Each of the three Mass Effect games follows a similar format. After a linear beginning, they each open up, and players are free to explore until they complete a certain amount of main missions. At this point, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 enter the point of no return, and players are forced along a linear path through the endgame.
Each Mass Effect title does a relatively good job of letting players know they’re entering the point of no return. However, they don’t come out and explicitly state when the endgame begins. This is especially true in Mass Effect 2, where players can affect the ending by not entering the point of no return soon enough.
Obviously, since this guide covers each of the Mass Effect titles’ endgames, there are some significant spoilers below.
What is the point of no return in Mass Effect?
There are two points of no return in the original Mass Effect. There are three main plot planets that make up the bulk of the game’s story: Feros, Noveria, and Virmire. These can be tackled in any order, but after completing, the second players will return to the Citadel. After the story sequence at the Citadel, players can’t return to it for the rest of the game, which can bar them from completing some sidequests.
The definitive point of no return in Mass Effect is Ilos. As soon as players land on that planet, the game becomes linear until the credits roll.
What is the point of no return in Mass Effect 2?
Just like the first game, Mass Effect 2 has two different points of no return. The first is the Acquire Reaper IFF mission. During this mission’s events, the Normandy crew (non-squadmates) is abducted by the Collectors. After this mission, players have until the Reaper IFF is installed to explore. Once it’s installed, players must travel through the Omega 4 Relay immediately and start the suicide mission to rescue the whole crew of the Normandy and take out the Collectors Base.
Completing 1-3 missions/assignments before passing through the relay will mean half of the crew dies. Completing 4+ will have players finding the entire crew except for Dr. Chakwas dead when they arrive.
The hard point of no return in ME2 is passing through the Omega-4 Relay. Once the jump is made, the game is on rails until its conclusion.
What is the point of no return in Mass Effect 3?
Just like its predecessors, Mass Effect 3 has multiple points of no return. The first one, which will lock access to a host of sidequests, is Priority: Tuchanka. Before taking on this mission, players should make sure they thoroughly explore the Citadel and complete and quests that originate from there.
The point of no return which starts the endgame in ME3 is Priority: Cerberus HQ. Before the mission begins, Admiral Hackett makes it pretty obvious that this is the end. At this point, war readiness is frozen, and players can no longer purchases weapons.