Mass Effect 3

[Review] Mass Effect 3: The Mass Effect

Mass Effect 3 Box

Arguably the most controversial game ever to hit the stands, it is probably the only series ever created to appear on FOX News and labelled “porn”, ‘accidently’ raised $50,000 USD for charity and cause an uproar of fans demanding alternate endings to the game just a few weeks after the game’s release (close to 70,000 users on the Bioware forums voted for better endings).

This is Mass Effect, with its third instalment which hit stores early March 2012. Before I go along to give you a review of how this game is, you’ll probably need a summary to follow.

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Moving on to Mass Effect 3
In ME1, you herd humans to the council. In ME2, you herd specialists to the collectors. In ME3, you heard the galaxy against the reapers. Hence the name Shepard, I suppose. Jokes aside, the Mass Effect Series has always received positive reviews from critics and gamers alike, until now. ME3 would be the first out of the series to receive a huge amount of criticism from the fanbase due to its highly controversial “bad endings” and plot holes. That being said, the ending(s) provided weren’t ‘bad’, it was just plainly convenient and limited, which you may not be up to normal Bioware standards.

Mass Effect 3

Content
If you’ve played the series from the beginning, you will notice that a vast majority of items were stripped from ME3 to give players the feel that everything was moving really fast; the galaxy was in danger after all. No more exploration, no more hacking, no more safe cracking – which some people found annoying, which also meant there were no longer any mini-games in this RPG.

[pullquote align=”right”]Despite having the tone of a galaxy at war, you were pretty much stuck in a 4-story building for the entirety of the game. “Skyline?”[/pullquote]There was nothing much to do aside from flying around and blasting a probe to pre-determined location. Side quests were also short and really uninteresting with recycled locations, characters with no personality and impact that only increases a number in your war assets. The conversation wheel is also hardly used, despite being heavily used in previous installments. This made the game shallow and gave the perception that in every occasion Shepard meets a character he/she knew, it was fan service.

Other than that, there were a lot of recycled bits in ME1 and DA, but the scale of the game was large enough to hide it – huge amounts of things to do, characters to interact with and huge amount of content that buried the impact of having recycled items in it. Considering I spent 128 hours on DA, 82 hours on ME1 and comparing that to 27hours on ME3, it is clear that a lot is missing from the game. Despite having the tone of a galaxy at war, you were pretty much stuck in a 4-story building for the entirety of the game. “Skyline?”

Besides that, all main characters from previous instalments made a return, however not all were playable and the start of ME3 will not give you answers as to why your crew dispersed and why they did not keep in contact with you, which adds to the plot holes.

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Mass Effect 3

Multiplayer 
Mass Effect 3 also introduces a new multiplayer mode, similar to Call of Duty’s Spec Ops where you fight waves and waves of enemies to aid your campaign to earn Battle Readiness, a percentage that increases your success rate in the final battle for your single player campaign. It also introduces the usage of EA Points to purchase items in game.

[pullquote align=”left”]The Coop however, is still fun – having played the demo for over 120 hours and moving on to the retail version, it is clearly addictive.[/pullquote]Playing Coop doesn’t make sense once you finish the game as promoting your characters and getting battle readiness only benefits the single player if you haven’t completed it. The coop infrastructure is P2P which is a problem on its own. If latency becomes an issue during a game, you may see your character clipping through things, flying up in the air, become completely uncontrollable and even falling into the ground. All of which, I’ve experienced in at least 5-6 out of 10 games, when I’m not the host.

The Coop however, is still fun – having played the demo for over 120 hours and moving on to the retail version, it is clearly addictive.

Mass Effect 3

Security
For the ‘fans’ of DRM, there’s a lot of “Security” in this game which may drive you up the wall. You’d need to log into Origin, connect to EA servers, verify my DLC through those servers then if I want to play a multiplayer game, connect to another player. That’s not all, purchasing in game items via EA Points also connects you to a separate server.  Is it difficult to have authentication on one platform? With Origin online, I would suspect they would use that platform for verification, at the very least verify the DLC via Origin, since it’s already installed and registered.

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Mass Effect 3

Marketing & PR
If you’re in America, you probably saw a glimpse of ME3 on your TV channel, a live-action rendition of Shepard on earth during an invasion. As for the PR nightmare they are currently in, releasing a paid day one DLC was clearly a bad idea, it’s too bad that Bioware had to learn the hard way. You would likely see Bioware as a case study in future PR textbooks because of this incident. All they needed to do was to release it a little later and they wouldn’t have gotten rotten backlashes from customers. In fact, players would have appreciated new content that fast. That coupled with the disappointing endings (to most), this may in fact destroy Bioware’s reputation, if it hasn’t already.

Now the question as to whether Bioware needs to make new endings for ME3? They clearly need to end Shepard’s story arc and they need to end it properly too. With close to 70,000 registered Bioware users demanding it – they better.

Questions worth asking:

  1. Bioware made promises that they would listen to the community. Did they take too many things into consideration with too many ideas to apply or requests to fill?
  2. Was all the fan service really necessary to create a good game?
  3. Is EA to blame for any of this?

Summary
Despite all the bad reviews by players, overly hyped up reviews by critics, you may want to try the game out. Bad things aside, ME3 was a considerable improvement over its predecessors with a better combat system, inventory management was simple and for parts that were not-so-plot-hole-ridden, it was a very enjoyable experience albeit not as much as previous instalments. So, if you were like me and waited, I still recommend you to end the series – but it may end your series of buying Bioware products too, though.

Just a short note that we’ve added a Gaming section to vernonchan.com. Contributing writer Brian Chan will keep you entertained, well-informed and addicted with gaming industry news, happenings, game and app reviews and opinion pieces. This can only get bigger. Bookmark Gaming @ vernonchan.com or be fragged, now!

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