Time to mix things up this week and delve into a box set unlike any other… <insert deep movie trailer voice> “ MASS EFFECT TRILOGY..trilogy…trilogy….roarrrrr! Bioware did it again, made a video game flat out awesome. I think among all the video game studios Bioware is my favorite right next to Bethesda. The dished out such games as Baldur’s Gate I and II, Neverwinter Nights and the list goes on and on just check out their website to see all the great games they put out.
In 2007 Bioware put out the first game in Mass Effect, in which you assume the role of Commander Shepard, a futuristic executive officer who becomes a Spectre. Basically, an interstellar detective with a license to kick ass. Oh I forgot to mention, you get to customize Commander Shepard to your personal liking and sexual preference; more on that later (So no mom and dad or guardian or any adult looking out for a young one, this game is not cool for kiddos).
I grew up reading choose-your-own adventure books. Here, I get to impart to you some elder knowledge: Yes, when I grew up we had to actually put cassette tapes in to large plastic containers to play 10 songs. Yes, I actually walked 3 miles to school and from football practice in the rain. Yes, I had a TV with knobs that turned channels and you only got 13 unless you could dial the top knob which gave you 3 additional channels…. I forget myself: In these books..it’s better if I just show you. “You are a travelling down a dark path, your torch lite licking the walls with hues of amber, as the shadows dance around you. That’s when you notice there is a shadow immediately to your left and right does not move, as if there is a hole in the plane of existence itself. Do you: Turn back turn to page 31: Advance forward turn to page 88: Throw the torch at the shadow: Turn to page 121. Mass Effect is built on the same premise, if you are into action games with no storyline then this game is not for you. This game is built on the story and character building. Whether you play good or dark Shepard all your choices will have consequences, you will constantly be force to make decision, and the more you talk to and help your crew the more it will affect the end of the game and who survives. The even better part of this game is if you play them in order, you will get the option to load a previous save into the current game and it will change the game even more. So for instance, in Mass Effect 1 if you saved the citadel, vested all your time in your crew: they will all survive the Reaper onslaught, then when you start Mass Effect 2 you will have the option to import a save from Mass Effect 1. This also happens when you load from 2 to 3. This completely alters the default storyline and makes for a continuous game. This is not a review of the game, but the gameplay in itself is great. The story line however was well planned and well thought out.
So between the 3 game set you could easily vest 200+ hours of gameplay, completing side-quests, companion storylines, upgrading your ships, equipment, and skills. You will personally feel vested in your friends, crew, and even you enemies.
With every Eden comes a serpent. Bioware in its infinite wisdom decided to kill Commander Shepard to end the series. In fact, not only him but some other characters you spent the entire time developing. At the end of the Saga you are given only 3 choices to save the galaxy and for the most part it counters everything you spent the entire time playing. There was such an outcry from fans that BioWare offered and “extended cut DLC” in which you must have scored a 100% (completed all missions, side missions, and side-side missions, correct dialog choices) then there’s a quick snippet that shows Shepard survived. When I say snippet, I mean it. Kind of a spit in your face type of response if you ask me.