By Joseph Walter
While the music throughout the series is somewhat uneven, the third installment brought more identity to ideas and locales.
Now, for those interested in playing through this fantastic trio of games, or haven't quite yet completed "Mass Effect 3," I advise you to stop reading, because the track we're going to discuss today may spoil the story for you.
Alright, you've been warned. Spoilers ahead!
The Quarians are a race that have been ousted from their homeworld by their very own creations, the synthetic Geth.
For over three hundred years, the Quarians wander the stars in a fleet of ships, not unlike the concept of Battlestar Galactica, never again setting foot on their increasingly-mythic homeworld, Rannoch.
But that all changes in"Mass Effect 3." The galaxy is in peril due to an ancient, existential threat known as "The Reapers," enormous, cybernetic monstrosities, which appear from the dark-space between galaxies and lay waste to all advanced organic life after a set number millennia.
While most of the other races in the Milky Way are concerned with this extinction-level war, the Quarians decide to assault their homeworld in an ill-advised attempt to reclaim it.
As Commander Shepard, the Quarian's war also intersects with your own interests: Destroying a Reaper base on the surface that is making the Geth allies of the gargantuan beasts.
So, taking your long-time Quarian crew-member (and love interest, if you've played your cards right) you land on the surface and begin your desperate mission.
And what does that surface sound like? Let's give it a listen:
It starts with the patented synthetic beats that much of the music in the series employs, but there is a little more uncertainty within it.
The meat of the piece, and the part that makes it worthy of a Soundcheck comes at 1:20, where a powerful, noble sequence of electronic triumph overcomes the body of the song, defying its simplistic set-up. This is the grandeur of Rannoch. This is the indomitable spirit of the Quarians. This is the culmination of centuries of wandering. This is destiny.
Every time I hear this moment, I can't help but feel the plight of the Quarians and all of their emotions embodied in it. The Quarians are finally home, and they won't be leaving without it. They're seeing vistas they've only heard legends about. This is the place of their ancestors. And after three hundred years, the time has finally come to return.
What makes this triumphant, home-coming, interlude even more profound is that at the conclusion of this mission, one of the most difficult choices in any video game demands to be made. And this decision can haunt the player not just within the game, but even beyond it.
Well, what do you think? "Does this unit have a soul?"