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on August 29, 2013
Mass Effect is a classic by now, and the beginning of a great videogame trilogy. Don't listen to some producers or EA representatives telling you that ME 3 is the perfect place to start. Your journey starts here, with ME 1.

This lore-rich story puts you in the role of a highly decorated Alliance Special Forces operator, Commander Shepard, in a multicultural galactic society where humans are still considered newcomers and 'underdogs'. A million-year old galactic mystery threatens the Milky Way civilisations, a horrible lurking shadow of which there is barely a hint and no one believes in. As Shepard, the player and the Normandy crew must travel across the galaxy, recruit specialists, investigate strange, hostile planets, retrieve artifacts, upgrade the military arsenal at your disposal to fight a plethora of enemies and opposing forces, all with their own agendas.

While completing missions on dozens of planets and engaging in combat, you will also be learning more about the companions joining the stealthy Normandy cruiser in this quest. If you have played Bioware games like KoTOR before, the premises may sound familiar, but I found this game to be superior in all aspects (and that's no small feat). There are humans and aliens that will reveal more about their backgrounds, motivations to join the mission, their cultures; you will actually care about what is at stake and what happens to all these fictional characters, which speaks volumes of the quality in the writing and immersion levels.

One of the main criticisms this game receives is that gameplay may feel clunky in the beginning; the use of cover was vastly improved for ME 2 and 3, but the storyline, the characters, the unexpected plot reveals will probably keep you playing this game until late many nights. Despite what some critics say, Mass Effect is not just a glorified shooter. The plot and your decisions guide your progress and there are consequences to some of them. You can customise weapons with mods and ammo types, develop powers and skills fitting your squad fighting style. There is an inventory system and you can buy and sell gear like in old school cRPG's.

Another frequently criticised gameplay element is MAKO, the armored vehicle you use to explore uncharted planets. I never had problems using a computer keyboard, I loved cruising through frozen tundras or volcanic landscapes while I searched for clues or lost technologies. Sometimes, I would just stop the MAKO and look around, admiring the vastness and richness of everything surrounding your away team.

The DLC "Bring Down the Sky", which can be tackled at any point during the main campaign, is downloadable for free, and it adds an interesting new story-line and a "24", Jack Bauer-like scenario that is one of the trademarks in the Mass Effect trilogy: how far are you willing to go to complete the mission of saving the universe. If you enjoy this game, there's no excuse not to install it.

Technical aspects:
This game's graphics are amazing with the right settings, the planet design is gorgeous and it's one of the reasons the planet exploration can be very enjoyable if you're a completionist.

Make sure your graphics card is supported by this game, because many computers could not run it when it was released for PC in 2008. If this is not a problem for you, also make sure you set the graphics and effects to maximum quality (in your NVidia or ATI setup menu as well as in the in-game menu) to fully enjoy Mass Effect's colorful and detailed universe and its characters. In most modern computers this doesn't cause the game to slow down at all (I play it in an ACER Aspire 5755G).

Other experiences with BioWare
I had already played other titles from this studio, like Baldur's Gate, KotOR, Neverwinter Nights. I ahve played several of their games released after 07/08, like Dragon Age Origins and the other two installments in the Mass Effect trilogy. For some reason, Mass Effect 1 continues to be my favorite game of this list, after all these years.
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on May 1, 2012
This game was awesome to play. I loved the story, the characters, the voice acting, the design and graphics, everything. I'm working on the second game now and I'm so glad I listened to my friends and finally started playing through this trilogy. I had a few problems playing this on my computer, either because mine is a little outdated (despite meeting all minimum system requirements) or because the game is just a bad port. There's significant mouse lag, I think, no matter what you do. My FPS was very low in cutscenes where a lot was going on (especially during the finale, which was disappointing), and I wouldn't make mention of this if my PC were below minimum requirements, which it isn't.

Some of the controls could have been designed better, but that's cleared up in the second game and they're pretty easy to get used to anyway, so no real problem there.
Overall I highly recommend this game as a precursor to the rest of the trilogy, but you should probably make sure your video card has at least 1G of RAM rather than the minimum 256mb. It'll run, but you'll probably have to turn off a few settings.
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on December 27, 2014
The gameplay was my favourite part of Mass Effect 1. All I had to do was upgrade the Sniper Rifle and I never needed to use the Mako except when combating the Sandworms of Dune (the Frank Herbert is strong in this one). I could just perch on a mountain ridge and utterly annihilate everything moving within a base over 100 yards away, including their tanks, with just the sniper rifle. When I got into close quarters all I had to use was the Assault Rifle. The other weapons you get in this game aren't necessary. Customisation is a hassle when you spend 3/4 of your game time doing it (to be fair, this game IS an RPG, but geez, even I get bored switching out gun parts for the 3,000th time).

The companions are unique, interesting and fun to interact with. Shepard is a block of wood with crazy eyes, so don't look too hard in his/her direction when people are talking. Shepard does not know how to dance, so don't visit the club dancefloors. Ever.

The sound and music are crisp, clear and don't get in the way of combat. I just wish videogames would remove the clunky noise footsteps make; they don't improve immersion unless you are in a situation where there is no other noise but your heartbeat and breathing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game from start to finish.
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on August 17, 2014
I'm late to the Mass Effect series, had them in my inventory forever but finally decided to give it a shot...hey its a cool space opera. I'm intrigued I like the character creation and mature storyline. Not to thrilled about combat though, I feel like I'm the weak link in battle, thank goodness for the squad. Looking forward to seeing what to the rest of the trilogy.

Review Update - I dont know what I was thinking when I wrote this first impression review a year ago. After completing Mass Effect I am convinced this is one of the best RPG's I have ever played! Man that Shepard really grew on me and so did my crew. I was intrigued with the plot, branching storylines, and the romance. I was all the way Liara from the beginning. I definitely wanted the alien chic! I loved the worlds, exploring, finding hidden items and artifacts and making in game choices that truly affected the final outcome of the story. I think I am at 98% completion I seriously tried to explore every niche of the galaxy. Mass Effect is my favorite RPG since Final Fantasy 7 but I must admit Dragon Age Origins which I am currently playing is giving it a run for its money! If you haven't played Mass Effect do it now! Dont overlook this game like I originally did, big mistake!!
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on March 6, 2012
Keep in mind, I just finished playing Dragon Age: Origins (DAO) by the same company so my review might be a little colored. Anyway, after reading all the hype surrounding ME3 I decided to give ME1 & 2 a try. You can see a lot of similarities in the two games (only 1-2 years apart) and definitely see where DAO gameplay evolved from ME1.

First the technical stuff:
The game downloaded with no problem. I even had my computer go to sleep in the middle of the download and had to stop it and restart it a day later and still, all the bits came through without a problem.

The game did not work on my Win 7 machine at first, it would crash at the configuration utility when trying to start up. I had to go to the website and find the patch, after that it ran flawlessly. That said, I don't understand why a 4+ year old game doesn't immediately go out an look for the latest patch(es) after installing. Or at least provide you a button to do so, much less include it in the game itself so you don't have to waste time searching on your own. Clearly the EA/Bioware/whomever just threw the necessary files over the wall to Amazon's servers sans modification/updating.

Next, try as I might, I couldn't find a manual for the game. Maybe I'm too old school but the in-game tutorial wasn't exactly a beacon of information so I wanted to read the manual - no such animal was included in the download or Bioware's support website. So again, I had to search the web for a manual and download it myself.

Granted, all this wasn't a huge deal and only took a little while to overcome and is how it used to be by default, and yes, the game is well-priced, but still...when I drive a car off the lot, used or not, I don't expect it have to put oil in it and fill up the tires. Also, why in the world the developers decided to make that g-awful video haze by default, I can't imagine but I turned that off immediately.

Game/Gameplay:
If DAO could be called a fighting game with some talking, ME1 is a talking game with some fighting. There seems to be an endless amount of dialogue options available and one could spend days exploring all of them. And 8 hours into it, I HATE ELEVATORS. I dread getting on any elevator because of the length of time it takes to get from one level to another on some worlds. Apparently, the far future hasn't figured out how to make express elevators. Gameplay is a little confusing too - I haven't completely figured out how to do certain things or what certain things are for (Hey, maybe I could read the manual!). Also, some of the dialogue options you're presented with don't match what comes out of Shepard's mouth but that's a quibble.I also didn't like the fact that you have to hold down the space bar to do the tactical stuff during battles.

The game is fun, despite the prolonged dialogue that kills the momentum every now and then. One feature I really liked over DAO was the fact that Shepard actually spoke which I thought was a big improvement over the DAO's monoexpressioned nonspeaking main character. I really felt like I was guiding the story to some degree. Like DAO, ME1 appears to be a huge game with a good plot, great voicing, and visually excellent. It's a good game with an engrossing storyline and definitely worth picking up at its current pricing.
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on May 10, 2012
I had never heard of the Mass Effect series until the large controversy regarding the conclusion to Mass Effect 3. In previous sweeping RPGs such as the Fallout series or Elder Scrolls, I've always felt the ending was not so important as the various quests to get to the ending. So I thought, why not start from the first game to see how it goes.

Background -
The game introduces the player to a wonderfully developed sci-fi universe unlike any other seen before. Whereas the popular sci-fi series such as Star Trek and Star Wars have a variety of alien species, some of which are obviously good and obviously evil, Mass Effect paints using more gray - each alien race has pros and cons that make them all necessary allies. The way the game introduces you to these cultures by adding one of each to your crew is absolutely seamless and brilliant.

Gameplay -
Combat mechanics are very simple. There is no jumping, no rolling, just duck and shoot, or run and shoot. There is an endless variety of weapons and the various talents of the squadmates changes the way the missions work - the only letdown is the need to bring a tech expert along on each mission to hack containers for equipment. The away missions can be tedious, particularly when driving the vehicle around. And the side missions are all the same - same buildings, just different color landscape and different baddies in the buildings. The inventory system is pretty clunky as well.

Technical -
I did not play this 2008 game until 2012 on a fully modern gaming PC, so nothing to complain about in terms of performance. The graphics are a little dated but that does not detract from the game. The voice acting is top notch, especially when playing as female Shepard.

Overall -
4/5 starts. If this was 2008, I'd give it 5/5. But as is, the game feels a bit dated. Still, the story is absolutely brilliant and the moral implications of the final chapter in part one make the ending to this one very fulfilling. A huge contrast from part 3.

Well, well worth the $15 download.
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on May 18, 2013
***For anyone having issues with ME 1 crashing on every try to launch the game >> http://www.gamecopyworld.com/games/pc_mass_effect.shtml#Mass >> go to this website and download the no introduction file, extract it, and move it into your ME 1 downloaded folder and next time the launcher and menu should work perfectly fine first try, no more errors :) After hours of browsing forums for an hour after trying to figure out why everything i tried to get ME 1 to launch (from the utility, to the Initial start menu)didn't work, this website/file fixes this error :) it's trustworthy and safe.*** If you follow this website it will fix the start up issue, and you can disregard the plethora of other users who rated this 1 star based on that.

I don't have a comment on the DRM issue though, i have the downloaded copy. And haven't seen anything pop-up on my system that looks malicious and/or dangerous.

As for the game. This is a fantastic game, and a fantastic series, i would recommend anyone who is looking for a new series to enjoy as well. I got into the series a wrong place (ME 3, i was influenced into it, and it was heavily advertised and marketed), and i'm currently working my way backwards haha... and after to playing ME 3 and ME 2, i'm stoked for ME 1 to get to learn more about the background and story lines of all the characters.

Some people are really picky, some people are cynical. If you're reading comments to find out if the game is worth it or not, it's worth it for sure, and if you're a die hard ME fan, or just a casual gamer attracted to the series, then obviously this is a must have!
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on April 7, 2015
Wonderful game, honestly was looking back at this game and found myself trying to play the game again and thought I should review it. However I never got to playing it again due to the long corridor type missions that only intrigue if you do not know what is coming next. Personally for me the replay ability value for this game is low but a definite must if you enjoy role playing, science fiction, or adventure games. The gameplay system is alright but that is not the main draw to either this franchise or this game. I started playing this game after playing halfway through Mass Effect 2 and realizing I was inspired to get to know the back story since I didn't understand some of the stuff that was going on. If you haven't played this series already I highly recommend it for it's story.
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I bought the European/UK EA Value Games edition in the orange case from seller NAYKED APPAREL. The CD key/ serial key was hard to read (small print, and the V looked like a U), but after I got the code right, it installed fine on my PC running Windows XP SP3.

I downloaded the free Bring Down the Sky (BDTS) downloadable content (DLC), but there was no way to register Mass Effect on Bioware's website or EA's website (and you had to register Mass Effect in order to get the BDTS serial key; but the game is old now, so they no longer accept registration for it). So, you have to email EA support. They responded to my request for a BDTS serial key within 2 hours. I understand that the BDTS serial key is generic, so the same key could be used by many people; however, key activation also depends on EA servers. If you have a key and it doesn't seem to work, keep trying for a few days.

I also bought Pinnacle Station DLC from the Origin Store for 5 bucks, and it came with the 1.02 patch for Mass Effect. Pinnacle Station is like a shooting gallery / hologram deck, where you pit your fighting skills against hologram characters. It's not a true mission like the other missions.

The value edition comes with a second disk. The extra disk is for other European languages; look in the "data" folder, and you will find several large .rar files for German, French, and Italian. Unless you select one of those languages during install, you will not be prompted to use the second disk. And the "eurodocs" folder contains game manuals for 12 languages, including English.

If you are looking for the English manual, go to the second disk; you will find it in the "eurodocs" folder in the sub-folder named "English".

So, what about the game itself? You can read many other reviews for that! I will say this: It plays like a movie, which is very cool. Just the right amount of RPG, just the right amount of action, and very good story/plot and character development. Excellent graphics, voice acting, and cut scenes.

See my comment on this review for helpful links; the links are only as current as this review.

Enjoy!

Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 Digital Deluxe Version [Download] (it includes 2 DLCs)
Mass Effect Trilogy

Visit my Amazon wish lists to see my 4-star and 5-star PC games:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/BEYS4KHZTP24/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/35VC2S12P5A8R/
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on June 24, 2011
TL;DR: play this game, don't get it from Amazon, EA's DRM alienates consumers

I need to start by saying that this is a great game. 99% of the people I know who have played it agree. Sure there are a few things that could have been tweaked, but I can't honestly tell anyone who loved KOTOR that they shouldn't pick this one up as well. That being said, I would NOT recommend buying Mass Effect from Amazon, as I've had a number of problems that I don't want others to have to go through. Mass Effect is NOT SOLD BY AMAZON, and while the seller has chosen a picture of the US edition of the game, THEY ARE SHIPPING THE UK EDITION, which doesn't work in the US. On top of that, there's no way to contact the seller, so all you can do is ship it back to Amazon and get a refund. On the plus side, I've met some really nice people with Amazon Customer Service, but I still don't have a working copy of Mass Effect. Great game, but I wish I could play it. If you want to know more about the game and why it's good, as well as why others disagree, the rest of this review focuses on EA and their DRM rather than the game itself.
I have beef with EA's SecuROM nonsense. I understand that they want to make sure that only people who have paid for the game are playing the game, but when you alienate your customers by only letting them install the game they paid for a certain number of times, that tends to degrade the overall experience of the game, and not because of content or plot. A lot of my friends, and myself as well, are very hands-on when it comes to our computers, and we like to modify them on a fairly regular basis. If each time we modify our computers counts as a de facto change in our system configuration which requires us to use another install of the 3 allotted, then we quickly end up with some rather expensive coasters for Mt. Dew, Dr Pepper, and Bawls. Not so much a critique of the game itself, but EA has really made some bad moves when it comes to endearing its PC gamer base. A more recent example would be how they are removing access to their games from anyone who bought them on Steam, which is why I'm trying to buy the disc in the first place. EA apparently has a way for more installs of the game to be permitted, which is nice but it's still a hassle that they are creating for their customers. I don't pirate games because 1) IT'S ILLEGAL and 2) I like supporting developers who make good products, but shenanigans like this have resulted in more than one thread on places like Reddit where I'm not sure that everyone shares my stance on not pirating things. DRM should protect your product and not infringe on the consumer's ability to enjoy it, thus helping to ensure that they would like to purchase your products in the future. SecuROM seems to fail on both ends by frustrating users and encouraging people to figure out ways around it, even if it's just so that they can play the game they paid for while not connected to the internet, which SecuROM does not allow.
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