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Mass Effect 3 Wishlist

Mass Effect 3 Wishlist

1. Make Villain Focus

While there were themes of sacrifice and love and trust and space opera and and and, it was ultimately no more than one thing – you versus Saren. That was it. The opening segment of the game established Saren as a Spectre up to no good and when the frustration of the court sequence was done, your goal was then clear. Stop Saren.

BioWare never wavered from this goal and as he betrayed the Spectres, slipped through the courts, cured the genophage, killed Ashley/Kaiden, brought destruction to the Citadel and attempted to bring about the return of the Reapers, Saren was at the heart of it all. Even though he was essentially a conduit for Sovereign’s plans, making him the pawn for a much bigger plan, Mass Effect keeps the focus on Saren.

What made it more personal was that you had direct confrontations with the shady Turian throughout Mass Effect until you finally caught up with him on the Citadel.

Mass Effect 2 lost that focus. The Collectors are originally primed as the antagonists of the game, until it’s clear that a single ‘leader’ collector is controlling them. So he’s the bad guy! No wait, he’s being controlled by Harbinger. He’s the bad guy! No wait, they’re building a human reaper. He’s the bad guy!

Further confusing things was a weird dynamic with the Illusive Man, where you didn’t know if you could trust him or not. He could have been the main bad guy too and BioWare peppers with red flags to the point that you can never fully let your guard down. More on that later.

It’s unlikely Mass Effect 3 will have the same problem, if only because it’s finally bringing back the reapers. Speaking of which…

2. Bring Back The Reapers

Mass Effect’s ending was brilliant. You’re chasing Saren through the Citadel wreckage as Sovereign, the giant Reaper, looms miles above you. When you finally kill Saren and destroy Sovereign, Mass Effect ends with you vowing to take the fight to the rest of the Reapers, as Sovereigns ‘our numbers will darken the sky of every world’ threat echoes in your mind. Shiiiiit! Now I’ve got to fight all the Reapers! And it took me the ENTIRE GAME just to beat one!

Then, er, you’re chasing strange bug people in Mass Effect 2.

Technically, Mass Effect 2 did have a reaper causing the human race headaches. Harbinger was the puppet-master behind the scenes, manipulating the Collectors in the same way that Sovereign had manipulated Saren. But there was no ‘face’ to Harbinger in the same way that Saren was essentially the face of Sovereign and the Reaper connection isn’t even made until a huge chunk of the game had already passed.

So we’d gone from Shepard vs Reapers to Shepard vs Collectors. The Reaper invasion could apparently be postponed for a game.

Obviously, the Reapers are being brought back for Mass Effect 3, as the trailer focuses on them crashing around London and making a mess. But hey! No harm in us making sure and moaning about it, right?

3. More Exploration

BioWare suffers from damned if you do, damned if you don’t syndrome. Mass Effect 1 saw you pootling around planets in the notorious Mako, a floaty vehicle that had all the weight and grip of an empty crisp packet fluttering around in the breeze. You had to drive to minerals to mine them and if that doesn’t sound like fun, it’s because it bloody well wasn’t.

Mass Effect 2 sees you mining planets from orbit and only dropping on the surface if EDI has ‘detected an anomaly.’ The entire galaxy had been reduced to screen that you could browse from the Normandy, exploration now little more than casually prodding a tiny spaceship about on a virtual starmap.

Neither solution was perfect. Mass Effect 1 had the sense of exploration that made you feel like a tiny part of a massive galaxy yet any exploration felt like a chore. Mass Effect 2 tried streamlining that system but overdid it, squashing the entire galaxy into a single computer screen.

Mass Effect 3 needs to find a balance between the two. Have an accessible galaxy but one that feels big, so there’s an option to explore that you want to take. That shouldn’t be too hard should it? I don’t know. I don’t design games. Only moan about them.

4. Stronger Structure

Mass Effect 2 is essentially a big recruitment drive. You find characters, you complete the quest to get them on board, you complete their optional loyalty mission and then they sitting holding their knees in different parts of the ship until you take on the Collectors.

There are side missions outside of that structure but they feel fragmented from the main quest, because Mass Effect 2 is constantly reinforcing that anything to do with the main quest is to do with bringing extra characters onto the Normandy.

The loyalty missions are a nice touch that help flesh out the personalities of those on the Normandy (Thane, Mordin) or highlight the lack of them (Jacob, Grunt). Even so, it would be nicer to have peripheral missions that are meatier and that seem to tie into the larger picture of the storyline, rather than side-missions you feel that you’re ticking off a checklist on the way to 100% completion.

5. Let Me Hate Cerberus

One big question mark in the storyline is the Illusive Man. In Mass Effect 1, Cerberus were painted as the black sheep of the human race, responsible for lethal conducts on marines and generally up to no good. In some side missions, you were often smashing your way through their secret labs and special forces set up there.

In Mass Effect 2, Cerberus is the organisation that brought you back to life and the Illusive Man insists they’re above board. There’s a sudden shift in how they’re perceived thanks to the Illusive Man and you have to trust them. Not because you want to but because there isn’t an option not to.

BioWare can pull off the mask in Mass Effect 3 and show Illusive Man and Cerberus to be the shady organisation they appeared to be in the original Mass Effect. It’s hard to second-guess their moves here. But not having the option to walk away from Cerberus altogether, plus to take the full brunt of Kaiden/Ashley’s anti-Cerberus pouting without offering sympathy or support? It’s a pretty big leap following how Cerberbus acted and were perceived in Mass Effect 1.

6. Wrex, Not Grunt

Providing you didn’t put a bullet through the krogan’s skull when the genophage story arc begins to heat up, Wrex carries over to Mass Effect 2 as the leader of the dominant Urdnot clan leading the krogan.

BioWare presumably didn’t include him as a playable character in Mass Effect 2 and will likely ignore him in Mass Effect 3 because for some players, his corpse has been circled by flies in Virmire since Mass Effect 1.

The point is that Grunt’s teenage angst wasn’t a patch on Wrex’s world weary gravitas, so BioWare would do well to revisit the differences in characters and see what worked well for Wrex that was lost for Grunt.

7. Different Ammo System

The first Mass Effect rocked an infinite ammo system, with the only constraint on your gun being that it couldn’t overheat. A sound idea on paper but in practice, this meant tediously cycling through all your weapons to use ones that hadn’t overheated, particularly on the higher difficulties.

Mass Effect 2 changed that and went for a thermal clips ammo system, which was a universal ammo type that worked across all your weapons. Again, a sound idea looking at it but it’s only when you play and start having to scavenge for them after every firefight that you realise it doesn’t quite translate into fun gameplay.

For Mass Effect 3? Well, that’s for BioWare to figure out, not us. They have acknowledged that the system isn’t perfect, so we’ll see some changes. As for what they are, no-one knows yet. We just hope that it’s not something which forces us to find glowing red objects on the ground after a boss battle because our sniper rifle ran out of ammo again. Sigh.

8. Change The DLC System

I’ll spare you the long and gory details but for the last six months I was living in London, O had no internet connection. “That’s okay,” I thought. “I’ll play Mass Effect 2 offline!” Because, you know, that makes up for the lack of online gaming and Facebook and free po

Now I have your attention, eh? I'M SO VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU

ANYWAY. Point is, I saw how the other half of gaming lived, when they don’t have online access. And it’s ugly.

I couldn’t actually play Mass Effect 2 offline because I had downloaded DLC. The game couldn’t connect to EA’s servers, so it couldn’t verify the DLC, so it wouldn’t let me load any of my game saves. The PlayStation3 version sidesteps that problem, but only by virtue of being a year late and having all the DLC on the disc.

The problem will almost certainly rear its head again for Mass Effect 3, when the DLC will come after the disc hits shelves without it.

While it’s only a tiny percentage of people out there playing without broadband access who can download the DLC (through a friend’s internet connection or whatever), it seems weird to cut them out the loop for the sake of an overly elaborate and needlessly complicated way of delivering the DLC to begin with.

9. I’ve Run Out Of Ideas

But that’s okay, because you’ll suggest some more in the comments section. Right?

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  • Tulio

    90% agree, i just prefeer grunt rather than wrex, the perfect solution probably will be let the player choose betwen those two.

    and well i would like affect enemies with mass effects of my biotic characters without the necesity of destroy their shields before (like mass effect 1).

    And also i want the grenades discs of mass effect 1 (those we throw with slect button)

  • Sid

    For number 1, why do we have to have 1 villian as the focus? The story is MUCH more intresting when you’ve got lots of villians and people you can’t trust. I understand you don’t want loads of villians, but having more than 1 does make the game more intresting. It makes it more thrilling, as you must decide who you should trust, and who you can’t trust, if you know what I mean 😉

    But I do agree with you for number 5. I mean, Cerebus, there just b***ards really. There rebuild you to do there bidding? Let me just kill them for gods sake! I wanna kick some human butt for once!

    BTW, can’t wait for Mass Effect 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!