Mass Effect is a great game. Mass Effect 2 is an amazing game. I’m now just 3 hours into Mass Effect 3, BioWare’s epic conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy, but it looks like it is ready to continue that tradition of awesomeness. I can’t wait to play through this game. But first, let’s talk about what’s happened so far.
If you’ve been living under a rock and/or don’t give a fuck about video games, the Mass Effect series focuses on player character Commander Shepard, in his or her (you can play as either male or female versions of Shepard) quest to stop an advanced alien race known as the Reapers from destroying all advanced sentient life in the galaxy. Along the way, Shepard encounters different alien species, some interesting characters, and may get to have sex with some of them along the way.
One of the really cool things about the Mass Effect series is the way the games melt into one another. Other series of course continue the same story with each new chapter, but what Mass Effect does that sets it apart is that it allows you to transfer your completed save from one game to the next. So that when you finish Mass Effect, you can transfer your saved game into Mass Effect 2, so that choices you made in the first game will have consequences in the next. It also increases your sense of immersion, because you control the look of your character, what decisions you make, and get to play through the entire trilogy with a story that you helped shape. The amount of possible variations that would allow two different people playing in different ways would have completely different experiences is mind boggling.
Unfortunately, with the save game transfer thing, this is where I ran into my first major hurdle. After installing the game, I loaded it up, went to start a new game, found my completed save from Mass Effect 2, and continued on. It came up with the list of things I had done that would impact Mass Effect 3, and I continued on. Then, Dear Reader, this shitty little fucking message popped up in front of me…
Needless to say, seeing this message bummed me right the fuck out. While something like this might not be a big deal to some, it sure was to me. Part of that immersive feel for me isn’t just the story line, it’s the amount of time I spent working on my character’s appearance in the first Mass Effect, and to have him look any different after the many, many hours I’d spent in his shoes would feel like I was playing through a different story. It’s kind of like the special edition of Return Of The Jedi, when Luke looks over to see Yoda, Obi-Wan, and for some reason, stupid cunt-face Hayden Christensen standing there.
You make a major change to something you’ve grown so accustomed to, it’s going to stick out like a sore fucking thumb. After doing some hunting on the internet, and discovering that BioWare were aware of the problem, but had not yet developed a solution, I stumbled on Mass Effect Tools, a tutorial on how to manually generate the face code from your previous save game and re-create it in Mass Effect 3. After roughly 3 hours of fucking around and getting as close to MY version of Shepard as possible, I was ready to start playing.
I will say all that fucking around was totally worth it. Seeing the version of Shepard I’d grown to love up there on my screen instantly got my head into the game. The game opens with a Reaper attack on Earth, and although obviously the scenario is devastating, the visuals are stunning. This game is pretty as hell. I’m playing on PC, with the specifications all at their maximum, and hot damn, this is one sexy game. The enormous environments look amazing, the lighting effects are beautiful, it just throws you into the action perfectly. Another thing that struck me very quickly was the way that my decisions in the first two game had an impact on what is happening now. Relationships that were formed, who lived and who died, some major points poke their head in very quickly.
For those who are yet to play, I don’t want to spoil any of the rest of the 3 hours that I’ve played so far. I’ll just say that it’s already been fucking sweet, and the rest will most likely be just as engaging. I’ll have a full review when I’ve finished the game, so keep checking back to The Dukes Playground in the coming weeks!