View Full Version : Mass Effect 2 vs. Mass Effect 3

Madame Adequate
05-09-2017, 09:36 PM
I've been replaying the series (Originally in anticipation of Andromeda, but IRL derailed that handily) and I'm now a fair way into 3, and I've been thinking about how the games are regarded. Mass Effect 1 is much beloved by many, but 2 and 3 are far closer to each other in style than either are to 1, so let's leave that one aside for now. What I'm curious about is, essentially, why 2 is beloved more than 3. Now, okay, elephant in the room; the ending to Mass Effect 3 soured a hell of a lot of people on it, and understandably so. Still, until that last little segment of purestrain bullshit, I thought at release, and am only convinced more now, that 3 is a substantially better game. 2 was fun at first but, both at release and when I just finished it last month, I got really bored by the last third and wanted it to be over. Back then I just stopped doing everything but the main quest because I wanted to reach the end of the damn thing. This time I stuck with it more so I could see the DLCs (universally underwhelming) and loyalty missions (Heavily mixed bag. Legion's and Tali's were incredible, Mordin's and Thane's was pretty great, didn't care about any of the others.) and I ended up putting the difficulty down to the lowest setting so I could blast through the content more quickly.

3 is tremendously better. I have more fun going down to some utterly inconsequential side mission in 3 than I did with all but a couple of main or companion quests in 2. More than that; the game does a far better job of selling the sense of overwhelming doom that the Reapers represent. The Collectors were assholes, sure, but I didn't get much of an impression they were an actual danger except because the Alliance said "Eh, idgaf."; when Williams/Alenko set up just a couple of regular defensive guns on Horizon the Collector ship has to get out of dodge. Meanwhile, 3 has a sense of near-constant danger. There are reapers all over the galaxy. Worlds are burning. You find wreckage and debris in more systems than you find intact infrastructure. Hell, the game starts with the entire Batarian Hegemony reduced to small groups of desperate refugees.

So why does 2 rate higher in just about every critic's eyes than 3? 2 is several points higher on Metacritic, almost always comes higher in rankings of the series or RPGs or games in general, and is lauded as perhaps Bioware's finest hour in their entire 3D output. Is it entirely down to the ending? I'm very curious to know what everyone else thinks!

Del Murder
05-09-2017, 10:55 PM
I like the companions in 2 more than 3. Jack, Mordin, Thane, Legion, they were all very good. The new companions for 3 weren't anything special for me.

The combat in 3 is better than 2, since it is just 2's system upgraded. I also played Adept in 3 and had more fun with that than my 2's Sentinel.

The story is about a tie. I love that the entirety of 3 was a close to this epic tale and tied off all the loose ends. People hate the 'ending' but really that was just the final moments. The whole game was the ending to this series. For 2, I liked the idea of a suicide mission that relies on my recruitment and building of a cohesive team where anyone could die in the final mission solely based on my decisions. It gave me a greater sense of accomplishment to have them all survive to the end. However, the Collectors were more of a side story and I liked how 3 got back to the impending doom of the Reapers. Unfortunately, I had not played 1 at that point so I didn't truly understand the power of the Reapers and some of that was lost on me.

Overall I rate them about the same. I can see how 2 is rated higher since I think it has better companions and a more self-contained story. 3 is the end of an epic series and really requires the other two games to be played to fully enjoy it. You don't need to have played 1 to enjoy 2 (and in fact that's exactly what I did). It also helps that 2 came first, so 3 had to compare to it. Usually when there are two great but similar things the one that came first is more acclaimed since it is more groundbreaking.

Wolf Kanno
05-10-2017, 06:01 PM
I'm kind of with Del where I feel the games are both a mixed bag. I'll second the fact the Collector's never really felt like a good antagonist and I'll agree that I still think it was kind of dumb being the third game in and we're still trying to introduce new characters and make you feel as invested in them as you did with the characters you've been with since the first game. I feel both games still suffer from feeling way too scripted in the gameplay department, but I'll give ME3 points for better level design and enemy variety.

In fact, I feel ME3 was a better game overall in terms of actual gameplay. They brought back better customization which was still nowhere near as good as ME1's but much appreciated after ME2 mostly gutted it. Better enemy varieties with honest to goodness enemies that would receive Kill on Sight orders from me, and the environments went back to a more organic structure where boxes and convenient waist high walls are not placed in rooms in convenient trench warfare fashion. The Biotics Academy area especially stood out to me.

Story side of things is a bit weird for me. I feel like both ME2 and ME3 basically took one side of what ME1 did right at the cost of ignoring the other. ME2 was very character driven since the core plot was building your elite unit, but it lacked a compelling main plot because the Collectors weren't nearly as menacing as the Reapers and the game lacked a major foil like Saren to keep you focused. ME3 is way more plot relevant and barring some few really good conclusions to character arcs established in the earlier games, most of the character interaction involved the three new party members and just a "where are they now" attitude with the rest. The fact both games had a bad habit of sidelining my favorite characters from the previous games never set well with me, and I am still absolutely pissed off about the fact that my two fave characters can't both survive the series. Though I will say that Liara really grew on me over the course of the series. She was one of my favorite party members by ME3 despite being one of my least favorite characters in the first game. Despite the main ending kind of being meh, I was really more invested in the Geth/Quarian and Krogan issues, so them being front and center in the plot of ME3 was nice instead of being relegated to optional side stuff in ME2. There is definitely some good and bad in both games in this department.

Overall, the sequels just never really recaptured the magic of the first game for me. ME1 was like playing something like Star Trek or Babylon 5, whereas the sequels kind of felt like more a Hollywood blockbuster that lost the sense of exploring a really cool alien political setting for me. The first game just set-up a really deep narrative of galactic empires and man trying to find it's place in all of it, and the sequels basically Avatared it with humanity taking center stage to magically right centuries of political conflict, when it wasn't just blatantly ignored except to add drama for a one and done side mission or two.

05-10-2017, 06:32 PM
I will definitely echo what has been said about ME3's superiority as a game. Never mind the improved combat, just the way you moved and interacted with the world itself was much better.

With the stories, I felt ME2 focused more on the individuals in your team, whereas ME3 focused more on the bigger picture of the war with the Reapers. There wasn't really much to love about the character arcs in ME3. Not to say that they were bad, but they weren't as engaging as ME2's were. With that said, I also agree with WK - the resolution of the Genophage and the Geth/Quarian conflict were deeply satisfying payoffs, and there were some fucking heartbreaking deaths involved in this.

Though, yeah, the ending debacle. Ouch. Hackett out.

05-10-2017, 08:25 PM
Kai Leng was a horrible antagonist. So ME3's story suffers for me cause of him. The DLC for 3 is miles better than 2 though (outside of shadowbroker that is)

I'm going to go with 2 based on the character interactions and story. as has been said, in 3 it was a "let's check in on the old friends" kinda thing.

Although Javik is great.

There's a lot I like about 3 over 2. But storywise trumps all of that and i'm going to go with 2.

05-10-2017, 08:46 PM
Kai Leng suffers so greatly from cutscene power to the max it's kinda frustrating. Especially when you actually fight him in-game he's pretty easy.

05-10-2017, 09:34 PM
Oh yeah, let me be the conductor of the fuck Kai Leng train. Boring antagonist with no depth or intrigue. No, I don't give any sort of a fuck if his back story was explained in a book. He's obnoxious and his battles aren't fun. And despite all his SUPAR BADASS smack talk, he has to flee from every battle or call in a gun ship to help him.

05-11-2017, 03:41 AM
I feel like ME2 was a long series of intense action movies, which was a blast to play through, and did definitely have a lot more focus on your pals, which I too enjoyed a lot more, and were mostly thrown aside in the third game

While ME3 was more story-adventure focused. Which was also sprinkled with poignant intensity, as well as a lot of more story-driven poignant moments. And yeah, the "big picture" thing. So it's definitely a good debate on which one is better. 3 is definitely a better adventure, a better designed game, and gives a lot more options

I personally actually enjoyed the second one more (I've never beaten Mass Effect 3). All that non-stop intensity and action was like the video game equivalent of a page-turner. I couldn't stop until it was done. I guess 3 had more down time. I felt more compelled to complete unnecessary quests and lost steam, and eventually interest. Which is sad because it's still a fantastic game. But my girlfriend loves the entire franchise so much, a little lacking love from me won't hurt it any. Our household is still generally a massive BioWare boner (and Bethesda)

Madame Adequate
05-16-2017, 11:30 PM
Heh, I just killed Mr. Leng and there was an amusing bug in the cut scene afterwards. His head had clipped down into the floor, then during the scene while everyone was chatting it slowly clipped back up, and it made it look like he was playing dead and trying to sneakily peak over his arm to see if Shep had left yet.

Madame Adequate
05-17-2017, 06:37 AM
His name was... Marauder Shields :cry:

Madame Adequate
05-18-2017, 07:47 PM
The Extended Cut ending makes the last hour of ME3 a hell of a lot better. Still nothing great but at least things make sense and more or less cohere into a whole.

05-18-2017, 08:59 PM
His name was... Marauder Shields :cry:qft

The Extended Cut ending makes the last hour of ME3 a hell of a lot better. Still nothing great but at least things make sense and more or less cohere into a whole.ehhh, didn't do all that much for me tbh

Citadel DLC is a much better ending.

Madame Adequate
05-19-2017, 01:28 AM
Oh yeah no doubt Citadel is the TRUE ending because it's the best time in the entire series.