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.
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