Yeah that whole "Lets leave the ship because the Collectors need to attack." thing was pretty weak. First time I saw it, I literally scratched my head at the prospect. I thought it was incredibly stupid.
I would really love your interpretation on what Shepard and her crew were REALLY doing when they left the Normandy. Because I always figured that they actually got a little RnR on Kahje courtesy of Thane. I mean hey, the planet is 90% islands, if that isn't a summer destination I don't know what is!
What, you didn't like the completely arbitrary plot 'development' of kidnapping the crew while the ship was randomly floating 'somewhere', and the ENTIRE spec ops force of 12 to 14 people stuffs themselves into one shuttle, when we never took more than 3 on the shuttle before? Heck in my first play through, I didn't even have a mission to go to, I was just arbitrarily sent off to get me out of the ship.
Okay, that was a really stupid piece of writing completely substandard for the rest of the game.
Look at the bright side, its pretty much the typical writing level for Mass Effect 3!
Not really, the writing for ME3 overall was pretty weak, the original end was just so absurdly bad that it distracts one from the other problems. Even the revised ending isn't that good, it at least isn't complete fail and is tolerable, but that's it.
I actually haven't fully beat ME3 since the hate for the ending has put me off to finishing it but I agree the extended ending, while it fixes some problems, still isn't that great. As for the writing as a whole, since I haven't finished I can't really say. Though from what I've seen and heard from people, it's not bad. What does irk me about the writing is the lack of dialogue trees. I don't think the ending distracted people from other problems; they all say the game was fine until the end. If they were pissed off with other things from the game they certainly would have mentioned it in their rage.
Actually on the Bioware forum there was quite a bit of discussion early last year about the other problems the game had.
The contrived and heavy handed nature of the Normandy kidnapping was repeated several times in ME3 to varying degrees, sometimes slightly, sometimes heavily.
You mention the poor dialog trees, that is s symptom of a larger problem, that the game is surprisingly linear. Some of the missions are quite good, others less so. Mars was interesting, the Geth-Quarian resolution was quite good (and could make s lie of the supposed reason for the Reapers), and other areas were good too.
The Rachni piece on the other hand sucked, as did the Jacob reunion. I'm of mixed feelings regarding Miranda and the Sanctuary mission, it didn't actually make a lot of sense.
Everything about Kai-lame was bad. Horribly, horribly contrived. He should have simply been shot in the head on the Citadel. On Thessia only the gunship made him a challenge, and on the Cerberus base only loads of backup made him a threat.
The entire thing with the stupid kid - and those stupid boring annoying unskippable dreams - was as subtle as a brick to the head.
Traynor was Kelly revamped, but attempting to make her more than just a secretary. Allers was stupid, and probably a bribe to IGN and G4. And so on.
I also found the combat less interesting than ME2, it was often linear and repetitive. And I *hated* the entire battle for Earth sequence.
Oh to be fair, on its on the game wasn't that bad, say an 8 of 10. But as a ME sequel it was was sub standard. As Call of Duty in space it was fine, but as Mass Effect, it was weak.
Since I haven't finished the game, I can't say anything about Miranda or the Battle for Earth missions. I've played up to Jacob's reunion and the missions have been pretty good, except for the Rachni mission which I thought was frustrating.
My friend told me that he thought Kai Leng was more of a Mary Sue.
As for the dream kid, yeah I thought it was a poor attempt at making Shepard seem more human.
At least Allers is completely optional. Though I wish they would have used that other reporter from the previous games(not the one you punch but Wong was it?).
I'd say the combat was best in ME3 (the game had a lot more RPG elements for combat than ME2 did).
I have more issues (nothing too major, though) but after that I'm surprised you consider it 8/10. My favourite parts are the death scenes of the characters (Mordin's death comes to mind). But please don't compare it to CoD, I'm so sick of people talking about CoD everywhere.
1. You're right about the "next mission" thing. I always complete every single mission before going to get the IFF, except for Legion's loyalty mission which is only unlocked after getting the IFF. Which means I always go through the Omega-4 Relay right after the abduction. Another thing I found confusing in that part was that Shepard always says to Miranda "you thought of everything", even if they're completely renegade. 2. A more Mass Effect-appropriate version of "here be dragons" is "here be Reapers".