After my previous post which highlighted the history of Bioware’s RPGs, I finally broke down and got myself a copy of space opera Mass Effect. It had been the only series I hadn’t played, so I’m getting my chance to see what I was missing.
After a few adjustments to the graphics (the default settings were too low), I jumped into creating my first character. Having played plenty of Bioware games before, the process was familiar. I chose a female and used the default name Jane, and picked a class.
This is where my unfamiliarity with this series showed up. I had no idea what these classes were, but I guessed that tech, biotic, and combat were at least similar to soldier/rogue/wizard classes in other games. My only hang up was not being aware of how future party members’ skills would balance out with my own, but then I stopped thinking so much about it and chose an Engineer.
My final step was to customize the look of Jane Shepard (not Shepherd?) from assorted body types and facial structures. The mannequin provided during this process didn’t seem to accurately portray the adjustments made with my sliders, and as soon as I started the game, I was surprised to see Jane had quite a big kisser on her face. Seriously, her lips looked like they had some space age collagen. I think drag queens would be jealous of them. Overall, I could tell that the game was from 2007 since the options in customization weren’t as, ahem… fleshed out as newer titles.
I didn’t really have time to think about her huge lips much more because the story picks up right off the bat. I listened to some introductory dialogue, made my way through the first mission which also served as a tutorial, and saw a couple characters meet an early death.
By now I’m at least part way through the story, have all of the available party members, but have only used a few, and I’ve explored a few of the side quest planets.
Overall, I’m enjoying the game. The setting is pretty slick so far, and I like that humans aren’t depicted as the primary species of the galaxy, but instead are newcomers (the rather arrogant aliens of the galaxy seen to have learned English rather quickly though).
Inventory and skill points are a simple affair, simpler than in KOTOR, and leave me plenty of time to experience the story. Perhaps, though, these features don’t seem inviting enough for me to care too much about them, but if I don’t see numbers and statistics out in the open to crunch on, then I won’t go looking for them.
The planetary explorations are pretty different and remind me of the Mechwarrior games from the 90’s, but only in superficial presentation. That’s not a bad thing, but I laugh constantly at the implausibility of the vehicle’s ability to traverse jagged terrain and, like a cat, always land on its feet, or wheels, or whatever.
Streamlined gameplay is the theme here, and I’m ready to see Pouty-Lips Jane save the galaxy. Stay tuned for any further updates about my play through, and the review when I finish.