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I'm Lily and this is my favourite game in the series!
Most of the conversation relating to Mass Effect 3 nowadays revolves around the mixed reception of the ending It's truly tragic that the debate over the ending overshadows the epic masterpiece that is Mass Effect 3.

The gameplay of ME3 is greatly refined, creating what is easily the best customization and combat experience of the series. Whereas ME1 buried you under a mountain of items, upgrades, and talents while ME2 stripped you down to bare basics, ME3 strikes an excellent balance. There's a large variety of weapons and five modifications for each class of weapon. The previous games barred training and outright use of a weapon based on class respectively; ME3 allows any class to use any weapon, giving greater customization to classes and allowing the player to balance between weaponry and power cooldowns. Powers are revamped; each power and class talent tree has six levels with two options for the last three levels, allowing you to fine-tune your powers' performance and functionality. Melee attacks are improved on, allowing melee combos and powerful class-unique heavy melee abilities. The enemies are challenging but rewarding to defeat—their AI is smart and merciless, working together to flush you out of safe cover and cover their individual weaknesses.

ME3 doesn't disappoint when it comes to storytelling. The game is the culmination of over 1,000 variables based on your decisions over the previous games. Watching the fates and emotions of the universe, old friends, and even Shepard is breathtaking and heartrending. You're forced to make several difficult decisions that influence the fate of entire races, with your options based on what you've done in the previous games. Your choices determine what War Assets you have available; the greater your War Assets, the better the outcome of the final battle. No matter what your choices, you'll have many come to reward you in the war and some to end up biting you in the rear. There's plenty of times where ME3 left me in awe, laughter, and sorrow.

The hard work and love that went into ME3 is very evident. It's a epic and thrilling conclusion to the masterpiece that is the Mass Effect series and a must-play for shooter-RPG fans.
The title sounds like something from an AA meeting,which only confirms everything I thought about tropers.

Decent review, and glad to have you amoung us. I noticed you didn't comment on the ending. Makes a nice change.
comment #14548 maninahat 1st Jun 12
I like the title. Its one of the better memes from the game.
comment #14694 gibberingtroper 7th Jun 12
"Watching the fates and emotions of the universe, old friends, and even Shepard is breathtaking and heartrending. "

But you don't watch the fates and emotions of those things. Because the ultimate decision of their "fate" doesn't happen until the last decision of the game. From that point on, you have NO IDEA what those peoples' fates are.
comment #14918 KingZeal 18th Jun 12
"Because the ultimate decision of their 'fate' doesn't happen until the last decision of the game."

Considering the krogan/salarian and geth/quarian conflicts, I'd say that your choices then have a much greater impact on those races' fates than the final choice.

The future is not dictated by one thing. Merely because something is not shown does not mean that the player can not infer what the future will hold for the galaxy. I have my own ideas of what the aftermath of the final battle would be like, how the galaxy would recover from the resolution. Just because the aftermath is left up to the player to interpret does not mean that nothing mattered.
comment #14922 lilyxlightning 18th Jun 12
No, that stil doesn't matter, because the last thing you do in the game completely alters what those conflicts mean. How you resolved them doesn't matter anymore. Two thirds of the options make the geth war ultimately pointless (you either destroy the geth or make everybody the same anyway. That changes the entire outcome significantly, but you never see HOW it changes it. Thus, you have no idea what the fates of those two groups are.

Same thing with krogan. Does being synthetic mean they can simply manufacture themselves now like synthetics? If now, then what does being part synthetic MEAN? If so, then you cured the genophage for no reason.

Also, the problem with "inference" in fiction is that there are too many different ways things can be interpreted. Look at the sheer number of things that had to be Jossed by Bioware after the game came out. Some speculation in a story is fine, but too much speculation means that everything becomes headcanon.
comment #14928 KingZeal 18th Jun 12
(Agrees with almost everything you said about the gameplay)

"Watching the fates and emotions of the universe, old friends, and even Shepard is breathtaking and heartrending."

Zeal already covered this better than I could.

"You're forced to make several difficult decisions that influence the fate of entire races, with your options based on what you've done in the previous games."

You get two, maybe three difficult choices relating to the fate of races. And even those difficult decisions are canceled out by the automatic happy ending you get if you made the right choices. Even the difficult decisions often aren't a decision of "pragmatism vs idealism" like is usually touted. Example: do you cure the genophage, losing vital support, because it is the right thing to do, or screw over the primitive dinosaur men to get a fleet of dreadnoughts? In truth, it doesn't matter; turns out that infantry are more effective than dreadnoughts against Reapers, so you don't lose assets. And you can get both of their support anyway.

"Your choices determine what War Assets you have available; the greater your War Assets, the better the outcome of the final battle."

No. The battle itself turns out nearly the same, bar one or two tiny cutscenes that are changed. The only thing that changes is which color starbrat allows you to choose.

"No matter what your choices, you'll have many come to reward you in the war and some to end up biting you in the rear."

No. You can definitely get a 100 % perfect "everyone comes to help" scenario, but all it does is one, change one or two cutscenes in the final battle, and two, save you from either playing multiplayer or scanning everything (seriously, why did this random asari scientist I found on an asteroid give me fifty points?). And, as said, in the end all that you get is three different colors and an Inferred Holocaust.

Also, I see that you don't mention replay value, which is usually a big part of this series. I, personally, found this game very hard to replay, for a variety of reasons. The constant scripted sequence that play out the same each time (not just autodialogue), the long slogs with little actual gameplay that become pointless when you know the story twist (Rachni mission and the geth mind), the scanning minigame in general, the sidequests with no shooting whatsoever that require walking from place to place, etc. You also didn't say anything about the way characters act (which I felt was... illogical) the lack of boss fights, or multiplayer, but maybe those just aren't your thing.
comment #14939 CPFMfan 18th Jun 12
"No. The battle itself turns out nearly the same, bar one or two tiny cutscenes that are changed. The only thing that changes is which color starbrat allows you to choose."

Your Effective Military Strength determines Earth's fate after the activation of the Crucible. Having a low EMS will result in heavy damage or even complete destruction of Earth. Your choice also factors in: Control is less likely to leave Earth severely damaged than Destroy. Most people don't realize this because they finished the game with enough EMS to get the "best" ending bracket, where all choices are available and none result in severe damage to Earth.

"Also, I see that you don't mention replay value, which is usually a big part of this series."

Personally, Mass Effect 3 has given the entire series more replay value for me. As soon as I finished my first playthrough, I made a run through the entire series rather than take a previously-completed ME2 game. I liked seeing how the choices I made in each playthrough affected the story and characters in 3. I already have two more playthroughs of 3 planned: a Soldier Jerkass!Shepard (who's going for Jack) and an Adept Stupid!Shepard (who's going to go for Tali... X3).

To be fair though, my opinion on replay value can be inferred from the review and the title. I'd even go as far as saying that ME3 was one of the most satisfying and enjoyable games I've ever played.

"You also didn't say anything about the way characters act..."

I enjoyed the character interactions. I think I mentioned it briefly (400 words is a tight limit).

"...the lack of boss fights..."

I didn't mind the lack of boss fights. 3 had its share of challenging enemies to fight like Banshees and Atlas mechs. I didn't care about no final boss, since the final bosses of the other games are kinda dull.

"...or multiplayer"

I hadn't played much (or any—I can't actually remember when I started playing it X3) multiplayer at the time of writing this review, since I don't have Xbox Live. I have played a few matches, and it's pretty fun.

(Yeah, I think this response is more than 400 words. That limit is stupid. XD)
comment #14956 lilyxlightning 19th Jun 12
Game has ZERO replayability for me — because I know that in the end, none of the decisions matter.

And I have full paragon and full renegade male!shepard and female!shepard savefiles...(from all the way ME 1 and ME 2) and I cannot bring myself to play the game anymore because of how futile it is.

And I ended with close to 7000 EMS by the time I reached the ending on my first gameplay.

The gameplay itself is awesome. But I cannot bring myself to play it again.
comment #14957 Klaudandus 19th Jun 12
Ditto.

The problem is that the game ultimately ends with the idea of changing deck chairs on the Titanic. Yeah, it looked nice, but the ship still sank.

The lack of any TRUE closure for any of the characters/races/factions that I cared about kills any motivation to replay the series at all.
comment #14959 KingZeal 19th Jun 12
"know that in the end, none of the decisions matter."

There's only so many times that I can point out that that is completely wrong. If it helps you sleep better at night telling yourself that, please do so.
comment #14961 lilyxlightning 19th Jun 12
How is it wrong? As detailed, most of the endings make everything completely pointless and violates their themes, and all end with an Inferred Holocaust and no closure.
comment #14967 CPFMfan 19th Jun 12
"most of the endings make everything completely pointless"

Does Earth's fate turn out the exact same way no matter what your EMS is?

Do the geth and quarians exist no matter what choice you make at the end? Do they suddenly reappear by "space magic" if you decided to side against them?

Does the genophage magically get cured in all of the endings?

Do all of the squad members who may have lost their lives come back to life in the ending?

"violates their themes"

Again, this is another one of those arguments that no one ever bothers to support, usually based on the delusion that the Catalyst is intended to be "right" for some reason. You also have to wonder why this is an issue when nothing obligates you to play a Shepard whose choices follow the themes of the series.

"all end with an Inferred Holocaust"

If you're pessimistic. Considering everything that happens throughout 3, it's stupid to assume that the ending would have been all sunshine-and-flowers. Personally? My interpretation of the ending is that the galaxy would be crippled initially, but they would eventually adapt. They would likely already have the technology to replace the Mass Relays or improve their ships' FTL drives—after all, the Mass Relays were a trap by the Reapers so that galatic civilization would develop as they intended.

"no closure."

I saw the closure of countless plot arcs throughout 3. And the ending brought closure to the war against the Reapers and their cycles of destruction.
comment #14973 lilyxlightning 20th Jun 12
"Does Earth's fate turn out the exact same way no matter what your EMS is?"

Why do you think anyone cared about Earth? We barely spent any time there. Just because it's where we actually live? That's not how it works. Not a single important character is even implied to be ON Earth at the very end.

"Do the geth and quarians exist no matter what choice you make at the end? Do they suddenly reappear by "space magic" if you decided to side against them?"

No, they just get stuck in the Sol system, on the other side of the Galaxy, with no relays to take them back home.

"Does the genophage magically get cured in all of the endings?"

Do we get to see what happens with the Krogan either way?

"Do all of the squad members who may have lost their lives come back to life in the ending?"

No, but the ones that lived flee the battle for unexplained reasons and get stranded on a planet that can in no way be habitable for all of them, with the Normandy apparently busted. Yay, you saved Rannoch for Tali, too bad she'll never be able to return there.

"Again, this is another one of those arguments that no one ever bothers to support, usually based on the delusion that the Catalyst is intended to be "right" for some reason."

If it is or isn't right doesn't matter, what matters is that, for the first time ever, Sheppard can only do as he is told by the antagonist. You can't fight, you can't argue, you can only pick one of the options that it LET'S you pick.

"You also have to wonder why this is an issue when nothing obligates you to play a Shepard whose choices follow the themes of the series."

How you play doesn't dictate the themes, that's determined by how the story at large is set up. Sure, there was the theme of sacrifice here and there, but up until now it was also about defiance in the face of superior powers trying to impose their will, which is why it was so jarring that in the end all you could do was submit. Sure, that is an aesop in and of itself, but can you honestly not see why people are not happy with it?

"If you're pessimistic. Considering everything that happens throughout 3, it's stupid to assume that the ending would have been all sunshine-and-flowers. Personally? My interpretation of the ending is that the galaxy would be crippled initially, but they would eventually adapt. They would likely already have the technology to replace the Mass Relays or improve their ships' FTL drives—after all, the Mass Relays were a trap by the Reapers so that galatic civilization would develop as they intended."

Wether or not the galaxy recovers is irrelevant if we don't get to see it, because everything in the galaxy that we had come to know and care for is either gone, or irreversibly changed. We didn't fight for the galaxy or organic life per se, we fought for the characters, places and factions that we grew to care for. Meta as that may be but the writers of ME 2 understood that, hence the line in Mordin's dialogue. The writers of ME 3 apparently didn't get it. Whatever the galaxy will be like in the future it will be so different that we can't really imagine it, much less care about it if they don't even show it to us.

"I saw the closure of countless plot arcs throughout 3. And the ending brought closure to the war against the Reapers and their cycles of destruction."

... and then took away what little closure that gave by changing everything about the galaxy and not telling us how that turned out, stranding all the people we cared for on some unknown planet via plot contrivance and generally ended the FINAL installment of a trilogy on something that can charitably be described as a Sequel Hook, and they even had the balls to make the very last screen you see say "buy more DLC".
comment #14977 McSomeguy 20th Jun 12
Yeah, all of the closure we got in ME 3:

  • Ended the geth/quarian war, in whatever way we could.
    • Only for two endings to either kill the geth anyway or make the war pointless by merging everyone into bio-synthetic beings. We now know nothing about the fate of either of these races.

  • Ended the krogan genophage to give them a second chance on the galactic scene.
    • Only for the krogan to be cut off from the rest of the galaxy anyway, thus rendering their franchise-long character development moot. Also, Synthesis ending turns them into a new species which either A) means they can manufacture each other like synthetics or B) means that synthetics can breed naturally. The first option makes the cure pointless.

  • Finally got the various species to work together and for the Council to end its complacency.
    • Only for all travel and communication to be wiped out (comm buoys use the relays to work, so when the relays went boom, the comm buoys did too), thus making galactic civilization impossible. It would be like if the world suddenly went back to medieval-level technology. The number of ways this screws society is an Inferred Holocaust. Thus, we have NO IDEA what happened to those people.

  • Helped countless people and refugees on the Citadel.
    • The Citadel blows up in 2/3 endings. So much for those people.

  • Solved the problems of several squadmates.
    • They're stranded on some random planet or on Earth. Tali will never see her homeworld, Liara no longer has any family or career, Garrus will never see his father or sisters again, Ashley will never see her mother or sisters again (whom she was VERY close to, I remind you), and let's not even get into the problems that people like Miranda, Jacob, Kasumi or Zaeed will face. So yeah, no closure there, either. Except for Joker...who can finally bone his robot chick. Yay?
comment #14979 KingZeal 20th Jun 12
The defense for ME 3 sounds more like an IGN shrill more than anything else.
comment #14980 Klaudandus 20th Jun 12
... you people are aware that you're not going to change my mind, right?

So there's really no need to hi-jack this review so that you can bitch about the ending. Turning rabid at the sight of someone saying something good about a game is just pathetic.
comment #14981 lilyxlightning 20th Jun 12
So why do you people bother about this? Arguing about the endings, or just any topic that wouldn't go anywhere, is like wrestling with a pig. Eventually, you'd come to realize the only thing you would accomplish is getting covered in the pig's own crap. And the pig is enjoying it.
comment #14982 Nord 20th Jun 12
''... you people are aware that you're not going to change my mind, right?

So there's really no need to hi-jack this review so that you can bitch about the ending. Turning rabid at the sight of someone saying something good about a game is just pathetic.''

I don't care about changing your mind. You posted the review, and the comment section allows me to refute your opinions with something resembling logic. I'm not even "rabid", just disagreeing.

Don't like it, don't post it.
comment #14983 KingZeal 20th Jun 12
King Zeal, I understand your frustrations, but is it worth it to argue about the endings when you know it makes things worse? And Lily, likewise with Zeal, but I liked your review and agreed with your interpretation of the endings. Anyway, Lily, what are your thoughts about the upcoming Extended Cut DLC?
comment #14984 Nord 20th Jun 12
"the comment section allows me to refute your opinions with something resembling logic."

Except the sentence you originally quoted has nothing to do with the ending. In fact, I mentioned at the start of the review that the obsession over the ending to the exclusion of everything else about the game was stupid. You saw someone saying good things about the storyline and used it out of context to derail the topic onto something you wanted to soapbox about.

Of course, I'd appreciate it if you did use logic instead of "something resembling logic", because your arguments have all been "no, you're not allowed to think that way, I'm right!"

"what are your thoughts about the upcoming Extended Cut DLC?"

I'm certainly looking forward to it. In my book, Extended Cut = moar Mass Effect, and moar Mass Effect = happinesses. X3 Plus, I'm curious as to how little blue children will factor in...
comment #14985 lilyxlightning 20th Jun 12
comment #14986 Nord 20th Jun 12
Except the sentence you originally quoted has nothing to do with the ending.

Yes it does you mentioned the "fates" of the characters. We don't know what their fates are, because the game intentionally cuts out right at the best part. By your logic, that would be like watching Castaway, and the movie ends when he boards a boat and someone points a gun at him. The ending changes everything about the story, but we don't see how. Thus, you can't say we say shit about the characters' fate.

In fact, I mentioned at the start of the review that the obsession over the ending to the exclusion of everything else about the game was stupid. You saw someone saying good things about the storyline and used it out of context to derail the topic onto something you wanted to soapbox about.

That's nice. It's cool you feel that way. That doesn't mean I'm not going to call it out when I don't agree.

Of course, I'd appreciate it if you did use logic instead of "something resembling logic", because your arguments have all been "no, you're not allowed to think that way, I'm right!"

Except I didn't. I gave you my reasons, but you just resorted to name-calling and finger-pointing when you got tired of arguing. But this is boring. Wake me up when you have something to actually refute.

comment #14989 KingZeal 20th Jun 12
Drop the subject, Zeal. It was dragged on for too long.
comment #14990 Nord 20th Jun 12
How about yo stop playing peacekeeper instead Nord, you're really bad at it.
comment #14992 VeryMelon 20th Jun 12
I'm sorry, Very Melon, but I won't stop being reasonable and acting like the peacekeeper (it's not easy to do so the first time, I can admit that). King Zeal and Lily, I respect your opinions, but if you guys want to continue on with this argument, could you take it someplace else, such as in a PM conversation? Thanks. :)

Anyway, to hopefully change the topic, do you have any additional thoughts for Mass Effect 3 you wouldn't put in the review because of the 400 word limit, Lily? I'm eager to hear more about the game (even though I played it a few times, of course).
comment #15004 Nord 21st Jun 12
Here's the best solution for the ending.

1. Download the extended cut.

2. Do as much as you can before the strike on Cerberus.

3. Train up as many commandos in multiplayer to boost your score.

4. Play through to the ending.

5. Pick Destroy.

Best ending, IMHO. No Inferred Holocaust, expanded ending, the Reapers and Harbinger are Screwed. Over. Shepard lives. The crew and galaxy are in much better shape than first believed. So satisfying to put it over Catalyst\Harbinger.
comment #15258 tsstevens 7th Jul 12
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