Games like Mass Effect - Our top picks

Shepard, the main character of the Mass Effect series, is stood in front of three images. One has a man reaching up to a dragon, one is orange, the third is a man looking out across a valley.

Shepard, the main character of the Mass Effect series, is stood in front of three images. One has a man reaching up to a dragon, one is orange, the third is a man looking out across a valley.

The Mass Effect games are undeniably unique in their storytelling, having created a world filled with heartfelt NPC interactions and strained intergalactic political rivalries. While it’s safe to say that there will never be a game that emulates this feeling perfectly, there are a lot of great games like Mass Effect that manage to achieve at least one of those fan-favourite elements.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes the Mass Effect games so special. The RPG genre is one of the largest in the industry, and has remained as popular as ever throughout the years. Many of these titles even have conflicts with a government, may be set in space or even have romance options. However, none of them have managed to build a narrative in the same way that Bioware did.

Life would be boring, if it were filled with copycats though. While there will never be another Mass Effect, these games will still be a unique experience that will still offer the same senses of intrigue, interest and wonder. A variety of different settings promises to keep the RPG formula fresh, and each of them will prioritise a different set of game mechanics.

Here are the best games like Mass Effect

Dragon Age: Inquisition (2013)

Three men are standing with arrows drawn as they walk across the ruins of a castle.
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Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

It is perhaps no surprise that the games most similar in feeling to Mass Effect come from the Dragon Age series, made by the same development team at Bioware. While the setting is completely different, being a medieval-style fantasy world ruled by magic, the game itself still feels quite familiar.

There is a similar morality system found in the approval of your companions, as well as a focus on exploring the environment around you. The world is constantly changing around the player, either through the narrative or because of their interactions with the inhabitants of Thedas. Dragon Age is seen as a sister game to Mass Effect, and for good reason, because there is an undeniable magic that the old Bioware team instilled into both of them.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2004)

Characters stood in front of a space ship wielding lightsabers
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Platforms: PC, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch

Although one of the older games on this list, there is no reason that the dated visuals should prevent you from experiencing one of the best space-themed RPG games available on the market. As the title suggests, Knights of the Old Republic is set in the Star Wars universe, where the protagonist decides whether to follow the way of the Jedi, or descend into the Dark Side and become a Sith.

While the idle combat is understandably jarring to newcomers, there is still a strong emphasis on morality and exploration. As such, it's no surprise to learn that yes, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was also developed by Bioware. It found itself a cult-like revival in recent years, and is now easily available on Steam, with a next-gen remake in development.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

A man is riding a horse towards a Griffin creature, with his sword ready.
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Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch

The Witcher series is a masterclass in how to build an exceptional RPG game. While the first and second games do have choices that influence the outcome of the story, the third game is strong enough in its writing to be considered a great standalone experience.

Set in the grim world of The Continent, The Witcher games do not shy away from heavy themes and challenging moral choices in order to tell their story. Geralt of Rivia ends up involved in a range of other people's problems in his quest to find Ciri, but they are never simple nor shallow quests. The NPC stories are incredibly well written and are guaranteed to haunt you for long after you finish the game.

Greedfall (2019)

Two men are sword fighting on top of a cliff.
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Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Greedfall is perhaps the best Bioware-style RPG not made by Bioware. Set in a universe ruled by magic, this fantasy world is enthused by the discovery of an island paradise. The player has been sent to the island to try and find a cure for a disease threatening the mainland.

In true colonial fashion, you can either seize the opportunity and aid the foreign nations as they try to claim the new land for themselves, or alternatively side with the locals who have had their homes invaded by powers larger than them. There are multiple factions to side with which, alongside your actions taken through the story, will decide your reputation level, and as such which of the endings you get.

Control (2019)

A woman is running past an explosion in an office.
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Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
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While an unorthodox choice to recommend for someone looking to play a game like Mass Effect, Control is a game that knows how to tell an exceptional story. Set in an SCP-inspired universe, your goal as Jesse is to defeat a deadly enemy that is consuming the paranormal headquarters.

It is one of the most immersive action-adventure games on the market, and has some familiar features such as skill points that can be spent on improving powers, the functionality of her gun, and even perks and base attributes.

Fallout 4 (2015)

The Lone Wanderer is taking on a huge enemy, the Super Mutant Skirmisher, with only a pistol.
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Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Considered one of the fathers of the sci-fi RPG genre, the Fallout series needs little introduction. Ever since the first title was released all the way back in 1997, the Fallout games have always dealt with corrupt institutions, exploration, and rewarding the player with NPC backstories through both the story and environmental storytelling.

The best game in the series will either be Fallout 3, New Vegas or Fallout 4, depending on your own personal preference. Each of them has their own valid strengths and weaknesses, so it’s recommended to give each one a go to find out which Fallout suits you best. If you’re in the mood for something more retro, then give the first two Fallout’s a chance, too. They’re isometric but rich in storytelling, and a great experience if you like retro games.

Dead Space (2007)

A man in a space suit is pointing a gun at a monster.
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Platforms: PS3, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Perhaps one of the best-known action games set in space, Dead Space has retained a cult following for decades since the first game's initial release. The story follows the protagonist Isaac Clarke, as he tries to find out what happened on board the ruined mining ship USG Ishimura.

He must fight horrifying monsters, known as Necromorphs, as he explores the ship in increasingly terrifying scenarios. Sequel games introduce wider settings, as well as furthering the lore of the story and explaining just what happened in the lead up to the Ishimura disaster. It's a fun game, with a highly anticipated remake coming in early 2023.

Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)

A woman in stood in front of some railings. She's in the middle of a huge, cyberpunk city.
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Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

To say that Cyberpunk 2077 had a rough launch would be an understatement. The game upon release was questionable, and it rocked the belief that many had in the studio CD Projekt Red. But since then, the developer has worked tirelessly to patch it together into a coherent experience.

The story explores the societies that make up the criminal underworld of the expansive and dangerous Night City. The protagonist, V, finds themselves dragged into a scenario that is far beyond their capabilities, and ends up fighting for their survival against the organisations who want them dead. It has a great story, a fantastic atmosphere and is an RPG worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre.

If you're looking for more great games to play, then check out our list on the best free action games, or if you prefer the roleplaying and companion aspect of Mass Effect, we have our list on the best simulation games here.

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