Please take note for those who have not played it, this article contains spoilers for scenes from Lair of the Shadow Broker – Mass Effect 2 DLC.
Last time I wrote about on my main Love Interest in the Mass Effect franchise but, I have a confession to make. Kaidan (spelled with an a, not an e) might have been the first romance that I picked but he is most certainly not my favourite. And no, I’m not referring to the incident on Horizon. I’m referring to my experience as a gamer from the view of someone who appreciates a good story. My first Mass Effect game had my Female Shepard being confronted by both Kaidan and Liara, both requesting for the ‘situation’ that had been brewing between the three of us to be resolved. My universe split into two on that day. On the one hand I followed through with my love for Kiadan (and we now all know how that turned out) and on the other hand, I played a game in which I chose Liara.
Of the two, I have to say that I liked the latter the most.
Liara was a nerd and an awkward one at that. She confessed to struggling to lie and she was not really equipped to deal with a lot of emotion. Yet, through the game, she developed, she grews. And, she changed. Bioware did an amazing job to show what effect Shepard’s death had on all of the ME1 crew mates and in Liara, you see the biggest change. When you meet her in Illium, she’s distant but mildly pleasant, cold hearted yet for a moment, you see her flounder at the sight of Shepard. Her reaction was just as confusing as Kaidan’s (and Ashley’s) but with her I could definitively sense a deeper reason. In a bit of dialogue that I missed the first time, Liara explains her hate of the Shadow Broker to Shepard (after you’ve recovered all of the data for her in Illium) and tells you the story of how she had to recover your body for Cerberus. It’s very clear that she’s not only angry at the Broker for what he did to her friend Feron, but also for the atrocities that he planned for Shepard. Her decision not to go with Shepard doesn’t stem from her lack of faith in our hero but rather, her mission to save her friend.
You wouldn’t have thought it from the timid scientist but there it was. Some called it terrible but I called it Character Development, something we saw very little of in both our Alliance Soldiers when they decided to play devil’s advocate on Horizon(of course, I like to believe it’s because Bioware is saving the best for last, namely that their true development will be revealed in Mass Effect 3).
What I also liked about Liara is that she needed some convincing. In last scene of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, you see a person torn between embracing the fact that she got her lover back – and the knowledge that at some point, Shepard was going to have to go back to the fight. It became clear that losing a person once is painful but losing them twice, unbearable. It was, for me, in a word – brilliant and – if what the developers say is true, that Mass Effect 3 will be more like the DLC’s, then we are in for an awesome ride indeed.
I think inevitably this is what sets Mass Effect apart from all the other games that I’ve played before. You can choose who you love, how you love them and whether or not to remain faithful. Relationships aren’t just a matter of convenience (hello Skyrim, you awesome game you) but it is a factor that you actually have to consider seriously. It makes it so much more real, touching on that human side that Mac Walters spoke of in his interview with Bioware Pulse. For myself, I can say it’s not the actual game play that has me excited, but the curiosity to see where it’s going to go. To find out if Liara and Shepard can have their little blue children.
To see if there will be a future left for us and those who survive the Reapers.
Mass Effect 3 will be released in North America on the 6th of March and on the 9th of March in Europe.
Image credit: Mass Effect Screen Caps - http://masseffectscreencaps.wordpress.com/characters/
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