Mass Effect PC Impressions

It's been so long since I've invoked any hostility in defending PC-centric control schemes over console counterparts—I guess Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare changed me, or made me soft, or something.

But with Mass Effect's somewhat limited Xbox 360 control configuration transitioned to its reworked form on the PC, I'm on the cusp of becoming an elitist jerk again. nope

Sure, Mass Effect certainly looks great on the PC, but veterans and newcomers alike ought to be most interested in how it plays. Utilizing familiar FPS controls, the game allows you to pull up the tactical HUD by holding the space bar at any time, giving you access to every ability at your disposal—including those of your squadmates.

It may sound like a meager addition to an otherwise decent game, but for those of us who've spent more time with PC first-person shooters and RPGs than elsewhere, it's a massive change of pace to gameplay. Combat feels more immediate and closely connected to the game's flow, and—as you might expect—everything moves smoother with a mouse and keyboard on deck. nope

Moreover, the inclusion of eight quick slots for skills and abilities is a very generous addition to the new keyboard configuration, and though this may sound odd, just makes the game feel more like an RPG. And also similar to previous BioWare titles, commands can now be issued to individual squad members, bringing an improved emphasis on strategy and delegation over going in guns blazin'.

A few minutes with Mass Effect on a mouse and keyboard actually made me anxious to play through the game again. Though I enjoyed the game's sprawling story and character development on the Xbox 360, something about the combat and ability systems seemed somewhat off. Fans who took a pass on the title's console-exclusive debut should definitely check it out—with DLC en route and the number of improvements, Mass Effect's PC outing is looking to be its best yet.

While you're here, don't forget to check out the whole of Shacknews' EA Spring Break coverage.