Monday, February 20, 2012

Top 10 Moments in the Mass Effect Series So Far

By Roberto Campos

Mass Effect, one of the gaming world’s most recognizable franchise, is one of those games that takes on a life of its own thanks to stunning gameplay, memorable characters and a story as deep as the outer reaches of the galaxy.  

If you’ve never played either game in the series, I highly recommend doing so. But the synopsis, in short, centers on the protagonist Commander Shepard. Humanity has recently unearthed Prothean Technology, an advanced technology which allows the human race to break free of our solar system and colonize the galaxy and meet numerous alien species – akin to Star Wars, Star Trek and other sci-fi storylines.

Through its story telling, the game has created awesome moments for gamers – as well as controversial segments. Here is a look back on some of the franchises most memorable moments.
 10. The Citadel

Back in 2007, when BioWare released the first Mass Effect , its graphics were top notch. I remember watching the cut scene where you first see the Citadel, I was awe struck at what such a thing looked like. It looked like a weird flower space ship. But how it was presented gave it such sophistication that it was believable. So what if its design came out of left field, it was convincing. Plus, in that first scene you get to hear Seth Green, still makes me laugh every time I hear him, I want to know how they got him casted.

9. Character Creation
Normally I wouldn’t put something like ‘character creation’ on a bests list, but I’ll make an exception for Mass Effect. Something that, to my knowledge, has never been done before is allowing players to import characters used in previous entries to the series. When I played Mass Effect 2 I played my character from the previous game and the decisions I made with that character affected my world in the game. It gives a nostalgic feeling that no game has really given me before. When I played as Thurston Shepard (I had a slight Sonic Youth obsession in 2007) I will be playing as a character I created in the first game, and use him to finish the series when the third installment is released later this year.

8. One-Liners
The one-liners in this game are on par with the best cop dramas the world has ever seen. Lines like “I gotta long list of people that I didn’t want to see and your name is right at the top,” to “time is running short, I’m gonna go punch this mountain into space.” Yes. Those were lines from the past two games. While lines can be quiet quirky at times, they never really take away from the story. They’re just moments that bring a smile to your face in-between you’re not kicking galactic ass. My personal favorite: “Why is it when someone says ‘with all do respect’ they really me kiss my ass?”

7. Normandy SR2

The scene where Seth Green narrates one of the most epic introductions of a spacecraft in the history of introducing a spacecraft is pretty nostalgic. After the Normandy is damaged and Shepard is brought back to life, he needs a ship to save the galaxy with. Shepard isn’t going to be caught with some smaller, less-cool ship. He’s going to fly around in a bigger, more badass, version of the last ship. Creative right? BioWare always uses great camera angles that intensify these nostalgic moments and makes moments like these more than just nostalgia. They make them iconic.

6. Mordin’s Song
This moment was probably one of the most bizarre, but hilarious moment I have experienced in Mass Effect. It was a moment that came out of nowhere, and if you haven’t experienced it for yourself… Well nothing I say can do it justice; you just have to experience it for yourself.

5. End of Mass Effect
The End of Mass Effect was movie caliber. It was one of those “Fuck yeah America moments,” but instead of America, it was a “Fuck yeah human race” moment because we saved everyone’s ass. It also effectively sets up the next two games in a manner that is logical and strengthens narrative and doesn’t try to ‘just’ make another game for the sake of making another game. There is an actual point to extending the narrative. But mostly I like this moment because humans are unquestionably awesome and this cinematic proves it.

4. Mass Effect 2 Character Trailers

While characters were important in Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 tried to tell a story for each character that is playable on your team. Unlike the first game where it feels like you just pick up random characters, Mass Effect 2’s characters felt like a motley crue that were the best at what they did. Thane was like the Jason Statham of the Drell, an alien species in the game, and is an assassin that is pretty much is as agile as Yoda fighting Count Dooku in Episode II.  Each character felt more like a person rather than an avatar with skills to get you through the game. It takes the game’s story telling beyond the first games, which was already superb in quality, and creates a whole new level for it. Giving the characters more back story was one of the best choices they could’ve made for Mass Effect 2.

3. Morality
Morality creates some of the most interesting moments in the game, you can choose to kill characters, turn people into the authorities or even kill the Citadel Council. But killing is the most distinct part of morality because not only does it tip your morality scale in the game, but who you will see in games to come.  The characters you choose let live or die/kill in both games is something that distinctly changes the course of game play not only for one game but all three.  I killed Wrex in the first game because well…I couldn’t convince him otherwise. If you didn’t kill him like I did then you can see him in Mass Effect 2. So not only is moral judgment at your digression, but your gameplay experience too. Being given the choice of who lives or who dies is a moment in the game that makes you feel like each game is unique to each individual.

2. The end of Mass Effect 2
There were many ways this game could of ended depending on how you played the game. You could have lost a lot of team mates because you were too lazy to make ship upgrades like me and you could have told the Illusive Man that you weren’t going to be his errand boy any more. Either way the ending is quiet action packed, killing your second Reaper, which if I may point out is only two out of the shit ton that are still out there… Yeah I have a feeling Mass Effect 3 is going to contain lots of Reaper action, and you realize the gravity of the Reaper Apocalypse that is heading your way. The ending sets up the next game in a very nice, ting up the major lose ends that Mass Effect 2 left you, but leaving just enough for you to be uncertain of what’s to come.

1. Sex
When sex is depicted in video games it is almost assured to ruffle some feathers and make people upset. And Mass Effect was no exception and has gotten heat for its depiction of it. The reason I put this as my number one is not because I think it’s cool that you can bone in a video game, but because of the fact that this is a role playing game that is heavily based on you making life decisions that affect your character’s morality  - and let’s face it sex is apart of life. Sex is never a driving factor in any part of the story, it’s just a section of the game that you can choose to explore, which makes it done in a more taste full manner rather than a lust driven manner. I make this my top moment because I think it is a progressive moment that is done tasteful and lets players reenact something we all experience. Sex is always a lighting rod for attention, movies, music and T.V. all reenact, why should it be so controversial for a video game. Its not like you control the sex or see it, it didn’t show anything more than movies or T.V. ever had, in fact probably a lot less then those do.  

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