I love Mass Effect.
And by love, I don't mean the kind of silly love one has for family and friends ^pfft^.
I mean that deep, eternal, unyielding love. Like my love for cheesecake and Invader Zim.
I love Mass Effect so much, that when I played Mass Effect 2 (the first in the series I'd tried), I went back and got Mass Effect 1 so that I could play Mass Effect 2 again and carry my saved character through all three. The last thing I was this dedicated to was getting out of my mother's womb.
Of course, I'm not blind to the game's faults. Going back to the first Mass Effect made me realise how much more inefficient the key bindings were and how Mass Effect 2's fighting was somehow far less challenging.
I sceptically waited for the demo, wondering if they'd further dumb down the combat. But when I launched the demo, all I could think was "nerdgasm".
One can't miss the improvements on the graphics. They're sleeker, there's more texture and light reflection has really been enhanced. Even the characters seem to move with more grace.
However this doesn't only apply to cutscenes. No, no, no - all this amazingness has been transferred to the battlefield. Before, terrain boundaries made you feel safe when running on a map. But the updates in gameplay have made the Mass Effect world so much more realistic. I find myself slowly walking across a beam instead of sprinting haphazardly knowing that I'm safe.
Your player also has a whole new range of movement - you can jump across gaps, jump off of objects, climb up ladders and do rolls in combat which make you feel like a ninja. However, these advances in movement also apply to you enemies - they no longer stand in one place taking your bullets like a docile target dummy. They roll, they throw grenades, they present new challenges in combat.
There are other bigger changes to the game - you can choose different modes: one which focuses on combat, the traditional RPG mode, and one which focuses more on the story. Creating your character is also different - new features are available in each category and some of the old features have been discarded (I miss my old Shepard's hairstyle).
One major advance in the game is how much more adrenaline-pumping action there is. The tutorial stage is no longer you running around following instructions with no enemies - there's flying debris, intense falls and, oh yes, that mother of an alien ship incinerating everything around you. Everything has become more intense. Cutscenes are cinematic - with music and drama and all that other stuff game developers often don't focus on (like that brief suggestive look between me and Major Alenko ;))
New powers have been introduced, which adds new excitement and freshness to your character development. But for those who feel nostalgic for the first two games will be happy to see the inclusion of characters and crew members from both games.
The demo thoroughly rocked my socks off. So much so that I've pre-ordered the Mass Effect 3: N7 Collector's Edition. And I'm stingy with my money. That's just how good the game is...
However I can't speak for everyone. To those who are familiar with the series, what are your thoughts?
Liked this? See my review of the full game here.