s coming closer! Is this good or bad? Am I winning or losing? What should I be doing?

Even now, as I am looking up content for this post, I am still stumbling onto new rules I wasn’t aware of. Standing still speeds up the laser’s targeting, but there’s no feedback to indicate this and it’s not enough of a change to be immediately obvious, plus this is a boss where the only goal is outrunning a giant death laser. Unless specifically told to, why would anyone stand still? Aiming right at the Reaper’s cannon speeds up the targeting as well. Again, there’s no confirmation that this is happening – you naturally aim for the red glowing area at first, but once you realize that the laser works anywhere on the Reaper it’s easy to stop because you assume it’s all the same, and a bigger target is more attractive. This boss was designed either for or by aliens who have never seen a human being assess an unfamiliar situation. I am not certain which.

There is a boss encounter so far beyond your own comprehension you cannot even imagine it. I... am Rannoch Reaper.

There’s no time to think, yet failure is severely punished. What’s worse than getting thrust into an encounter with no knowledge of its rules? Being forced to learn them while under the constant pressure to act quickly, then punished with instant death and an interminable wait for making a wrong decision. The entire engagement demands that you dodge a laser every five seconds or die, meaning that you only have that long to experiment on the first few attempts. It’s entirely possible to spend 5 seconds scrambling to figure out what to do and 50 waiting for a loading screen two or three times in a row on your first attempt.

Success and failure are binary. You either win this fight unconditionally or you die and restart. There’s no room given to make even the smallest mistake. There’s no creativity or innovation. You will die repeatedly until you learn exactly what the designer wants you to do, and in the process you will probably waste more time swearing at loading screens than you will actually playing. A classic and terminal case of Do It Again, Stupid.

The victory condition is a simple gimmick. Throughout all of these mistakes, misconceptions, false choices, and frustrating DIAS moments, what you’re supposed to intuit about the Reaper’s beam is that it follows a very peculiar tracking algorithm which becomes more precise the longer it’s fired for. For all of the reasons mentioned above it’s very difficult to tell that the beam is correcting its aim at all, but once you work this out a tactic presents itself which renders the whole encounter absolutely trivial. If, abandoning all common sense and reason, you charge straight at the oncoming beam at first and then reverse direction, it will swing away on that first course and never even threaten to hit Shepard. The last tactic anyone is likely to try… is the key to effortlessly winning the fight.

Context & Plot:

Shepard’s own actions are just as imbecilic in context as they are out of it. Shepard takes on a Reaper singlehandedly, without notice, on foot, and actually tells his squad to “stay down” rather than help him in any capacity. Why pull over when you can target from the speeding transport? Why hold the line when you could be backing away from the planet-slicing murder-lasers? Why choose to fight on a barren 20-foot ledge protruding from a cliff? Why does the Reaper, a machine of supposedly unfathomable intelligence, keep exposing its only weak spot while shuffling incrementally forward rather than merely stepping on Shepard like an offending gnat? We are talking about one guy challenging THIS to a staring competition:

It carves through skyscrapers like tissue paper, shrugs off every gun in the Quarian Flotilla with nary a scratch, blasts whole planets clear of life… but it cannot kill a single man-sized target in equal combat.

I get it, I really do. This was supposed to be one of those classic scenes where in a moment of need the main character does something so risky and audacious that everyone onscreen responds with “You’re insane!” or “You’ll never make it!”, only to be astounded when the hero dodges death and pulls through by the very skin of their teeth, usually with a cheesy comment about how they weren’t even all that sure about the idea themselves. We can admire the protagonist’s sheer ballsyness and revel in it because in a movie we don’t have to actually see this suicidal idea fail or deal with the consequences. Characters in film don’t enter into a “This may be crazy, but it just… might… work!” moment only to die in some humiliating fashion and doom the universe as a result – if they fail at all it’s usually done for comedic effect and carries no lasting weight.

But this is a video game, not a scripted drama. The only thing that sets a daring gambit apart from a moronic lapse in judgement is its success. Here the player is a participant rather than a viewer, and failure is a very real possibility. The Rannoch fight is like watching Shepard tear off his helmet without warning during a space section because it’s “weighing him down”, then after the cutscene we’re forced to navigate this maze on a time limit to simulate him holding his breath (and defying decompression with the power of sheer manliness) – it’s an objectively stupid idea in a situation where better options are available, and the player is the one forced to deal with the consequences. The section of gameplay I just described might even be fun if it were easier, but when we’re dying over and over again because Shepard keeps running out of air, it feels like we’re being punished for his poor judgement rather than poking fun at it. In a section designed to demonstrate how a player character will leap into a seemingly suicidal situation without provocation, the very last thing you want is for them to hit a difficulty wall and confirm how idiotic a plan it actually was.

Okay, hear me out: we all run straight at it across an open field. It may pity us so much that it shall make a mistake.

The targeting laser is a hackneyed plot device. I seriously believe it was only written in to allow Shepard to defeat a Reaper by himself with only a gun-shaped object and his raw machismo. If it were anything else, a single lock-in on this massive, nearly stationary target would have sufficed, and the player would not have needed to literally abandon common sense (and a squad of loyal and trusted allies) to play consecutive rounds of chicken with a world-melting death laser. The intentions of the writers are clear – this is not a clever strategy to unexpectedly direct artillery fire, but a very thinly disguised ubergun thrust into Shepard’s hands at the last moment to give him and him alone all of the agency in determining the outcome of the conflict. He does this not with wit, insight, or charisma, but with big explosions and a lot of angry yelling.

Even Independence Day made it clear that President Thomas Whitemore didn’t simply shoot down the big bad all by himself. Even Battle for Los Angeles had the good sense to depict a whole team of soldiers aiming the targeting laser at an inert enemy command ship from heavy cover, and only needing to do it once. This is not a scene out of a smart, moving, character-driven space opera, but a juvenile power fantasy where the hero saves everyone by running at the bad guy and shooting him with a really big gun until he dies. What a horrible waste. I miss Tuchanka already.

12 Responses to Mass Effect 3 – The Worst Boss Fight Ever

  1. The first time I went through this fight, I had absolutely no problem at all, got hit once right at the start, then did the whole thing second try. PC, so < 3 second loads too. But my second run at it to do a different option on the choice after this, I couldn't do reproduce my earlier success at all, it took me over 30 minutes to luck my way through! thank god for PC load times. When even doing it right doesn't teach you what you need to do, you know how terrible a boss this is.

    Speaking of the scene after this, how weird is it that they executed so well on the payoff of the Quarian/Geth war, immediately after such a dumb scene? The common theme of Mass Effect 3 seems to be the uncomfortable fellowship of incredibly bad and incredibly good writing. (I sure hope you agree with me on that scene, or I'm going to look like an idiot :P )

    • Oh not at all, I really liked the closing acts on both Rannoch and Tuchanka. They were probably the best parts of the game, and gave two of the biggest and most interesting plot threads in the series a really satisfying conclusion. I’ve only got two gripes with the scenario on Rannoch: how some of their writers have contradictory thoughts on the Geth, and a few quibbles about Legion’s “death”.

      I have no issues with Legion actually dying – it was potent, suitably dramatic, and fit the game’s themes very well, but because there’s no buildup or foreshadowing of this fact I felt like it sort of came out of the blue without being fully rationalized. We don’t really know why Legion has to disappear to grant the Geth true sentience, what that entails for the Geth in the long term, or if it’s the only way.

      Just a little exposition earlier on could have gone a long way. I would have liked Legion to tell us his plan and for the average player to already know, having learned the required facts earlier on, that it would result in his destruction.

      As for the Geth, this may just be me not entirely grasping the idea, but were they not supposed to be a single group consciousness composed of thousands of units which are not individually sentient? Why then are we shown ancient video footage of one Geth protecting another from prosecution by the Quarians? That’s a human scenario. Geth units didn’t have individual personalities. That was not an act of selfless heroism, but simple self-preservation – a single entity protecting one of its parts, so why write it as a noble story of slaves helping slaves?

      Anyway, about the Reaper. I probably came off more negative than was strictly fair for a boss that could be beaten so easily once you knew how, but in this case I think a little dramatic exaggeration was worth the pain and suffering I had to endure on my Xbox (without the game installed to the internal drive meaning loading times longer than a minute – ouch!). This really did upstage Arkham Asylum’s Poison Ivy for me in terms of annoying boss battles. That said, it probably ties for the worst overall design with Elizabeth Greene from Prototype.

      Rannoch Reaper had no freedom at all (it actually forced you to experiment then punished you for not being right) but could be walked away from and beaten later. Assuming you didn’t die the encounter was relatively brief. Greene was more open-ended but literally took 35-50 minutes with no shortcuts or checkpoints, and if you died you went all the way back. Back to an escort quest before the fight.

      • Hmm. I had no particular quibble with Legion’s death, maybe I would like the opportunity to ask why it has to be, even if the answer is just “no time to explain!” After-all, it is under tight time constraints.

        I don’t remember the Geth holograms all that well, but I don’t remember it selling the Geth as saving each other that hard: there was a scene where a Quarian saves some, and a few scenes later where they’re all fighting. But I could easily be wrong. Yes, you’re right about it sort of being a group consciousness, but they still seem to treat “individuals” (for lack of a better word) as something to protect. On the other hand Legion does say something along the lines of “Wouldn’t you fight to preserve your own intelligence?” in ME2, I believe. Like a lot of the Mass Effect universe, it’s a lot of super interesting back-story that’s papered over as regular space-fantasy once we get anywhere near it :( (I so wanted to see that military external loop mercury heat-sink system ingame just once!)

        Man, I had totally forgotten Greene: If I remember right, I beat her by throwing tanks at her from a block away, and chomping dudes to get life back. I don’t think I spent too long on her, though I remember thinking it was total bullshit. Oddly, had no trouble with the final boss, unlike the internet at large it seems. Probably helped that 100%ed that game first….

        • Yeah, as I said most of my complaints are pretty minor. Any mission that lets me see Admiral Xen and her marvelous machines again is top notch in my books.

          The general feeling I got with the Geth in ME3 that I didn’t from the first two games was that they were treated a little too much like regular organics, and the writers gave them the same emotions and characterization as humans would receive. You got a few odd lines like “Not all Geth are violent” from Shepard, and comparatively few references to them as one collective consciousness (eg. “What’s your name?” “We are Geth.”).

          I also had far less trouble with the last boss in Prototype than Elizabeth. He hit hard and had a few nonsense attacks, but at the end of the day he was just a tough fight with an annoying timer. Greene spent 95% of the sequence invulnerable behind three fake health bars, then gave you a 10-second window to actually inflict lasting damage on her before they all filled back up… while being shot by tanks, juggled by hunters, bombarded by helicopters, etc. It was possible for random crap to bounce you around so much that you would miss the chance to do any damage to her at all.

          • I imagine Geth defending one another could be lampshaded with something like “there were more ‘geth-programs’ uploaded to that platform” but I agree that the stuff said/shown about the Geth wasn’t nearly as interesting or cool as the things we’ve learned from Legion in ME2 and some of it had the feel of a cheap grab at the emotional approach. On the other hand maybe I’m just bitter and cynical, I mean there was a solid team of professional writers working on this game and they’d never purposely go for such tried stuff. I mean, even if they didn’t stoop so low as to kill a child that most players had no chance to attach to and found annoying rather than moving then forcing the players to endure repeated, lengthy scenes where said death haunts the character and annoys the player to finally attempt to make a ridiculous ending seem deep by falling back on the brat I would still expect more from these guys.

            See what I did there?

  2. Like Simon I strangely had no problems with the fight the first time around. It was also the only time since I simply can’t force enough enthusiasm out of myself to play ME3 again at this time. I do have to mention I have no idea what difficulty level I was at at the time (or if it affects this particular battle), I started at medium but the fights were just so tedious and repetitive I kept lowering it throughout the game just to be done with them faster and ended at the despicably patronizing lowest level.

    On that note, yeah the fight was just a dumb “you get to kill a reaper with a gun!” thing, for me it was short and painless so I just marched right through it and carried on. And here’s my main gripe, for me whoever came up with this had no idea what Rannoch was about. Rannoch is not about the Reapers, they are a plot device, everything this fight accomplishes could as well be solved with a push of a button or plugging in a USB. The real plot dynamic of Rannoch lies in the Quarian-Geth conflict which has much deeper, and better written, roots than just “Reapers make everything they touch go evil”. If you took Legion to the Migrant fleet during Tali’s loyalty mission it could say (in one of the optional conversations with one of the admirals) that the Geth would be perfectly willing to welcome the Creators back to the homeworld but their calculations show that such alliance is unlikely to hold on the Quarian side. This conflict is, the way I understood it, resolved by Legion and Tali being able to overcome their differences gaining new level of understanding of each other and bringing said understanding to their respective people. It has nothing to do with a giant, laserspewing space calamari, putting it in is taking a shortcut by simplifying the motivations of the player “if you can’t free the Geth then destroying them is OK because they’d ally with the Reapers again anyway”, it actually lowers the emotional impact of the entire arc and choices that the player may (or may not, which actually undermines the point of the whole game) be forced to make. But no, we need to have Shepard take down a Reaper with a gun.

    And even if, for some unfathomable reason, this arc needs to end with a fight with one of the Reapers AND you let it talk before it dies why have it spew the generic “you will fail,” “we are beyond your understanding,” “we are your salvation” taunts that we’ve heard for the whole of ME2? This was one of the few points where the writers could make the players think if there isn’t more behind the whole Reaper thing, to make them realise that a Reaper is everything that’s left of some race from a previous cycle, to give, or at least hint at, some face to the faceless evil of the Reapers and have the player either ponder all that they destroy by killing one or give them a feeling that they are giving closure and putting to rest a race trapped in a cycle of genocide and destruction for countless millennia. But heaven forbid we actually have to push our writers, we’re on a deadline here.

    • I’ve talked to a few people about Rannoch Reaper, and it really seems like its difficulty is almost pseudo-random, or at least entirely unpredictable based on each person’s style of play. Some people happened to pick the golden combo of swerving + standing still + aiming dead centre on the laser during their first few lives and blazed through the fight with just a handful of deaths. Others got one of those wrong and spent dozens of lives casting around for that perfect strategy. It’s like telling someone to pick an ace out of a deck of cards or they’ll be poked in the forehead – those who find one in their first three tries aren’t going to be too bothered and may not even realize how lucky they were, but for every one of them there’s some poor bastard who drew 48 non-aces in a row.

      You make a good point about the Reapers. We’ve only spoken to three in three games, and you can almost chart the declining imagination of their dialogue alongside its distance from that initial scene with Sovereign.

      Sovereign had some intriguing, unexpected, and very ominous things to say in the first Mass Effect. His words and actions raised serious doubt about whether organic life really was nothing more than an accident caused by some ancient sentient machine. His very existence was a major plot twist that took a previously mundane scenario (big bad villain with superweapon) and turned it on its head (conflicted secondary villain serving as the public face for an ancient machine god/superweapon shrouded in mystery).

      Harbinger had comparatively few lines, and no actions of consequence. He appeared in combat to demonstrate his own ineptitude and fling an endless stream of taunts at Shepard, then disappeared for all intents and purposes until the next firefight with the Collectors. Harbinger never killed anyone important to the plot, never had a dialogue with any character to which they responded more than twice, did not reveal to us any nuanced motivations (or even enough character to distinguish him from Sovereign) and was not even present in the Collector Base mission or when the Normandy was boarded.

      Rannoch Reaper had exactly one brief conversation and wasn’t even important enough to have a name. It reiterated the broadest of Sovereign’s points without the wit or intelligence to sway Shepard or challenge his views, mixed in with some of the same nonsense declarative statements you got at the end of the game.

      Synthetics will always destroy organics because they were always created by them? Guys, the entire underlying point of the Reapers in your first game was that all evidence pointed to them being our unintentional creators. Organics were a buildup of dust and lichen on their universal motherboard, and every now and again they would break out the dusters and aerosol spray to keep things running properly. We can hack computers because we built them and understand exactly how they’re made. Last time I checked, Reapers were the ones hacking us. That is what made them so frightening, so godlike, and so inscrutable.

      To do an about-face in the third act and assume without any doubt that machines more intelligent than anything currently living must have been built by an organic species first is just completely missing the point. We have seen men building machines, and we have seen machines building men. It’s the chicken and the egg, and this egg has more proof than we do.

      • yeah, well… I must agree, it was…*sigh* “your” choice of battlefield is horrible, the “intellingent” The reaper’s tactic: closing in, shooting vertically (instead of wiping you out by shooting horizontally) and completely exposing its only weakness again and again and again…WHY!?! I died laughing then I was beating me head against the wall, crying then laughing time and time again.

        But I don’t understand it as a whole.
        Okey, you have to fight with giant lazer firin’ bugs to save the galaxy, while nobody gives a f**k. They arrive and in one second everyone, thousands of billions of people start whining and asking for help… It was…irritating.
        But hey, I’m Commander Shepard, I’ll save the day, because of what I did in…the…f**k happened with everything you did in ME and ME2? NOTHING. I mean… Everything.
        You (for example) saved the rachni(?) queen. She promised you to help. So, where is she? OH, SO YOU HAVE TO SAVE HER AGAIN!?! A-HA!
        And you save her (I did at least) because you want to see giant bugs fight with mecha-zombies! but you didn’t because all you have is another war asset…And they’re not even fighting but building a high-tech weapon of mass destruction! THE FREAKING BUGS!!!…

        Same with the geth -you never actually see a geth fighting for you, for the “greater” good (survival), but a 2 or maybe 3 seconds of the cutscene at the end, showing some of them ready to fight. Then they disappear, because only turian, human and asari ships you can see fighting the reapers.
        And it’s the same with the Krogan as well… (well, I didn’t expect to see their space ships, but you know…a few krogan charging…)

        So… Everything you did (or didn’t) in ME1 and ME2 was for like…nothing.
        sided with the Quarians? fight with the Geth! Sided with the Geth? hehe, you still have to fight them! because f**k your labour, that’s why.

        And what’s with the plot of ME2? It felt like I was doing it because I had plenty of time ’til the reapers arrive, but anyways! Harbringer? ring a bell? Cursing you all along (not so god-like like Sovereign was, at least not in my opinion)
        and only shows its ugy tentacles again when you “face” it on earth, before it annihilates you and fly away. For what reason?
        How did it know you’ll be there? or just a coincidence?
        The face behind ME2 and you see it for seconds. No talking, no “finally I can meet you face to tentacles!” or something.

        Then my heart skipped few beats because of the the “next” (5-10 minutes but it sounds better this way) scene.
        The mystery behind the reapers, the enigmatic characters of the games are…controlled by something (the citadel, if I’m correct)
        and it finally “shows” “his” “face”. What do you get? Your annoying nightmares in person. Why? I’d understand if he’d be your child, at least you got to know him, but he had nothing to do with you/your teammates/cerberus/the Reapers…
        And it explains you everything. Bye bye mystery (which made me so addicted to this game)…
        And what does he tell you? How to kill them. just…why…?
        It’s not that I could write a better story, -maybe a better ending but that’s not the point- but it was/is horrible.
        just mindf**k. No logic at all.

        What I wanted to see was a great fight, a great battle to participate in, like a team death-match with Krogan, Quarian, Geth, Turian, Rachni, Asari and of course human bots at your side, and their fu**ed up mutated zombie tally, plus reapers on the other side. Somewhat like it was in the end of DA:O, but a more “death-match” like one.

        It’s sad they replaced the author. By the way so did they replace the music composer, Jack Wall, was it?
        All in all, I hated it. I just did. Okey, it was good to end it but maybe it’d have been better never to play it. (just my opinion)
        I had a great time playing it I give that, the music, the story, the characters were great but it was a horrible way to end it.

        It seems it became a pretty long post, sorry about that.

  3. I have been waiting three days to sit down and write a comment without rushing it and know it turns out I forgot what I wanted to say.

    P.S. I’m glad that you’re back.

    • Oh, wait I remember!

      The way the Paragon interrupt in the after-fight conversation is executed is… is just so…
      Is just so mind-boglingly stupid that you could put it in Left4Dead and it would make just about as much sense.

      *Zoey throws a Molotov cocktail at Tank*
      Tank: AAAARGH!!!
      Zoey: You – Whatever person you were before the infection? He’s dead. He died completely several months ago. You’re just throwing concrete blocks at people. And they die horrible, limb-crushing death. Before the infection you would throw at me roses and tickets, not blocks, hell, maybe you’d even adore me – but now, you are just a monster, a complete mons…
      Tank: Ouch. *dies*
      Zoey: *high-pitched sigh* And now he can rest in peace.

      Bill: …You have no idea how to roleplay human emotions, do you?

    • I’m glad I’m back too : )

      I swear the whole basis of that conversation gets weirder the more you think about it:
      -Reapers and the Crucible try to guilt-trip (?) Shepard by saying that Reapers are ancient species, and killing them is genocide.

      -They’re enacting universal genocide as they say this. Do they expect Shepard to not kill them because he… hates genocide? Which they are doing?

      -They claim to be preserving species. What exactly is preserved, and how?

      -Reapers have single minds and apparently nothing in common with their base species (eg. free will, individuality, empathy).

      -So Reapers are just built of dead bodies, then. Nothing suggests anything else of the original race remains. Oh wait…

      -Machines. Metal, circuitry-based, laser-firing, artificially-intelligent machines made out of… dissolved skin and bones?

      We know almost nothing about the Reapers, and yet they still managed to write something completely at odds with what we do know.

      • Most of these are precisely what I was ranting about above. The idea that those races are preserved in some form sounds kinda cool and could open up some really interesting arcs but we are only told that’s the case, we never get to see any actual evidence of that. Even when Reapers blow up we don’t get to see fragments of those other species “Reaper skeletons” flying around.

        Also, wait… I don’t recall the paragon interrupt and I was playing pure para… maybe I repressed it…

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