PS3 Reviews: Mass Effect 3 Review

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Mass Effect 3 Review

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Graphics:

 

9.2

Gameplay:

 

9.6

Sound:

 

9.5

Control:

 

9.0

Replay Value:

 

9.1

Online Gameplay:

 

9.0

Overall Rating:       9.3

 

 

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

BioWare

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

RPG

Release Date:

March 6, 2012

Mass Effect 3 combines an emotional, gripping narrative with a beautifully designed universe, thereby creating the foundation for a memorable sci-fi journey. Then, to build upon that foundation, BioWare installs a gameplay mechanic that is not only functional, but improved and more rewarding than ever. In short, fans of the franchise will not only enjoy the final entry in this award-winning trilogy, they will remember this adventure with great fondness for years to come.

As you explore the deep, engaging world of ME3, your eyes will come to rest on a great many pleasurable things: the wonderful character detail, the breathtaking backdrops, the intimidating (and more expansive) battlegrounds, and the sharp, satisfying effects that give this game an extraordinary cinematic feel. Now, there are a few imperfections here and there but given the sheer size and scope, such minor flaws are easily forgivable. In short, there’s very little to complain about in regards to the stellar visual presentation.

The sound is even better, as the epic, sweeping soundtrack and fantastic voice acting not only enhance the atmosphere, but also manage to impart a variety of emotions. The best part is that the two highlights – the music and acting – continue to bolster the experience throughout the entirety of your quest, which makes for a cohesively impressive RPG. The balancing is a little off, though, which is something I’ve noticed in most BioWare productions. Still, balancing issues aside, the audio does its job beautifully and never once lets you down.

As some of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of the science-fiction setting. Give me the old-fashioned swords ‘n staff theme any day. But there’s absolutely no denying that ME3 puts a stronger emphasis on storyline and plot development when compared to the previous two titles, and I will always support that. I’ll even rise to my feet and applaud when a developer does so with such excellent pacing, style, and professional flair. There aren’t a lot of significant new characters or relationships here, but that’s okay.

After all, we’re talking about the conclusion of a long and involved storyline; no need to further complicate things by tossing in plot-altering relationships at the very end. Besides, we’re always drawn to the story and the established relationships between the well-drawn characters and better yet, our decisions and actions have a bigger impact than ever. These effects can be subtle or radical and even far-reaching, and the obvious emphasis on moving human traits and tendencies is much appreciated. Plus, this adds a dynamic, realistic aura to your exploration.

Various characters might recognize you as you wander around, and if you make a bold move, the repercussions could be felt much later in the game. It might not only affect your relationship with that character; it could also cause a shift in a side-quest, which means decisions play a more significant role in the gameplay. Personally, I love the different moods and attitudes; there’s not so much in the way of robotic or bland responses. In this way, characters will raise their voices, yell, or even cry. It just feels more authentic and personal than ME2.

As for the gameplay and control, I’d like to make one thing clear— I don’t want anyone to misunderstand when I criticize some lingering mechanical issues. It’s never my intention to be negative simply for the sake of raising eyebrows. But I think it’s important to recognize that some basic gameplay problems haven’t been erased from this series: the frame rate is not always clean, the camera can go bonkers in tight spots, and the cover system doesn’t work 100% properly. The AI doesn’t always interact correctly with the environment, either.

However, as I mentioned in the intro, there are improvements that help to diminish the impact of these stubborn drawbacks. Firstly, the design is much better; battle doesn’t boil down to finding a generic cover spot and firing away. Enemies will rush from all sides and the increased aggression of your foes force you to reevaluate and in many cases, relocate. It also seems that the combat areas are larger, offering more strategy options for players who wish to experiment with both intense up-close fighting and tactical ranged encounters. Don't limit yourself.

Leveling up lets you upgrade your abilities and again, choice comes into play, as it always has before. This all depends on your personal preferences, of course. There are tons of weapons, too, ranging from simple pistols to fully automatic weapons and a few that are capable of ripping apart even the toughest foes. It’s about as deep an advancement mechanic as any role-playing buff could hope for, because it’s not just about quantity, it’s about top-notch quality and freedom. I would often sit and think for a long time before making an upgrade decision.

And that’s the mark of a fantastic RPG in my eyes. It makes you think and although you might have to think on your feet, the properly prepared are always better off. Other issues can rear their ugly heads at exactly the wrong time, though: I had the game freeze once, and I have heard (note: this did not happen to me, but in doing the research, it appears to be a common problem) that side-quests may not trigger correctly. But again, these have appeared in most BioWare titles this generation; Dragon Age was hardly immune.

The only other complaint I have involves the collecting of certain materials from planets when you have to avoid the incoming Reapers. This felt like a tacked-on mechanic and was more tedious than anything. But the rest of the game delivers in such a gigantic way, it was easy to return to the flow of the narrative and once again become re-immersed in the expertly woven story and enduring characters. I also had tons of fun on the battlefield and I’m a sucker for such in-depth advancement systems.

The multiplayer doesn’t feel like a useless addition and although it’s hardly the reason to own this game, it’s definitely a nice option. There are six available classes and playing with others is relatively simple and entertaining. You earn credits for your achievements and those credits can be used to unlock all sorts of goodies, including weapon alterations, different kinds of ammunition, and other equipment. At the very least, it gives you something to do after finishing the main story; you may not want to leave this world behind, you know?

Mass Effect 3 is a gorgeous, endlessly appealing blend of engaging gameplay and fantastic storytelling. Role-playing aficionados will adore the emphasis on the captivating narrative, the familiar characters keep you interested, the combat areas are larger and battles are more dynamic overall, and the freedom of choice cements the entire masterful experience. A few lingering hiccups and some generic side-quests can’t stop this one from being a definite gem and a must-have for a great many gamers.

The Good: Beautifully detailed. Excellent music and voice performances. Control is solid. Combat is more dynamic. Freedom of choice has a variety of effects. Narrative is nicely paced and always gripping. Plenty of content and depth.

The Bad: Lingering series issues (iffy camera, a few bugs, etc.). Side-quests can feel generic. Cover mechanic is 100% right.

The Ugly: “Nothing really…unless the game crashes in a crucial spot.”

3/6/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (33 posts)

SoulController
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 9:23:58 PM
Reply

ME3 is hitting the sweet spot for me right now. I only wish Bioware would've switched engines once they brought the series to the PS3. Unreal Engine is a load of total crap

Last edited by SoulController on 3/6/2012 9:25:07 PM

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maxpontiac
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 9:42:10 PM
Reply

I pick my CE up tomorrow and needless to say, I can't wait for it.

Nice review Ben.

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Mr Bitey
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 10:23:10 PM
Reply

I only out in about 2 1/2 hours, but so far it's really good.

Good review. I've already noticed some of the issues you've pointed out, but they don't seem to hamper the experience in the slightest.

Can't wait to see how it all ends.

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telly
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 9:03:58 AM

I agree, the issues are so minor (so far, anyway) that they don't get in the way of the fun at all. Compared with Skyrim, which in my opinion is a sloppy, bug-ridden MESS with terrible, clogged with terrible line deliveries and rudderless game design, Mass Effects is such a joy to play. Despite what I just wrote, I actually still really enjoy Skyrim. It's just that I think that's a game where the bugs and tech issues with the game absolutely DO impede the fun you can have with it. Not so with Mass Effects.

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Fox hounder
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 10:28:06 PM
Reply

Good review there ben :)

I'm ashamed to say i haven't finished 2 yet, but from what i've played i can definitely say i will be picking up Mass effect 3 at some point.

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 11:17:14 PM

ME1 amazing, ME2 phenomenal and it looks like ME3 is bliss! I highly recommend that you finish ME2 before you play ME3.

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Fox hounder
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 12:40:09 AM

Will do :)

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telly
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 9:07:23 AM

Mass Effect 2 is one of my favorite games of this, and probably any, generation! Definitely finish it (and do "the arrival" dlc mission!) before jumping into ME3, as the stories intertwine so much. Have fun!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 10:29:51 PM
Reply

One thing that terrified me in the demo was you could put the cut scenes on auto-pilot for dummies who can't handle a few minutes of chatting and making decisions. I feel bad for anyone who would choose to do it that way.

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Shams
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 10:50:35 PM
Reply

Man, don't have to tell me twice. Mass Effect is one of those franchises I just can't wait beyond day 1 to get. Normally, I snipe for deals on 3rd party games (yeah I'm bit biased/loyalist for Sony's 1st party splendor), but I couldn't wait for this one (and NG3 releasing this month I believe). And, somehow, it went below my radar. Must've been because of the Vita (which I adore). Thanks for the review, Ben.

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 11:14:47 PM
Reply

I expected nothing less. I am so excited to play this masterpiece. Unfortunately I have to wait until 3/8/12 due to KMarts promotion and their lame shipping. Oh well, the Vita is on fire so I am good to go until then.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 12:27:49 AM
Reply

So far I've noticed less decision making and conversations and more shooting than even ME2. Hopefully that changes at some point. But the gameplay is once again solid, and I appreciate the subtle upgrades and weapon improvements! I got a couple hours or so in tonight, I'll pick back up this weekend when I have time again!

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___________
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 3:04:16 AM
Reply

lowest score this has gotten is a 8!
my god that has gotta be a first, i cant remember the last game that the lowest score was a 8!
so cant wait for this looking freaking epic!
let the struggle for the universe commence!

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_valdips3_
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 3:57:55 AM
Reply

so the controvervial day one DLC **spoiler alert** Prothean squad mate ** end spoiler** is useless as history goes?

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FxTales
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 4:03:52 AM

They made that dlc out as being not a big deal to have, but if you ask me that type of character is something you'd expect in the main storyline. Don't know why they never incorporated it in.

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 9:33:59 AM

Useless as in pointless? No. That bit of DLC really sheds some light on the ancient history of the Mass Effect universe. Paints the Protheans in a new light that I won't spoil here and adds depth to these beings that *SPOILERSPOILER* eventually became the Collectors.

Useless as in, it doesn't influence the game? Yeah, pretty much. The new squadmate isn't a necessity, and the game was designed to work without it, so no, you don't need him, but I strongly recommend downloading it!

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berserk
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 6:36:33 AM
Reply

I think ben made an article about this , They said they did nt had time to make it before the the debug , manufacture and approval process .

Personally i think it s just excuses , hoping for example that some of those that don t buy day 1 dlc change their mind for this one game .

Last edited by berserk on 3/7/2012 6:37:28 AM

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telly
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 9:01:02 AM
Reply

Got a quick taste last night before I had to run off to dinner, and DAMN did it suck me right in. Initial feeling is that if you liked previous MEs, you're gonna love this one.

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michiganfan1983
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 9:11:14 AM
Reply

Great review Ben. Couple of issue that I have had (about 8 hrs in): rotated heads during conversations(not a big issue but just messes up the seriousness of the conversations) and it has froze twice. Other than those its the basic Bioware/Unreal issues that Ben mentioned. Loving the game so far, wish I could say I am looking forward to really enjoying the game this weekend but I am traveling, so I will just continue to hammer out a few hours a night.

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TheAgingHipster
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 9:35:47 AM
Reply

Haven't experienced any of these issues in the PC version. Especially the framerate. It's top-notch. (Lip-syncing could have used a little more work, though...)

I am more pleased with the conclusion of this trilogy than I had ever expected. Thanks for doing the fans proud, BioWare!!!

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JBLAZE
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 10:03:07 AM
Reply

Only had a chance to play about three hours yesterday, but this game is niceeeeeee. Almost called out today and just play all day. freaking 9-5, its okay i will be infront of my tv tonight and should have enough time to play at least four hours today.

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telly
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 10:26:40 AM

I thought about staying home too -- but I literally took a couple extra days off this coming weekend to ensure I had ample time to play :) The rest of this week is gonna be torture.

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Buckeyestar
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 10:52:07 AM
Reply

I wonder if the score would have been higher if it were reviewed by someone who actually likes the Mass Effect games.

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OverBerg
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 12:17:25 PM

You're right Buckeye, a 9.3 is such a horrendous score.
*Please note sarcasm* :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 7:10:02 PM

Oh yes, tons higher.

..........

...

Dumb.

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 12:16:00 PM
Reply

Do u have to play the previous titles to enjoy this game?, I heard that the devs say u don't need to worry.

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Pandacastro
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 2:14:44 PM

No you could make the choices from the first 2 when you create a character.

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Pandacastro
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 2:15:27 PM
Reply

Anyone up from some co-op add me. Psn pandacastro.

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burnedknight
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 5:24:34 PM
Reply

Nice review Ben I plan on picking up ME3 later this week and I can't wait to see how the story ends

Last edited by burnedknight on 3/7/2012 5:28:21 PM

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Qubex
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 8:25:12 PM
Reply

Great review Ben as usual...

Looking at picking this up for sure in the future... another AAA to add to my small but quality collection... showing off the best of what the PS3 can do :)

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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xenris
Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 10:26:00 PM
Reply

Interesting review. I will just say I don't like where the game went. I won't spoil anything but just like the other ME games I was left with only more answers once I finished the game.

Still plays damn well though. I would probably give it a 7.5 or an 8.


Now on to another topic. Ben are you ever going to review Binary Domain? Its kind of slipped under the radar which is a darn shame as it is a hidden gem. One of the coolest sci fi stories I have seen in a long time. Some cheesy dialogue but outside of that the plot is excellent, and the villains motives well you might even agree with them.

Its one of the best controlling third person shooters I have ever played and I just wish more people knew about it.

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ulsterscot
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 4:20:08 PM
Reply

as one of the dummies who finds rpg tedious - im loving the action only mode - the mechanics are much smoother than ME2. Im playing this on the PCs using pinnacle game profiler with a controller. pretty sure i dated ashley williams when i was younger ...

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Kryten1029a
Thursday, March 08, 2012 @ 5:09:24 PM
Reply

I was loving this game right up until the last mission. Even the "good" endings are a punch in the groin. It would have deserved a 9.3 if it had ended twenty minutes sooner, but as it stands 6.5 out of 10 seems fair to me.

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