Deconstructing the game: Mass Effect

Poor balancing: As soon as I got on the Normandy I was given the option to take on one of three quests. I picked Noveria, and after my first experience with the vehicle that I hate more than anything in any game, ever, I was thrown into a firefight with a bunch of droids that I had to eventually exploit glitches just to beat. This encounter took way too many times to beat for it to just be my inferior game playing holding me up, because I’m pretty good at games. Why a robot could just run out with a rocket while everything else is shooting at me from every direction, I haven’t a clue. But this was the situation I was in. Robots charged me and killed me or my party, or all of us instantly at times; I never even knew what happened. After a few times I eventually exploited the AI’s problem with navigating walls to beat the scenario and I was just relieved to be done with that part.

Fast forward to the end of the game and I could just waltz through huge groups of enemies with the right guns and upgrades. I ran into an issue with some heavy turrets, but even with 1 hit kills, I was able to get through that part in less tries than in that great battle for Noveria.

I almost stopped playing the game entirely just because of that part in the beginning. More BAD design.

How can someone sell a gun for $20K but offer to buy it back for $11?: That was the question I had to ask myself constantly when taking the time to bother to stop at any of the shops along my way. I kept seeing a whole bunch of things that were well beyond my scope of what I considered money. This kept me unable to purchase anything new for quite awhile and made shops just seem useless.

Then, as the game progressed, everything I found ended up being worth a ton. And I had a lot of extra stuff to sell, so I could make a few hundred thousand credits really quickly, but by that time I really didn’t need to buy much. I could essentially buy medi-gel upgrades and really had no need of anything else that I couldn’t just find in a crate somewhere.

Why have an economy, when it is broken and useless?

I know I promised not to talk about graphics, but: In a game so reliant on conversations and cinematic presentation, the level of constantly loading textures, poor/misplaced lighting and shadow maps as well as wildly varying quality of facial animation is unacceptable. It’s all very distracting, but I won’t harp on it. I’ll just say the level of issues with the graphics knocked me out of a sense of belief about as much as as the terrible acting did in Heavy Rain.