* AntiClimaxBoss: [[spoiler: Husk-Saren is pretty easy for a final boss. Bring a biotic character, even just one, with a maxed-out Lift and just have them use it so you can chip his health away while he's helplessly floating in the air. And due to the fact that there's a cutscene after you get his health, by the time it's over Lift should be finished recharging, which means you can repeat the process again, thus winning the fight without even taking a single hit. Without biotics (which are overpowered in general), however, it is an appropriately epic final battle.]]
* AwesomeMusic: "M4 Part II" by Faunts, which plays over the credits.
* BreatherBoss: When compared to the bosses on [[WakeUpCallBoss Therum]], [[ThatOneBoss Noveria and Feros]], the Saren battle on Virmire is pretty straightforward.
* DemonicSpiders:
** Rachni warriors.
** Geth snipers can kill Shepard in one hit on most difficulties, and, if you don't take them out quick, they ''will''. Geth ghosts can be even worse, as they hop around and never stay still and use the exact same weapon.
** Krogan enemies in general.
* EarWorm:
** The Normandy's theme music.
** If you are planning to do side quests, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbhelu0X_Wk this]].
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Nihlus is surprisingly well-represented in discussions and fanworks, including mentions in subsequent games (in contrast, Jenkins is only brought up once) considering what a short-lived character he was.
* EvilIsCool: Saren Arterius from the first game is a well-liked villain for his badassery, intelligence, and [[EvilSoundsDeep cool voice.]] [[spoiler: His master, Sovereign, is also widely regarded as CreepyAwesome.]]
* GameBreaker:
** ''Any'' biotic power or weapons talent can become a game breaker in the first game if maxed out. With the right build and the right specialization, Shepard can become a terrifying monster. Adept Shepard with a maxed-out Nemesis class can launch enemies across entire rooms and a dozen enemies in a building-sized Singularity field. That's not counting some of the other powerful abilities, such as Shock Trooper dramatically reducing the recharge time on Adrenaline Burst, Medic allowing you to revive squadmates with medi-gel, and so on. This led to them [[{{Nerf}} becoming more balanced in the second game.]] In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', biotic powers (with the exceptions of Warp and Reave, which are direct-damage powers that have no kinetic effects) no longer work on enemies who have a form of protection. All ability cooldowns have also been unified (when a character uses one of their abilities, all their abilities are unusable until said ability's cooldown period has finished). This led some fans to complain that this puts biotic classes like the Vanguard and Adept at a major disadvantage on Insanity. The Lift powers alone turn enemies into pinatas.
*** A maxed Lift alone bears mentioning because it works on ''everything''. Yes, that includes Geth Armatures and Colossi. There's something indescribably hilarious about watching a twelve-foot-tall, ten-ton robotic artillery platform drifting helplessly skyward as you riddle it with assault-rifle slugs.
** Maxed Immunity will make Shepard nearly invincible. And with the Shock Trooper specialization, Shepard will be able to reactivate it before it even deactivates. Or you can just slap a couple of Medical Exoskeleton X's on your armor and get the same effect, something Ashley and Wrex can do, too.
** The Spectre Master Gear weapons when upgraded with good upgrades make cover and stopping firing to dissipate heat completely obsolete.
** The Infiltrator is just as indestructible as a Soldier and with the bonus power of AI hacking (available only on a NewGamePlus) can do everything an Engineer can. Their class ability allows them to avoid nearly all problems with weapons overheating and put the most powerful mods on without drawbacks. Equip a Spectre Pistol this way and turn on Marksmanship - they the do the highest damage-per-second in the game.
** ArtificialStupidity can happen in the planets you drop on and traverse with the Mako. Enemies can be so far away from you that putting your crosshair over them doesn't cause their name and health bar to pop up (which is possible pretty much all the time on said planets outdoors). If shot at from those ranges, they will fire back, but with expectedly ineffective accuracy, and ''never'' go toward you. Use a sniper rifle, attack any snipers they have first, and then you have all the time in the world to take out everything else with no chance of getting killed aside from maybe occasional rockets fired at you that can be easily seen and dodged by moving a bit to one side at such a range. Even Geth Armatures are only a matter of time, the same counter from the rockets applying to the energy balls they fire.
** [[MagikarpPower The Sentinel class or]] [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman "Hey Kaidan's useful for more than unlocking crates after all!"]] When properly leveled up goes from looking like a wall-hugging joke at the start of the game to being able to [[CurbStompBattle curbstomp the Final Boss without taking ONE HIT using a spamming combo of]] [[MindOverMatter Lift]] to make him a pinata, [[PowerNullifier Overload to strip his shields and Sabotage to neuter his weapons,]] which is not even factoring in squadmates with more exotic powers like [[UpToEleven Damping]] in addition to [[JustShootHim just unloading on the poor bastard.]]
* GameplayDerailment: Ridiculously easy to pull off by taking advantage of a side mission that allows you to sell items for higher prices to a particular NPC. Then you can head to a different merchant and buy them back at the prices you originally would've gotten for them there, and pocket the rest. It's possible to unlock some very powerful weapons and have enough money to buy superior equipment for everyone before even leaving the Citadel. Not quite a GameBreaker, but it does help.
* GeniusBonus: Binary Helix is working on a biological weapon for Saren based on a pesticide. Making it [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin Saren Gas]]. Oy.
* GoddamnedBats: Husks and Thorian Creepers.
* GoodBadBug: There are also a couple of occasions to completely max out your Paragon/Renegade scores in a couple of minutes; however, doing so corrupts your save files, and makes your actual decision in that scenario discounted in the sequel.
* HarsherInHindsight: Tali trying to defend herself when Shepard asks if the geth deserved to be killed in the Morning War makes her justification in very bad taste once you learn about what really happened in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''. [[spoiler:When you go inside the Geth Conscious you learn that the geth never acted out of hatred but out of self-preservation. You also find that many Quarian Geth-sympathizers were killed for refusing to kill the geth and their paranoia was eerily similar to Tali's.]]
-->Tali: "We made a mistake when we created the geth in the first place. But we didn't make a mistake when we went to war against them. If we had not acted, they would have wiped us out!"
-->Tali: "The geth are not innocent victims in all this. They're the enemy. They want to destroy us. Not just the quarians all organic life."
** Another one regarding Tali: She was initially supposed to see Fist, a Shadow Broker agent, to give the recording of Saren and Benezia to the Broker. Fist betrayed the Broker and was ordered by Saren to kill her. That could have been the extent of that arc; [[spoiler:however, the Broker had ordered Fist to kill her as well. The only reason Tali survived that ordeal is because of Shepard]].
** Shepard, after [[spoiler: abandoning either Kaidan or Ashley on Virmire,]] says that there is no "right choice" in that kind of situation, and s/he hopes she'll never have to make that decision again. Oh Shep, if only you knew. Just wait until Mass Effect 3, when you're making that same decision [[spoiler: only this time it's between entire ''species.'']]
* HellIsThatNoise: The sounds the husks make are frightening, especially as is often difficult to tell where they're coming from.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** After stealing the ''Normandy'', Wrex tells Shepard it was a "[[PhraseCatcher heavy risk...]]".
*** [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 But]] [[MemeticMutation the priiize...]]
** [=BioWare=] and Edge of Reality stated that "Pinnacle Station" wasn't included in the [=PS3=] port due to the source files being corrupted. Even the ''game'' seems to have rebelled against ThatOneSidequest.
** The day after ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' was anounced to be receiving a [=PS3=] port, Microsoft released a statement symbollically beating their chests by reminding everyone that the first game, and all of the choices that carry to the sequel, was ''not'' doing the same & thus, the Xbox 360 was the only place to enjoy the full ''Mass Effect'' experience. Come November 2012, and the original game was released on [=PS3=], thankfully by itself on the PSN Store as well as part of the Trilogy collection.
** In a conversation with Ashley, we get this:
-->'''Shepard:''' I don't think kissing turians will be necessary, Williams.
-->'''Ashley:''' You never know, ma'am.
** Cue, due to high demand, the potential RelationshipUpgrade with Garrus in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''. This comment becomes ''even funnier'', though, because the fans complained his ''Mass Effect 2'' romance was [[NoHuggingNoKissing kinda sterile]]. As such, he gets a gratuitous BigDamnKiss in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''... meaning kissing turians was ''absolutely'' necessary.
** Pretty black humour, but when you find Dr. Saleon, the geneticist who clones and harvests organs from living subjects, Garrus says "I'd harvest your organs, but we haven't got time." [[spoiler: This same idea comes back later with Garrus's love of inflicting HoistByHisOwnPetard and KarmicDeath as Archangel in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''.]]
* HoYay: Since much of the dialogue Shepard had was originally meant to be potentially romantic before it was cut, there's a lot of this with Kaidan. It is made canon in [=ME3=].
* ItWasHisSled: The SadisticChoice on Virmire and the Reapers.
* JerkassWoobie: [[spoiler: Saren. He's being manipulated and controlled by Sovereign and because of this he genuinely believes that he's doing the right thing. In the finale Shepard can make him realize this (it's implied he already knew but was unable to act on it because of Sovereign's control), which causes him to commit suicide to atone. Even before he found Sovereign, supplemental materials imply that he only became a bigoted KnightTemplar [[FreudianExcuse because his older brother was killed by humans during the First Contact War]].]]
* MoralEventHorizon: Saren, even long before discovering Sovereign to Anderson, but for the rest of the galaxy, the attack on Eden Prime.
* MostAnnoyingSound:
-->[[LoadsAndLoadsOfLoading "Decontamination in progress. Decontamination in progress. Decontamination in progress. Decontamination in progress."]]
** [[LimitedSoundEffects The NPC combat taunts:]] '''"ENEMIES EVERYWHERE!" "GO GO GO!" "I WILL DESTROY YOU!" "TAKE COVER!"''' '''"YOU MUST DIE!"''' Did we mention the computer likes to use one of these three taunts every 2 seconds or so? Enemy krogan shout '''"Look out!"''' every other second as well.
** "I will destroy you!" crossed over into MemeticMutation and AscendedMeme in the second and third games as Jack's CatchPhrase. Thankfully, repeated a lot less often and PlayedForLaughs in the threequel.
* MostWonderfulSound: The level-up sound is awesome enough to make the arduous task of killing enemies like Geth Colossi or Thresher Maws worth it, especially trying to kill them on foot instead of aboard the Mako.
* NeverLiveItdown[=/=]HateDumb: The most common reason brought up by people who dislike Kaidan Alenko is that he supposedly keeps whining about his headaches. In reality, it is only brought up '''once''' by him (and also just once by Dr Chakwas), and he doesn't even complain, he just ''mentions'' it.
* ScrappyMechanic: The Mako in general, and long elevator rides.
* SpecialEffectFailure: The way corpses frozen by your Cryo Rounds explode won't look out of place on ZXSpectrum.
** You can see the [[MilelongShip Ascension]] pass by the Citadel from the Wards. Good luck getting a good look at it, though, because for some reason, it ''doesn't'' block any light from the star in the background.
* StrangledByTheRedString: It is very easy to unwittingly end up in a relationship with Ashley or Kaidan. You basically have to be a complete asshole or not talk to them at at all to avoid it.
** There's also a bug with Liara's romance where, by selecting a line meant to close it out ('I just want to be friends') actually locks it in.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSong: The song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsnbAl2nvh4 Final Assault]] is almost the exact same as the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm4E4umP9Qc 1984 Dune theme]] from 1:50 in. The music where yo go to save Tali on the Citadel is also similar to the Film/BladeRunner theme.
* ThatOneAchievement: The achievements that require playing through the majority of the game with each individual squad member. This includes the sidequests and such.
** Made easier if you have the Pinnacle Station and Bring Down the Sky DLC.
* ThatOneAttack:
** Acid attacks from the thresher maws and rachni completely bypass your shields, no matter how strong they are.
** Also, in this game only, melee attacks do the same thing, which means ''[=ME1=]'' is the one and only game in the trilogy where ordinary Husks pose any threat.
* ThatOneBoss:
** The krogan battlemaster on Therum, at least if you go there early. Some classes may find the fight easier, however, such as the Soldier.
** Matriarch Benezia, mostly because of the asari commandos and geth snipers that help her...and because this is often not only one of the hardest fights in the game, but also the [[GameBreakingBug most prone to glitches]], making it a LuckBasedMission for many (if Benezia decides to start throwing magically cover-ignoring Warps at you, you're done).
* ThatOneLevel:
** Those who don't completely hate the Mako still admit scaling mountains are no fun to traverse in a vehicle ill-suited to do so. Pray that the planet you land on isn't 80% mountain. Similarly, any planet where you can fall into a ravine surrounded on all sides by cliff faces, forcing you to return to the ''Normandy'' to get decent traction again.
* ThatOneSidequest:
** The game was bad with these. They can all be described the same way: Even players who have played multiple times lose track of them all, and it is kind of a pain running around and collect them. Included are:
*** Finding all the keepers on the Citadel.
*** Finding all the Resources.
*** Finding all the Matriarch's writings.
*** Finding all the turian symbols.
*** Finding all the salarian League of One members.
** The Volcano Hunt mission in [[{{DLC}} Pinnacle Station]]. You get more time on the clock for each enemy you kill, but the amount of time you get back is progressively less for each one. You will want to put your keyboard/controller through the screen after coming up 2 kills short of the top score for the 10th time. For some reason, the Volcano map is the only one with this problem - with the others, a sufficiently skilled player can keep the mission going indefinitely and have no problem racking up enough kills.
** The rogue VI assignment on Luna. You have to clear three bases full of hovering drones that can kill you in one hit. And the shields it throws up over the consoles and doorways. It's meant to be a disturbing, desperate last means of defending itself, but just becomes tedious. The class specialization choice you get as a reward almost makes up for it, though.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Many feel that Nihlus was way underused and could've served as a cool mentor-figure/party member.
* TooCoolToLive: Nihlus is a hardboiled Spectre built up as a badass as well a potential mentor, and he dies very quickly to establish what kind of guy Saren is.
** He gets a decent back-story in ''Mass Effect 2'', if you talk to Samara. Apparently Nihlus was so badass that he was able to stop her from killing him simply by using her own justicar code against her and allowing him to escape.
-----