BioWare's Mass Effect franchise took gamers on a fascinating universal sci-fi journey that will never be forgotten. While fighting against the ever-looming threat of the Reapers was central to Mass Effect's storyline, what made the series so iconic was its vast and diverse cast of characters.
Not only do these companions accompany Commander Shepard as you make your way through hell and back, but, throughout your journey, you also get to learn who these characters were and are and what they think about what it is that you are doing. Some will even fall in love with you, and others will even become your enemy based on your decision.
With that said, with EA finally working on the Mass Effect series once again, we decided to rank all 26 Mass Effect companions from the worst up to the very best.
Morinth finds herself way down on our list simply because of one thing: she's a fairly weak substitute to her mother, Samara.
Whereas her mother was a deeply nuanced justicar with multiple layers, Morinth doesn't really have a personality if she's in your squad. Make no mistake. We loved her role as an antagonist in Mass Effect. Chasing her down is one of the many highlights of Mass Effect 2 because of the pressure of knowing that every decision you make could lead to death.
The only problem is that Morinth really just plugs in to replace Samara if you choose her over your mother and that's it.
BioWare seems to have it out for the human Mass Effect companions and that could not be any more evident with Jacob Taylor.
Theoretically, Jacob is the ideal companion. He's a biotic who has a lot of experience in the field and is emotionally stable. In terms of personality though, he's the very definition of bland. And, if for some reason, you decided to romance him, you'll find yourself treated to even more reasons on why Jacob is way down on this list.
It also doesn't help Jacob's case that he doesn't have any solid specialty whatsoever. He can do a lot well enough to pass, but you already have Shepard for that. The last thing you need is a blander version of a prototypical soldier as a teammate when you decide to play as one.
Imagine if you trained for years only for a classic case of nepotism to derail you from getting the job that you've always wanted? You'd definitely not be helping the one that got the job anyway. Had that happened, Cora Harper would have made an awesome rival and teammate, sniping at you at every chance she can get.
Instead, Cora just gets over the main character of Mass Effect: Andromeda being picked as the Pathfinder, and, well, that's pretty much all she wrote.
The stereotypical buff-up soldier, James Vega, joins the Mass Effect series late and fails to make a good initial impression. Over time, you'll find out that he's a pretty likable guy. However, when you've got a cast of companions that are far more interesting than the "funny dude" and with more useful abilities when in combat, it's difficult for Vega to stand out when he's got very few redeeming qualities.
Liam Costa is written as an elite, handpicked soldier who supposedly eats aliens for breakfast. For the most part, he does deliver. The only problem? The end of the first mission will have turned most players off from ever using Liam Costa again that most will not put any effort to discover who he is as a person, how useful he is in a firefight, and how great his loyalty mission is.
Vetra Nyx suffers because of two things: the inevitable comparisons to Garrus and the fact that she's part of Andromeda.
While we highly doubt that a sequel to Andromeda will ever be released, the game could have done a better job of showing us more of who Vetra was. Outside of her concern for her sister, we don't really get enough of who Vetra is as a person. If it's any consolation, Vetra does have a bad-ass story, what with having multiple underworld connections and years of experience dealing with the bad guys.
In terms of combat, Vetra is reliable. She doesn't pack as much firepower as the other companions available in Andromeda, but she does have a power armor that can get you through sticky situations and when coming under tremendous fire.
The latter would have been awesome had Andromeda actually gave you reasons to use it often.
For some reason, Kaiden seems to get the short end of the proverbial stick in the first Mass Effect game. He's often the first choice whenever you have to choose someone to leave to die in what will be the first of numerous similar scenarios. However, if you do take the time to get to know him, you'll find out that he has quite a sad childhood after being experimented on to become a biotic.
It's just unfortunate that the writers chose to show Kaidan in a different light only if he survived the first game as you get a chance to meet him again in Mass Effect 3.
Pelessaria B'Sayle, otherwise known as PeeBee, is Andromeda's equivalent to Liara. She's the game's scientist who's working hard to uncover more about the ancient artifacts. However, that's where her similarities with Liara ends.
Whereas Liara was more of a demure and sophisticated kind of character, PeeBee is more feisty and is willing to use her marksmanship to get things done even when she hasn't thought things through. Not to mention, she seems more than happy to buck the trend of drinking anyone under the proverbial table and giving a rat's ass what anyone else's opinion is of her.
In a way, PeeBee is one of the more interesting characters of Andromeda, which can be a back-handed compliment depending on how you perceive it.
Nakmor Drack has the fact that most of the Krogans that players have had a chance to encounter in Mass Effect were far more interesting. This isn't to say that he's a bad character though. As far as reliability goes, Nackmor Drack has over 1,400 years worth of experience to draw from whenever he dives in headfirst into a fight.
Perhaps the only reason why we ranked Nakmor Drack this low is because he embodies too much of the tough and bad-ass stereotype that we've come to know Krogans for.
We would have loved to see more of his family man side.
As you might have learned by now, being "fine" is pretty much synonymous with ranking low in our list of Mass Effect companions. But, Ashley Williams redeems herself, somewhat, if you happen to NOT leave her to die on Virmire early in the game (sorry Kaidan) and see her character develop throughout the three games.
The history of the family of Ashley also helps add another layer of depth to her character that makes her one of the more interesting companions in Mass Effect.
Zaeed Massani is what you'd get if you put a classic 80's action star into Mass Effect and instead of ripping heads off of rebels, you have him taking part in a quest with the fate of the entire galaxy resting on your hands.
Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. It's actually pretty cool to have a space bounty hunter on your side.
Jaal Ama Darav
Vetra Nyx might have been the Turian of Andromeda, but it was probably that Jaal Ama Darav that fit Garrus' former role the best.
Hailing from the newly introduced Angaran race, Jaal is a quiet and reserved long-range combat specialist who has a smooth growl in his voice and has no trouble expressing what he is thinking of at that particular moment.
Samara is the space-faring version of Batman. She adheres to her code so much to the point that even when you've successfully hunted down her daughter, Morinth, it doesn't seem to have a lot of impact on her, which is interesting, at first. However, as the novelty of learning new aspects of Asari cultures starts to wear down, you'll find that Samara doesn't really have that much to offer outside of that particularly interesting aspect of her personality.
Javik is the old man of Mass Effect 3, both in a literal and a figurative sense.
Technically, Javik is old. Like, he's older than the current cycle. He's the only living survivor of the ancient Prothean race, who you discover after thawing him out from cryostasis. But, while it is interesting to see how a character like him would adjust to an entirely new galaxy set 50,000 years into his future, it starts to get annoying the way that he complains about how things were better during his time.
Luckily, Javik is pretty impressive in combat. He's the kind of teammate that you'll always want to bring with you on missions even if only to have someone give you a "no shit?" kind of take on the current situation.
Jack's tragic backstory is to blame for why so many seem to hate on how angsty and violent she is in Mass Effect. At the same time, it's also the reason why so many seem to like her. She's a broken hero who's just trying to get by after someone rescued her from being basically bred to become the ultimate biotic weapon.
By the time that you get to meet her in mass Effect 3, Jack takes on more of a teaching role, which should be a huge waste of her biotic powers.
Unfortunately, outside of cutscenes, Jack doesn't really feel as powerful as she should be. Her actual gameplay puts her behind Samara and she's not exactly good with guns. But, she does have some uses. In particular, when you utilize her Warp Ammo skill to great effect when fighting against the many biotic foes in Mass Effect.
At this point, we're entering the elite territory and first up is everybody's favorite onboard AI in human form.
EDI's physical manifestation is that of an efficient and professional if snarky robot who has her uses in combat as she can spawn decoys and reinforce your armor. However, as you talk to EDI more and more, she gradually evolves and learns what it truly means to be a living being. It also helps that she has this odd romance thing going on with Joker.
Judging by how EDI looks with her sleek and shiny robot body, it's hard to blame Joker for wanting to tap that.
Kasumi Goto is the best thief in the Mass Effect universe that you've probably never heard of, which just speaks volumes about just how good she is. A DLC character available in Mass Effect 2, you can recruit Kasumi by helping her recover the Graybox of her deceased lover, Keiji, which contains all of his former memories and essentially lets him live on forever.
Combat-wise, Kasumi isn't as useful as her backstory and overall character is interesting. Still, if you need someone to flank the enemy up close from the other side, Kasumi is your girl.
As a bonus, you get to learn more about Kasumi in Mass Effect 3, as well as the Citadel DLC, as she dives deep into her more playful side, sneaking around while cloaked and filming the other companions just for the sake of it.
Grunt is Shepard's oversized tank of an adopted son. There's just no other way to describe him.
Woken up from a tank fully grown with a strong desire to destroy everything in his path, it is up to Shepard to show Grunt the right way and occasionally let him tap into his brutal nature whenever the situation calls for it.
Like a true Krogan, Grunt doesn't respect authority. He respects power. But, he's also different from other Korgan because of his birth. He wasn't actually birthed like other Krogans were. He was artificially made and genetically engineered, which is probably why he's much more eloquent and vocal than your typical Krogan, asking Shepard about anything from dinosaurs to philosophy and everything in between.
Nigh-unkillable and unstoppable in combat, Grunt's best moment in the Mass Effect franchise come in the Citadel DLC when he sneaks to go on a night out and gets himself locked up inside in jail so that his adoptive parent, Shepard, can bail him out.
How much you like Miranda Lawson probably depends on whether or not you did everything you could to make sure that she doesn't suffer one of the most gruesome and violent deaths in all of gaming.
Now, we won't spoil you on how and why that happens, but if you did invest in the necessary time to get to know Miranda, you'll find out that she's more than just the genetically engineered perfect being that she introduces herself as.
Seeing her grow from constantly moaning about what her connections to her sister and father meant to choose to side with the Alliance as she fights against the very organization that she represented for many years gives her an unforgettable character arc.
Thane Krios is one of the most unforgettable characters in the entire Mass Effect franchise because of how his character was so well-written.
The Drell's ability to kill people with no problem was evident the moment that he joined your squad. Later on, you start to learn more about Thane, not as the assassin, but as a person. He'll talk about his spirituality and how he cares so much for his son. Eventually, he'll reveal that he's dying from Kepral Syndrome, which is why he can't join Shephard any longer in Mass Effect 3.
As a bonus, if you romance Thane, you get treated to arguably one of the most intimate relationships in a series full of them.
Unfortunately, in the last game, Thane dies well before his time is up. However, one could argue that this was a fitting farewell as he died doing what he did best - killing the opposition and proving that he will help Shephard in any way that he can.
Tali'Zorah Nar Rayya
From here on out, every character ranked could very well be tied for the best, so it doesn't matter where we put them, we consider them as the best companions in Mass Effect.
With that said, Tali's growth throughout the three games is one of the greatest strengths. To see her go from being the cute and awkward engineer who almost always seems to feel that she's way above her head that you get to meet in the first game to become a paragon of the Quarians by the time that the trilogy ends is nothing short of amazing.
The fact that she's even more awesome when you get her drunk and if you decide to romance her is just a bonus.
Urdnot Wrex is the perfect example of how you do a tough and gruff character right.
When you first meet Urdnot Wrex in Mass Effect, he was just another Korgan mercenary who's just out for another payday. Later on, you start to learn more about who Wrex really is and how much he wants to help his fellow Krogan.
Always eager to help everyone, in and out of combat, Wrex's story arc is arguably the best in the franchise.
Seeing Wrex leave the squad to lead the rest of the Krogans only to occasionally reunite with him makes for some pretty bittersweet moments. Not to mention, his opinions and nuggets of wisdom are almost always golden, especially when it leads to some pretty hilarious interactions between Wrex and the other companions.
Taking the risk and adding a member of a former enemy race, the Geth, in Legion, in Mass Effect 2, paid off very well for the franchise. It gave us a firsthand look at who the Geth were and painted them in a more relatable light. It also paved the way for the conversation of whether synthetics were truly alive to take place.
Add Legion's unique sense of humor and how he wants to wear a part of your N7 armor on himself makes him a truly unique and memorable companion in Mass Effect.
The icing on top of the proverbial cake comes in the final game as the Geth find themselves playing a central role in a very emotional moment.
Who doesn't love the singing Salarian? Members of the genius race, the exceptionally smart Mordin Solus was first introduced in Mass Effect 2 and the more you interacted with him, the more you get to learn about what his thoughts about everything were.
Whether when it's talking about the genophage that all but wiped out the Krogans and all of his unsolicited romantic advice, Solus' thoughts are almost always appreciated.
Solus's demise in Mass Effect 3 also seemed like the perfect way to cap off his excellent character arc and will likely stick with you well after you've put the controller down and finished the entire Mass Effect trilogy.
Just like Tali, Liara T'Soni's been around since the first Mass Effect game, and just like Tali, it's been amazing to see how much she's grown the first time you met her.
Once a naive Asari archaeologist, Liara goes through a drastic transformation after Shephard's death, eventually becoming the enigmatic Shadow Broker herself by the time the events of the third game come around. However, despite all of what she's been through, every chance you get to meet and welcome Liara back into the squad feels like nothing changed.
In the end, Liara's loyalty and dedication to Shepard make it feel like she's one of the few people that the Commander can truly count on in the Mass Effect universe.
Was this ever really a surprise?
It doesn't matter if you bring Garrus in as your best friend or as your lover. Either way, this former Turian C-Sec officer turned feared mercenary going by the monicker, Archangel, turned trusted Reaper advisor, made Garrus an indispensable member of your squad.
It's easy to see why Garrus becomes your very first friend in Mass Effect given how the two of your meet. It's also why reuniting with him in the second game becomes all the more impactful as Garrus, once again, offers his undying support and loyalty to Shepard. Although there were things that changed for Garrus in between the three games, which you'll get a chance to explore, one thing that never changes is the friendship between Shepard and Garrus.
In a world full of chaos, backstabbing, and uncertainty, it certainly helps to have a constant like Garrus to help you see through it all.