Friday, March 16, 2012

Review #1 - Mass Effect 1

Alright, so I guess I should preface this with: I'm back! I realize that some people will probably think that my previous post is a little melodramatic seeing as I said I would most likely be gone for months when it has only been just under a week. In my defence, I genuinely had no idea how long I would have to be gone for. The longest I thought I would possibly be would be a month and a half (return end of April), so I emphasized that so people wouldn't really get there hopes up (person?). I also knew that the most likely time of return would be a week (now), but I couldn't be sure, so I just went with the longest time possible. I'm still not fully up to date on school stuff, so there might not be as many updates as before the hiatus, but there should still be updates, if irregular. With that out of the way though, I shall begin my poorly written, fan boy review of Mass Effect.

I make it no secret that I am a large fan boy of several things. One of these things is BioWare, and specifically Mass Effect (haven't played too much Dragon Age, I should do that some time).  I first picked up Mass Effect in early 2009 and my LP was my third play through of the game.  Mass Effect 1 is currently in my top 3 favourite (deal with the u, I'm Canadian) games of all time. The story is amazing, and the way your decisions even in the early game can effect your end game is just amazing to me.

BioWare also did something that a lot of companies don't do: make the game longer than 5 hours.  I see so many games in today's age that charge you $50 for 5-6 hours of entertainment. Seriously?  Mass Effect takes a step up and sells you a game with a minimum play time of about 12 hours, and a maximum play time of 30-40 hours, for the same $50 price tag (now down to $15, but I'm talking release price).  And the thing is, there are other games with this kind of length, but a lot of it is artificially extended time, like an extremely hard part that takes hours to get through, even when it should take 20 minutes. Mass Effect doesn't do this. It's entire game time is amazing, and seemingly constantly new and original as you progress through it. It's 15 hours of actual game time, not 3 hours of game time spread over 12 hours.

Another thing Mass Effect has that a lot of other games don't have is characters with actual personality. You get to know the characters. They all have their own way of talking or reacting to certain things and events, they aren't just cardboard cutouts. Now, a good portion of this can be attributed to the writing, but writing is nothing if you have terrible actors, which Mass Effect does not. The actors are able to put in real emotion into their voice, making the characters even more real feeling. This seems to be something many game companies struggle with nowadays.

Now, I have said a lot of good about Mass Effect, which is to be expected, but I do have my complaints as well.  One problem is how boring the scanning is. All you do is click the planet and you're done. And the thing is, all you get from it is quest progress, nothing else. It serves no real purpose other than being a completionist, which is artificial game extension.  My bigger complaint is the glitches.  Now, Mass Effect doesn't have very many glitches, but the ones it does have make it VERY difficult to play, like the overheat bug which made it very difficult to get through some areas of the game.  My only other real complaint is the difficulty of Sarren's final form. My God, I don't know if that was my fault or the bugs, or that's just how it's supposed to be, but that was insanely difficult and rage inducing.  I think it took me almost an hour to beat that ass hole.

I think that's about all my thoughts on Mass Effect. I realize that this is very poorly laid out is probably going to be difficult to read as I jump between topics without any sort of transition, but I'm sorry. I'm an engineer, not an English major.  If you actually read the whole thing, thanks! If you have your own opinion, feel free to share it with me, I like hearing what other people think.  I think that's all for now. Bye!

~Drew (devilwarier9)

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