Mass Effect 2 Antagonists And Npcs: Main Antagonists
This page is for listing the tropes related to the main antagonists who first appeared in the second Mass Effect game.For the pages listing tropes related to Party Members, NPCs and Antagonists who first appeared in other games in the trilogy, see the Mass Effect Character Index.
The name for Collector drones possessed by the General to fight Shepard directly. As revealed by the ending, however, the Collector General himself is also possessed by Harbinger, who's actually a Reaper. If the Arrival DLC mission is done after the suicide mission, Shepard can have a brief conversation with it near the end. (If done before the suicide mission, Shepard talks with an image of the Collector General instead.) Mass Effect 3 (the Leviathan DLC, to be specific) further reveals that Harbinger is not just a Reaper — he was the first.
Ace Custom: In regards to other Reapers, Harbinger's design is unique and far more powerful: he is larger overall, has a "crest" on top of his chassis, features glowing yellow spots on the front no other Reaper has, is missing the center "tentacle" and seems to have at least half a dozen of those Reaper beams compared to the one or two other Reapers are shown using.
And I Must Scream: The Catalyst implies that Harbinger was the first species to be turned into a Reaper as a solution to the endless conflict its race had with synthetics. It was not happy with this solution. Now, the only remnants of the Catalyst's creators, who it mercilessly slaughtered, are stuck serving the very being that killed them for all eternity. This is later confirmed in the Leviathan DLC.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Being a Reaper and all. He's also apparently the oldest and most powerful Reaper. Considering even one regular capital Reaper can wipe out an entire organic fleet and depopulate a city in under an hour, Harbinger's power must be incredibly impressive. Too bad we never see him tearing through other ships.
Badass Boast: "I WILL SHOW YOU TRUE POWER.""THIS IS WHAT YOU FACE." And many, many more.
You can listen to it here, at the 58 second mark. (Warning: ME2 ending spoilers.)
Harbinger: Human, you've changed nothing. Your species has the attention of those infinitely your greater. That which you know as Reapers are your salvation through destruction. Harbinger: (to the Collector General) You have failed. We will find another way. Releasing control.
Beam Spam/More Dakka: While Reaper Destroyers only get one main cannon and Sovereign-class Reapers get one for the mouth and one on each leg, Harbinger has numerous hydrodynamic cannons in his mouth area alone and probably more in his legs too (though only the former sees use). He's not called the most powerful Reaper for nothing, as Hammer Fleet finds out.
Big Bad: Prime antagonist for the main storyline of the second game, controlling the actions of his surrogates in much the same way as Sovereign did. In Mass Effect 3, it is revealed that he leads the Reapers, being the most powerful and oldest of them all.
Blue and Orange Morality: He sincerely believes that turning organics into Reapers is helping them, cut dialogue from the 2nd game has him actually express frustration at Shepard's efforts, believing that being made into a Reaper means that humanity will be immortal and that destroying a Reaper is a senseless waste of life.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Taken very literally. He doesn't appear in person, but takes over regular Mooks, turning that particular Mook into a hyper-powered biotic killing machine. What's more, it doesn't take a lot out of him, so even if you beat his host, he just possesses one of its buddies.
Catch Phrase: "ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL" and all variations thereupon.
Crazy-Prepared: Even after sending the Collectors to destroy the Normandy, he has them make an effort to retrieve Shepard's body to make sure the attack worked, only failing because the Illusive Man got it first.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Towards the end of 3, Harbinger personally, physically comes down to Earth to annihilate the Alliance ground forces. The battle is over in a minute, with most of Hammer Fleet dead and Shepard left severely injured.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Nearly won several times both in and before the game. Shepard and Co. only survive one particularly devastating assault through sheer luck.
Learning from Sovereign's mistake, he doesn't even so much as enter the same galaxy as Shepard while ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL of Collectors to fight him/her with.
He keeps it up in Mass Effect 3; the first move the Reapers make is to steam straight towards Earth in the hopes of killing Shepard. And then he slips up at the very end, when he forgets to check if Shepard is dead after Beam Spamming Hammer Fleet to death.
Demonic Possession: "ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL." More efficient than Sovereign; while he keeled over and got utterly wrecked after feedback from one interrupted Demonic Possession, Harbinger can spam them in succession because he is performing them through his intermediary, the Collector General.
Demoted to Extra: He's still the apparent leader of the Reapers and thus the Big Bad of the game, but his only appearance in 3 is showing up at the very end to attempt to stop Alliance soldiers from beaming up to the Citadel.
To further emphasize this, remember how much he loved to speak and just wouldn't shut up in the second game? He gets nary a peep in 3. Odd, considering you will hear Keith Szarabajka's voice in other parts of the game.
Dragon-in-Chief: Since it's revealed that the Citadel is home to the AI that controls all of the Reapers, that would imply that Harbinger is its second-in-command. However, the Catalyst itself doesn't seem to do much, while Harbinger is the driving force of much of the invasion. It isn't even clear if he knows about the Catalyst at all.
The Dreaded: To Shepard. You can hear his/her hesitation and concern upon hearing that Harbinger is physically coming to the battlefield and basically tells Hammer Fleet to burn rubber to the Conduit.
Eldritch Abomination: He's a Reaper, and, like Sovereign, just loves reminding you of how far beyond your comprehension he is.
Easily Forgiven: In the Synthesis ending, the synthesized people of the galaxy sure don't seem to mind Harbinger and the rest of Reapers helping them rebuild, despite the fact that the Reapers were trying to wipe out all life in the galaxy not too long ago. Possibly justified in that Harbinger was freed of the Catalyst's influence, and of course, all organics also gained understanding of synthetics in the process. Ditto for Control, although in that case, Harbinger is now a minion of Shepard, the new Catalyst.
Sort of. He's very interested in humanity in general and Shepard in particular (which makes less condescending than Sovereign), but makes dismissive comments about any non-human party members and their species.
It's a lot worse when you find out the reasons why their species weren't picked to be made into Reaper babies. The drell and krogan were dismissed out of hand due to lack of numbers, while the quarians were actually considered due to their aptitude for cybernetics.
Hero Killer: After humanity proved itself a threat, he sent the Collectors to target them specifically. First on the list: that upstart who got Sovereign blown up...
In actual gameplay, whenever he comes on the screen and you're on a higher difficulty, wave goodbye to your squadmates. Their AI tend to make them hide behind cover while periodically popping out and shooting, which doesn't work so well when Harbinger has the ability to knock them out at will while at the same time setting them on fire. Also, half the squad's powers don't even hurt him because he has armor instead of health.
Also, in the Suicide Mission, if you pick the wrong tech expert, squad leader, or both, then Harbinger kills your tech expert with a fireball.
At the climax of Mass Effect 3, Harbinger personally comes down and blasts Shepard, who is on foot. Amazingly enough, Shepard lives and keeps on going. However, if your military score is too low, both of the squadmates with you are killed.
Hopeless Boss Fight: When he appears in London, all you can do is dodge his attacks. There is no way to defeat him and he'll get you eventually.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Control Ending Shepard becomes the guiding intelligence of Harbinger and the rest of the Reapers - in other words s/he ASSUMES DIRECT CONTROL of him.
Karma Houdini: In the Synthesis ending, where he pulls a Heel-Face Turn and helps the galaxy rebuild along with the rest of the Reapers. Also in the Refusal ending, where he and the Reapers succeed in their harvest, though they're stopped the next time around.
Man Behind the Man: The first time you fight the Collectors, you'll be shown the Collector General possessing lower ranking minions. At the end of the game, when the Collector General dies, you see the actual Reaper, Harbinger. Shepard can have a conversation with him at the end of Arrival.
Monster Progenitor: According to Leviathan, Harbinger was the first Reaper, and created all other Reapers in its own image.
Non-Standard Character Design: He's the oldest of the Reapers, formed from the Leviathans, and his design reflects this: the "tentacles" are fewer, his "eyes" glow yellow and his "tail" section is doubled by a crest.
Possession Burnout: He visibly burns his hosts alive - their health is replaced with armor and they crumble to dust after defeat.
Powers via Possession: He can apparently force this upon those he controls. Includes heavy shield/armor upgrades and biotic-singularity-throwing as a package deal.
Scripted Battle: His single appearance in Mass Effect 3 is less of a battle and more you frantically trying to dodge his lasers while you run to the Conduit. No matter what happens, he ends up hitting you.
Wave Motion Gun: Taken to an even more absurd degree than the lesser Reapers, who at are most limited to a laser on each of their tentacles, totaling five. Harbinger has one in each of his six eyes and one on either mandible - that's eight on his face alone. And they see use at the climax of 3. Curb-Stomp Battle doesn't even begin to describe it.
A special Collector that leads and coordinates the Collectors as a whole. Offering lucrative technological rewards in exchange for live test subjects, amongst the beings he's successfully retrieved were two dozen left-handed salarians, sixteen sets of batarian twins, a krogan born of parents from feuding clans, and two dozen quarians that never left the Migrant Fleet, but nobody knows what happens to the individuals concerned after the exchange is completed.In addition, the General appears interested in human biotics, as well as Shepard in particular and the human race in general. Just as Saren used Husks to support his army of geth, the General also uses Husks to support his Collectors in a battle, but with three new types: Abominations (suicide runners), Scions (long-range bazooka men) and Praetorians (crab-like bosses).The General appears to be the leader of the Collectors, using his drones as intermediaries to make contacts in the seedy criminal underbelly of the Terminus system. His most notable accomplishments include sending Golo to capture Paul and Gillian Grayson in Ascension, ordering the Collector Cruiser to destroy the Normandy and murder Commander Shepard in the prologue of Mass Effect 2, consorting with the Shadow Broker to acquire Shepard's body in Redemption, and ordering his drones to personally kidnap entire colonies of humans throughout the rest of the second game.Apart from a brief holographic image appearing in Joker's cockpit and a possible encounter with him on Arrival, you never confront the General face-to-face, but you hear his taunts constantly, and he possesses various Collectors to fight you off.
And I Must Scream: What happens to the beings that he's received, including the abducted human colonists.
This also happens to be the very reason why he even exists.
Many people feel sorry for it considering it was most likely under Harbinger's control it's entire life and the ending cinematic has it looking around in what looks like confusion and sorrow when Harbinger releases control. Especially impressive considering it has less than ten minutes of screen time in the game and no dialogue outside being Harbinger's mouthpiece.
If expressionless bug aliens could make an Oh Crap face, that's what it would have done right then.
A new Reaper that was being constructed by the Collectors. It was the reason for the Collectors abducting human colonies in the Terminus systems and taking the colonists to the Collector base. The colonists were broken down into genetic material and pumped through tubes that lead to the Reaper itself. The Reaper was destroyed by Commander Shepard while it was largely incomplete.
And I Must Scream: According to Legion, individuals, despite being reduced to grey goo, all retain their intelligence (much like Geth run-times in a single platform.)
Attack Its Weak Point: Its eyes and chest, to be precise. Bonus points that said junctions are literally labeled "Weak Point".
The Cameo: Appears towards the end of the Cerberus Base in Mass Effect 3, though it's inactive and heavily damaged. Depending on whether you left the Collector Base intact or not, you'll salvage either its heart or its brain as a War Asset.
Nonstandard Character Design: In universe, compared to other Reapers. Why Harbinger decided to create a Reaper to resemble a human and not Leviathan's species is unknown. Harbinger says that one species per cycle is cherrypicked to become a Reaper, but they all have the same form. It's possible that the "Leviathan" shape is a chassis that will surround the "fetus", but who knows?