Bioware’s beloved Mass Effect franchise has been delighting players with captivating narratives, diverse characters and breathtaking extraterrestrial landscapes for years. These planets offer a tantalizing glimpse into a future where humanity’s indomitable spirit knows no bounds.
Each world is a harmonious fusion of inspiring environments, narrative meaning and unforgettable encounters. From bustling metropolises to desolate frontiers, these mesmerizing planets hide secrets that resonate throughout the galaxy. It’s time for Shepard and his team to unravel the riddles that lie beyond the stars. These are the best planets players will visit in the Mass Effect series.10 Havarl – Mass Effect Andromeda
Havarl, the ancestral home of the Angara in Mass Effect Andromeda was once a lush and promising “golden world”, the current state of Havarl presents an intriguing transformation. Its surface is now dominated by sprawling jungles with erratic growth patterns, displaying grotesque mutations and changes in their plant life. These disturbing changes make the flora dangerous for consumption.
Havarl is a symbolic battleground for the xenophobic Roekaar. Delving into the mysteries of Havarl reveals its complex history and ecological changes, intertwining the destiny of intrepid explorers with the Angara’s struggle for survival. An enigmatic planet where lush jungles hide deep secrets.9 2181 Despina — Mass Effect 3
Deep in uncharted space lies 2181 Despoina, a world that has recently come to the attention of human space probes. This mysterious planet, still unexplored, reveals an ocean of liquid water and an atmosphere of nitrogen-oxygen, providing ideal conditions for photosynthetic life.
2181 Despoina’s meaning shines through in the memorable Leviathan DLC, where Shepard and his squadmates venture into its submerged depths to face the formidable Leviathans. Engaging in dialogue with these quasi-Lovecraftian beasts, Commander Shepard discovers the chilling truth about the Leviathans. Enchanting underwater landscapes and the unsettling presence of Leviathans, 2181 Despoina promises an extraordinary aquatic odyssey. That not only presents a very different type of world than what’s been seen before in the series, but also narrative significance regarding the origins of the reapers.8 Sur’Kesh — Mass Effect 3
Sur’Kesh, the Salarian homeworld, resembles the jungles of Earth – stunning but dangerous. Overcoming the first challenges of pollution, Salarians embraced social solutions for a sustainable population. Away from dark space, Sur’Kesh fends off the Reaper invasion, but anticipates attacks. Its humid climate and lush vegetation create a stunning landscape.
Commander Shepard’s mission: to protect female krogan with the key to the genophage cure, required by krogan for war support. Embark on the Sur’Kesh expedition, exploring the harmonious blend of stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity and salarian resilience. Sur’Kesh presents a tense and action-packed mission for Shepard when their rendezvous on the planet goes awry, causing an all-out attack on the heart of Salarian science.7 Bekenstein – Mass Effect 2
Bekenstein, Earth’s off-planet manufacturing base, quickly emerged as a hub for luxury goods and opulence. Referred to as the “Illium of the humans”, it symbolizes wealth and status, with its elite boasting prosperity while socioeconomic disparities remain muted. Bekenstein’s success as a commercial planet is evident in its abundance of millionaires and billionaires per capita. However, under the glare, the planet faces high rates of suicide and inflation.
Embark on Kasumi Goto’s daring assault on Bekenstein in Mass Effect 2 as she seeks justice and recovers a stolen neural implant. Amidst the fascination and intrigue of this extravagant world, Shepard joins the quest for Kasumi, vying for her loyalty.6 Beasts — Mass Effect 1
Feros, a world nestled in the Attican Beta cluster, reveals a haunting tapestry of Prothean ruins across its vast expanse. The remnants of a past civilization cover two-thirds of the habitable surface, a testament to its enigmatic legacy. However, Feros is no ordinary paradise. Its atmosphere, tainted by swirling dust, poses a challenge to terrestrial exploration, impeded by colossal debris strewn across the land.
Despite these obstacles, the resilient ExoGeni Corporation forged a pioneer colony on Feros, ingeniously imagining intact skyscrapers and Prothean aqueducts to support the inhabitants. This ambitious undertaking aimed to unravel the mysteries hidden in the ancient ruins, although looters had already extensively searched them over the millennia. But Feros is not without dangers. A relentless attack by the synthetic horde known as the geth has sent shockwaves through the planet’s colonists. The enigmatic Saren, its orchestrator, searches for the Thorian, a plant-parasitic creature that has tricked the unsuspecting residents of the Zhu’s Hope colony. The colony has an eerie atmosphere on first approach that only starts to grow over time, as if something is wrong with the inhabitants, making it one of the most intriguing quests to date.
A world in the Tikkun system, Rannoch is a barren planet that has sparse oceans and expansive deserts. The name “Rannoch”, meaning “walled garden”, reflects the importance of plant life in ancient quarian culture. Orbiting Rannoch are numerous geth space stations, guardians of a planet that was once home to the quarians. Driven out by their synthetic creations, the quarians left Rannoch behind. Amazingly, the geth now care for the planet, restoring its ecology, nurturing ancient structures, and cultivating small patches of farmland.
Rannoch’s unique ecosystem depends on a symbiotic relationship between pollinating plants and animals. This dynamic, while central to quarian biology, made colonizing other worlds challenging after their exile. For quarians, reclaiming Rannoch from the geth is as much a cultural imperative as it is a physiological necessity – a quest to reclaim their lost heritage. the lore of the quarians and their quest to return to their homeworld, leaving their patchwork fleet behind forever is one of the series’ greatest and most interesting pieces of lore, all because of what this shared planet has to offer its respective inhabitants.4 Ilos — Mass Effect 1
Once a lush world adorned with magnificent cities, Ilos now stands as a testament to grim devastation. Its surface is the color of rust, a stark contrast to its former verdant beauty. Elevated levels of oxygen in the atmosphere fuel forest fires that burn on the dark side. Ilos is a planet known only from second-hand accounts and references found in other Prothean ruins.
Located in the remote Terminus Systems, Ilos can only be reached via the legendary Mu Relay, lost after a supernova shifted its position 4,000 years ago. While attempts to explore Ilos persist, the treacherous journey through hostile territories and unfamiliar systems remains a daunting challenge.3 Virmire – Mass Effect 1
Virmire, within the Attican Traverse, seduces with its lush landscapes and wild allure, ideal for colonization by carbon-based species. Its equatorial belt boasts a humid tropical paradise, fed by vast seas and a strategic orbital position. Neighboring Terminus Systems, plagued by political unrest and relentless pirate raids, dashes hopes of a deal. The Citadel’s repeated dealings with criminal syndicates and power-hungry despots collapsed amid internal strife. Regrettably, the Citadel now considers the colonization of Virmire impossible without substantial political transformation.
Terminus’s own powers, lacking the means for sustainable settlement, prioritize theft over creation. Virmire’s untapped potential remains overshadowed by its penchant for exploiting neighboring worlds. However, urgent distress signals from a salarian reconnaissance team on Virmire, harboring critical information about the infamous Saren, have inflamed the Council’s concerns. Their safety hangs precariously, and the truth they possess could shape the fate of the galaxy. Virmire contains two of the series’ greatest moments, the actual introduction of Sovereign and the big choice between Ashley’s death or Kaiden. These dark and agonizing parts of the series set against a paradisiacal backdrop like the world really contrast.2 Illium — Mass Effect 2
Illium thrives as a trade nexus that unites the Asari Republics and the Terminus Systems. It provides a haven for transactions that circumvent the Council’s space constraints. Though not officially an Asari planet, Illium operates under corporate Asari interests. The regions house populations in towering arcology skyscrapers, shielding them from the scorching heat of the planet.
Despite its darker side of abusive labor practices and legalized indulgences. Illium attracts visitors with glamour, luxury and near total surveillance, ensuring safety. Celebrities and the wealthy flock to Illium, adorning the capital, Nos Astra, with grand estates. The only downside is the intricate bureaucracy, supported by the security it offers. Amidst Illium’s self-indulgence, the media reveals his arrogance, running lists of the “Sexiest CEOs” and “Ten Richest Residents” that celebrate the region’s wealth.1 Tuchanka — Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3
A desolate world scarred by nuclear devastation, Tuchanka is the krogan homeworld. Once a thriving ecosystem of fierce battles, it now lies in ruins. Extreme temperatures, virulent diseases, and predatory wildlife make survival a constant challenge for krogans. After the krogan discovered atomic energy, their planet plunged into a nuclear winter, decimating its population.
After the salarians manufactured the genophage, a devastating biological weapon that kept the krogan population in check, Tuchanka remained a barren wasteland, a testament to the tumultuous history of the krogan and their battle against extinction.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available for PC, Xbox One and PS4.
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