One of Mass Effect’s biggest boons is its characters. Commander Shepard’s journey through the galaxy would be considerably bleaker without the companions they meet along the way, adding an extra layer of depth, emotion and space drama - not to mention firepower - to the Mass Effect trilogy.
Thanks to the release of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, we’ve been able to be reunited with some of these companions once more – for better or worse. Each of Shepard’s potential squadmates has had a much-needed facelift thanks to this remaster but while there are many crewmates that are a sight for sore eyes, there are others that we still want to fire into deep space.
So which Mass Effect legendary Edition companions are the best and which are the worst? We’ve rounded up five of our favorite - and five of our least favorite - companions from the Mass Effect trilogy, in no particular order.
Spoilers for Mass Effect legendary Edition below.
Best Mass Effect companions
Appearing in every game in the Mass Effect trilogy, Wrex easily earns his place among our favorite companions. While the Krogan mercenary starts out as a bit of a grizzled, old grump, Wrex really just wants what's best for his race and by Mass Effect 3 he becomes one of Shepard’s most loyal allies (all being well).
As Shepard learns more about Wrex, the commander finds out more about the Krogan population and the results of the Genophage that sought to wipe them out. Over time, the galaxy-weary Krogan shows more depth and begins to shake off his contempt for Salarians and Turians.
Could you have a best Mass effect companions list without Garrus? Of course not. Like Wrex, Garrus makes an appearance in all three games in the trilogy but - unlike Wrex - there’s no choice in this. And we’re glad. Garrus essentially acts as Shepard’s right-hand man (or Turian), offering balanced advice and - if you’re so inclined - a bit of space rompy pompy.
Throughout the trilogy we see Garrus mature significantly, turning his disdain for former employer C-Sec into a drive to take down Saren and the geth. No, Garrus isn’t the cuddliest of Shepard’s companions, but his level-headedness comes in handy when you’re struggling with choices throughout the trilogy.
Making an appearance in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Thane (much like Mordin further down the list) is a complicated character and a showcase for how BioWare’s excellent writing makes for more multifaceted characters.
A Drell assassin, Thane’s skill as a cold-blooded killer is juxtaposed by his deep spirituality, which sees him asking for forgiveness after each of his kills. Faced with an illness that is certain to kill him, Thane is never a stereotypical victim, instead he’s a character that we feel for and who struggles with his own internal battles and regrets in the face of inevitable death.
Tali'Zorah nar Rayya
Appearing in all three games in the trilogy, Quarian mechanical expert Tali has one of the best stories of all the companions and it keeps us intrigued throughout the entire trilogy. While Tali could be mistaken for being a bit naive, she’s one tough cookie and, despite going through hell and back, continues to keep fighting alongside Shepard for the greater good - even when differentiating between the two is hard.
Ultimately, we see Tali come into her own across the trilogy. She grows from a young Quarian on a Pilgrimage into a strong leader and we can’t help but feel a sense of attachment to her.
Appearing in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Mordin is arguably the most complicated of Mass Effect’s companions. While the Salarian initially seems like a bit of a talkative, know it all who seems to just word vomit information constantly, there’s a much darker side to Mordin hidden below the surface.
As Shepard unearths more about Mordin’s past, it’s revealed that he led the team of scientists involved in the genophage that almost wiped out the Krogan race. Mordin is a conflicting character, while he seems somewhat proud of his scientific achievements, he also clearly struggles with the ethics of his past actions. It’s hard to tell if Mordin is truly cold and calculating, or whether he’s learnt from his past, but it’s hard to deny that he’s one of the most interesting of Shepard’s companions.
Worst Mass Effect companions
Where to even start with Ashley. While Ashley can appear in every game in the trilogy, we’re not quite sure why you would want her to.
The prickly human soldier pulls no punches when it comes to spewing her racist and xenophobic opinions about non-humans and while BioWare does try to build her backstory to make these views more ‘understandable’, we still would rather she wasn’t on the Normandy (fortunately that is an option).
Like Ashley, Kaidan can appear in every Mass Effect game. And, while he’s not problematic like Ashley, he is incredibly boring. BioWare tries to give Kaidan a bit of a backstory, with his neurologically damaging L2 implants but, apart from feeling a bit sorry from him, we find he’s just a bit too vanilla - especially when stacked up against the likes of Garrus and Tali.
It seems that it’s Mass Effect’s human companions who are the least interesting and James Vega is certainly that. Thankfully only appearing in Mass Effect 3, this meat head doesn’t feel like he brings anything of depth to the Mass Effect narrative. He’s easily forgettable - sorry Freddie Prinze Jr.
Jacob is probably the most boring companion Mass Effect has to offer. With the potential to appear in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Jacob is a real buzzkill. Our dislike of Jacob isn’t simply down to his story not being particularly interesting, but he has no personality as which to speak and his monotonous tone is enough to have you falling asleep at the Normandy wheel.
With the potential to appear in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, Morinth feels like a wasted opportunity. While she’s a stereotypical evil villain type, her story takes an interesting turn when players are presented with a choice that could see Morinth replacing one of Normandy's crewmates. But if you follow through with that choice, not much comes from it.
She even looks identical to the character she replaces, Samara, to the point that we've actually used an image of Samara above. It’s disappointing because if we’re at least going to have a killer on the ship we would like them to at least be interesting - like all the other murderers on board.