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I've never been so conflicted!
on March 7, 2012
Let me start by saying, This game leaves a strange taste in my mouth. Also, this review will be spoiler free up until the row of *****'s
On one hand, the game is great! In less than 3 days, I have completed the entire game it with about 95% completion of all side missions, etc. (excluding dlc), which is saying something because it is not a short game!
1. I love the mass effect universe, and this game delivers on what the previous games did, if a bit less original (see cons)
2. The game is genuinely fun to play, I find myself sucked into it, and when I look up, it's already 4:30 am.
3. The graphics are alright, they are not the best, and you are very limited in how you tweak them, but they are not bad.
4. They do a fairly decent job at tying into the previous games (see cons)
Given that, I would say it is a 5 star game, however there are some things that they did not do well
1. Parts of this game just felt out of place, unlike in the previous games when the dialogue felt natural, in parts of this game it just does not seem like something Sheppard would say, there are many instances of other characters acting out of their typical styles as well, it just bothered me because it felt artificial.
1b. Also included in this is that the game in general does not seem to contain the same amount of effort on the developers part as the first two did, it feels a bit rushed, with a clunky cover system (again) and some interesting difficulty fluctuations. It just feels more linear than the previous mass effect games.
2. Importing my character was a nightmare, I had 3 different profiles and only one got recognized, and that was after about an hour of messing around with it.
3. The choices you made in the previous two games feel like they don't even matter (Some are not even acknowledged), I know this is vague, and arguable, but see cons in the spoiler section if you want a better explanation.
4. The ending (all 3 of them (well, technically 15) are horrible, and leave a huge amount to be desired while simultaneously effectively eliminating all possibility for interpretation. It's Their way or the highway (often this is not bad, but it this case its just horribly disappointing) They are all disappointing, the ending choices all end up with similar endings, all disappointing and left completely open.
5. Don't get me started on day one dlc (nuff said)
This game is a fun to play game, if I was reviewing just based on that, I would give this game a 5. However given how I know what it could have been, and some of the choices the developer made as far as story line goes (more below), I am going to take two stars from it, Like I said above, I have never had so much fun while simultaneously being disappointed by ever plot twist.
Overall, I can't complain too much, it provided a lot of entertainment, it just seems to lack the care put into the previous games, it almost feels rushed and like they got a little lazy with the story, the previous games were great because of the small things (like overhearing conversations, witty dialogue, and other little Easter eggs) There was less witty dialogue in ME2 (compared to ME1), but it was still there. Don't get me wrong, it is still there in ME3 but to a lesser extent, it just feels like the developers don't really care anymore.
*************This contains some spoilers(without mentioning names) (also a mini-rant on the ending(s))*************
This section will contain spoilers, and is here to justify my answers above a bit.
If I started off by saying this game was an emotional roller coaster, I would be lying. I believe "Emotional Free-fall" would be more appropriate. It takes the great story and buildup of the first two games (akin to a roller coaster) and where the mass effect 2 game ends with you at the top of the hill, Mass effect 3 is just a ride down into the station (so to speak). There were not many happy surprises, it was all just depressing. It seems ever main story-line mission somebody dies, which makes me wonder why I worked so hard in ME2 to save them. In this context the story feels very linear. It just feels like people who don't really fit into the story line are just killed off. Also, all the "support" you gather really does not show at all, what was the point if everybody essentially dies anyway, I had over 4000 effective combat readiness (or ~8000 something total) and I feel like the outcome would have been the same even without it, as the "upgrades" and land based reinforcements don't even make an appearance in the final battle (What happened to the mercs I recruited? I did not see one Vorcha or heavy mech during that fight (or any mercenary group)). I recruited the Geth, where were they? Did not see the Elcor I helped, no Volus, no Salarians, perhaps they are shown once in the initial scene, but beyond that, nothing. Just ships, and I had a ton of ground troups 'recruited' yet I was still on my own with no sign of them. So what was the point of recruiting them?
Also, there is a huge disconnect in the end, my team for the final mission was Garrus and Edi, and everybody but Anderson and You (Sheppard) gets absolutely destroyed running to the beam, and then in the final video, they are on the Normandy trying to outrun the "(Insert two of 3 disappointing endings here (Not the case with the destruction ending)) wave". Then the ship goes down and both Edi and Garrus and Jeff(Joker) get off on a happy new unspoiled world. How did they get from being nuked by a collector ship and being under heavy fire on the ground, to being on the Normandy during a massive battle in a time frame of about 2-5 minutes. I'm not disappointed that Sheppard dies in (most) of the endings ((like 15 total outcomes based on choosing one ending of three and you readiness rating), Sheppard can survive 2 of 15 I believe)), its just the fact that thought the game, just about EVERYBODY dies, half the time its not even a good death, its more like, "Okay, we ran out of things for this person to contribute, so lets just kill them off".
The main thing that bothers me about any of the endings is, all the relays are destroyed and half of the galaxy's population is over a badly damaged earth, with no way to get home. What happens then? Earth would descend into anarchy regardless of the ending, and the rest of the galaxy would not fair much better with limited military options and no contact between the tens if not hundreds of thousands (if not more) soldiers stuck around earth. By ending with no possible way to save the relays, the developers are essentially saying "Well we are back to square one, and everything you did does not really matter". I get they are just going for the "whole new beginning" thing, but it just does not fit as the ending for the mass effect series.
I'm so disappointed I am going to make pretend myself a new ending. Here it is
"Sheppard dies, the reapers are destroyed, billions of people are dead, all the home-worlds are decimated,the citadel is destroyed, but those that survive get to go home (via not destroyed mass relays) and (implied) all the synthetics decide not to eliminate all organic life, thus negating the need for the cycle (and creepy ghost/children/machine apparitions) in the first place. The End.".
Is it perfect? No, but now I am happy.
*****End Of Spoilers*****
I believe I have made it clear, but the thing I took off an entire star for was the ending, it is just a very disappointing ending to the end of the mass effect series, it's nothing like the epic conclusion was to mass effect 2. The other star off was for everything else, it just could handle better and it feels like a console port.
I just know that review will upset people, but it's how I feel about the game, if you disagree feel free to write your own review.