So I got a delightful little surprise recently. I found out that all three Mass Effect are now backwards compatible on the Xbox 1. Now as the Mass Effect trilogy is one of my favorite things ever made on this planet, I was understandably excited. The characters come to life in a way that I have rarely seen in video games, and the story keeps me invested throughout. Sure the ending of Mass Effect 3 was terrible (we’ll talk about that later) but the overwhelming majority of this series is amazing.
It has been a few years since I really sat down and played these games so I was fully prepared to sit down for hours on end and forget to eat and how to blink. And that’s pretty much what happened. It’s been about two days since I installed these games and I’ve put about 20 hours into the original Mass Effect. So for now I’m going to talk about my impressions of coming back to the game after so many years.
So, how does Mass Effect hold up after the years? The answer is: alright. While the characters and story remain top-notch, the graphics and layout of the game have not aged well. Now that fact won’t come as a surprise to many of you out there who have known that for a while, but like I said, I haven’t played this game for a while, these details can be lost to me. The problems come from the rather repetitive environments. Unless you’re on one of the main missions of the game the settings look the same. The bases you go through are all the same layout, the enemies you encounter are largely similar, and the planets you explore outside of the main story all start to blend together. I had forgotten that fact before I started so it came as a bit of a shock. This could be due to the restraints of the technology at the time, but the cookie-cutter layouts are obvious to see. Now, the following Mass Effect games do go a long way to fix that problem, but it was still very noticeable.
However, that being said, the dynamic between the characters and the plot of the game are more than enough to make up for any shortcomings that the graphics or the game layouts bring up. These characters feel real. They have their own distinct personalities and quirks that no two are alike, they are completely different characters with their own motivations for helping you. The characters stand out so much from each other that everyone I’ve spoken to has a different favorite. I mean, we all know Tali is the best, but hey, to each their own.
One thing that quickly becomes apparent with these characters is that very quickly they start to feel like a family of sorts, as you travel with them you learn more about them and your ship, The Normandy starts to feel like a home. That feeling is something rare in video games. Not to mention the amount of lore in this game is staggering. You can find out pretty much everything there is to know about each alien race by reading the journal entries found in the game.
Once I finish the game I’ll come back to it in more detail so I guess you can all look forward to that.