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Old April 16 2012, 08:23 PM   #1
Ood Sigma
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Mass Effect (1)

So, after hearing how awesome the Mass Effect series is, I finally started it last week with the first game. It sounds perfect - a space opera RPG. I always enjoyed the Star Ocean games and I'm an RPG junkie.

I've made it through the prologue and the Citadel scenes and just got control of the ship. The story has been really great so far and I want to know what happens next.

Problem is, I don't really feel like playing the game any more. The control scheme is nearly impossible for me to negotiate. I knew it was sort of a hybrid between a shooter and an RPG, but it feels like a plain shooter to me. It's frustrating to die over and over again because I can't aim for the life of me.

Probably the last straw was when I was exploring a planet in my rover and got ambushed. I tried about a dozen times and never managed to destroy more than one of the six or so enemies. It's just not fun.

Anyone else have similar issues? Is it worth me trying to press on through?
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Old April 16 2012, 08:58 PM   #2
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

To be honest, the first Mass Effect is a pretty tedious gameplay experience. The cover system is pretty clunky, driving around in the Mako is a pain in the ass, the inventory system is terrible, and pretty much every side quest uses the same recycled rooms. HOWEVER... I'd say just suck it up and play it for the sake of the story (it still has the best ending out of three IMO.) If you're on the PC, just use the console to make yourself level 60, which in turn makes all the randomly generated loot you find the top-tier stuff, so you can just power through all the combat and not have to worry about repeatedly dying. Really, the only reason I replay the first game multiple times is so I have good saves to import into ME2, and have zero problems with cheating my way through it. The gameplay gets WAY better in 2 and 3. Like Assassin's Creed 1, Mass Effect 1 is a rough start to great series. Stick with it, you'll be glad you did.
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Old April 16 2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

It might also be a good idea to knock down the difficulty level if you're having a hard time. Playing anything above 'normal' on your first go is probably a bad idea since all the difficulty slider does is give the enemies more or less health & shields. Playing the higher settings starting from lv1 is not only hard, it's downright tedious. But yes, stick with it, it's absolutely worth it.

If you do choose to continue then I'd like to give a small piece of advice when it comes to the "big decisions": don't look at any spoilers or guides and don't try and predict what impact your choices will have from a gameplay point-of-view. Play from the gut and own your mistakes. It results in a very personal and engaging experiance, especially if you end up importing your Shepard into the sequels.

Oh and if you have any inclination to continue Shepard's story, under no circumstances let anyone tell you *anything* about the ending of ME3--good or bad. Experience it first hand or not at all and form your own opinions.
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Old April 16 2012, 09:15 PM   #4
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Sorry, should have specified... I'm playing on XBox 360.

Would playing on Casual mode help me at all? I'm on "Easy" because I didn't want battles to be a joke, but maybe since the story is what's grabbing me, I should just do it that way and try to do as little combat as possible.

Any tips on battle in the Mako? That seriously sucked. Does increasing my characters' level make the Mako's weapons more powerful? I like to complete as many side quests as possible but for right now I'm put off doing the exploring and would probably just want to get into the story.
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Old April 16 2012, 09:30 PM   #5
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Good combat tip about the Mako is that when stuff fires at you, it aims at the Mako's nose. So it's a good idea to position the Mako perpendicular to what you're fighting, so you can simply drive in reverse a little bit to dodge a rocket. With practice you can also use the Mako's jump jets to avoid a rocket just before it hits you. You can also use this trick when fighting thresher maws, you can stay still and just jump to avoid their spit. It's also a good idea to always have someone with tech skills (Tali works best) along for the ride, as they provide a bonus to repairing the Mako. And finally, keep in mind that the Mako's cannon does have a zoom option, allowing you to safely pick off stuff from quite a ways away.

Lots more info here:
http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Mako_Guide
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Old April 16 2012, 09:32 PM   #6
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Evil Twin and Reverend expressed my basic opinion - combat is tedious, the Mako sucks, the inventory system is horrible, but the story, the characters, the world-building, and so on outweigh everything else at the end of the day.

The Mako will pretty much always suck, but one thing that might help when using it in combat is that you can zoom in with your targeting* - since you're on Xbox, use the left trigger for the basic zoom, then the right analog stick for additional zoom.

(* Yes, this sounds basic but it took me forever back in 2007 to realize there were multiple zoom levels, so I figured it was worth pointing out just in case you're having the same experience.)
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Old April 16 2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Ood Sigma wrote: View Post
Sorry, should have specified... I'm playing on XBox 360.

Would playing on Casual mode help me at all? I'm on "Easy" because I didn't want battles to be a joke, but maybe since the story is what's grabbing me, I should just do it that way and try to do as little combat as possible.

Any tips on battle in the Mako? That seriously sucked. Does increasing my characters' level make the Mako's weapons more powerful? I like to complete as many side quests as possible but for right now I'm put off doing the exploring and would probably just want to get into the story.
I've only ever played on the PC (don't own a current gen console) and the Mako is...manageable if you're aware of it's quirks and limitations. I gather it handles much worse on XBox though, so...you might want to avoid the harsher terrain and just take the long way around.

As for the weapons, no AFAIK they don't level up. Not sure why you'd have difficulty killing enemies on 'easy' though. The alt-fire can usually take out anything, save for Thresher Maws and Geth Colossi in one or two shots at most. The primary-fire is usually just used to wear down heavy shields or mow down lots of smaller enemies.

Out of interest, what class are you playing as?
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Old April 16 2012, 09:48 PM   #8
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Reverend wrote: View Post
Ood Sigma wrote: View Post
Sorry, should have specified... I'm playing on XBox 360.

Would playing on Casual mode help me at all? I'm on "Easy" because I didn't want battles to be a joke, but maybe since the story is what's grabbing me, I should just do it that way and try to do as little combat as possible.

Any tips on battle in the Mako? That seriously sucked. Does increasing my characters' level make the Mako's weapons more powerful? I like to complete as many side quests as possible but for right now I'm put off doing the exploring and would probably just want to get into the story.
I've only ever played on the PC (don't own a current gen console) and the Mako is...manageable if you're aware of it's quirks and limitations. I gather it handles much worse on XBox though, so...you might want to avoid the harsher terrain and just take the long way around.

As for the weapons, no AFAIK they don't level up. Not sure why you'd have difficulty killing enemies on 'easy' though. The alt-fire can usually take out anything, save for Thresher Maws and Geth Colossi in one or two shots at most. The primary-fire is usually just used to wear down heavy shields or mow down lots of smaller enemies.

Out of interest, what class are you playing as?
Alt-fire? There was no tutorial for the Mako, so I'm not sure what that is. I was using the right trigger to fire. (Heck it took me getting killed once before I realized it even had weapons). Of course part of my problem is aiming the fire circle at the moving, flying enemies.

I chose the Soldier class. I figured I could use all the help I could get with combat.

I haven't been looking at guides for dialogue choices. Although I get the feeling (at least for now) that all choices lead to the same bits of story. Maybe as I progress further, that won't be the case?

As for the ending of ME3, I have read that there is a controversy, and I am aware of the root cause of the controversy, but none of the details for how and why it happens. I'll just say, I'm not discouraged from continuing, knowing what I know.
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Old April 16 2012, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Yeah, soldier's probably the best class for a first playthrough, since it allows you to play the game as a straight shooter. And the immunity skill is practically god mode when it's maxed. I remember playing as an engineer my first time and getting my ass handed to me. But playing through as a level 60 engineer recently was great fun, as they're the best at stripping defenses off enemies. As a soldier, it's a good idea to use Tali and Liara, that way you're running with a pure solider, pure engineer, and pure adept, making for a very balanced party. I was never big on using Kaidan, Garrus, and Wrex since they represent the hybrid classes (sentinel, infiltrator, vanguard).
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Old April 16 2012, 11:36 PM   #10
Reverend
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Ood Sigma wrote: View Post
Alt-fire? There was no tutorial for the Mako, so I'm not sure what that is. I was using the right trigger to fire. (Heck it took me getting killed once before I realized it even had weapons). Of course part of my problem is aiming the fire circle at the moving, flying enemies.
Again, I'm a PC gamer so I don't know first hand (for me it's the right mouse button), but a quick google tells me the right bumper should fire the heavy cannon. It's a bigger boom (and has a sizable AoE for incinerating tight groups of weaker enemies), you only get a few shots before it overheats and needs to cool down, but like I said, if you can shoot straight you generally only need a few shots.

I chose the Soldier class. I figured I could use all the help I could get with combat.
I agree with pretty much everything Evil Twin said.

Playing as a soldier is a good, solid (and I think the most common) choice for a first time playthough. My first time, I almost exclusively used Liara and either Ash or Tali depending on whether or not I thought I'd be fighting Geth. Liara's most useful ability is easily Singularity. Perfect for crowd control, which comes in especially handy since the AI in ME1 is a bit off and enemies have a habit of running straight at you in an attempt to claim the cover *behind* you. :/

For Tali, it's of course, AI hack as it turn enemies against each other, but that's only good against geth & combat drones, so make sure she has a nice diverse balance of debuffing talents.

Needless to say, the class talent is worth investing in as it ups most of the basic stats and the Spectre talent grants you 'unity' which lets you revive fallen squadmates. It's probably worth equipping everyone (save perhaps Wrex & Ash) with a medical armour mod (sorry, I forget the exact name) as it regenerates their health, so you don't have to use medigel as often. Not really a spoiler to tell you not to skip the side mission that takes place on Luna. For one thing it lets you "evolve" your class power (sort of like a specialization) and for another...though it may seem inconsequential the way it ends is more consequential than you'd expect. It won't affect the plot or anything, but there's a mildly stunning revelation *very* late in ME3 that ties all the way back to this.

Make sure to load up each of your weapons mods and specialized ammo. Ammo that disrupts shields is best for rapid fire weapons like the AR & pistol, while ones that inflict lasting damage are best for the shotgun & sniper rifle that have a lower rate of fire. It's also worth considering just alternating between armour piercing and shredder ammo depending on whether you're facing organics or synthetics.

Oh and don't make the same mistake I did in my first game. You only really need to put points into either 'charm' OR 'intimidate', not both!

I haven't been looking at guides for dialogue choices. Although I get the feeling (at least for now) that all choices lead to the same bits of story. Maybe as I progress further, that won't be the case?
Well, broadly speaking, yes. No matter what you say or do that game always starts on Eden Prime and ends on <SPOILER REDACTED> which of course is awesome! But the choices you make along the way will have an impact, though some of it may not even bear fruit until the third game. I won't spoil anything but-...actually, I can't phrase this in a way that doesn't give it away so I'll just say that there are big decisions ahead and you'll know them when they appear.

As for the ending of ME3, I have read that there is a controversy, and I am aware of the root cause of the controversy, but none of the details for how and why it happens. I'll just say, I'm not discouraged from continuing, knowing what I know.
Good. Don't be. No matter what some of the more excitable fans might claim, the journey is totally worth the time invested (this coming from a person that *really* didn't like the ME3 ending...)

Oh I almost forgot the most important question! Are you playing as maleShep or femShep?

Last edited by Reverend; April 16 2012 at 11:55 PM.
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Old April 17 2012, 01:58 AM   #11
Ood Sigma
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

^ Finally got past that Mako combat after a few tries. The cannon helped a lot. I also managed to kill a Thresher Maw on my first try. So I'm getting better.

I haven't been putting very many upgrades on my armor or weapons. Can you unequip them if you get new gear? The inventory system is really bad, I never know what I have, let alone what is the best. Plus I can't equip anyone who isn't in my party. Very tedious.

Playing as a male. The game didn't give me the option of choosing. I figured maybe you had to play through once as a male to unlock female. Ah well.

Overall having played another two hours, I'm enjoying it again. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going. I really want to like it and I'm hoping the sequels streamline the gameplay.
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Old April 17 2012, 02:03 AM   #12
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Yes, you can unequip armor and weapon mods. The inventory system is unintuitive in handling that, however, because you can't simply back out of that submenu once you've opened it; the closest to backing out you can come is to simply select the mod you've already installed. One nice thing is that when you switch weapons, the game will ask if you also want to transfer equipped mods to the new one.

To handle inventory needs for your squad members, you can go down to the docking level; there's a set of lockers over between Ashley and Wrex.
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Old April 17 2012, 02:26 AM   #13
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

I really hope you do stick with ME1 despite the weak combat and the horrible inventory system. It's still my favorite game in the trilogy despite all that.
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Old April 17 2012, 02:58 AM   #14
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

Thankfully, most of your concerns are addressed in ME2; the Mako is gone, the horrendous inventory system is replaced with power and weapon upgrades, and the combat is greatly streamlined. ME1 can sometimes be a slog to get through, but it's well worth it for the journey through this amazing universe. Mass Effect 1 is a great game in spite of its gameplay, not because of it.

Since you're having such a tough time getting through the game, you may be tempted to skip some of the side missions and focus on the main quest. I'd advise you to slog through them if you can as some of them contain important lore for the future games (e.g. Cerberus are introduced in a side mission in ME1 before becoming a major element in the sequels). But it's understandable if you choose to skip them, they are extremely repetitive.
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Old April 17 2012, 07:07 AM   #15
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Re: Mass Effect (1)

A little trick I picked up for dealing with the wall-sticking Geth Hoppers and Sappers:

Use the power wheel to get your crosshair dialed in on them, almost like a bullet time cheat. Should work on just about any enemy to get your aim dialed in quickly.
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