Mass Effect

Captain’s Log. Stardate: just before breakfast.

I’m Shepard. Commander John Shepard. You can call me whatever you like though. In fact, via the means of plastic surgery my face can be altered in any way you fancy. You can even turn me into a female. Sheila Shepard – now that’s catchy! I’m on a mission to save a whole galaxy’s entire civilization from ancient sentient beings. Have you seen The Matrix? It’s kind of like that but less confusing. Plus I’m cooler than Keanu.

Mass EffectBefore I could go galaxy saving I had to provide a council with suitable evidence to prove that somebody out there wants us humanoids wiped out. This council is located inside a large space colony named the Citadel, where upon arrival numerous people were asking for my help with a variety of quests. I helped some, but not others – it depended on the reward and my mood at the time.

It’s also within this Citadel that I started to notice a few strange things, like my new colleague Wrex – an alien warrior – walking into walls. The words “Loading – Please Wait” kept appearing in front of my eyes as I was walking down corridors, and occasionally the texture from my space amour vanished. Oh well – nothing drastic happened because of these strange goings on. In fact, they were pretty easy to ignore. Keep walking into that wall, Wrex – I’ll tape it and send it to ‘Aliens do the Funniest Things IV’, as presented by Norman Wisdom. Yeah, he’s still alive.

Captain’s Log. Stardate: Diet Coke break.

Soon after landing on our first planet myself and my two crew mates – selectable from a party of eight (eventually) – found ourselves locked in third-person combat with the Geth – a race of robotic organisms. Most were just fodder for our rifles, but there was a large variety to deal with, from Stalker Geths who crawl along walls to the mysterious Ghost Geths. My team and I have been equipped with four weapons – pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and sniper rifles – which we can swap between at any time. Extra modules can be added, including radioactive and chemical rounds, improved sightings and radar jammers. I can also order team mates around, but they only seem to respond to four commands. Fortunately they’re smart enough to take cover and change weapons given the situation. A couple of them can even use special powers to throw and lift enemies, not to mention mess with their minds. Talk about using the farce!

Captain’s Log. Stardate: around tea-time.

Today I got to take the Mako troop carrier for a spin. This heavily shielded vehicle is meant to have the same steering controls as the Warthog in Halo – a popular Earth videogame cira 2000 – but ours must have a dodgy drive shaft as it skids all over the place. The roof mounted gun turret has a habit of overheating quickly too, but at least me and my crew can jump out at any time to take out hostiles. It’s also equipped with a boost to get out of tight spots. Don’t go expecting to finish off many foes by driving into them – they just bounce along the floor for a bit then get back up. I quickly found that knocking them off ledges has the desired effect though, and as a bonus we don’t have to go scraping muck off the windscreen.

Captain’s Log. Stardate: almost nap time.

I almost forgot to mention – the council has given me my own ship. The Normandy is a real beauty, and it comes with a very helpful crew. I went down on the bottom deck and put some new weapons in my colleagues’ lockers from them to use and also checked out the Galaxy Map. We have the power to go anywhere at any time, although not all of the planets are picturesque. I’ve spent a good few hours on deck talking to my fellow soldiers about their history and personal problems. Some are worried that the aliens on board will turn their backs on us, and want me to confine them to the sleeping quarters for the rest of the trip. It’s a hard decision to make, but not as hard as the one I had to make earlier – a cure had been found to stop a race from becoming extinct, but our enemy Seran was turning this race into slave warriors.

One of our soldiers became very concerned about whether we should nuke the base or not, and although I tried to reason with them it ended up a bit messy. It’s a shame, because I’m sure I chose the right things to say to stop anything fatal from happening. I guess sometimes the line between right and wrong is a thin one.

Captain’s Log. Stardate: sun-arise, early in the morning.

Some 30 hours and my quest is all over. I’ve heard that straight-to-the-point, no questions asked kind of guys have been able to do it in half that time. I’d like to think of myself as a sightseer, really, but sadly not all of my missions were as exciting as the last. At least money is easy to come by, which means I was always able to buy the right equipment to get the job done. As I said in a previous log, some decisions I had to make were taxing and could potentially alter outcomes massively, although for a soldier I do a hell of a lot of talking. Which makes this a good time for me to shut up.

Leave a Comment