The Fast and I Am Furious

The speed of light, that is so peculiar; it is so quick, and yet it has no acceleration.

Arthur Eddington

One of my favorite games of all time is the Mass Effect trilogy. It stands as a monumental achievement in interactive storytelling, merging intricate narrative depth with expansive world-building. It transcends the conventional boundaries of the gaming medium, delivering a cinematic experience imbued with philosophical inquiry and emotional resonance. At its core, Mass Effect interrogates the essence of sentient existence, exploring themes of identity, free will, and the moral complexities of leadership.

The trilogy’s richly textured universe, populated by diverse species with intricate socio-political histories, invites players to engage with ethical dilemmas and existential questions, mirroring the intellectual rigor of classic science fiction literature. Its sweeping orchestral score, coupled with visually arresting set pieces, elevates the player’s journey, creating an immersive tapestry that is as thought-provoking as it is thrilling. Mass Effect is not merely a series of games, but a profound narrative odyssey that challenges and captivates, reflecting the enduring power of storytelling in the digital age.

Then Bioware went and spoiled it all by saying, “FOV”

Verbosity aside, Bioware’s cinematic designer, John Ebenger, posted the truth on X. The whole truth and nothing but the damn truth…

According to Ebenger, during the sprinting scenes on The Citadel in Mass Effect 1, it’s not really speed that makes it all look so cinematically charged, but merely – wait for it… – the FOV (Field of Vision). In layman’s terms, you’re literally still walking like a normal person, but you’re tricked into believing its actual speed because of a tight camera angle. 

I booted up Mass Effect on GeForce Now and yes, I was actually moving at a snail’s pace with a Michael Bay camera angle that made it seem like I was running. I also tested the other two games in the trilogy, and yet again my speed was amplified by cinematic rendering. 

What’s it all about, Alfie?

The Mass Effect trilogy’s narrative is driven by a cadre of deeply complex characters, each contributing to the saga’s intellectual and emotional gravitas. At its center is Commander Shepard, (in my case) a female protagonist whose leadership and moral fortitude shape the galaxy’s fate. Shepard embodies resilience and ethical ambiguity, navigating interstellar politics and existential threats with a nuanced blend of empathy and pragmatism. 

My experience with the Mass Effect trilogy was intensely personal and emotionally charged, as the weight of each decision resonated deeply with my own values and struggles. The choices I made as Shepard were a reflection of my internal battles with morality, leadership, and sacrifice. Each dialogue option and critical decision felt like a profound extension of my own psyche, making the narrative’s impact even more poignant. The friendships and bonds I formed with these virtual characters mirrored the complexities of real-life relationships, leaving an indelible mark on my understanding of duty, loyalty, and the human condition.

The Amazing Race

If you’re a fan of Mass Effect or Dragon Age, you’d understand how important these moments are to a player – celerity of motion is a visceral catalyst that propels us into intense action and exploration. 

Each nimble maneuver, from traversing treacherous terrain to eluding enemy onslaughts with lightning reflexes, enhances the immersive experience, plunging us deeper into these intricately woven worlds. In this amalgamation of extraordinary capabilities and state-of-the-art technology, speed emerges not merely as a gameplay element, but as the quintessence energizing our exhilarating odysseys through these captivating universes.

But the truth is not as powerful as my verbose explanation of speed. 

The truth is slower than fiction, and it unravels like a haunted hotel – centuries pass before someone sights a hesitant, howling, headless woman; an eternally transparent (cough) wisp of a ghost who never moves faster than she should.

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Renier Palland

Renier is a jack of all trades and a master of some. A published author and poet, Renier understands the art of weaving a narrative, or so the critics say. As a professional overreactor and occasional debater of existentialist philosophy, Renier thrives on games where choices actually matter, e.g. Life Is Strange, Mass Effect, and Heavy Rain. Renier often finds himself in a game of throes on GeForce NOW, sobbing like a Sicilian widow because life is definitely way too strange sometimes.

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