Mass Effect: Paragon Lost
FUNimation // Unrated // $29.98 // December 28, 2012
Review by Nick Hartel | posted November 10, 2012
M O V I E
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
THE PROGRAM

The Mass Effect game series never spoke to me much as a gamer; despite owning the first game in the trilogy, I've never completed it, but over the past few years have watched friends play it, seen videos, and ultimately, found it impossible not to hear how the trilogy ended in the controversial final game. Any gamer worth his or her salt knows that cheap "cash-ins" on games occur quite often in the form of animated prequels or tie-in movies. "Mass Effect: Paragon Lost" is the first major example I can think of, where a tie-in movie, in this case a prequel following a minor character from "Mass Effect 3," attempts and largely succeeds and telling a compelling story, which most importantly, speaks to fans of the parent series and those completely unfamiliar alike.

The hero of "Paragon Lost" is James Vega, voiced by Freddie Prince Jr., reprising the role from "Mass Effect 3," as he completes duty on Fehl Prime during the time of a brutal, deadly attack by the Collectors. As Vega's squad suffers both heroic successes and personal losses, the natural progression of things reveals the inevitable: not everything is as it seems and Vega's story is on a windy path. At its core, "Paragon Lost" follows a derivative formula, but when executed properly, this formula can prove quite entertaining. The idea of the young, cocky squad of intergalactic soldiers is nothing fresh and generally two phenomenal executions of the idea spring to mind: "Aliens" and "Halo." "Paragon Lost" never reaches the pinnacles of either series, but by and large, knows all the right notes to play to get audiences to react favorably.

Truth be told, if the quality of the animation was above the vast mediocrity offered, "Paragon Lost" might have been an even more enjoyable viewing experience, but sadly, everything from character design to the motion of the characters seems, bluntly, cut-rate. Eventually, the viewing eye grows accustom to the style, but this doesn't erase the fact, that a large part of the animated film experience is merely serviceable. Thankfully, the voice acting, often a make-or-break element in animation works, helping to give the world of "Paragon Lost" a more lived-in feeling and slightly make up for its visual shortcomings.

I won't lie, "Paragon Lost" might have been an even more enriching experience had I played and finished, at minimum, the first two entries in the game series. There were a few references I picked up on that make me realize, fans of the game series will get the most from what "Paragon Lost" has to offer; for me, the character of Vega is a little stock, but knowing he's a part of "Mass Effect 3," coupled with my overall enjoyment of the story, make me want to consider giving the series another try. "Mass Effect: Paragon Lost" is lean, mean entertainment that doesn't try to reinvent any genre conventions; it knows its limitations and in the story department, largely delivers.





THE DVD

The Video

The copy supplied was a DVD-R screener and as a result, an accurate rating of the disc's technical merits cannot be applied. Should FUNimation supply a copy of the final street product for review, the review will be amended to reflect this.

The Audio

The copy supplied was a DVD-R screener and as a result, an accurate rating of the disc's technical merits cannot be applied. Should FUNimation supply a copy of the final street product for review, the review will be amended to reflect this.

The Extras

None.

Final Thoughts

While the art design and animation quality leave a lot to be desired, "Paragon Lost" is an entertaining, rather breezy piece of sci-fi action. Even if you aren't steeped in the lore of the Mass Effect series, if you love the genre, there are far lesser entries out there waiting to take your money and undeservedly so. Recommended.



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