Mass Effect

Mass Effect

In the intense release period of the autumn, I used to joke about not wanting to play Mass Effect because it was bad – judging it completely without having even seen it played was supposed to make a point that I think got lost along the way. More than any other game during the last year, though, this has proved very hard. Like some others lately, Mass Effect comes from a group of games I’ve largely ignored in the past – thus my reluctance to play it in the first place – but like named others, it got enough praise that I figured I’d try it. I pride myself in being a rather experimental gamer, but every time I do something like that I get a glimpse of how narrow my selection really is.

That is not to say Mass Effect is perfect – for starters, it is not very pretty as the constant rendering glitches never stop to let you just enjoy the design. The frequent loading and constantly dropping framerate doesn’t help. Also, there are some really annoying design choices in there – the exploration/vehicle sections often seem very hastily planned and the few variations of instances you enter get repetitive really quickly – though I can understand why they chose quantity over quality for the sidequests. What I can’t see is why they bothered to include an autosave system if they weren’t gonna have reasonable checkpoints anyway – more than once I had to spend an hour replaying some part.

But that isn’t what Mass Effect is about, bringing us to the important part of the game – the roleplaying. Even though I know how these things usually work, for once I really felt like there was some weight to the in-game decisions I got to make. Sure, the story that unfolded was slightly na├»ve at times, but then again that might just be a reflection off the goody-two-shoes- way I played the character. Of course, I can’t say if this feeling would’ve remained had I chosen to play a less honorable character – or better yet, if I had chosen to sway between “good” and “evil” throughout the game – but that hardly makes any difference as long as I get to play the game I want and feel that actions that I choose have reasonable outcomes.

On top of that, Mass Effect sports decent action-based combat as well as a well-balanced take on stats management (although there is an overabundance of resources), it’s easy enough to play that I didn’t mind too much when I had to repeat something. It is somewhat reassuring to see that by picking up games I normally wouldn’t play, I sometimes find gems that leave me wanting more after 25 hours of gameplay.

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Posted on Feb 09/08 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »