A Look at Mass Effect: Genesis

Posted: January 21, 2011 in PS3
Tags: , , , ,

Like many PS3 owners, before I jumped into Mass Effect 2, I had no real experience with the Mass Effect universe. BioWare and EA were nice enough to include an interactive comic (which is downloaded along with the Cerberus Network pack you download with the code provided in the game’s case), dubbed Mass Effect: Genesis, so that we don’t charge in completely lost.

Mass Effect: Genesis is essentially a recap of the events of the first Mass Effect game retold in comic form. There are two versions- one for a male player character, and one for the female character. It allows you to make some of the major decisions, and they carry over into the game as if you’d imported a save file.

It’s worth noting though, that you need to pay attention. Mass Effect: Genesis is best described as a crash course in the story of the first game. The narration moves pretty fast with no option to pause or recap. The only time the narrative stops is at each of the decision points. There’s also little clarification on any of the information you receive, so you may wish to spend a little time consulting the in-game encyclopedia (the Codex, in the pause menu), as I had to.

However, in spite of its fast pace, it was a nice introduction that helps you feel less ‘lost’, which was my biggest complaint about the demo. While you’re still obviously not going to be as immediately immersed as someone who’s played the first, it’s nice to know that we aren’t left out in the cold.

In addition, I like to think of this as sort of a ‘character creation’ segment. Not a lot of RPGs give you the option to choose your backstory. While your options are pretty limited, I do like how the choices I made have so far come into play. It’s reminiscent of the lifepath character generation method used in the old Traveller tabletop role playing game (a game which incidentally also takes place in a classic Space-Opera setting). Perhaps we’ll see more of this kind of thing in future games – and not just in games where players may be missing out on a previous game. It’s not a bad way to involve the player in a new universe and let them assimilate into it quickly.

Now granted, I recognize that it’s not a perfect substitute for playing the original – which I’ll be doing as soon as I get my new PC built – but it allows newbies to jump into the universe without feeling too out of place. I picture it as a bit of an extended Star Wars opening crawl.

Share Your Thoughts: For those who played the original and have also experienced Mass Effect: Genesis, what do you think of it? A good way to get new players acquainted with the setting, or a poor substitute for having the original game available?

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Comments
  1. Ben Jennings says:

    Wow, I didn’t realise they were doing this. It’s a really cool idea, having played both games on the xbox 360, this does kind of make me want to get the ps3 version as well.

    Just because I’m a bit of a fan (spent way too long playing these games).

    • Chad M. says:

      I think the comic was or will be released as DLC for the 360 and PC, so don’t rush out and pay full price for a PS3 copy just yet! That aside, I’m really enjoying the game (the universe reminds me a lot of the old Wing Commander games, which I loved) and the characters are fantastic.

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