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Mass Effect 1

  • The Citadel first approach scene. When you at first only get a short glimpse through the clouds, and then you see the Citadel in its full glory while the soundtrack orchestra takes it to eleven. Rivals the "Thank you, Mr. Scott!" scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • The Spectre induction scene. Almost kind of an Awesome Moment of Crowning after the first few hours of gameplay...
  • At the end of the game, Shepard and his/her party land in the Citadel by going through a mass relay. Not special? They do it inside the Mako (a six-wheeled moon-buggy), killing numerous geth in the process.
    • While under heavy artillery fire and running out of time to reach the relay, and only surviving the experience because they land upside down right on top of the armed guards on the other side of the relay.
    • And then the geth shut down the elevator to impede you. Instead of letting something trivial like that stop him/her, Shepard shoots out the glass and starts fighting an army of geth up the side of the tower. Complete with Sovereign steadily getting larger and larger, looming overhead as you fight your way toward the top. Then, when you reach the end, you get the chance to convince Saren to willingly shoot himself in the head.
      • The Intimidate option for this is especially awesome. The Charm option is pretty cool, convincing Saren to seek redemption -- but if you choose Intimidate, Shepard rolls out of cover, stares Saren down, appeals to the soldier in him, and tells him there's still one way out, if he's got the *guts*. It's the moment when Shepard not only proves he's got what it takes as a Spectre, but the moment he surpasses Saren, his most dangerous rival, as a grade-A badass.
    • The very end, after you defeat Sovereign. Debris fills the room, fires are everywhere, and the rescue crews are working their way inside. They come across your squadmates, who are dazed, shocked, and look as if they've just had their world crushed. Quiet, sad pianos sound in the background, and Shepard is nowhere to be found. The camera pans up to show the shattered windows and the massive piece of Sovereign lying around, and it suddenly seems as if Shepard really is dead. Then the music begins to rise, you see boots running on the floor, and right as the music hits an intense, heroic crescendo, Shepard climbs up into view. Commence the cries of BAAAAAAAAAADDDAAAAASS! If you're not feeling like a Big Damn Hero at that moment, you're not human.
    • There's something extremely uplifting and heartwarming as Shepard climbs down from the rubble and smiles at his/her friends. With the biggest, cheesiest smile imaginable.
  • "Alliance ships, move in - save the Destiny Ascension!"
  • Let us not forget the moment where Shepard Falcon Punches a reporter on live galactic television.
    • And if you take the option in Mass Effect 2, twice. It's even awesomer.
  • Captain Kirrahe's epic "We will Hold the Line!" speech. Quoted here in all its glory:

 “You all know the mission, and what is at stake.

I have come to trust each of you with my life -- but I have also heard murmurs of discontent. I share your concerns.

We are trained for espionage; we would be legends, but the records are sealed. Glory in battle is not our way.

Think of our heroes; the Silent Step, who defeated a nation with a single shot. Or the Ever Alert, who kept armies at bay with hidden facts.

These giants do not seem to give us solace here, but they are not all that we are.

Before the network, there was the fleet. Before diplomacy, there were soldiers!

Our influence stopped the rachni, but before that we held the line!

Our influence stopped the krogan, but before that, we held the line!

Our influence will stop Saren; in the battle today, we will hold the line!”

    • And Kaidan or Ashley earn themselves a spot in Valhalla with a simple expression of bravery in the face of certain death. "I don't regret a thing, Commander." Still sends shivers up anyone's spine.
  • Anderson unlocking the Normandy. If he goes for C-Sec, he headbutts a turian guard in the face without even slowing down. If he goes for Udina's office, he punches Ambassador Udina in the face. Either way, someone's face gets smashed, and either way, its awesome.
  • Joker gets one when he pilots the Normandy down to a planet to save the away party from a Collapsing Lair. A Collapsing Lair sinking into lava. Nice Job With The Mining Laser, Hero. He did some Lampshade Hanging when he asks if he's going to get a silver or a gold medal for that.
    • And again when, despite the rest of the crew's protestations that it's impossible, he maneuvers the Normandy close enough to ancient ruins to drop the Mako nearly right on top of The Dragon.
      • Bonus points for being the first time Joker understates his ability. His only comment is "I can do it".
      • It's worth highlighting the achievement here. Joker swoops from orbit to drop an APC through a gap in a collapsed roof into the middle of a street, without touching high walls either side, within spitting distance of The Dragon. It's like sniping...with a spaceship as the gun and a tank as the bullet, which passes though a hole roughly three metres across while both it and the ship are travelling a few times the speed of sound. A flinch off course in any direction would have destroyed the tank and killed everyone in it. The Mako is completely unharmed.
      • Liara gets her own moment of awesome in that scene - she is the only party member present with the balls to agree with Shepard.
  • When confronted on trying to develop a romantic relationship on two people at once by said two people, Shepard can offer a third option instead of choosing between them. But... Shepard still can't get into a threesome.
  • Each of the backgrounds has its own badass CMOA. War Hero has Shepard saving the entire colony of Elysium from an army of pirates and slavers by rallying the civilian population and then holding back an entire enemy platoon singlehandedly? While only being on the planet for shore leave in the first place? Bad. Ass. Ruthless has you and your unit hunt slavers to the last man, despite taking immense casualties, taking a long time. Sole Survivor has you evade thresher maws after they wipe out your unit. This doesn't sound like much until you meet a thresher maw, which the military recommends you take on with tanks, and they are damn hard to survive even then.
  • The cutscenes in the Grand Finale when Sovereign takes control of Saren's corpse after it's been shot in the head and when the entire Alliance Fleet heading towards and collectively destroying Sovereign.
    • In particular, Joker zipping around in the small (compared to the rest of the Alliance fleet) Normandy, before flipping around and nailing the death blow on Sovereign.
    • Also, in one of the first of the final cutscenes, the mighty turian dreadnoughts all open fire. Sovereign however does not bother to fire back, does not change course, does not even slow down, it simply rams the cruisers out of the way with such a force that the turian ships are destroyed immediately - and Sovereign is unharmed and continues as if nothing ever happened. It is hard to imagine a more effective way to emphasize how an evil Precursor like Sovereign sees the Council races as nothing more than insects.
  • Don't forget the Renegade ending, where humanity gets a Crowning Moment of Awesome, presenting the fact that they saved the universe as a good reason to take it over.
  • Any of the after-mission conversations with the Council where you opt to blow them off and "lose the signal." Doesn't seem that impressive? Keep in mind, you are blowing off the three most powerful people in the entire galaxy. Especially if you choose to eradicate the rachni. The turian councilor demands to know if Shepard enjoys genocide, and one of the possible responses? "Depends on the species. Turian."
  • Disabling the Thorian-controlled colonists instead of killing them may be difficult (especially if you run out of grenades and have to resort to melee attacks), but seeing the "Paragon+ 32/Renegade+ 0" message at the end makes it all worth it.
  • Players who chose the Earthborn background get a visit from a member of their previous gang attempting to blackmail them, which presents the opportunity for a particularly awesome Renegade solution:

 Finch: When we're through telling our story, the aliens will all know what the first human Spectre really is!

Shepard: No. They won't. BLAM.

  • One of the other backgrounds has Shepard try and talk a slave out of suicide, having almost been a slave him/herself, which is a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Afterwards Shepard is asked by the officer concerned about the girl what the point is to fighting and we get this exchange.

 Shepard: To make people who do these things pay. It's not the severity of punishment that deters crime, it's the certainty.

    • Jennifer Hale, who makes Female Shepard's voice waver with anger as she says this, makes this some of the best voice acting she has ever done, and the entry just below makes this scene all the more prophetic.
    • If you succeed in that mission, you get an equally crushing line.
    • Renegade Shepard's option to that same question is equally crushing, especially if you've been following all the Renegade responses, telling Talitha to fight, to be strong, and that survival means she's tougher than she thinks she is.

 Shepard: I'm not going to lie to you. I don't know. But you're strong enough to face it.

  • The climax of the DLC campaign "Bring Down the Sky" as a Renegade - rather than let Balak escape to save the hostages, Shepard attacks his gang and he kills the hostages. After Shepard has defeated Balak's henchmen and has him cornered - unarmed, wounded, and with a gun pointed at his head - they have this exchange;

 Balak: I gave you a chance to save them and you threw it away! Who's the real terrorist?"

Shepard: You. But you're dead. BLAM.

 Shepard: With all due respect, she was going to twist my words no matter what I said.

Shepard: The Council can kiss my ass. I'm entitled to my own opinions.

  Sovereign: I am Sovereign. And this station is MINE!

  • Finally, let us not forget the end speeches with "The End (Reprise) playing over them. ESPECIALLY the Paragon ending with the player choosing Anderson. It's rare to have someone who wasn't awe inspired by that scene.
    • Even Udina got his own moment with this. EVEN UDINA.
      • Though it is oft overlooked, Udina's speech to the council near the beginning may count as well. Shepard can even tag-team with him on calling the Council out on their bullshit with being so distrustful of humans.
  • Get enough Paragon points, and Admiral Hackett calls you up to neutralize a hostage situation involving biotic terrorists. Perform the mission the Paragon way, and when he calls you up again, there's this exchange.

 Hackett: I didn't think it could be done, Commander. You managed to secure the base and neutralize the biotics without a single civilian casualty.

Shepard: Just doing my job, Admiral. I couldn't let innocent lives be lost.

Hackett: I wish every soldier had your definition of "just doing your job." You're a credit to the uniform, Shepard.

  • After fighting Saren on Virmire, he knocks Shepard down with biotics, picks him/her up by the throat, and dangles him/her over a ledge. Just before he can drop Shepard, Saren gets distracted by an explosion. He glances to one side, and Shepard punches him in the face. To reiterate in its full awesomeness: while being held over a cliff by his/her throat, Shepard punches an elite soldier with far more training than him/her and who is The Dragon to a race of Eldritch Abomination ships that wipe out all life in the galaxy on regular basis right in the face.
  • You know Ian Newstead -- that crazy, rambling colonist in the tunnels on Feros? Think about it after completing the game. He's under control by the Thorian, but he knows he's being used by something against his will, so he gets away from people so he can't hurt them. He even tries to tell Shepard about the Thorian, and gets shocked by it. But he's strong enough to try again. And again. Finally, in order to prevent himself from being completely controlled, he regularly thinks about stuff the Thorian doesn't like, so it shocks him; this reminds him of who he is; or, as he puts it, "invoking the master's whip. Reminds me I'm still alive." That guy's got some serious guts.
  • Saren gets one. Despite being the Bad Guy for most of the story, Shepard can still get him to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment and shoot himself in the head. Considering the amount of Indoctination Saren must have undergone, Heroic Willpower doesn't even begin to describe it. Even an asari matriarch (Benezia) wasn't able to resist it for long.

Mass Effect 2

  • The entire suicide mission, especially if you made/make all the right decisions regarding the upgrades and team duties. The team goes through the Omega-4 relay, which no one has gone through and survived. Joker not only navigates a debris field guarded by robotic drones, he does it well enough to make the drones crash. The ship that destroyed the original Normandy gets shot down with a weapon reverse-engineered from Sovereign. A team works their way through heating vents, trusting Shepard to open gates before they fry to death. Shepard saves his/her crew. A team travels through an atmosphere literally filled with seeker swarms, with a biotic managing to keep the swarms away before blowing a mass of enemies. While Shepard leaves to blow the base, the rest of the team holds off waves of Collectors. Shepard takes down a fetal Reaper, that thing that took just about every ship in the Alliance fleet to destroy, while on foot. As it knocks down the platforms, s/he saves a squadmate while both of them are sliding down the platform. Shepard's team runs out of the exploding Collector base, with just about every single Collector pursuing them, while Harbinger delivers an epic speech. As Shepard approaches the Normandy, Joker, who couldn't even walk in the first game, stands in the airlock, holding off Collectors with an assault rifle. The platform between the Normandy and Shepard collapses, so s/he jumps twenty feet in bulky assault armor to reach the door. The Normandy returns from the Omega-4 relay, the galaxy saved (until Mass Effect 3), with everyone safe and sound. AWESOME.
  • It gets lost in all the badass moments that follow, but the opening sequence is a work of art: you control Shepard as the Normandy explodes around him/her, due to the damage sustained during the Collector attack. At one point, you must journey through a section of the ship that is exposed to space, and the game becomes eerily quiet as you look out into the void and pass several floating pieces of debris you can knock aside when you walk around.
  • Let's take one of your recruitable squad members in the second game, Archangel , your old friend Garrus from the first game. You learn that due to his vigilante activities against the criminal element of Omega, the three biggest merc companies on the station have teamed up to take this guy down. He's holed up in a mansion and blown up all other options for them; the only access route they have is across the bridge, which means they're target practice for him. They tried flying a gunship over to attack him, but he shot it down. When you infiltrate the merc companies, you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of mercs and freelancers trading bullets with him, but no one's getting anywhere near him. Once the operation starts, you stab the mercs in the back and make your way to Archangel in order to exfiltrate him...and find out it's none other than Shepard's old Cowboy Cop buddy, Garrus. Let me sum this up for you: Garrus, one of your old party members, has been holding off three entire merc companies, the freelancers they hired, and all their resources for days, holed up in a mansion, BY HIMSELF. Holy shit -- talk about Took a Level In Badass!
    • Garrus's side-mission. It's longer than most of the other missions (Jacob's and Mordin's in particular) due to a mix of investigation, combat and dialogue, and even after you've already gotten the achievement for it, you get treated to a climax which involves an increasingly-deranged Garrus attempting to snipe a target while you (in a Paragon game) talk with said target and keep your own head in Garrus's scope to save his life. Garrus listens to your conversation through a two-way radio, and when he finds out that the target shows remorse for having wronged him, Garrus can't bring himself to pull the trigger. This entire scene also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and cements him as one of the game's deepest personalities.
    • Very small, but he's even awesome as far as game mechanics go. The official guide for Mass Effect 2 strongly recommends that if you're going to play on Insanity, Garrus is one teammate you should always have with you.
  • The Cooper Lawrence wannabe returns in Mass Effect 2 for another round! If you punch her with the Renegade interrupt, Shepard says "I should have done that the first time we met!"
    • On the flip-side of that, you can also go the diplomatic route, and when she starts winding up to pitch the good ol' "aliens let humans die for their own skins" tripe, Shepard gets a particularly moving CMOA by cutting her off with a powerful, spine-chilling lecture:

 Shepard: The turians lost twenty cruisers, figure each had a crew of around 300. The Ascension, the asari dreadnought we saved, had a crew of nearly 10,000.

Reporter: But surely the human cost--

Shepard: The Alliance lost eight cruisers: Shen Yang, Emden, Jakarta, Cairo, Seoul, Cape Town, Warsaw, Madrid and yes, I remember them all. Everyone in the Fifth Fleet is a hero. The Alliance owes them all medals, the Council owes them a lot more than that. And so do you.

    • After that little exchange is over as you walk away you hear the reporter mutter: "Great, bullrushed on my own show."
    • Or, if the Council died, Shepard states it was not a decision made lightly, and again makes the case that those who died deserve a lot more than the reporter's bias cheapening their deaths. No matter what, Shepard PWNS her, and if they're alive takes the Council to task as well.
      • S/he will say the same thing if s/he sacrificed the Alliance ships and you choose the Renegade response. You still get Paragon points for it.
    • The Renegade responses are just as awesome. Shep gives her a tongue lashing about the realities of command and disrespecting the dead that leaves Kalisah on the verge of weeping.
  • Thane's entrance. Shepard and company spend an action-packed level blowing stuff up and slaughtering their way to the penthouse floor of a business building to reach a Corrupt Corporate Executive who is said to be the assassin's next target and therefore the best way of contacting him. Once Shepard and Nassana start talking, a few strange noises rattle the remaining security, who get ordered to watch the remaining entrances. Unfortunately, Thane doesn't use doors - he drops from an airduct on the ceiling mid-sentence, kills the security guards, grabs one of their guns, catches his target, shoots her in the stomach, gently lays her on a desk... and proceeds to pray without looking at Shepard or missing a beat. All in about six moves. Even Miranda and Jack are impressed by that.
    • If you pay attention, Shepard actually looks up at the ceiling briefly before the bad guys realize Thane's there.
  • Legion's entrance. He's in a low-angle camera angle, with a mix of danger and awe-inspiring music, there's an absolutely awesome Stab the Scorpion moment, and then, his simple greeting: "Shepard-Commander."
  • Mordin gets one when you learn why the citizens of Omega are scared of him: when one of the deadliest mercenary groups tried to shake down his clinic, he killed their thugs singlehandedly and put their corpses on display as a warning. He did it again when another merc group was dumb enough to try the same thing. Really, if Badass Bookworm would be explained in dictionary, his picture would be included next to the definition.
  • In the Afterlife club, Renegade Shepard can talk the Patriarch into one of these by appealing to his nature as a krogan. Instead of hiding from the mercenaries, he chooses to die like a true krogan warrior, and charges an entire squad of heavily-armed mercenaries, and thus goes out in a blaze of (sadly offscreen) glory.
  • Remember Conrad Verner? In the second game, he shows up as an "extreme" mercenary. You can try to talk some sense into him, or, if you're a Renegade....

 Shepard: Conrad, let me make this perfectly clear. (shoots Conrad in the foot) This is not acceptable.

    • He gets his own actual moment of awesome if Paragon!Shep talks him down from his little crusade. He starts a charity to help the victims and orphans of Sovereign and the geth attacks called..."Shepards". Well done man.
  • Everyone who took a certain Renegade interrupt action in the Urdnot camp said these exact words: "Did...Did I just headbutt a krogan? Not to mention, the shocked look on said krogan's face eloquently says "Did... Did a Human just headbutt me?"
    • A scene just a few minutes prior shows this to be a krogan dominance gesture, so if one is observant, they will immediately understand what the Renegade interrupt prompt is, and it is so right in context.
  • "Speak when spoken to, Uvenk. I'll drag your clan to glory whether it likes it or not."
    • You discover that Wrex had one around the same time you perform the feat yourself: He's the last krogan to kill a Thresher Maw on foot until you and Grunt come along.
  • Finding out from an asari woman on Illium that, if you made the decision to save the Rachni Queen in the first game, that she is repopulating her species, that you are revered as a legend by her race, and that when the time comes, she will bring her the entire rachni race to help you stop the Reapers. Oh, hell yes.
  • Far too much to say about Tali's trial on the flotilla. You could get her off the hook by a Paragon action (if you talked to the Admirals and found out their real motivations for dragging her in on a treason charge), or you could "Rally the crowd," prompting both Kal'Reeger and the still-traumatized Veetor'Nara (if you saved them both after meeting them) to come up and brag to the Admiralty Board about how much Tali has done for the entire fleet. There's a reason This Troper kept a save file just before that portion of the game.
    • The Renegade solution to Tali's trial manages to be just as awesome, wherein Shepard probably shows more honest anger (especially if you're playing as female Shepard due to Jennifer Hale's excellent voice acting) than s/he ever has 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 his/her exact words) to their face, tears them down for dragging a member of his/her 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 find Tali not guilty. Made even more awesome by the capper to Shepard's whole rant against the Admirals:

  Shepard: Do whatever you want with your toy ships. But leave my crew out of your political bullshit! We have no new evidence. You can accept Tali's word or you exile the woman who saved the galaxy from the geth.

    • And Tali's reaction afterward.

  Tali: It's fun watching you shout.

  • The final boss of Mass Effect 2 deserves a mention. Four words: Human Mecha-Cthulhu Fetus.
  • During Mordin's mission, while on the krogan homeworld, a krogan gangster with delusions of grandeur starts ranting and raving about how his clan will destroy the forces of the galaxy when they get enough numbers. A Renegade quick time shows up and you give him a very satisfying version of Shut UP, Hannibal using a fortuitously-placed gas main and two pistol shots.
  • When you get to the Citadel, if you nominated Anderson for Councilor, he puts Udina, the Obstructive Bureaucrat from the first game, in his place.

 Councilor Anderson (in the tone of a parent scolding a child): I don't answer to you anymore, Udina. Why don't you go to your office and think about that?

  • So Shepard, how does it feel to piss of an ENTIRE FLEET of Space Cthulhu to the point where EVERY SINGLE ONE of them knows your name? The answer, of course, is that it feels awesome.
  • If Shepard opts to play "bad cop" during Thane's loyalty quest, s/he'll try to intimidate the thug they're interrogating by threatening to cut off his balls and sell them to a krogan.
  • At the end of the game, if you decide to blow up the Collector base, Shepard will say a completely character-defining line for Paragons:

 Shepard: "I won't let fear compromise who I am."

    • If Miranda is with you, this is where you FINALLY get to give Cerberus the big middle finger: she will tell him that she has officially resigned, in a tone of voice essentially telling him to fuck off.

 Illusive Man: Miranda, do not let Shepard destroy the base!

Miranda: Or what? You'll replace me next?

Illusive Man: I gave you an order, Miranda!

Miranda: I noticed. Consider this my resignation.

    • This moment is made even better if you've been playing the whole game as a Renegade, due to how it makes Shepard look like s/he was playing the Illusive Man all along, coming off as a true Magnificent Bastard when s/he finally gets the upper hand and uses that moment to seize control of Cerberus.
  • Joker's return in Mass Effect 2, and the reveal of the Normandy SR2.

 Shepard: "You really trust the Illusive Man?"

Joker: "I don't trust anyone who makes more than I do. But they aren't all bad. Saved your life. Let me fly - and there's this. They only told me last night."

  • During Miranda's loyalty mission, a group of mercs will attempt to get her and Shepard to back off. As the merc talks, Shepard notices a crane moving an explosive cargo container. There is a Renegade interrupt. If taken, Shepard will reach forward and break the one merc's neck with his/her bare hands. Miranda will then shoot another at point blank range as Shepard pulls out his/her handcannon and blasts the container to kill two more mercs. One merc remains, who can only look from the burning fire and back to Shepard in shock.
    • What makes it even better is this troper always got PARAGON points for that interrupt.
  • The Paragon ending to Zaeed's loyalty mission. After saving a factory full of slaves and costing Zaeed his revenge against his arch-nemesis of twenty years as a result, Shepard puts a gun to Zaeed's head, tells him he's damn well going to work as part of a team, pulls the man out from under the girder that's fallen across his legs - thus proving her point that no one can go it alone all the time - and through sheer force of will and badassery manages to gain Zaeed's admiration and loyalty anyway.
    • In fact, I can say without reservation that a female Paragon Shepard is a Crowning Character Of Awesome. This editor was so happy to see a franchise that does not present the "good" path as self-righteous, Lawful Stupid or less Badass in any way, and Jennifer Hale's voice acting is absolutely fantastic.
    • While Paragon Shepard is indeed awesome-tastic, one should mention the Renegade ending of that mission. It may follow a serious Moral Event Horizon, but Zaeed getting his vengeance with nothing but an ejected bullet is insanely cool.
      • More accurately it's an ejected heat sink, but that's not important.
    • Leaving Zaeed to die is also a surprisingly awesome and fulfilling outcome of his mission. The guy is just too much of an asshole.
    • Its also worth noting that in the Paragon ending of that mission, Zaeed manages to headshot the Mook sitting right next to Vido, causing Vido to crap his pants.
  • Both Paragon and Renegade solutions to Legion and Tali's argument over her Omni-tool. Renegade Shepard will squash both of them flat while backlit by the hall light.

 Shepard: What the HELL were you thinking!? Are you trying to undermine this entire operation?! You can either fight by my side, or get crushed under my heel, but you will NOT stand in my way!

    • Paragon Shepard will actually get Tali to say a few friendly words to Legion; probably the only ones ever uttered between the two species in 300 years.
  • If you bring a nonhuman party member into the plague zone on Omega, they get sick. When you reach Mordin's clinic, he looks up, notes they're sick, and casually makes the infection go away with a press of a button. Beforehand, you knew Mordin was a hell of a doctor, but the fact that he developed a cure specifically for each species that works that fast immediately proves his awesome scientist cred.
  • An option most people probably missed shows up during Samara's loyalty mission. When hunting for Morinth in Afterlife's VIP lounge, Shepard comes across two would-be turian muggers. With a bit of Intimidation, Shepard provokes both of them into attacking (as actually throwing the first blow would get the Commander thrown out too early to lure the target) and promptly crushes each of them with two blows in a total of five seconds. Proving that sometimes a bit of Renegade really does go to the greater good.
    • Not as... badass, but a Paragon can just talk them out of the mugging. In under a minute.
    • Speaking of Samara's loyalty mission, when you manage to convince Morinth to take the bait and start seducing you, she will gaze into your eyes and tell you to tell her that she owns you, and can do whatever she wants with you -- clearly about to do with you what she did with her previous victims. If his/her scores are high enough, both Paragon and Renegade Shepard can essentially tell her, "Nope. Sucks to be you." The dawning moment of "Oh Crap..." on her face as Samara walks in the door and blasts her is priceless, and the idea that Shepard has so much Heroic Willpower that s/he is able to resist the brainwashing of an Ardat-Yakshi is yet another checkmark for his/her awesomeness.
      • "Surprise." Female Shep even smirks a little as she says it, as though she's saying "Think you're such a badass? Oh, please." The connotations get even funnier depending on your choice of companionship.
    • Also, there's one precious gem in the VIP lounge if you are playing as a Fem!Shep: You see how a tipsy and huge male turian is harassing one of the exotic dancers and if you decide to call the turian out for it, he tries to make a move for Shepard too. The camera pans slightly so you can't see the two of them and clearly voices of violence are heard from off-screen. Then the turian flies across the screen and Shepard tells him to get out. The turian's facial expression is priceless: "Did I just get my ass handed on a plate by a human female?"
      • If you have the the Kasumi - Stolen Memory DLC pack installed, and your Femshep is wearing the black dress Kasumi gave her, you see the scene play out the same way, only this time Sheppard beats the turian up and launches him across the room while wearing a dress with a low cut cleavage, a short mini-skirt and high-heels, and when you see her again she doesn't have a hair out of place!
    • Another awesome renegade option to get Morinth's attention is to insult the Krogan at the bar. As they exchange a few harsh words, they trade their best intimidating gaze - Renegade Shepard's (especially female Shep!) looks downright predatory.
    • The mission itself. Samara gives Shepard bucketloads of motivation to help hunt down and kill a space vampire Complete Monster. Finding her latest victim however leaves both of them fighting to not just storm where she is.
  • If you saw that scene, you know:

  Thane: Amonkira, Lord of Hunters, grant that my hands be steady, my aim be true, and my feet swift. And should the worst come to pass, grant me forgiveness.

  • Paragon Shepard at the end of the game. With the Illusive Man nearly frothing at the mouth about the destruction of the Collector base and accusing Shepard of biting the hand that fed him/her, Shepard will, in a very calm voice, "pleasantly" inform him that s/he's doing things his/her way now, and the Illusive Man, one of the most powerful humans in the galaxy, better suck it up and fall in line. Then s/he'll tell Joker to cut the connection in a manner reminiscent of the Council from the first game, or alternatively...

 The Illusive Man: I made you, Shepard! I brought you back from the dead!

Shepard: And I'm going to do what you brought me back to do. I'll fight and win this war without compromising the soul of our species.

It's pretty awesome to hear Shepard rub his/her moral superiority in his face, showing that s/he knows damn well who the good guy is.
  • During Thane's loyalty mission, you are tasked with tracking down his son and stopping him from killing a corrupt politician (you can get him arrested later) and following in his father's footsteps. Once you finish tracking him down, you end up in a standoff with him holding the gun to his target's head. Rather than the typical tense negotiations, a Paragon interrupt has the Commander shoot a lamp to distract Kolyat then punch some sense into the kid. Resolving the entire situation in four seconds without any complications and showing that good guys don't have to deal with nonsense.
    • The Renegade interrupt is no worse. You show Kolyat he's in no position to negotiate by shooting the scumbag of a hostage yourself.
  • Firing the Cain. No matter when you use it, no matter who you use it on, and no matter for what reason, every single time you fire the Cain is a moment of pure winsauce.
    • Unless you miss. You're going to hate yourself if you do this when fighting the last boss, who doesn't really inhabit a confined space.
    • Or you blow yourself up.
    • Special mention to using it on the Geth Colossus. Remember that hard slog of a fight to kill the fucking thing? You can end it five seconds after it reveals itself by blowing up the damn thing with the Cain, along with every geth in the vicinity.
      • That's nothing. Bring it along on the final mission. Did you just nuke a thirty-story-tall Mecha-Cthulhu-T-800? Why yes. Yes, I did. In less than a MINUTE.
        • Except on higher difficulty levels.
        • Technically, it takes two shots. Guess how many the fully upgraded Cain holds...
          • 1.9 shots. NOOOOOOO... or did I miss an upgrade?
            • Heavy ordinance packs with all upgrades bring it up to two... barely. Though you can get close if you do miss one, and both fights include at least one heavy ammo pack, which makes it still possible. Though you have to ration your ammunition very carefully in the preceding missions if you want to go by this method...
              • Harbinger drops heavy-weapons ammo during the final fight, and the Revenant machine gun, with accuracy and damage upgrades, is just as effective if not more so.
  • When trying to recruit the Justicar Shepard runs across a volus swindler who lets slip he has a copy of the passcard into a mercenary base. Shepard reacts by cracking knuckles, which is enough to get the swindler to hand it over.
  • The over-arcing CMOA for the Paragon Shepard over the course of two games: if you played as a Paragon in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, it means you have the rachni, geth, krogans, and quarians all backing you up for Mass Effect 3 against the Reaper invasion, which, ironically, allows you to tell the Council to fuck off even more than a Renegade Shepard could. Who needs them when I've got friends like these?
    • Not to mention the Shadow Broker. Plus, a fully Paragon Shepard could probably convince the Blue Suns, Eclipse, and the Blood Pack to do some Pro Bono work and convince Aria to drag Omega into the war. The Reapers are going down.
  • Learning from Samara that she faced off against Nihlus, the Spectre in the first game who was offed by Saren. Nihlus had killed some civilians for some Spectre related mission, Samara's Justicar code demanded that she kill him. Nihlus not only managed to avoid her initial assault, but in the end actually managed to escape her by pulling a "Friend or Idol?" Decision on her by making her choose between saving an innocent or catching him, basically using her own rules against her. Keep in mind Nihlus was probably only a Spectre at that time for maybe a little long than Shepard was, and Samara is a centuries old warrior with massive biotic powers as well as extensive training. The galaxy lost a DAMN good Spectre on Eden Prime. (Also, I like to think as an added bonus Nihlus gave Shepard posthumous advice on 'What to do if you have to deal with a Justicar' as well...which might be VERY useful if you're playing a Renegade and Samara ends her oath with you.)
  • An understated one on Tuchanka, after completing Grunt's loyalty mission and killing the Thresher Maw on foot Grunt is inducted into Clan Urdnot. The shaman starts listing off the things Grunt can do now that he's an adult, the last of which is 'you may now serve under a battlemaster'. Grunt's reply: "Shepard is my battlemaster, (s)he has no match." The Shaman's response? A semi-grudging "Indeed." Think about it.
    • If Wrex is still alive, this is more meaningful, given Shepard's role in the rise of Clan Urdnot. Given that Wrex is a krogan battlemaster himself, who was the last to destroy a Maw and served under Shepard...
  • Renegade Shepard staying calm and completely dominating Grunt after opening his tank, even while he has him/her pinned to the wall.

 Shepard: "My enemies threaten galaxies. Everyone on my ship has earned their place."

    • This is even more awesome when you realize that Grunt is actually shocked that a human would speak that way to him.

 Grunt: Nothing in the tank imprints indicated that humans could be so forceful. You talk as though you've earned command.

    • Arguably the Paragon route is just as badass in that scene. Shepard calmly and pleasantly convinces Grunt to accept him as his leader while the latter holds him in a death grip to the wall. Than the camera pans out and shows that while this was happening, Shepard armed himself and had a gun pointing staight at Grunt's chest the whole time. And Grunt didn't even notice until Shepard mentioned it!

 Grun: Huh... you offer one hand while arming the other. Wise, Shepard.

  • Tali gets two crowning moments if she's in the party for the "Crime In Progress" assignment. After the volus accusing another quarian of pickpocketing him refers to them as "clanless" one too many times, she'll say;

 Tali: "I am clan Zorah, crew of the starship Neema, and you, are an idiot."

    • Then, if Shepard says he's not worth it;

  Tali: My brain agrees with you. My gut says to jack his suits olfactory filters so that everything smells like refuse!

    • If Garrus is the third party member, he'll speak for us all;
    • Really, bring Tali along and the whole thing becomes one long, glorious Take That against some people's issues with immigrants, right down to the volus dragging out the tired old "And to think my taxes pay to support you!" argument.
    • Shepard isn't exactly a slouch in this scene either. The Paragon interrupt was absolutely perfect. To paraphrase:

 Shep: (shoving the volus) You falsely accused this girl of stealing from you! All you have to say now is that she COULD have stolen it?

Volus: Now just a minute ...

Shep: (grabbing the cop) And you! She gets harassed and insulted by this guy, and you throw in a threat to run her in for vagrancy?

Cop: How about I run you in for obstruction of justice?

Shep: You think you're going to run in a Spectre? I think both of you should get out of here.

Cop: Son of a ....

      • Able to be seen in all its glory starting at 3:00 and resuming to the end of it at 8:00. If you prefer Femshep, see here.
      • It's even better if you aren't expecting it. If you always picked the top-right dialog choice in the first game, Shepard almost seemed impossible to anger. The shock of seeing a Paragon Shepard just lay into those two is surprising and satisfying.
  • Shepard's speeches (s)he is able to give during the suicide mission are suitably epic, including some powerful music and dramatic finger pointing. Additionally the speech can focus on giving the Collectors some serious payback or focusing on saving lives, depending on if the player is going for Renegade or Paragon.
    • I gotta give it to the Paragon here:

  Shepard: NOT ONE MORE!

    • Renegade is equally awesome:

  Shepard: No more running, and no more waiting. Let's hit them where they live.

    • There are two or three segments to each speech, and you can independantly choose Paragon or Renegade segments of each speech. Starting with Paragon (i.e. Why We're Here) and crescendoing with Renegade (i.e. 'Now let's go kick some ass!') is immensely satisfying.
  • If you're a Renegade who saved the Council in the first game, during their little chat with you in Anderson's office (because, come on, who picked Udina for Councilor?) they dismiss everything you stirred up in the first game and then condescendingly offer to reinstate you as a Spectre, clearly meant to placate Shepard and remove her as an annoyance by sending her back into the Terminus Systems. You can say that you'd be honoured, or tell them to go fuck themselves. Political ramfications be damned, that was easily one of the most satisfying moments of the game, especially when you seem them sputter in outrage.

  Shepard: The Council offered to reinstate me as a Spectre. I told them where they could stick it.

    • This Troper did. He looked at the horrific mess that galactic politics ought to be and thought, "I can't do that do good ol' Anderson!" That was before he learned of the sequel.
    • If you picked Anderson, he complains in the second game that he never wanted to be a politician. It would've been nice if we had more choices than "tired old soldier" and "jackass."
  • Anyone leading the distraction team got one during the suicide mission after the first segment. "Suppressing fire! Don't let anything through that door!"
    • Unless you picked the wrong guy, in which case they don't. Say goodbye to your techie.
  • A loyal Jack or Samara will get one at the end of the barrier sequence. Blowing away every Collector and seeker in the room.
  • The Collector ship raid is somewhat of a CMOA for EDI; before that point she's mostly there for exposition purposes, and then she hijacks the Collector ship to save you, very quickly deduces important information on the Collectors and both works out and reveals the fact the raid was set-up by her creators
  • If Jack survives the suicide mission, as you walk by her as she helps with repairs to the Normandy, she gives you a respectful nod, and you realize she's gone from being an emotionally scarred, near-psychotic sociopath to someone who actually gives a shit about the rest of humanity. You've come a long way, baldy.
  • Kasumi gets one at the end of her loyalty mission. She and Shepard are fighting Donovan Hock, who is using a gunship that regenerates shields too fast for the two of them to destoy it. Once Shepard clears a path through Hock's Eclipse Mooks, Kasumi jumps onto the gunship, disables its shields, smiles at Hock and jumps off to resume to fight.
    • In the same mission, Shepard shutting Hock up by destroying one of his priceless sculptures.


Shepard: Do I have your attention now?

    • Hell, anytime Kasumi uses Shadow Strike is awesome. Watching this little Japanese girl punch a Humongous Mecha in the back never gets old.
  • In the suicide mission, if you choose Jacob to lead a distraction team, Miranda will say something about how he'll finally be able to prove he is able to command. Yes, his first command job comes in a battle to save all sentient life in the galaxy. Even considering the fact he's in charge of the B-team that fights off-screen, that is awesome.
    • What makes it better is that Jacob is one of the right choices. He succeeds in his first command job in a battle to save all sentient life in the galaxy!
  • I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned this one. At one point during the game before the suicide mission, if you ask Garrus his opinion on the success of the mission, his response really drives home the fact that you are literally too important to be allowed to die.

  Garrus: The Collectors killed you once, and all it did was piss you off. I can't imagine that they'll stop you this time.

  • The end of Zaeed's loyalty mission. If Vido gets away and you still ask Zaeed to join you, you get this:

 Zaeed: And what's going to keep me from blowing you away in your sleep?

Shepard: You know that's not gonna happen. You're a badass, Zaeed. But remember who you're talking to.

    • Shepard knows and lampshades that s/he's the biggest badass of them all.
  • Okay not strictly from the game itself but... this and this are pretty CM for Mass Effect cosplay. Though it'd probably be better called special effect artists play dress up.
  • Shepard is asked to hand over whatever weapons s\he has when visiting Purgatory prison.

  I'll relinquish one bullet. [others draw their weapons] Where do you want it?

  • Observing Wrex's political savvy on Tuchanka. If you compare his actions to Urdnot Wreav's there's no question who the greater warlord is.
    • After Mordin's mission, Shepard had decimated Clan Weyrloc; Wreav used that to just wipe out the rest of the clan. Wrex took in the women and children and made them part of HIS tribe.
    • He turned down a possible cure for the genophage because the experiments on living krogan were too cruel. Keep in mind, a genophage cure would be the "I win" button for any krogan clan. Wrex turned it down on ETHICAL standards.
    • He invited a small, mildly weak (by Krogan standards), clan into his inner circle. Why? Because the clan has a direct lineage to a legendary krogan warrior and he can use the name to bolster his own ranks.
    • Clan Urdnot has a rather talent scientist who was very good at making things that went boom. What is Wrex having him work on now? Crops, irrigation, farming, and medicine.
    • Wreav just gives grudging permission for Grunt to take the rite and join Urdnot just to gain a new warrior. Wrex lets Grunt decide for himself if he wishes to join Urdnot, praises him when he says yes, and welcomes him into the clan after the rite with near fatherly pride. (More so if Grunt and Shep killed the Thresher Maw. He's actually amused that someone upset his record as the only one to do it.)
    • Wrex and a female established an actual neutral ground. On Tuchanka. They created, with his own hands and in two years, the equivalent of a snowman in the Sahara...and kept it from melting.
  • One for Harbinger, at the beginning no less. But when we see how Dangerously Genre Savvy Harbinger is with the obliteration of the Normandy and Shepard's death at the beginning, it's hard not to be impressed. Sure, it didn't work out exactly the way Harbinger wanted it, but it shows why the Reapers have been the top dogs for millions of years.
  • Grunt's defiance of Gatatog Uvenk near the end of his loyalty mission.
  • The entire Overlord DLC was a Crowning 5 missions of awesome. Easily the best DLC in franchise history (until "Lair of the Shadow Broker" see below).
    • Special mention goes to the Paragon interrupt at the very end... when Pistol-Whipping the prick who did that to his own brother is considered "Paragon."
    • The entire Paragon ending of Overlord is equal parts this and Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, both due to the above, and because its one of the only instances in the series where Paragon Shepard is clearly enraged.

 Shepard: You even think about coming after your brother, and this bullet will be waiting for you! THEN we'll see who's "too valuable!"

    • Badass and Good Is Not Nice indeed.
      • Not many would have seen the renegade ending where Shepard gives up David, but it is no less awesome.

 "I'll let you have him, but..." *WHACK* "You're a sick bastard. The only reason you're getting off this floor alive is because this project might prevent a war. You better make damn sure this nightmare was worth all the pain."

    • At the end of the first mission, Shepard and his/her team destroy the satellite dish to prevent the VI from uploading itself off-world by destroying its supports from the inside. This unbalances the entire dish and causes it to slowly start tipping over. To get out, Shepard and his/her squad run up the inside of the dish and leap from the edge onto a narrow walkway. Did I mention all this is taking place on a cliffside, very high above the ground?
  • Ahh, where to begin with 'Lair of the Shadow Broker.'
    • Liara T'Soni, formerly a meek, quiet asari scientist, taking about seven levels in badass. When you first meet her, she's threatening a recalcitrant client by channeling Matriarch Benezia. It only gets better from there on out, culminating in her Shut UP, Hannibal to the Shadow Broker himself, transitioning seamlessly into a Hannibal Lecture of her very own.

 Broker: It's pointless to challenge me, asari. I know your every secret, while you fumble in the dark.

Liara: Is that right? You're a yahg, a pre-spaceflight species that was quarantined to their homeworld for massacring the Council's first contact teams. This base is older than your planet's discovery, so I'm guessing you killed the original Shadow Broker 60 years ago, then took his place. I'm guessing that you were taken from your homeworld by a trophy hunter who wanted a slave - *smirks* or a pet. How am I doing?

Broker: *Beat* *Villainous Breakdown*

    • It becomes even more awesome when, after the fight Liara reveals she actually didn't know most of that, only knowing the basics of yahg history and psychology and using it against him.
    • A high speed chase in the middle of Illium rush hour traffic.
    • Hunting down A Spectre...who has the Biotic Charge ability!
      • The fight with said Spectre is ridiculously awesome if your Shep is also a Vanguard...
        • Hell it's awesome even if s/he isn't a Vanguard.
      • Shepard tackling and wrestling said Spectre out of a two story window.
        • Said Spectre gets her own moment of awesome. After Shepard tackles her out the window, she manages to biotic kick him/her into the ground, stunning him/her. You heard me.
      • Not to mention how Shepard handles that hostage situation that comes up.
      • Especially the Paragon Badass Boast

 "I sacrificed hundreds of human lives to save the Destiny Ascension!"

"I unleashed the rachni on the galaxy!"

"So for your sake, hope your escape plan doesn't hinge on me hesitating to shoot a damn hostage!"

    • Walking across the hull of a spaceship in the middle of a planetary wide lightning storm.
    • Shepard squared off with the Shadow Broker in single hand-to-hand combat not once, not twice, but THREE times. The Shadow Broker is a yahg who happens to be at least two times bigger than Shepard in every way, has a maw with three rows of gnashing jagged teeth, and would give the krogan a run for their money in terms of strength, ferocity, and brutality.
    • Liara becoming the new Shadow Broker. Thus giving Shepard ANOTHER force in his/her corner.
    • One of the videos you can watch on the Shadow Broker's ship shows Kalisah al-Jilani getting an uppercut from a krogan. Another video shows her kicked by a volus. Other videos show the asari bartender on Illium headbutting a krogan, and attacking a volus with biotics. Anderson shoots a krogan and punches Udina. Gavorn on Omega kills a couple of vorcha with a grenade.
    • Admiral Hackett gets one in his dossier. Some Alliance officer sent him a proposal to take Shepard into custody and interrogate him/her about Cerberus. The proposal is a page long. Hackett's response? Two words: "Request denied."
      • He also gets one of these off camera as Liara reveals that he's the one who gave her Shepard's dogtags to return to the Commander, after the mission's over.

   Liara: "Do you remember Admiral Hackett? He gave them to me, so I could return them to you. He sends his best, and hopes you're okay."

    • Morinth gets one if you bring her along. The Shadow Broker will comment that he finds it odd that Liara brought "the Justicar" along, given her "changed agenda". This implies that even he doesn't know that Morinth killed Samara and took her place. That's right - Morinth is so goddamn convincing she even fooled the goddamn Shadow Broker.
    • You also learn how Mordin killed with farming equipment: He stabbed a krogan through the eye with a pitchfork.
    • Garrus' dossier lists an assortment of awesomely ironic deaths for various criminals on Omega, i.e. sabotoging a sabotuer's environment suit so he suffocated, killing a weapons smuggler with a smuggled weapon, etc. but the very best? Garrus confronting a quarian serial killer whose weapon of choice was viruses...and killing him by coughing at him.
      • And let's not forget the batarian drug dealer who died of red sand overdose due to direct contact with all four eyes, implying that Garrus pressed his face into the stuff.
  • The Shadow Broker himself gets one. He's a member of a very violent, aggressive species, even more so than the krogan. And he managed to kill the original Shadow Broker and manage his network for who knew how long!
    • It's stated to be 60 years - still impressive!
    • He also has a dossier on the Illusive Man, of all people. You know, the guy who's supposed to be so untrackable that he's actually called the Illusive Man. The Shadow Broker monitors him so closely that he even knows what suit he's wearing and what food he eats.
  • During the final mission I was fighting through the Collectors and used Morinth's Dominate on a random Collector, at the exact same time I heard "Assuming Direct Control," shortly after Harbinger said "If I must tear you apart Shepard I will" then he turned around and destroyed half the Collectors I was fighting. That's right, Morinth is so powerful she can outwill a Reaper.
  • The golden ending of Mass Effect 2. Basically Shepard does what is said to be a total suicide mission and completes it without losing ANY of his/her people. S/he effectively wiped out an entire slave race in an utter Curb Stomp Battle and gave a giant middle finger to the most powerful beings in the galaxy. Again. Badass!!
  • Paragon Shepard's Renegade response to The Illusive Man's angry, "You're making a habit of costing me more than time and money" after destroying the Collector Base.

 Shepard: I'm sorry, I'm having trouble hearing you. I'm getting a lot of bullshit on this line.

    • Better yet, that ending's final Renegade remark:

 TIM: I should have known you'd choke at the harsh decisions, too idealistic from the start!

Shepard: I know what you are, and the price of working with you! Harbinger is coming, humanity needs a leader who's looking out for them! You can either fall in line or step aside, but don't get in my way!

    • Even the initial Paragon response is subtly awesome;
  • There's one in the background information of a planet you go near while heading towards the derelict Reaper. The people that fired that mass accelerator weapon managed to KILL A REAPER. Sure, they were probably wiped out either when the weapon fired or after the Reapers figured out what had happened, but still. Hell of a way to go.
  • This is a game play moment rather than a cut scene. But when you manage to beat down a krogan with your. Bare. Hands! Double points if you do it on Insanity.
    • This troper did it to Blood Pack leader Garm before he could reach Archangel/ Garrus. Granted he wasn't really firing back much but my jaw dropped the moment he fell.
    • Shepard's punches do more damage than bullets. Let that sink in for a moment. Firing away with a pistol is the harder method, (biotically) charging in and beating them to death is easier.
  • When Joker makes his way to the A.I. Core to flush the airlocks & clear the Normandy of the Reapers. If you talk to Zaeed afterwards, he not only says that he's impressed with Joker for managing to do that, but that if he had Joker's "glass bones" & had to do that, he'd literally be in pieces right now. That's right, the badass mercenary says that Joker is more of a badass than he is.
  • Jacob's loyalty mission has a particularly awesome and powerful moment if you choose to go with the Renegade approach to bringing Ronald Taylor to justice. After spending several minutes chewing him out for his crimes, Jacob hands him a pistol, at half-charge. At his incredulous response, Jacob simply says " My father owned his mistakes." Nothing else needs to be said.
    • Given what Ronald Taylor did (as pointed out straight out of a Richard Laymon novel) the neutral option; leaving him to be torn apart by the people he'd had poisoned and hunted down, works a treat as well. As do the replies from the third squadmate at his protests.

 Ronald: You can't do this, you don't know what they'll do to me.

Jack: We can guess.

Mordin: Untrue. Just do not care.

Zaeed: We just don't give a shit.

Legion: Anger increases. Creativity of organics. It will be interesting to observe their efforts.

  • "Arrival." Good job, Harbinger, you're Dangerously Genre Savvy, what with finally capturing Shepard.
    • What's that? You've heavily sedated Shepard? Good idea, except Shepard doesn't stay sedated for long, thanks to those nasty Cerberus cybernetics. Best summed up with the doctor's statement:

 "Must be a glitch, says the sedatives are wearing off...oh, shit, it's not a glitch!"

    • Well, at least you've got several heavily armed and armored guards in the room to deal with - oh, wait, Shepard just punched your guards out with his/her bare hands!
    • Thankfully, you've got a small army of soldiers ready to...defend...the Project....Nevermind.

  Enemy Soldier on Intercom: Shepard's tearing us apart.

    • Finally, Shepard's awesome conversation with Harbinger where s/he admits that the galaxy probably can't beat them, but that they will fight and make them work to wipe them out.
      • Another part of that conversation this troper liked is that Harbinger who has refused to acknowledge to Shepard that s/he's made any kind of difference says this.
    • Taking out all five waves in the battle by Object Rho. This nets an achievement/trophy, and is a testament to how fucking BADASS Shepard is if the player pulls it off. The Indoctrinated Project members realize that they aren't capable of taking Shepard down and call in a Heavy Mech...which Shepard, despite bad cover and dwindling ammo supplies, promptly destroys. The only reason Shepard loses is that Object Rho knocks him/her out.
  • The entirety of Jack's escape from Purgatory. You see this little, tattooed girl come out of the cryo pod, then she rips off her metal restraints, kills three Humongous Mecha robots by ripping them to shreds, and smashes through the nearest wall. Yes, Shepard started it, but Jack was the real star of that show.
    • Begging your pardon, but there where four Ymir Mechs in that room (granted, one of them was beneath the observation deck, so you don't see that one until you enter her room.
  • The backstory of a planet gets one. What did they do in a Reaper invasion? Give the Reapers a great big "UP YOURS!" by firing a cannon so big that it not only tore a giant crack in a nearby planet, but actually managed to kill a Reaper!
  • If you didn't hit it off with any of the love interests by the time you hit the Omega 4 Relay, Miranda confirms with you if you're ready or not to head to the Collectors. Regardless of your choice of dialogue, she assures you she believes you're up to the task and gives you a salute for the very first time, signifying her level of trust and respect for you. Considering this is the resident Cerberus loyalist and ice queen of the team we're talking about, this is a HUGE awesome moment for Miranda and Shepard.
  • "I'll relinquish one bullet. Where do you want it?"
  • On my playthrough of the suicide mission, I entered the Omega 4 relay immediately after the crew was captured so I had time to save them. After seeing that one colonist get...pulped my Shepard started yelling for the team to get the crew out of the pods. While most of my team looked for the controls to open up the pods, Mordin didn't waste any time and immediately began to smash the glass on the pods with the butt of his gun. Badass Bookworm indeed.
    • Grunt, being Grunt, simply grabs the nearest pod and rips it out of its socket by main strength. But it gets better -- if Grunt is dead or otherwise missing, Jacob gets this move instead.
  • During Miranda's loyalty mission, if you interrupt and spare Niket, he will immediately get killed by Captain Enyala, then Miranda picks her up with biotics and throws away. Awesome. Much more awesome when you realise it's a HUMAN biotically slamming one of famous ASARI COMMANDOS.

  Miranda: "You'll die for that, bitch!"

Mass Effect 3

  • The entire turian species gets one if you read the Codex page for the Battle of Palaven. With only fifteen minutes warning the turian admiral in charge came up with a plan to defend his homeworld. They used the Reapers' size against them by using a precision FTL jump to land behind the Reaper fleet. The codex says that they managed to destroy several of the Reaper capital ships, the kind of dreadnoughts that took the combined Alliance 5th fleet and Citadel Defence Fleet to bring down even after Sovereign had lost much of his power when you killed robot-Saren.
    • Gets even bigger when you read the section about the ground war. The Reapers arrive at Palaven in full force, destroy cities with their capital ships and land hordes of husks. All the codex has to say is that "Much of the turian fleet is still operable, and the citizenry is heavily armed. The turians refuse to be intimidated."
  • Every time one of your Paragon decisions from the earlier games pays off.
    • Either seeing it in person, or reading about it like hearing that Shiala is leading the Zhu's Hope semi-hive mind colonists in a successful pushback, hearing that the guy you had Jack spare in Pragia did a suicide attack keeping husks from attacking transports with fleeing children, the list goes on and all of it is fist pumpingly awesome.
    • Hell, anytime a Renegade decision pays off, from a previous game or from this one. Bioware understands that Good Is Not Nice. Rewriting the geth heretics, not destroying them? Makes it difficult to end the Rannoch mission without genocide. Didn't go full Paragon when you encountered Kelly Chambers again in Mass Effect 3? Good for you, you saved her life. Killed Rana Thanoptis? Congrats, now she won't gun down asari officials on Reaper orders.
  • Thane vs Kai Leng. Kai Leng and Shepard's squad are circling each other with the Salarian councilor trapped in the middle...and then Thane appears out of nowhere with his gun pointed at Leng's head. He proceeds to hold his own against Cerberus's cyborg poster boy despite being a Dead Man Walking (three months to live nine months ago), at one point launching him across the room with a biotic punch. Sadly, he loses when Kai Leng runs him through with his katana, but still. One has to wonder how badly that would have gone for Leng if Thane had been at his peak. Thane even has a moment to laugh at the moment, "That assassin should be embarrassed... he lost his mark because of a terminally ill Drell."
    • Making this even more impressive is that, with the exception of Thane's modest biotic abilities, everything he pulls off is through skill, experience, and physical fitness, against an opponent who is both incredibly skilled and augmented with the best cybernetics Cerberus can afford.
  • Grunt, if you choose to save the rachni queen again, will choose to do an epic You Shall Not Pass moment to hold off a small army of Ravagers by himself. He charges into them, shooting and punching and kicking and beating, before falling off a cliff into darkness, followed by more Ravagers. Weep those Manly Tears for the greatest krogan warrior ever to live. Then he comes out of the cave, covered in blood but still alive, and asks for something to eat. The best part of it all is the music during this scene: while Grunt is fighting off the Ravagers, the music is quiet and sad, a piano solo that confirms that our hero is fighting his final, doomed battle. And when Grunt survives, the music is a reprise of the triumphant, rising orchestral crescendo at the ending of the first game when Shepard crawls out of the wreckage, battered but alive. Needs to be seen to believed.
    • Adding to that the requirement for him surviving is that next to saving the Rachni Queen in 1 you had finish his loyalty mission in 2. Which was to help him gain maturity and a clan, essentialy giving him a "family" and to learn how to control his rage. This means he survives because he learned how to use his rage when necessary and have something to come back for. He must have had a major determination moment down there.
    • From the same mission, you can see Grunt's squad pinned down by a group of Husk's. Grunt proceeds to grab a Ravenger, lift it completely over his head, and fling it into a chasm. What does he saw while doing this?

 Grunt:I. AM. KROGAN!!

  • A little early (at the time of this Troper's entry), but if you weren't overcome by the sheer awesome of how Earth is facing annihilation by a massive Reaper Fleet in ME 3's debut trailer, you need to rethink your place in life.

 Sovereign: We are legion. The time of our return is coming. Our numbers will darken the sky of every world.

      • The last few seconds of the trailer are pure win. Shepard looks out over Earth under siege, he turns towards the screen and as he walks towards it and the N7 logo lights up, his theme kicks in, and you know that asses are about to be kicked. Pure, Epic, Win.
  • Reaper vs. Kalros, the MOTHER OF ALL THRESHER MAWS. They are riding out to complete another mission but have to contend with a Reaper tank, all hope seems lost. Shepard is forced to go on foot when the Krogan convoy is taken out, travelling through an ancient Krogan city talking about the Thresher Maw to end all THRESHER MAW's on Tuchanka. When conversing with Wrex about it, they realize that Tuchanka is its' home too and won't like a Reaper stomping around. So, as shown during Grunt's rite of passage, they decide to summon the Thresher Maw and point it at the Reaper. The end result is insane. Shepard is literally running underfoor of the giant sentient spaceship trying to hit him with a beam of molten metal fired approaching the speed of light. He dodges and weaves through the incoming fire, avoids things that pop out of the ground too fast for you to even get a good look at them, and then narrowly avoids being stepped on by the Reaper. Then the drums are sounded, and you know the Maw is angry. The Maw lunges out of the ground and tackles the Reaper, wrestling for a minute before the Reaper gets an angle to shoot at it, only to miss because it went under ground again. Then it resurfaces and wraps itself around the Reaper, crushing it and dragging the thing underground. James Vega gets it right pretty early in the video: "Holy shit!"

 Shepard: "Wrex! Do we have mawsign?"

Wrex: "Shepard, we have mawsign the likes of which even Reapers have never seen!"

    • An extra layer of awesome is added if Shepherd has the Sole Survivor origin. This scene is basically his/her two biggest enemies fighting each other.
    • As one comment on Youtube put it:

 Garrus Vakarian: "When the Krogan name a Thresher Maw, you know you're in trouble. They don't think anyone is ever going to kill it."

  • The brief dialogue at the end of the E3 trailer, between Shepard and the Defense Committee:

 Committee Member: What can we do?

Shepard: The only thing we can do: We fight or we die!

    • Shepard is basically saying, "I went through all nine levels of hell to give you three years to come up with a plan! You wasted it debating whether or not there was even a threat! All we have time for now is not go down without a fight! Now get off your useless asses and fight, Obstructive Bureaucrats!" Then they all die like the useless sumbitches they are when Harbinger potshots the building. HAW-HA!
      • While several of the fans lament the unfitting ending, My one biggest disappointment with Mass Effect 3 was that there was no way to actually utter a line like the above to the council, or call them out in any way for their obstructive and collective stupidity over 3 games, and how many lives have been lost due to their shortsightedness.
  • Par for the trope, the Normandy's Gunship Rescue as Shepard escapes Earth with Anderson.
    • Anderson actually volunteers to stay behind on Earth and help the surviving humans. This alone is pure awesome for that man.
  • Shepard now has an up-close melee weapon capable of one-hit kills. And those kills are probably all going to be bad-ass.
    • In regards to the Omni-Blade: Every class has it, the Sentinel class dual wields Omni-Blades, and the Engineer has one coated with burning hot plasma. Bad-ass!
    • And if you're a Vanguard or Adept, you swap out the Omni-Blade for a Biotic Punch!
    • Said one-hit kills are called Grabs. If you and an enemy are on opposite sides of cover you can pull him over it, lay him out and end him with an omni-blade through the face. Now, krogan characters are a walking Awesome Moment in multiplayer, but they get Crazy Awesome when you realize they don't have omni-blades. That's right - you're executing people with a single punch.
  • A video at E3 shows Shepard at a geth base. You call in the Normandy to blow up a base, but then discover it's actually a Reaper. A Reaper who's now a little annoyed at you. You run onto a small ship piloted by Legion, and start running away with the Reaper running after you, as you fire at it from a turret on the top of the ship. You stay away long enough for the quarian fleet in orbit to fire on the Reaper, apparently hurting it. Then it gets back up. Holy crap, this will not be easy.
    • In the actual game, the orbital strike hits the firing chamber and does put it down, but the jamming signal means the fleet can't target precisely enough to hit the weak spot on purpose. Shepard's solution? Sync the target painter to the entire flotilla and face the Reaper on foot. Repeat: you aim a laser at it for the quarian fleet to fire at from orbit. You need to do this four times. The last time, the thing is right on top of you.
      • Take the Renegade option when Shepard talks to the dying Reaper afterward and take the Renegade Interrupt. Shepard pulls out the laser again and aims at the Reaper's eye.

 Shepard: "Tell your friends we're coming for them." [Another orbital strike finishes the Reaper off] "Never mind. I'll tell them myself."

  • The Special Forces trailer. Its like Commander Shepard has an army of the most well trained soldiers in the galaxy, second only to his elite team, ready to clean up the remnants of the Reaper forces after he's done.
  • During the second demo mission, you help Mordin and Wrex get an important Krogan female off the Salarian homeworld. After you've held off the Cerberus forces attacking you, Wrex helps the Krogan queen/princess out of the containment pod she was in the entire mission. Two more Cerberus mercenaries show up out of nowhere to attack, and the Krogan queen grabs Wrex's shotgun and blows them both away. With one hand. Krogan women kick ass.


  • During the mission on Sur'Kesh, Shepard can run into Captain (now Major) Kirrahe, who, when Cerberus forces deploy heavy armor forces and drone guns, he blows them up with a sticky grenade launcher. By himself. Garrus wants to know where he can get a cool toy like that.

 Garrus: How do I not have one of those?!

    • You can get one a little bit later in the mission. It is just as awesome as it looks in that cutscene.
  • Mass Effect 3's launch trailer sells it for us just like Mass Effect 2 yet again, with an incredible soundtrack, amazing visuals and fantastic directing all around. It all feels like the ending of a saga, but makes you prepared to make the final march to save the galaxy. Be careful, Shepards.
  • Heartbreaking as the ending is, these tweets from Emily Wong as she comes to the end of her livetweeting the Reaper invasion:

 Go on. Make your noise. Try to scare us.

You want to see how a human dies? At ramming speed.

    • Another, more subtle one for Emily. Her live reporting provided a treasure trove of intel on how the Reapers operate. There's no telling how many lives she might save.
  • Even if it is at the expense of Shepard, Al-Jilani slugs him/her and knocks him/her on the ass, if you attempt to punch her and miss the second interrupt.
  • Two words: Prothean. Squadmate.
  • Wrex's quote to oncoming Ravagers as Shepard and his squadmates get ready to hurry to cure the Genophage. "I am Urdnot Wrex. And THIS IS MY PLANET!"
  • Mordin sacrificing himself to get the genophage cure into Tuchanka's atmosphere. His responsibility to the end.

 Shepard: I'm sorry.

Mordin: I'm not. Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.

    • Gets even better if you try to stop him. Shouting "I MADE A MISTAKE!", and then if you shoot him, he dies literally trying to crawl to the control panel. It was supposed to be his moment of redemption.
  • Conrad saving the life of Shepard, could wind up as a Heroic Sacrifice or a subtle Big Damn Heroes moment when the Cerberus contact tries to kill Shepard (who no longer travels across the citadel in armor but rather casual outfits).
  • Lieutenant Victus, son of the Turian Primarch, gives his life to disable the Cerberus bomb that they stole from the Turians threatening to destroy a high population center in Tuchanka. His sacrifice gives Shepard valuable time to solidify an alliance between the Turian and Krogan states.

 Victus: Victory... at any cost.

  • A seemingly random minor sidequest on the Citadel to track down someone using batarian diplomatic codes can end with Balak, villain of Bring Down The Sky having a gun pointed at the back of Shepard's head, blaming Shepard for the destruction of the batarian civilization. Shepard can then convince Balak to not only put the gun away but to add his fleet to Shepard's cause. Let me repeat that: Shepard entered a situation with a gun to the back of his/her head by an enemy s/he personally defeated and who blames Shepard for the death of his society, and Shepard turns him to his/her side.
    • Or, if you don't have the Reputation chops (or just hate the murdering SOB that much), you can casually knock the gun out of his hand and blow him away. Pay Evil Unto Evil, indeed.
  • During the final part of the Rannoch mission, it's just you, on foot, dodging blasts that can level buildings so you can point the targeting laser at a Reaper's weak spot so the entire Quarian fleet and the Normandy can blow it to hell. If your heart isn't pounding at that point you're not alive.
  • A Renegade Interrupt involves Shepard approaching Han'Gerrel, the quarian admiral who was gung ho about starting a war with the geth in Mass Effect 2, was one of the ones who pushed for the war with the geth to start now, in the middle of the Reaper invasion, and then opened fire on the geth ship where Shepard was on a mission to and destroying it just before Shepard could escape, and punching him in the gut for his reckless endangerment of Shepard, demanding he get the hell off the ship.
    • Even a Paragon Shepard would be tempted to take that option. Recklessly endangering civilians and/or Shepard's squad are two things you should definitely never do when s/he's around. Combined with the Paragon interrupt you get with Xen a few minutes later, it gives the impression that Jesus Shep has finally had enough of this crap.
  • Best Interrupt in the game (even more than killing Udina - Kai Leng, battered and broken after your fight with him, picks himself up off the floor, grabs his sword and approaches Shepard. S/he turns, shatters the sword, and kills Kai Leng with the omni-blade.
  • The war to retake Earth is on par with the battle of freaking-Armageddon. With enough planning you hit your cybergod enemies with the might of an entire galaxy. This includes elements from every state and alien government, A Is, pirates, mercenaries, dinosaur-riding krogan and enough dreadnought fire to burn a hundred worlds to ash. Seemingly invincible kilometer long Reapers are torn to shreds by the sheer weight of numbers, Shepard kills not one but TWO additional destroyers on foot, every surviving crew member takes part in the ground battle, and the Mako returns. This is the scene that each player had been working towards for 3 games, 100+ hours, and five years. Truly, it is the battle for all time.

  Reapers: Shepard will fail, they have no cha- OH SHIT! HOW DO WE STOP HIM/HER?!

 "Stand fast, stand strong, stand together. Hackett out."

  • Samara's daughters at the Ardat-Yakshi monastery. The older one, Rila, resists indoctrination and transformation into a Banshee long enough that she can set off a bomb, blowing the place, and the biggest stockpile of banshees, to hell. Morinth, you are no longer Samara's strongest and greatest daughter.
  • A renegade Shepard can deliver a Shut UP, Hannibal to a Reaper by ordering the entire Quarian fleet to fire right on it's face.
  • During the mission to save the Cerberus Scientist defectors, Shepard gets taken down by mech while trying to get to the escape shuttle. Cue Jacob jumping out the shuttle to save Shepard, taking out several Cerberus Soldiers and the same mech with just an Assault Rifle, all the while suffering from a bullet in the gut.
  • The Rannoch Missions if Shepard manages to make peace between the geth and the quarians. Let me repeat, Shepard managed to end a conflict that all others thought was unresolvable. Messiah much?
    • Even better is the fact that it is the biggest middle finger you can give to the Reapers' philosophy.
  • Shepard taking down the Reaper on Rannoch and their subsequent conversation firmly cements Shepard's status as The Dreaded.

 Dying Reaper: Shepard...

Shepard: You know who I am?

Dying Reaper: Harbinger speaks of you.

    • Depending on your choices in the conversation, Shepard can take a Paragon or Renegade interrupt. Paragon involves giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, during which Shepard shoots down the Reaper's claim that the Reapers are preserving the long since harvested races by pointing out that those races supposedly preserved are still dead. Renegade has Shepard pull out the targetting laser once again.

 Shepard: Tell your friends we're coming for them.

[The Normandy & Quarian Fleet fire another artillary strike & kill the Reaper]

Shepard: Never mind, I'll tell them myself.

  • Heavy weapon use is dialed down a bit in 3 - instead of carrying them with you, you tend to find them on specific missions and can only use them there. During the siege on London in the endgame, the Cain makes a triumphant return when Shepard uses it to take out an anti-air Hades Cannon. Click...BOOM.
    • Even better - If you look in the wreckage of the crashed shuttle, you'll notice there's a second Cain. Provided you don't screw up the first shot, you can pick it up & use it to One-Hit Kill the Banshee that turns up. And considering if Morinth survived Mass Effect 2 & Samara didn't, she turns up as a Banshee aswell, it's a hell of a dose of Laser-Guided Karma.
  • At Huerta Memorial Hospital, you can overhear a PTSD-stricken asari explain what happened to her. She was on a human colony and was staying with some farmers and using their shower when Reaper forces arrived. She fled and took the farmers' daughter with her... who then proceeded to kill several husks with only a stick. One human girl, frightened, takes down husks with a stick.
    • What do you expect? It was Joker's sister.
      • Is there such a thing as Fridge Awesome? Because... if she was Joker's sister, she might have had Vrolik syndrome just like he does. She does end up breaking her leg... And nobody ever says she doesn't have it. Just makes her accomplishment this much more badass. Though Vrolik's syndrome is supposed to be extremely rare, so it's not likely.
  • When Cerberus attacks the Citadel and Shepard is having a standoff with the council and the Virmire Survivor everyone is slow to believe Shepard's claims that Udina is staging a coup. Then, after three games of apathy and condescending bullshit (if you saved the original Council in ME1), Asari Councilor Tevos finally points out that they haven't trusted Shepard before and each time it has come back and bitten them in the ass. I don't care how small the moment was, I fucking earned it.

Councilor Tevos: We mistrusted Shepard before. And it did not help us.

    • To make it even better, if you've talked things out with Ashley/Kaidan, she/he will make the decision to trust you and turn on Udina. Hear that? That was the sound of all the leftover trust issues from Horizon shattering.
      • Even if you have not spoken to them, you can still pull out the charm, provided you still have some clout with them. A Renegade choice will have you tell them you would regret shooting them for the rest of your life, but you would do it if you had to, and that the ball is in their court. Paragon, however, will have Shepard tell Ashley/Kaidan that they know in their heart Shepard is right, that they always do the right thing, no matter what, and they need to trust their own instincts. And either way, they put the gun down.

  Shepard: You've always stood true to what you believe in. I admire that most about you. Trust your gut, Kaidan.

    • Not just that, but the memetic jerkass, Turian Councilor Sparatus, (Ah, yes. "Reapers" [finger quote]) personally thanking Shepard. His tone just sounds so sincere.
  • The Illusive Man gets one in an archived video at Cerberus Headquarters. Right before he's about to undergo the most likely excruciating surgery that would let him control Reapers he asks for no anasthetic. He often looks like a callous bastard and he's extreme even for a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but you get the sense he wants to feel every sacrifice done in Humanity's name.
  • Talking The Illusive Man into killing himself at the ending. Another indoctrinated pawn of the Reapers falls at the Citadel, much like Saren.

The Illusive Man: I tried, Shepard! (shoots himself in the head)

    • Shooting him yourself is just as satisfying.
  • Anderson leading the anti-Reapers resistance. Sure, you don't see much of it, but you still see the result: Earth is one of the first planets attacked, Humanity's homeworld takes the brunt of the Reapers' wrath, its main cities are destroyed within days if not hours, yet Anderson manages to mount a resistance movement, reorganize the Humans living outside the cities efficiently enough that not only does Earth resist until the very end of the game (after Thessia has gone silent and Palaven has been abandonned by Turians who cannot both defend their homeworld and prepare to escort the Crucible anymore), but Anderson has managed, with no help from the outside to prepare a final assault agains the Reaper beam in London. He's like Churchill, John Connor, and Garibaldi defending Montevideo all rolled into one.
  • Bilal's last stand.
  • From Glyph you hear the story of a colony that chose to nuke itself rather than be indoctrinated.
  • The "Eye of the Hurricane" achievement; or rather, killing a Brute as it charges at Shepard? Badass. Try killing a Brute as it charges at Shepard, by using the Biotic Charge.
    • You want even more awesome? Do that in multiplayer with you squishy level 20 character and no Bullet Time.
  • According to Xbox World: Shepard gets to pilot a fifteen-foot tall Cerberus mech. I repeat, Shepard gets to pilot a fifteen-foot tall Cerberus mech!
  • How about the final fight? Shepard's team completely alone defending their last missiles, while the rest of hammer is falling, and any victorious reaper forces going against you, the only things you can hear are the banshee's screams, and the sound of the reaper's beam and scream. And then, if you hadn't enough with too many banshees for your own good, the reaper destroyers starts targeting you. And only then the music starts.
  • Renegade Shepherd's speech convincing the Quarians not to open fire on the Geth was particularly amazing. "A few years ago, I saved you from the geth at the Citadel. Just recently I helped you take out that dreadnought. But I'm through saving you. If you keep attacking, I will stand and watch as the geth lay you to waste." They listen.
  • Paragon Shepard's interrupt when Admiral Xen starts talking about how she wants to run tests on Legion:

 Xen: This is a fascinating prototype. With some study, I may be able to use it to find a weakness in the Geth consensus.

Shepard: Legion helped me in the fight against the Collectors.

Xen: So did your pistol. Should we show concern for it's feelings as well?

Shepard: (interrupting) I don't think you want to continue this line of thought, Admiral. Legion is my friend, and more importantly, he's our best source of information on the Geth.

Xen: The scientific benefits-

Shepard: Are off the table.

    • This scene becomes doubly awesome if you just took the Renegade interrupt to punch Han'Gerrel in the stomach for firing on the dreadnought while you were still inside. It seems, especially with Jennifer Hale's truly pissed-off sounding voice acting, that Shepard is practically saying "You want some too, bitch?!"
  • Eve, full stop. All we've seen among the Krogan are bloodthirsty idiots. Wrex is Gandhi by comparison, but Eve - it seems that she is the real leader of the Krogan. To wit, she made the most subtle power grab in the galaxy and almost no one saw it. She accepted Wrex's plan to consolidate all the females - and in doing so, she turned the genophage into a biological Lysistrata Gambit. She's clearly intelligent, has no use for bullshit, and is willing to let the male Krogans play their games. She also knows why the Salarians and Council created the genophage, and won't repeat that mistake again. She may allow the Krogans to regenerate en masse to fight the Reapers, but she broadly hints that she's going to make sure the Krogan limit their reproduction (and generally, mothers don't want to deal with a dozen kids anyway.)
    • To say nothing of Eve snatching away Wrex's shotgun during the rescue, uses it to mow down two Cerberus shock troopers, and then tosses the shotgun back at Wrex and mocking his overly polite chivalry at the same time. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.

 Eve: I can handle myself Wrex.

Wrex: Women.

    • With just one word she stopped a bloodbath between the male Urdnots. Then she united them against the Reapers.
  • Say what you will about the endings, but The Stinger, where the trilogy is implied to have been a story an old man identified as "Stargazer" is telling his grandson, blew my mind when I realized the old man is voiced by Buzz Aldrin!

 Boy: Did all that really happen?

Stargazer: Yes, but some of the details have been lost in time. It all happened so very long ago.

Boy: When can I go to the stars?

Stargazer: One day, my sweet.

Boy: What will be there?

Stargazer: Anything you can imagine. Our galaxy has billions of stars. Each of those stars could have many worlds. Every world could be home to a different form of life. And every life is a special story of its own.

Boy: Tell me another story about the Shepard.

Stargazer: It's getting late but, okay… one more story.

  • Speak to Kirrahe before going into the STG labs. He promises Shepard that, regardless of the decisions of the politicians, the salarian STG will help when called. Particularly if you later cure the genophage, pissing off Dalatrass Linron and causing her to revoke the official salarian support for the fleet to retake Earth, seeing an entire branch of the salarian military essentially telling their leaders Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right is pretty damn awesome.
  • Cerberus are revealed to be semi-huskified and heavily indoctrinated. Check out their reaction to Shepard showing up on Mars;

  Cerberus Centurion: HOLY SHIT! THAT'S SHEPARD!

    • Now realise that Shepard is actually scaring the hell out of people who can no longer think or feel anything for themselves.
      • There's another, even more badass possibility. There is a theory that indoctrination sometimes causes the victims to express the Reaper's feelings as their own (many fans think that Saren's uncharacteristic fury on finding out that Shepard had found the beacon on Eden Prime was actually Sovereign's rage rather than his own,) which makes you wonder whether HOLY SHIT! IT'S SHEPARD is actually the Reapers' reaction to seeing him/her! The dying Reaper Shepard talks to on Rannoch explicitly states that "Harbinger speaks of you", which is probably the closest thing to an open admission that they're scared of Shepard we'll ever get from the Reapers, so maybe the reaction of the indoctrinated victims is what the Reapers really feel.
  • The appropriately named "Miracle of Palaven." Once Shepard resolves the Krogan/Turian dispute, the Krogan hold up their part of the bargain and dedicate their infantry for the cause, letting the Turian fleets be redeployed elsewhere. For awhile, reports state that even with Korgan support, they're losing ground...until the Miracle appears in your Codex. Krogan and Turian commandos smuggle in several ship-busting bombs and volunteer refugees agree to sneak them into the Reaper ships to detonate them inside. Cue a lot of Reaper ships on Palaven suddenly exploding.
  • Miranda gets one for appearing to be the only person in the entire galaxy who doesn't expect (or ask) Shepard to solve her problems. Every time you meet her you can offer to help her, and every time she tells you that you have bigger things to worry about. Sure she ends up needing your help in the end, but that doesn't detract from how far she got on her own.
    • There's also her badass biotic takedown of her own father Henry Lawson if you should succeed in persuading him to let Oriana go.
  • The Shanghai pulls off an insane off-screen rescue mission; evacuating a colony in the span of an hour.
  • As you're firing the Thanix Missiles on Earth at the Destroyer defending the Citadel beam, the cutscene will show your squadmates defending you. Depending on who you have and what weapons equipped can sometimes alter what happens as they shoot incoming Cannibals and Husks. Such as Tali shooting a Cannibal point blank in the face. With a Claymore. One handed.

Expanded Universe

  • From Retribution, Kai Leng may be an incredibly xenophobic and sociopathic asshole, but there is no denying that he is a Badass. Before the story, the man killed a krogan with a knife in a Bar Brawl and during the story's events, he kills six turians, by himself, and again with only a knife.
  • In the second game Kasumi will mention she got Shepard into Badass Weekly. The writer for the real life Badass of the Week thought this was the crowning moment of his career and was so flattered he had to write an entry for the site. Guess who.
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