voshinova's Mass Effect (PC) review

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Mass Effect PC

This is a review of the PC port of Mass Effect, which released May 28, 2008.

Overview

Cover Art
Cover Art

The Mass Effect universe, as set up in this game, is one that blends itself sublimely into the ranks of some of the best science fiction stories I know.

As such, the original entry in the saga is one of the best story-driven role-playing games created; and the PC port fixes some of the issues of the original, while adding some really useful interface tweaks that the PC crowd will love. I should preface these statements by saying that I have played this entry and it's sequel on both Xbox 360 and PC, as well as the Playstation 3 version for the sequel. This is a review of the PC port of Mass Effect. I state this not only to give my comparisons some validity, but also to explain the lack of time spent reviewing the story arc and characters in this entry of the saga.

Performance Upgrade

....Shepard.
....Shepard.

The console version was often criticized for it's frame-rate issues, and at the time, it was acceptable based on how extraordinary the level of graphical fidelity was. The PC version makes what was already a very pretty game, a much smoother experience; and with the additional power of a gaming PC comes some much cleaner visuals. Although your PC must meet the minimum system requirements to utilize of the computers added visual pizzazz. (requirements at bottom)

The New UI

The Combat Wheel
The Combat Wheel

The player controls the action and story telling through dialogue wheels and third-person combat that is nearly identical it's console brother, but adds a unique new interface to command you and your teammates. In the original console version, players unitized the "combat wheel," which essentially paused the game-play and allowed the character to choose his next action in battle. The combat wheel worked for what it was, but the required pauses in game-play tended to slow down the the intensity that the story brought to some of the games later battles.

The Tactical HUD
The Tactical HUD

With the updated interface, you can still pause and choose your abilities, but it also allows the player to assign abilities to the number keys to use "on the fly." It really sped up the combat for me, and is absolutely necessary for a mouse and keyboard, but the additional speed adds even more adrenaline to the combat scenarios. The interface is even displayed differently, which may seem minor on it's face; but one of the main issues I had with the combat wheel was the "front and center" approach it took by taking up a large portion of your line of sight. The updated display solution aligns the tactical options on the sides of the screen, allowing a much broader look at the battle at hand.

Definitive Version

These additions to the PC version of Mass Effect are outstanding and help reveal the games true potential. It's very hard to pass up this game, and with the upgrade to performance and control, I would even recommend this game to players who have already experienced Shepard's first entry into the saga.

No Caption Provided

Minimum System Requirements

Operating System:

Windows XP or Vista

Processor:

2.4+GHz Intel or 2.0+GHz AMD

Memory:

1 Gigabyte RAM (XP)

2 Gigabyte RAM (Vista)

Video Card:

NVIDIA GeForce 6 series(6800GT or better)

ATI 1300XT or better (X1550, X1600 Pro and HD2400 are below minimum system requirements)

Hard Drive Space:

12 Gigabytes

Sound Card:

DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card and drivers

Recommended System Requirements

Operating System:

Windows XP or Vista

Processor:

2.6+GHz Intel or 2.4+GHz AMD

Memory:

2 Gigabyte RAM

Video Card:

NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX or higher

ATI X1800 XL series or higher

Hard Drive Space:

12 Gigabytes

Sound Card:

DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card and drivers - 5.1 sound card recommended

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