Dialogue Audio Cut Off Issue

After a few months of having a weird issue with dialogue audio in Mass Effect 2 on the PC, I may have finally found the solution.

The problem reared its head when I switched to Windows 7. While this switch allowed me to finally use digital 5.1 through the on board audio device again – after it had been taken out of Windows XP – it introduced another problem which was particularly noticeable in games with dialogue audio. The issue caused all single audio samples to be cut short by a certain percentage. What this equates to is that when characters had a long line of dialogue, the last few words would often be missing, and the game would go straight to the next line. This wasn’t so noticeable with very short lines, leading me to believe it was some kind of timing issue, like maybe the sound was going marginally too slow. Needless to say, this is kind of annoying in a game with so much d…

I noticed this problem again in Starcraft II, so I had to get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, the latest few responses on the Mass Effect 2 technical support forum – which had not been present when I had this issue before – gave me a clue as to how I could fix my specific issue. My motherboard is an Asus P5K, featuring a bevy of overclocking features, one of which is the N. O. S. setting apparently geared to automatically overclock components according to load. This has a separate PCI setting, which I thought might solve the problem if I scaled it back to default, but no dice there. The solution came when changing the overclock type from N. O. S. to auto. At last! The audio no longer cuts short!

You lose some control over the overclocking this way, but I had only set the N. O. S. to 3% overclock anyway. Perhaps a BIOS update could fix this in the future.


Mass Effect 2, Non-Canonical

This is probably my fault for not having scoured the Internet for the minute slivers of hard information on this subject, but I was originally very excited to hear that I would be able to set the back-story for Shepard in Mass Effect 2 if I did not have a Mass Effect 1 save to import. Despite words to this effect being spoken on the Bombcast by BioWare’s Casey Hudson, it would appear that the game makes several terrible assumptions about the canon of Mass Effect if you do not import a save game.

The reason this is a problem is because I played the original on the PC, but wanted to play Mass Effect 2 on Xbox 360. Ironically, I’d have been in a much better situation if it were the other way around, with all the PC saves that are out there to download as a direct result of this. However, as it is, I’m stuck with a universe that’s hard to care about because characters are talking about things that just didn’t happen. Every time I hear a reference to events that simply never were (as far as I’m concerned), I cringe, as if watching a bad B-movie that can’t remember it’s own plot half-way through the film.

Knowing that this feature once existed in a build of the game further fuels my incredulity at how this was never included in the final package.

Aside from this glaring omission of functionality, the game plays very well and provides much more satisfying combat than the original. I also appreciate how the loot management has been reduced to zero, allowing the player to focus on the story and the experience of the Mass Effect universe.

Now if only my Shepard could be my Shepard.