This is a list that we’ve been wanting to do here for a while now, but the list has changed so many times in our head that we kept putting it off until we really decided what we wanted to be on here and where.
We want to say though before we begin that we aren’t including moments from any of the DLC packs. So sorry but some of the incredible moments from Lair of the Shadow Broker or the Citadel DLC’s won’t be making the list. This will be purely vanilla titles, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.
So let’s get on with the list!
Moment 10: Meeting Sovereign, Mass Effect
What’s more important than first impressions?
During Shepard’s mission on Virmire, we come into contact with a Reaper who goes by the name of Sovereign. Despite Saren being set up as the big bad for the first installation of the trilogy, it is this conversation with Sovereign that sets up the trilogy’s overarching story with the Reapers.
Moment 9: Hold the line, Mass Effect
Also coming on the mission on Virmire, before you head off into war it isn’t Shepard who gives the heroic speech, it is instead Captain Kirrahe and by god is it a good speech. It is impossible not to feel pumped about going to kill some Geth after listening to the wise words of the trilogy favourite.
Moment 8: Escape from Earth, Mass Effect 3
In a moment that really upped the ante of the series, Mass Effect 3 starts out with the invasion of Earth and subsequently Shepard having to leave in order to rally the fleets of the Universe to its defence. Whilst we can ignore what becomes of the young boy throughout the rest of ME3, taken at face value Shepard having to stand there and watch as innocent people die is a hard moment for any Mass Effect fan.
Moment 7: Praying with Thane, Mass Effect 3
You would be hard pressed to find a Mass Effect fan who doesn’t believe that what makes the series great are the characters you meet, travel with, fight with and love. So when it’s time to lose them it makes it all the more heart-wrenching. What made this one so impactful, even though Thane may not make everyone’s top 5 favourite teammate lists, is his final prayer. A prayer that everyone assumes to be about himself, the lonely assassin, when in fact it turns out to be for his friend and Commander.
A fitting farewell for an amazing ally.
Moment 6: Do we save the Council? Mass Effect
Whether you choose to save the Ascension or hold back until it is a clear run to attack Sovereign this moment makes the list regardless. Whilst Mass Effect gives you the option of saving one life over another much earlier in the game, it amplifies this a hundred fold in the final moments by putting the lives of thousands of people in your hands.
Save the Ascension at the cost of human lives or sacrifice the Council and everyone on board the Ascension so that you have a better shot at beating Sovereign. An impossible call that you have no choice but to make.
Moment 5: Quarian and Geth peace, Mass Effect 3
Bringing an end to a centuries-old war? Losing a squad mate who only wanted to help his people? Potentially losing another squad mate you’ve had since the first game? All this at once and you’re damn right it’s in the top 5.
Ending the war between the Geth and the Quarian’s is an amazing feeling, but it takes such a large amount of effort in order to pull it off that the majority of people end up having to choose one side over the other. This is a crucial moment in the third game and no matter which way you play it tears will be shed.
Moment 4: The fleets arrive, Mass Effect 3
Everyone loves a big battle right? Well it doesn’t come much bigger than this. Yes this scene is even better once you take into account the extended cut, but the vanilla version alone is worthy of a place in our Top 5.
This is the moment that the culmination of 3 games worth of effort (Both offline and online by this point) finally comes to fruition. A final siege of the Reaper forces in an attempt to liberate the Galaxy of their scourge or go down fighting.
To simply see so many fleets that you personally have gathered as war assets over the course of the third game finally come together to fight an unbeatable threat makes this a moment that you’ll never forget.
Moment 3: Mordin’s sacrifice, Mass Effect 3
From the largest scale possible to the very smallest, one man alone in a tower takes our third spot. Mordin’s sacrifice to cure the Genophage perfectly sums up what we love about our Mass Effect companions, in the right circumstances they can show more humanity and character than countless high budget films.
Yes, it is possible to save Mordin, but that is route chosen by few. In his final moments, Mordin sings his way into our hearts and into the future of an entire species.
Farewell good friend.
Moment 2: Suicide Mission, Mass Effect 2
Possibly the best mission in any game ever made. The Suicide Mission puts the crew of the Normandy in an impossible scenario, but they go in anyway and the game allows you to choose who does what. Whilst at first that may seem a simple way to send your favourite (Or least favourite) crew members off to do the important tasks, it soon reveals itself to be much more meaningful.
Every crew member can die. Shepard can die despite completing the mission. Squad mates can die before you even reach the surface. Everything is down to choices you make and with that you take full responsibility for what comes next.
Yes it may be easy to figure out the patterns for who should do what on repeat playthroughs, but going in blind the first time? There aren’t many who save everybody.
Moment 1: The Normandy is destroyed, Mass Effect 2
And kicking off our list is the moment that made every Mass Effect fan ask “What the fuck is happening”? The original Mass Effect had been a success, but the developers of Mass Effect 2 knew they had to up the ante in the sequel. So what did they do? They killed Shepard in the opening sequence and destroyed your ship that you’d been flying around the Galaxy in since day 1.
Yes this all becomes redundant in a matter of an hour or so, but that doesn’t take away from the impact that this opening sequence has on first time players. It was a (somewhat) bold move and really sets the scene for what is possibly the best game ever made.
So there you have it, our personal Top 10 best moments of the Mass Effect trilogy! There were so many moments that we wanted to include… Shooting bottles with Garruss, any number of romances, playing as Joker when the Normandy is attacked, choosing between Ashley and Kaiden to name but a few. But we had to cut it down to a Top 10 and these are the ones we finally settled on.
Do you agree? Do you have other moments that you prefer? Let us know on Twitter @WeAreNiche!