Monday, January 28, 2008

Mass Effect: Grindy goodness in bite sized chunks

I'm quickly discovering another great thing about Mass Effect. I haven't had marathon blocks of time available to me over the past week and I was originally a little worried that I'd fall behind. Lack of practice would mean lack of engagement with the characters and story. Moreover I'd fall out of practice with the core game play components (especially combat) and find it extra frustrating to pick up after a week away.

However, I've found that there are lots of grindy quests I can do. These are usually packaged in bite sized chunks so I can just jump in for an hour or so. Not only do these missions expand the depth of the narrative and provide me with reasonably entertaining content, I also get to practice using the exploration and combat tools available to me. Because Mass Effect is hardly "pick up and play" in terms of its UI and the grognardiness (yes, I made that up) of its combat and advancement systems the extra practice allows me to try new strategies that make my main line questing that much more fun when I have time to actually pursue it in big uninterrupted chunks.

The really nice thing is that, like in Oblivion, I can apparently grind away to my heart's content -- and then super easily get back on the main plot line. It's a nice touch and has made the game that much more enjoyable to play -- because it fits my current play style (which is shaped by the vagaries of my social and work schedule).

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