|XBOX 360||Japan USA|
By Dan Zuccarelli . July 18, 2007 . 1:40pm
Coming into E3 there were only a few games that had gained a "Can't Wait" status in my book. Some of them didn't really live up to expectations as well as I'd hoped, though there's still time to fix them (hopefully). Others exceeded my lofty wants and needs and now I'm counting down the days till they release.
My brother convinced me to try out Bioware's ever since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the fact that he's not a huge Star Wars fan but still got sucked in got me interested. Coupled with the fact that, unlike him, I am a huge Star Wars nerd I simply couldn't get enough of the game, and I've been a follower ever since.
I devoured Jade Empire and ended up going through the game multiple times (a huge rarity for me). I could go on and on but suffice to say I'm REALLY looking forward to Mass Effect. I really started thinking that there was no way the game could live up to the hype I was placing on it.
Luckily I don't have to worry, Mass Effect is one of those day-counting-down titles.
Sadly, the demo I saw was hands-off… which I'll admit was a huge let-down. But what I saw during the demo blew me away enough that by the end I didn't care. Besides, 10 minutes with the controller to play a game of this scope would amount to little more than a tease anyway.
The demo started on the bridge of your ship, and it was huge. But that was dwarfed by the sheer size of the universe that was there to explore. Using the ship's nav system we saw individual planets we could land on, then zoomed out to the solar system level where we could move between a ton of different systems. Then we zoomed out again and could maneuver between more than a few different galaxies. Or course not every planet in the game has it's own storyline (some are there simply to farm resources) but the scope is downright scary.
People familiar with Bioware's previous games will be happy to know that your conversation choices and the decisions you make will have more impact than ever before. Unlike KOTOR, where you had one slider bar that moved between good and evil, Mass Effect has a separate bar for each which they're calling Paragon and Renegade. This will allow for more custom experience of playing through the game because you may just be doing something that is good for the universe while at the same time doing something horrible to a individual, or vice versa. This one's going to have to be played through more than once.
The conversations are a lot more fluid this time around compared to previous BioWare titles. Your responses will pop up while the other person is talking so the back-and-forth banter flows much more naturally. This also gives you the ability to both cut someone off or not say anything at all. Not only that, but all the dialog is recorded so you'll be able to hear everything being said, and not just reading the subtitles. It makes for a more cinematic feel and long term will add quite a bit.
Speaking of cinematic feel it needs to be said that the voices used for the recording are fantastic. Characters spoke with conviction and emotion, and were believable every time they spoke. All the different races look varied and real as well. With such a varied cast of characters the humans almost seem boring in comparison to races such as the Krogan (pictured above).
It felt great to finally see the game live. It was also something of a relief to see the game shaping up so nicely. Personally I have a lot riding on this game and I would've been sorely disappointed if it didn't seem like it was going to be good. But fear not, this game is gonna smoke.