We’ve been thinking and talkinga lot about Mass Effect lately, what with the new game out this week. Which has had me thinking a lot about my re-play of Mass Effect 3… and the fact that I haven’t finished that. The whole point of it was to get to the end and see the “new” ending, but before that I got lost in the new DLC’s and all. I apparently stopped right before the best bit of the best one!
With Andromeda out, I don’t know when I’ll be back to this game… but my initial thoughts on the re-play were interesting for me to re-read, so hopefully you’ll enjoy them as well!
I know, it’s happening. I’m going back to Mass Effect 3.
And I’m playing FemShep with the default look, so… this one!
The timing of the creation of our blog is such that we haven’t necessarily talked much about Mass Effect 3. I don’t think any other game has ever received quite the backlash that this game did. I feel safe in saying that because few games have ever created as much anticipation and fan buy-in as the Mass Effect games – playing the same character, with that many choices and decisions, for that long, is pretty much unprecedented. We cared. And, never have we seen a response like we did with this game – the studio went back and made an “extended cut” ending, supposedly to make it make more sense.
I say supposedly, because I had beat the game and was pretty much done with it before this ending came out. As such, I haven’t seen it. That’s one of a few reasons I decided to replay Mass Effect 3! So let me lay out some reasons, and then share some of my initial experience with the play-through, and maybe you’ll decide you need to re-approach this title as well!
Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week we went over an hour (sorry!) for hosts David, Holly, and Julia to rank the Mass Effect and Dragon Age trilogies. Our ranking might surprise you, because it surprised us! I think we have some replays in our future. It also psyched us up for the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda!
Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, hosts David and Holly are joined by Julia to talk about the Mass Effect Trilogy, which Julia has played quite recently! We talk the high points of the games, some things we wish could be better, and quite a bit about the relationships system! Spoilers for sure, and a good way to ramp up for the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda! Also, we’re all sick, sorry about that.
There were a couple of good topics to cover today for the letter P, but I think I’ll save the other for a longer post. It was also waiting to see what we talked about in regards to the Justice System. There we talked about what could happen if the law, the police, could act upon justice at a moment’s notice – or in advance of a crime!
Today is more a discussion of if the police stay kind of like they do today – they capture people, they have normal sorts of trials, and then they go to prison. Overflowing prisons, perhaps. Privatized prisons, run by corporations that are there to make money from the prisoners – not rehabilitate them. Private prisons already exist, so these are perhaps realistic fears for the future. And the history exists for prisoners to do more than just be prisoners – but to entertain us as well, like gladiators. So let’s look at these possibilities!
So we recently watch the movie Escape Plan with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and we were expecting it to be a ridiculous cheese-fest like The Expendables. As it turned out, not really. It was a near-future or alternate-present sort of story, with a professional prison-breaker who helps build better prisons. Someone stole all his best ideas, and built a floating fortress – and trapped him in it. The prisoners were all held basically as long as someone kept paying for them to be in there. Held in international waters, with no jurisdiction over them. And with no escape.
You also see prisons like this existing in full-fledged Science Fiction space societies. Often an entire planet or space station exists for the sole purpose of being a prison, like Crematoria in the Chronicles of Riddick. Or in Mass Effect 2, where you go to get Jack from a prison, where you pay to have her released – until they decide that they can make far more money by keeping Shepard prisoner instead!
Prisoners as Gladiators
Often this is seen as an extension of Reality Television, the idea that competition shows aren’t enough – and eventually Reality TV turns into blood sports. And who better to participate in a blood sport, with everything on the line, than prisoners? Generally something like a shortened sentence or outright freedom is dangled in front of them, and they compete for that.
There are many ideas for what the competition might look like, with those details updating over time even if the basic plot remains the same – like with Running Man and Gamer. Hey look, Arnold Schwarzenegger again… Still, it’s pretty much the use of prisoners as gladiators to entertain the rest of us. And sometimes, freedom isn’t really guaranteed, like for Duncan Idaho in the Dune prequels – where it really is just for the amusement of it.
This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!