BioWare's epic science-fiction series Mass Effect is all about players making difficult choices, but which are the most difficult choices in the series?
On March 21st, Mass Effect: Andromeda will finally release to the masses, marking the first new Mass Effect adventure in five years. The game promises to bring the franchise to modern consoles in a big way, making some important changes like introducing Commander Ryder as the new playable character, but retaining what made the series popular to begin with.
Like past games, Mass Effect: Andromeda will challenge players to make difficult decisions that will shape the narrative, not only for Andromeda, but for its potential sequels as well. To give gamers an idea of the kinds of choices they can expect to make in Mass Effect: Andromeda, here are the seven most gut-wrenching decisions in the series so far.
7 Cure the Genophage or Save Mordin (Mass Effect 3)
The Genophage is a biological weapon created to stop the Krogan population from growing. One scientist that played a key role in the development of the Genophage was Mordin Solus, a Salarian that joins Commander Shepard during the events of Mass Effect 2. Mordin's humor and kindhearted nature made him a fan favorite character, so his death became one of most memorable moments in the series, not to mention one of the most heartbreaking.
Mordin's death comes in Mass Effect 3 when he attempts to sacrifice himself in order to administer the Genophage cure, which would effectively save the Krogan species from extinction. However, players have the choice to stop Mordin from releasing the cure, which is accomplished either through convincing him in conversation or by shooting him. Essentially, the choice boils down to saving the life of a good friend or letting an entire species go extinct.
6 Fight Sovereign or Save the Council (Mass Effect)
At the end of the original Mass Effect game, players are faced with a choice that has ramifications over the course of the trilogy when the Reaper Sovereign attacks the Citadel along with a fleet of Geth. During the battle, the Council gets cornered aboard a powerful ship called Destiny Ascension, and Commander Shepard has to choose between saving the Council or focusing his resources on stopping Sovereign.
5 Kill the Rachni Queen or Save Her Species from Extinction (Mass Effect)
On the snowy planet Noveria in the first Mass Effect game, players come face to face with a Rachni Queen, said to be one of the last of her species. Rachni were a race of insectoid aliens that once threatened all other life in the galaxy, but they were thought to be destroyed in the Rachni Wars. The Rachni Queen Commander Shepard encounters on Noveria pleads her case, promising to live peacefully with her children if he spares her life. Commander Shepard has to decide whether he can trust the Rachni Queen to keep her word and save her species from extinction, or risk the return of a serious threat by saving the Rachni from genocide.
4 Save the Normandy Crew or Save the Squad (Mass Effect 2)
Players that fail to fully prepare their crew before the infamous suicide mission at the end of Mass Effect 2 will be blindsided by a surprise attack on the Normandy. With all the main squad members and Shepard himself off the ship, the Normandy is attacked by the Collectors, with the bulk of its crew members abducted. Players can choose to save the Normandy crew, at the likely expense of some of their beloved squad members, or they can hold off, which will doom some members of the Normandy crew to death.
3 Sacrifice Ashley or Kaidan (Mass Effect)
One of the most difficult choices in the entire series is a choice players have to make on Virmire in the original Mass Effect game. It's on Virmire that Commander Shepard has to choose between saving Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko, two of Shepard's earliest squad members. Shepard's choice reverberates throughout the original trilogy, with survivor's guilt plaguing the person Shepard decides to save.
2 Selecting Squadmates for the Suicide Mission (Mass Effect 2)
Mass Effect 2's suicide mission presents a real challenge for players and Commander Shepard. Players are hit with one dilemma after another, and forced to quickly decide which members of Shepard's squad should be assigned to each task. Depending on who is selected and if players have completed their loyalty mission, it can result in them or other squad members biting the dust.
1 Choosing an Ending (Mass Effect 3)
Mass Effect 3's endings are notorious for the backlash they received from fans, with the controversy enough to convince BioWare to release extended endings as DLC. Regardless, it's still difficult to choose between the game's different possible endings, as each choice available has incredible impact on the characters players have come to know over the course of the three games. Players can choose to take control of the Reapers, wipe out all synthetic life, merge all organic life with synthetic life, or simply do nothing and let the Reapers continue their conquest.
With fans of the franchise having encountered such difficult choices in past Mass Effect games, it will be interesting to see if Mass Effect: Andromeda can top them. With the release of the game just a couple of months away, fans won't have to wait too much longer to see if Andromeda's choices carry the same weight as the most challenging ones they've encountered in the series so far.
Mass Effect: Andromeda will be available on March 21, 2017 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.