Image

I remember when I finished watching Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the first time I had that agonizing feeling after Luke is left tending to his wounds after having just lost Han to the Empire, that it was possibly the worst and best ending I have seen. I could not believe it and felt cheated that I was left sitting there yearning for more. Mass Effect 2 replicated that feeling and needless to say, Mass Effect 3 has been on my short-list for must have games ever since then.

The story begins with Commander Shepard having to leave Earth after the Reapers invade and begin their systematic destruction of humanity. Let it be known, this game is dark and ominous throughout. Every planet and system you visit is under duress from the Reapers and the feeling of hopelessness and uncertainty of what is going to happen is present throughout. Bioware has done an amazing job of creating a galaxy at war and presenting it in a way that one can empathize with the emotions of those that go to war and those of whom are left behind. I remember walking past a mother begging and pleading to get into contact with her son only to leave with an answer unsurprisingly unfulfilled. Moments like these that tug at your heart strings are littered throughout as you head from objective to the next.

Visually, the game once again utilizes the best that console systems have to offer and continues to add dramatic and cinematic presentations to conversations amongst Commander Shepard and his fellow squad mates. The dynamic set piece action sequences during the game are truly awe inspiring and at times left me with a mission failure having to retry the sequence over again since I was busy enjoying what was happening on screen.

The game play of ME3 brings back the action shooter structure from ME2 and reintroduces some RPG elements to the mix by being able to modify attachments to weaponry, such as scopes to Assault Rifles, of your own liking. Additionally, the talent system for leveling up has been tweaked in a way that there are multiple path progressions for how your abilities will be enhanced; such as improving grenade ammunition or increasing head shot damage at the expense of more general damage. These minor tweaks are welcome additions that should enhance the game play of those critics of ME2’s more straightforward combat.

The newest feature to ME3 is their inclusion of multiplayer. At first I was in the camp that was hesitant to adopt multiplayer since I enjoy the Mass Effect single player and could not bear to have it turned into a frag fest in the likes of Call of Duty. Bioware took the hoard mode of Gears of War and implemented their own version where you take on swathes of Geth, Cerberus or Reaper forces. The progression system allows you to level talents just as you do during the regular game and also allows the purchase of packs with money earned by surviving rounds. The packs themselves provide rewards such as new character classes, weapons and different attachments. Overall, it is a very fun experience and extends replayability beyond the single player campaign.

Mass Effect 3 is truly an amazing game and I cannot think of a better way to end the journey of Commander Shepard. There is quite a bit of heated debate to the ending of the game, but personally I feel that the journey to get there has been incredibly rewarding and I enjoyed every bit from beginning to end. If there is one qualm I have, it would be for an easier ability to modify who lived and died in previous entries of the game to see how they interact and play out in ME3. That aside, once again I’m left with an ambiguous feeling after completion of this beloved series. I feel in a daze at having enjoyed Commander Shepard’s last journey and sad that the journey has to end.

9.5/10

I game. I love.

Advertisements