I haven't played Mass Effect 1 or 2 yet, am I going to ruin the previous games' stories by playing Mass Effect 3 first?

I know the games let you continue the plot basically between games but I'm wondering if the major surprises/plot points are ruined if I play Mass Effect 3 first.


3 Answers 3


I'd say yes. The story evolves over the course of the previous two games, and there's really no way to watch/play even the introduction sequence of this game without spoiling some of the major plot reveals of the first.

Things that Shepard discovers in the first and second games are pretty much widely known at the beginning of the third, so the plot twists and turns of those games will be completely lost as people are going to be conversing about them at length even early on.

Some of the returning characters played major roles or were scarred by events in the previous game ("the Virmire survivor" comes to mind as being key), so attempting to talk to them without getting spoiled about the events of previous games is virtually impossible.

That's not to say that starting here will utterly ruin your taste for either of the previous games. I believe Bioware has tried to make this chapter accessible for newcomers, and the plot of the first two is nuanced and complex enough that you'd still gain from going back and playing the first two if you get engrossed in this game's universe.

However, if you're the type that values not being spoiled, starting with ME3 is going to really reveal a ton about the plot of the first two games.

  • 2
    +1 Agreed... the series is amazing, but the story arc is as linear as can be... Mar 6, 2012 at 22:21

Pretty much every plot decision from the first two games is, at a bare minimum, mentioned in a short blurb in the Galactic Readiness system. At worst, events will be referenced in detail.

Every single minute detail won't be spelled out, so you may still have some surprises (or at least keep your interest) playing the first two games, but the larger overtures will all be by and large spoiled - if you're paying enough attention to understand what's happening in Mass Effect 3, you'll already have a very good idea of what went down in the first two games, if not in line-by-line detail then enough that you will see it coming if you go back and play the others.

(Answer deliberately vague to avoid inadvertent spoilers.)

  • There is also, of course, the fact that the first two games are both very fun, and allow you to import your character and your plot decisions in excruciating detail, but I didn't feel that was technically relevant to the answer.
    – Shinrai
    Mar 6, 2012 at 17:40

The entire Mass Effect series is one story, just in segments. The decisions you make in ME directly impact what happens in ME2 and the decisions you make in both impact how things are in ME3. Basically, starting ME3 without playing the first two is like picking up a book and starting it 3/4 of a way through. So to answer your question, playing ME3 before the other ones will reveal some information that could possibly spoil the endings of the first two games.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .