74 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
Let me preface everything by saying that I am fully aware that reviewing this game further would be belaboring the point. Still, after all the time and love I spent upon the game, I feel that I owe it to myself to write this.
Firstly, ME3 is a great game. It is very fun, and it'll be incredibly hard for you to put down. Very few, if any, of the negative reviews on here owe their criticism to the gameplay itself. In fact, in my opinion it is ME3's most redeeming quality.
Here's my breakdown:
Graphically (5/5), ME3 is top-notch. Now, I may not be the harshest critic here; I mean, I can't tell the difference between a DVD and a Blu-Ray disk (which I suspect is mainly the price). I suppose that if you're someone who demands perfect, unyielding graphics without tearing, etc. then you might be able to find some complaints. Personally though, the only thing that bothered me was that my custom FemShep's imported face looked absolutely bizarre despite being...well, hot...in ME2 and ME1. No matter how much reconstruction I did on it, I only got it to about 80% of what it was before. However, this was a very minor complaint for me.
In terms of combat (4.5/5), the game again shines. It has more of an ME2 feel than an ME1 feel, but it is also somehow distinctly different. It's subtle, but there are certain things that have improved, or at least changed. Playing as an adept (as I did in 2 and 1), I noticed that the balancing of the powers is distinctly different. "Shockwave" in ME2 was my most powerful/effective ability. In ME3, it's essentially worthless unless your enemy is right in front of your face (as with a husk). Rather, an adept's most powerful ability is a type of biotic grenade. I cannot speak to other classes as much, because I prefer a biotic-heavy style of play.
One thing that was really nice about ME3 was the ease with which any class can use heavier weapons, like the sniper rifle (a personal favorite of mine, even though I am an adept). There are also many new enemy types, some of which are quite challenging. The banshees I found to be absolutely terrifying.
Missions (5/5) were fantastic. There was always a sense of urgency, and a sense of purpose. Everything you do is an act of great importance, and the game does a great job of making you feel that. At least until the last hour or so.
Music (10/5): the score to this game is absolutely incredible. The music to ME2 was amazing, and the music to ME1 was pretty damn good too, but the music in ME3 is perfect. I can't even describe why - suffice it to say, this game has a very emotional storyline, and every background piece highlights the heart of that scene, in a way I could only describe as reminiscent of chiaroscuro in art. Now, I don't cry very easily. Or, at least, it takes a lot more than a generic RomCom to do me in. But here, the music always put me right over the top.
Characters (10/5): as we all know, the essence of Mass Effect isn't the combat, or the music...it's the characters. I mean, who doesn't love them? ME3 throws in quite a few new ones, and some of them are pretty cool. Some of them are annoying *glares at the slutty newswoman in the cargo hold*...but the main characters return in force. Many of the ME2 characters don't get quite as much love as one might hope, but they do get some airtime. If you romanced any of them, though, the odds are that your romance experience will not be very enjoyable in its conclusion.
Replayability(3/5), on the other hand, suffers a lot from the story (more on that later). Still, going through it again for the gameplay alone would be quite rewarding. Planet scanning has largely disappeared, but it has spawned an almost equally annoying series of scanning missions. These mainly involve salvaging things that may be useful for the war effort...but the Reapers (ever the logical little buggers) quickly destroy 90% of the fuel depots. This makes it much harder to jump from system to system within a given cluster. Furthermore, when you get there, you only get about three pings before Reapers jump down your throat and try to kill you (they chase your ship on the Galaxy Map). This makes it hard to find everything without an online guide.
And now, let's turn to that long-decayed and very dead horse...the story and the ending.
<<< SPOILERS AHEAD >>>
General Story (5/5):
At the beginning of the game, you have to abandon Earth. It was somehow hard to do that, even though it's a linear game (in this regard). You really feel the pain and the destruction on Earth, and even though it's necessary - a retreat to advance, so to speak - you feel guilty as a player. You'll meet up with the Virmire survivor (I saved Kaidan)and a couple new characters in an Alliance-retrofitted (which basically means uglier) Normandy to fly off and reunite the galaxy.
Before you do that though, you stop at Mars and meet up with Liara. And hey, guess what? It's Deus Ex Machina time! Miraculously, there's a schematic for a devastating new weapon found in the Prothean archives in the Alliance base there. It's called the Crucible. Now I know what you're thinking...does this mean that you're going to force the Reapers to perform chemistry experiments? No. At this point, we think that it means that we have a Reaper vaporizer.
Now, despite my criticisms of this device, I was expecting something similar long before I played ME3. It's simply a necessity with an enemy like the Reapers. I also like the "full circle" aspect of it - Mars was really where ME begins, and with this discovery it's where it "ends" in some senses. In fact, this contrived device is infinitely more forgivable in our initial understanding of it. I would have given ME3 twelve stars if its perceived function had been accurate.
Unfortunately for all of us, it wasn't. But you don't find that out until later.
In the meantime, you fly about the galaxy gathering your forces. I won't go into detail here, because maybe you still don't know and my warning for spoilers wasn't enough to dissuade you from reading this. What I will say is that you wade through huge subplots and explore many fundamentally 'human' themes. Several characters lose their lives in this process, or maybe just one or two if you've been a diligent little player up until now. As I said, every mission during this time is amazing, and powerfully evocative. Thessia and Rannoch in particular gave me chills. You will almost certainly cry.
And through all of that, you get to see how your crew evolves. Yes, in terms of ability, because it is an RPG...but also psychologically. Joker, a personal favorite of mine, is a prime example of this, but he is far from the only one. Every character displays more depth than I've ever seen in a supporting character (I mean, of course they do - it's Mass Effect!). The amazing voice acting really reinforces this.
Your romance, if you have pursued one (and why wouldn't you have?) will also come to a close, one way or another. I've read in other places that the only truly satisfying romance is Liara. Apparently, you never get to see Tali's face, no matter what, which I thought would have been the coolest and most natural side benefit of that romance.
I cannot speak to this, but I can speak to a romance with Kaidan: if you've done certain things in the past, or in the alternative are prepared to work very hard at your relationship with him, you can take the romance further. (Also, if you're a male Shepard, you can now initiate an M/M romance with him.) Personally, I felt that it led to what I was expecting, but it was somehow more vanilla than I anticipated. I guess it was done realistically, but not quite as...subtly, or perhaps tastefully, as I would have liked. It was, somehow, disappointing. I guess it just lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Nonetheless, I really did feel the romance, and it was still very emotional.
Now, as for the ending...
What on Earth was Bioware thinking?
That will be your reaction, almost exactly. It will likely begin with, "Um, what?" and then progress slowly to complete, mind-numbing disappointment. Why? It turns out that the Crucible has a much different purpose than what we expected, or at least a much-expanded one.
And it just plain sucks.
But that's just the proximate cause of my (our) disappointment. As Sheldon would say, the higher-level distal cause is that Bioware treats the ending more like art than game. In some ways, I think that that's a cool idea. The problem is that art is subjective. A tower of sponges to some is amazingly meaningful. To me, a tower of sponges is probably just a tower of sponges. And with a game-as-art theory, you should accommodate the duality of those concepts. That is, you shouldn't just make it art for the sake of art and forget that it is also a game, and therefore must be logical. Failing that, sensical.
As it is, you get to choose the color of your doom, and that's about it. Personally, it doesn't bother me that much that you only get three choices, despite the promise of fluidity of choice upon which ME is predicated. It doesn't bother me that there isn't a boss fight, only an encounter with the Honorable Marauder Shields. What does bother me is that (perhaps indeed for deference to art) the ending does not make sense. At all.
I will not dissect every point here; the reasons why it is entirely illogical are so numerous that I couldn't bear to itemize them for the sake of my love for ME. What bothers me most is that it contradicts the themes it expresses in the same game. I mean, what was all of that stuff with the Geth and the Quarians about if that damnable God Child does the (pseudo-)philosophical equivalent of laughing at you for it?
I don't know. I really don't. I desperately clung to the notion of Indoctrination Theory for a while...but then Bioware crushed that hope when it didn't release the real ending. All they did release was the Extended Cut, which
patched a few logical holes and makes the ending somewhat more bearable.
But not that much more bearable.
I'm sorry to say this, Bioware. I truly loved ME; it will remain for me one of the most evocative, transcendent games I have ever played. Yet, I cannot honestly say that you did well by it. Of course, I will not scream, or send you obnoxious letters. That won't change anything. All I ask is that, next time, you never let yourself forget what the game is really about.
836 of 1,058 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2012
Be warned, this review contains some spoilers so read at your own risk. This is also a bit long winded; I apologize but, as a fan, I invested quite a bit of time in the series. Time for me to give back what they took from me.
My Real Rating: 4.5/5 until the last hour or so, at which it becomes 2/5
Game reviews can often be subjective so this review is coming from someone primarily with an RPG background who, in terms of game play, enjoyed the first game better than the second. The second wasn't terrible in terms of story but it was much less of an RPG and more of a shooter. The first thing I noticed about Mass Effect 3 is that BioWare gave us a game that gives us the best of both worlds and should be recognized for that. There are also some things here and there that I either loved or hated but these were not things that impacted the overall experience so I exclude them.
1. Some people complain about graphics but that isn't as much as an issue for me. I am a hard line gamer who still pulls out the classics from the 80s and 90s and can generally forgive not-as-good graphics for a good story or game that is simply fun to play. Mass Effect 3 is, for the most part, both. That being said, the graphics weren't terrible and I feel that this is really a non-issue.
2. The re-design of the Normandy is great! I love the lounge (reminds me of a line from Mass Effect 2 when Shepard told Jacob that the next Normandy gets a lounge). Nice touch.
3. The writing was generally good. There were some places where I felt it was lacking but I'm saving my anger to discuss the ending. Also, character development is good, especially across the three titles; this is insanely difficult to accomplish in a game trilogy so kudos for that. There were several points in the game where a scene elicited an emotional reaction from me. In the last hour, that emotion was sheer terror that all this character development had been for nothing (see below).
4. As I mentioned, many of the RPG elements that were taken out of the second title were brought back but vastly improved. One such feature was weapon modding. While it didn't bother me like it did some people, I must still admit that modding in the first game could become rather tedious, especially for someone who feels the need to collect everything (not a good idea in the first game).
In this game, for example, suppose you mod a series of weapons with, say, a Rifle Scope I. If you pick up or purchase a Rifle Scope II, all weapons with the earlier mod are automatically updated as well as your inventory.
From the start, you can choose to upgrade weapons you are using to better weapons right away. Moreover, weapons are no longer constrained to a particular class (i,e, infiltrator, soldier, vanguard, etc) so you can enter a combat situation with the weapons that are best suited to the task. There are some weight limits that you should observe when carrying weapons that depend on class, however.
Overall, the game play is fantastic.
5. Halleluiah, planet scanning is gone! It has returned in some form but one does not need to spend large chunks of time collecting resources to upgrade weapons and ship components. Planet scanning is mainly used to collect war assets in Reaper controlled territory but even this can still get a bit tedious at times.
6. I am not a huge fan of multiplayer games, cooperative or not, so I do not feel like I am in a position to adequately critique it.
Comments on the Story
The story was great. I was on the edge of my seat digging it, that is, until the last hour minutes or so when, in my view, the totality of the trilogy came crashing to the ground. There is a huge, heated debate about the ending of the game where both sides are calling names like rather ill-behaved children. I do not intend to call names here as games, like movies, are very subjective. However, I do have some thoughts about the ending and the story. If you don't share these thoughts, great. But don't be pompous, acting like your opinion is the only one out there. And, beware of spoilers.
//[Work Hard and Still Get the Shaft]//
The first thing that really annoyed me was that I played through every mission/side quest and got most (but admittedly not all) of the war assets from the various worlds using the planet scanner (this also got tedious at times but was nowhere as bad as the scanning in ME2). The way I understand the galactic readiness rating (GRT) is as follows: it is basically a multiplier that takes your raw military strength and is used to produce an effective military strength (EMS). If you spend more time in the multiplayer (which I did not) you can, in principle, spend less time on side quests and vice-versa. Good idea, I thought, as it gives players some leeway on how to proceed.
However, when I went into the final battle, I feel that the EMS rating was rather misleading. Mine was roughly at about 3200 or so with a default GRT of 50%. The green bar was completely filled. However, my ending sucked (I'll get to this in a minute). In fact, the first time I played through, I was so shocked that I re-loaded the Citadel mission to see if I missed something. Nope, as I feared.
Now, my initial reaction was knee-jerk. I was furious that EA/BioWare made a game where, as I perceived at the time, a decent ending could not be achieved without multiplayer. I have since then been corrected. A decent ending, where Shepard presumably lives (there is still some ambiguity here), can be achieved with an EMS of 4000 or better (at least, according to sites like IGN). However, my complaint is that the game misled me about this as my EMS bar was completely filled going into the last mission. Even if you can get the good ending without playing multiplayer, much of your readiness rating depends on previous choices from earlier titles. Also, admittedly, there is a box that told me that my chances against the Reapers was even but I didn't think much of it because in Mass Effect 2, they still called it a "suicide mission" even if you made all the necessary preparations.
I should note that the supposed "good" ending includes a very brief cut scene where Shepard is still alive but appears to be in bad shape; I don't have much of an incentive to work hard to get my EMS up for a 20 second cut scene that leaves some ambiguity about Shepard's ultimate fate.
I didn't feel that all of my decisions really mattered. My feeling is that your decisions mattered mainly insofar as a character might briefly appear in the game and promise to help you but you may not ever encounter that character again in the game and a positive number would be tallied, in your favor, to your military strength. So, basically, I feel like I made decisions not to see further development of a character who was willing to fight and, possibly die, along side me but rather, to see a sum magically increase by a few hundred points.
A good example is the Rachni Queen. She appears if you save her and you are again given an option to save or let her die as she has been taken over by Reaper tech. If you let her live, she appears in a list under the war assets and that is that.
The collector base, for example, does play a role in what choices you have in the ending but I didn't really feel like my decision to destroy it made much of an impact throughout the game. This was, at least I thought, a huge decision and all it does it determine which three crappy choices will cause you to "win" if you even "win" at all. That is, the crappy choices are permuted depending on your choice to destroy or not destroy the collector base.
You also see Major Kirrahe who promises to fight by your side no matter which way the political tide turns. What is frustrating is that I expected a full scale, epic battle where all sorts of people I have rallied were fighting by my side. Literally. I don't think that this was a wrong or misleading assumption. But this isn't what I got. Perhaps my expectations here were far too high.
I understand that making a game that is custom tailored to the player is a difficult, technical task but this is how they marketed the game. I remember feeling that my ME1 decisions, with the exception of Wrex, didn't really have an impact on ME2 except for a few casual encounters with Conrad or an Asari communicating on behalf of the Rachni Queen. I really felt like I would feel the heavy weight of my major decisions from ALL three titles. Instead, there were many times when it felt like "Oh yeah, I remember doing that." The only decisions that seemed to carry sufficient weight were ones that I made in this particular game.
//[Total Annihilation/Gooification of Humanity Isn't So Bad So Long As it is Justified by a Child]//
The ending didn't make much sense to me. In fact, I felt like more alcohol would assist me in understanding it. So, to save organics from the hands of super advanced synthetics or AIs we have to brutally destroy entire species with a race of ultra-sophisticated synthetic-organic hybrids? Okay, perhaps "destroy" is a bad word; more like, gooify you and collect you as a museum exhibit of what once was. So, instead of being destroyed in the usual "the machines have revolted" sense, we will be brutally harvested by super advanced machines. Yeah.... that is a great....uh.... solution? Chaos is not necessarily a bad thing; it is found in nature. This was hard to stomach.
In Mass Effect 2, we discovered that the collectors were really Protheans who were re-purposed and it was generally agreed by Shepard and crew that this was a fate far worse than extinction. Why the change of heart? Because the presumably non-caporial being on the Citadel took the form of a child instead of Harbinger, with his guttural, bad guy-ish sounding voice? This child basically told Shepard what Harbinger told Shepard on Virmire and at various spots in Mass Effect 2. Shepard certainly didn't buy what Harbinger told him in the previous games but now it is okay because a child says it?
Seriously, I would rather fight a loosing battle against machines Terminator 2 style than have my friends and family turned into some goo where they loose all personality but their genetic structure is preserved. Because, you know, as I play, develop relationships, and think long term, my main concern should be.... preserving my bodily fluids? It almost has a Dr. Strangelove tone to it... I'm just imagining Shepard droning on about his precious bodily fluids.
Seriously, this sucked beyond measure. And by beyond measure, I mean it was serious, knee deep, disappointing, suckage. Dying at the hands of the collectors in ME2 was, in my opinion, a far more satisfying ending to the series. Fewer loose ends to tie up (which were not tied up in ME3).
//[But You Can Still "Stop" The Reapers]//
If, by stop, you mean one of three things: you control the reapers, which is very disappointing because it gives the Illusive Man credibility, you combine synthetics and organics which is equally disappointing and, frankly weird as hell, or, as some game sites misreport, you destroy all synthetics, including the Reapers (some game sites report that you just destroy the Reapers). And, unless you worked really hard, Admiral Anderson will die as will Shepard.
Then, in a sudden chance of pace, Joker apparently stops assisting the space attack to go and pick up Ashley, James, and Liara from the ground battle so that when they crash land on some Eden-like planet, there will be enough people to make babies (Note: some things may be different depending on who you saved in ME1, who your squadmates were for the last mission, etc but the idea is the same).
So let's recap: you either die or, if not, you take a breath of air badly wounded with absolutely no character resolution, you have absolutely no clue what happened to the other characters you have grown to love, and it is very likely that your spouse-to-be (or, at the least, I hoped) will have the task of making babies to repopulate humanity with little to no facial expression that seems to express the slightest bit of concern as to your fate.
I wanted to see total Reaper carnage (as opposed to total AI/synthetic carnage) and maybe a wedding or possibly a scene where you walk away with your friends in the sunset leaving behind a pile of dead reapers (yes, I know, I am a hopeless romantic). Instead, I got no character resolution and a random scene of Joker crashing on a planet that seemed to have little to do with anything.
Some people might contend I am making too much out of nothing. Possibly. But I wouldn't tolerate this kind of ending in a movie trilogy so why should I tolerate it in a game that is supposed to be story driven?
The suckage is complete and I'm not it sure can be undone. This alone does not make me want to go back and re-play the game. In fact, I would be content to stop playing before the battle of Earth and leave it be or die in ME2. I'm not even sure I can play the other titles knowing what ending lies ahead. The game and the trilogy was great but the ending completely ruined everything for me at this point.
Gameplay is good and refined. Ending sucks and ruins the trilogy. Even if the ending is bad (I would have preferred a bittersweet ending as mentioned earlier), character resolution is still a part of story telling!
44 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
Not a bad game on its own, it just failed to deliver on the grand vision promised us at the beginning. Minus one star for not living up to its potential, and minus another star for the cop out ending.
The big finish to the Mass Effect trilogy just fizzled out when it should have shone brightly. Since story is so important in a game like this, I'll start with that. From the first cut scene to the last, the story pacing felt off to me. All the story elements felt rushed, out of place, or focused on the wrong thing. I basically threw up my hands at the narrative and went along with it by the time I had gotten to the last 10% or so of the game. Some big things happened "off screen" when they shouldn't have (from a dramatic point of view) or other things that got played up during the dialogue go essentially unexplained in the end. It felt like the writers were going for the twist ending here, unfortunately they tried a little too hard, giving it an anticlimactic feeling than firm resolution.
As for gameplay, the AI was improved over the other two games, and that's about it. If you've played the first two games or any other action game built with UE3 tech, you know what to expect: duck-and-cover, shoot-shoot, move on to the next area. Rinse, lather, repeat. It seems they took out all of the puzzles and mini-games, and I found I missed those more than I thought I would. They offered a nice break from the monotony of the duck-and-cover shooter system and the sometimes hokey dialogue.
I've never been a fan of the Mass Effect user interface, and it seems that every attempt made to streamline it buried some important menu or function in a non-intuitive place. The layout of the shops is a joke: while it may make thematic sense to have a weapon and armor shop in the shuttle bay, a research center in the crew area, power upgrades in the med bay, etc, it feels out of place. The rest of the game has already been streamlined, from the side quests to the exploration maps to the combat, why not do away with that cumbersome interface? I find it funny that Shepard can run the galaxy from one terminal but still has to walk down to a bay to get a weapon upgrade. And on a personal note to the developer: whoever set 'B' as the confirmation button should stop having "brilliant" ideas. I've been hitting 'A' to confirm things in menus for over a decade now, thanks.
The biggest problem in this finale is that it doesn't provide real closure to the series. Without spoiling too much, I found the overall message that Bioware sent to fans to be the most disappointing aspect, and I'm not referring to the clever revenue stream with the online pass, DLC and IOS game (I find that trend more disturbing, actually). Bioware promised a sweeping epic where the choices you made matter. In Mass Effect 3, those choices do matter but only as technicalities, like mere variables that have more effect on the dialogue trees than the game itself. I expected better.
47 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2012
This wasn't the review I wanted to give. Believe me, it wasn't. I wanted to give a review praising this game. I wanted to talk a lot about the struggle between fear and hope. I also really wanted to compliment BioWare and the programming team as a whole as they really made me love all the relationships in the game (not just the sex....but the friendships which came so naturally). But I can't. I just can't.
I've played Mass Effect from the beginning, like many of you out there. There have been many, many great reviews...and I wanted to add my own voice. Maybe you'll agree with me. Maybe you won't. That's cool either way. All I can express is my own views on the game.
1. I loved the gameplay. I think BioWare perfected the interface. Battles worked smoothly. The roleplaying aspects seemed intuitive as well.
2. It is true...your choices do not matter in the game. BioWare lied. They promised the players that the choices made in Mass Effect 1 and 2 would play a major, if not important, part in Mass Effect 3. But that was not the case. Important missions and events in the first two games got mentioned briefly and nothing more. The decisions came off as reminiscing rather than mattering. I felt, and still feel, lied to.
3. I paid $59.95 for this game through Amazon.com. But I didn't get the complete game. In order to get the Prothean into the party, I had to shell out an additional ten dollars. BioWare made a day one DLC for a character that seems critical to the overarching narrative of what happened to the past races. Getting one in the group makes sense from a storytelling perspective as it is coming full circle. And since this was a day one DLC, this character was already made well before the game was in final production. They saw a way to milk additional money out of fans of the series.
4. So would I get the complete game for $69.95? Of course not. In order to have access to the 'happy ending,' (I own an XBox 360)...I have to shell out additional money to get access to online play. That could range between $10 - $30 a month! I'm looking at a minimum $79.95 for a complete play-through. They are just trying to get every penny they can out of the player.
5. The ending...many wiser people than I have commented on the ending. I want to add to the voice of general discontent. I wanted a happy ending. An epilogue. I want to learn what happened to everyone in a long epilogue. Did Tali and Garrus make it? What about Ashley? What occurred with her? I couldn't find her when saying goodbye to everyone. She crash-landed on the planet...what happened to the love of Shephard's life? And even more broadly, what happened to the galaxy after the Reapers? Without the relays, what happened? Was there efforts to rebuild them? Did the Geth finally make peace with their creators? And the Krogan? What happened with the Krogan? There were so many questions. No answers.
I want to go on, but I cannot. Words escape me. I wanted to love this game. I wanted to praise it. But now? I just can't.
Avoid this entire series.
The ending should have been simple. The Crucible is just a monstrous laser beam that tears Reapers into little bits, and then we have Shepard wake up on the Normandy, Lord of the Rings style.
And then the epilogue plays. To celebrate the victory, the biggest party in Galactic history is thrown on the Citadel. Everyone gets filthy drunk and dances the night away. EDI and Joker try to have sex, which ends with a shattered pelvis. Grunt does some hilarious stuff, Jack gets in a catfight with Miranda (jello optional), Garrus and Shepard go swimming in the giant lake, Wrex tries to join them and almost drowns (in a funny way) but finally gets that fish, someone pours a Gatorade bucket (Mass Effect equivalent) on Hackett's head, who flips out at first but ends up having fun, and other general hijinx ensue.
And then afterwards there's a bunch of shots of the different species rebuilding their homeworlds. Shots of the Quarian and Geth getting along, the leftover Reaper corpses towed into space and blown into bits, red tape being cut, etc. Happy happy happy.
And then there's a love interest ending. For example, Ashley and Shepard are shown with her family on Earth, maybe starting a new life together in the military. Or whoever the love interest was...just show them together....
And then, the final shot is of the Statue of Shepard that gets erected in the Citadel, and it fades to credits.
And there are no child gods, I don't feel like I should have to explain why.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Writing a review of Mass Effect 3 is like writing an opinion on abortion. The emotions run extremely high with this game. And that in and of itself indicates how much people care about the characters and plots.
I've been reviewing video games since the days of Adventure and Zork, and of course there have been many atrocious games along the way. People who play atrocious games tend to be fairly blase about it. "Yes it sucks. Move on." However, with Mass Effect 3 it is an entirely different set of emotion. The emotions here are more along the lines of "I adored my character. I invested hundreds of hours into carefully crafting his life, his moral choices, and the people he fell in love with. And then THIS!!!"
I think it's important to realize how powerful this situation is. Only a mere ten years ago people would argue that video games could not capture the emotion. They would argue that there was no way to connect with a video game. We have proven here, in 2012, that absolutely a video game can be FAR more immersive than a movie or a novel. With a video game you become invested in the story, you help craft the path, and you emotionally connect with the characters.
Think of all the areas that Mass Effect 3 opened horizons. It offered heterosexual and homosexual relationships and most people didn't blink an eye. It offered a range of ethnicities and hardly a word was spoke about it. Moral choices were presented, and people made their decisions. People cared.
So I think it absolutely should then be expected that these years of investment, these weeks of time and emotion and energy should have a pay-off at the end. Yes, gamers paid the $x amount for the game - but that is trivial compared with the investment of their time and energy. They expect, after all of that, that what they did mattered.
And, in the end, it didn't.
The summation of the game - as undoubtedly the vast majority of gamers know by now - is completely independent of what the gamer chose to do. Relationship choices didn't matter. Alliance choices didn't matter. Morals, good, or bad, or ugly, didn't matter. The game makers simply pulled with a razor and ended the story.
There are some gamers who posit that this shouldn't matter. Oh well. It was a noble end. We should be satisfied.
But again, this is not about a movie we watched for 90 minutes while munching popcorn. It was an investment. If you were in a five year relationship with a partner, where you lived with them, cared for them, and made a focused effort to make things work, would you be content with a five minute razor-blade slicing off of the relationship? How would that ever be considered adequate? And, once your partner had done that to you, would you say to yourself, "Oh well, they were nice to me before"?
Absolutely I feel strongly that the way one closes a relationship is one of the most important, powerful things a person in a relationship can do. I feel BioWare failed in this act - and by doing so they tainted all that came before.
Ask any woman or man who has been through a nasty divorce what they remember. Is it the few years of joy - or is it the way they were treated at the end.
For those who didn't mind the ending at all, I'm not sure what to say. If someone was in a five year marriage and they don't really mind that their partner cheated on them nastily and laughed as they ran off with the money - what does that say about the person's emotional investment in that relationship?
I purchased this game with my own funds for the purpose of doing this review.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
Well from my title you already have a good idea of what my stance on the game is.
Throughout the game I was absolutely astounded; character interactions felt so personal and deep, the action was good, the amount of story and shooting was well balanced, and thankfully the scales had tipped more in the story aspect compared to ME2 in my opinion.
One moment that stands out in my mind more than anything is when i reunited the Geth and the Quarians. I almost made the wrong decision which would've resulted in the Quarians total destruction, but last second I made the right choice and saved them both. I was literally standing with my arms in the air, and grinning and smiling like a total knob head.
I just don't understand how bioware, who made me experience these feelings, could be the same company that made me feel what I felt at the ending. And that is complete and utter disappointment. I just can't comprehend how the same company who made the first 99% of the game could be the same company responsible for creating that....ending. Choice is a key pillar of the ME series and the ending completely does away with that. It may be cliche for most games or movies, books to always have a happy ending, but unlike most games, movies, books etc. mass effect is all about choice. If we want to have a favorable ending, then let it be an option to us. Or at least give us an ending that is consistent, with continuity, and has an actual ending to wrap things up. As it stands now, the galaxy is destroyed, bioware has destroyed one of their greatest creations.
286 of 380 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
Imagine you have been in a wonderful relationship with a dream guy/girl. He's everything you wanted and finally proposes. It's a dream come true. You finally believe in true love. You make plans for the wedding. The flowers, the dress, you can just see everything in your mind! It's going to be wonderful.
Then on the big day he leaves you at the altar, dumps you with a post it note with a nonsensical reason "because cranberries". You plead for answers but none are given other than "because I had to".
Sure it might have been the best guy ever but that doesn't justify anything.
This is Mass Effect.
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
I guess I should warn that my rating will contain some spoilers, so if you have not played this game yet (if you have done some research, you should know by now that you're not missing much), then you may not want to read any further.
First, the good things... The graphics and surroundings are awesome. The characters look as good as they did in the last two games with a few new additions and tweaks. The gameplay is about the same. Well, that's it for the good things.
Now for the bad and very disappointing things. One of the best characters dies -- regardless of any decisions you make! I would leave his name out, but it's not really a secret, anymore, as it's all over the net. It is Thane Krios, the beloved Drell. I realize he was already dying of a disease from the first two games, but the game creators and writers could have made it so that there was at least ONE decision you could make to save him! Even if only for the fans' sake. But alas, they did not feel like being very considerate to the fans. They should know by now, that when they create a character that becomes a fan favorite, it is not in their best interest to kill him off as this will only tick off the fans! Anyway, moving on... Something else that is stupid is that it seems that no matter which person you choose as your Love Interest, they are going to die at some point in the game, in some way, regardless of everything you've done to assure the opposite. Again, for those who have done research on the net, you will discover other people who have invested many hours trying to pick the perfect decisions to keep their Love Interest alive, and even after getting to the end of the game, they still die. My question is, why did Bioware even make that an aspect of the games if they were just going to make it to where the Love Interest will not survive, even after you bust your butt?? That is like a major slap in the face to fans who have taken the romancing seriously and have done everything up until this point to keep it alive. But that aside, the worst part of all is that at the very end, no matter what decisions you have made and no matter how many times you have reloaded the game to play it better and no matter how perfect you have done, you get just three options to determine the outcome. In TWO of those three options, you DIE. In the other one, which the strategy guide considers the "perfect" ending, your character is seen buried beneath ashen rubble and coughing. Yes, this reveals to you that he/she is still alive, however, you don't get to see what has become of your Love Interest. And to make things even more annoying, there is a cutscene where you see four crew members crash landing on a strange planet, where they will basically have to start life all over on their own. And that's it. Perfect ending? Are you kidding me??? I'm sorry, but this lousy writer obviously has NO concept of a "perfect" ending and has, for most people out there, ruined the entire game. The fans are angry at being cheated of a good ending. And I cannot blame them. I think that if Bioware had at least made it so that your character crash lands on the planet with your Love Interest, where you would have to create new life, that would have been a little more satisfying, because at least you would be alive with your lover! Last time I checked, that's how most good stories end!!
You may be wondering why I just gave away the ending. First, it's no longer a secret. Second, I want to save people from wasting their money and time on this as everything you you do up until within the last hour of the game will mean NOTHING. That's right, Bioware tricked you into waiting forever for the game to come out, then they took your $60 for it. Then they took possibly hundreds of hours worth of time from you, just to screw you over and tell you it meant nothing. I'm still waiting for them to say "Gotcha!" and give us a new ending. So are the thousands of people who have signed a petion on the net. I'd like to think Bioware will make things right, by firing the lousy excuse for a writer and give us a new ending, but don't hold your breath.
If they do, though, I may consider revising my review.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2012
One thing I have heard a lot of people say is that if you liked Mass Effect 2 then you will also like Mass Effect 3. This was not the case for me.
Mass Effect 2 was a great game, I had fun with the combat system, getting to know my crew, exploring the galaxy, customizing my armor, ect. In Mass Effect 3 the game is really all combat. The combat is arguably improved but I had much much less fun with it in ME3 than in ME2, and I believe the main reason for this is because there were so much more game world in ME2 than ME3.
ME3 is a linear Gears of War style Sci-Fi third person shooter. For about 85% of the game you will simply get into cover, throw some biotic abilities, shoot some guys until your shield breaks down, crouch behind cover, when your shield recharges repeat the cycle until all the bad guys are dead, move to the next area and repeat the cycle again. You neither have to be smart nor skilled to play this game. Most every encounter is your typical cover based shooter level design where you meet the enemies head on with slabs of rectangular cover dividing the two groups. Simply repeat the cycle that I have already explained and you will easily complete this game on the insanity difficulty.
While playing ME3 I couldn't help but to wonder if ME2's combat was basically the same formula. This is because I had so much fun playing ME2 and never experienced the kind of boredom I was now experiencing in ME3. But the reason why I had so much more fun with ME2 was because of all the other activities and experiences that came with the game.
In ME2 I got to travel all over the galaxy and visit interesting cities like omega and Illium. I had the opportunity to get to know my crew mates and help them with their troubles. I had the opportunity to simply fly around space, scan and gather minerals, read about different worlds and the races that inhabited them, and discover anomalies while scanning that opened up side missions. There were also missions where the main focus was not combat, such as Tali and Smara's loyalty missions. In short I had an opportunity to be part of the game world and just enjoy my time in it.
There was no such time in ME3 because every mission was a linear corridor filled with the same enemies that you approached in the exact same manner in almost every instance. Other than the Citadel, there are no cities to explore. You do not get to talk to the significantly reduced number crew-mates whenever you want. There isn't any reason to fly around and explore the galaxy other than the copy and paste "I overheard some one on the citadel needs X item" side missions. Every time I went to a new planet, it did not feel like a vast interesting world. It felt like a vast empty background that existed so that Cerberus or the Reapers could group up and disperse these groups into linear corridors for no reason.
ME3 also manages to take away most of the roleplaying from the player. There are very few decisions to be made throughout the game, there is so much auto-dialogue that the game seems more like a movie at times than a game, and the dialogue wheel is still really bad. Instead of choosing what Shepherd says, you occasionally get to choose between a 3 word "good guy" sounding phrase and a 3 word "bad guy" sounding phrase that yields the same result. Just pick your meaningless tone of voice and watch Shepherd ramble off sentence after sentence without any player input.
In conclusion, Mass Effect 3 is a shell of a game. Gone are the exploration elements, crew-member interaction is substantially reduced, as well as roleplaying input. If your looking for a shooter, look elsewhere. The game features horrible level design with not enough variation between enemy types making almost every encounter the same. If you looking for an RPG, don't play this game. There aren't any RPG elements left in ME3 for it to be considered a RPG.
I give this game a 4/10.
Thanks for reading.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2012
Short version: The ending ruins the game, and makes your countless hours spent in ME1 and ME2 a waste of time. Still the gameplay is fun, the graphics are great, the music is exceptionally well done, and most of the story (until the ending) is pretty good.
Long Version: When Mass Effect 1 was released, Bioware said that our decisions would shape the galaxy and the subsequent games. This was a revolutionary concept and one that interested me in the game. Mass Effect 2 came out and again, Bioware said our decisions would impact Mass Effect 3. As it turns out, the whole idea of your choices shaping the galaxy was not entirely true. Sure, you can see some old friends, provided they survived, but the whole ending was barely affected by 3 games worth of choices.
Bascially, the ending is a direct insult to anyone who has invested time into the previous Mass Effect games. It is for this reason, that Mass Effect 3 ultimately fails. The only reason I replayed ME1 and ME 2 dozens of times, was to see all of the different endings I would get in ME3. Instead, I was left with essentially 1 ending, no matter the decisions I made.
Because Mass Effect is so story driven, and the fact the game ruins the story, the game is a failure.
The music is very good though. At times it can bring a tear to your eye, while at other times you will be enjoying some cool electronic/snyth stuff that Mass Effect is well known for. The gameplay is also a lot more fluid than ME2, and the ability to customize your armor and guns is a nice change. It seems like the overhauled every aspect of ME2.
Still, this does not make up for the terrible disappointment that is the game's ending.