The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 14
has been counting down the days, and we've finally reached that inevitable
moment: the Reapers are on the horizon, and will invade the planet Earth this
March. Mass Effect 3 will be upon us, and all of the galaxy's Shepards - both
male and female- will begin their journey to conclude the current gen's most
definitive RPG franchise. This blog series will pay tribute to the franchise as
we brace ourselves for the upcoming finale by chronicling my own journey and
experiences with the Mass Effect series. We'll continue this series with a look
at seven characters that I feel should've been squadmates. They each have the
edge and the skills to succeed in their own unique way, so let's take a gander,
as I consider their strengths, weaknesses, and determine their usefulness. DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE REVIEW, SPOILERS
MAY BE PRESENT. NOTE: THAT AWESOME PIC ABOVE WAS DONE BY NONE OTHER THAN THE
Game: Mass Effect 2
Description: This one is the
first Hanar Spectre, and this one's legendary exploits are widely known
throughout the galaxy, including the extranet.
Advantages: This one is not
a tool of the Council, and does not abide by mission parameters. This one also has the mental faculties to utilize
the powers of the Enkindlers, and this one is never too emotionally distressed or
intimidated to harness them. This one keeps a punitive projectile emission
device in every appendage, preferably an M-76 Revenant, like every charismatic
and characteristically deviant jellyfish would; this one also keeps a casual cohabitation
partner in every port. Most importantly of all, this one has an aesthetically
pleasing face name, perfect for Shepard's squad.
Drawbacks: This one has
bigger things to do, like star in autobiographical portrayals of this one's
adventures. Those ones also desire to boycott this one due to those ones'
disapproval of pejorative representations of this one's species.
Usefulness: This one does
not normally have time for your solid waste excretions, but if Bioware would
deem so, this one would have no problem starring in another cinematic
masterpiece alongside you.
6) GIANNA PARASINI
Game: Mass Effect 1
Description: The intrepid
Internal Affairs agent that you may or may not have assisted in the arrest of
Anoleis on the planet Noveria. She returned in Mass Effect 2, and also had a
mission you could assist her in investigating.
Advantages: Since Gianna
Parasini originally intended to become a cop or C-Sec officer, she most likely
has substantial combat training and experience with firearms. In terms of her
profession, she also has extensive experience dealing with white collar crime,
and possibly technical experience. She'd be a valuable information broker that could support Shepard when it comes to investigating high profile
developments, opening up several unique missions or assignments. One centering
around a corporate interest in dark energy could lead to a thrilling - and better
handled - conspiracy with espionage to complement the action, possibly involving
the Reapers, as well.
history also makes her a character ripe for conversation, especially if Shepard
is Earthborn, and would be an excellent way for them to develop an intimate
relationship if she was available as a love interest. At the very least, they
would have an especially meaningful relationship as friends. It's possible that
she might appear in ME 3, since she is a recurring character. Parasini would also be an interesting addition to the human characters of Shepard's squad, with a story that many can relate with.
Drawbacks: We don't really
know the full extent of Parasini's experience in combat. She doesn't seem to
have any powers or unique abilities that offset this - such as biotics, etc. One
could excuse the inclusion of technical abilities, since some of the
investigations she does probably do involve a modicum of experience with omni-tools.
She also doesn't have the time to deal with more extreme cases, due to the
nature of her work. However, I could see her as the female counterpoint to
Usefulness: Gianna Parasini
would be an interesting character to see fighting alongside Shepard. However, I'd
have to see her in action before I can decide on whether she'd be believable. She'd
also need a dramatic conflict that motivates her, and while the Reaper invasion
would suffice as a subtext, it would certainly be too conventional. At best,
she'd be slightly above average without this. Nonetheless, she'd be a welcome
recruit, perhaps in a DLC mission.
Description: The grizzled old
former Krogan Warlord that became a puppet of Aria, after being defeated by her
in a failed assassination attempt. If you became his krantt and killed the
Krogan assassins hunting for him, he should still be alive.
Advantages: Patriarch's an
incredibly old Krogan, but a Krogan nonetheless. He has a lot of tactical
experience, especially in combat, that could prove invaluable to Shepard's
squad. Thus, he'd probably operate as more of a mentor to Shepard, and
possibly, Grunt, similar to the more auxiliary and passive role that Mordin
plays in the larger narrative of Mas Effect. Or, depending upon the strength of
Bioware's writing, Patriarch could effectively become a stellar asset to battle
with advanced Krogan attacks and abilities over time, in a bid to reclaim the
glory he once possessed. I can especially imagine a specialized mission
centering around this personal journey through a set of challenges Patriarch
would have to face in order to recondition himself, possibly one of the many
rites of the Krogan race. This would especially add an interesting wrinkle to
the story, and Patriarch's experience could be an excellent avenue to understanding
the Krogan's complex and underdeveloped culture.
Drawbacks: He's old. This might
make him a bit contrived as a squadmate; our lack of understanding regarding
the more nuanced aspects of Krogan biology and culture also contributes to
this. Perhaps he'd be better for a one-off mission and as a temporary
Usefulness: Patriarch has a
lot of potential when one considers the strength of his character and colorful
history. However, I think the crux of his success as a believable member of
Shepard's squad will depend largely on how well Bioware writes his character.
With a convincing story of personal transformation, I can easily see this
Krogan becoming a contender once again in the battlefield, or at the very
least, an excellent passive character, similar in tradition to Joker and
4) MATRIARCH AETHYTA
Description: Aethyta is an
Asari Matriarch who bartends at a club in Illium. Shepard may help her get rid
of a pesky troublemaker, depending on your playthrough.
Advantages: Aethyta, unlike
the others on my list, has a particularly explosive history that directly
relates to one of your fellow squadmates - I won't ruin the secret, however. She's
also clearly an Asari with impressive biotic powers and a history involving a
Krogan father and an Asari mother, both of whom played integral roles in the
Krogan Rebellions. She's a far cry from the mystical and refined image of the
Asari, with a pragmatic and candid approach to life's problems, as well as
radical views in contrast to other Asari characters in the series, making her a
nice departure from convention, as well as an all-around sieve of wisdom, like
her name suggests.
Drawbacks: She's a
bartender, and while I can definitely imagine her as a member of Shepard's
squad, I can't quite see her as an active one right now. Matriarch Aethyta
seems resigned to the life she currently lives, and as a result, would require -
much like the other characters on this list - a very powerful and
transformative new conflict to justify her character shift. Nonetheless, it's
impossible to argue that she isn't capable of being one.
Aethyta would be a character I'd enjoy having on my squad, or in the very
least, in my company. She has a great, down-to-earth personality with a lot of
insight to offer Shepard, and I can imagine her having a more prominent role
later in the story, especially with regards to another character in Shepard's
company. While it might be slightly difficult to convincingly sell her as a
force to be reckoned with in combat, I'm more than certain Matriarch Aethyta
could prove that she's still got it going on.
3) CORPORAL TOOMBS
Game: Mass Effect 1;
you receive a letter from him in Mass Effect 2
Description: Corporal Toombs
is a former Alliance marine who survived a thresher maw attack in the colony of
Akuze. He was later abducted by Cerberus and experimented on, even having
thresher maw acid injected into his blood. Toombs escaped however, and
eventually went on a crusade to assassinate the scientists involved in the
experiments on Akuze. Depending on the events of the mission on Ontarom, he may
Advantages: Toombs is a
character that shares a unique history with Shepard if your character is a Sole
Survivor. This would provide a nice backstory that further develop Shepard's
history before the events of the first story. The conflicts that Toombs has had
to deal with since his experiences with Cerberus would also complement this, as
well as the psychological scars he deals with currently. Combat-wise, he'd be a
solid squadmate due to his history with the Alliance, possibly one styled in
the tradition of Zaeed.
Drawbacks: Toombs is completely unstable and bordering on psychotic. He also currently despises Shepard for joining Cerberus, and has even
set up a mercenary band. Toombs also has no qualms admitting that he'd probably
assassinate you if he ran into you while hunting Cerberus. Nonetheless, he'll
also be a fairly unstable person and will generate lot's of conflict, possibly
with Miranda if she joins your crew. While this could obviously inject the
necessary edge that this series needs to remain captivating and emotionally
impressive, it could end up a bathos fest if poorly handled.
Usefulness: Corporal Toombs
has the experience, personality, and drama to make a plausible addition to
Shepard's squad. His instability could provide players with a moving and
kinetic relationship if it's written effectively. However, Toombs runs the risk
of becoming excessively overdramatic, due to the sensitive nature of his
experiences and their effect on him psychologically. While he would probably
work more effectively as an antagonist in a side mission, Toombs perhaps could
be a much-needed wild card for Shepard's squad.
Description: Shiala is a
biotic who helped Saren communicate with the Thorian. Originally a follower of
Benezia, she too was indoctrinated, until her consciousness merged with the
Thorian, becoming its mental slave instead. She was eventually freed when
Shepard destroyed it, and may have stayed with the colony on Feros to assist
them. If you didn't spare the colonists, Shiala became an Asari Commando. She
and Shepard meet again if you spared her life.
Advantages: Put simply,
Shiala is an extremely powerful biotic. Her experiences with the Thorian also
make her the first person to completely overcome indoctrination, though it is
believed this is due in no small part to the mind control of the Thorian. Regardless,
her powers - old and new - would make for a devastating squadmate in combat. She's
one of the few in my list who I can say would undoubtedly be a formidable asset
to Shepard's team, as well as realistic and believable in the context of the
narrative as it stands.
Shiala also has a deep history involving her service to Matriarch Benezia, a
woman of immense renown that we still have not gotten a sufficient glimpse of.
Shiala would provide a wealth of experiences that I can easily see as
interesting talking points, especially with respect to Liara. Her experience
helping the colony on Feros recover from the devastation of the Geth and the
Thorian would also provide a compelling narrative aspect that fleshes out her
character. Shiala is also a possible love interest; if you saved most of
the colony, she expresses interest in you when you help her on Illium. If she
was a Commando, it would be interesting to see how that tragic event has
influenced her character and outlook, and would be an excellent point of
tension between her and Shepard.
Drawbacks: Shiala either is
busy helping the colony on Feros, something she dedicated herself to in
exchange for you sparing her life, or entering the merc life as a Commando; she
expresses no romantic interest in you whatsoever, and seems highly unlikely to
join you. In the latter case, Shiala could be considered a more compelling
enemy than friend, since her motives are possibly motivated by revenge or guilt
in response to your actions on the colonists. Either way, Shiala doesn't seem
to be developing into anything other than a recurring character.
Usefulness: Shiala has many
merits that make her an ideal squadmate for Shepard, from powerful biotic
abilities, to an intricate history with both the Thorian and Benezia, to a new
role as an assistant to the people of Feros. Even her interests in you. She
also has other duties that may prevent her from doing this, especially without
a convincing and authentic narrative or conflict driving her. However, I think
she'd be an excellent addition when all these variables are weighed together. I'd
certainly welcome her, and be more than willing to embrace eternity with this
complex and intriguing character.
1) ARIA T'LOAK
Description: The Queen of
Omega, you meet this infamous biotic while searching for Mordin Solus and
Archangel. She'll be appearing in the third entry of Mass Effect as well.
Advantages: She's the lady
that toppled Patriarch and turned him into the embarrassment that he is when
you first meet him, so she's unquestionably powerful and cunning. Those who've been
following the fiction know that she's no longer tied down as the ruler of Omega, and is a character that people
have already expressed interest in seeing alongside Shepard. To compliment
this, Aria has an alluring history that spans centuries and is filled with
stories ripe for conversation; there's also speculation that's hotly debated
regarding the possible ties she may have with Urdnot Wrex, given the multiple identities and former lives she has led before. Her alliance with Shepard could also introduce an entertaining power
dynamic that drives their friendship and trust further. While she'd be an interesting character to have an intimate relationship with, Aria nonetheless has enough qualities to stand on her own without one, and may be better suited as a character whom Shepard shares a platonic relationship with.
Drawbacks: Gameplay-wise, Aria would be dramatically overpowered as a squadmate; those who've read Invasion know what this lady is capable of. Thus, there would need to be a way to balance her out if she was an optional squadmate. Aria, as the
fiction reveals, is also completely devoted to Omega, and cares about nothing else
above it. Thus, it becomes hard to believe that she would become a mainstay in
Shepard's squad, given the possible obligations she feels she has on a personal level to the people there. Revenge will definitely be something that motivates her above all else. Given her overall temperament, it also seems likely Aria would generate a
lot of conflict with other members of Shepard's squad, although this could be a useful vehicle for tension and character development. Aria is also incredibly
secretive, and reluctant to reveal various aspects of her past, due to the
potential danger it could pose to her.
Usefulness: Aria is a
character I deeply wish I could've recruited when I played Mass Effect 2. She
has the attitude, personality, and skill as an uncontested biotic to tackle
anything that comes in her direction, and would be a juggernaut in your squad. In respect to the lore and continuity, Aria
could easily suffice as a temporary squadmate. However, she is one with a
history that deserves far more attention, especially if the rumors surrounding
her past affairs are in fact true. If she were a DLC character, I could see
Aria as someone that Shepard assisted in a unique assignment - say the
reclaiming of Omega, for instance. This could present a stellar experience that
not only delves into the rich history of the station, but also allows players
to peer into the depths of one of Mass Effect's most compelling NPC's. Or, Aria, through terrific writing, could
easily find common ground with Shepard in the fight against Cerberus and other potential threats. Who
I'm pretty sure we all have different characters in this series that we gravitate toward, and that's what makes our experiences special. While it would be nice to see the NPC's we identify with joining us in our exploits, a good and authentic narrative requires that the rules within these worlds remain intact. Nonetheless, it never hurts to speculate or imagine moments where our desires are satisfied, especially while we're waiting on answers to the questions we already have.
THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SEEN AS SQUADMATES?