So with Mass Effect 3 coming out in… *looks at Xbox 360 screen* T-3 days? Whatever. Tuesday. I’ve decided to do one last play through of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. I’ve heard through the inter-web-o-sphere grapevine that the Normandy in ME3 will feature a memorial wall for all the people who have died in the trilogy, also the fact that almost everyone you’ve ever teamed up with will be showing up at some point in the game. Well, what happens if those people aren’t there to team up? Who replaces them? In every single save game of ME2 I’ve got, I have saved Wrex, I have kept my entire crew alive through the suicide mission, and everything is set for war with the reapers. But what if you fill up that memorial wall and kill everyone? Well, mostly everyone. My end goal of this last play through is to leave just enough people alive to ensure that the save imports into Mass Effect 3. That means killing everyone you can except for 2 crew members. Easy, right? Wrong.
Oh sure, in the first Mass Effect it’s really easy. There’s a maximum of two crew members that can be permanently killed off. The fun comes in finding ways to kill off NPCs as well. Captain Kirrahe on Virmire? Yea. Skip all the side missions, and send more guards his way and you can guarantee that the good captain won’t be able to hold the line. The Council? Oh you betcha. The Rachni? Dead as door nails. The Zhu’s Hope colonists? Well, let’s just say my Shepard is the Butcher of Torfan AND Feros now. It makes things so much easier not bothering to save people. I actually made it through the game, even with a large chunk of the side quests complete, in record time.
Mass Effect 2, on the other hand, is where things get tricky. It does still shorten the game to not have to worry about loyalty missions or having a good paragon or renegade score to settle disputes, but the real task is making sure that you kill the most people and still surviving to the end. The general idea is to have all but two crew members die in the final suicide mission. That means not rescuing the Normandy crew, and killing off the majority of your team mates. However you MUST have at least two team members survive or else Commander Shepard himself will die and you won’t be able to import the game into Mass Effect 3. Considering the nature of the suicide mission, and how many factors and decisions can lead to death or survival, this requires a careful hand and a lot of planning. I’ve hunted down charts, checklists, and made countless sticky notes to plot the course of who should die and when. Thankfully, the internet has provided ample resources of how things like not researching improved armor will affect the final mission, including a list of who will die and in what in what priority. I can only imagine the research that went into figuring out how each of these events can shakedown.
I haven’t finished the play through yet. I’m about 3/4ths done at the moment. But I’ve been getting this weird sort of mix of glee and dread in the fact that I am purposefully doing something so counter intuitive. This isn’t like the Ironman Challenge where it’s about restricting yourself to increase the challenge. At least, not that I am aware of yet. That opinion may change once ME3 comes out and I see the results of all of this. But to actively plot the demise of your own team and to be crossing your fingers to hope that they all perish in the flames of battle is something you don’t do in video games too often. I know I’m crazy, but there’s crazy and then there’s crazy. You know what I mean?
So have you ever worked to do something in a game that is the complete antithesis of what you should be doing?