Mass Effect in Effect

I started playing Mass Effect 3 today! Other than an abortive attempt to enjoy Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I haven’t really touched a AAA game for I don’t know how long, so it’s almost nerve-wracking to try one again. I’m making an exception for Mass Effect because for better or worse I’ve played all the way through the first two games and definitely feel the completist’s urge to get through the finale. And of course a nice feature of the series is that you get to carry your avatar and certain decision between games.

A touch disappointingly, the game wasn’t able to restore my female Shepard’s appearance, so I had to try to recreate her – shaved head, slightly bad skin, pale as all hell. Even so, I’ve played the first passages of the game feeling a tiny bit uneasy that she doesn’t quite look right. Too pale? Did she have a scar in the previous games? Are those the right cheekbones? And so on. A bit distracting, but the basics are fine and it’s definitely a pleasant feeling to settle back into the same character and approach to play.

So far it’s more of the same – hardly expect that to change. Walk along, chat to some people, see some insanely obvious “cover structures”, anticipate combat, get it, shoot people, chat some more, move on. That’s the game. (Well, actually, that’s a lot of games obviously, but the Mass Effects do it just fine.) I’m a little concerned that it’s already insanely boring to do these things, but figure I’ll be carried along by my interest in how they continue the story and the occasional chance to role-play my Shepard as the no-nonsense hard-ass I like her to be. In addition, there’s no question that it’s deeply, deeply soothing to just flow along the linear paths and shoot the things that need shooting.

So it’s entirely possible that a AAA game is a good thing for me just now, instead of fretting too much about the next game to make, and the game after that, and what about after that?

10 April 2012
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