Mass Effect, oh Mass Effect

Today I think I am going to bring it back to gaming.  It’s been a while since I have really talked about anything gaming related but I haven’t felt that inspired or felt I have anything of interest to discuss.

Today, I was finally able to finish the first game in the Mass Effect trilogy.  I don’t know if you have ever played them, but if not, go get them now.  All three are on the PS3 (my gaming console of choice) so there is no excuses!  If you don’t you are really missing out on one of the best stories of all time.

I love Bioware.  They are masters at storytelling and have someone managed to produce two of my top three favorite story lines of all time.  OF ALL TIME!  You can really tell the love and thought they have put into those games (and for those that have a problem with the ending of ME3, stop.  Please.) and it is evident even in the first one.  Different planets, all carefully explained down to the tiniest details, different races, all with their own cultures.  And you, Commander Shepard, at the heart of it all.

What Bioware does, and does well, is recognize that people like to customize their character.  They let you choose your face and your class, but they also let you put a little bit of depth to your character by choosing their backstory.  You could have been an orphan or a military brat, you could have been heroic (or done some questionable things) in your military career.  They fully voice your character (Fem Shep all the way!) and you can choose responses to the situations at hand, whether good or bad.  Then they give you…

ROMANCE!  Yes, you can choose your romantic partner.  This made my girly heart sing, and I am not the girliest of girls.  I adore the romance options in the Mass Effect universe and the depth of them as well.  It doesn’t seem forced (unless you romance Jacob in the second one) and it seems really special.  I haven’t been this connected to a romance story in a video game since Tidus and Yuna (well, that and Alistair from Bioware’s other game, Dragon Age).

The fact that it spans over three games really makes you feel like you are in the story.  You spend a lot of time with these characters, getting to know them and seeing what makes them tick.  When you get an order to go somewhere in the game, you feel the urgency.  While finishing the first one today, I had to hijack my ship and even though I had things to turn in for other people, I went straight for the ship.  It truly felt like I had limited time, and couldn’t waste it on telling someone about their dead sister.  You may think that’s heartless, but damn it, I had to save the galaxy!

It’s a little hard playing the game after already playing 2 and 3.  I know the ending, and it isn’t hard because I feel like it is spoiled.  It’s hard because I know where this goes and I love them all so much.  Now that 1 is released for the PS3 I can finally do what I have not been able to do before, and that is start my campaign as Shepard and bring that same character through all three games.  It will be epic, and there will be heartbreak and love, reunions and loss.  Thank you to Bioware for giving me the opportunity to start at the beginning and providing me with a series of games that I have played through over and over.  Oh, and for reals, if you haven’t played them, get on it.  You can thank me later.

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