When Mass Effect came out for the Xbox 360, I missed the bus. I honestly didn’t buy into the hype or the reviews. When it came out for PC, I had finally decided the game needed a review, if only to add to the site’s repertoire. Now that I have played through it, I can say that I lost out not trying it when it first released, but thankfully, Bioware knows how to port a game and make it work.
This game works spectacularly on PC. The interface is really well done and makes great use of the mouse’s point-and-click functionality. The combat screen is very easy to navigate and it’s simple as pie to delegate your experience points as needed.
Technically Mass Effect is a sci-fi RPG, but it can also be shoehorned into the adventure and 3rd-person shooter genres. Allot of your success depends on having the right member in your party at the right time. This takes either luck, trial and error, or – if you’re really lazy – online research. Personally, I took it as it came and got rather lucky, having a key member on a number of occasions to either diffuse situations or solve puzzles.
Graphically, this is a rather sound game, but I don’t see why the game has the ‘film grain’ feature on by default. Beta and I both thought there was a problem with my video card at first because the image was so poor. Once the film grain was disabled, this game became a real looker, and it ran well on my lower mid-range PC (Athlon 64 X2 4800+, 2 GB DDR2 RAM, 512 MB Radeon HD 2600 XT) to boot. The voice acting is fairly well done, as well, and the sound effects are solid. The music just fades into the background is highly unremarkable. On another subject, the difficulty is very solid, and is neither too hard nor too easy, which is an extremely hard mark to reach.
Once you gain access to your own ship, exploration becomes a very, very interesting proposition. Also, the character-defining events – interviews, mini-quests, and the like – are very involving and allow you to really become your character. Put together, Mass Effect is a great game. You’ll rarely run dry of things to do and the story is very, very solid. I can find very little bad to say, other then to repeat my complaint about the film grain video option. I highly recommend you try this game, or even the 360 version. Just don’t miss out like I almost did. Alphasim out