Mass Effect 3 Video Game Review

By Ben Hamill - October 23 2014

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The Mass Effect 3 game was released in March 2012 and marks the final chapter in theMass Effect triology of video games completing the story of Commander Shepard. Like its predecessors,Mass Effect 3was released to commercial success and critical acclaim.

The Decisive Mass Effect 3 Video Game Review

Mass Effect 3details the adventures of Systems Alliance Commander Shepard as he tries to defeat a human-survivalist group called Cerberus and a synthetic-organic race of machines known as the Reapers. The Reapers are very powerful and they purge the galaxy of all advanced sapient life in 50,000 year cycles. In Mass Effect 2, Shepard travels into Batarian space to rescue an Alliance deep cover agent named Dr. Amanda Kenson and learns that the Reaper invasion is imminent. To delay them, Shepard is forced to kill 300,000 Batarian colonists as collateral damage. Consequently, Shepard is ordered back to Earth with the Normandy impounded.

In the opening moments of Mass Effect 3, it is revealed that Earth has recently lost contact with its extra-solar assets and is hastily preparing for the imminent Reaper arrival. The assault comes moments later and all of Earth’s defences are overwhelmed. Shepard escapes with the help of Admiral Anderson and either Kaidan Alenko or Ashley Williams and leaves to gather help from other species while Anderson coordinates human resistance on Earth.

The game ends with Shepard gaining control over the Reapers and the Catalyst gives Shepard three options of defeating them: control the Reapers, destroy the Reapers and all synthetic life, or synthesize all organic and synthetic life. Each choice results in Shepard’s apparent death and the destruction of the entire mass relay network. If Shepard chooses to destroy the Reapers, the game ends with a scene of Shepard taking a gasping breath from within a pile of rubble, hinting at survival. In a post-credits scene, an old man known as the “Stargazer” tells Shepard’s story to a young boy, implying that Shepard’s legacy lives on far into the future.

The Good

Mass Effect 3was met with critical acclaim by many video game critics. Thierry Nguyen of rated the game “A” and concluded, “While Mass Effect 3 stumbles at times, the fact that it’s the ultimate culmination of my own Shepard’s story makes it one of the signature (and somewhat-literal) role-playing-games of this year.”

Tom Francis ofPC Gamer U.S.gave the game a score of 93/100 and ended with saying “…the end of the series is a mixed bag. Satisfying in some ways, nonsensical in others, and ultimately too simple. But the sheer scale of the adventure its ending — and the music, which is gorgeous throughout — gives it an emotional impact that goes beyond its plot payload.”

The game was also nominated for five awards in the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards.

Fans of the game describe the incredible and fascinating universe that the game developers have created that manages to pull the player in and establish an emotional connection between the player and the cast of the game. The fact that this is a sequel to previous popular and much loved video games has the added dimension of making players feel at home in a familiar surrounding with old friends.

The game is beautifully animated and has added some fresh new features such as the multiplayer mode and more dynamic battles.

The Bad

Not all of the feedback from players has been 100% positive. Criticisms included that the endings rendered character choices inconsequential. Some players talk of a lack of closure as well as lore contradictions and plot holes.

Some of the criticism is aimed at the fact that the first 2 games of Mass effect allowed the players greater control and choice during the game. This control and interactive element is missing in the third game.

Additionally, players cite character and narrative inconsistencies as well as the absence of a final boss battle and inconsistencies between statements made by the BioWare staff during the game’s development and the form the endings ultimately took.

The criticisms of the game reflect the huge personal and emotional energies that players had placed in the first two games in the series. The game became personal for them and when the ultimate and final game in the series was introduced, it unfortunately did not live up to their expectations.

Disappointments aside, Mass Effect 3 Video Game is best described as the final chapter in a sci-fi space opera that forces the player to make tough decisions and whilst doing so it opens up some hard questions concerning civilization, the human race and the power of mankind.