Mass Effect is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and originally released for the Xbox 360 video game console in 2007. It is the first game of the Mass Effect series, taking place within the Milky Way galaxy in the year 2183. The player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier who must stop a rogue agent from opening a portal for a highly advanced machine race of synthetic-organic starships that are believed to eradicate all organic civilization every 50,000 years. The gameplay requires the player to explore a galaxy map to find and complete quests. Most of the game's main quests are combat missions, while secondary quests generally involve the player gathering items or interacting with non-player characters.
Planned as the first chapter of a trilogy from the very beginning, Mass Effect was developed over the course of three and a half years and uses the Unreal Engine 3 as a groundwork. It was designed so that the player would assume the role of a central character that could make important decisions and impact the story of the game in numerous ways. The combat was designed to offer the tactics and customization of a role-playing game, but through a simpler and real-time third-person shooter interface. In 2008 and 2009, two downloadable content packs that introduced new missions to the base game were released.
Mass Effect received critical acclaim from video game publications and sold more than one and a half million copies as of January 2008. Critics praised the game's interactive storytelling and cinematic design, but criticized its unbalanced combat mechanics and poor artificial intelligence. The game received several year-end awards, including Best RPG at the 2007 Spike Video Game Awards and Roleplaying Game of the Year at the 2008 D.I.C.E. Awards. Mass Effect was ported to the Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3 platforms in 2008 and 2012, respectively. A sequel, Mass Effect 2, was released in 2010.
Mass Effect 2 is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010, and for PlayStation 3 on January 18, 2011. Mass Effect 2 is the second installment of the Mass Effect series and a sequel to the original Mass Effect. The game takes place within the Milky Way galaxy during the 22nd century, where humanity is threatened by an insectoid species known as the Collectors. The player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier who must construct and gain the loyalty of a diverse team in order to defeat the enemy in a suicide mission. With the use of a completed saved game of its predecessor, the player can impact the story of the game in numerous ways.
For the game, BioWare changed several gameplay elements and put further emphasis on third-person shooter aspects, including limited ammunition and regenerable health. In contrast to the exclusive focus on the main story of the original Mass Effect, the developers opted to create a plot where optional missions had as much intensity as the main mission. Mass Effect composer Jack Wall returned to compose Mass Effect 2 's music, aiming for a darker and more mature sound to match the mood of the game. Mass Effect 2 also supports a variety of downloadable content packs that were released from January 2010 to May 2011. The downloadable content ranges from single in-game character outfits to entirely new plot-related missions. Notable packs include Overlord, Lair of the Shadow Broker, and Arrival.
Mass Effect 2 was a commercial success and received considerable acclaim from video game publications. At the review aggregate websites GameRankings and Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version holds an average review score of 95.77% and 96 out of 100 respectively. Critics praised multiple aspects of the game, including its interactive storytelling, characterization, and combat. In contrast, some reviewers expressed concerns about the game's simplified gameplay compared to the previous game in the series. The game received numerous year-end awards, including Game of the Year at the 14th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, and Best Game at the 2011 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. A sequel, Mass Effect 3, was released in 2012.