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Mass Effect 3

By Ford Flynn

Like countless others I rose above my rank and became a spectre, I defeated Saren and his rogue Geth, I thwarted the threat of the collectors, and I clocked in many long hours of game play doing so, yet before I even got around to playing the final instalment of Mass Effect, my opinion of the last part of the trilogy was tainted by negative feedback and comments on the internet. So it was with a heavy heart and low expectations that I began playing Mass Effect 3, an action Sci-fi RPG developed by BioWare for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. However, after 12 odd hours of game play and finishing every mission I could possibly get my hands on, I found myself looking back fondly on Mass Effect 3. I then went out and bought some nice flowers and chocolates, hoping that BioWare would forgive me.

Mass Effect 3 is the last piece of the Mass Effect pie, unfortunately the pie is getting cold and your favourite bits have fallen out. Don't get me wrong, I loved every minute of the game play, but the things that the first two games did so well were thrown in the garbage when it came to the newest instalment. That is, everything but the story.

Up to now we have been following the adventures of Commander Shepard, a fearless and heroic spectre for the UN-like alien council. In Mass Effect 3 we see all the crazy preacher things that Shepard warned everyone about hit the fan at faster than light speeds. The Reapers come and reign destruction upon the unsuspecting population and everyone goes crawling back to our protagonist.

Alongside this we have Cerberus, a group for the advancement of humans, start killing humans. BioWare shot and scored a very chaotic atmosphere with the game, while the other two were very slow paced; Mass Effect 3 nearly makes you feel like the weight of the universe is on your shoulders. The story also takes some quick and unexpected turns, however BioWare has always done stories well so I don't tend to give them brownie points for it any more.

Along with story changes we do see a lot of new updates to the combat, one in particular I was ecstatic to see, which changes the limitations on what weapons you can choose in the load-out. That's right ladies and gentlemen, infiltrators are no longer ineffective at short range, engineers can whip out a sniper rifle and take pot luck shots from the doorway and vanguards can run into a room and spray anything that moves with a storm of lead. Apart from this slight balance issue, I found that the combat, no matter how linear, was incredibly enjoyable. The enemies of Mass Effect also got an upgrade, and while I dreaded fighting some of the larger ones, the basic pawns of the enemies took me by surprise as well.

As immersive as adding a choice to “fall in love” in game is, it doesn't have a point. Much like Fable, you can enter into a relationship but what good does it do me? I did however pursue a relationship with Tali just to see how well it was done, and I'll be damned if it wasn't just as immersive as everything else. But it was quite daunting at how in depth it went. But the sex scene was a load of arbitrary silliness. As unappealing as it was, I forced myself to pursue it and all it did was show a bit of skin then black screen. It's almost like BioWare was ashamed of itself for putting it in-game, so like a shy kindergarten student, it yelled “cooties” and ran away at the slightest glimpse of skin.


BioWare's “mantel piece” of Mass Effect 3 is the preparation for the final battle against the reapers. Now as a sort of side quest, Shepard travels the galaxy looking for ships, crew, technologies and weapons that can be used against the Reapers. Gaining a high enough percentage of these resources will trigger a different ending and I strongly suggest that you attempt this as it is definitely worth the trouble. However, the mantel piece wasn't placed as the centre of dining table as it should have been. Mass Effect 3 is a tale of war, of rebelling against pre-determined actions and fighting for freedom but the whole “war” part of the game only appears in the first and last couple of levels of the game which was a major let down.

I did have two problems with Mass Effect 2 which carries on into the third game, this being the size of the game's universe. As immersive as the customisation, story and combat made the game, the universe felt incredibly small. In the first game you had the car that handled like a monkey on roller blades, but I looked forward to those sections because it meant exploring new areas, and it had a rocket jump to boot. The other problem was the planet scanning system, which was never explained, never developed and was a waste of game time.

Overall, I highly recommend this game. The storyline is strong, the combat is fun and it's immersive as a science fiction game can get. The extent to which you can customise your character is incredible and although some parts were better left out and some brought back, it was a great game. Unfortunately it's one of those games which are a bit of a push if you want to replay them. It sort of reminds me of the godfather trilogy, or star wars 4, 5 and 6. The first of both being popularly regarded as the best and the third is where ideas are running thin so mechanics from previous instalments are re-used.

Overall Rating: 8.9

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