Mass Effect: Final Thoughts

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Feb 11, 2009

Filed under: Game Reviews 44 comments

I know I promised to wrap up my series on Mass Effect, and then left you hanging for a month. The truth is that every time I sat down to write this post I felt like I was just repeating myself. To wit: It’s a fun game. It has too much filler. Combat feels homogeneous. Setting is fantastic, marred only slightly by the “hawt chicks in space” thing the Asari bring to the table. Voice acting is flawless except for the male lead, who makes Stephen Hawking sound like Sir Ian McKellen.

One observation I will make:

Remember the part of the game where you encounter a group of people that seem a little off? They act strangely, but you can’t really tell what’s wrong at first. Then they eventually turn on you. You go underground beneath their home and find that they’ve fallen under the sway of a huge creature, who has been dominating them and transforming them for its own purposes. You kick its ass and break the spell, while fighting through waves of its formerly-human thralls.

Am I talking about the fight with the Thorian from Mass Effect, or the fight with the Mother in Jade Empire?

I think it’s interesting to see the same writer hitting the same themes in all of these different games. I think the Rakghouls (KOTOR) the cannibals (Jade Empire) and Thorian Creepers (Mass Effect) are all very clearly the result of the same writer re-mixing a few ideas that appeal to them.

Oh, and one more observation:

I think the morality system is a vast improvement over previous titles. Most games have a single good / evil slider, which moves up and down based on your actions in the game. This introduces oddities like murdering a guy for a dollar is morally neutral when balanced against being polite to ten people. Trying to calibrate the thing in a way that makes sense gets to be an impossible task.

But Mass Effect doesn’t do good vs. evil, but paragon vs. renegade. In both, the game more or less assumes you’ve humanities’s best interests at heart, and the alignment system is much more about how you pursue those ends. This isn’t a story about a ruthless jerk who happens to save the galaxy on her way to riches, it’s the story of someone who saves the galaxy but who might be ruthless about how she goes about it.

The game has counters for both paragon and renegade actions, and these counters only go up. These means that instead of a slider we get a matrix:


People with low values for both are probably players who are just hammering the “skip” button in dialog. But people with high values for both are people who have been ruthless at some points and have gone out of their way to show mercy in others. This probably means they’re pursuing some agenda. (“Humans first” is a popular attitude.)

This is a very welcome step forward in a genre which has been rife with “save kitten / eat kitten” decisions for years.

Okay, I guess I did have some things to say about Mass Effect after all. In the end, I’m a lot more curious about Dragon Age than Mass Effect 2. I know in the past I’ve said I’m sick to death of medieval fantasy and crave more sci-fi RPGs. Perhaps I am a charlatan and a fraud.


From The Archives:

44 thoughts on “Mass Effect: Final Thoughts

  1. Joshua says:

    “This isn't a story about a ruthless jerk who happens to save the galaxy on her way to riches, it's the story of someone who saves the galaxy but who might be ruthless about how she goes about it.”

    That would have worked a lot better in NWN 2. They attempted to allow you to play all alignments, but the story background and plotline in the last two thirds of the game make no sense if you’re a Chaotic Evil Blackguard or some similar misanthrope.

  2. Apathy Curve says:

    “save kitten / eat kitten”

    Bordeaux Meow: Blackened three minutes on a side and served over brown rice. Smother in a creamy vermillion sauce. Top with parsley. Serve with merlot or a light red.

  3. qrter says:

    Just finished replaying Mass Effect – the thing that bothers me about that game is how all these races have been using The Citadel for ages eventhough they don’t really know what it was built for or how it even works (the keepers do all the maintenance).

    Maybe I’ve missed something in the Codex, but that just seems insane to me.

  4. A different Dan says:

    Hm. I never thought to lay the decision grid out like that for ME.

    Also, “humanities” should be “humanity’s”

  5. “the game more or less assumes you've humanities best interests at heart”

    Shouldn’t that have been humanity’s best interests?

  6. Illiterate says:

    Saving the cat to eat it later is so rarely an option. Pity.

    Also, even as a good guy I wish I could have killed Carth. He was just that annoying.

  7. Jansolo says:

    I have a problem with this game.

    In spite of the cons, I basically loved it when I played it.

    But I never began the “Bring Down The Sky” extension (and some sidequets [a part of the cons, you know what I mean])

    However, I can’t be bothered to play it again.

    It’s curious.

  8. Dave R says:

    Just finished replaying Mass Effect – the thing that bothers me about that game is how all these races have been using The Citadel for ages eventhough they don't really know what it was built for or how it even works (the keepers do all the maintenance).

    Eh. I kind of got the impression that the underlying tech beyond the Citadel was quite a bit beyond what the species of the Mass Effect universe had figured out. The Protheans, though, almost had figured out how the Citadel worked; if the Reavers had shown up a century or two later, I think they would have been beat then.

  9. Krellen says:

    You’ve got it wrong, Shamus. You’re not a charlatan and a fraud.

    You’re a fraud and a charlatan. :D

  10. Jansolo says:

    Regarding morality system, I’ve never found a satisfactory system.

    Everyone falls in the “Fallout’s Tempeny Tower case”, there is no real choice, but the one from the programmer’s mind.

    And the worst: there is no middle situations, I mean, you cannot be a good person born in Germany that have to choice between fight with Nazis or die, or an evil and selfish guy that belongs to the Army of humans and elves against Sauron with the opportunity of looting his or her own dead companions.

  11. Sydney says:

    Jansolo: Unfortunately, because someone has to sit down and write all of these scenarios, I think the only way we’re ever going to get moral situations that involved is if there’s no actual choice to it. Your character will be railroaded along an interesting, complex moral path.

  12. Daniel says:

    I like your theory about paragon vs renegade quite a bit, but in actually playing the game I felt like at least some of the writers didn’t get the memo: too often the “renegade” dialogue seemed to equate to “behave like an abrasive jerk for no apparent reason.” I literally couldn’t finish a playthrough as a renegade because I kept being annoyed by how my own character was behaving. (And most of the time the effect on the plot was nil, no matter what choice you made all it would really do is change a couple lines of dialogue and increase one or the other morality counters.)

    Still, it’s an improvement over alternatives like Bioshock’s “do I or do I not eviscerate the cute little girls?”

  13. OddlucK says:

    True morality is such a fluid, spectrum-riffic (yes, “spectrum-riffic”) thing that it cannot truly hope to be modeled in a game. It’s a nice dream, but there are so many nuances and gradients along the “Save Kitten -> Eat Kitten” line that it would be an impossible task to code for every single eventuality.

    “I don’t want to save the kitten. I don’t want to eat it (they’re gamey). I want to shoot it in the leg and let it limp away, otherwise unscathed.”

    It’s far easier to speak in black and white terms when writing (let alone coding), than to try to offer the broad range between “Bastard-coated Bastards with Bastard Filling” and Polyanna. Personally, I find it a triumph when a game offers me a middle road at all, and especially joyous if these “options” can be presented subtly. (Maybe I’m a tad jaded toward game morality.)

    Still, I understand the desire for shades of grey, but I wonder do we really need it directly modeled/represented in our protagonist? Must the “Evil Sod of Evil, from Evilton, OH” turn gaunt, scarred, pale, vile, kitten-head-covered, etc.?

    Further, should the choices we make in one region (geographically) so directly influence the reactions we get in another? Surely there’s precedent for someone considered a hated villain by one populace and a lauded hero by another.

    I don’t know. I think I get bogged down in the truly spectrum-riffic realities and possibilities of a so-called “morality system” when I really start to think of it. Imagine how many (wo)man-hours it would require to write (again, let alone program) in all those subtleties and so forth. It’s probably why I’m so willing to accept simple “Good vs. Evil” moralizing in my games and movies (and books, comics, tv shows, etc.). Nuance is incredible, but as long as I’m entertained, I’ll accept the blatant dualism.

    Of course, it’d be nice if they could hide it a little better (but not so much that it makes no sense).

    Looking back, this is incredibly long and I still want to write more and more. Not a simple issue, is it?

  14. Strangeite says:

    You are a charlatan and a fraud.

    But, could you send me another bottle of snake oil?

  15. qrter says:

    I’d say just cut out the whole morality system – who needs it to play the game anyway.

    Eh. I kind of got the impression that the underlying tech beyond the Citadel was quite a bit beyond what the species of the Mass Effect universe had figured out. The Protheans, though, almost had figured out how the Citadel worked; if the Reavers had shown up a century or two later, I think they would have been beat then.

    I got all that – I guess it kind of comes down to the presence of the keepers. There’s an alien race on the Citadel that seems oblivious to everyone else and is constantly working on the Citadel, in fact, everyone acknowledges this, saying “we don’t know much about them or what they’re actually doing, but whatever..”. And then they make that place the hub of their civilisation. Something feels very wrong about that (and I mean long before the game shows me I’m right..!).

  16. krellen says:

    The asari found the Citadel first, and they’re all lovey-dovey get-along-to-get-along types. Probably wasted the first century or two trying to mate with the Keepers, and by then they were just used to the Citadel working without them having to think about it. When everyone else showed up, they just assumed the asari had set the Keepers up for them.

  17. acronix says:

    What I hate of this game is the dialog. Besides the fact that the text they make you choose from sometimes is completly different to what you wanted to say, there are times when… I´ll show you an example:

    (This scene was near the beggining of the game, when the PC is sent to talk with the council. As I remember it.)

    Council: “So…do you have anything more to say?”

    Options as showed to the player:
    1) You don´t want to listen.
    2) No, that´s all.
    3) I´d be wasting my time.

    Options as said by the voice actor:
    1) “It´s obvious that you don´t want to listen, so I won´t waste my time.”
    2) “It´s obvious that you don´t want to listen, so I won´t waste my time.”
    3) “It´s obvious that you don´t want to listen, so I won´t waste my time.”

    SPOILERS…maybe end

    Why the heck put more than one option, if the result is roughly the same?

    EDIT: Correction. They are not roughly the same; they just are the same.

  18. Corsair says:

    Because they’re giving you the illusion of free choice rather than have your character say something without being prompted. It’s not perfect, but it works.

  19. Magnus says:

    Voice acting causes some of the problem, as you cannot just write lots of variable dialogue when someone has to book a recording studio and some actors for weeks.

    I always thought Baldurs Gate 2 had it right, occasional voiced lines for plot moments, then just text for the rest. Although, you didn’t have to stare at their gormless faces back then. Ah… better days.

    Also on the being bad and good at different places point, I do believe Fallout 2 had this, as I was a complete dick in a couple of towns, and yet was a saint in others, but you can’t push it too much though.

    Back to Mass Effect for a sec. the expansion “bring down the sky” I downloaded after I had finished the main game, then was thoroughly annoyed that I couldn’t continue my game. Not sure why that was, but I didn’t feel like going back in at an earlier point just for that one mission.

    and finally
    @Oddluck: surely shooting the cat and leaving it to wander off is more evil than eating it? especially if you were hungry…

  20. Fosse says:

    It doesn’t work at all. It’s frustrating to look at those three options, consider them, and then have it plainly shown to you that it’s all a bunch of hogwash.

    In the above case I chose the second option on my first play-through. It was neutral, while the other two seemed to be antagonistic or disrespectful, which was not a tone I wanted to take. But guess what? I was going to be BOTH disrespectful and antagonistic because the whole choice was garbage. The dialogue wasn’t even constructed well enough that I had to play through again to realize I had been duped, it was just the three non-choices mashed together. This happens repeatedly.

    The choice isn’t even window dressing that doesn’t really impact the game, as some Baldur’s Gate options. It’s simply a waste of the player’s time and a source of frustration.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The problem with the moral slider in all the RPGs(that Ive played so far)is that they are too global.You kill some random guy in the middle of nowhere and suddenly everyone in the world hates you.

    A better thing to have is local reputation(like in fallout 2,if I remember correctly).You kill a barmen in one town,so the town hates you and wants you dead.But he did some arsons in another town,so they praise you and want to reward you.Meanwhile,the third town doesnt care at all,and hasnt even heard of this.

    1. Sydney says:

      This. Oh my God this.

      I forget where I read this, but a character in a book once said something like:

      There are no demons. My guardian angel looks like a vengeful demon to my enemies, and vice-versa.

      Good and evil depend solely on the point of view of the observer.

  22. OddlucK says:

    @Magnus: Heh. Fair enough. :)

  23. Zel says:

    I share your somewhat low interest in a Mass Effect sequel, and am more interested in what will be coming with Dragon Age (so far – “Baldur’s Gate” in 3D – so good). I can think of several reasons for that :

    I’m fed up too with medieval/fantasy settings and prefer sci-fi, but Mass Effect’s universe didn’t really appeal to me. The lore is magnificent, but it serves no purpose. You act as if you where living in a medieval world : take a small team of 3 and go save the galaxy on foot (your high-tech heavily-armed ship is there for transportation only). Killing aliens with a gun/biotic and killing monsters with a bow/magic is awfully similar. While it doesn’t bother me in a fantasy universe with magic that 5 people can save the world from the armies of evil, in a extrapolation of our world as in this case, I don’t buy it.

    Maybe it’s also because the game was relatively short story-wise (about 6 hours to finish the game without sidequests/exploration I think), and the game didn’t give me enough time to let the story grow on me. And no, sidequest-time does not count as you are at that time deliberately and consciously ignoring the story.

    It’s also probably because I played through the game twice and was angered to no end the second time through at the apparent amount of choice I was given and the small (if any) amount of them that actually mattered or changed something. I like having the choice to kill the kitten if I want to, because it makes me feel good when I decide to feed them. It’s even better if the world reacts to said choice by befriending/alienating the owner who happens to give a quest. If I have no choice to begin with, I won’t care about what the designer chose for me either way and I’ll have forgotten everything about the kitten 5 minutes later.

  24. Lux says:

    NWN’s combo the Slider of Morality NPC Influence system was made of suck. It really failed for me when a Good character (Shandra) said of my equally Good character that I was horrid, “not nice people,” and to be afraid of me to some thugs.

    Why did she despise my paragon of virtue? Because the second time through I hadn’t bothered to talk to her all that much since I resented her being lampreyed into my party and wasn’t interested in her dialogue. Not making small talk =/= evil. Neither does being polite = goodness. It is dumb and it angers up my blood.

    I would be happiest with no morality sliders, frankly.

    OT:re: Recycling
    Submitted with (very little) commentary.

    Chris Avellone: Writer
    Ravel Puzzelwell -> maze in Sigil (sort of)
    Kreia -> quasi-maze Sith Academy
    Seer (Icewind Dale) -> labyrinth of ice
    Nefris (NWN2:MotB) -> magical maze Red Wizard Academy

    … and I still think I forgot one. All are ancient somewhat batty women full of cryptic “wisdom” all deep in a mystic maze. I read once that he said, “Ravel has many echoes” or something. … Sheesh, I guess.

  25. Magnus says:

    All of the companions in NWN2 were horrendous, except Sand and perhaps Ammon Jerro. (I’m willing to be shot down here if anyone disagrees!) Neeshka was completely wasted for me. Shandra and Elanee irritated me especially.

    What annoyed me most is that you have no say in who joins your little group.

    Started to rant, deleted it all cos I couldnt stop writing! I don’t think an essay is appropriate for a comment section.

  26. Zolthanite says:

    @qrter: The amount of things built by engineers where they don’t know how things work is staggeringly high. Enough that if you thought about it too much, you would be extremely concerned at the safety of bridges and airplanes, as well as wonder how we are even able to make CPUs function.

    I never viewed the Paragon/Renegade as a slider for morality as much as I viewed it as a “What are you willing to do?”. I mean, you are railroaded into getting an end result, but there are pros and cons to being nice/mean about it. As a well-known and well-traveled soldier, it’s not that hard to assume that people would know who you are. Fallout has a bunch of isolated communities, so it would be reasonable that everything is local.

    I like the Mass Effect universe, but I think it suffers from “Novelist Crossover Syndrome”. I always felt like I was reading a book, not playing a game. Which is fine, but I would have liked to have known that first, much like anyone who sits down with MGS4 needs to realize they are about to watch, not play, a game.

    I wrote down my own thoughts about it last night, but they basically boil down to “Mass Effect might have been better served if we could have learned all the lore in one game with minimal epic story, then the sequel with epic story, using the SPECTRE induction as the intermission point”.

  27. Yar Kramer says:

    I’ve given this some thought, and I think the best way of doing it is to have “variations on the theme”: don’t give the choice between “makes Superman look like Hitler” and “makes Hitler look like Superman”, but instead give the character a basic personality and stick with it, and give them choices which it would be plausible for them to make. It would be more like “free kitten from trap and release it” versus “remove kitten from trap and take it home with you” kind of thing. Or, something more subtle: in a particular situation, have the character always do the same thing, but give the player a choice of different reasons for doing so.

    On the other end of the scale, we have Jedi Academy, which is the game which does this in the worst manner I personally have ever seen: the game completely ignores whether you’ve been learning Light Side or Dark Sight abilities, and in a cutscene near the end of the game, Jaden starts acting evil/enraged more or less out of nowhere. You then have a choice between killing a particular spoilerish character (dark side), and turning off your lightsaber (light side). If you turn off your lightsaber, Jaden switches back to being apologetic and generically “nice”. Mind you, Jedi Academy wasn’t trying to have a morality system so much as “you play as a Jedi; therefore the player must have a choice between being Dark Side or Light Side,” but still …

  28. One of the things that bugged me in Mass Effect was that at least one of the quests gives you renegade points *just for accepting the quest*, yet you can solve the quest in a number of ways and get either renegade or paragon points depending on how you complete it. That’s just dumb–completest players are common and they don’t want to have issues about *accepting* the quest. I’m sure there are several quests where you get paragon points just for accepting it, too.

    You also get renegade points for telling Ambassador whatshisname to butt out when he berates you about not making his job harder–but the guy is basically maxed out on renegade points himself. You should not get “bad” points for pointing out to assholes that they are, in fact, assholes. Ideally, you should get “good” points for successfully figuring out that someone is Bad News and treating them as such.

  29. Magnus says:

    @Jennifer Snow:

    Perhaps a good example of how Paragon = just too “nice” and Renegade = a bit of an ass.


    I think I got renegade points for destroying the Rachni Queen, when I thought that was a “good” action, especially from mankinds point-of-view, then I get accused of genocide, and yet after that I did two side missions that had Rachni in them. Absurd!


  30. Taellosse says:

    Yay! Thank you for giving me a sense of closure. ;-)

    I did find the plot parallels from one Bioware game to the next an interesting note. Although I also find it interesting that it’s realized differently in each one: the Rakghouls in KotOR are transformed into what amount to vicious animals by an infection–they’re wholly victims, and those un-infected are just trying to stay that way–they’re not hiding anything. The cannibals in JE, however, are semi-willing slaves to an evil power, concealing their corruption to lure victims in, and grow their ranks. The Thorian in ME takes over unwilling victims, but forces them to hide their nature in its service. All different shades of the same theme.

    Incidentally, you may not have heard, but there’s renewed indication of some sort of additional DLC coming out in the next few months for Mass Effect–a topic on which Bioware has been frustratingly silent since before they were purchased by EA.

  31. Danel says:

    @28: Renegade Points don’t harm you at all, since they’re totally separate from Paragon Points (as opposed to in KOTOR, where a few dark side points will cancel out light side points and make it take longer to get the benefits of being totally one-side). Really, there are no ‘issues’ about accepting the quest at all – in fact, I’m pretty sure there’s actually a way to do it without formally accepting it and thus avoiding the few renegade points you do get. If it’s the quest I think it is, it’s teaming up with a criminal to eliminate some worse criminals; that’s pretty ruthless right there.

    I think both you and #29 are falling back into thinking of it as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ – Renegade is good, and ruthless with it. Genociding a species you know very little about as the last member of it begs to survive is pretty damn ruthless, though of course it can certainly be justified – it’s not really evil.


    You do wipe the Rachni out if you kill the Queen, since that’s very probably the only surviving queen. Those you find on other worlds are just feral ones transported there by Cerberus.


  32. mark says:

    I like eating the kitten.

    I was a proper bastard to everyone, whether the option was renegade or not. (though it usually is…)

  33. Sheer_FALACY says:

    Renegade was more about being an asshole than about anything else. Yeah, there were cases where it was “do anything to get the job done” or “do something illegal for a benefit”, but there were also cases where it was the identical result.

    For example, there are cases where you have charm, intimidate, and several other options. Charm and intimidate lead to exactly the same outcome with different voice, while all the other outcomes are bad in some way (for example, you shoot someone instead of convincing them). It makes you wonder why they bother with separating charm and intimidate, since there’s never (except in the DLC) any time when only one is available or there is a difference between their effects.

    It’s an interesting idea to have it be hero vs antihero rather than hero vs villain, but the execution is lacking.

  34. Avilan the Grey says:


    Okay, I disagree. I liked Neeshka, and found Shandra one of my favourites (which sucks, see plot).

  35. Zaxares says:


    Yeah, it TOTALLY pissed me off how you didn’t have any choice over who joined your party too. It didn’t matter if you were a complete and utter A-hole to the NPC when you meet them. They still end up wanting to come with you anyway.

    PC: Go away. You’re a shallow, stupid, cliched example of an NPC that I loathe on every logical, ethical and spiritual level. You also smell.

    NPC: HAHA! I like that attitude! We should totally join up and adventure together.

    W. T. F?

    @Avilan the Grey:

    My two most loathed NPCs in NWN2 were Bishop and Qara. At least you get to take sweet, SWEET revenge on them at the end of the game.

    The original trio of NPCs (Khelgar, Neeshka and Elanee) were my favorites. Shandra was shaping up as another favorite prior to the railroad conclusion of Act 2. (Um, designers? I DO have a Cleric with Raise Dead, ya know??)

  36. @Danel in 31

    Yes, the renegade points don’t harm you. But they are annoying if you’re intentionally trying to play an all-paragon character.

    Technically *both* of the options with the Rachni queen should have been Renegade because the Paragon option should have been “I take the Queen with me when I leave and ask my superiors what they want to do with her”.

    A better representation of the Paragon/Renegade duality would be Lawful vs. Chaotic, not Good vs. Evil. However, at many points in the game they completely destroy this model and *do* default back to a “good/evil” sort of model, which can make it difficult to predict what is and isn’t a certain type of action.

    I think the game would have been a lot more interesting if they’d eliminated the Intimidate and Persuade skills and *instead* made it so that when conversation options come up, the game secretly rolls vs. your state in the path and then possibly reveals WHICH OPTION LEADS TO WHICH PATH based on the roll. This might have been an interesting mechanic combined with the fact that you don’t really know exactly what your character is going to say in a given context. If they’d mixed up the options instead of always having it be


    in order like that, they could have turned conversation into a neat mini-game where you try to guess which option is which and sometimes get help if you’ve managed to rack up a lot of points thus far.

  37. Tizzy says:

    Re Morality: I don’t really see the need to have this encoded in the game, although I must say that this specific one is appealing.

    I wish morality could be more a form of emergent gameplay, though. Also, I find morality most interesting when the good/evil paths are not clearly marked: that’s why ethics has been a popular object of study for millennia, no? So let’s get rid of the sliders and let the players figure out if they are satisfied by the outcome of their actions or not. And then, the true mark of an evil character is someone who couldn’t care less about the consequences of their acts.

  38. Yar Kramer says:

    Tizzy: In that case, though, they couldn’t have an ending which was based solely on this nifty little system they’ve coded, it would have to be based on a choice the player made then and there, and that way lies, in principle, what Jedi Academy did. ;)

  39. Eltanin says:

    Hi Shamus,

    I don’t really mean to dredge up an old post, but I’m behind the times so I’m just getting around to having something to comment about. I sent you an e-mail recently asking for your advice about a good diversion game which you never answered (which is totally fine; also: you heartless bastard). In the end I decided to pick up Mass Effect from Steam. I debated about the advisability of such an action, Secu-Rom? No physical disks? Ack! In the end, I just went for it.

    Now I haven’t paged through all of the comments which is a bit of a cardinal sin when trying to contribute to a conversation, so I must apologize if I cover ground that’s already been trod before. I’ve gone back and re-read your posts on Mass Effect several times both prior to and during my playthrough. To be clear, I’m not done yet. I have one more ‘major plot world’ left. But I’m still busy obsessively exploring every planet and trying to clear up every side quest. It’s an extremely long process. Anyway, I have quite a few hours of play under my belt at this point and I thought that I’d give some unsolicited perspective on your critiques from a PC perspective.

    On the whole, I think that the PC version seems to be significantly superior. The mini-game to open crates isn’t quite the QTE that you describe for the platform version. It’s a good bit more entertaining, at least to me. In the end it is a bit of drudgery since I’ve done it several hundred times now. Nevertheless, I’ve not reached the point of true annoyance just yet.

    The dialog is fantastic and interesting. The only problem with the PC version is that there is no skip button that I can find. It makes me wonder about the replayability of the game since I really don’t want to sit through all those cut scenes and dialog again. Hmmmm.

    The autosave truly sucks. It’s taken me many times to learn the lesson that I can’t depend on the autosave in the least bit. They are way too few and far between. I’ve spent needless hours replaying (which is where the dialog skip would be EXTREMELY helpful)because the autosave last did it’s thing 45 minutes ago and my quicksave was poorly placed. Very aggravating. As was the time that I got out of the Mako up in the mountains to survey some ore only to find that the slope was too steep to climb back up to it. I was almost done with the planetary landing and had to start all over because my tank was just out of reach and there was no autosave. Ugh. This is 2009! They should have worked these details out by now!

    The loading screens are bad, as is the amount of walking around to get somewhere. My computer is fast enough that the actual loading screens are very short, so I haven’t been driven to distraction by this.

    The combat is a little annoying. Not because my team jumps in front of me, though that has happened once or twice, but because they stand behind me and shoot me in the back. I’m endlessly telling them to go stand back 100 yards and hold position to keep myself from being dropped by some inept backstabber. Or backshooter as the case may be.

    The sniper rifle is…better? Either that or I’m just tolerant of it where you couldn’t stand it. I thought that the initial shakiness of the rifle was challenging and an interesting way of describing inexperience. But once you get mastery in the sniper rifle it’s as steady as a rock. And it’s far far more powerful than any other weapon, especially with the ‘assassination’ special power. I’m constantly getting out of my tank to shoot people though. Not because it wouldn’t be easier to kill them in the tank but because I only get a fraction of the XP for doing so. There’s my obsessive side again – must get every shred of XP available!

    Anyway, on the whole I observed the game to be much smoother and more thought out than what you were reporting in your platform version. That said, there are still quite a number of annoyances which subtract from the fun. I am still glad that I got the game and I’m having fun with it. I believe that it’s my first Bioware game which is kinda fun.

    Thanks for reading through my unsolicited review (if you did). Cheers.

  40. Eltanin says:

    Urgh. Sorry, I didn’t mean to comment on this thread, just ignore this.

  41. Dreadjaws says:

    “Okay, I guess I did have some things to say about Mass Effect after all.”

    L. O. L.

    I wonder if Shamus decides to take a glance at old articles of his once in a while and laughs as much as I do.

    1. Mr. Wolf says:

      “Final Thoughts”

      Yes, indeed.

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