Mass Effect (360): COMPLETED!

At almost exactly 22 hours into the story, I completed the game. And it was a very good game too, even if there were lots of things I didn’t like about it (more on them in a minute). I won’t reveal any spoilers, except one: who’d have thought Saren would have turned out to be the Green Goblin? He’s even got the thrown explosives and flying surfboard thingy. I suppose the clue was in his face. See:

Green Goblin?

Anyway. The bad bits. Firstly, (and ironically, lastly) there’s the ending. After it, it really is the end – you can’t go back and complete missing missions and assignments. There’s no real plot reason for it either – although not everything goes back to normal after the end, certainly there’s no reason why most of the missions can’t then be completed.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the “point of no return” was well sign posted. It wasn’t, and not only that, it isn’t even the final mission that triggers it. In fact, once you land on Virmire in the game (a good 5 or more hours before the final showdown, on my play through) – that’s it. You’re locked into the ending without being able to complete most of the remaining quests. Yeah, so you might have a save before then, but you’re allowed so few save slots it’s likely you won’t, even if (like me) you were anticipating such an event.

Then there’s the graphics. They’re lovely. Only they jerk around like the whole game is on a bouncy castle. In some of the final sections of the game, there’s horrific slowdown, tearing, and graphical anomalies. Yeah, there’s a lot going on – but it’s supposed to be the nail-biting climax, not a wade through wobbly treacle. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem for most of the game, and it usually only happens in the Mako.

An exception to the graphics being lovely: the geth. Perhaps if they had more than two frames of animation between them, they’d be lovely too. Mind you, they were usually dead before they got close enough to see what they were.

And the lifts! Oh my god. Most tedious part of the game by far. Especially the one on the Citadel that takes you from the docking bay to C-Sec (why? What have C-Sec got to do with the docking?) – it takes AGES and unlike most of the other lifts in the Citadel, it can’t be skipped with a Fast Transport panel.

Item and upgrade management is also a chore. Especially having a limit on how many items you can carry. After every mission I had to sell everything – which takes ages – or lose new stuff, since when your inventory is full, any new items are automatically converted to Omni-gel. Yes – new (and usually, better) items; not old items you would probably sell anyway. Stupid!

Finally, the difficulty. Yes, I know I played it on Normal (I almost always play games on whatever their default setting is) and that there are harder settings. However, for the final 15 or so hours of the game I simply didn’t bother with weapon upgrades, improvements, and that sort of stuff as it was too much of a pain. Which meant I should have found it much harder, only it wasn’t. Every single fight was a pushover – even the final one.

But you know what? None of that really matters. In fact, the only one I can really complain about is the no-way-back ending. Everything else is just a minor irritation. The winning points are the story and the believable, deep universe the game is set in. Bioware have gone all out on making something more watchable (let alone playable) than most science fiction films. The back story, the way you slowly unearth the history of the races and the Protheans, the side missions and overheard conversations. A high point was the reveal of the Keepers’ role in everything – clever how they are there the whole time, but understated and underexposed, then suddenly it all makes sense.

I’m certainly hyped for the sequel now, especially since virtually all of my complaints with the first game have supposedly been dealt with!

Mass Effect (360)

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /homepages/38/d70479217/htdocs/lofi/wp-content/themes/kahuna/includes/loop.php on line 295

This is the game I’ve played most this week. In fact, it’s pretty much the only thing bar Excitebike I’ve played. I’m getting into it now, and really enjoying it. It’s not perfect (the jerking graphics, the difficult to negotiate “bumpy” planets, the stupid lifts, the backtracking, the item and weapon management, etc.) but the story if gripping and the “just another ten minutes” factor is high.

I’m not sure I like having mission after mission thrown at me every 7 seconds, as it makes my journal look almost untouched the whole time and I feel I’m not actually getting anywhere.

I know this post sounds like a huge moan, but they’re all minor points really. It’s just the game isn’t as perfect as I seem to recall the reviews made it out to be.

Mass Effect (360)

Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /homepages/38/d70479217/htdocs/lofi/wp-content/themes/kahuna/includes/loop.php on line 295

All the excitement surrounding the recent release of Mass Effect 2 made me interested in picking up the original game. After all, I enjoyed Knights of the Old Republic, which is very similar (and by the same people), and it should be mere pennies to buy now.

In fact, it was even less than pennies, as somewhere along the line I’d already bought it. And promptly forgotten about it. It certainly made obtaining it to play much quicker, anyway!

I made a start on it tonight. So far, I’ve completed the first mission on Eden Prime, so am just over an hour in. It’s pretty good – even if the graphics jerk like they’re having a fit a lot of the time, and I got very confused over the seemingly three ways of deciding which weapons and armour your characters have equipped, when in fact only one of those ways actually equips them.

Yes, I could read the manual. But I’d left it on the other side of the room.