Seven Game Reviewers Fail To Label Mass Effect 3 A Steaming Pile Of Crap

You honestly expect me to believe that seven completely different individuals gave Mass Effect 3 generally positive to excellent review scores simply because it's a good game?

I suppose that's reasonable.

Here at Kotaku Frankenreview Central (the desk in my den) we've yet to play Mass Effect 3, so I have no first-hand knowledge of the quality of Commander Shepard's third adventure. I hear there are some nasty aliens descending upon the Earth, and it's up to Shepard, her ship, and her crew to help turn the tide and save humanity from utter extinction. Does one review call it out for being the world's most elaborate Space Invaders clone? No. Not a one.

Someone has obviously been paid. Paid to play Mass Effect 3 and offer their objective opinions without being swayed by a raving Frankenreview writer's outrageous and uniformed logical leaps. Well... good job.

Giant Bomb

Mass Effect 3 faces expectations that are almost impossibly high, partially due to the high quality of its predecessors and the richness of its fiction. BioWare managed to create a sci-fi world worth obsessing over. Expectations are also off-the-charts because of the nature of Mass Effect's story. By adjusting itself to the choices you've made across the previous games, players have become attached to their version of the story, to their Commander Shepard. It's unreasonable to expect it to exceed every possible aspect of its predecessors, and I've tried to keep my own personal expectations in check. Mass Effect 3 certainly isn't a bad game, and ultimately I'd recommend that anyone with an importable Shepard from Mass Effect 2 should check it out. But even after making a real attempt to be pragmatic about Mass Effect 3, I've come away from it feeling a little disappointed about the way this trilogy closes out.


In comparison to what has come before, the world and atmosphere of Mass Effect 3 is bleak, gloomy and uncompromising - the kind of place in which good is never wholly good and bad is never wholly bad. There are no right and wrong answers to the universe's problem; no matter what you do and how you act in keys moments, there will be winners and losers. Whether through force or by choice, there will be sacrifices for the eventual good of the survivors.

This being the final curtain of Shepard's story and all, I don't want to spoil anything for you so I'll stay well away from even hinting at the choices you'll need to make. Other than to say it falls on your shoulders to decide the likely future of each of the universe's respective species and that some of those decisions are tough. More than once I had to pause the game and think things over for a few minutes before coming to a conclusion, and even then the choice came with consequences that didn't sit well with me.

The Escapist

Mass Effect 3's combat kicks things up a notch or twelve, as well, a change that's not always entirely welcome. The new enemies are daunting (and at times terrifying), but while you could get through Mass Effect 2 with minimal attention to cross-disciplinary styles, Mass Effect 3 seems to really, really want you to coordinate your attacks with your squadmates. Perhaps that's because it's easier to do so now that you can use voice commands to control your team (assuming you have a Kinect), but the combat can be frustratingly difficult at times. Your squadmates can be shockingly stupid sometimes, apparently forgetting that they're supposed to be backing you up in a fight. During one particularly brutal encounter, I discovered that my two companions had never followed me into the room and instead were crouching behind some furniture in the hallway. The game's cover mechanic is equally hit and miss, at times letting you roll from point to point with split-second accuracy, and at other times leaving you wide open to assault as you try in vain to take cover behind a wall.

The voice controls work fairly well - though there were times that the Kinect seemed to misunderstand me - but it felt odd to be barking orders at my companions one minute, then listening to Jennifer Hale chat them up back on the Normandy. Using the Kinect is fun from a gameplay perspective, but it doesn't mesh well with the story elements.


But some changes aren't as positive. Mass Effect 3 totes a far looser side quest system that's less compelling and interesting than its predecessors'. It's easy to earn a bunch of side quests only by overhearing conversations in certain locations, with no real context as to what you're supposed to do. While the main quest is heavy on story and action and certainly fulfils in its own right, Mass Effect 3's slant on side quests feels wanting, making the 30 to 40 hours it takes to complete everything in the game just a little more arduous.

BioWare has somewhat down-scaling the RPG-centric nature of the series, but thankfully this dumbing-down is totally optional. Mass Effect 3 still very much acts the part of action-RPG, but players will be given options to lessen the role-playing if you want to jump only into the action or story. Then again, BioWare has made Mass Effect 3 deeper in some ways, too, with features like enhanced weapon customisation. So not all is lost.


Not content to refine its single player, Mass Effect 3 also offers online co-op gameplay in "Galaxy at War". This horde-style survival mode is woven into the larger fiction with you taking on the role of combatant in the war that makes the backdrop for the single player game. What's more thoughtful though is that your success in co-op has an effect on the single player campaign, as your efforts contribute to the preparation of the forces of good in their fight against the Reapers. This is an alternative to doing all the single player activities and focusing on the main quests, supplementing your "galactic readiness" with co-op.

It's a solid, stable, if slight, take on the newest multiplayer mode du jour with all the requisite levelling and upgrading to keep the devoted engaged, but it lacks of the single player game's complexity in combat and, more importantly, its excitement because it is quite disconnected from the Shepard saga. Nonetheless, it is a nice diversion and should find an audience with those who have been requesting some online component to the franchise.

PlayStation LifeStyle

If you're worried that loose ends will be left hanging, don't be — I assure you that Mass Effect 3 delivers the finality that you've been dying for. From the mysteries behind Cerberus and the Illusive Man to the Krogan's situation with the Genophage, everything is laid out on the table and resolved. Bearing that in mind, naturally you will be forced to make conclusive choices that — for better or worse — dictate the outcome of the entire galaxy. I have never had such a difficult time deciding what to do in a video game before. There is a weight to your decisions that dwarfs the choices and consequences seen in the first two games. There are a number of twists and turns along the way, so don't expect a straight forward conclusion. The guys over at BioWare are master storytellers and Mass Effect 3 is their crowning achievement.


Shepard's story - the story of this one leader, the reapers, and the galaxy-that-is - had to come to an end somehow, at some time. Mass Effect 3 is definitively the conclusion of that story, and with every moment I laughed aloud, with every moment I sobbed, and with every moment I shouted extremely unprintable words I knew that it was worth the wait.

Finish the fight!


    lol Finish the Fight? Does that mean we're going to get 3 spin-offs and then another sequel?

      Let's hope so!

      Casey Hudson is currently claiming there's no actual plans for more Mass Effect games. Pfft. Sure man, whatevs.

        Actually they did say at one point that they dont plan on making anymore games with shepard as the focal point, but they were looking into more games based in the same universe.

          They have said so previously, but last week he was interviewed for io9 and said there's no actual plans sat this point, just general ideas.

          I wouldn't mind seeing some prequels, showing human's first contact with the mass relays, coming to the citadel, etc.

            Mass Effect RTS. Because a Blizzard / Bioware combo would be AMAZING!

            yeah keep in mind that would be pretty meh considering that very little time has passed since the mass relay discovery, I'd be keen for more mass effect games as long as they do a awesome job... Watch out they may end up making a mass effect MMO on the Swtor engine I won't be suprised

    I can't be arsed checking today (internet doesn't work so well at work) but yesterday the user review score for ME3 was 3.7, because people were metacritic bombing it. Not because they think it's a bad game, in fact most reviews came from people who haven't played the game - they're boycotting it because they object to Origin and day 1 DLC.

    Man, I udnerstand that (even if I think it's silly) but it's pretty sad that people are oblivious to (or deliberately ignore) the distinction between rating the quality of the content of the game, and rating how you feel about the game because you're a goddamn crybaby.

      But... thats how the internet works, isnt it?

    Bad article was bad, bad title as well.

      I think it was a joke. I'll let it slide this once, cause it was actually funny, considering all the rage about this game before it's been launched (my favourite bit was the 'paid' bit). But if it becomes a regular theme, yes, that would disappoint me.

    EA must have pretty deep pockets. Bravo, Kotaku.

      hur hur dur

    i got dlc for free cause of collectors edition, obviously cheapskates are cheap

      It wasn't free. How much extra was the CE as opposed to standard? I doubt all the other shit they put in it could make the DLC appear to some as a "free" bonus.

      It wasn't free. How much extra was the CE as opposed to standard? I doubt all the other stuff they put in it could make the DLC appear to some as a "free" bonus.

        The N7 iron on patch is worth $50 alone.

    Game is pretty good but one place it falters is overall polish. For example a lot of the physical interactions between npcs in cut scenes come off being cheap. As an example a handshake where the hands either do not come close to meeting or clearly go through each other. Another one is where Shephard slaps a npc on the shoulder and the hand passes through the shoulder into the body.
    Also a lot of the outfits worn by people are incredibly low resolution and are insanely obvious. And the low res textures applies to a lot of things. Sure certainly not game breaking but the polish is really lacking.
    And considering not to long ago on Kotaku there was an article about a mod someone did to actually make the faces and armours a lot higher res I would have expected more from ME3.

    So a good game but really comes across as average at times.

    Am i the only one that doesn't care about this game?

      Me neither, too much chatter in it, not enough GAME. (ME1/2)... i'm sick of games that want me to make a "choice"... ffs.. i make choices ALL DAY, at home, with the controller in my hand, I just want to shoot stuff, blow things up and occasionally solve a puzzle.

        haha well said!!!

        I can really get into HUGE games (Skyrim and on a lesser scale zelda) but there is something about this series that just makes me not want to play boring.

          That's cool - not everyone likes the same thing. :)

          It's just when people ridicule others for not being into what they like is when it becomes destructive.

          I prefer "story driven" games like the ME franchise, but I still sometimes like button-mashing fighting games when I just want to relieve some tension or when I'm drinking with friends or whatever. I don't judge people who just want to smash or shoot the shit out of things, better they're doing it in a game than in reality...

        I'm in the same boat with you guys. Mass Effect has never really grabbed me. The combat usually feels really slow and methodical. Anyway it seems like a good wrap up for fans.

        dude, the chatter is the game. I appreciate it's not your thing but gaming does not equal combat.

    Great article, Mike, made me chuckle.

    Personally can't wait to get this game, the multiplayer demo was sweet and I've always liked the ME storylines. My only prob is I have uni work coming out the woodwork, and I still need to catch up on last years games :[

    They don't want to end up like that guy that got fired from Gamespot for giving an honest review of Kane and Lynch.

    Guess what else got good reviews?

      Gaming journalism is in a sorry state right now. 9s and 10s are bartered to the highest bidders. Can anyone really take a website that has Mass Effect 3 advertising all over it seriously when they give it a 10? I'm not saying the game is bad; I've yet to play it, but it feels like there's very little integrity in this industry.

      Dragon Age II is a perfect example.

      You mean the guy who founded GiantBomb, who gave the game an 80 :P.(It's actually reviewed by Jeff)

      Which is why i view that rating as the only credible one on the list.

      It might not be a pile of crap. But in my opinion. There should only be a handful of 10's each year. Instead they are given out like a pedophile gives out candy.

        There are only a few 10s a year.

      Dragon Age 2 was good. You are shit.

        Oh boy, you like really bad games.

          to be honest, without making snide comments like js, it's all difference in opinion i guess.

          i did actually like DA2... yes i acknowledge it was no where near the scale/immersiveness(is that even a word? i dunno is now) of it's predecessor, i still found DA2 to entertain me, in a more braindead sort of way, but i was entertained none the less...
          bad games are all just based around different perspectives, i will not call people stupid for disliking the game, but at the same time, i would request the same level of respect for liking it.

          although i agree with your initial point, it's not a 9 or a 10

            DA2 to me just felt lazy. The recycled dungeons, the lack of a story and the two dimensional characters. It was rushed and an absolute mess. I ignored the people slamming the game before release because I assumed they were trolls.

            Everyone seems to assume everyone slamming ME3 and DA2 are trolls and sure some are but not all of them. I was a fan of both, Mass Effect especially, but these sequels are just cashing in on the name and aren't continuing or finishing the story arc or evolution of each series in any meaningful way. The animations, character interaction and story of Mass Effect has taken a giant leap backwards since the first game.

            I don't understand how Star Wars prequel bashing is accepted because of the poor dialogue, bad plot and inconsistencies with the previous entries in the franchise is ok, but doing the same with Mass Effect is a big no no.

              that is a very fair point, i fully agree that DA2 feels... i guess Lazy is a good term... i sorta had the feeling near the end "YAAAY I finally get to get out of kirkwall and to the full game... no? aw /o\"
              but at the same time, i kept coming back for more, so clearly it had me hooked somehow, which what i meant by, it's not a great game, but it's entertaining none-the-less at least to me...

              same goes for ME2, they skimped down on a few things i didn't necessarily agree with (inventory etc.) but still was hugely entertained throughout the entire thing...
              i understand that those "lazy" decisions annoys some people, but i never understood the bible-bashing and war going on between people that like it and people who don't...
              i would never call anyone that can rationalise their opinions for trolls, however people that go out and say ZOMG ME2 SUCKZ AND U R A RETARD FOR LIKIN IT are the people that annoy me

              erhm, sh!t, rationality...
              i mean... ZOMG U R STOOPID FOR HAVING DIFF OPINION THEN ME!!!111oneone!!!

          You have shit taste. Prove me wrong, sooky.

          O, god. Bad Games. I recently forced myself to finish Alices Madness and Duke Nukem Forever as theres' been nothing else to play. I truly feel sorry for anyone who paid full price for these games at launch. "After 12 F*n years it should be..." thats gota be the crustiest joke of all time - that game so lame.

        It was mediocre at best. It was no where near as good in terms of gameplay or narrative as most of the games in that genre.

        By rights its should have averaged six or seven.

      A game company advertising their game with hand picked reviews? Madness!

      DA2 got 77% on metacritic. ME3 has 93%. I don't really get your comparison.

        Nice to see you hand-picked a metascore to prove a point. No, DA2 has 82, 82 and 79, but just after release that score was much, much higher.

    This game will be mad - as long as there's no giant killer robots at the end. What was that about...

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