Mass Effect is one of those games that comes by once in a while where the constructed universe just draws you in, a world where you, the player are showed tangible (and varied) effects on the universe that you are saving. Queue obligatory mass effects on the world joke.
If you have not played Mass Effect, the games essentially put you in the boots of Commander Shepard. There is no given name or appearance, it is up to you what first name you decide to bestow upon the Commander, it is up to you what gender, what facial appearance, and along the course of the game, it is up to the player what choices you will make as the Commander. Some of these choices will have a direct impact of how the rest of the game and games will play out.
I have to admit as of writing I have finished neither Mass Effect 1 or 2.
I know, but I am currently playing through Mass Effect 1, and then restarting my Mass Effect 2 game with the Mass Effect 1 character data transferred over to create a singular story, a Shepard that has experienced both games and a Shepard that has grown with the games.
Even if I hadn’t finished either game, I still knew I would want to play the final chapter of this space saga – Mass Effect 3. Though I will not be playing it for a while, here is the review of the collectors edition of Mass Effect 3.
So here is what I had picked up earlier – The Mass Effect 3 Collectors Edition and the Mass Effect Universe Artbook. Because I am a sucker for Artbooks.
The Artbook itself contains production sketches and concept designs that spans over the course of all three games, reviewed chronologically. It shows the development of each race, from the first sketch ideas of Turians wanting to eat your face, Salarians doing Samurai movements and Tai-Chi like martial art poses, to various iterations of what the Mass Relays were designed to look like and the various symbols that you would find of the various corporations and factions have within the game.
From the journey of the creation of the world (apparently in talks since 2004), we then go to the reiterations of what already had been established, the concept work for Mass Effect 2. Included are various designs and explanations of Jack’s Tattoos, ideas for The Illusive Man’s tuxedo, and redesigns for Tali’s cloth Hood (at one point gave her yellow – orangeish cloth strips that flowed behind her.
If one hasn’t played Mass Effect 3, then you would be in for some spoilers if you view the Mass Effect 3 portion of the artbook, and thus will not spoil here.
The artbook is set in a B4 size glossy hardcover, a gorgeous rendition of you Mass Effect 2 Allies adorn the cover in a wrap around mural.
The Collectors Edition itself is held in a matte black cover with an N7 logo drawing the attention with a silver glossy, and Mass Effect 3 Collectors Edition quietly announcing itself slightly above. Within the cardboard box, The Mass Effect 3 CD case and the Artbook/Comic container rest snugly side by side.
The CD Case has a double sided design showing ‘canon’ Shep and FemShep back to back so to speak. The CD Case is an aluminium casing in a matte black with both Shepards printed in glossy. It shows both Shepards standing suitably badass with the new fangled Omniblade extended. My only gripe is that the print of FemShep has an unsightly white text printed along the bottom on her legs.
The contents of the other container have the a small A5 70 page booklet of the Art of Mass Effect 3 to which to the best of my knowledge has actually less content than whats in the Art of Mass Effect Universe. However what is in the 70 page booklet is already in the Art of the Mass Effect Universe. Bad move Bioware, in my opinion.
Also contained is a small comic depicting Mass Effect’s Omega “ruler”, the Asari Aria and her exploits her asteroid settlement battling invading Reapers. I had not had a chance to sit down and continue reading it in depth, as I had done a quick skim for fear of spoiling what goes down in Mass Effect 3 – I had already seen too much.
The artwork seemed okay, slightly reminiscent of the early The Old Republic comics. Story was done by Mac Walters with scripting by John Jackson Miller and interior artwork by Omar Francia.
Along with these, a photocard depicting the Normandy escaping a bright orange explosion (Oh I am blutacking this up next to my desk artwork), and an N7 fabric patch (with velcro, but the question remains – WHERE DO I ATTACH IT?) complete the material set.
And since I can’t think of a succinct way of wrapping this post up, have some obligatory romancing Garrus screenshot.
Oh yeah, if you haven’t read the post about one of BioWare’s Mass Effect’s Marketing Strategies, please do so (clicky clicky!).