Mass Defect


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.


8 thoughts on “Mass Defect

  1. The story in ME is what got me through. I liked the skill system, and combat was fun enough, but the driving… SO bad. The second one is far easier to get into, so if the first is really making you crazy you could just skip it.


  2. I never played the first Mass Effect as it was an Xbox exclusive, and I think I’ve made my position as a Sony fan pretty clear. However, with the sequel the series was ported to the PS3, and the 3rd game was not an exclusive to any system.

    2 & 3 were fantastic titles, and I completed them both. I have no qualms with having missed the first title, as I’ve heard it was the weakest of the series, and the PS3 version included an interactive story bit where you got to make all the major decisions that took place in the first game.

    I’d skip it were I you.


    • It’s a possibility I guess. Knowing my hardheadedness with these things, I’ll just blunder through it someday. Or just watch a Youtube video of all the cutscenes!


  3. WOw this just reflects my experience of the game.
    I have tried to play ME 3 or 4 times now, the setting was great and engaging, but every time I got to the combat and the game just slowly lost all appeal and I never go back.

    I’m told that the second is better, I’ve never tried as the first just put me right off, to the point where I wasn’t sure on SWTOR as it was Bioware 😐


  4. The second is so so so so so so so…



    …so much better than the first, combat-wise.

    I’ve played through ME on veteran, hardcore, and insanity. When I’m introducing new people to the series, I tell them to play ME on easy…because the combat is just stupid. Do it for the story, the combat is not worth suffering through. I only did it because I’m a masochist when it comes to video game difficulty.

    ME2 and ME3? Insanity all the way (or easier if you want, the combat is just actually fun rather than idiotic).

    ME? Ugh. Just…ugh.


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