Mass Effect, A Retrospective

I have previously reviewed Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, and though I no longer review video games I still enjoy writing on the topic of video games, so now that I’ve completed ”Mass Effect 3” I want to express some of my thoughts on the series.

I probably first heard about ”Mass Effect” on the PC Gamer podcast, but didn’t really give it a lot of thought until ”Dragon Age” came out. ”Dragon Age” and upon pre-ordering it, it included some DLC for the upcoming ”Mass Effect 2”, so I figured I may as well try ”Mass Effect”. So before the 2nd game came out, I got a copy of ”Mass Effect” on steam, and tried it out.

My Shepard was female. I played as an Infiltrator. I gave her what I thought would be a practical haircut, a simple ponytail tied in the back. This was to keep her hair out of her face, because, seriously, the last thing she needed was anything blocking her vision in the heat of battle. It was pretty much impossible to create an attractive face for Shepard, so I didn’t, and she turned out kind of ugly, but I liked her in her own special way. I may never play the series again, so that Shepard will always be the Shepard I remember.

I played the first game as a Paragon, that is, whenever there was a moral choice to make, I make the ”good” choice. I let people live, I tried to save as many lives as possible, etc. This was all well and good. Basically the first game had a lot of annoyances along the way, and I can’t say I’d recommend it, and in all honesty I only played it because I was more excited about ”Mass Effect 2” and since it was possible to import your character I figured I may as well start from the beginning. I ended up romancing Liara, and not by any choice of my own. I was trying to go for Kaiden, because inter-species relations kind of bother me, but the game just didn’t seem to let me do that. I guess because I was a Paragon and I was always nice to both Liara and Kaiden, and I guess Liara trumps Kaiden. In any case I was kind of upset about that.

”Mass Effect 2” turned out to be an excellent game. Baring the mining, it was in every way an excellent game. Great missions, well-paced, and graphically it was better than the first game, and it ran at a better frame-rate. I actually started out as a Paragon in the game, for maybe one or two missions, but I kept seeing that the Renegade options looked much more interesting, so I went full out Renegade. Indeed, it was much more interesting. I mean instead of just letting some guy live, you shoot him in the face. Instead of being nice to a reporter, you punch them in the face. It was a lot of fun to be a Renegade. Heck, I was having so much fun, I decided to romance Garrus, because seriously, why not? I had already had one relationship with an alien, why not another?

I actually kind of wanted to play the second game again, as a male so I could romance Miranda, cause she was kind of hot for a video game character, but ultimately I never did, and I probably never will. I guess that’s what YouTube is for.

I managed to save all of the characters at the end of ”Mass Effect 2” except for Kelly Chambers, because I didn’t really read any guides in advance, but ultimately I was kind of glad she died, because I never really liked her anyway.

”Mass Effect 3” came out earlier this year. This was to be the last chapter in Shepard’s story. I didn’t play it right away. I waited for it to go on sale, and even then I didn’t play it until about two weeks ago. To be honest, ”Mass Effect 2” had been so satisfying, I didn’t even see the need for ”Mass Effect 3” so I wasn’t in any kind of hurry. I did hear about the controversy about the ending right after it came out, though, and so I pretty much avoided any discussion about the game as to not spoil it.

From the start, I figured I stick with the Renegade attitude for Shepard, but to be honest, in ”Mass Effect 3” it doesn’t seem to be nearly as important which route you choose, as the game doesn’t seem nearly as dynamic as the second one. Some of the first things I remember doing was dumping both Liara and Garrus. I was going to have Shepard stick with humans. Kaiden would be her new goal.

I had let Kelly Chambers die in ”Mass Effect 2”, and as a renegade, I kind of liked that idea, so when it came time to shoot Mordin in the back, I didn’t even hesitate. And to be honest, that was a great death scene, very emotional, very dramatic, and very much good riddance. I never really liked that guy anyway. Naturally knowing that Mordin was dead, I wanted more of my former companions dead. My favorite one was Wrex. Blasting him out the window was about the most satisfying thing that happened the game, and of course the icing on the cake was when Baily said, “Let the morgue know we got another delivery coming. Probably too big for a coffin. Might have to ”space” this one.”

Naturally with so much death on my hands I had no choice but to let Tali and Samara commit suicide. Miranda died as well, and I’m not really even sure how you would go about saving her. I vaguely remember that Legion didn’t really live as well. Cortez crashed. Thane died of cancer or something. Jack lived, but I found out you could get her killed, and I kind of regretted that I didn’t. In the end I was kind of upset that Liara couldn’t die. Garrus, though, I was glad he lived, because he was alright, despite the fact that Shepard had dumped him, no hard feelings.

My Shepard did end up having a romance with Kaiden, it was cheesy. I basically learned from this that watching two video game characters have sex with their underwear on is kind of awkward. (Not to mention ”Dragon Age II” where thy do it with all of their clothes on.) I think from now on I shall avoid sex scenes in video games. Also, my Shepard would have been a lot more interesting as a loner. I mean seriously, she was a renegade, she was mean to everyone, then all the sudden nice to some guy, it was totally out of character.

Overall the game was pretty fun. I didn’t really get what the controversy about the ending was. Maybe that everything culminated to walking down one of three corridors to choose the fate of the galaxy. Maybe because the fate of the galaxy didn’t really make any sense no matter which corridor you walked down. I don’t even know what ending I picked, I think I went renegade, and I suppose it didn’t matter. Honestly, I don’t get the ending. I did replay it with the extended cut DLC and it made a little more sense, but honestly I don’t think it needed to. I didn’t really care that it didn’t make any sense. Quite frankly I’m upset that more people didn’t die. I think in the extended cut there is an ending where you just let the Reapers wipe out the galaxy, that’s the ending I should have chosen. It’s kind of a pain in the butt to replay the end of the game, though, it takes like two hours from the last save point. And I don’t want to play for two hours to get some moderately different endings.

Ultimately ”Mass Effect” was kind of a fun experience. The 2nd game was by far the best. I doubt I’ll play these games again, though. They are just too long, and even if I did replay them I wouldn’t remember the decisions I made the first time around, so things would pretty much seem to play out exactly the same.

For what it’s worth, this is my Shepard. I stuck with pink armor in the 2nd and 3rd games because my Shepard was female, and I think pink looks good on girls.