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"Mass Effect" (PC)

Posted : 1 year, 1 month ago on 4 June 2017 03:26


In 2183, Shepard, an elite human soldier, takes command of the starship Normandy and pursues a rogue Spectre agent named Saren. It transpires that Saren's goal is to bring back the Reapers, a highly advanced machine race believed to eradicate all organic life every fifty thousand years.

I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this game, because it has to set up an entire universe, so it throws a lot of information at you in rapid succession. I could probably spend this entire review just describing the world of Mass Effect in detail! :) But, to its credit, it never distracts you from the central goal: you're always aware that you're trying to stop Saren. That focus is what keeps you interested in exploring all these different worlds, and the final climax is just incredible.

Now, in terms of the main character… I mostly played Shepard as myself, but with a bit of a reserved and cynical edge, because his back-story involved the trauma of losing his entire squad in battle. I imagined Shepard as someone who knew the cost of war and knew when to be direct and get down to business, but he was far from heartless: he tried to help everyone whenever he could, and very rarely did he lose patience.

Overall, I didn't love this game, but it still held my interest and gained momentum as it progressed, and I was most definitely interested in playing the sequels.

My rating: 80%

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Console Effect

Posted : 8 years, 8 months ago on 25 November 2009 01:08

I skirted around purchasing Mass Effect for over a year, patiently waiting for it to drop in price to a value that wouldn't make me regret the purchase if I didn't like the game. I have no idea why I had such an innate feeling of dread with regard to this title, but something about it just told me it would disappoint me in some way. Now, after sinking over 20 hours into it, I've come to the conclusion that there are certain things it does well, but plenty of things that it does poorly. Do I regret buying it? No, but only because I didn't pay anything close to retail price...

Mass Effect is a set in the distant future after humanity has mastered space travel. The back story is tediously political and deals with the human race trying to prove its worth to other alien species in the galaxy. Your character is the key to humanities reputation and you play a generic badarse who becomes the first human Spectre – essentially an intergalactic diplomat who upholds law and order. You’re chasing a fallen Spectre, Saren, who has decided to go on the rampage with a hive-minded robot army.

Being an Xbox port I knew from the off that I was in for a toned-down shooter, but it became abundantly clear that the PC release was a straight cash-in on the console version. My main gripe with the game in general was how unimportant AIMING was when firing your weapon. Make no mistake, in the options there is the ability to turn aiming assistance down to low (not OFF) but it barely makes any difference. You have the Halo-style targeting system that caters for easy strafe-and-fire tactics and makes any part of your enemies body as vulnerable as the head/trunk. I want to score headshots with my pistol and snipe people’s legs into uselessness, not shoot someone anywhere a certain amount of times until they’re dead.

There is some potential locked in Mass Effect. The characters have extremely lifelike mannerisms and facial expressions, and your character is both truly memorable and fully customizable. There are also lots of hilarious dialogue options which shape the way the game unfolds and how your character is regarded by other denizens of the universe. The huge catalogue of back story is also handled in a Wikipedia style data vault that you can access at any time, which is much more preferable than sitting through the information in a cut scene or conversation. Finally, the soundtrack was also a major strongpoint for the game.

However, it really failed to draw me in and make me want to play it. I completed Mass Effect for the sake of completing it rather than being interested to see how it panned out. Although I played for 20 hours, I was drawing it out and even an average gamer could breeze through the main story in 13 hours or so. I’ve seen people claim that this game is huge, but it’s really not. It tries to give the illusion of being huge by forcing you to travel to different galaxies all the time, but you’re lucky if there is at least one planet in each that you can land on. Even when you do land the mission is always the same – mine precious materials and uncover ancient artefacts. It’s so boring that it’s not worth landing half of the time.

One ridiculous facet of the game was how abundant and rapid the new weapons and weapon upgrades became available. There are dozens of different types of weapon upgrades, but each one has about seven further improvements so that by the time you’ve equipped one, you get an enhancement for it about three bad guys later. Likewise, guns and armour are so abundant in the game that you never have to shell out any money for them, ever. Furthermore, it doesn’t even tell you when you’ve picked something up, you have to access your weapon equip screen and pick your way through the dozens of things you’ve apparently acquired.

The pacing of the game is also very much off. Not only do you also level up too fast, but the story moves so rapidly and you acquire extra characters at such a rate that it makes it difficult to immerse yourself in either. There were three characters in my party who didn’t get any field time whatsoever, I can’t even remember their names. In combat, they were at times useful, but at times completely inept and some bugs need to be ironed out to ensure that a team mate either side of a door will actually use cover and fire through it once you open it instead of simply admiring the scenery.

Ultimately this game had an abundance of untapped potential and failed to capture me as a gamer who was really willing to give it a go. Right up to the final boss I can’t remember ever wanting to fire up my PC and dive in to another Mass Effect fest, and the fact that there is downloadable content and a sequel in the pipeline doesn’t interest me one bit. Too bad.

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The peak of action RPGs

Posted : 8 years, 9 months ago on 20 October 2009 05:16

Mass Effect is in many ways the perfect action RPG. It's a roleplaying game in the sense that you delve into your own character, build him or her as you wish, and act as you would in your character. The action is, according to some, just standing behind corners and popping out to shoot things ala Gears Of War, but I say you shouldn't be playing the game like that as it's boring. In combat, just like in story, ME gives you a lot of room to do your own thing. I personally just rush everything with a shotgun at hand and hope for the best. The story is also exceptional, as it is rather surprising although might lack originality on some parts. The "fight" between you and the main bad guy in the end can be fantastic depending on your character, which makes the game very reminiscent of Fallout 1.

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