Last Generation Gamer is Seed Sings way of reflecting on the greatest video games that were released before the current gen systems. These are not necessarily reviews. Let's look at these thoughts as a walk down memory lane. If you have any ideas for Last Generation Gamer contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
I picked up the first Mass Effect game in the summer of 2012, five years after it was released. The only information I had on the game is that it was a space adventure and a lot of people were not happy with the end of the third game. I thought, hey I like space games and I like video game controversy let’s give Mass Effect a shot.
I am not going to go into an in depth review on the Mass Effect series today. If you have not played this game, go play it right now. These three games are beyond awesome. Like many people I am partial to Mass Effect 2. Unlike many people I did not absolutely hate the ending (I hated it a lot less when I downloaded the free extended ending from X-box live). If you are new to the game, choose to be the female Commander Shepard. Once a movie is made out of Mass Effect the producers would be dumb not to make Shepard a woman. She far and away has one of the greatest action hero arcs ever put into the zeitgeist.
Now that you have played the game (hopefully as FemShep), go and start over on Mass Effect. We are going to choose all the renegade options. Early in the series the renegade Shepard seems to be a stuck up militaristic xenophobe. The best way to play as a true renegade is to speed through the game, no side missions (that is the reason you should go full renegade on a second play through, you will need the advantages of a fully equipped and better experienced crew). Once you get to Virmire, the renegade Shepard becomes a full blown jerk. Wrex will draw his weapon on you once the discussion of Saren’s genophage research becomes personal. You will gun down your ship mate, and then tell the salarians to dump him in the ocean. That is when you become a cold hearted snake. What makes that moment great is that the rest of your crew is still fully behind you. It helps that Ashley is also a xenophobe, but the rest of your crew really does not have a good excuse to back you up. I guess they could justify your actions by saying Wrex was unstable, but the dumping in the ocean line, cold. On the second play through, your renegade Shepard can still complete the romance option, and can even cause the first incarnation of Saren to commit suicide. One less fight, way to go jerk Shepard.
Mass Effect 2 is where renegade Shepard moves from being a jerk, and starts to become a sociopath. A speed run through of the game is vital to make renegade Shepard truly shine. You need to skip all the loyalty missions to make sure that your crew is not safe (on a third play through there are some epic renegade options to explore in the loyalty missions). The only loyalty mission worth exploring is the one on Omega to kill the Asari Justicar Samara’s daughter (Morinth). This mission uses all the skeeviness of Renegade Shepard and allows you to have your allied killed by a dangerous psychopath. Morinth will even join your party and disguise herself as Samara. The extra great bonus of gaining Samara is that after the game you can load your last save and have Morinth sex you to death. I am not kidding.
If you played Mass Effect 2 as a true renegade, and gained Morinth, the ending will be very lonely. Nearly everyone will have been killed, including Garrus (the subject of a future Last Generation Gamer). The only people left on the Normandy will be you, Joker, and Morinth.
Your actions as a pure renegade Shepard make Mass Effect 3 a very different game. There is no Garrus on Palavan (you uncaring jerk). There is no Talia to help liberate Rannoch (thanks to your lack of safety upgrades on the Normandy). Grunt, Miranda, Mordin, Legion, Thane, Jacob, Ashley/Kaiden – all gone. Your play through of Mass Effect 3 will only consist of Shepard, Liara, Vega, EDI, and maybe Ashley/Kaiden. The true renegade Shepard will tell Ashley/Kaiden to stay with the alliance and not join the Normandy. This may be the most humane thing renegade Shepard does, especially since most people who have served on the Normandy ended up dead.
With all the bodies you have left behind as renegade Shepard, the galaxy still makes you their most trusted warrior. Why not? Your methods may be unfeeling, and dangerous, but you have gotten things done. The big final question to renegade Shepard is what ending must be chosen. If you followed my advice, and this is the second play through, all options should be available. The most obvious choice is to become a reaper (which is a fitting end for renegade Shepard), but I do not think this is the best ending for this play through. If you downloaded the extended ending there is a fourth answer option to give the Catalyst, keep fighting. That in my opinion is the true renegade Shepard option (even if the clip says paragon). When you tell the Catalyst that you will keep fighting, it does not end well for our heroes.
I love Mass Effect because of how it made me feel about my ship mates. I felt responsible not only for all of the galaxy, but for my friend’s less than epic issues (except for Jack, I did not really care that much about her). Being renegade Shepard actually challenged my sense of morality. I honestly did not attempt this kind of play through until my fifth time. I also completely changed my Shepard’s appearance in each game so I would not feel like I was betraying a true hero. I know that sounds lame, but that is the power of Mass Effect. The games make you emotional tied to your decisions.
Go out and play these games. On your third or fourth play through, give renegade Shepard a chance. It may feel wrong, but you will see a great old game in a new twisted light. Being renegade Shepard may even make you respect the ending of the Mass Effect trilogy.
RD Kulik is the creator and Head Editor for Seed Sing. He loves playing RPGs on his new-old X-Box 360 and is always looking for recommendations.