Mass effect – players review

if Mass effect could be described in 1 word that word would be – confusing. I might get flamed for saying this but its true.

My first impression of the game, was the size (its a 10GB client) which I thought would be great, surely lots of content. However most of that content is cut scene animations, dialogs and sound.

The game itself was not designed to run in HD (1080p or higher) so I had to manually edit some config file to get this to work. But the confusion didn’t end there.

Here are my main frustations with the game:

  • The guns all look the same and its hard to know what you’ve equipped and for what reason. I’ve played lots of FPS’s everything pretty much since Quake and Unreal days. In a typical FPS, or for example in Crysis, you don’t need to guess what weapon you’re yielding or why. Weapons mainly fall into the following categories (short range / max spread shotguns; mid / long term rifles ; back up pistol ; sniper long range ; long range max spread / slow rate of fire grenade launchers). These are the main categories but there are others, in Mass effect there is little distinction between any of the weapons, and you don’t seem to get ammo either. You see in a typical game with ammo, you use the most powerful weapon at your disposal then when you run out of ammunition you downscale.  With Mass effect you have another annoying problem, your guns over heat, and so in combat you’re switching your weapons all the time till other weapons cool off.
  • All the planet areas are Arenas. The game was never designed to be a sandbox, but I think once you’ve played a few sandbox style games, you come to expect some level of freedom in a modern title. Planet areas feel too artificial to be enjoyable.
  • City areas are confusing, they’re big and not intuitive enough, feels exactly like KOTOR.
  • Every lift you take means a long wait. This adds to the realism of the game, but it does get annoying.
  • When you finally leave the initial space station, you think this is great, freedom! Finally! Only to be disappointed by having predefined locations, all of which are as confusing as the space station. Modern, loveless and static locations.

Before you think I’m being too hard on the game, it does have some redeeming qualities:

  • It has an excellent story, in a way its like watching a DVD
  • The character voice acting is highly believable, perhaps the best I’ve ever heard in a video game.
  • If you enjoy games like Dragon Age which are loaded with cut scenes and steep dialogs, then this game is for you.
  • It has a strange way of making you want to finish it, or play it till you’ve finished it, even through some of the game elements are far from perfect.

All in all if it was the first video game I had ever played I would think it was amazing, after all its not a 1/2 bad video game in its own right, the problem is that since I’m playing a lot of bleeding edge titles lately, I end up comparing game play. In this regard, unfortunately Mass Effect just doesn’t stand up to what I hoped for in a game.

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One thought on “Mass effect – players review

  1. Happened across this post after following a Reddit link to one of your other posts…

    Just wanted to say, the resolution thing confused me at first, too. As it turns out, there’s an external configuration utility that checks your hardware and then suggests settings based on that. When I ran that, it suggested 1920×1080 right away. It does still seem odd that it wouldn’t let me just choose the right settings in game though.

    The hidden configuration is probably an oversight. Both Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age have the nice little splash screen at the start with a “Configure” button on it. I’m not sure about the non-Steam version of Mass Effect, but I know that splash doesn’t come up when I play it. Either they didn’t have that standard splash screen back when Mass Effect was released, or there was an issue with getting it to pop up when running it through Steam that has since been fixed.

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