In the latest episode of Nerd Appropriate we waxed poetic on all of our thoughts and experiences in Mass Effect 2, this was highly spoiler laden and this accompanying post will be as well, so if you haven’t played, I beg you to stop reading now.
While talking about the game I’ve realized more then anything, this game separates types of players. Things like playing in a story driven atmosphere vs playing in a quest driven atmosphere vs playing in an achievement or goal oriented way. I play this game in a highly story driven matter, one that I don’t like to go back and revise, I like to live with my mistakes as if they organically happened and there is nothing I can do about them. It’s why I am hesitant to play through the game a second time. I feel like if I do and I change how I did certain things I may be tempted to use that save data in the third game. If you listened to the podcast you know that I lost my crew, all except for the Dr. during the final mission. I lost my yeoman and all the staff, I even gave my yeoman a hug, this was a hard loss, and now when I play through my DLC the ship feels empty, and there’s a sort of sadness in the air. I have the save, I could go back and fix it, but I made my decision to 100% before I went after the collectors, I bought and upgraded everything I could, and the fight went better for it, but in the process I lost the people who helped me get there. Now I realize I’m speaking as if they were real, but this is the first game I’ve made decisions that caused me to pause, in both game and real time, to consider my options, to know I would have to live with them.
It is in this manner of game play that I realized there was no right and wrong, there was no “real” or “perfect” ending to me. So I lost my crew, I’ll deal with it, I saved the collector ship, hopefully it will help, these aren’t things I feel like I could have done any other way because that is how I chose to play them. If I get in a fight with my wife and realize I was wrong, do I get to go back to before the fight and approach it differently to avoid the confrontation, no, it was a decision I made and I dealt with it. If you bet a hand in poker and lose, there is no “do over” method. You deal with it. That is the true beauty to a game like ME2 to me, you get to make actual decisions and see how they play out in this very deep and well done world. It’s something that I think I never enjoyed about Rock Star games and the such. There was no real decision making, nothing ever truly felt affected due to me playing something in a certain way. The worlds may have felt alive, they may have felt very story driven, but it was a book I was taking part in, the ending had already been made, the choices set. I could only hope I played them well. Which is why in those games I most often find myself going after achievements or ultimately getting bored and moving on.
Is there a right or wrong way to play a game? I don’t think so, it’s whatever gives you the most satisfaction at the end of the experience.