Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is a collection of possibly one of the best action RPG trilogies in gaming. You get to make a lot of different choices that affect gameplay, story, and characters. Combined with the ability to carry over saves between the games, major choices can affect the entire trilogy. In Mass Effect, player choice is key. Apparently some people don’t like the choices other people have made in their playthroughs though. I’ve been seeing some articles recently, after Bioware released statistics based on player choice, that have been questioning the results. I don’t believe they should.
(The following article will include massive spoilers to the story of Mass Effect. The opinions expressed in this article are of the writer and not reflective of KeenGamer as a whole.)
❗ SPOILERS AHEAD ❗
— Mass Effect (@masseffect) July 27, 2021
The graphic shows choices such as if they decided to make their character male of female, what class their character would be, if Kaiden or Ashley is left on Virmire, how many punched that annoying reporter, and many others. I’ve been seeing multiple articles here and there questioning player’s choices based on these stats. saying things like ‘why did 40% of people choose to be a boring Soldier when you could be a space wizard’, or ‘why did 60% of players save Ashley on Virmire when Kaiden is so much better’. I have a different question. Why does it matter? People are choosing these things for their playthrough, not yours.
Personally, I’ll play paragon, save Kaiden, and play the Soldier class so I can focus on shooting things while I let my squad mates deal with powers in most of my runs. If you prefer to play renegade, save Ash, or keep to another class in most playthroughs, good on ya. Keep on keeping on, no matter what anyone says. You play the game how you want, that’s what RPGs are all about. There’s rarely a decision that weighs heavily on one side, other than maybe just leaving behind some squad mates, since you can do that in ME1. But then, I’ve never done that personally, so maybe something else does happen in the story due to their absence that I’ve never seen before.
DO I SMELL GATEKEEPING?
A role playing game is all about playing the role and making the choices you want. You may like to have your Shepard as a blood-deep marine that transferred from ship to ship with their military family and followed in their footsteps, then proved themselves in the Skillian Blitz. Or you could make your Shepard a biotic that grew up on a colony, then were the sole survivor of a thresher maw attack on their unit. Or they could have a completely different story altogether, with each origin and background having different story effects in-game, such as quests or characters. For example, a spacer Shepard’s mother is still alive as a rear admiral, and can be spoken to multiple times throughout the trilogy.
It just feels like gatekeeping when I see an article from a big gaming website talking down to players for the choices they made in their own playthrough. What if someone relatively new to the series reads these article and feels like they made the wrong decision? What if it makes them feel like they aren’t allowed to make choices based on their own judgement and instead decide to follow a different path because they’re afraid people will look down on them for doing so? In a game like this, players are entitled to make their own decisions and shouldn’t be discouraged to play the game however they want.
KEEP IT PRIVATE
You can certainly casually debate choices in the game with other fans. Such as asking if it’s better or more moral to save the Geth or the Quarians in ME3 if you are unable to save them both. You can question a friend’s decision in their playthrough and compare with your playthrough. Please don’t talk down to people because of the choices they made in a game. Especially publicly, because that’s just going to make a lot of people feel bad for something they shouldn’t.
They have their own reasons for their choices. Be it they were just role playing the character they want, or it’s what they felt was best in that situation. What’s the point in exploring different routes and choices if everyone just decides to do the exact same thing as each other? This is an amazing trilogy with so many different outcomes to each storyline; they should be explored.
EVERY PLAYTHROUGH IS UNIQUE
That’s part of the beauty of the Mass Effect trilogy. There are so many different things that can happen across each game. Each person may have an entirely different experience. It’s entirely up to them to decide what they want in that experience. It’s a very different story if you save Wrex in ME1, then cure the genophage with him in ME3, compared to sabotaging the genophage with Wreav. The overall plot stays the same, sure, but so many details of the plot can change depending on player input. Will Conrad Verner appear in ME2 and 3? Can your entire crew survive the Suicide Mission? Will you unleash the Great Wind Biotic God upon the galaxy, or tell him to go back to bed? Every little detail is up to you, and no one else.
If you’ve also seen a lot of these articles and have been feeling a little bashed for your choices, take it from me. I’m proud of you and the choices you’ve made in this game, no matter what they are. Your story is yours, and no one else’s. Now let’s all come together as Mass Effect fans, and remember the things that made the games great!
What are some of your favourite moments of the trilogy? Let me know in the comments!