Mass Effect: Seven musings from a newcomer

This week, I have begun Mass Effect. Having resisted the franchise for years (it always seemed to me that its essential features—making freaky first contact with an array of alien species, and sticky cover shooting—could be satisfied more cheaply and efficiently with one of those Star Trek-themed porn films), it was finally time. I decided not to go with the new Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which has nipped, tucked, and trimmed the series to modern standards, but an Xbox 360 copy. I am a believer in playing the original version of anything, whether that entails squinting through a scumbled resolution or the retrieval of dusty hardware. Here are seven things—some good, some bad—that I have taken away from the first few hours.

Commander Shepard

Mass Effect Shepard

Lacking the mental fortitude to spend fifteen minutes customising Shepard, swapping out noses and sanding down chins to suitably heroic proportions, I was relieved to find his default appearance not only fetching but oddly familiar. He was graced with a good jaw, closely cropped hair, eyes that signalled a sea of buried pain and an undousable drive for results, and (on the Xbox 360 version at least) a stylish plastic sheen. No wonder these games are celebrated for the choices they leave up to the player, I thought, this guy is Action Man!

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