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50 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

This game is my favorite 360 game so far

9/10
Author: fiore2 from United States
6 December 2007

I would have given it a 10, but 10 is perfect and this game isn't perfect. But with it's slight flaws the game is still amazing. This game's story is very gripping and draws you in. Few games can do this. I like RPGs and shooters, and this game really appealed to me. I guarantee it will appeal to the die hard RPG fans and the shooter fans.

The acting is VERY good. When you play this game you feel like you are watching a movie, but you are directly involved. The mystery, the thrill feel is all there.

Even when you are not in action, but talking and interacting with people it's very interesting and compels you to continue onward with the story.

The game is excellent after you've finished it, and almost seems more fun the second time around. You get to maintain your level and experience after you finish the game.

Just a fun fun fun game overall. My favorite game of the Xbox 360 thus far.

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34 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Fourteen hours of unparalleled gameplay

10/10
Author: Trouter2000 from Canada
25 January 2008

As a fan of both bioware's Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, I had extremely high expectations for Mass Effect, their latest RPG for the console. Although skeptical at first, I found that it surpassed either of the latter two games, and achieved something no other RPG had on the console.

Mass Effect revamps every aspect of bioware's typical games, improving it vastly, without changing their unique gameplay style. Rather then duplicating Knights of the Old Republic again, bioware has decided to branch off in a unique and interesting direction. The result of this is a game that will surely stand the test of time through the ages, being for the Xbox 360 what Morrowind was for the Xbox or Zelda for the Nintendo.

The combat system is probably the greatest change, taking away any codified system, and allowing it to become a third person shooter. This allows a lot more skill to develop over the course of the game; the AI is quite good, and you'll have to think about tactics. On any difficulty aside from easy you will probably die a lot getting the hang of it, but once you are accustomed, it is much more rewarding than any of the previous games systems. The weapon variation is a bit lacking, but this is balanced out by the biotics system, similar to force powers in KoTOR. However, rather than having good and evil powers, a character specializing in them has access to all of them. I found that the leveling system in relation to these powers was very well thought out, and improvements made were very obvious upon combat.

The class you choose, whether it be exclusively weapons, powers or mechanics, or a mix of two is very important in deciding the balance between weapons and powers you will be using. As a first time player the most obvious choice is a mix, but the game is flexible to accommodate anyone who gets the hang of their chosen gameplay style. I found that the character creation was much more developed and sophisticated compared to the latter two releases.

Another, and by far my favorite change, is the good/evil bar. Rather than make it a moral system, with clear definition of good and evil, bioware has introduced a system that is removed from moral reality. Every choice is just that, a choice, with given consequences you must live with for better and for worse. You can opt for a Machiavellian pragmatists style character, with consequences of your ruthlessness, or a humanitarian with just as many disadvantages for the more sympathetic choices. This is ideal for allowing the game to encompass a level of realism, and attaches deeper feelings for characters. Certainly a lot trickier than a simple good/evil bar, but bioware pulled it off, and the result is fantastic.

Overall I thought that Mass Effect succeeded with its characters (character development), storyline and combat system. The graphics are wonderful and the gameplay is easily up to the standard of any typical RPG. I found very few flaws, except the seemingly short length, and frankly didn't find any of it less than enjoyable. Give it a try, and savor bioware's newest gift to the console.

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36 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Astronomical

10/10
Author: nvseals50 from United States
15 March 2008

OK, first off, I just want to say that I am very fascinated by space to start with, but this game will amaze anyone who likes video games. Mass Effect is so masterful that it's hard to pick where to start. OK, I guess I'll start with the character creation.

If you're a fan of customization, that's already enough reason to buy Mass Effect. The creation goes so deep, that it's almost annoying.

The graphics in Mass Effect are indescribable. As i said before, I'm obsessed with space, and it's almost like I was there. When you land on Earth's moon, and you drive up a steep incline, Earth rises billions of miles away. If you've ever seen a picture of Earth from space, you know how beautiful it is. When I saw this, my jaw almost dropped. It was like they used a real life picture!!!!! That goes for the entire rest of the game too. Best graphics ever for years and years to come.

The story telling in Mass Effect is stuff of legend. The imagination in this game is incredible. Think of Star Wars, only yes, I'm about to say it........better.

If you're a fan of games at all, you will pick this up, and love it. Mass Effect is so convincingly real, you actually begin to think to yourself if the future 200 years from now will contain the things that Mass Effect does.

The aliens in Mass Effect are so amazingly detailed and unique, you are actually sad you can't pick your species. Lets just hope that you can in Mass Effect 2.

If you hate space and aliens and sci-fi, still get Mass Effect, because it does an amazing job of not only being a great RPG, but also a great 3rd person shooter!!!

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25 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

The Benchmark for All Other Games

9/10
Author: Amal Arulendran from Qatar
18 February 2008

This game has to be one of the best games to be released in the recent past hence all the praise that is flowing towards it. Although not a RPG fan I was enthralled by the sheer power and beauty of it right up to the very end. It feels more like a movie that you are involved in, all disguised in a game's body. You will have the experience of your life time with this game. The developers have gone into great lengths to provide us with a brilliant and captivating story that will have you at the edge of your seat till the heart stopping finale. If you are not overwhelmed by the action in the game you will be once you see the breath taking graphics in store for you. The characters feel life like as if they have jumped right out of the screen of a wonderful adventure movie. The action is nail biting stuff and done in a grand scale just like a futuristic drama.

This is out and out game of the year material but it isn't without its shortcomings. There are a few graphical glitches and some game stuttering, the side quests could have had a bit more weight and should have been rewarding towards plot development but after all is said and done if you can over look these minor problems you will have a really good time.

It will take pages and pages to truly capture the pure awesomeness of this epic journey. It is best left unwritten because this is an adventure you will want to experience for yourself, again and again. This is hands down the must buy game of the year.

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23 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

The best game ever by miles

10/10
Author: intothebluegreatness from United States
3 May 2008

Mass Effect is so addicting it isn't even funny. Before you read this, I must inform you that I am a big wonderer of space, and admirer of all it's beauties.

Anyway, lets start with the character creation. It is masterful. You can literally look at your friend, just like a professional artist, and make him or her as Commander Shepard. Yeah, it's that in-depth. Also, the fact that you can pick your background history, reputation, and military class is one of the best things I have ever seen in a video game. You can literally be, you.

Now we move on to the conversation options. The conversation options have revolutionized video games. Not only do you create your own character, but you get to say what you would as if you were Shepard. In every conversation tree, there is a ruthless thing to say, a good thing to say, and an in-between thing to say. If you are that person who loves to intimidate and be mean, then say what you must with the click of a button. Also, I will mention that you can even make drastic choices with these options. Throughout the game, there will be times where you actually choose if an innocent person (or alien) lives or dies.

The aliens in Mass Effect are so amazingly detailed that it will actually frustrate you that you can't be one of them as a player. It really puzzles me how a group of people could think of so many different models and creatures. There are so many species of aliens in Mass Effect that you will have trouble naming them all even by the fourth or fifth play-through. Not only this, but in the codex, (your information journal) there is a fairly large background paragraph on EVERY species. The developers had to start from scratch hundreds of times to stop and think of the species names, where they came from, how they originated, how they reproduce, what position they have with the council, what kind of personality they have, if they are good in combat, and much, much more.

The story in Mass Effect is absolute brilliance. With all of the aliens already making the game unique enough, the story is even more original. Nothing was taken from Star Wars or any of that (and if it was, they did a great job of making you believe they didn't). From Spectres (a rank among the council) to the Citidel (Huge space station), Mass Effect just keeps the surprises coming.

There are many planets you can go to in Mass Effect, all of which have a unique environment, (and once again a fairly large description of it's population, hours in a day, days in a year, and characteristics. The hours in a day and days in a year are in comparison to Earth.) Most of the planets contain a side mission that you may choose to do or not do. One thing you cannot miss is going to the moon, and looking into the sky to see Earth. If you have ever seen a real life photo of Earth from space, you will realize how amazingly real it looks.

The graphics in Mass Effect are absolute genius, and nothing comes close to comparison. All of the characters look like real people, and the aliens are so fantastically designed that you will think they are standing right in front of you.

The lasting appeal of Mass Effect is so good that it almost becomes a life-waster, but for good reason because of how good the game is. When you kill enemies, you obtain experience points. When you reach a certain amount of experience points, you level up. Every time you level up, you will need more and more experience points to get to the next level. The top level is 60, and when you are at level 60, you are the elite of the elite when it comes to space soldiers (ha ha) It will take about 2-3 beatings of Mass Effect to obtain the level 60 rank, if you do every side mission each time. If you don't do any side missions, and only choose to play the story, it will take about 4-5 beatings.

Mass Effect is the best game to have ever been developed at this point in time. It will remain the greatest for years to come, and when years have past, it will still be ONE of the greatest. It is a legend.

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant

9/10
Author: Tyferra
9 July 2008

I say this after finishing the Mass Effect on my computer about a minute ago. I was cynical about the game at first, I'm not a fan of RPG games and I'm a devout follower of a certain game critic, one Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw who seemed to give the game a resounding "meh". Mass Effect can hardly be summarised in such a way.

It's hard to know where to begin so I'll start on a broad scale. The Mass Effect universe is a masterpiece. The political structure, the interaction between different aliens, the aliens themselves and other details all worked together to create a universe more deep and compelling than Star Wars has ever offered. The story itself was delivered incredibly well, the player is gradually given pieces of a considerably complex story in such a way as to ensure no-one gets lost or feels that they're in over their head.

The characters themselves all have their part, they are all deep and although their back stories, (which the player has the option of exploring through conversation with the main characters,) are incredibly detailed and long they are interesting enough to refrain from skipping through and all add to the overall depth of Mass Effect. The voice acting is good, particularly in my opinion the character Garrus Vakarian who was soft-spoken but had a certain quality to his voice that made you slightly wary of him - he became one of my favourite characters for that very reason.

Of course there are faults. There are some remnant bugs that send an engrossed player back to reality, something most dedicated gamers already associate with EA. At times the game caused my graphics card to stop responding requiring a forced restart and generally the loss of a great deal of progress. I'm prepared to blame my aging hardware but it seemed to strike with incredible dramatic timing, destroying some of the more epic moments in the game and forcing me to replay a lot of what had already been done. In a similar line of thought the auto saves simply were not frequent enough - nothing is more irritating than having to play over a large portion of the game; when one expects a quick save to occur, for example after an important cut scene or loading screen, in Mass Effect it simply doesn't.

Another criticism regards the dialogue which was on the whole brilliant; however through the unfortunate restarts and replaying I went through I discovered that although one is generally given three dialogue options, Commander Shepherd at times says the same thing no matter what option you pick. Not a big deal but it is incredibly irritating to have the option to verbally rip into someone but have your character act in the same way if you had picked a more polite option - it seems as though the developers cut corners which just doesn't seem right.

My last criticism relates to side quests rather than the main story. The interplanetary side quests were almost identical: you're dropped off on a barren planet with a few points of interest; you go to a main base, kill a few enemies and you're away again. The planets all looked the same and there were only about three different types of building which were all set out in the same way. There was simply too little in the way of variety, hence the side quests seemed unnecessary – it seemed like too many corners were cut and Mass Effect is simply too good to let that happen. Still on the subject of side quests, as dedicated as I was to explore as much of the game as possible it seemed as though the game was getting frustrated with my dilly-dallying. When part of the story was completed a certain urgency was always implied; "hurry, we don't have much time," "this is our top priority," and so on - it seemed that side questing was frowned upon and you felt like a bit of an idiot when you went to help some scientists or find a rogue group or rescue a hostage while the main antagonist had to be getting an incredible head start.

Oh, and one thing the aforementioned critic did say which was right on the money, the vehicle handles like a fat man on a unicycle.

I feel like I'm nitpicking and in a way I am; Mass Effect is brilliant so the few small faults do stand out. This gives the sequels a few things to work on which is not a bad thing. The most important aspects of the game, being the universe, the characters and the story are perfect and the first instalment of the Mass Effect series gives a base to a saga that has the potential to be extremely exciting.

Mass Effect hasn't converted me to role playing games by any means, as a rule I still find them irritating and confusing. Mass Effect is the exception to this rule though, it's a masterpiece of gaming and storytelling and I simply cannot wait to discover where the series goes from here.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Not like Elder Scrolls IV, but better.

9/10
Author: psbassplayer from United States
31 December 2008

I disagree with the previous post about this game being similar to Elder Scrolls IV. There was no glitchy combat system, no repetitive storyline of 'run in this thing and destroy it', and much unlike Oblivion Mass Effect has actual character development.

The voice acting in Mass Effect has one of the best casts I've seen in a game. Nothing is over exaggerated or monotone, and the character's movement goes along with that. Bioware has introduced another great game with a fantastic storyline as they did with KOTOR. The combat system takes some getting used to if you want to play on the hardest difficulty, but you can play the game like a 3rd person shooter if you have it on easy.

The only reasons I give this game a 9 out of 10 is because sometimes you can get stuck in the geometry of the game whether you are walking or more often when you are in the MAKO vehicle, and need to finagle your way out. Also while the character classes were varied the character customization left something to be desired in my opinion. All in all i found Mass Effect t be a very enjoyable game to play and found myself becoming immersed in the beautiful graphics and intense storyline. A definite must have for an role player who has Xbox 360.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The game for Sci-fi geeks.

Author: jaywolfenstien from USA
3 October 2008

ME combines the spectacle of Space Opera with the explorative spirit of Science Fiction.

The game is laced with little touches to make us fans smile – casting genre legend Lance Hendriksen (Bishop, from Aliens) as Admiral Hackett, presenting narrative parallels between Prothean beacons and the monoliths in 2001, and let's not forget the Thorian. Sci-fi has often explored the concept of plant life that challenges our ideas of what a plant's characteristics are. Oh yeah, and the Thorian has the ability to control people … an indirect nod to Invasion of the Body Snatchers? The makers of ME knew their genre.

And how about weapons named after Chess Champions? Don't make me break out my Karpov ...

In addition, ME's world sports little spices of realism that makes this future feel like a genuine possibility for our world. For example, the alliance uses naval terminology for interstellar travel even though the setting renders the words obsolete ("shore" party?). There's also a consistent naming scheme for Alliance vessels (named after significant battles). Our ship? The best in fleet? It gets named after the most significant battle in human history – The Normandy.

The universe is populated by some colorful alien races like the Elcor who speak in an eternal monotone, Solarians with an upside-down blink (the lower eye-lid is the more articulate lid), the Volus completely enclosed in space suits due to the living on low pressure worlds, the insect-like Rachni deliver a delightful homage to the Alien franchise while exploring Novaria.

Then throw in a codex where, if a player cares, they can find explanations that approach HG Wells levels of detail – things like why you never run out of ammo, to history of the various alien races, to stupid little pieces of trivia. If the player does not care, they can safely ignore it. There will be no quiz later.

While the setting is firmly established in the realm of Science Fiction, the story and presentation is distilled Space Opera. You take control of Commander Shepherd, an established hero in the human world about to make his mark on the intergalactic stage. A newly inducted "Spectre", you're charged with hunting down the traitorous rogue, Saren. The odds are stacked against you, and the fate of all sentient life hangs in the balance. May the force be with you.

As for the gameplay: you wander around the outposts racking up Mission Objectives and Side Quests ala any other RPG in existence. Mass Effect contains barely a handful of friendly outposts (located exclusively on Mission worlds), which is a plus in my book. I never liked needle-in-a-haystack RPGs. The combat side of the game is divided between the landrover vehicle named "Mako" (which the controls and the camera do not like) and battles on foot. Both take place in pause-able real time.

It's not that the Mako is unplayable, but it very noticeably lacks the precision you would expect. A simple task like driving out from behind cover, firing, and returning to cover is far more difficult than it needs to be. Also, when you have the main cannon's scope engaged, it's not uncommon to drive into an obstacle, nearly flipping the whole Mako over while Geth Armitures bombard you. Can't someone else drive while I aim and fire? I mean, c'mon Bioware, in this same game I can get Ashley and Garrus to charge into an ambush, Ashley lay down suppressive fire and use her Immunity ability to soak up more damage while Garrus Sabotages the enemy's Weaponry rendering them temporarily useless all while I bombard them with Singularity fields from a distance … can't we get some basic coordination going in the Mako?

Anyway, Mass Effect lacks the flashiness of, say Final Fantasy's magic and summons, but there is a certain charm to "Lift" which simply elevates an enemy into the air so you and your allies can fill them full of lead. "Just call me Darth Shepherd." And there's something satisfying about using "Throw" to push two Krogans over a railing to their deaths when you're standing 20 feet away. Or use AI Hacking to turn drones against each other.

As much fun as I had with Biotics and Tech abilities, I most enjoyed taking out a Mercenary Camp from a distant hill with the Sniper Rifle. A close second would be standing in the middle of a field with said Sniper Rifle while zombies (Thorian Creepers, whatever) raced towards me. "Run Forest!" Kaboom! "Aw, so close …"

On the negative side, inventory is a royal pain in the ass. Like other games in the genre, you outfit not just yourself but the rest of your team, and the amount of loot you acquire can make this a tedious and time consuming task made worse by some downright stupid menu behavior. For example, let's say you open a crate and find out you've exceeded the 150 item limit. Well, you're stuck in that window until you reduce that loot to omni-gels (essentially, destroying the items you just acquired.) Why can't I waste older, cheaper, and less effective crap? Or here's an idea – why can't I leave this new crap in the crate where I found it and come back later?

Also, while the main objectives take place on unique world with their own specific landscapes and features, all of the side quests feel like copy and pastes of one another. All the worlds have painfully similar terrain, the only difference being the color of the sky and the color of the ground. Same goes for the explore-able structures on the worlds – exact same building, exact same furniture … only the furniture is in different places. Hello monotony.

Oh well, minor complaints. It wasn't enough to stop me from immediately replaying it … and I haven't done that since Chrono Trigger thirteen years ago. Take that for what it's worth.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Great Story, Good Graphics and Fun Gameplay all come together to make an awesome RPG.

9/10
Author: nikibabs from United States
31 July 2010

In the 22nd century, where humans have discovered lightspeed and have met and colonized with many alien species, a skilled commander must take his crew and teamates into enemy territory in order to find and either capture or kill a powerful alien who has means to bring back a dangerous alien species.

I've never been a huge fan of RPG's, thus I wasn't interested in Mass Effect at first. However, I soon decided to get my hands on it. Well I gotta say I'm glad I did!

Pros: -A fantastic and immersive storyline. -Very deep and well acted characters. -The graphics are nearly spot on and great. -The sound is perfect, but nothing that stands out. -The score is very varied and fits the futuristic setting. -Fun and easy gameplay.

Cons: -Although still fun, some gameplay elements( such as vehicle controls, weapon functions,etc.) can get a bit irritating. -Could have been more weapons.

Overall, despite some minor flaws, Mass Effect is a fantastic game that cannot be missed, RPG fan or not.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

One of the best sci-fi games around, but not without its flaws

8/10
Author: Tank238 from United States
17 August 2010

When I first began to play this game, the first thing I noticed was the game's incredible graphics. But the graphics aren't all. Mass Effect is truly a unique experience once you begin to enter conversations throughout the game. As opposed to a list of responses that you select in traditional RPGs to which the NPC replies, like in BioWare's former crowning achievement Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In Mass Effect, you can choose from up to six different responses and then see Shepard actually vocalize the response of your choosing. Similarly, the responses can also reflect the character of Shepard that you decide to be: Renegade or Paragon, whichever one has very profound effects on the story and people around you. I have honestly never seen any other video game that does that. Speaking of people around you, the crew is definitely one of the most unique and diverse groups you'll meet... and not just because most of them are alien species in the game, but each character has his or her own personality or lack of personality (ahem, Wrex).

But the game obviously isn't just about conversation, there's combat, exploration, and side quests aplenty. The combat works out pretty well, with Shepard having up to ten biotic and/or tech powers and each teammate having up to eight, some powers being much more devastating than others. I was also impressed and a little overwhelmed when I saw the entire galaxy on a map at my fingertips. Believe me, if you want something to do, there's plenty to explore in Mass Effect. Each system has at least one explorable planet. However, sticking to the main plot only involves five planets and will not last you long at all.

But like I said, the game is not without its flaws. For one, the exploration was fun as long as you're piloting the mako (a cross between a tank and a dune buggy) but you'll quickly see that each explorable planet is in a way the same: a square area with a few areas of interest that you can approach with the mako, making the exploration a little repetitive. Combat was also frustrating because of teammate AI, which would often shoot at a wall thinking it could hit an enemy. I also often saw them use biotic and tech powers in a similar way: hitting nothing but a wall. Another annoying aspect of the combat were the spoils. The inventory system is a mess. Each kill in the game gives you credits which quickly pile up to the point that you have no idea what to do with them, and a lot of kills also give you upgrades to be used in your inventory to modify weapons and armor. These too pile up like credits until you are forced to decide to sell the items or convert them to omni-gel. And finally, one of Mass Effect's biggest issues was texture pop-in. Whenever you load a game, everything around Shepard is a gigantic blur that gradually becomes more and more detailed until it reaches the desired detail level, but it wasn't always fixed because sometimes I'd try to talk to a shopkeeper and his face is a blur of moving colors.

Despite the flaws, the game is at least worth a try.

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