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Mass Effect

Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified PolygameistRPGamer Staff
edited January 2010 in Staff Review Blogs
masseffect.gif

Game: Mass Effect
Platform: Various
Developer: Bioware
Release Date: Nov 20, 2007

Mass Effect, a science fiction action RPG epic, is the latest from developer BioWare.

Sabin, JCServant and Firemyst ban together to tackle this classic, and will blog their experiences here.



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Comments

  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited January 2010
    OOoo ooo can I help?
    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2010
    Absolutely. The more, the merrier, I say!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    God, I may join you guys, this is truly an amazing game.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Absolutely. The more, the merrier, I say!
    Yes, but the party size limit is 3! sad.gif
    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • ZelgodesZelgodes A Mastermind!? Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Shall we have party time? I might need something to ween me off Assassin's Creed II for just a little while. I still need to do an insanity run to get all the 'chieves.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2010
    Well, I don't know about a set time or anything, but I'm going to start working on it tonight.

    Just a little background...

    I remember seeing the previews on this game before it came out. I downloaded the higher def trailers and showed them to my wife. She even mentioned that they looked as good as anything from Square. Also, the voice acting in them just seemed spot on.

    Unfortunately, I didn't have an XBox. I thought about getting one, but I just couldn't justify it.

    Eventually, it came to the PC, but my computer at the time couldn't handle it. By the time I got a new PC, I had forgotten about it. One day, I saw it on Steam on sale for something like $20. I snatched it up. At the time, doing review games for RPGamer was taking the lion share of my gaming time, so I did not really get a chance to dive into it.

    One thing I've noticed in reading some of the reviews for this game: Many mention that this is the direction of 'modern rpgs.' Look at the first step that Baldur's Gate took with adding real time elements to the basic D&D turn based system, which were later improved on by games like Knights of the Old Republic. Mass Effect, according to most reviewers, seem to feel that this is yet the next step in that direction. Since I've played all of those games, I look to test that assertion for myself. Personally, I grew up and loved the older D&D Gold Box game, and similar games like them.

    While Baldur's Gate, KoTOR, etc., were very fun games for me, I enjoyed them more for the stories and excellent writing then I did for the battle systems. For me, the move to real time minimized one of the key elements I enjoyed most in those games, strategy. Each step forward seemed to take away one more layer of strategy, and IMHO, the battles became cakewalks as a result. I loved DAO's battle system more than most because it was a step back to the older, more strategic days, and rewarded thinking over just letting the computer auto attack everything.

    At any rate, the time for blogging is over. I've got an hour and a half of free time. Let's fire this puppy up!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • FiremystFiremyst Daddy Dragon II Full Members
    edited January 2010
    If you play on Steam, you need to download the Bring Down the Sky expansion. Chris and I found our copies almost unplayable until we added the expansion. Whatever it does add, besides the additional content, fixes the Steam version of the game.

    I had resolution down to 1024x768 with all settings as low as possible, and my game was jittery. Now I have settings maxed out and enjoying full framerate. If you need help installing Bring Down the Sky, just ask. smile.gif
    Founder, RPGamer
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  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2010
    Let me know! How do I tell if it's updated? I just D/L'd the game....it's OK, but it does seem a little jittery, though not unplayable.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • FiremystFiremyst Daddy Dragon II Full Members
    edited January 2010
    That was the problem. Steam says it's version 1.02, but it doesn't play like it. Mine was sluggish, but almost playable. I had the settings turned way down. Chris' wouldn't play at all with Win7.

    If you have a BioWare login, just go to http://masseffect.bioware.com/me1....pc.html to register your game and download Bring Down the Sky. It should patch the game and make it perform much better.

    I had some confusion with my login. The login I use for Dragon Age is my EA login, but it wasn't linked to my BioWare community login that I used for the ME forums when the game was launched. I'm still not sure if my EA and BioWare accounts are linked or not, tbh. They have made it completely unclear, so if you have problems, just make a new one. At least the patch is free on PC.
    Founder, RPGamer
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  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Quote: wrote:
    Mass Effect, according to most reviewers, seem to feel that this is yet the next step in that direction.

    Gee, I hope not. The shooter-RPG thing is pretty cool and it's a nice change of pace from the usual, but I don't want this to become the new standard.

    Anywho, enjoy reviewing Mass Effect. I had a number of issues with the game that threw me off and I'm not willing to spend any amount of money on the game, even at the reduced price, but hopefully Mass Effect 2 won't have the same problems. Wouldn't mind borrowing a copy though.
  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited January 2010
    That was the problem. Steam says it's version 1.02, but it doesn't play like it. Mine was sluggish, but almost playable. I had the settings turned way down. Chris' wouldn't play at all with Win7.
    That's odd. I patched my Steam copy with 1.02 just as a precaution (I think there was some confusion on the Steam message boards about which version was currently in their distribution channel when I downloaded it a while ago) and then installed Bring Down The Sky. Also, the Steam version has one of the textures (or a complete package, I forget) compiled/cached wrong. You can manually clear the cache pretty easily if you follow these instructions.

    General note about Steam: you can find a lot of good information in their message boards. Make sure you update your drivers if you have an NVidia card too. Anything below 182.06 crashes the game. Also, looking in the Steam forums it looks like you two aren't the first to have some trouble with the release. I'm almost wondering if there's some ini settings that were accidentally unpatched in the Steam version of 1.02. Finally, here are two good guides for tweaking the game's ini files if you want to alter some of the display settings. Wikia Tweak Page and TweakGuides article.

    Speaking of Bring Down The Sky, what's the minimum/recommended level for that content? I'm on the first hub planet (I forget the name) and I saw the location for the BDTS content in the map but I figured I should hold off until I get some more experience with the game.

    EDIT: I should probably put some thoughts down. I'm playing through with a Vanguard which is pretty fun. I typically like mage characters more in my RPGs but I also like the pew-pew so this seemed like a good way to enjoy the game. I seem to have started on the Renegade(?) side of things although I occassionally get a small amount of Paragon from dialogue choices. As this is my first playthrough I'm really not trying to worry too much about the ethics role-play so I'm just going with whatever I feel like doing at the time (ie. punching whiny scientists). I am enjoying the dialogue a lot, and since this is my first real attempt at a BioWare RPG (I was unable to get into NWN and Jade Empire has been sitting unloved on the shelf for a while now) I'm actually looking forward to checking out more of their games as this is a radical departure from the JRPGs (mostly Square-Enix) I'm accustomed to.

    I've died quite a bit more in this game than I'd like to have. I think it's mostly because the health bars are located in the lower left corner which isn't the most logical position for me. Unfortunately there's no way to put them somewhere more prominent (namely up on the top of the screen) so I can see them better. I seem to forget about the cover system which isn't helping either, and I'm quickly learning to take cover asap. Also, keeping my finger on (or near) the spacebar so I can pause and direct squadmates is a vital thing I'm learning.

    My current plan with Shepard is to keep working on gun skills and try to keep the biotic powers moving along. I plan on maxing out Intimidate and/or Charm mostly because I'm enjoying the dialogue in the game. Allies are set to auto-distribute points which I feel isn't going to be a huge problem since I'm only playing on Normal difficulty.

    I won't go much into the plot aspect until I have an idea of where everyone else is. So far it's good, although I have a bunch of assignments I need to finish up at Citadel and I hope I won't lose a chance to complete them after I finish up the current main quest area I'm in right now.



    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2010
    I'm downloading and running "Bring Down the Sky" Now

    I played about 90 mins yesterday. Even without the patch, I'm really impressed with the graphics. They are something else. The voice acting seems spot on for the most part, and the world is quite detailed. The fighting part is OK, but a bit too much action-y for my tastes. It doesn't detract from the rest of the experience for me, so that's good.

    I'm playing the default Shephard character (I like how they verbally use his name often) and that means I'm a soldier. I'm going to choose the straight and narrow, solider type answers. Maybe on a second run through I'll make a female character with a nasty disposition and see how the game turns out that way smile.gif

    TGB: what problems did you have? Technical, or with the game?



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  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Mostly technical; my other issues with the game were mostly nit-picks. Dunno why but playing the game on my TV looks terrible. It's like someone puts a sheet over my TV and I have to look through it while playing. It's so blurry everything looks too f'ugly to enjoy the game (Halo ODST also suffered from this problem); however, I since learned there is a grain filter in effect and you can turn it off even on the 360.

    I'm hoping I won't have this problem with ME2. If I do get hooked on the second one, I'll probably want to know what happened in the first (I hate jumping into a good-story at mid-point).



  • FiremystFiremyst Daddy Dragon II Full Members
    edited January 2010
    The PC version has much better facial movements for the conversations. I kept being distracted with the inconsistencies on my 360. It's still the worst hair I've seen on a character, though.

    My Recap So Far:

    Female Vanguard, Kathryn Shepard. I'm mostly working on pistols, biotics, and spectre training.

    I didn't die in the introduction mission. This has to be the first time. It's like I knew what I was doing and my teammates actually helped. Crazy.

    Chris and I have spent too much time in the Citadel. I think it was another five hours before we finally were able to leave. He insists that we're not going to do everything, but I don't think we missed a quest in the place. I even found all the keepers and had that fine lesbian sex Fox News worried about.

    First deaths came chasing down some crime lords. They had a unique battle plan where they actually rush you, pull you out in the open, then one shot you with a laser or some such. It was mean. Then I boarded a ship that I never finished with the 360 and took it down with relative ease. This pleases me.

    Need to find a way to balance this with Aion. smile.gif
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  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited January 2010
    I probably should've stuck around the Citadel more. Sounds like I missed a bunch of things to do sad.gif

    Currently on Noveria. I really wish I had a better idea of what it is I'm supposed to be doing. All this freedom makes me feel like I'm going to royally screw up down the line. Found the side mission chain that should allow me to complete the main goal here which is investigating a Matriarch spotting and doing some investigative work with it.

    Still not used to the combat system, in the sense that I can never find enough cover for me and my squadmates.

    Is anyone else annoyed by the lack of good weapons? I'm 4 hours in and I still haven't found much worth upgrading to. Also annoyed that the game requires me to keep weapons that I'm not proficient in. Hoping this is something that improves later in the game or is addressed in the sequel.
    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • ZelgodesZelgodes A Mastermind!? Full Members
    edited January 2010
    You need to level up to find better weapons. And then once you get too many weapons, you need to sell them all for good credits or break them down for omnigel. The latter will become your very annoying friend later on if you don't sell your loot often.
  • FrozenbabylonFrozenbabylon POW! Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Man. You guys have me wanting to play this again before ME2 comes out... Though I really should be cracking on The Saboteur... Bah.
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    No Infiltrator love? sad.gif
  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited January 2010
    You need to level up to find better weapons. And then once you get too many weapons, you need to sell them all for good credits or break them down for omnigel. The latter will become your very annoying friend later on if you don't sell your loot often.
    Right now I'm in "hoarder" mode for some reason and I'm not tossing stuff to the vendor. I blame playing Borderlands previous to this game.

    I'll probably start selling things next time I play. It's awfully discouraging selling stuff for tens of credits when every piece of equipment I've seen is selling in the thousands.



    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • ZelgodesZelgodes A Mastermind!? Full Members
    edited January 2010
    All the initial equips and probably many of the level 1 equips do sell for next to nothing. In that case, make yourself some omnigel out of them and save the bartering for later when you'll be making ridiculous amounts of money. I think my first time through the game, I had 10 million credits and started buying all the best equipment about half way through the game.
  • AdremmelechAdremmelech The Original Playa... Full Members
    edited January 2010
    First time I played ME I couldnt figure the gameplay out until I was 2/3rds into it. I was struggling to win battles until I discovered how to use that freakin bonus power/ability wheel. There wasnt (at least I dont remember) a tutorial to go by. It was smooth sailing after that.
  • ZelgodesZelgodes A Mastermind!? Full Members
    edited January 2010
    So you didn't use any abilities for most of the game? Yeah, that could be troubling.
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    I for one when I played Infiltrators I really only used the weapon buffing skills, the in-combat shield regenerator and occassionally the one that overheats robotics. Most of my skill points went into Infiltrator training, Spectre training and naturally to weapons skills. If I needed any skills done, Liara and Tali did it for me. tounge2.gif
  • bluemanrulebluemanrule Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Those worrying about the Citadel, understand that you get to return to the Citadel. So any missions on there you will find you still have a chance to finish. I recommend searching for Liara as soon as possible then on to Noveria. After that, it's all up to you. That's when ME shines. I'm working on my 5th playthrough that I'm going to carry over into ME2.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  • ZelgodesZelgodes A Mastermind!? Full Members
    edited January 2010
    I never found much of a use for Infiltrators. I'm sure the heating reduction for snipers is nice, but it's kind of a cop out for techs. I'd rather just use an Engineer and go all out techie as an Operative. I have done that, in fact, but I never finished that game. I just prefer biotics most of the time anyway.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Biotics > Weapons > Tech

    It's true.

    Also:
    Quote: wrote:
    I recommend searching for Liara as soon as possible then on to Noveria.

    It's much more fun to leave her there until last. Her dialogue is much better if you finish Noveria and Feros first. Plus, I kind of think she's whiny and annoying.
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  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    I never found much of a use for Infiltrators. I'm sure the heating reduction for snipers is nice, but it's kind of a cop out for techs. I'd rather just use an Engineer and go all out techie as an Operative. I have done that, in fact, but I never finished that game. I just prefer biotics most of the time anyway.
    I find targetting and manipulating with biotics rather clunky most of the time. That said, I don't know why you wouldn't love the weapon buffing skills. With buffed pistols you could have the best bullet and pistol upgrades that have the worst heat generation and still barely reach the overheat limit. For buffed sniper rifles you could get 4-6 shots off with the right upgrades.

    I would, in fact, almost prefer pistols over any other weapon. I don't even like assault rifles, and I only use shotguns in really tight quarters. As I said, a properly equipped Shepard in whatever class can handle the weaponry requirements enough that you can leave special skills to the rest of the party. Frankly if there's one complaint I have with the AI, they're not very good at cover and proper positioning when firing their weapons, but they are good in using the right skills at the right time. That way I can concetrating at blasting holes at the enemies that Liara levitates hopelessly in the air while Tali disabled any droids that come near.



  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2010
    Week 1 Update Admittedly, I haven't gotten too far. My friends have been dragging me into WoW runs more often since the new patch. Anyway, I'm about 3.5 hours in, doing Citadel quests. It reminds me of one of the planets from KotOR. There's a lot to see, and a few people to talk to. Honestly, I wish there were more people and dialogue, but I guess we need to get to the main story sooner or later. I've been through quite a few firefights, and I have to agree with some here... as far as combat goes, this game feels much more like an FPS than RPG. I guess it's a progression of the times. I discuss this in more detail on our podcast, so feel free to check that out if you need more info. It's not a super bad thing. I do enjoy FPS games from time to time. It's just, IMHO, this combat doesn't feel as solid as some of the better FPS games, yet lacks the tactical feel of most RPGs. Oh well. With that being said, I'm enjoying the story way more. I got five characters, and it looks like there's a place for a sixth character, so perhaps I'll look around some more before proceeding.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • FiremystFiremyst Daddy Dragon II Full Members
    edited January 2010
    Yesterday I rescued Liara. I still struggled with the last fight, which makes me think that I should have saved it for later. I did not have to lower the difficulty like I did with the 360, so that's a small victory. I wish ME had the Dragon Age option of pausing at the beginning of combat.

    I cleaned out the crime bosses and was paid for my troubles. I told her what's what and she seemed to accept it. She paid me nicely for my help (3200 credits or so), so I have little to complain about.

    I actually get annoyed when I get Paragon points, which usually happens when talking to my crew. I tried to tell off the stuffy admiral who was all in my face when I arrived back at the Citadel, but that didn't get me any Renegade. Lame. Chris has 4 more levels of influence than I do. Does that go up with levels, or is it his class?

    Time to shop and then hunt down more scum. These credits won't spend themselves.
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  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited January 2010
    The special endgame stuff's actually pretty expensive so you might wanna put some credits away for that. AFAIK you can only buy them at the Citadel and on your ship.
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