* [[Franchise/MassEffect Main Page]]

The rest of the list found here:

* MassEffect/{{Tropes A-D}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes E-H}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes I-L}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes Q-T}}
* MassEffect/{{Tropes U-Z}}

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:M]]
* {{Macguffin}}: Shall we count them?
** From 1:
*** [[spoiler: The Prothean Beacon on Eden Prime]]
*** [[spoiler: [[MacguffinGirl Liara T'Soni]], Prothean expert on Therum]]
*** [[spoiler: The location of the Mu Relay, from the Rachni Queen on Noveria]]
*** [[spoiler: The Prothean Cipher, from a Thorian thrall on Feros]]
*** [[spoiler: The krogan cloning facility on Virmire]]
*** [[spoiler: The Conduit on Ilos]]
*** [[spoiler: The Citadel]]
** From 2:
*** [[spoiler: The Reaper IFF]]
*** [[spoiler: The opposite end of the Omega-4 Relay, the location of the Collector base]]
*** [[spoiler: The human-Reaper larva]]
*** [[spoiler: Maelon's research]]
** From 3:
*** [[spoiler: The Crucible and the Catalyst]]
*** [[spoiler: Eve, the last surviving female krogan immune to the genophage]]
*** [[spoiler: The Council]]
*** [[spoiler: Rannoch]]
*** [[spoiler: The Prothean Beacon on Thessia and Vendetta, the AI with knowledge of the Catalyst]]
* MageMarksman: Biotics invariably enter combat armed with some form of gun in addition to their powers.
* MagicFromTechnology: Biotics look like magic, feel like magic, follow the same arbitrary restrictions as traditional RPG magic, and take more [[HandWave handwaving]] to explain than the rest of the series' technology combined. In-universe, however, they're considered a very thoroughly understood field of science in everything but implementation, as it is impossible to reliably grant biotic potential to an individual.
** [[spoiler: The [[TakeAThirdOption third option]] ending]] of the third game really pushes this trope to its breaking point.
* MagicalGesture: Most biotics make excessive hand and arm motions when using biotic powers; this is justified in-universe by saying the motions really do help make the instinctive connection between firing the right nerve endings and making stuff fly into space.
* MagicTool: The aptly-named omni-tool. There isn't much that it isn't used for in the Mass Effect universe. Some of the applications include:
** Precision manufacturing of any small parts (which, of course, can be combined into larger items) from a commonly available plastic/silicone/metal mix named "omni-gel". This includes EXPLOSIVES.
** Hacking locks and remotely controlling drones.
** Discharging EMP.
** Medical diagnosis and field treatment.
** Sensor data acquisition and communications.
** [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Browsing the extranet and portable gaming.]]
** [[MundaneUtility Flashlight.]]
** As of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', a LaserBlade. [[note]]Apparently, it is not a true LaserBlade. Fluff states that the omni-tool basically flash-forges a super-heated piece of molten metal and projects it in a mass-effect field, complete with glowing "[[PowerGlows Danger, Fire: Hot]]" holograms around it. The end result is a highly-penetrative, laser-looking wrist dagger that you can stick in your target and, you know, leave there.[[/note]]
*** That one alone sees an incredible array of uses, especially in Multiplayer. Sure the end result is mostly the same, but a lot of the playable classes have their own version of Omnitool blades which alter the behaviour of their melee attacks.
* MalignedMixedMarriage: Inverted with the asari, who don't like to see members of their own species get together, and prefer that asari get together with members of other species.
* ManualLeaderAIParty: The series had this in all three installments: you could decide on their armor and weapons loadout and give them orders in combat but only ever directly controlled Shepard.
* MassiveRaceSelection: Averted in the single player campaign, where you can only be Shepard, a human. Played straight in the multiplayer mode of Mass Effect 3 which lets you play as asari, batarians, [[spoiler:Collectors]], drell, geth, humans, krogan, quarians, salarians, turians, vorcha, and volus.
* MauveShirt: The first game has Jeff "Joker" Moreau, Doctor Chakwas, Richard Jenkins, Navigator Pressly and Engineer Adams. Each has ''[[NominalImportance a name]]'', some personality and a bit of a background, but Jenkins ''[[LeeroyJenkins dies in your first mission]]'', while Pressly gets killed ''[[SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome in the opening cutscene of the second game]]''. By contrast, Adams chose to retire after the Collectors destroyed the ''Normandy'' and [[TheBusCameBack returns for the third game]], while Chakwas and Joker tagged along in the second ''Normandy'' and will serve with you until the end assuming you save Chakwas in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' and then recruit her again in ''3''.
** The second game introduces Kelly Chambers, Kenneth Donnelly, Gabriella Daniels, Rupert Gardner, Hawthorne, Patel, Rolston, Goldstein, Hadley and Matthews. All of them can die in the Suicide Mission, if you don't go into the Omega-4 Relay quick enough.
** The third installment features Steve Cortez and Samantha Traynor and to a lesser degree Privates Westmoreland and Campbell.
** Nihlus Kryik gets a fairly interesting backstory, a collected disposition and an InformedAbility, just before he gets killed in the second scene of [=ME1=]. He gets a little more backstory from having previously encountered one of your [=ME2=] squadmates, Samara.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: Any asari relationship with anyone but a krogan or their own species. Sort of NightmareFuel, when you consider the fact that asari children are therefore all but guaranteed to lose their alien parent during adolescence or earlier.
** And krogan aren't even a safe bet. Unless they happen to be a very patient krogan, odds are that the krogan parent will have either left and/or gotten themselves killed in one fight or another.
** Or, as one asari mentions in the second game, their relative long lives means that it's possible for veterans of galactic wars separated by centuries to still meet up and get it on. In said asari's case, her father (a krogan) was a veteran of the Rachni Wars while her mother was a veteran of the Krogan Rebellions. When this is discovered by the two parents... well... it doesn't end well.
--->'''Aethyta:''' They called me, told me they were going to have it out, and I was to love whichever of them survived. Turned out to be damned easy, since neither of them did.
** Also in the second game, you can overhear a conversation between a young asari and her salarian step-father, where this is brought up. The salarian is having a tough time buying a souvenir, to the exasperation of his daughter. If you listen to it all the way through, the salarian admits he's worried that his MUCH longer lived step-daughter won't remember him, and wants to buy something special for her mother so she won't forget either, as he asks her whether she remembers her father. Even worse: he's thirty-five at that time, and his species isn't expected to live much past 40. Tick tock...
** In fact, its brought up all the time when talking to or overhearing asari speak about their relationships or parents. Two asari are discussing their prejudice against "purebloods" and one is far more vehement than the other. Her companion wonders whether its a response to the fact that she "barely knew" her salarian father.
** On Illium an asari woman is [[InvertedTrope inverting]] this with regard to her krogan boyfriend (with whom she is going through a rough patch.) She finds humans easier to date, because she only has to stick around for a century or so and the human eventually drops dead, allowing her to amicably part from them. (This admission does ''not'' amuse Shepard.) However, krogan can potentially live as long as asari, and thus are a potentially much bigger commitment, with the attendant restrictions that implies.
** Of course, this wouldn't be ''Franchise/MassEffect'' if it didn't also have every interspecies relationship trope PlayedForLaughs. A certain couple on the Citadel give us this gem:
---> '''Asari:''' We need a souvenir. How about a fish?
---> '''Turian:''' Fish have nothing to do with the Citadel. Besides, it'll be dead in a couple of years.
---> '''Asari:''' The important thing is to enjoy the time you spend with the fish.
---> '''Turian:''' Is this the life span talk? I'm not having the lifespan talk.
** In the third game, a human woman and her asari lover are talking about the best way to break the news to the human's husband that she wants to leave him. If you listen to the whole conversation, it eventually becomes apparent that the asari is ''not'' thinking of the relationship as long-term like the human woman is...
** In Mass Effect 3, asari-''vorcha'' couples get mentioned (their offspring are apparently allergic to dairy) - vorcha have a life expectancy of 20 years.
* MeaningfulName:
** Commander [[NamesToTrustImmediately Shepard]] is a given.
** Vigil, whose name comes from Latin for "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigil Keep Watch]]". Note, that one particular usage of that word involves keeping watch over the body of the deceased before burial.
** Legion, a collective consciousness of over a thousand individual programs residing in a single body. Named as such by another AI, no less.
** Harbinger, along with being the BigBad of the second game, he is also the Reaper who personally boasts to Shepard that the Reapers will soon be upon the galaxy, not long before the invasion proper begins. Even more meaningful as of the Leviathan DLC: [[spoiler: he is revealed to be the very first Reaper ever created, made out of the Leviathans themselves]].
* MechanicalEvolution: The geth.
* MechanicalLifeforms: The geth, [[spoiler: the Reapers, EDI]].
* MegaCorp: Most of the businesses in the game, honestly. Granted, though, if you're gonna supply a galaxy, you gotta be pretty huge.
** One in particular stands out: Elkoss Combine. The running gag on advertisements is ending with "A division of Elkoss Combine". In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Elkoss Combine's sales kiosk on the Citadel has the motto "Elkoss Combine: If it exists, we carry it." You even may pass by the owner, the volus Rupe Elkoss, having an idle chat about business practices.
* MenAreTheExpendableGender: Averted and played straight by the races to varying degrees. There is a strong GenderRarityValue going on for the ones who do.
** The salarians keep their rare females as safe as possible (though one of the two you meet can be killed if you don't play your cards right).
** You hear about how protective the krogan are of their rare fertile females (at least of their own clans), only to find out they use their non-fertile ones as decoys. Also, the fertile female you meet can die.
* MentalAffair: Pretty much the whole way the asari work, though they can get physical as well.
* MenUseViolenceWomenUseCommunication: Zig-zagged constantly by the various species, although we rarely see their female members, some of them play this trope straight.
** Notable are the krogan, to the point that it's emphasized and lampshaded by Wrex and Eve.
** Humans and quarians, on the other hand, are subject to GenderIsNoObject more so than this trope.
** The asari zig-zag it all on their own--they're the only monogendered race (looking and being described as all-female) in the series, and they're shown to be capable warriors ''and'' diplomats. However, they're also the only species whose [[PlanetOfHats Hat]] is being stereotyped as an ObstructiveBureaucrat.
* MercyKill: What Shepard and Co. consider killing off any victim of [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Reaper Indoctrination]] to be. Knowing how ''horrible'' the [[FateWorseThanDeath process]] is, it's hard to disagree with that assessment.
* MercyRewarded: Something of the point of going along the Paragon path. Paragon can actually net you more money, and gives you a significant discount at stores in the first game.
** If you've been merciful throughout the series, it pays off big-time in the third game.
* TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay: The ''Normandy'' uses Earth-based time units. It's completely justified, given that you're human ''and'' serving on a human vessel.
** The Citadel actually has 20 hour days, divided into 100 minutes which are divided into 100-seconds (so a kind of metric time), each second being roughly half of our second. Which amounts to approximately 28 Earth Hours.
* MexicanStandoff: Numerous. How many of them ends with a BlastOut is up to the player.
* MildlyMilitary: While the Alliance and even Cerberus crews are fairly spit-and-polish, the majority of Commander Shepard's squadmembers are [[BunnyEarsLawyer anything but formal]]. This is called attention to by various crew members.
** Largely averted in the third game. Liara is the only squadmate without formal military experience. Which does not detract one bit from how badass she really is, considering her alter-ego, the [[spoiler: Shadow Broker]].
* MileLongShip: ''Sovereign''-class Reapers are approximately two kilometers long, while Citadel dreadnoughts average one kilometer. Justified with warships since a longer ship means the [[FixedForwardFacingWeapon spinal mass accelerator]] can be longer, meaning it can accelerate its slugs to a higher speed and they will therefore strike with greater force.
* MilitaryScienceFiction
* TheMilkyWayIsTheOnlyWay: [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/FTL Mass effect drives]] are amazingly fast (''twelve light years per day'' or '''4383 times lightspeed'''), but [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale Bioware has an amazing sense of scale]], meaning the [[PortalNetwork mass relays]] are the only reasonable means to travel between star clusters. Mass relays only exist within the galaxy [[spoiler: except for whatever connecting point outside the Milky Way the Reapers hide at]].
** They may be fast but there's one major restriction. Using the low estimate of the diameter of the Milky Way (100k LY), it would take over 22 years to get from one side to the other at that speed. However, drive cores acquire charge as they're used for FTL (roughly 50 hours, depending on size of the core) before they get saturated by charge to the point where they have to discharge it somewhere or else the crew turns extra crispy. Depending on the size of the core and the method of discharge (smaller ships that can hit a planet's escape velocity can use grounding facilities on that planet, larger ships that wouldn't be able to make escape velocity use planetary magnetic fields), discharging a drive core can take hours (releasing it to a gas giant's magnetic field) or days (discharging to a moon's field). Secondly, the relays allow practically instantaneous transport between two points, so instead of having to take 22+ years to go cross galaxy, one could plot a relay course that takes them there in a day.
* MindHive: The geth. An individual geth "terminal" can potentially contain thousands of geth programs. Some or all of those programs can later be uploaded to a hub and then downloaded to a different terminal. Geth programs running on the same hardware will disseminate information and reach a consensus, but each individual terminal has a unique perspective, which will cause the programs to reach different conclusions, until they re-interface with a hub and share any new data.
** The Reapers as well seem to be a case of this. This is corroborated by Legion, explaining that this was part of why the geth heretics identified so closely with the "Old Machines", citing Sovereign's "we are each a nation" speech to Shepard's team during the first game as being an indication of this. He claims that the Reapers have many minds, but one will, their indivisibility being their strength, while the geth are interdependent, not yet capable of fully integrating with each other, and thus must build consensus.
* MindlinkMates: Again, the asari and whoever they mate with.
* MindOverMatter: Biotics, people with [[MinovskyPhysics Element Zero]] in their bodies, can manipulate gravity (or create miniature ''black holes'') with a gesture.
** Asari commandos get bonus points for saying "MindOverMatter!" verbatim.
* MindRape: [[spoiler:This combined with [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashing]] is how the Reapers indoctrinate organic species]].
* MiniGame: Pretty much anything that involves unlocking, decrypting, or resource gathering on the first two games.
** And in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' you get to play cat 'n' mouse with the Reapers on the galaxy map, which is... interesting.
* MinovskyPhysics: [[{{Unobtainium}} Element Zero]], required for the eponymous mass effect, which in turn is necessary for almost all of the technology obtained from the Protheans.
** In fact, Element Zero's description fits the one of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_matter Exotic Matter]].
* MirandaRights: Yup, they're still there.
--> '''Gianna Parasini:''' You have the right to remain silent. I wish to God you'd exercise it!
* MirrorChemistry: Turians and quarians.
* MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness: The technology is pretty hard compared to most SpaceOpera. Most of it is a logical extrapolation of the properties of the fictional [[MinovskyPhysics Element Zero]].
** Giving it a 4 (drifting towards 3 due to some handwaves and plot devices) on the Mohs Scale. The main big lie is Element Zero, all other technology is based on that.
** However, then there's Project Lazarus, which is hardly explained, if at all. As a matter of fact, if you take into account all the other ShownTheirWork the games like to flaunt, one would almost be willing to conclude that TIM resurrected Shepard's body by simply ''[[LiteralMetaphor throwing money]]'' at it.
* MookMaker: Geth spaceships.
** Reapers, too, apparently.
** And the harvester creatures in the 2nd game drop klixen.
* MortonsFork: Used occasionally throughout the series, most often in cases where [=Charm/Intimidation=] cannot be used. The most prominent examples in the first game is the decision to either save or abandon the Council and the decision to either kill Balak or let him go to save the hostages. In the second game, there's a sidequest in which you must choose between saving two targets from a slew of missiles: a heavily-populated civilian settlement, or an economically-vital industrial complex. Either way, the colony is pretty much a wash.
* MrExposition: Absolutely everyone you meet with a speaking role. ''Everyone''. Though they'll only {{Infodump}} on you if you ask for details.
* MrFanservice: As per usual in a Bioware game, there are the popular female romances, and very often shipped thoroughly and discussed adoringly on the forums of said company. In Mass Effect the most popular for female Shepard (and only male) was Kaidan. Of course, Garrus was very popular too, but he wasn't romanceable then. The sequel brought a whole multitude of new choices that [[BrokenBase split the fangirls]] between Kaidan, Garrus, and the new kid on the block... Thane. Of course, Jacob was a romanceable figure too; some enjoyed his [[OnlySaneMan lack of brooding angst]] but much of the fandom decided he was [[TheGenericGuy too generic]] [[strike:and [[NiceGuy not troubled enough]]]] and found it not at all romantic that he [[AllMenArePerverts refers to Shepard as a "prize." Behind her back]]. The ensuing fan fiction confused a lot of people who had jumped ship for Thane. After Horizon, a lot of Kaidan fangirls decided to [[DieForOurShip go down with the ship]].
** And then there's the Joker fans... which gets disturbing fast if you're also a Batman fan.
** Vega in the third game, who, unfortunately, is ''not'' a romance option, except for the option of a one-night stand in the ''Citadel'' DLC.
* MsFanservice:
** The asari. ''All of them.'' Even in-universe; young males of ''every race'' tend to be fascinated with them. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] on Illium if you listen in on the salarian's "bachelor" party. The same conversation implies its deliberate on the part of the asari.[[spoiler: The guys in the party disagree on the defining features of the asari 'dancer'.]]
** Miranda. Skin-tight clothing, genetically-enhanced body, plenty of lingering shots of her... assets. Again lampshaded in-game, especially in a conversation between Ken and Gabby. Not to mention being voiced by and modeled after Yvonne Strahovski.
---> '''Enyala:''' I was just waiting for you to get dressed. Or does Cerberus really let you whore around in that outfit?
** And then there's [[spoiler:EDI's new body]] in the third game.
** Diana Allers. Suffice it to say that the camera rarely focuses on her face. [[ButterFace And for good reason]].
** Every romanceable female NPC has at least one moment that qualifies them.
* MulticulturalAlienPlanet: Though most members of a race are more similar than not, there is noticeable cultural diversity. Most present amongst the quarians. Many quarian ships have existed longer than some countries on Earth.
* MultipleLifeBars: The first game just has health and shields, but the second implements a much more complicated version. The standard rule is that enemies will have one bar of health, "protected" by a bar of armor, shields, or barriers, with each affected by different offensive abilities. Unusual enemies will have more than two bars, and some have no health at all (making them completely immune to abilities that only work on foes with exposed health bars.) This also applies to Shepard and Co. as well. Expanded in the third game, where aside from shields, Shepard's health is divided into five segments; damage within one segment regenerates over time, but to heal other segments, medi-gel must be used.
* MyGreatestFailure: Almost every major character has one, if not two, or three, or several...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:N]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Cerberus, the Blood Pack mercenaries, Spectre, [[spoiler: the Reapers as a species or individuals]].
** Also, why would anyone want to poke a stick at something known as [[spoiler:The Leviathan of Dis]]?
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: Cerberus has shades of this all throughout the first two games, but they are ''definitely'' this in 3, in which they relentlessly SigilSpam their three-headed dog logo, openly start war with the rest of the galaxy, take their FantasticRacism doctrine UpToEleven, and [[spoiler: are revealed to run concentration camps (albeit their inmates have no knowledge of this until its too late) where they conduct brutal experiments on sapient life]].
* NeverMyFault: The krogan have this attitude about the genophage. They blame the Citadel races exclusively for them being effectively neutered into neutral population growth even after helping with the rachni, despite the fact that the krogan were aggressively expanding, overrunning the galaxy, and eventually started to "colonize" worlds that were already under the ownership of another species.
* NighInvulnerability: The Reapers. They can be killed but it takes an ENORMOUS amount of effort. At the end of the first game it took two whole fleets to bring down just ONE, and only when it was focusing its energy on fighting Shepard. Some sight-seeing locations imply that [[spoiler:a dedicated anti-Reaper weapon was used to fight a previous, ancient invasion, and it took its target down -- but the shot glanced off the target and devastated an entire planet]].
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Averted. Turians and quarians are based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chirality_%28chemistry%29 dextro-amino acids, unlike the rest of the galaxy]]. They need their own food (with some exceptions), because ours can cause anaphylactic shock.
** Actually a minor plot point in [=ME2=]. [[spoiler:If you pursue a romance with Garrus, the issue of... ingestion comes up. This also applies to Tali, as the quarians have severe allergic reaction to foreign organisms; she explains this when Shepard asks about it during the romance arc]].
** There's also the volus, who must live in high-pressure, toxic environments - or environmental suits.
* NobleMaleRoguishMale: Paragon Shepard (Noble Male) versus Renegade Shepard (Roguish Male). Paragon Shepard also has this dynamic going with [[TheLancer Garrus]] to the point it resembles a BuddyCopShow.
** A bit of this with Cortez (noble) and Vega (roguish) in the third game, who can usually be found together in the shuttle bay.
* NoisyGuns: Justified in that weapons within the universe are collapsible which reassemble and expand themselves when they're drawn.
* NonCombatEXP: The series, despite relying ''heavily'' on combat, did away with XP-for-kills starting with part two, instead handing it out for quests and some item pickups. Even in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', some XP was gained upon unlocking each Codex entry, i.e. from simple exploration and interacting with the environment.
* NoPaperFuture: Averted. You never personally use paper, either for money or for information, but it still exists; you can even see it if you look closely enough. It's just that paper money is almost exclusively used for illegal purposes due to being less efficient and harder to trace than electronic transfers, and, well, a military ship needs the space too much to store a printer and paper supplies. Datapads work just fine.
** Books also still exist, but they are not as popular as digital media. Doctor Chakwas seems to have several books and binders in her lab, Kasumi has quite a few in her observation deck home. Donovan Hock has several shelves of books in his manor and one can purchase books themselves in ''Mass Effect 3''.
* NoPointsForNeutrality: Played straight in both games. You get no benefits whatsoever for doing so in the first game, and in the second game this can actually cause you harm.
** {{Bioware}} took pains to [[AvertedTrope avert]] this in the [[VideoGame/MassEffect3 third game]], turning the KarmaMeter into a reputation system. Shepard's ability to sway other powers depends on his or her reputation, whether that reputation is for even-handedness or ruthlessness. However, much also depends simply on general reputation, with Paragon or Renegade opening new options or influencing the outcome. Many actions build reputation but are morally neutral, causing both Paragon and Renegade values to rise at the same time, but keep the same ratio with regard to each other as they do.
* NoScope: Possible to do with sniper rifles, but so difficult it's more effort than it's worth. And even if the enemy is close enough for it to work, well, you have a shotgun (or, at the very least, a heavy pistol).
* NoSuchThingAsAlienPopCulture: Averted; a few alien films are mentioned in the games proper (such as the asari film ''Vaenia'' and the turian/quarian film ''Fleet and Flotilla''), and even more tidbits of pop culture in Cerberus Daily News (such as a volus comedienne who hosts a late-night talk show). The most notable one is [[AscendedMeme Blasto, the hanar Spectre.]]
* NoticeThis: By putting symbols over important items, per BioWare standards.
* NoTranshumanismAllowed:
** In-universe, by Citadel law. Humanity actually made a disturbing amount of progress in this direction before becoming part of Citadel space and being forced to abandon their experiments. You get to see a few examples in all three games, though, [[spoiler:almost all of them related to Cerberus]].
** Including Shepard by the time of the second game, which is practically taken to [[VideoGame/{{Metroid}} Samus-esque]] levels where it is questionable just how human Shepard is anymore, particularly if you buy all the upgrades that involve screwing with your biology (namely your bones, skin, and muscles) in fairly major ways. Hammered home when [[spoiler:it is revealed that Shepard is apparently mechanical enough to ''be hacked'']] in the Overlord DLC.
*** This becomes a minor point of angst for Shepard during a couple of moments in the third game. In a conversation with EDI, Shepard is mildly disturbed by the implication, but EDI reassuringly says Shepard's brain is organic and thus s/he isn't a true transhuman, despite his/her multitude of cybernetic implants. A brief existential crisis can also occur during the raid on Cerberus HQ, if Shepard views footage from the Lazarus Project.
** [[spoiler:Can be forcibly averted for ''all organic life in the galaxy'']] in one ending to the third game.
* NotQuiteDead:
** The [[spoiler:Human-]]Reaper in ''Mass Effect 2''
** [[spoiler:And the Prothean species, as luck would have it]].
** Also [[spoiler:the Leviathan of Dis, as the batarians learned to their sorrow]].
* NotWorthKilling: This is the ''ultimate insult'' a krogan can give an enemy. As a Proud Warrior Race, krogan status is determined by who one's enemies are. This extends to other races as well; the Mass Effect RoguesGallery is exactly why most krogan see Shepard as the most badass creature in the galaxy.
* NotUsingTheZWord: In-universe; the term 'robot' and 'artificial lifeform' have been legally changed to 'synthetic'. Also, despite running into husks and Thorian creepers, no one takes the opportunity to shout the Z-word. It's only mentioned once in the game, during a conversation.
* NowWhereWasIGoingAgain: As usual for a Bioware game, you have a journal which lists all of your quests, where you currently are in terms of progress, and what you need to do next. It even separates main story quests from sidequests. Although ''3'' has certain issues where this is involved; the journal doesn't keep track of whether you've already [[FetchQuest retrieved Item X from Planet Y on behalf of Person Z]] and just need to deliver it, or if it's still on Planet Y and you have to go and get it, and just for additional hilarity several of them either don't tell you where to go, or tell you which planet it's on but not where that planet ''is''.
* NumericalHard: Borderline between aversion and playing it straight. Most of the changes in difficulty do just change how long it takes to shoot the enemies to death, but there are behavior modifications as well.
** Fully averted in the 3rd game. Especially the multiplayer mode.
* OddlySmallOrganization: Apparently, Cerberus, despite being so shadowy and influential, only has about a hundred and fifty actual members. In an organization that spans half the galaxy and has enough resources to build a supremely advanced frigate and [[spoiler:bring Shepard back from the dead.]]
** In the third game, they get a fleet of capital ships and an endless supply of mooks. The game actually goes to some trouble to justify both.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:O]]
* OhCrap:
** A villain gets a particularly satisfying one. After being one step behind him for the entire game, watching and hearing Saren lose his cool for the second time time when [[spoiler:the Mako comes [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome flying out of the sky like a goddamned missile]] on Ilos]] is nothing short of delicious. [[note]] The first was after Eden Prime; when you use the beacon, he has a BIG temper tantrum.[[/note]]
** The first half hour or so of VideoGame/MassEffect3 is pretty much one continuous OhCrap.
** The ending of [=ME2=]: [[spoiler: The Reapers are coming - THE ENTIRE ARMADA!]]
** During Miranda's loyalty mission, a Renegade interrupt results in a hilarious example, as you take out four out of five mercs aiming at you in a matter of seconds. You can almost hear the fifth one saying it.
** During Thane's loyalty mission, when Mouse turns around to see Thane and Shepard standing behind him. "Be still, Mouse. You can change your pants later."
** When Shepard wakes up during the Arrival DLC, the Project scientist looking after him/her has a very satisfying one.
*** Prior to that, during the stand-off against waves of Project security near the Reaper device, you can hear them growing more and more upset that Shepard ''just won't stop''.
** Garrus responds this way to awkward surprises such as bombs or EDI passing out.
* OhMyGods: Since the galaxy, by and large, has not OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions in this future, various deities of various species are invoked on a fairly regular basis. Liara's {{catchphrase}}, in particular, is "By the goddess."
** The phrase "Oh my gods" is actually uttered verbatim during Thane's loyalty mission, when facing down Kolyat; during the hostage situation, the Renegade option is [[spoiler:to shoot the hostage yourself, prompting said phrase from Kolyat, and Shepard claiming "Hostages only work when your enemy cares if they live or not."]]
* OlderThanTheyLook: Any asari you run into is apt to be old enough to be your great-great-grandmother, at a minimum. Considering that the average asari lifespan runs around a millennium, this also skirts the edges of ReallySevenHundredYearsOld.
** Humans, thanks to better medical science. One of the characters in the ExpandedUniverse is in her forties, but looks like she's in her twenties. Miranda Lawson is thirty-five, though you wouldn't know it by looking at her. While Miranda explicitly mentions she was genetically engineered for superior longevity among other things, normal humans enjoy benefits of advanced medical science as well. Dr. Chakwas says she's lived a full life and certainly comes across as grandmotherly, but doesn't look it quite so much. She was with the Alliance during the First Contact War. In [=ME1=], she says she joined "right out of medical school". The First Contact War was about 30 years prior to the game, so depending on how long it took her to graduate med school and how long she served before the War, Dr. Chakwas is either in her late 60s or ''early 70s''.
** It's been explicitly stated average human lifespan has increased to roughly 150 years, barring unnatural causes. This may be in part due to sheer ubiquity of grafts and cybernetic augmentation, which implies everyone with a medical insurance is likely to have at least a few organs replaced during their lifetime.
* OldSaveBonus: Decisions you've made have an impact throughout the entire trilogy. Even if it's just an e-mail from someone you helped saying how they're doing or an incidental news report, most actions are at least referenced. Bigger decisions have much larger impacts.
** On a mechanics note, you can also receive in-game bonuses like starting with a higher level and extra money if you imported a rich, high-level character; and on a meta note, you can get the "Long Service" achievement after playing through Mass Effect 2 once if you import a character from the previous game, rather than two playthroughs with new characters. The same achievement is also in the third game, and is achieved the same way.
** Honestly, this series is probably qualifying for the TropeCodifier on this. While other series have doubtlessly used the concept before, few, if any, have paid so much attention to continuity being maintained throughout the franchise as a result of using it. Granted, [[GoodBadBugs it's not completely perfect]], but you likely won't be able to look at games which merely import character names and a few altered statistics the same way.
* OldSchoolDogfight: Theoretically averted in the Codex. Ships are mentioned to engage each other over humongous distances. However, played notoriously straight in every space combat cutscene actually shown. Justified because these situations are not waged under typical circumstances and engagement at unusually close range is a part of the strategy specifically to confuse and outmaneuver the enemy.
** Fighter-to-fighter combat specifically is rare; their purpose is more to harass larger ships and overload their missile-defense systems.
** Well, the codex does mention a specific class of fighters, called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "interceptors"]].
** They act more [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skirmishers like Skirmishers]], drawing fire so that [[PointDefenseless Point Defense]] [[FrickinLaserBeams lasers]] will overheat, letting the bombers do their thing.
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: The Illusive Man and Cerberus as a whole seem to think they hold one; they constantly spout off about saving the human race and helping them to get ahead, despite committing atrocities against human worlds on par with batarian pirates and, if in-game events are anything to go by, being responsible for more Alliance casualties than the First Contact War. And let's not forget Jack ("This is a bad place."). Registration for these licenses is also pretty much fifty percent of Spectrehood.
** [[spoiler:The Catalyst]] puts all of the above to shame.
* OnceIsNotEnough: Krogan. Unless you have some kind of regeneration-killing ammo equipped, don't be fooled when they fall. Keep shooting until the bodies dissolve.
* OneGenderRace: The asari, who default to the "child-bearing sex" (i.e., female) as they are biologically monogendered.
* OneFederationLimit: One Alliance, one Republic(s), one Hierarchy, one Union, one Hegemony, one Flotilla, one Collective...
** On closer examination, this is likely averted because of the turian foreign policy: There are stated to be more 'client races' besides the volus. So, more than one Protectorate.
* OneNationUnderCopyright: Noveria and Illium are entire planets controlled entirely by corporations.
* OneRiotOneRanger: Spectres.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. There are four Jacobs. The guy on the MSV Worthington, the deceased husband in the sidequest Family Matter, [[DeadGuyJunior the previous guy's son]] and the party member in Mass Effect 2.
** Also, there's Jack [[spoiler:Harper]].
** There are also two characters named Delan: A hanar merchant on the Citadel in the first game (short for Delanynder in this case), and a human mechanic on Horizon in the second.
** The Cerberus Daily News for May 7th, 2010 quotes a turian relief worker named Saren.
** There's even multiple Steves; Lieutenant Steve Cortez and Admiral Steven Hackett.
** Also possible for Shepard, depending on the first name you decide to give him/her. This is, of course, [[LastNameBasis never said]] [[HelloInsertNameHere in dialogue]].
* OneWorldOrder: Subverted. The Council presides over most of the galaxy, but is more like a more influential United Nations than anything else, and most species have a single government that rules them. Subverted in that there is definitely separation, though, and few species seem to answer entirely to one government. Even the Alliance is only the group elected to represent humanity to the Citadel.
** Especially highlighted in [=ME2=] where Shepard spends most of the game in the rather extensive Terminus Systems and interacts heavy with other non-Citadel, non-Terminus cultures.
** Humanity itself is mentioned as comprised of distinct countries and politics.
** The third game repeatedly emphasizes that the asari aren't remotely united - their government is the Asari ''Republics'', and their fleets operate largely independently. This... does not serve them well, compared to more organized species.
* OnlyAFleshWound: In the games, shooting a breathing enemy in the legs will slow them down. That's it. No bleeding, no breaking, nothing. They just stumble for a moment and then keep going. This is definitely at odds with the flesh-pulping, bone-pulverizing properties of mass effect weaponry described in the books. Averted with husks and their relatives, abominations. They will die if you hit them in the legs, regardless of actual damage done.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Mark Meer (the male Shepard) has a noticeable [[CanadaEh Canadian accent]] in some lines. Then there's Donovan Hock, whose accent starts at Afrikaans and mutates into something completely incomprehensible.
** [[spoiler:Done deliberately with Brooks in the ''Citadel'' DLC, whose accent hits virtually every English-speaking country at one point, but rather than being Australiamericanadienglish, she has a fairly straightforward English accent and is just not as good at faking an accent as she thought she was.]]
* OpeningScroll: Used to bring the audience up to speed in both games.
* OpeningTheSandbox: All three let you loose after a few hours of tutorial.
* OptionalCharacterScene: Aaaaaaaaaaall over the place. The second game even has optional character ''missions''... well, optional in that they aren't needed to finish the game. If you want a better outcome, however...
* OrbitalBombardment: Using kinetic weapon strikes for the most part. [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 The first game]] mentions that during the turian occupation of Shanxi the turians were more than happy to demolish away city blocks from orbit [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill to take out single squads of human soldiers]]. During a sidequest, Shepard offers to have the ''Normandy'' hit a [[spoiler:rachni hive]] from orbit. In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' one of Diana Allers's news stories mentions that the Reapers blew away Adelaide, Australia with an orbital strike. And then of course there's [[spoiler:the battle with the landed Reaper destroyer on Rannoch, which Shepard takes out by painting its weak point as a target for the ''Normandy'' and the entire quarian fleet.]] Last but not least, the fluff mentions that during the Krogan Rebellions the krogan reacted to turian attacks by [[ColonyDrop aiming asteroids at turian colonies]], which just pissed the turians off even more.
* TheOrder: The Spectres fit the bill, even thought they're sci-fi as opposed to fantasy.
* OrganicTechnology: Present in pretty much everything of the Collectors.
* [[OurElvesAreBetter Our Space Elves Are Better]]:
** From the way asari are described in the Codex--the first race to discover the Citadel, having some of the greatest political influence in the galaxy, perfect democracy, long lives, great technology, [[MindOverMatter universally strong biotic abilities]] and producing some of the best warriors of any race--you'd think this trope would be played straight. But in-game asari as a whole are treated with no more or less respect than most other races, and the entire superiority attitude is completely deconstructed by an asari in the second game. Then completely deconstructed in the third game: it turns out that [[spoiler: all the advantages the asari had were given by the Protheans, including, among other advancements, altering their genes to make them innate biotics]].
** The quarians get a bit of this in the third game, specifically as space wood elves. [[spoiler:If Tali is any indication, they even look the part]].
** Even the Protheans seem to be this before being deconstructed. Like everyone else, they acquired technology from previous cycles -- in their case, from [[spoiler:the Inusannon, who are actually the ones depicted in the statues on Ilos]].
* OurWeaponsWillBeBoxyInTheFuture: Most of the weapons in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' follow this trope, particularly the krogan Claymore shotgun, the design of which resembles a cinder block with a trigger.
** Though averted in VideoGame/MassEffect3 with weapons from other alien cultures: the [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Arc_Pistol Quarian Arc Pistol]], the [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Scorpion Salarian Scorpion]], the [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Disciple Asari Disciple shotgun]], the [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Geth_Pulse_Rifle geth pulse rifle]], [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Javelin sniper rifle]] and [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Geth_Plasma_Shotgun plasma shotgun]] are all fairly sleek. Some human weapons are sleek too: the [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/M-8_Avenger M-8 Avenger]] and [[http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/N7_Valkyrie N7 Valkyrie]] being prominent exceptions.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Husks. Victims of Reaper indoctrination or defeat at the hands of minions of the Reapers. Skewered on special spike machines and slowly turned into cybernetic zombies. In the first game, there's just your basic Husk. The sequel introduces [[ActionBomb Abominations]], [[{{BFG}} Scions]] and [[ThatOneBoss Praetorians]].
** And in the third game we go UpToEleven with huskified batarians, turians, asari [[spoiler:(Ardat-Yakshi specifically)]], krogan/turian hybrids, harvesters and [[spoiler:rachni]].
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: An interesting take on the subject, but not played anviliciously straight. [[EncyclopediaExposita The Codex]] offers details on the religions and cultures of the major races (for example: it turns out that Confucianism and Zen Buddhism have found a niche among the turians) but religion doesn't have a large part in the actual game.
** One of the conversation possibilities with Ashley reveals that she is religious and that this is considered unusual. Shepard can also proclaim that s/he's religious. Legion and EDI reference the Christian Bible when coming up with his name.
** Mordin also claims he studied religions "looking for answers." Justified [[TheAtoner in his case]].
** Even the geth are religious; Legion states that this is ''because'' they're synthetic life forms.
** The Shadow Broker's file on Cerberus states it arranged the [[YouBastard assassination of the Pope]] so that a new one with militaristic beliefs and an attitude of forgiveness towards the salarians (apparently this was to improve relations with the turians since they both were responsible for the genophage... it's not very clearly explained) would take power. The Catholic Church is clearly still a major political power.
** In a bitter irony, one of the ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' live action trailers features a church scene.
* {{Overheating}}: In the first game's background, all guns had ammunition stores that would number into the thousands (the "mass-accelerator" technology allowed the guns to shear off a small piece from a block of metal inside the gun and accelerate it to ridiculous speeds, allowing small arms to be very deadly and be capable of shooting thousands of shots with one block), therefore ammunition stores are non-problematic for a single engagement and don't show up in-game. However, the guns still gave off heat, so a gun that fires too often overheats and must wait for it to cool down to fire again.
** The second game, however, went for reloading. What is reloaded, however, is the "thermal clip" heat sinks for the gun -- as opposed to a magazine being depleted to be reloaded, the number of shots you may fire before reloading represents how many shots the gun fires before a new heat sink must be inserted due to the old one being overheated; the magazines of the guns are still capable of holding thousands of shots. While a player technically should be able to wait for their heat sinks to cool down and fire later instead of being forced to eject them after too many shots, the game no longer gives that option. There are also a few other nitpicks about the new system.
*** As a minor point: if the heat dispersion mechanism is chemical in nature (i.e. heat is absorbed to convert the sink material from a high energy to a low energy state), they would be unusable after being depleted and no amount of waiting would reverse that. Even if was just a mechanical "dump this heat into a metal or other material as quickly as possible," most metals with high melting points and high thermal conductivity would also take an eternity to cool down on their own in a normal atmosphere, and ejecting them would be the only practical way to use them. Of course, then there's the issue of ejecting near-molten metal tubes through the air in cramped quarters during a firefight...
** Continued in the third game, with at least one exception: a Particle Rifle, a weapon made by [[spoiler:the Protheans]].
* OverlyLongName: Ask a salarian for his full name. Better, don't.
** There is one point on Noveria where you can overhear a salarian businessman trying to dig up some dirt on the administrator of the facility, asking his brother if he is ready before reading off the full name: "Rannadril Ghan Swa Fulsoom Karaten Narr Eadi Bel Anoleis." A (different) salarian on Feros will give you an explanation of what each of his names mean.
** Arguably qualified as an example of this trope: Tali'Zorah vas Neema nar Rayya, which literally translates as "Tali of the clan Zorah, crew of the ''Neema'', child of the ''Rayya''," the ''Rayya'' being the ship she was born on. Fittingly, it is only used once in a highly official context, otherwise being shortened to different lengths.
** The soul names of hanar also qualify apparently. One name that Thane mentions in the second game is "Illuminates the Folly of the Dancers." Another that turns up in the third game is "Regards the Works of the Enkindlers in Despair."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:P]]
* PainfullySlowProjectile: In the first game, anything of heavier caliber than small arms moved slowly enough to simply be sidestepped. Still largely the case in the second game, but now the vast majority of those attacks are also seeking.
* PamphletShelf: The Codex. You don't have to read it, but it helps a lot of things make more sense.
* ParentalAbandonment: Two out of three of Shepard's origin stories, and approximately half of the crew.
* PausableRealtime: Two radial menus allow the player to swap weapons and use powers.
* PausedInterrupt: Unfortunately, often occurs during the least likely times to pause between lines. Usually, the conversations flow pretty well, though.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Certain characters, such as Renegade Shepard, Garrus, and Samara prescribe to this philosophy.
* PeopleFarms: [[spoiler: In a large-scale and disturbingly literal scenario, the Reapers treat the '''entire galaxy''' as one big People Farm, coming through every once in a while to harvest their crop and seed the next one]].
** In the third game, [[spoiler:Cerberus opens one of these on Horizon to study Reaper tech]].
* ThePhilosopher: This game is swimming in them. Sure, there are certain characters who consistently fit this trope, like Wrex or Mordin or Thane, but every character gets their introspective moments.
* PhotographicMemory: Both the salarians and the drell have perfect recall. The salarians have control over the process, whereas drell... don't. Whether this is CursedWithAwesome or BlessedWithSuck depends on the memory.
** Humans can pick up this ability, as well, via a cybernetic implant called a greybox. Kasumi Goto has one, and even suggests that Shepard should get one, as well. [[spoiler: Kasumi's late partner, Keiji, also had one, which becomes the focus of her loyalty mission when it ends up in the wrong hands]].
* PlantAliens: The Thorian. Also, any drones it creates.
* PlanetOfHats: Note that many ''alien'' races see humanity in this way, too: both [[HumansAreSpecial determined]] and [[HumansAreBastards relentless]] -- though some of those races themselves are forced to certain traits due to their physiology. Kaidan discusses this, saying he finds jerks and saints within other races, and "They're like us."
** Overall, Mass Effect heavily subverts this trope (and lampshades it on numerous occasions). There are the stereotypes, but the races don't conform to said stereotypes.
*** There's a pointed conversation between the Warrior Race member Wrex and an Alliance officer (Kaidan or Ashley). Officer remarks that Wrex isn't what he expected.
----> '''Wrex:''' Yes, because you humans have a ''wide'' range of cultures and attitudes, but krogan ''all think and act '''exactly alike.'''''
** As far as humans go, it's somewhat intentional as mentioned in the backstory. The Systems Alliance is the official face of humanity in space, but Earth itself is still split along political and national lines. It was only after first contact with the turians that the Systems Alliance was able to establish itself as the galactic face of humanity. Thus, less GenreSavvy aliens may very well believe that the Alliance is the only facet of human culture that exists - which would explain why many aliens with less contact with humans believe that HumansAreSpecial at war on par with the turians. The Alliance has parlayed its single military engagement with a dominant species into political power and prestige.
** The second game subverts this even more especially with the krogan. It gets to the point that [[spoiler: as you interact with Grunt, a krogan tank-bred by another krogan, you realize that Grunt is no more a 'true' krogan than Saren's were. And this unconscious realization is precisely why he's a little angsty]].
** Even with the subversion, the other races are still more prone to wearing "hats" than humanity. A conversation with Mordin on Tuchanka has him pointing out that humans are more biologically diverse than any other sapient species. According to Mordin -- you can roughly judge an asari, turian or krogan's capabilities and intelligence at a glance, but humans just vary too widely for that to be effective.
** Samara makes a similar (though affectionate) statement about human variation:
---> '''Samara:''' You are more individualistic than any other species I have ever encountered. If there are three humans in a room, there will be six opinions. I like your species. I am curious to see what you will do.
* PlatonicProstitution: Sha'ira, the asari Consort, rarely grants sexual services to her clients personally... much to the frustration of some of her more enamored admirers.
* PlayerHeadquarters:
** The Citadel in the first and third games is the focal point of most every event. It's where the majority of side quests are received and completed, it's one of the most consistent sources of supplies, and it's mandatory to visit at least three times. Somewhat unusual in that it's the second location you visit immediately after the FirstTown.
** In the second game, the Citadel is no more important or central to the game (and perhaps even less so) than Omega, the WretchedHive [[OutlawTown Outlaw Space Station]].
** The ''Normandy'' serves this purpose in every game, though the second one is far more tricked out in this regard than the first. The refitted ''Normandy'' in the third game even more so.
* PlayingWithSyringes: There's more secret evil experiments going on in this series than you can shake a stick at.
* PlotLock: Found throughout the games are doors that, mysteriously, neither you nor your more tech-savvy companions can hack your way through. They will inevitably open later in the mission. The second game goes as far as to conveniently mark such doors with a red lock.
* PopulationControl: Quarians have a one-child limit due to limited resources and space (they live on a fleet of spacecraft), but if their population gets too small then extra children may even be encouraged. The salarians enforce this on themselves with carefully planned breeding to avoid overpopulation problems.
** The salarians forced this on the krogan via the [[DepopulationBomb genophage]].
* PortalNetwork: The only reason you can travel the galaxy is because the [[spoiler: {{Abusive|Precursors}}]] {{Precursors}} built the mass relays, that allow instantaneous transportation that not even faster-than-light drives can match.
* PossessionImpliesMastery: Subverted. Apparently, the mass relays are simplicity itself to use; a few years of study and humanity was zipping all over the galaxy with them. But no amount of study has been able to crack how they actually ''work'' yet, to the point where the galactic community at large has ''stopped trying''. [[spoiler:The Protheans, apparently, were able to at least begin to understand how the mass relays worked and even built a couple of scale models, but it's implied that they were at it longer and were also more diligent]].
** Averted in the first game with respect to your weapons. Everyone carries all four weapons everywhere but starts out with nothing more than basic training in any of them, resulting in poor accuracy and damage. This is especially noticeable with the sniper rifle, with which it's almost impossible to hit anything without a fair amount of training because of how much the targeting reticule drifts while aiming.
** The second game also brings up a point about the mass relays being rather inaccurate when used like this. Though that is only a problem concerning the Omega-4 relay, since its end point is surrounded by the wreckage of thousands of ships, and is located in the galactic core.
* PostProcessingVideoEffects: A 'film grain' effect added to the games, particularly noticeable in the cutscenes. It can be turned off.
* PoweredArmor: Seems to actually be introduced incrementally as the series progressed.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', the armor looks like flexible suits of riot gear with built in life support and provides DeflectorShields. It ''may'' include an exoskeleton upgrade, but this is optional and only useful for increasing melee damage.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', most of Shepard's armor are hardsuits with exoskeletal joints and spine. Some types of armor by default increase movement speed and physical strength by a small amount, but not to the same extent as most entries in the trope. They also aid in combat by making the user's aim more accurate.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Cerberus soldiers wear much bulkier armor than regular mercenaries. It features such novelties as thrusters for shock drops, full servo systems for lifting heavy objects, and of course there are the [[MiniMecha ATLAS mechs]]. [[spoiler: Not to mention that the troops are cyborgs themselves, augmented with Reaper technology]].
* PowerGlows: Biotics, full stop. They even get an aura when they're ''preparing'' to throw people around. The primary weapons of Reapers also glow brightly before firing.
* PowerPerversionPotential: Biotic powers to be precise, according to Mordin.
* PreClimaxClimax: The culmination of the romance paths (should you choose to follow one) in the first two games, right before the final mission. The third game also has a romance scene before the final two missions, but depending on which romance you're pursuing, it may or may not be the culmination of the romance.
* {{Precursors}}: The Protheans, replete with LostTechnology. The Protheans themselves had Precursors. All of it turns out to be a massive sucker trap laid by the Reapers, who were created by [[spoiler:an older intelligence still that determined the only way to prevent the complete annihilation of all life was to control the inevitable organic vs. synthetic conflict by killing off any civilization that progressed far enough to create true Artificial Intelligences]].
* PrecursorKillers: The very premise of the games comes down to the revelation that the Protheans were killed off by [[AbusivePrecursors The Reapers]], the TRUE precursors who have repeated the pattern for reasons unknown and they've wiped out at least two thousand generations of precursors beforehand.
* PrecursorWorship: The hanar consider the Protheans to be essentially gods. [[spoiler: Javik is not amused.]]
* PreMortemOneLiner: Some characters have these.
--> '''Samara:''' Find peace in the embrace of the goddess.
* PrestigeClass: Used in both games, though implemented differently. The first game has a standard "advance to level twenty, then choose a prestige after a special mission." The second game gives each individual ability a prestige class; when you max it out, you can choose between one of two uber-effects, usually in the neighborhood of more power or wider area of effect. The third game expands on this; abilities can now reach up to level 6, and every level from 4 and up allows you to choose from two possible upgrades of the ability.
* {{Privateer}}: The Corsairs, a secret branch of [[SpaceMarines Alliance Marines]] who act as independent groups outside of Alliance space. While not exactly pirates, their duties may include piracy, in addition to other black ops, and the Alliance can disavow any knowledge of them if they are caught. Jacob Taylor from the second game is an ex-Corsair.
* ProjectedMan: A standard way for V.I. programs to manifest throughout both games. EDI gets in on the action in the second game as well, even though she doesn't take an anthropomorphic form.
** EDI [[spoiler: no longer bothers with this once she gains a body]] in the third game.
* ProtagonistPowerUpPrivileges: It's Commander Shepard who gets all the cutting-edge upgrades, weapons, and technologies while his/her squad is mostly restricted to perfecting their confined areas of expertise.
* ProudMerchantRace: In terms of combat ability, the volus suck. Since they're so horrible at fighting, they gravitated to the turians (who were the undisputed champions of combat at the time) for protection. Pretty much the entire volus race is now involved in trade of one form or another.
** That said, they do bring two sizable War Assets to the table in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'': A fleet of frigates designed for [[DeathFromAbove aerial bombardment]], and, judging by the description, one of the single most powerful dreadnoughts in Council Space. Turns out when you do as much commerce as the volus do, you can afford to spend a lot of money on the occasional warship. And considering how the Treaty of Farixen limits the number of dreadnoughts among non-council races to one for every turian five, one can see why the volus would want to really make their limited number of ships count.
** Also in the third game, volus are playable in the multiplayer. They absolutely suck at combat, but are phenomenal in a support role.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Now in two flavors! Get your brutal krogan and disciplined turians while supplies last! The krogan are a particularly brutal DeconstructedTrope example; the trope is then [[{{Reconstruction}} reconstructed]] in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', at least to some extent. Oh, and the newest player on the scene, humans, [[HumansAreWarriors are regarded as these too]], making the more peaceful races justifiably fearful of [[TropeOverdosed trope overdose]].
* PstandardPsychicPstance: The exaggerated motions the biotics make when using their powers, or simply charging up to use them. Justified, in that they use their powers by firing certain nerves which correspond with muscle groups, so the easiest way to make things happen is to wave their arms and hands.
* PsychicPowers: Only technically psychic, and telekinesis only. The asari can read and transfer thoughts and knowledge, but that's more because of physiological quirks than mental abilities.
* PunchClockVillain: The various mercenaries fought throughout both games. Rana Thanoptis, Saren's pet neurobiologist on Virmire, arguably also fits the trope.
** [[spoiler:Until it turns out she was indoctrinated before you even reached her]].
* PunyEarthlings: [[AvertedTrope Averted]], thanks to some help from HumansAreAverage. Every other race in the galaxy has at least one advantage over humans, but humans generally make up for it with fewer weaknesses. They have the greatest cultural and genetic diversity of any race in the galaxy, making humanity very versatile and hard to predict. Asari live longer and are natural biotics, but are physically less imposing and are less driven/motivated overall as a species. Krogan are much hardier and live longer, but are stricken with the [[DepopulationBomb genophage]] and are slowly exterminating themselves due to their aggressive tendencies. Turians have a stronger and more numerous military, but the humans showed their ability to hold up militarily in the First Contact War thanks to their versatility and creativity. (And that is with only 3% of humanity serving in the military, while every turian of military age serves.) Their immune systems are stronger than the quarians, they have a greater population than the drell, and are more capable outside of the environment of their homeworld than the volus, hanar, and elcor as well. However, this trope is still played straight when humanity (or any other race) is compared to [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination the Reapers]].]] And also, the galaxy's most badass individual is a human, so...
* PurelyAestheticGender: Somewhat. What gender you pick chooses Shepard's love interests, as well as the voice actor and, well, [[CaptainObvious appearance]], but otherwise nothing really changes. No exclusive sidequests for certain genders or different paths along some quests. Just some dialogue shuffling.
** Well, mostly. There's a couple of moments of unique dialogue, at least in the second game, a completely hilarious Renegade Interrupt at the beginning of Archangel's recruitment mission if you play as a female Shepard, and another amusing scene in Samara's loyalty mission when female Shepard gets hit on by a turian who won't take no for an answer. But there's no impact on gameplay or the overarching story.
* PutDownYourGunAndStepAway: Shows up a couple of times throughout the games. The example from the first game ends with the hostage safe and the hostage takers dead/surrendered no matter what, but the situation in the second game is a little different as you're there for the taker in the first place. You can even shoot the hostage yourself. [[AssholeVictim And not feel any particular remorse for this course of action.]]
** ''Lair of the Shadow Broker'' has a somewhat similar situation, where you're told to drop your thermal clips.
** In the third game, the hostage taker can actually be talked out of it and get away with his life. Unless Miranda is alive.
[[/folder]]

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