Why The Mass Effect Series Is Still The Best Western RPG Trilogy

While most think JRPGs are better than Western RPGs, I think the Mass Effect series is contender for the best RPG trilogy ever.

Story Highlights

  • The Mass Effect trilogy gives players a unique experience of exploring a detailed and realistic sci-fi world.
  • By letting players decide how Commander Shepard acts and how the world sees them, Bioware increases the immersion for a true role-playing experience.
  • With three mainline games in the trilogy, every game polishes something the previous one lacked and there’s no bad game.

JRPGs, or Japanese Role-Playing Games, have taken over the gaming industry. From the many Final Fantasy games that seem to come out every year to Sega’s Persona and Yakuza games, there’s no shortage of Japanese-developed goodness. However, that doesn’t mean Western RPGs like Mass Effect are lacking, either.

While Baldur’s Gate 3 is an amazing RPG in its own right, I want to look at various RPG series as a whole. I concluded that the Mass Effect series is the best Western RPG series ever created. If this sounds like a stretch then don’t worry, I’m about to explain my reasoning right here.

Space-Themed Finesse In Mass Effect

Perhaps the most important thing to look at when analyzing an RPG is the theme. Many RPGs opt to go for the tried and true theme of dungeons, dragons, and wizards. However, Mass Effect chose to step away from the RPG crowd to go for something unique.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is the first Western RPG that has ever hooked me—no exaggeration. I have put down every Bethesda game I’ve tried within a couple hours, and ME has me absolutely captivated…
byu/ThisByzantineConduit inmasseffect

With a huge world spanning multiple solar systems, Mass Effect did what games like Bethesda’s Starfield could only dream of. Multiple planets with different stories, quests, and characters are available for players to enjoy without any catch. That’s right, no procedurally generated worlds, no major game-breaking bugs, and certainly no waiting for DLCs to add what the developers initially promised.

The best thing for me is how diverse all the races in the game feel. The Asari are intriguing, the Raloi scare me, and I’d love to be reborn as a Quarian. While fantasy RPGs like Dragon Age have your typical Elves and Dwarves, Bioware created new races for Mass Effect which, even now, is amazing.

That isn’t all, as the various planets players visit all have different vibes. From mountainous desert-like landscapes to frozen lakes where you might find a couple of crashed ships, I held my breath in anticipation every time I landed on a new planet. The cool thing is the game never let me down, except for Nodacrux.

We’re going to pretend that planet doesn’t exist.

I’m Commander Shepard

The role-playing aspect of role-playing games is often overlooked in favor of putting players in the shoes of cool protagonists. Mass Effect changes this by letting the player choose what type of Commander Shepard they want their character to be.

YouTube video

I vividly remember in the first game when a reporter was interviewing Shepard and making snide remarks about our character, the game gave me the option to punch her. I thought such an act was insane and immature. Image my surprise when I found out that, according to Mass Effect Legendary Edition, 68% of players punched the reporter across the trilogy at least once.

There are examples of this scattered across the three games. From deciding who you keep close or make enemies of, to account player decisions to determine the face of certain characters, the game’s replayability factor is excellent. After all, playthroughs can potentially differ greatly depending on the player’s decisions.

Consistency Is Key

Game trilogies are rarely ever consistently good. The Witcher and Baldur’s Gate had to wait for their third game before blowing up, while Bioshock 2 is seen as the dark horse of the trilogy. Mass Effect does better than most trilogies in this regard.

Having reflected on the trilogy recently, I’ve concluded that ME1 has the best worldbuilding, ME2 has the best story/characters, and ME3 has the best gameplay. What are your thoughts?
byu/JeKarta88 inmasseffect

Don’t get me wrong, some players believe the third game could have handled some things better. However, I think Bioware did its best to give a satisfying and logical conclusion to Commander Shepard’s story. Plus, I don’t think 20 minutes could ruin hours of immense fun, especially with the Citadel DLC giving the characters I love the conclusion they deserved.

Every Mass Effect betters something the previous game lacked. Mass Effect 1 had an excellent story, Mass Effect 2 upped the stakes while polishing the world-building, and Mass Effect 3 bumped the gameplay to an 11. It’s this consistency that video games rarely have. Now all we can do is wait for the next game in the series.

All in all, we’re seeing slow but steady improvement in Western RPGs. However, no trilogy has managed to tackle the giant that is Mass Effect. It’s a good thing I can replay it as many times as I want while pretending Mass Effect Andromeda doesn’t exist, though that deserves its own article.

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Najam Ul Hassan is a News Reporter on eXputer who enjoys investing hours in his favorite video game titles. When he’s not playing games, he’s practicing Journalism. He began his career on eXputer after combining his limitless love of video games and all things geek with his considerable writing experience. He has been cited numerous times by several noteworthy publications and sites such as Game Rant, Yahoo, PlayStation LifeStyle, VGC, VG247, TheGamer, among others. Experience: 2+ Years || Education: Masters in Mass Media Communication || Written 300+ News Stories.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.