First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Microsoft Game Studios Mass Effect
- The game features an absorbing story that is expertly told; there is a tremendous amount of depth to the game, from the character customisation options to the world at large; the overall presentation is also fantastic with pleasing visuals, a vibrant galaxy and an intuitive interface. Variety is also key: the game offers you a ton of things to do; we could go on and on here but we're running out of room so let us just say that Mass Effect is one of the best games we've played this year...or any other year for that matter
- The enemy and ally A.I. is surprisingly dim; having to use the Back button to throw grenades sucks; the elevator rides are also ridiculously long
If you are an RPG fan, you should definitely give this game a look; it is good enough that you'll find yourself disappearing deeper into Mass Effect each time you play and demanding the inevitable sequel long before it's due.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 10 stores)
As complex as the big picture is, your personal journey is almost as complicated. Before you move a muscle, you are responsible for the very creation of the protagonist. You can run with the stock character John Shepard, soldier but you can roll your own through a cleverly designed character creation process.
The beauty of this system is that Mass Effect embeds whatever details you choose for your character's past inside the larger story that follows. Even if all roads lead more or less to the same place, the attitudes you encounter and project along the way are drastically different based on your background and actions. In a game with so many thousands of lines of dialogue, and branching choices for how you present yourself in every single conversation, the sense that your character is a living and breathing individual in an unpredictable world is utterly convincing, whether you choose to be a paragon of virtue with an honourable past or a renegade scumbag who rose up from the societal muck.
Of course, not everyone will be enamoured with the frequent conversation trees that unfold any time you chat up an NPC, but BioWare wisely chose to communicate the bare essentials quickly, so those who don't have the patience to dig deep under the surface can quickly and efficiently move on without missing anything critical to the mission at hand.
Likewise, there's an enormous and beautiful galaxy to explore, filled not just with shrewdly designed mission-centric worlds, but also uncharted planets to land on and explore with the absurdly agile Mako vehicle. Zipping up mountains and down ravines to recover debris, examine anomalies, or explore underground bunkers is endlessly addictive, but it's also entirely optional. If you're the sort that wanted to explore every last cave in Oblivion, you'll love the sheer volume of things to do and side missions to wrap up. If you're not, you're free to just move on to the next stop on the main story-driven mission path which involves a deep and satisfying narrative that I won't ruin for you.
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