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Mass Effect

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Full Review for Mass Effect by imaloony8.0

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Introduction

Oh Mass Effect. I picked this game up recently. I heard it was a good 360 exclusive, so I picked up a used copy at Game Stop for fifteen bucks, and I was greatly impressed. This fifteen dollar, two year old game, is better than the sixty dollar, brand new Red Faction: guerrilla I had just bought a few weeks ago. That fact alone boggled my mind beyond belief, but from there, things got better.

I'd like to point out that this review will be using a slightly different scale from others. As per SC standards, I will be using a 1 to 10 scale, however, rather than 7 being average, 5 will be the average across the board. Please keep that in mind as you read this review.

 

Graphics

The graphics for this game are very well done, especially for an early 360 game like this. The attention to detail is staggering, from armor to weapons, to all the different kinds of aliens seen throughout the game, the artists must have been very skilled while making this game. The space ships and the planets are very cool looking, and it really gives the impression of a futuristic world, and aliens look like, well, aliens.
There are some negative aspects, however. When you enter a new area, because the system isn't quite strong enough to handel the graphics perfectly, when you first enter an area, everything will look all blurry and gross. It'll also take a few seconds for the game to sort itself out, leaving you looking at blurry shapes for a while.
Also, several of the environments look recycled. You can tell that certain environments in planets are recycled, and it's tought to tell the difference between planets while you're on them. When you get onto a space ship or go into a building on a planet, or even a cave on a planet, it can become painfully obvious how recycled the environments are. However, for story missions the environments are unique and very nicely varied, so there's a positive side.

The grapics are rather good in this game. Other than some blurriness here and there, it's quite good, and with the exceptions of some of the recycled environments, they're cool, plesant to look at, and fun to fight in.

 

Sound

Let's start with the music itself. The music really isn't too impressive. There aren't many different music tracks in the game, and they're pretty much the same. Not to mention that there's no mood music when you're just exploring. The only time you really get music is during some cutscenes, during battle, or at a very dramatic scene in the game.
On the next category, voice acting is brilliantly done. Both the male and Female Commander Shepards are very convincing, and seem very into the role. All the aliens also have unique voices depending on what species they are and, although many of the same species sound alike, they all sound very cool and Aline-like.
Lastly the sound effects. The game can sound very cool, from the explosions to the gunfire, to the yells of enemies of different shapes and varieties trying to kill you, and the always cool radio chatter during certain missions. It seems like they could have had a bit more of a variety of sound effects, as they seem to start to blend together and sound alike after a while, which can wear thin on you.

Overall, the sound is good. The music isn't great, but the voice acting and sound effects are awesome, which gives this an above average pass, and then some, because I'm a sucker for good voice acting.

 

Gameplay

The gameplay is a bit unique. While in one of few ports that the allience is allowed in, you're pretty safe. Sometimes a side mission or the quest that brought you there will lead to some violence, but for the most part, it's a safe place. From there you can buy equipment, look up information, and find people to give you quest.

Most of the rest of the game is out in space. You find planets in the galaxy and are given missions, such as find a missing research team, or go rescue a captured embassator. When you go to a planet you get to pick a team of two to follow you, Commander Shepard, wherever you go. You have a choice between a Male and Female human, a male Krogan, a female Asari, a female Quirian, and a male turian, all of which aliens, except for the two humans. They each have their own skills, such as psychic abilities, good combat skills, electronic skills, or a mix of skills, and finding a balanced team is curcial.
From there, you drop onto a planet or land, if there's a port. If you drop, you'll land in the Mako, an assault vehical. You then explore planets. It's incredibly immersive and fun.

The quests are good. While a lot of them feel the same, many have deeper meanings to them. For instance, an ambassator might ask you to go and get revenge for her murdered sister, and when you go to kill the group that did it, you'll find a log that reveals that the leader of the pirate group and the ambassator were sisters. It's quite cool, almost like a mystery story.

The combat is very good. You've got control of your squad to tell them to advance, regroup, or whatever. It's mostly cover based in third person, where you can use your grenades, pistol, sniper rifle, shotgun, and assault rifle to fight enemies. There's a rather good lock-on system too. Basically, enemies are highlighted in red. When you point your rifle at them, the line will become a solid triangle, and your shots will be aimed in that direction. It's a very cool feeling while firing out of cover, and cover does feel nessisary.

There's a large assortment of weapons and race specific armor. All the armor has different strengths, such as damage resistance, shields, or bio resistance, and of the four types of weapons, there are tons of variets, giving you ones with different power, accuracy, and shots until cooldown. Yep, there is no ammo in this game, rather, if you shoot a gun too fast, it will overheat and you'll have to wait for it to cool before firing again. It may sound like a weakness to have no ammo, but it actually makes it much easier by making you not have to micromanage ammo. Lastly, there are lots of upgrades for guns and armor. Some useful, and some not, but they all have their uses, and using them effectivly requires a lot of strategy.

Well, I rambled on longer than I though, so let's just talk about plot and then be done with this review.
The plot has you, Commander Shepard, a human (boy or girl) investigate a disturbance on Eden Prime, a planet. When you get there, stuff hits the fan, and you're found fighting against the Geth, a race of robotic beings that haven't been outside a certain system in centuries. Things get more complicated from there, but the diologue trees make it very easy to understand the plot, and you get roped into it, as you become the first human Specter, which is a very high rank in the intergalactic console, thought to be the console's right hand, and you track down another, Rogue specter. Things unfold and soon, the fate of the entire galaxy rests in your hands.

Overall, the gameplay of this game is fun. The AI could use some improvements, and it's a bit repetitive, but mind numbingly fun.

 

Lastability

After playing through the game once, you can play again with your same charcter to try and get them even stronger for the upcoming Mass Effect 2, or you can make a new, custom character who can focus on new talents. The endless possibilities of characters and the complex leveling system makes this game very replayable. Especially when you want to explore the whole galaxy and keep playing the great missions that the game so genorously gives you over and over again.

 

Overall

Overall, this is a good title to have for a 360. It's a very fun RPG with great RPG and TPS aspects within it. The graphics are good, the plot is interesting, there are tons of quests, and more that makes this game well worth it's very low pricetag. If you can find one at Game Stop or EBGames, I'd suggest picking it up, Especially with Mass Effect 2 hitting shelves soon.


Final Score: 80%

Review by: imaloony8.0

 

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