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Mass Effect

aka: ME1

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Critic Reviews 89% add missing review

videogamer.com (10 out of 10)

Some BioWare fans viewed EA's recent purchase of the studio with concern and cynicism. Mass Effect and any subsequent games in the series would now be ported to every platform under the sun as quickly as possible and with scant consideration for quality. That is, as hardened gamers say, the EA way. Now that we've ploughed our way through the game for a second time on PC we can safely say that there was nothing to worry about. BioWare could probably have released a PC version identical to the 360 game and got away with it. But it hasn't. It's done it properly. It has listened to the community - its moans, groans and gripes - and given fans what they've asked for. This is a port, but it's more than a port. BioWare, with a little help from a friend, has made one of the best RPGs ever made even better.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameBoomers (A+)

While the game is not perfect and has its moments of oddly placed dialog and the occasional glitch, the only other adjectives I can use in reference to Mass Effect are immersive, imaginative, expansive and just plain fun. BioWare has a potential dynasty on their hands with this game if a game editor is ever made available. Apparently, additional content is already up on BioWare's website. Due to the ability to select different Character Classes, Dispositions, and the multiple directions that decision and dialog trees can run, re-playability is high for this game.

Jun 2008 · Windows · read review

GameSpy ( )

It's a rare thing when a game comes along with the power to move a player emotionally. If you missed it the first time around, or were waiting for the inevitable PC version, you won't be disappointed here. Mass Effect takes interactive entertainment to new heights and is wholeheartedly recommended.

May 28th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Tilt.tv (10 out of 10)

Varsinaisen sisällön kannalta peli on identtinen konsoliversion kanssa, joten tarinan kannalta on sikäli yksi ja sama, kumpaa pelaa: kyseessä on joka tapauksessa yksi alan parhaiten käsikirjoitetuista peleistä. Jos joku kuitenkin harkitsee, pelaisiko peliä PC:llä vai Xbox 360:lla, valinta on helppo: PC-versiota on yksinkertaisesti paljon mukavampi pelata. Pelin hyvät hetket ovat toki aivan yhtä hyviä konsolillakin, mutta tärkeä ero piilee siinä, että kyseisten hetkien saavuttaminen tuntuu nyt paljon hauskemmalta ja sujuvammalta puuhalta.

Jun 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Imperium Gier ( )

Z jednej strony mamy więc naprawdę świetną fabułę, bardzo dobrze zarysowanie postacie i dużo, bardzo dużo dobrych dialogów, z drugiej zaś niestety nieco zaniedbane, nie wiadomo dlaczego popsute kwestie mechaniczne. Można je zignorować, to fakt, ale wtedy gra zamienia się w interaktywny film, składający się z jednego wielkiego ciągu dialogów, przerywanego sekwencjami akcji niczym reklamami – a przecież ta akcja nie jest aż tak porywająca, jak już wspomniałem. Oczywiście, może to kwestia zbyt wielkich wymagań, jakie miałem względem Mass Effect, ale czegóż innego można spodziewać się od twórców Knights of the Old Republic, jak nie gry lotów najwyższych? Ponad chmurami zdawały się też lokować Mass Effect entuzjastyczne oceny i reakcje na wersję konsolową. Niestety... albo pułap cumulusów nagle się podniósł, albo coś zepsuło się w silnikach i loty się obniżyły – faktem jest, że Mass Effect jest grą „jedynie” bardzo dobrą. Jeżeli ktoś czekał na grę wybitną, to będzie zawiedziony.

Jul 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Game Informer Magazine (9.75 out of 10)

If you haven't played BioWare's masterpiece yet, my only warning is that once you do you'll also be wishing you could time travel - so you could jump into the future and play the sequel.

Jul 2008 · Windows

Gry OnLine (97 out of 100)

Pecet – ostateczna granica. Oto wędrówki gry Mass Effect, kontynuującej misję odkrywania nowych, nieznanych konfiguracji sprzętowych i poszukiwania kolejnych graczy. Jako że epizod w zielonym świecie Xboksów 360 bez wątpienia uznać można za sukces, wspomnianą granicę przekracza już jako zwycięzca. Co prawda powodzenie i poważanie na gruncie konsolowym nie przenosi się tak łatwo na pecetowy, jednak w tym wypadku powinno obyć się bez większych zgrzytów. Za wszystkim stoi bowiem pewna bardzo mocna marka...

May 28th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Pelit (96 out of 100)

Mass Effect on kokonaisuutena hämmentävän taidokas näyte siitä, mihin suuntaan pelien pitäisi olla menossa. Bioware on aina panostanut tarinaan ja hyvään dialogiin, mutta tällä kertaa ollaan päästy vihdoin tietyn kriittisen rajan yli. Varsinainen hahmonkehitys eri kykyjen ja pisteiden jakamisen kanssa on perinteisellä mittakaavalla mitattuna melko yksinkertaista, mutta siitä huolimatta Mass Effect on ehkäpä ensimmäinen peli, jossa voi todella pelata roolia. Hahmoaan voi elää koko tarinakaaren ajan juuri sellaisena kuin itse haluaa.Biowaren toisen perustajan Ray Muzykan mukaan tekijöiden päämääränä on ollut luoda Mass Effectistä mahdollisimman rikas ja kasariscifille uskollinen eeppinen kokemus. Tässä on onnistuttu lähes täydellisesti. Jos itseään toistavat sivutehtävät jättää omaan arvoonsa, on Mass Effectistä vaikea löytää mitään valittamista.Suomalaisella vaatimattomuudella nimeän sen yhdeksi kaikkien aikojen parhaista tietokoneroolipeleistä.

Jun 2008 · Windows · read review

Play.tm (96 out of 100)

I've played every single Bioware game out there and while a number of compromises do stand out the central storyline and its related gameplay is some of their finest work. Did I mention the last two hours are pure gaming and storytelling nirvana?

Jul 2nd, 2008 · Windows · read review

Looki (95 out of 100)

Auch auf dem Rechenknecht präsentiert sich Mass Effect genauso spektakulär, wie auf der 360. Das ist wenig verwunderlich, schließlich hätte sich Bioware grobe Schnitzer in der Umsetzung leisten müssen, um ein solch grandioses Spielerlebnis zu Nichte zu machen. Glücklicherweise wurde der Titel aber vorbildlich umgesetzt, die Grafik poliert und von Fehlern befreit und die Steuerung ordentlich an den PC angepasst. Ansonsten ist so ziemlich alles beim Alten geblieben, von einigen kleinen Detailänderungen abgesehen, die Mass Effect in ihrer Gänze aber flüssiger werden lassen. Rollenspielfans kommen an dem Spiel nicht vorbei.

Jun 2nd, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamernode (9.5 out of 10)

Others things like quicksave and the ability to assign specific commands to your squad members are icing on-top of the delicious cake that is Mass Effect. All of these reasons make Mass Effect not only an excellent PC port, but show why PC is still a perfectly able and functional gaming platform compared to the 360 and PS3, despite what some naysayers would have you believe.

Jun 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamezone (Germany) (9.5 out of 10)

Da kann man nur froh sein, dass bereits Nachfolger am fernen Horizont aufgetaucht sind. Bei all der motivierenden Sammelwut, dem Aufleveln und den actionreichen, aber auch taktisch geprägten Kämpfen, gibt es auch einige Kritikpunkte, wie die teils debile Mitstreiter-KI, die leider kaum verbessert wurde. Dafür hat BioWare in Sachen Technik ordentlich nachgebessert: Keine Nachladeruckler mehr, keine Textur Pop-Ups und die Grafik sieht auf dem PC insgesamt einen Tick schärfer aus. Auch die perfekt angepasste Steuerung und das übersichtlichere Inventar-Layout überzeugen voll. Mit Mass Effect bekommen nun auch die PCler ein Rollenspiel, das für viele Stunden in eine fantastische Welt voller skurriler Aliens, Verrat, Freundschaft, moralischer Zwickmühlen und jeder Menge Geheimnisse eintauchen lässt. Wer nur annähernd etwas mit Actionspielen und RPGs anfangen kann, muss sich Mass Effect kaufen.

Mar 9th, 2011 · Windows · read review

Game Informer Magazine (9.5 out of 10)

Nearly every one of the many praises and criticisms of the console version can accurately be applied to this port, but I'd recommend this edition of Mass Effect to anyone with a good PC. You even get the first downloadable content pack for free, though BioWare was silent when asked about whether future DLC will discriminate between platforms.

Jul 2008 · Windows

GameZone (9.5 out of 10)

Even if the game were a straight port of the Xbox 360 game with no added extras or tweaks, it would still be easy to recommend. Luckily, Mass Effect adds enough changes and improvements to give it a whole-hearted thumbs up for any PC gamer who is a fan of RPGs and has yet to check this gem out.

Jul 9th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GamingHeaven / DriverHeaven (94 out of 100)

Bioware have successfully created one of the best single player RPG games on the PC and as this is the firs t of a trilogy the future is certainly looking very bright. The universe is interactive, brimming with life and terrific to explore. If this type of game appeals to you on any level then make sure it is next in your shopping list because you will not be disappointed.

Jun 2nd, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamer.co.il (94 out of 100)

לסיכום, מאס אפקט הוא לדעתי יצירת מופת. זהו משחק הנהנה מהפקה מקצועית, בדוק כהלכה, עם עלילה ברמה גבוהה, דיבוב איכותי וגרפיקה שאינה מביישת סרט קולנוע ממוצע. העובדה שביו-וור השקיעו בהמרה הזו משפרת לעין ערוך את המשחק ונותנת לנו את ההזדמנות לשחק בו כמו שצריך, ללא מגבלות הקונסולות. יש כאן משהו לכולם, וכדאי שכולם ינסו אותו.

Jun 25th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Svenska PC Gamer (92 out of 100)

Det är en sak att skapa en värld och en helt annan att få allt att kännas trovärdigt och intressant. Jag ser samma möjligheter i Biowares universum som jag såg i George Lucas Star Wars som liten. Nu när gamle George har tappat stinget fullständigt och bara producerar filmer för att sälja leksaker till små barn kan det kanske bli läge för Bioware att ta hans plats. Enligt utvecklarna är Mass Effect startskottet för en helt ny trilogi och med ett så pass välpolerat första avsnitt längtar jag verkligen efter en fortsättning.

Jul 2008 · Windows

IGN (9.2 out of 10)

It almost goes without saying that BioWare remains one of the very top single-player RPG makers on the planet, and Mass Effect only reinforces their position. This is easily one of the best RPGs on the platform in recent years, delivering a terrific new universe, a fun blend of action and role-playing, and a deeply satisfying story. If you have any love of science fiction or space opera, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. There are hours upon hours of joyful discovery here, and an undeniable love for science fiction, as well.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gameplay (Benelux) (92 out of 100)

De perfecte mix tussen RPG en Tactical Shooter, op smaak gebracht met een fenomenaal verhaal. Dat smaakt naar meer!

May 29th, 2008 · Windows

Peliplaneetta.net (92 out of 100)

Joillekin pelaajille Makon ja sivutehtävien kaltaiset selkeät viat ovat ehkä esteitä, jotka estävät koko pelistä nauttimisen. Minun silmissäni Mass Effect on kuitenkin huippupeli, ja sellainen se oli jo ongelmallisempana Xboxillakin. Sen tieteistarina kerrotaan niin tyylillä, että peli seisoo ylpeänä System Shockien ja Star Controlien rinnalla. Tärkeintä Mass Effectissä on kuitenkin se, että se on roolipeli isolla R:llä. Oman Shepardin kasvot, kyvyt, valinnat ja kokemukset yhdistyvät elämää suurempaan tieteistarinaan tavalla, joka saa tuntemaan, että Mass Effect on yhtä paljon minun kuin Biowaren luomus. Siitä on roolipelaamisessa kyse.

Jun 16th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Atomic Gamer (92 out of 100)

From beginning to end, Mass Effect is a powerful and highly entertaining game that mixes tactical action and a full-fledged RPG together in exciting ways. The universe that Bioware has created is intriguing, even if the level of storytelling isn't quite as great as what we got in KOTOR, but it's still great and the focus on firearms rather than melee combat really does work well. PC gamers will find that even though this game started on consoles, it should satisfy their need for hardcore action and RPG pretty well as long as they can meet the system requirements and they look past the couple of new features that just don't work very well. It still doesn't quite live up to the masterful story and whizzing lightsabers of Knights of the Old Republic, but for the first game in a new series, Mass Effect is an excellent start.

May 30th, 2008 · Windows · read review

PC Zone (1993-2010) (9.2 out of 10)

If you are a fan of what BioWare's done in the past, like action with a hefty dose of sci-fi and want something new, or just like playing a really good game, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this fantastic title.

Jun 4th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamezoom (91 out of 100)

Auch auf dem PC macht Mass Effect eine mehr als gute Figur und zeigt eindrucksvoll, wie ein SiFi-RPG aussehen bzw. ablaufen muss. Eine fantastische Storylinie, ein stimmiger Mix aus Action, Rätsel und grandios vertonten Gesprächen machen das Spiel zum Vorzeigetitel. Ein zusätzliches Lob muss man Entwicklerteam Bioware für die gelungene Portierung aussprechen. Vor allem hinsichtlich der Maus/Tastatur-optimierten Steuerung und dem überarbeiteten Interface haben die Programmierer ganze Arbeit geleistet. Etwas ärgerlich finden wir nur, dass man im Zuge der PC-Umsetzung die bereits aus der Xbox 360-Version bekannten Kritikpunkte, wie zum Beispiel die dümmliche K.I. und das Balancing-Problem, nicht ausgemerzt hat. Schiebt man diese -kleinen- Mankos einmal bei Seite, dann kann man zu Recht behaupten, dass Mass Effect eines der besten RPGs der letzten Jahre ist.

Jun 22nd, 2008 · Windows · read review

1UP (A-)

By all counts, Mass Effect for the PC is essentially the "definitive" version of the game; it runs much smoother on decent machines and just generally plays better...even if it still suffers from some of the original's fundamental flaws (along with a few new ones). It's a good thing that Mass Effect was planned as a trilogy -- here's hoping that Mass Effect 2 works out some of these relatively mild kinks.

Jun 17th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (9 out of 10)

All the things that made Mass Effect great on the 360--the story, the conversations, the galaxy, the combat, the soundtrack, and the characters--are still great on the PC. The changes that have been implemented don't radically alter the game in any way, but they have enough of a positive impact to make it easy to recommend the PC version over the 360 version. On top of that, BioWare is offering the downloadable expansion "Bring Down the Sky" free to PC players, though at the time of this review that content was not yet available. Whether you're a seasoned Spectre looking to suit up again, or a newcomer who has never set foot on the Normandy, the refined PC version is your best choice for experiencing this excellent game.

May 30th, 2008 · Windows · read review

PC Player (Denmark) (9 out of 10)

Et rigtigt soildt spil og en mesterlig fortælling. Frarådet til folk med lav tålmodighed, sci-fi-aversioner og/eller læse- eller lyttebesvær, men anbefalet til alle andre.

Jul 2008 · Windows

GameDaily (9 out of 10)

Anyone looking for a spectacular sci-fi RPG and has the necessary system requirements should pick up the PC version. The game that was already exceptional on the Xbox 360 is even better on the PC, so it's really a no brainer.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (Belgium/Netherlands) (90 out of 100)

Alle zaken die Mass Effect groots maakten op de 360 – het verhaal, de dialogen, het universum, gevechten, muziek en karakters – zijn nog altijd groots op pc. De veranderingen die binnengesmokkeld werden hebben geen grote impact op het spel, maar voldoende om de pc-versie beter te maken dan de Xbox 360-versie. Daarnaast krijg je van Bioware gratis de downloadble expansie 'Bring down the sky'. Gewoon kopen, dit ding!

Jun 5th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Maximum PC (9 out of 10)

Mass Effect’s epic story is both moving and fulfilling; the game’s universe is rich with details and feels infused with life. We can’t wait for the inevitable sequel.

Jul 16th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) ( )

Much has been made about the controversy stirred up by the conservative media (yes, Fox News, I’m talking to you) concerning the brief, tastefully drawn, PG-rated love scene found just before the last level of Mass Effect. Those who can’t see past this are missing a truly extraordinary gaming experience. The game has a depth rarely found in modern games, which are usually engineered for users with short attention spans. The artwork, especially the astronomical art, is good enough to have its own glossy coffee-table book, and its combination of questing and team-based shooting offers almost universal gaming appeal. There needs to be more variety in side-quest combat and location design, and the lack of a multiplayer mode is a serious defect, but Mass Effect is a game that should be on every serious gamer’s shelf.

Aug 1st, 2008 · Windows · read review

UOL Jogos ( )

"Mass Effect" é um dos melhores RPGs lançados para 360 e conseguiu ficar ainda melhor no PC. Toda sua complexidade foi mantida, com seus vários personagens, caminhos alternativos, poderes e habilidades especiais dos heróis e muitas outras características, ganhando ainda uma melhor interface e polimento técnico revigorante. Mesmo se você já terminou a versão para console, ainda corre o risco de encontrar alguma coisa que não viu na primeira vez que jogou, diante de tanta riqueza de conteúdo. Mesmo que "Star Wars", "Jornada nas Estrelas" ou "Battlestar Galactica" não faça muito o seu estilo, há muito o que apreciar no jogo.

Jun 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GamePro (US) ( )

But really, this is just me nit-picking. As annoying as the glitches may be, Mass Effect's gameplay, which is just as good as it was on the Xbox 360, more than makes up for it. The new squadmate-specific combat interface and mouse-centric UI are a joy to use, and the story is theatrical and compelling, with a galaxy worth of content stuffed into one hell of game. If you've already tackled the console version, you certainly don't need to shell out for the PC version, too, but if you haven't yet experienced this magnum opus, this is the version you should play.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Avid Gamer (9 out of 10)

Give it the time it deserves and Mass Effect encompasses it's genre's name. It's role playing at its finest. You get lost in the story and feel as through you're Captain Shepard. We just wish we could have experienced it aside Xbox 360 owners. It harks back to the glory days of story telling with enough modern day comforts to silence the graphic-obsessed populace. It's by no means a short game and if you go after every mission, you'll be there for a month.

Jun 24th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (18 out of 20)

Sans apporter la moindre modification au contenu du soft d'origine, ce portage PC réussit néanmoins à gommer la majorité des lourdeurs qui encombraient et encombrent encore les joueurs 360. Délivré de ces défauts, Mass Effect s'exprime plus librement que jamais et propose une aventure exaltante, enchâssée dans un univers superbement cohérent. Certains défauts pourtant sont toujours de la partie, telle cette IA décevante, ces phases véhicules en carton et une durée de vie un peu limite. Rien qui n'empêche cependant Mass Effect de prétendre au titre de jeu enchanteur, à même de ravir les fans de space operas classieux et intelligents. Une fois encore, un grand merci à Bioware pour tant de générosité.

Jun 5th, 2008 · Windows · read review

JeuxVideoPC.com (18 out of 20)

Certes, Mass Effect est un jeu de rôle aux règles simplifiées et les amateurs de feuille de perso’ emplie de milliers de chiffres resteront sur leur faim. Mais, dans « jeu de rôle », il y a « rôle », soit la capacité d’un titre à nous immerger dans un univers crédible, cohérent et attachant. De ce point de vue, le titre de Bioware est une brillante réussite. Il offre de longues heures de voyages pour qui souhaite s’immerger dans un monde à la fois proche du notre et totalement différent.

Jun 6th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GamingXP (90 out of 100)

Wenn man über zeitweilige Schwächen der Team-KI hinweg sehen kann, dann zeigt sich "Mass Effect" in nahezu perfekter Form, die Atmosphäre des unendlichen Weltraumes wird perfekt simuliert, die Quests sind spannend und abwechslungsreich und die zwischen’menschlichen‘ Beziehungen, die man während des Spielens mit vielen NPCs aufbauen kann, bilden eine neue und interessante Komponente.

Jun 26th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamereactor (Denmark) (9 out of 10)

Mass Effect er en smuk og medrivende rumfortælling, der hiver dig helt ind bag skærmen, puster liv i din eventyrlyst og udfordrer dine følelser, din etik, din menneskelighed, din dømmekraft og dine kampfærdigheder.

Nov 27th, 2007 · Windows · read review

2404.org PC Gaming (9 out of 10)

Your first run through of Mass Effect can take anywhere from 30-40 hours to just under 15. A ton of the content is purely optional, and exploration alone will eat up many, many hours of your time. However long your initial play-through is, Mass Effect will only impress with its cinematic dialogue sequences, intense combat, and addicting exploration aspect. There are some definite problems with the game, but when looking at the game as a whole, it’s one thrilling experience. If you’re a sci-fi junkie, Mass Effect is a must-play. If you like shooters, Mass Effect is a must-play. If you like role-playing games, Mass Effect is a must-play. If you like… just play Mass Effect.

Jun 9th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Worth Playing (8.9 out of 10)

Mass Effect is an ambitious crossbreed between a sci-fi RPG and a third-person shooter, and its many strengths outweigh some small but nonetheless significant flaws. It is similar in many ways to Bioware's other RPG outings, and if you enjoyed Knights of the Old Republic in particular, Mass Effect is probably a good way of spending the 40 hours or so that it takes to complete the game, which you might otherwise have spent inspecting your navel for scraps of enlightenment or beating up virtual prostitutes for refunds.

Jun 9th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Onlinewelten.de (89 out of 100)

Auch wenn die Party-Entwicklung weniger lebendig ist, wenn weitaus seltener dieses herrlich pikante Gezeter ausbricht, die Welt über weite Strecken in Statik versinkt und spielmechanische Rückschritte gegenüber Knights of the Old Republic zu spüren sind, lässt euch Mass Effect in die Fänge der Faszination tapsen. Die Dialoge sind einfach zu packend, die Quests zu aufrüttelnd und die Höhepunkte zu geschickt über dieses etwa 30-stündige SciFi-Abenteuer verteilt. Und obwohl sich BioWare leider etwas zu früh in die wichtigen Storykarten blicken lässt, bleibt Mass Effect ein verdammt wertvolles Erlebnis erzählerisch erster Güteklasse. Ich habe im November gejubelt und tue das auch heute. Wer dieses Epos bislang ausgelassen oder einfach keine Konsole hat, kann diesen Fauxpas ab dem 5. Juni am PC ausbügeln.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamer Lobby (89 out of 100)

Rollenspiel trifft auf Action! Dass diese Kombination gelingen kann zeigen die Spiele „Fable“, „Jade Empire“ oder „Fallout“. Die Entwickler von Bioware, welche unter anderem für die famose „Knights of the Old Republic“-Reihe verantwortlich sind, verknüpfen in ihrem neuesten Streich „Mass Effect“ spektakuläre Actionszenen mit Rollenspielelementen.

Jul 16th, 2008 · Windows · read review

spieletipps (89 out of 100)

Absolut lobenswert ist die fast fehlerfreie Portierung von "Mass Effect" auf den PC. Steuerung und Menüs wurden bis auf kleine Ausnahmen sehr komfortabel und eingängig umgesetzt, bis auf kleinere Grafikbugs ist auch die Performance gut. Beim Balancing hat man das gleiche Problem wie auf der X-Box. Inhaltlich hat man nichts geändert so daß wir zwar die selbe genial erzählte Geschichte wie auf der X-Box haben, aber leider auch weiterhin die auf Dauer sowohl grafisch als auch inhaltlich etwas eintönigen Nebenmissionen. Die Welt wirkt trotzdem sehr packend, hätte aber im Detail noch lebendiger umgesetzt werden können, so hat das Gesinnungssystem keine unmittelbare Auswirkung auf den Handlungsverlauf und manche Oberflächen sind gemessen am Grafikniveau sehr schwach texturiert. Das alles ist im Endeffekt jedoch absolut zu verschmerzen: "Mass Effect" ist das beste Sci-Fi-Abenteuer, das man zur Zeit auf dem PC spielen kann.

Jun 14th, 2008 · Windows · read review

OMGN: Online Multiplayer Games Network (8.9 out of 10)

Despite the flaws, Mass Effect is still a great game with a compelling universe filled with great characters, stories, and places to explore. Check it out, but keep a realistic expectation in mind. Now, there’s a whole galaxy out there to explore -- better get started.

Jan 21st, 2011 · Windows · read review

Fragland.net (89 out of 100)

If I can be very rude for a second, I find Mass Effect an alternative version of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Remove The Force and add Mass Energy, inject a new story and replace the combat system with something real-time. The result on the other hand feels good and is what every RPG should be, except for the Miko of course. A lover without Xbox360? Then this version is certainly your thing!

Jul 6th, 2008 · Windows · read review

4Players.de (89 out of 100)

Bravo, BioWare, ihr habt mich sehr gut unterhalten! Ihr habt die Illusion eines glaubwürdigen Universums von schier unglaublicher Größe lange Zeit aufrechterhalten. Es fehlen mir letztlich mehr Momente der Entdeckung und Überraschung. Hinzu kommen einige technische und inhaltliche Mängel. Aber das sind Peanuts. Der größte Vorwurf, den man diesem über weite Strecken packenden Abenteuer machen kann ist der, dass Dramaturgie und Dialoge viel stärker sind als die eigentliche Story oder die Befriedigung des Entdecker- oder Spieldrangs. Ansonsten bin ich von der Qualität überzeugt. Letztlich ist die Tatsache, dass ich in moralische Konflikte gestürzt und emotional gepackt wurde, dass ich Entscheidungen mit spürbaren Konsequenzen treffen konnte, bei all den kleinen Schwächen immer noch ein verdammt seltenes und unheimlich kostbares Gütesiegel.

Nov 19th, 2007 · Windows · read review

ActionTrip (8.8 out of 10)

In its current state, it comes highly recommended too. Occasional technical glitches and frame-rate drops are a small price to pay for a genuinely thrilling space saga. Whether you've already played the game on the Xbox 360 or if you are completely unfamiliar with the universe, Mass Effect PC is a title you simply have to own.

Jun 4th, 2008 · Windows · read review

JagoGame.com (8.7 out of 10)

Mass Effect telah memuaskan penantian para gamers yang menunggu versi PCnya dengan sangat baik (termasuk gwe). Pada versi PCnya semuanya terlihat lebih bagus dan berjalan lebih mulus. Tapi ini tentunya harus didukung dengan komputer yang bertenaga. Suaranya juga keren banged, apalagi kalau menggunakan speaker 5.1 atau 7.1, kesan petempuran akan terasa lebih nyata dan seru. Meski versi konsolnya sudah dimainkan sampai tamat, rasa penasaran untuk kembali memainkan ini sangat kuat, dan ini ditandai dengan tamatnya versi PC dengan semua misi sampingan selesai (^.^ hore). Bagi gamers yang menyukai game jenis ini, atau ingin mencobanya, dijamin engga bakal nyesel dan pasti ketagihan main Mass Effect hingga lupa waktu.

Jun 2nd, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamesmania.de (87 out of 100)

Freude und Enttäuschung liegen bei Mass Effect dicht beisammen. Während mir die Zwischensequenzen und die vielen Dialoge herausragend gut gefallen haben und mich erstmals wirklich intensiv in eine Spielestory eintauchen lassen, bleibt mir der spielerische Kern von Mass Effect zu gewöhnlich. Das muss freilich nicht schlecht sein, zumal die Knights of the old Republic-Spiele ja auch viel Spaß machten, doch irgendwie hatte ich mir von den Actioneinlagen auf den Planetenoberflächen mehr versprochen. Gleiches trifft auf die Umgebungsgrafik und die engen Levelbegrenzungen zu. Doch da Mass Effect ohnehin fast mehr interaktiver Film als ein Spiel ist und mich spätestens nach zwanzig Minuten die nächste Zwischensequenz entschädigt, ist das neue Bioware Rollenspiel ganz ganz großes Kino, das jeder gespielt bzw. gesehen haben sollte.

Jun 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Game Captain (87 out of 100)

Mit einem gelungenen Mix aus Rollenspiel-Komplexität und Shooter-Action bietet Mass Effect ausgezeichnete Unterhaltung in einem lebendigen, gut ausgearbeiteten Szenario voller interessanter Gestalten und moralischer Entscheidungen. Nur Kleinigkeiten wie teils etwas karg gestaltete Nebenschauplätze stören das sehr gute Gesamtbild. Wer keine Xbox 360, hat muss jetzt endlich zugreifen.

Jun 9th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GamesFire (86 out of 100)

Mass Effect ist ein zweischneidiges Schwert. Einerseits überzeugt es mich mit der Ausarbeitung der Charaktermodelle, den Außerirdischen, der Hintergrundgeschichte und der Hauptstory selbst. Es zieht einen einfach in seinen Bann und man fiebert mit den Charakteren mit. Man beginnt das Spiel zu fühlen. Nur selten schafft ein Spiel so etwas. Andererseits hat BioWare auch einiges unversucht gelassen oder gar schlecht von der Konsolenversion umgesetzt. Der Taktikschirm ist nicht sonderlich komfortabel, das Inventar fummelig und die Nebenquests, die eigentlich für die Langzeitmotivation sorgen sollen, verschwinden in der Vergessenheit. Diese sind einfach zu eintönig, um interessant zu sein. Technisch machen die Entwickler dabei wieder einiges gut, setzen auf die Stärken der Effekte.

Jun 25th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gameswelt (86 out of 100)

Bioware hat mit der PC-Umsetzung von 'Mass Effect' wieder einmal sehr solide Arbeit geleistet. Vor allem in Bezug auf die Steuerung können sich so einige andere Entwickler mit ihren krampfigen Portierungen eine dicke Scheibe abschneiden. Dennoch kann ich mich nicht zu einer 90er-Wertung aufraffen. Zu sehr ähnelt die Spielmechanik dem legendären 'Knights of the Old Republic' und es hapert etwas an frischem Wind und neuen Ideen. Und die Nebenquests auf den Planeten sind schon fast peinlich einfallslos. Dennoch: Die Story ist klasse, das Gameplay geht bestens von der Hand und auch an der Präsentation gibt es wenig zu meckern. Vor allem die Darstellung der Charaktere im Spiel und in den Dialogen sucht derzeit seinesgleichen. Wer auf gute Story und viel Rollenspiel Wert legt, kann mit 'Mass Effect' nichts falsch machen.

May 28th, 2008 · Windows · read review

PC Action (Germany) (86 out of 100)

Mass Effect gehört für mich zu den besten Rollenspielen der vergangenen Jahre. Die Mischung aus Action, Rollenspiel und einer hervorragend erzählte Handlung ist beinahe perfekt. Einige Punkte trüben dennoch meine Begeisterung. Etwa die Tatsache, dass man sich trotz riesiger Galaxie mit vielen Planeten niemals in einer großen und lebendigen Welt fühlt. Viel zu statisch sind die Umgebungen, viel zu klein die Levels. Vielleicht werden da die nächsten beide Teilen besser - Mass Effect ist nämlich als Trilogie geplant. Für die Nachfolger wünsche ich mir aber, dass ich nicht nur meine Crew-Mitglieder, sondern auch jede weibliche Spielfigur flachlegen kann!

Jun 2008 · Windows

TTGamer (8.5 out of 10)

Mass Effect is a quality RPG/action title that feels at home on the PC platform despite its console origins. The game definitely has that BioWare RPG seal of approval going for it, and there is little doubt even fans of 'built for PC' RPGs will find a great single player experience here. There are a few let downs that perhaps are result of the game's console design limitations such as the linear and slightly repetitive environments, but what is lacking in Mass Effect just doesn't stack up in comparison to what isn't lacking, like the great storyline, the awesome character interaction and the versatility of the gameplay. This is definitely a series to watch out for and hopefully any sequel will see a PC release slightly quicker than the delay seen here, but in the mean time Mass Effect PC comes highly recommended from us for any PC gamer out there looking for a great blend of role playing, action and cinematic storyline.

Jun 12th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gamona (85 out of 100)

Auch das Kampfsystem ist Geschmackssache. Dummerweise werden aber weder Action-Fans noch Rollenspieler wirklich zufrieden mit den beiden Spielweisen sein – richtig ausgefeilt wirkt keine Variante. Doch das ist Kritik auf hohem Niveau: Zum Glück macht die phantastische Atmosphäre (unterstützt durch Sound und Design) viel Boden gut. Rollenspiel-Fans sollten sich das 40-stündige Maxi-Abenteuer auf keinen Fall entgehen lassen.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

PC Games (Germany) (85 out of 100)

Star Wars-Fans mögen mich dafür hassen: Ich finde das Universum von Mass Effect mindestens so spannend wie das aus Knights of the Old Republic. Besonders gefällt mir hier die Rolle der Menschheit als aufstrebende junge Spezies, das ist clever und endlich mal was anderes! Dass man selbst die Sexzenen zwischen Polygonfiguren ernst nehmen kann, ist ein Verdienst der sehr guten Grafik, vor allem aber Biowares hoher Regiekunst: Wie schon in Quantic Dreams Fahrenheit habe ich hier das Gefühl, dass echte Personen aufeinander reagieren. Einfach wunderbar. Ach, hätte man doch auch die Nebenquests mit so viel Sorgfalt und Liebe bedacht, ich würde nur zu gern eine 90 in mein Notizbuch kritzeln! So langt es nur für ein „sehr gut", eines mit viel Zucker und Sahne obendrauf.

Jun 2008 · Windows

GBase - The Gamer's Base (8.5 out of 10)

Aller Kritik zum Trotz ist Mass Effect das erste ordentliche PC-Rollenspiel in diesem Jahr, das zudem einen hohen Wiederspielwert verspricht und technisch grösstenteils sehr beeindruckend umgesetzt wurde. Wer S.T.A.L.K.E.R. oder Vampire: Bloodlines mochte und auf die Science-Fiction-Thematik steht, darf also gerne zugreifen.

Jun 23rd, 2008 · Windows · read review

gameZine (UK) (8.5 out of 10)

Personally, I think breaking up the story sections with combat has caused me to be somewhat disengaged from the experience, especially when a lot of them occur after wandering around in the Mako. I don’t want to end on a negative though, as there is far more about Mass Effect that is worth applauding and it is still, on the whole, an enjoyable game. Just not the out-and-out classic I was led to believe it was.

Jun 26th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Game Over Online (85 out of 100)

As I read over this review it comes across as pretty negative. That’s not my intent at all. The RPG FPS elements, which make up far and away the majority of the game, work really well, as you would expect a Bioware title would. The story is original, compelling, and told in a way that builds suspense. It’s the other stuff, 10% of the game tops, that Mass Effect could have done without.

Jun 10th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameStar (Germany) (85 out of 100)

Ich mag Rollenspiele, ich mag Science Fiction. Mass Effect hat bei mir also schon gewonnen - trotz seiner offensichtlichen Schwächen. Mir ist schleierhaft, wie Bioware nach dem wunder- und fantasievollen Jade Empire derart uninspirierte Nebenmissionen abliefern kann. Und warum muss ich den Roman zum Spiel lesen, um die Handlung von Anfang an zu verstehen? Bioware hätte die Vorgeschichte doch auch im Intro erzählen können. Sei's drum, die guten Haupt-Quests und vor allem das grandiose Ende entschädigen für alle Macken.

May 28th, 2008 · Windows

Games Finder (8.5 out of 10)

This overview of Mass Effect has barely touched the surface of the role playing depth that you’ll get to experience in the game. The level of options encompassing dialogue, morality, team setup, classes, items and other game elements is almost as endless the galaxy the game takes place in.

May 1st, 2014 · Windows · read review

CanardPC (8 out of 10)

En tant que fan de RPG, Mass Effect a tout pour me faire tiquer : combats simplistes, fiches de persos anémiques, univers finalement assez borné et étriqué. En théorie, car en pratique, une fois lancé, il est difficile de se détacher de cet excellent condensé d’histoires malignes et bien racontées servi par des quêtes aux résolutions multiples et souvent pacifiques. On apprend à connaître l’univers, on se fond dans les cultures, us et coutumes, on se taille une route dans le fouillis mystico-diplomatique de certains peuples et surtout, on s’éclate. Omar Boulon

Jun 1st, 2008 · Windows · read review

games xtreme (8 out of 10)

It's a fun game that can be enjoyed by RPGers and action game fans in roughly equal measure - although RPG fans may be left somewhat disappointed by the rather shallow dynamics - and while it's good, it feels as if it was really just getting started. No sooner have you got into the swing of things than it's over - oh, naturally there's the replay value of going through it again, looking for those random sidequests, playing it as evil instead of good, etc. but it's never really the same the second time through and given that this game is from Bioware, it's rather disappointing that it's all over so soon. Which is, in it's way - a backhanded compliment... but then, when you're forking over your cash for a game, you probably want something that will take you more than a few days of hard gaming to burn through, don't you? In fairness, still better value than going to see a film and it is enjoyable, pretty and interesting... it's just a shame that it's (relatively) shallow and short...

Jun 26th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Eurogamer.net (UK) (8 out of 10)

And if that strikes you as nit-picking, I suspect RPG-heads are going to throwing swords of griping +4 when I note that the sub-quest system seems particularly ill-fitting here. It's always been an issue in an RPG when you throw a serious threat into the plot, and then the player is free to wander off before casually get around to saving the world. Even if there's no time limit, if you don't feel the need to go and try and stop the baddy immediately, your game has fundamentally failed to immerse. To that end, Mass Effect succeeds, as I went through the main plot in less than twenty hours, with only a minimum of side-tracking, but there's a lot of content I didn't look at. If you're offering a galaxy to explore, you should try and create a plot which at least leaves room to explore. Mass Effect serves two masters, and it never quite works.

May 27th, 2008 · Windows · read review

DemoNews.de (8 out of 10)

Aber noch mal – „Mass Effect“ ist beileibe kein schlechtes Spiel. Eine spannende Story, sehr gute Grafik und ein solider Mix aus Action-RPG und Taktik-Shooter machen das Spiel zu einem Pflichtkauf für PC-Spieler. Das ist für mich aber zu wenig für eine 90% Wertung. Bei diesem Hintergrundszenario und dem Können der Entwickler hatte ich mehr erhofft. Ich wollte eine epische Geschichte mit „lebendigen“ Figuren und großer Entscheidungsfreiheit. Das ist es leider nicht geworden. Wer hätte das aber eher geschafft als Bioware?

Jun 17th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Hooked Gamers (8 out of 10)

It might not beat Gears of War in the third person shooter genre but then again, who asked for that?

Jun 24th, 2008 · Windows · read review

DarkZero (8 out of 10)

Admittedly, the game isn’t for everyone - there’s a lot of dialogue to wade through, so if you’re not into sci-fi or having conversations with your crew members just for the sake of finding out their back-stories (all of which are brilliant, by the way), you might get bored pretty quickly - and obviously there’s not really enough new here to interest those who’ve already finished the 360 version. The rest of the PC gaming community, though, has got one hell of an adventure to look forward to.

Jul 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Yiya (12 out of 15)

Mass Effect ist ein rundum gelungener Rollenspiel-Shooter-Mix geworden, besonders in der derzeitigen Saure-Gurken-Zeit. Vor allem der Mut der Entwickler weiterhin Neues zu versuchen, muss an dieser Stelle noch einmal ausdrücklich gelobt werden. Zwar wird sich der gewillte Spieler auf die eigenwillige Mischung erst einlassen müssen, denn das viele Geballer und die doch recht simple Charakterentwicklung werden so manchen Rollenspieler viel Toleranz abringen, aber es lohnt sich auch mal in Genre-fremden Gewässern zu fischen. Auch die tollen Dialoge, mit all ihren Möglichkeiten, die grandiose Sprachausgabe und die hübsche Grafik verdienen Anerkennung. Leider hinterlässt Mass Effect, wie so fast jedes Rollenspiel der letzen vier Jahre, einen unangenehmen Beigeschmack.

Jul 3rd, 2008 · Windows · read review

Thunderbolt Games (8 out of 10)

Though Citadel Action News rarely provides an editorial stance, we believe that all citizens across the galaxy should support Commander Shepard and his mission.

Nov 15th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Absolute Games (AG.ru) (79 out of 100)

Mass Effect — крепкий боевик класса В, после которого не сожалеешь о впустую потраченном времени. Она неплохо развлекает и показывает красивые кадры, оставляя быстро меркнущие воспоминания. Жаль, не вышло лучше.

Jun 15th, 2008 · Windows · read review

FiringSquad (75 out of 100)

As captivating as Mass Effect is in terms of story, setting, and core game mechanics, it sort of falls apart when it comes to basic gameplay. I couldn't have asked for a better script or a more alluring sci-fi saga, but the quests and level design seemed tailor-made to put me to sleep. While the script kept me pushing forward, so eager to unravel the mysteries of the Geth and the Reapers that I finished the game in five marathon play sessions, all of the running back and forth through oversized levels to complete odd jobs wore my patience to a nub.

Jun 6th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Computer Bild Spiele (2.42 out of 6)

Der Gesamteindruck: Ein gewaltiges Rollenspiel von epischer Breite, das mit vielen Innovationen gespickt ist, die nicht an den klassischen Grenzen des Genres haltmachen. Nur die teils unpassenden deutschen Stimmen sind Spaßverderber. Aber keine Spielverderber - dazu ist die Substanz von Mass Effect viel zu "gut".

Jul 2nd, 2008 · Windows

Gaming since 198x (3 out of 5)

Graphiquement superbe, avec des environnements magnifiques et des personnages fins et expressifs, Mass Effect nous ramène à notre jeunesse devant Star Trek grâce à un univers riche et largement inexploité de créatures extra-terrestres belliqueuses ou amicales, de planètes à explorer et de choix cornéliens. La jouabilité lors des combats est très simple et efficace, la présence de quick slots vous aidera à utiliser vos pouvoirs rapidement, et vos co-équipiers se débrouillent relativement bien tout seuls. Le coté RPG est loin d'être riche, il est plutôt basé uniquement sur les dialogues, on ne court pas après les XP, plutôt après les possibilités de jouer plus, peu importe la récompense matérielle, tellement le jeu est court, car c'est là son principal défaut, une durée de vie minuscule, compensée par une replay-value potentiellement bonne.

Jul 15th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameAwards.ru N/A

Вернувшись до темы превосходства, нужно отметить игру "Ведьмак", которая ровнялась на Mass Effect, а в итоге превзошла её по всем параметрам. Поляки старались быть такими же как и "старшие" в студии BioWare в результате вышла более глубокая и оригинальная игра. А новая космическая баталия понравится лишь ярым фанатам фантастики.

Oct 12th, 2014 · Windows · read review

Player Reviews

Hardly massive, and not too effective
by Unicorn Lynx (181288)

The Good
I've been a fan of BioWare ever since they entered the RPG stage with the legendary Baldur's Gate. Needless to say I was very excited when I heard about Mass Effect, ready to trust the crafty Canadians even after a few hiccups. I grabbed the game immediately. I played it non-stop, having some of the longest gaming sessions in recent times. And, even though it managed to confirm some of my darkest suspicions concerning BioWare's new design philosophy, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it.

Mass Effect is a game with a lot of charisma, ranging from cheap bravado to serious cinematic appeal; it cleverly cheats its way out of situations another game would surrender and collapse in.

Many people see the new combat system as a drawback. I think they did pretty well, given the impossible task of combining fast-paced shooting with party management and role-playing. In any case, this is a definite improvement over the paltry choices of Jade Empire. You have a fully controllable party, weapons, armor, upgrades, etc.

A nice gameplay feature is the ability to navigate a "mako", an armored vehicle with guns, through the outdoor areas of most planets. The weapons mounted on the mako are very powerful, and it's fun to use them in combat against the many enemy ambushes you'll encounter on your way. There are many planets you can simply go to and drive around in your mako. You cannot land on all of them, but there are still enough left to explore and to look for side quests. In comparison, Knights of the Old Republic games didn't allow you to go to any planets but those that were required to visit in order to complete the main quest.

Many of the things you say, many of the decisions you take will leave their mark on the game's story. Some of those decisions are tough and go beyond being nice or rude to someone. At one point of the game, you'll have an opportunity to commit a genocide against a race that is perceived as incurably violent by nearly everyone. However, the representative of the race promises you that they have learned their lesson and will never attack anyone again. Will you risk putting peace and safety in the galaxy in danger, or will you exterminate an entire race of living creatures? The choice is yours. At another point, you'll have to take a life and death decision concerning two of your party members. You won't be able to rescue them both, but you will be able to choose whose life you'll save. Which one will it be? It's a shame such meaningful choices are few and far between.

Keeping a well-known BioWare tradition intact, Mass Effect pays a lot of attention to companions. Each party member comes with sharply defined backgrounds, personalities, opinions, etc. Very often party members will interfere in your dialogues, agreeing or disagreeing, stating their opinions, giving you advice. Sometimes I wanted to replay an entire location just because I was interested what other party members would say about what I did. Companions will comment on situations, talk to each other, and generally will always be present. After each major quest, more conversation topics will be open for you with each companion. You can take your time and get to know them all, find out more about their past, their opinions, their personality. And of course, what would a BioWare RPG be without romance? As a male Shepard, you can have love affairs with two female members of your party; as a female Shepard, you can romance a male human soldier, and a sexy female human-like alien. And oh, naturally there is the famous lesbian sex scene that caused so much controversy...

Mass Effect has good writing. Most BioWare games shine in this department, and this is certainly no exception. The writing is fluent and natural, it never gets awkward or too sophisticated, but also never oversimplifies things. Many of the dialogues have that particular fine sense of humor those games are known for.

However, what I liked most about Mass Effect is its ability to create a new world from scratch and immerse the player into it. In that respect, it is like a good sci-fi book, the first part of a series set in an original universe that compels you to get the sequels and have the entire collection. Even though the setting of the game is a rather standard sci-fi, complete with spaceships, different alien races, advanced robotic creatures etc., the developers brought it to life thanks to their dedication. They have created a whole universe in Mass Effect, and that universe became the undisputed star of the nascent franchise and the main justification for its existence.

Though a lot of its themes were hastily taken from various works of American science fiction literature, Mass Effect does manage to combine popular sci-fi tropes with interesting nearly-philosophical speculations and convincing depiction of a vast alien world. It almost makes the universe of Star Wars feel superficial and lacking detail. While in Star Wars there are all kinds of alien races, we never really learn much about them. They are all just aliens, weird or funny creatures. In Mass Effect, every race is described in detail, having its own characteristics, history, social system, customs, values, etc. I've rarely seen alien races so vividly portrayed, so interesting and memorable - surely not since Star Control II a while ago. It's a pleasure to just read the in-game "codex" - information about races, locations, scientific terms, and history of the game's universe. In Mass Effect they have created a setting that could serve as a great background for many stories.

The Bad
There is no way around the fact that BioWare is getting lazy, and unfortunately Mass Effect displays clear symptoms of that disease. The biggest drawback here is the size of the game's locations. I know it probably sounds strange, since there are all those planets you can explore, but the problem is that the planets themselves only offer a very small area for exploration. Same applies to the planets you have to visit as part of the main quest progression: they all consist of a small settlement, that is typically connected by a strictly linear route (on which you drive the mako) to a dungeon-like location.

What I personally missed most of all in Mass Effect are all those large urban locations from other RPGs, in which you can talk to hundreds of NPCs and undertake many side quests. The locations in the game are severely underpopulated. While some characters offer extensive conversation trees, often with interesting personal questions and alike, others either blurt out short, simple lines, or won't talk to you at all. I like the feeling of being lost in a huge, bustling city, exploring it, listening to the latest gossip, talking to everyone, and interfering myself in the local matters. Alas, Mass Effect doesn't really have that. The only location that comes remotely close to that is the Citadel, the main "hub" of the game.

This lack of population and activity probably harms Mass Effect more than it would many other games. The game is set in a very detailed universe, with many distinct alien races and cultures. How exciting would it be, for example, to visit a Turian megalopolis, or a beautiful Asari city! Sadly, there is nothing of that sort in the game. The planets that you can land on are for the most part colonies, with ugly-looking settlements and nothing more. Mass Effect is not very pleasing aesthetically. There is hardly a location that would stun you with its beauty. It is always the same unexciting architecture all over again. Even the dungeons look very similar to each other. There is a certain lack of life in the game's locations, which is even more noticeable when compared to the outstanding liveliness of the characters.

The side quests of Mass Effect are surprisingly uninspired. We are not talking S.T.A.L.K.E.R. here, but compared to previous BioWare games, this offering is less than satisfying in that aspect. The few interesting side quests are quickly dissolved into the many similar "go there, kill everyone, come back, get the reward" assignments. Granted, there are many side quests in the game, since there are so many locations. Unfortunately, the quantity hasn't really translated into quality here.

The paragon-renegade moral system sounds good on paper, more like a law-chaos axis than a good-evil one, like in Shin Megami Tensei. But in reality, the system is nearly always used for plain old good and evil decisions rather than lawful and chaotic ones. Sure, in some instances the game does use its system properly (like whether to report everything to the Council in a paragon fashion or just do your thing on your own, renegade-wise), but many other choices are just standard black and white decisions, much like Jedi and Sith in Knights of the Old Republic games. For example, exterminating a race for the safety of the galaxy is actually a pretty paragon (lawful) decision, while letting it develop, with unforeseen consequences, is much more chaotic (renegade). Yet you score paragon points for sparing the race, because it would be the morally good thing to do. The Council - the very incarnation of the paragon system - actually reprimands you for doing that! Which is another proof that something went wrong with implementing this system.

A minor annoyance for me was the fact that most of Shepard's responses didn't correspond to the conversation choices that were presented to me. Often I would choose a response only to have Shepard say something quite different from what I intended. Sometimes Shepard would change the tone of the conversation without me actually wanting that. That makes it pretty hard to make choices during dialogues. Also, some of the choices suspiciously lead to the exact same answer, adding to confusion and making me wonder why they were made available in the first place.

The Bottom Line
It's tough for someone with classic preferences in role-playing games to appreciate Mass Effect. It is in many ways a typical modern game, and a typical product of commercialized BioWare, with some serious corners cut and efforts spared. It's fun, but there is no denying the fact that deep role-playing has given way to lesbian romances and merry shoot-outs in space where no one can hear you copy-paste.

Sep 6th, 2017 · Windows

The expanding universe
by NeoJ (454)

The Good
Many things could be said about this great game. Mass effect is the beginning of something big, a new videogame universe with many possibilities is now open, and it's just the beginning. The similarities with the Star Wars saga are clear, a Citadel with a council that rules the destiny of many worlds, different species with different culture and history really attractive to be known, political matters or special combat units trying to keep the order in the galaxy, but that's not all.

Mass Effect is something more than a videogame with some Star Wars references, it's much better than that. Mass effect is a new universe for the player, with a perfect argument that could be the script of any successfully science-fiction film. The story is deep and interesting from the beginning to its ending, and it's because you can change many things of that with your decisions. In this game was really necessary to talk a lot, explaining the main story as well as other aspects such as creatures, political matters and other things. The need to talk was the reason to make a perfect system in which you can say anything you want, with that the game is more than bearable and you don't have to watch how they talk during hours. You'll have to say what you want almost every time, and what you say will have an effect on your mission and progress. If this system would have never existed the game probably would be boring and tedious with hours of talking and the player would lost the interest on the main story.

Beside the deep story, Mass Effect is also good as a game. Gameplay is good, with a tactical group battle system which is not explosive and spectacular but it's ok. You'll need some time to know how it works and many more to know how the weapon system works, with many weapons, different kinds of ammo and other item upgrades. It's a little confusing at the beginning but when you know how to deal with it you'll have no problem.

Graphics are beautiful, every world of the main story has many details and cinematics are good too, which is something important because the whole game is like a movie. Graphics of the secondary planets are a little bit repetitive but they're ok. Facial expressions are good and that's a good point to remark because you can customize your character, with the possibility of being a female character. All the members of your crew are well done too. No matter what character you make or if you use the default one, he/she will be charismatic. We're not talking about one of those games in which the main character don't say a word (it doesn't matter if he's about to die, he won't say anything!), here, Shepard will talk with everybody as a specter and will take care of anything that you want actively. Every character has their own way to be, with different points of view and they will give you their opinion during the game. Beside that they have different skills which makes the game more tactical.

The RPG elements are obvious, it's an action game mixed with some occidental RPG elements. You will gain levels destroying your enemies and you can win some skills with that, different weapons, lots of secondary objectives and different things to do in the order that you want to do.

Sound's good, specially the voices. Voice acting is a good point of the game, and as I said it's important for a game in which talking is something priority. FX is on a par and music is epic and emotive. it's background music at the beginning and maybe you won't even notice it, but when you progress in the game it changes to much more epic and moving.

The Bad
Beside some technical bugs, we have many other things that could be much better. To start with, game duration is short, really short. If you don't want to play the side quests you'll finish the game sooner than you expected. The storyline is short and it's a game made to be played with patience and, overall, doing the secondary objects, because if you don't do that you won't enjoy the game as it should be. You can finish the game with all the secondary quests in 35 hours or so, probably 25 of them are just for secondary missions. Linking with that, secondary objectives aren't spectacular, some of them are boring and just a message will tell you what's happening, something like "with that shot you've killed the enemy, go tell your friend what you've done". We understand that we can't have a cinematic for every secondary mission but... there are many other ways to make them more attractive.

Exploring the planets is cool, the Mako is easy to use but some of them looks like the shame. It's difficult to make an amount of planets, but some of them could be even more singular. You can climb almost every mountain, but there are some planets which have lots of them, and to drive the Mako on those planets is a little irritating. Also, there are many planets and you won't be sure about which of them you've visited, and that's not a help if you're one of those players that want to see everything of a game,

Battles are good, but maybe some explosions could make them much more spectacular. Anyway it's possible that the essence of the game would change because of that, so, that's just an opinion. What's not an opinion is the fact that weapon system isn't the best ever. You'll gain many objects during your battle, and you have to stop just to see what you've taken, and you'll spent A LOT of time in your inventory administering it. You don't have to do it just for you, you have to do it for the rest of your squad, and sometimes you will rule out some items which are better than yours without knowing it. For example, you can't compare the weapon you've just taken with the weapon of a squad member which is on the Normandy because you decided not to carry him with you. A game like this need to resolve that problem.

Difficulty is strange, it's probably one of the few games that has an inverse difficulty. When you start you'll be killed a lot of times, and that's not because you don't know how to play (it could help too anyway), that's because you don't have heavy weapons or special ammo. When you've played some hours and finished some secondary missions you'll gain extra items and it's going to be really easy to kill all your enemies. You'll gain extra skills too, and it looks like the enemies has the same level all the game (which is not true at all, but that's what it looks when you're playing) and that's why the game is difficult at the beginning and easier as you progress.

The Bottom Line
Mass effect is the beginning of a important saga, which needs some improvements in some aspects and much more length on its main playable storyline, but good enough to be one of the best games in some years mixing tactical action with RPG elements. If you love science-fiction movies don't doubt about playing it, the story is attractive enough to caught you from the beginning, short but really intensive.

Jun 14th, 2009 · Windows

An epic adventure of the most humble proportions.
by St. Martyne (3648)

The Good
I liked Mass Effect. It’s great game packed with action, suspense, impressive visuals and quite a bundle of technological wonders, all of which I’ll try to praise to the best of my ability in the following paragraphs. The only problem I had with this game is that it failed to meet all the expectations I had for it. Or, to be more precise, the expectations I had in mind for a Bioware game.

There are plenty of things to be thrilled at in Mass Effect. Just like a previous Bioware game, Jade Empire, it is set in entirely new universe, which was created specifically for this game. And although the majority of components comprising the world of ME have been clichéd to death, the shear amount of detail and a careful attention to the actual “science” in “science fiction” is admirable. Very rarely we can enjoy a sci-fi game that actually tries to explain the inner workings of its wondrous technological future.

While not required in order to progress through the game, the in-built Codex containing the lore of ME world has clearly enjoyed a lot of effort on part of Bioware developers. Learning about the world, the customs of its inhabitants and the history of conflict between humanity and other races never get dull. And, although, this information will hardly ever come to an actual use (you don’t really have to know how the scanning equipment of your ship works) this enormous conglomerate of optional information helps to create an illusion of a huge world persisting outside your ship. The world, which is, unfortunately, not there.

However, you won’t notice that at first. Remarkable voice acting and brilliant cinematography of the game’s NPC interaction will make you believe in the characters before you and in things they say. Their actions, gestures, smiles and eye movements feel superbly natural and expressive. Even the species from other worlds have a set of facial gestures transforming the prosthetic mask into a living, breathing alien being. An effort which could’ve been undermined by amateur voice acting. Not this time, though.

Mass Effect contains some of the most brilliant video game acting ever captured on a DVD. Some notable Hollywood stars have been invited to lend their voices to generals, captains, aliens and dozens of other inhabitants of Mass Effect version of the galaxy. Specifically, I wouldn’t forgive myself if I let Jennifer Hale get away from this review without getting a special mention. Her confident and at the same time gentle acting has once again brought life and vigor to her on-monitor persona. This time it was Commander Martyne Shepard, the character I personally assumed control over. It was amazing how good her facial features (created by yours truly via game’s robust character creation utility) complimented on her voice and vice versa. In the end I have established a character, which I won’t be able to forget. What astounds me the most is that Shepard I know is totally different from what you could have come up with. This detail has provided another layer of an emotional connection to the character.

Other characters have also received additional personality treatment. Each character’s voice is characterized not only by its timbre, but by intonation, speed, simple but effective EQ effects and so on. Wry and cynic comments by Wrex, childlike awe by Tali, careful probing by Kaidan and confused arrogance by Liara. Every character is blooming with personality, thanks to ingenious acting performance.

But once they leave your ship they become little more than mindless squad members. Forget about the memorable exchanges between the characters of your party in Baldur’s Gate 2 and Knights Of The Old Republic. The occasional two lines of pointless dialog in a random elevator are all one can look forward to.

And given the game’s quality of tactical combat, I would have preferred to leave all my pals on Normandy altogether. The combat gameplay of Mass Effect bears little resemblance to either elegant brawl of the games based on Infinity engine or spectacular yet still thoughtful battles of Knights Of the Republic. But I have to admit, that gunwaving in ME is rather fun. Taking cover and shooting bastards into small pieces feels very tight, and with the additional support of biotic abilities it can provide an interesting field for experimentations. Your weapon proficiency matters a great deal, so take care while choosing your weapon, a low level in it might result in a quick and painful death. Anyway, the combat of ME is a good blend between Action and RPG with a complete failure in place of a tactical component.

The Bad
This is something I could’ve lived with; if not for other glaring flaws and mistakes Bioware had committed during the development of this game. The major flaw of ME is the lack of variety, scope and content. Everything in Mass Effect is small-sized, short and cut on expenses. Where have all the various worlds of Knights Of the Republic and Baldurs Gate 2 gone? There is only one (!) community area in Mass Effect, the Citadel. It’s impossible to believe, that this is the game made by the same people who created all those phenomenal locations from BG2: the drow city, the underwater fish city, the elven coven, various villages and huge Amn, the size of which alone equals nearly ten of ME citadels. There’s none of that in Mass Effect, there’s shortage on characters to meet, there’s a shortage on engaging side quests, there’s a shortage on dialog options, there’s a shortage on interaction with party members. The game is short of virtually everything which made past Bioware games so appealing.

But what Bioware offers us in exchange for memorable worlds and situations? Surely they must have provided something, since the game took me thirty hours to complete. Quite long for the modern age RPG actually.

They have, but I really wish they haven’t. I don’t know who had the idea, that all, yes, all the side quests (the majority of which rarely deviate from save/kill formula) must be completed in the same backgrounds, over and over again. At least all those barren planets I am asked to land on are reskinned every now and then, but the locations where the game’s side quests take place are totally indistinguishable, - bunker, warehouse, floating ship and an excavation site.

Only four three-room levels for every quest you may find in this game. It’s unbelievable. Should I remind that earlier games of this very company have featured hand-crafted environments for every room, closet and object, in a quantity that far surpass whatever Mass Effect may offer? Even Oblivion, which has been criticized for identical-looking dungeons have tried to change the layout of them, and certainly did not copied them over and over again like ME did.

The storyline planets are unique alright. As unique as you would expect four corridor shooting galleries to look. There are rarely more than two additional quests on these worlds, both of which can be completed in under five minutes and there is nothing memorable to them either.

Everything in Mass Effect has this taint of incompleteness, even the praised storyline. The characters arcs aren’t even complicated, let alone resolved. Despite having six party members, only three will actually give you quests, and all three will have no consequences on the character’s development. The main story leaves a lot to be desired too. Forget the violent plot twist of KOTOR, the personal agenda of BG2, or even the loyalty tale of Jade Empire. Saren isn’t cut to be a memorable villain and a mysterious cybernetic race threatening to wipe the whole galaxy is nothing original (I can trace it as far as Frederick Pohl, but I am no expert) either.

“But why are they doing it? Why are they destroying everything?” asks the dialog option, “Who cares? Do you want to die?” answers a superior being. So much for motivation.

Other artificial substitutions for real content which made their way into Mass Effect are: a ridiculous number of collecting mini-games to please Achievement obsessed X360 fans; funny little hacking mini-game, which is overused so many times, that it stops being funny at your first hour into the game; uncomfortable interface that makes party and item management much more painful than they have to be and general repetition in everything.

On this sad note I have only this left to say.

Let’s sum it up! ™

The Bottom Line
Talent: 4/5

Whatever Bioware does, it does it like no other can. That much is true, Mass Effect was created by a very skilled bunch of men and women. Even if they did it during the coffee break, the pure talent of those folks demands respect, which I am happy to provide.

Ambition: 3/5

The intention behind this game is a far cry from what we could read in the Baldur’s Gate 2 manual. Bioware didn’t care to deliver the ultimate role-playing experience this time around. However, their ambition was enough to make the most cinematic one.

Pteity (Pushing The Envelope - ity): 2/5

There’s really nothing new to admire in Mass Effect. The dialog system is the same we used for years, albeit a bit more fluid. But what’s point of the system if I have to endure characters repeating the same lines over and over again? If this is what people mean by “next-gen cRPG” then my generation is long gone.

Effort: 1/5

The minimal effort applied shows everywhere. Uninspired quests, lack of exploration options, a vast galaxy to investigate, yet nothing but barren rocks in it. No wonder Mass Effect is just a first game of the planned trilogy. Currently, it doesn’t have even the quarter of the content of previous Bioware titles (excluding Jade Empire, which shared the same disease).

Adequacy: 4/5

Despite couple of questionable aspects to the story, the game’s quite consistent in its presentation. The stylistic approach is maintained throughout the game at the expense of diversity. Why do every species clothe themselves in exactly the same colors and design? The characters feel extremely real though, no matter if they are blue-skinned female aliens with tentacles on their heads or a straightwalking bugs. Mostly thanks to the adequate voice acting.

Total: 2.6/5

As you can see, the problem lies not with the game’s length, but with the type and quality of content it presents. I hate to give Mass Effect such a low score, but truth of the matter is that a company of Bioware’s stature should be ashamed of releasing a game like this. With the amount of the talent the team possesses it’s unfortunate that they decided to keep things as small as possible this time around, relying more on copy/paste techniques rather than on original thinking.

Why? I believe the answer is quite simple. Why bother making a full fledged game with tons of opportunities, options and possibilities, if you can recreate only the fifth part of it and put the same price tag on the box?

That makes business sense. But Bioware should take notice, because new kids have already arrived, and in the world of competition, talent is nothing without hard work to support it. Beware Bioware, you’re walking an extremely thin line here; make sure you won’t fall the victim of your own laziness.

Jun 16th, 2008 · Windows

Neither fish nor fowl - but nourishing nonetheless
by Kit Simmons (264)

The Good
Until the mid-80s role-playing games were the domain of personal computers. The classics of the genre were deep and immersive, but also cumbersome and dry. During the 8-bit and 16-bit age, a new breed of RPGs conquered the market. Console role-playing games, or CRPGs, were predominantly of Asian production and instead of endless ASCII dungeons, statistics and complicated character management they featured simple game mechanics enriched by memorably cinematic plots and characters. While overlooked by the Western market at first, by now CRPGs have overtaken a seizable niche which during the late 80s until well into the mid-90s ousted classic PC RPGs.

Enter BioWare, formerly Black Isle Studios. Their 1998 masterpiece Baldur's Gate bridged the gap between CRPGs and classic PC RPGs. This development reached its pinnacle with Knights of the Old Republic, a game featuring the well-tested and flexible D&D rules and the prestigious Star Wars franchise to tell an epic tale.

Taking the best of two worlds, certain concessions to the CRPG formula were made - instead of an explorable, open game world more linear areas began to take foot even in Western RPGs. In BioWare's case this culminated in Jade Empire, a game featuring a severely reduced character system, action-based combat and an even smaller and more linear world than KotOR before it.

With Mass Effect BioWare seems to have found back to some of the classic genre's old strengths. While the character system is completely skill-based rather than relying on stats describing the player in-game, it still allows for variance, further aided by an elaborate dialogue system and the customisation of the main characters' outward appearances. Plot decisions, mostly determined through dialogue options, alter the story slightly at key points. Rather than forcing players to listen to their characters repeat their dialogue choices, Mass Effect instead allows them to pick from a condensed list of paraphrases at any time during conversations to determine their characters' reactions. The result is a natural flow of conversation which makes players want to listen to everything said - no small feat for such a talk-heavy game.

Combat in Mass Effect is still action-based but thanks to customisable team members, tactical game pauses and a cover system the game is less of a button-masher than Jade Empire was. Since it plays in the far future melee plays a very minor role in the confrontations. All characters' gear can be upgraded through an increasing amount of upgrade slots. Further seasoning battles are biotic skills, comparable to magic spells, which in Mass Effect take the form of telekinetic powers. Thanks to the character classes it is, however, possible to take an approach more geared towards brute physical force or the sly manipulation of the ever-present technology.

The story puts players in the space boots of a human keeper of the peace in a multi-cultural alien society which hasn't acknowledged humanity's full social rights too long ago and still fights with prejudices against it. The opportunities for conflict in the uneasy congregation of civilizations living off the technological ruins of an ancient race called Protheans are diverse. To delve deeper into the Mass Effect universe's rich background, an in-game encyclopaedia with spoken entries reveals much of the encountered alien races and their common history. Commander Shepard, the player character's unchangeable last name by which he or she is constantly addressed, takes up the mantle of Spectre, a high governmental agent operating outside the legal system to enforce the will of the Council. Such authority is soon needed as a renegade Spectre called Saren appears to have forged an alliance with the Geth, ruthless machine beings bent on destroying biological life using the same eerie threat that wiped out the mysterious Protheans aeons ago.

Like KotOR, Mass Effect assigns players their own spaceship and crew with which they can explore a variety of worlds, either discovering their own little missions or carrying out the orders of the Council and other government officials. The game universe is significantly larger than in KotOR but consists mostly of barren planets with little to find on them. The game's main plot evolves over a series of main missions, each leading players closer to Saren and the forces he's intending to unleash. The game makes good use of its detailed character models and cinematic dialogues and cut scenes to tell a mature science fiction story about prejudice, life's purpose in the universe and a person's impact on it.

The Bad
Mass Effect does a lot of things right and a whole lot of things better than its predecessor Jade Empire. Although also a good game, Jade Empire's simple game mechanics and linearity took away from its role-playing experience. Mass Effect enhances many areas which fell short in Jade Empire but still maintains some of its problems.

The main plot is comparably short for an RPG and can be solved in well under thirty hours, making it even shorter than 40+ hours epics like KotOR. Side missions enhance the game experience only slightly as the assignments tend to be rather generic missions taking place at even more generic locations. While a good deal of systems and their planets can be visited, few are truly worth the players' time. Basically a nice gimmick, the Mako vehicle which players can drive on planet surfaces controls like a bumpy iron lump to which gravity seems to be only a suggestion, not a law. The DLCs aren't too satisfying, either. While the first, Bringing Down The Sky, added a new in-game alien race and was free for PC users to download, the recently released Pinnacle Station DLC requires them to pay five dollars for a mere two to three hours of additional content falling way short of the original program's depth.

Overall the game still feels limited when it comes to character development and exploration. Almost all skills players can learn never affect the game world outside of combat. Although many equipment items and upgrades can be discovered, the game can't hide that there are only a handful of item categories and most differences between items are only gradual.

The main story is linear in spite of several choices players can make along the way and quickly leads up to the finale. Although Mass Effect's story is original and full of its own flavour, some elements feel slightly clichéd, such as the order of the Spectre's with their biotic talents under the control of a world-spanning council and the sinister villain and his horde of faceless henchmen. Even though the game doesn't come with a clear-cut good/evil system to evaluate players' deeds, BioWare hasn't fully emancipated itself yet from some Star Wars-inspired genre conventions - ironically introduced by themselves.

The Bottom Line
Mass Effect innovates while retracing its genre's roots. Its serious and mature plot full of dry, realistic but not uninteresting characters and colourful universe appeals to science fiction lovers both of the Star Wars and Star Trek persuasion. While being somewhat limited in scope and freedom, its plot entertains on a high level. All in all, the game isn't a perfect balance between depth and accessibility yet. Old school RPG lovers will criticise its lack of scope in terms of game time and mechanics while CRPG players may find it too dry and tactical. However, as part one of a sci-fi trilogy set in a rich universe, this first in the Mass Effect franchise holds a lot of promise.

Aug 27th, 2009 · Windows

An astounding experience from square one. Absolutely recommended!
by Tomer Gabel (4631)

The Good
I've played Mass Effect a couple years after it came out and already made a significant splash on the RPG community. Although largely considered one of the best games of 2008 and heartily recommended by each and every one of my friends and associates I didn't really know what to expect from this game. I haven't been a fan of other space RPGs (such as the highly acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic; coupled with intense feelings after playing the fantastic Fallout 3, I wasn't really expecting a genre-redefining game. Let me settle this right here and now: I was totally blown away. Mass Effect is by and large the best game I've played in years.

To start with, the game exhibits top-notch production values. The sheer scope is mind-boggling; not since Star Control II have I experienced a game of such breadth and scope, taking care and time to ease the player into a massive game universe with diverse alien species, each of which has its own history and cultural baggage that bears in ever-so-subtle ways on the progression of the game. From the militaristic but sentimental Krogan through the ancient, misunderstood Asari, the short-lived but brilliant Salarians and down to the exceedingly original Hanar the Mass Effect universe is teeming with life. The amount of dedicated work necessary to bring such a complicated game universe to life is simply beyond my comprehension. The game shines with a coherent, compelling narrative that guides you through the various settings the game has to offer while providing ample opportunities for various side-quests, as with any good RPG.

Mass effect is absolutely beautiful, so beautiful I spent most of my first hours of gameplay just wondering around and gawking slack-jawed at the awesome intensity of the visuals. Everything from the impossibly detailed character models (particularly the aliens) through the sleek, futuristic yet serene Citadel to the marvelous planetside scenery is sheer bliss to look at (and this is a two year-old game, mind -- an eternity in 3D engine time!). I do not make the comparison to Star Control II lightly; that game also featured space exploration coupled with combat and surface exploration, and it seems the Mass Effect designers definitely took a cue from Star Control II in providing detailed planetary descriptions and semi-random surface generation for surface exploration. All said and done, the game is technically as impressive as I've ever seen.

Sonically Mass Effect is equally impressive, with a compelling score by Sam Hulick and brilliant voice acting that, at its best, shines with terrific contributions by the likes of Seth Green and Armin Shimerman (Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space 9); at it's worst it's merely decent -- production values that are light-years ahead of most games and which truly herald an age where such aspects of games aren't treated as low-priority.

Finally, the control system works quite well, the characters are easy to control and even vehicle movement makes sense. This is a major improvement over the occasionally choppy control system in other contemporary first-person RPGs, such as Fallout 3.

The Bad
I have few issues with Mass Effect. The first two are quite trivial; first and foremost, inventory management is significantly less developed than it ought to be. It's hard to tell which items are improved over others, it's quite easy to "lose" upgrades in unequipped weapons if you don't read the instruction boxes carefully, it's almost impossible to track how close you are to the 150-item limit and you'll often find yourself having to dispose of important weapons or upgrades instead of the crappy Lance assault rifle you've been carrying since the beginning of the game because you just didn't expect it to matter.

Next: the hacking/decrypting/surveying minigames are too easy, not nearly varied enough and too random to be effective (I've occasionally failed cracking open an easy crate because the block arrangement was nearly impossible to navigate, whereas a hard-to-decrypt weapons locker merely required a few careless keystrokes).

The bigger issue, though, is the inconsistent depth experienced throughout the game; whereas at first it seems the game world contains infinite possibilities for research and exploration, this sensation doesn't last past the first two or three quest assignments. Although huge and exciting, the main storyline becomes increasingly linear as it approaches endgame; this is admittedly a problem shared by most major RPGs, with very rare games managing to provide comparable breadth towards the end of the game as at the beginning. This is perhaps the one point in which Mass Effect falls just short of truly succeeding Star Control II as the ultimate space opera. Don't get me wrong, the game is never boring, it's just that your choices towards the end of the game are significantly constrained in contrast with the sheer expanse earlier on.

The Bottom Line
The best space opera I've played since Star Control II, as innovative and impressive in breadth and scope. As a huge SC2 fan, that's probably the biggest compliment I could pay this game. Play it, you will not be disappointed!

Jul 5th, 2010 · Windows

Biowarian Imperialism At It's Worst
by The Fabulous King (1334)

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!

Jan 21st, 2010 · Windows

The importance of having heart
by Kaddy B. (795)

The Good

  • Detailed, expansive, and interesting universe
  • Charming, likable characters with solid voice acting
  • Can be visually appealing when it wishes to be
  • Highly accessible: A good "Starter" RPG.
  • Decent overall story
  • A good chunk of content to work with
  • Excellent soundtrack
  • Engaging & immersive


The Bad

  • Gameplay tries to be everything and excels at nothing
  • Inventory clutter
  • Sloppy controls
  • Many side quests rely on boring & recycled content
  • Dialogue & writing sees frequent dips in quality
  • Many classes feel useless
  • Squadmate progression feels like an afterthought
  • The story feels shorter than it should
  • Marred with technical issues on PC
  • Mako sections drag and are generally not fun
  • Veterans of the RPG genre may find it shallow
  • Awful UI


The Bottom Line
Mass Effect is, in my eyes, a thoroughly mediocre game. And yet it is one I will always cherish and remember. It is a game I have returned to multiple times and I am likely to play it once again in the future.

It all comes down to the fact that Mass Effect has a big heart. One full of life that never stops beating. You could tell that the developers and writers cared about the world they have created, and that love and passion shines so brightly that the universe portrayed in Mass Effect has become one of my favourite universes in the video game realm.

The game follows the exploits of one Commander Shepard. You can pick Shepard's gender and tweak their backstory. My preferred Shepard is typically female, though I have played through the game as different kinds of Shepards. In my latest playthrough, Shepard was a ruthless general who was known for botching a job and sending many brave men to their death. Yet despite her hard edged attitude, she was still always helping people. She wasn't cruel or evil... just a bit thorny.

It isn't the most complex or in-depth roleplaying system out there but I feel it is a very good "Starter" system. If you have not played many RPGs and are intimidated by the depth and complexity of many other RPGs, then Mass Effect is a great starting point. It gives you the thrill of crafting your own character with their own personality without forcing you to stare at complicated character sheets or manage an unruly amount of stats. Hardcore RPG veterans probably won't be massively impressed, as a huge fan of the genre I myself wished it had more depth to it, but I still enjoyed tinkering with it nonetheless.

In general the actual GAME portion of Mass Effect is its greatest fault. If you've played many third person action games from the last console generation (and this is very much a console game) then you may be familiar with many of Mass Effect's mechanics. You dive into cover, you pop out, and you shoot the other dudes popping in and out of cover.

This system is functional but only just. Cover is somewhat fiddly and your AI partners often fail to get into cover even when you order them to, which can lead to many frustrating incidents. The guns don't feel particularly fun or punchy unless playing on the easiest difficulty with the shotgun. Weapon mods and in particular elemental based mods DO add a little more fun, particularly the chemical rounds that reduce foes to a green smudge on the wall.

But much of the game's true appeal comes down to the characters and advancing the story. It isn't necessarily the most well written space opera out there, and in fact the dialogue and writing quality does fluctuate. Sometimes it is genuinely nuanced and well handled but other times it comes across as painfully corny. This is especially evident with the initial antagonist, Saren, who is far less interesting than the game's TRUE foe and never really manages to be all that intimidating. It's the rest of the cast (and even the game's other villains) who make it all so compelling.

At its best, you really do feel a connection with your crew. Commanding the ship is a fun power trip although the sequels do admittedly do a much better job of this. But that is something I will touch upon later down the line as I review them.

The game suffers in other areas as well. The UI is clumsy and in general a pain to work with, and it doesn't help that the game is constantly drowning you in useless items and it is all too easy to make the mistake of keeping them around as the game never actually informs you that there is a weight limit until it is too late and you are forced to melt items into Omni-Gel just to escape the menu. No, the game does not allow you to just leave items you don't want in a crate. If you open up the dialogue, you must either take all the items or melt them.

The game was clearly designed & optimized for a console and this does reflect not just in the UI but how the game controls as well. It is not an ideal set-up and takes quite a bit of time to get used to, especially during combat.

The PC port is also marred with various technical issues. One replay on my previous machine was even brought to a screeching halt due to an issue on modern AMD processors that caused part of the game to be nigh unplayable without making tweaks to how the processor handles the game. Needless to say not everyone will have the patience for that. And when playing it again for the sake of this review I encountered many hiccups and micro-stutters.

Yet it is still all saved because it opens the door to a world I didn't want to leave. The series would improve in many ways, but that is a topic for a different review down the line. Would I recommend Mass Effect? Yes, provided you enjoy a good sci-fi space opera. It is a rocky start for the franchise but if you find the universe compelling and the characters interesting as much as I do you may very well find yourself forgiving its many shortcomings.

Mar 28th, 2018 · Windows

Save the universe, collect hidden briefcase, chase monkeys and bore yourself to death.
by dreamstealer (146)

The Good
I'm probably the wrong person to review RPG's mainly because I'm not true to the genre. I've mostly played more of the modern releases and some D&D based one's which would include Neverwinter Nights and Rage of Mages not forgetting some JRPGs.

When I look at Mass Effect though I see a RPG made purely on being accessible. And the sales and popularity behind this game proves this, as it has attracted even people not familiar with the genre. It's hard to review this Bioware title according to Mobygame's format because where Mass Effect tends to have a good it also has a bad.

But ignoring the gameplay for a while, the graphics are fantastic. Art direction maybe a bit cliched in the Sci-Fi theme. But the visuals work very well and thanks to the Unreal Engine I'm guessing this console to PC port didn't come with much graphical bugs or surprisingly no technical issues which tend to haunt many modern RPG games.

Mass Effect lets you customize your character from the looks to the Class which the game explains and also the starting skills. You can choose a male or female character with the last name “Shepard” and what's awesome is that they're both voiced. Jennifer Hales performance as the female Shepard is solid, not forgetting the rest of the characters too; topped off with beautiful character modeling and expressions which in all adds a strong foundation to the story telling. Speaking of which the storyline is nothing too original but at least they created a whole fictional universe and lore. The game provides a codex in which you can explore and read about the universe, technology and characters. Traveling to planets has been presented well too with the galaxy map and all. And there's nothing like the feeling of having your own ship “The Normandy”.

The combat system is similar to a shooter in the veins of Gears of War or Rainbow Six: Vegas. You got the cover system and can choose 2 team mates to assist you. Leveling up your character is pretty much the usual gain XP, gain points and spend it to unlock more skills based on which class you take. From there it's your typical RPG where you have a main plot and side quests.

The Bad
The Side-quests however make the game uninteresting. This is a RPG and side-questing is an important part of them. Mostly you travel to barren planets, drive the oversensitive vehicle, investigate which is mostly that hacking mini-game which is overused like crazy! Then go rescue/shoot a few turrets/enemies. Nothing really creative although I had to chase little monkeys for some gadget it had stolen...yes I'm serious. Seems like they were lazy and only focused on the main plot. Which I will admit to some point is good, the characters are memorable but follow a usual formula, there will be the love interest, the Bi curious, the serious mature one. Saren, the main villain is forgettable, the Asari Matriarch who assists him in the start was more memorable thanks to her Asari boobs of course. If it ain't side-quest or the main plot it's console game quests like the hidden briefcases in Rainbow Six. Find all minerals, find tags oh and surveying planets is really stupid.

There is the so called “revolutionary” dialogue system which is basically the dialogue options appearing before the character finishes talking (what is that like 2 lines of code?). Most of the time your character will say something far from what you've actually selected. If you select for e.g. the option “Okay follow my orders and you will be fine” your character will end up speaking something like “Yeah keeping it real aite” or “Bush did 9/11” it actually deviates far from the chosen words.

Who am I kidding? The port is actually terrible when it has to be. The User Interface is abysmal and maintaining your inventory is a pain really.The Dialogue system could use a mouse pointer instead of the analogue-like selection. Many times I've selected the wrong dialogue as my mouse jerked a bit before I could click.

Team mates A.I is terrible and to top things off commanding them or positioning them is just as bad an idea as having rough sex with Paris Hilton without protection. Your better off just leaving them to do their own shit. This area supposedly had improvements over it's xbox brother.

The Bottom Line
Mass Effect is basically a 12-15 hours game with the remaining 20-30 hours being fillers. Not saying it's a game to avoid but going into it with no expectation is probably the only way to be satisfied with it. Or maybe playing this after Dragon Age: Origins is a bad idea (yes I did that).

Nov 1st, 2010 · Windows

An alright game, Earth-Clan
by Asinine (1003)

The Good
Very detailed landscapes and spacescapes

Plenty of lore and fun races to interact with

Main story is not the most difficult to follow

Surface exploration is pretty cool.

The codex has been nicely organized and is voiced.

The Bad
All menus are terribly designed and unintuitive.

More tutorials would have been nice or at least tutorials that don't disappear instantly when you press a button.

Dialogue options are often incorrect; Shephard just says whatever the hell he wants.

Too much managing to do between two team-mates and yourself because you always wield four different weapons with mods.

Economy is broken.

The AI is terrible.

The Bottom Line
Story

Mass Effect tells the story of Commander Shepherd, a human working aboard a revolutionary spaceship called the “Normandy”. As the game starts you are prompted to select a background story for him and then you’re ready for the first mission. What seems like a routine pick-up goes horribly wrong however when a special agent commits treason and jeopardizes the mission. Upon reporting back to the alien council with proof, Shepherd is promoted to the rank of “Spectre”, meaning he’s an intergalactic agent with no rules keeping him tied. Naturally, the next course of action is to pursue the man who ruined your mission before his evil plans can be realized.

This is one of your typical Bioware stories, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side it gives you a very well-crafted world with different races and a good sense of uniqueness. On the other hand, though, it also suffers from some of the very common Bioware clichés. What I really liked was that all the races were very originally written and also in a way that didn’t require me to read codex entries or a wikia page. Everything is explained in-game over the course of several events and it does a really good job at keeping you interested. For all its’ flaws, it was seeing the story through to the end that kept me hooked to this game.

The game is also riddled with several moments where you need to make choices based on how you want your version of Shepherd to develop. These can be very contained, such as how you want to respond to the dialogue of a crew-mate or affect galactic peace, such as the one on which the game ends. What makes this even more intriguing is the premise of loading up your old save-file when you get the sequel (and the one after that) and see your choices return to pay off or bite you in the ass once more. It’s a very revolutionary way of dealing with an RPG-series and makes sure that people stay hooked for future installments.

On the negative side, though, the story has some of the generic elements that always make it into Bioware games lately. First of all, the story revolves largely around racism, but in the most bland and uninformed way possible. Most of the time it just gets down to humans going “lol aliens” and the various alien species saying the same vice versa. Every situation Shepherd comes across is also portrayed unrealistically negative, such as every distress signal been a trap or every colony been destroyed. It’s supposed to raise the stakes, but you’re more likely to start wondering how poorly defended everything is. Finally, I am somewhat disappointed with the role-playing aspect of this game. There are plenty of times where you must choose the dialogue for Shepherd, but he never says the exact line and instead says something that would be close to it on the moral spectrum. You won’t accidentally say something evil when playing as a good Shepherd, but one situation that stands out was early on when an alien backed up his arguments during a court-session with insults towards humanity. The option “Insults, typical” came up, which obviously sounded like I discredited his argument and made him look like a whiny little kid, but instead Shepherd started rambling about other things that were way less to-the-point and stingy.

Gameplay

Mass Effect largely consists of navigating through levels while landing in cover-based combat at every turn and bend. The combat itself is adequate, but also very unremarkable and simplistic. You always have four weapon equipped: a pistol, an assault rifle, a shotgun and a sniper. With those you can aim and shoot and if you shoot enough, the enemies will eventually go down. There are also grenades involved in this, but the enemies don’t seem to know that yet and you usually won’t either. A few tweaks I do like is that there is no ammo, but instead weapons fire plasma and continuous fire will eventually overheat the gun. This forces you to take breaks during combat to cool down the systems, so fights turn into both shoot-outs and hide ‘n’ seek at the same time. You can also use a variety of skills which you learn by investing points in the talent trees, such as force push or resurrection ability. Finally, looting enemies has been made easier; all you have to do is open the inventory after combat and you will get a load of toys.

This doesn’t mean the combat is good either, though, because the game suffers from an AI that is about as broken as it gets. I was playing a sniper throughout the game and eventually came to a point where a load of enemies were in a hallway, ripe for the picking off. I took cover behind a wall, prepared my aim, and then my two team-mates ran past me and stood right in the opening. Way too many enemies also seem to rely on blindly charging towards me and then standing right in front of my face while shooting. Fighting is also not made any easier what with the terrible tutorials that might have glitched out for all I know. I was explained maybe half of the mechanics and the rest I was left to figure out for myself, such as that exiting the vehicle is done with the Q-button, which is used for that and absolutely nothing else while the ever-so-loyal F and E keys only do nothing while in a vehicle.

Shoot enough enemies, though, and you will eventually level up and get to select how to invest your points. There are a number of skill trees, which are based on what class you picked at the start of the game. You unlock some more if you get far enough in a single skill and there are milestones scattered around that give you new abilities or strengthen your existing ones. It sounds easy enough, but it’s also remarkably simplistic for a studio that should be capable of creating systems with more depth. Pouring points in Decryption and Electronics doesn’t make hacking or retrieving any easier, it just unlocks the higher difficulties. This means that a fully skilled Decrypter has just as much trouble with a simple lock as he had at the start of the game.

The game also calculates your damage based on your weapons, armor and mods, but this is just as broken as the stats-mechanic. Figuring out which weapon is statically better is easy enough, but the game throws way too many of them at you. Opening a random chest might yield between two and five items and a few combat-sequences can easily yield up to twenty of them nearing the end. All of these you will end up selling, which is a boring chore and comes with very little reward. I ended up with almost 10 million credits, but there was not a single thing to spend it on because all my weapons severely outclassed the ones offered in the store.

To end on a positive note, I am one of the few players who enjoyed the space exploration sequences. You can find these small planets with a few resources and secrets to trace down, but to get to those you need to drive around the landscape with the most uncontrollable jeep ever seen in video games. The dang thing bounces around like a tennis ball in a centrifuge, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun to use. Whenever you discover one of the secrets, it’s also very rewarding to dig up, especially since you are slowly working towards the completion of some overarching side-quests.

Presentation

I’ve said before in my review of Dead Space that setting a game in space allows the designers to do a ton of beautiful stuff with the presentation and it’s sad to once again see that potential gone to waste. There is one amazingly beautiful area in the game, which is The Citadel that serves as a seat of power for the races of the galaxy. It’s gigantic, it’s imaginative, it looks alien and even when you’re inside the place there’s still a lot to see and enjoy. All other areas however have the tendency to lock you up in generic, often grey areas that consist largely of tight corridors. I do very much enjoy the design of the spacesuits everyone walks around in. It’s generic and unrealistic, but that colorful and flashy spandex just looks so… spacey.

I also admire the character design itself, which for most races looks pretty good. Some species just look a lot like each other, but on others you can clearly see they bothered to make different models for various NPC’s. Each line of dialogue is also voiced, which makes conversations sound more lively and real. I however can’t forgive the game for the really poor side-quest areas it made, or didn’t make as the case may be. There are maybe six areas and the only changes they make with each side-quest is where the boxes are stacked. Same 2 spaceships, same 2 bunkers and same 2 science centers, it wouldn’t be too big of a deal if it wasn’t done so shamelessly. Then there are also the planet surfaces, which also have this copy & paste problem, but this time in the sense that each planet has exactly 1 anomaly, 1 stash of items, 3 resources and 1 mission-critical area.

Replay-value

Mass Effect offers the premise of choosing how certain events play out, so the most basic answer would be that you replay the game to see how else your adventure could have ended. However, Mass Effect also offers numerous different sets of skills and abilities. Not only are there six classes available from the get-go, but you also get to specialize further at a later level. These two combined can make for some good replaying. However, the story is also the game’s biggest handicap, since players will not take kindly to handling the same dialogue all over again. The second problem is that there is little fun to be found it having to do the surveying of random planets all over again, which is an alright grind the first time around, but can get very grating when done all over again a second time.

Why should you get it?

Mass Effect comes with the promise of been able to enjoy a trilogy of games based on your own choices, without having to start over with each installment. The universe Bioware painted is also a joy to explore and learn about, due to the interesting characters and races you come across. Gameplay is generally sufficient to string together the story and most of the flaws that are present start to fall by the wayside as you progress through the game.

Why should you leave it?

The story is just about the only thing Bioware put any real effort in and most of the other content just feels lazy; areas are endlessly copy/pasted, tutorials are left unfinished, AI is barely present and even the most generic cut-scenes that play every time you fly somewhere can’t be skipped. The game needed a bit more polish, so if you aren’t particularly into sci-fi or don’t see anything in the story’s premise, then it’s better to let this one go.

Feb 7th, 2013 · Windows

Plus 143 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Cantillon, Jeanne, Picard, 666gonzo666, Big John WV, Jarek Bogalecki, jaXen, Wizo, Solid Flamingo, Joakim Kihlman, Utritum, chirinea, Alaedrain, ingapseu, Zerobrain, Cavalary, Patrick Bregger, Xoleras, Jess T, Nicouse, Tim Janssen, Klaster_1, Alsy, POMAH.