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.
on March 16, 2012
I remember not knowing what to think when I first picked up the original Mass Effect game over 5 years ago. But Bioware managed to create a galactic community of alien races that was as detailed as the best works of literary fiction (detailed and fleshes out enough to compare with Tolkien and Martin). The story and choices the player could make defined the franchise through the first two games as not only a very personal story, but one whose outcome could significantly differ from player to player.
The gameplay for ME3 is very tight, all the classes have been fun to play and this is one aspect of the series that has steadily improved over time. The multiplayer modes take full advantage of this, and as I have little desire to replay the single player campaign (a first for this franchise, spoilers below) the multiplayer has been a more consistent draw for me. ME3 also takes you all over the galaxy and lets Shepard get directly involved in many of the conflicts that have defined the other galactic races for centuries. Many of these smaller arcs are incredibly well written, and for fans of the second game two moments in ME3 had me tearing up (which has never happened from a game).
Mass Effect 3 promised to bring all those pieces together that players spent the first two games coming in contact with into one last epic battle against an unknowable alien force known as the reapers. Throughout the first 98% of the game, Bioware did an excellent job of bringing everything together and letting Shepard have a direct hand in deciding the shape of the galaxy as he rallied species everywhere to repel the Reaper invasion united as one.....
And then everyone dies, or is stranded in a circumstance that they will starve to death. While you spend the meat of the game collecting war assets to retake Earth, they don't come into play in the same epic manner that your squadmates on the ME2 suicide mission do. ME2 put your entire squad to work, and if you didn't treat them right or put them in a situation that didn't fit their skill set they would die. That made getting to know them and earning their loyalty mean something in the end. ME3 War Assets are merely a number that when you get it higher will allow you to see the galaxy blow up in blue or green fire rather than just red.
It's mind boggling when everything else throughout 2.98 games has been so incredibly well done that Bioware would drop the ball that magnificently so close to the finish line. Shepard is robbed of choice in his final moments and resigns himself to his fate, something that goes completely against the epic hero status that Shepard has been built up as throughout the series. Dark or tragic ends are fine and incredibly moving when done right, but this one does not fit with the series at all and gives the player no real options in the end.
on March 9, 2012
I have never been so conflicted about a game. I love Mass Effect, I've loved the series ever since the first game. I have played both ME1 and ME2 so many times I've lost count. I've bought all the DLC for both games, I bought the novels because I didn't want to miss anything related to the story and I have been so excited for ME3. I busted my butt to get my Shepards ready, I had three of them created and waiting to import into ME3. I've spent hours agonizing and creating very different Shepards because I wanted to experience all the different endings we were promised. I even took vacation time from work for a few days because I wanted to be able to just play.
Right up until the end I would have easily given this game five stars. I was playing with a great big grin on my face right up until the end. The ending totally ruined it for me though. I don't even want to play it again to finish my other Shepards stories because what's the point?
Here is what I loved:
The story was great until the last 5 minutes. There were times when choices you made led to bitter-sweet conclusions but they made sense in the context of the story. And yeah there were a lot of things that happened that made me cry but again they fit into the bigger picture and made sense. Bioware did a terrific job of showing you the despair people felt but also showing you the hope they felt. It was inspiring to watch people so willing to sacrifice everything for their families and their homes.
The interaction between Sheperd and her squadmates and the squadmates and each other was superb, one of the best things about the game. There were scenes that I watched over and over again because they were just amazing. Jennifer Hales voice acting is absolutely amazing and she brought femshep to life in a way that I don't think anything else could have.
I really liked the combat in this game, I think Bioware did a great job combining the best parts of ME1 and ME2. I liked that it was more challenging and that you had more powers than you did in ME2.
Here is what was kind of annoying but wasn't really that big a deal:
The import tool is broken so my Shepards face was all screwed up, I had to rebuild her from scratch.
They've changed the journal, instead of separating main quests and side quests they now lump them all together. Also the journal doesn't always update when you complete part of a quest so somtimes I have no idea if I've found a required item or not.
The game does have a few graphics issues, it lags in a few places and there's a few glitches when people are speaking sometimes.
I don't love the new walk that Shepard has. It's just weird, both in battle and when you are on the ship. I especially don't like femsheps walk when she's on the Normandy/Citadel.
Here is what I hated and what ultimately ruined the game for me:
The ending, yeah it was really that bad. I got the supposed good ending and all I could think was WTF. It feels rushed, it's really depressing, and most importantly in the end the choices you made don't really make that much difference. Everybody get's the same three choices in the end and they are all terrible and leave the galaxy in a really bad state. You may as well have just let the reapers kill everyone, it amounts to much to same thing. We were promised a satisfying conclusion to Shepards story and in the end Bioware leaves more questions than answers. Like I said I don't even want to replay the game now because what's the point?
This was a huge let down from Bioware and a sad end to a really promising series.
on March 15, 2012
An entire game series ruined by 5 minutes of some of the worst, most MST3K-worthy, writing in the history of cheesy science fiction. What more is there to tell? 3 games, the first two considered masterpieces of the Western RPG, with great writing and the ability to really feel like you had control over the world you were in.
Then the third game comes along, much anticipated...and for the first 20-30 hours it is spectacular. You can't believe it: your dreams have been answered.
And then it ends. You didn't expect a happy ending - you kind of wanted a bittersweet ending. But you just stare in horror: you have no control over the ending...it plays out like a poorly written nightmare. Everything you did for the last 3 games did not matter...in a series that championed the myriad of choices, of endings, and styles of gameplay you are left with three versions of the same ending - the only difference being the color of an explosion.
And when you get done you look at your copy of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 and think to yourself: Well, I can replay these. I still like them.
20 minutes into your new character of ME1 you can't shake the feeling that there is no point. So you close it. And you stare.
on March 10, 2012
I was prepared for this game not to live up to my expectations. I wasn't prepared for this game to trample on them. So...lists of pros and cons:
The combat is much improved from previous games. And, yes, there were some pretty nice epic moments during the play-through. The Liara romance had a satisfying conclusion too. The soundtrack was pretty darn good. The voice acting was pretty good (though there were jarring moments of silence, they weren't the VAs faults); Jennifer Hale is spot on as always. These aspects weren't worth the 80 bucks I spent.
1. The animation: heads were twisted around, eyes were looking in the wrong direction, bodies randomly warped a few feet across the screen, gestures were unnatural, and any time that characters had to touch, they sort of made a box with their arms and jerked sideways against each other. It wasn't in the least bit polished.
2. Combat. The system itself was fine. But sometimes enemies were supposed to spawn, and they didn't, which means the story doesn't progress, which means you have to reload the last save.
3. The "exploration" was, in my option, more tedious than ME2's mineral mining. That's pretty bad. When the best way to find resources turns out to be finding one--two if you're lucky, getting eaten by a Reaper, then reloading the save to be able to find them faster and not be eaten by a Reaper before finding a 3rd area of interest, then rushing out of a solar system, it's a problem.
4. Dialogue options were often non-existent. Instead of being able to open up dialogue options with characters and choosing your answer, many times you either overheard random NPCs complaining about something (which opened a quest) or you clicked on squad-mates and carried out scripted dialogue without face-to-face interaction.
5. The game was short. Granted, 30 hours isn't bad, but ME1 took me 60 hours on my first play-through, and with ME2, I finally shaved down to 30 after I played though it a few times, skipped dialogue options, and cut corners with combat/quests at every opportunity. ME3 shouldn't have been 30 hours with full dialogue and taking time to search every nook and cranny in every room for upgrades.
6. There were hardly any mini-quests. What used to be a "mini-quest" now is scanning a solar system, dodging trumpeting Reapers (see above), and throwing a probe onto a planet.
7. The quest tracking system was non-existent. Might as well not have had it. It didn't note anything but that a quest existed and that a quest was finished. Nothing on if you'd picked up an item already or where, exactly, that person you needed to speak to was.
8. None the upgrading you do has visible value. You never really see alien races battling the Reapers using resources you've allocated--and, coincidentally, the resources you allocate don't impact their fates at all. And, unlike ME2, you only see a few seconds worth of material on squad-mates in the final battle. Oh, and you don't make any decisions impacts where they go or what they do. For being the "savior of humanity", Shepard doesn't get any say on what happens during the entire climax of the game.
9. Previous decisions have no significant impact on the ending.
10. The ending. It was a 10 minute cut scene (with 2 minutes of that walking down a hallway) with maybe 2 dialogue options and no action. Then, once the decision is made, it's a 2 minute cut scene that is the same for whatever you choose. Let me clarify: this cut-scene doesn't change dependent upon your previous decisions. So not only was there no reason to fly around and gather up materials and make people behave and get along; there was no reason to even put effort into making the last decision. And, worst of all, there is no closure--not for Shepard, the squad-mates, or the status of the universe.
11. The writing: of the overriding plot (not the ending, as there was no writing for the ending). It was atrocious.
With both ME1 and ME2, I played through at least twice: once full Paragon, once full Renegade. I started ME3 expecting to play through more than that: I wanted to do both "morality" options and potentially try out different romance options. I will not be playing through the game again. In my opinion, that says all you need to know about an RPG's quality--or lack thereof.
It feels like Bioware tried too hard to make the clunky combat system better (possibly for the multi-player aspect), which they successfully did. (It's not Halo and it never will be, but it's much better than the previous games.) But they sacrificed the RPG single-player, which is what fans actually wanted to play.
The entire game feels like they ran out of time, and as a result, they scrapped everything that made the Mass Effect series so good. And that's not even discussing the horrible plot-holes of the ending.
All in all, it felt like a cheap-quality game. By itself, it would probably considered a solid game. As a conclusion to a trilogy that has so epic, it was a cheap way to just finish the series and be done with it, and a great way to make a lot of fans angry. I would much prefer that Bioware took another year--or two--to put more time, effort, and quality into the game. Or, quite frankly, not make the game at all.
on March 19, 2012
The more I think about the game the longer and more critical this review becomes. I apologize for the length. This is the 3rd version of this review.
While I do understand the feeling of immense betrayal from Bioware most have echoed here I'll try to present a rather long and somewhat balanced review for Mass Effect 3. I'm not going to talk about the ending itself (yes, no plural there). More than half of the reviews here have made it patently clear that it's a catastrophe. Just wanted to chime in an say that it's not the only problem ME3 has.
Mass Effect 3 is a very entertaining and well told conclusion to the "Mass Effect" series, with the almost obligatory caveat of "except for the ending" added. The tone of the whole narrative is spot on for the setting of the war against the Reapers. I wish I could dwell a lot longer on all the fine aspects of ME 3. There's so much love for detail, so many shout-outs to even minor events and characters of the first two games that it makes the ending the story receives all the more baffling and unatisfying. Which brings me to the bad things.
The most frustrating realization, even more so than the vast disappointment of the 3 possible endings themselves, is that ninety percent of what you do in game is basically pointless. The gathering of war assets, the gaining of allies, the bringing together of old enemies to bury their hatchets in face of a new and overwhelming adversary? You spend much of the game trying to fulfill that goal, much like you spent ME2 with gathering your team members and doing their loyalty missions. And in ME 3 it just doesn't mean squat. The fleets and ships and extra brigades you gather, the allies you gain, the technologies you salvage or research, nothing of it matters because you're never taking on the reapers in a fight except as a diversion for you to attach the Deus Ex Machina to the Citadel! All it does is add extra time available for the building of that deus ex machina, the Crucible, which is going to win you the fight anyhow!
The ships and brigades and extra assets you gather? They never matter per se, which is something I really have a problem with since it fails to follow the simple but wonderful formula found in Mass Effect 2 where you gathered your team, then gained your squadmates' loyalties and found out their strengths and weaknesses, thus knowing how to employ them best. In Mass Effect 3 there's nothing of that kind.
Why not? Certainly not for a lack of time! Mass Effect 3 is by far the shortest of the trilogy, shorter than its direct predecessor even WITHOUT its DLCs. Mass Effect 1 took you between 50 and 60 hours if you did every quest. Mass Effect 2, including DLCs, was about 40 to 45 hours. Completing a very thorough playthrough of ME 3 took me around 25 hours.
The war assets only remain a statistic without substance. There are no side missions that lets you use them: never do you see the Normandy and Garrus' task force in action, never do you see a full krogan ground assault. You gain Aria's mercenaries, but they never make an appearence. Oh, I know why: because I'd bet one of my testicles that BIOWARE is planning a retake Omega" DLC. Yeah, good luck with that one...
Hell, what I wanted to SEE was that volus superdreadnought come out of FTL with a couple squardons volus bombers and take on a reaper mano-a-mano, either to go down in a mutually assured destruction scenario, or to WIN the fight, thereby earning the volus a name in history and elevating them from being comic relief.
What I wanted to see was the fight for some of the colonies the reapers attacked, doing hit-and-run attacks with my war assets. But no.
All the fleets and armies you gather? They don't make themselves felt in the end, and my question would be: WHY NOT? Why spend the whole game gathering these forces if you only see it play out in one well-done but ultimatey generic cut scene?
Compare this to Mass Effect 2, where you had to gather a team of the most badass, well-connected, deadly hombres of the galaxy and led them on a suicide mission on a ship you had upgraded with the best technology available to a point where it was a generation ahead of everything the rest of the galaxy possessed. Your chances of success were directly linked to your preparations, your investment in your team members and your knowledge of their strength and weaknesses. They went with you through the worst of it, and you cared because even though they were assassins, genetically engineered superwomen, rogues or amoral mercenaries you had come to know them for the personalities their own stories had to offer. Everything you worked for contributed directly to the success of your mission. Your Shepard was the centerpiece of the story, but it was your team mates who gave that story life.
Largely automatized. You get a number of interrupts but unlike with the prior games interaction is largely restricted to the "Question Wheel".
Horrible mess that doesn't track your progress, AT ALL. How the prime producers of western RPGs could come up with something like this is beyond me.
RUSHED & INCOMPLETE
As transcripts of on-disk audio files show a lot of material originally intended to be used was cut from the game. Especially the final battle on Earth seems to suffer from this, which is already an abortive, short instance. London as a location is unrecognizeable, your gathered allies don't make an active apperance, and instead of intense urban fighting through the ruins of Big Ben, the Tower of London or other landmarks (probably defended by the remnants of the Coldstream Guards, how about that?) you get railroaded segments. All in all the game could've used an additional nine months of development time and 15 more hours of playtime.
I thought as a stylistic means the nightmares of the small boy Shepard saw die in the beginning were a wonderful way to show the toll the events are taking on the commander. The fate of the galaxy is on his or her shoulders, and even Shepard is slowly beginning to crack under the weight of the millions that die every day while he tries to figure out a way to save them.
Which is why the revelation that the Catalyst uses the same appearence pretty much spits in the whole concept's face, more or less undoing it.
The multiplayer aspect of ME 3 isn't too bad. That is, if you just look at it on its own. The multiplayer maps are a nice way to spend some downtime with, however - and here it comes - it's BLATANTLY obvious that the only reason there even IS a multiplayer mode is to get the few sorry souls who have an attention span shorter than Jack's hair in Mass Effect 2 to buy and spend Bioware points. In short, multiplayer is nothing but a continuous cash cow added to a full price product. No you don't HAVE to spend money there, but it's clear what the intention was.
Secondly there is the more fundamental question of whether a multiplayer mode was asked for or necessary in the first place, to which my answer would be a resounding NO. Mass Effect has always been about your very own Commander Shepard and his story. I know there are game reviewers who get on a pedestal and preach for CO-OP MP modes all the time. Angry Joe is one of them, for example. But Mass Effect is a cinematic SINGLE PLAYER experience. It's about YOUR choices, and not about what you and your buddies Mike, Ralph and Jenna do. That's why Mass Effect works.
Third, the integration of the war readyness to be dependent on you and three other dudes beating a couple waves of enemies on MP maps is ridiculous and in my opinion just another means to try to get people to purchase bioware points. WAR READYNESS should be solely based on what you achieve in the single player campaign. What you do THERE counts because its there that you gather and prepare your allies for the fight against the reapers.
Fourth, I'm against the MP aspect of the game because its ready for all to see that the months spent coding it should have been spent on refining the SP aspects of the game, especially the endings.
Unlike many of the more, ahm, ENTHUSIASTIC fans I didn't have many problems with the character. Yes, Jessica Chobot is a lousy VA, but I found her to be an interesting addition to the Normandy, that is in theory. She's a war correspondent, so how about you actually SHOW US SOME OF HER REPORTS in animated sequences. What's the point in having her aboard if you never see the footage she produces? The game came on 2 DVDs, ladies and gentlemen. That's ample room for such material.
The project leads have stated that through the endings they wanted to create LOTS OF SPECULATION. In principle that would have been okay if this wasn't the end of the series. If at the end of the day all I wanted was to speculate and make up plot points for myself I could've saved myself the 5 years of waiting and 200+ $ and just daydreamed a little more often.
These are the points why I cannot recommend Mass Effect 3 to anyone at the moment: not to the newcomer, and certainly not to a fan of the series.
on March 14, 2012
To quote a much better piece of entertainment:
"I'll tell you what the effect is, it's pissing me off!"
Yeah. Where to begin.
Pro's: You get to see all your old friends again (if they are still alive) and run around the galaxy in the Normandy.
1. Animations. Okay seriously, this is the first thing I noticed that set off a warning bell in my head. The animations were all place holders, maybe 20-30% of which were complete. Lip-sync, movement, etc. were not (acceptable) finished products for a game of Mass Effect's status. That the game launched with such a blatant flaw was alarming. It got worse.
2. Combat. Yeah I get it, multiplayer sells. For people that don't do multiplayer, there are gems called RPG's. Multiplayer would make more sense in Skyrim than it does in Mass Effect. The combat system felt clunky and unwieldy. Sometimes it felt like the difficulty would swing wildly due to the game throwing overzealous AI at you or just packing the screen with enemies which might just come at you fish-in-a-barrel style or actually try and outflank you, pin you down, then spam grenades. Often my weapons felt like I was shooting blanks, and I played a Soldier Shep who used sniper rifles and assault rifles and knew her ammo types. The new weight system was totally unneeded, and I felt that it unfairly penalized the soldier class.
3. Gutted for content. Day one, on-the-disk-DLC aside, ME3 was pathetically short. I looked under every nook and cranny for side missions which were effectively nothing more than go scan a planet. The quest log, gutted. Side-missions, gutted. Inventory was streamlined, because you have no inventory other than weapons armor and mods. I finished the game in about 24 hours total, and that was with searching maps and planets, running around the citadel, and spending time just talking to my companions. Not kidding, I kept wondering when I was going to get to Act II up until they started telling me "If you go on this mission, you're headed into the endgame!"
3a. Zones were also ridiculously small. I remember being awed by Afterlife from ME2, just walking in and seeing this whole club mapped out. When I got to Purgatory on the Citadel, I was awed again...for the 5 seconds it took me to explore the entire 10th of the club you can actually get to. The mission to Paloven requires you to fix a com tower to contact the new Primarch. Its a hilarious joke when you realize that if you just climbed to the top of it you could probably see this missing Primarch and his men. The Citadel zones are probably half as large as ME2 and could all fit in ME1's Commons area.
4. Choices. Unlike the other ME's 3 has absolutely no re-playability, since nothing you've done in any of the previous games or even in ME3 has any real effect on the ending, of which there are basically 2 choices.
I've also seen complaints that the game forces you to make "renegade" decisions in order to finish. So for a game that redefined what it felt like to make choices in a game ME3 is a complete fail. I'd give it one star for this one alone.
I'd give it 5 stars in fun, but too many things take away from the experience: The greatness of the first two titles, the unacceptably bad animations, the gutting of areas and choices. The sad thing is i think most of the flaws and especially the gutted content were by design, so EA can sell us the remaining portions of the game piecemeal. Sell us the beta, then sell us the upgrade to the finished product over the next year or two. I won't be surprised one bit when all the DLC is packaged with multiplayer content so as to raise the price and require you to buy things you don't want to get the things you do. I won't be buying any of the DLC for ME3. This will be my last EA purchase.
To the guys who made Bioware a great company, quit. Leave now and start over. EA has indoctrinated you and turned this great franchise into just another husk.
on October 20, 2012
I was late to the Mass effect party. I didn't play Mass Effect 1 until long after Mass Effect 2 was released. That said, when I finally made it to the party, I kept dancing and drinking until well into the next afternoon, by which time the host of the party had called the cops and I got arrested for setting up a makeshift bonfire in a residential neighborhood... I'm really not sure where I was going with this party analogy, but the point is I played Mass Effect a lot.
I played through the first game repeatedly, I loved how open-ended it was. You could go anywhere you wanted, and the planets you had to go to for missions almost always had extra things hidden for you to find on your trusty mako. The UI suffered a bit, the inventory system was really bad and the difficulty didn't scale very well. After getting my fill of Mass Effect 1, I played mass effect 2, which I believe is my favorite game of all time. This game admittedly took away much of my beloved open-endedness, but was still very enjoyable. No more climbing vertical cliffs with an SUV, but story expansion more than made up for it. Mass Effect 2 also had the best final mission of any game ever. It was an epic ending that involved all of your crew, not just your normal squad, and your decisions ultimately impacted who lived and died. And so it was that I was hooked on this series, and anxiously awaited the release of Mass Effect 3.
- Story: Any review of Mass Effect 3 has to start here. This is what the series has been building to. The known universe is at war with the reapers you've been fighting since Mass Effect 1, and that war has come to earth... in the very beginning of the game. You then fight the rest of the game as an underdog desperately trying to build a coalition. You will have to make choices, potentially gaining one ally and losing another with a single decision.
- Multiplayer: Starting from beta weekends before release it became clear that multiplayer Mass Effect was something special and it's a lot of fun. It's all co-op, and small-squad game-play. It's fun to experiment with different builds. You can be the vanguard, counter-intuitively charging a new enemy when your barrier is down because charging restores barrier. Or you can make an infiltrator (usually a sniper) who doesn't even carry a rifle, but instead melees enemies to death and cloaks before other enemies can kill you.
- Weapons: The weapon mode system of Mass Effect 3 really is the best combination of ME1 and ME2 that I can think of. ME1 had tons of weapons of various levels that just cluttered bag space, each weapon had tons of mods you could use, these also took up bag spaces, it was a mess. In ME3, you buy the mods you want for the weapons you want. You can enhance melee buffs, ammo capacity, accuracy, etc. It suits a lot of game-play styles and it doesn't have a clunky inventory system to worry about.
- Linear Game-play: You have less options to do your own thing. Part of that makes sense, the world is ending, there isn't time to scan every planet looking for Eezo. But it annoys me that the first several missions, you're on complete auto-pilot, you have no say on what is happening. Eventually you get some flexibility, but it's largely limited to looking for random strategic resources scattered throughout different star systems.
- Character Development: Some of the characters you've gotten attached to are simply cameos in this. They appear simply because they felt like they had to include them, but it's a guest spot on one episode of a thirty minute show. They give you exactly enough to stop you from saying "what happened to...?" This is frustrating because some characters they gives lots on, if these aren't your favorites, too bad.
- Ending: Yes, I know, I doubt you've made it to my review without realizing that the ending was not popular. Obviously, spoilers ahead. My complaint is not so much that I don't like the options they give us. They created this universe and I've enjoyed the ride, they can end the series however they want and it's not for me to say it's wrong. My complaint is the manner of the ending. The title of my review, "Deus Ex Machina", says it all. This game builds up like it's going to have a massive epic mission a la Mass Effect 2. Then it just doesn't happen, the game is over, you've already had the last fight of the game and you didn't even realize it. All that's left is to pick your ending. And I mean that literally, they explain three endings to you, and you pick one. And regardless of which ending you pick, it shows roughly the same video at the end, with superficial differences here and there. I guess they had their reasons, but it was a huge letdown. You prepare for this epic last mission, and the game is actually over. They don't even give closure on your friends. The closing video will show you the fate of a few people, but not all of them.
In summation, this was a fun game, right up until the end. In defense of the developers, people are only upset about the end because they managed to get us so emotionally involved in the series. I, for one, would've accepted any ending (including human extinction) if they had only executed it better. Alas, it was lazily executed and it prevents a good game from being great. It means Mass Effect 2 will always be the peak of the series, but this game is still well worth the time.
on March 16, 2012
I am a long time Bioware fan and have purchased every product they have produced since the original Baldur's Gate. I loved the first 98% of this game. However the last 5 minutes of the ending were so horrible that no only do I have no desire to play this game again, but I also will never play the previous two titles either. The franchise was about player choice. What you did in ME1 carried over to ME2. What you did in ME2 carried over to ME3. So when you get to the very end of ME3 and find out that:
A) Your choices do not affect the ending (other than very minor tweaks to the ending cinematic)
B) No explanation of what happens in the aftermath of the ending is forthcoming
C) A 3rd party whom you have never seen/interacted with before is the "big badguy"
D) You can not interact with him
E) The universe as you know it, which you have been fighting for over all three games will cease to exist no matter what you decide
F) Numerous plot holes are introduced
This ending is completely jarring. The franchise went from a standard Hero saves the universe against incredible odds after 100s of hours of gaming across three games to art house flick in the last five minutes. The execution of this last second change was so poorly handled that the ending leaves you emotionally raw, not from the story itself but from the idea that this thing made it through quality control and sold for $60 or more. Subsequently Bioware has lost me as a fan and will never get another cent from me (I cancelled my SWTOR account). In addition I feel that the distribution company (EA) is also to blame and I will no longer purchase any of their products. I have never complained about a product on amazon before but felt compelled to do so here. If you are a fan of the franchise and have not yet purchased this game stop before it is too late. This ending will rob all the joy you had playing in the ME universe.
on March 16, 2012
Initially I gave a really bad review, because I had only played multiplayer a little bit. I stand by my single player review - the campaign part of it sucked. I leave the original review unchanged, below while adding a multiplayer review.
This is addicting. The 6 character classes are so different that I ended up maxing out all of them. There are 3 levels of difficulty - Bronze, Silver and Gold and they're all fun to play as you gain more experience. I've successfully played Bronze solo. The teamwork aspect is awesome, especially if you have voice enabled. The AI is intelligent, but still allows for strategy - for instance - when doing the 4 device enabling part of the waves, some times the enemies swarm you as you try to enable the last one. The thing to do then is for the team to run over to the opposite end of the map, draw fire. Then, when the enemies re-converge there, have one member of the team run over back to the last device and enable it. Stuff like this makes the game super fun. Also - there are lots of youtube videos you can watch, to get ideas about strategy, etc. There are also lots of fun things to try - for instance, everywhere you read says that you can't play human vanguard on higher difficulties. But I did it and it was fun - Charge-Nova, with only an Avenger 10 (which keeps your weight capacity at +200%). I managed to top the kills list. It's also fun to charge-nova-roll Atlases while your teammates leisurely take them out.
Overall, while I don't have a whole bunch of experience with first(third) person shooters, I believe they got this one right. The store is also well made, with highly addictive incentives - better weapons/upgrades and challenges.
I never played ME1. I started the series with ME2, which I loved - it had awesome writing, dark, imaginative environments, interesting plots. I remember playing a section of the game multiple times just to get Morinth as a crew mate. It felt like a good movie, with interactive parts. Even the little puzzles (connecting circuits, etc) were fun. The story was dark, but you could create your own path to a good ending.
I expected ME3 to be an improvement over ME2. Not even close. I actually quit playing the game after the first Quarian mission.
1. ME2 graphics ~== ME3 graphics.
Is it me, or do the graphics look the same? (High end quad core i7, 3Ghz, really good graphics card - all settings maxed out, fluid frame rate) And yet the look of the game is the same - I expected maybe better character face animations, etc. No. The graphics are almost identical.
2. Installation - make me download it twice
I bought it from Amazon. Downloaded it, started the installer, it installed Origin. Which then proceeded to re-download the game. What up with that?
3. Getting military resources - scan, get caught by Reapers, re-load the saved game
Seriously? This is what I'm expected to do? If this is what I have to do to get my Effective Military Strength high enough for one of the "Good" endings?
4. Getting military resources - Multiplayer
I liked ME2 for the single player campaign, which is why I bought ME3. Now, they're conditioning the successful (i.e. Shepard survives) first-time completion of ME3 on me playing multiplayer, to get my "readiness" higher than 50%. Seriously?
Every once in a while I load a game, start a mission, play it through, then realize that all my powers are gone, all my 48 level points have now been reduced to 4. This is actually what drove me to quit the game after the first Quarian mission. I just don't want to replay it again from the last save just because Bioware/EA has a stupid bug in the game. I looked it up on the internets, and it apparently happens when you start the game "without giving it enough time to connect to EA servers". I'm a software developer, this is a Bug. No, I no longer want to work around it. I'm done.
6. Writing - it's corny!
The dialogue used to be good in ME2. Not super good, but good. In ME3, it sounds like a high school kit wrote it the night before the due date.
Well, this has been covered everywhere else on the Internets. All endings suck. I'm not going to spoil this for whoever still wants to play the game through, but ... really? What is this, a Greek tragedy? No, man, sad endings don't make your writing good.
8. Day one DLC
This is in a way bait and switch. Advertise the game at $60, but no, actually, to get the best story you need to pay another $10. Just tell me upfront that you want $70 and I'll figure out for myself if it's worth it or not.
9. Characters closure
ME2 developed a bunch of characters. A lot of these are given "closure" in ME3. Really, I get it - you want to complete their stories - but I've grown attached to them, so watching helplessly as their "closure" progresses is not my idea of fun.
The Journal is useless. I just have to tediously explore, then go back to Citadel, then explore more, go back to the Citadel, return the items, etc. It never tells me which quests cannot be completed because their systems are not open for exploration yet. There is the Codex section - which is useless for mission planning, because all the planets involved in the quests are not in there! This is not what I want from this game! Yes, it ads to the number of hours I spend on it, but it's not time well spent. I'm not having fun!
11. Clunky game play
Security scan in the CIC. Really? It's my ship. I need to wait there every single time I get out of the war room.
I enjoyed ME2 immensely and I started playing ME3 despite the bad reviews I read, hoping they'd be wrong. They weren't. I'm mid way through the game and I had a revelation: I'm not enjoying this. Yes, I paid $70 on it but it's all sunk costs. It's not worth me spending time to finish the game.
So far I've been factual in my comments. So here's a bit of speculation: given the similar graphics, almost identical game play, the whole ME3 game was probably a lot cheaper to develop than ME2. Lots of components were probably reused. So you might say - the $70 they expect to get per copy will go towards story development, art, etc. It obviously hasn't. The story is crappy, the dialogue is corny. So what am I paying $70 for? The ME badge, that's what.
I was already skeptical about EA, but now I've decided - I'm not playing another EA or Bioware game again. There are consequences to incompetence. Sorry.