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I have been debating on how to do this blog for a while now, I have been playing through ME 2 and ME 1 and ME 3. I have been mulling over this and even attempted to do this once. This is not a political blog, it is solely for my own entertainment, because I think ME is important, and I think a lot of people miss the point on the game series and the last game. So while this is only for entertainment I can and will use ME to illustrate points in the future.

Now originally I wanted to do some complicated formula of what each game did well, poorly, the best in the series, general thoughts, and than general thoughts in the series, that blog was over 900 words and I had only gotten through ME 2. But then I got to thinking about something that I have realized before, what are the three most important elements o a Video game? The Characters, the Story, and the gameplay/ mechanics. And then I will still be giving general thoughts about the series.

So without further adieu.

Mass Effect 1:

Story: 10/10

The original Mass Effect had a pretty interesting and amazing story that benefited from the fact that you were moving out to explore a new universe and a new world. While it was simple and straight forward (in many respects) it had to be since it was the first installment of the series and had to introduce everything from character and setting to plot and the main antagonists. But it did have many a twists and turns that would set up the drama and action for the entire rest of the series. Finding out about the Reapers, their original harvest, the fate of the Protheans, the secrets of the Citadel, and moral issues that came from the discovery of these elements of the universe. It was a pure exploration story.

Character: 8.5/10

Mass Effect had some great character moments and some great characters but they all seemed a bit flat and not as fleshed out as in the later installments. There weren’t enough chances to talk to the crew and they basically just sat there and did nothing. Also the voice acting by a lot of the players made them unconvincing, but again they fixed that in the later installments.

This was with the exception of Shepard him/ herself, Ashley Williams, Wrex, and to a certain extent Garrus.

Fem Shep while it was not Jennifer Hale’s best performance of the series it was still quite strong and made the character believable, and recognizable for those of us starting the series from the midle.

Wrex was a great character, well voice acted, and provided important insight to one of the key characters in the series and one of the key conflicts: The Krogan and the genophage. I found it hard not to relate to the guy and not to listen to his stories and not to chuckle at his antics. My Shepard did not always *approve* of his actions but he/ she was able to give him enough leeway to get the job done.

And Ashley Williams, was one of the best characters ever created. Why? Like or hate her she was a fully formed character in the first game with fully developed issues and beliefs. She was religious, and according to some she may have been a racist (they are wrong but whatever). But that is part of the point. If you like her then she is likely not a racist just someone who has a strong sense of self and with the proper military regard to security. If you don’t like her then she is likely a racist. But how brilliant is it of Bioware to actually put a main line protagonist on your squad that would even approach that issue? I think it is.

Gameplay/ Mechanics: 7/10

The story was great, the characters were passable, but most of the gameplay made it nearly unplayable. The Mako and its lackluster controls and handling nearly made me want to quit, the Omni gel and mini games were atrocious, the side missions were passable but considering you had to use the Mako to access ninety percent of them (so it seemed) made them hardly worth it, and the inventory was a drain on my IQ points.

The only saving grace was the combat mechanics. I didn’t realize it because I started with ME 2 but I really did like the overheat system instead of the thermal clips, powers having their own cool downs made sense, and the fact that some powers overrode shields was great. But in the end it was still buggy as hell given that many of the enemies would just spontaneously charge your position. I know they have shields/ barriers but really? Three special forces soldiers many of them armed with Shotguns, Assault Rifles, and or powers can’t put down a charging Krogan?

But one thing of note was how the game allowed you to make more proper RPG descisions. You could actually say ‘no’ to a task if it made your Shepard and their morality uncomfortable.

Other then that the game did have its bugs, I had to restart it twice due to technical issues, (which coincidentally is the same amount of time that I spent on technical issues for ME 3), and I was not that impressed with the graphics. Though people who pay more attention to such aspects say they are pretty good so take that with a slight grain of salt.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Mass Effect was a good solid game, and considering the improvements that the next two installments made in the over all structure of the games, thus ME is my favorite series, on or off the Citadel. The music was good, the plot was excellent and it was just a kick arse game with a non controversial ending.

But I want to play as my Shepard. I want to see her in action. I do not want to drive in a poorly designed MBT throughout most of the game looking for clues. Sure it makes some modicum of sense from a story perspective but the open world feel and the amount of time in the Mako made me have almost no connection to the characters. Most of the stuff I can forgive as being silly game play mechanics with the Omni gel and the inventory problems. But the Mako was way too far.

And I also appreciate the idea behind open world exploration, and loved it in Skyrim, but that idea ruined the parts of the ME franchise I loved. The characters. Instead of making an open world where you got to explore in a box they could have devoted more resources to fleshing out all the characters. Not just Shep or Wrex or Ashley….

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