I understand what the writers were trying to do here. One of the core concepts in the Mass Effect games is that sometimes you have to make hard decisions and sacrifices. That?s part of the reason the Mass Effect universe is very ?grown up? compared to most RPGs or action games. That being said, I?ve been playing Mass Effect since the original game was released for the Xbox 360 back in 2007 and Shepard and his team are like a virtual extension of me and my extended family.
I was prepared to make sacrifices during the final game, but nothing could have prepared me for the kind of sacrifices I was forced to make at the end of this great adventure. And frankly, that?s just depressing. Yes, you had to make sacrifices in the last two games, but at least there was the possibly of a 100 percent happy ending. There is no perfect ending where ?they all lived happily ever after? in Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 3 delivers stunning visuals and intricate character models, a hallmark of the series. In some areas, however, you can tell that the game suffers from being so closely tied to its console brethren — it feels like the developers could have done a bit more with the power that modern gaming PCs offer.
On the upside, it means you won’t need a super high-end PC to really get into the game. One of our in-house systems had an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 installed, which is two years old at this point, and wasn’t a flagship card even new. ME3 ran flawlessly on the system despite that fact, at 1920×1200. So don’t be concerned if you feel that your system isn’t quite up to snuff – chances are that you can play the game, and play it well.
Overall, Mass Effect 3 essentially highlights the best and worst of the Mass Effect series. You get the best combat mechanics, the best graphics, the best writing, and the best and worst examples of how your choices impact the story.
The single-player combat is among the best I?ve seen with great control, excellent weapons and powers, and enemy AI that actually tries to make it challenging. Without a doubt, this is the best Mass Effect game in the series if you care about combat.
Despite the best efforts of the game developers, the multiplayer elements in the game felt tacked on as if they never should have been there. Yes, the multiplayer gameplay is fun and there are some cool character options in there, but the way in which multiplayer appears in the game is ultimately useless and unnecessary.
For better or worse, the story driving the RPG side of the game is both well written and heartbreaking. I honestly can?t agree with the choices that the writers made at the end of the game; it would be like George Lucas ending the original Star Wars trilogy with the depressing end of The Empire Strikes Back. But the team at Bioware and Electronic Arts have publically said that Mass Effect 3 is the end of the Shepard story, so whether we like it or not, this is the end we?re stuck with.
The major downer of an ending may also have unforeseen consequences for Bioware. After Mass Effect 2 was available in stores, Bioware released a large number of downloadable content packs which let you play more missions (and helped Bioware and EA earn more money). However, after the ending of Mass Effect 3, I have no plans to play this game again. What would be the point of playing a game where no matter what choice I make I am condemned to a depressing outcome?
I?m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite and least favorite game on the Citadel.
Despite the disappointment and heartbreak, Mass Effect 3 is a stunning piece of gameplay, and entirely worthy of our Editor’s Choice award.