So as some of you may know, I’ve spent the last few weeks dedicating my game time to the completion of Mass Effect. I knew I’d want it out of the way before GTAIV released or else it’d be left in the dust. Luckily, I just finished it this afternoon and am ready to share my thoughts on it.
I’m going to look at all the portions of the game that stood out to me, of which there were many. Some good, some bad, all interesting. Please read on and see what I thought about this past Christmas’ massive sci-fi RPG.
I can’t even hold in how much I loved Mass Effect’s story. Ever since I was a little boy the thrill of the unknown and what lies beyond our knowledge of our galaxy and the universe at large has fascinated me. I recall the first time my uncle gave me copies of the original Star Wars trilogy. I was in third grade and for three nights in a row I laid in front of the TV with wide eyes and my jaw on the floor. These were the most breathtaking films my young self had ever seen. Thus began my love of science fiction.
My love of Star Wars followed me through much of junior high and high school (the approximate time all the remakes and prequels were coming out), but since then my love of Star Wars specifically has dwindled. My love of science fiction has not, though. Playing through Mass Effect was sort of like watching the Star Wars films for the first time, only now I had a direct effect on the outcome of the entire story. That couldn’t have made me happier.
Jim Sterling... in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE! Seriously, I never found a space monocle. Fuckers.
At the very beginning I picked Vanguard because of his offensive biotic capabilities and the fact he specialized in highly accurate pistols and shotguns (my favorite type of weapon in ANY game I play). The Vanguard’s description lead me to believe I could only use those weapons. When I opened the weapon wheel and rolled over an assault rifle (or sniper rifle) it claimed I was “untrained” in the use of that gun, so I never bothered equipping it. That was, until I saw Talia holding an assault rifle in the middle of a fight one time. How the fuck could my engineer be holding a gun they aren’t trained to use? So I tried and, sure enough, I could use an assault rifle, too. I could even use a sniper rifle, although I couldn’t zoom with it due to lack of training so it was pretty much worthless. Again, this lack of explanation/tutorial REALLY pissed me off. The whole game I had been giving all my best assault rifles to Garrus and Wrex because they could use them and I “couldn’t.” But I could, I just didn’t know it. Fuckin’ BioWare.
I also rarely used the “Squad Commands” because I could never remember which buttons did what. I just rushed into battles and let my two allies fend for themselves, rarely forcing them to use certain powers or take up shelter behind any specific structures. Since Shepard becomes a commanding officer for the first time in the beginning of the game, I think a squad command tutorial should have clearly been included.
In general, the game should have had more tutorials. I had read before I played it back when it came out about people getting pissed due to the learning curve, so I was somewhat prepared going into it. The fact I still came across game mechanics I had no idea existed ¾ of the way through the game really angered me, though. Again, I feel the tutorials easily could have been fit within the story’s context and wouldn’t have detracted from the experience whatsoever, in fact, I think the game would have greatly been improved because of it.
Game Play Score: 8/10 – This likely would have been a perfect ten if it weren’t for sorely lacking tutorials to explain the game mechanics to the player. A little explanation would have gone a long way.
Due to size limitations, please visit the second half here: Pt. 2!