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Mass Effect is the first part of a science fiction RPG trilogy. It is set in a futuristic universe created specifically for the game, with its own history, various alien races, as well as cultural, political, and social background.

The story of the game deals with Commander Shepard, supposedly the first human candidate for the elite group of special agents (the Spectres), who serve the inter-galactic Council, comprised of the oldest and most powerful races in the universe. With or without the help of the Council, Shepard has to stop Saren, a Spectre member who went rogue and tries to exact revenge upon those he was once a part of.

In Mass Effect the player takes control of Commander Shepard, who is fully customizable in the character creation screen; his abilities, gender, and physical appearance can be shaped by the player. Both female and male versions of the character are fully voiced.

Combat in the game is action-based, and is similar to tactical squad-based shooters. As in most of BioWare's previous RPGs, the player can pause at any time to issue orders to other squad members. The squad members are AI-dependable, but general commands (such as run forward, take cover, target a specific enemy, etc) can be issued without pausing.

The six character classes in the game are Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard. Soldiers are good with weapons, Engineers can use tech abilities to sabotage enemies' equipment, and Adepts are able to use the disruptive biotic powers. The other three classes are combinations of the first three. Character growth features, beside the usual "level up" system, a skill-based advancement. When the characters gain a level, the player is allowed to distribute points into skills of his/her choice. These skills include weapon proficiency, tech abilities such as destroying enemy shields or hacking robotic enemies, and biotic abilities that manipulate the mass effect field to damage enemies and protect the party. Non-combat abilities for the main character include Charm and Intimidate, which influences conversation choices.

Mass Effect comes with its own morality system. There are two sides of morality in the game - Paragon and Renegade, with Paragon being a more diplomatic, official military courtesy following character, and Renegade being the "ends justify the means", damning everything to hell kind of character. The main quest with its choices and consequences is only a part of the experience - there are several optional planets that offer side-questing and exploration. Pursuing a romantic relationship with a companion is also possible.

The game introduces a slightly tweaked conversation system in which responses to NPC's are displayed and can be chosen before the NPC has finished speaking. This, combined with detailed facial expressions, allows for more fluid and natural conversations.

The PC version of Mass Effect differs in some points from the Xbox 360 release. Besides higher resolution graphics, the mini game about hacking a computer has been changed. Now instead of playing "Simon Says", the player has to get a triangle into the middle of a circle by avoiding the blocks that are constantly moving around in a Frogger-like fashion. The interface has also undergone massive changes. Besides a new quick slot bar in which the player can assign up to eight abilities for quick access to the number keys, the pause menu has been changed to give the player faster and better control over his teammates. It's now also possible to give every teammate individual orders instead of having both do the same thing. Item management has also been simplified to account for the new keyboard/mouse control scheme which also allows for better precision in the shooter-like fights.


Mass Effect Windows Pausing the combat to issue precise orders to party members.
Mass Effect Windows Your journal keeps track of quests.
Mass Effect Windows The Citadel is the main "hub" of the game.
Mass Effect Windows As you are aiming at the asari commando, she uses a biotic power on you, distorting your vision.

Promo Images

Mass Effect Screenshot
Mass Effect Wallpaper
Mass Effect Screenshot
Mass Effect Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "ME1" -- Common abbreviation (retroactive)

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

An epic adventure of the most humble proportions. St. Martyne (3649) 2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars
Hardly massive, and not too effective Unicorn Lynx (181445) 3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars
Biowarian Imperialism At It's Worst The Fabulous King (1337) 3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars
The expanding universe NeoJ (455) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Neither fish nor fowl - but nourishing nonetheless Kit Simmons (264) 3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars
An astounding experience from square one. Absolutely recommended! Tomer Gabel (4634) 4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars
The importance of having heart Kaddy B. (796) 3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars
Save the universe, collect hidden briefcase, chase monkeys and bore yourself to death. dreamstealer (146) 2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars
An alright game, Earth-Clan Asinine (1006) 3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars

Critic Reviews

Imperium Gier Jul 11, 2008 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100 Jun 05, 2008 18 out of 20 90 May 27, 2008 89 out of 100 89
ActionTrip Jun 04, 2008 8.8 out of 10 88
PC Games (Germany) Jun, 2008 85 out of 100 85
gameZine (UK) Jun 26, 2008 8.5 out of 10 85
TTGamer Jun 12, 2008 8.5 out of 10 85
CanardPC Jun 01, 2008 8 out of 10 80
Yiya Jul 03, 2008 12 out of 15 80
games xtreme Jun 26, 2008 8 out of 10 80


Topic # Posts Last Post
Rate My Shepard 11 phrostey2307
Nov 20, 2009
Yeow. What a lousy port. 12 Indra was here (20853)
Mar 22, 2009
UPDATED: I cannot role-play evil or ruthless characters 19 St. Martyne (3649)
Aug 11, 2008
First Impressions 36 Unicorn Lynx (181445)
Jun 20, 2008
Who would've thought? 12 The Fabulous King (1337)
Apr 01, 2008
World(USA, but I'm being PC)filled with dumbfucks! 36 bächtërmän (125)
Feb 28, 2008
Xbox360 for this game? 9 The Fabulous King (1337)
Dec 17, 2007
Bah! 6 St. Martyne (3649)
Dec 14, 2007


1001 Video Games

Mass Effect appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Drew Karpyshyn, writer/designer at Bioware, has written two books set in the Mass Effect universe so far, Mass Effect: Revelation and its sequel Mass Effect: Ascension.


Regarding the corporate enclave planet with an arctic climate -- Noveria, where the normal laws of Citadel Space do not apply -- the name of the planetary capital, Port Hanshan, is a romanization of the Chinese for "cold mountain," a reasonable name for a city on an arctic planet. On Earth, there are currently at least two geographic areas in China which have that name, and in ancient times there was also a poet who used that pen name. Perhaps the first people to lay claim to the planet, or to underwrite the colony, were representatives of a Chinese corporation. The actual Chinese would be 寒山端口 (Hánshān Duānkǒu).


The game's street date was broken multiple times. In the United States, several K-Mart stores started selling the game on 9th November 2007, eleven days before the official release date. The same happened in Australia, where EB games started distributing it on 16th November 2007. Other retailers quickly started selling the game early as well.

Singapore ban

The game was initially banned in Singapore, because a female character is able to pursue a same-sex love scenario (spoiler alert) with another female alien character. The ban was eventually overturned by the same government censorship body itself and it now carries an M18 rating.


  • GamePro (Germany)
    • March 28, 2008 - Best Console RPG in 2007 (Readers' Vote)
  • GameSpy
    • 2007 – #8 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #6 Console Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #5 Xbox 360 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – Xbox 360 Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2007 – Xbox 360 RPG of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Soundtrack/Score of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Voice Acting of the Year
    • 2008 – #8 PC Game of the Year
Information also contributed by 88 49 and Alaedrain

Related Web Sites

Cantillon (50889) added Mass Effect (Windows) on May 29, 2008
Other platforms contributed by Kennyannydenny (126799) and The Fabulous King (1337)
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