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Mass Effect 2 – The Most Pointless NPC Ever

Mass Effect 2 – The Most Pointless NPC Ever

David Cage insists Heavy Rain is best experienced when you play it through just the once. You can find the exact quote out there on t’internet. His reasoning is that that as you only experience life once, you should only experience Heavy Rain once. It’s gibberish, obviously, and nothing more than Cage trying to stop you from breaking the illusion of choice that is convincingly weaved throughout. What he doesn’t realise is that it doesn’t matter what you do on the second, third, hundredth playthroughs because the illusion only matters the first time you play it. You don’t hear of people refusing to see magicians because it turns out they’re not actually conjuring a rabbit from the netherworld to pull out of a top hat.

So while multiple playthroughs enhance some games – hello Bulletstorm! – it can break others. While it doesn’t suffer to the same degree as Heavy Rain because it’s more a game of choice than consequence, you can start to poke holes through Mass Effect 2 on repeated playthroughs. I’m on my third right now (loser, I know) and it’s weird how transparent some parts of the game become.

But rather than go through them all, I’m just going to mention one. Captain Gavorn. The turian keeping watching outside the Afterlife nightclub in Omega. You can’t interact with him until you have a conversation with the vorcha lingering around the back alleys of Omega, who tell you that they know Gavorn’s tricks and they won’t kill for him. Ooooh! This must be a side-quest! When you find Captain Gavorn, you can now talk to him… but no way of mentioning your run in with the vorcha. Nor does he do anything more than mention who he is and how he keeps vorcha population under control. It’s not even a throwaway line of dialogue heard in the background as you run past – it’s an actual conversation branch where you choose your response.

What does he do? What’s the point of him? Why does he exist? Every character you talk to in Mass Effect 2 has a purpose. Those without purpose are relegated to background noise you can’t interact with. Captain Gavorn exists on that middle ground between the two. Why him? Why no-one else? Was there a mission cut from the game? Was this intended to be fleshed out with DLC? Why does it bother me so much? Has there ever been a NPC as useless or out of place as him?

Sigh. Maybe David Cage is right. Maybe I should have only played it once…

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