Mass Effect

Mass Effect Review for PC

On: PCXbox 360PS3

As the first human Specter - sworn defenders of galactic peace - your mission is to halt the advancing armies of a legendary agent gone rogue. But as you lead your elite team across hostile alien worlds, you discover the threat is greater than imagined.

Review verdict Read Review
10Out of 10
Back to game info
Mass Effect on PC is finally here
Mass Effect on PC is finally here

Mass Effect on PC is finally here

November last year I gave the Xbox 360 version of Mass Effect 10-out-of-10 on this very website. It blew me away, ticking all my sci-fi boxes in one giant cinematic assault on the senses. So good was Mass Effect that in my personal view it was 2007's best game, beating BioShock, Halo 3 and The Orange Box.

It was not without its flaws of course. Soon after we tore through the game we published our Top 10: Things that will make Mass Effect 2 magic feature, where we outlined our hot tips for BioWare's inevitable sequel. We called for an improvement on graphical glitches, quicker loading times, better Mako controls, better squad mate control and better equipment management, among other things. Well whaddya know? BioWare, along with Demiurge Studios, hasn't waited for the sequel to fix the annoyances of the original game. It's gone and sorted loads of them out for Mass Effect on PC. And PC owners will love them for it.

Before we get to that I suppose I'd better run through what all this Mass Effect madness is all about, since there are bound to be a few PC owners out there who didn't look on at the Xbox 360 release last year with eyes burning green with envy. Mass Effect is a sci-fi RPG from the makers of the excellent Star Wars: Knights of the Old Repulic games. You play Commander Shepard, a human soldier hell bent on preventing a rogue alien agent called Saren from leading a robot army invasion of the galaxy. The story is first class, the conversation system a revelation and the single sex scene a much ado about nothing. But the best thing about Mass Effect is its style. The film grain, the stupendous Blade Runner inspired soundtrack, the cool sound effects, the gravity-defying biotic powers and the sheer epicness of everything combine to present perhaps the coolest, most involving science fiction universe gamers have ever had the pleasure of losing themselves in.

So, back to the changes. Mass Effect's resolution can now be pumped up sky high, in accordance with PC gaming rules. The game does look incredibly crisp, as you'd expect. Character faces seem to benefit most from the sharper visuals. For me though, resolution is only one part of what makes a game look great. Indeed after only 10 minutes play I stopped noticing the higher resolution and I fell back on my default amazement at the overall aesthetic. Ultimately the game looks absolutely amazing on PC and it looks absolutely amazing on 360. Mass Effect on 360 is a sight to behold. Mass Effect on PC is a sharper sight to behold.

The game enjoys a much higher resolution on PC

The game enjoys a much higher resolution on PC

The more obvious graphical improvements are performance related ones. The texture pop in that plagued the 360 version is almost entirely eradicated. Detail on character faces and armour is there instantaneously, not a second late. In the 360 version the texture pop in reminded me that, actually, I was playing a video game after all. I don't have to worry about that with the PC version.

Item management has been vastly improved. Now equipping new weapons, and new mods to those weapons, is much less of a chore. The clunky equip system from the 360 game has been scrapped in favour of a much simpler interface where you can see everything available to you from the same part of the screen. Similar items are grouped together, so you'll be able to bulk convert duplicates picked up on your galactic travels into omni-gel. You'll be spending less time trying to work out what's the best pistol in your bulging bag of weapons and more time using it to send Saren packing, a change we welcome with open arms.

The decryption mini-game has been removed in favour of an odd 2D Frogger-style mini-game which sees you use the W,A,S,D keys to weave a small block in and out of other moving blocks and into the centre of a circle. Like the 360 version's face button mini-game, it's not exactly fun, and not in keeping with the seriousness of the rest of the game, but it's there nonetheless. PC owners will probably find their Mass Effect mini-game as much of an annoyance as 360 owners found theirs.

The Mako, Mass Effect's planet exploring Warthog knock-off, has enjoyed a control tweak. The mouse and keyboard interface grants more control over driving and shooting and, as a result, it's much more fun to use. You'll find deftly darting about, boosting to avoid enemy fire and skilfully dispatching giant Geth Destroyers all at the same time much easier than on the 360's clunky Mako. It's as if BioWare has let Shepard loose with an upgraded Mako that makes the poor 360 one feel obsolete.

New stuff to check out

7 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

EISPower's Avatar

EISPower

The best PC game ever made. (Mass Effect Rulles )
Posted 11:15 on 10 March 2011
Matell's Avatar
Delete Post

Matell

It is an extraordinary game, easy to learn, and with superb storyline. I played the PC version, and found out it is the best sci-fi game in a loooong time.
-very thrilling story
-nice graphics
-simple and easy combat sistem
-repetttivness of some quests and pretty long loads, but then again, it didn'y mind me.So buy/get the game, 'cause you'll love it.
Posted 22:25 on 24 June 2008
Jazzman's Avatar
Delete Post

Jazzman

Why so many poor review writers out there? I read this review and still have no idea what its like to play the game - the ultimate answer I'm looking for is will I like it and I can't tell with this review. Is it difficult to learn/play? Wesley, please retake review writing 101.
Posted 17:56 on 29 May 2008
r3dshift's Avatar
Delete Post

r3dshift

Whenever anyone gives a game a 10/10, they lose all credit to me. This game is a strong 8, nothing more.
Posted 11:34 on 29 May 2008
Jake's Avatar
Delete Post

Jake

Despite the bogus DRM included with the game - I can't wait to get my hands on this game. I beat it on 360 but this is the definitive version.
Posted 22:22 on 28 May 2008
DavidTheGreat's Avatar
Delete Post

DavidTheGreat

Pre-ordered the pc version, cant wait to have it. Im a big fan of the KOTOR series and NWN. Great review
Posted 12:50 on 28 May 2008
ioryadragon's Avatar
Delete Post

ioryadragon

not sure for 10, but 8.5 - 9 it deserves.
Posted 17:37 on 27 May 2008

Game Stats

System Requirements
Mass Effect
10
Out of 10
Mass Effect
  • Improved squad control
  • Improved Mako controls
  • Texture pop-up greatly reduced
  • Lift loading times still too long
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 05/06/2008
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 12
Site Rank: 241 11
View Full Site