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Monday, December 24, 2007

First Impressions: Mass Effect

When I got home from work on Friday, imagine how happy I was to find my very own copy of Mass Effect sitting in my mailbox! And now, imagine my disappointment when I was unable to give it a try until late Saturday night. But try it I did and I'm here to give you my first impressions on this wonderful and snowy Christmas Eve.

I'll keep this short since I have places to go and people to see. Let me just start off by saying: Whoa!

Mass Effect is a game that screams details. Even at first glance, the game appears very polished and very, very big. The scale of the game seems pretty large, made even larger by the copious amounts of dialogue available at every turn. So far though, I'd have to say that the voice acting is good enough to make the dialogue more pleasure than pain.

I've already started the game twice: once as a renegade vanguard and once as a paragon soldier. I think I may restart the game one last time and try to find the ideal class to use to allow for the easy collection of some of Mass Effect's grueling achievements. I plan on playing the game through on Normal for my first try, so I may decide to try a "wimpy" character class for my first at bat. I'm pretty sure that using the soldier class would make for an easy first run, but my love of gamer points overrides all other considerations!

The character creation system is very easy to use. My only complaint is that you can't adjust the weight of your character, though this is understandable given that you're supposed to be an elite Alliance soldier. Still, how can I really role-play unless my character has a gut that matches my own?

And while we're on the subject of character creation, I have to say that the default character model used for Shepard (the protagonist of the game) seems much more detailed than any of the models I could create via the facial customization interface. Admittedly, this may simply be my own fault. In any case, I think I'll just use the default character model rather than try to create my own ass-ugly playable character.

I've got very little else to say about the game right now. Mass Effect looks and sounds great. There have been a few minor graphical stutters in the first hour of the game, but nothing major and not enough to detract from the whole experience.

Mass Effect appears to be a true RPG in ever sense of the word. This game will take me a very long time to play and finish and I look forward to giving it it's fair shake. However, until Assassin's Creed is finished, it looks like Altaïr and Shepard will need to fight for my love and attention - especially now that my old friend is about to make a re-appearance in my scheduled free time!

In any case, I'll be back later this week with more tales of assassinations and aliens, with a little Kris Kringle thrown in for good measure.

Merry Christmas everyone!