The True Face of Mass Effect
Mass Effect 3 arrives in Europe on 9th March. With it comes a personal dilemma of intergalactic proportions: to play the closing chapter of the trilogy on the PS3 or the 360. I bought a replacement 360 two years ago for the sole purpose of playing Mass Effect 2 and I bloody loved every last minute of it. Although it went multi-platform shortly after, I don't regret my purchase as it allowed me to play my favourite game of 2010 (tied with Red Dead Redemption) at a time when I most needed an RPG in which to lose myself and un-wind of an evening, having just moved back to the UK, desperately searching for a job in a shit economy, looking for a property to rent and also trying to organize wedding.
I have just over a week and a half to decide whether to continue with the ME experience on the 360 or transfer this space epic to the PS3 - my console of choice for multiplatform releases. If I stay with the 360 then I ensure continuity and can expect a range of easter eggs. However, by staying the course I would miss the latest addition to the series - online co-op - as I have never been a subscriber to Live and refuse to pay extra for online multiplayer.
If I jump Normandy (ship) to the PS3, then I deny my 360 its reason for existence and will discard all of the choices and characters that shaped my time with ME2, elements that would otherwise be transferred to part three. I have considered buying or even renting a copy of ME2 on the PS3 and recreating my 360 run-through for the purpose of continuity, but with so many new games that I'm desperate to play, including a brand new platform to sink my teeth into, I would struggle to justify revisiting a game just to preserve a few familiar faces and relationships.
If I do end up with the PS3 version, which in all likelihood I will, then I'll be kissing my Shepard goodbye. My commander was a charismatic and kind hearted man, though he wouldn't think twice about fucking you up if you killed a colonist or spilt his pint in Afterlife. He was a terrible dancer, though he had a way with the ladies/blue things. His compassion and excellence in the field ensured that his team emerged from the final showdown unscathed, including the angry Sinead O'Connor lady who I repeatedly tried to get killed. His face was free of unsightly gashes.
|That is not the face Miranda fell in love with|
Mine was a rather vanilla Shepard. In a moment of unsurpassed creativity, I even decided to stick with the default Shepard face, the one that I knew from the cover art and game videos: cropped hair, hard faced with a passing resemblance to Rob Lowe. That was my idea of how Shepard should look, the face that Bioware saw fit to plaster on all promotional material and the one that best suited the voice provided.
I tried to customize, but my heart wasn't in it. Every time I introduced a protruding chin, a beard – usually a staple of my custom characters - or crazy eyebrows, it just made him look 10% less likely to save the universe. It was not a mug I wanted to be staring at for the next 30 hours, so I played it safe and everything worked out just fine. Who knows, if I had opted for a dimpled chin or dreadlocks perhaps Garrus wouldn't have survived the final mission and Miranda would have been less keen to sit on Shepard's face the night before the main event.
Usually, whenever I'm given the option to create a character from scratch they end up being of the male, human variety, bearded and middle aged. My Dragonborn was a half-arsed attempt at re-creating Sean Bean/Eddard Stark, and my hero of Ferelden looked like Tom Cruise in the Last Samurai, only with beard and locks of brilliant white. I did look to mix things up with Saints Row the Third, but my purple lady with a huge rack and a well-kept moustache lasted only as long as I continued to be amused by her gyrating, bollock-naked in the middle of a busy street (about 20 minutes).
Whatever the face, I have a feeling that I’ll be experiencing the latest Mass Effect on the PS3. If I am to start from scratch, then I'd like to think that I might veer away from the norm, perhaps even creating a female commander (with a beard), but chances are it’ll be default-face Shep that’ll be saving Earth come March 9th.