What I’m Playing: Mass Effect 2 (Part 2)

Last time, I wrote about my opinions (I wouldn’t dare call it a “review”) in general. This time, like I promised, I’ll give each of the team member characters a short look, and explain why I like them, or why I don’t.

Miranda: I disliked her before she even opened her mouth (don’t shoot people without my consent!). It only went downhill from there. I’m not sure whether she has problems with my female Shepard, but it feels like she’s trying to wage a bitch battle. Her loyalty mission didn’t make her any more likable in my eyes. So you ran away from your father? That’s cool. But you hated him so much that you kidnapped your sister so she would grow up away from him? I think we passed the border into creepy territory somewhere there.

Jacob: I don’t dislike him. That said, I don’t like him either. I simply don’t care for him, he felt like a boring character. Generic mercenary/soldier type, not much behind the facade. Nah thanks. The loyalty mission concerning his father wasn’t bad, it just felt… weird. Like “60ies Star Trek episodes” weird. Other than that, I nearly hit on Jacob by mistake. Managed to get out of that predicament, though.

Mordin: Now this is probably my favorite character on the crew. He starts out as scientist-doctor-gunslinger. That’s not a completely new and revolutionary character type, but rare enough that you haven’t seen it ad nauseam. His back story is what really made him great, though. You find out that he has been on a secret project to improve the genophage, and is then confronted with the consequences of this decision during his loyalty mission. The development from staunchly in favor of his decision, over rationalization, to acceptance that it might have been morally wrong in the end is done quite well, and superbly well if you keep in mind this is a computer game (who, like it or not, are still typically lacking finesse in character development).

Garrus: Another favorite. He’s become darker since he left C-Sec, but not too dark in the “dark and brooding is sooo cool and mature” trope kind of way. In fact, my main problem with Garrus is that we don’t see more of him. In both games, I had him on my team on almost every mission, and there were a lot more offhand remarks from him in part 1. In addition, his loyalty mission is only so-so. It’s good, but for one of my favorite characters, I would’ve preferred something more involved. Oh well. I will see more of him soon, though. I decided to romance him. I was sad I couldn’t do that in part 1 already, given the awful choices back then. Their “love” story is a quirky mix of feelings and awkwardness, especially when Garrus tells you how he needs to do some research on how this is supposed to work. Mordin also chimes in and tells you he forwarded some reading material to your quarters, to make sure there are no accidents and injuries. Thanks, Mordin. That was slightly disturbing and insensitive – in fact, it felt a bit like a parent-teenager talk about birds and bees gone awry – but still thanks for caring that much.

Thane: Assassin with a conscience, a perfect memory, and a terminal illness. Oh, he also left his son when he was young and wants to reunite with him before he dies. Trope-o-meter: over 9000. Next!

Zaeed: Assassin/mercenary with no conscience, no perfect memory, and no terminal illness. Wants to go on a suicide mission to earn money. Wait, that’s even worse than Thane. There’s also the fact that he’s deep in my personal uncanny valley. He looks like someone I know (minus the scars), but I can’t put my finger on who it is.

Grunt: I have to admit, I have a sweet spot for the Krogan. Grunt is a bit of an odd one out, since he was bred and raised in a tube, which means he has problems fitting into Krogan society, what without a clan and all. Thankfully, Wrex, by now chief of the Urdnot clan, comes to rescue. Good thing Shepard and he are still on friendly terms. You’ll help Wrex get accepted into the clan during his loyalty mission, and learn a lot about how Wrex tries to reform Krogan society. I’m really looking forward to ME3 in that respect, I hope it won’t disappoint me and give some more insights of how the whole Rachni-Krogan-Turian-Salarian-genophage arc will continue. I have to admit, Grunt himself is a quite shallow character, although I felt there was at least a little bit of development due to the clan acceptance. But I could accept that since it meant more Krogan-focused stories.

Tali’Zorah: While Grunt got a Krogan bonus, Tali’Zorah has to fight against the Quarian malus. For some reason, the whole Quarian story and culture never interested me that much. Her loyalty mission gave a nice insight into the internals of Quarian culture, which I liked. Still, they’re more on the fringes of my interest, and so is Tali’Zorah. Creating a group of artificial intelligences that they cannot control, then tried to fight, only to be driven off their homeworld… tough luck? I wonder how the Quarian–Geth struggles will continue in ME3.

Jack: Hate. Her. So. Much. You thought Thane and Zaeed were paper-thin characters? Meet Jack. Poor poor girl was experimented on as a child, and that left her with horrible marks that now make her hate everybody. Which she shows by being extremely antisocial, insulting people, and killing whenever she can. Her greatest wish in life? To blow up the facility she was raised. *yawn*

Legion: I’ve just met him (it?), haven’t even done its loyalty mission yet, so I can’t say much. I fear though that you might meet too late in the game to see much character development. If that thing even has some sort of “character”.

So there you are. A list of why I do or don’t like the team characters. Sadly, there are more instances of the latter than the former. But I found enough interesting ones to form a team, and I guess that’s all that matters. I can happily go back to ignoring most of them and focus on those that I like.

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