The game Mass Effect is a third person, over the shoulder shooter that envelops you in a futuristic environment complete with advanced technology, alien races and plenty of drama.
The game begins with the creation of your character. BioWare has done a complete job of allowing you as a player to be exactly who you want to be; Gender, personality, history, and of course cosmetic attributes all are able to be customized. After that you choose from 5 classes of character. Each one offering a completely different playing experience along with achievements to boot. Once you finish with creation you are then taken right into the thick of the plot and action.
The story line of the game interjects you as Commander Shepherd of the Alliance Military, the human Starfleet of sorts. Each time you are spoken to you have the choose of choosing from different replies and reactions. What you choose decides what kind of person you become and what kinds of story will unfold. While this adds immensely to the plot and replay value of the game it can be a major downplay at times. The cut scenes can become drawn out at points and even more so when you ahve to wait for characters to finish talking so that you can make your selection. While you can speed through what is said it will usually lead to incorrect replies from yourself which can really harm your opportunity of gaining certain achievements. The game offers a main story line of average length but because it offers achievements for completing the game more than 75% it will gently urge you to complete more of the side quests within the game. Even after your first play through the game offers so many customizations of your character and conversation replies you can play the game again and feel as though you are playing it for the first time. Later on you can even add Downloadable content from the Xbox Live market place that adds a new mission and achievement.
The voice acting and graphics are a marvel to see and hear. The game offers a few well known voices which really add to the surrealism of the game. As you progress forward you feel as though you are playing in a theatrical motion picture of sorts. This is even more the case as you entire combat environments as they seem to be seamlessly interweaved with cut scenes and exploration. However during some battle moments the game can get somewhat of a "laggy" feel when you start to notice that the frames per second don't always seem to keep up with the action that is taking place. Overall though it still offers a very enticing playing experience.
Mass effect utilizes a "turn-dial" control system that you must use to change weapon, abilities, conversational replies and function through the character menus. While at first it seems foreign after a while you become more familiar and better able to traverse through your gaming. While they have aimed for innovative overall I would say that it misses the mark. In general though it doesn't put too much of a damper to cause any real problems. The game play and combat system function well with a very small learning curve for anybody that has played any shooter game. While the cover system may fall short as compared to other games: requiring you to just walk up to cover until your character takes cover on their own, it can still get the job done. Melees in the game to are left up to chance as you use the shoot button when close to opponents and the game decides for you when it is best to melee. The "boss battles" are fun a challenging with constant action. Mass Effect breaks away from the mold of most games by offering end battles that are unpredictable and of good length.
Final Thought: If you are a fan of sci-fi games then this is the best game out there for you. Even if your not then this is the game you will want to get to introduce you into the genre. While the game can seem to be slow at points the plot and game play offer an exciting visual game that will leave you completely satisfied with your purchase.