So my last final was on Friday, and like many of us who are in college, we simply have no time to play all the games we want while busting our asses for that once lambskin ticket to better employment. So now, with the Christmas vacation upon us, I am trying to go back and finish those games that I simply had no time to even look at before.
The first that caught my eye was Mass Effect. I bought it back in summer for $5 off of steam and played it for seven hours (according to Steam) during that same summer
period. In that first few hours with the game, I have to admit, I didn't see what the big fuss was about. The game, I felt, did a lackluster job of introducing me to their beautiful universe. So much sci-fi jargon was being flung at me, pages after pages of codex entries, and a horrible tutorial of how the many gameplay mechanics worked. All the while, the story never stopping or even slowing down for you to keep up. This all culminated in me not really caring about the universe or the menagerie of wonderful characters that inhabited it. I got into a habit I HATE to do within RPGs, which is to be on what I call "quest autopilot," where I gloss over text and narrative so I can just get to my end goal. These things, however, were not the reason for me completely abandoning the game for over four months. What was it you ask, let me spell it for you, M-A-K-O. The mako is one of the most poorly implemented mechanics of a game I have ever played; complete dog shit. When compared with the meticulous attention to detail and construction of the awesome game surrounding it, I can only wonder how Bioware let this happen. It almost feels like they ordered one guy to create each explorable planet and the other guy to create the vehicle in which to explore the planet. These two people both produced bad work, and never even talked to each other on how to properly join these two aspects of the game. The mako handles horrendously, and feels completely separate from the world. It got to a point, when trying to drive out of a pit surrounded by almost 90 degree cliffs, where I said "Fuck this shit!" and spent the remainder of the summer doing far more enjoyable things in Barbados.
Now that the school term is over, I have decided to give Mass Effect another chance, and looking at the fact that I have played like 17 hours in the past two days probably shows that I'm really digging this game now. I sat down and forced myself to get out of that pit, and after doing so, forced myself again to read the codex. After gaining the knowledge of how this universe works, I am completely engrossed within it. The combat system is great in theory, however, I feel that the controls and mechanics were not built in such a way to perform your actions elegantly. This, and the fact that I still quiver whenever I see that I have to "Land" on an uncharted planet are simply speed bumps within in an awesome experience. Bioware is a developer that is currently unmatched in their form of storytelling, and only getting better at creating wonderful games. I know I'm late to the Mass Effect party, but I'm really enjoying my time here, and cannot wait to move on to Mass Effect 2 (c'mon Steam, lower the price for your holiday sale, please).
P.S. I didn't care for the Star Trek series, so I'm even more surprised that I'm loving this game.