BioWare's Mass Effect series has taken players through several planets within the galaxy. Though the primary mission is to defeat the Reapers in the original trilogy, the series offers a variety of side missions. These side missions range from simple fetch quests to more in-depth quests to learn more about your squadmates.
In the future, not even space is safe from war. The sides are not as simple as good versus evil when there are multiple species involved. Unfortunately, they all get caught in the crossfire. Death is inevitable, even in the future, but luckily, BioWare offers us a chance to save these creatures. The decisions we make greatly impact the game, as killing lifeforms we at first perceived as a threat may come back to hurt those important to us. Not acting fast enough could lead the people you were meant to protect to their deaths.
The decisions that Shepard and Ryder make are difficult. Completing the missions themselves may prove an even more difficult battle. You are tasked with exploring worlds foreign to what we know today. Exploration sounds exciting until you run into countless horrors around the galaxy. Space is a deep, dark, unexplored mass with most parts unknown.
This list contains massive spoilers for the Mass Effect series.
Mass Effect leads us into several, disturbing regions of space that may be hard to handle. No one ever said saving the galaxy would be easy.
15 Krogan Team
In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can accept a mission to assist a missing Krogan team. The team went missing while investigating Rachni activity on Utukku. This mission will vary depending on your decision to free or kill the Rachni Queen in the first Mass Effect game. The mission will take you through dark tunnels with dead Krograns. Some of Mass Effect's more horrific enemies, such as the Ravagers, Husks, and Cannibals will attack you by surprise.
Horrific dark caves and fighting off masses of Husks might not frighten you, but realizing that this mission could lead to Grunt's death is sure to make you uneasy. Letting the Rachni Queen live may make you temporarily feel better, but it leads to Krogan casualties. Make sure to complete Grunt's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2, or else these caverns will also be his final resting place. You'll also receive an email from Urdnot Wreav, blaming the massive Krogan casualties on you.
14 The Price Of Revenge
Zaeed Massani is a tough-as-nails bounty hunter who joins your crew in Mass Effect 2. Though he is feared and respected, an unfinished mission on Zorya has occupied his thoughts. In "The Price of Revenge," you'll gain insight into Zaeed's background. He started the mercenary group, the Blue Suns, with Vido Santiago over 20 years ago. Vido eventually betrayed Zaeed. Six men forcibly held Zaeed down while Vido shot him in the head.
The facility will lead Shepard to two choices: allow Zaeed to get his revenge on Vido, or save the workers remaining in the Eldfell-Ashland refinery. Rescuing the workers will mean Zaeed will have to continue without his revenge. The Renegade route will mean Zaeed can get his long-awaited revenge. The screams of those left behind in the explosion will be a painful reminder of the lives lost to revenge.
13 Abandoned Mine
There's something creepy going on in the abandoned mine on Aequitas. Shepard and his crew discover that something has happened to the miners. When you arrive at the site, you are bombarded in an attack by Husks. There are almost 100 Husks and Abominations ready to destroy you and your squadmates. There is no safe space to hide in the mine and the attack will occur from all angles.
Once you make it further inside the mine, you'll discover the massive power source responsible for the alien threat. Once it's destroyed, you can look back at the warnings on the mine logs. Miners who died in the abandoned mine warn others to stay away. Foreman Lawrence leaves a grisly trail of journal entries leading to the discovery of the strange power source and how it eventually led to the gradual demise of his crew.
Leviathans are a fear-inducing race within the Mass Effect series. Their bodies have crustacean-like shells that are pure nightmare fuel. The Leviathans are a highly intelligent race who lives in deep water environments. They are scary on their own until you realize they are also the creators of the Reapers.
The Leviathan DLC takes Shepard and his crew to a remote mining facility that's being attacked by Reapers. The mine itself is host to strange experiments with toxic wildlife, dark corridors, and haunting screams. When you speak to the miners, they're calm, yet warn you to stay away. You discover they are being controlled by the Leviathans. They use the miners until their breaking point and the miners are helpless to stop it.
The Leviathans take an interest in Shepard, as they're shocked that the Commander would seek them out. There, you learn that Commander Shepard actually scares them.
11 Ardat-Yakshi Monastery
In Mass Effect 3, Liara will inform Shepard that the Asari High Command needed assistance investigating the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery. Several Asari squads have disappeared and Shepard is their last hope. If Samara is still alive, you'll find out her two daughters, Falere and Rila are residing there.
When you arrive at the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery, you'll almost immediately start hearing screams. The screams are so loud that even your squadmates will comment on them. The monastery is huge, with creepy Banshees and Cannibals roaming the halls. You quickly understand why the Asari High Command called out for help.
Within the monastery is an Asari named Rila, who is in the process of indoctrination, or brainwashing, by the Reapers. The Reapers intended on making the inhabitants of Ardat-Yakshi into their slaves. The Ardat-Yakshi Monastery should have been a peaceful place but was a prison for the Reaper's indoctrinated slaves.
10 Besieged Base
In Mass Effect, playing the role of a good Commander will gain you Paragon status. The Besieged Base side mission will take you to a Sirta Foundation research facility, where the Biotics have taken over and drugged the researchers into becoming their human shields.
This mission may seem straightforward at first until you realize the hostages can become casualties if you're not careful. Shepard must disguise the innocent civilians from the Biotics. Every time an innocent is killed, a notification will alert you. The mission becomes tenser as you realize you're taking out the wrong people.
After completing the mission, Shepard will receive a message. The contents of the message will vary, depending on how many innocents were killed. If more than five were killed, you'd receive a heartless message from the Alliance stating casualties are acceptable as long as the terrorists are eliminated.
9 Matriarch Benezia
Matriarch Benezia is Saren's top advisor and Shepard spends much of the game hunting her and her boss down. Finally, you get your chance to take her down on Noveria. However, Matriarch Benezia is also mother to Liara and she won't go down without a fight.
After defeating Matriarch Benezia, you learn the truth. She was another victim of the Reaper's indoctrination. Indoctrination is a frightening, powerful tool that can control almost anyone in the galaxy. It gives insight on how far the Reapers will go to win. Though Matriarch Benezia is defeated, she attempts to warn Shepard.
The mission on Noveria shows you a crumbling Benezia. She is aware of the indoctrination Sovereign is doing through Saren, but is powerless to stop it. Unfortunately, she is unable to overcome the brainwashing. Only in her final moments is she free from the Reapers' control.
8 I Remember Me
If you chose the Colonist background for Shepherd, making your Commander a surviving Mindoir resident rescued by Alliance troops, you have the option to revisit the past. You receive a request from another survivor of the raid on Mindoir. Unfortunately, Talitha wasn't fortunate to be rescued like Shepard and was instead taken captive by Batarian slavers.
Lieutenant Girard asks for Shepard's help in restoring order to the docking bay. Talitha suffers from PTSD and is suicidal. You learn her story and how her fate could have been the same as Shepard's. Her story is insight on what could have been Shepard's fate.
Shepard can choose to help her get treatment or permanently remove her as an on-board threat. Step too close to Talitha, and she will become too anxious, shooting herself in front of you. Fortunately, you can choose to help Talitha instead. If you calm her down, you can give her a sedative and get help from the medical team.
7 Subject Zero
Jack is one of the most powerful biotics alive. However, she's also a well-known criminal in the galaxy. When you give her a chance, you'll learn about her horrific childhood on Pragia, where some of the most notorious criminals conduct their affairs. When she learns to trust you, Jack will request your team head there to destroy the facility.
The Teltin facility on Pragia is where Jack was tortured and used for experiments for years. The facility was a cold dungeon for Jack and the other captive children. She shows you her bloodstained cell and the arena. The arena is where she was forced to fight the children in the facility. She was forced to murder without hesitation or she'd be punished. The other subjects are told they are expendable to capture Jack.
After the mission, Jack can detonate a bomb inside the facility, which will give her a moment of peace after years of torture.
6 Rogue VI
In the Overlord DLC, you take on a rogue Virtual Intelligence system on Earth's moon, Luna. The VI onboard is ignoring all commands to shutdown and must be manually terminated. The mission on the training grounds isn't easy. The Synthetic Drones are not willing to go without a fight. After maneuvering your way through the base, you will find the bunker where the VI lives. Once the rogue VI is destroyed, the terminals will display code in binary. When translated, the repeated code states "HELP."
When discussing artificial intelligence, EDI will hint about the rogue VI mission. The VI was an experiment into creating a controllable AI. The AI had become more than its handlers could control, and it went rogue on Luna. In Mass Effect 3, you learn the VI was later scavenged and modified from parts of the Sovereign. It was EDI who was born from the wreckage.
5 The Gift Of Greatness
Jacob Taylor is a skilled biotic who keeps his distance from his team. Speaking to him beyond commands on the battlefield will give you insight into his character. Jacob has never forgotten his father, Ronald, who went missing over ten years ago. In Jacob's loyalty side mission, "The Gift of Greatness," you travel to the planet of Aeia. There, you discover Robert is still alive, but to ensure the safety of the survivors, he took drastic measures.
The officers of the Hugo Gernsback were treated like royalty, while the crew members were servants. The women were all assigned to the crew's officers, as if property. The male crew members were dead or kicked out of the community. Females were forced to eat the toxic flora on the planet and slowly forgot how to read and write. Though Mass Effect takes place in a fictional future, Robert converted his crew back to dark, prehistoric days.
4 Lost Freighter
The original Mass Effect will take you onboard a lost freighter that is drifting through space. "Lost Freighter" is a chilling side mission of a devoted girlfriend who can't let go. The crew was eliminated by a powerful Biotic, Julia, the girlfriend of a man named Jacob. Jacob was exposed to space for an extended amount of time, which led to his brain death. However, he is being kept alive through life support and Julia killed anyone who attempted to turn it off.
The stress of Jacob dying irritates her implants. When her Biotic implants receive too much activity, Julia gets intense migraines. Along with her anger and grief over her boyfriend, Julia lashes out. Like the rest of the ship's crew, Julia will turn aggressive if Shepherd and his squadmates attempt to turn off Jacob's life support. After taking down Julia, you can turn off Jacob's life support and finally let him rest in peace.
After the Collector's attack on Horizon in Mass Effect 2, the refugees attempted to find help in the Sanctuary. Shepherd and his squadmates are sent there after learning Cerebus may be using the facility for illegal activity. When you first arrive, you'll notice the facility is already under attack. A variety of enemies will be there to stop you, including Husks. The existing Husks at the facility is not a coincidence.
As Shepard and his squadmates explore the Sanctuary, they will uncover video of Cerebus turning the refugees into Husks. All the of Husks you face were once refugees seeking help. The Sanctuary logs give insight into what happened in the facility, where refugees were processed like cattle. Families were processed into Husks together, while unsuitable candidates were "recycled." Rejected subjects were refugees who died during the experiments and were considered medical waste. A place meant for safety ended up being more dangerous than Horizon.
2 Find Dr. Saleon
During the first installment of the Mass Effect series, Shepard and Garrus are beginning their trilogy long friendship. After speaking to Garrus several times, you'll learn about Dr. Saleon. The doctor is a geneticist who escaped capture. You find out, Garrus recovered former employees of Dr. Saleon who had their organs involuntarily removed and Garrus regrets not being able to bring the doctor to justice.
On board the MSV Fedele, you will encounter Dr. Saleon's horribly mutated test experiments. He has not disposed of these creatures because they contain organs, which the doctor harvests to sell on the black market. The tools the doctor uses are stained in the variety of blood from his subjects. At first, Dr. Saleon thanks you for saving him. Garrus knows the truth and is intent on taking down the mad doctor. The battle results in the death of the doctor and ends his illegal organ selling trade.
"Overlord" takes Shepard and his squadmates to a Cerebus research base on Aite. Shepard learns the Virtual Intelligence has gone rogue and must destroy its transmission antenna. One of the scientists on the base, Dr. Gavin Archer, takes responsibility for the rogue VI. He was attempting fuse a human, his brother, with a VI to create a "VI Overlord" to prevent a war with the Geth. Unfortunately, the VI proved too strong.
Shepard decides to help Gavin's brother. The Commander will make his way through Atlas Station to shut the program down. The mission takes Shepard through virtual reality to find David. David wants to stop you at first, but after the VR program is destroyed, you find David tied up with tubes in his head. While Gavin asks you to leave his brother with him, David begs for your help. Here, your Shepard can choose to take him to the Jon Grissom Academy or leave him with Gavin for further experimentation.