So Long, and Thanks for Killing my Fish
I'm finally getting around to playing Mass Effect 2 - really enjoying it - but I never realized the significant changes it would make in my Shepard.
When I say my Shepard , of course I mean the Shepard , as in "the one true" Shepard , the Shepard which is mine. I don't know who that guy is on the various screenshots I've seen bandied about, but I know what Shepard looks like, because he's mine, and he looks nothing like that. I should know, because he looks the same as in the first Mass Effect - and if you're trying to tell me that that voice can come out of any other face than that of a vaguely Hispanic looking man with a thin moustache (reminiscent of Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama without as much heavy surface mining), then you're talking out a cocked hat, brother.
Anyway, now that I have that straight - the changes in the character Shepard as I have come to know and love him. Aside from the obvious, shall we say, extreme existential changes he goes through in the opening sequences, the circumstances of the sequel as they were explained to me made it pretty clear that I should play Shepard differently than in the first game.
In that story, I was mostly paragon with not insignificant renegade mixed in for situations that were clearly bullshit. But in this case, man I got all kinds of reasons to be pissed off, never mind that in the right light my face looks like a freakin' jack o' lantern. Oh yeah, and the Council (who I chose to save by the way) will be hearing from my attorney - perhaps you've heard of him, he's with the firm of Red, Colored, and Text?
Funnily enough though, no matter how many people I chuck through windows, at this point I'm still predominantly paragon, even when outright determined to be surly. Just like in real life I guess - I can be a real dick, but at the end of the day I try to do Mom proud.
But I digress. As if you could have stopped me. (+7!) Naturally I wouldn't dare ruin the game experience by trying to predict the upcoming twists and turns awaiting Shepard next, and what changes those might shape him into, but I can safely say there is one change I did not expect.
You see, in the game you can buy fish.
When I first entered my quarters and saw the empty aquarium, I had a flash of memory that I had heard about that in a review maybe? Just a brief mention in a list of fun little optional things thrown into the game - hey fish! - righto. But I got irrationally excited, because knowing the ludicrous amount of detail Bioware puts into their games, I could just picture it: traveling the galaxy, saving mankind, collecting all kinds of crazy alien fish. And then turning on the sound system to some ambient and just watch the fish, man. I'm Commander Shepard up here relaxing with my xenofish - this one is biotic and creates little ice cubes that I dig out of the tank and put in my whiskey. I named her "Rox". And then I would turn the sound system to somethin' booty bumpin' and invite some fine lady (no species will be deprived!) up to get my Paramour Achievement unlocked, y'dig?
So I was stoked when I got my first few fish. Return to my cabin, hard day punching reporters in the FACE (see ya in game 3 toots, I'll have a little something for you then too), and there the beauties were, swimming about. And hey, this is a button that lets me feed them! Bioware thinks of everything!
But I didn't think they'd think of killing my fish.
Ok, yes, technically I killed them, asshole, but I swear to you for some reason I really did not think they would die. I thought I'd be collecting them. Like stamps. Apparently the "Feed" button isn't just for provoking delight in watching them head for the chow line. And it turns out that all that mining doesn't just feel like it takes days, it literally takes days. Return to my cabin, hard day hearing the same three variations of "probe launched", and there the beauties were, belly up. And hey, the button that once let me feed them is now a button that indicates I want to retrieve their corpses! That's real poetic, Bioware, I'll meditate on that over my tepid whiskey. Oh and don't tell me that immortal fish aren't realistic, save it for the talking jellyfish, and being dead hasn't exactly canceled my swim center membership if you haven't noticed.
So the unexpected change in Shepard? He is batshit insane about keeping his new fish alive.
"You didn't tell me saving your sister would take this long - I have fish."
"Oh god, I fell asleep mining! I'm coming, Double Rox!"
RACING from the comm terminal straight back to the elevator like my ass is afire. "You have new mes-" "No time, Kelly! Gotta feed the FIIIIIIISH!"
Saving humanity is important too. I guess....
However, if that damn hamster doesn't start doing more than sniffing the air for 2 seconds and running back into his house, I'll kill the bastard myself.