Mass Effect Review
I found it surprising that most gamers I talk to don't know much about this game. A next generation action rpg, made by the gods of rpgs themselves, Bioware, and set as a trilogy as well. On paper, it sounds promising. In reality, it is incredible. Truly a masterpiece, and argueably one of the best games to grace any game system, period.
Humans have just started exploring space with the technology to colonize planets. On Mars, they find the ruins of a long lost race. With this technology, they quickly advance, and soon have mastered faster then light travel.
Now, they have come into the folds of the galactic politics, a new species in a society of many others. They must find a place in this new world, and the ultimate goal for now is to get a human into power on the Council. At least for now.
All technology around you was adapted from what was left behind by the 'Protheans' the race that conquered the universe and mysteriously was wiped out. Even they're cities were picked clean. Hardly a trace of the Protheans remained... but what was left lead to the advancement of all space faring technology.
You are Commander Shepard. You have been sent on a mission to covertly pick up a Prothean artifact. Human scientists believe the technology within it could advance them even further. The prospect of operating technology raises astounding possibilities, but when you drop in, its into a combat zone.
Geth, a race of synthetics (robots) have come and attacked the planet. They are led by Saren, a Spectre. A Spectre is a peacekeeper that is free to do as they wish, getting the job done however they see fit, and doing it above the law.
Saren has allied with the Geth, and has gone rogue. From there, it is a race to expose Saren, discover his intent, and in doing so, you will discover a terrifying secret, and will uncover the fate of the Protheans, and much more.
This is an amazing, perfectly told story, and while the ending is satisfying enough, it leaves enough questions to have you waiting for the sequel.
In a word: Flawless
The characters faces are CGI quality. No joke. Never has a game looked so good. The faces look real, they move real, and everything else is just amazing... the graphics are the best quality today.
In a word: Realistic
This is where the holes in the wall are. It runs well, but textures load as you play, so for a while you'll see gray, crude characters and levels quickly snap on they're features to look gorgeous as ever. Its kind of annoying, but not really a blaring problem.
There is some lag at some points, and its kinda glitchy, but once again, these are more annoyances then anything. Still, it needs a patch. Get on it Bioware!
In a word: Unfinished
Fast and tactical. Rush to cover, pause the action and survey the situation. Check enemy shields, health, target an enemy for team mates to fire on, assign weapons, order powers be used, move your team, its all about thinking. Pause, plan, go.
Ragdoll accounted for, and put to great use with the special abilities. Guns work well, with many customisation options, and level your stats right and you'll even be able to bash opponants to the ground.
Cover isn't always responsive, and your team ai can be really dumb at times, so sometimes the action is incredible frustrating, what with babysitting soldiers and trying to get behind a corner and aim.
Still, its fun, and it rewards careful planning. For the Gears that wanted a tactician and not a frat boy.
In a word: Enjoyable
Along with toying with guns, like snipers and shotguns, you'll also have the choices of advancing Biotics and Tech. While Tech is great at bringing down shields and generally disadvantaging enemies, Biotics can be used as more of a weapon, blowing away singular enemies or small groups, having them float so you can get some free shots in, and many other options.
Its great seeing an entire room, robots, chairs, tables and guns, all float around helpless, then hacking they're enemies so that they will wipe each other out.
Plus, aside from standard character creation, you can choose several options that will effect your background and mind state, which will eventually have effects throughout the game.
I played through the first 10 hours using two very different characters, and both times happened differently. Scenes changed, new paths opened up, the quests would branch off and many other factors encourage multiple play throughs.
I was eager to see the ending, so my first run through took me 26 hours. That was with a few side quests and then I rushed it. I'm actually guna finish it a few more times, and I'm going to pay more attention to side quests.
In a word: Diverse
A masterpiece. Really, its great. Good gameplay, fantastic story, unbelievable graphics and plenty of reason to do it a few times over. A triumph and the start of what will hopefully be a great trilogy. Bravo Bioware. Bravo.