Review by marten15
"Knights of the Old Mass Effect"
Mass Effect got some amazing reviews, so I decided to check it out.
I enjoyed playing the game: it has very good graphics (albeit with some annoying glitches such as stuttering - even on lowest settings), solid third-person perspective gameplay, the dialogue-system is done extremely well, as is the depth and detail of the main storyline. I was particularly impressed with the manner in which conversations are handled and acted out: if someone is speaking, the other people in the conversation will respond with body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, etcetera. Voice acting is convincing - most of the time.
In fact, the voice acting led me to be slightly annoyed with this game, not because it was bad, but because I had heard it before. Let's just get this out of the way: if you're a voice actor, and you do one Bioware game, and they ask you to do another, then don't do it in the exact same manner. Kaidan Alenko IS Carth Onasi from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
And this is just one of the many similarities between Bioware's blockbuster Star Wars RPG and their newest Sci-Fi project. I'll list just a few: digging up ancient artefacts - Prothean technology or Sith excavations on Korriban? Blue attractive female aliens - Asari in Mass Effect or Twi'lek in Star Wars? On the note of alien races: there's the Krogans, with a striking similarity to the Gamorreans, there's a quadrupedal thing with two mouths in the cantina that won't speak the true name of its people because you can only hear it with four ears in both Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic... and most lazy of all, there's a puzzle to reactivate the AI of a research station in Mass Effect which has been exactly copied from the Sith tomb puzzle on Korriban in Knights of the Old Republic.
Normandy's concept is the same as the Ebon Hawk's - you get a ship and a crew, a galaxy map, and fly to planets, where you can do sidequests. Awfully uninspired sidequests, such as "find beacon X, realise it's a trap, and kill the space pirates" or "we've got twenty minerals on this list, you just go ahead and visit EVERY SINGLE planet and try to find them". In my opinion, this is a slightly pathetic way to lengthen gameplay - which, don't get me wrong, is otherwise very solid.
If you enjoy story-driven western style RPGs, and don't mind digging around in tons of very detailed conversations, and like the classic sci-fi story of betrayal and lots of dead bodies, this is definitely the game for you. However, if you have played one (or both) of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, you will probably feel like you have already played through this already - just with a slightly different setting.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 06/24/09
Game Release: Mass Effect (EU, 06/06/08)
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