I have been wanting to replay this trilogy for a very long time. Or play I should say. I played Mass Effect 1 & 2, back to back, sometime in 2012. Around the release of Mass Effect 3. I adored them both. Before I could start number 3 though, I had to head to Brisbane for a couple weeks. When I got home, my momentum was gone and I never got back to finish the trilogy.
A few years ago, I tried again. This time I purchased the trilogy on Origin, so I could play them all on my PC. Alas, there was no controller support available for the trilogy. I tried to install a mod, but had no luck. I contacted EA, got a refund (I can’t believe they actually parted with money!) and called it a day.
Soon after, it was announced that the Legendary Edition was coming. All 3 games in one remastered pack. All I had to do was wait. Until May 14th, 2021. The day after my wedding. 3 guesses how I spent my honeymoon!
If you guessed “doing my wife”, you are wrong. And immature. Grow up. If you guessed “playing Mass Effect” you are also wrong. What kind of a nerd do you think I am? If you went left field and guessed “playing Kingdom Come : Deliverance” you are correct and either a psychic or my wife. Who, for some unknown reason, decided to not file for divorce after our “honeymoon”. I did take her out for breakfast though.
Anyway, after I was done with Kingdom Come, I was ready to be obsessed with Mass Effect. And boy, did I get obsessed. I played the trilogy through (starting each game numerous times, as I am prone to do with RPG’s) and then I played the trilogy through again. Then some trophy clean up and I was finally ready to call it a day.
I tried giving “FemShep” a go, considering in the past I always played as a male. I had heard amazing things about Jennifer Hale’s voice acting. I must admit, I did like it, but I also had nothing against the performance of Mark Meer. However, moving forward, I’m team “FemShep”. I can’t picture it any other way.
I don’t mess around with character creation anymore, so I just went with the default appearance. And Renegade, obviously. On my second play through, I tried to be Paragon, but I hated it. Insanity difficulty. Auto level up was turned off, as was my squad mates power usage. I’m in control. Now that all of that is cleared up, let’s talk about how the game held up.
In short, amazingly well. I adored the first game and had minimal criticisms of it. Start to finish, it was around 20 hours to 100% complete. That was visiting every single planet as well. After playing 2 & 3 though, I didn’t enjoy going back to 1 as much. There were just a few quality of life changes that I missed. I didn’t know I needed them until I had them.
Mass Effect 2 was around 40 hours. Again, this was 100% completion and visiting all the planets. My main criticism of 2 was the lack of the M35 Mako. I really missed exploring planets by going around it on my all terrain vehicle. Something about scanning just felt so dull, especially by comparison. I soon got over it. On my second play through, I refused to do it and let almost everyone die in the final mission.
Mass Effect 3 was around 60 hours (100%, visited them all again). On my first play through, I enjoyed 3 least of all. Insanity just fell like a load of bullshit! There were so many parts that I lost my temper at and threw my controller. Or kicked something. I’m a grumpy boy. Round 2, I tweaked my build and breezed through the entire game on Insanity as through I was playing on easy. Figures.
I found the “X” button was heavily overused in Mass Effect 3, which made the combat needlessly difficult. Interact with an item, sprint, crouch, move between cover, take cover and goodness knows what else was all mapped to the “X” button. More often that not, I ended up dying because instead of sprinting, Shepard would crouch in front of the enemy.
I also really, really, really f*cking hated the Citadel DLC. Which, according to most things I’ve read, is widely considered to be one of the greatest DLC packs to have ever existed. Not only was the boss fight impossibly BS on Insanity (I got it eventually), but the rest of the DLC was cheesy and boring. I hated all of it. Especially playing as a Renegade. None of it made any sense. Check out my funny tweet : https://twitter.com/accordingtoajm/status/1417789164355870721?s=21
I think the overall story was pretty good, but also not amazing. I think the first game was a great set up. Then the second game was just the first game with a different villain and different crew mates. Still enjoyable. The third game set up to be a great conclusion, but personally I felt the endings sucked. I don’t know how I would have done it differently, but I wasn’t into it.
The Paragon/Renegade system also aged a bit poorly. It’s kind of lame how you can get pigeon holed into just picking the red or blue option instead of just saying what you want to say. Most times I enjoyed the renegade option, but sometimes it just felt stupid.
Sometimes, I also felt like it was the wrong way around. Like at the end of the first game, when you have to choose between the life of the 3 council members or an entire human fleet. I don’t understand how picking the council is considered Paragon? Wouldn’t saving the lives of the many be considered the “right” thing to do?
Playing as a Renegade throughout the games lead to some of my favourite moments in the trilogy, the Genophage quests and Wrex. From threatening him to fall in line on Virmire, to learning more about the Genophage, to ultimately lying to Wrex about curing it in Mass Effect 3.
From my standpoint, lying to Wrex was a no brainer. I could either cure the Genophage and lose the support of the Salarian Scientists or I could not cure it, gain the Salarians, but lose the support of the Krogan Army. I needed all hands on deck to defeat the Reapers, so I lied. I told my friend Wrex that I cured the Genophage, effectively solving the issue and gaining the support of both species.
I did not feel great about it at all, and even though I agreed with my decision, I hated myself for it. It was a truly wonderful piece of writing and I would say probably my favourite part in the entire trilogy. It genuinely made me feel guilty for my choices. Not as guilty as later when Wrex found out I lied and I had to kill him. I don’t want to go into that! That will stay with me for a while.
After the trilogy, I did try to get into Andromeda, but it just wasn’t the same. I appreciate them trying to do something new, but I feel the scale of the game is just to large. All of the open world stuff was boring the heck out of me. Which is a real shame, it seems like an amazing story and the combat system was really darn good. It was just that the good stuff was too often sandwiched in between horrible, stale slices of bread. Maybe even a bit mouldy.
I can definitely see myself going back and playing the trilogy through again in the future. It would be nice to go through it and just play, not worrying about trophies, difficulty or choosing the correct Paragon or Renegade response. It will be fun just to enjoy it, doing whatever I want. Maybe tryin out some different builds as well. For now though, I am spaced out. Ba-Dum, TSS! See what I did there?