I finally did it. I finally went back and beat Mass Effect. Crazy right? For those of you who think I have been living under a rock for the past several years, I haven’t been.
With a Steam library well over 150 games, it’s hard to get around to playing all of them. I am backlogged from now until basically the end of my life, but I am okay with that. So that’s why I will proudly say that I just beat Mass Effect, almost 6 years after its release date.
This isn’t going to be a straight up review that we usually post to TVGB, but rather some musings about the game, because I stopped playing for several months, then picked it back up. A steady 20+ hour session to beat the game this was not. So where to start? Let me think back to the winter of 2013.
After another successful wallet drain in the Holiday Steam sale, I started looking through my catalog at the many games I hadn’t touched yet. Skyrim has been a mainstay for 2+ years, and I decided to put it down after a 3rd character creation and countless mods (don’t worry, I still play from time to time when I get the itch!).
Scrolling down my games list, there it hit me. Mass Effect. Why haven’t I played this game yet? Mass Effect 3 had been release almost a year prior, and I need to get on this action. So I installed it.
As soon as I loaded the game up for the first time, I was greeted with awful textures. I immediately grabbed a high res texture pack, and patched it up quick. Okay, now it’s time to play.
I played about 3 solid hours, and got sucked in immediately. It had the feel of KOTOR, but combat was faster-paced as an FPS. Voice acting was done well, but by this time, we had heard some stellar voice acting in more current games, so there was a bit of rigidity to it. No matter. I played The Witcher when it was first released and loved the hell out of, crappy acting and all.
Over the next 2 weeks I played steadily, mixing in a night or two of Lord of the Rings Online. I was progressing nicely through the storyline, enjoying my companions and the missions I was going on to stop Saren. All was right with the universe, until I decided to go to the Moon. And that was a huge mistake.
I was super excited to go drive around on the Moon. To mimic my heroes who were there before me, and find the American flag, stuck in the rock where the first landing happened. Then I made my way to the training facility, and that’s where it went downhill quickly.
I couldn’t finish the level. I wasn’t prepared for all that awaited me there, and I kept dying. Repeatedly. So I quit. I stopped playing and walked away for a bit. BioShock Infinite came out, and I completely forgot about poor old Mass Effect.
Games had come and gone. I dove back into Skyrim to play the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC. I sunk another 30+ hours into Mount & Blade: Warband, trying out different mods. GTA V also diverted my attention back to my PS3. Mass Effect was long forgotten.
It wasn’t until almost a year later, when I was cleaning my desktop, that I saw the Mass Effect logo staring me in the face. It was the link to the alternative launcher that patched in the high res texture pack before starting the game, a process that took little less than a minute. I remembered the Moon, and those countless attempts to beat the level. Everyone said this was a great game, right? I quietly thought to myself. I need to finish this game.
I loaded it up, and tried to beat the Moon level again. I kept dying repeatedly, and finally was about to quit again, until it dawned on me.
I got back in the Mako, drove a ways out, and boarded the Normandy. I left the Moon behind.
As soon as I did this, and headed to the next destination in the main storyline, I was immediately hooked back in. This is why I played this game. A great story, fun combat, inventive world and environments. XP! Leveling UP! RPG STUFFS! It didn’t take long to feel like I never left, and I caught up with my companions as to what they were thinking and what was going on. Checked the inventory, got a gauge on my and my companions equipment, and I was off.
I don’t think it was no longer than another 5 hours, and I was at the end of the game. If I had just skipped the Moon, I would have probably beaten it months ago, and not living with the guilt every time fellow TVGB Editor Andrew Burrage asked me how far I was.
Overall, I really liked Mass Effect. And I am looking forward to playing ME2 and ME3, even after all the negativity surround the last of the series. But other games beckon, and I have since moved on to playing other games.
I’ll get to beat the series. Eventually.
October 13, 2014 update: Mass Effect 3 And the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ending
Final Verdict: 9/10