Deconstructing the Game: Mass Effect 2

Occasionally you are given the option to take a side in an argument that ends up having both good and bad consequences. This is a situation where up or down are not paragon/renegade. No choice is right but you have to go with your gut. If you have nurtured your paragon or renegade side enough you may be able to resolve the whole issue amicably. I think the game design could benefit from some more situations like that or maybe even just make conversations more organic and have all situations reliant on what you say and not constantly steering the player one way or the other.

I think this is more a taste over gameplay mechanic quality issue I’m having, but I do feel that it is a valid complaint to have about the dialog tree mechanic. On one end, having the player know that he can rely on the up or down options gives the player the solace that he won’t be penalized unwillingly when trying to achieve an all paragon or renegade character. But I feel that in a game all about choice, if the choices are for the majority black and white, then you get stuck with the Love and Fear conundrum from Donnie Darko instead of the more thoughtful choice system from Ogre Battle where choosing to accept an unpopular traitorous now repentant general into your army can actually effect you negatively and reduce your reputation (a meter that is important in the game) while also being a requisite for the “good” ending meaning that as a player you had to make the right decision that outsiders like the common townsfolk would see as the wrong one.

A (missed) chance to reverse roles: There is at least one part where I wish I could have played it like the bad guy. In fact the game gives you the option of being the bad cop or good cop in an interrogation. But if you’re a paragon on a regular basis like I was, then picking bad cop won’t work too well because you are forced to say nice, very paragonal things as the bad cop which really screwed up my chances of getting a desired reaction. I somehow managed to squeak by with a renegade action here or there, but if I can choose renegade responses, why not allow me to go all out with some extreme renegade dialog moments as well?

That was just a weird moment in the game that I remember pretty well for being unintentionally awkward and could have been implemented better. You really aren’t warned about the potential problems caused by being a paragon playing a bad cop in the scenario and there really shouldn’t be the ones that arise because after all, the best of people can still opt to “play” bad cop when the time comes. Now whether the veracity of my statements in the game would have come under scrutiny from my target, who might not have bought my no nonsense renegade tone from a goody two shoes paragon, that would have really taken the games dialog to a whole new meta level.