Garrus Vakarian is my Wingman — Why I Still Love Mass Effect, Part 2

28 Apr

Stewart here… and some spoilers follow in case you asked…

In this installment, I really want to start by taking the time to focus on the squadmates, and if you’re good about it, friends in the Mass Effect series.  In this case, just to keep things light, I’ll focus on your squadmates from the first game.  Everyone’s got their favorites they want with them on every mission, and I know I feel the same way.  Sure I’ll shift them around in necessity of missions, but there are the “go to” squadmates every player of Mass Effect has.  The only downside of the whole thing is the greedy part of me that wants to take more than two for my squad.

So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts on your team from the first Mass Effect (with some spoilers as to the whole trilogy):

Garrus Vakarian —  If you ever read my first article for NerdLush, you pretty much know how much I enjoy having Garrus around.  He can probably blast the wings off a fly with no trouble, and unlike most of your other compatriots throughout the three games, he’s wisecracking and dependable.  Even after you bite the dust early in 2, he decides to not mope and go out to become an intergalactic vigilante badass (and get some face scars in the process).  Its no surprise I let him win that shootout on the Citadel in 3.  He’s a “bro”.  Out of this core group, he’s the constant team member I fall back to selecting in the whole trilogy.

Shepard's bromance in the Mass Effect trilogy.

Shepard’s bromance in the Mass Effect trilogy.

Liara T’Soni —  Blue alien with off the chain biotic powers?  And you can romance her if you want (and I did in all of the games)?  Sure she’ll probably live 800 years longer than you will knowing Asari lifespans, but what game allows you to live out your Captain Kirk-esque fantasies of seducing an alien woman (what, I’m not alone on this, am I)?  Her dry demeanor and intelligence is matched by her ability to use energy powers to fling bad guys around like bean bag balls.  I felt a bit bad when 2 came out because that relationship got put to the side, until the Shadow Broker DLC allowed you to pursue your interspecies love affair yet again.

Ummmm....ye-eah...that's it...

Ummmm….ye-eah…that’s it…

Tali Zorah vas Normandy —  She’s a tough, yet sensitive alien in a suit that protects her from germs, and can work tech and engines like no one else.  Her whole arc involving the mechanized Geth her race created was one of the harder arcs of the entire trilogy, but I was able to successfully save both races from annihilating each other, and also save her from doing the whole suicide thing if I failed to save her people.  Don’t know if I could have gone on if I let her die.  She’s so adorable.  She’s like a little sister, and no, I didn’t romance her.  It just seemed wrong for some reason.

She likes ships.  Regular air, not so much.

She likes ships. Regular air, not so much.

Wrex —  Too bad I wasn’t able to use this Krogan tough guy again until Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC, because I missed having him around the two games after the original Mass Effect.  But he’s busy repopulating the Krogan race, so maybe its for the best.  You better believe I fought to not kill him in the first game when he threatened to turn on me.  I’m too much of a Paragon, I guess.

wrex_keep calm

Kaidan —  He’s your first squadmate in the Mass Effect games, and proves to be a reliable chum to talk to.  This biotic man was among the two choices I had to make when sacrificing team members on a pivotal mission, and who I decided until my current and most recent playthrough to have die a hero’s death setting off a nuclear bomb.  And who I chose to live until this new playthrough instead?

Kaidan: the character I sacrificed 9 out of 10 times.

Kaidan: the character I sacrificed 9 out of 10 times.

Ashley —  She’s a military brat to be sure, and any relationship with her comes with the feeling she just won’t be happy with anything you do.  Its like having a girlfriend who can’t let things slide AT ALL.  She doesn’t go with you in 2, and she sure doesn’t trust you in the beginning of 3.  In some cases, she’ll wisen up and join your squad in the third game, or you can have her shot dead.  You make the call on that one.

Expect that face of disappointment even if you don't romance her.

Expect that face of disappointment even if you don’t romance her.

Pvt. Jenkins —  Even if you playthrough again and pump him full of experience points, he’ll still bite it on your first mission.  He’s like the redshirt of the Mass Effect games.  I do think however the gang at BioWare missed an opportunity to turn the Jenkins clan into the Carmine clan of the Gears of War series, in that one dies horribly in every game.  Maybe I just think a lancer rifle in the Mass Effect universe would be fun, if a bit incongruent with the whole futuristic drama.

————-

Those life and death scenarios involving your teammates (let alone deciding the fate of the council of aliens that made you a Spectre in the first place) held some impact in the first game, especially since in the case of the decision between Ashley and Kaidan, that choice is only one or the other gets killed.  What I think about in retrospect having played the whole trilogy is what would’ve happened in some cases later on in the games if I didn’t save Wrex, or save the Council.  How would that have changed things for the better or worse for my Shepard?  One of the great things about the time between all the games was the overanalysis of those decisions and what they would mean going into the next chapter of your Shepard’s story.

Luckily I got ME 1 barely a year before Mass Effect 2 would hit store shelves.  And I expected a good sequel that would improve on the faults of the first game.  What I didn’t expect to get in ME2 was one of the best video games of the last ten years.  Next time, I’ll talk about the story, the upgrades, the surprises, and the squadmates of this pivotal game.

So, what were your impressions on the first Mass Effect game?  What decisions did you make and what decisions do you regret now that you’ve played the whole trilogy?  Comment below about all of that, and until then…

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