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)
It's been an amazing year for gamers as a veritable avalanche of quality games have hit store shelves in the past few months. But while all of them are worth playing, only a few have what it takes to rise to the top and attain "must own" status.
We've purposefully kept the finer details hidden because Mass Effect is a game that you have to play for yourself. Then, and only then, will you fully understand the game's depth and intricate nature.
BioWare is no stranger to producing excellent RPG experiences. Its catalogue includes hits such as the PC classic Baldur's Gate as well as the amazing Knights of the Old Republic. And now, the company is back with what might be its best effort yet: the stellar and sensational Mass Effect.
After the climactic discovery of alien ruins on Mars, mankind finally starts taking its first baby steps into the greater galactic neighbourhood, courtesy of a little understood technology that manipulates the fabric of space and time to facilitate interstellar travel. Around the same time, the "element zero" carcinogen gives rise to psychic abilities in 10 per cent of the population.
Two events of such magnitude might be sufficient for a simple space opera, but Mass Effect's universe is considerably more complicated. Between the seemingly arrogant posturing of the Council races, the instability of the outlying Terminus systems, and the myriad minor species that operate in between, the cosmos at large feels positively alive with political conflict and thinly-veiled hostility. Of course, where there's bureaucracy, there's corruption, and rooting it out isn't difficult solely because the perpetrators are hard to detect, but also because the long-term consequences of your own actions are so difficult to predict.
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