Console: 360, PC
Synopsis:The player takes on the role of Commander Shepard, a veteran of the human Alliance. In a world 26 years after humanity made first contact with alien races, Shepard fights for the survival of the universe, while combatting distrust from other alien species. His main threat is a Spectre (Special Tactics and Reconnaissance) named Saren, whom has betrayed the council. It is up to Shepard to prove that Saren has defected, as well as uncovering his ultimate aim.
Despite the amount of time I clearly spend at Gametraders Blacktown, it is only recently that I have found myself enjoying the Mass Effect franchise, following a high recommendation from a member of staff there. Clearly, my tastes were very clearly identified, and I devoured this game. It is my hope that after this review, I get enough chance to fully appreciate Mass Effect 2, before the release of the third chapter on March 8th.
Mass Effect is a brilliant sci-fi spectacle, with an exciting plot and many surprises along the way. For those that wish to jump straight in, you can play as the default version of Shepard (either male or female), or there is also the option to create a fully customised character. This can include selecting elements of the character’s history, which is significant for the story, or combat styles to however you play first person shooter RPGs best. This is a taste of how your own choices can affect the game. In many situations, Shepard is given choices, often whether to take the honourable of the more ambiguous path. Each of these decisions subtly alter the story, and in some cases are as drastic as who lives and who dies. Indeed, to fully appreciate this, a few play-throughs are necessary. Another great element is that the impact of these decisions can be felt over the entire trilogy, with the ability to import a saved character into the next instalment.
Another huge positive about Mass Effect is thr sheer breadth of the world created. It is possible to ask other characters questions to learn a lot about the world in which Shepard inhabits. This data can be stored in Shapard’s Codex, where an extensive data base will be created concerning technology, other alien races and their culture, and the history of both the Alliance and the Council. It is clear a lot of time and though went into developing all these elements to make the setting of the game feel more real.
The main quest is exciting enough, but there are also a number of available side quests, with the ability to explore uncharted worlds, with quests looking for ancient artifacts, goodies from crashed vessels, and collecting minerals, all which aid Shepard gain experience to level up, and credits to buy more advanced weaponry.
Mass Effect has a fantastic sci-fi story that will draw in a wide audience. The characters are great, the relationships Shepard can develop with them are believable, and the voice talent is in top form (including everyone’s favourite geek Seth Green, and former Star Trek alumni Marina Sirtis). I am just now sitting down to enjoy whatever next is in store for my own version of Commander Shepard!!
4.5 stars out of 5
Mass Effect trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZOFXSi2qDQ]