You see my badge might say Paragon but I’m still down with the genophage. Some people might say that’d make me a renegade, but when you’ve seen what I’ve seen — when you’ve done what I’ve done — you stop thinking about labels or races or good or bad. It’s only this; kill, or be killed?

I’m asking you. Kill, or be killed?

I know, it’s a terrible disaster, I know, I’m understating it, but just answer the question. Do you drop a million pounds of hurt and a slow extinction onto your predators or do you paint a target on your chest, tie yourself to a tree and get yourself stomped to death?


That’s what I thought, rook.

My name is Rob Martinez Shepard, but you can just call me “Commander”. Now get back to work.


Now, to be real for a second, I’m a writer and there are only a handful of stories I’m passionate about, like, you know, The Old Testament or Gilgamesh. Some sacred stuff. But there’s this other great story, one whose praises I sing the most, and it’s a little title developed by Bioware, called Mass Effect 2. And the reason it’s great is because I made it all up, you know, I held my imagination device in my hand and jacked into my pretend avatar and inhabited a space in, well, space. I said the things that I wanted to say and killed the bad dudes and only the bad dudes (even if I was a little brash, at times; convenient window placement and all).

Adventure, excitement; a jedi doesn’t crave that stuff but I do. The game’s like space crack: it’s basically impossible to put down and it’s in space. I remember getting the second sniper rifle like I remember getting my first surgery; a haze of happiness ending in nausea and a load of dead aliens (what), ultimately resulting in a medicated montage of Price is Right reruns. Slowing down time, getting headshots on serendipitously humanoid creatures, saving the universe, telling the Illusive Man to buzz off; the list of things I’ve pretended to do in this game would make a three year old in a cardboard box blush.

Side missions, man! Sidequests; it’s all about the sidequests. Sniping dudes with an old friend, landing on space ships in trouble, descending onto a Twilight Zone-esque brainwashed planet guns a-blazing. The game encourages it and the player obliges; it’s like high-fiving blindfolded and being met with a perfect slap! 

It’s like taking an awesome joyride through the galaxy… except instead of stopping at gas stations you have to needlessly mine planets for resources. I know it sounds boring and it is, but it wouldn’t be an RPG without grinding, right? As a matter of fact I think this is basically one of the few instances of grinding in the game. Mass Effect 2 is noted for its streamlined approach to the genre; there is no inventory system and leveling is handled with one overarching experience level that applies to all of your characters. So if you get Thane late in the game, you can still have an uzi-spraying badass in your party without having to level him up to speed.

The graphics are basically unparalleled; nothing’s looked this good on the Xbox 360 since the original Mass Effect. The sheer amount of design that was put into this game is almost baffling. While epic games like Grand Theft Auto IV get a ton of praise for their sprawling open worlds, Mass Effect 2 matches them with its endless imagination in its many startling locations. In a lot of ways it’s even a more “real” world than GTA IV’s, complete with prejudices, gods, and a long, well-documented history.


There are some things in this galaxy that you can’t understand until you see them. You’ve got a lot to see. And trust me, I know; I’m Commander Rob Martinez Shepard.

Hey, isn’t that my favorite store in the Citadel?