The Mass Effect trilogy comes to an exciting ending after years of outwitting sentient alien beings, crushing intergalactic crime syndicates and influencing alien politics. The franchise has defined what the modern Roleplaying experience should be and immerses the user in a volley of emotional experience sprinkled with futuristic action. This is a game that every gamer should have in their library because there is an element of gameplay that every person will enjoy.
Mass Effect puts gamers in control of the famous Commander Shepard, the first human Spectre to ever been anointed the position. At the end of Mass Effect 2 Shepard finds himself in the grip of the malicious human crime syndicate, Cerberus, that has been terrorizing the galaxy, justifying it in the name of human advancement. Shepard launches himself into the center of the Milky Way Galaxy using the Omega 4 Relay and finding and defeating the Collector menace; but Shepard’s greatest threat has started to awaken at the darkest edge of space ready to harvest the unprepared and unknowing denizens of the galaxy.
The Reapers, technological super-beings, have been dormant at the edge of space for 50,000 years and conduct a galactic war against the galaxy’s organic life. Humans are quickly flanked and lose control of Earth to the God-like Reapers. Shepard’s goal is to unite the other races against this looming terror and take back control of the Earth.
A unique feature of this game comes from the fact that your game can continue from your previous adventures through old games. The decisions the gamers makes have an actual impact on the universe and how the game is set up in the beginning. The Paragon and Renegade, good and evil, system is back and dictates how Shepard makes decisions and interacts with characters within the game. While a staple in all Bioware games, decisions shouldn’t be so black and white. Your actions should be just that, actions, decisions the player has decided to do or what not-to-do. There were times where I wish I could have made a decision but didn’t want to ruin a chance the my “perfect ending” because the game decided that one decision was ‘evil’ and the other was ‘good’. While this style of interaction has been a staple in RPGs and a staple for Mass Effect, it’s time for this aspect of gaming to evolve and have the gamer really choose their actions and truly live with the consequences with no forbearance from a system that tells you what is right and what is wrong.
What really makes Mass effect so unique is the extremely well thought out characters. There are crew members that have stuck it out with Commander Shepard for two games and there are characters that are just embarking on your journey. The characters that you garner all have a background that fleshes them out and feel believable. I felt compassion and sympathy for the Geth, anger and frustration with the Quarian’s ignorance. It was beautiful to see a synthetic like EDI to learn what it meant to be alive and understand emotions like love. There are experiences that are human at the core that make the gamer feel and creates a connection to not only Shepard, but to your crew and gives you a real reason to fight to defeat the Reapers so that there can be hope.
Gameplay is essentially a third-person shooter that is cover based. Shepard, along with every mission, has the ability to take two additional crew members along with him to tackle whatever challenges that he might face. Biotics, the scientific form of magic, are combined with run-and-gun combat that make the combat unique and flexible. There is also a class system that allows you to customize your gameplay depending on your playstyle. Soldier is your typical shooter class, Biotic allows you to have a unique array of abilities to dispatch your foes and the Engineer, a more stealthy and tactical class and including hybrids that combine any of the three classes. You can also move from cover to cover and for the first time actually prompt Shepard to jump and roll around on the ground. Also the enemy AI has been well developed and will dominate you without some sort of tactical plan of action.
For the first time ever there is a multiplayer component of Mass Effect that caused some conspiracy that Bioware was selling out for a more mainstream experience. The naysayers were quickly silenced as gamers could now experience the fluid combat with their friends online and fight off hordes of reaper and Cerberus foes alike. Gamers gain points through forming a party and picking a map and enemies to fight and after completing waves of enemies and completing objectives. Gamers then spend those points garnered either upgrading their character with new weapon packs, unlocking other characters or purchasing new abilities for the character they already have. The rate that you gain abilities feels good and rewarding and experiencing the game with your friends is refreshing and an entirely new step for the genre.
Mass Effect is one of gaming’s greatest franchises and this is one of the greatest games of all time. There are great story elements, gameplay and the graphics and sound immerse the gamer in a universe entirely its own. Every gamer should play this game or at least experience it. This is an experience that can not be missed and redefines what it means to be epic.