Mass Effect or A promising start

Although Mass Effect was published roughly 4 years ago, it feels like forever. You don’t believe Rabidgames? Mind you, barely 7 years ago, we were all playing GTA San Andreas, wondering about the incredible size of its map …

Anyways, in order to prepare for Mass Effect 3, Rabidgames had to play Mass Effect again … wait, had to? Yes, because our dear Krogan friend Wrex only lives when you import a save file where you saved him. Of course, you could also buy Mass Effect Genesis (the comic which told the story of Mass Effect to the PS3 newcomers before starting to play Mass Effect 2) … but fuck that! Yeah, thanks EA for making us pay for that DLC.

In fact, Mass Effect was definitely worth the playthrough. It might have one of the last games when Bioware was really independent. It is also a game where the story shines. Throughout 90% of the game, you have no clue what’s going on, but in the end, all pieces fit perfectly. Another great design decision was you could convince the final boss not to fight you RPG-style … sort of, at least …

However, Mass Effect is not perfect. There are some minor gameplay flaws – and a huge one. Rabidgames is not rambling about the awkward combat – that’s actually quite fine. In the beginning, you cannot shoot straight – seems dumb when you’re an elite squad, doesn’t it? But hey, it’s an RPG, so we deal with it. However, Rabidgames cannot deal with the Mako. It’s crap, incredibly fucking awful crap. The controls are awkward and not really responsive, and climbing steep hills is way too sloooooooooooooooooooooow … To make it worse, Bioware chipped in an abysmal world design. Who the fuck enjoys mountain ranges with that unresponsive Makos? Your QA? Damn! Also, Bioware gave us a strong stinking flavour of things to come: All interiors were recycled from 3 or maybe 5 different models. Sounds familiar?

But those issues and the famous long lift rides aside, Mass Effect is a great game. Bioware created a huge and credible universe from scratch – it is both, good science fiction and an allegory to many issues earth has to deal with these days. Just think about the hardly hidden xenophobia many humans still have. Or about all the discussions “what does justice really mean?” – we could ask the Krogans about it … Bioware also did a great job about some of the alien races being really alien: The Rachni singing throughout the galaxy (and possibly victims of the Reapers), the Asari concept of mating, and of course the Reapers who are completely different … that’s what Science Fiction (or Fantasy, for that matter) should be about, and that’s where Mass Effect does an awesome job. Furthermore, while the main story develops in good pace and is definitely great, virtually all important story planets have their own micro-plot which are still related to the main plot. The countless side quests follow their own little stories, too.

Also, thank you Bioware for making achievements useful in-game. Rabidgames cannot believe why virtually no developer uses this option. It makes achievements worth hunting (well, at least more than “LOL, I got 34.454.665” gamerscore points, I am Da Man!). Complete Mass Effect game with certain achievements unlocked, and your next playthrough will be a breeze (unless you play on Hardcore or Insanity of course, but every little help counts there).

However, it is impossible to reach level 60 within one playthrough (unless you cheat exploiting a well-known glitch for hours). Why? Why would anyone play Mass Effect with the very same character again? For instance, Rabidgames finished a playthrough with his level 55 Paragon do-gooder – so one playthrough to get 5 levels (and it’s a big gap from 59 to 60)? That’s not roleplaying, it’s dumb. There are no new extra missions, no hidden conversations, nothing. And all the hassle just for one achievement and someĀ negligible goodies (in Mass Effect as well as in Mass Effect 2) is certainly not worth it. Shame.

Rabidgames says: This game was the perfect start for a trilogy: It started a great story arc with more to come, it introduced interesting characters and decisions with possibly far reaching consequences. 4 years later, Mass Effect has certainly aged well. Of course, there was room for improvement in the gameplay department (especially combat); but to relive the beginning of the story of the first human spectre alone is well worth it. It is also an opportunity to honour Bioware as the RPG giants they once were …

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