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Mass Effect Series Review

Mass Effect Series Review
5
Book Name: Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3
Publisher(s): EA Games and Bioware
Formatt: PC / XBox / Playstation
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Release Date: 2007, 2010, 2012

Mordin: Might go somewhere sunny. Sit on beach, look at ocean, collect seashells.
Shepard: You’d go crazy inside an hour.
Mordin: Might run tests on seashells.

Mass Effect (cover)The Mass Effect series is huge, and is one of the game series that Bioware is best known for (the other being Dragon Age, which you should expect a review of soon). By “huge”, I mean that the game world stretches over many different galaxies, giving your character the advantage of faster than light travel and the ability to interact with different alien races that many humans could never, on a normal day, imagine. The creators of the Mass Effect series brought them all to life, gave them all stories and home worlds, and made them all so realistic. The characters your Commander Shepard interacts with come to feel like friends, like family, and the missions in the games become all the more difficult for it.

In the beginning of each Mass Effect game, you are bid to create your Commander Shepard. Bioware did a fantastic job with the character creation, allowing the player to create a human, either male or female, with multiple hair styles, skin colors, and facial features, and a history to suit the storyline. The player is also asked to choose their class, picking from ones that are tech heavy, fully biotic, or straight-up tanks with heavy weapons and pistols. Nearly every choice you make during the character creation impacts your storyline in some way. Are you male, or female? This will decide who your character is able to romance, and changes responses from other characters in the game. Was your character the sole survivor of a mission, or did you risk your life to save your comrades from an overwhelming enemy force? Other characters will occasionally comment on your choices, so choose wisely.

After creating your character in Mass Effect, the game begins with a trip to the planet Eden Prime, where you uncover the main villain in this portion of the story; a turian named Saren is after the same thing you are, and is willing to use lethal force and other disproved of methods to get it. Being a part of an elite force called the Spectres, though, gives Saren a little extra credibility that you don’t have as a human.

Mass Effect 2 (cover)Each subsequent game is like this, in that you’re given the goal fairly early in the game and told, “Work toward that,” whatever “that” may be. The ultimate goal of the series, however, is to save the galaxy. No small feat for anyone, but you are Commander Shepard. You’re not just anyone.

As Commander Shepard, you have the ability to choose many different forks in your individual game play. In each game, you have the option to save someone, or not; kill a bad guy, or let them go; find a new team member, or leave them deactivated. Each of these decisions affects your game, changing how the conclusion will come together.

Each game also has smaller decisions that affect your standing with characters that you interact with, based on your mortality. If you do mostly good things, you will be known as a Paragon and able to have special dialogue choices that reflect that. If you do things that are not as good, you will be known as a Renegade, and be able to intimidate people into doing what you want them to do. Choosing the wrong dialogue options with some characters will make it so they don’t want to talk you, and you have the potential to fail missions if you’re too passive or aggressive.

As with other Bioware games, the player also has the option to romance characters, or not, as they choose. In each Mass Effect game, the romance options change. The romancable characters in the first game are not available in Mass Effect 2, but are available in Mass Effect 3. Romanced characters can die in the course of each game, and it’s possible for a romance to span all three games (with a bit of a hiatus through Mass Effect 2) without a character dying or leaving Shepard.

Mass Effect 3 (cover)Now that you have the basic what-for, let me get down to the meat of the review. I feel the need to preface this by saying that I am not, generally, a lover of science fiction. Space travel, aliens, guns that go “pew-pew”? It’s pretty much all lost on me. That said, I absolutely loved the entire Mass Effect series. This series made me laugh out loud, literally cry when squadmates died, and rejoice when the universe had been saved. A few times I screamed in frustration; some of the enemies that you fight are incredibly hard, and I had a tough time taking them down on the first try. Overall, it is safe to say that I enjoyed the games.

Personally, I played a female Commander Shepard, who was a Vanguard class (mixed biotics and weapons). I don’t want to go into too many details as to how I played the game, because of spoilers, but it is safe to say that I chose the red ending at the final choice of Mass Effect 3. Unlike nearly the entire internet, I had no issue with the endings of the series; I thought that they fit my personal Shepard perfectly.

Again, I definitely enjoyed the Mass Effect series. So much, in fact, I am currently working on another play through of the series, so I can do all the side quests and take my time with the games. I imagine that this is best enjoyed a leisurely pace, and that is just how I intend to play it this time.

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6 Comments

  1. Avatar Tiyana says:

    The Mass Effect series is actually only set in one galaxy, our Milky Way, but there are many different clusters and star systems. 🙂

    By the way, I’m glad I’m not the only one who cried…haha. I was especially surprised at how emotionally involved I was with the last game. There were several bawl-out-loud moments for me, I’m afraid…

    Anyhow, great overview!

    • Avatar Kit says:

      Thank you for the clarification, Tiyana, about the galaxy. With so many places to visit, it appears that I got a little confused about them being in different galaxies than ours!

      You’re definitely not the only one who cried over this series; Mass Effect 3 was the hardest for me, emotionally, though Mass Effect 2 was close behind. Bioware knows right where to kick it’s fanbase; right in the feels.

  2. Avatar D1E H4RD B4BY says:

    I have just got this series and ive just started the first one. Im about an hour into it and im addicted already.

    People who havent played this series yet, BUY IT

  3. Avatar ChrisMB87 says:

    Ah yes, “Mass Effect”. The epic saga of one man’s (or woman’s) journey to unite the galaxy against a race of Cthulhu starships allegedly awaiting in dark space. We have dismissed this claim.

    A friend of mine (who would in turn draw my interest into Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age to boot) first introduced me to Mass Effect a few years ago, and when I bought Mass Effect 2 and played it through the first time… I knew I was playing something special, and had to play Shepard’s story right from the beginning. There’s something inspirational in the levels of storytelling throughout the series: from the major plot to hold off the inevitable Reaper invasion and then finally attempting to defeat these god-like beings, to the more episodic sidequests on planets that could legitimately be games on their own (many a time I felt like I was playing an episode of Star Trek, and some of the voice casting didn’t help), to the sublime characters and their backgrounds. With the exceptions of Ashley, I’ve never met a squadmate I disliked (although I make a point to rarely use the human companions once my alien friends become available) and all of the characters fit nicely into the setting. I even have a special place in my heart for your number one fan, if only because his heart seems in the right place. But the rest of him…

    I personally play two Shepards: a female renegade infiltrator (though some of her actions are paragon when I think it’s a better option) and a male paragon sentinel (mixing tech and biotic powers) to give myself an set of parallel universes just for the fun of it.

    To be frank, I loved everything about this series: from the aesthetic design in the ships and buildings, to the various races you encounter, the star systems you travel to, even the technobabble makes a strange kind of sense. The voice acting (Yes, I even like Male Shepard’s voice) is spot-on, and I’m impressed with the talent they were able to net.

    As for the ending to the Shepard story, I have my own issues regarding that one. It isn’t the worst ending, and to be frank I saw it coming, but I think it was the manner and execution that threw me off.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I should go. *turns 45 degrees*

  4. Avatar Farah says:

    Such an amazing series, I never thought I would fall in love with it when I first saw it back in 2009, in my last year at college . I already bought Dragon age and played it all the way to the end but ME blew me away.
    Garrus, Kaidan, Ashley and Liara…then ME 2 and finally ME 3, a fitting conclusion (albeit the endings 🙁 ) and I easily recommend it to anyone whose in Games with amazing storytelling and powerful and memorable characters

    Also I’m on my 15th playthrough ^_^

  5. Avatar Axel says:

    nice game:x………i like the designing,…..

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