Editorial: This Game had a Mass Effect on my Pants

If you’re an avid follower of me (which you all should be), you’ll know that I’ve only owned a Xbox360 for no more than 6 months now. Therefore you must excuse me when I tell you that I beat Mass Effect for the first time just over a week ago. It was one of those games that I saw in a used game pile and decided to pick up at the last second because I heard it was great, although from the coverage, I didn’t really see why. 20 minutes into the game and I was sold on the gorgeous environments, incredible story, and engaging story-telling despite the texture pop-in and generic secondary planets.

Now, because the game is a whopping year and a half old, I’m not going to go on and on about the original, but rather talk about the sequel and state what should stay and what should go; despite what the majority of people think in some cases. As such, the most minor of all spoilers will be discussed, so minor that few would even call them spoilers.

I love the strong women in this game
I love the strong women in this game

Haven’t I been here before?
This is probably one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from many Mass Effect fans. For the vast majority of non-conversation based side quests, Commander Shepard is sent to generic base after generic base on generic planet after generic planet. This didn’t bother me as much as others, but I still think Bioware could stand to be a little less lazy in this regard. Although according to the company, this problem was the product of some poor planning that will not take place in the sequel. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Commander Shepard
As any fan knows, the teaser trailer for Mass Effect 2 states that Commander Shepard was killed in action. No thank you. I understand the Mass Effect universe is huge, but the original was great for exploring characters and races through the eyes of our fearless morally-weighted hero. I didn’t play as the male version who I heard isn’t nearly as good of a voice actor, but female Shepard is a hands down badass. I will be extremely disappointed if Shepard is gone for good. A Kingdom Hearts 2 style opening I wouldn’t mind so much, but that’s about as much as I would want to take.

That Mako Tank Thing
Hell, I liked that thing. I’ve heard mixed opinions, but I thought the tank runs were a lot of fun and kept the gameplay fresh. Keep it up, Tanky!

Ally AI
Wow, I wish I felt like my companions were contributing. I think there were squad command options, but they were so useless that I pushed them from my memory. All I could do was hope that my two idiot partners wouldn’t run straight into a hoarde of geth and thus use up my precious supply of omnigels. But, alas, they usually would.

Those are Supposed to be Menus?

I wouldn't have tea with him
I wouldn't have tea with him

I’m pretty sure I could have had way been better equiped with the right armor and weapons if the appropriate menu screens weren’t an absolute chore to navigate and properly understand. I had a vague idea of what was going on, but I couldn’t always tell what type of weapon, exactly, I was using, or if my upgrades equipped properly or if I was, perhaps, actually in the store menu. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it’s barely an exaggeration. And speaking of the store menus, those could use a hefty overhaul as well, and that’s not mentioning the fact that it’s really easy to quit the store and comparatively difficult to enter back into it. The conversation menus were excellent, but the buck pretty much stopped there.

The Other Stuff that can Stay
Apart from the AI, combat was a blast. The controls were intuitive and the action, fast-paced. The different classes changed the way you approach the game, and the biotic powers were extremely satisfying. The dialogue options, of course, are a necessary keep. Not only are they the trademark of the series, but they were the best part of the original game. While the good and evil choices are more clear than in a game like Fallout 3, the morality choices drew me into the game faster than Riddles draws Lusipurr to hit things with his megaphone. And that, my friends, is fast.

Closing Statements
Well this section belongs to you, dear readers. Did you play the original? Are you excited for the sequel? If so, do you agree with all of my choices? Some of them? None of them? The comment section is waiting for your attention.
See you next glorious Friday.


  1. One of the things which pissed me off most about of this game was that when you where on board the ship one half of your crew was seperated from the other half by a 30 second elevator ride. No thanks. Next time they definitely need to avoid making boneheaded design choices such as that, arrange more inventory items according to their power and loose the bloody Unreal enging, that thing is hideous. It also wouldn’t hurt to make the main quest a little longer, I’d prefer to have a better, longer main quest than all the samey bonus missions.

  2. @SiliconNooB you’d want the game to be longer? I think the main quest is the perfect example for how long a quest should be. I thought it was a powerful, solid story at the perfect length. But yes, the “samey” bonus missions is absolutely a problem.
    I didn’t mind the elevator rides like other did, but I understand the frustration.

  3. I didn’t mind most of the elevater rides that much, just the one on the ship. You had to take it down to talk with the people in the hold and then you had to take it back up to do anything else.

    As for the length it probably depends on your expectations. You mentioned you weren’t really expecting much from it, bought it on a whim and were pleasantly surprised by it. I on the other hand have really liked a few of Bioware’s previous games, had the game on pre-order and was quite excited about it. The game isn’t ridiculously short by any measure, but it is easily the shortest Bioware rpg and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it doesn’t stack up to their previous games.