Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3

I thought it was good

I may be late to the party but I've finally finished the Mass Effect Trilogy. One of the reasons it took me so long to play the final game was because of all the negative feedback it got after it's launch. I guess it's because of the ending which is pretty weak but I never thought the over arching story in the game was that good to begin with so it didn't bother me.

Spoilers ahead

I thought that the scenarios in the game were some of the best in the series. Choosing between whether to save the Geth or the Quarians was a hard decision. It was reminiscent of the first game where you could save/kill Wrex. There was some re-tread here though. You choose whether to save or kill the Rachni...which you already did in the first game. It was kind of strange to be given the same choice again but it was still a hard choice because you're put in a 'fool me twice' situation. There were some good hard choices here.

I think what I liked the most about this game though was the team interactions. Not Shepard with the team but the team with each other. It's really cool how you can hear Liara and the Prothean talking to each other. It makes the team feel like a team which was a huge problem I had in Mass Effect 2 (and also Final Fantasy VII). In the second game the best parts were when Legion and Talli were at each other's throats since their people were at war, or when Grunt confronted Mordin about his solution to stop the war which effectively destroyed Grunt's people. They were tense exchanges but more importantly you learn what they think of each other and when they eventually work together you feel that they have come through a lot and are stronger for it. Mass Effect 3 did these interactions better than the first two games.

And that's all I liked about the game

Hmm, I thought there was going to be more about the game that I would like. Guess not. Oh well, now to move onto the things I didn't like.

The gameplay is OK. The shooting mechanics are pretty solid but the game is 30+ hours long and 'OK' isn't enough to really hook you for that long. This game suffers what so many other games do. It feels like if you're not shooting something for too long you will get bored when in fact the opposite is true. The two best parts of the games for me were when you were walking around the bombed out ruins of London talking to your team member and when you and your team were making a last desperate dash across the line of fire to get to your goal. In neither of these parts are you shooting anything and the game is better for it. Games really need to learn to respect the intelligence of the player more.

I always come back to Resident Evil 4 as my example of a perfectly paces game. That game knows when to places lots of enemies in your way, it knows when to let you explore, knows when to throw only a few enemies at you, knows when to place boss encounters, knows when to deal out story sections. It's perfect in it's pacing. For example, near the end of the game you kill Krauser, get a helicopter escort, save Ashley and rid yourselves of the parasite, kill Sadler and then escape on a jet ski. That entire sequence happens in about 2 hours. There's a lot that happens but because the game is building to a dramatic ending it knows to get through them quickly.

In contrast, Mass Effect 3's final two hours see you fighting through hordes of enemies, talking to your team before the final push, the dash towards the goal and then the ending. On paper that doesn't sound too bad, it's sounds diverse and thrilling but in reality you spend about 80% of your time cutting through the hordes of enemies. It's a shame because at this point you want to finish the game. I think that the final two hours of Mass Effect should have started with destroying Cerberus' base and Kai Leng and cut the time spent in London right down. (Then again I think all time in London should be reduced.) The ending wasn't awful but it really is annoying that so many games think when you get to the end that you want to spend it shooting at stuff. We don't, we want to make progress and feel like we're getting somewhere. Putting up barriers just before the ending is demoralising and annoying. This is the opposite of what Transistor did, that game made you think the end was far away but then quickly brings it closer upping the desire to finish the game and see the end. That was cool to see (and of course we see it in an indie game).

On a side note, I much prefer the first Msss Effect game. I liked the RPG elements in it more but the second game onwards cut this out in favour of shooting. That's not really a huge deal for me since some people love Mass Effect 2 and I realise that that is a personal preference. However I think the reason that I didn't really care about the ending being a little lame was because I was already let down by Mass Effect 2. Which brings us to the endings.

How about that ending?

You spend the game getting your war assets ready for the final fight but when the final fight comes none of that matters. Lame. All of the four endings you can choose are really similar. Lame. You choose your own ending instead of it being determined by your actions over the last 90 hours. Lame. The enemy is based on a very classic robot logic, "People make robots, robots then kill people. To stop this I'll kill you all before the robots do". Lame. The reapers are controller by some sort of child of light. Lame. The child of light comes from no where with no prior warning. Lame.

Yeah the ending sucked but like I said, I don't care. I was never that invested in the story. For me the story with the Illusive Man was far far better and I liked the conclusion to that part of the story and because of that I give this game the official GAME OF THE YEAR 1990 award. Well deserved.

Imran Khan - 06/07/2014