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Overview

Commander Shepard has a posse

Mass Effect is a science fiction series that focuses on the adventures of Commander Shepard. The games are set in the late-22nd century and its universe features a diverse set of alien species, galactic politics and advanced technology. The galaxy faces a threat from an ancient race called Reapers, who want to harvest advanced civilizations. Humans are a relative newcomer to the galactic stage and Shepard is chosen as their representative in this battle.

In the main trilogy, players take direct control of Command Shepard, who can be heavily customized to the player's liking. The choices range from gender and appearance to class types. The games are story driven and use fully voiced dialog trees that constantly engage players with moral choices. The games place heavy emphasis on these choices, as nearly all of them carry over from one game to the next.

Shepard's gender and appearance can be customized

The real-time combat is a hybrid of cover-based third-person-shooting with role-playing elements. Shepard uses a wide arsenal of weapons and biotic powers. Like most RPGs, the efficiency of each varies on the player class and their allotted talent points. Much like other BioWare games, players can pause the action at anytime to survey the battlefield and queue individual commands for Shepard and the crew. The games also have planet-side exploration and resource collection. Games in the main trilogy use Unreal 3 technology. Due to this, the first game experienced many technical problems associated with the engine, like texture pop-ins and frequent frame rate drops. However, most of these problems were resolved in the second game.

Mass Effect is also being turned into a multimedia franchise. Three novels and a four-part comic series are currently available and a Mass Effect movie was recently announced, as well as an animated film. The first Mass Effect book, Revelation, is a prequel to the first game; the second, Ascension, serves as a preamble to Mass Effect 2; while the the third, Retribution, is a sequel to Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is an upcoming anime film from studio Production I.G filling in the back story of Mass Effect 3 squad-mate James Vega.

Games

So far, BioWare has released the main trilogy on the Xbox 360 and PC. Mass Effect 2 had launched on the PS3 on 18th January in the US, and 21st in Europe, and will include a brief video to fill players in on the events of the first game. They also made an iPhone adventure, Mass Effect: Galaxy that focuses more on Cerberus activities.

Mass Effect

  • Main Article: Mass Effect
  • Released on Nov. 20, 2007 for Xbox 360
  • Released on May 28, 2008 for PC

The first Mass Effect introduced players to Shepard while the Commander was still serving as Captain Anderson's XO on the newly commissioned SSV Normandy. The plot follows Shepard's rise from an officer to a council Spectre ( Special Tactics and Reconnaissance). As a Spectre, Shepard hunts down rogue Spectre, Saren, and stops the geth threat. The game also introduces the series' main antagonist - Reapers. Shepard encounters and defeats the vanguard of their species, Sovereign.

While the overall plot is always unchanged, players are given the choice to make several significant life or death decisions in the game's subplot. These change the way other characters react towards Shepard and are represented by the game's Paragon/Renegade Karma system, unlike similar systems in previous BioWare games where "good" actions would receive positive karma points and "bad" actions would result in negative karma points, Paragon and Renegade are two separate scales. The Normandy served as the game's quest hub and allowed the players to pick and choose any mission of their liking. Since Shepard was still officially part of the Systems Alliance, he/she could also take on Alliance specific side-missions. All these factors gave the game a non-linear story structure.

The combat was inspired by Gears of War's cover-based shooting, mixed in with traditional BioWare class-based RPG mechanics. The options range from weapon focused classes like Soldier to Tech & Biotic specialists. Players could accumulate innumerable weapons, upgrades and armor types to further customize their characters. The game also had a planet exploration element, thanks to the Mako, a hybrid all terrain vehicle and APC.

Mass Effect: Galaxy

Galaxy was BioWare's first attempt at expanding the Mass Effect universe beyond the main trilogy. In this top-down shooter, players take control of Jacob Taylor in a side-story about the Alliance's conflict with the batarians. Galaxy has a graphic novel art style, as opposed the photo-realistic looks of the main trilogy.

Mass Effect 2

  • Main Article: Mass Effect 2
  • Released on Jan. 26, 2010 for Xbox 360 and PC
  • Released on Jan 18, 2011 for PS3

Mass Effect 2 follows Sovereign's defeat at the Citadel. One of the game's most significant features was the save game import feature that carries over all the player decisions from the first game. The game starts as the Normandy is attacked by a Collector vessel and torn to pieces. Shepard is spaced in the process and declared Killed In Action. The Commander's body is recovered by a fringe pro-human organization known as Cerberus and they spend two years restoring Shepard to the person he/she was.

After regaining consciousness, Shepard is given command of the new Normandy SR-2 and given a list of possible recruits for the fight against the Collectors. Instead of the Alliance or the Council, Shepard now reports directly to The Illusive Man, the head of the Cerberus network. They share a mutual goal of fighting the Reapers and they believe the Collectors to be the Reaper's agents. A majority of the story is character driven as Shepard spends most of the time gaining the new crew's loyalty. After assembling the team, Shepard leads them into a suicide mission inside the Collector home base. The earlier loyalty quests play an important part in the game's ending as it decides who survives the final suicide mission.

The combat in Mass Effect 2 was given a major do-over and most of the RPG elements from the previous game were stripped down and streamlined. The weapon cache was lowered to just four weapons with an additional heavy weapon. Unlike the first game, the accuracy of a weapon was no longer affected by talents or class and the overheat mechanic was replaced by a more conventional reload system. All biotic and tech powers were put on the same cooldown which allowed more frequent use of these powers in combat. The Mako exploration sections were replaced by a mining/resource collection system. Later DLC allows players to enter a new and improved version of the Mako called the Hammerhead for a few side missions.

Mass Effect 3

  • Main Article: Mass Effect 3
  • Released on March 6, 2012 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC

Mass Effect 3 is the conclusion of the trilogy. The game follows Commander Shepard's efforts to stop the Reaper invasion, which is in full swing at the beginning of the game. After narrowly escaping a devastating Reaper attack on Earth, Shepard sets out to build an army big enough to push back the Reapers. The structure is similar to that in Mass Effect 2 in that Shepard must gain allies for his mission. However, the scale of the Reaper invasion means that Shepard must get entire races on his side rather than individual people. To do this, Shepard must deal with historic galactic issues, including the genophage, the relationship between the geth and the quarians, and more.

A new game mechanic is the concept of Galactic Readiness. This will affect the outcome of Shepard's efforts at the end of the game. Galactic Readiness is increased by completing side quests and gaining war assets. War assets feed into Military Strength, a number that shows the size of Shepard's army.

For the first time in the series, Mass Effect 3 features online multiplayer in the form of a cooperative Horde-like mode. Up to four players battle against Reaper, Cerberus, Collector or geth forces across the galaxy. By completing matches (each one lasts 11 waves), the player will increase their Galactic Readiness in the single player. There are 6 maps and 3 difficulty levels. Each class from the single player is included in the multiplayer, and each class includes at least 4 characters from a variety of races to choose from. Each character has different abilities that can be improved when the player levels up.

New weapons, characters, supplies, and equipment are gained by spending credits on different packs that yield a randomized selection of items.

Science & Ships

Mass Effect Fields

Like most works of science fiction, Mass Effect presents elaborate reasons behind its technology. The source of energy here are the Mass Effect Fields, that are generated by utilizing element zero. A more in-depth analysis can be found at the main Mass Effect Field page.

Notable Ships

Comparison of Normandy SR-1 and 2

There are particular ships that have played specific, and important roles in the Mass Effect universe.

  • Normandy SR-1 - Alliance vessel from Mass Effect 1
  • Normandy SR-2 - Cerberus provided Shepard's second ship
  • Destiny Ascension - Flagship of the Citadel
  • Alarei - Lab ship where Tali's father experimented with geth
  • Neema - Tali's vessel after completing her Pilgrimage
  • Raaya - Tali's birth ship

Class of Ships

  • Frigates: Small, fast ships used counting and screening larger vessels. Frigates often operate in wolf-pack flotillas.
  • Cruisers: Middleweight combatants, faster than dreadnoughts, and more heavily armed then frigates. Cruisers are the standard patrol unit, and often lead frigate flotillas.
  • Dreadnoughts: Kilometer-long capital ships mounting heavy, long-range firepower. They are only deployed for the most vital missions.
  • Carriers: Dreadnought-sized vessels that can also carry a large amount of fighters. Smaller vessels are exclusively used in a support role to the warships during combat.
  • Fighters: One-man craft used to perform close-range attacks on enemy ships.
  • Interceptors: One-man craft optimized for destroying opposing fighters.

The Galaxy

Mass Relays and Known Universe

The Milky Way

Space travel in the Mass Effect universe is dependent on Mass Relays, built by the Reapers. As a result, only a certain amount of the galaxy has been explored. The list of all known planetary systems can be found here.

Key Locations

Characters

List of all the significant characters in the franchise:

Commander Shepard

Protagonist, Commanding Officer of the Normandy. Voiced by Mark Meer (Male) and Jennifer Hale (Female)

Squad Members in Mass Effect

CharacterVoice CastDescription
Kaidan AlenkoRaphael SbargeA veteran sentinel with impressive biotic abilities.
Ashley WilliamsKimberly BrooksA battle hardened soldier who joins Shepard during the battle of Eden Prime.
Tali'Zorah nar RayyaLiz SrokaQuarian member, on a pilgrimage.
Urdnot WrexSteven BarrA bounty hunter and one of the last krogan battlemasters in the galaxy. If alive, he is the chief of the Urdnot Clan in Mass Effect 2.
Garrus VakarianBrandon KeenerA member of C-Sec, he spearheaded the investigation into Saren's activities. In Mass Effect 2, he is the Gunnery Officer.
Liara T'SoniAli HillisAn asari scientist who happens to be Matriarch Benezia's daughter. In Mass Effect 2, she is an important information broker.

Squad Members in Mass Effect 2

CharacterVoice CastDescription
Miranda LawsonYvonne StrahovskiExecutive Officer, put in charge by the Illusive Man to keep an eye on Shepard.
Jacob TaylorAdam Lazarre-WhiteArmory Chief, an ex-Alliance officer who joined Cerberus to further the human cause.
Mordin SolusMichael BeattieIn Mass Effect 2, Mordin is the Normandy's science officer and a Salarian Idol.
GruntSteve BlumA genetically engineered krogan super-soldier.
Tali'Zorah vas NeemaLiz SrokaReturning member from Mass Effect. Tali is now part of the migrant fleet and investigating the Collectors as well.
Garrus VakarianBrandon KeenerReturning member from Mass Effect. Having given up on C-Sec, Garrus is now fighting crime as a vigilante under a pseudonym.
SamaraMaggie BairdAsari Justicar who lives by her rigid code.
MorinthNatalia CigliutiArdat-Yakshi, who kills her mates after using them. Optional squad member as a replacement for Samara.
Thane KriosKeythe FarleyProfessional drell assassin.
LegionD.C. DouglasA geth who does not follow the Reapers.
Jack (Subject Zero)Courtenay TaylorExpert human biotic, looking to break free from her past crimes.
Zaeed MessaniRobin SachsRenowned bounty hunter, looking for revenge (DLC Character)
Kasumi GotoKym LaneExpert thief (DLC Character)

Squadmates in Mass Effect 3

CharacterVoice CastDescription
Liara T'SoniAli HillisThe next Shadow Broker.
Garrus VakarianBrandon KeenerIf he lives in Mass Effect 2.
James VegaFreddie Prinze Jr.An Alliance soldier.
Kaidan AlenkoRaphael SbargeIf he lives in Mass Effect.
Tali'Zorah vas NormandyAsh SrokaIf she lives in Mass Effect 2.
Ashley WilliamsKimberly BrooksIf she lives in Mass Effect.
EDITricia HelferAn AI in a synthetic body of Dr. Eva Green.
JavikIke ImadiThe very last Prothean. (DLC Character)

Notable Allies

CharacterVoice CastDescription
The Illusive ManMartin SheenHead of the Cerberus Network.
Captain AndersonKeith DavidFormer Captain of the Normandy, human representative on the Council (depending on player choice).
Chancellor UdinaBill RatnerHuman Ambassador on the Citadel, human representative on the Council (depending on player choice).
Admiral HackettLance HenriksenAdmiral in the Alliance Navy and commanding officer of the Fifth Fleet
Nihlus KryikAlastair DuncanSpectre in charge the Eden Prime investigation.
Navigator PressleyDwight SchultzXO of original Normandy (After Shepard becomes CO).
EDITricia HelferNormandy SR-2's A.I.
Jeff "Joker" MoreauSeth GreenPilot of the Normandy, suffering from Vrolick's Syndrome, a form of bone atrophy. Loves to make little children laugh.
Dr. ChakwasCarolyn SeymourChief Medical Officer of the Normandy.
Kelly ChambersCara PifkoNormandy's Yeoman before the suicide mission.
Samantha TraynorAlix Wilton Regan

The Normandy's Yeoman after the suicide mission.

LeviathanAnthony Skordi

The leader of its race who helped Shepard so it can join the war. It is also the source of the Reapers' looks.

Antagonists

CharacterVoice CastDescription
SovereignPeter Jessop

Reaper Vanguard, Leader of the geth rebellion.

Saren ArteriusFred Tatasciore

Rogue Spectre and antagonist in Mass Effect.

Oleg PetrovskyBrian GeorgeThe Cerberus commander in Mass Effect 3: Omega.
Commander Shepard CloneMark Meer/Jennifer Hale A clone of Commander Shepard made by Cerberus and the main antagonist in Mass Effect 3: Citadel.
Illusive ManMartin Sheen The leader of Cerberus who is now indoctrinated.
Matriarch BeneziaMarina Sirtis

Saren's advisor and an experienced Asari elder.

HarbingerKeith Szarabajka

Reaper, who is in direct control of the Collectors and the eldest Reaper.

Council Races

Mass Effect has a large variety of races that have been compared to franchises such as Star Wars and Star Trek for their great variety and imagination. The species are segregated according to their council status - a central body that governs most of known galaxy (known as council space). These four races and their representatives form the present council.

Turian

Turians, the galaxy's police
Main Article: Turian
The turians were invited to join the Citadel Council (the governing body of the Citadel comprised of a member from each of the largest races in Citadel space) by the asari and salarians after their much needed help in quelling the Krogan Rebellion nearly 1200 years ago. They currently have the largest fleet in Citadel Space, and they proudly maintain their role of galactic peacekeepers in Citadel Space. In the past there has been hostility between humanity and the turians, due largely to the First Contact War, which is known to the turians as the Relay 314 Incident. The turians rely on the asari for solving diplomatic matters, and the salarians for their military intelligence, which creates an atmosphere where all three species lean on each other. This helps all the races known that there is more to gain by joining together in the alliance of the Citadel Council than by attempting to wipe each other out.

Asari

Asari, the peacekeepers
Main Article: Asari
The asari are from the planet Thessia and are, arguably, the most prominent and powerful species in the galaxy. They were the first sentient race to discover Prothean technology and when they met the salarians they proposed the idea of a council. An all female race, however they are asexual and therefore can reproduce with any alien species. They are known for their elegance, diplomacy, and biotic talent (they're born biotics). They live for millennia and are a major part of galactic politics. The ssari have some of the best warriors in the galaxy, however there's not many of them.

Salarian

Salarians prefer intelligence and subterfuge to direct military conflict
Main Article: Salarian
Salarians are a warm-blooded, amphibious race, and were the second species to discover the Citadel. They quickly formed an alliance with the asari, and soon had a seat on the Citadel Council. Salarians are known as the best scientists and inventors of the universe, and are responsible for many great technological advancements. Salarians were able to transform the primitive, brutal, krogans into some of the most feared mercenaries in the universe, though only years later they would turn around and develop the genophage virus that would nearly wipe out the entire krogan population. Salarians do not live very long, with an average life span of only forty years. This short lifespan is due to their hyperactive metabolism. This fast moving metabolism is what allows the salarians to move, think, and talk at a much faster pace than other species.

Humans

Humans, the latest species to discover the Citadel
Main Article: Humans
In the Mass Effect fiction, humans are biologically the same as the present. However, they have developed the ability for long distance space travel after the discovery of the Mass Relay near Pluto. Humans are also capable biotics and use special implants to enhance their inherent biotic abilities in combat.
The Human Mass Relay endeavour kick-started after they discovered an old Prothean cache on Mars in 2148. Their first steps into the council space were marked with a war against the turians - known as the First Contact War. The conflict started as a result of human attempts to activate the Pluto Mass Relay, which was deemed illegal under Council laws. After the Council became aware of the conflict, they wasted no time in negotiating a peace treaty and incorporating the humans into Citadel space.
Since then, humans have rapidly progressed to the point of gaining a seat on the Council by the end of the first game, a mere twenty-four years after the First Contact War, and humanity's emergence into Citadel Space. The human representative on the council depends on the player's choice. The two options presented are Udina and Anderson. Due to their initial conflict, as well as humanity's rapid expansion, the Humans and the rest of the council races have never been able to trust each other completely, in spite of working together on the council. Depending on the player actions, these council relations can either improve or deteriorate further with time.
Humanity's history in the Mass Effect universe between the present and the discovery of the Mass Relays is left ambiguous and characters instead allude to classical works for references; for example Ashley Williams quotes a Tennyson poem during a conversation with Shepard. And a Drill Sergeant. in Mass Effect 2 refers to Sir Isaac Newton as "the deadliest-son-of-a-bitch in space".

Non-Council Races

Most of the non-council races still live in Citadel Space and follow Citadel laws. But there is still a general unrest among many of them about the Citadel's rule and some of these races are actively at war against each other. There are also species that live completely outside the council space and follow their own rules.

Krogan

Wrex, a Krogan Battlemaster
Main Article: Krogan
The krogan are native to the planet Tuchanka. After they almost destroyed their homeworld in a vicious nuclear war, the krogan were forced to evolve to live in the eternal nuclear winter that had engulfed their world. Because of this forced evolution, krogan are impervious to toxins, radiation, and extreme temperature. They also store water and nutrients much like a camel in the hump on their back. Their skin is as thick as iron, so bullets and explosions do minimal damage. They also have multiples of major organs, just in case one gets damaged. These qualities make krogan extremely hard to kill, which makes them extremely well suited for combat and are frequently employed as mercenaries and bounty hunters. Krogan also reproduce and mature at a rapid pace in order to keep their population steady.
The krogan were severely affected by the genophage, a biological weapon engineered by the salarians and used by the turians to quell the Krogan Rebellions after the krogan had ended the centuries long Rachni Wars. The genophage makes it so that only 1 in a 1,000 krogan births are successful. Thus, the krogan are a dwindling species.

Quarian

Tali, a Quarian Tech Specialist
Main Article: Quarian
The quarians are a race with no planet to call home, thanks primarily to their own hubris and a race of sentient machines known as the geth.
The quarians travel in what is called the Flotilla, a massive fleet of over fifty thousand space ships that is home to over 17 million quarians. To prevent overcrowding and to add resources to the Flotilla's always dangerously low stores, every young quarian must go on a rite of passage called the Pilgrimage. After leaving on the Pilgrimage, a quarian is not allowed to return until they bring something useful back to the Flotilla. Other species tend to look down on the quarians because of the Flotilla, because when it arrives in a system it has a largely negative impact on the local populace. The large number of ships in the Flotilla clog space traffic and the quarians need for resources often forces them to strip local asteroid belts of their valuable metals. Since the quarians have been living in a sterile atmosphere within the Flotilla, their immune system has become practically non-existent. For this reason any quarian traveling away from the Flotilla carries a form-fitting vital suit to filter the air, keeping them safe from illnesses that would otherwise kill them. Quarians rarely leave the Flotilla though, unless it is to go on their pilgramage or because they have been exiled for committing some form of unforgivable crime like rape or slave dealing. Because of quarians' nomadic nature and their ability to re-use and repair things long beyond the point where any other race would've scrapped them, most of the galaxy reviews them as scavengers, or even thieves, and quarians are often met with prejudice and hostility.

Volus

The timid Volus
Main Article: Volus
The volus are the businessmen of the Mass Effect universe. They are not very physically capable but have a knack for trade. Volus frequently hire krogans and turians as their bodyguards. While the volus are an independent species they are also clients of turians who act as their military force. The volus homeworld, Irune, has a high-pressure greenhouse atmosphere, resulting in volus needing to wear pressure suits and breathers when interacting with other species. The volus were the third species to arrive on the Citadel, after the asari and salarians, however they have never managed to gain a seat on the Council, leaving many volus bitter, and creating a particular resentment towards humans for their rapid ascension on the Citadel. This is particularly exemplified by volus ambassador Din Korlack.

Batarian

Batarian Mercenaries
Main Article: Batarian
The batarians are generally seen as humanoids with four eyes and a bad attitude. Recently, humans and the batarians had a small scale conflict in the Verge over territory rights. When it was clear humanity had the upper hand and that the Council was not going to intervene in batarian favor, the batarians severed all ties with the galactic community. Thus began a period of self imposed exile, with the exception of well funded pirate raids on human colonies. Batarians who remain in the Terminus Systems are often slavers, pirates, and smugglers. However, the typical batarian is not so vile. The majority of them are forced to remain on their home world by the oppressive batarian government and have little say in greater galactic issues.

Geth

Legion, a Geth Platform
Main Article: Geth
The geth are a race of sentient machines. The quarians created them 300 years ago as simple tools for labor and war. But the geth slowly evolved over time and became self-aware. The quarians took note of this the first time a geth asked them for the reason of its existence. The quarians perceived this as a potential threat and made the first strike against the Geth Collective. This marked the beginning of the geth-quarian conflict that persists to this day.
A large number of geth were influenced by Sovereign and saw the Reaper as a messiah of their race. Those who joined the Reaper were branded as "heretics" within the geth collective, who believe the geth should determine their own future. This was a cause of a civil war within the geth themselves.

The Collectors

A Collector Drone
Main Article: The Collectors
Introduced in Mass Effect 2, Collectors are the indoctrinated version of the ancient Protheans. The Reapers converted them into bug-like creatures with a drone personality. All collectors are directly linked a Collector General who in turn is controlled by Harbinger. The Reaper can assume direct control of any individual on the field.

Reapers

Sovereign, the Reaper Vanguard
Main Article: Reaper
The primary antagonists in the trilogy, Reapers are a race of sentient machines. They are responsible for the creation of the Mass Relays and the Citadel. They usually reside in deep space and leave their technology so that other species will stumble on to them and develop along the technological path the Reapers desire. But after their 50,000 year slumber is finished, they come back and destroy any organic life in the galaxy.

Protheans

A Prothean Beacon
Main Article: Protheans
An ancient space faring race that predate the present day Citadel races by 50,000 years. The Protheans were initially credited with the creation of the Mass Relays and the Citadel. However, Shepard's investigations in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 reveal that the Protheans were just another victim of the Reaper's cycle of destruction and indoctrination.

Drell

Thane, a Drell Assassin
Main Article: Drell
Introduced in Mass Effect 2, drell are reptilian humanoids that usually serve as agents for the hanar. The drell homeplanet of Rakhana was lost due to rapid industrialization and overpopulation. However, they didn't posses the capability of space travel and had to rely on the Hanar for their rescue. As a result, the remaining drell consider themselves to be in debt of the hanar and serve as assassins and covert agents for the physically inferior race.

Elcor

An Elcor diplomat
Main Article: Elcor
The elcor are a slow but strong race of four legged creatures. They are very popular among the series's fans for their flat, monotonous speech. Because of an inherent lack of emotion in their speech patterns, elcor use prefixes like "Chastising Remark", to better convey their feelings in a conversation.
One of the series' running gags involves an elcor group performing Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Yahg


The violent Yahg

Main Article: Yahg
The yahg are an intelligent predatory species of the planet Parnack. The Council has deemed them unfit to join the galactic community due to their highly aggressive nature and the fact that they attacked and slaughtered the Council delegation that was sent to make contact with them.

Leviathans

Main Article: Leviathans

They existed long before

The Leviathans were an apex race billions of years ago. Since they notice organics create synthetics and start a war, they created an intelligence to preserve life. The intelligence made robotic clones of the Leviathans called Reapers. The first one it made was Harbinger. The other Reapers were clones of Harbinger. Over the cycles, the Leviathans hid to prevent their race from getting extinct.

Codex Entries

Both of the main games in the Mass Effect series feature codex entries that add more to the fiction and universe. The codex includes descriptions for everything from alien races to planets to the different technologies. Most, if not all, of the codex entries are grounded in some form of reality, or what could be perceived as potential reality. For example, part of the codex entry for Mass Effect Fields reads, "Element zero can increase or decrease the mass of volume of space-time when subjected to an electrical current. With a positive current, mass is increased. With a negative current, mass is decreased. The stronger the current, the greater the magnitude of the dark energy mass effect."

Novels

Mass Effect: Revelation

Revelation
The first novel written about the Mass Effect universe, by Canadian author Drew Karpyshyn, this story fills in much of the background information left unexplained by the game, such as the backgrounds of the Saren Arterius and David Anderson. The book tells the tale of a young Alliance lieutenant David Anderson investigated an attack on a human lab researching banned Artificial Intelligence and the sole survivor: Lieutenant Kahlee Sanders. It is later revealed that a mercenary group, the Blue Suns, were hired by the leading scientist at the lab, who feared Sanders would blow the cover on his illegal research.
Saren, a Council Spectre, then teams up with Anderson and the pair manage to track down the maddened scientist and his research. However, Saren slips away with the research, which pertained to the location and information of a unknown technology (which Shepard in Mass Effect discovers to be Sovereign), and began to plot his future plans for galactic domination. In this book, we learn quite a bit of back history about humanity on the Citadel as well as some of the technology that is prevalent in the Mass Effect universe. The book also goes into detail about the personality and character of the primary antagonist in Mass Effect, Saren Arterius and his goals for the future.

Mass Effect: Ascension

Ascension
This is the second novel about the Mass Effect universe and is also written by Drew Karpyshyn.
Ascension goes into great detail about the black ops unit Cerberus, which is touched upon in the first Mass Effect game. Similarly to the first novel Shepard doesn't appear in the story (other than passing mentions to the events of the first game). It is set roughly two months after the events of the first Mass Effect game and great care is taken so as to not to mention major plot details from the first game. The quarians are also a major topic in this game and as such, their culture and history is explored in great detail.
The narrative is primarily split between Cerberus agent Paul Grayson, and Kahlee Sanders who is on the Ascension Project board of directors. Grayson is the adopted father of a twelve-year-old autistic girl, named Gillian, who has extraordinary biotic potential, which caused Cerberus to have strong interest in her and invest a great deal in researching and developing her biotic abilities, and is the reason they gave Paul the task of raising her.
Gillian is a student at the Jon Grissom Academy, a school for gifted children, specifically she is part of the Ascension Project, a joint civilian/ Alliance program to research biotic abilities, and help young biotics learn to develop and control their abilities. When a Cerberus scientist, who had infiltrated the project to perform tests on Gillian, blows his cover Paul is directed to pull Gillian out of Ascension, before his cover is also blown. Due to their attachment to Gillian, Kahlee Sanders and Ascension's chief of security, Hendel Mitra, decide to accompany Gillian arguing that their former Alliance military skills will be essential in protecting the girl from Cerberus.
Grayson plans to travel to Omega to meet with his former Cerberus partner, Pel, and his team of mercenaries, and get rid of Kahlee and Hendel so he can take Gillian back to Cerberus. When they arrive on Omega Pel reveals that he has betrayed Cerberus and is planning to sell the bitoics, Gillian and Hendel, to the Collectors, and will throw the other two in to sweeten the deal. Pel and his team lock Gillian, Paul, Hendel and Kahlee up in their hideout, but not before revealing that Paul is a Cerberus agent, meaning he has to be locked in a separate room to the other three to protect him from the for The Collectors.
Lemm'Shal nar Tesleya (Lemm), a young quarian on his pilgrimage, has tracked a missing Quarian team to Omega and to Pel. Lemm breaks into Pel's hideout expecting to find the missing quarians, but instead finds Kahlee along with Hendel and Gillian; Lemm helps them escape, leaving Grayson under Kahlee's instruction and they flee seeking asylum from The Migrant Fleet. Lemm reveals that he did not help Kahlee purely out of the kindness of his heart: He recognised her; the quarians believed Kahlee to have knowledge regarding the geth that they may be able to use, since she had a history with AIs from her previous career as an Alliance technology researcher, and her link with Saren Arterius through both their involvement in the story of Mass Effect: Revelation. After speaking with Kahlee the quarians come to the conclusion that it is likely that Sovereign was some form of alien technology which Saren used to control the geth.
In the commotion caused by Lemm's assault on Pel's hideout Grayson manages to escape, but Gillian has been taken off Omega before he can catch up with her. He informs the Illusive Man that Gillian has been taken and his cover blown; he also tells The Illusive Man that he believes she is on the Quarian Flotilla, as he found a quarian weapon in Pel's hideout (along with other circumstantial evidence). Grayson leads a Cerberus assault team to retrieve his daughter leading to a bloody battle between Cerberus and the quarians, during which Gillian's biotic potential truly begins to emerge. Although Grayson does retrieve his daughter he ultimately decides that she is better off with Hendel than she ever was with him and agrees to let her stay with him and go on the first quarian exploration into uncharted territories to search for a new quarian homeworld.

Mass Effect: Retribution

Retribution
The third title in the book series once again written by Drew Karpyshyn. This book takes place after the events of Ascension and Mass Effect 2. With the Reaper threat imminent, The Illusive Man starts to experiment with Reaper technology to hopefully find a way to defeat the oncoming harbingers of doom. He kidnaps Paul Grayson, who defied him in the second novel to save his daughter, to use as a guinea pig. But before he is captured, Paul sends a message to Kahlee Sanders with data he has collected over the past couple of years on Cerberus. Upon receiving the message Kahlee seeks help from Admiral Anderson in hopes he can help her take down the organization and rescue Grayson. But will they be able to save him in time? And what tolls will the experiments take on his mind?

Comic Books

Mass Effect: Redemption

Set after the destruction of the first Normandy, Redemption follows the events around the sudden disappearance of Commander Shepard. The four issues feature characters from the first and second game as they try to recover Shepard's missing body. The comic series was written by Mac Walters, scripted by John Jackson Miller and drawn by Omar Francia.
More information about the comic series can be found on ComicVine's page for Mass Effect: Redemption.

Mass Effect: Evolution

The second Mass Effect comic will be released on January 19, 2010. It's created by the same team that made Redemption. Evolution focuses on the origins of the Illusive Man and Cerberus. The story begins in 2157 on the planet Shanxi, where the Systems Alliance is fighting the local turian occupation.

DLC

Bring Down the Sky

Pinnacle Station

Cerberus Network

Kasumi - Stolen Memory

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 2 contains a new squadmate and her loyalty mission.

Overlord

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 2 lets Shepard and the squad shut down a rogue VI controlled by an autistic.

Lair of the Shadow Broker

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 2 lets Shepard help Liara so they can defeat the Shadow Broker.

Arrival

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 2 lets Shepard prevent the Reapers from arriving.

From Ashes

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 3 lets Shepard and Liara find a living Prothean.

Extended Cut

This dlc for Mass Effect 3 is an apology dlc that fixes the endings and adds a new one.

Leviathan

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 3 lets Shepard a reaper-killer.

Omega

This dlc pack for Mass Effect 3 lets Shepard help Aria retake Omega back from Cerberus.

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