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“It’s Like a Boring Movie”: First Impressions of Mass Effect

by Lulu Mcgrew

masseffectAs I mentioned before, my Gamefly account kept recommending the 2007 game Mass Effect to me whenever I browsed, and as Gamefly cannot guarantee that you will get your top choice on your GameQ, and I really wanted Halo Wars, well, I got Mass Effect. And despite my disappointment over not receiving something a bit “fresher”, Mass Effect is growing on me, now that I finally got out of the “capitol” city and home world, the Citadel.

So, to begin at the beginning, let me lay a few things down before we go any further into my initial review of Mass Effect. I am not big into RPG’s, and truthfully, other than FPS games that lightly tread on RPG-style choices, I don’t think I have played a role playing game on the Xbox 360 since I’ve had it (August 2006). Also, I did not want to find out anything about Mass Effect before I jumped right in. No walkthroughs, no instructions on the keypads, and as I don’t have the accompanying literature with the game, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. And I didn’t notice the option for the tutorial until late last night when I was shutting down, so yeah, nothing.

girl-shepherdOk, that said, the game has the choice of playing either a girl or boy version of the main protagonist, and as that made me so happy, I am playing the girl version of Commander Shepherd. I didn’t really follow much in the beginning as I was trying so darn hard to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing, but I got to do a little choosing when it comes to the background of my Commander Shepherd. I think I chose a past of no parents, raised on the streets and joined the service as soon as I could. Cliche! Not sure what bearing that past will have on my future in the game, but I’m willing to play along.

There is an attack on a human colony by these things called the Geth. The Geth are being led by a bad guy that Shepherd has to track down across the Universe. I have to say, at first, I was a little freaked out by having too many choices as to what to do and when, having “free will” as it were in a video game rather than being lead around by the ring in my nostrils. But seriously, after I got my own spaceship to explore the Universe while hunting for stuff to kill, this game is a lot better.

lost_in_translationLet me explain. Mass Effect starts pretty slowly, which is both good and bad. Good, because like I said, I was clueless; and bad because I was getting a little bored. In fact, my boyfriend was trying to take a nap on the couch and was concerned that I was firing up the Xbox (he hates the sound of gunfire when trying to sleep — very understandable). I said, “Don’t worry. This game is like a boring movie.”

And it is true. It’s more like a documentary about space exploration with some aliens here and there, and add a huge conspiracy to destroy humanity and yeah, that’s Mass Effect. It is not exactly non-stop action nor does it follow the small battle-puzzle-small battle-boss battle blueprint.

It’s help to be a little methodical in your playing style as you do have to cover territory and remember what you may have had to leave behind in terms of items because you don’t have enough experience in order to override computers or survey mineral finds or decrypt stuff. You know, all those things that come up while trying to save your race.

It’ll be nice when I finally get enough experience and “omni-gel” to crack safes and hack into door controls, but I am not one to find cheat codes, so it may be a while before this game really opens up to me. I am also thinking that Mass Effect may be a better game to own than to rent, as I have a feeling that I can really get lost in this game, kinda like Oblivion.

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