Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mass Effect Races 3



Hello again, Toolbox 24 here. It's nigh time I posted a 3rd blog about the races of Mass Effect. The reason I'm continually posting these blogs is for those Mass Effect fans who might just want a run-down of the various ins and outs of this particular universe, and also for anyone who has heard of the games, seen how obsessed fans of the series seem to be (such as myself), and basically to show these people how deep, varied and detailed Mass Effect is.

Thinking that the games have only been out for 5 years, but have been in development for more like 7 or 8 it's still a very short time for the amount of history that there is. There are several books, comics, an anime film due out within a year and supposedly a live action feature film in development (rights to Mass Effect have been bought by Legendary Pictures, the company that has brought us the new Batman films with Christian Bale and also Inception.)

I digress, this blog is primarily about the race of super-cool aliens called the turians.


The turians are again, another absolutely fascinating race in Mass Effect, with a rich history and many, many intriguing and full characters in the games. The turians are (originally) one of 3 Citadel Council races alongside the asari and salarians, after events of the first game, humans also become a council race, stepping up from being a citadel race.

Enough about us though, the turians were the first alien race encountered by us humans in 2157. Us gung-ho humans, liking our lovely new technology a little bit too much kept finding and activating new Mass Relays to new and unchartered areas of space.

Thinking, possibly rightly so, that we could be the first species to use this new mysterious technology, we didn't know that the government of the galaxy had, since the year 300 (our calender), strictly prohibited the activation of dormant relays.

As such, when a turian patrol happened upon these strange aliens activating a dormant relay, they responded with absolute force, decimating the few human ships that were tinkering away activating it. All but 1 ship was destroyed, and that sole ship retreated to the human colony of Shanxi (shan-shee). The turians swiftly followed this sole survivor and proceeded to spank us humans and take over Shanxi. What followed was a massive counter-attack by the humans to retake our colony. The turians wrongly assumed that Shanxi was our only planet, and that if there was a retaliation it would be more than manageable. What followed was the forceful eviction of the turians from our little colony. Yay humans!

Turians however are a highly militant and mighty race, and were just about to prepare for a full scale war, "total war" if you will - (Side Note: Since reading World War Z, I hate the term "Total War" - it's just not possible!!!) - when the asari and salarians intervened, stopping the conflict before it got out of hand. This event would be known as the First Contact War to us, and the Relay 314 Incident by the turians.

Since then, there has been a lingering animosity between the 2 races, which appears to have gone for the most part, especially with the development of the SSV Normandy, co-designed, developed and built by the 2 races.

That, I feel, was a nice little introduction to the turians. However if you're still reading this, I'm going to throw some more information and history your way.

Turian - Unzipped
Originally from the planet Palaven, adult turians are usually over 6ft tall, and have 2 long thick fingers with an opposable thumb on each hand, each tipped with talons. They also have a set of mandibles around their mouths. One of the most notable features of the turian's biology is their metallic carapace, which is a direct result of thir evolution. Because Palaven has a metal-poor core, their planet has a very weak magnetic field letting in a lot more solar radiation, as a result most of the species of Palaven have developed a metal-like exo-skeleton.

Turians appear to have quite similar features to birds, and look like avian-humanoids...apart from the lack of wings. However when I play the game, I can't help but think that facially they, facially, look a bit like cats. They also have a similar lifespan to humans.

The last thing I'll mention about the turian biology is their awesome voices, that all have a distinct flanging effect, some more than others definitely, but it's always there.

Turian culture is heavily focussed on public service, with all turians having to serve the state from the age of 15-30, from anything from being a soldier to an sanitation worker. Because of their heavy leanings towards public service and strong sense of self-sacrifice, because of this, they're not the best entrepreneurs. Because of this, they have a special relationship with the volus who offer their financial, entrepreneurial talents in exchange for the turian military protection.

Turians follow a strict social code, they are highly focused and have a very high work ethic. They are always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and always deliver. Despite their military ethos that is seemingly "all or nothing", they are not really prone to violence. Due to their massive military, they tend to defeat their enemies with nothing but overwhelming force, leaving them so weak and powerless that they have no option but to surrender and become a colony of the turians - a fate that would no doubt have happened to the humans had the Citadel Council not intervened in the First Contact War.

The turian military is not just a standard military like you would expect from our own armed forces, but it is a total public works organisation. Their military police, fire and medical services also serve the civilian population. Their engineers don't just build military facilities, but also schools, sanitation services, power stations and libraries.

I feel I've rambled on a bit about the turians, so before I leave, here are a few notable turians in the Mass Effect universe.

Notable Turians

Garrus Vakarian - Absolute legend. If I were to list out my favourite video game side-kicks/team-mates then Garrus would top the tree. He's funny, he's hard as nails, he's got your back. And if you're a lady, he'll no doubt spoon afterwards baby. The first time you'll encounter Garrus is on the Citadel, working for C-Sec investigating the Spectre, Saren. You get a feeling from the first time you meet him that he's a man on the edge - not of sanity but just of leaving C-Sec, frustrated and angry that he's being held back and stifled. So you help him. Through thick and thin he's at your side, taking notes on how to be the ultimate bad-ass along the way from his new mentor (Shepard). And in ME2 he uses those skills to become the leader of a vigilante group in the most dangerous and crime ridden place in the galaxy - Omega. You find him again taking on the 3 main crime syndicates in the galaxy - single handed, with a sniper rifle. And even then the crime bosses don't think it's a fair fight, so you can imagine their fate when the biggest bad-ass in the universe teams up with your Commander Shepard. After the events of ME2, you catch up with Garrus on Menae, the biggest moon of the turian homeworld of Palaven. He's basically the turian hierarchy's chief advisor on all things "Reaper", something that he is very modest about stating that he's just an ex-cop and vigilante. Garrus - from the looks of things - has the biggest female following in the ME universe, and it's not hard to see why when his personality is just...well it's just aces!! And even I, as a straight man, find his voice very attractive...smooth like chocolate, knocked back with a cool glass of creamy milk. View the video above to see him talking shit with ME3's James Vega (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr).

Saren Arterius - Another legend. Albeit a meanie! His dislike, disdain and disgust for humanity goes back to the First Contact War when his brother, Desolas, was killed by humans. He is the main antagonist in Mass Effect and an all round badass as well. He is seen as a prophet of the "old machines" (Reapers) to the geth, which is why they follow him devotedly. He is totally focused and will not let little things like innocent people get in the way of him getting his job done. He is one of the first people in the Galaxy who is notably indoctrinated by the Reapers, and uses his position as a Council Spectre to get a head start on Shepard n Co in the search for the illusive Conduit. He ultimately meets his end in the Citadel a mere moments before the Reapers would have poured through to start the next cycle of harvesting.

Adrien Victus - Although he only appears in ME3, he is one of the most influential people in the game. He starts the game as General Victus of the turian army, but because of the Reaper invasion becomes the new Primarch of the turian hierarchy through succession. He is a soldier to the core, and is obviously uncomfortable leaving Palaven's moon of Menae to talk diplomacy with the salarians and krogan. But he does it anyway and pulls off what he needs to with aplomb. We see him last before the final push on Earth to the Conduit MkII, where he is ready to fight, showing that he really is a soldier first and a politician second.

Right, that was the turian entry for my Mass Effect Races post. However, I'm thinking I might concentrate more on other things in gaming as opposed to the races of a single game franchise. It's quite time consuming and it's nothing that you can't find out by playing the game or going to the Mass Effect Wiki.

If there's another entry it'll be either salarian, krogan, geth, Reapers or humans. But I just don't know. I really don't. See you later.

Toolbox 24