N7 Day: Looking Back at Mass Effect
Ron Whitaker — First Time with Mass Effect
I remember my very first Mass Effect experience. I was skeptical, simply because I like to play my RPGs on the PC. But everyone was telling me how great this Xbox 360 game was going to be, so I decided to give it a try (the Bioware logo didn’t hurt). Hours later, I was enthralled. I just couldn’t get enough of the sci-fi epic that Bioware had crafted. Despite endless hours spent riding elevators or driving the Mako, my enthusiasm for the game never wavered.
The original Mass Effect nailed so many things about an action-RPG. It’s a quality game that really hasn’t been equaled since. In honor of N7 day, maybe we should all go back and give it one more playthrough.
Phil Hornshaw — Welcome to the Universe
There was a phenomenal moment during the course of the original Mass Effect when I got a glimpse of the enormity of the thing BioWare had created, and my metaphorical jaw hit the floor as I was spellbound at its simple (and literal) awesomeness.
The first was the Normandy’s arrival at the Citadel. Up to now, we’ve spent time with the Normandy, and we’ve dropped by Eden Prime — a relatively Earth-like planet. We got a mere glimpse of Sovereign during that mission and encountered Geth ground troops: all of it somewhat strange, but nothing especially other-worldly. Even the Normandy is interesting without being enormous or vastly different than anything players and sci-fi fans had encountered in other games or media.
And then we hit the Citadel. The music comes up and we see for the first time how truly small we really are. The universe is a vast place, but space is impersonal; here is a hub of civilization that’s simply enormous. The galaxy exists beyond we humans, this we know at the outset of Mass Effect, but we don’t understand the implications of that statement until this very moment. We are but a small member of a community, and that community doesn’t need us.
Mass Effect was remarkable in a lot of ways, but one of the biggest for me was the way it treated humanity not as the center of existence, but a mere additive to it. There aren’t many other highly visible sci-fi properties that take that approach: in Star Trek, humans are partner race in the United Federation of Planets; in Star Wars, they are the most numerous and powerful race in the known galaxy. It’s rare that you see a property buck that tradition.
What I felt upon my first arrival at the Citadel was a sense of being humbled. That Mass Effect later moved into the realm of “humans as pivotal to the universe” was kind of upsetting to me, because things felt so much more real, so much more honest, during that first docking with the enormous space station, and I realized how small I really was in the game’s world.
We’d like to hear from you about your Mass Effect experiences — are you firing up the trilogy for this N7 Day? Were there moments that grabbed you as being something special? Can you enjoy the games, or are you still hung up on the ending? Let us know what you think in the comments.