Community Review: Mass Effect 3

I know this is probably going to be ridiculously hard, but I would love if people could do their level best to keep this spoiler free. With that said, how are you guys finding Mass Effect 3 so far?

Bizarrely, after seven hours with the game, I don't know if I'm ready to have a proper opinion of the game yet. All Mass Effect games seem to have this really interesting pacing, where the beginning feels very unrushed, maybe even a bit flat and then, before you're barely aware of it, you're hurtling towards the endgame at this furious pace.

At the moment it feels as though I'm in that relaxed, beginning section — the section that's just 'talky part'/'shooty part' rinse/repeat. I'm enjoying it, because the combat feels really slick, but at one point I genuinely pushed the right bumper button by mistake to 'active reload'. Yep — for a split second I actually thought I was playing Gears of War!

Still, the Mass Effect universe is such a great place to return to. It's such a believable world, and one I'm properly invested it, and I like the idea that the stakes have been fully ramped up in the third iteration. I'm enjoying the whole political manoeuvring aspect of the game — it feels very grounded and real. The conversations I'm having, even in the beginning, feel like they have real consequence, and that tension of making the right decision in stressful situations is what makes Mass Effect so compelling.

Looking forward to the rest of it.

How are you guys finding it?


Comments

    Dat ending. Also, I must congratulate the writers of the series. I've never had such a strong personal interest in the safety and development of my team-mates. Making choices such as who to leave behind for various objectives actually had me consider them for some time (as with all the Mass Effect games).

    All in all, best sci-fi trilogy I've seen/played (sorry, Star Wars and Alien movies!). I hope they keep the Mass Effect universe going, though I doubt they'd just cease such an amazingly rich galaxy at three games.

    I generally enjoyed the game. It wrapped up a lot of relationships and secondary plots. The cover system was frustrating at times, I often rolled put of cover or jumped it at inopportune times, but I managed. The enemy AI was much better, the battles more challenging. My fault was with the ending, as it was with most people. I wish they'd change them.

    Some of the elements from ME2 seem to have been refined and improved in ME3 (exploration, scanning, combat tweaks), which is good.

    The cover system is a bit of an abomination to get right, though, even though you can do fancy things like roll to different cover points...having to have the thumbsticks precisely aligned to get the right cover motion as well as getting camera control for selection on consoles is really finicky, which is irritating, though.

    Story elements sound OK so far, I hear people bitching a lot about the endings though.

    Good - Dat casual jacket

    Bad - Dat KoA Reckoning armour

    Ugly - Dat planet scanning

    Verdict - So far, I'm liking it more than either of the other instalments

    i have never in my life, not even for a final fantasy game, seen so much anger toward an ending. they really messed it up. i was going to give the trilogy a chance, but i am so disinterested after seeing what they did to their fans three games in.

    from what i read, it was beyond a joke. they messed up. and they still want their faithful fans to pay through the nose in DLC...

      "They really messed it up" followed by "From what I read" reveals your lack of credibility.

        credibility? haven't you seen the petition or any comments under any mass effect 3 related post? everyone was disappointed. they messed up. i've never played the games, i wanted to, now i don't intend to unless they do something for their fans.

          20,000 people have signed the petition. Put that number up against the number of people who have bought the game. I'm fairly confident the latter number will be significantly higher.

          And that's not the point. I'm sure the ending is not the best either, but you have no opinion because you haven't played any of the games. This topic is called "Community Review", and a requirement of a review is having read more than someone else's opinion and then attempting to parrot it as if it was your own.

            Well, I have played it... and the end is pretty lax.

              I actually just beat the game around 30 mins ago and i gotta agree, the ending is just depressing. All the build up of relationships and missions and squad mates to just die in the end... I wanna try again and make a better army, just at the moment it seems like they could have made it a happier ending like successfully beating Mass Effect 2

        The lack of credibility in current reviews seems to fall on the side of "thinks it was an awesome game, but hasn't finished it yet." I've yet to see one person actually stand up and defend the actual content of the ending. Yes, singular. The variance in the endingS is minuscule, and completely ignores five years of choices leading up to it.

        Yes, I've beaten it. Have you?

          Sorry, you're talking to me? I've finished it once. Best possible ending (I think). Playing it again as a renegade douche to screw the galaxy over.

          Actually there are a bunch of reviews out there that take no issue with the ending. Try a google search. As for me, I admit that the ending isn't the best ending that could have happened, but it:

          A) didn't detract from the saga for me:
          B) doesn't necessarily preclude post-ending DLC: and
          C) isn't half as bad as some make it out to be. Look on the Bioware forums. Some people are literally saying they felt like vomiting, crying, can't play games anymore etc. It's ridiculous.

    I only got onto this last night and I chose to finish "the arrival" on ME2 first so that delayed me a little.
    Only just got onto the citadel, so it's ony just opening up, from my perspective, after the initial liniarity.
    Enjoying the combat so far.

    I'm a bit confused about my "Galactic Readiness"
    It always says 50%, do i have to play multiplayer to make that change?

      Yes. You don't need to change the GR to get a full military strength bar, or so I've read.

        Not quite!

        Your galactic readiness will stay at 50% - your possible strength is marked by a greyed out bar, your actual current strength is the green. Ideally you want your green bar to be maxed out - and you can do this by playing the single player campaign to completion.

        However, if you also play multiplayer (and I think there's an iOS game for iPhone/iPad called Infiltrator) you can increase your readiness rating about 50%, which means your single player assets are worth a larger amount.

        Say you have an asset score of 5,000, but a 50% readiness rating. Your strength is only 2,500. Increase your readiness rating to 75% via multiplayer or whatever, your strength goes up to 3,750.

        Multiplayer makes it easier to max out your readiness in case you hate sidequests, but it's not necessary - you'll jsut have to play the single player for longer/more diligently.

          It should be pointed out that if you max out your green bar... you're still only going to carry half of that into the final mission... and you cannot increase the percentage without multiplayer, or the trans-media games.

            No, that doesn't seem right.

            Let's say you have this bar:

            [-][-][-][-][-][-]|[-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-]

            the Line marks where the games says the "minimum" is.

            Now let's say [X] means grey and [O] means green and [-] is blank.

            You get a few assets and your bar looks like this:

            [O][O][O][X][X][X]|[-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-]

            Because you have 50% readiness. If you have 100% readiness you'd look like this:

            [O][O][O][O][O][O]|[-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-][-]

            If you do 50% of all ingame content in single player and have 50% readiness, your bar will look like this:

            [O][O][O][O][O][O]|[O][O][O][O][X][X][X][X][X][X][X][X][X][X]

            At this point you have 2 options:

            Do 100% of all ingame content, or get your readiness to 100%, to make your bar look like this:

            [O][O][O][O][O][O]|[O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O]

            Because remember, Bioware said it would be possible to get the best possible outcome doing singlep layer content only - multiplayer/infiltrator only speed it up. Maybe you don't want to do every piece of single player content, or you missed some things, so your bar looks like:

            [O][O][O][O][O][O]|[O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][O][X][X][X]

            Bam, just go into multiplayer, get your readiness up to 60% and your assets suddenly count for more so your green bar is maxed out. There's still a theoretical 40% of your bar you can't see that's still all greyed out, but you've hit the visible maximum. Once your green bar goes all the way to the right, you should have the 'best possible' ending available.

              I fear we are confusing readiness and 'Galaxy at War'.
              Readiness accounts for the green metre... GaW is responsible for the percentage you'll see in the galaxy map when you start the game.

              It acts as a multiplyer (or more accuratly a divider) to your readiness rating.

      Also two main problems with the game
      1- Playing on insanity the cover system can be quite annoying at times, making you do stupid things which gets you killed
      2- The baddies only focus on you - you might of sent your squad to kill a bunch of dudes and u run away into an obscure corner and you'll still be shot =/

    If it wasn't for the engaging universe and conversation system BioWare have created, it'd just be another Gears of War with RPG elements. Seems like they refined the third game to appeal more than ever to FPS fans, maybe that was always the plan? Either that or it was done to appeal to a wider audience during the development of ME2, for the $$$... EA were frothing at the mouth no doubt.

    Not really a criticism just an observation, it's interesting how much the game has changed over the trilogy, I'm enjoying the third game. It sucks you in pretty quickly =)

      I agree, they cut ME3 down to size and gave it a crappy ending. What they gave us was good but really watered down. EA makes enough money they need to get off the corporate BS and focus on making really good content.

    The universe in Mass Effect 3 is just as engaging in ever, with plenty of different people to talk to and places to go. I really love how you're responsible for pulling together forces for a galactic war against an impossible enemy, but you and your people aren't forgetting the little things either. Although it's not quite the same as the presidium from ME1, you can walk around a variety of places on the Citadel and find people to talk to and assist - one of the new things being if you come across an argument you can pick a side, dropping your two cents into the conversation to help resolve the dispute. Sometimes this just helps settle things down, sometimes it gains you valuable war assets.

    We're rejoined by our key crew from ME1 and there's cameos from our surviving friends friends from ME2 as well. I'd be interested to see how these bits are handled if our friends died in ME2 but I hear Bioware just gives you a palette swap with a different name, so I guess it's not really worth dwelling on - having everyone alive going into ME3 is obviously the canonical route.

    Combat feels more satisfying than the slightly tedious pew-pew of ME2, biotics in particular feel like there's a lot of grunt. Enemy AI seems to have been tweaked which notches up the difficulty slightly. I'm finding myself actually having to use strategy and the full range of abilities available across myself and squadmates instead of just picking my favourites and rolling over everything - granted, I never tried to play ME2 above Normal so maybe what I'm describing isn't that unfamiliar if you've done ME2 on Veteran/Hardcore/Insanity. ME3 on normal feels about right - you won't just stomp everything but you would reload too may checkpoints either.

    Although I'm sure it's all fairly tightly scripted, I appreciate how sometimes a seemingly random encounter can really pay off in terms of mini-quests or war assets. Maybe it's just that I'm carefully combing every inch of this game which by the way, looks really good. The visual style is largely unchanged from ME2 and everything has caught a mild dose of darker-grittier, but is a bit sharper and cleaner at the same time, which may sound contradictory but that's just how I interpret what I'm seeing.

    If there's one thing I don't like it's the new look Normandy. I don't mind it flying the Alliance colours, but the interior is... eh... a bit ugly. Parts of the ship we used to be able to visit are blocked off in favour of a slightly revamped layout, and the contstruction is incomplete - I understand that the refit of the Normandy was interrupted a little bit by Reapers, but surely someone could've found five minutes to tidy up the cables lying all over the floor. But that's my only quibble.

    I'm loving having a new Mass Effect game to spend time on, take my time with as I learn it's tricks and secrets, and fumble my way through the story, probably making a bunch of mistakes along the way. I'm sure by now someone has broken down the numbers and figured out every x vs y variable for best possible outcome, but I'm not interested in that.

    While a lot of people have been complaining how ME3 and it's endings (which I'm mostly non-spoilered on - I haven't gotten there yet) I feel likem y choices in ME1 and 2 have really brought this game to life. What I've done in created a universe and now the reapers are tearing it down - it's up to me to put a stop to it. Whether all my choices help save the day or ultimately amount to nothing, ME3 is the culmination of nearly five years of anticipation, and so far I feel it's a worthy successor to an excelletn franchise.

      I've got some beefs about the Citadel and the way the side quests are handled...

      Side quests are picked by overhearing conversations... and they're on a timeline.
      When you consult the journal for more information it doesn't tell you anything about the relay you need to jump to, just a notation that you need to retrieve X from planet Y. If you don't know your planets and systems you'll either be checking a guide or jumping around.

      I agree about the Normandy, all the time I'm docked at the Citadel couldn't they find a few moments to clean up... especially if we're going to have dignitaries on board.

      Banshees and brutes are just evil... evil bastards.

      Diana Alders has an awful character model. It just doesn't look right.

        Yeah, Diana Allers looks weird and Jessica did an awful job of voicing her. On the upside, she's completely irrelevant, adds a piddling 5 points to your war asset score, and you can throw her off your ship at any time or even choose to not take her with you. For maximum badass, take her with you, censor her broadcasts, take her to bed, then throw her out. She doesn't even count as a relationship, so you can still pursue your main romance with no ill effects.

    Day one DLC, cancer writers, Bioware ain't what they used to be and I want personal reparations, DA2 ruined my life, etc.

    Do I win the Internet?

    The game is good.

      Well played, sir.

      There were some really great atmospheric moments in this edition as well. Have to keep this as generic and non-spoilerish as possible, but an early mission sees Shepard fighting on an alien moon while the actual planet is literally on fire in the background. The race in question is fighting the Reapers valiantly, but they're obviously losing very badly and the combination of the set piece, the score and the dialogue gave me a really visceral emotional response. I legitimately felt sorry for an imaginary race of aliens, and for that, Bioware gets a golden star.

    the part i dont like is the cutscenes just because the weapons are different for example my shepard carries the mattock rifle so y in the cutscenes is he suddenly carrying an M8 avenger? Hell i even saw one of my squad members using an avenger in the cutscene and she cant even carry one of those during gameplay just seems a bit inconsistant to me but otherwise a great game

    I just spent 5 minutes trying to think of describing what mission I’m up to, but in the end decided I couldn’t do it without someone complaining of spoilers…

    Anyway, I’m probably about a third of the way in.

    Like: script, customising weapons, levelling system, multiplayer (I’m really enjoying it, despite myself. And it fits into the SP game really well).

    Dislike: Cover system (could be my fault, but I keep trying to run but end up grabbing cover instead), Lack of mini-games (let me know if I’m wrong, but there isn’t anything as far as I can tell. The planet scanning thing in ME2 barely counted, I realise they gave this a couple shots but surely they could have come up with something fun, as a distraction?), buggy cinematics.

    So far really enjoying this game. The story and script feel stronger, but in some ways I liked ME2 a bit more.

    Well, it's better than Dragon Age 2.

    Ok that was a cheap shot, but it does illustrate that for the most part Bioware have delivered a very decent game this time around (for the record I wasn't fond of The Old Republic either). Sure, I've got some gripes: The shooting/role playing slider is too far to the shooter side, squadmate AI can be incredabliy dumb sometimes, and overall things have been, for the lack of a better term, dumbed down. Overall however, this is still a good game, although if the ending is as bad as rumored (avoiding specific spoilers till I get there), that verdict may change.

    I've made my thoughts clear in other threads about the storyline and the illusion of choice, but aside from that, it's fairly solid.

    The multiplayer's addictive (not sure if I like the unlocking method), but I'm not sure if I like the A button in single or multi. It's used for too many things- some times I'll try to get into cover and I'll roll (or vice verse), and I've lost count of how many times I've failed to revive a team mate in multi because I keep going into cover instead of reviving them.

    The combat's the best in the series, but the story is the worst of the three.

      Surely they could have used B or X for revive/interact. How often do you need to change ammo/gun compared to taking cover?

    After finishing ME3 on sunday arvo, also going through each of the 3 endings wih disapointment that they have only MINOR variances.

    i found the game moderately enjoyable i think this is the worst game in the Mass Effect trilogy.

    Why i say this is because i felt like the choices i made in this game had the least effect of the 3. The character interactions in this game felt pointless , after each mission i would go to see on my team where as in ME1 and ME2 they would have great conversations , this time around they didnt bother to say anything meaningfull.

    But i loved the weapon customisation! that was great

    To sum it up - minimal planet exloration, character decisions having little effect on your world / team mates ,no interactive asari dancers, poor effort on romances,. and who could forget shocking endings.

    Very unspectactular for the trilogy to end!

    so how does 3 begin if you dont do the arrival dlc for 2???

    One minor complaint I'd like to ad: the mission tracking in the journal is appallingly unhelpful. A standard side quest structure - find item, give item to relevant person - is made difficult because you have no way of knowing wether you've already found the item or not. I spent ages trying to find something I apparently already picked up during an earlier probing.

    Also slightly miffed that these quests become locked out after certain story points without warning. I think its a good idea but some warning would be nice.

    be nice.

      *Stupid phone. Wasn't done.

      Overall though, I'm loving it. The universe has sunk its claws back into me. Can't wait to play more and hopefully I can avoid spoilers till I'm done.

      Oh yeah, this - the journal was abysmal compared to the previous games.

      It offered no helpful updates on what to do next and the lack of distinction between main and sidequests just made everything cluttered and confusing.

      It's a real step backwards.

        The journal was poor. You covered that it didn't track that you had picked up the item; its easy to forget this in a multi-hour gaming session with dozens of side quests.

        Given the nature of this fictional universe: Shepard should start with or be able to buy a PA VI to keep track of these. In a sense that is what the journal is, its just a very poor implementation. An iPhone would have a better app for that :-)

        It was also very annoying that the journal still opens with an old item selected; its about a third of the way down the list. You need to scroll up for ages to find any active tasks. That is just poor UI design. It should have opened at the top or with as many active tasks as would fit in a page with the selection on the item at a page boundary. That would reduce the amount of scrolling needed to see content.

        The journal could have been improved further but this would probably impact on gameplay. Some tasks have all three bits of information that you need to complete them.

        1) Where to find (planet)
        2) What to find
        3) Where to deliver (to who and where)

        Since the location of most planets were known to the ship's computers (even if not known by the player), it would be possible to use the task itself to jump directly to 1), then you search manually for 2) then use the journal to jump back to the citadel and order a taxi/elevator ride to 3)

        Some tasks were information based, there was no physical object to deliver. Your VI could send a text/email/voicemail to the recipient.

        That is less engaging than speaking to a person which is bad.

        It cuts down on busy work which is good. But fetch quests are busy work by design. You become invested in a character by the sheer amount of effort that you have put into that character's life. Even the busy work creates a connection.

        Imagine how much shorter the mass effect games would be with an efficient journal. ;-) How much content would Bioware have to add to the game to get back up to 30+ hours of gameplay?

        But you are right, they should, at least, have displayed a flag that shows that you have the item. There are 3 states:

        1) looking for
        2) found
        3) delivered

    Considering I like to take my time with my games, people complaining about the ending is pissing me off.

    I'm really loving it.

    The universe is brilliantly fleshed out, the characters from previous games get generally appropriate (and very dramatic) endings to their arcs, and the attention paid to little details like ambient dialogue is outstanding.

    The endings aside, this has some of the best writing I've ever seen in a videogame. The character relationships are just so well done. There may have been tears.

    I'm also a fan of the combat, it feels solid and responsive. The customisation of weapons and armour is improved from both previous games, and the enemies are different enough to make using different strategies worthwhile.

    Seeing little things like a character reference something you did two games ago, even if it has a tiny impact on the world of Mass Effect 3, is stunning. Especially when they're often as funny and poignant as what happens in ME3. The care the writers took means meeting dozens of people you know around the galaxy never feels contrived, they all have a good reason for being there.

    There were times when seeing a character from the first two games, or running into an old squadmate, was enormously satisfying and often really emotional - especially when they end up in some of the situations they end up in.

    Overall it's an outstanding end to the series, marred by an unfathomably confusing and frustrating final ten minutes. I don't think 'demanding' a change to someone else's creative product is ever a wise thing, but I can't for the life of me work out why Bioware decided to do the things they did. I certainly wouldn't mind if it were changed.

    it was a great journey from mass effect 1-3 but a crappy ending.

    Good - customization of weapons was properly done, unlike the clutter that was mass effect 1, story was fine with some moments I had to tear up at due to my emotional investment in most of the characters, closure on a lot of stuff which come from me1 and 2, like the fact that a lot of old faces pop up from me1 and 2.

    Bad - Less meat on the side quests considering this is such a beautiful universe, journal was a bit derpy, i remember trying to find an artifact in a galaxy where 100% of assets were discovered >>. Like many people, I felt the ending was a bit off and there were a few holes with it.

    Verdict - Enjoyed it a lot more than me1 and me2 combined BUT i have to say, "That ending..." >=(

    I was thinking that all this hating might be due to hearthurt at the ending.. but then I read this: http://social.bioware.com/forums/forum/1/topic/355/index/9727423/1
    And, of course, spoilers will be aplenty in that thread.

      THank you for linking this, this link has been very enlightening, i hope what they say in here is what it is, because it would be the single best thing i have experienced in a game. EVERYONE Read this article.

      http://social.bioware.com/forums/forum/1/topic/355/index/9727423/1

    I'll throw my name into the big 'the ending sucked' hat. For me it wasn't that from a story point of view they were disappointing - it was that they boiled down to three choices and three choices only. No matter how different your game might have turned out from MY game, we still get those same three choices.

    Given that one of the biggest drawcards for the series was the amazingly detailed plot and the huge number of ways you can change what happens, this was a kick in the teeth.

    I will say I loved the game up until this point. The gameplay was fantastic.

    One thing though - even though I had Ashley with me on the final mission, she magically teleported up to the Normandy in the final cutscene!

    apart from the stupid cover system i loved it.

    I finished it yesterday and i can tell you..... it actually mad me sad, i preffered Me1 and 2 because it i knew there was going to be more of my Shepard, but know? i dunno but other then that i loved it it was epic and a must buy for pretty much everyone.
    Good job Bioware, making a game that sucks emotion out of you like a sponge in water.

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