157 of 179 people found the following review helpful
Epic would be insignificant in comparison.,
This review is from: Mass Effect - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
"Mass Effect" is not a video game. Football is a game, checkers is a game, ping pong is a game, "Pac-man" is a game, and yes "Halo" is a game. But this is nothing less than pure, cinematic, interactive fiction containing all of the depth, detail, lore, discovery, and character of the greatest science fiction epics of all time. "Star Wars", "Star Trek", "Battlestar Galactica", "Blade Runner"; this is a story that nearly dwarfs them all in sheer size, scope, and enjoyment while paying homage to them along the way. "Mass Effect" is not an action-based game but a massive story that you help write as you go along based on your personal choices. Sure, there is plenty of very satisfying gunplay along the way, but it is mostly a means to an end rather than the primary focus.
The story of "Mass Effect" is quite possibly the most amazing ever written for a video game, recalling many of the best elements from some of the greatest works of the sci-fi genre and putting you in an almost "Oblivion"-like level of control over the world. You could spend dozens of hours simply exploring unknown worlds and building your fortune that way while shirking the main story altogether if you choose. But if you don't have all the time in the universe to enjoy this one, the main story is not too long. In fact, I honestly wish it were much longer, but that was the sacrifice made for the open-ended freedom of exploration the player is given. One will most likely spend upwards of 50 hours just exploring the galaxies and discovering all of the tiny stories within the story that really flesh this universe out. Plus, there are many different ways to play the game which will command you to replay it over again just to see all of the what-if's and enjoy mastering all of the various class skills. "Mass Effect" also revels in making you face the tough decisions, forcing you to use you own personal morality to make choices that will effect the way characters in the game will look at you. And the many races of the intergalactic Council are watching you closely as a representative of humanity adn this will impact the game. What are the ethics behind genocide of a species that may, in time, become a real threat to civilized life? You decide. How about murder for revenge? Taking bribes? The safety of the intergalactic community against human lives? These are just a few of the issues you may face and have to think about before you press that button and possibly change the universe forever.
Gameplay could not be better. The combat is real-time and apes the realistic feel "Gears of War" while retaining the skill system used in Bioware's previous classic "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic". Speaking of KOTOR, this game plays very closely to that previously untouchable work. All of the familiar gameplay and story elements are present, but almost all are improved, especially the combat. The real time shooting is a little hectic at first, but as you and your character gain experience, you will soon have the skills and savvy to utilize the system and dominate rooms full of enemies. The superhuman abilities include biotics, which are sort of like The Force, and tech skills which can include hacking an enemy's AI to attack it's teammates or overheating an opponent's weapon or shields. The implementation of these skills can be key since many of the enemies are quite resourceful and strong. Shall you use biotics to lift a foe from behind his cover so you can ventilate him at your leisure or just create a vortex to suck them all up into one whirling shooting gallery? Maybe I'll just terrorize the lot of them with my one-shot-one-kill sniping skills while my teammates provide cover. The options are only as limited as your imagination. The only complaints from me is that your squadmates can't be controlled individually (you can't send your heavy gunner forward while keeping your tech expert behind cover; both respond to the same command) and the grenades (while awesome and upgradable) are kind of clunky to use. The characters of KOTOR and Bioware's last game "Jade Empire" also had a lot more charm and humor to them and a lot more to say in between missions, it seems. I guess that's the price to pay for a less linear game. But then again, there is a lot of random dialogue between all of the combinations of characters here that help make up for it. For example, while your party waits in an elevator they will often have brief but personal conversations with one another. The dialogue for cutscenes and missions also changes based on who you brought along. This is a very nice touch. Exploring planets in your Mako ATV is also a blast, reminiscent of driving a Warthog in "Halo" but with much rougher terrain and jet boosters that can send you flying. Awesome.
I could go on and on about the hundreds of things that make this "game" the greatest of it's kind. It's nearly as large but more accessible than "Oblivion", more action-packed than "Knights of the Old Republic", and has an even better story than "Halo" and stands on it's own not as a game but as a definitive sci-fi experience. In my book, that makes this the best next-gen single-player game there is and one of the greatest things I've ever played. The best part? It's the first of a trilogy. The mind boggles at the possibilities. Buy it. Now.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 14, 2010 1:21:38 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2010 11:23:00 PM PST
Absolutely. That's what you call a person who explains their point of view rather than just making obnoxious attention-seeking statements without offering a shred of support, right? [grabs dictionary] .....HEY!
Posted on Dec 12, 2013 8:29:49 AM PST
Teh King says:
It's a game....FACT
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