Not Even Mass Effect Legendary Edition Will Compel Me To Make Different Choices

Not Even Mass Effect Legendary Edition Will Compel Me To Make Different Choices
I am compelled by some otherworldly force to always romance this turian. (Screenshot: BioWare)

Vanguard class. Colonist. Sole Survivor. Paragon.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is out this week, and I’m positively giddy with excitement that I will reunite with some of my best friends in the galaxy in baby-bottom smooth HD. The primary appeal of Mass Effect (outside of its outstanding cast of characters) is that it’s a game meant to be played multiple times and multiple ways in order to see all of the narrative’s twists and turns. Though my love for the Mass Effect trilogy is as deep and vast as the galaxy itself, I make the same set of choices each time I play. Same class, same background, same romances, and not even the arrival of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition is enough to get me to change.

The choices I made and persist in making aren’t particularly controversial or deviant. My Shepard is a “good” paragon who never says or does anything unbecoming of a good soldier. (Though I will always choose the “bad” renegade interrupts that let me shoot the gas tank under the krogan during Mordin’s loyalty mission and the one that lets me push the Eclipse mercenary out of a window during Thane’s recruitment mission in ME2. They’re too fun to ignore for the sake of my paragon virtues.) My Shepard is always the Vanguard class with the colonist background and the sole survivor psychological profile. I don’t know why I’m particularly attached to these choices, although I can say with certainty that I chose the Vanguard class solely for the biotic charge ability because how could you not.

Save the Feros colony. Save the Rachni queen. Save Wrex. Leave Ashley Williams on Virmire.

I’d like to think most of my choices were made for their practical considerations in helping me obtain the best ending. In ME2, a fully loyal crew — facilitated by a maxed-out paragon score — will (mostly) ensure they all survive the suicide mission. I also save Maelon’s data because it ensures Eve, the krogan female, survives the testing required to cure the krogan genophage. I don’t change these choices because I am a good person, and to do anything else (like refuse to cure the genophage) would condemn me to the fiery pits of hell. What kind of monster doesn’t cure the genophage?

If you choose not to cure the genophage, I am legally allowed to kick you. It's the law. Look it up. (Screenshot: BioWare)If you choose not to cure the genophage, I am legally allowed to kick you. It’s the law. Look it up. (Screenshot: BioWare)

Romance Kaiden. Save the Destiny Ascension.

There are multiple smaller choices that I could make that have no bearing on any of the games’ ending, but I still refuse to deviate from my path. I will always save Conrad Verner from his own stupidity. I buy fish for my tank in ME2 then neglect to feed them, thus ensuring they always die. (OK, so maybe some of my choices are indeed deviant.) These choices mean nothing, they have no lasting consequences, and yet I am compelled to keep making them. I am not the least bit ashamed of it.

To be fair, I’ve tried to make different choices. I romanced Thane and added a little renegade chocolate to my paragon peanut butter. During that same deviant playthrough, I killed Samara because I found her daughter Morinth’s argument more compelling. Then, I ended up dying myself, convinced by Morinth that I could survive her sexy but deadly mind meld. (It’s Mass Effect lore, don’t ask.)

Stabbing things with your omni-blade always felt really good. (Screenshot: BioWare)Stabbing things with your omni-blade always felt really good. (Screenshot: BioWare)

Romance Garrus. All loyal crew. Save the Collector Base. Save the Quarians and the Geth.

I didn’t enjoy the experience. Not because I didn’t like being evil. (I did) or because I thought Thane’s romance was less well written than Garrus’. (It’s not, in fact Thane’s romance is far more tragically romantic, which is personally more appealing.) It just didn’t feel like me. Mass Effect is like my morning coffee, I need it to be a certain way or my whole day is shot.

The Mass Effect series (yes, even you Andromeda) is very special to me. It’s the series I always choose as my answer for that “If you could wipe your memory of any game in order to experience it again” hypothetical question. Playing Mass Effect Legendary Edition with its shiny new upgrades and enhancements is the closest I’ll ever get to that hypothetical “mind wipe” scenario and, despite the wealth of options before me, I’m going to make my usual choices and be damn proud of them.

Cure the Genophage. Romance Garrus (again). Destroy.


  • Ill make a FEW difference decisions, but ill also still be playing as male shep not femshep as i must romance Jack in the 2nd game.
    Sorry femshep fanatics.

    • That’s something I really liked about DA2; all the romance options were open to both versions of Hawke. Be who you want and romance who you want. It’s a shame the idea of companions being player sexual isn’t something BioWare kept up with with their other games.

  • I’ve already played through the trilogy twice and made the exact same choices both times, so if I do play the Legendary edition I’m leaning towards trying to be different. Maybe trying a renegade run, although that’d be difficult because I struggle to be a jerk in RPGs and tend to default to being as nice as possible. I know they’re not real, but I feel really bad when NPCs are angry at me.

  • Whats funny is that people seem to be extremist when it comes to their choices, when the most satisfying way to play through is a mix of Renegade and Paragon. Or at least when it comes to justifying why they don’t play a different way.

    • This results in not enough points in rene/para to allow for certain dialogue choices.
      Im about 99% para with 2-3 rene choices over the 3 games.
      One of which is punching the reporter in the face.

      • ME1 had the mechanics where you’d get ‘free’ Paragon and Renegade points each playthrough. I’d NG+ it a dozen times or so to be able to max both, before finishing up with my ‘canon’ playthrough. That then carried over a percentage into ME2 so I was more or less fine for the trilogy.

        I’ve played the first way too much.

  • im thinking a “blind” run this time around for me. finished the trilogy about 5 times now, using walkthroughs for the last 3 to ensure particular outcomes. ive done most of what there is across male and fem shep, paragon and renegade, so a run where i just pick what i feel like, consequences be damned, is about due. though i am definitely punching the reporter.

  • I’m not sure if or when I’ll get the MELE. If I upgrade my console and TV (to 4K) and can get the game at a nice price, or at a good price on a PC game vendor I could be happy giving my business to, I might take the plunge.

    Just had a look at my game saves on console. Since I got the game on PS3, I had to start with ME2 and would have had to do that little pre-story bit where they try and make up for the fact that there is no way in the world that you would ever be able to play the first in the series on PS. So, my first run was with DudeShep. Turns out he was a ruthless spacer infiltrator but strangely, maybe, he was Paragon, so I didn’t really follow through on the whole “ruthless” business. Level 30 for him, some 95 hours with him and last played September 2011. He’s still there, waiting to find out how things turn out.

    When I got ME on PS3 (FFS!) I started my journey through the trilogy with SheilaShep. It turns out that she was an infiltrator too, Earthborn, sole survivor. Level 30 for her, last played mid-February 2015, for nearly 93 hours. She was Paragon too.

    I remembered that both of them were Paragon but the other details escaped me. I didn’t think that they were biotic. I see that both of them had tactical cloak. This reminds me of why I chose that ability: I was so rubbish at the combat when I started that Kasumi had a really big impact on me. She saved my arse often, so I thought that her ability was handy. It wasn’t until my second playthrough of ME2 that I didn’t have to rely on Kasumi to save my arse and DudeShep became more of a kick-arse hero.

    If I get the LE, I could maybe be a bit wary of using Renegade too much, as you had to focus on one approach to get enough credit to have story options open up to you. Not sure how all that works.

    Speaking of fish, I did regret not knowing about some sort of bonus to do with keep one as a pet. Looking it up now, I think it was the Prejek paddlefish and carrying that pet through the last two games unlocked something or other.

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