Astounded, tearful and uplifted. These were just a handful of the feelings I had coming away from the finale of the Mass Effect trilogy – and I’m still reeling from it. I guess I should consider myself lucky though, as by the time I had finished the third game the new extended ending was installed, and I’m beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. For the few who don’t know, the original ending of Mass Effect 3 wasn’t received very well with its fans, so the studio decided to extend the players choices so that they felt more of an impact on the decisions they took, seems to have worked though, as the ending I experienced was anything but lacking. Even though I’ve yet to complete the first game, having only just downloaded it onto my Playstation, I still think the Mass Effect trilogy is something every gamer should experience. The biggest reason that Mass Effect has been so popular and successful has a lot to do with its engaging storyline and superb writing, helping create a world filled with rich characters and surroundings, and with a movie in production let’s hope all of that makes the transition to the big screen.
As the hours streamed by, I felt myself becoming completely enamoured with both the surroundings and characters, as well as getting emotionally connected to most of my team, it was certainly the first time I ‘d had such a connection with a video games virtual residence. Somehow alongside providing striking visuals and a full background on its specie’s and worlds, Bioware also managed to implement a branching dialogue tree. Such a feature grants the player choice on how they choose to shape Shepherd (the protagonist) male or female, getting to make different decisions along the way, each with their own impact on their character and Galaxy. For those of you with a penchant for sound you’ll be happy to hear that the music is upbeat and creates great atmosphere, excelling over the course of the series and creating an upbeat electronic feeling throughout.
While writing this piece, I’m beginning my first full play through of the original and I must say that I’m happy to be able to delve deeper into the background of characters I’ve met in later games. Having had an Xbox 360 twice over the last few years, I did at one time own the original, but after much deliberation I decided to focus on one console, leaving Mass Effect untouched, thankfully though the game is now available for purchase through the Playstation Network. Sure the combat might be a little off and the animations a little stiff, but the inception of this large universe still holds up incredibly well- even after five years. Like many people I switched from a Male Shepherd to playing as a Female, as her voice acting is considered much better than her Male counterpart, and when you’re playing a game consisting of at least ninety five percent talking, you want a good voice. Now I can finally transfer my save across all three games, all the while having a singular character being built up from my first decision until the last – how different my ending be with my new character remains to be seen, but I can’t wait to find out.
Normally large role playing games aren’t my sort of thing, as usually they consist of Orcs, Elves and Goblins and I haven’t grown to love the mystical potion dwelling worlds of Oblivion, WoW or Skyrim – although I did buy the latter and still need to finish my first play through. Strangely though futuristic dystopias do work for me and Mass Effect’s rich history, interesting characters and attractive Alien species (those always help) are very appealing to my “inner” space explorer. Now with the trilogy over, plans are already in motion for Mass Effect 4, and although with another studio, Casey Hudson (executive producer of the Mass Effect series) is still on board, albeit in a lesser capacity. I personally can’t wait to see what they have in store, especially when you consider the next generation is just around the corner. If only there were girls in the real world like Liara, then my life would be complete.