Thursday, 3 May 2012

Game Review: Mass Effect 3

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 by James Smith
It was one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2012. After the huge success of the first two games, could it match, or even exceed, them?
My expectations were high when I nipped out of school one lunchtime (signing, obviously) and headed to Gunwharf. My first time playing on it, I realised something: The game was going to grab from the get go, and not stop until the final cut-scene. The game begins with commander Shepard being under a form of arrest by the Alliance military. We then discover that the Reapers (the evil force behind the entire of the previous games) are beginning their assault to “harvest” the organic life in the galaxy. Shepard is soon fighting off Reaper forces on Earth (the arena for the final battle), and Admiral Anderson orders him to leave Earth to amass an enormous, multi-species army to save Earth and build the Crucible (the only thing possible at stopping the Reapers) in his old ship, the Normandy. But before that, we see a young boy, whom your character could try and save or tell to run (he runs either way), entering a shuttle to take civilians away to safety, only for it to be destroyed in mid-air by a Reaper laser beam.
I won’t ruin the end, but the game takes you through all emotions possible. The game has certainly ramped up everything possible – except the choices. Fewer choices in conversation are available than previous games, but gives it a much better flow to the game, making it ever the more impressive. The violence and action has shot up (the previous games were almost afraid of blood being shown, in this one you can pause and have a blood spray coming out of your back!), the horror certainly increased, with darker rooms, creatures creeping up on you, and the huge battle scenes on Earth. But it makes you feel emotional. Characters sacrificing themselves, others, and existential crisis dreams from Shepard too.
Overall – has it done it?

In my opinion, yes. The critics have given it 90% plus, as with previous games, but players felt there wasn’t enough distinction between the endings that could be selected and not mostly based on your decisions in previous games, and others didn’t get the “closure” they desired. I actually am glad that there were only 3 endings electable with the decisions from previous games. And I did get closure, if I can describe it like that.
Is the best game ever? I believe so.

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