I Sunk 40 Extra Hours Into Mass Effect 2 To Salvage My Relationship With Thane

Illustration for article titled I Sunk 40 Extra Hours Into Mass Effect 2 To Salvage My Relationship With Thane

I haven't played Mass Effect 3 yet. As a big fan of the franchise, I've been meaning to. But I had a very important task at hand before tackling the last game in the trilogy. I needed to replay Mass Effect 2.


(Mass Effect 2 spoilers ahead.)

In my first playthrough of the sequel, I felt a bit rushed. I was on a tight review schedule and didn't analyze every facet of the game as meticulously as I would've liked. So, forgoing some very important ship upgrades, I fell victim to a sloppy mistake and lost some of my teammates. And I lost someone very important to me.

If you aren't a stranger to BioWare's Mass Effect franchise—or, heck, just BioWare games in general—you'll know that the companions you gather along your adventures can become your friends, and these friendships can even develop into romantic relationships.

My female Shepard initially took to Garrus, a blue, Turian alien who had battled with me through the treacheries of the first installment in the action/RPG franchise. We had memories together. We fought together. We helped each other through our desperate situations by cracking jokes and complimenting each other's skills with weapons. Basically, we bonded.

Illustration for article titled I Sunk 40 Extra Hours Into Mass Effect 2 To Salvage My Relationship With Thane

But not all meaningful relationships have to become romantic. I realized that Garrus wasn't meant for one of those relationships with me when I started to pursue a romance with him in Mass Effect 2. He was nervous. He fumbled with his words and immediately started contemplating the science of interspecies intercourse. He turned what I wanted to be sweet and playful flirtation into what felt like cold analysis. At best he would say these things to me in a cooing voice. Don't get me wrong, I still loved Garrus. But I realized that while he was a trustworthy friend, someone I could rely on, he wouldn't be able to give me the relationship I wanted.


And I had no hesitation about that thought once I met Thane. Being an assassin, Thane is cool and collected. He's thoughtful and pensive. He typically keeps to himself, but he's easy to talk to once you sit down with him. He has an interesting background and even more interesting perspectives on life and his career. I don't agree with his spiritual beliefs, but I respect his dedication to them. I wanted to hear every story he had to tell me. About how he met his first wife, and about his feelings towards his son. He called me "Siha" and explained that it meant a warrior angel. I like the sound of the term of endearment he chose for me, and I like its definition even more. Thane is a romantic. He is also a poet, and a philosopher. Plus, he dresses pretty well.

But this would be a complicated relationship. Thane, like all Drell, is susceptible to Kepral's Syndrome, which is something of a respiratory disease. He knows he is going to die some time in the foreseeable future. He's told me as much. But Shepard can't help but fall in love with him regardless.

Illustration for article titled I Sunk 40 Extra Hours Into Mass Effect 2 To Salvage My Relationship With Thane

To my great dismay, Thane didn't survive the trip through Omega 4 Relay. I didn't realize how critical the ship upgrades would be. Worse still was that I had to watch as he and a few others died during a cinematic cut scene, completely out of my control. I'd spent hours with these people, helping them with their respective missions, lending both my rifle and my shoulder for support. After all that, it only took a few seconds and a few lucky hits of a laser to wipe them from my universe's existence.


I knew that I'd be replaying Mass Effect 2 before the final game came out. There was no way I was going to go through Mass Effect 3 without Thane. Jack was a loss. Legion I could live without. But Thane? Thane was worth another 40 hours of my gaming time.

I took the opportunity to complete every side mission, every dialogue option, and every single upgrade. It didn't matter if it was for a shotgun I'd never use. I spent hours mining resources from planets for it anyway. I wasn't going to leave one stone unturned. Not this time.


I wanted to hear more of his sweet nothings. I wanted to see how our relationship would continue to evolve. I wanted to either watch the world burn, or watch it come to a victory with Thane at my side in Mass Effect 3.

Here's the kicker: Thane survived, but I didn't even get to romance him. I screwed up some other decisions while trying to keep him alive. You should have seen my frustration while I was about to embark on the Omega 4 Relay mission for a second time, knowing that it wouldn't end in Thane sex. I looked through my save files and figured out that I'd have to backtrack about 13 hours to rectify this offense. Thane was worth the extra 40 hours. Another 13, though? Nah. 80 was enough.


Caution, there are heavy spoilers here for the whole Mass Effect trilogy

What's your stance regarding reloading previous save data in the Mass Effect games in order to rectify mistakes you've made, or make different decisions to have outcomes more to your personal satisfaction?

Personally, I didn't approve of it at all, at least not when I was on my first playthrough on all 3 ME games.

For me, one of the coolest aspects of the ME franchise is precisely the fact that you get so endeared to the game's characters, and that the repercussions of the decisions you make can actually make you regret when you make a mistake, and feel sad when someone in your team dies.

Call me crazy, but I love to play it as if it were real life; once the damage's done, it's done, and there's nothing I can do to change that.

In my first ME1 playthrough, Wrex died on me, because I played the game with a very neutral stance, and when the time came to try and talk him out of doing something drastic, I didn't have either enough Paragon nor Renegade points to do so. So, Ashley shot him. I was incredibly, incredibly sad when this happened.

Then, when I played ME2, I made sure to get all the upgrades on the ship, and take my time scanning resources on the planets, and doing ALL the side quests, and upping my characters' habilities, and all that.

The result? I took too much time, so all the non-combatant personnel on the Normandy died on me (you know, Kelly Chambers and those dudes, not my main squad soldiers), and for some reason, Mordin died on me, and he was my favorite ME2 character.

Did I go back to a previous save to try and do the final Collector Base mission differently in order to save Mordin this time? Hell, no. He's dead, and dead he stays, as much as this saddens me.

Again: I'm talking strictly about the first playthrough here. Now that I've finished the Mass Effect trilogy, I have started a new playthrough of Mass Effect 1, importing all the experience points of my first playthrough, and now I'm doing things completely differently (playing as a Renegade, just to see how differently things turn out, for example).

But my first playthrough of the ME trilogy, for me, remains the REAL one. The true experience. The one where I had Wrex die on me without me being able to do anything, where I was forced to send Kaidan to his death because Ashley was hotter anyway, where the singing salarian scientist also died without me knowing what did I do wrong, and where in the end of it all, I heroically died after commanding the Reapers to leave the whole galaxy alone.

This new playthrough I'm making, is sort of a "what-if" scenario, not a canon Mass Effect experience in MY universe.

Funny note: now that I know what happens on Mass Effect 1, I had the intention to romance Ashley and then send her to her death just for shit and giggles. But now I found out I can't do that if I'm playing female Shepard, leaving me only with Kaidan or Liara as love options. Damn it. I already romanced Liara on the three Mass Effect games: on ME2 as part of the Shadow Broker DLC mission, even though I was also romancing Thane — yes, I'm a total slut — and I even managed to romance them BOTH on Mass Effect 3 — yes, I'm the sluttiest slut ever.

So, I guess Kaidan it is, then. After that, I send Ashley to her death, even though she's hotter than Kaidan. Bummer.