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The Legacy of Mass Effect

As everyone knows,the last entry of the Mass Effect Franchise,Mass Effect 3 was released back in march.While the ending was incomplete and after a lot of protest & campaign Bioware released the Extended cut free dlc which did fill some plotholes of the original ending.Though it was far from perfect,it did give some sort of closure to the franchise.Nearly a month later,looking back at the journey of the 3 games brings some great revelations to me.

The first game,Mass effect,released in 2008 for pc was more on the rpg side.The cover mechanism was a bit unpolished and the inventory system could’ve been a lot better but the rest of the things introduced in the game was so much mind blowing and ahead of it’s time.The Galaxy,the mass relays,the various races,intergalactic counsil,everything was so detailed it felt a truly realized universe with vast lore & culture.I still remember my first visit to the citadel.Unforgettable.The intergalactic species-Turians,Batarians,Krogans,Salarians each had their distinct characteristics that all made sense.Just like the Humans evolved from the apes,the Turians is a species evolved from the birds,Salarians evolved from amphibians and Krogans evolved from lizard.It all  made sense.For the first time in gaming,ME was a franchise that was comparable to major other series like Star Wars & Lord of the Rings in it’s scope & originality. The story was regarded as one of the,if not the greatest stories ever told in gaming.The characters-Tali,Garrus,Liara,Wrex was truly believable & had their own personalities.They weren’t just any average squadmates with conversational abilities,they were fully realized beings.I consider the supremely crafted characters in the ME franchise to be one of the milestones in gaming.

The Normandy crew

The People of Normandy

The story of the trilogy was unlike any other in gaming,period.The storyline involving the destiny of the galaxy with all organic & synthetic lifeforms,the sentient machine race known as the Reapers,the galactic lifecycles,the extinct race called Protheans & their technology is something that sits atop the gaming hall of fame.In Mass Effect 2,back in 2010,Bioware stripped down the rpg elements a bit too much & it was more of  a cover based third person shooter with rpg elements cleverly intertwined.But it was also a title which contained none of the weaknesses  and all the strengths of it’s predessessor manifold.ME2 is rightfully regarded one of the greatest game ever made(IGN named it no1 in their list of greatest games of all time).ME2 was more of a character centric game than ME and what a terrific bunch of charcters it brought.Mordin Solus ,in my opinion is the greatest character introduced in the history of gaming.His character devolopment through ME2 & ME3 is something that is previously unseen in gaming.

ME3 was the culmination of the trilogy which tied all the knots of the previous 2 games.ME3 brought back some of the rpg elements from the first game including weapon customization & some more skill trees.The cover & shooting mechanism was improved from ME2.While it was a bit linear than ME2,it contained some of the greatest narrative missions and moments in the history of gaming.The Genophage mission in Tuchanka in my opinion,is one of the finest written narratives in gaming.Shephard & Garrus’ shooting bottles in the top of the presidium is one of my fondest memories in gaming.Makes me smile every time I play it,it made me realize how far gaming has come.Not in terms of producing more polygons or realistic physics,it all all about the thing called narrative. When a game conveys some emotions in the player,it elevates in level of Art.How many games in the market makes you feel that way?While ME3 had it’s faults and missteps,it is undoubtedly one of the best games of 2012.

Games can be a form of art–perhaps no other game can signify this like the ME trilogy.Never before has player choice been so important in gaming.The narrative of a game can be as moving as anything like a movie or a book.ME series sums up the entire 7th generation of gaming to me.Just looking at all the enraged reaction about the ending of ME3 shows how much impact the series has on the gaming population.If I don’t like how the story of a game ends up,I don’t & I move on.It was’nt the case with ME.This trilogy & it’s characters have struck such a chord with gamers all over,it was not only Bioware’s creation,it was the gamer’s own sci-fi adventure,the one they created with their own choices & consequences over 5 years.It’s totally shows how revered this series is.

The ME trilogy is a triumph of gaming overall—it shows a game can deliver a narrative that is unmatched by all the other forms of entertainment in scale & interaction.It will always continue to be a legacy of gaming advancement–not just in terms of technicality but in terms of one of the basic elements that is called storytelling.Mass Effect trilogy is truly the Star Wars of gaming.I have high hopes for whatever Bioware cooks up next in the Mass Effect universe,the bar has never been higher.

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