The Mass Effect trilogy is the single greatest achievement within the genre of sci-fi gaming, having created a universe which is strong enough to stand on its own merits across a variety of different media. If you’ve touched a computer in the last few months, you’re probably aware that the ending to the epic has been less than popular with the fan-base. This is the last time that this article is going to mention it. Instead, we’re going to take a nostalgic look at the sixteen best missions throughout the trilogy. Some of them included an intriguing moral conundrum; others created a memorable atmosphere. All are exceptional in one way or another.
16. Eden Prime: Prologue (ME1)
The first item on the list, and the first mission that the player undertakes in the trilogy. Eden Prime had a difficult task in front of it: how to introduce the players to the Mass Effect universe, the villain and the lore, all the while providing a gameplay experience strong enough that they’d want to keep playing. Does it succeed?
More or less. While the mission’s gameplay is fairly linear, it goes by at a brisk pace and Saren’s explosive introduction, as well as the first hints of the mystery of the Reapers and the Protheans, are enough to pique the player’s interest. There’s also tension, horror, a homage to Leeroy Jenkins and the introduction of a certain Lieutenant Ashley Williams. All in all, a worthy opener for the list.
15. Take Back Omega (ME3)
I know, I know. Hear me out. Fan Reaction to the most recent DLC offering Take Back Omega has been almost as negative as it was to the ending; but this is unfair. Most of the criticism is the result of unrealistically high fan expectations, a couple of graphical glitches, overpricing and a more action-orientated experience than the core game. While the DLC certainly is overpriced, it’s also deserving of inclusion in this list.
Why? It’s probably the best action-based mission you’ll play during the trilogy. If you’re not an action game enthusiast, that’s fine, and you shouldn’t download the DLC. But plenty of Mass Effect fans are, and for them Take Back Omega offers an excellent chance to gun down a variety of enemies (including the spooky new Adjutants), and play through a combat experience that easily outshines the other missions in the game in terms of quality. And there’s a nice horror section that offers a good change of pace, too. Not for everybody, but superb for some.
14. The Ardat-Yakshi (ME2)
At the other end of the gameplay spectrum we have Samara’s loyalty mission, in which there is absolutely no gun-play at all. Which is precisely why it makes the list; it offers a different type of experience to the rest of Mass Effect, but one which is nonetheless equally enjoyable. An emotionally charged plot sees Shepard investigating the death of a young woman enamoured with Samara’s murderous daughter Morinth, tracking her down to a night club, letting herself be seduced and taken back to the killer’s apartment, and then finally making the choice as to whether or not Morinth lives or dies. A powerful storyline, gameplay that’s extremely different to the majority of the trilogy, and a powerful choice to make all ensure that this mission is especially memorable.
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This article was first posted on December 20, 2012