BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy is an epic space opera chronicling the adventures of Commander Shepard as she, or he, attempts to save humanity and the rest of the galaxy, from an ancient race of deadly synthetic lifeforms. Over the course of Shepard’s journey a fascinating group of individuals join the cause to save their worlds from a fate far worse than extermination. A few members of the LevelSave staff are big fans of the Mass Effect series and we thought it was time to pay tribute to our favorite crew members.
10. Thane Krios
Taryn – Thane is first introduced in Mass Effect 2. On the surface he’s an efficient and ruthless assassin, but but underneath he’s a tortured soul, haunted by memories of his past that he relives due to the Drell’s unique memory. After avenging the murder of his wife, Thane tries to make things right in his final days by joining Shepard’s fight against the Reapers. As they journey together aboard the Normandy, Shepard and Thane are able to develop a strong relationship that can lead to some incredibly deep/romantic moments. Thane is a complex and spiritual individual Slowly dying from Keprel’s Syndrome, he is but a shadow of his physical abilities in Mass Effect 3 but is still capable of an act of true heroics. Although his time in the series is relatively short, he leaves behind an incredible and lasting impression.
Taryn – In the first Mass Effect the Geth are introduced as villainous synthetic lifeforms that massacred their former masters, the Quarrians, forcing them into exile. We find that they have allied themselves with Saren and the Reapers and make up the majority of the forces Shepard faces on Noveria, Ferros, and Virmire. The Geth also played an important part in assisting Saren and Sovereign in the Battle of the Citadel in which many council and Alliance vessels were lost. Imagine then, the surprise when a lone Geth unit wearing N7 armor helps Shepard while exploring a derelict Reaper. If you played your cards right and reactivated Legion you were introduced to a completely new perspective on the Geth, one that probably had you questioning the very definition of life. Legion goes on to sacrifice himself to liberate the Geth from Reaper control after taking Shepard through the memories of the Geth, a moment that remains one of the most powerful in the series.
8. Jeff “Joker” Moreau
James – Jeff “Joker” Moreau has been there with us from day one. The first scene in which we see our user-created Shepard he [or she] is in the cockpit interacting with Joker and we are introduced to the comedic value that Seth Green brought not only to the character but to the series itself. There have been characters that have been in and out of Shepard’s circle throughout the series but Joker has been one of the constants. Whether he was piloting the Normandy on our chase to stop Saren or the one friendly face we started with to start our journey with Cerberus, he was there with us, for better or for worse. Joker may not be a squadmate at any point in the series and he may only be playable for one five minute segment throughout the series but the impact he made is undeniable and he has more than earned his place on this list. Among his greatest accomplishments are dealing the final crippling blow to Sovereign during the Battle of the Citadel, helping EDI to cleanse the Normandy of Collectors after their hostile takeover, and being the first pilot in galactic history to successfully navigate the Omega-4 Relay. Joker is an amazing character and having him at the helm of two of sci-fi’s greatest vessels has been nothing short of an honor.
7. Urdnot Wrex
Taryn – How could Wrex not make this list? Are you serious? There was no way he was getting left out in the cold. Talking to Wrex down in the armory/cargo hold of the Normandy SR1 opened up a lot of information on the plight of the Krogan and what Wrex was really about. Although he comes into Shepard’s service as a mercenary, and is a total bad ass, if you kept him alive, you saw that he became so much more than that. He (rather than his dip-shit brother) becomes the leader the Krogan desperately need. Working with Mordin, he cures the Genophage, and he actually shows he has the political chops to broker an alliance with the Turians and Asari to combat the Reapers. After the battle for Earth Wrex and “Eve” effectively rebuild the Krogan and contribute to the galactic rebuilding process. Wrex plays a massive role in the Krogan’s social and political status. Without him the Krogan are left in chaos and eventually the galaxy is too.
Taryn – EDI is one of my favorite characters. First introduced in Mass Effect 2, the Normandy’s AI was represented by a disembodied voice and holographic sphere. Designed for “Cyber Warfare” EDI was also tasked with monitoring activities on the Normandy and sending reports to the Illusive Man. Her relationship with Shepard and Joker gets off to a rocky start as no one really trusts her. After the crews constant battles with the Geth, it isn’t easy to blame their reluctance to trust an A.I., shackled or not. Over time she finds opportunities to prove not only her worth, but her loyalty to Shepard, saving the Normandy and the crews’ life numerous times. In Mass Effect 3 her role is expanded further as she commandeers the cybernetic body of one of the Illusive Man’s agents, and gains the ability to physically accompany Shepard in the field. EDI is unique in that her relationship with Shepard offers a glimpse of the hand-in-hand working relationship organic and synthetic lifeforms can have together. An idea taken even further by EDI’s budding romance with the Normandy’s helmsman Joker. Her curiosity and dry sense of humor make her one of the most endearing characters in the trilogy.
5. Miranda Lawson
Taryn – The beginning of Mass Effect 2 is shocking to say the least. Within the first 15 minutes Commander Shepard is, for all intents and purposes, dead. And quite surprisingly, it is due specifically to the efforts and resources of the Illusive Man and Miranda Lawson on the Lazarus Project that Shepard is able to come back and fight both Cerberus and the Reapers. Miranda is cold and calculating. Genetically engineered by her wealthy and morally bankrupt father to be a pinnacle of human ability, she proves to have quite a heart underneath the ice queen persona she portrays. She is both enhanced and hampered psychologically by her genetic make up which makes her incredibly bright and powerful as a biotic but often results in her often holding herself to extremely high standards and expectations (something that Shepard very quickly points out during their interactions). Her gifts combine to make her one of Shepard’s most cunning and dangerous allies. Her leadership abilities on the battlefield prove to be invaluable during the assault on the Collectors’ base and the intel she gathers on Sanctuary allow Shepard to save countless lives that would have otherwise been lost to Cerberus and the Illusive Man.
4. Mordin Solus
Taryn – Mordin is unique, in a variety of ways. Like any Salarian, he talks and thinks fast. A former STG operative that was directly involved in the Salarian development and deployment of the Genophage during the Krogan Rebellion, Shepard finds Mordin running a health clinic on the space station of Omega in the lawless Terminus Systems. Shepard recruits him to find a way to counteract the seeker swarms and assist in their mission against the Collectors. Through conversation with Mordin you find out that not only is he a genius but that he talks to himself quite often and also enjoys singing. He’s one of the few, if not the only, crew member that actually challenges Shepard’s perspective during many of their conversations. His seminal moment comes in the middle of Mass Effect 3 when Shepard has to decide whether they’re going to cure the Genophage or pretend to. Mordin reveals how much his actions working for STG have weighed on his conscience. It is an amazing and emotional moment that fills out his character arch beautifully. “Had to be me, someone else might have gotten it wrong.”
3. Tali Zorah
Taryn – Tali is the first, in fact the only Quarian, that Shepard meets in the first Mass Effect game. She provides valuable intel on Saren’s involvement in the attack on Eden Prime. She embarks on a chase across the galaxy as well as satisfying her pilgrimage along the way. Although a bit shy in social settings, she proves herself to be a masterful engineer and technician both on the Normandy and on the field of battle. Over the course of the journey Shepard learns a lot about Quarian culture including everything that Tali knows (which is only what she’s been told) about the Geth’s uprising. She accompanies Shepard in combat throughout the trilogy, even earning the title of “vas Normandy” with her people. Tali struggles to deal with the blatant racism and prejudice that her people exhibit towards the Geth, even falling prey to her own preconceived notions at times. Perhaps the most endearing part of Tali though is her cute personality and fiery spirit. Tali and Shepard easily bond and romantic interest or not, her gestures of friendship through her Quarian customs are so heartfelt and genuine it is difficult not to fall in love with her.
2. Liara T’Soni
Taryn – Dr. Liara T’Soni, where do I even begin? An expert on the Protheans, she dedicated her life to studying and excavating Prothean ruins. Liara is the first in her cycle to see the patterns of the Reaper harvest. She plays an integral role in helping Shepard make sense of the cipher and the visions from the Prothean Beacon on Eden Prime. On top of being a brilliant scientist she is also a powerful biotic, able to help control the flow of battle with biotic singularities and stasis fields. After Shepard dies at the beginning of Mass Effect 2, Liara is able to locate Shepard’s body, preventing it from falling into the hands of the Shadow Broker and subsequently the Collectors. She turns over Shepard’s body to Cerberus when she finds out they have plans to bring the Commander back via the Lazarus Project. As Shepard is essentially rebuilt, Liara spends that time becoming one of the premier information brokers on Illium as she works to hunt down the Shadow Broker to repay a debt. With Shepard’s help not only do they find and take down the Shadow Broker, but she assumes the mantle, using the vast information network of covert agents to assist Shepard in the battle to save the galaxy. She is as brilliant as she is beautiful.
1. Garrus Vakarian
Taryn – It was only a matter of time before we got to the Master of Calibrations, Garrus Vakarian. He made number 1 on this list for a variety of reasons. First, he’s the only character in the entire Mass Effect universe that is a squad-mate throughout the entire trilogy. He is with Shepard 100%, through thick and thin, and he’s not a bad shot either. A restless C-Sec officer, Garrus is on a mission to take down the infamous Saren Arterius when Shepard first comes across him. His relatively short temper and quest for justice without the ‘red tape’ leads him to leave Citadel Security and join up with Shepard to take down Saren and the Geth. When Shepard joins forces with Cerberus, it doesn’t take him long to follow Shepard into hell and take on the Collectors in a suicide mission. Likewise, he’s there again when Shepard shows up on Mennae, looking for the Turian Primarch and relief for Earth. Pretty much everyone on this list is a G, there is no doubt about that. But Garrus, with his favorite sniper rifle and dark sense of humor is a Super OG. When Shepard found him on Omega under the alias of Archangel, Garrus had found a way to cause so much grief to the Eclipse, Blue Suns and Blood Pack mercenaries that they actually joined forces to try and take him out and still that wasn’t enough. He’s the bad ass of bad asses and the Normandy crew member (outside of Shepard) that you’d be best not to trifle with. P.S.: Don’t ask him about Sidonis.
I hope you enjoyed this list as much as we did making it. Both editors James Pope and Kaleb Steenmeyer contributed heavily to the make up and ranking of our favorite crew members aboard the Normandy. We’d love to hear your thoughts on who you think should be number 1 and why. Sound off in the comments below. Keelah se’lai.