My January has been all about Mass Effect. Since finally giving the series a chance in late December, I've beaten the first game twice and am starting up my second play of ME2. As a result, I am looking forward to Mass Effect 3 real hard and I'm making an internet list about it.
These five predictions are mostly obvious, but I stand by each of them.
5. James Vega will be the Kaidan Alenko / Jacob Taylor of Mass Effect 3
Poor male human squad members. Kaidan was a backup biotic/tech/medic that could only use pistols and whose defining personal characteristic was his migraine headaches. Jacob Taylor had okay abilities for close range combat, but his loyalty mission was about daddy issues and many players refer to him as "the black guy." Both of them were totally underwhelming in story and gameplay, and were probably the two least-favorite romantic options in each of their respective games. I don't want to hate James Vega, but after seeing his intro video I think he's cut from the same cloth: good-natured human marine, probably exceedingly military and boring. Voice actor Freddie Prinze Jr. seemed like a good sport about it, though: "I hope they give me good powers so people will actually want to use me in battle!"
4. There will be a new alien race in your squad in Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect’s party: Shepard, two humans, four aliens of different races. Mass Effect 2’s party: Shepard, five humans, seven aliens of different races (plus a few more humans and Asari if you count optional and temporary companions). ME2 added a Salarian, a Geth, and a Drell to diversify your colorful cast (Drell were invented for ME2), and I expect that ME3 will do similar. I’d personally like to see a Yahg or Rachni join the team, but I am always a proponent of party diversity and will welcome whatever old or new alien additions to the cast BioWare creates. Oh, and while I’m at it, PLEASE let us have another Krogan! Grunt and Wrex are two of my favorites! /fangasm.
3. Every character will be a potential romance in Mass Effect 3
So far, ME3's confirmed party members are the aforementioned James plus series vets Ashley, Kaidan, Liara, Garrus, and Tali. What do those latter five have in common? They've been in both ME1 and ME2, and they were all potential romantic partners. We know that all five of them could have a romance storyline carry over and that there are only four or so characters remaining to be revealed. I'm betting James Vega is a romantic option as well. It is totally possible that BioWare gives EVERY squad member in Mass Effect 3 a romance plot, because they'd want to inject new blood in the cast anyway and they're already more than halfway. Just sayin'. I’d also bet money that a few formerly-straight characters go bisexual for Mass Effect 3, because it isn’t fair for Asari to be the only option.
2. Anyone and everyone can and will die in Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect had the player choose between killing Kaidan or Ashley and possibly eliminating Wrex as well. Mass Effect 2 made it possible to have any character in your final team bite the dust, including Shepard (not sure how they'll get around that ending in ME3, but we'll see). BioWare has usually given character deaths in its games a level of gravitas and permanence, and I expect Mass Effect 3 will do the same. My guess is that the game will be stacked against you: you'll have to make some awful choices in the game that results in party members dying and others surviving, and a "Shepard dies a heroic death to save the galaxy" ending is there, but might be avoidable. I'd put money on it.
1. Mass Effect 3's plot will be eerily similar to that of Dragon Age: Origins
Hear me out on this one. In Dragon Age Origins, you're a Grey Warden, one of a very small number of individuals aware of and prepared for the threat of the Darkspawn, who could overrun and ravage the entire continent. You and your allies travel from kingdom to kingdom, rallying different races to your cause for a final battle to defeat the Darkspawn horde.
Now here's that same paragraph with a few changes. In Mass Effect 3, you're Commander Shepard, one of a very small number of individuals aware of and prepared for the threat of the Reapers, who could overrun and ravage the entire galaxy. You and your allies travel from planet to planet, rallying different alien races to your cause for a final battle to defeat the Reaper fleet.
I know that I'm painting in broad strokes here and going out on a few limbs, but I can totally see it happening. And why not? It's exactly the kind of thing that would HAVE to happen for Shepard to stand a chance against the Reapers, and Dragon Age: Origins was fucking awesome. For Mass Effect 3, BioWare has confirmed trips to the homeworlds of the Turians, Asari, Salarians, and Quarians, in addition to a return to Tu'chanka (homeworld of the Krogan) and a visit to Earth. Now does my theory make a little more sense? I thought so. And since there's nothing I love more than being right about something in advance, I hope so.
So that's that. Still working on Mass Effect 2's review (and a renegade FemShep playthrough) and messing with Grandia and Star Ocean on the side. Happy gaming!