Mass Effect has been a franchise that has consistently delivered to its fan base, however none have been as controversial as Mass Effect 3. Lets cut to brass tacks, there have been a more than a few hard fans who have felt a little betrayed by this installment.
But at the end of the day is all this just an over reaction? We took another look at the game in depth to find out the answers to the question… WHY!!!??! (without spoiling the ending)
The storyline picks up with Commander Sheppard after he has been relieved from duty because of the consequencies from the previous mission (Part of the DLC content from Mass Effect 2 Arrival). Freed up from his Earth bound dutied Sheppard is further tested with the arrival of a Reaper attack on the planet, and his subsequent call up to unit the races of the galaxy to defend the earth. Here starts an adventure that spans the many races and planets as well as familar faces (unless they are already dead) and some new allies. There are challenges a plenty, friends to be found & lost as well as the possibility of the odd romantic tangle…. if you get bored of saving the earth.
History Never Repeats
Now one aspect of Mass Effect 3 that both inspired and disappointed is the ability to traverse your Mass Effect 1 & 2 story. This is genius in many ways, mostly in the sense that you can work thru the choices of your previous gameplay and build upon that history moving forward in ME3. People you lost in the previous tales wont be joining you for the journey. My big disappointment was i didnt have any ME2 save progress on the console… so i didnt get to explore this option as much..
It does make me want to revisit ME2 to see how much of an impact choices will make on the outcome
Fear not if this is your first time to the Mass Effect universe, the folks at bioware will make some basic assumptions to help you get started, and a little less hamstrung by poor choices of shoot everything first ask questions later. As a side note if you didnt load the DLC content for ME1 or ME2, the game also takes this into consideration. Those who did play the DLC content will also have this count towards their adventures going forward.
Bear in mind these are no minor tweaks to the gameplay. The storyline is altered based on how well or poorly your decisions were made in previous battles.
Send in the Troops
This game is solidly squad based and based on how you handled previous ME installments your options can be limited. However no use crying over your poor choices, you still have enough to take on the task at hand. However your team is occasionally prone to uncontrolable bouts of kamikazee madness, yet they can be very complimentary to what you are doing. I found the trick was to keep on their case, reminding them of tasks and being very widely mindful of the battlefield and using them to tackle both primary and secondary targets. Hey this is not a walk in the park and leaving them to fend for themselves does tend to get them smacked around more often than you would like. The key is to understand what each player brings to the battlefield.
Distractions, Side Missions and Romance
There are a number of side missions in the form of N7 Missions and Side Missions.
N7 Missions are not as intense as the linear gameplay, but do offer up one vitally important aspect that will help you out.. It strengthens your team.. Heed these words as you play and they will serve you well. While Side Missions do not alter the game play, they do provide the oppourtunity to gain new war assets and improve existing war assets. You may wish to avoid these at your peril, and lets just say your up against the wall on this one, the earth is at stake so its probably worth going for gold.
There are also alot of chances in the game to hook up with various cast members. And when i say cast members its.. well.. its a modern world.. I’ve never really understood this aspect of the game, however there are hints towards additional gameplay content depending on how you relate to various characters. (and no im not talking about that sort of game play!!)
While Mass Effect 3 is available on the usual three platforms (Xbox, PS3 & PC) i think its true potential as a game is realised on the xbox 360 with the kinect. Armed with the kinect you can do away with hunting thru the button mash and voice control your actions (picking weapons etc), your environment (open doors etc) and command your allies (ordering attacks etc). In no way does this mean other platforms luck out, as you can still map common actions to the controller.
My initial reaction when i saw the voice command list was one of surprise. The list of commands is extensive, but you quickly pick it up. Before not long you wil be keeping your flatmates up as night as you order frag grenades and rifles at the top of your voice.
The Ending…. Oh That Ending…
Ok.. The most controversial aspect of the game, and for some of the fans the complete game changer, is the ending. We wont go into the details but i can confirm that there are many different outcomes that are based on your points and previous decisions (not just ME3 decisions either). I guess the biggest complaint is that there were too many plot holes left to fill. When you weigh up the entire storyline its always going to be tricky, with the fact that players may miss entire references because they choose to avoid aspects of the narrative. However Bioware have come out to say they will update ME3 with a free DLC pack to update the ending story to better complete the tale. This shows a fair amount of courage by Bioware to step up to meet their loyal fan base.
Well overall i still think ME3 is remarkable. Its a very audacious storyline and it certainly has pushed the boundries. The graphics were great and i still enjoyed the storyline. I’m no 3rd person shooter fan, but i really loved this effort.