Feb 5, 2012

Book review: Mass Effect: Deception

Video gamers can live in their own world, falling in love with characters and making choices that effect the direct outcome . Not all video games are like that, but the Mass Effect series is.

The Mass Effect series is it's own world where fans of the games can dive into this sci-fi universe with comics and books as well, helping paint a picture of a battle that is about to commence in the third video game.

As one of the people who fell in love with Mass Effect, I've read the books, bought the comics and even have a lithograph or two decorating the walls. The story behind the video game series was well thought out and gives the gamer a chance to play the hero of the story as a male or female while trying to save the universe from utter destruction from an ancient species whose main goal is to wipe out the existence of the current alien races, including humans.

Mass Effect: Deception by William C. Dietz (who has written other video game genre books) is the fourth book in the series. Dietz has taken over the series from Drew Karpyshyn who wrote the first three books. The first three books offered a gap between games, a way to fill in the time line of things doing on that didn't surround Commander Shephard, the hero of the video games. This book did not feel like a lead-in to the third game, which is due out in March.

The latest book didn't offer much in the way a gap because it didn't offer an explanation of time, but that wasn't the biggest problem. For the most part, the people reading are fans of the series. They are going to know the history of the Mass Effect inside and out. So you cannot have someone write a book who hasn't done research or doesn't stay true to the characters.

It seems as though Dietz made up things about the Mass Effect universe he didn't know about.

Characters were changed to fit the book without remarking on a history that has already been established. Gilliam Grayson, who was said to be high-functioning autistic, has suddenly become an 18-year-old woman who has no societal problems. A homosexual character suddenly found himself ogling women. The lore of Mass Effect seemingly changed with Dietz's book.

How bad was it?

A Google document was created citing the 80 or so errors on lore, timeline and continuity.

Then, just a few days ago, this announcement was released by in the BioWare – the company who created Mass Effect – Community forum.

“Mass Effect fans have been asking for a comment on recent concerns over Mass Effect: Deception. We have been listening and have the below response on the issue.

The teams at Del Rey and BioWare would like to extend our sincerest apologies to the Mass Effect fans for any errors and oversights made in the recent novel Mass Effect: Deception.  We are currently working on a number of changes that will appear in future editions of the novel.  

We would like to thank all Mass Effect fans for their passion and dedication to this ever-growing world, and assure them that we are listening and taking this matter very seriously.”

Fans of the series know their tales. There is a wiki page set up for Mass Effect that includes the lore from multiple of outlets. The book was disappointing from that standpoint because it didn't seem to ever fit into the Mass Effect world except that characters with the same names were in it.

Mass Effect fans should not get this book. But instead read the wiki page with the summary. But in reality, nothing happens in this book worthy any great significance, which was another problem.

The council still doesn't believe the Reapers are a threat and there was no new information on The Illusive Man.

Patches work well in video games, but not sure how well a patch can fix up this book.
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Rating: 1

This book received a 1 because of the sheer disappointment following it. There was no lead-up tot he third book, the vast numbers of mistakes made it hard to concentrate at times on what was actually happening. It felt sloppy and rushed. 

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