Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Many developers become well known for one, maybe two games. While folks may have played a company’s entire catalog, it’s usually pretty easy to pick out a magnum opus. For a company like BioWare, though, that can be a tricky prospect. Knights of the Old Republic was revolutionary for many gamers, creating a whole new era of the Star Wars universe. Baldur’s Gate 2 is regarded as one of the best cRPGs ever made. For some, it is their first outing into their own sci-fi universe that marks BioWare’s peak. Today’s game is Mass Effect, developed by BioWare and released on the Xbox 360 in 2007.
Mass Effect follows Commander Shephard who has accidentally stumbled upon an artifact from an ancient civilization which shows them a prophecy of death and war on the horizon. They also discover that this artifact was the target of a rogue Spectre agent, Saren Arterius. The Galactic Council makes Shephard a Spectre agent as well, giving them free rein to protect the galaxy as they see fit, and sending them off to discover evidence of Saren’s betrayal.
Mass Effect plays as a mix between third-person shooter and RPG. Coming off of Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect has experience points that players earn from completing quests, killing enemies, and discovering items, allowing characters to level up. Each character has a number of traits that can have points allocated to them that increase their various special abilities or passive stats. Combat plays out not like an RPG, though, but more like a third-person shooter. Players have to buy weapons and manage their equipment but when actually fighting enemies, players must hide behind cover, aim and shoot at enemies, and give tactical commands to their allies, all in real-time.
Mass Effect development started very quickly after Knights of the Old Republic and despite fans wishes at the time, BioWare actually never had any intention of doing a Knights of the Old Republic 2 or 3. While the announcement of Mass Effect disappointed many Star Wars fans hoping for another entry in a galaxy far, far away, most quickly changed their tune upon the game’s release. The game received strong reviews and quickly became a major selling point for the Xbox 360 console. Critics had their quibbles with the combat system and the clunky inventory management but fans and critics alike generally agreed that the overall package was excellent. Mass Effect quickly became a trilogy of games and while it’s certainly not perfect, many fans still consider the Mass Effect trilogy of games to be BioWare’s magnum opus.
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