Mass Effect Andromeda Free Download PC Game Archives

Mass Effect Andromeda Free Download PC Game Archives

Mass Effect Andromeda Free Download PC Game Archives

Mass Effect Andromeda Free Download PC Game Archives


The original Mass Effect series is designed as a trilogy, which allows the player to import their characters from any completed Mass Effect playthrough to subsequent games. This means that several decisions Commander Shepard makes in Mass Effect will carry over and have the potential to impact the story of Mass Effect 2, which in turn affects Mass Effect 3.

Note: Save files from the original trilogy cannot be imported into Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Mass Effect → Mass Effect (Existing Characters) Edit

Mass Effect ends after the completion of the storyline. Your game is saved and can be carried over to a New Game+. You can then explore the galaxy again. Shepard's level, talents, specialization and equipment all carry over, but Paragon / Renegade scales, weapon manufacture licenses, and medi-gel / grenade stock upgrades are reset, as are your Codex entries and assignments. Any combat, biotic or techachievements will be usable in any new career.

After you beat the game, you can start your character over by going to "Create New Character" and selecting the bottommost option (Select Existing ID). You then restart the story with all of your experience and items intact from the previous game. All items that were equipped on other characters are transferred to you, and you gain doubles of anything you had equipped. For your main character, all of your talent points remain spent as they were before. Your party members all begin at the same level as you, but with no talent points spent and only the basic weapons / armor, allowing you to rebuild them as you like.

It is possible to reach level 50 on your first playthrough, but you won't achieve it without completing a majority of the side assignments. Since you are capped at level 50 for your first time through the game, you cannot reach level 60 until the second playthrough with your original character. If you're looking to reach level 60, it isn't necessary to reach level 50 in your first completion. You can also start a completely new character if you'd like to try a new class, gender, background, etc, and you will no longer be level capped at 50, but there is not enough XP available in the game, even with DLC, to reach level 60 in a single go.

Mass Effect → Mass Effect 2 Edit

Mechanics Edit

To import save games on the Xbox 360, the game must be played on the hard drive the saved game was completed on, since it is not possible to transfer the file that Mass Effect 2 imports using the Xbox 360's file management tools (although it is possible when transferring the entire contents of the drive using a transfer cable). As it is possible to transfer regular save files using the Xbox 360's file management tools, the player may choose to transfer a save file right before the final battle and complete it again in order to transfer the completed game file. This will need to be repeated for every playthrough the player wishes to import. Alternatively, run Mass Effect 2 on the old Xbox to import the character, then save the game and move the resulting save file to the new Xbox.

For Xbox 360 units without hard drives, such as the Arcade unit: Importing a Mass Effect save works for any and all devices and Xbox 360 SKUs. Game saves can be transferred to new Xbox 360s with the exception of the final Mass Effect autosave at the end of the game. So, if you are transferring game saves to a new 360, it will work, but you will have to replay the end of the game to recreate that final autosave. Only then will the Mass Effect Import Utility be able to detect that final save. The final autosave is invisible and not listed on any device. For Arcade units, it appears that the final autosave is written to the internal flash memory.

The same holds true if playing on the Xbox One via backwards compatibility. In order to transfer a Mass Effect save played on the Xbox One to a Mass Effect 2 save on the Xbox 360, make a save file just before the final battle and save it to the cloud drive. Load that onto the Xbox 360, play through the final battle to create the finale autosave to transfer to Mass Effect 2.

For the PC version, players can use the Mass Effect Configuration Tool to select the .MassEffectSave files they wish to import. However, there is a known issue with the Configuration Tool that may cause a fatal conflict with Mass Effect 2, preventing the game from launching and requiring a reinstall. Players who wish to avoid this possibility can instead manually import their Mass Effect 1 save files. These files can easily be transferred between computers, and even downloaded from the internet if the player wished they had taken different actions in the original game but do not wish to re-play it. The site is a useful resource for this.

Until the release of the Mass Effect Trilogy, the story of Mass Effect was retold in Mass Effect 2 through an interactive comic, Mass Effect: Genesis. This comic retells the story of Mass Effect while allowing the player to make several important plot decisions. The choices the player makes will then be imported into Mass Effect 2 as if they had been made in the original game. On PlayStation 3, Mass Effect: Genesis requires the Cerberus Pack, which is included in every new copy of the game. Xbox 360 and PC owners can purchase Genesis separately.

However, with the release of the Mass Effect Trilogy as well as a PSN downloadable version of Mass Effect, players can now import a Mass Effect Shepard into Mass Effect 2 to have a seamless play through of the trilogy.

Another way of getting the save game variables that you want is by using Gibbed's Mass Effect 2 Save Editor. This save game editor allows you to change variables and checks placed within your Mass Effect 2 save file, which contains data from your Mass Effect save file (if you imported one). Instructions for using this tool can be found in this forum post(Registration Required).

If a player beats Mass Effect multiple times on a single Shepard, either by saving and re-loading or by starting a new game plus, each "victory" will be a separate Shepard that the player may import to Mass Effect 2. The player need not worry that they are over-writing one of their Shepards, and may review all the major specifications and decisions of a Shepard before they choose to import the file to ensure it is the right file.

Character Transfer Edit

Character Stats and Levels

Due to several gameplay changes, your character's level and abilities will not transfer over to Mass Effect 2. However, the game will acknowledge your character's level and morality and adapt it in ways that map across to the new system as well. The higher the level of the imported character, the greater the bonuses granted upon importing.

  • A portion of the character's Paragon/Renegade points (up to 190 each, which requires the bar(s) to be 50% full[1]) are transferred over.
  • Importing a level 1 through level 49 character will grant 1,000 XP (the player starts at level 2), 20,000 credits, and 2,500 of each resource.
  • Importing a level 50 through level 59 character will grant 2,000 XP (the player starts at level 3), 30,000 credits, and 5,000 of each resource.
  • Importing a level 60 character will grant 4,000 XP (the player starts at level 5), 50,000 credits, and 10,000 of each resource.
  • Having the "Rich" achievement from Mass Effect will grant an additional 100,000 credits.
  • The import bonuses will stack with the Mass Effect 2 completion starting bonuses (200,000 credits and 50,000 of each resource).

Character Personal Attributes

Shepard's first name, gender, background (Colonist, Earthborn, or Spacer), and career history (Sole Survivor, War Hero, or Ruthless) cannot be changed. The player, however, may alter the class of their new character, as well as Shepard's appearance. It is worth noting that if the player opts to change the latter, they must start from scratch to re-design their character's look -- one cannot, for example, simply change the hair color or nose of the previous character. However for the PC version, there is a long string of numbers and letters on the Squad screen for Shepard. The string will allow you to import a face created in a previous Mass Effect 2 game. This string will only be generated for new faces created; imported faces will not have a string. It should be noted that changing to the default Shepard or creating a new face, then reverting to an imported face can result in a string being displayed on the Squad screen, but this will always be inaccurate.

Romance Edit

Shepard's romance interest from Mass Effect carries over to Mass Effect 2, as evidenced by a photo of said individual on Shepard's desk in the captain's quarters, and a slightly different scene when the two encounter each other again. However, there is no option to engage in any romantic repartee with the love interest, as they are not part of Shepard's squad. Despite this, Shepard is considered to still be in a relationship with that individual. Shepard may choose to pursue an additional love interest with someone from Mass Effect 2, though this will have consequences for Shepard's relationship with their Mass Effect love interest in Mass Effect 3.

It should be noted that Mass Effect romances can carry over to Mass Effect 2 without consummation, or even when the player is fairly certain they have rejected the character in question. Merely speaking with a potential love interest once is enough to trigger a romance if Paragon options are chosen. In some cases, even extensive Renegade dialogue choices do not prevent the formation of a romance. Thus, if a player wishes to avoid carrying over a love interest to Mass Effect 2, they must leave that character behind on Virmire, if possible. However, if a player wishes to play through Mass Effect 2 with that particular squad member surviving Virmire but wants to avoid carrying over a romance while still being able to talk to them in Mass Effect, then the player must select the appropriate dialogue choices that terminate the romance subplot when they are spoken to after the first plot world. (see Talk:Romance)

Note: It is possible to continue a romance with Liara in the Mass Effect 2 download content 'Lair of the Shadow Broker' if your Shepard romanced her in Mass Effect.

Major Plot Decisions Edit

  • Sparing or killing Wrex during the Virmire: Wrex and the Genophage confrontation.
    • If Wrex survived, he returns to Tuchanka and has united all the krogan under Clan Urdnot to combat the genophage and strengthen the krogan. If Wrex is killed (or if the player doesn't import), the more traditional Urdnot Wreav becomes the leader of Clan Urdnot, and little changes for the krogan.
  • Deciding the fate of the Council during the battle with Sovereign, and the nomination of either Captain Anderson or Donnel Udina to the Council.
    • If the Council is saved with either Anderson or Udina as a representative, Shepard is granted an audience with the Council and has the opportunity to be reinstated as a Spectre. If the Council was not saved, then Shepard will not be granted an audience with the Council, but Shepard will still be reinstated as a Spectre only if Anderson was made a Councilor. If the Council was not saved, aliens you meet on the Citadel will be somewhat bitter against humanity, and Avina will have a fascist streak, repeatedly notifying Shepard that certain inquiries have been forwarded to C-Sec, and to surrender if approached for arrest.
    • Note: The nomination of Anderson or Udina to the Council is not included in the save file; rather, when importing a character from Mass Effect, the player must actually tell Miranda whether Anderson or Udina was nominated to the Council after their escape from the Cerberus facility. This is because of a design oversight, where the point of decision for the first Human councilor in the first game occurs after the gamesave for transfer is made.
    • If the Council was saved in Mass Effect, the following text is displayed after the first cutscene showing a conversation between The Illusive Man and Miranda Lawson:

“One month after the devastating geth attack on the Citadel, the galactic community struggles to rebuild.

The Alliance fleet made a tremendous sacrifice to save the Citadel Council and earned humanity membership in this prestigious group. Now the Council is forced to respond to evidence that the Reapers -- enormous machines that eradicate all organic civilization every 50,000 years have returned. To quell the rumors, the Council has sent Commander Shepard and the Normandy to wipe out the last pockets of geth resistance. Officially, they blame the invasion on the geth and their leader, a rogue Spectre.

But for those who know the truth, the search for answers is just beginning.”

  • If the Councilors are killed in Mass Effect, and replaced by a multi-racial group led by the humans, the following text is displayed:

“In 2183, the heart of the galactic community suffered a devastating attack.

The Citadel space station was invaded by a synthetic geth army attempting to open a portal for the Reapers: enormous machines that eradicate all organic civilization every 50,000 years. Commander Shepard led the defense, but the Citadel Council was lost.

Now, the new human-led Council attempts to quell rumors of the Reapers' return. Hoping to ease public concern, they've sent Commander Shepard and the starship Normandy to wipe out all remaining geth resistance.”

  • If the Councilors are killed in Mass Effect, and replaced by an all-human Council, the following text is displayed:

“One month after the devastating geth attack on the Citadel, humanity seized political control of the galaxy.

Now the human-led Council is forced to respond to evidence that the Reapers -- enormous machines that eradicate all advanced civilizations every 50,000 years — have returned. To quell the rumors, the Council has sent Commander Shepard and the Normandy to wipe out the last pockets of geth resistance. Officially, they blame the invasion on the geth and their leader, a rogue Spectre.

But for those who know the truth, the search for answers is just beginning.”

Other Plot Decisions Edit

  • Sparing or killing Fist on the Citadel.
    • If Fist is spared, Shepard encounters him at Afterlife, where Fist angrily admonishes Shepard for ruining his life and making the effort of harassing him across the galaxy despite him being a small time criminal.
  • Sparing or killing the colonists and Shiala on Feros.
    • If sufficient numbers of colonists survived, or if Shepard persuaded Ethan Jeong to commit ExoGeni resources toward rebuilding the colony, Shepard encounters a representative of the colonists on Illium who need help extricating themselves from a medical contract. If Shiala was spared, she is the representative. (Note: Even if the Thorian enslaved colonists are killed but Shiala is spared, Shiala still references Shepard saving them.)
  • Sparing or killing the Rachni Queen on Noveria.
    • If the Rachni Queen is set free, she will send a message through an asari on the planet Illium conveying her gratitude, with further dialogue ensuing. There is a news report of small scout ships seemingly rachni in design that, when approached, quickly retreat.
    • If the Rachni Queen is killed, Galactic News will instead report of data recovered from Peak 15 linking to cloning of rachni, but no rachni found.
  • Aiding, ignoring or betraying Gianna Parasini on Noveria.
    • If Shepard aided Gianna, she is found on Illium where she again requests help, and will buy Shepard the promised beer. If a male Shepard aids her, she will additionally give him a kiss.
    • This assignment also appears with an imported save file where you got what you needed via another method that did not involve Gianna, though a male Shepard will not be able to receive a kiss.
    • This assignment will not appear if no imported file is used, or if a file is imported where she was turned down during Mass Effect, causing her to be killed.
  • Encouraging Garrus to be more paragon or renegade.
    • If Paragon, Garrus will have attempted to rejoin C-Sec but lament that he could do little good there in the chaotic aftermath of the attack on the Citadel; during his loyalty mission, if Shepard questions his plan he will say that killing Sidonis is something he must do. If Renegade, Garrus will have trained to become a Spectre but will claim that it never worked out; during his loyalty mission, if Shepard questions the plan Garrus will be confused.
  • Helping Tali with her personal pilgrimage assignment.
    • When first encountering her on Freedom's Progress, mentioning the gift of the geth data can serve to prove Shepard's identity. This will also change the dialogue at the end of the encounter if that particular dialogue choice is selected.
  • Aiding or ignoring Captain Kirrahe on Virmire.
    • A dialogue option will open during which Mordin Solus will reference Kirrahe's "Hold the Line" speech during ship conversation if a Mass Effect save is imported. The dialogue will change slightly depending on whether or not Kirrahe survived the mission.

Assignment Decisions Edit

These result merely in e-mails to private terminal or news reports unless noted otherwise.

If the assignment was completed in Mass Effect, an email will be received in Mass Effect 2, in which Dr. Michel says that she is happy that Shepard is alive and hopes the Commander can visit her on the Citadel.
  • Shepard's advice to Rebekah Petrovsky regarding her baby in Citadel: Family Matter.
    • Their conversation can be overheard in one of the shops on the Citadel, which differs depending on Shepard's advice. This conversation occurs in Mass Effect 2 without an imported save file.
  • Shepard's interaction with Helena Blake in UNC: Hostile Takeover.
    • If Blake survived in Mass Effect, Shepard will run into her at Afterlife on Omega. The dialogue will vary depending on how Shepard resolved the mission.
  • Shepard's interaction with Corporal Toombs in UNC: Dead Scientists.
    • If Shepard convinced Toombs to spare the Cerberus scientist, a news report will say that Cerberus is being investigated with help from testimony from both Toombs and Dr. Wayne. If Dr. Wayne dies, Toombs' accusations are dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
  • While Shepard's actions in UNC: Geth Incursions have no effect on Mass Effect 2, hacking geth data files during the mission is necessary to trigger Tali's personal mission, which does have an effect on Mass Effect 2.
  • If the entire string of Cerberus assignments (UNC: Missing Marines→UNC: Cerberus→UNC: Hades' Dogs) are completed, you can talk with Miranda about these activities, and will hear news reports about an investigation, which can involve additional testimony from UNC: Dead Scientists depending on how or whether you completed that assignment. Finishing every assignment will cause Garrus to question Shepard's choice to work with Cerberus, reminding Shepard about the experiments they had done.
  • Shepard's decision in UNC: Hostage.
    • If Burns is saved, Shepard will receive an email from him thanking Shepard for showing him he should help humanity. The news report will mention that L2s have recently received reparations, with Burns promising more help. If Burns dies, the report will state that attacks by biotic extremists have increased.
  • Shepard's completion of UNC: Rogue VI.
    • This allows for additional dialogue options with EDI and Miranda regarding AIs.
  • A news report will reference the events on UNC: Besieged Base, but due to a bug in the first game, the file is flagged as stating that the Sirta Foundation never recovered from the attack and will likely be shutting down.
  • Shepard's decision to aid Nassana Dantius in UNC: Asari Diplomacy.
    • Nassana will recognize Shepard, and comment on the irony that Shepard has been "sent to kill her", referencing her sister's murder. During Shepard's conversation with Seryna, Shepard recognizes Nassana's name and that Nassana had Shepard kill her sister. Otherwise, Seryna will mention that Nassana had someone else do it.
  • Saving the hostages or killing Balak during Bring Down the Sky (DLC).
    • There will be different news reports depending on whether or not Shepard let Balak go to save the hostages. If Bring Down the Sky was not played, the news story indicates that the hostages died.

Mass Effect 2 → Mass Effect 2 (Existing Characters, New Characters) Edit

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, Mass Effect Andromeda Free Download PC Game Archives

'Mass Effect: Andromeda' Character Import Guide: How to save, share, import your Ryder

The Mass Effect: Andromeda character creator isn't as robust as those in other BioWare games, but there's still plenty of options to create a customized character you'll be happy to spend dozens of hours with over the course of your play-through.

In fact, there's a tool built into Mass Effect: Andromeda that lets you upload your character to the Mass Effect Archives website for others to use. You'll also be able to import other people's custom Ryders if you like the look someone else achieved.

Here's how it works

Mass Effect: Andromeda: Character importing through Mass Effect Archives

If you want to import and export your character data, you'll need to create an account on the Mass Effect Archives website. If you already have an EA account linked to your PSN or Xbox Live account, you can simply log in with that existing information.

Once you're logged in, you can comb through other players' custom Ryders, sorting them by how many times they've been "liked" by other players, how new they are, etc.

Once you find a face you want to use, click it, then click "use appearance." Then, within Mass Effect: Andromeda itself, click "import character data" when you're in the new character creator. You'll see it at the bottom of the menu once you enter the character customization screen.

It's a bit annoying that you have to navigate through faces outside the game itself, but it works.

Mass Effect: Andromeda sometimes takes a bit of time to actually show that you're connected to the internet, designated by the "status: online" text and the green dot beneath your username in the upper-right corner on the start screen. So, make sure you wait long enough for it to connect before you jump into character creation.

Once you select "import character data," you should see a confirmation that it was successful. Your character's appearance on screen should change automatically. If it doesn't, make sure you've selected the "customize appearance" option at the top of the screen. If you have the default Ryder appearance selected, their appearance will not change.

March 24, 2017, 10:46 a.m.: This story has been updated.

More Mass Effect news, updates, tips and tricks

For more on everyone's favorite space opera, check out the rest of what Mic has to offer. Here's an essay on the troubling history of colonialism in Mass Effect, a story about the horrifying harassment campaign carried out against a former BioWare employee, a guide to removing Ryder's helmet, a guide on romancing Keri, a guide to romancing Reyes and a quick explainer on the different types of health in Andromeda.

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Mass Effect Andromeda Free Download PC Game Archives

Mass Effect (video game)

Mass Effect
Publisher(s)Microsoft Game Studios
Director(s)Casey Hudson
Designer(s)Preston Watamaniuk
Programmer(s)David Falkner
Artist(s)Derek Watts
Writer(s)Drew Karpyshyn
Composer(s)Jack Wall
Sam Hulick
Richard Jacques
David Kates
SeriesMass Effect
EngineUnreal Engine 3
Platform(s)Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
    • NA: November 20, 2007
    • AU: November 22, 2007
    • EU: November 23, 2007
    Microsoft Windows
    • NA: May 28, 2008
    • AU: June 5, 2008
    • EU: June 6, 2008
    PlayStation 3
    • NA: December 4, 2012
    • EU: December 7, 2012
Genre(s)Action role-playing

Mass Effect is an action role-playingvideo game developed by BioWare and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Originally released for the Xbox 360 video game console in 2007, it is the first game of the Mass Effect series. The game takes place within the Milky Way galaxy in the year 2183, where civilization is threatened by a highly advanced machine race known as the Reapers. The player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier who must stop a rogue agent from carrying out the Reapers' galactic invasion. The gameplay requires the player to complete multiple quests that generally involve space exploration, squad and vehicular combat, and interaction with non-player characters.

Planned as the first chapter of a trilogy from the very beginning, Mass Effect was developed over the course of three and a half years and uses the Unreal Engine 3 as a groundwork. It was designed so that the player would assume the role of a central character that could make important decisions and impact the story of the game in numerous ways. The combat was designed to offer the tactics and customization of a role-playing game, but through a simpler and real-timethird-person shooter interface. In 2008 and 2009, two downloadable content packs that introduced new missions to the base game were released.

Mass Effect received critical acclaim from video game publications and sold more than one and a half million copies by January 2008. Critics praised the game's interactive storytelling and cinematic design, but criticized its unbalanced combat mechanics and poor artificial intelligence. The game received several year-end awards, including Best RPG at the 2007 Spike Video Game Awards and Roleplaying Game of the Year at the 2008 Interactive Achievement Awards. Mass Effect was ported to the Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3 platforms in 2008 and 2012, respectively. A sequel, Mass Effect 2, was released in 2010.


Mass Effect is a single-playeraction role-playing game in which the player takes the role of Commander Shepard from a third-person perspective.[1] Shepard's gender, appearance, military background, combat-training and first name are determined by the player before the game begins.[2] There are six different character classes for the player to choose from and each of them have different talents that provide enhanced combat capabilities.[3] For example, the Soldier class is trained in weapon damage and has improved health, while the Sentinel class is trained in protecting and healing allies.[3] At one point in the game, players may evolve their base class talent into one of two specializations, which depend on the class chosen by the player.[3] Although any class can use any weapon type, each class is only effective with the weapons they are trained in.[4]

The game's overworld is a galaxy map that the player can explore to find and complete quests. Most of the quests that progress the story consist of combat missions, while optional quests generally involve the player gathering items or interacting with non-player characters. As the player progresses throughout the game, six squad members become available, each with their own talents that can be developed.[1]Experience points are gained in multiple ways, such as completing quests, defeating enemies, or finding and collecting items around the environment.[5] Each time a sufficient amount of experience is obtained, the player "levels up" and is awarded a number of Talent Points that can be used to develop talents for both Shepard and the members of the squad.[5] Each talent has 12 ranks that can be unlocked, with each rank costing one Talent Point.[3]

The player's primary mode of transportation is a starship which serves as Shepard's base of operations.[6] Aboard the ship, the player can interact with the squad members, buy new equipment, and travel to numerous planetary systems. Although the game features a large number of planets for the player to examine, only a few of them can actually be landed on and explored.[1] Some of them can also be surveyed to search for valuable resources and quest-relevant items.[6] Upon landing on a planet, the player can traverse on foot or by using an all-terrain infantry fighting vehicle called the M35 Mako. Most of the game's main quests are geared toward on-foot combat, but some segments may feature combat requiring the use of the M35 Mako. In contrast, secondary quests usually require the player to explore free-roam uncharted worlds with the vehicle.[6] Equipment items, which include armor, weapon, and ammunition upgrades, can be found around the environment or purchased from merchants in settlements.[7]


In combat, the player can pause the action to display the squad's user interface and calmly select different powers for the squad members to use. The squad's health bars and shields are displayed at the bottom left corner of the screen.

Combat in Mass Effect is squad-based and two squad members accompany the player on the battlefield.[8] The player has direct control of Shepard while the squad members are controlled by the game's artificial intelligence.[1] Battles take place in real-time, but the player can pause the action at any time to calmly target enemies and select different talent abilities for the squad members to use.[1] The game uses an over the shoulder perspective akin to a third-person shooter, and features a cover system which allows players to strategically hide behind objects while fighting enemy forces.[1] The player may also issue orders to the squad members, such as sending them to take cover behind an object, scout ahead, regroup, or focus their fire on a designated target.[4]

Weapons range from pistols to shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles.[4] Although all of them have unlimited ammunition, they overheat if fired continuously for prolonged periods.[8] In addition, the player can use grenades which latch onto targets or flat surfaces to be remotely detonated.[4] Shepard and the squad members are protected by a health bar and damage-absorbing shields. The health bar only takes damage once the shields have been destroyed, but environmental hazards like heat or toxic agents may directly affect the health bar if they are not negated entirely by wearing appropriate armor.[6] The health bar can be restored with the use of items called Medi-gels, while shields automatically regenerate when not taking fire for a brief period. Some talents and equipment items can improve the healing rate or shield regeneration.[3] The player can revive fallen squad members with the use of the Unity talent. However, if Shepard dies, the player must start the game again from the last saved point.[3]

Dialogue and morality[edit]

During conversations with characters, Mass Effect employs a radial command menu, called Dialogue Wheel, where the player's dialogue options depend on wheel direction.[5] The left side of the wheel is normally reserved for options that will continue the conversation in depth, while options on the right side tend to move the conversation towards completion. Responses at the top are generally more polite and selfless, while those at the bottom are more aggressive and hostile.[5] Dialogue choices impact how others react to Shepard and affect the player's chosen morality. Morality is measured by Paragon (charm) and Renegade (intimidate) points. These points allow the player to develop talents that affect the availability of new special Paragon and Renegade dialogue options with significant impact in the game.[9]


Setting and characters[edit]

Mark Meer (left) and Jennifer Hale (right) provided the voices for the male and female protagonist of the game.

Mass Effect is set within the Milky Way galaxy in the year 2183 where interstellar travel is possible through the use of mass transit devices called Mass Relays, a technology believed to have been built by an extinct alien race known as the Protheans.[10] The term "Mass Effect" is defined as a form of mass-negating technology, allowing the creation of physics phenomena, like artificial gravity or FTL travel.[11] A conglomerate body of governments known as the Citadel Council controls a large percentage of the galaxy and is responsible for maintaining law and order among races of the galactic community.[12] Races that belong to the Citadel Council include humans, asari, salarians, and turians. Other alien races seen in the game include the reptilian krogan, the environmental suited quarians, and a hostile race of networked artificial intelligences called geth. Humanity is represented by the Systems Alliance, an organized body that joined the galactic community in 2157.[13]

The protagonist of the game is Commander Shepard (voiced by Mark Meer or Jennifer Hale), a graduate of the Systems Alliance special forces program and a candidate to become the first human member of the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance (Spectre) force, agents given broad authority by the Citadel Council to protect the galaxy. Shepard's squad members include human Systems Alliance marine Kaidan Alenko (Raphael Sbarge), human Systems Alliance soldier Ashley Williams (Kimberly Brooks), turian Citadel Security officer Garrus Vakarian (Brandon Keener), krogan mercenary Urdnot Wrex (Steven Barr), quarian mechanic Tali'Zorah (Ash Sroka), and asari exoarchaeologistLiara T'Soni (Ali Hillis). Other characters include SSV Normandy captain David Anderson (Keith David) and SSV Normandy's pilot Jeff "Joker" Moreau (Seth Green).[14]


Shepard and Kaidan are sent to the human colony of Eden Prime to recover an unearthed Prothean beacon. They repel an attack by the geth, rescuing Ashley in the process. Rogue turian Spectre, Saren Arterius, activates the beacon before escaping. Shepard reaches the beacon and receives a vision showing scenes of war and death. The SSV Normandy and its crew are summoned by Ambassador Donnel Udina to the Citadel Station, but Shepard is unable to convince the Citadel Council of Saren's treason without solid evidence. Shepard meets Garrus and Wrex, and rescues Tali, who possesses a recording of a conversation between Saren and asari Matriarch, Benezia. The two discuss their victory while also mentioning an artifact called the "Conduit" and the return of the Reapers, a highly advanced machine race of synthetic-organic starships believed to eradicate all organic civilization every 50,000 years. The Council revokes Saren's Spectre status and makes Shepard the first human Spectre. Shepard is also handed command of the Normandy by Anderson, and begins to follow several leads provided by him and Udina.

On the world of Therum, Shepard rescues Benezia's daughter Liara T'Soni, who joins Shepard's squad because of her biotic abilities and expertise of the Protheans. On the colony of Feros, Shepard fights off Saren's forces and learns that his flagship, Sovereign, possesses unique mind-control capabilities. On the world of Noveria, Shepard tracks down and defeats Benezia, who reveals that she and Saren are being indoctrinated by Sovereign. Meanwhile, the Council informs Shepard that a salarian infiltration unit has uncovered Saren's main base on Virmire. Upon arrival, Shepard learns that Saren has discovered a cure for the krogan genetic disease, the genophage, and plans to breed an army of unstoppable krogan warriors. Wrex clashes with Shepard over whether to destroy it, which results in him either standing down or being executed. After this conflict, Shepard assists the salarians in destroying the base by planting a bomb in it. Inside, Shepard is confronted by Sovereign, who reveals itself to be an actual Reaper.

Sovereign reveals that the Reapers remain outside the Milky Way waiting for organic life to develop and discover the Mass Relays, before harvesting them when they reach their peak. Afterwards, Shepard must choose between saving Ashley or Kaidan, who have both been pinned down with the bomb about to explode. Shepard also finds Saren, who claims that his allegiance to Sovereign will save organic life forms by demonstrating their usefulness to the Reapers. Liara is then able to pinpoint the Conduit's location back on the Normandy: a Prothean world known as Ilos. There, Shepard learns that the Citadel Station is actually a huge Mass Relay that the Reapers use to invade the galaxy. During the last extinction cycle, a few Protheans survived on Ilos via cryopreservation and then re-entered the Citadel Station via the Conduit, a reverse-engineered miniature Mass Relay disguised aboard the station as a statue. The Protheans sabotaged the Citadel to prevent the Reapers from remotely activating the Citadel Mass Relay, which Saren plans to undo to allow Sovereign to trigger the Reaper invasion.

After fighting through heavy geth forces at the Conduit, Shepard confronts Saren at the Citadel. Saren is either killed by Shepard or commits suicide if Shepard convinces him to rebel. The Destiny Ascension, the Citadel's flagship with the Council on board, then requests assistance; Shepard must either risk heavy human casualties to save them or sacrifice them to pursue Sovereign. Sovereign then reanimates Saren's corpse to attack Shepard, while simultaneously fighting off the Alliance. Eventually, Saren's corpse is destroyed, and Sovereign is dispatched by the Normandy. For prevailing, Humanity is either invited to join the Council if it was saved, or becomes its new leader if it was left to perish. Regardless, Shepard can nominate either Anderson or Udina to this new leadership position before leaving the proceedings, vowing to end the Reaper threat.


Mass Effect was developed by BioWare and directed by Casey Hudson, who previously directed BioWare's 2003 title Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.[15] Preproduction of the game began in early 2004, shortly after the Microsoft Windows version of Knights of the Old Republic was released.[16] As the development team was already experienced with the Xbox console, they decided to develop the game originally for its successor, the Xbox 360, due to its improved processing power and development tools.[16] A total of 130 people were involved in the development of the game and the first six to eight months were spent conceiving how the game would look.[17]Mass Effect uses the Unreal Engine 3 as a groundwork, but on top of that the team developed additional components for advanced digital actors, space exploration, and squad combat, resulting in BioWare's largest programming project at the time.[16] During the game's three- to four-year development cycle, most of the time had been devoted to the development of these technologies.[16]

As BioWare wanted to create a big and memorable story, Mass Effect was envisioned as the first chapter of a trilogy from the very beginning, and having a considerable technological basis would help shorten the development cycle of its future sequels.[16] Instead of designing a role-playing game where the player would control a blank protagonist, the developers wanted players to assume the role of a central character that would have to make important decisions.[15] According to Hudson, this approach would allow them to create a unique "level of intensity and cinematic power", while at the same time give the player the same role-playing customization as previous BioWare games.[18] Choices and consequences were a high priority, as developers did not want players to follow a pre-determined path.[19] Since the game would feature a wide range of dialogue options when the player interacts with in-game characters, the team created the dialogue wheel to help players know which responses belong to which emotions.[20] The use of digital actors allowed developers to create conversations where characters would speak by using facial expressions and body movement.[21]

Hudson explained that they wanted to evolve the pseudo-turn-based combat of Knights of the Old Republic into a real-time third-person shooter interface.[22] The combat was meant to offer the tactics and customization of a role-playing game, but through a simpler and more intuitive user interface.[18] It was also designed so that players would not need to press many buttons to pull off the squad's different attack combinations.[23] The team worked closely with Microsoft on several elements of the interface to make sure the combat was tactical enough,[24] and went through a lot of trial and error to balance the combat between role-playing game and shooter.[24] Creating a great sense of discovery was a major goal. Developers wanted the game to feature an actual galaxy that could be explored beyond the core story locations.[16] Although a very large team manually built several parts of the galaxy, the tools and technologies they developed helped them extend the playable space significantly.[25]

Jack Wall was the main composer of Mass Effect.

Drew Karpyshyn, who previously served as a senior writer for Knights of the Old Republic, was the lead writer for Mass Effect.[26] Despite the fact that each of the game's planets had one primary writer, all of the writers involved in the production had to review each other's work and offer criticism. This process of collaborative feedback and individual effort is common at BioWare, and it behooved Karpyshyn to make sure the style was consistent across all different areas.[26] One of the biggest challenges the writers faced was the amount of volume they were required to write to support the game's multiple dialogue paths and story outcomes.[26] It took them three years to get everything into the game, which featured about 400,000 words and more than 20,000 lines of spoken dialogue.[26][27] According to Karpyshyn, this is roughly the equivalent of 20 movies or 4-5 full novels.[27]

Films such as Star Wars, Alien, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Blade Runner, Starship Troopers, and especially Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, were major influences on the atmosphere and artistic qualities of the game.[16][28][29] The team chose Jack Wall, who also penned the music for BioWare's 2005 title Jade Empire, as the main composer of Mass Effect due to his ability to produce a wide range of musical styles.[16] Hudson had a clear idea of what kind of music he wanted in the game, but gave Wall certain artistic freedom to express himself.[30] According to Wall, the main vision was to "marry the electronic instrument palatte [sic] of the late 70's/early 80's with more organic elements."[31] Wall had never written this style of music before,[31] but composer Sam Hulick helped him develop the electronic sound on a classic orchestral foundation.[16] By the end of the project, composers Richard Jacques and David Kates joined Wall and Hulick to finish the score on time.[32] While a total of 110 minutes of music was written for the game, all in-game and cinematic music was crafted as multiple stems to maximize their use and variety.[32] The game went gold on October 22, 2007.[33]

Marketing and release[edit]

Mass Effect was officially announced at the X05 trade show in Amsterdam on October 4, 2005, as an Xbox 360 exclusive.[21][34] In May 2006, a demo of the game was presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and subsequently won Best Role Playing Game at the Game Critics Awards.[35][36]IGN editors awarded the game for Best Graphics Technology and Most Innovative Design at their Best of E3 2006 Awards.[37][38] They also listed it as one of the most anticipated games of 2007.[39] New features of the game were detailed at the X06 trade show in Barcelona in September 2006,[40] while the first hour of gameplay was shown at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March 2007.[41]Mass Effect was then presented at E3 in July 2007, where it received Game Critics Awards for Best Console Game and Best Role Playing Game,[42] and at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany in August 2007.[43] The game's release date was announced on August 30, 2007.[44] If the game was pre-ordered at certain retailers in Australia, players could receive a complimentary bonus disc which included a five-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, tracks from the game's soundtrack, and a number of trailers.[45]

Mass Effect was released for the Xbox 360 on November 20, 2007, in North America.[46] However, the street date was broken in Australia on November 16, 2007, by EB Games, which received copies of the game early and took it as a sign to begin distributing.[47] The game was released in both Standard and Limited Collector's Edition format. The Limited Collector's Edition included a bonus disc of exclusive Mass Effect background material, a soundtrack, and design galleries featuring more than 600 pieces of artwork with full audio commentaries.[48] A soundtrack album titled Mass Effect Original Soundtrack, which features 37 tracks of the game and covers a duration of 1:15:59, was released in conjunction with the game.[49] The album includes the song "M4 (Part II)" by Canadian electronic rock band Faunts, which is featured in the game during the end credits.[50]

A Microsoft Windows version ported by Demiurge Studios was released on May 28, 2008. This version features optimized controls designed specifically for personal computers, high-resolution graphics, a new user interface, and other minor changes.[51] BioWare initially intended to use SecuROM, a digital rights management software which would require online activation after installation and additional authentication checks every ten days. However, the company ultimately decided not to use it after listening to criticism from fans.[52] In 2012, Mass Effect was ported to Sony's PlayStation 3 console by Edge of Reality, featuring lighting and visual effects improvements.[53] It was released digitally on the PlayStation Network and as part of the Mass Effect Trilogy compilation.[53] In 2015, Mass Effect was added to the list of backward compatible Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.[54]

Downloadable content[edit]

Mass Effect features two downloadable content packs. The first pack, Bring Down the Sky, was released as a paid download for the Xbox 360 on March 10, 2008, and as a free download for Microsoft Windows on May 28, 2008.[55] The pack is included in the PlayStation 3 version of the game, which was released on December 4, 2012.[56]Bring Down the Sky introduces a new mission where the player must explore an asteroid using the Mako and prevent it from striking an Earth-like planet. It also includes a new alien race and additional side-quest content.[57] According to BioWare, the adventure takes 90 minutes to complete.[55] Ryan Geddes of IGN highlighted the pack's included extras and "stunning" visuals,[57] while Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer criticized its lack of narrative weight and reuse of outpost maps that are also available in the base game.[58]

The second pack, Pinnacle Station, was released as a paid download for the Xbox 360 and as a free download for Microsoft Windows on August 25, 2009.[56][59] However, it remains absent on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.[56] The pack introduces a training facility where the player can compete in eight virtual reality combat scenarios, divided into four different game types like Deathmatch and Capture the flag.[59] After beating the combat scenarios, the player needs to complete four more to unlock a special survival mode, which is the same as the previous survival challenges but requires players to last five minutes.[59] BioWare described Pinnacle Station as "a Fight Club-style arena" and originally intended to include a similar arena in the base game, but the idea was ultimately dropped because they were not able to do it well enough.[60] The pack received mediocre reviews from critics,[61] who called it uninspiring and unnecessary.[59][62]


Critical response[edit]

Upon release, Mass Effect received critical acclaim from video game publications.[65] The game's interactive storytelling and cinematic design were highlighted very positively, while the combat and vehicle navigation were generally seen as the game's weakest features.[1][70][77] Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot described Mass Effect as "a great game with moments of brilliance and a number of small but significant obstacles that hold it back from reaching its true potential."[1] Similarly, IGN's Erik Brudvig considered it greater than the sum of its parts, stating that although Mass Effect features numerous technical issues, most of the game "is so expertly delivered that it can transcend its weaknesses."[77]

Writing for Game Informer, Andrew Reiner said that the game's interactive storytelling encourages replay and that its detailed story "makes the relationships feel real—you care about your crew, and you really feel like you have a voice that resonates throughout the galaxy."[70] Alex Dale of CVG stated similar pros, stating that "never before has storytelling been so competently ingrained into a videogame, and never before has a player had so much freedom to dictate the course of a linear storyline."[67] Similar praise was given to the game's detailed character models, facial animations, and voice acting.[1][74] Jennifer Tsao of felt the digital actors evoked real-life expressions, but admitted that the lip sync had some issues.[66] Although the visuals were credited for their dramatic set pieces and evocative soundtrack, critics noted the game's inconsistent frame rate and long loading times.[1][69]

Cameron Lewis of GamePro praised the game's story, depth, and presentation,[71] while Paul Curthoys of Official Xbox Magazine remarked that the game "bothers with emotions and moments that most games don't concern themselves with", describing it as "a great science-fiction novel in video game form."[78] In contrast, Edge concluded that the space opera setting failed to provide "the myth and exotica to adequately follow Star Wars".[68] The publication also criticized the cast of characters and overall tone, saying that Mass Effect "strives so hard to be taken seriously that it winds up feeling relentlessly dour."[68] Kristan Reed of Eurogamer noted the game's slow start and overwhelming setting, observing that it would confuse players before they know what the main game is about.[69]

The combat was generally criticized for its unbalanced mechanics and poor artificial intelligence of the squad members.[70][77]Edge commented that the game's role-playing elements did not blend well with its action,[68] while IGN criticized the squad mechanics for not having enough weight, stating that the squad members "are quite often no more useful than cannon fodder to draw the enemy away from you."[77] The inventory management was also a subject of criticism, with describing it as painful and tedious.[66] The galaxy exploration was favorably compared to the 1986 adventure gameStarflight and the number of optional missions was highlighted positively,[67][73][79] but the Mako sections were disparaged for their rocky planetary design and clumsy combat mechanics.[1] The Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3 versions of the game received similar criticism to the Xbox 360 version.[72][75][76]


In the United States, Mass Effect debuted at #6 on The NPD Group's video game sales chart for November 2007, with sales of 473,000 copies.[80]The simExchange had previously forecast 328,000 sales for the period.[81] By the following month, the game was absent from NPD's top 10.[82]Mass Effect proceeded to sell over one million units worldwide within fewer than three weeks on shelves, according to Microsoft vice president Jeff Bell.[81] Sales rose to 1.6 million copies after six weeks of availability,[83] and VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi noted in March 2008 that the game was "expected to cross 2 million in sales, generating an estimated $120 million".[84] In November 2008, the game's Xbox 360 version received a "Gold" certification from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, indicating lifetime sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[85] In April 2011, it was reported that both Mass Effect and its sequel have combined sold more than seven million units worldwide.[86]


Mass Effect received several year-end awards, including Best RPG at the 2007 Spike Video Game Awards,[87] Roleplaying Game of the Year at the 11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards,[88] and Best RPG at the IGN Best of 2007 Awards.[89] In addition, The New York Times selected Mass Effect as its Game of the Year.[90] In 2008, IGN editors ranked the game number 1 on their list of Top 25 Xbox 360 games.[91]


Mass Effect has an optional subplot where the player can develop a romantic relationship with a non-player character. If the relationship becomes more intimate, a cutscene containing partial nudity and sexual activity is shown. The scene first came under scrutiny in an article by neoconservative blogger Kevin McCullough, who employed statements such as "Mass Effect can be customized to sodomise whatever, whomever, however, the game player wishes", and "with its over the net capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away."[114] The article was criticized by the gaming community and long-time anti-obscenity campaigner Jack Thompson, who said that "this contrived controversy is absolutely ridiculous."[115] Although McCullough ultimately issued an apology, he still considered the material offensive.[116]

Similarly, a Fox News program by Martha MacCallum discussed the sexual content of the game.[117] MacCallum stated that the game "leaves nothing to the imagination" and features the ability for players to "engage in full graphic sex."[118] Self-proclaimed psychology specialist Cooper Lawrence and video game journalist Geoff Keighley were also interviewed. Lawrence described sexual content in video games as teaching their active users to consider women as objects of desire valued solely for their sexuality. She added that the game's player character is a man who decides how many women he wants to be with.[117] Keighley focused on challenging the accuracy of her statements and asked her if she actually played the game, to which she responded "No".[117] BioWare's parent company Electronic Arts requested a correction from Fox News, but they simply responded that the company had been offered a chance to appear on the channel.[117]

After watching someone play the game for about two-and-a-half hours, Lawrence eventually retracted her earlier statements.[117] She added that she had been told the game was similar to pornography, and noted that she "has seen episodes of Lost that are more sexually explicit."[117] In the interim, largely as a reaction from an offended gaming community, her latest book attracted many customer reviews on Amazon which rated it one star out of five. Many of these reviews satirically noted that they had not read her book, but heard from someone else that the book was bad, and thus voted low.[117]Mass Effect was also banned in Singapore for a short time before it was lifted with an M18 rating. Censors in the country said that a scene with an alien and human female caressing was the main reason why the game was not allowed to be sold in video game stores.[119]


Since Mass Effect was planned as the first chapter of a trilogy, development of a sequel began shortly before the game was released.[120] The sequel, entitled Mass Effect 2, was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010, and for PlayStation 3 on January 18, 2011. With the import of a completed saved game of the original Mass Effect, the player can impact the story of Mass Effect 2 in numerous ways.[121] The sequel was a critical success and received multiple year-end awards, including Game of the Year at the 2011 D.I.C.E. Awards and Best Game at the 2011 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards.[122][123]


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