Please sign in or sign up!
  • Forget your password?
  • Want to sign up?
  •       ...blogs for gamers

    Find a GameLog
    ... by game ... by platform
    advanced search  advanced search ]
    GameLog Entries

    dkirschner's Mass Effect (PC)

    [February 14, 2011 11:30:30 AM]
    I will start with a resounding "Mass Effect is incredible." I loved everything about this game, every little thing. Seriously, best RPG I've played in a long time. I think "epic" accurately describes it. I've also heard "space opera" and would merge the two descriptors. It's an epic space opera.

    Now to backtrack. Any negative things I said in my previous entry do not hold anymore. Of bugs, there were a couple at the beginning, and then none until one quest that I couldn't do because this NPC was inexplicably nonexistent. I reloaded my save, reloaded the entire planet, and still nothing. He is a cult leader, and his followers in the compound also had a strange way of telling me no funny business: "Don't try anything. Robot chicken." Seth Green did the voice acting for Joker. Coincidence? The voice acting in the game is high quality with a few superstars like Seth Green and the guy who voiced Captain Anderson. Good voice quality makes a huge difference, and Joker was particularly excellent. The other negative thing I previously said was that the camera freaks out, and Shepherd won't fire over cover, only around it. The camera quit freaking out, and he started shooting over cover. Either the beginning was buggy or I figured out how to do it. Not sure which, but glad it was okay because cover is important! The AI companions still did some dumb stuff like ignore cover, but they started dying less once they got more abilities.

    One nice thing about the game is the pacing. The story moves casually along, as in it is up to the player how fast to advance it. There are only like 5 story missions in the game. Everything else is a side mission. I imagine one could beat the game very very quickly just playing through the story missions. It only took me 26 hours and I did just about everything, visited every single planet in every single system, explored every anomaly and pirate base, mined everything I saw, went through all the character stories, read all the codex entries. So not a long game at all, but one that can be lengthened quite a bit relative to the main story missions. So it's quite casual overall, but the story missions are intense. They're generally a couple magnitudes larger and longer than the size/time of an entire typical star system, and they're just very fun. The standout mission is definitely the final one on Ilos, and I think the last couple hours of Mass Effect are a couple of the best hours of a game I've ever experienced. Simply epic. And if I haven't mentioned already, the world Bioware & Co. created is so thought out, and the story is fantastic. There is a bit of a disconnect though between the beginning of the game and the rest, until the very end. You begin at the Citadel, this giant city, running around and doing fetch quests for hours. Then the whole rest of the game, you explore planets and never come back to this place you spent so many hours at at first. It's kind of strange not to ever need to go back, until the very very end.

    Another cool thing in Mass Effect is that your choices and actions have a lasting impact on the game. It uses a good/evil system called Paragon/Renegade. Most of the points are earned through dialogue, either being nice or being a jerk. Other points are earned by actions, helping a credit thief steal credits from slot machines or turning him in, for example. This second type is often like a quest reward. (I got nothing from the slot machine quest because I was caught cheating by the owner and kicked out, mission over!) Other choices are far heavier and determine the fates of party members and major story characters. There is a mission where you have to detonate a nuke on Saren's (the bad guy) research facility, where he is creating a cure for the Krogan genophage (Krogan species was genetically modified to be neutered at birth, so they are all dying out). Wrex, your Krogan teammate, is naturally pissed that you're going to nuke the cure for his species' impotence. You can either kill him, let Ashley kill him (because she hates aliens), or talk him out of his fury. Later in that mission, you have to choose to send either Ashley or Alenko with the Salarians for a frontal assault on the research facility. Whoever you send will die a hero's death, or so you think. Right at the end of the mission, it seems you have a chance to change your mind, but this time the decision is final. (I talked Wrex down and saved Ashley because I liked using her in my party.) And then at the end of the game, you make a doozy of a decision, which I won't give away, but damn. Heavy. I played the ending through three times to see all the different outcomes.

    The questionable decision the player must make is that of which romantic interest to pursue. Yes, there is a forced romantic subplot in Mass Effect. It's not bad, but it feels rather forced and fake. As the male Shepherd (you can choose a female Shepherd and get different romantic options), I had both Ashley the human and Talia the Asari pining for me. Ashley I found to be a mildly annoying character for a few reasons, but I used her in my party because she was a pure fighter. Though annoying, she had a more interesting backstory than Talia. Talia had the allure of being an alien who would live for 1000 years, and she's smart, so I chose her to see what the game did with being with an alien and to see how upset Ashley got. She took it pretty well, just a few racist remarks (she hates aliens). Talia was quite excited and even had a 30-second alien sex scene with me. I was not expecting that. I wonder if I see them both in Mass Effect 2. Either way, as much as I enjoy the idea of a romantic subplot, this felt unnatural. I didn't think Shepherd realistically developed any relationship with either of them, but they just loved him to death. When they confronted me about who I liked (yes, they corner you after a mission and demand a choice), I thought it was pretty silly and chose the dialogue options about having a threesome, which oddly enough were pro-Talia choices and anti-Ashley choices. I thought I would piss them both off and neither would get with me, but it didn't happen. Ashley just got offended and told us to have fun with that. I wonder what happens though if I save Alenko and kill Ashley in the nuke mission. Talia is the default lover then?

    Most of these decisions weren't heavy for me. The final one was, but the others not so much. The romance was a bit silly, I saved Wrex just because I felt bad for his whole race (though I did load and take the other two options to see what happened), and I saved Ashley over Alenko just because she was more useful in my party. It must be difficult to write in these kinds of choices that players will care about since not all players will care about the same stuff no matter what you do. Good effort though. I'd rather see it attempted than not, so long as it doesn't actually detract from the game. It's bold really.

    But there is this continuity with choices. Mass Effect 2 imports save data, and thus choices, from Mass Effect. Similarly, in the beginning of ME, you choose this branching background story for your Commander Shepherd. Mine was referenced a lot throughout the game. Very cool. I can tell you, I was heading a mission on a planet called Akuze. Something went wrong and my whole unit was wiped out except me. I'm a survivor and a hero. NPCs will comment on it, and major characters will actually dialogue about it. I can't imagine how much dialogue was recorded for this game. There are so many branches, and then an entire game full of it for the male and female Shepherds each!

    One lore eyebrow-raiser: The Council is made up of three races, and the humans are seeking to be fourth. The Council is a wise decision-making body for the good of the galaxy, for all races. So tell me if this makes sense for 'equal power.' Humans live (in the future) to like 100-150 years. Salarians live for 40 years. Turians live for, I don't remember, say 200 years. Asari live for 1000 years. Which one would have the most power? The Asari! She can be on that Council for-freaking-ever. She can make tons of allies, have tons more experience, etc., etc. Who gets the short end? The Salarian, who, if he is elected at age 30, serves for 10 years only! What good is that even? It seems like the Asari really clean up on age, and thus should be ridiculously advanced and know a lot of stuff and have a lot of connections since they're around for so long.

    Anyway, fantastic game, really. The planets are all beautiful and I loved driving my Mako around their surfaces and taking screen shots. The music is also superb, especially the galaxy map music. The ending credit song was really good too. I need to find out who did that. I have ME2 sitting here, but I think I'll take a small ME break and put something else in between. Don't want too much of a great thing.
    add a comment Add comment
    [January 31, 2011 04:01:32 AM]
    I've played part (or most?) of Mass Effect about two years ago on Xbox and loved it, but didn't get a chance to finish since it wasn't my Xbox. I'd guess I got perhaps 75% through the main story. Steam had it on sale with Mass Effect 2, so I jumped to play them both through. I probably wouldn't have bought ME1 except that I know ME2 continues the story and choices you made in the first save game impact things in the second game, which is really neat and I didn't want to miss out on. Plus, I remember liking Mass Effect so much and I'd love to replay what I did and finish what I didn't.

    It's interesting how much I remember from a couple years ago. I remember a lot of specific quests, locations, characters, etc. It's pretty cool how I haven't thought much about the game in the interim, but so much of it is in my head somewhere and is coming to the fore. I played through the whole 'beginning' today, which was maybe 1-2 hours worth of intro and exposition mission, and then 3-4 hours of exploring the enormous main city, Citadel or something, which is the intergalactic political headquarters and a marvel of technology. I feel like I hardly played the game though since I did so much running around a city and talking and doing little fetch-type quests. Run here, talk to her, run there, talk to him, examine this thing here and then that thing there and this one other thing there, etc. etc. Now my mental map of the city has returned. Even though I say I haven't really 'played,' all the city traversing and dialoging has got my head full of the sci-fi story. I love how dense the world is. Whoever dreamed up the story particulars, the whole intergalactic history thing going on, did an awesome job. I like all the different alien species too. They're very unique, and I like how they all come from different cultures that inform their thoughts and behaviors.

    Some things I notice: the PC version looks better. It's got this grainy effect to the picture that is really neat. I don't remember paying attention last time, but the cut scenes are quite cinematic. Whoever directed them lined up shots, did zooming and panning, paid a lot of attention to facial expressions, cutting to one person, then to another, etc. Dialogue cut scenes are extraordinarily done. I'm also digging the music. It sounds like space. A couple of lame things: I had a 'bug scare' when about 30 minutes in, I got stuck on a rock and couldn't move and had to reload. Nothing ever happened again, but it's got me wary. The cover system is really sensitive (buggy?). When hiding behind cover, sometimes the camera just freaks out and starts jiggling. The tutorial says you can shoot over cover, not just from the side, and the controls it gives for shooting over cover just don't work. Nothing happens. Sadly, although the control scheme isn't bad, I remember it being much better on Xbox. Smoother maybe, better responses. The PC controls seem a little jerky. Also, I feel like there are extra dialogue options, maybe a couple extra quests that I don't remember, and that I just am somehow better at the game than I was last time. Maybe the PC version got some perks.

    My character is an Adept, basically a user of the Force, Mass Effect style. I can Throw enemies (Force Push), create shield Barriers, encase enemies in Stasis fields, suck enemies into a Singularity, and a couple other things. I've gotten 5/6 characters already and I went with all the specialists since that's what I am, so there's me the Adept, then a Soldier who is the guns person, and the Technician (or mechanic or engineer, don't remember), who can pick locks and hack stuff, and generally tear up machines. It seems like a well-rounded party, and I imagine I'll use those same characters throughout simply to have one of each type.

    After the intro section, what I mostly remember is being able to visit various planets and doing little side missions, with the occasional story one to move things alone. I remember driving around on my little moon rover tank thing, blowing up pirate camps, finding rare resources and artifacts, and generally doing a lot of exploring. We'll see if it's the same as I remember!
    add a comment Add comment

    dkirschner's Mass Effect (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 30 January, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Monday 14 February, 2011

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Mass Effect is incredible.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

    See info on Mass Effect

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game

    This is the only GameLog for Mass Effect.


    games - logs - members - about - help - recent updates

    Copyright 2004-2014