From alien mega-structures floating in space to hazardous planets. From the farthest corners of the Milky Way and back to Earth again; Bioware created Mass Effect series is one of the most gripping, adventurous and moral driving game I have played in my life. Although I have major concerns with EA at the moment (post to come later), they have still managed to allow this franchise to blossom.
The gameplay is certainly one of the factors that makes this game so enjoyable; however I was left a tad disappointed at the execution of Mass Effect 3, number 2 was certainly the best out of the three so far. But let’s not focus on the mechanics that make the game so enjoyable, rather more so on the narrative Bioware deliver. More importantly, the ultimate power that is bestowed upon the player: the power of choice. Most Role-playing games give you the power of choice and it is a great power to have as a player. It can decide the fate of galaxies, people, alliances and in some cases the game itself. With Mass Effect employing the usage of keeping old saves and importing them to consequent instalments, all your choices ever are stored in one complete package.
Mass Effect has a morality point system too, you can take the path of ‘Paragon’ or ‘Renegade;’ these allow the conversations to open different paths and actions that can produce a different outcome each time. Personally, I’m always the Paragon, my own morality cannot comprehend the idea of being a Renegade; especially in the dire situations Mass Effect creates. But it isn’t down to just the conversation paths that create such a thrilling narrative, but the friends Bioware give you; some more long lasting than others.
With such a diverse set of alien creatures, Bioware truly captivate and enthral the player in a deep trance when they really dig into the universe. Over the course of the games, the player comes in contact with over 10+ unique characters. It really allows you to explore and experiment with relationships and give your character a sense of belonging other than just fighting and blowing up bases (as goddamn cool as that is!). Combined with the power of choice, having unique and diverse characters to help you along your struggle really creates a great narrative that is like nothing I’ve experienced before. There are other RPG’s and FPS’s that give this sense of immersion in the universe (e.g. Halo, Witcher, Deus Ex etc.) but nothing, for me, comes close to being on parallel with Mass Effect.
After reading up rumours about a possible fourth instalment to the series, I really hope Bioware can continue to deliver an amazing RPG narrative without getting too engrossed in EA’s recent blunders (*cough* microtransactions *cough*). Rumours of a prequel would be interesting and I look forward to meeting a brand new cast of diverse characters and hopefully coming in contact with some familiar faces.
I would be interested in what else people perceive about the Mass Effect franchise. Pop a comment below! :)