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*Before you read this, I would like to pose a question for my readers. At the end of Mass Effect / beginning of Mass Effect 2 you choose who becomes the Human councilor. Did anyone seriously chose Udina? If you did, please say so in comments or send me a message explaining why. It would be much appreciated.*
IGN featured a "Best of" companions list from Mass Effect. It got me thinking about how I would rate my team members, and so I decided to create my own. I didn't overly like IGN's simplistic reasons (and I disagree with most of the editors there 90% of the time) so here is my list of the top five squad mates and list of five people that I hated their guts and relished as they died in the games. It should also be noted that I've compiled this list from the perspective of my Shepard, who is a male.
Starting with the Top Five"
5. Liara T'Soni
A character I considered "average" at best for a long time, the only reason I liked her was because the other love interest for my character was Ash... who I despise like the plague. Liara was this simple, sort of old fashioned female foil who was beautiful and intelligent, but naive and overly complicated for the worst possible reasons. Her story in the first Mass Effect was incredibly weak, even when you confront her mother in a clash to the death. Her appeal boosted by lightyears though in Mass Effect 2 through the downloadable mission "Lair of the Shadow Broker". Also, the comics shed much more light on the character's history and personality as she rescues the charred and destroyed remains of Shepard from the Collectors and gives it to Cerberus for the "Lazarus Project". Becoming the new Shadow Broker and seeing her personality and relationship evolve depending on the choices made and if Shepard remained faithful to her was really interesting. Some of the best dialog from either of the games comes from Liara when invited to the Normandy 2 at the end of Mass Effect 2 and Shepard confesses his feeling on the mission, his friends and crew, and even himself.
4. Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
Another carry over from Mass Effect 1, Tali represents something that many "sci-fi fantasy" games lack: a truly new and unique character. Tali is a Quarrian, an alien living inside of a stasis suit because any bacteria not from her home world could cause an allergic reaction. Tech savy and curious, Tali is one of the truly "alien" characters in the game. Shepard never sees her face (unless you romance her), she and her people are mysterious and somewhat tragic. Her loyalty to a paragon player or respect and fear for a renegade give weight to how the galaxy perceives you. Throw in some great dialog, an almost surreal personality, and one of the best loyalty mission in the games to date and you have my number four.
3. Garrus Vakarian
Garrus is a bad mamma jamma. A former C-sec officer (Citadel Security), merc killer, tactician, guerrilla fighter, sniper, ordinance expert. Above all else though, he's a comrade and staunch ally to Shepard. The best part, Garrus actually molds himself to Shepards decisions and influence. A sort of synergistic friendship that feeds off one another. Garrus has evolved from stuck up jaded cop to a unique and powerful driving force in the Mass Effect universe. Do we encourage his lose cannon ways or do we steer him towards the selfless and righteous path? I think paragon Shepard said it best when he said "That's why you're here Garrus. If I'm walking into hell, I want people I can trust by my side." There's camaraderie and commitment between the two. Not to mention he has truly hilarious (sometimes inadvertently) dialog and women seem to love the crap out of him. Also, he survived a missile to the face. Eat your heart out, Alistar.
2. Legion (Geth)
"Shepard Commander!"Legion may be my favorite squad mate of all time. The stoic and cold logic of a machine but the innocent, almost simplistic motivations and mentality of an AI character, Legion is like Spock and The Terminator (from T2) rolled into one. Adding Legion in was surprising and genius. Through him we learn that not all Geth are bad, in fact most of them oppose the Reapers. They only want to exist peacefully and find away to connect to each other; in a sort of ironic sense, Legion provides some of the most human emotions and motivations in the series. He also respects Shepard, and through his interactions, we see bits and pieces of how an AI interacts with an organic being and the results can be something great and curious all the same. "There was a hole..." I loved having Legion in my party and after I played through for the second time, I added him to my crew as soon as I could. I can't wait to see how Legion and his faction of the Geth tie into the event of Mass Effect 3, and if he isn't able to join my party I will stab someone at BioWare until this mistake is corrected.
1. Urdnot Wrex
If you or Ashley didn't blow his brains out in the first game, Wrex comes back into the mix in the second game as a friend and comrade. When we're first introduced to Wrex he doesn't really like anyone or anything, save fighting and getting paid to win fights. But, he respects Shepard and his skills and begrudgingly joins his crew for the chance to face Sarren and test his worth. Over the course of the game Shepard can learn more about Wrex's history and motivations. Why he is a mercenary, his feelings on his people and the genophage, his family, his plans for the future, and even a few fun war stories. Wrex has seen it all, and if you help him (and don't put a hole in his forehead) Wrex becomes a valuable asset and loyal ally. You help him unite his people, and I would bet my ass he and Shepard will unite the Krogans against the Reapers. It will be good to have him back in the fight with my Shepard and that is why Wrex is my number one pick from Mass Effect. Also, he's funny as *** in a dry and dead pan manner. He'll crack a joke then pump shot gun shells into some chump for not laughing. "Speak when spoken to!"
And now for the absolute worst crew mates in the whole freakin universe... JOY!
5. Kaidan Alenko
You know, I actually like Kaidan, but not because he's a good character. I give him a free ride because he's been there since the start and he's voiced by Raphael Sbarge (Carth Onasi from Knights of the Old Republic). Having him on my team was like having an old friend from middle school come back and help you out. Even so, I can't deny that he was bland, sometimes boring, and not the most useful character to have. Still, I gave him positive points, rating him about 6 out of 10. So why is he on my "worst of" list? Simple, seeing him on Horizon in Mass Effect 2. He pretty much calls you an traitor to the alliance and chastises you for being gone for two years. "Gee, why didn't I call. Let's see... I was DEAD, jack ass!" He see the collectors come in with Reaper technology and still says that Cerberus and you are potential threats. There's a difference between caution and being a moron. He does later send a message apologizing for his outbursts, but still, he showed his ass.
4. Jacob Taylor
I actually started off liking Jacob. He was straight forward and honest about working for Cerberus. He has a mutual respect for Shepard and the Alliance. He didn't like the red tape bull ***. He followed orders. He was civil.... then I realized something. "This is just a human version of Garrus. Except he sucks up to me more." I mean, that's pretty much him to a T. The only difference is Jacob kinda tried to force himself into that "fellow brother at arms" role and it doesn't work as well as Garrus. His loyalty mission and portrayal was really impressive, but in the end it just wasn't enough to salvage Jacob from seeming bland and redundant. One of my exes though really like him as a love interest, and from the scenes there, I could see how he would earn a few extra points in characterization.
3. Jack (Subject Zero)
Rip off a character from Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick? Check? Make her an unlikeable and whiny little chump? Check. Physically unattractive? Check. Boring loyalty mission and dialog? Check. At the end of the day, Jack is just a by the numbers, run of the mill character. Stuffed with so many cliched and old hat characteristics, even the fact that she has immense psychic powers doesn't help her in the slightest. Oh, what could have been, Jack... instead, she's just uninteresting, predictable, and unlikeable.
2. Miranda Lawson
What a stuck up chick. She shows admiration for Shepard and she did a good job bringing him back, but she was still a bitter b*tch at times. Not only that, she couldn't help but remind me who was "really in charge" and all the crap Cerberus did for me. Then she tried to justify all the bad things the organization did in the first game. There were times where I just had to role my eyes and skip her dialog because I couldn't care less. She later asks me to help her save her sister, which I did for her loyalty. Afterwards she lightened up, but she was still a pain in the ass and her romantic passes at me were quickly denied. I did have a relationship with her in one play though and she did praise me for destroying the collector base and what not... still, I really couldn't care if I saw her in the third installment or not.
1. Ashley Williams
For someone who could be classified as a "warrior poet", I never hated someone quite as much as Ash. Even the fact that she was named after Bruce Campbell's character from the Evil Dead series didn't help her useless personal in the slightest. She's xenophobic, stubborn, unlikeable, whiny, paranoid, shallow, and bitchy. On one playthough (my renegade vanguard) I rescued her on Virmire and had a relationship with her. She then showed up in the second game and gave me the same lecture Kaidan did, but with more spite and absolutely no romantic sentiment. All I could think was "I saved your life from a nuke, I just saved your ass from becoming human paste by the Collectors, and you don't even give me so much as a thank you? I wish I had left you to die in the first game." And then I did. Over and over again. She won't be coming back in my files. I have no qualms about it, either. I'm glad she's dead.
BUT WAIT! There's one more!
0. Jeff Moreau (Joker)
Who comes back from the first game and welcomes me with open arms and a smile? Joker. Who has the most personality out of all the character in the whole *** game? Joker. Who has a snide comment or a funny little jib to throw in? Joker. Who bickers and flirts with EDI, the ships AI while criticizing my love life? Joker. Who will I blame when I'm just a human batter, computing Pi all day because he plugged in the overlord? Yes, Joker again.
I would gladly sacrifice all my crew members and potential love interests to make sure Joker stays with me. Mass Effect wouldn't be half as good if it wasn't for Seth Green and his winning performance. Here's to Joker! Who else is going to listen to porn while fighting Reapers? No one, that's who.