Why didn't more people complain about Kai Leng in Mass Effect 3?

Guitarmasterx7

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Mar 16, 2009
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I was going to post this in another thread but I'm actually looking for a response here.

Bioware fans are clearly a very vocal community that claims to care about good writing in their games, Mass Effect 3 in particular. So it boggles my mind that I've seen pretty much no mention of Kai Leng.

The ending was nowhere near as dumb to me as one of the main antagonists being a ninja dude wielding a katana. Someone using a sword would be useless against present day firearms, let alone a distant future with full auto laser guns and crazy psychic powers. It's completely absurd that all the characters seem to treat this guy like he's this huge threat even though every single one of them has a firepower advantage over him.

Even giving Leng the benefit of the doubt that he's somehow got the skill and tech to be more lethal with close range weapons, why is he using a steel katana and not some crazy weightless hologram laser blade like Shepard has?

You can't even try to suspend your disbelief and assume his sword is made of some sort of super metal or that it's some wicked awesome tech katana because shepard can straight up break it with his/her fist. Then just to add insult to injury, Shepard stabs Leng with the hologram blade. I'm pretty sure that even though there was nobody else in the room with me I said "oh come on really?" out loud when this happened. Then felt like a loser.

What did you think of Kai Leng? Is this bothering me more than it should? Are ninjas cool enough to where it's excusable? Why haven't I seen this mentioned even by people looking for excuses to call this game out on bad writing?

I'm legitimately curious, let me know what you think.
 

NinjaDeathSlap

Leaf on the wind
Feb 20, 2011
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One wonders what forums you have been reading to have heard almost no complaints about him, as I've heard rather a lot of them around here?

He certainly had nothing on Saren from the first game, but I had no issue with the equipment he uses. My issue was more to do with the fact that the game kept pulling increasingly cheap ways for him to beat me or escape from me right out of it's arse in cut scenes, despite him never actually posing much of a challenge to me in game play.

My soldier Shepard could shoot the wings off a fly at 500m, and yet at the citadel he can't hit Kai Leng at close range while he runs away in a straight line. My vanguard could have charged him so hard he could have knocked him right off the Presidium, and yet he chooses to just jog after him like a lemon. My adept could slap him off the roof of that speeder with a warp or singularity any day of the week, and yet she just lets him get away. It was stuff like that that bothered me, not the fact that he uses a sword. Maybe that's just his preference. Maybe he just prefers the physical feedback of solid steel to a weightless Omni-blade.
 

Black Arrow Officer

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Jun 20, 2011
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What pissed me off about him is how he was this untouchable badass in cutscenes who would always defeat you and your squad while jumping around swinging his Katana around like in an old kung fu movie, yet in between my encounters with him I could blast through hundreds of Cerberus forces without breaking a sweat. In the fights with Kai Leng, he was a huge fucking pushover. I just repeatedly slammed him with powers and didn't die or feel threatened once. Far from the badass he's made out to be in the cutscenes. Even better, during your first encounter with him with the Salarian councilor, I could have just ordered Liara to Stasis him, line up a headshot, and bam.
 

Tohuvabohu

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Mar 24, 2011
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TopazFusion said:
Anyone else thought he looked a bit like Adam Jenson?
[small]or maybe it was just the glasses ...[/small]
He instantly reminded me of Adam Jensen as soon as I saw him.

[/spoiler]

Anyway, I never had a problem with his abilities and tech. He IS basically a Phantom unit. So you can't complain about him without also complaining about Phantoms. The worst part about 'him' was the constant cutscene plot armor.
 

wintercoat

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Nov 26, 2011
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Tohuvabohu said:
TopazFusion said:
Anyone else thought he looked a bit like Adam Jenson?
[small]or maybe it was just the glasses ...[/small]
He instantly reminded me of Adam Jensen as soon as I saw him.

[/spoiler]

Anyway, I never had a problem with his abilities and tech. He IS basically a Phantom unit. So you can't complain about him without also complaining about Phantoms. The worst part about 'him' was the constant cutscene plot armor.[/quote]

What's funny about that is, in the final fight against him, the Phantoms are more of a threat than he is! :D

I hated pretty much everything about Kai Leng. His look, his style, his ridiculous plot armor, the sword that Shepard breaks easily. He was a horrible character, meant to exist solely to be lifted up as some awesome badass, but he needs plot armor in order to survive more than a simple fight with a terminally ill Drell. And from what I've heard about how he's portrayed in the books, he should have been that badass, but comes off written like bad fanfic. He should have been an interesting enemy, but instead falls flat, being extremely one-dimensional.
 

Misterian

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Apr 24, 2020
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I personally didn't question the whole cyborg ninja thing Kai Leng's got going, I sort of just thought it was cool.

I enjoyed his appearance in ME3 in the since that he strikes me as the sort of villain you'd love to hate, half of what he does throughout the game gives you every reason to want him dead, which makes his actual death in the game all the more satisfying. And his final boss fight is one of the most intense and exciting I've ever fought since Alduin from Skyrim.

That, and even before his appearance in the game, I remember hearing somewhere that his debut from one of the Mass Effect novels shows him being as evil as you can make a villain without giving him a Dick Dastardly-style top hat and twirling mustache.
 

BloatedGuppy

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Feb 3, 2010
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A lot of people really disliked Kai Leng.

The reason you didn't hear more about it was that they were too distracted by something else.
 

Joseph Harrison

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Apr 5, 2010
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You're right no one criticized the "cereal killer"

I didn't mind his plot armor that much because they constantly slapped plot armor on characters so I got used to it by he did seem cartoonishly evil. I disliked him in the game but disliked him because he killed Thane and then taunted me with his email after Thessia.
 

Ruedyn

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Jun 29, 2011
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You didn't hear more complaining about it because of Javik and the ending, now please stop trying to open old wounds >:[

And he was only bad because of plot armour.
 

DustyDrB

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Jan 19, 2010
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I didn't have a problem with him. He's a "love to hate" kind of character. The Thessia fight didn't bother me either. Saren also had a fight somewhat similar to that on Virmire (though I did like that fight better because of the dialogue). You "defeated" him, but then a cutscene starts that allows him to get away (he actually is holding Shepard by the throat at the start of the cutscene. But gets distracted by all the chaos, at which point Shepard punches him in the face and causes Saren to drop Shepard).
 

Spartan Altego

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Aug 7, 2012
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The Plot Armor pissed me off to no end. I was screaming at the screen for my team to SHOOT THE GUY when he was fighting Thane : Perfect opportunity right after Thane pimp-slapped him across the room. Shepard didn't. And he simply refused to use his biotics to swat him off the car and the first time I fought him one on one he had a fucking attack helicopter as backup.

Apparently BioWare failed to realize the best way to make a villain intimidating is to let us go against him on our own terms and get our ass kicked. Not just tell us with cut-scene incompetence and support attack helicopters.
 

Swyftstar

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May 19, 2011
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Yeah, I couldn't stand him either. Like others have said, I handed him his ass every time we fought but then a cutscene would kick in and he would walk around like he was this awesome enemy who couldn't be beat. He had two amazing powers, cut scene shield and the apparant ability to walk on a floor that is crumbling beneath him. Complete waste of space, served no purpose other than lazy plot progession.
 

bioject

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Aug 12, 2010
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Guitarmasterx7 said:
I was going to post this in another thread but I'm actually looking for a response here.

Bioware fans are clearly a very vocal community that claims to care about good writing in their games, Mass Effect 3 in particular. So it boggles my mind that I've seen pretty much no mention of Kai Leng.

The ending was nowhere near as dumb to me as one of the main antagonists being a ninja dude wielding a katana. Someone using a sword would be useless against present day firearms, let alone a distant future with full auto laser guns and crazy psychic powers. It's completely absurd that all the characters seem to treat this guy like he's this huge threat even though every single one of them has a firepower advantage over him.

Even giving Leng the benefit of the doubt that he's somehow got the skill and tech to be more lethal with close range weapons, why is he using a steel katana and not some crazy weightless hologram laser blade like Shepard has?

You can't even try to suspend your disbelief and assume his sword is made of some sort of super metal or that it's some wicked awesome tech katana because shepard can straight up break it with his/her fist. Then just to add insult to injury, Shepard stabs Leng with the hologram blade. I'm pretty sure that even though there was nobody else in the room with me I said "oh come on really?" out loud when this happened. Then felt like a loser.

What did you think of Kai Leng? Is this bothering me more than it should? Are ninjas cool enough to where it's excusable? Why haven't I seen this mentioned even by people looking for excuses to call this game out on bad writing?

I'm legitimately curious, let me know what you think.
It's hard to be critical about a particular shit when everything is already shit.
 

Vuliev

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2011
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I'm pretty sure that most people's anger at Leng was massively dwarfed by their anger at the ending (not in my case, though.)

Leng was probably the most asinine attempt that I've ever seen at a recurring boss. If it's one thing I hate, it's plot armor, and my God was Leng covered from head to fucking toe in it. Seriously, my Shepards that took on pretty much everything in the fucking galaxy and survived, that were able to defeat such incredibly powerful enemies like Saren at the end of ME1, weren't able to absolutely shred this pansy-ass ************ that had worse tech than I did? Fuck off.

Fucking hate plot armor. Any designer that's "forced" to use plot armor like Leng needs to be taken behind the shed for both barrels. HRgajllllllllraglahaweurgf (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
 

Ascarus

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Feb 5, 2010
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NinjaDeathSlap said:
One wonders what forums you have been reading to have heard almost no complaints about him, as I've heard rather a lot of them around here?

He certainly had nothing on Saren from the first game, but I had no issue with the equipment he uses. My issue was more to do with the fact that the game kept pulling increasingly cheap ways for him to beat me or escape from me right out of it's arse in cut scenes, despite him never actually posing much of a challenge to me in game play.

My soldier Shepard could shoot the wings off a fly at 500m, and yet at the citadel he can't hit Kai Leng at close range while he runs away in a straight line. My vanguard could have charged him so hard he could have knocked him right off the Presidium, and yet he chooses to just jog after him like a lemon. My adept could slap him off the roof of that speeder with a warp or singularity any day of the week, and yet she just lets him get away. It was stuff like that that bothered me, not the fact that he uses a sword. Maybe that's just his preference. Maybe he just prefers the physical feedback of solid steel to a weightless Omni-blade.
yep. all of this. every cut scene with him had some ridiculous mechanic to make sure we didn't just beat his whiny ass to a pulp. not to mention that email he sent was just plain stupid. far from infuriating me, i instead had this vision of him lying prone on his bed, computer in front of him, feet kicking in the air behind him like some silly teenage girl when he wrote it.

it was fucking stupid.
 

GiantRaven

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Dec 5, 2010
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I'm assuming it's because he's so utterly forgettable, what with having absolutely no character and all. Can't complain about something if it's too pointless to even remember it's existence.
 

MiracleOfSound

Fight like a Krogan
Jan 3, 2009
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Is this a joke? The BSN was choc full of Kai Leng hate threads after ME3 came out. Cereal Killer FTW

The hatred for him was just relatively overshadowed by a certain other character that's all.
 

Jandau

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Dec 19, 2008
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I thought Kai Leng was cool. I liked the concept behind him - Illusive Man's replacement for Shepard as Cerberus' point man. There's a nice "rival" vibe coming from him and you can tell he desires to surpass Shepard.

As for the whole ninja thing, I didn't mind that either. The Katana likely isn't simple steel but rather some awesome future metal alloy. As for the problem of bringing a knife to a gun fight, Kai Leng doesn't give a fuck since guns don't do that much against him (LOLBARRIERZ!!!) and his sword likely lets him bypass most kinetic defenses, meaning that if he can close the distance he has advantage over firearms.

But as others have pointed out, the plot armor and Shepard's cutscene incompetence is just too much. There are ways of making a credible villain/rival that don't rely on your character developing a sudden case of The Derp every time a cutscene with the said villain rolls around. All in all, I'm ok with Kai Leng since the positives outweigh the negatives...