So Mass Effect will be hitting PCs real soon. BioWare came by today to graciously allow us a chance to poke around with the latest version of the port, and tape the proceedings. While not a whole lot has changed since the game was last shown at the Game Developers Conference in February, today's extended demonstration put the differences between the PC and 360 versions in stark relief. It's no exaggeration to say that Mass Effect feels much more at home on the PC; indeed, playing the game with all the interface refinements introduced in the port makes you suspect that the experience is much closer to what the designers at BioWare had probably envisioned initially. Whether it's a product of an increased amount of time to cook the systems, or simply the nature of mouse and keyboard interface is irrelevant. The bottom line is that Mass Effect will emerge from the other side of this port as a more fun and functional game.
And, yes, we asked BioWare Community Coordinator Chris Priestly about the online verification system that's caused somewhat of an uproar recently. According to Priestly, when you install the game it will ask you to input the CD key that comes with it. The game will then check online to authorize the key. You won't need the disc in the drive to play, as everything is on the hard drive. About every 10 days or so, the game will recheck your activation online. The game can be activated about three times, but if you need more than that (let's say your hard drive keeps dying) you can call customer support. On paper, it sounds reasonable, but anti-piracy systems can sometimes cause a ton of headaches. We'll have to see where Mass Effect falls when it ships, but this does look like a very cool game, even if you've played the Xbox 360 version already.