It’s been almost 5 years now that Shepard has been waiting for the Reaper invasion and the end of all things organic. Back in 2007 when the original Mass Effect came out for the Xbox 360, I was beside myself in that finally a true sci-fi RPG / Action game had arrived. You see, I played Star Control 2 on the 3DO a few times through and to me that was the ultimate sci-fi game…but with Mass Effect there was the promise of exciting 3rd person shooter gameplay, modern graphics, and a story that I could actually help shape. So as soon as I got my hands on the original Mass Effect, heard the opening song, and began the hunt for the rogue Spectre Saren, I was hooked. The game was everything I had hoped for…well almost, the horrendous loading made the game unbearable at times. I completed the game though and in my mind ended up giving it a score of 9 out of 10.
This takes us to Mass Effect 2, a game that took away much of the beloved aspects of the original. No more Mako, no more inventory management, and to me no real reason to explore. Sure the game overall was still great and my Shepard was able to defeat the collectors, take Jack as his love interest, and save all his crew during the final battle. However, the feeling I got when I first played Mass Effect was just not there anymore. My personal score for Mass Effect 2 was an 8 out of 10.
This brings us to Mass Effect 3 and the battle for Earth and all things organic. Yes, the reapers have come to wipe us all out and they plan on getting started immediately. Quickly, Shepard is thrust into battle as the Reapers descend onto Earth and throughout all of the galaxy, bringing with them Death and Destruction. Yes, its predictable and has been foreshadowed since the early stages of Mass Effect, but seeing all the cinematics throughout Mass Effect 3 really just took the story to another level. Clearly the main purpose of Mass Effect 3 was to finish the story and to tell it in a way that newcomers could understand the shear magnitude and awesome power that the Reapers have at their disposal…and to this they succeeded.
So they succeed in one aspect, great cinematics…now lets take a look at some of the things that just bugged the hell out of me.
- What the hell happened to Jack? Throughout Mass Effect 2, I spent the entire game wooing her, and yet for some reason she is non-existent in my game. I checked out the wiki and where she was supposed to be, yeah she wasn’t there…I know its a bit dumb but it really pissed me off that Jack was not Shepard’s love interest and instead I had to pick one of Liara or Ashley, both of which I wasn’t fond of in earlier games.
- No Mako still. Sure the game is stream lined to get me from point A to B in as little time as possible, but why take out some of the exploration of the planets? I never did understand the hate behind the Mako.
- Loading…..and more……LOADING. How can we still have loading issues? Is the Mass Effect engine that terribly inefficient that I must wait 1 minute or more between each floor of the Normandy, or Citadel? I mean seriously, why could these locations not have been loaded up and cached after visiting them the first time? Unfortunately, the loading screens caused me to ignore certain parts of the game and exploration for the sheer fact that I didn’t want to sit through another loading screen. Inexcusable in my mind, especially seeing what other games from other developers are able to harness with the current generation of consoles.
- Zero Inventory management again. Wasn’t this series supposed to be an action rpg?..keyword: RPG?!?! Also, why do I have to go down in the bowels of the Normandy just to purchase weapons, upgrades, or armor? It takes forever to get down there and back and yet an easy fix could have been a console on the main deck. Am I wrong in thinking this?
- Why did I spend all that time on the iOS Mass Effect 3 game? I got the 100% readiness and yet I am not sure that did anything. I could go off on that app alone but I shall refrain.
- The ending….awe yes the ending. How you teased me so much Mass Effect 3. I dedicated 100′s of hours to this series and even after waiting for the “new” ending DLC, I still get the shaft. Hell, I didn’t even get a trophy for completing the game. Sure I chose to not side with the little kid at the end and go the way of free will, but still should that not count? The lead up to the ending and the story surrounding the game for that matter was top notch and engrossing for sure. Its just the very very end of the game that really felt like crap. I really went into the game with an open mind, and had not picked it up until the “new” ending DLC would be released just so I could have my own opinion and my own gut reaction. I stayed away from all things Mass Effect for the past 9 months or so and yet I end up in the same place as all those other disgusted gamers.
Yes, the trilogy is over, and so is this review. Shepard is dead….long live Commander Shepard!
If only Bioware would have stuck to the original game / promises…perhaps then I would be writing a post of a different tune. Unfortunately, they choose a different route and I am thankfully done with Mass Effect. The score for Mass Effect 3 is a 6 out of 10, and the Mass Effect series as a whole gets an 8 out of 10.
Mass Effect 1 & 2 was played on two different Xbox 360′s (thanks to the red ring of death)
Mass Effect 3 was played on a Xbox 360.
Disclaimer: This review is one I wrote many years ago for one of my old websites that no longer exists.