The lights are on
Years have passed since my trek to Zorya in Mass Effect 2, but I still can’t get Zaeed’s loyalty mission out of my head. I vividly remember dropping my controller, filled with conflicting emotions. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not endorsing Zaeed as a strong character; in fact, I find him weakly-written. He had potential, but BioWare never tapped into it, and his loyalty mission didn’t exactly win him supporters. Do I find Zaeed’s loyalty mission absolutely brilliant? You bet I do.
Traveling to Zorya was the first mission to change the rules. Up until then, Shepard’s goals were simple: gain the loyalty of as many shipmates as possible so they’d risk their lives to save the galaxy. I gladly helped anyone that came along, if it meant I had a better chance for surviving the suicide mission. I even maxed out my paragon meter just so nobody would get left behind. But something interesting happened Zaeed’s mission: I wavered in my mission and questioned whether I’d gone too far.
Minor spoilers ahead, read at your own risk.
Zaeed is the antithesis of what my Shepard stands for: he clings too tightly to grudges and fails to see the bigger picture. In Zaeed’s mission, he’s after his ex-business partner, Vido Santiago, who shot him in the face. As a way to trap his nemesis, Zaeed starts a facility fire, which spreads, trapping many innocent people. Instead of doing the noble thing and saving those that he’s trapped, Zaeed urges you to press on and leave them to die so he can have his vengeance.
In this brief moment, I knew everything I needed to know about Zaeed. I didn’t want him on my squad. Who wants a soldier who won’t take accountability for his actions? I don’t care how awful Vido is, those innocent people should not become casualties in the name of revenge. Of course, I chose to save the people, which angered Zaeed because it caused him to miss his confrontation with Vido. But that showed Zaeed’s true colors, because he didn’t second-guess his actions or show any remorse. Now, if you have enough paragon points you can talk some sense into Zaeed and still gain his loyalty, but I was so repulsed that I wanted nothing to do with the jerk.
And this is why this loyalty mission is brilliant; usually we find redeeming qualities in the majority of BioWare’s characters, and here we’re thrown a curveball. For instance, Jack has a tough exterior from being experimented on at a young age. But Zaeed? I know getting betrayed and shot in the face must have sucked, but I’ve never had a character’s actions repulse me so much that there was no chance for redemption. I could even see past Ashley’s xenophobic ways because I knew her upbringing influenced it, and there was a chance she could change.
The trying part of Zaeed’s mission is that we’re supposed to want everyone’s loyalty. For the first time, I didn’t, and it created a conflict between what my conscience and the game wanted. Any time a game can make me think this much about what I should do, it’s done a wonderful job; if it can rock the boat of what’s expected, that’s even better. I may not have gained Zaeed’s loyalty, but he proved to me why he wasn’t important. Surprisingly enough, he made it through the suicide mission, which as many know, led to him gracing my presence in Mass Effect 3. I wasn’t happy about it, but if I wished him dead, I’d be no better than what I’m accusing him of. I just never went out of my way to help him…even if it meant missing out on an achievement.
Check out the scene below in paragon form.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Wow. That character in the first screenshot above eerily resembles Kevin Durand.
I had just gotten off Arrival, so I was sure that the plant workers were going to die anyways, so I went ahead went after Vido. He had tried to kill Zaeed, and now he was killing these people. He deserved what he was going to get. And oh boy, what he got was glorious.
I don't know it was horrible what he did especially cause we could have killed Vido without blowing up the whole building.
But if that was the only way to catch Vido the it would at least be somewhat warranted cause the guy was such a bad person and leading force in the blue suns.
Sadly it was a lose lose situation which you had no blame in , you just had to chose what to do.
I have done both but the first time I saved the civilians .
That mission was tough as hell. Probably the most difficult of the game where decision-making is concerned--especially if you're playing the Paragon part as I was. My choices wavered all over the place during that, but I broke even--gained a bit of Renegade, and got his loyalty.
Zaeed is easily my favorite character from Mass Effect. He's the ME version of Canderous Ordo (from KOTOR), a total renegade badass. In fact, even my profile pic on Xbox Live is of Zaeed. Glad to see some attention paid to this character since he was just an afterthought for a lot of people.
"Rage is a hell of an anesthetic."
During my Playthrough I managed to gain his loyalty by beating some sense into him. He was a good asset to my team.
i hate that guy...
I actually liked Zaeed. He did what he needed to do get things done. Even though I also disagreed with him, I still used the paragon option and go this loyalty.
I disliked him too, for the same reasons, and I failed to win his loyalty too. And he survived the suicide mission as well, funny that. Its for this reason that he IS a well written character, because any individual so driven by hate and revenge like that wouldn't be any different. And he was consumed by it for years, also coming from a violent background, so that's all he knew. Bioware obviously understood this, and proves that a character doesn't have to be three dimensional to be well written. Some people are just that rotten inside.
Yeah bioware was NICE enough to make this dlc so I couldn't play it
I wasn't a big fan of him to begin with, but his loyalty mission made me completely dislike him. However, you have to look at the big picture. You're going up against superior forces, and will need every bit of help you can get. Someone has to take point... That's why I always kept him around, and tried to get his loyalty.
Everytime I saw him on the ship though, I felt like shooting him in the face.
I liked this mission but I always played renegade so I never even thought about saving the people on most playthroughs. Being able to still get his loyalty through paragon is rewarding, and while I can see disagreeing with him philosophically, I don't understand why you wouldn't use the interrupt to gain his loyalty...I mean, you've taught him his lesson, right? One of the few paragon interrupts that was actually more badass than most of the renegade ones, if you ask me. I found it immensely satisfying.
This was a great mission, yes. But I felt Samara's loyalty mission was far better, because it made conversation the sole focus, instead of top-notch combat supplemented by dialogue.