I am a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, it happens to be my favorite video games series of all time. Because of my love for the series, I tend to get a lot of questions pertaining to my opinions of the characters and what I think about them individually. I decided that I will lay it out for you all, game by game, since I’d like to clear it up for those who are wondering, plus I just love talking about Mass Effect anyway. In this post I will be going over all of the squadmates available in the first Mass Effect game and what I think about each one as far as personality, usefulness, and basic character dynamics go. Keep in mind that these are just my personal opinions, everyone has different opinions on the characters of these games which I find to be one of the best parts of the games – everyone sees them differently. Remember that I respect all of your opinions in this matter, so try to respect mine.
Mass Effect features six squadmates that can be chosen to accompany Commander Shepard on each mission in the game. The first two squadmates you come across on the game are Kaiden Alenko and Ashley Williams, the only two human squadmates available in Mass Effect.
Initially I didn’t like Kaidan. He seems whiny, boring, and pretty much useless. In my first playthrough I ended up sacrificing Kaidan on Virmire. a decision I ended up regretting in the next two games. Over time I have learned to respect him as a character. I now think he is fun to talk to and I also find him to be helpful and kind to Shepard, even if you don’t choose to romance him. Kaidan is a sentinel, so he possesses both biotic and tech abilities. The thing is – with Liara and Tali aboard, I see no reason to use him in combat. So while I think he is decent character, he happens to be a bit pointless (combat-wise) for me. I think that he has an interesting background, being enrolled in the Biotic Acclimation and Temperance Training camp made him a bit jaded yet that experience gave him some backbone and made him a mean ally in combat, if you choose to use him. He also has biotic implants which tend to be uncomfortable for him, and that gains my sympathy at time. He is interesting to talk to even if you never use him in combat and he is a good character as far as morals go.
Ashley is my least favorite character in the entire series. I think she is boring, racist, and even sexist at time which renders her absolutely useless in conversation unless you try to change her beliefs and make her a “better person”. Once she is shown the error of her ways, she does become tolerable but I still couldn’t stand her. I tried to like her and find relatable characteristics since she is a human female, like me, but it didn’t work. Throughout the series I sense a combative nature from her, she seems to always like to shove her opinion of the situation down Shepard’s throat which irritates me and comes off as insubordinate in my eyes. I think it’s just the way she says things with more anger and less understanding, regardless I just don’t like it at all. She is a soldier class, and in my first playthrough that made her pointless in combat since that particular Shepard was a soldier. This most recent playthrough is one in which I chose to be an adept, so she does have a point now but I’d still rather use Wrex since he is at least fun to talk to. I find her background to be bland and boring. I just find it too typical and not interesting or profound like other characters.
Now, it’s on to the aliens. My favorite part of the Mass Effect alien squadmates is their diverse yet strangely human personalities. They are relatable, yet different, which makes them interesting. Don’t get me wrong though, if the human characters were exactly the same personality-wise but were aliens instead, I would still feel the same way about them. The aliens just tend to be more fun for me in this particular game.
Garrus is without a doubt my favorite character in the Mass Effect series. Something about him really draws me in and keeps me there. I think it’s partially his rags-to-riches-esque story. He was basically just a basic C-Sec officer (comparable to a police officer or specialized military) who had the will to expose Saren’s wrong-doing, even when his commanding officers told him to let it go. This caused him to wind up becoming part of the Normandy crew, soon to be the most well-known and respected crew in the galaxy. His personality is simple, he doesn’t hide a lot if you take the time to talk with him, and he has been though some really cool things which makes him interesting. Being a Turian, he is well versed in the art of war and tactics and uses his sniper rifles as if it was physically a part of him. I really appreciate how down to earth he is, and for a species that tends to dislike humans, he is the nicest Turian I have ever met. While I romanced him in my main playthrough, he is not a romance option in Mass Effect so while playing the first game I tend to think of him as my best friend. A character who will always have my back, so to speak, and will be there when I need him. He gets along with the others and brings some much-needed, yet subtle, comedy to mission dialog.
Tali’Zorah Nar Rayya:
Tali is a very cute character with a fun, though cautious, personality. Being a Quarian means that she is looked down upon by many people (humans and aliens alike), almost like a vagrant or homeless person would be to some. Because of the way people treat her, she has become cautious and a bit on the scared side when it comes to communicating her feelings. She took a huge risk to bring evidence against Saren to light and for that Commander Shepard felt she deserved a place on her squad. She is really into technology as in considered and engineer class, the class that specializes in tech abilities. Tali loves having out in the ships engine room and finds peace in fixing things and learning about the ship. She reminds me a bit of a child in Mass Effect, seeing the real world for the first time without someone spitting in her face for it. Having Shepard by her side as someone she can confide in makes her a very strong-willed and sweet character. I really enjoy having her by my side in combat as well as conversing with her in my downtime.
Wrex can mostly be described with one word: Badass. He is the epitome of badass and carries it around with him in his dialog as well as on the battlefield. Being a Krogan means being tough, and Wrex is definitely the toughest there is. He has no qualms about sharing his thoughts on the matter at hand, even if it comes off as harsh or disrespectful. He speaks his mind and backs up his actions in battle. Most of all, he is behind Shepard 100% even if he doesn’t really agree with her. As long as he gets to kill things, he is happy. Some might argue that this quality is a negative one for a squadmate to have, but I find him to be the most trustworthy. He could kill Shepard at any moment yet doesn’t, so he must be content. Wrex is battle ready and proves his worth when faced with a large amount of enemies. If you need a squadmate that can pack a major punch, bring him along for the ride. He has no qualms with getting his hands dirty and even likes it on occasion. I find Wrex to be one of the more honest and true characters in the series, plus he tend to be a hoot to talk to.
Liara is a smart, well versed Asari with a sweet personality and a pension for knowledge. She loves to talk about the Prothians and how she has spent almost half of her life (so far) studying them and their ruins. She has the “girl next door” personality in that she is always kind and respectful while remaining sweet and friendly. Don’t think she is afraid of battle though, her prowess as a powerful biotic can land her enemies in a ditch somewhere. She is very helpful in combat, especially if you use biotics yourself since you can preform biotic combinations with her. While she can be a bit naive, she learns as she goes and becomes stronger with every tough situation she is put into. She is a romance option for both males and females and with that in mind it’s very hard for either gender not to be seduced by her. She is beautiful and sweet, plus she proves herself to be an outstanding friend. What more could you want? She is also a very in-depth character and has a lot to talk about, after all she is 106 years old so she has some life experience.
Overall, I love the squadmates in Mass Effect. Even though there are a couple I dislike more than others I still think they all have their part to play in making the player create bonds with the characters, which is something this series tend to do so well. The game sets up the major alien species and through dialog teaches the player more about their culture as well as their individual personalities. BioWare did a great job of limiting the main characters so that the player isn’t overwhelmed with all the new information, which is good since there is a lot of it.
Keep and eye out for my upcoming post about the squadmates of Mass Effect 2 and thank you for reading!