My Mass Effect Rant

Mass Effect is a sci-fi role-playing video game that was released in 2008. I played the PC version, which scored an 89/100 on Metacritic. The game has been lauded for its innovative dialog system, its engaging story and its roleplaying potential. The sequel was just released and has been received by the video gaming public with a huge amount of enthusiasm.

I thought it sucked. Horribly.

Sucky point #1: elevators. There are a lot of them, and they take forever. There's even a damn elevator inside your own starship, and it has less than 5 decks! Some of these elevator rides are at least 15-30 seconds long. And during the whole ride you get to do nothing but watch the back of your character's head. Exciting, no? This is bad design, and, frankly, disrespectful of a player's time. Did Otis Elevator provide funding for this game's development?

Sucky point #2: talking. Bioware is known for shaping a character's personality and the storyline via how the player has them interact with others. They did this to great effect in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In Mass Effect, it feels like half the game is talking to non-player characters with little effect. But the dialogue choices don't reflect what is actually said (somehow this is an improvement?). Eventually, I turned on the subtitles and space-barred through the text. So much for all of that voice acting. Doing so meant that I ended up choosing some dialogue choices randomly, to no apparent difference in any outcome. Did AT&T provide funding for this game's development?

Sucky point #3: story. A soldier is the chosen one to save the galaxy from omnipotent Reapers that wipe out all organic life in the galaxy on a regular basis. Why do they do this every million years or so? They are too alien for us to understand - a writer's cop out, especially in a game filled with aliens. Weak. Even worse was that many of the side quests involved idiotic errands, like telling alien B that alien A like-liked them. Did Clorox provide funding for this game's development?

Sucky point #4: graphics. My 6 year old son wanted to know why my character had a big scar running along his jawline. I pointed out that all of the characters had that same scar, among many others. Oh, and the disappearing terrain tiles on planet was a lot of fun. I remember playing crappy games in the 90s with better graphics, better character animation but a lot less acclaim than this one. Did a plastic surgeon provide funding for this game's development?

Sucky point #5: gameplay. Combat was irritating, level design was boring, controls were rough and it. crashed. a. lot. during. fast. moving. action. sequences. The vehicle controls were deplorable. The inventory system was amateurish. And supposedly there were 'biotic' and 'technological' weapons, but I never noticed these and everything was a gun battle on rails. I don't think anyone would have provided funding to accomplish this.

Yes, a pretty harsh review. Clearly, I don't get what all of the excitement is about. And I could be wrong - most gamers seemed to worship at the feet of this game.