Video game review: Mass Effect
February 28, 2018 | 2:47 PM
by Times News Service

In the year 2148, humanity finally found an answer to the question ‘are we alone?’ The answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

Humanity has discovered that interstellar space travel is now possible, thanks to the existence of portals known as mass relays. These relays provide spaceships with the momentum – based on the mass of the ship – required to jump from one solar system to the other. This ‘Mass Effect’ has allowed humanity to not just colonise other worlds, but interact with several diverse races of alien species.

Welcome to the world of Mass Effect, Bioware’s standout RPG. Or one of their finest, anyway – Dragon Age is pretty awesome too.

Mass Effect is set in the year 2183, when the humans have joined the scientifically-gifted, reptilian Salarians, the militaristic, communal ornithological Turians, and the wise, all-female surprisingly long-lived Asari on the Citadel, the home of the Milky Way’s galactic government.

Although humanity is now part of the intergalactic community, the other three races which make up the Citadel Council – the galaxy’s top politicians – see the humans as too impulsive and unpredictable, and are therefore unwilling to give them a say in galactic politics, and seem extremely reluctant to even let humanity join the order of Spectres, the council’s best fighters, who act as their left arm, and do what needs to be done to keep the world safe.

Humanity’s doggedness, though, sees Commander Shepard become the first human to join this Special Tactics and Recon unit, with his first assignment being to answer an emergency distress beacon activated by soldiers on the planet of Eden Prime, where massive ships of alien make are decimating the local populace and the forces stationed there.

When Shepard and Lt Kaidan Alenko are sent to investigate, they’re instructed to team up with Turian Spectre Nihlus. Landing at Eden Prime, Shepard and Alenko find far more than they’ve bargained for – the geth (a race of mechanised artificial intelligences) have taken over vast swathes of the planet and are either slaughtering or capturing as many of its inhabitants. They seem to be searching for a beacon constructed by the Protheans, a now-extinct race of aliens that at one point were the pinnacle of civilisation, and controlled an empire that spanned galaxies.

Mass Effect is the sort of game that ropes you in over and over again, because of the bond that is shared between Shepard and his crew aboard the SSV Normandy, one of the galaxy’s fastest ships, of joint human-turian construction. Whether it’s hanging out with Garrus as he calibrates the Normandy’s main guns, fighting alongside Wrex and Ashley in the face of overwhelming odds, or striking up more than just a friendship with Dr T’Soni, it’s the literal humanity in this excellent game that makes you root for Shepard and the rest of his squadmates.

The Short and Skinny

Name: Mass Effect

Producers: BioWare

Genre: Sci-fi/RPG/Action

What it’s about: The Milky Way Galaxy is about to face the biggest threat it has ever encountered. Humanity’s finest has answered the call, and he’s made sure that humanity and its allies are not going to go out without a fight

Where to buy: Steam Store, Origin,, Amazon, Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace

Platforms: Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation

IGN Rating: 9.2/10 (PC), 9.3/10 (Xbox)

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