Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wait, now you're bisexual?

So, as you may already know, I am a huge fan of Bioware's epic science fiction RPG Mass Effect. It's a brilliant piece of space opera complete with larger-than-life conflicts and believable characters. Also, as believers in equal opportunity, Bioware provides the opportunity to play as either a male or female protagonist (always known as Commander Shepard).

On my fourth playthrough of Mass Effect, I decided to mix things up a little and play a female lead (colloquially known as a "Femshep"). There were a number of reasons for this:
  1. There is only one male voice track, and I had always considered my first Commander Shepard the "real" one. Replaying male characters over and over, but making different decisions, it almost felt like usurpers were using my male Shepard's voice... and I was starting to get them all jumbled in my mind.
  2. Jennifer Hale is, in general, a more famous and better voice actor. I wanted to experience her rendition of the Shepard dialogue.
  3. My Femshep is an Infiltrator (read: sniper), and I thought a Femshep's lithe figure would fit this class well, channeling famous cloaking assassins like Starcraft's Kerrigan and Nova.
As with all great heroes, Femshep is entitled to a great romance. Of course, being of a dual-X chromosome persuasion, she has different romance options than my previous male Shepards. Femshep can decide to hook up with the mono-gendered (but really, female) blue alien Dr. Liara T'soni or she can pick the hetero route and be with the well-mannered biotic (read: Force powers) soldier Kaidan Alenko.

Now, I had decided even before beginning my playthrough that Femshep was going to choose Liara. She is 100% into women, because even though I'm curious enough to play a female character, I have a hard time actively taking a role in flirting with men.

That said, not one to close any doors until the last minute, Femshep led both Liara and Kaidan on with a suggestive word here and there. Of course, all her machinations caught up with her, when an exasperated Liara and Kaidan compared notes and came storming into the communications room demanding that Femshep make a choice. I guess this ultimatum was Bioware's way of forcing my Femshep not to be a major slut (even though, she can potentially sleep with a different girl in each of the two sequels).

This scene plays out more or less as it does in the video above (except that my Femshep is not brown). Kaidan is shocked to find out that Femshep is into women, and when she suggests a little menage-a-trois his wholesome little self freaks out, leaving Femshep and Liara to continue their romance unfettered by balls.

So Kaidan is a monogamous kind of guy. I respect that. He's also not into women who are into women. I get that too.

Fast forward five years. I've just finished playing through Mass Effect 3, and having seen the story from my true male Shepard's eyes, I've been using Wiki to discover all the different permutations about how decisions I've made over the past three games can play out differently than they did for him.

Here's the kicker. Playing a male Shepard, if Kaidan Alenko, monogamous heterosexual goodie-goodie from Mass Effect 1 survives... you can romance and bang him in Mass Effect 3!

So, what... now you're bisexual? After all your self-righteous, "I didn't realize that... well, that you prefer other women"? After the dirty looks you gave Femshep for suggesting a threesome? Now I find out that Kaidan has been hiding the fact that he's just as partial to male bits as female ones? It's like and entire re-writing of his character.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not judging Kaidan for being bisexual (much). I'm judging him for judging Femshep then turning around in the third game and revealing that everything he's professed about his sexual preferences is a lie. And for the record, Femshep was just pretending to be polite in offering that threesome. She's as fruity as an apple orchard, and she knows it. Liara ftw!


Joyce said...

Kaidan's hypocritical nature isn't necessarily that unrealistic, is it? lol!

a_ndy said...

No, I guess not... but his whole, "I'm suddenly bisexual" thing came totally out of left field.

The best comment on the video is this guy who was like, "I just asked him if he was still having headaches, and he was like, 'Are you flirting with me?' Uh... NO!"