Wot I Think: Mass Effect 3 (Single Player)

By Jim Rossignol on March 6th, 2012 at 8:00 am.


I have avoided any plot-specific spoilers in this review, and reading it will not reveal any details about how the story unfolds or concludes. Clearly if you want to avoid knowing anything at all about the game, or seeing images from it, then look away now. Otherwise…

It’s done. Commander Shepard has taken the final steps in the grand science fiction tale of the Mass Effects. Now there is only the aftermath, the discussion, the opinions, the DLC, and the inevitable retrospectives. Here’s Wot I Think.

The completion of an epic story usually contains an unavoidable thread of melancholy. The actions and ideas that gripped you are concluding, the characters are passing into legend, and the events that meant something to you are over. This feeling of something significant having breathed its last is never clearer than at the closing moments of of the Mass Effect trilogy.

It’s been easy for me to dismiss Mass Effect over the years. It is just Star Trek with more blood. It’s just Guns & Conversation. It’s just Starship Troopers with dicey trans-lunar moral dilemmas. It’s just… I really don’t want to just lazily quip away what Bioware have tried to do here. Even putting aside the endless high-bandwidth hyperbole stream being emitted from the blackhole mouth of Electronic Arts, there’s something hefty in this final game.


Mass Effect 3 goes out on a big note. A galactic note. A giant, infra-sonic ultra-low frequency alien scream of a note. The endings are monumental, and the final battle is one that I couldn’t help being moved by. I know, I’m a big old fool, but sometimes a videogame with sad-eyed aliens and the end of all life in the universe is enough to raise some kind of response in there.

As you are likely aware, Mass Effect 3 is the episode in which The Reapers, the vast, ancient, unfathomable anti-life peril which threatens the galaxy, finally turns up to make its move. That move is full-scale galactic war, and there’s barely a moment to say hello to familiar space chums before an roaring, breath-taking torrent of lasers and bio-horror ensues.

You can perhaps tell from the way I am describing this stuff, but I want to state that Mass Effect 3 gets the pitch of this desperate space war just right. Unlike the other games, where there’s a lot of team-assembling and side-missioning to pootle around in before really getting it on with the Big Bad, here there is only war. And a lot of death. You think there were a lot of dead people in the previous games? Think again.

This backdrop gives a peculiar urgency to proceedings, because you are all too aware that every second counts, at least as far as the story is concerned. You can, of course, still take your time to pursue the numerous side missions, but Bioware have been clever enough to make them feel like another essential beat in the tune of galactic struggle. A couple of missions time out, too, if you fail to attend to them. The march of The Reapers is, the game stresses, relentless.


For obvious reasons I can’t go into too much detail in these missions, but the sum of their parts is that you must bring a certain amount of the warring galactic factions to bear on the enemy, and the more of them you bring, the better things will be for everybody. Of course, thanks to the intense and complex web of politics and resentment that the previous games have outlined, none of this comes easy, and the consequences of brutal decisions can be quite shocking. Not everyone will make it to the last supper. This Mass Effect, for the first time in the series, saw me make a decision where I genuinely regretted what I done. Really, I thought to myself, that was the wrong choice, even if I was pursuing the most brutal renegade course of action. And the consequences were horrifying.

What I am saying is that, yes, Mass Effect 3 is the darkest and most urgent of the games. The story is bold and ruthless, and I enjoyed it enormously. Of course what I enjoyed most was my decisions playing into it all. What I can’t quite imagine is what someone would get out of choosing this screen at the start of the game:


Yes, the question “is Mass Effect really an RPG?” can now be answered with “only if you actually choose that option at the start”. Needless to say, I chose this option instead:


But I could have chosen this one, below, and by the end of the game I sort of wish that I had. I started to think about John’s skippable combat nonsense. Oh how I scoffed at the time.


What Mass Effect 3′s standard, “role-playing” setting did for me – other than play the minor notes on my heart-strings – was to make me realise that I loathe the game’s combat. Strong words, and I’m sorry to say this in front of those numerous folks who enjoy attaching themselves to ME’s scenery, but I just can’t like it this time around. I mean, I thought I liked it in Mass Effect 2. And even 1 was okay. But here… It’s not that the combat is ever particularly difficult, or even that it is broken in any way. It works fine. As intended. It hasn’t even changed much. As ever: stay in cover and make sure you allow time for your shield to recharge, and pretty much every battle is done. It’s rather that it can be a serious grind, and never more so than in the battles in the second two thirds of Mass Effect 3.

The issue is basically down to the way that the challenge has been upped with lots of very high hit-point enemies. Each one has to be ground down, shield, armour, and so on. The result is less thrilling space soldier exploits, and more waist-high-cover-attrition, with you carefully emptying each gun into enormous walking hit-point bins. After a dozen hours it becomes a bit much. I can’t say I’d really noticed this grind so much in the previous games, although it was clearly still there. Mass Effect 3′s attempts to be a little more hardcore seem to have amplified issues that were already present. It is not, after all, significantly different in its execution. Perhaps I’ve had my fill of this sort of combat, and I am totally certain these criticisms will be swept aside by the majority of Mass Effect fans, but the feeling is still there. I struggled to enjoy it and by the end was feeling quite dissatisfied.

Also, to my dismay, I sank a huge number of points into melee – because I like to be able to beat things down with my bare hands or the butt of a rifle – only to discover that a huge number of enemies in the late game have instant-kill melee moves, making my points entirely wasted, and pushing me back into ranged weapons. (Only two of which in the entire game I actually found much application for. The pistols were too crappy, the sniper rifles too slow.)


Yes, I’ve spent much of the past few days grumbling and griping about various irritating action bits in Mass Effect 3. One of them is, heart-breakingly, an action mini-game entrée to the most moving part of the game. It was a pay-off that felt like an enormous relief: at least I was rewarded for grinding my way through that arbitrary insta-death scene with an astonishingly memorable bit of grief-stricken game-story.

All this is a difficult sort of thing for me to swallow, to be honest. To realise that I dislike one of an otherwise fine game’s most central mechanics – because ME is basically about shooting aliens and then having a chat (Guns & Conversation Classic Mode) – and yet to have been thrilled by most other aspects of it. It’s somehow worse for me that the best bit is the story. When it comes to games I will almost always defer to mechanical systems, physical activity, player-stuff, rather than story and all the jazz and lights that go with that. Here, though, it was always the story that dominated my enjoyment. I feel like The Witcher 2, Skyrim and Amalur are all actually far more fun to play from moment to moment, because I just can’t get with ME3′s gun combat. But then again, there’s everything else about the game.


There’s Sheen’s Illusive Man and the entire Cerberus sub-plot, which is by magnitudes my favourite part of the story. There’s the sheer bleakness of it: Shepard rolling about in nightmares while pretty much every location in the game is devastated and on fire. It heaps more and more difficulties onto you, more and more responsibility for catastrophe, and frames it all with a brilliant, poignant soundtrack.

EA have done a bit to wax about Clint Mansell to coming aboard to do the soundtrack, and they weren’t wrong. The team of Christopher Lennertz, Cris Velasco, Sam Hulick and Sasha Dikicyan aces it, underscoring the entire game with a sense of doom, with a few moments of gentle, ambient lightness as the characters set out hopes for the future they may never see. It’s beautiful. In fact I would say all the audio stands apart from the previous two games – the best aspect of the combat is just how punchy the effects are, and it’s the audio that sells every impact and detonation. Really stand out stuff.


I suppose what I am trying to say is that Mass Effect 3 is an apt culmination to the series, and particularly apt to my personal experience of the trilogy. No, I never really did like the way it handled combat, and that has been lit up neon for me here. Yes, I did love the characters and cast, and the sci-fi world they were set to inhabit. Yeah, it was a bit generic space soldiery, and a legion of Space Opera others had been here before, but that hardly mattered. When Mass Effect 3 hit the ground running, I found myself unexpectedly caught up in its events. It dragged me along, and I was glad to see it move so fast, and cover so much ground. It’s a big game, and a worthy conclusion.

It’s hard to see where Bioware will go from here, but I think are some reasons to be cheerful, whatever the dark fate of that particular galaxy, and despite the messages about purchasing future DLC that appear to interrupt your elegiac moment at the end of the game.

Sigh.

Onwards.

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213 Comments »

  1. hypercrisis says:

    The hype machine had brought my expectations down, but this review just sold me on it. Glad to hear they pulled it together for the third game.

    • xenogrant says:

      I’m sure you won’t be dissapointed, unless you have win 7 64 bit like most people out there, and find yourself unable to play the game, because EA with all their budget and talent can’t make an installer, that works:
      http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg404/scaled.php?server=404&filename=eafail.jpg&res=medium

      • KovuTalli says:

        I hope I don’t get this issue, Demo worked fine, would be an ever bigger piss take since I’ve had to wait 3 extra days since “worldwide release” because of UK retailers not wanting to release the same day. (I’m assuming its the retailers – if it’s the publisher then I’m even more upset with EA) That and I may not even get it till Saturday – Friend ordered from Zavvi -_- Only shipped on Weds.

    • mittortz says:

      @xenogrant

      eh? is that widespread? I have 64-bit Win7 and I’ve been doing fine with it. When I first attempted install I have to admit it had this weird issue of not actually doing anything after installing origin, but I restarted and it all went through smoothly.

  2. Patches the Hyena says:

    The soundtrack is really unbelievable stuff. I’m glad I preordered the deluxe edition, if just for the soundtrack.

  3. Kadayi says:

    Cmon Friday already!!!

    As regards the combat…it’s always been a bit static I’ve found. The cover systems never really given you much scope to advance out of cover in my experience (it takes way too long and leaves you too vulnerable), so it’s generally a case of bunkering down (unless the enemy have the accursed shockwave) and whittling them down before proceeding. Still combat grind aside, sounds positive otherwise (looking forward to the music especially).

    • Pop says:

      I think it’s gotten worse this time. Playing the demo I was frustrated by the number of times I was fighting the combat system. I kept cursing the controls, rather than my own ineptitude, which I think is a key fault.

      Sure, I play Vanguard and perhaps the ol’ leap-in-your-face-with-a-shotgun tactic proves more demanding on the control scheme than other more cowardly roles, but the Vanguard is a class they designed! I can’t particularly remember ME2 being terrible – the combat was generally tough, but fun.

      I might go back to the demo and try story mode, because at the moment I’m not really in the mood to throw £30 at a game where I’m cursing the fact that “stick to wall” and “leap over wall” seem to be bound to the same button.

    • Qwentle says:

      @Pop: you forgot about use, sprint and roll, which are also bound to the same goddamn button. It almost made me want to buy the console version, because then I wouldn’t have a dozen other keys within reach just taunting me. In the demo I kind of got around it a little by binding both Shift and Space to the action and using Shift for sprint, and Space for roll. It would continually screw up though and roll me instead of cover.

    • Milky1985 says:

      In the multiplayer demo half of my deaths were caused by the single buttno situation.

      There would be an enemy behind me so i would want to run past 2 boxes to go behind a 3rd.

      I hit spint, but the game decides no you are going to take cover behind a box to your left (meaning 0 cover as the enmey is behind me and so still shooting me)

      Cue another button press to get out of cover, move around abit THEN sprint…. if i survive that long :P

    • Davee says:

      This made me cringe more than anything else in the Demo. So many unnecessary deaths because my character decided it would go stand against a wall when under heavy fire instead of sprinting around the corner. Or trying to resurrect a teammate in MP… Hnnnnnnrgh.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      This seems to be a complaint in a couple of other Bioware games, like DA:O, however personally I’ve always enjoyed their combat. The challenge of “the build” is a game mechanic I love, although I see the frustration. See the bugs associated with Vanguard game mechanics in ME2 for a prime example of this done wrong.

  4. Silver says:

    I think this time you are really losing teammates. Even if you plan it all correctly.

    In ME1 I lost Wrex and Kaidan. 2 years later I replayed it and saved Kaidan and Wrex. Was so satisfied cause Wrex had grown on me. The thing is that the first and also the second time I had to make a choice which one of them to leave behind I really hesitated. I took about 5-6 minutes atleast before I pushed a button.
    In ME2 I arrived too late, my crew were mixed into smashed potatoes in mixer. I lost Tali.. the romanced girl.. felt so shitty, all other’s survived.
    Second playthrough – all have survived, I’m sure they will be dead, at least half of them, in the most unexpected situations.

    I’d like that game had choice making in which you have to make horrible desicion in time, let’s say in 4-8 seconds, If you don’t you loose BOTH of your teammembers who are currently at some mission or so…. that would suck, hurt, and make you care even more :)

    Tali, Garrus – I hope you can make it, Mordin your my third fav. but you of all know sacrifies have to be made and are the one who understands me the most.

    //Miranda – biach, you didn’t die magically on our last journey… *grins* (the only character that I really don’t love, she doesn’t work in my crew, too annoying)

    Allright – I’ll finish Lotsb and Arrival (haven’t played them yet, heard no spoilers also) and then to ME3 !

    • Ringwraith says:

      LotSB is really really good, far better than the main game in fact, while Arrival is just plain silly and is full of holes.

  5. Paxmayne says:

    I was a little hesitant to read this. Being of the pessimistic nature I was beginning to fear the worst for my beloved Shepard, after the travesties that were DA2 and TOR.

    So I am very happy to hear it lived up to expectation this time around.

    Now I just want to know why I have to wait till Friday? Why couldnt EA do a global release on the same day? Is it some legal EU Mumbo-jumbo?

    • Lenderz says:

      Basically its traditional agreements between Publishers and Retailers that dictate when it comes out in your country.

      In the EU retailers wanted to restock their shelves Thursday/Friday. And DD can’t go around this as their agreements with retailers state that all distribution channels in a territory will get the goods at the same time.

    • Paxmayne says:

      Ah I see. Thanks.

      At least I know why I’m agonizingly waiting till Friday now. Providing Amazon get it delivered on time….

    • Milky1985 says:

      “Basically its traditional agreements between Publishers and Retailers that dictate when it comes out in your country.

      In the EU retailers wanted to restock their shelves Thursday/Friday. And DD can’t go around this as their agreements with retailers state that all distribution channels in a territory will get the goods at the same time. ”

      Because there have never been any games (Final Fantasy 13) that have ever had simultanious releases around the world.

      It can happen, its just that its not the normal, and i don;t think they will get away with blaming the retailers any more since EA arn’t stocking it at the major one in the uk……

    • Lenderz says:

      My dear Milky1985, you’re making a few mistakes. Firstly you’re confusing the EU for the UK, most large internationals make agreements which cover a territory, rather than individual companies when it comes to distribution and retail. The EU is a single market, and it make sense that EA’s agreements with distributors and retailers effect the whole territory, and potentially EMEA. That means that a deal made with a French or German retailer might affect the UK, and visa versa, and these agreements will be signed to run for years.

      Secondly, I never stated there haven’t been exceptions to the rule, but a question was asked as to why the UK has to a wait a few days, and as I explained, its due to traditional agreements between EA & channel. Traditionally the US restocked shelves on Monday/Tuesday and in the EU it was Thursday Friday, distributors rather deliver all games at once one day per week rather than making individual deliveries for different games on different days just to enable global releases so it made sense, particularly in the days before DD.

      When you see consoles using DD as their main (only?) distribution method (perhaps generation after next) you’ll likely see more global release dates rather than territory release dates.

      There will still be exceptions to the rule however, and I never claimed otherwise.

      Good day sir.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @Lenderz

      Well done for ignoring exceptions to the rules, i mean they obviously don’t mean anything and theres no precendents set by this. Its like ignoring the people who die during medical trials because they are the exceptions not the rule, they obviously don’t mean anything right.

      I feel however i should congratulate you for winning the award for most condesending idiot of the year award. Impressive as its only March but the level was so high that anyone else who follows will simply get a runners up prize.

    • Lenderz says:

      Milky1985, honesty I’m sad you feel that way. But not too sad, so not to worry.

      God forbid someone is in a position to know something you don’t, or don’t like, I didn’t mean for it to upset you, if you’d like to talk to someone about it i’d suggest councilling as you seem a little emotionally weak.

    • Highstorm says:

      @Milky

      I think you took that prize yourself there, mate.

  6. Anthile says:

    What difficulty did you play this on? I think Bioware said they wanted the game to be harder than ME2.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Hard != grind.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Although on higher difficulties in 2 the damage you took really started to climb, so you could spend less time popping out of cover actually doing stuff. The only real game-changer was Hardcore from Veteran, as it gave everyone a secondary health bar, even if they were fairly weak. This meant you could no longer just stroll into a room and pull everyone to fly through the air.
      You just had to incinerate/overload/warp the lot of them first. :D
      Though really, I much prefer playing on Hardcore on 2, as it means you have to co-ordinate squad powers more due to having to strip the extra bars from even the lowliest of enemies before you can unleash your most devastating powers. Even if it does present some oddities like escaped prisoners having shields…

  7. Tom De Roeck says:

    I think this might be the first one I buy.

    (as long as I dont need origin to play it)

    • kregg says:

      Good news for you: you can save that money in your wallet, as you’ll need to use Origin to play it.

    • Kadayi says:

      Complaining about Origin was so last year. Get with the times.

    • Stromko says:

      2012 is still the year of complaining about Origin, for me anyway. EA hasn’t had anything else compelling enough on the service to make me swallow their throbbing, spiked EULA and the janky failure-prone launcher that it’s bundled with.

      I love Mass Effect, so it sucks, but I’m going to have to wait and hope. In a year or two when I can get ME3 really cheap, it might be worth it.

  8. Crimsoneer says:

    I’m ridiculously bitter about this slow EU release date. I know it’s childish of me, but seeing ALL OF TWITTER playing this, and having to wait until Friday, is bloody infuriating.

    Glad to hear it’s good :) I’ve got a romantic subplot to finish off!

  9. DogKiller says:

    I’ve heard there’s a lot of cinematic dialogue in the game, ie no choosing your responses, or when you do, it’s simply between a paragon and a renegade choice. Bioware lost my custom with all their stupid marketing stunts, DLC, DA 2 and SWTOR. That said, I don’t think we’re going to get the real story on the game until a few weeks later when everybody has had a chance to play through it, so I’m trying to keep an open mind.

  10. Silver says:

    I don’t care about Shepard surviving – I care about others. To do their after-war s#it..

    • Magus44 says:

      Shepard sacrificing his/herself to keep the galaxy and the rest of the crew could be one of the most moving moments in gaming history.
      Years creating and experiencing their world and story, could be an interesting finale.

    • Diogo Ribeiro says:

      Nothing that Baldur’s Gate hasn’t done, then.

    • InternetBatman says:

      @Magnus By moving I think you mean gratifying. Shepard is and remains a block of wood, a blank cipher for the player to see the rest of the amazing universe through. Mass Effect was honestly the first game I’ve played where I hated the main character but liked the game.

      They’re going to use the universe again, I just hope they pick a more interesting main character next time.

    • Kadayi says:

      I’m fully expecting Shepard to go down with the ship on this one (for reals) so tbh who survives is more important.

  11. Silver says:

    use proxy if u want unlock game earlier:
    for e.g.

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1038459219#post1038459219

    it works, EA doesn’t care for this, only if u have bought the game or not and their moneybags are too small for them.

    • PoulWrist says:

      You say that like it’s a bad thing. I’m sure they are annoyed that they can’t do global releases as well. But now with GAME no longer stocking their games, I figure there’s soon no other retailers left…

  12. felisc says:

    hey Jim, did you play with that infamous first day prothean dlc ? if it is the case : how important is it to the story ? I think my purchase will depend on this, they certainly won’t see my money if the dlc is crucial.

  13. Maldomel says:

    Now I really wanna play it too. But I never finished the second one. What I am gonna do now, I’m incapable of rushing rpgs…

  14. NathanH says:

    If you increased the difficulty to the highest levels in ME2, it changed the theme of combat quite significantly, from destroying all who oppose you to hiding and whittling down. I quite liked that, but the default of being an avatar of annihilation was definitely the best way to play through first. Sounds like the default in this game is now the harder version, so perhaps choosing low difficulty might be sensible for the first play through.

    Did you try dropping the difficulty and seeing how that changed the way it played?

  15. John Connor says:

    Any comments on the textures or graphics in general?

    • Zenicetus says:

      Textures like the surface of Shep’s armor in the intro scenes are better than we saw in the PC demo. It’s still a little blotchy, but not as bad as the demo.

      Overall, the graphics look very good, especially the outdoor environments (the interiors I’ve seen so far, have that plastic future architecture look from the previous games). Some of the interface elements like the skills screen and weapon mod screen have that big console screen look with unnecessarily large text, but it’s not too bad.

      I’m getting super smooth frames rates (i7 with 560Ti at 1600×1200), and so far the game has been rock-solid. So in that respect, I can’t complain.

  16. DennisK4 says:

    Mass Effect 3 is the darkest and most urgent of the games

    Damn

  17. wodin says:

    Story mode for me.

    • Birdman Tribe Leader says:

      Is there anyone here who has actually played Story mode yet? Reading this review, I’m really leaning toward playing Story mode when I finally get around to ME3, but I’d like there to still be enough combat that it doesn’t feel ridiculous. I never found the combat in the first two games particularly compelling, and one of the reasons I preferred ME2 was that there were fewer long grindy corridors. So I’d love to just cut 50-70% of the fights. But I am afraid that the Story mode might be so pared down that it feels incongruous with the war-focused plot.

      I also still like customizing my character progression and equipment, and I hope Story mode doesn’t cut that out.

    • Fumarole says:

      If Story mode is added retroactively to the first game I might actually enjoy it, then pick up the second and third. But until that happens the game will forever remain on my never to be completed list.

  18. Zenicetus says:

    I agree about the combat. It unlocked here this evening. I’ve only played the first off-Earth mission, and I already hate the combat. It was okay in the first two, but what Jim says about a grind against high hit-point enemies is true. It’s a grind, it’s just not that fun because it’s so repetitious And I’m barely into the game (sigh).

    On the positive side, it’s very well produced, no bugs at all that I can find so far, and it’s easy to get into if you’ve played the first two. The mantling/cover mechanics are a little different but not that hard to get used to. Weapon upgrades are handled a little differently, and there’s now a weight penalty for carrying too many different types of guns, which is interesting. There are *lots* of little plot exposition mini cut-scenes that interrupt the action, but they’re short and keep things moving along.

    But that constant, repetitive combat… ugh. It’s bringing back memories of the Deep Roads in the First Dragon Age, and I’ve barely started the game. Sorry if this is sounding like a downer. The production values are spectacular, and it’s a very polished game. But you’e better like shooting stuff, over and over, and over.

    P.S. this is on the “normal” Mass Effect mode, as in previous games.

    • NathanH says:

      Would you mind trying to turn the difficulty down a notch for a bit and see if that helps?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I’m shutting down for the night, but I’ll try that tomorrow and report back. Maybe just wading through the necessary combat a little faster will improve the flow of the game.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      i’m curious about that too.

      i found,if you played on normal in me2, it was too easy and you didnt get to use enough of all the cool abilities properly to their fullest, so i play on hard.
      but if me3 is too much of a high hp/grind/boss fight type thing all the time, i might stick to normal.

    • Kadayi says:

      I guess the intention was to up the ante, this being the third act, but I must admit citing the Deep roads isn’t encouraging in terms of the combat aspect. Still Combat is only half the equation. The storyline is what interests me more.

  19. sophof says:

    Nice review, looks like you’ve had the same experience with the games I’ve had: a sort of grudging love :P
    I’m going to wait for a price drop and then play it on story mode. I’m curious if this will work for me, since I’m usually the kind of player that starts on hard. Recently however I for instance dropped the difficulty in skyrim and stopped hoarding stuff to get gold entirely and I enjoy myself so much more… I realised these parts were just grinds without any real strategic meaning or challenge.

  20. Lars Westergren says:

    >What I am saying is that, yes, Mass Effect 3 is the darkest and most urgent of the games. The story is bold and ruthless, and I enjoyed it enormously.

    Well…ok. People said the first two games were incredible and great, and I don’t want to be a negative ninny here, but for some reason I never connected emotionally with them. And as you said, combat didn’t feel very satisfying either. Not enough tactical complexity, too much repetetive bang-bang. I feel like an atheist at an evangelical meeting. People seem so joyous, good for them, but I just can’t feel it myself.

    After such a positive review from RPS, I think I’ll give this a try despite being burned twice (three if you count DA2), but if this is another disappointment, I swear it will be the last Bioware game I’ll play in a long time.

    • Harlander says:

      People seem so joyous, good for them, but I just can’t feel it myself.

      In the end, you like what you like, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      A lot of people swear by Baldur’s Gate, for example, whereas I just swear at it.

  21. Stevostin says:

    Considering praising the story and mocking the combat was pretty much my last comment on a ME thread, I 100% approve this review. This will make a great -50% buy (I pay full price for Skyrim because it features ~300h of gameplay so anyone thinking they can sell me 30h including 20 of grinding for the same price lives in Oz).

    • Werthead says:

      SKYRIM is very much an exception when it comes to the size/length of games. It’s an outlier, and judging other games by it seems a bit odd, especially given that the 20-30 hours of ME3 is still far bigger than most games these days (hello, 6-hour console shooters!).

      This complaint always reminds me of the fact that I spent £34.99 on MONKEY ISLAND 2 – a six-hour game taking less than a year to develop for a few hundred thousand dollars – brand new in 1992. Because of inflation alone (let alone the rising costs of development), we PC gamers should be paying a lot more than £30 for games now, and it’s extremely fortunate that prices have stayed down (despite STARCRAFT II and THE OLD REPUBLIC’s attempts to drag them up). But moaning because a brand new game – that cost tens of millions of dollars and took more than two years to develop and is much bigger than most games around – is retailing for just the average price of a new game seems rather pointless.

      • Wut The Melon says:

        Beg to differ. Skyrim’s biggest flaw, In My Honest Opinion, was that it seemed to think quantity was so much more important than quality. I’m at level 20-odd and just can’t bring myself to get down to playing it, and I doubt I will ever complete the main quest. There’s just not enough story, enjoyable gameplay or anything to drive me forward, so I just admired the admittedly huge and fantastic (after modding : P) landscape and cities of Skyrim, but a sense of progression in story or combat just doesn’t have any impact if neither (again, IMHO) rises above MMO level.

  22. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I never got a mode select screen & am a bit worried about that, could it be cause i imported a save?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I didn’t get it either on an imported save, so that must bypass it.

      You can still set those options at any time using the Options screen. For example, the level below “Casual” combat difficulty is “Narrative,” and you get the choice to bypass dialog choices on another options screen.

  23. MuscleHorse says:

    I think I fell in with the pesimism that many people here had for ME3. The marketing, variations on DLC and uninspired trailers (and Dragon Age 2) made me feel that Bioware had dropped the ball. Sounds like our fears were unfounded and I couldn’t be happier.
    I think I’ll be replaying ME2 first, however, as it was ages ago and I accidentally got the crew of the Normandy (not my NPC allies) killed, which marked me as a renegade – not something my paragon Adept blonde bombshell would do.

  24. Proximity says:

    If combat is really taking that long then I feel like you’re not taking advantage of the complexity of the system. Use your biotic explosions, your tech bursts, your fire explosions, and proper ammo types. I’ve heard grumbles about the length of combat in the second one, and it has apparently been exacerbated for the third. To me, that sort of delay is a type of punishment for not utilizing your tools at their potential.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      definately.
      the tech and bio abilities where so much fun and actually felt like the proper way to do things in a fight rather then just shoot.
      the more i am forced to use correct ammo and bio and tech tactics the better.

    • InternetBatman says:

      To be fair, he says that his build is useless in the later game, which means that he’s using unoptimized weapons. JE Sawyer has a lot of discussions about this type of thing on his formspring, and he basically says that when a game requires knowledge of the game that a first time player couldn’t have to make an effective build, there has been a serious design failure.

    • NathanH says:

      That’s certainly true, Batman, but on the other hand I would say that if you play a guns’n'conversation game and spend your points on something that is neither guns nor conversation, then you are playing with fire. There’s a certain metagaming charm about such things sometimes. I find myself choosing abilities based on which abilities I expect the game to be well-balanced for. It’s quite interesting that by knowing stuff about games you can usually work out a risk-averse build.

      I’d rather people were more open about the rules to their games, of course, but all the cool kids don’t seem to like that.

  25. CMaster says:

    So in other words it continues the pattern we’ve seen so far. Engaging and dramatic, but also dissapointing in many ways. SO I guess I’ll continue with my pattern so far and wait for it to cost <£10

  26. Apples says:

    It’s a shame really that they chose a story that had to ramp up to such galaxy-ending levels. My favourite parts of the previous games (and Bioware games in general) was just chilling around alien worlds, doing sidequests and talking to the different races, buying souvenirs for my ship, getting to know my team. But now of course all the locations are going to be blown up and nobody’s going to (plausibly) have time for standing around chit-chatting ): I’m sure the storyline will be engaging, but in a dramatic, ‘epic’, time-restricted way, which is not really what I’m into.

    And of course I’ll still buy it because after investing around 60 hours in the 2 previous games, how can I not?

  27. Hoaxfish says:

    by the end of the game I sort of wish that I had. I started to think about John’s skippable combat nonsense.

    Sounds like it’s as much of an argument against as it is for skipping. Could you imagine reviewing the game with skipped combat (simply ignoring it), or do you think the game would be even better if the combat was tightened up?

    • Apples says:

      What. WHAT. So not only have they intertwined day-one DLC with the main story of the game, they’ve also intertwined multiplayer with it? These are nonsensical design decisions, turning optional content into required content and the game into more of a job where you have to play how they say and not how you want., but can only do that if you give them extra money on top of the admission price. Especially if you’re playing on the Xbox and need Gold for multiplayer. Ughhhh.

    • Flint says:

      This… doesn’t really sound nice, and I was majorly addicted to the multiplayer on the demo so it’s not negativity towards the MP itself affecting that opinion. I was hoping to first complete the story mode before sinking time into the multiplayer as the SP is the reason I’ve been waiting for this game, but it looks like that decision might just be actively shooting myself on the foot, made worse now by actually knowing I’m doing so. I really don’t like the idea of splitting my time between the two (I could even call it slightly immersion-breaking for myself regarding the SP) and there’s the risk that this’ll make the multiplayer feel like I’m grinding for a goal rather than just playing for plain fun.

      Hmm.

    • Wizlah says:

      In fairness, it just sounds like multiplayer is a way for people who have not played the first two to balance out decisions they couldn’t have made. If single player of all 3 games offers you the ability to get the least destructive ending through replaying the game, I don’t see that as a problem. That is one of the principle strengths of the series.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      In my opinion it’s sole purpose and the sole purpose of the multiplayer component of all games that have a single player game bundled with a multiplayer game is to stop console players trading in the single player game, that’s not an issue for the PC so they should patch out the “blackmail feature” for us, but they wont.

    • TheWhippetLord says:

      There’s always Plan B for otherwise interesting games that have irritating grindy resource-gathreing bits – cheat like hell. After gathering the materials for one upgrade in ME2 I loaded up a memory editor and gave myself gazillions of each resource. I don’t think I lost anything by doing so.
      In my opinon one of the great strengths of PC gmaing is being able to skip or ‘enhance’ badly designed sections of games by strategic cheating. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but worth considering, Certainly less ‘naughty’ than resurrecting dead minions I’d say.

    • NathanH says:

      This is basically ridiculous. I suppose it is one way to solve the complaints that it’s too easy to get through the end in good order, like in ME2!

    • Bostec says:

      @The Sombrero Kid

      I agree with you on that one about the muiltplayer bit. They did it with Deadspace 2 and they have done it with this game. EA really are trying to crack down on the 2nd hand market.

    • subedii says:

      Like most other people I know, assuming I’m interested, I only ever hit the multiplayer AFTER the singleplayer. And there’s good reason for that too. Multiplayer inevitably implements elements and enemies that you only get later on in the actual SP campaign, it pretty much spoils those things.

      That’s not even my biggest issue. I’m simply not interested in the MP. I don’t care that they’re trying to prevent 2nd hand copies, that doesn’t matter to me, and it should never have been relevant to my singleplayer game. I don’t even really like hoard style modes.

      The manner in which it’s tied in is frankly, stupid. There’s no real story reason there, just literally the fact that playing online acts as a MULTIPLIER for your in-game shenanigans. That’s really just… I don’t even know, they just aren’t even trying to mask it with a coherent mechanic. They are literally saying “Play the multiplayer or else your SP campaign is hurt.”

      This is a BAD DESIGN DECISION. I am not making excuses, there are no “maybe’s” here. I am usually tolerant of a lot of the cheesy things publishers try to foist on us. But this?

      Dear Bioware / EA: Do you simply not WANT people to play this game several years down the line? Is this a desperate attempt to get people to buy the game now rather than later maybe? Because I’m right now I’m declaring: The multiplayer community will probably be outright dead for this in a few years time. So how the heck is anyone supposed to get those multipliers in then? How are they supposed to improve their ending?

      This is a system that actively hamstrings the SP for the most ridiculous reasons.

      “It is possible to get the best ending in single player without playing multiplayer, but it’s twice as hard. All your War Assets only count for 50% of their potential value.”

      Saying it’s optional is rubbish if it has such an incredibly drastic effect on the game like that. And for what? What does a person genuinely lose if they don’t want to play MP? For crying out loud, they’ve given the option to skip conversation choices, to make the combat gameplay non-existent, but they won’t allow you to avoid the MP. It just makes no sense to me.

      Honestly, Day 1 paid DLC shenanigans aside I was still largely jonesing to get this game, because I have enjoyed the series tremendously and ME2 was one of my games of the year. I went on complete media blackout for this title. I didn’t watch any of the trailers (bar the first announcement one), didn’t read any of the previews, didn’t try the demo, I wanted to approach the game completely blind (worked out really well for me in ME2). That’s how certain I was that I’d be getting this game. But now? I don’t know. For me personally, it’s a aspect that I don’t want and I’m not sure I’d be willing to put up with it.

      I’m actually genuinely tempted to simply forget about ME3, and instead get around to finally installing and finishing the Baldur’s Gate trilogy (everyone on my local forum’s been having a massive nostalgia trip on it at the moment). Eliminates my backlog, and well, I won’t have MP forced into my SP game. A single game design decision should never do that, especially for a game I was really looking forward to, and yet, well, here I am. I never thought I’d be here, and I never wanted to be. And that’s just sad.

    • Wizlah says:

      @subedii – the writer in the article quoted points out that you can get that ending in the single-player mode, by making certain decisions along the way in all three games. I would’ve thought that ensures replayability, and specifically does not hamstring the single-player experience. In fact it makes it no different to before – the consequences of your actions in the single-player affect the overall outcome.

      I really can’t see what the fuss is. If you don’t want the multiplayer but want to get the happiest possible ending, you can still do so.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think that article by PC gamer is extremely hypocritical. They can’t decry a major flaw in the game, and then give the game a 93. That’s fishy.

      If you read the review the tone didn’t match the score at all. Games that get 90s don’t have stupid deaths from bad UI, multiplayer hacked into single-player story, have grindy bosses, and tedious fetch quests.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      i dont mind having to play a few co-op rounds to get better war readiness rating but what i want to know is which decisions could i have made in the first 2 games that will affect which race helps out? e.g.Maybe I should i have helped the krogans with the cure in Mordins quest instead of destroying the research?

    • subedii says:

      @ Wizlah:

      No offence, but I am not REPLAYING 3 full freaking games, just to redo decisions, because my decisions in the final game count for literally half of what they should do. I’ve already said I love the ME series, but here’s the thing: I’ve played ME1 once, and ME2 once (and I suspect that’s a major factor in why I haven’t got tired of its aspects), and carried the same character through all that.

      Bad design decision is bad design decision. I will not make excuses for something which is so patently stupid. This decision was not done for the benefit of the singleplayer in any way, shape or form, it was done counter to it, and to be blunt, I cannot see any other reason than purely financial.

      I don’t know, I may still get it in the end, who knows. But I’m not going to pretend this was somehow a good or even passable idea, or that it didn’t just outright KILL a tonne of my enthusiasm for the game the moment I heard it. It’s not like I asked to be disappointed with their decisions.

    • Asurmen says:

      subedii, I’m confused. You do not need to do MP to get the best ending. It’s been mentioned several times in the chat. You do not need to even look at it. So what exactly is your argument?

    • subedii says:

      I was about to write out another massive post, but instead I’m just going to copy-paste Alec Meer and Chris D (just another poster, but he hits the crux of it), and save myself some time:

      Your Military Strength is your War Assets*Readiness. So, yes you may be able to max your war assets but without also maxing readiness by either multiplayer or grinding you still won’t be able to get the highest military strength and therefore the best ending.

      Can’t speak for Craig or Tom (or Jim, who’s completed it for us), but my own experiences of the scanning stuff in the four-ish hours I’ve played so far are that it’s a boring, gotta catch ‘em all thing that’s an even lighter version of the scanning in the ME2. Rather than getting resources for upgrades, you bimble around a 2.5 map in your ship, right-clicking semi-randomly to find loads of ‘hidden’ spots in systems that yield nebulous stuff that adds to the war effort. It’s silly and grindy, and the idea that I have to do it all if I want to get a not entirely horrific ending is not a pleasant one.

      This is a game where they deliberately hurt the singleplayer by deliberately de-valuing those stats in order to try and make the multiplayer a factor in it and get you an improvement on your 0.5 multiplier. The only way to do otherwise is to freaking grind , and I don’t know about you, but I never did that in the first game, and I freaking HATED it in the second because you couldn’t upgrade your ship otherwise, and in this game it’s apparently even more dull.

      This is stupid. It was a bad design decision. What else am I supposed to say? That I thought it was a bold move on their part?

      • Furtled says:

        Keep an eye out, Gibbed’s working on updating the save editor for ME3 so PC players will have a way to ‘fix’ the MP/SP asset imbalance soon enough.

  28. Wizlah says:

    Man, the tone of that review perfectly matches my own feelings about the whole series. It really has been a triumph of writing over an okay bit of world building and a lot of mediocre mechanics. The fact that I like it despite those traits amazes me. But like many here, I doubt I’ll be buying a Bioware game again. They have earned good money out of me with this series, and deservedly so. But that’s it, fellas.

    • Superfluous says:

      If you’re after a triumph of writing then I’m afraid you’re in for a disappointment.

      I’ve tried my hand at this game for about 5 hours now and the one thing that sticks out more than anything else is how bad the writing is compared to the previous games. The lines characters speak don’t match up with what we know of them from previous appearances, their language and personalities seeming at odds with what has come before. Conversations are stilted, the introduction of your Kelly replacement being particularly awkward, and some scenes are just plain bad. The introductory chapter/escape from Earth is a Bayhemian abomination, with the child in the vent being the single most ham-fisted attempt to invoke empathy I’ve seen in the series. On top of this many other parts of the game feel uninspired as well, the environments being small and simple, devoid of life and commotion. Not in a way that makes you feel that there’s an apocalyptic war on, but one that makes you feel that these environments could have been so much more. Old hands pop up as if obliged to, introduced with a nod and little else. The game really feels like it’s just going through the motions and just trying to end the series rather than give it a proper send off.

      It’s not all bad, however. Shepard gets a boatload more development than they did in Mass Effect 2, even if plenty of it suffers from the above complaints, and the combat is solid. I’m going to stick with it and see where the game goes, but if it’s the bleak and inevitable tragedy that this article says it is then the first few hours set the tone all wrong, combining big action spectacle with unconvincing drama.

      Oh, and if you’ve been playing the same Shepard since Mass Effect 1? I hope you didn’t get too attached to their face. If you stuck with the one that was created in the first game then it straight up won’t work in ME3.

    • Wizlah says:

      Yeah, I feel I should qualify that somewhat. I mean writing in the broadest possible sense – there have always been some hackneyed and clunky writing in the series, although no worse than you’ll find elsewhere in gaming. Having said that, they tell a good story against a backdrop which could be said to be fairly unimaginative by sf standards. They make good use of their assets.

      Surprised what you say about shepherd’s appearance. Mine looked a bit different in ME2, but not massively so. Haven’t seen that problem mentioned anywhere else.

    • Superfluous says:

      There’s a huge stink over on the Bioware boards about it. If you’re importing a face created in Mass Effect 2 (one with a face code) then you’re fine. If you stuck with the same face since ME1 then you’re shit outta luck.

      Also, to clarify what I said, the writing I’ve seen so far is worse than that of Mass Effect 1 and 2 by a long shot.

    • Apples says:

      Cripes, how does that make sense? Surely ME1 imported faces must have been converted into ME2 format anyway on import – unless they were doing something very strange and sort of stupid coding/design-wise.

    • Superfluous says:

      They weren’t. When you import an ME1 face into ME2 you don’t end up with a face code. It’s a straight model port, I think, something that ME2 supported but ME3 doesn’t.

    • Screamer says:

      So technically, if you imported the default face into ME2, you can’t use that now? O_o ……. other then now selecting the “new” default face lol

    • subedii says:

      OK seriously? In a trilogy that’s been ALL about bringing choices forward, how on Earth did they simply miss that one?

      The main character? Kind of important. And yeah, I’m one of those people who was planning on importing a character I’ve had since ME1.

    • NathanH says:

      If you used the default face in ME1 then I assume that, instead of importing your face into ME3, you can import the default ME2 face, which is similar to ME1 (and in my opinion a bit better). If you haven’t been using the default face, then you a dirty heretic who deserves all they get.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      I think you’ve been fed bs about the faces, I imported a ME2 save which had itself had the face imported from ME1 & it’s the same face.

    • Alevice says:

      The Sombrero Kid:

      Unfortunately, it was the case for me yesterday. I even explained a but the case on a post below, which is awaiting moderation it seems, but I will rpeots here anyway:

      Have any of you guys played with a character you built from ME1 all the way to ME3? Because I failed to notice any mention of one of the most tragic surprises: ME1 faces can’t be imported into ME3. This has severly pissed me off, and thre is quite a backlash towards that.

      A few relevant links:
      http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/323/index/9513640/1
      http://gamerant.com/mass-effect-3-custom-face-codes-imported-saves-trouble-dyce-137137/
      http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/05/gamers-who-customized-shepard-in-mass-effect-1-may-have-trouble-importing-into-me3/

      Say what you will. To me, this was a huge deal. I invested so much into that character that her face not being able to be imported really frustrates me.

      No, there is no face code for charcaters made in ME1. There are some workarounds, but they are far from accurate.

  29. Forceflow says:

    What are the options when you were so stupid to lose your ME2 save game? How doest he game decide who’s dead and alive?

  30. luckystriker says:

    So if the combat in ME2 was enough to turn me off the game, it’s more of the same in ME3 then?

  31. Stellar Duck says:

    Super important question that will basically decide if I buy the game or not: can you holster your gun?

    • Zenicetus says:

      As far as I can tell, no. You’re stuck running around with the gun in “combat readiness” pose through all the areas where danger lurks. The action is interrupted frequently by mini cut scenes and safe zones in cleared areas, where the gun is always holstered. So it’s not as bad as just running around continuously for an hour with the gun always pointed.

    • NathanH says:

      Why would you ever holster your gun?

  32. Phinor says:

    Am I the only one who didn’t actually get to choose between Action-RPG-Story? Such option was simply not presented to me when I started the game (by importing my ME2 save). I really hope it defaulted to RPG or Story.

    • Superfluous says:

      It defaults to RPG mode if you import, yes. Though you can go fiddle about with the difficulty and narrative options once you’ve started.

  33. Bfox says:

    I don’t blame Hamburger helper wanting to skip playing games if all she’s made to play is Mass effect all day…

  34. Alevice says:

    Have any of you guys played with a character you built from ME1 all the way to ME3? Because I failed to notice any mention of one of the most tragic surprises: ME1 faces can’t be imported into ME3. This has severly pissed me off, and thre is quite a backlash towards that.

    A few relevant links:
    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/323/index/9513640/1
    http://gamerant.com/mass-effect-3-custom-face-codes-imported-saves-trouble-dyce-137137/
    http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/05/gamers-who-customized-shepard-in-mass-effect-1-may-have-trouble-importing-into-me3/

    Say what you will. To me, this was a huge deal. I invested so much into that character that her face not being able to be imported really frustrates me.

    No, there is no face code for charcaters made in ME1. There are some workarounds, but they are far from accurate.

  35. Metonymy says:

    You do understand that this is not a good game, and not a good story right?

    The gameplay consists of 20 year old fps spraying, simplified as much as it can be without becoming a flash game. No surprise for the CoD generation, every gun is a machine gun, every enemy is a humanoid, and every environment looks like a flat, (actually and thematically)streamlined blend of passionless reality and a sterilized toilet bowl. The customization options consist primarily of ‘make my character less like a WW2 soldier and more like the Doom Guy.’ In all things, creativity must worship at the altar of the commonplace. If something isn’t obvious, (actually and thematically) it might confuse the people who are paying money.

    I know that the stewards of this particular website, known for their intelligent writing and broad opinions, do not really believe this dreck, this dross, is noteworthy. The only other conclusion is that they are bought and paid for, and the people like myself, who know better, refuse to ‘look dumb’ by pointing out the obvious.

    This is shameful and disgusting.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      and despite this, its story, characters, and universe, still manage to draw me in and make me care, which is a hell of a lot more then i can say for 90% of all the other god awful AAA titles.
      if you want better writing read a book.

    • Harlander says:

      This is shameful and disgusting.

      It sure is.

      Oh, wait, you were talking about the review?

    • Wizlah says:

      Spambot eat my reply, but it bears repeating. Accusing the writers of this site of being intellectually dishonest is unpleasant, unnecessary and they are well within their rights to get deservedly riled. It’s fucking nonsense. Critique the review if you want, but I come to this site to read reviews like this and the Quinns one of New Vegas. Reviews which will both confirm and confound my expectations, and make me think about both the game in question and the wider issues it raises.

      Really, people have no fucking business accusing the writers here of writing other than what they think. If you want to post that shite, do it somewhere else.

    • NathanH says:

      EA have paid me $50 to tell all your friends that you smell.

    • UncleLou says:

      Or maybe, just maybe, people have different expectations and opinions? I can enjoy a rubbish sc-fi film (like Star Wars) without expecting it to be Kubrick or Truffaut. I can also enjoy genre literature like George Martin (and the TV series) alhough he’s clearly no Thomas Mann and the series is not The Wire.

      And when I say one of my favourite game is Planescape: Torment because of its excellent writing, I am still aware it is pretty rubbish, escapistic nonsense in the grand scheme of things.

      Applying the same criteria to everything will just make you disappointed and bitter. Now we all draw the line differently, and I certainly don’t accept everything, and your treshold might just be different, but when you end up insulting people that have a different treshold, you have to take a long, good look in the mirror.

    • Wizlah says:

      Really, though, it’s not even that he says ‘I don’t like this, therefore you are stupid’. That’s internet standard nonsense which I just blank out. If someone wants to think that way, that’s their business.

      But I get pissed anytime posters say that the writer here doesn’t believe what they’ve just written. Unfounded, self-indulgent pointless cynicism for its own sake is one of the worst, most insulting and invidious traits of the internet and generally speaking doesn’t rear its ugly head here. Anytime it does, it should be stomped on hard.

      It’s just fucking bollix.

    • Apples says:

      I like the idea that they are paid to say things like the combat was rubbish and it was a generic space opera. I guess they’re not getting paid enough?

    • Matt says:

      Not a good story? Perhaps. But apparently it can create compelling situations. Being in a vice between two threats of equally personal and universal stakes can be easily effective. It makes for a good finale. I think the review made that clear, and much more is hardly at issue about the quality of the story. The shooter element does get criticism.

    • Zepp says:

      Imho review wasn’t negative enough despite many flaws the game has. That’s disturbing. :(

    • Kadayi says:

      I’m curious to know whether the OP has played the game himself fully or is merely presuming that RPS must be lying about it? From what I can see it was a fairly measured review. It highlights the good points and that bad. seems to be more a case that you want a bad review in order to justify your own pre-conceptions. Based on the latest pro reviews at http://www.metacritic.com, you’re in for a long wait.

    • Brun says:

      I agree with everything the OP said about the game itself. Despite the fact that I have not yet played it it’s indicative of BioWare’s most recent outings (ME2, DA2), and I don’t really expect that to change in ME3.

      As for his implications about the writers on RPS, I disagree wholeheartedly.

  36. rustybroomhandle says:

    I’ll wait for the movie.

    I never doubted that this would turn out to be a decent game, but EA can suck my puss-filled boils for all eternity.

  37. nrvsNRG says:

    am i right in saying that pad support is not included in me3?
    as much a s i hate too,i’m seriously debating buying it for the 360 just so i can chill and sit back with a pad like i did for the previous two.

    btw i’m loving my second playthru right now, but with arrival and shadow broker.
    .

  38. BobsLawnService says:

    Are the mini games as shitty this time around as they were last time around?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      from what I’ve seen, space travel has been turned into a weird micromachine/lethal kiss-chase… where you drive your tiny ship around while dodging reapers. If caught it is instant game-over.

      Not sure what the other minigames are like

  39. Runs With Foxes says:

    Is that seriously a synthetic dragon boss in one of those screenshots?

  40. Bluerps says:

    I’ve only read the text after the last picture, but it tells me all I need to know (especially since I always liked the combat). I wish I could get out of work next week…

  41. NathanH says:

    The image associated with the “Story” choice seems to suggest that they think their story is mostly about seducing blue women.

  42. DogKiller says:

    You know, given that literally every professional review has given Mass Effect 3, and I don’t like any of what I’ve seen about the game, I’m starting to question whether I should continue considering myself a gamer any more. It’s not really worth kicking my feet at the direction things are going when everybody else loves the games that are coming out. New hobby time?

    • Wizlah says:

      doubt it. there’s more than enough variety on offer in gaming right now.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      You are not alone.

    • bwion says:

      This would be like giving up on gaming because people seem to like sports games, or contemporary military shooters, or difficult platformers, or what have you. I don’t really enjoy any of those things, and I have yet to have any trouble finding games I *do* like.

      There is so much variety out there. So much. Probably more than there has ever been, particularly since we have largely-unfettered access to games from throughout gaming’s history as well as modern entries. If you can’t find anything at all to enjoy in all of that? Then yeah, you should probably find another hobby. But I cannot believe you can’t find anything at all to enjoy in all of that.

    • DogKiller says:

      Perhaps giving up gaming is a bit overkill and melodramatic. I suppose I feel like I’m getting squeezed out of modern gaming. All my favourite games and series are being changed to suit a wider demographic, but yes, you are right, I still have those old games I like and I still play them regularly.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      “You know, given that literally every professional review has given Mass Effect 3, and I don’t like any of what I’ve seen about the game, I’m starting to question whether I should continue considering myself a gamer any more. It’s not really worth kicking my feet at the direction things are going when everybody else loves the games that are coming out. New hobby time?”

      Nah, it’s just what happens in every medium and genre, as the giant conglomerate producers try to secure mass-market appeal. I had a similar experience looking through the SF/F racks at my local megachain bookstore the other night: Based on what’s available there, you’d think that every good book is either part of a 20 volume series, a tie-in, or another generic tale of fairies/werecreatures/vampires/elves/space soldiers.

      In the past, gaming itself was sort of a niche thing, and was aimed at aficionados with niche interests. Now that gaming as a whole is aimed at mainstream audiences, you just need to find the niche producers who are still making games with the same passion and focus as companies did in the past. Indies, eccentric publishers like Paradox, that sort of thing.

      There are amazing games out there, some of the best and most interesting ever made in almost every genre imaginable – and it’s possible to support their creators directly without having to fund some faceless corporation somewhere. It’s an exciting time to be interested in games, you just have to be willing to look beyond the AAA titles.

      Not that there aren’t a lot of good AAA titles out there too, they’re just not the only game in town.

      I only wish the music and book industries were this exciting and vibrant. They’re still hamstrung by the old publishing model, and it’s not as easy to find and support good self-published or indie stuff yet. Hopefully soon, though!

  43. DK says:

    Any praising of the story is utterly worthless because they BROKE the story in Mass Effect 2 (retconning Mass Effect 1) and did the same in Mass Effect 3.

    That’s apart from the fact that the actual writing is crappy. They turned the Normandy AI into a SEXBOT because Bioware can only write immature attempts at “mature” writing.

  44. BobsLawnService says:

    I must say, I really hated the combat of ME2 (ME 1 was alright.), I hated the mini games, I thought the story went off the rails and the environments were little more than crates within crates.

    Yet a tiny piece of me wants to play this to see what happens next.

    I don’t get it.

  45. InternetBatman says:

    I’d also like to know what difficulty you played at. In Normal Mass Effect I was only forced into using cover in the last few levels. I do think that Bioware’s design philosophy has shifted to a content – fight – content system of doling out the two in blocks. This is a problem because bioware always gets praised for its story, which is leaving them to critically neglect the combat portions of their games. It also seems like they’ve taken a lot of the game elements out of conversation as well as the normal game.

    • Apples says:

      This is exactly the structure of their games – or, in this one, if you’re a total fool, the structure is “fight – cutscene – fight”. It’s a miserable way to design games, and sadly one that is quite common. When I think back to ME, 60% of it just seemed like padding; Shepard trying to walk from point A to point B but being accosted by 20 waves of geth on the way.

      Certain fights like the one with Kal’Reegar shooting at the Geth colossus, or against Matriarch Benezia, had a point and purpose to them and were memorable. The player had a clear goal in mind while fighting and that goal was not “get to the next room full of enemies.” But there were long slogs through Noveria or Virmire where I basically forgot what my objective was, only that there were thousands of enemies between me and it. The fighting was kind of satisfying in a shallow “pressing buttons is fun” way but it didn’t really add that much, despite forming the main chunk of gameplay. Those sections didn’t feel like actual content and I can’t imagine they did even if you really love pressing buttons, since there are far better games for that. There has to be a better way!

  46. Stardog says:

    No mention of whether the Field of View is adjustable or not?

    Oh, wait, this is games journalism. I forgot.

    Feel free to leave out the important technical details.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Games-journalism as opposed to games-aspergerism?

      Let’s face it, if after reading the review your decision to purchase the game is based on whether the field of view can be adjusted then it probably isn’t for you anyway, and if you really wanted to know if it could be adjusted then it would have taken you barely any longer to post a question on one of the many Mass Effect 3 forums out there then to whinge about it here.

      • NorfTehBarbarian says:

        Oh fuck off. Do you even know what Aspergers actually is? I’m so tired of seeing it used as a catch all for morons who don’t agree with the point of view of someone else.

        If dude wants to ignore the game because of a lack of technical options (this -is- a PC gaming site after all), that’s his right and it’s a fair question to ask. Honestly, I think this game should be ignored for many reasons (starting with Origin and ending with Bro-Dude Vega).

  47. aircool says:

    Never finished either of the previous ME games. Combat was rubbish and I found myself persuing every dialogue option available to me in case I missed something useful whilst totally forgetting anything that was actually said.

    It was kinda like using all your fingers as bookmarks in a Fighting Fantasy book (remember those?), whilst not bothering with the combat in case you died.

    To be honest, I prefer the SWTOR way of delivering the dialogue and story.

  48. TheLupineOne says:

    I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favourite “Wot I Think” in The Citadel.

  49. Iskariot says:

    I am really missing the option to be able to fight for the reapers and helping them clean the universe of all organic polution.

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