This is the second portion of my Mass Effect review, because of size constraints. Please see my first part here: Pt. 1! Graphics & Sound
I think the graphics in the game were gorgeous. The character designs were varied and interesting, the weapon and power effects were beautiful, but there were some problems I had with them. For one thing, the frame rate dropped far too often for my liking. Many times, in the midst of battle, the engine would chug, causing disorientation and confusion.
**Side Note: I loved the fact there was a gun folding animation when you switched weapons. It was a cool little touch that reminded me I was using futuristic weaponry.**
However, I thought everyone else was superbly done. The dialog, overall, was arguably the best and most convincing Iíve heard in a long while. The dialog wheel mechanic also worked nicely and allowed for smoother conversations with NPCs than Iíve ever encountered in a game. The only time it backfired was when I sometimes talked myself in loops by accident. Having a little more variety to responses or visually marking which options/questions I already asked would have been a nice way of making sure I didnít talk myself in loops. Since itís sort of my fault, I canít take off too much for it, though.
I thought the ambient music when exploring or walking around was decent, too. It managed to kick into high gear when enemies were around and really drew me into the battles. It performed just like a well-made movie score did and for that I applaud it.
Graphics & Sound Score: 7/10 Ė Art direction and style abounds in both departments, but graphic engine issues really pulled this down. Overall Score: 8/10 Ė I think the game did what it had to pretty effectively. The story itself is worth devoting your time to it just to reap the rewards of one of the most enthralling stories Iíve encountered in a game in years. If some more time would have been taken tweaking the gameís engine and implementing more game mechanic explanations, the game would have been much better off in the long run. As it stands, itís a somewhat hard to learn title, but one that offers a great experience to the player if theyíre willing/able to get past the first few hours of learning everything on their own. I, for one, cannot wait for the inevitable sequel.