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Awesome moments in Mass Effect 2:

  • The entire suicide mission, especially if you made/make all the right decisions regarding the upgrades and team duties. The team goes through the Omega-4 relay, which no one has gone through and survived. Joker not only navigates a debris field guarded by robotic drones, he does it well enough to make the drones crash. The ship that destroyed the original Normandy gets shot down with a weapon reverse-engineered from Sovereign. A team works their way through heating vents, trusting Shepard to open gates before they fry to death. Shepard saves their crew from being liquefied and made into raw material for a new Reaper. A team travels through an atmosphere literally filled with seeker swarms, with a biotic managing to keep the swarms away before blowing a mass of enemies. While Shepard leaves to blow the base, the rest of the team holds off waves of Collectors. Shepard takes down a fetal Reaper, that thing that took just about every ship in the Alliance fleet to destroy, while on foot. As it knocks down the platforms, they save a squadmate while both of them are sliding down the platform. Shepard's team runs out of the exploding Collector base, with just about every single Collector pursuing them, while Harbinger delivers an epic speech. As Shepard approaches the Normandy, Joker, who had trouble just walking in the first game, stands in the airlock, holding off Collectors with an assault rifle. The platform between the Normandy and Shepard collapses, so they jump twenty feet in bulky assault armor to reach the door, are pulled up and saved by one of their squad members, followed by Joker and Shepard dashing for the cockpit to get away from the explosion, which happens right behind the Normandy as it zooms out of there. The Normandy returns from the Omega-4 relay, the galaxy saved (until Mass Effect 3), with everyone safe and sound. Awesome.
    • Another stand-out moment: mid-way through the final segment, you radio back to see how well your team is holding against the Collectors. If your full team is loyal, whoever picks up will essentially reply that the full might of the Collector attack is doing absolutely negligible damage.
      • When you use the Thanix cannon on the Collector ship that destroyed the original Normandy, Joker's exclamation of "How'd you like that you sons of bitches?!" was just pure awesome.
      • After the mission, the survivors, replenishing their weapons and healing wounds, all stop to acknowledge Shepard. It's even more awesome if everyone survived. It's as if all of them are saying, "We will follow you anywhere, Commander. Hell, we just did..."
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    • The music. It takes a lot of effort to make "Because screw you, that's why" sound mythic. Jack Wall managed it in just under five minutes.
  • The opening sequence is a work of art: you control Shepard as the Normandy explodes around them, due to the damage sustained during the Collector attack. At one point, you must journey through a section of the ship that is exposed to space, and the game becomes eerily quiet as you look out into the void and pass several floating pieces of debris you can knock aside when you walk around.
    • And at the end of that sequence, even as the ship is literally being blown to pieces around them and Shepard is being bounced around like a rubber ball, they still manage to punch the button to close the life pod that Joker's in and eject it, saving his life.
  • Let's take one of your recruitable squad members in the second game, Archangel. You learn that due to his vigilante activities against the criminal element of Omega, the three biggest merc companies on the station have teamed up to take this guy down. He's holed up in a mansion and blown up all other options for them; the only access route they have is across the bridge, which means they're target practice for him. They tried flying a gunship over to attack him, but he shot it down. When you infiltrate the merc companies, you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of mercs and freelancers trading bullets with him, but no one's getting anywhere near him. Once the operation starts, you stab the mercs in the back and make your way to Archangel in order to extract him...and find out it's none other than Shepard's old pal, Garrus. To sum it up: Garrus has been holding off three entire merc companies, the freelancers they hired, and all their resources for days, holed up in a mansion, singlehandedly.
    • Garrus's side-mission. It's longer than most of the other missions (Jacob's and Mordin's in particular) due to a mix of investigation, combat and dialogue, and even after you've already gotten the achievement for it, you get treated to a climax which involves an increasingly-deranged Garrus attempting to snipe Sidonis while you (in a Paragon game) talk with said target and keep your own head in Garrus' scope to save his life. Garrus listens to your conversation through a two-way radio, and when he finds out that Sidonis shows remorse for having wronged him, Garrus can't bring himself to pull the trigger. This entire scene also doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
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    • Very small, but he's even awesome as far as game mechanics go. The official guide for Mass Effect 2 strongly recommends that if you're going to play on Insanity, Garrus is one teammate you should always have with you.
    • When you ask the Illusive Man about Garrus, he will admit he disappeared a few months after Shepard died and even Cerberus has not been able to find anything about him since then. Considering Cerberus intelligence networks are only outmatched by the Shadow Broker, that's quite the achievement.
  • Khalisah al-Jilani returns in Mass Effect 2 for another round. If you punch her with the Renegade interrupt, Shepard says "I should have done that the first time we met!"
    • On the flip-side of that, you can also go the diplomatic route, and when she starts winding up to pitch the good ol' "aliens let humans die for their own skins" tripe, Shepard gets a particularly moving CMOA by cutting her off with a powerful, spine-chilling lecture:
      Shepard: The turians lost twenty cruisers, figure each had a crew of around 300. The Ascension, the asari dreadnought we saved, had a crew of nearly 10,000.
      Khalisah: But surely the human cost—
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    • After that little exchange is over as you walk away, you hear her mutter: "Great, bullrushed on my own show."
    • There's another variant of the speech which you can give if the council dies:
      Shepard: Saving everyone only happens in vids. There will be sacrifices. Being in charge means making sure they lead to the greater objective. That's a reality shared by all soldiers, in command and on the ground. Don't you dare suggest I made that call lightly.
      Khalisah: I didn't mean to accuse—
      Shepard: You're damn right you didn't. I won't let you disrespect anyone who gave their life that day. They're heroes — all of them. They deserve better than you.
      • They will say the same thing if they sacrificed the Alliance ships and you choose the Renegade response. You still get Paragon points for it.
    • The Renegade responses are just as awesome. Shep gives her a tongue lashing about the realities of command and disrespecting the dead that leaves Kalisah on the verge of weeping.
  • Thane's Establishing Character Moment. Shepard and company spend an action-packed level blowing stuff up and slaughtering their way to the penthouse floor of a business building to reach a Corrupt Corporate Executive who is said to be the assassin's next target and therefore the best way of contacting him. Once Shepard and Nassana start talking, a few strange noises rattle the remaining security, who get ordered to watch the remaining entrances. Unfortunately, Thane doesn't use doors—he drops from an airduct on the ceiling mid-sentence, kills the security guards, grabs one of their guns, catches his target, shoots her in the stomach, gently lays her on a desk... and proceeds to pray without looking at Shepard or missing a beat. All in about six moves. Even Miranda and Jack are impressed by that.
    • If you pay attention, Shepard actually looks up at the ceiling briefly before the bad guys realize Thane's there, and essentially says, "I'm not your problem right now.".
  • Legion's entrance. He's in a low-angle camera angle, with a mix of danger and awe-inspiring music, there's an absolutely awesome Snipe The Husk moment, and then, his simple greeting: "Shepard-Commander."
  • Mordin gets one when you learn why the citizens of Omega are scared of him: when one of the deadliest mercenary groups tried to shake down his clinic, he killed their thugs singlehandedly and put their corpses on display as a warning. He did it again when another merc group was dumb enough to try the same thing. Really, if Badass Bookworm would be explained in dictionary, his picture would be included next to the definition.
  • In the Afterlife club, Renegade Shepard can talk the Patriarch into one of these by appealing to his nature as a krogan. Instead of hiding from the mercenaries, he chooses to die like a true krogan warrior, and charges an entire squad of heavily-armed mercenaries, and thus goes out in a blaze of (sadly offscreen) glory.
  • Remember Conrad Verner? In the second game, he shows up as an "extreme" mercenary. You can try to talk some sense into him, or, if you're a Renegade....
    Shepard: Conrad, let me make this perfectly clear. (shoots Conrad in the foot) This is not acceptable.
    • He gets his own actual moment of awesome if Paragon!Shep talks him down from his little crusade. He starts a charity to help the victims and orphans of Sovereign and the geth attacks called..."Shepards". Well done man.
    • And in 3? If you went down that route, it's revealed that he spent all his savings getting those orphans to safety. Conrad might be a dork and a bit of a stalker, but his heart is definitely in the right place.
  • Everyone who took a certain Renegade interrupt action in the Urdnot camp said these exact words: "Did...Did I just headbutt a krogan? Not to mention, the shocked look on said krogan's face eloquently says "Did... Did a Human just headbutt me?"
    • A scene just a few minutes prior shows this to be a krogan dominance gesture, so if one is observant, they will immediately understand what the Renegade interrupt prompt is, and it is so right in context.
    Shaman: Hahaha! I like this human, s/he understands!
  • "Speak when spoken to, Uvenk. I'll drag your clan to glory whether it likes it or not."
    • You discover that Wrex had one around the same time you perform the feat yourself: He's the last krogan to kill a Thresher Maw on foot until you and Grunt come along. Keep in mind, that was one thousand years ago.
    • More awesome from a meta perspective, Uvenk is voiced by Michael Dorn, AKA Worf from Star Trek. Wrex is basically telling Worf to "Quit it with the stupid traditions, they aren't working, now get out of my way, I'm saving our race." Awesome.
  • Finding out from an asari woman on Illium that, if you made the decision to save the Rachni Queen in the first game, that she is repopulating her species, that you are revered as a legend by her race, and that when the time comes, she will bring her the entire rachni race to help you stop the Reapers. Oh, hell yes.
  • Each class gets some sort of awesome combat power (Invisibility Cloak, Bullet Time, etc), but the Vanguard's Biotic Charge has to take the gold medal, simply for the Refuge in Audacity moments it can provoke. Biotic Charge a Krogan. Charge a Geth Prime. Charge Tela Vasir. Charge Harbinger. Charge a YMIR mech. Charge The Shadow Broker. Charge the Colossus on Haestrom. You can't knock the last one off its feet, but using that power to kill it will top just about any moment in the entire game for sheer amounts of awesome. Vanguard Shepard laughs at the concept of cover. Even better, most of the enemies will pause for a moment after your charge even if you didn't knock them flying, as if they're still wondering if you were insane enough to do what you just did. There's a reason why the Vanguard's Fan Nickname is Manguard.
  • Far too much to say about Tali's trial on the flotilla. You could get her off the hook by a Paragon action (if you talked to the Admirals and found out their real motivations for dragging her in on a treason charge), or you could "Rally the crowd," prompting both Kal'Reeger and the still-traumatized Veetor'Nara (if you saved them both after meeting them) to come up and brag to the Admiralty Board about how much Tali has done for the entire fleet.
    • The Renegade solution to Tali's trial manages to be just as awesome, wherein Shepard probably shows more honest anger than they ever have up until that point in the series. Shepard gets pissed, tells the Admiralty Board the entire trial is nothing more than "political bullshit" (yes, those are their exact words) to their face, tears them down for dragging a member of their crew into something like this for their own agenda, angrily exposes their real motives behind the trial, gets the whole crowd on their side, renders the whole board speechless and shames them into finding Tali not guilty. Made even more awesome by the capper to Shepard's whole rant against the Admirals:
      Shepard: Do whatever you want with your toy ships. But leave my crew out of your political bullshit! We have no new evidence. You can accept Tali's word or you exile the woman who saved the galaxy from the geth.
      Shepard: With all due respect Admiral, I didn't do it for one of "your people"; I did it for one of mine.
    • And Tali's reaction afterward.
      Tali: It's fun watching you shout.
  • The final boss of Mass Effect 2 deserves a mention. Three words: Human-shaped Reaper Fetus.
  • During Mordin's mission, while on the krogan homeworld, a krogan gangster with delusions of grandeur starts ranting and raving about how his clan will destroy the forces of the galaxy when they get enough numbers. A Renegade quick time shows up and you give him a very satisfying version of Shut Up, Hannibal! using a fortuitously-placed gas main and two pistol shots.
    Shepard: You talk too much. [gunshot]
  • When you get to the Citadel, if you nominated Anderson for Councilor, he puts Udina in his place.
    Councilor Anderson (in the tone of a parent scolding a child): I don't answer to you anymore, Udina. Why don't you go to your office and think about that?
    • Even if Udina isn't councilor, he still utters an awesome line: "Do the words political shitstorm mean anything to you?!"
  • So Shepard, how does it feel to piss off an entire armada of Reapers to the point where all of them know your name? The answer, of course, is that it feels awesome.
  • If Shepard opts to play "bad cop" during Thane's loyalty quest, they'll try to intimidate the thug they're interrogating by threatening to cut off his balls and sell them to a krogan.
    • You can actually choose to go full Paragon until that interrupt. It's almost better because the 'bad cop' has done literally nothing against him the entire time until one little misplaced taunt sends him flying off the handle. To put this in perspective, if you only take that renegade interrupt, he is so terrified that he spills everything after one threat.
    • Alternately, if you have enough Renegade points, you can just cut to the chase and point out that you're a Spectre. It takes about four seconds after that for him to cough up the info you're after.
      Thane: That may go down in history as the shortest interrogation ever.
    • Even with just going full Charm option in the interrogation scene (again with enough Paragon points): the thug's defense attorney comes up after being held back by Bailey, and threatens both Shepard and Thane with illegal detention. Once Shep reveals his Spectre status, the attorney backs off and basically says "you're on your own on this one" to the thug.
  • At the end of the game, if you decide to blow up the Collector base, Shepard will say a completely character-defining line for Paragons:
    Shepard: I won't let fear compromise who I am.
    • If Miranda is with you, this is where you finally get to give Cerberus the big middle finger: she will tell him that she's officially resigned, in a tone of voice essentially telling him to screw off.
      Illusive Man: Miranda, do not let Shepard destroy the base!
      Miranda: Or what? You'll replace me next?
      Illusive Man: I gave you an order, Miranda!
      Miranda: I noticed. Consider this my resignation.
    • This moment is made even better if you've been playing the whole game as a Renegade, due to how it makes Shepard look like they were playing the Illusive Man all along, coming off as a true Magnificent Bastard when they finally gets the upper hand and uses that moment to seize control of Cerberus.
  • Joker's return and the reveal of the Normandy SR2.
    Shepard: You really trust the Illusive Man?
    Joker: I don't trust anyone who makes more than I do. But they aren't all bad. Saved your life. Let me fly—and there's this. They only told me last night.
  • During Miranda's loyalty mission, a group of mercs will attempt to get her and Shepard to back off. As the merc talks, Shepard notices a crane moving an explosive cargo container. There's a Renegade interrupt. If taken, Shepard will reach forward and break the one merc's neck with their bare hands. Miranda will then shoot another at point-blank range as Shepard pulls out their handcannon and blasts the container to kill two more mercs. The only surviving mercenary is a shocked Salarian with a priceless "holy shit!" look on his face.
  • The Paragon ending to Zaeed's loyalty mission. After saving a factory full of slaves and costing Zaeed his revenge against his arch-nemesis of twenty years as a result, Shepard puts a gun to Zaeed's head, tells him he's damn well going to work as part of a team, pulls the man out from under the girder that's fallen across his legs—thus proving their point that no one can go it alone all the time—and through sheer force of will and badassery manages to gain Zaeed's admiration and loyalty anyway.
  • Both Paragon and Renegade solutions to Legion and Tali's argument over her Omni-tool. Renegade Shepard will squash both of them flat while backlit by the hall light. (It's even within Paragon Shepard's personality to take the Renegade option here.)
    Shepard: What the hell were you thinking!? Are you trying to undermine this entire operation?! You can either fight by my side, or get crushed under my heel, but you will not stand in my way!
  • If you bring a nonhuman party member into the plague zone on Omega, they get sick. When you reach Mordin's clinic, he looks up, notes they're sick, and casually makes the infection go away with a press of a button. Beforehand, you knew Mordin was a hell of a doctor, but the fact that he developed a cure specifically for each species that works that fast immediately proves his awesome scientist cred.
  • An option most people probably missed shows up during Samara's loyalty mission. When hunting for Morinth in Afterlife's VIP lounge, Shepard comes across two would-be turian muggers. With a bit of Intimidation, Shepard provokes both of them into attacking (as actually throwing the first blow would get the Commander thrown out too early to lure the target) and promptly crushes each of them with two blows in a total of five seconds.
    • Speaking of Samara's loyalty mission, when you manage to convince Morinth to take the bait and start seducing you, she will gaze into your eyes and tell you to tell her that she owns you, and can do whatever she wants with you—clearly about to do with you what she did with her previous victims. Iftheir score is high enough, both Paragon and Renegade Shepard can essentially tell her, "Nope. Sucks to be you." The dawning moment of "Oh, Crap!..." on her face as Samara walks in the door and blasts her is priceless, and the idea that Shepard has so much Heroic Willpower that they are able to resist the brainwashing of an Ardat-Yakshi is yet another checkmark for their awesomeness.
      Morinth: (combination of annoyed and frightened) Oh, no. The bitch found herself a little helper.
    • Also, there's one precious gem in the VIP lounge: You see how a tipsy and huge male Turian is harassing one of the exotic dancers and if you decide to call the Turian out for it, he tries to pick a fight with Shepard. Cue Shepard handing the Turian his ass on a silver platter in seconds.
    • Another awesome renegade option to get Morinth's attention is to insult the Krogan at the bar. As they exchange a few harsh words, they trade their best intimidating gaze—Renegade Shepard's looks downright predatory.
    • The mission itself. Samara gives Shepard bucketloads of motivation to help hunt down and kill a space vampire. Finding her latest victim however leaves both of them fighting to not just storm where she is.
  • If you saw that scene, you know:
    Thane: Amonkira, Lord of Hunters, grant that my hands be steady, my aim be true, and my feet swift. And should the worst come to pass, grant me forgiveness.
  • Paragon Shepard at the end of the game. With the Illusive Man nearly frothing at the mouth about the destruction of the Collector base and accusing Shepard of biting the hand that fed them, Shepard will, in a very calm voice, "pleasantly" inform him that they're doing things their way now, and the Illusive Man, one of the most powerful humans in the galaxy, had better suck it up and fall in line. Then they'll tell Joker to cut the connection in a manner reminiscent of the Council from the first game, or alternatively...
    The Illusive Man: I made you, Shepard! I brought you back from the dead!
    Shepard: And I'm going to do what you brought me back to do. I'll fight and win this war without compromising the soul of our species.
    • It's pretty awesome to hear Shepard rub their moral superiority in his face, showing that they know damn well who the good guy is.
      • A Renegade response to The Illusive Man angry that Shepard destroyed the Collector Base is to tell him who's in charge: "Get on board, or get out of my way."
    • Then there's this possible exchange:
      The Illusive Man: (SERIOUSLY annoyed) Shepard, you're making a habit of costing me more than time and money.
      Shepard: (mildly) I'm sorry, I'm having trouble hearing you — I'm getting a lot of bullshit on this line.
  • During Thane's loyalty mission, you are tasked with tracking down his son and stopping him from killing a corrupt politician (you can get him arrested later) and following in his father's footsteps. Once you finish tracking him down, you end up in a standoff with him holding the gun to his target's head. Rather than the typical tense negotiations, a Paragon interrupt has the Commander shoot a lamp to distract Kolyat, then punch some sense into the kid. Resolving the entire situation in four seconds without any complications and showing that good guys don't have to deal with nonsense.
    • The Renegade interrupt is no worse. You show Kolyat he's in no position to negotiate by shooting the scumbag of a hostage yourself.
    Kolyat: All of you, back off! I'll kill him!
    Shepard: No. You won’t.
    *BANG*
    Kolyat: ...oh my gods!
    Shepard: Hostages only work when your enemy cares if they live.
    Thane: Interesting solution.
  • Firing the Cain. No matter when you use it, no matter who you use it on, and no matter for what reason, every single time you fire the Cain is epic.
    • Special mention to using it on the Geth Colossus. Remember that hard slog of a fight to kill the thing? You can end it five seconds after it reveals itself by blowing up the Colossus with the Cain, along with every geth in the vicinity.
    • Using it on the Oculus is also very satisfying. It also adds a bit of unintentional humor to your squadmates' follow-up remarks.
    Garrus: I think it's going to stay dead this time.
    • There's one reason to bring Grunt with you on the mission, which is both a Badass Boast and a Funny Moment combined:
      Grunt: (almost giggling with glee) This is why I follow you, Shepard! BIG THINGS!
  • During the mission to recruit Samara, Shepard runs across a volus swindler who lets slip he has a copy of the passcard into a mercenary base. Shepard reacts by cracking their knuckles, which is enough to get the swindler to hand it over.
  • The over-arching CMOA for the Paragon Shepard over the course of two games: if you played as a Paragon in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, it means you have the rachni, geth, krogans, and quarians all backing you up for Mass Effect 3 against the Reaper invasion, which, ironically, allows you to tell the Council to screw off even more than a Renegade Shepard could.
    • Not to mention the Shadow Broker. Plus, a fully Paragon Shepard could probably convince the Blue Suns, Eclipse, and the Blood Pack to do some Pro Bono work and convince Aria to drag Omega into the war. The Reapers are going down. Hilarious in Hindsight because that's a distinct possibility regardless of Shepard's alignment in Mass Effect 3, depending on the outcome of certain missions.
  • Learning from Samara that she faced off against Nihlus. Nihlus had killed some civilians for some Spectre-related mission, Samara's Justicar code demanded that she kill him. Nihlus not only managed to avoid her initial assault, but in the end actually managed to escape her by pulling a Friend or Idol Decision on her by making her choose between saving an innocent or catching him, basically using her own rules against her. Keep in mind Nihlus was probably only a Spectre at that time for maybe a little longer than Shepard was, and Samara is a centuries-old warrior with massive biotic powers as well as extensive training. The galaxy lost a damn good Spectre on Eden Prime.
  • An understated one on Tuchanka, after completing Grunt's loyalty mission and killing the Thresher Maw on foot Grunt is inducted into Clan Urdnot. The shaman starts listing off the things Grunt can do now that he's an adult, the last of which is 'you may now serve under a battlemaster'. Grunt's reply: "Shepard is my battlemaster, (s)he has no match." The Shaman's response? A semi-grudging "Indeed." Think about it.
    • If Wrex is still alive, this is more meaningful, given Shepard's role in the rise of Clan Urdnot. Given that Wrex is a krogan battlemaster himself, who was the last to destroy a Maw and served under Shepard...
    • Bonus points if your Shepard had the Sole Survivor background and lost his/her entire squad to thresher maws - killing one on foot is truly the perfect way to get some payback!
  • Renegade Shepard staying calm and completely dominating Grunt after opening his tank, even while he has them pinned to the wall.
    Shepard: My enemies threaten galaxies. Everyone on my ship has earned their place.
    • This is even more awesome when you realize that Grunt is actually shocked that a human would speak that way to him. This display, along with the gun that Shepard had on him the entire time without his knowledge, gains Grunt's Undying Loyalty and respect to Shepard almost instantly.
      Grunt: Nothing in the tank imprints indicated that humans could be so forceful. You talk as though you've earned command.
    • Arguably the Paragon route is just as badass in that scene. Shepard calmly and pleasantly convinces Grunt to accept them as his leader while the latter has them pinned to the wall. Than the camera pans out and shows that while this was happening, Shepard armed themself and had a gun pointing straight at Grunt's stomach the whole time. And Grunt didn't even notice until Shepard mentioned it!
      Shepard: I'm glad you saw it my way.
      (Grunt looks down, then chuckles.)
      Grunt: Huh... Offer one hand, arm the other. Wise, Shepard.
  • Tali gets two crowning moments if she's in the party for the "Crime In Progress" assignment. After the volus accusing another quarian of pickpocketing him refers to them as "clanless" one too many times, she'll say;
    Tali: I am clan Zorah, crew of the starship Neema — and you are an idiot.
    • Then, if Shepard says he's not worth it;
      Tali: My brain agrees with you. My gut says to jack his suit's olfactory filters so that everything smells like refuse!
    • If Garrus is the third party member, he'll speak for us all;
    • Really, bring Tali along and the whole thing becomes one long, glorious Take That! against some people's issues with immigrants, right down to the volus dragging out the tired old "And to think my taxes pay to support you!" argument.
    • Shepard isn't exactly a slouch in this scene either. The Paragon interrupt was absolutely perfect.
      Shepard: [shoving the volus] You falsely accused this girl of stealing from you — and all you have to say now is that she could have stolen it?
      Volus: Now just a minute!
      Shepard: [grabbing the cop] And you! She gets harassed and insulted by this guy, and you throw in a threat to run her in for vagrancy?
      Cop: How about I run you in for obstruction of justice?
      Shepard: You think you're gonna run in a Spectre? I think both of you should get out of here.
      Cop: Son of a...
      • Able to be seen in all its glory starting at 3:00 and resuming to the end of it at 8:00. If you prefer Femshep, see here.
      • It's even better if you aren't expecting it. If you always picked the top-right dialog choice in the first game, Shepard almost seemed impossible to anger. The shock of seeing a Paragon Shepard just lay into those two is surprising and satisfying.
  • Shepard's speeches (s)he is able to give during the suicide mission are suitably epic, including some powerful music and dramatic finger pointing. Additionally the speech can focus on giving the Collectors some serious payback or focusing on saving lives, depending on if the player is going for Renegade or Paragon.
    • There are two or three segments to each speech, and you can independently choose Paragon or Renegade segments of each speech. Starting with Paragon (i.e. Why We're Here) and ending with Renegade (i.e. 'Now let's go kick some ass!') is immensely satisfying.
      • This gets great subtext if playing as a Paragon Colonist Shepard with the War Hero backstory. You lost your entire family when your colony was invaded, it was probably what drove them to single-handedly save Elysium from a similar attack during the Skyllian Blitz. Also in the first game, this would have been their determination to rescue everyone on Zhu's Hope. Honestly, what were the Reapers even thinking by attacking Human colonies?
  • If you're a Renegade who saved the Council in the first game, during their little chat with you in Anderson's office (because, come on, who picked Udina for Councilor?) they dismiss everything you stirred up in the first game and then condescendingly offer to reinstate you as a Spectre, clearly meant to placate Shepard and remove her as an annoyance by sending her back into the Terminus Systems. You can say that you'd be honored, or tell them to go screw themselves.
    Shepard: The Council offered to reinstate me as a Spectre. I told them where they could stick it.
    • If you picked Anderson, he complains in the second game that he never wanted to be a politician. It would've been nice if we had more choices than "tired old soldier" and "jackass."
  • The right person leading the distraction team gets one during the suicide mission after the first segment. "Suppressing fire! Don't let anything through that door!"
  • A loyal Jack or Samara will get one at the end of the barrier sequence. Blowing away every Collector and seeker in the room. Jack, in particular, looks back at the Collectors as if to say, "Yeah, you had no chance beating me."
  • The Collector ship raid is somewhat of a CMOA for EDI; before that point she's mostly there for exposition purposes, and then she hijacks the Collector ship to save you, very quickly deduces important information on the Collectors and both works out and reveals the fact the raid was set-up by her creators. Considering that it was Harbinger who was behind the attack, EDI defeated him in cyberwarfare.
  • If Jack survives the suicide mission, as you walk by her as she helps with repairs to the Normandy, she gives you a respectful nod, and you realize she's gone from being an emotionally scarred, near-psychotic sociopath to someone who actually gives a damn about the rest of humanity.
  • Kasumi gets one at the end of her loyalty mission. She and Shepard are fighting Donovan Hock, who's using a gunship that regenerates shields too fast for the two of them to destroy it. Once Shepard clears a path through Hock's Eclipse Mooks, Kasumi jumps onto the gunship, disables its shields, smiles at Hock and flips off to resume the fight.
    Shepard: Do I have your attention now?
    • Hell, anytime Kasumi uses Shadow Strike is awesome. Watching this little Japanese girl punch a Humongous Mecha in the back never gets old.
      • The best thing about Shadow Strike is she uses it as a finisher. Basically, if you've got Kasumi in your party and you're hurting from almost whittling away the most recent wave of attackers, "Going dark!" becomes one hell of a great thing to hear.
  • In the suicide mission, if you choose Jacob to lead a distraction team, Miranda will say something about how he'll finally be able to prove he's able to command. Yes, his first command job comes in a battle to save all sentient life in the galaxy. Even considering the fact he's in charge of the B-team that fights off-screen, that is awesome.
    • What makes it better is that Jacob is one of the right choices. He succeeds in his first command job in a battle to save all sentient life in the galaxy!
    • Though, logically, it's not his first command at all. He says he was a Corsair in the Alliance, which were covert ops specialists who used counter-boarding to fight pirates. He was a perfect choice. Miranda must have just forgotten his background.
    • If Garrus is picked, he's extremely casual, as if to say, "Honestly, who else were you going to pick?"note 
  • At one point during the game before the suicide mission, if you ask Garrus his opinion on the success of the mission, his response really drives home the fact that you are literally too important to be allowed to die.
    Garrus: The Collectors killed you once, and all it did was piss you off. I can't imagine that they'll stop you this time.
  • The end of Zaeed's loyalty mission. If Vido gets away and you still ask Zaeed to join you, you get this:
    Zaeed: And what's going to keep me from blowing you away in your sleep?
    Shepard: You know that's not gonna happen. You're a badass, Zaeed. But remember who you're talking to.
    • Shepard knows and lampshades that they're the biggest badass of them all.

  • Shepard is asked to relinquish whatever weapons they have when visiting Purgatory prison.
    Shepard: I'll relinquish one bullet. [others draw their weapons] Where do you want it?
  • Observing Wrex's political savvy on Tuchanka. If you compare his actions to Urdnot Wreav's, there's no question who the greater warlord is.
    • After Mordin's mission, Shepard had decimated Clan Weyrloc; Wreav used that to just wipe out the rest of the clan. Wrex took in the women and children, and made them part of his tribe.
    • He turned down a possible cure for the genophage because the experiments on living krogan were too cruel. Keep in mind, a genophage cure would be the "I win" button for any krogan clan. Wrex turned it down on ethical standards.
    • He invited a small, mildly weak (by Krogan standards), clan into his inner circle. Why? Because the clan has a direct lineage to a legendary krogan warrior and he can use the name to bolster his own ranks. And in the fourth game, we can meet that legendary warrior - Nakmor Drack, probably the only Krogan to have had more adventures than Wrex.
    • Clan Urdnot has a rather talent scientist who was very good at making things that went boom. What's Wrex having him work on now? Crops, irrigation, farming, and medicine.
    • Wreav just gives grudging permission for Grunt to take the rite and join Urdnot just to gain a new warrior. Wrex lets Grunt decide for himself if he wishes to join Urdnot, praises him when he says yes, and welcomes him into the clan after the rite with near fatherly pride. (More so if Grunt and Shep killed the Thresher Maw. He's actually amused that someone upset his record as the only one to do it.)
      Wrex: Guess that's what it takes to replace me.
    • Wrex and a female established an actual neutral ground. On Tuchanka. They created, with his own hands and in two years, the equivalent of a snowman in the Sahara...and kept it from melting.
      • Even more so, Wrex's power increased because no clans dare fuck with Urdnot thanks to the alliance with the females of all clans.
  • One for Harbinger, at the beginning no less. When we see how savvy Harbinger is with the obliteration of the Normandy and Shepard's death at the beginning, it's hard not to be impressed. Sure, it didn't work out exactly the way Harbinger wanted it, but it shows why the Reapers have been the top dogs for millions of years.
  • Grunt's defiance of Gatatog Uvenk near the end of his loyalty mission.
    • It's better if you skip the Paragon or Renegade options for that, and just take the neutral option. Shepard's line (and Grunt's response) is priceless.
      Grunt: You do know Grunt. This varren is dead. [tackles Uvenk]
  • The entire Overlord DLC was a Crowning 5 missions of awesome. Easily the best DLC in franchise history (until Lair of the Shadow Broker and Citadel, see below).
    • Special mention goes to the Paragon interrupt at the very end... when pistol-whipping Gavin Archer for what he did to David is considered "Paragon."
    • The entire Paragon ending of Overlord is equal parts this and Heartwarming, both due to the above, and because it’s one of the only instances in the series where Paragon Shepard is clearly enraged.
      Shepard: You even think about coming after your brother, and this bullet will be waiting for you! THEN we'll see who's "too valuable!"
    • Badass and Good Is Not Soft indeed. Hell, the middle of the road option makes Para-Shep even angrier, as if theyr'e going to execute Gavin Archer right there.
    • At the end of the first mission, Shepard and their team destroy the satellite dish to prevent the VI from uploading itself off-world by destroying its supports from the inside. This unbalances the entire dish and causes it to slowly start tipping over. To get out, Shepard and their squad run up the inside of the dish and leap from the edge onto a narrow walkway. Did we mention all this is taking place on a cliffside, very high above the ground?
  • Ahh, where to begin with Lair of the Shadow Broker?
    • Liara T'Soni, formerly a meek, quiet asari scientist, taking about seven levels in badass. When you first meet her, she's threatening a recalcitrant client by channeling her mother, Matriarch Benezia. It only gets better from there on out, culminating in her Shut Up, Hannibal! to the Shadow Broker himself, transitioning seamlessly into a Breaking Speech of her very own.
      Broker: It's pointless to challenge me, asari. I know your every secret, while you fumble in the dark.
      Liara: Is that right? You're a yahg, a pre-spaceflight species that was quarantined to their homeworld for massacring the Council's first contact teams. This base is older than your planet's discovery, so I'm guessing you killed the original Shadow Broker 60 years ago, then took his place. I'm guessing that you were taken from your homeworld by a trophy hunter who wanted a slave - [smirks] or a pet. How am I doing?
    • It becomes even more awesome when, after the fight Liara reveals she actually didn't know most of that, only knowing the basics of yahg history and psychology and using it against him.
    • A high speed chase in the middle of Illium rush hour traffic.
    • Hunting down Vasir, a Spectre with the Biotic Charge ability!
      • The fight with Vasir is ridiculously awesome if your Shep is also a Vanguard...and even if they aren't a Vanguard.
      • Shepard tackling and wrestling Vasir out of a two story window.
      • Vasir gets her own moment of awesome. After Shepard tackles her out the window, she manages to biotic kick them into the ground, stunning them.
      • Not to mention how Shepard handles that hostage situation that comes up.
      • Especially the Paragon Badass Boast
        "I sacrificed hundreds of human lives to save the Destiny Ascension!"
        "I unleashed the rachni on the galaxy!"
        "So for your sake, hope your escape plan doesn't hinge on me hesitating to shoot a damn hostage!"
      • The Intimidate option is just as cool: Shepard annoys said Spectre with faux Fantastic Racism while signaling to Liara to telekinetically bean her with a table. Tela never saw it coming.
      • The regular renegade option (wound the hostage) is also badass.
        "Smart move, hiding behind a hostage. A Spectre would do whatever it takes to get the job done. But you're forgetting something... I'm a Spectre too." BANG!
    • Let's give Tela Vasir credit. She provides an awesome NPC display as to how dangerous and badass a Spectre, and a Vanguard, can be. The table beaning her in the face was not the only thing that happened. She also wrestled Shepard down 4+ stories (a wrestle that she actually won), got into a nasty car wreck and lost a large amount of blood before the table hit her. And after all this, she STILL provides one of the toughest and most frantic fights in the entire series.
    • Walking across the hull of a spaceship in the middle of a planetary wide lightning storm.
    • Shepard squared off with the Shadow Broker in single hand-to-hand combat not once, not twice, but thrice. The Shadow Broker is a yahg who happens to be at least two times bigger than Shepard in every way, has a maw with three rows of gnashing jagged teeth, and would give the krogan a run for their money in terms of strength, ferocity, and brutality.
    • Liara becoming the new Shadow Broker. Thus giving Shepard another force in their corner.
    • One of the videos you can watch on the Shadow Broker's ship shows Kalisah al-Jilani getting an uppercut from a krogan. Another video shows her kicked by a volus. Other videos show the asari bartender on Illium headbutting a krogan, and attacking a volus with biotics. Anderson shoots a krogan and punches Udina. Gavorn on Omega kills a couple of vorcha with a grenade.
    • Admiral Hackett gets one in his dossier. Some Alliance officer sent him a proposal to take Shepard into custody and interrogate them about Cerberus. The proposal is a page long. Hackett's response? Two words: "Request denied."
      • He also gets one of these off camera as Liara reveals that he's the one who gave her Shepard's dogtags to return to the Commander, after the mission's over.
        Liara: "Do you remember Admiral Hackett? He gave them to me, so I could return them to you. He sends his best, and hopes you're okay."
    • Morinth gets one if you bring her along. The Shadow Broker will comment that he finds it odd that Liara brought "the Justicar" along, given her "changed agenda". This implies that even he doesn't know that Morinth killed Samara and took her place. That's right - Morinth is so convincing she even fooled the Shadow Broker.
    • You also learn how Mordin killed with farming equipment: He stabbed a krogan through the eye with a pitchfork.
    • Garrus' dossier lists an assortment of awesomely ironic deaths for various criminals on Omega, i.e. sabotaging a saboteur’s environment suit so he suffocated, killing a weapons smuggler with a smuggled weapon, etc. but the very best? Garrus confronting a quarian serial killer whose weapon of choice was viruses...and killing him by coughing at him.
    • The batarian drug dealer who died of red sand overdose due to direct contact with all four eyes, implying that Garrus pressed his face into the stuff.
    • The only one that didn't get this treatment was Kron Harga... who got:
      Gunshot wounds (all extremities and primary organs)
      Rifle butt fracture to face
      Third-degree burns to most of body (explosive crate)
  • Veetor. It's stated in game that he has trouble talking to people in individual conversations, much less a crowd, and that his sanity has more than a few cracks in it from what he experienced. But when Tali's ass is on the line, if you make the right choice, what does he do? Charges right through the crowd, confronting the Admiralty Board themselves, and delivers a Shut Up, Hannibal! and Character Witness testimony that helps prevent her exile. Considering all he's been through, that's awesome in its own right.
    • Not only that, but it's worth noting that Veetor said something before Kal'Reegar. Badass Space Marine being the first voice to agree with Shepard and stand up to the Admirality Board and risking exile? That's expected. The scared kid who was nervous in crowds even before he went through a traumatic experience speaking up in front of the leaders of his people and risking exile? That takes a quad.
  • The Shadow Broker himself gets one. He managed to kill the original Shadow Broker and manage his network for years.
    • He also has a dossier on the Illusive Man, of all people. You know, the guy who's supposed to be so untrackable that he's actually called the Illusive Man. The Shadow Broker monitors him so closely that he even knows what suit he's wearing and what food he eats.
  • The golden ending of Mass Effect 2. Basically Shepard does what is said to be a total suicide mission and completes it without losing any of their people. They effectively wiped out an entire slave race in an utter Curb-Stomp Battle and gave a giant middle finger to the most powerful beings in the galaxy. Again.
  • Paragon Shepard's Renegade response to The Illusive Man's angry, "You're making a habit of costing me more than time and money" after destroying the Collector Base.
    • Better yet, that ending's final Renegade remark:
    TIM: I should have known you'd choke at the harsh decisions, too idealistic from the start!
    Shepard: I know what you are, and the price of working with you! Harbinger is coming, humanity needs a leader who's looking out for them! You can either fall in line or step aside, but don't get in my way!
  • There's one in the background information of a planet you go near while heading towards the derelict Reaper. The people that fired that mass accelerator weapon managed to kill a Reaper. Sure, they were probably wiped out either when the weapon fired or after the Reapers figured out what had happened, but still. Hell of a way to go.
  • Anytime Shepard beats down a krogan with their bare hands. Double points if you do it on Insanity.
  • When Joker makes his way to the A.I. Core to flush the airlocks and clear the Normandy of the Collectors. If you talk to Zaeed afterwards, he not only says that he's impressed with Joker for managing to do that, but that if he had Joker's "glass bones" and had to do that, he'd literally be in pieces right now.
  • Jacob's loyalty mission has a particularly awesome and powerful moment if you choose to go with the Renegade approach to bringing Ronald Taylor to justice. After spending several minutes chewing him out for his crimes, Jacob hands him a pistol, at half-charge. At his incredulous response, Jacob simply says "My father owned his mistakes." Nothing else needs to be said.
    Ronald: You can't do this, you don't know what they'll do to me.
    Jack or Miranda: We can guess.
    Kasumi: No, I think we can guess exactly what they'll do to you.
    Mordin: Untrue. Just do not care.
    Zaeed: We just don't give a shit.
    Legion: Anger increases creativity of organics. It will be interesting to observe their efforts.
  • "Arrival." Good job, Harbinger, what with finally capturing Shepard.
    • What's that? You've heavily sedated Shepard? Good idea, except Shepard doesn't stay sedated for long, thanks to those nasty Cerberus cybernetics. Best summed up with the doctor's statement:
    "Must be a glitch, says the sedatives are wearing off...oh, shit, it's not a glitch!"
    • Well, at least you've got several heavily armed and armored guards in the room to deal with - oh, wait, Shepard just punched your guards out with their bare hands before helping themself to their weapons!
    • Thankfully, you've got a small army of soldiers ready to...defend...the Project....Nevermind.
    Enemy Soldier on Intercom: Shepard's tearing us apart.
    • Finally, Shepard's awesome conversation with Harbinger where they admit that the galaxy probably can't beat them, but that they will fight and make them work to wipe them out.
      • Another nice part of that conversation is that Harbinger, who has refused to acknowledge to Shepard that they've made any kind of difference, says this.
    Harbinger: Shepard, you have become an annoyance.
    • Taking out all five waves in the battle by Object Rho. This nets an achievement/trophy, and is a testament to how badass Shepard is if the player pulls it off. The Indoctrinated Project members realize that they aren't capable of taking Shepard down and call in a Heavy Mech...which Shepard, despite bad cover and dwindling ammo supplies, promptly destroys. The only reason Shepard loses is that Object Rho knocks them out. It's especially awesome on Insanity. They can hit you with whatever they want. It won't stop Shepard.
  • The entirety of Jack's escape from Purgatory. You see this little, tattooed girl come out of the cryo pod, then she rips off her metal restraints, kills three Humongous Mecha robots by ripping them to shreds, and smashes through the nearest wall. Immediately after following her is a notification that three cell blocks have lost life support. Can we say Person of Mass Destruction?
    • It gets better in the Lair of the Shadow Broker: one of the videos in the video archive shows her absolutely leveling two Blue Suns mercs in her way, by ensnaring them in a biotic grip, leaping skyward, and pasting the two hapless mercs on the ceiling, while she lands and keeps running.
  • If you didn't hit it off with any of the love interests by the time you hit the Omega 4 Relay, Miranda confirms with you if you're ready or not to head to the Collectors. Regardless of your choice of dialogue, she assures you she believes you're up to the task and gives you a salute for the very first time, signifying her level of trust and respect for you.
  • During Miranda's loyalty mission, if you interrupt and spare Niket, he'll immediately get killed by Captain Enyala, then Miranda picks her up with biotics and tosses her.
  • One mission in the Hades Nexus system has you defending the sole survivor of a crashed Quarian ship against wave after wave of varren. At the end, when a rescue shuttle has landed at your location and the Quarian is limping toward it, two larger and meaner varren arrive. The Quarian gets on the shuttle, Shepard shrugs and gets on too. One of the varren charges and Shepard kicks it in the face as the shuttle takes off. To quote any Krogan at all, it wasn't worth killing.
  • In the final moments of the final cutscene, you see Shepard looking out a window into space. Then, far beyond the Galaxy's edge, you see Harbinger, and then the rest of the Reapers come into view. Not dozens, not even hundreds. Thousands. It's at this point that you realize that despite all of the awesome that came before, when the Reapers finally arrive, they'll be a lot harder to take down than the Collectors.
  • Most games of this style had a Silent Protagonist, or mostly silent for dialogue options. The first game had speech for Shepard during cut scenes and the second expanded this to full on conversations, greatly expanding the character and making it much more natural as a whole. Though they had to nearly gut every foundation of roleplaying to do so so YMMV.
  • Thane's wife-to-be, Irikah, gets one in his backstory; when he was about to assassinate a Salarian, she spotted him and deliberately placed herself in his scope of fire. That took guts.
  • On Haestrom, during the Colosus fight, most players take the Paragon interrupt to force Kal’Reegar to stand down and stay in cover, guaranteeing his survival. If you don’t take it, he assists you by firing missiles at the Colosus. You have a small window of time to get across the map and close to the Colosus, so it prioritizes you as a threat and ignores Reegar. Pull this off and you still save his life. And Kal is extremely impressed by that. Bonus points if you did this on Hardcore or Insanity to unlock the Pulse Rifle.
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