Mass Effect three. I’ve gotten the game a week late but due to my prolific…or obsessive need to marathon videogames, I can offer a review from both paragon and renegade along with a third insane mode run-through. Usually my introductions to the game review is rather short, but Mass Effect requires a bit of pretense and reasoning for how I grade this particular title.
Looking to the series as a whole, very few games come to mind that are quite so cohesive. One leads directly into Two and two into three with very little space for the publishers to jam other titles between for more money or to explain plotholes. Along with that, the series also feeds off prior titles to change the current; IE: events of one effects the latter two games, the second further affects the third which makes the finale rather different for everyone.
Due to this unique effect, It would be stupid to try and rate the game without looking at the series as a whole like I do most others. In most other cases, sequals aren’t tightly knit to the previous game or games whereas Mass Effect even lets you buy back with in game money all the DLC equipment you got, and who really jumps into a game advertised for a customized story on the final game?
Bioware didn’t leave the possibility unaccounted for! James Vega is a squadmate who asks all the questions that a newbie to the series might ask so they get most of the story in three that they missed in prior ones. He’s also not a bad squadmate to tag along even if you do know the information.
On to the actual review!
The story is central to the series, obviously. The whole situation is coming to a brutal climax. In the first game we knew about the geth and a hugeass ship named sovereign (which we find to be a reaper). The second deals with the collectors and their connection to the reapers as well, the overarching tone is there’s going to be a harvest of all space-faring aliens focused predominately on humans first. The first two do a great job to set this one up, as this consists mostly of a fierce and brutal depiction of warfare against so-called ‘fate’.
Every aspect shown in the game hits home with a realistic and fairly dark design, often playing parts that most people may wish to gloss over because it creates negative and real emotions in the player and shows the horrors such a force can inflict. Depending on your role in previous games, you can either have a pretty terrible journey through the game; lots of lost lives and empty promises followed by an ultimately hard choice to make. The alternative is a universe of diverse species fighting against their inhalation and putting aside old grudges before shepard makes a strong decision and paves the way for a new generation. There is no happy rainbows and corona on the beach endings, and to add something as such would to throw away the entire series’ theme and buildup and the journey is worth its weight in gold just because you get to see the culmination of the series alter depending on your choices.
Thankfully it also deviates from other series in a sense that things brought up are by and large explained wholesale and completely instead of offered as DLC or sequal hook. Yes, there are some very minor inconsistencies, but everyone is prone to error on some degree, but as the old adage: perfection itself is imperfection.Graphics:
Mass Effect was never an ugly series and improved with each new title, but this third one feels like a masterpiece in terms of graphics. I don’t normally care if I can see the veins under my character’s skin or other useless details like that, so it was pretty nice for me to see meaningful details. Most armor doesn’t fall into the category of ‘super clean’ or immaculate, it shows battle scratches and personalized insignia. Powers have taken on a new spin and look amazing; they stun you as much as they stun an enemy.
Along with the graphics pertaining to shepard and company, the backgrounds have gotten very detailed. In the citadel you can either see into space with the slowly turning view of stars and spaceships taking off, or inside where you can see hover cars and apartments across the lake. On most planets you can see the colossal reapers just lay into everything and everyone, even the roiling dust storm on mars before it hits full scale. Every detail put into the background and architecture of the places are there to immerse you. Sure, a high end computer could handle better graphics, but there’s such a thing as too much detail and too much ‘realism’ in the graphics. Any more than what it has would either make the whole background or foreground too busy or fall straight into the uncanny valley.Gameplay:
Everything has been improved since the previous installment, even things that weren’t a problem were updated to be streamlined and added so it comes to a peak. Firing from cover can be done ‘from the hip’ rather than down the barrel, keeping you from losing sight of the battlefield at large. Running now isn’t a short sprint with a recovery period but does make you an easier target. Melee strikes can now become heavy melee strikes (hold button) to stagger and inflict superior damage. There’s even a melee from cover option! Streamlined and updated is a general theme here. A whole host of new weapon options just took the game to another level.
Classes no longer bar weapons, but you now have a weight capacity. No, you don’t become encumbered in a traditional sense but your powers regenerate slower depending. It can also allow your powers to recharge faster. There’s also a selection of two slots to modify your weapons, these could be ammo upgrades, sights, accuracy, damage, piercing, or for SMG’s lighter materials.
Classes now offer greater divergence between play through. Rather than 4 nodes and at the end you choose a specialty, it’s 6 nodes and the last 3 branch off. Ammo powers and a whole host of alternate abilities by class have been revamped and allow smoother transitions and destroying some previous exploits.
Everything’s been a step forward, never a step back. Period.Multi-player:
Interestingly, I wouldn’t have believed a multiplayer for mass effect to really be good. I was wrong. The classes are available and let you play a number of alien races, often changing the way you play via dodges or HP. The multiplayer game decides an aspect of single player but doesn’t make playing it mandatory for the best ending. Survive ten rounds and the extraction versus a number of enemies and types with three other players.
There’s as many facets of the game for MP is varied and keeps you on your toes, there’s no one way to beat any level and it’s fun to try the different races out. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the random grab-bag you buy. They unlock character classes, one use items, weapons, mods and so forth.Overall:
best game of 2012, kicks the crap out of any game this console generation, but I couldn’t rightly recommend it to someone who lived under a rock long enough to miss the first two games, seriously, on the ps3 ME2 with the 2 story DLC is 20 dollars and fills you in on everything from mass effect 1.Single player: 10/10