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Mass Effect Review
It's KOTOR in SPACE!
Generic Sci-Fi Character Set #524 in...
Since the day man woke up and realized life is pathetic, there has been a craving for being someone else...anyone else. Enter the scourge of the video game entertainment industry that is known as the Role Playing Game. But being someone else isn't enough, for people want the illusion that they are actually influencing a plot that has already been written by cliché obsessed writers up in sunshine fantasy world. Such is Mass Effect.
I'll summarize the plot of Mass Effect in as few sentences as possible because the beauty of RPGs is every fucking plot is identical. Bad guy doesn't like anyone. Good guy gets a bunch of friends of various backgrounds who all have traits as stereotypical as their pixilated faces and voice actors, and proceeds to save all of the known world/solar system/universe. Bing, bang, boom. There you go.
Now let's go into what actually matters to anyone who isn't blinded by the sex (which I'll get into later), namely the gameplay elements. First off, I should start off by saying Mass Effect has perhaps the most groundbreaking feature ever presented in a game that was actually released: almost every gameplay trailer that they showed for the game was utterly false. In every notable trailer for this game, they showed a complex real time squad based third person shooter which is obviously a camera ripoff of Gears of War, comma, comma, comma. However, the end result is something like Republic Commando, but much more confusing and less entertaining. I make this comparison to one of the five good Star Wars games this millennium because both games share the same basic ideas: you have a squad of fellows that you make abstract recommendations to, and they do the best they can with the AI that's been implanted in there over the course of ten months.
Unfortunately, the differences between this game and RC are much greater. For one thing, the clone commandos are actually...well...smart. Or at the very least they don't run into the middle of a shitstorm, stand still as rockets and sniper lasers focus in on them, or stay behind cover for hours and provide no support as your little to no hit point character (I've used a soldier that generally has the most hit points, yet I die in 5 seconds when being shot at by ONE person). The enemy AI in Mass Effect is also similarly flawed; possibly even more so. Time after time you will find enemies simply sitting behind a wall, not moving, not even twitching as you limp away with no shields to some place where your equally pathetic squad has already died because they didn't think to get behind cover when the slow moving obvious-rip-off-of-force-powers attacked them.
But moving on. I continue my argument that everything Bioware ever said about this game was an utter lie by moving onto the exploration of planets segment. While they originally said you could land on almost every planet and go "exploring", this should do nothing but prove that the people of Bioware can't count or have a very shallow understanding of what the word "every" means because you can only "explore" one planet or less in any given solar system, and those planets are not the creative euphoria Bioware said they would be. Every planet is of a similar tile set: landmark less mountain regions that are shaded brown, black, red, green, or white. While this is all anyone could possibly DREAM of for creative environments, I find myself wanting just a little bit more. Like maybe a tree. Remember trees?
We must now step back from all these obvious flaws and realize the one reason ANYONE wants to play this game: to score with females, something that if you are really looking forward to doing that in an RPG you probably never have done in real life (and never will). For those of you unfamiliar with the complexities of accomplishing this, you basically spend time talking to the character in question (hot female/male #1 or slightly less hot and therefore better at science than the hot one female/male #2) and eventually you two form a wonderful relationship that ends up in you sharing tender moments together down the line. However, Mass Effect has the added attraction of actually seeing, to quote everyone who sees the scene and doesn't laugh at it, "BOOBZ". Unfortunately, Mass Effect even fails at this aspect because there is no development in the relationship at all, although they offer a female character that can have relations with either gender.
Sorry for that. I had to put down the local fanboys, who finally seem to have gotten tired of looking at Cortana and touching themselves. Anyway, one moment the female in question doesn't even look at you, and one mission later she is either blatantly hitting on you or speaking about these "feelings that she doesn't understand the source of but can't ignore". So in order to speed the ritual of boy meets girl along, Bioware just has the bitches fall for you for no apparent reason. To top it off, the sex scenes are poor excuses for shy softcore porn, and is further demeaning the video game industry as said players are using one hand to choose dialogue options and the other hand to rub their penises.
Graphics are always a big issue for tons of gamers, which is why there were murderous riots before Wind Waker was released. Sadly, this game's graphics are nowhere near as incredible as they were in the trailers (if you could even call them that). The graphics look sort of like Resident Evil 4, which while not necessarily a bad thing, Xbox 360 fans deserve better graphics after having the cornerstone known as Bioshock, which almost every 360 game will be compared to until Bungie pulls its collective head out of its collective ass and comes up with something original. [Editor's Note: So, never? - Doom.] The engine kind of dies at times, causing character faces to become smears of pink or sliver with eyes and lips. Speaking of lips, one of the fuck toys' lips change size every time the screen rotates back to her. One moment they are normal sized, the next minute they could eat a watermelon whole in one bite. Obviously not as advertised. The environments that they actually put effort into (cityscapes) are all the same metallic silver, with the most exciting thing happening in them being a reporter you can bitch slap or a suicidal sex slave.
The controls themselves (along with character movement) are almost exactly like KOTOR, except now you can draw you weapon out in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of a crowded city street. Even if you fire your weapon at two talking civilians, they just continue their conversation about how their lives are pointless and meaningless and that they are only there to offer up a reason for the graphical slow down and poor environment. When you get into your precious car you remember whatever fond memories you have from driving a Warthog around in Halo (everyone has at least one, they just are too wimpy to admit it)...then the feeling wears off. The car has terrible handling and can barely accelerate at a decent rate, the aiming is pure shit, and at some points the car just decides it doesn't want you to repair it. So you are stuck on this planet with 50 more rocket-wielding enemies to kill and your car is one loose bolt away from bursting into flames. This, of course, presents a bit of a problem because you have to "explore" those planets in this future hummer, so you get to spend a lot of quality time with the little bastard.
An instrumental feature for nearly all RPGs is the many options you have in how you can respond to a person's question or threat posed to you. However, this is just an illusion developed by game creators, as the responses come in three forms: you care about their feelings, you don't care about their feelings but you don't wish to offend them, or you want to shoot them dead on the spot and rape their sister on their tombstone. Mass Effect tries to mix things up a bit by just offering you a summary of what you are going to say, and then your character says it. For example, an option may say "Not really" but instead you say "I don't really care for how you are treating that woman, but on the other hand I have pressing business on planet LUL so you may carry on". And while this seems like a perfectly wonderful idea, this opens the door to shitty voice work, and god is there shitty voice work. The player character is canonly male and therefore many gamers are obliged to play the game through at least once as the male. Yet this urge generally goes away after you hear him talk for the first four seconds, and almost every other character isn't much better. The only voice work that I could say DOESN'T suck is the female main character, but that's mainly because I haven't played as her yet.
As customization of your character goes, everyone always enjoys trying to find the right looks for his or her character. In Mass Effect, though, there IS NO RIGHT LOOK. Every facial build sucks. Every hairstyle sucks. When you try to get new armor, you realize it's pointless unless you want to walk around like a fag from the 60s, and every gun looks exactly the fucking same but is painted a different color. "How do I know this weapon is better? It looks just like my current one." "IT'S RED! AND RED IS BETTER!" The sniper rifle is with no doubt the worst weapon in the game. Not because it does little damage or has a terrible scope, but because a two year old could be drunk and hold the rifle steadier than a trained soldier with maxed out points in sniper rifle skills. I'd like to know what sense that makes...oh wait, that's right. There's a sex scene, so NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!
As I turn my head away in disgust from a game that I actually expected to be at least subpar, I see the reviews of this game and want to gouge out my eyes. If the reviews were any higher I'd think that Zelda had been slapped on the title. Such as it is, I think I'll go back to playing the original KOTOR, since Bioware steals almost everything good from KOTOR and throws it in here. They even design a whole race after HK-47. This just proves that all Mass Effect is is a remake of KOTOR...but in SPACE!
Number of heroin shots needed to believe it is best game ever: millions