Too Much Morality In My Video Games: Mass Effect Series

So. Mass Effect. Yet another of my favorite games which makes me question EVERYTHING and leaves me broken afterwards but I continue to play, over and over again.

Right! Here we go!

Mass Effect begins with Commander Shepard taking the Normandy to hunt down rogue specter Saren, acquiring a ragtag crew of humans and aliens along the way. And because my FemShep is a pillar of goodness and does everything by the book (except for that whole shagging Kaiden thing, but really? Can you blame her?), she fast become everyone’s BFF including Ashley, who’s kinda, sorta a bit racist against aliens.

So it’s all going pretty great for my gal Shepard. Kicking ass, taking names! Chasing the baddies down. Wooing the pants of that sexy biotic. Chilling with her with buddy Garrus. Talking poetry with Ashley and fending off the advances of one blue alien scientist.

Sorry Liara, did I mention the sexy biotic?

Then…Virmire…yeah…Virmire… WHAT THE HELL!!!

This is where it all starts to fall to shit. First, Wrex goes all bonkers at her about the genophage and pulls a frakking gun of Shepard! Admittedly who can blame the guy! Saren is building an army of Krogan and may have the cure for the genopahge! You know, the thing that the Salarians did to basically sterilize an entire race! And poor Shepard, is forced to make Wrex accept the fact that destroying the facility is for the best…

Really? I mean… REALLY? I’m not buying it, but apparently Wrex is. I can’t see why Shepard couldn’t have swiped some data or something. Yes, the genophage helped end a war, but it still just didn’t seem right. I mean, it has been a long time, surely the Krogan have learnt their lesson?

Then! Suddenly I’m forced to choose between two beloved companions. As if forcing her friend to destroy any future of curing the infertility of his race isn’t enough, Shepard is forced to sacrifice one of her squad mates! But not just anyone! Ashley or Kaiden! I mean, not that anyone else was a better choice, but come on! Her best girly friend Ashley (in my head they totally had girls nights on the citadel) and that stupid sexy biotic, Kaiden!

UNFAIR! I mean, there’s only one clear choice in this instance. I can’t let Shepard sacrifice Kaiden! I can’t! I’m so, so sorry Ashely! Can I change my mind? If I take out Wrex can I keep Ashley? Pllleeeaasssee!!!!

Pretty sure after Virmire Shepard will never again have a good nights sleep.

Then! There’s that other things where Shepard can choose to eliminate the Rachni. For good! NO! Shepard is not just going to run around the universe committing genocide! NO, NO, NO! I mean, they are basically space roaches. The damn things show up in ME3 again anyway even if you do kill them! But still, Shepard will not exterminate an entire race.

(Javik should probably count himself lucky in that regard, ugh, that guy!)

As with DA:2, I didn’t find the choices in ME:2 as difficult. I mean, Shepard is pretty down during all this. Oh, except for the part where we save Maelon’s genophage data. Shepard’s still keen of helping the Krogans.

The Alliance branded her a traitor, she’s working for Cerberus (who claim to have changed… Sure Illusive Man, sure.) AND even frakking Kaiden abandons her! Really dude! (More on that HERE) Blowing up the Bartarian’s to save the Galaxy. That one’s not really a choice though, Shepard’s hands are tied, a sucky, sucky situation there. So that didn’t make her very happy either. No wonder she signs up for the suicide mission. Her life is pretty shitty right now.

But naturally Shepard lives to fight another day, and so we progress onto ME:3

Shepard is finally able to help Mordin undo his past mistakes and cure the Krogan. It felt good… for all of 2 seconds! I realised Mordin was going to sacrifice himself in order to release the cure.

Here come the waterworks. *cue ugly cry*

Stupid Salarian counselor! Curse you Bioware! (again)

Then there’s the Geth… It’s lucky Tali loves me, cause I’m not sure she would forgive Shepard for brokering an alliance between the synthetics that forced her people from their homeland. This was a tough choice. But I needed the Geth! I needed Legions help! I may have been persuaded, otherwise… maybe… I mean, Shepard is not the biggest fan of synthetics (Hello Reapers!) but, it’s for the greater good…

(Random side note, totally irrelevant, but I totally shipped Tali and Kal’Reegar, before he got dead.)

SO there’s a few other little things like saving the Rachni (again! Told you those guys shows up all the time!) which pulls into question Shepard’s stand on morality, but the big one is the ending!

By this stage, Shepard is just over it! Over everything! Cerberus, the Reapers, Udina! All the pressure the Alliance has resting on her shoulders. She’s tired, tired of loosing friends and loved ones. Tired of the betrayal, tired of fighting. She’s broken, beaten, and pretty sure that this is the end for her. So when the options are presented, I really don’t think she is thinking about all the good she’s done. She just wants it over.

Remember how I said she may have been persuaded to destroy the Geth, the synthetics? Well, this is her chance to end it all. The cycle of destruction, the Reapers.

So, Shepard hits that big red button and wipes out ALL synthetic life (RIP EDI, sorry Joker). Yes, she could have melded synths and organics into a new species, but really, that’s not her call to make. She came here to destroy the Reapers, that is what she had been working toward for three games. So she did.

Though it does leave the taste of tears and bitterness in your mouth after it’s all over.

But, I will continue to play, again and again anyway.

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