In my previous post “4 easy ways to introduce Sci-Fi to your friends” I discussed the second way to introduce sci-fi to your friends: playing video games. One of the games mentioned was Mass Effect: The Shepard Saga which consists of a series of 3 games.
In this post, we will take a first look at Mass Effect 1. This is for all of those people who are not familiar with this video game franchise. If you’ll still reading, that means that it’s you’re first time hearing about this game (well not really if you’ve read my previous post), you don’t know much about the game or you’re a fan and you are curious to know what’s ahead. So let’s begin:
Mass Effect is a sci-fi action role-playing third-person shooter video game series, the first in the trilogy, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows. The Video Game series was developed by Canadian Company Bioware and first released was on November 20, 2007.
Mass Effect received critical acclaim from video game publications and sold more than one and a half million copies as of January 2008. Critics praised the game’s interactive storytelling and cinematic design but criticized its unbalanced combat mechanics and poor artificial intelligence.
The story of the trilogy is mostly about an elite human soldier named Commander Shepard, whose mission is to save the galaxy from a race of powerful mechanical beings known as the Reapers and their agents. The fourth installment of the game takes place 600 years after the trilogy.
The game revolves around the choices you make in the role of Commander Shepard. Some characters die, some characters live, some hate you, some love you, but it all revolves around how you play the game. The game-play requires the player to explore a galaxy map to find and complete quests. Most of the game’s main quests are combat missions, while secondary quests generally involve the player gathering items or interacting with non-player
Commander Shepard can either be male or female, depending on what you prefer. You do have the option to manually adjust and modify how Shepard looks. You can also choose a first name.
The story is about a soldier but you can choose to be something else. The game has 6 character classes you can choose from. Each class has different talents that provide enhanced combat capabilities (1):
- the Soldier s a tough warrior, able to deal with a range of combat situations. The Soldier gets improved health, has the widest selection of weapons, and is eventually able to wear heavy armor;
- the Vanguard is a powerful combatant, able to combine the offensive powers of the Adept and the Soldier. They have access to various weapons and armor, as well as biotics;
Biotics is the ability of some lifeforms to create mass effect fields using element zero nodules embedded in body tissues. These powers are accessed and augmented by using bio-amps. Biotic individuals can knock enemies over from a distance, lift them into the air, generate gravitational vortices to tear obstacles or enemies apart or create protective barriers (1).
- the Adept is the ultimate biotic, able to affect the physical world with the power of the mind. Adepts are durable and powerful manipulators of mass effect fields; they can use biotics to violently manipulate objects in the environment, including nearby enemy targets;
- the Sentinel is able to combine tech and biotics to manipulate the environment, disable and track enemies, or defend the party.;
- the Engineer is a tech specialist, able to quickly and easily manipulate the environment with specific talents, and repair or modifies technical equipment;
- the Infiltrator is a tech-savvy warrior, able to win battles by quickly disabling and killing enemies. These soldiers focus on unlocking alternate routes, gaining access to good equipment, and obtaining an advantageous position over enemies in combat.
The story of the Game
The main story of the game revolves around humans being the new race that joins the galactic government (The Council) in the Milky Way galaxy during the year 2183 CE (Council Era).
Other civilizations that have been part of this government for thousands of years, don’t really like that the humans joined so fast and so soon. All details are explained in the timeline but for now, this is in simple terms what you need to know:
The galactic government or “the Council” consists of 3 races (excluding the human race). Each of the Council races has general characteristics associated with the various aspects of governing the galaxy:
- The Asari are typically seen as diplomats and mediators;
- The Salarians gather intelligence and information;
- The Turians provide the bulk of the military and peacekeeping forces.
The Council operates for the Citadel, this is a colossal deep-space station that serves as the capital of the Council and constructed by the long-extinct Protheans. The Protheans are an ancient alien race which mysteriously vanished over 50,000 years ago. Protheans have been credited with creating the Citadel and the Mass Relays.
Mass Relays are mass transit devices scattered throughout the galaxy that allow interstellar travel (1).
Then during the mission that was supposed to be Shepard evaluation to become a Spectre, one Spectre went rogue and the council named Shepard the first human Spectre in order for him/her to handle this situation.
A Spectre is a top-secret agent that the galactic government appoints, they are above the law and only respond to the Council.
So you (the player) as Shepard have to take your crew and hunt down this specter after this the game opens up and can explore the whole galaxy. During your quest of hunting down the rogue, you will on-cover a bigger and more menacing enemy that will threaten every life-form in the galaxy and learn what really happens to the Prothean civilization.
Now as the first human Spectre you are viewed as an ambassador. Every decision you choose will have an impact on your and the other civilizations. Mass effect is heavily on how your choices impact the game.
As you’re playing you’re developing paragon & renegade attributes, those are developed depending on what choices you did make, and the level of paragon or renegade will open new dialog options that can help you save a situation from going ballistic.
The story feels like it hangs on your every move. Mass effect is an action RPG (Role Playing Game). The game has a bit of a learning curve where you will have to get used to move around and learn how to use your class abilities during missions. You will always go with a team of 3 and you can give them the command to take cover and use their abilities to attack.
But we have to come back to the stories in mass effect. There are many stories in the game: almost all your crew and people you meet have a background story.
Many agree that the game has the best voice acting. Even after almost 10 years since it came out and with all its flaws the game still holds up.
Mass Effect 1 will feel old school for some players that are used to play more modern games but the well build stories, established characters, and voice acting talent are still considered the best elements of the game. The game has a few flaws compared to modern games but it’s still worth a try.
Mass Effect 1 will be more fitting for people that are willing (and committed) to emerge in the world of Mass Effect the “Mass Effect Universe”. You will get a lot of information in the game about the lore itself and big events of the past.
You definitely won’t get bored!
What do you think of the character creation and the story of Mass Effect 1?
Were you familiar with this game or is it the first time you’re hearing about it?
Feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.
10 thoughts on “First look at Mass Effect 1”
I’ve never played any of the mass effect trilogy, I’ve always been a Halo girl. I feel like they may be pretty similar to play. Is there an option for multiplayer?
This game is from 2007 and doesn’t have multiplayer. I think the games after Mass Effect 1 have multiplayer: Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect Andromeda have one. I am not familiar with Halo so I’m not sure if they have similarities or not.
I’ve actually heard a little bit about Mass Effect. I don’t know a ton about it. But from what you’re telling me, it sounds like quite a fun game to play. Even though you say it’s not as modern as some other video games these days, I still think it would be fun. I like playing some oldies at times. I’m definitely going to bookmark your site for further reference.
It all depends on your willingness to play the movie. If you want to play it right, you’ll have to emerge yourself in the story. I’m sure you’ll like it. Happy Gaming!
Mass Effect always gets amazing ratings from game sites. And my brother just would love to play the game. But I am not sure that he can play it. His English level is just intermediate. Do you think that will it be a problem?
No, I don’t think that would be a problem. He can start watching the videos in my post and reading the info on http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/. I suggest to start with the timeline.
Even well spoken English people find the game somewhat difficult sometimes because they don’t read or try to understand the stories to understand the game. There are many terms used explained in the wiki or in videos that are part of the story of the game. The people I know that play the game in my country have English as a second or third language and that has never hinder their ability to play the game.
What is important to do is look for information to understand the story. If you start playing the game without knowing anything, t’s a little bit overwhelming at first because there is a lot of information to process. So I recommend to do a little bit of homework first. Happy Gaming!
Hi Dira, I’ve been looking at buying the new Mass Effect, but for some reason heard it’s not as good as some of their past games. It is good to know that they got the story and voice acting down though. I like RPG’s and single-player campaigns, but how would you say the actual game play is? Thanks!
Are you talking about Mass Effect Andromeda?
If yes, that is different from what we’ve discussed here.
This post is about the first game released in 2007. Afterwards the second and the third game were also released individually. In 2012 all 3 games were released together in the box set “Mass Effect Trilogy”. Mass Effect Andromeda was released in March this year. It’s true that the game had some glitches but Bioware developed patches (updates to the game that fix technical issues): the first one was recently released, and included various bug fixes and updates to improve the characters’ lip sync and facial acting. I didn’t acquire this game personally but from what I’ve heard from those who did, the patches were indeed very helpful.
The quality of the voice acting on itself in the first game is good (that was never an issue really), it’s the delivery of it in the game that seems off.
Hi Dira, for someone like me who loves sci-fi movies and TV shows, it is quite a revelation after reading your article that I haven’t really played much any sci-fi video game. ( I have a PS3 but I mostly play NBA 2K and some Kinect games). Now you made me think that I am missing a lot given that I love the genre. I am amazed at your review on how you meticulously broke down all the basic attributes of the game without actually spoiling anything. Thanks for this. Now, I have a new game to explore.
To be honest it was very difficult to do. You should have seen the first draft. Luckily I found the videos and a way to describe it without giving out much. Be prepared to gain knowledge when you start. The universe is big and there is a lot to learn as you progress the game.
Thank you so much for stopping by!