Mass Effect (1) Review

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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
It's been a while since I've played the trilogy so while the games are still relatively fresh in my mind, let's see if I can pump these out.



MASS EFFECT

In the year 2007, developers at Bioware created a title that spanned the vast reaches of space and touched the hearts of many. In the years that followed, sequels would be released that would prove incredibly divisive among gamers, enabling many heated debates and discussions. The origin for this acclaimed series was a title spawned a series that would dominate internet discussions across different boards.

They called it one of the greatest sci fi RPGS of all time.

The gamers of this world call it...

MASS EFFECT

Mass Effect is a sci-fi RPG that revolves around the plight of one determined yet frustrated man and the people around him that never listen to him. During his galaxy-spanning quest to get his managers to actually open their ears and take him seriously, Commander Shepard encounters a whole host of both loveable and deplorable characters to interact with, clashes with an army of sentient lamps and occasionally goes for a nice, smooth Sunday drive.

With an enjoyable narrative, interesting universe and the gameplay of a late PS2 game, Mass Effect makes for a loveable package that will both frustrate and charm you from beginning to end.

GAMEPLAY

Primarily, Mass Effect is a basic third-person shooter. You take cover behind things, occasionally popping your head out to take quick shots at people. Pretty standard stuff, nothing too revolutionary. In fact, it's not actually that great. Aiming and movement feels a bit sluggish and the weapons don't really feel like they pack much of a punch. It's okay though, because the rest of the game makes up for it.

The menus are exceedingly cumbersome, and since you'll most likely be spending a lot of time in them sorting through different ammo types, guns and upgrades the tedium begins to set in. Hitting your item limit is the absolute worst, because you are forced to dispose of your goods. Not only do you have to spend a good few minutes scrolling down your list and clicking things to get rid of, the list will revert back to the top every time you delete something. Get used to scrolling down, picking duplicates for deletion then scrolling all the way back down AGAIN.


Mass Effect's RPG side (probably the main side) leaves some room for experimentation with character building and setup. After choosing from a selection of character classes that each come with their own abilities and weapon proficiencies, you're well on your way to becoming the biggest badass in space.  You'll earn XP for most things such as completing quests and killing enemies, with which you can use to pump into your stats and proficiencies. Do you improve your skills with weapons such as shotguns and pistols, or do you use those points to boost your health and shields? Maybe you'd prefer to make your biotic (SPACE MAGIC) skills improve instead. These decisions have more of an impact in the early stages of the game where you're pretty terrible at every conceivable action, but later on you'll just be putting points into things just for the sake of spending them.

The real crux of the RPG comes from the way you shape your character's narrative, and the Paragon/Renegade system. While the story itself is pretty solidly set in stone, your interactions and choices along the way can vary greatly, having different levels of impact on it. A character that you choose to kill at some point in the story won't show up later on, while they might have had some more plot significance or dialogue if you chose to spare them. It's enjoyable playing the game in different ways to see what outcomes you can experience.

The Paragon/Renegade system is a bit hit or miss for me. Essentially, you can be one of two extremes: A crap-talking (debatedly) badass space commando who takes shit from nobody, or a messianic galaxy warrior who could smooth-talk the salt out of the ocean. The problem is, many key moments in the game have outcomes that rely on you being deep into either Paragon or Renegade, leaving little room for neutrality. Picking the middle option in conversations will rarely get you anywhere. For players who prefer to make conversation choices based on their own decisions without leaning too far to either side, it can be annoying when you are locked out of important choices due to not being Space Jesus or his Renegade counterpart.

And lastly, there's the Mako. Oh yes, the Marmite of videogame vehicles.
As Mass Effect is a big ass sci fi game with a large galaxy to explore, you'd expect to have some sort of vehicle to ferry you across the various planet surfaces while you shoot aliens or scour for materials. In Mass Effect, that's the Mako. With the controls of an RC car designed by a disabled 6 year old and no concept of physics whatsoever, the Mako definietely makes driving across planets quite the experience. You will often find yourself getting stuck on the environment, dangling precariously over a mountain peak and bouncing around like a university student on MDMA. It's a tough son of a bitch, able to survive massive drops and flips. Some people absolutely detest the Mako and I can see why. It's not exactly fast, and awkwardly navigating your way to artifacts and materials can be a chore but I find it quite charming and was sad to see it gone from the sequels.

STORY
Mass Effect feels like an awesome sci fi tv show, with each mission or planet exploration being its own episode. From the slowly unraveling mystery of the true villain, betrayals and relationships and standout sequences, every moment fits in together to make an engaging ride that you should enjoy from beginning to end. The villain actually has an understandable motivation and is despicable enough that you actually want to take him down, which is a nice change from some other games I've played with other less interesting villains. There's enough twists and turns to keep you interested throughout, including a truly memorable moment in which you meet the ultimate evil in the galaxy face-to-hologram.

I really like the sense of exploration and learning in this game. Landing on planets and exploring got a bit repetitive after a while with all the reused environments and enemies, but I was honestly able to look past that as my enjoyment of exploring unknown worlds and finding resources or sidequests was able to outweigh the gameplay niggles. The game features an extensive codex, giving you information on pretty much everything you'd need to know, fully voiced too! It's entirely optional, but it's there for you to find out if you want to learn more.

The characters are awesome, plain and simple. Commander Shepard, whatever path you choose to take him, is a charismatic badass that's going to get the job done, no matter who believes in him or not. You have a selection of teammates to choose from that you will recruit in the early hours of the game, and they each bring their own soup to the table. You have a member of the police force that is frustrated with the lack of action being taken and is determined to pursue his own justice, a gruff, stubborn warrior that is very bitter over something that was done to his race, and others. I found myself using alien squadmates throughout the entire game because I felt that 'hey I'm a human, I wanna play with aliens!'

I didn't know whether to put the stuff about dialogue and the Paragon/Renegade system into the gameplay section or here, but ultimately I decided it would fit better in the gameplay section as it's... part of the gameplay. Unfortunately I'm not the best at analyzing characters or story, so I apologize if I spend more time talking about the game itself than the finer details of the writing.

In Summary

Mass Effect is a flawed, yet richly detailed experience that, if you don't get bored by walking around and talking to people for an hour or exploring relatively samey planets, will draw you in with an engrossing universe and likeable characters. While the sequels would vastly improve the gameplay and presentation, I think the more open ended science fiction exploration elements were lost in the transition. Maybe you prefer that, but after playing through the trilogy again, I came to realize that I actually miss it. I even miss the Mako!


 
Jono
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Goodness gracious, great balls of lightning!
The best Mass Effect game
Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 04:47:01 AM by Jono


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My dear old friend, take me for a spin
Two wolves in the dark, running in the wind
I'm letting go, but I've never felt better
Passing by all the monsters in my head
It's the only Mass Effect game.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
The best Mass Effect game

I agree to an extent. I prefer the characters in two though


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
It's the only Mass Effect game.

We'll get to that


 
Luciana
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The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.


 
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I DONT GIVE A SINGLE -blam!- MOTHER -blam!-ER ITS A MOTHER -blam!-ING FORUM, OH WOW, YOU HAVE THE WORD NINJA BELOW YOUR NAME, HOW MOTHER -blam!-ING COOL, NOT, YOUR ARE NOTHING TO ME BUT A BRAINWASHED PIECE OF SHIT BLOGGER, PEOPLE ONLY LIKE YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE NINJA BELOW YOUR NAME, SO PLEASE PUNCH YOURAELF IN THE FACE AND STAB YOUR EYE BECAUSE YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A PIECE OF SHIT OF SOCIETY
Great review for one of the greatest games of all time.


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asd
Felt rushed and clunky as hell. Massive downgrade in characterization from Dragon Age Origins too. Most of the content was repetitive and really nothing seemed to grip me about it. Sequels at least had better gameplay but were repetitive as well.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
Great review for one of the greatest games of all time.

Thanks, could have gone into better detail about the story and plot but that isn't really my strong point so I didn't want to fudge it up.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
Felt rushed and clunky as hell. Massive downgrade in characterization from Dragon Age Origins too. Most of the content was repetitive and really nothing seemed to grip me about it. Sequels at least had better gameplay but were repetitive as well.

A lot of it was repetitive but I liked what they were going for and I was immersed enough to not really get bored at all.


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Mass Effect 1.... Honestly, I felt like the story was better in it. But there seemed to be less story, if that makes sense. So I enjoyed 2 and 3 more. I was on PS3. No 360, and a PC that couldn't hope of running it. So for a long time. I couldn't play it. The original Mass Effect didn't come to PS3 until December 2012, after all the others came out. A lot of my friends told me about it. So I bought Mass Effect 2 and 3, ASAP, never played the first, nor looked into it. So I was quite surprised when I played the first when it finally came out. Talk about tedious and clunky. I immediately set it to the easiest difficulty so I wouldn't get even more upset with the game over time. I enjoyed it. But nowhere near as much as 2 or 3. Maybe if I had played it first, things would be different.


 
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Goodness gracious, great balls of lightning!
The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.
Your moderation does a hell of a job of dragging this site down


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The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.
Your moderation does a hell of a job of dragging this site down
Oh man, what a savage!


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
Mass Effect 1.... Honestly, I felt like the story was better in it. But there seemed to be less story, if that makes sense. So I enjoyed 2 and 3 more. I was on PS3. No 360, and a PC that couldn't hope of running it. So for a long time. I couldn't play it. The original Mass Effect didn't come to PS3 until December 2012, after all the others came out. A lot of my friends told me about it. So I bought Mass Effect 2 and 3, ASAP, never played the first, nor looked into it. So I was quite surprised when I played the first when it finally came out. Talk about tedious and clunky. I immediately set it to the easiest difficulty so I wouldn't get even more upset with the game over time. I enjoyed it. But nowhere near as much as 2 or 3. Maybe if I had played it first, things would be different.

It's tedious and clunky at times but I thought it had a charm to it


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I love its dumb sci-fi show feel


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His eyebrows sparkling, his white beard hangs down to his chest. The thatched mats, spread outside his chise, spread softly, his splendid attos. He polishes, cross-legged, his makiri, with his eyes completely absorbed.

He is Ainu.

The god of Ainu Mosir, Ae-Oine Kamuy, descendant of Okiku-Rumi, He perishes, a living corpse. The summers day, the white sunlight, unabrushed, ends simply through his breath alone.
The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.
I adore the combat in ME1. It feels so much simpler, and I like the camera angles and movement animations more than those in later games. A destroyer rushing you at a brisk walk is an OH SHIT moment if you weren't expecting it.


 
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I DONT GIVE A SINGLE -blam!- MOTHER -blam!-ER ITS A MOTHER -blam!-ING FORUM, OH WOW, YOU HAVE THE WORD NINJA BELOW YOUR NAME, HOW MOTHER -blam!-ING COOL, NOT, YOUR ARE NOTHING TO ME BUT A BRAINWASHED PIECE OF SHIT BLOGGER, PEOPLE ONLY LIKE YOU BECAUSE YOU HAVE NINJA BELOW YOUR NAME, SO PLEASE PUNCH YOURAELF IN THE FACE AND STAB YOUR EYE BECAUSE YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A PIECE OF SHIT OF SOCIETY
I legitimately don't see that much of a difference in the combat from 1 to 2


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His eyebrows sparkling, his white beard hangs down to his chest. The thatched mats, spread outside his chise, spread softly, his splendid attos. He polishes, cross-legged, his makiri, with his eyes completely absorbed.

He is Ainu.

The god of Ainu Mosir, Ae-Oine Kamuy, descendant of Okiku-Rumi, He perishes, a living corpse. The summers day, the white sunlight, unabrushed, ends simply through his breath alone.
I legitimately don't see that much of a difference in the combat from 1 to 2
the camera typically sits a bit closer to Shepard, but it mostly comes to ME2 having a more developed cover system, a greater variety of weapons (despite having fewer), feedback in the controller and sound design giving weapons more impact, and animations providing more "realistic" movement. The last bit both involves how they move and how long it takes to. Vaulting for instance feels much longer in ME2 than ME1; it's not a bad thing because it fits the pace of combat well, but it loses the charm that ME1 had.


 
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The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.
For me if you're going to review something you need to hold it up objectively for what it is and what the game is trying to accomplish, along with comparing and contrasting with games around that time that did the same thing. No amount of personal love should affect that.
Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 12:07:42 PM by Luciana


 
Luciana
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I legitimately don't see that much of a difference in the combat from 1 to 2
the camera typically sits a bit closer to Shepard, but it mostly comes to ME2 having a more developed cover system, a greater variety of weapons (despite having fewer), feedback in the controller and sound design giving weapons more impact, and animations providing more "realistic" movement. The last bit both involves how they move and how long it takes to. Vaulting for instance feels much longer in ME2 than ME1; it's not a bad thing because it fits the pace of combat well, but it loses the charm that ME1 had.
That and when you sprint you don't shoot a thousand miles an hour

Everything just feels tighter and more responsive than Mass Effect 1's combat, especially that cover system.


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His eyebrows sparkling, his white beard hangs down to his chest. The thatched mats, spread outside his chise, spread softly, his splendid attos. He polishes, cross-legged, his makiri, with his eyes completely absorbed.

He is Ainu.

The god of Ainu Mosir, Ae-Oine Kamuy, descendant of Okiku-Rumi, He perishes, a living corpse. The summers day, the white sunlight, unabrushed, ends simply through his breath alone.
I legitimately don't see that much of a difference in the combat from 1 to 2
the camera typically sits a bit closer to Shepard, but it mostly comes to ME2 having a more developed cover system, a greater variety of weapons (despite having fewer), feedback in the controller and sound design giving weapons more impact, and animations providing more "realistic" movement. The last bit both involves how they move and how long it takes to. Vaulting for instance feels much longer in ME2 than ME1; it's not a bad thing because it fits the pace of combat well, but it loses the charm that ME1 had.
That and when you sprint you don't shoot a thousand miles an hour

Everything just feels tighter and more responsive than Mass Effect 1's combat, especially that cover system.
Yeah, but those are the reasons why I like Mass Effect 1's combat. I like how it feels really fast and loose, even if it isn't spectacular. I really enjoyed it regardless, it just werked.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.
For me if you're going to review something you need to hold it up objectively for what it is and what the game is trying to accomplish, along with comparing and contrasting with games around that time that did the same thing. No amount of personal love should affect that.

The review is how I personally feel about the game though.


 
Luciana
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The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.
For me if you're going to review something you need to hold it up objectively for what it is and what the game is trying to accomplish, along with comparing and contrasting with games around that time that did the same thing. No amount of personal love should affect that.

The review is how I personally feel about the game though.
Fair enough


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.
For me if you're going to review something you need to hold it up objectively for what it is and what the game is trying to accomplish, along with comparing and contrasting with games around that time that did the same thing. No amount of personal love should affect that.

The review is how I personally feel about the game though.
Fair enough

I feel it's important to be honest about this kinda stuff and not come across as a robot. I can see why people would hate it but I enjoy it


 
Luciana
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I legitimately don't see that much of a difference in the combat from 1 to 2
the camera typically sits a bit closer to Shepard, but it mostly comes to ME2 having a more developed cover system, a greater variety of weapons (despite having fewer), feedback in the controller and sound design giving weapons more impact, and animations providing more "realistic" movement. The last bit both involves how they move and how long it takes to. Vaulting for instance feels much longer in ME2 than ME1; it's not a bad thing because it fits the pace of combat well, but it loses the charm that ME1 had.
That and when you sprint you don't shoot a thousand miles an hour

Everything just feels tighter and more responsive than Mass Effect 1's combat, especially that cover system.
Yeah, but those are the reasons why I like Mass Effect 1's combat. I like how it feels really fast and loose, even if it isn't spectacular. I really enjoyed it regardless, it just werked.
Eh. I always felt it was unrefined and I just hated how the bullet reticule worked and how nothing felt like it had impact minus maybe the sniper (I love the sound it makes still. Glad they kept it). I felt they tackled dialogue and exploration first obviously, and the combat. I felt after 1, they found their groove and it was much more enjoyable for me.


 
Luciana
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The best Mass Effect game
Eh, that combat does a hell of a job dragging it down.

I find it strangely endearing.
For me if you're going to review something you need to hold it up objectively for what it is and what the game is trying to accomplish, along with comparing and contrasting with games around that time that did the same thing. No amount of personal love should affect that.

The review is how I personally feel about the game though.
Fair enough

I feel it's important to be honest about this kinda stuff and not come across as a robot. I can see why people would hate it but I enjoy it
No it's fine. It's how you feel about the game personally, I get that perfectly. If someone like me can hate the shitty History Civil War game and love its faults, I can get this. Still think that game has one of the best menu's that captures the feel if the Civil War.


 
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Goodness gracious, great balls of lightning!
I legitimately don't see that much of a difference in the combat from 1 to 2
I find the powers to be more fun to use in 2.

As for gun play, all you had to do was find a Geth Plasma Rifle in ME1 and you'd destroy everything with that with just a few shots.

I'm glad they balanced the guns some more in ME2 which made you more lenient towards powers over guns in certain situations.

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