Have never played Mass Effect 1. The story is almost non-existent. Evil aliens who you will barely ever see (and are only pawns of the evil aliens from the first game), are trying to kill lots of people. You must destroy them. There are no twists and there isn't even really a villain apart from generic alien species. Several people will refuse to join you in your aims for tiny undeveloped reasons and the only problem in the plot is presented by a ridiculous example of railroading. The plot has no impact on either prequel, or sequel except for something that's treated almost more as a throw away fact, without impact on what's happening. Monster of the Week is perfect for this The combat isn't ever quite frenetic enough to be a shooter, nor really has the strategical depth for an RPG. You can choose from a few abilities, micromanage the position of you're allies and on normal you really should only die once or twice in the entirety of the game. The few times my squadmates decided standing on top instead of behind cover was a good idea, I found it simple enough to finish off the rest by myself (including what I felt was the hardest boss fight of the game). Combat is cover based and most problems can be solved by time and caution. The last boss fight doesn't even need that. Despite this, the actual missions are varied and excellent. Dialogue/decisions show you which is the ruthless and virtuous decisions and allow you to choose between the two but not much else. You can know the outcome without even reading what will be said. If you're evil or good enough red/blue options become available that will always solve the problem. (Two team mates trying to kill each other? Select the blue option and they will agree that they're both in the wrong and immediately learn to co-operate.) The crippling of the choice system removes all effort and reward from building relationships and solving the very clever moral problems. It's made worse, instead of understanding a character, all you need to earn a team mates loyalty, is complete a side quest. Emotional attachment not required. But despite this and the setting is detailed and the game can be moving and heart pounding. Mass Effect is more enjoyable than it has right and you would be mad to miss one of the ultimate gaming trilogies. The genre is addictive and only Bioware really makes games like it.
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