Five Reasons To Read Mass Effect Retribution

by Joe Juba on Jul 27, 2010 at 05:00 AM

I like playing video games and reading books, but I only do one of those things professionally. I'm not qualified to assess Drew Karpyshyn's Mass Effect: Redemption (in stores today) in terms of literary merit. However, from a gamer's perspective, I can give you five reasons why the book is definitely worth reading if, like me, you're a fan of the Mass Effect series.

1. Continuity

The story picks up shortly after the events of Mass Effect 2, and includes most of the major characters from the two previous novels, Revelation and Ascension. However, this book seems to have a greater connection to the games than its predecessors. Of course, it won't be required reading to enjoy the next game in the series, but I will say (without spoiling anything) that it will be difficult to have Anderson or The Illusive Man make appearances in Mass Effect 3 without at least mentioning the events of this book.

2. Learn more about the Reapers
Mass Effect 2 concludes with the threat of an imminent Reaper attack. How are these sentient machines preparing for their assault? Who are their agents paving the way? How do they manipulate these agents from the farthest reaches of space? Retribution provides answers to these questions...though they aren't always complete answers.

3. The Illusive Man
The enigmatic leader of Cerberus, The Illusive Man, plays a role in the events of Retribution. He isn't the main character (like he apparently will be in the upcoming comic series), but I enjoyed the opportunity to see more of this guy in action. I'm still not sure exactly what his motives are, or what his ultimate goal is, but I feel like I understand him a bit better.

4. More Omega
I thought Omega was a great location in Ascension and Mass Effect 2. I especially liked Aria as the ruthless pirate queen of the space station, and I was a bit disappointed that Mass Effect 2 didn't let me explore the dark underworld of Omega even more. Thankfully, Redemption returns to the wild, lawless setting – and Aria still presides over it all. 

5. Hints about Mass Effect 3's plot

The previous novels each contained clues about major elements of the games they preceded. Revelation introduced us to the concepts of Spectres and Indoctrination while giving Saren and Anderson some time in the spotlight. Ascension gave readers a glimpse of some key locations like the Quarians' Migrant Fleet and Omega. I can't say much without spoiling it, but if the major themes in Retribution are similarly tied to Mass Effect 3, that game is going to be totally awesome.

(Thanks to the users at the Mass Effect Wiki for the images)