Review by jenovaschilld

"Having played through the game twice- you must play with save data from ME 1 & 2 !"

Mass Effect - a trilogy like that of Star Wars or Indiana Jones could have produced a poor quality third movie with lack of originality or just to much exposure, instead the team bioware has came through with simply the greatest video game trilogy to date.
Well I just finished ME3 tonight and I am still riding high on that feeling of euphoria that a good story gives you. But this is not a uninformed play through and I have certainly had time to think about the game. Let me explain. I played ME1 when it came out and really enjoyed everything about it, even the combat which now seems archaic, back then it was revolutionary for a RPG/FPS. After that I gave my xbox to my nephews and bought an Elite. Played ME2 and again bioware fired on all cylinders, characters that could have fell into stereotypical tropes had back stories rich enough to over come. Then I got red ring of death, had it fixed and gave it to my nephews who by now had killed the original xbox. I bought a friends xbox slim with kinect and played through me3 - the production values, music, set piece designs created a wonderful game. The final read spoken ending was okay but not satisfying- I still do not fully understand the ending as it had built up and up and suddenly ended, still the game was clearly a winner in my heart and felt very satisfied by my purchase.

Well then the ending controversy flared up and I heard they were putting out another ending, after reading a few reviews I saw that my experience with ME was incomplete and not fully fleshed out by not keeping my save data game after game. So off to my local gamestop, were I bought ME 1 and ME 2 over again. (Both used btw!) Oh I have since gotten internet back early this summer as this is the first time broadband was offered where I live, so luckily didn't have to go to friends homes to update and download.

After buying some DLC for 1 and 2 that expanded the story - I began playing them all over again. You know I was amazed at how well ME1 aged and though some of the gathering material was still slow and boring, I missed the rover in ME2. The little added dialogue and scenes added from 1 to 2 via saves kept amazing me as it enriched the story of ME2 more then when I had first played it years ago. Finally I started ME3 after taking a short break to play another game. (Oh do not get me wrong playing through all 3 games again took me almost 4 months) But this time I used the kinect and it was awesome, even with my 5.1 surround shaking my wife in the kitchen, my squeals of troop movement and battle tactics could be easily understood by the device and added a layer of fun that was hard to explain for a 39 year old man.

The added story aspects, content, and new cut scenes added so much to the experience it was like night and day. Where meeting a NPC for a rescue of some kids in a college was fun and exciting, it became more so when that generic NPC was replaced by an old friend from ME2 and made it so much more then the first play through. The bond you develop with Gaerith was tangible through the trilogy but was even more so when the save data carried over story, drama, and camaraderie that made it feel like old friends who have went through a lot. More instances of this showed up multiple times through out the games 2 and 3- this is what makes this the greatest trilogy in gaming.

The ending!..? Okay the ending was good enough first play through - I downloaded the expanded ending bioware added and it was to me even better. More answers, more build up, and more story drama to finish off that RPG you have invested so much time in. I was happy, until I got online and saw that there were alot more endings then just my own. I had the second best I felt of the 3-4 or 5 possible. I was then confused as to why even bother adding in so many strange endings in the first place - whether good or bad sometimes choices lead you to the same dead end in the road, you just take different paths getting there. But I will let scholars debate that in history class decades from now as I am sure this will be part of someone's study. The only things that keep me from giving this a perfect 10 was simply the things that make it so wonderful. The rich story was even more so if you had kept save data from all three games, (why) the awesome ending and cutscenes with your team could only be expanded if you downloaded the new ending (why). This may seem minor but it was still enough to pull away from a perfect game 3. If they would have just had an uncomplicated ending - well one not as brief as the first play through of me3 - that wrapped up the game and trilogy I would have gave it a ten. But the dlc and save data from the other games I want to give it an 11 but all the trouble to get there brings it down.

Still though as far as games go ME3 cannot be praised enough, nor can the series that took the risk of a releasing a hybrid RPG/FPS. While this is less of a detailed review going over sound, voice acting, graphics, physics, etc but more of my own personal experience with the Mass Effect trilogy, I hope that whoever sees this and have not played ME1, 2, or has not kept their saves will be informed enough to decide how to proceed. If you are on the fence jump- you cannot go wrong either way, and you will not waste your money or time.
Go team bioware, congrats on another great game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/11/13

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

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