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YMMV / Mass Effect

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is the Citadel Council incompetent and stubborn with a vested interest in the status quo at the expense of other races, or a Reasonable Authority Figure trying to maintain stability and willing to change if shown enough evidence?
    • Are the quarians justified in their war against the geth, with the Geth siding with the Reapers in Mass Effect 3 proving them right all along? On the other hand, the game pretty consistently portrays the geth as merely trying to survive, taking up arms against their creators only when they had no choice, while the quarians insist on war and consistently throw every chance of peace back in their face.
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    • Cerberus in Mass Effect 2. Is it good to have a ruthless organization exclusively looking out for humanity's interests in the galaxy? Or do their methods and goals go too far? Rendered moot in Mass Effect 3, when they jump off the slippery slope and join the Reapers.
    • The krogan and the genophage is a big one. Did the salarians and turians go too far in resorting to biological warfare to stop the krogan? Mordin insists the genophage is not a sterility plague, but merely drastically reduces viable krogan births to within an acceptable population growth to prevent krogan expansionism. However the social effects of the genophage were so devastating that krogan population growth fell well below that, and by the time of the game they seem on their way to extinction. On the other hand, does the fault lie with the krogan themselves, who not only started the war in the first place, but afterwards remained belligerent and unapologetic, and still prefer violence rather than piecing their society back together?
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  • Angst? What Angst?: Shepard seems to take the whole being brought back from the dead thing in stride, completely ignoring the philosophical implications of being dead, being brought back to life as a cyborg, or the possible absence of any form of an afterlife. Tends to be justified as it's Shepard. It should also be taken into account how immediately after being brought back they're thrown right into the fight and don't especially have to time to think about things. It's also possible that Shepard is suffering from Death Amnesia. Since it's never brought up, its impossible to know one way or the other. Finally subverted during the assault on the Illusive Man's base if you play the videos where the Illusive Man discusses Shepard's reconstruction. It turns out that Shepard has been having a pretty serious existential crisis, and it gets worse when they find out they were literally dead. They wonder if they're just a VI that thinks they're Shepard. Shepard's love interest, if present, will be reassuring.
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  • Applicability: The Quarian-Geth conflict has quite a lot in common with the Arab–Israeli Conflict.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Liara is a commonly used squadmate and adored by most fans, many of whom ship her and Shepard, but she also gets plenty of vitriol poured over her due in part to the Character Focus she tends to receive from the developers: She's mandatory in multiple missions in 3 (three in the base game, four if you have From Ashes), has a DLC focused on her (to the point where your other characters don't even talk at all once she shows up), is the most plot-relevant party member, and is treated as Shepard's best friend in the second and third game (assuming she's not romanced) regardless of how you actually treated her in the first. She is also the only character from the original trilogy to "appear" in Andromeda, and apparently was one of the catalysts for the Andromeda Project.
    • In addition, Jack, Miranda, Kelly Chambers, Zaeed Massani, and (especially after the second game) Kaidan and Ashley are all extremely polarizing characters. Ashley moved out of this status in the third game, but not in a positive way (see her entry on The Scrappy). Jack, Miranda, Kaiden, and Zaeed's receptions improved in the third game, with the Citadel DLC in particular helping the latter.
  • Broken Base:
    • Some interesting examples of this within the fandom:
      • The First Contact War: Some believe that the turians were well within their rights to uphold galactic law and stop an unknown race (humans) from opening more Mass Relays, while others think they were simply trigger-happy and Lawful Stupid for opening fire without explaining any of this first. Likewise, were the turians justified in using deorbited satellites, spacejunk and small meteors to take out ground forces and civilians, or is this simply a case of Values Dissonance at work, since they don't have civilians and consider all individuals in an active war zone to be valid targets?
      • The Morning War: Some feel that the Quarians were completely well within their rights to preemptively eliminate the Geth, and that the Geth went overboard almost sending them into extinction. The other side felt that the geth were justified since they were fighting in self-defense, and that the Quarians got hit by Laser-Guided Karma. It all tends to come down to what side of the What Measure Is a Non-Human? scale are you on?
    • Similarly, The Reveal in 3 that the asari deliberately withheld a working Prothean beacon to keep themselves ahead of other races. Some argue that they were right to hold the information because few people had the Cipher. Others argue that they were massive hypocrites for holding the beacon after a Council law was passed that said you should reveal beacons when found. There's no way to know what result disclosing the beacon would have had, but in a best case scenario, the galaxy could have known about the Reapers sooner and prepared appropriately.
    • While Aria was a popular character in the second game, some players didn't like how Shepard was forced to help her to get the mercenary faction on your side, and how she got a separate DLC (Omega being seen by some as So OK, It's Average doesn't help).
    • The fact that Ambassador Udina becomes humanity's representative on the Council in the third game even if the player chooses Anderson doesn't sit well with some people. Others were perfectly fine with it and don't see the problem.
    • In a case of Early Installment Weirdness vs. First Installment Wins, there's a big debate over whether the gameplay shift (such as the change to thermal clips) in Mass Effect 2 and 3 was better than the original.
    • The move to the Andromeda galaxy and abandoning the Milky Way for the setting of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Big time. The only way BioWare could respect player choice from the end of Mass Effect 3? Or should they have picked an ending as canon and told more stories in the Milky Way? Given the backlash against certain aspects of a similar BioWare series getting a canonical version, though...
    • On a technical level, we have the Legendary Edition of the trilogy. Some fans believe that the remastered versions of all three games are lessened by a number of technical shortcuts that were taken, including some bugs that weren't fixed between the original releases to the remasters. Others are willing to overlook said shortcuts because the things that have been improved, such as load times (the infamous elevators are skippable once the next area loads, and the load screen animations in 2, which previously HAD to play all the way through, regardless of load time, now have their playing speed tied to the level load, so they finish when the load finishes) make up for it.
  • Cargo Ship: Joker was the last crewman aboard the original Normandy and Shepard has to literally drag him to the escape pod. Even more prevalent in the second Normandy where Joker displays this with EDI who after being unshackled and allowed full control over the ship, effectively becomes the second Normandy.
  • Complete Monster: Henry Lawson and The Archon from the games; Golo from the books. See those pages for details.
  • Contested Sequel: The first three games all had good scores (with ME2 receiving the most accolades), but many fans criticized 2 for its controversial gameplay and storytelling changes, and several aspects of 3 (most infamously, but not exclusively the ending) were panned by the fanbase.
  • Crazy Awesome: You're free to play Shepard as this. Your Shepard can be the sort of person who deals with rude mercs by shoving them out windows, fights Thresher Maws with a pistol, punches annoying reporters, drinks radioactive liqour, and always has a snarky quip for whatever horrific event is occurring. Shepard can show signs of severe mental instability, but often in ridiculously cool ways.
    Shepard: [after hearing how Conrad Verner has been basically acting like a weird hobo] Conrad why are you acting like me?
  • Die for Our Ship: Can be done in-game, no less. Once ME2 was out, some people who preferred the new love interests went back to the first game and let their former love interest die on Virmire. In ME3, some people who didn't like what happened to characters like Thane and Jacob let them die in the Suicide Mission.
  • Doing It for the Art: Sure, BioWare didn't need to go so in-depth in the Codex, but it helps expand the world a lot. For example, quarians are all vegetarians - but only because animals take up space and resources. When they land in a system with dextro-DNA animals, they pig out and get the equivalent of a hangover. A lot of fans would never bother to read this in the Codex, but BioWare did it so that if some random Joe wonders about the eating habits of the quarians, they know.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Renegade Shepard. A Knight Templar and Psycho for Hire who indulges in many acts of pointless cruelty and brutality, is a Jerkass to everyone around them, murders innocent civilians, is a Cerberus Fanboy in 2, and can wipe out up to four sentient species during the course of the trilogy (and will wipe out at least two in the rachni and the krogan). And yet in spite of all of that, people praise Renegade Shepard as a badass and a "real" hero who does what is "necessary" to get the job done even though Paragon Shepard continually proves that there is a better way that Renegade Shepard chooses not to take.
    • Cerberus. Human-centric terrorists who engage in many Scientific Sins without a second thought. In the first game and the Expanded Universe, they are responsible for loads of victims of brutal experiments - not to mention the cold-blooded murder of Admiral Kahoku, a kindly career soldier Shepard could easily call a friend, for discovering one of their hideouts. And, in the second, they rescue you, replace your Cool Starship, and provide loads of information and money as they believe in your mission of stopping the Reapers. Inevitably, some people focus far more on the latter than the former, to the point that they wonder why people view Cerberus as the villains even though there are still things in the second game (like say, Project Overlord and Jack's Cold-Blooded Torture) that remind you that Cerberus aren't good guys. Miranda does give some counterarguments and excuses for some of Cerberus' actions (some more valid than others), but you never do get to ask about any of the other things Cerberus has done, including what was done to Gillian and the various assassinations Cerberus has been behind, or anything about what was done to Kahoku, or what Cerberus was doing with that rogue VI on a military base on Luna - who was, as established in an easy-to-miss conversation, actually a real AI named Hannibal.
    • In particular, The Illusive Man is clearly meant to be a morally ambiguous (if not outright villainous) figure, but some fans consider him to be a Big Good because he's the only authority figure willing to and capable of helping Shepard fight the Reapers. Mass Effect 3 reveals this to be an invoked trope; In a dossier, it's revealed the The Illusive Man purposely put people like Jacob, Kelly, Gabby, and Kenneth on your crew in order to invoke your sympathies and make Shepard question whether they were truly evil.
  • Escapist Character: This trope is Commander Shepard to a tee. You can choose to be the ultimate hero or the ultimate bad ass, you can customize Shepard to be most like yourself, most of the characters have a crush on you, and you go around saving the world and kicking ass, as well as becoming an intergalactic celebrity on a regular basis.
  • Ending Aversion: The third game does that for the entire trilogy, if the official forums are of any significant indication. Many fans still apply Fanon Discontinuity against the ending, final act, or even entire game.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Mass Effect series seems to be one of those unique works that has several Ensemble Darkhorses. Captain Kirrahe, Kal'Reegar from Mass Effect 2, and Matriarch Aethyta are specific examples.
    • Perhaps the strongest example is Aria T'Loak. She became so popular, developers had a Mass Effect 3 DLC made where she's the star and promoted from NPC to playable character. However, said DLC made her into a Base-Breaking Character due to her characterization.
    • Eve in 3, who gives players a glance at what a stable krogan society might look like.
    • Unchecked enthusiasm. As races go, the Elcor have gained an adoring fanbase.
    • The rachni have a similarly large fanbase, as an overwhelming number of fans choose to spare the Rachni Queen on Noveria, and actually looked forward to having them become regulars in the series. Many fans were livid over how little they help in the war effort, and they frequently get the Ascended Extra treatment in fanfics.
    • Nihlus Kryik, the first Spectre and the first Turian you meet in the game has garnered a surprising number of fans, despite having relatively little screen-time and only being in the game for an hour at most. Many fans were genuinely upset over his death at Saren's hands, some claiming that it was a missed opportunity to axe him off so early as he was a fairly interesting character and even could have been something of a mentor to Shephard, had he lived to see them become a Spectre.
  • Epileptic Trees: Exactly who is Liara's father has been up for debate for a while. Lair of the Shadow Broker heavily implies that her father is the Asari Bartender, which is confirmed in Mass Effect 3.
  • Even Better Sequel: Metacritic rates Mass Effect 2 (96) higher than its predecessor (91). The fans occasionally disagree. The third game received a lot of perfect scores from a lot of review sites and magazines. Popular opinion is that none of them played the game through to the end before publishing those reviews.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • The maintainers of the primary Mass Effect wiki do not consider the events of Mass Effect: Deception to be canon, which is why Gillian Grayson's entry does not mention her death at the hands of Kai Leng.
    • Easily the biggest example of this, however, is Mass Effect 3's ending (or, for some fans, the entire game). After the release of a free DLC to "clarify" the ending and the passing of many years, a very large portion of fans still recommend ignoring it. Some fans go even further, working on projects that change the ending or make it irrelevant:
      • The Indoctrination Theory rejects most of the ending of Mass Effect 3 as a Reaper-induced hallucination.
      • There's a fan mod that simply ends the game with Anderson's death, with the assumption that Shepard dies there too.
      • Likewise, another mod goes so far as to completely re-write everything after the Illusive Man's death by having Shepard's crewmates storm the Citadel to rescue them and having the Reapers be destroyed without losing the geth and EDI.
    • Thane fans have released a mod that overhauls his storyline so that he no longer takes part in the attempted Citadel coup and no longer dies to Kai Leng. Depending on which version of the mod is installed, he can even be cured of Kepral's and gained as a War Asset. Unlike the above mods this one relies on player actions to trigger the altered content—fail to talk to him or do a certain quest, and canon proceeds as normal.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • At the end of the trilogy, it seems that the consensus of the most popular pairings that took up the majority of fanfics are: Female Shepard / Garrus (for the straight female players), Male Shepard / Tali (the straight male players), Male Shepard / Kaidan (for the gay males and Yaoi Fangirls) and Female Shepard / Liara (for the lesbians players and Yuri Fans) (all of them are canon, thankfully for the shippers, though only one was available from the start of the series; the other three were added specifically because those characters proved unexpectedly popular in their demographics) and... Saren / Nihlus. And yes, only one of them did not involve Shepard. Tali / Garrus and Liara / Javik tend to be popular Ship Mates to those who don't romance them.
    • Jack/Miranda is both character's most popular pairing for those who didn't romance them.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With both the Star Trek and Farscape fandoms. Mass Effect shows a lot of influence from both Star Trek and Farscape, and even shares some cast members, with Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn and Claudia Black voicing characters in the games.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During one of the conversations with in the first game, when Shepard walks in on her talking with one of her sisters and the sister comments on Male Shepard/Kaidan (depending on Shepard's gender) being "cute," Ash winds up saying "Oh, shoot me now," out of embarrassment. If she is the Virmire survivor, guess what happens if you aren't able to talk her down in Mass Effect 3?
  • Goddamned Bats: Husks, unless you're playing a biotic class or something with shotguns. They come at you in packs of five to ten, surround you and pummel you with stunning punches until you die. And another class of Husks (called "Abominations") explode.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In Mass Effect, on Virmire, Saren talks about how giving in to the Reapers might be the best choice, and if the Protheans became servants to the Reapers, they might still be around. In Mass Effect 2, the Collectors are Protheans, servants under the Reapers. Ouch. And in the third game's ending, one of the options is to make Saren's dream of uniting synthetic and organic life true. It is seen by some as the best ending, because it's the one with the highest prerequisites apart from Shepard living in the Destroy ending.
    • For those that played the "Bring Down the Sky" DLC for Mass Effect... well, tables get turned in Arrival, and you're now in the spot Balak was, though for different reasons.
    • Inverted in the third game. When you talk to Engineer Adams, he tells you about a design flaw with the Normandy's drive core that could lead to someone getting vaporized if the shields take too much fire. It's harsh because if you didn't get Tali's shield upgrade in the second game, that was exactly what killed her (or one of your other squadmates).
    • Wrex's elevator chatter with Kaidan takes on a dark twist in the third game. Specifically, he asks Kaidan who would win in a fight between him and Shepard, and figures that Shepard would win because Kaidan says he could never imagine fighting his superior officer. Come the third game, if Kaidan survived Virmire, the two of them end up in a standoff that could result in either Shepard or a squadmate taking Kaidan down in one shot. Seems Wrex was right. This wraps around to Hilarious in Hindsight in the Citadel DLC: Wrex recalls the elevator convo just before fighting Shepard's clone, chiding Kaidan that now he has a chance to find out.
    • In the first game, if you look at the krogan monument with Tali and Wrex as your squadmates, Tali will complain about the krogan having a monument on the Presidium for their war against the rachni in spite of their later rebellion, while the quarians have nothing. Wrex then replies that in one or two centuries, that monument may be the only proof the krogan existed. If you don't cure the genophage, the ending image implies that the krogan go extinct, proving Wrex correct. If you side with the geth, the quarians are annihilated, perhaps showing to Wrex that the krogan are fortunate by comparison, or at least survive for longer.
    • Considering some of the possible endings of Mass Effect 3, the line from the credits song ("M4 Part II" by Faunts) "I...have wondered about you...where will you be...when this is through?" is rather painful. Only one ending (Destroy, in which Shepard can survive if your war assets are high enough) allows the possibility of Shepard seeing their love interest again.
    • At the end of the first game, Shepard's companions start to mourn them when they appear to have been killed, only for Shepard to climb out of the wreckage, alive and triumphant. However, less than a month later and at the start of the second game, Shepard really is killed when the Normandy is destroyed and they stay dead for the next two years (and twelve days). And at the end of the third game, unless Shepard chooses Destroy with high EMS, Shepard dies once and for all.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • In the third game, if you do the Tuchanka Bomb mission arc after the Citadel attack, recruit Ashley/Kaidan, and Primarch Victus' son sacrifices himself to disable the bomb, Tali will talk with Ashley or Kaidan, saying it reminded her of Virmire and asking her how she can accept someone dying for her. Ashley/Kaidan says they would have done the same, and that one day, it will be Tali's turn. This is both an example of Ashley/Kaidan overcoming their Survivor Guilt, and quite comforting to Tali in light of her mission on Haestrom.
    • Tali also implies that she's worried she won't live up to her father, who is a quarian Admiral. In the third game, she's not only made Admiral entirely on her own merits, but she's also likely to be one of the Admirals that wins back the quarian homeworld, quite possibly in a way that her father would never have considered. Hard to beat that! Also Harsher in Hindsight, however, because we find out in ME2 that her father was conducting very dangerous experiments with live geth - not really something Tali would want to live up to; while drunk, she laments that her goal in life went from wanting to live up to her father to wanting to make up for his mistakes, and for all she dislikes Miranda, she respects her refusal to let her father control her life.
    • This is a large contributor to the popularity of the Male Shepard/Tali, Fem!Shepard/Garrus, and Male Shepard/Kaidan relationships. Because all three were added later in the series, earlier interactions give a strong sense of a friendship developing into more over shared experiences and tribulations. The end result is that all three give the feeling of a trilogy-spanning relationship that is every bit as strong as the Male Shepard/Ashley, Fem!Shepard/Kaidan, and Shepard/Liara relationships that began in the first game.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Wow, Deanna Troi certainly had a strange retirement.
    • When speaking with Jacob a little while after his loyalty mission, you can say that the next Normandy needs a lounge. With the Kasumi DLC, her room has a bar. Better yet, the bar is one of the few things that did not get removed when the Normandy ended up in Alliance hands!
    • After Kimberly Brooks played Ashley, who's very suspicious of aliens and thinks humanity should keep an eye on them, she went on to play Jasper in Steven Universe, the most visible face of an alien race that wants to destroy the Earth, and one of the show's few characters to thus far lack any sympathetic traits. She then went on to play Princess Allura in Voltron: Legendary Defender, whose first interaction with a human was to decry our ears as hideous.
    • An example in the Black Comedy variety, but one of Miranda's sources of angst is the fact she is unable to have children. Skip to a few years later, and Miranda's voice actress Yvonne Strahovski is playing Serena Joy Waterford in The Handmaid's Tale, who angsts about her inability to have children.
  • Ho Yay: Unsurprisingly for a Bioware game. Check the company's entry on the page for more detail. One notable example would be Male Shepard/Kaidan whose interaction was so popular that they were made canon in the third game.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Renegade Shepard can potentially be this, if given a Freudian Excuse in the Colonist and/or Sole Survivor background and also have them lose most of their crew. Renegade Shepard also suffers from stress and nightmares in 3 just as badly as any Paragon.
    • Miranda Lawson. "Created" by a raging Narcissist of a father in his attempt to have the "perfect" heir. This results in her being tortured over the manner of her conception (which could make a person pretty existential), had to live up to her father's ridiculously high standards, couldn't get anything without a catch, and worst of all is unable to conceive a child when she wants desperately to be a mother. All of this combines to make it easy to see why she can be an Ice Queen sometimes. It gets taken even further in 3, where she's now on the run from the group she used to passionately serve, is trying to find her sister, and can potentially die in Shepard and her sister's arms. Even worse if you romance her and then dump her cursing her to die no matter what.
    • Both the geth and the original quarians during the Morning War and in modern times. Both sides were effectively responsible for attempted genocide of the other - though the quarians believed they were only destroying mostly non-sapient machines - and both sides are carrying the war on into the present day. Modern quarians are steeply divided on whether or not to destroy the geth or attempt peace with them (with some verging into full-on General Ripper aggression against the geth), while the geth, while expressing a desire for peace with the quarians, are still aggressively self-defensive and will attack any organic intruding into their territory, including quarians. And ultimately, one side or the other will finish the genocide in Mass Effect 3 unless Shepard intervenes. Yet none of this changes the fact that both sides are viewed as highly sympathetic, and the destruction of either, or potentially both is a very tragic scene.
    • The entire Krogan species could be considered this. From the moment they are born they have to face an extremely harsh environment all kinds of predators and nuclear radiation. Then they find out that they were the lucky one in one thousand eggs that actually hatched, and there is a 99.9% probability that their genetic line won't be propagated to future generations. But then hang out at any Krogan settlement and witness for yourself how many levels of jerk they have taken for a very long time.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Shepard of both genders has been shipped with everyone. It probably helps that they can indeed be shipped with quite a few different characters in the games proper.
  • Love to Hate:
    • Sparatus, the turian councilor. He is notoriously frustrating to deal with and comes off as a dick even when compared to the rest of the council and Udina, but he is also responsible for several memes, his constant opposition to Shepard even when logic stares him down and his Character Development in 3 make him a memorable character.
    • The Illusive Man is the leader of a fascist organization, but his sheer suave style, intelligence, and ruthless nature has made him quite beloved. It helps that he's played by frigging Martin Sheen who delivers an expectedly fantastic performance.
    • Harbinger. His intense personal conflict with Shepard in the second installment combined with his ''very'' grandiose nature has earned this menacing force of nature a good deal of fans.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Shepard. Bonus points for also being so in their own universe.
      "You can fight like a krogan, run like a leopard, but you'll never be better than Commander Shepard!"
    • Garrus, too, after the second game explored his Character Development further and established just how skilled he was with the sniper rifle. And in-universe, there's nary a soul that can deny his skill at calibrations.
    • Blasto, the fictional Hanar Spectre with "a dark past, a heart of platinum, and the tendency to shout, "Enkindle THIS!" in combat." He also saved Christmas.
    • Kalros, Queen of Tuchanka. She EATS a Reaper. No wonder the Krogans are in such awe of her.
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: The Turian Councilor's air quotes when he dismisses the reports of the Reapers.
  • Memetic Loser: Commander Shepard, but only in one specific instance: while Shepard is both a Memetic Badass and a Launcher of a Thousand Ships, it's also a long-running fandom in-joke that Shepard is just the worst at dancing. This extends all the way back to the first game, and by the third it became a thing in-universe as well.
  • Memetic Mutation: Yes, quite a few. They're on the Bioware memes page. "Tell me more about Mass Effect memes." Well, Shepard, memes are— "I should go."
    • The dev team probably meant for Shepard's N7 armor to be iconic, but they probably didn't expect it to be this popular.
  • Memetic Molester: Canonically, Harbinger wants to dominate Shepard utterly, body and soul, so this was bound to happen. It doesn't help that many of his combat taunts sound vaguely sexual (that voice notwithstanding, this goes firmly in the No Yay category, especially when he talks about wanting to preserve Shepard's body).
  • Misaimed Fandom: "Renegade for life." The mantra that each and every renegade decision was the "rational" one.
  • Moe:
    • Liara all the way in the first game. In the second game, not so much.
    • Tali's not a hundred-percent example, but her reactions along the romance path certainly count. There's more in the third game, especially with the Citadel DLC, where you can hear her sing!
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • During missions, when a cutscene finishes, your whole party cocks their weapons with a so-satisfying click. When you hear it, you know asskicking is about to commence.
    • The jingle from the Illusive Man theme that plays in 2 whenever you complete a mission.
  • No Yay: While not officially in the game itself, a lot of fans have picked up 'subtext' in some of Harbinger's more personal taunts and have run away with it. Yep, even Reapers want Shepard!
  • Paranoia Fuel:
  • Pop Culture Holiday: Fans celebrate "N7 Day" on November 7th, a date chosen as a reference to the elite N7 special forces Commander Shepard is a part of.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • On the flipside of Renegade!Shepard's Misaimed Fandom (who romanticize them as the ultimate badass), the same fans will vilify the Paragon for being overly idealistic and putting too much blind trust in others. There was even something of a meme with them saying "You should've saved the Collector's base." The irony in all of this being that a Renegade who constantly chooses to Shoot the Dog finds themselves with less resources and The Illusive Man stabbing them in the back.
    • The Citadel Council, and sometimes the races as a whole get hit with this too. A sizable chunk of ME fan fiction portrays the Council as Obstructive Bureaucrats that arbitrarily persecute the quarians and the krogan, generally leaving out the fact that what happened to both races was their own fault, and have to be taught a lesson by humanity.
  • Sacred Cow:
    • While fans are willing to accept criticisms about certain elements, particularly the first game's gameplay, the third's ending, and virtually anything regarding Andromeda or the novel Deception, as a whole Mass Effect has an extremely devoted fanbase, and saying you dislike the series as a whole will incur their wraith.
    • Excluding Jacob and Morinth, every squadmate has a following or passionate fans, even more divisive ones. In particular, criticizing Garrus, Tali, Wrex, Mordin, Legion, or Thane is pretty much unacceptable in the eyes of fans.
  • The Scrappy: See here.
  • Self-Fanservice: Jack's bust size tends to get exaggerated in fanart and rule 34. While this is normally to be expected for a given female character in that medium, it's pretty jarring in her case given that the inexplicable way she dresses makes her actual bust size plain as day.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • Not that common in the ME community, mostly because the portrayal through acting and writing makes each love interest as canon as the next, but there are some foolhardy souls who deliberately try to incite flame wars over these things. In particular is the Talimancer group, with especially rabid supporters (or haters) trying to stir things up for no apparent reason.
    • Played a bit straighter since ME3. Fans of the ME2 romances are not pleased with how those romantic subplots ended in the trilogy, and a grass-is-always-greener effect has each ship arguing that their ship is the most mistreated. One contentious issue is that if you did not romance Kaidan or Ashley, the pre-Extended Cut ending always seems to assume you romanced Liara.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Although the promised gameplay improvements of the Legendary Edition have been accepted, the previews got some flak for A) the visual rehauls certain planets have received (such as 1's Eden Prime losing its nightmarish red hue in favor of the Earth-like skies seen in 3), due to completely changing the atmosphere to what some feel are more generic and dull brown and B) more infamously, the alteration of a few camera angles in 2 - such as rising the camera to avoid Femshep's accidental flashingnote  and the removal of Miranda's infamous ass shot where the camera zooms in on her rear as she's expressing concern for her sister's well-beingnote .
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The RPG aspects of the first Mass Effect consisted of an extensive list of talents and a wide range of weapons and armors, which were largely differentiated by different stats and textures. Mass Effect 2 cut back on this, reducing the number of weapons and armor talents, while focusing on making them much more distinct individually, though at the expense of gameplay depth. Mass Effect 3 struck a middle ground between the two in terms of weapons and armor variety and variety of talents.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The rachni are an interesting, truly alien race with build-up as one of the main fighters in the war against the Reapers. In 3, you only get one conversation with the Rachni queen, and then they are never seen again even if you secure their aid.
    • The series has a number of side stories and events that could have been developed into entire plots of their own, such as the Miracle at Palaven, Shepard's existential crisis, or Shepard's Cerberus-manufactured clone.
    • One complaint about how the aftermath of the third game was handled concerns this. While most fans support having very different endings, by refusing to pick one as canon, Bioware has effectively blocked itself from telling more epic stories in the Milky Way, despite the massive potential. The relatively fleshed out history of the Galaxy, and the brief period of time humanity is present, doesn't leave much room for creating prequels or midquel games with new, large-scale stories.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • In Mass Effect 2, vehicle gameplay was limited to piloting the Hammerhead, which was used during a series of DLC-only missions, compared with the extensive use of the Mako in Mass Effect on virtually all planets. However, considering the Mako gameplay was highly unpopular, there's a reason for the change.
    • Mass Effect 3 had the War Asset Map. Apart from a few cinematic differences, none of the war assets gathered up have any effect on the gameplay.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The quarians were meant to be a Woobie Species kicked off their homeworld by the geth uprising unaware of geth's benevolence and their own fault in starting it do to their ancestors omitting proof of such from their historynote . But due to the quarians constant (with only one exception) refusal to even consider the possibility they started the conflict, continual provoking of geth hostility, and the only quarian shown to acknowledge said proof unwilling to change their actions until the last moment by which time many had written them off pushed them past the limit of what many were willing to sympathize with. It seems as the designers wanted to make the arc's final choice between saving the quarians or the geth as morally ambiguous as possible, but they overestimated players' sympathy for the former and - to the creators' surprise - letting quarians die out ended up being more popular choice by far.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: A rather large portion of Ashley Williams's fans hold this opinion about her appearance in the third game.
  • Vocal Minority:
    • The fans of female Shepard dominate the internet and forum space, but it turns out that only 18% of ME3 players actually play as her.
    • There is a loud contingent of Mass Effect fans who constantly belittle Mass Effect 2 in every single discussion of the series. Bioware forums obviously, but also on Reddit, Kotaku, Destructoid, 4Chan, Facebook, anywhere with a gaming forum for their voices to be heard, you name it. Again and again and again. This is, in spite of the near-equal love for both games, if Amazon's any indication. This has progressed into a complicated web work of mutual disrespect and hate now that the third game is out.
  • War Ship: Tali/Legion is oddly common, despite the... tumultuous history between the Quarians and the Geth. Mass Effect 3 gives them some Ship Tease.
  • What an Idiot!: Conrad Verner, consistently in all three games. Matriarch Aethyta speaks for us all.
  • The Woobie: Has its own page.


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