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Massive! An Awesome Experience

  • Sep 5, 2009
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Mass Effect comes from BioWare. The creators of Knights of the Old Republic. Because of that, it goes without saying that Mass Effect feels very similar in its RPG like approach. This is no clone of Knights of the Old Republic, though. Mass Effect is its own game and it's a very fantastic game at that. This review is pretty long. If need be, you can look to the bottom for a list of pros and cons.

You're John Shepard. The game takes place in the year 2183, and humanity has come to explore the Galaxy like never before. You'll discover a series of races throughout the galaxy and there's a sense of injustice afoot. Tensions between races are also high. You'll come across people who hardly trust a certain character because of their race. Just the same, a Turian (one of the many races in the game) named Saran has betrayed the Galactic council and its up to you to stop him and bring justice to the Galaxy. Mass Effect has a pretty intriguing storyline that grips you from the moment you begin. It's also well written with some fairly interesting characters.

The storyline is told through fantastic cut scenes and some fantastic voice acting. The quality of these scenes is movie like in its execution. The game also looks fantastic. Some of the character models look almost lifelike. In terms of eye candy, Mass Effect is sure to delight. It also sounds really good. There's a lot of great music here. Again, it sounds movie like. Hardly any game sounds better. The music always manages to fit the mood and situation at hand.

You begin by making a character. Much like Knights of the Old Republic, you're allowed to customize what he looks like and here you're also able to give your character a back story. As the game goes on, you'll participate in several conversations. These conversations have a direct impact on the storyline as well as shaping your character. Most times they'll also have an effect on the outcome of certain situations. Not always, but often they do. There's also a light and dark attribute going on much like Knights of the Old Republic.

In terms of Gameplay, Mass Effect is a pretty complex game. It plays a lot like a third person Shooter, but at its core it is definitely an RPG. As you traverse the field you'll have a squad at your command. You control Shepard and can give orders to your troops. Either you can send them ahead to attack, rally them or tell them to keep their distance. You can give these kinds of commands any time you want. Just because it plays like a third person shooter, though doesn't mean you treat the game as such. Mass Effect is not a very easy game. It is important to add strategy to a situation rather than go in with guns blazing. Your enemies have some attacks that can take off a lot of health at any given time. The AI of your characters is sometimes questionable, though. For the most part, they help in battle, but sometimes you'll feel like a one man army.

Throughout the adventure you'll also gather Medi-gels and Omni-gels. Medi-gels heal you while Omni-gels are for using decryption or electronics on devices like locked doors or containers. Speaking of locked doors, you'll come across some of those too. As well as locked containers and other things you'll need to override. You'll do it by entering a series of button presses. This is actually a pretty annoying mini-game. Screw up even once and you lose your chance to override and you'll have to result to using Omni-gels.

There is also a lot of customization to take in. All characters have certain talents. Whenever you level up you can increase a characters rank in a talent. In time they'll be able to do things like open locked doors with ease or be able to better handle certain weapons easier. You can also customize weapons and armor or turn them into Omni-gels. If you turn a weapon into an Omni-gel, though, it's gone forever. For the most part, the game is pretty free in terms of what you can do.

Mass Effect has a couple of glaring problems when it comes to gameplay. As you traverse, for one thing, the game sometimes slows down. So it doesn't always run smoothly. While you have control over the camera, you can't automatically position it behind you. You always have to swivel it around. It's not a huge problem, but it is one that can get you killed when you're surrounded by several enemies at once. It also doesn't help that the camera doesn't swivel fast. Also, much like Knights of the Old Republic, there are a couple of bugs that hinder gameplay. At some points you'll even have to reload or something because of them. There was even an instance where the game froze entirely. In short, the game is good, but there are a lot of little nit-picky technical things that keep it from being as good as it could be. Technical glitches that shouldn't be in the game in the first place.

Mass Effect is a strong game. It's got all the qualities that really make a game good. It's just too bad that it has a few problems in the technical department that keep it from being an overall fantastic game.

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About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this video game


Mass Effect is an action role-playing game developed by BioWare for the Xbox 360 and then ported to Microsoft Windows by Demiurge Studios. The Xbox 360 version was released worldwide in November 2007 published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Windows version was released on May 28, 2008, published by Electronic Arts.
The game takes place in the year 2183, with the player, assuming the role of an elite human soldier named Commander Shepard, setting out to explore the Galaxy on a starship, the SSV Normandy. The titular mass effect is a form of inertia-suppressing technology, allowing faster-than-light travel.

A sequel, Mass Effect 2, was released on January 26, 2010, and takes place two years after the events that transpired in the first game. Mass Effect 2 also directly uses players' completed save data from the first game to influence events and storylines within the second game, basing certain events and narrative threads on decisions and actions that the player made in the first game.

In addition to the sequel, and a third in development to complete the trilogy, BioWare plans to release episodic content online to fill in the story between each game, though these episodes are not essential for understanding the main plot line. The first downloadable content package, Bring Down the Sky, was released on March 10, 2008 (with a PC version released on July 29, 2008) The second downloadable content package, Pinnacle Station, was released on August 25, 2009 for the PC and Xbox ...
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Number of Players: Single-player
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, EA - Electronic Arts
Developer: BioWare, Demiurge Studios
Console: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: November 20, 2007 (NA)
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