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Let’s PLay: Mass Effect

You are Commander Shepard of the starship Normandy and you are the last hope for all life in the Galaxy. Saren, a rogue member of the elite and untouchable Spectre agents, has discovered the secret to unleashing an apocalyptic force on the galaxy, and only you stand in his way. To save the lives of billions, you must do whatever it takes to stop Saren and prevent the return of an ancient force bent on the destruction of all organic life.

Mass Effect: Shepard on Eden Prime

I’ve played through the PC version of Mass Effect (I believe) five times now. I consider the Mass Effect Trilogy to be the best science fiction RPG/action/adventure games ever made. Yes, that’s a strong opinion but it’s one I believe in and will not waiver from. Bioware nailed every aspect of these games: story, dialogue, graphics, world building, action . . . you name it. Everything about this series resonates with my science fiction tastes. I have nothing more to add about these masterpieces of gaming.

Every once in awhile you have one of those gaming experiences where you know within, literally, 2 minutes of starting the game that it’s something special.  Mass Effect is one of these games for me.  Unfortunately I’m not a console gamer so I had to wait for the PC release to finally enjoy it.

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Mass Effect is a pretty amazing game, even 10 years later. It’s a masterful mix of third person fragfest, RPG, and beautiful cinematics.  It felt like playing an interactive movie.  The cutscenes are near (early) CGI movie quality in their production while using the game engine. The interesting thing with the engine is that it uses motion blur as well as blurring of foreground and background objects depending on the camera focus.

Mass Effect: Shepard, Kaiden, and Ashely on VirmireOne thing I don’t like about Mass Effect is the repetitive nature of the assignment mission structures.  On successive playthroughs (including this one) I usually ignore all the assignments.  They are like missions that don’t involve the main story line.   They’re a way to build up money and experience points, as well as various combat, tech, and biotic talents. Most assignments involve exploring a planet, finding an outpost, and/or fighting something on a planet. Every time an assignment involved going into a structure on a planet it used the same 2-3 models. So during assignments you’re always fighting in the same rooms, opening the same doors, going down the same hallways. This was a major oversight . . . like the assignment portion was an afterthought.

Okay, there’s a second thing . . . the inventory management blows, from items, to mods, to Omni Gel . . . it all sucks.  That’s about all I can say about it.  But I tolerate it every time because the game is just too good.

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Ten years after it’s release Mass Effect is still an amazing experience, whether you’re playing it for the first time or the fifth time like myself.  Bring on Mass Effect 2 (again!), Mass Effect 3 (again!), and Mass Effect: Andromeda on March 21st!

Below, for posterity(!) is my 25 part Let’s Play of Mass Effect.

About Neal Ulen

Neal Ulen
Editor/Webmaster - Neal is a writer and recovering engineer who likes pizza, the insidious power of sarcasm (and pizza), and debating science fiction (and pizza). You can also find his writing on Omni, Geeks, and other media platforms.