Game Review: Mass Effect

G’day.  So I’m reviewing "Mass Effect" by Bioware.
This title comes from the same people who brought you the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (a brilliant game), and the game’s design and format won’t be alien (pardon the pun) to those who have played KOTOR (or it’s sequel which was not as strong).
The game is a role playing game (RPG) with a real time fight engine built in (with some exceptions, as you can freeze the action to make some tactical selections).  The game is designed for a single player, and the story can go in different directions depending on the user’s choices.
Story-wise, pretty standard SciFi fare.  Your character (male or female) is an elite human military commando (or operative) who ends up in the middle of a galactic conflict.  The story takes your character down the path of following a sinister military operative known as Saren to uncover his plots against the galactic council (and the ‘Earth Alliance’).
Ultimately you need to become a ‘spectre’ – an elite independent operative for the council. 
You may choose for your character to be shady/evil (‘renegade’) or heroic/good (‘paragon’) though choices and conversations with other characters.  Actions (mostly the result of conversations with other characters) dictate whether you choose to be good or evil, much like in KOTOR.  You have an assortment of weapons to choose from, tech specialties and a new thing to replace ‘The Force’ – Biotics (works in a similar fashion, as a ranged attack).
Your character can choose from a mix of different strengths (skills), Soldier, Soldier/Tech, Soldier/Biotic, Biotic/Tech, Biotic or Tech.  Later there are specializations which can improve the initial alignments – selection of which is determined by whether you are a renegade or paragon.
As you go through the game you amass experience points (XP) which, in turn, jumps your character through different levels.  Each level allows you to improve your character’s skills and strengths, this includes use of weapons, tech skills and biotics.
I’ll write up a second part to this review shortly.  Stay tuned..

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