Of all the companions in the Mass Effect series, fans tend to have a soft spot for Tali’Zorah vas Neema (later vas Normandy), the quarian tech wizard who is by Shepard’s side from the very start of the trilogy. BioWare has made something of a name for itself creating sweeping RPGs full of colorful companions with unique personalities, values, and reactions to the player character and each other. Many of these companions also become romance options for the player character, something fans have come to expect and love about the games. Like other popular squadmate Garrus Vakarian, despite being part of Shepard’s team and loyal from the outset, Tali is not romanceable until Mass Effect 2.
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Tali’s romantic arc is exclusive to a male Shepard and has a few major requirements to trigger. Though it is clear from the moment she has been recruited on Haestrom that she has developed something of a crush on Shepard, she will not consider him romantically until her loyalty mission is complete and Shepard has expressed explicit interest in her. Though a player may pursue Tali, it is possible for her to die during the endgame Suicide Mission, cutting the romance short. If she lives, however, players can choose to continue the romance into Mass Effect 3. Here’s how Shepard can begin a romance with Tali in Mass Effect 2.
How to Begin a Romance with Tali in Mass Effect 2
Tali is the first former squadmate Shepard encounters following the Lazarus Project in Mass Effect 2. However, when he finds her, she will be extremely distrustful of him and his shaky alliance with Cerberus. She will decline to join Shepard’s team, should he ask.
Following the mandatory Horizon mission, Shepard will receive a dossier about Tali to recruit her. They will need to travel to Haestrom and rescue her from a Geth attack to finally convince her to join them. During this mission, to have a better chance at securing Tali’s Loyalty later, players should make sure to save Kal’Reegar by convincing him to stand down.
Once she is on board, at some point when Shepard speaks to Yeoman Kelly Chambers, she will mention noticing Tali’s body language around Shepard and suggest the quarian might want to be “more than friends.” Kasumi will also point this out to Shepard and warn him to be good to her.
Shepard must complete Tali’s Loyalty mission, Treason, before any romantic dialogue will trigger. While not technically a requirement for every romance in Mass Effect 2, players absolutely need to keep and maintain Tali’s Loyalty to progress the romance. There are a few ways to do so:
- Get the Admiralty Board to drop the charges: With a high enough Paragon or Renegade score, Shepard can use the Charm or Intimidate dialogue option to shame the board and convince them to drop the charges without the evidence of Tali’s father’s crimes.
- Lie to the Admiralty Board: Shepard can lie about the evidence found regarding Tali’s father. The Admirals will exile Tali, but she will become loyal.
- Ask Veetor and Kal’Reegar to speak on Tali’s behalf: If Veetor was allowed to leave with Tali on Freedom’s Progress and Kal’Reegar lived through the Geth Colossus attack, they will speak on Tali’s behalf, shame the Admirals, and convince them to exonerate her.
The only option players should not choose is to present the evidence of Tali’s father’s crimes. This will upset Tali, losing her Loyalty.
Following the mission, Shepard can follow up with Tali in Engineering. The first time, she merely thanks him. The next time, she will mention the trip caused her to come down with an illness. During this conversation, Shepard needs to ask Tali about life in her suit. Tali will describe the experience and tell Shepard the most intimate way quarians express trust and intimacy comes from linking suit environments. She admits she would only want to link suits with him.
Here, players should choose the I trust you too dialogue option. In the next wheel, they can ask if she is making a pass at him, but need to pick I’m interested to officially begin the romance arc.
The next time Shepard talks to Tali, he can progress the romance by asking to talk about her. In the resulting cutscene in the Normandy’s Core, players must choose No, you weren’t to reassure her. They can ask the two questions in the next dialogue wheel but should eventually select I want to be with you. She will promise to do some research to figure out how to make a physical relationship work.
The next time Shepard talks with Mordin Solus, the professor will also offer advice about human-quarian romance, as he does with any alien Shepard chooses to romance. While not required, this scene can be a humorous look into the ways others on the squad see the budding relationship.
If Shepard chooses to recruit Legion and complete their Loyalty mission, they will return to the Normandy to find Tali and Legion in a heated argument. If he has a high enough Paragon or Renegade score, they can use the Charm/Intimidate dialogue option to break up the fight without taking sides. If he does need to take sides, he must side with Tali. This will lose Legion’s Loyalty, which can sometimes be regained in a later conversation. If Shepard takes Legion’s side, he loses Tali’s Loyalty and, even if he manages to get it back, she will stop responding to romantic advances.
Ahead of the Suicide Mission, Tali will meet Shepard in his cabin, saying she has taken antibiotics and supplements to bolster her immune system. Players can choose to end the romance here, or they can select Tali, relax. I want this to reassure her. At this point, she will remove her mask and kiss Shepard, and the scene will fade to black.
It is important to keep Tali alive during the Suicide Mission. If Tali is chosen as the Technical Specialist, Shepard will need to make sure to open the vents in the Collector base before she burns to death. They will also need to choose appropriate leaders for the other teams to prevent her from being accidentally killed later in the mission. She should be part of Shepard’s squad when taking on the final boss, as long as she is Loyal.
Should Tali survive the events of Mass Effect 2 and the player continues the game following the credits, they can talk to her again in Engineering. She will mention she has fallen ill, most likely from their intimate evening. Choosing the I’d like to talk about you dialogue option will prompt her to continue talking about the night they shared together and ask if Shepard is still interested. He will need to choose the second dialogue option, Only if it’s safe. Later, Shepard will have the option to use the Intercom in their cabin and call Tali up to the room. The two can sit together, sleep together, or cuddle. The romance can continue to the end of Mass Effect 3.
Next: Every Mass Effect Squadmate (Including Andromeda), Ranked Worst To Best
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with forward compatibility on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
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