Mass Effect is an action shooter RPG series from Bioware, and has won critics over worldwide with its fantastic graphics, gameplay, and story. Today, however, we won’t be focusing on any of those things – instead, in honour of the wonderful Valentine’s Day, I’ll be discussing some of the options available from the veritable smorgasbord of steamy intergalactic romance options on display for both female and male versions of Commander Shepard.
Ashley is a total space babe, with pouty lips and tons of attitude. Why wouldn’t Shepard want to get into her pants? She’s also a human and has had some ‘genetic enhancements’ – what are those, you ask? She had some sight corrective surgery. Mmmmm yeah, 20/20 vision.
She is religious and enjoys classic literature and poetry, but she can be distrustful of alien species. If you romance Ashley, she shows her sweet and sultry side to you and she will often tell you about her family. For even more convenience, as she’s a human, you don’t need to get anyone to make any special potions so you can bang her. Score.
Tali’Zorah vas Normandy
Oh, Tali. First things first, that accent. Tali is a Quarian, so yeah, she’s an alien. So if that freaks you out, you can scroll down to Miranda. If, however, you like a bit of galactic action, then read on!
Tali is a cute little engineer who often blunders her way through conversations because of her crush on Shepard. You never see her face because of her suit, but that said, she gives off an air of total gorgeousness. She’s curvy and exotic, with great smarts and a total admiration for Shepard. She’s a fabulous drunk, too, so you can look forward to having a riot with her. You will need a potion to have intimacy with her, and it will make her ill… but you’ll be the first to get to see her suit-less and she’ll always be loyal to you.
Miranda is pretty much just a butt. At least that’s what I was told and that’s how it appears on the surface. This lady, who was engineered to be the perfect woman, really is modelled after a perfect woman (Yvonne Strahovski) so she’s a hottie – but she’s got many layers and a lot more to her than that perky butt, which seems to constantly be the camera’s focus when you’re talking to her.
Romancing Miranda might piss off a few other people, seeing as she works for Cerberus and the Illusive Man and all, but she’s loyal to the Shep. She carries around a hatred for her father which could be a little bit of baggage if your Shepard isn’t looking for complications. However, despite it being a shaky game of ‘can I trust her or not?’, Miranda will be loyal to Shepard throughout the game and will eventually win over the other shipmates.
If you’re looking for a fiery, volatile, and truly passionate relationship during your adventure, Jack is your girl. She’ll try to beat you up a few times, but the walls will come down eventually. She’s clearly been around the block with some scumbag dudes, and just thinks Shepard wants to be another.
Unlike Miranda and Ashley, Jack is unconventionally sexy – with almost her entire body covered in ink, and her head shaved – she’s not the girl next door, that’s for sure, but she carries herself with buckets of confidence and puts up a fight with her no-holds-barred attitude. She is worth getting to know and maybe she’s the only one who can really handle Shepard and be an equal to him. She is the most foul-mouthed shipmate – but the Jack romance is probably the most tender and honest in the game. Jack is super hard and tough on the outside, but in the middle she’s all gooey and lovely. Like a Lindor Truffle.
Sadly, Steve was only added into the series in the last instalment, Mass Effect 3, as the male romance option for Shepard. So the romance is very fleeting and we never get to see much of him. Because of this, there’s not a great deal to him, and sadly he does suffer from the feeling that he’s only really there as a last-minute male romance option.
Steve had a husband named Robert who died, so at first Shepard seems to almost be a rebound relationship for Steve, but it grows into quite the fancy pants romance in the end – with James Vega kind of being around like a third wheel a lot.
Garrus is a total bro, and while most alien romances in the game are very humanoid looking, Garrus kind of isn’t, which is weird. But you know what, different strokes for different folks. Who can even resist his lovely soft spoken voice, though? He’s also a bit cheeky and he’s probably Shepard’s best friend in the series. So if you don’t want to complicate the friendship then stay away from the Turian, but if Garrus’s calibrations are making you weak at the knees then go ahead.
The alien relationship freaks out even Garrus, who suggests Shepard should find something ‘closer to home’. This awkward interspecies relationship is very strange, but also really rather adorable. It’s probably because they’re such good friends and they do have some remarkable chemistry. Oh, and he can tango as well.
Eh, Kaidan. He does nothing for me. Sure, he’s hot and all, but he’s pretty boring; he’s a little bit beige and that’s alright if that’s what you’re into, but with so may purples, pinks, and oranges being thrown around in the galaxy, he’s easy to forget and overlook.
He’s a bit of a clinger, too; you can be romancing someone else and he’ll still try and win you over, which is admirable in some ways but it does sort of remind me of the guy you’ve said no to but just won’t let you off. He’s 100 percent friendzone guy. I’m sorry, Kaidan. I know you’re the favourite of many female Shepards out there… but not me.
If you are into Kaidan, though, the relationship definitely becomes chick-flick material. The love between Shepard and Kaidan runs deep and it is eternal and beautiful – he’s probably Channing Tatum.
I don’t really know what to say about Jacob. He’s just sort of there. He’s another romance option that just feels a bit shoved in there for the sake of it, as the relationship isn’t explored too much. Like Kaidan, he suffers from beige syndrome and he’s not a particularly popular character in Mass Effect 2 anyway.
Couple this with the fact that he actually cheats on Shepard and you can guess my feelings on this romance. As a character, he’s cool, calm, and collected. He’s described by Liara as ‘solid and stable’ and he doesn’t initially see Shepard as a romantic interest because he’s professional and doesn’t want to things to get messy with his Commander. So if you romance Jacob, it feels like a taboo romance which is always a little fun. But he will cheat on you. Remember that.
Mmm, Thane. Thane is a storyteller and a poet, and he just has this wonderful way about him. It’s hard not to get sucked into his stories, as you sit there with him in his quarters while he recounts his life and confesses that he is ill. He is a true romantic. If you want to cry, romance this guy. I romanced this guy, and the feels were just too much – but I have no regrets.
Thane is a Drell assassin ‘repenting’ for his sins, or just accepting his fate and sharing it with Shepard. Shepard gives him a second wind at his ending life, and it is fantastically done – it’s that chick flick that you know is going to end in heartache but you watch anyway because it’s sincere, gorgeous, and every moment is beautiful. Ahhhhh, Thane.
Samantha Traynor is cute. She’ll tell her Commander that she should get some rest – she cares about Shepard enough to be a little bit bossy sometimes. The romance with Traynor isn’t too detailed, but you can still have fun and find an enjoyable romance to pursue.
You can share a steamy shower with Samantha which she likes to bring up a lot. Overall, she’s pretty cheeky and doesn’t let Shepard walk all over her. She’s also a massive nerd – she loves chess and other strategy games, so if you’d like to stay up late in checkmate then romance Samantha.
Male or Female Shepard
Liara loves Shepard. Like really, really, loves Shepard. She is the most loyal and dedicated member of the Shepard fan club. In fact, she is the president of the Shepard fan club. She was a damsel in distress who was rescued by Shepard all the way back in the first Mass Effect – so she is with you from the very start.
Liara knows everything though, being the Shadow Broker and all, so be careful if you have any secrets because she will find out, and she will get jealous. Liara is a fan favourite romance because it can span over the three games, and is really quite sweet.
Samara is the choice for you if you’re into sexy older ladies. She can be tough to warm up to Shepard, and the romance is the least saucy, however it seems realistic considering Samara’s past. It would seem out of character for her to want to jump Shepard’s bones. If you’re lucky, however, you’ll get a smooch or two from her.
Do not pursue a romance with Morinth. She will kill you. Game over. But definitely pursue this romance if you like crazy, murderous banshees and don’t mind dying in the heat of passion.
Kelly Chambers is a yeoman who likes to dance; she really likes to dance. She’s also a psychologist who will give you some insight on your other squad mates from time to time when you interact with her. While the romance with Kelly is very simple and lacks the depth that most of the others do, it’s refreshing to have an easy romance option in the game.
Sadly, while a lot of characters in the Mass Effect universe may die, Kelly is one of those characters who will die very easily. She might get eaten by collectors when they wreak havoc on the Normandy, and even if she survives that, she may actually kill herself in Mass Effect 3. Ouch. The lesson here is not to get too attached to the loveable Miss Chambers.
Diana Allers is just there. You can be mean to her on the ship, or you can be nice and have a little fling with her. I wouldn’t class her as a romance – she’s more of a Normandy one night stand, which is cool if your Shepard isn’t keen on getting tied down to any one character.
So there we have it, a guide to love and romance in Mass Effect. There are many paths to go down in this game, and if you’re not bothered about picking up the Paramour achievement, you can hump and dump and leave a trail of broken hearts if you so desire. Be careful, though, because those choices do have a way of biting you in the ass sooner or later, just like in real life! Happy Valentine’s Day!