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Mass Effect 2
- Jack, a.k.a. Subject Zero, is supposed to be the most powerful human biotic alive, which is shown in a cutscene where she one-shots three YMIR Heavy Mechs, which are some of the deadliest foes in the game. In gameplay, she's no more powerful than other biotics on the team. This is especially noticeable if you bring her on the mission where you actually do fight three of those mechs; she uses normal combat mechanics rather than curbstomping them like she does in cutscenes.
- The Quarian fleet only allows Tali, Shepard and one other squadmatenote to board their flagship. You know, the race known for being the most extreme germophobes in the universe? Shepard has to wear his/her helmet at all times, and most of the squadmates do the same - except for a select few (Jack, Samara, Miranda, Jacob) that are apparently able to waltz onboard with nothing more than a breathing mask, walk around without anyone commenting and sit in the middle of the crowd during Tali's exile hearing.
- Shepard walks around toting an Avenger assault rifle throughout the game - this will occur even if you've been using another primary weapon, never equipped the Avenger for a mission or didn't specialize in assault rifles in the first place. In addition, several of your squad members use assault rifles for most group scenes in the Suicide Mission, even if they weren't seen disembarking the Normandy with one or if they didn't have the requisite training.
- The Krogan treat fighting a Thresher Maw on foot like it's a big thing. In the first game, a sufficiently well-grinded character can defeat like a dozen of them on foot over the course of the game. A somewhat marginal example, since Shepard is acknowledged as possibly the greatest warrior who ever lived by the Krogan.
- On a couple occasions, you and your squad can kill Krogans (the huge, hulking species with redundant organs, extremely thick hides and extreme regeneration abilities) in a matter of 2 seconds with the Shuriken Machine Pistol (does the least amount of damage in the game, and is especially weak against armor, which some Krogans have) in cutscenes. In gameplay Krogans take a rather long time to take down even with powerful weapons like the Phalanx.
- No matter how powerful a biotic you are, no matter how strong all your biotic abilities are shown to be... you are never even considered for the position of the one who holds the biotic shield at the end of the game. You could have skills comparable to (if not greater than) an Asari Justicar (which you have in your party, by the way), but you are not even considered as a biotic. Until Mass Effect 3, all cutscenes showed Shepard as a soldier without using any fancy tricks, like biotic powers or engineering tricks... which most of the character classes you can choose from would have.
- Heat sink technology was brought in during the two years between 1 and 2, based on geth technology salvaged after the final battle, yet the ten-year-old wreck of the Hugo Gernsback has a plentiful supply of heat sinks note . Additionally, Shepard knows what heat sinks are as soon as s/he wakes up aboard the Cerberus station. Heat sinks are supposedly interchangeable between all geth and Citadel species weapons, yet your ammo supply will be neatly divided into a certain number of rounds per gun, and you can't use, say, a spare heavy pistol heat sink to buff your sniper rifle ammo; once it's assigned to a specific gun, it can't be applied to any other firearm.
- This example extends to the third game. The M-7 Lancer (the beginning weapon in the first game) is found in a vault during the Citadel DLC, and is described as being a rare and valuable weapon, despite its "endless heat sink" tech going out of circulation around three years prior to the events of said DLC. Or maybe the "rare" part is how it's been refurbished by some unknown "master weaponsmith" to keep up with modern weapons.
- The M-920 Cain heavy weapon uses mass effect technology to propel a 25-gram slug to 5 km/s speed, which helps the explosion greatly, as said by the lore. If you actually use the weapon in game, the slug travels very slow. It's surprising the slug doesn't fall to the ground after a while, luckily the weapon's power is not affected.
Mass Effect 3
- While chasing Dr. Eva on Mars, it is impossible to damage her with conventional weapons, as she will No-Sell the hits and continue running with nary a lost step. However, once she critically injures the Virmire Survivor, she is suddenly susceptible to convetional arms fire, requiring the player to shoot her several times to shut her down. (As an aside, while playing the game on New Game+ mode, and which has been pointed out by the Mass Effect Wiki, trying to shoot her with certain weapons like the Executioner Pistol, Acolyte or Scorpion will not cause enough damage before she kills Shepard, despite being more powerful than the starting pistol.)
- The player can listen to the problems of various people onboard the Citadel, and do assorted sidequests for them, which will reward you with resources and increased combat readiness values. The problem is that the effects are immediate, so the dialog can get a bit weird. When you recover a fossil of a Krogan war mount that has been extinct for 2000 years and talk to the guy who wants it that you've got one in your cargo bay, he thanks you for your trouble, and then a few seconds later, you overhear him saying they've cloned the things and the Krogan are currently riding them into battle.
- During the Citadel Coup, if you confront the Virmire Survivor without building up trust between them and Shepard, and are forced to kill them, they die to a pistol shot, even though they are likely wearing armor and survived an attack from a powerful gynoid prior to that.
- During the final confrontation with Kai Leng at the Cerberus Base, it's possible to blow him into nice, meaty chunks using an incredibly powerful rifle (the Black Widow is good for this). Even though he's supposedly been blown apart, he magically appears alive and well in the following cutscene when he struggles to stand up.
- Shepard will always end up holding an unmodified Carnifex pistol with unlimited ammo in his/her hand after Harbinger destroys the team running towards the Conduit, even if you never bothered to equip him/her with one or if you had a modified Carnifex. During that same segment, Shepard will also wear a banged-up version of the standard N7-armor ... only most players likely switched most if not all of the armor out long before. Yet, after being hit by Harbingers laser Shepard will always wear a burnt version of the standard armor.
- Much like the previous game, Shepard and his/her squadmates will always be seen carrying either an Avenger assault rifle or Predator pistol in cutscenes. This can get taken to absurd lengths - during the Grissom Academy mission, Shepard runs into the room where Jack and the students are hiding, and fires on a mech while using an Avenger and having up to five weapons stored on his/her back. This is a result of complaints about some cutscenes in Mass Effect 2 did weird things by depicting Shepard's actual loadout, such as taking a mercenary's Shuriken, having it transform into a Locust in Shep's hands, and back into a Shuriken when handed back. At least as the various default weapons are Alliance standard issue, there's an excuse for them being everywhere. The Leviathan DLC averts this by accurately showing unique weapons in cutscenes, most notably during the escape from Namakli. As the squad attacks the Reapers at the Leviathan artifact, everyone can be seen utilizing their weapon, regardless of whether it's a beam (like the Particle Rifle) or a standard-issue weapon.
- Allies can be killed by insta-kill moves by certain enemies like the Brute, Banshee, Atlas and Phantom. These insta-kill moves are pretty brutal and the fact that in the multiplayer segment they prevent you from being revived by medi-gel or team mates coming to your aide. These moves range from being picked up by a hulking mech and being crushed to having a large, razor sharp hand thrust all the way through your chest. This won't stop your squad from simply standing back up as soon as the fighting has stopped and walking around as if nothing happened.
- Despite the Codex treating space battles relatively realistically, every space battle depicted in cutscenes is the Standard Starship Scuffle. Not too noticeable in the first two games, but it goes all out in the third, with ships always engaging in visual ranges (even dreadnoughts, who are established that if they're engaging at anything less than several thousand kilometers something has gone seriously wrong), no-one uses GARDIAN lasers to defend themselves against fighter craft despite them being on every vessel, fighters themselves always go Old-School Dogfighting even though they're armed with missiles, and although Thanix cannons are supposed to be everywhere no ship is shown using them.
- In 2, you face YMIR mechs, which can be turned to your side with the AI Hacking power. In 3, you fight Atlas mechs, which are basically the same as YMIRs, but with a human pilot. The Overload and AI Hacking powers were combined into one called Sabotage...which still turns the Atlas and its human pilot against its allies. (This could be justified in that you are hacking into the controls, with the human pilot doing what he can to override your hacking.) The Leviathan DLC introduces Triton ADS, an "old military mech" used for diving found in a crashed freighter that's just a reskinned Atlas, even though those are supposed to be a new, top of the line Cerberus development. (The Codex doesn't explicitly say they're entirely new, but if the Triton is so ubiquitous that a random freighter could have one, one wonders where they were in prior works.)
- After completing the mission on Sur'Kesh, the turian and krogan leaders will both say they have an important mission for Shepard, but that they will not discuss it with the other person still in the room. Once the cutscene ends you can walk up to each of them in the War Room and get the details, even though they are both still standing only a few feet from one another.
- The War Asset system has this in spades, edue to not explaining what exactly EMS is and how it relates to certain categories, or having flavor text that doesn't jive with the value of the asset. This was later rebalanced in the Expanded Galaxy Mod to have better comparative values and make getting the best endings more difficult:
- Admiral Mikhaiovlich (from the first game) will only appear as a War Asset if you let the Council die in the original game. This is despite the fact that Mikhaiovlick was already a significant character then (acting as a Rear Admiral leading an entire fleet), and there is nothing to indicate that he died between games if the choice was made to save the Council.
- The Salarian Special Tasks Group War Asset is only added if Major Kirrahe is dead, which makes little sense considering how loyal both Kirrahe and STG are to Shepard's cause. Even worse, the disconnect is likely a developer oversight, as the official guide states that the player should receive the STG asset if Kirrahe is alive.
- Repeatedly promoting multiplayer characters into the single player campaign can result in an N7 Spec Ops war asset that amounts to an intergalactic superpower greater than all other assets combined. That doesn't make much sense in the context of the campaign.