It’s been established that Carol is not truly anti gaming. She has her comfort zone, but hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aide so to speak. She’s not invested in the idea that a game world can be as engaging as one in a book, for example, or a TV show. It’s something I’ve seen countless time in my life. Much like the way nerds don’t understand why people like sport, people like Carol haven’t fully grasped the emotional investment nerd make in games. Ultimately they are the same. Sport fills the same emotional needs that games, or books, or whatever, do in others. It’s no different than one person liking savory tastes and another preferring sweets. Over time tastes can change, or be expanded upon. As a child I hated onions, but now I will eat one essentially raw if it’s in the right dish. I’ve never cared for sport, but I try to be understanding now. When someone else posts about how happy they are about their team winning it’s equivalent to me saying how much I like Skyward Sword, and likely as potentially irritating. XD
On the off chance someone hasn’t played Mass Effect who wants to someday I’m placing a spoiler warning here. They are peppered throughout this section.
The first Mass Effect is so different from the third they may as well be two different series. Coming off the heels of KOTOR 2 I wasn’t surprised too much by what was expected of me in ME1. They are very similar. Doing things like unlocking security door, or disabling mines, were based on your character’s skills. If you chose to play as a hammer all your problems looked like nails, but if you decided to be subtle about things it gave you a very different experience. Jump ahead to Mass Effect 3. Now your skills amount to what type of explosion you want to make when you kill a bitch. There are 3 colors and they really don’t have a lot of affect on gameplay. Over time, no matter what your choices may have been in previous games, all your problems became nails, and you had to become a hammer. That’s not to say that I dislike the gameplay in ME3. Far from it, but I do miss the old RPG mechanics where it actually mattered how you chose to build your character.
The gulf between a Biotic and other types of player characters is probably the biggest. I was never much for being a magic user. I like having one on a team, but I don’t want to be it. Biotics are too vague for me. Winging area of effect spells is not something I excel at because I’m a terrible judge of distance. It’s the same reason I never use grenades. They never go where I want. At best they cause the opponent to react to my random placement of them and ruin what chance I had for a clear shot. I am an irritating player. I like tactical cloak and a sniper rifle. Don’t let the enemy get too close, but if they do sweep them clean with a shotgun. In ME3 I keep my encumberance as low as possible so I can use cloak over and over; getting the damage bonus as often as possible. In this way I can take a brute down in two shots and a mech in 3. Everything else is a one shot kill, provided that I actually manage to shoot them at all. I’ve managed to shoot a lot of dudes through the eye slot in their riot shields though. Enhanced perception goes a long way toward increasing my effectiveness.
Still, I miss planning out a strategy, setting up traps, and hacking things. However I don’t miss having to walk a mile between destinations on the Citadel. The streamlining of the more tedious aspects of the game are appreciated. There’s a lot less RPG in Mass Effect 3, but what remains still has a tendency to drag. Not nearly as much as in the first game, where you’d be jogging all over the Presidium for hours at a time, but just touching base with your squad after a mission eats up a lot of time. Part of the reason I’ve never gone back to ME1 is just how tedious parts of it can be. I enjoyed planetary exploration, but only once. I’ve never felt the desire to do it again. I farted around all over every planet you could land on in the first game, and it did a good job of making the cosmos seem vast. As much as I enjoyed my excursions, however, I was glad that it wasn’t part of ME2. Of course it was replaced with endless scanning of planets, but that’s a whole other thing. A whole other thing that was gloriously streamlined in 3.
I’ve thought about what I’d do if I ever did go back to the first game. If I ever tried for a “perfect” play through. First of all I’d romance Ashley, but sacrifice her on Virmire. That way It’s all clear for Tali in 2. (Alternately I’d romance Liara, but stay true to her in 2. I’m torn between Tali and Liara on several points. I err on the side of Tali though. Either way Ashley dies. In retrospect Kaiden is the better person, IMO.) I’d save the Rachni again, cure the Genophage, side against the Illusive Man… Basically the game I’m playing now apart from having saved Ashley. I don’t hate Ash either, it’s a sucky choice to have to sacrifice a good person, I just feel like I made the wrong choice sometimes. I think one of the best things about Ashley is that she does things and has character flaws that make you question if she was the right choice. She’s not written as a perfect avatar of the human female. She wants to be good, and tries to be, but sometimes falls short. In fact, that’s true of all the characters. It’s part of what makes the Mass Effect universe resonate with fans.