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I have never really considered myself to be a fan of the role-playing game genre but when 'Mass Effect' was released I was enticed to give it a try.
Coming from the masters, 'Bioware' I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed, what I didn't know just how impressed I would be. You play as Cmdr Shepard, a member of the human military sent to space as part of an intergalactic alliance with the mission to uncover the reason for an attack on human colony. The story soon twists and contorts taking you to far-off planets and derelict space stations.
You are assigned side missions from almost anybody you speak to but the main thrust of the story is never far behind. You feel compelled to find out more and to fully experience everything will take you over the 100 hour mark.
The story is presented by cut scenes and in game dialogue with fantastic voice acting and a mood perfect score. Combat is handled in the third person perspective which it handles with aplomb.
A word on the mechanics, the controls are solid and each weapon and movement has a distinctive 'weight' to it. As with many RPG games you don't have complete mastery over your environment in fact you can't even jump.
The only vehicle driving section is during the planet exploration missions and while this wasn't the most popular facet of the game I quite enjoyed it.
Finally, 'Mass Effect' really knows what the word 'consequences' mean. Every action that you undertake and every decision that you may as implications not only for this game but all future editions of the trilogy and with the third game coming early 2012 there is no better time to start.
Finally, I can say is that if you are looking at this page and haven't yet bought the game that I implore you to do so as its breadth and depth will contain something to stir your soul and restore your faith in the medium of computer games.
Mass Effect is a third-person sci-fi RPG by developer Bioware, who I think consist of some of the guys behind PC classic Baldur's Gate.
You play Commander Shepard in an overarching quest to stop a rogue 'Spectre' (elite space commandos) from unleashing the Geth (robots who mutilate people and try to take over the galaxy).
Along the way you'll meet lots of interesting inhabitants of the galaxy and either kill them or be bored to death by them talking at you for ages.
You fly the Normandy (your ship) around the galaxy investigating planets and embarking on missions that either pertain to the main quest or don't. Once you've flown there you pick some buddies to accompany you in a squad and explore some interesting locations.
Combat involves using firearms and biotics (magic/tech) to overcome adversaries, coordinating the dudes in your squad so their strengths and special abilities complement the situation. Cover can also be used as can special equipment like grenades.
Between missions you can find and buy lots of guns and armour that will give you an edge in combat. Often you'll come across enemies with few weaknesses who can be frustrating to defeat.
The missions are usually fun, a lot of care has gone into level design and many locations have a very original feel to them. What annoyed me was the huge yawning amounts of downtime between missions and the pointless rubbish that masquerades as character development/drama/story.
I've got to smooth things over with a colleague after I made a decision they didn't agree with? Really? Am I their dad or something? Can't they just get over themselves? Apparently not.
What's that? I have to try and use 'diplomacy' to prove to a ballsy journalist that I'm not a violent psycho, even though I've got a massive gun and could just shoot her in the face repeatedly? If you say so.
This stuff frustrated me, I felt I was being railroaded into alternatives like diplomacy when going mad with a gun would work equally well, if not better. Dragon Age Origins pulled this nonsense as well.
I have to be diplomatic, thoughtful and considerate in real life, and if a game forces me to fairy-step on eggshells so I don't hurt non-real people's feelings it's going to stop feeling like a game and start feeling like a second job.
You get especially coddled when visiting a city or settlement. In a real RPG like Fallout 3 or Oblivion I could always start murdering or stealing if I got bored. Not in Mass Effect. I can't even get my gun out. The most I can do is wander about, admire the scenery and chat to boring NPCs.
Despite all that there's hundreds of original and exciting ideas that really add to the classic sci-fi feel of the game. The game is huge and well-realised through a great graphics engine. There is a huge amount of exposition and information, and the setting feels lived-in and realistic. The alien races are well designed and convincing, especially the ones in my squad, and when they weren't talking my ear off their abilities were well balanced and added an extra dimension to combat when added to my squad.
Mass effect looks really old now. Boxy and bland graphics, poor animations and ugly textures. But this is not the reason for anyone wanting to play this game. If you got hooked by Mass Effect 2 like I was, it is pretty much essential that you go back and play the first instalment so that you understand the world to its full and subtle extent.
You notice many flaws with Mass Effect, mainly to do with the interface, the menus, and their manipulation. They just seem so illogically constructed. But they are manageable. I suppose it is a testament to the rest of the game that it is likely that you will stick in despite these flaws.
As I said it is the story, the voice acting, the characters that are the main draw here. Not so much the choices, and the mailable storyline as from Mass Effect 2. Which is a real shame. But there are sub plots, not affecting to the main story line that look as though they will come to play in Mass Effect 3. And of course it goes without saying that the only real way to play this is all the way through with the imported character file so that your particular story will reach its end.
This is made by Bioware, possibly one of the biggest and greatest games companies out at the moment!
Story: You are Commander Shepherd, tasked with finding a rogue 'Specter' and bringing peace to the galaxy!
Gameplay: This is where Mass Effect hugely excels over other standard RPGs. These include being able totally and I mean totally customise your character (think Fallout3 levels of customisation). You have a variety of abilities and assignments you can give to your other squad members (such as a combat/mage role). These include having 'force' powers provided via 'Biotics', which can give moves such as telekinesis and the ability to use special technical abilities on foes. The game is a 3rd person action RPG, allowing you to blast most of your enemies to pieces, while being able to control what abilities/moves your character has! You can change through various squad members during the game, tailoring your squad to your tastes! You don't always have to resort to violence however to solve your differences and you can easily talk your way out of hazardous situations (there are thousands of lines of dialogue within the game too). There are a huge range of inventive and creative enemies and characters, giving the knowledge that the creators are really into their science fiction writing!
Graphics and Sound: The graphics are simply beautiful...That is the only way they can be described. Seeing your ship the 'N7' pass through a warp gate or looking at a new world to describe give you a sense of awe and wonder like in no other game! The sound is also beautiful, with the evil Geth emitting all kind of strange and wondrous noises that you would have not even heard of before!
Online: No online mode!
~ Overview ~
I have bought this game a couple years ago, it was a promising game, heard allot about it and most of my friends recommend this game. So I tried it was in the weekend so I had allot of time, this game takes place in space, the game is professional it was a money-consuming project, but they made it a big success so, allot of players bought this game, and the developers keep on developing and they will create more successful games.
In the game you will start in the year 2148 the "mankind" discovers a big secret on Mars, that will change the World dramatic, because of this big discovery mankind can make solar systems and travel to mars in a flash, but the downside was they were not alone on the planet, they were shocked that the race that they discovered, were evil people that kill nations for the fun.
~ Game Settings ~
With a high tech pc you can set each setting on the maximum but also with a average it is possible to play at high settings, you can play in Windowed Mode: the game will run in a window rather in full screen mode, I suggest play in full screen mode to prevent problems if your multitasking. You can set the resolution how you want, be sure to choose wisely, the better resolution the smoother the game runs.
If you enable most settings, be sure to check if your game is running smooth without much lag, be sure to get everything out the game, so you can play without any problem, you can also change the settings from your graphic card enable super sampling this means, that your graphic card works faster, and you have a higher graphic possibility, everything get's refreshed more times than usual, you can also enable shadows but only use these if you have a good graphic card it's not necessary to have shadows enabled.
~ Single Player ~
In the beginning you can choose what kind of race you want to be and what gender. Each race has unique superpowers which can have a advantage against your enemies. You can upgrade your skills and gain more health, stamina, block, speed, etc, for your character. The better you shoot at your enemy the faster you get points. when you reached specific levels you unlock automatic skilled upgrades, or the ability to put more points in your desirable skill, you can choose the difficulty rate yourself.
~ Classes ~
Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard.
Soldiers: have special powers in attacking enemies with weapons.
Engineer: are able to hack faster resources, and they are handy with biotech powers and they have the ability to control and disable the opponents equipment.
Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard, the powers are combined so you can choose the same things as a soldier, engineer you can have special upgrades so basically it's the same as the first two classes but they look different and attack differently.
~ Tips ~
you create your own storyline by reacting on comments from all kind of species, but be aware you can give negative or positive reactions, if you answer each question in a negative way, then you will become "known" as a renegade person. That means that you are major bad, and have a reputation that you can't be annoyed if they do, they will get killed or humiliated by you. And everybody is than afraid of you.
If you give only positive reactions as in comments, than people will react differently and they threat you bad and they are not afraid of you, so you need to make them furious in order to negotiate perfectly, if you are afraid of them, they won't give you enough information which is crucial for your tasks, so best thing is to be a renegade person, also by the looks of it, each time you gain a renegade point, your face will slowly begin to form scars, the more points the more visible your scars become.
Don't skip the story lines, otherwise you can be confused on how the story proceeds and that can have a negative influence on the story, if you choose something use it wisely and look something on your codex, to see what you need to do.
When looking around for a new pc game I came across a review of a game called mass effect, it got great reviews across the board so I thought why not. I bought the game and installed it and settled in to be wowed.
The story (without spoiling anything for anyone) revolves around Commander Shepard (that's you baby) the captain of a starship known as the Normandy, you must tour the galaxy in pursuit of a hostile alien known as Garrett and even more hostile aliens he works for. I'll leave the nuances of the story for you to discover (after all thats one of the biggest draws of the game).
I had been playing for a couple of hours and actually thought it was one of the worst games i'd ever played and was on the verge of giving up, but I stuck with it and I am so glad I did. After about the 3rd hour things really started to come alive. The characters are deep and interesting, and as soon as you gain access to the Normandy you have free reign to fly around the galaxy, exploring unchartered worlds and performing missions for experience points.
Think Pc game meets epic blockbuster movie and you're getting close. There are so many conversation options when conversing with one of the games hundreds of NPC'S (Non playable characters), you really feel like you're in the middle of a space soap opera.
As well as plenty of rpg elements (customiseable character, levelling up and a small element of equipment gathering) ME features alot of action, a simple cover system will have you engaged in the heaviest of firefights with the greatest of ease.
Mass Effect has a beautiful musical score (which is really important in establishing mood and atmosphere) it has one of the finest opening menu pieces that I have ever heard.
Everything comes together in ME to make something more than the sum of it's parts (although each aspect of the game is indeed superb in it's own right). The graphics, the music, the fantastically compelling storyline, the engaging alien characters, the choices to be made, the freedom of exploring the galaxy as you like, and much more besides make ME not just a great game, but a superb one.
I cannot reccomend this game enough, if you are about to buy a pc game make sure it's this one (and persevere through the slightly slow first couple of hours). Perhaps the greatest Pc game to come along in recent years and certainly an all time top 5 kind of game.
With the impending release of the much-hyped Mass Effect 2, I thought it apt to re-visit the original game. It is one of the few games I have played on multiple platform, largely because the PC version, while great looking and for the most part fun to play, is riddled with several deal-breaking glitches, which caused me to "resort" to the Xbox 360 version (as someone who prefers playing games on a PC generally).
The game is an RPG styled like a sci-fi shooter, and the combination works wondrously. From the opening screen, you're able to customise you protagonist, Commander Shepherd, deciding his combat skills, before being able to explore the galaxy at your will and either dive straight into the brief but fun story mode, or partake in the numerous side missions which can run in at about 70-80 hours in total. The gameplay combines combat and explorative parts well, giving both important parts in how the story plays out.
Combat is in real time and is quite intense for the most part: you'll be with a squad for most of the game but occasionally you'll have to branch out on your own against some pretty feisty enemies. The game takes about 20 hours to beat if you're just aiming to beat the story, but it is in this stead that the game's horrendous glitches become apparent. During one mission, in which you have to gas a fleet of soldiers or choose to kill them, the characters become frozen often, and after researching this online, it appears to be a common problem for the PC port, which has yet to be satisfyingly rectified with a patch. Therefore I chose to end my play there and start again on the 360.
It's a shame that this glitch mires the experience, because up to this point it is a whole lot of fun. The graphics are incredibly well-optimised for more modest systems, yet it still looks fantastic. Also the general sci-fi aesthetic is superbly designed and adds a lot to the atmosphere. The characters, too, are original looking and ooze charm.
While you take a gamble in buying this for the PC, it is a great game if you're lucky enough not to be subject to those pesky bugs.
Bioware have been known for their award-winning RPG games, Knights Of The Old Republic, Neverwind Nights and Jade Empire to name but a few, however their latest outing into the RPG genre marks something of a major maturity.
Originally released on the Xbox 360 platform in 2007 as an exclusive microsoft title, the PC version eventually appeared in 2008. For me, who doesn't own an Xbox 360 it was an agonising wait, but the wait was worth it.
Mass Effect is set primarily in the sci-fi genre, with hints of magic and mythology, suspense, conspiracy and action thriller. The player gets to live the story through the eyes of Commander Shepard who, cleverly thanks to the love and attention Bioware give their games, can be either a woman or a man. This leads to very interesting and different story arcs but more on that later.
The game starts off with you customising your character, setting gender, appearance and also their specialities from various classes such as Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard. Yet what makes it compelling from the start, is that you can select your military background. Did you save thousands of people in a battle? Were you the sole survivor? These and many other options are available and have an immediate impact on the storyline.
It's hard to talk about Mass Effect without discussing the amazing story line, which if you have ever played the 'Game Of The Year 2003*' Knights Of The Old Republic, you will be well aware of Bioware's talent for creating immersive, compelling and brilliant story lines.
I would go as far as to say, this is probably in my 28 years of computer game experience, the closest I have found a game to play like a well written movie. The characters have depth, you become emotionally attached to them, and they all have their perks and back stories. Each persona in the game offers something different. Plus, Bioware being Bioware, like to throw plot twists in to really tug at the heartstrings!
I really don't want to discuss the story itself in this review, as I feel you should experience it first hand without any spoilers, let's just say if this was made into a film it would be a blockbuster success such as Star Wars, Serenity or Blade Runner, as long as they did it scene for scene and didn't 'interpret' it into a water down version like the atrocity that was Max Payne.
The game is absolutely stunning to look at, with each area beautifully rendered and created, visually I would say there are hints of Blade Runner, Star Wars and Star Trek, yet still in it's own unique feel and flavour. Surprisingly, the game runs at a steady frame-rate even with all this sci-fi eye-candy, with only a few minor bugs (occasional pop-up / texture loading speed etc).
The interface is easy to use, if a little confusing at first, in its defense it was designed for an Xbox 360 control system and tweaked for the keyboard and mouse interface of the PC. Using the sub menus, you can modify both your skills and perks with experience points that you gain as you play the game, whether it was for solving a mission/sub mission or for killing a certain amount of bad guys.
Depending on your class, you can assign to upgrade weapons with different parts and ammunition that you find throughout the game, or implement biotic implants to raise your skills in that particular area.
Controlling Shepard is straight forward, using the standard W,A,S,D, keys and the mouse for looking around, aiming and shooting. The combat can be either all out guns blazing or squad based tactics, or perhaps you prefer the stealth route, there are multiple ways of doing many of the hundreds of side-quests and story quests. The Third Person perspective works well allowing you to see not only your team but your character as well, which adds to the realism as unlike some first-person perspective games like Half-Life where the character is mute and allows the player to form their own thoughts for what they would say, the camera in the third person allows for cinematic sweeps and establshing shots for various cut-scenes and interactive conversational parts, which I will now discuss.
The conversation system is similiar to those of Knights Of The Old Republic, Oblivion, Fallout 3 etc where you have multiple choices of responses or questions when interacting, but the thing that makes Mass Effect's speech unique is that the choices on offer are 'suggested tones' rather than what Commander Shepard is actually going to say. For instance
Choice A. I'd Really Like To Help - Choice B. What's In It For Me? - Choice C. Forget it, I don't have time for this - Choice D. Give me your credits before I blast you.
This for me, made it all the more interesting rather than just quickly scanning the text and pressing the button to skip through the dialogue which becomes second nature in some RPG's. The other point to add to the choices and personality is the way you can play the game. Although this is not new in the RPG genre it still has a very impacting effect on the game through out. You can choose to be the savior, the sinner or the person in the middle of the karma scale. What choices you make in the game have a clear and noted effect on the story line. What will make the Mass Effect Trilogy (it has been confirmed that there will be a trilogy of games), so compelling and unique in the RPG genre is the announcement by Bioware that your save games from the first game will be carried over to the next game, so what choices you make in Mass Effect will have an effect on the storyline of Mass Effect 2.
The music is both cinematic and futuristic, and fits the moods perfectly, it really adds to the air of suspense with it minimal undercurrents during the quiet exploring parts and blends seamlessly as a battle ensues. The sound design and effects was also very well done, although I would have liked to have heard a few more variations in the NPC alien characters (some seem to have not only the same accent but the same pitch and nuances).
The game has literally hundreds of side-quests dotted around the Mass Effect universe, with planetary exploration included. Each adds to the storyline and improves it already impressive game time. Travelling provided by your trust ship and a selection of galaxys at the ships galaxy map.
So is there anything bad to be said for Mass Effect? In my opinion hardly anything, there are technical issues, pop up, loading texture speeds, repetitive stations on some planets in the sub-quest areas (some even have the exact same textures and layout), but other than that, no, I cannot fault the game.
If you have a mid range (2009 rating) PC with a decent graphics card, processor and memory you should have absolutely no problem playing this game, if you're computer is an aging Pentium 4 with 1Gb of RAM i'd recommend testing it first.
The varied story arcs, choices and classes each giving a different experience every time, brings me back time and time again to replay Mass Effect to experience something new each time and still captivate me. Now that is a rarity in a game for me.
So in summary, an amazing RPG experience that can be enjoyed on both the Xbox 360 and PC and looks to get even better with the release of Mass Effect 2 next year.
For a long time Xboxers and PS3 owners had a lot to gloat about. Invariably the best games get released on the big consoles up to a year before their PC counterparts and playing the these games in advance gives the console owners a smug satisfaction.
Thankfully studios like Bioware (and Demiurge) give us PC users weapons to fight back with in the form of higher resolution graphics, additional content and far more intuitive control systems.
Sure we had to wait a year to get Mass Effect on the PC but boy was it worth it!
Ignoring bragging rights about your chosen platform, Mass Effect is a stunning game to behold. - Something Console and PC owners would agree on.
Set in the not too distant future the player takes on the role of the somewhat customisable but always rugged Commander Shepard. A candidate for the elite special forces unit of the Galactic Alliance - the Spectres.
Aside from the physical and combat challenges facing Sheppard in this challenge, he and all humans alike, are treated with mistrust and in many cases outright prejudice as the existing alien members of the long standing Alliance are wary of the rash and bold approach of the newly joined humans.
Shepard's role moves from becoming a Spectre, to gathering a crew for his new ship (the fine looking SSV Normandy) and ultimately his pursuit of a rogue agent of the same organisation intent on bringing forth a evil empire long forgotten.
The storyline of Mass Effect is fantastically sculpted and matches, if not betters, the best of the genre. In addition, the attention to detail will in many cases leave you awed.
As with any RPG, you-the player/character are faced with numerous decisions and conversations to shape the story but what really impressed me was that actual facial expressions and subtle looks from other characters can be read just like real body language. The smarter player can know the right response often without even hearing the conversation at all.
On his travels Shepard will be gently guided across the galaxy to form the main story, hopping from planet to planet. However once the player commands the Normandy he/she can decide to take any path they wish. Want to spend weeks exploring every back water asteroid from here to Noveria? No problem. In fact you are often rewarded for your curiosity by more money and additional experience. These side missions and random planets aren't as detailed and different as those of the main story but still inspire the explorer within thanks to the sheer scale of the universe available.
In fact the player can gain more experience and missions simply by wandering about the ship and getting to know the crew. In another example of the attention to detail each main member of your crew has a backstory and unique personality that can be explored or exploited (depending on how nasty your Sheppard is!).
Graphically this game excels in creating a full cinematic experience. PC users can try some pretty hardcore resolutions and while your processor may protest you will be granted some truly beautiful vistas across the alien worlds. Also apparent is the detailed facial textures and musculature of characters, again tough on the hardware, again marvellous to behold.
A final pat on the back goes to the audio and musical team. Hauntingly poignant and reminiscent of Vangellis' Blade runner, the score never treads the clichéd full orchestral path so often walked by John Williams but instead feel fresh, often sparse but always futuristic without overdue pomp.
As the story develops you the player are faced with real life or death situations given all the more gravitas for the relationships you have developed with your team. The consequences of which fully add to the adult appeal of the game.
Interestingly Bioware have confirmed that Mass Effect 2 will continue from the saved games of the original, going on to say any characters that died (or you killed) will not return - "They are dead!", a far cry from the pretty but dumb condition afflicting large portions of the gaming world.
In summary Mass Effect is a hugely engaging, well thought out game that often blurs the boundry between Pixels and celluloid.
Bottom Line - A SciFi classic
You take the role of Commander Shepard starship Normandy, the last hope for all life in the Galaxy. Saren, a rogue member of the elite and untouchable Spectre agents, has discovered the secret to unleashing an apocalyptic force upon the galaxy, and only you stand in his way. To save the lives of billions, you must do whatever it takes to stop Saren and prevent the return of an ancient force bent on the destruction of all organic life.