- Markshire PCs:
I haven’t seen Valgrimm’s explanation of it, though I do remember enjoying Mass Effect with a sort of fanaticism… though in truth that was because it played almost exclusively to my tastes: it was both an in-depth roleplaying game and a tactical shooter, essentially combining two things that I enjoy most.
Of course, there are a few downsides to the whole affair. I did not enjoy how the ‘loot’ leveled alongside you. Also, as already mentioned, the side-missions can certainly become repetitive… however, beside the usual “go to the planet, do this, get a pat on the back”, there are some that actually hold their own miniature storylines… or simply provide a backdrop for more interaction with your team-members. Another personal pet peeve I encountered was that the game almost forced you into a relationship during the ‘male’ side of the storyline with one of the characters by not providing an “I’m not interested in you” option in dialog that I could find. ((That’s right, Ashley Williams, I’m looking at you, you ethnocentric xenophobe.)) In addition, if you actually /enjoy/ the bits of the game where you get to drive around on planets in the APC-rover for the umpteenth time, I’d recommend a psychiatrist.
Really though, a good portion of the game depends on whether you enjoy the storyline or not. If you do, the game turns to become an all-too-short span of absolute awesome, though it relies on the ability to both rush into combat and disable the enemy with a certain degree of shooter skills while at other times shutting off the ADHD run-and-gun portion of the brain to enjoy the beautifully-voiced dialogs. The cut scenes and interactions with NPCs border on the line of being a movie on their own self. Every one of the team-members you meet along the way has their own backstory and their own unique personality and outlook, and you have the option to dig as deep as you would want into the richly-developed setting. Unfortunately, once every rare occasion I felt frustrated due to the predictable limitation of possible choices in replies, but overall, it was quite an enjoyable experience with such issues only cropping up every once in a while.
There’s no reason to even go into the graphics, since they underline every possible definition of ‘gorgeous’, clinging to its own unique style while nevertheless providing the sort of eye-opening wonder nestled deep within evolved Space Opera settings. I should also not forget to mention that Mass Effect provides you with the ability to choose your character’s appearance to a degree that completely shames the confounding process of TES4: Oblivion’s facial tweaking system. As a side note, this is also the only game that I’ve ever seen that made body-tight jumpsuits look stylish.
Overall, though, if you can cope with a “shootan-gaem” background and enjoy exploring a beautiful world inside an enthralling storyline, this game might just be for you. Then again, this comes from the perspective of someone who went as far as getting the Mass-Effect prequel novelisation after completing the game, so any image of the game painted by me is likely to be tainted with at least a small degree of favoritism (though I did try and balance that out somewhat). Personally, I’d recommend at the very least renting it for a while, if the option presents itself, though I myself will probably end up shelling out to the cost of purchasing the PC version despite having already played it on the X-Box 360.