Mass Effect (2007), video game review.
With the final installment in the Mass Effect series delayed until March, I thought that it was high-time that I replayed the first game. It had been awhile, so I didn’t totally know what to expect. Was it going to be this terrible shooter with some RPG elements? Or was it the greatest RPG to ever grace my Xbox?
While, why don’t you just read on…
The Good and The Bad.
For those of you aren’t familiar with Mass Effect, it is a sci-fi epic, action/RPG. You make your own version of Commander Shepard and then he (or she) is sent all across the galaxy to save every living thing.
The best part about playing Mass Effect is choice. From which missions you choose, who you fall in love with (if any), to bigger things like whether or not to help an entire species cure their sterility, choices are everywhere. And it’s not like the choices are all just different dialogues, some of them are, but mostly they have much larger impacts on the game (and even sometimes the second game).
To help you make these choices, and to navigate the art of conversation, is the Mass Effect conversation wheel. Unlike in games such as Fallout 3 were they give a list of exactly what your character will “say,” Mass Effect has a little wheel down at the bottom of the screen that gives you all your options. But these aren’t what your Shepard will say, no, they are paraphrased versions of what Shepard will say. And when I say “say’, I really do mean say, each option, character, and conversation is fully voiced, and well voiced and well written too.
The wheel will also come up a teeny bit before end of people talking so that you can queue up your response.
As much as I love leveling up a character (I love doing it), some parts of Mass Effect did annoy me. Such as the way that you upgrade weapons and armor is to apply these augments that you collect throughout the game. But even a few hours in I had a crap ton of these upgrades floating around my inventory, and so ever time I wanted to put my Incendiary Ammo IV on my rifle I had to sift through tons of other upgrades, most of which I never used. It would have been nice to have only shown the highest versions of each upgrade and only one of it.
Also it was a little unclear some times what some of the passive skills were doing. For instance I would level up an allies (you recruit 6 teammate throughout the game) skill called Decryption but I couldn’t tell if, or what it was doing. I did finally figure out what it was doing, but by then I was almost done with the game.
A lot of people were saying how bad the combat was when the game first was released. But not all of those complaints I found.
I didn’t mind too much that all of the guns used an overheat system instead of normal ammo.
But I did mind when my allies would shoot at walls, or run out into the spray of bullets and die. Or the handful of times when enemies would somehow end up in the half-foot space between a wall and a crate.
There was one balancing issue that I ran into, which was that because you can usual pick which mission to do first I ran into a high-level boss fight that I wasn’t ready for, so then I had to spend fifteen minutes just running back to my ship.
And it also would have been nice if there wasn’t a cooldown on using health packs, because often I would just have to hide in battle waiting for it to recharge.
Few games make you care so much about your teammates as the Mass Effect games. Some of my choices were extremely hard to make. Even just the choice of whom to bring with me on missions would sometimes be hard to make.
And the whole story is amazing, and better than a lot of movies that I’ve seen.
The only thing that I could really complain about in Mass Effect 1 (the combat problems are annoying, but defiantly tolerable), are the loading issues and a camera problem.
The camera problem was that ofttimes when I would run up and/or down sometimes the camera would fritz about and I couldn’t see where I was going.
There are three different loading problems. One, is that you often, to get places, have to ride in elevators. These take forever, and you just sit there with muzak playing, and once in-a-while the radio will say some thing.
Two, is that the game often loads and saves while your playing and both of these basically pause the game.
And three is there is pretty severe graphical lag. Many, many times I would be going along and everything would look like it was a water-color done by me.
If you like any of the following, and can put aside a handful of problems this is an amazing game. Sci-fi. Drama. Video Games. RPG’s. Choice. Or a Sci-fi drama, video game RPG revolving around choice.
Visuals: When the aren’t lagging the graphics are actually pretty good.
Sound: Amazing voice acting, and also an amazing musical score.
Gameplay: I have a few problems with it, but it all works anyways.
Worth Your Money: It took me around 16 hours on both my playthroughs. But there’s also a ton of side missions (of which I only did a few), and also if you really want to dig into the Mass Effect universe there are hundreds of codex entry’s that you can read (or some of them are read aloud). There is also a New Game + and you can bring your character, and their choices, to the second game.
Console: Xbox 360 (reviewed), and PC.
Parental Rating: M/17+
Overall Score: 9/10