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Mass Effect I, First Impressions - Elf M. Sternberg
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Mass Effect I, First Impressions
So, I've played about six hours of Mass Effect, the first game in the trilogy, and my initial impressions are very mixed. On the one hand, there's a mind-boggling amount of content in each story, and vast spaces in which to explore each narrative. There are also interesting character interactions that you can choose between, and the choices you make set you up for other interactions in the future. The art is pretty good, especially for a game engine that's seven years old.

On the other hand, it's very contrived: stories come at you at random. Your reasons for taking any given freelance assignment are very obtuse, the economy of Mass Effect is more or less broken, an attempt to fit an STL-style corporate universe on a post-scarcity FTL technology base. At one point, "The Council" vehemently rejects your pleas because you don't have enough evidence, yet when you come back hours later with some random audio recording from a self-confessedly nigh-impossible source, they immediately turn around and give you carte blanche to follow through on your mission! And sometimes getting from one adventure to another involves walking. A lot of walking. And while the worldbuilding is pretty good, this is no Bioshock. There's not so much art here.

I'll probably finish it. But I still don't see what the big hullaballoo is. Mass Effect may have a lot of aliens, but other than one or two, a lot of them are still humans with funny ridges on their foreheads.

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Comments
D Rhoads From: D Rhoads Date: July 10th, 2012 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hang in there

The first game has a lot of potential, but also a lot of flaws. A few thin spots in the plot such as the Council's odd definition of "evidence" exist as well. If the storyline is interesting at all, however, stick with it until the sequel. For the second game large portions of the system get streamlined and the UI stops being such a massive trainwreck. In addition seeing the results of all the choices you made in the first one (some as small as a news report on your previous doings, some as large as characters surviving or not) was a big draw for me. Also in the second one not every interior 'extra assignment' mission takes place on the same 2 maps :)
nbarnes From: nbarnes Date: July 11th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Mass Effect 2's plot is a total mess, though. Much less coherent than ME1's. The voice acting and character writing are first rate (by computer game standards) and the gameplay is very good, so I recommend it anyway. But don't believe anybody that says the plot is good. They are either dazzled by the shiny writing sleight of hand or character work or they don't know good SF writing.

The Abridged Mass Effect 2 (http://goo.gl/FHaiH) says all that needs saying about the ME2 plot. I nearly ruptured something laughing.

Also, planet licking. Just... planet licking. If you've played ME2, you know what I'm talking about.
nbarnes From: nbarnes Date: July 11th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, yes, the whole 'Council tells you to take a hike until you show up with an audio recording of dubious origin' bit was beyond insultingly stupid.
lynx212 From: lynx212 Date: July 11th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am in agreement with you here. I have 1 and 2 and I could take it or leave it... on the flip-side my husband is among the masses that sing it's undying praises...

To each its own I suppose...
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