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Mass Effect: A video game review

Mass Effect is a newly released Xbox 360 game which was developed by BioWare. It is rated “M” for Mature.

It follows the game genre and subgenre of a single-player tactical shooter RPG (role-playing game) and the plot genre of science fiction. This combination of genres has become prevalent since the last generation of consoles. The most popular settings for these games have been either projections of a future in interstellar exploration or fantastical emulations of medieval Europe. Mass Effect is the former.

The story takes place approximately two hundred years in the future. Humans have mastered interstellar travel and have been recruited into a vigilant alliance of alien races. The story follows the soldier Shepard as the mysterious plot concerning a rogue agent is unraveled.

The graphics are smooth and absolutely spectacular for the eyes to behold. An entire galaxy is represented, and the amount of effort put into the art design is apparent. The physics of movement are realistic, and the NPCs (non-playing characters) are far more involved in the storyline than being simply voices of instruction.

Each conversation is relevant. The player is given choices on how to respond in conversation, both verbally and physically. Though that concept is not new, it is implemented in a new and sometimes entertaining way.

The details of the main character are ambiguous. The only stationary detail is that the character is a soldier named Shepard. Everything else, from gender, first name and appearance, is up to the player to choose.

The title of the game conveniently describes its social following, but there is a philosophical value derived from the storyline. The way in which the story is executed can be equated to ripples in a pool of water. Each decision the player makes will contribute to the direction of the story in a unique way, and issues which Shepard faces are never black and white. It forces the player to look at the bigger picture.

This game is far too complex for a gamer’s interest to be satisfied through rental. The replay value is immense. There are so many possibilities that it could be daunting for some people to play. Bottom line, if you are into this kind of thing, this is one of those classic titles which your library should not be without.

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