Review by Myrdraal8

"Critical Mass Success"

Concept: Conclude the epic Mass Effect trilogy by saving the galaxy from the Reapers, a machine race bent on annihilating all organic life. The game play is a very successful mixture of role-playing and first person shooter as one blasts away enemies and creates the plot with choices.

Graphics: Awe-inspiring graphics are displayed for the worlds and characters throughout the whole game. Facial animations, lighting, and cinematography are the best the series has to offer. Light flares perhaps are overly used, and dramatic scenes requiring complex facial expressions or realistic fluid flow (ie blood) suffer due to these console generations capabilities. However graphically flawed, critical scenes still manage to carry epic emotional drama to deliver a series that stands with other famous science fiction series such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Star Gate, and Babylon 5, and Battlestar Galatica.

Sound: Excellent voice work brings the characters and world to life. The sound effects of battle are standard. The music score in Mass Effect 3 actually evokes emotion and is worthy of note.

Control: The controls are essentially same as its predecessor, Mass Effect 2. However, the gunplay now adopts the use of one button to convey multiple actions such as running, taking cover, and dodging. This results in some untimely deaths as Shepard performs an undesired action. Gathering objects from planets has been simplified to scanning on the system map, relieving the player of “work”. Mini-games to unlock doors and chests have been thankfully abandoned.

Game Time: 45 hours to accomplish all the quests in a single campaign.

Mass Effect 3 is unfortunately surrounded by controversy and the truth lies within the gray of space. If one were to invest into the series by purchasing and playing all the extra content the game delivers on its promise to create a science fiction masterpiece. As of this posting the DLC corrects the conclusion of the game, but does not correct the overall problem with the series.

Due to the limitations of current video game consoles only so much freedom can be given to the player. Yes, Shepard will make decisions, and this time around will have the opportunity to determine the future of entire races, and in the end, the galaxy. However, due to memory and writing restrictions the choices of the entire series are some times nullified. This admittedly is frustrating in that all those decisions simply amount to flavor for your Shepard and the plot, but does not generate a wide variety of conclusions.

Some fans of the series will no doubt find this utterly disappointing, and it is the fault of Bioware to create the expectation that a modern computer game can capture player choice. Tabletop games such as Dungeons and Dragons offer players infinite solutions based on choice due the flexibility inherent in human dungeon masters that create the plot along with the players. Computer games that are preprogrammed simply can not have this flexibility since every permutation of every decision has to be predicted and provided for. Modern computers could perhaps mimic a story with near infinite conclusions based on player choice, but those stories will have limits in size and graphics. Bioware correctly evolved RPGs to involve player choice to bring about greater variety in a story, but not total freedom, and thus falsely set expectations too high.

That said, the story delivered by the entire series, culminating in Mass Effect 3 is brilliant and memorable, something any fan of science fiction should not miss out on.

It should also be noted that the multiplayer component of Mass Effect 3 is a satisfying success, and it great to share the joy of the world of Mass Effect with fellow friends and fans of the series.

Recommendation: Mass Effect 3 delivers an amazing conclusion to the trilogy that elevates the series proudly as art with its fellow science fiction television and movie brethren. However since the drama of the plot relies so heavily on events from the previous titles and familiarity of the world it is suggested that Mass Effect 3 only be played by those who have completed Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. The world is developed in the first game and decisions from the previous entries echo through out the conclusion. Mass Effect is not a perfect series, but be patient, since all the flaws and hanging plot lines of the original and Mass Effect 2 are corrected and concluded in this sequel to deliver a very satisfying science fiction role-playing FPS game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/09/12

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

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