Mass Effect 3 User Review
I remember reading an interview with Epic's rockstar, Cliffy Blezinski, when in Gears 3 was still in it's murky planning stage, and he was saying how he wanted to add RPG elements to Gears. Of course, anyone who played the grand finale knows that didn't end up happening. However, with ME3, it did (albeit thanks to Bioware). While still retaining the squad based control, and RPG mechanics of ME2, the cover-based maneuvering, and roadie run, is better than ever (and far improved over ME2), and even swifter than in Gears, and now comes with the much needed dodge controls. Throw in a horde mode (that actually works into the sp mode which I'll get more in to later), and it's obvious that similarity isn't just uncanny.
But to simplify ME3 to just that would be unfair and inaccurate. It is not just Gears with RPG elements, but far more. Within ME series, we have one of gaming's most richest universes, which through a sci-fi backdrop, draws colorful parallels to world history, science, culture, politics, philosophy, ethics, and religion. And through it all, it has characters that we grow to love/hate/question, while partnering with us players to craft the main character, and the myriad relationships that we form along the way through the decisions we make, while amazingly retaining the causality of the player's decisions through the series via the game save imports. Lost a team member back in ME1? Yep, they won't be in ME3. Did you manage to save them all even by ME2? If yes, then you'll see them in ME3, even with side-missions. Made some devious or virtuous choices before or within the current game? It will affect your alliances, choices, and even script lines available to you. It is said in ME2 alone, the branching plot script was thousands of pages long.
Of course, there has been a lot of fan outrage regarding the ending(s) of the game. I have completed through one of the endings, and although I won't give away any spoilers, I hafta say, I honestly don't know what the fuss is all about. If anyone can say why w/o giving away any spoilers, please do in the comment section below.
However, while in terms of gameplay, and in terms of graphics (no screen tear, better detail, bigger scale and on-screen assets, brighter colors, crisper visuals, less glitches), ME3 is improved significantly; the story, and more specifically, the conversations, seem to be more hurried, and less brooding. And, maybe I'm speaking too soon, but it had a tad less content, in the way of side missions than the 2nd outing, but maybe this will change in the future with the DLC offerings.
But, speaking of content, ME3's mp horde mode is a lot of fun. You will team up with up to 3 other squad mates with whom you will get to fight through 11 phases against increasingly difficult baddies in a variety of objective based battles, and in different maps. Successfully completing these will grant you success percentages in different sectors of the universe, and grant you "military readiness and assets" that will affect the difficulty of the final acts of the sp. You can import or customize your character from the main game into mp, and level up, and customize your character, just as you do in the main game, and you can purchase equipment, weapons, powers, and bonuses through the store with exp points gained, or with your own real money if you wish to save time. In addition to offering different maps, and enemy types, there are three challenge types (bronze, silver, and gold). However, within the first 15-20 levels of exp, bronze will offer plenty of challenge, no doubt.
The only significant minus I found in the game were the load times. While they don't get in the way of the main campaign or story thread of the sp, it does impede exploration as you have to wait for minute every time you want to enter another cluster or system or area of the citadel for finding missions or mining for artifacts. Last night, I was finishing up any side-missions I had not finished as of completion of the main quest, of the 3 hours of gameplay, i think close to about an hour of that was waiting for load screens. Barf.
All in all, I highly recommend this game to any fan of the series, gamers who want more story from their game, or even to ps3 only owners who always wanted Gears. IMO, it's way better than Gears, so be happy, and support a wonderful developer. Hopefully, we will see many more wonders from them and this franchise.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.