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Mass Effect: An old, yet strangely timely review

After seeing Mass Effect postings coming to light again, I figured I'd post this review I wrote for a school show on December 7th, 2007. Why post this review so late? Well there are a few reasons. 1. Seeing as how Mass Effect is in the news again with the new special edition re-release, the PC patch and the new DLC, it seems timely and strangely appropriate and 2. I'm Bored and I just found this while looking through the backlogs of my written works from college, I found it amusing and I thought the Dtoid community might enjoy it, so I figured why not.

And so it begins:

Lots of big first party games try to be really ambitious, and not all of them succeed (Perfect Dark Zero/Killzone, I'm looking at you!). Regardless or not if Mass Effect succeeds, it still has the potential for juicy lesbian alien sex. Yes.

Now that that�s established (Lesbian aliens!), lets get on with what Mass Effect is really about. Mass Effects core story is the relatively generic tale about a Human soldier trying to stop a charismatic alien badass from destroying all life in the universe. However, the more you play Mass Effect, the more involved and interesting the story becomes. Most of this is due to Mass Effect�s incredible, incredible universe.

The Game takes place about 300 or so years in the future where Humans have found the key to interstellar travel in some ruins on Mars. Humans have been steadily expanding their influence in galactic politics and generally pissing off the 10 or so other alien species. Except the blue all female race, cause we�re smarter then that. Essentially you play as the person (in your case, probably woman you pervert) who is destined to become the first Human Specter, The Alien Government�s personal weapons that deal with the things that diplomacy can�t. Your role is pivotal to humanity as you basically get to be the guy who�s someday going to get humanity on the (Lesbian Aliens!) galactic council.

First the good, the universe in Mass Effect is stunning in how fleshed out it is. Every race is detailed and has their own cultures, from the ultra polite Hunar to the seemingly always-rushed Salarians to the all female Asari (ALL FEMALE), each race is unique and appears as such. The immersion is spectacular because the universe is so involving. You actually do feel as if you�re a part of it. This all ties into the story nicely as well, and is what really begins to turn the story from something bland into something that really begins to grow on you, and then into an addiction you wont be able to put down.

There�s an incredible amount of stuff to do in Mass Effect, like (Lesbian Aliens!) combat, surveying planets, exploring worlds, completing side quests, attempting to drive the Mako, murdering lots of robots, having the same 3 conversations with Seth Green, exploring the cities, traveling the galaxy, completing the main quest, fighting Darth Vader and Boba Fett, riding the elevator on your ship for a good 3 hours (a good way to talk to find out your NPC�s don�t want to sleep with you yet), and yes, completing a possible lesbian relationship side quest (WOO!).

The dialogue options are fun, especially because in this game, unlike in BioWare�s KOTOR series, being bad actually isn�t just about picking the angriest response. Here it�s clear you�re a good guy who just needs to do some bad things. Or you can be a �paragon� and potentially miss out on the alien lesbians (BOO!). The dialogue options are interesting though, because it can be fun to role play as a dick, or in the case of most of Xbox Live�s community, themselves.

True combat takes over for KOTOR�s MMO style fighting. It�s active gunplay. The cover system kinda sucks, but that is forgivable because its Bioware�s first (in recent memory) attempt at a shooter and the actual shooting isn�t that bad. What is annoying is the class structure for leveling up. If you don�t pick a soldier class, you�re pretty much stuck using pistols for the entire game, because you can�t level up (train) in assault rifles and shotguns. Though you can use cool psychic or electronic powers (Hacking was my favorite). This is a minor grievance, but it still mildly sticks out, also, Lesbian Aliens WITH pistols (Eww�)! NOT THOSE KIND PERVERTS!

(You Can Tap This)

The game has its faults, but most of them are minor. For one thing, the game is huge, but still somehow seems unfinished. When you land on a planet, if there is a structure you can enter, the interior will be based on one of three designs. Seriously, the 25th century has bunkers that come in 3 flavors and they all pretty much consist of warehouse 1, 2 and 3. Next, the Mako, your badass six-wheeled ass kicking machine handles like a greased up pig with wheels after a case of New Castle sometimes. It does not like to aim around and drive forward at the same time. Its VERY floaty as well, I understand that other planets have less gravity, but that is no excuse my 25 ton ass kicking machine should FLY off of cliffs (and the thrusters don�t really help either). I don�t need realistic physics, just when I'm chasing the main bad guy down, I don�t want to have to stop because I turned a corner and ended up rolling cause the physics on the thing are so floaty. We�ll leave that at that. The Teammate AI isn�t brillant, but the quick commands to get them to help out work pretty well (stasis makes the game a bit to easy sometimes, though it can be a life saver). Finally the game does stumble sometimes. The frame rate can crawl during shootouts and the Mako exploration levels, and I have experienced some horrible texture less landscapes for about a full minute while the textures take their sweet time to load as I'm running around or driving on a new planet (Update: apparently this can be fixed by installing onto the Hard Drive, which my HD has no space, though the elevator times dont increase!). Speaking of loading, the load times in general pretty much suck. This completely ripped me out of the game. Elevator rides are how the game loads. You will spend a LOT of time riding in said elevators. You�re on the most advanced ship in the universe and it takes something like 5 hours for your elevator to take you one floor so you can flirt with one of your NPC�s (Not the Alien, but still Lesbians!), realistically this is the only major flaw in the game. Most of the other elevator rides aren�t terrible, they�re long, but your NPC�s will converse or you�ll get some galactic news tidbit (which can actually add a new side quest for you to do, which I found to be pretty cool).

So in summary, you get to save the Milky Way, Explore the Galaxy, get an experience in drunk off roading, Save the President*, shoot lots of robots, intimidate shop keepers, annoy your crew mates, deal with intergalactic racism, kick ass, chew gum, be all out of gum and yes, make sweet lesbian love to your hot blue alien crewmember, you sick, sick perverts. Yes I�m judging you. Mass effect is not perfect but it is great, especially from an overall fun standpoint. The immersion for the most part is excellent and the universe is amazingly fleshed out. I would rate this as a buy it, if you have any interest in exploration, space operas, killing Robots, saving galaxies, exploring the moon and Alien loving.

* Note: that�s in Ghost Squad, not Mass Effect.
** If there are any factual or other errors within this review, sorry, but I called it as I saw it. Also, I still love this game and will probably give it a playthrough a year, at least until ME2.
*** The only thing in the game I truly hated was the mako's controls and the fact that I didn't get some achivements Im pretty sure I earned, but I've already bitched about that in one thread this week, so no more...
**** Sorry for the lack of pictures, I didnt want to repost Mikey's Liara pic without permission, as amusing as it would have been, and there arent really any inherently funny mass effect pics out there and I dont have time to make an amusing pic. Next time!
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About ArcticFoxone of us since 2:36 PM on 12.02.2008

Games I have enjoyed over the years:
Metal Gear Solid Series
Half Life Series
Ratchet and Clank Series
Ace Combat 4-6 (and X)
Mass Effect Series
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Persona 3
The World Ends With You
Castlevania series
Advance Wars
Puzzle Quest
Star Fox
Rock Band
God of War Series
Grand Theft Auto Series
Call of Duty: MW & MW2
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Persona Series
Comix Zone
Sonic 1-3 and Knuckles
Die Hard Arcade

All Time Top 10 in no particular order
Half Life
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Metal Gear Solid
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Call of Duty 4
Mass Effect
OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast
The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

Consoles Currently in my room
XBox 360
DS Lite
PC Gaming Rig

My Room (you creepy stalker you):
Cheateu ArcticFox

Those About to Die: The Bosses of the Metal Gear Series
Other Worlds Than These: OutRun your worries
Aaamaazing: Modern Warfare

Currently Playing (By System)
PC - Batman: Arkham Asylum
360 - Shift 2: Unleashed/Dead Space
PS3 - Sly Cooper Collection
PS2: Persona 4
PSP - Persona 3 Portable
DS - Pokemon Black
iPhone - Infinity Blade

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Arctic_Fox18
Xbox LIVE:Arctic Fox18
PSN ID:Arctic_Fox
Steam ID:http://www.destructoid.com/blogs


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