The day has finally come where you must take a stand against forces that plan to exterminate all life from the galaxy. If you couldn’t guess at what I’m referring to, Mass Effect 3 is ready to have you make the choices that will ultimately decide your fate and the fate of the universe. This sequel has been a long time coming, especially after that cliffhanger ending in ME2. Does it live up to the expectation of the Mass Effect series or does it fall short? Only way to find out is to keep on reading.
Plot: Anybody familiar with Mass Effect will know the story. For those of you that don’t know, there will be spoilers in this brief plot summary.<Spoiler>After Commander Shepard is called back to Earth for his actions in Batarian space, the inevitable Reaper invasion occurs. As John Shepard watches Earth being destroyed and overrun, he must find a way off Earth and do the unthinkable: Unite all species in the galaxy to fight the invasion.<Spoiler end>What choices will you make in order for your mission to succeed? And what are you willing to sacrifice to do it? Just remember, your choices could very well end whole civilizations.
Gameplay: As many of you should probably know, Mass Effect plays out like a Third-Person Shooter with elements of RPG thrown in the mix. It’s been quite successful in the previous installments and this title is no different. You still have the option to choose from six different classes; all with their own unique abilities. Or you can just import a character from ME2 and carry over anything from that save file. With the weapons, you can now add two different kinds of attachments. For example, a shotgun can now have a scope for zooming in and a nuzzle for dealing more damage. These attachments vary effect, so keep an eye out for different kinds. The Melee system even got a new addition which allows you to deal out extra damage. For my solider class, the Omni-Tool transforms into a dagger that Shepard thrusts into the enemy. During the course of Mass Effect 3, you will run into opposition with the intent of seeing Shepard dead. Between fighting Cerberus, The Geth and The Reapers, players will have their hands full. To ensure that your squad survives, adapting to the situation and enemy types is the best course of action. Charging in without a plan will often get you killed.
The power wheel is still in play, allowing players to take a break from the fight and to choose an effective ability. For even better results, mixing Shepard’s powers with his squads’ powers could lead to some satisfying combinations. Experiment with your character to see what fits how you play. Conversations are still present but the developers over in Bioware have given players a choice. The game can either be set up to play normally (meaning you choose what Shepard says and does) or to be played with the game making all the decisions. I’ve yet to try this option out since the point of Mass Effect is for players to make their own decisions. The Paragon/Renegade options still appear at set moments during conversations. Whether you pull the trigger yourself or prevent someone’s death is completely up to you. These moments can alter the course of the story for better or worse. Another mayor addition to ME3 is how you navigate The Normandy. This time around you fly through systems, scanning planets and the surrounding area for war assets. These assets help even your odds for the upcoming battle against The Reapers. Depending on how many assets you have and how much strength the military has, determines if you stand a chance or will get wiped out in a second. Be warned through, if you scan too much in a certain area, The Reapers will become aware of your presence and force you to either escape or be destroyed. Last but not least we have… online play.
Online Multiplayer: Now, I bet you’re wondering how online would work with Mass Effect. I know it sounds like a hard concept and even I was skeptic at first. Let me be the one to tell you all that Bioware created an excellent multiplayer. It plays out like a Horde mode but fueled on adrenaline. You start out by creating a class from the existing classes in the story mode. From there, you can customize the color and patterns and chose what your loadout will be.. Each class tops out at level 20 but then you can choose another character and keep going if you so please. Once you fixed up your class, you can jump right into the fight. Teaming up with three other players, you must survive the waves of either The Geth, Reapers or Cerberus in order to gain full experience and money. Thrown into the mix are mandatory objectives to complete like killing certain enemies before time runs out or hacking a computer terminal. These moments truly show whether you can fight together like a squad or die alone like a dog. With the money you earn from the matches, you can use to buy packs that give you random items. It could be anything from weapons, Medi-Gel or attachments.
A bonus to playing the online is that it does help you in the single player experience by allowing you to push The Reapers back and hold the line in each theater of war. For each day you don’t play the online, Reaper forces attack and you lose ground.
Graphic/Audio: Breathtaking to say the least. I recently just bought a 51” HDTV and oh boy I can tell I been missing out. The details on the characters popped out onto the screen. Between that and having my Turtlebeach’s deliver a surround sound environment, playing Mass Effect 3 was like watching a movie. My mom even thought I was watching a movie when she came in.
As great as Mass Effect 3 is, there still are a couple of downfalls with this title. The biggest problem I came across were the glitches. Problems with the facial animations, NPC’s walking through each other and a boss fight riddled with glitches are just some of the ones you will notice. I’m sure there will be a patch soon to deal with these issues. Also, the endings were a bit confusing for many. This lead to a lot of people bashing on Bioware and Mass Effect. I won’t give any hints out but don’t listen to them. The endings are weird and not what you would see from a Mass Effect game. Other than those major issues, nothing should really stop you from given this a go. If you haven’t touched Mass Effect before and maybe this interests you, then go for it. I promise you will not be disappointed. This game series deserves a rental at the very least. I give Mass Effect 3 for the Xbox 360 8.5 out of 10.