Striking up a romantic relationship with a character in Mass Effect 3 will earn you a lovely picture of their face that sits on the desk in Commander Shepard’s quarters. It’s a nice touch, but for Tali romancers it’s particularly special, because it means you actually get to see her face without her helmet on. Unfortunately, in the old ME3, that picture of Tali was a stock photo of a model edited to look a bit alien. But now in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, BioWare have swapped it out for a much more “realistic” pic.
For context, Tali’Zorah is a quarian: a race of humanoid aliens that never take off their special space suits (because they have terrible immune systems). That picture of her on your desk is the only one of her face you’ll ever see, which is why it was so disappointing that the original image looked like this:
It’s an edited version of this stock photo and there’s just so much wrong with it. Why does she have such long flowing locks when her head doesn’t leave a helmet? Why has she swapped out her protective suit for a cheeky off-the-shoulder number? My biggest gripe is with her hand, though. Whoever edited the photo lopped off two of the (human) model’s fingers to reflect that quarians only have three, but her fingers are the wrong length! The bottom finger should be little, but it’s the same size as the middle one!! It’s such a specific thing to be annoyed at, and the more I look at it, the funnier I find it.
Thankfully, BioWare have swapped out this daft photoshop for an image of Tali that looks as though it could’ve been taken in-game. Here’s the new and improved pic “Maxgoods” posted on Reddit:
Tali still has white eyes and some alien-ish face lines, but in keeping with her quarian heritage she hasn’t left the safety of her suit – plus she isn’t posing like she’s about to be on the cover of Rannoch Vogue. She still looks a bit boringly human (especially compared to her old concept art), but at the very least she seems anatomically correct.
If you want this lovely photo of Tali on your Shepard’s desk, you’ll have to play through both ME2 and ME3 to romance her. I personally think she has the best character arc in the series, so I do recommend getting to know her if you’re playing a dude Shep (unfortunately, FemShep can’t date her).
This is just one of the many improvements BioWare have made to their space-RPG trilogy with the Mass Effect Legendary Edition. The biggest tweaks revolve around the first game, which the devs have brought more in line with the sequels – with improved combat, a better character creator, and loads of updated textures and graphics. I’m currently playing through ME1 myself and I keep finding myself muttering, “it just looks so good”, every time I land on a new planet.