Mass Effect 3 review (Xbox 360)

MattyG | 840d ago | User review
Reviewing: Mass Effect 3
Is all the hate deserved?
Mass Effect is one of my favorite Sci-Fi series ever. From tracking down Saren to stopping the Collectors, the series has consistently delivered jaw dropping moments. But after walking away from the conclusion to the trilogy, I felt like there was something missing. Not just in the ending, like many fans have complained about, but in the entire package.

The opening sequence of Mass Effect 3 alone is an unforgettable sight. Hundreds of Reapers descend on an unprepared Earth. They decimate everything they deem a threat. Shepard escapes, but Anderson refuses to leave his home world. There are many emotional and action packed sequences like this. Many choices where I had to sit down and think "how do I want to deal with this?" But many things also felt that they were overshadowed by similar events in Mass Effect 2. I think many knew going into this game that it could never surpass the expectations set by the second. It came close, but just short. (On a side note, I felt the ending was a little confusing and disappointing, but overall not game destroying.)

Story- The story in Mass Effect 3 felt a little rushed to me. Again, not because of the ending, but because instead of using existing resources to defeat the Reapers, a whole new plot device is brought in. To my knowledge, it has never been referenced in previous games, and it felt like a cop out. In Mass Effect 2, forces are rallied and the Reapers are mostly defeated by tactics and force. In Mass Effect 3, it feels like a magic solution was pulled out of thin air by Bioware. Other than the main plot, there is a whole cornucopia of side missions, and some, I felt, were better than those in the main quest. If you can get over a whole new plot device being created in the last installment, this is a fantastic story.

Gameplay- In Mass Effect 1, I hated the gameplay. The shooting did not feel solid at all and I actually dreaded the next time I had to shoot . Then came Mass Effect 2 and redeemed the series' gameplay with stellar shooting and great overall controls. Bioware somehow improved on Mass Effect 2's shooting mechanics. The guns have more heft and melee attacks are much more effective thanks to a new heavy melee attack. Using powers can still be a slow process, but when I used Kinect to use them, I felt that it actually improved my experience. It's not for everyone, but if definitely works well. Dialogue options are varied and have a vast impact on the outcome of conversations, just as before. My one gripe is that sometimes Shepard moves a little stiff, or sticks to cover to easily. These are minor complaints though, considering how excellent the rest of the gameplay is.

Visuals- The Mass Effect series as a whole not only has great visuals, but a great style. The colors are diverse and environments are detailed. It is a beautiful series as a whole. Mass Effect 3 specifically isn't a huge step up from 2, but it definitely looks better. The amount of action going on at once is astounding, and I only encountered framerate drops once or twice. Some textures are a little muddy and geometry on things like rocks is a little iffy sometimes. Clothes in particular look ugly, but only on certain characters. Mass Effect 3 is the best looking game of the trilogy, but not by much.

Sound- There isn't much to say here. Voice acting is spectacular. There is so much emotion conveyed in the actors voices that it seems like the scene could be a real event. Gun sounds are just as good with a thicker, meatier sound to them than in 2. Music on the other hand, isn't very memorable. There are no songs like "Legion" from 2, and I found myself tuning the music out after a while. My favorite part of the sound design though, was the enemy noises. The Banshee's scream actually put me on edge and the Reapers electronic moans worried me. The sound design is phenomenal and the best I've heard in a long time.

Now, to directly address the controversy surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3; it is confusing. It is not what I expected. But it does NOT ruin the entire game. It was Biowares vision and it didn't pan out the way it was meant to. Yes, they said there would be 16 or so endings, but things like this happen. They are trying to make amends with the newly announced Extended Cut DLC, so I still have faith that the ending will make sense in due time. While we wait for said DLC, let's just remember all the other good moments in the series. The ones that make a lick of sense.

Overall- Mass Effect 3 is not my favorite of the series, but that doesn't mean it isn't an excellent game. It has a little bit of a confusing ending, and an overall story that disappointed me a little, but I still enjoyed my time with it. I only played a few multiplayer matches and didn't have much fun. Some may like it, but it's just not my cup of tea. I would say that anyone who has played Mass Effect 1 or 2 should definitely play this. I would advise anyone else to play at least 2 before this one.

Score: 8.75
Ups
Shooting feels beefier this time around
TONS of great side quests
Sound design is top notch
Downs
Story can get confusing and feels like a bit of a cop out
Multiplayer isn't all that fun
Cutscene at the VERY end. What. The. Hell.
Score
9.0
Graphics
10.0
Sound
9.0
Gameplay
8.5
Fun factor
7.5
Online
8.8
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
coolbeans  +   837d ago
I don't think "is the hate deserved?" would be the correct title for this, now that I think about it. I don't think anyone specifically hates the game itself, but rather that nagging feeling of business practices undermining the experience-from the ending to certain online aspects.
Jurat  +   837d ago
Nice spoiler free review.

Can't comment on the ending yet, but really enjoying this instalment. Trying to squeeze as much out of it as possible, utilising the datapad app and ME:Infiltrator in tandem to increase my galactic readiness. Hoping it's not in vain. (",)
#2 (Edited 837d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
MattyG  +   837d ago
I never really figured out how Galactic Readiness works. It is never explained fully and not implemented well at all. For me, it seemed like a half baked idea.
Blacktric  +   830d ago
Galactic Readiness is gained by playing either multiplayer, or the iOS game called Mass Effect: Infiltrator that recently came out. It is combined with your Military Strength to create Effective Military Strength, or EMS for short. So let s say you have 50 percent Galactic Readiness, which is the default rate if you do not play multiplayer or Infiltrator iOS game, and also 5000 Military Strength. At the end of the game, before a certain attack to a certain place, game will multiply your Galactic Readiness with your Military Strength, in this case the 50 percent rating with 5000 Military Strength you gained from your collected War Assets, and will give you your Effective Military Strength which will be 2500. To get the best ending, you will need at least 4000 which is actually impossible to get without boosting your readiness level a little bit. As a person who played and finished the singleplayer twice and searched/scanned every planet and did every sidequest with the best outcomes, I had around 7500-7900 points worth of war assets at the end of the game which is of course not enough to get the best ending when combined with 50 percent readiness.
WitWolfy  +   835d ago
sorry to say but it is all for nothing, but try to squeeze out of ME3 as possible dude.
Jurat  +   836d ago
As I understand it, Galaxy at War is made up of three elements:
WAR ASSETS: collected throughout the single player campaign by various means (e.g. Turian battlefleets, Krogan platoons, etc)
GALACTIC READINESS: A multiplier that calculates the effectiveness of the above War Assets. Default rate is 50%, but it can be increased via online co-op and the metagames available on iOS (depletes 1% per day)
EFFECTIVE MILITARY STRENGTH: A metric obtained by combining War Assets and Galactic Readiness.

So,

WA x GR = EMS

The higher the EMS, the better the overall ending of the game (might be a waste of time, but Mass Effect has always brought out the completionist in me).

Perhaps someone here could do a proper blog post and explain it much better than me. (",)
#3 (Edited 836d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Kalowest  +   835d ago
Sad to say, I can't even remember the ME3 story, and i beat the whole game(Main story + All side mission).

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Mass Effect 3

Average Score 8.7 Reviews(425)
Release Dates
PC Release Dates
JP Q1 2012
US 06 March 2012
EU 09 March 2012
AU 09 March 2012
PS3 Release Dates
JP Q1 2012
US 06 March 2012
EU 09 March 2012
AU 09 March 2012
Wii U Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
US 06 March 2012
JP 06 March 2012
EU 09 March 2012
AU 09 March 2012