Review by RavynsBluff

"Where's the rest of it...."

Apologies for the lateness in my review for this game. Considering the build-up to the game, and my eagerness to play it, I wanted to make sure I experienced the game in every way possible before writing a review on it. So, as to not give too much away in the opening paragraph, let's push on to the first category.

Gameplay:
In terms of gameplay, ME3 handles almost identically to ME2 (with a few enhancements). There are few hang-ups or issues with camera angles. Aiming on the guns is a bit more responsive and smoothed out a bit over the previous ME instalments. Few improvements over the previous ME titles is the ability to jump over items and onto ledges without first having to duck behind them (double tap the cover button), and there's much more control and diversity around character levelling.

Rating: 8/10 for some minor problems with camera angles vs. mobility

Visuals and audio:
The ME games have always had an awesome voice cast and I'm pleased to say the entire cast has returned for ME3. The sound score generally suits the mood and feel of the game, but tends to be too loud in most situations. For my sound system I had to have the music set at around 40% and all other sound settings at 100% to keep the music from drowning out the dialogue and sound effects. This is a minor issue however considering the sound levels can be adjusted or completely turned off independently. Sound effects and dialogue nice and clear when they need to be, can clearly tell when sounds are far away, behind you, to your left, etc.

Graphically the game is much the same as ME2, in my opinion the rendering of the actual characters do appear more realistic, especially around the faces. It's nit-picking a bit, but I did notice some dithering when you zoom in and out on planets when leaving orbit or scanning and during some cinematic sequences earlier in the game.

Rating: 7/10 – an improvement in some aspects over ME2 but vastly short of where they could be with current technology.

Plot:
For me, this was by far, the biggest downfall for the game. The main storyline is more or less what I was expecting for this title, simply put, the reapers are attacking. There's not a lot I can say that's bad about the main storyline actually. There were some great highs, some really sad lows, and a lot of things in between. All missions are pretty much combat based, so it's a very fast paced adrenaline rush if you're into that sort of thing. There are a LOT of decisions from ME2 which will affect your story arcs which increases replay value of both titles, and the character interactions were great.

The downside here was the lack of pretty much everything else. On my first play through I did 100% completion for the game in less than 3 days. In my opinion, this is absurd considering what we've come to expect from a Mass Effect game. Aside from the main story arc and the little sub-quests you get to go along with it, you will occasionally get a message from your comms officer regarding a N7 mission. These are the ONLY side missions available in the game.

I understand some of the reasoning around this, galaxy at war and you can't go traipsing across every random planet lest you get stomped on by a Reaper. But I still think there should be some middle ground here. I wouldn't expect to have the same open universe format that we got from ME2, but it wouldn't have been hard to toss in some side quests in the areas you could visit. It's bad enough that your only interaction/hub area is The Citadel, but combined with the fact that you can't scan/explore any planets, or stumble across random side missions, and you end up with a game that is small and sickly compared to previous ME Games.

Rating: 5/10 – A good try on the main story line, but for me, it just wasn't Mass Effect.

Summary:
I know there was a lot of negativity around the ending(s) for this game, and while I agree with a lot of what is being said (lack of closure, inconsistencies, anti-climatic), this takes a distant backseat compared to the lack of content within this game. The idea around having the multiplayer mode change things within the main storyline is kind of cool, but the multiplayer is vastly one dimensional and does little to add content to a game seriously lacking in that area.

For me, I could have seen this as an extra chapter DLC or episode DLC to Mass Effect 2 instead of a standalone title. I definitely don't feel I got my money's worth out of it, and I'm left at the end scratching my head and wondering “where's the rest of it?”


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 05/04/12

Game Release: Mass Effect 3 (US, 03/06/12)


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