Over and Done With
I finished Mass Effect 2 last night in a bit of an epic playing because, frankly, I wanted it to be over. I hit this point with a lot of these narrative-oriented games – I’m never quite prepared to just stop playing once I’ve pretty much apprehending the mechanics and “feel” of the game (unless the game is Final Fantasy XIII – then I’m all like, “screw this”). Some games reward this attitude of mine, and some games rub my face in their repetitive grind that ends not with a bang, but a whimper.
Fortunately, I felt like Mass Effect 2 rewarded my perseverance. In the end I played for something like 27 hours to get through it, but that included extensive dalliances with side-quests and galaxy exploration. There was something pleasingly numbing about going to all the millions of functionally identical planets and scanning them and picking up hundreds of thousands more minerals than I actually ended up using.
But the ending of the game was definitely pretty fun and included sufficiently epic themes and moments that it seemed like it had all been worth it. As per the advertising, various members of my team died along the way, which I was rather pleased about – not specifically pleased about who died and when, but that people died at all. I was slightly irked by some of the arbitrary natures of their deaths given that I know you technically can finish the game without anyone biting the dust. In retrospect it was presumably connected to “loyalty” stuff, with non-loyal people placed in critical roles being likely or guaranteed to die. Still, if they weren’t loyal to me, then fuck ’em.
So in the end I’m pleased, but I made a horrible decision at the end – I chose to just continue the game at its end point, rather than restarting it with SuperPowerShepard. In retrospect it would have been better to restart, because continuing in the largely empty world of the game turns out to be super boring. Nothing to do, no real way to advance anything. Just standing around on the bridge, waiting for the sequel.
“Heeeere sequel sequel sequel…”