Wednesday, November 19, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Challenge, Day 19: Best Antagonist

I kind of wish that Harbinger was my answer here. He had such potential as a major antagonist, possessing the Collectors and forcing them to do his (and the other Reapers' bidding), and I was more than primed for a showdown in Mass Effect 3. And then Bioware gave me ... well, he was there, shooting his Laser o' Death, and then just flew off. Because ... reasons. It's not like I wanted another Sovereign-style ending, but come on, Shepard said Harbinger's name with such menace that it seemed really anticlimactic and well, more of a foot note sort of thing. Like, meh, whatever, go deal with that Star Child person on the Citadel; he's the one who matters.


So, that being said, I'm going to have to go with the Collectors as the best antagonist(s) of the three games.
Via Dealspwn
Hive-minded and technologically advanced, these guys present such a huge challenge to Shepard, enough that it dwarfs Sovereign, Saren, and their geth allies from the first game. Obviously inspired somewhat by ants and, well, the Borg, if you want to be honest here, the Collectors operate, for the most part, on their own - with Harbinger only taking the reins by possessing a drone at specific times - with basic instructions as to what their goal is. Even when their entire base was being destroyed by Shepard and crew, there was little to no desperation in their actions, foreshadowing the relentless and emotionless onslaught of the Reapers in the next game. And they're even more mysterious than either the Reaper force or Sovereign; even though the galaxy didn't believe - or didn't want to - that Sovereign was a Reaper, his story was complete. You knew his motivations: to open the path to the Citadel. And the Reaper armies obviously were just doing what they were designed to do on a 50,000 cycle: obliterate all highly-advanced life forms. As for the Collectors, though, you really weren't 100% sure what exactly they were trying to accomplish by building a human Proto-Reaper, and it's safe to say that the remainder of the Collectors - because I refuse to believe that all of them were on the base - were just waiting for the galactic massacre to begin*.

Of course, when we get to the third game, the only way you ever see the Collectors again is in multiplayer, both as antagonists and as a character choice**. As an enemy, the Collectors are by far the most difficult, even in the easier bronze level matches. It could just be my lack of skill, but I haven't been able to win a solo match against the Collectors, even when using my best characters. In the beginning, I dreaded fighting them, since I always seemed to use up my medi-gel and ops packets within the first few rounds, but after a while, I really started to enjoy the challenge (Cerberus gets a little too easy once you play against them several times). Plus, now that I have the hang of them, I really want that Collector enemy achievement badge-y thing that I can proudly display on the main multiplayer menu as I'm waiting for my team to get ready for the next mission. It sounds silly, yes, but I am stupidly competitive, and when I set my mind to something, you'd better believe I'm going to fucking get it. Your days are NUMBERED, Collectors.

* This, I think, is one of the weaker points of Mass Effect 2. There's a real threat, obviously, but what that threat is - beyond colonists going missing - isn't ever really explained. What were the Reapers trying to do? If what EDI said was true in ME2, the entire fleet of Reapers should have different appearances, based on what cycle they came from, but in ME3, we never see anything but the Leviathan-shaped Reapers. And they don't create giant sentient ships with asari, batarian, turian, krogan, etc. bodies; they just become husk-like things with varying levels of toughness and abilities. Harbinger says, "We will find another way" to the Collector dude, but what did he mean by that? Another way to what? Because it doesn't seem like their plans to invade the galaxy were altered in any way from previous cycles? Gah, I'm thinking too much about this. 
** I still have yet to unlock the Awakened Collector, but by God, that doesn't keep me from buying as many Premium Spectre and Reserves Packs as I can. His powers are so freaking cool. 

Darcblade's Awakened Collector Adept Guide
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