PG Cooper: Mass Effect 2 Loyalty Missions Ranked

Posted: March 18, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists
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Next, the loyalty missions. I almost included these when I did the top 20 missions, but decided to treat them separate given how they don’t relate to the main plot at all. So here they are; the loyalty missions ranked from worst to best. I also want to point out that I do enjoy all of these missions, so the lower ones more reflect how good the others are.

12. Zaeed: The Price of Revenge

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There isn’t anything majorly horrible about The Price of Revenge, but there’s nothing special about it either. Zaeed goes searching for revenge and in the process goes too far. Shepard can either try to reel him back or indulge him. That’s pretty much it. The combat is pretty standard and the mission doesn’t reveal much about Zaeed’s character. It provides an interesting tidbit of his history, but nothing that makes the player learn more about him as a person. There’s added disappointment because Zaeed must be downloaded. A free download mind you, but still.

11. Garrus: Eye for an Eye

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Here’s the thing with an Eye for an Eye; the mission itself is very fun. The combat is straight forward but engaging, there’s a cool detective vibe to the whole thing, and it sees Garrus pushed to his limits. All that stuff is great. What isn’t great is the ending. The whole point of the mission is that Garrus is looking for a Turian who betrayed him on Omega named Sidonis. Sidonis’ actions ended with all of Garrus’ squad being killed so now Garrus wants revenge. So you go through the Citadel to track him down, causing tons of damage and killing dozens of mercenaries, but then are told taking revenge is bad. Huh? Killing several mercenaries is fine, but if you let Garrus kill Sidonis is the renegade thing to do. That just seems silly. Plus it’s essentially the same conflict at the heart of Grand Theft Auto IV. It’s still a fun mission, and I like seeing Garrus so personal about the case, but overall it’s flawed.

10. Legion: A House Divided

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Legion and Shepard travel to the station of the Geth Heretics (the Geth who worship The Reapers) to stop them from spreading a Reaper virus which will convert all Geth to worship The Reapers. Soon after arriving, Legion informs Shepard that he may choose to kill all the Heretics or brainwash them into not worshiping The Reapers. So there’s a nice moral dilemma running through the mission, but what puts this mission in the lower echelons is the combat. Not that it’s bad, in fact there’s some nice elements thrown in to keep it fresh, but it boils down to fighting Geth in a metallic and claustrophobic environment, which is something done a lot. And while it isn’t bad, there are more unique details in other loyaty missions that keep this one near the bottom.

9. Miranda: The Prodigal

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Miranda’s sister Oriana is being tracked down by their insane father so Miranda enlists Shepard to help. Miranda had dropped pieces of her history before but it was interesting to hear her lay her past on the table. The surprise villain of the mission also brings up a valid reason for why Miranda was wrong for taking Oriana away even if I don’t agree with him. Also, like most loyalty missions, we see the central character of the mission in a vulnerable place. This is especially important for Miranda given how she is designed to be “perfect”. There’s also some fun combat, a cool renegade moment, and a small jab at the slow elevators from Mass Effect 1. Good stuff.

8. Jack: Suject Zero

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I initially forgot to add this so I’ll make this brief; this is a very enlightening mission and one that is truly cathartic for Jack. The action feels a bit tacked on but it still works.

7. Samara: The Ardat Yakshi

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Samara and Shepard travel to Omega to take down Samara’s Ardat Yakshi daughter, Morinth. There’s a nice sense of atmosphere to this one, and the part where Shepard goes through the diaries of Morinth’s latest victim is actually quite sad. But the mission’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. The mission is mostly about detective work and dialogue. Shepard collects pieces of information in the victim’s home and then uses what he’s learned in conversation with Morinth. It’s a cool dynamic and is unique within the Mass Effect universe which makes it a lot of fun on first playthrough. But on repeated playthroughs it loses its step. Simply put, using detective skills isn’t nearly as fun when the player knows all the answers. Still, the uniqueness and atmosphere help elevate it quite a bit.

6. Grunt: Rite of Passage

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Grunt has been feeling off so Shepard takes him to Tuchanka to discover what’s wrong with him. Turns out Grunt is fine and is in fact going through a normal stage of the Krogan life span. He’s essentially going through puberty, and must engage in a rite of passage where he fights some wild life and needs to survive against a Thresher Maw. The combat here is really cool and I like the ceremonial aspect of it all. But what really seals the deal here is the actual conflict Grunt is going through; he feels detached from his species. That’s a very interesting dilemma and one that’s unique to Grunt within the Mass Effect universe. It’s fascinating to watch that play out and it’s also interesting to see how other Krogan react to Grunt. The only down side to this mission is that a lot of importance is put on killing the Thresher Maw, which is far too easy.

5. Jacob: The Gift of Greatness

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Jacob receives a distress signal from the ship his father served on. Problem is that ship has been missing for over a decade. Shepard assists Jacob to investigate, and the two find the crew on a mysterious alien world. Jacob is one of the least interesting squad members of the trilogy, and yet he has a very good loyalty mission. The revelations of what happened to Jacob’s father and the crew are genuinely disturbing and interesting. The whole mission has a creepy vibe and the combat with the very tribal people is fun too. Jacob is also pushed emotionally, which would be more effective if he was a better character but you can’t win em all.

4. Kasumi: Stealing Memory

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Kasumi asks for Shepard’s assistance in retrieving her deceased lover’s Grey Box, which contains memories. Stealing Memory has a bit of an unfair advantage in that it’s DLC and thus more work was put into it than most loyalty missions. The results show because Stealing Memory is awesome. There’s a lot of variety in the gameplay. The first half has Shepard infiltrating  a party for sophisticated criminals. This part is really cool with lots of sneaking around and multiple ways of accomplishing objectives. This segment has an almost James Bond like feel. The second part has Shepard and Kasumi fighting through various mercenaries and mechs, and climaxes with a boss fight against a hover craft. This part is more traditional in game play, but it’s still a ton of fun. There’s also some fun details like a room of stolen objects, including the statue of liberty’s head, and a golden statue of Mass Effect 1 villain Sarren.

3. Thane: Sins of the Father

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Thane learns his estranged son Kolyat has become a novice assassin and has a job on the Citadel. Shepard and Thane attempt to stop him. This is an awesome mission. There isn’t any combat, but the whole thing just has a badass vibe. It’s pretty cool going around the Citadel and trying to track down Koylat. There’s also a cool part where Shepard gets to stalk a target while hiding in the scaffolding above. The most awesome scene however is an interrogation with a known criminal which can go a variety of different ways depending on the player. Most importantly though, it is genuinely an emotional and powerful mission where Thane can reunite with his son. For someone who’s been alone for so long, its cathartic to see him and his son together again.

2. Mordin: Old Blood

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Mordin discovers a former assistant of his has been captured by Krogan gangs and forced to find a genophage cure by any means necessary. Mordin and Shepard travel to Tuchanka to save him. There’s a lot of great things here. First off, the combat is actually against Krogans which wasn’t too common in Mass Effect 2. There’s also some well staged action and an awesome renegade interrupt. The setting is also highly disturbing with the corpses of experimented Krogan scattered throughout. This also raises interesting moral questions about the nature of the genophage and Mordin defends his work very well. As much as one wants to say the genophage was wrong, Mordin does raise a lot of important points which make it hard to completely condemn. The mission also ends on a nice twist which raises more moral questions, leads to an interesting decisions, and the whole mission has massive ramifications in Mass Effect 3. Great mission.

1. Tali: Treason

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Tali has been called to a trial of the Admiralty Board for sending back live Geth equipment to the machines. Upon arriving, Tali quickly discovers her father was doing experiments on Geth equipment she sent and has led to the Geth taking over the ship her father serves on. So she and Shepard fight to take the ship back from the Geth. To top this list, the number one loyalty mission had to push the central character to their limits, have great combat, an effective setting, tough decisions, an impact on Mass Effect 3, and a unique element. No loyalty mission excels in these areas as well as Treason. Throughout the mission, Tali is pushed emotionally in ways she never has before. Even before arriving for the trial, Tali is tense because she knows the Board does not usually call for trials unless the evidence is overwhelmingly strong. She then needs to contend with the fact that her father is in peril and later discovers that he was killed by the Geth. On top of that, his death was a result of him pushing his experiments too far and if it were revealed his legacy would be ruined forever. But Tali if Tali does not reveal her father’s treason, she will be exiled. The combat is a lot of fun with some interesting use of levels and encounters with Geth Primes. The setting with several dead Quarians is very ominous and the video logs leave an emotional punch. There are multiple ways the ending can play out, with Shepard exposing Tali’s father which keeps her in the Quarian fleet but does not earn her loyalty, with Shepard keeping Tali’s father’s work a secret which earns her loyalty but expels her from the fleet, with Shepard calling on the help of other Quarians she and Shepard have saved like Kal’ Reegar, or with Shepard having enough renegade or paragon points to keep Tali in the fleet and gain her loyalty. The mission has a huge impact on Mass Effect 3 since if Tali is exiled peace between the Geth and Quarians is impossible. Finally, the unique element is there with the mission beginning and ending with a trial, which is an awesome game mechanic for something like Mass Effect. And on top of all of that, Treason might be the most emotional of all the loyalty missions with Tali having to face some very tough situations and no matter what Shepard does, the ending isn’t completely happy.

Comments
  1. r361n4 says:

    I’d have thought Miranda’s Black catsuit would have been enough to get her above #9, lol. Great list, makes me miss this game :(

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