Mass Effect Discussion
The sci-fi theme is refreshing in a world of xeroxed fantasy RPGs.
It is very well written and takes inspiration from some of the greatest works of science fiction without blatantly ripping them off.
Some parts seem like a scifi dungeon crawl, but the main quest is well fleshed out and has enough variety and compelling story to keep you going.
The RPG elements are well integrated and don't get in the way like that do in some other games. You don't have to do tedious "kill the wolves over there" quests for ten hours to level up enough to take on the main quests.
It does have its weaknesses, there are some parts that are boring and you feel like you're just slogging through it. It has the occasional crash or hangup and there are times where you aren't allowed to save. There is a lot of walking around and you can only really run when you're being shot at.
Overall, I think it is worth the money. Eventually, BioWare will release the "Bring Down the Sky" content for PC and it'll be a free download, so you get an extra hour or so of gameplay for free.
The main story arc is much too short. There is a lot of filler material in the form of the UNC (uncharted worlds) planets that basically consist of driving around barren environments and entering repetitive bunkers (there are about 4 different interiors reused constantly) to fight a few enemies. Even if you avoid the UNC missions, driving the Mako is forced upon you in every story mission (aside from the early part of the game - Eden Prime and the Citadel). The Mako's control was god-awful on the 360 and it's even worse in the PC version. All of the "improvements" in the interface and control scheme promised for the PC version have failed IMO. Squad control is actually worse than in the 360 version (and it was pretty useless there). The inventory isn't any better functionality-wise and may actually be worse in some respects.
Performance-wise, the PC version is riddled with bugs. As with the PC version of JE, Bioware handed the port off to some 3rd rate developer (Demiurge Studios in this case) and, just like Grey Matter did with JE, they screwed the pooch. There appear to be some additional level load points that weren't in the 360, most because they sped up the speed of the elevators that masked the loads in the 360 version, but some seem inexplicable. The prerendered cutscenes are the 1280×720 ones straight from the 360. They are fine at 1024x768, but at higher resolutions they can become pixelated. There have also been reports of heavy compression artefacts, although I haven't noiced these myself (likely much more apparent at a high res). Some of the textures have been upsized for the PC, but many are still the low res ones used in the 360 version and thus look pixelated and blurry. One good thing is a significant reduction in the texture pop that plagued the 360 version, although it is still present to a degree (an unavoidable legacy of the Unreal3 engine). I'd probably wait for the first patch as for some people it is unplayable (literally in some cases - CTD on startup). There seems to be a particular issue with high-end nVidia cards and/or drivers.
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