Reviews for Mass Effect Pathways
Full-Paragon chapter 3 . 5/8/2015
Personally I don't think you needed to make the change. The cannon endings were disappointments to many of us. My own main story, And the Meek Shall Inherit the Galaxy, is the longest ending rewrite I could imagine because I REALLY hated the cannon endings. Even after the extended cut, I'm at best indifferent to them. Anyway, on to your content.

At first, I thought you were going "the Council are idiots" route. Which, will a time honored mass effect tradition, can get a bit stale. BUT THEN THEY DID SOMETHING RIGHT. They are looking into the matter, and of course, they gonna send Shep. Five credits says his daughter ends up solving the problem though. And oh look, she gonna be the target of an assassination attempt. That totally won't piss off her dad or anything.

So far the story is interesting, but it seems to be a play out of the original mass effect plot with some new characters. The same idea of a shadowy, galaxy ending threat with a lone team of heroes out to stop it. It even starts with an attack on a distant colony due to a coincidence at a prothean digsite. That might not be a bad thing, but you are really going to have to work to make this as good or better than the original and find a way to really distinguish it.
Full-Paragon chapter 2 . 5/2/2015
I'm a little surprised that the celebrity worship from the colonists and researchers didn't create any issues. After all, Ria is the adopted daughter of the single most famous man in the galaxy, and unless she took pains to conceal her identity even bumpkins on Horizon would probably recognize her (or at least her name). The same goes for Laura. How the heck did she not go in as an officer? Coming in as enlisted seems really strange. Her father is super famous, and was an officer himself. That makes it especially likely she'd be tapped for officer training.

Having the children of the Normandy's crew get together to kick ass is an interesting idea. Having them fight Cerberus...well depending on how you handle it it could be very good or very bad. I'm not sure how I feel about that one. I'm certain xenophobia and human supremacist movements didn't die away, so I guess it's plausible.

The story itself is very well put together and flows nicely. The action is tight and the dialogue fits well.
Full-Paragon chapter 1 . 5/2/2015
Writing in this is pretty solid over all. You have taken quite a few elements from fandom and give credit where credit is due, so as someone who has read a lot of quarian centric works this fits together nicely.
A Very Thirsty Megalomaniac chapter 2 . 4/30/2015
Alright, I'm going to mention again that I feel bad critiquing a work that has long since been completed, whose author has doubtless developed his/her skills since then. So, once more, forgive me if these issues have since been addressed.
Ria Shepard is demonstrating several symptoms of being a Mary-Sue, which is rather inevitable considering this was your first foray into fanfiction and who her parents were. The initial confrontation was good. Her training kicked in, and she didn't really think about killing her opponent - it was mostly reflex. Her reaction afterward - also acceptable. She's not a sociopath. It's surprising how often that proves to be a challenge.
However, the conflict afterwards is riddled with stereotypes and action clich├ęs. One: she meets up with another child of a former main character! Convenient! Two: said character (a professional soldier - I would use "career" here, by the way, professional sounds strange to me) immediately defers to the scared quarian, citing that she seems more "in control." Um, no. Ashley Williams deferred to Shepard because she brought a squad and was a superior officer. Laura and Ria don't even seem to know each other that well!
Three: the soldier's lines are stereotypical "bad guy who is about to get his ass kicked" lines from action films with Arnold Schwarzenegger in them. Instead of immediately executing the two defiant citizens, they mock them for no reason, and then freeze up when Ria announces her parentage. While Shepard's name would carry some weight, the soldiers in ME3 never hesitated to fire, and even non-indoctrinated Cerberus troops, for all their faults, never backed down. They also give away their plans to Ria as they lay dying. Why? Did these poor fellas suffer head trauma before meeting Ria and her "professional soldier" friend? Also, "Darkforge" sounds way too close to Kotor's "Star Forge." Also, witty one-liners after killing people is a heinous thing. It leaves the character looking like they have a callous view on the sanctity of life, and is at odds with her reaction from before.
That being said, I'm sure this has been covered before, and this was long ago. Things I did like:
I thought you handled the change of scenery well. It wasn't jarring, and Ria had good reasons to be where she was. Were I in her position, I'd probably go to Eden Prime too.
I liked that her first violent encounter was shocking and that she didn't shrug it off. That being said, once she wakes up she seems to get over the idea of killing relatively quickly. Still, it demonstrates an awareness of your writing that leaves me hopeful, and Ria did try to get the Cerberus goons to surrender. Left me kind of incredulous, but it increased my esteem of the character, and seems reminiscent of something Paragon Shepard would do.
All in all, the descriptions continue to impress, but Ria Shepard and the dialogue of the Cerberus troopers set up a few warning flags. If I tag you again, I'll look at Chapter 2 of the sequel and compare and contrast. Hope this review was acceptable - for what it's worth, I still look forward to reading more.
A Very Thirsty Megalomaniac chapter 1 . 4/21/2015
I read the first chapter of this story's sequel as well, but felt it would be inappropriate to begin there.
It's been quite some time between these stories, so I apologize if I end up critiquing aspects of your writing that have since heavily developed.
First off, I was disappointed that Mr. Shepard had not ended up worn down about 24 years in the future. One of the most interesting aspects of ME3 was watching Shepard slowly break down physically and emotionally. Even 24 years later, I would expect the wear and tear on his body and spirit to still be quite evident. That being said, having read from Black Tides as well and looking at the description of the punching bag, I think you have a gift for both auditory and visual imagery, as the descriptions of the punching bag and the city were both very vivid.
One aspect of your writing that I am pretty certain you've grown out of is the awkward exposition. While exposition is extremely necessary, referring to characters that we do not know such as Tarran and Tikkun and then including "referring to "x," sounds very awkward, and your hand as the author suddenly becomes very obvious. A workaround would be to include it naturally in Garrus's dialogue by, for example, saying his son takes his time in C-Sec as seriously as his father did.
My only major criticism of both chapters is the dialogue. I cannot claim to be an expert in writing dialogue, but some lines from both stories flow very unnaturally. "Or capable to succeed in my pilgrimage" sounds wrong to me, as does practically every line issued from Shepard's mouth. Writing realistic dialogue is ridiculously difficult, and writing extremely realistic dialogue including repetition and phrases such as "ah" and "um" is both difficult and sometimes unappealing to both the writer and the audience. My advice would be to think on your personal interactions with your own father, and other people's with theirs. I am under the belief that writing dialogue well is based off of observation of other people in similar situations.
I really did like Garrus's line about Shepard just standing by and watching Tali shoot him. In character, and reminds me of his line in ME3 about them walking into hell together. I feel like he'd make a perfect uncle.
For the very first foray into fanfiction ever (look how far you've come!) this is a solid chapter. I'm particularly intrigued by the potential exploration of the developing quarian culture, and how they changed by living on Rannoch. I am also very curious why they kept up the Pilgrimage, and what significance it might hold for them at this stage.
One discrepancy - in Black Tides, I think you were spelling Spectre without a capital "S," whereas here, you are. I think it was a line about "Spectre training kicking in," I would double check. I'll be back for this one, I think this is a solid idea, and I want to see some more worldbuilding.
Cheers, and congratulations on finishing this story. I know that was a while ago, but still. Well done.
Impyrium chapter 1 . 3/9/2015
The story begins with some very well-worded descriptions - I particularly like the mental image provided by the opening sentence. I also think you did a great job with the quarian vocabulary you invented, which works very well in fleshing out the culture.

"You sound like a vorcha" ...Heh, I wonder if this was a nod to the fact that MShep's voice actor did the vorcha voices? Random thought, I know, but I found the prospect amusing. xD

I don't have a whole lot in the way of criticism. "Smiling once more Shepard exited to workshop" was probably the only phrase I saw that blatantly needed rework, as the grammar looked decent for the rest of it. From a subjective standpoint, I might have enjoyed more of the lovely descriptions throughout the chapter, similar to the one you provided at the beginning. Once the dialogue picked up, we didn't see as much of it.

But that's all I really have to say. Good chapter. :)
Lachdannen chapter 49 . 3/6/2015
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand done.

I knew this was going to happen, having reading a little of black tides in beta mode before, but you did kind of of bypass one of my concerns on how it happened, so thumbs up there.

Not a lot of crit for this chapter. I think, frankly, the biggest crit was the last section of the chapter. It wasnt' needed. you could have ended the chapter on the actual ending, as opposed to tweaking our noses with a teaser to the next story. there is a time and place for cliffhanger endings. I don't feel that this is one of them.

Beyond that? nothing i've not already said. So. Here's to ending a story. it's kind of impressive how rare this actually is, so I have to give you mad props for that alone. *tips hat*
Lachdannen chapter 48 . 3/3/2015
Ow.

Ow.

Really ow.

This is one of the chapters that I think you went and edited based on the reviews, because it looks like the main complaint (not showing enough happy emotions to ria finally waking up) has been fixed. *thumbs up*

Also ow. Think you inflicted enough damage on your poor poor character? jeebus, turning into me here...:P

grammar fix: just after the break, you have a rogue period

Aaaaaaand the council. Lovely. though based on the fact that this is the end of the story, and i have seen bits of the next one, I'm guessing this doesn't go that badly for our protangonists. have to see though. Alons-y!
Lachdannen chapter 47 . 2/21/2015
Aaaaaand Ghost is dead. Finally. Dear god, if he got away one more time, I might have had to come find you and throttle you.

And the illusive man is down. I like the whole going crazy angle here for him, because frankly coming back from the dead tends to mess with your head. Though as much as I can see him doing it, I really hope that is the last we see of good old TIM.

Loooot of injuries, but we dont' really get to experience them, don't get much into the characters heads. Would have liked to see a bit more of that.

All in all, good way to end it. The fight needs some TLC, but it's all stuff that I have said before. Looking forward to the wrap up here, and seeing emotions for them as they close it up.
Lachdannen chapter 46 . 2/19/2015
Review Part 2 -

Action chapter is actiony! Maybe a tiny bit too actiony (or at least blow by blow).

Point 1: Rip out Shepards sections here, and shoot back to his POV for the next chapter. The breaks kind of make me go "wha?" in a few spots because of how you shoot back and forth between the different scenes. It would work in a movie, but this is a written story.

Point 2: Just how many soldiers are Tarran, Kel and Core up against? Overwhelming numbers, mkay. But...so many that they end up with mounds of bad guys? enough to make a wall of corpses? I just can't buy it. Hopeless battle, frantic firing, yes, sure. Dead bodies enough to work as a defensive measure for those three...eeeeeh. The general idea here is fine, the description is good, but the details to me pulled me up short.

Point 3: Ghost. I...Others have commented on the action and what not, which is a valid point, but for me he's...he's a bad James Bond Villain. "No, that would be too quick." for example is making me think "No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die." Just...I don't know if you intended for him to come of f that way, but I am sitting here going "either stab her, or something, just stop talking!" For me, it's hard to take him seriously other than as a character that i just can't WAIT for someone to wreck.
Lachdannen chapter 45 . 2/17/2015
Late Tag part 1: I'll be doing another or two as part of my apology. Based on the fact that I've got about 1/2 of a review written in my page cache, i'm gona run on the theory i started it, got interrupted, and thought I finished. Either way, I'm sorry.

Wierd combo tags: Once character talking, then you have actions mashed in from another character. Rule of thumb is new character, new paragraph. Pretty sure you know that, but this chapter had it more than i recall seeing it before.

Empty Dialogue Tags: Just as Wrex's ships arrive, you've got more wierdness going on in your dialogue. first EDI is italic, and wrex is not, then you have wrex italic. Need to be consistent at least. In the same section, you then switch to shepard, but you don't tell us, you don't give us any clues unless you back up and re-read it. I thought wrex was ordering the ships around, not shepard there.

Last thing I'm gona poke at is tension level: it's clear you want that whole stealth attack on the krogan ships to be tense. And while it's got some of the normal action stuff that i know you didn't start correcting till black tides, the other thing that truely kept me from being really tense there was you haven't given me enough cause to be afraid for them. I am by no means saying go all George R. Martin on the crew of Normandy, but we need a reason to be afraid for the characters. I'm not sure how to fix it here specifically, as this is more of something you would need to seed through the rest of the story, but it definitely struck me here. Maybe having Wrex's ship actually get hit but not completely destroyed. Have Wrex injured, and picked up by an escape pod (directing the battle from Normandy maybe, despite injuries), something.

Either way, onward!
Lachdannen chapter 44 . 2/7/2015
Blinding white lights tend to be either really good or really bad...I'm going to ASSUME good, since I dont think think she just blew herself up, but hey.

Long fight sequence here, even a bit much for me. You've heard me ramble on that point before (and if i haven't linked the how to write awesome fight scene's article before, lemme know. I think i've got it hanging around on my favorites.)

Oh Illusive Man. You really are a poophead. Tone of voice for him was good, though I think he rambled a bit much for my tastes like a monologuing villain, which i suppose he is. By the end of it though I was expecting a "no ms. Ria, I expect you to die." :P

Either way, onward! All the explosions and kablooie's to be had.
LegionN7 chapter 14 . 2/5/2015
Darn Protheans and their booby traps.
At least his 4/20 dream wasnt from celebrating 4/20 or committing a 420 right?
Uh oh, Liaras going nuts. Hopefully she doesnt corrupt fully, but if that bit turns out to be foreshadowing, I wouldnt be surprised. Glad to see the squad shield tactic; havent seen many authors think of it.
Again, good balance of action and exposition, and suspense.
I didnt notice any real issues with anything, the flow was good.
About the only suggestion would be to sprinkle in a bit more humor, but theres plenty of story left, so no complaints.
LegionN7 chapter 13 . 2/1/2015
I always enjoy your character chapters, and how you weave the banter through so well.
A few minor grammatical and capitalization issues, but nothing major.
Its probably just my own Star Wars (and knowing of your own interest in Star Wars) but every time I read 'Darkforge' I cant help but think of the Darksaber and the Star Forge.
Looking forward to reading more action sequences, though I do like how you make injuries matter.
So all in all I'm glad to continue your story
theherocomplex chapter 2 . 1/30/2015
Decent energy in the action scenes, though at times it's hard to pinpoint where everyone is, and who is doing what. It is a bit by rote - so and so moved here, so and so shot in this direction - but if you vary sentence structure and length, as well as digging into a few choice, specific physical aspects, you'll create a better picture of the fight in general.

Ah, a wild Alenko appears! So this is evolving into a "next generation of heroes" sort of fic. It'll be interesting to explore their various motivations and how they deal with being children of such huge personalities and legends, but take care to focus the POVs. Too many narrators will dilute the impact of each person's story, so choose your POV characters wisely.
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