'Tis the season to get in some gaming. And we know with a winter vacation coming up for some of you, there's plenty you could be involving yourself with between Christmas and New Year's. One title that you definitely don't want to pass up is Mass Effect, as EA and BioWare have just released the Mass Effect Trilogy for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Yes, Sony system owners, you can finally play the original and see what all the hubbub is about.
And though most of you have already beaten the game and seen what choices you can get out of it – whether it's being a complete jerk or the bravest space captain your universe has ever seen – it's always worth going through again, just for the sake of seeing where different choices could've gone. With that, we've provided a few reasons why you should revisit the far reaches of this galaxy, even if you swore you've seen everything that it has to offer.
The original is still one of this generation's impressive games.
Sure, Mass Effect 2 and 3 really picked up in terms of depth, and managed to round out the trilogy as a whole, but you really shouldn't forget where the series got its start. The original Mass Effect came out in 2007, five years ago (!), to much critical acclaim, introducing not only a choice system where you could decide how to act and, more importantly, who lived and who died over the course of your journey. It also introduced the evil Sovereign, whom Shepard first faces off against in the wake of the pending Reaper invasion.
The original Mass Effect is well worth revisiting, not only because of its fun space combat and huge decision making, but also because of vehicles. Done away with – for the most part – in later games, vehicles play a pivotal part when it comes to getting around from place to place. Granted, it wasn't anything like a full-fledged driving game, but it still feels like part of the adventure.
If you don't feel like paying $60 for the trilogy to play the original, we've got good news. You can also download the original Mass Effect through PSN for $14.99, though you'll need 7 GB of hard drive space to take it all in. (Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, along with their respective DLC, is also available on the service.)
It's all about love, baby.
One deeper aspect to the Mass Effect games is being able to form relationships. Some people will grow keen on you depending on the choices you make, and soon enough, you might be (ahem) exploring with them a little deeper than expected through intimate contact. This created a huge buzz with the original game's release, and it's still a huge part of this series now.
But be careful – where some people will grow fond of you, others will feel betrayed, and it's interesting going through the game more than once, just to see what comes from the alliances and break-ups. It's like a soap opera that you'll totally be able to tolerate.
The dramatic moments are worth reliving.
One of Mass Effect's biggest aspects is being able to tell a story. And though it's not always easy to take – witness a child's death at the beginning of Mass Effect 3 if you need further proof – it does add to the emotional force that the series is able to convey. And some of these points are worth reliving again, especially if you find that a choice could've been made for the better – or worse – to save that particular person.
We won't go into spoiler territory here, for the sake of those who still might not have gone around to playing Mass Effect yet, but you're really in for something spectacular when you witness a character's death or find a revelation indicating that they're not quite who you think they are. That's the power of BioWare's storytelling, in a nutshell. And you shouldn't miss it.
Finally, get a new class.
There are various classes you can play with through the Mass Effect games. Though one straight up pattern may work for you – like, say, the Sentinel – there are others with their own perks, including Vanguard, Adept, Soldier and Engineer, as Specialization Classes, ranging from Bastion, Commando and Medic all the way to Nemesis and Shock Trooper, for those that can handle their abilities. Squad members can also help in certain ways, depending on their classes, and trying a new battle party could have a better – or worse – effect on your battles. You never know until you try.
In case you didn't understand before, the Mass Effect Trilogy is one of those series that's infinitely replayable due to the various choices that can be made, the hours' worth of missions to find, and, of course, the additional downloadable content and multiplayer that come with the later chapters in the series. If you haven't played it yet, you really need to hop on board the Normandy.
Mass Effect Trilogy is available now for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Get our official strategy guide for Mass Effect 3!