Mass Effect Andromeda recently came out, and whilst I’m still playing and formulating my own opinion about Andromeda I thought it might be a good time to talk about my favourite story of the Last Generation.
Make no mistake, Mass Effect isn’t perfect. The first game has actually put me off doing a complete playthrough of the full series again. The original game isn’t particularly good in it’s execution of mechanics or gameplay. The gunplay leaves a lot to be desired, I used to just hold down the trigger and run around until everything fell over (you could mod the assault rifle so that it would never overheat). What makes Mass Effect good is the world building it set up for the next two games. The story elements this game introduced were excellent and the Battle of the Citadel is one of my most memorable moments in gaming. The characters of the game are iconic, with personalities like Garrus and Wrex being some of the most enduring images of my experience in the last generation.
The original game also benefited from having a complete story, chasing Saren across the Galaxy and stopping his and Sovereign’s attack on the seat of Government. To paraphrase Breaking Bad, the perfect formula for a story is “Growth, Decay and then Transformation”. This segment of the story is Growth. Shepard starts the game as an officer on the Normandy and ends it as Commander of their own ship and a member of the Council’s Spectre Unit (the elite special forces of the Galaxy). Shepard is at the height of their abilities at the end of the game, the immediate threat is defeated and Humanity’s place on the Council is assured. It also leaves enough questions unanswered to leave you wondering about the greater threat to come but not too many to make you feel like it’s unfinished.
Where Mass Effect fails at being a mechanically impressive game, it certainly makes up for it in developing an engrossing storyline and world that leaves you wanting to find out more. This was the first game I completed every single sidequest in the game. It hasn’t stood the test of time as a game but, it is artistically important in the medium for it’s contributions to storytelling.