A Tribute Rant for my Shepards

Kotaku’s been doing a little Mass Effect tribute this week.

I’ve never lost a Shepard. Unless you count the one on the XBox. And I have four, three of whom will never die. Here’s my little contribution to this tribute.

Not a flattering image, but he’s not a flattering person.

Name: Callum Shepard

Backstory: Ruthless Earthborn

Paragon/Renegade: Renegade

Favourite Memory: The first thing that comes to mind is the interrupt in the Assassin quest. “I’ve got nothing to say to you. If you shoot me–“, says the Eclipse mook before being unceremoniously shoved through a plate glass window. “How about ‘goodbye’?” I got this warm fuzzy feeling all over after that, well, after I finished laughing.

Also, victory over Saren (he was such a beautiful douchebag), Mordin’s final moments (I bawled like a baby), and Kai Leng’s death. I hated Kai Leng so much, so much.

Oh, and Tuchanka, and the hilarious pyjak monkey things, and the sweet varren and winning fights with him, and getting to see Wrex on a throne, and anything involving thresher maws, and the final reaper versus thresher maw fight. My goodness. Stopped my heart. Beautiful. So many lovely memories.

Which ending you chose: I “chose” Synthesis. I didn’t want to end up a Reaper slave and I didn’t want to kill EDI and — well, I could have killed EDI, but I didn’t want to break Joker’s heart, and I wanted to honor Legion’s memory and actually take care of all the supercool Geth Shep had met.

Callum was my traditional villain trope that I took through my first serious Mass Effect experiences of the game. It was super amazing fun times. I loved every minute of it, but it was just an awesome game, not an obsession at that point.

But after I watched the “in-between” ending, I felt so incredibly deadpan, numb, as if someone had just switched the off button on hundreds of hours of entertainment without actually finishing the story. So I went back and did the grueling multiplayer climb to 100% map support and went through the other two endings. Then I started to hate myself and question the meaning of life.

Yeah. I get like that. I was mad.

I romanced Liara pretty much by accident, ’cause I decided he liked aliens more than humans, and she was nice to him. Through ME2, I went with Tali just because I was hoping to see her face. And then Shep dropped Tali like a hot rock as soon as Liara showed up again in the Shadow Broker stuff. Liara was the logical next step in ME3, especially since I’d already seen the leaked version of Tali’s face and was so angry over how lame it was that I stopped caring. Compare these fan renditions to what they actually gave us.

Unfortunately, I ended up hating ME3 Liara. In the original, she was the innocent braniac who knew more about what was going on than was healthy for anyone, and it was fun to watch her flounder around and occasionally be stricken with brilliance. In ME2, she was incredibly badass as the Shadow Broker. I loved that story. It was awesome and turned her into a strong, silent spymaster.

ME3 Liara, on the other hand, was two Liaras, the Shadow Broker Liara who had hilarious banter with Javik, and the romance Liara who was disgustingly sweet (no, really disgusting, like I wanted to throw up) and the “Embrace Eternity” final scene made me want to punch her in the face. Romance Liara ruined Liara for me.

But I didn’t care all that much. Callum wasn’t really into the romance thing anyway. He was into the kill a few to save many thing. So the games were fun. The only things that weren’t fun while I was playing Callum were ME3 romance Liara and the final “choice” scene. If you think about it, that’s really a lot of fun over the years.

So I’d done the evil bastard routine. I wanted to see what the paragon story was like, and wondered why so many fangirls were mooning about Garrus and Thane, so Moira was created.

Name: Moira Shepard

Backstory: War Hero Spacer

Paragon/Renegade: Paragon

Favorite Memory: Thane’s table punch near the end of ME2. I burst into tears.

Which ending you chose: No.

I couldn’t do it. I was so angry, so angry, after Thane’s story was over. Don’t get me wrong. I knew he was going to die, obviously, as Moira was my second playthrough, but I thought it would be full of poignant, beautiful moments between the doomed lover dying in combat during an insanely heroic last minute rescue (rather than in a hospital bed, as he’d expressly stated to his beloved that he never wanted to happen. *INSERT STREAM OF FURIOUS CURSING DIRECTED AT THE WRITERS HERE*) and the strong, tough heroine who’d fallen in love with him even knowing their time would be short.

So that’s where she ended. Something so beautiful was so ruined, I just couldn’t take it. And knowing the three “choices” waiting for me (even if I could keep going with Kaidan going on about how much he loved Shepard even though she only ever insulted his extremely whiny, treacherous self) at the end, made it that much less worth it to keep playing.

In the first game, she romanced no one. I did that intentionally. ME3 decided for me that she had romanced Kaidan. That pissed me off to no end, and I wished she’d killed him. Thane was, well, I went through that already, but that storyline was seriously intense. I was ridiculously excited when a rumor was leaked that we’d actually get to see Kahje in ME3. We didn’t, by the way, nor for that matter did we ever get to see any other drell or hanar worth mentioning (Blasto does not count). So, so frustrating.

Thankfully, the multiplayer is awesome.

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