Mass Effect shook the gaming world when it launched. It had a great science fiction setting, a memorable and charismatic main character, and an efficient dialogue system making conversations flow better and look more cinematic. All in all, the series is fantastic, well worth playing and sure to be a great fun for every fan of science fiction and space swashbuckling.

The problem is that there are just four Mass Effect games – one excellent trilogy and one spin-off that spun so hard it landed in a different galaxy. That’s not nearly enough to get your fill of the setting, the tactical TPP cover-based combat, and the dialogue system. An obvious solution would be to wait, hoping for a new Mass Effect game.

A simpler and more accessible option is to peek at the games which share some of Mass Effect DNA, be it story presentation, action sequences, or even just the sheer atmosphere. And so we shall. Behold, and rejoice, this is our list of…

Games Like Mass Effect (in some shape or form)
GameReleaseDeveloperTrailerSale
Cyberpunk 2077 2020-12-10 Action RPG CD PROJEKT RED 47% Read more
Assassins Creed Valhalla Standard Edition 2020-11-10 Action RPG Ubisoft 70% Read more
No Mans Sky 2016-08-12 Adventure Hello Games 71% Read more
Destiny 2 Legendary Edition 2020-11-10 Shooter Bungie 80% Read more
Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines 2004-11-16 Adventure Troika Games 4% Read more
Alpha Protocol 2010-05-27 Action & Shooter Obsidian Entertainment Read more
Deus Ex Human Revolution Directors Cut 2013-10-25 Action & Shooter Eidos Montreal 83% Read more
Dragon Age 2 2011-03-08 Adventure BioWare 44% Read more
Fallout New Vegas 2010-10-21 Action & Shooter Obsidian Entertainment 76% Read more
Ftl Faster Than Light 2012-09-14 Adventure Subset Games 53% Read more
Gears 5 2019-09-09 Action The Coalition 43% Read more
Greedfall 2019-09-10 Action Spiders 89% Read more
Halcyon 6 Starbase Commander 2016-09-08 Indie Massive Damage, Inc. 94% Read more
Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic 2003-11-19 RPG BioWare 83% Read more
Shadowrun Dragonfall Directors Cut 2014-09-18 Adventure Harebrained Schemes 83% Read more
Star Wars Republic Commando 2005-03-01 Action & Shooter LucasArts 76% Read more
The Outer Worlds 2020-10-23 Action RPG Obsidian Entertainment 75% Read more
The Witcher 2 Assassins Of Kings Enhanced Edition 2011-05-17 Adventure CD PROJEKT RED 84% Read more
XCOM Chimera Squad 2020-04-24 Strategy Firaxis Games 90% Read more
Dragon Age Inquisition Game Of The Year Edition 2014-11-18 Adventure BioWare 67% Read more

        

Cyberpunk 2077

Release date:2020-12-10
Genre:Action RPG
Developer:CD PROJEKT RED

If your favorite parts of the Mass Effect games is wondering around the Citadel or the Omega station and soaking in the futuristic atmosphere, maybe you should give a chance to Cyberpunk 2077.

Now free from launch woes it’s ready to engage you in a story about an upstart mercenary called V, and the vengeful, digital ghost of a world-famous rockerboy Johnny Silverhand.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 is an urban open world action RPG, with all that it entails. There are plenty of side activities for explorers, some crunchy math for optimizers, and an engaging, well-written and well-acted core story for the roleplayers. Instead of Mass Effect’s dialogues with tight camera control, CP77 uses more fluid, on-the-go approach, making even conversations more immersive.

Key features
  • Three flexible starting classes, and three origins defining your story
  • Cool progression mixing inherent abilities and cybernetic enhancements
  • Large arsenal of guns in three core types, including auto-aiming Smart guns
  • Branching storyline and several satisfying endings
        

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

Release date:2020-11-10
Genre:Action RPG
Developer:Ubisoft

Yes, a complete change of theme, but if you’re a broad strokes kind of person, there are things to bite into!

You still have a ship, and even though it’s not a cutting-edge space-faring vessel, you’ll still get to pilot it from place to place for plot and fun. You also have a home base with story importance, and a whole bunch of core and side stories, not all of which must be solved with violence.

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

The story takes place in the late 9th century, during the Viking settlement of England, so you’ll mostly be drinking mead and sword fighting. However, as is typical for the Assassin’s Creed games, there’s also a lot of Prote… Precur… Isu tech involved, injecting some weird science fiction stuff into the story. It’s not as branching or as RPG-y as Mass Effect, but the structure will feel familiar.

Key features
  • Large world to explore
  • Interesting story mixing historical setting and „ancient aliens” brand of science fiction
  • Customizable main character
  • Tons of quests and activities
        

No Man's Sky

Release date:2016-08-12
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Hello Games

Perhaps it’s not the dashing galaxy-saving adventure that you seek, perhaps it’s the promise of a vast cosmos to explore. It that’s the case, No Man’s Sky should have exactly what you need.

Once you clear the introductory phase, you can hop from planet to planet as you please, studying alien languages, collecting resources for your crafting or trading endeavors, or documenting wildlife.

No Man's Sky

Since its memorable launch, NMS has received many updates, turning it into a rich, compelling, and satisfying space exploration sim, which is just as good in multiplayer as it is solo. There is an overarching theme of trying to get to the galactic core and the mystery within, but you are free to ignore it and focus on exploration according to your own whims and ambitions.

Key features
  • The universe is close enough to infinity for the difference to be meaningless
  • Procedurally generated planets and their life forms
  • Trading, crafting, chasing the cosmic mysteries, plenty to do at your own pace
  • Friendly, pleasant aesthetic
        

Destiny 2

Release date:2020-11-10
Genre:Shooter
Developer:Bungie

Cool guns? Check. Cool powers on the border of magic and science fiction? Check. Several planets to visit and kill stuff on?

Absolutely. Sure, Destiny 2 is more of a MMO shooter than an RPG like Mass Effect, but it is much better at being a high-powered shooter than Mass Effect is, so if you’re into tight gunplay and fun superpowers, and aren’t against FPP, check Destiny 2 out.

Destiny 2

Since its release in 2017 Destiny 2 has received several large expansions, with the latest being The Witch Queen, and many smaller updates. The arsenal gets reshuffled, modes and maps for in and out of rotation, new raids are added, more story elements get integrated, there’s a lot to do and a ton of guns to get. If you want a precise, compelling science fiction MMO shooter, this is it.

Key features
  • Tons of great guns, including powerful, extra-rare exotics
  • Interesting science fiction setting with a cool science-fantasy kind of lore
  • Three classes, each with its own subclasses and build potential
  • Ongoing, solid support from developer Bungie
        

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines

Release date:2004-11-16
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Troika Games

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines widely recognized as one of the best roleplaying video games roleplaying video games in history.

If you want a complex web of consequences, great dialogues, and memorable NPCs, on top of a TPP/FPP action and non-standard take on morality, VtM:B is a perfect game for you to try, as long as you get the latest community patch.

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines

VtM: B puts you in the freshly undead shoes of a new vampire, who awakens to a complex web of factions and conflicting ambitions of LA vampire society. Left without a sire, you’re a wild card, and it’s a status you can greatly benefit from, if you’re smart. With several clans with unique powers to choose from, and extremely branching story, one playthrough won’t be nearly enough.

Key features
  • Based on the famous tabletop role-playing game Vampire the Masquerade
  • Easily enough content for several very different playthroughs
  • Complex choices and consequences, including many ending variations
  • The community is still very active, and puts out a fresh fan patch version frequently
        

Alpha Protocol

Release date:2010-05-27
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment

Alpha Protocol takes Mass Effect’s simplified dialogue presentation and discrete missions of Mass Effect 2 and asks “what if we took these things and made a spy RPG?”.

The answer is an interesting game with a complex, reactive story that carries the entire experience with flair expected of spy fiction. You can play it smooth like James Bond, harsh like Jack Bauer, or coldly professional like Jason Bourne.

Alpha Protocol

Thornton gains positive and negative reputation with each character in the story, and the game keeps close track of the values and adjusts the plot in many, sometimes unexpected, ways. Most missions play out as third-person perspective action game leaning towards stealth and using abilities gained as you unlock them from their respective skill lines. Choices are your weapon in every aspect of the game.

Key features
  • The story smoothly adapts to the reputations you have with main and supporting characters
  • Great spy fiction in its own right
  • Many ways to develop Michael’s skillset
  • Pragmatic Michael makes Renegade Shepard look Paragon
        

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Release date:2013-10-25
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Eidos Montreal

Deus Ex: Human Revolution can scratch that Mass Effect itch in a few different ways.

One that becomes clear fairly quickly is the dialogue presentation, which is happy to bring just a few options at a time, some inquisitive, others leading towards new dialogue branches. There’s also a lot of sticking to cover, and unlocking new abilities through an augment tree, mildly reminiscent of ME 2 and 3.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

The game is a prequel to the original Deus Ex and presents the early days of human augmentations. The protagonist, Adam Jensen, is heavily augmented due to events that play out during the tutorial sequence, and while he should get more resting time, there’s an investigation to conduct. DE:HR also offers quite a bit of flexibility in how you can approach challenges, with solid stealth gameplay and plenty of incentives to explore maps.

Key features
  • Sneaking through ventilation shafts never gets old
  • Many ways to complete assignments
  • Several endings
  • Exploration awards experience
        

Dragon Age 2 & Inquisition

Release date:2011-03-08 / 2014-11-18
Genre:Adventure
Developer:BioWare

Whereas Dragon Age: Origins borrows its presentation from classic Infinity Engine-era RPGs, the two sequels took hints from Mass Effect in a few ways.

First of all, they were more action-oriented, with quickly accessible abilities, helpful, but not essential active pause system, and basic attacks available with a press of a button. They also adopted the dialogue presentation popularised by Mass Effect.

Dragon Age 2 & Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition also captures the essence of gathering powerful allies for a war against an ancient menace threatening the entire world. As the head of the titular Inquisition you have a lot of power available to you, so you get to both weigh in on many events taking place on the strategic map, and go on adventures with your strike team of friends and allies. It’s done really, really well.

Key features
  • Cinematic cutscenes with easy-to-parse dialogues
  • An interesting, engaging low-level family story in DA2
  • Epic, continent-reshaping story in Inquisition
  • Dynamic combat
        

Fallout: New Vegas

Release date:2010-10-21
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment

True, New Vegas doesn’t take place IN SPAAAACE, and you don’t get a nifty ship to romp around in, but if you’ve spent any amount of time roaming the moons in Mass Effect 1 you’ll feel right at home in Nevada.

Jokes aside, Fallout New Vegas does a great job at tossing you into a world of disagreeing factions, weird monsters, and making you the only person who can do anything about upsetting the status quo.

Fallout: New Vegas

You’re a Courier, not a Spectre, and you start the game at a doctor’s house, because you had a bullet put in your head after a precious package you carried was stolen. Now you can freely roam a massive region, untangling people’s problems, being many factions’ problem, and collecting a troupe of followers drawn to your wild-card charm.

Key features
  • Complex reputation systems instead of a straightforward morality
  • Flexible progression: every skill is useful
  • Many endings and ways to complete quests
  • Tactical pause in the form of the VATS system
        

FTL: Faster Than Light

Release date:2012-09-14
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Subset Games

You don’t have to squint too much to view FTL as the unseen side of commanding a ship in the Mass Effect universe.

Your ship carries info crucial to winning a war against a human-first rebel group (Cerberus much?), and you have to get it to the allied fleet through eight sectors full of dangers which include, but aren’t limited to, pirates, asteroids, and hard-to-contain fires.

FTL: Faster Than Light

You have some crew to assign duties to, resources to manage, and challenges to overcome, and quite a few waypoints to clear. FTL is a roguelike, so no two runs are going to be the same, with procedurally generated events and encounters. You also get to unlock more ships by conducting research, and each alien species can offer its own spacecraft, catering to different playstyles.

Key features
  • Excellent science fiction rogue-like
  • Several interesting alien species
  • Simple, but evocative graphics
  • Infinitely replayable
        

Gears 5

Release date:2019-09-09
Genre:Action
Developer:The Coalition

Sure, not an epic science fiction RPG, but if you need more cover-based shooting in your life you could go to the series that made it an industry standard in the first place.

The Gears of War series, including the latest main instalment, has cover-based shooting down to a science. As a bonus it’s an Xbox 360 original, much like Mass Effect. Gears 5 is a new generation sequel to the original trilogy.

Gears 5

Gears 5 follows Kait Diaz, first met in Gears of War 4 as a friend of its protagonist. Diaz has discovered some secrets about her family in GoW4, and in G5 we’re following her on a journey of discovery and lots (LOTS) of shooting on behalf of the army mounting a counterattack against the invading species referred to as the Swarm. And you can play it all in co-op multiplayer.

Key features
  • Great Horde mode co-op multiplayer
  • Engaging story about the next generation of COG soldiers
  • Cover-based shooting polished over many games
  • Great campaign
        

Greedfall

Release date:2019-09-10
Genre:Action
Developer:Spiders

Greedfall could be broadly described as Dragon Age of the Caribbean, so, by extension is shares some DNA with Mass Effect, notably in the cinematic cutscenes and the way it does dialogue.

It’s also a third-person perspective action RPG with tactical pause lending you a bit of time to unleash your abilities more precisely. Despite different setting, some elements will absolutely feel familiar.

Greedfall

The story involves a weird illness affecting the continent your character is from, and a mostly uncolonized island of Teer Fradee with its own native population. Your mission begins with you trying to find a way to cure the illness, but it quickly branches out into a story of successions and supernatural phenomena. It’s a very fun game with an underexplored setting inspiration.

Key features
  • Teer Fradee is fun to explore and interact with its factions
  • Several endings, including an evil one
  • Action combat with tactical pause
  • Several companions with their own agendas
        

Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

Release date:2016-09-08
Genre:Indie
Developer:Massive Damage, Inc.

Halcyon 6 should sound familiar to everyone who played Mass Effect. The titular Halcyon 6 is a space station left by a precursor species.

Kind of like the Citadel, isn’t it? An evil force is approaching Earth at speed, and you need to get chummy with other species, restore the station and work on technology capable of stopping the invaders. It’s a familiar tune but played on new instruments.

Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

There’s a lot to do in Halcyon 6, both as thr station and the game itself. You’ll be dumping a lot of resources into making the station fully operational, and you’ll explore nearby systems to get necessary materials. There will be be many tactical battles in space and on the ground, and a lot of emergent storytelling as you pull event triggers by goofing around in the game. There are even consequential choices to make!

Key features
  • Lightspeed Edition improves the base game with new officer classes, better battles, and more
  • Nice pixel art graphics
  • Tactical combat
  • Managing a ragtag band of misfits that are your officers
        

Knights of the Old Republic

Release date:2003-11-19
Genre:RPG
Developer:BioWare

Knights of the Old Republic was something of a proto-Mass Effect.

It was BioWare’s first attempt at a more cinematic presentation of dialogues, for example, and brought the camera closer to the characters with a convenient control scheme. But, importantly, it’s also an excellent adventure set in the Star Wars universe, albeit a few thousand years before the events of the movie trilogies.

Knights of the Old Republic

You begin the game confused, on a spaceship attacked by the Sith fleet. And that’s just the tutorial. Soon enough you’ll find yourself tangled in the business of Jedi, appear on the radar of a powerful Sith Lord, become a swoop racing legend, and have many, many conversations with your companions and NPCs populating the planets you visit on your journey. KotOR is an absolute classic.

Key features
  • Turning too much to the Dark Side affects your appearance
  • Several memorable companions
  • Uses the Star Wars d20 system, similar to Dungeons & Dragons
  • Received a solid singleplayer sequel and an MMORPG taking place a few hundred years later
        

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Release date:2014-09-18
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Harebrained Schemes

Shadowrun is an interesting setting.

On the surface, it’s a cyberpunk version of our world, with hacking kits, cybernetics, and megacorporations. But it also has dwarves running guns through the underground, trolls hired as bodyguards, and literal dragons running the aforementioned megacorporations. It’s not a epic galactic adventure, but it might give a sense of life in the less shining parts of the ME-verse.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Dragonfall’s progression system will also look familiar to people who liked Mass Effect 1 and working towards new perks and abilities by levelling up specific skills, rather than working up a skill tree from ME 2 and 3. The story involves a mysterious presence that fries the brains of hackers, with guest apperances from monsterslayers, and weird cults – an interesting blend of ideas and tropes from both fantasy and science fiction.

Key features
  • Turn-based combat
  • Based on a tabletop RPG, Shadowrun
  • Several endings and many choices to make throughout the game
  • Several interesting and useful classes
        

Star Wars: Republic Commando

Release date:2005-03-01
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:LucasArts

Like Gears 5, Republic Commando’s main similarity to the Mass Effect series is through the tactical shooter aspects of both series.

RC goes for the first-person perspective, rather than third, but the game puts strong emphasis on giving orders to your squad to get through difficult combat scenarios. Each clone in your squad has a different speciality, like sniping, or setting up and defusing explosives.

Star Wars: Republic Commando

The story takes place during the Clone Wars-era of Star Wars, and the missions are discreet deployments, with about two years of difference between the first deployment and the last. You’ll visit several familiar places, like Kashyyyk, the homeland of Wookiees, or Geonosis, known from Episode II, where clone appeared for the first time. It’s a solid tactical shooter from a slightly different era.

Key features
  • You get your own special tasks unit of clones
  • Great tactical shooter
  • Tour across familiar planets and guest appearances from familiar characters
  • Orders are easy and quick to issue
        

The Outer Worlds

Release date:2020-10-23
Genre:Action RPG
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment

The Outer Worlds is the action-RPG that could fill the void left by the Mass Effect franchise.

It has a spacefaring, science-fiction setting, cool weapons, and plenty of people that need to be knocked down a peg. You also can stomp around with up to two companions, which is another similarity to ME. On the whole, however, The Outer Worlds benefits from a more flexible gameplay.

The Outer Worlds

TOW is set in year 2355 of an alternative timeline, which diverged from ours in 1901. You play as a prospective space colonist, who got stuck in cryostasis for a long while before being recovered only a few decades too late, and you emerge to a world that’s ruled by megacorporations. How you proceed from there is mostly up to you, despite solid shooting and exploration it’s still a proper RPG.

Key features
  • Several companions
  • A lot of exploration to do with your ship
  • You can get debuffs and perks reflecting your experience
  • Your core choices are based around being a hero, idiot, or an aggressive maniac
        

The Witcher 2

Release date:2011-05-17
Genre:Adventure
Developer:CD PROJEKT RED

While The Witcher 3 was already a committed open-world game, The Witcher 2 was more contained, with more forwards momentum, and cutscene-dialogues which felt a lot like Mass Effect’s, just short of coming in a neat wheel-friendly form.

The choices can also play out in big ways, up to splitting the game into two separate storylines in one key moment.

The Witcher 2

The game’s story involves Geralt being framed for the murder of a king and having to prove his innocence, in addition to an escalating conflict with Scoia’tael rebels and increasing distrust of spellcasters. There is also plenty of monsters to kill, of course, and hunting them requires a fair bit of preparation, including doing research and drinking potions before the fight.

Key features
  • A well-paced storyline
  • Your choices change a lot about the final act and the ending
  • You can transfer your save from The Witcher 1 for some extra starting resources
  • Bigger importance of preparation for combat
        

Tom Clancy’s The Division 1 & 2

Release date:released_date} / 2019-02-07
Genre:Tactical shooter
Developer:Massive Entertainment

The Division falls mostly into the “tactical shooter” side of Mass Effect similarities, but it does so with aplomb.

Instead of a future removed by a century or two, The Division shows a modern world, albeit one devastated by a deadly disease called “The Dollar Flu” because of the way it was transmitted. The first game takes place in Manhattan, while the second moves to Washington D.C.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 1 & 2

Although The Division isn’t inherently class-based, it does have skills and talents to unlocks, as well as specializations you unlock in the second game upon reaching level 30. You also get to use your skills to deploy useful items or support your team-mates. Speaking of team-mates, The Division is an MMO, and your best chance of surviving is finding a group of people, be it just a raiding party of a full clan.

Key features
  • A mid-apocalyptic trip through Manhattan and Washington D.C.
  • Tonnes of equipment to find and loot
  • Challenging raids and bosses
  • Mostly PvE, with possible PvP locations
        

XCOM: Chimera Squad

Release date:2020-04-24
Genre:Strategy
Developer:Firaxis Games

XCOM: Chimera Squad is a spin-off from the main XCOM series, set a few years after the conclusion of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen.

Freed from the mind control of the Elders, many aliens and hybrids seek to live peacefully with humans. Of course, there are some elements who want to take over the city and undermine the coexistence efforts, and the Chimera Squad is a joint task force trying to stop them.

XCOM: Chimera Squad

Chimera Squad is very similar to the mainline XCOM games from Firaxis but playing out on a city-scale rather than worldwide. The battles are turn-based, and each begins with the Breach phase. It lets you position your operatives at points of entry so that they can burst into the room firing off abilities and neutralising especially dangerous enemies before they even get to act.

Key features
  • SWAT, but with aliens, lasers, and managing unrest in the city
  • The Breach phase is an interesting addition to the XCOM formula
  • Your operatives have personalities and backstories this time around
  • Single-player only

Beyond the mass effect relays

That concludes our list, and hopefully you’re found something that can provide the kind of sustenance you need in absence of new ME games. There are options for combat, some options for cinematic action RPGs, even a share of compelling science fiction worlds and stories. Nothing here is “literally Mass Effect”, but there’s plenty to enjoy anyway.

Of course, if somehow NONE of that scratches your itch, you can go with the old reliable option and play the Mass Effect legendary edition, a remastered version of the series released as a single convenient pack.