Mass Effect Review.

Thoughts: Mass Effect is a science fiction video game franchise and one of the best sci-fi stories ever told. While it may seem like a bold claim, the Mass Effect trilogy is my favorite video game series and one of best experiences I have ever had with a work of fiction. Also it is available on PC if you do not own a gaming console. Since most readers are not gamers, I will explain how the Mass Effect games work. Think of it a "choose your own adventure" book combined with a movie, because you, the player, get to choose how the story progresses according to your actions. Most of the choices are done through the dialogue choices of your character, who you create. The main character, Commander (insert name) Shepard, is customizable, meaning that you decide the gender, class, and overall look of the character. Tomorrow in the next episode of the podcast, Jordan and I will further discuss the Mass Effect series.
One of the many things that make Mass Effect truly great are the characters, specifically your crew on the Normandy (your ship). You get to interact with the characters almost as if they are real people and some characters are "romance-able," meaning you cam form a romantic relationship with another member of your crew, which will carry on into the next game and alter the experience. For example, there is point where you can only save one of crew members and the other must die, and whichever character you choose to save will be in the next two games and you will never see the other character again. While half of the game is making dialogue choices, the other half is the combat, which is fun because you can upgrade your character to fit your gaming preference. For those more interested in the story than the combat, you can lower the difficulty to an easier mode, which I recommend for those new to RPGs (Role-playing-games).

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3,
Release Date: November 20, 2007
ESRB rating: M

The Good: Best video game story ever, Film quality voice cast, Unique dialogue system, Loveable characters, Well executed romance options, Tough choices, Long lasting appeal, Your decisions matter, Original sci-fi universe, Unforgettable experience, Tons of side quests, Replay value, Many choices, Great villain, Superb soundtrack, Decisions effect the sequels,

The Bad: Dated game play,

Warning: Mass Effect is rated "M" for mature content including mild profanity, violence, brief and optional sexual content. Basically, it is equivalent to a PG-13 movie.

Plot: 10/10- Mass Effect is the first chapter in one of the best fictional experiences ever created. Because the player has the decision to direct your character's actions, it offers an experience that no other form of media can offer. The characters are well developed, providing you explore their backstories and talk to them, which is optional. While the romance in the later games are better developed, Mass Effect 1 serves as a good starting point and the choices you make in that respect are important to what happens in the next game.

Gameplay: 8.1/10- Gameplay is the only slightly weak aspect of Mass Effect because the vehicle missions are somewhat awkward to control, unless you have are playing the PC version, which is said to  be much better. The third-person-shooter controls can be slightly odd because of the RPG elements blended with the shooting aspect. However, combining both the RPG turn-based type game and the shooting part created something entirely unique that requires both strategy and fast react time.

Graphics: 8.9/10- For a game that is six years old, the graphics holdup surprisingly well. The character models still look very realistic, even by today's standards, particularly the default Shepard. The atmosphere and design for the alien species are stunning and original, one of the best and most unique science fiction universes to date.

Voice Acting: 10/10- Until Mass Effect's sequels, this had the best voice acting in a game period. There are so many dialogue options; it is mind boggling! Both male and female Shepard are voiced in full and so are all of the characters, even aliens; they have a ton of well acted dialogue. Liz Sroka gives a standout performance as the always loveable Tali'Zorah. Also Seth Green, creator of Robot Chicken, is absolutely hilarious as the pilot of the Normandy, Joker. There is not a weak performance among the cast and they get even better as the series continues.

Sound Design/Score: 9.9/10- Jack Wall's score perfectly compliments the game. Many of the themes are memorable, particularly the "Love" and "Spectre" themes.

Humor: 7.8/10- Although Mass Effect is far from a comedy game, there is a good amount of humor, mostly from the pilot Joker, voiced by Seth Green.

Lasting Appeal: 10/10- On my first play through I spent roughly 30+ hours and about 17+ hours on my second time through. It will surely be a game that I will play through again and again trying all the different possibilities.

Overall: 9.8/10- Despite Mass Effect's age, the game is an absolute must play for science fiction fans or RPG fans.

Closing comments: Even non-gamers should consider playing Mass Effect because few forms of media gives you such a unique and complete experience.

Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans, RPG fans,

Click here to buy the entire trilogy on Xbox, PS3, or PC for only $30-$40 dollars!

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