Mass Effect on XBOX360 was one of the big releases of 2007. In May 2008 the game was released on PC with better graphics and bugs from the original fixed. The game see’s you traversing the galaxy as Commander Shephard of the Alliance military. Being an RPG he/she can look how you want them to look and have a set of attibutes you can work towards. The game hinges on choices made in dialogue and in battle and can often provide quite a challenge as you seek to take out the threat to the galaxy.
The games does very well with the depth given to most characters and the sheer number of people you can talk to who give you things to do. You lead a team of three on missions around different planets in what is a large galaxy of around 50 planets. The problem with this is that the main quest only uses about six of these planets and some of the others you are unable to land on. If the number of missions was larger then you can be sure that the game would take longer than 13 hours to complete. 13 hours is not a bad length for a game but in Mass Effect this basically is just 5 missions. You start off with 3 missions which then funnel into the other two which makes it feel like the game is far too short. While I understand the need to stick to a plot it would be nice if there were other leads to follow up instead of it being a relatively straight forward romp.
The game also features a good and evil section to it although for the life of me I cannot work out the point of this, possibly this is done my usual do gooder self not wanting to cap someone I have gotten to know in the face.
The seemingly shortness of the main story and the slightly pointless feature are about the only bad points I can give for Mass effect, the squad controls are the best I have played. The combat is 95% of the time spot on. The worlds you visit (although there are not many) are different and varied like its characters. Another thing I would have liked is the ability to travel the galaxy after the main quest is complete, just so you can go and explore the areas you didn’t see. Basically they have completed a brilliant and immersive world which you just don’t want to leave so it is a shame when the credits role and you are chucked out to the loading screen.
In conclusion then Mass Effect presents a deep and involving world which just doesn’t prove long enough to satisfy, when you realise you are nearing the end it hurts because you feel like you are just getting into it. The graphics and characters are brilliant. The controls work with all the bugs fixed from the 360 game and really I don’t have a single complaint outside of the games short running time. The difficulty is good, often very challenging and Bioware can be pleased with this game. I just can’t wait now for the sequel which is hopefully coming.