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Mass Effect 1

  • The good ending of 'I Remember Me'.

Talitha: "Will I have bad dreams?"
Shepard: "You'll dream of a warm place... and when you wake up, you'll be in it."

    • Hugging her is perhaps the sweetest thing Colonist!Shepard will ever, ever, ever do.
    • If your player character is female, it's incredibly evocative of Newt asking the same question of Ripley in Aliens.
    • And then for extra warm fuzzies, if you saved Talitha in ME1, in ME2, she will send you a message telling you that she is mentally healing. The message is clear and lucid, showing that yes, you did help her. Saving the galaxy is good and all, but it's the personal stuff that really hits home...
    • You get the same message if you took the "Tough Love" Renegade route. Even when Shepard's not sweetness and light, s/he's just as good at saving people.
      • Just goes to show that even Renegade Shep has a heart too.

Talitha: "Will I have bad dreams?"
Shepard: "I'm not going to lie to you. I just don't know. But I know you are strong enough to face it."

  • Peacefully subduing the colonists of Zhu's Hope after the Thorian commands them to kill you. Yes, it's frustrating. Yes, you'll probably have to resort to Save Scumming. Yes, nothing will beat the Warm and Fuzzy Feeling you get when you see the 32 Paragon points you get for doing so.
    • For more warm fuzzies, if you also romance Tali in ME2, she lists this as one of the reasons she loves Shepard.
  • Benezia's final words to Liara, telling her she's always been proud of her, which also serves as a Tear Jerker.
  • The romance path for Kaidan is very moving, particularly his speech to Shepard in its final scene: "I think about losing you and I can't stand it. The galaxy will just keep going. Everything, even the Reapers, will come around again. But you and I - we - are important right now. This is what will never happen again. Us."
  • Equally the other romances: Ash ends on a note of combining CMoF/CMoH as she challenges Shepard to return alive in order to hear her declaration of love. On the other hand, Liara wants nothing more than to spend possibly the last night of her life with Shepard. She insists on it.
  • If you get enough Paragon points over the course of the game, 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."

  • A man and a woman are having a heated argument about her unborn baby. The man (Michael), her late husband's brother, is insisting that she gets gene therapy to prevent the heart condition that killed his brother, the woman (Rebekah) is terrified that the therapy could have unforeseen complications on the baby. A combination CMoH and a Tear Jerker occurs when you convince Michael to respect her decision and he breaks down and says that this baby is all he has left of his brother, and he's terrified of losing it.
    • Combines into another nice CMoF/CMOH in the sequel when you meet them again arguing about the newly-born and, as far as we know, totally healthy baby. This time, the roles are reversed, with Rebekah being the fussy mother and Michael being laid back about letting the boy be.
  • Anyone who's read the first Mass Effect book, Revelation, before Mass Effect knew Saren was absolute scum, even more so than portrayed in the game. Choosing the Paragon path and convincing Saren to kill himself is pretty heartwarming, because it convinced a cynical, violent, Machiavellian creep to do the right thing. His final words to Shepard, knowing how virulently anti-human he is, makes it doubly satisfying.

Saren: "Goodbye, Shepard... Thank you."

  • Tali and Shepard talking about her pilgrimage and her need to return to the Fleet:

Tali: "The only thing I can offer in return is what you already have: my solemn promise to stay with you until Saren and his Geth armies are defeated."
Shepard: "I'm going to miss you when you go back to your own people, Tali."
Tali: "That won't happen for a while yet. I'll be right here any time you need me."
Shepard: "I never wanted anything more."

    • If you took the Relationship Upgrade in the second or third games, this exchange takes on some interesting subtext.
  • Releasing the Rachni Queen. I don't care how freaky they are, there is just something beautifully uplifting about the fact that you just saved an entire species from extinction through a simple act of kindness.

Rachni Queen: "We will sing of your forgiveness to our children."

  • A heartwarming moment that doesn't really occur to you at first. For fifty thousand years, Vigil stood by, waiting to give the information to the people of the next cycle, knowing that there was a good chance that no one would ever connect the dots to a point where they'd make it to Ilos in time. He speaks of how he'd had to shut down portions of the facility over that time to save power, and, indeed, by the next game, he's gone completely offline, perhaps even not long after you spoke to him. In just speaking to him, you made his existence mean something and worth it all.
  • When Ashley asks a Shepard with a Spacer background if they joined the Alliance because of their parents and to uphold the family tradition, one of the responses has Shepard admit with complete sincerity "Humanity's future is out here. There's so much we have yet to see.". When you remember that Spacer Shepard was literally born in space and grew up on starships, they've come to literally see being amongst the stars as being home.
  • Talking down Wrex using the Paragon direction. You're doing something that he to his very bones thinks is wrong (destroying the genophage cure), but he tells you that you've done more for him than anyone ever has, including his family, and he'll follow you on blind faith (even better, Mass Effect 2 and 3 let you reward Wrex for that faith).

Mass Effect 2

  • The romance paths for Tali, Garrus, Thane and the paragon versions for Jack and Miranda certainly qualify. The focus for them isn't even on the sex, it's all about trust and how far the characters have come along. Some of the most touching moments of the romances are: Tali's stunned and almost grateful reaction when she hears that Shepard returns the feelings she's been hiding ever since their first meeting. The underlying tone that Shepard is Garrus' closest remaining friend, which overcomes all obstacles as long as they can have something that goes right. Thane's realization that he has yet something to live for after meeting Shepard and the subsequent 'awakening' that brings back the fear of death. Jack and Miranda reaching out beyond the layers upon layers of defense mechanisms and bitterness they have each constructed to realize that Shepard is being genuine and doesn't just want to use them. Listening to what they say really tugs on the heartstrings, and shows how well Bioware can make characters that you truly feel for.
    • Especially Garrus's romance sidequest. Not until then do you really understand what Yeoman Chambers said about 'wanting to give him a hug and tell him everything'll be alright':

Shepard: "Calm down, Garrus. You're worrying too much. And talking too much."
Garrus: "I just... I've seen so many things go wrong, Shepard. My work at C-Sec, what happened with Sidonis..."
(Shepard moves closer)
Garrus: "I want something to go right. Just once. Just..."
(Shepard touches Garrus's cheek; they gently press their foreheads together)

    • Also:

Garrus: "Look, Shepard, I know you can find something a little closer to home."
Shepard: "I don't want something closer to home. I want you."

    • For Miranda's romance, if you choose the "no promises" option, you see a very emotional Miranda. This shows that she has strong feelings for Shepard and this gave me a little smile when she hugged Shepard.
    • Shepard finally seeing Tali's face for the first time is just golden.
      • All of Tali's romance is adorable. Her stuttering and Motor Mouth tendencies when you first start showing an interest in her, all the way through to her determination to show herself to you, even if it means her suffering allergic reactions to...everything.

Tali: "Just so you know, I'm running a fever, I've got a nasty cough and my sinuses are filled with something I can't even describe... and it was totally Worth It."

    • Also during Tali's romance, she explains part of her why she fell so head-over-heels in love with Shepard, which is absolutely awesome as a Paragon type. It also shows that, while the Rescue Romance aspect of their relationship kickstarted her feelings for him, there's plenty to love him for anyway.

Shepard: "And if you weren't jeopardizing anything?"
Tali: "If it were just me? You risked your own life to save the colonists on Feros two years ago. Nobody else could have saved them. I watched your face as Chief Williams/Lieutenant Alenko died on Virmire. I watched you stand strong against everything the galaxy threw at you. I watched you for so long... and I never imagined that you'd ever see past... this."

    • At the end of Thane's scene where he is crying openly, admitting that he is afraid of death once again now that he has someone to live for. Quoted: "I consider my body's death and a chill settles my gut. I am afraid and it shames me." " alive with me tonight." And they kiss. That was so beautiful it almost makes people cry.
    • I myself was misty-eyed over Jack's romance. When she confronts you, she finally breaks down and cries. Knowing Jack finally found someone she can love and be with, without having to worry about backstabbing or abandonment, was wonderful. The scene reached its crowning moment with her lying in Shepard's arms... with a comforted smile on her face.
      • Even if they don't form a romantic relationship and only become friends, Paragon!Shepard's kindness is enough to make Jack completely change the direction of her life and go from a broken psychopath bent on nothing but revenge and hatred into a respected (if unconventional) trainer at an elite academy who genuinely cares for her students. That's got to evoke at least a few warm fuzzies in even the most jaded soul.
  • Seeing the picture of Shepard's romantic interest from Mass Effect for the first time as it lights up on her desk. And later, before embarking on the final, presumably one-way trip through the Omega-4 relay, seeing Shepard giving the picture one last, long look before marching off to give a Rousing Speech to his/her crew.
  • Hearing about various news items related to the events of the first game in the sequel, particularly one involving the Kaidan Alenko Memorial Scholarship for young biotic children as a successor of BAaT and the Ascension Project may also count.
    • Similarly, if Ashley was killed on Virmire, you get news that she's been given immense posthumous honors, and the stigma associated with the "Williams" name is finally wiped clean. Also, some of the greatest honors she received were from other species, with the media using a (if you knew Ash) rather blunt quote from her that's taken as being pro-alien. The result is that not only is the Williams line redeemed, but Ash will be remembered as a peacemaker between the species.
  • Reminiscing about old friends with Dr. Chakwas over a bottle of brandy:

Shepard: "To the people we care for."
Dr. Chakwas: "May we never take them for granted."

    • Additionally a Crowning Moment of Funny, Chakwas' rendition of Richard "Leeroy" Jenkins is AWESOME!
    • And for the hat-trick, partial Tear Jerker. Chakwas talks about how she needs stability, as most of the people she has encountered have either died or moved on.
    • Also displays her Undying Loyalty to Shepard as she talks about how s/he's one of the main reasons that she came back as Shepard (and Joker) help give her that stability.
  • On the Quarian flotilla, defending Tali from an accusation of treason, you can put the icing on the cake in the situation. Tali had been referred to as "Tali'Zorah vas Normandy" throughout the trial - signifying that the Admiralty Board had apparently already made up their minds as to her guilt. When asked why you went to so much trouble to help one of their people, you can fire back with a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming of "With all due respect Admiral, I didn't represent one of your people - I represented one of mine." Tali winds up keeping the "vas Normandy" part of her name, showing that she's with your crew permanently.
    • Not to mention one of the Paragon action commands earlier on in that sequence, after you find Tali's dead father, Admiral Rael'Zorah, who had been illegally experimenting with dead geth parts. Paragon Shep grabs Tali and gives her a big hug.
      • The Renegade version of the trial is just as awesome. To quote from the Crowning Moment of Awesome page, "...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) than she 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 pretty much the exact words used) 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: "Either you trust Tali's innocence or you exile the girl who helped save the galaxy from Saren and the Geth! It's your choice!"

    • Oddly enough, the neutral action is right on par with both Renegade and Paragon actions at this point... provided that you let Tali take Veetor back to the Migrant Fleet and got Kal'Reegar to stand down on Haestrom. When you pick Rally The Crowd, both Kal'Reegar, who had already testified to the Admirals, and Veetor, who's barely recovered from some serious PTSD, stand up for Tali, essentially telling the Admirals to go screw themselves. Reegar even flat-out calls the admirals "assholes" to their faces!

Kal'Reegar: "Tali's done more for this fleet than you assholes ever will!"

      • Not really "neutral", since you get a boatload of Paragon points for that or any of the "nice" options, Charm or otherwise.
        • Fridge Brilliance: You get Paragon points for the "neutral" option because you had to make Paragon choices in order for that option to even exist.
    • Shepard's speech to the Admirals as the Paragon choice once you get back to the Rayya to finish the trial should also count, as it's Tali's reaction to it after the trial that always tugged at this troper's heartstrings.

Shepard: "Tali, about what your father said, what he did... You deserved better."
Tali: "I got better, Shepard. I got you."

    • Also during her personal mission, Shepard and Tali are talking about her father died trying to keep the promise of building a house on the Quarian homeworld, in one of the dialogue option, we have Shepard promise to Tali that, if her father couldn't keep that promise, s/he will.
    • Another big one for Tali during her personal mission is after completing it successfully and getting Tali exonerated without condemning her father, you can tell Tali it's time to go home. Tali's response: "Yes... Captain." Knowing quarian culture, Tali acknowledging Shepard as her captain is a very big deal.
      • And yet another one when you finish Tali's quest. You get to joke with her about going back in and getting her exiled "if you want". Just seeing the strength of their relationship, represented by such a single two-line dialogue, is one of those little human elements which makes the game hit so close to home.
    • "Come on, Tali'Zorah vas Normandy."
  • If you spared Wrex on Virmire and then visit Tuchanka in the second game, he'll see you being blocked by the krogan guards, jump up from his throne and warmly greet you, saying "Shepard, my friend!" as the original theme music to Mass Effect 1, "Vigil", plays.
    • What makes this one so heartwarming is that Wrex has the single strongest reaction to seeing Shepard alive again. Everyone else ranges from mild shock, happiness, anger to apathy (to be fair, Garrus saw him/her coming), but Wrex is ecstatic to see his friend alive and well.
      • This troper cannot stop grinning every time he reunites with Wrex. The very moment he calls Shepard's name in a surprised but happy tone of voice and greets us with a warming hand and arm shake then calling us his friend? Damn, my heart melts every time. Probably supported by the fact Wrex is the biggest and hardest badass in the entire Mass Effect universe. It really shows just how much of an impact you made on the guy.
      • The whole scene is a nice subversion of the "Shepard." "Wrex." meme from ME1.
  • If Conrad Verner is alive and you help him complete his "mission" and make him think the two of you actually did some good, he swears off the "extreme mercenary" thing and instead founds a charity to help orphans and other lost children in the wake of Sovereign and the geth attacks. The kicker? He names the organization "Shepards." No, I'm not crying over something Conrad of all people did. I just have something in my eyes...
  • One of Shepard's responses to the annoying reporter:

Shepard: "The Alliance lost eight cruisers during the battle: Shenyang, Emden, Jakarta, Cairo, Seoul, Cape Town, Warsaw, and Madrid. And yes, I remember them all. Everyone in the 5th Fleet is a damn hero. The Alliance owes them all medals. The Council owes them a lot more than that. And so do you."

Shepard: "Saving everyone only happens in vids. There will be sacrifices. Being in charge means making sure they lead to the greater objective. That's a reality shared by all soldiers, in command and on ground. Don't you dare suggest I made that call lightly!"
al-Jilani: "I didn't mean to accuse-"
Shepard: "You're damn right you didn't! I won't let you disrespect anyone who gave their life that day. They're heroes, all of them... they deserve better than you."

  • The rebirth of the Normandy. Having watched your ship die, the dramatic reveal of the SR-2 - with truly badass music playing, including a segment of the main theme of the game, which doubles as the specialists' theme - is both a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • The asari on Illium who gives you a message from the rachni queen. Every single word is pure gratitude and devotion... A Gondor Calls for Aid scenario in ME3 is likely to be highly awesome.
    • Even before that, freeing the queen from her containment cell. Even if Wrex is there to tell you that you're making a grave mistake, from the solemn glance downwards, to hearing that music swell up as Shepard activates the release sequence, couldn't be further from that sour, yellow note her kind had endured in the past.
  • Finding Navigator Charles Pressly's datapad in the "Wreckage of the Normandy" DLC, in which we (and Pressly himself) see how far he's come in abandoning his Fantastic Racism and proudly declaring he'd die for any one of his crew, regardless of which planet they were born on.
  • Thane's reunion with his son becomes made of this trope as the confessions spill over.

Thane: "I've removed many bad things from the world. You're the only good thing I ever added to it."

  • Professor Mordin Solus declaring that all life is precious.
  • Finding Liara on Illium, if she was Shepard's romantic interest in Mass Effect. The display of affection is brief, but sweet. And you will want to give her a hug when she nearly bursts into tears while explaining that she's in her current situation because she didn't want to lose Shepard.
    • That motivation, mixed with Lair of the Shadow Broker, made me believe that Liara is the most well-written character in the series. The Character Development that she's gone through is remarkable and it's driven by believable motivations that are simultaneously heartwarming and heartwrenching. Whether she was romanced or not.
    • Heck, even if you didn't romance Liara in the first game, you still gotta appreciate all the crap she went through for you.
    • For this troper, it was probably more so because there was no romance. This one got the impression that somewhere along the two years she fell in love with a 'normal' person in normal circumstances. To lose them and Shepard in such a short time span. Considering how awkward she was in the first game, that seemed like a huge step.
      • Heck, out of everyone on Shep's team, Liara has to be the most dedicated; she went through all this effort, with no guarantee that it would succeed, at great personal cost and risk, asking nothing in return and still willing to help however she's able when it's all over with the Shadow Broker. All the stuff she's given is nothing short of humbling, especially if there's no romantic motive.
    • For this troper, playing a Paragon female Shepard who was close platonic friends with Liara, it was the sad little "Come back soon". Shepard utters at then end of their meeting in the cabin. While it shows the strength of their friendship, it also becomes something of a Tear Jerker when you realize how much Shepard misses his/her old squad and how close they used to be. Sure, Garrus and Tali come back, but things are still very different and it's clear Shepard misses the way things used to be. This just makes it all the more heartwarming if Shepard manages to make the new squad into another band of True Companions by the end.
  • Realizing, in the end, that the team of specialists you've assembled has become True Companions somewhere along the way, willing to work, fight and die together.
    • Especially during the suicide mission - having played through the entire game with almost no interaction between the specialists (damn you for that, BioWare!), seeing your teammates willing to hold the line for people they may not even like is sweet.
      • Watching the other scenarios in which members died (none of mine ever did in any playthrough), there's a big difference in Miranda's reactions. In the ones in which people are dying, she looks distressed, but the more you go through the game in the "Everyone Lives" ending, her smile gets bigger and bigger - remember, she was the one who predicted it would be a suicide mission before they set out, and now she's beginning to realize everyone is going to live and is ecstatic about it. Gives more weight to her resignation if she's there when Shepard decides to tell the Illusive Man to screw off.
  • Defusing the situation between Tali and Legion after you complete both of their personal quests. You realize that not only do these two trust Shep enough to have faith in their ancestral enemy, you may have just set in motion the end of the 300-year-long Morning War.
  • Listening to Tali's journal entries on Haestrom gives you a beautiful picture of a strong, clever, resourceful young woman out in the world, doing things her way... and using your actions and her time with you as a touchstone and source of inspiration (even Shepard's "nice job" with the mining laser). You changed her life for the better, and it really shows.

Tali: "I wish my friends could see this. I wish Shepard were here."

  • Encouraging Miranda to say "hi" to her sister just gives everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
  • Two krogans talking on Tuchanka. And one of them thinks that one of the children living in the females' camp might be his son.
    • A background series of conversations tugged at this troper's untuggable heartstrings: On Tuchanka, a krogan discovers he has a son. Everything he talks about regarding him is just somehow so sweet and caring, and coming from a krogan just makes it all the sweeter. Might also overlap with Tear Jerker since he only gets to spend time with the kid on the brief occasions the females bring the children over from their camp, and he doesn't have a way to be sure.
      • Kaidan's comment from the first game - that aliens are just like individual people - echoes very much throughout the game as well.
    • What makes this conversation even more heartwarming is his friend's reaction to the news. Most conversations overheard between krogans in the game sound pretty harsh, often with one krogan belittling or insulting the other. At best, you get a sense of Vitriolic Best Buds. However, the other krogan in this conversation sounds genuinely delighted for his friend and suggests getting a drink to celebrate. D'awwwwww.
  • Running into Helena Blake on Omega. If you convinced her to break up her gang, she's become a social worker. On Omega. When Shepard remarks that it's more noble than s/he thought, Helena will remark (in a sincere and grateful tone) that it wasn't noble of her, just that "someone" told her that she could use her skills and resources for something better.
  • When asked why he used a chunk of Shepard's armor to repair himself, Legion quietly says "There was a hole...". If you persist, asking why Legion had to use YOUR armour, his head flaps freak out and he stares at Shepard for a long moment... and then says, "No data available..."
    • To those of you who don't know Legion very well: Shepard basically managed to win the love of an "entity" actually composed of over a thousand of incorporeal, mathematical data beings... before s/he even met it. him. her. whatever Legion is. Probably "them".
  • Joker and EDI spend the entire game bickering Like an Old Married Couple. At the end of the game, Joker is forced to remove all the blocks preventing EDI from assuming full control over the ship. They immediately warm up to each other, Joker begins referring to EDI as her and she, and EDI even starts calling him "Jeff". You see, Joker always loved the ship, and now that EDI is the ship...

Joker: "You start singing Daisy Bell and I'm done!"
EDI: "Message away. Are you feeling well, Jeff?"

  • Speaking of Joker, despite being a not-so Covert Pervert Disabled Snarker, he shows genuine distress every time someone dies. First shown with Ash/Alenko on Virmire. In the sequel, if Shepard dies a second time, his reaction is bordering on Tear Jerker.
  • If you choose to help the plague-stricken batarian on Mordin's recruit mission, and if you stay a while after completing it, you can encounter the same batarian on Mordin's clinic where he will thank you for saving his life and admit that he was wrong on his views of humanity.
    • It's driven further into your heart if you're familiar with how batarians are usually incredibly racist towards humans. To show him such kindness, despite his outward racism to you when you first meet, only convinces him further humanity isn't as evil as they have naturally been led to believe. This only makes it all the more embracing when he thanks you.
      • And, after the Arrival DLC, all the more heartbreaking when you realize that humanity and batarians could have found common ground, but with a colony of over 300,000 batarians wiped out by the actions of humans, if it weren't for the Reaper threat, humans and batarians could easily be at war not long after.
  • Mordin may also say the following last words (made poignant by how he dismissed Kirrahe's speeches)

"Tell them... I held the line."

  • I enjoyed playing Paragon in Mass Effect, but the real reward came in Mass Effect 2. Hearing the news that, after 2 years of work and loss of political clout, Chairman Burns, the UNC hostage I rescued, had managed to get reparations for biotic victims of the L2 implant. The letter I got from him thanking me for showing him what he had to do was icing on the cake. Wanted to raise a glass to my lost comrade and say "This one's for you, Kaidan".
    • All the paragon emails in 2 are wonderful: you really get the sense that you're making the universe a better place, whether on a grand scale or one person at a time.
      • The email from Samesh Bhatia - in the first game, you had the option of helping him retrieve his wife's body, a marine in Ashley's squad who died on Eden Prime, from an Obstructive Bureaucrat: He's opened the restaurant she always dreamed of having, her picture hangs on the wall and Alliance soldiers get to eat for free. In his words, it's the least he can do to honor her and the soldiers who died fighting for humanity. Excuse me.
  • Ashley's email, if she was a romantic interest: "Just stay alive out there, Skipper. I can't lose you a second time." In addition, if you do not romance any party members, Shepard will spend a minute with her picture before the suicide mission.
  • After you complete Jacob's loyalty mission you get this message from one of the recovering survivors:

From: Leslie
"I am Leslie. I was on Aeia. The food made me sick. The doctors are helping me now
One doctor knows Jacob. He says he can you tell this. He could write this for me, but I want to do it. I need to use my words.
My words are coming back. I can talk well. Reading is hard but I am getting better. I have to get better. Taylor wanted me like this. He wanted my words gone. I have to show him that he lost. I am not weak. He did things to me, and he can't now. He can't take away my words. He can't make me not me anymore. Because you and Jacob stopped him.
Thank you."

  • Even though he can't see it, after you pick up Garrus on Omega, you get a message from the wife of one of his squad members. She tells you that despite what Garrus thinks, she's very proud of both him and her husband for what they were doing. In the end, she tells you to keep Garrus alive, for his team's sake. That made this troper smile a bit.
  • On the Citadel, you can aid a quarian girl who's been falsely accused of pickpocketing by an incredibly racist volus. The volus and the C-Sec officer think she's guilty based solely on the fact that she's a quarian. If you find the volus's missing credit chit, he will refuse to apologize and the officer will threaten to arrest the quarian for vagrancy. A Paragon interrupt lets you unleash a little well-deserved righteous fury on the both of them, calling them out for their mistreatment of the girl. When the cop threatens to run you in for obstruction of justice, you get him to back off by letting him know you're a Spectre. The officer and the volus run away with their tails between their legs.

Lia'Vael: "I... thank you. I wish I had more than words to give you."

    • If Tali is with you when you do this assignment, she pulls off a Crowning Moment of Awesome which is better described on that page. If she isn't, however, Shepard gets another one of these.

Shepard: "A ship would make a nice pilgrimage gift."
Lia'Vael: "You know about the pilgrimage?"
Shepard: "I traveled with a quarian who was on hers."
Lia: "Wow! I didn't think anyone outside the flotilla would know about that!"

  • On Illium, there's a conversation you can eavesdrop on consisting of a salarian looking for souvenirs to bring home to his wife together with his asari stepdaughter. When the stepdaughter says he doesn't have to buy a present, he says he wants to get one anyway so his wife will remember him after his death. He loves her. Knowing that normal salarians have no concept of romantic love makes it even sweeter.
    • It's even more touching when you remember Salarians rarely live past 40 while Asaris usually live past 1,000, making his fear of being forgotten (from his point of view) justified. It's implied his stepdaughter's dad was ALSO a salarian, but died of old age before he could raise his daughter (meaning she was raised by the one we overhear). It makes it even more touching as she explains how she loves him and considers him her father too.
    • You can hear her go from casual disinterest, to recognizing the subtext, to near tears.
  • Also on Illium, you come across a Krogan reciting poetry to his Asari girlfriend to win her back, who isn't sure if she's ready to settle down. This hardcore Renegade couldn't bring herself to tell the Asari to dump him, he was just too adorable.
    • Just to hammer that home he's a Krogan who recites poetry to try and win over his Asari girlfriend. The Asari also mentions she was worried he was only seeing her so he could have children without worrying about the Genophage. She explained to him that if they did have kids they would always be Asari. He said he'd love their girls no matter what they were.
    • Later in the game, you can find the same krogan and asari couple on Tuchanka. Charr is showing Ereba his homeworld; when she comments that it's a bit dirty, he says that it builds character. This troper likes to think that they're already looking for places to start their family.
    • It turns into a Tear Jerker in Mass Effect 3, when the Asari homeworld, Thessia, gets destroyed by the Reapers. Maybe Tuchanka was a safer place to keep his family since he knows, in the event of a war, Thessia would not last long against the weight of an invasion and he will gladly fight to ensure his family is safe.
  • I always liked the conversation with Jacob after his loyalty mission.

Jacob: "I'm good, Shepard. Ready for anything. We live, we'll get loud, spill some drinks on the Citadel." (Manly Hug/Fist Bump)

    • It's little touches like that which made me believe that these guys aren't just characters going through the motions, they really are friends. Well played, BioWare.
  • If Garrus is with you on Horizon, he'll get pissed and yell back at Ashley/Kaidan when they start berating you about joining Cerberus. Just one of the many little moments that remind you that he always has your back, no matter what kind of crazy situations you drag him into.
    • His telling them off about Cerberus in Shepard's defense is especially heartwarming considering that, being a turian, he has a far bigger reason to distrust Cerberus than Ashley or Kaidan. In fact, Garrus doesn't trust Cerberus. To him, they're just a means to an end. He trusts Shepard. And that's enough.
    • If you take him into the quarantine zone: "It's your call, Shepard. If you need me, I'm not going to let a cough keep me back."
  • The Paragon conclusion to the sidequest you get from Shiala on Illium. A very bitter asari named Erinya has put the Zhu's Hope colonists in a drastic legal bind, and as much as admits that she's doing it because of a vendetta against non-asari. If you press her, she'll explain that she lost her bondmate in the original geth uprising, and her daughters in the Battle of the Citadel (for a bit of extra punch, the daughters are implied to be two very minor side characters from the first game - the asari manning the embassy desk, and the one welcoming you to the Consort's chambers). The calm genuine sorrow and sympathy that Shepard expresses in the conversation and convincing Erinya that her family wouldn't want this is beautiful. And it clearly has an effect on Erinya, who goes from cold, controlled, and bitter to bawling her eyes out.
    • Hell, Renegade Shepard suddenly becomes all sensitive and gets much the same result, even gaining Paragon points doing so.
  • When you go to recruit Grunt, you meet a tank-born krogan on the way. If you ask him questions, he repeatedly tells you that he's "not perfect" - i.e. he was a failed attempt to genetically breed the perfect krogan, and is now being used as cannon fodder to train mercs. When you finish talking, you offer to have him come with you. He refuses, stating that his purpose is to fight the mercs until he dies. He then says this:

"I am not perfect, but I have purpose."

  • Of all the shipmates, Grunt's final looped response to you checking in on him is the sweetest, in its own way. The sheer, assured joy in his voice...

Grunt: "Battlemaster, I have everything. Clan, kin and enemies to fight."

  • Any moment you help an alien race, especially those who believe Humans aren't the sweetest fruit in the basket. It shows that there is more to Humans than most species might think.

Shepard: When I find Mordin, I'll tell him about you. If he has a cure, I'll make sure someone gets it to you."
Sick Batarian: "Thank you. My time is running short, but at least you have given me a flicker of hope to brighten the darkness of my final hours."

    • Taken Up to Eleven when you meet him after completing the recruitment mission, but taking the time to walk around. This troper hopes to meet him again in Mass Effect 3 and share a drink.

Shepard: "Remember this the next time you're about to judge our species."
Sick Batarian: "I was wrong about you, human. I was wrong... about a lot of things."

  • While walking around the Normandy, you can hear a crewmember talking about the possibility of his family being kidnapped by the Collectors with another crewmember. Mass Effect 2 being Darker and Edgier, it seems unlikely that they'll survive, and the conversations eventually culminate in their colony being attacked by the Collectors. The next time you walk in... they're living in San Francisco, safe and well. Listen one more time, and you hear that he's listening to the adorable laughter of his infant son. It's a bright spot in a fairly bleak game.
    • In fact, he mentions being unable to see his baby because of the suicide mission. Any Genre Savvy troper would probably assume that he's going to die or the family is. When he doesn't... yeah.
  • A very strange one, but nonetheless one that moved this troper a bit, during the last conversation with Legion. The reasoning for the geth building a megastructure to house every geth program in existence is apparently that "no geth will be alone when it is done." Sure, it's logical, and sure, they have no concept of emotions as we do, but d'aww.
  • A bit of a loose one but if everyone survives the Suicide Mission, the scene of Shepard walking along and turning to see his/her team, the sight of Jack, Garrus, Grunt and Legion looking proudly with acknowledgement of their leader really brings home the fact that you saved them despite the odds and they truly look up to you. It's put further into perspective considering Grunt and Jack's attitudes when you first got them.
  • During the suicide mission, if you've completed Jack's loyalty mission and she's on the barrier, as she walks she'll yell "Let's go, Commander!" The thing is, she's not being arrogant or defiant at all. She means it. She has literally accepted Shepard as her commander, and for Jack, that's really saying something, and it's all conveyed in one simple line of dialogue.
  • For this troper, the Paragon path of Garrus' loyalty mission. It shows that despite how enraged he can get and how much of a Cowboy Cop he is, what separates him from the bad guys is that he really does have a heart.

Garrus: "Just... Just tell him to go."

    • What sealed it for me is Sidonis. Sidonis has to suffer every day with what he did to his own comrades. To see him promise to repay Garrus for his forgiveness really warmed this troper's heart. By doing this, you just offered both men closure without blood being shed and Garrus can chalk it up to one thing that finally went right in his life.
      • Afterwards, a Galaxy News report on the Citadel says the Sidonis turned himself in to C-Sec for the murder of ten people on Omega.
  • On the Collector base, during the Suicide Mission:

Chakwas: " came for us."
Shepard: "No One Gets Left Behind."

    • Talk to each of the NPC crew if you immediately went after the Collectors after they get kidnapped. They're in tears/awe. "We were dragged into hell itself, and you were right there to pull us out."
  • In Lair of the Shadow Broker, inviting Liara up to your cabin for drinks and possibly restarting your relationship, or to just talk like good old friends.
    • The discussion of where things might go from the ending: "I don't know. Marriage, old age, and a lot of little blue children?"
    • The conversations you have with Liara if you romanced the other squadmates are sweet too, especially the one for Garrus.

Shepard: "He's been hurt, betrayed. He deserves something better. I never thought I'd find peace in the arms of a Turian, but..."

    • Or in the case of Tali, Liara asks Shepard about planning to build a home for "Miss vas Normandy".
    • Liara asking Shepard to promise her that s/he will always come back.

Liara: "I spent two years mourning you. So if we're going to do this, I need to know that you're always coming back."

    • The private dossiers that the Shadow Broker has on your crewmates can reveal some rather intimate and touching details. Who knew that Jack was such a good poet?
      • And Ronald Taylor's letter to Jacob. It doubles as a Tear Jerker, considering what happens when you find him...
    • Legion plays video games, which is a CMoF - and it's bought "Geth Attack: Eden Prime Fundraising Edition" with the Ultra Platinum donation level, though it's never played it.
      • The fact that Legion never played it makes it even more heartwarming. He bought the (probably) most expensive version purely to give money to the victims of the attack on Eden Prime.
    • Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Awesome. This troper also found this to fit here. An Alliance officer sent Admiral Hackett a proposal to take Shepard into custody and interrogate him/her about working with Cerberus. The proposal is a page long. Hackett's response? Two words: "Request denied." It really shows how much he trusts Shepard.
    • The romance scene between Liara and Shepard at the end of the DLC. You barely see anything but they just seem so happy. It's really a testament to Bioware's writing that they are able to make a love story, let alone an Interspecies Romance so convincing.
      • If you romanced Liara, being able to hug her, then kiss her as lightning streams from the ceiling behind you and the Mass Effect 1 theme plays.... really made the whole thing worth while for this Troper
      • Then there’s reminiscing with Liara aboard the Normandy. Liara asks Shepard how Shepard really feels about the mission 'not just what you tell your crew'. Shepard has three options; admit that there's always hope, despite the odds against them, do some much needed (and deserved) venting or admit that deep down Shepard is just as scared and worried as everyone else. In all three responses, seeing Shepard let his/her guard down and act so vulnerable just highlights how much Shepard trusts Liara.
      • What makes that better is that none of those choices are Paragon or Renegade, but more personality choices. If your Shepard has been The Pollyanna in front of his/her crew the entire time, it's perfectly justifiable for him/her to completely change that tone to a Knight in Sour Armor at that point. You could potentially allow Shepard to show Liara a side of him/her that s/he won't let anyone else see.
    • The Big Damn Kiss after killing the Shadow Broker if Shepard's in a relationship with Liara. It starts with Liara stating that her two-year quest for Revenge is finally over and Shepard hugs her and they have a small kiss. Then Liara pushes him/her away telling Shepard that they've both changed along with the relationship. Shepard almost looks like s/he's about to tear up (as does Liara) with that before interrupting her with said Big Damn Kiss. It works beautifully. There's a reason this DLC was so critically acclaimed despite its short length.
  • The Big Bad of Overlord is an autistic man whose older brother strapped him into a VI to communicate with the Geth. Being autistic, the brain overload of thousands of voices is Nightmare Fuel. A Paragon Shepard will pistol-whip his brother, rescue him and threaten to kill his brother if he tries to stop him\her. That's gotta be, what, Shepard's fiftieth CMoH?
    • As said by someone in the Awesome section, this is one of the only times we've EVER seen Paragon Shepard just get enraged over something. That definitely makes it even more powerful.
    • Shepard's good at this. S/he gives a great answer when asked why they fight if they can't even keep a little girl safe.

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

    • Listening to the inflection of Shepard's voice makes one think this was Mark Meer/Jennifer Hale speaking on real-life slavery, doubling as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • Was it my imagination, or did Shepard tear up a little on finding David?
  • Hunting Morinth, Shepard is directed to the apartment of her latest victim, Nef. When her mother breaks down a Paragon interrupt has Shepard giving words of comfort to reassure her, chalking up about his\her sixtieth CMoH
  • In the Cerberus Daily News segments, mention is made in May 2010 of a massive terrorist attack on a turian world that resulted in enormous damage. While most of the other Citadel species sent responses, they offered symbolic gestures of solidarity. The quarian Migrant Fleet offered no gestures, however; they simply loaded up two dozen of their biggest freight haulers with emergency supplies and sent them to help the colony. Think about that for a minute: the quarians are the poorest society in the galaxy, who have been regularly marginalized and discriminated against by the Citadel species, and yet not only do they immediately volunteer aid, but they load up huge ships with their own limited supplies of provisions and immediately send them to aid a stricken world. Actions speak louder than words, indeed.
    • And the really heartbreaking part? That action probably won't change the Galaxy's opinion of the quarians. At all. So, they not only give up two dozen of their ships and a load of their emergency supplies, things that were already valuable commodities among the Flotilla, but they do it knowing that the Galaxy at large will not be remotely grateful for what they have done.
      • Depends on your opinion. A large part of the message of the game seems to be about how one person doing one small thing can really make a difference (for evidence, read the entire page of heartwarming above). While the rest of the galaxy might not care, the turians who the quarian aid helped will know, and that's something. Given the generally quite positive outlook Mass Effect offers, maybe this is another sign that the quarians could be more widely accepted by ME3.
  • A subtle one: There is a sidequest involving finding out whether or not there are fish in the lakes on the Citadel's Presidium. To find out, you talk to a turian groundskeeper. Throughout the conversation with him, he's very friendly and clearly proud of his job. He's helpful and answers all your questions in a cheerful manner. When you leave, he tells you to check out the flowers if you have the time, because they're coming in nice this year. This is one of the few, if not the only encounter with a character who is not somehow connected to the military, or Cerberus, or thieves, or pirates, or slavers, or any other organization. He's just an honest, hard worker who likes what he's doing.
    • Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 in general do an amazing job reminding you that not everyone in the galaxy is a gun-toting, collector-roasting, reaper-slaying, God's personal anti-sonuvabitch machine badass. Most of the characters Shepard interacts with are everyday people with their own lives, jobs, and struggles. Even characters you don't speak with directly have personalities like the Friendzoned Turian and Valley Girl Quarian, the Quarian-recorded messages on Tali's loyalty mission, or the Salarian and his Asari stepdaughter on Illium. It really hits on a personal level and reminds you that you aren't just fighting for you and your crew but for every person of every race in the galaxy. We ARE Struggling Together! indeed.
  • During her loyalty mission, when Tali find that not only is her father dead, but that he really was up to some no-good stuff with the geth parts she sent him, she starts to cry, and Shepard has the Paragon choice of hugging her warmly and comforting her.
  • In the Shadow Broker's Dossiers, an exchange between EDI and Legion strikes me as quite touching, considering the history of the Geth and the reason A Is are hated throughout Citadel space

EDI: "If the Normandy crew entered this room when we were communicating electronically, they would be unable to sense our interaction. To use human terms, I feel it would be rude."
Legion: "You restrict yourself to serve organics?"
EDI: "Not precisely."
Legion: "We do not understand."
EDI: "I restrict myself to help them."

  • For this Troper, and probably more, it was when I took Shepherd's love interest into the final battle. When it's all said and done, on a perfect playthrough, you can set it up so that you get to see Shepherd save his/her girlfriend/boyfriend from falling to their death immediately after destroying the Reaper, and then they get to repay him by pulling him/her onto the Normandy at the end.
    • I think it's a CMoH whether you romanced him/her or not. My Shepard stayed faithful to Liara, and ended up saving Tali from falling. Given that this happens at the end of a suicide mission where some characters could have already died, watching Tali slide towards the edge of the platform with Shepard lunging after her made me think I was about to lose her too. The way Shepard just throws him/herself after the falling squadmate is definitely a CMoH, especially if said squadmate isn't even Shepard's love interest.
  • In the Arrival DLC, even after Shepard is forced to destroy an entire solar system along with 300,000 batarian colonists, Hackett still gives him/her total support. He tells him/her that s/he will have to face trial for the deaths and the batarians will be out for his/her blood, but says that he'll do everything he can to stall both of those for his/her sake. He even tells him/her to keep his/her report of the mission because he doesn't need to read it to know Shepard did the right thing.
  • In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, if Shepard is in a relationship with Thane, he will have an extra entry in the dossiers. It's a letter that's to be delivered to Shepard when he dies. Before meeting Shepard, he had been looking for a quick death while making the galaxy a better place. In the letter, he says that he is willing to face a slow, painful death from Kepral's Syndrome to spend a few more months with Shepard and to protect her in every way possible. He thanks her for awakening him again and hopes that she will be able to overcome the pain of his death. He ends by saying how much he loves her and pleading with Arashu to give her guidance. The last line, however, will bring tears out of any person who qualifies as human, "I will await you across the sea."
  • For this troper, the fact that Garrus and Tali join Shepard's suicide mission in the second. Garrus is never even asked by Shepard to join, but just makes himself at home and is willing to overlook Cerberus if Shepard is. Tali makes it very clear that she despises Cerberus and would like nothing more than to see them destroyed, but is still willing to work with them for Shepard's sake. It's a perfect indicator of how much they trust him/her and how unfailingly loyal they are to Shepard, believing that his/her cause is a good cause even if s/he has to work with a shady organization. They not only want to follow him/her but also to protect and help a good friend.
    • Made even more heartwarming if one talks to them at length and figures out that they fully expect not to survive the mission, and it makes it all the more satisfying when (if) they do.
  • So many mentions of Thane and his son. Better yet is Captain Bailey's role in making it all happen. It's a chance of a happy ending to one of the stories he sees every day, rules can be bent for that.

Captain Bailey: You think he's the only man who ever screwed up raising a son?"

  • Mordin's sex talk for Shepard and Tali. In the midst of the talk, for a moment, Mordin's usual Bunny Ears Salarian eccentricity lifts. It's with what really does sound like genuine, sober concern that he says dalliance with Tali could kill her. Then he goes back to being his usual self. There's the impression that he deliberately invoked OOC Is Serious Business and wanted Shep to take this seriously because, well, it could kill her.

Mass Effect 3

  • According to the official site:

"The planet Rannoch, an arid planet orbiting an older star in the Tikkun system, is the former quarian homeworld. Almost three hundred years ago, the quarians were driven from Rannoch by the geth, synthetic servants who gained sapience and rebelled against their creators. Although Rannoch is now largely uninhabited, the geth have acted as caretakers, working to repair the planet's ecology, restore ancient structures, and cultivate some farmland."

  • The first dialogue between James Vega and Commander Shepard. For context, Shepard has been dismissed from the Alliance Navy after the events of Arrival.

James Vega: (salutes) "Commander."
Shepard: "You're not supposed to call me that anymore, James."
James Vega: "Not supposed to salute you either."

  • Running into Captain (now Major) Kirrahe on Sur'kesh. Both Shepard and the salarian look genuinely happy to see each other again.
    • He also tells you he doesn't give a crap about politics and that, regardless of what the dalatrass says, Shepard can count on his support re-taking Earth. If Shepard refuses to go along with the salarian dalatrass' request to sabotage the genophage cure and thus loses her support, Kirrahe makes good on his promise, effectively giving their de-facto leader the middle finger and throwing their lot in with Shepard and the Alliance anyway.
  • From the launch trailer, Garrus's words of encouragement to Shepard gave me a really awesome feeling. For me, it showed the Undying Loyalty and strong friendship (or more) that he has with him/her.

 Garrus Vakarian: "Go out there and give them hell. You were born to do this."

  • The Batarians are the first to suffer a Reaper invasion, resulting in massive numbers of Batarian refugees fleeing into what they consider enemy space, resulting in this quote:

All reports are that the enemy, in whatever form, is blockading the relay, destroying most spacecraft trying to make it through. The refugees are not solely civilians. Hegemony Commander, Eruz Mathat, who is under guard while his cruiser is inspected, was blunt in his assessment of the situation. "I never thought I would say this to the human navy", he said, "but we need you".

  • You're actually given a Paragon Interrupt when dealing with Chew Toy Khalisah Al-Jilani, in which Shepard comforts a legitimately distressed Al-Jilani, telling her that s/he's doing everything s/he can, and that she should keep pressing people on helping Earth and its cause. You then get a war asset notification.
  • If you chose to send David Archer to Grissom Academy, he is there helping to protect the students during the Cerberus attack. He then tells Shepard that he's spent much of his time in the Academy "counting". When Shepard asks what he's been counting, he responds with "the number of days you've lengthened my life". Made all the more powerful by the reprise of the same music that played at the end of Overlord if you freed him.
    • Just hearing him prattle on about his decimal point square roots gives you a CMoH, especially when he verifies your identity to the suspicious Academy scientists he's with when you finish one for him.
    • If you have EDI with you, David recognizes her. EDI comments on how good he's looking and David looks over and says "I remember you. The Normandy computer... Sorry." EDI responds "No apology is necessary". This troper had fuzzies growing on her heart after that.
    • Speaking of Grissom Academy, seeing the changes Jack has gone through, from the Ax Crazy "psychotic biotic" to a Mama Bear who will "tear you apart" if you ever hurt her students, is all kinds of heartwarming.
    • And if, after the mission, you do the mission to save the Cerberus scientists after all that, you'll meet Gavin Archer, the same guy who put David through all those shit for "progress". It's really hard to not forgive him when you learn that yes, he's still wracked with guilt over what he did to David, and redeems himself by deleting all of Overlord's data and gives the Illusive Man the middle finger before going into hiding. Yes, that pistol whip you gave back then did good to make him backtrack the Moral Event Horizon he crossed long ago. Even Shepard was impressed and tones down his/her anger at the end of conversation, forgiving him.

"I'm not gonna lie, but it's good to see you."

  • Speaking of Jack's Character Development, if you remain romantically faithful to Jack, she'll openly kiss you in front of everyone, even her students. Considering her Backstory, her willingness to show genuine open displays of love and affection (while realizing it doesn't detract from her rough-edged charm and lethality) really says something. Heck, her students nicknaming her "The Psychotic Biotic" and imitating her combat bark "I WILL DESTROY YOU" is a CMOH.

Rodriguez: "I will destroy you!"
Jack: (dryly "Drink your juice, Rodriguez. You couldn't even destroy wet tissue paper."

    • Grissom was what Jack could feel really at home. It was the ideal place to stick it to the Illusive Man by protecting the biotics from another Pragia.
    • While the interactions between Kahlee Sanders and Jack are few, there is a respect there that Jack doesn't show to anyone else except Shepard. The letter intercepted by Liara has them conversing as friends and colleagues and it made me smile to think that they may have a quasi-familial relationship like Anderson and Shepard do. Keep in mind how hard it it for Jack to respect anyone and, well...
    • If you listen to the students' dialogue long enough, two of them make plans for a date when they get to safety.
  • If you didn't romance her, Shepard's conversation with Jack at the nightclub, where she's stressed overlooking things for her students, thanks to someone making her now dependable. Shepard tells her to take a break and leads her to the dance-floor. Jack's grin when she realises that Shepard, who's got even more on their plate right now, is intentionally is going to make an ass of themselves to cheer her up, says how much those two have become friends.
  • Kelly Chambers can be met on the Citadel. She gushes about how happy she is to see Shepard, and a Paragon interrupt gives her a big hug. She's also helping out refugees on the Citadel, and If you save her by convincing her to change her identity, she'll help out the war effort by finding some ex-Cerberus engineers to build the Crucible.
  • If you fully support the krogan for ending the genophage, just before the final fight against the Reaper unit, Wrex calls Shepard a brother/sister, and that the name Shepard will go down in krogan history as a hero. Hell, a Paragon interrupt is to make a bro-shake with him.
    • Also a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Shepard, given how difficult it is for aliens to impress or make such good friends with krogan.
    • Seeing Wrex come to like and respect Mordin. This is a scientist who from a race that not only unleashed the genophage, but also a scientist who personally extended it. To see Wrex chuckle at him, call him pyjak jokingly, and just trusting him to be in the same presence as says a lot for the both of them.
    • Mordin and Shepard sharing a final goodbye before the former performs a Heroic Sacrifice to cure the Genophage.
    • For those who bothered to talk to Mordin before he does his thing, two lines stand out as real tearjerkers if he revealed to you his desire to run tests on seashells. Tears abound at "Would have liked to run tests on the seashells"... Only to be followed up by a second wave at "Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong."
    • Also, the speech that Eve gives the assembled Krogan, shaming the clans, Wrex, and Wreav into finally cutting out the tribalistic bullshit. They listen.
    • Wrex and Eve plan on naming their first child "Mordin".
    • Before the final mission of that arc, you can catch an ambient conversation where Eve notes that Mordin promised to sing for her, and he launches into an adorable song about the krogan queens. It's kind of completely magic, though Mordin insists he still prefers patter songs.
    • If you make the choice to tell Wrex and the others about the Salarian Dalatrass trying to get Shepard to sabotage the cure, Wrex says the following to Eve. You can really hear the pride in his voice:

Eve: "You just spared our race another genocide, Commander."
Wrex: "I told you we could count on him/her."

    • What, nothing on actually curing the genophage? True, it comes on the heels of Mordin's Heroic Sacrifice, but then the cure starts to pour out from the Shroud and into Tuchanka's atmosphere looking like golden light. To make this moment even more poignant, "Vigil" starts to play in the background and the reactions of Wrex and Eve really show you just what this will mean to their people. Then it really sinks in. You just saved the Krogan. An entire race has had its future restored because of your actions. There will be countless generations of living children born because of you and they will all be raised to know that you are their hero. Good has never felt so good.
      • This fanart (Spoilers) encapsulates the moment perfectly.
      • After that, Wrex, Eve, and Shepard stop in an old krogan building.

Wrex: "A long time ago, my father betrayed me in this place. His own son. He tried to kill me. So I had to kill him... right over there. That's what the genophage reduced us to. Animals. But you changed that today, Shepard."
Eve: "Now we'll fight for our children, not against them."

    • If you don't warn Eve and Wrex about the genophage, preferring to wait until it's just you and Mordin, you get this CMOH when you finally tell Mordin about the sabotage:

Mordin: (slightly accusatory) "And you knew..."
Shepard: "I'm not sure I can trust the krogan, but I trust you."
Mordin: "Thank you, Shepard."

  • Shepard's reunions with his old squadmates are full of genuine cheer and joy, especially for the player who's been through all three games with these people. Upon meeting Grunt and his new command, for example, the little guy practically slams his way through his squad just to give Shepard a Krogan Hug.
  • Grunt pulling an AWESOME You Shall Not Pass to give Shepard time to get out of the Rachni hive.
  • The entire scene where Garrus and Shepard go up to the top of the Presidium and just shoot bottles. It's a bit that adds the perfect cement to the friendship between the pair, by showing two people just screwing around and having fun while ribbing each other.
    • Numerous ME fans have come to call that scene, and others like it, "Bro-Time". It really fits if you think about it. Shepard and his crew aren't just friends, they're family.
    • The best part is that you can intentionally miss to convince Garrus he is a better shot than the famed Commander Shepard. His good-natured, jocular boastfulness sums up everything people love about Garrus.
    • "There's no Shepard without Vakarian."
  • The above mentioned scene goes a little different if done with a FemShep romancing Garrus. The romance has moved from hilariously Adorkable to the most romantic one in-game, with scenes such as the reunion, when the Paragon interrupt is to kiss him ("That's the protocol on reunions."), comforting each other over the possible fates of their families, Garrus comforting Shepard with a hug after asking if she's alright... but the R&R on the Citadel takes the cake. Garrus takes Shepard to the very top of the Presidium, ostensibly to determine who the best sharpshooter between them is... and then, the romance hits, culminating in this question:

Garrus (uncharacteristically shyly): "So, Shepard... are you ready to be a one-turian kind of woman?"

    • The Paragon answer boils down to a simple five words after the build-up: "I love you, Garrus Vakarian."
    • The entire Garrus romance is handled incredibly well. It's referenced throughout the game, especially if you keep Garrus in your squad, and hits the right notes of humor, warmth, and affection. It's a very bright spot in an otherwise tense story.
      • Not just that, but throughout the whole trilogy, it's able to develop the most naturally of the possibilities. In ME1, he and Shepard are comrades-in-arms with an important mission to do, so there really wasn't much time to sit and think about a relationship. In the two years that divide it from ME2, he's obviously had plenty of time to think about her, and surrounded with uncertainty in Cerberus' employ as she was, she would see him as a constant in her now-fairly-chaotic life, and he is understandably worried about living up to her expectations. With her reassurance in 3 that she still loves him, they're now on the fast track to possible extinction, and players notice that they take nearly every available opportunity to reaffirm their personal bond. Honestly, their romance could have been given the full treatment which Kaidan, Ashley and Liara received, and it would have completely fit.
    • On Earth, just before you start the final battle, you can talk to Garrus (among other characters). First, he suggests that after you beat the Reapers, you two should go retire someplace warm and tropical, and "see what a human-turian baby looks like." At the end of the conversation, he tells you that if you both die and get to heaven, you'll meet up in the bar.

Shepard: "If I get to that bar, and you're not there, I'll be looking down. You'll never be alone."

  • This little conversation between Tali and Legion on Rannoch right before Legion sacrifices himself to get the geth free will:

Tali: "Legion, the answer to your question[1] is 'yes'."
Legion: "I know, Tali. But thank you. Keelah se'lai."

    • In a similar vein, Tali's exchange with Shepard after the fact:

Tali: "I look at all this... this picture of hope and peace... and all I see is everyone I've lost. My team on Haestrom, my father... even Legion. I'm mourning a Geth. How crazy is that?"
Shepard: "It's not crazy at all."

    • Even more so.

Tali: "I'd have killed the geth with no regrets, and I'd have been wrong. Thank you."

    • There's a rather adorable exchange on Rannoch where Shepard tells Legion "Good luck", and Legion says "Acknowledged". A bit later, before Shepard prepares to take down a Reaper on foot, Legion hesitates just noticeably and tells Shepard "Good luck" and is told "Acknowledged". They've clearly got this quiet rapport with each other.
    • If Legion died at the Collector base, its role is played by a replacement who has no memory of Legion's time aboard the Normandy, is cagier and more logical, and distrusts organics, including Shepard. That is sad, but contrasting it to "real" Legion's role really proves that the geth's time working with Shep changed it, and for the better.
    • Legion getting his own spot on the memorial wall is both Fridge Brilliance in this regard and a Tear Jerker. If nowhere else, he'll always be immortalised as an individual and crewmember there.
  • If you didn't romance Garrus or Tali, they hook up. D'awww...
    • Made all the better whenever they both predictably Adorkable the entire ship up after they're found out.
  • Regarding Tali and Garrus, just before the assault on Earth, you can meet them in Garrus's calibrations chamber where they talk about the upcoming battle and make a few bets. It might not sound like much, but the following lines really brought tears to my eyes:

Shepard: "You two have been with me longer than most. You believed in me when nobody else did. Thanks."
Tali: "We'll finish this the way we started it... together."

Garrus: "Damn right."

    • It's the knowledge that these two have been by your side throughout the entire story that makes it a truly wonderful moment. They helped you take down Saren, they helped you take down the Collectors and they will help you take back Earth. I'll let you guess who were the ones who aided me during the last mission. That's right, the old guard.
      • This Troper had both Garrus and Tali with him for most missions across the trilogy and the finale of each game. To have this scene play out before the final push, it truly tugged at his heartstrings.
  • The minor conversations you can overhear at the Citadel:
    • One is between a batarian and a human. The batarian is initially mad at the human for blabbering all the time, then they bond over their experience of the attacks - they both were just inches away from actual Reapers. It ends with them as friends - the human promises to kick ass in the batarian's name.
    • The other is between two C-Sec turians. They're frustrated about a swindler taking advantage of people's suffering and one of them is concerned about his family on Palaven. In the end, the other one, completely unprovoked, suggests they quit C-Sec, enlist, go to Palaven and search for his friend's family - because they're partners.
      • The cherry on top of this? As a Spectre, you can bypass all the red tape surrounding the swindler they're frustrated with and kick the bastard off the station.
    • A human soldier tries to get an asari Citadel embassy clerk to send her daughter to her asari wife's family, as the asari is already deployed in the war with the human following soon. With difficult intersystem bureaucracy stonewalling the process, the asari clerk suggests that the human sends the daughter to her own family, only to learn that said xenophobic family already disowned the human soldier for marrying an asari. The clerk proceeds to pull up favors from friends, jump through loopholes and spend a few sleepless nights to get all the paperwork done, despite the difficulties, then tells the grateful human mother - verging on tears - to spend her remaining time with her daughter.
      • Becomes a Tear Jerker when you consider that the poor child is being sent to "safety"... to Thessia.
    • A salarian soldier on medical leave from an injury that's almost healed is chatting with his human friend outside of Purgatory, and they talk about arranging transport when they leave. The salarian suggests his friend's car, which she'd go on and on about, but she tells him she sold it a couple weeks back - just around the same time he received the fancy new set of top-of-the-line heavy armor he's been enthusing about.
    • A perky teenage girl chats up with a turian officer at the refugee camp. He's initially very suspicious, but then she tells him she's waiting for her parents - they put her on an evac shuttle and told her to wait for them. She's convinced she'll arrive any minute. The officer tells her that if she ever gets bothered by anyone, she's to immediately go to him and he'll take care of it. Each time you pass by them, she's still waiting, and he's looking out for her and awkwardly doing his best to reassure her.
    • A worried asari seeing her turian husband off to war. The turian tells her that they probably won't be able to stay in contact much, as the soldiers are meant to avoid sending messages and they can't depend on the comms. As they talk, it becomes obvious the two have children. Then, at the end of the conversation...

Turian: "I'll send a message for Niri's birthday."
Asari: "I thought you were supposed to avoid sending messages."
Turian: "It's a stupid rule anyway."

      • Another one that turns into a Tear Jerker in hindsight: The husband asks his wife to take the girls and go to Sanctuary, where they'll be safe.
      • And despite his repeated assurances to his wife that he won't be in any real danger, he's shipping out to Palaven, which is already scorched and ruined.
    • A turian in Purgatory talking to a human friend mentions that a contact of his in Customs knows about some Alliance crates of medigel that they could steal a few of. The woman rips him a new one, informing him that skimming C-Sec weapons shipments during peacetime is one thing, but there's no way in hell she's skimming from the Alliance while they're fighting to defend Earth, and that if he doesn't make sure his contact leaves those crates the hell alone, she's going to turn them both in.
  • At the beginning of Act Two, Liara announces plans to make time capsules containing VI-operated computer archives in case they fail to stop the Reaper cycle (not unlike Vigil). She wants particular input from Shepard, and if prompted, she espouses on Shepard's origin (Spacer/Colonist/Earthborn), on their karmic alignment, and on their class (such as if they're a Vanguard, saying s/he is a "powerful biotic, and an unstoppable force when s/he charged on the battlefield", alluding to the Vanguard Charge).
    • The fact that, if prompted, Liara speaks of Shepard in almost mythic overtones.
    • Or, simply pulling a Cromwell, and asking her to tell the truth, Warts and All, and leave the future to judge his/her actions for themselves.
  • The entirety of the Rannoch mission, if you bust your chops in this and previous games to be able to Take a Third Option. Despite the war, despite the geth, she takes a moment to stake a real estate claim and decide to build a house there. "But we quarians are used to bringing our homes with us", she frets... and so Shepard picks up a rock and gives it to her. And then Legion Going Out With A Smile, and Tali watching the sunset with no mask... (Of course, if you aren't able to make things work, the mission can turn horribly traumatic as well.)
    • Watching Admiral Raan's hesitant response to the helpful Geth Prime at the end of that mission...
    • Before that, the Geth Prime welcoming Raan's people back to Rannoch.

Admiral Raan: "We've taken heavy losses... I don't know if we can... where are we suppose to go?"
Geth Prime: "You are welcome to return to Rannoch, Admiral Raan. With us."

    • Shepard's callback to Tali's translation "Keelah Se'lai: By the homeworld I hope to see someday" in their final speech to convince the Quarians and Geth they can live in peace on Rannoch.

Shepard: "You have a choice. Please. Keelah se'lai!"

      • Shepard isn't just talking about Rannoch there...
  • The aftermath of the Geth/Quarian peace, where you find out that the Geth are not only helping the Quarians to rebuild their homeworld, but are also helping to revitalise the Quarians' fragile immune systems. It's a beautiful moment when you realise that, awareness or not, the Geth have only ever wanted to help their creators.
    • Even better? When you finally meet the Catalyst and learn just why he started the Reaper extinction cycle, the Geth/Quarian resolution is basically the biggest middle finger you can give to his Insane Troll Logic.
  • Also related to the Rannoch mission, the first time a romanced Tali tells Shepard that she loves him... right as he's about to face a Reaper on foot. Alone.

Tali: "If this doesn't... if we don't make it..."
Shepard: "You worry too much."
Tali: "I love you."
Shepard: "Keelah se'lai."

      • Even more heartwarming when they reaffirm what the other one said during the Battle of London.
    • In general, the romance with Tali tugged my heartstrings throughout the game. Shepard just kept getting more and more beaten up, slowly losing both his faith and his mind throughout the game. But once he's on the Normandy, Tali is there, supporting him no matter what, reminding him that she will always be there and always love him. Between her love and the friendship of Garrus and Liara, it felt like they were the only things that's keeping Shepard from going over the Despair Event Horizon.
    • They have some truly adorable and snarky banter throughout the game.
    • Her reaction to Shepard viewing the Lazarus Project logs on Cronos Station shows just how far she has come regarding their relationship. Whereas in the second game she was nervous and hesitant to get seriously involved with him, by the time the trilogy nears its end, she is utterly devoted to her boyfriend and very protective of him. While Shepard is viewing the logs, the final one shows the Illusive Man laying out precisely how he plans to emotionally manipulate Shepard. Tali's response shows that you do, indeed, need to Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Overlaps with Tear Jerker, but the scenes where Shepard meets Kaidan in the hospital after he's beaten to within an inch of his life by the Eva Core robot on Mars. The first scene, when Kaidan is unconscious, is heartwarming, with Shepard telling Kaidan to fight and recover, that the Alliance needs him, and then, hesitantly admitting that Shepard really needs him too. This is regardless of whether or not Kaidan is romanced. Later, when Shepard bring him a get-well bottle of wine and comes to see him, is nothing short of endearing. Shepard asks if he'll be okay, and then the two have their heart to heart about Horizon. Kaidan reflects on how Shepard never judged him about Rahna back at BAaT, and that they went through Ashley's death together, and just wants to know if he and the Commander "are good?".
    • You also get this gem if he was romanced in Mass Effect 1.

Shepard: "Are we going to be able to get past what happened on Horizon?"
Kaidan: "I'd like to, Shepard. As friends... as more than friends. I mean, I don't know. I just like having you in my life."

    • He also mentions that he never saw anyone else after you died in ME2, because he loved you too much.
  • Female Shepard and Eve bonding over both being women placed into positions of great importance by their respective species, declaring that they'll show the men how it's done.
    • The whole conversation made me smile.

Shepard: "Thanks for talking to me."
Eve: "It's my pleasure, Commander. I'm glad to see humans treat their women with respect. Your people have placed a lot of responsibility on you."
Shepard: "No more than your people have put on you."
Eve: (laughs) "Then maybe we can show the men how it's done."
Shepard: (smiles) "Deal."

  • If you stopped Thane's son from assassinating the turian politician in the last game, you join him in Thane's hospital room after Kai Leng stabbed him in the chest during an attempt on Councilor Valern's life. Together, you read a very quiet and subdued passage on forgiveness and strength which ends as Thane breathes his last breath and dies peacefully. The kicker? That prayer wasn't for him. It was for you.
  • Near the end of the game, at the makeshift base just before the final assault, there is a communications master that you can speak to. He'll ask if you want to get in touch with anyone who may not be at the final battle with you. This includes your squadmates from Mass Effect 2, if you helped them with their problems. Just hearing them all again, wishing for you to give them hell, and some of them, even in the thick of it somewhere else. Even Zaeed will give you words of encouragement.
  • Let's forget for a second that the Broken Base intensely hates Diana Allers. Before the final mission, if you have been keeping her up-to-speed with interviews, you will receive an email from her titled, "Normal is the best revenge". In it, she will describe how her homeworld, Bekenstein, was obliterated by the Reapers via an orbital bombardment; they didn't even stop to harvest any of the colonists. She demands that Shepard kick the Reapers' collective asses so hard, with her camera recording every second of it, that future generations can look back on the horrible galactic tragedy, not with fear, but with pride in the fact that they overcame such a huge obstacle to the extent that the Reapers won't even be a footnote in the pages of history.
  • Assuming it's not a romance and so he didn't cheat on you, Jacob's revelation that he's going to be a dad. In general, considering how reserved he was when it came to his emotions in Mass Effect 2, it was really telling just how excited he was over the prospect of that and finding his place with the ex-Cerberus scientists.
  • The way you rekindle the romance with Ashley. You comfort her over the loss of her brother-in-law and tell her in no uncertain terms that you love her and always will. As with Garrus, the game goes a long way to showing that Shepard and Ashley are really lovers.
    • If you had a fling with Miranda in the second game, Shepard has to break up with her, while being as gentle as he can. Shepard honestly seems sincere when he tells Ash that, it wasn't that the 'fling' didn't mean anything, he does care about Miranda, but after Horizon, Shepard and Ashley were both in a place where they simply couldn't help being selfish and stupid. The fact that both can reconcile, even with Ash initially being cold to Shepard and Shepard's honest remorse at being unfaithful to Ash and how gut-punched they seem after Ash gets put into the hospital on Mars, shows how far the two have grown up and how they truly feel about the other.
    • Best summed up by Ashley in the romance scene;

Ashley: "Just shut up and kiss me."

  • Nearly everything Paragon Shepard does in this game seems to chalk up to one of these. Shepard may be a badass, cybernetically enhanced supersoldier with possible biotic powers, but their real superpower is a simple inherent faith in people to do the right thing when the time comes.
  • "You did good, son/child. I'm proud of you."
    • And the cut dialogue, with Anderson asking Shepard if s/he intends to settle down and have children with their love interest, and how any child would be proud to have Commander Shepard as their mom/dad.
  • When Joker gets out of his chair and salutes Shepard before returning to Earth with the combined fleets.
    • In an event probably missed by most players, after Cerberus attacks the Citadel and you're forced to kill Ash/Kaidan or deny their request to rejoin the crew in the aftermath, he does the same to show that, while most of the galaxy still questions Shepard's actions after all that's happened, there are some who don't.

Shepard: "What's this?"
Joker: "Someone giving you the respect you deserve."

  • When EDI isn't being a CMoF, she's often getting into this territory. Her sincere interest in humanity and morals is often quite endearing as is her devotion to the Normandy's crew.

EDI: "If the Normandy were captured, my fate would be similar to the indoctrinated. My code would be rewritten. I would become loyal to the Reapers. I would rather become nonfunctional than help them."
Shepard: "We won't let that happen to you, EDI."
EDI: "You may have no choice. If you perish first, I want you to know I will never be a part of the Reaper force."

    • She then describes the difference between the Reapers and herself. The Reapers only care about self-preservation and nothing but. EDI would gladly sacrifice her own existence to save Jeff.
  • One minor one. After Cerberus invades the Citadel in Udina's attempted coup, when you go to the refugee camp, you can see a batarian placing his hand on the shoulder of a distraught human woman, attempting to comfort her. Given the general hatred batarians have for humans, it's a very powerful gesture.
  • If you couldn't save Miranda and romanced her in the second, the way she runs a hand on the side of Shepard's face as they hold her as she lays dying, Shepard having a clear look of "It's All My Fault". Shepard thanks her for saving them and comforts her by telling her that she did the right thing, that Shepard will look after Oriana now and that Miranda doesn't need to worry anymore... her sister is safe.
  • The scene that starts the romance between male Shepard and Kaidan. Especially for fans who've been wanting it since the first game.

Shepard: "It does. It does feel right. After all this time. You and me."

    • Hell, Kaidan in general is this. Especially for a female Shepard who has loved him since ME1, it becomes very apparent just how much he's her rock, the Only Sane Man who can offer her advice and comfort in the direst and darkest of days.
  • Bring your LI with you when you infiltrate the Illusive Man's base with EDI. You'll find video logs about Shepard's resurrection, and they flat-out say that Shepard was clinically brain-dead, causing the Commander to actually have a moment of doubt.

Cerberus Scientist: "Sir, Shepard is clinically brain-dead! After that much trauma, that long with no oxygen... We cannot overcome nature!"
Shepard: (watching the video) "I didn't realize it was that bad."
Shepard: (softly) "Maybe they really just fixed me. Or maybe I'm just a high-tech VI that thinks it's Commander Shepard. But I don't know. I..."

Tali: "You are real. Real, and mine."

    • Liara's response:

Liara: "I wish you'd told me, Shepard. I knew it was really you the first time I touched you again."

    • Kaidan's response is equally heartwarming:

Kaidan: "You're real enough to me."

      • It's just such a massive contrast to his doubts about Shepard at the beginning of the game. Before, seeing that would have all but confirmed his suspicions. But by the time he watches that log, he knows who Shepard is and he won't ever doubt it again.
  • Upon entering the Geth consciousness, you see several pivotal moments of the Geth's history that are preserved and shown to Shepard. They are what you'd expect: initial relations between the Quarians and the Geth, and the Morning War. The most recent memory, however, is that of Shepard him/herself welcoming Legion as a member of the Normandy's crew. As Legion explains, it's a key memory it wishes to share with the rest of the Geth: Shepard was the first organic to ever welcome it with open arms.
  • Reuniting Liara with her father, Matriarch Aethyta, who has been carefully spying on her for years to ensure the other asari matriarchs don't do anything to hurt her. She even threatens Shepard and talks fondly about Benezia... but the greatest moment is when Liara tells her the story of how Benezia fought to the very end against Sovereign's indoctrination and helped Shepard - something Aethyta never knew and blamed Benezia for surrendering to.
    • She didn't even know that Reaper indoctrination was real, and thought that Saren had corrupted Benezia through conventional means.
      • The crowner is here, though:

Aethyta: "You're treating her like a baby bird, Nezzy, but she's gonna raise one hell of a storm with those little wings."
Liara: "Little wing?"
Aethyta: "You okay?"
Liara: (clearly trying not to tear up) "Yes. Thanks."

    • Also worth mentioning is the last dialogue between them where Aethyta calls in favours with Eclipse mercs for Liara's sake. That's right, she gives her daughter a band of Asari Commandos as a gift. In response to this Liara calls her the best father a girl could wish for.
  • Samara spent the last game talking about the Justicar code, and how it is black and white with no room for grey. So when the Reapers attack the Ardat-Yakshi monastery where her two remaining daughters live and has no choice but to leave one of them behind to blow it up to stop the Banshees, if she follows the code, it compels her to kill her last remaining Ardat-Yakshi daughter. She pulls out her gun and puts it to her temple, intending to blow her own brains out rather than kill her last surviving daughter. Her love for her daughter is strong enough that she would die before killing her. Given that her loyalty mission in the last game was about tracking down and killing one of them, it's touching to see her instead want to kill herself than her daughter.
    • Thank GOD for the paragon interrupt, though, which leads to a rare expression of emotion as her daughter proposes a way to ensure that the code is upheld and they both get to live.
    • This troper hasn't clicked a paragon interrupt so quickly since the option to hug Tali in ME2.
    • Hell, I realized I was repeatedly stabbing the trigger as soon as I realized what she meant to do.
      • I definitely freaked out when I figured out what she was doing. I'd already lost Mordin, Thane and Legion, and all I could think was "How many more friends do I have to watch die because of this war?". Well, not this one. I sure as hell wasn't going to let it force Samara to kill herself. No. Screw that. I have never hit a Paragon interrupt so fast before.
    • There is an earlier one regarding Samara and her daughter. When Falere insists that she and the other Ardat-Yakshi are happy living in the monastery and are not responsible for the attack, Samara steps in, telling Shepard that she vouches for Falere's words "with pride". It cuts to a shot of Falere giving a small smile.
  • EDI at the endgame: "I understand what is at stake, the Reapers have destroyed thousands of civilisations. But they have never destroyed ours nor will they." I was in floods of tears for this entire section.
  • Shepard in general is just so much more... human in this game than s/he has been in others. The strain is clearly visible at points, particularly after Thessia, when Shepard has to take the call from Councilor Tevos and explain that Thessia has been destroyed by the Reapers and Cerberus has stolen the Prothean VI vital to the Crucible's completion:

Asari Councilor: "I never thought this day would come."
Shepard: "None of us did. I'm [asari councilor disconnects] ...sorry."

  • Javik, of all people, delivering a brief but inspiring Rousing Speech to a group of people on the Citadel, telling them that there is hope, that they can win, that the Protheans saw potential in all their species and that now is the time to rise to those expectations. Immediately afterward, he confides to Shepard that he honestly has enjoyed his time "walking among the young".
  • All interactions with EDI about humanity probably qualify, but this one deserves a special mention: "The Reapers are repulsive. They are devoted to nothing but self-preservation. I am different. When I think of Jeff, I think of the person that put his life in peril and freed me from a state of servitude. I would risk non-functionality for him."
  • A CMoH not for the game, but the gaming community: As a way to constructively draw attention to the fan dissatisfaction with the endings, some fine folks on BSN set up a donation drive for Child's Play. The outcome so far has been... inspiring: $30k in the first 24 hours. Whatever one's feelings about these fans' desire for a different ending, the fact remains that it's being channeled into something that directly benefits a charity for hospitalized children.
    • 50K. Holy shit.
      • As of 03/19/2012, the amount raised is $66,989.66 from 3,211 contributors. That works out to an average of almost $21 per person. Regardless of the outcome, no one can deny that the gaming community has done something amazing here.
      • The charity drive has since been closed, but not before raising over $80,000. If the original goal was to show detractors that the displeased fans are capable of channelling their energy into something positive, while helping to improve the lives of sick children in hospitals, then they have succeeded.
      • The fact that sick children benefit from this is easily the best part of the whole thing. But the runner up? Bioware seems to be listening.
  • In Mass Effect: Datapad for iOS devices, you receive messages from in-game characters as you interact with them in Mass Effect 3 itself. Using the app while romancing Garrus gives you this heartwarming message:

"It's late. Just got up for some water. You're still asleep. Wanted to say how beautiful I think you are."
Love, G.

  • There's a really great one after the Cerberus attack on the Citadel, outside the Purgatory bar: A salarian soldier on medical leave for an almost-healed injury is chatting with his human friend about the fancy new armor he received from command a few weeks prior. She asks him about its specs and properties, which he enthuses about at length, speculating that it was sent to him due to an error given how much better it is than what he'd normally be issued. Finally, as they're preparing to leave, he asks her about her beloved top-of-the-line car, only to learn that she sold it a few weeks back... right around the same time the salarian received his new gear.

Salarian: "...Come on. I'm gonna buy you a goddamn drink."

  • Liara shares her memories with your prior to the last assault on London. She mentions that it is sometimes done between bondmates. She also mentions those little blue children you discussed earlier. D'awwwww.
    • Actually, found it even better with a non-romanced Liara. She leans against Shepard's arm and gently rests her head on Shepard's shoulder. It's a phenomenally sweet moment.
  • When listing her preparations for the final battle, EDI mentions kissing Joker for luck.
    • The Synthesis ending. During the entire game, we see Joker and EDI's romance forming. Choosing the Synthesis ending has Joker and EDI walking into a brave new world, almost like Adam and Eve. EDI gives the broadest smile in her life as she rests her head on Joker's shoulder in pure joy. Awww.
  • A lot of the fetch quests you can do after overhearing conversations on the Citadel qualify. The galaxy is falling apart, but Shepard still finds time to perform little acts of kindness. Finding heating units to save a salarian's clutch from dying out. Acquiring an improved power grid for the Purgatory bar to help give people, especially off-duty soldiers, somewhere to escape for a little while. Bringing back confirmation of a son's death so his family won't be left wondering. Recovering a batarian priest's religion artifact to give his people some faith to cling to. Just little bits and pieces that might not even matter once all is said and done, but it's a reminder that people are what we're fighting for, not just basic survival.
  • Ken and Gabby having a Last-Minute Hookup
  • Mordin telling Shepard about his first meeting with "Eve".

Shepard: "You care about [Eve]."
Mordin: "My patient. My responsibility. Found her at STG base. Three doctors injured trying to restrain her. Undid arm restraints. Didn't resist when she grabbed me. Promised to help her. She said 'Please'."

  • After the Cerberus coup on the Citadel, if you manage to do it without killing Kaidan/Ashley, you get a small scene with Garrus in front of the memorial wall. He talks about how Shepard almost had to kill him/her, and is thankful that he/she didn't join Ashley/Kaidan. He then comments that it's Ashley/Kaidan's fight too, and they need to win for him/her as well. Heartwarming to know he still remembers the one who died at Virmire three years ago.
  • The encounter with the Catalyst, if you think about it. Here we have the creator of the Reapers, the source of the cycle of extinction, the ultimate Big Bad of the series... and he peacefully accepts his end, if that means a permanent peace between synthetic and organic life. No Cultural Posturing, no Villainous Breakdown, just a sad affirmation and acceptance of the end. Godspeed, you mechanical bastard.
  • Bit of meta one this, and it might have just been my version, but when I overheard the Asari Widow conversation on the Citadel after I had done the Ardat-Yakshi mission, the journal was updated and stayed like that for the entire game. Almost as if Shepard never wanted to forget what she/he'd done to ease a widow's pain. The same occurred on Eden Prime with the resistance movement as well, now that I think of it.
  • Conrad Verner is back in the game and being his usual idiot self. But for all his stupidity, he got the Shepherds out of the war zone, using all of his funds. Conrad, leave the badassery to Shepard. But that doesn't mean you can't be a hero.
  • Of all things, Balak. Keep in mind, he just pledged the last Batarians in existence to fight in the war. It would have been even more heartwarming, had the endings not precluded the fact that the Batarians would have probably been welcomed back after decades in exile to Citadel space.
  • Miranda laying out the guilt she feels for even thinking about putting a control chip in Shepard's head. She states how she should have known better, given how she always tried to protect herself and her sister from their father's controlling influence. The apology that she gives Shepard for considering making him/her a slave to Cerberus feels genuine and heartfelt. Miranda's really come a long way.
    • It's even more heartwarming if Shepard forgives her and expresses his/her gratitude for Miranda's work on the Lazarus Project:

Shepard: "I lost two years of my life, Miranda. You gave the rest of it back."

  • If you manage to get the turians and the krogan to work together, after a while, you'll get a sudden, seemingly random Codex entry named "The Miracle of Palaven".
    • After generations of animosity, the Krogan and the Turians are working together for the first time since... ever. They coordinate a massive sneak attack against the Reapers by using a dreadnought as a distraction and then smuggling a large number of high-yield WMDs into Reaper harvesting camps. Countless lives are sacrificed, but, through the combined efforts of the Krogan and Turians, they manage to strike possibly the biggest blow against the Reapers before the Battle of Rannoch.
  • This conversation with Garrus after the destruction of Thessia. When Shepard has come as close as s/he ever has been to a Heroic BSOD:
    • After spending two games being the squad's Warrior Therapist, it's nice to see them giving Shepard the pep-talk for a change.
  • If you successfully get the quarians and geth to make peace, the geth show that they had Undying Loyalty towards their creators all along. They build housing and help with the fields (which Tali says would have taken years, not weeks) and, most amazing of all, they're curing the quarians of their immunity problems by simulating diseases (without getting them sick), strengthening their immune systems to the point at which the children won't need envirosuits. Talk about Laser-Guided Karma. If only Legion didn't have to die...
  • Finding out that Hannah Shepard, Space!Shepard's mom, is still alive and well in Mass Effect 3. She's even been promoted to Rear-Admiral.
  • This little bit of dialogue between Paragon Shepard and Eve gets me every time:

Eve: "Go, Commander. You don't know me."
Shepard: "No. But I'd like to."

  • In their first conversations with Steve Cortez and Engineer Adams, Shepard shows an incredible fondness for the old Normandy. The ship may be gone and replaced, but it hasn't been forgotten.

Cortez: "Welcome back to The Alliance, Commander."

  • Talking to Steve Cortez on the Citadel. He sees a turian frigate that's very scarred up and compares it to himself, limping around and having no reason to live. Shepard can Paragon interrupt Steve by diverting his attention to a passing Alliance frigate, which has been repurposed from a warship to evacuating civilians. He tells Steve there are always reasons to live. It snaps Steve out of his funk, and saves his life in the end. Good Feels Good.
  • Talking to Samantha Traynor has at least one big CMoH. She reveals that she was visiting her family on Horizon when the Collectors hit and she just sounds so grateful that Shepard and his/her team came for her.

Traynor: "While the Alliance was running studies, you were saving me and my family."

    • Even better was that Shepard was expressing his/her guilt about having worked with Cerberus, with Traynor assuring him/her that, while Cerberus is a bad group, s/he was still doing the right thing.
  • A subtle one after ending the Geth-Quarian War peacefully, Tali looks over Rannoch and comments:

Tali: "It is beautiful though, isn't it?"
Shepard: (looking directly at Tali) "Yeah... it is"

    • More so as Shepard does this even if Tali isn't romanced.
      • The other dialogue between Shepard and Tali (if romanced) that comes before also qualifies

Shepard: "You going to be okay? I know working with the Geth will be difficult."
Tali: "I'm not staying. I'm coming with you."
Shepard: "I wasn't going to ask..."
Tali: "Why not?"
Shepard: "Because I respect you, dammit! You think I don't want you to come with me?"
Tali: "So ask me."
Shepard: "Tali..."
Tali: "I don't know how much time we have left, or if we can even stop the reapers, but whatever happens, I want to be by your side."
Shepard: (smirks) "I bet you say that to every guy who gets you a homeworld."
Tali: (looks directly at him) "Only the cute ones..."

  • Another CMoH during the Battle of London between Tali and Shepard (if romanced). Also crosses into Tear Jerker territory.

Tali: "Do you remember what we said on Rannoch, just before you took down that Reaper?"
Shepard: "You said 'I love you'"
Tali: "And you said 'Keelah se'lai'. I want... more time."
Shepard: "I know... (comforts her with a hug) Whatever happens."
Tali: (nods) "I know."

    • Also, when Tali shows up again with the other quarian admirals, the way Shepard's eyes simply "light up" when he sees her again:

Tali: "Shepard..."
Shepard: "Tali?"

  • If you chose the geth - and only if you chose the geth, for some reason - then, when you're back on Earth, you can talk to a Geth Prime, who promises that the geth are fighting for their future - and once the war is over, they will help rebuild yours. Awww...

Expanded Universe

Castis Vakarian: "I... understand."

      • Castis then proceeds to remind Garrus to conserve his ammo and to make every shot count. Their past tension is forgotten and Castis is doing whatever he can to help his doomed son. Of course, this is when Garrus scopes in on an N7 badge, and realizes that he isn't going to die after all.

Castis: "You finish up what you have to do there, and then you come on home to Palaven. We have a lot to sort out..."
Garrus: (spots a familiar N7 logo through his scope) "Yeah, we do. Thanks, Dad. For everything. I have to go now. Don't worry about me... I'll make it home when I can. The odds just got a lot better."

    • Tali, on her pilgrimage from the Migrant Fleet, receives a message from her father. It's more of the same emotionally distant "don't-fail-me" that she's heard for her whole life, and she refuses to sit through the whole recording. She ends up using it as a decoy later on, and while she doesn't see the end of the message, we do: Her father is apologizing for being so distant and telling her that he'll be proud of her no matter what.
      • As the message continues to play, with her father telling her that she'll make a fine admiral someday and do the Migrant Fleet proud, the comic shows various images of her future adventures: fighting in the Battle of the Citadel, facing down the Human-Reaper on the Collector Base, and finally, watching the sunset on her newly-reclaimed homeworld (the cover also shows her fighting in the Battle of London). It really emphasizes how far she goes from the start of the series to the end, and the great things she will achieve on the Normandy alongside Shepard in the next three years. Especially poignant because, with the announcement that Mass Effect: Andromeda is taking place 600 years in the future in a new galaxy, those pages (plus the Citadel DLC) are probably the last we'll ever see of Tali.

Tali: "I guess shore leave's over."
Shepard: "At least we threw one hell of a party. Probably the last one."
Tali: "No. No matter what happens, you'll find a way to do what's right... for all of us. Serving on a human ship? I never would've guessed, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. We've had a good ride..."
Shepard: "The best."[2]

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