Saturday, March 24, 2012
Mass Effect Comes to an End
I haven't posted a lot of videogame reviews as of late, but why not some Mass Effect 3 action? Considering all of the 'hooplah' surrounding some aspects of it I felt it aprapos. Also, considering the CEO of Bioware recently asked for this very thing, well now I'm obligated. And I've gotta say, I really applaud them for this. They didn't have to hone up to the public outcries, they could've stuck to their guns and defended their hard work.
First and foremost, you don't play the third game in a series without playing the first two. You can get by with some other titles by doing this but Mass Effect is a story, it's a continuous arc starring you as the main character, building off the decisions you make each game. Admittedly, if you want the whole experience, play the first two, but you can really get by with just playing the second one first, there's a lot of hooks in ME2 that directly play into the third one, plus the second installment may be the best of the series.
And there's the rub. Mass Effect 3 is a good game, it's an awesome game really and has some of the biggest in-game decisions to date. It just doesn't measure up in the end. A lot of the exploration has been simplified, which may not have been everybody's bag but I miss it greatly. The action sequences are awesome, while they're happening, but they're a bit too few. If you get into the complete immersion of the game as I do, for every ten minutes of action you're looking at twenty minutes or more of downtime while you run around doing all the dialogue options with your crew and other NPC's as well as upgrading/fiddling with all of your paper-doll options and weapon enhancements.
If you've done your time in the trenches, imported the same character for the past five years, and want to have one last romp...you'll play this game. Chances are you'll like it quite a bit. As for the "controversies", well take them or leave them. One such quibble is the Prothean DLC content that came out the same day. Same day DLC contents is kind of a slap in the consumers' face, I just plopped down sixty bucks but you want another ten for exclusive content? On the same day? It could've been rolled up into the game if it was that finished in development right?
It's the ending that has prompted the internet firestorm. A lot of really good points have been made and through all the noise there is a clearly thought-out rationale behind the criticisms. It was a very contrived ending with three "choices" but each one is so incredibly similar that it doesn't matter which choice is made. And that's the other issue I take with it, with all the choices and freedoms and options you make as a character over three titles and five years the ending takes none of that into account whatsoever. What was the point of all the great game moments if none of it has any impact in the end. You make this character by your actions, no two "Commander Shepards" are the same, yet a generic ending that doesn't make a lot of sense seems to suffice? No, it was inadequate given everything that preceded it.
When it's all said and done I'd give ME3 a 7/10 stars, ME2 on the other hand I'd give an 8.5/10 stars. Sure it's all opinion, but the second one just felt more solid, was more immersive, and didn't completely disregard every action you've had a hand in since the beginning for a contrived ending.