BY ALEX WAKEFORD
“I’ll relinquish one bullet – where do you want it?”
Former Mass Effect cinematic designer John Ebenger recently revealed that approximately 92% of players chose the Paragon path in Bioware’s epic sci-fi series, despite the amount of work that went into the Renegade content.
While the vast majority of us chose to be Space Jesus throughout our cosmic odyssey aboard the Normandy, there are just some moments where you can’t help but pull the Renegade trigger…Unlike at the end of Telltale’s episodic games, Mass Effect does not share the statistics of what choices other players made. As such, it came as some surprise when John Ebenger revealed on Twiter last week that very few players wanted to be the bad guy.
(I think we all figured that Paragon would likely swing it, that it definitely wouldn’t be an equal split, but 92% is quite a surprising figure!)
A quick search on YouTube for Commander Shepard’s most Renegade moments throughout the trilogy will turn up videos with hundreds of thousands of views, meaning that this content hasn’t exactly gone unseen (it is, in fact, part of any fan’s lexicon when discussing the series), but very few actually played Shepard this way.
There are, however, a number of Renegade choices throughout the series – ‘interrupts,’ introduced in Mass Effect 2 – which we’ve all made, right?
“How ’bout ‘goodbye’?”
In Mass Effect 2, your mission is to recruit a team for a suicide mission as Shepard seeks to uncover the plans of the Collectors – an enigmatic race who are kidnapping entire human colonies.
While recruiting the drell assassin known as Thane, Shepard must make their way through a tower complex filled with Eclipse mercenaries.
One such encounter results in an instinctual Renegade moment where you can push an uncooperative merc through a window, sending him into a freefall that gives him just enough time to reflect on the choices he’s made that led to this point before his end.
The Paragon option lets the merc leave and he doesn’t warn his friends. Either way, it’s one less to worry about, but you’ve probably never seen that play out…
Acquainting Admiral Han’Gerrel vas Neema’s kidneys with your knuckles
One of the primary arcs of Mass Effect 3 revolves around resolving the conflict between the quarians and their synthetic creations, the geth.
Despite the Reapers having arrived, carving a bloody swath through the galaxy, the quarians decide that now is the best possible time to escalate their war with the geth in order to retake their homeworld, Rannoch.
In response, the geth have made the equally totally sensible choice to allow the Reapers to upgrade them, and it falls to Shepard to disable the geth dreadnought that’s broadcasting the Reaper signal.
Of course, rather than capturing the dreadnought once it’s disabled (as a useful vessel to turn against the Reapers), the gung-ho Admiral Han’Gerrel decides that it would be a great idea to destroy the ship… while you’re still inside it.
Upon returning to the Normandy, I don’t think there’s a soul among us who didn’t let the Admiral know exactly what we thought of his reckless behaviour…
“You’re working too hard.”
One of our first opportunities to make use of the interrupt system occurs during our mission to recruit Garrus (*heart eyes*) on Omega.
The Eclipse, Blue Suns, and Blood Pack mercenary forces have formed a temporary alliance on the station in order to take down our hot turian boyfriend, going by the name ‘Archangel,’ which is just unacceptable.
Posing as a freelancer to be sent in as cannon fodder, Shepard encounters a batarian repairing the gunship for Blue Suns leader Tarak, to be used in a final all-out assault. Obviously, this will pose a problem when it’s revealed that you were never on the mercs’ side – a problem which can be solved with a welder and a one-liner…
(Note that this decision will actually reduce the health of the gunship for the final ‘boss battle’ in this mission!)
Headbutting Gatatog Uvenk to set an example for your large krogan son
While Mass Effect 2 revolves around recruiting the galaxy’s deadliest team to take on the Collectors, it is critical that Shepard earns their loyalty. It is the only way to ensure that we don’t just take the fight to the Collectors, but live to tell about it.
As such, you’ll find yourself sorting out various problems and personal baggage that your crew has. From family dramas to pursuits of vengeance and atonement from guilt, it comes as a pleasant surprise when Grunt is undergoing his krogan maturation period and this involves just killing things.
Heading to the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka, Shepard may (depending on their choices in the previous game) encounter Wrex as leader of Clan Urdnot. He’s attempting to unite their clans and forge a new, positive path for their society – something that is being met with resistance from the more krogan conservative voices.
Wrex models how objections are withdrawn to the dissenting Gatatog Uvenk by delivering a swift headbutt, an action which Shepard can also perform on Uvenk when he raises objections about Grunt for not being naturally-born.
“That was for Thane, you son of a bitch!”
Cereal-stealing cyber-ninja Kai Leng makes his debut in Mass Effect 3, having been prominently featured in several of the franchise’s novels… and everybody hates him.
(Yes, the cereal thing is real! In Mass Effect: Deception, Kai Leng breaks into David Anderson’s apartment and… eats his cereal.)If that’s not reason enough to end this Cerberus assassin, he also mortally wounds Thane during the Citadel coup.
While our favourite drell assassin manages to survive the encounter (noting that Cerberus really should hire better assassins, as Leng could barely keep up with a terminally ill drell), he later passes in hospital in one of the most profoundly emotional moments in the trilogy.
Depending on your choices in Mass Effect 2, Thane will pass in peace – attended to by his son Kolyat as well as Shepard, who he prepares a final prayer for.
Come the end of the game, with the final confrontation with Kai Leng, the player is offered a Renegade interrupt that I don’t think anybody has missed the opportunity to use – shattering Leng’s sword and then running him through with your Omni-blade.
Last month, Mass Effect 2 celebrated its tenth birthday, and Mass Effect 3 is soon to celebrate its eighth – just in case you wanted to feel old!
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to dive back into the series again recently, here is your opportunity. Give a Renegade run a go (or, like me, you’ll probably be mean to one person, feel bad, and default to making all the same choices you used to…)
What are some of your top Renegade moments in Mass Effect?
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