Merry Christmas everyone! Well, even though the Blood-C movie didn’t came out by the end of this year, at least, I got another movie which occupies that spot. And despite my qualms for the animation, the story is decent.
Anyway, Mass Effect: Paragon Lost features James Vega, who became Commander Shepard’s squadmate in Mass Effect 3. For those who have played the third game, James revealed to Shepard that he used to be assigned to a colony in the Terminus System called Fehl Prime. However, the Collectors arrived and abducted the colonists. James and his team, Delta Squad, had to save them but along the mission, they received intel on the Collectors which was extracted by a Cerberus agent. In the end, James is torn in saving the colonists and getting the intel where he choose the latter. Of course, his efforts were worthless when Shepard defeated the Collectors in the Omega 4 relay.
Now, I know a lot of people don’t like James for various reasons. But I think this movie would shed a different light of him. Honestly, James looks very different. He’s very serious. He doesn’t crack jokes like he used to and doesn’t give nicknames. Pretty much, he’s sort of like Shepard. It’s too bad that some of these traits in the movie weren’t shown in the game so that, people wouldn’t view as some sort of “meathead”.
As for the characters in the movie, they have their unique personalities but pretty forgettable and more like substitutes to the games’ squadmates. Kamille, the only female teammate, has Ashley’s gung-ho attitude. Milque is sort of like Garrus but more pessimistic. The rookie tech expert, Nicky, has a combination of Mordin’s intelligence and Tali’s personality in ME1. And Essex, the only biotic soldier in the group, is hotheaded. There’s also an asari name Treeya, who is Liara’s student and pretty much, shares the same occupation as her. The only difference is that she doesn’t have the combat prowress that Liara have. So, no, she doesn’t use biotics. There’s also this guy named Messer who looked like Joker minus the brittle bone disease and he’s the Cerberus agent that James is talking about in the game. Messer really embraces the Illusive Man’s doctrine where he’s willing to sacrifice lives for humanity’s sake. But in the end, he’s just a coward and I imagine that TIM is not pleased with it.
Now, I already said my part on the animation and character designs last October. I managed to tolerate it. But I can’t helped but facepalm on the Collecters’ height. They’re taller than an average human. I mean, srsly? Javik has the same height as the other organics and it would be really funny that he wouldn’t be allowed to board the Normandy because his height is the problem. The designs for the krogan and vorcha really ugly…whoever did the character designs really need to play the games. But it’s a good thing the characters are using the weapons from the game such as the Shuriken machine pistol and the Mattock assault rifle.
For the sounds effects, well, fans of the games would recognize them. However, the music isn’t much memorable. As for the voice acting, Freddie Prinze Jr. really pulled it off with the seriousness. But I’m disappointed that the original voice actors of Anderson and Hackett didn’t return. Understandable that they can’t get them due to scheduling conflicts. But srsly, their replacements are like elcors when they delivered their lines. And again, it’s too bad that Harbinger’s voice didn’t make it here. Well, there weren’t any possessed Collector drones in the movie but it would be cool if Vega and the gang fought them. And there’s a Collector General and srsly, why you have to let him speak a different language instead of using Harbinger’s “ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL” voice? We all know that Harbinger controls the Collector Generals, duh.
And for the story, well, it sort of fits what James said to Shepard in the game. But there are some things which are contradicting. For example, James mentions that he left his squad just to get the intel but in the movie, most of his squadmates died one by one (e.g. one of them got carried away by the Collectors and the other was stabbed in the side by a Praetorian while protecting James). Milque is the only survivor in the his squad along with Treeya. But it takes us to wonder whatever happened to them in ME3. Either they’re dead during the Reaper invasion or they’re helping in the war effort. Also about James, receiving admission to the N7, IIRC he only got it when he’s guarding Shepard. It’s a bit odd that he’s seen in the movie ending, training with the other N7 candidates while he’s supposed to be in Omega playing cards with the batarians before Anderson picks him up to guard Shepard due to his/her actions in the Arrival DLC. Of course, some of us didn’t play the Arrival DLC. But it’s strange that James is guarding Shepard in Vancouver while he’s supposed be training for the N7 in Rio de Janeiro.
And like all Mass Effect adaptations and games, there’s always the emotion and drama. But, to be honest, the impact is not very deep. The deaths of James’ squadmates weren’t actually very emotional unlike the deaths of Shepard’s squadmates where it really gives you so much feels. But the part where James lets the colonists died is very sad. It’s like I felt sorry for him that he had to save Treeya, who coincidentally has the Collector intel which she took from Messer, instead of saving the colonists. If Shepard is in James’ shoes, I’m sure s/he is going to feel really burnout when ME3 rolls. I mean, this dilemma that James is in like choosing to save Kaidan or Ashley in ME1 or like choosing the botched endings that Starchild offered in ME3. IMO, James’ dilemma is way better than the ME3 endings since there’s no stupid Starchild who would offer you on what to do.
Anyway, I think if you could tolerate the animation, you can appreciate the story here even though there’s some things which contradicts the lore. Well, they’re not so rampant than the ones in Mass Effect: Deception novel. This movie is for those who are fans of the franchise and those who are fans of James Vega. For someone unfamiliar to the franchise, you’re going to be confused.