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It’s been a long and winding road for BioWare’s Mass Effect, one that started with hints of a grand new three-part RPG over 2 years ago. But now, with the first gameplay videos available and the game due to hit store shelves this November, we can finally begin to separate facts from the frenzy.
Of course, the game looks beautiful. There was never a doubt in anyone’s mind that the graphics would be anything less than superb. The character models (BioWare’s pride and joy) are impressively realistic, complete with the tiny facial movements and little wrinkles that show the absolute dedication to detail that comes from a work of love.
The battle system, while deeply complex and filled with intricacies that need to be analyzed, is perhaps a bit of a letdown. Like Final Fantasy XII the selections of weapons and enemies is done via a short pause before the fighting begins. From the trailers, anyone can see that the choosing of weapons and targets is a stutter in the action, halting everything around you. Granted, this type of system is much smoother than a turn-based RPG, but I can’t tell if it truly works here. The game tries to look like a shooter, and yet when the action really heats up you’re forced to pause and select instead of just going with the flow. This may end up working out well, but for now it’s just annoying.
The interrogation of enemies is a personal favorite. Similar to Indigo Prophecy’s style of conversation selection, the player can decide whether to be a total dick or a super nice guy. This gives the game that personal touch, letting you choose your own destiny. The voice acting is good and the music doesn’t stand out or dull the action.
All in all, it looks to be a pretty engaging experience.