Mass Effect 3 Review: The Sequel We've Been Waiting For

By Kate Cox on March 13, 2012, 12:46 AM

Here are the real questions everyone has: did my favorite feature from Mass Effect come back? Does my favorite skill from Mass Effect 2 carry over? And what about the romantic relationship I chose, or my favorite companion, or that great gun? Is it my Normandy, my Citadel, my galaxy? Do my choices matter? Is this, in short, truly the Mass Effect title for which we have all been waiting for so very many interminable months? Yes. Yes it is.

Every action the Commander does or doesn't take influences the Galactic Readiness meter, which the player can access from a console on Shepard's ship, the Normandy. Here, Shepard can see the total effect missions have had on the status of every surviving spacefaring species. The higher the number, the stronger the chance for allied forces of civilization to take down the reaper threat. To see every detail ME3 has to offer would take playing through many, many times. The end result of three games' worth of "either / or" choices certainly isn't an infinite set of possibilities, but there are still quite a few of them.

Indeed, the word of the day is "choice." The Mass Effect franchise has always rested on the idea that the player gets to pick Shepard's path, and in this last installment BioWare seems determined to give the player a small array of options for almost everything. Are conversations not your thing? There's an option to make them into cut-scenes. Is reflex-action combat too challenging? There's an option to make it significantly simpler (you only need to bother taking cover in the hardest of fights). Like your helmet? See it in cut-scenes. Hate it? Turn it off.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 23

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Guest said:

Really? You guys were satisfied with that ending?? I won't go into detail, but it wasn't along the lines of what is expected from Mass Effect....

Guest said:

The first 20+ hours of ME3 is one of the best games I've ever played, the last 15 min were perhaps the most bitterly disappointing in 10+ years of gaming.

Guest said:

I must say this is one of the best written reviews around, you got the big picture and I think that's what BioWare wanted (love or hate them, their games are always epic). I felt exactly like you did throughout the game(s) about the characters, locations, conflicts etc. Each alien, friend or foe, has it's own touching story and while being good or bad it's surviving no matter what. The whole trilogy is just daunting.

A lyric comes to mind when thinking about the end: "I've tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn't even matter". :-)

P.S. You know what I'm doing now right? ME1, ME2, ME3 with different choices. :-D

Guest said:

Agreed, This review is way better than ign review. I really believe IGN is being paid to review the games now. I used to remember IGN had pointed out fine details of mishaps, now they do it less. I would rate ME 1 @ 9.0 /10 ME 2 @ 9.8/10 ME 3 @ 8.5/10. Like Tech spots review said, I've spend hours in Mass Effect 2 selecting and finding the best possible solutions, half between paragon and renagade, so I have both options available in any given situation. It was a bitter disappointment that I didn't not have the ability to recruit many of the ME 2 squad members. Their cameo sucked, all those choices made seems pointless in ME3 with such a "generic" ending. There's little references to people you help or didn't help in ME2. THERE'S NOTHING TO EXPLORER, ITS NO LONGER AN RPG, seriously! ITS more like Modern Warefare with a hell better of a story and highly customizable face and weapons.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

I'd compare it to Half Life 2. The attachment part, I mean. Sometimes makes you think, like in Portal, why you are doing what you are doing.

When G-man whispers to Alyx at the end, I really feel like killing that guy.

Same with Halo 2, when Cortana is captured. And Halo 3's ending too.

I'm really anxious for Halo 4's review.

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

The first 20+ hours of ME3 is one of the best games I've ever played, the last 15 min were perhaps the most bitterly disappointing in 10+ years of gaming.

For me it was "meh post-EA quality bioware animation and texture recycling adventure with less dialogue options than previous games", then the endings came butted their heads into my game.

I'm so glad I didn't spend a penny on this.

P.S. Protheans never invented helmets.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I really don't know why TechSpot is calling this an in-house feature when this is just a republish of a review from Kotaku.

"Republished with permission.

Kate Cox is a contributing editor at Kotaku."

Sorry, but If I come here for news and reviews, I think the information should be in-house and not just recycled. What does Techspot REALLY think of Mass Effect 3?

Guest said:

Really you are happy with that?

The ending ruined a otherwise perfect game.....

Its like eating an awesome cake and finding a turd in the pan, sure the cake was amazing but all you can think about is that turd.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Really you are happy with that?

The ending ruined a otherwise perfect game.....

Its like eating an awesome cake and finding a turd in the pan, sure the cake was amazing but all you can think about is that turd.

That's a nice way to put it.

Guest said:

What I don't like at Mass Effect series is that characters on game run like *******, the action is not there, there's no fast action and game play, is like others are waiting you for ages till you charge up your gun. WTF ?

This is sure a game for kiddie's not real men's.

Guest said:

It this game on steam? Nope

So wont I wont be playing it, too bad

Guest said:

RELOADED: As usual we recommend firewalling the executables, not using Origin, and avoiding EA

lol!

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

RELOADED: As usual we recommend firewalling the executables, not using Origin, and avoiding EA

lol!

I'd add Steam to that list.

Also I'm a fan of GoW, so I love the survival-mode-like onslaught. Sometimes, though, ME3's pace seems a lot more comfortable. Like Crysis. I'd want to able to have the time to reach for the Pause button should I need to empty my bladders. Haha.

I personally don't have any problem with it's pace, though I'd say the end was disappointing, much like Halo 3, HL2, and GoW3. And WoW:WotLK for that matter.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

I haven't played through to the very end yet, but I'm close. Like heading after the reapers close... And I'm not sure I want to see what happens.

I had high hopes for this game. They confirmed we were getting Liara back, our old friends would be making appearances, and everything would get some closure. Instead, we got a sort of mish-mash of short stories with the occasional Para\Rene choice to make us feel like we had an impact. Right. I regret going strictly Paragon now because in the end, it didn't make a difference.

There are no side quests (every quest ties into the main quest whether it is priority or not. Given the circumstances I understand, but they could have done soooo much more with an apocalyptic epic like this *could* have been). I was expecting Fallout 3\NV levels of exploration on some of the planets, you know, saving refugees, rescuing civilians, taking down the occasional reaper... The closest thing we got was hopping from Cerberus base to Cerberus base, watching a thresher maw eat a machine, and try to slowly roll out of the way of a laser.

But, there is no exploration. At all. None. I scanned every planet in every cluster and they even dumbed that down to an obscene amount.

Stories that we BEGGED them to continue (or start) they barely even acknowledged (Samara anyone? Joker? Other past romances that stop in their tracks? Inequality between Manshep's level of choices and Femshep's? They can give him two homosexual options but unless you saved Kaidan, Femshep gets no heterosexual ones? It doesn't make sense.)

Overall, I see why they delayed the release. This could not have competed with Skyrim for GoTY. It's too short a game, even on 'normal' mode, and I found myself looking at the quest log at one point and realizing that I finished twenty or so of them just from my lackluster one probe sweep per planet and asteroids-style Reaper avoidance. Truly epic entertainment....

Honestly, it's a decent game as far as your "rally your allies and fight the evil overlord" sort of piece goes, but it's not what I was expecting from the Mass Effect finale. This is something I would have expected over on FanFiction.net.

And that's my only consolation - we writers will be able to weave our own tales now that it's over. Shame they didn't give us much to work with.

I'm looking forward to the next BioWare title, but I don't think that ME3 is going to get the amount replays that the first two did.

thewind said:

Really? I still haven't won the game yet but I have put in over 45hrs in trying to do every little thing and hear every little comment. ME3 is amazing! and I don't see how the ending could be any worse than ME2. The boss was just dumb and well it sucked. So I gess I'll wait and see. I do hate EA for forcing people to join Oragin though.

Jinkguns said:

If you check the articles that are coming out now and the timing this looks like a massive astro turfing campaign by Electronic Arts. There is currently a major backlash to the reaction of the ending of Mass Effect 3. Which is essentially unfinished, and appears to have not been intended as the original ending. It is being speculated that this was caused by a EA deadline that comprimised the core of what purchasers of the game were promised.

The Mass Effect 3 game play experience is really well done, but in the last five minutes of the game it appears that EA forced a deadline on BioWare that essentially destroyed the ending sequence. Either that or their writers were willing to spend hundreds of hours writing back story and then finish off the series with the writing technique and plot development of a beginner who invested five minutes developing a Deus Ex / Matrix type ending.

Mass Effect 3 has always been about choice. And that of the literally dozens of major choices and hundreds of minor choices you make in games 1, 2 & 3 would influence that outcome in grand and hugely diverse ways.

None of that is the case. Irregardless of your decisions, at the end, you pick from options A, B & C. Options A, B & C are essentially the same, with slight texturing and light filter changes throughout the majority of the content. In comparison to Mass Effect 2, or even 1, whose ending is much more open (and fits within the context of the story).

I have read about 50 or different community rewrites of the ending, and each one is better than the one released in the final game. In comparison, the in game content literally contains some of the best background writing and dialogue I've ever seen. Which is why, up until the ending of Mass Effect 3, many of us considered the series a herald of a new form of literary epic being expressed through the emerging medium of video games, not just another third person shooter with RPG elements.

Many players have invested over 50 hours over the course of the three games, and many, including myself were driven by the storyline and character development. BioWare promised us we'd have the opportunity to save or destroy the world, make life or death decisions. And we got that, during the game play, but the ending? The 5 minutes of cinematics to close the chapter and finalize their accomplishment? Absolutely horrible.

So horrible, in fact, that the game play and background story, the art and comics all point to a very different ending, instead of this rushed monstrosity that some (read: out of a sampling poll of 40,000 purchasers, 90 percent would like a new ending patched.)

All I can say is that I and others will be boycotting EA / BioWare games. If you assume an average of $60 a game, multiply by three, include DLC micro-payments and merchandise, the 50+ hours (for all three games) and the time invested trying to convince our friends to pre-order, we all deserve better.

Guest said:

I noticed there are a few people who don't like origin, and believe me, it took me 2 hours just to install ME2 with the origin crap. After you get that head ache over you still have to play multi player to boost your War assets/ mainly galactic readiness. I used to enjoy BF2 online, but due to anal admins and kids who shouldn't be online, and AIMBOT, I stopped playing BF2 online and downloaded all single player bots, merged all AIX, DECON, 1ON1, BOMF mod into one. Tweaked the ai and weapons, and its awesome. almost like online play. (cannot show, demo or upload this due to copyright, but its freaking awesome)

For those who would like to avoid playing mass effect 3 online for what ever reason and want to higher up the Galatic readiness. Download Gibbed's save editor for ME3, look for "GWAS" or something like that, under the "player" tab and change the "value" to 500 (or any value) for a few of them, do not change the "id" field. You are required to due the "side quest" to get war assets, thus this is the value you're changing.

EA seems to like to force people in doing things, just like apple and its itunes, either use itune to import songs or have no songs at all BS.

Guest said:

The outrage resulting from this colossal turd of a game has reached even the ears of old school platformers.

Graphics schmaphics. Is not one of the major draws of this series the 'choose your own adventure' aspect coupled with the user-customized character carrying over from one game to the next? Yet I read that neither truly applies.

The worst part about this entire fiasco seems easily exposed by Kain from Forbes.com, and by that I am referring to the responses to fans by ****** involved in the creation of this pile of crap. Bad business, goofs. However, I appreciate the glimpse of what I would be "entitled" to as a dissatisfied consumer, and for that I thank you.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

One rotten apple doesn't mean the farm is infected. Take Fable for example. Depending on your choices, the game can have eight different endings. And it's a PC game.

It's all about the developers and deadlines. I wouldn't blame BioWare though. With EA publishing, this was bound to happen. There's a reason NFS:Most Wanted is the only EA-game on my PC. Oh well, in my entire collection.

Guest said:

Regarding rumors about EA forcing the ending due to deadline - I kinda doubt they are true.

Bioware have previously claimed that the core of the game has been done all the way back in the fall, and they were essentially just adding more polish to it to "exceed expectations of the fans". I understood these statements as follows - main storyline was finished and they were making more side quests, improving level details, etc, nothing too major. The reason to move the release date was increased advertising exposure, better sales due to less competition from hit games such as Skyrim, and adding polish to make the game even more appealing. Not because the game was half done with no finished ending.

On the other hand, they could have been lying about the state of the game, this seems pretty common among game developers these days (sword of the stars 2 is a good example). I saw a few videos from around the time when they claimed that only polishing remained - 1/3 of the models in the video didnt have textures, animations looked like crap and in general it looked far from a final product. And this was the section they felt was good enough to be released in a preview.

Guest said:

Well I am only into the first 10 hours of the game and I am very very disappointed. The game just seems so rushed. I do not find myself as engaged as (my favorite game of all time) ME2. I will say I do enjoy the combat the most out of all of the installments, but if I am this disappointed with the game up until now I can't wait to be disappointed at the end.

Guest said:

I LOVED the ending and the game in general! Truly haunting and beautiful!

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