Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Review

Trailer -
Wiki -

Let me start by saying this:  Mass Effect is THE sci-fi RPG of this generation... and this is the finale!

If you like or love any previous Mass Effect game you’re gonna like or love this.  (If you didn’t like them, then you probably won’t like this one.)  I just finished the game a few minutes ago and am going to try and write this fresh.  (No spoiler alert - I will not spoil anything for you.)  I’m still trying to fully grasp the ending.  I played an imported character all the way from ME1, engineer renegade.  He didn’t take shit from anyone and killed anyone who stood in his way of saving humanity in this crazy space opera soup of insane extinction wars.  

I love the universe they created for this series, it’s so deep.  When I first put in the game I sat there for many minutes and went through the journal codex lisetning to the rich history of each race; it’s narrated so it doesn’t hit you like a wall of text, and it helped me remember all the cool little details about the previous games.

Design - 9.0 -  This game is gigantic, not only is this specific game huge, it’s a spider web of decisions, dialog, and cutscenes that are influenced by the dozens of decisions you made playing the first 2 games.  It’s an amazing thing that takes the co-ordination of a lot of people years to create.  And I’m only talking about the design here, although each discipline did climb to the top of the same mountain.  I would love to see a flowchart of all the decision points from all 3 games, if I was really bored I might attempt that project.  

Anyways, sure this game is a heroic achievement, but it’s not perfect.  The shooting is a less polished gears of war, the cinematics and dialog aren’t always the greatest, the missions can be a bit linear, bla, bla, bla, I could list 100s of things wrong with the game if I wanted to.  But you can do that for any game, horrible or great.  The design team on this game moved mountains, and when you move mountains, you leave some pebbles behind... (Did I just make up a saying?  That’s a pretty good one.. someone must’ve said it before, ohh well..)

The Universe is awesome and detailed, so many races, so much history.  I know you never really get to see tons of each race (because there’s so many!), it’s mostly text and dialog, but each main race seems to get thier 15 minutes of fame in each game.  I would’ve loved to see more Elcor :)

To focus on one mechanic that stuck out to me was when the Reapers would chase you in each invaded star system.  It kind of felt like an old 80s arcade game, and even when the Reapers would show up I didn’t want to leave because I really wanted to find some of the hidden treasure!!  And you could cheese it by entering and exiting the system until you got a placement you like; that really took me out of the game.  It helped me get a few stupid little artifacts, but I think one good rule could fix that system.

Tech -  9.0 - Another mass(hehe)ive achievement here.  The game ran mostly smooth for me.  I had multiple crashes, 3-4 in about that many days of playing.  Menus were smooth, combat was reactive (except for a few guns, especially the hold and charge ones).  A few other bugs like characters not showing up in a cutscene.  Also there was a pretty bad bug where this character was talking to me, but it wasn’t there.  I rode the elevator and came back and then the character was there.  I was watching someone else play and they got the same bug.  That seems like a small bug, but that particular NPC led to a cutscene and who knows what else it was tied to.

Art - 9.0 -  The art of ME has always been great.  The enemies look badass and cool.  The ship designs are cool, even though the Normandy looks like a lobster flying backwards, it’s still sweet.  All the alien races are cool (and on an ultra nerd level, if you read about a race’s homeworld you can see how the artist worked some of the details into the designs!!)  I’ll miss the Normandy and that infamous oval walkway.

Production - 9.5 - This game is top of the line when it comes to production value.  If we labeled games like they do meat, this game would be the epitome of the “AAA grade video game”.

Introducing multiplayer in the 3rd and final entry in a series?!  Ballsy as shit!  I did play some MP during my playthrough.  I played a few matches when I knew I was nearing the final battle.  I got my readiness up to 65% or something?  (FYI I also had about 4K army)  I ended up having a level 8 engineer and a level 3 something else in multiplayer.  (I got lucky and got paired with some pros who beat a level once.)

Did it affect the outcome of my game?  I have no fucking idea.  

Was multiplayer fun?  Kinda.  

All my friends seemed to have their hands full in single player, and to tell you the truth I just wanted to get in a few matches, hoping it would help me in the final battle and I wanted to get right back into single player.  

Trying to wrangle up a bunch of ME freaks playing a single player RPG to play a co-op tower defense shooter?  That sounds weird....

But speaking to the tech of it, it was smooth.  Hit quick game, bam, in.  It was as smooth as some of those multiplayer competitive shooters.  One game I had a few guys with souped up gauntlets running around meleeing everything and that either caused some lag or it was just a bad connection.

Value - 9.0 - $60 is a tough sell nowadays.  Plus there’s a $10 DLC adventure available right now, and I’m sure many more to come.  Don’t get me started with these people who are upset about having DLC available on day 1.  It’s extra content you can purchase if you want to, end of story.  

The truth is video games are one of the most complex things human beings create and millions of things go in every direction each time a massive game project like this is undertaken.  No one outside of the company knows exactly why and it’s none of your business how they create and sell their game.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion but, play the game or fuck off.  

This game is ~$60 brand new right now and I played around 20 hours.  $3/hour is a good deal for the best sci fi RPG video game we have.

Total Score = 9.1

P.S.  Hacket out!

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