Mass Effect

What? Two posts? Madness.

So, years after the event I finally got round to playing the Mass Effect trilogy. Did it live up to the hype? Do I now describe Garrus as my best mate and was I corrupted by the alleged wall to wall alien rumpy?

I will cover all 3 games but in individual posts, so for the moment, Mass Effect.

This post will contain Mass Effect spoilers but none for 2 & 3.

For those living in a cave, Mass Effect is a Sci-fi 3rd person shooter with RPG elements. You play Commander Shepard chasing around the galaxy in pursuit of a rogue agent who is trying to bring a race called the reapers back to the galaxy to wipe out all sentient life.

So, how was it? Mass Effect is a definite flawed gem. A distinctively average game salvaged by a decent story and interesting characters. Gameplay flaws mainly centre around repetitive side missions. The idea is many systems can be visited and their planets explored. Sometimes this can be through a specific side quest but also just by tooling around. The downside is that this ultimately means driving around a planet in your tank, occasionally encountering near identical structures. In short it gets boring. The RPG elements were a bit too hardcore for my tastes as well, each weapon can be upgraded and modified as can armour for your whole party. This means you often spend ages trying to work out which combination of weapons & mods suits.

The story however is compelling, your team builds up with likeable and fairly well rounded characters and the actual missions are entertaining and well structured. The game also uses a system where your interactions have bearing on your character, with the much vaunted paragon/renegade system. Indeed the interactions are one of the best bits of the game and I spent many hours wandering around the citadel chatting with people. Again, decent writing and a good voice cast pay dividends here.

I was slightly spoiled on ME 1. I was told one of your party died. When that mission started It managed to sell me a few dummies. The game gives you options of who to sacrifice, but it is never put as “send X to their doom” to the extent that I really thought I could save everyone and so was rather crushed when I lost a man.

Overall this is an average game built up by good writing creating investment in the characters. It also constructs a complex and textured universe full of interesting alien species that would not be out of place in a major Long running TV space opera. Weakest of the series but as we will find out in future posts the small gameplay issues are addressed in the sequels.

The Mass Effect series is as much about the journey as it is the destination. So, for those who have played, I was pretty much all Paragon. My Shep was a male, soldier war hero. I romanced Ashley, saved wrex and sacrificed. Kaiden. I chose to rescue the council in the final battle and at the time didn’t pick anyone to be the human council member.

Next Mass Effect 2

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