I decided to purchase Mass Effect from steam for two reasons. One was the lack of intrusive DRM (although one could argue Steam itself is a big old DRM wrapper) and the other was I had not played through it yet. My original experience with the game long ago was one consisting of a lot of crashes. The windows version is notoriously crash-tastic. Even with the latest patches the stability and overall performance was fairly sad.
Thankfully I was able to quick save every 14 seconds to keep from losing my progress. The most common crash for me was during conversations... really? Is that where testing spent the least amount of time? Oh well...
The game was fun to play through, but not exactly fun to play. There's some frustration and some fun times. I played through as a Female Renegade leaning bitch. If the option to be a scum bag was available I took that route.
I did not take playing this game very seriously and just went with being a jerk ignoring a number of aspects such as talking extensively with my team members. I did take on all available side missions though.
My character at the end of the game.
Mass Effect is a Bioware RPG ala Knights of The Old Republic style. Time is spent exploring (via rover "Mako" or foot), conversing, fighting, wading through your inventory, looking at spinning crap, and trying to make your character a jerk, nice, or just greedy.
You'll be seeing this a lot and likely learn to hate it.
The plot of Mass Effect reminds me of Knights of the Old Republic replacing the force with biotics or some such thing. Bad guy is trying to use massive army to wipe out lots of entities and you should probably stop it. There are plenty of racial issues throughout the game but none of them play any major role beyond conversation.
Mass Effect has a robot and zombie army. Not many games have both.
Combat is played out in "active" real-time unlike the Knights games. By active I mean it's a third person shooter like GTA4. The only advantage is that you can pause time to trigger abilities or take a look around.
The various characters you pick up along the way can be influenced through conversations and often play a role in the various mini-story lines.
Mass Effect is not a game I would recommend wasting your time beating in any specific difficulty beyond easy. Hard or not, the game is about the story, not the challenge of playing the game. As always I played on easy so I would just skate through. The only times I died were when these big worms, called Thresher Maws, shot out of the ground right under my vehicle.
With my view of difficulty in mind the amount of crap you pick up is ridiculous. There was so much junk in my inventory I went to a dealer and just mashed sell 150 times after applying the best of the available gear. One could argue that with all the gear you could re-equip your entire team (all 6+ of them) constantly.
The hardest part of the game is not quitting while driving this thing.
The sound of Mass Effect (at least on the PC) is good but not mixed well. Volumes are mis-balanced all over the place. The recognizable voice actors definitely bring some weight to the space opera. I could have gone without the music, including the music in the credits.
The graphics in Mass Effect look great assuming you have a PC that can handle it. When I saw Wrex close up for the first time he looked incredible. I'm not sure why but his character in particular just felt the most visually detailed. (probably due to the amount of variety in his face)
Quick Save could be considered a cheat... I used it all the time to repeat failed unlocks.
Experiencing The Game Again
I might play it again as a "Paragon" (goody goody) male. I'm just not sure when I will actually want to.
Mass Effect is apparently a trilogy. 2 is out and 3 is likely in production. I'll play Mass Effect 2 when it's cheap.
- Simple Combat System
- Decent Story
- Only one puzzle?! (or so it seemed, another version of Towers of Hanoi)
- Real-Time Combat (not a fan)
- Crashes a lot
- Way too much inventory junk (variety across breeds gets annoying)
- Stupid unlock mini-game.
- Too easy to lock out the completion of side quests by progressing a little.