Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Magic of Mass Effect

Now, I haven't spoken too kindly of Mass Effect 3's ending. But after about 2 months, I decided to play through Mass Effect 3 again, this time with the extended cut. And I'll admit, now that the initial fury is gone, I can consider this an acceptable ending. I type this while I listen to the Mass Effect trilogy soundtrack, which has definitely provoked an emotional response out of me, and drew me to say this.

Let me be clear - I adore the Mass Effect series. I bought Mass Effect 2, wondering what it was about, and since then I have poured hundreds of hours into the three games. Mass Effect has become one of my favorite game series ever, second only to The Elder Scrolls. I loved the deep, enthralling story, how many choices you have, and how those choices affect the story. I grew to love the characters, all of them, and how they interact with Shepard. Speaking of which, I love Shepard as the main character. He/she is a much deeper main character than you'll find in many games these days, and I personally loved both voice actors. Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale did a hell of a job reeling players in and conveying Shepard's emotions.

Probably the most awe-inspiring thing about the series to me has been the music. Jack Wall and Sam Hullick came into Mass Effect 1 as some relatively unknown composers in the gaming world. But the soundtrack of both Mass Effect 1 and 2 is simply amazing. And Clint Mansell's work in Mass Effect 3 was simply amazing. The soundtracks are what pulled me into the series, and they are a good bit of the reason why I still play.

I still create new characters in Mass Effect 1 so I can experience a completely different journey. And I think that's the greatest part of all. As the stargazer (voiced by Buzz Aldrin) at the end of Mass Effect 3 says, "every life is a special story of its own."

Mass Effect is an extremely special series to me. It feels me with a feeling that I can't explain, that I can't experience with any other game, not even The Elder Scrolls. That mixed in with wonder, inspiration. It's amazing.

I'm going to leave you with the track "Vigil" from the first Mass Effect. It also plays at the end of Mass Effect 3. This song captures the magic of the series.

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