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The endings aren't the problem.
I'm almost half-convinced that Bioware or EA made the endings intentionally bad to distract from the other flaws of a fairly shoddy product compared to the previous games. ME 3 is a letdown, as is often the case in the concluding part of a trilogy, and while this opinion may be controversial and may draw ire from some of you I still have a right to speak it.

My main gripe is that Bioware seems to treat the players as if they're borderline retarded. While the shooting is more fluid and guns are more numerous, the controls and RPG elements have been dumbed down so badly that they feel tacked on. Why are they simplifying things exactly? For newcomers? Why they hell would new players come into the series for the last part of the trilogy?!

The dialogue wheel (Assuming it ever comes up given how this game just LOVES to use auto-dialogue) now just gives you minimalist choices between 'nice' and 'dickhead' responses, as opposed to the previous games giving you a more neutral option of response.

Graphics...Have not improved at all. Many characters practically live in the Uncanny Valley now (Diana Allers...Ugh...) and several characters have animations on par with Captain Scarlet puppets (Anderson). Several environments are drab and grey (Palaven being one of the worst offenders.)

Characters...the party roster has practically been bisected, with several popular characters from the last game being jammed into cameos(Though I understand Mordin and Thane not being party members now). The new characters? Meh. James Vega is interesting for a human character, but that's not saying much when his competition consists of Kaiden and Jacob, two of the blandest people in the galaxy. EDI went from being a pretty cool Deadpan Snarker in 2 to being another Fanservice character...But the worst addition is Kai Leng, the stupid God Mode Sue space-ninja who fits into the lore about as well as Homer Simpson.

Also, for whatever reason, Cerberus and TIM seem to take more of a villain role than the Reapers. Harbinger doesn't even get a single line of dialogue!

I dunno if the blame lies with Bioware or EA, but this franchise has been beaten down with a cricket bat to make it far more simple and 'mainstream' and removing alot of the great RPG features from the last games. I cringe at the prospect of a fourth game, which will likely just be Gears Of War Recycled In Space.
I'm generally in agreement with you, but as far as RPG elements go the levelling up is actually deeper than ME 1. ME 1 gave an illusion of depth by dividing every choice into 20ish parts, but you weren't actually choosing anything interesting at all. 1% precision upgrade? Thats not really going to do much. I imagine most people picked an ability they wanted to upgrade and then just reconfirmed that choice 5 times. Almost all the skills from ME 1 transferred to ME 3 with the addition that you had to choose now between 2 mutually exclusive paths for most upgrades. I really do think ME 3 was by far the best of all the games in terms of levelling.

I kinda agree with the dialogue wheel, but to me the whole concept was pretty much broken in practice right from the beginning. Bioware absolutely sucked at adequately describing what Shepard would say in any situation which pretty much encouraged a top-right/bottom-right playthrough.

Everything else is fair game. I'm always surprised by how emphasis people put on the ending when the rest of the game is pretty similar quality and all your other issues seem spot on.
comment #17958 TomWithNoNumbers 2nd Feb 13
I'm in agreeance about the RPG elements having the most depth in this game, though I do wish the character roster had the breadth of Mass Effect 2's instead of just being 4 of the ME 1 cast plus two or three others.

And I also think this game has the most flexibility when it comes to the dialogue wheel as well thanks to reputation points. It doesn't pigeonhole you into always choosing Paragon/Renegade if you want the Persuade/Intimidate options, something the other two games didn't do.

The problems with the writing lie more in that the game has a bad grasp on the phrase "moral ambiguity". Renegades get severly shafted compared to Paragons in this game when that clearly wasn't the case before (becoming less I Did What I Had To Do and more Stupid Evil), and Cerberus became straight up black and white villains compared to all the complexity they had in the prior game. Kai Leng didn't bother me much at all because his presence was rather... minimal.
comment #17959 DeviousRecital 2nd Feb 13
While there's certainly parts of this I agree with, every time I see someone define "RPG elements" as mechanics, I rage inside. I know it's industry convention, but there is no logical reason why "role-playing game" should automatically be considered exclusive with FPS-style gameplay.

And TomWithNoNumbers is right: while ME3's decision to do away with neutral options may have been a questionable one, the dialogue wheel never worked.
comment #17960 nrjxll 2nd Feb 13
Kai Leng just rubbed me the wrong way for three reasons: He's the last thing that can be considered a boss battle (No conflict with Harbinger aside from one 5-minute sequence), his infuriating cutscene powers and lastly, if people like him exist in the ME universe, why would TIM blow trillions of dollars on bringing Shepard back?

As for the RPG elements part...Well I didn't just mean the gameplay. The game seems to actively resent you exploring, since you only have one hub-world (The Citadel), and while it may be larger than it was in the last game it's still nowhere near as big as Ilium, Omega, Tuchanka and the Citadel put together. In addition, your squadmates, even the ones you've spent two games making a romance with, will barely make conversation with you and instead will just give you one-liners when you try talk to them.
comment #17964 Asger 3rd Feb 13
I much prefer the way you interact with your squadmates in ME 3, squad interaction has always been the stupidest system in terms of gameplay in the whole series, you have to go through loading screens every couple of missions just to hear Garrus flip you off again. I'm pretty sure ME 3 has the same or more in terms of dialogue, it's just for the first time ever they actually tell you if the guy wants to talk instead of having to go into conversation, ask them and be told 'not right now Shepard'. And it was cool how they moved around the ship and you actually did things with them, like mess around on the Citadel.

No-one had much of a storyarc though and I could see that as a problem that makes you like them less in 3. But then again Garrus, Tali and Wrex had absolutely nothing to say in ME 1. You barely get 3 conversations with them. I accidentally stumbled on Tali's quest solver before she told me and it meant I only ever got to talk to her once in the entire game.


I'm completely agreed on the world hubs, I actually think they're important enough that I like ME 1 better than the rest of the series solely because they had these intricate world hubs. ME 2 was pretty good, but they didn't design them nearly as well as the Citadel in ME 1. ME 3 was the first game you visit a proper alien planet apart from Tuchanka (Ilium doesn't really count) and you get to spend 0 time there and it looks pretty much the same as every other place you visit. ME 3 was the one where we were meant to finally get to see how the different cultures lived and it failed so abysmally that we now have a series about aliens where you only really get to explore a proper alien homeworld once in the entire trilogy.
Finally Kai Leng. I want to put some boundaries on what I'm going to say, 1st you're right, he's a lame excuse for a boss. 2nd his cutscenes powers are like the very first lesson you're meant to learn in game design. The mistake felt dated, no designer has messed up that badly since the early 2000's. Third, I played ME 2 before ME 1, thus I didn't realise Cerberus were meant to be mad scientists and assumed they were more like the IRA or Hezbollah, as such I didn't have the hate of them that everyone else developed and particularly loved the character of TIM.

ie. This is going to be fanwanky. I believe I've got enough evidence to think that this is actually the storyline they were going for, but whenever I describe TIM or Kai Leng as lame, imagine them with the flaw I described but 'cool' which is what Bioware were going for. 'if people like him exist in the ME universe, why would TIM blow trillions of dollars on bringing Shepard back?' This is really the point. Kai Leng is TIM's Shepard replacement and the story meant to show that despite it all, Kai Leng is worse than Shepard in every way.

TIM is a Shepard fanboy. It clouds him to everything and includes rational thought. TIM has always had a god complex and in his own mind he's the saviour of humanity that the Law couldn't understand and forces him into the shadows. He's always wanted people to adore him for it but sees himself as giving up that light to do whats really good for people. Basically he sees himself as sacrificing his soul for the greater good and other people just can't understand that.

So he sees Shepard, Shepard the first human spectre, Shepard the saviour of mankind who stuck to her guns and ploughed on despite no-one believing in her. Willing to do what needs to be done outside of the law and in the end the whole Galaxy worships her as a hero for it. TIM is infatuated with Shepard and projects himself onto her, he genuinely believes that they are similar people and they can be viewed as equals and he absolutely craves her respect.

So when Shepard dies of course he brings her back (this is where my version will differ from Bioware, who would say that bringing Shepard back was the right decision). A waste of resources? Don't you understand? This is Shepard we're talking about. And TIM believes that because Shepard is like him, if Shepard could just be shown who TIM is and what TIM does, Shepard would come around to his way of thought. TIM believes that Shepard sees him as a respected adversary who just happens to be on the other side of the table and if Shepard could just be brought round than Shepard would think like TIM does and give TIM the respect he needs. 'Mind control chip? NO! -no. You can't do that, we need Shepard as she is. And besides we don't need one, Shepard will li-. It's not necessary Miranda'

When you play ME 2, you'll notice that TIM is constantly explaining things to you, trying to justify his reasoning and he keeps on asking Shepard for Shepard's approval. He doesn't do this with anyone else, because everyone else he sees as a subordinate. And when Shepard makes decisions that go against TIM, TIM seems genuinely impressed. If you save the Quarian TIM tells you it's not what he would have done but seems genuinely admiring of Shepards tactics and strategy. Because he thinks they're similar people making similar decisions and he's deluded enough that he can convince himself that he might have made the same call if the situation had been right.

TIM goes to huge lengths to get Shepard to trust him, he deliberately places people around Shepard who are reasonable and will paint TIM in a light that Shepard might understand (Jacob), he digs up former colleagues, he sends Shepard on missions to see that these things really were rogue cells and if Shepard sees anything bad he goes out of his way to clean things up as quickly as possible.

And then Shepard spits in his face and leaves.

From then on, every conversation between Shepard and TIM in ME 3 runs like this (looks out for it next time) 'I hate you' 'You just don't understand Shepard. I'm doing everything for the good of humanity' 'You're a monster.' 'Shepard! You've just got to give me some respect, I can't keep looking out for you anymore' And even then, when people ask if Shepard should die 'No he could still be useful'

And in all of this he has Kai Leng. Kai Leng the Shepard replacement puppet. But the point is, TIM can't replace Shepard. And he's not the same as Shepard, he's so twisted he can't actually understand the sort of person Shepard is and what makes her great. And because of that, Kai Leng is flawed and won't be capable of anything Shepard is like. TIM can't see that KL is an uncharismatic psychopath who can't inspire the respect in her comrades than Shepard uses to do everything she does. KL is a flashy hipster who ultimately is to useless to be able to beat up Shepard in a fight. He's a reflection of TI Ms flaws and can only ever be a shadow of what Shepard is. He gets some small victories, but everytime Shepard lives and TIM says 'don't worry, you time will come, it's Shepard, of course you failed, but one day you will fight and kill her and I will have a Shepard who does exactly what I say and is loyal to me' and then that confrontation comes and Kai Leng straight up dies. Even in his death blow Shepard absolutely humiliates him and beats him down.

.... So that is why if people like Kai Leng exist, TIM still spent all that money to bring back Shepard and why Kai Leng still got smashed to pieces. Just to make things clear, I hate Kai Leng and I think he's an absolutely useless character that destroys everything he touches, but I like the aspects of him that say something about TI Ms character. The failure even there is Kai Leng should have been this interestingly and powerful but ultimately corrupt being. Instead he just came off as whiny and annoying and didn't even feel like part of the story. Whenever you saw Kai Leng, you thought of the writers of the game and what the heck were they thinking?

It's real shame that they chose Cerberus instead of inventing a new organisation for ME 2 because TIM has a really complex relationship with Shepard and his conversation show down is one of my favourite bits of the series.
comment #17965 TomWithNoNumbers 3rd Feb 13
@ Tom With No Numbers

Perhaps you should post your short article about the relationship between Kai Leng, TIM, and Shepard on Mass Effect 3's analysis page. It is excellently written and really should be shared there.
comment #17966 chankljp 3rd Feb 13
I agree, it's actually a rather well written.
comment #17967 Asger 3rd Feb 13
Thanks =D
comment #17968 TomWithNoNumbers 3rd Feb 13
"It's real shame that they chose Cerberus instead of inventing a new organisation for ME 2 because TIM has a really complex relationship with Shepard and his conversation show down is one of my favourite bits of the series."

Cerberus is always a completely different organization in every game anyway. In Mass Effect 1, they're a rogue black ops group that focused primarily on mad science. In Mass Effect 2, their origin was retconned so that now they were founded by a bunch of pro-human corporations and a mercenary, and are a public extremely rich pro-human terrorist organization led by a playboy supervillain, even though none of those traits were even hinted at in the last game. In Mass Effect 3, they go from a ridiculously rich Nebulous Evil Organization to the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, with their own armies and fleets that actively challenge (and beat) the Alliance all throughout its colonies and are considered dangerous enough that they have their own front.

comment #17969 CPFMfan 3rd Feb 13
Cerberus's actions in ME 3 are unbelievable, because where do they get all the resources?
comment #17975 T448Eight 3rd Feb 13
Technically the Reapers gave it to them? I'm not going to say that felt like a satisfying answer. And they loaded all the TIM motivation towards the end so it didn't even feel fully character consistent till the end. (They also put the Reaper stuff towards the end to, so they really went out of their way to make sure it felt like Cerberus had no rational at all until the last moment possible). Not going to defend it though, because it annoyed me too. The only reason I didn't end up hating the game for it was because Cerberus were more fun to fight for me gameplay wise even if it didn't make much sense
comment #17985 TomWithNoNumbers 4th Feb 13
Well, I do agree with CPF Man a bit. This super pro-human organization went from a bunch of anti-alien picketers to a huge army of humans in power armor, led by Kai Leng the Cereal Killer and TIM. It loses all beleivability, since now theyre KILLING the humans they were incredulously attempting to protect, and mercilessly making more semihusks via Sanctuary. Such huge Face Heel Turn for such a group. And while I do understand the fact that TIM went a little wacko due to Reaper influence, they should have at least questioned the fact that they were a PRO HUMAN organization killing HUMANS before he started semihusking the troops.

Couldn't the Cerberus guys have went "hey TIM, what the hell are we killing our own species for?" before he started huskifying them. THAT would've cleared it a little.
comment #17986 Reedteran 4th Feb 13
Yeah it was pretty rubbish, it's hard to believe he managed to find so many people so quickly ready to go along with his whack ideas
comment #17987 TomWithNoNumbers 4th Feb 13
Just chalk it up to space magic or indoctrination. Those're the buzz-words used by people when it comes to ME 3's plot holes.
comment #17989 Asger 4th Feb 13
I think, to a certain degree, that ME3 Cerberus was basically the result of Bioware trying to have their cake and eat it too when it came to antagonists.
comment #17998 nrjxll 4th Feb 13
How so?
comment #18001 VeryMelon 4th Feb 13
Essentially, I think this latest transformation of Cerberus is partially because Bioware wanted to make the Reapers a faceless and apparently unstoppable opponent. I don't necessarily think this was a bad decision on its own, but it meant that there would be no real antagonist with a personality, and you could only engage Reaper forces ever so often.

Thus, enter Cerberus mark III, with its personified leader and improbably frequent appearances.
comment #18004 nrjxll 4th Feb 13
@Reed: Uh, Cerberus has been a Nebulous Evil Organization that kills humans (including Alliance war heroes and BABIES) in odd and unnecessary ways since the first game. That is actually the one thing about them that is consistent.
comment #18005 CPFMfan 4th Feb 13
(Dammit, why can't I edit my comments!?)

I do love Mass Effect 3, but it has many many problems. Like the way it handled the morally ambiguous Rannoch and Tuchanka arcs. Basically, the characters that advocated the Renegade actions, like Gerrel and Linron, are horrible people who are willing to sacrifice millions of innocents just to spite the objects of their racism. They seemingly exist solely to be wrong; there is not a single character who genuinely believes that taking out the geth is the only safe course of action due to their huskification and past crimes, or that keeping the genophage is the only way to stop the krogan from getting themselves killed after going Leeroy Jenkins on the galaxy. These would both show a genuine concern for sentient life, making their positions "human" and believable, but no. Again, they're just doing it because they're Space Racists. Hypocritical space racists at that.

This is in stark contrast to the last game, where many people who advocated somewhat extreme measures, like Mordin, were sympathetic and gave clear logical reasons as to why they have reached their conclusions.
comment #18006 CPFMfan 5th Feb 13
That's exactly the same way I felt about ME 3, and I'll bring up the same point again in reference to the rachni. Not only are they shown to be perfectly benevolent, even when they give the Renegade who killed them the option of trying to use a stand in created by the Reapers, it ends up costing them. This kind of thing irritated me (probably because I main Renegade, but still) far more than the endings ever could.

At least they mostly averted that line of thinking when it came to Javik, who was easily my favorite squad member in the game, including past ones. But if there, why not everywhere? And why couldn't we have a mission where we were fighting alongside Cerberus? Even if it wasn't against the Reapers, it could have at least been against some rogue third party. That would have been one of the easiest ways to drive home how Cerberus wasn't all evil, and they couldn't even do that.
comment #18008 DeviousRecital 5th Feb 13
It was really silly how they switched saving the Rachni Queen to a renegade option if you didn't save her the first time, that made no sense. A paragon would probably try to give her another chance and it's pushing renengade into the bad camp.

I think they were trying to avoid all moral ambiguity with Cerberus through most of the game. Thats why they turned the soldiers into zombies etc. It wasn't a good decision at all. (Which they take back a little bit right at the end of the game).

If I were to rewrite it, the remains of the Terminius systems, some mercenary groups and a portion of the mega-industrialists of Earth would have united in a 'Humans-first' organisation that clashed with the Alliance with TIM as the shadow leader. You'd seem them working towards anti-Reaper goals but with a ruthlessness that made them hard to support and so the question of whether to let them alone or waste resources fighting them into line would be a dilemma. They'd still attack you but I like the idea that you still can work with them (maybe on some optional missions) and later in the game you could still have the Haven stuff (which might actually work as a reveal this time round, because instead of 'hey you know those people slaughtering children and installing Reaper tech to mindwipe their soldiers brains, who tried to take the Citadel by force? They were evil!' it'd be more shocking how low they've sunk. And maybe there'd be a decision at the end of Haven, to either cover the incident up and get the option to take over the human-first faction after the Ceberus base and a chance later on to set them up as the new rulers of earth or to expose their secrets and get the human-first faction to lay down weapons. It'd be a chance to get some last minute war assets at the expense of morality and some people might actually be conflicted about it if there assets were at the right level.

...but it's nowhere near the top of the list of things I'd change first. It bothered me how openly evil Ceberus was right from the start but the gameplay made up for it and there's a lot more important things to change
comment #18009 TomWithNoNumbers 5th Feb 13
  • Plus to establish the situation you'd probably have to give us a level where we spent some time running around in ore-destroyed Earth doing stuff and we can't do that else people might actually empathise with the central driving motivation of the game
comment #18010 TomWithNoNumbers 5th Feb 13
I'm pretty sure the rationale behind the rachni replacement was that a Paragon would leave it behind since it was a Reaper element they didn't want to risk, while a Renegade is more open to extreme solutions. Think about the end of Mass Effect 2, same logic here. What I don't understand is why they made the thing go berserk on you; what's the point other than flipping the bird to anyone who liked being a Renegade?

But yeah, there's other stuff I would've changed as well. Such as the vaguely misandrist message I was getting from the Krogan civilization. Wasn't a fan of that either.
comment #18011 DeviousRecital 5th Feb 13
But it was paragon to save the Rachni in the first place, even though they're potentially a genocidal race of monsters. I don't think they were ever consistent with what paragon/renegade meant and it often ended up as renegade being the option that didn't work out
comment #18016 TomWithNoNumbers 5th Feb 13
The Rachni didn't have Reaper parts stuck in them then, and it was sort of an entirely different choice then. Remember that at the core, Paragon tends towards idealism while Renegade tends towards cynicism/pragmatism.

In the first game, the choice meant trusting the goodwill of the Rachni Queen and believing they truly meant no harm for Paragons and eliminating a dangerous potential threat for Renegades.

Come Mass Effect 3, the choice was more about believing you could win without the corruptive but potentially useful influence of sentient Reaper-based life forms for Paragons and making use of all possible options to win at any cost for Renegades. That's my take on it, anyway. It'd be halfway clever if they didn't screw one of them over.
comment #18018 DeviousRecital 5th Feb 13
I think that characterization of the Rannoch storyline is a bit off. Letting the geth - or the quarians - die isn't Renegade, it's just failure.
comment #18022 nrjxll 5th Feb 13
Wha?
comment #18081 VeryMelon 6th Feb 13
Anyway, to address the review itself:

"My main gripe is that Bioware seems to treat the players as if they're borderline retarded. While the shooting is more fluid and guns are more numerous, the controls and RPG elements have been dumbed down so badly that they feel tacked on. Why are they simplifying things exactly? For newcomers? Why they hell would new players come into the series for the last part of the trilogy?!"

Wait, the RPG elements and controls got simplified? They're by far the most advanced of the 3 games while still being accessible. The controls are fluid and customizable, with hotkeys and the do everything space bar making things fast paced and easy. The RPG elements are much more advanced than Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. In 1, they tricked you into thinking that they had variety by giving you 12 levels of a skill instead of 6 or 4, with each level improving the skill by very little and not changing the overall function. In Mass Effect 3, on the other hand, you can fully customize every single power, making them act completely different if you so choose via the upgrade tree.

"The dialogue wheel (Assuming it ever comes up given how this game just LOVES to use auto-dialogue) now just gives you minimalist choices between 'nice' and 'dickhead' responses, as opposed to the previous games giving you a more neutral option of response."

I never chose the neutral option, so I can't really comment on this. I can say that some dialogue options weren't there when I wished they are, but that's been the case for me for every game.

"Graphics...Have not improved at all. Many characters practically live in the Uncanny Valley now (Diana Allers...Ugh...) and several characters have animations on par with Captain Scarlet puppets (Anderson). Several environments are drab and grey (Palaven being one of the worst offenders.)"

Palaven is meant to be gray and dull. Everything built by the turians looks like that. When the game actually wants to show Scenery Gorn, it does a good job; see Thessia, Sur'Kesh, Earth, and Tuchanka. None of the characters were really in the uncanny valley (except Allers, but Miranda was also Uncanny Valley material in 2), though I will concede that having many of them like Bailey completely change their look was weird.

"Characters...the party roster has practically been bisected, with several popular characters from the last game being jammed into cameos(Though I understand Mordin and Thane not being party members now). The new characters? Meh. James Vega is interesting for a human character, but that's not saying much when his competition consists of Kaiden and Jacob, two of the blandest people in the galaxy. EDI went from being a pretty cool Deadpan Snarker in 2 to being another Fanservice character...But the worst addition is Kai Leng, the stupid God Mode Sue space-ninja who fits into the lore about as well as Homer Simpson."

I hate EDI and Leng, I will not contest those points. But the thing about all of the other characters getting shoved into the background seems like nitpicking for all but three or four of them, as they play actual roles in the plot and have good reasons not to follow Shepard. You weren't seriously expecting them to bring back everyone as a squadmate?

Also when discussing the characters you completely ignore the ones that are actually there. Tali, Garrus, James, Javik, et cetera are some of the best characters in any video game, period.

"Also, for whatever reason, Cerberus and TIM seem to take more of a villain role than the Reapers. Harbinger doesn't even get a single line of dialogue!"

I won't contest this point because I actually agree with it.

"I dunno if the blame lies with Bioware or EA, but this franchise has been beaten down with a cricket bat to make it far more simple and 'mainstream' and removing alot of the great RPG features from the last games. I cringe at the prospect of a fourth game, which will likely just be Gears Of War Recycled In Space."

This review is overall textbook nitpicking, with vague complaints and blatant elitism ("the reason the game is bad is because it wants people other than my niche to play it").
comment #18088 CPFMfan 6th Feb 13
With 400 words, one can hardly focus on specifics. So excuse me if it comes off as 'nitpicking' but I can only gesture to certain aspects. Hell I didn't even mention the multiplayer and what wasted potential that was.

"Wait, the RPG elements and controls got simplified? They're by far the most advanced of the 3 games while still being accessible. "

Pressing the A-button to do everything is not complex or advanced. Seriously, I think they assigned 4-5 conflicting functions to the one button (Try to run down a corridor, wind up sticking to every piece of cover instead.) Also instead of adding in the hacking games, you just wave your hand at a door for five seconds. I wasn't a fan of those mini-games per se, but at least they gave you something to do other than 'shoot the dudes.'

"you can fully customize every single power, making them act completely different if you so choose via the upgrade tree"

Fair point.

"Palaven is meant to be gray and dull. Everything built by the turians looks like that."

Sounds like a half-assed excuse to me.

"Thessia, Sur'Kesh, Earth, and Tuchanka"

Didn't seem that much different than any other ruined planet in the game, pretty jungle backdrops but the area you actually fight in gets repetitive, Brown and Grey as sin, and actually a pretty decent environment because of the Aztec-esque stuff. In that order.

"You weren't seriously expecting them to bring back everyone as a squadmate?"

Not gonna lie, I was hoping there would be an option for some of them. Hell, I was expecting Grunt to stick with Shepard, or at least for the team to get one Krogan.

"you completely ignore the ones that are actually there. "

Again, 400 words. If I had a thousand words per paragraph, then I'd be able to focus on aspects better, but with this stupid review format I have to try and be quick so I can cover more points. Garrus was fine, Tali kicked ass (Even if she did take her sweet time getting into the game...) and I didn't get javik, because I was unwilling to fork over even more money for content that was already on the disc.

Oh yes, and thank you for closing out the comment by insulting me. Classy.
comment #18090 Asger 7th Feb 13
A lot of time has led me to agree that the endings merely eclipsed the game's numerous other flaws. It's not a BAD game, but it's not a GREAT game either.

The RPG system got improved in some ways (read: skill trees) and totally nerfed in just about every other. The dialogue wheel was gutted, the hacking mini-games were removed, the Paragon/Renegade interrupts were sparse and largely irrelevant—in the Vega spar, you could take every single interrupt (both Paragon and Renegade) and not really affect the sequence in any way. After defeating Kai Leng, the Renegade interrupt made basically no difference at all (Leng gets stabbed by Shepard either way). In the final TIM confrontation, NOT taking the Renegade interrupt leads to a Non Standard Game Over, effectively forcing the player to take it. (Compare that to Saren, where having an insufficient Charm/Intimidate forced you into another fight, but didn't outright make you LOSE the game.)

The combat mechanics were improved, with weapon customization, more effective power combos, and more useful melee attacks...but the A button borders on game-breaker status (especially in multiplayer, when making quick actions is of dire importance). It's hard to say that it ruins combat entirely, but it certainly adds a new level of frustration.

The game difficulty is toned WAY down from Mass Effect 2. The supposed "difficulty" comes almost exclusively from cheap gimmicks employed by Cerberus, namely the smoke pellets and the obnoxious frequency of grenades. Apart from that, the AI is actually quite dumb/passive, usually sitting behind one piece of cover waiting to be gunned down. The exception to this is the melee units (Husks, Brutes, Banshees), but the former two are quite easy to take down even on Insanity, and the latter never shows up in groups of more than two at a time, in the very very late game.

I wouldn't say flat-out that the level design is bad, but the Palaven-moon and Earth levels are two that leave quite a bit to be desired. They're both bland, dark, and dreary with basically no interesting features. I would, however, put the lack of diverse side-quests into the level design category. Where Mass Effect 2 had numerous side locations, Mass Effect 3 has none to speak of. Even Mass Effect 1, with its copy-paste sidequest locations, at least had SOMETHING of substance to explore outside of the primary mission levels. Paid DLC is the only way to get anything more than the main missions or the space-scanning fetch quests, which is not okay.

And finally, Kai Leng is one of the worst characters ever. Strictly from a design perspective, his cutscene-armor on Thessia was unacceptable. It's lazy, a total cop-out. Sure, it makes you mad, makes you want to kill the son of a bitch, but not for the right reasons. The game makes you angry at the game mechanics, not at the character himself.
comment #18091 JobanGrayskull 7th Feb 13
@CPF Man I agree with a lot of what you said but "Palaven is meant to be gray and dull. Everything built by the turians looks like that. When the game actually wants to show Scenery Gorn, it does a good job; see Thessia, Sur'Kesh, Earth, and Tuchanka. "

...I can't possibly agree with this. Maybe some of them had nice skyboxes? But not a single environment is comparible to even a mediocre game and I agree with the person who suggested that maybe after the red rocky wasteland of Mars and the grey rocky wasteland of Palaven and the brown rocky wasteland of Tuchanka leading onto the grey/black ruins of Earth, maybe having Rannoch be an orange rocky wasteland wasn't a smart idea.

I mean Mars Palaven Tuchanka Rannoch Earth

Those are some pretty darn fugly pictures. I dare anyone to say that those look like fun environments to spend a good half of the game running around. And they all look pretty much the same to the extent I couldn't work out where this one was from (I think it's the bomb mission?)

And compare Tuchanka is what is meant to be a story point of 'Look at all the hidden beauty of this place' To Koto R 1 Korriban

The gap between prettiness shouldn't be so close for a game 9 years older. Tuchanka was so bad that when the characters first started talking about how amazing it looked, it took me a while to figure out what they were trying to look at. I don't even care if it makes story sense, spending so much time in such drab environments just isn't fun. The random Mako levels in ME 1 looked more interesting

And the environments didn't feel like they were designed to be fun to be in. Check out Citadel ME 1 Versus Citadel ME 3

One of these is thrilling just to walk around, and it's not the one made with a much larger budget and 4 years more experience. I'm fairly sensitive to art direction, a film with good cinematography will leave me much positiver feelings than it deserved and ME 3 environment wise was making it a drag to play, despite the incredibly fun combat. Heck even the storytelling composition was a step down. Exposition in ME 2 looked like this Exposition ME 3 looked like this

In ME 2 when you had info dumps it was always with people in these exotic looking rooms, framed mysteriously. It barely ever took place on the Normandy, in ME 3 almost all plot essential info is told through 3 people standing round a table. I was watching an LP and it's surprising just how boring those scenes are
comment #18092 TomWithNoNumbers 7th Feb 13
Whoops, it should have known that before spending all the time on that post. It was only meant to be links :( Just imagine that all the ME 3 pictures were of grey rocks and the Citadel in ME 1 is this great big curving environment with bridges and tunnels and everywhere you walk you can see all the other places you can walk. Me3 was a bunch of small squares stacked on top of each other and connected by stairs (Presidium), from anywhere you could get a lovely look of their skybox and not much else and nothing looked exciting to walk around
comment #18093 TomWithNoNumbers 7th Feb 13
Most of those missions a. take place in warzones and b. typically only have you in those "rocky wastelands" for a short period of time. Most of the Mars mission, for example, takes place inside of and around the base, with a few excellent views beforehand. Tuchanka had you running around and fighting in ancient krogan ruins, which was one of my favourite places in the game. The only mission that takes place solely in a "rocky wasteland" is Priority: Palaven, and that takes place on a moon anyway.

"in the Vega spar, you could take every single interrupt (both Paragon and Renegade) and not really affect the sequence in any way."

If you take all of the interrupts, Shepard beats the crap out of Vega. If you take none of them, Vega beats the crap out of Shepard. The interrupts in that sequence are basically a quasi-quick-time-event.

The enemy AI is actually really good, especially in how the different enemy units work together. Cerberus troops are the best example: their strategic placement of smoke grenades and turrets, the synergy between their units (especially the Phantom and the Nemesis), and their use of grenades to flush you out of cover and into their sights.

FYI, From Ashes isn't on the disc. Only incomplete character data for Javik is on the disc, to ensure that the DLC integrates properly with the main game. They did exactly the same thing for Zaeed and Kasumi.
comment #18097 KatanaEviscerator 7th Feb 13
From Ashes was released on the games launch as day-1 DLC, showing that Javik could just has easily have been in the vanilla game had EA not been...EA. It's still a cheap money-grubbing tactic and I refuse to be conned into bullshit like that.
comment #18098 Asger 7th Feb 13
From Ashes was worked on while the game was waiting to be released, just the same as the Cerberus Network. By that logic, the contents of the Cerberus Network should have been in the vanilla game.
comment #18099 KatanaEviscerator 7th Feb 13
There were contests? Damned if I knew about them.

Then again, I doubt you had to pay for those.
comment #18101 Asger 7th Feb 13
But you did get Ceberus Network for free with the vanilla game?

And if you want to argue that those exciting rocky vistas weren't what we spent most of the game playing in, I'd be happy to dig out the list of identical greyish corridors. This is a space RPG about alien cultures. The planets should look good, warzone or no. Heck it's not even so much about the warzone because Korriban is desert waste and it still looks better. They just made everything really blocky and applied a mud filter
comment #18102 TomWithNoNumbers 7th Feb 13
This'll probably sound like a load of bullshit, but I actually think it works to the game's advantage to have a lot of dull, identical corridors and generic warzones. It's not pleasant when you're going through them; no questioning that. On the other hand, I think they help the game's more significant missions stand out all the more. The missions on Tuchanka, going into the Geth AI with Legion on Rannoch and fighting the Reaper afterwards, Kai Leng at the museum on Thessia (infuriating as it was, it was pretty significant) and the attack on the Citadel... I dunno; it just kind of seems to me that I wouldn't have appreciated them as much if I didn't go through the somewhat more boring bits. Got to know the bad to know the good, I guess. There weren't as many things in the first two games that got the same reaction from me. Maybe it's because of the differences in scale, but that's just how I view things I guess. I will say the Mass Effect 1's final mission was probably the best example of what I'm talking about though. It was so much better than the rest of the game, it almost made the whole experience worth playing more than once.
comment #18103 DeviousRecital 7th Feb 13
I guess thats servicable for you. The difference is I found Thessia and Tuchanka to be similarly underwhelming. One of the links I tried to include (and compare to Korriban) was the shot in Tuchanka where the game is telling you that this is the wonderful hidden beauty... and it looked ugly enough to me to the point where I really looked around to see if I was missing something.

Even if I considered those bits to look good though I would still argue 1)It's possible to make warzones look interesting and in fact the contrast would be much greater if they had been visually interesting 2) Spending your time in dull environments harms your subconscious perception of the game.

It's a little bit stockholmy as well, the game treating you like crud in terms of environment makes you ultra happy when it throws you something that looks interesting.

It's my personal belief that a lot of the reason the hate is focused on the ending (instead of equally bad bits spread throughout the game) is that the Earth level is the most miserable grind in this dark drab surrounding which puts you in a place emotionally where you want contrast and success and happiness. They pound and pound on you for about an hour in the most awful environment with this grinding difficult bleak combat again and again and again and then expect the player to be in a position where they're going to appreciate this delicate little bittersweet ending? No, people are going to straight up reject it and once they reject it, they start critically analysing it and pretty much 0 parts of the entire series can stand up to scrutiny.
comment #18106 TomWithNoNumbers 8th Feb 13
Honestly, except for the bit about the Citadel seeming much more disconnected... I really don't see it, in the most literal sense of the word. While sections within a particular environment could certainly blend together, I didn't find any of the environments themselves that similar at all.

You do make a good point about "catharsis failure" and the endings, although I don't think it's just the last mission.
comment #18107 nrjxll 8th Feb 13
If not similar, none of them are interesting to look at least. I think Rannoch was the one that disappointed me most, because there was nothing that gave the place a sense of identity.

I might be being harsh here, I'm used to playing games like Uncharted that have the environments as selling point and this is a big space RPG. But then it's fairly linear with no hub worlds and I would definitely consider the Koto R environments a lot more unique and worth looking at, so the standards should have been higher
comment #18109 TomWithNoNumbers 8th Feb 13
One of the big problems ME 3 and ME 2 had compared to ME 1, is ME 1 (probably due to its hubby nature) always felt a lot more connected and navigable. You would get an idea of where a path is going to and be able to see more of the environment at any one point. The big thing is definitely the Presidum in ME 3 compared to the Presidiumish section in ME 1, because they're both fairly largish environments aimed to have a lot of beauty, but in ME 1 you could see all these greats paths you can walk on, and in ME 3 instead it's all cut off by these stairs.

ME 2 and ME 3 had this kind of blocky thing going on where you'd enter this square room then you'd go along a corridor with some 90 degree turns and appear in another room etc. (and also in a feeling I can't quite describe everything in that room would be very square and chunky, I haven't pinned down exactly whats giving me that feeling). It makes everything pretty disconnected and sort of pointless. There's no point remembering this room because it's just a blob in the blobby mass of this level. ME 1 had it's share of that, but a little less so and ME 2 had exceptions to the rule (I feel confident that I could draw you a map of Garrus' recruitment level for example) but even Omega in ME 2 was really disjointed, I actually still get a little lost navigating it (it's the two doors on the right as you face the front that gives me problems, I think one leads down to the Quarian salesman and then sort of winds back up through the shopping centre to the second door, but it doesn't feel very natural).

In ME 3 I don't think there were really any exceptions at all. I guess I could describe the Turian base and all the paths off it were then blobs that I couldn't really describe.

They needed to recruit the Dear Esther dev, whatever you think of the game, that guy new how to do linear level design. Each area had a personality and you were lead along the path because the path looked like the most interesting place to go, with a nice visual objective as opposed to going through the door in the other end of the room because you haven't opened that yet.
comment #18110 TomWithNoNumbers 8th Feb 13
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