For months, my roommate begged me to play Mass Effect. She watched as I played through Red Dead Redemption for a second time, saw the excitement in my eyes for Portal 2, and watched my geekout over Mortal Kombat. Therefore, she could not grasp why I had never attempted Mass Effect. After all, it is a video game and I obviously like video games. I listened to endless pitches about her brother playing through it countless times and how much she loved to read the Codex and learn about alien races. "It's a little like Star Trek," she said, attempting to win over the Trekker in me. But I wasn't convinced. "There is romance," she continued, "and choices to be made that impact the entire galaxy." Natalie is not a gamer, but the plot had drawn her in to the ME world. This is a series that appeals to such a wide audience, so why did I refuse to play?
The truth is, I didn't know anything about ME. I had just skipped over that game and in turn its sequel as if I had been in a coma, hardly acknowledging their existence. And now, with the third game shown at E3, I felt as though I would be unable to break into the series. I told myself, "It'll take me too long to get into and my completionist mindset will make the experience even longer." Plus, I've never been too good at RPGs. Was the frustration worth it? After a while, it didn't matter. I was tired of the constant nagging from Natalie -- finally I bought Mass Effect (for 360).
Commander Rufus and Eden Prime
My first thought -- "I'm not going to sit around making a character, that's for sure." So I play as generic "John" Shepard, despite the fact that I'm female. I rename him Rufus, because I can't help but name my characters in games after George Carlin's character in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure -- it's a strange weakness. As far as difficulty goes, I set it to normal. Part of me wants to select casual just because I'm playing to humor a friend, but ultimately I want some challenge. Before I know what's up, the prologue starts up with a lot of talk about things I've never heard of and I feel sort of lost. But I remind myself that the game has started just minutes ago and I sit through it, taking an inquisitive approach with my dialogue. Eden Prime, Protheans, a beacon. Words are thrown at me; the vocabulary sticks, but not the definitions. Soon, I'm on Eden Prime and some guy who must be on my team is killed by something called "Geth." I look at his body (in the RDR mindset, thinking I'll get some loot) and come away with some morality points. So, it's one of those games... I have to choose my disposition (my blog before this one talks about my view on good guys). Well I can't pass up a chance to guilt others by taking the righteous path. So it's settled -- Rufus is a good guy.
Right away, it seems, I'm fighting these "Geth" and starting to hate them more every second. However, once I adjust to the aiming (it always take me a few minutes), I can say the controls feel good and the shooting comes with ease. Somewhere in between bits of fighting, I meet some chick named Ashley. She seems okay and I act accordingly, gaining some morality points. After some more fighting and cutscenes, I head out to meet up with Nihlus. But first I encounter husks and want to burn everything. The concept is similar to that of a zombie, but somehow space zombies are way creepier than earth zombies. But pulling me out of my concentration on how awful husks are is a cutscene and then loud gunshot marking the end of our dear Nihlus. And by "dear Nihlus," I mean the turian (or as I first thought "turanian") who I had just started recognizing. Countless cutscenes and Geth later, I'm rushing after some other turian named Saren who I'm pretty sure is a major dick. Then after some more Geth, I'm disabling bombs that Saren McDickface set up to destroy the colony of Eden Prime. Suddenly, things are starting to make sense... except for these special abilities the game keeps telling me to use. I'll figure those out later, thanks.
Finally, there are no more enemies. all the Geth and space zombies are out of the way and I've found the beacon. Before I can do anything, Ashley pulls a stupid move and gets too close to the beacon. Because Rufus is a man, I have to save her instead of letting natural selection take its course. But of course, the beacon does not kill Ashley nor Rufus, but rather shows me some crazy images and then throws me to the ground like trash. I'm not sure what the hell is going on at this point. I wake up on the ship in sickbay and engage Ashley in a conversation. I thank her for saving me because apparently she did that and all of a sudden I'm hitting on her because I can't just thank her, I have to flirt a little. Anderson -- Mr. Anderson -- Neo tells me to go up and talk to Seth Green about going to the Citadel. And that ends my adventure on Eden Prime.
And the point of all this?
I'm going to put up several blogs documenting my time playing Mass Effect. Some will be more detailed than others and I will omit most side missions unless they contain something that I really wanna talk about. I hope some of you will get some kind of enjoyment out of this. If not, you don't have to read. I'm just putting this here because it is a blog on a video game site after all. Part two will talk about the Citadel -- the most awesome space station in the history of Prothean space stations.