This is my Thirteenth AND FINAL entry in my gaming diary for Mass Effect (Xbox 360).
Can you believe it?? Lucky Thirteen! Before I move on, a big thank you to those who have stuck through reading every one of these long-winded posts.
First-time reader and need context? Please go here.
Update from part 12 of the Gaming Diary:
Pepe Shep, Kaiden and Garrus race against the clock to get to the Normandy before Saren’s Base is blown to Smithereens.
Did they make it in time?
Part 6: Virmire
Flight Lieutenant, Joker, tells the crew on the Normandy to “hold on!” as he tries to outrun the detonated bomb on Virmire. The ship manages to escape, but Ashley, unfortunately, perishes, along with Captain Kirrahe and his crew.
In the debriefing room, Pepe tells the crew about the latest “vision” he experienced on Virmire of the Protheans being attacked. Liara offers to do another mind meld with Pepe as he was having a tough time interpreting it. She recognizes the location of this vision; a Prothean research station called Ilos, which was part of her Prothean research. This must be where Saren is headed!
Pepe “skypes” the Citadel Council and tells them what he has discovered about Saren. Although they congratulate Pepe for a successful mission on Virmire, they don’t believe that Saren is in cahoots with any Reapers, or that anyone is under threat. Pepe plans to go to Ilos to search for Saren, but before that the Normandy gets called to return to the Citadel immediately.
Part 7: Return to the Citadel
Pepe is confronted by the Council about going to Ilos to look for Saren. Basically, because they don’t believe a word he says about Saren, they will not support his mission. Ambassador Udina is also present, and supports the Council findings, telling Pepe to drop it, and that this is political. Kaiden calls the Ambassador a bastard!
Frustrated, Pepe tries to formulate a plan to go to Ilos without Citadel support. Unfortunately, because technically the Normandy is controlled by the Citadel, a block has been put on the ship preventing it from leaving, so essentially, Pepe is grounded. I loved his reaction, too. Completely outraged at the situation with a complete lack of support from the Ambassador…a great plot twist! That Ambassador is a bastard!
Not all is lost here…Pepe finds an ally in Captain Anderson. Remember him? He stepped down as Captain of the Normandy to allow Pepe to lead the way. Over a couple of brewskis, Anderson tells Shep that he needs to go to Ilos come hell or high water. And Anderson knows how to stop the block, but it means some risky business; breaking into Udina’s office computer so he can turn off the blockade. He believes so much in Pepe he will risk his life on it.
Then we see Captain Anderson walk into Udina’s office, punch the Ambassador’s lights out and break into the computer!
Off Pepe goes to Ilos!
Part 8: Ilos
As mentioned, Ilos was a Prothean research facility that has since been destroyed. Once Pepe and crew land there, it is desolate, covered in moss and overrun by geth. If I didn’t have any shooting skills up until now, this part was very good practice!Pepe, Liara and Garrus encounter a Prothean computer terminal where they are able to access a VI able to tell the team a bit of history of what happened on Ilos. Its name is Vigil and looks like an electronic tangled mess.
Vigil explains that Pepe had been called to the facility through his beacon visions to “break the cycle” of reaper destruction. The conduit that Saren is looking for is found on Ilos and it is a basically a pipeline between Ilos and the Citadel. The citadel itself is actually a mass relay (a mass transit device) that once activated, the reapers can pull through and start destroying all organic life in the galaxy. But, no one knows about its sinister use as it is well hidden from organic life. The keepers (creatures on the Citadel that monitor its operations) are seemingly benign and keep the Citadel’s functions running, but the Reapers can use them by sending a signal to have them open the mass relays.
But, right now this signal is not working. Through research at Ilos, the Protheans were able to hone in on this signal the reapers send to the keepers. As it stands now, the Reapers are trapped in dark space unable to send the signal accurately. By indoctrinating Saren, Sovereign can use him to use the conduit to bypass the citadel’s defenses and gain access.
Vigil continues to explain more about the Prothean’s fate; how some survived the attack, but so few did they couldn’t recolonize. Vigil suspects those that remained are now dead.
Vigil ends the conversation by giving Pepe a data file he can use in the Citadel’s master control unit to take over the Citadel’s functions to give him control as the Reapers need to be stopped at all cost!
It’s back to the mako and a race against time as Saren has found the conduit back to the Citadel.
Part 9: Race Against Time – Final Battle
Here is where there is a ton of action. Mostly, I forged ahead with Garrus and Liara at my side. I did die a couple of times, no doubt, but got through it. A lot of geth, and krogan here.
Funny, all this time through the game, I complained about the mako and how awkward it was to drive. But no matter where I took it, it never tipped over – until Pepe crash landed on the Citadel! Landed right upside down! A final death for the confounded mako!
Sovereign arrived through the conduit and traveled through to the centre of the Citadel and attached itself to the ship. This is one ugly mofo ship. The music ramped up when it arrived.
Eventually, we find an indoctrinated Saren at the helm of the Citadel’s master control operations trying to bypass its security. The Battle Saren Royale takes place and he proves tough to kill. He is completely under Sovereign’s influence, with a power that packs a punch. Pepe manages to finally kill him, but not without losing his life a couple of times.
Then, the opportunity arises to successfully destroy Sovereign. This was a wild ride that ended with Sovereign blown to bits and essentially destroying the Citadel. The scene hauntingly reminded me of 9/11 with the fire and chaos…
With Sovereign destroyed, this means war against the Reapers! I feel a sequel to Mass Effect coming on…
Now, there are two major decisions I had to make to finish this game.
First, I had to decide whether I should let the troops ordered to protect the evacuated Citadel Council continue to do so, or leave the Council to their own devices to allow all troops available to fight Sovereign. It sounds cruel, but I chose to exhaust all troops to fight Sovereign, resulting in the Council’s death. It might seem my reasoning was influenced by the Council’s lack of support for Shep, or how historically they weren’t trusting of humans. But, my reasoning was actually more to do with having more manpower to fight Sovereign and less about my feelings toward the Council’s past actions against Shep. I thought about the fact that at the end of it all, there would be no Council, but I figured there was potential for a fresh start as well. I could have saved the Council, and wonder what that outcome would look like, but, in the long run, I don’t regret my decisions here or anywhere in the game.
The second decision came at the very end of the game. Pepe and his crew survived the final battle, along with Ambassador Udina and Captain Anderson. Pepe meets with both of them to discuss creating a new Council as the old one was killed in the attack. The Ambassador envisions a new Council with a human at its head. The Ambassador asks Pepe who would be a good candidate, and I chose Anderson. My reason was that likely we would need someone on board with military experience. Plus, the Ambassador’s lack of support and dick moves against Pepe when he pushed to go to Ilos ticked me off (yes, my feelings came into this decision)!
Mass Effect was one of the best games I have ever played. This brand of storytelling, along with the excitement of gameplay was stellar. And it being an RPG, I was afraid I would have to totally babysit my characters. It turned out not to be as bad as all that.
The only two critiques I have with this game were having to maneuver the mako (of course), and a beef with the weapons…I chose weapons that were not supposed to overheat after 50 rounds, but alas, they’d overheat after five! And these were high-level weapons! I obviously managed – I finished the game for Pepe’s sake! Just not sure why my weapon would overheat so quickly…
I was admittedly reluctant to start this diary for fear that it would be a lot of work…and it was. But, I am not one to quit easily, and now that I am at the end I am proud that I finished Mass Effect ALL BY MYSELF, and now I have a thorough written record of my journey.
Thanks for reading!