NOTE: Sad but true, this post will mark the end of my involvement with the site. Long story short, I am no longer in a position (and will not be for some time) to provide the best content that you guys and this site truly deserve. Fortunately, there’s plenty of passionate talent to find here and I wish all of you the best as the site continues to grow in the coming months. I’d also like to give a special thanks to Judge for allowing me the privilege to be a part of Moar Powah! and giving me the opportunity to post what I’m most passionate about. You’ll find the Mass Effect 3 review below. Fair warning, the review is nothing spectacular but I did my best not to spoil anything so forgive me if it seems a bit brief. On that note, it’s been real! Adios!
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How does it present itself? Just like it feels. Huge. Everything about Mass Effect 3 is centered around the premise of “all-out galactic war.” And it shows. Bioware (known for their mastery of large-scale adventures) and EA (always impressive with presentation) deliver an action-packed, emotionally-charged experience that even its most explosive peers (*cough* MW3…BF3) could never match up to. The writing is classic Bioware. Well-written and relevant. The dialogue is just as impressive with an incredible line-up of true voiceover talent. At first, I feared that the franchise would go too big with its moments just for the sake of shock and awe; however, upon further inspection you’ll see that these huge moments aren’t just moments: they’re meaningful. Bright, beautiful, and too damn fun.
How does it play? For those of you fortunate enough to have played the first two installments, you’ll quickly realize that this is Shepard’s finest hour. The control department is the slickest and most accessible that it’s ever been. A bit Gears of War-inspired, but hey, if anyone would like Shepard and his pals to return to the dark days of Mass Effect 1 “combat” then please do yourselves a favor and re-locate before somebody slaps you across the face. Essentially, you have more options once you’re behind cover (vaulting over cover, rolling to the next cover, etc…), the enemy A.I. is overhauled to be way more challenging, and the melee system is better than ever. Being able to use your omni-tool as a holographic switchblade is just sick. And fun too. Of course, cover-based combat is not perfect and Mass Effect 3 surely won’t win over any haters of this type of gameplay. Fluid, dynamic, and the best the series has seen yet.
How does it look? Despite this question being the most irrelevant of the bunch, it’s still needs asking. The most notable improvements in the graphics department involve some tweaks to animation (facial, physiological) and an overall broadening of color to the environments. Mass Effect 3 is not the most visually stunning game you’ll ever play but (put in the context of its peers and its own series) it’s still a beautiful game. The worlds are vivid, the Normandy receives a darker/deeper look, and the wide cast of NPC’s and characters look better than ever. The framerate is consistent and I was hard-pressed to find any glaring/game-breaking visual issues. Overall, very impressive.
How does it sound? Easily one of the most incredible audio adventures you can feast your ears to. The sounds of the universe, the DICE-tweaked combat atmosphere, the Clint Mansell-composed soundtrack, and the superstar line-up of voice actors all comes together to deliver an absolutely humbling experience for any gamer. No complaints.
Replayability? Definitely. Even for an N7-hardened veteran like myself, this game is immense in the sheer amount of experiences you can have while you play. From random chats with your crew to surfing the galaxy amidst a Reaper invasion, there’s always something to look forward to. Instead of playing a level until you’ve unearthed everything useful in it, by simply changing up your character’s personality and dialogue preference you’ll open yourself up to an experience that just didn’t happen any other way you played. Discovery is the name of the game and Bioware surely delivered an experience that can’t be fully appreciated in 1 play through. The inclusion of multiplayer and Kinect only adds to the already impressive amount of ways to have fun with this title.
Mass Effect 3 is truly a great game. In size and scope, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more full and fantastic adventure in any other medium. The characters are realized, the moments are unforgettable, and (especially those of you who took the time to import ME1, ME2) you’re in for a hell of a ride. The only flaw I can note is the ending. If you haven’t heard, within a week of its release, Mass Effect 3’s ending has been the topic of some very vocal reactions amongst the fan base. Simply put, the ending of Mass Effect 3 is inconclusive. It provides no closure with many characters and events and (the greater sin) fails to acknowledge all the choices you”ve made throughout the series by offering an ending that is accessible to literally everyone that reaches it. Despite unsurprisingly missing out on perfection, Mass Effect 3 is what it is: a fantastic video game.
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