Who did you romance in Mass Effect?

(Image credit: BioWare)

We've seen in the latest trailer for Mass Effect Legendary Edition that the remaster makes Thane's lips at least 80 percent more kissable. Perhaps dangerously so. All of the characters have been visually upgraded of course, but there's a lot more focus on the popular companions for the obvious reason. Which one did you romance when you played the triology for the first time? And do you plan on pursuing them again in HD? If you refused to date anyone on board your ship because it would be an HR nightmare do tell us all about that instead.

Who did you romance in Mass Effect?

Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum.


(Image credit: EA)

James Davenport: Tali, and I can't even tell you why. I remember so little about the plot and her character that I can only infer why I chose Tali based on what I knew about myself as a dumb 22 year old. The mask. Can't see her face. Up to my imagination. Manic pixie mist girl. A lot of people tell me she was a boring character, but I was and still might be a pretty boring person, so it all checks out. Anyway, I like her suit and I guess gas masks look cool enough that they might cross over into attraction territory for me, subconsciously or something. I always chose the Pyro in TF2, pretty sure I used to draw that kinda shit on my trapper keepers in high school too. Clearly something was going on there, but I'll need a few therapy sessions before I can tell you what. 

Natalie Clayton: Is it bad that I didn't romance anyone? I loved Mass Effect (or the first one, at least), but BioWare characters have never done it for me. They were cool crewmates to take on missions, and the banter was occasionally, but they never felt believably personable enough for me to pair up with any of 'em. I think my strongest feelings still lie with the MAKO, though I wouldn't go so far as to call it a romance.

No, I mean it.

Garrus looks moody yet loveable yet dark yet approachable

(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Mollie Taylor: Garrus all the way, baby. I started with Mass Effect 2 and originally tried to woo Jacob, but he was having absolutely none of it. Turns out he's a massive bore anyway so I didn't mind too much. Then Garrus came along. James told me he looks like a sentient fingernail, but he's my sentient fingernail. His general awkwardness and inability to flirt really resonated with me as a fellow socially inept being. He's just a massive nerd really, which is probably why I love him so much.


(Image credit: EA)

Steven Messner: I was all over the place, man. In Mass Effect 1 I romanced Ashley—no, I'm not going to get into an argument about this. In Mass Effect 2, I romanced Miranda. And then in Mass Effect 3, I ended up with Liara. It was so long ago, I think I also somehow snuck a romance in with Tali as well but I'm not entirely sure. Look, I was a teenager okay? Anyway, I do remember my romance with Liara (which didn't really take off until just before the final fight) had a real air of "The person I loved was right in front of me this whole time!" But it also might've just been the fact that Liara and I were both about to probably die fighting giant aliens and were looking for some solace. I don't know.

I'm eager to go back and replay the whole trilogy again to see how I feel about these characters now that I've grown up.


(Image credit: EA)

Robin Valentine: Liara's girl-from-the-galaxy-next-door vibe was enough for me in the first game. In retrospect she was a bit of a teenage boy's fantasy—a naive and adorkable nerd, but with the looks of an alien who Kirk would've taken back to his quarters. But it worked on me to the extent that I stayed unerringly faithful to her for the entire series, even during her extended absence in the absolutely-desperate-for-you-to-kiss-an-alien second game. What can I say, I'm loyal. And also smart enough to know you shouldn't cheat on someone with psychic powers. She'd know

Fraser Brown: Liara both times, because I am basic. 

My first playthrough was as a fella, leaving me no options other than Liara, since I don't date boring space racists. And because I'm a loyal boy and she becomes a total badass, I stuck with her in 2. In 3, however, she has another personality transplant and just really sucks, but I stuck it out because I guess I just really like blue aliens. When it came to my femship playthrough, I wanted to do things differently, but there was no way I was going to knock boots with Kaidan, whose defining feature is that he's at least not racist. So it was back to Liara again. I could have found a new paramour in 2 or 3, but I just really hate breakups. 

I'm not planning on playing the new edition, but if I did I would correct my biggest mistake and bang the hell out of Garrus. 

Shephard and Liara kiss

(Image credit: EA)

Tyler Wilde: Looks like we've got some Liara romancers in here. How predictable. How dull. Anyway, I romanced Liara. What can I say, I just wanted people to like me (or, uh, Shepard), and the hundred-year-old blue videogame alien liked me/Shepard. We accepted. And I wasn't not going to romance someone. It was still a pretty novel thing 14 years ago. They called the Xbox the "Sexbox" on the news over it. It was a big deal. I don't know what I'll do in the remasters. The world has changed and I've changed, so maybe I'll be cool like Nat and play a Shepard who brushes everyone off. In all likelihood, though, I'll just romance Liara again and then say I didn't if anyone asks.

Andy Chalk: Nobody! Doesn't anyone appreciate how wildly inappropriate it is for a senior officer to be boffing a subordinate, especially aboard a ship in an active combat zone? It's a gross violation of command protocol and ethics. Plus, I start playing stuff the blini with Ashley and next thing you know I've got Garrus filing weekly complaints with the Council asking why I'm sending him out to get his ass shot off every day while she spends her time lounging around on the only king-size waterbed on the Normandy. Commander Shepard don't need that.

(There's actually a real-world scandal unfolding here in Canada over exactly this, btw—we're currently on our third Defense Staff chief since January.)

Kissing Thane, whose lips are soft like pillows. Er, I imagine

(Image credit: EA)

Phil Savage: Thane. I smooched the hot bug man. I smooched him good. But then he—ugh, spoilers I guess—wasn't around much for Mass Effect 3, so I ended up also smooching Liara like basically everyone else.

Jacob Ridley: Liara. I'm sure as a teenager I saw Liara as the cool, rebellious choice. But clearly I'm just another cog in the sexy machine.

Wes Fenlon: Did no one else romance Kelly Chambers in Mass Effect 2? Wait, let me rephrase: Does anyone else remember Kelly Chambers in Mass Effect 2?

I played through the first two games in the series both solo and with a friend shortly after they came out and made different decisions whenever possible: Male Shepard and then female, paragon and then renegade. A few years later I played Mass Effect 2 again with the DLC, and at that point I was reading guides and wikis to find a few obscure sidequests and such. I vaguely remember reading about how you could strike up a romance with Kelly, an NPC who I feel like I probably interacted with about three times in the whole game, if you didn't romance any of your companions. So I did... and I remember nothing about it, other than you could ask Kelly to feed your fish sometime. Sorry, Kelly. I'm sure you were nice, but let's just call it the fling it was and not drudge up the past when we run into each other in the remaster.

From our forum

mainer: Liara, always Liara. Oh, Miranda temped me with those skin tight outfits, and Tali because she's so sincere and mysterious almost made me cheat on Liara in ME2 (but I stayed strong). Liara was my one and only love interest from ME1 to ME3. Thankfully Bioware produced the Shadow Broker DLC for ME2, so that I could be with her again before ME3.

Miranda Lawson

(Image credit: BioWare)

ZedClampet: I didn't romance anyone in ME1 or 3, but romanced Miranda in 2. Usually romantic dialogue in games is so bad that it makes me embarrassed to even do it, worse so in some of the Assassin's Creed games. You pick a vague dialogue option, your character starts talking and you think, "Oh God, did I just really say that?"

Also, the sex is usually only a one-time thing. I remember in Dragon Age 1 romancing the dark mage, and she ticked me off so much afterward with her sudden coyness that I switched to the bard (I think).

Post romance success is usually pretty lame. Same sort of deal in other games, like Stardew Valley, where I married the purple hair girl (sorry, it's been a few days), and she spent the rest of the game standing by the oven.

I've just yet to find a game where I thought the romance was done well from beginning to end, but I'll probably do the romance in the new, redone Mass Effect just to be a completionist, as I probably won't play them again afterward.

liara mass effect

(Image credit: Bioware)

Zloth: Liara - but I regretted it. Next time, I'll find a nice, stable Elcore. (They remind me so much of that lovable HK:47 from games past!)

Sarafan: In the first Mass Effect game I romanced Ashley. It was interesting to role-play a little xenophobic character. I'm against such a behavior in real life and that's why it was a very unique experience for me.

In the second Mass Effect I tried to romance Miranda, but I screwed something and never finished it properly.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.