Top positive review
Phenomenal games, but the disks are almost useless for installation
on July 15, 2017
I ordered the 6-DVD box set over the instant download version because I knew this game was going to be rather large (about 10-15GB per game). I also wanted a hard copy so I could install it at anytime again in the future. Turns out that even though this game does come as a DVD box set, the disks are nearly useless. The reason for this is EA's ridiculous Origin software.
When you install the game (either of the three titles), the first thing it will install is Origin. It's a client similar to Valve's Steam, nicely made, but with the fatal flaw that it doesn't much like disk based games. After Origin is installed (and updated to the latest version), you're prompted to redeem your game code in the box, making all available games to you as a download. You need an EA or Origin account to even install these, but it's easy to create one. Just know that without one, and without an internet connection, you won't play those games.
Once your code is redeemed you have exactly ONE CHANCE to install a SINGLE game from disk, namely the one you're installing right now. The other two must be downloaded, even though a disk install would be so much faster. That's because Origin won't let you get past the "redeem code" screen anymore - and any code that's already been used leads to an error message, effectively disallowing disk based installs. There's a long and lively discussion in the EA forums about how bad this is, started in 2012. Some five years later as I'm writing this review, the problem still persists and only got worse.
So the gist of the story is: even though you get a bunch of disks, you might as well throw them in the bin right after you receive them - or alternatively hunt around for a cheap and instant download code. I returned my disks and did just that.
WHAT ORIGIN DOES
Once installed, the Origin client serves as a central location to launch the games. No need to use a Windows shortcut to patch the games anymore. Origin makes sure the games can be started without having to run them in compatibility mode or as administrator. It just works, at least on my system. Origin also saves your games in the cloud, so if you're playing across multiple systems, your saves are synced and secure. It also lets you chat with friends while you're online I think (I don't have any friends so I can't tell you more than what Origin told me).
The games are absolutely phenomenal and seem to work fine on my Windows 10 Pro setup with Creator's Update applied. No patching necessary. For reference, I have a Dual-Xeon HP Z600 rig with GTX 970 GPU and 20GB of RAM.
All games can be played in 1920x1080 at 60fps. Even higher resolutions are available if supported by your graphics card. On ME1 it took me a bit of digging to find how to achieve anything higher than 1200x800 though. Hint: it's the little arrow next to the resolution menu. I have played the PS3 version of the trilogy before, which pushed the console to its limits and looked extremely good in 720p. I can only say that compared to the PS3 version, the PC version is an absolute joy to experience: the higher resolution makes this an instant "remastered" version with ultra high textures, the animations are fluid, and the keyboard and mouse controls are instantly recognisable. The decisions wheel during conversions is the same, and the in-fight options bring up a menu bar instead of a wheel (it also pauses the gameplay, so all is well).
While there is no built-in way to use a gamepad, solutions such as Xpadder exist with which the controls can easily be mapped to your favourite pad. I'm using an Xbox 360 controller for Windows and have mapped the controls to match the PS3 version, and it works great. The only thing that may increase the difficulty level ever so slightly over the console version is looking around, which is faster using the mouse, and slower on a mapped gamepad, thus it can be a disadvantage during battle. The other thing are those puzzles in which you have to match dots to crack safes and open doors occasionally, but you get more time for those things in the PC version. Overall the same great gaming experience at much higher resolution. Highly recommended!
Whether you're a die-hard fan of the series or a newbie who's heard a lot about Mass Effect, by Jove get yourself a slice of the action today!
I'm not much into role playing games, but trust me that's just one small component of these games. You can choose to focus as much or as little on it as you wish. The series combines solid shooter action with a great and epic adventure game, brought together by an exceptional and gripping storyline that easily outdoes whatever they're thinking up in Hollywood these days. The voice cast lead by Martin Sheen as The Elusive Man is spot on, and you'll be dazzled by beautiful and mesmerising visuals throughout all three games (ME2 and ME3 especially).
As for gameplay, seemingly every level is completely different from the previous, I have yet to find an element of repetition in Mass Effect. The replay value is huge: try a new gender or race, open up new conversations, or be more renegade on the next playthrough. The occasional boss fight is a given of course, but it integrates so well into the gameplay that you hardly notice it as "outstandingly difficult". Oftentimes boss fights are ten times harder than the fight leading up to them, which can easily ruin the gameplay. Not so in Mass Effect. These games are well crafted, well tested, and it shows.
Now go and save our galaxy!