- This review contains spoilers.
You’re a spaceman in this space adventure game. No, but seriously this is a third-person shooting action-adventure RPG. I know that’s a bit of mouthful but that’s what it is.
What I have been doing the last several years is going through and trying to play and catch up on some games as well. The Mass Effect series was a huge gaping hole in gaming history and that needed to be corrected. So I have to start with the first and it’s a great start.
The protagonist Sheppard (which can be Male or Female) sent off on a space odyssey to track down a rogue Spectre named Saren. Saren was believed to be one of the “good” guys but he’s been secretly been working with the enemy so its Sheppard and his team’s responsibility to go track him down.
Along the way, you’re discovering secrets about the world and your team, that just add to this world and the story. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that this game and this world is one of the best/interesting video games world ever created.
Most of the characters in this game are fantastic, there are a couple of mediocre team members but for the most part. They’re all interesting in their own way.
There are many different types of species in this world but the protagonist Sheppard has to be human. You can choose the gender and class of the character. I wound up choosing the basic Soldier and went with the Male. The character himself is kind of bland but he’s meant to be a blank slate for the player to create their own personality for Sheppard.
Kaiden is a human character, just like the protagonist Sheppard. Kaiden is the first team member that you meet up with and he’s sadly the least interesting. He’s a Biotic which means he has telekinetic powers. So he can lift enemies up and throw them. He’s okay.
She is the 2nd character you meet and personality-wise, she is not a nice person. She is very racist against Aliens. She does not like them and says horrible things. Her character class was Soldier so she was the female version of my Sheppard. Wasn’t a fan of hers.
Garrus is great, he is a Turian in this world which is an Alien species. He’s a really interesting character as well, he was bureaucrat but then eventually got sick of the red tape and wanted to start getting stuff done so he joined Sheppard’s team. Garrus is a tech character which allows him to “hack” or be proficient in electronics. It’s very useful for opening up certain crates to get better loot.
Wrex is also amazing. He is this big angry, Krogan (that’s his species). Fun fact about the Krogans, they have 4 balls so instead of saying “you’ve got balls” they say “You’ve got quads.” Wrex is a former bounty hunter that has decided to join Sheppard’s crew.
Tali is a female and she is Quarian. Quarians have their own backstory with one of the enemies of the game the Geth. Basically, the Geth took over her homes planet so the Quarians had to leave but they’re a fragile species so they have to spend all of their time in a sealed suit. Like Garrus, Tali is a tech specialist and is very useful but also one the most interesting to talk to on the ship. Discovering her story as well as her Species backstory is a highlight in this game.
Liara ended up being the love interest that I chose in this game. She is an Assari which means she has this blue skin but also a Biotic since all Assari’s are biotic. Liara is more of a nerdy academic. She is fascinated with the ancients of this universe and she has spent the last couple of hundred years studying them.
I like Garrus, Wrex, Tali, and Liara all equally. They’re all interesting and they’re all great and I will not pick a favorite.
Unfortunately, the aspect of the game that aged the worst is the gameplay. The shooting and cover mechanics feel like Pre-Gears of War and The driving sequences are awful. I really did enjoy the abilities and RPG elements of the game though.
The guns are alright, they’re but it is kind of neat playing a game that doesn’t require reloading. Instead, as you’re shooting a gun, it heats up and when it overheats you have to let it cool. If you have the right mod attachments and feather the trigger just right. You can go a long time without it overheating.
The cover is just bad, the worst cover mechanics that I have seen in a game. Stand next to something and click in left stick and hope that you stick to cover. Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t.
The saving grace of the combat, unfortunately, due to my class I couldn’t use my own characters abilities but I could order my teammates to use their abilities. This made Liara one of my favorites to use in combat because she had so many useful abilities. She could lift up enemies if they were hiding behind cover or she could just throw them with telekinetic force. Just always useful and satisfying.
Much like the cover mechanics, the driving mechanics are atrocious. One of the worst controlling vehicles in all of gaming. It wouldn’t be too bad but you spend what feels like half the game in the Mako.
RPG Talent Tree
Every time you leveled up you would get talent points and the talent tree was so in-depth. There was probably 14-15 different talents you could put the points towards. The nice thing was, it wasn’t just your character that you could upgrade. Also, upgrade your teammates so you could really speck towards your play-style and I appreciate that level of detail.
One of the bosses that really stood out to me was a mid-boss Benezia. It was really tough but that was because of the way the game dolled out missions. At the start of the game, you could choose between a couple of different missions and the mission I chose was the Benezia boss fight first. This led to me being under-leveled which led to the whole thing being very difficult. If I had gone the other route and acquired Liara first, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal and not nearly as difficult.
The game has few moments in it where you have to make large decisions. The biggest decision you end up having to make is Ashley or Kaiden. One must die in this game and I ended up choosing Ashley. It was bland vs racism so I decided to spare Kaiden since he’s just kind of a better person.
The game is kind of split up into multiple little open-worlds. Which works well because the game is set in space so each open-world represents a planet and/or a moon.
Music/Sound Design/Voice Acting
Even playing this game for the first in 2019, when I heard that Mass Effect theme I instantly knew that this one of the most iconic songs in video games. In my opinion, this is up there and even better than the Halo theme.
The game does have some frame rate issues. I remember one specific mission where you had to shoot dozens of Rachni and the frame rates tanked to single digits. It was rough but it was still playable. My guess is, the tech couldn’t handle how many Rachni were actually on screen.
Recap: The Good
Recap: The Bad
Recap: The Okay
Recap: Final Thoughts
I loved it. I want to keep going through and playing the other Mass Effect games but I also want to replay this game again. Do some New Game+, maybe start a new character with a different class.