The Mass Effect series is a science fiction adventure that takes players on a fantastic journey, visiting all the wonders (and dangers) of the galaxy. However, this doesn't mean there won't be some absolutely traumatizing events that might mentally scar you for life. Here you can find some of the most frightening and pant-wettingly terrifying horrors of the years 2183-2186.
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Mass Effect 1
Two Words: MSV Worthington. A drifting, abandoned ship in space housing a brain-dead man by the name of Jacob, on life support systems. Turns out the crew planned on pulling the plug - the only problem being that it did not go that well with Jacob's biotic, PTSD girlfriend. The part where upon hearing the last entry in the Captain's log, which ended in his bloodcurdling scream, Julia suddenly appears and rabidly attacks you made it even more disturbing. And you can search every corner of the entire ship prior to hearing the logs and find nothing, not even a trace of where Julia might be. This means that she must've been hiding very well, watching your every move the moment you entered the ship, and trying to anticipate how much of a threat you were to Jacob before madly rushing in and attempting to kill you.
The VI on Luna instantly putting up barriers in all doorways after trashing the second processor cluster. Even more creepy: The binary code it sends just before it dies? It means "HELP!". Mass Effect 2 reveals that the VI was actually a sentient Artificial Intelligence. So, you basically killed a sapient being that was just trying to defend itself once the Alliance realised it had become self-aware.This should sound familiar. What's more, in-game information you discover makes you realize that Cerberus, those goons you're working for, were responsible for hacking the VI and giving it sentience. Mass Effect 3 reveals that EDI used to be that AI. Or, you know, the quarians.
Oh God, the Rachni Song! It can be observed on various planets and moons, up to and including Luna where no rachni could possibly exist! Creepy.
The appearance of the Protheans themselves, in both visions and their statuary on Ilos, shows that they have tentacles coming from where you would expect eyes, and a head spookily reminiscent of Cthulu.
To makes matter worse, this was taken from Illos where the Prothean scientist was desperate trying to find out what the race before them was trying to learn what happened to them and that the vision they saw was in fact a second hand memory. As we learned the physiology of the actual Protheans themselves.
Those aren't actually the Protheans- Javik reveals in ME3 that they are an extinct race called the Inusannon who came before the Protheans. Still doesn't make them less horrifying, though.
The scene before the final fight with Saren twitching in the air, screaming as his flesh sloughs off, revealing the metallic skeleton beneath.Body Horror at its finest.
The sidequest "I Remember Me", available to Colonist background players where Shepard must talk down a deranged former slave woman. To make it doubly so, the horrors Talitha describes? What she went through to drive her to the brink of suicide? Shepard was on the same colony the batarians raided and about the only one to escape, and that's only because s/he was buried in rubble and left for dead after witnessing her/his parents get killed by an artillery strike.
When Sovereign reveals itself. Even better if you'd managed to not spoil yourself before then. The music, the voice, and the slowly building sensation of dread you feel as you realise just what it is you're up against.
Sovereign: You exist because we allow it. You will end because we demand it. This exchange is over.
Husks are the reanimated corpses of human beings with their nervous systems replaced with technology. The process is done by impaling them on a spike. In fact, they don't even have to be dead to be converted into Husks. The geth (killer robots) don't look creepy (they have flashlights for heads), but the noise they make when they spot your squad (HRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH) is horrific. And then there's Shepard's nightmarish visions of the Prothean war with the Reapers, which mainly consists of the Protheans getting torn limb from limb by evil cyborgs. Further consider this: What you are actually watching in those visions is not the destruction of the Protheans per se, but their conversion into the Collectors. There's one side mission in which out of the blue you stumble across another Prothean artifact, which gives you the vision you know inside and out: except this time you are hit with the horrible realisation that one of the figure who is vainly trying to flee has four horizontally arranged eyes which are instantly recognisable. Believe it or not, there is a fate worse than extinction. And you're not just watching the Protheans' conversion, either. You hear mechanical sawing noises.And screaming. Lots of screaming.
Imagine it. You're peacefully going about your business in the wards of the Citadel when suddenly sirens begin to wail. Completely out of nowhere, unknown, gargantuan starships of unfathomable power emerge and exterminate everything, spreading out across your empire and slaughtering, subjugating or genetically modifying everything you hold dear, then using the liquefied slurry that used to be your bodies to produce and power more of themselves. This is the fate of the Protheans, and innumerable species before them. And it's going to happen again, and again, and again... Seriously, the Reapers themselves are the scariest thing in the game. Made even worse by several of Harbinger's lines in Mass Effect 2: "Sentient beings need never fear me." "We are your salvation through destruction." The Reapers believe that they are doing these species a FAVOR. The ending of the first Prothean message on Ilos springs to mind. "Cannot be stopped... cannot be STOPPED..." And turned into diesel was the lucky fate for most of them. The rest were forcibly mutated into the Collectors.
The corpse puppet asari commando jerking about like a marionette as the Rachni Queen talks through her.
Speaking of the rachni, there is also the part on Illium in Mass Effect 2 where you're greeted by an asari acting as a messenger for the Rachni Queen if you set her free back on Noveria.
Species 37. The Thorian is a sentient plant that controls minds through Pavlovian Mind Rape. Then you find out that it produces hideous zombie-like humanoids calledThorian Creepers, and promptly lose your lunch. The horror might be somewhat alleviated by the fact that the asari clones it spits out are somehow still quite lithe, but then you realize thatthe fact that this thing can spit out powerful biotics at will might not be a good thing.
The literal swarms of Thorian Creepers crouched fetal position on the floor, just waiting for you to walk closer, before jumping up, skipping at you, and then just standing in front of you for a moment, swaying slightly, then vomiting acid all over you. The fact that they look like ReDeads don't help at all. Remember too that they don't all get up when you get close: they're invulnerable while they're inert, but you could be fending off a wave that's swarming from the next room only to realize that you're surrounded by inert creepers...and they're waking up.
Speaking of Mind Rape, that mind control! The Thorian causes debilitating pain at even the thought of resistance. Ian Newstead tries to drop hints and seems to take a perverse joy in "invoking the master's whip", but even he can't do anything. If you save the colonists one describes the control as making any pure thought into agony. Another says it was like being slapped every time she started to raise her eyes.
And this is something that the company funding the colony just let happen so they could study it!
Ammo that goes under the category of 'fire', 'ice', or 'poison' in the game will disintegrate enemies upon killing them. and it can happen to you.
Also, Han Olar telling the story of how he escaped the rachni. The scariest part is hearing how the rachni in the labs are beyond saving. Essentially, the gist is that the rachni are a telepathic sentient species. As long as the smaller ones are within telepathic range of the queen, they become intelligent and sentient. If they're outside the queen's range of influence, they go permanently feral. Just thinking about what that must be like, feeling your connection to the queen go, and then your mind following it, is chilling. Humans need contact with others to stay sane and so do the rachni. Imagine a human child that has never had anyone hold it, comfort it or even talk to it. That's the rachni you now face.
Rachni Queen: Fear has shattered their minds.
Liara: A child locked in a closet for sixteen years would hardly be sane.
It gets worse in a similar side mission in Mass Effect 2. While you're out scanning planets for minerals or side missions, you receive an anomalous distress beacon. EDI tells you there's signs of movement, but no organic life, so you assume either rogue robots or geth, so you create your team appropriately to deal with that. WRONG. The landing cinematic shows a "Blink and You'll Miss It" moment of a husk wandering past the entrance, ignoring you. You decide to go back to the Normandy to reform your team appropriately, but the auto-nav makes it fly away, giving you no choice but to press onwards. Once inside, you find a Resident Evil style file telling you to get the hell out of there, ASAP. That's when the fun begins. Heading deeper into the mines, you find more Husks than the first Mass Effect ever had, and their exploding cousins the Abominations. Deeper in, you find more files telling of the miners' fates, along with some Husks dropping down from the ceiling, before going through one more mass of Husks to destroy the mines and complete the mission.
The derelict freighterCornucopia. You're slowly making your way through the labyrinthine cargo hold and then a herd of husks suddenly attacks you.
Indoctrination is the worse thing to happen to anyone. Let's take a situation like Benezia's example, assuming the Reaper has an organic commander like Saren. You initially despise him, can't believe you have to put up with him. And as time goes on, you start agreeing with his commands. You sit at his feet, and smile and nod, while he details all his plans of torture and galactic annihilation. Now, imagine after a while, you are now in a glass box hovering above the world, your arms bound but you are still able to move. It hovers over a man or a woman who looks just like you, as s/he walks through a town, slaughtering innocents. Men, women, children, he kills all of them because the man in the angry mechanical cuttlefish says to. And you try so desperately to stop it, to break the glass by throwing yourself into it, but not even a crack appears. You just keep making yourself weaker, the wo/man quickens their step. And then, when you've finally exhausted yourself, s/he stops, and stands. Just stands, and does nothing else. Maybe mumbles some nonsense. And you lie there, bruised and broken, sobbing until the wo/man dies, and you're finally released. That is the true definition of Hell. Worse if you consider that, if you aren't like Benezia, you will feel your mind crumbling bit by bit, until you're just a zombie. Imagine every memory, dream, feeling and desire, being slowly erased, while you're unable to do anything except waiting for your mind to be consumed by the void, leaving nothing... Remember that hanging around a Reaper is not the only way to get indoctrinated: Shepard's "paperweight" can do it as well.
Ilos. Think about it, and take the music out. A massive, abandoned city, overgrown with the vegetation of 50,000 years. Completely silent. The only thing you can here is the sound of your own squad's breathing, the sound of wind, and the electronic squawks and clanking of the geth moving around the ruins. Then add horrific statues of Cthulhu that silently watch you, put in malfunctioning computers that scream "Can not be stopped! CAN NOT BE STOPPED!!!" at you and tell you about the creatures currently eating the brains of the now-dead inhabitants of the planet, and THEN fill it with unspeaking, homicidal robots with plasma weapons who, once they've beaten you down, will stab you onto a ten-foot-tall pole and wait for your organs to dry out in order to turn you into a cyborg zombie.
The Codex mentions that all respirating life (i.e., all animals, insects, fish, etc.) has died out. Then there's what your team will say if you talk to them:
Garrus: There are secrets here that were meant to be forgotten.
The countless cryo pods... all of them filled with 50,000 year-old-corpses.
Shepard's visions of the Prothean's destruction; something about the close-up shots make things just that much more unsettling because you can't see exactly what's going on. The fact that you just never see what was happening entirely and considering what you learn in Mass Effect 2? Maybe it's better that you don't see exactly what it is that the Reapers do to them.
Dr. Saleon's experiments. To elaborate he grew artificial limbs and organs inside of his employees and surgically removed them when they were done growing. To make matters worse, if the organ wasn't good, he would just leave it inside.
Not to mention what you run into when you find him again. They are simply re-labled Thorian Creepers. These are the end result of Saleon's medical experiments. These are one of only three "zombie" enemies you run into. The first are made with Reaper technology, the second by a 50,000+ year old sentient plant. These? Victims of a fucked-up salarian organ thief. And when you find the man, there is absolutely no explanation given as to what he did or what reason he was doing it for. And there are well over a dozen of these victims.
The fact that only Shepard can understand the malfunctioning Prothean VI first encountered on Ilos. Shepard does not merely understand it as one would a language that has been learnt, but literally hears it as English! Hell, Shepard doesn't even notice this until its pointed out! This is possibly one of the clearest depictions (aside from visions) that the Prothean Beacon has fundamentally altered Shepard's brain in some way and the sheer power of what effect this has even on a subconscious level.
That wasn't the beacon's doing; that was the result of a Thorian cramming 50,000 years worth of Prothean essence into your head over a single mind-meld.
For every thousand women, one is capable of bearing children. Roll that one around in your head a bit. As of this writing, approximately 7 billion humans are alive, which would translate into only 3.5 million fertile women — less than are currently living in New York City right now. The remaining billions of women wouldn't even know they're sterile until their children are stillborn. How long before even the barest pretenses of civilization collapse, with the handful of fertile women being little more than chattel for over half the world to fight over? Worse, the condition perpetuates even among the surviving children of fertile women — how long before the population lacks enough genetic diversity to survive?
It's worse than that. According to Mordin, the genophage is not a sterility plague, and all Krogan women can conceive children successfully. No, that one in a thousand statistic is the number of children who survive. The vast, vast majority of Krogan children are born dead - so, to have any chance at success, a Krogan mother must have hundreds, if not thousands of stillborn children in order to have one success.
What makes the genophage even scarier? The fact that, according to Mordin and other Salarians, even despite that horrific birthing rate, the Krogan would actually be having positive population growth if they weren't all rushing off to get killed as mercs and thugs. The Krogan breed so much that, even if only one in a thousand children survive, their population would still rise rather than decrease over time. Gives you some horrifying idea as to just how easily Krogan can strip a world bare, and why the other races decided that the Genophage was their only option besides genocide.
Mass Effect 2
The audio logs from the empty areas of Omega's quarantine area area downright terrifying if you listen to them and think about them in turn for what they are:
A series of logs from an in denial but still very infected member of one of the gangs fighting for control of the area, as he and another are locked in and slowly go insane.
Even worse, an innocent who was locked into his small apartment during the quarantine - believing it all to be an extortion scheme, that he was going to be let out in a day or two. His body is fresh on the bed at the end of a blockaded hallways.
After you break Jack/Subject Zero out of the Purgatory prison ship, you get a message from one of the escaped prisoners you may have talked to on the ship. He thanks you for giving him the chance to escape and mentions that he's going to carve your name onto the body of his next victim.
Not forgetting he promised to kill you too because you took a few pot-shots at him. Don't worry, he'll make sure you find your name carved into said chest just before killing you.
Purgatory itself qualifies as Nightmare Fuel. A Hellhole Prison if ever there was one.
In Zaeed Massani's loyalty mission, you're given the choice of helping a bunch of workers escape a burning factory and allowing the bad guy to get away, or abandoning the workers to their fate in order to catch the bad guy. If you choose not to help the workers then for the rest of the level you have to listen to them screaming in agony as they burn alive. Perhaps even more chilling, after a few minutes the horrible screams suddenly just...stop.
When you activate Legion, and EDI quotes the Bible when he says that he has 1,183 programs running in him at once. Then, Legion understands it, saying, "Christian Bible. Gospel of Mark. Chapter 5, verse 9. We acknowledge this as an appropriate comparison." The fact that he knew that is one thing. That particular quote "We are Legion, for we are many," was from a man possessed by about 2000 demons at once. That's right, not only did EDI compare Legion to a demon-possessed man, Legion knew it and totally accepted it as a legitimate comparison.
Because Reapers apparently perpetuate their genocidal cycle to reproduce, that would mean Reapers aren't just powerful, they each possess the collected biological and technological might of entire civilizations. "We are each a nation" indeed.
And as the game heavily implies that the Reapers only choose the strongest civilizations for reproduction and the Protheans/Collectors are still around ...
It's even worse than that: If the age estimates of the Great Rift Valley on Klendagon are accurate, and if The Reapers really do repeat the cycle approximately every 50,000 years, that means they've got the combined wisdom and technological might of over 700 extremely advanced civilizations!
Human-Reaper. Take The Terminator exoskeleton, which gave James Cameron nightmares. Now make it black, change its grin to a demonic look and grow it a thousand feet high. Oh, and it's powered by liquefied humans.
Difficult-to-get content, lines from Legion who remembers when the geth touched Sovereign's minds, strongly suggests that the melted-down humans aren't just killed and turned into raw materials, but still aware, or at least existent.
The incarnation of the Human Reaper we see in the games is just the beginning. The Collector Edition art book reveals a few early production sketches and paintings that range from traditional Reaper to human forms. One looks like Sovereign, turned backwards, with a face and exposed brain underneath the cuttlefish crown, with the many tentacles rearranged to look like tiny, malformed limbs. A more human design looked like what can only be described as a gigantic Husk fetus made from running candle wax, three times as big as what we see in the game. Also, what we saw and fought was just a larva in terms of development. Full grown Reapers are all heavily armored behemoths, many times larger than what we faced. The thing in that chamber would have grown, and have gained the equivalent of muscles, flesh, and lots and lots of armor before it was even fit to be "born". Be you unimpressed or already scared shitless by what made the final product, realize that it could have been much worse.
One moment that occurs due to a glitch. After shooting the Human-Reaper's tubes and watching it fall, you might see a flash of orange next to Shepard's head in the resulting cut scene. Look carefully. It's the face of the Illusive Man. It's established that he's a control freak who eavesdrops on everyone, but still. Creepy.
The vorcha. Their whole kill'em all, KILL'EM ALL,KILL'EM ALL!!!!!Chaotic Evil schitck (seriously, they want to kill as many innocents on Omega as possible to help the Collectors). However given that they're perceived as being little more than vermin who barely live to see the age of 20 (hard to kill, immune to mass causes of death...yep, space cockroaches), its not surprising. Besides, the Always Chaotic EvilHat they seem to wear is possibly subverted, as there are references to the existence of vorcha miners and engineers. On top of it all, many of those living on Omega are probably poorly educated and extremely distrustful of other races considering the cutthroat nature of the world which they inhabit.
The science facility that created Jack. A blood-drenched wreck of a building, you can see holding cells that used to be full of kidnapped children, mutant plants tearing the building apart, Jack's own cell where she was tortured, a giant blood-stain where she killed her first human, and you meet a surviving child who came back and wants to rebuild the facility and start everything all over again. Yikes.
The room with nothing but a surgical chair and a light over it. "This is a bad place."
Prisoner 403. "I can hear the screaming in my head...it's nice." The obvious assumption is that the dude is mentally unstable. Except this is Mass Effect, where there's a worse explanation for hearing voices, and who knows if he's always been nuts or if he was once a perfectly normal, sane guy who happened to be working with some kind of mining op that discovered an alien artifact...
Mass Effect 2 easily tripled the amount of horror in the series. One story mission in particular involves going through the corpse of a millions of years-dead Reaper. It's still dreaming! Cue the space zombies.
Considering what we all know about Indoctrination, the mere fact that Shepard and crew voluntarily entered the body of a Reaper is enough to set the tone. The innards of an Eldritch Abomination are every bit as disturbing as you'd expect even without the log entries. “Chandana said the ship was dead. We trusted him. He was right. But even a dead god can dream. A god — a real god — is a verb. Not some old man with magic powers. It's a force. It warps reality just by being there. It doesn't have to want to. It doesn't have to think about it. It just does. That's what Chandana didn't get. Not until it was too late. The god's mind is gone but it still dreams. He knows now. He's tuned in on our dreams. If I close my eyes I can feel him. I can feel every one of us.”Eldritch Abomination, indeed.
There's one other video log on the derelict Reaper that also manages to be fairly scary. It shows two Cerberus technicians talking, and one of them starts reminiscing about the day he got married. Then the other one stops him and says he's talking about HIS wedding day. It turns out both of them have the same memories of that wedding, and neither one can now remember whose wedding it actually WAS.
To elaborate on the innards, there are massive passageways that seem to have no end, and an eerie and chilling lighting to them. Even with this, the walls and ceilings all seem to push in giving a constricted and claustrophobic feeling. It manages to make you feel both isolated and trapped at the exact same time.
In Samara's loyalty quest, you have to hunt down Morinth, an Ardat-Yakshi, an asari that kills her partner when they meld. Shepard acts as the bait, and goes to her apartment alone. Just before she gets ready to do the deed with him/her, her eyes turn black. Asari eyes always turn black when melding, which has always been a bit creepy, but when you know that the asari is getting ready to kill you, it is absolutely terrifying. Not to mention the death scene itself should you decide to romance her...
There's also the incredibly ominous music that plays while you're wandering around her apartment, and the foreboding talks about death she gives while you examine your things. The fact that you're completely unarmed for this mission makes you feel that even Shepard, Badass Extraordinaire isn't going to make it out of this one.
Something else that's horrible? Liara says in the Ardat-Yakshi monastery that Morinth was just hitting her stride. She's already racked up a huge bodycount, mindraped entire villages to serve as cannon fodder, and can match an asari matriarch with centuries of combat training, and she's just getting started.
There are the Husks, which no longer make those electric explosion things, now they just try to beat you to death like normal zombies. Then there are abominations, which are Husks that are ON FIRE and EXPLODE. Then there are Scions, which are three husks melded together into a massive walking turret, and then the motherfucking Praetorians. Praetorians are beetle-like flying things that can also land and fight in melee combat- when they do this, they are almost impossible to destroy. And guess what? They are made by fusing THIRTY HUSKS TOGETHER. THIRTY. Worse, their armor acts as a sort of container- it can open and close. When it opens, you get to see the thirty Husk's heads. Staring at you.◊
Failing Joker's mini-mission near the end of the main story. Joker gets spotted by a Scion, panics, and falls down. You're then treated to a close-up shot of the Scion from Joker's perspective before a massive hulking claw reaches towards you, followed by a gasp from Joker and a Game Over screen.
Listening to Joker's frantic repetition of "oh shit, oh shit, oh shitshitshit..." as the Collectors swarm through the Normandy and haul the surviving crew away to a fate potentially worse than death. Considering the number of horrors he's shot up and flipped off over his career, anything that could rattle Joker that badly is some bad juju indeed. Except that he did all that as a pilot.
The screams of the crewmembers as they're dragged off by the Collectors - particularly Kelly - are just too horrific for words.
The inside of a Collector cruiser. The Protheans probably didn't build their ships like that...not to mention the thousands of pods hanging from the ceiling. As you see the first lot, it sort of hits you how bad the Collectors are, but then when you step out into that chamber the haunting feeling of knowing everybody on Earth could be transported in that leviathan rears its ugly head.
Get to the part where you first find the pods on the ceiling and EDI will tell you that the people inside probably died when the ship lost power. If you have a sniper rifle, aim it at some of the darker pods on the ceiling. You can see the bodies. And they're twitching. Dead, EDI? You sure?
Tali's line sums up the realization better than the wordier descriptions offered by the other party members: -moment of awed silence- "...Keelah"
Made all the more chilling by your squadmates pointing out that the Collectors could stick every man, woman, and child living in the Terminus Systems in those pods and still have most of them left over. On one. Single. Collector. Ship. Now recall the Collector Base at the beginning of the suicide mission. Note how small the ship is in comparison to the base and consider how many more must be in there. We only hear of about 3-4 separate Collector ships out and about over the course of the game. That means that for all the havoc the Collectors wreaked on human colonies around the galaxy, they were holding back. Additionally, the suicide mission implies that one Collector base = one construction facility for one new Reaper. Given the final scenes of the game's ending, how many more bases you suppose there might be?
Before the fighting starts, someone or something is still out there, SCREAMING. It doesn't help that a scream comes from nearby right as you are told that the ship has apparently been stalking you.
The Oculus you encounter during the Suicide Mission are pretty terrifying already, considering their beams tear holes through the Normandy even with the armor upgrades, but the really scary part? Cut content suggests that that they aren't automated security machines. They have pilots. Collector drones, who have been taken apart until they are just a nervous system, wired into machinery and suspended in a gel that keeps it from getting damaged in the vacuum of space.
The And I Must Scream situation that the Collectors put people in. The Seeker swarms come in and freeze you. You fall to the ground, conscious but unmoving, and you can see them as they come towards you and stick you in pods. You're stuck like that until they melt you down for genetic materials.
Shepardhim/herself for his/her enemies. Seriously, look at it from someone else's point of view: By the end of ME 2 Shepard has semi bulletproof skin, indestructible bones, heals at absurd rates and is strong enough to beat down a Geth Prime. This means that Shepard can probably punch a hole in a shielded and armored synthetic that is arguably a walking tank. And no matter what Shepard's class is, they terrify their enemies; let's take a quick look, shall we?
Soldier: The enemy in front of you is heavily armored and has more weapons than you've ever seen someone carry. You and your platoon start to open fire, but in hardly a fraction of a second, the soldier pulls out their assault rifle and sweeps it through the air, firing wildly. You laugh, thinking they've just wasted their ammo, but suddenly there's a number of dull thuds behind you. You don't have to look; your HUD tells you your squad all just flatlined. And Shepard's just finished reloading. It doesn't help that Soldier Shepard is so pumped up with genetic modifications that s/he could probably juggle a small space cruiser. It's a wonder the people you punch still have heads afterward.
Vanguard: Your band of mercs ambushes this stupid guy, laying down some serious suppressing fire. Suddenly, your companion freezes solid and, in a flash of blue light, the guy you ambushed turns into a blazing blue comet of death and rams into your friend, sending him flying through the air until he slams into a wall and shatters. The krogan on your team starts to charge the guy, but he swivels on the balls of his feet, so fast you hardly see it happen, and there's a sound like a cannon as half of your buddy's face just disappears. Then the guy turns to you, pumping the slide of a shotgun built exclusively for krogan as a blue biotic corona flares up around him/her.
Taken Up to Eleven in the third game, where a Vanguard can easily be the Reaper's worst nightmare. Shepard hurtling at them like an Angry Bird and playing ping pong with their corpses? Now s/he also uses Nova; which wipes out anything within five meters, and Shockwave: a room clearing biotic attack that even Banshees cannot cope with. Shepard didn't defeat the Reapers, they just packed up and went home.
Engineer: You shoot at them, and your weapons don't fire. They shoot at you, and your shields don't work. Your armor is burned away by napalm. You try to hide, but they send a drone that electrifies you and forces you out into the open. The mechs you brought along suddenly gain kinetic barriers and start shooting at their masters. Your friend ducks out of cover to flank him and suddenly they fall to the ground, clutching their head and screaming as blood oozes out of their eyes and ears. Then you freeze solid, the monster points a pea shooter at you, and you shatter like glass.
Infiltrator: Your platoon is walking along their patrol. It's your turn on point. Nothing's really out of the ordinary, but you think you hear a far off gunshot. Confused, you wave your squad forward. Then you hear the sound again, closer - but this time a spray of blood hits you. You turn back to find that two of your men's heads are just gone. You all dive for cover but another of your men dies, shot in the face even as he dove for a rock. But you saw where the shot came from. You turn and open fire as the distant sniper ducks back under cover. Your team coordinates fire on the spot, keeping the damn sniper pinned as you advance towards their position. Then there's the sound of a sniper rifle, and another one of your friends' heads bursts open like a ripe melon. Your men start firing on the new position and you force them to coordinate to keep both of the snipers pinned down. There's another shot and someone else dies and you can't find the sniper. Everyone scatters, firing wildly. Terrified, you and a companion hide in a small rocky alcove, huddling together out of fear. You watch on your HUD as one by one every other member of your patrol goes dark until it's just the two of you. Where's the sniper? How many are there? Then you hear a sharp crack as your friend's neck snaps, and someone suddenly blurs into existence beside you, the barrel of a pistol jammed against the side of your head. To summarize: You and everyone you care about/work with could be killed, and you'd never even see who was doing it. (And if you get the weapon specialization s/he can carry a sniper rifle designed to pierce tanks that will shatter the arms of the average human who fires it and use it on normal infantry''.)
Sentinel: Your shields fail before a wave of their hand. Your barrier explodes around you. Your weapons jam as you try to fire. Your armor distorts and rips itself apart. They knock you out of cover with a thought. And no matter what you do, no matter how many times you shoot them, no matter how many people shoot, no matter what you shoot them with, they just won't die.
Adept: To try and put this into perspective: think about how much Jack terrifies everyone that knows about her. Think about what she can do for a long moment. Got it? Good. An Adept Shepard is arguably as strong a biotic if not stronger than Jack. They can create small black holes with a thought repeatedly and with relative ease. Hide behind cover, and a blue blurry bullet of energy curves around to send you floating through the air, completely helpless. One of Shepard's team members might pick you off...or Shepard might send another blue blur to slam into you, throwing you off the edge.
Paragon Shepard does not care for your past sins, s/he forgives all. Shepard offers job opportunities for those who get the work done. Paragon Shepard may offer mercy and help for your past problems, and secure your loyalty. But not for one moment think s/he does not have you down his/her sights. Any traitor that has met the Cutscene Pistol of Doom will either back down or die. Shepard always wins, and his/her crew knows that. Offer one hand, arm the other indeed. Not only that, but if you refuse to back down, you will suffer for your sins. Paragon Shepard will tear apart your unethical research, stop whatever you were doing, and leave you to rot in jail for doing it.
Add to that how The Power of Friendship can become Nightmare Fuel. Picture Shepard as one hell of a Nice Guy\Girl. Now think how s/he has super soldiers, super powerful magic elves, tech experts, assassins and Mecha-Mooks. Vigilantes, Blood Knights, master thieves, mercenaries and psychotic criminals. Think how they are all willing to fight for Shepard. Then think how monumentally screwed you are. Just ask Brooks and Clone!Shepard. The archives raid is a perfect example of this. Look at the character examples below, then picture most of them gunning for you. At the same time.
Also, think about the above class scenarios then add in some of the kinds of armor and weapons Shepard can use, namely the Recon Hood, the Collector Armor and Assault Rifle, and the Terminus armor and Blackstorm (aka the Black Hole Gun). The Soldier scenario would only be more terrifying as what looks like a Human-Collector hybrid holding a bizarre three-pronged organic gun-thing mows down your friends, the cold emotionless expression of the Recon hood behind the barrel of that pistol for the Infiltrator scenario, and the Terminus Armor holding the Blackstorm no matter what the class. The Cain just goes without saying because even if you didn't see it hit, you very likely heard that explosion and, if you were talking to a buddy on the radio, getting nothing but static at about the same time.
Just to add fuel to the fire, consider the options your Shepard can get with Advanced Training. Imagine the description of the soldier, but now s/he has the ability to drain the very life essence out of your friends with a thought. Or an Adept that's able to not only easily take down your anti-biotic shielding, but use that to steadily boost their own shielding while you hopelessly unload round after round into them as they get ready for their bone-crushing Throw to cool down.
Shepard and the Normandy combined are potentially horrific for Harbinger. So you're abducting another human colony when this human in battle armor starts killing your troops. Not only is s/he immune to the seeker swarms, but s/he looks exactly like that Shepard whose ship you blew up two years ago so you wouldn't have to worry about him/her. S/He actually manages to activate the defenses, forcing you to withdraw. Later, you set a trap for him/her. Not only do you confirm that it's Shepard, but you catch a glimpse of his/her ship. It looks like his/her old one - didn't you destroy it? Finally, you're at your home base when that ship attacks. It's almost identical in appearance to the one you destroyed... only twice as big, and packing a lot more firepower. It shrugs off your initial attack before blasting your ship to pieces with what looks like a miniature version of Nazara's weapon. Finally, Shepard boards your base, takes out your unfinished human Reaper on foot, then destroys the base, along with all your work. In short, you killed this human, obliterated his/her ship and scattered his/her crew throughout the entire galaxy. And it was all just a temporary setback. As Garrus noted, Harbinger killed Shepard, and all it seemed to do was piss him/her off.
Several of your squadmates may be this to your enemies, too. Think about it. A cold, emotionless assassin that could kill you in a heartbeat? A psychotic woman who's an extremely powerful biotic that would kill you without a second thought? A massive, hulking krogan that could break every bone in your body with a single punch?
Not to mention, that krogan's young. He's not even fully mature yet.
Garrus' tendency to put people down in sadistically ironic ways is both hilarious and disturbing when you think about it. That takes a lot of time and effort to kill someone in an appropriate manner.
And that psychotic/psychopathic woman who's a wickedly powerful biotic? There might actually be two of them, and it's truly hard to say who's scarier. Imagine a back-from-the-dead, half-cyborg commander with glowing red eyes and scars and his/her biotic-goddess pals - one an impulsive, destructive, hateful test subject with a serious thirst for revenge and the other a hedonistic alien sex vampire who only gets stronger as she kills more people. Both are powerful enough to rip your spine out the front of your body without laying a finger on you, and you're standing squarely in their sights.
Legion: Let's say you are this poor, unfortunate Merc squad. You see Shepard. Oh, no. S/He's a really bad human. Then imagine the first thing you hear is a robotic "Hostiles Spotted" in a dull emotionless tone. Standing next to this heavily armed human is a geth. Speaking English. The butchers of Eden Prime, the ravagers of the Citadel, the besiegers of Feros. The most horrifying enemy the galaxy has ever known (since you and most of the rest of the galaxy don't know about the Reapers) and this man/woman has one working with them. But it's not so bad, one lone geth right? No smarter than a varren? Suddenly, it pops one of your squad mate's heads like a cherry with it's own Widow anti-material rifle. Oh, it's smarter than a varren alright. It's a cold, logical death machine that only sees you as an obstacle to an objective, nothing more than a statistic in a combat data projection. Then it's aiming it's anti-tank cannon. Rightat--
Liara. Even for an asari she's a biotic juggernaut. She's the daughter of two of the strongest asari biotics in the galaxy Aethyta and Benezia the Matriarchs, and her biotics are as-strong or stronger than Samara's, a justicar who is several centuries her senior and Morinth's, an Ardat-Yakshi who has absorbed the life force of thousands. She can make black holes with her brain, with you at the center. You do not mess with Shepard while she's around, and if you do, bring a coffee cup, because what's left of you is going home in it. Just ask the previous Shadow Broker.
There's an assignment where you go to a mine after picking it up on a scan. The first indication that something is really wrong? You find a datapad on a box close to the entrance. Know what it says? "If you can read this, GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! NOW!" This mission just gets creepier and creepier as you work your way through the winding, claustrophobic mine tunnels, hearing the shrieks and moans of the husks echoing from deep underground. Guess we know what happened to the miners and researchers...
While we never actually see how batarians treat their slaves, we certainly hear the details of it. The conditions of the slaves are horrific that it drove a seasoned soldier who witnessed a batarian slave run to become a traumatized, alcoholic wreck. And then there's what they did to Talitha...
The Derelict Reaper is an extremely creepy playing environment. It's effectively a giant corpse of a dead mecha-god that continues to radiate remnants of its evil will. You will come across Apocalyptic Logs that contain messages from a science team sent to study it but went insane, speaking how "even dead gods can dream", and sharing each other's memories. Add in dozens of Husks, cyber-zombies they turned themselves into attacking you at the same time in one of the most intense battle sequences in the game, and you have the makings of the most disturbing and frightening part of the game.
"No carrier, no carrier, no carrier, no-..." Now think about this. When Legion says that, he's trying to upload all his memories and programs (which are the actual geth [not the physical form]) and realizing that he's too far away from a mass relay to get everything he has learned and experienced back to his people, which is the most important part of his society, and realizing that all of the over 1000 people within him would die there.
Jarrahe Station. A space station where the VI went nuts. The creepiest part is that there are no enemies. A fight would have at least helped ease the tension. Absolutely everyone is dead, many of them bloodily. The ones in the plasma venting section were clearly killed by it, but the rest? One of the datapads mentions trying to prevent the VI from killing them. You and your crew are using breather masks, so apparently there's no atmosphere in at least part of the station. The only other clue to how happens when you go into the living quarters and the VI locks you in.
"The living area doors have been closed to quarantine a threat to this station. Advise intruders to engage self-destruct procedures to avoid death by starvation."
Look around while you're in the living quarters: there's half a human body lying in one of the rooms. There are no mechs around (if there were, they'd presumably be trying to kill you.) What the hell did that?
The end of the prologue. Shepard, twisting in terror (and likely pain) due to a suit breach, trying desperately to be able to fix it. Watching Shepard just...flailing and helpless is surprisingly creepy.
The "duct rats" of the Citadel are mentioned in a throwaway conversation during Thane's loyalty mission, but they have some sad stories. Children so poor they play in the ductwork of the Citadel, which nobody really understands since no living race built it. So, from time to time, these kids get crushed, chewed up by fans, dumped into boiling hot liquids, fall into protein vats to be fed to other residents of the Citadel, or even get ejected into space. They also just vanish sometimes. It's suspected the keepers might have something to do with it.
Harbinger, especially on Insanity difficulty. Imagine it from your character's perspective. You just finished fighting off a wave of Collector assassins on some moving platforms. Your ammo is nearly depleted and your team is exhausted, only for you to hear in a deep, flanging voice, "I will direct this personally." That enemy you thought was taken care of? Its flesh starts sloughing off and its body glows with yellow light. You shoot at it, but the shields are too strong. Harbinger hurls a supremely powerful biotic singularity at you, enough to rip through your shields just as you take cover, and while you take him out moments later with seconds to spare...you hear his voice, again, from across the room. He's coming for you. He's tougher than anything you've EVER fought, and he'll never,ever stop coming. Until you're dead. Worse still are some of his lines when you kill his current body, just reaffirming how utterly unstoppable he is. Like "I WILL FIND YOU AGAIN."
Its even more horrifying if you imagine that Shepard, being A Father to His Men would never risk the teams safety in any circumstance or ask them to sacrifice themselves in order to save Shepard's life. Imagine now realising that Harbinger isn't interested in your team, to him, they are simply an irritating obstacle between him and you, something to swat aside. And if he defeats them, he won't even take them alive, he doesn't care about them at all. He just wants you.
The very end: You've blown up a Human-Reaper with weapons meant to kill squishy organics, wiped out the Collectors, and (maybe) given your fallen crew members a hero's funeral. All is well. That is, until you see the thousands of Eldritch Abomination mecha-gods fast approaching the edge of the galaxy. Which is even worse if Shepard dies at the end.
The Project Overlord DLC has a bunch of minor scenes, creeping through a 'dormant' geth ship, fighting through station after station of green tinted robots wading through corpses, a smoke filled geothermal plant that's collapsing around you, and all through it you keep seeing this green face of the out of control VI, making the most ungodly sound you will ever hear in your life.
And all of that is just a precursor to what awaits you in Atlas Station.
Rogue VI: [unintelligible sounds] = "MAKE IT STOP!"
"Square root of 912.04 is 30.2... it all seemed harmless."
And then the distorted elevator music from ME1 playing, cycling from sped up to slowed down, after a computer voice says that it is there to "relieve stress." Did we mention that this is on a crashed geth ship full of inert Homicide Machines?
The whole thing is creepy as hell, but it all goes Up to Elevenwhenyou touch the console, glow green, and are sucked into what is pretty much the Matrix, while your companions frantically try to pry open the now-sealed doors. You then find out the REAL story behind the VI, topped off with a hearty helping of Body Horror. You know the bad guy is really bad when the Paragon interrupt is to pistol-whip him.
What was done to David goes far beyond how humans were plugged into the Matrix. Plugs that go entirely through his arms. A huge neck brace with even more plugs. Suspended in the air. At least three tubes jammed in his mouth and presumably down his throat. Eye lids held open for no discernible reason! And conscious the entire time, screaming.
Remember the face in the last level? It's STARING AT YOU THE WHOLE TIME. Also, those security cameras with the green lights? That's the VI watching you for the entire mission.
Try reusing the elevator when you get to the bottom. The doors open, and the elevator's gone. The VI says something like, "Brakes not responding," and the elevator slams down the shaft and shatters. And it's never stated, but subtly implied - you are now trapped in an underground facility, with no communications, at the mercy of an insane VI.
Shepard's got enough cybernetic implants to be hacked. Let me repeat that. Shepard can be hacked.
The sidequest where you must track down the mercenaries with a captured cargo ship. Everything seems normal, the team goes forward, killing mercs and search the ship. Then you go to the med bay and see the withered corpse on the inspection table. Okay, unsettling. When you move forward you encounter a whole pile of same corpses. Given the bad reputation of the mercs, it isn't hard to see that they obviously tortured the former crew to death one by one. Brrh..
The "Warp" Biotic ability. Think about what it must be like to be broken down at the molecular level by someone's thoughts. Then there's the Lift and Push abilities. Imagine being lifted high into the air, then thrown against a wall at bone-shattering speeds. Slam combines them both into one happy package!
Let's just makes this simple and just say the Reapers in general fit this trope. Ridiculously powerful sentient starships, that have been causing mass extinction for AT LEAST 37 million years, in order to melt down organics to make new Reapers or destroy their free will through the horrifying practice of indoctrination. Even when dead, they can be dangerous for "a dead god can still dream." When one was destroyed, it took nearly an entire fleet with it, and it wasn't even trying to fight back.
Jacob's loyalty mission. Miranda lets slip about a ship his father served on sending a distress signal, but the crash was ten years ago. Going to investigate, Shepard and Jacob slowly learn that his father took command during the crash and spent the next ten years turning the place into Richard Laymon's Island, exiling and killing the men and keeping the women as sex slaves. He forced everyone to eat the toxic food, making them insane.
The ending's worth mentioning. As Jacob confronts his father, Shepard notices a male, crazed, standing there like a zombie. Soon he's joined by several more. S\he points them out to the third member of the squad, who will lampshade what they will do to Jacob's father if Shepard chooses to abandon him.
Upping the creepy factor is the partial crew log of a male survivor who obviously hadn't been forced to eat the local vegetation yet.
Survivor: [static] ... always said no. She even threatened a report if I didn't stop sending messages. But now she's so innocent. They all are. And that look she gives when she smiles... It's sure easier now. What's the harm? We're stuck here any— [static]
Records of one of the women being affected, realizing with horror that she can't remember someone's name or face. Bad enough to have this happen, but to be conscious of losing yourself?
Remember the Collector Harbinger berates after Shepard wins? He releases control just in time for it to shoot Harbinger a dirty look, and watch the blast coming to kill it. Though this might be a release, all things considered. It's more of a look of 'Daddy? Where are you?' the kind of look a child makes when they've been abandoned before realization fully sets in. Which is all the more horrifying - the Collectors as a species know nothing BUT Indoctrination. They have NEVER in their existence been free.
Some of the powers for the enemies. For instance:
Neural Shock: The salarian who won't shut up, he should be an easy kill for you, right? Next thing you know, you're spasming on the ground, feeling the worst pain of your life. The last thing you see is the salarian inhaling, and aiming his SMG at you...
Slam: The bitch on the field, shouldn't she be in a beauty pageant? Those are your last thoughts, as you leave the ground. You hover in the air, thinking what the hell is going on? Then the ground rushes to meet your face.
Shadow Strike: What's up with the Japanese girl in the hood? You aim your gun at her and pull the trigger... but she disappears. What the? Where'd she go? Then an omni-blade cleaves into your back, dropping you on the ground.
Dominate: Oh, crap, that's a Justicar! She waves her hand, and... hold on, the asari's your ally. But if she's an ally, then... you spin your gun around, and unload a clip into the turian behind you. Wait a minute... why am I doing this?
Stasis: The asari? What could she-? What's happening? Why can't I move? OH SHIT, SHE'S COMING RIGHT FOR-
Inferno Grenade: That old merc? What could he do? He couldn't hit sh- suddenly, your entire team is on fire. He just laughs at your "goddamn antics", and sweeps a blazing M-8 Avenger in your general direction.
AI Hacking: Is that a quarian? What the hell is a quarian doing on the battlefield? What's she doing, anyw- suddenly there's a blast of gunfire from behind you. You turn around, and one of your own mechs is taking aim at your face...
Carnage: That krogan's not close enough for a charge attack. You feel a bit more at ease, thinking you can take him at a distance when one of your buddies is ripped apart by a ball of energy that then explodes, knocking you on your ass. The last thing you see is the krogan walking up to your unresponsive body.
Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC: The (current) Shadow Broker is revealed to be a yahg, a massive creature said to be more savage as a species than the krogan.If that wasn't enough,[[spoiler: read his dossier after you beat him. While it was nice to see a slaver get his just end, there's a few lines at the end where it shows just how easily one of the most powerful people in the galaxy is killed and replaced...and nobody knows any different.
One obscure side quest drops you on a geth-infested planet where the fog is so thick you can only see about 10 feet in front of you. You have to walk forward, listening to the clicking of the hordes of invisible homicidal robots, waiting for them to pour out of the fog at you en masse.
Han Olar's letter, in which he expresses his deep guilt over the woman whose life he sacrificed to save his own, and prays that he is experiencing a dying hallucination, preferring death over his guilt-ridden existence.
Every Nonstandard Game Over counts as this. Seeing Joker scrabble desperately at the floor while a Scion bears down on him; hearing your tech specialist scream in agony as they're slowly cooked in a blocked vent; watching EDI get corrupted by an insane VI; Morinth's Slasher Smile as she melts your brain; watching humanity being slaughtered and mutated by the Reapers...
Imagine the perspective of The Arrival from the batarian colonists' perspective. You are just a Batarian, not a mercenary or a killer, just a regular colonist, going about your day like nothing is wrong. Then, in what must have looked like forever from where you are standing, cosmic destruction comes straight at you and wipes you and over 300,000 other colonists out.
Or worse, imagine you're on another colony in the Viper Nebula. You're talking via Relay channel to your family on Arahtot when suddenly the signal is interrupted by a bright flash of light, and then static. Because the relay is gone and the system is lightyears away, there's no way to know that they just got wiped out by a supernova-sized explosion. Instead, all of a sudden Bahak just goes dark, and your colony is cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Then a few hours or days later, a fleet of bio-mechanical abominations descends upon your planet without warning; killing, indoctrinating, and husking anyone they come across. Without the Alpha Relay, there's no way to escape, no way to send a warning, no way to even ask what the hell those things are that are slaughtering your people wholesale. And worst of all, you personally consigned them to that fate, in addition to the colonists you killed directly on Arahtot. Nice job, Shepard.
Mass Effect 3
The Reapers are here.
Rachni husks. In the game, most enemies have weak points you can strike for an easy kill, and these things are no exception. The twist? Attack that and it unleashes a swarm of mini-rachni that crawl all over your body.
Wondering how you make a krogan husk even more terrifying? Give it a turian head. Brutes are Reaper-engineered hybrids of turians and krogans. Leaving aside the fact that we're talking about a cross between a race of Space Romans and Proud Warrior Race Guys. Leaving aside the fact that their appearance is just hideously monstrous.◊ The most bowel-clenchingly scary part of them is that krogans and turians are incompatable on a protein-level. They can't even eat the same food let alone reproduce. Try to imagine the levels of Body Horror the Reapers had to inflict upon turians and krogans to produce such an abomination. Knowing how the reapers do business, they were probably alive and screaming when it happened, just like the colonists on the collector base. And then realize that because they're so incompatible, their own bodily fluids are likely killing them. Even if they survive this battle, they won't live to see another day. THAT is what lesser beings are to the reapers. That is what you are. You are a thing. You are something to be used. If you are lucky, if they think you're good enough, you will be dissolved and used to make more of the beings that murdered you. If you are found wanting, they will change you until they can make use of you. They will break all the laws of nature until you no longer exist as you once were, until your every cell is being killed by the act of being alive. And when you are of no use for you, you will die.
Banshees: Ardat-Yakshi asari husks. The "Ruthless enemies" trailer shows them using Charge...before impaling Shepard on their hands. According to one article, at least one variant of the asari husk is pregnant. And they're able to use their AY powers to override your nervous system for a One-Hit Kill. And why not? The Reapers could easily do it for fun. They are, put simply, the hardest enemies in the franchise, and they announce their presence on the battlefield with a spine-chilling scream that's explicitly noted to be potent Nightmare Fuel in-universe.
The worst part about the banshees is the mission they're introduced in. You arrive at a desolate asari monastery in the wake of a missing squad of asari commands, only to find...Nothing...No visible enemies, complete darkness for a time, and the wails of the banshees in the background.
During the E3 demo of the invasion of Earth, Shepard and Anderson are on top of an apartment building watching the reapers destroy the city. As they move they come across a large hole blasted through the roof, two husks crawl out to rush them. Shepard and Anderson shoot them down, and jump into the apartment inside. Shepard opens a jammed door for Anderson, only to look back to a duct on the wall and notice a kid inside. He offers to take the kid to safety, but the kid refuses, knowing he was going to die. What would make a kid lose the hope to live? Then it hits you: those two husks were his PARENTS!
The knowledge that if you do not make all the right choices, ignore all the sidequest and pretty much just blaze through the game without a thought for the possible consequences, the Reapers will defeat you in war and continue the cycle of extinction for possibly another several million years. What makes this even WORSE is that you'll essentially be the one responsible for the Prothean's sacrifice being in vain, likely doom the galaxy to never having another chance like this again AND cause your entire species to be the next Reaper of this generation. The whole scenario is pretty much you completely screwing over the entire galaxy.
Big Ben experiences one at the end of the first trailer. The look on his face is one of sheer terror as the reaper slowly descends upon his position in the clocktower. This Is Gonna Suck doesn't even begin to describe it.
From The Art Book ofthe Mass Effect Universe, we see concept art◊ of the Illusive Man as a Reaperized monstrosity intended for the final battle. This was eventually cut in favour of a battle with someone players were familiar with but the art work is the stuff of nightmares. If that wasn't bad enough, other concept art suggests TIM goes through some major deterioration in the final game, becoming more husk-like and resorting to a life support machine of some kind just to keep his mind functioning.
The new CG trailer for Mass Effect 3 starts off with a child playing with her Alliance fighter in a sunflower field. The camera plays around between her and some actual fighters flying over a city. All seems peaceful and cheerful when suddenly the fighters are shot down, the music is mute and Reapers descend on the cities with lasers. There is no warning of their coming, they don't announce themselves and expect surrender, they straight up destroy everything the moment they're within range. The child's look of horror upon seeing a Reaper up close doesn't help either.
The extended cut shows even greater chaos, along with some recycled clips from the original Big Ben teaser trailer from a different perspective. The icing on the cake is the horrifying fast forward clip showing the process of huskification on a mutilated corpse while hanging from a spike.
Batarian Husks are called "Cannibals". Why? They regain health by eating fallen enemies and husks. They also have an arm cannon which is made out of a human husk. Nice.
And the best part? All this chaos and destruction has happened before. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of times before. It was one thing hearing about what happened to the Protheans in ME1, and getting glimpses of the horrors they went through. But seeing history repeat itself in person, in full detail to your own people...
Listening to the Cerberus grunts as you mow your way through them, either as Shepard or the Multiplayer teams. At first they're calm and professional, but they get progressively more panicked as you kill their buddies.
From the demo to the launch trailer, we're assaulted by the souless mechanical screams and groans of the Reapers. Every time they rocket through the air, fear and dread are not far behind.
No matter how scary it gets, you always have the comfort of knowing that there's a screen and a game between you and the Reapers. Now imagine this: You live on the Citadel, and one day you check your omni-tool to see Emily Wong reporting live from Earth, talking about a ship like the one that attacked the Citadel being on Earth. You follow the story as it unfolds with mounting horror as Emily encounters husks and Cannibals, frantically tries to warn people away from certain escape routes, and eventually is directly attacked. You receive the signal loss instantaneously, and with it goes your hope of hearing about the situation - maybe the people in charge will still know about what's going on back home, but you won't. All you can do is imagine and wonder what will happen when the Reapers get to you.
You press the scan button once...and the edge of the system fills with red arrows and the detection bar fills about 4/5th of the way full. It's a very VERY effective way to make you know that you are being hunted. As the game progresses, the galaxy map fills up with new star clusters to explore....and just about every one of them has a Reaper marker on it. Perfectly sums up just how badly things are going for the entire galaxy. And then, as the game gets further along... clusters you CAN'T visit have Reaper markers on them. And just before the final mission... every single cluster that has a mass relay, that you can pass through, that you can visit and can't visit, has a Reaper marker over it. The Reapers HAVE THE GALAXY. Doubles as Fridge Horror when you realize that, just before Priority: Earth, you can't access any other system.
It's discovered in "From Ashes" that the Protheans were a Proud Warrior Race of Space Romans...with some of the most powerful empathic abilities in fiction, and with their Real Life counterparts' tendency to obliterate the culture of the races they conquered, until they called themselves "Prothean" too. Just imagine what it was like facing an invasion fleet of theirs, knowing they can figure out your entire race's history simply by touching a member of it, and that if-when-they win, everything about who you were, as a people, will be torn apart and fed to the ever-expanding empire. And the thing is-it's either them, or their enemies.
Javik's own backstory has its own horrors. He commanded a ship much like the Normandy, until it was captured by the Reapers and its crew indoctrinated and sent after him. Imagine for a moment in ME2 that you and your group weren't conveniently away from the Normandy when the Collectors invaded, and that all hands besides Shepard were taken by the Reapers. Then imagine that you tried to storm the Collector Base on your own, only to be faced with the indoctrinated forms of Garrus, Tali, and the other squadmates (love interests included), and forced to Mercy Kill every single one as they come after you. Thatis what Javik had to deal with.
How about this? If you fail to rescue Grissom academy, much later, while you're storming Cerberus headquarters you will find this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPJj8efNskM. Yeah, it's not your entire team. But if she's your love interest, you'll have to Mercy Kill the one you love, indoctrinated and not even recognising you.
That recording is just terrifying. To think if that had to happen to everybody who was converted into a Cerberus Phantom. By the way Jack screamed whatever they did to her was not gentle nor was it painless. Likely an accelerated indoctrination process to make her loyal and quick n' dirty surgery with control chips, implants, and whatever other horrors they can cook up.
In universe example: Shepard has nightmares of the little boy s\he saw killed while trying to flee Earth. There are dream sequences where Shepard finds the boy in a forest, before he burns alive to his\her horrified face.
After the attempted Cerberus coup on the Citadel, Shepard can listen in on a traumatized asari huntress in Huerta Memorial Hospital. She's twitchy and paranoid, asking what color her eyes are and begging to be kept away from humans, refusing to bathe and repeatedly pleading for a gun. By listening to a counselor's attempts to talk her through what happened, you learn why: she was on a colony world, staying overnight in a farming community to wait for a shuttle and the rest of her squad. A hero-worshipping fourteen-year-old farmgirl offered her the use of their shower - and when she came out of the shower, still only wearing a towel, the farm was attacked by an Ardat-Yakshi friend of hers who'd been husked into a Banshee. With farmers dying and no way for her to get to her gun, the huntress grabbed the farmgirl and fled into the countryside, where they stayed on the run for several days until she realized that the shuttle wasn't coming back and they had to go back to the farm to radio for help. When they did, they found many of the farmers still alive - and when Hilary, the farmgirl, freed them, they attacked under the influence of indoctrination. The huntress was forced to kill most of them with her biotics, and fled again, taking cover in a barn, but Hilary's leg was broken and she couldn't stop crying. The huntress killed her to keep the noise from leading the Banshee to the both of them, and held out alone until a rescue shuttle finally arrived. The asari government wants to give her a medal for the intel she was able to provide, but she can only miserably blame herself for the deaths of the farmers.
Eventually, a message pops up in the Spectre terminal regarding an asari huntress's requests to obtain a gun. Authorize it, and she commits suicide, leaving the hospital staff who were trying to help her demoralized.
It actually gets even worse. The farmgirl that she killed, the one called Hilary? It's Joker's sister.
Glyph reveals that one colony dealt with an impending Reaper invasion by taking a third option rather than surrendering or fighting a futile ground war: they detonate thermonuclear weapons in all their population centers, sparing themselves indoctrination and denying the Reapers a source of cannon fodder.
The sheer lengths Han'Gerrel is willing to go to fuel his vendetta against the Geth. It ultimately culminates in him sending his entire race to their doom unless you either side with the Quarians or made very specific choices in 2 and the build up to the final choice concerning Rannoch in 3.
The rachni queen using a dozen or so dead krogan to talk through. Seeing their heads bob and move in unison is unnerving.
Worse is if you're dealing with the cloned Breeder, had you killed the original Queen. It just sounds...off. The fact that she doesn't use the Royal "We" like her original counterpart is a definite clue that something is very wrong. And if you elect to leave it behind, it goes ballistic. Having a dozen dead Krogan screaming "KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!" is mighty unnerving. If Shepard spares the breeder in hopes that she will cooperate with the alliance to fight the Reapers, you will later be informed that as soon as the Rachni reached the construction site of the Crucible, they betrayed the humans in revenge for killing their first queen by massacring every scientist they could get their hands on, completely wiping out the entire Alliance Engineering Corps.
Combines with Tear Jerker. Shepard, the galaxy's ultimate hero\badass, slowly breaks until s\he is a broken wo\man, possibly bleeding to death, and left with deciding the fate of the galaxy.
Control Ending: Shepard makes a Heroic Sacrifice but is now (supposedly) in control of the Reapers, but considering the oddlogic of the Catalyst, there is nothing to say that this won't happen to Shepard's control over time.
Destroy Ending: All synthetic life is destroyed, so all the Geth are destroyed meaning at best, the Quarians have no help to rebuild their homeworld, at worst you let the Quarians die for nothing. There is also the possibilty that future races will inevitably create synthetics themselves, and thus the whole situation will repeat itself again. This is also the only ending where Shepard is hinted at surviving, but if popularfan theory is adhered to, this means that the entire ending is a hallucination of Shepard's, who has now fought off indoctrination attempts... and is lying in ruins, bleeding to death after Harbinger's attack, still no closer to the Citadel beam.
or even worse, destroy ending with low ems. Congratulations on setting off a galaxy-wide extinction event of all life, organic or synthetic, possibly even life on undeveloped worlds uninvolved in the war. Hackett survives and narrates the after math concerning their pyrrhic victory, and he doesn't sound too hopeful about the future of the handful of survivors.
All Endings: If the Crucible wasn't built correctly, ie without enough War Assests, it will not work at all (ergo Reapers will eventually win and cycles continue) or will destroy ALL organic and synthetic life in the galaxy. If it does work, no matter what, the Relays are destroyed. Finally there is the notion of the Normandy outrunning the Crucible's energy blast and crash landing on a remote , which implies they fled Earth and hit the Relay WHILST Shepard was on the Citadel making their decision. Your True Companions? They left you to die. As others have aptly put it, Goddamnit, Bioware.
Shepard in Mass Effect 3 and some of the moments here just shows how Renegade Shepard isn't just ruthless to enemies anymore and more than willing to kill comrades if they step out of line. it leaves you knowing the fate of the galaxy lies within an completely ruthless anti-hero.
Oh, and the Virmire Survivor then gets to team up with Eva's body controlled by EDI, who has a history of violent behavior that the Survivor may know about. No wonder Ash was twitchy...
"Goodbye Thane. You won't be alone long." What's more disturbing, the number who will die against the Reapers or the implication; given everything s\he has gone through, that Shepard is a Death Seeker?
Commander Shepard is practically the embodiment of this to the Reapers. You look down on the battlefield and see a single human charging at them, on foot. S/he clearly has no chance, no hope of defeating you, why does s/he persist? You line up your main cannon and s/he simply dodges the beam. Why does s/he fight the inevita- What is s/he picking up? Is that a-? Within seconds, you are broken and crashing to the ground. Then you realise that you forgot the most important thing of all, the reason why Shepard has killed so many of your brethren. S/he has no fear. Until the last Reaper is dead, you will be hunted across the stars. Shepard will NEVER.EVER. STOP!
Why else would the Reapers point their dreadnought-destroy guns at a single (wo)man? And even that doesn't stop him/her completely.
The Leviathan, one of the creators of the being that created the Reapers, even outright states that Shepard is the only being in history that the Reapers have ever truly feared.
The iOS app brings us this rather chilling message considering the context. The fact that it's on YOUR phone/computer, not Shepard's, makes it so much scarier.
Wrex: I know what you did.
The sheer unadulterated remorselessness of Shepard when you pick the Renegade option. S/he's not trying to justify it. S/he's lying to one of his best friends' face on why s/he screwed the Krogan, betrayed Wrex personally, and shot Mordin in the back to do so.
Illusive Man's transformation at the end of the game is a bit disturbing. For starters, he has gone completely crazy, is under the control of the Reapers and has black veins on his neck....
The Sanctuary! Take a Nazi death camp and mask it as a refugee centers for people to voluntarily sign in to escape horrors of the war, and you have some idea of what the place is like. People by the thousands, if not millions get subjected to deadly experiments and turned into Husks just so that Cerberus can brute force the secrets of the Reaper Indoctrination from them. And what's worse, a great portion of the staff are just as blissfully unaware of the true nature of the place as the refugees, and believe that they'll be allowed into the facility proper once they've fulfilled their quota. Worse, that place was a very extensive base on Horizon, and likely wasn't built in the previous few months. Most likely, it was at least still being built the last time Shepard was sent to Horizon.
The very last level of the game, when Shepard goes through the Reaper transport beam to The Citadel. The room Shepard arrives in is filled with piles of bloody human corpses. Not to mention the implication of what may have happened there after The Reapers seized the Citadel and moved it to Earth. And that they did so so quickly, you never even got a message about the attack until everything was done. Made worse by the Keeper present, silently sorting through the bodies. As we know from the second game, the Keepers have been known to take corpses on the Citadel and process them in the protein vats.
What makes that even worse is that the last time Shepard was at the Citadel, pretty much every character not directly involved in construction of the Crucible, on Shepard's crew, or back on Earth with Anderson was on the Citadel, thnking that it was safe. Commander Bailey, your buddy from C-Sec? The Councilors? Matriarch Atheyta, Liara's father? Conrad Verner and his newly discovered girlfriend Jenna? That cute little girl who was waiting for her parents to arrive? The entire staff at Huerta Memorial hospital (including either Dr. Michel or Dr. Chakwas, depending on who you recruited)? Kolyat Krios? Literally millions of refugees? All gone... dying horribly and turned into fodder for the Reapers by the Keepers.
Worse in the Extended Cut, which adds a small scene in which you actually see Shepard being flung into the room, accompanied by an unexplained and very creepy sound, after which Shepard wakes up startled. One fanon theory has it that the sound is Shepard's cybernetics kicking in to jump start his/her heart, implying that Shepard died when s/he got to the beam and was being dumped in that room with the rest of the human corpses.
Apart from all obvious terror that you witness in your missions, watching how the entire universe deteriorate into a Crapsack World due to the war is really chilling. Especially in the refugee camp that was set up at the dock holding area in the Citadel, with the sounds in the background consisting of children crying and the TV reporting news that more worlds are being overrun by the Reapers. The general sense of hopelessness is both a tearjerker and terrifying in that it is so real and so personal.
The final part of London. The Destroyer is dead, Hammer Task Force is massing, getting ready for the final push. And then Harbinger lands beyond the Conduit.
Take a look at Javik. Then take a look at the Collectors. Since Collectors are Prothean, see how different they are. The Reapers removed their mouths and digestive systems, forced the growth of a chitinous tissue, and gave the eyes a strange, soulless glow. Who knows what else has been modified under the skin.
The final scene of ANY of the endings. The Normandy has crash-landed on an unidentified garden world, implied to be on the other side of a mass relay from the Local Cluster. The mass relays have just been destroyed. This means that the crew of the Normandy are trapped. Rations are going to run out eventually. But wait, you say. It's a garden world, so they'll be ok. Right? And then you realise - the Normandy has both levo and dextro crew. The garden world can't be both. So either Tali and Garrus are going to starve to death - or EVERYONE ELSE will.
Jossed, thankfully. Patrick Weekes and others have stated that the Normandy has dextro-amino food stores, so Garrus and Tali will be fine. And with the EC, there are two possibilities that will save them. Either you've obtained middling War Assets, and you can see the crew rebuilding the Normandy to escape...or you have high enough War Assets that the Normandy just takes off and leaves. Still, it was touch and go for a bit there.
You hear that sound? That GNRRRGGHRGHHGGRRRGHGHGHRRRGHRHGRHH the Reapers make? It's specifically tuned to induce a panic response in organics, and it can eventually result in indoctrination. That sound instills fear in YOU, the player. And the horn cannot be forgotten; it's like an Ear Worm for Hell Is That Noise. So, whenever somebody brings up Reapers again, you hear that noise in your head. YOU'RE BEING INDOCTRINATED THROUGH A TV SCREEN.
"It's too late for me. They're still in my head, stealing my thoughts."
If you try to shoot the Cataylst, or tell it to screw itself; its voice will go from disturbing to flat out scary as hell as it lets the cycle continue. And then you get a front-row seat while watching the Reapers kill EVERYONE...and it's all your fault.
In the Extended Cut's Synthesis ending, the energy wave hits a husk attacking an Alliance solider. After the wave passes over, the husk rolls off of the solider, looking confused and bewildered. Implying that the husk has been freed from Reaper control and isn't a mindless killing machine. Meaning it's either a full blank slate in a humanoid form or its regained the memories and personality that it had before being transformed, through torture at the hands of the Reapers/Cerberus, used to kill people. And if it happened to one husk, it's likely to have happened to all of them. Husks, cannibals, marauders, banshees,brutes... ALL of them. This got even worse when Retaliation revealed that scions and praetorians still exist.
Something about the krogan with glowing green eyes in the Synthesis ending is just unsettling.
Shepard-Reaper in the updated Control ending is absolutely terrifying.
In the Renegade Control ending, there are two lines that are shiver-worthy when coming from the current leader of the Reaper forces:
The background music - which is creepy at best, sinister at the worst - and the tone Shepard-Reaper uses throughout the whole thing DOES NOT HELP. Hearing the above lines coming from a flat monotone is beyond disturbing, especially since it implies Shepard is losing him/herself to the Reapers and will soon be no different than the Catalyst. Thankfully, the Paragon version, while still kinda creepy, doesn't have the same horrifying tone and implications.
Cerberus half-husking their own people, which you see on Mars. The N7: Cerberus Lab mission heavily implies that they're also indoctrinating them - someone named C. Talavi left a journal entry upon recruitment remarking that the Cerberus people seem so intense all the time, they never smile, the suicide-upon-capture orders are kind of extreme, and there's a procedure he's supposed to start tomorrow called "integration", which he sarcastically claims to be looking forward to. The second journal entry is devoid of all that personality. Integration a success. Cerberus is his friend. Suicide on capture orders acknowledged. What makes it worse? Later in the game there's background chatter where a private wants to fight husks and not Cerberus, because her brother joined the latter. Her last name? Talavi.
The face of the Assault Trooper on Mars◊ is pretty creepy: he looks like a husk. Some fanart shows what a Phantom might look like, and it is somehow even scarier.
Grissom Academy has Cerberus forces trying to convince students to surrender. You come across a few of these students out in the open, protecting themselves with dome-shaped barriers or shields, with Cerberus troopers standing just outside them calling them by name and complimenting their skills in threatening tones.
One of the most upsetting parts of that mission is right after speaking to Kahlee. You see two Cerberus troopers dragging a student down the hall screaming with only a glass window between you and them. And you can't help him.
A pretty minor example, but if Kaidan's alive and part of the crew, then after Sanctuary he has a few lines about wanting to go after and kill the Illusive Man. A lot of the crew says similar things, but the cold intensity and sort of joy in his voice is unsettling. Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
"Can you feel it, Shepard? Feel the quickening? Illusive Man better say his prayers tonight, because we're coming for him. Murderous asshole. Oh yeah. Tide is turning. I can feel it."
The Leviathan DLC has you visit a mining facility under attack from Reaper forces. The miners are bizarrely calm, and keep telling Shepard to turn back. You keep finding datapads detailing the weird topics they're studying, none of which seem to have anything to do with mining. There are a few consoles that give Vid Tours, and the last one says the company "focuses on" before glitching out and going to a camera watching Shepard. The whole thing is incredibly creepy. Then you get to the end and discover Leviathan has been controlling the miners for 10 years.
The incredibly unnerving exchange with the two receptionists. You can just feel the tone plummets into something ice-cold when the receptionist says "And now... we're done. Step away. You don't belong here." At which point any sane person realises something is very wrong, as everyone has turned into an Empty Shell and the creepiness factor goes Up to Eleven.
"You shouldn't be here."
The Female Miner who has her back to you when Shepard first enters the facility. While everyone turns to look at you, the way in particular she slowly turns her head around is ridiculously creepy to watch.
The Wham Line at the end of that mission when Shepard realises that the Miners have never heard of the Reapers!
Shepard: What year do you think it is?!
That lab with a still-reacting severed head. James calls it a Husk head, but it looks more like the head of a Cerberus trooper, not having the weird texture or the techno-ballgag. It swivels to face you. And bites. A Nightmare Fetishist Shepard can decide to take it home and just... keep it in his/her cabin. Where it will STARE at your Space Hamster...before screaming at it. Poor Boo.
Remember the Extended Cut of the Synthesis Ending, where the Husk appeared horrified and self-aware of their new state? Now imagine what happened in the Synthesis Ending to the poor bastard who's head that was...
On the other hand, Shepard brings a healthy dose of this to knock the Leviathan down a peg. They are alarmed that Shepard had the tenacity and determination to not only track them down, but went alone to confront them, admitting they have never seen anything like Shepard before. Like Harbinger, their first thought was to keep Shepard for study and turn them into their Dragon, but when Shepard defiantly refused, they immediately abandoned that plan, realising that when something the Reapers are afraid of tells you to let them go, do it!
In addition, the Leviathans are now known to exist. So even in an ending where Shepard dies, the galaxy knows Leviathan is out there. They know how it operates. Combined with having faced indoctrination before, you realize that if anything, NOT completing Leviathan is worse because if you win without having done Leviathan, then they can wait in the shadows perfectly like the original Reapers. By finding them, you've revealed them to the galaxy and given warning which minimizes the blindsiding that would occur if Leviathan attempted anything. Some extra Nightmare Retardant for those who need it.
Completing the mission actually gives the players an option to warn the Reapers in the late-game. And the Catalyst doesn't care. At all. This cycle will be their end as well. It makes no difference.
Geth Juggernaut: You and your squadmates are moving towards the intended target, with the intent to destroy it at all costs. You come across the target... and it's a ten-foot-tall, hulking machine with a really big gun. Your first squadmate opens fire... and the machine hits him with a blue bolt of energy. Your companion dissolves screaming' into a pool of... something. The next poor sap attempts to flank the geth, and is promptly incinerated by the small floating turret the geth deployed. Now you and your last buddy are shooting desperately, and the geth doesn't give a damn. It walks slowly over to your friend, and raises its omni-tool. Jets of blue energy lance out, and within seconds, the person who you'd been fighting alongside is nothin more than a puddle of blue lquid. Then you look down at your piddly little SMG, and realize that you are well and truly screwed.
N7 Slayer/Shadow: You're shooting at the target... and then s/he's not there. Where did s/he go? What happened? You hear a shriek from behind you, and you turn around just in time to see your comrade's head fly off. You start shooting , but the enemy disappears again and decapitates another Trooper. And there's nothing you can do but keep shooting, until you feel the cold steel of the enemy's blade against your throat.
The Reapers are absolutely terrifying in this game. Every part of the game only further jams in the truth that this war is a competely Hopeless War. Right from out of the gate, they utterly steamroll over the batarians, wiping out a majority of their species in a few weeks. They cut through the majority of the human fleet and conquer the whole Sol system in a matter hours and just a portion of their fleet has the most powerful military in the galaxy, the turians, just barely holding out against them. When they conquer a system, they bring their leaders aboard as for "peace talks", indoctrinate them and turn them against their own people. And the husk versions in this game are nightmarish. Galactic citizens begin using the most desperate tactics imaginable from kamikaze attacks and destroying up their entire planets, hoping to take down as many as possible. The problem is that it's not nearly enough.It's easy to see why all galatic civilization put their faith in a weapon that no one knows the capabilities of.
Our galaxy is one giant sandbox for a single programmed intelligence to experiment with, to find new ways to succeed in its ultimate goal, completely missing the point of its original intended directive by taking its objective too literally and too vaguely. Not only that, but it created artificial methods in which to speed up the process of what it was intended to avert in the first place all so it could arrive to the final stage in its experiment time and time again. This only drives the realization deeper into us that we were never in control of our fate from the word go. It truly makes you wonder how many before us actually realized this before they were harvested.
The Retaliation DLC Trailer has one giant pants-wetting moment, aside from The FUCKING COLLECTORS ARE BACK!, which is this- the team get ready to fight the Collectors- WHEN A REAPER DROPS BEHIND THEM. Not a small one, either- one about the size of... '''Harbinger?!''' controlling the Collectors again?!
We all know a Renegade Shepard can make some questionable decisions under the banner of the ends justify the means, but the interrupt that appears to sacrifice thousands of Omega citizens to save Aria and Nyreen instead of looking for an alternative comes very quickly, and Shepard is extremely nonchalant about the deed, and shows no remorse. Bear in mind this is not like killing the Rachni Queen in order to potentially stop billions from being killed by them if they turned out to be evil, or Arrival where delaying the Reapers could have been very very important this is for the benefit of a crime boss and a mercenary. And the worst part? If you don't take the Interrupt the first time, it comes up again TWICE. Even the most Paragon Shepard is having to fight very, very hard to avert the urge to slap the button.
If you don't interrupt Aria from choking Petrovsky to death, her voice is very calm and cold throughout, and the whole scene can be quite uncomfortable.
The datapads lying around the crashed ship on the Leviathan's world. The crew - the human crew, based on the names - were stranded and eventually turned to cannibalism, their captain accepting his fate as as food as they're eating him.
Worse, based on Leviathan's attitude, this wasn't its doing, it wasn't behind them doing this. They did this on their own.
If it wasn't for Glyph Shepard and crew would likely have perished in the Archives, as it's implied the rest of your team is in the same predicament as Shepard.
As pointed out in-universe, Shepard's Clone and Brooks are essentially the Evil Counterpart of Shepard and Miranda. The worrying part is that if Miranda had gone ahead with implanting a control chip, a Renegade Shepard would be virtually the same.
There is nothing to say that there aren't more Shepard Clones out there.
Whilst running around in the Archives, Shepard can come across the entry for the battle of the Citadel back in the first game. Approach it, and it'll begin playback of a summary the commonly known version of events, that it was Saren & the Geth, until it recognises that Shepard (and the Virmire Survivor if he/she is with you) is a Spectre, at which point it unlocks the classified section of the recording and reveal the the actual events & notes that Sovereign was a Reaper. The Council KNEW the truth about the Reapers, and still did nothing.
The Particle Rifle. It fucking liquefies the corpses, leaving nothing behind but puddles of... stuff. Imagine being an enemy, watching a friend go down fighting and then the corpse just... dissolves...
The Refusal Ending. Fine, just giving the choices the middle finger? Now consider that the end result is everyone dying. Joker, EDI, Liara, Hackett... and those are those just guaranteed to make it to ME3. Everyone you kept alive, you just threw their lives away to say no to the endings, leaving them and trillions more to horrific deaths at the hands of the Reapers, being turned into various husks, or getting turned into Reaper slushie.
For additional nightmare fuel, imagine Shepard's love interest in that playthrough. Now imagine them huskified. Liara as a Banshee, Garrus as a Marauder, Garrus/Wrex as a Brute, Ashley, Miranda, or Kaidan as husks or even used as the arm cannon for Cannibals... and now consider husks are made. Got the images in mind, seeing what happens to them, considering what it must be like for them? Good, because that's what Refusal means. You're welcome.
An unintentional example: the Recon Hood is buggy in such a way that in cutscenes where it gets taken off, Shepard suddenly loses his/her eyelids and develops this terrifying bug-eyed look.
Mass Effect: Retribution has a few genuinely creepy parts, mostly because it explicitly spells out what indoctrination is like. The Cerberus experiments on him involving implanting Reaper nanotech having taken And I Must Scream to new levels, Paul Grayson spends entire chapters desperately trying to exert some kind of control over his body, trying to stop himself, move a muscle, anything- but the Reapers are so skilled that they quickly find ways to keep him incapacitated. By the end, he's trapped within his own body, the Reapers having full control over his body and full access to his memories. Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize this matches the exact same description Matriarch Benezia gave of her indoctrination. ("I am NOT myself, I never will be again!")
What makes it worse is how subtle the Reapers are when they're controlling him. He tries to resist them and commit suicide, and is able to resist a direct effort to control him, so the Reapers instead subtly manipulate his emotional centers to make Grayson decide that suicide is a coward's way out, and instead he seeks help from Kahlee to fight the infestation - which is exactly what they want. In other words, they manipulate it so that Grayson's decisions on how to fight back against them helps the Reapers achieve their goals.
Kicking off the beginning of the Reapers' invasion after Mass Effect 2: Arrival, Mass Effect: Invasion introduces us to a whole new type of Husk called Adjutants. These creatures were created by Cerberus in an effort to better understand Reaper technology and use it against them. Unfortunately, the Adjutants escape, hijack some ships and raid the Omega space station. With every kill, they assimilate the corpses which, in their own horrific way, rapidly change with newly grown wires, converted flesh and reassembled bone structures into other Adjutants, no matter the species. Spreading like a plague mixed with wildfire, the crime boss Aria has to deal with the Adjutants before they take over the entire station and possibly escape beyond the star system. To make it worse, it's confirmed TIM intentionally released the Adjutants just so he could take control of Omega.