Rarest Mass Effect Moments You Might Not Know About
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Rarest Mass Effect Moments You Might Not Know About

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The Mass Effect trilogy is a unique series of games in how your actions during an earlier game can ultimately impact an experience you end up having by the end. These special moments can sometimes have significant consequences, but other times, they’re small, warming callbacks to something you did.

Most of the time, these strange or unique outcomes required you to do something either obscure to get or are the result of choices in the past that fall in-between the cracks of the series’ morality system. Most players tend to play full-on Paragon or Renegade in their playthroughs of the series, but if you mix and match your answer, you get some pretty intriguing consequences. Below we detail a few of our favorite rare Mass Effect outcomes, which you can still experience in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.

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Keep in mind that, since this covers a lot of narrative setups and unexpected ways they can pay off, it naturally includes lots and lots of spoilers, spanning the entire trilogy.


Confused Liara

Why don’t we take a break from all the death and sadness and talk about a more lighthearted moment in Mass Effect 1. One of the required missions of the game is to head to a Prothean dig site on the planet of Therum and find Dr. Liara T’Soni. Most players will head to Therum first as it’s what the game recommends and you’ll want Liara early if you’re interested in romancing her. But you don’t have to. You can wait. And wait. And wait.

In fact. you can wait all the way until the ending of the game until there is nothing else to do but save Liara. When you finally show up, it turns out she’s been trapped in the Prothean security bubble this whole time and is losing her mind.

You get a unique conversation where Liara believes Shepard is a hallucination, followed by an equally hilarious scene back on the Normandy where you inform Liara that the plot of the game basically happened without her.

Mordin Lives

Mass Effect may be all about choice, but some things are predestined. Some characters won’t make it to the end no matter what decisions you make. The first and most heartbreaking loss in Mass Effect 3 is Salarian scientist Mordin Solus, who is doomed to either sacrifice himself to cure the genophage, or betrayed by Shepard and shot in the back. Either way Mordin has to die.

Or does he? Mordin can live. You might be thinking that sounds ideal, but the reality is to get this outcome you actually have to f**k up really badly and repeatedly.

Mistake number one: You killed Wrex back on Virmire, which means his bloodbrother Wreav is in charge of clan Urdnot. Wreav is both stupid and bloodthirsty and a future with him in charge of the Krogan may very well lead to another Krogan Rebellion. But that’s okay, because with Eve at his side, she can help guide him in the right direction.

Mistake number two: You didn’t save Mealon’s research data in Mass Effect 2 and Eve is now dead. Or alternatively, Eve dies because you didn’t stop the bomb on Tuchanka.

With Eve not around to keep Wreav in check, Shepard now has a pretty compelling case as to why it’s not a good idea to save the Krogan right now. This is enough to convince Mordin, who then fakes his death so Wreav thinks he died curing the genophage. He then assists in building the crucible, brings you a small boost to your war assets, and sends Shepard a nice little thank you email. You even get a final goodbye with him on Earth. But as far as everyone else is concerned, Mordin is dead.

Was his survival worth the genocide of a whole species? I leave that up to you.

Salarian Councilor’s Death

Another tragic death in ME3 is Thane, who dies at the hands of series edgelord Kai Lang as he’s saving the Salarian Councilor. There is no way around this one. If Thane is alive in Mass Effect 3, he is fated to die here. But what if Thane isn’t in Mass Effect 3? What happens to the Salarian Councilor? Well, remember Captain Kirrahe from Mass Effect 1?

You actually meet Kirrahe in the first game, who ultimately becomes Major Kirrahe. For most players this is just a nice little nod to the character, but for those who don’t have Thane around, it’s actually a clever reintroduction and setup because, you guessed it, Kirrahe shows up in Thane’s place and saves the Councilor.

Of course, Kirrahe can actually die all the way back on Virmire if Shepard chooses not to help the Salarian squad by turning off a couple defenses. If that’s the case, then the councilor just dies. (Whoops.) If this happens, Udina will actually use doctored security footage to make it look like Shepard was the one to kill them, making it harder to convince Ashley or Kaidan to join you.

Ashley/Kadian Refuse to join Shepard

Let’s touch on the fate of another pair of squad members, Ashley and Kadian, whose roles are largely identical in Mass Effect 2 and 3, depending on who you saved in Mass Effect 1. For simplicity, we will refer to them as the Virmire survivor.

Their story culminates during Udina’s attempted coup of the Citadel council. There is a hidden score based on a number of factors that will determine the outcome, such as whether you romanced the survivor, if you saved the council in ME1, and how you’ve interacted with the survivor in ME3. If you get a positive score, you can convince them of Udina’s betrayal and then get the option to have them join you on the Normandy for the rest of the game. If you end up with a negative score, you can’t convince them and they’ll get shot by either Shepard or one of your squadmates. Brutal.

There is, however, a rare third outcome. It is possible to have a high-enough score to persuade the Virmire survivor to back off during the confrontation with Udina, while simultaneously still having a broken relationship with them. This means they will refuse Shepard’s offer to join the Normandy crew and can’t be a squadmate for the rest of the game.

Party Members Can Show Up As Enemies

Party member death is a pretty major part of the Mass Effect trilogy. In Mass Effect 3, not only can many of the major characters die, but often Shepard is the one who kills them, which makes a Renegade run pretty brutal. Most of this friend murder happens in cutscenes, but there are several you can kill in combat.

The first is everyone’s favorite space psychopath, Jack. After parting ways with Shepard, Jack becomes a teacher at Grissom Academy, a school for gifted biotics. A major side mission in the game involves rescuing Jack and her students from Cerberus, but it’s possible to ignore it. In Mass Effect 3, if you carry on with the main story, you’ll get locked out of side content as time moves forward and this is taken into account, as Jack and her students are kidnapped by Cerberus. Then, when storming the Illusive Man’s base near the end of the game, you’ll come across a special recording of Jack being tortured. Further in, you’ll find Jack, now brainwashed into a Phantom, and you’ll have to put her down.

Similarly, there’s Legion. It was possible to give up Legion’s body to Cerberus in Mass Effect 2–a choice absolutely nobody made because who’s going to give up the Geth party member? If you did, though, Cerberus will indeed have kept the body and experimented on Legion. The empty shell that was once Legion shows up as a special enemy type in the Cerberus base, the same room where Phantom Jack also appears.

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The final party member to talk about is Morinth, one of Samara’s Ardat-Yakshi daughters who you can side with in Mass Effect 2. Morinth was always a limited party member. She pretends to be Samara for the rest of Mass Effect 2 as to not arouse suspicion, which basically means she still says all the things Samara does outside of a few small moments.

With her being so limited in Mass Effect 2, it’s disappointing but not at all surprising that she doesn’t make a proper appearance in Mass Effect 3. Shepard gets an email from her, but that’s about it. However, at some point in the game, Morinth gets found by the Reapers and turned into a Banshee, like the other Ardat-Yakshi. In the final battle on Earth, Morinth will appear. She behaves just like any other Banshee and gets no special dialogue.

Romance with Javik and James

While BioWare does its best to make your shipping dreams a reality, there are some party members you just can’t woo. Two of those were military beefcake James Vega and Prothean sadboy Javik, which a vocal group of fans was pretty disappointed with.

BioWare must have heard the fans’ cries because they added two hidden “romance paths” in the Citadel DLC. During the big party, if FemShep doesn’t have a romance partner and makes certain dialogue choices, they’ll wake up the next morning having slept with either James or Javik.

The Javik scene is played as a joke, but the James is genuinely creepy. Shepard can make several advances on James throughout the game but he always turns her down, making it pretty clear he’s not interested. Yet in the Citadel DLC, Shepard eventually resorts to getting James drunk enough so he’ll sleep with her. To cap the whole thing, when the pair awake in the morning, he sounds like he regrets that it happened. I don’t think this is what the fans had in mind.

The Saddest Party on the Citadel

Let’s get back to the fun stuff: killing squadmates. The big Citadel party was the final content made for the original trilogy. As such the whole thing is one massive celebration of it’s characters. BioWare went all-out, bringing back the whole cast and stuffing in as many in-jokes as possible. As a finale to these beloved characters, you couldn’t ask for anything better.

But the Citadel’s charm is dependent on those characters, and what happens if none of them are alive? My co-worker Jake Dekker and I went on a journey to find out just that in our series The Saddest Party on the Citadel, a multipart Let’s Play where we planned out the murder of all our squadmates in order to get the fewest number of characters possible available for the party. Turns out there are only three party members you can’t kill in the whole series; Liara, James, and EDI. That’s it.

This is a bit different from everything else we’ve been talking about. There isn’t extra dialogue or a new scene. The party goes on, exactly the same, except nobody is present. I don’t think BioWare expected anyone to actually play the game this way, but I love that it’s possible. It’s the ultimate example of what happens when you push this series’ emphasis on player choice to its limits. You get a sad Shepard, throwing a rubbish party for the only few people left they haven’t gotten killed. Cheers!

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