My thoughts on Mass Effect
Mass Effect stars Commander Shepard, a human member of the alliance a human military/government. He or she can be male or female and you can choose pretty much everything about their appearance. Hair, skin color, eye color ect. You can choose their background, whether they were an orphan on Earth, a kid who grew up on space stations with his family while they served for the alliance, or a colonist, whose parents were murdered by slavers, you can also choose if they are a war hero, ruthless, or sole survivor. Shepard's first name can also be chosen, although no one ever states it in game and can only be seen at the menu screen. Anyways, I digress. At the beginning of the game you serve one the SSV Normandy, the most elite starship in the entire galaxy. You serve under Captain Anderson. Shepard's mentor who acts like a second father two him/her. A turian spectre named Nihlus accompanies you on a mission as you are a canidate for the spectres. An elite group of agents that are above the law. You go to Eden Prime, a human colony, to recover a prothean beacon. An aincent mysterious race who vanished thousands of years ago. However a rogue spectre named Saren compromised the operation and destroys the beacon. After you go to the citadel, you meet with the council to prove that saren has gone rogue. The first part of the game focuses on gaining evidence against him and after that your goal is to hunt down Saren and bring him to justice. His motives for betraying the spectres are explained in the game and I will not spoil them here. As Mass Effect is an RPG, there are a ton of sidequests. There are some really good ones but most of them are bland and repetitive. In Mass Effect, you can chose Shepard's personality. If you are a paragon, you solve problems without resorting to violence. You are also very compassionate and caring towards your friends and allies. If you are a renegade, you are often very rude, violent, and unpleasant. You usually kill people in cold blood and show no remorse for doing so. As for violence, the game is nothing compare to what you see today. There is no gore whatsover and half of the enemies are robots called geth. As for language, the most harsh word I heard was bitch, and this word is only used more if you play as a female character. Bastard, hell damn, and ass are only used ocassionally, and at one point during the story a character almost says bullsh*t but another character interrupts him and only the "bull" part is heard. The most concerning part of the game is probably the sex, although it is very mild and is nowhere near the likes of GTA. One mission requires you to go to a bar were alien and human females are wearing revealing clothing and doing provocative dances. You can even sit in a chair and watch but the game does not allow you to touch the dancer and Shepard doesn't say anything to her. There is and optional romance scene in which you can woo a party member, but this doesn't happen until very late in the game. You also have to talk to the party member and get to know him/her, so it's basically like a real life relationship. The scene is very brief and lasts a little more than a minute. There is little to know nudity and the most explicit image is the butt of your partner. This relationship can also be carried over into the sequels, so it is much more than a virtual ONS. However, it is possible but optional to cheat on your partner as various crew members will show attraction to you and you can return the feeling, although you can also stay loyal and tell them you're not interested in them. The gameplay can be called sub-par, the graphics are sub-par, and the game is full of bugs, texture pop in, and frame-rate dips. However, because of it being a 7 year old game, these shortcomings are completely forgivable and most of them were fixed in the sequel. Mass Effect has a great story, underlying messages, and a potentially positive role model depending on the player. I say it's fine for anyone over the age of 13.