the rachni queen

Here’s the very first Commander Shepard I ever played (10 YEARS AGO, OMG), named Cora Shepard.  Colonist/sole survivor background, paragon through and through, saved the Citadel Council, saved the rachni queen, pretty much saved everybody everywhere, kept everyone alive during the suicide mission, romanced Kaidan Alenko and stayed faithful to him even though he broke her heart in ME2.  XD

OMG OMG OMG!!!  MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA COMES OUT IN 4 DAYS GUYS, EEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!  Expect a ton of ME fan art, lololol

Appraisal

(On AO3, if you prefer!)

“How long were you on the Normandy?”

“Hmm?” Kaidan glanced up to see a very large, very intense-looking krogan nearly staring a hole through him. “Umm… I joined right around the time that Shepard did. Why?”

Grunt… grunted. He crossed his arms over his chest and didn’t bother answering the human’s question. “So you helped her kill that turian?”

“Saren?” Kaidan set his beer aside to give the krogan his full attention. “Yeah, I was right there by her side.”

“Good,” Grunt replied with a nod. “And you fought Collectors?”

“Well, I wasn’t with Shepard at the time,” Kaidan answered, his hand rubbing the back of his neck idly as he glanced aside. “But yes, I fought them, too. I heard that you have a talent for it as well.”

“You bet your ass I do,” the krogan answered, not even a hint of a smile on his face. “Rachni, too.”

“Yeah, heard that, also. Did Shepard ever tell you about the Rachni queen we found?” Kaidan was probably trying to start a more friendly conversation than the one Grunt seemed to be intent on conducting at the moment.

“You fight thresher maws?”

Kaidan paused and glanced around at the other party goers. No one seemed to notice the odd list of questions that Grunt had for him. “Uh… I have before, yes.”

“On foot?”

“No. Definitely not. That’s more Shepard’s style, apparently.”

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@xldsims replied to your post: MEA reply

Ouch, i have to admit, ME3 was still good (my personal favorite). I just like to forget its ending even exists lol. (As for ME:A, not as trash as I thought lol, managed to clock over 140 hours and 1 ½ game completions .w.)

I know, I am quite harsh about it but after playing all the previous games multiple times, I felt letdown. It had so much potential up until the last 5-10 minutes (minus all the plot holes and erased decisions throughout the game like the rachni queen or choosing anderson for the citadel job, or the pacing of the game didn’t really match what I expected for an intergalactic war). I just can’t forget the ending and the EC was like rubbing salt in the wounds (had to choose the no choice option -_- ). I didn’t hate it, but I couldn’t forgive them for the utter mess they made of it after ME2 which was brilliant. I am surprised my TV didn’t get a controller thrown at it tbh. MEA definitely needed some improvements, but at least I don’t feel like I should have never played it.

My biggest issue with ME3 is there was no consideration for the future of the franchise. I would have been happy with a no choice ending that left it open for more games in the Milky Way but it just felt like instead of ending Shepard’s story, they ended it all. Seriously, that was a lack of foresight. 

and thats the end of my ranting XD

  • Shepard: Make your peace with the galaxy. The rachni are a dead race.
  • Garrus: We can't exterminate them. Not without the Council's approval. Genocide is one of the reasons we fought the krogan... ah.
  • Wrex: You want to learn about genocide, Vakarian? I'll take you to a krogan obstetrician's office.
  • Rachni Queen: Is our kind so frightening? You would seek our silence if you cannot muffle our songs? If you cannot have us as your obedient claws?
  • Shepard: No... I can't do this. I'll let you go free.
  • Rachni Queen: You will give us the chance to compose anew? We will remember. We will sing of your forgiveness to our children.
  • Wrex: Great. Bugs are writing songs about you. Mark my words. You'll regret this.
Mass Effect 1 - a (not so) short summary
  • Anderson: this is a routine mission
  • Shepard: why there is a badass turian spectre with us then?
  • Anderson: dang you got me this is actually the beginning of a 3 games hell
  • ---
  • Nihlus: I work better alone
  • Nihlus: *dies*
  • Jenkins: yooo I'm all pumped up let's go kick some asses you'll be proud of me commander you'll see
  • Jenkins: *dies*
  • Shepard: this shitty game started like 20 minutes ago and 2 people died already
  • Shepard: well I'm sure there will be no more deaths afterward
  • ---
  • Ashley: look at my white and pink armor
  • Shepard: girl it's blue and black
  • Kaidan: are you 2 bitches blind it's fucking gold and white
  • Anderson: move your fat asses you fashion-tard twats
  • Anderson: it's brown and green to me tho
  • ---
  • Shepard: Kaidan what is that
  • Kaidan: it's an ugly sack of living gas
  • Shepard: no shit I'm talking about that big ass ship-shaped thing in the sky
  • Ashley: crap look at those blue mutant fuckers
  • Kaidan: are those geths?!
  • Shepard: what is this nightmare it's just half an hour gameplay and we are already in a pool full of shit
  • ---
  • Kaidan: what is this artifact
  • Ashley: it seems prothen
  • Shepard: it seems dangerous
  • Kaidan: yeah you're right better touch it
  • Kaidan: *touches it* fuCK
  • Shepard: Kaidan you fuckhead get out of-WHAT THE SHET
  • Ashley: jesus christ let's get out of here I gotta save my orange and grey armor
  • ---
  • Shepard: *wakes up on the Normandy* where am I
  • Chakwas: on the Normandy read the previous line
  • Shepard: are you drunk
  • Chakwas: yes
  • Shepard: cool where is Anderson
  • Chakwas: on the Normandy
  • Shepard: shut
  • Anderson: Sheppy we are fucked let's go to the Citadel the council will surely help us
  • ---
  • Udina: Saren is evil
  • Council: OMG Saren is that tru
  • Saren: nah
  • Council: human bitches stop wasting our time you can all go fuck an Elcor
  • Shepard: nice what now
  • ---
  • Garrus: hello yes I'm the very reason of the tears of thousands of fan girls I can help
  • Shepard: I can't romance you in this game tho
  • Garrus: yeah too bad we will recover in the next 2 games don't worry
  • Garrus: anyway Saren is evil
  • Shepard: I knew it do you got some evidence?
  • Garrus: my sexyness is the only evidence you need
  • ---
  • Wrex: shepard
  • Shepard: who are you and what do you want
  • Wrex: shepard
  • Shepard: alright join my squad
  • ---
  • Tali: Saren is evil I got evidence
  • Shepard: dang are you some kind of Assassin's Creed character from the future
  • Tali: rude
  • ---
  • Shepard: here the proof that Saren is a motherfucker
  • Council: yeah well solve it by yourself 'cause where not doing shit
  • Anderson: listen here you narcissist bugs
  • Council: Shepard we declare you first human spectre
  • Shepard: nice
  • ---
  • Anderson: so take my ship you're the boss now
  • Shepard: well thank you what are you gonna do
  • Anderson: absolutely nothing thanks for asking
  • ---
  • Joker: so we can go rescue an asari bitch if you want she has information I think
  • Shepard: why you so mean
  • Joker: I have crystal bones
  • ---
  • Liara: OMG free me I love you
  • Shepard: chill
  • Liara: thanks for saving me let's have sex
  • Shepard: you're welcome but slow down like for real
  • Liara: I'm sorry I will beg for forgiveness by having your babies
  • Shepard: girl
  • ---
  • Liara: ah here we are in Noveria seems like a nice planet isn't it
  • Benezia: I'm fundamentally good but I'll try to kill you anyway
  • Shepard: not if I'll kill you first biatch
  • Benezia: *dies*
  • Liara: mother no
  • Shepard: I'm sorry do you wanna talk about it
  • Liara: yes let's talk about this naked in your cabin
  • Rachni Queen: free me
  • Shepard: holy shit a shiny parasect
  • Garrus: Shepard that's the Rachni Queen
  • Shepard: where's my pokeball
  • ---
  • Shepard: next destination: Virmire. I'm sure everything will be just fine
  • Shepard: nope
  • Player: nope
  • Everyone: nope
  • ---
  • Shepard: fuck you know what? Enough with these shit let's go kill Saren
  • Saren: come and get it punk
  • Shepard: damn where did he go
  • Anderson: Shepshit the citadel is under attack by Saren and the Sovereign get you ass here and fight
  • Anderson: also the council is under attack do you want to save them?
  • Shepard: they're just a bunch of assholes they did nothing to help us those useless sluts
  • Shepard: yeah let's save them
  • ---
  • Shepard: Saren you son of a cockroach stop this nonsense
  • Saren: sorry bae *shoots himself*
  • Shepard: shit that worked we won
  • Saren: *turns into a powerful undead nightmare controlled by Sovereign*
  • Shepard: are you kidding me
  • ---
  • Anderson: yooo you did it child
  • Council: yeah thanks I guess now humans will have a seat in the council
  • Council: who will become the new human ambassador? Shepard you decide
  • Udina: choose me
  • Anderson: don't choose me
  • Shepard: I choose Anderson
  • Anderson: son of varren

I think most of us have complained at least once about the deep flaws in the Mass Effect morality system. Here are my observations from trying to play ME1 as Renegade:

Sometimes the Charm and Intimidate checks are just alternate ways to get exactly the same result. 

In Wrex’s case, Charm, Intimidate and getting his armor all lead Shepard to say the same things almost verbatim, and you can get either Paragon or Renegade points depending on what you used. If you found the armor, to get the Renegade points you have to do extra work, which doesn’t really make sense – pick a response that pointlessly angers him, to be redirected to the Charm/Intimidate dialogue options.

On Feros you get a lot of Paragon just by doing the mission properly: 32 for all assignments given by colonists (in terms of roleplaying, it’s wise to eliminate nearby geth unless you want to be flanked by them and surrounded on a narrow skyway with no cover or escape route, and varren/power cells/water valves are on your way and you’d have to ignore them on purpose), and up to 32 for colonists alive by the end (why kill them when you can easily knock them out?).

Similarly, you can get a lot of “free” Paragon by helping Kirrahe.

Sometimes the game pretends that it presents a difficult problem with two valid solutions, but the scene for the Renegade solution is written and staged as outright evil. Out of the choices I’ve played myself, in ME1 it’s killing the Rachni Queen, in ME2 it’s killing the heretics.

Sometimes Paragon is more risky and Renegade is more pragmatic, but everything goes smoothly for Paragon and the dangers that Renegade hoped to avoid don’t happen. If you save Destiny Ascension, Sovereign goes down just as easily. If you let Balak go, he doesn’t attempt another attack on that scale. It’s just unfair.

Renegade and “bottom” responses are written very inconsistently. You can play a character that makes sense by mostly picking Paragon dialogue options, but Renegade didn’t seem to have their own personality – it’s just what is opposite to whatever the top dialogue option says or to what the person in front of you wants to hear. When a squadmate is trying to make a friendly conversation, you’re strict and impersonal. When a superior is giving you orders, you’re overemotional, rude and unprofessional. When you can shoot a criminal, you do because you hate crime. When you can profit from breaking the law, you do because you can get away with it.

tl;dr: It’s hard to play a Renegade because the game is written with Paragons in mind and rigged in their favor.

Your fave is problematic: Mass Effect

Literally every alien race either sidelines or sexualizes their female members within the series except the Quarians and the Rachni.

The Turians are literally governmentally led by The Patriarch and you never meet a single female turian. The only one ever mentioned is the one Garrus banged in a funny story.

The Salarians are technically ruled by their female members but it’s as a queen insect style set up where their gender defines their social role and they are very few in number. You do meet one female Salarian as their leader and ambassador.

The Krogan have gender based clans due to the genophage’s effects on reproduction wherein almost all dfab members are infertile and those who aren’t are closely guarded. However the only female Krogan you ever meet is a single fertile one whose role laregly surrounds this though she too, if she doesn’t die (which she does by default) goes on to be a leader (married to the head of the Krogans).

The Asari are a single sex race still called female both because of the social tendency to classify single sex species as female instead of not gendering them and their extremely sexualized appearance. There are many dancers and strippers in Mass Effect and every single one is Asari. Though they are good for having powerful and diverse female characters that they are the only significant non-human female presence in the game and are so heavily sexualized is far from great.

The other races (discluding quarians and rachni) are fewer in members showing in the game but they across the board bring only male members to the table, or having some male characteristics and having masculine pronouns used.

The Quarians are the only humanoid and primary race other than humans presenting no real differences in consideration for gender while the Rachni literally only have one significant character - The Rachni Queen - and are noted exceptions only to be clear that literally every other race brings nothing.

I love Mass Effect but it’s just it’s so exasperating.

EDIT: EDI the artificial intelligence identifies as female, eventually taking on a female (though in-game notably naked/sexually presenting) body, other robotic entities are treated as male but show no signs of caring about gender.

Life is Strange - Reversing Time, Saying “Hella” A Lot

Have you ever fell asleep in class and woken up only to be embarrassed by your annoying classmates and then discovering that you had superpowers? Well I’ve definitely been through the first part, but if I did wake up with superpowers, I can imagine it being something like Life is Strange. With Episode 2 of Life is Strange to be released on March 24, it’s a good time to consider if this series is right for you.

Maxine Caulfield, a recent transfer to a prestigious high school discovers in the middle of class that she is able to rewind time at the wave of her hand. Max is in many ways, a stereotypical representation of teenage girls in high school: She’s quiet, she likes photography and writes in a journal, she feels isolated and different for very arbitrary reasons - not very revolutionary character type, but it is an archetype we don’t see much in gaming, so I won’t chastise it too much. Before we even get into the gameplay, it’s worth noting that the game has a visually elegant and unique art style that makes it feel like a moving, artsy photograph, with an emphasis on intricate lighting, eye-popping color, and the interplay between action in the foreground and background. If you like your games pixelated or photorealistic, this is definitely a style that might take a few minutes to get used to, but it is certainly beautiful.

The main mechanics of the game are simple: You walk around, you interact with items or people, and you reverse time, but of course, it’s the latter that puts an engaging, different spin on what is otherwise a teenage drama. Thematically and mechanics-wise, Life is Strange is a unique counterpoint to the Marvel/DC and inFamous style of having superpowers in gaming. While many stories about people with superpowers explore the ethics, responsibility, and temptation of having powers on a large scale, and focus on combat, Life is Strange explores the nuances of the day-to-day life of having an amazing power and how it affects your relationships with others. This exploration is made possible by the fact that Maxine can only rewind a few minutes into the past. Now, if you’re like me when playing a video game in which you have to make choices, you might make a choice that leads to an outcome that you immediately regret so much so that you restart at the last checkpoint in order to select the opposite choice (I’m so sorry I almost killed you, Rachni Queen!). Well you’re in luck; part of the complex yet elegant system of choices of Life is Strange is the fact that by design, you actually CAN and often MUST go back to make different choices and observe different outcomes. Do you give your bully her comeuppance, or do you show her compassion? Do you tell the principal that the student of a rich donor had a gun, or do you keep your mouth shut? Well you can do both and decide which outcome feels better to you before proceeding. Even though that may sound like there’s always a safety net for any decision you make, like in any great game that confronts you with decisions, there are very few choices that feel like the “best” option. There were some choices in which I was certain about what wanted but watched all outcomes out of curiosity, and others in which I needed to look at each outcome two or three times before making a tough decision; the beauty of the rewind mechanic is that it lets you choose how scrupulous you want to be.

If there are some aspects of Life is Strange that are distractedly bad, they are technical ones. If you greatly care about voice synchronization, Life is Strange will bother you. A lot. The dialogue never syncs up with the mouths of the characters, which is unfortunate for a game that has this much gameplay integrated through dialogue. The voice acting is generally good, if somewhat flat on the part of the two main characters you will encounter. Also, if you are not a fan of West Coast slang, be warned: There’s a lot of it here - and this is coming from an East Coaster who says “hella” more than she should. 

The crux of the storytelling lies in the relationship between Maxine and her estranged best friend Chloe, and they have a dynamic that is straight out of  90s girl power movie: Maxine is the mousy loner who needs to come out of her shell, while Chloe is the troubled, rough-around-the-edges badass (she has a lot of tattoos and blue hair so you just know she’s edgy) and together, they get into trouble. Luckily, the backstory of the two girls allows them to be more vulnerable quickly, and Chloe’s complicated family life is able to give sympathy to an otherwise cliched character. Though we’ve only gotten a glimpse of it in this episode, the growth of their friendship will be paramount to the success of the storytelling in the game, and it’s difficult to end Episode 1 without wondering what these two will do next. It’s clear to me playing through the first episode that the relationship between the two women will grow into some emotionally dynamic, and that alone makes it worth the time and money.

Play if you like: Talking to NPCs, making multiple choices multiple times, beautiful visuals, introspectively looking at the relationships between young people and especially women.

Avoid (for now) if: You’re looking for something action-packed, fast-paced, if you need realistic voice acting synchronization, if you for some reason don’t like playing a teenage girl.

Shepard sat at her desk, chin in her hand as she went through her emails on her personal terminal in the Loft. There was a soft ding as a new one came in and she opened it up.

Commander-

Can we talk for a bit? It’s important.

James

Reaching over, she pressed the button on her personal comm.

“James, I just got your message. I got some time now.” She said.

“On my way.” He said and she got up, turning and leaning against the desk, crossing her arms over her stomach. She heard the elevator open a moment later and the door slid open with a hiss, James’s large frame almost filling the doorway. His eyes moved over as he looked at her in her tank top and BDU pants and a shiver slid down her spine at the naked desire that crossed over his features. James suddenly seemed to remember himself, clearing his throat and looking away from her, his hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck as a blush crept over his skin.

“You wanted to talk?” She asked and he nodded, looking back at her again, the expression from before buried away.

“Yeah, I uh…wanted to tell you before Admiral Hackett did.” James said, “I uh…asked to tell you first.”

Uh oh.

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