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.