With the release of its third installment this week, Mass Effect madness is hitting a fever pitch on the interwebs. Follow me and Matt down Memory Bank Lane and reminisce about the 5 most distinct, amazing, badass moments this side of Phoenix Massing. It’ll tide you over until EA fixes that face-importin’ bug.
5) Shepard, first human SPECTRE (ME)
Fairly early into the first game, you expose Saren for being a crooked ass SPECTRE. Despite his dastardly machinations and bald faced lies, Shepard manages to convince the council to throw him out on his Turian ass and in the meantime instate the very first human SPECTRE (aka Space Jack Bauer). It's the first in a series of expertly manipulative moments that give the player the idea that (s)he is pretty much the most important motherfucker in the universe, together with the appropriate pomp and circumstance to go with it, ending with the first launch of the Normandy. Are those two moments I smushed into one? I can do that, I'm a SPECTRE!
4) Fuck you, Shadow Broker! (ME2 DLC)
Shepard has infiltrated the Flying Storm Cloud Castle of one of the most powerful and elusive information brokers in the galaxy. After having murdered your way through the Broker's elite assholes (in some cases making their corpses fall into an endless chasm, Wile E. Coyote style), you come face to face with the man himself. Although man may be too kind a word! Shepard, being the übermensch that (s)he is, immediately deduces what could have transpired to turn Space Bowser into Space Rupert Murdoch. The imposing creature rises up from the desk to ominous music, revealing an even bigger hulk than was previously imagined, with high tech shields to boot! But in an awesome display of why YOU, THE PLAYER, are fucking awesome, Shepard simply cracks his knuckles, goes "Let's do this the hard way, then," and simply decks the asshole. YES.
3) The Terminator Babbly (ME2)
At the end of ME2, Shepard and his crew have made the horrible discovery of exactly why the Collectors were abducting whole colonies of humans to their secret lair in the galactic core "where nothing can live." Reminding you that the MASS EFFECT franchise is a series of complex, human interactions, but also incredible pulp silliness. Were the Collectors torturing the humans for strategic information to aid their Reaper overlords? NOPE! They were grinding them into a fine mulch for their precious GENOME JUICE (mind on mah money and mah money on my mind) so they could make a HUMAN REAPER. And yes, it looks exactly like a Skynet foetus. It's ridiculous and retarded and amazing and awesome. I mean, were they just gonna attack the Citadel with a huge Beastie Boys robot?
2) Mordin of Penzance (ME2)
Bioware is well-known for their fantastic character interactions. In fact, a running gag among gamers is that flagship titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age are nothing more than extremely elaborate dating sims where, instead of taking Mitsuko out for Ramen, you kill darkspawn with Morrigan to get in her pants. But it's not just the dating side of things! Bioware consistently manages to make the majority of NPCs interesting and worth talking to, even if they don't have quests. Fast-talking geneticist Mordin Solus is a pragmatist first and foremost, but a hell of an operette singer if you get to know him!
1) SHEPARD COMIN'! FUCK YO GRAVITY! (ME)
A Reaper is laying waste to the Citadel. The skies are aflame. The Council may be reduced to molecules at this point. Your nemesis and former colleague Saren is high up in the Council Tower and has overridden all nearby mass relays, effectively cutting off all possible reinforcements. Even as you race to confront him, he cuts the power and artificial gravity, trapping you in an elevator about a mile down from where you need to be. In perhaps the most cinematic moment of the series, Shepard simply goes "Fuck that", opens the elevator and just walks to the top of the building, blasting bad guys all the way. Seriously, if a movie ever happens, the gravity shifting and Shepard walking out of the elevator, with a space war brewing around him would be a HELL of a trailer-ending "whoa" moment. And it's just such a perfect moment of Shepard doing shit on his own terms, thinking outside the box, giving you that whole "baddest crew of the galaxy" feeling.
Here's hoping ME3 provides us with many more of these moments.