Mass Effect 3 is finally here! After months of waiting, we can finally experience the game in full glory! But how good is the game, according to the critics? Check out our review round-up below for the answer to that question, and be sure to leave your opinion in the comments!
Near the beginning of Mass Effect 3, an emotional scene takes place when Commander Shepard encounters a frightened boy on Earth. A feeling of hopelessness pervades the encounter; Shepard can’t do anything to help, and the child knows it. The galaxy didn’t prepare for the Reaper invasion, and defeat seems inevitable. The scribes at BioWare never abandon this tone throughout Mass Effect 3, leading to a dark story that beats mercilessly to the pulse of war and the death it delivers. While the universe’s fight for survival is the backbone of this drama – a masterfully written [game].
As with any game that dares to be ambitious, deconstruct Mass Effect 3 into its constituent parts and of course there are flaws, but taken as a whole this is arguably the first truly modern blockbuster, a game that transcends the genre boundaries of old and takes what it needs from across the gaming spectrum in order to finish its story in the most compelling, thrilling, heartbreaking way possible. Few gaming sagas come to a definitive close, but this one signs off in breathtaking style.
Mass Effect 3 rounds out its epic space opera with innumerous moments of restrained maturity, bringing about a conclusion that satisfies better than anything, not just in games, but in any pop medium.
Official XBOX Magazine
In the end, though, about the only thing that hasn’t aged well in Mass Effect are its facial animations. What was mind-blowing in 2007 has been noticeably usurped by the likes of L.A. Noire, leaving ME3’s character visages seeming a bit wooden. Everything else borders on perfection. From the visceral combat to the excitement of finishing Shepard’s 100-hour fight, Mass Effect 3 is a rare, magnetically engaging treat that’ll compel you to stay up well past your bedtime to do “just one more quest.” Safe travels, fellow Shepards. See you starside.
All told, Mass Effect 3 is an absolutely amazing game, one that successfully puts a bow on the Mass Effect trilogy while still leaving us hungry for even more. It looks and plays great, but Mass Effect 3’s true strength lies in its ability to tell a deeply-woven story. Better yet, the sheer ambition shown by BioWare in announcing an intersecting trilogy complete with save importation becomes fully realized in Mass Effect 3. BioWare deserves applause for not only having the courage to attempt something like the Mass Effect trilogy, but for pulling it off with such exceptional poise and skill.
Mass Effect 3 improves many of the series’ individual elements, and provides finality to a saga in which numbers of us have invested dozens of hours. But despite this success, it’s unable to reward the effort and investment of players in the same way previous games did. Still, it handles its subject matter in a way that invites you to care, and the addition of multiplayer does add another dimension to the game. When all has been said and done, there’s a very good chance that you’ll feel something. Mass Effect 3 isn’t the best game ever made. But it’ll certainly be in the conversation for a very long time to come.
In a similar way, the concluding catharsis of Mass Effect 3 won't make it the obvious favorite for everyone. It's the most refined and it's one of BioWare's best, but it trades in some of Mass Effect 2's mystery and unrepeatable brilliance for a big-bang finish. Rather than hurling yourself into the unknown, you're saying goodbye to what you've come to love over the last four years.
Everything you've done in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 has led up to this moment, a weight that Mass Effect 3 bears with grace and pride. Everything you do feels important - every side quest, every scan, every conversation, every shot fired feels like it impacts your likelihood of success in a very real and tangible way. You never lose the sense that you're fighting for the survival of all life, everywhere, but it also never feels overwrought or excessively dramatic.
Mass Effect 3 has its flaws, but they're of minimal consequence in a game this enthralling. By filling the Milky Way with vibrant, singular characters, the series has given you a reason to care about its fate. Ostensibly, Mass Effect 3 is about saving the galaxy, but a galaxy is just a thing--an idea, an abstract, a meaningless collection of plutinos, planets, and pulsars. But the game is actually about saving people. And there's a big difference there. Watching cities burn from orbit tugs at your heartstrings; watching a beloved companion die cuts to the bone. Whether you possess a storied history with the series or come with a clean slate, Mass Effect 3 expertly entangles you in its universe and inspires you to care about its future.
Score: 8.5/10 When all is said and done, Mass Effect 3 is the conclusion of Shepard's career and as fine a conclusion as they deserve. The story is more fast-paced than anything BioWare has done before and still feels like it's affording the player as much time as they need to explore and discover. While some niggling issues do persist in terms of controls, the storyline is supremely satisfying right up to its climax, which contains one of the most interesting moral dilemmas found in videogames (from a standpoint of long-term implications).
It’s a third and final chapter, then, with all that implies. It’s off-putting to new players, too busy tying up loose ends to dangle any threads of its own, and fails to stand up as its own game in the same manner as its predecessors. But it’s also a spectacular, powerfully imagined and dramatically involving final act to one of gaming’s richest sci-fi sagas.
But only slightly. At the end of the day, Mass Effect 3 is a game for people who liked Mass Effect 2 so much that they absolutely need to see how it all ends. Despite claims to the contrary from the game's publisher, I really don't think newcomers will get much out of it at all. All it would take is getting to the new character creation screen and being forced to select between Numerous, Ashley, or Kaiden from a screen that asks you who died during your previous missions for a new player to realize they're being asked questions they couldn't possibly answer in an educated way. The value in this story is from seeing characters you adore dealing with a continuing situation. Even though it doesn't come together quite as successfully as it did in the previous games, those of you with an attachment to the Mass Effect universe should still play it.
Thought it was Okay
No sites gave Mass Effect 3 a mediocre score. If any mediocre scores (6 out of 10 or lower) appear, they'll be added to this section.
No sites panned Mass Effect 3. If any bad scores (4 out of 10 or lower) appear, they'll be added to this section.
Now it's time for Wikian's to review Mass Effect 3. If you pick up a copy, post your thoughts in the comments or post your own blog! Let us know what you thought while traversing through the galaxy to stop the Reapers!