Sci-Fi as a genre is pretty broad, ranging from space operas to hard science fiction. However, one of the very best sci-fi series out there blends it all together featuring some of the most immersive worldbuilding, iconic characters, and ultimately is the peak of the hero’s journey story trope.
I know what you’re thinking, and this article isn’t about the original “Star Wars” trilogy, even though it’s a close second. Allow me to enlighten you about a somewhat-well-known science fiction role-playing game called “Mass Effect.”
“Mass Effect” is a series developed by Bioware around the sixth console generation, that being primarily the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. “Mass Effect” started as an Xbox exclusive, but later went on to be available on all platforms.
The story focuses on Commander Shepard, a fully customizable avatar that you can give a curated backstory to, along with controlling everything they say. Being able to control your dialogue choices gives you direct control over the story, letting you decide what kind of Shepard you want to be.
Do you want to be a selfless, good-natured Paragon? a ruthless Renegade? Maybe you want to operate in a moral grey area? This game’s form of a karma system isn’t just for story events, but for how you interact with characters too. Depending on how good or bad you are gives you unique dialogue choices with other characters.
Speaking of which, not only are the side characters some of the best written companions in gaming, but being able to choose your dialogue with them is like you get to know them personally. Having people you rely on is very important in this series.
The concept of the “Mass Effect” trilogy rides on the idea of a theory called “the great filter” which is basically about how mass extinction events happened throughout time, like with the dinosaurs.
Well, the great filter in this case are large mechanical beings called Reapers who resurge throughout the galaxy anytime A.I. gets smart enough to rival organic beings. With the entire galaxy facing this massive threat, it’s up to Shepard to build a team and unite the galaxy against this existential threat.
I absolutely love the concept of these games. The Reapers are definitely some of my favorite enemies in gaming. They’re such an intimidating threat and fighting against them is literally like fighting against death itself.
I can’t skimp out on talking about the gameplay either. Think “XCOM’s” tactical turn based combat but it’s in real-time. You also have two companions that you can command throughout a level, and you have full access to their special abilities alongside yours.
I compared the gunplay to “Gears of War” with extra steps, and with each game the gameplay gets better and better. Even the not so well received spin-off “Mass Effect: Andromeda” had some stellar gameplay even if everything else wasn’t so good.
There’s so much I want to say about the characters and the story of the “Mass Effect” trilogy, but if you’re at all interested it’s better to experience all the story beats and the iconic characters when you get to them so your Shepard can come to their own conclusions.
“Mass Effect: Legendary Edition” is available on all modern consoles including the entire trilogy all in one place. The best part is your data carries over so decisions you made in one game will affect the next.
The story isn’t over yet, either. Bioware confirmed “Mass Effect 4” is in development a few years ago, so I’m greatly looking forward to that. From the very beginning to the bitter end, “Mass Effect” is a series that’ll go down in legend as some of the greatest sci-fi to bless gaming. Keelah Se’lai, my friends.