Mass Effect 3 is the latest, and last title, in the Mass Effect Trilogy. Developed by the good folks over at Bioware and published by EA, Mass Effect 3 continues where its predecessor left off. So much so that you can even import your character from the previous title and continue the storyline. This is my first foray into the Mass Effect titles, however, so I didn’t have that luxury. What I did have, however, was a fresh set of eyes to see an engaging storyline, some interesting character development, and a whole lotta of ass-kicking.
The story, for me, starts off on board a ship where, before the opening cut scene begins, I chose my identity. Mass Effect 3 operates much like the Deus Ex titles where game tone is based around decisions made in the game, but it adds a layer of role playing by giving the player options on how to structure their character’s strengths, weaknesses and abilities.
Once in the game things become more clear as we learn Commander Shepard’s goal is to save the galaxy from the Reapers, an alien lifeform hell-bent on destroying all other forms of life, by pulling together citizens, politicians and soldiers all while fighting a group called Cerberus who have their own intentions. I found the gameplay to be exciting and interesting enough that I continued to play past my self-alloted time, well into the time I should be sleeping in order to function correctly at work the next morning.
Every detail in this game, from the trim on clothing to the crumbled shell of a destroyed plane, add a sense of atmosphere that keeps this game feeling real. Even if I know the aliens I am shooting at aren’t real, the game doesn’t give me a chance to second guess it. From the moment the story becomes clear it seems like a constant stream of running, fighting and surviving until I reach a point in the game where my actions become far less linear, in that i’m being pushed in one direction, and really are left up to me. Given the chance to explore and interact with characters really opens the story up so much more.
Despite the controls being difficult to maneuver around, I got the hang of it within an hour. Seriously though, whoever thought to put the use, run and cover key as the same bind deserves some sort of medal. Like, the “creator of the dumbest idea ever” award.
It wasn’t until the next day that I got a very tempting taste of ME3’s multiplayer mode. Multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 operates on an entirely different level. What I expected was a standard multiplayer mode like deathmatch, capture the flag or king of the hill, but ME3’s multiplayer through me for a loop. Multiplayer is a four person co-op match set around capturing enemy strongholds by surviving waves of increasingly difficult enemies, some which will downright make you shit your pants.
The Brute isn’t so bad, but the banshee – an enemy who likes to scream, teleport – will fuck you up. Each multiplayer missions was designed specifically for multiplayer and helps players who complete them attain the so called “perfect ending” to their single player campaign through galactic readiness.
The maximum level that created characters can reach is level 20, and just like in campaign mode, leveling up will include skill branches. But you can chose from many different roles and characters in game to benefit your team, regardless of its structure.
So in total, after my initial rage over the fact I had to install Origin to play, and the attempt to circumvent the program by loading Mass Effect 3 through steam, Mass Effect 3 is one of those games where if you haven’t played the first two you might miss out on a piece of the story.
Bioware does an amazing job for filling in the gaps, however, without wasting to much time on the past. Casual glances, dialogue and body language tell a greater story than the cutscenes, which I can assure you there are no lack of.
While there are a few things that make this game less tolerable, like the system it is on and the internet’s dissatisfaction with the ending, ME3 is definitely starting the year out right.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Mass Effect 3 was reviewed on the PC platform