Mass Effect 3 Review: Story

March 21, 2012 by Jerry Jackson Reads (10,764)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 10
    • Total Score:
    • 9.17
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Mass Effect 3

If you played the first two Mass Effect games then you can import your existing Shepard so you won?t have to spend so much time creating your character in this game. Another advantage for returning players is that your Shepard starts out at a higher level (meaning you get more powers at the start of the game) and the story in Mass Effect uses events that occurred during the first two games.

Mass Effect 3So, if you saved a character in the first Mass Effect game then you will run into them in this game. Likewise, if one of your comrades died in Mass Effect 2 then that character won?t be available to help in the war against the Reapers (intelligent machines who harvest all organic life in our galaxy whenever one or more civilizations evolve to a certain level of technology).

This makes the story in Mass Effect 3 extremely complex for returning players because your love interest from the first game (if you had one) might find out if you were unfaithful in the second game (if you decided to fool around) and the results might be unpleasant when those two characters meet in Mass Effect 3. Still, players who are new to the Mass Effect universe can still create a new character with a detailed history ? you just won?t encounter the ?complexities? in the story the same way that a seasoned player does.

Mass Effect 3 Mass Effect 3

This explains why Mass Effect 3 has some of the best writing in the series; there is a tremendous amount of character development behind almost every major character in the game. All of the major characters in Mass Effect 3 essentially have three times the amount of back story compared to a typical well-written role playing game like Skyrim. Not only that, but if you?re a returning player then you will likely notice an immediate sense of familiarity and kinship with the characters in the game.

Mass Effect 3I actually felt heartache when I had to order a friend from Mass Effect 2 into a battle where they would almost certainly die so I could build a fleet to fight the Reapers. That also leads us into the decisions you make in the game that determine the way the story unfolds. As in the previous games, you will often be presented with one of two options whenever you interact with other characters in the game; those choices are paragon (good) or renegade (bad).

However, Mass Effect 3 is different than the older games because it?s more difficult than ever to choose purely paragon or purely renegade responses. There are times when a renegade choice is the only choice to strengthen the war effort or keep someone alive and there are times when a Paragon choice is the only option if you want a strong force against the Reapers.

Mass Effect 3 Mass Effect 3

This means making those choices is that much harder because there are some people you really want to kill (or at least tell to go jump off a cliff) and there are times when you want to be kind and loving to another character but can’t. The Mass Effect 3 writers make the most of these moments and I genuinely felt bad when you make a choice that gets someone killed or breaks their heart.

Mass Effect 3Your combination of combat and your paragon/renegade choices climax with a massive battle to retake Earth and the Citadel from the Reapers. Unfortunately, the climax is where the story in Mass Effect 3 completely falls apart.

I won?t spoil the ending, but there is no way to write a fair review of this game without talking about the endings. I was prepared to write a glowing review about the wonderful writing in a Mass Effect 3 and then I hit the brick wall that the writers jokingly call the end. Like the previous Mass Effect games, you are presented with a paragon or renegade choice at the end, but unlike the previous games, it doesn?t matter what you choose.

Without giving away too much information, all of the endings have one thing in common: Even if you win, you lose.

Mass Effect 3 Mass Effect 3


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