Sunday, March 18, 2012

HS x VG: Mass Effect 3

The final chapter of the Mass Effect trilogy.

This series that has been very near and dear to my heart. The feeling I got when I first beat Mass Effect 1 must have been the same feeling people got when they first saw Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

It opened my mind and legitimately made me wonder what else was out there in the stars. It's very rare for anything to do that to me especially since I'm so apathetic to most things.

The story to Mass Effect 3 begins as the Reapers begin their destruction of Earth. Commander Shepard, the protagonist of the series, must run around and unite the races of the galaxy to help him take back Earth and ultimately stop the Reapers from destroying all of the galaxy.

A rather cliché sci-fi sounding story, I know, but there's much more to it all.

What I did like.

The story is phenomenal. The whole schtick with the ME series is that as you are playing, you are making choices. Choices that will directly influence every outcome of the game. That being said, the choices you had made in the previous games (if you had carried over your saves) will ultimately decide the outcome of the story.

It's basically "Choose Your Own Adventure: The Video Game".

As the series progresses you will run into people that you had helped out in the previous game. ME3 did that perfectly. A lot of "OOOHH DIIIPPPP" moments. Seemingly everybody had to make a grand entrance in this game and I ate it all up.

The gameplay was A+. If you've played Mass Effect 2, you will know that the gameplay was a huge improvement from Mass Effect 1. The gameplay in ME3 felt like ME2 but perfected. With all the amount of gun fights in this game, I couldn't even imagine what it'd be like with the ME1 gameplay. Aside from the 3rd person view, it had the same feel as a 1st person shooter.

During some of the fights there would be cut-scenes which were virtually seamless. Even the little things such as, you're running through a field and a big explosion drops infront of you, instead of you just running through it like a sweet tough guy, Shepard will react to it. Once again, the little things.

Comparatively to ME1, the inventory system has been refined even more. ME1's inventory system was ultimate butt. There was no such thing as filtering in it. It was just a giant list of rubbish you had to traverse through just to find so-and-so thing to add to so-and-so gun. ME3's system was simply: use money, upgrade gun, find parts, upgrade gun stats. Not hard at all.

The graphics in ME3 haven't changed too much since ME2, which isn't a bad thing. The only thing worth noting though are the face lifts given to the characters.

I'm horrible with describing things so here's a picture

The model remains the same, but there's been more depth added.

What I Didn't Like.

In Mass Effect 3, they found it necessary to add a multiplayer mode in it. It's true that Bioware had always planned for Mass Effect to have a multiplayer mode in it but it almost seemed unnecessary. Not everything has to have multiplayer in it.

I liked the Mass Effect series because it was heavily based around the fact that it was a single player game. You do not see this too often anymore. Everything and their dog has to have some sort of multiplayer mode in it. The gameplay of Mass Effect 3 was excellent, but for shooting at AI, not other people.

During the playthrough of the game I had to switch the disc a lot. Normally this would be a huge problem if the Xbox 360 was on the other side of the room. But since I went hyper introvert mode with this game, I hooked up my Xbox 360 to my computer monitor so the console was exactly to my left.

With disc changing, I'm used to doing it when I get to a certain point in a game, exactly what old PSX RPG games did (e.g. SquareSoft/SquareEnix games). It seems they just did this to allocate certain missions onto which ever disc had the capacity to hold it which is understandable if you want to it all without having to trim the fat.

In the end, call me a fanboy if you want, but there wasn't much that I didn't like with this game. I could almost say that this game is near perfection for me, besides the obvious. If you follow any sort of gaming blog they will all note that the ending left many people unsatisfied. I would be one of those people.

But for the sake of a spoiler free review I will not go into that. That being said, do not let that scare you away from this game. I highly highly highly recommend that you play this game.

For those who would like to pick this game up without playing the first and second ones, it's recommended that you play those first so that you can have a character that you can carry throughout the series. It makes the story of this game much more enjoyable.

But if you're simply looking for a game just to play and are not concerned with the story, this will do it for you. Although it will be sort of like watching Return of the Jedi without watching A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It's a good movie on its own, but it may be a tad confusing.

The Mass Effect series is a labour of love that begs you to play the first two. With all the character development and the back stories, to get the full effect of ME3, you would be silly not to play the other two in my opinion.

You might think "oh I missed the ship on this game." but it's never too late. Mass Effect 1 and 2 are both excellent games in their own regards. I could pick up either of those games on a whim and be content with it.

I'm sad to see this series end, but I am more than content to be apart of this grand journey.

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