Digital Tabletop: Shepard May Be Lost But The War Isn’t Over

Last year, before I could really get back into Mass Effect 2 for a few more playthroughs, before I could help yet another version of Hawke take care of business in Dragon Age II, while we were plotting another weekend raid in Dungeons and Dragons Online, disaster struck. My house was broken into. Not a little bit, but a lot. The back gate was torn open, they bent the door to my shed, smashed in the back door after trying to kick it in only broke part of the frame, and once inside they proceeded to make off with my consoles and games, most of my Blu-Ray collection, our video camera, and where I do most of my gaming, my laptop. It took months to replace most of the items, and even now there are things we just didn’t bother to replace. I also found out my insurance was woefully lower than I expected and fixed that. Then it was time to set about trying to install and play my old games again on my new laptop.

Most of my games loaded fine, though I had a few hiccups finding discs for older titles and getting them to work on the new system. Then I got more annoyed when I realized not only had I lost vacation pictures we’d never get back, but hours and hours of play time in some of my favorite games, the Mass Effect series included. While I wanted to jump right into Mass Effect 2, I didn’t want the default settings that the game started with, and I had nothing to import from the first Mass Effect game. I didn’t want to go through the first game again at the time, when I remembered a site I’d used when the stolen laptop’s hard drive had crapped out before, Mass Effect Saves. Basically the idea with the site is people post their save games, list everything they accomplished in the game and results, whether they went Paragon or Renegade, who they romanced, etc. You can then download these, dump them in the folder where the Mass Effect saves go, and either play them in Mass Effect, using their faces and name, or use them for what I did, setting up a character in Mass Effect 2.

This is all well and good, but now you’re thinking that you’re stuck with a character name and a face from someone else’s game in your imported Mass Effect 2 game. That’s not entirely accurate. When you import the game and play through that first bit where the Normandy is torn to shreds and Shepard gets rebuilt, you can either select your imported face, the default face, or go about making your own. So the face issue is solved, but wait, I did mention that pesky name thing didn’t I? Mass Effect Saves has a guide for going in and hex editing the save file to change your name. I don’t recommend this and neither do they. The second option is also off of Mass Effect Saves and is using gibbed’s Save Editor off their mod’s list there. Gibbed’s makes it easy by letting you open the save game for Mass Effect 2 (Yes you have to have imported Shepard at this point and actually played the game past the recovery room scene for this to work) and then simply changing the name and re-saving the game through the editor. There are also options here to check or uncheck various decisions in Mass Effect as well as what’s happened in Mass Effect 2 with varying results. I can say the name change and upping your resources into the stratosphere work beautifully.

“ËœWhy might he be bringing this up now?’, you might be asking yourself. Mass Effect 2 came out almost 2 years ago! Well yes, but in almost a month, Mass Effect 3 will be hitting our consoles and computers, and that means having all your save games ready on the PC. Aha! Now it all makes sense! But doesn’t that still mean having to play through Mass Effect 2 again, which is something you should have already done? Not necessarily. You see, because those brilliant people who saved my bacon with Mass Effect Saves set up another site, and if you had already visited it, you’d know that they also have Mass Effect 2 save games as well. So you could download a fully completed Mass Effect 2 save game, use gibbed’s save game editor and have your Shepard renamed and ready to go for the final game in the trilogy without all the muss and fuss. There aren’t as many save games there for the second game as the first, but there is still a month to play through again if you don’t find one that fits your character you may have lost.

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