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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Create Characters for ME2! (How to Avoid DRM Included)
First of all, I know this game is old. In fact, I really had no interest in trying this game when it came out, thinking, oh that is just another FPS. Now that I've actually played it, I can't imagine why. This is nothing at all like a FPS. In fact, ME2, which I bought first, has a much more FPS feel to it. This is really an RPG first, with a few FPS elements thrown in. It...
Published on March 16, 2010 by Dave

versus
1,023 of 1,246 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rental versus purchase: Beware
I am not reviewing the content of the game except to say that Bioware has previously never disappointed me with its RPG's, and I expect Mass Effect is no different. I was highly excited to buy this game.

However, I like many others, canceled my pre-order when I discovered that I was not actually going to be buying the game, even though I was going to be...
Published on June 18, 2008 by Craig H. Dolphin


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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Create Characters for ME2! (How to Avoid DRM Included), March 16, 2010
By 
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
First of all, I know this game is old. In fact, I really had no interest in trying this game when it came out, thinking, oh that is just another FPS. Now that I've actually played it, I can't imagine why. This is nothing at all like a FPS. In fact, ME2, which I bought first, has a much more FPS feel to it. This is really an RPG first, with a few FPS elements thrown in. It is obvious that Mass Effect is a game like no other.

First of all, ME centers around a great storyline created by the author of the Mass Effect books, the first one titled Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpshyn. Reading this "prequil" is a great way to get into the Mass Effect universe BEFORE you play. I was already so enamored with the universe before I began playing (by feeling all the gaps in starting with ME2) I had to get right into the game, while reading the book at the same time. Can you blame me?

The strength of this game is strongly tied to the storyline, which is really what drives the interest. Without a strong story, you have the caveat of falling into the shooter trap where the story is just a briefing of your next mission while you load a new map, or a couple of seconds of dialogue explaining the change in game play. Mass Effect has a tremendous depth of story, allowing you to choose custom or stock male or female characters with three choices each for family history and military background.

Don't forget the 6 character classes too. You have Soldier which is self explanatory, and Adept which uses "mass effects" which are more or less telekinetic/gravity effects, and Engineer which has tech expertise for overloading weapons, healing the party or taking control of robots. Three classes are combinations of 2, Vanguard is Biotic/Soldier, Sentinel is Engineer/Adept, and Infiltrator is Engineer+Soldier. Soldiers are defintely the easiest to play due to their health bonuses, and the other classes feel slightly crippled early in the game. As you progress in levels, these differences are minimized by finding excellent armor regardless of whether it is light, medium, or heavy, and incredibly destructive weapons. Each class seems to offer up to five 'specializations' at character creation which include things like 'Assault rifle' or 'Shotgun' or even 'First Aid' or the biotic power 'Lift.' This makes it possible to play each class multiple times (if you want) with slightly different starting abilities, and it gives a boost to those classes who are slighly weaker at creation.

I noticed that these classes don't feel all that unique, especially the combination classes. I found myself drawn to the "pure" classes, as I would much rather sacrifice the use of a certain type of gun to having a greater variety of powers. This is most likely the reason for having truly unique powers given to each class in ME2. However, they did come up with cool names for the classes, even if playing a Vanguard is not as good as playing an Adept, you might want to play it anyway, just because you like the name.

The graphics are hardly superior by today's standards (no 2560x1600 resolution available), but most likely were pretty cutting edge in the day. I mention this now, because at this stage you can customize the face of your hero, along with the aforementioned traits, and the first name as well. You will be Commander Shepard to everyone you meet, so a first name is really just to help you distinguish your different characters. The facial controls are nicely done, with the ability to cycle presets and then cyle "face shapes" so that you get the basic head done pretty quick. You also get about 15 or so skin tones and 3 complexions ranging for baby smooth to grungy to acne scarred (aka Adama on the new Battlestar Galactica) as well as some wicked optional scars which you don't get to import with you to ME2. The beard selections are all on the "hip" side, and the ladies don't get a lot of good hair styles, but the variety of hair choices ought to let you create dozens of different looks for any one face. When you get to the rest of the face tweaks, you realized how fine tuned the system really is. I think this system is critical to be robust, since you spend so much time in the game watching yourself talk. Spend time with the tools they've given you, and you wont be disappointed.

The game play begins in a fairly linear way with the initial mission which basically gets you familiar with the controls. Space bar use is fairly important, since it allows you to control your squad and yourself while pausing the movement of your enemies. This squad control factors more importantly in ME2, I believe, because the gun battles are more difficult in that game on the normal setting (ME has about five difficulty settings, with the last one being unlockable). While the pause might save some of your team mates by getting them some cover (they don't seem to do this automatically) your team is generally really good at using their powers by themselves, especially the biotics. Playing as a soldier with run and gun tactics, I love seeing my adept and engineer reak havoc on some really advanced bad guys. I generally run in guns blazing and watch huges guys charging me end up floating around on fire.

The game has loot, like a typical fantasy RPG, and boy does it have a lot of it. For example, the aforementioned light, medium, and heavy armor has customizable "upgrades" in each type (sometimes up to three slots). There are so many types of armor, it gets ridiculous to try and figure out what is the best. Generally, you can find a certain type, and look for future models (say like model IX are always great) and you should be set. Guns include assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles; all with customizable slots. You also get grenades (works like an ugrade), biotic amps (if your class has them), and omni tools (also if your class uses them). The amount of loot you get is sometimes limited by your party's engineering skills, like rogue skills in a traditional RPG. Basically the 'open lock' ability of rogues finds its equivalent in the 'electronics' or 'decryption' abilities of engineers. Opening electronic locks gives you XP, so Engineers are good classes for power leveling.

After starting the fun park riding on linear rails, the game moves to the citadel where the gameplay becomes non-linear and free range. Of course, a lot of this centers around missions (see main quests) and assignments (see side quests) which are very stock RPG fare. There aren't a lot of Fed-Ex quests, for which I am thankful, and a lot of the quests evolve as you complete them, so I guess you can say there isn't much "stock" about this game at all.

Space exploration involves no space battles (bummer) but borders on the tedious with "survey" of planets and search for resources. Not much explanation is offered as to why these resources are important, and they certainly are not critical. I've played it through many times, and have yet to complete all these resource quests. Never bothered me.

Planetside exploration involves the strange Maco ATV which can climb an almost 90 vertical. After a while, it seemed like they tried to make ATV work annoying by making you climb mountains which were very very very rough and everywhere. Realism is out the window here. No damage to your vehicle can occur unless you run off a stretch of elevated highway or take gunfire, yet a fall off a ten story mountain incurs no damage at all. You could try your best to roll the vehicle, and only rarely succeed.

While tedious at times, Maco driving was fun at other times. It was fun to run over regular sized bad guys and ram large bad guys and make them "ride" the Maco itself. It was fun to drive with reckless abandon. Yet overall, I found the Maco very tedious. You would land and have a "square" map of activity, where you must put a flag on whatever appeared on the map to investigate to find any objective. I would have enjoyed not having the requirement to refer to the big map at all, but allow the radar to expand as a zoomable overlay with the ability to cycle through targeting available objectives (perhaps use the tab key?). Maybe that is why it was left out of ME2.

During the middle of the game, the story gets a little lost. You have the main objective, and you could always rush and finish that part, but you are having fun, and want to do the side quests. This kind of makes the main story lose some impact, since in every reference to the main story, they always mention that you need to complete it quickly. Of course, you don't really need to do this, so, this makes it lose some immersion factor. Side Quests (remember assignments) try to give you legitimate excuses for being deterred from the main quest (mission) by barking out orders from an Admiral who wants you to do something. Yet, when trying to save the galaxy, should you really take time to do anything else when time is of the essence?

This is a problem with other Bioware games as well, such as Dragon Age. You can pretty much be assured that if someone ever tells you to hurry and do something because time is running out, there is never a real need to hurry. This is not a commentary on the side quests themselves. In Mass Effect, they are usually pretty neat with their own stories, and they are varied and fun to complete. But you know they are not directly important, and in real life would most likely be avoided, and that makes them less fun.

Well, once the last few missions roll around, the story cloaks you again, and you remember why you really enjoyed the game in the first place. It is a compelling universe where the things you do matter, and influence the worlds and people around you. It is all that time when you are spending too much time driving a tank up a 90 degree slope doing some unimportant quest when all the lives of the galaxy hang in the balance when things start to change. It is those times that this feels like a Halo clone, or just any other game. You are just someone trying to power level another character in another game, and the story is lost. For that reason, this game only gets 4 stars.

The good thing is, those times you feel like you are wasting your time are few and far between, and the game is highly enjoyable, most of the time.

Thankfully, the game isn't over yet. You can import your character from this game straight into ME2, and the choices you make in Mass Effect carry with you to the next game. This is a HUGE plus. I actually think this is the best ever sequel that I HAVE PLAYED in this aspect. How great is the roll play when you span it over multiple games? You can take a single character and play through 2 entire games and make different choices every time. The multiple replayability is greatly enhanced.

Secondly, the DRM which everyone hates so much can be avoided by purchasing an online game by Steam. This is what I did, and it stores the saved games in the same folder as a regular disc version would, which makes it easy to import.

Overall, recommended.
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1,023 of 1,246 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rental versus purchase: Beware, June 18, 2008
By 
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
I am not reviewing the content of the game except to say that Bioware has previously never disappointed me with its RPG's, and I expect Mass Effect is no different. I was highly excited to buy this game.

However, I like many others, canceled my pre-order when I discovered that I was not actually going to be buying the game, even though I was going to be spending $50 on it.

The truth is that this game comes with a new generation of digital rights management software called SecuROM. This DRM system does many things.

First, if your gaming computer does not have internet access then you cannot activate and play the game at all. Bioware/EA does not want your business.

Second, Bioware allows you three 'activations' only. Activations are tied to your computer's hardware and operating system configuration. If you ever reinstall windows, or upgrade a videocard, or add a new hard-drive, or even a simple cooling fan, you will need to use up another activation to keep playing mass effect on your computer. Several customers used up all three activations within a couple of weeks of buying the game as they tried reinstalling windows, or upgrading hardware, to overcome technical difficulties. Once you run out of activations and try to play the game again, you get a message informing you that you have no more activations left and that you should buy another copy of the game to get more. If you do some searching, you will find out that EA says that they may provide you more activations, on a case by case basis, if you contact them. They refuse to state what circumstances will be considered acceptable to them before allowing you more activations. At a minimum, you may need to provide a copy of your purchase receipt. You do actually keep your purchase receipts for $50 games right?

Third, SecuROM is a highly controversial piece of software. Its existence is not disclosed on the box, nor do you get notified that it is being installed on your machine. SecuROM installs registry keys that are not deleted when you uninstall the game. And these registry keys use illegal characters to prevent the user from being able to delete them manually. You must use third-party software to do so.

Fourth, SecuROM can include a module that provides 'information' to the game publisher. Bioware claims it is not using that module to do so, but there is no way to verify this.

Fifth, Bioware cancelled the re-validate online every 5-10 days policy that they originally stated the game would have. Expect to see this return in future games.

Lastly, Bioware/EA provides no method to de-activate a computer once it has been activated. Uninstalling the game from one computer does not free up that activation. Therefore, your ability to sell your copy of the game second-hand, guaranteed in the Copyright Act (Doctrine of First Sale) has been violated by Bioware/EA. Expect to see some lawsuits before too much longer.

If you think I'm blowing up the DRM issue out of proportion then, by all means, go ahead and buy this game. While you are able to play it I'm sure you'll be very happy with it. However, do not expect to be able to keep playing it years into the future without paying extra for more activations.

The same DRM system is also intended for use on EA games like Spore, and likely also Dragonage, plus many others.

If you are concerned about this kind of practice becoming the industry standard, then I urge you not to spend your money on this game or any other titles from EA until they abandon this DRM fiasco. There are games publishers who take a different approach (for example, the game Sins of a Solar Empire is DRM free) and who are much more appreciative of your custom.
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65 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immersive fun universe, November 15, 2008
By 
David J. Zapata (Cincinnati OH, 45202) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
One of the best RPGs of the year. This game is incredibly imersive. There is a long deep main story line that really keeps the game moving along and tons of side quests to bring the universe to life. With any RPG its the details that kill games. Not Mass Effect. The developers focused on every aspect of the game play and really polished it to a high shine. The biggest downfall is that it was developed for the Xbox and so the graphics aren't as good as you would expect from a game this incredible well put together.

Battle Scenes:
Overall the scenes are a lot of fun. there are so many different ways to approach battle that its hard to get bored too quickly. The two problems I had were first in all the side quests the building layouts are incredibly repetitive. Its almost exactly the same except that furniture has been moved around. Second the AI can be a bit annoying and aggressive. The easiest tactic to win any battle is to sit back and wait for them to come to you. That's fine and all but i expect more out of my battles then sniper frag fests.

Side Quests:
there are tons of side quests and tons of places to explore. the side quests even intermingle among one another and some of the moral choices are very ambiguous making the decisions you make much much more interesting. The only problem is that unless your physically writing down where you have explored you often get confused and end up revisiting the same planets over and over again.

Main Story:
The funny thing is for the most part I completely ignored the main story line and just had fun traveling the universe and doing side quests but when you get bored its always fun to go back and continue along the main story line

Unit Selection:
This has got to be the most annoying thing about the game. I tend to choose two people for every single mission. I wish it was somehow more interactive and more were each member is needed for different kinds of missions.

Graphics:
My biggest sore point with the game. There are some very pretty scenes but for the most part things can get a little bland and blocky.

Copyright protection:
Beware this game is highly encrypted and requires a internet connection to work. Also i have heard endless horror stories about EA's customer support.
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158 of 195 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An expensive game rental which installs malware, October 14, 2008
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
Buyer beware - the product description does not describe some important aspects of the game.

This game requires an internet activation, so if you have no internet connection you can't play. Also you are limited to 3 activations - so effectively you are not buying and owning your game, you are merely renting the game.

This game secretly installs copy-protection software called SecuROM which can cause many problems for your computer, some of which are:

1. When installing the game the user is not informed that SecuROM is being installed.

2. SecuROM denies administrators full access to their PC, and blocks the administrator from editing certain parts of the registry.

3. SecuROM can interfere with the operation of hardware, specifically disc drives.

4. SecuROM can interfere with the proper operation of software.

5. When the game is uninstalled SecuROM is not uninstalled - it remains permanently on your computer.

6. The manner in which SecuROM runs on your computer is similar to that of malicious software called malware, and many people do indeed consider SecuROM to be malware.

Currently two class action lawsuits have been filed against Electronic Arts (EA) for their use of SecuROM.
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353 of 441 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad disapointment - Update, May 28, 2008
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
I pre-ordered this game two months ago, and this is a first-day review for the PC version.

All I can say is, what a profound disappointment, on multiple levels.

First and foremost, despite all the talk from BioWare, from minute one of the game it's clearly a console port. This is most notable in the wonky camera swing that follows the player somewhat haphazardly. And one doesn't even have the option of escaping this by going to a first-person mode (even though the game was promoted as having one up until a few weeks ago.)

Video on my system, which is in the mid - to upper- range for a gaming PC, was choppy and grainy, even using the "ultra High" definition textures. I could honestly barely tell the difference between the very high-end and low-end graphic settings.

The game did install easily, and did not have any issues running on my Vista PC .. to be fair, BioWare changed the DMR scheme prior to realease, and it was a change for the better.

But even that smart move by BioWare didn't make up for what has overall been a real disappointment for me.

UPDATE: [June 4, 2008]
I originally wasn't concerned about the DRM stuff after BioWare changed the periodic 'phone home' plan. HOWEVER - I'VE CHANGED MY MIND.

To me, it is now obvious WHY the DRM stuff matters - even to those of us who were not overly concerned and pre-ordered the game. The BioWare forum currently has *thousands* of posts, less than a week after release, of people w/ game issues. My armchair survey is about 40%-60% are related to activation issues & other bugs with the DRM.

Dealing with the DRM has become the black hole sucking up time & resources from BioWare tech support, leaving people w/ the garden variety issues that most games have on launch (to some extent) to fend for ourselves. Count me as newly joined to the "No DRM now, no DRM ever!" camp.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware the UK edition of a great game., October 13, 2011
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
First of all let me say that this is a great game and one of the best action RPGs I've ever played. However, Amazon is selling a version for third party vendors which is a UK value edition (orange box not the one pictured) and it does not install properly on a US machine. I tried installing it three time without success (I have "The Witcher 2" on my computer and that plays just fine) so it's not my hardware. The game comes with 2 identically labeled discs (the 2nd is never asked for in the install so I don't know what it's for) and no instruction manual. I eventually returned it to Amazon for a refund and downloaded the game from Steam which works like a dream. I just wanted to let other gamers know about my experience so they could avoid the same frustration and aggravation.
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97 of 120 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DRM'd to death, August 20, 2008
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
I wanted to love this game. I even tried to love it. But I couldn't, and here is why:

1. DRM that sucks the life out of everything good the game has to offer. We as consumers have got to stop accepting this garbage. It limits playability, prevents legitimate use of the game we purchased, and treats the consumer as "guilty until proven innocent." I really wish I had NOT bought this game for that one reason. Never again will I give my money for a product with DRM.

2. Poorly ported. As many others have noted, the camera that follows Shepherd around is frustrating, and doesn't allow for the immersive quality of a first person view.

3. Control of the rover vehicle thing is clumsy and frustrating. The physics on planet surfaces is so poor that I didn't want to do many of the side quests. You can drive up nearly vertical surfaces, bounce hundreds of feet down the sides of mountains without suffering any damage, all using slippy controls that don't feel right for a bad-*** personnel carrier.

4. Many sound bugs. The processing of sound in this game is horrible. The sound fades out during many of the movie sequences. The only option is to turn on subtitles, which hurts immersion into the game. At other points in game sound glitches cause ambient noise to disappear while shooting a weapon, or the opposite, so that you only hear ambient sound, and muffled or nonexistent weapons fire. I have a extremly high quality sound card, the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude so this is NOT due to my system. Even the recently released patch does not solve this issue.

5. Inconsequential rewards for accomplishing side objectives. There are two levels to this. The first is that if you take the time to find all the rare earths, gases, metals, etc., you are rewarded with nothing more than cash. That would be fine if there was anything worth buying with it. However, once you're level 25+ all of the weapons you can buy are either the same, or inferior to what you already have. The mission based side quests provide little reward also. There are very few bosses, and they never drop weapons or equipment that is specialized or unique. I was hoping that side quests would allow access to weapons and armor that were otherwise unavailable. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Other than being a completenic, there is no reason to pursue side quests at all.

6. Short main campaign. The main campaign can be completed in 20 hours or less. That would be fine if side quests were more rewarding, but they're not (see #5). I liked the main campaign quite a bit, and thought the story was fairly interesting, but it would have been nice if the story took less of a linear path. What I mean by that (given that you can choose to go to the planets in any order) is it would have been interesting if the game required you to return to planets you had previously visited (other than the Gate) for additional objectives/story arcs. For example, a mission that required you to travel to several different planets. The main campaign would not have been disappointing in the slightest if they had made it less linear.

So all that said, why 3 stars and not 1? Because the game is not a total failure. The storyline is much better than average, the voice acting and writing is of a very high quality, and the combat is pretty fun. This game is not a failure, it is just not that great. It doesn't deserve 1 star anymore than it deserves 5.

Again, the principle reason NOT to buy this game is the awful DRM that infests it. We as gamers and consumers need to show that we will NOT accept crippled games that we are essentially leasing. We need to put our money where our mouths are and avoid these games until their makers start to pay attention. If enough of us refuse to buy games with DRM, eventually they will get rid of it.

The principle reason to buy the game are quality writing and acting, a good storyline, and entertaining combat sequences.

***Whenever I write a review that mentions DRM, I like to give a plug for Amazon. They have DRM free music downloads. If you're going to buy digital music, buy them from Amazon.***
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, June 4, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
2/17/09 update

I wish I could change my rating, I'd give it a one star (preferably less).

I recently attempted to reload the game to play it again only to find out that I don't have "sufficient rights." I was loading it on an admin account, but apparently this isn't good enough for the installer. I actually had to manually install the game by copying all of the game files over to the install directory, decompress them, and figure out how to give it my key. Fortunately it worked, but it's still as buggy as it ever was, sometimes crashing as often as once an hour and requiring a complete reboot.

---------------------------

I'm torn. On one hand we have this incredible game. On the other hand we have a publisher who seems determined to do everything they can to bring down the experience with their heavy handed DRM techniques. I'd say the DRM thing has been beaten to death, so I won't focus on that. I can deal with the SecuRom, and I can deal with the game phoning home once to validate my copy. What I can't really deal with is the possibility that I might have to call to get more activations at some point in the future because I can certainly see myself wanting to play this game again.

The game itself has a few bugs. Every once in a while during conversation the main character option seems to flake out and "skip." Fortunately I don't seem to miss anything important in the process as it's always in the form of a statement or question that can be derived from the option you selected and the answer you receive.

The game also seems to be slightly unstable. Initially it would crash so frequently on my machine that I did some memory and CPU stress testing to ensure that the problem didn't lie with the hardware I was running it on. In the end I disabled V-Sync and am running the texture setting on `High' instead of `Ultra High.' My guess is that this game requires the hardware to maintain a certain minimum level of performance. If it dips below this, most games simply "chunk" and run at a much lower frame rate. It seems that this game would rather crash completely than be forced to run below its minimum performance threshold. I suppose this odd behavior is due to it being a console port. Now the game is 99% stable on my computer.

Aside from these issues, the game is mostly flawless aside from the one graphical glitch that seems to pop up every now and then. It's only a minor annoyance, but occasionally the shading is a little off. I updated my graphics card drivers, so that's not the problem.

All that said, this game is incredible; it's definitely worth playing. Whether or not it's worth purchasing is up to you. I'm enjoying the third person semi-RPG style game play, and the storyline is quite good so far. The game also addresses my major complaint with many modern games in that they're mostly too short. This game is certainly not short.

If this game lacked the DRM garbage, I could forgive the software glitches and give this game a 5/5. ...or, if this game lacked the software glitches, I could forgive the DRM garbage and give it a 5/5. Unfortunately, the combination of both makes my review a 3/5.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Game, Buy It On Steam., July 21, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
Before I begin, I want to make sure everyone knows I am NOT rating the product. I am rating the game itself. My opinion on the PRODUCT is to avoid purchase via media, and buy it on Steam. The DRM on Steam is through your account.

That said, "Mass Effect" is easily the best game I've played, comparable only to its sequel, Mass Effect 2. It's the first RPG I've sat down and launched and been sucked in from the opening menu all the way through the end. Weighing in at 30 hours(single run, casual)to over 200 hours(for complete play mastery, all levels, all classes), it's a welcome change from most recent games. Even now, after several play throughs, I find myself wanting to escape back into Bioware's equisitly created world.

The year is 2183. Humans have discovered Mass Relays built by a race known as Protheans who disappeared mysteriosly 50,000 years ago. With the Mass Relays, humans achieved galatic space travel and discovered there are many other races in the galaxy. They are soon granted an embassy in the Citidel, also built by the Protheans. Your character, Commander Shepard, is the XO on a prototype frigate of Aliance and alien design, the SR1 Normandy. This is her shakedown run. Or, so they say. Shepard will learn a piece of Prothean technology has been found and the Normandy has been tasked with retrieving it and delivering it to the Citidel. It doesn't quite work out that way. Things quickly change as the fate of the entire galaxy rests on the shoulders of Commander Shepard and the newly formed Normandy crew.

Parental Stuff-
***THE GAME IS RATED M FOR A REASON***
It's a third person shooter. Your character is in constant peril, and has to make difficult choices, frequently resulting in the death of another character. There is mild language and some adult content. There is brief nudity if your Shepard has a romance. The side of a breast and curve of a female butt are visable. A Victoria Secret commercial shows more skin.

Basic stuff-
The game comes with so much background and history, you get lost in it. To say it's richly developed is an understatement. The story is so well thought out and written, it becomes like a movie you don't want to end or a book you can't put down. You will fall in love with your crew, your ship, your Shepard. Well, done, Bioware. Well, done.

Character development-
Commander Shepard is completely customizable. You can choose from either a default male or female Shepard. Or, you can create your own, selecting skintone, facial structure, eye color, hair color, hair style, makeup (female), and scarring. You select Shepard's upbringing, career history, and soldier type. The result is a character so personalized, you become truly attached.

Growth -
Like most RPG's, there are good (paragon) and bad (renegade) choices to be made. Unlike most, the points are static. Making a Paragon choice will not remove Renegade points, and vice versa. You choices and how you handle things will also effect your crew. One member in particular sees Shepard as something of a role-model. How you handle his dialogues changes him in the game. Points are awarded for every level Shepard achieves through various actions and missions. Depending on the character class, the points can be assigned to specific talents in addition to common traits. For example, if your Shepard is a Soldier, you can assign points to Assault rifles. A biotic Shepard, such as a Vanguard, is limited to Pistols. However, a Vanguard has the ability to levitate and throw enemies. Building these skills is desirable.

Game play-
Shepard automatically goes into cover when near a wall. Sometimes, Shepard doesn't come out of cover easily. Most planet missions require use of the MAKO. It's clumsy at first. It can also be frustrating, but at the same time, I miss it in Mass Effect 2. Dimurge did a great job changing the tutorial script. If you remap a key, the game picks up on it and tells you to use the newly mapped key. Elevator rides are a love\hate thing. They get old, but at the same time, the elevators provide updates on how the Traverse is reacting to your deeds. The dialogue wheel is unique in that what is says is actually what Shepard is thinking and tells you the tone of response. If you select, "Oh, crap, a popup!" Shepard will say, "How do I get rid of this thing?"

Artistic\Technical-
The maps are beautifully done. Each world has its own texture and sky. I enjoyed looking at the world as much as I enjoyed completing the side mission. Most structures use 1 of three different maps with the exception of the Citidel, Liara's World, Feros, Novaria, and Virmire. The score for this game is amazing. I highly recommend buying it. The song "From the Wreckage" is one of my favorites and captures the moment in the game quite well. With a Male Shepard, the dialogue is a bit flakey in some scenes. I don't know if that's a problem with the dub or what. With FemShep, the issue isn't as pronounced. It could also be that male shepards tend to take the female Alliance soldiers on missions, and female shepards take the male Alliance Adept.

Wrap up-
Go to Steam and buy the game. I'm glad this didn't end up being underated or overblown. So often highly rated games are a let down, and truly good ones, like Mass Effect, don't get the recognition they deserve. Play and tell me about your Shepard. I love to hear how others fared and developed. And, remember, What would Commander Shepard Do?
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104 of 139 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DRM kills the game, September 5, 2008
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect - PC (DVD-ROM)
I am writting this review because I love to keep great games and play them years later. The DRM on this product prevents me from doing this. What happens when the game is no longer supported but I haven't used up my 3 activations? Since the DRM wouldn't be able to contact the "Mothership", again I am out of luck. No more strolling down memory lane. What happens if the game studio goes out of business, again, the game is no longer usable. What happens if EA goes out of business next week, everyone who is currenly playing this game would be out of luck. Isn't that a nice picture! Then what happens to the DRM still running on your computer. If you are lucky, it doesn't do anything. If you are unlucky, you will be reinstalling your OS and your games again. Oh, btw, you just used up another installation credit for any other games using DRM.
You would like to think the gaming industry would have learned something from the music industry fiasco. Treating your paying customers like crooks will only cause your sales to drop. The harder your squeeze, the more customers you will lose.

I have never stolen any games and never will, but this type of treatment won't earn the industy my hard earned money.

To all gamers out there, please take a stand and not purchase games that support this type of treatment. To those people out there who think I am just a whiner, more power to you. Eventually DRM will progress until it finally impacts your fun and then you will understand how your rights have been taken away, one step at a time.
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Mass Effect [Download]
Mass Effect [Download] by Electronic Arts
$19.99
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