Mass Effect 3: Final Verdict

There's an awful lot to be said about Mass Effect 3. (I should know: the night after I finished the game, I sat down with two of my best friends and discussed it for almost four hours straight.) Here, however, I'll attempt to be brief, mentioning just a few of the title's most noteworthy strengths and weaknesses.

The Good: Characters from both previous Mass Effects return to fight - and, in some cases, die - alongside Commander Shepard. The fates of several species - including that of humanity itself - hinge upon decisions that Shepard makes. Combat is the best it's ever been, with new ways to maneuver, new skills to unlock, and new enemies to defeat. And lastly, the game's final sequences - although initially bizarre - become ever more compelling upon further reflection.

The Bad: Two of my favorite alien races, the hanar and the elcor, are almost completely absent. Long loading times persist while moving from one section of the Citadel or the Normandy to another. Scanning distant worlds for resources isn't any more fun in ME3 than it was in ME2. It seems damn near impossible to max out one's "war assets" without turning to multiplayer. And apparently, the game's epilogue simply won't make sense until some DLC is released!

The Stand-out Moment: Condemning an entire alien race to death.

The Verdict: 9.5 (out of 10)