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You can’t make me make new decisions in Mass Effect, I’m boring

Leading up to the launch of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, I was looking forward to comparing the decisions I made when I first played the trilogy in 2013, versus the decisions I would make now, so many years later. How much could my opinions have changed? Surely things wouldn’t be too different, but I imagined there’d be at least some nuance to my actions.

Alas, much like playing the sneaky archer in Skyrim, I have immediately fallen back into old habits. But you know what? So be it. They’re all the correct choices, and you can’t make me change them. You’re not my mum.

This was always going to be a problem with a game I’ve played to death. Though I haven’t touched the trilogy in years, I’m still burdened with all that glorious knowledge of what’s to come (spoilers!). I save the Citadel Council in Mass Effect 1 because I know their replacements are somehow even more obnoxious than them. I tell Cerberus, “No, you can’t keep this giant prototype Reaper” at the end of Mass Effect 2 because… well, that one is just good sense.

With the big decisions, I suppose it reflects more on the games than it does on me. Most of Mass Effect’s choices are so obviously good or bad. Like, hey Garrus, maybe don’t straight up murder that guy! Or, woah Cerberus, no I don’t think I’m going to hand this vital information to people I know were terrorists. There’s a lot less middleground than I remember, though I’m kinda alright with that. I want to be the good guy, mostly because being mean to virtual people makes me sad. I tried a renegade playthrough once, and when I hit the Mordin part of Mass Effect 3, it broke me.

Despite having the choice, sometimes the outcome is still the same. I can sleep well knowing I didn’t choose the renegade option here, though.

It’s the smaller decisions, the more personal ones, that I thought I might have changed my mind on. After Kasumi’s loyalty mission, you get to decide whether or not she keeps a virtual folder of all her late partner’s memories. The catch? It’s laced with dodgy info he doesn’t want released into the galaxy, and he asks her to destroy it. But I’m too sentimental for my own good, and despite lingering on the decision I always tell her to keep it. It’s all she has left of him after all.

All of these repeated choices inevitably lead to the outcomes I know I like. I haven’t reached Mass Effect 3 yet, but I’ll undoubtedly continue the same romance (Garrus, no matter what Alice says) and drag all the same squadmates out on each mission (which of you losers is coming with me and Garrus). I’ll go for the same ending, and I’ll be damned if I lose any of my alien pals. It’s almost not a choice, it’s just the way the game will play out for me, and I’m so excited to get there.

I’ve had my fun experiencing Mass Effect for the first time, and while I’d love to wipe my memory so it felt completely new, playing like this can be just as enjoyable. It’s comfortable, like coming home – except home is in 4k and runs at 60fps, which is all the change I really need.

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