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Monday, January 14, 2008

A Learning Experience

Weekends are a real crapshoot when it comes to finding time to spend with my Xbox 360. As much as I wanted to play tons of Mass Effect this weekend, it just wasn't in the cards. Though I managed to squeeze in a little time with Commander Shepard and crew, I was definitely left wanting more.

When I first started out playing as an Adept, combat was a little difficult at times due to my character's inability to do anything significant in battle. Well, that's all changing! Now that I've unlocked all of the biotic powers available in the game, Commander Shepard can do some real damage against the Geth and Krogan bounty hunters who are constantly attacking his crew.

Combat usually plays out in fairly straight-forward fashion:

  1. Shepard launches a flurry of biotic attacks - usually singularity, throw. warp, and lift in quick succession.
  2. Williams, the Alliance soldier, blows away a ton of enemies using her assault rifle.
  3. Tali, the Quarian engineer, tries to do engineer-type stuff but usually ends up dying.
  4. Shepard revives Tali.

  5. Repeat steps 1-4.
Although it sounds like combat is pretty dry and repetitive, you have to believe me when I say that the combat system throws enough fun and challenge at you to keep things interesting. I love that feeling of seeing enemies appear on-screen, knowing that I have an assortment of delightful little biotic powers at my disposal.

Since I last wrote, I managed to explore a couple more systems in the game and I also killed a couple crime bosses. I'm currently attempting to help the colonists on Feros push back the Geth horde. Oh, and I'm also looking for food and water supplies for these same colonists. Mass Effect is an RPG and, as such, you have to expect the occasional "Restore the Colonists' water supply"-type quests.

I also picked up a single achievement:

Scholar [25 GamerPoint]: This achievement is awarded for finding all codex (i.e. journal) entries for each of the known alien races found in the game. I thought this would be a difficult task but it's really not hard. If you make a habit of pursuing all dialog options with anyone you encounter in Mass Effect over the first ten hours of game-play, you'll easily unlock this achievement. I became a "scholar" while speaking with the Hanar shopkeeper while persusing a store on the Citadel's Presidium level. I get so much pleasure from the unexpected unlocking of an achievement!

Here's a list of the 13 codex race entries required for the Scholar achievement:
  • Council Races: Asari, Turians, and Salarians.
  • Extinct Races: Protheans, Rachni.
  • Non-Council Races: Batarians, Elcor, Geth, Hanar, Keepers, Krogan, Quarians, and Volus.
If you'd like to know who to speak with in order to get all the entries required for this achievement, refer to this guide by Xbox360Achievements.org.

I plan on playing Mass Effect tonight and I'm hoping to pick up a few biotic-related achievements: Throw Mastery (use Throw 75 times), Warp Mastery (use Warp 75 times), and Barrier Mastery (use Barrier 75 times). I've used each of these powers quite a bit and should soon hear the sweet sound of unlocked achievements!

Before going, let me once again urge any RPG enthusiasts out there to pick up a copy of Mass Effect for yourselves. Honestly, it's an incredible game and well-worth $50 or $60!