Habboi's Blog of Games Design and All Things Awesome!

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Monday, 9 February 2009

Mass Effect on the PC



During my Christmas break I managed to get my hands on Mass Effect after finding out it was also released on PC. I also heard it was a really good game from lots of people and I knew it would be as it was made by one of my favourite developers, Bioware.

The reason I enjoyed it so much was the story. Developers, take note as Bioware are the best when it comes to in-depth stories and they are doing it right. When I first loaded the game, I was shot back by the large amounts of information being thrown at me. For a little while, it was overwhelming but you soon sink into it all and you start to learn names of aliens and the history of it all. I can never forget the two enemies that made me jump all the time, Husks and Thorns.

Think of them as the zombies of the game except they run, they suicide in your face and they like to play dead until you're close by...Especially the Thorns, sitting down all the time as if to say "Hey, come over here, we're drinking tea!"

The game is flawless in my opinion; I had NO issues with it except one tonight where my character got stuck on a bad collision model. It's really polished and so in depth at times that I could just fall deep into the story and never come out. I reallyloved the interactivity in the cutscenes because it gives you choice and you get to see what happens because of your choice. In fact, one of my favourite characters died because I chose to rescue the other from certain death. It's very powerful at making you feel for the characters.

The gameplay was quite interesting, it had the "KOTOR" (Knights of the Old Republic) style but it evolved and became Gears of War meets Star Wars. You can take cover and pause the game to plan strategies and so on. You're also given the choice of class when you first start and for once, I chose the soldier as I'm normally the super weak mage in other class based games. I can tell you, being the soldier kicked ass. You become pretty much invincible as you can use all the weapons and all armours. Overall I liked the game mechanics as they worked well on a keyboard and mouse and it satisfied me enough. Oh however, the driving sections were a little annoying as the planet surfaces were so bumpy and the car was a little over sensitive.

On to the sound, I loved it. The music scores were effective at conveying where you were. From the mighty Citadel to the cold peaks on a certain planet I can't remember because there were so many and the names do slip. As I said earlier, the game has scary monsters and what better way to convey the horror aspect than by having a creepy tune. The tune can be heard here:

http://www.habboi.co.uk/mus_area_peak15_2_jack.mp3

(I had to rip it from the game as it wasn't shipped with the OST)

Here's another of my favourite songs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fINefilcmZw&feature

These are my favourites because they were really nicely constructed and fit the themes well. The horror song consisted of ringing bell type noises that made you edgy as they used the song in places that seemed empty but were not. The song above, I heard tonight and it's used in a really peaceful sanctuary where you have a discussion with a really old Prothean AI. I would class it as the "relaxing" song of the game.

Back to the story, I won't spoil it but I must say that there are a lot of twists and turns and that's what makes it so interesting. There's so many questions and each one gets answered as you progress so I feel like I'm being rewarded for playing for a certain amount of hours. They ended it in a way that it guarantees a sequel so I will be looking forward to it.

I would really give the game a go as I'm holding it as one of my favourite modern games. If you love story and in-depth history and so on then you'll love it.

(In fact, one of the planets, the snow one, inspired me to make a level on Source involving a scrolling tram. I ended up spending a week modelling the train and texturing it and exporting it in the game. Good stuff.)

P.S. If you want to see the so called "Sex Scene" that Fox News caused a stir about then make sure to save the women and talk to them a lot ;)

(Source Image: http://pix3lnati0n.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/masseffect.jpg - Date Accessed - 09 February 2009)

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