There are six different classes to choose from and which one you choose depends on what skills you want to use throughout the game;Soldier- Combat Specialist, Engineer- Tech Specialist, Adept- Biotic Specialist, Infiltrator- Combat/Tech, Vanguard- Biotic/Combat and Sentinel- Biotic/Tech. we went for Vanguard as I tend to rush in and shoot rather than take it slowly, but later found out the armour was not upgrading as quickly as we needed and we were limited to which weapons we could use, in fact we had a choice of a shotgun, pistol and grenades only. Playing through again using Soldier we noticed how much quicker it was to upgrade the armour to heavy and had a much better selection of weapons, including machine guns and sniper rifles. So make sure you read each one before jumping in. After customising the face, which has a fair amount of options, it's time to start.
One of the first things you notice is the way Mass Effect uses conversation, it's done by multiple choice. The way this works is unique and works very well. We are used to dialogue done by text in RPGs but the way Mass Effect uses it is different as you have a number of options to choose from. The choices on the left of the wheel are more in depth and you can have quite a good conversation, where as the choices on the right will get to the point quicker. Buying talent points and opening up charm and intimidate skills enhances the conversation and opens up a lot more options. If the conversation is going on a bit too long you can skip the dialogue using X. As you go through the game there is a lot to explore and quite a few side missions. The characters or objects you interact with show up with a blue circle and side missions can involve talking to the character, finding out what they require then searching for the answer to their quest. Each time you complete a mission or kill an enemy you earn XP and the amount of XP shows up on the right hand side of the hud. The Mission Computer is accessed by using the start button and here you can equip your characters, use the map, allocate stat points, view your journal which contains all current main mission details and side missions, read the codex. the codex is like an encyclopedia and contains everything you need to know about Mass Effect and the galaxies you will travel to. Also from the start menu you can save, load and change the options.
Through each mission you can take two other characters with you and you can choose which two to take before the mission starts. Each character levels up and points are awarded for you to place where you want or use auto-level up. The points are carried over and the characters not in use also receive points, so once the mission starts you need to check the stat points, equip and upgrade their weapons. The combat side of Mass Effect is done with weapons and special abilities. You have a wide range of weapons (depending on which class you choose and whether you have unlocked the ability to use them) and by upgrading them they do become quite powerful. You can also enhance these even more by adding upgrades. Most weapons will allow you to add two or three upgrades to the upgrade slots and these could be anything from increasing the damage on the weapon to cooling down the weapon. You can pick these upgrades up through containers, which are found on all the levels. To choose your weapon during combat press LB, this brings up a wheel with all available weapons for you and your team. Commanding your team is much like in Ghost Recon where you place the cursor and command. You can command them to take cover, attack or follow you. Although there is no way to send one of them one way and one of them another, they both go to the same point. Some of the containers and some doors involve Decryption, where you need to press a sequence of buttons before you can open them or you can use Omni-Gel, a technological material.
The special abilities are called Tech, Biotic, Additional and Class Talents, they range from throwing objects, bringing your team back to life, to a barrier shield. Most of them involve using magic. Your allies will use these powers themselves, but you need to select them by pressing RB and bringing up a wheel, so it means you are opening the wheel every few seconds. The Normandy's command deck is home to the Galaxy Map, from this you can travel to planets and also read about them. The holographic map is cleverly done to give you the impression there are a lot of planets, when in fact you cannot land on most of them. The map contains four levels and through using zoom you can navigate. The planets can be visited whenever you please and there are even uncharted planets, ones that are not included in the main mission, these contain upgrades or a fight or two. The planets each have different atmospheres, some are hot whilst others are freezing. One of them freezes you over time should you leave your vehicle. When you land on a planet you are given a Mako, a buggy like vehicle that also fires weapons. This Mako has a jump-jet which can get you over rough terrain or dodge the enemies fire. You and your team can leave the Mako at any time should you wish to. This vehicle is fun to use, but a little tricky to control at first.
Mass Effect has a great soundtrack, it is fitting for the game and really does add to the atmosphere, the characters' voices in combat can be repetitive, but using the in depth dialogue really does make a great storyline.
Mass Effect is cleverly balanced, so you get equal amounts of talking, combat and building up slills/levelling up. The story is rich, long and in depth and after twenty one hours of play we completed the main mission and we were still itching to go back for more as there was loads we didn't do. In fact you cannot complete the whole game in twenty one hours, it is huge! there are so many places to explore, people to talk to and planets to visit. Mass Effect shows what can be done with it's multiple choice dialogue, space travel and has easily the largest and in depth storyline on the Xbox 360. Looking forward to the sequels.
Review: Mass Effect
Posted 30 November 2007 - 03:30 AM
Posted 30 November 2007 - 06:59 PM
Ouch, i would give it at least an 8.5 try swapping characters on your next play through, theres alot of fun to be had using alll the other powers and weapons. Also, some of the responses you get if you select all the nasty comments are great
Completed my first run through, completing all the main and side missions in 32 hours. The second play through is even better though, being as nasty as i can to everyone is great fun. Also on your second play through you can keep playing with your leveled up character if you like, keeping all abilities and weapons you had. The AI keeps leveling also so it never becomes a walk in the park on hardcore let alone veteran.
Theres alot of graphical issues though. The textures and bump maps love to pop in after a few seconds of play. This doesn't hamper the experience to much though.
Posted 30 November 2007 - 07:29 PM
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