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… there’s the rest of the adventure to be had.

After a refreshingly short period of time (yes, I mean that!!) I finished Mass Effect 1 and am ready to plunge myself into the next challenge that Bioware has in store for me.

But first things first: The wrapup.

Me being a die-hard Bioware fan (except for the Witcher games, I have never enjoyed anything as much as the Bioware products when it comes to computer games), I liked it very much.

Since I am not very good at keeping my reviews spoiler-free, read at your own risk:

The story

Gripping, interesting, with quite a few surprises and well-paced. I mentioned the brevity of the game, and I mean this in a totally positive way because, being a casual gamer with not quite that much time on my hands, I am so much in favor of many level-grinding quests before I can again get to the juicy stuff of the next plot twist. (Probably one of the myriard reasons why I never warmed to Skyrim – maybe one day I will write a post on nothing but a Skyrim rant, but this is not the day…) The ratio between filler quests, background quests and main quests was really a bonus for me here.

The story in itself was a classic hero story in a way, but I liked the mixture of SciFi elements with ancient mysteries and lots of story background. Having Shepard start out as an accomplished warrior already was a refreshing twist that I already appreciated when I started out. I liked the role of humans as “rookies” in the galactic interplay; the reactions to them were as realistic as their strivings for a greater role, and both ambition and conservatism led to things both good and bad. I like the way Shepard slipped between those lines, trying to make her (in my case) way.

The story was well mixed with the world (some more on that later on), each quest bringing some new knowledge, so at the end one felt pretty well informed about the surroundings one was moving in.

The reapers story is in a few ways a very standard story (old race comes back in cycles to destroy… Babylon 5, anyone?) but I like the twist that it’s machines, not organic races, that this time pose the threat. There’s lots of potential to go around with the Geth as a servant race (I loved the Quarians, by the way!), the ancient Protheans as the ones who lost; as well as their ultimate motivation which as of now remains a mystery to me, leaves still much to be discussed and has me craving more.

The world

Two words.

I like.

There’s an interesting mix of races; each of them with their own properties and some with really interesting ideas. I have difficulties to find one who stands out – maybe the Quanians; I really loved those Space Gypsies and hope to see more of them. Generally, I fell in love with some of the minor races, such as the Hanar or the Elcor; two races that seem to have very interesting concepts behind. The society, the strong influence of companies, falls in line with motives often used in science fiction, and that’s fine with me, as these things go. It makes sense, overall, although I cannot understand why no one ever really took the effort to try and find out about all this technology that they are using.

But then, the Protheans tried and we know what happened with them.

Well. That’s the main reason, anyhow, why my overly righteous Shepard started scanning the keepers like mad in an uncharacteristic bout of rebellion, as soon as she learned who actually had built the Citadel.

So world building: I’m sure we’ll see more of it but for now, well done!

The characters

I have already ranted on them and my love for them (and after a while of consideration I decided to romance Kaidan, not Liara, although the idea was interesting in itself), but here’s a small grain of salt to go with that soup: They could have been a little more fleshed out. They were interesting, but the dialogues in which one has learnt about them were relatively limited.

OK, granted, I’ve just come off Inquisition, and that’s an unfair comparison if there ever was one, but also if I compare it to DA Origins, the characters felt a little shallow.

Well. I hope I will see more of them.

So in general – good ideas, but a lot of missed opportunities.

The gameplay

I’m the worst judge in the world of that, given that I am always in so much trouble learning how to even operate the game, but after I got used to it it was fine. The fights were well manageable with a bit of practice, which, for the better gamers is probably a downside, but for me, who’s mainly in for the story and lacks the patience to try out which skill goes best with what, that was fine, totally.

The Mako was kind of annoying; if that thing has a physics engine, it knew little of it, and the control was a bit frizzy. Of course, one could always chose to ignore it and just roll over everything, but well. I don’t know. It annoyed the physicist in me. Just a little.

Oh and one more thing. I’d have preferred to have three companions with me, not two. Chosing was always so hard…

Well… so much for that.

And now, for something completely different