Why Mass Effect 2 was, and is, the superior out of the Mass Effect trilogy. [No Spoilers]

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
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Ruzinus said:
Acts 1 and 4 are indeed, appalling. They're just a giant deus-ex-machina solution to the major conflict of the series. "The reapers are attacking, oh no! What do! Oh hey, there's a magic mcguffin that'll save the day and we're just suddenly learning about it? How convenient!"
I just wanna touch on the "deus ex machina" notion as it seems to be a problem a lot of people have with the Crucible.

Quite simply: just how DID you expect to win the war with the Reapers? Three full fleets were required to take down one Reaper escorted by the Geth armada, and those three fleets still got their asses kicked in the process. Even if you united every fleet in the galaxy and went for just one gigantic space battle, it's established in the first game that there's no WAY you're going to win against the might of the Reaper fleet. Quite literally: a giant space-magic deus ex machina doomsday device is the only chance you'd have at defeating the Reapers. So again I ask just how DID you expect to win the war?
 

Ruzinus

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RJ 17 said:
Ruzinus said:
Acts 1 and 4 are indeed, appalling. They're just a giant deus-ex-machina solution to the major conflict of the series. "The reapers are attacking, oh no! What do! Oh hey, there's a magic mcguffin that'll save the day and we're just suddenly learning about it? How convenient!"
I just wanna touch on the "deus ex machina" notion as it seems to be a problem a lot of people have with the Crucible.

Quite simply: just how DID you expect to win the war with the Reapers? Three full fleets were required to take down one Reaper escorted by the Geth armada, and those three fleets still got their asses kicked in the process. Even if you united every fleet in the galaxy and went for just one gigantic space battle, it's established in the first game that there's no WAY you're going to win against the might of the Reaper fleet. Quite literally: a giant space-magic deus ex machina doomsday device is the only chance you'd have at defeating the Reapers. So again I ask just how DID you expect to win the war?

...are you honestly saying that I need to have a better plot in my back pocket before I can point out that a using a mcguffin to solve the central crisis of a series is terrible writing?

I made no effort to predict the plot of ME3 before I played it.
 

clippen05

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Jul 10, 2012
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I agree with you 100% for the reasons you listed and some of my own. If you take the mass effect stories by themselves, being:

Mass Effect 1: Stop Saren
Mass Effect 2: Gather a crew to prepare for a suicide mission
Mass Effect 3: Unite the Galaxy for war against the Reapers

IMO Mass Effect 2 and 3's stories BY THEMSELVES are 100x better than Mass Effect 1's. But while 3 sounds cooler than 2, when you play the game, uniting the galaxy loses some of its appeal when you realize that A: you'll never see any of your war assets battle and B: The Reapers are defeated by Space Magic. Mass Effect 2 also presents a more personal story than the other two if you ask me although they all have their moments with the crew.

Gameplay wise its so much better than 1 and comparable to 3. I don't like how the weapon system changed in 3 because it made your class choice seem less important.

Lastly I think Mass Effect 2 had the most unique content. If you look at Mass Effect 1 and exclude the unimportant, repetetive side mission planets, you are left with the Citadel, Feros, Noveria, Ilos, Virmire, Therum, and Eden Prime. That's six locations. In comparison, Mass Effect 2 had 10 unique locations with major missions and side missions that weren't all the same building in a different layout or some random cave. Seriously, I really don't know why Mass Effect 1 is praised, I can't think of one reason why I would like it over the sequels.

Also, Mass Effect 2 had the best DLC content:p
 

Mauler

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Jul 11, 2012
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kommando367 said:
I believe all 3 games did at least 1 thing better than the other 2.

ME2 had the best boss fights.

ME3 had the best blend of action and RPG, a fun MP, and the most balanced classes

ME1 had the best RPG elements, customization, and a tank.

A tank that could do this.
[http://s974.photobucket.com/user/kommando367/media/mako_zpsb391c208.gif.html]
Yes This... If onley they would make mako dlc for the third or the new mass effect the mako adventures where rogue geth infiltrates the mako's hard drive ecu and cpu and digs itself out of normandy crash site and goes on adventures killing reapers and protecting the galaxy while HEppard bangs aliens and saves the universe by making evereyone an half synthetick half organick abomination against theire free will... Yeah i would buy it!?
 

captainballsack

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Mass Effect 2 had the best characters. To me, that was the only thing the entire franchise had going for it.

Third person cover based shooter with RPG elements? OH BOY THAT'S NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

ME2 had a lot more of a gritty feel to it, unlike the other two that were more 'high' sci-fi (I don't know what to call it, just the sci-fi version of high fantasy is what I'm trying to say). I'm more of a fan of gritty sci-fi, so the universe and aesthetics of it all appeal more to me than the other two. The characters were great, unlike ME1, and ME3 was just insulting with the lack of squad, plus the return of the blandest characters ever conceived: Kaiden, Ashley and Liara.

I don't know. The only thing I enjoyed in Mass Effect was talking to my squad mates and just being a badass Femshep. The combat and level design was abysmally unoriginal and completely forgettable, any game that proclaims "RPG elements" should never be relied upon to bring an actual rewarding and challenging RPG experience, and overall I felt the plot had been done in sci-fi a million times, especially that terrible 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired ending (I love psychological science fiction, but please, PLEASE stop with the ambiguous endings; Evangelion had the ambiguous sci-fi ending to end all ambiguous sci-fi endings).

The dialog and developing Femshep as the type of character I wanted (not in an actual RPG sense though, unfortunately) were the only things that kept my attention in the entire franchise, and are actually so good that it pulls the weight of the rest of the asinine design choices. With that said, I felt that ME2 pulled off the best conversational segments and thus, I feel that ME2 is the best in the franchise. My two cents, at least.
 

Jimmy T. Malice

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I agree that 2 was the best out of the series. The 'main story' may not have been up to much, but the character-driven narrative more than made up for it thanks to some of the most interesting characters I've seen in a long time.
 

Erttheking

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Definitely starting to feel like my opinion always contrasts with the general consensus on the Escapist. Mass Effect 1 was boring as sin. Good story, shoddy gameplay. ME3 started off slow, really picked up, then shit the bed. ME2 just seemed to be the most solid. Yeah it didn't have too much impact in terms of plot but to be honest I didn't really care too much. The atmosphere and characters really brought the game to life for me. Plus the combat was actually pretty fun. Not ground breaking, but fun.
 

Bat Vader

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Between the entire trilogy I find mass Effect 2 to be superior. Not really in story but more so in making the universe feel lived in. I love the first Mass Effect but visiting a bunch of barren planets to do side quests really takes me away from the game. Noveria and The Citadel were cool and all but when I roam the galaxy I want to feel like there are people living in the galaxy.

With Mass Effect 2 I liked that I got to visit highly populated planets. It actually felt like that billions of humans and aliens were living in the galaxy. If a developer is going to make a game where I have to explore the galaxy, world, or live in a city that I can explore. I want to feel like people actually live there.
 

jackinmydaniels

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Mass Effect 2 is and always will be my favorite of the series. It still did some things that I didn't appreciate, but it's hands down the best one out of the entire series, side story or not, it's a damn good side story. And, rather than yanking control of MY Shephard away from ME for ninety percent of the game... looking at you Mass Effect 3, it let me pick my dialogue choices and didn't restrict me to 'good guy' 'bad guy' responses.

In Mass Effect 3 I felt like my Renegade Shephard was acting WAAAAY out of character. Why does my renegade care about some stupid little shit kid? This is war, he's spilled innocent blood, he shouldn't care. Why does he like Anderson? I never had him being all palsy with him. Why was he suddenly so nice to everyone for no reason? It was FUCKING BULLSHIT and it's still my biggest issue with the game, ending be damned.

I felt like the combat was vastly improved in 2, but was still deep enough and offset by enough talky walky bits to not feel like the dudebro COD slog that ME 3 turned out to be. So, ME 2 wins again there.

And, I feel like the characters in ME 2 beat out the characters in ME 3 by a huge margin. Seriously, why did my crew in ME 3 consist largely of boring characters I didn't care about?

I dunno, I guess in the end it's all subjective. But I'll always personally consider ME 2 the best of the trilogy.
 

-Dragmire-

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Mar 29, 2011
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Psych the Psycho said:
3- Throughout the course of ME2, there is constant build up to the final mission and making sure everything and everyone was ready for it. ME1 was more about finding and stopping Saren which did have so tension to it but not a lot. In ME3, the first half did have some build up to the final push but after craving through tons of enemies the game starts losing tension.
Racing to a specific goal against an opponent gives far more drama than waiting for npcs to do all the racing for info and just telling you where to go when the time comes.

ME2 had you collecting team mates for no logical in game reason except Mordin(where all the strongest writing is).

In ME1, you had the beacon connection that made you important, ME2 drops that for the most part.

Saren gave you a personal focus and goal. He had things that he wanted to do and he was willing to go to any length to do them, just like Shep, that's interesting. Collectors are empty husks with no redeeming features. No one cares when they fight them.

I HATE the fact they magically got a bug for Mordin to study after all the build up of, "They leave no trace".

Oh, and they leave no trace from a giant rocket that's seen creating craters when it takes off.

Most of ME2's writing were acts of lazy convenience and self defeating plot holes.

Until you saw the collector base(thankfully it wasn't a home planet or something else that would have made the team building pointless), you had no idea what to expect making the need of grunts over combat cruisers questionable to say the least.

Loyalty missions had no connection to the suicide mission and can't be seen as buildup. Loyal flagged characters are just given plot armor of +10 dodge face seeking missile.


There is a tonne of stuff ME2 did poorly even without bringing in overarching themes and plots into the picture.



Combat was more fluid and I enjoyed it more than ME1 but getting rid of ammo-less weapons and Biotic abilities no longer being stackable was not a step forward.


-------------

Me1 also had it's plot holes but they were no where near as numerous or blatant.
 

IronMit

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Jul 24, 2012
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In many ways ME2 is the best one - the balance between action and rpg as OP mentioned.

However, the story is the games main selling point and the story is near insignificant. It's a giant filler. The Illusive man and Collectors were exaggerated and created just to give Shepard an antagonist. They did a good job at using this 'new enemy' and other missions to deepen our understanding of reapers and other races though.

ME3 making no sense actually makes ME2 worse in a way; the dark matter foreshadowing, the race politics, the mysterious nature of the illusive man - these were awesome in the moment partly because you thought they were fully thought through; but in ME3 these were all a mess.

Also far too much of the game was recruitment missions and loyalty missions to grant loyalty. And as fun as the suicide mission was, once you break it down 'loyalty' illogically effects outcomes. So the main point of the ME2 was kind of broken.

My favourite is ME1- the only problem was combat, (oh and cut and paste areas) and the deeper rpg elements offset it. Most other older rpg games before ME1/Fallout 3 would have some turnbased-dice roll combat here
 

Casual Shinji

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Mass Effect 2 is the best entry in the series. And at the same time it's the game that completely breaks the back of the overarching plot, turning Mass Effect 3 into the infamous sludge that it is.
 

Agayek

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Mass Effect 2 is the best in terms of overall cast, but that's about it. ME1 had a vastly superior plot, better RPG mechanics (even though they were rather excessively convoluted. At least they had some kind of impact), and a better "world". ME3 had vastly better gameplay, some of the best examples of writing in games ever, and significantly better balance.

ME2 is a good game, don't get me wrong about that (all 3 of them are good, but flawed enough in different ways to keep any of them from being fantastic), but it's easily the worst in the trilogy. Overall, I'd say ME1 is the best, but that's mostly because I'm a story whore and ME1 had the best story/plot by far. ME3's gameplay is leagues better and its writing is better in places (namely, Tuchanka and Rannoch), but the overall story is severely hampered, primarily because ME2's writing was so bad, and then we have The-Event-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named that utterly ruined any sense of good feelings I had toward the game, so I've gotta give the title to the original game.