- Shadowrun Returns Delayed
- Mornin '13
- Navy Lieutenant Not Happy with Xbox One, Unloads on Microsoft
- Dead Space 4 Pushed Aside for New Star Wars Title
- Xbox Live Reduced Content for June 2013
- Xbox Live Marketplace Update: June 18th, 2013
- PSPlus Not Required for Auto-Updates with PS4
- Jimmy Fallon Plays With Xbox One
- Sega Says Phantasy Star Online 2 for the West is 'Delayed'
- Torchlight Free on GOG.com for Next 48 Hours
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown iOS Available This Week
- Best Games of E3 2013 - People's Choice
Mass Effect Preview
|ON OTHER PLATFORMS: PC, Xbox360|
PIV 2400, 1GB RAM, 12GB HDD, Nvidia 6800GT, ATI 1300XT or better
|ESRB rating: M
release date: May 28, 08
|» All About Mass Effect on ActionTrip|
Hardcore PC gamers still refusing to hop on the console bandwagon now have a great deal to smile about. Not only has BioWare revealed an upcoming PC port of Mass Effect, their successful sci-fi RPG, but they also officially confirmed a release in early May, which is now less than three months away.
Needless to say, you really don't have to be a passionate RPG player or D&D fan to get immersed in the virtual world of Mass Effect. What's more certain qualities of this game are just self-evident from the moment you witness the very first cut-scene. The powerful cinematic ambiance, achieved through excellent direction and brilliant character animation (facial expressions, in particular), keeps you on your toes. This, coupled with NPC interaction and exciting combat, makes for a truly enjoyable single-player experience.
Like any other game, Mass Effect (360) wasn't without mishaps or glitches. A majority of complaints went towards the game's somewhat clumsy interface and inventory system. This time, a whole bunch of improvements and fixes was promised, as well as other enhancements needed for bringing the game closer to PC gamers.
The first thing you'll notice about the PC version are sharper visuals and better overall performance. At this point, BioWare hasn't made a decision about the highest resolution (odds are they'll cap it at 1920*1200). It goes without saying that Mass Effect 360 was visually stunning and the game's 720p presentation worked just fine. Even so, certain issues seriously affected the player's immersion. For one thing, the Xbox 360 system frequently had a hard time loading textures on both character models and the environment. Waiting -- in some cases several seconds -- for the game to paint all the objects and characters with textures, had a tendency to ruin the experience. Such occurrences won't be much of a problem in the PC edition. Textures and landscape features will load faster than on Microsoft's console. In fact, it's likely that the developers will manage to remove this issue completely by the time the game hits stores shelves on May 6.
Giving Mass Effect a makeover isn't the developer's top priority. Their goal is to create a single-player experience that's even more rewarding than the original release. Aside from the inevitable new visual touches and sharper graphics, Mass Effect PC does away with certain gameplay restrictions and other frustrating elements. Some minor setbacks, such as long elevator rides, have also been addressed. Apparently, the elevators are quicker in the PC version (great, quicker elevators... if that doesn't make you buy the game, what will?).
The interface received a welcomed overhaul, which should make the use of biotics and special attacks a lot easier. Players can now designate up to 8 different abilities, shown in the upper left portion of the screen. Hot-keys can be assigned to allow for quicker access during combat. The inventory system also sports a number of improvements, both aesthetical and practical. Items may be sorted by type, giving you a chance to browse through your inventory intuitively -without wasting much time looking for a specific weapon or item. Switching weapons is easily done by using the keys F1-F4.
Here comes the bit you all wanted to hear. Character movement and action is accomplished via the WASD and mouse combo, widely expected by PC gamers. Mind you, this will be the default setting. Gamers may remap the keys any way they see fit. Using the Xbox 360 controller will be an option too, but let's face it, most of you will probably go for the WASD standard.
I'm sure if you're concerned about controls, you'll be more than pleased that the PC version will see improved and simplified controls of the Mako as well (the land vehicle, used for exploring unfamiliar planets). Unlike in the 360 game, controlling the game Mako should be a painless experience. The camera can be panned around independently of the vehicle's movement, which certainly wasn't the case in the 360 version and as such was considered to be a serious drawback.
BioWare and Demiruge (the co-developer) aren't just concerned with making the game look and play better, but are also looking to establish smooth and satisfactory performance, even for gamers with more modest rigs. We haven't received the game's system requirements yet, although it's good to know they are flexible in this matter.
In case you were wondering, the story stays the same, the characters are the same and the outcome of the choices you make will be the same as in the 360 edition. Therefore, experiencing the game once again, won't introduce you to any new plot moments. Still, other less important (but welcomed) new details were thrown in - such as a new decryption mini-game. Basically, instead of timed button presses, you navigate a tiny arrow through rotating concentric rings. It's not much, but it's a nice touch. BioWare is also going to transfer the game's achievement system. This particular feature will be hosted by the developer's own servers, as opposed to Games for Windows Live, as you'd normally expect.
With the ambition to improve things technically and visually, neither BioWare nor MS have mentioned any possibilities of adding new content to the PC version of Mass Effect. Likewise, nothing was said about the potential inclusion of the upcoming DLC for the 360 edition. Overlooking this new content in the PC version would be a mistake on BioWare's part. You only need to think of games like Fable: The Lost Chapters to understand why. In a nutshell, it seems rather necessary, if BioWare hopes to bring back gamers who have already played the game.
Oh well, if nothing else, at least you'll be playing the game on the PC earlier than it was originally anticipated.
Enhanced and better UI, sharp PC graphics, performance improvements, hotkeys and new quick slot.
So far, not a scrap of new content in sight, replayability isn't exactly Mass Effect's strong point, so 360 owners who already finished the game may not feel the need to go through the experience on the PC.
BACK TO TOP