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Mass Effect 3 Review (360) - 1171 ME3

Mass Effect 3 Review (360)

Finally some finality!

The people at Bioware have really done it again – Mass Effect 3 is a great ending to an already epic franchise. After getting the game Monday night, I rushed home, got it into my Xbox and played for a few hours. Its Thursday now, and after logging in close to 40 hours with the Normandy and its crew, you can understand how much I enjoyed this game. There were points where I’d tell myself, “this is the last mission I’m gonna do, and then its break time.” After a few hours, and the odd missed meal, I was still playing, trying my best not to let the reapers destroy Earth and the galaxy. Mass Effect 3 puts you back into the role of Commander Shepard (whose sex and appearance are your choice), fighting alongside the crew of the Normandy. This time around, an ancient group of synthetic life forms known as the Reapers have finally made their presence known to the entire galaxy, and are planning a massive assault to wipe out all organic life. After Shepard warning both the Earth and Galactic Councils across two games, and largely going unheeded, entire races are finally ready to listen when the giant armada of mechanical cephalopods drop down on Earth unannounced and start wiping everyone out. There’s far more depth here, but the opening sequence evokes enough emotion to set the stage and atmosphere for the entire game – indeed, it evokes the exact feeling of dread that has been building for two games. This ends up working really well as the dialog develops between your character and everyone they encounter, as the known universe faces impossible odds. Mass Effect 3After the Reapers attack, you are sent out into the galaxy to get help from anywhere possible. While reluctant at first, races start to fall in line, one by one, as you help them and their worlds start feeling the Reapers touch, and understand how petty their own conflicts are against this bigger force at play. The battles and side quests here are no longer as personal, as everything of that nature takes a back seat to the main quest at hand. The ongoing sense of urgency and dread is always there, highlighting the context of every bit of story and dialogue. This time around, there are limited options for characters and romance, which makes sense in the context of the story – people want to help you, but they have to help their own people first. The story line here is really the crowning achievement of this game. The writing is just amazing, as you twist and turn through inter-personal relationships and all the drama that comes with galactic armageddon. While I’ve only beaten it once, with four characters from the previous Mass Effect games dead, it really felt like the writers tied up all the loose ends here. It felt great loading up my character, knowing that all the decisions I’ve made in the past were waiting for me to face. Since I used the standard Shepard face, I didn’t have any issues with porting my creation over, but I have heard some complaints about this. Word on the net is that Bioware is already working on a fix for this, and a few other minor complaints as well. As I said, I killed off four characters (by accident of course), and the game made sure I remembered them with bits of surprisingly moving dialogue, and a monument wall set up on the Normandy to commemorate the lost. While the game had a tendency to focus on the human conflict the most, the other races weren’t left out by any means. With the action starting on Earth though, it makes sense that the writers would focus on that sense of comradery that exists primarily between the human characters. Mass Effect 3The greatest feature to this game is also its greatest fault – the finality that comes with ME3 is great, but it also takes away that special thing that the other Mass Effects had. Your decisions no longer have the weight that they had before, because you know going in that this is the final chapter for Shepard. This might not be the end of the Mass Effect franchise, but you probably won’t be playing with Shepard again, and that is both good and bad for this game. Every quest seemed to be coupled with someone from your past that needed help, and by the time the quest was over, you would get the sense of resolution you deserved. As I said before, it didn’t seem like there were any loose ends, but I didn’t get the perfect ending, and because of that I can’t be sure.

In my opinion, ME3 is already a strong contender for game of the year

The graphics in this game are the finest in the series, but there were some minor graphical issues that need fixing. This game isn’t as polished as ME2 was, but that won’t matter after the first patch comes out. This game looks amazing, even if Traynor’s head pulled an Exorcist when you talk to her from behind. There were a few little things like this, but they were never enough to pull me out of the experience. When you get used to playing massive 40 hour games, you come to accept the fact that they will never be perfect. The sound is phenomenal in this game, with superb sound effects and amazing voice acting. It’s the dialogue that makes the story, but it’s the actors who bring it to life. ME2 seemed hollow at times for me, but this game steps up and pulls out an emotionally driven narrative that kept me hooked from beginning to end. There was one awkward point – where I was about to get nasty with Miranda, my love from ME2 – that I laughed at how cheesy it was, but it wasn’t enough to mar my opinion of an otherwise great game. The combat and game play is once again some of the best in the series, as well as games in general. Gone are the days of micro managing from ME1 and the over simplified systems of ME2. Bioware found a happy medium for the fans that keeps things simple enough for everyone to play, but allows the hardcore more options to make It their own. For instance, the fourth to sixth power upgrades offer you two choices for each, so that you can tailor your play style to what is useful for you and your team. They also brought in a number of weapon upgrades that really helped to make certain weapons your own. I would have liked the weapon upgrade system to offer something special for each weapon like in RE4, but what I got was great regardless. Mass Effect 3There is one major issue, and that is the lack of a side quest UI. The game throws menial tasks at you, and then expects you to get through them with any amount of interest. I would be rushing off to save such and such, and get pulled into a minor conversation that would bring up an indicator in my quest log. Three hours later, I would being at the citadel again after excavating a planet or two and find out that I had completed said side quest without realizing it. While Bioware made the mining/exploration aspect easier to stomach, they may have dumbed it down a little too much. Games like ME3 are important to the video game industry because they create a value that validates the price tag. Its games like this that help other developers see how games should be made if they wish to compete for our dollars. While there have been many games out in the past few months with this same value, there really haven’t been any this year that compare t
o ME3. In my opinion, ME3 is already a strong contender for game of the year, and is a must own for any serious gamer. While I have a hard time suggesting this game to anyone new to series, don’t let yourself miss out on this experience. Just be sure to start at the beginning with Mass Effect (the original), so that you can enjoy the world Bioware has created to its fullest extent, with the same perspective I have. Don’t let the internet naysayers affect your opinion with their petty complaints – as a creative person myself, I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone, but when it comes to this game, it’s damn good and deserves your attention, just as much as the people at Bioware deserve you dollar for their effort. Support great games by purchasing this one! One last thing This game has space ninjas!

The Good: looks and feels great, great way to wrap up a series, great writing and story line.
The Bad: Weak side quest system and UI, fewer playable characters, no more Mass Effect


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Gold Y AwardGold Y Award
4.5 4.5 / 5

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