Feminist gaming blog with a heaping dash of science and politics

Mass Effect 3: A BlogThru, Part 1

All is not well in the Mass Effect universe: giant, evil sentient squid-bot ships are on their way to destroy all known sapient civilizations, for the umpteenthillion time. The galaxy’s ruling Council has decided to stick their fingers in their ears and go “LALALALA I can’t hear you” and even the human Alliance government is turning a blind eye to the impending doom. Only one woman stands between us and the coming annihilation, but will Commander Shepard be able pull the galaxy’s shit together enough to save us from oblivion? Let’s find out together!

This is going to be a blogthru of my first Mass Effect 3 play through, kinda like a Let’s Play but with a blog, or live-blogging but with a little less live-y-ness (’cause, seriously, this game is probably going to be long). I’ve found that if I wait to write about a game till I’m completely done with it, I forget about a ton of little details and things I wanted to point out, both good and bad. So this way, I get to highlight all the things that stand out to me whilst playing the game, and still get to have fun later doing a deep analysis of the story and the characters, especially since this is supposed to be the last installment of Commander Shepard’s epic saga.

Before we begin, though, we need to set the stage and take some bets. My save is a female Shepard that was born a spacer and had war hero notoriety and whose morality was a Paragon/Renegade mix. I let Ashley die in the first game (much to my continuing chagrin as Kaidan bugs the hell out of me), but I kept Wrex and all of my team in the second game alive. I also saved the original Council and chose Admiral Anderson to be the human representative, not that it did me much good in the second game, and I chose to save and release the Rachni queen. My main romance has been and, assuming no one more interesting pops up in this game, will always be Liara, though I will flirt with just about anyone, ’cause I’m shameless like that.

As for the bets, I do have some predictions about what we’ll find in this game:

  • The Rachni are going to be instrumental in helping save the galaxy. Seriously, they were the most fearsome fighting force in the galaxy, having them owe Shepard a species-level life debt is a serious ace in her pocket.
  • Judging from certain screens, demo scenes, and leaks, there will be several feminist rant inducing moments throughout the game. Hopefully they wont get too much in the way of things.
  • Judging from the emotional manipulation that was that lil boy in the opening scenes of the demo, some character deaths are going to likely be inescapable and Bioware will gleefully pluck the heartstrings when they happen. I suspect there may be some tears involved before this is all over.
  • The genophage is going to be a big issue in the game because, much like the Rachni, the Krogan were a fearsome fighting force and getting them back up and running may be crucial to the galaxy’s survival. I’m just hoping that they don’t ignore the female half of the species (ya know, the half that’s actually most affected by the genophage) when discussing it like they did in the first two games.
  • Lastly, I’m hoping, perhaps against all hope, that we’ll finally get to see more of the female halves of the galaxy’s denziens. I know we’ll see at least one female Krogan, and maybe a Salarian Daltrass, but this is the galaxy’s very survival we’re talking about here. We should be seeing female Salarians joining their military or the Daltrasses actually follow the lore and act as their political leaders for once, we should be seeing half of all Turian soldiers be female (since they’re a militaristic meritocracy after all), we should be seeing the fierce battle prowress of female Krogans instead of them being shoved into breeding camps, and the same goes for the rest of the speices: Drell, Hanar, Volus, Elcor, Yaugh, etc. I’m really hoping that we’ll finally get to see the galaxy’s women some real recognition and screen time.

With all that said, let’s get this party started!

*Spoiler alert from here on in, just in case someone wasn’t paying attention*

After two failed attempts at making a decent new Shep face (like I’ve said before, I’m a char creation junkie) I finally get something that looks good in game and dive into the story. This part is pretty familiar since it’s what the demo covers, but I’m surprised to see that Kaidan is wearing an outfit very similar to mine, something that looks like a basic dress uniform (aka BDUs) that a soldier of the future would wear. The one Ashley wore when I played the demo was…. different. Perhaps someone neglected to inform her it wasn’t Halloween and she didn’t need to dress up in her Sexy Soldier Of The Future costume.

Spot the difference! Since when did the Alliance start issuing high heeled thigh high boots, garter belts, and shirts so tight you can see the belly button indent? I thought that was the Cerberus uniform >.<

Anyhoo, Kaidan talks to Admiral Anderson, and shoots some glances at me that makes it seem like he’s still surly about our past, or lack thereof. The whole scene with him just seems akward and his response to James Vega (aka the new meathead love interest) is definitely a “just somebody that I used to know” kinda dig. Once that weirdness was done with Kaidan (which I’m sure would have been totally different if I had had sex with him in the first game), Anderson and I are shuffled into a meeting with the Alliance Defence Council who are trying so very hard to convince me to convince them that Reapers aren’t about to kill them all. This, of course, doesn’t work and they are all squid food before the scene is done, leaving Anderson and me to romp about in the smoldering ruins, shooting up baddies (which by the way is kinda hard to do as an Infiltrator without her armor or sniper rifle).

Ah and there’s that doomed little boy again being all foreshadowy. Some fighting and dialoguing later, we get picked up by the Normandy but Anderson decides to stay behind to help people resist. Then we’re treated to a lovely cinematic of doomed boy clumsily boarding a transport ship which promptly gets blown to smithereens by a mini-Reaper. This leaves me none too sure about just how much help Anderson’s going to be, but I guess that’s the definition of heroic or something, so I jet off to safety with Kaidan, James, and the Normandy’s crew. There’s some whinging from James (who is getting on my nerves already) before we’re ordered by Admiral Hackitt to go to Mars where I get to reunite with my one true blue love, Liara, and we make kissy faces at each other while Kaidan does some serious eye rolling. And this is where shit gets good, and not just because I finally have someone on my team I actually like: Liara found data on an ancient Protheian weapon that’s going to save us all…. if we can get it built.

And, as we soon find out, the future of the galaxy hangs on that one single, but very large if. Cerberus, the pro-human-at-any-cost organization, is after the plans, too, and they even sent a smexy lady doctor, oh wait now she’s robot, to steal the blue prints for it. We eventually stop her, but first Kaidan gets the crap beat out of him because that’s what Kaidan does. I shoot the sexy robot dead and then we all tuck tail and run back to the Citadel so Kaidan can get some medical treatment. While there I find out that the Council is being just as useless as ever and wants me to do all their hard work for them, specifically the Turian Councilor wants me to save the Turian Primarch from a Reaper attack. After giving them a nice Paragony tongue lashing, I finally get to take a break from all the action to just stop and look around. Whew. Who knew a galaxy wide Reaper invasion would be such a non-stop whirlwind of explosions and death?

So far, a couple of things have stuck out to me. First up: WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH THE FEMALE BODIES?! Like seriously wtf Bioware? Since when have human women had their waists at their biceps? It’s effed up and hurts my head soooo much when I’m running around in my grey BDUs. Thankfully this seems to only be a problem with that particular casual outfit, but this is the gear 90% of your crew is stuck in and you are forced to wear for a big chunk of the game. It looks horrible and once seen, cannot be unseen.

There's something weird going on with the torso on the left. The waist on most woman sits near their elbows, not their biceps. Even compared to Shepard in one of her other outfits, the waist is much higher which makes the whole torso look off.

Speaking of casual wear, what’s with the outfit choices for men and women, hmm? What Commander would seriously run around in a skintight latex dress and heels when fighting a Reaper invasion on a military battleship? HMM? And it’s gets even more absurd when you compare it to what M!Shep gets as his special casual wear. Methinks someone dipped a little too heavily into the ‘sex sells’ bucket (which may also explain the sexy robot lady, but since I know where that’s going I’ll talk about it later).

Most of the casual wear options are pretty egalitarian, but this one... stands out as uniquely not. M!Shep's option 5 is a leather jacket, tshirt, and baggy jeans outfit. F!Shep's option 5 is a skin tight latex/plastic dress sans underwear and heels. I think I'd rather have had the jackent n' jeans combo.

And with that thought, it’s time for a quick break from Mass Effect 3 (yes, sadly, life doth beckon me elsewhere). Next time, we get to chat up our new team mates and go rescue a Turian!


2 responses to “Mass Effect 3: A BlogThru, Part 1

  1. feministgamer March 13, 2012 at 1:38 am


  2. bioware mass effect 3 March 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    *ETA:Spoiler Warning*

    I should note that the supposed “good” ending includes a very brief cut scene where Shepard is still alive but appears to be in bad shape; I don’t have much of an incentive to work hard to get my EMS up for a 20 second cut scene that leaves some ambiguity about Shepard’s ultimate fate.

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