Title: Mass Effect
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Consoles Available: Xbox 360, PC
Number of Players: Single
ESRB Rating: M
Rating: 5 out of 5
Mass Effect is an epic game from Bioware that take place in the year 2183, mankind has just started to establish itself as a galactic power among the other races in the Milky Way. You take the role of Commander Shepard as he/she is aboard the Normandy an experimental ship that is sent out to investigate and return a Prothean beacon that was unearthed on Eden Prime a human colony. You meet up with someone who mentions that they are under attack by an alien robotic race called the Geth who are being led by Saren, a Spectre gone rogue. Once you reach the beacon you receive a vision from The beacon of things to come. Now you must ind out what Seran’s intentions are and what the visions means before its to late.
Mass Effect has a great story line that involves you traveling across the galaxy searching for Seran and uncovering what the vision you received at Eden Prime means. While the main story revolves around this you are free to undertake any number of side mission as well as complete the main missions in the game in any order you’d like. I really enjoyed how the game gives you the liberty of controlling your own path from customizing the main characters persona to your liking, to choosing which missions you want to undertake first. Conversations between you and other characters is a big part of the game and can alter the way others view you. When you enter a conversation you will see a wheel with various answers that you can choose to get useful information as well as settle disputes peacefully. I really enjoyed the story and having the freedom to choose many aspects of the my experience and I thought the conversations where great.
Combat in Mass Effect plays out like your typical third person shooter, you have a set of weapons at your disposal from a pistol, sniper gun, shotgun and rifle which you can modify with various upgrades as well as purchase new weapons. Every mission that you undertake, you’re accompanied by two out of the six members in your squad that you will recruit in your journey. Every character has his own strengths and weaknesses and each has his own unique tech and biotic abilities that can disrupt enemy equipment and abilities as well as aid you and your team mates. While your team have set skills Shepard’s differ based on the persona you assigned him/her at the beginning of the game. Your team mates will mainly use their weapons during combat but you can command them to use their skills as you see fit when you bring up the sub menu that lets you use your own skills in battle. After you use a skill you must wait for it to recharge before you can use it once again. I really enjoyed the diverse skill sets that each individual character has and the weapons I had a my disposal.
I really enjoyed the combat particularly in the harder difficulties where using both weapons and biotic skills becomes more essential to use. The game was well-balanced and challenging, although one thing that I did notice was that enemies would often rush me and would end up killing me very easily, making difficult to move on at times. This is still an RPG and like many games of the genre you gain experience by defeating enemies and once you gain enough experience you level up and receive skill points along with your team mates that you can allocate to different skills to increase their effectiveness.
You will travel to different parts of the Milky Way aboard the Normandy and as you travel from cluster to cluster you will encounter planets that you can scan for various minerals and some that you can explore using the Mako vehicle. while i enjoyed exploring the various planets that faded away simply because most of the planets that you explore are often very similar to one another including certain indoor environments. Also exploring the planets consist of mostly examining wreckage as well as finding new minerals and fighting the occasional group of enemies which I feel is the weakest pat of the game.
Overall Mass Effect offers players the chance to take control of their own gaming experience which is not seen often seen in gaming. The game has a phenomenal story that leads you across the galaxy in search of answers and concludes on a high note. I really enjoyed the combat and the weapons and skills I had at my disposal. The planet exploration can seem fun at first but after a while may seem a bit repetitive and unimpressive. Even with the minor issue I had with the game, the overall experience is well executed and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.