5 Reasons Mass Effect's Illusive Man is actually a hero

This article will contain spoilers for the Mass Effect series. 

In our continuing effort to clear the name of some of gaming's greatest villains, it's time to review the record of one of the great classic bad guys in video game history. 

History is written by the victors. By the end of the Mass Effect series many of the victors are dead. For that reason we completely understand how the truth behind the Illusive Man may have been accidently skewed. The fact is, most of the people who dealt with him directly over the years didn’t survive, so how do we know he was truly a villain In point of fact the Illusive Man is actually a hero, and here are five reasons why. 

1. He cares about the human race

Humans discover the mass relays and the first thing that happens is aliens start shooting at them. What would you do? The Illusive Man is just trying to protect his species. He doesn’t see race or gender, he just sees humanity as a whole. A race that is entirely new to this new galactic world. He wants to bring all of humanity together. There is no more noble goal than that.

2. He resurrects Shepard

10 minutes into Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard is dead and all hope is lost. That is, until the Illusive Man shows up and saves the day. He spent an untold amount of money and two years of time to resurrect a single human because he knew she (Shepard is a she, deal with it) was important. Beyond that, he never tries to control her or force her to do anything. He lets her make her own decisions, trusting that they are the right ones. He just, maybe, forgets to tell her everything that he knows. It's a minor oversight at worst.

3. He saved the galaxy from the Collectors

When the Collectors attack the galaxy the Illusive Man goes into action. He brings Shepard back, he outfits her with her pilot, a new ship, and a team of all the best and brightest in the galaxy to assist, regardless of their species. People think he doesn’t like aliens or wants them all dead or something , but he doesn’t let any personal bias stand in his way of doing what needs to be done. If other races can help save the galaxy, then let’s use them to get the job done.

4. He was right about the Reapers the whole time

From the beginning of Mass Effect 3 the Illusive Man tries to explain that controlling the Reapers is possible, but nobody believes him. Everybody thinks he’s crazy, everybody thinks he’s been indoctrinated by the Reapers. Well, get to the end of the game and what do we learn? That’s it’s totally possible to control the Reapers. He was right the whole time. I bet you feel really dumb now. Maybe if people had listened to him at the beginning everything would have been better.

5a. He sacrifices himself (if you did it right)

In the end, when it appears the Illusive Man has been indoctrinated by the Reapers, and he realizes that this has happened, he makes the right choice and kills himself rather than letting the Reapers control him. A noble death. A hero’s sacrifice.

Some of you may have played the game in a way that had Shepard shoot the Illusive Man, but you’re just trying to rewrite history to make him look bad. It didn’t really happen that way. Trust us.

5b. He was voiced by Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen is awesome, this is just a fact. You think the guy that played President Bartlet on The West Wing could ever be evil? No way. He never would have been chosen for the role if the goal had been to create an evil character. If that were the point, they would have cast Charlie.

So now you know the truth behind the Illusive Man. He was a misunderstood man whose story has been rewritten by those who want to take all the credit. Now you know who the real hero is.

Time to play the whole series from the beginning again...