These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Appears to be played straight, but ultimately subverted by Garrus. He appears to take his new scars well, but by speaking to Kelly or Garrus himself, you'll find out he's in serious pain (emotionally and physically) and just putting on a brave face for the sake of the mission. When you're romancing him, when he tries to dissuade Shepard, he says: "Look, Shepard, I'm not—" He stops there, but his hand is touching the scarred side of his face for a moment before he drops it. His Lair of the Shadow Broker dossier also reveals that he won't go on video chat with his sister since he was injured. In the third game, however, Dr. Chakwas mentions that she's discussed dermal regeneration with him, but he refused, as he seems to like his scars.
The amount of trauma Tali is put through is almost comical, yet she remains outwardly optimistic, polite, and helpful through it all. Ultimately subverted, as demonstrated when Shepard speaks to her on the Normandy, saying that Tali deserved better. Tali will state that life isn't about what you deserve — and that she thinks her father would have found it fitting that she mourned him by blowing up a lot of geth. In addition, if you read Tali's dossier on board the Shadow Broker's vessel, it reveals that Tali tried to write to the families of the quarian soldiers that died on Haestrom, but put her email aside for the moment when she was unable to think of how she could justify their sacrifices. She also downloads a book on grief and loss, although whether its about the loss of her father, squadmates on Haestrom, or Shepard during the original Normandy's destruction, or some combination thereof, is up to the fandom's interpretation.
Played very straight by Jacob. It's pretty telling that after his loyalty mission, he's more bewildered by Miranda's involvement in the distress signal being brought to his attention rather than the actual circumstances behind his father's disappearance.
Jacob does state that in regards to his father he's "buried everything but a body".
Samara also has a case of this trope, due to her determination in following her justicar Code to the letter in spite of the price being her obligation to kill her own daughter.
The Reave power is considered by many to be the best bonus talent in the second game, period. There is thereby no point in using any of the others.
The DLC weapons outclass all of the ingame weapons or are on par with the Infinity+1 Sword weapon of choice found halfway in the game. There is no reason to even pick up any of the other weapons like the Tempest and Vindicator when you already have the Locust and Mattock for example.
Demonic Spiders: Scions. Their shockwave attack can instantly deplete your shields and prolong your regeneration, it can hit you even if you are behind cover, and it has very long range. On top of all that, Scions can take a lot of damage before going down. Scions are the reason that the Reaper IFF mission has become That One Level for many players.
The various Pyros also qualify, as the flamethrower mechanics and the game's lack of Mercy Invincibility means that if they get close to Shepard and score a hit, Shepard will likely end up trapped in the hit animation as the Pyro roasts him/her to death. Not that it takes them long to do that in any event, as their flamethrowers can cause a lot of damage. The only saving grace is that Pyros only have a basic health bar (except, of course, on Insanity), although even then they can take more punishment than most mooks.
Unless you have access to Incinerate or Overload, in which case they're less "challenging" and more "Ludicrous Gibs".
A Shepard dies and and is resurrected by the Lazarus Project. Shepard must go to Omega and then a bar called Afterlife to recruit an Archangel. Later, Shepard must go to another bar named Afterlife and a prison named Purgatory. With all the downloadable content, Shepard will have twelve followers he/she receives help from in order to save humanity.
There's also a gun called the Revenant.
Go ahead and pick the Renegade ending in the Overlord DLC. Does that final image look familiar at all?
During his mini mission, Joker wonders if he's dooming the galaxy by hooking up EDI. At one point, he mutters, "...now I have to spend all day computing pi because Joker plugged in the Overlord." Then comes the OverlordDLC...
A YouTube user made a video that depicted the series ending like Neon Genesis Evangelion. It was meant to be a joke, but it turned out to be prophetic when the third installment came out and the fans' reaction towards the endings being similar to Evangelion's 16 years earlier.
One of Jack's lines is "If I die, I'm haunting you, Shepard," a typical Badass Boast that shows her Hidden Depths that she believes in that sort of thing. In Mass Effect 3, those who have died haunt Shepard.
The Sentinel's Tech Armor. With the right upgrades, the cooldown times are short, when destroyed it automatically replenishes Shepard's natural shields and causes a wide pulse that stumbles nearby enemies, and when activated automatically sets squadmates' cooldowns to zero (the last one thanks to Good Bad Bugs).
The M-12 Locust submachine gun you unlock during Kasumi's Loyalty Mission tears through the rest of the game like paper. It has a 25% bonus against all targets (as opposed to the 0/50%/50% of other submachine guns), has a base damage of 25 (over a 50% of the Tempest and 25% over the Shuriken), fires slow and accurately enough that you can accurately pick off targets at long range and carries so much ammunition that you can at the start of a mission hammer half of it into a nearby wall and still be fine for the rest of it.
The DLC Mattock Heavy Rifle with Adrenaline Rush.
The Widow. And enough skill on the player's part to headshot enemies.
Miranda and Thane if Shepard is an Adept. Warp is extremely useful but has a relatively long cooldown time. The player can have Shepard cast Pull or Singularity, which both have much shorter cooldowns, then use Miranda or Thane's Warp to detonate it, allowing the player to continue casting crowd-control powers or throw out their own Warp last for extra damage.
Samara's loyalty power, Reave. It deals a large amount of continuous damage to the target, does double damage to armor and biotic barriers, and heals the user if used on an organic target. Since Collectors and their minions exclusively use armor or barriers, rather than shields, having Shepard equipped with Reave (via Advanced Training) makes the suicide mission a cakewalk. Just find good cover, spam Reave at anything tougher than an Abomination that comes at you, rinse, and repeat.
Stasis, the bonus power gained for Liara allows you to freeze enemies in their place. Once released, the enemy will still be temporarily stunned and extra vulnerable. An unexpected bug made them more vulnerable than intended, allowing players to oneshot nearly every enemy possible. Not to mention if you get lucky and stasis a Collector right before it's possessed by Harbinger, you could possibly one shot it too.
Miranda's loyalty power Slam. Instant-kill on Husks, even at the lowest level, it's also incredibly cathartic to spend the final stage of the bossfight against Tela Vasir just repeatedly slamming her onto the ground until she stops squealing.
Inferno Ammo, one of the upgrade choices to Incendiary Ammo. Often overlooked in favor of Armor Piercing Ammo, which has a higher damage bonus. Inferno Ammo works against armor and only does 10% less damage, however, so it's extremely unlikely to be in a situation where the difference would actually give Armor Piercing Ammo a kill that Inferno Ammo wouldn't get on the same shot. Inferno Ammo also applies a damage-over-time effect, and is area-of-effect when it hits a target, neither of which Armor Piercing will do.
The ship that Morinth left Illium on is the Demeter. In Greek mythology, Demeter was an extremely powerful goddess who lost her daughter Persephone to the underworld and walked the earth endlessly searching for her. Sounds a bit like a certain justicar... which makes this a literalMythology Gag. For bonus points, the Demeter was also the name of the ship the Count traveled on in Dracula.
Does the name of Jacob's father's ship (the Hugo Gernsbeck) sound familiar to you? If you're a sci-fi buff, it should. Hugo Gernsbeck is generally considered the father of modern science fiction and founder of the Amazing Stories magazine. It's who the Hugo Award is named after. Although considering that the ship named after him is populated in the game by a bunch of self-centered jackasses who routinely perform Mind Rape on their crew, it's not the best tribute they could have given the father of modern science fiction...
One of Legion's random comments when hacking geth rocket turrets during their loyalty mission is "Executing sudo command." "Sudo," short for "superuser do," is Linux syntax that allows an admin to give other users temporary admin privileges. "Geth do not use windows" indeed...
Another thing from the Legion loyalty mission, you are told that the Geth virus affects the AI decision making process by changing the result of one calculation to be out by a very small amount. In real artificial neural networks, each artificial neuron has an activation threshold. If all its inputs add up to be equal to or greater than the threshold, the artificial neuron will fire, otherwise it wont. A small error in the sum can influence whether a given neuron will fire or not when it normally should, and if it fires in error it will have a knock-on effect on all the downstream neurons. If geth use artificial neural networks of the sort understood by current computer science then a small maths error is a plausible way of getting a geth to reach a different conclusion than it normally would.
This remark from Shepard when commiserating with the tech store clerk on the Citadel for a discount:
Jack's dossier in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC includes a poem she penned under the pseudonym Jacqueline Nought. One of the lines goes, "This is not a place of honor/No esteemed dead are buried here". This is a reference to a warning to be posted on top of a nuclear waste disposal facility to dissuade future societies from breaking the seal and exposing themselves to radiation.
Genius Programming: Mass Effect 2 runs much more smoothly on the same PC configuration compared to the previous game, despite having better graphics.
Goddamn Bats: Husks, on any difficulty. They don't use guns, they just run up to you and start whacking you. Mowing them down before they can get to you can be hard because they move ridiculously fast. They also tend to swarm you while you're focused on trying to shoot down something else. They have a few Weaksauce Weaknesses (biotics, being set on fire, being frozen, being shot in the legs), but these tend to not be particularly useful if you're facing ten at once. Excepting Soldiers with a Revenant machinegun and Adrenaline Rush.
Or a single Vanguard (or Jack, which is really the same thing) with a well-leveled Shockwave. At that point, the difficulty shifts from "shoot them before they rip you to shreds" to "get them to line up for maximum awesome points."
Hitting melee halfway between the Claymore's reload animation causes it to auto-complete, and you can fire instantly with it. The Claymore is the single-shot uber-tier shotgun, and turns into a semi-automatic.
This trick actually works on any non-heavy weapon in the game... even the Widow. The key is hitting the melee button once the ejected thermal clip is visible.
There was also a button trick that allowed a character as early as level 6 to max out every ability. This was removed by a patch on May 17, 2010.
The save file transfer doesn't properly import your handling of Conrad Verner. It defaults to the Renegade response, which has you "shoving a gun" in his face and inadvertently making him go "hardcore". There are hex fixes that allow one to see the ''ME1'' Paragon Flagged start.
If certain conditions are met while Charging as a Vanguard, Shepard's shield will shoot through the roof, going from between 150-325 to somewhere close to 4000. It only lasts for a single mission but you could essentially go through the rest of it meleeing things to death; and yes, charging would indeed refill it to max.
There's a sound glitch (triggered by certain biotic powers, like Pull) that can result in dead/incapacitated enemies screaming nonstop due to a looping voice file. This is particularly amusing/appropriate (and, apparently, easier to trigger) in Arrival, because of the indoctrinated troops you fight on the asteroid (quite fitting despite being unintentional).
Every weapon's firing rate slows down tremendously during Adrenaline Rush... except the DLC Mattock.
Guide Dang It: Good luck getting everyone through the suicide mission alive on your first playthrough. You're given the knowledge on how to do that throughout the game, and hints are dropped on preparations you should make, but there is still a possibility that, even if you get all the upgrades, all members are loyal, and you send them for right job in the endgame area, one of them might die at the end due to the way the game calculates each member's "defense" score during the Hold the Line portion. Inversely, if you want more than one or two specific characters to die in order to change the next game, it requires making the "wrong" decisions very precisely. It's almost impossible to kill everyone, or as many as you can get away with while still keeping Shepard alive, if you so much as recruited Zaeed.
When the crew is kidnapped. It comes out of nowhere, and if you don't handle it immediately, you can get a significantly worse ending. For added fun: there's a very good chance that your party won't be fully loyal at that point, which can lead to even more problems...
Suffice to say, if a character isn't loyal, odds are they'll die, regardless of your actions to protect them during the suicide mission. It's possible to keep non-loyal characters alive, but that generally requires a knowledge of the underlying systems governing the mission that a first-time player isn't going to have.
Hilarious in Hindsight: During Kasumi's loyalty mission, she mentions that part of the cover story she put together for Shepard was an article on him in Badass Weekly. This reference was part of the reason the author of Badass of the Week wrote an article for Shepard after completing the trilogy. In a way, Kasumi did get that article on Shepard written.
Like You Would Really Do It: Subverted. Shepard dies ten minutes into the game, and is brought backů but can potentially die for real at the end of the game, so, yes, they would really do it. Then subverted again, in that save games where the entire team dies won't carry over to Mass Effect 3.
If you do something to enemies (such as set them on fire), they will let out a scream that goes on for about thirty seconds (sometimes even after they're dead, due to a bug) before they shut up.
Assuming control. Shepard, if I must tear you apart, I will. This hurts you. During combat, Boss in Mook ClothingBig Bad Harbinger is painfully able to spray comments about you and your teammates at about the same rate as his weapon.
The screams of the VI during the Overlord DLC seems designed to make you jump out of your seat and tear off your headphones. During the trek through the inert geth ship, the designers go out of their way to blurt out the noise at just the right time to scare the crap out of the player—they even lampshade it with a crew log about Halloween.
The "whooshing" noise that the doors on the Normandy make when they open and close, especially since they do so automatically whenever Shepard is within five feet of them, so you hear a chorus of that sound every time you walk down the hall.
Ironically enough, "assuming control" becomes this when Legion says it on its loyalty mission.
Using Slam is the grinding sound of using biotics couple with bones breaking. Oh yes.
The Widow. Boom. Headshot. And you're probably hearing it in slow motion, since if you HAVE it you're either an Infiltrator and get Bullet Time when you look down the sight, or a soldier and using Adrenaline Rush to help conserve ammo.
The kill-confirmation comments your teammates make are also very satisfying; more so when they're complimenting you, usually during a headshot kill.
Miranda's battle quotes. For some reason, Yvonne Strahovski's tone of voice makes Miranda sound less like she's fighting for her life and more like she's actually playing a game.
The mix between a chime and a whoosh that plays right before you perform a Biotic Charge. Something is about to lose a few teeth, and your shields automatically recharge from it.
Narm: Jacob's famous "Heavy risk... but the priiize..." line.
Kal'Reegar, the RPG-wielding quarian near the end of Tali's recruitment mission, is voiced by Adam Baldwin. Unless you take the Paragon interrupt and keep him away from the succeeding fight, or kill the Geth Colossus fast enough with his assistance, he definitely fits this trope.
"The Council thought that Blasto, the first hanar Spectre, would play by the rules..." Luckily, you can hear this more than once if you wander around on Illium long enough.
Niftu Cal. "But then, I began to smell my greatness!"
The hapless merc standing near a window during Thane's recruitment mission. "I've got nothing more to say to you—"
The destruction of the Normandy. Being reunited with Ashley/Kaidan. Seeing your crew get kidnapped when the Collectors attack the second Normandy. Seeing what happens to the people abducted by the Collectors, especially if it happens to your crew because you didn't get to them in time. Plenty more. Mass Effect 2 likes this trope.
A good chunk of the loyalty missions are also this. You have a reallymessed up squad.
If anyone was actually thinking or hoping they would find all of the abducted colonists from Horizon alive at the end and be able to save them, they were tragically mistaken. The sight of what happens to one trapped in a Collector pod is not an image you'd easily forget.
The ending of "Arrival" DLC is an enormous punch in the gut for both player and Shepard. Shepard is forced to destroy a solar system and its 305,000 batarian inhabitants in order to prevent an imminent Reaper invasion. Hackett notes that even though he knows Shepard did the right thing, the Alliance will force him/her to pay for this and that the batarians will attempt to do the same thing.
ReplacementScrappy Mechanic: The Mako planet-roving gets replaced with two: The Hammerhead (in DLC only), and planet scanning. Even BioWare admits that, in retrospect, planet scanning was handled poorly in Mass Effect 2. On the official forums at least one BioWare employee has said that "nobody liked" it, and as a result the planet scanning system has been completely overhauled for Mass Effect 3 so that it's less tedious and time-consuming.
Ships That Pass In The Night: Kolyat (Thane's son) and Oriana (Miranda's younger sister) are fairly popular for a couple who've never even been on the same planet at the same time.
Special Effects Failure: Despite being a visually sound game, it does fall into this on a few occasions. Most common are issues with clipping, which, if you tried to list them all, could probably get a whole page all to themselves.
Miranda's physical features sometimes verge on this trope. See Uncanny Valley below.
During the first conversation with Garrus on the Normandy, Shepard is meant to be leaning on a railing, but ends up leaning on thin air.
During the meeting with the Council, Udina's eyes notably clip through his character model when he walks in.
When you wake Grunt up and he pins Shepard against the wall, his shoulder armor visibly clips through his upper body, and Grunt's upper arms always clip through his armor.
Mordin's eyes often clip through his eyelids, and Miranda's neck tends to clip through her collar.
Because there's twelve party members, and they're largely interchangeable during missions, cutscenes often use the same animations for each character. This works fine for the most part, but can get strange if you have Garrus and/or Grunt in your party—their models are noticeably larger than the rest of the characters', meaning that an animation or pose which works for the other ten characters ends up...not working for Garrus or Grunt. For example, bring Garrus on Tali's loyalty mission—during Tali's trial, check the background. Garrus is sitting in the stands...with his arms clipping through his legs.
During character customization the player can select a variety of eye shapes for either Shepard. It's possible to pick eyes for Fem!Shep which are incapable of fully closing because her eyelids have a fixed size.
In Arrival, the Object Rho battle if you are going for the Last Stand achievement. Luckily, this one's optional; the game will continue even if you fail.
The Praetorian. The potential of being hit by its Death Choir drop attack has every player, regardless of class, desperately scuttling away whenever it drifts too close for comfort. Which is to say, constantly.
The geth battleship cannon in Overlord. It fires automatic One Hit Kills. And it has a very wide area of effect.
The disabled Collector ship can be this, especially the first room. The problem is, you hardly ever get anything other than low cover, which Harbinger excels at knocking you out of, which results in you getting cut apart by Collectors and Scions unless you get back in immediately. It doesn't help that the Illusive Man forces you onto it, and that he's leading you into a trap because you're taking too long.
That One Sidequest: Aria's side mission to retrieve the crates. It's an incredible amount of effort to go through (three freaking YMIR Mechs!) for the three or four surviving crates. Given how early this mission is given, it's one of the hardest fights in the game.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In the first game, it was revealed that Cerberus was behind the Thresher Maws that killed a Sole Survivor Shepard's squad. Shepard works with Cerberus in this game, but is never given a chance to call anyone in Cerberus out for the events on Akuze or the background-specific sidequest from the first game (in which it's revealed that there was another survivor, Corporal Toombs, who was captured and used as a test subject by Cerberus scientists). All you get is a very angry email from Toombs calling Shepard out for working with Cerberus, much like everyone else in the game.
The Unreal Engine 3's age is starting to show with its inability to handle flowing water without significant modification; PC Gamer's review wondered why the characters cried "oil slicks".
A lot of the faces just don't look quite right. Much of it has to do with the lighting.
Miranda's face sometimes leans more towards a lumpy potato than her voice actor's face (Yvonne Strahovski). She also looks the worst in bad lighting, but on the other hand looks better in softer and warmer lighting.
Dr. Chakwas's face is particularly frightening in the brief moment when she swivels in her chair to face you before a conversation.
The Illusive Man may be this deliberately. According to one dev diary, they deliberately made him perfectly symmetrical. Combine that with the normal mapping on his skin, and he's deep in the valley.
Jacob's face model looks fine when his mouth is closed, but the width of his lips makes too many of his teeth show up when he's talking.
Morinth and Samara, despite being modeled on the same woman, have different animations. Samara looks a lot more normal than Morinth and her creepy square teeth and her creepy smile. Considering who Morinth is, this may very well be intentional.
Many of the female character's proportions just look wrong, particularly Miranda's (a realistic head on a spindly, very thin body but with big breasts and buttocks). In fairness to this one though, this is par for the course for many female video game characters.
C-Sec has instituted new security and travel rules, including seemingly random no-fly lists and item confiscations, as a knee-jerk reaction to a massive attack. They're so ineffective they label a pair of asari as geth infiltrators and fail to notice the geth in your party. Anyone familiar with post-9/11 airport security in the US will recognize the system and the common criticisms of it.
Also, a great deal of the background dialogue in the planet of Illium appears to be an elaborate satire of extreme anarcho-capitalist political beliefs.
Jack even lets a female Shepard down lightly if the latter tries to keep talking to her.
Base Breaker: Whilst possessing her share of fans due to sympathizing with her past and Character Development, many dislike Jack for her overly-brazen tomboyishness. Some guys like that, though...
And then there are the people who have no problem with overly-brazen tomboyishness, but are extremely put off by her psychopathic, misanthropic, and generally Ax-Crazy tendencies. Although that might have been okay, if she was at least somewhat personable about it.
Quite a number of fans found her too abrasive to spend much time with. She is constantly abusive no matter how nice you are to her, if you turn down the casual sex scene she seems to get even worse and you had better be sure you want to be in a romance with her, if you get fed up with how much of a Jerk Ass she is (easy to do) you can try and break it off, and the game makes it seem like this is the right option, but then she snaps. High maintenance, severe emotional turmoil and an attitude that'll have you running to the nearest Dark Action Girl for comfort as Jack makes them soft and cuddly in comparison.
Fan Nickname: SuZe was her nickname before people knew it was "Jack". Short for "Subject Zero". It's fallen out of use now, probably because hardly anyone in the game calls her "Subject Zero." For good reason.
Jerkass Woobie: As revealed by her loyalty mission, Jack was constantly tortured by Cerberus in order to turn her into the ultimate weapon. When she was a kid, she would be thrown into an arena to fight to the death against wild animals and other biotic kids, in addition to the brutality she had to endure from the scientists and guards.
Les Yay/Foe Yay: With Miranda, at least as far as some fans are concerned. Mocked and Lampshaded in the Citadel DLC where Shepard can "helpfully" suggest that the two get laid, even claiming that all of their supposed sniping must surelyindicatehidden feelings.
Angst? What Angst?: The strongest complaint fans have is that he is "boring." Even after his loyalty mission where Shepard and company find out that Ronald Taylor has forced his crew to eat toxic food, driven off or murdered the males, and kept the women as sex slaves, he merely shrugs it off (and becomes offended if Shepard insists that he should express anything otherwise). This becomes Fridge Brilliance when Shepard gains access to the Shadow Broker's dossiers and finds Jacob was placed on the team because he's a "stabilising element." He's supposed to be this way, and with good reason, considering how screwed up the rest of Shepard's squaddies are.
His criticism of Thane (and lack of similar scenes with the more obviously objectionable teammates) in his boarding scene and his suggestion to space Legion rather than re-activate it have drawn ire from fans.
His stoic demeanor, disposition and low-level development makes him come off as one without much of a personality.
His romance path often invokes Stop Being Stereotypical (sneaking into the captain's quarters). It also gives off vibes of being rather forced, by comparison to the other romances.
In the third game, he cheats on Shepard with Brynn Cole, admitting that he wasn't sure if he'd ever see Shepard again, even though it'd only been six months and Shepard didn't die this time.
Tier-Induced Scrappy: He is by far the weakest character in the game. His skills are Pull (an okay move, but useless against enemies with barriers), Incendiary Ammo (okay ammo power, but weak compared to others like Warp Ammo and Armor Piercing Ammo and redundant considering that Grunt and Shepard may also have it), and Barrier. His weapon selection could be worse, but he'd have to be able to use heavy weapons, which no one but Shepard can do, in order to make up for his shortcomings.
What really screws him up is Barrier because the AI keeps auto-casting that even at the most inopportune times for no reason. He is actually a pretty well-balanced character who is good at crowd-control thanks to Pull and Inferno Ammo and won't die as often as most of the other characters thanks to his high HP.
The Barrier problem is negated if you have the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, as you can redistribute his talent points entirely and simply choose not to spend the leftover point on Barrier.
Jacob is very useful, especially in the early game, if Shepard is a Sentinel. The Sentinel has Warp, but not Pull to detonate with it. He's arguably a better choice than Jack, who also has Pull, because his Incendiary Ammo at least functions correctly no matter the situation or difficulty setting. Jack's second power, Shockwave, grows more useless as the difficulty is turned up, because it doesn't work on protected enemies. It also can't set up a biotic combo like Pull does. Unfortunately, Jacob's Pull has no value to a Vanguardnote who has Pull or an Adeptnote who has Warp but should be using their own Pull/Singularity to set up a combo and someone else's Warp to detonate it, thus shortening their own cooldown times.
Base Breaker: Quite possibly one of the biggest examples in the entire trilogy. Most fans either love Miranda or absolutely loathe her. Its hard to find a fan who has a neutral opinion of her. Some find her hot, while others find her blatant status as Fanservice (complete with many a shot of her ass) annoying. Some feel sorry for her, while others think she's whiny and arrogant. And then there are some who don't like her for her loyalty to Cerberus.
Jerkass Woobie: She's tortured over the manner in which she was "created", had to spend her early childhood having to live up to her father's crazy high expectations, (and its also heavily implied that he murdered Miranda's older "siblings" for not meeting said expectations) and worst of all, is incapable of conceiving a child, something she desperately wants (as the Shadow Broker files on her clearly show).. Needless to say, when one takes all that into consideration, its easy to see why she can be so cold and nasty sometimes.
It also makes it unsurprising that either Paragon or Renegade dialogue choices acknowledging her flagellation over not having a single good aspect of hers to take credit for can start a romance with her. Paragon Shepard will compliment her service record, and more pointedly, her body; Renegade Shepard will try to push her buttons further until she claims Shepard himself as an example of her "damned good work".
Les Yay/Foe Yay: With Jack, at least as far as some fans are concerned. Mocked and Lampshaded in the Citadel DLC where Shepard can "helpfully" suggest that the two get laid, even claiming that all of their supposed sniping must surelyindicatehidden feelings.
Ron the Death Eater: Miranda gets this badly from some fans, who are unable to understand that in spite of her being a part of Cerberus she is not in fact a heartless sociopath who would commit genocide if the Illusive Man told her to.
Strawwoman Has A Point: "Typical Alliance attitude. So focused on hating Cerberus you're completely blind to the Realthreat." She makes other fair arguments to, namely how the Council SHOULD have listened to Shepard a long time ago and also being qualified to lead the fire-team during the Suicide Mission both times despite Jack (or Garrus)'s objections.
Uncanny Valley: Her face looks a little...off at times. Fridge Brilliance comes in when it's meant to be perfect, thus looks a little off. Frequently she comes under criticism for Special Effects Failure (not helped by the fact that her face often doesn't look too good in cold hard lighting) but her face looks a lot prettier in softer and warmer lighting.
Wangst: The main reason she's reviled by certain fans is the accusation that she fits this. It's not that she doesn't have a reason to be upset, it's because as far as many are concerned she drones on and on about how much it hurts her to be perfect and how her father was emotionally distant, whereas every other character besides Jack has bigger or equal problems that they don't complain about. The fact that she says that she was always given what she wanted and grew up in wealth has not helped matters, though she also makes a point of mentioning that there was always a catch to getting what she wanted. Still, if you play the "Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC and read the file on her it turns out that Miranda's pain goes deeper than she lets on. She wants to be a mother but cannot conceive, and even worse, it's implied that this is just one of many ways her father has tried to control her.
Memetic Mutation: Zaeed once went out to dinner with his family. He was the only survivor.
Moral Event Horizon: Letting the refinery and everyone inside burn to make sure he kills Vido. It's a bit more debatable in the Paragon resolution though, since for all his wanting to kill Vido, he does help Shepard save the refinery workers if Shepard decides to save them, and Shepard can still get his loyalty with a high enough Paragon score. And finally, he is shown to be better in 3, restricting his brutality to Cerberus, who definitely deserve it.
Secret Characters *SPOILERS*
Crack Pairing: It and Admiral Xen get shipped a lot, likely because of her Foe Yay when she calls it a "marvelous machine"
Values Dissonance: A lot of Legion's dialogue involves it explaining how the geth operate in terms both Shepard and the player can understand. During its loyalty quest, Legion will agree with Renegade Shepard's point that organic and synthetic moral values are fundamentally different when the other teammate questions the moral ramifications of rewriting the programming of the heretics, explaining that organics are individuals and that consensus takes time and effort whereas there are no individuals among synthetics and that communication between them is instantaneous. Legion will even go as far as saying that it would be racist to think otherwise.
While there are a lot of differences between the geth and organic life, it is still possible to find common ground. The following quote can be Values Resonance for a lot of people:
Draco in Leather Pants: Some of the fanbase consider her actions to be completely the fault of her genetics, which are in turn Samara's fault, and thus Samara's the monster for hunting down a serial murderer. As awful as her early life may have been, she's spent the subsequent four hundred years developing an addiction to burning out the brains of innocent victims, and there's no reason to believe she'll stop.
In the third game (provided she survived in 2), she sends a series of emails to her sisters showing that she still cares about them and just wants them to be happy, although her sisters delete them without reading them.
Evil Is Sexy: As per the vampirism parallel. Also, asari. And the skin-tight black outfit, that too.
The Scrappy: She is not well liked at all due to being a sociopath, and having no relevance to the story at all compared to her mother. Having an unsettling Uncanny Valley even though she almost looks like her mother doesn't help.
Crack Pairing: Admiral Xen and Legion get shipped a lot, likely because of Xen's Foe Yay when she calls Legion a "marvelous machine"
Moral Event Horizon: Possibly Rael'Zorah experimenting on hacking geth, an act that Zaal'Koris doesn't see as any different from torturing living beings, with the presumed end goal of hacking all the geth into forced obedience.
Most people wanted him as a squadmate as early as in ME2 after seeing him for the first time in one of the pre-release trailers. Of course, being voiced by Adam Baldwin doesn't hurt.
Base Breaker: Yet another polarizing character, due to her "psychological assessments" being generic with no real insight, her apologist attitude, and her memetic status as a complete slut. On the other end of the spectrum, some people like her sweetness and her status as Cerberus' Token Good Teammate
Player Punch: Remember when you told her you'd get everyone through the mission alive? If you didn't go through the Omega 4 Relay quickly enough after the Collectors invaded the Normandy, you get to watch her disintegrated alive and screaming.
Epileptic Trees: Some believe she's Liara's father. Yep, father, with asari being one sex and all. The game itself seems to heavily imply this, as one of the videos Shepard can watch in the Shadow Broker's archives is footage of Aethyta sitting at home alone, drinking, and staring at a holograph of (what is almost undeniably) Liara. Confirmed in Mass Effect 3.
Crack Ship: It's mostly a joke, but Harbinger/Shepard, drawing upon such lines as "I KNOW YOU FEEL THIS," is oddly popular.
Moral Event Horizon: Forcing his brother to take part in Project Overlord. That said he is shown to have defected from Cerberus in 3 and has also come to seriously regret what he did. Unfortunately for him, he's a case of Reformed, But Rejected in 3.
While her situation is understandable, she takes way more enjoyment in what she does than she needs to. She has a worryingly sadistic grin when threatening her hostage, her troops shot down civilians who were wounded, and she killed a lot of security guards at the hotel, even though she could have gotten them on her side by pointing out she was a Spectre. Her racism against purebloods also makes her motivation for targeting Liara very suspect.
Hell Is That Noise: QWEEGHPRRZZMZZKKKSKKKTTTPPP! Rendered by the subtitles as "Unintelligible", but if you know what it is, it's unsettlingly clear. "QUIET PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!"
Not only is it a horrific sound in itself, but the volume for it is incredibly loud. At a normal volume, on a normal TV, the scream is downright earsplitting. If you're wearing headphones or have a surround sound system, it'll blast your brain out of your skull.
The Woobie: Born with autism, exploited by his own brother, turned into a machine against his will, and insane from the strain of being in charge of a computer network. This guy's life is just one heartbreak after another. Unfortunately, he's incredibly unstable and dangerous, and become so withdrawn and broken he doesn't realize the harm of his actions.
Alternative Character Interpretation/Base Breaker : Were they ungrateful and overly paranoid about Shepard, or was their reaction a natural one to their former commander (and possible lover) coming back into their life after two years of being dead as part of a terrorist organization? The former cause some who didn't have a problem with them in the first game to hate them with a passion while those who thought of the latter, even to those that hate them in the first game, felt that they were unfairly spat on in favor of the love interests in this game and Liara. In the end arguments for and against their reaction can be presented, and it's caused one heck of an Internet Backdraft (even on this site!)
Fan Nickname: The Virmire Survivor, which is typically used by fans to refer to the role the surviving one of the two plays in 2 or 3, unless talking about a specific one.
Alternative Character Interpretation: The reason Liara rescues Shepard's body? Because she "couldn't let him/her go." This sound like it makes sense...if you romanced her in the first game. Notably, she still says this even if you treated her badly, barely interact with her, or if Therum was the last planet you visited in the first game. Counting the fact that she kept a piece of Shepard's old N7 armor in her apartment in a display case and didn't tell any of the other squadmates even if Shepard was in a relationship with one of them, this causes quite a few fans to assume that she is either a Stalker with a Crush or secretly a Yandere. Liara's comment if she and Tali were both romanced about having a vested interest in not adding to the competetion has caused some fans to interpret her Poor Communication Kills as a calculated attempt to drive away her romantic rivals.