Saturday, September 04, 2010

Mass Effect: A Discussion of the Mako Tank

My last post was a review and discussion of Mass Effect, and my conclusion is that I like virtually every part of the game.

Except for one:

I am convinced that I am the worst Mako driver in the world.  A blindfolded three-year-old could easily drive this piece of trash better than I could.  If you've played the game, you know how difficult it is to flip the tank over.  I've managed to do it.  Multiple times.

My relationship with the Mako didn't exactly start out smoothly: even though almost every single button and control was explained to me perfectly reasonably, the one that never made its way into the tutorial was "how to leave the damn tank." 

On an early assignment, I needed to go to some God-forsaken planet and look for some escape pod.  Before I found the pod, I had to engage something monstrous called a "thresher maw," which translates to "Mako tank-sized mouth that, oh yeah, spits acid at you, on top of one hundred feet of neck."  Come to find out, it has the ability to burrow under the ground and instantly kill you by resurfacing directly under you.  As if the acid spitting weren't enough.

But finally, I outwitted the thresher maw and found the escape pod... then couldn't do anything with it.  I quit and reloaded the game twice to make sure that it wasn't a bug or glitch.  Still, nothing happened.  I resorted to an online walkthrough--the first and only time--and it told me to "leave the tank" then investigate the pod.  After scouring the list of controls for a few minutes, I finally found it: you press the "q" button.

Fast-forward to Feros, one of the main-plot worlds.  There's a part of Feros called the "Prothean Skyway".  Sounds cool, right?  Sure, except until you realize that "Skyway" is actually a euphemism for "highway suspended hundreds of feet in the sky."  I died more times driving my tank off the side of the Skyway than I did on all the rest of Feros combined.

A little while later, on some other planet, I drove into an ambush and saw my tank take a ton of damage.  A more reasonable player would have driven away and tried to repair the vehicle, right?  With as little faith as I had in the Mako, my plan was abandon the tank and sacrifice the admittedly greater firepower just to be rid of the thing.  (It worked.)

Finally, even after playing the game, there are some controls on it that I simply do not understand.  The first is the spacebar, which engages some mysterious thrusters on its underside that seem to be good for ejecting me from the slope of a hill and little else.  The second is left click, which fires the machine gun.  Here's a scenario: robot armed with rocket launcher is walking toward you.  Do you spray it with your dollar-store Super Soaker knockoff, or do you obliterate it with Right Click of Exploding Doom?

I really hope all these mechanics are fixed in Mass Effect 2.  Except for Right Click of Exploding Doom.  I'll keep that one.

Currently listening: "Black Magic Woman," Santana

No comments: