Over rated, over hyped, generic
The story is this games greatest asset. the universe is well thought out and kind of even seems plausibe as a real future somtimes,based on all the real world tech jammed in. My only story complaint is the lead male voice (never tried being the girl). Mark Meer, the voice of Shepard, delivers a bland and lifeless performance. He was the only one though, the rest of the cast is either great or better than most games. Its a pity the lead phoned in the performance.I could go on all day about the story, but instead Im gonna tell you what made this game was ruined for me.
Some of the most gratifying things in an rpg ,for me anyway, are exploration,loot collecting, and completion. This game fails on all three fronts.
Let me begin with exloration. In mass effect there are dozens of worlds to explore, which at first seemed awesome to this Star Trek nerd. The awesome-ness wears off after you check out five or six planets and realize a horrible fact: THEY ARE ALL THE SAME! Yes every planet is merely a pallete/texture swap. But wait, this generic buisness has just begun. There are maybe three types of buildings you will find in the entire game. Some seem to even share the exact floorplans. So disapointing.
That brings me to the loot. Item collecting gives me a great feeling in most rpgs, hell its part of what keeps me exploring. Mass Effect has a plethora of pistols, rifles, sniper rifles, grenades etc you get the picture. That would be good normally, but once again, there are only a few different models for them. Its neat when you get a better rifle in a game and it looks different, cuz its new. Aside from power upgades thay dont really change. It seems like a small thing, but in a game this long it gets old. The armor changes, yet there still werent many choices there.
Ok, so completion. Im a completionist , especially when it comes to rpgs. I get little satisfaction from a game if I complete it but miss somthing. Ive restarted games since I was kid playing Final FAntasy 3 (us) and lost Shadow half way through on accident. Givin the fact that its no fun to explore, and the loot sucks, completion becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.
I really wanted to like Mass Effect, It seemed like a StarTrek fans wet dream. So i got three quarters through the game and lost all interest due to the monotony. I really wanted to trade it in for The Orange Box, but after 30 plus hours into it I decided to blaze through the stroy and finish it. It went against all fibers of my being to "blaze" through an rpg, skipping side quests and distress signals, but I did it. I beat the game and It was a fantastic story.
Mass Effect was in the making for a long time, making claims like "Most realistic characters ever in a game" so I feel like the game was over hyped and the gaming media over rated this game. I beat KOTOR back in the day and Mass Effect never once comes close to capturing the feel that KOTOR did.
Mass Effect will most likely see a couple sequels over the years, I hope they can build upon the great story with a great game next time.