So because I started playing the Mass Effect series with the second installment, I didn’t get to meet Wrex until I finally just purchased the first game, and once that happened, there was no way in hell I would let him get killed afterward. It wasn’t just because he was a universally beneficial team member – he has warp and throw, and he can equip heavy armor, and he has invincibility and regeneration – but he’s such a complex character. A krogan battlemaster with an almost lackadaisical approach to killing, Wrex can destroy his enemies, but he understands that all the murder and mayhem his species thrives upon – and the only things they have left since the advent of the genophage – will only ultimately destroy them.
The first game presents Wrex as a smarter than your average mercenary who has a complicated relationship with his people. He is proud to be a krogan and doesn’t expect other species to understand them or their culture, but he is also incredibly realistic about them: they are dying out, either due to desperation or apathy, and no one is going to try and fix that, since the krogan had proven themselves dangerous to stability and diplomacy before. When he shows concern for destroying Saren’s genophage “cure” on Virmire, it might seem a bit abrupt, but you just had to make sure you spoke with Wrex on the Normandy and helped him retrieve his ancestral armor on Tuntau (I cannot believe I didn’t even have to look that up) – he hides it well, but Wrex has a huge soft spot for his people, and it’s this moment on Virmire where he starts to realize that, if no one else was going to try to redeem the krogan, by god, he was going to.
In addition to having a rich story arc, Wrex was so fun to play in the first game, and I almost always had him in my party. All of his powers made him a formidable ally, and I never had to use my unity skill to revive him (unlike Garrus – sigh).
I did feel a bit cheated when Wrex was only an NPC in the second and third games, and really, one of the only things that made talking politics with him palatable was that he seemed as annoyed about the situation as I was. He would have rather joined Shepard in the fight against the Collectors, but at that point, he’d fully dedicated himself to improving the lives of his people. Had he abandoned Tuchanka in ME2, the delicate political situation of the krogan home planet would have completely fractured, and in ME3, it didn’t really make sense to have him be a party member. I did enjoy the cut scenes, and catching up with him while he is aboard the Normandy is pretty great, but it still sucked.
And then, Uncle Urdnot came out to play in the Citadel DLC. I swear, I cheered when Wrex dive-bombed that shuttle filled with bad guys and again when I found out he’d joined the party. I was a little disappointed that they took away almost all of his biotic powers (they kept barrier for some reason, but I would have gladly traded the stimulant pack power for, at the least, throw), but he still brings quite a bit of damage to the table. He also has some of the best lines:
- “In the old days, we would have just shot her. Good times.”
- “I’ve always wanted to [have a firefight in the CIC]! And it’s not even my birthday!”
- “Make it a rule to never fight wearing pajamas.”
- “Krogan first! See ya at the party, princesses!”
- “Uncle Urdnot is back in town, and he brought the boom!”
- “Refresh my memory. Didn’t we used to win these things back in the old days?”
- “I’m old and I worry, even though my favorite quarian’s all grown up and killing Reapers.”
- “You know what this is? It’s a man emergency!”
- “Trust me. I’ve been in every position for the past few days.”
And then there’s this interaction, probably my favorite in the entire Mass Effect saga:
GRUNT: Commander Shepard.
WREX: Shepard, Shepard, Shepard.
SHEPARD: Wrex? Grunt?
WREX AND GRUNT: SHEPARD!
It was just so nice to have him back, you know? It makes me sad that there are people out there (apparently, 64% of players) who never got to experience him past the first game.
Runners Up: EDI, Mordin