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Interview   

Mass Effect After the Fact: An Outsider's Perspective

You don't have to be hardcore to have an opinion.

It’s been nearly a year since Mass Effect 3 was released, and with it the conclusion of a trilogy that most players had waited 5 long years to see. To say that the ending was controversial would be the understatement of this generation; so incensed were fans at the final moments of Mass Effect 3 that BioWare had to go back to redo the ending, which still did little to please the audience. PixlBit is home to a large number of passionate Mass Effect fans. We’ve said our piece on the trilogy’s end through blogs, articles, and podcasts. Working at a video game website, we keep ourselves plugged in to the gaming community and are well aware of the grievances of the day. But what about the more casual player? I was curious to talk to someone that enjoyed Mass Effect but was completely divorced from the hype train that had been building around this franchise since 2007. How would such a person view the series, the ending, and the fan reaction?

Such a person is Neena, a 26 year old single mother that works hard at raising her child by day and baking at a grocery store at night. She doesn’t have a lot of free time, but she enjoys spending it playing video games. RPGs are her genre of choice, possibly stemming from her love of tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder.

Neena is about as far removed from the gaming zeitgeist as you can get while still enjoying video games. She doesn’t keep up to date on gaming news and rarely buys games, instead renting or borrowing from friends. When she does buy a game it’s always used and likely far after the game’s release. Up until last year, Neena had never heard of Mass Effect. However, over the course of about 9 months she played through the entire trilogy, going from a casual fan to having a rather voracious appetite for the lore of the series. I spoke to Neena the day after she finished Mass Effect 3 to talk to her about her introduction to the series, her favorite characters, and what she thought of that ending. Needless to say, there are spoilers across the entire trilogy incoming.

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Comments

BrokenH

02/23/2013 at 01:04 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Mass Effect has memorable characters and good narrative. I think these merits transcend "gaming" and are something we can all appreciate. It was heart warming to see someone on the outside looking in get totally invested in the ME trilogy. Now I don't have to feel like such a freak. lol.

Julian Titus Reviews Editor

02/23/2013 at 01:14 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Mass Effect freaks are welcome here! To be honest, I talk about it so much that I've made a loose New Year's resolution to not mention it on the podcast. So far, it's only come up in two episodes.

It's a long road ahead.

BrokenH

02/23/2013 at 01:25 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Julian

I almost beat ME 2 before deciding to delete my Shepherd, start with ME 1, then import my Shepherd from the beginning. Then I got distracted. Worse choice I ever made apparently. I'll probably go back to all the ME games after I pick up the third one!

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/23/2013 at 01:55 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Good idea for an article. I always wondered if people I know who are not that into gaming would still enjoy Mass Effect. Looking forward to seeing what kind of content you guys will be posting.

Julian Titus Reviews Editor

02/23/2013 at 09:31 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I wasn't the one that pushed the game on her, but I nudged her along. She wasn't exploring the extra dialogue and as such didn't get a good sense at the depth of the world at first. I also think that Mass Effect has never done a good job of teaching people how deep the combat system is. Once I showed her how to pause the action and set up commands and utilize all of her abilities she really got hooked.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/24/2013 at 02:47 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I always thought the game had more depth than people give it credit too. I've played 2 and 3 with every class except Soldier and each of them needed completely different tactics just because they had different health and powers. It made me appreciate it even more.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

02/23/2013 at 05:46 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

That was a cool piece. I've always felt that the story in Mass Effect could be enjoyed by more than just us hardcore gamers and its good to see a casual gamer enjoy such a rich series. On a side note, I can't wait to finish off the story with Citadel and then replay the game with my fem-shep.

jgusw

02/23/2013 at 09:51 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

My wife played through the trilogy last year.  She played the games back to back.  I had all the dlc, but my wife played through the games before the extended cut ending released.  She enjoyed the games and didn't like the endings.  She wanted her Shepard to live and thought the synthesis ending was stupid.  She started playing through the games again starting from the beginning.  She got through ME1 and ME2, but hadn't started ME3 again yet.  

GrayHaired

02/23/2013 at 10:50 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I see the trilogy set on sale (PS3) and I will one day buy it. Im not in a hurry either, it isnt my type of game but i have to play it because I've heard so much about it from jgusw and who knows, I might just enjoy it.

asrealasitgets

02/24/2013 at 01:45 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I just finished the 3rd game last month. I deiberatly waited to play it away from all the noise and hype so I could get an unbiased perspective on the game, well unbiased as much as possible. I feel that the world and universe in the game can stand apart from the core game play and compares to classic sci fi film and tv like Star Trek and Star Wars. It's a very good stand alone sci fi series.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

02/24/2013 at 02:39 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

this was a pretty good article.  she seemed to be pretty clear headed about the ending, and just took it for what it is.  Damn, I remember that firestorm.  

Coolsetzer

02/25/2013 at 04:31 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I pretty much missed the entire trilogy as well. I tried to play the first one when it came out, but I just couldn't get into the combat. I dropped it in favor of Dragon Age Origins, which was a much better game for me. I had heard that a lot of fans were upset about how they ended it. I just don't know how they could throw away all the characters that they had spent hundreds of hours on developing. Anyway, I was thinking of getting the ME Trilogy, but don't want to pay more than $40 for a few older games. I'll play it eventually though, I'm sure.

Ryan Bunting Staff Alumnus

03/05/2013 at 01:42 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I just recently played through all 3 games again, and it was yet again, an absolutely incredible experience.  I was not one of the people that didn't like the ending of ME:3, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire journey from Saren all the way to the battle on Earth.  When I first played Mass Effect - the first game - I beat it 3 times in a row, consecutively, in a matter of days.  I was so impressed with the storytelling and compelling characters, that I couldn't stop.  Now I own all 3 games, all single player DLC, and don't regret a single one of them.  Mass Effect is easily my favorite series of this generation, and will probably continue to be as long as there are ME games to play.

Super Step

03/06/2014 at 01:57 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Can't read just in case I wanna play myself at some point, but great and unique interview idea. Always good to have outside-ish perspectives. How'd you find Neena?

Julian Titus Reviews Editor

03/06/2014 at 11:36 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

She's a friend. Er, was a friend. It's complicated. I used to play Pathfinder with her an a group.

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