I think you’re all being a little harsh on ME2. I played the ME trilogy for the first time last year and had a good time with each game, especially the Lair of the Shadow Broker dlc from 2. In fact I’d go so far as to say of the three games I felt ME2 was the best…certainly not trash tier!
I share the irritation (anger is too strong a word) about the change in focus about the antagonist, with the Collectors being a pale imitation of the Reaper menace and Saren, and I’m not sure Cerberus was done as well as it could have been, but mechanically I felt that the game was so much better than it’s predecessor. It improved on the first for me and didn’t have the problems of the third. The many different story arcs of the second was a huge improvement on the first, with the Archangel segment particularly memorable. ME2 is definitely not trash, many of the annoying things can be ignored (don’t like the probing for minerals…don’t do it?) and I’d honestly recommend it to anyone looking for an epic scifi game.
In many ways I’d say that the loss of plot that happened in Mass Effect also happened in the Dead Space series…the Marker’s purpose seemed to have been hugely retconned in the second and third games of that series. It’s purpose seemed to have been changed without thought.
@xist Like I said, ME2 was more of a throwaway comment. It’s a game I personally hated, but at the same time I feel like I could play it again if I really had to for the sake of going through the whole series. Also, you can’t skip mineral mining-- if you do, you’re guaranteeing that you’ll fail some of the arbitrary skill checks at the end. Telling everyone you love their Citadel store only goes so far. On that note, ME2 fits well into this category-- games that looked fun, even legendary, on the store page, but turned out to be a complete regression from the first game. I felt like ME3 was just “2, but refined to be actually fun,” but part of that may be the fact that I never actually played the Xbox 360 versions. I have them all, but never even touched them when they were relevant, having just played the entire series back to back over the course of last year.
ME:A is, as I would elegantly put it, “the mega poop.” There’s no enjoyment to be had, other than ironically. It was a game so tragic, so messy, so poorly written that they couldn’t even trust BioWare Montreal to make DLCs for it. They pocketed the missing story arcs so as not to waste their potential on ham-fisted and over-opinionated “writers.” I really did try to see the good in that game, and I even did-- I love its gameplay refinement, the return of Mass Effect 1 style RPG mechanics, the proper use of open world environments to scavenge in a way that doesn’t bore me to tears like in ME2 (sorry, I’ll move on), and even many of the awesome concepts. It would be like trying to tolerate Mass Effect 1 if it had the writing of Ride to Hell: Retribution behind it, a story bad enough to actually ruin a game.
As far as the ME2 planet mining, personally I went at it full steam ahead. I knew ahead that in ME3 there were bonuses for having above a certain threshold so I sucked it up and drained every planet dry. In my mind the worst thing about the series was the egregious DLC. Whilst this wasn’t a problem for ME2 (reasons), I’d love to have tried the Citadel DLC for the third game but the pricing was insane. The first Mass Effect felt like it didn’t differentiate classes enough and the environments were dull and repetitive…the first game was like a colouring book that wasn’t started, whilst the second filled in between those lines.
It’s funny, the story took just a nose dive for me in the third game, and they’d got rid of characters I liked, that even if there were refinements it felt inferior. I didn’t even have major problems with the “choose your own adventure” ending, the game just didn’t feel as interesting bar a few exceptions (such as the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery).
The DLCs for ME3 were generally from “okay” to pretty terrible. I didn’t like ME2 at all, but Kasumi’s Memory and LotSB were great additions. Citadel is… well, the best way I can put it is that it turns Shepard into a ME Andromeda character. It’s really just bad Mass Effect fanfic, rather than any kind of substantial content.
I know I’ve thrown that word around a lot, but it’s honestly true for Mass Effect. BioWare Montreal’s writrers are terrible, and if you take a look, a lot of their lead writers are either known for being dramatic on Twitter or for writing particularly lewd fanfics, rather than any kind of meritable track record.
I actually loved ME3’s storyline, because it felt like what ME2 should have done. The main ending was disappointing, sure, but the ending to the main storyline is more of a “Does the Universe Exist? Yes/No”. It doesn’t take away from every plot thread you tied up (or permanently left frayed and torn to shreds) throughout the main story, resolving conflicts spanning all the way to the first game and even earlier. It gave a real sendoff to several old characters, rather than the cheap kills that ME2 scored through arbitrary checks. It felt like you were ACTUALLY sending your squad into dangerous scenarios knowing full well that your decisions could hurt them, rather than “If not loyal, rocket hits face.”
Where’s ya boi Tim Schafer when you need him? Oh wait… he’s making a new Psychonauts game
Also, I love how we managed to turn a general game discussion on trash vs not trash to an entirely Mass Effect-centric debate.
I still have Dragon Age Origins to play…need I be concerned???
As far as topic derails…I think that when we’re flinging around criticism about well regarded and often loved games, it’s important to fully justify reasoning else it comes across as cheap shots intended to score points and encourage vitriol. You’ve put a lot of effort into your commentary and it’s plain to anyone reading the reasons behind your thinking. In the end there’s a large element of subjectivity in these matters.
As far as terrible games of no merit go I pretty much filter them out through reviews. I haven’t played something I’d regard as irredeemably awful for ages, and the only game that I’ve ever played that I couldn’t tolerate was the PS2 game, Magna Carta Tears of Blood. That one was terrible…
Nope, no cause for concern at all. BioWare Edmonton is the main studio behind Shattered Steel, MDK2, SWKotOR/SWTOR, Dragon Age 1-Inq, and Mass Effect 1-3. BioWare Austin (a new studio) is working on Anthem. Montreal made the DLC for ME3 and all of Andromeda… so in my opinion, they’re 0 for 2 so far.
I get that a lot of my opinions end up being subjective, but in the end, I think defining reasons behind criticism is the single most important thing. I’ll listen to any criticism as long as it’s justified by something tangible. It’s kind of what sets apart the Critics from the Crowbcats, so to speak.