How inappropriate is Mass Effect?

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How inappropriate is Mass Effect?

Post by Notabot » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:59 pm

So, I've been hearing a lot of talk about Mass Effect for the last week or so (no idea why!), and I started looking into it a bit. I had assumed it was a scary first-person shooter along the lines of Resident Evil for some reason, and hadn't even given it a second thought. Now that I've seen some reviews and whatnot, it looks really cool.

However, the M rating worries me some since my kids are most likely going to want to watch some of it played. I've seen some M games that really weren't all that objectionable for the most part, and I've seen some T and even lower rated games that I don't want my kids to watch. So if anyone can give me a rundown of what gives Mass Effect 1 the M rating, I'd be much obliged. Gore? Scary parts? Frequent language? Do tell.

Thanks!

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Post by Denyer » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:57 pm

http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Romance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Effec ... _sex_scene

Lots of mildly suggestive videos of ME2 on YouTube, but reporting on the original game seems to be a pack of lies.

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Post by the_escaflowne_2k » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:01 pm

There is bad language but it's not frequent, the "romance" is as denyer noted suggestive rather than graphic but there is certainly a fair amount of gore and some scenes that are chilling enough that I wouldn't want to play it in front of a child.

The current widespread press is down to a number of things with the release of the third game:

1) For the first time you can play out a male/male relationship, which is apparently a step too far in a game series where you can have relationships with androgynous aliens.
2) The ending of the game is getting a lot of specialist press attention (for spoiler sake I haven't read these beyond headlines).
3) Again from the specialist press, there has been a lot reporting on the downloadable content pricing on the game.
4) It's a big game in a big franchise, always going to get a lot of attention.
5) GAME the UK retailer has been unable to supply this and every EA published game during the month of March, gained news because of pre-order cancellations etc.
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Post by Sixswitch » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:53 pm

The third one paints a bleak picture of war and has some pretty hard hitting moments. As the_escaflowne says, I wouldn't feel comfortable playing parts of it in front of children.

The sexual themes are negligible, and not worth writing home about - certainly not graphic in any way.

Finally - ME3 is bloody fantastic, and you should definitely get it for yourself.

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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:48 pm

There are a LOT of fans are upset with Mass Effect 3's endings (and having playing the game the endings are a "WTF is this about?" and the "choices" are pretty much the same with different colors and who leaves the ship with Joker) they are attempting to get BioWare to make a DLC to change, fix, or to better to explain it.
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Post by Notabot » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:14 pm

So, I know it's mostly personal preference, but is Mass Effect 2 better on PS3 than PC? Amazon has ME1 and 2 on sale for $12 total, so I'll probably get both, but if the controls or anything are way better on the PS3 version, I'd rather go that way for the ones that are available.

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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:25 pm

Notabot wrote:So, I know it's mostly personal preference, but is Mass Effect 2 better on PS3 than PC? Amazon has ME1 and 2 on sale for $12 total, so I'll probably get both, but if the controls or anything are way better on the PS3 version, I'd rather go that way for the ones that are available.
Graphics wise: Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 are much better looking on the PS3 than they are on the Xbox 360. PC depends on the quality of your PC.

Control wise: IMHO on the consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) are pretty much the same. I can't comment on the PC version because I'm not a PC gamer.

I generally perfer the Xbox 360 versions of Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 over the PS3 versions. Some of it is because of Mass Effect 1 being pretty much an Xbox 360 and PC exclusive game and it's a much better than experience than Mass Effect: Genesis. Which IMHO is a boring, a badly written and drawn interactive Dark Horse comic book that wastes about 15 minutes of your life, poorly trying to explain the backstory of ME1 on the PS3 version of ME2 (and it later became a DLC for the Xbox 360 and PC versions as well). Even Jennifer Hale and Mark Meer (the voice actors of female and male Shepard respectfully) who narrate it seem like they're bored out of their minds.
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Post by Sir Auros » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:06 am

It's really not bad on the language front, and the romance stuff is easily avoided since you're making all those decisions.

The first game has these enemies called husks that could be disturbing depending on how old your kids are, and the third game has lots of them, plus versions for all the alien species. There is some unavoidable nudity in the third game in the form of the banshee enemy type.

I'd say you're fine with the first two games, but the third gets pretty dark and you do have the alien zombie cyber-boobies thing going on.

Great series, but man does the ending suck.

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Post by Thunderwave » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:15 am

How old are the kids and how mature are they?

Mine is 10 and he handled watching me play all three just fine (admittedly I kicked him out of the room once the romance options came to fruition). I'll also admit though that I take a slightly different take on parenting. He's been watching movies/games with language and violence in them from a young age, but he knows that "bad" language is for adults and not to be a violent person, and I've been there with him to put things in perspective and to parent through the experiences.

All in all you know your kids better then we do. If you think they can handle it, go for it. If not, just play when they aren't around. The Mass Effect series is fantastic for 99% of the ride.

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Post by Notabot » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:10 pm

I went ahead and picked up the 1&2 combo from amazon for $12. I just left the Citadel in ME1 as a
SPOILER! (select to read)
Spectre
, and I'm already enjoying it a lot. Once I figured out that the dialogue is pretty tame, I was alright letting the kids watch occasionally, but I told them that it had some scary parts, so they probably shouldn't expect to watch it all the time. I give them updates on what's happening, and play it mostly at night or during school hours.

I'm trying to break my habit of using walkthroughs to get the best possible outcome on things and just doing a straight playthrough. But now I find myself using a walkthrough of regret and finding out what I should have done. Gotta quit that. :)

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Post by Notabot » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:42 pm

Finished ME1 and liked it a lot. Is the DLC worth getting, and if so, how? It looks like the official Bioware site has removed ME1 DLC. I've found a couple sites with free downloads of Bring Down the Sky as Zip files, but I'm wondering if they're actually free, if they're legitimate, and if they're OK to actually install. Looks like the ME2 DLC is easier to come by for now, but any suggestions on that would be appreciated as well.

Thank you all for joining in my Mass Effect experience, and I promise that at some point I'll be able to do it all by myself without weekly questions. :)

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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:17 pm

Notabot wrote:Finished ME1 and liked it a lot. Is the DLC worth getting, and if so, how? It looks like the official Bioware site has removed ME1 DLC. I've found a couple sites with free downloads of Bring Down the Sky as Zip files, but I'm wondering if they're actually free, if they're legitimate, and if they're OK to actually install. Looks like the ME2 DLC is easier to come by for now, but any suggestions on that would be appreciated as well.

Thank you all for joining in my Mass Effect experience, and I promise that at some point I'll be able to do it all by myself without weekly questions. :)
Mass Effect 1 only had 2 pieces of DLC Bring Down the Sky is definitely worth it and there is a quest in Mass Effect 3 that ties into it.

The second is Pinnacle Station and that one is not very good.

Mass Effect 2 has the following major story-based DLC:

Normandy Crash Site a nice little quest where Shepard visits the crash site of the Normandy SR-1 nothing major but a nice call back to the first game.

Zaheed: The Price of Revenge this is the first of two squad mate DLC. Zaheed is a cool looking character and his quest is pretty straight forward after that he tends to be a worthless character. He does play a small role in ME3 that helps you get 3 War Assets (one being himself). Some fans loved him frankly after his loyality quest I found him just redundant tank character.

Kasumi: Stolen Memories Kasumi Goto is the second of the two squad mate DLC and she is the better one. First off her loyality mission is a heist from a weapons merchant. You also get 2 new casual outfits for Shepard depending on gender. You also get the best SMG in ME2 through this DLC. Kasumi is a bit of a gossip and she has some great lines when you talk to her after the loyality quest Like Zaheed you will get 3 War Assets from Kasumi in ME3.

Firewalker You get the Hammerhead hover tank. IMHO Control wise it handles much better than the Mako did in ME1 but one time when I was playing it on casual a lowly geth trooper blew the damn thing up with a single shot. The armor for this thing is really low. It's fun series of 5 quests but the only thing it's good for is to explain where the Hammerhead comes from the next DLC. In ME3 Cortez and Vega have an argument about which is the better tank and it's pretty funny.

Overlord and no you don't need Firewalker to play it but it does make sense from a story point to see where Shepard got the Hammerhead. Shepard is sent to secret Cerberus lab to find out what happened to it. You meet Dr. Archer who is the project lead, and what he did to his brother David is pretty disturbing. Dr. Archer makes a cameo in ME3 and so does David depending on what you do decide to do with him.

Lair of the Shadow Broker is the biggest of the ME2 DLC at almost a 1.5 gigs. It continues the story of Liara T'Soni from the Mass Effect: Redemption graphic novel (and no you don't need to read the graphic novel to understand the plot it does help to better explain Liara's transformation from an archaeologist to a tough as nails information broker) and her hunt for the Shadow Broker. I'm very bias towards this DLC because I love Liara. The banter between her and Shepard is in the sky car is and when they're storming the Shadow Broker's ship is very funny, and you can start, end, or continue the romance with her. The romance between Liara and the female Shepard is IMHO the best romance in the series, and this one Ali Hillis and Jennifer Hale (the voice actors for Liara and Female Shepard respectfully) really nail it. The Shadow Broker's ship is really cool once you complete the quest you also get some awesome text dossiers about all of your squad mates. As well there is 3 sets of videos featuring some NPCs featuring Aria, Baily, Anderson, and more.There are plenty of references to this DLC in ME3.

The Arrival is the final story based DLC released for Mass Effect 2 you finally get to see what Admiral Hackett looks like as he sends Shepard on a single rescue mission that gets complicated. It could be better but overall it's a great interlude that sets up one of the reasons why Shepard is on Earth at the start of Mass Effect 3.

There are also plenty of weapons and armor DLC some are promotional items like The Blood Dragon Armor while others are in packs, some of these armors are cooler looking than others they all lack the removal of the helmet. The weapons range from cool to completey worthless.
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Post by Notabot » Fri May 04, 2012 4:31 am

So I finally got BDtS installed, played it, and noticed something odd. Was it my imagination, or did I stop getting XP after level 50? Anytime I shot anyone, there was no +XP popup in the corner. Or was it adding in without telling me?

Kind of a disappointing little excursion, IMO. Especially because I had already finished the game, so I had to reload from Virmire, go back and do a bunch of stuff I had already done, then do BDtS, and now possibly finish the game. I'm wondering if it's worth it since it seems like BDtS just gave me one level up, a swell Omni-tool, and a possible email in ME2.

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Post by Warcry » Fri May 04, 2012 8:58 pm

I've just started playing through the first Mass Effect game myself. Honestly I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.

The biggest plus is the story. It's obvious that a lot of thought went into the universe that they've built. The characters are interesting and the different plot threads (so far, the Council and the shabby way they treat 'lesser' races, the protheans, the geth and Saren) all seem to be heading in interesting directions. I'm definitely interested in seeing what happens next, which is something that I can't always say about video games -- usually it's the gameplay that's the attraction, and the story (if I care about it at all) is just a bonus.

But in this case, it's the gameplay that isn't up to the high standards of the story. I realize that the game is five years old by now, but it plays more like ten or fifteen. The auto-saves cause annoying lag (something that should never happen on a modern console, IMO), the character's movements can be jerky and the combat feels like something from the N64/PS1 era. On top of that, some of the cutscenes (or at least the couple that I had to watch over again after dying) appear to be unskippable, neither the game itself nor the manual I got says anywhere what the control layout is, and the conversations are spliced together very poorly with notable lag between the end of one line and the start of the next. Also, Male Shepard's voice actor is awful, at least early on, so much so that I gave up and restarted with a female character so I wouldn't have to listen to him again. All in all, the presentation is disappointingly rough around the edges.

Oh, and one huge facepalm is that your party is always capped at three members, which collides headlong with the logic of the story when you're wandering around the Citadel with Ashley and Kaidan, recruit Garrus and Wrex for backup...and then can only bring two of the four with you as you go on to complete the mission objectives. I get why they'd want to restrict you to Shepard and two others for the ground missions, but in this case either they should have allowed you to have all four team members following you or Shepard should have started this section of the story alone so that the two new guys could join the team without displacing anyone else. As it stands this is nothing more than unflexible gameplay mechanic hamstringing the story for no good reason.

For me it's almost the reverse of the average video game, because I want to skip over the boring action sequences to concentrate on the interesting talky parts. I do hope that the gameplay smooths out a bit as the story goes on, because it's a very interesting game and right now I want to enjoy it more than I actually am. Although to be honest I'd probably be a lot less picky if I hadn't just finished playing the new Deus Ex game, which was so good that practically anything would pale by comparison.

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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Sun May 06, 2012 1:20 pm

Notabot wrote:So I finally got BDtS installed, played it, and noticed something odd. Was it my imagination, or did I stop getting XP after level 50? Anytime I shot anyone, there was no +XP popup in the corner. Or was it adding in without telling me?

Kind of a disappointing little excursion, IMO. Especially because I had already finished the game, so I had to reload from Virmire, go back and do a bunch of stuff I had already done, then do BDtS, and now possibly finish the game. I'm wondering if it's worth it since it seems like BDtS just gave me one level up, a swell Omni-tool, and a possible email in ME2.
You can only get up to level 50 and/or 60 in all 3 games.
There is no email or a very small mention of BDtS in Mass Effect 2. Balak reappears (if you let him go) or is mentioned by name (if you killed him) in a quest in Mass Effect 3.

Both BDtS and Pinnacle Station have to be played before Virime because ME1 is not open ended.

All of the story based DLC for Mass Effect 2 can be played before or after the sucide mission. IMHO Lair of the Shadow Broker and especially The Arrival DLC make more sense at least, story wise, if you play them after the sucide mission.
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Post by Cyberstrike nTo » Sun May 06, 2012 2:14 pm

Warcry wrote:I've just started playing through the first Mass Effect game myself. Honestly I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.

The biggest plus is the story. It's obvious that a lot of thought went into the universe that they've built. The characters are interesting and the different plot threads (so far, the Council and the shabby way they treat 'lesser' races, the protheans, the geth and Saren) all seem to be heading in interesting directions. I'm definitely interested in seeing what happens next, which is something that I can't always say about video games -- usually it's the gameplay that's the attraction, and the story (if I care about it at all) is just a bonus.
Bioware's rep was built on strong story based games with great characters.
Saren's backstory is further explained in Mass Effect: Evolution graphic novel that explains where his hatred of humanity comes from and in the prose novel Mass Effect: Revelation that is about the mission that cost Anderson is shot at being a Spectre.
But in this case, it's the gameplay that isn't up to the high standards of the story. I realize that the game is five years old by now, but it plays more like ten or fifteen. The auto-saves cause annoying lag (something that should never happen on a modern console, IMO), the character's movements can be jerky and the combat feels like something from the N64/PS1 era. On top of that, some of the cutscenes (or at least the couple that I had to watch over again after dying) appear to be unskippable, neither the game itself nor the manual I got says anywhere what the control layout is, and the conversations are spliced together very poorly with notable lag between the end of one line and the start of the next
The combat was at best OK in ME1 but 2 and 3's combat system is MUCH better. I seem to recall skipping through cut scenes only after you saw them once.

Also, Male Shepard's voice actor is awful, at least early on, so much so that I gave up and restarted with a female character so I wouldn't have to listen to him again.
Actually Mark Meer gets worse later in the game, in the dialogue leading up the sex scene with Liara he comes off as a desperate/creepy dirty old man who is begging for sex. While Jennifer Hale makes the same dialogue sound like a sensual, caring and slightly curious woman who cares for Liara.
All in all, the presentation is disappointingly rough around the edges.
The Mass Effect series isn't a third person shooter action game and isn't an RPG; it's a hybrid of these genres.
Oh, and one huge facepalm is that your party is always capped at three members, which collides headlong with the logic of the story when you're wandering around the Citadel with Ashley and Kaidan, recruit Garrus and Wrex for backup...and then can only bring two of the four with you as you go on to complete the mission objectives. I get why they'd want to restrict you to Shepard and two others for the ground missions, but in this case either they should have allowed you to have all four team members following you or Shepard should have started this section of the story alone so that the two new guys could join the team without displacing anyone else. As it stands this is nothing more than unflexible gameplay mechanic hamstringing the story for no good reason.
Get used to it that is how it works in all 3 games.

I have to disagree with it hamstringing the story, it's about choice.
I can keep Ash and Kaiden or switch one or both of them out with Wrex and/or Garrus, who each have their reasons to help Shepard save Tali.
There are points in all 3 games where you have to take one character because it's about a certian character's story.
For me it's almost the reverse of the average video game, because I want to skip over the boring action sequences to concentrate on the interesting talky parts. I do hope that the gameplay smooths out a bit as the story goes on, because it's a very interesting game and right now I want to enjoy it more than I actually am. Although to be honest I'd probably be a lot less picky if I hadn't just finished playing the new Deus Ex game, which was so good that practically anything would pale by comparison.
IMHO the combat get much better in 2 and 3 when becomes more of a duck-and-cover TPS and you get Thermal clips (bullets) for the guns.
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Post by Warcry » Mon May 07, 2012 5:15 am

Cyberstrike nTo wrote:I seem to recall skipping through cut scenes only after you saw them once.
Nope. You have to re-watch them. You can skip the lines of dialog but the action scenes are unskippable. Boo. :(

Luckily I don't die much, other than a couple times when I was fighting Evil Blue Counsellor Troi, so it really doesn't matter.
Cyberstrike nTo wrote:The Mass Effect series isn't a third person shooter action game and isn't an RPG; it's a hybrid of these genres.
It's not the only RPG/shooter hybrid out there, though, and other games have managed it better. Though like you, everyone seems to say the later games do a much better job of it. Which is cool, as they were obviously finding their feet a bit and figuring out what works with the first game.
Cyberstrike nTo wrote:I have to disagree with it hamstringing the story, it's about choice.
I can keep Ash and Kaiden or switch one or both of them out with Wrex and/or Garrus, who each have their reasons to help Shepard save Tali.
I get that, but from a story perspective it makes no sense -- why wouldn't all five characters go together? The same sort of thing comes up on Feros...the planet is a war zone, but I only go into it with two people for backup? It's an acceptable break from reality for gameplay purposes, especially considering the different characters' skill sets, but from a story perspective it's silly.

There's a really big gulf in quality between the sidequests and the main story missions too, isn't there? Every sidequest is basically the same thing, going to a random mountainous patch of planet, driving to a few points of interest, collecting some alien relic/metal ore, going into the bad guys' base (which is always one of the same four or five reused maps) and shooting them in a maze of crates, collecting the plot coupon and leaving. Compared to the well-designed levels and interesting environments seen on the main quests, the side-quests feel mostly like level-grinding. It's a shame they didn't devote the time into making seven or eight deeper side-quests (along the same lines as Bring Down the Sky) instead of forty or fifty fetch quests and shootouts with criminals in the same abandoned mineshaft.

Still enjoying the game a fair bit in spite of my bitching, though. :)

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