Mass Effect month continues as we’re now in week 3. This week’s topic will be the Top 10 Mass Effect Decisions. The criteria for this list is simply any decision you have to make at any point throughout the series. I am judging these by the information you are presented with at the moment of the decision, and the choice you are forced to make. Admittedly, some of these turn out to be more significant than others (though none really matter at all given the ME3 endings), but I am not judging these by their impact on the story or later games. This list is simply the most interesting, difficult, or emotional decisions based solely on the moment you make them. Obviously, there will be spoilers for all three games. Be sure to check back next week for the final entry in Mass Effect Month: The Top 10 Missions. For now though, enjoy The Top 10 Decisions.
10. Kill or Save Sidonis (Mass Effect 2)
Prior to Shepard’s reunion with him in Mass Effect 2, Garrus had been running his own team of vigilantes on Omega. However, he was betrayed by one of men, Sidonis, and it resulted in the other 10 members of his team being killed by mercenaries. He swore revenge, and eventually did track Sidonis down on the Citadel. Obviously, Shepard joins him to help, and at the moment of truth, you can either allow Garrus to murder Sidonis, or warn Sidonis and prevent Garrus from going through with it. I know my first instinct was to let Garrus go through with it; he’s my Turian brother, I don’t want to upset him. However, stopping him is actually the best choice for Garrus, as it allows him to see the guilt Sidonis is living with, and ultimately stops him from doing something he would later regret.
9. Geth or Quarians (Mass Effect 3)
This is one comes with a caveat. It is possible to resolve this situation without having to really make a decision as long as reputation is high enough, but had that not been the case, and you really did have to make a choice, this would be number 1. After you defeat the Reaper on Rannoch, you have to choose whether you want to allow the Quarians to finish off the Geth, or allow the Geth to uprgrade themselves to true AI status, and finish off the Quarians. Choosing between the extinction of two races is bad enough, but the fact that you have Legion and Tali right next to you; two close friends and loyal companions representing the races you have to choose between, really makes this a tough choice. Both races have legitimate grievances against the other. The Quarians attempted genocide of the Geth 300 years ago, resulting a long and bloody war. The Geth chose to accept Reaper upgrades to improve themselves when the Quarians attacked. While the Quarians are probably the ones to blame for most of the hostility between the two groups, siding with Geth while Tali, the sweetest and most likeable character in the series, is standing right beside you makes that a very tough choice. Like I said, you can completely avoid the decision with a higher enough reputation, so that really hurts the weight of the situation, though I was definitely glad I didn’t have to kill off either group.
8. Project Overlord (Mass Effect 2)
Project Overlord was a Cerberus operation with the ultimate goal of controlling the Geth. Of course, it went horribly wrong, and as you investigate, you learn that a young autistic man, David Archer, was the key to the whole project. His autistic mind allowed him to interpret the Geth coding, and give them commands. However, this was achieved by hooking him into a giant computer against his will. When Shepard comes across this, you have the choice to either free him, sending him to Grissom Academy, or to allow Cerberus to continue to use him, allowing the possibility to completely control the Geth (at a point when the Geth/heretic dichotomy was not yet known).
7. Anderson or Udina (Mass Effect)
After the battle of the Citadel, the choice of who will represent humanity on the council is given to Shepard. You have the choice between either Captain Anderson, a strong military man with a sense of honor and duty, or Ambassador Udina, a ruthless politician that knows how to get things done, morals be damned. While Anderson will eventually resign if he is chosen (an event that occurs in the novel “Mass Effect: Retribution”), the initial decision is still a tough one. Do you choose your friend and mentor, or the man more suited for the job, even if he is in it only for the power?
6. Geth Heretics (Mass Effect 2)
After meeting Legion, Shepard learns that the Geth he had been fighting up to that point represented only a small faction of Geth known as the Heretics. Only the Heretics worshiped the Reapers, with the majority of Geth just wanting to exist in isolation from organics. This knowledge makes the decision on what to do with the Heretics a more difficulty one. You can either outright destroy the Heretics, effectively removing the threat, or you can rewrite them, making them like the rest of the Geth, also removing the threat. Even Legion can’t decide what would be best, and the decision ultimately comes down to whether forcing an idea on a group of sentient beings is preferable to outright killing them.