At the end of this week, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will finally be released, bringing one of my favorite game trilogies of all time to modern consoles. I have a deep love for Mass Effect, so I thought I’d celebrate the upcoming re-release by writing a bit about some of my favorite characters from the series.
Without further ado, here are my top five favorite party members across the Mass Effect trilogy.
Was there any doubt that Garrus would top the list? No, of course not. Every Mass Effect fan instinctively knew that Garrus would be my pick for Best Squadmate. I mean, come one: he’s been around since the beginning; he’s an awesome sniper-soldier-vigilante guy with a badass codename; and he’s either Shepard’s best pal or love interest, depending on whether or not you romance him.
I just love everything about Garrus. His design is great, his dialogue is great, his combat prowess is great; he’s the complete package.
Tali’Zorah nar Rayya
Coming in close behind Garrus is everyone’s favorite quarian, Tali. Another member of the original squad, Tali is an adorable nerd and, simultaneously, an expert combatant. She has one of the most interesting narratives in the trilogy, giving us a view into the fascinating quarian culture and their complex relationship to the geth.
Tali is one of the most consistently endearing, interesting characters in the franchise, and feels to me like the heart of the crew. Plus, if you don’t romance either her or Garrus, they end up together at the end of Mass Effect 3! A perfect match!
Who doesn’t love Wrex? Nobody, that’s who. He stands out as the most interesting squadmate in the first game (even Garrus and Tali aren’t that remarkable until the sequel), and not just because he’s an awesome giant lizard. His people and their history are another integral part of the Mass Effect canon, and one that he has a somewhat odd relationship to.
I love his arc, moving from a disillusioned mercenary to a begrudging leader to a true champion of krogan culture. And he does it all while smashing aliens with his enormous, scaly body.
The only character on this list that isn’t from the first game, Mordin is the standout of the new party members introduced in ME2 (and that’s no mean feat when you consider that characters like Jack and Grunt also debuted there). Mordin at first seems like the classic ‘weird scientist with no social graces’ trope, but there’s a surprising amount of depth to this odd little salarian. Who can forget him singing show tunes in the lab?
Mordin also has one of the most moving emotional arcs in the series, coming to terms with his guilt over his part in the krogan genophage. This culminates in arguably one of the most touching scenes in ME3, when he sacrifices his life to correct his terrible mistake (at least, he might, depending on the choices you’ve made up to that point).
Full disclosure: I’m not actually a giant Liara fan. I like her, for sure! There’s nothing wrong with Liara. But a certain subset of the fandom feels that she get’s the Creator’s Pet treatment throughout the franchise, and I don’t exactly disagree. She makes the list not so much because she’s a personal favorite, but because she’s one of the most important characters in the franchise.
I do like her development quite a bit, going from the sweet, somewhat naïve archaeologist in the first game to the more bitter, intense Liara we find in the sequel. I also love her turn as the Shadow Broker in the latter part of the series. She’s certainly a dynamic and compelling character who deserves a spot on the list (even if I personally prefer Jack as my biotic squaddie of choice).