10 Of The Greatest Moments In ‘Mass Effect: Legendary Edition’

An exploration of ten of the greatest moments in the 'Mass Effect' trilogy.

The remaster of Bioware's "Mass Effect" trilogy has been with us for a few months now, in this article, I'm going to take a look at just 10 of the greatest moments that made "Mass Effect" one of the most outstanding video game series of all time.

Reaper on Rannoch in Mass Effect 3
A Reaper on the Quarian homeworld. Source: Mass Effect Fandom

1. Mission 'Priority - Rannoch' in Mass Effect 3

While it may not be the most defining moment in the series, I think it's one of the most pivotal, desperately tense moments in gaming history. Shepard and his squad are initially led away from the massive Reaper at the heart of the station by his Geth ally Legion, but in a ballsy move, Shepard says no and demands that Legion pull over. 

It's absolutely essential that this particular Reaper dies, as so much depends on it. The Reaper is interfering with the Geth’s collective hive mind, driving them to attack their creators, the Quarians. The two races at that moment in time are currently at war, and Shepard needs the strength of both races to resolve their conflict and unite against the Reapers.

Legion himself is trying to overthrow the reaper signal with his own coding, but Quarian race hatred keeps them attacking the Geth, making the Geth retaliate in kind. 

It's so time-sensitive, and your dialogue choices as Shepard carries so much weight into the outcome. It's vital that you get the Quarians to fire at the Reaper and not the Geth so that the Geth will cease-fire also.

Playing as Shepard, facing the terrifying Reaper that lumbers towards you with its’ deathly red eye glowing, against a stunning desert backdrop, may well be my personal most exciting gaming moment of all time.

This mission ultimately leads to the sacrifice of Legion, who worked tirelessly for its race to achieve true sentience. “Does this unit have a soul?” 

Drell assassin companion Thane Krios from Mass Effect 2
The infamous Drell Assassin Thane Krios.  Source: thegamer

2. Meeting Thane Krios in Mass Effect 2

In Mass Effect 2, Shepard is tasked with enlisting the aid of an assassin named Thane Krios. As you race through Dantius Towers to find his intended target, you're introduced to his personality by the means of several encounters with NPC’s.

Some dock workers mention that he killed the people attacking them with clean headshots and that he told them to hide, simultaneously showing how bad-ass yet compassionate he can be, before even meeting him. 

There is a cutscene where he silently creeps up on Nassana Dantius’ guards, killing them quickly and quietly. Then he vicariously shoots his target and gently lays her down and bows his head in atonement prayer.

There is an unearthly soundtrack as he introduces himself, and the dawn light in the background, highlighting the strange skyline of Ilium makes this cutscene truly phenomenal.

His cool appearance, gravelly voice, and conflictions about his profession, whereupon he agrees to work for Shepard for free, all make for a truly astounding character, with absorbing dialogue.

Kalros the thresher maw attacking a Reaper on Tuchanka
Kalros, the mother of all Thresher Maws attacks a Reaper on Tuchanka Source: reddit

3. Kalros kills a Reaper in Mass Effect 3

A major step in unifying the races in Mass Effect 3 is curing the genophage, a weaponised fertility virus that renders most of the Krogan race infertile. Krogan's support is vital in stopping the Reapers so Shepard decides to travel to the Krogan homeworld Tuchanka, to help in any way he/she can. Unfortunately, the location where they might distribute the antidote is guarded by another Reaper.

Tuchanka is a hostile, wild world, home to the ‘thresher maws’: giant murderous centipedes. Kalros is hailed as a mythical mother of all thresher maws, whose existence has until then only been rumoured.

Just when things are looking at their most desperate for the cure distribution, Kalros confirms her existence by tearing out of the ground and grabbing the gargantuan Reaper in a deathlock, coiling it into the ground.

It's a hopeful scene for all: as though the world of Tuchanka is fighting back, and shows that organic life has the teeth to go toe-to-toe with the deadly cyber enemy.

Sovereign the Reaper attacking the Citadel in Mass Effect 1
The desperate fight at the Citadel against Sovereign and the Geth  Source: deviantart

4. Sovereign attacks the Citadel in Mass Effect 1

Up until the actual attack that makes up the finale of Mass Effect 1, no one believes Shepard in his/her outlandish claims that a mythical ancient enemy from 50,000 years ago has returned to harvest the galaxy of all sentient life. But siding with the Geth army, Sovereign reveals itself in all its’ massive, machinated glory to the Citadel: the hub of all organic life. 

The scene where it spreads out its’ feelers and gains access to the Citadel as the arms are closing is jaw-dropping, and relevant in its showing of just how much overwhelming firepower is needed from all the races at once just to take down ONE Reaper.

The final push as you fight along the tower surface in anti-gravity, all the while approaching the gargantuan robot, with the enclosed Citadel cityscape all around you, still makes for an Inception-style, mind-bending mission.

The fall of Thessia in Mass Effect 3
The fall of Thessia in Mass Effect 3 Source: Reddit

5. Mission 'Priority: Thessia' in Mass Effect 3

The Asari homeworld is under attack in Mass Effect 3, but a visit is necessary to the war-ravaged planet as one of its’ temples may hold a key to understanding the Crucible, the ‘Reaper weapon’ that the Alliance is unknowably building. Upon arrival to Thessia, it’s astounding to see how devastated the once beautiful planet has become. 

For me, to see how barraged and beleaguered Thessia was made the Reapers seem all the scarier in their abilities to reanimate the dead through indoctrination. Thessia is levelled merely by the Reapers’ thralls, without much physical presence from their artificial masters.

All the beautiful Asari buildings destroyed, the overwhelming enemy presence, and the events at the temple itself, especially if you take the Prothean squadmate Javik for his dialogue, make Thessia a truly stunning moment in gaming.

Introduction of Jack A.K.A. Subject Zero in Mass Effect 2
Meeting Jack in Mass Effect 2 

6. Jack’s biotic bubble explosion in the suicide mission in Mass Effect 2

Mass 2 introduces us to ‘Subject Zero’ or Jack, another lovable rogue for the squad. She's initially shown to be a violent, murdering tattooed skinhead loner; whose anger is matched by her incredible biotic abilities.

But over time the character of Jack is unravelled, revealing her vulnerability and a great capacity for love despite being hardened through years of systematic abuse.

Her tough exterior belies a gentle heart and is further proven through the shadow brokers' emails, where she apparently entered a poetry competition that is hilariously sweet. 

Anyway, assuming Shepard chooses her for the biotic shield part of the suicide mission, as long as Shepard has earned her loyalty, she will surprise you with a cutscene where she magnifies the shield to aid the team’s escape. It’s worth noting that other biotics will do this as well, but given Jacks’ first impression, it’s relevant for her character growth to show how she now cares for somebody other than herself.

She later demonstrates this in Mass 3 when she becomes a badass teacher that fiercely protects her students, like a lioness caring for her cubs. Jack’s development, especially if you romance her, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Mass for me.

Leviathan from Mass Effect 3 DLC
A terrifying new ally in Leviathan from Mass Effect 3 DLC  Source: thegamer

7. Meeting Leviathan in Mass Effect 3

Mass 3 had a DLC that delved deeper into the unknowable history of the Reapers’ origin. A hectic galaxy-spanning chase for a researchers’ daughter that knows of a ‘Reaper killer’ leads Shepard to a planet where a probe signal is coming from the bottom of the ocean. A quick commandeer of a scuba robot later, and Shepard plummets the depths to retrieve the probe. 

Erupting from a chasm at the bottom of the sea emerges three giant organic creatures, like Reapers in appearance. It's an awe-inspiring moment, with eye-opening dialogue that tells of Leviathan's creation of the Reapers to harvest organics.

But inevitably the created rebelled against the creators, and Leviathan retreated into hiding. It makes for a valuable ally with its mind control, and while I feel that it could have helped more if it wanted to, the moment of meeting is truly a spectacle.

A banshee from Mass Effect 3
The banshee, a Reaperised Asari in Mass Effect 3  Source: ScreenRant

8. The Ardat-Yakshi Temple in Mass Effect 3

In Mass 3, Shepard will respond to a distress signal concerning some missing Asari commandos in a temple on the planet Lesuss. Liara will insist on coming along.

Upon arrival, Shepard discovers his/her old comrade, the Justicar Samara, who informs your crew that she is looking for her remaining daughters who reside in the temple. They are Ardat-Yakshi: Asari born with a murderous genetic defect to burn out the souls of whoever they mate with. 

This may not be one of the most standout moments for many in the trilogy, but this is the first mission where the player encounters Banshees: Reaper-animated Asari corpses and their blood-curdling scream. The mission plays out in near-darkness, and holds up as a decent horror mission, capable of rubbing shoulders with the likes of ‘Dead Space’.

Banshee attacking the Ardat-Yakshi in Mass Effect 3
A dreadful fate for the Asari in Mass Effect 3 Source: ScreenRant

The mission is relevant in its’ introduction of the Banshees, as it further demonstrates the might of the Reapers in their capability to create their deadliest thrall units, which further tip the odds in their favour. After a difficult final fight, there is a tearful sacrifice, which makes for another outstanding resolution in one of the sub-plot threads.

Shepard and Garrus shooting bottles on the Citadel in Mass Effect 3
Space bro's  Source: Pinterest

9. Shooting bottles with Garrus in Mass Effect 3

Ahh, Garrus Vakarian. Easily the fanbases’ favourite squadmate, quoted as being “the best space-bro since Chewbacca”. The Turian C-Sec defector is introduced right from the beginnings of Mass 1 to the very end of Mass 3.

He’s a toughened fighter and a leader, who joins Shepard initially for being tired of “red tape” at C-Sec, but remains the most loyal companion through all of Shepards’ battles. He’s even a romance option for female Shepard. A great moment of his is discovering that he is behind the alias “Archangel” in Mass 2.

However, regardless of which gender you play as, after a time in Mass 3 Garrus will contact you saying that he wants to do something fun. He drives to the top of a bridge in the Citadel, breaking a ton of violations, (but not caring a bit about that), and has a friendly bottle shooting contest with Shepard.

The banter is rich, playful, tongue-in-cheek, and just generally a fun moment between friends in the midst of all the war. It highlights exactly what the fight is for: the bond between organics, and different races in general.

Shepard is admitted into the Spectres in Mass Effect 1
Shepard is admitted to the Spectre ranks  Source: Youtube

10. Shepard becomes the first human Spectre in Mass Effect 1

Mass Effect 1 displays humanity in its’ infancy compared to the familiarity the other alien races have for each other. Humans are regarded as bullies for pushing their way into the galaxy, and not taken seriously for their short lifespans. Right from the get-go, Shepard is considered for joining the ranks of the Spectres: elite Citadel agents with free reign to pursue any lead by almost any means. 

When Shepard is finally, albeit reluctantly, granted the title to aid his pursuit of Saren, it’s a historic moment for humanity, as well as granting the player powerful new skills, and access to elite armours and weapons. It shows that the other races are starting to take us seriously, realise our potential, and rely on our abilities.

There are so many moments that are just as memorable, that add to the full experience of Mass Effect. Some are just dialogue snippets depending on which characters you took on which mission, and their interactions with each other. I've just tried to focus on canonical cutscenes and general plotlines. Do you have any favourite moments that I haven't listed here? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Jason is a freelance content writer living in Nottinghamshire whose preferred topics are movie/game reviews and climate change.

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