My pre-review impressions of Mass Effect.
December 12, 2010

I would rather be playing The Last Remnant.

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CouchPotato CouchPotato - December 12, 2010 (07:12 PM)
I'd give the first Mass Effect an 8, and the second 7.5 . As long you don't go into the game expecting that this game is going to be the best ride of your life , which i did, you won't be dissapointed. Kat Bailey of 1Up said on the PodCast 'Active Time Battle' that the combat in ME2 doesn't require any kind of strategy whatsoever, one only needs to be a good 'e-shooter', and i tend to agree.

People who think the story rivals that of movies need to get out more, namely to a video store and rent 'The Lives Of Others' or '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' , and realize that a good story needs a strict chronological structure , as to why an event precedes the others, and not commutative-law approach those mission-based games incline to, where

a + b + c = b + a + c

Story is not merely a collection of events haphazardly arranged and can be put together by the audience to their hearts' desire. Story reflects the mind of the writer that carries with it precision , passion and succintness.

zigfried zigfried - December 12, 2010 (07:33 PM)
I don't know where you came up with succinctness -- unless you just mean stories should avoid boring filler -- but I agree with you about chronological structure, and the a+b+c thing was a nice way to illustrate your point. Even if a story is told out of order (Pulp Fiction, or anything with flashbacks) there needs to be a clear concept of what the proper sequence must be.

A mission-based structure weakens narratives because the developer can never assume full knowledge from the player, unless the developer has built an elaborate network of context-sensitive events that truly create a new story depending on the order in which players complete objectives. And by "elaborate", I mean way more than branching paths for key moments; at any given point, the game needs to be able to respond to everything that has come before.

That's where RPGs need to go to really be "role playing". In the meantime, I'll settle for seven core quests and a bunch of optional missions. That's more promising than simply riding a taxi all the way to the end.

Suskie Suskie - December 12, 2010 (07:52 PM)
Yeah, I'm done trying to explain why I love Mass Effect as much as I do. If people don't see in it what I see, then that's not my problem. I do urge you to at least finish the game, though. And if you made the mistake of going Soldier, then seriously, just restart the game.
EmP EmP - December 12, 2010 (11:05 PM)
I'd rather be playing almost anything but The Last Remnant.
zippdementia zippdementia - December 13, 2010 (07:44 PM)
Jason is right about Pulp Fiction; it is much more linear than people think because it's clever about the way it uses its characters. The truth is, it hits the same beats that literally every successful film has hit since the beginning of the medium.

Video games, as they try to be more and more like films, have to either start adhering to those same beats or they need to go back to being... you know... games.
zigfried zigfried - December 13, 2010 (07:49 PM)
Jason's a pretty sharp guy.

Halon Halon - December 13, 2010 (10:28 PM)
I had many problems with Mass Effect but linearity wasn't one of them. Well... it sorta was, but being linear is not necessarily bad.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - December 13, 2010 (11:48 PM)
Mass Effect was fun, but then again I didn't think it's story was extraordinary. It did what it needed to do, and that was it. I wouldn't think of it as rivaling a film, because they're two different mediums. It's like saying a film's plot rivals a novel's.
honestgamer honestgamer - December 13, 2010 (11:49 PM)
Sometimes I feel like when I post online, I'm almost a different person. For one thing, I have a... beard? That would never happen IRL.
darketernal darketernal - December 14, 2010 (03:08 AM)
Mass Effect is awesome, though I will agree that it is hard to get into Mass Effect 2 immediatelly after ending 1, because the gameplay mechanics are completely changed.

As for story, it satisfied my need for a narrative, and really, that's all I really need.
disco1960 disco1960 - December 17, 2010 (06:56 PM)
I liked Mass Effect because it made me feel like a space captain.
Halon Halon - December 17, 2010 (11:45 PM)
I didn't like Mass Effect because everything in it except for possibly the dialogue was done better in some previous Bioware game. Story wasn't so great, combat was bad, characters were shallow, sidequests seemed pretty much pointless, and the game only took me 14 hours 45 minutes to complete (and I must've done 30 sidequests or so). It just seemed like a completely lazy effort on Bioware's part.

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