The Story So Far: Mass Effect


Posted January 25, 2010 - By pklepek

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The Story So Far: Mass Effect

The time has come! Tomorrow, Electronic Arts and BioWare release Mass Effect 2, the second in their sci-fi trilogy. BioWare is a storyteller, always introducing new worlds, characters and adventures. Mass Effect was the start of a new one, but like many games this generation, the first entry was not without troubles. Some issues -- haphazard combat, imbalanced classes, frustrating vehicle control -- stopped people from playing altogether. By all accounts, Mass Effect 2 seems vastly improved. That's where we come in. If you're getting ready to jump into Mass Effect 2 and never played the original or if it's been a few years since you hung out with Commander Shepard, we're here to catch you up.

It should go without saying, but SPOILER ALERT ahead!

How It All Began...

At its core, Mass Effect is about about the three-part journey of Commander Shepard, your Commander Shepard. Mass Effect allows players to customize the look and actions of the chosen leader of humanity. It's a big job. Mass Effect opens in 2138 AD, a period where humans discovered advanced technology on Mars that allowed them to leave the solar system, encounter other alien races and begin the transition to joining intergalactic culture. It's not an easy process; no one trusts the humans.

Shepard must earn trust from the Council, a body of elite members of other alien races with influence over galactic decision-making. The Council's located on a massive starship called The Citadel, where much adventuring takes places. Shepard is tasked with investigating a recovered alien beacon on the human colony of Eden Prime. Shepard heads there with future squadmate Kaidan Alenko and a turian (another alien race) Spectre (a label for trusted Council agents) to investigate the beacon.

The Story So Far: Mass Effect

Upon landing on Eden Prime, the Specre is killed and Shepard discovers Mass Effect's central villain, a rogue turian Spectre named Saren Arterius, and has a vision of the future. Shepard and company witness Saren's evil actions first-hand but the Council does not believe them. At that point, Shepard takes command of the SSV Normandy and must find out what Saren -- and others -- are up to.

And Then Over The Next 20 Hours (Or So)...

Well, quite a bit.

The Story So Far: Mass Effect

Shepard becomes the first human Spectre, meets up with his squadmates -- Ashley Williams, Liara T'Soni, Kaidan Alenko, Garrus Vakarian, Urdnot Wrex, Tali'Zorah nar Rayya -- and makes complicated moral decisions with unknown implications in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. These decisions determine who lives and who dies, choices that could ultimately remove their role from future stories in your version of the Mass Effect universe.

He also discovers Saren isn't really the one humanity and the rest of the known univers needs to worry about. Saren's just a mean puppet. The real bad guys are a race of machines known as the Reapers, sentient beings who wipe the galaxies clear of organic life every so often. Those mass relay stations that allow everyone to run around the universe so quickly? Built by the Reapers.

Why do the Reapers hit the big delete button? They don't need a reason. They do it because they can (also, because it's not actually revealed in the original Mass Effect and they need to save details for the sequels!).

During a assault on the Citadel at the end of the game, Shepard is able to push back the Reapers and one of two scenarios plays out. In one, Shepard lets the Council die but in saving the Citadel, humanity becomes the new galactic leader. In another, Shepard saves the Council and his actions convince the Council of the Reaper threat. In doing so, Shepard earns humanity a spot on the Council. Shepard picks who will take that seat -- Ambassador Udina (who is a jerk) or Captain Anderson (who is cool).

Roll credits!

Which Leads Us To Mass Effect 2...


Mass Effect 2 Launch Trailer »


I don't know about you, but I'm sure as hell ready to "Fight For The Lost."

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The Story So Far: Mass Effect


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