Back To The Future (Kinda): My Return to Mass Effect – Part 2

So, with under 20 hours of actual game time under my belt, I finished Mass Effect at the end of last week. I spent most of the last five hours of game time hunting down achievements, completing sub-missions and making sure the universe’s most awesome heroine was kitted out to save the fucking day.

I really wish I’d done that the first time round.

You learn so much more about the universe that way. You find nifty little subplots that blossom in the sequel. Especially the whole Cerberus thing (no spoilers, but that story arc left me hating the sons of bitches, and that was knowing I’d be working for them in the next game), which the first time round I more or less totally avoided after my first encounter. I even found a few more Thresher Maws to beat down.

The sub missions had me feeling a hell of a lot more bad ass than before, too. Partially because they seemed to be aimed at players of quite low levels, hence the relative ease in which I passed through them. But the opportunity to go out and find more awesome mods with which to kit out my Shepard actually kicked ass. By the time I reached the final fight with Saren, he was down in under ten minutes. Last time around, it took ten days and hundreds of attempts.

I did have one complaint though. But first, context. I had originally intended in this playthrough that I would initiate the romance subplot with Liara, the Asari crew member. This was because she plays a pivotal role in the Shadow Broker DLC for the sequel, and I wanted to see what would come out of us originally having a relationship. However, at the same time, I accidentally started chatting up Alenko, the Human Sentinel, concluding with a slight altercation in the briefing room later on. I eventually picked Liara, and chatted it out with Alenko to boost my Paragon score.

Before you carry on, a warning: here, there be spoilers.

But when it got to the Virmire mission, and I had to choose whether Williams or Alenko survived, I chose Alenko. Menacingly, I wanted Alenko to live with the face that he’d been rejected in favour of Liara, then saved at the cost of Williams. Called me messed up, but I wanted to see some heartache from the guy. What did I get? A little bit of whimpering over Ashley’s death, then back to his usual “oh it’s so hard being a biotic” routine. C’mon man! You were all about me a few missions ago. Show me some freaking trauma!

You can tell I’ve been getting into this quite heavily, can’t you?

All things aside, a thoroughly enjoyable playthrough. I’m giving it a few days to recharge before I hit up Mass Effect 2, but it looks like I could get in a few plays of both by the time number three actually releases. Only time will tell…

Back to The Future (Kinda): My Return to Mass Effect – Part 1

So, with the third instalment in Bioware’s epic space trilogy looming over my head, I felt now was a perfect time to return to the first two games in the Mass Effect series. This was for a few reasons. Partly, it was to keep the back story and universe fresh for the impending finale. Mostly, however, it was because I really wanted to have a super-powered Commander Shepard to take through to the final battle, and with the ability to carry over your save file from one game to the next, I figured it was about time I started getting ready.

However, this time around I’ve approached the game differently. Having played the two games already, and knowing the general nature of the recently released DLC for Mass Effect 2, I wanted to coordinate my game so as to push the story in a direction that was pleasing to me. That, and there are just a ton of things I wish I’d done differently in my first playthroughs. Continue reading