Review by MStango

"Deus Ex Machina the Game"

So we reach the end of one of the most popular story driven series in gaming, to say I was disappointed is to say the Atlantic is moist. The game does end on a frankly ridicules note, but stepping away from that the best of it is one of the best RPGs ever made…though I can't step that far away from a conclusion so bad it hurt my soul.

Sound 9
Very Sci-fi
The sound design hasn't changed much since the original Mass Effect and that's a good thing, the low beeps and boops mesh beautifully with the techno beats and original combat music. The voice acting is some of the best in the industry, selling even some of the stupidest moments. On the down side some of the weapons sound like they're firing foam darts despite being very effective and others sound like death incarnate and are utterly useless. A little more time spent matching power with loudness would have been agreeable.

Graphics 8
Beautify when it's not Glitching out
From the word go there are problems with the graphics, the shadows in the first mission are particularly bad, luckily after what is essentially the demo things start to look a lot better. The graphics are defiantly something impressive in the moments where everything is working. Animations snap, heads twist all way around, eyeballs disappear and mouth movements tend to seem slightly, if not completely off. More egregious are the cut scenes that switch your weapon on you only to switch it back before gameplay, weird since they don't switch your armor or crew, but frustrating because it usually has you wielding weapons no one would ever bother with, ever.

Multi-Player 8
Fun but a hair broken
The multiplayer is surprisingly fluid, achieving some balance in it's classe: Sentinels and Solders are Tanks, Adepts and Engineers offer crowed control, Infiltrators make good healers and Vanguards are, um... ridiculous. So yes the Vanguards are a bit over powered and by a bit I mean they're starting power has them teleport to any enemy you can target and do massive damage while knocking them helplessly off their feet and did I mention while doing this your completely invincible and this move heals your shields, you might think this puts you in a precarious position, and it can; except for two things 1) The cool down can be as short as a second or two. 2) The human Vanguards get an attack that turns all your new shield power into an explosion… and in addition to killing/staggering everything within 3-6M radius this attack can further shorten your wait to your next power usage. This class makes accidentally stealing kills nearly unavoidable, but if your polite this class is an amazing medic too. In my experience I found nearly every one playing as a Vanguard and those who didn't leaving in frustration.

Gameplay 6
Enjoyable but Frustrating
The run and gunning in this game is reliably fun, though it seems it's still trying to catch up the ME1's uniqueness. Bioware has built a habit through these games of: have a few people complain about X and replacing it with Y, only to find that even more people hated Y so replacing that with Z and people just longing for X again.

Example 1) The buggy planet exploration in ME1 was replaced with, boring planet mining in ME2, only to reach it's zenith in ME3 with tedious system scanning that occasionally sends a Lovecraften horror after you.

Example 2) ME1s guns didn't need reloading, instead they would overheat if spammed them, after a few people whining they were replaced with standard guns, which are boring and don‘t make sense in context, so for ME3 they brought in one gun that works like the ME1 guns… and you will never use anything else making the other 30+ guns in the game gather dust.

Example 3) It was leaked that ME1 had sex, which lead the ever frustrating moral crusaders to condemn it, as a result ME2's sex scenes contend no nudity and very little sensuality. ME3 dialed it back even further by having clothes magically appearing when naughty bits could be covered and people showering clothed.

Worse still the A button is over used to the point of absurdity and it will get you killed. It has the stander Gears of War (run, roll, jump, vault, take cover) functionality, but it's also the button used to interact with every thing. The game also brings very few bosses to bear with only three of the (smallest) leviathans actually killed by your indirect actions. These things seem more agreeable with a space combat sim like Star Trek Online or a Sci-fi RTS like Star Craft, but in a 3rd person combat ground combat game they just hang tantalizingly in the background, as if promising amazing boss battles that never come. As shame there's no vehicle combat despite ME1 have emphasized vehicle sections and ME2's DLC having a hovercraft that seemed like they were gearing up to introduce Starship combat, what a waste that it never materialized. Finally the moral choice system as well as the war asset system needs mentioning, because the game designers forgot to use them. Despite a hand full of side quests and the ways you chose to progress in the previous games the ending is written in stone, with little variation possible.

Story 5
Truly more about the Journey then the Destination
The score is mostly due to the horrendously bad ending which will leave you empty and maybe angry enough to write your first review in months. Other then some plot holes and some logical inconstancies (like shields and armor magically not working in cut scenes), you really get invested in the characters and world. However the plot is centered around the most Mcgovenly Mcgoven I've ever seen and it's just a lazy way to end an epic series. The moments it strays from talking about this waste of plot real estate are glorious. Many of the plot threads end in a very satisfying way and the topics on display are intelligent and handled with maturity.

Pros
Great Sound Design
Amazing Voice Acting
Good looking Graphics
Fun Multiplayer
Great 3th Person Shooting
Involving World and Characters
First 98% of the game is Phenomenal

Cons
One Very Dominant Class in Multiplayer
Broken Weapon System
Logical Problems
Bad Romance
Despite being full of Giant Horrors from beyond, there are few Boss Battles and none worth rembering
The ending roundly destroys any semblance of sense the plot was trying to make
Legendarily bad way to close a trilogy

Conclusion 7.2
I love this game and I hate it at the same time
Normally I don't want for DLC, but if Bioware pulls a Fallout 3 and changes the ending via extended content/repcons the current ending out of existence, I will happily debase myself in praise. I was truly in love with this title up until the last twenty minuets or so. This is the worst misstep in the history of the company and I say that knowing that non-epilogs and unsatisfying endings are the norm for them. This series is Bioware's masterpiece and this title a chance to show everyone that games can be, not just art, but surpass every other form of media through the power of the interactive narrative, only to throw all of that away in favor of censorship, standardization and an ending which could apply to any story. It does not grow organically from the plot, it is not effected by the heroes many choices and actions and it is completely separate from the universe the games build themselves around. More then ever I find myself thinking of the first game, despite Mass Effect's many problems it took chances like no game since and I deeply miss the company that had the strength of character to weave a tail that uncompromising.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/13/12

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


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