Mass Effect Review

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Visit a world of your own making


As hardcore gamers get older and become lumbered with mortgages, overdrafts and the other trappings of maturity, many begin to wonder if playing games is a waste of time, and if they should be doing something more important with their lives. But with a beautifully constructed story, convincing characters and a clever structure that makes you to face the consequences of your actions, playing Mass Effect feels like stepping into an alternate world where everything you do really matters.

Like in the developer’s previous hit, Jade Empire, a sense of gravitas is delivered through conversations that have a myriad outcomes, making virtual chats feel genuine and creating a sense of attachment to your digital counterparts. The story itself - brought to life by anal attention to detail and sweeping imagination - is big enough to spawn a dozen games, and the effects of almost every decision you make can be seen as the interplanetary plot unfolds, again winding players inexorably into the experience.

Unbalanced weapons and dumbass enemies taint an otherwise perfect adventure, but Mass Effect still deserves a top score as it takes videogame narratives to staggering new heights.

See how Mass Effect did on our list of the 100 greatest games.