I’ll Miss You, Mass Effect

I’ll miss you, terrible user interface.

I’ll miss you, obnoxiously long elevator rides.

I’ll miss you, Mako that refuses to bow to the laws of physics.

I’ll miss you, inconsistent cover system.

I’ll miss you, unnecessarily complex armor choices and upgrade system.

I’ll miss you, Mako cannon inexplicably unable to depress enough to hit a target anywhere near you.

I’ll miss you, automatic melee that throws me off in combat.

I’ll miss you, clumsy combat mechanics.

I’ll miss you, sort of one-dimensional characters that laid the foundation for incredible growth over the course of the series.

I’ll miss you, sheer terror of driving across flat terrain, waiting for a thresher maw to attack.

I’ll miss you, random series of button mashes that somehow recovers artifacts.

And, 33 hours later, I’ll miss you, Mass Effect. For all your shortcomings and all the improvements made in Mass Effect 2, you made me fall for you just as hard the second time around.

Elevators, Makos, and a Damn Big Universe

I pumped 51 hours into my first Mass Effect playthrough. I explored the galaxy. I rescued hostages. I brought down Cerberus’ horrific experiments. I saved all sentient life from the Reaper vanguard, Sovereign.

I swear to god 30 of those hours were spent in elevators or the Mako.

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You start the game at the Citadel, the interstellar hub of politics and trade. The Citadel has about 225 kilometers (140 miles) of habitable surface area and those damn elevators make you feel every meter of it.

mass_effect_the_dating_sim___elevators_by_xxzoezluvzxx-d6x5iho  mass_effect__meanwhile__in_an_elevator______linear_by_roachgrace-d52u2n0ku-xlargeYou get the idea… sometimes for a full minute while the game loaded your destination.

If you left the Citadel and explored one of the galaxy’s many planets, you weren’t much better off. Standard Alliance protocol seems to demand your Mako insert anywhere but near your destination, requiring long drives over or around often impenetrable terrain. Add technology to salvage or minerals to survey, and it would not be unusual to spend 15 minutes just driving around each of the roughly 30 planet one can explore.

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I finished my second playthrough in 33 hours. Knowing what I was doing minimized elevator and Mako time to the point where it didn’t seem quite the imposition it did the first time. That, however, doesn’t make my first experience any better.

Then again, I’m sure an apology is necessary. As tedious as all that crap was, it was directly responsible for hooking me. Continue reading