MASS DISAPPOINTMENT! I am a sucker for these over-hyped games!
This year was the year in regards to xbox 360 gaming I was waiting for since I bought my Xbox in 2005. This is the pinnacle of this system. There will be more great games coming out;however, the technical limits of this system have now been reached (or are nearly fully exploited). In essence, the console is now going to be quite inferior in comparison to a high powered gaming personal computer. We have Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed, Halo 3, some sports games which are quite good (though do not satisfy my taste), and we have Mass Effect.
Of all the games coming out this season, Mass Effect was the one I most anxiously awaited, more so than I had Gears of War. I played Oblvion, and became completely seduced by the newly discovered RPG genre (for me). I saw previews for Mass Effect, a Sci-Fi epic made by Bioware, the developers of KOTOR. This was going to be an Action RPG, I COULD NOT WAIT!!!
This is one of the few games I bought without reading reviews. I have to say now that this game is just as over-hyped as Halo 3. Halo 3 was a huge disappointment for me. I thought Halo 2 had been a fluke. With all the time spent developing Halo 3; and considering the considerable power of the 360, surely they couldn't go wrong, boy was I wrong! The same applies to Mass Effect. My expectations were admitably higher for this game. Bioware has an excellent reputation. They had even more time than Bungie (and more skill, in my opinion) to make a classic 9.9 of 10 rated game, they have failed though.
Let's get on to the review:
Awesome for the most part. Most things are absolutely gorgeous in this game, aside from the technical issues. The draw distance, structures are amazing. The detail of the aliens/most characters is superb.
When I first set the game up, WOW. I thought I had got all I had hoped to get! This game truly looked Epic. Cool concept. Things took several turns for the worse though. They start you off without much of a tutorial, and throw you into missions, which on Veteran difficulty, one is not well equipped (mainly due to the terrible, terrible gameplay). The capacity to personalize your player is limited in comparison to Oblivion. The categories of personality types/player types is limited as well. You have 4 weapons, SHORT RANGE WEAPONS IN SUCH AN ADVANCED TIME, pathetic.
This is what brings this game down to atrocious levels, and quite simply ruins it. When one buys a game, they buy it for the gameplay (or should,unless one is a complete moron). Graphics and Sound mean NOTHING when you can't maneuver nor effectively combat one's enemies. Combat, with the lame sorry sad short range weapons is horrible. I feel like I'm playing a better version of Spiderman 3, not much more. The enemies are not interesting. It is overly simple, simple is good;but it is not a good thing when it becomes boring. The frame rate suffers quite a bit when using Biotics. The driving is horrible. It is like a game from 2001, only worse (because I think of Halo 1's simple yet effective driving system).
I am not interested in having to take care of a squad, nor do I desire to get held back because the AI sucks (when letting them fend for themselves). I'd rather go explore the Universe myself, rather than be a babysitter for some useless squad.
You will wind up finding yourself fighting the controls rather than enjoying the game, this is not a quality of an 8.5 out of 10 game. I struggle to get my bearings when the combat gets "hot" (since it's really pretty lame). I frequently lose sight of the target, not due to my own ineptitude, simply because it is glitchy and weak. The combat also is a worse version of the overly simple Gears of War.
This game has so much squandered potential. They spent roughly 3 years making this on a system that should by now be fully developable (made that word up I guess). The concept is awesome, the visuals are usually no less than stunning, the sound is great, the game is a huge disappointment. The conversation system is probably going to be the greatest legacy of this game. It paves way for the future of this genre.
One thing that infuriated me is all of these worlds you can "explore" are BARREN and BORING! There is nothing to see of interest on most of them! I was expecting lush Alien environments, what I got was mostly barren landscapes with nothing interesting to find (aside from the occasional base or debris from a crash site).
This game has quite a bit going for it, I believe it's legacy will be it's concept. After the HYPE dies down, people will look back; and see it for what it is, an over-rated game with a great concept that was completely squandered. Don't get caught up in the hype. Just because we wish it lived up to everything it is supposed to be; and because everyone else is saying it's so great, is not a reason to be another brick in the wall. We paid good money for this, we should hold it accountable rather than pretend it is something more than it is; and we're no less of good gamers (or whatever) if we criticize what should be criticized. This doesn't come close to the level of quality and depth of Oblivion.