Xbox360: Mass Effect 3 Review
Published by EA
Developed by Bioware
Rated M for Mature
In Mass Effect 3 the reapers have finally arrived and with their arrival Earth is in a bad situation, with what I can only call being burned to the ground. I imported my character from Mass Effect 2 and went on my merry way to unite a galaxy against a serious threat that could end life in the galaxy itself.
The opening of the game is solid, eye catching, and engaging but anyone who played the demo could tell you that. After you leave earth you head off to Mars where the main focus of the game is discovered, a weapon of mass destruction, in deus ex machina form. Your goal through the game is not only to unite the galaxy to fight the reapers but to accumulate as much war assets as you can find to bring to the final fight, with some twists along the way.
Because this game is close to my heart I am going to do this review a bit different from breaking down from each aspect of the game and go into what I loved about this title and what I really hated about it. Chances are my review isn’t the first one you’ve seen and if it is then I’m bigger then I think I am. But that aside for those who don’t know the controversy behind this title I’ll elaborate. Many longtime fans of the Mass Effect have felt the third game is a disappointment to the series for various reasons, while there are professional critics are giving the game high praise. Before I talk about what could use some improvement in the title, I will go into what Mass Effect 3 does right.
The gameplay in Mass Effect 3 is solid and improved upon from earlier titles. The biggest feature I can think of is the ability to roll in and out of combat. This was a serious improvement for me because I remember playing through the previous games and wondering “why in the hell can’t I roll?”. Combat is also faster and mixed with better AI the game gives a satisfying difficulty which for new comers can be adjusted to make sure everyone can enjoy the game according to the way they play, this includes if you want to play the game like a shooter rather then an RPG. The cover system is also improved upon allowing you to move from cover to cover easier. When it comes time to put firepower down range, Mass Effect 3 also improves upon this. The class system is fine tuned and each class has benefits and negatives in combat, but more importantly each feels unique. You can also now equip as many types of weapons you want at the cost how fast your powers recharge allowing you to fine tune and balance your character to your style. Overall the gameplay is well paced, very polished, and tight.
From the story angle, for the most part, the dialog is spot on. I did notice some areas where the dialog was broken or scripted very weirdly in response to a choice I made. Graphics, for the most part, are on par with what you would see with a major title. Mass Effect’s score is well written and exemplifies the on-setting desperation as the reapers move in on more and more worlds.
For the first time in the Mass Effect Universe there is multiplayer which pits you and a band of friends, or random people, against of the the 3 enemy factions in Mass Effect; the Cerberus operatives, Rogue Geth, or Reaper forces. From my experiences the multiplayer is solid and entertaining as you level up your character, select more powers, and earn more weapons. The aspect that I think really shines is for the first time you can play as one of the other major races in the universe from the Asari Commandos to your Drell Assassin. The one feature I wish they put more thought into is the resource pack unlocks. To me the system isn’t as rewarding as the character customization screen and felt tacked on as a way to unlock more items.
Back to my earlier comment about the controversy behind Mass Effect 3 and what I believe they did wrong. First and foremost it was the amount of laziness they demonstrated in Mass Effect 3. While I mentioned the graphics were mostly spot on, there were several cutscenes and animations that weren’t polished. Going as far as when talking to an npc I was doing a quest for completely disappearing and the cutscene continuing with me talking to a sofa with no one on it. Or for another example cutscenes were my hand clips through and object I am holding. I feel safe in saying a good 30% percent of these scenes had something messed up in them. Tack on some occasional texture pop in and I would say my submersion into the game is broken. Another issue is some game breaking bugs where you have to restart the mission to get them to work right and having to switch out the disc in the beginning of the game between several missions.
My biggest gripe with the game comes because of the ending. For me its not because of what most fans are saying like “not getting the ending they wanted…” But because out of all the issues I have spoken about above the ending has the most signs of being rushed. So essentially its not what the ending is about but the execution of said ending. For starters each ending is, more or less, the same besides some slight color differences. The other issue being is they don’t provide really any closure. I don’t mind leaving an ending loose and open to the imagination, but quite honestly they leave everything to the imagination. There’s an epic battle going on and you don’t get to see any of it. And according to a response from Bioware the ending is suppose to be bittersweet, which it would be okay if it didn’t taste completely sour. The ending isn’t memorable for the right reasons, but rather the wrong ones. I’ve played through the game three times thinking maybe it would grow on you, but you can’t hide the bad smell.
Honestly, even though the multiplayer was solid, I would rather they hold off on that aspect of the game, polish the single player and release the multiplayer later down the road. Don’t get me wrong the game is still worth your time but I can’t in good consciousness give it a perfect score because it means letting them get away with laziness. I understand that EA is part of the problem but come on, at the end of the day its an excuse. I am tired of game developers and publishers releasing more and more crap while charging me more for it, it doesn’t make sense and I don’t support it. I accepted the DLC turn, and it makes sense, but releasing a game that isn’t complete isn’t acceptable and I won’t pay $60+ anymore.