As someone who never got around to playing through the Mass Effect series, I was all in to play through the first installment of the series among all the hype of Mass Effect Andromeda. I don’t know why exactly I never got around to playing the games, despite all the praise over the franchise. Maybe the genre never really appealed to me or maybe I was too young at the time to care about anything other than Halo 3 (freshman year of high school). One thing I know for sure is that just after 2 hours in, I was as addicted to Mass Effect as just about any other franchise I hold near and dear to my heart.
The Mass Effect series is extremely complex so it’s hard to think about where to start. The story was “alright” for Mass Effect. I say this because the story just didn’t stick with me all that well. It seemed to be very generic and dry not to mention how predictable everything was. Granted one of my favorite games of all time is Halo, so I have no room to critique predictable video games. The very last cutscene was one of the most predictable moments of the game, but honestly, I think that is part of the charm. A mix between a well-written story and the perfect amount of corniness makes Mass Effect one hell of an experience.
I found the story, while predictable, fairly enjoyable. It was slow to start out, but the wait for a thicker plot was worth it. I found myself playing for longer and longer periods of time mainly because I wanted to find out what happened next. The writing was really good, as is with any great single-player game. The amount of options and outcomes based on said options, made Mass Effect extremely impressive. The amount of outcomes for every situation is one of the best parts of the game, and I think this is one reason so many people love not only this game, but the franchise all together. Going back and playing Mass Effect really helped me realize just how much I enjoy single player experiences along with great writing in video games.
The graphics, while great 10 years ago, do not hold up well at all. I almost stopped playing within my first 10 minutes because of how bad Mass Effect looks graphically. If it weren’t for some friends egging me on to continue, I may not be writing this review right now. There was some major screen door effect throughout my time with Mass Effect. This took away from the experience because there were many times that I couldn’t tell exactly what I was looking at. While it was hard to deal with at times, I managed to make my way through the game and overall enjoy my time with it. That must speak for something. Right?
Mechanically, the game is a clunky mess. Mess Effect, amiright? Jokes aside the controls were by far the most challenging obstacle within the first installment of the Mass Effect franchise. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I died because the controls prevented me from taking cover. Once used to the controls though, the game got really fun. Sure, I died a lot because of them, but I think that the story itself helped keep my mind off the fact that the game controls so terribly.
There is one vehicle that you get to commandeer throughout the game, the Mako. Out of all the problems mechanically within the game, this was by far the worst. I don’t think I died at all because of the Mako, but it was just that bad. It felt as if I was driving a weightless remote control car rather than a space land rover that weighs thousands of pounds.
Mass Effect was overall a great play and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the game or genre. While not all aspects of Mass Effect stand the test of time, this sci-fi space shooter is a great playthrough that should be experienced by all gamers. It is with no surprise that the original Mass Effect is praised even to this day and I cannot wait to get my hands on Mass Effect 2.