Friday, February 13, 2009

My Romances - Part 5

My Computer Game Romances, Part 5: So this is what happens when the graphics get more sophisticated...
Mass Effect
Kaiden Alenko

Some big mid-game SPOILERS...

Lt. Alenko was stationed on the Normandy where I was XO on that fateful trip to Eden Prime. We arrived to find the planet under attack, and in the aftermath of the attack, we went to the Citadel space station to report our findings directly to the Council. Suddenly, I found myself swept up into Council politics, and I was granted the Normandy as my own ship and tasked to track down the Council's rogue agent Saren, who was responsible for the attack on Eden Prime. As often happens with companions on such a quest, Kaiden and I became close friends during our search for Saren. There was even some good-natured flirting, but I was his commanding officer, and anything more than that was off limits.

Then came Virmire. On that accursed planet, I was faced with a decision that no one ever wants to have to make. With enemies closing in on two fronts, and time running out before our nuclear bomb blew, I had to choose between saving either Kaiden or another member of my crew, Chief Ashley Williams. I'd like to say that I chose Kaiden because he was the superior officer, or because I thought that saving him was more tactically feasible, but the truth is I couldn't bear the thought of losing him. And now we have to live with the fact that Ashley is dead because of my feelings for one of my soldiers.

On Virmire, we had discovered that Saren was just a pawn, and the real threat to the galaxy was far more sinister than we ever could have imagined. But the Council foolishly refused to believe our story, and grounded me, my crew, and my ship at the Citadel. Desperate to stop the terrible plans already in motion, we hijacked the Normandy and raced off to Ilos to save the galaxy. While in transit, Kaiden came to talk with me in my quarters.
We couldn't allow our guilt over Virmire to consume us--Ashley would never have wanted it. We were headed for what seemed a hopeless showdown and certain death. And what was a fraternization charge when we had disobeyed a direct order from the Council, committed mutiny, and stolen a ship? With these justifications, Kaiden and I spent the night together in my quarters.

Miraculously, my crew and I were able to stop Saren, delaying the plans of those who had used him and saving the Council and the Citadel.
The Council owes me, and I think from now on they will heed what I say. I wonder if this newfound influence will let me get away with my affair with Kaiden.

The voice actor who did Kaiden was the same guy who did the voice of Carth. The two characters sound exactly the same. I guess Raphael Sbarge has cornered the market for BioWare sci-fi male romantic interests. My previous history with Carth meant I had an immediate interest in Kaiden, though when talking about Mass Effect, I do have a tendency to refer to Kaiden as Carth. I can tell them apart, but, I mean, their names even start with the same sound!

Now, Kaiden was just one of the two romance options for a female Commander Shepard (the player character). The other was Liara. This was not actually a lesbian relationship, since while Liara looked like a woman (with blue skin and a weirdly textured scalp instead of hair) and sounded like a woman, she belonged to a mono-gender species, able to basically mate psychically with any other being, whether male or female or of a different species (there may be some restrictions that the being be sentient and not synthetic, though that much detail was not given). Still, in my human closed-mindedness, I couldn't help but think of Liara as a female. I was curious enough to see where the romance would lead, but the moment Shepard said, "Don't worry, Liara, I'll protect you," I said, "Uh, no Liara, you can take care of yourself, thank you" and reloaded to a save before the initiation of the romance. It is pretty awkward and cute, though, how embarrassed Liara gets when Shepard turns down her advances. Poor girl.

After Mass Effect was released, there was a bit of controversy surrounding it because of the sex scene. The controversy was mostly caused by a bunch of people who really didn't know what they were talking about (and eventually admitted to that fact), but yes, there was a very short optional scene with partial nudity (the game did appropriately earn a Mature rating). The partial nudity was very tame, though, with a sideview lasting maybe five seconds, and it would probably have even been acceptable on primetime TV. Still, I will say that it was enough to make me blush. I guess this is what we can expect now that the technology has advanced enough to portray intimate scenes.

If you're curious, read about my real-life romantic experiences in my next post.

4 comments:

Sebastian said...

With Liara's 'non-sex', er, sex I couldn't help but recall that scene in Red Dwarf (I think) where 'sex' is performed by grabbing Lister's finger and running around in a circle, bellowing...

I look forward to the romance in the 'spiritual successor' to Baldur's Gate -- maybe we'll finally get to see if Minsc is well-hung...

Eleni said...

I'm not sure I follow... what does Minsc have to do with DAO?

Besides, there's that hamster...
Minsc: Boo is quick and evasive, and there is ever so much of Minsc to search, there is no hope of getting us apart.
Imoen: Eww, I... really don't want to think about that too much.

Sebastian said...

Well, I meant more that it was a return to dark, gloomy high-fantasy heroism! It'd be too cool if Minsc played a cameo -- but I wouldn't put it past them...

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, watch it! I'm huge!

Eleni said...

There was a tiny little reference to Minsc in NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - an item labeled "Astral Rodent Totem" with "For M" carved on it. Made me happy.