* [[Franchise/MassEffect Main Page]]

The rest of the list found here:

* MassEffect/{{Tropes A-D}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes E-H}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes M-P}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes Q-T}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes U-Z}}

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:I]]
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: The turians and salarians never apologize for anything they did with the krogan. In ''Mass Effect 3'', "those were desperate times" is almost becoming their CatchPhrase.
** This is pretty much Renegade Shepard's philosophy.
* IDoNotSpeakNonverbal: The elcor's subtle body language is the reason why they have to [[ThatMakesMeFeelAngry clarify everything they say]].
** Averted by the elcor ambassador in VideoGame/MassEffect3: In one instance, he doesn't bother with a prefix, as you CAN hear his emotions in his voice (and he looks downwards). The instance? [[DoomedHometown Asking how many civilians got off of his home-world.]] "Not enough."
* IFoundYouLikeThis: In VideoGame/MassEffect1 Shepard collapses from an overwhelming amount of visions being given to him or her via a Prothean artifact. He/she awakens in the Normandy's medical bay.
** In VideoGame/MassEffect2 Shepard is thrown out into the vacuum of space with a punctured space suit and begins to fall into a nearby planet's atmosphere. Cerberus collects what remains of Shepard's body from [[spoiler:Liara]] and uses experimental technology to bring him/her back to life. Shepard awakens inside a Cerberus facility.
*** Better yet, Cerberus found the body after Shepard fell through the atmosphere, likely burning up, hitting the ground at terminal velocity, and to top it off, frozen (since the planet is completely covered in snow and ice with a surface temp of -22 C). No wonder it took 2 years for Cerberus to rebuild Shepard.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Until the ''Homeworlds'' comic series, all ExpandedUniverse titles were single abstract nouns ending in "-ion".
** And all the multiplayer expansion packs' names, except Earth, began with "Re-": Resurgence, Rebellion, Retaliation, Reckoning.
* IdiotBall: VideoGame/MassEffect3's Leviathan DLC reveals this to be the [[spoiler:origin of the Reapers.]]. The Leviathans attempted to solve their [[spoiler:rebellious AI]] problem with [[spoiler:an AI]]. Genius. This from the "apex species" ruling the galaxy at the time. Unsurprisingly [[spoiler:their AI rebelled too. It drove them to the brink of extinction and converted them into the first Reaper]]. And then [[spoiler:the AI]] inherited the Idiot Ball and decided that the best way to fulfill the goal of protecting organic life from synthetics was to [[spoiler:build an army of synthetics and use them to slaughter organics]].
** In the current extinction cycle, [[spoiler: the asari]] are revealed to have been the [[spoiler: Protheans']] pet project in the hopes that they would lead the next fight against the Reapers and finally prevail. However, they decided to keep the advancements they were given a secret, hindering the progress of all the other races, and keeping the galaxy from becoming sufficiently advanced enough to have a chance against the Reapers in this cycle. And just for the hell of it, [[spoiler: they made a law against hiding Prothean technology]].
* IgnoredExpert: Rather a lot of scientists in both games, particularly people who believe in the existence of the Reapers. There are also the scientists who think that maybe resurrecting a dead race of insects that tried to wipe everyone else out while at the same time making a biowarfare superweapon just may be a bad idea. [[spoiler:[[ChekhovsArmy Although the first decision may not have been such a bad idea after all, even if that wasn't the original intention of the resurrectors.]]]]
** Shepard could be considered ''the'' IgnoredExpert of the series. The Council doesn't believe Shepard's initial warnings of Saren being a traitor, the threat of the Reapers, and that they ''must'' get to Ilos to stop Saren. Shepard even lampshades how many more times they have to prove they are telling the truth before the Council will ''actually'' listen.
*** [[spoiler: If you saved the Council back in the first game, then in the third game, when Udina betrays the Council and allows Cerberus to invade the Citadel]], and Shepard exposes this to the Councillors and they are skeptical, the asari Councilor points out that every time they've disbelieved Shepard it's come back to bite them.
** If you convinced Tali and Legion to put aside their differences in the second game, then Tali becomes this in the third game to the rest of the Migrant Fleet.
** Garrus also becomes this to the turians between 2 and 3, though they do give him some token resources to prepare.
* ImmortalityBeginsAtTwenty: Averted by the asari. They leave childhood at the age of forty, and are considered mature at the age of eighty. That's forty years of puberty. Played straight by the krogan.
* ImmortalProcreationClause:
** The asari are long-lived and enjoy sex as much as humans do, but thanks to FantasyContraception they can't get pregnant until they actually want to start a family, so asari population stays fairly consistent.
** Krogan, on the other hand, live longer than asari do, and krogan breed like rats. Granted, this is because their homeworld is so [[DeathWorld hostile]] only one out of a thousand survived to adulthood anyway, but once they moved off-planet, this became a wee bit of a problem. Which is why the salarians made the [[DepopulationBomb genophage]]!
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: What you do to '''make''' Husks. Also how a few characters can die in the second and third games.
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: The mass relays, along with a few weapons in the sequel.
** The Crucible in the third game, along with several weapons noted to be of asari, turian, salarian, geth, and Prothean design.
* ImprobableAge: Completely averted. Most crew members are the age they should be to hold military jobs or achieve the accomplishments you're seeking them out for. And the ones who are pretty young are established to be rare cases of genius while still being at the very least twenty-one (or their race's equivalent).
** Ashley Williams reached the rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the age of 25, although this age doesn't make her serving as a special forces soldier improbable. This is, however, made up in gameplay, where she is ''the'' combat specialist, dealing out direct damage only rivaled by Shepard.
* ImprobableCover: True of most "heavy" weapons, including rocket launchers, anti-materiel rifles, and grenades: all of them are stopped by the flimsiest of cover. However, in ''Mass Effect 3'', enemies have [[ArtificialBrilliance learned to throw grenades behind your cover]] -- and you can return the favor by grabbing [[{{BFG}} a heavy sniper rifle]] and sniping enemies ''through'' cover.
* IncestSubtext: There is a strong taboo against asari mating with other asari and a strong stigma associated with Ardat-Yakshi, asari suffering from a genetic disease that is believed to be connected to being born as a "pureblood". However, there are still a number of pureblood asari in the games, including Liara, Samara, and [[spoiler: Samara's daughters]].
* IncrediblyLamePun: In a series swimming in {{deadpan snarker}}s, is this really a surprise?
* InfantImmortality: Averted at the start of the third game, and implied throughout.
* InformedFlaw: Shepard's dancing. Also a case of SpecialEffectFailure or even TakeOurWordForIt, with characters commenting on how bad Shepard's dancing is while being indistinguishable from those around her, and some of the characters even using the exact same animation. Subverted in the Citadel DLC, but only with a romanced Garrus.
* IndividualityIsIllegal: Rare heroic case with [[spoiler:the geth. The conservative geth are the ones who want to stay a collective, resist the Reapers, and make peace with the galaxy. The individualistic geth are the ones who want to worship the Reapers and force the rest of the geth to do the same by means of using a "mind-control" virus on their own people]].
** [[spoiler: Until the 3rd game, where you get the option to grant individuality to all geth, at the cost of the first true individual you meet]].
* InsectoidAliens: The rachni, keepers and Collectors. [[spoiler: Considering that two of these races were genetically altered by the Reapers, it's reasonable to say that the Reapers sure like bugs]].
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: Earth really has no importance in the first game. Then again, neither does any other race's homeworld.
** Except Tuchanka, as of [=ME2=].
** The quarian, turian, salarian, and asari homeworlds (Rannoch, Palaven, Sur'Kesh, and Thessia, respectively) all appear in ''[=ME3=]''. And the trope is finally subverted, with [[spoiler:Earth taking center stage as the Reapers literally take the war there]].
** Possibly justified in Earth's case, as the Systems Alliance operates out of the Arcturus Station. This is because the Arcturus Relay has several relays in the vicinity that allow for rapid fleet deployment, but conversely doubles as the ''only'' relay leading to Earth.
* InSpaceEveryoneCanSeeYourFace: Teetering between playing it straight and aversion; the second game heads more into straight territory, though.
* InTheFutureHumansWillBeOneRace: Not quite yet, but genetic studies claim this will be the case a few hundred years down the line.
* InstantAIJustAddWater: [[AIIsACrapShoot And they don't like you. Ever.]] So much so that actually creating an AI is prohibited by interstellar law. A few are made by accident, including the geth and the VI controlling the moon base on Luna.
** [[spoiler: The latter of which, when augmented with Reaper tech, becomes EDI, who does like humans, especially Joker]].
** And the former get a bad rap due to the actions of about 5% of their members. The vast majority just want to be left alone.
* InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: Everyone except the Protheans, whose technology the rest of the galaxy is stealing. [[spoiler:Though it turns out they stole it from guys before them]].
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Between some of the [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld older]] members of the crew.
* InterspeciesRomance: Many examples both in party and with [=NPCs=].
** Also, asari do it all the time. In fact, those that do not are looked down upon by the rest.
*** [[FridgeHorror Which raises the question of whether some asari out there has ever been desperate enough to mate with non-sapient species just to avoid raising a pureblood daughter.]]
*** Judging from Liara's explanation in the first game, romantic relationships between asari aren't looked down upon by themselves -- only procreation.
* IntrepidReporter: Emily Wong.
* IntriguedByHumanity: If they don't hate you, they're curious about you. In the worst case, curious enough to consider your entire race for a very special purpose...
* InVehicleInvulnerability: Justified by the Mako and Hammerhead's constant use of gravity-altering mass effect fields.
* InventoryManagementPuzzle: One of the biggest complaints about the first game, right after the elevators and the vehicle sections. Completely gone in the second game, leaving behind a stunned group of RPG fans mouthing how they wanted the feature fixed, not axed.
* InvulnerableCivilians: Everywhere except the part with the Thorian-possessed civilians in Mass Effect 1.
** This gets averted to an almost sadistic degree in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''.
** And there's a sidequest in the first game where you have to infiltrate a research base that's been taken over by biotic extremists who have drugged the researchers inside so that, instead of running away from the inevitable firefight like any sane person would do, just walk through like nothing's going on. Your task is to take out the extremists while keeping as many of the researchers alive as possible. Also in the first game, on Feros, [[spoiler:you decide whether to kill the Thorian-controlled civilians on Zhu's Hope or to simply knock them out with gas grenades. Every casualty or incapacitation will give 2 Renegade or Paragon points each]].
* InWorkingOrder: Partly played straight, partly averted. The mass relay system is still working perfectly after thousands of thousands of years of nobody knowing how the hell they work, [[spoiler: but considering how the Reapers intended for no one to know, they probably built them to last. Maybe do some maintenance when they're done liquefying the other sentient species]]. Also, this seems to be the case on [[spoiler:Ilos, but when you stop to look around, you realize that everything is barely functioning, on its last legs, and in fact shuts down soon after you leave the planet]].
* IrrelevantSidequest: The games do a good job of getting you to take quests that Shepard would actually be interested in (profit, moral grounds, advancement of mission, etc.) but the inane quest slips in every now and then.
** One of these, about a couple's child from the first game, is lampshaded in the second:
--> ''I don't know. Maybe we should ask random people on the street what they think.''
** Averted in the third game, if only because every minor sidequest adds up either to Shepard's reputation or war assets to help in fighting the Reapers.
* ItemAmplifier:
** Weapons and armor in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' have upgrade slots much like in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' on the other hand has the upgrades applied once, party-wide.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' went back to slots for weaponry, although a lot more streamlined than in the first game.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:J]]
* {{Jerkass}}: Several throughout the series but the turian Councilor really takes the cake. He also borders on TooDumbToLive. [[spoiler: Until he becomes the OnlySaneMan in the Council come Mass Effect 3]].
* {{Jossed}}: Fans had plenty of theories as to the true identity of the Shadow Broker. The Asari Consort? The Council? The geth? Nope. The truth is that [[spoiler:he was a member of a seemingly AlwaysChaoticEvil species never before mentioned in the series]], proving nearly all the fan theories about the Broker wrong.
** There's also a line in the Extended Cut of ''3'' [[spoiler:where the Catalyst specifically rebuts the Indoctrination fan-theory by stating that the Illusive Man's indoctrination made him unable to control the Reapers, but Shepard is still free-willed and thus can take control if you choose.]]
* JudgeJuryAndExecutioner: No matter how ruthless or forgiving they may be, Spectres epitomize this trope. They can quite literally do whatever the hell they want, heedless of laws, as long as they do what the Council wants done. Asari Justicars also fit this.
* JustAMachine: Used to justify the FantasticRacism of the setting towards AI.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:K]]
* KarmaMeter: Less "Good vs. Evil" and more "[[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism Idealism vs. Cynicism]]". Do you cooperate with people or do you coerce them with threats?
** Also, your Idealism and your Cynicism are tracked separately instead of simply being a slider, which means there are really two karma meters.
** This essentially -- and refreshingly -- means you can play as a mixture rather than having to stick with a "pure" path. Though in ''[=ME2=]'', [[spoiler: [[http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/107/index/1197668/3#1429364 this will almost certainly result in losing squad members in the suicide mission (unless you have the Paragon/Renegade bonus for importing an character).]] ]]
* KilledOffForReal: Any squadmate who dies in a cutscene. ''Lots'' of characters, some major and some minor, in the third game.
** Specifically in VideoGame/MassEffect3, there are only two major deaths that can't be avoided no matter what you do: [[spoiler:Legion is either dissolved to upgrade the geth or killed by Tali and Thane dies preventing Kai Leng from assassinating the Salarian Councilor if he didn't already die in VideoGame/MassEffect2.]] Everything else depends on previous actions you've taken: [[spoiler:if their loyalty missions weren't completed in VideoGame/MassEffect2, Grunt, Miranda, Kasumi and Zaeed will be killed during the course of various missions. If you spared Morinth, she'll be waiting for you as a Banshee on Earth. If Wrex and Mordin are both alive when you visit Tuchanka, only one of them will make it out: Wrex attacks you if you kill Mordin to sabotage the cure, and Mordin dies if you let him finish the job (you can convince Mordin to sabotage the cure if Eve is dead and Wreav is in charge). Finally, if you can't convince Kaidan/Ashley of Udina's guilt, you'll have to gun them down too.]]
* KillerApp: The series is considered a mainstay of the 360 system...
** ...but then a [[InternetBackdraft PS3 port of ME2]] gets announced.
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: Weapons in the game aren't traditional EnergyWeapons, rather, they are loaded with a block of metal, and when fired, a piece of the block, about the size of a grain of sand is loaded, and fired using a mass accelerator.
** Personal energy weapons have an advantage simply because kinetic barriers can do nothing whatsoever to stop them; it's just that nobody aside from [[spoiler: the Reapers and their slaves]] have figured out how to make them work on small-scale.
** However, said people also have weapons that look like lasers but are not. Instead, they shoot molten metal at relativistic speeds.
*** Actually, the GARDIAN ship defense system is indeed a laser-based weapon. It actually exercises its ability to pierce shields as explained in the Codex entry.
* KleptomaniacHero: [[WhatTheHellPlayer You'll probably feel terrible]] if you loot the wall safes of [[spoiler: abducted colonists, such as those on the worlds of Freedom's Progress and Horizon]] or of slum residents (not to mention their [=ATMs=] and gambling machines) in the second game. You don't get Renegade points for doing this, though. The same applies to some extent to the first game.
** In the second game, BioWare pokes fun at this fact with [[HeroicWannabe Conrad Verner.]]
---> '''Conrad:''' [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Sometimes I poke through crates too. You know, for extra credits.]]
** DoubleSubverted at on point in the third game. You're generally expected to strip any place you're visiting from any and all weapons or mods you find, but during a mission on Tuchanka, if you pick up a certain shotgun, a krogan warrior standing nearby will growl at you that the gun is his. He still lets you take it though, saying you'll have to return it after the mission, [[spoiler:then he conveniently dies in the next cutscene]].
*** In the "Citadel" DLC in the third game, you're also given a chance at one point to hack ATM Machines with a device you're supposed to use to disable security measures. Doing so will give you Renegade points.
* KlingonsLoveShakespeare: Many facets of Earth culture have become of interest to non-humans. To name a few examples: asari love Egyptian artifacts (Egyptian hieroglyphics are similar to asari hieroglyphics), turians have an interest in Zen Buddhism and Confucianism, Mordin Solus [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxrO5-HPIAw does Gilbert and Sullivan musical numbers]], Grunt likes to read the works of Creator/ErnestHemingway when not [[ManChild playing with action figures]], and there's even an elcor rendition of ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}''.
* KnightOfCerebus: Sovereign, full stop. The series is fairly serious from the beginning, but once Sovereign shows up in the first game, the apocalyptic mood of the rest of the series sets in.
** In the second game, the Collectors immediately set the tone.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:L]]
* LampshadedDoubleEntendre: A RunningGag, mostly sexual context. More evident from the second game onward.
* LargeAndInCharge: Played straight by the geth; the biggest models always seem to be leading the others when you encounter them. Justified when in the second game you discover that the bigger the geth, the more programs it houses. The more programs it houses, the smarter it is. So the biggest models are the smartest ones. The one exception to this is [[spoiler:Legion]], who's no bigger than most geth troopers. Average geth mobile platforms house about hundreds of geth. [[spoiler:Legion]]? ''One thousand, one hundred and eighty-three.''
** [[spoiler: The Shadow Broker.]].
** In the third installment, this seems to hold true for Reaper ground troops, as well. The bigger they are, the more damage they can deal and the more punishment they can take.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: The trailers for each sequel spoil the previous entries.
* LatexSpaceSuit: Underneath all the ceramic armor plates, all combat-grade hardsuits are this: they appear to work on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_activity_suit Mechanical Counterpressure]] instead of bulky airtight suits. This results in all the suits being very sleek in form instead of baggy and bulky.
* LateToTheTragedy: [[spoiler: The whole freaking galaxy. ''Repeatedly.'' Nobody's managed to survive yet]].
* LawOfConservationOfDetail: Played straight with moons in that if you see a moon, odds are there's a mission taking place there. Averted with many of the actual planets, some of which are there simply to add flavor.
* LeakedExperience: BioWare's standard method for fighting CantCatchUp.
* LeeroyJenkins: Richard [[MeaningfulName L. Jenkins]]. [[spoiler:[[TakeThat He's the first one to die because of it]]]].
** You also [[GearsOfWar can't take his helmet off]].
** This is actually a subversion, as Shepard orders Jenkins to take point, which is justified as Jenkins is a Soldier and specializes in direct combat, and the only other people available are Kaidan, who is a tech and biotic specialist, and Shepard him/herself, who is the commanding officer.
** In the second game, there's Prazza on Freedom's Progress. Though he's not playable.
* {{Leitmotif}}: In the second game, each squad member has their own distinctive leitmotif except for Zaeed and [[spoiler:Morinth]]. The most distinct non-squadmate leitmotif, however, is that of the Illusive Man. Some of these even carry over into the third game, particularly those of Samara and Tali.
* LensmanArmsRace: The reason why weapons go through so many roman numberals in the first game, why the 2nd & 3rd have thermal clips ([[TheyChangedItNowItSucks thank you]], [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Thermal_Clips Geth]]), and likely a reason for the Reaper's galactic xenocide to prevent anyone from getting beyond them technologically.
* LimitedSoundEffects: See MostAnnoyingSound.
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: ''Mass Effect 1'' and ''3'' play this mostly straight. ''Mass Effect 2'' averts it on higher difficulties, where the direct damage dealers (Soldier and Infiltrator) become more useful.
* LivingRelic: [[spoiler:Javik]] in the third game.
** Leviathan DLC adds [[spoiler:a whole ''race'' of [[LivingRelic Living Relics]] called the Leviathans, from which the very first Reaper was made millions of years ago]].
* LivingShip:
** The [[ExtraStrengthMasquerade mysteriously missing]] Leviathan of Dis.
*** [[spoiler:Revealed to have been a Reaper corpse in the third game]].
** [[spoiler:The Reapers]] are revealed to be this near the end of the second game. [[spoiler:While they're assumed to be purely synthetic constructs, it turns out that they are actually a hybrid of synthetic and OrganicTechnology.]]
* LizardFolk: The krogan and the drell, who play perfectly into the first and second types respectively. Oddly, the drell remind most people of fish, not lizards, despite the fact that they have an inevitably fatal lung condition caused by exposure to too much moisture.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: This series currently has ''seven'' different character pages.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading: The first game was infamous for its elevators, which were hidden loading screens. The second and third games replaced them with more traditional load screens.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces: Humans, turians, asari, salarians, batarians, quarians, geth, krogan, hanar, drell, elcor, volus, vorcha, Rachni, Reapers, Protheans/[[spoiler:Collectors]], yahg, inusannon, [[spoiler:Leviathans]], good god it never stops!
* LocationThemeNaming: Of a sort. All Alliance ships are named after significant places, events, or people on Earth, each class of ship getting a specific kind of landmark to be named after. So, dreadnoughts are named after mountains (Kilimanjaro, Everest, Shasta), cruisers are named after cities (Cairo, Tokyo, Warsaw), carriers are named after people (Einstein), and frigates are named after battles (Agincourt, Iwo Jima, Normandy).
* LongGame: The Reapers [[spoiler:and their master]] play a very, ''very'' long game. [[spoiler:One that depends on the development of galactic civilizations. And that they've been playing for ''a billion years '''at the very least.''''']]
* LongevityTreatment: Humans commonly live to 150 or so due to gene therapies and drugs. This puts us in the mid-range for lifespans in that universe.
* LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair: A cryptic carving on the ruins of one of the random scannable planets in [=ME1=]. The planet doubles as a ShoutOut to ForbiddenPlanet.
* LostTechnology: That the entire galaxy runs on. And does little to no research into copying for themselves. [[spoiler:Just the way the Reapers want it]].
** Until, that is, [[spoiler: the Crucible, which turns out to have been passed down through various extinction cycles]].
** [[spoiler: Averted with the Protheans who succeeded in making their own mass relay before going extinct. It's the only reason there is a Mass Effect 2. Or a Mass Effect series for that matter.]]
* LovecraftLite: Most can't decide this and CosmicHorrorStory.
** However, while the series has some ''VERY'' dark elements, it appears as though it is heading toward LovecraftLite because unlike the CosmicHorrorStory, [[AWorldHalfFull there's a strong feeling of hope still there.]]
** [[spoiler: Ending verifies it as mostly Lovecraft Lite. You can win, though it requires sacrifice.]]
[[/folder]]

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