DONE BY: Bioware
IT'S FOR: Xbox 360
Mass Effect is an interactive homage to every great sci-fi film made in the last twenty years. As such, its universe is composed entirely of pleasant clichés.
There’s the neon-soaked titty-bar with alien strippers.
There's the majestic and immense space-station where all the walls look like they’re made of white plastic.
There’s Lance Henriksen.
Honestly, if you can’t enjoy a game like this, then maybe you should give up gaming altogether and instead work on that whole "lack of a soul" problem you have. Don’t you remember Aliens? Deep Space Nine? Total Recall? This game is made of those memories. Yes, I know it suffers from some obvious flaws – most notably, the bollocks inventory and sputtering frame-rate – but for Chrissakes, these are tiny blemishes on an otherwise immaculate piece of work. Getting hung-up on them as though they’re malignant tumours is kind of dumb, and a great example of that nasty, obsessive-compulsive, forest-for-the-trees schtick popular with magazines and websites who use the term "authoritative" as a euphemism for "impossible to please". Fine, okay, we get it - you don't like things. Good for you, you boring fucks.
Gratuitous nitpicking aside, another thing I’ve found odd about Mass Effect's reception is the number of people who complain about the combat. For me, fighting is one of the best bits of the game. I like that it’s visceral and concise: that its integration into general exploration is seamless, and that most encounters start and end within the space of five minutes. Taken on its own merits, it’s fun and gratifying; compared to the combat in most other RPGs, it’s like eating an ice-cream made of awesome. Of course the cover system doesn’t work as well it does in Gears of War, and of course the AI isn’t up to Rainbow Six standards – those are fucking shooting games. Their whole thing is the shooting. If they don’t get that right, then they don’t get anything right. Mass Effect, on the other hand, is an RPG. As such, it’s okay if the shooting isn’t perfect. There are other things to do that aren’t shooting.
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