No matter what you may hear or think about the controversies, Mass Effect 3 is, without a doubt, a game that has perfected its own formula and will bring you a great experience that can only be had from BioWare. Great story presentation, a much improved combat system and an addicting multiplayer will leave players begging for more.
The time of destruction has finally arrived in this Sci-Fi Shooter/RPG trilogy. The Reapers has finally started their attack in full force against the entire Milky Way Galaxy and Earth is quickly falling apart to the invasion. Meanwhile, the various races are still segmented due to old grudges. Refusing to unite as an army of one will only lead to the eventual destruction of the entire galaxy. Commander Shepard must not only find a way to end this Reaper threat but to also amend all the issues that are preventing this unification against this seemingly unstoppable force.
Straight out of Mass Effect 2, the combat system is identical with a few great adjustments. Refinements such as being able to sprint constantly and to customize your weapons really helps brings the shooter element of the game to a higher level of enjoyment. It is not a bad thing for Mass Effect 3 to suddenly feel more like a lite-version of Gears of War but the in-depth Power system with abilities and “space magic” still gives the game system its own identity.
Graphically, the game is not much of a huge step up from Mass Effect 2. Character animations can be glitchy at times. But, Mass Effect 3 shows you that it doesn’t need to be a graphical benchmark to be able to set the atmosphere proper. When going into areas that are ravaged by war, you just know everything just went to hell. The area is arid, dark and completely in ruins but still an underlying battle is taking place in the background. You know you are in war. What BioWare did right was presenting that amazing atmosphere no matter what kind of situation you’re in.
Everything feels fantastic as you’re mowing down enemies. What the previous Mass Effect games lacked was proper responsiveness towards what you’re doing in the game. When you shoot a shotgun, it should feel like you’re shooting a ton of pellets into your enemy. They have a few aesthetic changes with the sound design and how the enemies react to certain attacks. Headshotting enemies has never felt so gratifying in any game that I’ve played, especially when it’s coming from a shotgun. Even the pew-pewing sound from some of the laser type weapons are so pleasing to fire.
But what really makes Mass Effect appealing throughout all these years is the story and how rich it is, especially considering that there’s so many choices and outcomes that it will twist every single dialogue line to the point where one player’s experience will be completely different from another. In talking with my other associates here, we’ve all experienced scenes and dialogue between the characters that different in all of our games. On top of old character cameos and the synergy between your squad mates, there’s plenty to laugh and enjoy. Towards the final moments, you have this attachment towards these characters and it doesn’t matter if you’re new or old to the series, there will be at least one person that you’ll end up liking and associating yourself with, if not Shepard.
Mass Effect 3 really tie in a lot of characters from the previous games. Characters that you have interacted with in the past will be showing up in some form in Mass Effect 3. There will be some emotional roller coasters that will make you wonder if you could completely avoid some situations if only you made a different decision before. Some of these events will make you very sad and guilty. Be prepared with some tissues.
There are some issues and problems that stuck out. Enemies are generalized to three specific types. You won’t be fighting a huge array of enemies like you’ve have been with Mass Effect and the sequel. There is a boss fight or two but nothing as dramatic as the final bosses of the first and second games.
Overall exploration has been reduced down to the point where it feels pointless and mundane to explore every little facet of the galaxy. Mining was removed and while that’s a good thing, the galaxy feels a lot smaller. There are additional missions outside of the main arc but it feels far less from Mass Effect 2′s selection.
Because importing a character from Mass Effect 2 also imports all your levels, the game does put you in a position where everything can be too easy, even on Insanity. Those that have played the original Mass Effect games will know how difficult the Insanity difficulty is. With additional tiers added to your powers, you’re simply too strong and can bulldoze a lot of things without breaking a sweat. Playing on a brand new file without importing does start you off at level 1, which then Insanity is properly balanced. It’s disappointing to have to make a brand new Shepard for that thrill. Normal with an imported Shepard is just too easy.
The premise of the game is for Shepard to pull up as much support as possible to repel the Reapers off of Earth. Everything counts and what that you do in Mass Effect 3 will have an effect towards the war efforts. However, it seems as though it is impractical to get the “best ending” possible without having to play Multiplayer, prior to beating the game once or sticking with a strict decision path that goes against the core of the story experience.
On that note, the multiplayer is the most fantastic idea ever and was executed so well. As a member of the Alliance, you and three others will be placed on a map to defend yourselves against waves of enemies. Sometimes they throw some big monstrosities at you and sometimes it mixes itself up by presenting you with additional objectives. Combining a game type like this with Mass Effect powers makes for a really addicting game that can easily hold you on for many hours.
Finally, there’s the critique of the ending. Personally, I took the ending for what it is. Some will feel the same way, some won’t. It’s quite evident that based on the recent news, there’s a significant number of those out there that did not like the ending. While I think the game could have ended in a more interesting fashion, the ending given will raise some questions and it may potentially discourage you from replaying the entire game or the entire series.
Despite criticisms towards the ending and a few problems here and there, Mass Effect 3 ends the Shepard Trilogy in an epic blaze of glory. Mass Effect 3 had a lot going for it and while the end might not bode well with many, this is a clear indication of how the journey is much more important than the destination. Even then, the multiplayer will keep you coming back. I only leave you with this one caveat: Be prepared for misery if you hold value in BioWare’s writing. Other than that, be prepared for the fantastic conclusion because it truly is fantastic.