Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays The Mass Effect Trilogy Part 3: Mass Effect 3

Author's Note: This is going to be a chock full of spoilers post, so if like me you have never played the Mass Effect games before don't read past this unless of course you don't care about spoilers. Enjoy!

I just finished playing Mass Effect 3 and I took every aspect of the ending in especially since I downloaded the extended cut. By now, I'm familiar with the story and thanks to my imported save I saw my female paragon Shepard again this time on Earth and it seems she's been relieved from duty because of that whole working with Cerberus thing (I kept saying it was a bad idea!) and that was just for starters. At least Anderson was in her corner because he knows everything Shepard has done has been to protect everyone and that includes those ungrateful Council jerks on the Citadel. Then everything goes to crap with a Reaper invasion. Fun times! Anderson reinstated Shepard and there we were trying to survive and get out of there so everyone could be warned.

Reapers are such jerks. 

This introduces you to the gaming controls tutorial and apparently Shepard can jump and slide over things which is kind of fun. It's also nice to be able to adjust the game's difficulty settings easily in the user menu. This also introduces you to a new character, James Vega and I thought his voice sounded familiar. Turns out it was Freddie Prinze Jr. doing his voice (Iron Bull in Dragon Age Inquisition) and I thought that was interesting. There were moments of amusement as I found out that a friend's wife was playing and lamenting the fact that James Vega is not a romanceable character for Shepard and wished he was because as she put it, "He's really freaking hot!" Every time she had a chat with James, she would wonder again why the heck her Shepard couldn't romance him.  Yes, a female Shepard can playfully flirt with him and even have a sparring match with him where he gives the nickname Lola to her, but that's it. 

James Vega, not just eye candy for the boys and girls. 

Here's the thing. I didn't mind that Shepard couldn't romance him because after all the conversation options I had with him, I found I liked and respected the character. I liked him as a person and as a soldier. He was pretty well rounded and he actually felt like a good friend to my Shepard. He was an ally that Shepard could fully rely on and I liked the friendship between the two. Shepard meets her old friends also while doing various missions throughout the story such as Garrus, Liara, and Kaidan to name a few. I was a little disappointed that Zaeed and Kasumi were only available as war assets because I really liked their skills in Mass Effect 2 and it would have been nice to have them as part of my squad. You have to add to your effective military strength while you build a weapon known as the Crucible that is rumored to be a weapon that can defeat the Reapers. And how do you do that? By running around all over the galaxy doing missions of course!

There's even more to see and do in Mass Effect 3 with side missions especially with the DLC missions of Leviathan, Omega, and Citadel which I purchased and added. A lot of the side missions for the main story seem to be fetch this or that item which wasn't exactly thrilling for me. The fighting Cerberus side missions were relatively interesting and gave some cool weapons and weapons mods. The main story has a lot of great missions too, but I think my favorite ones were luring a Thresher Maw to eat a Reaper on Tuchanka with my Krogan pals Wrex and Grunt and kicking a Reaper's butt with Tali on Rannoch. 

Shepard showing a Reaper who's boss. 

There were sad points in the story as well with some emotional character deaths and I thought it was such a bummer because they all seemed to be Shepard's friends. Mordin was one that I felt awful about, but I understood. He felt he was the only one who could cure the Krogan's disease properly and that it was his responsibility so he sacrificed himself to save them. Then we had Legion and again, this was another death I understood because Legion wanted to help the Geth and get them their upgrade. Sadly, he had to sacrifice himself to do it. I had Tali with me for that one and she gave him some comfort about whether or not the Geth had a right to existence. It was very touching. When I got to Thane, I was already emotional because he was already dying because of his illness. I loved his character. He was a complex interesting person that had so much depth to him. He was Shepard's good friend and while he died protecting his friend from a complete buffoon of an assassin (more on that in a minute), I was not ready to say goodbye to him at all. I actually found myself weeping for Thane as I watched his death scene and while that seems silly; that's how well his character was written. I actually found myself caring about him and what happened to him and I was genuinely touched by the prayer he said for Shepard at the end. 

Oh Thane, you will be missed. 

Shepard is trying to save the galaxy and of course The Illusive Man shows up so many times with all his posturing nonsense. I was glad to see that Martin Sheen did the voice acting for him again however, because he plays a great villain. It seems he's a bigger and bolder flavor of crazy trying to convince Shepard that what he's doing is right and that he can totally control the Reapers; you know those giant killing machines that are imploding the universe upon itself. Right. He can control them. He never seems to get his hands dirty naturally and sends his minions to do it and that includes the ever annoying Kai Leng. He just didn't scream oh scary assassin to me. I mean, look at him. 

Batman called.... to laugh at  your ridiculous outfit. 

All he did was irritate the hell out of me and in a universe with assault rifles and laser pistols, I'm supposed to believe this guy runs around with just a sword? Then he doesn't even really do anything. He just dances around calling for Cerberus soldiers to attack your team on one mission and a gunship on another while yelling insults at Shepard that sound like a six year old wrote them. This guy is scary? Please. The fact that Thane, a dying Drell could kick his butt makes me think the Illusive Man was not getting his money's worth. It just showed me how badass Thane was and what a joke Kai Leng really is. One of the missions doesn't go so well for Shepard because of Kai Leng interfering and he actually sends an email that is essentially trolling Shepard again with insults that look and feel like they were written by a six year old child. I wasn't afraid of this guy. In fact, I wanted Shepard to throat punch him and whup his ass. They could have made him great and instead I felt like this guy was so not worth my time and the furthest thing from terrifying Cerberus assassin. Honestly, I cheered when I went with the renegade option and Shepard stabbed him telling him it was for Thane. It was a little for Shepard too because that guy was such a jerk. 

There are romance options or continuing romance options. I stuck with Kaidan because I did like him and his feelings for Shepard were very sweet. I do have a bone to pick though. I had two saves one where Shepard was with a different love interest and one where Shepard didn't have anyone after Kaidan.  I played it both ways to see if what a friend told me was true. I'm annoyed to say that it was in fact true. With male Shepard there's no dialogue about cheating. Consider this. The love interest of Ashley/Kaidan breaks up with Shepard in Mass Effect 2 and with male Shepard Ashley lets it go if they were with someone else in Mass Effect 2. With Kaidan if female Shepard was with someone else you get the, "I understand why you cheated on me, but I forgive you." line. To quote Ross from Friends, "WE WERE ON A BREAK!" You mean to tell me they allowed male Shepard a free pass, but female Shepard basically gets slut shamed? 1. That's so messed up because it shows a blatant double standard. 2. When you basically tell someone that it's over and LEAVE, you don't get to dictate whether or not they hook up with or date someone else. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I really wondered which writer thought that was acceptable. Look, I get why Kaidan was so upset in Mass Effect 2. Someone he loved died and he thought they were dead until he sees them standing in front of him and they haven't let him know at all so of course it's a shock. Being upset and angry is totally the right response and an understandable one. However, he did break it off with Shepard and sent an email about how he grieved and how he still cares about them and maybe they can talk. Maybe. While yes, he stated that he cared about her they were not a couple and when Mass Effect 3 starts, they're not a couple. It really irritated me because Kaidan is actually pretty reasonable and this was an uncharacteristic jackass move on his part for which I blame the writer who put that in there. After that I loaded the other save (the one where Shepard was "faithful") and had quite a lovely and sweet romance with Kaidan. 

Kaidan's lucky my Shepard loved him.

The romance with EDI and Joker for me, was a bit creepy. That being said, I gave it a chance and spoke to both of them a lot about it and came to realize that I thought of EDI as a person not just an AI and Joker seemed to feel that way too. Eventually it seemed to be like a normal romantic relationship, but I felt kind of bad because I was determined I was going to destroy the Reapers and I figured that meant she might go away for a little while. The funniest and cutest one for me was Tali and Garrus. Shepard walking in on them kissing was hilarious because of their stammering and banter to each other. Those were a pleasant distraction and added to the story by showing what Shepard is fighting for, a variety of people who want the same things; peace and a way to win against the Reapers.

When I got to the Leviathan missions, I was pretty impressed with how much they added to the main story and to the lore about the Reapers. It did have a Lovecraftian vibe to it which I found interesting and when Shepard finally found them and got to communicate with them I thought it was great that you get to learn more about the Reapers and a bit about Leviathan as well. It was also very cool that my paragon level was high enough that Shepard convinced them to join the fight against the Reapers.

Leviathan is impressive.

I did the Omega DLC next and while it was fun to play there wasn't a lot to it other than helping Aria get her base of operations back. There are a few nifty weapons and items you can get here and there, but the big prize is having Aria and the three mercenary companies she got to work together as your war assets against the Reapers. It does show a slightly softer side to Aria as well, but nothing major really happens. It's a fun side mission to run through. 

The one I really liked besides Leviathan was Citadel. Shepard gets a cushy apartment courtesy of Anderson. You can decorate it any way you like which is neat. It's also huge, lots of space and plenty of rooms. I spent a good ten minutes just running around exploring it all. Then you get to do some missions while you're here. 

Shepard gets a housing upgrade.

I chose to do this before the big final fight because it had the whole gang together in a way. There's a whole adventure with an ex-Cerberus agent and a Shepard clone trying to kill you. That's right. There's a Shepard clone and it pulls a whole Highlander there can be only one situation on Shepard and friends. It's a little campy, but in a good way and it's a lot of fun to play. There are even moments of laughter with scenes of Joker yelling about the clone stealing his ship and Shepard wondering if she really sounds like that when the clone says something that sounds rather corny. You even get to have an epic firefight on the Normandy which adds to the fun. It all works out and Joker suggests Shepard throw a big party for everyone. You get emails from your various friends and you invite them up to your pad for some socializing or go out. I thought Zaeed fighting with an arcade crane machine to get a toy for a child was funny because he kept swearing up and down that it was rigged. He got it after one more try. You even get a date night with your love interest that's quite romantic. After all the meetups you can then throw your party. You can have a quiet party or go all out. I went with the go all out option because the way I saw it, this was one last hurrah and a way for everyone to blow off some steam and just have fun. It was fun and it was amusing to see a drunk Tali as well as seeing two drunk Krogan (Grunt and Wrex) headbutt each other while laughing. As the party wound down, I really liked that you get to take a group photo with everyone. It felt right and it really felt like everyone was saying goodbye before they had one last adventure together. 

The best damn team in the galaxy.

After that it was time for the big finale. There are a lot of little moments that stand out such as Shepard having one last talk with Kaidan (my Shepard's love interest) and having a heart to heart with Tali. The conversation with Garrus was also rather touching. You get a moment to see your old friends and have that before the battle talk with all of them which adds to the finality of the story ending. The battle does go in different phases and it's quite intense as you fight wave after wave of Reaper creatures like Husks, Banshees, and Brutes. It gets pretty dicey and as the story progresses you can sense the desperation as the battle continues. 

Just when I thought we had won, things get incredibly worse and another Reaper comes and it's a mess. I felt bad that Shepard had to say goodbye to Kaidan, but she wanted him and her team safe so she sent them away. Things escalate from there and after a huge explosion Shepard's lying on the ground looking rough and severely injured. This is where I found myself getting so frustrated with the game. While I understand that Shepard was injured and moving slowly, having just a dinky pistol against Husks and a Marauder was incredibly annoying. It took me three tries before I got the hang of the shaky aiming and the slow as molasses slow motion of Shepard and managed to hit the center mass of their bodies so I could continue towards the ending. 

I finally got to have my conversation with the Illusive Man and boy had he changed a lot. It confirmed my suspicions that he had been indoctrinated and that he hadn't been in control for a long time. As my Shepard tried to convince him that this was not the way and controlling the Reapers was not good for anyone, I kept thinking why is this guy stupid? It wasn't blind stupidity, it was more along the lines of arrogant stupidity. For all his claims of he knew what was best for humanity, it sure didn't feel like it. At least I was able to save Anderson only to have him sitting there having one final conversation with Shepard telling her how proud he was of her and then he died anyway. I felt sad and angry at the same time. I genuinely liked and respected Anderson. I mean, this is a crap time to be Commander Shepard with the death toll among her friends climbing.

There was barely any time to mourn because we still had to unleash the Crucible. This is the part of Mass Effect 3 that had me scratching my head and wondering what the hell happened. While talking to the Catalyst you find you have this machine that has three options: synthesis, control, or destroy. Finding out that the Citadel is the catalyst is bizarre enough, but to have this machine that will defeat the Reapers with three options is a weird design flaw. Also, why did the Reapers not destroy the Crucible while it was being built? Considering how bad things got, they could have done it. It also bothered me that among the three options there was a similarity of a damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario. Synthesis makes everyone some odd hybrid of organic and machine while control makes Shepard give up their corporeal body. Destroy will take out the Reapers, but all synthetic life will be destroyed. These are terrible choices! I can't figure out if the writers got lazy and just wanted it to be over or if they had an epiphany that they had written themselves into a corner with the story and felt this was the best they could do. This is also where you effective military strength comes into play and has to be fairly high to get the best possible outcome with the ending. However, with the extended cut it gives you a little wiggle room.  

I really thought about it and while it truly sucked (Joker, I'm sorry about EDI) I went with destroy. I truly felt it wasn't right for these crazy AI monsters to decide who got to live and who got to die every cycle with no explanation for why it was happening. I was tired of this damn war and I was tired of my Shepard losing people she cared about because of a bunch of jerks who arrogantly thought they knew what was best for everyone in the universe. I was done listening to that little glowing blue Catalyst punk so I hit that red button hard. I sat back and watched all the lovely cut scenes and got to see what that choice wrought. The Reapers were destroyed and luckily Shepard's team survived. Granted, they crash landed on some forest laden planet but they seemed to be alright. I did like seeing that Kaidan refused to put Shepard's name on the memorial wall and then that moment at the end you see Shepard take a breath so I was more than a little ecstatic to see that my Shepard lived. After the credits I found myself smiling at the Stargazer telling stories of Shepard to a young child. 

I understand why people weren't happy with the ending to Mass Effect 3. It does make it seem like the choices you made in the previous Mass Effect didn't matter. I didn't hate the ending, but I think it could have been done differently. With the extended cut I found I liked it because it didn't take away hope and it had Shepard survive. The Crucible really seems to be the weak link here and I'm not sure why they had it in there if they weren't going to elaborate a little more on why it was created or why it had such awful option buttons placed into it. For the most part, I did enjoy the game because of how great the characters on Shepard's team were and because of the great villainy of the Illusive Man. Overall, I enjoyed playing it and had fun. 

So I did it. I played the entire Mass Effect Trilogy and I have to say I liked it a lot. It had all the science fiction bells and whistles I love, some solid story telling, and a great set of characters. It's absolutely worth playing through at least once, twice, or however many times you wish in order to get all the different story scenarios. 

*Mass Effect Trilogy is playable on these platforms: PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays The Mass Effect Trilogy Part 2: Mass Effect 2

I finished Mass Effect 2 and I have to say it was pretty amazing. Continuing the story that was started in Mass Effect, it definitely led in with a huge bang. I imported my save from the first Mass Effect so I played as my female Shepard. The Normandy gets attacked and is about to crash and blow up and Shepard gets everyone out, but then dies of asphyxiation from a suit breach. Seeing Shepard die really sucked. I thought, wow how is this going to turn out? What are we going to do without Shepard? It turned out that others like Liara had thought of that and Shepard was resurrected by Cerberus two years later. I really had an issue with that. I mean Cerberus was the group that Shepard was fighting in Mass Effect 1 because they were doing some pretty unethical and dangerous things. The deal is Shepard doesn't have to work for Cerberus, she can work with them and with their leader the Illusive Man and she's in charge. I didn't trust him at all. He seemed so shifty and it always felt like he was never telling the whole truth. I do have to give credit to Martin Sheen for giving a great performance as the Illusive Man.

The Illusive Man, very ominous. 

Shepard is needed once again to save the galaxy. Human colonists are disappearing and Shepard is sent to a colony that has recently been attacked. This means you get a brand new ship, the Normandy SR-2. It has even more upgrades and looks amazing and comes with a computer AI known as EDI. Shepard and a couple of new companions explore the colony and discover that the Reapers are working through an insectoid species known as Collectors who are abducting the colonists.

A new ship with all the bells and whistles. 

Now Shepard must gather a team to stop the Collectors and save everyone. There are some familiar faces that return from Mass Effect 1 such as Joker, Tali, Garrus, and Liara. My Shepard had a romance with Kaidan so he made a brief cameo where he hugged her and then yelled at her a lot for dying, then being alive, and not telling him. Look, I understand why he had all those emotions but Shepard was dead and didn't exactly have time to let everyone in the galaxy know. They had Shepard hit the ground running after resurrection with this whole save the universe scenario. Kaidan doesn't stick around of course because he's Alliance and he hates that Shepard is working with Cerberus.

Shepard with her shore party. Hey look Garrus is back!

There is even more to do and see in Mass Effect 2. Scanning all the planets for materials is important so you can fully upgrade the Normandy because it has a hand in how successful you are in your mission for the final battle. This also leads to side quests that give you materials for upgrading weapons and armor which definitely helps with the final mission as well. There are also loyalty personal quests to do for your companions which should be done so that your team is completely loyal to you because it ups the chances of everyone surviving at the end. I thought it was great that they added the Cerberus Network Pack download for free which gives you some very cool Blood Dragon Armor as well as a cool weapon. It also gives you the Firewalker side quests and a new companion Zaeed. They also offered the Stolen Memory DLC for free which gives you another new companion with Kasumi.

The Blood Dragon armor is very cool. 

The combat system seems to be much better here and upgrading the skills give Shepard some pretty cool ammo choices such as cryo ammo and incendiary ammo. Healing seems to be a bit more streamlined with the idea that you need to get behind cover until the meter for your shields charges up. It does make you plan out your tactics a little more carefully during a battle. The hacking mini game is also a lot better here and easier to do with the door hacking and the code hacking. It was a refreshing change from Mass Effect 1. The environments are great and exploring space, seeing the variety of planets and other systems in the galaxy are beautifully done. Sometimes it can be hard to see planets on the map because they can be quite small, but I found that doing another pass around would highlight where it was so I knew where I needed to go. The story in Mass Effect 2 is even better than the first and you get to see a bit more depth to Shepard and Shepard's companions. I especially liked Tali's personal quest because it showed a little more of her and who she is. There are romance options in here also and Shepard can either choose to continue the romance from Mass Effect 1 or start fresh with a new romance here.

Get into cover, shoot, rinse, and repeat. 

The side quests for Firewalker were alright. There were a couple of pretty good ones especially one that was interesting with a bit of a dark story to it that brings up the question of ethics in science and technology. I was glad the Mako was gone and I didn't have to drive it anymore. However, I found something I hated even more than the Mako which I didn't think was possible. I give you the M-44 Hammerhead. This was an infantry fighting vehicle. Let that sink in for a minute. The Hammerhead is supposed to be an infantry fighting vehicle which is also used for things like mining so it should be able to withstand intense heat and cold. It should be able to fight and be a total badass piece of weaponry. This was not the case at all. Not only could the Hammerhead not do any of those things, it was even worse at maneuvering than the Mako and that's saying something. If you got hit too many times, you'd blow up and have a mission failure. Factor in the fact that you can not save at all while in the Hammerhead and you're left with an insane level of frustration. There should have at least been an autosave in this piece of junk. It also made me wonder why they even bothered making a new vehicle if they couldn't at least improve upon it and make it better than the Mako. This really missed the mark and they should have just skipped creating it altogether. The Normandy is better than the Hammerhead any day.

The Hammerhead, even worse than the Mako. 

The final battle is all kinds of intense, but it is incredible and great. My Shepard was a Paragon so there was no way in Hell I was going to let the Illusive Man have anything. Sure, I made him angry and he didn't like it one bit, but I think one of my companions had a point when they brought up the fact that maybe down the road the Illusive Man would try to create his own Reaper. There were just too many variables and unknowns about him that I felt my Shepard could not trust. The choice I made was the best one for my play through. The ending was fantastic and gave a bit of foreshadowing towards Mass Effect 3.  Of course, there are a myriad of choices that lead you down the Paragon path or the Renegade one. It's entirely up to you as you work on saving the galaxy and everyone in the Mass Effect universe. Mass Effect 2 definitely is better than the first one because of the characters and because the story is even more intense and developed giving you even more insight into just how vast and powerful the enemy that Shepard is fighting really is. It's worth playing and a lot of fun to play. Now, I'm ready for Mass Effect 3!

Mass Effect is playable on these platforms: PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mother Gamer Plays The Mass Effect Trilogy Part 1: Mass Effect

Before you say anything, I know. How is it that I have never played the Mass Effect games especially with my love of science fiction and hugely epic adventures in space? I just never got around to it, but when I saw that the Mass Effect Trilogy was for sale I decided to pick it up and give it a try. This is part one of the Mother Gamer Mass Effect posts. I started of course at the beginning with the first game, Mass Effect.

The character designs were easy to navigate (I chose to play as a female Shepard and chose the Infiltrator class) although I noticed that Bioware seems to really like several different shades of super short hair or bald much like in Dragon Age. Either way, there were a lot of choices and I found something I liked and then started the game.

Shepard, ready to save the galaxy. 

I found the story interesting right from the start. It hooks you in really well with the first mission and the introduction of a sentient artificial intelligence known as the Geth who attack Shepard and company during said mission. The story goes from there with a lot of interesting side quests to go along with the main missions.

There's a lot to see and do in Mass Effect and I enjoyed exploring all of it. One of the places I quite liked was the Citadel which showcased a variety of different alien species and cultures. I exhausted all the conversation options learning about all of them. I found the Elcor particularly interesting in their speech and mannerisms. The Hanar which look like jellyfish were also pretty cool.

Just a few of the cool aliens. 

Shepard's team is pretty varied too with humans and aliens. You can only have three in a party which isn't so bad, but I wished I could have a team of four. I liked having Wrex and Tali in my party because they were great in heavy combat situations and I found them to be intriguing complex characters, especially with Wrex. You do have the opportunity to explore a romance among a few of your team members as well (I chose Kaidan) and it adds a little extra fun to the story. It does have conversation choices as you talk to your companions and other people setting you on your path to Paragon or Renegade. I went the Paragon route for this play through.

Shepard teams up with Wrex and Tali.

The menu navigation is easy and the battle controls are easy to handle also. I had issues with the aiming aspect when firing a weapon, but upgrading Shepard's accuracy fixed that fairly easily. Upgrading skills for Shepard and companions is nice and easy to do. You can also add upgrades to your armor and weapons which is easy to do and helpful as well.  It killed me that a couple of times the game would drop a frame rate and freeze causing me to have to turn off the PS3 and reboot the system. There was also an odd glitch where a party member died and disappeared from my party altogether leaving me with a just two party members team. I asked one of my friends about this and they expressed surprise because apparently that was a glitch that happened in the original release of the game. Honestly, that irritated me a lot. It's the trilogy and while it's cool that I can play all three games like this why wouldn't you at least fix the known glitches instead of releasing it with the same exact glitches? It smacks of incompetence and a bit of greed.

That wasn't the only thing that bothered me. The hacking mini game drove me up the damn wall. It was like a game of Simon Says on crazy adrenaline and if I didn't hit the buttons right as they lit up or didn't move fast enough, I failed. It got so bad to the point that I would save my game before attempting it and then swear a lot when I would have to reload the last save and try again. It does give you the option of bypassing it with an item known as omnigel which is convenient if you have enough of it. However, it is ridiculous how difficult that mini game was and I said all kinds of mean and nasty swear words while trying to do it. And then we have the Mako. 

The Mako or as I called it, the paper tank. 

For driving around and exploring all the awesome planets, the Mako is great. It was cool to go look around at all the different environments, survey minerals, and scan things. When it came to battles with Geth, Thresher Maws, and rapid fire turrets it really sucked to the point of frustration. I took to calling the Mako the paper tank because it could not take a hit at all and driving it while trying to fire missiles and weapons felt awkward and cumbersome. Battles in the Mako made me groan in agony and I just did my best to get through it. I got pretty adept at driving in circles around enemies and even running them over to try and level the field. It could have been great and the controls could have been more streamlined to make it an amazing fighting machine. Instead it was a giant brick only good for holding up that wonky corner of your bookshelf.

Those issues aside, the thing that Mass Effect really has going for it is the story. It has a plot that I felt was great because it had interesting characters and explored some very cool ideas with all the alien races and even had an intriguing history about an ancient alien race. It is obvious with the story telling that they did intend this to be a trilogy because while it ties up a lot of the other hanging threads, it leaves the big one open for a continuation in the next game naturally. 

Considering how old the game is, the environments and character designs look great. I loved exploring space and scanning all the different planets and reading all the factoids about each one. It showed that a lot of thought went into each one. I couldn't land on all the planets, (some of them couldn't support life at all such as a gas planet) but the ones I could were a lot of fun to explore as I did the main missions and the side quests. There's two DLC missions included in the first game that are fun to play also. 

Enjoying the view on Luna. 

Overall, I enjoyed playing the first Mass Effect. I liked Shepard and I liked Shepard's companions and learning about them and who they were. I loved the story and really got into it which says a lot for how good the writing is. The voice acting wasn't terrible and I did chuckle when I recognized Seth Green's voice as Joker. I liked Joker a lot and found him to be funny and smart. He really is a fantastic pilot. The combat on foot was alright and manageable. The combat in the Mako drove me up the wall and the hacking mini game really sucked. That being said, I think Mass Effect is a solid game and I did have fun playing it because of the great story and because of the story driven character development. It's definitely worth playing through at least once. Now, I'm off to start Mass Effect 2!

*Mass Effect Trilogy is playable on: PS3, Xbox360 and PC