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Sometimes, one is at the height of fashion, following the newest trends and ideas, riding the waves of everything that’s hip and new and undiscovered. Where one is the first to do, to see, to try something, the first in the cinema to see the new movie, the first to buy the next game…

And then there’s days like those where Spirit finally, finally gets down and decides to play the  Mass Effect series.

Yes, I know, I’m ages too late. Sue me. But it’s best to at least correct a mistake once opportunity occurs… better now than never as they say, right?

So there I go. Being a veteran of Baldur’s gate and the Dragon Age series, I kind of have my expectations, and after managing to finally install the game (WTF, bioware, install, reboot, try to start as admin, fail reboot again, again start as admin and everything works? Well, at least it pays off that I am late into the game and therefore the good users at EA and Arstechnica have already found this bug and found out how to deal with it…) I’m ready to plunge into adventure.

Being a roleplayer of the storykind variety I of course choose the custom character, and a few moments later I’m a bionic fighter, army daughter and war hero, a lady of color at that, I’m kind of satisified with my face and off I go.

The introduction is promising; interestingly one for once does not start as a Nobody (Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age, Skyrim anyone?) but as a war hero already, which, of course, does nothing at all for pressure J.

The first mission is quite what one expects – a seemingly easy thing quickly turning into a nightmare (we’re not quite at Ostagar level, but not so far away, and who knows where we end…?) and as soon as, a few skirmishes, I realize how deep into trouble I am, I am faced with the first, real fight of the game.

And likewise faced with an uncomfortable truth.

For all the love I have for gaming, I usually desperately fail at the mechanical side of it. I’m the queen of losing orientation in the landscapes, and the unchallenged empress in needing a hundred years more than anyone else to get the controls of a game done well enough to survive.

Well. A friend of mine who loves gaming as well usually starts to feel sick when the camera moves too quickly. I suppose I could be worse off.

For all my determination it takes more than an hour and a truly embarrassing number of deaths before I finally manage to complete that first mission and get a first inkling of how that game is played beyond following the story. I could blame badly done control, but quite honestly, since I am facing that issue with every game, quality of the controls can probably be measured in the time that I need to get it nailed down.

Well. Who doesn’t like a challenge.

Ending up in the citadel, I let the eggheads and politicians wait while I inquire about the world I am moving in. Politics, society, races, history, my Shepard is named Helen, and she sure is a curious one.

After a few truly unpleasant brush-ins with the high-and-mighty (my, are we humans unpopular!), I find myself sent into the seedier parts of the city and that’s fine with me.

After all the world-changing stuff that happened already, it can’t be that wrong to touch base a little.

If only to learn what the official channels aren’t telling me.