When the first Mass Effect game launched in 2007 by Electronic Arts (EA) and Bioware, it was an instant hit. The storyline was as powerful as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars and kept fans salivating for more right away. The Mass Effect Trilogy won more than 300 awards.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S5S-CgQo8k (This link takes you to the introduction and first mission for Mass Effect 1)
Mass Effect is an odd combination of Star Wars, Stargate SG-1, and Star Trek. It is the gripping storylines that is typically found in Star Wars. Also, Mass Effect has the frustrations of dealing with political agendas just like Star Wars and Stargate SG-1. It also has the gang elements consisting of groups such as the Blue Suns and Blood Pack, which is similar to Star Wars in another respect (like Jabba the Hutt and his criminal organization).
Also, George Lucas played with Star Wars fans emotions through carefully chosen music themes such as the heartbeat monotone in Episode 6: Return of the Jedi when Luke’s father Darth Vader, hated villain, is quickly dying after saving his son. Mass Effect delivers the same result with carefully chosen music themes to fit the situation. One such as example is Mass Effect 3 in the very beginning. When the elite brass is discussing a new threat, there is a dark, mystery theme music that really sets the tone early.
How does Mass Effect compare to Star Trek? The characters are comprised of several different races, each comprised of a select culture which makes it very difficult for all the races to get along. Also, the main antagonists are similar to the Borg in Star Trek, in that they are programmed to turn all sentient organic life in the Milky Galaxy into machines. The enemy’s creed is that all sentient organic life must be turned into machines to avoid wars with the machines organics create.
Like Stargate SG-1, there is a strong emphasis on an extinct race of aliens called the Protheans. They left a lot of technology behind and a mystery to their extinction (like The Ancients in Stargate SG-1).
One of the best things about the entire Mass Effect saga is that the player is always in control of the story. Much like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic created by Bioware and Lucasarts, every action and conversation choice has a direct impact on the plot.
The main character, Commander John Shepard has to constantly wade through the political barriers in the first game en route to facing a rogue “space cop” named Saren, who defected to join an ancient enemy known as the Reapers, that very few in the Milky Way Galaxy ever heard of and most dismiss as a legend or myth.
The main political group- known as the Citadel Council, make the tough decisions that impact the plot and Shepard’s journey.
The main storyline involves Shepard coming from an underdog background. He grew up on the streets of a mega city on Earth. He learned to fend for himself. His parents were not around. In this storyline, He avoided a life of petty crime by enlisting in the military organization known as the Earth Systems alliance. His ability to survive under harsh conditions paid off during one of his first missions on a planet called Akuze in which his entire squad was killed.
There are alternate storylines the player can chose, as well as choosing a female Shepard.
Unlike typical video game and movie franchises, Mass Effect only gets better with each sequel. The graphics are sharpened and storylines are intensified as the story goes on. The enemies are also more dangerous and intense as the story goes on.
From the beginning of Mass Effect 3, Shepard suffers a concussion in the first attack on Earth and later suffers nightmares from post traumatic stress syndrome and the death of a young boy no older than nine-years-old.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQPasYBuuLk (this link takes you to the introduction and first mission of Mass Effect 3)
With the upcoming 4th installment of the saga and the Mass Effect movie that is currently being initiated by Legendary Studios, there is room to grow and even branch out.