■ Platform: PC/PS3/Xbox-360 ■ Category: Role-Playing
■ Publisher: Electronic Arts ■ Developer: Bioware
The story of Mass Effect spans three entire games, fully fleshing out a vast, almost dystopian galaxy plagued by the same problems we face today, populated by incredibly human characters from a myriad of races. The balance between the story and game play is fantastic. The story is deep and involving, the game play, which takes the form of a third person shooter is well balanced, challenging, and intuitive. Biotics; the equivalent to magic in this universe, manipulates gravity, and the technology is so advanced that that it could be mistaken for magic. A deep and well recorded history permeates the entirety of the game, manifesting in a codex that covers every topic under the sun, ranging from a list of every planet you visit over the course of the game, to exactly how all those niffy attacks you’ve been shoving down everyone’s throats work.
Does the game do what it says it does?
Mass Effect has always been something of a braggart when it came to it’s story, and there is everything to say that it earned that right. To be honest I at first didn’t believe Mass Effect was and RPG. When I hear RPG the first thing that comes to mind is Final Fantasy; and the second is a cluttered group of nerds huddled around a table arguing about Morton Kiden’s magical watchdog and whether it was cast or not. The simple fact that Mass Effect completely changed how I perceived RPGs means that it does everything it claims and more.
Is the game enjoyable?
It can slog sometimes, and a bug or two just might crop up just to take the wind out of your sails. Sure, it’s unsettling when that disturbed fan you convinced to go back home suddenly reapers in the next game pretending to be you with a chip on his shoulder and an accusation of assault. But aside from that and a few other…odd bugs and some circular conversations the rest of the game runs quite smoothly. It’s rare for combat to bug, though, when given the ability to toss people around like helpless meat sacks one can only imagine the strange places they end up…
Do you think other people will enjoy it?
I would venture to say yes, if most everyone I know hadn’t already played it. Since Mass Effect has managed to engender itself to so many fellow gamers yes is more of a fact then an opinion; though in my opinion the reason it’s so popular is because it has everything anyone could want in a game. The combat is simple enough for a causal gamer to grasp, and yet customizable enough for the veterans to figure out how to turn their character into a god.
Did the game make you laugh?
I seem to remember a snarky pilot…
Did it make you cry?
Mass Effect didn’t manage to pull this off until the final game, but when it did it pulled it off expertly. I am forced to admit I teared up repeatedly over the course of the game, and no one was necessarily dieing at the time. I was invested in the world and those who lived in it. I felt the pang of guilt when my inaction forced another of my team to do what I did not, and regret as I listened to them ask me if they did the right thing…Sorrow and loss, determination, and even a disgusted acceptance of fate. A truly well written story.
Truly an epic story, perhaps even worthy of being called an Odyssey.
Of note: The separate scores of each of the 3 games
Mass Effect 2:
Mass Effect 3: