Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Games: #10 -- Mass Effect

Never have I cared more about the universe in which a game resides. Mass Effect is the pinnacle of story and atmosphere; that includes movie, television and games…Mass Effect is better than any science fiction story in media today. Even Star Wars.

When I first jumped into Mass Effect I was awestruck by the visuals, but that’s not what pulled me in. The first conversation I had with a character was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced beforehand. It wasn’t this sterile frame of a bobble-headed character talking to me like the Elder Scrolls games. There was actually an atmosphere-- camera angels, specific lighting all enhanced each dialog interaction.

I can’t say that the story wouldn’t have been nearly as compelling without each alien race you meet having some uniqueness about them. Stepping foot on the Citadel and conversing with all the life forms, and actually being interested in what they were saying—not just for personal gain, but I was genuinely interested in every single person I met. That speaks volumes about the level of writing featured in Mass Effect.  

All the alien races bring something different to the table

I know that the game had problems. It was a technical shit-pile, but that didn’t make me love the combat any less; and the original Mass Effect did have shooter mechanics that were for babies. That said, it was the sum of each part that made Mass Effect a fun experience. 

I don’t really care much for anything space-related in my personal life--people aren't clamoring to join NASA. Yet, Mass Effect makes it interesting by giving a unique back-story to all the events that lead to humanity being excepted throughout the galaxy. Space is actually interesting. The fiction in Mass Effect is so richly detailed that comics, and novels have both been published and stand on their own as great stories.

I could talk forever about how much I love this game…but really the sequel is far superior. So I’ll save most of my praise when that comes.

Even though Mass Effect is only 4 years old, I still get nostalgic when I think about it. Whenever I start a new game, and I hear that music, then the logo for Mass Effect pops on screen, I get goose-bumps on the back of my neck. To me Mass Effect is in one word—Special.

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