Title: Mass Effect
System(s): PC (Xbox 360)
Release Date: May, 28, 2007
Publisher (Developer): Microsoft (BioWare)
ESRB Rating: Mature for Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence
Pros: Great storyline, interactive dialogue, good character customization, great graphics, deep game play, fixed console technical issues, great interface
Cons: Too short, game play a bit slow, repeating locations, no expansion episode
Overall Score: Two Thumbs Up, 98/100, A, * * * * 1/2 Stars
BioWare has redefined the way we think and play role-playing games with titles including Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. Mass Effect, however, is BioWare’s ultimate masterpiece with completely new universe that is at least at par with, if not better than, any in gaming history.
A Story Worth Retelling
Mass Effect‘s story is still its strongest aspect. Unlike most RPG’s, Mass Effect doesn’t waist your time by taking hours to lay down the plot. It jumps right into the story on the very first level, and only expands, becoming more complex as the game progresses.
Once again, as in the 360 original, you’ll play Commander Shepard, who is either a male or female, depending on your own choosing. Players will be racing against the clock as they try to unlock a mystery that will put tens of billions of lives on the line as an ancient evil threatens to destroy all life in our galaxy.
This is a living, breathing and growing galaxy that you’ll play through, every second of the twenty-five hour plus adventure is well worth the time and effort you’ll spend developing your character and exploring the massive universe that is Mass Effect.
Graphically, Mass Effect for the PC is stronger than its 360 counterpart. The textures and lighting are shaper and have a moodier feel to them. There also aren’t as many frame rate issues, loading times or missing textures during the cinematics, which were major problems for the console version.
Story, game play and mechanics are all the same. The interface, however, has been completely redesigned from the ground up. PC gamers should feel right at home once they load the game onto their systems. The basic layout is similar to many MMO’s, such as World of Warcraft. You’ll be able to drop and drag your special abilities into icon windows, making for quicker access and power usage during game play. You’ll also be able to issue individual orders to your two team mates, something you couldn’t do in the original Xbox game.
Still Missing a Few Things
While most of the technical issues have been addressed for the PC release, Mass Effect still has a few minor issues, specifically with its overall length and speed.
While Mass Effect is a RPG, it is also a shooter, yet not really both. It is a good hybrid of the two but many console gamers complained that the game didn’t lean towards one or the other.
The length too is still an issue. Even if you complete all the side quests, this game still will just barely reach some thirty hours. That’s way to short for a true RPG. For a game that has so much going for it, I really wish there would have been more added to it to extend the experience.
The length could have been improved upon as BioWare had also included the first expansion pack, titled, Bring Down the Sky, with this release, adding at least five to seven more hours to the game. Unfortunately, you’ll only get to play the expansion if you are an Xbox user.
Well Worth the Ride
With most, if not all of the major technical issues now resolved, Mass Effect for the PC is a more enjoyable experience than its Xbox 360 counterpart. While there hasn’t been much new added to the general game content, PC gamers who are new to the series will certainly want to see what last year’s hype was all about.
PC or console, Mass Effect is still one hell of a game. One certainly worth playing again.