Mass Effect 3
Game review on Xbox 360
David Hull / Tue 30th Aug 2016
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OVERVIEW The Reapers have returned and Shepard remains the last hope at uniting the galaxy to defeat their omnipotent foes.
Six months after the Arrival DLC from Mass Effect 2, Shepard is being held in an Alliance building under guard. The Reapers, returned from Dark Space, land on Earth, with Shepard only narrowly escaping back on the Normandy.
The game spreads Shepard thin across the galaxy in a desperate attempt to find some way to defeat the Reapers once and for all.The most emotional experience of the three games, Mass Effect 3 takes everything you worked so hard to create and crushes it with ease.
Characters you've come to love are lost, planets you only heard of are now ruins to the Reapers and the entire galaxy needs Shepard for every single damn problem.Unlike the first and second games where time isn't necessarily of the essence, in the Reaper War, it is.
There's a motive to keep moving with the story and bring the war to a close, rarely leaving time for side missions that don't in some way impact the main narrative.Bringing a series to an end is not such a simple procedure and whilst it may suffer from some muddied waters towards the end, the entire experience that is being drawn to a close far outweighs the flaws.
Mass Effect 2 restricted a lot of creativity from the player, especially after the complex system of the first. The third attempt fits somewhere in between. Easy to use, but not overbearing. You can buy, collect and upgrade a vast array of different weapons and each one has unique qualities to it.
Armour is of a wider variety and has greater expressionism for your Shepard.Combat is similar but much more dynamic despite only tweaks to the system. New powers like Nova and Heavy Melee strikes allow for far more aggressive gameplay. Powers combine and detonate all around you.
The feeling of triggering a lifted enemy with a Warp is invigorating.Something of a surprise was the success the game found online. Four players, friends or randoms, team up to fight 11 waves of either Reaper, Cerberus, Geth or Collector forces.
Simple idea, but with the variety of different species, weapons and abilities at play, the fun factor was/is through the roof and the idea of fighting with friends in a game that was so personal to the player, really latched on. With the release of extra content over a long period of time, players found new and crazy ways to defeat some of the hardest fights, and damn were they hard.
Without digging too deep down into the specifics, Mass Effect 3 is the equivalent of a glazed donut. Everything that was already great is given a nice tasty coating. User Interface, weapons, powers, facial animations, it's all just that little bit slicker without starting from scratch yet again.Rendered cutscenes are more common, particularly when depicting scale or scope of battles.
Violence, of a more brutal nature, also makes its debut here. With Human Cerberus troopers heads popping off from a shot to the head, it's surprisingly not out of place.But please can we ease up on the lense flare?
Jack Wall was stepped aside for the third entry, to both praise and criticism, in favour of Clint Mansell and a team including Sam Hulick who worked on the first game's soundtrack. The change shows and from the get go as the music wears tragedy on its sleeve.
The initial departure from Earth is sombre yet beautiful. Not to mention the finale which has some unexpected and again tragic melodies.The voice acting is truly worth commending here. Characters and their voice actors/actresses (at least for the main cast) are at their strongest and the two Shepards in particular, Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale, really do a brilliant job of handling the ludicrous number of outcomes for the player character.
VERDICT Despite heavy controversy at the time, Mass Effect 3 will likely be remembered more for its high points than its low points. Whether or not Bioware can strike twice is yet to be seen, but if humanity learns from its mistakes, Mass Effect 3 will prove invaluable to Bioware's future.