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Old 03-25-2012, 08:23 AM   #1
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Rate this Review: Mass Effect 3

HIGH The character of James Vega.

LOW An ending that damages the whole trilogy.

WTF Sparring while wearing high-heeled shoes and a dress. Really?

Mass Effect 3 was one of the, if not the most anticipated game of the year. Does it live up to the hype it got? Maybe yes. Does it live up to being the TPS/RPG hybrid the first one was? Definitely not.

While Mass Effect 3 unarguably does a lot of things right, it also messes up so much things for the franchise that those things they did right seems minor.

The first thing that bothered me was the needless amount of cutscenes. While most of the cinematics are great, the cutscenes are way too long, badly animated (which applies for the whole game). In fact, the character animations are probably the worst I've ever seen. Sometimes you want to hug a friend and you end up hugging the air. Cutscenes are also often non-required. This is especially true for the first hours of the game. You basically watch the game more than you play it, and you can't skip a lot of them. Luckily, the amount of cutscenes becomes less with time.

The combat and gameplay; Before I say anything about this, know that I hated the combat in Mass Effect 2, as it was often too easy and reeked of bugs. Unfortunately, these bugs return from Mass Effect 2. You can still shoot through the walls (line of sight bug), getting stuck or character not doing what you want, which is a side-effect of using the space button for everything. So why is it better? It's more like the Witcher 2 with the rolling and finishing moves, which is a great thing, if only a bit too easy even on Insanity. The new probing isn't as mind-numbingly boring as it was with the one in Mass Effect 2. What the problem is with the probing is it has a completely unnecessary extra, which is made pointless by the auto-saves. The quests are usually good, especially the N7 ones, but there are also fetch quests, which are ridiculous. You move beside 2 people talking about an artifact that is important to their people, you get it with the probing, come back, and you get a war asset (Hello, Dragon Age 2!). This is repeated way too many times.

Characters and interaction: I was really skeptical about the new characters first, but, with few exceptions, they are good. In fact, James Vega became one of my favorite character in the series. I was actually surprised that he was this good of a character, because I expected him to be flat. The romance is kind of a mixed bag. My romance option was Liara, and the first half of her romance is disastrous, while the second half is great. The same-sex romances have put quite a controversy, but luckily, it isn't the forced mess that it was in Dragon Age II, but there is a problem with it, which is again true for the whole game;

The lack of choice in attitude. Note that I am not homophobic and I don't have any problem with homosexuality, they should still give you, or more precisely, your character, the chance to choose how you want to approach these kind of things, like in Dragon Age: Origins, but that's not possible, since roughly 1% of the dialogues have a middle option. That's right. You can basically choose whether you want to be a total a** or a exemplary paragon. Quality choices. Why this thing bothers me the most is because the Paragon and Renegade meters are mixed, so the middle choice could finally make sense, but without middle choice, mixing the meters is pointless. The interrupts are still good, though.

Graphics and Performance is mostly good, with some big exceptions. The graphics and models are mostly good, but the background is a train-wreck. If you pay attention to the background, you can see a lot of low-res textures, or even immobile people, even if they are about to step, making them look like statues. There are also problems with performance on PC. Smoke effects can make your game lag like hell, making using sniper against some enemies really, really hard.

What I left for last, is of course, the ending. There has been a lot of flaming about this, and sadly, most of them are right. The ending ignores everything you did on previous games and there is only one thing that matters, your war assets. War assets are the forces you gathered through the whole game. This in itself is a big problem, but even war assets make little to almost unrecognizable difference. The ending neither gives closure nor makes any sense. It is filled with gaping plot holes and, what's the worst for me; It's just a worse version of the Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution endings, the situation is copied from the latter, and the endings themselves are somewhat modified versions of the first. This further dampens the replay value that is already not that high because of the cutscenes. There are theories, but they are made up by people who want to make sense from this nonsense. It's unlikely BioWare came up with those in the first place (if it turns out otherwise, I take it back).

While Mass Effect 3 is definitely better than Dragon Age 2, it's still very far from being as great as Dragon Age: Origins or the first Mass Effect, or even being as good as Dragon Age: Awakening or Mass Effect 2. 6/10

Disclosures: This game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 41 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. The multiplayer modes were not played.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game contains blood, partial nudity, sexual content, strong language, and violence. While I wouldn't recommend anyone under 12 playing this, anyone above that age shouldn't find the game brutal, if only a bit sad.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: There is an option to turn the subtitles on, so there shouldn't be a problem, and sound is not essential in combat, either.
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