Tag Archives: favorite mission

30 day mass effect challenge, day 14: in which I have a favorite loyalty quest …

As far as I remember, only Mass Effect 2 had loyalty missions. I mean, sure, you could help Wrex find his family armor, or you could locate Dr. Heart for Garrus in the first game. You could also choose to assist Tali on her pilgrimage by providing her geth data to send back to the quarian fleet. But none of these actually had any result on who lived or died like it did in ME2, and thank god developers kept loyalty missions out of ME3*. That game was already packed to the gills with stuff to do.

But anyway, out of all of the loyalty missions in ME2, my favorite was probably Mordin’s. It has a perfect mix of action, research, character development, and storytelling. As the layers of the mystery surrounding Maelon’s disappearance and “capture” by the krogan clan Weyrloc are slowly peeled away, we start to see a different side of Mordin: caring, spiritual, and remorseful in regards to his involvement with the genophage, even if he isn’t ready to admit it just yet. One of my favorite scenes is when he and Shep discover the body of a deceased female krogan and Mordin says what amounts to a prayer for her soul; as he stares at her corpse, he starts to realize the repercussions of his work. His actions in ME3 are a great extension of what happens in his quest – he’s able to start making up for it by tipping off Wrex (or the other krogan if Wrex is dead) and he wants to make life better for the krogan.

Dealing with Maelon presented an ethical dilemma for me, considering the choice given to me on the Collector base at the end of the game: do you keep the data from such horrific events, or do you deem it too tainted to be useful? Only one of my playthroughs ended with the Collector base intact, but I was surprised at Mordin’s reaction when I talked with him after the mission: he completely disapproved of my actions, even though we’d done the very same thing with Maelon’s data. Perhaps the writers meant to convey that Mordin didn’t trust the Illusive Man (a well-founded distrust, of course), but it seemed inconsistent with his character.

Of course, Mordin does happen to be one of my favorites of the whole Mass Effect series. His character arc, from his first appearance to his last, is one of the more well-developed ones, connected to the larger story through that of the krogan, and it began right here, shooting our way through the cavernous abandoned hospital on Tuchanka.

Runners-Up: Garrus and Legion.

Art Credit: eTeknix, YouTube

* For the most part, they did, I guess. If you didn’t do certain things, like warn Miranda about Kai Leng, some characters might not make it to the end.

30 day mass effect challenge, day 13: in which I have a favorite side mission …

I love sandbox games: the more optional content, the better. Well, the more optional content that gives me a greater feel of the game’s universe, the better. While Mass Effect may not be a sandbox game like, say, Fallout: New Vegas, it does have a pretty extensive set of side missions that, while not necessarily required to complete the game, they shine lights on characters’ histories, worlds’ mysteries, and they give you experience points. Now, instead of choosing just one side mission, I’m going to list my favorite from each game, which I think is a bit more doable than narrowing it down to a single one.

Mass Effect

Poor, poor Talitha.

If Bioware was trying to desensitize people to the annihilation of the batarians at the beginning of Mass Effect 3, this was the most effective way to get that ball rolling. After living the life of a batarian slave from a very young age, Talitha manages to escape but does not know how to exist in a world where she isn’t considered an animal, a thing. True, there’s no shooting or running from a volcanic explosion, but hearing Talitha tell her tale with the mental state of a victim is just as engrossing. Despite the short time I spent with her, I was delighted to get that email from her in ME2.

I don’t know if you remember me. I had a gun and you stopped me from hurting myself. My doctors say I am doing better. One of them works with the people you work for. He told me he could get a message to you.
I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t talked to me that day, but the doctors are helping me. I am getting better. They put me in a special school, and they say I am doing good. The doctors say that other people are getting taken like I was. I hope you can help them like you helped me.
Thank you,

It actually reminds me of when I worked at the Department of Human Services. A nineteen-year-old girl came into an interview with me, very nervous, and when she refused to explain how she was paying her rent, she nearly broke down into tears. She then just started babbling, saying that yes, she did turn tricks, but she never put her babies in any danger. I took a deep breath and told her, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to set you up with a three-month certification period for your food stamps and Medicaid and get you an appointment with our Families First department, so they can help you get a job. But until you do get a job, I need you to keep receipts. Or a ledger. It doesn’t really matter what you write on it, either, just as long as I get an idea of how much money you make, okay?” She was so surprised that I didn’t threaten to turn her into the police, and eventually, she did stop prostituting. But that wasn’t the best part. About a year and a half later – she had been working at a Wendy’s, if I recall, but still needed help covering food costs, childcare, and medical insurance – I got a phone call from her, and she proudly announced that I could shut off her food stamps.

“Well, I most definitely can do that! What happened?”

“I got me a real job! I’m now a legit massage therapist!”

She then went on to explain that, because I had treated her like a human being, she felt confident in herself and had gotten a scholarship to attend a tech school. It just filled my heart with joy knowing that I had any affect on that young woman’s life so that she could, ever so gradually, realize her worth as a person. Probably one of my favorite moments from my life.

Mass Effect 2

Say what you will about Conrad Verner, but I absolutely adore him. He’s just so gloriously naive and foolhardy, and he seems so blissfully unaware of everything that it’s amazing he can figure out how to put his armor on. Or walk in a straight line, for that matter. I love that we find out in ME3 that he has a doctorate in xenoscience. It’s just like, “Of course he does.”

I look forward to this side mission on Ilium every time I play the game, and I’m not exaggerating. Seeing him pretending to be Shepard (even if it’s not accurate to how my Shep treated him in the first game) in the bar is just so damn delightful, and honestly, I never had the heart to be mean to him, so I always leave him to remain ignorant of the fact that he’s a dumbass. I think I need to go watch videos of how a renegade can handle him, though – even if I’ll never be able to do it.

Mass Effect 3

I’m nothing if not consistent when it comes to the krogan, I guess. Not only do I resolve Char and Ereba’s relationship from ME2, I get to see Grunt again! This mission is also why I chose to kill the rachni queen in the first game; I didn’t want Grunt mad at me because his whole team is lost. Unlike the other two side missions on today’s challenge, this one focuses more on action than story, and I’m actually okay with that. I mean, this is Grunt, after all. Plus, without this mission, we’d never get to see this:

“Anybody … got something to eat?”

I love you, Grunt.

Art Credit: eTeknix

30 day mass effect challenge, day 12: in which I have a favorite storyline mission …

You know, with all of the missions that Shepard and Company go on throughout the Mass Effect series, you’d think that picking just one as your favorite would be a daunting, near impossible task. For me, however, this was not the case. Of course, I did decide that I was going to choose one mission from each game, but that’s because I’m ornery. I’ll try to keep them short, but for ME3, you’re going to have to give me a little leeway because I love it so much. Anyway, here you go:

Mass Effect

Out of all the main missions in the first game, Virmire was one of the more action-oriented ones. With Therum, Feros, and Noveria, there was a lot of walking around and talking to people before you got into the meat of the operation, but with Virmire, you set down in the Mako and automatically start fighting geth. But then the pacing doesn’t really slow down, even if you aren’t shooting at things. The confrontation with Wrex is tense, you face off with Saren for the first time, you get to see what indoctrination truly does to thralls, and finally, it’s revealed that Sovereign is a sentient creature, a Reaper, and claims to be the “vanguard of your destruction.” There is just so much that happens and really does shape the rest of the game.

Mass Effect 2

The final mission on the Collector base was quite legitimately one of the perfect end runs of any game I’ve ever played. Actually planning the assault by selecting certain crew members for particular tasks was such a great change from the first game, where basically everybody else was just waiting back on the Normandy while three people (???) went after Saren and his geth minions. Throughout the entire mission, I was worried that one of my comrades would die in the battle, and at every cutscene, I found myself holding my breath, hoping they’d survive. I can’t tell you how many times I went back and restarted the mission so I could get a perfect run with my entire team coming back with me. The only meh part was the final fight with the human Reaper, since it was exceptionally repetitive, but after that, I got to blow the Collector base sky high (I only kept it intact for Cerberus research in one playthrough), pissing off Harbinger in the process. If it felt emotions, I guess. All in all, though, a superb mission.

Mass Effect 3

I was so emotionally invested in the future of the krogan, especially after the introduction of Bakara, and seeing their ancient past and hopeful future that it was almost worth Mordin dying. I SAID ALMOST.

Normally, exploring areas in a game like Mass Effect is boring, but the krogan ruins (plus the green plants!!) made it nearly impossible not to waste time looking at the architecture and symbols painted on the walls. Whoever designed their artistic style was downright brilliant: it captured the blunt, yet gracefully simplistic nature of the krogan, matching perfectly with their view of the universe. Being immersed in what they once were – a noble, hopeful people – gave me the full ability to believe that they could achieve that again, now that the genophage was cured.

(Note: the only time I didn’t cure the genophage was when I started a Mass Effect 3 game without importing from the second, and every other playthrough of mine had me helping the krogan, even when I was playing as a renegade. I just could. not. do. it.)

The actual combat was a lot of fun, too, especially considering the dialogue between Mordin and Wrex:

MORDIN: Thresher maw getting closer!
WREX: Tell me something I don’t know!
MORDIN: Metal in truck excellent iron supplement for maw’s diet!

Dodging Reaper claws and brutes isn’t necessarily the easiest, but I found that, if you just dash through them (avoiding the dark shadows of the claws and not really caring if your squadmates are functioning, of course), it’s fairly quick work, if you’re not playing on a higher difficulty. Then you get to kill your first Reaper in the game! And it is, indeed, such a spectacle for the krogan to recount for generations to come, including the part where Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws, wrestles the squealing Reaper into the ground. Unfortunately, Mordin sacrifices himself, in what may possibly one of the most moving cutscenes in history, to save the people he had afflicted with a genetic curse. Sigh. Following your harrowing victory, you get to bond with Wrex and Bakara (who finally reveals her true name to you), and the story progresses.

A big part of why this was my favorite mission is because it didn’t just start in Mass Effect 3. From the moment you decide on Virmire to spare or kill Wrex, the krogan redemption or demise has begun. Through your friendship with Wrex, you begin to see the krogan as people, not mindless hulks of violence (even though they’d probably prefer that description), and in the second game, you discover the fruits of your labor, finding Wrex is trying to unite the clans at least somewhat peacefully. There’s a glimmer of hope that they can rise above the animals they’ve been made out to be. Of course, by the time you get to the third game, the stage has been set, and finally witnessing the release of the krogan from over a century of punishment is one of the most beautiful moments in gaming history. Makes me tear up a little, actually.

Art Credit: eTeknix