Sure, I should've fallen in love with Miranda, Mass Effect 2's only 'normal' human female - she's genetically *engineered* to be the perfect woman, as demonstrated in cut scenes lingering on her curvy backside and attention-sucking bosom. But, no, after a horrendous gaffe where I failed to take Miranda's side in an argument with a psychotic, bald biotic covered in tattoos, she refused to talk to me again, leaving me one sensible option: to romance the masked, quasi-cybernetic alien Tali. Forced to live in a protective suit on account of her weakened immune system, Tali's species lives in a flotilla on the farthest reaches of the galaxy because their homeworld was stolen by sentient robots of their own creation. I mean, who wouldn't?
Well, as it turns out, I wasn't alone. While Tali isn't the most eligible girl in 50-hour sci-fi RPG Mass Effect 2, she's definitely the most vulnerable and alluring, with one of the most sympathetic scripts. She's the girl you think only you fancy, before *every* bloke nervously asks her out on date at the office Christmas party, confessing she's their 'secret' crush. Well, after several moderately tedious conversation threads, I'd struck up some sparkling flirtation and she'd confessed her interest in me. Me, aka Jon Shepard, commander of the USS Normandy and saviour of the galaxy (I omitted to mention I'd recently been reconstructed from DNA constituents, having been burnt to death re-entering an atmosphere and hitting a planet face-first. I mean, she knows n'that, but no point dwelling on it, eh?).
We'll chill on Sunday
Cutting a long story short, Tali agreed to engage in clothes-free physical communion with me, even though removing her protective suit - and face-obscuring visor - would expose her weakened immune system to untold germs and potentially lead to her death. Don't worry, I'm not so callous as to urge a woman to sleep with me if it might mean death. I told her to take vitamins and everything.
Sooo... we do the do, and in the climatic scene where I finally flip off her mask to reveal - in my mind - the stunning, glowing, Megan Fox lookalike inside, the camera cuts away, and we roll around with my beloved's visage cruelly out of sight. Tali's identity is still unknown, and will remain so until Mass Effect 3 - and that's *if" Bioware choose to reveal her face.
Not that I'm, like, obsessed. But seeing Tali's face seems like the most important thing in the history of videogames - and, thankfully, several thousand other *perfectly normal* people feel the same way. Cue an amazing thread on the Bioware developer forum when fans have taken it upon themselves to draw how they think Tali looks - which quickly devolved from saucy Avatar lookalikes into crude collages of Tiger Woods, mutant babies and a giant bum with teeth. Either way, it's one of gaming's funniest, stupidest memes - and we've got the best. And worst. Click on the 'screenshots' gallery to see Tali's face revealed.
Anyone else struck up an 'entente cordiale' with Tali in Mass Effect 2? She's, er, the best, right? Much nicer than that Ms Goody Two-Shoes Miranda, at least. Who looks like Michael Jackson. Yep.
Take a look at the pictures, and share your Mass Effect love-tales below.
Tune back tomorrow for an exclusive Q&A with Mass Effect developers BioWare, discussing the mystery of Tali's face and how - or *if* - they plan to reveal it in Mass Effect 3. For an exclusive first-look at Mass Effect 3, check out the latest issue of PSM3, on-sale in all good newsagents or available to order here