Mass Effect Review
Mass Effect is, as of the date of this writing, a trilogy of scifi action RPG (role playing game) available for the PC, X-Box 360, and Playstation 3, developed by BioWare. Along with a varied cast of characters, you get to explore many locations around the galaxy during your adventures, in full 3D.
A female Shepard (center) and two squadmates
Here I will be reviewing the first Mass Effect videogame, the one that started the trilogy. The game features a protagonist, Commander Shepard. When a new game is started, the player is given the choice of configuring the protagonist, such as gender, looks, backstory, and skills, from a series of existing settings.
The above paragraph explains why some players talk about Shepard as a male (MaleShep) or as a female (FemShep). Each player can decide which one to use. However, wathever the player decides about Captain Shepard will stay for the whole game.
A male Shepard in combat
Skills are determined by what class you choose. Captain Shepard, and the various other characters that join his party, can use up to four different gun types. However, not everyone is efficient with every gun type, as it all depends to what 'class' of character they are. However, different classes also have special skills, or special powers, unique to them, such as the ability to overload enemy mechanical units, or lift and push rivals into the air.
The game feels a lot like a shooter game, as you draw your guns and aim and shoot in real time. But RPG elements are also there, as characters gain experience points over time, and these can be used to improve their skills, making them more powerful and effective. During a mission, you have two squad mates of your choice, which are controlled by the game's AI. You can still, however, issue orders to them, such as where to move, who to attack, or which skill or power to use.
Aside from the main plotline missions, you can also, optionally, explore other planets and places. Sadly, these locations are generally not varied enough or interesting enough, and after a bit, they start to feel repetitive. The main plot missions, however, are greatly done.
One very important feature of Mass Effect is the dialog system. When you talk to characters, you often get to make decisions, and these generally affect the game later on. Some decisions are considered to be 'Paragon' while others are 'Renegade'. For example, after defeating some 'bad guys', Shepard may have the opportunity to spare their lives (Paragon decision), or kill them (Renegade decision). In all cases the game can be won, but it can affect events much later (such as which squad members may be available, and so on). This results in a great storytelling experience.
Issuing orders to the squad
All in all, while Mass Effect feels a bit aged in comparison to its sequels, it is a great game to play. And when you finally win, the game will remember your character, which can be imported into the sequel Mass Effect 2! If you are looking for a space action RPG, this is a must-have. The game is highly recommended by most major videogame reviewers.
9.4 / 10
89 / 100
8.5 / 10
Written By Al, July 18, 2015