Six months after BioWare's stunning science fiction RPG exploded onto the Xbox 360, PC owners now have the chance to jump into the Mass Effect universe. BioWare's drafted in help from Massachusetts developer Demiurge Studios to help tweak some of the 360 game's annoyances - but has it resulted in a better experience? We pit the two Mass Effects against each other in a sci-fi showdown to find out which version is most deserving of your hard-earned cash.

If all you want to see is how the two versions compare visually, head straight to our comparison screen shots.

Graphics

Mass Effect's graphics are stupendous on both the Xbox 360 and the PC. Let's get that out of the way first. The film grain effect, stunning backgrounds and character detail help create perhaps the coolest, most cinematic sci-fi game ever made. But we can't get away from the fact that the PC version facilitates higher resolutions than the 360 version - much higher resolutions. The 360 version peaks at 720p, while the PC version can be set far higher. Obviously this results in a sharper, crisper game. To our eyes the biggest improvement is in the character faces, which in increased res look so convincing you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching a live action movie.

The graphical differences extend to performance improvements too. The 360 version suffered from incredibly annoying texture pop in. This has been almost entirely eradicated for the PC version. Mass Effect on 360 was about as immersive an experience as you could hope for, but when bits of armour and face textures appeared as if from nowhere seconds after the main model loaded it reminded you that, actually, you were playing a video game after all. The problem simply doesn't exist on the PC version.

Verdict:

We happen to think a game's graphics are more to do with the overall aesthetic, the look and feel, than resolutions and performance. That's why a high definition game can look worse than a standard definition Wii game. We loved the aesthetic of the 360 version - the film grain and motion blur all playing a part in the 80s sci-fi feel of the game. For us the increased resolution doesn't necessarily make the game's aesthetic better. Much more important is the improved texture pop-in performance. It is for that reason that the PC version just about pips the Xbox 360 version.

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User Comments

STAR's Avatar

STAR

Would really have liked to have played MASS EFFECT on th PS3, i like the concept! It looks really good!
Would like to know what the specs are on the pc they are using to compare graphics and gameplay with the xbox360.
Posted 11:38 on 18 November 2009
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WTF

While I agree the PC version is superior to the 360, the comparison pictures are ****ing bulls**t. Yeah, the resolution is higher on the PC, but your 360 screenshots have brightness way the hell up, and contrast way too low. Either your TV sucks ass, or you need to calibrate it. The difference is not that drastic.
Posted 05:00 on 31 January 2009
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PCovrXBX

The "kick back on the big screen" benefit is easily overturned with a 30" PC monitor with your game resolution at 2560x1600. The game is breathtakingly beautiful. If you don't like that, you can buy a DVI to HDMI cable and a bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo and just play it on your big screen with all the benefits of the PC version + the confveniences of the xbox version.
Posted 19:47 on 11 January 2009
Qtomb3D's Avatar
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Qtomb3D

Just to make sure: I am saying that the scenes look better on my Xbox360 then what u see on this site.
Posted 12:20 on 28 December 2008
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Qtomb3D

When I compare the scenes they show here to the same scenes on my xbox360 it looks quite a bit better so I wonder where the colour/quality loss comes from?
Posted 12:04 on 28 December 2008
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Painful

The game may be better on the PC... if you are one of the lucky few who encounter no graphics problems. I meet or exceed the reqs for ME, but the game glitches and crashes constantly on my PC.
Posted 04:30 on 23 December 2008
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Kazaakas

One very nice feature of the pc is: You can disable the AWFUL grain effect, :D
Posted 16:16 on 01 October 2008
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Sheyy

lol, as say SirMike it an contrast manipulation, no fair play guys... not fair play, u can get same quality with your HDTV
Posted 08:33 on 16 August 2008
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daa

my game looked as bad on pc ...then I turned up the gamma in video settings
Posted 06:06 on 13 July 2008
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Gear_Head2008

Whoooooooo!!!!

i played mass effect on my friends 360 a few weeks after it came out.... LOVED IT!
now that i have it on pc i love it EVEN MORE! The graphics are awesome! beats the 360 by miles...

Maxxed it out on my 8800 GTS 320mb upped the shadow resolution heaps and looks even better!
Posted 00:50 on 25 June 2008
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LeftoverSocial

This game is so much better on the PC, it isn't even funny. The framerate gags and texture pop-ins prevented me from really enjoying it on my 360, and never got past Noveria on my rental. The PC version runs like butter on highest settings, 1280x1024 on my budget 8600GT, and theres no pop-in. The interface is also better by leaps and bounds.

There isn't a single category where the 360 has the PC version beat.
Posted 05:42 on 10 June 2008
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN

I got this game yday for pc, and this game is great gfx! I only played 15 mins worth, but i wouldnt say there was no eye candy, the gfx are sharp, weither the 360 or pc is better, imo i like this game on the pc, its feels like a good pc format to me. What ever you prefer to your controls really.
Posted 13:44 on 07 June 2008
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Sapjes

Looking @ the last picture comparison; the PC is definitely far nicer. And the PC screenshots taken here don't resemble max settings... You'll have to come and look at my maxxxed settings to fully appreciate the extra details and higher texture resolution (immediately noticed looking at the suits for example)... And look at those dirty edges in the last comparison... Man, I love this game after only a few hours playing... LOVE IT!
Posted 22:48 on 06 June 2008
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SirMike

ROTFL, Very nice contrast manipulation :D Just enough for kid who will spread the word "PC version is better".

http://img100.imageshack.us/my.php?image=lol1ce4.jpg
http://img338.imageshack.us/my.php?image=lol2fk1.jpg
Posted 21:40 on 05 June 2008
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Woffls

PC games usually look better when they're released six months later, this is no exception, and with keyboard shortcuts a lot of people will prefer it to the relatively convoluted 360 method.

That said, I have completed Mass Effect 3 times and done a ton of side quests and I think it's the second best game of this generation so far, so it doesn't matter if the PC version is better, because the 360 version will blow you away. And most people's PC's wont run Mass Effect well enough anyways.
Posted 02:22 on 29 May 2008

Game Stats

System Requirements
Release Date: 05/06/2008
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 12
Site Rank: 260 7
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