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Spoiler Warning:
Mass Effect Part 4

By Shamus
on Tuesday Feb 9, 2010
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Thanks to everyone who has given constructive feedback. In this video, we’ve put Randy in the driver’s seat, and I think that makes for a better show. Josh and I are most likely to say interesting things, and Randy is most likely to do interesting things.

Comments (61)

  1. Randy Johnson says:

    I love this episode. I feel like we are starting to take the feedback and really turn it into something.

    • SoldierHawk says:

      Could not agree more, those were my thoughts exactly!

      I’m really excited to see the Renegade version of this game; I’m always Paragon myself (just can’t bring myself to be a jerk :/), so this is fun. I also agree that this arrangement of commenting/playing is absolutely better than what you were working with before. This feels much more dynamic and interesting. (Not that it wasn’t interesting before, but it feels like more is actually *going on* now.)

      I have to agree though…I LOVE the Mako and more accurately, finding and exploring new planets. I was so sad they did away with that in ME2 :( .

      • RariowunIrskand says:

        You love the Mako? HERESY!!! The Mako is actually the only reason why ME1 isn’t my favourite game of all time. That and not having played ME2 yet (For some ungodly reason), probably, as EVERYONE tells me it’s better than 1. I think the Mako kinda breaks immersiveness. It’s like you’re this soldier who like can die and stuff and can like shoot his gun and stuff and like and stuff. But then you get a giant tank which is uber-invincible, which is good for exploring, but makes the game boringly easy. That, and it always ends up falling JUUUUUST when you’re about to make it to the top of the mountain.

  2. Dnaloiram says:

    I thought this was pretty cool, but there is one thing that I didn’t fail to notice:
    Shamus, either speak up or get a new microphone, I can’t count how many times I heard you drowned out by Randy and Josh. Just turn the volume up really high, so the episode will go like this:
    Hi, I’m Randy Johnson
    I’m Josh Viel,

  3. neothoron says:

    I like how, minutes after the alienophobic speech, you pick two alien companions.

    And I thought that a fall in the lava would have been the perfect wrap-up.

  4. Renacier says:

    I loved the Mako. You get to bounce around on mountains and fire thrusters and shoot guns. It’s like mud bogging in space.

  5. Blanko2 says:

    yeah. this DID work better than the other ones.
    specially because the renegade options are usually funnier.
    more so when they’re completely idiotic and uncalled for.
    (like punching a crazy person in the FACE)

    this is definitely becoming better. all that’s missing is resetting the skill points so that they’re in intimidate, rather than charm :P

  6. Raygereio says:

    You know, that whole teammates following you everywhere thing gets even more ridiculous in ME2. You can get so drunk you drop to the floor and your two pals drag you to the toilet and just wait there for you to wake up.

    And I liked the Mako as well. It was just having to go mountaineering with it in order to complete all the collectionquests that annoyed me.

    • krellen says:

      Yeah, the Mako was great, it was just too bad at mountain climbing for all the mountains you needed to climb. So clearly the solution was to take it out altogether, rather than design less mountainous planets or make the Mako more capable at climbing them.

  7. Tobias says:

    I really dig what you’re doing here, but something’s really off about the commentary track, it sounds cut off most of the times, which is even more audible because at least one of you has a constant hissing noise in the background. That itself isn’t too bad, but it’s noticeable when it just cuts off and comes back again.
    Now, I don’t know if you’re using push-to-talk or if it’s just over-edited, but I’d suggest the following:
    – Use open-mic to record the commentary, if you don’t already do that.
    – If what I hear comes from the audio editing, hold yourself back a little on that. A slightly audible permanent hissing noise is not optimal, but way better than frequent cut-offs that just sound unnatural. Also, if you edit, don’t cut breathing sounds.
    – If you want to eliminate the hissing, you can use a de-hissing filter – a lot of audio editing programs have that. You have to be a little careful with it, because it’s basically a sophisticated high cut that also affects the voices’ highs, but if you use it in moderation, you should get the hissing removed without getting the voices to sound goofy. Maybe it also helps to just look into the soundcard settings, because a lot of soundcard drivers (including newer Realtek ones) offer a noise reduction option that usually works really well.

    Also, keep up the good work!

  8. halka says:

    neothoron’s comment at 16:47 made me laugh out loud; oh, those poor salarians…

  9. Ross Bearman says:

    Josh: “I’m Josh Viel.”
    Randy: “I’m Randy Johnson.”
    Shamus: “And I’m very quiet.”

  10. Ross Bearman says:

    “That’s no krogan, it’s a battle station!”


  11. Irridium says:

    That was good.

    The only thing I would suggest is for Shamus to turn up his microphone volume or something, since I could barely hear him.

    Oh, and I think I know why Turians considered humans for spectres right after the war. The codex says that after the Turians took over a colony, the humans sent a massive fleet to reclaim it and they destroyed the small Turian fleet. At this time the Council intervened and stoped the war.

    Thats roughly what the codex says.

    Oh, and I also liked the Mako sections. All they had to do was make more planets with less mountains, instead of not making any at all…

  12. Jacob says:

    I actually really enjoyed the Mako sections to the game, then again, I was between jobs at the time and some drawn out planet exploration really hit the spot.

    Also, you guys are really getting better at this, the quality has vastly improved from the first episode and I think that Randy helming the game is really going to shake things up.

  13. wootage says:

    well, Randy driving is certainly a stylistic change lol. Although you all should take turns every episode so we can get a continuous mix of play styles in there, plus you all can comment on the choices of the others before you :D

  14. Factoid says:

    I think it’s funnier with Randy in control so far.

    • Jeff says:

      I agree, it’s funnier with somebody willing to be a dick in game. Particularly because the dickishness is often so uncalled for.
      Also: I liked the Mako! What do you think a space tank capable of dealing with varied terrain and gravity should handle like? I don’t think repulsorlift technology exists in this game. Helicopter type things would be dependent on the amount of atmosphere.

      Only thing I wish is that the rated gravity level had something to do with how far you can jump the Mako.

      • Dodds says:

        “Only thing I wish is that the rated gravity level had something to do with how far you can jump the Mako.”


        If you actuallly went to the effort to point out that this planet had at least a little less/more gravity than we’re used to, it would’ve been nice to show it.

        And I liked the Mako. It was just the 90 degree mountains I didn’t like. Then again, even those could be rewarding every now and then. Finally making it up one such mountain only to propel yourself off the top and see how long it took you to hit the ground was really fun.

  15. Goggalor says:

    I too love the Mako sections, mostly because I was exceptionally bad at them and it gave my Shepherd some character depth. He was a pure Paragon “”except when he got behind the wheel.

    I loved the thought of him giving these rousing speeches about brotherhood and responsibility and then getting into the Mako and turning into this raving maniac, cursing and spewing invective while he bombarded a mountain with the sniper cannon for “veering out in front of him”.

  16. Taellosse says:

    Yeah, I have to agree with others: there was nothing wrong with the Mako sections of the game that a little more variation on topography couldn’t have fixed. I kind of liked driving the thing around, and it gave all the worlds a much larger and more open feeling than any locations in ME2 had. It’s just that they felt like every planet had to be outfitted with extensive, huge, and jagged mountains. Usually designed such that it was necessary to climb them several times to get where you needed to go. There just weren’t enough rolling hills, or gentle valleys, or wide plateaus. It was all flat plains and massive peaks. It might also have been nice to have more in the way of vegetation on those worlds that were supposed to hold life. grass/lichen clinging to the rocks (i.e. a green texture overlay) doesn’t really cut it.

  17. Simplex says:

    Apologies for an offtopic.
    This blog entry has 4 pages:

    Shamus writes: “I have divided it into four pages. This is a first for this site. I do trust the operation of the page links is obvious.”

    Am I blind, or is there no navigation that allows to access the remaining 3 pages?

    It is possible to do it manually by adding &page=n at the end but it should be simpler. You can also access the 4 pages from the search results, but there is no navigation on the page itself.

  18. Spectralist says:

    We may well have met female turians, salarians, krogans, etc. There’s nothing in the game to suggest that they are sexually dimorphic species.

    • krellen says:

      I agree with Turians and Krogan; the Codex, however, makes it clear the you are unlike to meet a female Salarian outside of Salarian space. They’re only 10% of the population and their society is matriarchal. The males are expendable – females are not.

  19. KremlinLaptop says:

    Haven’t watched yet – and I know in thirty minutes I’ll forget – but I just noticed this:

    “Posted by in Lets Play by Shamus on February 9, 2010 ““ 7:04 am”

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      Having now watched the vid I’ve gotta say putting Randy in the driver’s seat definitely paid off. For the past three ones I haven’t actually laughed at anything, I’ve been amused and entertained certainly but not outright laughing like I was this time. Also when playing together you usually do have someone at about this point into the game take over the controls, probably while telling the other two they weren’t playing the game right.

      Also I just realized something; Josh from CB and Randy are the same person, aren’t they? Blue hookers and loot!

  20. RTBones says:

    Firefly reference, awesome! :)

    Looks like I am one of the few commenters that actually didnt care for the Mako. Might have been my system, but it seemed like I could over-control it very easily (or it might be that I am just a bad driver). Of course, I dont seem to have as many issues with the audio levels of these recordings as some.

    Randy on console is certainly different (both are entertaining). Are you planning to rotate between the three of you for the duration of the game? Given that Randy’s play style is different than Josh’s (not to mention yours, Shamus) I can foresee Conan becoming a bit of a schizophrenic with his point allocation….

  21. Shamus says:

    I won’t be taking the driver’s seat anytime soon. It’s a pretty time consuming thing to set up, and one of the key aspects of this project is that it’s not time-intensive for me.

    Thanks goes to Randy and Josh for doing the legwork (setup, uploads, editing) that makes this possible. If I had to do more than show up and run my mouth I wouldn’t be able to participate.

  22. Shamus says:

    Also: Blame Josh for me being too quiet. He has all of our voice channels isolated and sets the volume levels in post. I think he just hates me.

  23. AGrey says:

    I think the person playing should switch every episode.

    You’d end up with the craziest multiple personality Shepard ever

  24. Some of you may not notice this in ME1 but in ME2 on the Omega station you’ll see a Elkor bouncer and he lifts his left front leg, only you see it’s not a leg, the front legs are actually freakishly huge arms, they kinda walk like Gorillas it seems.

    I’ve yet to see a Elkor stretch their back and show how tall they can stand, and I can imagine that a Elkor bouncer bitch slapping you would mean certain death, and although they look “slow” I assume that in low gravity (to us Humans normal gravity) the Elkor can move very fast if they need to and hit damn hard.

    Would be cool to see an Elkor duking it out with a Krogan in ME3 :)

  25. Another Scott says:

    I think a nice idea would be that when this series is done, it would be really cool to upload this save file for any of us to use for Mass Effect 2. The viewers would have vicariously experienced this Mass Effect (1) playthrough and be able to enjoy the repressions of Conan Shepard’s escapades when they play the sequel.

  26. Rick W says:

    * Random observation: At this point, I’m about half-convinced Sha’ira’s the Shadow Broker. I don’t have any evidence for that, it’s just a guess.

    * Party members while dealing with Sha’ira: Hmm. I’m not sure, but I would guess you don’t have to do the Consort’s quests your first time to the Citadel. In fact, you could wait until after you’re ready to go to Ilos and try to stop Saren, by which time you could have advanced a romance plot to near the end. And then bring your partner with you, and sleep with Sha’ira. I wonder what they’d think.

    * Salarian lifespan: Mordin in ME2 is about 50. Which means he’ll probably be dead come ME3, which sucks because he was the best new character.

    * Elevators: I really don’t mind the elevators. Of course, I’m the crazy person who constantly uses them to hear all the news reports. And yes, I think the Normandy decontamination is worse (no news reports, no funny conversations).

    * Mako: Add me to the chorus of people who love it. At least, I did once I got used to it.

    * Therum and lava: After installing Bring Down the Sky, my textures for Therum got messed up to the point where I couldn’t tell lava from safe ground. That playthrough sucked, let me tell you. I got through by trial, error, and abusing the quicksave feature, which is not the tactic I’d recommend.

  27. JoshR says:

    As much as i love that you’ve taken my message to heart, it’s not as much fun as someone who feels bad about doing bad things doing bad things.
    still better then people doing good things though.
    Also – quick save more! if you are going to have points in crap things like charm, you’re going to be hard up on the combat stuff.

  28. Fenix says:

    Quick question:
    What kind of specs are you running that on?
    Just wondering whats running for that level of performance while running a live streaming prog and video capture prog as well as the game.
    (P.S. What graphics settings as well. Sorry, these kind of things keep me up at night :P)

  29. cadrys says:

    It was my impression that the entire Sha’ira scene was mentally implanted, not an actual physical…err…hookup. “Relax, open your…mind”

  30. Eltanin says:

    Good stuff gentlemen. I agree with many of the reactions – Randy as driver is often hilarious in part because both Randy and renegade are inappropriate at times, the Mako could be improved but is pretty fun, and I wish that I could hear Shamus better.

    Also, it is interesting to note that you can give Paragon answers to Sha’ira all the way up to the last response. As long as you pick renegade for the last response you get the sex scene but you don’t get any Renegade points for it.

    I really appreciated Josh’s griefing comments on Randy’s choices, as it game my own inclinations a voice. :)

  31. Martin Annadale says:

    A complaint Shamus raised in the first video was how the husks were not really effective enemies and it seemed like a waste for the Geth to go through all the trouble of making them.
    This, in my opinion, has been addressed in ME2. The Husks are a lot faster and tougher. Without using powers you’ll soon be overwhelmed in a few sections in the game. They’re still not hard to beat, as long as you’re using your powers. But you almost HAVE to use powers* when faced with them, which is great.
    Oh and there is also a LOT more of them at a time. Which suggests that converting humans into shock troops is cheap.

    *Recomended powers: Shockwave, Mass throw, mass pull, mass freeze, mass incinerate, Adrenaline rush.

  32. Sheer_Falacy says:

    I actually found the husks to be pretty pathetic in ME2. On insanity I’d have 5 of them pounding on me and the only way I’d die is if they surrounded me to the point I couldn’t escape. They’re slower than you are, so you could just run away and melee them to death one hit at a time if you wanted to. I actually did that at one point because I ran out of ammo and my allies were dead – they have a lot of hp but that’s all.

    Now varren were scary. Those guys HURT. And they frequently came with ranged allies…

  33. Martin Annadale says:


    Using powers prevents situations of being surrounded, or in some cases, allows you to break out of a surround. The Vanguards Charge was actually my single most used power against Husks.

  34. FFJosh says:

    Well, since nobody’s using the newfangled “reply to this comment” feature for this discussion, I won’t either.

    I think the main problem for me with the new husk behavior in Mass Effect 2 was that they instantly died if they were lifted or thrown; something that, as a Vanguard, I did often. You can utterly destroy waves of husks and abominations by just throwing out a mass shockwave, and can completely lock down their respawn points by throwing one out every time it recharges.

    Now Scions, on the other hand; those were beasts.

    • Martin Annadale says:

      Newfangled reply to this! Wow!

      Yes, yes. Husks are weak. But they’re definitely stronger than what they were in ME1. And killing them without powers can be risky. Which is the point I was trying to make.

      Scions are hard as nails, yes. Fire bullets helps. As well as using a weapon designed against armour (obviously). My most used power against them was Barrier, so that I can plant shots while taking shots in order to kill them quicker. If you take the shotgun skill in the SPOILER ship when you already have the shotgun skill, you gain the ability to use the Krogan shotgun. This thing eats through everything. INCLUDING scions. On Veteran it kills a Possessed Collector in two (or 3) shots. But it can’t hold a lot of ammo.

      • FFJosh says:

        Blah, I never liked the Krogan Shotgun. I grabbed Assault Rifle Training in that spot for my Vanguard instead. The shotgun was insanely powerful, yes, but having to reload after every shot really limited its utility.

        Although, the only time I even used shotguns was just after I used charge on a group of enemies. Send one flying, mop up the rest with the assault shotgun.

        • Martin Annadale says:

          It doesn’t take that long to reload, and you’d only use it against certain enemies. And overall the time it takes to kill something is reduced. But I suppose its a question of personal taste. Personally I wouldn’t want to play the game without the Krogan Shotgun (if given the choice). Krogan shotgun + fire bullets = Dead Anything.

          ps VANGAURD RULES! Charge is just too awesome.

          • Sheer_Falacy says:

            Charge was an incredibly fun ability to use on my first playthrough. It also killed me SO MANY TIMES. 99% of the combat system is cover and charge removes that, so… yeah.

            And as I said, I was talking about husks on insanity (NOT as a vanguard, because that would have sucked), so powers… not so useful. Actually husks are the exception to that – their armor is very low, and they’re still instagibbed by things like freeze once armor is down. But I’d gotten used to totally ignoring any power that didn’t work on shields/armor/barrier and therefore didn’t use them.

            The krogan shotgun is nice because it’s strong against everything. No more swapping to the handgun vs armor! Yay!

            As for scions… M-920 Cain. That thing was AWESOME. And I saved it for those buggers because no one else could hit you behind cover.

  35. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I’m more with the Mako-hating crowd. At first it was sort of cool but after three or four planets of optional missions (I generally do everything that is optional at any given point before forwarding the plot when playing games) it got tedious, particularly when I discovered that I’d actually have to run all over the map and not just to the indicated points in order to find all the useful/interesting stuff. On the other hand my PC was in the lower requirements bracket and perhaps the driving wasn’t as fluent as it was supposed to be which might have added to the frustration.

    More on the topic, I also appreciate the switch to renegade as I’ve generally played paragon (because I 1) wanted to do the sidequests rather than refuse them and 2) dislike being a dick to every creature I encounter) so the alternative choices are actually kind of interesting, I’m hoping for lots of awkward dialogue in the future. I’m still rooting for some sidequests though, at least a few of the more interesting ones, particularly since if you don’t boost the intimidate option, for which you need the additional exp, we won’t be able to see the use of red choices late game at all. Overall, a great and entertaining series, hoping you guys will pick up something else once it’s over.

    • krellen says:

      The only things that aren’t already marked on your map while exploring are the occasional mineral deposit, and you pass enough of those on the way to other places and garner enough from the planets you can’t land on to finish the mission associated with gathering them anyway.

      So you don’t really need to go tooling around unmarked territory unless you’re hoping to run into a random Thresher Maw or hard up for cash.

  36. James Pony says:

    I’d like to add my $0.02 of fuel to the ocean and say that I was puzzled at the general consensus regarding this game. I only played Mass Effect last week and I noticed that a) Tali sounds like she’s twelve, which in my books isn’t “hot”, while 110% of the comments I’ve seen exclusively describe it as “hot”, b) the elevators are not made of all of man’s inhumanity man and the only complaint I have regarding them is Shepard’s inability to move (to lick the walls or whatever), c) Mako is awesome and it seems people don’t like it just because it doesn’t handle off-off-off-road like a Ford Focus on a straight, level paved road, d) Spoiler Warning lied to me and playing a Spacer Sole Survivor Soldier was actually cooler than your mom and e) people’s ideas of “hot” are stupid and my eyebrowless serial-killer-lookalike female Shepard was actually the hottest female character I’ve seen in any game and I really can’t understand the need for the standardized politically correct bikini-model approach games and movies take with female main character design. It saddens me that we only get these faux-tough chicks with prom-queen looks instead of actual soldiers (when the character is exclusively presented as one) who look and talk like they’re just one wrong look away from punching you in the groin with your own spine.

    Also, f) why couldn’t I just shoot Ashley for killing Wrex? I had to go through an elaborate plan involving a nuke and lots of running just to get her killed and even then I couldn’t tell her how I really felt about the whole incident!

    And gee, that planet with the huge red sun alone was enough to justify the whole concept of plot-unrelated exploration!

  37. nerdpride says:

    I don’t get it. Why do people like this game so much? The sci-fi is weak and Star Wars-ish. The “race fight” plot isn’t as interesting as the actual history that it imitates, and then there’s a lot of it in the real world. The shooting gameplay doesn’t look bad (not great either from the glimpses shown here), but it’s taking forever for things to develop to the point where you do have some gameplay.

  38. Nalano says:

    Kept wanting to shout “have you people never heard of a courtesan?” at the screen. Especially with the “she’s like a hooker and a psychotherapist” comment.

  39. Alden says:

    Is anyone else having trouble loading these? I feel like I’m waiting five minutes for every one minute of viewing time. I know NZ’s internet is notoriously slow, but… :)

  40. Zaxares says:

    OK, I just have to say… That little scene at the end with the rocking Mako and Randy’s quote made me laugh my ass off. XD

    Um… You DO know it’s awfully cramped in there, right? Or is that part of the appeal?

    Oh yeah, and I was actually amazed at how long that decontamination scene was when you got onto the Normandy! Mine lasts only as long as a single pass of the ‘scanner’. It’s barely even noticeable compared to the longer elevator rides in the Citadel.

    • Miral says:

      (Re: Decontamination) Yeah, me too. Every single time I played it, it would make slightly less than one pass — when it reached Shepard’s head, it was done. Similarly I’ve never seen any of those little mini-loading popups that seem to happen all the time in these videos. I’m starting to understand where some of the load-screen hate is coming from now, but I never experienced it myself.

      And I’d often go for gratuitous elevator rides in the Citadel just to check up on the news. (Which is easier in ME2, though.)

      And the Mako was a great deal of fun. The only thing that was occasionally annoying was having to hunt around for stuff that didn’t appear on the map.

      Of course, I do have a gaming PC (from space) resembling the monolith from 2001 constructed from magical obsidian by the proud dwarves of Middle-Earth…. And apparently I like to start sentences with “and”.

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