Mass Effect 3 WTF!:
Mass Effect 3 WTF! 2:
After battling countless hours in the epic tales of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, the epic conclusion to the story of Commander Shepard and her struggles to unite the galaxy to fend off the emanate invasion of the Reapers has finally arrived. With the release of Mass Effect 3 last week came a series of large-scale Internet rage-athons that I’ve touched on in two Vlogs I posted this week, but today I’d like to share my thoughts on the game itself. While it’s true that Bioware has some shady practices including Day One DLC and a form of annoying DRM, they can still make a damned good game. Is the ultimate story of free will and what it takes to defend it your cup of tea? Let’s find out.
The moment the previous two games have been building up to has arrived. The Reapers are here and they are destroying everything in sight, including planet Earth. Shepard and her crew have warned the galaxy about the invasion and of course, everyone found them to be bat-shit crazy, so nothing was prepared to fend off the attack. The events in the game take place roughly 6 months following the final Downloadable Mission from Mass Effect 2 titled Arrival. Because Earth is now under attack, the Alliance restores Shepard’s Specter status and sends her on a last-ditch effort to convince the alien races across the galaxy to play nice together, build an ancient Prothean artifact and try to push the Reapers back up the ass crack they climbed out off.
I absolutely loved every second of the story that was presented in the game and I really enjoyed seeing Shepard start to fall apart as everything around her is destroyed and longtime friends are lost. The plot touches on hate, prejudice, and even new topics like the artificial intelligence ethics. Some pretty fucked up shit went down in my play-through that actually struck some emotions that I’ve not yet experienced while playing a video game. I was truly upset at some of the decisions that I made and that stuck with me for quite a while. Many have criticized the game’s lead writer for writing a poor story, but I disagree – I thought it was great. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in terms of catch-up for new players to the series beyond a short paragraph of text. I suppose it might be enough for players who don’t care about the story, but it’s going to be a disadvantage to those that do.
The graphics on the PC version of the title look great. I didn’t have any problems running the game at a constant 60fps the entire game. Between missions, a series of beautiful cut-scenes help tell the story and some of them are pretty bad-ass including some epic space battles and emotional scenes showing Earth’s people getting slaughtered. Like Mass Effect 2, the soundtrack that accompanies your adventure is wonderful and with the exception of a new character named Dianna Allers, the voice actors are top notch. The world is also very much alive as you walk around and hear NPCs reacting to what’s going on and discussing their personal issues. The only thing I had a problem with in the presentation department was that the lips didn’t sync up with the voices a lot of the time.
The game took me roughly 27 hours to complete on the Normal Difficulty setting and that included doing every side quest that I could find. A new mechanic called Effective Military Strength was added to the game to essentially determine how the game is going to end for you. As you play the single player campaign, you’ll collect War Assets, which are essentially the people, ships and gear that you’ve convince to help you fight off the reapers. The more assets you acquire, the better chances the galaxy has to survive. A new 4-player co-op online wave-style multiplayer match was added to the game where victories increase a Galactic Readiness meter. In the single player campaign, your Effective Military Strength is determined by multiplying the Galactic Readiness by the War Assets and that number will determine the how the final battle will go down. You can get the best outcome by playing only single player, but adding in a few multiplayer matches can really help you achieve success. I thought the integration of the Galactic Readiness into the single player campaign was genius and I really enjoyed gathering my War Assets and integrating that with my multiplayer battles.
With that, the multiplayer portion is actually a hell of a lot of fun. While you aren’t playing any of the characters from the game, you can play as all of the different classes and level them up to unlock more powerful abilities as you go. You earn credits as you complete objectives, which can then be spent in an online store. Unfortunately the only thing you can buy is packs of random gear containing weapons, upgrades and consumables. I suppose this keeps you playing if you want to collect it all.
It’s important to note though that neither the decisions that you are forced to make in the game, nor the decisions you’ve made in the previous games really have an effect on the ending to the game. More so they will determine how the game plays out for you as you make your way to the conclusion.
When you start a new game, you have the option to either create a new character with the canon choices that the developers have chosen from the previous games, or you may import a character from one of your past adventures. What you choose here will have a significant impact on the way the story plays out for you right from the start. I decided to create a new character so as to experience what the game would be like for new players, but I’ll likely import a previous Shepard at some point in the future. It’s really neat to see how the choices you can make throughout the previous two games can have a significant impact on which characters will exist in your play-through and how the story will develop differently.
Upon starting the game, you’ll be asked to select between three game modes: Action for those who don’t want to deal with any story or dialog, Story for those who want dumbed down combat, and Roleplaying for those who want the entire Mass Effect experience. I thought this was a cool way to bring new players into the genre.
Building your character is a bit different now as well. As you level up you’ll earn points which may be spent on various skills, but now talent trees allow you to truly define how you want those skills to develop. Players must now also deal with the weight of their weapons. As you add more and different weapons to your arsenal, the rate at which your powers regenerate depreciates, so if you want to use your abilities a lot, you’ve got to limit how much gear you’re going to bring with you per mission. Weapons may also now be customized with scopes, larger clips and more powerful barrels. You can acquire weapons, mods and armor from shops as well as finding it on the field. Various pieces of armor can be mixed up to fine-tune your character’s statistics, but the best armor in my opinion was purchased from shops and was not customizable.
The scanning mini-game has been changed this time around in that you’re now hunting for war assets and it’s a lot less time intrusive. An indicator now tells you exactly where you need to scan the planet surface, but now you also have to scan the entire solar system to find these resources. Using your scanner alerts the Reapers to your location as well meaning you’ve got to move quickly to avoid an instant-death if they find you.
The combat system feels pretty much identical to the system in Mass Effect 2 in that it’s a third person shooter with improved cover mechanics and a pause button that may be used to issue commands to your squad mates or to use their abilities. A new melee mechanic was also included that really let’s you destroy the enemies with your omni tool. The combat difficulty felt spot on and while I did die plenty of times, the auto-save system prevented me from losing more than a few minutes each time. The way the story is inter-weaved into the nice variety of missions also keeps the game from becoming repetitive.
If you watched my first Vlog about Mass Effect 3 this week, you’ll certainly know that I went into this game with a foul taste in my mouth. But after playing through this epic tale, I can certainly say it was worth it. Bioware has made an amazing game and concluded the trilogy in style with an emotional, non-happy yet clever ending. Mass Effect 3 is a Third-Person Shooter, Action RPG that seamlessly combines all of these elements into a wonderfully addictive game that I absolutely recommend to all gamers out there. If after watching this review you feel I’ve missed some things, I’d advise that you watch my two Vlogs where I discuss in more detail my feelings on a few controversial topics.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Commentated League of Legends and Dark Souls! http://www.youtube.com/ZGRWhyUDead
Review Video: http://www.youtube.com/ZeitgeistReview
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ZeitgeistReview
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZeitgeistGameReview/
Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!
Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.66ghz
6Gb DDR3 1600mhz
ATI 6970 2gb
2 7200rpm 500gb Hard Drives in Raid 0 – Gameplay
1 7200rpm 1Tb Hard Drive – Fraps
1920×1080 – Maxed Graphics – Vsync On – 60fps Constant