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Mass Effect (Windows)

89
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
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Written by  :  Happy Rabbi (1305)
Written on  :  Jan 21, 2010
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars

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Summary

Biowarian Imperialism At It's Worst

The Good

[At the time of writing this review, Mass Effect 2 is about to be released in 6 days. Rabbi Guru took the time off to share his thoughts with us about the first game.]

During the reign of Catherine II the Great (one of many female rulers in the overtly feminine russian 18th century), there was this general guy called Potyemkin, who also got to fuck the said empress every now and then. This general Potyemkin was leading the conquest of Crimea and when the empress wanted to see her new lands, general Potyemkin constructed a lot of hollow facades so it would look more impressive. Ever since then, the term Potemkin village is used to describe when someone, usually a backwards totalitarian regime, constructs a special happy village for the western visitors to see how happy life is in that backwards totalitarian regime. Now Mass Effect isn't a totalitarian regime, but it certainly is a backwards game that has a nice facade to fool the world to think that it's the best thing ever. The world, being full of stupid people, bought it and now it depends on me to reveal the lie that Mass Effect is.

Mass Effect is a lie pulled over the eyes of feeble-minded gaming world! Only with Rabbi Guru's intellectual mental discipline can you emancipate your mind from the lies of your society! Become who you are born to be! Cast away Mass Effect and become the revolution! Gamers of the world, unite!

The Secret Conspiracy of Bioware

There once was a small canadian developer called Bioware. It was founded by two doctors who decided to produce games. They gathered a group of people and made couple of nice games in the 90's.

Then at the dawn of the new millennium they made Baldur's Gate II. This game was such a brilliant piece of work balancing brilliantly between story, characters and exploration. It was unformulaic. It was one of the many games in late 90's/early 00's that awakened the individual player. It was a product of the revolution.

But I guess, for some reason, Bioware decided to go on a different path. I guess like Napoleon or Stalin before it, Bioware saw that the winds were changing. And I guess it was right, because Bioware is the only child of the revolution to survive. Troika, Looking Glass Studios, Black Isle, Ion Storm - all dead.

They then made Throne of Bhaal. And that game marks the first usage of standard Bioware formula that has been used to imprison the minds of would-be rpg players ever since.

The standard Bioware formula looks like this: you got 4 locations, you need to go through them but in any order you like, then after the 3rd location something happens, either a plot twist or something similar, then after the plot twist, you go to a fifth location and then you are in the final battle location and game over man, game over!

TOB only created the 4+1 locations part of the formula. Since it was the conclusion of BGII, it did the characters a bit differently than the nowadays standard Bioware formula. Cue Neverwinter Nights for creating the standard party member formula.

In NWN though, they just went crazy with the 4+1 locations. The game has like 4 chapters, and in each chapter there are 4 locations you must battle through to get into the 5th location to finish the chapter. 4+1x4=20 fucking times, the same thing over and over again. Fortunately for Bioware, only the third world of the gaming world played NWN, and thus for most of the world the unspeakable atrocities this game commited remained unknown. It was an experiment commited upon people the world didn't care about, an experiment to create the perfect formula to imprison the world. At first they came for us and you were silent... and then they came for you!

"The rulers of this world live on the backs of the people, and yet the people praise them as benefactors." - Jesus Christ

NWN also introduced a ghastly addition to the formula. The party members. Now you had only one or two with you. You had to speak to them and they told their sad life story. Then you got a quest. You solved it and voila! Instant friends for life! Since NWN was an inhuman experiment, you got to do this 4 times, in each chapter. Now that's just cruel. Also there were four parts for each sad life story. And to unlock those parts you had to wait until you're level was high enough, so they could finish their current sad story of the chapter. It was an inhuman experiment. Many human lives were wasted. Bioware made it's notes and...

Before the globalization of the gaming world in 2000's, gaming world was divided into many different inbred small communities who had no idea what happened in the other village. You had adventure gamers, you had shooter players, rpg fans... in fact adventure gamers are still somewhat a traditional people. I heard that UNESCO planned to add them to it's representative list. You see, when you still visit an adventure gaming community you can still see that really isolated gaming culture of yesterday's world. Those people just have no idea what happens outside their village. They're a living example of what gaming world used to look like.

Anyway, there was also this divide between console gamers and pc gamers. Console gamers grew up on different types of games. Let's think of a standard stereotypical example – a pc gamer might have gone through Monkey Island, Doom, System Shock, Deus Ex and a console gamer most likely was raised with Super Mario, Final Fantasy, Megaman and other consoly stuff like that.

When the globalization of the gaming world started, many pc game developers started to expand into the console world. Bioware was about to expand into the console world. NWN experiment was succesful. They got the formula more or less pinned down. Console gamers were living in their inbred world... and suddenly they got Knights of the Old Republic. The Standard Bioware Formula RPG. But you got to understand that these people had only seen something like Super Mario or Metal Gear. They were overwhelmed. Bioware's strategy was succesful. It managed to convert half-witting sheep into believing that Bioware was a God. Now they never had to perfect the formula, because consolers were raised to like formulas. Bioware had the perfect mass to control. And that's why you still see people claiming that kotor changed their lives or that it is the best rpg of all times.

An ignorant delusion of course. And we'll now dissect the formula of Kotor. First the 4+1x4 of NWN has now been just reduced to 4+1, with a plot twist after the 3rd one. And there's also the starting planet, before you get to choose between planets. You battle through the planets, and you always have this chance to end them in two different ways. Kill that guy or kill the other guy. Deliver item to that guy or to the other guy. Actually make that the formula for every quest. Standard NWN stuff but much more polished.

You also have the party member sad story tied with your levels. Only now there's only one sad story. And of course the sad story ends with a quest. But there's also another thing. The party members themselves are now very familiar. "Didn't I see you in NWN somewhere?" the survivors of that experiment asked themselves. And yes they did see them in NWN. One female character in particular was exactly like a certain female character in NWN. Aribeth meet Bastila. Both of these were love interests to the male characters, with sad stories, and both of these gals turned evil and only the love of the male player can deliver them from the dark side.

There's also Carth, the sad man for female players... who is kinda like the sad man for gals from NWN: Hordes of the Underdark, and the sad man for gals in BGII. With the exception that the BGII sad man was a complete failure amongst gals, while the other two got major followings in slash/fanfic world.

In fact every character was like a mix of different or just a slight alteration of previous Bioware characters. But of course, the consolers who were meant to love this game didn't know this.

Cue success. Bioware now equals rpg's. It's imperialistic conquest of the gaming world was succesful. It's magic formula worked and will never be changed again.

About Mass Effect and what it reveals about the current state of Biowarian Imperialism...

Now we're here with Mass Effect. So what you get? The Learn the Game Zone (Beginning), The Starting Planet (Citadel), the 4+1 Story Locations (with the 4th or 3rd being the OMG PLOT TWIST!!!) and the Final Battle Zone.

And characters? Slightly altered. To unlock their sad stories you don't need levels anymore, but you need to finish one story planet. So their sad story still comes in 4 parts. And not all sad stories end with a quest. And not all sad stories last actually 4 parts. Some go by quicker. Only 3 sad stories end with a quest. And that's it.

And their personalities? Have I still seen them from somewhere before? Yup. Pretty much. Except for Garrus who is completely new type for Bioware, everyone is a variation of Bioware archetypes. One of them, the sad man for gals of this game is even voiced by the sad man for gals from a previous game (Carth).

But that's not the worst of it. The fact that it's the same game since Throne of Bhaal is actually one of the positive things considering the atrocities...

The Bad

Because, the main story only lasts some 12-16 hours, this game like any other rpg game has sidequests. Only those sidequests all happen in one fucking room!

Actually three. There's the mine, space station and some planet quarters thing. You got like 100 sidequests. You go to a planet. You drive with your mako to the location. You go inside, kill a lot of people and quest solved. Then you go to another planet, do the same thing and kill a lot of people... only that it's the same fucking room. Only that crate is in a different location. Can you imagine it? Can you imagine going through the same fucking room for hundreds of times and pretending that this sidequest is "oh so fucking different?" Can you? No you can't! No one can imagine the depravity of this biowarian imperialism, because it scares even ctulhu gods. It's supposed to rob one of his will to live, to make you conform to the standard formula, to become like a sheep in a slaughterhouse. It's evil.

But that's not the worst of it. The story planets themselves are also incredibly formulaic. You get the talking zone, the drive with your car and shoot robots zone, and the other talking zone with combat. Sometimes you go back to the first talking zone to have more combat.

Bioware is now so powerful, that it doesn't bother to make the facade any less formulaic.

And the writing? Oh dear god. It's almost like the people have exclamation marks on them yelling "I'm kill this guy" ,"And I'm kill the other guy" and "I'm the optional kill me guy." And the quests and everything is just lifted from previous games. You've seen these random people with these random problems before. And they're still so... such simplistic writing with no insight.

Random person: "Hello hero, I want to commit abortion. My issue is very edgy."
Hero: 1) "Okay."
2) "Abortion is wrong."
3) "I'm Commander Fucking Shepard! I will blow your brains out!!!"
Random person: "Okay thank you. Wasn't my issue just so edgy and mature?"
Hero: "Yes I have a lot to think about now. Thank you."

About the future...

The future of humanity is very white. It's not like Bioware isn't trying. All other racial looks do get represented. But for some reason there's this general brown look. I mean, you can't tell if the person is supposed to be like Evo Morales or Grace Park, or like Hugo Chavez or Aishwarya Rai because there's only this one general brown look for asians, latinos... heck, even southern europeans. Because in real life their all the same mass of brown people, no? Unfortunate racist implications of the unreal engine I guess.

Player: "Oh hi, Michelle Rodriguez look alike."
NPC: "My name is Fuji Fukomora."

The reason for this could be that except for the main characters, other people aren't designed by hand. Only the main cast is designed by hand. But all the non-alien main cast is white. Only one main character is black. He's also the only black character in the game. The only one that speaks anyway.

And let's not even discuss the fact they market this game with a white anglo-american military boy. Quite problematic.

For a sci-fi to be progressive one really needs to eliminate the percentage of white people from 90% to like 20-30%... because with the mexicanification of US and the rise of China and India... Well, future generations will get to laugh a lot, so that's good.

Actually you can recognize indians, but only because they have funny accents. Sigh...

So we have a very formulaic game with unfortunate racist implications. Anything else? The real-time cover-person combat is, like everything else, also just a facade and descends into a depraved formula quite quickly. Because you mostly just fight in the same room you've been so many times before, and you kill the same enemies again and again... and the level design is just so contrived. You'll be recognizing combat zones immediately because of the amount of obvious obstacles to cover behind.

The only way to get any enjoyment out of this game is when you don't look beyond the facade, but it's impossible not to look beyond the facade, because the facade is just so half-heartedly put together. It's like Potyemkin was drunk when building this village.

Because they don't care anymore. Bioware is blowing it's imperialistic wad at our faces and laughing. It's a mighty empire, and it can do everything it wants and the people will love it. Just like Jesus said above.

But I am asking you, as a human person, as an individual to not let yourself be humiliated like this. Down with Bioware's Imperialistic Wad! Join the revolution. Mass Effect 2 is coming out the next week (at the point of the writing date of this review), and I'm asking you to consider before you succumb to serve Bioware's imperialistic needs again. Think about it.

Because we the people are like that damaged broken girl with daddy issues, and Bioware is like that old guy who protects us and takes care of us. But the question we need to ask from us before we run, like that little girl to her "daddy", to Bioware, to feel like we have a worth in this life, the question is - don't we deserve better? Let us stop for a moment and think about this.

The Bottom Line

I am Rabbi Guru and I endorse this message!