Mass Effect 3 Review
By: Andrew Bohnenberger
Mass Effect 3 is a sci fi action roleplaying game developed by Bioware and published by Electronic Arts. Mass Effect 3 was released on March 6 and is the final chapter in Commando Shepard's story as well as the end of the Mass Effect trilogy. Does Mass Effect 3 bring closure to the series while improving complaints fans had from the first two games?
The Mass Effect series is known for being one of the best video game stories this generation and Mass Effect 3 is no exception. The story of the game revolves around the Reapers,a highly advanced machine race of synthetic star ships, invading Earth. Shepard ends up fleeing from Earth because of the odds that the Reapers possess. Shepard must travel the galaxy in order to form an alliance of all the alien races to defeat the Reapers. Mass Effect 3 like the first two games is all about the choices you make through your dialogue options. The game allows players to import saves from the first two games which shapes how Shepard's story is told and the characters that you interact with. The great thing about Mass Effect 3 is that the series brings closure to all your favorite characters found in the first two games. You meet up with these characters and you get to rekindle you relationships like you were old friends in high school. Speaking of relationships you also get to romance previous and new characters throughout the game. This was one my favorite parts of the game as it gave you context for doing different favors in the form of side missions or chatting with your crew members after a mission. Each decision also carried a Paragon or Renegade point which is the Mass Effect's morality system from the first two games. Paragon is the good action where Renegade is the evil option. The good thing about Mass Effect is moral choices aren't always black and white and have no right or wrong answer, only the best answer you feel based on the situation. These choices especially play out when you need to form an alliance with one race at the expense of another. All these choices end up affecting which of the six endings you get at the end of the game. As far as my opinion of the ending, I felt that it brought closure to the series and the differences in the endings was not significant enough to warrant additional playthroughs. If you got the bad or good ending is really dependent on whether you felt the choices you made warranted those consequences. You could easily look up online what choices needed to be made in order to get a certain ending but I felt that ruined the surprises that the game offers. In the end, I feel that Mass Effect treats you like an adult and much like life which can be looked at as a journey of choices and your outcome are based on those same choices. For that reason, the Mass Effect series is the best told trilogy of video games this generation and in my opinion of all time.
Mass Effect 3 is an amazing looking game and is a real testament to the Unreal Engine's longevity. All the character models are stunning and each planet you travel is diverse from each other. The cut scenes are some of the best in the industry and the level of detail is apparent as you travel the Milky Way Galaxy. There is no texture pop in that I noticed and the lighting and shader effects do a great job of immersing you in the Sci Fi space world. Mass Effect is one of the easiest games to get lost in thanks to the presentation that made you feel like you were traveling the depths of space.
Mass Effect 3 is a shooter rpg hybrid which is a combination of genres that few games have been able to pull off. Usually either one area is lacking where the other isn't. Mass Effect and maybe Borderlands is one of the few games to get it right. Mass Effect 3 is a cover based shooter with excellent skills trees, armor, weapons, and loot. The combat system offers all improved mechanics which were improved in the second game and nearly perfected in the third. The combat system features refined sprint, combat rolling, blind fire from cover, and revised melee system. My only complaint with the combat system is that almost all these actions are mapped to the same button. This left situtations where the combat can be clunky based on doing one action and instead doing another. I do think that if this game was a pure shooter that I would fine more at fault with these controls. I think the game gives you so many ways to tackle a combat scenario that these annoyances could be overlooked. One of my major compaint with the second game was that they made a great shooter but stripped down the rpg elements. In the third game, the developers listened to the complaints and implemented a full fledged skill tree with branching paths for your abilities. The great thing about this system is you could respec any your trees for free at first and for relativily cheap throughout the game. Another great mechanic in the game was the armor pieces you collected throughout the game. Each armor piece brought different customimized appearances as well as stat boosts in health and other key areas. I really enjoyed the cross over armor you got for playing Kingdoms of Amalur. This feature is something I think more publishers should implement to convince you to play their other games. It would not be a great shooter without great weapons and Mass Effect 3 is no slouche in the this department as well. The game has great assortment of assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and pistols. You can mod each weapon with scopes and barrels as well as upgrade damage, stability, and clip size. By the end of the game I loved that weapons became more laser based and were alot more powerful thanks to the upgrades you applied throughout the game.Also each gun had different ammo sets you could equip for each gun. Armor piercing ammo does extra damage against armor and against unprotected enemies, cryo armor empowers weapons with a cryo field that gives weapons a chance to freeze enemies, incendiary ammo causes fire damage to enemies by burning through armor and setting them on fire, disruptor ammo empowers weapons with an electric field, and warp ammo is effective against biotic barriers, armor and health. Besides guns you have a wide range of abilities based on your class. You have biotic powers,the best being singularity which creates a black hole the suspends enemies helplessly in the air so that you could shoot them down. You have the vanguard's charge which much like it name launches you across the battlefield head first into your enemies knocking them down. This skill which I used throughout the game was a great risk reward move as it allowed you to quickly desimate enemies by knocking them down and finishing them off with a shotgun. The risk being near by enemies would be open to attack you since you were not behind cover. Other powers revolve around disabling shields, mounting turrets, controlling enemies temporaily, and high damage attacks like a Soldier's shrapnel-packed grenade. Each of the different classes you picked in the game brought a great balance to the gameplay as well as the two other crew members you chose before each mission. I enjoyed that you could have class variation by issuing orders to crew members that had access to particular skills. The enemies in the game were well varied with giant mechs, Cerberus Mercenaries and Engineers with turrets and shields, zombie like husk enemies, heavy Brutes with their charging ability, flying harvesters, and Banshees a biotic synthetic creature derived from asari and mutated by Reaper technology. Overall, Mass Effect's gameplay provided a great third person cover based shooter with deep rpg mechanics.
Mass Effect 3 is the most fully fledged experience in the series. The main story takes around 25 hours to complete with an extra 10 hours of side content. The game also features three modes of play. Action Mode where conversations will have automatic replies and a normal combat difficulty,Story Mode where conversations will have manual replies and a minimal combat difficulty, and RPG Mode where conversations will have manual replies and a normal combat difficulty. Besides the singleplayer campaign, multiplayer is introduced for the first time in the series. Mass Effect Multiplayer is a survial based horde mode with waves of enemies. The great thing about this mode is you can unlock different playable alien races such as the Asari, Krogan, and Turians. The skill trees from the single player game are present as well as weapon mods and armor. Playing the multiplayer also improves your galactic readiness meter so if you are looking to get a certain ending in the single player game make sure to indulge in this mode.
Mass Effect 3 is able to capture the best elements of the first two games while improving on the gameplay elements lacking in its predecessors. You get to tell your own Shepard story and I felt that the series wrapped up well. You get to rekindle all the relationships with characters you encountered in the first two games and all decisions made over all three games mold the Mass Effect Universe. The multiplayer is a great addition to the series and works surprisingly well. I would recommend that no matter what type of gamer you are, you must pick up a copy of Mass Effect 3!
Buy: If like any of the the following elements; Great Story, Excellent Character Building,Refined Shooter Combat, Interesting Decisions, Roleplaying Mechanics, and Romances.