Since Mass Effect 3 is right around the corner, I spent my precious gaming hours last weekend reviewing some stuff I missed in Mass Effect 2. Mostly, it was DLC, including the fantastic Shadow Broker story arc (we downloaded this at its launch, but it’s been in my backlog). But I had also skipped one of the crew’s character-focused loyalty missions. That crew member was Legion.
In explaining the issues I have with this character, its mission, and the way the game story treats it, I’m going to be spoiling pretty much everything there is to spoil in Mass Effect 2. Consider yourself warned. I’m also going to have to refer to Legion as “it,” since “it” or maybe “they” would be the only correct way, and I apologize in advance if that reads funny. Let’s just say when I say “it,” I mean the Legion body, as distinct from the Legion “brain,” which is a clear “they.”
Now that all the fiddly stuff is over: I don’t really like Legion.
Let me qualify. There are a few distinct reasons why someone might not like a character in an ensamble RPG. My favorite character in Final Fantasy VII is Cait Sith, but most people find that confusing, because he’s not a mechanically useful character. What I like about the character is his personality, his uselessness notwithstanding. In Mass Effect 2, I like Kasumi, because she’s mechanically useful, but her personality is kind of smug and know-it-all.
Legion has neither of these immediate problems. Mechanically, it is fairly useful, with drone AI hacking abilities and tech skills. Its personality, such as it is, is also superficially fine. The Shadow Broker DLC has a little commentary a player can access, showing each crew member’s personal logs, to highlight some aspects of their personalities. Legion’s shows its kill record in modern Call-of-Duty-equivalents as excellent, but it can’t figure out how to play the story part of games and relationship simulations. That’s a cute and somewhat identifiable touch that many gamers could latch on to. It would work well, if Legion were merely “a strange little robot character.”
However, Legion is not merely a strange little robot character. Legion is Geth: a representation of the hive-mind of an artificial alien race. So, here is Problem Number One: The Geth were positioned as the major enemies throughout the first Mass Effect game.
In anticipation for the sequel, Aram Zucker-Scharff of Nightmare Mode did a huge takedown of Mass Effect 2 in general over the last few weeks. Now, I liked Mass Effect 2 a lot. I didn’t mind ammo and scanning, but I definitely agree on point five here. In order to allow our team to have an alliance with such a character as Legion, Mass Effect 2 has to overlook or rewrite the role of Geth in the previous game. In the process, the story from the first game makes less sense, and the epic scale of the first game seems weakened. Now there are the good Geth and the bad Geth. Well, okay.
Another takedown from that same series involves the mission I just completed. So, Problem Two: Legion’s Loyalty Mission. The mission itself, action-wise, is pretty enjoyable. The story is strange. Your decision tree in that mission is a choice between genocide, and the other kind of genocide. (As it turns out, there are two kinds of genocide.) I’m not a person who gets upset if I have to make an evil or morally gray choice in a game, but this is a case where, though neither decision is heroic at all, one of the choices is “Paragon” even though no kind of genocide is very Paragon. Broadly, I am with Jack on this particular issue. I like that there’s no real right answer in this mission. But I don’t like that games with morality systems, like Mass Effect, tell you what the “most heroic answer” is anyway on an issue as challenging as this one. This is a broader issue with game morality meters, and a digression, but it’s highlighted well here.
All of this has been discussed a bit by other game writers, and I’ve seen a bit of debate about the right thing to do in that mission. But I think I’m about to enter virgin territory when I discuss my own, personal account here, and where it leads to Problem Number Three.
When I played through the Mass Effect 2 “suicide mission” the first time, I went in with a disloyal Legion, but the rest of the crew was loyal. It came down, essentially, to choosing between doing that last loyalty mission, or arriving at the final mission fast enough to save all of my crew. I chose to save the crew.
However, I wasn’t working with a guide or any spoilers when I did this mission. I decided it might be possible to keep my one disloyal crew member out of danger if I didn’t use that member for much. The first choice in the “suicide mission” is which technical specialist to put up in the air vents to do… technical things… during an initial infiltration. I chose Tali for this. Then I had to choose someone to lead a secondary squadron. I chose Samara. This turned out to be a bad choice, but, I didn’t know this, since Miranda praised this decision in the game. I figured I had done fine.
But I didn’t know at the time how the mission worked. Choosing the wrong second squad leader results in the vent specialist dying, rather than the second squad leader. Tali dying was unacceptable to me, so, I hit reset.
(It’s at this point where so many game journalists will probably claim I should have been willing to accept that result, because it’s more dramatic and therefore better to lose a character I care about, or something like that. I believe that I’m just playing this the way the average person would have played.)
Trying again, I put Legion in that position but still had Samara leading the squad. (The game hadn’t given me any indication that the choice of Samara was the problematic one.) Legion died. This time, I figured that to be acceptable losses.
I managed to pull off the rest of the mission without much of a hitch.
If a cast member dies during the suicide mission, the game shows the team having a little funeral for that cast member. I’ve actually seen this scene a few times, because I experimented with the suicide mission until I got the best possible result. (Yeah, yeah, doing it wrong. Sometimes I lost up to three crew members this way! Eventually I did make it out with all of them, despite missing that one loyalty mission.) The first time I saw the scene, I was genuinely puzzled. Who is that casket for, I thought? I only lost Legion. Is that casket for Legion?
But Legion is not a person.
Look, this isn’t me hating, Joker-style, on robots. I like robots, and if a robot actually was a person, and died, I would want to have a funeral for that person. It’s just that Legion is not identified as a person. Legion is a sensory organ for a larger hive-mind entity. It confirms this when you talk to it. Ask it any questions about its person or its race. Legion explains that there is a subtle difference between “individual” Geth, and that difference is perspective. It happens to be the one Geth eyeball that is on the Normandy, helping out Shepard’s crew. But all of its findings and information are uploaded, often at some kind of instant-communication speed, back to the Geth hive brain.
Having a funeral for Legion seems odd in that context. If, say, someone were to have an ear cut from his body, he might try to reattach it. If that were to fail, he would possibly dispose of it, maybe have it preserved, or, if Van Gogh, gift it to someone he admired. What he would not do, not even if he were Van Gogh, is ask all his friends to have a little funeral ceremony for it, complete with a casket. That would probably be weird.
Seeing that behavior in Mass Effect 2, therefore, confused me. The most understandable explanation for the funeral, from an in-world perspective, is that the crew honors Legion anyway, out of respect for its help, regardless of its actual status as an appendage of the Geth. Basically, Shepard and crew are being too nice (even if you play Shepard as a cold-hearted renegade,and, oh, I do). Funerals are for the survivors.
But when I played the loyalty mission for Legion, I also played as Renegade, and that path has some very telling dialog. Legion specifically says that treating one race the same as another may be the wrong way to go. The words Legion specifically uses are “racism” and “anthropomorphism.”
That’s the puzzle piece I was missing when I blinked, confusedly, at the crew pushing a Legion-filled casket out to space. It’s not just that this shell was a part of someone, instead of a whole someone. Having this little funeral for Legion, an eyestalk of the Geth Hive Mind, is really kind of disrespectful to Legion. It’s anthropomorphizing something that didn’t actually want that treatment. That’s why I can’t call Legion “he” when I write about it, despite an initial urge to do so. If I actually wanted to be nice to the character as written, I shouldn’t insult it with these human traits.
I don’t think the game had intended to address this in this scene. It just seems to use the same funeral-scene setup for however many characters die, swapping out the characters attending for the ones in the casket(s). But in having a possibility that the funeral will be about Legion – and just Legion – it highlights a problem with the character in general. Since Legion’s loyalty mission unlocks last, making it the hardest to complete in time, I doubt I’m the only player that just pushed out one, Geth-filled casket before the credits rolled.
I guess if there is one thing I do like about Legion, I like that it makes me think about issues like this. The problem is, though, every time I think too deeply about the role the character fills in the story, it seems to fall apart. I’m not sure that the trade-off was worth it.
However, I have heard that the character will be back in Mass Effect 3, so I’m glad I completed its mission anyway. Maybe there will be some new perspective on this that I lack. Maybe I’ll even learn to get used to having the guy around. For now, I guess you could say I’m “Team Tali” where it comes to the Geth.
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Great stuff, AJ.
I am going to avoid Aram Zucker-Scharff’s “take down”, becuase I really don’t know who that guy is or really care about his opinion of the game. Ok, I lied. I just briefly glanced at his “top five” things. He’s wrong on so much. Particularly on Point 4. That was the highlight of the game for me. There was nothing pointless about what happened. It all depended on knowing your team and making the right call. I wish there had been a LOT MORE of that kind of stuff throughout the entirety of the game, because for the first time it felt like your entire squad was involved and you were the leader of a big team as opposed to just two NPCs. And Schraff is 100% wrong about this. Whether squad member’s die is NOT at all random. It is all based on decisions you made in the past and make in the present. I didn’t lose anyone, because I am kick-ass Shepard who knows his people. I also loved the scanning. I found it soothing and rewarding. Maybe I’m weird like that. And bitching about Ammo? Come on. Narrow universe? I felt it was plenty broad and rich. I saw the links to the rest of his stuff. I don’t think I need to go there. He didn’t like the game. I loved it.
I loved “Mass Effect 2”. Easily my game of the year whatever year it came out. It was totally engaging. I laughed out loud at times. I liked the story. It was dramatic. Tense. Sure, the final boss battle was kind of dull, but everything leading up to it during that final sequence was fantastic.
I never really thought much about Legion. He always felt as sort of a tacked on character to me. Until you wrote about it I didn’t even really remember the whole decision that you had to make. I felt his inclusion in the game was a bit abrupt and really never thought about it in the larger context of the Geth or universe. To be honest, I think I just thought “Huh. He’s like Hugh from the Borg. I hated Hugh. I don’t really care about this guy.”
In fact, during that vent mission you were talking about, I felt like the obvious choices for opening that door were either Tali or Legion. It sounded very dangerous and my Shepard considers Tali like a younger sister. They have strong bond and there is no way he’d risk her. So, Legion was the obvious choice. I was like, “Wow. That vent thing sounds dangerous. You, new guy. You’re a robot, right? You’re good with tech, right? Jet your metalic ass in the vent. Good luck!” Luckily, Legion survived the encounter. I put my main man Garrus in charge of the second team. He’s my boy and really the one guy I trust above all others. I know Miranda wanted the lead, but I still couldn’t trust her exactly. I sent the black guy to escort the crew that had been captives back to the ship and that really only left Garrus as the logical leader of Team B.
Jack is my girl. She always comes with me.
In my final, saved run, I put Kasumi in the vents. She acted like Queen of Security for her whole loyalty mission, so it was only right she do the job for reals. It worked out okay. I kept yelling at her: “I PAID REAL DOLLARS FOR YOU” for her motivation.
Primarily, I linked to the NM article a second time here because I thought I saw some other discussion on the net about Legion’s loyalty mission a long time ago but I couldn’t find it today. If anyone has other links or insight send them along for sure!
I think Paragon/Renegade isn’t MEANT to be “good guy/bad guy,” but a lot of gamers see it that way.
I have to skip most of this article because I’m committed to finishing (finally) Mass Effect 2 in advance of the sequel and I’d like to avoid spoilers. But I’m totally coming back once I’ve finished to share my own thoughts.
Thus while I’d normally say “outstanding work, AJ” or something along those lines based on having read it, I can’t. However AJ’s work is always pretty damned kickass so I can safely assume this continues the tradition.
Steerpike, you are too nice.
Anyway the point of the article is that Tap could make a killing on “Team Tali” T-shirts.
I am not sure exactly what’s going to happen with me in ME3. In the “Shadow Broker” DLC – which was awesome – I believe I told Liara that the reason I was doing what I was doing was to show Jack that there was good in this world or something like that. I am not sure how I go back from that.
Liara has her work cut out for her.
I like Tali. She had Liara were my main team in ME1. She’s like my little sister though, just like Garrus is like my big brother.
I mean… Her legs bend the wrong way, she has two giant claw toes and three giant claw fingers. And we haven’t even begun talking about the whole mask issue.
A lot to think about, Amanda. Nice article. I read that one you link to and point #5 is the only one I mostly disagree with. Suicide mission, although I really like replaying it for the action, could have been done a bit better (IMHO there should have been obvious, forced deaths.. i.e. “you, go here, you go there, and you go that way; p.s. you’re all gonna die, k?). I mean, they built it up as a suicide mission for ages and it’s possible that no one dies. Since my first few completions of the game I sought out that hilarious flow chart … the way it all works out is mind boggling. I particularly resent the fact that Jack has to die if you don’t upgrade your ship’s armor (see, on my evil (yeah, evil, not “renegade”) character’s playthrough I try to kill my entire team except for the worst possible people, like Morinth). Anyway that’s a too-huge discussion there!
The scanning, yeah I definitely got sick of it and wished for the 85 degree slopes I had to climb with the Mako. Ammo didn’t bother me so much; the way they retconned it into the story was laughable, but whatever. I’m not 13 anymore, I have better things to worry about (not really, though).
But I have to disagree with him, and you as well, regarding Legion. I think your complaints, Amanda,– and to be fair, you state this yourself– have more to do with continuity errors made by BioWare than the character Legion itself. I will start by admitting a bit of personal bias: Legion is my favourite character in the game and one of the few that I go out of my way to keep alive. Why? A few reasons. First, I simply enjoy the conversations that take place between Legion and Shepard, and really, what else do we judge these characters by? Second, I believe the complexity introduced into the story by Legion only enriches and complicates the story of Mass Effect; a story which I readily announce I found…weakened by the sequel.
Zucker-Scharff’s point about the codex entry is flawed. That is a codex kept by the human alliance (or perhaps if I’m wrong, the entire galactic community); a codex is written with obtained knowledge and perspective. It is not written by an omnipotent hand which knows the geth to be entirely violent. Civilization knows them to be violent because they were involved in one massive and bloody war, after which they hid.
The lessons about respecting other races and then immediately committing genocide? Well that’s just BioWare’s lousy writers; that has nothing to do with Legion’s character. That’s the player character’s actions (forced, as the case may be). As someone who admires the English language I found much of Legion’s loyalty mission, and his conversation dialogue, to be some of the most competent, least embarrassing writing in Mass Effect 2, right up there with Lair of the Shadow Broker (save for anything Liara says, who is a wretched, wretched exercise in character design).
Unless I am pleasantly surprised, however, I believe all of this may be moot, because I don’t see how BioWare will tie in a satisfying conclusion to the story of the geth and quarians in Mass Effect 3. In fact I’m sure each race that had interesting potential will be short-changed at the expense of Human Goddamn Ingenuity Saving The Motherfucking Day, Yeah.
Seriously, if Mass Effect 3 ends with Shepard and Anderson cracking a couple Bud Lights in front of an American flag I’m going to fucking puke. YOU GOT IT, BIOWARE? NO AMERICAN FLAGS! (No flags of any kind, really; I don’t mean to pick on The Center Of The Universe.)
Who am I kidding, it’s going to be a huge fist-pumping, chest-bumping celebration once the reapers are taken down. The best parts of RPGs are often shoved into the periphery, because as they say…
Insincere endorsement: You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have heard him in the voice of elcor.
xtal: See, this is the reason I wrote all this. I wanted to hear from people who really like the character. Basically, you like the character anyway, whereas for me, I kind of wanted to like it (and on the surface level of being a sort of charming-goofy robot, Legion is okay), but I couldn’t because I was too bothered by the continuity problems surrounding it.
Perhaps I am just picking the nittiest of nits, or maybe it’s just confusing how the writing went out of its way to say “no Legion is a hive mind that is why we call them Legion” and then sometimes it actually wasn’t.
Thanks Amanda that was excellent. I read through Aram’s posts. While I agree with some of his points, in many instances he just seemed to be complaining about not getting his way. He also seems to be lacking somewhat in the ability to detect nuances of meaning. That and he’s perhaps forgetting that this is a trilogy and may not get all of his answers until its time.
But enough about that guy. I’ve never seen the Geth as anything more than machines. I tend to roll my eyes at the notion of them being on a level with the other races. That said, I took the path of not destroying the heretics (I think anyway, that whole plot was so convoluted I could scarcely keep track. So much techo-babble it seemed like a typical Star Trek episode). My motivation though was that I figured if the game now tells me that Geth aren’t all bad, then having another tool in the box against the Reapers is good. Otherwise I would eradicate them without a hint of remorse.
I for one wouldn’t feel bad about playing for a “good” ending. I actually lost Legion the first time and reloaded. I wasn’t about to lose anybody, no matter what. And I agreed with Aram (OK sorry to bring him up again) that the consequences seemed too arbitrary. They certainly weren’t obvious to me.
But I pretty much treated ME2 as a third-person shooter with some somewhat interesting RPG elements thrown in. After the tedium that was ME1, it seemed a good trade-off. So take my comments in that light.
“This is a broader issue with game morality meters, and a digression, but it’s highlighted well here.”
It’s worth a full discussion another time, with your customary skill. They’ve always bugged me, going back to D&D (and AD&D’s every more complicated back flips). Chaotic neutral puh-lease.
Unless the game is centered on the Manichean heresy, and Star Wars–and dare I say Bioware–can’t carry that weight, give up and gray all the way. That’s probably why I don’t write best selling novels or games. Or, I like to think of the potential as nested scales: hero at this scale, villain or hero at the next.
Games simply aren’t doing this, it’s always small (mission decision)–>galaxy spanning and nothing between. Where is the game where the world wheels on and the player is involved in high stakes swimming in a small pool? Is identification with the heroic (effecting, effective) actor so crucial such a game would die aborning? If so, games still have room to grow the heck up.
Full admission, kinda got a crush on Tali. So earnest but a backbone when pushed. Crush aside, I think she’s the most “human”, in the sense of feeling real, and not least because she’s perhaps the most underwritten in terms of standard game heroics. She’s acting in multiple game scales in a way most of the others are not. More bluntly, she’s less of a cliche.
I’m with you Fink. Tali’s the bomb. She and Garrus always struck me as the most real characters, with the most depth, and the ones I found myself liking personally, even outside the game. In ME2 there’s not much to work with…
Miranda is well-acted by Yvonne Strahovski, but she’s an offensive caricature of a female, obviously written by dudes, and is eminently unlikable and untrustworthy to boot.
Jacob is the Kaidan Alenko of ME2. He barely exists at all.
Jack is… I’m sorry Ajax19, I know your feelings about Jack, but she’s a bit much. There’s over the top and then there’s Jack. Bald tattooed biotic mass murderer who hates everything and lives in the cargo hold? Please. An eleven year old wrote her.
Mordin is pretty awesome, but I don’t get much depth from him.
Grunt is absurd.
Zaeed is okay but tacked on. If he’d shipped with the game instead of being DLC there might have been more there there.
I can’t remember the others and I’m only about 70% through, so I still have some recruiting left, but I don’t remember being particularly impressed with any of them either, when I first played ages ago. In fact what I remember most is that I disliked everyone on my crew so strenuously that I pretty much only ever went anywhere with Tali and Garrus. Fortunately they kick ass in addition to being good characters.
Finkbug, were you on the International Space Station for a year or something? Where ya been?! Nice to hear from you, even though I still understand about 5% of what you say. <3 <3 <3
Steerpike, don't expect to find anyone with much depth in your travels recruiting the rest of your team. They spent a bit too much time on certain characters (Mordin, Miranda) while not enough on others that needed more attention to flesh out (Tali, Thane, Samara).
It's interesting who we all chose to like and dislike. Amanda's point about Kasumi being mechanically great but mostly throw-away personality wise is spot on. Having Kasumi in your party makes you feel like you're cheating with her cloak-and-backstab move; then when you want to go talk to her about how awesome she is you discover she truly is just a piece of DLC afterthought: BioWare didn't even design interactions with her (outside of her loyalty mission).
Miranda is another; mechanically she is arguably the most useful squad member in the game with a perfect balance of abilities, so some people will like her on those merits, while many others will choose to like or dislike her based on her hyper-feminized appearance and back-story.
The first time I played the suicide mission I had two casualties: Tali and Miranda. Tali died because I sent her into the vents and had Miranda as squad leader; but I sided with Jack in their argument so Miranda was not loyal to me. Then I took Miranda to fight the final boss and she died there, because that's what happens to any non-loyal party member in that sequence. Interestingly, since the first playthrough was my only "pure" one, without knowledge of the mathematics and selection behind the suicide mission, I have tried to honour the unexpected nature of those losses in subsequent playthroughs: through various combinations of ruthlessly killing off my squad (I've been allowed control, I exercise it, however manufactured) I have always left Tali and Miranda to suffer the same fates, to keep that one sliver of truth.
Just as I had no idea that upon landing at the Salarian base on Virmire, I would be ordering Ashley to kill Wrex mere moments later. These are the things that end up sticking with you from Mass Effect; arguably these moments that shape our memories are the pinnacle of the franchise's success, allowing our minds, however briefly, to forget about planet scanning, hacking and recycled interior design.
Sorry, Steerpike, you’ve completely missed the mark here. 100%. It’s what we on teh internets call an: Epic Fail.
Perhaps because you haven’t gotten to Jack’s loyalty quest/backstory and perhaps because you never pursued the romantic realtionship angle with her, but she is a very solid, well-written character. She has depth and complexity and is a dynamic character. She hates what she is. What they made her. After being horribly abused and forced to do unspeakable things at a young age she retreats inside and lashes out ay anyone and everything because anyone and everything that’s ever been close to her has caused her unebelievable pain and hardship. There is a lot more to her than what you state. A lot more. You just didn’t care enough to explore. You missed out.
I like Tali just fine, but I never found her particularly deep. She was always like the nerdy science girl. Strong and resliant when comes to stuff in her wheelhouse, but Kind of naive and awkward outside of that. Kind of cliched.
Over all, I think these characters, while not perfect, show plenty of depth. Thane is a fantastic example. I thought he was a very well-written character. Mordin was fantastic. A much more complex character than most give him credit for. Samara was great. While these characters might not have had as much “screen time” as others, they still had depth to them and were very well executed. I never cared much for Grunt/Wrex or any of those guys at all really.
Zaed is tacked on, but he is good for a laugh. I never really used him.
Jacob is kind of bland, but I really enjoyed his loyalty mission.
Let’s not forget Joker and the computer AI.
What RPGs out there have had a better set of characters overall? Perhaps, ME2’s flaw is that there were too many characters, so there just wasn’t enough time to fully flesh out them all.
Mass Effect 2’s writing, characters, story and what not is better than what you’ll get out of most movies, televsion shows and books. ME2 is just transcendentally awesome.
When I compare the writing and characters to other RPGs I’ve played, say the Bathesda line of “Fallout” and “Elder Scrolls” or what tries to pass as role-playing/character/dialogue in “Demon Souls”/”Dark Souls” (it’s horrendously bad), ME2 and BioWare’s RPGs over all just completely blow them out of the water. It’s not even close. I know there are many folks that disagree with me, so I ask you:
What are these awesome RPGs out there in terms of writing, memorable characters, and story that I’m missing?
Bah! You are not allowed to have an opinion on this matter because you have a soft spot for bald girls. I know you too well, Ajax! Oh yes, I remember your collection of Sinead O’Connor CDs from the apartment on 4th street! Poor Mrs Ajax, with her long hair.
Bioware in general does the best characters, but I don’t think that’s saying much. Obsidian of course does quite well too, but unfortunately its games tend to have so many technical problems that characterization is overlooked. Bioware’s dialogue also tends to be among the best, though again, we haven’t seen much in games to be proud of. I absolutely adore the writing and characters in Naughty Dog’s work, the Uncharted series is hard to beat, and I’m very much looking forward to The Last of Us.
Character and dialogue are definitely areas where tabletop RPGs (and movies, and novels, and comics, and basically every other medium) excel compared to video games. I don’t dispute that ME2 has a lot of great writing in it, just that “great for a video game” is pretty thin.
Bah! I don’t blame you, Steerpike, for your horribly misguided view here. It’s not your fault. Despite normally having very well-reasoned and excellent opinions on most things, you genetically predisposed to ocassionally have some opinion that inexplixcably and 100% wrong (see, e.g., your brother). You both do it. It’s odd.
As for character and dialogue, I must, once again, disagree with you. I think Mass Effect 2’s characters and dialogue would hold exceptionally well up against, say, 90-95% of the comparable material in other media? How many space operas/sci-fi films really do a better job than Mass Effect? There are a few, a small handful, but they are rare and the exception. The same (probably more so) goes for “Dragon Age” when you compare it against fantasy books and movies.
Obviously when you start comparing the characters/dialogue of these games against a wider-range of movies/shows/books they don’t hold up as well, but when you’re looking at genre vs. genre basis, they hold up exceptionally well I would think.
Dude, the writing in Demon’s Souls is fucking awesome! What other game begins with text as badass as this:
“On the first day, man was granted a soul, and with it clarity. On the second day, upon earth was planted an irrevocable poison, a soul-devouring demon.”
That shit is dark. And the sickeningly evil drums that pound over that whole intro … my god. I watch the whole thing every time I start the game.
Not to mention, I have quite a crush on the Maiden in Black: “May thine strength be granted, so the world might be mended.”
Yes please, grant me strength. For you, my love, I shall occlude with wax the eyes of all your enemies! I am here for thee, and thee only.
I love me some Maiden in Black as well. Accent? Check. Gives me magic power? Check. Accent? Check. Too bad about her face being burned off with wax, though. “I shall await thine return, slayer of Demons. I am here for thee and thee only.” THAT IS HOT
Don’t listen to Ajax, xtal. He doesn’t like Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. You can’t listen to or trust anyone who doesn’t like those games. You gotta take everything he says with a grain of salt. He’s tricksy, too, if you’re not careful he’ll use lawyer powers on you. I’ve seen it happen and it’s not pretty.
Ajax, I condemn you to bring beer tomorrow. I have eleven bottles of PBR and knowing me they won’t be here by the time you arrive.
Steerpike’s got a taste for livin’, he’s thinking cold blue ribbon, he’s got Pabst Blue Ribbon on his mind! (YouTube it)
The dialogue in Demon’s Souls/Dark Soul is one small step from “All of your bases are belong to us” level of nonsense. It’s attrocious.
I watched the YouTube video of all of the interactions of that chubby dude in the platemail armor and his chubby daughter who wears the identical platemail armor. It was mind-numbingly awful.
Steerpike, when don’t I bring beer? That’s like condemning me by forcing me to breathe or watch hockey or something. I accept your condemnation. I am condemned.
I will watch you play some Dark Souls, too. Perhaps I will we see the error of my ways. My heart is not so hardened that I don’t relent. Remember how I embraced “Half-Life 2” after being very suspicious of it lo so many years?
That’s a terrible thing to say about Siegmeyer of Catarina and his daughter Sieglinde. Is it not possible that this is simply how they talk in Catarina? Have you ever been to Catarina? Do you know any Catarinans? Or is it a race thing? That’s it, isn’t it? You’re a racist. You’re racist against the people of Catarina so you mock the way they talk. I can’t believe you. For shame.
It’s true, you pretty reliably bring beer. Maybe I’ll come up with some other condemnation.
I haven’t been able to get into ME2 so far. Tried twice. I’m sure one of these days I’ll suddenly get inspired and go on a tear. As far as RPG writing, I always thought Anachronox had some pretty decent dialogue. Ajax, I’m glad you narrowed your claim that ME2 had better writing that most current TV, books or movies (Deadwood anyone?). I was about to compile a mammoth list and then realized I hadn’t played ME2 and then you restated it as better than any space opera and space scifi, which I know diddly about, so I can return to my heavy drinking and old girlfriend stalking in peace, knowing all is right with the internet.
Anachronox did have fantastic dialogue. It was one of the very few games that was just as deft at being funny as it was at being sad. There were some moments that were downright depressing. Someone actually clipped all the cutscenes together into a movie at one point, so you could skip the game part if you wanted to.
MSG, I don’t think “Deadwood” is a very good example of the writing of “most current TV” shows. Deadwood was an elite show. If it were a person in America it would be in the 1%. Deadwood is the exception on TV, not the rule. I am big fan of great TV shows. I loved Deadwood and Rome. I’m a huge fan of “Breaking Bad”, “Walking Dead”, and “Game of Thrones”. There is a lot of quality TV out there as compared to other eras. But still, sadly, those shows are still the minority. Once you get past the HBO, Showtime, AMC and some of the FX programming you’re really left adrift out there in a sea of crap, much of which, has worse writing, dialogue and characters than, say, ME2.
Anachronox, eh? I will have to check this out.
I present the greatest dialogue ever in a television show: (I’m still on season 3, no Wire spoilers, please!!)
Word. “The Wire.” There is none higher.
Enjoy the rest of the ride! It’s amazing.
Oh man, I wish I was watching The Wire for the first time. I’ve seen the entire series 3 times now.
Ajax, I’ll take your word for it cause I don’t watch most TV. I do believe we are in a golden age of “elite” TV series work. Shows like the The Wire are the equivalent of the Great American Novel. And I lied about only playing 5 minutes of ME2. According to my Steam library it was 8 hours, of which I remember nothing. Didn’t leave much of an impression on me so I’ll have to take your word for it.
I’ve yet to watch The Wire but it’s next in line after Dexter.
Late to the party again. Stupid real life.
I feel like I could write a book about how much is poorly handled in the ME series (and I did write a Gamasutra article more or less specifically about the morality bits), but honestly I don’t feel like Legion is one of them.
I never took the Geth as the main enemy of the series, really, even from ME1 only. They pretty quickly became more like stormtroopers to me, pawns in the game. I was not remotely surprised when they were usurped a bit as the major enemy soldiers in ME2, because for some reason I had the impression that they were going to be sidelined from ME1.
And aside from their design, I never cared for the Geth much. They served their purpose, but in the motley collection of sci-fi cliches that is Mass Effect, they were one of the most tired, I thought. So the introduction of “good” Geth and “bad” Geth did make things moderately more interesting for me, and that was one of the better loyalty missions besides. And Legion was entertaining to talk to in the “LOL he’s a robot, get it?” kind of way.
I’d argue that Legion was tired and inelegant in the first place, but at least it was tolerably so (contrary to, say, Miranda, who I find tired and inelegant and intolerable all at once; she died in my suicide mission and I’m GLAD).
You make some interesting points about the idea of having a funeral for this character. Since I never had a play in which Legion died, I never encountered this issue. The thing of it is, though, regardless what Legion claims, it is difficult to view it as anything but individual because it appears (and appears to act) individual, and as sentient creatures we have little context for anything else. We “know” that the Geth are a hive mind and that Legion is not truly an individual, but we only ever interact with this specific avatar. It IS anthropomorphizing because it’s what we do even to things that DON’T talk to us and watch our backs and murder strangers at our command. And maybe that is entirely contrary to what Legion would have “wanted”, but then, taking into account its desires is also probably anthropomorphizing a lot. I doubt the Geth really want things, per se.
So while obviously the funeral scene is probably mostly a result of technical shortcuts, in some ways it would make me, at least, feel all the more sympathetic toward the surviving cast (many of whom I abhor), because it’s a moment in which they are trying to approach this concept that’s completely beyond human experience in the only way they know how.
Now, that said (and I feel a bit dirty for actually defending, sort of, Mass Effect), and though I stopped Tali from blowing Legion’s brains out, I’m definitely with Team Tali all the way otherwise.
I mean…Her legs bend the wrong way, she has two giant claw toes and three giant claw fingers. All of those things are awesome. And we’ve definitely gotten around the whole mask issue.
I really enjoyed Legion. If you buy into Bioware’s kool-aid about the Geth becoming more “human” aka they start having varied opinions there is a little depth there. When Legion talks it represents the hive-mind of the Geth but there are times when it talks and it is represent itself. For example the small scene where you ask it about the N7 armor attached to its shoulder.
Overall I like Legion though it is not my favorite character. I wonder what the writers have planned for it in Mass Effect 3.
As always there are also areas to improve how characters are written and evolve throughout the game. I personally like when a character’s dialogue such as one liners changes based off the status of my relationship with them.