Mass Effect Released in the year 2007 Developed by Bioware Purchasable in certain retail stores, and on the steam online store. Mass Effect is a bit of an ugly duckling in the RPG world, as seen today. It's seen as the one game not worth playing by most current day action fans, and a lot of Mass Effect fans. But there's an old guard of hardcore fans that simply love the hell out of this game for it's unique experience. And that's something I feel every RPG fan should see, even if only to know that Mass Effect in the current day is a failure, but had the chance to show you the stars. Retro Science Fiction Space Opera The game has a very specific atmosphere and aesthetic. This might be superficial qualities or simply not important to many RPG players, but for me it was a real bonus. The look of this RPG was based on retro science fiction imagery, but with a modern feel, and this makes it quite unique. The game has a very different look from most games of it's generation. Most games don't make you feel like you are actually in space or are actually exploring an alien world. In this game I was provided with the first opportunity to really feel this way, and that for me enhanced the way I experienced the story, and how real I felt the world was. The game uses unique aesthethics, a large amount of dialogue and an even more unique opening score to great effect. And built on top of that are moments like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY-jTcPi0YE There's real acting there, a real story, real character, resulting in a cool choice. The game has a great pacing as well. This is one of the few modern games that doesn't simply put an action piece at the beginning and then sets you off on action setpiece after action setpiece. It does kind of do this in a way, but there is a large part after the opening event where combat is very sparse. The game has a focus on dialogue moreso than action. Modern gamers and publishers don't want to see many hours walking around in the same area doing nothing but dialogue-heavy quests. But for us that can be less of a problem. And for me it certainly helped me get that action game feel out, and see it more of an rpg struggling to service as a modern action game, but trying to hold on to the rpg greatness of the past. And for me, it succeeds. Not entirely, but it does. Especially in the final stretch of the game. There you discover the real story, and see the conclusion as well as the future. The future that sadly could not be. Lastly, there's the combat. The feel of it is slightly off, it's hard to get the character to do what you want at first, and the pathfinding of AI is sketchy. But this is offset by the choice in 6 classes, all having different skill sets. It is also offset by the feel of combat, weapons feel powerful both in gameplay (if you upgrade properly) and in the sound design. Don't choose a high difficulty however, I've personally experienced the stupidity of those settings' hp and shield bloat. And if you get bored with simply gunplay, you can smash your enemies across the room with a biotic ability or two. The Faults. The first thing needed to be mentioned is obviously the not very balanced, and not very well executed combat. It can be very frustrating or not very fun at times. And it hampers replay attempts. Besides that the replayability is also reduced because the choices you make are varied and numerous, but never as big as a Fallout 1 choice for example. They are not bad perse, but unsurprising for RPG veterans. Besides this the level and encounter design is probably the worst aspect of the game. Bland and boring, you will want to simply get most missions done as soon as possible. The skills aren't terribly exciting either, the combat problems sort of compound on each other. So your enjoyment depends on what factors in the game are important to you. But I urge everyone to see the game through to the end, which is the very best part. And the credits have the best song, too.