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One of the greatest accomplishments of the Mass Effect
series was its ability to create a vibrant galaxy full of worlds and alien
races that felt alive and real. Emotion and excitement led you through a
narrative with ramifications for the industry that have not yet been seen.
Here are my three favorite races from the Mass Effect
universe and a quick breakdown of why.
The geth are loved for their depth. They are synthetic and
are thus not in direct opposition to the Reapers. However, they are sentient as
well. Built as mindless servants of Sovereign in Mass Effect, the dynamic changes
with the introduction of Legion in ME2 and his subsequent dialogue which delves
into the mind of those who are truly geth and those who are "heretics." The philosophical
depth of the "heretic" discussions and the morality regarding the worth of synthetic
life and who makes that choice reinforces the geth being in the top three.
The natives of Thessia are an interesting race. They are
mono-gendered for the purpose of reproduction within their native lands before
they left for the stars. Their characteristics would seem to denote that they
are female, and they even refer to the stages of life as the Maiden, Matron,
and Matriarch stages. Though known for their role in the founding of the
Citadel Council and diplomatic prowess, the asari have a propensity for biotics
that get them on the list. Having Liara and a romantic rival come along for a
mission can lead to some of the greatest dialogue in the series. Liara is great,
but I have to admit that I romanced her by accident in ME3.
The mind of one who disassociates one's self from one's
actions has always fascinated me. Though Thane is a very spiritual being, he
believes that he is a tool used to kill and is not responsible for those who
have died by his hand. Underneath his skin lies his guilt. The master assassin
is dying of a terminal disease known as Kepler's Syndrome. All his motivations
are unclear, but we do know that he sees his mission with Shepard as a form of
penance. Thane's prayers are some of the most emotionally impactful moments in
any game. My favorite word in the Drell language is tu-fira which means "lost in another."
Why did I write this? The thing that makes the gaming
industry my favorite industry in the world is its ability to take what was
great from the past and respect the past while still moving forward in new,
exciting ways. The ME franchise has a fantastic narrative, rich atmosphere, and
solid core gameplay in its history. However, the ME faithful do not need a
simple reskin with a new story focus. We need a new adventure. I feel that the
best way to accomplish this is through racial choice.
The three races mentioned above are my three favorite alien
races in this franchise. Humans (not alien), Salarians, Turians, Krogans, Quarians, and other races also have deep narrative significance and expansive fictional history from
which to draw inspiration for the next generation of Mass Effect. These other
races as well as those I have not mentioned are important. These other races
may be included in your favorites and mark the moments that stick out in your
mind from the series. Everyone will have different opinions concerning the best
races and moments from Mass Effect, and this fact could be one of its greatest
strengths moving forward.
Mass Effect - Mass Effect 3 was the Shepard Trilogy. For the
purposes of establishing this world and its relation to humanity, Shepard needed
to be human. Very few games establish worlds with human characters and other
races and force you to play as another race. The lack of choice leads to more
investment in the well-being of alien races by establishing their link to
humanity and in Mass Effect's case choosing their link to humanity and their
role in the inevitable cataclysm.
I now care for these races, and their stories are relevant
and should be told. In concept, the approach would be similar to Elder Scrolls.
Overheard dialogue would change like that of a Dark Elf in Windhelm. Many of
you probably did not see the scene with Mordin in Mass Effect 3. Your choices
and his survival effect seeing this amazing scene. The race of the protagonist could
easily sway the tense racial wars in the Citadel races. If you play as a Volus
and are successful in your endeavors, you could be the catalyst that makes them
the fifth race to join the Citadel Council. Of course, these examples are
simple and meant to convey the wealth of opportunities that a racial choice in
character could add in directing the game narrative. More ownership and more
immersion would equal an even better experience.
Finally, with the advent of a new generation, the belief in
better quality and diversity within games themselves is held among many. The
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was revealed a few months ago and outlined some narrative
expansions to the Witcher universe. As new hardware is released and utilized,
developers will have the tools to combine beautiful worlds, complex storylines,
and solid enemy AI in ways that we have not seen. The next generation will have
the ability to deliver experiences with an "and" philosophy and no longer an "either/or"
P.S. We have already played as these races in ME3
multiplayer. Maybe, this is a hint of what is to come.
Thank you for reading. Please comment below and tell me your favorite characters and/or moments from the Mass Effect games.