A yr earlier than Mass Impact got here out, The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion gave us the Adoring Fan. Turn into grand champion of the sector and he follows you round providing backrubs and getting in the best way. Everybody hated him. Mass Impact’s Conrad Verner appeared like one other Adoring Fan, so we have been destined to hate him too.
A dweeb with a horrible goatee, he hangs out on the Citadel attempting to get your consideration. First he needs an autograph, then a photograph, then he needs you to recruit him as a Spectre so you may work aspect by aspect as equals. That escalated rapidly?
Enjoying the trilogy for the primary time, with a few years separating ME2 and ME3, I forgot Verner’s deal between video games. Seeing him return in each was a shrug emoji sort of scenario. After I replayed the sequence back-to-back a couple of years later, I did not end his quest in ME1 and by no means noticed him once more. Solely now in 2021, marching by means of the trilogy a 3rd time within the Legendary Version, do I lastly respect Conrad Verner.
A part of Verner’s worth is that he illustrates your rise. He is impressed the primary time you meet, once you’re the hero who shot up “100 geth”. By the subsequent time you see him you’ve got change into a Spectre—a particular agent with frankly obscene extrajudicial powers. Verner’s clumsy salute and blathering reward make you’re feeling a bit overvalued. “This man who already thought I used to be sizzling shit is stunned by what I’ve managed. Perhaps I’m fairly nice?”
Verner has to push it although, and when he begins attempting to speak his means into your crew, sufficient is sufficient. I am not going to let somebody even much less cool than Kaidan on board, come on. (Sorry, Kaidan.) The renegade choice has Shepard threaten Verner at gunpoint, as a result of that is Renegade Shepard’s resolution to principally every little thing within the first sport. The paragon selection is to speak him down, to recollect the spouse he is talked about and clarify that he ought to keep behind for the sake of his household. You want folks like him on the house entrance to remind you what you are preventing for.
Not that this selection issues in Mass Impact 2. Due to a bug, each the renegade and paragon flags get set in your save file whichever you select, and the renegade one takes priority. That is why in ME2 Verner accuses you of pointing the gun at him it doesn’t matter what you probably did, even within the Legendary Version (although there are mods to repair that).
Between video games you spent a yr lifeless for tax functions, and through that point Verner ignored your recommendation, purchased a duplicate go well with of N7 armor, and has been cosplaying as a videogame hero to fill the hole you left. There is a meta joke about how he wanders round asking random folks in the event that they need assistance, similar to you, which in his case ends with him caught up in a battle over the possession of a bar. This turns into your downside, like every little thing else within the dang galaxy, and as soon as once more Paragon Shepard tries to speak Verner into going dwelling. (Renegade Shepard shoots him within the foot.)
In Mass Impact 3 Verner’s discovered among the many Citadel’s dockside refugees. Having heard you have been working for Cerberus, he tried to hitch the group and was manipulated into being a distraction whereas they sabotaged some close by medical stations. Verner’s goofed once more, although this time not less than he realizes it and apologizes. He additionally apologizes for accusing you of pointing a gun at him that one time, “once you did not truly try this. I used to be actually stressed.” (This line is why BioWare did not trouble fixing the save file bug within the Legendary Version, I assume.)
When Verner asks if there’s something he can do to make up for his mistake, Shepard snarks at him, even in case you’ve been a affected person paragon until now. “Conrad, I am constructing an historic prothean dark-energy machine to cease the reapers. Can you assist with that?”
That is when Verner tells you he wrote his doctoral dissertation on xenotechnology and dark-energy integration.
Throughout three video games, on a regular basis you’ve got recognized Verner, you by no means as soon as requested what he does for a residing. Seems he is an skilled on alien know-how. What follows is an incredible pay-off for this string of sidequests that ropes in different sidequests from simply as far again. Verner checks with an instructional colleague who has some schematics for historic tech that could be helpful, and that colleague occurs to be one of many colonists from Feros within the first sport. Should you helped that man retrieve his information again then, he repays the favor now.
It continues with Shepard and Verner coordinating assets backwards and forwards as they make calls and produce up their laptop screens. “Oh no,” he says, “the schematics are in an historic asari dialect!” “Would this assortment of asari matriarch collectibles I spent means too lengthy scrounging for within the first sport assist?” “Why sure, they’d! However the schematics are additionally patented by Elkoss Mix and I haven’t got a licence.” “No worries, I purchased a kind of within the first sport as effectively.” “What an incredible coincidence!”
Should you’ve been sufficient of a completionist to gather every little thing you want, that arduous work is satisfyingly acknowledged right here, and Verner lastly will get to be helpful. You wrap up your convention name, click on on him a couple of extra occasions to listen to some bonus metatextual gags, discover out that he by no means truly had a spouse however does have a “tasteful” shrine to you, after which wander away to restore the sabotage and full this foolish sidequest.
At which level, Verner reappears. He is noticed the Cerberus agent who tricked him, and shouts, “You are underneath arrest!” The agent turns, drawing his gun. After which spots a greater goal: Commander Shepard.
Realizing what’s about to occur, Verner slow-motion dives in entrance of you because the gun goes off, then falls to the ground. You deck the agent, then rush again to the place Verner fell. In that second, kneeling over him, I felt terrible for disrespecting Verner. I underestimated him. I even in contrast him to the Adoring Fan.
However Mass Impact is not carried out fucking with you but. There’s one final sidequest from the primary sport with a pay-off but to return. Should you helped Jenna—a waitress on the Chora’s Den strip membership secretly working as an informant—she returns out of the blue to elucidate she noticed what was taking place and used an outdated trick she realized from these days to sabotage the agent’s gun. Verner lives, and never solely that, Jenna’s so impressed by his bravery that the 2 stroll off collectively into an oddball completely happy ending.
This chain of occasions has a wild quantity of reactivity, so many small selections from throughout the sequence remembered right here, nearly as if to apologize for that one second of forgetfulness led to by a save sport bug.
ME3 is not at all times nice at respecting the selections you made earlier within the trilogy—in case you selected to interchange the Citadel Council with people they’re aliens once more, and in case you selected to have the comically slimy Councillor Udina changed by Keith David like a wise particular person, then Udina’s however again on the Council for causes it’s important to look within the Codex to search out. And but, on this one missable sidequest, Verner’s story is altered due to every little thing you’ve got carried out.
It is a second the place Mass Impact lives as much as its promise, the concept that that is your Shepard, with all of your decisions—even small ones—gaining relevance and significance ultimately.
The Mission Full pop-ups seem and a brand new battle asset is unlocked. Verner’s darkish vitality dissertation helps you construct your superweapon and provides to your navy power. Mass Impact has one final gag, although. Subsequent time you test your battle property for the small print, you see the reward for completely combining every little thing you wanted for this mission, for the work you probably did stretching throughout the complete trilogy, is 5 measly factors of navy power.
It is sufficient to make you contemplate going again to shoot Conrad Verner within the foot.