Mass Effect 2 romance guide with all of the squad members Shepard can romance in Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 romance
(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

Mass Effect 2 romance is where the series starts taking things to the next level, as in this sequel Shepards of either gender are able to woo three different squad members, with the possibility of securing some side action from other characters on top of that. As there are now more variables at play in this second entry of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, it's particularly useful to know who are your potential love interests are and any key moments to watch out for, as if you make the wrong call at certain points then your chances of romancing specific characters could be irreparably damaged. As there are more routes for Mass Effect 2 romance available this time around, here are the various opportunities for love you can pursue:

  • Main Romance – Male Shepard only:
  • Jack
  • Miranda Lawson
  • Tali'Zorah vas Neema

  • Main Romance – Female Shepard only:
  • Garrus Vakarian
  • Jacob Taylor
  • Thane Krios

  • Other Romances – Male or Female Shepard:
  • Kelly Chambers
  • Morinth
  • Samara
Mass Effect 2 endings

Mass Effect 2

(Image credit: BioWare)

Find out what the different Mass Effect 2 endings are so you can aim for the best one.

As with the original, once you've chosen who you'd like to pursue as your Mass Effect 2 romance you should speak to them often, generally being supportive and responding positively whenever a relationship is discussed, though pay attention to any cues from them and react accordingly. You will also need to earn their Mass Effect 2 loyalty, by completing the appropriate mission and any follow up, which will also help you with the final mission. For more specifics about each of your possible paramours, follow our Mass Effect 2 romance guide to build a strong bond. If everything has worked out with your main partner, a romance scene will play out as the Normandy passes through the Omega 4 Relay at the end of Act 2.

Note that if you import a Mass Effect romance then Shepard will have a picture of their lover on the desk by the terminal in their private quarters, and if you remain faithful then Shepard shares a brief embrace with them when they are reunited. However, you can still pursue a Mass Effect 2 romance in this situation, which will result in the desk picture being placed face down instead.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Jack

Mass Effect 2 romance Jack

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Male Shepard only

Jack is possibly the most difficult Mass Effect 2 romance choice for a male Shepard, as her dark past as Subject Zero has rendered her antisocial and borderline psychopathic. Her trust issues mean she doesn't understand why Shepard shows an interest in her, though if you keep supporting her she will eventually come around.

An option for casual sex will appear during an earlier conversation with Jack, though if you go through with this then after the scene she will no longer talk to you and a main romance with her is locked out. Doing this will not affect a main romance you are pursuing with either Miranda or Tali, however, so this can be combined if you so wish.

Note that after completing both Jack and Miranda's loyalty missions, the two of them will be fighting when you return to the Normandy. Unless you have a high enough Paragon or Renegade score to convince them both to back down, you'll need to side with Jack or her romance will be locked out.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Miranda Lawson

Mass Effect 2 romance Miranda

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Male Shepard only

Miranda is a genetically engineered human serving as a Cerberus Officer, and her augmentation means she is at the pinnacle of ability and performance. This has given her something of an ego, though she's also insecure about how much her genetic enhancement have contributed to her successes. Miranda is cautious but interested in a relationship with Shepard, so keep up your compliments and flirting with her to move things forward.

As mentioned earlier, once you've finished both Jack and Miranda's loyalty missions you'll discover them fighting each other back on the Normandy. A high enough Paragon or Renegade score will reveal an option to diffuse the situation, otherwise you must side with Miranda to prevent her romance from being locked out.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Tali

Mass Effect 2 romance Tali

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Male Shepard only

Tali is a quarian who spends her life inside a protective suit due to her race's weak immune systems, which makes any form of physical contact with another extremely dangerous. Nevertheless, when Tali joins the Normandy crew it becomes increasingly clear that she has feelings for Shepard, though she fears that these will not be reciprocated. Reassure her that the attraction is mutual and that you'll do all you can to make a relationship work, which should lead to you finding out what's under her mask.

After completing Tali and Legion's loyalty missions, the two of them will be arguing about Legion scanning her information to send back to the geth. Ideally you want to resolve this situation amicably to keep the loyalties of both crew members – if you side with Legion then Tali's loyalty will be lost, though you can recover it in later conversations so this isn't terminal for your romance.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Garrus Vakarian

Mass Effect 2 romance Garrus

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Female Shepard only

Garrus is a rough and ready turian soldier, though once you start getting to know him if you're a female Shepard you'll discover he has a sensitive side too. You can begin to romance Garrus once you've completed his loyalty mission, and although he often appears uncomfortable when the subject is brought up, this is just because he is a little awkward at dealing with emotions. Persevere, and you'll eventually break through his tough exterior.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Jacob Taylor

Mass Effect 2 romance Jacob

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Female Shepard only

Jacob is an ex-Alliance soldier who now works as a Cerberus Operative, alongside Miranda Lawson. Initially he doesn't show any interest in Shepard, however if you broach the subject of a relationship with him then he'll start to give it consideration. Keep talking to Jacob, especially after his loyalty mission and determining what happened to his father, and you'll be able to cement a romance with him.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Thane Krios

Mass Effect 2 romance Thane

(Image credit: EA)

Main romance option for Female Shepard only

Thane is a drell assassin who prefers to get up close and personal with his targets, though he is also spiritual and spends much time in prayer. This makes him a complicated character, but once you complete his loyalty mission the opportunity arises to initiate a romance. Pay regular visits to Thane in the Life Support room so you can talk and build your relationship, then ensure that when he visits your quarters upset at this prospect of his death, you tell him to be alive with you tonight.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Kelly Chambers

Mass Effect 2 romance Kelly Chambers

(Image credit: EA)

Other romance option for Male or Female Shepard – this does not impact on your main romance choice

Kelly Chambers is the yeoman aboard the Normandy, and provides Shepard with updates from the ship as well as monitoring the condition of the crew. You can chat and flirt with her during the course of your meetings, unlocking an option to invite her to your quarters for a private meal.

When you reach the Suicide Mission, you need to immediately pass through the Omega 4 Relay to rescue the crew, otherwise Kelly will be killed by the Collectors. If she survives the mission and you have no current romance at that point, Kelly will message you through the private terminal asking for an invite to your quarters. Go there and use the intercom to summon her, where she will arrive and perform several dances for Shepard before laying down together.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Morinth

Mass Effect 2 romance Morinth

(Image credit: EA)

Other romance option for Male or Female Shepard – this does not impact on your main romance choice

Morinth is an asari afflicted with a rare disorder, which means that when she joins minds during coupling her partner is killed, and she gains strength and intelligence from them. She has been on the run from the authorities, including her mother Samara, for centuries now, but you can meet her during Samara's loyalty mission. A standoff will occur between mother and daughter, and if you side with Morinth then Samara is killed and Morinth replaces her on the crew without anyone else realising.

In later conversations, Morinth reveals she believes that Shepard would be mentally strong enough to join minds with her and survive, suggesting they do this after completing the final mission. If both of you survive the Suicide Mission then you have the option to bond with Morinth, but her power proves too strong and Shepard dies a painful death in the process.

Mass Effect 2 Romance - Samara

Mass Effect 2 romance Samara

(Image credit: EA)

Other romance option for Male or Female Shepard – this does not impact on your main romance choice

Samara is an asari justicar, sworn to carry out the Jusicar Code and travel the galaxy righting wrongs. She took on this role to pursue her daughter Morinth, who became a fugitive after going on a killing spree by using her genetic disorder as a weapon. If you manage to resist Morinth's seduction and defeat her during Samara's loyalty mission, then you can try to pursue a romance.

Although Samara is flattered she is completely dedicated to following the Code, which prevents her from forming a relationship. If you continue to pursue her, she almost backs down to share a kiss with Shepard, but pulls away at the crucial moment and leaves to be on her own. No further romantic progress can be made after this point.

Iain Wilson
Guides Editor

Iain originally joined Future in 2012 to write guides for CVG, PSM3, and Xbox World, before moving on to join GamesRadar in 2013 as Guides Editor. His words have also appeared in OPM, OXM, PC Gamer, GamesMaster, and SFX. He is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 500 Platinum pots weighing down the shelves of his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.