Recently I had the pleasure of review Assassin’s Creed, one of the best single player experiences to come out in a long time, but alas a whole two weeks later and a new game is out that completely blows it out of the water. Bioware producers of the ever amazing Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire have done it yet again with their newest release Mass Effect. The game follows Commander (insert first name here) Sheppard as you lead a crew, across the galaxy to hunt down Seran, a Spectre who has gone rogue to find these certain keys to destroying the universe. And of course you get to hunt him down any way you choose and stop him.
The Good: Bioware’s strongest point in game play has been the ability to choose, Mass Effect is no exception, you can choose to get information by being kind and charming your way through conversation or you can stick a gun to their head and demand information. Everything you do effects how people perceive you and this can be very helpful or very harmful depending on what you need. Another example of choice is of course free roaming, this game redefines the terms with not cities, or lands to roam at your will but entire planets, and not just the entire planet that they stick you on, but the one you choose from over dozens of planets on your map. The character customization is the best I’ve seen in a long time; not only do you create this amazing character to look how you want to look but you can create their story as well, and the cool part is, people will actually ask you about your story, or make references in the game based on what you choose. The combat system is tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun, switching between weapons and biotic powers are quick and easy, and the game flow is amazing. It is a bit harder than most games though where you really have to watch your health, so if you get frustrated easily I would suggest trying it out on easy first. The voice acting is very well done with a really good cast, including Seth Green as the pilot, of your ship.
The Bad: Of course the Voice acting had better be amazing considering just how much talking you end up doing. This is good for people who like story heavy games, but sometimes it just seems to take a bit too long to get back into the action, a prime example of this is the intro. Most games should take about 30 minutes at the maximum before you are really into the heavy story, Mass Effect takes about 2 and a half hours before you finally get into the true meat of the story and really get to go start killing and free roaming and exploring. At times the game can also seem incredibly unbalanced where in one fight you may take down three to four guys without any issue but then ten seconds later get shot by one guy once and be dead, not only does this add to the hardness of the game but to the frustration as well.
The Ugly: the Aliens, and not that they weren’t well done….there are just some fugly ass creatures in this game…plain and simple.
Honestly between game play, graphics, and story Bioware as successfully made it one step closer to perfection. If there were a game of the year for single player games this one would have my vote in an instant. I highly suggest skipping past the whole “rent it to try” thing and just go purchase this game…of course that’s only if you have an extra 100 plus hours to spare.
Final Score 9.5/10