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I’ve spent the last week and a half playing Bioware’s Mass Effect 3, and like its predecessors it is an excellent gaming experience.  What Bioware has achieved with this series is nothing short of amazing.  ME3 continues the excellent story telling that the previous games laid the framework for, but in my opinion it does so in the best manner yet.  I can’t help but proclaim that ME3 is the best title in the franchise.  It’s polished visuals, gameplay, and story are by far the best in the series, and for me it hit all the right notes.  I can’t even begin to imagine why some fans have had such a negative reaction to this game, because to me it’s nearly perfect.  If you’ve been on the fence about ME3 I hope our review below will help to push over the fence one way or another.  Trust me, this is a gaming experience that no gamer should miss!

 

Mass Effect 3

EB 9.75 out of 10 Buddhas

The Awesome: Achievement in video game storytelling, Refined gameplay, Visual upgrade, Integrated parts

The Not so Awesome: Audio/Visual glitches, Life killer

 

The Awesome

Achievement in video game storytelling

Mass Effect 3 wraps up a near 5 year story that started in 2007 for die hard fans of the franchise.  I can’t help but be amazed at the accomplishment Bioware has achieved with their unique approach to storytelling in the Mass Effect franchise.  Never has a game (at least on a console) allowed you to, for the most part, craft your own story throughout a 3 game span.  The fact that my decisions in a game that came out in 2007 still have an impact on my 2012 Mass Effect 3 play through is amazing.  The level at which Bioware managed to connect with fans of Mass Effect is unparalleled, and all of your hard work pays off in the end.  Mass Effect 3 will hit you emotionally like no other video game has been able to do because of the deep roots that were formed in the first two games.  Everytime you encounter a NPC from the past games will strike a chord with you as long as you’re not completely devoid of emotion.  I can’t help but praise Bioware for their unique storytelling mechanic that they setup in Mass Effect 1, and have perfected in Mass Effect 3.  Pure genius, and to me the best case for playing the three games in this series.

Refined gameplay

Mass Effect 3’s gameplay is entirely unique when you compare it to the other two games.  It seems to have taken a 3rd person queue from Gears of War 3, because the action is much more shooter focused now than RPG-like.  No longer does it feel like the old KOTR games from Bioware’s past.  If you use the kinect the gameplay is even more tight and shooter like due to it streamlined command integration.  The transition between cinematics and gameplay has also become much more fluid, which helps to keep you in tune with the action without taking you out of the story aspect.  I just felt like the action was more in tune with a shooter than an action-RPG, which honestly is a good thing for a game like Mass Effect.  Its gameplay is more suited for a shooter, but the inclusion of RPG elements has what set this franchise apart, and quite honestly which makes Mass Effect so special.  The formula remains the same in ME3, but the gameplay element feels more refined, and dare I say perfected than the previous two entries.

ME3 gameplay is much closer to 3rd person shooters like Gears of War than its past two entries

Visual upgrade

Surprisingly, Mass Effect 3 has quite a vast visual improvement over ME2.  Bioware really nailed down the look of this game, and when you compare it to the original, ME3 almost seems like an entirely different franchise.  The character models look better than ever, and the cinematics are near perfect.  The game just feels more realistic than it has in the past, and I think a large part of that is the fact that the graphics are refined.  Everything just seems like it flows better than it has in the past two games, which it should considering that Bioware has had 5 years to work on the visuals since the first game launched.  Mass Effect 3 is a beautiful looking game, which only adds to its awesomeness.  If you thought ME2 looked good, then wait until you play 3.

ME3 is obviously the best looking game in the franchise

Integrated parts

I can’t help but appreciate the lengths Bioware went to in making Mass Effect 3 distinct from the other two games.  The inclusion of multiplayer, a Facebook game, and an iOS game all change how Mass Effect as a franchise is played.  I love the fact that I can improve upon my ME3 experience by playing multiplayer with my friends, or completing missions for the iOS app on my iPad.  The integration is seamless, and makes for a great overall experience in gaming.  If I don’t feel like playing the game itself I can still work towards my Galactic Readiness rating without even playing the actual console game.  I can just load up the iPad app, or play some horde like multiplayer to help get my Shepherd ready for his final showdown.  I think the move is genius, and I hope more developers take the same approach with games that span multiple titles and years of gameplay.

Mass Effect Infiltrator for iOS

 

The Not so Awesome

Audio/Visual glitches

Unfortunately, Mass Effect 3 exhibits some random audio and visual glitches.  On the audio front I’ve noticed some pops and cracks coming from my speakers during loading sequences.  It’s not that bad, but it does get a little annoying especially if you’ve got the sound cranked up on a 7.1 channel surround system.  On top of the distortions I’ve also noticed that I have to pump up my receiver’s volume while playing ME3, because it requires the extra juice to fully realize the amazing sound design present in the game.

On the visual side the graphics look great, but sometimes I notice a few animation glitches.  Sometimes the cutscenes will look a little choppy, while other times my Shepherd will look like he’s possessed because his head will render in unnatural ways during some cinema tics.  I’ve also experienced some visual issues during loading screens where some levels will load instantly, while others will take me to a generic loading screen that does nothing but take me out of the game’s world.  Neither these or the audio glitches are deal breakers, but they definitely prevented this game from achieving perfection.

Life Killer

If you’re anti-social then this knock may be a positive for you, but ME3 will definitely eat up your time.  I’m 35 hours in, and I’m pretty sure I’ve barely just scratched the surface.  I mean if you want to get full G (gamerscore) on this game I’d estimate that you’re looking at least 60 hours of game time to accomplish that goal.  Again, this may be a good thing for you, but if you are trying to be a productive member of society then ME3 will definitely thwart your plans.  This game will get you wrapped up in its universe, so if you aren’t looking for another distraction in life, then I’d stay away from this game.

 

Final Verdict

Regardless of what you’ve been reading about this game’s endings and what not, it’s still a fantastic gaming experience that shouldn’t be missed.  The achievement in video game story telling that this game completes is unparalleled to any gaming experience you’ve ever had. The refined visuals and gameplay definitely set ME3 apart from its predecessors, but at the same time it retains the amazing gameplay found in ME1 and 2, which mixes both action and RPG elements perfectly.  Outside of some random audio and visual glitches this game is near perfect.  I honestly don’t understand all of the hate that this game is receiving from its fans, because I think it’s a gem.  Some gamers, and people for that matter, will never be happy with anything probably because they hate their lives.

Don’t let the rumors sway you in regards to Mass Effect 3.  It’s an achievement in video game making that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who claims to be a die hard gamer.  For this reason I will give it an EB 9.75 out of 10 Buddhas.  This game is a must play/buy, so get off your lazy cheap ass and pick it up today if you haven’t already done so!  You’ve been thinking the trolls have it all wrong in regards to Mass Effect 3…

Mass Effect 3 Against All Odds Gameplay Trailer [HD]

 

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Tags : GOTY CandidateImpressionsMass Effect 3Storytelling
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he's not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB's Star Wars Time podcast show.