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The Beginning is Awful
The beginning of Mass Effect 3, the alliance appear to have just discovered the Reapers, Earth is blown up before you're introduced to it, (so it doesn't work as the primary motivator). Then you instantly find a Mac Guffin that will Save The Day. The Reapers are already attacking everywhere (but after earth) and a race has been wiped out by them (before Earth) unhelped, unseen. Finally the game places you in a city in denial so it's a long time before you really get the feel of galactic war.

The writing stays inconsistent but there's exceptional dialogue and storypoints too.

Most of the flaws from Mass Effect 2 are still present. You spend ages creating your character but Shepherd already has a defined personality.

Worlds are still fractured strips of combat which doesn't make it feel cohesive or real. It need more hubs, but at least missions structure is more varied and broken up.

The enemy is still faceless, motivationless and although they've stepped away from the Space Terminator idea, sentient spaceships still feel a little silly. In the last couple of hours they fix this, with a more complex Illusive Man, furthering the mythology of the universe, giving the Reapers some purpose and philosophy. But they need to do this earlier and more.

Furthermore, the dialogue wheel is now completely broken. A person says they can't trust you and the options are 'Likewise' and 'Trust yourself'. 'Likewise' is the nice option.

Also (for me, the worst flaw) they've chosen grey as their main colour. So levels are detailed, yet feel boring and stale.

But combat has been hugely improved and is fun, despite some early clustered level design. Leveling up and weapon collection are nice. The idea of war assets gives missions payoffs. Fantastic music.

As for the ending, there was an awful design choice which meant I didn't even really know what I was deciding and I had to play through 15 minutes of game and unskippable cutscene to get back. One choice seems infinitely superior to the other and the game never prepared you for the question and had themes it counteracted with EDI's arc. They were bittersweet but I actually liked them and they didn't ruin the game for me.

So this is a flawed game. But no-one else makes games like this, ME 3 might not be a success but its failures are more interesting than almost every game ever.
My feelings can probably be best summed up in this joke.

Disclosure: This is my slightly outdated ME 2 review (I seem to have forgotten to reply to the last comment). I have not played ME 1, there was no story element I feel like I didn't understand. This is the result of one paragon playthrough, I did every mission and dialogue option available excepting one, because I didn't want to be Aria's dog. I don't think I saw the very best ending because I was about 300 off completely filling the War Asset bar. The game version was vanilla

I have completely avoided spoiler and although I'm aware there has been an ending controversy, I don't actually know what that is and after I've finished writing this, I will find out exactly what it was. For what it's worth, ME 2's ending bothered me more, although I can see that in a game which plays up player choice, a bittersweet ending is going to piss a lot of people off.

I didn't import an ME 2 character because my old PS 3 yellow lighted and I lost the disc. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE EVER EVER CREATE AN ORIGINAL ME 3 CHARACTER (except for masochistic curiousity). Download savefiles if you have to. If you haven't played ME 2 at least, you need to play it before this, if you have then playing ME 3 was like being repeatedly punched in the face. Default Shepard is lazy to say the least. I actually felt like I was in an abusive relationship with the game 'Oh you liked Legion? Well suck it because you never even found him in this game.' 'You want to save the Rachni? Fool! You didn't choose to save them in the previous game, now die.' 'Hey, you thought you did these people's loyalty quests? Well watch as we destroy everything dear right in front of you' 'Gee why didn't you wanted to save Wrex? Well you didn't and you're an IDIOT for not saving him and now people are going to die'

I'm actually going to buy a new copy of the game because I can't stand having things as they are. I feel it's a bit of a design flaw, because to explore ME 3 playthroughs you've got to play 20-30 hours of another game first. After you've finished your first playthrough they should give you options to select in your next. There are possible issues with the game, things that I didn't like which I assume happened because of the lazyness of default Shepard but might actually be problems with the game itself, if so I didn't spot them.

Finally there is tons more to discuss here. My review is fractured and unsubstantiated because there just isn't enough space. My draft shortened review alone was over 800 words long. People criticise us for not being very analytical in reviews, but you literally can't be because of length. I couldn't even evidence my points, never mind explore them and I couldn't make it read nicely because I was busy taking out all the conjunctions to save space. In general I don't mind the review too much, but it does force a shallow bullet pointed overview of something, particularly complex stories or games.
comment #15195 Tomwithnonumbers 5th Jul 12
Hah, my disclosure was 150 words longer than the review limit :D I could have cut some of my examples to make it fit but then we're back to not having analysis or examples in reviews
comment #15196 Tomwithnonumbers 5th Jul 12
Oh apparently the better ending is where you have a military strength of 2650 +, I beat that. I assumed it would be 3000.

Also I'm such a hipster, liking ME 3 and disliking ME 2. I think content wise my overall opinion was similar, just tone shifted from one to the other. I think ME 3 was the better game, because of gameplay and because its arc was more appropriate whereas 2 felt like a monster of the week
comment #15197 Tomwithnonumbers 5th Jul 12
You're the first person I've ever seen to ACTUALLY address the flaws and strengths of the game, and not just say it's "HUR DUR THE WORST GAME EVER AND IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHY YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE HORRIBLE TASTE LOL"

Bravo.
comment #15852 SeanPeden 19th Aug 12
Thanks :D, there are a lot of people who've looked at it properly that I've seen, but it's easy to get washed up in the emotion and controversy and forget that stuff
comment #15853 Tomwithnonumbers 19th Aug 12
I actually liked that you pointed out flaws that weren't the ending. Because this game had a lot more than that.
comment #16608 CPFMfan 23rd Oct 12
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