Friday, 27 May 2011

Stuff: Mass Effect - Evolution

As usual SPOILERS abound, I've given up trying to keep them out, I just can't resist somehow!!

This new series focuses on the origins of the Illusive Man, the leader of pro-human group Cerberus who rescues and revives Shepard to work for him against the Collectors in Mass Effect 2. It shows part of how he came to be what he is, what drives him and why he goes to such extreme lengths (Cerberus are often enemies in the first game, rogue extremists and scientists).


The story starts at the end of the First Contact War where humanity ventured into the stars only to venture into Turian territory and come under attack. Battered but still fighting the humans hire specialists to uncover the secrets of the Turians, but find something bigger. A Reaper artifact, which turns people into powerful, more intelligent versions of husks and tasks them to guard it. Affected by contact with the machine Jack Harper sets out to uncover it's secrets and in so doing becomes leader of Cerberus. Saren also leanrs the truth and destroys the artifact keeping it from affecting the Turian race.

New Characters

Jack Harper

Ok, so he's not exactly new, but we do see a different side of him in this. He was the leader of a team of specialists employed by the Alliance to uncover the secrets of the Turians, but uncovered part of the Reaper threat. Most interestingly we find out the secret of his eyes, which are clearly mechanical in Mass Effect 2. He comes into brief contact with the machine, sparks from which turn them cyborg, and his friend into a Husk. These eyes allow him to percieve more, uncovering the meaning of the Reaper threat.

Ben Hislop

Ben joined Jack's team to strike back at the Turians who killed his brother, impulsive and reckless he got caught in the power of the Reaper artifact and got transformed into one of their monstrosities. Interestingly he retained more of his personality than common, but was driven to protect the device, even though it meant killing his friend. In a last bid of defiance he sacrificed himself in order to stop it being used again.

Eva Core

Also on Harper's team Eva was at Jack's side throughout the stuggle to uncover the truth behind the artifact. She was sadly killed by Ben when she tried to destroy the artifact herself, though her sacrifice inspired Ben to stop the artifact and Jack to become the Illusive Man.

General Williams

Again, not strictly speaking new, but this is the first time we've seen the General. He is the Grandfather of Ashley Williams, who served on Shepard's crew. He hired Jack and his team to investigate the Turians. Dissatisfied with the truce he resigned, but gave Harper his personal ship to carry on his work. He later went down in history as the only General to surrender to an alien force, which tainted even his granddaughter's service record.

Desolas Arterius

Brother to the infamous Spectre Saren, Desolas was a General in the Turian military, who carried enormous weight with the race as a whole. Wanting to see the Turians rise above other races he saw the Reaper weapon as a way to evolve his species, seeing the husks were faster and stronger than ordinary men and women. He struggled to control them however and pursued Jack Harper to find answers. He was killed when Saren blew up the artifact, knowing that his brother was affected by it too.

New Ships

There were a few new vessels in this, but BioWare aren't too forthcoming about ship classes and the like, though they give fairly comprehensive details about almost everything else! So a lot of this next bit is guesswork.

Alliance Dreadnought

I'm assuming this is a dreadnought, basically because it's a lot bigger than the cruisers!! It's an impressive loooking ship at any rate and a cool addition to the mass effect universe, though I can't shake the feeling I've seen it before...

Turian Fighter

I think they're fighters anyway, just from the way they're flying. There have been similar designed ships in Mass Effect before anyway, though I'm puzzled as there's a model of a ship like this in the Kasumi DLC, which she describes as the 'Turian Titanic', seems odd for a one man figter, but maybe there's more than one ship of this frame shape - dunno!

Alliance Fleet

An interesting set of ships here, there's the standard Alliance fighter, plus something new at the front and also a large ship with wheels at the back, which to my mind is a colony ship, but who knows.

EDIT: Looking again the thing at the fron is probably an Alliance cruiser from a different angle. Also made me notice the difference in official markings back then, orange and black not white and red.

I also did some digging on a FORUM and found that the dreadnought is of an unused design for 'dreadnought' from Mass Effect 1 and is the current model for fuel depots in ME2! These unused models have been used a lot as the ship with wheels is a 'human freighter', the turian fighter is originally a human fighter design and the ships seen below are taken from another design too.

Arcturus Station

Mentioned in books and Codex entries, this is the first time we've seen it, which is what's great about these comics. Located at the closest Mass Relay to Earth it is a hive of Alliance activity. Jack Harper is taken there after peace is brokered with the Turians.

General Williams' Ship

The sleek personal shuttle of an Alliance General, I like how it has standard Alliance markings and shapes, but still looks pretty flash for a private owner. Note also the other ships around, I don't know what races they could belong to as it's around the Comercial planet of Illium.

Concept art of these and other things are found on Omar Francia's BLOG

New Species

Turian Husk

Husk is a general term for any species transformed by the Reapers, but it was cool to see Turians and it looks like we'll see more transformed species in the next game. We also got to see a Turian female for the first time, not the shorter spines on the face and the back of the head.

New Technology

Arca Monolith

A Reaper device that transforms being who come into contact into mechanical servants compelled to protect it and bring more to be transformed. Desolas thought he could use this to transform the Turians into a powerful army he could control, but failed. Saren learned the truth and destroyed it from orbit.

And that's it - a great read, and knowing how much the Illusive Man has of a history with the Reapers it makes me more inclined to trust him as I play through the game, though from what I've heard about Mass Effect 3 he still has more secrets and agendas to reveal.

EDIT: I'm not really used to scanning and pinching stuff so I guess I'll just state that the pictures are not my creation and belong to the artists writers and stuff - hope that's ok!

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