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Fenixgoon's Mass Effect Review

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
28,142
3,474
126
Overall, I was very happy with Mass Effect. Easily worth the $20 it costs if you haven't played it already.

Play Time: About 16 hours on "normal" , ignoring most/all side quests.

Mass Effect plays more as an action RPG than the typical D&D style. My biggest gripe with the entire game is that the equivalent of a pause button only pauses as long as you hold the key in. In NWN and Baldur's Gate, pressing the space bar once pauses the game until you press the space bar again. In Mass Effect, you have to *hold* the space bar. WTF Bioware? That's just retarded. Yes, it's little, but why make pausing harder than it needs to be? I understand the game is more action than RPG, but if you're going to implement a pause function, do it the right way.

Now, for the non-ranty stuff:

Plot - The storyline is solid. Interesting, good driving force and motivation to make you want to play the game, and even explore what party members have to say. There are plenty of opportunities to shift your alignment between good and evil ("Paragon" and "Renegade"). I think they may have spelled the plot out a little too much towards the end, but I don't think it really hurt the intrigue at all.

Party - Party members are interesting and useful. I actually cared about them once I had my leet party setup. Me, a badass guy named Wrex, and Tali. We kicked major ass. I usually chatted up my teammates during the "action" parts of the game, as opposed to when you are free to roam about on the ship (which is where the meat of party interaction occurs). Next time, I'll definitely talk to them more, because that's how you get party member side quests.

Combat - fast, furious, and fun. I played an "adept", the Mass Effect equivalent of a spellcaster. It was tons of fun leading a charge into enemy lines, and my guy was pretty badass at the end, despite the fact that he merely had a pistol (spell buffs made me tougher than normal). Every once in a while though, I would get totally clocked by a melee-oriented monster. Usually ended up with a good laugh seeing my body fly :D

Coordinating party members, I thought, was generally worthless. I found it best to leave them on "rally" and let the AI take care of making party members fight. I had a tough time making them do precisely what I wanted, so rather than get frustrated trying to be anal retentive, I just let the AI handle it. Overall, the AI does a good job of attacking, defending, and moving about. There were only a few cases where my party got stuck, which happens for all party-based RPG's.

Skills - the skill system was initially not intuitive, but once I figured it out with the "ahhhhh, so *that's* how it works!" moment of zen, everything made sense. You need X ranks in some skills to unlock secondary skills. For example, I might need 5 points in the "barrier" spell before I could unlock the "stasis" spell. It's not that the skill system doesn't make sense - it's just that the layout can be initially confusing.

Skills are incredibly useful, and I can't say there were any pointless ones. You can't get them all (this isn't Pokemon), so you do need to spend points wisely (or make the character you want, anyway).

Upgrades/Loot - there are a crapload of them. Make no mistake, some are worth keeping, but you will have so many you won't know what to do with them. Sell items frequently, otherwise your inventory will become overloaded (150 items max). Weapon and armor upgrades are incredibly useful and often made the difference between a dead (or close to it) party and one that chewed through enemies left and right. There are a lot of interesting upgrades with pros/cons to each, so it's worth mixing them up and testing them all out.

Just as a note for weapons, there can be both "weapon" and "ammo" upgrade slots. "Weapon" and "ammo" upgrades are separate, so if you're wondering why you don't see certain mods listed, it's probably because they're in a different list.

Cliffs for the lazy:
------The implementation of pause is retarded.
-----Good plot - kept me interested and had plenty of choice.
------Combat is fast and fun, but you can pause if you need to think for a second.
------Party members are interesting and worthwhile. You may just end up caring about them!
------Skill system works well, though its setup doesn't quite make sense at first. Easily overcome, though.
------Plenty of items and upgrades to beef up your characters.

Overall score: 85-90/100. Not a perfect game, but for the RPG lover, Mass Effect is an excellent addition to your library. FPS players looking for something a little different may also want to check the game out because it's so action-oriented and not the standard D&D game.

Mass Effect gets a Fenixgoon stamp of approval :thumbsup:
 

PhatoseAlpha

Platinum Member
Apr 10, 2005
2,126
5
81
What, you mention the loads of upgrades and weapons, but leave out the extraordinarily clunky inventory management that makes it a pain? Cripes, FF1 on the NES has sorting and stacking.
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
17,844
1
0
Yeah it was worth the $20. By contrast, I'm not sure bioshock was worth it even at $5. Just not my kind of game.

I totally agree that the upgrades are overwhelming.
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
28,142
3,474
126
Originally posted by: PhatoseAlpha
What, you mention the loads of upgrades and weapons, but leave out the extraordinarily clunky inventory management that makes it a pain? Cripes, FF1 on the NES has sorting and stacking.
you're right, stacking would be better, particularly for the mod list. i guess i just didn't find it bothersome enough to worry about it, since 99% of the time, my weapons were better than what i found.
 

venkman

Diamond Member
Apr 19, 2007
4,950
11
81
Originally posted by: PhatoseAlpha
What, you mention the loads of upgrades and weapons, but leave out the extraordinarily clunky inventory management that makes it a pain? Cripes, FF1 on the NES has sorting and stacking.
From someone who is going through the game a second time on the PC after first playing it on the 360, the Inventory system is MUCH better this time around.
 

s44

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 2006
9,426
16
81
Originally posted by: FirewolfX
Great game so far, too bad it locks up/ crashes every 20 minutes or so.
You have Nvidia, right?

They say reverting to 175.19 fixes this... If you have a sufficiently old card, of course.
 

ibex333

Diamond Member
Mar 26, 2005
3,967
66
91
Originally posted by: PhatoseAlpha
What, you mention the loads of upgrades and weapons, but leave out the extraordinarily clunky inventory management that makes it a pain? Cripes, FF1 on the NES has sorting and stacking.
lol.... you don't know what a "clunky" inventory is. Play Sacred 2, then you'll know the "true" meaning of clunky. ;)

I actually found Mass Effects inventory system just fine, once I got used to it, which actually didn't take that long.

To the OP, it's too bad you didn't do side quests. You missed out on like 80-90% of the game right there. I beat Mass Effect and I did every single quest I could find. Most of them I didn't regret spending my time on.

The only problem I have with ME is that the gfx felt somewhat "plastic" and artificial to me. I never really got over it. But the game was good enough to make me forget all that at times.
 

CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,832
217
106
These were my thoughts on this game, copied from the last thread on this:

I'm not a regular RPG player but I liked ME a lot, mainly due to its wide range of dialogue options. At the same time though, it did have numerous flaws.

This game can be dramatically improved by binding the Unreal engine's slomo command to a key to speed up the game. Your guy moves very slowly by default and there is no way to upgrade your speed, so you end up wasting a lot of time just running around between places. I found the game far more enjoyable after I started using this.

The story had tons of detail and they put a lot of effort into fleshing out the universe. It's not particularly realistic though and is very reminiscent of Star Wars, essentially a fantasy that happens to be set in space.

The base game is very short, with only five or six main missions. There are numerous side quests but most of them are quite tedious, since they just reuse the same level design over and over again. I did them just to see the final conversations associated with them. My total time was 32 hours after doing all of them, except for the ones about finding minerals (although the actual time was less since I went through all the boring parts on quad speed).

The combat in general is very easy, and I only remember two or three parts that posed any challenge at all. Your squad mates are quite worthless in combat, even if you keep upgrading their equipment, but you can easily handle everything on your own.

The graphics are subpar for such a recent game, despite the relatively poor performance. A few areas have good artwork but it generally looks very similar to Unreal 2, a 2003 game.
As for the stability, 177.39 worked well for me on XP. The 178 and 180 drivers crashed constantly in this game.
 

FirewolfX

Member
Aug 31, 2008
155
0
76
Hmm....yeah, general protection fault.....Quicksave every minute has become my best friend. I'll see what reverting to older drivers does
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
28,142
3,474
126
Originally posted by: ibex333
Originally posted by: PhatoseAlpha
What, you mention the loads of upgrades and weapons, but leave out the extraordinarily clunky inventory management that makes it a pain? Cripes, FF1 on the NES has sorting and stacking.
lol.... you don't know what a "clunky" inventory is. Play Sacred 2, then you'll know the "true" meaning of clunky. ;)

I actually found Mass Effects inventory system just fine, once I got used to it, which actually didn't take that long.

To the OP, it's too bad you didn't do side quests. You missed out on like 80-90% of the game right there. I beat Mass Effect and I did every single quest I could find. Most of them I didn't regret spending my time on.

The only problem I have with ME is that the gfx felt somewhat "plastic" and artificial to me. I never really got over it. But the game was good enough to make me forget all that at times.
i'm going to play it over again as an infiltrator, which is what i actually wanted originally. and yeah, i'll definitely be doing all the side quests.
 

IEC

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Jun 10, 2004
14,014
3,813
136
Deja vu again, Fenixgoon!

I just beat Mass Effect last night (or should I say early this morning) and it was quite good. Not sure I'm going to replay it though, what with having a new X360 and a backlog of games (and work).
 

PhatoseAlpha

Platinum Member
Apr 10, 2005
2,126
5
81
Originally posted by: venkman
Originally posted by: PhatoseAlpha
What, you mention the loads of upgrades and weapons, but leave out the extraordinarily clunky inventory management that makes it a pain? Cripes, FF1 on the NES has sorting and stacking.
From someone who is going through the game a second time on the PC after first playing it on the 360, the Inventory system is MUCH better this time around.
I've heard that before, and I always wonder how that's possible. What exactly are the differences that make the PC version less clunky? Still has the same oversized font.


I expect a much much smoother interface then what it had from a company that has been doing this as long as Bioware has.
 

Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,601
5
76
Yeah i liked mass effect as well, awesome story with some cool choices in there. Save games from mass effect will affect what happens in mass effect 2, awesome stuff.
 

Canai

Diamond Member
Oct 4, 2006
8,016
1
0
Originally posted by: Infohawk
Yeah it was worth the $20. By contrast, I'm not sure bioshock was worth it even at $5. Just not my kind of game.

I totally agree that the upgrades are overwhelming.
Yep. ME was much more enjoyable than Bioshock was. I paid full price for ME when it came out and I feel I got my money's worth.

ME had the right kind of DRM as well (except for the bloody install limits); allow pirates to play the game for long enough to get them addicted and then prevent further progression. Kind of like a demo for pirates :laugh:
 
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