Mass Effect: brief thoughts on my replay

Getting ready for Mass Effect 2, coming out on the 26th or thereabouts, I replayed Mass Effect this past weekend. Apparently, choices made in the original game affect conditions in the sequel, and I wanted to make sure I had all my projected identity* ducks in a row. It’s a good game. Combat is more visceral than the other Bioware games since its in real-time and works like a FPS (with RPG stats affecting aim and damage, etc, a la Deus Ex).

Driving around in the Mako, exploring various planets, is slightly tedious, but it’s good fodder for the compulsion to complete achievements and collect shit. I’m well-trained for that kind of gameplay from WoW, which I both find interesting in a “hmmm…” sort of way and despise in a “goddammit, why do I do it?” sort of way. (Something about the game playing me just as much as me playing the game can go here. :p )

It’s unfortunate that there’s no agency involved with finding a cure for the krogan genophage, but others have surmised that it needed to be saved for a later game in the trilogy. Can’t have the hero resolve *all* the galaxy’s problem in one go, after all.

One question (and major spoilage): at Noveria, in the research facility, the asari kills the security guard blocking the way to Shepard and then tries to kill Shepard, on orders from Matriarch Benezia. Ok, that’s fine. Shepard reports this treachery to the security chief and then proceeds to deal with the rachni situation in the Hot Labs. Upon returning from the Hot Labs, the whole security force goes ballistic and ambushes Shepard, again, on orders from Benezia. WTF? If they were working for Benezia all along, why’d the asari have to kill one of the guards?

*See Jim Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, specifically the chapter on Arcanum, for a primer on projected identity. 🙂

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