Starbound is the recent indie darling. Despite being in a beta phase, it's managed to charm hearts and sell over a million copies. It's also already luring in swarms of modders, but there's only one that really matters. I'm talking about the Starbound: Mass Effect Edition by fans who go by G4M5T3R, Pfhoenix, and TohKlidan. They're doing God's work, I assure you.
As a dedicated Mass Effect fan, I've come to adore everything about the series, like the races, the lore, the universe and all the people in it. Yet, I've also always felt this call to just enjoy the environment and series without having to worry about giant, synthetic, space squids crashing down from above and sending robot zombies after me. The Starbound: Mass Effect Edition mod let's me pretend there was no such thing as tri-colored endings, no Reapers, and instead of spoilers, Commander Shepard went on to live a long and happy life.
Plus, Starbound: Mass Effect Edition is free, easy, and already working within the game. You just can't beat that.
This comprehensive and utterly wonderful mod is in its infancy, but already is more than just some cosmetic facelift. I mean, sure, the opening loading screen is replaced by a 0Mass Effect relay and the title screen is changed to reflect the fact someone installed this mod, but it's more about what Starbound: Mass Effect Edition does for the game that makes it special.
To start, this mod puts Systems Alliance Humans, Asari, and Turians into Starbound. That might seem like a cosmetic change, but it's not. Each race has their own starting lore, their own resurrecting animation and immediate access to an Omni-Tool and Omni-Blade, in place of the standard Matter Converter and broken sword. They also each start with the Normandy SR-1 as their spaceship. It's enough to induce nostalgia fits.
Yet, it's only the start. A big part of Starbound is the ability to explore worlds and craft new items. This Starbound mod puts a definite Mass Effect spin on it. While the Mako is still in the works as a vehicle and the dedicated fans making this haven't introduced Element-0 to mine, there's still the ability to gather resources to better look the part. An Equipment Mod Station appears for crafting, and visiting it allows a player to upgrade Omni-Tools and Omni-Blades, if they have the right materials. They can also put together some classic Mass Effect weapons and armor. The M-98 Widow, M-6 Carnifex, M-3 Predator and even the Geth Pulse Rifle are all there, as is a N7 armor set.
Yet, I think I love this mod's Techs most of all. Starbound has special abilities players can find, teach to their characters, and use during play. The creators of this mod used that as an opportunity to put Biotics into this game. So far Lift and Slow are the only Biotic abilities available, but I think this kind of attention to detail shows that the people behind Starbound: Mass Effect Edition love both games and want this mod to be perfect for any fan that uses it.
I know, all this talk about the Starbound: Mass Effect Edition mod has gotten you salivating. You're jealous that all the other gaming hipsters, like me, who discovered it prior to this article are playing it and you aren't. Well, you can rectify that problem in the span of about 10 minutes, give or take based on your internet connection. First, you need to own Starbound. Second, you need to grab the free, Starbound: Mass Effect Edition mod and the Simple Extended Character Creation mod that lets player-created races appear in the game. Once both are downloaded, you just drag the folders for each mod into the Starbound mod folder. Poof, they're installed and you're ready to put a Mass Effect spin on Starbound.
Be advised that a Starbound patch is coming soon. Once it arrives, you may have to wait a few days, or even a week, before the Starbound: Mass Effect Edition mod is compatible. On the bright side, after the patch your custom characters and new Normandy will be safe from future wipes, since the character and ship wipes will be finished. In the meantime, bookmark this mod page so you can pretend Mass Effect 3 wasn't really the end.