For Our Consideration: Mass Effect’s universe gets ugly when a Paragon decision finally backfires

Below deck on the SSV Normandy, Commander Shepard can talk to Garrus Vakarian, her turian sniper ally and future BFF. He was a cop once, he tells her. He butted heads with his superiors over his unorthodox methods and eventually quit the force, fed up with the bureaucracy and politicking. Anti-establishment sentiments like Garrus’ are popular in the Mass Effect trilogy. Captain Bailey, a mostly upstanding cop, will buck the system if it’s more convenient or rewarding for him. Jacob Taylor, ex-military, joined the private sector after becoming disillusioned with the army and its restricting red tape. Even the Council, the governing body of civilized space, employs Spectres, warrior-diplomats who operate outside the law.

Mass Effect tries hard to sell the idea that its galaxy is a chaotic and lawless place, that rules and regulations obstruct, rather than enable, the implementation of justice. But it’s much more morally …

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