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.