Mass Effect – Review

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My Female ShephardI wanted to write up my review now right after I finished Mass Effect and before I start Mass Effect 2.  I really enjoyed this game but I have some criticism I wanted to document before I start on ME2.  It should be noted that I have never read another review of Mass Effect and I suppose I will probably bring up points others have already noted.

As you can see on the left, I played through as a female Shephard (with red hair and green eyes) because I felt that would give me the most interesting options and storyline.  After playing through I looked for some pictures for this post and found so much variety in other Shephards, but none of them seem quite right now.

According to Steam I played 56 hours, but according to the save game system I played for a little over 43 hours.  I’m guessing Steam was tracking when I left it running to go to the movies that one time, but the in game system didn’t bother counting that.  Either way that is a significantly long game for me, I’m usually the person who prefers games that run about 12 hours in length.

Part of the length is due to my desire to do every single side quest and visit every single world, I’m sure if I had the inclination to play through again I could probably do it in less than 20 hours.  Most of the worlds seem so fully realized, it must have taken a lot of game design to create this galaxy that seems to almost really exist.

My biggest praise goes to creating a game that doesn’t shy away from making a very smart game, the science is obviously researched and doesn’t placate the user very often.  They could have just added in “magic” and explained it away quickly and the game would still have been good, but to create this intricate back story to the biotics was a great touch.

Ultimately the game plays almost exactly like Knights of the Old Republic (to which I am probably the one billionth person to note) which is fine since KotOR was a great game to play.  My biggest problem with these games is that since you only command a squad of 3 out of 7 I very soon choose favourites.  This team is the one I choose for just about every mission since they work so well together and I have equipped them properly.  The others I don’t really care about and in some cases put cheap gear on them so I can sell off the better stuff.

My Mass Effect Squad

I feel the vendors didn’t play a large enough part in the game, that might be due to my doing all the missions so I had lots of great stuff drop and rarely needed to buy anything.  When I finished the game I had long past maxed out my credits at 10 million and was turning just about everything else into omni-gel which was almost maxed out since I was so good at the mini-game.

The Mini-game was fun at first but quickly became tedious, it would have been nice for some variety in the challenges.  That is almost true of driving on the planets, except that is pretty fun and a nice diversion.  I wish the thrusters were on the back instead of on the bottom though, they seemed rather useless as it was.

Even though I had the graphics maxed out, there are some really odd shadow effects and blur effects (typically in elevators) that occurred possibly due to bad shader code.  It was distracting at first but then I eventually only noticed it here and there.

I think it was well worth my time to play through Mass Effect, and I plan to play Mass Effect 2 and finish in time to play Mass Effect 3 when it comes out.

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