Over the last few years I’ve built up a pretty big Steam collection. I’m an absolute sucker for buying games, and I will almost always buy one or two a month, at least. I’m not really sure why that happens, as I often barely play the games, and sometimes I even find myself actively trawling for stuff to buy. So, like many people I imagine, this has led to me having hundreds of games, but only a couple of dozen which I’ve played to any great degree.
Within my Steam library are a selection of titles that I really wish I could fully get immersed in because I like various aspects of them, but for whatever reason they never quite click with me to the point that they hold my attention, yet I find myself wishing they would. Without doubt the worst example of this is Mass Effect.
I really love the universe that Bioware have created, and the depth and detail on display here really draw me in. Of course the story is very engaging, what with this being Bioware at their best, but I’ve always found that pesky gameplay to be somewhat lacking. The combat mechanics feel bland and unimaginative, and control of team members always feels floaty and unreliable.
I appreciate the ability to fly around the galaxy in my ship, but landing on planets is usually disappointing. With little to do except drive around searching for collectables, or killing a few enemies, this becomes a pretty bland experience. I know I could ignore most of this content, but as an RPG player I’m crippled by my aching desire to feel that I’ve seen at least most of what there is to see. It’s borderline masochistic but I just can’t bare to feel like I skipped the side missions and raced through the game. I’m not a completionist by any means, but I like to feel I’ve at least seen all the meaningful side stories.
I’m now at that awkward point with Mass Effect where I’ve played the first 5-10 hours of the game about 3 times. However, I know that if I return to the game now I’ll feel like I’m robbed of the complexity of the story by trying to piece it all together, and will inevitably start a new character and go through the exact same experience all over again. I’m locked in a prison of my own design.
On paper, Mass Effect ticks a lot of boxes for me. Yet, in practice, about 60% of the game bores me to tears, whilst I adore the remaining 40%.Perhaps one day I’ll just blitz the whole game. Spend a whole weekend pouring over every detail, and then finally get to try out Mass Effect 2, which I also own. People frequently say that is a smoother experience, and perhaps I’ll get on a little better with it.