What unites all these different features is the most unrelentingly dull writing, cliches and aphorisms pouring out like the waterfalls they’d use as an analogy in this sentence. Every chat lasts three times longer than it needs to, and they’re achingly boring from casual encounters to the deepest moments in relationships. I cannot explain this better than by giving a lengthy example from one moment in the first few hours, a chat about the potentially complex and messy subject of faith.
One member of your crew, a scientist, reveals to you that she believes in God. Now, this is old territory for Mass Effect, where in the first game you had a right-wing Christian on your crew, and it was handled especially well. Not so this time! This is genuinely the conversation:
“Just all of it. So alien. A constant reminder of the divine intelligence behind all creation.”
“Divine intelligence? A god?”
“Yes, I believe in a higher power. I know it’s a little odd. But I’m a scientist because science brings me closer to something greater than myself.”
To this you are given two possible responses. Beyond all credibility, they are:
“I feel the same way.”
“There’s no higher power.”
What the hell? You’re given the choice of either emphatically agreeing that you too believe in God, or you rudely tell a woman you barely know that her faith is bullshit. Honestly, I was tempted just to walk away from the game than be forced into picking one of those two answers. But I went for the former, since at least it wasn’t rude, and I was trying to flirt with her anyway. She expresses her pleasure that someone else agrees that it’s possible to believe in science and God at the same time, and then in what must be one of the worst lines of dialogue in gaming history, your character’s option of a flirting reply is:
“You definitely have an interesting perspective on the interplay between faith and science.”
This isn’t how people speak.