Advantages Improved combat/scanning, great character interactions, plenty of sidequests, superb voice acting.
Disadvantages Some graphical/import bugs, disappointing finale, forces multiplayer for the best ending.
The game kicks off with the Reapers, who commander Sheppard has been warning the military about in the previous games, commencing their invasion of Earth and the surrounding alien worlds. As the giant mechanical squid like invaders commence the eradication of all intelligent organic life (Loose Women viewers should therefore be safe), Sheppard is forced off world tasked with assembling a combat force to repel the giant cephalopod automatons. Hmmm that does sound awfully familiar BioWare. Didn’t you already use the “recruit an army to save the day” plot in Dragon Age: Origins? Heck it’s not even that dissimilar to Mass Effect 2 were you travelled the cosmos completing missions to assemble an elite team. Ah well, I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
On the back of the game box there’s a quote from Yahoo Games which states “If you’re not a fan now’s the time to start.” That’s not a sentiment I entirely agree with. Yes, with the information you are provided, new players can follow what is going on but they won’t get the full Mass Effect experience. What makes the series so enjoyable is the attachment you have for the characters and seeing how your actions affect the relationships you form. Without that emotional bond with your party the above mentioned story, not matter how well presented, can feel a little hollow. I can imagine new players will constantly question why Sheppard is wasting time on optional side quests when time is of the essence. Why is he dithering on what crew member to get into the sack with when the clock is ticking. Shouldn’t assembling a super weapon to destroy the Reapers have priority over scoring some nookie?
It’s impossible to review Mass Effect 3 without mentioning the ending. Don’t worry I won’t divulge spoilers, but I do have to express how unhappy I was by how it all pans out. In the end it boils down to choosing between three options which have no bearing on what you have done before. It reminds me of the complaints I had with Fallout 3 in that the game is lauded for the freedom it gives the player, only to then restrict you to a few choices totally against the spirit of everything which preceded it.
March 2012 saw the release of Mass Effect 3, one of the most eagerly awaited video games in recent history. The high levels of anticipation should come as no surprise when you consider the hundreds of hours the average Mass Effect fan has invested into the series. Its unique save feature, which allows players to transfer their progress from one instalment to the next, encouraged multiple playthroughs to discover what impact the decisions you make have on the story at large. Hype for the game was through the roof, which was both a good and bad thing. Excellent sales figures were a certainty, but when expectations are so high is it feasible to live up to them? It’s a tough task which few companies can pull off. For every Metal Gear Solid 4, which did a commendable job of ending the epic saga, you get a Duke Nukem Forever which ultimately proved not to be worth the fifteen year wait.