By JediXMan 6 Comments
I have decided to branch out from the Star Wars franchise and review some other games. To clarify: it doesn’t mean I won’t do Star Wars games anymore (if there is a new Jedi Knight, then you can bet I’ll be there), it just means there will be a bit more variety in the lineup. “What better game to start with,” I think, “than one created by the same guys who made my favorite Star Wars game?” So without further delay:
You play as Commander Shepard: special ops soldier, apparent part-time diplomat, leader, and all around badass. So badass that there is a song dedicated to him (if you haven’t heard of it, then just google it). You’re tasked with seeking out an ancient artifact that the Geth – a race of AI robots or “synthetics” in ME – and a rogue operative are after. To make the hunt easier, you are promoted to “Spectre,” a fancy name that for all intense and purposes might as well be 007. You can do anything you want, go anywhere you want, and kill anyone as long as it’s nobody important.
Now let’s see, what don’t I like about the game? Like always, let’s start there.
The vehicle sections, though my reasons are not the same as the reasons others have already beat into the ground. I rather liked landing on planets and scouring the surface. It gave the ME universe a feeling of being extremely large and overwhelming that I feel was lacking in its sequels more and more as the trilogy went on (hint: yes, I will review 2 and 3). Sure the driving was irritating, but I didn’t really mind that. What I minded was how repetitive it and the interiors of buildings were. I also hated searching for resources, throwing my hands in the air saying “screw it” and just focusing on the side missions from each respective planet.
I will also say that being a Spectre doesn’t live up to the hype. I am still denied access to certain areas until I do certain jobs, I am flat out told “no” a few times, and my Spectre ID card has been thrown in my face more times than I care to count. So it’s more like I’m just a black ops commando with little power other than my fists.
Unlike KOTOR and other RPGs, this game doesn’t look at it as “good” or “evil.” It’s more differentiated by categories like “Renegade” where you are ruthlessly efficient and “Paragon” where you will not execute someone simply because it’s not “necessary.”
The voices of ME are a lot better than KOTOR, I will admit. Dialogue isn’t bad and you get a good handle on all of the characters.
Graphics are nice.
… what? There’s not much more to say. Mouths look like they’re forming words, they gesture, etc. Though sometimes, the mouths don’t exactly line up in sync with the voices in time quite right. It particularly irritated me with Tali when the blinking light on her mask wasn’t quite in time. I felt like I was in an old episode of Doctor Who with the cardboard Daleks.
I rather liked the gameplay. It had its irritating moments, but it felt and looked nice. It had a nice special ops feel to it that only got better as the trilogy went on. I liked the ability to holster your gun between fights. However, the guns felt a bit unbalanced. It wasn’t a matter of choosing one that fit your style, but not choosing a BAD gun. Because once you got the HMW series of guns, there was really no reason to use anything else. It was by far the single best gun type in the game – pre-order or DLC weapons aside. It may have been expensive, but money hardly meant anything in this game. I was rich halfway through the game and could afford the best of the best for myself. The mods were the only things that were a matter of play style. And once I found the right one that suited me, I sold everything else – hence my huge stack of credits. Most of them were quite useless. Why would I use an upgrade only useful against organics? Or one only against synthetics? Against biotics? I usually fight them TOGETHER. So exactly what’s the point? I sold every mod that wasn’t an improvement on my current ones.
As I said earlier, I did not hate the Mako sections. Maybe I am one of the few people who could actually control the Mako to some degree. It gave the ME universe a feeling of scale and made everything feel BIG. The only thing I hated was looking for resources –
with little incentive to do so – and the fact that every planet have the EXACT. SAME. OUTPOST. The interior and exterior were exactly the same on each planet.
If you played KOTOR, then you have a good idea of how the choice system works. This time, however, your character speaks when you make the choice. While I do like this quite a bit, sometimes it’s irritating when the option I pick doesn’t quite line up with what he’s saying. That bothered me – a lot. And I won’t lie: it irritated me throughout the ME trilogy and SWTOR. I’m not saying we should go back to the KOTOR ways; I like the “choice wheel” better. All I want is for the thing I select to give me a BETTER idea of what it is I am choosing.
All in all, Mass Effect is a great game. If you liked KOTOR or RPGs in general, you’ll like this. Or you like shooters in general. And don’t worry; the combat does get better after this. Keep a lookout for my ME2 review – which will probably be my… third non-Star Wars game review. Next will be ______. Guessing begins…. Now!