“I offer a gift of words, an affirmation of who you are and who you will become. I see you… your uniform fits as though you were born wearing it. You are a soldier through and through. Proud, solitary, alone… but it gives you strength. (or) I see the sadness behind your eyes. It tells a story that makes me want to weep. Pain and loss. But it drives you, makes you strong. (or) I see your skin… tough as the scales on any turian. Unyielding. A wall between you and everyone else. But it protects you, makes you strong…” -from a poet in Mass Effect
In this article, unlike the other heros, I will be discussing more about Shepard’s character than the player’s input. In my opinion, Mass Effect is best game portrayal of a hero. Unfortunately the player’s input and interaction has very little to do with it. Mass Effect gives the player option of three archetypes, regarding what upbringing that Shepard would have gone through and why that gives him his hero-grade strength.
The quote above variates depending on what pre-service history the player chooses at the beginning of the game. The blue quote activates if the player chooses the “Spacer” upbringing, meaning that Shepard has a strong military lineage. The purple quote activates if the player chooses the “Colonist” upbringing, if so than Shepard’s family was killed during a raid. The red quote activates if the player chooses the “Earthborn” upbringing. The Earthborn history means that Shepard was an orphan that was raised on the street.
All of these options also imply how polite or polite, formal or informal Shepard is. Spacer is; “One of those hardcore military guys. Yes sir, no sir, can’t have any fun with a stick up your ass sir.” Colonist is neutral in this regard and Earthborn speaks only in colloquiums. Of course this is only implied, not enforced or even opted-in for that matter. What I dislike most about Mass Effect is that it does not distinguish morality from manners, because it establishes all rebels as jerks.