What was the point of ME2??

#1 Posted by Abberon (227 posts) -

You can probably guess from the forum title that I wasn't a fan of ME2. I was hugely disappointed with it. The presentation and story of ME1 was absolutely fantastic and ME2 just didn't come close for me. ME2 disappointed me so much (along with pretty much everything Bioware has released since ME1) that I waited until ME3 was 50% off before buying it. I just started playing it a few days ago and I've only done the first couple missions, but it seems a lot better. The atmosphere is way more interesting and I'm actually feeling that sense of urgency that ME1 provoked in me.

I do, however, still have a serious issue with the franchise. After beating the ridiculous giant robot head at the end of ME2 and realizing that 75% of the game revolved around recruiting half a dozen or so characters which were thrown in out of nowhere with literally no interest or links to the overall story, I was annoyed. The other 25% of the game revolved around the introduction and subsequent elimination of a brand new antagonist who was building a giant robot-human hybrid...*sigh*. Anyways, the character writing was so good in ME2 that the game at least had some endearing qualities, and I really grew to like the cast.

Coming in to ME3, which seems like a better game overall, I can't help but feel even MORE disappointed in ME2. I endured the goof story and spent all that time recruiting and nurturing a crack team of specialists, worked hard to make sure they all survived, and then it turns out that they barely even play a part in ME3? Bioware lauded itself on how impactful the consequences of your choices would be, but it turns out this isn't really the case at all.

My concern that ME2 was a completely throw-away story in the overall ME universe seems to be confirmed. You could quite literally skip the entire game and go from ME1 to ME3 and miss very, very little.

#2 Posted by CylonRaider01 (186 posts) -

The ME2 prepared the events for M3.Every character in that game plays a vital role in ME3 and depending on your resolve (or not playing the loyality missions) you get different results in ME3.For example if Thane didnt survived or Kirahe you are framed for killing the salarian councilor and you are almost forced to kill Ash\Kaidan in that mission,same as Tali and Legion who plays a vital role in the geth-quarian war and so on.The story with the dlc Arival showed how close the Reapers are and why they want to harvest humanity to make another reaper.If they didnt present Cerberus in ME2 it would made no sense why they are after the power that the Reapers provide and how they got the reaper tech.In my opinion ME2 it played an important role in ME3 and had seriouse consequences.

#3 Posted by Abberon (227 posts) -
With respect, I have to disagree with almost everything you've said. The roles of most of your ME2 characters are FAR from vital. They're just sloppy, ham-fisted cameos Bioware provided for the illusion that ME2 really mattered. The vast majority of ME2's plot (if you can call it that) revolved around recruiting and building trust with an elite team of badasses to help you. Coincidentally, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has a very pressing matter which prevents them from joing you, the guy who saved the galaxy from extinction once already, to do it again in ME3...ummm...okay. It's just as lame as Liara refusing to join you in ME2. As for story, give me a break. Cerberus is an arbitrary bad guy organization and you didn't need an entire game to explain how they got reaper tech and that the IM is a dick. Let's just skip all of ME2, say that Cerberus salvaged a dead Reaper, and we're pretty much exactly where we would be starting ME3. It's beyond stupid as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to make game 2 of a trilogy revolve entirely around the recruitment, introduction and development of major new characters, don't eliminate them all as major characters in the next game. That's just lazy writing.
#4 Posted by Caduceus89 (89 posts) -

Although I liked ME 2 (not that I have a choice since I don't have a 360) I completely agree that not including ME 2 exclusive characters as squad mates in ME 3 does lower the significance of ME 2 in the trilogy and that you couldn't use their excuses for not joining you in ME 3 to wipe your ***.

#5 Posted by Abberon (227 posts) -
To be fair I enjoyed playing ME2. The side missions were all fairly well done and interesting and the character development was top notch. The final mission was very well done as well (aside from the end boss). I just think that the overall story was pants and almost entirely irrelevant to the overall plot of the franchise. It was a huge step down from ME1 aside from the improved combat mechanics and the character development. What makes it worse is that all of my complaints about ME2 turned out to be even more correct than I thought. ME2 was a largely irrelevant segway.
#6 Posted by CylonRaider01 (186 posts) -

With respect, I have to disagree with almost everything you've said. The roles of most of your ME2 characters are FAR from vital. They're just sloppy, ham-fisted cameos Bioware provided for the illusion that ME2 really mattered. The vast majority of ME2's plot (if you can call it that) revolved around recruiting and building trust with an elite team of badasses to help you. Coincidentally, EVERY SINGLE ONE of them has a very pressing matter which prevents them from joing you, the guy who saved the galaxy from extinction once already, to do it again in ME3...ummm...okay. It's just as lame as Liara refusing to join you in ME2. As for story, give me a break. Cerberus is an arbitrary bad guy organization and you didn't need an entire game to explain how they got reaper tech and that the IM is a dick. Let's just skip all of ME2, say that Cerberus salvaged a dead Reaper, and we're pretty much exactly where we would be starting ME3. It's beyond stupid as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to make game 2 of a trilogy revolve entirely around the recruitment, introduction and development of major new characters, don't eliminate them all as major characters in the next game. That's just lazy writing. Abberon

Fair enough.But still for me had reason and it was far more better action packed than ME 3 where you dont have that many missions you just lisen to private conversation then you scan planets and get you prize.

#7 Posted by Abberon (227 posts) -
I think Bioware adds stuff like that to make the game seem longer than it actually is. ME1 was the worst of the bunch for that. My solution was just to not bother with many of the side missions. ME2 was the absolute worst in that regard. Scanning planets for resources? That was the worst waste of time I've ever seen in a game. At least ME3 did away with that. Anyways, that's a digression because the my point in the thread was how irrelevant everything was in ME2 in the grand scheme of things. The plot involved the introduction and subsequent destruction of a new, far less scary villain and a brand new cast of characters, none of which are part of your team in ME3. Imagine Lord of the Rings. How dumb would that have been if after Frodo makes it to Rivindell, everybody kind of splits up and decides to do other random other stuff. Gandalf hears about a Balrog in Moria so he spends the majority of the second half of FOTR recruiting a crack team of Balrog hunters. He then goes into Moria and kills the Balrog, his new team disbands and wants nothing to do with going to Mordor, and then Frodo wakes up to continue his quest to destroy the ring. Sounds awesome right?
#8 Posted by Skarwolf (1813 posts) -

You can probably guess from the forum title that I wasn't a fan of ME2. I was hugely disappointed with it. The presentation and story of ME1 was absolutely fantastic and ME2 just didn't come close for me. ME2 disappointed me so much (along with pretty much everything Bioware has released since ME1) that I waited until ME3 was 50% off before buying it. I just started playing it a few days ago and I've only done the first couple missions, but it seems a lot better. The atmosphere is way more interesting and I'm actually feeling that sense of urgency that ME1 provoked in me.

I do, however, still have a serious issue with the franchise. After beating the ridiculous giant robot head at the end of ME2 and realizing that 75% of the game revolved around recruiting half a dozen or so characters which were thrown in out of nowhere with literally no interest or links to the overall story, I was annoyed. The other 25% of the game revolved around the introduction and subsequent elimination of a brand new antagonist who was building a giant robot-human hybrid...*sigh*. Anyways, the character writing was so good in ME2 that the game at least had some endearing qualities, and I really grew to like the cast.

Coming in to ME3, which seems like a better game overall, I can't help but feel even MORE disappointed in ME2. I endured the goof story and spent all that time recruiting and nurturing a crack team of specialists, worked hard to make sure they all survived, and then it turns out that they barely even play a part in ME3? Bioware lauded itself on how impactful the consequences of your choices would be, but it turns out this isn't really the case at all.

My concern that ME2 was a completely throw-away story in the overall ME universe seems to be confirmed. You could quite literally skip the entire game and go from ME1 to ME3 and miss very, very little.

Abberon

 

Totally agree.  I hated the crew I had to obtain.  Shepard asks about his old crew and its basically ah well they're gone.  Wouldn't you wanna contact your old friends and get together ?  Nope not in ME2 its just oh well they're gone and don't even bother trying to contact you. 

They could've went into the whole "i thought you were dead," aspect of the relationship and having someone you thought was dead return.  I romanced Liara in the ME1 and when I first walk into see her its like she's on painkillers and doesn't give a damn.

I didn't like any of the new crew.  Why would you go through all that when you could call up your old buds... Crew done BAM.

The reapers are shown to have a huge fleet.  So why would the newly invented collector baddies want to create a human collector ?  Collectors = Proteans wouldn't they wanna make a protean reaper ?  Why suddenly do reapers who are all squids want a humanoid one ?  

Never explained.

Also certain crew members.  Jack is shown takin out 2-3 mechs by herself.  She joins the party and has like no abilities.  I'm like ok this adept is going to rock... uh wtf ?  Pull & Shockwave ?  Seriously ?

The council you I chose to save shows no admiration for deciding to save them and then turns around and disagrees with the whole reaper situation even though one single reaper waltzed up into the height of their civilization the citadel and walked right through a small alliance fleet and sat on their house.  Nope, reapers don't exist.  What kinda BS is that.

#9 Posted by Abberon (227 posts) -
(SPOILER ALERT) The worst part is that after your first crew bails on you and you spend a whole game building a new one, Bioware does tries the same ham-fisted plot device AGAIN in the 3rd game and ditches that new crew, giving them lame cameo placeholder roles instead. There are all sorts of examplles of bad storytelling after ME1. One of the scariest things about how the Reapers exterminated the Protheans was how they jumped in on the Citadel and took control of the mass relays, thus isolating each Prothean system from the other. The Reapers were able to finish off the Protheans at their leisure, bit by bit. In ME3, the Reapers take control of the Citadel, but for some reason leave the relays open, knowing that the Galaxy is coming in force with the Crucible. Huh? How is it that Sovereign landing on Eden Prime for a few hours ends up with indoctrinated humans, but an entire Reaper fleet has a negligible effect on Earth, Thessia, Palaven etc...? Finally, the endings...oh the endings. How did the extended cut fix anything? All of your choices, from ME1 to ME2, eventually boil down to what color of laser you want the Citadel to shoot. That's so disappointing I don't even know what to say. All of the 'choices' that Bioware touted in this series really amounted to little. Whether or not you spare the council in ME1, that has next to no effect on ME2. Whether you spare the Collector Base or not makes almost no difference to ME3. Your 'choices' over three games offer little more than a few scenes with slightly altered dialogues and a largely useless War Asset # for the end of ME3, which you don't even need if you're willing to play a few hours of MP.
#10 Posted by Skarwolf (1813 posts) -

I predict Mass Effect 4 will be focused primarily on multiplayer with some single player rpg elements that will be nowhere near as big as the current games.  EA is most likely noticing the money MP is generating and will shift their focus to that aspect given all the complaints ME3 has received.

#11 Posted by Leejjohno (14088 posts) -

Now I loved Mass Effect 2 but I kind of agree. I wanted people like jack to have been worth my time. I didn't really use her so much in Mass Effect 2 because I couldn't see why somebody who was that much of a liability would be on shepards team in the first place. Cerberus did those things to her and she still joined up anyway so it would have been nice to see her do something profound in ME3.

I wanted to see that Garrus had taken shepards advice to a whole new level in mass effect 2, if not then mass effect 3. IE he follows previous examples left by shepard and gets recruited by cerberus (he could have replaced Kai Leng but be less of a casual appeal ninja), or he undermines you to the point of confrontation (like zaeed).

If you told garrus that the end justifies the means in ME1, let him shoot Sidonis in ME2 then he potentially has an ultimately saren like renegade story arch.

While we mention Kai Leng I reckon if you did everything pro cerberus in ME2 then you should have been able to join them again with Kai Leng as a recruitable character.

#12 Posted by Torino818 (149 posts) -

Originally ME2 was there to suggest at the existence of Dark Energy, specifically during Tali's recruitment on Haestrom.  Dark energy was supposed to be this force that was going to destroy the galaxy (don't ask me how) and the Reapers were trying to research a solution to this.  The ending for ME3 was supposed to be Shepard deciding between allowing the Reapers to continue harvesting in the hope that they would find a solution (thereby saving the galaxy for a future cycle) or stop them and hope that humanity could figure out Dark Energy on its own.

Unfortunately this ending was leaked and throw into the garbage bin.

#13 Posted by Leejjohno (14088 posts) -

Originally ME2 was there to suggest at the existence of Dark Energy, specifically during Tali's recruitment on Haestrom.  Dark energy was supposed to be this force that was going to destroy the galaxy (don't ask me how) and the Reapers were trying to research a solution to this.  The ending for ME3 was supposed to be Shepard deciding between allowing the Reapers to continue harvesting in the hope that they would find a solution (thereby saving the galaxy for a future cycle) or stop them and hope that humanity could figure out Dark Energy on its own.

Unfortunately this ending was leaked and throw into the garbage bin.

Torino818

I think it has something to do with The Big Rip but tbh, they have copped out of every decision anybody has ever made in the Mass Effect series.

#14 Posted by LimaBeanie (2 posts) -
ME2 is the best game in the series, IMO.
#15 Posted by blindbsnake (14 posts) -

ME2 is the best game in the series, IMO.LimaBeanie

I would not say the best, but without a doubt the more immersive. If I have to choose I would choose ME2 but I have to admit that I like ME1 too. In one thing I do agree is much better than the third game.

#16 Posted by Torino818 (149 posts) -

ME1 has the most content and best story.

ME3 has the best gameplay and combat.

ME2 is a great combination of the two.

#17 Posted by HipHopBeats (2735 posts) -

I'm excited to play ME1 after watching the full cutscene movie on youtube. I enjoyed ME2 way more than I thought I would. Maybe the story could have stripped down the whole loyalty concept but all in all, Bioware did a good job with the overarcing story concluding in that epic suicide mission.

#18 Posted by Vokail (1831 posts) -

My thoughtr about the way mass effect 2 became what it was may be largely due to the fact that it was bought by EA and then went on to another system (PS3) It almost feels like a reboot if you think about it. The game starts by whiping the slate clean and you basically start over.

However, it does accomplish the introduction and building of Cerberus. This to me is the biggest part about Mass Effect 2. Before this game I didn't really know much about Cerberus and the Illusive Man, which plays a large role in the 3rd game, and wouldn't have the same impact if I hadn't played the second game.

So although the arch of the 2nd game isn't directly related to the other two to the point where you could play #1 and then #3 and it wouldn't be a big deal to the reaper story arch, you would lose so much back story and what not with cerberus and characters. Plus you wouldn't have had nearly the investment in the characters if #2 wasn't the way it was.

After thinking while typing, I believe that the thing they screwed up on here was the collector story arch. It made the game feel episodic, rather than a direct continuation, like you could skip one and be okay with the overall story.

*spoilers*

Here's an idea. What if they would have done it in this order: #2, 1, 3. Where you investigated disappearing colonies and the collectors, leading in to the prothean dig, saren, and thwarting the invasion. Then ending with the invasion.

Because the way they did it made it feel like there were two beginnings, 1, and a reboot with #2.

This is neither here nor there, but to me it makes a little more sense with the way #1 ended with the urgency of stopping the reapers from coming.


But I still love this series overall.

#19 Posted by Vokail (1831 posts) -

I have to disagree. ME 3 was a game of endings. All the decisions you made from 1 and 2 came to conclusions in 3. You see the aftermath if say you killed wrex, or if say you destroyed the cure in #2, etc. Throughout the game you see the aftermath of your choices. The ending of threads within the story.

I felt the final ending (the 1, 2, 3) was all about grey. Making it not a black and white choice. Down to switching around the colors red and blue (blue being control, which should be a renegade option, and destroy being red, which should be paragon) The choice becomes grey when they throw philosophy in to the mix and make you second guess yourself. Up until you meet the star child, they're trying to convince you that there may be another way than just destroying the reapers.




*spoilers*

Personally I love the ending because it wasn't this clear black and white, Atypical ending. I loved how it made you think, what happened and as you pull the layers away you notice details that suggest something, but doesn't tell you the exact answer. Personally.. I think the indoctrination theory hits it on the head, with the exception that this is all a dream. I feel like you are being indoctrinated (headaches, sudden appearance of blood in a place he was just fine a second before, etc), and are fighting it to the end and once the catalyst docks, then bam there's a rewrite in the citidel's programming and gives you alternate solutions.

#20 Posted by Vampyre_Ghost (1428 posts) -

I think the hate on the transition from ME 2 to 3 and the hate on the ending of 3 is all a big misconception. People think that the 10 minute scene at the end of the game was supposed to tie up everything in a pretty little bow. Bioware tied up 75% of the character stories in the gameplay itself, Mass Effect 3's entire game was "the ending" pretty friggin good in my opinion.

#21 Posted by PunkStream (61 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 was basically just the game that fills in the gaps between the first and third. It was my least favourite out of the three, but it helped you understand things more about the illusive man and the Protheans. It also gives you opportunituies to romance more characters and give you more story that isn't completely necessary, but still interesting. It also has Shepard making new friends and building a squad which carries on to the third game.

#22 Posted by blindbsnake (14 posts) -

First i just want to say im sorry, my English is bad and im still learning. So probably some things ill write will not make sense.
Ive played ME1, 2 and 3, i love first 2 games and a really hate the third. There are many things i don´t like but the end kills me. Personally i always felt that ME was a game of hope, friendship, respect, diversity and proud.
The ending of ME3 broke my feelings, not because i feel sad regards them, but because, i can´t recognize the character i was role playing.
Well, maybe after EC i got a glimpse of his personality in the Refusal ending, but we all know how things end. I was ready to lose more than 50% of the galaxy, the geths, my Crew, my LI, Shepard, whatever, if at least I was able to feel that we win.
Ill make this analogy: Imagine one terrorist, he comes to you and say, you got to kill ten people or i will kill 1000. Are you ready to commit murder to save more people? I don´t, ill fight him and try to save everyone i can, even if i have to lose everyone. That´is why i feel that Refuse is not let everyone die, is let everyone fight for a better future even if it mean dying for it.
I just cant accept that i need to agree with my enemy no matter what. And is extremely painful not having a conventional victory. Not a normal conventional victory but one based on non conventional methods.
Mass Effect 1 and 2 give me hope to surpass difficulties, ME3 strip me of that hope, and slowly kills her.
Thanks
Blindsnake out

This place explain you what ME3 really is... Amazing review

http://drayfish.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/thematically-revolting-the-end-of-mass-effect-3

#23 Posted by idunnodude (2283 posts) -

OP u think about stuff way too much man lol its a game. just chill out and enjoy the game man mass effect is a quality series.

#24 Posted by hhbc1 (195 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 was suppose to precede a very different Mass Effect 3.

As you may be aware, the lead writer of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, aswell as the three official Mass Effect Novels (Revelation, Ascension, Retribution), Drew Karpyshyn, left BioWare before the work started on Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3 was intended to carry on the story developing throughout Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and the novels. Yes, the Human Giant Terminator boss-thing at the end of Mass Effect 2 is not actually so random when you consider what the original story for Mass Effect 3 was to be. It was all centred around dark energy. 

Dark Energy had been repeatedly foreshadowed throught the series, in Mass Effect it was explained that basically everything relied on dark energy. Dark enegy however was begining to consume the universe (in reality, dark enegy makes up over 75% of the universe, and it is increasing, however we still don't know what it is, what it does, or where it comes from, anyway, I digress), remember Haistrom (or however it was spelt, the planet where you pick up Tali in Mass Effect 2, with Kal'Reegar), the sun was being consumed by dark enegy. This was our first major set-up for Mass Effect 3 (or rather what was suppose to be Mass Effect 3).  The Reapers have been trying to find a way to stop the spead of dark enegy for billions of years, and the whole harvesting that takes place every 50,000 years is just a way to slow the spread down and elevate the most able species into Reaper form, to attempt to find a solution.

Humanity has always been explained as unique. As an asari put it in Mass Effect (1): "put three humans in a room, and you will get six opinions", Reapers realised that humanity could be the ones to break the cycle. A human Reaper could provide the solution, hence they tried to make one in Mass Effect 2 quickly. Emphasis on the quickly. The harvesting process is said by Javik to take centuries. That human reaper being constructed by the collectors could be down covertly, taking only a handful of years. Shepard stops the reaper build in Mass Effect 2, unknowingly potentially dooming the universe. The spread of dark energy has reached it's crisis point and now the Reapers have to start the cycle and find a solution to the problem, then comes Mass Effect 3, to explain the motivation of the Reapers and introduce to us this whole problem of dark energy.

However, a concept such as dark energy apparently did not appeal to the wailing 13-year old Call of Duty market that EA wanted to target. Hence we have this **** that is Mass Effect 3.

"...this bewildering finale felt as if you had been listening to a soaring orchestral movement that ended in a cacophonous blast, the musicians tossing down their instruments and walking away. I find it hard to conceive how the creators of such a magnificent franchise could have made such a mess of their own universe. The plot holes, thematic inconsistencies and a deus ex machina that was unforgivable in ancient Greek theatre, let alone in any modern narrative, all combine to erode the foundations upon which the rest of the experience resides. (It's a disturbing sign when apologists for such an ending have to literally hope that what they witnessed was just a bad dream in the central character's head.)

I'm sure in my diatribe with Made Nightwing I would have cited Charles Dickens being alert to, and adapting his writing in response to the floods of letters he received from his fans in the serialised delivery of stories such as The Old Curiosity Shop. And I know I mentioned F.Scott Fitzgerald extensively redrafting Tender is the Night for a second publishing after receiving negative critical feedback. Indeed, whatever you think of the final result, Ridley Scott was able to reassert a definitive vision of Blade Runner in spite of its original theatrical release. Despite what critics might burble about artistic vision there is innumerable precedent for such reshaping, even beyond fundamental industry practices such as play-testings and film test-screenings. If a work of art has failed in its communicative purpose (and unless angering and bewildering its most invested fans was the goal, then Mass Effect 3 has done so), then it cannot be considered a success, and is not worthy of regard." - Professor Dray.

#25 Posted by idunnodude (2283 posts) -

ME2 was actually my favourite. it didn't seem like everyone was in a rush to do something even though the collector threat was significant. i felt it was much more about the characters and story and the character development was excellent. i took the most time with ME2.

#26 Posted by taylor888 (2232 posts) -
I would say that Mass Effect 2 was my favourite to play, but the story wasn't that great. Nothing can compare to ME1's story IMO.
#27 Posted by taylor888 (2232 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 was suppose to precede a very different Mass Effect 3.

As you may be aware, the lead writer of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, aswell as the three official Mass Effect Novels (Revelation, Ascension, Retribution), Drew Karpyshyn, left BioWare before the work started on Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3 was intended to carry on the story developing throughout Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and the novels. Yes, the Human Giant Terminator boss-thing at the end of Mass Effect 2 is not actually so random when you consider what the original story for Mass Effect 3 was to be. It was all centred around dark energy. 

Dark Energy had been repeatedly foreshadowed throught the series, in Mass Effect it was explained that basically everything relied on dark energy. Dark enegy however was begining to consume the universe (in reality, dark enegy makes up over 75% of the universe, and it is increasing, however we still don't know what it is, what it does, or where it comes from, anyway, I digress), remember Haistrom (or however it was spelt, the planet where you pick up Tali in Mass Effect 2, with Kal'Reegar), the sun was being consumed by dark enegy. This was our first major set-up for Mass Effect 3 (or rather what was suppose to be Mass Effect 3).  The Reapers have been trying to find a way to stop the spead of dark enegy for billions of years, and the whole harvesting that takes place every 50,000 years is just a way to slow the spread down and elevate the most able species into Reaper form, to attempt to find a solution.

Humanity has always been explained as unique. As an asari put it in Mass Effect (1): "put three humans in a room, and you will get six opinions", Reapers realised that humanity could be the ones to break the cycle. A human Reaper could provide the solution, hence they tried to make one in Mass Effect 2 quickly. Emphasis on the quickly. The harvesting process is said by Javik to take centuries. That human reaper being constructed by the collectors could be down covertly, taking only a handful of years. Shepard stops the reaper build in Mass Effect 2, unknowingly potentially dooming the universe. The spread of dark energy has reached it's crisis point and now the Reapers have to start the cycle and find a solution to the problem, then comes Mass Effect 3, to explain the motivation of the Reapers and introduce to us this whole problem of dark energy.

However, a concept such as dark energy apparently did not appeal to the wailing 13-year old Call of Duty market that EA wanted to target. Hence we have this **** that is Mass Effect 3.hhbc1

That story sounds infinitely better. The cliche "save the world" story gets old pretty quick. It is still a fun game, but with a cool scifi story like that it could have been better.