Mass Effect - Reviews @ Gamespot, IGN UK, AU & GameSpy
Three of the bigger internet game news and review sites have posted their reviews of Bioware's recently released space-themed rpg for the XBox360, Mass Effect.
First up is Gamespot, positive with a score of 8.5/10:
Developer BioWare has always been at the forefront of progressive storytelling in games, so it's no surprise that Mass Effect's story is one of its best yet. It's got a unique take on the chase-the-bad-guy-across-the-universe plot, and just when you think you've got everything figured out, the game throws you yet another surprise. BioWare has created a politically charged universe with an exhaustive backstory and filled it with a bunch of interesting, multifaceted characters. Combined with an exciting and unique combat mechanic, it makes for a fun and absorbing experience that you'll want to see through to the end, just to see how everything turns out--even if the game isn't perfect by any means. In fact, it's surprising that so many small annoyances and glitches made their way into a game of such general high quality. Still, most players will be able to look past them and enjoy Mass Effect for what it is: A terrific role-playing game with great production values and fun, exciting action.
IGN has three reviews, one from each site, UK, Aussie, and US, with scores of 9.1/10, 9/10 and 9.6/10 respectively. We've already reported on the review at the main site, so here's a clip from the Australian article:
Mass Effect is as close to a squad-based shooter as the genre has ever neared. You can issue on-the-fly commands with the D-pad, use the radial menu systems (mapped to LB and RB) to bring up weapon and biotics selections, and take advantage of their limited AI to absorb bullets and biotic blasts while you tackle the situation from a different angle. It's limited but mostly effective. We say 'mostly' because the AI does, on occasion, screw up royally. Your opponents can sometimes get stuck inside objects, your teammates love to get themselves blown up by charging in to do battle - against a rocket turret and there are times when you'll hiss at the way some bullets clip through walls and crates, sapping your health while you try and take cover. Save often.
Largely though, the encounters with space pirates, mercenaries, sentient tentacled vegetation and waves of synthetic aliens remain pretty interesting - to the point where you forget that you're actually levelling up and each shot is technically based on a damage formula. This is a hardcore RPG in space-sheep's clothing - but it's missing some elements we're used to from past BioWare efforts. You cannot queue commands for your teammates to perform. This isn't a disaster, but it lessens the level of strategy. The AI generally knows when to activate a defensive biotic when a major fracas occurs, but it doesn't always use the most appropriate moments to use a biotic mass effect attack....
You can read the UK review here.
Finally, Gamespy gives their take on the game, with a wholehearted 5/5 stars:
The strength of the story is carried forth by some of the most impressive graphics seen to date. The eye-catching alien character designs put the Mos Eisley Cantina's rogue's gallery to shame. The characters, their equipment, the world they inhabit, it's all remarkably detailed and a pleasure to examine. On the other hand, there are some hardware limitations affecting performance here, as you'll notice that quite often textures will take a few seconds to load before appearing fully...
...Many of the characters you'll encounter, human and otherwise, are more interesting than your usual cardboard cutout NPCs, and that's thanks largely to the strengths of the voice work and the excellent dialogue sequences. In these scenes, the characters emote in a believable and engrossing manner, with body language and gestures that are a testament to the amount of thought and effort put into the superlative dialogue sequences.
Fans of BioWare's previous efforts will also be pleased to know that the subject of romance is approached tastefully, thoughtfully, and quite entertainingly.
Information aboutMass Effect
SP/MP: Single + MP
Platform: Xbox 360