Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Best of 2007 - #1

1 - Mass Effect (Xbox 360)

Epic: the only word one can use to describe the last hour of Mass Effect's main storyline. Shit: the word I used to describe Mass Effect after about two hours of playtime. Wrong: the word I used to describe myself when it all clicked into place.

Mass Effect isn't exactly a friendly game. You get thrown into combat with a very minimal tutorial and you're left to figure out most of the game's nuances by yourself. The combat is initially quite offputting, and some gamers just aren't going to get over that hurdle. But for those who do find themselves enjoying the system after the first couple of storyline worlds, the game quickly springs to life.

Mass Effect's greatest strength is its storytelling. Not the content of the story per sé (it's all very standard sci-fi cheese at the end of the day), but the interaction between the main characters and the all-round excellent voice acting really does deliver. The dialogue cut-scenes drip with atmosphere and are helped along by the gorgeous backdrop of the universe Bioware have created.

If Mass Effect does click for you, then you'll find yourself very forgiving of its glaring flaws: long load times, low framerate, texture pop-up, bad inventory management, endless driving of that damned buggy on barren planets, sidequests that quickly become samey.... the list goes on.

But for the story, the characters, the overall design and that last hour of gameplay, Mass Effect takes its deserved place as my number one game of 2007. It's the only game since... well, forever, that has made me start a new game the instant I finished my first playthrough. Not only that, it held my attention for the entire second playthrough clocking in at a total of some thirty-five hours over both games.

Bring on the rest of the trilogy.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I've read and enjoyed yuor "Best of" range... you're a bit like Morrisons :P