Zaewen

Feminist gaming blog with a heaping dash of science and politics

Mass Effect 3 Blogthru Part 3: Now THAT is how you kill a Reaper!

Started my Mass Effect 3 session pretty late on Wednesday night and it was just one big thing right after the other. Apparently I got just way too caught up in the action and the story and when I finally came up for breath it was the wee hours of Thursday morning. Yes, the story and pacing in this game are just that good. So let’s see what kept me so enthralled and get on with the blogthru!

*Beyond this point, things’ll get spoiley*

Alright, so when we last left off, I had just talked everyone’s (including, you dear reader) ears off and had come away with quit a few missions that needed doing. Since two of the biggest, most main-questy ones were on the same planet, the Krogan homeworld Tuchanka, I decided to finish those first. Little did I know that would take all night.

First up, we needed to save Lieutenant Victus, Primarch Victus’ son, who had been sent on a special mission of the utmost secrecy and importance, and whose ship had been shot down by Reapers. Aparrently his mission was not going so well, and, as Garrus pointed out, this could be a big problem for the Primarch because Turian society is supposed to be a strict meritocracy. That the Primarch gave a critical assignment to his son when he obviously didn’t have the skill needed for it (as evidence by the need for rescuing) would be looked upon by the rest of the Hierarchy as an act of nepotism, a big nono. So, the Primarch asking me to help out on this was far more than a dad asking for me to save his son or a general asking me to save his troops, it was about covering up a potentially very damaging political situation. And that’s before we even get to the reason why the whole thing is such a hush hush mission!

Well, being the awesome Commander Shepard that I am, I jet down there and rescue Lieutenant Victus and his squad without breaking a sweat. I even manage to instill some leadership skills into the Lieutenant and convince him and his troops to finish their mission and he asks if my team could help. Which is about the time that I learn the ‘mission’ is a big ass bomb the Turians planted on the Krogan homeworld shortly after the geneophage ended the Krogan Rebellions. It was meant to be a stop gag measure in case the Krogan’s (go figure) took unkindly to the whole mass genocidal biological warfare they were submitted to and decided to re-rebel. Thankfully, the Turians never used it, but now Cerebrus has found out about it and they want to set it off to start a war between the Krogans and Turians, presumably to cause chaos and to keep the two factions from uniting and helping me with the Reaper invasion. Once I found out about the true scope of the threat, I of course agreed to help him and his squad finish their mission, but first we needed to regroup so we decided to meet up at the bomb once we were re-armed and ready for battle (which in game terms means I was needed back on the ship for a cutscene or two).

While the Normandy was transporting my team and I over to the bomb site, Mordin let me know that the cure was ready and that he’d come up with a great solution to disperse it quickly among the populace using the Shroud. It was an ancient teraforming tower used by the Salarians to gain popularity with the Krogans. Back when the Salarians first found the Krogans, they had recently nuked the hell out of their own planet and were suffering from the fallout. The Shroud was part of a giant teraforming scheme to help regulate Tuchanka’s temperature by dispersing particles into the atmosphere, but now it’s the only part that is left. Of course, as Mordin tells us, the Shroud was part of the Salarian uplift of the war-like and resilient Krogan so that they could be used as shock troops in the Rachni Wars and later, when the Krogan Rebellions threatened galactic safety, the Shroud was used to spread the genophage. Now, as if to bring the cycle to a close, it would be the way to spread the cure to the geneophage and hopefully introduce a new era of full and equal Krogan participation in the galaxy. Well, if we don’t all get killed by giant squidbots.

The Turian bomb, the Salarian uplift, the geneophage spreading Shroud. This mission made it pretty clear that the Krogan history is far more complicated (and far more controlled by other species) than it seems at first glance.

Anyhoo, we go to disarm the Turian bomb and have to fight off a bajillion (yes, that is the exact number) of Cerberus cronies. We think we get there in time, but as it turns out just as we’re reaching the bomb all the Cerberae start turning tail and running away: they had armed the bomb and set the timer to start counting down. Joy. Lieutenant Victus volunteers to work on disarming it while we protect him (which we do a damn good job of), but it’s not enough. Cerberus had thought that far ahead and Victus’ attempt to disarm it failed. In a moment of pure bravery, hereto unwitnessed in the young Turian, he jumped on the bomb and started pulling cylinders out (I am assuming this meant he was manually disassembling it before it blew us all up) as the contraption it was strapped to started to fall apart. Eventually (and inevitabely since he was being brave at unprecdented levels) the bomb and scaffolding fell into the giant pit (why is there always a giant pit with these things?), dragging the Liutenant down to his brave, brave death. Garrus and I commented on his bravery some more, then headed back to the Normandy where I told the Primarch how brave his son was, which completely negated the nepotism issue apparently. (Perhaps, I’m being a bit too cynical, but that was seriously a little too predictable and trope-ish)

Oh snap! I just got an angry vidcom from the Dalatrass (who still doesn’t have a name!) and she went all Machivalian on me. She’s promissing the full force of the Salarian science and military fleets to my cause, but only if I tamper with the geneophage cure to make it nonviable. Do I screw over Wrex and Eve or do I get another of the Council Races on my side? Gameplay wise this is actually a pretty damn hard decision: at this point I only have 2 of the Council races, the humans and the turians, both of which are the youngest races and are under attack already, having the full might and intellect of the Salarians behind us might be crucial and might get the Asari to join us, too. But, story wise, do I want to re-commit genocide to gain that alliance?

She really does not like the idea of Krogans getting out from under the geneophage threat. Probably because she's pretty scared they'll try and take revenge for the atrocities they've suffered under for a millennia.

Hells to the no! I go on the mission, and being the goody-two-shoes-wont-commit-genocide person that I am, I tell Wrex and Eve of the Dalatrass’ proposal. They, unsupringly, are not pleased. We land on Tunchanka, near the Shroud which is being guarded by a Reaper, with a plan to launch a coordinated attack with Krogan ground troops and a Turian air strike. The Krogan troops though are none to pleased with Mordin’s presence on Tunchanka, and after some of Wrex’s classic head-butt diplomacy fails, Eve steps forward and puts end to the argument with a rousing speech. Whiiich is promptly completely underminded by everyone reverting to refering to her as ‘the female’ instead of Eve or ‘her’ or Shaman. So freaking annoying.

We head off to go kill us a Reaper, but the road is blown out, which conveniently (for us, maybe not so much for the pilot) gets fixed by a shot down Turian ship. In the chaos my away team is left in the dust and rubble while Eve, Wrex, and Mordin ride off to (relative) safety. Liara, Garrus, and I have to wander through the dark, underground City of the Ancients to try to find a way to regroup. There are wall paintings and statues of naked Krogans (sans quads so maybe they’re female krogan? who knows) and the threat of the Kalros the Mother of All Thresher Maws. Pretty scary stuff, but that’s only kicked up another notch when we find a dead reaper-mutated Rachni. Awesome.

We get out of the underground ruins and meet back up with Eve and Wrex to find that Eve has had a brilliant idea: set Kalros the Mother of All Thresher Maws on to the Reaper. Turns out, this is a rather dangerous idea, but also a rather ingenious one. After almost dying a half dozen times, I get the supreme pleasure of watching Kalos kill the Reaper in an epic battle of the titans.

Too bad we can't just round up an army full of Kalroses.

Then its Mordin’s turn to go cure the geneophage, but the Shroud tower was damaged in the titanic battle. Even though he knows it’s a suicide mission, he still insists on going up there, alone, to finish what he started. It always had to be him, he says, he re-engineered the geneophage and it was his student that did the awful experiments that led to the cure, it’s only right that he’s the one who fixes it. It was rather sad watching him sing to himself as he worked feverishly to get the cure sent out before the tower was completely destroyed. I do hope he’s sitting on a beach somewhere with a portable lab kit running whoknowswhat tests on seashells. It’s what he wanted to do when he retired and I think he definitely earned that idyllic retirement in his afterlife.

After the Shroud tower collapses and a stirring montage of the cure (which oddly enough looks like dandelion seeds) being dispersed plays, we meet back up with Wrex and Eve and they thank us for curing the geneophage and providing a better future for their species. They have a plan to bring the Krogans to a better place and an equal footing in galactic politics, but it’s going to take a lot of work. A lot of people don’t want to see a return of Krogan prominence, and even some Krogan don’t want to give up the power they’ve gained through the patriarchal power structures the geneophage forced on the Krogan, but Eve and Wrex are ready to take on that challenged, together. As thanks, they promise to help the Turians, and in turn help humanity, fight back the Reapers, and that Krogan everywhere will sing the battlesongs of Commander Shepard. Eve even tells me her true name: Urdnot Bakura (not that anyone is ever going to call her anything other than ‘the female’ /harrumph).

I rather enjoy the commentary (as light and problematic as it is) on how the geneophage is responsible for the highly patriarchal nature of the current Krogan culture.

Once we get back on board the Normandy, Victus shakes on his agreement to aid humanity when the time comes to put the Crucible to work (that’s the name of the big Prothean gun thingy we’ve been building by the way) and has put Garrus in charge of coordinating Turian support for the cause. Garrus, my best buddy ol’ pal, tells me I look like shit and need to get some sleep. I reluctantly listen to his advice and take a very fitful nap in which I am haunted by a ghostly whisperings of the long dead Ashely (seriously, she was such a xenophobe, but I wonder just how much less annoying she’d be than Kaidan) and that doomed little boy from the start of the game. When I wake up, Liara comes to tell me that the Salarian Councilor (who is a guy despite the politican class supposedly being controlled by female Salaraians) is waiting for me on the vidcom. He wants me to meet him at the Citadel so he can yell at me a bit and have me run an urgent errand.

After that, I went to chat with crew: Joker and Garrus were trading bad jokes at each other’s expense; Hackett informed me that the galaxy’s starting to fight back but they’re not doing terribly well; Liara gave me a kiss; EDI was analyzing the Reaper we took out for weakness and was too preoccupied to chat with me much; and Diana Allers interviewed me about the geneophage cure.  I know I haven’t talked about her at all yet, but this is already a long post again (whoops), so I’ll save her for later.

And with that we’re done for the day! Next time we’ll be doing some of the side quests before we jet off to the Citadel to talk to the Councilor… oh and maybe pick up Kaidan from the hospital.

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4 responses to “Mass Effect 3 Blogthru Part 3: Now THAT is how you kill a Reaper!

  1. Deon Marianna April 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I killed Kaidan initially, and so began a replay so I could kill Ash this time. You are ruining my hopes that he is better than she was. Ashley flies between girly giggles and judgmental hissies through most of the series. It seems from your descriptions of Kaidan, it’s as no-win of a situation as between the Hawke siblings of Dragon Age 2. *defeated sigh*

    • Zaewen April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      My thing with Kaidan could probably be chalked up to my personal tastes (which fly completely opposite of what Bioware seems to think male LI’s should be, since the only one I ever liked personality wise was Garrus and he was still too alien for me). I pretty much disliked him from the first time I spoke with him. The only reason he didn’t get killed off was that I was really put off by Ashley’s xenophobia (which I now hear you can talk her out of).

      I plan on doing another play through in which I don’t get everyone accidentally killed by not going to the Citadel, maybe as a spectre Kaidan wouldn’t be quite so annoying. Who knows. (Also kinda want to do a full playthru with Ash alive but, damn, that’s a LOT of gameplay to go back through and ME! is really dated now in graphics and mechanics.)

      • Deon Marianna April 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm

        Our tastes tend to run similarly from what you’ve mentioned in these posts, so I don’t anticipate liking him any more than I did the brief time I “knew” him the first time through. Actually, now that I think about it, the first thing I disliked about him was that he was flirting with me, and seemed to maybe even be smack talking Liara. I accidentally let him live the first time, and became so enraged that I went back to a previous save just to right my wrong.

        I’m curious, though, had you not had to shoot him to save the council, what might have happened. I found the time I most enjoyed Ash as a character was in a scene some time after I nearly had to shoot her. As curiosity kills the cat, but not the human, I am cheat coding my way through ME1 to get through it super fast, so I can manage a replay with different choices. I had my goodie-two-shoes tied on firmly the first run, so this time I am trying out a more renegade male version.

  2. Zaewen April 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I think if I do a full re-playthru I’ll cheat my way through ME1 and 2 and story mode my way through 3.

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