Video Game Review: The Absolute Ecstasy of Mass Effect
As an ardent Bioware fan, I play through the entire Mass Effect series once a year and I’m in the middle of my 2020 play-through as we speak.
Mass Effect tells the story of Commander Shepherd, an Alliance fleet hero who is charged with (of course) saving the Earth from a species of “old-machines” called the Reapers who exist to eliminate organics.
Each installment centers around Shepherd fighting the Reapers and whatever agent they’ve recruited to do their bidding. In the first installment, it was the rogue Spectre, Saren (with a special appearance by the Geth), in Mass Effect 2, it was the Collectors (and, of course, the Geth), and in Mass Effect 3, it was the Reapers and their favorite mindless slaves, the Geth. Really, the Geth are always around causing trouble and being completely vulnerable to tech attacks (yay!).
Currently, I’m admiring the crown glory of the series, Mass Effect 3, which signifies the complete evolution of the series up to that point in its improvement on less than stellar elements of the first two installments.
I played the series out of order as the inaugural installment of Mass Effect wasn’t readily available on PS3 when I learned about the series. My first introduction to this space-age opus was Mass Effect 2, which was a vast improvement on the first in the series–mostly because you didn’t have to drive around in the awkward M35 Mako on every mission. No, in MS2 you just had to spend countless hours scanning planets for mineral deposits that didn’t really tip the scale in the game that much after a certain point–yet I did this a lot because I’m a rabid completionist.
Overall, I cannot tout the absolute perfection of this series enough–and without reservation–I consider the entire series to be an impeccable epic of space kick-assery — let me make that clear for those who have numerous complaints about the ending, or about this, or about that. Many fanboys crucified the game’s final installment, Mass Effect: Andromeda, effectively torpedoing the series based on their claims that it didn’t live up to their standards. I’d like to see these same fanboys deliver on-point gaming caviar after four installments. At that point, I’m sure we can all agree that anything can jump the shark.
What I love about Mass Effect is that its setting goes beyond the well-worn depiction of a pseudo-medieval/renaissance environment, which I am entirely tired of. I play a lot of RPGs, and since turn-based RPGs have, from a mainstream standpoint, gone the way of the Dodo, I tend to play a lot of Action RPGs that are mired in dreary castle-dom and armor and scabbards and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I love Skyrim, Witcher 3, Dragon Age (another AMAZING Action-RPG series by Bioware), Fable, Dragon’s Dogma, etc. but I’m a little tired of seeing dragons, elves, castles, kings, etc. as the overarching theme of RPGs/Action RPGs.
To put it simply, I’m a bitch that loves space.
There’s a lot to love about this game, but the Simmer in me (I’m playing the Sims 4 right now as well) particularly enjoys the in depth customization options available for you to create your unique hero in Shepherd. It’s no secret that being able to personalize your main character allows for deeper immersion in a game, and Mass Effect has that in spades. Check out some video of my kick-ass purple-haired maven, Prism Shepherd, below.
Otherwise, the game is gritty and more than sates my shooter appetites (it’s a great third person shooter). Like Dragon Age and the two installments before it, Mass Effect 3 has a relationship development engine (though it’s a bit less in depth in MS3) and includes lots of cursing, skimpy clothing, sexy aliens, and depending on what difficulty you choose, some very deadly, asshole-ish baddies. I mean what more could you want?
So this is an ode to one of my favorite RPG/Action RPG series. Mass Effect is keeping me entertained during this quarantine horror show, and I’ve dropped some game play footage below for your enjoyment.
Check out Mass Effect, it’s good for you.
Prism Shepard and “ally” geth Legion discuss the current state of things during a cut scene.
Wonder what it would be like to shoot cubes in a Tron-like Geth mainframe? Well, you’ll wonder no more after playing Mass Effect 3!