- The entire turian species gets one if you read the Codex page for the Battle of Palaven. With only fifteen minutes warning, the turian admiral in charge came up with a plan to defend his homeworld. They used the Reapers' size against them by using a precision FTL jump to land behind the Reaper fleet. The codex says that they managed to destroy several of the Reaper capital ships, the kind of dreadnoughts that took the combined Alliance 5th fleet and Citadel Defense Fleet to bring down even after Sovereign had lost much of his power when you killed robot-Saren.
- Gets even bigger when you read the section about the ground war. The Reapers arrive at Palaven in full force, destroy cities with their capital ships and land hordes of husks. All the codex has to say is that "Much of the turian fleet is still operable, and the citizenry is heavily armed. The turians refuse to be intimidated."
- The battle on Palaven itself. The Reapers swept through the Mass Relay with overwhelming force and begin bombarding the Turian homeworld and its moon. Numerous Dreadnought-sized Reapers enter the atmosphere of both. At least a day after the start, the Normandy arrives. Not only is the Turian resistance still continuing, they've still got air support, there's still a chain of command, it takes them less than five minutes to sort through their casualties and determine the highest survivor in the line of succession for Primarch, and the battle in space appears to be stalemated.
- "The Miracle of Palaven" is the highlight of the entire turian campaign against the Reapers. First the Turians have a dreadnaught fake a drive core malfunction in order to present a juicy target of opportunity to the reapers who break their siege line of Palaven to go destroy it. Turian and Krogan insurgents use the breach in order to smuggle WMD's onto Palaven's surface and into reaper capital ships and processing centers. In a simultaneous strike the insurgents detonate the bombs (sacrificing themselves to avoid the possibility of them being turned by indoctrination) and the rest of the military forces on the planet counter-attack reaper forces on multiple fronts. Several Reaper capital ships are completely annihilated, the conversion rates on Palaven drop significantly, and large swaths of territory fall back into turian control.
- And they hold out for much of the rest of the game, even if just barely. All the way up until the Fall of Thessia, where the enormous casualties that the Reapers inflict force them into a total retreat.
- Every time one of your Paragon decisions from the earlier games pays off.
- Either seeing it in person, or reading about it like hearing that Shiala is leading the Zhu's Hope semi-hive mind colonists in a successful pushback, learning that Kal'Reegar sacrificed himself and his squad to hold a turian communications outpost, hearing that the guy you had Jack spare on Pragia brought down dozens of husks to save fleeing transports full of children, the list goes on and all of it is fist pumpingly awesome.
- Hell, anytime a Renegade decision pays off, from a previous game or from this one. Bioware understands that Good Is Not Nice. Didn't go full Paragon when you encountered Kelly Chambers again in ME3? Good for you, you saved her life. Killed Rana Thanoptis? Congrats, now she won't gun down asari officials on Reaper orders. Tell Javik not to take the shard? He'll be writing a book with Liara, or travelling the galaxy, or living like a king with the Hanar, instead of killing himself.
- A subtle one, but when talking to your squadmates between missions, the Paragon responses are you opening up how bleak and desperate the situation is and how little hope and chance there is of victory. The Renegade ones show you hiding these emotions, because someone has to be strong, dammit.
- Then when you decide to open up, if at all your crew doesn't say anything bad about lying to them. True Companions at its finest...
- Thane vs Kai Leng. Kai Leng and Shepard's squad are circling each other with the Salarian councilor trapped in the middle... and then Thane appears out of nowhere with his gun pointed at Leng's head. He proceeds to hold his own against Cerberus's cyborg poster boy despite being a Dead Man Walking (three months to live nine months ago), at one point launching him across the room with a biotic pimpslap.
- Making this even more impressive is that, with the exception of Thane's modest biotic abilities, everything he pulls off is through skill, experience, and physical fitness, against an opponent who is both incredibly skilled and augmented with the best cybernetics Cerberus can afford.
- Tying into that is if you take the Renegade interrupt after your own (successful) fight with Kai Leng - Shepard breaks Kai Leng's sword with his left fist as the Omni-Blade pops out, stabbing into Kai's side. Cue Shepard saying "That was for Thane, you son of a bitch".
- Thane himself sums it up pretty well:
Thane: That assassin should be embarrassed. A terminally-ill drell managed to stop him from reaching his target.
- Grunt will choose to do an epic You Shall Not Pass moment to hold off a small army of Ravagers by himself. He charges into them, shooting and punching and kicking and beating, before falling off a cliff into darkness, followed by more Ravagers. Weep those Manly Tears for the greatest krogan warrior ever to live. Then he comes out of the cave, covered in blood but still alive, and asks for something to eat. The best part of it all is the music during this scene: while Grunt is fighting off the Ravagers, the music is quiet and sad, a piano solo that confirms that our hero is fighting his final, doomed battle. And when Grunt survives, the music is a reprise of the triumphant, rising orchestral crescendo at the ending of the first game when Shepard crawls out of the wreckage, battered but alive. Needs to be seen to believed.
- Adding to that the requirement for him surviving is that next to saving the Rachni Queen in 1 you had finish his loyalty mission in 2. Which was to help him gain maturity and a clan, essentially giving him a "family" and to learn how to control his rage. This means he survives because he learned how to use his rage when necessary and have something to come back for. He must have had a major determination moment down there.
- From the same mission, you can see Grunt's squad pinned down by a group of Husk's. Grunt proceeds to grab a Ravager, lift it completely over his head, and fling it into a chasm. What does he say while doing this?
- Ambassador Dominic Osoba's son, Balil Osoba Dying Moment of Awesome. Pretty much he slowly marched into the Cerberus forces on Benning, gunning down dozens of them to save his squad, the civilians they were evacuation, and the shuttle.
''He was just so calm while he did it. Like he was daring Death to come take him]]
- A little early, but if you weren't overcome by the sheer awesome of how Earth is facing annihilation by a massive Reaper Fleet in ME 3's debut trailer, you need to rethink your place in life.
Sovereign: We are legion. The time of our return is coming. Our numbers will darken the sky of every world.
- Reaper vs. Thresher Maw. They are riding out to complete another mission but have to contend with a Reaper tank, all hope seems lost. Shepard is forced to go on foot when the Krogan convoy is taken out, travelling through an ancient Krogan city talking about the Thresher Maw to end all Thresher Maws on Tuchanka. When conversing with Wrex about it, they realize that Tuchanka is its' home too and won't like a Reaper stomping around. So, as shown during Grunt's rite of passage, they decide to summon the Thresher Maw and point it at the Reaper. The end result is insane. Shepard is literally running underfoot of the giant sentient spaceship trying to hit him/her with a beam of molten metal fired approaching the speed of light. S/He dodges and weaves through the incoming fire, avoids things that pop out of the ground too fast for you to even get a good look at them, and then narrowly avoids being stepped on by the Reaper. Then the drums are sounded, and you know the Maw is angry. The Maw lunges out of the ground and tackles the Reaper, wrestling for a minute before the Reaper gets an angle to shoot at it, only to miss because it went underground again. Then it resurfaces and wraps itself around the Reaper, crushing it and dragging the thing underground. James Vega gets it right pretty early in the video: "Holy shit!"
Shepard: "Wrex! Do we have mawsign?"
Wrex: "Shepard, we have mawsign the likes of which even Reapers have never seen!"
- An extra layer of awesome is added if Shepherd has the Sole Survivor origin. This scene is basically his/her two biggest enemies fighting each other.
- This moment is even better in the game, as the Thresher Maw is identified as Kalros, Mother of all Thresher Maws. Garrus puts it best:
- The brief dialogue at the end of the E3 trailer, between Shepard and the Defense Committee:
Committee Member: What can we do?
Shepard: The only thing we can do: We fight or we die!
- Par for the trope, the Normandy's Gunship Rescue as Shepard escapes Earth with Anderson.
- Anderson actually volunteers to stay behind on Earth and help the surviving humans. This alone is pure awesome for that man.
- A video at E3 shows Shepard at a geth base. You call in the Normandy to blow up a base, but then discover it's actually a Reaper. A Reaper who's now a little annoyed at you. You run onto a small ship piloted by Legion, and start running away with the Reaper running after you, as you fire at it from a turret on the top of the ship. You stay away long enough for the quarian fleet in orbit to fire on the Reaper, apparently hurting it. Then it gets back up. Holy crap, this will not be easy.
- In the actual game, the orbital strike hits the firing chamber and does put it down, but the jamming signal means the fleet can't target precisely enough to hit the weak spot on purpose. Shepard's solution? Sync the target painter to the entire flotilla and face the Reaper on foot. Repeat: you aim a laser at it for the quarian fleet to fire at from orbit. You need to do this four times. The last time, the thing is right on top of you.
- Take the Renegade option when Shepard talks to the dying Reaper afterward and take the Renegade Interrupt. Shepard pulls out the laser again and aims at the Reaper's eye.
- Bonus points for the reapers reaction, it will stare at Shep for a moment when he/she aims the beam and then look up at the arriving orbital strike as if it was thinking "oh cr..."
- The Special Forces trailer. Itís like Commander Shepard has an army of the most well trained soldiers in the galaxy, second only to his elite team, ready to clean up the remnants of the Reaper forces after he's done.
- During the second demo mission, you help Mordin and Wrex get an important Krogan female off the Salarian homeworld. After you've held off the Cerberus forces attacking you, Wrex offers his hand to help Eve out of the containment pod she was in the entire mission. When two more Cerberus mercenaries show up out of nowhere to attack, Eve, instead of taking Wrex's offered hand, grabs his shotgun and blows them both away. With one hand. Krogan women kick ass.
- During the mission on Sur'Kesh, Shepard can run into Captain (now Major) Kirrahe, who, when Cerberus forces deploy heavy armor forces and drone guns, he blows them up with a sticky grenade launcher pistol. By himself. Garrus wants to know where he can get a cool toy like that.
Garrus: How do I not have one of those?!
- You can get one a little bit later in the mission. It is just as awesome as it looks in that cutscene.
- Mass Effect 3's launch trailer sells it for us just like Mass Effect 2 yet again, with an incredible soundtrack, amazing visuals and fantastic directing all around. It all feels like the ending of a saga, but makes you prepared to make the final march to save the galaxy. Be careful, Shepards.
- Heartbreaking as the ending is, these tweets from Emily Wong as she comes to the end of her livetweeting the Reaper invasion:
Go on. Make your noise. Try to scare us.
You want to see how a human dies? At ramming speed.
- Another, more subtle one for Emily. Her live reporting provided a treasure trove of Intel on how the Reapers operate. There's no telling how many lives she might save.
- Two words: Prothean. Squadmate.
- Wrex's quote to oncoming Ravagers as Shepard and his/her squadmates get ready to hurry to cure the Genophage. "I am Urdnot Wrex. And THIS IS MY PLANET!"
- Mordin sacrificing himself to get the genophage cure into Tuchanka's atmosphere. His responsibility to the end.
Shepard: I'm sorry.
Mordin: I'm not. Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.
- His final words before the control room explodes around him. The calm conviction in the face of death.
Mordin: Genophage cured. Krogan free. New beginning...for all of us.
- Gets even sadder if you try to stop him. Shouting "I MADE A MISTAKE!", and then if you shoot him, he dies literally trying to crawl to the control panel. It was supposed to be his moment of redemption.
- For added effect, this is probably the only time Mordin uses the first person pronoun "I" when not performing; he really feels that it is his personal responsibility to cure the genophage. And he will do it if it costs him his life.
- Also a Call Back. Mordin claims that it is a new beginning for everyone just before dying. In Mass Effect 2, he expressed a believe in reincarnation. He literally believes that this is his chance to come back and do better.
- If you have a save file from Mass effect 2 where you got Mordin to sing his "Scientist Salarian" song he sings it to himself to keep his nerve in an exploding tower. His voice cracks up with emotion when the cure is dispersed and he has a faint smile on his face
- Conrad saving the life of Shepard, could wind up as a Heroic Sacrifice or a subtle Big Damn Heroes moment when the Cerberus contact tries to kill Shepard (who no longer travels across the citadel in armor but rather casual outfits).
- If you got Conrad to start his charity group in the second game, he tells Shepard that he spent everything he had in order to get the kids to safety.
- Lieutenant Victus, son of the Turian Primarch, gives his life to disable the Cerberus bomb that they stole from the Turians threatening to destroy a high population center in Tuchanka. His sacrifice gives Shepard valuable time to solidify an alliance between the Turian and Krogan states.
Victus: Victory... at any cost.
- A seemingly random minor sidequest on the Citadel to track down someone using batarian diplomatic codes can end with Balak, villain of Bring Down The Sky having a gun pointed at the back of Shepard's head, blaming Shepard for the destruction of the batarian civilization. Shepard can then convince Balak to not only put the gun away but to add his fleet to Shepard's cause. Repeat: Shepard entered a situation with a gun to the back of his/her head by an enemy s/he personally defeated and who blames Shepard for the death of his society, and Shepard turns him to his/her side.
- Or, if you don't have the Reputation chops (or just hate the murdering SOB that much), you can casually knock the gun out of his hand and blow him away. Pay Evil unto Evil, indeed.
- The Renegade response is just oh, so worth it, as Shepard doesn't plead, doesn't negotiate, doesn't even provoke Balak, but simply flat-out states that if Balak kills him/her, the alliance Shepard's been building will crumble, the Batarians will be wiped out like everyone else, and Balak knows this.
- During the final part of the Rannoch mission, it's just you, on foot, dodging blasts that can level buildings so you can point the targeting laser at a Reaper's weak spot so the entire Quarian fleet and the Normandy can blow it to hell.
- Paragon Shepard's speech to the Quarian fleets if you opt to resolve to make peace between the two warring species. Succeeding when you have Admirals Tali and Zaal'Koris's assistance is the complete icing on the cake, of course. And you realize at the end that Shepard's invocation of the common quarian phrase is literal here: s/he wants to see his/her homeworld someday in the future, too.
Shepard: All ships. This is Commander Shepard. The Reaper is dead. Stand down. [...] The geth are about to return to full strength; if you keep attacking, they'll wipe you out. Your entire history is you trying to kill the geth. You forced them to rebel, you forced them to ally with the Reapers! [...] The geth don't want to fight you! If you believe that for just one minute, this war will be over! You have a choice. Please. Keelah se'lai.
- The Renegade intimidation speech to the Quarian fleets will also result in peace between the two warring species, with a much more pragmatic flair to appeal to Han'Gerrel's sensibilities.
Shepard: All ships. This is Commander Shepard. If you don't want to be blown out of the sky in about half a minute, stand down now. [...] The geth are about to return to full strength; if you keep attacking, they'll wipe you out. A few years ago I saved you at the Citadel, just recently, I saved you from the Geth dreadnaught, but I'm through saving you. If you don't stand down, I will stand by and watch as Geth lay you to waste. It's your call. Keelah se'lai.
- A Renegade Interrupt involves Shepard approaching Han'Gerrel, the quarian admiral who was gung ho about starting a war with the geth in ME2, was one of the ones who pushed for the war with the geth to start now, in the middle of the Reaper invasion, and then opened fire on the geth ship where Shepard was on a mission to and destroying it just before Shepard could escape, and punching him in the stomach for his reckless endangerment of Shepard, demanding he get the hell off the ship.
- Even a Paragon Shepard would be tempted to take that option. Recklessly endangering civilians and/or Shepard's squad are two things you should definitely never do when s/he's around. Combined with the Paragon interrupt you get with Xen a few minutes later, it gives the impression that Jesus Shep has finally had enough of this crap.
- When Admiral Xen, who wants to enslave the Geth, asks how Shepard was able to get Geth Primes to join the cause, he smiles and answers, "They volunteered" in such a way you can translate his response as "Screw you."
- Best Interrupt in the game (even more than shooting Udina) - Kai Leng, battered and broken after your fight with him, picks himself up off the floor, grabs his sword and approaches Shepard. S/he turns, shatters the sword, and impales Kai Leng with the omni-blade.
- "That was for Thane, you son of a bitch."
- Alternatively, "That was for Miranda, you son of a bitch."
- Alternatively-alternatively - "That was for Kirrahe, you son of a bitch."
- If Kai Leng kills Thane and Miranda - "That was for Thane and Miranda, you son of a bitch."
- In the event that Kirrahe and Thane both died prior to ME3, and Miranda survived Horizon/died in ME2 - "No gunship this time, you son of a bitch."
- Another alternative? Don't take the interrupt. Paragon Shep will dodge the blade, spin around and gut Kai like a fish anyway. With the same lines as mentioned earlier.
- It's worth noting that the Soldier and Sentinel classes are the only ones that use the standard omni-blade as their heavy melee attack. The other four use something very different. Is it developer laziness? Or is it those four classes deliberately using the omni-blade once in the entire game just to invoke a Karmic Death?
- The war to retake Earth is on par with the battle of freaking-Armageddon. With enough planning you hit your cybergod enemies with the might of an entire galaxy. This includes elements from every state and alien government, AIs, pirates, mercenaries, dinosaur-riding krogan and enough dreadnought fire to burn a hundred worlds to ash. Seemingly invincible kilometer long Reapers are torn to shreds by the sheer weight of numbers, Shepard kills not one but TWO additional destroyers on foot, every surviving crew member takes part in the ground battle, and the Mako returns. This is the scene that each player had been working towards for 3 games, 100+ hours, and five years. Truly, it is the battle for all time.
: Shepard will fail, they have no cha- Oh, Crap
! HOW DO WE STOP HIM/HER?!
- On top of all that, the music that plays is the main theme for Humanity, the Normandy and Shepard that was played during the introduction on the Normandy, Shepard's induction and the victory against Sovereign in Mass Effect 1. Not counting Vigil from the main menu and Saren's theme from the character creator, it's the first main theme the player hears in the trilogy, and while it does feature in Mass Effect 2 and 3, the last time it was recognizably played was at the end of the first game when Shepard declares his or her dedication to stopping the Reapers. And now it blares here, representing the full force the galaxy has brought together for their survival, effectively acting out Shepard's promise.
- The final run to the teleportation tower leading to the Citadel. Hammer forces have to cross a large space of open ground, hoping that at least some will make it through and enable the fleet to make the final strike against the Reapers, and so spread out to make a massed charge of vehicles and soldiers on foot. Knowing the vulnerability of the tower, Harbinger himself lands next to it and starts shooting everything with his giant lasers meant to destroy dreadnoughts in a single hit. With the assault force disintegrating around him/her, Shepard keeps running for the tower, eventually getting hit by the laser. Satisfied, Harbinger flies away... but Shepard gets back up with serious injuries, his/her power armor effectively reduced to slag, and keeps limping for the final 20 meters, retrieving a pistol on the way. Shepard even manages to kill a few husks and a Marauder, despite being shot without any shielding or armor, before collapsing on the teleportation pad.
- What was it the Vigil recording said over and over? "THEY CANNOT BE STOPPED!" Neither can Shepard
- Hackett's Rousing Speech at the beginning of the final battle.
"Stand fast, stand strong, stand together. Hackett out."
- Samara's daughters at the Ardat-Yakshi monastery. The older one, Rila, resists indoctrination and transformation into a Banshee long enough that she can set off a bomb, blowing the place, and the biggest stockpile of banshees, to hell. Morinth, you are no longer Samara's strongest and bravest daughter.
- A renegade Shepard can deliver a Shut Up, Hannibal! to a Reaper by ordering the entire Quarian fleet to fire right on its face.
- EDI's cyberwarfare and IFF system is sophisticated enough to fool Reapers into thinking that the Normandy is a friendly Reaper intelligence. The funny part? To EDI will then say that simply sounding like a Reaper isn't enough anymore. She actually imitates a Reaper, complete with her voice suddenly dropping several levels to the point that it almost sounds like Harbinger talking on the Normandy's bridge.
EDI: Reaper interrogation signals do not simply look for a friendly transponder code, they look for a friendly intelligence. The extra keys help me seamlessly swap in simulated intelligence identifiers from divergent synthetic origins.
Adams: I see. So we need all the copies to seem like a living Reaper.
EDI: Yes. I tried saying, "humans are dust in the stellar wind," but apparently that is no longer sufficient.
- During the mission to save the Cerberus Scientist defectors, Shepard gets taken down by mech while trying to get to the escape shuttle. Cue Jacob jumping out the shuttle to save Shepard, taking out several Cerberus Soldiers and the same mech with just an Assault Rifle, all the while suffering from a bullet in the gut.
- The Rannoch Missions if Shepard manages to make peace between the geth and the quarians. Let me repeat, Shepard managed to end a conflict that all others thought was unresolvable. Messiah much?
- Even better is the fact that it is the biggest middle finger you can give to the Reapers' philosophy.
- Shepard taking down the Reaper on Rannoch and their subsequent conversation firmly cements Shepard's status as The Dreaded.
Dying Reaper: Shepard?!
Shepard: You know who I am?
Dying Reaper: Harbinger speaks of you.
- Depending on your choices in the conversation, Shepard can take a Paragon or Renegade interrupt. Paragon involves giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, during which Shepard shoots down the Reaper's claim that the Reapers are preserving the long since harvested races by pointing out that those races supposedly preserved are still dead. Renegade has Shepard pull out the targeting laser once again.
[The Normandy and Quarian Fleet fire another artillery strike and kill the Reaper]
- Heavy weapon use is dialed down a bit in 3 - instead of carrying them with you, you tend to find them on specific missions and can only use them there. During the siege on London in the endgame, the Cain makes a triumphant return when Shepard uses it to take out an anti-air Hades Cannon. Click...BOOM.
- Even better - If you look in the wreckage of the crashed shuttle, you'll notice there's a second Cain. Provided you don't screw up the first shot, you can pick it up and use it to One-Hit Kill the Banshee that turns up. And considering if Morinth survived Mass Effect 2 and Samara didn't, she turns up as a Banshee as well, it's a hell of a dose of Laser-Guided Karma.
- At Huerta Memorial Hospital, you can overhear a PTSD-stricken asari explain what happened to her. She was on a human colony and was staying with some farmers and using their shower when Reaper forces arrived. She fled and took the farmers' daughter with her... who then proceeded to kill several husks with only a stick. One human girl, frightened, takes down husks with a stick.
- What do you expect? It was Joker's sister.
- This painfully veers into TearJerker territory when the soldier explains the real reason for her PTSD: she had to kill the human girl while they were hiding because the girl broke her leg and her pained whimpering was threatening to give away their position to the husks.
- When Cerberus attacks the Citadel and Shepard is having a standoff with the council and the Virmire Survivor everyone is slow to believe Shepard's claims that Udina is staging a coup. Then, after three games of apathy and condescending crap, the Asari councilor finally points out that they haven't trusted Shepard before and each time, it's come back and bitten them in the ass.
- The Illusive Man gets one in an archived video at Cerberus Headquarters. Right before he's about to undergo the most likely excruciating surgery that would let him control Reapers he asks for no anesthetic. He often looks like a callous bastard and he's extreme even for a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but you get the sense he wants to feel every sacrifice done in Humanity's name.
- Talking TIM into killing himself at the ending. Another indoctrinated pawn of the Reapers falls at the Citadel, much like Saren.
- Shooting him yourself is just as satisfying.
- As is executing the greatest possible "Fuck You" to TIM when invading his base:
The Illusive Man: Shepard. You're in my chair.
- Anderson leading the anti-Reapers resistance. Sure, you don't see much of it, but you still see the result: Earth is one of the first planets attacked, Humanity's homeworld takes the brunt of the Reapers' wrath, its main cities are destroyed within days if not hours, yet Anderson manages to mount a resistance movement, reorganize the Humans living outside the cities efficiently enough that not only does Earth resist until the very end of the game (after Thessia has gone silent and Palaven has been abandoned by Turians who cannot both defend their homeworld and prepare to escort the Crucible anymore), but Anderson has managed, with no help from the outside to prepare a final assault against the Reaper beam in London. He's like Churchill, John Connor, and Garibaldi defending Montevideo all rolled into one.
- Bilal's last stand.
- From Glyph you hear the story of a colony that chose to nuke itself rather than be indoctrinated.
- The "Eye of the Hurricane" achievement; or rather, killing a Brute as it charges at Shepard? Badass. Try killing a Brute as it charges at Shepard, by using the Biotic Charge.
- You want even more awesome? Do that in multiplayer with your level 20 character and no Bullet Time.
- How about the final fight? Shepard's team completely alone defending their last missiles, while the bulk of Hammer is falling, and any victorious reaper forces going against you, the only things you can hear are the banshee's screams, and the sound of the reaper's beam and scream. And then, if you hadn't enough with too many banshees for your own good, the reaper destroyers starts targeting you. And only then the music starts.
- Renegade Shepard's speech convincing the Quarians not to open fire on the Geth was particularly amazing. "A few years ago, I saved you from the geth at the Citadel. Just recently I helped you take out that dreadnought. But I'm through saving you. If you keep attacking, I will stand and watch as the geth lay you to waste." They listen.
- Paragon Shepard's interrupt when Admiral Xen starts talking about how she wants to run tests on Legion:
Xen: This is a fascinating prototype. With some study, I may be able to use it to find a weakness in the Geth consensus.
Shepard: Legion helped me in the fight against the Collectors.
Shepard: (interrupting) I don't think you want to continue this line of thought, Admiral. Legion is my friend, and more importantly, he's our best source of information on the Geth.
Xen: The scientific benefits-
Shepard: Are off the table.
- This scene becomes doubly awesome if you just took the Renegade interrupt to punch Han'Gerrel in the stomach for firing on the dreadnought while you were still inside. There's a heavy subtext of "I just punched one Quarian admiral and threw him off my ship. You want to make it two?"
- It's especially impressive if you can then bring about a peaceful end to the Morning War. You have managed to seriously piss off fully half of the Quarian Admiralty Board, and still get them on side.
- Eve, full stop. All we've seen among the Krogan are bloodthirsty idiots. Wrex is Gandhi by comparison, but Eve - it seems that she's the real leader of the Krogan. To wit, she made the most subtle power grab in the galaxy and almost no one saw it. She accepted Wrex's plan to consolidate all the females - and in doing so, she turned the genophage into a biological Lysistrata Gambit. She's clearly intelligent, has no use for idiocy, and is willing to let the male Krogans play their games. She also knows why the Salarians and Council created the genophage, and won't repeat that mistake again. She may allow the Krogans to regenerate en masse to fight the Reapers, but she broadly hints that she's going to make sure the Krogan limit their reproduction (and generally, mothers don't want to deal with a dozen kids anyway.)
- Say what you will about the endings, but The Stinger, where the trilogy is implied to have been a story an old man identified as "Stargazer" is telling his grandson, will blow minds upon realizing that the old man is voiced by Buzz Aldrin.
Boy: Did all that really happen?
Stargazer: Yes, but some of the details have been lost in time. It all happened so very long ago.
Boy: When can I go to the stars?
Stargazer: One day, my sweet.
Boy: What will be there?
Stargazer: Anything you can imagine. Our galaxy has billions of stars. Each of those stars could have many worlds. Every world could be home to a different form of life. And every life is a special story of its own.
Boy: Tell me another story about the Shepard.
Stargazer: It's getting late but, okay... one more story.
- Speak to Kirrahe before going into the STG labs. He promises Shepard that, regardless of the decisions of the politicians, the salarian STG will help when called. Particularly if you later cure the genophage, pissing off Dalatrass Linron and causing her to revoke the official salarian support for the fleet to retake Earth, seeing an entire branch of the salarian military essentially telling their leaders Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right is pretty damn awesome.
- Cerberus are revealed to be semi-huskified and heavily indoctrinated. Check out their reaction to Shepard showing up on Mars;
- Miranda gets one for appearing to be the only person in the entire galaxy who doesn't expect (or ask) Shepard to solve her problems. Every time you meet her you can offer to help her, and every time she tells you that you have bigger things to worry about. Sure, she ends up needing your help in the end, but that doesn't detract from how far she got on her own.
- There's also her badass biotic takedown of her own father Henry Lawson if you should succeed in persuading him to let Oriana go.
- The Alliance cruiser SSV Shanghai pulls off an insane off-screen rescue mission; evacuating a colony in the span of an hour.
- On the battle for Earth, EDI gets her's as she personally guides two Thanix Missiles directly into the "eye" of the poor Reaper Destroyer guarding the beam, ensuring its destruction. Her post mortem one-liner is just as awesome: "Destroyer terminated!"
- As you're firing the Thanix Missiles on Earth at the Destroyer defending the Citadel beam, the cutscene will show your squadmates defending you. Depending on who you have and what weapons equipped can sometimes alter what happens as they shoot incoming Cannibals and Husks. Such as Tali shooting a Cannibal point blank in the face. With a Claymore. One handed.
- The Extended Cut's fourth option. You can resist the options given to you by the Catalyst by either shooting it in the face, or deliver a final speech about what you fight for and why you will not summit to its will. It might just end badly, but offering the Catalyst naught but defiance that essentially boils down to "Screw you and the squid you rode in on. You don't get to make our choices for us" is ever so satisfying and evocative of the fantastic scene with Sovereign on Virmire way back in the first game.
Catalyst: Your time is at an end. You must decide
Shepard: No. I'm going to end this war on my terms.
Catalyst: Then you are going to die knowing that you failed to save everything you fought for.
Shepard: I fight for freedom, mine and everybody's. I fight for the right to choose our own fate. And if I die, I'll die knowing that I did everything I could to stop you. And I'll die free.
Catalyst: SO BE IT!
- EC turns the original, of-questionable-quality endings into actually pretty badass endings. Special mention goes to the Control ending, where Shepard becomes all of the Reapers and essentially names himself/herself as GOD-EMPEROR OF SPACEKIND.
- The Destroy ending. The Reapers are utterly defeated, with races all of the Galaxy celebrating with their burnt out carcasses in the background. The relays and Citadel are damaged, but quickly repaired, and the ending implies that the Citadel takes root above a restored Earth, now the epicenter of galactic politics. Yes, the geth and EDI die, but they die because Shepard chose to reject, as they did, the Reapers as a source of progress and advancement, instead giving life a future utterly free of them. On top of all that, Shepard lives, and will likely be reunited with his crew very soon.
- The Destroy ending has an additional, awesome implication: The Catalyst makes it clear that it believes that the cycle of organic conflict with synthetics will continue if you go with this option. In other words, the Catalyst is willing to let you destroy the entire cycle, millions of years of maintaining this process of genocide and construction, and take your chances on a cycle that it believes is inevitable, simply through virtue of the fact that Shepard united the galaxy and brought the Crucible to the Citadel. The Catalyst is willing to let you destroy everything it created, and in the process invalidate the entire purpose that it followed unwaveringly for millions of years, because Shepard is just that badass.
- The Synthesis ending is just as good, in a different way. You get to bring all organic life to a higher state of existence and the Reaper's archive of all the millions of years worth of diverse civilizations, culture, and knowledge that they harvested can live once again among the newly ascended species. Itís a Singularity gone right.
- The Control ending: Shepard basically becomes God; uploading into the Citadel basically supplants the Catalyst as the controlling entity of the Reapers and his/her perspective expands to an incomprehensibly vast scale. Using the Reapers, which are now implements of his/her will, Shepard repairs the Relay Network, and goes about restoring the damage done much like how the Synthesis-Reapers do in the Synthesis ending, and then wards over galactic civilization. Essentially, Shepard'st chosen method, be it Paragonic, Renegade or Neutral, is basically saying "You're doing it wrong" to the Catalyst.
- Not as big as most moments listed here, but Paragon Shepard admitting to Wrex, Eve and Mordin about the Salarian Dalatrass wanting him/her to sabotage the Genophage cure. Even if Shepard needs the help of the Salarians, s/he won't betray Wrex's trust, is also a Crowning Momentof Heartwarming.
- Using the Renegade interrupt after Liara's "father" mentions the possibility of the Matriarchs ordering a hit on her, if she's your LI.
Shepard: That's not going to happen.
Aethyta: (slightly taken aback) No argument here. I only took these crap jobs to keep the matriarchs happy she's under control.
Aethyta: (laughs) Maybe you're good enough for her after all.
- The aftermath of the Extended Cut could be seen as a CMOA for BioWare itself. The fact that it was able to end one of the biggest fan backlashes in video game history without fundamentally rewriting the ending is pretty impressive. Of course, there's still a Broken Base but considering the enormous scale of the controversy, this is a massive acomplishment. Good job BioWare.
- Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming that they even bothered to do the Extended Cut, and that they brought back every person who did voice acting for the game in some measure, and made the DLC free.
- At the end of Grissom Academy Shepard finds an abandoned Atlas Mech. Given the difficulty of the mission and what Cerberus had turned into it's a wonder s/he and Jack were not jumping up and down in glee. The player most certainly will be though, stomping around nigh invulnerable gunning down Space Nazis.
- On Rannoch Shepard badassfully mans the turret on the Normandy's shuttle. A Geth fires a rocket at it and it goes through the open hatch on one side and out the other. Whoa.
- From the launch trailer, Shepard turns their back on a husk, completely dismissing them to instead go and perform a flying take down of a Brute, with a look on their face that clearly says, "Finally, at least they gave me a challenge!"
- The description/Codex entry for the planet Cyone. "The three species are so determined to defend Cyone that integration issues have been negligible."
- Completing the Leviathan DLC gets a Mind Rape squad...on YOUR side, from the race that STARTED the whole mess in the beginning.
- Not to mention it's the single most valuable unaugmented war asset in the game.
- A combination of Awesome and Funny, when looking for clues to Garnaeu's location in the Leviathan DLC, you can investigate a fragment of Sovereign. Shepard's response?
- In Leviathan, we discover that The Remnant of the Leviathan race have watched the Reaper's harvest civilizations for millions of years and in all the many Cycles, nothing has ever changed. However, the Leviathan go on to refer to Shepard as "An Anomaly", having not only become the first serious threat the Reapers have ever faced, but the first thing they've seen the Reaper actually fear!
- Finally, a little moment, but when Shepard gives his/her final words to the Leviathan about joining the war effort against the Reapers, the Leviathan actually goes silent. It's avatar in Shepard's mind stops walking and just stands there, saying nothing for about 10 seconds, thinking on Shepard's words, before finally admitting to understanding why the Reapers fear this seemingly Puny Earthling.
Leviathan: Your confidence is singular.
Shepard: I've earned it: out there fighting, where you should be.
Leviathan: It is clear why the Reapers perceive you as a threat. Your victories are more than a product of chance.
- As you're leaving Despoina, a Reaper dreadnought — the big two-kilometers-long Harbinger-class, mind — drops out of orbit, straight at your shuttle... and Leviathan just turns it off.
- Sadly, you only get to hear it if you backstabbed Wrex over the Genophage but Major Kirrahe comes up with something which blows his 'Hold the Line' speech out of the water.
- The creator of the Reapers and their cycles? Yeah, you change its mind on the Reapers. It is even willing to help you destroy the Reapers, even though doing so leaves its problem of organic/synthetic conflict unaddressed. Shepard's been shown to be very charismatic throughout the series, but never before have they persuaded someone that Shepard's goal is more important than the very reason for its existence.
- Mark Meer cosplaying as Shepard at DragonCon 2012. Does anything more need to be said?
- The Retaliation DLC trailer is one for Harbinger.
- Aria's renegade speech to the Omega population-
- Aria's paragon speech to the Omega population is a callback to "I am Omega!"
Aria: WE. ARE. OMEGA.
- After Nyreen makes a Heroic Sacrifice, Aria goes on a short but very satisfying Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Highlights include using her biotics in such a way itís only been seen in cutscenes before, some of which are strong enough to stagger Shepard. And when you do get to Petrovsky, Aria- who's probably one of the most potent Biotics seen in the series- foregoes all of that to choke him to slowly to death.
- A collective CMOA for Shepard and Nyreen in Omega if playing full-Paragon. Throughout the mission, various characters (including Aria herself) keep telling Shepard that no matter what you do, Aria will never change her die-hard Renegade ways. However, if you stick to the Paragon's path, Aria lets Petrovsky go—something she would have never even considered before journeying with Shepard and Nyreen's sacrifice.
- Aria's entire shift into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory is brilliantly written, since you see it slowly dawn on her why Paragon Shepard and Nyreen have such Undying Loyalty from their respective teams. Instead of treating the people of Omega like mere cannon-fodder for Cerberus, by acting diplomatic and trying to prevent unnecessary civilians casualties, she has gained an loyal army of followers, ready to fight and die for her.
- In the multiplayer any time you complete an entire mission on your own. Especially Collectors - a feat not even Shepard is capable of!
- Meta-example: After Bioware's attempt to improve the ending with Extended Cut DLC evidently failed to impress some members of the forums, some dedicated gamers got together, put their skills to use and created their own original ending; while it's not perfect by any means, it's damned impressive from a group of amateurs, and also a CMOA of a different kind considering that they elected for this rather than some of the... less than appropriate reactions of some fans.
- The reintroduction of Wrex in Citadel is GLORIOUS: A shuttle full of troops drops down and opens fire on Shepard, only to have Wrex krogan airdrop down on it hard enough to force it to the ground, jump inside, shoulder tackle a CAT6 mercenary, causing the entire shuttle to rock back for a moment, and start tossing guys out. Wrex does this without pulling out his gun even once. Kind of easy if you're a krogan, weigh a metric ton, and are in melee range with humans who didn't turn their shields on, but still.
- The Multiplayer also has a giant krogan wielding a hammer. I repeat, a GIANT. KROGAN. WIELDING. A. HAMMER. CAT6 can count themselves lucky that they dealt with Wrex rather than this guy.
- Not to mention, you can play as a freakin Geth Prime now!
- And as a Collector! The closest we're gonna get to playing as a Prothean.
- During the attack at the Sushi restaurant in Citadel, a biotic Shepard finally uses his/her biotics in a cinematic.
- Likewise, Shepard's rescuer will use a character-appropriate means of taking out a pair of mooks. Ashley and Garrus simply shoot them as they would be expected to. Tali zaps them with her omni-tool. Kaidan and Liara use their biotics, and like Shepard, this is the first time Kaidan uses his biotics in a cutscene.
- "Citadel" lets Shepard and Wrex team up one last time to kick some major ass.
- Glyph's Big Damn Heroes moment. Shepard and their crew are trapped inside air sealed containers with only an hour before they run out of oxygen. As the camera slowly zooms out and reveals just how many containers there are and how slim the chances of escaping/getting discovered in time are, Shepard calls for Glyph. And suddenly you see this tiny blue ball of light appearing in a sea of darkness and containers, floating to the exact container Shepard is trapped in. Hadn't it been there, Shepard and their crew might've had no hope of surviving.
- Made even more awesome that while some of the squadmates are worrying about their current predicament and the limited amount of oxygen, Shepard's too busy worrying "Do I Really Sound Like That?". When they ask him/her to take the situation seriously, Shepard reveals that they knew Glyph was outside and could get them out at any time!
- The fact that the entire fate of the Galaxy hinges on Traynor's toothbrush.
- The finale in the Normandy's shuttle bay, after the clone is defeated and just their dragon remains to be dealt with. Take the renegade interrupt...
Brooks: You'll miss me. (breaks out of handcuffs and runs, Shepard fires)
Javik: Problem solved.
James: I don't think so.
Ashley: I was really hoping I'd get to do that.
Kaidan: Not likely.
Tali: Well I won't miss you, you crazy bosh'tet.
Wrex: You're getting slow.
Liara: As escape attempts go, I've seen better.
- Joker then gets in on the act.
Joker: (into communicator) Maintenance to the shuttle bay.
- Traynor finally defeating her rival, T'Souza. The latter is left catatonic from how badly she got her ass kicked. Or from the game's pain feedback mechanic.
Shepard: (dramatic closeup) Kick her ass.
- The Citadel DLC as a whole is a giant CMOA for Shepard's teammates and close allies. As noted above, even GLYPH gets his moment to shine at the end of a mission which involves everyone fighting alongside Shepard for a change, not just two people. Which is also ultimately what allows Shepard to triumph over his/her clone.
- Let's face it, the Citadel DLC is one for the entire production team. It's basically a 6-7 hour long love note to the fans and goodbye to the trilogy and its almost universally beloved cast of characters. It's really hard to think of DLC getting much better than this. Whether BioWare or the voice actors, all of them delivered their A-Game and really sent the trilogy off on a high note.
- The fact that they do the logical thing and have every playable character come along for once. Sure you only have two in your personal squad, but this aversion of Arbitrary Headcount Limit is glorious both in that it is logical, and in just how it shows off why We Cannot Go On Without You. Shepard still does almost all the work.
- If you saved the Geth but let the Quarians die, when you speak to the Geth Prime before the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, it tells you that the Reapers contacted them once after Rannoch, and they flatly refused to give up their newly acquired sapience, with no compromise. Yes, the Geth finally gave the Reapers the finger once and for all.
- LI!Garrus and Female!Shepard dancing the "Vakarian Tango" on the Citadel. The in-game crowd's reaction says it all.
- Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny as well, considering Shepard's initial reaction.
- Garrus did the impossible. He made Shepard dance well.
- At one point, Shepard and his/her two squad members get surrounded by CAT6 mercenaries. The two squad members go up a ladder while Shepard covers them, however they barely get up and there's too many for Shepard to risk climbing up. Cue the entire Normandy ground team plus Wrex coming in for a Big Damn Heroes moment and unleashing hell on all of the CAT6 mercs in the vicinity.
- If you let the "Citadel" DLC's final battle go on long enough, this "The Reason You Suck" Speech happens:
Shepard: I'm taking the Normandy back. And honestly, I'm doing you a favor. 'Cause you don't have what it takes.
Shepard: No, you're not.
Mysterious Figure: I am Commander Shepard!
Mysterious Figure: My team is better than yours!
Mysterious Figure: You're just cybernetics! Scarred, worn-out Cerberus tech!
Shepard: You know where I got those scars? Feros and Noveria and Virmire and Ilos! At the Collector Base and Palaven and Tuchanka and Rannoch and Thessia! I earned these scars protecting the galaxy! You got yours from a petri dish!
- The Armax Combat Arena - Shepard and (if the player chooses) two squadmates take on simulated enemies. Pretty cool, right? Well, the squadmates available are everyone who's ever been in Shepard's squad and hasn't died, so the player can have Shepard being backed up by both Wrex and Grunt, provided they're still alive. And the enemies? Geth, Reapers, and Cerberus (Now bolstered by Dragoon troopers), and the Collectors. Hell yes.
- All topped by the fifth enemy. The player classes. The first round sends you up against the Soldier, the Engineer, and the Adept. The second round sends you against the Vanguard, the Sentinel, and the Infiltrator. The final round sends you against all six. If you somehow manage to win, the series' final achievement says it all. The One and Only.
- Also of note, odds are good that at a certain point you'll get a score of 10,000 or over. The issue with this? The score board only goes as high as 9999. You get a message from the arena staff saying that Krogan Battlesquads haven't been able to get that high. Shepard and crew are so awesome, they broke the game!
- The final stage of the "Unusual Scores" mission in the Armax Combat Arena - You go in, expecting the Spin Cycle arena and Super Elite Geth troopers (Read:Geth Primes and Pyros), only for the arena to be a mess of unfinished digital scenery and flashing red "FATAL ERROR" text on the walls and for Collector Praetorians and Abominations to turn up instead. Make it through that, and then the Geth troops turn up, followed by Cerberus Dragoons and Atlases, Banshees and Marauders, and finally, Banshees, Geth Primes, an Atlas and a Praetorian - all at the same time.
- An in-game example if you're playing as Infiltrator, Engineer, or have Tali on the team. Using a Sabotage that hits both the Atlas AND the Geth Prime, temporarily turning a 4-Elite death squad into a 2v2 brawl while your team unloads on them.
- After throwing the party at Anderson's apartment in the Citadel DLC, the Normandy's war asset contribution will increase by 35 points (To put things into perspective, the Turian Spec Ops Team is worth 40 points, and a group of Asari Commandos is worth 20). Meaning that by throwing a party and relaxing, Shepard and his/her crew is still contributing to the war effort more than half a fleet worth of firepower!
- During the Missing Krogan Scouts mission, you'll constantly run into the deceased members of the scouting party, who are all conveniently carrying flamethrowers and ammo for you to pick up. About a third into the mission, you'll learn that this is the result of a Thanatos Gambit pulled off by the entire squad. They were done for anyway and they knew the next team would need all the help they could get against the Reaper modified Rachni. Every scout charged into the nest and made it as far as possible, deliberately not using their weapons (or at least as little as possible), so that the next team wouldn't be without ammo or firepower, no matter how deep they were in the nest.
- In Citadel, Steve shows what he can do when he's piloting something that flies more gracefully than a brick. By Joker's direction, he had to stay within thirty degrees of the Normandy's front to prevent it from jumping to FTL, which put him directly in the line of fire. When he kept dodging that, the Big Bad sicced the shuttle on him to take him out. He kept dodging that too. And he was doing all this in a sky car, while dodging skyscrapers and arguing with Joker.
Steve: It's nice to fly something more maneuverable than the Kodiak for a change.
- Say what you will about the intelligence of Vega's little stunt on Mars, you have to admit it was at least impressive to watch.
- 3 giving you not one, but two Gay Option romances in Steve and Traynor. Despite some Fan Dumb, both characters have been incredibly well received.
- Not to mention all the Bi the Way romances- primarily Kaidan, who single-handedly gives that section of the fanbase something that at least feels like the trilogy-spanning romances the m/f and f/f options got.
- Cortez is one of the only members of the Normandy support crew to actually fight with the main team- at the climax of the Leviathan DLC, and during Citadel, where he helps the crew in the overall Curb-Stomp Battle against Cat-6.