Mass Effect Series From a Newb

**MASSIVE SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD** IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED ALL THE WAY TO THE END OF MASS EFFECT 1, 2, AND 3 DO NOT READ

PRE-GAME INTRODUCTION

I believe I’d initially heard of Mass Effect 3 after it was announced for release on the Playstation 3. Imagine my disappointment when the first game wasn’t also on that system. To be honest, I never heard of Mass Effect prior to that. In fact, this series was one of the major reasons I finally broke down and purchased an Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Gold.

After the rumblings about the ending of ME3 came roaring onto the internet, my interest in the whole thing spiked sky high. My God, the nerd rage was insane 😛 I WAS impressed with the 402 cupcakes sent to the BioWare offices though.

A few things about the ending. BioWare had absolutely *no* intentions of ever actually substantially changing the ending of the trilogy when responding to the widespread fan disappointment. Expanded upon, yes. Changed, never. Nowhere in the blog post, and subsequent press releases for the Extended Cut they made, did BioWare say they would do so. It all just came off as *really* polite corporate-speak way of saying “Shut up, calm down and wait a minute. New content is coming.”

I speculate BioWare and EA knew exactly what they were doing when the trilogy ended as it did (possibly fully intending on including the Extended Cut, but for whatever reason couldn’t do so). But the ferocity of the fan outrage, I’m sure, caught both BioWare and EA completely off-guard. I also believe that the Extended Cut *was* already in the pipeline, either nearly or fully completed, judging by the line in the blog post about  “…re-prioritizing the Mass Effect 3 post release content schedule…”, BioWare just pushed it up to placate unhappy fans.

I can understand fans’ disappointment in not getting what they thought they were promised but I’d have to play through the games to make a better judgement. Now, onto the games….

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First impressions of Mass Effect 1 are WOW! This is, for lack of a better term, storyful. What I mean by that is that I get *completely* smacked in the face with tons of story. It is full and immense (this even after just about an hour of gameplay).

Catherine Shepard, normal face

Two hours in, my only *real* issue with the game is getting used to the controls. This is slowly going away as I get used to them. Another issue I’ve discovered is that cutscenes can’t be skipped which is frustration personified. Not so bad but if I keep getting killed (like rescuing Liara), there’s no way to skip the dialogue. For the most part, now that I’ve got a handle on the controls, after about 4-5 hours of gameplay, it has become immensely enjoyable. Another small beef is the music is ever so slightly repetitive but the upshot was that the musical production team and musicians did a bang up job *really* contributed to the emotional highs and lows of the final scenes.

I *was* shocked that I beat Saren the first time I tried considering those krogan hunters were so difficult to kill. It wasn’t altogether as impossible as I thought going into it but more annoying. But as heavily equipped as I was with Ashley and  Tali I knew I could handle the situation like a BOSS if you’ll pardon the expression XD

Mass Effect had me literally yelling “aww $#@&!!” at *every* boss fight and almost every other fight for that matter 😛

Having beaten the first Mass Effect in a grand total of 32 hours 17 minutes, I must say, WOW! Just wow! This is overall an immensely terrific game! The voices, the story, the ending! This game is *definitely* a whole bunch of fun. Overall stress out moments were a bit dulled from some minor spoilers I accidentally discovered before playing but it was no less thrilling and heart pounding.

Now. On to Mass Effect 2.

Having gone through in about the same amount of time as the first game (close to 35 hours), it has the same exact high production quality as the first game. I did like the improved time-based hacking ability which was a vast improvement to the twitch reactions of the first game.

There were some minor annoyances though. The planet scanning was incredibly tedious considering I really didn’t even need most of the raw materials I discovered. I found most of the planetary scanning unnecessary except on the of chance I find a random lost signal. Tedious.  Also, some of the controls changed but that was to be expected. Minor but acceptable. In a few places sound completely dropped annoyingly for a few seconds.

What amazed me the most though was that somehow I beat the final boss in one go. Amazing because I consistently died on enemeis that were supposedly “simpler”. Now, most of that was because I did tactically stupid mistakes, but still I expected to die at least quite a few times for the final boss fight. But I sadly lost a team member on the suicide mission, which made me sad. 😦

Overall, I am very pleased with this chapter of the game.

Mass Effect 3

This game ended after about 34 hours or so and it was GREAT! I went Renegade FemShep all the way. I *was* a bit annoyed that I

Scary Face Commander Shepard

couldn’t holster my firearm after a fight but the feeling eventually faded. Stupid battle roll though. >_< That contributed to *many* *many* accidental deaths…

I played through the Extended Cut and made the decision to not activate the Crucible. I stayed alive. So the choice I made makes the Reapers continue their work.

CONCLUSION

So overall, I really enjoyed playing Mass Effect. I played through the Extended Cut and Shepard didn’t go out quite a spectacularly as I would have thought/hoped/expected (in my renegade ending). The series is *very* amazing with incredible writing, music and voice acting. It had me screaming in frustration at the crazy level designs and enemies (the controls were no help sometimes), crying when some of the characters died (okay so one of them *was* my fault, but no matter, I STILL cried :P), jumping for joy at the end of Mass Effect 1 and so on. The complete original ending *definitely* was not as bad as it was made out to be, in my opinion… The Extended Cut if anything was the part that got confusing to me with Shepard alive and still on the Crucible. i mean how and when and where did she (in my case) eventually die? The jump to the end, with the child and the storyteller, left no concrete clues. But okay, I’m fine with that…

Pre play opinion has changed slightly. Your decisions over the course of the games admittedly DID NOT affect the ending *as much* as apparently had been promised, but wasn’t the whole point of those decisions was to affect everything else beforehand? In my opinion, it was *definitely* not nerdrageworthy (new word coined :P). Which, now that I’ve gotten a chance to see the “original” endings, I have no idea why people were so upset with it. I mean so what if Shepard died (and possibly lived again) on the Crucible? And apparently your Effective Military Strength DOES, to a point, affect what choices you are offered. So it’s not like Shep died in vain or anything.

Anyway, loved the games and are *definitely* worth the more or less 100 hours (more if you get ALL of the DLC) of your time. Have fun! 🙂

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