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YMMV: Mass Effect 3
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Udina for some. For others, it's Take That, Scrappy!
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Jacob Taylor. Even if you romanced him as female Shepard, he still hooks up with Dr. Cole during your incarceration. Given that he also hooked up with Miranda Lawson at one point, are we still sure she was the one to end things? And if she did, was it because she realized that Jacob might be obsessed with screwing the boss to get the "The priiize". It certainly puts his hatred of the Illusive Man into a strange new light.
    • Speaking of TIM, he gets more of this in 3 than in 2 (and he got a lot of interpretation in 2); most of it comes down to when he was indoctrinated. The novels suggest he's been subtly indoctrinated for the last twenty years, where as he didn't get fully enhanced to Saren-levels until fairly late in the game. This causes some debate over how responsible he is for his own actions; if he wasn't indoctrinated (or at least not enough that it could be called More Than Mind Control), then he did a running leap over the Moral Event Horizon a long time ago. If he is indoctrinated, then he gets demoted from part of a Big Bad Ensemble with Harbinger and the Catalyst to being a Dragon with an Agenda or worse, the Evil Genius to the Catalyst's Big Bad and The Dragon to Harbinger. Incidentally, this would also bump Kai Leng down from The Dragon to The Brute.
    • There's a rather fair amount of this in regards to the Catalyst. A lot of speculation ranges on just how well-intentioned and trustworthy he really is, which is fair since, being the leader of the Reapers, he's responsible for countless genocides. Also his certainty concerning the inevitability of organic and synthetic conflict is called into question by Shepard possibly arranging a peace between the geth and the quarians. A Broken Base has also emerged in regards to Synthesis, his preferred solution to the organic and synthetic conflict, and whether or not forcibly rewriting the DNA of every person in the galaxy would result in the utopian picture he and the Synthesis ending paints. The Leviathan DLC clarifies a few things, by indicating that it's a limited AI doing what it was (badly) programmed to do, so its conclusions are not necessarily the best.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Contrary to BioWare's claim that the Extended Cut wouldn't change the endings and would only "expand and clarify the current endings", the new endings include numerous retcons, most notably that the Mass Relays are no longer completely destroyed in every ending and the Normandy no longer gets stranded, though this depends on the EMS. While the Extended Cut managed to make endings acceptable for a sizable amount of fans, an equal number of them are still unsatisfied, or even downright angrier at the extended explanations. Broken Base, indeed.
    • The Leviathan DLC offers much more information about the origins of the Reapers and the Catalyst.
    • The Citadel DLC gives players more content with Wrex and the rest of the Mass Effect 2 squad, to address complaints that ME3 and other DLC largely ignored squad members. It also resolves one of the other major complaints of the original ending which persisted even after the Extended Cut, by giving players a proper chance to say goodbye to their squad.
    • For people who don't wish to play the multiplayer to increase your readiness, it's now possible to do it in N7 HQ thanks to Mass Effect Datapad's features being moved in.
  • Awesome Music: Some doubted Clint Mansell could fill Jack Wall's shoes. They were quickly proven wrong.
  • Best Boss Ever:
    • Any battle with a Destroyer Reaper, but the one on Rannoch in particular. Defeating a Reaper, on foot.
    • The final showdown with Kai Leng. He may have gotten Cutscene Power to the Max in your previous sequences, but both the fight and its aftermath are outstandingly satisfying. The music is pretty awesome too.
    • The final battle of the Citadel DLC takes place in the open cargo hold of a Normandy flying through the Citadel at high speed, against Shepard's evil clone, with the abilities to match.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Tuchanka, Rannoch and Cronos Station (which includes the final fight with Kai Leng, mentioned above) are generally regarded as being among the best missions.
    • Grissom Academy, due to its sense of urgency, hefty dose of Continuity Porn, character interactions, and its invigorating combat challenge. It even throws a few Funny Moments in for good measure.
    • The Storming the Castle section of the "Citadel" DLC is filled with Deadpan Snarker banter as your crew—the entire playable roster (no Lazy Backup), including the return of someone who was formerly Demoted to Extra—effortlessly takes apart the mercenaries hired to kill Shepard, and ends with one of the funniest lampshades in the series. And then there's the party afterwards, which reunites every squad member from all three games for a double dose of Funny and Heartwarming. The only downsides are that: 1) because some characters suffer Plotline Deaths (IE the Virmire Non-Survivor, Legion and Thane), they never appear at the party, and 2) some of the mercs are Demonic Spiders.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Every moment of Javik's Citadel "mission" is a "what the hell?" style hilarity.
    Salarian director: CUE THE STUNT DOUBLE!
  • Breather Boss: Despite being built up as Shepard's equal and showing off impressive skills in cutscenes, Kai Leng himself is incredibly easy. He's mostly just a buffed-up Phantom, but he is fought in a cramped space, and lacks numerous abilities that Phantoms possess- including invisibility and a shield gauntlet. He also keeps his distance more than the more easily-killed Phantoms, and his gun doesn't do as much damage. In the final battle, it's really hard for him to actually kill you- his flunkies (including, ironically, two Phantoms) are a much bigger threat than he is.
  • Broken Base:
    • The unveiling of Tali's face for the first time in a picture. Is Tali too human looking or is she beautiful in all the right ways? Also, is BioWare scum for using a photoshopped stock image, or does it work out well enough to be forgiven?
    • Synthesis. The ultimate destiny of all organic and technological evolution or the mass-rape of all sentient life in the Galaxy and the most egregious case of "Space Magic" of the three (non-Refuse) endings? And with the Extended Cut, are the Husks now self-aware and realise what's been done to them?
    • Omega: In-depth, engaging and worthwhile, or overpriced, too short and irrelevant?
    • Was the game's story flawless up to the endings or was it questionable from the start?
    • Liara T'Soni. Some love her character, her development, and relationship with Shepard, while others find her wishy-washy and poorly defined. Still, others may be indifferent, but despise the amount of attention she gets compared to everyone else.
    • The endings either fit with the game's tone perfectly, or are awful, unrealistic, out-of-left field, and completely invalidate not just all the player investment in this game, but also in the entire series. Note that, until the extended cut DLC, this may have been the most one-sided "base breaker" in Internet history - in a poll of over 100,000 players on the Bioware forums, a mere 8% said that they liked the ending. It even led to the creation of a separate website. Occasionally, BioWare devs do post there.
    • There are far fewer neutral dialogue options than in the first two games, with that space between the Paragon and Renegade responses getting more noticeable every time you see it.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • At release, there were exactly two kinds of characters in the multiplayer environment: Human Vanguards, and characters who never earned any score. Biotic Charge provide ridiculous mobility, it + Nova + a shotgun provide ridiculous burst damage, both are spammable, and both are super useful for landing last hits (IE becoming a killstealing son of a bitch, often unintentionally). Even better, instead of taking the sensible route and nerfing them, Bioware simply made them the new standard for power levels and built the post-release classes along similar lines.
    • In multiplayer on the Gold difficulty, even if you choose a random enemy and level, you'll land in rooms with Firebase White and Geth/Cerberus with alarming frequency. The map is somewhat justified, given how easy it is for a well-coordinated team to bunker up in Firebase White. The Geth is picked more often, since most players perceive them as the least challenging enemy group, mainly because the Geth Primes are much easier to destroy compared to Cerberus' Atlas/Phantom combo. Cerberus, for some, has the edge, because fighting normal enemies isn't as frustrating, since they flank you far less often, and are more vulnerable to every kind of attack. Reapers and Collectors are barely chosen, because of the Banshees/Scions/Praetorians alone.
    • A multiplayer update affected the geth to discourage FBWGG (Firebase White/Geth/Gold) farming. They are not necessarily more difficult to fight. Many players find their new tweaks cheap and frustrating. Geth rocket troopers, hunters, and primes all can hitstun players. In the case of Geth Primes, they can kill all but the most resilient characters in one attack salvo since their hitstuns leaves players completely out of control of their characters. Geth Pyros' attack range extends much further than the flame graphic depicts. Finally, Geth Hunters can attack even when staggered. Regardless of these changes to the geth, FBWGG lobbies were still the norm in Gold-level matches until the Retaliation DLC. The fix came in the form of a map redesign, adding a flank route to the camp spot and introducing the Geth Bomber to flush out entrenched players.
    • About 1/3 of players online uses the Infiltrator due to Tactical Cloak being easy to avoid enemy fire and increased damage, Geth Infiltrator being of note due to Hunter Mode granting a wallhack and increased fire rates. It's gotten to the point where you may get kicked out of a gold match for simply preferring another class besides the Infiltrator.
    • Then to further avert this, there's cases of trying to get high scores on all maps which greatly improves single player mode, as well as the ability to switch to a different character in the same class and spend all the XP you gained before, then send them out and throw off the game's Artificial Brilliance that had learnt from the character you were using for the past few hours.
    • As a counter to BioWare making the FBWGG strategy less viable many gamers have taken up Firebase Rio's Magic Box Method for farming gold and even platinum difficulty games. On the south end of Firebase Rio is a open container with an ammo box inside. All four members stuffed inside offers several advantages including basically unlimited ammunition, only two avenues of approach for enemies (only one is used by the AI more often than not), two defensive sharp corners for the enemy to navigate through and offers great view of half the map, limited space that groups enemies making area of effect attacks extremely effective and accuracy almost a non-issue, easy revival, and protection from banshees and atlas' one hit kill attacks (because they are too tall to fit in the box and can't get close enough to the characters to execute the move).
  • Complete Monster: Henry Lawson is an egomaniacal Corrupt Corporate Executive and Mad Scientist obsessed with having a dynasty. To that end he creates Designer Babies based off of his DNA. Viewing them only as tools, he controls them their entire lives, molding them to meet his expectations, such as he did with Miranda. Should any of them be subpar, he kills them. When he appears in Mass Effect 3, he's working with the Illusive Man in using the refugee camp, Sanctuary, as a front for gathering test subjects to study Reaper Indoctrination. Thousands of civilians are experimented on, including children, resulting in either their deaths or their being turned into husks. Unlike the rest of Cerberus, who are trying to help humanity, Lawson is only committing atrocities to save his own life and to have future generations idolize him. He's not even Indoctrinated like the rest, having found a way to overcome and control its effects. When he's cornered by Shepard, Henry uses his younger daughter, Orianna, as a Human Shield, and, depending upon the player's actions, he can end up killing either Orianna or Miranda.
  • Contested Sequel: Mass Effect 3 got slightly lower scores than Mass Effect 2.
  • Critical Dissonance: The game received universal acclaim from critics, with, claims an advertisement, over 75 perfect scores. Fan opinion, however, in least in regards to the original endings, was almost unanimously negative, with about only 8% in a poll of about 100,000 players saying they were satisfied with the original endings. Considering the default state of the fandom is a base broken into about a dozen or more pieces, that's really saying something. Examined here.
  • Critical Research Failure: The Codex entry on Rannoch. Apparently insects are no longer animals. At least Mass Effect 2's sources talked about "higher order" animals.
    Rannoch has no insect life. As a result, its pollinating plants evolved to rely on animals for propagation.
  • Demonic Spider:
    • The Geth Hunters. This time they turn actually invisible, and unless you are careful they can start shooting you in the back at close distance just when you are engaged with that Prime. Their plasma shotguns, due to a built-in charge-up mechanic, allows them to fire despite being in a stagger animation - never mind the significant range that the "shotgun" has as well.
    • Depending on where you face them, Banshees. They're well armored, have a powerful (if slow) biotic attack, use Teleport Spam as their main mode of transportation and if they get close... well, things get unpleasant for you. In an open battlefield, they're manageable, but in close quarters? Yeesh, things tend to get hairy. Their close quarters attack not only instant kills but makes teammates unable to revive you, forcing them to go the whole rest of the round without you. Easy to avoid normally, but if you get cornered or flanked near one it won't be pretty. This goes double for Mighty Glacier character types who can normally take a lot of damage but lack a dodge maneuver, as this attack renders their damage resistance irrelevant and their lack of a dodge makes getting out of the way a lot harder, especially with the Teleport Spam making their movement unpredictable.
    • Phantoms also qualify, especially on objective waves. Like the Banshee, they have an Instant Kill move. They're a fair bit squishier, but they're also very fast, don't announce their entrance onto the field and have cloaking as well as a powerful projectile attack, all of these make it very easy for a Phantom to wipe out an entire party before they realize what happened. They also frequently come in packs of 2-3 or more and have a ranged attack in addition to their sword. They are what makes Cerberus dangerous and classes with Stasis so useful.
    • Scions, Praetorians and Abominations from the Retaliation DLC, especially their Possessed variants. The former carries a mortar cannon that's even stronger than the Ravager's (in fact it's the most powerful projectile attack in the entire game and only takes three shots to kill you because of the way the shield gate works) and can stagger players. The possessed variant can send a flurry of 5-6 grenades into a medium sized cluster that's almost guaranteed to kill a player in range. Praetorians are the floating boss monsters that happen to come in great numbers on higher difficulties, even more so than other boss monsters and their lasers will cut through most of your shields if they even hit the area near you unless you're in cover. The possessed variant gains homing missiles in addition to its particle beams and becomes a complete damage sponge, being over twice as durable as an Atlas Mech. Abominations are constantly on fire and usually explode on death. The possessed version does so with the force of an M-920 Cain pocket nuke, which makes Total Party Kill a very real possibility.
    • CAT6 Heavies from "Citadel". Although they look like a simple Palette Swap of Cerberus Guardians, Heavies are far more deadly. Their shields resist armor piercing attacks, they have Armor status so they can't be disabled with biotics and they use M-76 Revenants, which are light machine guns.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The final mission in London. Few of the War Assets appear onscreen, and the game lacks a final boss. Instead, the final combat sequence is a lengthy and very difficult Hold the Line battle against powerful enemies while the player has to dodge a One-Hit KO Reaper beam. Depending on the player, this can be either a frustrating and difficult slog, or a challenging and satisfyingly intense experience.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: General Oleg Petrovsky. True, he is very affable, has standards and a code of honor, and even works to protect the station from the out of control adjutants. Apparently that's reason enough to ignore that he's still a loyal member of Cerberus, puts draconian restrictions on Omega's non-human population,note  and is still working to turn people into controllable adjutants for Cerberus' army.
  • Ending Aversion: The endings caused a lot of people who were on the fence for picking up this game or even trying out the series in the first place to leave it be due to the lack of variety, abruptness, and numerous plotholes lambasted by many players. However, while the Extended Cut DLC made things better, there is still a 50/50 Broken Base.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The final opponent of the game, a Marauder you shoot while limping to the beam in London, has been named Marauder Shields and is gaining a large fanbase. He tried to save us from the ending. We must honor his noble sacrifice.
    • In a similar vein, the three husks Shepard kills in the same sequence have been dubbed The Three Husketeers.
    • Though not to the extent of Marauder Shields, Major Coats has quite a few fans for a character with such little screen-time. The debut trailer is likely a big reason for this. Having the same voice as Hawke probably helps.
    • Samantha Traynor has gathered quite a few fans, due to thoroughly averting any possible Bridge Bunny status and instead providing a much needed Bridge-Officer for the Normandy.
    • Bray, Aria's batarian lieutenant from the Omega DLC, is well liked by the fanbase despite only having a handful of lines, mostly because he's quite possibly the only batarian in the galaxy who gets along with Shepard.
    • Cortez, your shuttle pilot. Primarily due to his Snark-to-Snark Combat with Vega and being generally a pretty cool guy.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Notable during the dream sequences the Boy always appears with the Reaper sound and when you run away from the boy, you can sometimes hear the voice of the Illusive Man and only of the Illusive Man.
    • Liara mind-melds with Shepard at the end of the game under the auspices of sharing memories with him or her, something Asari can do with people they are particular close to. She even explicitly refers back to a conversation she and Shepard had in the first game when this particular ability was mentioned. The only problem? The conversation in question was about Asari reproduction and the entire sequence has this subtle vibe to it. Turn your head and that giant glowing light Liara and Shepard fall into looks incredibly familiar. This happens even if you don't romance her. Hence the reason many fans had the honest reaction along the lines of, "Dude, did Liara just casually have my babies?"
    • The Indoctrination Theory, one of the interpretations of the endings, says that Shepard has been being slowly indoctrinated over the course of the game, and the endings show Shepard succumbing to the indoctrination or fighting it, depending on their choice. Synthesis is Shepard giving in to indoctrination, as it requires the highest EMS, which takes longer to accumulate, thus Shepard being indoctrinated longer. Control is Shepard being indoctrinated enough to believe they can control the Reapers while still wanting conventional life to continue and flourish. Destroy is Shepard overcoming indoctrination, and a "choice" offered by the Reapers to reassure Shepard that they aren't indoctrinated.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The original endings, with the fate of the galaxy left largely unclear and the possibility of the Normandy's crew dying on the alien planet, plus a plot hole that implied that every army Shephard rallied to his side would probably starve to death on Earth without the Mass Relays, left many fans scratching their heads at best. The free Extended Cut DLC expands upon many of the issues surrounding these endings, and clarifies that the Normandy's crew survives and repaired the ship, as well as offering a fourth "Refusal" ending wherein Shepard chooses none of the above, their army is destroyed, and the galaxy falls to the Reapers, but the civilizations of the next cycle will be victorious against the Reapers thanks to Shepard's efforts to warn them. The worst version of the Destroy ending is back to the original, with some added lines about just how screwed everyone will be.
    • The Synthesis ending, which is the hardest to get and presented as a Golden Ending, ends the war by handing the Reapers total and permanent victory. Living things and machines, sentient or not (even leaves have glowing wires now) are permanently altered against their will and have a future technology path handed to them to follow. This has been consistently presented as the biggest ideological threat from the Reapers, and the Geth fought a civil war over the issue before giving in out of desperation.
  • Even Better Sequel: Mass Effect 3's combat is considered a huge step up from the first two gameplay-wise. It's much more fluid, the enemies are smarter, the melee system is more satisfying and powerful, and the overly-simplified weapon system from 2 gets significantly fleshed out, with greater weapon variety and the return of weapon mods.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: The origin and motives of the Reapers are disliked by a significant portion of fans. Especially considering the source of said explanations has a bias.
  • Fan Hater:
    • Whenever you are saying you liked the game, or worse, saying you liked the game without affirming your hatred for the original endings, or even worse, actually praising the endings is basically summoning this. With the release of the Extended Cut, this has been somewhat alleviated, but that's made up for by the fact that the once nearly unanimous hatred of the original endings has been replaced with Thoroughly Mixed opinions on the Extended Cut.
    • Flame Bait: And depending on where you are, it can be quite critical.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Everything after the final encounter with the Illusive Man is this for many. Doesn't matter the reason (significant blood loss, continued exposure to Geth/Cerberus/Prothean/Reaper mind altering technology, stress from the fate of your species and the galaxy resting on your shoulders, or personal losses), just forget about it. It never happened.
    • Some claim it ends just after you get hit by a blast from Harbinger, with everything from "Marauder Shields" onwards being a dream.
    • Following the release of the Citadel DLC, some have said that they consider the end of the DLC their canon ending to the game, either outright ignoring everything following Sanctuary, or starting the DLC after the credits roll and using it as an epilogue to the game.
    • There is even a small but vocal community of players who reject the entire singleplayer campaign and consider the multiplayer mode to be the true story of the game.
    • Some players, dissatisfied with the canon ending, have used modding to create their own ending. One such mod, the Mass Effect Happy Ending Mod (or MEHEM), gives Harbinger a few lines when Shepard and co. approach the Conduit, and the major change occurs right after Shepard activates the Crucible. The Catalyst never shows up and the last bit of the game plays out as a long cutscene, with the Reapers being destroyed by the Crucible, but the geth and Shepard survive, and it plays Hackett's voiceover that states that the mass relays and galactic civilization can be rebuilt.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Remember how Ereba (the Blue Rose of Illium) stated that she wasn't sure if she should marry a krogan because they're a long-term commitment while with humans you only have to stick out for a hundred years before they die? Well, how does six months sound instead, Ereba?note 
  • Game Breaker:
    • The Venom shotgun is without a doubt the worst example. It's only available in the Groundside Resistance DLC, and even then only for single player, but it still completely breaks the game. It's not a shotgun so much as a super powerful grenade that can wipe out an entire squad of soldiers with a single shot. It strong enough to one-shot Ravagers, Brutes, and Phantoms, and take down Atlas Mechs, Banshees, and Geth Primes in four or five hits. On Insanity. The game becomes a complete joke if you have this equipped on a Combat class like, say, an Infiltrator with maxed out ammo powers and Tactical Cloak.
      • To put things in perspective, during the final fight against Clone!Shep in the Citadel DLC, a fully jacked-up infiltrator Shepard would need several headshots with a Black Widow X to drain the enemy's health bar on Insanity. The same infiltrator, using a Venom X, can drain the same health bar in one fully-charged shot.
    • "Novaguarding", the use of high cooldown frames to spam Biotic Charge and Nova continuously. With the right build (read: Power Recharge and Pierce for Nova, Power Synergy and Full Barrier for Charge) a Vanguard will become nearly untouchable (Power Recharge reduces your cooldowns even more, meaning Biotic Charge will be usable as soon as your Nova killed everything around you), crushing the enemy with Charge/Nova and Charging away to repair any damage. This advantage does not extend to multiplayer however, as higher difficulties feature more armored enemies, preventing any serious damage from Charge, and much more foes that can cause sync-kills. It's generally not advised to Charge into the embrace of a Banshee.
    • The Particle Rifle (found in the "From Ashes" DLC) emits a small beam that grows in intensity and damage as you continuously fire, and will chew through an enemy's shields and health. The gun will also never run out of ammo (you just have to wait a few seconds to refill energy). Add a Thermal Clip upgrade to the gun, and you can start mowing down Harvesters, mechs and everything in your path with sustained fire by the time you leave the Citadel for the first time and finish Javik's mission. Best of all - your squadmates can wield the same weapon, too! This has the benefit of being able to tell where enemies are more easily: the Particle Rifle has a distinct firing sound that no other weapon has, and the beams made when squadmates fire point right to enemy positions.
    • Tactical Cloak. It was recently announced that 1 in 3 people were using Infiltrators on Gold difficulty in multiplayer. This was because whereas powers were completely disabled when Cloak was active in ME2, this iteration lets you use a power to break cloak. So you can cloak, target an enemy with a power, pop him with your increased sniper damage, and get a damage bonus on both. Cloak's cooldown is now proportional to the time you spend in it. Technically the minimum is still three seconds, but this still means you can ignore the weapon weight system and not have to worry about cooldowns as long as you use the above method and fire/use a power immediately after cloaking. The cloak's damage buff lasts a second or so after it breaks, so you can actually get bonuses on multiple rounds fired if you're quick enough. Multiple rounds from guns like the Black Widow (the Widow from the second game but with three rounds instead of one) or the Krysae (fires explosive proximity rounds that ignore damage protection). On top of all that, the length of the cloak makes the Infiltrator the best at reviving teammates or capturing objectives. It eventually led to an extensive nerf that split the damage and duration bonuses more and cut the max damage. This is only in multiplayer though, so your InfilShep is still a god in single-player.
    • The M-37 Falcon assault rifle, whose 25mm "mini-grenades" can dislodge enemies from cover with an airburst triggered simply by firing near them. Combined with incendiary ammo, it can set a whole squad of mooks on fire, effectively trivializing even Insanity playthroughs. It had to have its firing rate and spare ammo cut in half for the multiplayer to avoid glaring imbalances.
    • Ultimately the aforementioned Krysae had to be nerfed even harder, because its shots are easier to place and more powerful than the Falcon's rounds. All explosive rounds have a built-in Chunky Salsa Rule (see the main page); cloaking with a Krysae jacks its damage up to the point that you can instagib a fully-shielded Centurion on Gold just by shooting near him.
    • Biotic explosions, especially with the aforementioned reduced cooldown of light weapons. Combining Warp and Throw, over and over again, is almost like having infinite grenade supply. Oh, and it staggers the most powerful enemies, including Atlases, Primes, Brutes and Banshees. For even more fun, use Warp to detonate a different type of power combo, then use the detonating biotic power. Overload>Warp>Throw/Reave/Charge/Nova will annihilate shielded enemies.
    • Combat drones are a minor case, especially when built up to use Chain Lightning. They distract enemies, causing them to focus their attention away from you, and when Guardians do this the drones become a gift from god.
    • A Multiplayer glitch with the switching between the missile launcher and several guns can give a player virtually unlimited missile launcher ammo. This makes farming platinum level games for credits a trivial affair. Of course, this was a bannable offense - due to the game's age, multiplayer is no longer being actively supported with DLC development, balance changes, and reports.
    • In single-player, the N7 Typhoon in the hands of a squadmate. Since weight and stability are only an issue for Shepard, one or two squadmates equipped with Typhoons can melt anything they're pointed at. Some players have actually stopped giving their squadmates Typhoons because it was making the game too easy.
    • The Adas Anti-Synthetic Rifle, a DLC weapon, fires electronic pulses at rapid pace, making it effectively a rapid-fire rocket launcher, but with electricity instead. The splash damage the pulses make and the slight tracking make taking down enemies a breeze, and will make the player wonder what exactly classifies it to be an Assault Rifle rather than a Heavy Weapon for the second game. Equip it on squad mates and you'll have a cacophony of chaos. Unfortunately, its damage was slightly lowered and firerate halved for multiplayer, making it more of a slightly homing grenade launcher most effective against Geth.
    • Several multiplayer weapons became quite popular due to power discrepancies between guns. The Cerberus Harrier and N7 Hurricane dominate the assault rifle and submachinegun categories due to generous per-bullet damage and rapid firerates. The Acolyte is an extremely light pistol that deals x5 damage against shields, making it a must-have for almost all biotic classes and a very functional sidearm for anyone else. The Black Widow and Javelin are pretty much the only choices for any infiltrator that wants to wield a sniper rifle. The N7 Typhoon was extremely powerful for a while, until a balance change reduced its damage multiplier against everything that wasn't health, making it now do slightly less damage per second than the Harrier.
  • Gameplay Derailment: The "N7 Special Ops" War Asset can be this if you play enough multiplayer. When any one of the 6 classes gets to level 20, you have the option of promoting the class, resetting it's level to 1 adding 75 points to the war asset. This can be done over and over without restriction, eventually amassing so many war assets it no longer becomes possible to get any of the Low EMS endings, even if you have only 50% galactic readiness and lack the "Extended Cut DLC" meant to lower the War Asset requirement to get the best endings. This single War Asset will make ever other War Asset worthless fodder. Of course, you have to do this a lot - as in, spend more time playing multiplayer than any two playthroughs of the regular singleplayer campaign.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Everybody's favorite enemy, the Husks! Even worse, now they can grab you, knocking you out of cover and forcing you to flail around (read: mash the melee attack button) to shake them off and kill them.
      • Even worse are the Collectors' Abominations: Husks that explode on death. If you get grabbed by one, just hope one of your teammates don't shoot it or it'll blow right in your face. Fortunately, headshots will not trigger the explosive deaths.
    • Marauders and Ravagers are their longer-ranged counterparts on higher difficulties. Their rapid-fire weapons make them quite capable of ripping shields to pieces while players are focused on other enemies. Ravagers in particular can kill players within 2-4 shots if they manage to be exposed.
    • Phantoms and Nemeses: It's bad enough they fight in a way you're not used to (Nemeses use cover perfectly and can knock out your shields with one shot; Phantoms have biotic barriers, dance around, cloak to heal themselves, backflip, and go into melee combat surprisingly fast), its just that there are so damn many of them in a lot of levels. Phantoms can One-Hit KO you as well, rendering you unable to be revived...aggravating in multiplayer games when it happens to your squad's most effective member; players usually make Phantoms top priority even compared to Atlases to kill as quickly as possible.
    • Goddamned Geth Bombers from the Retaliation DLC. These guys have armor and shields, making them somewhat tedious to kill, and fly and jump around constantly while launching clusters of grenades at you that inflict moderate damage and stagger you, leaving you a sitting duck. They also love to swarm you and erratically dodge, making them hard to hit, and they are fond of getting right up in your face, often flushing you out of cover and staggering you with their attacks. They are the reason that camping on Firebase White is no longer a viable strategy.
    • Also from the Retaliation DLC: Collector Captains. In addition to being able to shred you at long range like Marauders, Collector Captains can send out hoards of seekers. These little robots are fast, incredibly hard to hit, and if they touch you will make you unable to use your powers for a short period of time. The Collector Captains just love to spam them. When possessed, not only do the Collector Captains themselves gain more health and shields, but so do their seeker swarms, making theme even more of a pain to kill.
    • The Cerberus Dragoons in multiplayer. They are pretty simple, they just charge into close combat and attack. However, their armor means that they can generally survive long enough to get there, they move much more quickly than most armored units, and though slow their melee attack involves a Deadly Lunge with charged lashes that can hit in a wide area and does an unpleasant amount of damage. Alone they are not too dangerous, but they have a habit of flushing you out of cover and forcing you to focus on them while other forces move around to flank you and get entrenched.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • In MP sometimes an enemy's instakill attack glitches and leaves a small window for the victim to use medi-gel or have a teammate revive them.
    • Another MP related example. If you get knocked out on any map there is a possibility of either ragdoll'ing off the edge into an normally inaccessible area or clip through the floor. The effects are surprisingly positive. Not only do you teleport to the start/extraction area, you get instant revived without using medi-gel! Very helpful if you just got surrounded by enemies before dying.
    • Multiplayer again. Attempting to use a Medigel when you aren't dead doesn't consume the medigel or give you any health back, but it does cancel whatever animation your character is currently performing. This is very useful if you do it in the middle of a reload animation, because the new clip is usually chambered well before your reload animation completes. Time it right, and a "reload cancel" can almost halve your reload time (time it wrong, though, and your attempted reload has no effect). PC players usually need to create a secondary keyboard or mouse binding for the Medigel command to make this glitch practical.
    • Tali can die on Rannoch if you side with the Geth. In some games, this doesn't stop her from returning from the dead to romance Shepard later.
    • If you save everyone you can, the game can make a male Shepard "remember" some of Thane's romance dialogue in the final dream sequence. Some speculate this is caused by a remaining system flag from when Thane was going to be romance-able by Shepards of both genders.
    • Firebase Hydra has a back right corner blocked off by unbreakable boxes. However there is a ledge nearby that players can run or combat roll onto from another higher ledge that allows them to go behind the boxes and have a permenant unbreakable cover to hide behind. Combine with this the Demolisher's Supply Pylon for ammo and a permenant camping spot can be made.
    • The so-called "Right Hand Advantage" in multiplayer matches is integral for any Glass Cannon character to survive extended engagements. Despite being a third-person shooter, the game tracks bullet hitscans relative to the camera position and its crosshairs, rather than the actual barrel of the character's gun. Thus, it's possible to peek out your crosshairs around cover and shoot at enemies or use abilities while keeping the character model safely behind cover.
    • One intrepid player in the BioWare Social Network found out that sync-kills cannot be performed by enemies if the altitudes between the enemy and the player did not match. Basically, if you positioned yourself below a Banshee on a ramp, that Banshee would never be able to grab you for an instant kill. As soon as the community caught wind, maps like Vancouver, Reactor, and others featuring large inclines suddenly became havens for Vanguards and other melee characters, as they could then use their full repertoire of moves without fear of being grabbed as long as they stayed on a set of stairs.
    • Multiplayer once again. In random character classes the skill points glitch out at level 15 to 17 giving the character a massive amount of points and the ability to max out every skill where usually it would not be possible. People report it happening to various classes so it is not restricted to any one specialization, gender, class, or race.
    • Some players discovered that enemies only maintain one value to track its received damage from players using damage-over-time attacks, like a majority of fire-based abilities and Warp. Stacking two unique sources of damage-over-time would cause both to deliver all of its damage immediately. As a result, Incendiary Ammo suddenly became a much more favored consumable for classes like the Vorcha and Geth Trooper, as they were equipped with flamethrowers for a skill. Equipping the Reegar Carbine (which was poor against armor but had incredible DPS otherwise) allowed these classes to melt Brutes and Ravagers in seconds.
    • All characters in multiplayer get some damage reduction while performing melee attacks, usually 25% or thereabouts. The N7 Slayer vanguard gets upwards of 90% for some reason, making it effectively invincible when combined with well-timed Charges to restore barriers. It's entirely possible (albeit time consuming) to solo Geth at higher difficulties with nothing but light melees and Charges.
      • Damage Reduction in general tends to be somewhat wonky. Due to cover mechanics acting as a multiplier for effective damage reduction, it requires 133% to achieve absolute invincibility (which is still amusingly possible in very specific circumstances). There's also the opportunity for shield recharge reduction being reduced to zero, granting constantly regenerating shields and invincibility.
    • The Batarian Sentinel has the so-called "Batarian Hate-Slide" - a Batarian's heavy melee will always track its designated target during its lengthy wind-up and never fail to connect. If you use Shockwave to fling your target prior to locking on with heavy melee, you will follow your hapless foe several meters, sliding across terrain and delivering your head-crushing punch at the end of your target's flight. Definitely one of the more amusing glitches in the game.
  • Ham and Cheese: The Citadel DLC is remarkably less serious than everything else in series. It's also filled with a lot of Fandom Nod and Ascended Meme.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A lot, but Aethyta's offhand comment in the second game about the other Asari and how they "laughed the blue off my ass" when she suggested building their own mass relays become this in light of the fact that the mass relays blow up in every ending.
    • Also Aethyta's comment about watching a Krogan drink a liquefied Turian on a dare considering the methods of the Collectors and the appearance of the Brutes in the sequel.
    • A human female is heard speaking with a volus about her plans to go to Sanctuary. The volus glibly assures her that it's just a money making ploy and says he wishes he'd thought of it. Shepard is later sent to that very location on a mission and learns it's much much worse than a scam. In the Embassies, a woman is seen negotiating the emergency transport of her daughter (by an asari wife) to the asari homeworld of Thessia. The embassy worker pulls some strings and grants the woman's request. Thessia is overrun by Reapers a short time later. Poor kid. Come to think of it, anything you do on the Citadel is likely to seem both sad and futile, given the game's conclusion.
    • Inverted (in that the harshness comes from a past event, rather than a future one) with one of the side missions, in which Engineer Adams asks you to get a thermal pipe from the Citadel to fix a design flaw with the Normandy's drive core. Why is it harsh, you ask? Adams explains that the problem causes a dangerous gas release in the engineering bay when the shields are under too much stress... which is exactly how you would have lost a squadmate in ME2 (usually Legion) if you didn't get Tali's shield upgrade.
    • An asari commando with PTSD talks with a psychiatrist at Huerta Memorial Hospital. She was stationed at the human colony of Tiptree, and, there, befriended the farmers and families who lived there, particularly a adventurous young girl named Hillary, whom she later must kill to defend herself. We later find out that Joker is from Tiptree, and has a young sister named Hillary, whose survival he isn't sure about.
    • In ME2, there is a minor sideplot where one of Shepard's crew members has Cerberus relocate his family from one of the vulnerable human colonies to Earth, and they barely escape a Collector attack. The crewman is extremely relieved his family is safe now. And then Earth winds up being the first planet to get attacked in ME3.
    • In the Huerta Memorial Hospital you can hear a woman arguing with the receptionist about the name of the Hospital. She argues that the president the hospital is named after is still alive, despite having been braindead for an hour. The receptionist argues that he is nothing more than a android because a VI does all the thinking for him. Siding with the receptionist makes Shepard compare the president to nothing more than a Husk. This comment can come back hard during the Cerberus base in which Shepard had been brain-dead for month before being revived causing Shepard to wonder if she/he is just a VI which imitates the original Shepard. Doubly harsh if you encountered the Shepard VI on the Citadel.
    • In ME2, if you bring Jack with you during Legion's loyalty mission, she's very vocal about her disdain towards possibly brainwashing the heretics. Specifically, "if you screwed with my head, made me nod and smile at everything...I'd rather you blow my head off. Let me die as me." Jack's remark sounds so much worse if you skip the "Grissom Academy" mission and don't save her from Cerberus. Later on, in "Sanctuary", this is exactly what Cerberus does to Jack, in order to make her a Phantom. Damn.
    • After the mission to the Ardat-Yakshi monastery, Traynor speaks to Allers about her doing a story about it, which she isn't planning, given her big asari viewership. Allers says "do you know how fast an e-democracy can turn on its allies?" Given the backlash against BioWare after the endings, it almost sounds prophetic.
    • Hell, given the ending pretty much every single sympathetic reasoning to the reapers given by anyone ever. From Saren's talk of symbiosis with them to Dr. Amanda Kenson and the Illusive man's ramblings about not knowing the Reaper's true intentions. Sure, they were all insane and indoctrinated anyway, as the Catalyst itself mentions, but they end up having a point. Shepard dismisses them all, but half the endings are Shepard finding a way to make their insane dreams of the future work, fusing with the Reapers and controlling them or fusing all organic and synthetic life.
    • Ashley's comment way back in the first game about how the Alliance couldn't rely on the Council species to support them. While incorrect in many ways, it was an accurate assumption in the case of the salarians and asari.
  • He Really Can Act: Many have commented on how Mark Meer has greatly improved as Male Shepard, finally being able to bring in the right amount of emotion for many of the dialogue compared to his stiff presentation in the first game (Mass Effect 2 was an intermediate stage for him). A few have even gone so far as to say that he did better than fan favorite Jennifer Hale in this game.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The Reaper SAT beam makes a low-pitched, metallic blaster beam sound effect.
    • The noises that Reapers and the husks in general make, all fit this trope. Of special note is the noise the Reapers make when they find you while you're scanning a system. Dear. God. Oh, you haven't been paying attention to the Reaper Alert level again? They'll make sure you notice.
    • It's mentioned in-game as well! Some characters will mention that the Reaper horns are tuned to a specific frequency designed to induce a fear response in organics - and it's implied it can ultimately cause indoctrination!
    • Listen close in Legion's level as you destroy Reaper code. Hear that? That's devilish, subdued laughter.
    • Or that Goddamn Banshee screaming.
      Joker: Mutating people to turn them into living weapons is one thing, but the yelling? Why make them yell? That's totally uncalled for.
    • Omega adds the bizarre noise that the Adjutants make when hunting victims: half guttural, predatory breathing, half creepy, indoctrination-style whispering. And it only stops when they're about to attack.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Shepard's assessment of the situation as the game begins is; "Unless we're planning to Talk the Reapers to Death, the committee's a waste of time." Except Shepard seems to have forgotten that the critical moments of his career were decided not by blowing things up, but by talking people into agreeing to do what Shepard wanted. And in the endgame, the MacGuffin ends up being a way for an organic to have a face-to-face conversation with the controlling intelligence of the Reapers.
    • Prior to ME3's release, BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler (who wasn't involved with Mass Effect) received much criticism when a five year old interview unsurfaced, where she stated how she wished games could fast forward through the gameplay to get right into the story bits. Many gamers found her statements to be very ignorant and disrespectful towards the gaming medium she's writing for. Interestingly enough, BioWare introduced "Story Mode" for Mass Effect 3, which reduces the gameplay's difficulty to simplistic levels, so anyone can finish the game with little difficulty. Bioware specifically did this for gamers who were interested in the series, but were too intimidated by its gameplay. Perhaps Ms. Hepler was onto something...
    • The Stinger features Buzz Aldrin as the Stargazer, narrating the entire series to his young grandson. Suddenly Shepard's love of punching out annoying reporters makes a lot more sense! note 
    • The title character of Captain America: The Winter Soldier bears quite a resemblance to Kai Leng in both looks and fighting style. And is considerably more popular, to boot.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Fan support for a female Shepard was so great that BioWare decided to give her default appearance a redesign, held a contest and asked fans to pick one out of six possible designs. When the blonde Shepard started winning by a huge margin, accusations started flying around that the entire contest was a "beauty pageant" and people were accused of automatically picking the cliched Barbie-lookalike. All this stemming from hair color. To wit, her face is identical to two of other options and the rest very similar, two of the extolled "diverse" options both had loose hanging hair, and all of them had plenty of eye make-up. The controversy seems to completely extend from her hair color. Referenced here in Penny Arcade. The fact that the original default model (i.e. the one a lot of FemShep players used) wasn't even an option was also a factor. According to the marketing director, many people picked her for her hairstyle, and not hair color, and a second contest was created determine her hair color with the red headed female Shepard the runaway winner.
    • A piece of tie in media, a Bishoujo representation of Liara in her doctor's uniform, took a lot of flack. This, has resulted in the final model being more modest... well, slightly.
    • It was leaked that getting the Collector's Edition (Retail) or Digital Deluxe Edition (Origin) of the game would include an additional character in your team, of an alien race never before available as a squadmate (specifically, Prothean). Players who don't get the Collector or Digital Deluxe Editions will be able to purchase the character as a $10 DLC, and it will be made available right from the release day. Accusations abound that Bioware deliberately cut content from the game to make a DLC of it. In response to this, BioWare has clarified that the character will appear in the regular game without DLC, but the DLC makes said character an actual squadmate. This was a complete lie; that character does not appear during normal gameplay, nor indeed any member of his species. This is made worse by the apparent hacking of the game which reveals that some of the files for the secret character are already in the game.
    • For those in the UK who preordered through the Game Group, who had exclusivity on the N7 Collector's edition and Warfare gear, were informed that they would not be stocking any edition of the game, standard or Collector's, ten days before the release date. Other online retailers gained access to copies of the N7 Collecter's Edition, but quickly sold out. Those that placed a pre-order and couldn't get a chance to order from else... well, it's not pretty. In addition to the aforementioned DLC files appearing on-disc, all of the Collector's Edition weapons, the robotic dog, the N7 hoodie for Shepard and all of the pre-order bonuses (including the N7 Valkyrie and Warfare Gear, the bonuses from Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and the multiplayer content for owners of Battlefield 3) were also present on the game files behind unlock keys. Modders were able to integrate them back into the game easily, and criticized the company for making the CE edition effectively pointless when it was on everyone's copy to begin with.
  • Les Yay: During the Citadel DLC, Jack & Miranda will once again start bickering with one another. This time, however, the insults get to the point where Miranda's making cracks about Jack's increased bust size since the last game & Jack's commenting on Miranda's ass. Shepard has the option of lampshading this, by commenting it'd be much easier if they just kissed & got it over with, since their issues with one another clearly stem from sexual tension; doing so leads to Jack admitting that Miranda has "fantastic tits".
  • Love to Hate: Kai Leng. To some, at least.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Mutation: See here
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • It's virtually guaranteed that by the time you discover the truth about Sanctuary, if not before, you will consider Illusive Man to have gone this way. While his being indoctrinated may prevent him being wholly responsible for his actions, his character is not changed nearly as much as Benezia's, so it's debatable how much of the blame is the Reapers' and how much is his. It's also left ambiguous as to when exactly he was indoctrinated.
    • Kai Leng crosses it big time when he kills Thane/Kirrahe/the Salarian Councillor. This is of course assuming that he didn't cross it in one of the novels.
    • Aria arguably crosses it in the Omega DLC. For context: her and Nyreen are trapped in a forcefield (a situation she got them into) and are being assaulted by Rampart Mechs. She orders you to shut down the power for the generator to turn off the forcefield:
      Petrovksy: You can't do this Commander, there's more at stake than you know. That reactor controls life support systems for one of the wards on the station, press that button and thousands of people perish.
      Shepard: (to Aria over his/her earpiece) Are you hearing this Aria?
      Aria: Yes, and I don't care, shut it down now!
      • If you Take a Third Option and find a way to shut down the forcefields without killing thousands of people, she'll scold you for even trying to find another way rather than obeying her order immediately.
  • Most Annoying Sound: During the Citadel DLC, at various points in the mission the interface will repeatedly instruct the player to take an action ("Select the enemy," "Distract the enemy") and companions can be rather incessant about "Follow these wires." Keep in mind that the whole point of this section is to be stealthy and time one's moves, so the "DO THIS, NOW!" prompts from the game get old...fast.
  • Narm:
    Mark Meer: So even if it's like you barely know him, and he's fine, it's like "STEEVE! ...You okay?"
    • Shepard's dream sequences may create the dramatic effect they were intended for during the first playthrough, but over time the sight of Shepard's outstretched hand and gaping face in slow motion becomes more and more hilarious.
    • When you open the Citadel to dock the Crucible and it fails to work, Admiral Hackett calls you to say that the Crucible is not firing: "It has to be something on your end," interrupting a touching moment with what sounds like a bad joke about tech support.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Aliens often shout out their homeworlds between multiplayer rounds, but the krogan squadmate's "FORRR TUCHANKAAAA" is the one that's stupidly endearing. On the Bioware forums, one parent posted a video of their toddler, who's taken to running around the room while yelling that phrase, after having heard it while their parent was playing multiplayer. D'awww...
    • The same goes with many of the vorcha's statements in multiplayer, especially after one gets revived ("I'M ALIVE!").
    • You can now play as the volus in multiplayer. Waddling around as an alien half the height of your teammates is either exactly as hilarious as it sounds, incredibly badass, or both.
    • The Citadel DLC seems to be built intentionally around this.
    • Tali's singing, due to her voice filter. But it's adorable.
  • Nintendo Hard: Gold difficulty is manageable, but a recent map pack introduces Platinum difficulty. The image is a sky black with Reapers, indicating this is how bad this mode is. No matter what faction you face, they start off at full strength (what you would normally face on late waves in Bronze/Silver/Gold) and enemies from other factions will show up during the battle. In short, you could face off against Geth Primes, Banshees and Atlases at the same time. Have fun!
  • One-Scene Wonder: Outside of descriptions of him by Miranda, Henry Lawson makes his only appearance in the series during the mission on Sanctuary. And boy, does he leave quite the impression.
  • Pandering to the Base: The Citadel DLC is basically "Mass Effect Fan Service: The Expansion Pack". It's explicitly marketed as this.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • If Shepard makes the decision to sabotage the Genophage cure to keep the Salarians on board whilst Wrex is still alive, Wrex finds out what Shepard did shortly afterwards. It's never revealed who told Wrex - A Salarian who disagreed with the actions of the Dalatrass is the obvious guess... But if you take Liara on the Sur'Kesh mission, she & Wrex will tease one another about the Shadow Broker not being the one leaked the location of the Krogan females. Kinda makes you think...
    • Part of the reason that so many in the fandom embraced the Indoctrination Theory was because the game never actually explains why the Catalyst appears as the boy from Shepard's nightmares. However, the Catalyst is only ever observed from Shepard's perspective so it's possible s/he's perceiving it in the form easiest for him/her to process; i.e. the symbol of his/her weakening will to continue fighting in the face of death.
    • All three of the locations visited in Leviathan are in clusters that were visited during the previous game. One of them is in a system that was visited previously and is explicitly stated to have been in its situation for ten years. What else has Shepard flown by over the course of the series, completely oblivious? Lampshaded by Kaidan, just in case anyone missed it.
  • Player Punch:
    • To the point of it being a Player No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. The game begins with Shepard, grounded from active duty for destroying a mass relay and killing over three hundred thousand thousand batarians. It's made clear s/he has to be sacrificed to avoid war, but if the relay was not destroyed this happens. Then the Reapers invade, and Shepard tries to rescue a little boy, failing to convince his/her mentor to leave Earth, before watching the shuttle the boy who refused his/her help be blown up. Former allies question Shepard because s/he still might be in league with galactic terrorists, said terrorists have declared war on the galaxy and Shepard, the ally Shepard saved at the cost of sacrificing another is very nearly killed, and s/he begins having nightmares of the little boy who died. That's just round one, you're fighting the likes of Cassius Clay and have fourteen more rounds to go.
    • Chances are this is going to be a very long list, but the players have been given one before the game has even been released. AllianceNewsNetwork tweets reveal that Emily Wong is dead. The fact that it was a massive Dying Moment of Awesome makes it only slightly less painful.
    • Mordin's Heroic Sacrifice. Killed Mid-Sentence.
    • The Fall of Thessia. No heroic sacrifice. No bittersweet victory. The homeworld of the most advanced race in the galaxy falls, and there's nothing you could have done to prevent it. Not even Earth or Palaven has been so utterly defeated by the Reaper menace.
    • If you miss your chance to save Grissom Academy, you won't ever see Jack ... until the Cerberus station at the end, where you can find a recording (in a blood-spattered room) of her being operated on. This is bad enough... until you go into the next room and have to kill her in her new Phantom form.
    • All of Legion's potential death scenes on Rannoch count. Legion can heartrendingly disseminate his personality in order to make peace between the quarians and the geth. Choosing the quarians over the geth means either you or Tali have to kill Legion after he goes berserk...or, for a Renegade Shepard, you shoot Legion point-blank in the face three times, with each bullet done as a Renegade Interrupt. That last one can be particularly heartrending because it's so similar to The Boss' player-pulls-the-trigger death in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
    • If you screw up the quarian-geth situation and pick the geth over the quarians, then Tali committing suicide after the entire quarian race is killed because of one moronic Admiral.
    • A Shepard who ended up romancing Kelly in the 2nd game can recieve a one-two punch. Kelly reveals that during the entire time she was with you, she was secretly feeding reports about you and the crew to The Illusive Man. If you yell at her for doing this, you find out later that she committed suicide with Cyanide pills. If you forgive her but don't tell her to change her identity she ends up getting an off screen death after the Cerberus attack. Cerberus shows up at her door and upon confirming her identity unceremoniously executes her with a bullet to the head.
    • In the Extended Cut, there's a brief scene in every ending dedicated to remembering those who sacrificed themselves during the story. At it's worst, you can get everyone with the exception of whoever died on Virmire - this even includes Eve/Bakara.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Diana Allers is this for Emily Wong fans. The accusations of Stunt Casting and Every Man Has His Price haven't helped, either.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Khalisah Bint Sinan al-Jilani, provided you take the Paragon interrupt. Or even if you don't - she can knock Shepard out. Later, she does a number of very brave or touching things in the name of the public trust.
    • When James Vega was first revealed, there were complaints about his design or him taking a spot that could have gone to either an older character or an alien one. These days, the biggest complaint about him seems to be that he's not a romance option.
    • When Javik was revealed many fans felt slighted that a someone from a race said to be completely dead could be a squadmember as well as being day one dlc. However with his dark and angry snarky attitude, surprising character depth, and his Fish Out of Temporal Water situation, he has grown a fanbase of his own.
    • Udina was seen as this for a lot of people, who did not like his attitude in the first and second game. He's getting the job done, putting in work and generally being useful. Then you get to pop him one as he tries to kill the Asari councilor. And he's still more sympathetic than in the previous two games. He did it for Earth.
    • Sparatus, the turian councilor, was a dick in the first two games, but in the third, he's the first one to help you out after the other two (the supposedly reasonable councilors) decline to help the humans out in the Reaper war. Please note, unlike Thessia and Sur'Kesh, the Reapers are actively sieging Palaven at this point, and most Turians would have declined help.
    • Kaidan has been better recieved by many fans due to outgrowing his former Master of None status and character development being fleshed out after the attempted Cerberus coup.
    • Similarly, Miranda has gained a lot of fans thanks to many levels in kindness as well helping out The Alliance behind the scenes. Being the only character in the game who has told Shepard that she will handle her own problems certainly helped.
    • Zaeed was treated as some as being too much of a Jerk Ass to be likeable. Then his voice actor, the late, great Robin Sachs, passed away. His last role? Zaeed for the Citadel DLC, which completely turns around the character into a cool, funny Jerk with a Heart of Gold and is responsible for some of the funniest moments of the game.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Diana Allers is often hated for the voice actress' bland delivery, limited character development, facial expressions, and connections to IGN that have led to accusations of pandering on BioWare's part. To add to that, Emily Wong, a much more popular character, got killed off before the release of the game, prompting cries of Replacement Scrappy. Even worse, her "romance" is far and away the most shallow in the series.
    • Aria has gotten some heat following this game and the Omega DLC, with some saying she has more bland voice acting, as well as acting much more like a Jerkass in the Omega DLC.
    • Kai Leng is turning out to be this for a lot of people, mostly due to his ridiculously blatant Cutscene Power to the Max/Story-Driven Invulnerability, his character design (described by some as "Capcom game villain wannabe"), his shallow characterization, the way he fights (essentially like a powered-up Phantom), and inducing Cutscene Incompetence on everyone around him.
    • Two characters that get a lot of hate are the little boy on Earth and the Catalyst. The kid's hated for poor voice acting and emotional baiting. The Catalyst is hated because he's more or less the reason we have this whole argument about the endings. Plus, the Catalyst is basically a holographic version of the kid, which certainly doesn't help either of them.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Due to almost every action being mapped to the spacebar/A-Button/X-Button, the difference between going into cover, storming, using an item, reviving a squadmate are all mapped to one key. It is quite easy to go into cover when one meant to storm out of the way, or to start reviving a squadmate when one was attempting to leap over a barricade.
    • Basic human husks can now grab you, forcing you to go through a quick-time event to shake them off. This leaves you out in the open, vulnerable to enemy fire. Anyone who's played multiplayer against Reapers knows what this means.
  • Shocking Swerve: The motivations of the Reapers, and everything about the Catalyst.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The Citadel DLC has the Armax Arsenal Arena, the Castle Arcade, and the Silver Coast Casino, as well as an apartment for you to customize.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Aria's speech in the Omega DLC where Aria will frequently and noticeably teleport around the stage and clip through things.
    • During the prologue, if Shepard looks down on the streets below and zooms in, one can easily notice obvious and poorly drawn 2D renders of people running away from explosions.
    • Shepard wielding an assault rifle (usually an Avenger) during cutscenes when you are not using the weapon or even when you don't even have an assault rifle equipped can come under this.
    • Shepard will have some issues drawing his/her gun at the ends of cutscenes if it's not an assault rifle or pistol.
    • Shepard picks up a rock to give to Tali on Rannoch... and it vanishes in the next shot before it can even change hands.
    • During the final non-combat bits of the game, Shepard's pistol sometimes clips through his/her hand.
    • Shepard's finger often clips through his/her head.
    • Shepard's animation rarely grabs onto the bars correctly when climbing up ladders.
    • The electric sparks from the Pistol Melee Stunner mod continue to appear in cutscenes, even when the gun it's attached to isn't rendered.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Both the Mako and the Hammerhead come in for some verbal abuse during Vega and Cortez's bickering. Bioware has given up on vehicle combat entirely in this game, even when it leaves Shepard dodging Harbinger's blasts on foot. Lucky for him, really; the guys in the tanks died first.
    • An interesting case with the Extended Cut. You actually get the option to get a reaction from shooting the Catalyst, something many players wanted the option to do. However, the trope is ultimately averted, as doing so triggers the refusal ending.
    • Breaking Kai Leng's sword and then shanking him has become the Renegade version of the "hug Tali" option. That is, everyone takes it.
  • That One Attack: Destroyers have a couple of them. The first is a laser that instantly kills Shepard. The second is to stomp on Shepard, causing fatal damage. Fortunately, the latter only occurs during the Tuchanka battle.
  • That One Boss:
    • Marauder Shields, at least on Insanity. You don't have time to close the distance, so you have to line up your swaying Carnifex for a series of stunlocking headshots in agonizing slow motion. Miss a single time and he one-shots you. The Extended Cut actually drops his shield bar to about a third of what it was.
    • Possessed Praetorians from the Retaliation DLC are the only enemies in mutliplayer that could rightfully be called bosses. They're ridiculously tough, possessing over twice as armor and barriers as a Banshee, are extremely fast, possess two powerful weapons, and can kill you in a single hit if they get in melee range.
  • That One Level:
    • Any match on Platinum difficulty in multiplayer.
    • The final mission. This makes sense, but the fact that the final area is just filled with enemies that can kill you in two hits (2 Banshees with assorted infantry support; 6 Brutes at once, joined later by a Harvester and a Reaper with a Wave Motion Gun) leads to a lot of Game Overs, because the margin for error is approximately zero. If it's any consolation, the cutscene can be triggered any time after the button appears as an objective. Which is necessary, since there is an infinite supply of high level enemies. Tricking the Reaper into killing its own troops with the gun is probably the best way to get through on lower difficulties.
    • The second part of it is, in some ways, even worse. While you only have to fight three Husks and one Marauder, you have to do so while staggering around, a horrible speed to move at, with awful aim and your opponents need two hits at most to kill you. Regardless of difficulty setting, you'll probably need multiple frustrating tries.
    • Grissom Academy. Tons of Cerberus Guardians, Atlas mechs, turrets and shield pylons; enemies spawn quickly and it's too early in the game to have the gear and squad members that makes them easy to counter. Virtually every room you walk into features Shepard in the open and surrounded by enemies in cover, but that fucking atrium takes the cake. It's almost made up for by the free Atlas you get later in the level. What's worse is that this, like most, is a "timed" mission, meaning that players cannot simply bulk up and try it later. And failure to beat it gives a fan favorite character a truly horrific ending.
    • The friggin' Geth Dreadnought. Midway through the mission you're in a section where a shockwave regularly blasts out every 5-10 seconds and drains your shields away and the only way to not get hurt is to take cover, only sometimes even if you are you'll still get hurt, and half the time if firing even behind cover you'll still take damage from it since the game can't decide whether it counts if you're still in cover or not. Couple that with the fact that the are dozens of Geth in this section meaning they'll have no problem getting up to where you are, allowing them to completely overwhelm you. You will definitely have to replay this nightmare multiple times.
    • The Afterlife fight in the Omega DLC, a timed battle in which you have to deal with multiple adjutants, while you move from corner to corner, trying to free Aria. No squadmates either, Nyreen is dead and Aria is captured, you are on you own until you free her to mop up the rest of Cerberus.
    • The Citadel DLC adds a few fun ones. First, there's the boss battle against Clone!Shep and Maya Brooks which can be a pain depending on which class you and your clone are. Vanguards get spammed with Nova. Then there are the Combat Simulator fights, especially the Mirror Match against Shepard Clones and the Fatal Error match, all waves of which have to be won without checkpoints or a chance to save.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • The initially released image of the redesign of Ashley Williams quickly fell under this; with an Ashley who wears her hair down, dresses a more form-fitting attire, and seemingly has a boob job. Some images suggest her skin has lightened.
    • Omnitools being used as a knife has been met with divided opinions, with those who think there's no logical reason for the omniblade to work as a knife (ignoring the fact that it has been used both as a melee weapon and a shield before in the game), or that it doesn't fit in with the aesthetic of Mass Effect.
    • In addition, there have been complaints that the Sentinel's dual omni-blades are unoriginal and don't fit the class. Others have pointed out that it's just cooler that way.
    • Use of a lot more auto-dialogue is considered as horrible changes to the game by many fans.
  • They Just Didn't Care: Mass Effect 3: Special Edition for the Wii U is the only Mass Effect game available for that system, and it was released around the same time as the Mass Effect Trilogy' collection of all 3 games for PlayStation 3/Xbox 360. This forces Wii U owners to use the 2 Mass Effect: Genesis comics instead of save imports, missing out on a lot of content. [[Creator/Electronic Arts EA]] also refused to release any more single or multiplayer DLC including Omega, Leviathan, and the various weapon packs for it. Newcomers to the franchise are advised to play the trilogy on another system instead of the Wii U
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Some fans' opinion on the Omega DLC. Specifically, that the DLC focuses more on combat than on character interaction, especially as it reuses Aria T'Loak and introduces a new, exclusive party member in the form of a female turian, and the player cannot return to Omega after the DLC is finished.
    • The Rachni subplot. After two games of build-up and tantalizing hints of what role they'd play in the final installment, the Rachni Queen only appears once in the entire game. After being captured by the Reapers and freed by Shepard, instead of contributing fleets to the war effort like she promised she would in Mass Dffect 2, instead she just sends an arbitrary number of workers to help work on the Crucible. You then never see her nor her children again. The same thing happens if you killed the Queen in the first game, only now it's a cloned Rachni Queen who has been indoctrinated by the Reapers and who will kill a large number of Crucible workers if you free her from the Reapers' grasp.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: From the low tier in multiplayer, Drell Vanguards due to it unimpressive damage output and fragile health and lack of any way to compensate it (at least until gears showed up, but even then there are still more useful biotic classes). Many Volus characters also fall into this category, but they delve into Joke Character territory, so they get a free pass most of the time. Some veteran players also despise the Alliance Infiltration Unit, Turian Ghost Infiltrator, and Geth Juggernaut, due to their mechanics that act as crutches for bad play. The two former classes are infiltrators, but also have grenade-like consumables that automatically self-revives when active and grants a ton of shields in a pinch, respectively. The Juggernaut has a ton of base shields in general and is immune to sync-kills, and players often spec for even more durability at the cost of pitiful damage output.
    • Due to the armor damage reduction mechanic (a flat number is subtracted from damage for each shot against armor), fast-firing but low-damage guns are never seen in higher difficulties. Weapons like the Viper and Raptor sniper rifles, all of the SMGs sans the N7 Hurricane, and the Scimitar shotgun are unlocked and left to collect dust. Heavy-hitting but slow weapons also required less time out of cover to shoot, which further put these pea-shooters away from regular usage.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Even without the controversial endings, this game was doomed to be base breaking. Mass Effect 2 is widely viewed by fans as the best game in the series, so people feeling that this game didn't (or couldn't) live up to the second was inevitable.
  • Trope Overdosed/Troper Critical Mass: For a while, the Main page had 20 tropes on it from only a minute long teaser with one line. That amounts to a Trope every 3 seconds. During that time there was also a Headscratchers page, a WMG, a Quotes wiki, and has been the subject of an edit war over those same tropes and, clearly, a YMMV page.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Some defenders of the endings state that it being hard to understand and so open to multiple interpretations is what makes much of its beauty. The developers seem to suggest this with some of their comments, as well. Other comments suggest it was completely unintentional and is supposed to make sense, and promises to 'clarify' the ending seem to confirm this.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • In Mass Effect 3, all of the love interests save for Jacob Taylor stay faithful towards Shepard. Jacob is the only character to outright dump Shepard because, during the time skip between Mass Effect 2 and 3, he impregnated another woman. He also happens to be the only black love interest. This led to a LARGE debate over the negative connotations related to his unfaithfulness and his race.
    • As noted under Internet Backdraft, the blonde-haired female Shepard was accused of various fans and observers to look slutty and like a clichéd Barbie lookalike because she had blonde hair.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • The Extended Cut DLC is intended to at least mitigate the negative reaction to the original endings. Reactions have been mixed, though considering the state of the fandom at the best of times, this is hardly surprising. While many of the polls still show that at least half of the fanbase is not satisfied, it's still an improvement from the reaction to the base endings which had only 8% of approval.
    • Reactions to the Citadel DLC have been much more positive.

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