Friday, January 4, 2008

Mass Effect Review

Here we go, it's Mass Effect. The console RPG to own right now. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, its not as good some PC RPG 
contenders. But it is still a superb game overall. One I heartily 
recommend to all fans of good rpgs. Most fans of games should 
enjoy it as well. 
If you justwant the basic story and some decent action then I 
would recommend renting it, because you can burn through the 
game in under 15 hours. If you fully explore the game and attempt
to do everything expect over 30 hours. And multiple playthroughs
if you want to play the game through with every character and see
exactly what they each have to say throughout the game
(something that is definitely worth it, in my opinion).

So I've told you its good. But why is it good? Quite simply i would 
have to say its because of the overall presentation of the game.
It gets the feel right. And when you're in the midst of the main
campaign, damn is it fun. The party members you get are all
amazingly, and this is important in RPGs, real. These are characters
driven by motivations and emotions that are justifiable especially as
you get to know them better, who will react to your actions and
speech. They wont ever leave you because of it. But they will
express disappoint at certain decisions. One thing the game does
well, is make you feel like you're in a movie. Well some of the time
it does at least.
Most of your time will be spent doing obscure buggy exploration 
of uninspired empty planets. Its not to say that these parts are 
bad, per say, but they are tedious and repetitive. And i've no 
desire to go over every planet again. But the main quest is done so 
well, and presents itself so differently from most RPGs out that the game feels remarkably fresh, even if in truth it really isnt. 
I say this because the dialog system is just Neverwinter
Nights and KotOR with some minor cosmetic changes.
The combat is a step back from the pseudo-turn-based genius
they had previously. Although its much better than Jade Empire's. The problem with the combat is that there is no 
challenge at all. The whole game goes by and the only reason
i ever died was because they through 15-20 enemies and they all have one shot kill rocket launchers. But
the combat is still pretty fun for the most part. So at least it
doesnt detract from the experience. The story is what will
keep you going though. The entire universe that has been
created for this game is mind boggling. Accurate, plausible
scientific explanations of how and why things function like
they do ground the game in a sense of reality and the game
almost never treats the player like a moron. I say almost
because there are some dialog exchanges where even though
the dialog option you pick might be well done and delivered
effectively, the idea of the your main character convincing
the evil lead pen- ultimate bad guy the error of his ways in 
a mere THREE lines of dialog is laughable at best. Luckily
the game only really does that a few times.
The sound is superb, the music expertly composed and always
complements the mood that should be present. The sound effects
are cool and subtle and effective, laser guns sound well laser-ry
enough for me. And most importantly, the voice acting is perfect.
And the character models match it, which keeps you focusing on
the words themselves. The graphics are shiny and very pretty.
They dont detract from the experience at all, and thats all that
I really care about graphics for. Its not hurting the experience
so its fine with me. I dont play games for pretty shiny stuff. I
play for gameplay mechanics. Load times can be annoying,
but I had heard about 5-10 minute load times and the most
I ever had was 2-3 minutes so, thats fine.

Ultimately, this is the best RPG you can get on the 360. So
if you like RPGs go get it. If you're interested in RPGs then
rent it. If you really really like fragging people in Halo, you
might like it as well. But you probably wont. Mass Effect is
a perfect example of a game that relies on the sum of its part
to be great. Since none of its individual components are really
that great. Yet as I finished the game I could not help but feel
a real sense of accomplishment, despite the complete lack of
challenge. It even made me want to play through the game again.
Although I wont right away, got many more games to get to.
Especially once i saw that achievements have the double benefit
of sometimes granting minor bonuses to the next play through.
Nice subtle incentive.

So thats my review. Hope there is something in there that makes sense.
Coming up soon i hope to get a review of Mario Galaxy, and then The Witcher.
But The Witcher is shaping up to be a super long game and i might not get it
finished for a few weeks.

If you want to contact me you can do through Xbox Live: ELRyePunk 
or you can look for "RyePunk" on Steam.


Edit: I just noticed that the blog has been cutting off some of my lengthier lines. Weird... I fixed the Mass Effect review so the entire thing should be readable. But i dont really feel like going over the other posts to fix it. I'll just watch for it in the future.

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