Sunday, March 18, 2012

MASS EFFECT 3: A Review With No Spoilers

Hey gang, what's happening, Counterfett here. After a very serious all nighter spree, I have finished my first playthrough of Mass Effect 3. You will note I said first, for although I don't normally think this kind of game has a ton of replay value, I am already itching to get in there and play as another sort of character, and see if I can't do some things different.

IF you thought Big Bo from Binary Domain was the last nail in the coffin of the 'Bro' style character, Garrus Vakarian brings it back to life Lazarus style. Even if he does look like a crawfish
  •  Story. Mass Effect is a bit of a known quantity when it comes to video game storytelling, and the third installment is no exception. The campaign takes you through humanity's darkest hour, and you need to race to stop the Reapers before it's too late to do anything about it.
  • White knuckle combat. I played through on Normal difficulty, and had a good grasp of how the combat system worked. The levels were good, and fun, and not overly difficult, which is right where normal should be, in my opinion. That said, the last level was about as tough for me as the last level of Halo: ODST on Legendary difficulty.
  • Characters. I don't think this should be a surprise to me, as character development has always been excellent in the series, but this installment gives tremendous depth even to return characters like Garrus Vakarian and Liara T'soni. 
  • Production Values: Unlike some commentators, I do not get excited over lens flares, they remind me of poor real world videography. That said, the rendered cutscenes (and much of the in game graphics for that matter) are simply stunning in places.
  • Scale. There are playable segments in this game that were just jaw dropping to me. Foes like Reapers lend themselves to mind boggling scale, and this game takes advantage in new & exciting ways.
Vega. Didn't like him much.
  • Fewer squad selections. They told us it was going to happen, but man, there were not a lot of different choices I could make through about 75% of the mission. This works out differently if you have different save game options from previous games, and certain DLC. This goes hand in hand with the character development mentioned earlier, so while I understand, I did feel like it cramped my style at points. 
  • Objective Confusion. Some of the quests have different endings, and while it's nice that you can effect the outcome, some of the choices are not very clear as to what exactly you are doing. I had one shocker moment when I resolved the Quarrian/Geth war in a manner that was wholly unexpected to me!
  • The Ending. You will see a lot of online complaint about the ending for this game. I'm not complaining about it in the same light as many of those, but for me it ties in to the above point. I just don't understand what happened, and why.


Dawfydd said...

Just about to enter the final two missons, but so far I've loved the whole thing, even if I have to replay it to see if I can save Kelly....

Also, would totally be down with a Kane & lynch/ Army of Two-style ME shooter starring Garrus & Rex :)

Gotthammer said...

Like most people I loved 99% of the game, it's the best CRPG I've played and there were many moments where I was laughing out loud or had a tear in my eye.

In some ways I liked the surprising outcomes of some descisions and the not entirely obvious solutions in some ways. Gives good replay value there IMO.

@Dawfydd - you can save her, see here for how you can.

CounterFett said...

@ Gotthammer:

That's about how I felt about it too, but I try to lay out what other people who are trying to decide to get into the game might want to know.

I'm a bit torn about the ending. There are people who seriously hate it. It doesn't bother me too much, but I kind of don't like how much it leaves 'unknown.'