I’m of two minds about Zaeed Massani. He’s both completely badass and immensely dislikable.
Joining the Team
Zaeed is one of two team members that are available only through downloadable content. However, in an attempt to cut down on used game sales, Zaeed was free for original purchaser’s of the game. This means that Zaeed, unlike Kasumi, is much more likely to part of ME2‘s ‘collective playing experience.’
You meet Zaeed on Omega, right off the ship. Seems he’s been hunting one of those four-eyed batarians, and you get the distinct pleasure of signing him on while he wraps up the last loose end of that mission. Zaeed has been hired by Cerberus to join your team, so there’s no need to do a recruitment quest. As Shepard points out in their first conversation together, they must have paid him a fantastic amount to go on a suicide mission. To be fair, it seems that Zaeed’s bread-and-butter is doing the impossible; if you visit him down in the ship’s cargo hold, he has some pretty crazy stories to tell. I knew I might like him as soon as he said we were ‘big goddamn heroes.’
As a signing bonus, Cerberus promised that Shepard and her team would help Zaeed with one last mission: he’s been hired to liberate a factory enslaved by the Blue Suns mercenary group, and he could use all the extra firepower he could get.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that this mission is a little more… personal… than the team was originally led to believe. Zaeed took the contract as a means to an end: Zaeed was a co-founder of the Blue Suns, until his friend and fellow founder Vido shot him in the head and left him for dead. (That definitely explains the nasty scaring and fake eye.) It just so happens that Vido is going to be at the factory in question.
Complicating matters is the fact that the factory we’re suppose to ‘liberate’ is highly explosive. In the opening salvo of Zaeed’s confrontation with Vido, the crazy bastard purposefully targets an explosive gas main.
Zaeed’s loyalty mission – aptly titled “The Price of Revenge” – forces Shepard to chose between helping Zaeed fulfill his twenty-year-long quest for revenge, or to save the factory’s civilian workers.
The sacrifice should be self-evident: either Shepard helps Zaeed get revenge and wins his loyalty, or she doesn’t. But there’s still a chance for Paragon’s to win Zaeed’s loyalty: Vido escapes, but falling debris pins Zaeed to the ground. You can – rightly – point out that in his selfishness, Zaeed brought this upon himself, and that you need to know right then and there if you can trust him in the future. A little cowed, Zaeed sorta mumbles something like an apology and says that he’ll do what he was paid to do. Loyalty earned.
I like Zaeed’s voice actor, and I like the badass stories Zaeed’s voice actor got the chance to tale. Unfortunately, the whole “I don’t care if innocents die” thing chilled my like of him. I thought back to Garrus’ ‘revenge’ quest in the first game – the insane scientist who escaped from the Citadel with innocents onboard his ship – and realized that even if the cases were similar on the surface, they were conveyed in completely different ways, and received by me completely differently.
Worse, I feel like I sort of cheated – in my opinion, Zaeed’s loyalty should only be winnable if you help him fulfill his quest for revenge. The game should force me to live with the consequences of being a ‘good’ guy.
So, I made the mistake of not taking any screencaps of Zaeed or his loyalty mission. ‘That’s ok,’ I thought, ‘surely DeviantArt has some pictures I could use.’
BOY DO THEY EVER
I’m not throwing any stones here. I think ME fanart is awesome, and I even found the Zaeed pairings funny and enjoyable. But another part of me thought also found it funny that fanart that depicts Zaeed in a positive light also downplays how completely fuggly his face is.