Mass Effect: A Series of Opinions: 1

I’m not big on Bioware games.

Most of the gamers I know are, so I’ve been hounded to play them more. I feel like they’ve completely lost touch since the Infinity Engine days and their style is stagnating, and I haven’t had much of an urge, past a partial run of Mass Effect I did back when it came out. I put some time into Dragon Age, but it didn’t really run well enough on my computer.

I’m finally gonna give Mass Effect a chance again, I guess. I’m going to go into it without any judgment or grumping or anything.

Starting out, I’m going with female Shepard because male Shepard’s voice irritates me. I’m going with a combo of War Hero and Colonist for background. If I was going for Renegade, I’d probably have gone for Ruthless, but I’m playing this more like it’s a good person who’s had bad things happen to them and is fed up instead of someone brutal. I feel like those two backgrounds together play off each other pretty well, and fit the mindset I’m going for with the character.

I like those options in general. I feel like it would’ve been better if they’d skipped the intro segment where they read what you’ve chosen, though. It feels cheap that way instead of letting you forget about it a bit and then bringing it back up later. You get an entry in your journal with your history, maybe it’ve been better if you could get the whole thing from your computer on the ship instead.

Next up’s class. I really, really dislike these options. I know I can’t expect to get everything, but I’d like some sort of point buy system instead of this. I was going to go Soldier so I could have all the weapons (and because it amuses me to think that the only thing in the way of all the crazy biotic and superpowered opponents is someone with a lot of guns) but I was fussed at over AIM to use someone with powers. This meant my only two choices were Infiltrator and Vanguard, because I gotta have at least some armor/weaponry.

Which means I’m either useless with assault rifles and sniper rifles or assault rifles and shotguns, and both the biotic powers and shotguns are more appealing than tech and sniper rifles, sadly.

I absolutely hate how this game’s handled weapons. If you don’t have the perks for a weapon, you cannot use the weapon effectively. In the sniper rifle’s case, you can’t aim down the sights, which means it has a fullscreen-sized area it can hit. In the assault rifle’s case, it can’t be zoomed, making it pretty close to useless. There are large bonuses to the weapons if you’ve got the perks, is it really necessary to make them useless when you don’t? I’d be willing to use an underpowered shotgun occasionally, if it was the right time to use one. I’d be missing out on Carnage and the stat boosts, but dropping explosive ammo and an aim stabilizer onto the thing would still make it worth using instead of an actual menu hindrance.

So far, the shotgun and pistol are both pretty adequate. I’d like the assault rifle and sniper rifle, but the shotgun’s accurate at a great range and my pistol’s as close to fully auto as you can get and accurate to a large distance. I’ve got mods on both, but nothing good yet.

I don’t have much to say about the biotic powers so far. Throw’s utterly irrelevant for now, since everything I’ve fought up to this point (up to Fist) has known to keep its distance. Warp makes things deliciously weak to being shot, which I’m always appreciative of, at least. I wonder if mine and Wrex’s will stack. (check that out later, self.) I don’t have lift yet, but I’ve seen what it does in ME2 and I know that it’s an absolutely hilarious ability in general, so I’m looking forward to it.

The game’s equipment system seems slightly wonky. I got to Ashley at the beginning, was told to open my menu and equip the pistol she gave me, and had… an assault rifle. I had a set of Krogan and Turian armor from the crates in the intro, but by the time I got Wrex and Garrus they were already out of date. I’m slightly grumpy about how Mass Effect 2 got rid of loot, but I can see why someone would have a problem with it. Not necessarily enough of one to completely remove the concept, but…

Getting on with the actual game’s content, I started the game, talked to Seth Green and the others on the ship, and was dropped into the first area. Did you know Jenkins can equip any armor in the game, and any weapon, which will bug out during the cutscene? I haven’t tried it yet,but I will if I get to newgame+. Rest in peace, buddy.

The first few floating things are a good test, since anyone playing a game’ll try to shoot at them. The game throwing flying droids at you immediately afterwards is a good choice, since it starts the transition of Flying Harmless Thing -> Shooting Flying Thing -> Bipedal Shooting Thing. The first few Geth are absolutely harmless, and the rest of the mission’s a cakewalk on Veteran. The best part of it’s probably punching out the guy who’s off his meds because while it’s a violent thing to do, it actually seems like an understandable decision to make in the situation. The introduction of Saren’s kind of… ham-handed, though. He’s glowing malevolent blue in places, has wires coming out of him, and showed up during the middle of a Geth attack. You’d think a Spectre would be a little bit more.. noticable about such things, especially one who’s already familiar with the suddenly a bit more robotic than normal fellow.

The husks running around probably would’ve helped the thought jump of “Hey, Saren doesn’t look so good.”

I’m playing the PC version, so hacking things is Frogger. I’m glad, because it’s actually somewhat enjoyable. I don’t like that there’s a skill dedicated to arbitrary boxes and you can’t omni-gel ones you don’t have the electronics level for, though.

After that, there’s a jaunt over to the Citadel. I don’t like the citadel. It’s designed okay, but most of the actual cool design’s killed by the transit and the actual places you visit being rather mundane. Saren didn’t look as robotic in the meeting here, but the whole situation’s done nothing but make the council look antagonistic for the point of antagonism.

I scooped up Wrex and Garrus, forming my team of People I Actually Care About, then went over to Fist’s.

The entire shootout through Fist’s is the first actual challenge the game’s had. I remembered I had grenades at one point which blew the turrets up and Fist himself was far too easy to subdue, but the second wave of guards on the way out had me low once or twice. I was expecting the thing with Tali to give me much more of a distance to cover than it did, so I made it there with half the time remaining. That shootout was over incredibly quickly, and I scooped her up and went off to plot a bit more, then decided not to play any more that night, so.. yeah.

So far the game’s conversation’s gone pretty well since I’ve taken a mixed alignment approach, and combat’s following suit in balance. I feel like my party members aren’t doing very well, but that’s probably because I keep forgetting to make them go do things. I’ve looked over once or twice in combat and seen a teammate doing his absolute best to gun a wall down, though, which I don’t think’s my fault exactly.

That should be enough words for this. :p If you like, I’ll write up my next session and thoughts.

Posted on February 13, 2012, in gaming, Mass Effect series. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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