Pile of Games: Mass Effect
Great write-up, RecSpec.
Reading this I picked up on a lot of parallels between our Mass Effect experiences. Like you, I'd never seen the appeal of the 'space opera' conceit before playing Mass Effect - the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek have never really appealed to me, and continue to not arouse my interest - but after my time spent with Shepard I felt like I could at least partially understand where the fans of those works are coming from. The universe of Mass Effect is wonderfully realised, and (again, like you) I loved exploring the Citadel and learning about all the different alien races and their respective cultures and customs. I also loved the fact that humanity is made out to be no big deal. When Earth was revealed to be just another of the scores of planets in the game, with no quest attached, I actually smiled out of the respect I had for the developers making us seem so incidental and inconsequential. It sounds like we also played very similar Shepards. My Shepard also had Renegade leanings, but was simultaneously very accepting of the alien races and wasn't going to stand for any space-racism (spacism?) on the Normandy.
Mass Effect 2 is great, but I think I enjoyed the original game more for its narrative, even if the gameplay's edges weren't smoothed out. My favourite thing about it was seeing so many of the choices I made in the first game, both minor and major, referenced in the narrative of the second. I hope you continue to enjoy your time with the franchise.
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