The hit sci-fi Mass Effect game series thrusts you into an action-packed universe of aliens, robots, and biotic powers as Commander Shepard, and you’re not in this alone. In all three original Mass Effect games, you command a whole squad, and some squadmates are loyal companions for all three games. Others are newcomers, or appear for just one game as a teammate.
Garrus Vakarian is a Turian vigilante, and Liara T’Soni is an Asari archeologist turned warrior, and they’re both classic squadmates from the first game onwards (and they are both romance options, too). Fans love both of these characters, but now we ask: which of them is the best squadmate of all, based on combat performance, personal history, accomplishments, and more?
10 Garrus: Cool Renegade
Garrus Vakarian is a well-balanced character, having traits of both paragon and renegade as a Turian vigilante (more on this soon). He gets along well with Shepard and the team, and he’s easy to get along with. But don’t cross him.
Sidonis learns the hard way what happens if you betray Garrus, and Garrus beat Harkin half to death to find Sidonis’ location. Don’t forget that time Garrus gunned down the cruel scientist Dr. Saleon aboard a drifting ship. He’s a badass when it counts.
9 Liara: Rapid Growth
This is Liara when we first see her, trapped in an energy bubble in underground Prothean ruins. She’s a diligent but hapless archeologist and the estranged daughter of Matriarch Benezia. She belongs in a library, not the battlefield.
Prepare for all that to change. Liara soon learns to pick up a gun and fight, and she gains the confidence and courage necessary to help Shepard fight Saren and later, the mighty Reaper fleet. It’s so empowering to see her step up like this.
8 Garrus: Sniper Supreme
Who doesn’t love a good sniper character? You get Sarah Kerrigan in the StarCraft games and Usopp in the One Piece anime, but then there’s Garrus. He’s a crack shot, and his weapons inventory always has room for a good sniper rifle.
This lets him take out enemies easily during gameplay, but he really shines in the cutscenes. If you’re a renegade Shepard, you’ll step aside and allow Garrus to take down Sidonis with one shot. And his sniper skills mowed down whole platoons of mercenaries during his final battle on Omega.
7 Liara: Biotic Mastery
Garrus may be a terrific marksman, but biotic powers don’t run out of thermal clips. Liara, like all Asari, is a biotic, and her powers grow rapidly as the trilogy progresses. When the rogue Spectre Vasir attacked with a storm of shattered glass, Liara easily and quickly threw up a barrier to block it all.
She can crush or lift just about anything, either with brute force or with a delicate touch, showing how broad and refined her powers are. She even gently lifted James Vega during that house party as a free demonstration!
6 Garrus: Became Archangel
This is a big point in Garrus’ favor. In Mass Effect 2, the Illusive Man gives you a dossier on a lone mercenary operating on Omega, a sort of vigilante on that station’s mean streets. Once you begin the mission, you learn that Archangel, as people call him, is a Turian.
Sharp fans of the franchise probably realized that Archangel is Garrus, and they were proven right. Garrus became his own miniature Commander Shepard, a rogue hero with his own squad to fight back against evil. He didn’t need any encouragement, either; he just did it.
5 Liara: The New Shadow Broker
Liara can do one better: she became the one and only Shadow Broker! This mysterious entity is the ultimate information trader, who can trade personal secrets and get access to restricted data in planetary governments.
The Shadow Broker turned out to be a Yahg, a pre-spaceflight alien, and Liara needed revenge. She got more than that: she became the new Shadow Broker, and now, she can use this formidable role to benefit Shepard in the battle against the Reapers and Cerberus alike.
4 Garrus: Great Humor
The Mass Effect trilogy is a space opera with a great story, heartbreaking drama, and exciting action scenes. But in between all that is all kinds of great humor, from that house party in Mass Effect 3 to all kinds of witty banter during missions and conversations.
Alliance Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau may be called “Joker,” but Garrus is the real comic relief, which is enhanced by his balance of paragon and renegade ways of thinking. We loved that scene when he had a sniper contest with Shepard on the Citadel, just to name one of many examples. Or that time he and Joker traded jokes.
3 Liara: Time Capsule
Time capsules are fun to bury, and even more fun to dig up and check out. Liara, though, has a very special and important time capsule in mind. While she is confident that Commander Shepard can save the galaxy, she likes to be prepared.
So, partway through Mass Effect 3, Liara will prepare a time capsule that can warn future races against the Reapers, complete with Crucible blueprints and an inspiring message from Shepard him/herself. It’s a practical and sentimental idea at the same time.
2 Garrus: Bucking Tradition
Let’s expand some more on the theme of Garrus becoming a cool rogue Turian agent. After all, this identity is the core of his character from the moment we met him. He first appeared as a frustrated, hot-headed C-Sec agent who annoyed his bosses, especially Executor Pallin.
Garrus got fed up in the weeks after Mass Effect ended, and he openly admitted that he doesn’t make for a “good Turian.” This alien race is defined by perfect discipline and rigid social structures, a total military society. But Garrus has other ideas, and it’s fun to see him butt heads with his more conservative peers and superiors. He needs room to fly!
1 Liara: Relationship With Her Mother
This is Matriarch Benezia. She looks pretty evil when Commander Shepard meets her, but Liara knows that her mother was not always like this. In the past, Benezia was kind and compassionate, and Liara fondly remembers her that way.
While Garrus’ family is sometimes mentioned, including a C-Sec father and a sister, Liara’s family life is brought to the fore. It’s heartbreaking to see Benezia perish right before Liara’s eyes, but we’re touched that Liara coped with her grief and remember her mother as she used to be. It was one of the best parts of the first game.
The hit sci-fi Mass Effect game series has two awesome classic squadmates: Garrus and Liara. But who is better?