Mass Effect is one of the best video game franchises of the last decade. If you’re interested in an immersive action role playing game, then Mass Effect will be a perfect selection. Few games can immerse a player in the world as effectively as Mass Effect. This game is a particularly good selection if you’ve enjoyed their fantasy counterpart, Dragon Age.
Keep in Mind
There are a few things to note when you’re starting to load your first Mass Effect game, especially if you’re new. The series has been out for a while; so many new players jump right to the newer games and start there. There’s no problem with this, but a bit of context will go a long way. We’ll begin with advising players who want to start from the beginning and move on to players who want to jump to Mass Effect 3 or Andromeda.
The first thing new players need to understand is that this is a role playing game at its heart. The first Mass Effect is a role playing game first and a shooter second. It may take a while to get used to, and if you don’t like it, you may want to move on to the second title.
Everything you do or say in Mass Effect affects the game. You can choose to be a jerk or a nice guy. You can decide to save people or leave them behind. All of this has rippling effects on the rest of the series. Choose your words wisely, as they may come back to haunt you in the end.
The First Game
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re loading the first Mass Effect title. First of all, the game is ten years old. It isn’t going to be as polished as the games you usually play. The storyline is phenomenal, and it will give you all the context you need to move forward, but the first Mass Effect isn’t a visual masterpiece like some of the others.
Starting from the first game is going to give you a huge advantage in understanding the story. Part of the charm Mass Effect offers is that your actions in the first game will affect your experience in the third. If you’re a hardcore role player, who wants to manipulate their entire destiny, start from the first. If you’re more interested in the action, graphical content, and story arch, you can always read the synopsis of the first Mass Effect and move on to the second.
The Ending Isn’t Great
The ending to Mass Effect (the first three titles) isn’t the worst ending you’ll ever see, but it’s far from satisfying. In fact, the original ending received so much criticism that the developers added an expansion that changed much of the ending. The problem wasn’t as much with the ending itself as it was with the role-playing aspect. For a series that relied on choices, the end of the game seemed too predetermined.
This is not to say you shouldn’t play the games. These are still some of the best role playing games on the market. Many consider them to be far superior to the newly released Mass Effect Andromeda. Think of it like this: it’s about the journey, not the destination. The ending to Breaking Bad wasn’t phenomenal, but the show is still worth watching. It’s the same with Mass Effect. The games are fantastic but don’t expect a wild ending.
Context is important in the Mass Effect games, especially if you decide to skip the 2007 title. The introduction scene tells an important back-story players who would rather play the newer games will miss.
The story takes place in the Milky Way in the year 2183. Humans have discovered a technology called Mass Relays, which are devices that allow for travel to other solar systems. The Mass Relays are believed to have been built by a lost alien race known as the Protheans. This discovery vaulted the human civilization into the next era, a phenomenon known to the residents of the galaxy as the Mass Effect.
The discovery of the Mass Relays allowed the Milky Way residents to meet the Citadel Council – a collection of civilizations who have all discovered the same technology. The council is positioned as the rulers of most of the galaxy. There are several races of alien species involved in the Council, as well as a few who remain outside of its reach. Humans joined the council under the System Alliance in the year 2157.
Through the first three games, you’ll play as Commander Shepard. Shepard is a former member of the System Alliance Special Forces and is in consideration for becoming the first human member of the Specters – a black-ops organization of soldiers who answer directly to the Council.
Throughout the game, you’ll encounter and recruit multiple members of your team. We’ll leave the specifics for you to find out on your own, but your decisions can make or break their allegiance. Furthermore, as you get deeper into the game, you’ll have to decide which crew members will live or die. Sometimes, the wrong answer can mean the life of one of your squad-mates.
Reapers (Light Spoilers Ahead)
There are several smaller villains whom you’ll encounter during your time in Mass Effect. The real villains, however, are the Reapers. For those who watch Game of Thrones, the Reapers are a bit like the White Walkers. They are synthetic beings who linger outside the galaxy and wait for sentient life to develop. Once the time is right, they enter the galaxy and harvest the organic life.
This process has been repeating for millions of years, though no one alive is aware. The Reapers are the real builders of the Mass Relays, as they know that their technology will boost civilization growth and make harvesting the organic life easier.
Mass Effect Andromeda is only related to the Mass Effect world through setting. This is an entirely different storyline that follows different characters. Andromeda takes place between the events of Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3
In this game, players follow the story of the four Citadel races moving to a new galaxy called the Andromeda Galaxy. 20,000 citizens are on the ship (aptly called the Ark) and are heading on a 600 year trip to their new home.
We’ll let you find the rest of the information for yourself, but the above context is important in understanding the setting of the story.
Mass Effect remains one of the finest video game series available. It’s become a staple of video game history and offers hours of entertainment for those looking for a new game in which to sink their teeth.