Old news….I know. But there are probably some folks out there that are into video games who haven’t played the Mass Effect series. There are tons of blogs out there about these games which you can see here, here, here, here and here…so I’ll just outline some cool things about the game, give a general overview and explain why I think it’s worth a purchase and play through. After all….it’s only $39.99 now for all three games in the Mass Effect Trilogy. Pretty amazing deal.
First off, if you don’t like science fiction….don’t play Mass Effect. But if you do like science fiction…..GET IT NOW!! As a gamer, I know very well that a really good video game release is similar to a really good movie release…..few and far between. Each Mass Effect game has its uniqueness to it, which is great. I think they perfected the mechanics in the 3rd game as it had a little bit of both of the good qualities from the first two games. No gamer will ever be entirely pleased unless they themself design their own perfect video game…but these were really, really, really solid. Overall though, it’s an exceptional RPG action game with fantastic artwork, very few glitches and bugs, great writing, an immense amount of options, amazing voice actors and it’s extremely entertaining and immersive. There are so many combinations and variables in this game that you could probably play it 50 times without having the exact same outcomes. It’s fun and well worth the money. Plain and simple.
Without giving away too much to the newbies to this series, the first game plays more like an RPG with action elements in it. The second game plays a lot like an action game with RPG elements. And the third game….well I felt it combined both pretty well. If you can handle the slight gameplay changes….and you enjoy both the action genre and the RPG genre…you will be satisfied. Also the celebrity cast of voice actors includes people such as Martin Sheen, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lance Henriksen, Keith David, Seth Green, Adam Baldwin and Freddie Prinze Jr.. That just adds to the overall quality and makes you feel like you’re playing a movie….but it’s YOUR MOVIE.
Now, there were some serious issues and outcry from fans (myself included) over the blatantly flat ending of Mass Effect 3. Wisely though, the game creators took note and updated an extended cut version (which is good) and is available to download into your console for free. It goes without saying that when you invest 120 hours of gameplay into something….you want the outcome to be believable. The original ending was ATROCIOUS….but since recently playing it again…..I noticed that the developers fixed the problem and the ending (whichever you choose based upon the decisions you make throughout the trilogy) is satisfying. (See below for my spoiler/opinion on the ending).
Are there lots of great games out there? Sure. Are the new console games going to blow away the old PS3 & XBOX games? Probably. But I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t play one of the highest budgeted and lauded games of recent years. The Mass Effect Trilogy is a lot of fun. You can play as a woman or a man. You can play as a bad-ass or a boy scout. You can have relationships with the other characters as a friend or lover. You can escape into an expansive world, which you actually have a hand in creating, and come away feeling like you’ve accomplished something on your terms. Have you ACTUALLY accomplished anything other than wasting your time playing a video game? Maybe…..The writing in these games is so good and the characters are so different that you encounter racism, xenophobia, sexism and a multitude of moral decisions that need to be made. You might actually learn some things and encounter social situations you may never see in your day to day life. You may even improve upon your own personality. People frequently complain that games only promote violence, but one of the overall themes of this game is tolerance and cooperation. It’s just a video game… but Mass Effect is also an exercise in morality. It’s escapist entertainment at its finest which is like crack for video game junkies. But it’s also a very intelligent game with a lot of heart.
M.A.V.B.L.O.G. SCORE- 10 out of 10. It’s fun. It’s fun. It’s fun. And it leaves you wanting more. Regardless of the minor flaws…..this game is awesome. You create your character from top to bottom and you have some freedom in how you design and play your very own Commander Shepard throughout the series. I highly recommend investing the 100-120 hours it takes to complete the trilogy.
Thanks for reading. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to those you encounter. Even animals.
My Spoiler Alert: DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED PLEASE!!! GO PLAY THE GAME!
If you’ve played all the games you’ll know what I’m talking about. So for those of you on the fence in choosing an ending…..here ya go. In the first game your mission is to defeat the bad guys (Saren & The Reapers) of which, Saren gets indoctrinated by The Reapers so he is essentially working for them. You win. In the second game your mission is to defeat The Collectors who are working for The Reapers. You win. In the third game the villain, The Illusive Man, becomes indoctrinated by The Reapers and after his death you are given three choices: CONTROL (of which The Illusive Man tried but couldn’t succeed…and btw you die) SYNTHESIS (of which The Catalyst TELLS YOU that it never worked sucessfully in the past……and btw you die) DESTROY (where you’re guaranteed to defeat your enemy The Reapers……and maybe you’ll die) or REJECT (where you reject the options The Catalyst presents….. and btw EVERYONE DIES…..and then someday in the distant future people figure out how to defeat The Reapers). It’s pretty clear cut to me that destroy is the only true option. The Catalyst is an ancient Artificial Intelligence or VI that controls The Reapers and IS THE BAD GUY (because it controls The Reapers who have terrorized the galaxy for millions of years). It is giving you these choices because NO ONE has ever made it that far, which is probably a manual system reset that the AI cannot choose. Also, if you have a high enough score and you choose the Destroy ending….Shepard lives. It’s the ONLY outcome where Shepard lives. So yes….Destroy is the ONLY option because it goes along with your character and the entire storyline of the series. Find bad guy. Defeat bad guy. Save galaxy.