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BioWare Edmonton



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Release Dates

11/20/07 Microsoft Game Studios
05/21/09 Microsoft Game Studios
11/23/07 Microsoft Game Studios

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Owners: 1,115
Favorite: 96
Tracked: 17
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Now Playing: 18

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Does Bioware's sci-fi RPG deliver? Yes, it does

28th May 2009 | 1,673 views 


User Score

Presentation - 9.5
Gameplay - 9.5
Value - 10
There may be an obscene number of lifts, there may be a lot of late texture loading, but the wonderful story and depth of the universe more than makes up for it.

This RPG sees you playing Commander Shepherd, and your main task is to save the galaxy, but the key to this game is choice. As soon as you boot it up, you are tasked with creating your Shepherd, giving him a first name, background, appearance and class. The class aspect is the key one, there are 6 classes, which all play differently. Which class you choose determines the talents you can level up, and these are grouped into 3 main areas, combat, biotic and tech. Combat talents involve increasing your proficiency with the 4 weapons, assault rifle, shotgun, pistol and sniper rilfe. These levels improve your skill, so accuracy etc. Biotic abilities are comparable to force abilities, like push and lift. Tech abilities involve hacking or sabotaging enemy weapons. You can choose to be a combat specialist somebody with some combat skills and some biotic skills, or any combination of 1 or more talent groups.

Having created your Shepherd, you are thrust into Mass Effect's dialogue system. In Mass Effect, fights can often be avoided by your skill in choosing the right thing to say. In most conversations that you have, you are presented with a wheel from which you can choose what to say, or the tone in which it is said. In general, the options on the left of the wheel investigate more, giving greater depth to the conversations, and on the right you have the options which will progress the dialogue. The choices you make, through the dialogue system determine whether you are paragon or renegade. Paragon Shepherds are generally less selfish, and more polite, whereas renegades are only looking out for themselves and are rude. The dialgoue system is the best I have seen in any game, and allows you to learn far more about the various races in the game by having conversations with them, and you can learn a lot about your crew members by talking to them... even woo a few of them into bed. (Only 1 at a time though!).

Having been breifed of your first mission by Captain Anderson, you are dropped onto Eden Prime, and here you get to engage the Geth, your enemies for the majority of the game. After the annoying saving pause, you get your first taste of combat in the game. The precise style of combat depends on what class you picked, but for most of the time, you will be taking cover behind rocks and pushing your body against the rock causes Shepherd to get into cover, from where you can lean out to the side, or shoot over the top. It is not quite as polished as Uncharted or Gears of War, but it is certainly functional. The main feature is the talent wheel. By holding one of the bumpers, you pause the game and bring up the talent wheel, from where you can target an enemy and choose a talent for you or your squad to use [you can allow your squad to auto-use your talents}. This works well as it also allows you to take look to see where your enemies are, and get your bearings in the fight, as well as provide a simple way to access the large numbers of powers that you can use.

The other type of combat that the game feature is in the Mako. This tank/buggy, despite having jets capable of propelling it into the air for a short period and despite being able to drive up nearly sheer slopes, is annoying to control. You control by using the left analogue stick to move it forward, and then side to side by pressing left and right. The confusion comes when moving the gun turret because holding forward will cause the Mako to go in that direction, so that when you are moving your turret and moving the Mako you have to be subtly changing the direction of both analogue sticks at the same time, which is a pain, and could have been easily avoided with an accelerate button.

In typical RPG fashion, as you progress through, defeating enemies gives you XP, which level you up. These give you points to spend on your talents and the system works well, allowing you to choose what things you specialise in. You also collect weapons and equipment. When off the Normandy, you control a party of 3 and you have to equip everyone with the 4 standard weapons, armour and sometimes other things, such as omni-tools, dependent on what class they are. All these can be upgraded, with different types of ammo for the guns and upgrades to shields or damage protection for the armour. The system is good, but it can be a bit of hassle going through everything as you pick up a lot of equipment through the game.

After the completion of the mission to Eden Prime, you get back to the Citadel, and this is when Mass Effect truly comes into its own. The Citadel is a gigantic space station, and you have a sizeable chunk to explore. The key to making it interesting to explore is the number of different tasks that you can take part in. These range from conducting an interview to organising a funeral for one of the marines that died on Eden Prime. These are all well done, and add a great deal of backstory to the game.

Once off the citadel, you get control of the Normandy, the most advanced warship in the Systems Alliance fleet (Humanity). With this ship, you can explore the galaxy, which is a mixed blessing. While this allows numerous sidequests, none of these are very exciting. It seems that Bioware only have about 2 designs for their buildings on these planets, and with the same two buildings appearing again and again and again it does get a little tiring. Uncharted planets have nearly nothing on them apart from small things for you to survey.

Once the Citadel council tasks you with tracking down rouge Spectre Saren, you have 4 major plot worlds to complete before a finale. These can be finished in about 6 hours, but if you play "properly" and complete side tasks it can take as much at 25 hours in 1 playthrough. The game is well paced and it is certainly worth making 2 playthroughs, one paragon and one renegade to see all the outcomes of your choices, and it is also great fun to play as a different class, as they all play completely differently.

The game's achievements also come with a bonus, as well as giving you gamerscore, they also give you an ingame bonus, such as reaching Level 50 gives you a 10% XP bonus in future. The achievements are quite annoying, as they require 3 full playthroughs with the 3 different classes and all the different allies, but fortunately the game is good enough to justify all those playthroughs.

By now, I am sure that everyone has heard about the lifts and slow loading textures in Mass Effect. They are there, most of the time, and very annoying, but the game does look good most of the time, some of the views that you get are simply outstanding, and while characters do look a little plastic, character models are mostly good.

The best part about Mass Effect is the depth in the story. Through talking to people, examing items and more, you gain entries in your codex, explaining nearly everything in the game. The amount of information that you can learn about relationship between the different species in the game, the role of humanity, the technology behind all the ships, is simply outstanding, and very rewarding for playeres who spend that extra bit of time talking to people.

Overall, Mass Effect is a wonderful game. Its biggest flaws are the slow loading and repetitive side quests, but its depth in story more that makes up for it. The gameplay is great, especially with the talents, and the choices that you have to make are truly meaningful, and will stay with you for the rest of the series. This game is a must have for any RPG fan.

Sales History

Total Sales
1 n/a 219,773 97,283 54,620 371,676
2 n/a 169,313 56,023 38,999 264,335
3 n/a 88,542 31,345 20,728 140,615
4 n/a 82,654 31,630 19,735 134,019
5 n/a 100,178 37,325 23,754 161,257
6 n/a 49,304 27,539 13,184 90,027
7 n/a 31,107 15,376 7,992 54,475
8 n/a 21,237 8,457 5,125 34,819
9 n/a 16,748 11,071 4,758 32,577
10 n/a 18,470 9,148 4,748 32,366

Opinion (192)

-girgosz- posted 06/04/2012, 12:36
Oh god VGC. Outsold ME PS3? The fuck... :O
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Metroid33slayer posted 11/01/2012, 06:48
Shephard is a beast
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Jexy posted 01/12/2011, 06:55
Well they don't track digital downloads, so no XBL sales are counted.
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yo_john117 posted 24/09/2011, 08:49
It's sad how low the sales for this game are.
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slipknotfan posted 26/06/2011, 02:57
Thought part 2 was better but still a good game. Could get lost kinda easy on this one though.
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zzamaro posted 17/03/2011, 04:50
probably the best 360 game out there, too bad not many people can play this game, well, since it's not an FPS, you expect to have cod numbers
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