Mass Defect: Why Mass Effect falls short of its hype

By Dean Takahashi of the San Jose Mercury News
Friday, December 28th, 2007

"I've been a been anticipating Mass Effect ever since I saw the first demo of the game in Amsterdam at the X05 unveiling of the Xbox 360's first slate of games. This was the first next-generation game that I saw with the highest of ambitions: crossing the uncanny valley. The valley is the familiar problem of computer-generated images. The closer they approach reality, the more disturbing the images are, particularly human faces. By trying to do good human facial animation, the developers at BioWare endeavoured to make games as emotionally interesting and visually appealing as movies. As such, this game promised a big leap forward in cinematic storytelling and game play.

It delivered on the first, but not on the second. While the conversational system and facial animation is perhaps the best I've ever seen in a video game, the game play is maddeningly flawed. Call it Mass Defect."

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Silver3604038d ago

It is a role playing game. You level up your skill and weapons in RPGs. If you have ever played a RPG you know better than to fight a big boss when you are at a low level. Bioware has made almost every level available to explore, but that doesn't mean you will succeed on those levels.

Odion4038d ago

I agree, the combat isn't a real shooter its still an RPG, they just make it look and feel like a shooter, which frankly i think makes it a lot more fun, theres nothing cooler then doing a massive throw, tossing 4 enemies back then you and your squad charging forward and turning them to green dust with your chemically induced shotgun!

killax35634037d ago (Edited 4037d ago )

In RPG's, the combat system is the glue that holds the game together. If the combat system sucks then the RPG sucks. Simple as that.

Because in an average-length RPG (15-20 hrs) a player is likely to fight well over 100 battles (very conservative estimate) thus the combat system (which will be used during all 100+ battles) better be good.

Bombomb4037d ago (Edited 4037d ago )

imo, in RPG's it's the story that keeps the game together. The gameplay and combat system with other elements just Tie in.

I've played RPGs with weak combat system butt he games still rocked because the STORY kept me going. Not how many different way to kill a monster. You level up anyways and you get stronger as you go.

Look at Final Fantasy 7, some didn't like the "materia combat sytem" but they still loved the game. none the less the Story was the sh$t.

If you look at RPG's the combat system is what most devs try to differentiate themselves from others. some are Ok, some takes time getting used to, but not everyone is gonna like a certain combat system. you will find gamers debating over combat systems, with so many different rpgs that do it differently.

If your an RPG gamer then you know what they are talking about.

FCOLitsjustagame4037d ago

I hated the combat at first too, then I started to actually think about what I was doing and realized it was actually quite good. Some people have issues with the thinking and just want to mindlessly shoot, thats not going to work. It is also critical to level up and set your team up with the correct equipment...this is not uncommon in RPGs.

lonestarmt4037d ago

15-20 hours average rpg length? hahahahah

sorry man you dont' play a lot of rpgs do you?? maybe for the .hack series or dbz and naruto rpgs on the ds. haha.


You are completely wrong. An action or shooter type of game is dependant on gameplay. For massive Role Playing Games, story & dialogue, i.e. interaction with other characters, is THE most important element in an RPG. Second would be the leveling up system or tree provided to track your experience & reward your choices in all those dialogues & story driven elements. Gameplay would be 3rd at best for an RPG, in fact, graphics could be as important as gameplay for this particular genre.


It also is easily a 30+ hour experience PER playthrough, with tons of replayability, excellent graphics & GOOD gameplay FOR AN RPG.

As an action RPG, Mass Effect is EXCEPTIONAL. An RPG will not have gameplay equivalent to the tight controls you would find in Bioshock. 35 hour games usually have a glitch or two, & Mass Effect is no exception.

Legion4037d ago

The combat elements of Mass Effect are great. The reviewer has no idea what he is talking about.

He obviously has never played through the game properly. You can't treat it like a straight up shooter. You got team memebrs that you control. I have had little problem dealing with the fights that he was spending 3hrs on???? Holy crap he sucks...!!! He complains because he can't play worth crap, that is funny.

He gives himself away when he mentions the scene with the emotional choice that needs to be made between friends. If he has not even gotten there yet then he is at a very low level. And he wonders why he is having issues defeating guys (other than his lame... use the shotgun theory), that's like trying to attack a Balrog with a butter knife. He needs to find a new job.

GIJeff4037d ago

FF7 was the best and is the best because:

1) Graphics were the best ever
2) Combat was perfect for the game
3) Emotion was in the game
4) The main badass wasnt too cheesy
5) And the story wasnt afraid to do things that upset people.

So yea, the story was great, but seriously, if the combat was too bad, i couldnt have sat through all 80 hours of my first play through.

Hatchetforce4037d ago

Best story this generation? What is this, the only game you ever played? HALO3 tops it storywise. So does Heavenly Sword. Too many games beat the pants of this game's generic and predictable narrative.

iLemon4037d ago

Why Dean Takahashi never quite makes it as a gamer.

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 4037d ago
titntin4038d ago

He is harsh - I really enjoyed this and didn't find it too difficult.

But it was flawed, and its only right that some people will point out the obvious problems with an otehrwise brilliant game. Most will choose to overlook the issues, but for some it will be a show stopper.

Pain704037d ago

frame rate, loading at times got a little old, and assignments being somewhat the same sure as hell didn't take away anything for me. to be honest, i'm really not a rpg guy, but i was kind of sad after i finished this game. this turned into a 25 hr. nightly routine for me. i'm waiting for ME2!!! maybe i'll give Oblivion a shot. Great Game!

MK_Red4037d ago

Agreed but let's not forget that many of great games are seriously flawed. The important thing is how the good parts overshadow the bad ones.

I find it stupid how people believe Oblivion was the best RPG in years even though it had more bugs, flaws and problems than most of recent RPGs like Mass Effect. Oblivion was buggy with many AI and quest issues (Remember the stupid Vampire one!?) along with lots of combat and other problems. It was also really simplified and console friendly compared to previous TES games and was seriously shallow compared to classic RPGs.
Yes people praised and worshipped it anc considered Oblivion worthy of hype. Now we have a much better and deeper RPG with superb classic dialogue tree, a huge huge original world with many interesting characters and a non-linear story.
People call it Mass Defect. Why? Because they don't like the combat. I think most of them haven't played an RPG in their lives.

Any real RPG fan should instantly spot the brilliance and sheer quality of Mass Effect. It's flawed but what game isn't?

GIJeff4037d ago

soooo boring. Id rather watch grass grow, then die, then grow then die again than sit through another minute of oblivions lame ass. *sigh* i want my 5 hours back oblivion!

rootEXT4038d ago

Well retards this " Mass Defect " won Game of the Year somewhere, forgot which site. Envious Fanboy aren't you?

Lumbo4038d ago

It is sad, that the reviewer did not like or grasp the RPG element of the game. But then if you present the game as a FPS you shouldn't wonder about people playing it like a FPS.

InMyOpinion4037d ago (Edited 4037d ago )

When did Bioware present Mass Effect as a FPS?

Is Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion also an FPS, since it's played from first person viewpoint?

ThaGeNeCySt4037d ago

Mass Effect is played from the First Person perspective?

InMyOpinion4037d ago (Edited 4037d ago )

Mass Effect is played from a 3rd person perspective, but the whole idea behind calling it a FPS instead of a RPG is just ridicolous.

"Hey look! It does not have random enemy encounters or turn-based battles! It must be a FPS!"