Randomness : Mass Effect and The Cult of Shenko

Content warning : Game-related post and filled with Mass Effect spoilers, pictures and unfiltered fangirlism. Feel free to skip this very book-unrelated post.

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These few weeks have been a marathon of multiple Mass Effect playthrough. I intended it to be a diversion from being obsessed with Dragon Age Inquisition but I’ve gone into the rabbit hole that was Bioware.

Damn it. The story was perfectly complex and superior than Dragon Age series. The science and medicine was very realistic to me who regularly brutalize novels whenever they got bad science. I identify with countless of FemShepard playthrough and ultimately, I ship Shepard and Alenko. Ship them really really hard.

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I think it got personal for me when I used my name for her (Shiera Shepard) and there was an Asari consort with the name Sha’ira. An American game that use and correctly pronounced my fairly rare name. It was predestined.

I’ve played a combination of Vanguard/Infiltrator and several Shepard’s personal history combination that made this game virtually addictive. There’s always something new with each play-through and the game was fast paced and I’ve replayed them half a dozen time already and I’m still not bored with it.

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I know there was a general preference for MaleShepard but I do identify well with FemaleShepard. I was quite surprised that the voice actress acted in so many video games and children’s show.

Now back to the real fangirlism content.

ShepardXAlenko

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Its weird but Kaidan Alenko is the guy who do make love with his eyes. How can you do that in video games?

In all honesty, I don’t find him sexually attractive at all (and I do remember the actor who voiced him and acted in Once Upon A Time) but he really do love my Shepard and I still haven’t had the heart to disappoint him.

And it was rewarding.

Like seriously.

Heart pounding and all that subtle mushiness and intensity that made my monitor steam…

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Side note: The romance element in Mass Effect trilogy was pathetically minimal when compared to Dragon Age or average romance novels. The ‘controversial’ smutty scene was more vanilla than the Harlequin novels I’ve read. But weirdly enough, these games are classified over 18. But it was refreshing to see no blood bath like in DA2.

Now, with an established romance, you’re guaranteed a continuation in the next installment right?

Eh…. nope.

Spoilers. 

Shepard and the Normandy died in the beginning of ME2.

Yep.

Dead as a door nail.

But this is science fiction and miracle do happen. Billions of credits and two years later, Shepard lives on to fight another day for her sponsor which was a terrorist group. Naturally.

While it was fun playing emotionally-repressed Shepard in ME, curiously enough she became this supreme badass goddess in ME2…

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…and she is a goddess who don’t need a man.

Shepard woke up from being dead only to be ordered to save the humanity again. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the love of her life remained unconvinced that it was the same Shepard and he moved on.

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Last hug and then he was all “Screw you! You’re with Cerberus! I can’t trust you anymore!”

Yep. Those dialogues options need some serious adjustment involving shouting match, biotic battles and crying. But wait…

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You broke my heart in pieces…. and here I am still wishing you’re here with me… sigh

 

Has he really moved on?

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Safe to say, in ME3, the answer is dead no. It happened in the five minute introduction of ME3 and the guy is bleeding all the love for this woman when she wasn’t looking. While he was giving her all these looks, clearly he’s becoming an overly attached ex-boyfriend. And then he began to exude angst… again…

But it was when he hinted that he wanted her to meet with his mother that it was a point of no return for me.

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Yep. And this isn’t a lock-in romance scene. Nope.

But all those long hours filled with gaming drama, I can certainly say it was genuinely rewarding to a person who appreciate complex storytelling…

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For me, Mass Effect is a story of one emotionally scarred and complex woman who achieved the impossible. She fought hard for the one she loves and the one she cares about. She sacrificed so much and have many regrets in her life and yet, she work hard to save the one that matters to her. She was the avatar of the war against the God Machines and the people who threatened the ones she vowed to protect. And she fought hard for what she believes in.

And that made her more remarkable than Warden or Hawke.

I genuinely like the complexity between these two characters. Its like rooting for a couple in a novel series.

In the beginning, Kaidan was merely her subordinate who fell in love and idolize her from the start even before you press “New Game”. Then he began to identify his conflicted feelings with his superior officer for love and then he reacted badly to it. I wouldn’t say that he was a stereotypical sensitive guy. He was often thoughtful and he can be pretty ruthless and hard-headed. He struggled with his duty and his feelings. Shepard even noted that he represent the head while Ashley represent the heart of Normandy. I don’t feel that he was boring. Slightly annoying but he mirrored Shepard’s intensity. Shepard can be too much for a person to handle and I do think he contrasted that much.

And then after the trauma of losing the one he love, he began to concentrate on his work, he rose in rank and eventually became fully actualized as an officer (and technically, her superior officer) and a Spectre. Besides, a Vanguard/Infiltrator Shepard always work well with the Sentinel. It was crazy to sacrifice him.

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Then again, even without Kaidan. I can safely say. I genuinely love Shepard. She wasn’t a character I normally would want to write but as a gamer, she’s perfection and the best character I’ve played in my entire 20+ years of gaming.

 

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