With the recent officially announced Mass Effect Legendary Edition coming to us May 14th, 2021, I’m drawn back into the futuristic sci-fi world that I vacation to complete a playthrough in every year. Currently I’m completing my second playthrough of the stepchild Mass Effect Andromeda. Which may not hold up to the original trilogy, but should have gotten its full support in my opinion. There are definitely parts of Andromeda I loved, but that is for another time. Most importantly it lacks memorable squad mates – and that’s what got me thinking.
The many conversations of calibrations with Garrus, so we blast a hole through a reaper when the time is right. Breaking up catfights between Jack and Miranda who rest on separate sides of the love/hate Cerberus pendulum. What if more of them had to die, who could I stomach to lose. I did everything and anything possible to make sure on my playthroughs everyone lived.
So, I find myself reminiscing and setting pros and cons to who must die. Admittedly, I gave myself some restrictions before I went Destroy All Humans mode. As I quickly killed off almost every human squad mate. My Sheppard commander seemed more like an anti human fanatic identifying as a Salarian. I will be going Survivor style, kicking my beloved companions off the Normandy island and justifying this betrayal.
Spoiler warning: I will be discussing scenarios and missions throughout the trilogy.
First squadmate off goes our hotheaded human mercenary Zaeed Massani. His early departure from my crew rests primarily on his personality and lack of weight in the trilogy. Zaeed is found on the docks of Omega in Mass Effect 2. He has my respect as a squadmate who will openly defy me with no question.
Zaeed’s lack of weight is probably due to his late addition as part of the Price of Revenge DLC pack. His savageness is only fitting considering you recruit him on the docks of Omega. Omega is a space station built into an asteroid where the lawless reigned supreme.
Zaeed’s loyalty mission will be his first and last time stepping off the Normandy for me. It is a revenge mission against a Mercenary group he started called the Blue Suns. Zaeed and the group parted ways after a hostile takeover. After that mission I put him in timeout after knocking some sense into him for going full Krogan rage. Leaving him behind after this mission sits well with me. His pure soldier kit is solid but if I want to bring a mad gunner, Grunt and Wrex are my guys.
Silver medal goes to: Mr. Life of the Party, Human Alliance Staff Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko. He has a place in my heart since he is the first squad mate you are introduced to . Together you witness the death of Corporal Richard L. Jenkins on the first mission on Eden Prime. I promise this is the last human male off the ship. Kaidan is one of few characters in the Mass Effect Trilogy who cannot not be saved without the death of another
It’s not that I hate Kaidan but Mass Effect has a darker tone, so positive vibes are in short supply. Which means a man of little words and neutral demeanor can be lost amongst his peers. His history as part of the early development of human biotics and it’s effects makes him someone I can sympathize with.
The blow of his death is softened because it’s unavoidable unless you leave Ashley Williams on the Virmire mission. This is one of the first of many hard choices forced on you during the series. During the mission you’re split from your team and have to decide who you will go back for. Returning to the Normandy to discuss the decision amongst the team with the sad score in the background is always a heart breaker. He brings a versatile kit to the squad with a mix of biotic and tech abilities. Cerberus agent Miranda Lawson is the better jack of all trades, probably because she is perfectly designed.
Now it gets more difficult because no more human male squad mates are kicked off my ship. I’m all about diversity so some under-represented Alien races get biases. Next off my ship is Samara the coldhearted Asari Justicar. She pledges herself to you on Illium in Mass Effect 2, where she warns you from ordering her to do something unjust. If you in fact do so she will be obligated to murder you after the contract is complete.
Her story arc is amazing, giving an interesting look into Asari culture. Detailing the Justicars who follow a code and mercilessly enforce it on the galaxy with no leniency. Insight to the Ardat-yakshi, those with a pure bred genetic condition which cause them to kill you if you “embrace eternity”. Samara had three daughters born with the condition. These daughters are pivotal to her character development throughout the games.
I accept Samara taking her own life so she is not duty bound to kill her surviving daughter in Mass Effect 3. Samara’s place aboard the Normandy is filled by my favorite exotic blue biotic Dr. Liara T’Soni. Liara whom you can embrace eternity with and thank the goddess for.
Over half way through, and if you feel the same as I do about these squad mates this is tough. This spot came to a decision between two AI robots Edi and Legion. Legion was my choice to power down. He introduces himself in Mass Effect 2 providing cover fire on a derelict Repear. Legion is a Sniper toting Geth wearing and old piece of Shepard’s N7 Armor.
The tie breaker between them was a young female Quarian companion Tali’Zorah . Tali was always like a little sister to me, so if it came down to the Rannoch decision and I couldn’t save both. Legion and the whole Geth race would have to get the hard boot. Morally I felt more obligated to help the Geth. But, Tali was family to me, having been along for the ride since Mass Effect.
Legion the the geth messiah or spokesmen for the ones who respect sheppard commander does a lot for me emotionally. He gave depth to a rather simple enemy from the first game, the Geth. These robots present themselves as sole-less machines following Saren Arterius the rogue Turian Spectre and Sovereign the main big bad Reaper. Giving that depth into an enemy alone I thank him for his service. The Geth/Quarian conflict of creator vs soul searching machine is one of those underlying stories that runs the whole series. This conflict got a meaningful conclusion in Mass Effect 3 and Legion gave us perspective of the other side of the war.
The squadmate I let go with the longest embrace before she punches me in the face goes to Jack . Her edgy, lone wolf, take no ishh attitude is refreshing for a human female character. After meeting Miranda Lawson and Ashley Williams who were loyal to their respective causes. Jack was different being loyal to herself and you eventually if you won her over. She joins your crew after a mission in Mass Effect 2 where you break her out of Purgatory. A prison in secluded space for the worst criminals in the system
It feels odd that both she and Jacob Taylor are introduced in Mass Effect 2 with similar kits being human shotgun wielding biotics. Since I decided Jacob is one of the human males who is saved, Jack is my sacrificial human female.
Her blind hate for Cerberus, the pro human paramilitary group can be somewhat annoying at times. This hate is warranted which she makes sure you know in Mass Effect 3 as she punches you in the face. Jack gives you insight to the dark side, that goes on behind the closed doors of Cerberus research labs.
As a powerful biotic trained in isolation it makes a good story for her to become a teacher of youthful biotics under the Alliance. Her story ends for me after finding a family in the Normandy crew. Her death in the suicide mission is that fuel to the fire to slap every reaper we meet in her honor.
I have cut away my total number of irl friends from my alternate life buddy list. Thank you all for taking the time to read and go down memory lane with me. You can preorder Mass effect Legendary edition here. You never know I may force myself to actually let some people die to see how it changes my next playthrough, but probably not I love them all. Check out more articles on Mass Effect Legendary Edition and other gaming news at Generation Xbox.