20 November, 2009

Game Journal: Mass Effect

written by Blain Newport on Friday, November 20, 2009


This is Sweet Shepard.

I thought it sounded like a good name for a black woman, like a strong character from some 70s movie I've never seen.

Sweet grew up on Earth (which sucks), but escaped by joining the military and eventually becoming a war hero.

War hero seemed a bit much, but the only alternatives were sole survivor of alien attack and ruthless career officer. I wasn't going to make her a victim, and I didn't imagine her as ruthless. Determined, perhaps.

I'm not really gonna tell you the whole story of the game. I don't really care about it. It's a boring mishmash of sci-fi clich├ęs. But according to Steam it's held my attention for 4.6 hours, which is a record for a BioWare RPG.

Because the game came out so long ago, I know things that will happen.

I know people call one of my party members "Space Hitler" because she's xenophobic. I don't see it myself. Maybe it comes up later.

I know one of my last decisions in the game will be to save the galactic council or not. Armin Shimerman plays a council member, so unless I have to sacrifice a planet or do something similarly horrific to do it, the council's getting saved.

No one kills Armin Shimerman on my watch.

And now that I've left the city, I'm kind of worried about the game. People said the part in the city was really long and fabulous. It took me less than four hours and was mediocre.

Oh, and the graphics are impressively bad. There's a grainy filter that's supposed to make it look like an old sci-fi movie. But nothing else in the game feels like an old sci-fi movie, so the effect is out of place. I honestly think the effect is just there to try to hide the hideously low resolution textures on people's clothes. Seriously, Quake 3 (1999) had higher resolution textures than this game (2007). And I've got all the settings maxed out. It breaks my brain that this was overlooked by the developers and all coverage of the game I've seen. Maybe it's a PC only problem.

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