In the past five to ten years the concept of gaming has changed immensely. The possibilities presented by video games span beyond what was previously thought or imagined. Motion sensitive gaming for example was once considered a novelty. In 2011 the Wii and Microsoft Kinect have become a core component in industry development.
Hardcore gamers have diversified their interests thanks to developers willing to think outside the box. Genre bending titles have revolutionized the definition of gaming, paving the way for creativity and inspired design. Dialogue has become a key element of the gaming experience, one in which companies such as BioWare have capitalized on.
The great minds at BioWare are masters of dialogue infused gaming. Games such as Mass Effect, Jade Empire, and Dragon Age have successfully combined the features typically restrained to RPG’s, with elements of action, adventure, and 1st/3rd person shooters. The heightened level of character interaction showcased through in-depth conversation presents the ability to make decisions which affect your character throughout the game. The Mass Effect series is my preferred choice among BioWare’s creations and one of my personal favorite game franchises of all time (perhaps neglecting the last game).
Commander Shepard’s interstellar plight is as dramatic as it is entertaining to play. The combination of diverse crewmates, developed backstory, beautiful graphics, and action-packed gameplay truly sets this franchise apart. The ability to customize the protagonist from head to toe adds an interesting aspect to the overall game as well. While many titles feature customizable characters, none quite as accomplished as the engine utilized in Mass Effect. The conversational elements paired with the character creation allow you to craft a Shepard that you feel connected with, a character with a personality rather than a playable puppet.
BioWare’s ingenious game transferring mechanic which allows players to transfer his or her own Commander Sheperd from one game to the next makes each event, sidequest, and occurrence something of importance. Personal decisions made throughout the entire adventure might very well come back and bite you in the butt. I can recall the suspenseful decision in Mass Effect 1 of whether to spare or kill the queen of an extinct species of aliens called the Rachni. These aliens were responsible for the Rachni Wars, a series of conflicts lasting 300 years in which they dominated the galaxy, conquering entire star systems at a time. If I let the last remaining Rachni queen survive, this travesty could happen again or it could return to its home world, never to be seen again. Decisions decisions.
When I envision Commander Shepard, I picture the battle-torn warrior that I spent an enormous amount of time aesthetically customizing and building. My Shepard is not only the savior of the galaxy; she is a badass chick who dabbles in the arena of precariousness on a day to day basis. She flaunts a pink and white battle suit and prefers to seduce mono-gendered aliens over humans’ any day. My Commander Shepard is one of a kind, and for that reason among others I’ve grown to love BioWare, idolize their creative accompaniments, and appreciate all the hard work put into their games.
If you’ve played any of the games, did you make the decision to create your own custom Commander Shepard?