86 of 99 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Mass Effect - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Mass Effect comes from BioWare. The creators of Knights of the Old Republic. Because of that, it goes without saying that Mass Effect feels very similar in its RPG like approach. This is no clone of Knights of the Old Republic, though. Mass Effect is its own game and it's a very fantastic game at that. This review is pretty long. If need be, you can look to the bottom for a list of pros and cons.
You're John Shepard. The game takes place in the year 2183, and humanity has come to explore the Galaxy like never before. You'll discover a series of races throughout the galaxy and there's a sense of injustice afoot. Tensions between races are also high. You'll come across people who hardly trust a certain character because of their race. Just the same, a Turian (one of the many races in the game) named Saran has betrayed the Galactic council and its up to you to stop him and bring justice to the Galaxy. Mass Effect has a pretty intriguing storyline that grips you from the moment you begin. It's also well written with some fairly interesting characters.
The storyline is told through fantastic cut scenes and some fantastic voice acting. The quality of these scenes is movie like in its execution. The game also looks fantastic. Some of the character models look almost lifelike. In terms of eye candy, Mass Effect is sure to delight. It also sounds really good. There's a lot of great music here. Again, it sounds movie like. Hardly any game sounds better. The music always manages to fit the mood and situation at hand.
You begin by making a character. Much like Knights of the Old Republic, you're allowed to customize what he looks like and here you're also able to give your character a back story. As the game goes on, you'll participate in several conversations. These conversations have a direct impact on the storyline as well as shaping your character. Most times they'll also have an effect on the outcome of certain situations. Not always, but often they do. There's also a light and dark attribute going on much like Knights of the Old Republic.
In terms of Gameplay, Mass Effect is a pretty complex game. It plays a lot like a third person Shooter, but at its core it is definitely an RPG. As you traverse the field you'll have a squad at your command. You control Shepard and can give orders to your troops. Either you can send them ahead to attack, rally them or tell them to keep their distance. You can give these kinds of commands any time you want. Just because it plays like a third person shooter, though doesn't mean you treat the game as such. Mass Effect is not a very easy game. It is important to add strategy to a situation rather than go in with guns blazing. Your enemies have some attacks that can take off a lot of health at any given time. The AI of your characters is sometimes questionable, though. For the most part, they help in battle, but sometimes you'll feel like a one man army.
Throughout the adventure you'll also gather Medi-gels and Omni-gels. Medi-gels heal you while Omni-gels are for using decryption or electronics on devices like locked doors or containers. Speaking of locked doors, you'll come across some of those too. As well as locked containers and other things you'll need to override. You'll do it by entering a series of button presses. This is actually a pretty annoying mini-game. Screw up even once and you lose your chance to override and you'll have to result to using Omni-gels.
There is also a lot of customization to take in. All characters have certain talents. Whenever you level up you can increase a characters rank in a talent. In time they'll be able to do things like open locked doors with ease or be able to better handle certain weapons easier. You can also customize weapons and armor or turn them into Omni-gels. If you turn a weapon into an Omni-gel, though, it's gone forever. For the most part, the game is pretty free in terms of what you can do.
Mass Effect has a couple of glaring problems when it comes to gameplay. As you traverse, for one thing, the game sometimes slows down. So it doesn't always run smoothly. While you have control over the camera, you can't automatically position it behind you. You always have to swivel it around. It's not a huge problem, but it is one that can get you killed when you're surrounded by several enemies at once. It also doesn't help that the camera doesn't swivel fast. Also, much like Knights of the Old Republic, there are a couple of bugs that hinder gameplay. At some points you'll even have to reload or something because of them. There was even an instance where the game froze entirely. In short, the game is good, but there are a lot of little nit-picky technical things that keep it from being as good as it could be. Technical glitches that shouldn't be in the game in the first place.
Mass Effect is a strong game. It's got all the qualities that really make a game good. It's just too bad that it has a few problems in the technical department that keep it from being an overall fantastic game.
+Excellent voice acting and script
+Very interactive story
+Fantastic looking visuals
+Good strong soundtrack
+Simplistic, yet strategic combat
-A couple of camera issues
-Sometimes there's a slowdown in frame rate
-A few technical bugs and glitches; sometimes these will make you have to reload your game... very annoying
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 1, 2007 6:55:56 PM PST
K. Duval says:
Posted on Dec 9, 2007 2:55:46 PM PST
Paul Mosier says:
I actually had the game freeze up on me quite a few times in a short period.
Posted on Jan 2, 2008 1:36:25 AM PST
I'm currently in my 3rd playthrough and have not had to reload the game due to freeze ups. There have been a few *minor* slowdown's in framerates (I think that's what it's called), but I have NO problems with that personally as this is the best game I've ever played. I can only hope that they make a "Mass Effect 2."
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2008 12:53:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 16, 2008 11:54:09 AM PST
I'm also hoping for a Mass Effect 2. It seems like they'd kind of have to make one based off the ending. Also, keep in mind I said "There was even an instance where the game froze entirely." I never said it was a constant. I said some bugs made you have to reload--I never said those bugs froze the game. I only said "an instance" meaning one. It's also quite possible that only a certain percentage of the shipment had bugs in them. That's known to happen to. So some people might get a very clean version while some of us might get a version that has a few bugs to deal with.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2008 1:55:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 3, 2008 1:55:54 PM PST
I had 2 bug instances while playing (took me 55 hours, since I did pretty much *all* side quests). Both involved my squad members - one time they stopped following me or obeying my orders... no matter what commands or if I left the area and returned... reloading resolved. The next bug was one squad member disappeared during a mission - not dead, just disappeared and health bar etc was gone. Again, saved and reloaded and he was back. However neither was a big deal, fixable by re-loading and I loved the game.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2008 5:27:22 AM PST
There will be two more of these. The made this game with the intent of it being a trilogy. They (Bioware) made an agreement with Microsoft that all three would be made and released during the lifecycle of the the XBox360. So you will get your wish.
Posted on Jan 26, 2008 6:12:09 PM PST
This is quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine, but why is it Bioware is consistently only credited with creating KotOR or Jade Empire? What about Baldur's Gate? You know, that game that helped to revitalize the RPG market back in the late 90's? Or its sequel, Shadows of Amn? Which is considered to be one of the greatest cRPG's of all time?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 5:23:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2009 5:26:50 PM PDT
Timothy Beaulieu says:
Not necessarily. The console itself tends to freeze up from time to time, no matter what game you're playing. I've never had freeze-up issues with Mass Effect, but have had on other games, like Oblivion. Nothing that couldn't be cured with a simple console restart. Also, the only real trouble I have with the AI of the squad members is that they tend to run in my line of fire when I'm drawing a bead on the enemy. It's not harmful to anyone, just annoying. Graphically, for me, the only real issue is the time it takes (around 4 to 5 seconds) for the detailed texture mapping to catch up to the images on the screen when you come off of loading between areas.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 5:29:22 PM PDT
Timothy Beaulieu says:
Because people tend to identify with their most recent experiences concerning a gaming company. The more recent the product, the more history the company has and thus the more well-known it is.
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