AU Diary: Fear Effect 2

No, I don't mean the risqué PSone shooter. I mean Mass Effect 2 and F.E.A.R. 3. Oh, and there'll be spoilers for the former.

I repeat: Mass Effect 2 spoilers ahead.

I wrapped up Mass Effect 2 last night - my quest to destroy the Collectors derailed after my 360 red-ringed a few weeks back. That final mission was great. Well, it was great right up until the final boss fight, which was... about as run-of-the-mill as boss fights can get. Shoot the glowing orange bits? For massive damage? Sigh.

And it was too easy. In fact, the whole suicide mission aspect proved a misnomer as not one of my crew came close to dying. Sure, I was playing on Normal (my fault!) and I'd done all the loyalty missions and upgraded the Normandy, but... really? Where was the bit where you felt like you were in any danger?

Bioware did do a great job though in enabling you to lead your crew. Those crucial decisions as to who should act as the specialist or lead the second team or escort the surviving crew was handled in expert fashion. Ensuring that everyone survived was down to your ability to choose the right person for each task. And that relied on you having to get to know each each crew member through their loyalty missions and talking to them over to course of the game.

Like a genuine leader, you had to know the personality and skills of your crew.

I knew Kasumi was the best person to sneak in via the ventilation shaft. I knew Garrus was best equipped to lead the second fire team. I knew Samara was the one to maintain the biotic barrier. I knew Jacob could be relied on to ensure the abducted crew safe passage back to the Normandy. I knew Miranda and Thane would have my back during the final assault. And I knew the rest of the team had the firepower to hold off our pursuers.

I knew because all the character interactions leading up to that point are about trust. By the endgame, my crew trusted me and I trusted them.

The Illusive Man, however, I did not trust in the slightest. I blew up the Collector ship without a second thought.

For those of you who have also finished Mass Effect 2, what were your thoughts on the suicide mission? What choices did you make and why?

As for F.E.A.R. 3, by the time you read this I'll be at an event for it and hopefully getting some hands-on time. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll try to address as many as possible in my write-up.


Comments

    Wow looks like we did everything exactly the same except I sent Tali through the shaft. I think the much more interesting choices happened way before the suicide mission, so what did you do to the geth? how did you resolve Tali's problems? What did you do to Jacob's dad? Even the genophage? There were so many tough decisions!

      Yeah, there were some interesting choices throughout, particularly in the loyalty missions. I liked it they typically weren't just whether or not you killed someone.

      1. I uploaded the modified virus to reprogram the Geth heretics. Legion had shown me they could prove a valuable ally. (His inability to articulate why he is wearing your armour plate was a brilliant moment.)

      2. At Tali's hearing I managed to persuade the judges that she would never commit treason. At the time I don't think I wanted to get too involved in the Quarians' internal politics regarding the Geth. So I opted to not present the evidence about Tali's father we'd recovered from the other ship.

      3. I left Jacob's father to the savages. It seemed like what he deserved.

      4. I encouraged Mordin to keep the genophage research that Maelon had been working on.

    I had Tali work the ventilation shaft, Miranda led the second fire teams, and Jack held the biotic barrier. Thane, Jack and Grunt had my back. Jacob led the non combat crew to safety because, well, I actually just wanted him out of my crew.. I thought he was the least interesting or developed character.
    I'm curious to see how the suicide mission handles it if you haven't done the upgrades or loyalty missions though, I'd like to see it.

      You utterly fail.

      In my first play I did zero upgrades and lost 6 people before we even boarded the Collector Station.

    Good to hear you finally finished!

    I agree about the final boss, it was as anti-climatic as any ending I've ever seen. 40 hours for a Terminator-lookalike that barely makes sense even in sci-fi? The 'difficulty' was rather surprising, I got suspicious when I finished with everyone alive, and all that was needed was to make good choices and upgrade the Normandy. After hyping the possibility of Shepard's death, Bioware made it extremely difficult to actually get this outcome.

    I blew up the base, which felt like a bit of a forced morality decision. After a whole game of wanting to escape Cerberus' grasp, I felt a bit cheated that it all came down to one choice. It did get things up very nicely for the next game though.

    By the way, did you manage to keep all the Normandy's crew alive?

      No, I lost some of the crew. Once I'd unlocked the suicide mission, I realised I still had one lousy sidequest to complete. So I did it.

      Worse, it was the lame quest where you simply have to read a couple of datapads for that Salarian on Omega.

      So because I wanted to tie up one final loose end, a bunch of people die. I did not expect that to happen.

    When I first beat ME2 I was congratulating my self that all my squad has survived but was sad that the ships crew accept Dr Chawkras had died. I though that always happened though and I couldn't change it. I then find out they died because I didn't go through the Omega 4 relay straight away but was doing sidequest. I was only doing sidequests though because I though it was going to be like ME1 and you wouldn't be able to keep playing once you beat the game. So I'm going to have to play through the game again and make all the same choices I did the first time but this time go straight through the relay. I'll have Kasumi with me this time so though and will probably play on expert.

    All this will happen after I bear Dragon Age Origins (which I got before ME2). I keep getting half way through it and then not playing for a couple weeks and then when I come back I decide to make a new character and I always tell myself this will be the time I play all the way through but then I never do.

    As for Fear 3 my question is whether the dude you play as in Fear 2 will make an appearance. Also how long after the second game is this one set?

    I was very careful to make sure my crew all survived.

    I have been playing the game as a true-roleplayer. That is, my Shepherd allowed his team to once get massacred in pursuit of a goal (Torfan). He has never forgiven himself for this past mistake, and has vowed to atone for his sins and never let a team-member die needlessly. The death of Kalenko was unfortunate, but was a tactically sound, if not tragic, decision.

    The Suicide Mission presented me, and my Shepherd, with an opportunity to atone for our past sins. With this one mission, we could see all of our team-members through an impossible situation.

    Throughout the game, I would always take the time to upgrade the Normandy, do side-missions, etc. I knew what was coming, and I wanted to be prepared.

    When the time did come, they all made it through with nary a scratch. I sent Tali through the ventilation system because of her engineering talents. Garrus led my second fire-team. Jack was my biotic for the barrier, and I sent Mordin back with the crew. For the final battle, I knew Legion and Samara would watch out for me, and this they did with distinction.

    In the end, they all made it, and my Shepherd strode one huge step in the direction of atonement.

    I kept the ship, Legion put it in context.

    'Destroying the ship wont bring back the lost, but keeping it may save lives.'

    Will the combat be in the same vein as before, or will they try and blend a single player and coop experience together?

    I didn't read the article but wanted to give you a 'Thumbs Up' for letting me know not to read it!

    My Shepard was a soldier, so I brought Legion and Samara for their respective engy/biotic skills.
    Tali went in to the vents, since she's the best Engy on the team.
    Garrus and Miranda lead the fire teams, because Garrus is such a champ (and the whole badass Turian thing helps) and Miranda's a proven Cerberus leader.
    Biotic barrier was left to Jack; Samara would have been my first choice, but she was occupied. Still, even though it has no story effect whatsoever, I thought it was nice that Jack, hot-headed murderous psycho lady, was for once taking it slow and carefully and actually defending for a change.
    Similarly for Thane leading the survivors back; as a dying man trying to find solace in his profession of taking lives, I tasked him with the preservation of life. Something he can view as redemption.

    My main gripe with it all was the whole Collectors thing. I just don't think they made it sit well with the first game. Saren is defeated, but you know there's more coming, and what happens? A completely new enemy swoop in and do their own thing, even though they're sort-of servants to the Reapers. Why not continue being annoying like Saren? Why randomly decide to build a giant Terminator?
    It was a fun and exciting mission, but it's somewhat diminished by the second-movieitis syndrome it suffers as part of a trilogy.

    *Spoiler Warning*

    I agree that on normal, the suicide mission is more like a Sunday walk in the park, but still, it was fun to get a chance to deploy my troops in a way other than one long range, one short range, one biotic. (The Sci-Fi version of the fantasy trinity of Thief, Warrior, Wizard) They also made it a bit obvious that if you have ship upgrades like shields and weapons for a ship you don't use for combat in the gameplay, you're probably going to need them for something so you should get them.

    I'll admit, I largely ignored my crew, other than to do their loyalty missions for achievements, completion, and experience. I hadn't ignored their stories and backgrounds you learn through the gameplay though so I was well enough educated when deciding who to deploy where. So these were my choices (Hopefully I remember them all as I finished it a month or so ago):

    Ventilation shafts: Tali (Kasumi wasn't out then) since she's an engineer and would know her way around technical gadgetry.

    Second Fire squad: Garrus since he had been leading rebel forces up until you recruit him. (And I disliked Miranda)

    Biotic Barrier: Samara since she was the most powerful biotic user next to Jack, who was in my team already.

    Civilian Escort: Grunt, as he is born and bred for combat and would be the best to tackle enemy forces.

    Final Fight: It was either Jack and Legion, or Jack and Thane. I had a soft spot for Jack and her tormented past, and both Thane and Legion's aesthetics appealed to me so I used them interchangeably.

    Final decision: Blow up the Collector ship, because I was playing as "Morally grey" and no one was going to order me around, especially to bring back something I'd just put my life on the line to destroy.

    i finished the game and thought "well, that was too easy".

    i meant the entire game. only part that gave me hassles was when you have to destroy that reaper core. all those damn husks. not good when you are an infiltrator.

    anyway, play on insanity. it is a lot more fun.

    Fear Effect 1 and 2 was a great game in it's own right, good memories.

    I really enjoyed the suicide mission. Even though it didn't end up being that hard, I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through knowing that all bets were off and that one of my crew might die at any moment. As luck would have it they all survivedm, with Legion taking care of the vents, Garrus on the fire team, Jack as the biotic specialist and Jacob leading the crew back to the ship (mainly because I didn't care for Jacob at all).

    As for the collector base, I destroyed it, no question. While it could have been useful, I didn't trust the Illusive Man for a second and it was nice to give him some pay back for lying to me about the collector ship distress signal. Here's hoping Mass Effect 3 gives that choice some real significance compared to the choice to save the council or not in the first Mass Effect.

    At this point I have to put a shameless plug

    http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/05/reader-review-mass-effect-2-3/#more-392113

    For me many of the issues of being a suicide mission were solved on the insanity level setting.

    The cut scenes were excellent at raising tension but I think the limiting factor in the gameplay is the fact that you never really feel overwhelmed by enemies which you would expect going into the enemies home. This is understandable due to technical limitations of hardware.

      I'll do what I did with ME1 just before ME2 came out and replay ME2 on Insanity in the lead up to ME3.

    I thought the suicide mission was a let down too.

    I had a real problem with Mordin dying... despite the upgrades etc, I had to send him back to the ship in order to get that achievement.

    Tali for the vents, Garrus for the second team, Jack for the barrier. I took Grunt and Miranda at the end. I've done 3 playthroughs now; a good, a bad, and my own. When it comes down to it, on my own I seem to make the pro-human choice.

    I didn't save the council in the first one and I saved the reaper tech in this one. I know the Illusive Man is going to knife me in the back... but the idea of more weapons against the Reapers appeals to me.

    I do have to wonder about the permanent death thing if you fail the suicide mission. You died and were brought back at the start of this game... what's to stop them doing that at the start of the next one?

    My decisions pretty much mirrored yours - I was waiting on more of an ending with the illusive man after blowing up the colector ship though - regardless the 2nd one ended much the same as the first but it was a more enjoyable ride. I destroyed one reaper and saw lots more incoming...made the journey seem kind of pointless, like I hadn't actually made a dent in the troubles looming...

    Hi. Sorry about the essay. Here's my 2 cents + interest:

    My first playthrough of Mass Effect 2 (ME2) was on Veteran, with a ME1 character.

    With a fully-upgraded Normandy, we went through the Omega 4 relay and began our assault on the Collector base. Legion went in the vent, as I believed they could best interface with the Collector technology. Miranda lead the second fire team. When she was shot during a cutscene my heart sank; luckily 'twas but a scratch. I too chose Samara for the biotic barrier; Garrus had the second fire team this time. Thane with his sneakinesss led Chakwas back to the Normandy; I was too late for Kelly...

    Jacob and Miranda helped me destroy the Collector base, which was more a strategic choice than it was playing favourites. We all survived, though my space hamster didn't eat for a few days.

    While my heart was in my throat the whole mission, looking back there was no real sense of danger. If you know which squad decisions to make, any completionist can survive the mission. Most decisions made prior to the mission -recruiting and earning the loyalty of the squad and Normandy upgrades- ensure your success. You could say that the only way to fail before the mission is inaction.

    On the subject of loyalty, it's far too easy to earn. I was hoping ME2 employed dynamic loyalty system that hinged on every decision Shepard made. Depending on how you played, you would always have a few loyal squad mates, and a few you had to keep your eye on. And why wasn't there a squad member with an ulterior motive? Hell, I was kinda hoping Miranda -planted by the Illusive man to ensure the Collector base's survival- would shoot me in the back of the head. Completing one mission and the squad member loves you long time? Hmm... I wonder if a squad member even has the capacity to be disloyal.

    I remember playing the end of Heavy Rain (HR); without spoiling it, I have the 'So Close...' trophy. I failed a quick time event, but I was satisfied with the ending (moreso than ME2's). In fact, the irony of my ending was far more satisfying than a happy ending. While both HR and ME2 have sections of exposition (e.g. conversations), their action sequences play out quite differently; HR's QTEs allow for mistakes in action sequences to continue -and even contribute to- the story, whereas mistakes in ME2's 3rd person shooter sections just result in the good ol' mission fail screen.

    It's this traditional structure of gaming that removes the sense of danger from the suicide mission. Plot development is detatched from shooter sections, which only make the difference between advancing to the next plot device and a game over screen. Not that I mind, the combat is fantastic. It would be a nightmare for Bioware to adapt the story to decisions made in and out of combat. Regardless, I look forward to ME3, and -disturbingly- the greater possibility of my death.

    Like you, David, I was too damn thorough and sensible on my first go... fortunately, I actually overdid that and didn't go straight through the Relay, so I lost Chambers (who I'd been flirting with) and felt a nasty pang of regret over that.

    I deliberately screwed up some key things in subsequent playthroughs, but every time I found it grating to have to do dumb things to see the alternative outcomes.

    The final choice was done much better, by comparison. Morally grey, potential pros and cons for ME3 both ways and generally much more of a challenging decision than the upgrades and team choices. I saved the base the first time because I found TIL's logic undeniable to my Sensible Shepard, but on a later playthrough I made my Shep hugely anti-Cerberus and blew it up just to aggravate TIL.

    Agreed. I saved the entire crew on my first run and was rather baffled about the whole suicide-mission thing. I thought it would be a LOT harder to keep the whole crew intact, whereas I think it's harder to get them all killed.

    I liked the suicide mission idea, but what I loved more was the whole 'working with the enemy' aspect of the story. I was glad they never made the Illusive Man betray you or anything outright evil. Like you said, by the end of the game you trust your team but you still don't trust the Illusive Man or Cerberus.
    By leaving the true motives of the Illusive Man unknown they've created a legitimate uneasy truce. From start to finish I was watching my back and the knife never came. Perhaps by the time it does I will trust Cerberus enough for it to feel like an actual betrayal rather than something I called from the start.

    My first run-through, Mordin died for no apparent reason, even with the full upgrades for his class/Normany as well as loyalty mission.

    Going through it again, if you can pick up the very heavy clues, no-one should die. Another 'mistake' I made was regarding the Collector station.

    The first play-through, The Illusive Man made a point, I got the impression that although Cerberus was shady, they got the job done (according to EVERYONE i talked to). He had a point, save the station, and save potentially billions of both human and alien lives by fighting fire with fire.

    I chose to save the station (with nearly maxed Paragon) and only afterwards did I find out that it was possibly the most Renegade choice in the game and all my crewmembers hated my guts. Which begs the question why Shepard's conscience is worth more than the billions more casualties caused by going for the "Paragon" route. Until then, I thought the morality dialogue was great.

    The last boss is indeed a pushover, regardless of what difficulty level. But then again, this is only the middle act of the Mass Effect trilogy. Its battle is largely meaningless. The rebels got stomped in the opening of Empire Strikes Back remember? It just makes the lead-up to the TRUE final battle of ME3 all the more amazing.

    Kasumi for the ventilation shaft?..
    interesting...although i suppose she is a tech expert...

    i used Tali for that task...as i didn't have Kasumi.
    fire team leader was jacob both times. he did well.
    i had garrus and miranda with me the entire time, heavy shock and heavy overload + my biotics = win

    i sent ... whats-his-face....scientist back with the the survivors, since i figured he was the least direct-combat able team mate.

    T-1000 as a boss fight was. ok. little over the top i think...not as good as Sarin from ME1. i thought the ability to talk him down a stage was brilliant inclusion on Bioware's part in the first game.

    So...your whole post was about ME2 and at the end you say, "Wait right here, I haven't had any hands-on time with fear 3 but wait here while I yank my crank and hope Day one studios throws me a bone." FUCK YOU BUDDY

    I thought that compared to say the derelict reaper mission it was easier in terms of the fights that have to be won but i think that the emotion that runs through you - not knowing if you have made the right choice even if you know you did, could cost you a potential squad mate in ME3.

    I would highly recommend David that you load up a save from just before you went through the relay and turn it up to insanity. It really does make the game play on an entire different level and there is a sense that this is going to be a suicide mission.

    Also i would either recommend a playthrough or watching a youtube video (there are plenty around) of the worst case scenario with no upgrades and no loyalty - it truly is an emotional ride and is quite touching how it ends.

    Also you were lucky that Mordin did not die - he has a tendency to die "holding the line" for no reason whatsoever for some people even with full loyalty and upgrades if you do not send him back with the crew or have him part of your squad. Some people just say it is a dice roll but i am sure there is a reason (i will find out before ME3 gets released :P )

    In all for me it was one the better last missions i have ever played in a video game (although that is to be expected when everything you do in the game is directed towards preparing for this mission). I personally can not wait for ME3 and also the rumoured expansion pack making a presence at this years e3.

    On my first run through I chose Garrus to lead the second team and Tali for the vents, I chose Garrus to take the survivors and Samara for the Biotic shield, I then took Legion and Mordin with me because I thought they might have an insight and interesting dialogue on what we were taking on e.g. Geth, Collectors, Reapers. I then chose to save the collector ship but I didn't have enough information to make a good decision, what would he do with it specifically, will he use it for the greater good of all alien species? I wanted to have more dialogue options to suss out more information.

    And Tali ended up dying which I didn't understand why.

    On my second run though I sent Tali with the survivors and I decided to take Miranda with me to fight the reaper, I then decided to destroy the collector ship and was pleased to find Miranda quitting her position at Cerberus.

    All in all I thought it was an interesting change to have that responsibility placed on you, but I preferred the narrative in ME1 compared to ME2. A lot of the personalities were so unlikeable and dull at times.

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