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Mass Effect – Xbox 360

01 Feb 2008

When I interviewed Casey Hudson, lead Project Director on Mass Effect, I wasn’t entirely sold on the concept behind the game. There has to be something that defines a game and makes it special amongst the hundreds of other titles just like it available. What does Mass Effect have that no other game does? Immersive game play, interesting characters and a well developed storyline are key factors when considering what makes a good RPG. And the fact that Mass Effect combines several elements and not just role-playing means that this game should have a lot of potential.

Anyone that has invested any time into an RPG understands that a game can look as stunning as ever but it won’t keep the player interested if the characters they’re playing are one-dimensional, the level of interaction is poor or minimal at best and the world doesn’t react the way you want it to. Mass Effect delivers most of those things in spades. The storyline for Mass Effect is pretty solid. You can play the game as the main character or you can opt to create your own character with fully customisable everything. This impressed me. It also gives you the opportunity to fully customise the game how you want with your own experience of the story as you work your way through it. I opted to do this, creating my own character seemed like a lot more fun than following someone else’s path.

Depending on how you choose to play, the beginning sequences of the game will vary. The story begins with your character as the central part of the plot to uncover who is trying to destroy the universe. My character was then handpicked for a mission that starts the single player campaign and slowly unravels more and more of the story as you progress. For the most part, the storyline is intriguing and interesting and most importantly, engaging. Two thumbs up to the story writers! The dialogue in Mass Effect is extremely well done. No cheesy dialogue anywhere to be found and most of the characters were believable and likeable. With the option to choose several different outcomes for every conversation you have, Mass Effect’s storyline and role-playing experience is a masterful piece of work as well as extremely involved.

You can fully customise your weapons and armour and you can enhance your armour and your abilities in the game depending on how you customise your character at the beginning. Since this is a futuristic RPG, there are elements in the game such as ‘Tech’ and ‘Biotic’ enhancements that give your human character a very futuristic and unique persona.

The battle sequences in Mass Effect are a little difficult to get your head around at first. Since you're using a squad situation (where other NPC’s join you on your missions) you need to remember not to rush in and try and take on all of the enemies by yourself. You’ll only end up dying rather quickly and having to reload your last game save. Using the other squad members tactically in any given situation works well and definitely keeps your character alive a lot longer. The squad movement in the game is pretty straight forward where pointing and clicking gets the job done. You can also change the equipment of your squad members and look up their profiles within in the game – an extremely neat feature.

There is so much depth to Mass Effect. The cinematics are epic and it really is a game that looks great and plays even better once you start to become immersed in the storyline. This is one of the reasons why I chose to create my own character. If you're connecting with the story and character, the more personal the gaming experience is likely to be. For gamers who are looking for something immersive and interactive, Mass Effect is the perfect game for you.

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