Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is launching on the 14th of May, giving fans a chance to play through the genre defining space opera RPG trilogy once more with graphical and gameplay improvements. The new release will the games a visual once-over to bring them up to the standards of current generation games, while unifying the gameplay mechanics of the three titles.
Legendary Edition boasts almost all of the original DLC for all three games, meaning all of the extra companions will be joining Shepard on their mission to save the galaxy from the threat of the Reapers. Like all BioWare titles, the Mass Effect games became famous throughout the gaming world for their loveable (and sometimes unlovable) squad members.
This colorful, misfit bunch of robots, aliens, mercenaries, soldiers, assassins, thieves, vigilantes and others stick with Shepard through the thick of the war and bring life and drama to the cold vacuum of space. Every fan has their own list of favorites, and no doubt many of you are eager to revisit your virtual friendships and relationships with the various companions spanning the three games.
Here are our top 10 squaddies we can't wait to catch up with when Mass Effect: Legendary Edition drops. Feel free to shout at us in the comments for leaving out your personal favorite!
Be warned that there are major spoilers in this article, so if the Legendary Edition will be your first exposure to Mass Effect, click away now.
This is hardly going to be the hottest take in the list considering "archangel's" popularity and huge fanbase. One of the two squad members consistently teaming up with Shepard across all three games, Garrus is the greatest friend and ally anyone could hope for. Loyal to the end and tirelessly calibrating your weapons systems, he can't help but be awesome even when the hero of the series is presumed dead for a while - he decides to become a goddamn superhero, with a fake identity and everything.
The former C-Sec officer first teamed up with Shepard during the investigation into the rogue Specter Saren's involvement with the attack on Eden Prime, the inciting incident for the entire trilogy. Fed up with regulations and red-tape constantly getting in the way of actually making a positive difference, Garrus turns in his badge and joins us on the Normandy. A fierce shot with a sniper rifle, you can even test your aim against him in a friendly game during the course of Mass Effect 3 - and let him win, if you want.
He also blocks missiles with his face.
After spending much of Mass Effect shooting the "flashlight head" robotic, AI-powered Geth, and then shooting a few more in the earlier missions of Mass Effect 2, it came as quite the surprise to have one of the sentient machines joining our squad. It came as even more of a surprise that he ended up being one of the coolest and most interesting member of our squad. Hats off to the writers for all of the Legion conversations - it really conveyed the inherent difficulties that such vastly different forms of life would have with communication. The articulated flaps on his head even made rudimentary facial expressions possible, and Legion "raising an eyebrow" was, dare I say, cute whenever it happened.
Learning more about the Geth was always fascinating, as well as getting insight into how they viewed Shepard. It is revealed that those Geth who followed Saren and Sovereign didn't represent the will of the greater "consensus", but there was still some weight to the fact that Shepard single handedly wiped out so many of them. The entire story about why he's wearing a wrecked piece of N7 armor is a treat too. There's been a Legion-shaped hole in our hearts since the ending of Mass Effect 3, too.
Wrex may not be the most popular Krogan in the galaxy, and he definitely had his own goals in sight pretty much the whole time, but despite not being your typical hero character he was there with Shepard when it mattered and grew from being a fortune seeking cynical bounty hunter who has given up on his species to being the key to Krogan survival and prosperity. That's one hell of a character development arc.
While he doesn't return as a full-on squad member in Mass Effect 2 or 3, he rejoins the team temporarily for the big fan-service hoedown that is The Citadel DLC. When we meet him in Mass Effect 2, he welcomes us as a trusted friend in his clan and helps with recruiting the specialists we need, and in Mass Effect 3 he is a key element of the war effort.
Some fans wrote Grunt off as "discount Wrex", but this particular Krogan is a very different breed. Meeting him for the first time goes a little differently than with the other squaddies - he headbutts you into a wall - but it quickly becomes apparent that no amount of artificial growth-pod hallucination information implanting procedures will make up for the process of growing up. Despite being a battle-ready mountain of meat, Grunt still needs to be raised by Shepard in a sense.
When we meet him again in Mass Effect 3, it becomes clear that he grew up alright - leading a squad of Krogan warriors against reaperized Rachni is no small feat. These insectoid aliens almost managed to wipe out all other life in the galaxy once before, and back then they weren't pumped up with Reaper cybernetics. Depending on your choices, he might even end up heroically sacrificing himself here - but that would be such a waste!
Another member of the OG squad, the biotically powered and intellectually curious Liara definitely gets treated by the developers as one of the most central characters of the trilogy. Her mother is a secondary antagonist in the first game, and following Commander Shepard's alleged death, she seems to be dealing with it the hardest. While Garrus turned into a vigilante, Liara became a shadowy information broker involved with the seediest underground elements of the galaxy.
When we meet her in Mass Effect 2, she's on a personal vendetta against the so called Shadow Broker, and we can help her take on that mantle herself. If you don't mind one of your squad members being the end-stage surveillance nightmare Big Brother (Sister?) of the distant future, that status can come in supremely handy.
You've got to love Mordin. The prodigious Salarian scientist thinks faster than you can blink and speaks faster than you can think, and is always working on some new kind of inoculation or remedy to help the crew survive against the near-daily life threatening situations they get into. While Dr. Chakwas is on hand for regulard medical matters, Mordin is more of an experimental kind of guy.
He also had a hand in developing the Genophage, a sterility plague that has pushed the Krogan species onto the edge of extinction. Had this unethical measure not been implemented, the war-like Krogan would likely have rampaged through the galaxy, but guilt about his actions marred Mordin nonetheless, and when we meet him again in Mass Effect 3, he potentially makes the ultimate sacrifice to right this wrong, depending on our actions. He also loves to collect sea shells and sing.
Nothing but a wireframe ball throughout Mass Effect 2, the unshackled artificial intelligence controlling the systems aboard the Normandy SR-2 was both highly illegal and highly helpful. It, or rather she, saved the ship and the crew countless times, and helped the pilot Joker in a particularly dangerous Collector attack while cracking jokes about the inevitable machine uprising. Operating systems with a sense of humor are truly the future of technology.
In Mass Effect 3 she gains an actual body of her own, and while there is definitely a conversation to be had here about the undue oversexualisation of female characters in video games, no longer being software inside the ship computer does help her get some more agency in the story. It's the conversations that make EDI a standout squad member, as the writers once again hit it out of the park with the philosophical musings on the trappings of artificial life. Her oddball relationship with Joker is also a curious plot point, and Shepard can act as a wingman/woman for them.
There is plenty of tragedy to go around in the world of Mass Effect, and sometimes the most memorable characters aren't the ones that make you laugh but the ones that make you sad. Thane definitely got the shorter end of the stick many times throughout his life, though admittedly occasionally by his own fault. Nonetheless, his character arc of struggling with regret amid the final stages of a terminal illness make him not only one of the most interesting characters in the franchise, but in all of gaming.
Things with him come to a head in Mass Effect 3. Suffice it to say, you definitely will have wanted to help him with his personal loyalty mission in the previous game, unless you are completely heartless. He's also one of the romance options for female Shepards, and here again players get a unique look at how relationships mix with terminal illnesses - not a theme commonly explored in the medium.
As far as tragedies go, Thane isn't alone. You wouldn't think it based on her usual cheery attitude, but the entire reason for Kasumi joining up with Shepard is because of the death of her partner. Her one condition for teaming up with the first Human Spectre is that they help her retrieve her partner's "grey box", a memory recording cybernetic implant. While not the main source of the device's importance, it also allows Kasumi to relive all of their shared memories, showing how some people struggle with moving on after the loss of a loved one.
It's not all doom and gloom, though - hearing her funny comments on the comings and goings of the Normandy crew as she casually stealths through the ship is definitely some great comic relief.
Speaking of comic relief and tragedy, the last surviving Prothean brings both in spades. Available in Mass Effect 3 as part of the From Ashes DLC available at launch, the business model around Javik was one of the more controversial points about an already controversial launch, but purely from an in-game standpoint, he's a treat. Our best source of insight into Prothean society and history, the militant Javik demolished a lot of the romanticized misconceptions the people in the game had of the long lost civilisation.
He can go on some particularly edgy monologues like "ask the ashes of a billion dead whether honor matters, and their silence will be your answer" and other similar sentences right out of the lyrics of some nu-metal song, but he also has a preference of throwing things out the airlock. Sometimes those things are your Pilot. Too bad you can't show him the trash-compactor in Zaeed's room...
You can reunite with all of these squad members and others we left off the list in May, when Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches.