In 2007, Bioware released a third-person shooter that took me by the heartstrings and threw me into a world that wasn't familiar; it was fresh, new and it was something I needed to explore. Little did I know, the choices I made throughout the game ultimately led to my own personally fleshed out space-opera that I didn't even know would have such a ... [wait for it] ... mass effect, on myself as a gamer.
Motion-capture is in session and a designer of Bioware has a somewhat playable version of Mass Effect 4. This got me thinking… the trilogy is complete- but what exactly is the next Mass Effect? We’re not sure yet- but here’s hoping more news flows in soon. In the meantime and in a perfect world- here are a couple things I’d like to see and do in the next Mass Effect.
‘Assuming Control’ of the Normandy; Bring back the Mako.
Let me land on a planet again okay Bioware? Not like ME 3 and not like ME 2 - I’m talking about the original that started it all and the one-gameplay mechanic that I am truly missing from the series. There was just something about being able to explore a foreign area not knowing what could possibly be around the mountain, or even under the ground. It made the universe feel THAT much larger and it also made me feel like I had more of an impact on a given planet depending on how much there was to do in terms of side missions and campaign levels.
Critical decision-making; MOAR effect please.
This brings me back to this original Mass Effect advertisement. It depicts the protagonist stuck in a morally justifying position of having to make a critical decision. You can either A. Attend to the distress call, or B. move on to more important matters. The commercial shows the commander ‘move on’ with grave consequences ensuing.
I feel as though this was an emotionally driven aspect of the game that was lost throughout the series. Sure we got distress missions- but it there was no real ‘butterfly’ effect that I was hoping for. Maybe we got this a bit more in ME3 in terms of forming an alliance with the galaxy, but truly- this only affected the end-game and really had no overall impact throughout the main campaign. Perhaps I’m asking for too much, but it would be so cool if our actions and decisions had more of a critical impact on the way the entire story unfolds throughout the next game and into the obvious sequels. Just make things matter more Bioware and give us more than 6 different coloured endings!
New stuff… and things.
Of course, with a new game, there are bound to be new stuff, and things to see and do. Aside from the dialogue wheel, why not add another dimension to interacting with characters in the universe? Let me press a button to say one thing, but then press another to make a physical gesture that could potentially contradict my intention. This adds another level to character development, because the 5-7 word responses sometimes aren’t enough to communicate truly what you mean. These responses could go much further in enhancing the relationships needed to succeed in the game, and it ultimately would shape the game more to your personal appeal.
For example, imagine this:
We’re aligned with a fairly trustworthy and loyal member of your team. Yes you need them to complete a specific mission but what if you overhear something that makes you question their loyalty? What are you going to do ensure you can trust them / what would be the positive and negative effects of going that route throughout the rest of the game? I know the ME series has pretty much based itself upon this principle- but I want more! Let me define my game experience anytime I want more.
Make me feel again.
Mass Effect 1 pretty much broke my heart when I had to decide over Ashley or Kaiden.
Mass Effect 2 attempted to do this again, but ultimately I knew that if I didn’t do their side missions- they would likely not make it through the game… Really? All because I didn’t do a side mission? You’d think that everything else we had been through would ultimately decide the fate of my team but the mechanics of ME2 based the finale simply on optional side missions that always just seemed like mandatory requirement of the game I thought I had complete control over.
Regardless, the characters and story drew me in to a depth of no return, and Mass Effect was honestly the first game to make me feel. Since then, other games like Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us has done this as well but on levels I cannot explain. I want Mass Effect to return to roots and bring me in on that level of no return- make me feel, make me care, make me weep and drown me in awe.
Been there- tried it. I personally don’t think ME3’s rendition of multiplayer was poor at all- I loved it. But it didn’t feel representative of the overall game and I wouldn't have been bothered if it wasn't included in the first place.
It would be awesome if I could pick a player of my choosing, and have them share the universe that I was originally tasked to explore and discover. I’m looking for a more cooperative experience where two - four players can navigate the universe either on their own, or together. For each other, or against, it would bring yet another level to the Mass Effect experience where you think you are in control until someone else goes and undoes everything you have worked towards.
Potential storyline: ME 3 basically took the universe back to square one in terms of space exploration- why not show the events leading up to humanity’s second venture into the universe and into the unknown? Rather than being military-orientated, the [Normandy] could essentially become a planetary exploration vessel, uncovering new and forgotten worlds and bring the universe back together again as it once was, one planet or species at a time.
What do you want from your Mass Effect 4? Let me know in the comments below :)