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Rarest Mass Effect Moments You Might Not Know About

Jean-Luc lists some of the rarest moments in the Mass Effect Trilogy that you might not have experienced in your playthrough.

Video Transcript

There’s this side quest in the original Mass Effect where you must collect 16 ancient asari writings, which you do by scanning planets as well as landing on uncharted worlds and searching for them. It's an awful collection task quest, deathly boring to do even with a guide. The reward isn’t even all that great, being nothing but some measly experience points. The saving grace being that because the whole thing is so meaningless, you can skip it without fear of missing out.

However, in Mass Effect 3, there is a small side quest on the Citadel for Shepard stan Conrad Verner. Turns out that before Conrad devoted his life to worshiping the Commander, he wrote a doctoral dissertation on xenotechnology and dark energy integration and can help Shepard obtain some ancient tech, tech that happens to be written in ancient asari dialect. If you collected 10 of the 16 asari writings all the way back in Mass Effect 1, you get some special dialogue as well as a plus five bonus to your war assets.

This is one of those rare moments most players didn’t fully experience in their Mass Effect trilogy playthrough: Strange or unique outcomes that required you to do something either really obscure to get or because you made choices in the past that fall in-between the cracks of the series’ mortality system. Most players tend to play a pure pure paragon or renegade playthrough, but if you mix and match you get some pretty interesting consequences. In this video, I’m going to go through a few of my favourite rare Mass Effect outcomes.

Originally this video was really long, so if you have other moments you’d love to see, or have your own favourites, drop them in the comments below or like this video and subscribe so we know you want to see more. It goes without saying this video contains spoilers for the whole series, except Andromeda cause I don’t talk about that game.

Mordin Lives

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

Or does he? Yes! Mordin can live and you might be thinking “well that sounds like the best situation, I love Mordin and I would like him to live”, but the reality is to get this outcome you actually have to f**k up really badly.

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

Mistake number two: You didn’t save Mealon’s research data in Mass Effect 2 and Eve is now dead. Or mistake 2.5, Eve dies because you didn’t stop the bomb on Tuchanka.

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

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

Salarian Councilor’s Death

Another tragic death in ME3 is Thane, who dies at the hands of series edgelord Kai Lang as he's saving the Salarian Councilor. There is no way around this one. If Thane is alive in Mass Effect 3, he is fated to die here.

But what if Thane isn’t in Mass Effect 3? What happens to the Salarian Councilor? Well remember Captain Kirrahe from Mass Effect 1?

Kirrahe’s hold the line speech

Yeah that guy. You actually meet him briefly on Sur’Kesh, now Major Kirrahe. Congrats on the promotion. For most players this is just a nice little nod to the character, but for those who don’t have Thane around it’s actually a clever reintroduction and setup because, you guessed it, Kirrahe shows up in Thane’s place and saves the Councilor. You held the line good buddy.

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

Ashley/Kadian Refuse to join Shepard

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

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

There is however a rare third outcome. It is possible to have a high enough score to persuade the Virmire survivor to back off during the confrontation with Udina, while simultaneously still having a broken relationship with them. This means they will straight up refuse Shepard’s offer to join the Normandy and can’t be a squadmate for the rest of the game. I didn’t even know this could happen until very recently, which just goes to show how much work and thought the devs really did put into these games.

Confused Liara (Saving her last in ME1)

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

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

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

Party Member’s showing up as enemies in Combat (Legion, Jack, Morinth)

As we’ve made pretty clear so far in this video, party member death is a pretty major part of the Mass Effect trilogy. In Mass Effect 3 not only can many of the major characters die but often Shepard is the one who kills them, which makes a Renegade run pretty brutal. Most of this friend murder happens in cutscenes but their are several you can kill in combat.

The first being everyone’s favorite space psychopath Jack. After parting ways with Shepard, Jack becomes a teacher at Grissom Academy, a school for gifted biotics. A major side mission in the game involves rescuing Jack and her students from Cerberus, but it’s possible to ignore it. In Mass Effect 3 if you carry on with the main story you’ll get locked out of side content as time moves forward and this is taken into account, as Jack and her students are kidnapped by Cerberus.

When storming the Illusive Man’s base near the end of the game you’ll come across a special recording of Jack being tortured. Further in, you’ll find Jack, now brainwashed into a Phantom, and you’ll have to put her down.

Along the same vane as Jack is Legion. It was possible to give up Legion’s body to Cerbrus back in Mass Effect 2, a choice absolutely nobody made cause who’s gonna give up the chance at a Geth party member. We’ll if you did Cerbrus will indeed have kept the body and experimented on them. The empty shell that was once Legion shows up as a special enemy type in the Cerberus base, the same room where Phantom Jack also appears.

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

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

Romance with Javik and James

Everyone is horny for someone in Mass Effect and while BioWare does it’s best to make your dreams a reality, there are some party members you just can’t romance. Two of those were military beefcake James Vega and Prothean sadboy Javik, which a vocal group of fans were pretty disappointed with. Javik makes total sense to me. He’s the last of an ancient alien species with a really hot voice. He can throw me out of an airlock anyday. James on the other hand… well he's not for me but he is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., aka The Iron Bull in Dragon Age, so I sorta get it.

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

The Javik scene is played as a joke, but the James one I find genuinely creepy. Shepard can make several advances on James throughout the game but he always turns her down, making it pretty clear he’s not interested. Yet in the citadel DLC Shepard eventually resorts to getting James drunk enough so he’ll sleep with her. To cap the whole thing when they wake up in the morning he sounds like he regrets that it happened. Like what the f**k BioWare? I don’t think this is what the fans had in mind. If the genders in this situation were reversed this would have never made it into the game.

The Saddest Party on the Citadel

I don’t want to end this video on such a downer so let’s go back to the fun stuff; killing squadmates. During the previous section where the… bad thing happened, I mentioned the Citadel DLC and the big party you can throw at the end. Citadel was the final content made for the original trilogy. As such the whole thing is one massive celebration of it’s characters. BioWare went all out, bringing back the whole cast and stuffing in as many in-jokes as possible. As a finale to these beloved characters, you couldn’t ask for anything better.

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

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

So, as I said upfront, if you’ve got any rare outcomes you’d love to see us feature in a future video, let me know in the comments below. If you like Mass Effect, and if you made it through this video, it seems like you do, make sure to stick around, we’ve got plenty of it coming up on the channel.