In Mass Effect 3, Shepard doesn’t have to bond with the shipmates of the Normandy as is pretty much required in Mass Effect 2 with the game’s team-bonding missions. However, if the player in Mass Effect 3 chooses to chat with marine James Vega, Vega entreats Shepard to “dance” with him–a sparring match where Vega spills exactly why he is angry with Shepard, the Reapers, and the Collectors. It’s isn’t because his new tattoo is a wee bit sore. Vega was assigned to protect a certain colony in the Terminus systems, a colony that was unfortunately on the Collectors’ shopping list. Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is Vega’s story.
The anime starts off simple enough. Vega’s team has been sent to save a colony from being overrun by the Blood Pack, a gang of intergalactic mercenaries that typically consists of krogan, batarians, and vorcha. They have a reputation for being nastily violent, especially toward humans, to say the least. Vega’s team consists of an extremely typicalMass Effect team, and when I say typical, I mean one that contains nearly every class found in theMass Effect games, including a biotic (really not sure if Essex was a vanguard or an adept), an engineer, an infiltrator, and a soldier. No matter which class you preferred while playing, you will find some attack from some member of the team that will make your inner fanboy/fangirl squeal with delight. For me, it was when Nicky unleashed a few AI-bots out to annoy a krogan or twelve.
Vega’s team of course defeated the Blood Pack, captured their leader, were crowned heroes, and then asked to stay with the colony for a little while to safeguard it from other potential threats. Roll opening credits, fast forward some time, badda bing, badda boom, now the movie begins.
Atsushi Takeuchi may not have been part of the Mass Effect development crew, but they created something that could have been taken straight from BioWare’s cutting room floor. As unoriginal as it sounds, Paragon Lost is completely and absolutely Mass Effect. What starts off as something simple–save the colony from the Collectors–becomes a twisted a plot that you can’t help but feel spiral out of Vega’s control. Choices are made, crew members die, and Vega is left wondering if he could have made things better. In the end, Vega is forced to accept something that Shepard constantly battles in all three Mass Effect games: you can’t save everyone.
Some of the dialogue is rather cheesy, as is prone to occasionally happen with anime, but it isn’t overbearing and doesn’t take away from the serious story underneath. However, there is plenty of dialogue set up just for Mass Effect fans to enjoy, which easily steamrolls over any bad lines uttered from a couple of the characters. For example, when Kamille asked what Vega sees in a particular asari, Essex responds with, “Are you kidding me? Everyone wants to do the blue!” My personal favorite was when Vega asked a krogan if he had any weapons on him. You’ll have to watch the movie yourself to hear the response.
And you won’t have long to wait for the movie. Paragon Lost aired in movie theaters across the US for one night only, but the DVD and Blu-Ray will release on December 28th.