Video Games: Mass Effect Male Romance Options Ranked

Screenshot of Thane from ‘Mass Effect 2’. Copyright goes to Bioware and EA.

Hey! Hallie here!

Tonight’s post is a bit later than usual, but that’s because it’s Annie and I’s birthday! To close out the day, I thought I’d make a post about ‘Mass Effect’ to honor one of my favorite game franchises and it’s remake coming out in only a few days! There are a lot of romances in Bioware games, so many that I can’t mention all of the romances in Mass Effect in one post. However, I’m a lot more knowledgable about the male romance options as I’m a straight woman, so I figured I’d rank my favorite romances I’ve gone through in the games! There are definitely SPOILERS ahead so if you’re one of the few who haven’t played these games, I would seriously recommend you look into playing them before diving into spoiler territory. You’ve been warned.

Jacob Taylor: You meet Jacob Taylor during the events of Mass Effect 2 and he seems like a pretty cool guy. He at least embodies a lot of heroic traits when you talk with him. He doesn’t like unnecessary violence and questions being recruited by a group that is known for acts of violence. He’s pretty accommodating of everyone, no matter what species. His care for others leads him to be a voice of both empathy and reason during missions. He doesn’t like mercenaries or assassins because he doesn’t like the idea of people being paid to murder others, which is actually rare to see in the Mass Effect universe. He has some daddy issues, but nothing that’s a major warning sign. Especially around Miranda, who is quite cold and calculating, he can seem like one of the most moral characters on your crew. When it comes to romance he’s a bit hesitant at first. He isn’t really considering a romance at all, let alone with Shepard. But he also isn’t hard to win over either. Maybe the fact that he wasn’t too into it should have been a red flag. I say that because, if you try to continue your romance in Mass Effect 3, he reveals that he not only started another relationship, but his girlfriend is pregnant. He CHEATED on you. What the hell man?

Kaidan Alenko: Is anyone really surprised the human characters ended up in the last two positions? Kaidan is a nice guy. He’s extremely loyal. He’s willing to give up his life for Shepard at any point. Anytime he’s angry at Shepard he’s willing to put it behind him the minute you confront him about it. He’s pretty empathetic, but all of his empathy is either from or directed towards Shepard. No matter what gender Shepard is, it doesn’t matter to him. I think it’s fair to say that even if you don’t pursue a romance with him, he’s still very much in love with you (Unless he’s dead. Looking at all the people who sacrificed him in Mass Effect 1). The issue with Kaidan is that he’s a bit boring. The only story points that seem to try to give him any depth are the ones where he begins to question his loyalty to Shepard, either because of his biotics or because of Cerberus, but by nature of his character he always chooses Shepard. It doesn’t feel like he grows throughout the games. It doesn’t feel like he ever learns to stand on his own. He’s just always falling over you. At moments it can be cute, but more often than not it makes him seem bland.

Garrus Vakarian: Ok, I know this is going to get me a bit of heat. Before I go into this I’d like to say that Garrus is actually my favorite character on this list. He’s the most supportive friend you can find on the Normandy and his sarcasm and understanding attitude make him a good person to vent to. He’s a badass who can hold his own in battle, but he also genuinely cares about your well being. He gets you, and that makes him a joy to talk to. His romance isn’t bad as a whole. But I can’t help but feel that it ruins a bit of a good thing. The friendship with Garrus is amazing. But the romance is so awkward. For one, if you go into this romance you immediately start with asking Garrus to have sex with you. No romantic feelings are expressed by either party. As a person who identifies as Asexual, I’m not super comfortable with a video game forcing your relationship to heavily focus on sex. Garrus’ relationship does this. Garrus’ romance plot in Mass Effect 2 consists entirely of awkwardly trying to plan when the crew will be able to leave the Normandy in the hopes of getting some privacy. Meanwhile, Garrus worries about human bedroom practices. Obviously, I don’t find this romantic. In Mass Effect 3 Garrus starts actively trying to learn about more non-physical relationship customs as well, which is nice. There’s even a fun dance scene you can see if you get the DLC (It’s the only time you will ever see Shepard dance like a normal person), plus some really lovely parting words before the final battle. But as Garrus’ friend you still get a lot of those kind parting words, plus a whole lot less of the awkward innuendo shoved into regular conversation. I love Garrus but this relationship doesn’t win me over.

Thane Krios: Thane’s romance isn’t for everyone. The moment you meet him he lets you know that he’s dying. You don’t know when, because he doesn’t know when, but you know he only has a few years. This is because Thane is suffering from a lung disease common in his species known as Kepral’s Syndrome. So yeah, not the happiest relationship. Thane is also an assassin, so there’s reason to be cautious of him at first. But by talking to him you realize he’s quite a moralistic and even religious man. He prays for all the people he kills and though he once felt it unnecessary to care about what jobs he took, his diagnosis made him decide to right his wrongs and atone for his actions. Conversations with him are always deep and emotional as a result of the time he spends looking back on his life. If you get close enough to him, he even talks about his late wife and the fact that his job has made him absent from most of his teenage son’s life. It’s through helping him reconnect with his son that you actually start a relationship. It’s a genuinely sweet one too. He gives you a nickname after the warrior angels in his religion, he’s always checking in to make sure you’re doing okay, and the relationship grows only when Shepard and Thane open up to each other. It’s never one-sided. Mass Effect 3 is where the relationship gets more depressing. Thane can’t travel with you anymore because he has to stay at a hospital to monitor his worsening condition. He even allows you to opt out of the relationship, knowing how painful it might be to see his health deteriorate. But if you decide to keep going, he sends messages to your ship to check in. Of course, by the end of the game he dies. He has you recite a last prayer with his son, which is actually for you not for him, and then his son gives you all the video messages he filmed for you while you were away. Yeah, bring the tissues for this one. There’s no question that Thane is the most thoughtful of the romance options.

Well that’s it! Apparently I love pain because I put by far the most painful Mass Effect romance at the top of this list, but I’m not going to analyze that right now. Anyways, I can’t wait to see what the remake will look like! I’m ready to experience the pain all over again! Maybe it’ll hurt less this time! (It won’t.)

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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