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Hero of Zero

Gaming Mass Effect

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[COLOR="SlateGray"]So, today was the official launch date for BioWare's latest video-game. Now, EA or no EA, I'm enough of a fanboy to pick it up on the very first day; I freakin' love BioWare. I've only played it for a couple of hours, and haven't gotten into the guts of it yet, but man, it's amazing.

The combat is 3rd-person shooter style, squad-based and real-time. It's really pretty simplistic, and a little too easy. The graphics, also, could be better, and there are some strange bugs related to collision-detection within the graphical models themselves. But that's really pretty forgivable, since that's not what the game's about.

It's a story-driven RPG, so obviously that's where it should shine... and it does. The amazing conversation system allows you to interact with NPCs like no game before it, and the voice-acting is very well done and varied. The core story itself is not exactly unique, but told very well and is something Sci-Fi fans should love. It's not nearly as linear as previous BioWare games like SW:KOTOR, and far larger in scope. It's a bit like ES: Oblivion in space, with hot alien chicks in bikins hanging out everywhere.

Speaking of hot alien chicks, Commander Sheppard (You can't change his last name, just his first) gets to bone one. FREAKIN SCORE!

Er, anyway, Mass Effect is exactly what I've been waiting for this year. A big Sci-Fi hard on inducer to keep me busy for hours on end; the promise of two sequels (knowing EA, eight sequels, an innumerable gaggle of overpriced expansion packs, and ****** customer support are also in the future here...) and episodic content periodically released (HOPEFULLY FOR FREE!) on Live every now and again has me very excited about this series.

Now... can it compete for the Game of the Year this season? Tough call. BioShock has a lot of hype about it, but personally I thought it was way to linear and short; stunning graphically and full of all kinds of goodies but not the kind of thing you can play for weeks on end. Mario Galaxy and a couple of others should be competitive, but with the news that Assassins Creed isn't all its cracked up to be (Bugs, bad AI, etc etc), I think Mass Effect has a legit case.

Woot, nerdboy rant over![/COLOR]

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[quote name='DeathKnight'][color=crimson]The most depressing moment of my life:

Pre-ordering Mass Effect while my 360 was being repaired for red ring of death.

It still isn't back. :([/color][/QUOTE]

Seem like you are having a bad time now, but don't worry. Once your 360 comes back, it'll be worth it to play Mass Effect. For myself, I pre-order the game, but I haven't had a ride to go get Mass Effect at the local Gamestop yet:animecry:. So I'll try to get it today or tomorrow, hopefully:animestun, and play Mass Effect because I really want to play the game badly:animestun.

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[color=crimson]Two to three hours into Mass Effect, I have to say I am very impressed. BioWare titles are usually superb story, mechanics, and characters. This time the visual aspect of the game is astonishing. They stress the 360's capabilities at times. Character armor pops in a second or two after a scene begins or a location loads, and similar textures on landscapes take only a slight second or two. I would say that is a testament to their beautiful nature, and the graphical slowdowns are not too annoying.

The universe, even three hours in, seems massive and well developed. If you care about backstories and the universe BioWare created, there is a steady stream of interesting entries about species, history, technology, and a widespread array of topic that bring BioWare's universe to greater life. This is without having your own ship or visiting and exploring planets, so you can imagine the scope increases.

I created a soldier class, and can report that combat is very fluid. There is a cover system that is less expansive than Gears of War, but works adequately enough to keep your skin intact in firefights. I have not tinkered with biotics [magic-esque system] too much, but some of the powers sound both fun and powerful.

I am impressed with Mass Effect. Various reviews nitpick aspects of the game, and these minor issues are true. Loading times and graphical glitches are not too obnoxious to me when the rest of the product is so fluid and amazing.[/color]

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[quote name='DeathKnight'][color=crimson]Two to three hours into Mass Effect, I have to say I am very impressed. BioWare titles are usually superb story, mechanics, and characters. This time the visual aspect of the game is astonishing. They stress the 360's capabilities at times. Character armor pops in a second or two after a scene begins or a location loads, and similar textures on landscapes take only a slight second or two. I would say that is a testament to their beautiful nature, and the graphical slowdowns are not too annoying..[/color][/QUOTE]

Lacking another place to talk about this game, here I am. I have to say that I am wondering if this is more of an issue with the Unreal 3 Engine than anything else, as Bioshock had the same issues. It's happened to me only once so far.

I actually don't mind the load times either. Aside from elevators they're not terribly frequent or terribly long. In fact, I'd say it's significantly less annoying than in a lot of recent games I can think of or titles like Oblivion. Revews made it sound like it would be constantly loading for minutes at a time even outside of elevators and that's definitely not the case. Some of the elevator loads are ridiculously long though, which is really odd considering if you take the transit system to the [I]same places[/I] in the Citadel it's far faster. Don't ask me.

There are some minor framerate issues at times, mostly things that seem to relate to syncing issues, but they're not enough to get worked up about. The game is otherwise absolutely gorgeous (the turians, in particular, are really impressive). The conversation is WAY more intuitive and seamless than I ever expected. The actual gameplay is enjoyable, although I imagine some people expecting combat to be like a regular 3rd person shooter will get annoyed. The storyline and sidequests are setup, explained and integrated even more impressively than they were in KotOR. And while you might not get to explore every last inch of other planets, it's still pretty awesome to be able to fly almost anywhere in the galaxy when you want to.

If nothing else, I'm glad to finally see a bunch of aliens that aren't humanoid. It seems like that's all you see in sci-fi shows and games.

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[SIZE="1"][COLOR="SlateGray"]I don't own a 360. Not any more. Traded it off to my brother for his PS3 but after playing Mass Effect at my friends house for, oh, lets just say a long time I've never wanted a 360 back so badly.

Everything about this game screams; 'REALLY OKAY!' and thats just fine to me.

I'm not gonna say it's perfect, cause well, it's not but the story more than makes up for any short comings in any department because it's just so engrossing. The combat is kinda weak, some of the characters are lack-luster. Who cares about you Garrus? Your life story sucks. On the other hand I really like chattin' with Wrex. The vehicle section coulda used some tweaking too as well as some of the planets being just too damn big and useless.

The graphics are pretty amazing. Top notch aside from the annoying ragdoll physics they have going on. With great animations all around and smooth textures its hard to nitpick.

I would have liked for characters to show more emotions when you're a complete penis to them over being amazingly nice. I mean, yeah, sometimes they quip but for the most part they say the same things regardless only you get either a Paragon or a Renegade bonus. (Good or Evil)

Whatever bad things this game may have, it's outweighed significantly by the main character, the dozens upon dozens of side-quests, and the over-laying story.
[/COLOR][/SIZE]

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[quote name='Semjaza']Some of the elevator loads are ridiculously long though, which is really odd considering if you take the transit system to the [I]same places[/I] in the Citadel it's far faster. Don't ask me.
.[/QUOTE]

[color=crimson]I noticed the transit system was faster between levels too, but I decided that to go on the elevator sometimes to see if there was a conversation between party members or something else. Strangely enough, one of the intercom announcements gives you an assignment.

I don't really have much of a problem with the way the IFV handles on planets. It is funny looking to go flying up mountains and steep hills, but it doesn't really feel loose to me at all.. especially after playing through Halo 1's final level again.

----

I finished the game last night having [spoiler]saved the council and been the ultimate paragon of the galaxy[/spoiler]. I was very satisfied with the entire story line. BioWare leaves a bad taste in my mouth at times due to their endings being almost insultingly lame and short, but the ending for Mass Effect had an epic feeling to it that, [spoiler]even if it left it open for the already planned Mass Effect 2[/spoiler], I did not have any hard feelings.

For reference, I did the game as a Soldier/ShockTrooper on Medium. It was amazingly easy once you got over the hump. BioWare games on the Normal difficulty always seem to have a point where you become a demigod when compared to everyone else except the occasional boss. I was almost terribly overpowered after I unlocked Spectre weaponry and had a high-end Assault Rifle and Sniper Rifle. The final boss was mincemeat very easily. I finished one level short of the Normal difficulty cap of 50.

I got the Completionist achievement, so I presume I stumbled across the majority of the sidequests barring a few background specific or well hidden ones. The sidequests were not vanilla "fetch me this", "kill me that" affairs and most had their own independent storylines attached to the overall story ([spoiler]Rachni infestations after Noveria[/spoiler], [spoiler]The "Cerberus" organization's research[/spoiler], and [spoiler]The Geth staging operations across a sector that you are forced to repel[/spoiler]). They were not all original, but monotony never set in for me as I played the game.

The only problems I saw were technical. The graphics are a bit testy, but I did not find it bothersome. Hit a bug or two where I would pop inside of a texture, or an enemy would blow into a wall from a high yield grenade.

It was a good game, and BioWare's best offering to date on modern consoles. It is deserving of another play-through or two from me, if only to get some more achievements difficulty/weapons wise. Thankfully, I also enjoyed the game so it won't be as boring as that.[/color]

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[font=franklin gothic medium]I'm glad to read the positive comments on this game here. I have read some reviews where they really emphasize the technical problems and I wondered how much of a potential deal-breaker this was.

I'm still considering buying Mass Effect, but I really hate major technical glitches. So it has been a little disappointing to read certain reviews.

It's good to read that these problems are not deal-breakers form most people though.[/font]

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They're far from major issues, which is really why even after bitching about these things most reviews are still 9s and up.

There's some minor framerate issues, but they've never hampered the gameplay for me. The texture pop-up thing is hardly a deal breaker. The friendly AI works fine if you play the game from a more tactical standpoint (and specialize the characters more) and don't just run in like an idiot.

I think most people can get over these things. They're no worse of problems than what we've seen in games we all still managed to enjoy before, really. Oblivion comes to mind.

They shouldn't have been issues at all and I think given what's been on the system it's clear this isn't a case of the 360 being overloaded. I think it just came out slightly earlier than it should have.

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[size=1][color=#8B008B]I was going through my messages on DeviantArt and came up on one that was about Mass Effect. Basically the journal was about FOX News giving "Mass Effect" a bad name and saying false facts.

[URL=http://www.gametrailers.com/player/usermovies/163925.html?playlist=featured]FOX News on Mass Effect[/URL]. Watch that if you don't already know what's going.

If you'd rather read what's going on: [URL=http://gamepolitics.com/2008/01/22/1993/]Check this out.[/URL]

I was extremely amazed and appalled at what people thought about the game. They were saying how there was full frontal nudity, graphic sex scenes, and all of this other junk.

Personally, I think the panel and Cooper Lawrence are ignorant and have no sense of what goes on in the realm of games. They talked about how there was full frontal nudity, graphic sex scenes, and all of this other junk. They spewed ridiculously awful comments about the game when in reality, it's the same as anything you'd watch on TV or in a movie.

And yes, I realize it's been a while since this came up but I thought I'd see what other people thought about it.[/size][/color]

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[FONT="Tahoma"][SIZE="1"]If those morons actually read the back of the case it actually states "One moderate sex scene". Which is [i]exactly[/i] what it is. I've played the game and managed to get the romantic scene at the end, and although you may see some flesh, they don't show anything more than a backside.

Yes, it is clear they have had sex, but big friggin' whoop, not like the world isn't sex crazed as it is, we've got people over here (UK) having regular sex as young as 13.

So basically, FOX, shut it, no one cares.[/SIZE][/FONT]

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To be honest, I'm not sure I follow the complaint. The game is rated Mature, which in effect means:
[INDENT]Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.[/INDENT]
So it seems pointless to get up in arms over a game that has stuff in it that actually fits within the rating it was given. If it had been rated incorrectly, sure I could see the fuss, but otherwise? Pointless really.

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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"]Bah, if there's a mistake or anything, I'm bringing this to the first page. Computer kind of crapped out on me in the middle of merging.

Anyways, Revelation did a naughty, j/k. But I don't really think we need 2 different threads about ME.

On-topic.. sort of. I never really did pay much attention to what Fox or any other type of media out there have to say about games in general. I guess they wanna push for an AO rating. "shrugs"[/COLOR]

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Yeah, make sure you give yourself the best weapons and upgrades. Te AI of your teammates aren't very good at shooting unless the stand right out ion the open (also a bad Idea)
as far as what power ups to use, that is a personal preference.

Make sure one person is a biotic user for dealing with Krogans. All it takes is one fight without one to know why.

Also... if you are playing as a male character, never talk to Kaiden.... the way you walk up to him is a bit homo. [spoiler] the main reason why i picked Ash when the time came[/spoiler]

Other than that, have fun! I am eager to know what you think of it.

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1st impressions so far. It's pretty decent so far. I chose to go the Paragon route. I see some of the hiccups people are talking about. It's taking a bit to get used to the controls since I've hardly ever played third person shooters and even then it seems a little bit like Gears of War but at the same time it feels entirely different. I guess if I had to compare when it comes to shooting GoW feels tighter.

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Yes, the combat system takes a bit of time, but all the quirks are avoidable (except for a certain Asari fight.... that one will always glitch like a mofo) I really like the combat system when you get more improvements. right now things might be pretty tough at times, but you should be fine if you can connect with the abilities you have, and use grenades. shooting is not the easiest thing in the world. case and point is the piece of bleep snipers that you get early on. later on they are some of the best weapons in the game, but at start you are gonna miss 90% of your shots. I think the biggest problem is the sensitivity of the radical. you just need to get used to your settings... and that took a long time.

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Ah yes, the sniper rifle. Believe it or not I actually shot 3 people (machines) on my first try. I guess I had the patience to put up with aiming but at the same time it does have the same feel to it like in other games (Halo, Gears). I also had to put it away because I had noticed I was under a timer because I had to disarm some bombs. It seems like a fun weapon to use though.

I just recruited Wrex and took out everyone in the club. I do have a question though. Does it matter what order you recruit people? While I recruited Wrex I've yet to recruit Garrus and I already did part of the event where we [spoiler]have a shootout in the bar[/spoiler]. So I'm kind of worried that I won't have a chance to recruit the guy (thinking about starting over).

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Dooon't!
Just go to the med ward.
As long as you don't leave the planet you are fine....There are a few people who will tell you to go to the medward... so I don't think I am spoiling anything.

The people you recruit are in no real order... but its hard to miss them.
I am kinda surprised you can handle that sniper.... props to you man! (if you are good with the lamesause sniper you are gonna be a beast with the fully upgraded awesome snipers you'll get)

what class did you pick by the way?

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aahh... well you can't go wrong with that one! The onlly class I thought was difficult was the classes that only give you pistols... the lack of an above average gun becomes a problem later on. The health boosts soldiers get should make a lot of things easier... so it is a great class.

I personally like the Vanguard, but any of the mixed classes are pretty great.

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Ok, found my first hate for the game. Driving the Mako. I'm so used to Halo's driving and this feels off completely. Especially when I was trying to outrun some giant worm-like thingy. I was going after some beacon on Liara's dig site and that thingy popped up. I was doing fine for a while until it kept popping up causing me to flip >_>.

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don't outrun it! shoot that abomination. you can figure it out... it just takes a little while to kill.

I actually missed the Mako by the time 2 came out. There is a trick to it though... use its range when you are forced to fight a bunch of guys with it.

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So I just recently rescued Liara and did about 2 other side missions involving these other planets (1 I did unintentionally since I didn't even meet the lady that called me). I'm still tackling side missions, so to speak. My Shephard, for the most part is Paragon with a splash of Renegade thrown in as well. I had to go the renegade route when it came to [spoiler]Finch trying to blackmail me with that gang stuff. So I shot him :sly:[/spoiler]. I want to go "Jack Bauer" on a lot of these folks especially the ones that like to talk down to me, but for the most part I'm gonna be a goody-goody with a side a badboy.

I did get used to the Mako, a little bit. I had no idea you could zoom in so until I saw a video. You can tell I don't read the manual (if that's actually in there) and then there's surveying. What's the point of it? Is it a long term effect thingy where I make money in the long run? Right now it just seem like a waste of time.

Anyway, I think my level is between 12-14 and I'm trying to decide where to head next, between Noveria and Feros (Leaning towards Feros)

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[quote name='Magus' timestamp='1295431243' post='704020']
I did get used to the Mako, a little bit. I had no idea you could zoom in so until I saw a video. You can tell I don't read the manual (if that's actually in there) and then there's surveying. What's the point of it? Is it a long term effect thingy where I make money in the long run? Right now it just seem like a waste of time.
[/quote]
I wont say anything big, but its not a complete waist of time.... you can certainly get by without it though.

Liara was okay I guess... she was the only person I romanced (I did that one as a female.... just to see if I could) I never used her in combat though.... biotics just aren't good enough on there own.

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