By urban_ryoga 1 Comments
Note 1: I'm not going to post the notes for the rest of the series since I've let all my notes gather being caught up with work and whatnot. This will probably be a lot shorter since I've had a lot of time to think about all my notes and rationalize everything. I'll still be talking about each game individually and then compare and contrast the series. I left my synopsis' of ME1 and ME2 on my laptop and I'll just be proof-reading and posting the first one. Hopefully, I'll get to the second one by tomorrow.
Note 2: I did not buy the DLC for ME1.
Mass Effect has to be one of the most important pieces of modern sci-fi* in recent times. I'll say for all kinds of media, but I have to throw in a caveat. This isn't your daddy's sci-fi and it isn't entirely set within the rules of purely theoretical or loosely-based sci-fi, as there are elements of fantasy within it. For me, my definition of sci-fi is any future story that contains future tech based on scientific theories. The less believable and/or based on something it is, the less pure it is and the more mixed it is with fantasy. Since it isn't quite sci-fi, I can't decide to selectively critique scenes for not being sci-fi enough, unless it presents all the definite rules of the world. (Not so much of a concern for me in this specific game).
I guess I opened up this synopsis without any justification of my opinion. My reasoning for it is that as you play through the game, there is enough background given to start off endless amounts of stories in future games, spin-offs, books, ect. (insert_38_studios_jab_here) While it still has the Star Trek issue of all the planets being homogeneous and containing a single humanoid like species. Everything else is there ready to be touched with all kinds of emotions.
In the game, you play as your own custom Shepard (but of course the real Shepard is a red-head female!) and set off on a course of comprehending the ME universe as you go off to stop Saren from bringing chaos to the universe. However the universe is quite chaotic as it is, so you must quell the little chaos to stop the big chaos from happening. The fact that you are female seems to only matter for romance purposes (can't romance Ashley? meh) and as far as I can tell only one dialog action that struck me and made me take the renegade option.
Upon my second play through of this game, I've come to three conclusions. The first conclusion is that I like the combat in this game. I'll admit that it can become a bit in gun combat, by endgame you can create a gun that will never overheat. However, does that really matter? I've found that you only really use guns in the downtime between biotics, so why game the combat further? It isn't the best part of the game, so refining it will do little to nothing to the game experience as a whole. Second, I HATE THE MAKO. It is boring it is slow. If I wasn't so entrenched into getting a few achievements in this second playthru, i wouldn't have bothered to do a single side quest. Speaking of side quests, the side quests in this game don't seem to regard the actions you have taken in the main game. Do you know how many Rachni I've dealt with after killing the queen? Too many to feel like any decisions matter at all in this game.
So, the side-quests made little sense to me and I started to skip talks with the council after a while, so what was really keeping me engaged in the game? The companions. For the most part, learning about each character's side-plot in relation to the galaxy (I keep switching between universe and galaxy... sorry) was. I say for the most part because to be honest, I couldn't stand Ashley as a companion. I killed her off in my first play of the game without even knowing her, but getting to know her this time through, I ended up doing it again. I guess it is mainly because of being an atheist and I didn't really agree with some things she said. However, Ashley and Liara are both pretty religious. Liara didn't bug me. She never threw it in my face, it was just a part of her (When something dangerous was going to happen: "By the goddess..." and that was my religious contact with her.
While I loved the companions a lot in the game, I didn't "love" them. The romance options were really awkward and to be honest. In my first play-through, I romance Liara. Wondering how it would go, I decided to romance Kaidan to see story-wise how it would go in the trilogy.
Going back to gameplay, I don't feel like I'll ever play hardcore mode again. All the mode really is is that you take more damage, deal less and your opponents have more health. Someday, I hope harder difficulties means better AI again... The game is also buggy as all hell on the 360 for me at least (why I'm not playing on PC? I HATE Origin.) and the game froze on me over ten times in the course of the play through. The only time I felt the actual combat was difficult was with the final boss Saren.
If I were to ever give the game a review, I would be at a loss. I have the same issue with this game as I do Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and the Chrono Trigger port for the DS (Chrono Trigger DS had a bonus dungeon and extra items in the game). The more I play the remaining content of this game, the more I hate it. Without playing the extra content, I would think higher of the game but I feel like the package as a whole should be judged. I guess I'll come back to that after I reflect on the rest of the series.