“You’ve been stuck, in a lift. In the belly of a whaaaaale”
Is it possible to come to a game fashionably late? I fear not. Still, after gentle encouragement from my fellow GD writers I have finally played and finished Mass Effect, a mere two years after release. Go me.
Yeah, s’quite good isn’t it? I’m not of the BioWare talky RPG persuasion; I’ve tried about four times to get into Baldur’s Gate II, and KOTOR… well, a lesser writer than me would be tempted to call it KOT-BORE. But Mass Effect really hit the spot: the dialogue mechanic cut through the RPG word slog, which I hate; I even felt encouraged to seek out side quests for once, if only to see if I could punch or shoot anyone in the face within a conversation tree.
It was only really a skim-through though, in order to dash straight on to Mass Effect 2 (which I’ve heard is really good – being a games writer, I’m privy to insider knowledge like this) so I received the full force of the main story unbroken by too many irrelevant side plots or planetary expeditions. As such ME was a wonderfully cinematic experience. Yes, cinematic. And hilariously absurd. What with all the comedy lift rides and all.
Now I know they’re crafty loading screens, allowing the game to seamlessly wheel the coming section’s props and scenery into your RAM without you noticing, but I make no apologies for finding them utterly ridiculous.
How many dramatic plot points, glorious Geth battles or moving conversations were dropped to the ground with a bathetic bump as, upon their completion, my valiant party departs, punctuating the preceding event with a triumphant blaze of awkward lift silence. They go on just that little bit too long, drifting from acceptability to borderline farce; a point where I expect Wrex to offer an arm-pit fart just to fill the void. BioWare do their merry best to cover it up with occasional radio babble or team small-talk but only about one time in five, not nearly enough to prevent me from smirking when my team mount up and stand there, in that same identical triangle (with Shepherd at the front cus she’s the importantest), not leaning against the sides nor checking out their appearances in the shiny-walled reflections – or, at any point, making a ‘going down’ or ‘getting off’ joke. Bah, RPG indeed.
And anyway, I refuse to believe that all the technology of 2183 hasn’t rescued humanity from prolonged lift journeys with some kind of near-instantaneous solution, possibly harnessing the amazing powers of mass; it’s for this reason alone that Mass Effect prophesises perhaps the bleakest future of any sci-fi ever.
Oh, is this an old observation? Sorry internet.