So I got Mass Effect…

Pre-ordered it at GameStop, and I really do wish I’d have bought something else.

That pre-order part should have been the big warning sign.  I don’t pre-order games – the third Richie commandment, right after ‘People suck’ and ‘Front-wheel drive sucks’.  I’m too skeptical, cynical, and broke to buy a game based solely on marketing and hype.  You could have J.C. himself slap me with the right hand of the Lord and I still wouldn’t believe.
But somehow Mass Effect slipped through my mental filters, and I ended up early Tuesday morning in GameStop, the first customer of the day.  That should have been warning sign #2.
Think of worms in an apple.  The worms – the frame-rate problems, the complete lack of a tutorial, and the downright awkward combat.  The frame-rating is tolerable, but not having a tutorial really isn’t.  There’s so many great features and tweaks,which you’re completely in the dark about because nothing told you about them.  You’ll be driving across a lunar surface, mashing buttons and suddenly discover the fucking howitzer that supplements your fully automatic pea shooter.  Oh, you’re in a knife fight?  Here’s a sawed-off shotgun.  Wish you had that sooner, huh?  Then there’s the combat, which is a clunky version of Rainbow Six: Vegas.  It had potential, but ends up as smooth and fun as pulling a porcupine from its hole backwards.
But the apple, oh the apple, is delicious. The story is the compelling part, an epic tale of good guys and bad guys across the galactic expanse, complete with all the twists and drama that mark great storytelling.  But is it compelling enough?  Will you eat the worms to have the apple?  I’m not sure you would.
This isn’t a good time to have worms, either, being the busy season with lots of other good games to compete with.  But the worst part is that, $60 and eight hours later, I have to finish it.  Not next week, not after I beat Mario Galaxy, now.  Otherwise, it’ll end up next to Final Fantasy XII with an abysmal trade-in value.
See you in the game.