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Scrappy Mechanic / Mass Effect

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The Mass Effect franchise has a whole slew of them:

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  • Door/system hacking, in all its formats, from the first two games. The first iteration had you playing Simon Says endlessly, or spending your hard-earned omnigel to break the lock. The sequel forced you to play a mini-game where you scroll through code segments to find the exact copy of a specific one. Liara lampshades the scrappy mechanic in the second game's "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC when she explains that the security upgrade "made a lot of people very unhappy". The third game completely removed it, requiring characters to only pause for few seconds in front of a lock while fiddling with their multi-tools. Surprisingly, nobody complained much.
    • In the PC version of the first game, they changed the minigame from Simon Says to a far more interesting one that actually looked like lockpicking. You still had to do it every single time you wanted to open a chest, though.
  • Whose bright idea was it to make the "skip dialog" button the same as the "select dialog" button?

    Mass Effect 
  • The Mako from the first game. Overly sensitive controls and a meaningless cross-hair (unless zoomed in) made it a nightmare to drive even in straight-aways. It handled like it had the density of styrofoam, prompting many to speculate Shepard never found out how to adjust the mass effect fields, so it perpetually weighed about eight pounds. The PC version had revamped (and programmable) controls, but it was still considered the worst part of the gameplay. Plus, it steals your XP, and you couldn't upgrade it. By around level 30, your best course of action was usually to just step out of it and take out your foes with your Sniper Pistol. Heaven help you if you have a low engineering skill and try to repair the Mako. If you do, it stops for 30 seconds (meaning you can't fire your weapons or move it) and repairs itself for never quite as much as you'd like, stealing 15 omnigel just to spite you. And the shield takes forever to recharge and can't be repaired by omnigel. And the cannon's elevation was pathetic. Are you trying to fire at an enemy at the bottom of a 20 degree slope? Don't bother.
    • The Mako was so infamous that Mass Effect 2's "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC heavily lampshaded it — Liara refers to a massively hectic taxi ride as "Still better than the Mako", and in the Normandy Crash Site DLC from the basegame, you find it frozen in the ice at a 20-degree angle, trapped on the landscape one last time.
  • The Inventory Management Puzzle. You'll rarely pick up ones better than what you already have. You can only carry 150 loose items (each of your characters can carry twenty). They're wasted afterwards, even if you see one you like. You're going to be making lots of Omnigel that you can't keep, because you can only carry 999 of it, and every one of the hundreds of items converts to 4. And if you picked up an item you actually wanted while your inventory was full? Too bad, you had to convert it into Omnigel, you couldn't go into your actual inventory and convert a weaker item into Omnigel instead.
  • Elevators also had this reaction, due to the fact that they hid loading screens and would often have the characters standing around in uncomfortable silence (though this could also lead to humorous conversations between squadmates). The fans then complained when it was switched to a loading screen for the sequel. The cargo elevator on the Normandy takes a full minute to go down one goddamn floor. This is later lampshaded in the "Citadel" DLC from the third game — just before you face the final boss, you have to get into the Normandy's elevator and ride it down in real-time, with several of your companions (Liara chief among them) reminiscing over their memories of fond conversations in the elevator.
  • The romance mechanics for Ashley/Kaiden in regards to the next game's Old Save Bonus, which is very sensitive about them. Simply choosing mostly Paragon responses in their interactions can cause the sequel to treat you as having romanced them even if you clearly didn't (which can result in oddities such as them referencing an Optional Sexual Encounter that never happened). After a lot of testing, fans concluded that the only way to guarantee no romance with them in ME2 (if you don't romance Liara) is to always choose Jerkass responses when interacting with them, not interact with them at all, or let them die on Virmire.

    Mass Effect 2 
  • In Mass Effect 2, planet scanning — schedule yourself for carpal tunnel surgery. You move a targeting reticle around to find mineral signatures, then blast a probe in to get the minerals. It's awful on the PC, and it's pretty mind-numbing on any other platform. This one was so noticeable that Bioware released a hotfix in Patch 1.02 on the Xbox 360 version that increased the size of the scanner and the scanning speed.
    Zero Punctuation: Off-roading around random planets is now replaced by scanning the surface from orbit, launching probes to extract resources, which is as interesting as it sounds and it sounds like this: BWUUUUAAAAAHHHHH.
  • The Mako was replaced by the (DLC-only) Hammerhead Hover Tank, which still gets insulted by some players for being a Replacement Scrappy. The game refuses to let you save when driving the tank (and you're only allowed to exit the vehicle when you arrive at your destination), and its levels seem like more of a arcade-based shoot-em-up. Nothing like having to restart a level because of a mistimed jump. Or because you dared to engage more than one or two enemies, as the Hammerhead is somehow even more fragile than the Mako ever was, and its auto-homing missiles are virtually guaranteed to lock onto the least-threatening enemy in view. The "Overlord" DLC partially addresses this, by having the Hammerhead "recover" to its last safe position, should you accidentally drive it off a cliff, into magma or whatever.
    • Tellingly, if you import a save from 2 into the next game with either the "Overlord" or "Hammerhead" DLC installed, you will encounter James Vega and Steve Cortez arguing in the Normandy's shuttle bay at one point over which vehicle is better, with both criticizing the other's respective choice by pointing out the aforementioned flaws.

    Mass Effect 3 
  • Due to almost every action being mapped to the spacebar/A-Button/X-Button, going into cover, storming, using an item, and reviving a squadmate are all mapped to one key. It is quite easy to go into cover when one meant to storm out of the way, or to start reviving a squadmate when one was attempting to leap over a barricade.
  • Basic human husks can now grab you, forcing you to go through a quick-time event to shake them off. This leaves you out in the open, vulnerable to enemy fire. Anyone who's played multiplayer against Reapers knows what this means.
  • While the "Search and Rescue" mode (a simplified version of planet-scanning from the previous game) was looked at more favorably, the act of traveling around the galaxy and scanning for said planets got a lot of flak from fans. Simply flying into a random area on the galaxy map and pressing the scanner button a couple of times causes a group of Reaper capital ships to appear from various corners of the map and start chasing you. There is no penalty for failure — if they do catch you, the game goes to a "Game Over" screen before dumping you back in the same map, now with the knowledge of where the planets you scanned (and couldn't land on) are. Notably, the Expanded Galaxy Mod does a lot more with the mechanic, making Reaper ships much faster (forcing the player to seek out upgrades for the Normandy to not die as much) or using them in Race Against the Clock scenarios.
  • The original unlock conditions for the "Shepard Alive" ending. Up until the release of the Extended Cut DLC, the conditions to unlock the game's "best" ending (Shepard breathing in the rubble of the Citadel if you pick the Destroy ending) weren't fully known to players, with datamining eventually revealing that getting said ending was impossible in the course of normal gameplay, even with a character who has been routed through all of the games and picked the most optimal decisions across the trilogy (a total of 3800 Effective Military Strength was needed, while only 3,750 EMS could be acquired without hacking). It was discovered that players needed to play one of the tie-in games (the multiplayer mode, the Datapad app or the Infiltrator iOS game) to get more EMS (via increasing the "Galaxy Readiness Rating"), despite Bioware insisting that the endings could be achieved in the course of normal play with just the basegame. It also didn't help that fans spread misinformation around by confusing TMS (Total Military Strength) with EMS (Effective Military Strength). With the release of the Extended Cut, the unlock conditions were lowered from 3,800 to 3,100 EMS, making it possible for players to get the best ending without playing other media.

    Mass Effect: Andromeda 
  • The crafting and research systems, so much so that even the official strategy guide isn't entirely clear about how it worked and what certain unlock conditions and effects were. Not only were crafting choices buried away within submenus (within submenus of their own), but it wasn't clear what the end product would actually do. Will that ammo change give you a badass gun capable of doing a ton more damage, or will it render your shiny new Widow VIII into a gun that might as well be be shooting spitballs?
  • Mining for resources on planets is imprecise and generally boring, but one of the less time-consuming ways to gather resources for crafting weapons and items. Planet scanning was found to be similarly boring.
  • Some side quests don’t update your nav points, which normally direct you to the next place to go to advance the quest. You are left to aimlessly drive around and hope for another random encounter that may spawn what you need to advance that quest. While some of these are enemy squads you can run into, making at least the combat somewhat enjoyable, other fetch quests don’t even give you that. Those are nothing but needle in a haystack searches.
  • For many fans, the new emotion-based choice system, which is similar to Horizon Zero Dawn's. In past games, you could select dialogue based on morality and unlock extreme good/bad choices if you were consistent. In Andromeda, choices were now determined by psychological outlooks: Emotional, Logical, Casual and Professional. While this offered up a great amount of roleplaying potential for how you wanted to play Ryder (and some context-only options made it clearer when, say, you were entering into a relationship), it severely limited the options for people who wanted to be outright Paragons or Renegades like in the old games, as these choices were now much less clear and often nowhere near as extreme. As well, this system often obfuscated less important conversations, making their options seem much more important than they actually were.


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