My Thoughts On Mass Effect (1 & 2)

12 Jul

Gaming is an art form. It is, like films and books, a way to tell stories that people love, or hate even. The greatest thing about gaming however is that the viewer participates in the story and doesn’t just sit and watch as things happen. And the greatest thing about gaming these days is that many times the participant is able to choose his/her path in the story. Prime examples of this are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Heavy Rain (which I review recently). Both of these games have you make decisions that have a crucial impact on your story, including how it plays out and how it ends. These go from choices such as what to say to somebody, to which direction you’ll go in some area, to whether or not somebody will live or die, to even (in Heavy Rain’s case) whether your own characters will live or die. It truly is wonderful. And when you start playing a game like Mass Effect, and its sequel as well, you realize how incredible it really is.

In the Mass Effect games you play as Commander Shepard (whom you can customize in many ways: male or female, skin tone, etc.). You can choose his/her origin story, his/her profession, and many other things that actually have an effect on the story of the game and where it goes. Commander Shepard could be a ruthless, cold, calculating leader who does what he/she needs to in order to get the job done, or he/she could be a valiant hero willing to give his/her life for his/her team and willing to do anything to save the galaxy. It’s your choice, and that’s what makes it great.

The games both have their own stories that are somewhat separate yet somewhat linked. The big difference between the two is that the first one focuses on the big epic storyline and the sequel focuses more on you and your crew’s relationships with one another. An interesting feature that Mass Effect 2 has is the ability to import your character from the first game into the next game, so the choices you made and side-quests you completed will come back to either please you or haunt you. It’s really cool when stuff like this is featured in a game, and should be used more often (maybe in a Heavy Rain 2?).

The big epic story of the first one is that a deadly A.I. civilization known as the Reapers has returned from hiding after about 50,000 years. Just before their first disappearance they wiped out an organic civilization called the Protheans and were never seen or heard from again. It is now Shepard’s duty in this game to stop the Reapers from doing the same thing to the rest of the galaxy, which faces extinction. It really is quite a wild ride, especially because of how many people you meet along the way, what they have to offer to your tale, and the twists and turns that can be caused by your actions.

The sequel, which honestly is the better of the two, involves you continuing your fight with the Reapers. This time they’re using another race known as the Collectors to do their evil bidding. This game gets a bit more intense since the only way to reach the Collectors’ base of operations is through what is known as the Omega 4 Relay, a massive teleportation hub that warps ships to an unknown part of the galaxy. No ship had ever returned from going through the Omega. You plan to be the first. Here’s the catch however: the decisions you make throughout the game can determine whether you, or any of your crew, make it back alive. That’s right, you can die in this friggin’ game and not be able to load your Mass Effect 2 character into Mass Effect 3. Talk about a lot of pressure. And any characters that die in the “suicide mission” are dead because of your choices. It really makes the game much more intense than any movie you’ll ever see for quite some time.

One might wonder how you can save yoursef from certain doom. Well, the trick is to gain the loyalty of all of your crew members. If their resolve isn’t strong enough, they will fall. Trust me on that. Also, upgrading your ship would be wise, since it has an effect on who lives and dies as well. I’ve cmpleted both games and after beating the second one I’ve lost only one crew member, and it was the one I liked the least so it’s all good.

Essentially what I’m trying to ge across here is not what I thought of the nitty-gritty parts of the game, such as mechanics and what not, just how I felt about the tale the game told. And let me tell you, I thought it was told beautifully. I could not have asked for a better role-playing game to hold me over until The Old Republic (another BioWare game) comes out. I recommend that anybody who loves story in games, and loves a good action packed sci-fi adventure go pick up the games right now. And play the first one first because the character import sytem makes it so much better, honestly.

Well guys and gals, thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day. I’ll be posting much more frequently from now on, so stay tuned!

One Response to “My Thoughts On Mass Effect (1 & 2)”

  1. Miranda July 16, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    I personally didn’t play the games (I’m not into shooters) but I watched my boyfriend play and I really loved the story as well. I was always disappointed if the bf played with out me watching so I always bugged him as to what happened lol.
    Good review!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: