Platform- XBOX 360, PC
Genre- Action Role Playing Game
Reviewed on XBOX 360
Today is the launch of Mass Effect 2. The much anticipated and much hyped sequel to 2007's Mass Effect for XBOX 360 and PC. So seems like a great time to revisit the first game in the planned trilogy. Mass Effect is without a doubt my favorite game in probably the last 10 years. For me it's just that good. So for those of you thinking about Mass Effect 2 with the blitz of advertising going on for it, you might want to go back and pick up ME1 first. While Bioware states playing through ME1 is not necessary for playing ME2, it will make your experience more enjoyable, and the game will reference many elememts from the first.
The year is 2183, in 2148 humanity discovered an advanced technology cache on Mars. During the follwing 35 years humankind has used this technology to advance beyond our solar system, to branch out and meet new galactic races. Thats right folks, Fox Mulder was right...we are not alone. This massive leap forward in technology and advancement of the species has brought humankind together. No longer is the race divided by country lines, or by color of skin. In fact the unification of human kind has bred out the vast physical differences among us for the most part. Human's generally do look alike in this future, no longer are racial differences so pronounced. So we as humans set out to be part of the galactic political scene, and this my friends is no prettier than ours. While there are many races throughout the galaxy only 3 are part of the "Citadel Council" (essentially a three country United Nations). The council makes policy for the council races, they decide how shit is. And naturally Humanity wants to be a part of this. Humanity has advanced quickly and proven itself a valuable member to the galaxy. This upsets some races, they feel humanity isn't ready for the prime time.
You control Commander Shepard, an elite member of the Human Alliance. While you generally see the same Shepard in pictures of the game He or She is a completely customizable entity. You get to make it your Shepard, though I like using the standard look. You choose your background, what kind of soldier you are, and what sex you are. Since humanity can't get itself onto the council, they plan to ride your perverbial coat tails a bit. See the council has their own special military wing, essentially CIA type people who get to operate outside of the law. This group is called the Spectre's and guess what, good old Shepard is humanity's best chance at becoming part of this team. So the game starts with you on a test run of your new ship, with a Spectre onboard to evaluate you.
That's as much of the story as I'll put here, obviously this game is all about the story. I don't want to ruin anything. The game itself will give you all the backstory and explanation you can handle.
Quick run down on character classes, If you want to play as a pure weapons maniac go with Soldier, want to play a tactical tech based guy go with Engineer. An Adept is...kinda the "magic" like user, or like a Jedi, you can use powers to throw people around and all kinds of stuff. And there are separate classes that are combinations of the rest. Simply put if you want to play it more like a straight forward shooter, play a soldier. If you want a more tactical experience play as an Adept or Engineer.
Mass Effect is not perfect. No game is really, ME was released in 2007 and utilizes the Unreal 3 engine for its graphics. There are times that textures will be slow to load onto everything in the environment, slowdown at times and sometimes hitches in the gameplay. These slight technical issues do not take away from the game's enjoyment, but they are worth noting. The issues are supposedly cleaned up in ME2, as noted in the many professional review for it out.
Mass Effect is about as close to perfection as I've ever experienced in a video game. Fun combat, an amazing story told in a wonderful cinematic way. This is a true crossover title, it's the true new age RPG. A game that brought a great many new players to this wonderful genre. As I said in my Dragon Age review, Bioware is the master of this genre, and this is their masterpiece. Mass Effect gets my highest reccomendation, and since it's been out for a couple of years you should have no trouble picking it up at a drastically reduced price.
Top notch production, Bioware never fails. Branching dialog tree's keep the conversations moving and keep the storytelling movie like.
Still a beautiful game to this day, both artistically and technically. The slow down and hitches can be a annoying at times. Still holds up well two years later.
Possibly my favorite game score of all time. The soundtrack will remind of you of Sci Fi movies of yesteryear, its perfect. Voice acting brings each and every character to life with exceptional quality.
Quality Action RPG gameplay, you can run and gun or you can play it tactical. Controlling your teammates at times will make you wish them dead, but overall still a good experience.
Easily warrants two play throughs with how each choice you make effects the game. The choices you make here actually effect events in the 2nd and 3rd games. There are also two DLC packs for the game.
Final Score 9.4