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Mass Effect 3 is developed by Bioware and published by EA, and unfortunately, Mass Effect 3 attempts to incorporate multiplayer into single-player, a wary and resistant idea met with mass outcry. Your Galactic Readiness Meter is a terrible way of forcing people who wish to play an single-player RPG into playing the multiplayer aspect of Mass Effect 3.
The Multiplayer itself is not terrible, you can select an amount of characters such as the Turians, Salarians and the Humans, as well as others. The multiplayer is usually a team deathmatch style game, with a leveling system and such.
However, most of the people will only be interested in this mode if they want the best ending for Mass Effect and, without spoiling it, is pretty poor, regardless of the ending chosen and several dialogue changes.
Conversely, do not misunderstand this as an angry review at Mass Effect 3, as it is a good conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy and truly encapsulates the feeling of the original Mass Effect with the reapers becoming a major issue once again, and the story truly is nice and engaging, so I would advise avoiding the multiplayer side entirely.
Mass Effect 3 is relatively cheap now and can be picked up pre-owned for around £8 or new for approximately £10, and can be purchased in game shops, eBay or Amazon, where the best deals probably will be.
To conclude, Mass Effect 3 is a capable game let down by an average multiplayer and a very poor selection of endings, however Mass Effect 3 wraps up the entire trilogy nicely, and is quite inexpensive, so I would still recommend purchasing it if only to conclude the Mass Effect saga neatly.
When I bought the Game?
I pre ordered the game as soon as I was able to Pre order as I had really enjoyed the 2nd game so had high hopes for the third game.
What were my expectations?
I was expecting a game with a similar story to the second game, maybe even a better story.
Where my expectations met?
My expectations were met in some ways but not in others, I enjoyed the story, the character interaction. I thought the ending was okay but a bit lacking in certain aspect such as the choices I made in the first two games and the fact that the endings were pretty much the same apart from the colour of the beam fired from the Crucible.
What did I think of the ending?
As I mentioned above I thought the ending was okay but I wish the changes they implemented in the Extended Cut dlc had been included when the main game was first released. Although once they released the Extended cut dlc I feel it made the ending a lot better and gave the closure that the original ending failed to provide.
What did I think of the dlc?
Javik The Prothean
This dlc was an excellent way of adding an extra mission and squad member, it also adds a ton of extra dialogue between Javik and the various people encountered. What I also liked is that it also teaches me more about the Prothean race.
This dlc I found wasn't as good as the other dlc that has been released but I still find it gives more insight into the creators of the reapers and the race that came before them.
I enjoyed being able to go back and explore Omega even if it was just mission related, I also liked having Aria and Nyreen as temporary squad members and provided more of a back story into Aria's ruling of Omega, the only thing I didn't like was that Omega wasn't available as an explorable hub after I completed the dlc.
The Citadel dlc
I enjoyed this dlc the most out of all dlc released, I was hooked from the very beginning. I mostly enjoyed the banter between the squad mates during the game (lines such as "So you fell through a fish tank" had me in stitches). I also liked the villain and thought it was a good way to poke fun at some of Commander Shepard's sayings
I mainly enjoyed the party and the meet ups that I could do after I finished the story portion of the dlc as they really made the game feel longer and gave more closure to some of the characters (e.g. more dialogue with Zaeed and other characters who don't get much dialogue during the main game).
Overall I really enjoyed the third game but still feel the second game is the best in the trilogy
Onwards and sidewards
Mass effect was a fun game with a fair amount of repetition, that felt like repetition. It also had some dodgy graphics (on the PC) and some poor design choices in terms of levelling and gameplay. All this, set off by a good, solid script.
Mass effect 2 came along awhile later, and blew us all away. It was, in many ways, the perfect CRPG. The levelling was smart. There was a good variety of classes and powers. The weaponry was satisfying. Your companions were extremely detailed, thought out people. They had loyalty quests which were not only worth doing, but scripted as beautifully as the main game itself.
The voice acting was superb, the music great. The game's length was legendary and the graphics, oh gods in heaven, the graphics were to die for. Often repeatedly. Best of all, it had (and still has) the best start and end of any space faring CRPG ever.
Therefore, Mass effect 3 which was to be the conclusion of the Shepherd storyline had stratospheric expectations. The best I could have reasonably hoped for was that it would be as good as its predecessor. It is not. But by the same token, it is definitely worth buying and playing. Warts and all.
We come in peace, shoot to kill
One of the truly great things about Mass effect 3 is how it will take a huge number of variables from your Mass effect 2 saved game. You may not have realised it at the time, but choices made back then will have consequences now, some of them high. I love this aspect, and would like to see competing serials use a similar method.
Importing a game will also import the facial likeness, updating it slightly. You do have the option to change not just your face but also your class if you wish it. Whatever class you choose, you start at a reasonable level and so will be able to allocate points immediately.
Having been sidelined for several years by an embarrassed council due to destroying a mass relay (and a solar system in the bargain) to delay the inevitable Reaper invasion, the final enemy has arrived. A hundred Reaper vessels of varying size, but each bearing immense power have descended upon your galaxy, invading the homeworlds of all major species, including Earth.
Forced to leave a burning planet to assemble an armada powerful enough to stand the slimmest of chances against the Reaper threat, you will run across old friends and see the ending of many a storyline. Including your own.
Mass effect 2 had a power upgrade system that only branched at the end. Mass effect 3 diverges power upgrades far earlier in the cycle, giving you more options in how you upgrade your powers. Some choices will also have effects on other powers. Not content to stop there, Mass effect 3 has a greater range of weapons, and each weapon can be separately upgraded. Greater ammo capacities, longer barrels for more damage, armour piercing bullets or rounds that are more effective against shields. All of which adds a little richness to how you want your configs to be.
The AI of your enemies has notably increased. They now act more as squads than individuals, covering each other, using grenades to flush you out of entrenched positions, planting turrets etc. You still have the facility to take two companions with you into any mission, and here's where we run into one of Mass effect 3's two greatest flaws.
One of the best aspects of Mass effect 2 was the large number of companions, or squad mates that you could select from, and their wonderful back stories. The back stories are still here, after a fashion, but the number of companions you have has dropped dramatically. The developers claim this is to have deeper relationships, but I'm afraid that this explanation is complete cack.
So what squad mate choices are there? Ashley Williams or Kaiden return, dependant on who survived the events of the original mass effect. EDI, the ship's AI now has a mobile form that she can use. Garrus, Tali and Liara are all back if they survived the events of Mass effect 2.
The one new character is James Vega, or as I like to call him, El macho burrito. This walking stereotype (introduced probably because of the US's rising Hispanic population) is incredibly, incredibly irritating. If I was chicano, odds are I'd find it insulting as well. Whoever was responsible for this should be banished at once to the ice world Frigia.
If you are worried what happened to all the other companions you came to care about in Mass Effect 2, don't be. They are here, if they survived, but as NPCs. Your choices then and now can determine if they live or die. And there are some wonderfully poignant moments to be had, particularly with Morden Solus, Thane Krios and Legion standing out from all the others. There are some continued romance options (and love triangles), but it doesn't feel quite as involved in this as its predecessor.
The already impressive graphics are turned up a notch, with more spot effects than before and a greater level of facial detail. There are new, deadlier enemies to face. Particularly with the addition of heavy units like the Atlas, Brute and Banshee. Mass effect 3 also has some impressive setpieces, the Krogan world of Tchuncka providing one of the absolute bests.
Space trekking, across the universe
As mentioned previously, one of your main objectives is to build an armada. This is difficult, with the major races desperately fighting to save their own home worlds, the Quarian fighting the Geth, and the minor (but still useful) races refugees at the citadel or scattered across the quadrant.
You can raise your military strength by recruiting ships and powerful individuals to your cause. This works well, making you feel as if you really are assembling the last, best hope for survival. What doesn't work quite so well is the need to do a fair amount of this through planet scanning, one step ahead of Reapers homing in on your position. The first time you do this, it is genuinely exciting. The thirtieth time, not so much. You can win the game without it, but for the most positive endings you need to put in the legwork.
Speaking of the citadel, this has become a safe haven for refugees clamouring to get in while their universe disintegrates behind them. There are a number of side missions throughout the citadel, and an attempt is made to try and build the last-stand atmosphere, but none of it really feels as well crafted as the missions you go on, out in the black.
Why The Face?
While the main storyline is excellent, with some great cameos from previous squad mates, the final end-game is a strange one, and one that raised much controversy. At a crucial moment, the game's graphics suddenly change completely. That's jarring enough, but there's worse to come.
Anderson, a minor character at best from the first two Mass effect games is suddenly your best bud in the universe. The game's head writers, who allegedly cut everyone else in the team out of this stage, are determined to create an awkward bromance that just does not work. It takes the sting out of what's supposed to be a powerful scene.
Mass effect concludes with an ending that many found tacked-on and unsatisfying. It is unquestionably inferior to the ending of Mass Effect 3 and definitely not what I'd hoped it could have been. Shepherd's story, even where he survives, ends not with a bang but with a whimper. No, that's not quite right. It ends with a very small bang. A party popper, perhaps. And in doing so, the head writers have ultimately sabotaged themselves.
While this is a missed opportunity, for me, Mass effect 3 is less about the destination and more about the journey. As is, this would be a begrudging 4 star review. But it is saved by the excellent multiplayer.
I can't praise this element highly enough. Up to 4 players can play from a bewildering array of characters (once unlocked) on a large variety of gaming levels and degrees of difficulty. Unlocks are a large part of playing, earned through points from killing or damaging things and achieving mission objectives within levels, or literally paying for it.
This is genius. While you can pay for content, you don't have to. And the sheer fun from multiplayer is such that you never feel pressured into doing so. Bioware has brought out a number of free expansion packs and have continued to develop multiplayer by adding achievements, banners and weekend challenges. I've spent hours on multiplayer alone. This, for me, turns this into a five star review.
March 2012 saw the release of Mass Effect 3, one of the most eagerly awaited video games in recent history. The high levels of anticipation should come as no surprise when you consider the hundreds of hours the average Mass Effect fan has invested into the series. Its unique save feature, which allows players to transfer their progress from one instalment to the next, encouraged multiple playthroughs to discover what impact the decisions you make have on the story at large. Hype for the game was through the roof, which was both a good and bad thing. Excellent sales figures were a certainty, but when expectations are so high is it feasible to live up to them? It's a tough task which few companies can pull off. For every Metal Gear Solid 4, which did a commendable job of ending the epic saga, you get a Duke Nukem Forever which ultimately proved not to be worth the fifteen year wait.
The game kicks off with the Reapers, who commander Sheppard has been warning the military about in the previous games, commencing their invasion of Earth and the surrounding alien worlds. As the giant mechanical squid like invaders commence the eradication of all intelligent organic life (Loose Women viewers should therefore be safe), Sheppard is forced off world tasked with assembling a combat force to repel the giant cephalopod automatons. Hmmm that does sound awfully familiar BioWare. Didn't you already use the "recruit an army to save the day" plot in Dragon Age: Origins? Heck it's not even that dissimilar to Mass Effect 2 were you travelled the cosmos completing missions to assemble an elite team. Ah well, I guess if it ain't broke don't fix it.
On the back of the game box there's a quote from Yahoo Games which states "If you're not a fan now's the time to start." That's not a sentiment I entirely agree with. Yes, with the information you are provided, new players can follow what is going on but they won't get the full Mass Effect experience. What makes the series so enjoyable is the attachment you have for the characters and seeing how your actions affect the relationships you form. Without that emotional bond with your party the above mentioned story, not matter how well presented, can feel a little hollow. I can imagine new players will constantly question why Sheppard is wasting time on optional side quests when time is of the essence. Why is he dithering on what crew member to get into the sack with when the clock is ticking. Shouldn't assembling a super weapon to destroy the Reapers have priority over scoring some nookie?
It's impossible to review Mass Effect 3 without mentioning the ending. Don't worry I won't divulge spoilers, but I do have to express how unhappy I was by how it all pans out. In the end it boils down to choosing between three options which have no bearing on what you have done before. It reminds me of the complaints I had with Fallout 3 in that the game is lauded for the freedom it gives the player, only to then restrict you to a few choices totally against the spirit of everything which preceded it. To make matters worse there's little differentiating the three outcomes which are only a couple of minutes long. After the dust is settled I was left with a feeling of "is that it?" Considering that some of the things you do leading up to the ending have massive ramifications, on the galaxy at large, it would have been nice to have seen an epilogue detailing how your completed quests affected the various alien races making up the Mass Effect universe.
Mass Effect 3 doesn't play drastically different to its predecessor with BioWare instead choosing to refine the engine so we get a game that feels more like a proper third person shooter, as opposed to a shooting/RPG hybrid. Although the end result is no Gears of War, the action feels less clunky thanks to melee combat being beefed up and tweaks to the cover system. The changes reduce the annoying "cowering behind boxes you bump into" issue which plagued the last game. Sheppard's interaction with the environment is bolstered by the ability to roll between concealed positions, climbing/descending ladders and being able to leap over gaps. It's a shame that the design of some levels didn't utilise these new abilities to their fullest. Some sections abandoned exploration entirely and merely asked you to travel a short distance into an open area were you would fend off waves of enemies.
Facing legions of enemies wouldn't be so bad if there was a decent selection of adversaries, but unfortunately the variation of foes is rather limited. By the end of the story you'll be sick of being pitted against Cerberus soldiers/mechs and Reaver forces such as the zombie like husks. The game is even lacking in the boss department with the last level missing a final guardian. You fight your way through an action packed battle and then the dire ending sequence begins. At least before you get to that point you get to go "mano a mano" with a Reaper and square off against a cloaked ninja assassin, who looks a little out of place in a Mass Effect game. Perhaps he was meaning to audition for Metal Gear Solid, took a wrong turn and ended up in the BioWare studios instead.
Although Mass Effect 3's focus has shifted to action there is still some RPG customisation to be found. As in the last game you earn points upon levelling up which are traded away to learn new abilities. Equipment can be found during missions, researched or bought at stores including various guns each with their own strengths and weaknesses (some have rapid fire, some are more effective against energy fields and so on.) By applying mods to your blasters/rifles its possible to alter your arsenal to improve accuracy or ammo capacity, tailoring things to match your play style. Defensively speaking you have the option of donning different types of armour which grant you various bonuses. You can mix and match different items in each armour slot or just opt for a dedicated suit such as the cool looking Knight gear you get free if you have a Dragon Age save on your hard drive.
Before wrapping things up I'd like to comment on two new features introduced to this third game. Firstly is the new scanning system which replaces the dull resource mining players had to endure in Mass Effect 2. Instead of combing the surface of planets, using a combination of probes and sonar, you now uncover hidden space debris by emitting a pulse whilst flying about on the Normandy. Although not particularly exciting the pulse is much quicker to use making the whole searching for goodies less tedious. Watch out though as using the pulse has the chance of summoning a Reaper to the quadrant of the galaxy you are navigating. If that happens it's time to get out of Dodge, because touching the incoming threat spells an instant game over. Thankfully Reapers vanish after a while so you can return to the sector later on to continue your exploration.
The most notable addition to the game is the introduction of co-op multiplayer which allows players to take on hordes of AI enemies. It's a cool feature which adds to the game's shelf life. I am however disappointed that the developers didn't go down the route of allowing friends to go through the story instead. Having the option of one player controlling Shepard and his buddies controlling his squad mates, akin to Resident Evil 5, seemed like a no brainer to me. The only negative I can see with the multiplayer is that it will annoy those only interested in a solo experience. The ending you get is determined by a combat readiness score, which increases when completing quests. The problem is that getting a high enough score, for the best ending, is nigh on impossible without the supplemental points awarded for partaking in multiplayer missions. Not good news for Mass Effect hermits who don't like to mingle with others.
Overall Mass Effect 3 only just falls shy of getting a perfect score. Combat wise this isn't the most exciting third person shooter on the market, but it's still heaps of fun to play and its faults are easy to overlook thanks to some well written dialogue which absorb you into the game world. The graphics are slightly better than the last game with the character models looking a tad more realistic. Visually the only fault I could find were the facial expressions which were a little off. I couldn't help but feel a little creeped out whenever the camera zooms in on Sheppard as s/he tries to convey emotion. The musical score is brilliant and the voice acting is first rate for the most part. The only character who offended my ears was a reporter voiced by a real life IGN journalist. It showed that she isn't a professional actress and I cannot help but wonder if she only got the part so the game would get a favourable review from a leading games website.
The reason I am knocking off a star is because I enjoyed Mass Effect 2 slightly more as I missed the large selection of squad mates you had in the previous game. The extensive roster was sadly trimmed down to four or five characters with many fan favourites being reduced to cameo appearances. I also feel that Mass Effect 3's score needs to be penalised to reflect a few glitches which got past bug testing. A number of players have reported issues with their saved games not importing properly which is unforgivable given the importance of continuity between the games is. The most common complaint is that Sheppard's appearance gets altered during the transfer and certain characters not appearing in the story even if they survived the last game. Gremlins also appear to have infiltrated the rendering of graphics as I noted during a cut scene when my team was talking to an invisible Liara. As a lover of smexy blue skinned aliens I was not amused by her vanishing act.
Ultimately though I cannot bring myself to give Mass Effect 3 five stars due to the lacklustre ending. When I completed Mass Effect 2 I had the urge to replay it again, but that wasn't the case with the follow up. What's the point? Even if I take a radically different approach to saving the universe I'll still get presented with the three same options upon reaching the story's climax. Thankfully BioWare have listened to the negative feedback and vowed to expand the endings via a free patch. As it currently stands though the game is the epitome of "the journey is more important than the destination." At the end of the day this is another fine BioWare game, but those quibbles further tarnish the company's reputation. Following on from the rushed Dragon Age 2 and the subscriber haemorrhaging Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect 3 reminds us that BioWare make good games, but they aren't the infallible force they once were prior to the merger with Electronic Arts.
If you've paid any attention to the realm of video games recently, you'll know that Mass Effect is one of the most respected and enjoyable series around. The original title offered a fantastic role-playing experience, while the sequel had a bigger focus on action but was still excellent. The pressure was on developer Bioware, then, to make a third title that offered a mix of both exciting action and role-playing elements which fans of the original requested. There's been a lot of complaining from fans for various absurd reasons, but there's no question that Mass Effect 3 is a brilliant and epic conclusion to the series. It surpasses both of its predecessors in nearly every aspect, hindered only by some minor flaws. It's recommendable that you complete Mass Effect 2 before playing this at the very least (the original isn't available on PS3 so you'll need a high-spec PC or Xbox 360 to play it, but if you have one of those, go for it) so that you are more accustomed to the story.
Mass Effect 2 turned from the original slightly and focused on the enemy Collectors, but like the first game in the series Mass Effect 3 has a much larger emphasis on the Reaper threat. Your aim, as Commander Shepard, is to destroy the powerful Reapers, a force which appears every 50,000 years. Beginning your adventure in Vancouver, you leave and travel around the galaxy, preparing for the final battle back on Earth, or more specifically London. Plain gunfire isn't enough to put an end to the Reapers. As if this isn't enough to contend with, you have to fight a pro-human organisation known as Cerberus, who you allied with in Mass Effect 2. There is no definite ending; depending on your level of success in the game, you can choose from various endings.
The plot may not sound that interesting to you, but where the story really succeeds is in the characters and how you care for them. Over the course of the game you assemble a crew (which is notably quite a bit smaller than it is in ME2) and you get to chat with them in the game's two hubs: your ship, the Normandy and the Citadel. From the blue-skinned alien Liara to the arrogant but likeable James, there is a very diverse cast here. As you learn more about their history and develop your relationship with them, you really begin to care for them and are determined to make it through the story alive. Developing a bond with the other characters feels as integral to Mass Effect 3 as the gameplay itself. As this is a Mass Effect game, there are many important decisions you have to make throughout the game which can affect how the rest of the title plays out. Most of these scenarios involve one choice that benefit your war assets (I'll explain after) and another, much more personal and moral decision which, if not chosen, could result in the death of one of your teammates. These are genuinely tough to make and at several points I even paused to think.
At first glance, Mass Effect 3 seems like your run-of-the-mill third-person shooter and I can't say 'that couldn't be further from the truth', but being a role-playing game there are a number of features that make it stand out from the crowd, as described below.
The core gameplay is made up of gunplay and using powers. The combat has been compared with Gears of War, though I wouldn't know as I don't own an Xbox 360. Diving into cover using the X button is integral, as standing out in the open will result in a pretty fast death. Simply use L1 to aim and R1 to shoot. The health system mixes the contemporary regenerating health with...well, non-regenerating health. Your shields quickly deplete as you are shot at and then your armour, which is split into five segments, goes down. After a few seconds, the armour increases to the highest part of the segment it is currently on and your shields regenerate. You can only maximise your health again using medi-gel. Powers are also important. Holding the R2 button down activates the 'power wheel' in which you have access to yours and your teammates' powers, all of which have different effects on your enemy or yourself. Overall, the combat system is excellent and Bioware have done a great job, considering combat in more than a few RPGs is weak.
Bioware have clearly taken fans' requests into account. While Mass Effect was a true RPG experience, the sequel was slightly more action-orientated and had less role-playing elements. Here, you can choose from three different modes of gameplay. 'Action' is self-explanatory - there is a much bigger focus on the action and less on levelling up your character or dialogue choices - while 'Story' is for people who care most about the - guess what - story and less about the combat, which is much easier in this mode. I chose RPG mode, which caters towards fans of the series. This allows you to pick dialogue choices (which are a rather rare occurrence in comparison with the previous two games) as well as upgrading your character. You slowly level up as you progress through the game, earning you points which you can spend on powers and general boosts for melee abilities and more.
To add to the role-playing side of things, you can customise your armour and upgrade your weapons. There are various parts of your armour you can change such as the helmet, shoulders and chest. Each piece provides a boost to your stats. Want to improve your shields? Wear the chestplate that provides a shield bonus. You have to find different armour parts throughout your adventures. Otherwise, you can just choose whatever looks best. In addition, there are 'casual' outfits which you wear while on the Normandy and Citadel. They differ for the male and female Shepard. Upgrading your weapons is simple; it levels up when you spend a specified amount of credits on it, boosting its power and ammo capacity. It's very simple and disappointingly you can't select ammo types and the like, unlike in the original Mass Effect but it works.
In the war assets system, you can increase your military strength by collecting from planets or getting help from others, including someone series veterans will recognise. The system has been controversial, mainly because multiplayer is heavily involved in increasing your readiness rating. Not that playing online is bad, but a lot of people prefer Mass Effect as a single-player experience, and that's what it was meant to be. This is the first game in the series featuring it, after all. Depending on how high your military strength is, new endings are available to you.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Mass Effect 3 certainly looks impressive, with lots of excellent set-pieces and plenty of detail. Characters look fairly realistic (even if some are aliens) and there are a lot of small details on their faces. The environments also look amazing, whether you're aboard a giant space station or standing on a rocky planet. You'll certainly be impressed. One negative, however, is that some cutscenes could be quite jerky, even ones in which not much is going on. Whether this is a problem across all platforms or the result of a lazy port, I am unsure of. The audio is just as good. The voice acting is, as expected, top-notch. Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale do a great job as male and female Shepard respectively. Also, as was with Mass Effect 2, Martin Sheen puts on a splendid job as the Illusive Man. Some parts of the writing aren't up to scratch but for the most parts it is good, and each of the voice actors portray their lines well. The music is fabulous, too. From the loud, fast-paced music which accompany the intense battles, to the slower piano-based tracks that amplify the drama of the game.
There are only a small number of problems in Mass Effect 3, and the majority of these are only minor. The main one is the ending. I won't spoil it, but considering one of the main staples of the series is choice, the fact that you must choose out of a rather limited number of decisions is disappointing. More questions are left than answers, though various theories have circled around the internet which are very interesting and mean it makes more sense. Some may also be disappointed by the toned down RPG elements in comparison with the first Mass Effect, even though there are more here than in the series' second title. Other flaws include some rather jerky cutscenes and, though I haven't experienced these, some people have complained of squad members disappearing during missions. A major issue which I came across was that a glitch meant I couldn't complete one fairly important side mission. A recent patch fixed various problems, however. Some of these things may annoy you, but the game doesn't nearly deserve the heavy criticism that many users have given it.
Mass Effect 3 is a superb end to possibly the best game series during the PS3's life. The story is very personal and has emotional depth. There are plenty of great characters that are integral to the plot and learning about their history really is intriguing. Mass Effect is a universe with a lot of history and you can learn all about it in the in-game Codex. This is basically an encyclopaedia which tells you all about previous events, species and much more. It's brilliant, as learning all about a game's story requires you to look at an online wiki. The gameplay, as ever, breaks away from the often poor combat of RPGs. Whether you go for the shooter approach or are more interested in using powers, the combat is fantastic. The graphics are also very impressive with lots of detail on both the characters and environments. To support the excellent story is some superb voice acting - every actor does a great job - and the music mixes slow piano-based tracks with faster and tenser music during battles. The multiplayer is also good, though I haven't hour upon hour into it (I will deliver a more detailed section here soon) but the single-player really is the way to go. Also, you won't be disappointed with length. I invested around 40 hours into the game, so you get plenty of value for money. This is an essential experience and shouldn't be missed.
TO SUM UP...
-Ending is disappointing with only small differences between each one
-Certain cutscenes can be quite jerky
-RPG elements still aren't quite up there with the original
-Some glitches may frustrate
- A breathtaking story with lots of interesting characters
- The combat is excellent whichever way you play
- There's lots of detail wherever you go
- A brilliant soundtrack
- Great voice acting
-Offers great longevity
-Most complained about elements of ME1 & 2 have been removed
-Multiplayer shows promise
Thanks for reading! This review is also posted on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff.
Mass Effect 3 is finally here. Anyone who has played the previous 2 installments will know what to expect, fast paced action with RPG elements, great story and characters rolled into a 25 hours worth of gameplay.
The first thing you're probably going to notice is how good the game looks, from the character models to the back drops, everything about Mass Effect 3 is gorgeous. Bioware have really outdone themselves. The game controls slightly different to the last game, with Shepard having access to slightly more basic commands (such as climbing ladders). It also feels more twitchy, however an hour in and you'll not even notice the difference.
The story is the main pulling point of Mass Effect, and ME3 does not fail to impress. Old characters return and new friends are made each with their own interesting back story and traits. One thing that I wasn't please about was that the game punishes you for not importing a character from Mass Effect 2, I felt as though I had missed half of the game and returning characters because I had chose not to (after speaking to a friend, I had!).
The ending stirred up a lot of controversy, and Bioware have recently announced plans to release and alternate ending. While the ending did cause some uproar, I do not believe it detracted from the whole experience and would still recommend the game to anyone, fan or not.
It's Massive! It's Effective! It's... pretty clear I've got no idea how to start this review. Nevertheless, Mass Effect 3 is upon us, after being pushed back a good six months to the disappointment of many fans. But was it worth the wait? Yes, if you don't count the ending.. but more on that later. Mass Effect 3 takes place in a universe populated by a variety of alien species and, somewhat surprisingly, doesn't rip off Star Wars or Star Trek. While both Mass Effect 1 and 2 had their own storylines, the trilogy's overarching plot involves 'The Reapers', a race of gigantic sentient machines who apparently purge the galaxy of life every 30,000 years or so. And wouldn't you know it, 30,000 years is almost up. It's up to you, as space hero or heroine Commander Shephard - the game lets you determine your character's sex - to save the day.
Although you're not really in a position to do much as the game starts, however, since you've had your ship and crew taken away from you because you piloted an asteroid into a gigantic Mass Relay space-doohickey in order to stop the Reapers arriving even earlier. What, you don't remember that? Even though you played both Mass Effect 1 and 2? That's because said events happened in Arrival, a piece of chargeable downloadable content for Mass Effect 2. It's a bit odd - and cheeky - to have the game reference a piece of content you have to fork out for. And BioWare, the creators of Mass Effect, have outdone themselves as well, since there's another piece of downloadable content available for the game on day one. It's not all that great, though, so you can happily live without it.
In fact, you don't need to have played ME1 or ME2 to enjoy Mass Effect 3, since the game has a 'codex' system which fills you in on some of the game's characters. Though it does increase the emotional impact of some of the deaths in the game. Yes, deaths. Mass Effect 3 is very apocalyptic in tone since, within the game's first few minutes you discover the Reapers have begun their assault upon not only Earth but the galaxy as a whole. And so you hop on your ship in an attempt to gather the galaxy's species together in order to see the Reapers off. What this really entails is roaming around, mostly on foot, shooting anything that moves. And punching anything that doesn't. There are also a few moral choices to make as well, though the shooting generally comes first.
You're not alone, however, and you have five or six other squad-mates who can assist you, up to two of them able to accompany you at the same time. Your character can be a tech-expert, a super psychic bad-ass or a soldier type and the non-player characters have similar predilictions so it's a good idea to put a squad together that includes someone from all three camps. You can't just run in guns blazing - unless you've got the game set on the easiest difficulty level - instead you generally duck behind cover, fire a few shots and proceed. It's a little like Gears of War - and is also viewed from a third person perspective - except without the obvious steroid use.
While the game has you in command of a space-ship, there's surprisingly no ship to ship combat outside of the game's admittedly impressive cutscenes. But your ship does let you go on a variety of side-missions to help bolster the war effort. The game's main missions are, however, a tad linear in that they have to be tackled in one specific order. Mass Effect 2, on the other hand, let you complete the main missions in whatever order you liked. However Mass Effect 3 does pit you against a far wider variety of enemies than either of the previous games did which is a bonus. And the game's graphics are a little bit better than they were in ME1 and 2 as well - although be warned that the PS3 version of the game doesn't run quite as smoothly as the PC or 360 versions do, which is a bit frustrating at times.
Mass Effect 3 is essentially a shoot-em-up with RPG elements and as such it's a hell of a lot of fun to play. Aside from looking and sounding good - even though this game has a new music composer - it's one of the most emotionally engaging games I've played in ages. You really can see the galaxy going to hell as the Reapers start laying waste to everything. The last hour or so of the game, however, does disappoint a little. Fans of the Mass Effect series have been up in arms about the ending and if you just happened to watch the ending on Youtube or something, you might wonder what their problem was? I'll tell you.
The moral decisions you made in Mass Effect 1 and 2 weren't always clear cut - you rarely got to be good or evil - and your actions carried over to the next game. Similarly, Mass Effect 3 will import your previously saved game and change the game a little accordingly. However, when it comes to the game's ending, none of the decisions you made mean a damn. The ending itself isn't terrible, but you're basically offered three decisions, none of which are very appealing and your decisions in previous games have next to no effect on them. Given that Bioware has been reminding people to keep their old saved games, it seems like a bit of a cop out.
That said, Mass Effect 3 is still a good game and is one of the most epic RPGs out there and thankfully doesn't involve trolls, dwarves, elves or Jedi. If you're a sci-fi or RPG fan or are just looking for a game that'll keep you playing for a long time, then Mass Effect 3 is worth checking out. Is it worth buying? Probably not since no matter what you do the ending options don't change and it's currently only available at full price - it's worth definitely worth renting though. And you should perhaps consider a purchase when it's inevitably dropped to £19.99 in a couple of months time.
(review also posted on Freeola - I've given this three stars though it really deserves three and a half)