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Mass Effect

MobyRank MobyScore
Windows
89
4.1
Xbox 360
90
3.8
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Description

Mass Effect is the first part of a planned science fiction RPG trilogy. It is set in a futuristic universe created specifically for the game, with its own history, various alien races, as well as cultural, political, and social background.

The story of the game deals with Commander Shepard, supposedly the first human candidate for the elite group of special agents (the Spectres), who serve the inter-galactic Council, comprised of the oldest and most powerful races in the universe. With or without the help of the Council, Shepard has to stop Saren, a Spectre member who went rogue and tries to exact revenge upon those he was once a part of.

In Mass Effect the player takes control of Commander Shepard, who is fully customizable in the character creation screen; his abilities, gender, and physical appearance can be shaped by the player. Both female and male versions of the character are fully voiced.

Combat in the game is action-based, and is similar to tactical squad-based shooters. As in most of BioWare's previous RPGs, the player can pause at any time to issue orders to other squad members. The squad members are AI-dependable, but general commands (such as run forward, take cover, target a specific enemy, etc) can be issued without pausing.

The six character classes in the game are Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard. Soldiers are good with weapons, Engineers can use tech abilities to sabotage enemies' equipment, and Adepts are able to use the disruptive biotic powers. The other three classes are combinations of the first three. Character growth features, beside the usual "level up" system, a skill-based advancement. When the characters gain a level, the player is allowed to distribute points into skills of his/her choice. These skills include weapon proficiency, tech abilities such as destroying enemy shields or hacking robotic enemies, and biotic abilities that manipulate the mass effect field to damage enemies and protect the party. Non-combat abilities for the main character include Charm and Intimidate, which influences conversation choices.

Mass Effect comes with its own morality system. There are two sides of morality in the game - Paragon and Renegade, with Paragon being a more diplomatic, official military courtesy following character, and Renegade being the "ends justify the means", damning everything to hell kind of character. The main quest with its choices and consequences is only a part of the experience - there are several optional planets that offer side-questing and exploration. Pursuing a romantic relationship with a companion is also possible.

The game introduces a slightly tweaked conversation system in which responses to NPC's are displayed and can be chosen before the NPC has finished speaking. This, combined with detailed facial expressions, allows for more fluid and natural conversations.

The PC version of Mass Effect differs in some points from the Xbox 360 release. Besides higher resolution graphics, the mini game about hacking a computer has been changed. Now instead of playing "Simon Says", the player has to get a triangle into the middle of a circle by avoiding the blocks that are constantly moving around in a Frogger-like fashion. The interface has also undergone massive changes. Besides a new quick slot bar in which the player can assign up to eight abilities for quick access to the number keys, the pause menu has been changed to give the player faster and better control over his teammates. It's now also possible to give every teammate individual orders instead of having both do the same thing. Item management has also been simplified to account for the new keyboard/mouse control scheme which also allows for better precision in the shooter-like fights.

Screenshots

Mass Effect Xbox 360 The Xbox version has noticeable issues with texture draw-in. Here's the scene as it first loads.
Mass Effect Xbox 360 The seat of power for the galactic coalition.
Mass Effect Windows Come on, Shepard! Dance with us!
Mass Effect Windows Allied Flagship

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Massively entertaining Windows Oleg Roschin (164965)
An epic adventure of the most humble proportions. Windows St. Martyne (3562)
The expanding universe Windows NeoJ (428)
A top-of-the-line space opera, an above-average game Xbox 360 CrackTheSky (36)
Biowarian Imperialism At It's Worst Windows Happy Rabbi (1256)
In The Distant Future, In A Galaxy Not So Far Away.... Xbox 360 MasterMegid (900)
Fantastic and Disappointing Space Opera Xbox 360 Tom Cross (31)
A space odyssey of epic proportions Xbox 360 Zokolov (66)
Neither fish nor fowl - but nourishing nonetheless Windows Kit Simmons (246)
An astounding experience from square one. Absolutely recommended! Windows Tomer Gabel (4416)

The Press Says

GameSpy Xbox 360 Nov 20, 2007 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
GamePro (US) Xbox 360 Nov 19, 2007 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Planet Xbox 360 Xbox 360 Nov 19, 2007 9.8 out of 10 98
Extreme Gamer Xbox 360 Nov 21, 2007 9.6 out of 10 96
PC Gameplay (Benelux) Windows Jun, 2008 92 out of 100 92
GameDaily Windows May 27, 2008 9 out of 10 90
GameSpot Xbox 360 Nov 01, 2007 8.5 out of 10 85
PC Games (Germany) Windows Jun, 2008 85 out of 100 85
Eurogamer.net (UK) Windows May 27, 2008 8 out of 10 80
Christ Centered Game Reviews Xbox 360 Feb 18, 2008 74 out of 100 74

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Rate My Shepard 11 phrostey2307
Nov 20, 2009
Yeow. What a lousy port. 12 Indra was here (19215)
Mar 22, 2009
UPDATED: I cannot role-play evil or ruthless characters 19 St. Martyne (3562)
Aug 11, 2008
First Impressions 36 Oleg Roschin (164965)
Jun 20, 2008
Who would've thought? 12 Happy Rabbi (1256)
Apr 01, 2008
World(USA, but I'm being PC)filled with dumbfucks! 36 bächtërmän (125)
Feb 28, 2008
Xbox360 for this game? 9 Happy Rabbi (1256)
Dec 17, 2007
Bah! 6 St. Martyne (3562)
Dec 14, 2007

Trivia

Books

Drew Karpyshyn, writer/designer at Bioware, has written two books set in the Mass Effect universe so far, Mass Effect: Revelation and its sequel Mass Effect: Ascension.

Noveria

Regarding the corporate enclave planet with an arctic climate -- Noveria, where the normal laws of Citadel Space do not apply -- the name of the planetary capital, Port Hanshan, is a romanization of the Chinese for "cold mountain," a reasonable name for a city on an arctic planet. On Earth, there are currently at least two geographic areas in China which have that name, and in ancient times there was also a poet who used that pen name. Perhaps the first people to lay claim to the planet, or to underwrite the colony, were representatives of a Chinese corporation. The actual Chinese would be 寒山端口 (Hánshān Duānkǒu).

Release

The game's street date was broken multiple times. In the United States, several K-Mart stores started selling the game on 9th November 2007, eleven days before the official release date. The same happened in Australia, where EB games started distributing it on 16th November 2007. Other retailers quickly started selling the game early as well.

Singapore ban

The game was initially banned in Singapore, because a female character is able to pursue a same-sex love scenario (spoiler alert) with another female alien character. The ban was eventually overturned by the same government censorship body itself and it now carries an M18 rating.

Awards

  • GamePro (Germany)
    • March 28, 2008 - Best Console RPG in 2007 (Readers' Vote)
  • GameSpy
    • 2007 – #8 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #6 Console Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #5 Xbox 360 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – Xbox 360 Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2007 – Xbox 360 RPG of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Soundtrack/Score of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Voice Acting of the Year
    • 2008 – #8 PC Game of the Year
Information also contributed by 88 49 and Alaedrain

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by Cantillon (12933) and Happy Rabbi (1256)