5 Reasons to Relive the Original “Mass Effect” Trilogy

Today is the launch of the new Mass Effect game, Andromeda. As a huge fan of the original Mass Effect trilogy, this game is a day one purchase for me that I’m excited to sink the next few weeks of my life into.

But it’s those first three Mass Effect games — the original trilogy — that made me fall in love with this series. The first games follow Commander Shepard, and I have an extreme fondness for that character and story. They’ll stick with me forever.

Andromeda brings a whole new cast and tale — a new time period in this galaxy we already know and love. Because of all these new elements being introduced (including open world exploration), I’m not sure what I’ll make of this game. I’ll also reserve judgment on the characters who join my hero, as your companions in BioWare games are so vital to the story — you need that feeling of adventuring with friends. But I’m curious, cautiously optimistic, and certainly excited at the prospect of a new adventure in this galaxy, however it pans out.

What I do know is that if you love the original trilogy with Commander Shepard, it’s totally worth playing again. I’m currently working my way through the series and am in the middle of the second game. (Oh, Thane Krios, I missed you so much!) Whether or not we fall in love with Andromeda, Shepard’s story will live on to make those original Mass Effect games some of the most beloved by gamers. Here are a just a few reasons to relive them. =)

Create Your Commander

Just one of my many Shepards

In the trilogy, you play as Commander Shepard, a member of the Alliance Military who becomes a Spectre for the galactic government. As such, you’re essentially a special agent who lives outside the “rules.” But despite this path for your character and your given last name, you get to build your Shepard the way you like: Choose your gender, appearance, character class, and backstory to create your own, unique hero.

I love creating characters in RPGs anyway, but there’s something special about Shepard. All of the customization options really make me feel connected to her. (Or him. But mine’s always a her.) Being able to go back and try out a different character class and backstory subtly affects my experience each time, making it totally worth the replay.

Pave Your Own Heroic Path

Commander Shepard is a hero, no matter what. She faces overwhelming odds in her mission to save the galaxy. (No spoilers!) But what makes the hero’s journey so interesting is that you get to make decisions that affect the way the world looks by the end of the trilogy. You can even save entire alien races from extinction — or play a hand in their destruction. Things get intense, but the point is, you get to play heroics however you want. There are only a few decisions I’ll never change in future playthroughs, but I’ve already experimented with different approaches and found the results varied and exciting every time.

Play Nice… or Not

Shepard Normandy inspection
Red = Renegade option

Though smaller scale than the sweeping moral decisions I just mentioned, you’ll get even more opportunities to shape your Shepard’s personality. Not just the decisions you make, but also the dialogue choices you select and the way you approach others affect this. You can choose to be a Paragon (the “nice guy” hero, designated on in-game choices by a blue color) or a Renegade (the “tough guy” hero, designated on in-game choices by a red color) — or something in between.

I like to mix the two or go for middle options, creating a “Paragade” Shepard who acts tough but has a good heart. Each time I play, she’s a little different mix of the two — I even did a playthrough where she started off full-on Renegade but softened to become a Paragon by Mass Effect 3 — and it’s interesting to see how that changes the story and Shepard’s relationships.

Make Friends with Aliens

Thane is always one of my Shepard’s besties

My favorite aspect of Mass Effect is that not only does it include unique alien races, but these aliens become your friends in the series. This is not one of those sci-fi stories about scary aliens from another planet who fight you to the death. Instead, you work alongside other races, developing friendships with them and even pursuing romances, if you choose. I love the feeling of camaraderie with these strangers who you get to know despite the fact that they look different and come from very different backgrounds.

The way this really plays into the series’ replay value is that you can bring two characters with you on any given mission. Typically, I find myself gravitating towards the same characters over and over during each playthrough — but I like choosing different options on my next go. For instance, I  used to roll with Garrus and Tali a lot; this time around, I had Kaidan and Wrex with me in Mass Effect 1. Each has unique dialogue during some missions that makes the replay even more fun.

Fall in Love

femshep_kaidanme2Speaking of romances, my favorite part of any BioWare game is probably the romance factor. You can pursue intimate relationships with various characters in Mass Effect — but it’s not always straightforward. For example, if you romance Kaidan Alenko, the human biotic lieutenant, in Mass Effect 1, you’ll have to decide in the second and third games whether to stay loyal to him or pursue other, new relationships that become available. There are consequences. I love the way these relationships ground the story and make you care even more about the characters than you did before. Plus, it’s a fun bit of role-playing to choose who you’re into and see if you can win them over! I like trying out different romances to see how they play out, so I’d say it’s one of the biggest boons of replaying the series.

Have you played the original Mass Effect trilogy… and if you have, have you ever gone back to it? I’m also curious to know who’s playing Andromeda and what everyone thinks of it!

— Ashley

18 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Relive the Original “Mass Effect” Trilogy”

  1. I played the previous trilogy to death (7 runs on the first game!) simply because there were so many options. I was disappointed by the ending (as were many) due to all those options adding up to very little, but that made some sense as in the grand scheme of the universe, those little things didn’t matter on their own.

    1. Oh that’s awesome! Yeah, the ending could have been so much better and more rewarding, but it’s still so interesting to see how the galaxy changes based on the different decisions you make. I guess I can see where those choices don’t make a difference in that final moment. That makes sense.

  2. I don’t know if I’ll ever play through the original trilogy again. It’s something I enjoy a lot, but I’ve also already done it so many times. I think I’d be okay doing the odd-numbered games again, but I’m not sure I can endure ME2 anymore, and skipping over it doesn’t feel right.

    I suppose I could make different decisions. While I have done some things differently over my playthroughs, there’s still a lot I’ve never tried. There’s some temptation to do a playthrough as male Shepard and maybe try some of the romances that are exclusive to him, but I really don’t like his voice-acting, and as for romances, I’d be overwhelmed by the choice, because he has too many appealing options. Do I go with Ashley? Miranda? Cortez? I like them all!

    Regarding Andromeda, I’ve pre-ordered, but my new computer hasn’t arrived yet (the day isn’t over yet, so I’m hoping it might arrive later). I could play it on my current computer, but I’d rather be able to see it in its full glory from the start, and downloading a 40 gig game twice in one month wouldn’t be great for my Internet bill.

    Since I know you were curious, my current plan is to roll fem Ryder and probably romance a scientist lady named Suvi. Supposedly she’s like a cross between Thane and Traynor, which sounds awesome. But I reserve the right to change my mind about any of that at the last minute. I’m having the same problem I did with Inquisition where both the romance options I’m interested in are exclusive to opposite genders (Sera and Dorian then, Suvi and Cora this time), so I kind of have to guess which I’ll like better and hope for the best. Maybe I’ll do a second playthrough as dude Ryder so I can romance Cora.

    1. A cross between Thane and Traynor does sound awesome! I’ll be playing a female Ryder too. I haven’t looked into the characters too much as I’m kinda hoping to be swept off my feet unexpectedly haha. Yeah, there’s a lot in the trilogy I still haven’t tried either, and actually there are some decisions I will never be able to bring myself to make! But there’s still enough variety that I enjoy replaying, from a role playing perspective. Also, it’s so funny my favorite game in the series is your least favorite.

      1. Some decisions just straight up shouldn’t be made. I am genuinely disturbed by the knowledge that somewhere out there is at least one person who chose to wipe out the Quarians and make Tali kill herself.

        From what I’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people think ME2 is the best game in the trilogy. I just have crap taste when it comes to… well everything.

  3. I’ve never played the original trilogy. I’d like to, but they haven’t really made it accessible on current consoles and my 360 red-ringed in December. Also, it sounds like there’s a lot of critical DLC, most of which isn’t included in the trilogy collection, and most of which rarely if ever goes on sale… and something about paying same-as-launch-day prices for content a generation old really rubs me the wrong way.

    These five are among many reasons why I’d love to have the experience, but the practical and financial limitations of doing so suggest I won’t ever actually do so. I hope Andromeda’s early reactions (and horrifying face gifs) are a fluke and the game justifies being my first ME game!

    1. I understand. I kept hoping for a remaster on new consoles but backwards compatibility is something at least. You’re right about the DLCs. I’m not a huge fan of playing extra for them anyway, and then years later to have no price drops… I don’t blame you! I do think it’s worth playing at least the first game on Xbox one with backwards compatibility, just to experience some of Shepard’s story, no DLC required! haha But yeah, I’m hoping Andromeda is good too. :)

    2. All three of the original games are playable as part of the XB1 backward compatibility, so if you have an XB1, it is pretty easy to play on that system. I’m not sure about the PS4 but I think that the series may be able to be played on PSNow.

      1. I have access to an Xbox 1, though I don’t own one. That said, it’s not the games I’m worried about, but the DLC. I guess one man’s entitlement is another man’s sticker shock, but the idea of having to pay so much in 2017 for ME1 or ME2 DLC just turns my stomach. And my understanding is that all three games have DLC that ranges from really good to essential, so I don’t consider skipping it and just playing the games as-shipped an option.

  4. I think you know my answer… You only need one reason to play the Mass Effect trilogy. That reason is that it’s Mass Effect.

    I’ve put so much time into the series that I consider myself a borderline expert in the series, and a die hard fan. I’ve been playing Andromeda for a while now, and I’m liking it so far, but I’m hoping I start loving it soon!

  5. Yes, I’ve played! And yes, I’d replay (and am replaying), because… well.. it’s Mass Effect haha. I even took leave of my senses and started putting videos of it up on YouTube.

    I agree with Mr. Falcon509 above. I’m liking Andromeda so far, but I’m hoping its potential unlocks soon and it flowers into a game that I love!

    1. Yes it’s so much fun to replay! I’ll have to check out your videos on YouTube, I love watching other people’s playthroughs too since everyone seems to make slightly different decisions! I have just barely started Andromeda. I’m kind of bracing myself for the fact that it will be different and may not be as good as the trilogy, but hopefully will still be a fun game. We shall see…

      1. Thanks for the follow! I hope you enjoy the videos (and the onslaught of Mass Effect posts on the blog haha). I’m just past the first mission in Andromeda. Although I wrote up some first impressions already, I’m withholding full judgment (good and bad) until I play the entire game. Yes, we shall see!

  6. I think I’m of the opinion people shulouod play the originals first, they are just so damn good!

    1. Yes, I agree! I know someone who hasn’t played and wants to try Andromeda first since it’s the new one… but I’m telling them it’s not going to be the same! You have to play at least one game from the trilogy first. I agree with you there. :)

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