Monday, April 30, 2012

Mass Effect 3: Unanswered Questions (No Spoilers)

Good ol' Mass Effect 3, currently the biggest punching bag in the gaming industry.  I finally beat the game and encountered the dreaded ending.  It actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but I won't go into it here because I promised no spoilers.  Today I want to talk about some nagging questions that popped up during my first play-through of ME3, feel free to comment about any unanswered questions that bothered you about the game, as a big fan of the series I'd love to hear them!

1. What happened to all the mechs?

The very first species to go extinct as a result of the Reaper invasion.
I know that everyone has been complaining about the game's ending, and how most of it goes unexplained, but oddly the disappearance of the mechs that were so prominent in Mass Effect 2 has nagged me from the very beginning.  In ME2 mechs were everywhere: the Citadel, Omega, random planets, you name it.  Then Mass Effect 3 arrives, and we find that they have all but vanished without a trace.  It's not like the events of ME3 happen twenty years or so after the ending of ME2, so I find it hard to believe that galaxy wide technology can be completely wiped out in only a year or so.  Even the Reapers would be jealous of the speed at which the mechs were exterminated.

Sure you might argue it was mentioned that Aria's mercenary groups would bring their mechs into the battle against the Reapers, so I guess these groups somehow stockpiled an entire galaxy full of robots.

2. Why do Brute husks look like Elcor when they are explained to be a Turian/Krogan hybrid?

Amused. Silly human, you can't hurt me. In Pain. Put down the shotgun human.
I might be nitpicking here, but I can't be the only one who sees the resemblance between the Elcor and the Brutes.  They have a similar shape and a similar hunched-over gait.  They even have the same need to state every single emotion they feel while they are trying to kill you (only joking!).  Brutes are obviously much larger than Turians and Krogans, while only being slightly larger than the Elcor.  I find that fact notable since the other types of husks are mostly the same size as the races they are created from.  I guess the short answer to this question is that Bioware needed to find some way to rip off the Hunter from Halo, the Berserker from Gears of War, and the (insert giant bad guy that charges at you) from (insert popular game here).

3. What happened to the all-human Council?

Ambassador Udina lied to me, damned politicians!  At the end of Mass Effect 1 after I let the original Council die, Udina stated that the new Council would be composed entirely of humans.  During ME2, the Council didn't make an appearance (well it did, but that was when I played through as a nice Shepard who saved the Council in ME1), so I let it slide.  But in ME3, you find that the original Council has been replaced by another Council made up of a Turian, an Asari, and a Salarian.  Who needs continuity?  Certainly not us gamers who bought the Mass Effect games just so we could see how our choices had consequences throughout the whole series...

4. How is the Reapers' armor so damn tough?

Shepard ponders the mystery of Reaper-brand sheet metal.
Seriously, throughout the game you see the giant capital ship Reapers casually shrug off heavy weapons fire, making it seem as if the races of the galaxy equipped pea-shooters on all their warships.  How is it possible to make steel plating so durable?  Maybe the Reapers were built inside a black hole, with the extreme gravitational pressures making the material extra dense.  Die-hard Mass Effect fans will surely defend this by saying the Reapers have incredible force-field shields surrounding their ships, but their toughness still bothers me.  Also, why do the humans never fire off some nukes at the Reapers orbiting Earth?  If anything, it would eliminate the thousands of Oculi swarming around the Reapers.

On a side note, am I the only person who wondered how the Reapers would hold up against the Molecular Disruption Device (Little Doctor, Dr. Device, etc) from Ender's Game?


  1. There was never an All-human Councile. After defeating Sovereign humans did earn a lot of influence and a spot in the councile (Udina). Save the original councile and they will be the same trio through ME2 and ME3 plus Udina. Don't save the councile and they will be replaces by other people from the same races, again plus Udina.
    The mechs that we knew from Mass Effect 2 are Upgraded now. Remember thaht they were mainly deployed by criminal organizations and Cerberus in the Terminus Systems, somewhere we rarely visit in ME3. Cerberus basically destroyed the most Powerfull Cryminal Organizations (Blue Suns, Eclypse etc.) And they now have things like man-operated Heavy mechs and cyber ninjas also Kai Leng and dr. Eva - things much more advanced than the mechs from ME2 so I guess those were just not needed any more and therefore not deployed in battle.
    About the Reapers. Well not much is known of the material that they were made of. It is not just steel that's for sure. It is known that they are made from the material the Relays are made of and it is some kind of "living metal" Reapers are basically Machines made with the DNA code of Races gathered through the cycles so their armour should be a complicated material. Not to forget the gargantuan Mass Effect fields they are seen to produce around them. The Reapers are basically designed to be immortal so it's no surprise they are so tough to kill.

    1. Hello,

      Thanks for the in-depth comment! Actually at the end of Mass Effect 1 Udina did mention an all-human council. If you go to the 4:43 mark in this video: He says "the council must be assembled from one species, humanity."

      That makes sense what you said about Cerberus eliminating most of the criminal organizations. On a side note, the man operated Atlus mechs were awesome!

  2. there is also a line in me1 that once you get past the reapers mass effect fields there armor is not that much stronger than a normal ship as shown in me1 once the shield was down but in 3 we saw the shields down and few times and just bits of reapers being blown off but they kept on going

  3. Awesome observation! I missed that line in ME1, it makes sense though, Sovereign went down pretty quickly after his shields failed.

  4. What I mostly read is that the writers realized how improbable the idea of humanity replacing the multi-species council actually was and decided to can it as Udina overstepping his boundaries in delusions of grandeur.

    The Turians still had the largest military in the galaxy, the Asari still had the largest economy and the Salarians still had the best technology even if humanity had gotten by change the best strategic position so it would be near impossible for humans to hold supremacy even in the short term.

    This is lampshaded by the Cerberus coup attempt as Udina tries to eliminate the other councilors and gain control of the station while still keeping a public image for their species through denying his direct involvement, it just brought chaos and ultimately failed.

    As anon 1 said, the mechs we fought were mainly employed by criminal and terrorist organizations because it bolstered their small numbers with cheap, loyal and amoral troops which was lambshaded by Cerberus usage of upgraded models during their occupation of Omega.

    I never noticed the similarities between Brutes and Elcor but I am pretty sure they were planned to be Krogan from the start.

    The reason they are bigger is because of reaper tech, if you compare an Asari with a Banshee, the latter is nearly 3 times the size of the species it came from so it's likely that Reapers picked up the already bulky Krogan and enchanced their muscle structure with cybernetics to become the husk equivalent of tanks.

    The Reapers are thousands if not millions of years more advanced than the current galactic species, their armor is made of carbon composites harvested from the bodies of the race used in their construction. In the first game, it is shown that Sovereign, after losing his shields still took several hits from the entire Alliance fleet before going down.

    However, as already stated by anon 2, their main line of defence are their humongous shields which makes all but dreadnought class weapons entirely useless against them. In the first game sovereign could simply ignore most of the attacks thrown at him because of his shields.

    This was addressed over Mass Effect 2 and 3 with the invention of Thanix cannons based of technology recovered from Sovereign. These weapons dramatically augmented the firepower of every ship in the fleets and made it possible for just 4 dreadnoughts to bring down a reaper capital ship even with it's shields at full strenght.