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About me: My name is Ben Nacca and I specialise in game reviews. Check here for the reviews in their natural format at www.lanraiders.co.uk Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BenNacca

Member since:18.10.2010

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Review: Mass Effect 3

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06.03.2012

Advantages:
Amazing graphics  |  Top voice acting  |  A thrilling conclusion  |  Music is fantastic  |  Multiplayer wo

Disadvantages:
Watered down side quests  |  Frame rate issues here and there  |  Lip syncing fails at times

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Gameplay/Playability

Graphics

Sound

Value for Money

Difficulty & ComplexityAverage - suitable for most

LongevityVery good longevity

MultiplayerExcellent multiplayer functions

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Mass Effect 3


Tested and reviewed based on the Xbox 360 version.
Review by Ben Nacca
(Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BenNacca )
XBL GT: Darkeyes1991 PSN ID: Darkeyes2k11

Bioware has certainly set the bar when it comes to Role Play Games and there is no exception with the Mass Effect series which, after two stellar titles that are up there with the best games ever made, Mass Effect 3 is now here to finish up the story.

The Mass Effect story isn’t perfect by any standards but you cannot deny it is one of the best plots you will come across in the gaming world and this is the source of the success. The hype and excitement for Mass Effect 3 is surreal and you can’t argue that it is undeserved. This is the conclusion to an epic. A story many have followed since the first game, clocking way over 80 hours between the two games and looking to add another 30-40 with the final instalment.

Commander Shepard returns, the first human Spectre, with a history of heroic actions under his or her belt when saving the galaxy. Mass Effect 2 saw the Commander working with Cerberus, a xenophobic organisation, before fighting the Collectors but now the Reapers, absent for 50,000 years, have reached Earth – suffering a heavy bombardment at the beginning of Mass Effect 3 and now the task is to unite the galactic races and stand together.

The gameplay shifts a little with Mass Effect 3, taking the focus of your squad and the power of that unity and putting it into the story of making alliances. Your focuses aren’t to just explore the galaxy endlessly and making a name for yourself although all that does feature in the final game. In fact it plays an even higher role in the decision-making and interweaves itself deeper into the story.

The sheer number of races that Bioware have created in the game each have their diplomacies, their issues and most importantly, their grudges. Salarians and Turians were responsible for the Genophage against the Krogans while the Quarians created their machines, the Geth, for them to only turn on their creators. You must navigate these trenches just as much as you have to navigate them in the battlefield. The ability to unite the various races against the Reapers is the main challenge and you are never allowed to forget the severity of it all with the Reapers demonstrating their sheer power on numerous occasions.

To do this, the focus lifts a little from individual squad members – there are still the conversation aspects and how you treat people will still have a bearing – but the focus is now on the races themselves, their governments. Proving to them through an assortment of quests or story plot lines which can all affect the outcome is welcoming to the series. As you do this, your Galactic Readiness rises and ultimately is the key in the end game portion of Mass Effect 3.

Don’t worry about the personal side of things though. You

Pictures of Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360) ME3 1 - Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
still can make friends or enemies having conversations will help you not only understand the characters more but learn more about them too and their allegiances and so on. You can take from the game as much as you want really so the RPG purist will thrive here whereas the action orientated will probably skip past the woven intricacies beneath the surface.

Paragons and Renegades still feature and can make the game worth playing again – Don’t do the grey area, middle ground stance as you get the least out of it. Once bad, once good. You get to see the extent of the choices and how the story plays out much like the predecessors which focused on the morality system as well. Importing characters returns and if you have been with the series from the beginning then you can import your Mass Effect 2 character that you imported from Mass Effect 1 and pick up right where you left off with all the choices remembered and implemented into the story.

If you haven’t played the previous versions, I would recommend it and not from the standpoint of “I love Mass Effect – go play it now!” but from the fact that you just won’t get that much out of Mass Effect 3 without some prior knowledge. It’s not to say it shuts the door on newcomers to the series but it has a 3 on the end of it for a reason and you won’t understand the gravity of your choices, not to mention the importance, if you have no real understanding of what happened previously. Besides, they are fantastic games in their own right and seeing the development of your character is a fantastic sight to behold across the three games.

Obviously, veterans of the series will recognise that the feel is more akin to Mass Effect 2 than the first outing and it only mildly develops on that in the third installation. No one cares about scanning planets so it has practically been removed and now only planets that are worth your time are focused on and although you can still visit the others, it is a few in each system that has something actually worthwhile, helping you to not waste too much time. Of course, reading the fictional write ups of each planet is still present if that is your interest and the codex is so deep and unfathomable now, packing 3 games worth of knowledge behind it that you could be lost for hours in it – You could probably study Mass Effect as a subject, there is that much on it.

What happens on the other side of that coin though is that bad things occur to the game and I wouldn’t say that is a frequent thing at all. Side quests pop up just by over hearing something now and the lack of interaction at times doesn’t make it particularly special. This wouldn’t be so bad if they were interesting like its predecessors but unfortunately a lot of the side quests are a chore and rather bland in offering which is odd when the story is so detailed and riveting.

There was a lot of fuss over Bioware letting players choose the type of game they want to play. The RPG heavy option, Action orientated option or a mix between the two. Action plays the cutscenes without any interaction for the most part and lets you run and gun while the RPG lets you have your say and choose your replies carefully while still have the action – it just breaks it up. The mix of the two is a watered down RPG title. To be honest, it is the RPG that fans will come for and that most will pick. This option is for newcomers who Bioware want to reach out too who may not like RPG’s normally but the action on offer is enough to entice them.

The level cap is 60 on Mass Effect 3 and unless you import a character, it will take two playthroughs to get there. The New Game+ features again and as does a lot of the action features from Mass Effect 2. Choosing your classes and what tech, biotics and stuff like that still plays a part but the main change is to the agility of Shepard. Rolling around to avoid bullets, jumping when prompted and lots of climbing ladders and staircases not only give you that sense of versatility but also tactical options. Many of the games levels feature various levelling that allows you to approach in different manners to overcome your foes.

Nothing detracts from the cover based action that Mass Effect has implemented from the very start. Cover, shoot, reload, move up. Rinse and repeat. The “wheel” selection still features on the triggers and the A.I. is actually pretty good at controlling your team mates though you can, if you like, manually order them to do what you want. Enemies are also pretty smart though there are the occasions where it falters in intelligence but for the most part, Mass Effect 3 will require you to use tactics and your team to progress.

Graphically Mass Effect 3 is superb though it isn’t leaps and bounds above Mass Effect 2. Compared to the first one it is phenomenal but Mass Effect 2 stepped up pretty high last time round so it is good to see any improvement. Various locations and realistic cutscenes really pull you into the story and the voice acting, one of the strongest aspects of the series in my opinion, is still very strong throughout. Not to mention the soundtrack, which is also just spot on at almost every situation you come to. It never feels forced or out of balance and is a great job all round.

Hiccups occur with some frame rate issues at times and the slow loading of textures though these are occasionally at most. Lip syncing fell out a few times but you can generally still keep immersed with what is going on. From other pieces I have read, there have been PS3 stability issues reported but as this review is based on the Xbox 360 version, I can say it ran impeccably smooth for the most part with the occasional appearances of what I mentioned above.

I guess this next part is where people are most intrigued though – the multiplayer. Thankfully I can start by saying two things. 1. It isn’t a rubbish, waste of time mode and 2. It is optional, with Single player venture clearly being the focus still. Well it works like Gears of War Horde in a way though it can have as much of an impact on the story as you would like it to be. You can interconnect the two if you so wish or have it entirely separate if you like – You can even avoid it entirely if you feel that strongly against it though I would say you are missing out.

It is actually rather fun albeit consisting of one mode (for the moment, DLC might change that) with six different stages which will be familiar for those who played the campaign. You have to level up your characters, buy upgrades and do this while playing with up to 3 people while taking out three distinct enemy groups that also appear in the main campaign. If anything, the multiplayer just enhances the experience and gives you different options rather than detract from the experience as a whole.

Visuals 9/10

Visuals are superb and locations not to mention the story set pieces all look amazing. The frame rate issues and lip syncing halts it from being near perfect though. Either way, you cannot fault the flair that Bioware have shown in developing Mass Effect 3.

Audio 10/10

I can’t really fault anything in terms of sound for Mass Effect 3. I’ve tried to but it does everything right, from the voices to the weapons to the music. Ambience and background noises, conversations and explosions all sound fantastic.

Gameplay 10/10

Well it is Mass Effect so it handles similarly to those in the series before it. If you are new, well it handles well. Maybe a bit rigid for those used to the slick first person shooters but you can’t forget this is an RPG – even comparing it to Gears of War would be a crime. The combat is solid and the controls are comfortable. Simply put, it doesn’t get better than this and with loading times cut down too, you can experience more of the action with less waiting around.

Delivery 10/10

A campaign that will last you around 30-40 hours, then double that if you replay it again. Add in the multiplayer component that only adds to the wealth of playing time you will already receive and you have one fantastic package. The characters are likable, the story is innovative and engaging. I cannot fault it as a package at all.

Summary 9.7/10

You can’t be surprised when I say Mass Effect 3 is a fantastic achievement to story-telling and gameplay and here lies its strengths. The plot is amazing and the intricacies woven throughout it make it thrilling from start to finish. It bows out at the end of the trilogy with incredible satisfaction and to top it off, it looks beautiful and handles like a dream. We aren’t saying Mass Effect cannot be beaten or that this is Sci-Fi at its best. We are saying that Bioware have demonstrated incredible skill and determination but also passion in delivering such an awesome story and gameplay over three intersecting titles. This is a masterpiece.


This review is the property of Ben Nacca and is for the sole use of www.lanraiders.co.uk, www.dailyecho.co.uk and www.ciao.co.uk. No copying to other websites or other mediums without written permission first.
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Comments about this review »

azana 06.03.2012 13:48

nice.

rouzbeh_am 06.03.2012 13:11

very good review, you have gone through all details very well and structured

loopylou1234 06.03.2012 13:05

Great detailed review! Well done! :-)

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Not everyone will survive. An ancient alien race, known only as “Reapers”, has launched an all-out invasion leaving...

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Format DVD-ROM
Genre Role-Playing Game (RPG)
Publisher Electronic Arts (EA)

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This review of Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360) has been rated:

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