One characteristic that has defined the Mass Effect series has been its memorable side characters, from Garrus Vakarian to Prothy the Prothean Javik. No matter how rough Shepard’s journey may have been, he had a legion of squadmates to support him through the thick and thin, ready to pick him off his feet if he so needed. Yet, out of all the legions of squadmates, which ones were your favorites? Which ones struck the right cord for you? And why?
(As an aside, eligible squadmates are: Kaidan Alenko, Ashley Williams, Liara T’Soni, Garrus Vakarian, Tali Zora vas Normandy, Urdnot Wrex, Jacob Taylor, Miranda Lawson, Mordin Solus, Kasumi Goto, Zaeed Massani, Thane Krios, Samara, Jack, Grunt, Legion, James Vega, EDI and Javik.)
For me, my list goes as follows:
1. Garrus Vakarian
Back in Mass Effect 1, Garrus was an idealistic young man, upset at how the “rules” kept getting in his way. A son to the head of C-Sec, he was fed up with regulations, and joined Shepard’s team to get away from all the rules. Talking to Garrus reveals a man who almost sees himself as Batman. Someone who fights crime, yet is above the law. Depending on Shepard’s dialogue choices, Shepard either convinces Garrus to either pursue his path of being Batman, or convinces him that it’s a fool’s errand and that the rules are in place for a reason: so that people like Saren don’t become who they are. He then goes about to fight crime, and even becomes a military consultant about the Reaper forces. And with that, you have a man who is Shepard’s staunchest ally. He, along with Tali, are the only ones who are with him through all three games. Known for his witty and sarcastic humor (“I had reach, she had flexibility”, “Adolescence? Can’t we just take [Grunt] to Omega and buy him a few dances?”, or “A quarantine zone for a plague that kills Turians….why can’t we go anywhere nice?”), Garrus was always there to make sure Shepard was never too tight and always felt that someone had his back, no matter how tough a decision he made.
2. Liara T’Soni
While Liara wasn’t quite with Shepard for all three games, she did make it up somewhat with Lair of the Shadow Broker. Back in Mass Effect 1, Liara was a naive archaeologist who, due to her mother being a Matriarch, went about her separate path to escape the pressure. Her social skills are a developing skill set, most notably when she can’t even recognize that Shepard is joking about “dissecting him in a lab”, and her looking up Shepard’s record for fear of embarrassing herself further. At first, she is fascinated by Shepard due to his connection to the Prothean artifact on Eden Prime, but that fascination becomes a romantic interest that Shepard may or may not pursue. Regardless if Shepard has romantic feelings for her, Liara is the most caring out of all of his squadmates. She constantly checks up on Shepard and shows worry when he has nightmares due to the beacon. She fought to bring Shepard’s body back so Cerberus could rebuild him. She creates a beacon for the future and to praise Commander Shepard. And she leaves Shepard one last gift, as a sign of her continual affections for the captain, little blue children or not.
3. Urdnot Wrex
Wrex on the surface may seem like a one-note character. He’s a bloodthirsty mercenary who insists that “your superiors are fools, you should eat them”. He seems to lack much sympathy in regards to anyone. (“I was losing sleep over the prospect of people not loving the Turians.”) However, talking to Wrex reveals a different side. We see a man who is mourning, mourning that his people cannot overcome their bloodthirsty ways despite the Genophage. He sees a society that has lost its way, and refused to change. Assuming Shepard did not kill Wrex in Virmire, Wrex eventually begins to rebuild the Krogan, but never forgets what Shepard did for him. Determined not to let the past overcome the Krogan again, Wrex devises new strategies to ensure the longevity of the Krogan and to make sure the Krogan obtain the respect they deserve. Due to Shepard’s support, he is a very staunch ally (unless Shepard lied about curing the Genophage to obtain Salarian support), going so far as to say that Shepard’s name will live on as “hero’ for the Krogan. However, as he dryly notes, he still never got a section in the Normandy with windows, most likely because “I could never kiss as good as Liara.”
“There was a hole.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you used my armor.”
“No data available.”
One of my biggest complaints about the original Mass Effect was how it treated the synthetics as simply ruthless enemies who had not a shred of decency. This of course was not helped when speaking to Tali, who only confirmed what the game told us. The geth are evil. So imagine my happiness when it was revealed that we would be able to have a Geth squadmate. Despite the fact that Legion is usually recruited around the end (if not the last one), he more than makes up for it with his logical perspective and odd fascination with Shepard Commander. He provides insight into the Geth, and shows that they aren’t just evil minions, but rather a hivemind of Geth with some factions vying for power. He also provides more insight into the Morning War, and showing how the Quarians were just as much at fault as the Geth were. But above all else, his transformation is what makes Legion an enduring character. Originally a synthetic only focused on results, Legion starts to develop human characteristics, even referring to himself as “I” and the Geth as “we” at the end, proving all along this unit indeed has a soul.
5. Mordin Solus
Ah, yes the scientist salarian. Back in Mass Effect 2, Mordin was the staunchest defender of the Genophage, insisting it preventing disaster by limiting the growth of Krogan so they didn’t overrun the entire galaxy. Yet, as Shepard probed deeper, emotional scars started to emerge. Distraught over the ethics of the genophage, Mordin turned to religion, only to be even more distraught over its conflicting messages. He turned to healing in Omega as his way of overcoming his past, but eventually reveals to Shepard that it isn’t possible. Depending on Shepard’s actions regarding Maelon and the research data, the past may continue to haunt him. However, by the middle of Mass Effect 3, we start seeing a new side of Mordin, one who begins to question whether the Genophage is even justifiable. Thanks to the efforts of Shepard, Mordin begins to see the flaws of the current genophage, going so far as to call it a “mistake”, and sacrifices his life so that the Krogan may be cured. Despite his fast paced nature, Mordin also has a father figure side to him, constantly giving Shepard sexual advice regarding his/her romantic interest, along with Joker regarding EDI. His dry humor is also something to be noted (“Perhaps later. Trying to determine how scale-itch got onto Normandy. Sexuallly transmitted disease. Only carried by varren. Implications unpleasant.”) as is his emphasis on art and its symbolism for the advancement of a society.Tell them Mordin held the line, because someone else might’ve gotten it wrong.
Expect Part 2 out this weekend. Who are your favorite squadmates? Comment below.