Unlike Tali, though, the game doesn’t allow you to be mean to Garrus. Once he’s recruited, Shepard consistently respects him and his choices, even when playing full Renegade. Upon reuniting with Garrus at the start of Mass Effect 2, Shepard is delighted, saying “Garrus! What are you doin’ here?” That’s the neutral option. Compare this with Tali, who can be jerked around by the player in all three games: in the first, Shepard can reject the idea of giving information for Tali’s Pilgrimage; in the second, she can be treated as a rival upon being reunited with Shepard and one of her wounded companions sold to the Illusive Man; and in the third, she can be killed and her entire species exterminated. It’s impossible to abuse Garrus at this level. The game, quite simply, likes him.
So how does it work for Garrus to be liked? First, the game treats him as a subject more than an object. Most other party members serve as representations of people or groups as much as they do characters. Wrex is both a character and a representation of the best of the Krogan people. Likewise, Miranda is the good side of Cerberus. Other than Garrus, only Liara is really given an interesting personality that diverges from the Asari she represents, and even that’s only partial. Although Garrus is the only Turian, he’s allowed to be an individual, and rarely speaks of his culture needing or wanting or doing things. Garrus is aided in this by the Turians not having a huge history they need an embodiment of, as the Salarians, Quarians, Geth, and Krogan have. He’s allowed to be his own person.