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A Video Game Rant: Mass Effect 1 and 2

Posted by travizzt on March 13, 2010

I love Mass Effect 1 and 2, yet I know there are somethings that really bothered me. These are those things.

Before I begin my little rant, let me explain a few things. I love Mass Effect. It’s video gaming at it’s best and is undoubtedly one of the better video game series to come out in this current video game generation. What more could I say that hasn’t already been said? Not much. So that means that I’m not here to harp on how great these games are, but instead point out things I’ve noticed that either didn’t make sense or got under my skin.

I would normally try to explain the plot of the two games, but there really is too much to tell. I suggest that if you know nothing about the game read a synopsis on the plot of Wikipedia. Here are the links to the Wikipedia sites: Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. Beware for spoilers when reading!!!

Mass Effect 1

My problems with Mass Effect 1:
-Inventory. I have no problem having an inventory system. It always put me in a good mood when I got a new gun, armor, or an upgrade. But the way it was utilized bothered me. You have an option to turn whatever you don’t need or have excess of into a substance called omni-gel (which helps repair the Mako, your planet traveling vehicle, and is used incase you miss up a hack or recover attempt). It’s awkward that you have to press Y on every single item to convert it. Not only that, but it always seemed like you were getting the same items over and over. You wouldn’t believe how many “High Caliber Barrel” upgrades I’ve gotten. It just becomes tedious to constantly have the same upgrades and having absolutely no use for them.
-Stuck. Another big problem with the first game is the amount of places where you can get stuck. This is a bug, obviously, but these places are just either weird or random. For example, it seems like on one corner outside the club called Chora’s Den, you get stuck. It’s just a random place, and it is a little frustrating at first. Another place you get trapped at is really weird. When you’re looking at the solar system map, you can get trapped in the map itself and the only way to get out is to talk to Navigator Pressly. Random? Yes.
-Not Enough Autosaves. This is a suggestion my sister gave me. Sure it makes the game a little ‘harder’, but why is there a lack of autosaving? It’s kind of awkward at times when you get so far and suddenly you do something stupid and when you have to reload it’s all the way back at the end of the level. While I don’t have a big problem with it, it did seem to change in Mass Effect 2, but I’ll get into that later.
-Mako. I hate the Mako. It’s awkward to use, the gun is almost useless on inclines, and it the target/ crosshairs seem to always be off. Well, I did like the idea of it, the execution was horrible. It just made me mad. The Mako was an interesting idea, but it wasn’t done right.

The Mako was an interesting idea, but it wasn't done right.

-Melee. Why is there not a button to press to use a melee attack? Instead you at the will of the game to execute these attacks and sometimes, it doesn’t work the way you want it to. At least they got this right in Mass Effect 2.
-Cover System. It’s awkward. It’s not bad, just awkward. I don’t quite know what else to say.
-Replay. This is a more personal problem. I have a hard time replaying RPG games. Why? Because I hate going through all the talking options over and over. The game play I can redo, that’s not an issue. It’s just I have a hard time listening to the stuff again. And it’s not just with Mass Effect, it’s with all RPG’s from The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion to Fallout 3 to Dragon Age: Origin. It just bothers me. Plus having to do some of the quests again get a little annoying (like scanning the Keepers). It’s grating and annoying.
-Continue After Finishing? This really, really bugged me. Why couldn’t you continue after the game ended? I still had a lot of things to do in my first play through that I couldn’t do. Why did I leave those? Because I thought you’d be able to play after finishing, just like I thought you could have in Fallout 3 (pre Broken Steel DLC). It was a bummer on an epic scale.

Do these problems mean that Mass Effect is a bad game? Of course not. It’s still good, it’s still fun. The characters are great, the story is solid, and the twists and choices you make, and the consequences from those choices, are something to be in awe of.

Mass Effect 2

My problems with Mass Effect 2:
-Buggy. The game seemed to have a few odd bugs when playing. For example,  after completing Grunt’s loyalty mission, he isn’t loyal. Even though you can change is outfit and on the party selection screen, it shows he is loyal. When I did my first play through that problem didn’t happen, but in the second, it happened. However, after noticing this, I did some research and found it that it is a bug, and he is loyal. Another lesser example is Conrad. He just assumes you did the renegade option and shot his foot, even if you didn’t. Later in the game you hear that you did, when you didn’t. But, maybe not a bug, maybe Conrad is delusional (which of course is a high probability), but it’s still odd. The last, and most annoying example is when you do the Teetering Ship mission. It seemed like I would get stuck and walk on air every time I move closer to the end of the mission. Why is that? I had to restart the mission over and over because of this and it’s not like you could get yourself unstuck like you could have in the first game. There are other problems, but these are the ones that really stick out in my mind.
-SPACE?! Why is it that when characters like Jack, Grunt, and everyone else that doesn’t wear armor that covers every inch of their body aren’t dead when they are in no oxygen, freezing temperature environments? It’s a little silly and dumb, but really now. We have someone like Jack with her outfit of just suspenders on covering her torso and not have her skin frozen? What logic is that? Sure you may say that there is some protective barrier around them, but no. I don’t accept that. If that was the case, the would be a hue from the skin right? Or at least something recognizing that fact.

This is what Jack wears in open space, minus a breather that covers her mouth.

-Too Many Autosaves. Yet again, I bring up the autosave problem. This time though, there are an absurd amount of autosaves. It’s like every other step you take is an autosave. It makes the game just too easy. I know you can turn them off, but you go from barely any autosaves to way too many, it’s kind of weird.
-Plot Hole. I really don’t think this is a ‘true’ plot hole, but it’s something that I haven’t figured out as of yet. After acquiring the Reaper IFF and during the installation, the whole team you’ve assembled goes off the Normandy. Why? At no point, did it ever seem that the team would leave the ship like that. Why the sudden change? Simple, it helps move the plot along for the final mission. Why does it bother me? It just doesn’t seem right. Now, I’ve heard that the reason the team leaves so if something happens doing the install, the specialists don’t get killed. But honestly, does that make sense? How would the team then go into the Omega 4 Relay? Sure, Cerberus would give them another ship, but could it make it in time? No. It just didn’t make sense.

However, with that said, I really do Mass Effect 2 a lot more than the first for a simple reason. It’s more replayable. The dialogue doesn’t become as annoying and tedious as the first and it just improves on a lot of problems that plagued the first. I’m not saying that the first is bad, it still is a wonderful game.

Still, if you haven’t played either game, do pick them up! And here’s to waiting for the third!

***Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the images above, I found them through a Google Image Search.***

5 Responses to “A Video Game Rant: Mass Effect 1 and 2”

  1. Some great points. I’m a huge fan of the series, and I think the fact of the matter is that the story is, at heart, a space opera, which by definition tosses logic out the window for style and drama. I.e. Jack walking around naked on a volcano world and still talking smack, etc.

    The bugs that miffed me were the “floating in midair” ones. It happened a million times on the Normandy, and several times on the teetering ship mission as well. Who did they have testing this game, exactly, and what was in their coffee that forced them to rush through the game without accounting for every corner?

    Anyway, glad to see someone who understands loving criticism. We at are putting you in our links.

    • travizzt said

      Thanks for the comment and linking me on your site!

      It really does seem like the testers weren’t really paying all that much attention when testing, because there is quite a few bugs. But even so, Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games to come out in a long time.

  2. Michelle said

    I’m pretty sure in the game EDI mentions that until the Reaper IFF is online, the ship may not properly function, so Shepard and the specialists have to take a shuttle to their next destination. The cut-scene only activates after you choose somewhere to go from the galaxy map. Why Shepard doesn’t choose the two before leaving doesn’t really fit, and I do agree that it was too obvious that something BAD was about to happen, but there was a bit of an explanation. Other than that, I think you pretty much hit everything dead on. :)

  3. Foobs said

    You hit most of the majot problems with ME1, but missed what I think is the biggest problem with the game: the story structure. While the story of the game certainly had potential, it is told about as badly as I can think of any game doing.

    Less than 10% of the way into the game, you know 90% of the story. That is not good storytelling. Contrast that with a game that ME was VERY similar to, Halo. In Halo, you always have a short term goal, but your understanding of what is going on is shifting as you progress through the game. That is good story story structure. Mass Effect has received a lot of praise. Most of it is unearned, with the praise of the story at the top of that list.

    • travizzt said

      First, I must say Halo can be summed up in eight words: Master Chief, Aliens Bad, Flood Worse, and Kill Things. Who was the main bad guy in those games? The Covenant. That doesn’t make for a compelling story or a very deep one.

      With Mass Effect you have an overall mission (stop Saren) but in order to stop him you have to uncover his plot and plans through tied together story missions. Having short term goals is fine, but without a compelling reason to do these goals, you lose interest in the game. That said, Mass Effect wasn’t perfect story-wise but it still has a compelling story that keeps you interested.

      However, I am disappointed that you had to compare Mass Effect to Halo.

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