Here we are again at the crossroads of morality, a key element to the success of BioWare's sci-fi role-playing epic. You've presumably read earlier this week why Jordan plays Paragon, now you'll find out why I play Renegade. As mentioned previously, there is no benefit to taking the middle ground here. There is no sitting on the fence. Mass Effect is a game that rewards based on extremes, and that's where most of the fun is to be found.
So why take the Renegade path? Is that reflective of the type of person I am? Maybe. That's a question that I don't really bother with. The Renegade path is so incredibly enticing if only because it offers a path I don't often take myself. Why wouldn't I do what's morally right? I'm about as nice as the next guy, which is as obscure a statement as they get, but you get the point. Playing Renegade is an opportunity to escape this reality, suspend belief and have as much fun as I like.
First of all, there are quite a few misconceptions about playing Renegade. Yes, Shepard is basically a hard ass that will do what he or she thinks is necessary to get the job done. However, it's not necessarily for personal gain. Think of the bigger picture. If the grand scheme of things is threatened by a broken cog in the machine, it's simply better and more effective to terminate it. It's nothing personal. Shepard is essentially the saviour of the galaxy, regardless of his moral standing. Shepard isn't going to abandon it to the Reapers just so he can live another day.
BioWare should also be commended for doing one heck of a job with the writing and performance. Dialogue options for Renegades aren't cheesy. In fact, they invoke emotion. Most notably rage if it's something that would piss you off normally. I won't go into details that might possibly spoil the game for those who have yet to play it, but it's just as Jordan says in his feature on Why He Plays Paragon: sometimes it's all just reactive, and the usual reaction to something that angers you is to take that anger and shove it up its colon.
On that note, the dialogue for Renegades just seems so much more entertaining. It's fun to see a person squirm under pressure. It's even more fun when FemShep does the pressuring. Perhaps it's the long-standing issue where video games don't see that many strongly written female protagonists, but in Mass Effect, FemShep can do everything male Commander Shepard can do, if not better. She isn't someone you want to mess with.
Personally, I may always try to pick the intimidation dialogue whenever the opportunity arises, but there have been occasions throughout the series where I don't. It's on a case-by-case basis really. Where life hangs in the balance, the well-being of my squad mates always took precedence. I may be a Renegade, but that doesn't mean I'm not human.
Either way, Mass Effect is a great platform to explore what being Renegade can be like, regardless of your own upbringing and moral standing in the real world. That's the beauty of it. Suspend your beliefs and see what it can be like on the other side. Have some fun.