Friday, August 24, 2007

Mass Effect Revelation (spoiler free) (Completed)

So I finished reading the Mass Effect Novel the other night and as a stand alone novel it a little short, but I really enjoyed it as a precursor to the game's plot.

I wanted to read because I wanted some background on the Mass Effect universe before the game comes out, so that when I start playing the game I feel at home. Which is something I like about playing Star Trek or Star Wars games, because I am already familiar with the universe the names of places and things in the universe like 'The Force' or 'The Prime Directive' don't feel like new or alien concepts to me and I can concentrate on playing the game and not worry about the details.

The plot of the novel takes place years before the game's plot does. The main character is a Lieutenant Anderson who is investigating a Human research base that is attacked and completely destroyed. Anderson is then trying to find the only survivor of the facility while they are both being chased by a hired Assassin. Along the way the reader is introduced to much of the Mass Effect universe. Things like the Contact Wars between the Humans and Turians, the legacy of the Protheans, the galactic council which is kind of like a galactic supreme cough with a big fleet of ships to exercise it's will and who aren't opposed to wiping out an entire species if it is in the interests of galactic peace.

The Mass Effect universe as a whole borrows a lot from a lot from different areas of Sci-Fi. But apart from the similarity between the Jedi of Star Wars and the Biotics of Mass Effect, the series reminds me a lot of Babalon5. There isn't anything specific between Babalon5 and Mass Effect that is a direct comparison, but the way the different alien races relate to one another feels very similar because in both series politics plays a big role in the universe and many of the primary characters are politicians and people of authority.

Something that did surprise me about the universe is that the Spectres (who in the game you will play as Commander Shepard the first Human Spectre) aren't like FBI agents or Men In Black that investigate to keep galactic peace and only use their authority when necessary. No, Spectres are people who get results by any-means-necessary. So if that means killing a bus load of school children in the interests of galactic security, so be it, because in the greater scheme of things fifty lives is nothing to trillions. This gives me the impression that the Spectres are more like BobaFett than Jack Bauer, but the Spectres have the authority to get results and you will discover that quite quickly if you read the novel.

Because of the trailers we already know that the badguy in the game is Saren who used to be a Spectre. Well in the novel he is a Spectre and is one of the main characters. So I certainly feel like I know his character better after having read the novel and I am really looking forward to seeing him in the game.

My only complaint with the novel is that the ending was too open, but then the followup is the video game.

In case you haven't seen the trailer yet: