You Will Buy This Game!
It’s hard writing a review for a game like Mass Effect 3. There’s just so much involved in spreading the word about this type of game that, in a way, writing a review that does it justice is almost like saving the universe in written form. Too often this generation, games have cried out about how amazing and revolutionary they were going to be—how you were going to “finish the fight” or how you would always be “brothers to the end.” Yet, when all is said and done, you find yourself wondering if those games could ever live up the anxiety you had while waiting for the impending release. In fact, I find myself asking that question more often than not—especially with games that make huge promises.
This has been the case with Mass Effect. Admittedly, when the series first hit shelves, I was not bitten by the BioWare bug right away. Rather, I waited until the game had been out for nearly a year before I dove into the universe that would ultimately change the way I wanted gaming to be for the next several years. The unparalleled decision-making and attention given to the smallest plot details brought a level to gaming most movies today can’t achieve. This, however, was not the only thing about Mass Effect that pulled me in. It was the fact that no matter what I did in the game, no matter the moment, I always felt like there was more going on than what I was seeing. And I needed more.
With Mass Effect 3, players will get more. A lot more. If you checked out the demo of the game a few weeks ago, then you already know the score. Earth has been attacked by the Reapers. The destruction is severe, and the loss is even greater. Now, as Commander Shepard, you must find ways to unite the entire universe against this common enemy. Unfortunately, it is not that easy, but then again, nothing ever is in Mass Effect. Players with previous save files will once more be rewarded, as the decisions they made in the previous games will transfer over and rewrite the way Mass Effect 3 unfolds. It’s probably best at this point to mention that I won’t be talking about any plot points in the game directly. Instead, I’ll be as vague as possible to not spoil anything for anyone.
As expected, Shepard finds that his friends from the past are never too far from the center of the action. Beloved characters from the first two games make appearances throughout. Just like past locations visited spring up as you begin gathering resources to save Earth and the rest of the universe.
The Citadel is probably the one place I was most pleased to see, since several people have commented on how the Citadel of the second game felt restricted and not as open as the first one. In Mass Effect 3, the Citadel is an amalgam of the two. At times you will feel overwhelmed, just as you did in the first game, but you will soon be navigating it in a similar scope to the way you handled Omega in the second game.
The refinement here is a testament to how BioWare has listened to the fans of the series. Players are allowed to fine-tune their experience by choosing several different ways to play the game. If you always felt that controlling the dialogue was a bit cumbersome, you can remove this option altogether and have the game choose how things play out in conversations. If you are more action-oriented, then you can do more action-type gameplay instead of the RPG-style gameplay more in line with the first Mass Effect.
In addition to these changes, Mass Effect 3 brings multiplayer to the series for the first time. It’s not traditional multiplayer; instead it offers a co-op mode that will actually help your single-player experience. While you can enjoy both separately, and you don’t have to play either to enjoy the other individually, this is meant for players who are interested in truly saving the universe.
Doing this with up to three other friends, of course, helps this feature along as well. For the first time in the Mass Effect universe, you get the feeling that you get to actually be involved in all those other things that are happening around you.
Of course, having the soundtrack from the game also blaring in the multiplayer doesn’t hurt at all. We’ve all known for a while now that Mass Effect 3 was going to feature some of the most talented musicians out there, and this fact pours through beautifully. The quiet moments of the game are perfectly accentuated with the soft melodies of despair and doom, while the orchestral charges of percussion adrenalize the player as you race onto the battlefield, never looking behind you. Based on the orchestral score alone, Mass Effect should be a feature-length film.
Of course, having some of the most talented voice actors in the business doesn’t hurt either. As mentioned earlier, several characters return to the franchise. But what kind of experience would it be to have these characters return without their voice actors? Well, those voice actors are all here.
Just like it is a necessity for players to have familiar voices with the characters, I also think it is important to have a few graphical points fans can associate with the series. In Mass Effect’s case, there are only a few things that, graphically, seem to not have changed—the occasional frame rate drop or the pop-in graphics. While this is an important discretion, it is also important to point out that these issues are not consistent. In fact, playing through the beginning you will only notice a few frame rate issues, while the pop-in doesn’t become too noticeable until later in the game.
When I sat down to play through Mass Effect 3, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Was this going to become the final chapter in one of the most epic storylines in gaming, or was it just going to cop out with an ending to rival that of Battlestar Galactica or The Sopranos ? Either way, it didn’t matter. Like everyone else, I was hooked from the beginning. The extras and refinement brought into this game have only made it better, and BioWare has made the latest installment in the Mass Effect series nearly perfect.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
Solid, but there are a few graphical problems throughout. 4.7 Control
Feels more natural than previously, if that is even possible. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Everyone has brought their A-game to the vocals, and the score is one of the best this generation. 4.4 Play Value
There are tons of things to do. Picking and choosing some of the best qualities from the previous two games makes this a solid follow-up. 4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|