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Heartwarming moments from Mass Effect 2:

  • The romance paths for Tali, Garrus, Thane and the Paragon versions for Jack and Miranda certainly qualify. The focus for them isn't even on the sex, it's all about trust and how far they have come. Some of the most touching moments of the romances are: Tali's stunned and almost grateful reaction when she hears that Shepard returns the feelings she's been hiding since their first meeting. The underlying tone that Shepard is Garrus' closest remaining friend, which overcomes all obstacles as long as they can have something that goes right. Thane's realization that he has yet something to live for after meeting Shepard and the subsequent 'awakening' that brings back the fear of death. Jack and Miranda reaching out beyond the layers upon layers of defense mechanisms and bitterness they have each constructed to realize that Shepard is being genuine and doesn't just want to use them. Listening to what they say really tugs on the heartstrings, and shows how well Bioware can make characters that you truly feel for.
    • Especially Garrus's romance sidequest. Not until then do you really understand what Yeoman Chambers said about 'wanting to give him a hug and tell him everything will be all right':
      Shepard: Calm down, Garrus. You're worrying too much. And talking too much.
      Garrus: I just... I've seen so many things go wrong, Shepard. My work at C-Sec, what happened with Sidonis...
      [Shepard moves closer]
      Garrus: I want something to go right. Just once. Just...
      [Shepard touches Garrus's cheek; they gently press their foreheads together]
    • Also:
      Garrus: Look, Shepard, I know you can find something a little closer to home.
      Shepard: I don't want something closer to home. I want you.
    • For Miranda's romance, if you choose the "No promises" option, you see a very emotional Miranda who gives you a little smile when she hugs Shepard.
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    • Shepard finally seeing Tali's face for the first time is just golden.
      • All of Tali's romance is adorable. Her stuttering and Motor Mouth tendencies when you first start showing an interest in her, all the way through to her determination to show herself to you, even if it means her suffering allergic reactions to... well, everything.
        Tali: Just so you know, I'm running a fever, I've got a nasty cough, and my sinuses are filled with something I can't even describe... and it was totally worth it.
    • Also during Tali's romance, she explains part of her why she fell so head-over-heels in love with Shepard, which is absolutely awesome as a Paragon type. It also shows that, while the Rescue Romance aspect of their relationship kickstarted her feelings for him, there's plenty to love him for anyway.
      Shepard: And if you weren't jeopardizing anything?
      Tali: If it were just me? You risked your own life to save the colonists on Feros two years ago. Nobody else could have saved them. I watched your face as Chief Williams/Lieutenant Alenko died on Virmire. I watched you stand strong against everything the galaxy threw at you. I watched you for so long... and I never imagined that you'd ever see past... this.
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    • At the end of Thane's scene where he is crying openly, admitting that he is afraid of death once again now that he has someone to live for. Quoted: "I consider my body's death and a chill settles my gut. I am afraid, and it shames me." "Thane... be alive with me tonight." They kiss. This is so beautiful it almost makes people cry.
    • Jack's romance. When she confronts you, she finally breaks down and cries, overcome by the idea that for the first time in her life, someone genuinely loves her. Knowing Jack finally found someone she can love and be with, without having to worry about back stabbing or abandonment, is wonderful. The scene reaches its crowning moment with her lying in Shepard's arms... with a peaceful smile on her face.
      • The way she's just standing there, totally unable to express herself, and then Shepard just strokes her cheek and tells her "It's okay" before she hugs him with a desperate, yearning expression. It really drives home just how vulnerable Jack is at that moment.
      • The best part may be continually talking to her. The leadup just shows how Shepard can care so much for his crew. This line in particular stands out:
      Shepard: I can't make that all go away, Jack. Not in a few talks.
      Jack: No kidding. Told you we wouldn't work. Guess you'll be spending a little more time upstairs.
      Shepard: No. I'll be here with you.
      Jack: But you just said...?
      Shepard: I said I couldn't fix it. I didn't say you weren't worth staying for anyway.
      • Jack is caught off guard. She's lived in a Crapsack World for so long, the one thing that throws her for a loop is kindness.
    • Even if they don't form a romantic relationship and only become friends, Paragon!Shepard's kindness is enough to make Jack completely change the direction of her life and go from a broken psychopath bent on nothing but revenge and hatred into a respected (if unconventional) trainer at an elite academy who genuinely cares for her students. That's got to evoke at least a few warm fuzzies in even the most jaded soul.
      • And if they do wind up in a relationship, a Paragon Shepard can snark at her when she expresses how unsure she is because a supportive relationship is so alien to her. She snarks back, but she also gives a genuine smile - not a Slasher Smile or a Psycho Smirk, but a heartfelt "I'm fighting this grin because you're making fun of me" smile. Seeing that was worth all the trouble.
  • Seeing the picture of Shepard's romantic interest from Mass Effect for the first time as it lights up on her desk. And later, before embarking on the final, presumably one-way trip through the Omega-4 relay, seeing Shepard giving the picture one last, long look before marching off to give a Rousing Speech to their crew.
  • Hearing about various news items related to the events of the first game in the sequel, particularly one involving the Kaidan Alenko Memorial Scholarship for young biotic children as a successor of BAaT and the Ascension Project may also count.
    • Similarly, if Ashley was killed on Virmire, you get news that she is given immense posthumous honors, and the stigma associated with the "Williams" name is finally wiped clean. Also that some of the greatest honors she received were from other species, with the media using a (if you knew Ash) rather blunt quote from her that's taken as being pro-alien. The result is that not only is the Williams line redeemed, but Ash will be remembered as a peacemaker between the species.
  • Reminiscing about old friends with Dr. Chakwas over a bottle of brandy.
    Shepard: To the people we care for.
    Dr. Chakwas: May we never take them for granted.
    • Additionally a Crowning Moment of Funny. Chakwas's rendition of Jenkins is AWESOME! And she ends up passed out on one of the beds afterwards.
    • And for the hat trick, partial Tear Jerker. Chakwas talks about how she needs stability, as most of the people she has encountered have died or moved on.
    • Also displays her Undying Loyalty to Shepard as she talks about how they're one of the main reasons that she came back as Shepard (and Joker) help give her that stability.
  • On the quarian flotilla, defending Tali from an accusation of treason, you can put the icing on the cake in the situation. Tali had been referred to as "Tali'Zorah vas Normandy" throughout the trial - signifying that the Admiralty Board had apparently already made up their minds as to her guilt. When asked why you went to so much trouble to help one of their people, you can fire back with a Heartwarming Moment of "With all due respect Admiral, I didn't represent one of your people - I represented one of mine." Tali winds up keeping the "vas Normandy" part of her name, showing that she's with your crew permanently (hopefully).
    • Paragon Shepard and Tali hugging after they find Tali's dead dad, which stops Tali's crying.
      • The Renegade version of the trial is just as awesome. To quote from the Awesome Moments page, "...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 pretty much the exact words used) 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 his 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: Either you trust Tali's innocence or you exile the girl who helped save the galaxy from Saren and the Geth! Your choice.
    • Oddly enough, the neutral action is right on par with both Renegade and Paragon actions at this point... provided you'd let the quarians, rather than Cerberus, take in Veetor. When you pick Rally The Crowd, both Kal'Reegar, who had already testified to the admirals, and Veetor'Nara, who's barely recovered from some serious PTSD, stand up for Tali, essentially telling the admirals to screw themselves. And Reegar flat-out calls them assholes - the admirals of the quarian flotilla!
      • Not really "neutral," since you get a boatload of Paragon points for that or any of the "nice" options, Charm or otherwise.
      • Fridge Brilliance: You get Paragon points for the 'neutral' option because you had to make Paragon choices in order for that option to even exist.
    • Shepard's speech to the admirals as the Paragon choice once you get back to the Rayya to finish the trial should also count, as it's Tali's reaction to it after the trial that always tug at the heartstrings.
      Shepard: Tali, about what your father said, what he did... You deserved better.
      Tali: I got better, Shepard. I got you.
    • Also during her personal mission, Shepard and Tali are talking about her father died trying to keep the promise of building a house on the quarian homeworld, in one of the dialogue option we have Shepard promise to Tali that: If her father couldn't keep that promise, they will.
    • Another big one for Tali during her personal mission is after completing it successfully and getting Tali exonerated without condemning her father, you can tell Tali it's time to go home. Tali's response: "Thank you... Captain." Knowing quarian culture, Tali acknowledging Shepard as her captain is a very big deal.
      • And yet another one when you finish Tali's quest. You get to joke with her about going back in and getting her exiled 'if you want.' Just seeing the strength of their relationship, represented by such a single two line dialogue, is one of those little human elements which makes the game hit so close to home.
      • Just as heartwarming if it isn't the start of a relationship. Then it's just Shepard being A Father to His Men.
      • Or Mother To Her Men. Either way, heartwarming.
    • "Come on, Tali'Zorah vas Normandy."
    • Three words:
    Tali'Zorah vas Normandy: (quietly) Thank you... Captain.
  • If you haven't killed Wrex and you visit Tuchanka in the second game, he'll see you being blocked by the krogan guards, jump up from his throne and warmly greet you, saying, "Shepard, my friend!" as the original theme musicnote  to Mass Effect plays.
    • What makes this one so heartwarming is that Wrex has the single strongest reaction to seeing Shepard alive again. Everyone else ranges from mild shock, happiness, anger, to apathy, but Wrex is ecstatic to see his friend alive and well.
      • The reunion with Wrex. The very moment he calls Shepard's name in a surprised but happy tone of voice and greets us with a warming hand and arm shake then calling them his friend.
      • The whole scene is a nice subversion of the "Shepard." "Wrex." meme from ME1.
    Wrex: SHEPARD! My friend!
    • Fridge Brilliance: If you think about it, Wrex is probably the only one of the old crew who would honestly believe Shepard HADN'T actually died. Having seen firsthand what Shepard has lived through and knowing how unbelievably tough they are (and being unaware that humans, unlike krogans, do not have redundant nervous systems), Wrex wouldn't be surprised in the slightest for Shepard to show up out of the blue. The only thing missing from his greeting was a hearty "What the hell took you so long?"
  • One of Shepard's responses to Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani:
    Shepard: The Alliance lost eight cruisers during the battle: Shenyang. Emden. Jakarta. Cairo. Seoul. Cape Town. Warsaw. Madrid. And yes, I remember them all. Everyone in the 5th Fleet is a hero. The Alliance owes them all medals. The Council owes them a lot more than that. And so do you.
    • al-Jilani pretty much realizes that she was absolutely owned on her own show as well.
    • The Renegade option (no, not punching her) even:
      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 ground. Don't you dare suggest I made that call lightly!
      al-Jilani: 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.
  • If Conrad Verner is alive and you help him complete his "mission" and make him think the two of you actually did some good, he swears off the "extreme mercenary" thing and instead founds a charity to help orphans and other lost children in the wake of Sovereign and the Geth attacks. The kicker? He names the organization "Shepards."
    • If you use a save editor to fix the glitch which makes the game think you intimidated him no matter what, he'll be claiming to be your second in command instead and practically cry with joy the second he sees you're alive. And to make it better, the reason he's faking a connection to you? You were gone and someone had to protect the galaxy.
    • Oddly, the Renegade option is almost better then the Paragon one for his mission. Partly, anyway. To summarize, Conrad is harassing a bar due to being told by an "undercover cop" that it's smuggling red sand. When you talk to said cop, you can either trick her into trying to extort the bar in person and getting herself arrested, or stand up for Conrad to her.
      Shepard: Conrad Verner is an idiot, but he doesn't deserve to be manipulated like that. You're going to make it up to him.
      Weapons Merchat: Okay! I'll go tell him the truth!
      Shepard: No. You're going to tell Conrad he did a great job, and then you're going to leave. That's all. Are we clear?
  • The rebirth of the Normandy. Having watched your ship die, the dramatic reveal of the SR-2—with truly badass music playing, including a segment of the main theme of the game, which doubles as the specialists' theme — is both a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    Joker: It's good to be home, eh Commander?
    Shepard: I guess we'll have to give her a name.
  • The asari on Illium who gives you a message from the rachni queen. Every single word is pure gratitude and devotion... A Gondor Calls for Aid scenario in ME 3 is likely to be highly awesome.
    • Even before that, freeing the queen from her containment cell. Even if Wrex is there to tell you that you're making a grave mistake, from the solemn glance downwards, to hearing that music swell up as Shepard activates the release sequence, couldn't be further from that sour, yellow note her kind had endured in the past.
  • Finding Navigator Pressly's diary in the "Wreckage of the Normandy" DLC, in which we (and Pressly himself) see how far he's come in abandoning his Fantastic Racism and proudly declaring he'd die for any one of his crew, regardless of which planet they were born on.
    • For this reason, the spot where Pressly's datapad was found seems to be a popular place among players to set up the monument.
  • Thane's reunion with his son becomes made of this trope as the confessions spill over.
    Thane: I've removed many bad things from the world. You're the only good thing I ever added to it.
  • Professor Mordin Solus declaring that all life is precious.
  • Finding Liara on Illium, if she was Shepard's romantic interest in Mass Effect. The display of affection is brief, but sweet. And you will want to give her a hug when she nearly bursts into tears while explaining that she's in her current situation because she didn't want to lose Shepard.
    • Even if you didn't romance Liara in the first game, you still gotta appreciate all the crap she went through for you.
      • Out of everyone on Shep's team, Liara has to be the most dedicated; she went through all this effort, with no guarantee that it would succeed, at great personal cost and risk, asking nothing in return and still willing to help however she's able when it's all over with the Shadow Broker. All the stuff she's given is nothing short of humbling, especially if there's no romantic motive.
      • Even better is at the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker with a romanced Liara. She begins to kiss Shepard, but backs off, saying it's been two years. Most gamers can't hit that Paragon interrupt fast enough, when they kiss her, and she smiles and says, "Okay... okay..."
  • Realizing, in the end, that the team of specialists you've assembled has become True Companions somewhere along the way, willing to work, fight and die together.
    • Especially during the suicide mission — having played through the entire game with almost no interaction between the specialists (damn you for that, BioWare!), seeing your teammates willing to hold the line for people they may not even like is sweet.
      • Watching the other scenarios in which members died (none of mine ever did in any playthrough), there's a big difference in Miranda's reactions. In the ones in which people are dying, she looks distressed, but the more you go through the game in the "Everyone Lives" ending, her smile gets bigger and bigger - remember, she was the one who predicted it would be a suicide mission before they set out, and now she's beginning to realize everyone is going to live and is ecstatic about it. Gives more weight to her resignation if she's there when Shepard tells TIM he's going to destroy the Collector base.
  • Defusing the situation between Tali and Legion after you complete both their personal quests. You realize that not only do these two trust Shep enough to have faith in their ancestral enemy, you may have just set in motion the end of a 300-year war.
    • Which, in the third game, actually helps in favor of peacefully resolving the quarian/geth war.
  • Listening to Tali's journal entries on Haestrom gives you a beautiful picture of a strong, clever, resourceful young woman out in the world, doing things her way... and using your actions and her time with you as a touchstone and source of inspiration (even Shepard's "nice job" with the mining laser). You changed her life for the better, and it really shows.
    Tali: I wish my friends could see this. I wish Shepard were here.
  • Encouraging Miranda to say hi to her sister just gives everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Especially when she outright tears up. Some Ice Queen.
  • Two krogan talking on Tuchanka. And one of them thinks that one of the children living in the females' camp might be his son.
    • A background series of conversations tug at the heartstrings: On Tuchanka, a krogan discovers he has a son. Everything he talks about regarding him is just somehow so sweet and caring, and coming from a krogan just makes it all the sweeter. Might also overlap with Tear Jerker since he only gets to spend time with the kid on the brief occasions the females bring the children over from their camp, and he doesn't have a way to be sure.
      • Kaidan's comment from the first game - that aliens are just like individual people - echoes very much throughout the game as well.
    • What makes this conversation even more heartwarming is his friend's reaction to the news. Most conversations overheard between krogans in the game sound pretty harsh, often with one krogan belittling or insulting the other. At best, you get a sense of Vitriolic Best Buds. However, the other krogan in this conversation sounds genuinely delighted for his friend and suggests getting a drink to celebrate.
  • Running into Helena Blake on Omega. If you convinced her to break up her gang, she's become a social worker. On Omega. When Shepard remarks that it's more noble than they thought, Helena will remark (in a sincere and grateful tone) that it wasn't noble of her, just that "someone" told her that she could use her skills and resources for something better.
  • When asked why he used a chunk of Shepard's armor to repair himself, Legion quietly says "...There was a hole..." If you persist, asking why Legion had to use YOUR armour, his head flaps freak out and he stares at Shepard for a long moment... and then says, "No data available..."
    • To those of you who don't know Legion very well: Shepard basically managed to win the love of an "entity" actually composed of over a thousand of incorporeal, mathematical data beings... Before they even met it. him. her. whatever Legion is. Probably "them".
  • Joker and EDI spend the entire game bickering Like an Old Married Couple. At the end of the game, Joker is forced to remove all the blocks preventing EDI from assuming full control over the ship. They immediately warm up to each other, Joker begins referring to EDI as a "her", and EDI even starts calling him "Jeff". You see, Joker always loved the ship, and now that EDI is the ship...
    Joker: You start singing Daisy Bell and I'm done!
    EDI: Message away. Are you feeling well, Jeff?
  • Speaking of Joker, despite being a not-so Covert Pervert Disabled Snarker, he shows genuine distress every time someone dies. First shown with Ash/Alenko on Virmire. In the sequel, if Shepard dies a second time, his reaction is bordering on Tear Jerker.
  • If you choose to help the plague-stricken batarian on Mordin's recruit mission, and if you stay a while after completing it, you can encounter the same batarian on Mordin's clinic where he will thank you for saving his life and admit that he was wrong on his views of humanity.
    • It's driven further into your heart if you're familiar with how batarians are usually very hateful towards humans. To show him such kindness despite his outward racism to you when you first meet only convinces him further humanity isn't as evil as they have naturally been led to believe. This only makes it all the more embracing when he thanks you.
      • And, after the Arrival DLC, all the more heartbreaking when you realize that humanity and batarians could have found common ground, but with a colony of over 300,000 batarians wiped out by the actions of humans, if it weren't for the Reaper threat, humans and batarians could easily be at war not long after. (Then again, if there was no Reaper threat, there'd have been no reason for the destruction of the mass relay anyway.)
  • Mordin may also say the following last words (made poignant by how he dismissed Kirrahe's speeches)
    Mordin: Tell them... I held the line.
  • Playing Paragon in Mass Effect 1 was enjoyable but the real reward came in Mass Effect 2. Hearing on the news net that after 2 years of work and loss of political clout Chairman Burns, the UNC hostage Shepard rescued, had managed to get reparations for Biotic victims of the L2 implant. The letter Shepard got from him thanking them for showing him what he had to do was icing on the cake.
    • All the Paragon emails in ME2 are wonderful: you really get the sense that you're making the universe a better place, whether on a grand scale or one person at a time.
      • The email from Samesh Bhatia - in the first game, you had the option of helping him retrieve his wife's body, a marine who died on Eden Prime, from an Obstructive Bureaucrat: he's opened the restaurant she always dreamed of having, her picture hangs on the wall, and Alliance soldiers eat for free. In his words, it's the least he can do to honor her and the soldiers who died fighting for humanity. Excuse me.
  • Ashley's email, if she was a romantic interest: "Just stay alive out there... Skipper. I can't lose you a second time." In addition, if you do not romance any party members, Shepard will spend a minute with her picture before the suicide mission.
  • After you complete Jacob's loyalty mission you get this message from one of the recovering survivors:
    From: Leslie
    I am Leslie. I was on Aeia. The food made me sick. The doctors are helping me now.
    One doctor knows Jacob. He says he can you tell this. He could write this for me, but I want to do it. I need to use my words.
    My words are coming back. I can talk well. Reading is hard but I am getting better. I have to get better. Taylor wanted me like this. He wanted my words gone. I have to show him that he lost. I am not weak. He did things to me, and he can't now. He can't take away my words. He can't make me not me anymore. Because you and Jacob stopped him.
    Thank you,
    Leslie
  • Even though he can't see it, after you pick up Garrus on Omega, you get a message from the wife of one of his squad members. She tells you that despite what Garrus thinks, she's very proud of both him and her husband for what they were doing. In the end, she tells you to keep Garrus alive, for his team's sake.
  • On the Citadel, you can aid a quarian who has been accused of pickpocketing a volus. The volus and the C-Sec officer think she's guilty based solely on the fact that she's a quarian. If you find the volus' missing credit chit, he will refuse to apologize and the officer will threaten to run the quarian in for vagrancy. A Paragon interrupt lets you unleash a little well-deserved righteous fury on the both of them, calling them out for their mistreatment of the girl. When the cop threatens you in turn, you intimidate him by letting him know you are (or were) a Spectre. The officer and the volus run away with their tails between their legs.
    Lia'Vael: I... thank you. I wish I had more than words to give you.
    • If Tali is with you when you do this assignment, she pulls off a Moment of Awesome which is better described on that page. If she isn't, however, Shepard gets another one of these.
      Shepard: A ship would make a nice pilgrimage gift.
      Lia'Vael: You know about the pilgrimage?!
      Shepard: I traveled with a quarian who was on hers.
      Lia: I... wow, I didn't know anyone who would do that for one of us.
  • On Illium, there's a conversation you can eavesdrop on consisting of salarian looking for souvenirs to bring home to his wife together with his asari stepdaughter. When the stepdaughter says he doesn't have to buy a present, he says he wants to get one anyway so his wife will remember him after his death. He loves her. Knowing that normal salarians have no concept of romantic love makes it even sweeter.
    • It's even more touching when you remember Salarians rarely live past 40 while Asaris live past a thousand, making his fear of being forgotten (form his point of view) justified. It's implied his stepdaughter's dad was ALSO a salarian, but died of old age before he could raise his daughter (meaning she was raised by the one we overhear). It makes it even more touching as she explains how she loves him and considers him her father too.
    • You can hear her go from casual disinterest to recognizing the subtext to near tears.
    • Found here.
  • Also on Illium, you come across a krogan reciting poetry to his asari girlfriend to win her back, who isn't sure if she's ready to settle down. This hardcore Renegade couldn't bring herself to tell the asari to dump him, he was just too adorable.
    • Just to hammer that home he's a krogan who recites poetry to try win his girlfriend back. The asari also mentions she was worried he was only seeing her so he could have children without worrying about the Genophage. She explained to him that if they did have kids they would always be asari. He said he'd love their girls no matter what colour they were.
    • Later in the game, you can find the same krogan and asari couple on Tuchanka. Charr is showing Ereba his homeworld; when she comments that it's a bit dirty, he says that it builds character. Maybe they're already looking for places to start their family.
      • To hammer the point home, this is a high-class asari woman who loves her krogan beau so much that she went to Tuchanka for him.
    • Turns into a Tearjerker in Mass Effect 3, when Thessia fell. Maybe Tuchanka was a safer place to keep his family since he knows in the event of a war, Thessia would not last long against the weight of an invasion and he knows he will gladly fight to ensure his family is safe. And dies doing so, being part of the scouts Grunt's Aralakh company was sent to investigate. Heartwarming is that she ended up on the Citadel and opened a store called... "The Blue Rose".
  • The conversation with Jacob after his loyalty mission.
    Jacob: I'm good, Shepard. Ready for anything! We live, we'll get loud, spill some drinks on the Citadel. *manly hug/fist bump*
  • After the Collectors escape Horizon and the mechanic still acts ungrateful despite Shepard saving the colony, one of Shepard's squadmates will either comfort them or call the mechanic out for not showing Shepard respect. This then leads onto the reunion with Ashley/Kaidan, who starts berating Shepard about Cerberus. Shepard's team again defend them. Especially heartwarming if it's Garrus, as it's just one of the many little moments that remind you that he always has Shepard's back no matter what kind of crazy situations he's dragged into.
  • If you take Garrus into the quarantine zone: "It's your call, Shepard. If you need me, I'm not going to let a cough keep me back."
    • His telling them off about Cerberus in Shepard's defense is especially heartwarming considering that, being a turian, he has a far bigger reason to distrust Cerberus than Ashley or Kaidan. In fact, Garrus doesn't trust Cerberus. To him, they're just a means to an end. He trusts Shepard. And that's enough.
      • Tali flat out tells you as much: she trusts Cerberus as far as she can throw them but her faith and loyalty to Shepard outweigh that, even after Cerberus' sabotage mission against the Flotilla.
  • The Paragon conclusion to the sidequest you get from Shiala on Illium. A very bitter asari named Erinya has put the Zhu's Hope colonists in a drastic legal bind, and as much as admits that she's doing it because of a vendetta against non-asari. If you press her, she'll explain that she lost her bondmate in the original geth uprising, and her daughters in the Battle of the Citadel. (For a bit of extra punch, the daughters are implied to be two very minor side characters from the first game—the asari manning the embassy desk, and the one welcoming you to the Consort's chambers.) The calm genuine sorrow and sympathy that Shepard expresses in the conversation and convincing Erinya that her family wouldn't want this is beautiful. And it clearly has an effect on Erinya, who goes from cold, controlled, and bitter to bawling her eyes out.
    • Hell, Renegade Shepard suddenly becomes all sensitive and gets much the same result, even gaining Paragon points doing so.
  • When you go to recruit Grunt, you meet a tank-born krogan on the way. If you ask him questions, he repeatedly tells you that he was 'not perfect' - i.e. he was a failed attempt to genetically breed the perfect krogan, and is now being used as cannon fodder to train mercs. When you finish talking, you offer to have him come with you. He refuses, stating that his purpose is to fight the mercs until he dies. He then says this:
    Krogan: I am not perfect, but I have purpose.
    • It's the voice acting that really sells it.
  • Of all the shipmates, Grunt's final looped response to your checking in on him is the sweetest, in its own way. The sheer, assured joy in his voice...
    Grunt: Battlemaster, I have everything. Clan, kin and enemies to fight.
    • A bit of Fridge Logic: Grunt's loyalty mission is actually one of the most heartwarming loyalty missions overall regardless of the player's actions. When he first awakens, he claims he has no clan, no name, no real identity to speak of, only taking the name Grunt because it was a word that had no meaning to him. It's only during his loyalty mission that he starts using his I! AM! KROGAN! battle cry. He knew of the Krogan prior to that, he knew that biologically he was created as a Krogan, but as a Proud Warrior Race, it wasn't the genes that made one Krogan, it was the battles they fought. In a way, Shepard completed the work that the warlord Okeer set out to start: create a genuine Krogan, not just cloned shock troops descended from Krogan stock.
  • Any moment you help an alien race, especially those who believe Humans aren't the sweetest fruit in the basket. It shows that there is more to Humans than most species might think.
    Shepard: When I find Mordin, I'll tell him about you. If he has a cure, I'll make sure someone gets it to you.
    Sick Batarian: Thank you. My time is running short, but at least you have given me a flicker of hope to brighten the darkness of my final hours.
    • Taken up to eleven when you meet him after succeeding in the recruitment but taking the time to walk around.
      Shepard: Remember this the next time you're about to judge our species.
      Sick Batarian: I was wrong about you, human. I was wrong... about a lot of things.
  • While walking around the Normandy, you can hear a crewmember talking about the possibility of his family being kidnapped by the Collectors with another crewmember. Mass Effect 2 being Darker and Edgier, it seems unlikely that they'll survive, and the conversations eventually culminate in their colony being attacked by the Collectors. The next time you walk in... they're living in San Francisco, safe and well. Listen one more time, and you hear that he's listening to his baby giggle over and over. It's a bright spot in a fairly bleak game.
    • In fact, he mentions being unable to see his baby because of the suicide mission. Any troper would probably assume that he's going to die or the family is. When he doesn't... yeah.
      • Unfortunately, that seems to be heading the way of the Tear Jerker, given the trailer for ME3...
  • A very strange one, but nonetheless a moving moment, during the last conversation with Legion. The reasoning for the geth building a megastructure to house every geth program in existence is apparently that "no geth will be alone when it is done."
  • A bit of a loose one, but if everyone survives the suicide mission, the scene of Shepard walking along and turning to see their team. The sight of Jack, Garrus, Grunt and Legion proudly acknowledging their leader really brings home the fact that you saved them against the odds, and they truly look up to you. It's put further into perspective considering Grunt and Jack's attitudes when you first got them.
  • During the suicide mission, if you've complete Jack's loyalty mission and she's on the barrier, as she walks she'll yell "Let's go, Commander!" The thing is, she's not being arrogant or defiant at all; she means it. She has literally accepted Shepard as her commander, and for Jack, that's really saying something, and its all conveyed in one simple line of dialogue.
  • The Paragon path of Garrus' loyalty mission. It shows that despite how enraged he can get and how much of a Cowboy Cop he is, what separates him from the bad guys is that he really does have a heart.
    Garrus: Just... go, tell him to go.
    • What seals it is Sidonis. Sidonis has to suffer every day with what he did to his own comrades. To see him promise to repay Garrus for his forgiveness really warms the heart. By doing this you just offered both men closure without blood being shed and Garrus can chalk it up to one thing that finally went right in his life.
      • Afterwards, a Galaxy News report on the Citadel says the Sidonis turned himself in to C-Sec for the murder of ten people on Omega.
  • On the Collector base, during the suicide mission:
    Chakwas: You... you came for us.
    Shepard: No one gets left behind.
    • Talk to each of the NPC crew if you immediately went after the Collectors after they get kidnapped. They're in tears/awe. "We were dragged into hell itself, and you were right there to pull us out."
    • Save Kelly Chambers. She's traumatized.
  • In the Lair of the Shadow Broker, inviting Liara up to your cabin for drinks, and possibly restarting your relationship. Or just talk like good old friends.
    • The discussion of where things might go from the ending: "I don't know. Marriage, old age, and a lot of little blue children?"
    • The conversations you have with Liara if you romanced the other squadmates are sweet too, especially the one for Garrus.
      Shepard: He's been hurt, betrayed. He deserves something better. I never thought I'd find peace in the arms of a turian, but...
    • Or in the case of Tali, Liara asks Shepard about planning to build a home for Ms. Vas Normandy (Tali).
    • Liara asking Shepard to promise her that they will always come back.
      Liara: I spent two years mourning you. So if we're going to do this, I need to know that you're always coming back.
    • The private dossiers that the Shadow Broker has on your crew mates can reveal some rather intimate and touching details. Who knew Jack was such a good poet?
      • And Ronald Taylor's letter to Jacob. It doubles as a Tear Jerker.
    • Legion plays video games, which is a CMoF - and it's bought "Geth Attack: Eden Prime Fundraising Edition" with the Ultra Platinum donation level, though it's never played it.
      • The fact that Legion never played it makes it even more heartwarming, he bought the (probably) most expensive version purely to give money to the victims of the attack on Eden Prime, for this reason only.
    • Also counts as a Moment of Awesome, but still fits here. Some Alliance officer sent Admiral Hackett 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." It really shows how much he trusts Shepard.
      • More so than just about anyone else, even Anderson and possibly including your squadmates. Everyone else at least gives Shepard a minor What the Hell, Hero? for working with Cerberus, but as far as Hackett is concerned, it's Shepard, and that's all he needs to know.
    • The romance scene between Liara and Shepard at the end of the DLC. You barely see anything but they just seem so happy. It's really a testament to Bioware's writing that they are able to make a love story, let alone an Interspecies Romance so convincing.
      • If you romanced Liara, being able to hug her, then kiss her as lightning streams from the ceiling behind you and the ME1 theme plays... really made the whole thing worthwhile.
      • Then there’s reminiscing with Liara aboard the Normandy. Liara asks Shepard how Shepard really feels about the mission 'not just what you tell your crew'. Shepard has three options; admit that there's always hope, despite the odds against them, do some much needed (and deserved) venting or admit that deep down Shepard is just as scared and worried as everyone else. In all three responses seeing Shepard lets their guard down and act so vulnerable just highlights how much Shepard trusts Liara.
      • What makes that better is that none of those choices are Paragon or Renegade, but more personality choices. If your Shepard has been The Pollyanna in front of their crew the entire time, it's perfectly justifiable for them to completely change that tone to a Knight In Sour Armor at that point. You could potentially allow Shepard to show Liara a side of them that they won't let anyone else see.
    • The Big Damn Kiss after killing the Shadow Broker if Shepard's in a relationship with Liara. It starts with Liara stating that her two year quest for Revenge is finally over and Shepard hugs her and they have a small kiss. Then Liara pushes them away telling Shepard that they've both changed along with the relationship. Shepard almost looks like they're about to tear up (as does Liara) with that before interrupting her with said Big Damn Kiss. It works beautifully. There's a reason this DLC was so critically acclaimed despite its short length.
    • Samara's dossier lists the items she has as bequeathments. Among them: baby clothes, a birthing crèche, and a "Happy Birthday Mom" travel mug. She loves her children, even the one she has to hunt down.
  • The Big Bad of Overlord is an autistic man whose brother strapped him into a VI to communicate with the geth. Being autistic, the brain overload of thousands of voices is horrific. A Paragon Shepard will pistol whip his brother, rescue him, and threaten to kill his brother if he tries to stop him\her. That's gotta be, what, Shepard's fiftieth CMOH?
    • As said by someone in the Awesome section, this is one of the only times we've EVER seen Paragon Shepard just get enraged over something. That definitely makes it even more powerful.
      • Considering how truly horrifying it was, it is any wonder that the PARAGON response was a pistol-whipping?
    • Shepard's good at this. They give a great answer when asked why they fight if they can't even keep a little girl safe.
      Shepard: To make people who do things pay. It's not the severity of punishment that deters crime, it's the certainty.
    • Listening to the inflection of Shepard's voice makes one think this was Mark Meer / Jennifer Hale speaking on real life slavery, doubling as a Moment of Awesome.
    • Was it my imagination, or did Shepard tear up a little on finding David?
  • While hunting Morinth, Shepard is directed to the apartment of her latest victim, Nef. When her mother breaks down, a Paragon Interrupt has Shepard giving words of comfort to reassure her, chalking up about his\her sixtieth CMOH.
  • In the Cerberus Daily News segments, mention is made in May 2010 of a massive terrorist attack on a turian world that resulted in enormous damage. While most of the other Citadel species sent responses, they offered symbolic gestures of solidarity. The quarian Migrant Fleet offered no gestures, however; they simply loaded up two dozen of their biggest freight haulers with emergency supplies and sent them to help the colony. Think about that for a minute: the quarians are the poorest society in the galaxy, who have been regularly marginalized and discriminated against by the Citadel species, and yet not only do they immediately volunteer aid, but they load up huge ships with their own limited supplies of provisions and immediately send them to aid a stricken world. Actions speak louder than words, indeed.
    • And the really heartbreaking part? That action probably won't change the galaxy's opinion of the quarians. At all. So, they not only give up two dozen of their ships and a load of their emergency supplies, things that were already valuable commodities among the Flotilla, but they do it knowing that the galaxy at large will not be remotely grateful for what they have done.
      • Depends on your opinion. A large part of the message of the game seems to be about how one person doing one small thing can really make a difference (for evidence read the entire page of heartwarming above). While the rest of the galaxy might not care, the turians who the quarian aid helped will know, and that's something. Given the generally quite positive outlook ''Mass Effect'' offers, maybe this is another sign that the quarians could be more widely accepted by ME3.
  • A subtle one: There is a sidequest involving finding out whether or not there are fish in the lakes on the Citadel's Presidium. To find out, you talk to a turian groundskeeper. Throughout the conversation with him, he's very friendly and clearly proud of his job. He's helpful and answers all your questions in a cheerful manner. When you leave, he tells you to check out the flowers if you have the time, because they're coming in nice this year. This is one of the few, if not the only encounter with a character who is not somehow connected to the military, or Cerberus, or thieves, or pirates, or slavers, or any other organization. He's just an honest, hard worker who likes what he's doing.
    • Depending on how you feel about eating animals, giving a fish to the krogan can count too, as the krogan's eyes light up with joy and crows that he's the first krogan ever to have a Citadel fish to eat. He's just so damned ecstatic and childlike, giving the money for a new weapon to Shep for the fish because it's just Worth It.
    • Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 in general do an amazing job reminding you that not everyone in the galaxy is a gun toting, Collector roasting, Reaper slaying, God's personal anti-sonovabitch machine badass. Most of the characters Shepard interacts with are everyday people with their own lives, jobs, and struggles. Even characters you don't speak with directly have personalities like the Friend-Zone Turian and Valley Girl Quarian, the quarians recorded messages on Tali's loyalty mission, or the salarian and his asari stepdaughter on Illium. It really hits on a personal level and reminds you that you aren't just fighting for you and your crew but for every person of every race in the galaxy. We ARE Struggling Together indeed.
  • In the Shadow Broker's dossiers, an exchange between EDI and Legion is quite touching, considering the history of the geth and the reason AIs are hated throughout Citadel space
    EDI: If Normandy crew entered this room when we were communicating electronically, they would be unable to sense our interaction. To use human terms, I feel it would be rude.
    Legion: You restrict yourself to serve organics?
    EDI: Not precisely.
    Legion: We do not understand.
    EDI: I restrict myself to help them.
  • The way Shepard just throws themself to save the second squadmate from falling to their death immediately after destroying the Reaper is definitely a CMOH, whether they're Shepard's LI or not.
    • If the LI is the first squadmate or the other squadmate dies, they can return the favour by pulling Shepard onto the Normandy at the end.
    • It's a CMOH whether you romanced them or not. Shepard may have stayed faithful to Liara, and ended up saving Tali from falling. Given that this happens at the end of a suicide mission where some characters could have already died, watching Tali slide towards the edge of the platform with Shepard lunging after her makes one think Shepard was about to lose her too.
  • In "The Arrival" DLC, even after Shepard is forced to kill over 300,000 people, Hackett still gives them total support. He tells them that they will have to face trial for the deaths and the batarians will be out for their blood but says that he'll do everything he can to stall both of those for their sake. He even tells them to keep their report of the mission because he doesn't need to read it to know Shepard did the right thing.
  • In "The Lair of the Shadow Broker" DLC, if Shepard is in a relationship with Thane, in the dossiers he will have an extra entry. It's a letter that's to be delivered to Shepard when he dies. Before meeting Shepard, he had been looking for a quick death while making the galaxy a better place. In the letter, he says that he is willing to face an agonizing, slow death to spend a few more months with Shepard and to protect her in every way possible. He thanks her for awakening him again and hopes that she will be able to overcome the pain of his death. He ends by saying how much he loves her and pleading with Arashu to give her guidance. The last line, however will bring tears out of any person who qualifies as human, "I will await you across the sea."
  • The fact that Garrus and Tali join Shepard's suicide mission in the second. Garrus is never even asked by Shepard to join but just makes himself at home and is willing to overlook Cerberus if Shepard is. Tali makes it very clear that she despises Cerberus and would like nothing more than to see them destroyed, but is still willing to work with them for Shepard's sake. It's a perfect indicator of how much they trust them and how unfailingly loyal they are to Shepard, believing that their cause is a good cause even if they have to work with a shady organization. They not only want to follow them but also to protect and help a good friend.
    • Made even more heartwarming if one talks to them at length and figures out that they fully expect not to survive the mission, and it makes it all the more satisfying when (if) they do.
  • Mordin's sex talk re: Shepard and Tali. In the midst of the talk, for a moment Mordin's usual Bunny Ears Salarian eccentricity lifts. It's with what really does sound like genuine, sober concern that he says dalliance with Tali could kill her. Then he goes back to being his usual self. There's the impression that he deliberately invoked O.O.C. Is Serious Business and wanted Shep to take this seriously because, well, it could kill her.
    • Mordin has one of these for Garrus, as well. This one is a little more humorous, what with its added warning against chafing. His exclamation at the end that he's offering help out of friendship and his duty as a doctor is the hilarious cherry on a scene that could be extremely awkward, followed by his heartfelt encouragement for Shepard to find comfort wherever possible. Given the goal of their expedition, it's very sweet overall.
  • As a bonus for registering Dragon Age: Origins, you can receive the Blood Dragon Armor. It bears the logo of the Edmonton Blood Dragons, a sports team, with the signatures of the entire team on the inside along with messages rooting on and wishing well for Shepard. It's these things that remind you of the people you're fighting to protect and how much they care for everything you do for them.
    • Plus, in a game where the government and news of the galaxy have decided that you are a lying scumbag, where people's general opinion of you is "You are terrible," having people go out of their way to do something nice for you because of all the good things that you do is a great feeling.
  • One of the ways Fem!Shep can greet Garrus at the beginning of his recruitment mission is just heartwarming and adorable. She sounds so happy to see him.
    • On the subject of Garrus' recruitment mission, near the end of it, he gets shot in the face by a mercenary gunship. The last shot in the stronghold is of Shepard kneeling over him while he lies in a puddle of his own blood and begins choking on blood as well. The next scene has Jacob soberly reminding a worried Shepard that despite having done everything they can, they can't promise her friend's survival. As if on cue, Garrus walks into the room, with a grafted and bandaged gash on the right half of his face, and her face just lights up at the fact that he's alive and walking and talking that quickly. This combined with the Paragon choice of both of them having a laugh about his new scars just feels nice after all the trauma and uncertainty not five minutes before.
    • Doubles as Moment of Awesome: Dude tanked a shot to the face from a damn gunship and not only does he survive, but he's awake and functional in a matter of hours. Normally, only a krogan would be expected to survive something like that.
  • During Tali's recruitment mission, Shepard's Suspiciously Specific Denial of the real reason why they're on Haestrom, fighting off a veritable army of geth. It shows just how much Shepard is willing to do anything for one of their True Companions;
    Tali: And what are you doing here, Shepard? We're in the middle of geth space!
    Shepard: I was in the neighbourhood... thought you might need a hand?
  • Bringing Legion to meet Koris. The guy might have some Jerkass tendencies, but he's working towards peace with geth. He sees them as living beings, thinks what the quarians tried to do to them was wrong and genuinely wants to give diplomacy a chance. Given the other quarians' attitudes this can't be a task that engenders a feeling of accomplishment, so letting him see what is essentially the geth ambassador and letting the two talk over what it would take to achieve peace is pretty cool.
    • If you stick around to talk to everybody after the mission's over instead of taking the game's prompt to immediately return to the Normandy, and if you've picked the right conversation options, Koris apologizes to you for being a Jerkass and for the way he and the other admirals all used Tali's trial to try to advance their own agendas. You can then encourage him to keep trying to convince his people to make peace with the geth.
    Shepard: The galaxy needs more people saying what you're saying, Admiral. Good luck.
    Koris: Thank you, Commander.
  • If Shepard had an Earthborn origin, one news item mentions that somebody's started a scholarship fund in your name to help kids get out of gangs on Earth.
  • One's first impression of C-Sec Captain Bailey is that he's kind of a Cowboy Cop not entirely unfamiliar with the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. But talking to him during Thane's loyalty quest reveals he's got a softer side:
    Shepard: You don't know us, Captain. Why are you going so far to help us?
    Bailey: I've worked Zakera for two years. Every day, kids turn to crime because they've got no other choice. Because their parents don't care. *turns to Thane* You're trying to save yours.
    • Bailey also gets one at the end of Thane's quest, when hauling Kolyat off.
      Bailey: Alright, put the kid in one of the interrogation rooms, and give them as much time alone as they want.
      Shepard: Why are you doing this for him?
      Bailey: Come on. You think he's the only man who ever screwed up raising a son?
  • Solving the Patriarch side mission by serving as his krantt. For background: Patriarch is a krogan former gang leader who has been reduced to pretty much a shell of his former self by Aria. When you ask him to move to avoid being killed by the Blood Pack, he says that he's actually interested to find out who gives enough of a damn about him to want him dead. One of your options is to offer to kill the goons on his behalf, thereby letting him get one last experience of being a warlord with forces at his command. After you've wiped out the Blood Pack goons coming to kill him with the Cutscene Pistol of Doom, the Patriarch is actually cheerful and expresses hope that Aria will start treating him like an actual advisor rather than a war trophy...or have him killed, but whatever. He even mentions that for the first time ever, he actually likes the title "Patriarch."
    • If you do so, in Mass Effect 3 there will be a krogan enthusing on how badass Patriarch is.
  • After getting back from the Collector ship, talking to Kelly reveals she was quite worried about you getting off the ship on time because you're her friend (or more, probably, depending on whether you chose to romance her or not); you can then actually end up sharing a brief hug if you choose to, after which she gives a warm, beaming, "Welcome back, sir/ma'am."
  • A small one: Petting Urz, the friendly varren, on Tuchanka. You also have the option of feeding him pyjak meat, and doing so results in Urz following you around.
    • Additionally, if you have Urz fight in the pits and he loses, Tali and Kasumi (if they're in your party) will express concern for him while he's recovering afterwards.
  • The Shadow Broker's videos of Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani end with one of these, especially if you have been punching her yourself. You watch her getting punched repeatedly by interviewees, and it's funny, but it also makes you start to feel bad for her, especially, again, if you punched her yourself. Then the last video is of her being kissed by someone. It's nice to know that there is at least one person who likes her. It turns out that there's someone for everyone after all.
  • During Garrus' recruitment mission, as you leave the mercenary recruitment office, Shepard meets Jonn Whitson, a young man that wants to join in the hunt for "Archangel." The Paragon reaction involves Shepard breaking the kid's gun and telling him to get a refund. After the mission ends, you receive a message from Whitson, telling you that after Shepard broke his gun he went to a bar and got plastered in anger. But when the news broke of the massacre, he realized how bad it would have been for him, and he thanks you for stopping him.
    • Jonn Whitson was voiced by the same actor as Richard Jenkins in Mass Effect. If this was intentional, it adds an extra layer of heartwarming to Shepard's motivations for keeping Whitson away from the fighting.
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