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Mass Effect 3 back to reviews
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Excellent Game with a Disappointing Ending (Updated for Extended Cut)
Mass Effect 3 improves on both its' predecessors' shortcomings, and while its ending is unsatisfactory, is still an excellent game.

The game, set in a galaxy facing an almost hopeless war against the Reapers, is dark and often tragic, but there are opportunities for you to make a difference and solve long-standing disputes, thereby averting Darkness Induced Audience Apathy. The ambient conversations add to the atmosphere and provide effective drama.

The story is about building an army to stop the Reapers, and as such, this aspect comes into play in your decisions. You must not only ask yourself who should you help, but who can best help you, as some decisions are less practical for your cause. Your choices from the past two games come into play; you may find yourself having to ask for the help of someone you crossed earlier, or your decisions may allow you to gain an otherwise unwilling ally. It does reward people who played the first two games, though, in that some choices are otherwise precluded.

Combat is still an effective blend of action and tactics, and the more diverse enemy types, especially enemies whose abilities complement each other, makes combat interesting by requiring different strategies.

The game has more RPG elements than the second, as it is once again possible to customize weapons, and for the top three ranks of a power, you can choose one of two variations, improving customization. Being able to choose between a larger weapons loadout and shorter cooldown times is also a nice touch. Scanning planets has been streamlined, but it is often tedious to find the people who are requesting the various artifacts you unearth.

Multiplayer is surprisingly entertaining for a late addition to the series, although cooperation is hampered by a lack of communication, and it would have been better if it had not been used to influence your single player army's strength.

The ending is the game's greatest shortcoming, even with the Extended Cut. Without spoiling it, the worst part is that almost none of your decisions besides the strength of your army matter and the ones that do have little noticeable effect. The Extended Cut resolves some of the plot holes and unanswered questions, but it would have nice to see what happens to the main cast and the galaxy in the future. Despite this, Mass Effect 3 is a solid conclusion to the series.
... except that the strength of your army is based on all of the decisions you've made...
comment #15057 lilyxlightning 24th Jun 12
Except that regardless of the strength of your army, you face a Shocking Swerve of epic proportions, which I guess was what this reviwer cited as a flaw.
comment #15059 Anfauglith 24th Jun 12
Yes, the Shocking Swerve was (part of) the reason I disliked the ending, especially considering that you have no choices apart from what the Catalyst offers you.

To clarify, part of my complaints about the ending is that you don't see the longer-term consequences of your individual decisions (in contrast to the ending of the first Dragon Age); as I mentioned in this review and the one I made of Mass Effect 2, I liked that your choices had repercussions in the sequels. For example, if you cured the Genophage, will the Krogan Rebellions start up again with Wrex or Wreav as leader (especially since Wreav is warlike and can be fooled into thinking you cured the genophage)? Will peace between the geth and the quarians last? The fact that you never get to find out is disappointing, and that is without even going into the potential ramifications of the destruction of the mass relays.

As far as I know, three factors affect the ending -Effective Military Strength -Whether you saved the Collector Base in the second game (although if your Effective Military Strength is over 2,650- and I had 6,200 total/3,100 effective before playing multiplayer-, this doesn't matter) -Whether you convinced the Illusive Man to kill himself (although if you have 5,000 EMS or more, this doesn't matter either).

I'll update my review once the DLC comes out, but I doubt the limited choice aspect will be affected.
comment #15063 Valiona 24th Jun 12
On the topic of it being a Shocking Swerve, my general reaction was along the lines of "Oh, the Catalyst is a person, whoop-dee-do. Can I have the keys now?"

Then it gave its little speech, then I was like, "Oh so fascinating. Can I have the keys now?"

And then it told me the options, and I thought, "So I get the keys now?"

Meh, I saw most of it coming. Probably just I'm Genre Savvy, though. "Ah, just plug it into the socket? That's way too easy. There'll probably be something in the way of me getting my keys."
comment #15065 thrashunreal 24th Jun 12
I suppose you could see it coming if you were Genre Savvy, but twists should,, ideally, be predicted by analyzing the cues that foreshadow them, not what would happen in a story of that series/of that genre/by those creators.

Here are some comments about the extended cut:
  • I liked being able to see glimpses of the species in the future, which indicate that the destruction of the Mass Relays didn't cripple galactic civilization and strand the Normandy.
  • The Crucible comes off as a bit of "Space Magic" even with the explanations, and I was disappointed that you couldn't bring up ending the Quarian/Geth war when the Catalyst said war between the creators and their creations was inevitable.
  • Instead of seeing the old man and the kid after the credits, I would have liked to have a chance for Shepard to reunite with the crew (I chose Destroy and had over 6,000 EMS)
  • The memorial wall sequence was touching, especially in showing us the names of everyone who died during the third game, as well as a montage of some of the people who died in this game; I got shown EDI (died from the Destroy Ending), Legion (died from peace between geth and Quarians) and Mordin(died curing the genophage).

By the way, I have a question to anyone who didn't romance anyone or romanced someone other than Liara; who was the last person your Shepard thought of, and who put up Shepard's name on the memorial wall?
comment #15085 Valiona 26th Jun 12
No one did. Tali hesitated, and never actually put the plaque up. Then Shepard breathed. For all intents an purposes, the series ended on a hopeful enough note to suit my needs.
comment #15345 ProfBathrobe 12th Jul 12
Something I just realized about the whole Geth/Quarian thing.

It's not really a good argument to make against the Catalyst's belief that war is inevitable. In fact, it kinda proves his whole point.

The Quarians started the whole uprising because they panicked about the possibility of the Geth overthrowing them the moment they achieved sentience. As a result, the Quarians were driven into space, and the Geth were seemingly content to just ignore them. But then, during ME 3, the Quarians decide to launch a massive offensive to get their homeworld back, and draw Shepard in because the Reapers were backing the Geth. Shepard frees Legion, who then helps Shepard prove the Reapers were basically brainwashing the Geth into helping them, and frees several units to help fight against the Reapers and destroy the main Reaper/Geth base on the homeworld.

So what's the first thing the Quarians do once you defeat the Reaper?

They IMMEDIATELY launch a suicidal offensive against the now-weakened Geth Fleet. There was no moment of indecision, no attempt to try talking to the Geth before the attack. They just rush right in to kill those damn machines and free their planet. Even when Shepard warns them that Legion is going to perform an upload that will give the Geth the ability to destroy the entire Quarian race, they STILL charge in. Why?

Because the Geth are the enemy. The Quarians have been programmed for generations to believe that artificial intelligence and machines like the Geth were evil things that needed to be destroyed. And even with Legion's sacrifice, there is still no way the Quarians will just forget about all that and start being friends again. There will be mistrust and hatred between both sides for generations to come.

If you actually brought it up to the Catalyst, he could just shoot back that you solved one instance, but you haven't erased all that's happened. You haven't solved what caused the Geth to rebel to begin with: mistrust of synthetic life.
comment #15348 dGalloway 12th Jul 12
Except you totally did solve it if you convinced the Admirals to back down. They only wanted to destroy the Geth while Legion was uploading himself because they didn't believe that the Geth wouldn't open fire on them once their moment of weakness was over. Shepard convinced them to take the leap of faith and hold their fire and that leap of faith completely paid of, proving once and for all that the Geth are not hostile by default.
comment #15349 McSomeguy 13th Jul 12
In any case, however the Quarians reacted in that one instance, that instance and all other Quarian/Geth relations in the series have always been played to mirror normal societal problems, we have Space Jews, Space Jews inverted, racism/segregation analogies, revenge, embitterment, conservatism, retaliation etc

All these are problem we've had in history and we're still here today, they aren't unique to organic/synthetics and the series apart from at the end never really displayed much organic/synthetic divide (I mean look at EDI). Even if the Quarians were full of wrath here, that's still the wrath you get between two nations that have committed atrocities towards the other and a problem that time would solve. It's no evidence of anything special. Heck we meet a crud load of Quarian/Geth sympathisers and the whole scenario was a council that has been taken over by warlike self-absorbed individuals
comment #15368 Tomwithnonumbers 14th Jul 12
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