Futuristic theme should have been an easy pick because imagination is the only limitation. Surprisingly few did it right. For the jaded audience who were tortured by second rated sci-fi movies and games recently, Mass Effect is the ecstasy.
It was quick to got lost in the galactic adventure of commander Shepard. The profusely artistic, culturally rich and grand multi-raced universe is awe inspiring. The tens of millennium year old mammoth mass rallies and the gigantic Citadel gracefully narrated an epic story. Riding on the state of art Normandy to scale the dazzling array of galaxies was one; conquering lush green rocky terrain or molten lava covered planet was another; Mass Effect series did it right.
In second episode Shepard helped Cerberus destroy a collector base. Towards the end, the harbinger shortened the extinction circle by alerting the Reapers. The episode ended with Reapers ebbing from the deep space. Reapers finally arrived at the start of the last part of the trilogy. The formidable allied forced were crushed by the overwhelming Reaper firepower. Every galactic species was running for its own life. The extinction circle looked unstoppable. Shepard embarked on a mission to unite the universe against Reapers – his last mission…
It was not easy to bridge the thousands years of mistrust between Qurian and Geth nor the generations of hatred between Salarian and Krogan. It is almost impossible to bring everyone on board. Sacrifices are inevitable. The story is dotted with paradoxical choices. Is war just a ruthless calculus or is there still place for honor and integrity? Is the result all that matters or is the means equally significant? There are deep philosophical value to ponder about.
The story telling and action play are well balanced and equally immersing. The new episode has further enhanced enemy AI, melee attack and power system. Now enemy attacks are well coordinated. They run for superior cover spot and throw grenades. Shepard has got melee attack enhanced omni-tool weapon which is very effective in close battle. The power upgrade now shows the complete progression chart. My personal favorite is Singularity and Warp. The Singularity worked like a charm to throwing enemy off the edge or to conjuring with Warp to detonate explosion. I can also throw one Singularity right at my foot. It gracefully toss all the dashing husks into the sky – turning them into harmless practice targets! I only kept sub machine gun and light sniper rifle in exchange for quicker cool down time. Sub machine gun and biotic power do wonder in close battle. Then I use the sniper rifle to pick head shot! Together with Liara, I can place four singularity on the battle at one time! I also have Garrus at my side to deal with shield enemies. My squad was invincible!
The game has also embedded voluminous audio and textual background files which provide lavish technical details and cultural anecdotes that makes the universe so believable.
It would have been a unblemished master piece had the ending be more interesting. All the decisions made throughout the series only have little bearing on the ending. The ending was decided in the last 10 minutes of gameplay. And color of explosion was all the differences between each of them. Jaw dropping disappointment. There is an apparent reason why the fans are outrageous about the ending. Several tributes on the YouTube are particularly entertaining. The one titled “Hitler Retakes Mass Effect 3” kept me laughing until my cheek went sore. The ending was so hastily crafted that delivered little satisfaction to devoted players.
All being said. Mass Effect has earned its place among the ranks of Star Trek and Star War series. I wouldn’t be surprise to see a Normandy model being put aside a Enterprise one very soon. It is legendary. I am really looking forward to see any spin offs from the series. Ship models might be a good start.