Now it’s the turn for the Mass Effect 1 review in English. All the images are copyright of Microsoft (publisher) and Bioware (developer), used for educational purposes to demonstrate how decent Mass Efffect is.
Mr. Towelhead reviews:
The game was published by Microsoft in 2007 and developed by Bioware. Its a really cool science fiction RPG, that is a Role Playing Game. In the past RPGs were turn-based combat games that focused on story and characters exploring and asking questions. Modern RPGs have become much more complex with customization options going as far as change the gender and looks of the characters and combat being interactive even a mimic of 1st person and 3rd person shooter games.
The story begins as you are being trained to become a black ops galactic commando. While on your first training mission you come across the plans of an ancient race of evil machines that want to destroy all life in the galaxy. The so-called Reapers. Of course no one believes you and so bark on an adventure to find out more about them, and hopefully destroy them.
So there you are, minding your own business when suddenly. BAM! You have the Reapers on top of you.
But the protagonist is not gonna have it and decides to fight them back.
The game has a very decent antagonist, named Saren. Not only does he work for the Reapers, he is actually convinced there is no hope for humanity and working for the Reapers is the only option for survival. The protagonist of course counters will fight for the cause against all odds.
As a good antagonist should, Saren challenges the protagonist through the entire game, mostly via his army of machines (a secondary race of artificial intelligence) but at times he will personally come down to fight you and even try to seduce you to the “dark side”. At a psychological level, challenging the protagonist efforts as mad in comparison to the power of the Reapers.
Saren is for once a decently written and developed antagonist.
Mass Effect is an RPG, and so the story is the main attribute (at least should be). On the one had you can make a very cliché summary. An evil race of machines wants to destroy humanity, you have to stop them. On the other hand Mass Effect does convey the dilemma of our necessity of technology against the fact that technology is isolating us (facebook vs real friends), comforting us (wall e vs real sport) and finally, killing us (nuclear power vs nuclear catastrophe).
DIALOGUE & MUSIC
I don’t know how many years the game was in developed but you can tell they took their time to compose very decent, heart involving music appropriate to the different circumstances of the game. Same can be said of the dialogues and the characters. You have a relatively “small” cast of characters you can select, and they each are fairly well developed and fleshed out (they have believable opinions).
Some of the dialogues and situations could very well be real as the game handles with fear, precaution, joy and military jargon.
The fact that you can decide if the protagonist is a paragon of good will or a renegade bastard provides a lot of credibility and a unique flair to the game.
Other games have RPG elements like the option to be good or bad, its not something original of Mass Effect. But. In Mass Effect each of the dialogues and answers you get from the people around you are VERY well written.
The most important things about RPGs are the conversations and the story. They are good and what not. Never the less, the combat is so fleshed out you’ll enjoy it. You can crawl, tackle enemies and even holster your weapon. Combat is good enough and yet it doesn’t get in the way of the story. It serves to support the Mass Effect experience.
Just like in Mass Effect 2 and 3 you can tell your partners to move, take cover, change weapons and use specific abilities.
In Mass Effect 1 you go about exploring the universe, combat is well done on top. It’s not Gears of War for sure but still decent.
Mass Effect relies on you walking on site, meaning that large cities in the game are traveled by foot. Old school fashion. No meaningless loading-screens all the over elevator-sliced cities. The bad part of the game is that you have to explore worlds on a sluggish tank. Once you get into action, or walking it’s all decent, but exploring with the vehicle is HORRIBLE. Also, the tank has four vertical movement turbines, which is silly thinking that it could very well have at least one horizontal turbine.
In the mythology of Mass Effect 1 you don’t have bullets as weapons work differently. And so the game is designed to challenge you by other means. Weapons overheat at different ratios, loose accuracy faster or slower or have stability problems. All of this can be remedied with upgrades, weapon mods and experience. Making up for an overall excellent and a bit complicated weapon handling.
The difficulty curve of the game is BAD. Between easy and “veteran” difficulty you’ll barely have a problem, while in the hardest difficulty level things get retarded. You’ll have enemies that regenerate health faster than what you can possibly deal damage. You may have your entire team, at close-quarter shotgun-combat on a single enemy and still barely lower said enemy’s health. But be careful because certain enemies need only to sneeze in your direction and you’re dead.
On that note the game has f*ing annoying, unavoidable, unshortable, long sequences of conversations before difficult boss battles.
You can change the looks of your character and the gender. You can also choose between six different classes, each with their own set of advantages, weapons and armor expertise, abilities and what not. AND most importantly, you can choose to be an intimidating asshole (going as far as executing people), be a charming hero (convincing villains to stand down) or be completely neutral/boring (I don’t know why you would do that, but you can).
Your Shepard (protagonist) can be as dashing as you want.
If you like role playing games, or a good story Mass Effect is for you. If you like mindless violence with little emotional commitment, you know Call of Duty-style, you will still like Mass Effect.
10 / 10
P.D. There is not much to say about this game. It’s a shame the developers fell under the curse of “big bucks, fast” and the sequels to this master piece are somewhat decent (2) and a gigantic pile of crap (3).