Mass Effect 3
e e e e f
I was ready to love this game. I really was. The first two games captivated me; they took me to alien worlds where I met a plethora of enchanting characters that stole my heart. I learned the lore of this universe and searched every planet. These were my games, with my Shephard, with my choices and my consequences. Then Mass Effect 3 arrived.
If I had wrote this review mid-way through I would be proclaiming it as the greatest game ever made, however, whilst it is extraordinary it fails where it really matters.
Mass Effect 3 has 1,000 plot points which change based on your decisions during the first two games. If a character had died earlier in the franchise, most of them have had the opportunity, then they remain so. What is incredible is that all characters return and mostly play a significant role. If they had died then they would be replaced by new characters with completely different motives. The most emotional moments of this game were the heartbreaking farewells to these characters..
The problem is that very few characters return as squad members. You never feel like you have a full team, even in the final assault against the intergalactic Reaper menace. Your squad consists of mostly Mass Effect 1 characters and the two new one are strange. James Vega is an empty shell and the other I verge towards liking. The character does provide some of the best light-hearted moments of the game, but is still an unusual choice to include.
The core mechanics of the game are excellent. Whilst the third person combat will never be as good as Gears of War it shows a remarkable adaptability to your play style and it never gets stale; despite a thirty hour playtime. The voice acting is stellar with Michael Sheen perfecting the shadowy illusive man. Other standouts include Shepherds, Kaiden, Seth Green’s Joker and Thane. Graphically, a few framerate slows, the occasional stutter and a few crashes (on the PS3 version) marr the gorgeous visuals which stun throughout; from the crumbling Earth metropolis, to the astounding space fire-fights with hundreds of combating ships, to the vastly more fascinating Citadel.
Ultimately, it is the conclusion that truly brings the game down. There is little resolution. Loose ends are just left dangling, it feels rushed and frankly, it does not make sense. However, whilst saying this, I urge you to play this gaming trilogy in full. Never before has such an endeavour been attempted by any studio. Bioware has come awfully close to achieving its lofty goals. Mass Effect 3 narrowly misses out on perfection but it is nevertheless a gaming masterpiece.