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Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed III
Price: $13.99
317 used & new from $2.99

19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The American Revolution done right, November 10, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Assassin's Creed III (Video Game)
Assassin's Creed III provides everything you could want from a third game in a trilogy (Or a fifth if you want to consider Brotherhood and Revelations as part of the main series, which I don't). From the gameplay to the graphics to the story, it takes the series to a whole new level. I'll try to break it down by different areas and my opinion on each.

Gameplay
--------

The game plays mostly like a dream. A few subtle button changes and shifts make Connor much easier to control than his ancestors were, but for long time AC fans, it does require a bit of retraining, which can be rough at times. For the people having trouble free running in the trees, you aren't supposed to press the A button to jump from branch to branch. The right trigger is all Connor needs to follow your directions through them. The combat has also been given some small changes. Instead of the right trigger being the block button, they moved it to the B button, and kept the combo kill streaks from Brotherhood. Once you get used to it, it actually works a lot better. For one thing, you don't need to disengage with the left trigger before you can run away from a battle. Now pressing the free run button lets you run away immediately, and helps stop the reengage problem when trying to run away in past games.

Hunting and naval battles are also introduced, and both provide a perfect change of pace from the normal gameplay. I've spent more time than I care to admit running around the frontier and hunting all the different animals. It really gives the frontier a lot more depth, especially considering how boring most of it could've been without the hunting. The naval battles are just amazing. I was skeptical watching the previews of them, thinking it didn't look fun at all, but the controls work perfectly and it's just plain fun to take out an incoming fleet.

One thing I do miss is the way the economy worked in Ezio's trilogy. One of the most addicting parts of ACII was restoring Monteriggioni and reaping the economic benefits from it. III has homestead missions, and convoys and crafting and other stuff, but it just didn't connect with me the way it did in previous games. The Assassin Recruit bit is also less addicting than it was in Revelations. I'm confused why they didn't have the recruits dress as assassins after they join you. The different abilities you can use them for was a welcome addition, however.

Story
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Assassin's Creed games always tell you two stories: Desmond's story, and an ancestor's story. In my opinion, while Desmond's story is a great idea in theory (all credit to Kirksplosion for that wording), his actual story just isn't all that good, and this game is no exception. My favorite line in the game is when a Templar is bearing down on Desmond with a pistol, and asks him why he is fighting people with an assassin's blade and a knife, when everyone in the 21st century has guns (or at least should. Why no one for Abstergo had an automatic weapon is beyond me). It really makes you wonder about his story in ACII, because the whole point of him reliving Ezio's memories in that game was to learn his assassin skills, which are rather outdated in today's world. If they wanted him to learn what it is to be an Assassin, then it worked fine, because Ezio was an amazing Assassin. Keep in mind that the Assassins in this series aren't assassins like you would normally think. They don't always hide in the dark and pick off targets like a hitman. They exist to stop the Templars in any way necessary, hence their Creed. As regular assassins, they'd all be rather terrible, as everywhere Altair, Ezio, and Connor went, people knew of their exploits. Also, if you were wondering about the Truth that the Ezio trilogy was building up, don't expect any answers here, because it is pretty much ignored. I don't remember any mention of that Adam and Eve stuff, or how it mattered in the end with Desmond's story. If you were wondering why Lucy was gone in III, either play Brotherhood or read up on its story, because I think her absence is mentioned in passing once. All that said, it's hard to downgrade my rating of the game over Desmond's story as it takes such a small amount of time compared to what happens inside the animus.

What Desmond's story lacks in quality, Connor's story more than makes up for in every way. If you've read a few reviews of the game, you are probably already aware that the first 3 sequences of the game follow Haytham Kenway, Connor's father, and that most people hated every bit of it. To them, I say calm down with all the hate. Haytham's story is brisk, well told, and perfectly sets up the game for Connor's story. I have no idea why people were so upset that they didn't get to run around as Connor right away. The only thing Haytham can't do that Connor can is run around in the trees. He is Connor's equal in every other way, and 90% of Connor's story wouldn't have near the same impact if you hadn't played Haytham's part first. I'm also confused as to the complaints I've seen that the game is too cinematic heavy. Cut-scenes set up and end each mission, just as they have done with every other game. If anything, there's actually less as many of the side missions don't put you in to a full blown cut-scene before they let you go do them. The only real problem with Connor's story is his naivety, especially when confronting Templars. This is the first game in the series where I've noticed that the Templars are making as good or better a case for their actions than the Assassin is making for stopping them. That quibble aside, Connor's story goes through a great balance of twists and turns, and the father/son aspects with Haytham really add a personal touch to the story that none of the previous games had before. I would recommend the game based on Connor's story alone.

Graphics
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The graphics are some of the best I've ever seen on a console. It's amazing what they were able to get out of a seven year old system. What's more amazing is that they were able to render the same environments in both summer and winter, and how amazing the landscapes looked in both.Yes, there are some issues, like swords and other weapons going through clothes, but every game before had the same issue. Case in point would be the Assassin Recruits in Revelations. If they had the crossbow and the cape, the two mashed together and went through each other horribly. One issue I did come across was when trying to ride a horse places, I frequently got stuck on random objects, especially in the frontier, which caused the game to freak out and both the horse and Connor to glitch badly until I could get them unstuck from the object. A second minor issue is that if you change the coloring of Connor's outfit, in cut-scenes it still reverts to the white outfit you start with. This is particularly jarring since in previous games, any outfit change you made was fully reflected in the cut-scenes. Other than that I didn't really have any issues with the graphics. Yes, there was some pop-up, but in a game this graphically strong on such an aging system, it's nothing worth complaining about.

Audio
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The music in the game was top-notch. Most noteworthy was the chase mission music. Even after the fifth time I heard it, I still got pumped to chase the Templars down. The sound effects were about what you would expect from a game. Nothing sounded out of place. The only drawback in here was the dialogue in the indian village during the couple segments with Connor as a youth. After a half hour of hearing nothing but them speak the native Mohawk language, it got old real fast. I appreciate the accuracy they went for with it, but there's a reason why Ezio and company didn't speak Italian during the whole game in ACII, despite it being set in 15th century Italy. Thankfully tho, the game doesn't take very long to get Connor out of there and on his way to English speaking lands.

Conclusion
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If that was too long of a review, here's the short version: Whether you've played all the previous games in the series, or none of them, give this one a try. The setting is amazing, Connor's story is amazing, and the gameplay is about as fun as you could ask for. The game isn't perfect, as no game will ever be, but its good qualities far outweigh the negative points. The game is probably a 4.5 out of 5 stars game, but Amazon doesn't do half stars, and I can't justify taking the full star away over awarding it to the game.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2013 5:25 AM PST


A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.79
335 used & new from $0.90

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Grandma could Dance faster than these Dragons, April 17, 2012
For anyone who hasn't read the books yet, I'll mark where spoilers are in capital letters for you. I'm not going to mark spoilers from previous books, however. You should read the first three books regardless of how these last two have turned out.

I'm at a loss for what happened to Martin with this book. I don't understand how a man who could write a scene as amazing as the Red Wedding, or could make Jaime Lannister my favorite character, somehow turned into Robert Jordan with all this filler. No offense to any Jordan fans, but I had to give up on him half way through book 6, when I finally realized that absolutely nothing was happening. But seriously, I hated Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones. I was extremely pleased when Robb captured him at the end of the book. I was very angry at Martin for making Jaime a new POV and having Catelyn set him free. Then I read his chapters and somehow Martin turned him into my favorite character in the series. Even though the writing was on the wall leading up to the Red Wedding, I still threw the book across the room and didn't start reading it again for a week. Those kinds of emotions that Martin could provoke in you seem to be long gone, and I don't know why.

I think what bothers me the most is that Martin's main stated reason for not jumping the series ahead five years was that he had no good reason for why the Others wouldn't attack during that time. These last two books have covered about 1-2 years worth of time and the Others still haven't bothered attacking. Considering they are supernatural creatures who do things when they want to, I think them waiting five years would've been fine. After reading AFFC and ADWD, it was pretty clear to me that Martin had nothing worth writing about in the aftermath of ASOS. He needed people to travel long distances to get the board moving again, and decided to spend two books describing all those journeys, while having no one reach their destinations by the end. AFFC was almost entirely about Cersei hating people and nothing happening, while Brienne walked around everywhere yelling "SANSA!!" when we the reader already knew that Sansa was at the Eyrie, and that she wasn't even getting close to figuring that out. It's hard to read a journey that you know can't go anywhere meaningful. Maybe if Martin had hid where Sansa was going, there might have been some suspense to Brienne's journey.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: The biggest problem with the plot of this book is that it is almost all travel, and no one finishes traveling. It's especially confusing because Martin said one of the big reasons he had trouble finishing the book was untangling his "Meereenese knot." He didn't untangle it at all. All the people on their way to Meereen are still on their way to Meereen at the end of the book. If "words are wind" was actually true, all the people on their boats should've spoken into their sails to make them go a little faster. Tyrion's journey was the worst traveling offense. Every chapter was roughly 20 miles down the road (or river) from the last chapter. Martin could've easily cut the 8 travel chapters down into 2 or 3 at the most, and still given us a great view of this "incredible" world he has built. I don't even want to get into the issues with Daenerys' chapters. First of all, the Daenerys from ASOS would have never in a million years found that Daario character a guy she wanted to be with. He might be the worst designed character that Martin has ever made. I could accept Dany being a bad queen of Meereen at first (she has absolutely no experience with ruling), but at some point she should've started growing into a leader or dieing as a bad one. Instead she remains mired in poorly written indecision that lasts throughout the book and never comes to any resolution. I do realize that there can only be so much resolution in book 5 of an allegedly 7 book series, but that's no excuse for the utter lack of progression in her storyline. As for the Griff revelations, they don't bother me as much as someone like Catelyn being not dead or undead or whatever she is now, because his death was implied. It wasn't like Catelyn who you knew was dead but now isn't. Her not death opens up too many possibilities for death not being meaningful, which is a major part of what made Martin's tale so awesome in the first place. If Ned, Robb, and Tywin all show up together at an inn in the next book, I will be setting it on fire, on the spot, and will officially give up on the series. Back to Griff, I don't think he's going to matter much anyways if he continues on his path. Martin has already fallen in love with the leader who never loses a battle on the field, but dies for some personal reason (See: Drogo, Robb). Griff already seems on his way down that path so I'm not too worried about him mattering much in the end.

I think the cold truth for ADAD, as with AFFC before it, is that it didn't really need to be written. Or, at the very least with an actual editor, it could've been trimmed down to one book that would've more than sufficed for transitioning the story over to the Winds of Winter. Martin didn't need 2000 pages and two books just to world build and show us how vast and different it is. He could've achieved that with much better, more concise use of his wording, in 1000 less pages, and it would've been a lot better regarded by the fans.

Despite everything I said above, I'm not done with the series yet. I think the Winds of Winter was the book Martin wanted to write after ASOS, and will have all the action and plot that was missing from these last two books. Assuming he had done whatever time jump he had been contemplating, I think TWOW is the book that he would've produced for us, but instead he just decided to take the long, boring road to get there.

Bottom line: Read the first three books, read the plot summaries for the last two books, wait with the rest of us for TWOW, and pray that Martin gets back to using plot and character like he knows how to.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2012 12:18 PM PDT


Mass Effect 3 - Xbox 360
Mass Effect 3 - Xbox 360
Offered by Detroit Packing Co.
Price: $16.95
215 used & new from $3.69

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Extended Cut makes it a much more worthwhile experience, March 21, 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Update because of Extended Cut: The Extended Cut does a much better job of tying the ending together than I thought it would. Many of the minor issues, or conceived plot-holes are taken care of, even if a couple are a bit outlandish (the Normandy picking up your squadmates at the beam with Harbinger still there and not bothering to fire a shot at it). The impact of the different choices available at the end are also shown a lot better. It still leaves a lot of you decisions throughout the series up for debate, but there's no telling if there will be a Mass Effect 4 to pick up those pieces, or if it's just eternally up to you to decide how your universe shaped out. Either way, it's a lot more satisfying to think about after watching the EC than it was after watching the original ending. I'm still docking a star from the game for other myriad issues in the game, and some story elements that don't work (not ending related), but I still recommend the game a lot more strongly now than I did three months ago.

There are spoilers in this review. Honestly, I don't think they'll change your experience of the game, but I will put a big SPOILER at the beginning of any paragraph you shouldn't read before completion of the game. Feel free to read the spoilers about the end though. If you haven't played it yet, you won't believe anything I say anyways, and I can't save you from it. There are some spoilers from ME1 and ME2 as well, but they aren't marked because they don't impact much at all in ME3. On to the review now:

Mass Effect 3 had the potential to be one of the best games of all time. I'm talking Ocarina of Time level. If they had taken another year to fully flesh out the game, I think they would've gotten there. That said, this is a 2 star review instead of a 5 because the game has too many pitfalls and a huge WTF ending that makes you wonder how they could almost ruin the entire series and every reason that made it so great in five or so minutes. The sad part is you honestly can't understand how ruinous the ending is to the series until you go through it yourself. I got my copy late and saw a good amount of negative reviews while I waited for it to ship, but brushed them off as people who didn't make the right decisions and didn't get a desired ending. In short, I was dead wrong. Before I rant too much about the ending already, I will go over all the main points of the game. The pros and cons mix together too much to really separate them.

1. Graphics
----------------
The graphics were a pretty good improvement over the first two games. All of the character models look better than ever, and some of the environments are downright beautiful. Some of the animations needed a bit more polish. There were a few times where a head would turn too far and some of the arm/hand movements looked really weird. Overall, I was impressed that they got as much as they did out of the 360, considering it's now 7 years old and somehow still going strong.

I was fairly annoyed with my inability to transfer my Shepard's face from ME1/ME2. This is mostly because the face I used from the first one is the only one I've been able to make look like a real person's face. I had to restart ME3 about 6 times before I was able to make a somewhat close face to my Shepard that didn't look weird once he was talking and using facial expressions in the opening cut-scene. While not a huge problem, it is worth noting after you've played so many hours with the same face and have to change it. And there was no way I was giving in to the default guy's face. Mass Effect was supposed to be all about your Shepard and how you shape your experience.

2. Game-play
----------------
The combat was a nice upgrade from ME2. Bioware did a very good job of improving the Gears of War style cover/shoot system from ME2. The melee system was also upgraded well, although it is only really useful with husks, as most other enemies will shoot you down before you get close enough to them. They added perma-sprint, which can be fun at times. I was a little baffled as to why they eliminated the heavy weapons almost entirely. There's a couple missions where you can find one and shoot a round or two from it, but otherwise they are gone. I found this very inconvenient for the amount of Atlus's you face throughout the game. Just one time it would've been nice to destroy a Banshee with the M920-Cain from ME2.

Some of the RPG elements were brought back from ME1. You could have two mods per weapon, and there was even customization of what guns you would equip or not to save weight for your biotic recharges. Here I think Bioware found the right balance between the customization options from the first two games.

As far as exploring goes, the Citadel and the Normandy are the only two places you can run freely around in. For the most part, the different levels of the Citadel are smaller than their predecessors, but a lot more varied. The Normandy has been changed a bit, and added a floor. One of the coolest things Bioware did was have your crew be in different places after different missions. It was cool to find Garrus and Liara in the Citadel and be able to chat them up. They also move around in the Normandy and talk with each other. It's almost silly to look back at the first two games where everybody is in the exact same spot on the ship and no one is ever anywhere else.

3. Conversations
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The conversations are for a good portion of the game, very engaging. The elimination of the neutral conversation option bothered me less than some people, but I think would've been nice to have. The blue and red decisions that you needed your paragon/renegade up for are pretty much gone, which did bother me a lot. I can't remember being able to use my Shepard's blue paragon choices with anybody that wasn't The Illusive Man. By the end of my game, I had a full reputation bar, with barely half of my paragon bar filled. To be honest, I'm still not sure what the reputation bar affected in any part of the game.

MILD SPOILERS: About halfway through the game the conversations start to suffer. Once Ashley (or I'm assuming Kaidan) rejoins you on the Normandy, you can't even have a dialogue with her on the ship except for one time. All of the conversations are auto-dialogue, with Shepard saying maybe one or two words here or there. And it's not just her. It's at this time the conversations you try to have with Liara and Garrus and the others all turn to auto-dialogue as well, regardless of your conversation settings. It hurt my immersion factor because it felt like the game was rushed towards the end. It felt like Bioware had taken their time crafting a beautiful, wonderfully immersive experience, and at some point a deadline hit them and they started forcing stuff out to finish the game.

4. Your Squad
----------------
I think Bioware really dropped the ball on the squad in ME3. I can understand that they wanted to limit the squad number from ME2 to make it more personal, but they went too far, especially if you don't get the From Ashes DLC and the Prothean to join you. Assuming you didn't get the Prothean, you have only four squad mates for half the game. Then you can go up to five or six. The choices you could play with also made little sense to me. I don't mind EDI at all, but I didn't need her to get a body to walk around in and play with. And Vega was completely useless. At this point of the series, when there are so many characters you have grown attached to and would love to keep going on missions with, adding a bulkier Kaidan clone like Vega was rather unnecessary. I would've killed to actually run around with Wrex for a mission or two, as a real part of my squad, not just seeing him in cut-scenes in the one mission and knowing he's around. If you didn't play with Garrus and Wrex as your squadmates in ME1, I highly recommend it. Their banter between each other on stuff was easily some of my favorite character interactions in the whole series. Hell, I would've even taken some time with Samara or Jack over Vega, and I never ever did missions with them besides their loyalty missions.

The conversations also tie in with why I'm disappointed with the Squad in this game. As I said above, they mostly turn to auto-dialogue as you get towards the end. This didn't really fit the whole "more personal" angle kool-aid that Bioware was trying to tell us was why there'd be less squad members pre-release.

5. The Missions
----------------
In ME3, the Priority (Main) missions, are a blast. A lot of them take place on the home-worlds of the important races in the game, and genuinely feel epic as you are going through them. The missions on the Krogan and Quarian home-worlds are probably my two favorite missions in the entire series. They exemplify the mixture of action and hard decision making that I think the entire series had been trying to build up to.

The Side missions aren't nearly as great. 80% of them aren't even real missions. They just involve you overhearing someone at the Citadel who is missing something and needs you to go find it and bring it back. It gets pretty tedious, especially with the way the new scanning system works. The other 20% that involve you actually landing are pretty good. They mostly involve you reuniting with a ME2 crew member who you help out, but don't get to go into battle with. The N7 missions are very short. The best thing they did do with the side missions was diversify the environments. There is no generic stand in base that you repeatedly go to to fight the exact same battle, a la ME1's mako landing planets.

For some reason, all the missions are put in one column together in ME3's Journal. I don't know if they did it to make it look like there were a lot of missions or what, but it did get annoying at times. The journal was also very unhelpful for some reason. If you found something to help you with a side mission, it wouldn't update your progress to let you know you did so. While not a game killer, it really detracts from the fun when you have 15 side missions on the screen and you have to guess which ones you already went to and which ones you didn't. Lastly, the journal didn't tell you where you needed to go half the time. I ended up going through five systems trying to find the planet Dekuuna before I had to give up and look up online what system it was in.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: I honestly love the Krogan and Quarian missions. The whole running through the ancient ruins where Kalros lived was simply epic. Trying to hit the hammer buttons with a reaper shooting at me and brutes running amok was just plain awesome. The battle between Kalros and the reaper was also amazing. With the Quarian/Geth war, I had no idea you could force a peace. I didn't get enough points because I did the reaper base mission before the fighter squadron one, thinking it was wiser to not destroy a Geth squadron before saving them. This led to me being forced to either save the Geth, or let the Quarians destroy them. Watching the Quarian fleet go down in flames all around Tali was probably the most lasting image I have from the game, and is the biggest reason I want to not let the ending ruin it for me.

6. The Enemies
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I only make this a talking point because there are really only two enemies in the game. Every mission you do involves battling Cerberus and their four or five variants of soldiers, or battling the reapers and their four or five variants of soldiers. They couldn't have thought up something like a rogue mercenary group that is stealing valuable war supplies that you have to fight to get back? I remember there being a comment on the Citadel about war profiteering happening. I think that would've been a logical mission or two. I fully realize the urgency the game has, but there was still room for more creativity. I can't be the only person who got a little tired of shooting the same assault troopers and cannibals 1000 times.

7. Effective Military Strength
----------------
At first, I thought the EMS was pretty cool. I enjoyed getting different races to work together and seeing massive fleets appear on the bottom line of my EMS. And having the Galactic Readiness percentage affect your total vs. effective strength was probably the best way to have multiplayer affect your singleplayer campaign without being too intrusive.

Then I started really looking into all the stuff I was getting in my EMS number, and slowly began to realize that all my seemingly important past decisions affected no more than a number. That huge decision from the first game to save the Rachni queen or not? She's worth a whole 100 points out of the 7 or 8 thousand total points you can get. Oh, and whether you saved her or not doesn't matter. If you destroyed her, the reapers create their own out of nothing so you can still do the same mission. That huge decision to either destroy the Collector Base or save it for The Illusive Man? You get 100 points for one, and 110 for the other. That huge decision to save the council or let them die in ME1? You lose some points from the Alliance Fleet, and gain around the same for having the Destiny Ascension (council's ship). From what I've been able to discern, pretty much any decision you made in the first two games is marginalized to be about the same in your EMS, which is really the only place these decisions show up in ME3. The only real damage you can do to your EMS is screwing something up in ME3.

8. Scanning
----------------
I'm not going to spend much time here. The scanning isn't much fun, because you get maybe one or two scans before the Reapers will come to crush your soul, and you can't go back to that star until you finish another mission. Of course, you can save before you scan and load that save back up if you don't find what you're looking for in a given star system, but that's just as tedious as shooting 20 probes at each planet a la ME2. At least they don't charge you for probes in ME3.

On a side note, was anyone else disappointed that your rescue mission on Dekuuna was just a planet scan? How awesome would it have been to see the Elcor explaining their emotions as they were shooting reapers down with their shoulder mounted guns? "Badassfully, not in my house reapers."

The Ending (Unfortunately)
----------------
This whole section is one big SPOILER, but you really should read it if you haven't bought the game yet. You ought to know what terribleness you are getting into, even though I know you won't believe me until you go through it yourself.

To start, the thing I think is most unacceptable is how Bioware marketed the game. Look at any ME3 forum, and you can find a list of quotes by Bioware people who were in charge of the game talking about how divergent and varied the endings would be depending on your choices. The one guy even went as far as to say that it couldn't be as simple as having an A, B, or C ending. Newsflash, you literally are given an ABC choice ending, and the only difference between the three is the color of an explosion. Oh, and if you had a high enough EMS, you apparently get a 2 second clip that makes it seem like Shepard might be alive. I honestly don't see where they get 16 different endings when there are clearly three, and they are too identical to really differentiate from each other. There are even numerous quotes by Bioware higher-ups talking about how if they did only one thing in the game, it would be explaining everything important in the lore of the ME Universe. Everything they said about the ending is literally exactly what they didn't do. Frankly, I don't care about a DLC fix, which in all likelihood won't happen anyways. In a game and series like this, where your choices are supposed to affect how your game goes, there's nothing like your virgin playthrough, and Bioware can't fix that for me.

Now on to the ending itself. First off, the appearance of the starchild didn't surprise me much at all. Pretty much the entire game was built around amassing a fleet to help build and protect the crucible, which was shaping up to be a one off solution to the reaper problem. Admiral Hackett never acted like it was a gun, even though it would've made more sense to have it as a powerful enough gun to kill reapers one at a time, with the amassed fleet trying to protect it from the reapers getting close enough to destroy it while it picked off the reapers. Considering the buildup throughout the game to the catalyst, it didn't really bother me that the catalyst ended up being the starchild who made and controls the reapers.

However, I do have serious problems with what starchild had to say to Shepard. The fight between organics and synthetics has never been THE central theme of Mass Effect. In the third game itself, with both EDI and the Quarians/Geth, you have already proven that they can coexist just fine together.

The sad thing is, starchild would've made a lot more sense if he had just said that the issue was organic life would ruin itself. As in, once a civilization grows to a certain point, it begins to decay and destroy itself. There have been plenty of examples in human history of this exact thing happening. Hell, in the game, the Krogan ruined their home planet with a nuclear war. Now because of the mass effect relays and the ability to affect the entire galaxy, this decay and destruction can ruin many planets, and the reapers are stopping organics from ruining the galaxy for future life that might not be able to evolve from their ashes. What could've made more sense than them saving us from ourselves? Trying to save organics from synthetics by killing them with more powerful synthetics is just one big completely terrible plot hole that you can't rationalize or explain in any sane way. Last I checked, the Quarians were the only ones who created synthetics, and the backlash from that caused the other races to shy away from doing anything similar. Most importantly, their children, the Geth, never tried to kill them! The geth never did more than try to defend themselves from the Quarians whenever the Quarians forced it. This isn't Battlestar Galactica.

Even if you accept what the starchild did have to say and that there were only three choices, and you can be cool with that, you still can't rationalize the biggest plot-hole sin they committed: the destruction of the mass relays in every ending. The loss of those, more than anything else in the game, renders all of your decisions completely and totally pointless. First, there is a gigantic fleet of all different races now stuck in the sol system, with nothing to sustain them long-term besides a devastated earth. It's been clearly established in the series that even using FTL drives, it would still take decades to centuries to travel to other star systems. Second, some of the seemingly far reaching decisions are also now pointless. For instance, if you cured the genophage for the Krogan, it doesn't affect anyone because they'll have nowhere to go even if they were to rapidly reproduce and expand. It doesn't matter if the Quarians can go back to their home-world finally, because Earth is clear across the galaxy from Rannoch and it would take them 1000's of years to get back.

The entire final mission on earth leading up to the finale was just as disappointing and terrible. I'm at a loss here because Bioware had already proven how to do an awesome last mission with ME2's suicide mission. Running around on earth with the assumption that all the other former squadmates are supposedly fighting somewhere to help you is not satisfying at all. Show us some cut-scenes of Wrex and Grunt ripping apart husks with their bare hands while Samara and Jake throw their biotic powers around. Better yet, let me lead the freaking charge through no man's land with Garrus and Wrex at my side. Have all the characters trying to hold the line somewhere while I try to punch through to the Citadel. Instead of epic awesomeness, we get a regular level of running forward while you hear Anderson and some other woman talking about their advances, which for the most part, you see absolutely nothing of. And why does Harbinger, who was the main enemy in ME2 and what appeared to be the equivalent of a general or and admiral to the other reapers, only serve one tiny function in ME3, namely, to shoot Shepard and send us to a painful, somehow armorless ending. Why wasn't he taking control of any ground forces to stop us? Was he only able to control the collectors? Do you see what happens when you give us an ending that answers absolutely nothing?

I think the bottom line is, if I had wanted to imagine how the endgame would play out by myself, and make my own conclusions about how stuff tied together, I wouldn't have bothered buying the game. I bought the game to see how my decisions would play out and ultimately affect the universe I thought I was forging within an epic game trilogy. Finding out that all 1 million other people that bought the game also ended up with the EXACT SAME endgame as I did is, to put it mildly, just deflating.

Oh, and I don't care for that crappy argument that there was no way Bioware could factor in the 100's of variables necessary from the first two games to shape everyone's experiences and endings differently. If you really couldn't do that justice, then why did you bother making and marketing this series the way you did up until the last 10 minutes.

If you managed to read this far into my review, I seriously applaud you for the effort. I didn't mean for it to be this long, but once I got started, I couldn't stop until I gave the game its full justice. Please feel free to share any comments you might have, whether you agree or disagree with what I had to say. And seriously, try doing a review like this for yourself, even if you don't post it. I think you'll find it's an incredibly liberating feeling to type out all your feelings and frustrations about what this game could've and should've been, while acknowledging what it ended up being. In my opinion, it ended up being an almost epic miss-fire.


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