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User Review : Mass Effect

“They called it the greatest discovery in human history”

Bioware’s Mass Effect is a role playing game that puts you in control of Commander Sheppard. A wide variety of options is available for your customization of Shepard; these choices include gender, appearance, and background. It’s also possible to choose a class for your character, be it weapons specialist, tech specialist, or biotic specialist, and combinations of all three. These choices affect what happens in the game and what dialogue is available. But what really separates this game from any other are the in-game conversations. You choose what to say and you directly influence others responses.

Want to save the galaxy a polite, nice, gentleman of a soldier? Or why not just do it as a complete badass? The choice is yours in Mass Effect as you control all the dialogue from the opening line to the very last word of all alternative endings.

Mass Effect’s gameplay is pretty much your standard RPG-shooter style of play, and the ability to control your squad is an added plus. You and your squad are fully customizable, as you progress through the game, options such as weapons, armour, and even dialogue can be affected through upgrades. With so many different forms of attacks, you’d think firefights would never get old, right? Wrong. Probably the largest hit on Mass Effect’s gameplay is repetition. From shootouts on the Citadel to open warfare with the Mako (the only vehicle you can control in the game), you will quickly learn that these battles are the same thing every time.

The graphics is Mass Effect are beautiful…at first glance. The best character models across all consoles, amazing looking draw distances while in the Citadel, and superb textures down to the last wrinkle are just some example of the beauty this game holds. Some of the missions also include things such as lifelike water effects and great weather effects.

But the side missions are a real let down. At first glance uncharted worlds are unknown, massive mysteries. With hundreds of different planets in the galaxy the opportunities seem endless. But this idea is quickly shot down. While visiting my first uncharted planet I noticed the graphics were still good, just not up to par with what we saw on the Citadel. But this was perfectly understandable as there were so many planets there no way every one could look AMAZING.

But as I went from planet to planet I started to realize the similarities in all these ‘different’ planets. The ground and the sky seemed to change and the occasional structure on the planet. And that it. The mind blowing textures we saw on the Citadel definitely fall into a state of ‘last gen’. The ground and the water look the exact same on every single uncharted planet. And if that weren’t enough, these ‘planets’ are really little more then large squares, as a planet can be easily traversed within a couple of minutes. And lastly, I don’t know if it’s the textures or the frame rate but occasionally the side of characters face will blur in and out. Maybe not necessarily a problem, but a good example of the many faults in flawed game.

The audio in Mass Effect is what you would expect from a game of this magnitude, but unfortunately the w.o.w factor for the sound was very minimal. While the voices for all characters were quite exceptional, some sounds such as gunfire, vehicle sounds, and the sound of walking and running were all just decent. And score that went along with the game was good, but really could have been improved upon from where I am standing; again the w.o.w factor was extremely minimal. With average sounds, better audio could have definitely improved the game, but eerily, the sounds of Mass Effect are directly similar to the overall quality of the game.

The achievements in Mass Effect are difficult to decipher. I think the best way to put it is that they’re hard to get, but for an RPG game they’re actually closer to the easy side. Those annoying - Get 100 Kills With X Weapon – achievements from Gears of War are back but this time only for the singleplayer campaign. I think achievements such as completing a romance subplot is a good way to add longevity to the game, and the same can be said for the completionist achievement, which has players completely the majority of the game. Sounds easy, but after two playthroughs and a ton of side missions I haven’t got it yet. Overall the achievements are pretty hit and miss, but easy to get if your committed. I have gotten 555/1000 points and couldn’t be happier. I don’t usually play RPG’s and the ones I don’t have take some serious commitment to earn. 50% should satisfy most achievement wh*res, anymore and you’re a god.

A definite must have for RPG fans, Mass Effect is a solid game with an intriguing story that completely draws you in. but graphical and sound issues do not reflect this awesome story line. Maybe if Bioware had another year to work on this game, then these flaws could have quite easily been fixed.

As a singleplayer only game, I went against my tradition and purchased this game. I am on the fence about whether or not I regret buying this game, as I’ve played through twice, but haven’t picked it up since the beginning of December. With multiplayer or some form of co op I will definitely be in line for Mass Effect 2, but let’s hope Bioware takes extra time to correct these small flaws that plague the current game, and give us, the gamers, a complete game.

Fun Factor
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PS360WII3597d ago

Nice write up and I also have enjoyed this game. The flaws in it punch you right in the face but the story keeps you getting back up for more. It's a good attention gettter for the trilogy for it grabs you but has plenty of room for improvement. I thought the hardest achievement was Scholar. That's a toughie for you need to fill up your codex and investigate basically everything relating to the beings of the galaxy. Was so happy when that popped up for me ^^

I'm playing thru on Insanity right now and then I can finish up with getting those asault and shotgun kills.... never cared for the melee jobs when play a RPG.

toughNAME3597d ago

Thanks, and I agree

I knew about the scholar achievement both times I played through the game. But both times I forgot to go talk to one guy or something and you can't go back so I was screwed! I planned to go through it again to get it but I haven't had the time.

And with reagrds to the review, I tried really hard to keep it under 1000 words because I didn't want it to become one of 'those' reviews that seem like a chore to read through(I had a 350 word paragraph on loading/elevators alone but I completely cut it out).

And there may be some little mistakes because I wanted to finish it and submit it before I had to go to class, so I really only proof read it once. I don't think its anything major though

PS360WII3597d ago

ha yeah I tried writting a Mass Effect review but it just kept getting longer and longer I ended up just giving up lol.

Dr Pepper3597d ago

Sorry, but what's with the "needs to have multiplayer" mentality? This game is awesome without it, and how would co-op fit in? To accomplish stuff in this game, you need to sit down for a while (to accomplish something) and speak with a lot of characters. What would the other player do while you're in a long conversation? Who would make the important, game changing decisions?

That's why games like CoD4 and Halo3 are good for multiplayer, as they're are fast paced and you get instant results. I would continue but you get my main point (I hope).

PS360WII3597d ago

first of all what important game changing decision of which there are two and one being at the final minuets of the game.

I agree with the no multiplayer needed but the dialog system needs to have a major overhaul for the next two because the branching system they claim happens is a straight line.

Dr Pepper3597d ago

Well, I guess they're not game changing, but there are many parts that are "good" or "bad". I wasn't saying anything about the quality of the dialogue system, I was saying talking is an important part of the game. And one person talking with one listening would not be very fun IMO.

toughNAME3597d ago

Yeah you will easily find faults in my theory, I haven't put any thought into how multiplayer and/or co op would be implemented.

The point I'm trying to make is that singleplayer only games shouldn't be acceptable. I made an exception with Mass Effect and purchased it because I thought it would be the ONE. But no, I'm thinking about trading this game in.

And this isn't for ME only, all my reviews hold this philosophy. It may take more time, but developers need to break the habit of singleplayer only games and give people a complete game.

And I disagree with your last point. COD4 multiplayer is a total mess, but I loved the singleplayer. I expected more so that may be my fault but I probably should have waited until COD4 was in the $20 bin

PS360WII3597d ago

ha sorry I freaked out for a second my bad ><

I hear ya though one guy doing all the talking and your friend... just watching. Yeah that sounds not so fun ^^

Lord Vader3566d ago

Dr. Pepper you are perfectly correct sir.

Pretty good review Tough Name.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 3566d ago
joemomma3597d ago

Yeah i played the game briefly and the only flaw i could see in it is all that dialouge. Geez man its like listening to a political speech.