So i completed Bioware’s latest sci-fi epic RPG, Mass Effect for the PC yesterday and i had a wonderful time playing it for the past 3 weekends. So what do I think about this new franchise that Bioware has created?
To summarize it in one word, i would say: Entertaining. Bioware simply amazes me up till now. From Neverwinter Nights, the first game i played from Bioware, to Mass Effect, Bioware never fails to impress me. Mass Effect is a wonderful game, with highly original sci fi concept that could even be on par with the Star Wars Universe. Ever since I played Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect has taken a step further in many aspects, such as the quality of voice acting, graphics, in game cinematics and raw drama.
What I like:
One of the major improvements that Bioware made in their games is certainly the voice overs. Now Mass Effect features voice overs for the main character that you control. In past games, the dialogue options you choose for a particular response, are not voice acted. In Mass Effect every dialogue has a voice over done. This makes a much for cinematic experience. Also the choices appear just before a dialogue is about to be finished, so the player can choose a response and it would played it out smoothly, just like in the movies when someone is having a conversation.
Graphics are a major step forward from past games that Bioware has created. Lip synching is well done, and you can actually see the emotions and the appropriate facial expression that the character make. Character models are one of the most realistic and detailed i have ever seen. All in all, its so fluid, so human like and it really pushes the boundary forward to realism.
The sci fi setting is top notch. Its highly original, yet at the same time it doesnt bog you down with too many details about the universe in which you are playing. Although there are lots of information about the sci fi universe that you play, even then, it is highly entertaining to read all the background information. Everything from the planets, to the technology, to the alien species and their culture. I must really give credits to the creative directors, producers and writers who came up with such a detailed universe.
What i dont quite like:
Though the story is epic and full of action and climatic scenes, i felt that this game is considerably shorter than the other RPGs Bioware has created. Thinking back, the central plot is very straightforward and if the player avoids all the side mission, i think the game can be completed real fast. Compared to Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, or even Jade Empire, the different locations and worlds that you travel to throughout the story, is not varied at all.
But all in all, just looking at the story itself, it is still highly entertaining and the standard is still on par with KOTOR or Jade Empire.
Character background is a little shallow as well. Although they do tell their background story, i feel that if more time were spent on this aspect, it would make the characters around you more believable. After having played through the game, i dont really feel connected with most of the characters in the game. Characters in KOTOR are much more interesting than in Mass Effect.
Overall, its a good investment and i look forward to more Bioware’s RPG and Mass Effect’s sequels, currently in the works. Perhaps my expectations were too high on the first installment of Mass Effect and maybe this was just a lengthy introduction to the new universe that Bioware has created. My only hope is that the future installment would improve the shortcomings of the first game.