5 reasons Mass Effect is better than Star Wars
30th Mar 2012 | 16:08
Whether you like a good Lightsaber battle, darting through mass relays or a healthy balance of the two, it's hard to resist making comparisons between BioWare's Mass Effect franchise and Lucas' Star Wars.
Bioware's own Knights of the Old Republic aside, Star Wars has stagnated in recent years and been diluted by numerous shoddy spin-offs and tie-ins. Meanwhile, Mass Effect has been going from strength to strength, even managing to produce a few I-can't-believe-this-is-actually-good tie-in novels, comics and other fan bait products.
This leads us to one conclusion: Mass Effect > Star Wars.
We've come up with five reasons to illustrate our outlandish opinions and stuck them below, here us out before you launch a crusade to have us killed won't you?
We get to mingle with aliens
Aliens are a big part of Star Wars, but think back to the movies; remember any extraterrestrials that really stood out from the bunch? No, we don't either. More importantly, they only show up to discuss Yoda's spidey-senses, dance scantily clad in a jazz club or get brutally slaughtered.
We aren't saying Star Wars lacks great diversity - the animated Clone Wars series proves its depth - but the films don't capitalise on it, appearances made by extraterrestrials are largely brief and insignificant.
Mass Effect gives Lucas the finger and widens the focus by bringing us close to alien companions. We not only see them fill more screen time, we grow to care about them. We garner an interest in their race and history, and we want to keep them on our side. Politics and discussions still play an important part in the proceedings, but they're actually worth listening to in Mass Effect because they often directly impact you.
We also get the option to bed some of them, provided you build a meaningful relationship over dozens of hours beforehand. Can't do that in Star Wars.
Biotics are cooler
The bare bone idea of the force is cool; choking a guy to death with your mind for not retrieving the rebel plans is an effective way of keeping guys in check. As is zapping Samuel L Jackson with a surge of finger lightning. Although the 'good guys' are pretty well endowed with force powers they spend most of their time lifting stuff up or throwing stuff away - which actually is a bit rubbish if you think about it.
Sadly, Star Wars made a booboo when it got weird on us by trying to explain the Force in Episode 1, midichlorians turned the once-cool superpowers into a yawn-inducing, eye-watering, childhood-shattering science lesson.
Mass Effect's biotics pick up the pieces. These blue doozies aren't as all encompassing as the invisible omnipotence of the force but they're brutally potent. There's nothing cooler than unleashing a molecular warp on a crap load of Cerberus troops, curving a mass effect field over some cover or throwing yourself towards an unsuspecting enemy in an all-powerful biotic charge.
Morality isn't just black and white
In Episode 3 Obi-Wan said "only a Sith deals in absolutes".
An ironic statement because there's no middle ground in Star Wars, there's never any doubt in anyone's mind as to who's on the wrong side, a mere glance is enough to figure out which characters are the bad eggs. That guy in a black plastic suit? He's a bad-un. The hooded wrinkly reptile looking dude? Definitely not your friend. Saruman with a red Lightsaber? Don't shack up with him.
While the good and evil stuff isn't a bad plot foundation, we much prefer the doubts and quandaries that Mass Effect left embedded in our brains. Tearing hair out over decisions and constantly pondering over 'lesser of two evil' situations, there's no black and white here. The Reapers are the red - Shep knew that since Mass Effect 1 - but everyone else is a continuously shifting between shades of blue and red, it's up to you to figure out how you want to deal with people.
It wasn't written by a buffoon
Star Wars purists can say what they like, there's no denying that Mass Effect is a better-written piece of fiction. Too long has Mr. Lucas pondered over tiny details, tinkering with his own creation until it'll eventually collapse under the sheer amount of tippex coated around the edges.
Worse than the thousands of re-cut editions Lucas may one day unleash on the world are his one-dimensional characters. Exceptions to the rule arise here and there, but for the most part the script is dire. That isn't discredit to the actors, of which most are class-A, but to the shoddy script they had to read from.
Episode 2's romance scenes are beyond comprehension, bogging you down with awful one-liners until you're left writhing on the floor, contemplating popping your eyes out with spoons and then stamping on them.
Mass Effect on the other hand is a team effort, and it shows. It's by no means perfect but we can confidently say there isn't anyone involved in its creation actively striving to turn it tain it. We can't say the same for Star Wars.
What's more, every line of dialogue is thoughtfully written, it carries weight and has real impact. Narrative is the driving force in Mass Effect, romance, loss and all those other things Star Wars fumbles its way around are explored with with conviction an assuredness in Mass Effect.
The only exception is Shepard's dance moves, which are a galaxy-wide disgrace.
Jar Jar Binks
He's not in Mass Effect. Anytime. Ever. What more do you want?