But the real reason for bringing up sex is that it best-illustrated a problem that crops up in ME2, which is that it occasionally restricted natural dialogue in unintuitive ways for unclear reasons, and at some cost to my emotional engagement.
In the quest for sex through dialogue, you may notice the following:
- Sex happens only at a particular point in the story. Even if another character is "ready," you might inexplicably have to wait several missions before it happens.
- Sex only happens with one person. If one character is "ready," another interested character will deny you unless you turn down the first partner. How do they know about my promiscuity? "Word gets around on this ship." Did they really learn about my exploits in the few seconds it took to walk from one room to another? Why can't I be Don Juan in my fantasy? How is Jack, "you just gotta know where to put it" suddenly such a prude?
- A single dialogue option determines whether sex happens, and never reappears. If you misread the text or intention associated with that dialogue option, no amount of good looks, charisma, or natural dialogue seem to re-earn the opportunity.
None of these things jive with reality and only disconnect me from the situation. Perhaps there are mechanics reasons under the hood for the approach, but they really stand out because sex is spontaneous, sex is possible to keep secretive (for a time, at least), and most of all the opportunity for sex is malleable, especially through conversation. For a game that allows players to act out fantasies in dialogue, these omissions stand out.
Why not let the sex happen spontaneously? Why not more than once? Why not get with multiple partners? Why not use it for some interesting branching dialogue consequences? Why not give players a way to reopen the sex option? The current system simply feels artificially enforced for a nebulous purpose, which is not the first way I would describe relationships of reality or fantasy, to say the least.