Despite a few ups and downs, it’s not wrong to call the Mass Effect games some of the best sci-fi action RPG experiences that you can have. Even though people only talk about the original trilogy, there is a fourth game and a couple of spin-offs too. And of course, even within the first three games, the best Mass Effect game is still a common debate.
Even though the first game came out in 2007, the Mass Effect name is still very relevant. And more gamers discover the franchise every day too due to its fame. Which became even easier thanks to the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which compiled the trilogy in one package. With updated visuals and minor improvements.
So, whether you’re a long-time fan who likes to read about the series, or a newcomer who wants to know what the best Mass Effect game is – here’s our ranking for Mass Effect franchise!
The Best Mass Effect Games
When it comes to deciding which Mass Effect game is the best one, two main factors are taken into account. The first one is how good the game is by itself as an action RPG with sci-fi elements. And the second one is to see how much the game contributes to the Mass Effect franchise as a quality title.
With these things in mind, let’s begin our ranking.
1. Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 1 was a pretty good starting point. And the sequel managed to take everything and improve it in almost every way possible. The game felt larger in every way, and it wasn’t just a feeling – things truly were massive in comparison.
First of all, with so many crew members that come with their unique recruitment and loyalty missions, the interactive part of Mass Effect 2 was very fulfilling. And it allowed players to have a different experience every time. Then we have the main storyline which is very compelling. And it uncovers several mysteries of the series, such as that of the Collectors. And you can even lose people if you fail to protect them!
The combat of Mass Effect 3 might be a bit better, but Mass Effect 2 still featured a great system that rewarded people for their skill. Shooting well and managing your abilities felt very meaningful since it made quite the difference within battles. And of course, the choices that you make lead to interesting differences and carry on beautifully to the third game.
Whenever the topic of the best sci-fi RPGs comes up, Mass Effect 2 will always be a part of that conversation. And if you don’t believe us, you can play the entire trilogy yourself to find out!
2. Mass Effect 3
I know that the popular opinion might place Mass Effect 1 here rather than the conclusion to the trilogy. And I do understand that it’s because the ending was not as satisfactory as people expected. Even after the DLC tried to rectify the mistake. However, nostalgia does make the first game appear better than it is too.
Mass Effect 3, from a technical standpoint, is the peak of the franchise. It refined the combat of the series and that helped the action feel greater than ever. The interactions felt even more expansive than the second game’s, especially since now you could even freely participate in same-sex relationships (which was very limited previously). This gave players a lot of freedom in terms of how they wanted their adventure to go, which is very welcome in a sci-fi RPG adventure.
Despite the ending, the third act of Mass Effect 3 is considered one of the highlights of the franchise due to how all the conflicts tie into one big narrative. And the pressure of saving the galaxy is thoroughly felt, and of course, it’s not a black and white story so you have to decide what side you’re on.
Unfortunately, due to how amazing Mass Effect 2 was, it was always going to be a difficult task to live up to it. And that’s why when it comes to the best Mass Effect game, the finale comes second.
3. Mass Effect 1
The first Mass Effect game being top 3 is a no brainer. This is the game that started it all.
It featured many mechanics and perfectly blended them all together, which helped the game feel unique compared to every other third-person shooter of its time. The combat was clunky, the interaction was a bit limited, and the story was just starting out too. But regardless of those shortcomings, it’s still a solid game with much to offer.
The game introduced us to an entire galaxy system and a lore-rich history attached to it. And it’s one of the few games to give us a villain that isn’t two-dimensional even in the first game itself. Which is remarkable.
The sequels ended up refining and improving on every single thing that Mass Effect 1 has to offer, but it still deserves credit for laying the foundation. And even if its story is not as detailed in comparison, it did force the player to make some difficult decisions that were eventually carried onwards.
4. Mass Effect Infiltrator
Mass Effect Infiltrator is a mobile game that was released parallel to Mass Effect 3 and is meant to be a game that essentially expands on its world. The game does not feature the expansive RPG elements of the mainline franchise. But it does have some of its heart. The game’s story takes us into the shoes of an operative of a terrorist organization that sees the error in his ways and helps prisoners escape from captivity in a heroic mission.
Many fans might find Infiltrator being number 4 on a best Mass Effect game ranking confusing but hear me out. This game is the last remnant we have of the original trilogy and what made it feel like home before the magic wore off. It truly feels like an extra story set in the same world as the first three games. And you even unlocked a few perks in the third game by performing well in Infiltrator.
Due to its budget and scale, Andromeda might ultimately be more enjoyable. But Infiltrator is a game that is close to many of our hearts and even served as the first Mass Effect game that some people played on their phones before they went on to play the console games.
5. Mass Effect Andromeda
Mass Effect Andromeda is the fourth game in the series. And it’s the follow-up to one of the best RPG trilogies in the history of gaming. Unfortunately, not only did it turn out to be a terrible sequel to Mass Effect 3, but it also has one of the worst launches that we’ve seen in recent times. The animation was terrible, facial expressions were unnaturally creepy, and there were many bugs that both broke immersion and wasted gameplay progress.
The technical issues were fixed over time, but still Andromeda remains a slightly above-average game. The writing is uninteresting, the characters are not half as memorable as their predecessors, the combat did not have any next-gen improvements, and the world felt less unique too.
Though you can have some fun in the game, it’s nowhere close to being a good game. And it’s a very disappointing sequel that single handedly threatened the future of the franchise. It feels bad to say such things about the game since it had a troubled development. So, it’s not entirely the developing team’s fault. But when it comes to picking the best Mass Effect game, you know this one will always be on the bottom.
6. Mass Effect Galaxy
Mass Effect Galaxy is a game that only the biggest fans of the series know of. Because it just came and left without making any buzz. Even though it introduced us to Jacob and Miranda, the story of the game is very barebones. And the top-down shooting gameplay is even worse.
It’s quite a clunky game with little to no redeeming value. And the only thing it had to offer was the fact that it’s a prequel to Mass Effect 2. If you don’t play it, you’re not missing out on anything because it’s arguably the worst Mass Effect game.
So, there we have it. The second game in the series is the best Mass Effect game, and Mass Effect Galaxy is the worst one. We hope that you agree with our ranking. But we’re definitely open to hearing what the best Mass Effect game is according to you!
One way or another, the Mass Effect games are unique. And even the lesser good entries still have a unique feel to them that not many other games offer.