by Chris Scott
reviewed on X360
Massive Gears Effect
Eventually you will make your way to Eden Prime, a remote outpost where an alien beacon has been discovered and subsequently attacked by a mysterious race of cybernetic beings; the Geth (kind of like Cylons). Your job is to secure the beacon and rescue as many survivors as possible. Some decisions made in the beginning will start to shape the fabric of your character. But unlike previous Bioware games like Knight of the Old Republic, all your actions are done for the purpose of good and you are either a goodie-goodie good guy or a renegade good guy. In fact until the very end of the game the decisions you make don’t really seem to make much of a difference on the overall outcome.
On Eden Prime you will encounter the next major piece of the gameplay, the combat. Upon first look Mass Effect seems like a standard third person, over the shoulder, shooter and you can in fact play the game this way. However the combat is much deeper than this and those that take their time to learn the system – a mix of active combat with paused controls to activate special powers – find themselves staying alive much longer than if they don’t. The best part about the fighting is that most fire action is exciting and will keep you on the edge of your seat, something that most role-playing games don’t have.
Han Shot First
The events on Eden Prime are the foundation for the remainder of the game’s story and serve as a nice, little glimpse into the overall depth of Mass Effect. Once you leave the remote outpost you make your way to the Citadel; a space station city filled with wonderful architecture, leaders, diplomats and some of the seediest criminals on this side of the Mos Eisely Cantina. While in the Citadel you meet many new people and accumulate a whole lot of side quests which can be enormously fun at times and mind numbingly boring at others. The side quests are all optional but they help you to increase your experience total and in turn your character’s level. Most of them will involve you travelling to a settlement planet and traversing the not so detailed landscapes to a research station or mine shaft. But some will have you dismantling nuclear bombs or taking down terrorists.
The events in the Citadel will open up the galaxy for you, as you will gain control of the Alliance starship, the Normandy and its crew. Your crew is an eclectic bunch, straight on from your pilot, Joker (voiced by Seth Green) to your xenophobic Navigator. You’ll also have a full team of operatives that you can select for missions off the ship and each is fully interact-able with a story of their own to tell and explore. Every character is well voiced lending a measure of realism and emotional attachment to each of them. In fact all of the sound in Mass Effect is top notch. The score is emotional, sweeping and epic in scale, much like you would hear in a big budget sci-fi film and the sound effects are great.
No Pros and Cons at this time