ME3 delivers story, action
TODD MILLER | Collegio Writer
Rating: 4/5 stars
The final chapter of the Mass Effect series was released with high expectations. Overall, the game meets them, but it is not flawless.
Mass Effect 3 picks up where Mass Effect 2 left off: John Shep- ard was relieved of his duties after the consequences of his actions at the end of the previous game, even though the Earth military suspects an imminent attack from the Reapers. However, just as they’re asking Shepard what they should do, the Reapers launch a large-scale attack on Earth and he is forced to retreat shortly after his superior, David Anderson, reinstates Shepard’s Alliance commission.
Shepard seeks the help of the Council to aid Earth in the fight against the Reapers, but none of the Council members is willing to help because they face dangers on their own home planets. The Council members say they would be willing to help if the pressure on their planets was removed. Shepard is sent on various mis- sions throughout the galaxy, gath- ering resources and gaining allies to build a force strong enough to fight the Reapers.
The unfortunate side effect of Mass Effect 3 is that the target au- dience is limited to people who’ve played the first two games. This is an effective way to draw those players back, but the game doesn’t have much to offer people who are new to the series. Mass Effect 3’s plot is highly reliant on prior knowledge of the previous plot arcs in the second game, which would leave new players in the dark.
The game does give returning players the option of uploading their Shepard character from Mass Effect 2 (just as the second game allowed players to do from the first). This gives series players the satisfaction of seeing the char- acter they made grow and change because of their decisions.
Despite drawing heavily from Mass Effect 2, the plot of Mass Effect 3 is intricate and well- written. At times the game feels more like an interactive movie than simply a game, and it does this well. The game can go into long cut-scenes without disen- gaging the player. In fact, during the game startup, the player can choose to have the game focus more on the action portions or more on the plot, depending on the player’s taste. ME3 also al- lows players to shift the balance between the two at any time.
While the writing is great, there are some troubles with playability. Someone more experienced with shooter games and the Mass Effect series would likely have an easier time than I did. There were times when I felt like some of the controls were dif- ficult to handle. It was frequently difficult to get Shepard to stay behind cover instead of rolling across the ground or leaping over the half-walls that I was trying to use to protect myself. In addi- tion, the game rushes through the tutorial section, and I didn’t know half the things I was doing early on. However, none of this was so bad that the game was unplayable or made my character die, but it stands out when the rest of the game looks so nice.
Many of the characters were likable and felt real. Though some were clearly written to fit specific character molds, they didn’t seem too contrived, which is great for the game’s realism.
Overall, BioWare released a good game with few
flaws. However, Mass Effect 3 is definitely not the starting place if you haven’t played the series before. It would be better to at least play the second game before starting this one.