Lindsay’s greatest Mass Effect moments (spoilertastic!)

Posted: November 10, 2012 in Gaming
Tags: , ,

For the past couple of months, I’ve been playing the Mass Effect games back to back (and doing very little else). At first it was just a little change of pace as I’d been overdosing on JRPGs and dragon-slaying, neck-beardy type adventures, but I got hooked like on these games like you wouldn’t believe. Put it this way, I’m now the proud owner of two Mass Effect art books, almost all available DLC, a few T-shirts and a set of Commander Shepard dog tags. I’d say that’s borderline obsession.

One thing that’s been great (but also kind of unfair) is that I’ve been able to play with the “extended cut” ending already in place. I could not BELIEVE how much was missing from the original game and that “Late-to-the-party” Robertson got a satisfying conclusion while the people who supported the series from day one got three colours of ‘splosions and pretty much nothing else. However, as my good friend Krystal put it when she reviewed the third game “it’s about the journey, not the destination”. Even though I’ve been spoiled rotten destination-wise I have to agree – it was one hell of a journey!

And that’s why I’ve put this together – because an experience as great as this deserves to be shared. My game will be different from yours, so I’d like to hear what other people felt were their stand out moments.

So here it is – my first Mass Effect trilogy playthrough

This is my Shepard. There are many like her but this one is mine

For my FemShep I picked Earthborn with the “sole survivor” background. It opened up some interesting dialogue and side quests (including tracking down those responsible and seeking bloody revenge!) I made her dark haired and pale skinned with drawn cheeks and a few scars. I kept her the same in ME2 (obviously she had different scars by that point) then for ME3 I gave her hair a bit of red tint, just for a wee change. I picked Infiltrator class because I LOVE sniper rifles. Who doesn’t get a kick out of a good clean headshot? (Know those guys with the metal shields? The ones with the tiny slits in them? Shot ten of ’em right through the gaps) As time went by I started using more tech skills, especially Incinerate so that if the enemy dodged my shot then I’d just light him on fire. My definition of a win-win scenario.

Best punch-the-air moment – Grunt lives!

This series doesn’t mess around when it comes to killing off your favourite characters (more on that later – trust me!) I knew there would be casualties in ME3 and I was sure I was witnessing my first as Grunt got swarmed by rachni and started going down in a blaze of glory. You see, for all his violent tendencies Grunt is really just a little boy at heart – he greeted me on that mission like he’d just spotted his favourite auntie. My heart broke for him as I saw him being painfully beaten in slow motion, stabbed in the chest, then hurled to his doom, taking one of those damn bugs with him (Spiders are EVIL!) Just imagine my surprise when, right before we got back in the shuttle Grunt appeared, drenched in blood but very much alive. You can’t keep a good krogan down.

Biggest laugh – “Dancin’ Shepard”

I couldn’t pass the dancefloor in any of the galaxy’s fine venues without having Shepard shake her groove thang. Why? Because it’s terrible! Seriously, I wonder whose dad did the motion capture for those moves? The Funky Shepard reached cringeworthy new heights as she hit the Afterlife’s VIP floor while a random asari looked on in disgust (I think that’s why I can’t get back in!) This was BEFORE getting drunk and waking up on her hands and knees in the club toilet. Not until ME3 do the Normandy crew start to take the piss, which is absolutely glorious by the way. Honestly Shepard, sometimes I wonder what Liara sees in you!

My finest hour (besides the whole “saving the galaxy” malarkey) – Curing the Krogan

Wrex was my bestest pal in ME1 and I got the “Krogan Ally” achievement to prove it. I was a bit miffed at first when I heard he wouldn’t be on my team for the rest of the series but, like me, he had a job to do and I respected that. Bottom line – krogan are awesome! Why would I feel an affinity with a race of sarcastic brutes who are always headbutting each other’s faces? I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m from Glasgow.

Hearing about the genophage was when I started to get properly invested in the whole Mass Effect universe. People tried to justify it but thinking of what that race was going through (remember, it wasn’t sterilisation but a disease that caused stillbirths and post-natal deaths – that’s just horrible) made me want to take action. I combed every square inch of that lab on Virmire hoping for something that could help me stop the virus but I came up empty. But hey, at least I’d talked Wrex down from the blood rage.

That’s how it all went down (pretty much)

Saving the Maelon’s data in ME2 was a no-brainer, as was my choice to finally cure the genophage in ME3. Having made my mind, everything else just confirmed that it was the right decision. Talking to Eve was enlightening, as was knowing that Wrex would be a wise and caring leader. Other things, like Chaar the Poet in ME2 (I found his last recording, may he rest in peace) and seeing Tuchanka’s lost city told me these people truly deserved that chance. In the end, we succeeded. How do I know? Because at the end… extended cut… Krogan babies! 😀

I did shed a tear for my pal Mordin – he died a hero. I do miss those silly wee songs of his.

“You won’t be alone long”
My saddest moment – Thane’s death

Ah Thane, what a guy! From that epic entrance in ME2, he was one of my favourite characters. Every conversation had me absolutely captivated, not just by his backstory but by the way he told it in that weirdly hypnotic voice. I felt he was someone my Shepard would relate to. Though it was platonic (I couldn’t betray poor Liara!) there was a strange intimacy about the talks we had, like when two people who avoid opening up find a mutual sense of trust and comfort that they weren’t even looking for. That’s special, something the game captured beautifully.

I was cheering on Thane’s fight with Kai Leng right up until that bastard ran a sword through my friend’s chest. I actually gasped in horror. I waited a while outside the hospital ward because I knew he wasn’t going to make it. Surprisingly I didn’t cry at this scene, but only because there were other people in my living room at the time. I held it back, which wasn’t easy – the lump in my throat grew to about the size of a large potato. Thane used his last breath to pray for Shepard; in turn, he would be one of the last people she thought of before she died. Theirs was a bittersweet story, but a beautiful one.

Sometimes while I was walking around the Normandy I’d stop by the life support room where Thane used to sit. Don’t ask my why, it’s not like I expected to find anything. I just kept getting drawn back there, even on my last round before landing on Earth. It’s not the first game I played where a character died but it’s the first to give me that authentic feeling of loss and grief.

Okay, let’s have something a tad more cheerful…

Best Easter Egg – the Space Hamster

Sometimes I worry about the galaxy placing its hope on Commander Shepard – mine couldn’t even take care of the fish. Every time I went up to the cabin I was emptying the tank of all the fresh piscine corpses, wondering if they’d be flushed down the en suite lavvy or sent straight to the mess officer (“seafood on the menu again? Don’t know how you manage to keep a fresh supply!”). Eventually I gave up owning fish, which left Shepard with nothing to do in her cabin but play with her model spaceships (again, I worry about her!) Then I got a space hamster that apparently didn’t need feeding, and lived happily ever after. I think. Sort of.

When he wasn’t in my cabin at the start of ME3 I naturally assumed that he’d died somewhere on the suicide mission when the Normandy took a knock or maybe he’d snuck along with my team and got squished by a Collector. Then one day when I was searching the engineering deck for my toy ships (as apparently my new crew were all playing prankies) and heard a familiar squeak. Who’s that scuttling accross the floor? After being given the runaround for an embarrasingly long stretch, I caught the furry little scamp and put him safely back in his cage. And there was much rejoicing.

“Does this unit have a soul?”
My toughest call – the Quarian-Geth war

Remember the mission on Virmire where you had two squad members in peril but only enough time to save one? For me, it was a choice between Mr Back-Up Plan (in case things didn’t work out with Liara) and Little Miss Racist who’d developed an extremely annoying habit of calling me “Skipper”. In the end, I dragged Kaidan “Plan B” Alenko out of there, hoping he wouldn’t take it as a sign that we were going steady.

Even though I’d never cared much for her, it was still quite sad to walk by Ashley’s old post at the weapons bench and see it empty. I applauded this bold turn and wondered – what if they made a similar situation only with higher stakes and characters you really cared for? Bioware taught me a valuable lesson – CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!!!

I tried so hard to end the war between the quarian and the geth. At first when Legion wanted to make the upgrades, I let him. I couldn’t understand Tali’s distress. Then Legion said something about the creator race having to die (I’m not sure why exactly) and I just couldn’t let him go through with it and let Tali’s people get killed. The quarians who built the geth had been dead for centuries – I felt it was time that race stopped paying for the sins of their ancestors and returned home. Besides, what kind of start would that have been to the new life of the geth? Genocide? Of their own creators no less. No, it didn’t seem right.

This meant sacrificing the geth, all because I failed to stop the war. Poor Legion died right there, still in his scraps of “Shepard Commander’s” old N7 armour. I felt genuine guilt for denying the geth the chance to live, even more so when EDI questioned me aboard the Normandy afterwards. She didn’t get angry, but she was right about a lot of things. I swore I wouldn’t let her down again.

Paragon or Renegade – A bit of both actually (Paragade?)

When I first started playing I didn’t know what to expect – I was out to have fun and do what I wanted. I busted chops that needed bustan, shot some punks that needed shootan and never passed up the chance for a sarky quip. Yes, my Shepard started on the renegade route – not surprising considering some of my past atrocities in video games. Then something unlikely happened. I started bonding with my crew (well, most of them – sorry Ashley!) Though I was still taking no prisoners (unless by “taking” you mean “shooting them in the brain”) I became more protective of my friends and of the innocent – helping the helpless, if you will.

I was about a 50/50 split by the end of ME1, then in ME2 I found myself surrounded by Cerberus supporters, meaning more chops to bust lest anyone forget who the damn commander is! In one scene I stopped a fight between Jack and Miranda by sending them both straight to their rooms – I tell you, NOBODY got any pudding on the Normandy that evening! However, I did all the loyalty missions and kept most of my team alive in the suicide mission (again I mean most of them – sorry Zaeed!) even though my fannying about before the mission meant that half my civilian crew were liquidated. Did NOT expect that – an urgent mission in an RPG that is actually urgent? Way to play with my jaded expectations ME2!

But in ME3, Renegade FemShep’s heart grew three sizes – she decided to cut the shit and to try and save as many innocent lives as possible. I succeeded with some, failed with others and lost some good friends along the way. And THAT was why the series was so special to me – those incredible characters made me care about the game’s world and sparked a genuine urge to do the right thing. In a game of free will, where nothing is truly right or wrong, I still developed a conscience. In the end, I chose synthesis – my way of making amends for failing Legion and the rest.

Rest in Peace, Superchib Shepard. I wish I’d named you something slightly less ridiculous xxx

So what’s next?

Another playthrough, that’s what! No WAY am I done with this series yet! But who’s it gonna be this time?

I’ve got three in mind for now and a few other possibilities for the future. Here are the ones I’m deciding between:

Brienne Shepard: This girl will be Soldier class and a Paragon through and through. A true knight and a real heroine.
Tywin Shepard: I’m thinking Vanguard class and 100% Renegade action. Ruthless, but brilliant.
Arya Shepard: She’ll be similar to my first playthrough except I’m upping the difficulty this time. Hardcore mofos!

Other ideas:

Dresden Shepard: Once I’m comfortable with biotics, this guy will be my Adept. And yes, I know that Dresden is the character’s LAST name but “Harry Shepard” doesn’t have quite the same ring.
Willow Shepard: Sentinel – get it? Combination of magic and tech abilities. She also swears she’s heard that pilot’s voice somewhere before…
Ed Shepard: Ed’s a girl! As Engineer, she’ll hack anything hackable. Conversation options will be determined by whatever seems the silliest

I’ll leave you with Superchib Shepard’s last words (in my imagination)

Dear Joker
About to commit suicide by jumping in some space magic. It’s okay – I picked the green kind so that maybe you and EDI could finally bang.
Love Shepard xxx
P.S. Please feed my space hamster

  1. […] and simply use them as assets wherever it’s considered useful. I’ll admit… I messed this up horribly on my first playthrough and the consequences plagued me right through to the end. I had no idea a game could cause so much […]

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