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I've slowly been accumulating Top 10 lists for the Mass Effect series, and I figured I'd just plop all of them into one big blog post, though I changed the list count from 10 to 5, just to make this blog a bit more manageable. Enjoy!
*The only DLC I have yet to play is The Citadel for Mass Effect 3, so any content found exclusively in that DLC isn't included here*
5. I Was Lost Without You, Sam Hulick (Mass Effect 3)
4. An End, Once and for All, Clint Mansell & Sam Hulick (Mass Effect 3)
3. Reflections, Jack Wall (Mass Effect 2)
2. Love Theme, Jack Wall (Mass Effect 1)
1. Suicide Mission, Jack Wall (Mass Effect 2)
The Mass Effect franchise has more than 100 songs, composed by many different composers. When figuring out which song to put as the best in the whole franchise, I had to get down to the basics.
Out of them all, which song had me the most engrossed? Could I listen to it, not knowing it was from Mass Effect, and still enjoy it? Even more demanding, could I understand what kind of genre it was from?
No other song hits all of those targets than Suicide Mission, by Jack Wall, from Mass Effect 2. This is the song that sends the player off into Mass Effect 3, a song of victory, and I couldn't get it out of my head until Mass Effect 3 came around. I even wrote a Mass Effect 3 ending to the tune way back in the day. Its heavy drum beat and blaring horn made my nerdy imagination soar with images of great space battles, and it encapsulates, for me, what Mass Effect does best: tackling an enemy against all odds, with everything to lose, as the biggest bad-ass the galaxy will ever see.
5. Geth Plasma Shotgun
4. M-98 Widow
3. M-7 Lancer
2. Reaper Blackstar
1. M-920 Cain
The Geth Plasma Shotgun is ridiculously accurate and powerful at long range. Plus, it just looks cool.
The Widow is a sniper rifle known for dislocating the shoulders of organics smaller than Krogan when fired, and can function as a one-hit-kill death-dealer from multiple ranges.
The Lancer's on this list because it's an Avenger assault rifle on steroids: all of its attributes have been substantially increased. The best part? It doesn't run out of ammo.
The Blackstar, like the Geth Shotgun, is on this list partly for its looks. What it does, however, is much more intriguing: scientists admit they have no idea how it works, but anyone who uses it essentially can shoot baby singularities at enemies.
So, how does the Cain beat out the most powerful sniper rifle and shotgun in the galaxy, an assault rifle with an unlimited ammo supply, and a weapon so complex that its inner workings are a mystery to the greatest minds the galaxy has to offer? Simple: the M-920 Cain fires nukes. And it doesn't matter what century you're in, what planet you're on, or what you're trying to kill with it; fire the Cain, and something will die in a glorious, bright, radioactive explosion. Mechs? No problem. Gigantic synthetic robot monstrosity hell-bent on killing you so that it can absorb your genetic essence for kicks? Piece of cake.
5. "I am a biotic god!" - Niftu Cal
4. "Can it wait for a bit? I'm in the middle of some calibrations." - Garrus Vakarian
3. "I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite store on the Citadel." - Commander Shepard
2. "Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh. You touch my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding." - Sovereign
1. “Ah, yes, ‘Reapers’. The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in dark space. We have dismissed this claim.” - Councilor Sparatus
The Mass Effect series is known for its witty dialogues between characters, and as I was compiling this small list, I realized that memorable quotes, that could stand on their own without context from other characters in a conversation, were surprisingly hard to find. While the other quotes in this list were a mixture of hilarious, ominous, and/or ridiculous, the #1 spot is reserved for the quote that made me furious.
By the time you speak to the Council for the first time in Mass Effect 2, you've saved the galaxy once before, sacrificed the lives of many good humans to save the alien Council, and have come back from the dead at the hands of the Collectors. The least the Council could do is act on your good name and at minimum check for signs of an impending Reaper invasion. Instead, you're still laughed at, and defeated by politics once again, the player is forced to save the galaxy alone...again.
Though why Shepard doesn't think to tape proof of the Reapers' existence from his various shenanigans is beyond me. Doesn't Instagram still exist?
5. Geth Hunter
3. Geth Prime
Mass Effect has never been pegged a horror game by any means, but the Banshee goes above and beyond the other four enemies on this list as the most frightening. She's a cybernetics-corrupted Ardat Yakshi with a penchant for causing mayhem. On the hardest difficulty, every attack the Banshee lands on a player puts them in the red, frantically trying to back away: she can cast seeking balls of energy, emit fields that'll blow anything near her away, and will teleport right in front of you if you're not careful.
Once she's close enough, she'll grab the victim, then shove the talons on her hand through the solar plexus. She can take plenty of damage too, leading her fellow Reaper units from the front. Her shrieks are made more disturbing by her looks. Unpredictable, extremely dangerous, and hard to kill, Banshees mean Commander Shepard, or anyone else unfortunate to face one, is in for a long fight unless they use some heavy weapons.
5. Find Liara T'Soni (Mass Effect)
4. Stop the Collectors - Use the Omega 4 Relay (Mass Effect 2)
3. Priority: Palaven (Mass Effect 3)
2. Priority: Tuchanka (Mass Effect 3)
1. Priority: Earth (Mass Effect 3)
Therum was the first planet I ever explored, the Collector Base was the testing of Shepard's ragtag crew, Palaven gave the me the first glimpse of the scale of the Reaper war, and Tuchanka gave me the most amount of hope that I could prevail.
By the final mission of Mass Effect 3, you've saved the galaxy twice. You've met plenty of characters you validly care about, and you've assembled a fleet of ships the likes of which the galaxy has never seen, all for one last-ditch effort to stop the Reaper invasion once and for all.
And as Javik says before the final push, "Every soul that has ever existed is watching this moment." There is so much hinging on this final mission, so much tension and hope. What starts as a massive space battle that would make Star Wars jealous ends up as a frantic ground assault against a superior foe. Endings aside, this mission is where you say your goodbyes to the crew one last time before heading into the abyss.
4. Urdnot Wrex
2. Jeff "Joker" Moreau
1. Garrus Vakarian
If there's one thing Bioware's the best in the business at, it's creating enthralling, captivating, complex characters, who've spoiled my expectations so much that most others I've met after playing the Mass Effect series seem drab and dull in comparison.
Narrowing this list to just five characters was extremely difficult, since each and every crew member holds a special place in this pixelated heart of mine.
EDI's on the list because of her discoveries and exploration towards what defines "being alive."
Urdnot Wrex is on here because, well, he's bad-ass.
Legion, while similar to EDI because of its explorations of what "alive" means, edges out both Wrex and EDI for his fierce (and semi-stalker-ish) loyalty to Shepard and the Geth.
Joker nabs #2 because of his wit, humor, loyalty, and determination as the pilot of the Normandy.
But Garrus is undoubtedly #1: he's got the bad-ass-ness of Wrex, the humor of Joker, the loyalty of Legion, and a backstory that's more interesting than Shepard's. Since I met him on the Citadel in Mass Effect 1, he's always been at my right through thick and thin. And that's why he's number 1 in my book.
And that's my list. Hope you enjoyed it, and as always,