Mass Effect 3 Review
The Good:Quality voice acting with a rich and immersive campaign
The Bad:The game ends
STORY You return as Commander Shepard and without revealing too much for those yet to finish Mass Effect 2, Shepard has been relieved of his duties following the end of Mass Effect 2 and is thrown into action from the offset when the Reapers launch a surprise attack. Shepard is once again called upon to [...]
You return as Commander Shepard and without revealing too much for those yet to finish Mass Effect 2, Shepard has been relieved of his duties following the end of Mass Effect 2 and is thrown into action from the offset when the Reapers launch a surprise attack. Shepard is once again called upon to be the saviour of the galaxy. Due to the overwhelming and sudden attack from the Reapers, Commander Shepard uncharacteristically finds himself being forced to retreat from the attacks and soon finds himself heading to planet Mars, where he discovers a vital artefact that could change the tide of the war. However Shepard is not the only one after this artefact and events quickly take a serious twist as he uncovers that the Reapers may not be his only foe. This time it’s all or nothing.
When Mass Effect 1 was originally released for the Xbox 360, all the way back in 2007, visually it was one of, if not the most, impressive games to be released on the console. Then, in 2010, we had Mass Effect 2 and visually it surpassed its predecessor in leaps and bounds. Later in March 2012, came Mass Effect 3 which topped the lot. I was blown away with Mass Effect 3’s visuals. I really thought that any game would struggle to top Mass Effect 2, but all credit has to be given to Bioware for improving on there already very impressive work. So many times have I found myself coming to a standstill during gameplay (when all is safe of course) and just admiring the view that was at hand, graphically Mass Effect 3 is breathtaking, especially when you witness the sheer size of a certain intimidating enemy within the first 5 – 10 minutes of the opening, it really was a “what the hell!” moment.
Adding to the already impressive visuals of Mass Effect 3, this game also has some of the best character facial animation you will ever behold on a gaming platform. It’s almost up there with Rockstars LA Noire (almost). All this adds up to one awesome package from Bioware and even though Mass Effect 3 is obviously set in a Sci-Fi fantasy universe, the stunning visuals are all part of the plan that will have you sucked into its immersive world, creating attachments to characters. This has been one of the main reasons that the Mass Effect franchise has been so successful and gained a cult following within the Sci-Fi genre. You will struggle to find any game able to top the visuals of Mass Effect 3 on the current gen console.
Throughout the Mass Effect franchise, the power of storytelling has been a powerful tool in its success and Mass Effect 3 excels on so many levels. Arguably the strongest feature to Mass Effect 3, other than graphics is the in game sound and music. For starters the superbly and well voice acted script is put together as well as any top movie, you will so many times forget that you are actually playing a video game as you get sucked in to Mass Effect 3’s storytelling. Every emotion is projected through not only the facial animation, but also through the expressive voice acting, Mass Effect 3 really does set the bar in so many ways and the voice acting is just one of them.
Along with the high standard of voice acting, throw in Mass Effect 3’s soundtrack and you have one hell of a formula. From the more intimate moments to some fast paced action, the soundtrack is vital in setting the mood and tone for any dramatic or more subtle scenes. Mass Effect 3’s soundtrack would fit straight into any Hollywood Sci-Fi blockbuster, quite frankly you cannot give enough credit to how well it does its job and it is as good as any soundtrack you will ever hear for any video game.
If you are familiar with the gameplay concept of Mass Effect, then you will pretty much know what to expect, such as multiple choice conversations, multiple endings, an improved combat system that was first introduced in Mass Effect 2 and the option to import your game save from Mass Effect 2, which now also imports your character level, so my Commander Shepard started off as a level 30+ with my new Mass Effect 3 campaign. Gameplay elements have never really changed massively with each sequel to Mass Effect that has braced our consoles and that is a good thing. There’s nothing more annoying in gaming when you’ve grown accustom to how a game that you love plays, suddenly changes and at times for the worse. Mass Effect 3 thankfully does not fall into that category. Bioware know why there games are so successful and they know there is no real need to change things, but there have been a few little subtle changes to the gameplay and I welcome these changes.
For example there has been a little change to the melee combat of ME3, with Mass Effect 2 you would simply press ‘B’ to hit your enemy with your gun, but with ME3 if you now hold down the ‘B’ button Shepard will now perform an extra strong melee attack and in most cases actually impaling your enemy with your Oni Tool and this new move gives you that ‘Grit of your teeth’ satisfaction as you say “take that” to your fallen victim. Another combat feature that has made its way into Mass Effect 3 is the ability to sneak attack your enemy from behind cover. Whilst behind cover, if your enemy is standing on the other side of the cover if you now hit ‘B’ you will pull your victim over your cover taking them out silently and unsuspecting to other enemies nearby.
Another welcome change is with how you choose which elements you want to level up for each character. In previous Mass Effect games you would simply choose which level block that you want to level up, but in ME3 when you choose which power you want to level up, you will be brought to a levelling system that will actually give you multiple choices in which you want your powers to adapt.
If I had to pick one personal and minor criticism with the Mass Effect franchise it would be with exploring planets for vital resource elements that were needed if you ever wanted to upgrade your ship or weapons, after a short while this got very tiresome. But I am happy to say that the tedious exploring has now been toned down and your are actually encouraged to not excessively explore planets, because if you do, you will draw the attention of the Reapers to you current location so you must choose your exploring very wisely. Along with the gameplay elements that you’ve come to expect and love in the Mass Effect franchise, these welcomed changes enhance your gaming experience and improves on a formula that quite possibly did not even need improving and a big thumbs up goes to Bioware for this.
Quite simply Mass Effect 3 is one of the most in-depth and fulfilling games you will ever get to play, with the main campaign missions and side missions you can get around the 40 hour mark before you finish Mass Effect 3 and then throw in all the multiple paths, endings and a survival based wave game that can be played online with up to 4 players, means you will be playing Mass Effect 3 for a very long time to come. But the in-depth doesn’t just start with Mass Effect 3, as you can import your campaign starting from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2 and then Mass Effect 3; this means that you have 3 huge games with 3 times the amount of depth and possibilities.
If you are already playing or pondering purchasing Mass Effect 3, then the chances are that you are familiar with the Mass Effect franchise and have or will be buying Mass Effect 3. But if you are new to the RPG genre, then I would strongly recommend that the Mass Effect franchise is a great place to start. But I would also say that you start with the original Mass Effect and work your way through the series as all the games follow on from one another and you can make the most of the Game Importer feature where scenarios and outcomes that occur in your campaign, will have an after effect in the later games of the series. But either way, whether you are starting from the beginning or with Mass Effect 3, the game is an absolute must own.
Mass Effect 3 Review,