« Reply #5 on: 2011-01-07 14:47:37 »
I was trying to avoid spoilers but now Don has blown that out of the water...
Understand first of all that it was only the chance viewing of a semi-spoiler in a discussion thread on another forum which led to me learn that there was Some Point in the game where Something would happen to hurry things along whereas the rest of the game could be played at my own pace. I didn't know what it was but I became very paranoid looking for it.
Practically everything I now discuss I learned through reading a wiki after the fact. In my actual playthrough it was whammo whammo you're all dead kthxplaying.
Anyway the decision I'm talking about is that of when to take the mission to retrieve the IFF. After you do that mission you have time for one, possibly two more sidequests before you are forced into the Collector attack mission and your crew is abducted. The only way to save them all is to immediately go through the Omega 4 relay. The wiki says that if you do one, two or three sidequests before going through you will lose half the crew; any more and you will lose them all.
Now of course this is a roleplaying game and the role I am playing is that of Commander Shepard. The clue in the name is that he "commands" people. Commanding people is hard if they are all sitting in some gooey tube being turned into Reaper food so I naturally decided to rush to save them, abandoning the loyalty quests (more on those later). Well actually I carried on investigating the anomaly I had been looking at while mining before I was rudely interrupted by my entire crew being kidnapped. Apparently that counted as doing a mission so by the time I got to the crew the hot redhead who joined me for dinner that one night was being liquidised and fed to the end boss. Fail number one.
In my hurry to do the final mission I had to, as previously discussed, abandon the loyalty quests. This meant that the only two characters who were loyal to me were Miranda and Zaeed as I had been spending most of my time recruiting people - which was supposed to be the whole point of the game - not helping my teammates on their personal vendettas. As a result everyone got killed in the final battle including Garrus and Tali whom I had been delighted to meet up with again after the first game. I was left with Zaeed whose loyalty mission I'd only done because it happened to be in a system I was mining at the time, and Grunt whom I hadn't even spoken to the whole game. Fail number two.
At this point I feel compelled to complain in the strongest possible terms about the farcical nature of the whole thing. People die at the end because they are not loyal? So never mind that these people have been through the entire first game and saved the galaxy, then gone off and forged their own dangerous and successful careers while Shepard was "dead" and finally joined up with him to take on and succeed in even more dangerous shenanigans. They die at the end not because they are inadequately prepared, not because they are inadequately trained, not because they are inadequately equipped but because I didn't take time out from the stated goal of the game - namely go and recruit a team of elite specialists to take on the mightiest threat that the galaxy has ever faced, and double quick about it because time is running out - to scratch their personal itch.
How does that even make sense? After surviving everything she's had to endure Tali then gets shot in the face purely because I didn't taxi her back to her fleet to face charges of treason? Why would I do that anyway? The Collectors are here right now, abducting entire colonies right now. These silly sidequests can wait can't they?
If you want to save your crew you have to tootle around the galaxy ignoring the fact that the Collectors are slurping up colonies left and right, doing the loyalty quests and upgrading your ship then when you're good and ready and have enjoyed a relaxing cup of coffee go get the IFF then immediately head through the relay. This doesn't make sense and brings a game which had given a good impression of having a greater sense of urgency than the first instalment back down to 1's level where you were constantly being distracted from the supposedly impending doom of everything, everywhere to do tedious FedEx quests for insignificant nobodies.
Anyway what's happened has happened. Everyone is dead and I'm upset. I won't be replaying the game. I won't be reloading my saves. I will go forward to the next game in a foul mood which should make roleplaying Shepard an easy task. Actually the sudden injustice has been a good thing. I was having a hard time liking the game which I thought was too dumbed down - and the first game wasn't exactly the height of complexity to start with - too linear and too neatly split into Non-Combat Areas and Combat Areas. Now I am more invested in the story and looking forward to the next game. I'll probably wait until it goes on sale rather than rush to preorder it but until last week I was considering skipping it altogether.
Although apparently there is going to be an uber collector's edition and I am always far too much of a sucker for such things.