This is my first entry in my gaming diary for Mass Effect (Xbox 360). If you would like to know where it all began, please click here.
The short of it: A casual point-and-click gamer plays an RPG for the first time by herself.
The task: To play Mass Effect (the first one) in its entirety and to document her experiences along the way.
[Have I lost my audience yet?]
Fresh batteries in the controller, fresh cup o’ jo in my Contigo…I’m going in! [cracks knuckles]
Setting it Up
Character: In Mass Effect, the main character is called Shepard. You are made to pick between a male or female character: I chose male (don’t ask me why*). You can then customize his look to your preference. The customization thing kind of makes me go meh; at this point, I kept him as he is. You can also opt to change his first name to whichever one you choose. I named him Pepe**. Pepe Shepard.
You can then choose what class you want Shepard to be: I chose Shepard to be a soldier. According to the game, he is a combat specialist, “a tough warrior…with the widest selection of weapons.” I’m also reading now that he will also get into the thick of the fight. Making Pepe a soldier might be a mistake…
Play mode: To start, you have the choice of playing this game in three modes: The hubs told me to play this in casual mode – that way I would experience more story and not have to micro-manage my characters – casual mode it is!
Okay, let’s play!
Chapter 1: Eden Prime
My Shepard is Earthborn (meaning born on Earth – the game gives you the option to be Spaceborn too), his family is all dead. We hear a voiceover saying that he is chosen, and “the only person who can protect the galaxy.” Interesting!
Then we learn what Mass Effect is: in the year 2148, some explorers on Mars found the remains of an ancient spacefaring civilization. Decades later, through further study, they discover these artifacts hold the key to travel throughout the galaxy. The inhabitants of the galaxy call this discovery “mass effect”.
We are introduced to a few characters beside Shepard, including Nihlus, an alien called a Turian. He is an agent with extraordinary millitary power called a Spectre, sent by the higher intergalactic political authority, the Citadel Council, to keep an eye on things on Shepard’s ship, the SSV Normandy, and report back. The Council helped fund a project involving this ship. Everyone on the ship is suspicious of Nihlus and why he is there, because humans and Turians have seen conflict with each other in the past and Spectres “do what they want” including invoking violence. Nihlus is also setting Shepard up to test him to see if they should recruit him – the first human – to be a part of the Citadel Council which, up until now has several alien species but no humans. (All this political stuff is interesting and confusing – I could take a master class in it as a side mission, I think!)
Shepard’s first mission is to land on Eden Prime, a planet that humans have managed to live and colonize on. We soon discover this is a covert operation. Their mission is to retrieve a beacon, discovered by researchers, that holds the key to technology from the Protheans, a highly intelligent colony long ago dead. The last time something like this was discovered, “it propelled our technology 200 years,” and holds great importance to the entire galaxy. Eden Prime, a human planet, does not currently have the technology to study this beacon, so they plan to retrieve it and bring it back to the Citadel Council.
But, immediately we run into a problem: Eden Prime is under attack!! (Grreaat…)
At this stage, the game controls are easy to use, and I like the little direction map in the lower right corner that shows me which way to go – very helpful! Mass Effect looks great and sounds great. I’ll have to see how I do with actual action. Until next time…
* Okay, okay. I chose a dude instead of a lady because Shepard is good-lookin’ in a Matthew Fox kind of way. I’d rather see him running than a girl’s bum and hoots through the game, okay? There – full disclosure.
**Pepe comes from a conversation I had with a friend of mine from Spain. She says that a random guy in Spain is often called a “pepe”, as in “It’s just some guy” / “it’s just some pepe.” I thought that was funny.