Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Grunt, one of your teammates in “Mass Effect 2.”
“Mass Effect 2” is the sequel to “Mass Effect” that follows almost immediately after the first game. Now I’m sure you guys all know the “Mass Effect” series and its story; it’s a pretty fantastic series. In case you don’t know, I’ll give you the usual synopsis. “Mass Effect 2” starts up with Shepard’s ship, the Normandy, getting attacked. Most of your crew escapes but Commander Shepard ends up dying in the attack. She is then rebuilt and brought back to life by the Lazarus Project. This project was run by the pro human group Cerberus. Shepard had run into Cerberus in “Mass Effect” and she, like many other people, was not a big fan of the illegal experiments and actions they took. As fate would have it, Shepard must now work with Cerberus to battle this new threat called The Collectors.
Now where does Grunt fit into things? Grunt is the respective Krogan team mate you get in “Mass Effect 2”, because what is a “Mass Effect” game without a Krogan team mate, right? Oh wait, that would be “Mass Effect 3”….we won’t talk about my dislike of that decision. In the second game, instead of Wrex, you get Grunt. Grunt is a super enhanced Krogan that was created in a giant experiment run by a crazy Krogan scientist named Okeer. Grunt is literally a super test tube baby. Of course, no one just pops out of a tube with full knowledge of everything, so naturally you have to teach Grunt certain things. The most important thing is the way he feels about being Krogan. Grunt had memories and emotions put into him so that he would be as close to a real Krogan as he possibly could. Korgans are a strong proud and tribal like people. They have tough rituals and don’t take any crap from other races. Grunt doesn’t feel like he really fits the roll right, though. This causes Grunt’s decision to basically come down to “Do I punch thing or not?” and if he can’t answer that he looks to Shepard and says “So can I kill this?” His aggression and and willingness to obey Shepard are him trying to feel as Krogan like as possible. He actually only agree to listen to Shepard because he wanted a guarantee that he would be able to fight things. On the surface, this seems like a very one dimensional character. Big strong muscle beast that does what the boss says so he can kill things. “Mass Effect”, however, does not let any one character be that flat and boring. Looking beyond his desire to fight you really see, like I said before, that he is trying to fill a gap. The whole time he searching to understand what being a Krogan really is and thinks that, because of the thoughts implanted in him, fighting is the only answer to this problem. You really get to love Grunt though when you do his loyalty mission.
In “Mass Effect 2” you go on a loyalty mission with each of your team mates. These missions strenghten your bond with each team mate as well as having in game benefits. Grunt’s mission is by far my favorite one. Thane’s comes in at a close second. At one point in the game when you go talk to Grunt, he is frustrated and angry. He starts talking and sounds very displeased. He says there is something missing, he has a feeling he can’t fix. No fighting or smashing has fixed this feeling and it has been slowly growing. In order to fix this issue, you bring Grunt to the Krogan homeworld of Tuchanka. Upon bringing Grunt to the Krogan homeworld, you learn what his problem is. Grunt needs to go through the Rite of Passage. This is basically a really violent and crazy Krogan version of puberty. You have to survive through waves of vicious space nasties that are going to try really hard to murder you. The part that makes this mission great isn’t the Rite, it’s everything that happens before. The other Krogans know that Grunt is the special test tube baby. Many of them think he shouldn’t be allowed to go through the Rite. They argue he isn’t a real Krogan, which causes Grunt to jumps in and say that this is his time to prove that he is. Grunt knows how powerful he is and boasts it to the other Krogan. He wants this victory so he can be accepted by his people. You actually get the feels for Grunt in this section of the game. He is a creature that knows he doesn’t belong and now that he is growing up a bit he wants to prove he can fit in. This whole section of the game actually uses Grunt as a sort of symbol. The Krogan have little tolerance for this different Krogan, even though he is clearly one of them. This is much like people in the real world who can’t handle other human beings that act a little different and appear different. If you think I’m grasping straws there, I beg to differ. The “Mass Effect” series has a lot of undertones of things like racism and ethnocentrism that go on. “Dragon Age” has similar things that occur. Grunt is a creature that wants his people to accept him, but they can’t handle that he was created different. You also grow closer to Grunt here because Shepard is the one who ends up convincing the Krogan and helping Grunt complete his Rite. Once you succeed, Grunt is ecstatic and completely accepts Shepard as his leader, rather than listening out of necessity.
The other more subtle part to Grunt is actually his dislike of himself. Grunt was a Krogan made in a tube, meaning he did not have to worry about the Genophage or the harshness of growing up as a Krogan child. The Genophage is a disease all Krogan have that makes it so one in every one thousand births is still born. Grunt knows about this and feels that he isn’t worthy because he wasn’t a child to how to battle to survive right from the start. Grunt also has no tribe and no proper Krogan leader. This makes Grunt feel like he has a life without purpose, which is also why he takes to fighting to fill the void. This is why after completing the Rite and being accepted into a Krogan tribe and being accepted as a Krogan in general causes him to be happy. Even you can’t help but feel happy for him because he is like a big vicious and powerful kid who got his first reward in life. After completing all of this ,Grunt then decides he can really help Shepard now and feels comfortable with his life.
The verdict of Grunt. Grunt is of course Good. He is a big beast of a Krogan who you never thought would give you the feels he does. He has a story and character that seems simple at first and then quickly grows into a much more interesting character. He is in fact one of my favorite “Mass Effect” characters, and rightfully so. You grow very attached to him in time and he has a unique feeling to him as a character. He is basically a character that you watch grow up and more importantly, you help him do that growing. I of course, highly recommend the “Mass Effect” series and love all of the characterization within it.