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Gameplay And Story Segregation / Mass Effect

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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 the game itself? She's terrible, and probably the weakest biotic on the team. She only has three abilities (Warp Ammo, Shockwave, and Pull), none of which deal even moderate damage or have any effect on enemies with armor/shields (guess which defenses YMIR Heavy Mechs have?). This is especially noticeable if you bring her on the mission where you actually do fight three of those mechs; none of her attacks do anything to them and she will usually be killed a minute into the mission.
  • 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 not more than two-and-a-half 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 
  • 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. Of course, given the state of his/her armor, it might be a bit optimistic to expect his/her weapons to be usable — it might well have been somebody else's Carnifex.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When Kai Leng gets away, even if your Shepard is a Vanguard who has the ability to nearly instantly teleport to any enemy, he is never shown doing so. Nor do your companions (or yourself) cast Stasis, which would freeze him in his tracks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 it's 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). To compound the idiocy, if Shepard kills the pilot by cracking the cockpit and climbs in, enemy Engineers will heal it, as if they haven't noticed their foe is piloting itnote . And to top it off, the Leviathan DLC introduces Titan 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. note