Review by Grevious1991
"Crappy ending, Superb Game!"
I've spent that five years eating up these Mass Effect games. I'm a huge fan of the world and lore Bioware has crafted. Yes, the series has been streamlined; but this has not exactly hurt it...
With little to no explanation the story drops you into Earth right as the Reapers have begun their fabled attack. Soon after you're whisked off to to mount a defense force large enough to save Earth from the Reapers. Instead of recruiting characters like you did in Mass Effect 2 you play the role of diplomat solving the problems of the different galactic races. Most of these problem, like the genophage for example, have been built up over the previous two games. If you've played Mass Effect 1 and 2 you're choices will carry over. The very make up of your squad will depend on who you've kept alive.
The story here is much darker. The Reapers are unstoppable and it shows. Beloved characters WILL die, and it totally depends on the choices you make. Character arcs indeed come full circle, and the motivations of antagonists like the Illusive Man, and yes, the Reapers are finally explained. Unfortunately the ending does not match the quality of the other 98% of the game. It's so far out of left field that it doesn't feel like it belongs in the game. In my opinion this hurts the overall story as it throws all your decisions out the window in the most bitter way possible. Add gaping plot holes on top of that. On a lighter note, everything that precedes this point is superb. And hey, the climax contains the biggest space battle I have ever seen, bar none (move over Star Wars!).
Everything has been tightened up here. The shooting mechanics feel better than ever, and the cover system is less clunky. Like many games today the "A" button does everything, so expect to roll the other way when you're trying to get into cover. You'll fight three groups of enemies throughout the game: Reapers, Cerberus, and Geth. Each group is pretty similar and have their own boss enemies; some more annoying than others (*cough* Banshees! *cough*). The guns feel super powerful here, especially if they're upgraded. Of course, he real joy remains to be using biotic powers. As you level up you open up simple skill trees bringing back the RPG element from ME 1. Combat in ME 3 is without a doubt the best it's ever been.
The conversation trees have been nerfed. Most contain only two options; a far cry from what was seen on ME 1 and 2. Heck, most of the time the game ditches the conversation trees and your Shepherd speaks for himself through a boat load of auto dialogue. Don't get too comfortable however, as the game will throw up interrupt prompts when you least expect it. The major decisions do offer up a lot of dialogue choices, but the other 95% of the dialogue is very limiting. It's a shame.
The galaxy map is still around and this time it allows you to scan for "war assets". Scan too much and you'll have to play a reaper evasion mini game. It like this approach much more than the resource scanning found in ME 2. There is no Mako or Hammerhead, so don't get you're hopes up for that.
Most of the sidequests are "fetch" quests that you receive from eavesdropping on NPC conversation. You can stack up three of these quests just by walking ten feet down a hallway on the Citadel, it's ridiculous. You complete most of these by playing the Normandy scanning mini game. The meatier sidequests feature ME 2 characters and are very well done. Most of those quests are pretty lengthy and are similar in quality to the the main quests.
A tad bit better than ME 2. The character models and lighting look a good bit better, but the environments are still mediocre looking (with the exception of some stuff near the end of the game). Lip syncing is mostly good, but some animations look a little awkward. The color pallete is dark and depressing; I guess it fits the mood of the game. Not bad looking by any means.
The soundtrack is phenomenal. Easily the best of the three games. Some of the music near the end may even make you shed a tear. Most of it is a compilation of music from all three games, a lot of it redone and refined to sound ever better. The sound effects also sound great though I'll be the first to say that I'm not the best judge of that.
It's there. Not much else to say. It's just like every other wave defense game that has come out in the last two years, just with a Mass Effect spin on it. You WILL have to play it to boost you're galactic readiness rating which put me off a bit. It's polished and everything; I just don't see my self playing it for a whole lot longer.
The game is amazing. If the ending was executed a little better then it would easily be one of my all time favorites. As it stands now though, Mass Effect 3 is just a good game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 03/14/12
Game Release: Mass Effect 3 (US, 03/06/12)
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