Folks, humanity has been counting down the days, and we've finally reached that inevitable moment: the Reapers are on the horizon, and will invade the planet Earth this March. Mass Effect 3 will be upon us, and all of the galaxy's Shepards - both male and female- will begin their journey to conclude the current gen's most definitive RPG franchise. This blog series will pay tribute to the franchise as we brace ourselves for the upcoming finale by chronicling my own journey and experiences with the Mass Effect series. We'll continue this series with a look at the glitches and exploits we love and hate about the Mass Effect franchise. DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE REVIEW, SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT.


Bioware's Mass Effect series is renowned for many things, be it the narrative that ushered in a new era of storytelling complexity; the allegorical cosmology; or the interactivity that has now become a golden standard for RPG's. However, Mass Effect also has a reputation that we approach with mixed feelings: glitches. Like codes in all of our favorite childhood games, these anomalies brought us otherwise impossible loopholes to exploit for our amusement, or in the worst cases, frustration and another reloaded game. Here's a chance to reminisce on some of the greatest and most annoying game glitches in the Mass Effect series as we painfully countdown the debut of the epic finale in Commander Shepard's saga. 

Some of the glitches covered will be common and infamous; others will be relatively uncommon due to their more recent emergence after the latest update. So here we are, counting down from best to the worst:



Game: Mass Effect

Location/Condition: Noveria, with moderate Charm/Intimidate points

Usefulness: Very useful

Patched/Calibrated? No

Description: This is perhaps one of the most commonly abused exploits, found in the first Mass Effect. What makes it better is that apart from allowing players to complete both of the special missions unlocked by acquiring a certain number of Paragon/Renegade points, these also provide extra experience for players trying to max out their Shepards to level 60 for either that coveted achievement or the sweet transfer bonuses players can get in Mass Effect 2.

How it works:  With a moderate amount (about 5 or more) of either Charm or Intimidate points, travel to the planet Noveria for the next mission. Eventually, you'll get the opportunity to speak to Lorik Qui'in. Complete his side quest and eventually Parasini will ask you to convince him to testify against Anoleis. Once you've used either choice to convince him, you can speak to him again. Ask him about Matriarch Benezia, then choose "another question" and the option to convince him to testify will pop up again. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you've gotten the amount of points you desire. 

Risks: It's said that this glitch has caused save file transfer problems, namely causing certain choices to be flagged inappropriately. Otherwise, the risks are minimal for Xbox360 players. An easy way to get unlimited Paragon points if you don't want to go this route is by exploiting a glitch involving the assignment on Eletania.



Game: Mass Effect 2

Location/Condition: Target Squad Member must have at least four to ten squad points, depending on what tier character is at 

Usefulness: Very Useful

Patched/Calibrated? Yes

Description: Up until the patch sent in Bioware's update for Mass Effect 2, this exploit was routinely abused to create impossibly strong squad members. What makes this exploit even better was that any points players gained by using it carried over to the next playthrough. 

How it works: Basically, with the desired character you wished to use this on, players would save the appropriate number of squad points up, then level up the first three tiers of an ability. On the fourth, players would press A+X simultaneously, and get the same number of points used before they evolved their power (four if you started at the third, seven if you started at the second, and so on). This ability easily allowed players to circumvent the limitations of the main campaign, turning their players into juggernauts. 

Risks: Uncertain. Players won't know whether there are any negative repercussions to using this exploit until they've transferred their file over to Mass Effect 3. Norman has warned that it might cause errors that affect your characters. Bioware was proactive however, and patched this exploit.



Game: Mass Effect 1 and 2

Location/Conditions: Certain missions or the right button presses

Usefulness: Very Useful

Calibrated/Patched? Nope.

Description: The money glitch technically is a cheap and much harder exploit to take advantage of, as it can be very time-consuming. Confirmed to work in both games, you can use it to get a nice extra bonus of credits. 

How it works: In this exploit, if you press the action button quickly enough after a hacking minigame, you can hack that terminal again for more money. This tactic is especially useful in ME 2, as most of the money you receive is only when you've completed a mission. Most who use it recommend that players save first, given the amount of timing it requires.

Risks: None that have been reported, so far, although you might go insane after you've bought everything possible. In that case, I recommend you gamble at the pit in Tuchanka. Or you can spend it on some drinks at the bar, often for hilarious results, but don't say I didn't tell you so if your Shepard winds up flat on their face in a bathroom.



Game: Mass Effect 2

Location/Condition: The right place at the right time

Usefulness: Kinda

Patched/Calibrated? Nope

Description: This exploit comes with certain benefits and drawbacks, allowing you take advantage of certain areas to reach otherwise impossible places. The drawback however, is that this exploit involves the frequent use of yet another glitch (listed up here) which can at times, be unreliable.

How it works: Well, there's an invisible wall in each specific area of the game that establishes the boundaries for where players can travel. Depending on pure luck, players can use the elevator glitch to reach the Research Terminal before recruiting Mordin, and bypass entire battles - notably on Haestrom- so they can complete levels quicker. There's a wealth of videos devoted to this. Players can also marvel at the level of attention paid to inaccessible areas in the game, especially the Normandy.

Risks: There's always a chance that your character might get stuck, so it's advised that you save before trying this tactic out. There are also a few exploits you can take advantage of due to scripting that easily shorten boss fights.



Game: Mass Effect 2

Location/Condition: The right/wrong place at right/wrong time

Usefulness: Kinda sorta not really

Calibrated/Patched: Nope

Description: Depending on certain areas where you walk, you could end up suddenly rising into the air. This exploit is normally useful for players, but in some cases, can be a detriment, especially if you're stuck in a serious battle.  

How it works: This glitch is pretty unpredictable, and while used to reach otherwise unreachable areas, can also occur randomly, affecting your squad mates. Chances of it reoccurring increase the more you exploit it. It's very common for this to happen when players are moving over areas used for cover. In the worst cases, players can get stuck in the air - even die in the air and remain, making particularly tough encounters with enemies a grind. The usual solution is either to reload a save or spend several minutes searching for a way to travel back to the ground.

Risks: The Elevator glitch is a prime example of why it's often best just to play through a game rather than use these loopholes, although the most you'll probably have to deal with is a reloaded save. It's advised that players save often if this glitch is known to occur. Note though, that this glitch can also affect enemies you fight, so at least it doesn't discriminate.