Let’s get this out of the way: We love Mass Effect. We love the gameplay. We love the universe. We love the lore. I love the characters (even Kaiden Alenko, although he’s, like, right at the bottom of the pile, just below Keeper #6). And the story? Well...
Gaming narratives are still a developing art. For every engaging Spec Ops: The Line there’s an excruciating Call of Duty. For every fabulous Fallout 3 there’s a flat Fallout 4. While gameplay should always come first (unless you’re a walking simulator, in which case, go nuts with world-building and storytelling), if you’re going to attach a story to your shooter, then it needs to be bullet-proof.
Mass Effect is one of those games that’s frequently hauled out of its dusty cave and paraded in front of the world as an example of storytelling done right. It’s an RPG, and narrative is part of increasing the player’s immersion. Replaying the original trilogy, though, shines a fresh and jaded light on the game. Namely, the story is good, sure, in a popcorn movie kinda way, but scratch the sci-fi surface and you’ll find a husk of a narrative that’s just not as great as you remember.
Word-wrangler and video gamer on the rocks. Once completed the original Resident Evil in 1 hour 4 minutes. Prefers Irish coffee over any other kind. Former movie trailer writer, now rehabilitated. Wrote the viral videos for the movie Watchmen. Likes sarcasm, cynicism, smoking and you.