Review: Mass Effect

Mass Effect CoverIt took me long enough, but I finally managed to finish off Mass Effect on the Xbox 360. The start of a proposed series of games, but a self-contained story in and of itself, Mass Effect tells the story of Commander Shepherd as he tries to stop a rogue Spectre named Saren from carrying out his evil plans.

Lets get the bad out of the way right now. This game isn’t perfect, there’s some seriously gimped inventory management and a godawful lot of texture popping happening. Sometimes it’ll switch to a scene with a character and they’ll look like they’re made of clay, then *zing* they’re back to normal. It shows up more often than I’d like, and really shows how technologically stretched thin the 360 is as a platform.

All of that aside, Mass Effect is a brilliant cinematic experience. The presentation is top notch, essentially like a 20 hour long movie where you play the protagonist. Combat is relatively simple and accessible. There’s very little tutorials in this game, but things aren’t too tough to figure out. And once you do, combat will probably get pretty easy for you depending on the role you’ve chosen for your character.

RPGs can get pretty tiresome, what with a lot of dialog reading and such, but with Mass Effect this is made more interesting by the fact that the game’s cast speaks to each other instead of forcing you to read a book. And it’s all done in a very cinematic style, again making it feel more like a big movie rather than a game.

The story is at first glance fairly standard fare for a sci-fi, but there’s enough political and military intrigue to separate it from other games of its kind. There’s a lot of depth, especially with all the interpersonal relationships the characters have with one another.

You can blow through the game in around 15 hours or so, I’m guessing, if you focus on the main thrust of the storyline and don’t steamroll through it. There’s a ton of side quests, which I haven’t finished.

I’m definitely going to give this game another run through, maybe trying a different class and completing more of the side quests themselves. All in all, even with the glitches, I highly recommend this.

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