7 Nov 2014

Mass Effect 2 Journal - 04

Shepard had his team started but his assault team was ready for some real missions. Kasumi was the only possible loose end but her reliability and independence would mean Shepard and Garrus could trust her to watch their backs.

Escaping the MSV Estevanico
by Bioware
Shepard followed up with a few smaller missions that had popped up while he collected his people. The Professor was next on the list but the Salarian was deep in the bowls of Omega in the middle of a plague. Shepard needed to get Garrus out on a mission and work out the kinks in the new team dynamics so he decided to follow some smaller leads.

He plotted course to a crash site - the MSV Estevanico had gone missing a year ago. Shepard landed and explored the precarious wreckage looking for why the ship crashed over a year ago. Shepard picked up the data and left the ship quickly before it fell apart.

Shepard continued - collecting the data of a compromised Cerberus operative and giving it to the Alliance. He raided a few mercenary bases and found a crashed ship that led him on a chase to stop a VI virus that was affecting security Mechs.

The assault team performed well each time. Shepard led the team from the front, sniper fire passing over his shoulder as Garrus pick off targets, and a quick flash of light signaling Kasumi de-cloaking and putting a target down. The assault team was working brilliantly.

Time to get Mordin Solus - Back to Omega.

Getting access to the quarantined zone was easy to push past. The plague was only affecting non-humans. Garrus didn't even blink while entering the zone. Once in Shepard found the place was now a war zone between Blood Pact and Blue Suns mercenary. Caught in the middle were the sick and those that stayed behind trying to wait the plague out.

The halls were littered with hastily erected defenses for both side. Bloodpack mercenaries were roaming the causeways armed and looking for a fight. They were hunting down the sickly non-humans and the unaffected humans. At one point they found a square will raised defensive walls and Shepard just charged in with his biotic abilities. He slammed the guards off the ramshackle defenses while Garrus provided cover. Kasumi rush the barricade before vanishing in a hum of electric systems. The fight was quick and brutal - the assault team was proving itself to be effective.
Mordin Solus
by Bioware

Modin was hyper and very perceptive but unwilling to quit his clinic. He had developed a cure but the air systems were turned off preventing the distribution of the cure. Mordin had an assistant that was now missing who was to have deployed the cure but shortly after leaving the air systems turned off.

The team went room by room, corridor by corridor towards the air systems room. Bloodpack were littered everywhere but they stood little challenge to Shepard while being supported by Garrus and Kasumi. The team eventually found Mordin's aid. Held hostage by angry Batarians the aid was trapped near the air system control. Shepard knew that these people were scared and he lowered his weapon while Garrus and Kasumi took targets. Shepard reasoned with them, they let the aid go - Shepard had the choice to gun them down afterwards but he let them walk away.

Inside the air system control room Bloodpack had set up defenses and cried out about their deal with the Collectors. Once more the Collectors were involved, and Shepard had no idea how far and wide their plans were reaching. The fighting was furious, Shepard was bombarded by weapons fire and Kasumi even fell protecting Garrus as he snipped the Bloodpack who rained fire from above.
Air System Control Room
by Bioware

Once Shepard was able to get the system running convincing Mordin to join was simple. Mordin took over the labs on the Normandy and started to upgrade equipment and the ship itself. He took the ideas of the crew and went to work implementing Garrus weapons upgrades, Jacob's armour suggestions, and all the other ideas the crew had or brought to the table. Most importantly he started work on protecting the Normandy and her crew from the Collector's strange technology.

Shepard deployed the team twice more and both times left him empty and weary. The Assault team did well but all he earned was a violent Morlock with powerful Biotics and a vat grown Krogan in a stasis chamber. The crew was working and Shepard needed time to collect his bearings.

While the work got done, Shepard spent the time resting in his quarters. He had littered the place with trinkets that made the cabin feel more like home. His original N7 Helmet sat next to the couch. Shepard had a love of models and regularly picked up display items to his desk. Liara's photo took up most of the space next to his terminal.

The Illusive Man interrupted Shepard's first real rest since returning from the dead. Horizon was a colony in the Terminus systems and Cerberus intel got ahold of the Collector attack before the Alliance. Shepard had a chance to collect some real intel on his shadowy enemy. He ordered Joker to plot and course and the Normandy made the jump to Horizon. Shepard meanwhile went over all the new equipment that Cerberus had deployed to the Normandy. Rare weapons, prototype equipment, and even some alien tech. Shepard had picked the Geth Plasma 'Shotgun' that Cerberus had reclaimed and repaired before picking the assault teams new armour.

Horizon was a ghost town.

All of the colonists were gone.

Collector Possession
by Bioware
Shepard and the assault team combed through the colony before coming upon Collectors. Within seconds the Collectors were fighting Shepard who was not holding back. Garrus switched to his assault rifle for the fast paced closer fighting between the colony structures. Here and there a flash of holo light announced Kasumi popping into the visible spectrum and quickly jumping back and out it. Shepard was a train rushing from one Collector to another. Then one of them glowed and took on a voice - a Reapers voice. It was suddenly more powerful than the rest of the Collectors just like Saren was possessed the Reapers were able to take control and work through the Collectors.

This time the fight was faster. Shepard charged his Geth made Plasma weapon and focused everything he had into charging the Collector. He slammed into the creature and the world slowed down around him. Before time resumed Shepard had already depressed the trigger and the fully charged weapon fired bolts of plasma leaving the creature close to dead as it tumbled in midair. Shepard followed up with a slam of his elbow to the fallen Collector before he looked around and helped his team clean up the fight.

This was much simpler than Saren.

As the team moved through Horizon more than once did a Collector become the puppet of their master. This was always followed up by Shepard and his team focusing fire long enough to drop it before removing the rest of the nearby Collectors. When Shepard and the team had fought there way into the Maintenance Hangar they came upon a survivor.

It seems the colony is out in the Terminus system to get away from the Systems Alliance. They had sent an Alliance officer to help deploy colony defense turrets to ward off attackers. Kaidan Alenko, now Commander Kaidan Alenko.

If the collectors wanted to push buttons they just found a big one.

Word of Advice to the Universe - Don't fuck with Virgil Shepard's crew.

You can muck about with Shepard, he can take it. You never mess with his crew. After the loss of the Normandy, Shepard would strive to make sure the list of people's names on walls would be short. Kaidan was one of his crew - even if he didn't currently serve with Shepard they had survived too many battle. Kaidan was there when Jenkins's died and he was present and watched Ashley sacrifice herself.

Shepard gathered the assault team and walked out the other side of the mech bay. If this lone survivor was around there was a chance that Shepard had arrived in time to interrupt the collection of the colonists and even stop it whole. Speed was a factor.

The 'somthing big' - Collector Praetorian
by Bioware
They rushed the central weapon system surrounded by Collectors. It took a few seconds for the Shepard to lead the assault team in wiping the collectors out of the area allowing EDI to get the weapon up and running. When the weapon started up the Collectors dropped something big on Shepard and the team.

It wasn't big enough. Garrus was quick and accurate with his fire. Kasumi kept the smaller Collector creatures out of the way while Shepard slammed into the creature, fired off his weapon and moved back to repeat the process.

Eventually the ship left escaping the atmosphere. Shepard would have failed had Kaidan not shown up with some more survivors no longer under the Collectors paralysing technology. Kaidan didn't understand Shepard working with Cerberus. Kaidan felt betrayed... Garrus stepped up but Kaidan was not open to the idea.

Shepard took the verbal backlash - he had lost Kaidan. Kaidan was always part of Shepard's in Shepard's mind but Kaidan was now gone.

It was quiet on the flight back.

When Shepard confronted the Illusive Man - he admitted to leaking information about Shepard being on Horizon, luring the Collectors out of hiding to strike again. Once more the Illusive Man earned the mistrust that Shepard held for Cerberus. Once more Shepard reiterated that this was his mission and his command. He was not or would ever be a member of Cerberus.

He cut the communications and decided to look over the rest of the files for crew. He sat in his cabin worried that he might lose everything to save everything.

Virgil Shepard would take it.

This entry was an odd one. Garrus was back and I played alot of the side missions in order to work the kinks out of the team much like I did in Mass Effect on Pinicle Station with the training systems. Shepard would test the wounded Turian to make sure his was physicaly and mentaly fit after his recent and not so recent ordeals.

Having never played the Vanguard I'm very happy with the team gameplay wise. Garrus is perfect for long range support and Kasumi does keep popping up at the edges of my screen cutting an enemy down before backing away. The game has never been this easy to play and I've played it plenty of times. My only concern in a fight is will Shepard be able to live through the fight after the initial charge and release of following shotgun fire. I tend to run out of the fight sometimes even charging into a new one to get out of trouble. A few times I've used my bonus power, unlocked from previous games, the Biotic Barrier before jumping into the fray just like I did in Mass Effect to ensure Shepard living throught the fight.

Character wise, Shepard is established but his releationships are not or have been changed and that's his current strugle. Of all the former team members Garrus has been the most welcoming. Tali and Kaidan have been somewhat cold and distant. Liara hasn't made contact yet and Wrex is doing his thing. He knows who he is even if everyone else doesn't.