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Mass Effect (Series) Review

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Posted: 18 months ago, last updated 7 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer, Jo Robertson and Ben Kendall.

OverviewOverview

Mass Effect is a sci-fi adventure where you role-play a soldier named Commander Shepard, who must save the galaxy from a race of powerful mechanical beings. The series started in 2007 and has fourth substantial instalments that take you from that first mission to the following fall out and the ensuing war.

The game is a combination of exploring locations, talking to characters for information and action based shooting missions. Over the course of the game, your choices determine the story and how you shape your version of Commander Shepard and his or her team. This impacts not only the current game put also options in future games of the trilogy as well.

Main Series:
  • Mass Effect (2007) on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Mass Effect 2 (2010) on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Mass Effect 3 (2012) on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
  • Mass Effect Legendary Edition (2021) HD version of main series on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

In addition to the newer game, Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017), you can play the series on the latest hardware as follows:
  • PlayStation: The original trilogy cannot be played on PlayStation 4 (it's not backwards compatible and not available on PlayStation Now). Mass Effect 2 on PlayStation 3 enables you to catch-up with plot and decisions via the Genesis content, if you didn't play the first game.
  • Xbox: You can play the trilogy on Xbox One's backwards compatibility either by purchasing the 360 games individually or subscribing to EA Access (for the trilogy) or Game Pass (for the first game).
  • PC: You can play the trilogy by purchasing them or via Origin subscription.
  • Wii U: Mass Effect 3: Special Edition on Wii U includes additional content and catch-up decision making to provide context for those who didn't play the first game.

There are also spin-off games on mobile that offer a different experience in the same universe:
  • Mass Effect Galaxy (2009) on iOS
  • Mass Effect Infiltrator (2012) on iOS, Android
  • Mass Effect Datapad (2012) on iOS
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda APEX HQ (2017) on iOS, Android

Along with the games themselves are a series of fiction books and guides that expand the storylines and flesh out the wider teachers of the galaxy.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 20/11/2007

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Bioware (@Bioware)

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 75 hours and 100 hours to complete. It can take up to 100 hours to beat the game, and that will only be one particular ending.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

CostsCosts

Mass Effect usually costs £11.99 to £59.99.
 

Mass Effect

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

XBox Store Xbox One £59.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £59.99

Mass Effect Trilogy

PlayStation Store PS3 £28.99

Mass Effect: Andromeda

PlayStation Store PS4 £34.99

Mass Effect: Andromeda: Deluxe Recruit Edition

XBox Store Xbox One £34.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £34.99

Mass Effect: Andromeda: Standard Recruit Edition

XBox Store Xbox One £17.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £17.99

Mass Effect Andromeda

PlayStation Store PS4 Free

EA Play

Steam Store PC Free

EA Play

XBox Store Xbox One Free

EA Play

 
Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. The games offer in-game purchases but the bundles and subscriptions of the original trilogy usually include the key elements for free.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Although Mass Effect Andromeda is rated PEGI 16, the original trilogy are rated PEGI 18 for moderate violence and sexual content. Certain weapons can be used to shoot enemies in the head causing decapitation, resulting in headless torsos spraying blood from their necks. The game also contains use of the word '*!@?*' and also short cinematic sex scenes.

The Legendary Edition includes all single-player content and DLC from Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3. The remasters will run at 4K on compatible platforms, with forward compatibility and targeted enhancements on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Mass Effect Legendary Edition (a remaster of all 3 main games, released 2021) has more accessibility features and we have used that version of the game to highlight here.

There are five difficulty levels to pick from in each game in the Legendary Edition: Casual, Normal, Veteran, Hardcore and Insanity for Mass Effect 1&2, while Mass Effect 3 has Narrative, Casual, Normal, Hardcore and Insanity. Each difficulty ramps up the difficulty of the combat sections, with enemies getting more health, more defence and stronger attacks. While most trophies can be obtained on any difficulty, there is one which requires you to be in the hardest difficulty.

When you start, you are prompted as to whether you want subtitles, what difficulty you want to play on and whether you want autosave. To adjust the size of the subtitles, which are high contrast, and further customise your experience, you need to wait and select the options in the menu.

While all of the in-game dialogue is voice-acted, there is an opening paragraph of context for the story in large and clear white text on a black background that is not. Thanks to the subtitles, the game is more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing players.

The crosshair can blend in to the background, which can occasionally make it hard to see, and can be especially difficult for colourblind people. Additionally, there are some sections in the Hacking mini-games where to need to observe colour-based patterns.
 
Our Mass Effect Accessibility Report documents 23 accessibility features:

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Games Like Mass Effect

Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Mass Effect or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Mass Effect, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 18 or ESRB MATURE 17+ games.

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