Mass Effect 3 Review
Half a decade in the making, the Mass Effect trilogy had finally come to an end, entailing the epic tales of one man, one leader, Shephard, who took the lives and burden of the entire galaxy on his back.
For two full games, Shephard had been warning everyone that the Reapers are coming, to bring annihilation to the entire civilization in galactic space, and in Mass Effect 3, his revelations finally turn into a reality. The reapers are here, they are big, they are bad, they are nasty, and they will not stop until they eliminate every one last living organization in the galaxy.
Here, you will finally see the end results of choices you made in both Mass Effect 1 and 2, be it good or bad. One of the main differences compared to previous instalments and Mass Effect 3, is that for the latter, everyone had finally started to believe in the Reapers. They are no longer the mystery mythological synthetic beings they are. They are on the move, no longer staying dormant, they had begun their purge with civilization, and their first step is eliminating Earth.
Once again, you play as Shepard, the man who would be the salvation for every races and species in the space, and the ultimate destroyer of the Reapers. While on Earth, Shepard was forced to leave while the Reapers was rampaging on his home planet. Vowing to return with help, he goes back into space, once again, and gathers any profound allies all around the galaxy.
Because of the settings of Mass Effect 3, which continues right after the Arrival DLC from Mass Effect 2, it already puts you right back into action, and in the middle of hectic chaos at that too. The atmospheres are more dark and desperate, with the total purge of civilization inching closer and closer. Not just Earth but even home planets to Krogan, Turian and other races are being sabotaged by the Reapers. Obviously, you had to help them with their defense against the Reapers. As a soldier, you need to fight no doubt, but you also had to play politics, bringing your group together and solving any racial disputes which your “mixed-up” group might surfaces.
Gameplay had been improved dramatically in Mass Effect 3, in fact, I would say that Mass Effect 3 has the best gameplay mechanics so far. The battles, has included a more improved melee attack system, and the classic side roll. The melee is good and all, though sometimes it gets a bit difficult to aim, especially if you use the “charge-up” melee. It also takes a long time to actually initiate the attack due to the long animations. Chances are, if you’re using this while there are a lot of other enemies, you will be shot dead by hordes of gunshots before your melee even hit. The side roll is a nice addition though, it increases the “cover” gameplay system, making players jerk from covers to covers more easier. For the most part though, the battles are likewise, gunfight, plus supernatural physic powers, which is as fun as usual.
The game combined features from both Mass Effect 1 and 2, having the best of both worlds, while including Mass Effect 3’s own original features. One recurring feature is the weapon mods. You can modify your weapon with these mods, making your guns stronger or having special effects. You can use a mod to help you with piercing through armor, or you can use a rifle scope for your pistol, or you can even equip a mod to help you see through smoke.
Renegade/Paragon choices make a return as well, and the choices are once again, crucial for building up Shepard’s character and personality. Want to have a more strict and rough Shepard? Renegade’s for you. Want to be like a gallant knight instead? Paragon’s for you, or like me, you can go with the mixture of both,
I always go Renegade for people who pissed me off
A new addition is the Effective Military Strength, or EMS. The EMS represents military readiness in fending off the reapers. While this may sounds nice, some of the recurring characters who join the fight will only go to this war effort. You don’t see them in the Normandy, and obviously, you can’t choose them as squad members. This puts a dampen on the squad selection as there is not even a single Mass Effect 2 character to use, most of squad members are from the original Mass Effect 1. Though Garrus makes a return as a selectable member as well, so I’m not complaining, I guess. He’s awesome. Shepard and him had pretty much been in gunfire hell since day 1 in Mass Effect to the very end.
I think this comes without a doubt but one can enjoy Mass Effect 3 to the fullest with imported save files from Mass Effect 1 and 2. You can still play without the imported save as well, but that’s not going to provide you with a full entertainment experience. You just don’t feel as connected with the characters, you don’t feel the build-up intensity and you will probably be fuddled with so many things happening all at once.
Well, finishing Mass Effect 1 and 2 but losing their save files is another matter altogether though..
BioWare had no doubt, a very high budget for cost productions. The visuals are crisp and breathtaking, and even more so compared to Mass Effect 2’s already enhanced graphics. The new feature to “look” at things (by pressing the “V” button for my PC, not sure what’s the button for 360/PS3..) while navigating around the map is a nice addition. Chances are, you will be seeing huge ships, Kalros and even Reapers flashing about in the skies, and the auditory and earth-shaking impact can easily be felt. At this point, the graphics may be a bit buggy, with a few glitches here and there, though it doesn’t downgrade the general pleasure of Mass Effect 3’s astonishing visuals. The cast also packs some powerful voice acting, which is a plus.
No games are perfect and needless to say Mass Effect 3 suffers from a few issues. Roaming around the Citadel isn’t as fun anymore, especially so since you’ll be moving around the map yourself without any of your squad members accompanying you, which means less awesome conversations. However, that’s okay in itself but my main concern is the “downgraded size” of the Citadel. The city is much simpler to navigate around now, but in exchange for that, the whole city looks like it’s “dumbed down” in size. I loved the huge immersive city in Mass Effect 1, and running around the city was already so damn fun. Now.. not anymore.
Whatever flaws Mass Effect 3 possesses though, the ending makes us completely forgot about it, in a bad way. I will be lying if I say I wasn’t disappointed. You are forced to make three choices at the end, and the outcomes of the choices aren’t that much different. No matter what actions nor choices you had made throughout the game, the three endings will always be identical, and are pretty much clones of one another. That’s okay and all but the ending still leaves a lot of plot holes and unanswered question. After immersing themselves into the wonders of Mass Effect for five years, fans need their closure, and I guess I can understand their rage, especially so if they pay more then 200 bucks just for all the additional contents and DLC. BioWare is known for their complex storytelling, but most players would no doubt feel that the ending is nothing but a mockery to their wallet and expectations.
Mass Effect 3 is good. You can feel the weight of your choices made in Mass Effect 1 and 2, visuals and voice acting are top-notch, gameplay is fun and the story is good. Overall, Mass Effect 3 was just damn awesome.. until the very last moment that is. Though, if you had finished Mass Effect 1 and 2, why not play this one as well? Who knows you may like the ending, and what’s more, with a new DLC that will expand the ending, perhaps ending-wise, Mass Effect 3 will turn for the better.