In following with my return to science fiction, I have picked up the critically acclaimed BioWare action RPG, Mass Effect. I have not written much about video games since my departure from Midway a year ago. Whirl and I did pick up an Xbox 360 and an HD-capable television last summer. Whirl has been playing more games than I have, to tell the truth. I wonder if I needed to get some time away from them after the five years working in the industry. Mass Effect is something of a catalyst to return.

I have enjoyed a number of BioWare games over the years, most notably Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire. Mass Effect has won a number of awards and received very high reviews from a number of critics, including “Game of the Year” from the New York Times and “RPG of the Year” from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. The inclusion of voice talent from Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Marina Sirtis (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), and Seth Green (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) add to the significance of this piece of entertainment.

Reviews include:

The cinematic design is nothing short of masterful. This is a game that takes the aspects of film that make cinema so compelling and crosses it with the interactivity of games with unprecedented success. Linear storytelling feels quaint by comparison.

Far from being a ponderous sci-fi exposition, Mass Effect boasts a dynamic, well-constructed story with a broad emotional range.
                            –Electronic Gaming Monthly

It’s the very definition of “widescreen sci-fi,” with its alien vistas, far-out music, and giant ideas. It begins with an ominous opening and ends with a fantastic finale that expertly intercuts between your individual actions with a massive space battle. It’s the rare title where the first thing I did upon finishing was to select “new game.”

I have been looking forward to playing this game since I first heard of its development. Jade Empire was an incredibly fun game with high replay value. This is all of that, plus being on the X360 console and being science fiction.

This is gonna be fun.