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1:14 PM on 06.13.2009

Mass Effect: How did I miss this?

Okay okay I admit it. Through the annals of video game history there have been few blockbuster games that I have overlooked. The games that change the look of a genre or that change the gaming landscape. Or simply games that are so well developed and so entertaining that only a fool couldn't enjoy them. Mass Effect was one of those types of game I overlooked.

When Mass Effect was first released I tended to not pay it mind due to my frustration with the lack of decent XBox360 releases almost 2 years into the release of the console. Even with the Bioware development team working on this game at the time it seemed to me to be just another mediocre title in the seemingly endless sea of bad or rushed game releases. Could I have possibly been any more wrong?

Playing through Mass Effect reminded me what games were like before developers realized they could take an IP and exploit it for year after year (I'm looking at you Activision). Games that had hours of story and depth.. not "Oh hey look I beat Gears of War 2 in 8 hours.. cool I spent 65 dollars for 8 hours of gameplay.". The sheer amount of dialogue alone in Mass Effect could stand on its own.

The whole genre of "Action RPG" kind of confused me starting out. Having played RPGs before I tried to picture in my mind the grinding and managing this and that. Bioware seemed to make it pretty easy though. You gain XP through doing side missions and killing monsters and whatnot which is nice because it doesn't make it seem like a chore. Some of the side missions did seem kind of a bother to the point where I'd avoid them just because they required you to fly out to some random system just to get something and come back and given that I had rented the game I wanted to complete it before I ran out of time.

There is a lot I could say about this game as a whole but I'll just basically put it this way. The controls aren't cumbersome. The voice acting is top notch. The story is well told although when you play you think to yourself "Gee where have I heard this one before". There are so many avenues to explore even just based off which replies you choose when having dialogue with the other characters in game. Its not a very long game but due to the RPG elements it has a ton of replay value as well as carrying over your save data to Mass Effect 2 when it launches at the end of January 2010.   read


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