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Submitted on
January 17, 2012
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Hey folks, I am working my way through the Mass Effect series (finally) and I believe it to be an excellent series of games.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on the creature designs in this game? It ranged in my view from excellent to very weak (though I don't think that detracts from the game much).

My reviews are only my opinions so feel free to disagree :)

Asari - Archetype 'Sexy Blue Lady's' in the mold of Na'vi, Twi'ilek etc. They are appealing and interesting to interact with but they are almost entirely human. I like the head tentacles but surely it doesn't really count as creature design, more reskinning a human.

Elcor - I like these guys. The reason for their ponderous nature and alien speech patterns are excellent, being from a high gravity world where falling could be fatal. They are still tetrapod-like, but seem plausible.

Hanar - My favourite, although they don't seem to do much. I enjoy creatures based of invertebrates generally and their method of speech using bioluminescence is cool. However the translated human voice seems a mismatch as they appear more feminine, and the game lacks for female aliens generally, apart from the Asari

Keepers - (SPOILERS) As they are possibly engineered its hard to criticise them design wise. They look quite cool, but the four equally space walking legs would seem to make moving about rather slow and clumsy.

Salarians - While they appear to be 'Greys', with a human body shape and such, their personalities and hyperactive characterisation is most entertaining and compensates for the uninteresting external designs.

Turians - Although their body plan is implausibly human, they certainly look COOL, so I quite like them. And the character of Garrus is compelling further elevating the species in my eyes.

Volus - I like the suit design, although once again they follow a human body plan. Its hard to know what they look like under those suits.

Batarians - It looks like someone experienced an error in their 3D program and just accepted it. I hate this design personally as it is both aesthetically ugly, and unimaginative. Like a pug with some kind of facial disease.

Geth - A race of AIs, I like them however apart from the fast geth troopers they seem too primitive. With snaking cables and awkward joints, they don't look like a hyperadvanced AI race which I would imagine having synthetic muscles and appearing more organic perhaps.

Krogan - Tetrapod again, however their face design and voice acting is excellent, making them compelling. I do like that head shield and those reptilian eyes.

Quarians - They are human in body form, but the character Tali is interesting and attractive, as is their species history so I approve of them.

Vorcha - I guess elements of the face look cool, however their idiotic cartoonish Jar Jar Binks level voice performances irritate me and lower the material.

Reapers - One of the best evil voices I have heard, the reapers are a lot of fun. They have an alien body plan suited for space. Though they have what appear to be... windows in their armor seams. Seems weird for an AI to have rooms inside, but perhaps they are sensors or something. They also seems very clunky and mechanical for beings that claim to be beyond our understanding.

Those are all the species I have encountered so far.

I believe the main reason for so many human like aliens to be a simple one - It takes time and money to develop non-human animation rigs that the studio probably simply didn't have.

What do you folks think yourselves?

As a closing note, how do you feel gender is handled in the game?
  • Mood: Zest
  • Listening to: Devin Townsend
  • Reading: Dangerous Marine Animals
  • Watching: Clone Wars
  • Playing: Mass Effect 2
  • Drinking: Milo
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:iconjakuryusei:
Jakuryusei Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
In this video here: [link] Matt Rhodes says that they've actually been saving some body types for the right moment in the series. The example he gave here was Mordin, who is the oldest salarian yet seen on screen; but I could easily see this approach applying to other things as well. Namely, the reveal of the delightfully memorable female Krogan in ME3.

(Am I the only non-Krogan that wanted to tap that? Yes? No? Maybe so?)

Oh, but there has already been some female Salarians on screen so far. If you let the council die in ME1 they appoint a female replacement, and in ME3 you're graced by the presence of the oh-so-unsavory Dalatrass, but nether of them look very different from the males... They're apparently a very androgynous people, Salarians. There could be scores of female Salarians hidden among the crowds and we'd never know!
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:iconwbyrd:
wbyrd Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2012
aqmong all the races I think my favorite are the elcor. Big, powerful, but restrained. I'd hate to see if one of them decided to take up sumo wrestling.

Unfortunately I think the creature design in games in general is limted by economics. It's cheaper and easier to make a near human.humanoid than to model, animate and skin a truly alien species. The rachni were the most non-human species in the game and they were fairly limited to attack and movemnt animations.
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012
I agree with your idea that it was probably economics that limited the non-human aliens in mass effect. An elcor team member would have been cool though, I bet they pack a crushing punch!
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:iconwbyrd:
wbyrd Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012
{Enthusiastic Agreement} Yes, yes it would.... I have seen that the tendancy to use the human form is a pretty common trend. they have added a few odd leg types and faces but no one has been willing to spend the time or effort for something truly alien... I'm not sure exactly how complex a model would have to be for a say... hexapod alien but evidently it's more than developers are willing to commit to.
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:iconalexlyoko13:
alexlyoko13 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2012
I Love the Hanar by virtue of them being invertebrates, the rachni simply for being insectoids, and the Geth for being a more Reasonable Race of S.I.s, And the Reapers for being such amazing lovecraftian-esq Beings (They also remind me the Borg, only more andvanced and taking a more active role in things). I belive that An Alien Species should either be humanoid (For humans to relate to), but radicly non human, or they should be completly diffrent from humans in all ways.
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
My strategy is to try and design creatures that I think are possibly, based on what I understand about evolution on earth, while keeping them physically possible.

Also, dont you think the reapers seem a little... Low Tech?
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:iconalexlyoko13:
alexlyoko13 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
Yes there will always be similarities between life anywhere in the universe (if evolving on an earth like planet, possibly martian and Venusian like worlds as well) Under the constraints of biology (Even with different chemicals) all life will have commonalities (The most exotic life form I can recall from Sci-Fi are the Life forms on a Neutron Star)
As For the reapers, they looked low tech, but for me that adds to the mystery
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012
What kind of thing do you think of when you imagine a god like AI?
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:iconalexlyoko13:
alexlyoko13 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012
An Sphere aproximately 60 centimeters in diameter Glowing icreadbly brigtly (Cosmic AC in the last question)... Or an elspoid sevral cubic meters in volume but with a mass of many thousands of tons (Minds of the Culture)... (Both of thses things are small becuse the majority of there body exists within hyperspace)
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:iconabiogenisis:
Abiogenisis Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012
Nice :) I did enjoy the culture novels, and they seemed an interesting take on AIs. I like the idea of vast machines with no seams, no clumsy joints. almost like a semi liquid that cant take any form it requires.
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