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Default Mass Effect - Review, Retraction and Sales Numbers

January 4th, 2008, 12:06
A week back the Mercury News wrote a review with some harsh criticism of BioWare's Mass Effect:
I think the long development cycle was actually part of its problem. BioWare, the Canadian developer recently bought by EA, spent more than 3.5 years working on the game. The team rolled off the development of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic role-playing game for the original Xbox. That 2003 game had an original storyline with deep dialogue interspersed with player-controlled third-person sword play and combat. The team adopted some of the same style of that game, another flaw, in my opinion. I think the Mass Effect guys were stuck in the game play of 2003 and they never emerged with superior game play in 2007. I mean, come on! This is the year of Halo 3. If they had game play that resembled anything close to a tenth of the game play of Halo 3, this would have been the game of the year. But itís not even close.
…but today there's an apology and partial retraction. I haven't played the game but if I understand the comments, it seems the reviewer hadn't actually used the character upgrades (perhaps explaining their preference for Halo 3?):
The dumb thing about the way I played the game, as many pointed out, is that I didnít make use of my Talent Points. I started the game doing so, but while on Feros, I didnít pay attention to all the Talent Points I was accumulating after every encounter. Those points just sat there. They were waiting for me to assign them to specific character trait improvements. Without doing this, it didnít matter that I was paying close attention to my inventory and upgrading my weapons as soon as I got better stuff (by hitting X in the equipment screen).
Included is an apology for only playing for eight hours instead of the claimed 12, which makes me wonder if fans are watching the Live profiles of reviewers with dubious criticisms.
In semi-related news, GameBanshee noticed a post at Major Nelson that gives updated Mass Effect sales of 1.6M.
More information.
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January 4th, 2008, 12:06
As I always say: if you wana know wether a game is good or not, play the demo. If there is no demo read SEVERAL reviews.

You just can't have someone who only plays first person shooters review an RPG. No wonder he won't even notice the talent point system and make comparisons to Halo 3….
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January 4th, 2008, 12:39
If Mass Effect had the gameplay of Halo 3, I don't think Mass Effect would have been the same game. What a stupid comparison. Mass Effect is not a shooter. No wonder he didn't like it that much.

How come there are still reviewers that can cram so much misinformation into their reviews? Are they just biased because of their frustrated experience with the game? For instance, this is not the first time that I've seen a reviewer rail on a game because supposedly you can't skip cut-scenes, while you very obviously can. Oh, well.
Last edited by Thaurin; January 4th, 2008 at 12:54.
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January 4th, 2008, 16:55
I don't think Dean Takashi from Mervury News is entire to blame for this mistake. As I understand people on the gamespot forum already are complaining that there's just way too much text and dialogue in the Mass Effect game. I think this stems from the fact that the Bioware marketing team decided to market Mass Effect as shooter by showing off the elements so much that they did. It was only during the last 1Ĺ-2 months that Bioware did show off the RPG element in the game, and only after much pressure has been put on Bioware from the boards and ME forums.

I'm not trying take make an excuse for Dean's way of playing Mass Effect. I'm just saying that given Bioware's marketing strategy it is not surprising that some of the ME players mistakes ME for a third person tactical shooter with some rpg elements when it indeed is a full fledged RPG in which you need to distribute your talents points and play the combatr like traditional Bioware classic RPG combat.

From the second review (or the retraction of the first one) Dean made, I'm pretty sire that he still plays ME for its combat and not so much for the story and maybe still confuses ME for third person tactical shooter.

As for 8 hours played instead of the 12, this is a valid gripe, I agree. However, I also know that most journalists, even game journalists, are on a sometimes very strict deadline. As I understand it, reviewers play their review copies on something called Partner.net, not on Xbox Live, which really means that the hours for the reviewers that can bee seen on Xbox Live, are null & void.
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January 4th, 2008, 18:14
Yes, of course Bioware did try to join together two different audiences with this game. I'm not sure how well that went over. On the one hand, they wanted to keep to their RPG roots. On the other, they wanted shooter fans to also be able to enjoy the game. However, many hardcore shooter fans are complaining about the game having "broken" combat, perhaps precisely because it doesn't actually play like a genuine shooter.

You can play it like that, of course. As one of the commenters pointed out, there is the auto-level feature and you can select the soldier class for a more shooter-like experience. I would personally not recommend it.
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January 4th, 2008, 22:18
I dunno. Not having an X360, I didn't really invest in the previews and interviews but from my position here (as a news editor), the hype seemed aimed at the "cinematic dialogue" rather than the action.

At any rate, I think he missed the boat by a country mile before he even started. At the heart of his criticism - errors and misunderstandings aside - is the idea that a round-based RPG is 2003 while a shooter is 2007. I just can't respect that reasoning, even if he did make an unwitting mistake

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January 5th, 2008, 01:07
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
At any rate, I think he missed the boat by a country mile before he even started. At the heart of his criticism - errors and misunderstandings aside - is the idea that a round-based RPG is 2003 while a shooter is 2007. I just can't respect that reasoning, even if he did make an unwitting mistake
.
This guy is used to play shooters.

The dumb thing about the way I played the game, as many pointed out, is that I didnít make use of my Talent Points.
I mean …

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