Pros Fantastic story-telling before the end. Great pace of combat, beautiful graphics, awesome integration of side quests. The game tied in multiple characters and plot lines from the first two games in the series to such a degree it was inspiring.
Cons Worst ending in a video game in my 20 years as a gamer. It is as though the last ten minutes were hi-jacked by a child with crayons. After 30+ hours of game-play the player has their control yanked from them to choose from three cliche endings.
Summary I was a long-time fan of the series, so much so I had played the first two games seven times through so I might maximize the different character choices. To have put in so much time was clearly foolish. At the very end of this game, all those choices come to mean very little in the variations of the end. It is as though Bioware were to say to the player, "I see from all your work you wanted this to end another way, but it's my game. I'm taking my ball and going home."
A number of fans have felt crushed by it, and truthfully I wish I had left this last game to my imagination and never played it. It has brought me to the conclusion not only to boycott Bioware, but to seriously re-think the amount of time of my own life I have squandered with video games in general.
Do Not Buy This Game.
Pros Exciting game-play, challenging combat, heartfelt choices and dialog options, the ever-excellent voiceover work of Neil Ross for Codex entries, expansive universe with carefully written back-story.
Cons Auto-crouch and duck behind cover can get in the way, enemies can get too hard too fast, resulting in repeated frustrating deaths, and THE ENDING!!! (can't stress the last part enough).
Summary As someone who has played the first two games in the series, Mass Effect 343 really puts on the A game for the plot. Facing the full on Reaper assault, Shepard is called on lead the spearhead against the most powerful adversary the galaxy has ever known. In this, the player is tasked with finding support from unlikely allies, and friends - old and new. In typical Bioware style, your choices affect the task put ahead of you - as the galaxy grows darker and darker under the Reaper threat - your choices become more and more desperate. At times, the player is asked to put their ideals on the line for the sake of aid, or finding a creative solution to satisfy problems in their path to galactic salvation.
Combat has taken on a more strained, overwhelming-at-times, tone that can confound those not prepared for it; you are, after all, fighting for the fate of every sentient advanced civilization in the galaxy. At your fingertips is a good (but not Mass Effect 1-size) selection of weaponry and modifications, as well as biotic powers (I did not play with this aspect, so I cannot review it).
As the game progresses, the player finds their situation feeling more and more dire - pressing some players (myself included) to make unorthodox decisions and playing their characters with the cracks in their rock-like facade starting to show under the immense stresses. Characters in the game the player has known WILL die (though who and when is really dependent on choices, of course) and their ends can be hard to take. In a way, we are reminded of the sacrifices one is asked to make and how some are called upon to sacrifice everything.
The game is definitely written up to the caliber we, as players, have come to expect from the Mass Effect / Bioware team EXCEPT the final ten to fifteen minutes. Everything we know about the game just falls apart at that point, every choice you make becomes nearly irrelevant, and every sacrifice appears to be in vain. For a game built on choices and unforseen consequences, the end we're presented with doesn't match the rest of the game, doesn't match any choices we make, and isn't acceptable (in my opinion).
Without giving things away, I can say that my feelings on the matter are NOT echoed by a few, but by a large portion of the players who have seen the ending. Some have gone so far to say that it ruined the entire series, and put a torch to everything we learned to love about the narrative. In some ways, I could whole-heartedly agree with these beliefs. Some even would go so far to say that after seeing the ending, you will wish you had never partaken in the journey - and until this morning, a week after seeing the ending, I would have had to agree with them.
However, I now realize that if you stripped this fraud of an ending off, and ignored that last bit of narrative - the story is one worth reading, worth taking part in, and a journey worth taking as a whole. Simply deny yourself the last ten to fifteen minutes of it - just pretend they never happened. View it if you must, but steel yourself for the anger it will bring you.
Pros Improved graphics, the combat system is much more refined than its predecessors, extremely entertaining and engaging storyline and 30+ hours of gameplay.
Cons The use of A for almost everything and mainly the ending: Whatever you did in Mass Effect 1/2 won't matter. Bioware ***** slaps players with 3 possible choices to finish out the series. Neither of them make sense or wrap up the story in any way.
Summary Due to the ending I wouldn't recommend anyone buy this game until it is on sale, if at all. Had the ending have been better I would easily have given it 5 stars.
Pros It has everything that made the previous games so engaging, fun and interesting to play, and it allows you to conclude the stories that were opened-up in the previous games. Plus the possible endings are truly epic, they are awesome and true sci-fi.
Cons Maybe a bit too dark ?
Summary I prefer unique and interesting endings over generic and boring ones, and in Mass Effect 3 you certainly get unique and interesting endings. From beginning to end the Mass Effect series, or more accurately, the "Shepard-series" are deep and involving science fiction role-playing games. If you love science-fiction do not hesitate to get into this series. Epic all the way through.In the future we should fire all game, book and film writers and have the consumers write the stories instead.
Updated on Mar 24, 2012
This way people who write petitions are guaranteed to get the ending they want. Maybe we should have competitions between consumers who want different endings, whoever gets the most names on their petition wins. Forget about Freedom of Creativity and Artistry.
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