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Does anyone else feel making Shepard automatically feel so sad over the death of one kid regardless of morals feel really forced?

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Yes, actually. I really disliked how they made Shepard so emotional by default and eliminated the neutral options. One example is right after the fall of Thessia, where Joker makes the asari stripper joke and the only two options really equate to "Shut the hell up, Flight Lieutenant. I'm so traumatized." I really wanted to choose something more neutral and logical there, but Bioware had to pull all the emotional stops in their last game of the trilogy. You don't get emotion from the player by forcing them to say something they don't want to. You get it from watching them see the consequences of saying or doing exactly what they wanted to. None of any of my most emotionally significant moments in the trilogy came from the third game for this reason, although all my "What the hell, I didn't mean to use that tone of voice" moments did. Yoheresmoreshow (talk)

  • The point of the third game was making Shepard far less of a blank emotional slate unaffected by everything that happened around them.  Then again, it wasn't as if Shepard felt helpess in ME1 when the Normandy was locked down. LilyheartsLiara (talk)
  • I liked my blank slate. It meant that Shepard's personality was based on what I did and projected on him, not what some writer wanted him to say. I liked when my choices almost totally mattered towards Shepard's development. That's the whole reason I got into the series anyway. The thing I disliked most about the third game wasn't the ending. It was BioWare taking so much control away from me in choosing exactly what I wanted to say. If I wanted a character who was already pre-written by some group who thought their suffering protagonist thing was the best idea ever, I'd play that game with the Eastern European ex-army guy shooting everyone in New York while whining to friends between murders. Yoheresmoreshow (talk)
  • I actually liked that Shepard actually showed some personality in ME3, rather than being an emotionless brick all the time (especially with those 'neutral' options people seem to miss so much). Shep just seemed like less of a player avatar and more like an actual character, and it's not like you have zero control over Shep's development; the degree of player agency is certainly lessened, but Shepard's delivery as a character is more consistent for it (barring the player jumping back and forth across the morality scale like they've got multiple personality disorder). It's a divisive design decision but not without merit, just like Rockstar wanting to take GTA in a more serious direction rather than just churning out the same amoral psychopaths over and over. If the psychos and goofiness are what drew you to GTA, there's always the Saints Row games ;D Terminator-HIX (talk)
  • Funny you should mention that, because I actually just installed Saints Row the Third yesterday and played for a few hours today. I just have no words, that game is hilarious as all get-out. A mind control squid gun and gigantic fists that knock cars 20 feet... I haven't laughed so hard during a game in a very long time. Plus you can make your character the Hulk wearing a cowboy outift with an Australian accent if you wanted to. Man, good times. Yoheresmoreshow (talk)
  • There you go; GTA is free to be (more) serious, and Saints Row takes up the slack (and then some) in the goofy department. Whichever direction you prefer, you're covered :D Terminator-HIX (talk)

Yes, I did. It seemed like this one kid dying bothered Shepard more than everything Shep had done (Virmire, the Citadel, DYING, and possibly losing someone on the Suicide Mission) up to that point and I hated it. I mean I get it, the kid died. Well guess what Bioware, so did everyone else on that shuttle and most of Earth's population. Daverwulf (talk)

  • That's kinda because Shepard didn't really respond to anything in the first 2 games outside of the odd option in the dialogue wheel... Terminator-HIX (talk)

Regardless of Paragon or Renegade leanings, Shepard has always cared about stopping the Reapers.  Shepard doesn't feel sad about just the one child—they know that what is happening before them is happening all over Earth, all throughout the galaxy, and the child becomes a symbol in Shepard's mind of those they are unable to save, those who have died and are dying under the Reapers' wrath. LilyheartsLiara (talk)

  • And that's pretty much the kid's biggest contribution to the story right there: as a symbol. There's nothing to his character beyond "I'm a kid", and that's the only reason we have to care when he gets killed. BioWare seems to have to stumbled into the pitfall of assuming that an audience will sympathise with a child character simply by virtue of being a child, so no development is required. As a consequence, his death just comes off like a cheap attempt at shock value. I know that wasn't exactly what they intended, but that's just how it comes off... Terminator-HIX (talk)

Ehhhh. It's not really the kid so much as what the kid represents, I think. Namely, all the people that Shepard has been incapable of saving over the course of the series, and the people who are dying even as Shepard works to unite the galaxy against the Reapers. Hence why the nightmares are haunted by the whispers of deceased squadmates and allies. I think it would have been nice if they'd also thrown in some detail about Shepard's background in there as well to further tailor the experience to each individual Shepard (e.g., having a Sole Survivor Shepard hear the whispers of the marines who died on Akuze), but perhaps that would have been too demanding. End of the day, though, all it means is that Shepard is neither a psychopath nor the detached nonentity (s)he came across as in the previous games (especially ME1), and Renegade dialogue options will still make Shepard minimize the stress and grief that (s)he's undergoing, much like in previous games.

  • Actually, Renegade Shep's sociopathic tendencies are probably at their peak in ME3. Things like letting Samara shoot herself so she doesn't have to kill her last daughter, then killing said daughter personally... I think the stress gets to Shep regardless of alignment, but the alignment changes how they process it. Terminator-HIX (talk)
  • Oh, I don't know. That example aside (which, yes, I did find uncharacteristically cold), I actually think Renegade Shepard is a much more nuanced and human character (well, "character") in ME3 than in previous games. Part of that is because of the auto-dialogue, sure (since a lot of auto-dialogue is just basic conversational dialogue that makes Shepard seem like - gasp! - a person who actually knows how to interact with other human beings in a normal fashion), but I feel like Renegade dialogue in general has also been softened and qualified bit more for the third game. I mean, for the longest time I honestly couldn't stomach playing ME2 as a pure Renegade (still can't in the case of ME1), because so many of the dialogue options in those games make Shepard come across as an almost cartoonishly repugnant human being. Renegade dialogue and actions in ME1-2 are essentially a combination of blatant xenophobia, exhuberant bluster, antisocial tendencies and codly dangerous apathy towards life and people. It was practically game-breaking, for me, because I found the idea that someone who was as antisocial and (probably) psychologically damaged as Renegade Shepard seemed could somehow achieve everything that Shepard has in life faintly ridiculous. In ME3, being "Renegade" mostly equates to being harsh or somewhat tactless, but for the most part, Shepard isn't quite the human bag of turds that (s)he comes across as was in the previous games. Besides, I think a lot of the coldness and harshness can be understood in the context of the pressure Shepard's under and the dire situations (s)he and the rest of the galaxy currently find themselves in.
  • Yes, Renegade!Shep's over-the-top douchebaggery was cartoonish and hard to take seriously in the first two games, but it was also relatively harmless for the most part. ME3 certainly toned down the Jerkass aspect of the Renegade alignment, but the ruthless and calculating aspect of the alignment was played up and taken very seriously, in part because Renegade choices can have far more severe consequences in ME3 than in the previous two. Take the Tuchanka arc for example: one Renegade outcome has Shep shooting a former teammate (Mordin) in the back, screwing over another former teammate (and by extension, his entire species) in the process, all to secure salarian support for the war effort. When Wrex confronts Shep over it, (s)he can attempt to lie through their teeth at him, citing their previous friendship. When that fails, Shep can blow Wrex away (or do nothing and let Bailey do the work). Or what about the Rannoch arc, where Renegade!Shep carries a Just a Machine mentality toward the geth through that entire ordeal, despite seeing the geth's side of the story, to the point where s/he can tell Legion to its face that the geth are just a bunch of machines that were hacked by the Reapers and need to be shut down (which might be technically true to an extent, but it's still pretty damn cold). Guess what the Renegade solution to this arc is? Renegade!Shep is still a douche in ME3, but s/he's not screwing around in this one... Terminator-HIX (talk)

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