It’s a genuine testament to my self-control that I’m not playing Mass Effect 3 at this very moment. I mean, the game is right there. Sitting tight in my Xbox 360. My controller is properly charged and everything. Hell, there’s a krogan genophage that only I can cure, but here I am just typing away!
The Mass Effect series — or perhaps more specifically the Mass Effect universe — has pulled me in like very few other properties, especially video games, and because of that I have a certain affinity for its merch. And let’s just say that EA/Bioware hasn’t exactly been shy about merchandising. There are art books and action figures and apparel, but within that latter category one item stands proudly apart from the rest.
The N7 Elite Armor Stripe Hoodie is genuinely a quality product. It’s a heavy black 80/20 cotton-poly fleece sweatshirt with subtle styling that makes it both a utilitarian piece of outerwear and a fanboy’s dream come true. It boasts three exterior and two interior pockets, the most inspired of which is the left breast pocket which is perfectly sized for your iPhone and includes a pass-through port for headphone cables. The zipper-pull and hoodie drawstring both feature real metal accents, and a Velcro storm flap covers said zipper for a sharp and seamless look.
This is supplemented with a smartly embroidered N7 chest logo and a contrasting screen-printed N7 pattern lining the hood itself. The sweatshirt’s unique right arm accents come courtesy of an additional piece of fabric that’s been screened with the iconic armor stripe design and is securely stitched from the hood all the way down to the gathered cuff. All this combined makes for a gorgeous sweatshirt that’s gamer friendly and stealth-geeky.
My gripes are few. Very few. The N7 Elite Armor Stripe Hoodie runs a bit large. Not a full size, mind you, but unless you’re very husky you could probably make do with your regular size or a size smaller. Speaking of, these things tend to go in and out of stock at quite a clip, so if your preferred size isn’t available try back later.
The biggest sticking point for this particular item is price. The N7 Hoodie retails for $75 via the Bioware store or through our friends at ThinkGeek. Admittedly, additional color options are available from Bioware, but as ThinkGeek is very generous with discount codes and special shipping deals that’s likely the better bet for your wallet.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a universe to save.
WIRED: quality construction, subtle Mass Effect styling, functional design
TIRED: price, availability, the one piece of ME3 merch without bundled DLC
Review materials provided by: ThinkGeek