Monday, July 23, 2012
Top 10 VG Countdown - #1: MASS EFFECT
The first game follows Commander Shepard and his/her mission to rid the galaxy of an evil mechanical race called the Reapers. The Reapers have been hibernating in dark space, waiting to invade the Milky Way and destroy all life in the galaxy with a plan that has been in place for many years. I will not say more than that on the story or go into the plot of Mass Effect 2 or 3, because if you haven't played it, I don't want to ruin anything.
I am impressed by everything about these games, but let's start with the gameplay. Mass Effect can be a different experience for every player, because there is so much customization involved. You can choose to be a male or female Commander Shepard, customize your appearance, and select a history, psychological profile, and one of six military specializations (each class of military specialization focuses on either combat, tech, or biotic talents). These choices might affect dialogue or cut scenes throughout the game, as well as your combat experience. The third-person-shooter combat is exciting and tons of fun. You can use a variety of different weapons or skills (depending what kind of military specialization you choose) and equip armor.
The first time I played, I chose to be a Vanguard, which was super fun because it is a combination of combat and biotic abilities. I could use pistols and shotguns as well as throw, lift, and warp people with my biotic powers. Second time, I went Soldier, which was completely different and just as fun as I could use any kind of weapon and equip heavy armor, so I could take a beating. Each class has its advantages and disadvantages.
Now let's talk story line. The plot plays out like a fantastic movie, but there is also choice involved throughout the game. The dialogue options allow you to gain Paragon or Renegade points. These are not strictly "good" or "bad" moral decisions, but generally Renegade dialogue options are more brutal actions and Paragon more compassionate. When you get enough points in either the Renegade or Paragon scale, you get bonus skills and new dialogue options open up to charm or intimidate people when you need to.
I could go on a lot more about the awesomeness of this game, but I will leave it at one last point: the world and the characters. The characters are well developed, realistic, and the voice acting is fantastic. If you haven't fallen in love with most of them by the time you are done this game, there is something wrong with you. The sci-fi world BioWare has created is incredibly in depth and so well thought out. I am amazed at the amount of work put into this game series, and I am going to be replaying it for many years to come.