Mass Effect Experience

ME Trilogy smlI admit it, I got really hooked on Mass Effect. Well I’ve been following the story line since way before I got to play the games, and I wanted to play them since they came out but didn’t have the opportunity to until last Christmas. Having been a fan of Science Fiction, RPG games, shooter games and space opera, Mass Effect was the ideal game for me.

I actually started on ME3, and my first time playing it was a blast. I was impressed by how well thought the game was, that once I’ve finished ME3, it compelled me to play the whole game from the first one, following Commander Shepard from the start. I played a paragon female Shepard, and also male Shepard (also paragon), one of these days I may play a renegade though, and here are my thoughts of it.

Contain SPOILERS

Mass Effect

Though it was a much better experience playing it from the start, I must say that I found Mass Effect to be tedious and lengthy. I hated driving the MAKO and didn’t really like the targeting systems. It was a struggle trying to finish the first game, but I still enjoyed quite a lot of it. I was quite surprised by how big the Citadel is compared to the third game, and found it rather annoying trying to find my way around.

I do, however, like the map in Mass Effect, and the ability to pin point a destination on the map. I also like the overheating weapon rather than using thermal clips

Having to choose between Kaidan and Ashley really sucked. I like both characters, but I chose Kaidan in the end because I played a soldier (his skills are useful to me) and he was my Shepard’s love interest. I found so many people in forums complaining about Kaidan’s incompetency and that he kept on dying no matter what armor and weapon he was using. I had the opposite, Kaidan didn’t die even once on my playthrough and he was a valuable member of my team. I took him along on almost every mission, and I found him to be very useful due to his tech and biotic skills (along with Tali). I have only brought Ashley along on some missions, but I still like her character and her very cracked up comments/answers. I think she was awesome. So it was sad to leave her on Virmire.

I love Wrex and Garrus. They were amazing! And I loved witnessing how Shepard built those relationships with them. And yes, I saved Wrex on Virmire (how could I not?). Also saved Captain Kirahe and his men too, and talked to Conrad Verner (he’s such a crack up).

One of my disappointments with Mass Effect was that female Shepard gets the option to hook up with Liara (although Asaris are mono-gender, they’re still considered feminine) but male Shepard doesn’t get the option to hook up with another male (unless you’re using mod), which I think wasn’t fair.

At the end, I was relieved that I finished the game, but it was so tedious that I don’t think I’d play through it again, and again, the MAKO control is super annoying. Overall, I still think it’s a great game and a must play if you’re wanting the complete Mass Effect experience.

Mass Effect 2

To me, Mass Effect 2 is the best out of the whole trilogy. The story was amazing, the characters are great, and the missions are a lot of fun too. I can’t say I like the colour palette though, I know it was meant to be different since Shepard was with Cerberus for the course of the game and all, but red-yellow/orangey colour scheme tired my eyes out quickly compared to the blue in ME3 or green-ish blue in ME.

I don’t like the Citadel as much in ME2 though, but I do enjoy running around in Illium.

I enjoy all the recruitment and loyalty missions thoroughly, especially Thane’s recruitment mission. I also quite like Samara’s recruitment mission, and I love Kasumi’s loyalty mission, I had a lot of fun doing that, and I love the soundtrack on that mission.

I don’t really have a favourite character in ME2 as I genuinely like all of them, but my favourite squad members would be Miranda/Garrus, Miranda/Thane or Samara/Garrus as it worked well with my Shepard.

Reunion with Kaidan pissed me off a little. I was not really a fan of Kaidan’s over-sensitiveness (although I think it’s part of his charm), so when the reunion went bad, I have to say I wasn’t surprised, but still annoyed. Not to mention that my first playthrough of that mission was not going well (I didn’t have the right weapons and squad members combo – my next playthrough went smoothly).

For downloadable content, I thoroughly enjoyed Arrival. I thought it was very well put together, and made some aspects in ME3 make more sense.

Overlord DLC came next, at first I hated it. The Hammerhead was not really much improvement from the MAKO, instead, it was a step down (to my opinion). Firstly, you cant save while you’re on it, and secondly, you cant get off the damn thing unless you’re at a certain point. I hated Overlord DLC because I couldn’t get past that bloody Geth canon, and I looked on a forum, several people had the same problem, while some others said it was easy. So I left Overlord DLC for later and did other missions/assignments. Then I discovered that I should have done Firewalker DLC first before Overlord, because at least that mission taught how to control the Hammerhead. Firewalker DLC itself was quite tedious, I found, and it wasnt as engaging, but, after doing Firewalker DLC, going past that blimmin’ Geth canon on Overlord DLC was a one-shot try, and I admit that Overlord DLC was good and possibly one of the best missions.

The best DLC mission for me on ME2, however, was the Lair of Shadow Broker. I enjoyed that mission through and through, and it was awesome to have Liara back on the team too (the banter between Liara and Shepard on the taxi was hilarious), and I like the Shadow Broker ship! Great designs and all, and of course, I enjoy the resources I got after completing the mission.

Once all missions and assignments are done, upgraded the ship, weapons, etc and all loyalties gained, I set out for the final mission, and heck it was quite a ride! The final mission really was something, and I enjoyed the challenge and the soundtrack, and the visuals. I think it was well packaged and well executed. I ended up going for a Renegade end and saved the base for Cerberus though, I thought I should save it since when I first played ME3 the base was destroyed.

Mass Effect 3

My first impression was WOW, graphic was amazing. But I was disappointed with the character transfer. My face code from ME1 & 2 didnt carry over smoothly (as many gamers have pointed out), so I ended up having to re-create my fem-Shep again. But, in terms of gameplay experience, I like ME3 best.

It was easy going around the Citadel, and I like the Alliance Normandy better than the Cerberus one. And it was great to have my hamster and fish back too! And… I was happy to see that both male and female Shepard has the option for male/female love interest. I think that was really cool, although I read enough protests about the same gender romance issue. Well… Put it this way, if you have a problem with it, it’s simple, just don’t romance the person, seriously, it’s not that hard.

The whole game is actually pretty short compared to the first two (or at least it feels very short to me), but I didn’t have a problem with that. The story line, the drama, the action make up for it.

I kinda cried during the emotional bits (I’m the type to cry watching some chic flicks, so give me a break here). I’ve only romanced Kaidan in all my completed playthroughs so I’ve only witnessed the heart wrenching goodbye between Shepard & Kaidan, but nevertheless, I became invested in the relationships between Shepard and all the other characters that when it was time to say goodbye, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Thane and Mordin’s deaths were heartbreaking and I wished they didn’t have to die. I did betray Wreav on one of my playthrough (but only because it was a fresh ME3 playthrough and Wrex was dead on default), and Mordin lived in that version, but still! For Thane, I think they had to follow through with the story and actually keep to the plot of Thane dying from Kepral’s syndrome, and I think it was fitting, but it was still sad.

I love Shepard and Garrus relationship (since I didnt romance Garrus, it was a best buddy relationship), and how they react to each other… Though seriously, does Garrus have other hobbies aside from calibrating?? Throughout all Mass Effect games he seems to calibrate A LOT. Garrus/Tali pairing at the end was really cute in my opinion… it’s very fitting.

There are so many things I like about ME3, the firing range is one, I can test all weapons there and have found it useful. Then the DLCs!! Omega DLC was amazing. Aria T’loak is a great character and I love her. It’s great to have the opportunity to know the character better, I think she was hilarious in some parts and she kicks some serious butts. The part in the mines is slightly tedious though, but other than that, it was a very enjoyable experience, and the skills I gained from it were great to have.

From Ashes DLC was okay, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as mind blowing as some others, Javik is a crack up sometimes though, so I think it’s well worth getting the DLC to get Javik in your team, and to learn more about the Protheans.

I think Leviathan DLC was quite eerie, especially with that husk experiment (which I didn’t take back to the ship btw, it just crepped me out). However, I still found it to be enjoyable, and it’s nice to learn more background story on the Reapers. It has a different feel compared to the rest of the game, but I think it’s a good thing, because the DLC needs it, and I would recommend others to get the DLC.

Citadel DLC is the best DLC I’ve played in the game. I laughed so hard during that entire DLC. It’s nice to see the makers are having fun making this :) It was very refreshing and is very appropriate to be played before the final mission. Oh, there are so many things to do in the place. I particularly enjoyed Javik and Grunt’s meetings during this game. Citadel Arena is one of the highlights of the DLC, I love being able to team up with old team mates again.

What annoyed me in ME3 though, was the dream sequence (happens 3 times in the game) and I don’t really see a point in it. Well I sort of could if it was a clip, but not when you have control of Shepard during this sequence. Then there is the “leather” dress as an option of femShep’s wardrobe which in my opinion looks “cheap” and there was no appeal whatsoever, it’s one thing to see it on Allers, but it’s another to see it on Shepard, I prefer the dress on ME2… can’t say much else other than I just wish they have a simple denim pants paired with leather jacket for femShepard just like what maleShepard had.

The final mission was… Wow… EPIC. The fights felt more desperate and I found myself using a lot of medigel in this, and also fighting to get more ammo as I kept on running out on the first playthrough. On my next one I managed my team, weapons and abilities better that I found it to be slightly easier to face the assault, well, having learned the gameplay also helped a lot though. So my advise, plan accordingly.

The final goodbye during the run to the beam made me slightly teary eyed, but it was the scene with Anderson before his death that made me shed a tear. It was very touching, especially that to me Anderson is a very lovable character.

On my first playthrough I didn’t have enough EMS to get the third ending or having the perfect ending where Shepard lives, but I was still very happy with the experience. On my next playthrough/s I did much better that I had played it once and knew what to do for most part, and managed to complete the game with enough EMS for my Shepard to live.

As a whole

Over all, the trilogy was a lot of fun, and having the intertwining story lines and carry through decisions across the three games were simply a great experience. It is one of the things that made me want to replay the game from the start (but the MAKO driving really puts me off). So I’ve been replaying it from ME2 instead.

I think the romance was great, to me, the sex, the interaction, the lovers spat, the drama, all of those made it complete (again, I should remind you that I am a fan of space opera).

Then there is the soundtrack, I love it!! I guess that’s another thing that makes me love the game so much, aside from some score on some mission in ME, I love the soundtrack on ME2 and ME3. I listen to a lot of epic score and movie scores, and Mass Effect scores are high on my music list.

The ending wasn’t like I thought it would be after reading the complaints about it. I sort of accepted the ending the way it was. It’s sort of sad but I guess that’s separation anxiety with something you’ve been investing a lot of time to. But to me that’s where imagination comes to play, the ending gives so many possibilities of what could/would happen post ME3, and I just sort of used my imagination play out. Sure there are a lot more reasons I read online about why the ending sucked, but to me personally, I still enjoyed it.

So I know not everyone love the game as much as I do and for the reason that I do, and well, it doesn’t matter, I’m just sharing my experience on the Mass Effect trilogy because I think it deserve the love :) If you’ve played it or planning to play it, I hope you enjoy the game as much as I do.

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4 Responses to Mass Effect Experience

  1. xmenxpert says:

    My opinion differs a bit. 1 is my favourite game. The gameplay’s broken, no question there. The mako is a pain in the ass, and all the sidequests being so similar was bothersome. But it had the best story, and a great sense of exploration, and of being introduced to the galaxy.

    2 is my least favourite. The gameplay was improved, but the story was basically non-existent. The main story was a sidequest to the Reaper threat. And then the game itself was mostly made of sidequests in the form of recruitments and Loyalty missions. And a lot of the missions were cool, but they still felt a little disconnected. The biggest problem, though, was the lack of interaction between squadmates. The point of the game was to build a team, but we never get a sense of them coming together as a team. None of them ever talk to each other. They all exist in a vacuum from each other. I think they had two characters too many. They should’ve left out Thane and Samara, and had more interactions between the characters who were left.

    3 had the best gameplay, and it had a lot of great moments. It had the tightest story, with everything directly related to the Reaper War, but it wasn’t as well-told as 1’s story. It had serious problems. A lot of things felt like ass-pulls – the Crucible and the Citadel coup attempt being the biggest ones (aside from the ending). The ending, of course, was an abomination. Just a stupid, awful idea. The Space Brat was a terrible concept, executed badly. The original ending was one of the worst endings ever created, though the Extended Cut and Leviathan DLCs addressed some of the problems, so now it’s only bad.

    The Citadel DLC, however, is fantastic. Just an amazing send-off. Full of hilarious moments, and a few genuinely touching ones.

    • bona92 says:

      Looks like wordpress is playing up on me, I posted a reply but it didn’t go through, so apology in advance if you get a double reply. I’ll try to re-write the reply as closely to the first reply as I can.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s interesting to know what others think and how different those opinions are :)

      I have a friend who would agree about ME (1) being the favourite and has the best story line, while another hates it so much he didn’t even bother finishing the game. I agree with ME having the best story, but I guess the lengthy and tedious and the pain in the butt MAKO driving sort of masked a lot of the good bits, so the whole experience wasn’t as good, and it became my least favourite of the 3.

      I think ME2 had some build up with characters interaction, though maybe not enough, but I think it was sufficient to make the game worked. About ME2 having too many playable characters, I think I agree with that, though I’d still keep Samara and Thane, and would drop Zaeed instead. I didn’t find him that useful until ME3 when he enabled me to get the deal to both warn the Turian colony and get the Volus bomber, and then have him as a war asset (I don’t play multiplayer, so every bit of war asset helps), but then again, it’s personal preference.

      Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) I never had the chance to play the original ending, so I can’t compare it. However, I didn’t think it’s bad (with the extended cut). I still felt satisfied at the results and I enjoyed the game very much. Maybe I’m too accepting at whatever was thrown together, and maybe I’m just satisfied with letting my imagination run free to fill the blank bits (It’s kinda nice in a way) :)

      Thanks again for reading and the comment. Good to know what others think about the game :)

      • xmenxpert says:

        Zaeed was originally DLC. So he was basically already cut from the original game, and didn’t really contribute to the problem of too many characters preventing meaningful interactions between any of them.

      • bona92 says:

        True, I forgot Zaeed is a DLC. You’re right though, not that much interactions between the character, but the ones that do have, I quite enjoy :)

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