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Mass Effect review

Few games deserve the word "epic". This fantastic sci-fi, role-playing shooter is one that does.

Pros

  • Fantastic story and characters
  • Caters to both shooters and RPGers
  • Nice sense of scale - feels big

Cons

  • Rough edges around combat
  • Could be longer
  • more open-ended
  • Clunky inventory system

Your boss called. He's busy, so he needs you to take care of a few things today: Take the new spaceship on a test run, buy milk, discover an ancient alien civilization, save all organic life in the galaxy from annihilation, and get yourself a little cosmic bow-chicka-bow-wow in the process. If you don't think you can get all that done, he says he can probably wait until the weekend for the milk.

Well, of course it's impossible. But it's exactly what you do in Mass Effect, a starry-eyed space opera that melds the deep story and character development of a role-playing game with the bullets-flying action of a squad-based shooter. It's one part talking to the good aliens, two parts blasting big, gooey holes in the bad ones, and one part monster trucking over distant planets in your six-wheeled, cannon-turreted space buggy. It's also fan-bloody-tastic.

We'll start with the talking, which is actually Mass Effect's greatest strength. Hollywood wishes it could find a script and story like this. It starts with the discovery of an alien artifact (yet somehow it doesn't feel like Halo or 2001: A Space Odyssey) and ends with you rescuing literally every intelligent organism in the Milky Way from a grisly, violent death.

Too vague for you? Sorry. To say more would give too much away. Just trust that it's all great: plot, characters, voice acting, the sheer sense of scale - everything. Add in fantastic graphics and a cinematic flair, and the end result is a truly memorable story. Our only complaint was that it ended too soon - we wanted more.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionThe first entry in BioWare's space opera, detailing the rise of Commando Shepard in the face of a mysterious enemy.
Franchise nameMass Effect
UK franchise nameMass Effect
PlatformXbox 360, PC
US censor ratingMature
Release date20 November 2007 (US), 23 November 2007 (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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