Mass Effect, Played Without Firing A Single Shot

Illustration for article titled Mass Effect, Played Without Firing A Single Shot

Regardless of what class you play in Mass Effect, one of the biggest tools in your arsenal are your guns. The game expects you to use them every once in a while, sometimes in combination with your other skills. But this isn't stopping someone from going through all the games in the franchise entirely without guns.


Sure, there are times when a cutscene might show Commander Shepard shooting someone—but whenever he has control, Many A True Nerd sticks to his adept powers in a special "no guns" runthrough of Mass Effect. Teammates, meanwhile, are ordered to use their most useless guns—and are given no weapon upgrades.

The first Mass Effect isn't exactly known for its amazing shooting mechanics—I get the sense that most people play it for other reasons. But as the franchise progresses, it becomes clear that BioWare placed a lot of emphasis on the shooting—and Many A True Nerd plans on going through the entire franchise with this special no-guns ruleset. Sheenanigans will ensue, particularly in Mass Effect 2 and 3, I'm sure.

Surprisingly, going through the first game like this has proved sort of easy.

"I'd always assumed this would be a huge challenge, as the game looks like it's set up primarily as a shooter (95% of the upgrades you get are for guns, characters constantly get out guns during cutscenes, 90% of the inventory in shops is guns), but instead, I had the easiest time by the end of the game.

"Instead, it was the early missions that were a nightmare, as then my cooldown times were huge, so the thugs of Chora's Den, and the two assassins outside it, were a big challenge.

"Saren's elite Krogan Battlemaster shock troops were simple. By the time I was facing them, I had warp specialisation, lift specialisation, and master throw. The final fight against Saren himself was the easiest of all. As he's the only enemy in the room, you can just keep him indefinitely in the air with a chain of lifts from Shepard and your companions. He barely got an attack off before the warps killed him. So I suppose the most surprising thing is that playing without guns completely inverts the difficulty curve."


"It's been quite illuminating about how powerful biotics were in Mass Effect 1," Many A True Nerd told me. "Once you get yourself set up as a Nemesis Adept, with Liara and Kaiden up to high level biotics, your combined crowd controlling powers are so strong, and your cooldowns so quick, that you can just keep crowds of enemies off their feet indefinitely."

You can watch through the rest of the series, which is currently in-progress, here—like his Fallout 3: Kill Everything run, the Mass Effect: No Guns run is plenty entertaining. It's clear that Many A True Nerd knows his shit—despite playing through the franchise a couple of times, I still saw some stuff I'd never seen before—like a "shifty looking looking cow" easter egg. Gameplay-wise, Many A True Nerd often has to resort to throwing enemies out of bounds, or running enemies over the Mako—whatever it takes to get around not using guns in the game. If you have a chance, it's all worth your time.


The Censor

I've been very interested in this kind of constraint based gaming lately. I feel like there's a lot of potential here, exploring many video games without utilizing their primary mechanics. I've been trying to play Red Dead Redemption lately without shooting anyone—primarily because my last "good" controller's triggers aren't working—and it's been the most fun I've had with a game in years. They say constraint breeds creativity and I feel like that maxim isn't terribly popular when playing games.