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Sad Planet of Pretty Turtles

CAS:   You didn’t like the last mission.

Chris:  Purgatory Jack?

CAS: (Nods)

Chris:  I think before I was really excited to get to play with the Jack doll.   Now, with you riding shotgun, all I can think is.  “Oh that poor girl.”   Maybe its because I’m an old man.   Maybe it’s because I’m looking at these sentient races and thinking aren’t we all children of the same God?   It’s a metaphor.   We’re still gonna shoot sprites.

CAS:   Our mission was called Recruit the Krogan.

Chris:  A title designed to mislead you into thinking you’re going to pick up Wrex.   I knew better and so did you.

My favorite part of Space Marine was the Architecture. Mass Effect 2 also has some pretty moments of scale.

CAS:  The Korlus is an unremarkable scrap world.   It felt like a warzone from the first steps on deck.  That is… until we found puppies!

I’m Pro-Krogan and Proud!

Chris:  The question, “What to do with the Krogan race?” is at the center of my moral turmoil.    It’s such an acute dilemma that it broke my gaming experience the first time.

I will adopt you, Pretty Turtle

CAS:  And now?

Chris:  I’ve considered the argument since my first encounter.  I’ve considered it every time we’ve encountered the Krogan.    Everytime I  think of Wrex.

CAS:  Wrex was there with me against Sovereign at the end.

Chris:  Wrex and Tail.   There is a strange nostalgia about that already.   I know we would have taken this guy on-board.   I just like the honesty of the interactions we get from the Krogan.    Mostly it’s “I’ll kill you human.”  But it’s honest.


CAS:   I think the reason I didn’t shoot her was pure shock value.    That and I’m trying to be a good person.

What is our policy on Asari scientists who contribute to genocide?

Chris:  I liked how Jack was all, “That’ll come back and bite you in the ass.”   You know what is weird, right before this mission I was lamenting our choice to kill that Asari who had been working with the Thorians.    I kept wondering if that was the right choice then we run back into this Rana Thanopolis.   What is that?  Greek for death city?   In fact, the more I think about it, the more I’m really concerned we didn’t put a bullet in her head.   She was polite.   That’s the problem, she keeps apologizing for the civilization ending contributions she keeps making, but she doesn’t point a gun at us so….?

CAS:  I think my perspective on the Krogan has changed.    I’m not sure I regard her work in the same way.

Chris:  All I’m saying is, her name has to be symbolic and Jack is probably right.   By the way, when did this become the super feminist league?


I wasn’t impressed with Jack. Until she shockwaved all those guys. Go Jack.

CAS:  The tragedy of Krogan reproduction is both a solution to a problem and a curse unto a sentient race.   When the Blue Sun’s gang leader turned on the poison gas, we had to act quickly.

I don’t know the best answer.

Warlord Okeer asks us to save his baby from his boss.

“I’m a very weak boss”

We tried to take her down as quickly as possible…alas.

Chris:   We we got back to the lab and Okeer was already dead.

Super Krogan

CAS:   But at least we get our own turtle.

I watched the looping message from Okeer probably ten time before I turned it off. His last words and works in my care.

Chris:  On Purgatory, I just felt the pettiness of man (and Turians).    On Korlus, I felt sadness and loss.   Okeer gave his life because he hoped his work would make his people better.   Who wouldn’t want healing for their people?   I’m moved by the Krogan race’s suffering.


Unboxing Jack

Chris:  As previously established, this is my second time playing Mass Effect 2.   I can’t believe how different the experience is at this point.   I remember the first time I went to find Jack.   From TV commercials and inevitable jetsam collisions that comes from browsing the internet, I knew that Jack was the uber-bitch.    The girl you don’t bring home to momma.   So, just from that, I was a little excited.    She seemed, at least superficially, one of the more interesting crew members you got to pick up.

Drop my gun?  Drop you!

CAS:  Purgatory is a slave ship.   Handing over the guns was never going to happen.  I’m actually surprised a little that I still get asked.


Chris:   Right, by this asshole expects us to give up the guns?    After the warden makes it clear that his intention is to capture us, I’m sort of pissed off.   I like Garus…and I even liked Saren for all that it got all of us, but this guy just sucks.

CAS: Am I supposed to look like Jack?

Chris:   You know, I thought about that and I think I was influenced.   That said, I am a fan of the Norrin Radd look.     Your both survivors.   I  think the big difference is the road taken.    You joined the military and saved the galaxy.   Jack got tattoos and put on ice.

Studio apartments of the future.

CAS:  Nothing like getting to watch guards mercilessly to get me convinced to go guns hot.

So you like beatings? Good.

Chris:  The twist in the story lacks the emotional punch it did the first time, yet in other ways I’m more angry.   Does this guy know you killed Sovereign?   Does he not know?

You’re no Saren.

CAS:   On our way out, when Jack wanted the goods on Cerberus.   That actually got Jack on my good side.

Its like looking in a mirror.




Accident and Intention

Chris:  I don’t really like Omega anymore.    The first time I remember visiting it, it had all the allure  of the big city with wickedness for ambiance.    Now all I smell is the shit.

CAS:   We left Omega and immediately set about to prioritize planetary mining.

I came for the minerals but we stayed for the mission.

Chris:   Right.   Iridium Miner: the mini-game.     How cool is this?


CAS:  Not very but having the resources mean we have weapons upgrades earlier rather than later.

Chris:   I love the stern sonar man’s squint that crosses my face as I catch the first ghost of a mineral spike.    And then, completely by accident, we found this planet that apparent had some action on it.   Oh what the hell.

CAS:   I agree.   The casual attitude of “oh what’s that on the scanner, let’s land and kill everything that twitches,”  seemed beneath our normal protocols.

I really had no idea what we were doing there. But we won!

Chris:  I was in mineral mining mode, who would have guessed we might actually just stumbled into the mission.   A mission pretty much felt pointless.

CAS:  Except for this….

Dirty secrets inside.

Chris:  Ya, that was cool.   Cerberus is a dark church, I have no faith in them.    This was satisfying and I didn’t even realize this was a mission until at the end.    Mission wrap up?  huh.    All just by playing mini miner.

Check the window, its practically the same shot I took.

CAS:  Since we’re checking off inboxes, I decided it’s time to go back to the Citadel.

The Citadel’s beauty hides the danger. Nothing has changed.

Chris:  When we left the Citadel in Mass Effect, I was still riding a heady feeling that both everything was broken and it was  good.    As soon as those docking clamps began to descend upon the Normand 2, I felt a sick feeling.

CAS:  There’s no going home.    The Citadel is a beautiful place to live but it’s ruled by fools.

“Thank you for meeting with us, Shepard. You are a hero. Now please turn yourself in for summary execution.”

Chris:  Exactly.   When you started talking to Anderson and the Council, I kept thinking….”Are you guys seriously busting our balls?”    But seriously, how grown  up are you?    I didn’t once feel the gun hand rising.  You’re a peacemaker.

CAS:   Ha.    (Gets serious)   We’re all going to have to fight the Reapers, together.

Chris:   You softy.

Amanda Shepard’s big interview.  Activate 1/10 power Krogan Punch.  Message received.

Slums of Omega

So ya, he’s ok.

Commander Amanda Shepard:   Omega smells of everything that’s wrong with civilization.   But we can’t leave yet, not without the Doctor.

Chris:  Did you catch the part about the Shepard Scholarship to help kids to go to military better school.   It made me think of all the propaganda that gets spewed our way and spun to tell lies.

We gave this guy 1000 Credits. We’re not proud.

CAS:  I liked the idea of a scholarship and the military got me off Earth.

Chris: (grumbles then eureka)  You know about five mins later I heard a PA for the Kaidan scholarship.

CAS:  Our personal dislike of him shouldn’t haunt his public memory.

Chris:  Whoa.   When did you get so sensitive about that guy?

CAS:  (growing impatient)  Let’s just run the mission.   Right away, we get screwed again.

Chris:  Right.  Finally, we have Garus on our team to take the long shots but…the plague kills Turians.  So, unless you’re a dick.

I’ve pistol whipped my own crew for less bullshit.

CAS:  Garus had to stay behind.   No questions.

Chris:  That did suck.    We’ll now we are back to Jacob and Miranda.    I really want to scream at those guys.   “Hey, retards….I’m over here.”    I don’t remember having nearly as many problems with the AI and pathfinding in Mass Effect.

There is no I in teamwork.

We actually had to run back to figure out where they went. That’s Miranda, covering my flank from half a mile away. Good job team.

CAS:   Soldiers who could actually do their jobs.

Chris:  Ewwwwwwww.   When we get back, maybe we should really tear…no…wait that’s a violation of the greater Mass Effect liturgical procession.   I just don’t want him on our team.

CAS:   Miranda didn’t perform so well either.

Chris:  Even if the pathfinding is blown in this game, Garus would still be taking the long shots.   Weak….On the plus side, WE PUNCHN KROGAN.


CAS:  (arms up in the air party dancing)


Chris:  I know, shut up.    Now it’s party.    Yes, it turns out  F has once again become our favorite letter on the keyboard. That’s because you can spell so many great words with the letter F….like.   Fist and Face.    That’s fun to say.   And fun is another F word.   Fun Fist Face.

CAS:  That’s not how I would describe it.

Chris:  You would say we’re kicking ass.

CAS:  Hell, ya, we’re kicking ass.

Chris:  Much of this comes from the rhythm and timing of the charge attack.

Step one: Turn blue.

Step two: Explode

Chris:  And we haven’t even upgraded it.   Soon:Bull in China shop.

CAS:  Until then you have the good fortune of having my excellent sniper skills.

Are these not the hands that destroyed Sovereign?

The magic of the Carnifex vanishing device. Turn unsightly gun roosts into a silent graveyards with just an easy squeeze of the finger.

Chris:  I feel mixed about the new gun.    You’re headshotting from pretty far away with a pistol.

CAS:  (Points, squeezes)  Yes, but the sniper work was never my style.

Chris:   The melee.   The letter F.  Seriously, I loved how we started chasing people down, even if you didn’t have a charge built up….you would just sprint over and pow, pow, pow.

“Why do you run, you know I’ll chase you.”

CAS:   I don’t like to hang back.

Chris:  So in the end we spread a cure and helped an alien and killed a ton of other aliens.   Dr.  ADHD is in.

The good Dr. Solus and his much less cool assistant…..human.

CAS:   Now we start hunting the Collectors.

Chris:  Oh, we almost forgot.   Garus does a dance.

CAS:   Ha.

Garus’s duck dance.

Dance, Dance, Omega

Chris:  I like how this mission begins.   My only regret is that you didn’t give the whole.  “Hey!  I’m in charge so suck it.”   Instead of a PA talk, you said it with your walk.

A little saunter and dick swinging, Captain’s on deck.

CAS:   I don’t like this new Normandy, I don’t care how well it runs.   There is an A.I. on deck that I know is going to piss us off later.

It’s actually pretty nice inside.

Chris: Agreed.   Like in any movie ever….

I played this song on repeat for months.

CAS:  Omega reminded me of any other hell hole in space.  The poor and sick and powerless all trapped like rats.

Chris:  That’s a grim take on Omega.   I liked the music….hmmmm.   I think we both hated this.

Oh good, an Asari is running the show.

Chris:  I had forgotten there was an Asari in charge of Omega.   Now we have all this history with them.   Good, happy histories filled with  rounds from your gun.

CAS:  Ha.   I would rather have a pushy Asari running Omega than find out later she’s a member of my crew.

Chris:  Can you imagine if Aria T’Loak at the end was “Can I join your ship?”   Seriously, are we going to boycott Asari crew members?

CAS:  Shrug.   We have two mission objectives, the first is to find the doctor.  The second is to recruit Archangel, who turned out to be Garus.

“Hey Shepard, got a smoke?” Garus is so cool.

Chris:  I remembered Archangel was Garus from before, except before I didn’t care.   Now, I actually miss him.    I liked him in Mass Effect.  Now it’s like this whole mission was built around wishing we had Garrus on our team.

Ah, behind this door is a reload.

Commander Amanda Shepard:  Long open corridors and open spaces.  The same tactics we used on Noveria to charge that sniper’s nest.  It worked then and it worked now.  😦

Seriously, the Vanguard gets better.

Chris:  I remember when I played Mass Effect 2 (the first time), I remember thinking maybe Vanguard isn’t a good class.  I stuck with it and trust me, we’re going to have fun.  That said, i have been dumping our experience into the bonus trait for Paragon/Renegade points.   After watching you goad Saren into shooting himself in the first Mass Effect, I realized the most important attribute is the ability to control the direction of the cut scene.

Got renegade points for stabbing this guy in the back. How about points for all the people we killed in the face?

CAS:  I liked that I got Renegade points for peeking Garus’s gun and taking a head shot.    You know I feel good about the headshot mechanics.  Combine that with the fact that I’m not so  sure I like Jacob as my back up.   I’m starting to miss Ashley.

You and Garus are getting sentimental .

Chris:  Shut up.  I totally agree.   I remember hugging cover and Ashley just stepping out to take shots a baddies, drawing fire.   You were basically screaming at him the whole time.  “Jacob, over here you dumbass!”   Maybe now is the time to start commenting on the differences in combat between Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2

CAS:  I think I just picked the wrong class to accompany me.  Jacob lacked a ranged punch and I sorely needed it.

Chris:  Once we closed back together as a group and fought with Garus again, things started to improve.   One of the first major improvements was that I learned you have to press the “F” button to punch.      I’m 100 percent sure that before if we just closed range, we would start pistol whipping everything in range.   Now we actually have to punch.   This actually explains a great many things.

CAS:  I felt like a helpless child when trapped at close range without the ability to strike back.

Chris:  Ha.  Right, but once we figured it out….punching Krogan.

Blue blood.

CAS:  (Grinning) Mass Effect 2 is fun again.

Chris:  Haha.  Yes.  Vanguard is too ranged for my tastes,  I want to play Assault Dentist.   Seriously, when you started punching that Krogan over and over and over  I started laughing because now that we knew how to punch, I knew everyone was going to get the butt of the gun.  We were both going to totally misuse it.

CAS: Machine pistols are really fun too.   Their rate of fire at close range is great.   Once we figured those two things out, the hunt went better.

Chris:  Near the end of the mission, when Garus took scripted bullets, I actually felt myself cringe.

Hang in there buddy, chopper’s coming.

Friends most welcome.

Chris:   Alright, I’ll come right out with it.  I don’t like the Illusive Man telling us what to do.   It’s bad enough the game is constantly judging us for the dialogue tree options, which, thankfully seems a little more subtle this time.   Still, everytime we get Paragon points or Renegade points from a conversation, I think….really??   

CAS: Back to the mission.  I made it clear that I wanted to help any survivors.   I didn’t expect to see anything alive, let alone Quarians.

Horay, it’s Tali. And she is large and in charge, good on her.

Chris:  Horay, It’s Tali’ .   Pew-pew.   I think of all the people who could show up first, Tali.   Awesome.   I noticed immediately a change in your body language.

CAS:  You mean how I jumped up and down in my seat like a schoolgirl while making fake finger gun gestures into the air?  Oh no, that was you.

Chris:  So we’re both happy to see Tali, who is totally awesome.

CAS:   We took down the Geth and their advanced model without much concern.   Squad tactics remained tight and the fights went well.

Sumo Geth

We always knew Tali was going to make a natural leader. We’re proud of you, Lady.

Chris:   Tali showing up changes the entire mood of this mission.   Now, I’m just here to make sure we help her out.

CAS:  Right, Tali is one of the good guys even if we’re playing on the side of the Devil.

Chris:   Devil?   Do you really remember anything about Cerebrus from Mass Effect one?

CAS:(looks side to side and shrugs) I had to play along.

Chris:  So, right, I can’t figure out the big deal.   Which clearly means I wasn’t paying attention or maybe we just didn’t finish the mission or who knows.

CAS:  Clear enough.

Chris:  Ha!    Right, so where were we?

CAS:  It’s too bad we couldn’t get Tali aboard with us.    Someone we could actually trust.

Chris:  Patience.   We’ll jump through the hoops and then bam!

CAS:  (shakes head)   Bam!? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Ya, it’s Seth Green. Although considering how beat up Shepard was, you’d think they could have got him walking a little better?

Chris: (Clears throat)  The return of Joker is great.   And look he can walk….sorta.

Hanging out with good people.

CAS:   Tali, Joker, the Nomandy.   Things are already starting to look up.   

The Resurrection Tutorial

Chris:   I remember the first time I saw this cinematic.   I remembered thinking, how pretty it was, yet still resonating from the surprise of the game’s beginning.   Now I’m just eager for you to get up off the table.   Chris: I’m with Miranda on this one.   Shepard, get up!

I am so hung over.

CAS:   Fine, I’m up.

Chris:  Welcome back to the land of the living.   You know, I don’t mind the Lazarus Pit….ummm…project as a plot device to change it up, but the whole….you wake up confused in a strange place is a video game/fps  narrative cliche’.   I’m just saying.

CAS:  I’ve woken up in strange places before, blacked out before, but this is another level.   However, one of the first things I’ve noticed is that I’m now able to take head shots with the pistol.  This is going to speed things up real quickly.

Boom, head-shot!

Chris:  Agreed, I already like they way this is configured better.    Even the angle over the shoulder seems improved.

Duck and Cover.

CAS:   I like the thermal clips too.    I’d rather burn my ammo when we need it than have the gun overheat when I need to keep shooting.  Apparently, two years of improvements in handguns is a big deal.  (and then in a slightly smaller voice)  now if they could only put a tiny camera on my gun…..

Chris:  HA!!  Agreed.   So far, I have to say the combat is better already.    Of course, we are just fighting the tutorial.    Still, headshots are nice.

Take it from a girl who likes to shoot people. Don’t pull that shit!

Chris:  That Miranda pisses me off.    The flight in the shuttle made me reminiscent of Mark Hamill’s shuttle scenes in Wing Commander III.     It’s a good comparison, except no one was trying bust his balls.

Are you trying to pull an Asari on me?

I want you to go down to that planet and fetch quest for me.

Chris:   The conversation with the Illusive Man for the first time had me feeling a little sequelitis.     The tension at the end of Mass Effect had been tops, even at the start of this game.  Now you’re a detective hunting for clues.

CAS:   It doesn’t matter.   There’s no point in sitting around and complaining.   The Reapers are still out there.

Chris:   The Reapers, right.   And this is why you’re here.

Do you think she’s pretty or just pretty bitchy?

Chris:  Lastly, I’ve noticed there are level up chapters in Mass Effect.   I don’t know how I feel about that.

Chapter Summary: I don’t know.