Review by jparis09

"A Good Conclusion To A Great Trilogy"

Mass Effect 3 is the extremely highly anticipated sequel to undoubtedly one of the best games ever made, Mass Effect 2. After releasing such a great second entry into one of the best sci-fi RPGs ever, Mass Effect 3 was expected to fall nothing short of legendary. Fortunately, Mass Effect 3 did live up to its hype and is a great game, but a few setbacks hinder the finale of the trilogy from being the perfect game it could have potentially become.

Story 8/10

Once again Mass Effect 3 put you back in the shoes of Commander Sheppard. After all of the great things Commander Sheppard has done in the past for the galaxy, his greatest challenge is still ahead of him. The Reapers have finally returned after a 50,000 year hiatus. If you are familiar with the previous titles then you know that Commander Sheppard has been warning of their return but unfortunately his warnings has fell to deaf ears. The Reapers begin to attack Earth, killing millions upon millions of civilians living there. The Reapers are far more advanced and force Commander Sheppard to retreat in order to build his forces. This isn't as simple as it may seem seeing as Commander Sheppard has made some other enemies in his past that may be reluctant to aid him in saving the galaxy without proper motivation. The main focus of the story is to build an army to face the Reapers. This series is known for is deep story. This is no different unlike some games you will not want to skip through dialogue as all of it is interesting to hear. Mass Effect has always focused around choices and the consequences of those choices. As you seek for help against the Reapers you encounter familiar faces, including Cerebus and the infamous Illusive Man. Depending on how many of your squadmates survived Commander Sheppard's famous “suicide mission” in Mass Effect 2, they will make appearances in this installment. Choices you made in the last two games also affect Mass Effect 3. For example if you allowed the Rachni Queen to survive in Mass Effect 1, you can possible get it to aid you against the Reapers.

Race wars have always been a major issue in the galaxy. For example, the Krogans has always despised and hated the Salarians and the Turians because of the Genophage. Helping solve this issue between the three races helps you improve your “War Assets” War Assets is a score that shows you your chances of defeating the Reapers. The more races you get on your side the higher the score. As you explore the galaxy improving your War Assets you are faced with extremely hard decisions to make. Small decisions also play a factor. Unfortunately the choices you make this time around don't carry as much weight as they did in previous installments. The longer you play the more apparent this comes to you. That is very disappointing. Anyways once again you can choose to be and evil (Renegade) or a good (Paragon) Sheppard. Depending on which side you fall on different dialogue options can open up, which opens you up to even more choices. Side quest are also abundant. You pick side quest up easier than in the other games. You can simply get a side quest by overhearing a conversation. The side quests aren't really that interesting as the majority of them don't have a backstory to them. You really just find an item or some kind of intel and deliver it to the person you overheard talking about it. All of the side quests aren't like that fortunately some of them are pretty decent such as the N7 side quest. Overall Mass Effect 3 main story is very good and will surely keep you interested every step of the way while some of the side quests are tedious and underwhelming.

Gameplay 8/10

Like its predecessors, Mass Effect 3 is pretty solid in the gameplay department. You can import your Sheppard from Mass Effect 2 and continue from there. You maintain your level but you can change your class and reassign your skill points as you wish. For those who are new to the series you will have to make a new Sheppard from scratch. You will also have to make some choices from Mass Effect 1 and 2 to determine how things play out in this one. This is pretty nice but seeing as you wouldn't know what you were choosing and how much gravity your choices really makes it doesn't really matter much what you choose. There are several gameplay changes Bioware has implemented this time around. The overall speed of the game is faster. This leads to more fast paced action packed shootouts. Sheppard can roll around and leap over ledges. He also doesn't get fatigued anymore so you can continuously run without stopping. Melee has also been improved. You have a heavy melee attack now for every class.

The way that weapons work has changed. Now every class can use any weapon but there is a weight attribute. This weight attribute gives a weight to all of the weapons individually. The weight of the weapons all depends on what class you play with. For example if you play with the “soldier” class which specializes in weapons, the weapons will weigh less. Going over a certain weight limit greatly increases the time your powers take to recharge. Weapon modifications are also back. The only real change now is that you don't have to keep getting a separate modification for each squadmate. If you find a modification you can use it on yourself and your squadmates simultaneously. If you find the same piece it will simply level it up. You can level your mods and weapons up from level 1-10. Powers hasn't changed much from Mass Effect 2. One change though is now when you get to rank 4, 5, and 6 you can choose between one of two bonus effects. In addition to the powers that return from Mass Effect 2 there are approximately 13 new powers you can choose from. Some of these are really cool powers such as Carnage. Carnage shoots an explosive bullet which completes explodes an enemy leaving his body parts dismembered everywhere.

There are three different play styles. You can choose Roleplaying which is the same as always, you choose what you want to say in the dialogue, level up your character etc. Then there is Action mode in which you cannot choose what you want to say and it is automatically chosen for you. This mode is for people who aren't heavy into the story and want to get back into the action. Finally there is Story style. This makes combat extremely easy for people who are invested into the story but have a difficult time playing the game itself. The cover system is back as expected. Some things could have been added to make it better. The ability to blind fire your weapon would have been a nice addition. It seems as if your player is kind of stiff during combat also. The third person shooter mechanics can hold a candle to games such as Gears or War 3 or Uncharted 3 but it still gets the job done. There is a level cap of 60 so it will take a while to reach this level especially if you don't import a character. The dialogue wheel is back as well. This makes dialogue sequences go much smoother. Instead of having to read exactly what you want your Sheppard to say, it basically gives a quick summary of it. This is nice because it keeps dialogue realistic and quick. Like stated earlier, the gameplay is pretty solid in Mass Effect 3. All of the gameplay tweaks and improvements while not revolutionary are welcomed and improve on the experience from Mass Effect 2.

Multiplayer 7/10

Brand new to the Mass Effect series is the multiplayer component. Bioware has added a cooperative “Horde” like mode. You and up to three other friends will face 11 waves of Cerebus, Geth, or Reaper forces. Each wave you will either have to eliminate all of the enemies of you will have an objective to complete such as hacking terminals of taking out a pre-designated target. You will have to create a brand new character and choose their race as well. You level up and improve your skills. After you achieve level 20 you can send you character to war and start a brand new one. This and simply completing waves improves your “Galactic Readiness.” Your Galactic Readiness is used to improve your War Assets in the single-player portion. It is a pretty cool concept knowing that while you play online you are also helping your Sheppard's war against the Reapers. The multiplayer is pretty fun in the beginning. It takes a lot of strategy and diversity in order to advance on the harder waves. Choosing different classes then your teammates help improve your chances of success. Some issues with the online are the mechanics just like singleplayer doesn't always work how you would want them to. Only having 11 waves per map also is underwhelming as it is very short once you get higher levels and make a strong character. Leveling up to level 20 also doesn't take long at all. You can easily gain 2 or 3 levels at the end of every map if you are pretty skilled. Only having six maps is also very disappointing. It would be nice if there were more maps so it wouldn't seem as if you were playing the same thing over and over again. Overall while a fun break from the singleplayer, after a few hours playing of online it isn't anything really that deep enough to keep you coming back for more especially after you have maxed out a few characters and have achieved the highest percentage of Galactic Readiness.

Graphics & Sound 9/10

Mass Effect 3 is a very sexy game. The series has always had beautiful visuals, and Mass Effect 3 is absolutely no different. Character models are some of the best in the industry. Everything looks very detailed. Bioware has once again shown off their skills in the graphical department. There are a few minor issues that must be mentioned though. There are a few framework stutters every now and then. Graphical popups and texture loading issues were sometimes an issue but Mass Effect 3 looks so amazing that none of these brought down the overall experience of the game whatsoever. The sounds and score are also superb. Bioware has a new composer this time around. Clint Mansell does the score. The music really immerses you into the story and sometimes makes you feel as if you are watching a movie. Voice acting is also second to none. All characters sound unique in their own right and lip syncing is great. Weapons sound good and the explosions sound great as well. Overall graphically Mass Effect 3 excellent as well and the score and sounds.

Length & Replayability 9/10

Mass Effect 3 takes about 25-35 hours to complete. It isn't the longest game but you will enjoy every hour of it. There are a lot of different choices to make so a second playthrough is encouraged especially since Bioware has a New Game+ option. Importing different characters from Mass Effect 2 with different choices also changes your experience during a second playthrough. The multiplayer will add a few more hours to overall length of the game as well.

Final Verdict 8/10

Pros

+ Deep Story
+ Beautiful Visuals
+ Voice Acting

Cons

- Gameplay Mechanics
- Lackluster Multiplayer
- Boring Sidequest

Closing Comments

Mass Effect 3 is a worthy ending to a great trilogy. It does the series justice. With its beautiful graphics and great story, Bioware has created something that is simply amazing. Despite some of its flaws, Mass Effect 3 has impressed and should be checked out by anybody whether you are a fan of the series of not. So do the galaxy a favor and go stop those Reapers. Enjoy.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/21/12

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


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