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thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012







According to Wikipedia, Mass Effect is a military science fiction media franchise created by Preston Watamaniuk, Drew Karpyshyn and Casey Hudson and owned by Electronic Arts. The first entry in the series is a third-person role-playing shooter video game developed by BioWare (subsequently acquired by EA) and was initially released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows (the third installment in the series was additionally released on the Wii U). A fourth game was released on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in March 2017.

But what is Mass Effect really?

It’s four games where you can shoot throw shout hit and unfortunately bone down. I don’t think anybody really agrees which one is best or even really which ones are good great or garbage. One thing is for sure these games are fun to post about and generally pretty drat fun to play. Apparently a remastered collection of the first three comes out this year which hopefully has a new ending for the third one am I right? Heh

The Games

Mass Effect: The Motion Picture
This is the first game in the series. It’s a lot jankier then the other two in terms of gameplay but also has a charmingly Star Trek like vibe that is missing from the sequels both visually and musically as well as probably the most engaging story of the trilogy. Bad cover mechanics, insane difficulty spikes for first time players, poorly considered shooting mechanics, and the most embarrassing sex scenes in video game history! In spite of these issues this is definitely my favorite game in the series, it created a sense of magic and wonder from almost the very first cutscene that I’d never experienced in a video game before. Plus once you get past the excruciating early game difficulty spikes I mentioned you can truly break the physics engine over your knee. It’s mega satisfying. Oh and the entire last two missions of the game are the best of the series. Love this poo poo!


Mass Effect Into Darkness
Mass Effect 2 is probably the most successful one at what it sets out to do. It has great character work, largely improved gameplay mechanics, fun conversational mechanics, hella quotables, etc. I guess it’s probably most people’s favorite one? It’s really good but also the main plot is, let’s be charitable here, treading water at best and actively stupid at worst. It has a really ugly aesthetic. Has a really funny terminator last boss. The lean into increased edginess is pretty dumb and frankly the whole cerberus thing should have probably stayed in the first game’s side missions. But it’s good! I promise!


Mass Effect: Nemesis
The least controversial of the original trilogy, Mass Effect 3 included the best shooting gameplay of the series and a truly excellent online multiplayer mode that was filled to the brim with fun content. Some good story beats combined with some really bad ones! Probably the first trilogy I can think of where the new characters introduced in the last installment are actually good! Leaned a little too hard into the fan service stuff at times but everybody came away satisfied with the conclusion of the series. In all seriousness the high points of this game stand up there with the best parts of the first two. The less said about the last third the better. It was still pretty fun though.


Mass Effect: The Undiscovered Country
I didn’t play this one and the main lasting cultural impact from it seems to be that a lot of people made fun of how bad the animation was at times, and the studio got raked over the coals for it. It did badly enough that they cancelled the DLC. I’m sure the bad stuff got overblown but it seems like it could have used a lot more time in the proverbial video game oven.

THE NEXT ONES I GUESS
They’re making a remastered collection of the original trilogy to try and get people excited for...


Mass Effect: The Search For Spock
A direct sequel to the original trilogy! Surely they’ll figure out a way to make a sequel to a game with three different endings and a bunch of diverging choices that will make everyone happy.

———————

I love these stupid rear end games and would like to talk about them or have a place to discuss my personal desires for short episodic adventure games in the mass effect setting. Or we can just argue about whether Ashley is racist or not (she is), if there’s any reason to kill Samara instead of her daughter (it’s way funnier), or if it’s funniest to intentionally ruin the virmire survivors life before killing them or trying to make amends then refuse to let them back on your ship (both options rule).


———————

Lt. Danger posted:

Thought about buying the Mass Effect remaster but don't have $60-$150 to drop on a decade-old game? Or maybe you already own the entire trilogy and can't justify buying them again, even for HD graphics? Or perhaps you're just interested in spicing up a game series you've already played 25 times over (Engineer Shep no pistol no powers GOGOGO)?



...it's the lens flares, isn't it? Jesus you're gonna blow out someone's eyes with all that post-processing!

There has to be another way!

The Mass Effect trilogy, being possibly the last good Bioware games ever, has a small but incredibly dedicated mod community. Over the last few years they have produced a ton of content for all three original trilogy Mass Effect games, including gameplay tweaks, 4k textures and even new missions and content! Better yet, they've created an incredibly easy-to-use community mod manager that handles all the complicated bits of modding with a literal drag-and-drop interface.

Obviously it's early days yet but the community expects that the Legendary Edition won't be moddable at all. Chances are, if you want mods you'll have to use the original versions.

If you want to check it out for yourself, then you can find pretty much everything you need - mods, tools, graphics presets - on the Nexus websites for Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.

Otherwise, if you want to know about how it all works, read on.

MOD MANAGERS

Broadly speaking there are two different kinds of Mass Effect mod: content and textures. Most mods are content mods: they add or change dialogue, gameplay, characters, missions etc. Texture mods change texture files themselves: 4k upscales, recolours, NPC complexion tweaks and so on.

I mention this because the Mass Effect engine handles the two kinds of mod in different ways, which means that if you want to mod your game you will need two community mod managers.

ME3Tweaks Mod Manager, despite the name, is the content mod manager for all three Mass Effect games. Most mods you download will use ME3Tweaks.



ME3Tweaks can backup your installs (so if mods break your game you can revert quickly and easily), check for mod updates and download automatically, applies compatibility patches for DLC and other mods, and does all the fiddly stuff like AutoTOCs and binkw32.dll bypasses as well.

How to use:
  • Download the mod you want
  • Click-drag-and-drop the downloaded archive file (don't unzip!) onto your ME3Tweaks window
  • ME3Tweaks adds the mod into your library (you can delete the original download file now)
  • To install the mod, click the little "Apply Mod" button in the bottom right
ME3Tweaks also works as a launcher for all three games.

ALOT (A Lot Of Textures) is the texture mod manager for all three Mass Effect games. Only texture mods use ALOT. ALOT is also the name of basic upscaled texture packages for each game, made by the same people. The mod manager is included with each of the texture packages.



ALOT has similar functionality as ME3Tweaks, but for texture mods. Both mod managers can work together as well to avoid conflicts and ensure stable installations.

Thing is, the way the Mass Effect engine works means that any changes to texture data must be the last changes made. In other words once you install texture mods you can't install anything else. Trying to install or even update mods after changing the textures will break the game! ALOT and ME3Tweaks work together to make sure you don't accidentally do this.



How to use: official illustrated guide here but it's similar to ME3Tweaks - drag-and-drop the mod files onto ALOT, click "install textures" and the manager will do the rest. Again, the main thing to remember is that you should make sure you've installed all the content mods you want before using ALOT, as you can't do it afterwards!

ALOT has additional advanced settings if, for example, you don't want to install the default ALOT core packages or if you're having memory problems when running the game.

Once you've finished with texture mods you can go back to using ME3Tweaks to launch the games.

Word of warning - sometimes in old mod descriptions you'll see mention of a program called "Mass Effect Explorer". This is a mod developer tool that shouldn't be used to install mods any more. Use ME3Tweaks or ALOT!

Lt. Danger posted:

MODS

Okay, enough background - what Mass Effect mods are actually out there?

This is mostly the mods I use - not an exhaustive list by any means.



There actually aren't all that many content mods for Mass Effect 1 as it's apparently hard to edit. Most of them are relatively minor tweaks.

ME1 Recalibrated - the Recalibrated mod series is a set of unofficial patches for each Mass Effect game. This one fixes a lot of incorrect plot flags and quest bugs.
FemShep Appearance Consistency Project - imports the ME3 FemShep head morph into ME1. There's a ME2 version as well!
Improved Mako - changes physics behaviour for the Mako to be less bouncy. I used V1 but would consider trying the more extreme versions, as V1 was still a bit floaty
XP Rescale - reach level 60 in one playthrough
Pinnacle Station Tweaks - rebalance for Insanity challenges
Galaxy Map Trackers - shows outstanding quests on the galaxy map
No Intro Videos - no intro videos!
Faster Elevators - the elevators are faster!
Controller Support - I don't know what you want from me here!

The main draw of modding Mass Effect 1 is obviously the texture upscales, as the base textures were a hot console-port mess even on release.

ALOT - upscaled textures and lighting
A Lot Of Videos - ALOT sister project, contains upscaled videos
Mass Effect Updated/Improved Textures Mod - another texture pack that can be used alongside ALOT. It slightly edits the textures to add more detail so if you're an absolute purist, you might want to stick to just using ALOT

There are many other texture updates/reskins for individual characters, weapons, outfits etc. if you want a particular look. For example there's a nice retexture of Explorer armour for Liara that better matches her style in later games.



The modding scene for Mass Effect 2 is a little more developed, both in the number of mods available and how much those mods change the game.

ME2 Recalibrated - an unofficial patch like the others, but also includes much bigger changes: Illium, Samara and Thane are available straight away, DLC missions are gated behind plot missions, and lots of minor edits (e.g. FemShep no longer comes on to Jacob every time you talk to him)
FemShep Appearance Consistency Project - it's back, in Mass Effect 2 form
Modern Weapon Pack - backports 16 ME3 weapons so you have a choice of, like, more than two kinds of pistol
Recovered Powers - 4 new bonus powers for Shepard, salvaged from ME2 enemies
Add Powers to Squadmates - gives every squadmate 2 extra powers, and changes weapon loadout for a few of them as well. Slightly janky in implementation due to engine limitations but not buggy per se
Gameplay Tweaks ME2 Gameplay Tweaks and Improvements - not tried these but both let biotic/tech powers ignore enemy protections which I know quite a few people wanted
Same Gender Romances, FemShep and Miranda, FemShep and Jack - there are a few romance mods for squadmates available - due to the scale of changes required they are often incompatible with other mods or sometimes even other playthroughs! Not my cup of tea but they are there if you want them
Controller Support - why would you want this when the mouse and keyboard are right there? Well, here it is anyway

There are ALOT and ALOV packs for Mass Effect 2, naturally. MEUTIM has a pack that changes some squadmate textures to resemble those used in the ME2 trailers. Others are complexion tweaks for major NPCs, often with a ME3 equivalent by the same modder.



Here's where it gets juicy.

Mass Effect 3 easily has the most mods available, either because it's the easiest to mod or the game that needs it the most. These mods offer the most content and the biggest changes.

ME3 Recalibrated - an unofficial patch more like the ME1 version - bug fixes rather than content edits
Expanded Galaxy Mod - whole game mod that touches up what I would call the "connective tissue" of ME3: the Normandy, the Galaxy Map and War Assets. Customise the Normandy, visit every system from all three games, take ME2 squadmates along on missions... honestly too much to fit here. Community standard that's required for a couple of other mods
Spectre Expansion Mod - EGM expansion that adds more entries and dilemmas to the Spectre terminal. Want to authorise strapping bombs to pyjaks and pointing them at the Reapers? You can now! Also adds new enemies to the game
Miranda Mod - EMG expansion that brings Miranda onto the Normandy for the final segment of the game. Bit janky in parts but fun otherwise
Ark Mod - EGM expansion that adds a couple of new missions with Collector enemies using multiplayer maps. Difficult!
Project Variety - whole game mod that adds more NPCs to the Citadel, changes NPC outfits, fixes cosmetic bugs. Also a bit janky, and has some issues with ALOT and the game's memory management
Bonus Power Packs - adds powers from multiplayer as Bonus Powers for Shepard
Omega Hub - visit Omega after clearing the DLC
Aria Arena Mod - Omega/Citadel combo DLC for those who can't get enough Carrie-Anne Moss
Better Dreams, Shorter Dreams - changes Shepard's dream sequences to get rid of the slow-mo hide-and-seek forest
Take Earth Back, Priority Earth Overhaul - two different overhauls for the final mission in ME3. Take Earth Back is low-key, more stable and compatible with other major mods. Priority Earth Overhaul is bigger, more ambitious and buggier. Both are still being actively developed, so expect updates
Singleplayer Controller Support, MP Controller Support - mutually exclusive controller mods
BackOff - dialogue mod that adjusts how ME3 handles romances to make them easier to start, finish or avoid. Did you pick an upper-right dialogue option and accidentally end up marrying Liara? This mod stops that. Poor compability with other mods due to scale of changes, so I haven't used this
ThaneMod - one of the oldest mods, ThaneMod stops Thane from dying in the Citadel coup. Currently awaiting a major update. Also not great compatability with other mods. I haven't tried this mod either!
Same Gender Romances, FemShep and Miranda, FemShep and Jack - continuation of the ME2 mods, with the same kind of compatability issues. Not for me but some might be interested!
MEHEM, JAM, CEM, LIME - ending mods of different flavours. I don't use these mods so I don't really know what changes they make but whatever!

ALOT and ALOV have packs for Mass Effect 3. Again, there are a lot of complexion tweaks for major NPCs, and specific HD textures for individual weapons and armour.

If you look on the Nexus sites you will also see lots of ReShade presets and the like. ReShade is a generic post-processing injector that's entirely separate from content and texture modding. It's a bit out the scope of this post but if you want fancier graphical effects, then grab the framework and a preset you like and go hog wild. Unlike the other mods, you can do whatever whenever with it without potentially breaking the game.

CONCLUSION

So: as you probably guessed, a lot of this stuff - bug fixes, new graphics, ME1 gameplay tweaks - is gonna be in the Legendary Edition remaster, and to a higher (professional) standard. You could save yourself some hassle and just shell out for the remaster in three months time.

On the other hand, Warcraft 3 Reforged showed that you don't have to be an amateur mod developer working out of a bedroom to utterly gently caress a game beyond all salvaging. And if any of the new content or twists on old content strike your interest... well, that's probably not gonna make the jump to the remaster.

The original games are fairly cheap, cheaper if you wait for a sale, and if you're reading this thread chances are you already own all three anyway. If you don't mind putting in a bit of work, there's basically a community-sourced remaster right here, entirely for free.

It's worth a look.

Thanks to known player of mass effect Lieutenant Danger. You’re a real N7 in my book

thrilla in vanilla fucked around with this message at 21:30 on Feb 2, 2021

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marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Hey, EA. Here's an idea.

Mass Effect: Battlefield

acems
May 8, 2019



mass effect andromeda is one of the few games incompatible with ps5 backwards compatibility which is v bizarre imho

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky


What a game, op.

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





Thanks. I made it myself

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky


What's your favorite mass effect. Mine is Garrus.

tithin
Nov 14, 2003

[Grandmaster Tactician]



my favourite mass effect is garrus yeah

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





By game I’d have to say my favorites are wrex, then mordin, then wrex again.

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





Here’s some songs from mass effect to put everyone in the mood to post about mass effect

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IitCQCaKi3E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TCkFAzr924

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUKiOcV1SSc - this one’s good

Macdeo Lurjtux
Jul 5, 2011

BRRREADSTOOORRM!


marshmallow creep posted:

Hey, EA. Here's an idea.

Mass Effect: Battlefield

The multiplayer in the new one will be a Battle Royale that you need log 20+ hours in to qualify for the best ending.

Feels Villeneuve
Oct 7, 2007

Kanye West - Touch the Sky


serious post:


of every 40+ hour big rear end modern RPG game, Mass Effect 2 is, by far, the best paced.

it is a masterpiece of pacing. it is basically structured like a season of TNG or something which is absolutely perfect for the game.

Sally
Jan 9, 2007


Don't post Small Dash!


i liked all the Mass Effects! Andromeda too!

Apple2o
Mar 25, 2009
ASK ME ABOUT ENCOURAGING CLINICALLY DEPRESSED PEOPLE TO KILL THEMSELVES OVER THE INTERNET

Shepard became noticeably less psychotic throughout each version of the game. Mass effect 1 evil Shepard was such a bastard.

Mass effect 3 evil Shepard was a pushover, hardly able to murder his own scientist or something. Mass effect 1 Shepard could barely go a mission without executing somebody.

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





Apple2o posted:

Shepard became noticeably less psychotic throughout each version of the game. Mass effect 1 evil Shepard was such a bastard.

Mass effect 3 evil Shepard was a pushover, hardly able to murder his own scientist or something. Mass effect 1 Shepard could barely go a mission without executing somebody.

This is a good point but consider this: if you don’t punch Manuel not only are you doing yourself a disservice but you also are doing Kaidan a disservice by not showing him how things are gonna be going from here on out.

Wolfsheim
Dec 23, 2003

and god is on your side
dividing sparrows from the nightingales

hey..............
















rear end effect

Psycho Landlord
Oct 10, 2012

What are you gonna do, dance with me?




Why in the gently caress has no one posted the chart

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





Little known fact but actually Sentinel is the best class.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me



Psycho Landlord posted:

Why in the gently caress has no one posted the chart



God, I miss that gameplay loop. So satisfying.

Pattonesque
Jul 14, 2004
johnny jesus and the infield fly rule

marshmallow creep posted:

God, I miss that gameplay loop. So satisfying.

Vanguard is the finest gameplay idea of the last decade

The Voice of Labor
Apr 8, 2020



I liked the planetary rover sequences in mass effect 1.

thrilla in vanilla
Oct 9, 2012





The Voice of Labor posted:

I liked the planetary rover sequences in mass effect 1.

Hmm. The bits with some actual structure, namely the main path planets, had fun truck sequences yeah. I like the idea of exploring in the rover on the uncharted planets but the execution was not great

Sachant
Apr 27, 2011



Psycho Landlord posted:

Why in the gently caress has no one posted the chart



The sweet sound of HRRAAAGH ARRRGH (FWOOOP) (ZOOM) ARRRGH (BWAAANH) GAAARRGH is forever burned into my brain.

Buschmaki
Dec 26, 2012


It took me like 4 playthroughs of mass effect 1 to realize you get your prestige class by going to the moon.

really queer Christmas
Apr 22, 2014

Have you heard the good word?


Mass Erect

really queer Christmas
Apr 22, 2014

Have you heard the good word?


thrilla in vanilla posted:

By game I’d have to say my favorites are wrex, then mordin, then wrex again.

Shepard

Tenzarin
Jul 24, 2007
.

Taco Defender

Psycho Landlord posted:

Why in the gently caress has no one posted the chart



Charge was op in ME:A mixing it with the pyscaster abilities to make the screen explode.

Sally
Jan 9, 2007


Don't post Small Dash!


using Charge to fly up in the air and bonk flying robit space centipedes in the face ruled in ME:A

Wolfsheim
Dec 23, 2003

and god is on your side
dividing sparrows from the nightingales

The moon is so cool in ME1

Too bad you never visit earth in the series

Chillgamesh
Jul 29, 2014



ME2 is probably my most played single player game of all time except for maybe FFT. I beat that game on the highest difficulty as every class, plus like 80 runs as vanguard on the highest difficulty where I used a save editor to put the game world into weird states so I could have Legion at the start of the game and they still have a bunch of voice lines because they were originally planned to be the first party member you get. Lair of the Shadow Broker was a good rear end dlc.

Also one time in ME1 on a low gravity planet I had my Shep as a biotic specced for short cooldowns and Liara in my squad and I chained lifts and singularities between the two of them so much that I managed to send a bad guy into orbit. he never came down

E: im deffo gonna get that trilogy when it comes out, I never actually played ME3 lol

Funky Valentine
Feb 26, 2014

Dojyaa~an



Javik is my favorite Mass Effect because he roasts asari while their planet is getting wrecked.

Spudd
Nov 27, 2007

Protect children from "Safe Schools" social engineering. Shame!

I wanna replay Mass Effect but I figured I might as well wait for the whatever it's called collection of the first 3 to come out.

Inzombiac
Mar 19, 2007

PARTY ALL NIGHT

EAT BRAINS ALL DAY


I love Mass Effect except I've only played 1 and 2 and only once each and I hated the inventory management and sometimes it felt like a chore to play and not all the powers seemed interesting and maybe I don't like this series all that much.

Meme Poker Party
Sep 1, 2006

THIS NEW AV WILL LET ME POST LIZARD TITS TWICE AS EFFICIENTLY!

IT'S GIVING ME A FUCKING BONER RIGHT NOW!


rear end Effect

Meme Poker Party
Sep 1, 2006

THIS NEW AV WILL LET ME POST LIZARD TITS TWICE AS EFFICIENTLY!

IT'S GIVING ME A FUCKING BONER RIGHT NOW!


Because of the booty, not saying it’s bad.

Wolfsheim
Dec 23, 2003

and god is on your side
dividing sparrows from the nightingales

Look this thread is gonna make a lot of jokes about the romances but let me be clear: jack is bae

Wolfsheim
Dec 23, 2003

and god is on your side
dividing sparrows from the nightingales

*in extremely Obama voice*

Umm let me be clear, Jack is bae and Ashley died on Virmire

Funky Valentine
Feb 26, 2014

Dojyaa~an



Mass Effect 1 Remastered will let you kill both Kaiden and Ashley at Virmire.

Chillgamesh
Jul 29, 2014



Funky Valentine posted:

Mass Effect 1 Remastered will let you kill both Kaiden and Ashley at Virmire.

goty

Wolfsheim
Dec 23, 2003

and god is on your side
dividing sparrows from the nightingales

Remaster adds a new tali face but it's just a different stock photo

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Rockstar Massacre
Mar 2, 2009

i only have a crazy life
because i make risky decisions
from a position of
unreasonable self-confidence


ME1 has the best gameplay because it's the most RPG and the least cover shooter.

cover shooters are a loving blight and they always were. what a black hole of lovely ideas. ME1's gameplay is, I mean this genuinely; factually and objectively better than Gears of War or whatever anyone's favorite cover shooter is.

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