How to play Mass Effect games in order

Image via BioWare

It’s hard to believe that the first Mass Effect game was released nearly two decades ago, but it’s even harder to believe that the Mass Effect franchise is still going strong after so many years! Since the release of the first Mass Effect game in 2007, BioWare has consistently released better and better Mass Effect games, which has greatly contributed to the franchise’s rise in popularity. If you want to play Mass Effect games but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place!

If you’ve seen the trailer for Mass Effect 5 and want to play all the previous games before the latest one, you’re in luck! Some fans love to argue about which Mass Effect games are best for beginners, but there’s really no better place to start than the beginning. Use this list as a guide on how to play all the Mass Effect games in order.

How to play Mass Effect games in order

So far, four Mass Effect games have been released, with a fifth still in development. You can play these games in any order, but if you’re new to the franchise, you’ll need to play the Mass Effect games in this order:

Mass Effect (2007)

Artwork with mass effectImage via BioWare

The first Mass Effect game was simply (but appropriately) called “Mass Effect”; it was released in 2007 and is the first game in the series. This game was originally released for the Xbox 360 but is now also available on PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Android. In this game, you play as Lieutenant Commander Shepard, better known as Commander Shepard. As with this game’s successors, your character (Commander Shepard) is fully customizable.

Mass Effect depicts a dark but intriguing far future in which humanity and a host of extraterrestrial civilizations have fully colonized the known universe. Using advanced technology left behind by a complex race of ancient aliens, humans and other creatures were able to permanently settle among the stars; however, universal peace can never last. In Mass Effect, you (Commander Shepard) must destroy an ancient race of dormant alien machines in order to save the galaxy, which is admittedly a lot harder than it sounds. If you think you have what it takes to crush the Reapers, get yourself a copy of Mass Effect ASAP!

Mass Effect 2 (2010)

Mass Effect 2 IllustrationsImage via BioWare

Mass Effect 2 is (obviously) the second game in the Mass Effect series. This game was released in 2010 and is available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Mass Effect 2 is widely regarded as the most popular game in the entire series, and it’s easy to see why. Mass Effect 2 had twice as many companions as the first Mass Effect game, had many more exciting side quests, and the game’s main storyline kept you on your toes the entire time. Also, despite the fact that Mass Effect 2 had more characters, the quality of their design and stories did not decrease at all (in fact, they were even more detailed than in the first game).

The story of Mass Effect 2 begins just two years after the end of the first game, after the defeat of the Reapers. Just as Commander Shepard and his men thought they were finally safe, a new enemy appeared on the fringes of the known universe. Commander Shepard (the player) soon discovers that this mysterious new threat is somehow kidnapping entire human colonies for an unknown and supposedly sinister purpose. You will have to face a huge and unknown threat if you want to save the entire human race from extinction!

Mass Effect 3 (2012)

Mass Effect 3 IllustrationsImage via BioWare

The third major entry in the Mass Effect franchise was released as Mass Effect 3 in 2012. This game marks the end of the Mass Effect Trilogy and is available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Wii U. The Mass Effect Trilogy consists of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3; it follows Commander Shepard and their heroic adventures in the Milky Way galaxy. Since Mass Effect 3 is the last game in the main trilogy, it’s understandable that this is one of the most anticipated games in the franchise. This game built on the story arcs of the previous two Mass Effect games and introduced a storyline that was even better.

Mass Effect 3 is the last game to feature Commander Shepard as the main character. In this latest adventure in the Milky Way galaxy, Commander Shepard must once again fight the Reapers to save not only the human race, but the entire galaxy from extinction. Just when everyone thought the Reapers were gone for good, they reappear with a vengeance; and this time they are aimed directly at the Earth. If you didn’t have enough to kick Reaper’s ass in the first Mass Effect game, you should definitely get a copy of Mass Effect 3!

Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017)

Andromeda Mass Effect IllustrationsImage via BioWare

Mass Effect: Andromeda was released after Mass Effect 3 but is not related to the Mass Effect trilogy. This game was released in 2017 and is available on PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Instead of following the adventures of Commander Shepard as in the first three games, Mass Effect: Andromeda follows the story of Pathfinder Ryder, whose name (Scott or Sarah) depends on the gender chosen during character customization. Since this game is not related to the original trilogy, Mass Effect: Andromeda features new characters, new worlds, new conflicts, and most importantly, a completely new story!

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, you play as Pathfinder Ryder, tasked with finding new homeworlds to ensure humanity’s survival. Finding a new homeworld for the entire human race is difficult enough, but there is another enemy that threatens humanity’s survival: the kett. The kett are a race of hostile aliens who seek to destroy not only the human race, but the entire Andromeda galaxy. Juggling the impending extinction of humanity and the kett invasion may seem overwhelming, but nothing is impossible in Mass Effect! You don’t technically need to have played the main trilogy (Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3) to play Mass Effect: Andromeda, but it’s highly recommended to do so.

Mass Effect 5 (TBC)

Mass Effect 5 Trailer ScreenshotImage via BioWare

During The Game Awards in 2020, BioWare released a trailer for a brand new Mass Effect game currently still in development. This game doesn’t have a title or a release date yet, but there are rumors that it will be the next installment in the original Mass Effect trilogy. Very little is known about this upcoming game, but we do know that it promises to be epic, so stay tuned to for all the latest Mass Effect 5 release news!

Related: How to play Dragon Age games in order

If you enjoyed playing Mass Effect games, then you will love playing Dragon Age games. The Dragon Age games were made by BioWare, as was the Mass Effect series, so you know they’re good. Check out the Dragon Age guides on if you want to play it while waiting for the release of Mass Effect 5!

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