Date: 06-26-2012 01:11
Reviewer: smish34

Type: PS3
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Bioware

Mass Effect 3 is the conclusion to the epic space trilogy. The Reapers have arrived and its up to Commander Shepard and her team of mis-matched aliens to save the universe from the impending evil that threatens all.

Reader Note: I Am Playing a complete Female Paragon playthrough, with Liara romanced, Kaiden and Wrex saved in Mass Effect 1 and all 12 Squadmates saved in Mass Effect 2 with all DLC Completed.

Mass Effect 3 Opens up shortly after Mass Effect 2. The timeline between is very confusing, something of a downside already. The in game timeline is different to that in pre-release material such as the trailers and the extended universe Comics and Books. The time is roughly 10-12 months after The Suicide Mission of ME2 and 6 Months since The Arrival DLC of ME2. The events of the arrival are key to what happens and why Commander Shepard is imprisoned by the Alliance. Indoctrinated Scientists tried to assist the reapers in a surprise invasion, which Shepard stops them by Sending an asteroid into a Mass Relay. The resulting explosion similar to a Supanova wiped out several Batarian Planets killing roughly 300000 Civilians.

The Commander (for me a Custom Female with a similar appearance to that of the New Default 'Femshep') is being detained by the alliance. Admiral Anderson calls on the commander to come in front of the Human Council to explain what happened. Suddenly The Reapers Attack. Its that sudden, it makes you think why didnt Shepard talk to the council the day before, why did i happen at the right time? Out of the gate it ruins a lot of potential for pre-invasion earth missions, that could involve seeing everyday normal lives of humans. It does however very quickly show the importance and urgency of the situation. Its very awe inspiring seeing this massive city of Vancouver with Giant 2 Kilometer High Machines waltzing through buildings and very easily take down Alliance Dreadnoughts, the largest size of Ships in the fleet.

After some small incursions with the new Reaper Ground Forces, made from the dead corpses of Batarians. The Cannibals are the Batarian versions of Husks. Shepard, Kaiden and the new recruit Lt. Vega escape earth; with Admiral Anderson staying and Leading the ground forces against the Reapers on Earth.
From here on Shepard's mission to save earth and stop the reapers start. First stop is mars. Admiral Hackett tells Shepard of a Prothean Data Cache with information on stopping the Reapers. Its strange that this information is new and no one has used or even studied this information that is 50000 years old that can stop the reapers. As Mars being the place where Prothean Ruins were first found, you would have thought that every little inch would have been looked over and studied. While making your entrance, you find Cerberus Soldiers Executing Alliance and trying to kill you. This strange turn of events means that your allies from the previous installment, the people that spent billions reviving you and remaking your ship are now against you and are trying to stop you from finding the Prothean Data. During one scene, depending on your preference, you can choose the Paragon Option to try and dissuade the illusive man and ask him to give you Cerberus Resources. His answer is surprising, although gets you nowhere. He doesnt want to be enemies, and still respects Commander Shepard.

One of the biggest letdowns of the Game is the Citadel. The Heart of the Galaxy, housing Millions including the Council. During the First Mass Effect, the citadel was a massive place that took hours to explore, with massive areas, and Shepard can wonder around in a circle without going to the same place. In Mass Effect 2, the citadel was smaller, but you could walk to different areas, and you didn't come and go from one Elevator. Mass Effect 3's Citadel is very Large, much larger than ME2 but not as large as ME1 but still substantial. All of the different places are accessed by a single elevator. Think Normandy Elevator, but to go to all the different levels of the citadel, which are almost exclusively set in the Presidium, with only 2 section, (arguably one large section with two floor) set within the Docks of the Wards. The layout of the Presidium Embassies has completely changed. When speaking to Anderson in ME2 he explains that there have been several damages with parts still being fixed. Nothing hints at all about the Embassies being hit and needing repairs. This ME3 edition of the Embassies are in a completely different section of the Citadel and look different. Udina's office has gone from the Bright white room to a darker longer room with a massive balcony overlooking the presidium. Almost all the areas are on the Presidium. None are actually in any of the massive Arms of the stations, known as wards. Mass Effect 1 had the wards seem like markets and very down to earth. Mass Effect 2 showed the very gritty side of the wards. Zakera Ward was very crowded and you saw all of the dirty and everyday people. There is a lot of Blade Runner-esque neon lights. The citadel was very large in ME1, with roughly 5 hours worth of explorations and side quests. Mass Effect 3's Citadel has an elevator in one corner and thats it. Its the entrance and exit, no other way in or out. Very small areas, all named and only have a singular purpose. The Presidum Common is the Shopping area, Purgatory is the bar and the docks is where you enter and exit your ship. Not very good considering the previous iterations of the setting, of which is the only Hub in the galaxy since Illium and Omega from ME2 are in a separate part of the galaxy

One of the nicer things about the game is the other stories being shown and tied up. Both from the games and the Extended Universe. Miranda's story comes back with a sub-plot involving Her sister and farther. From the books Cerberus Assassin Kai Leng and Kahylee Sanders both appear in the game, although very closely related in the books they do not interact at all. For me personally its nice hearing some of the back story between Kahylee and Anderson and thinking "Oh yeah i remember reading that". Its a nice touch which i very much like.
During the story you acquire War Assets. Forces in the fight against the reapers. Each mission you do grants you access to more assets. For example a story arc very early on involves the Turians. After helping resolve their problem they help you and join the war effort. For example your Turian Tab on the War console might include several assets ranging from Turian Shock troopers to dreadnoughts.
Planetary scanning is back, but this time not every planet need scanning. You can send a sonar from your ship while in space, and you can detect War assets on planets. Many are for Citadel side quests but some can be additional assets that help you. Unlike the quest assets, they can be civilians stranded on a planet or some ancient artifact. These are very nice additions and a high enough asset rating will grant you access to more ending scenarios.

The ending. The very controversial, very talked about ending. Im not going to delve into spoiler territory but i will say that i very much liked it, and understood it more after looking up a certain theory afterwards for which you should too. The only problem i had with it is the last scene on the mystery planet. Both before and after the credits.

Mass Effect 3 introduces co-operative multiplayer in the vein of Halo's Firefight and Left 4 Dead's Survival mode. For a game that did not need multiplayer it is quite fun. Four players, four alien soldiers fighting during the Reaper Invasion. You can play as almost every alien in the series except a few. The maps are all set in recycled Single player levels (not necessarily a bad thing) and the enemies are the Human Cerberus Forces, the Reaper-upgraded Geth (from the Singleplayer) and the mutated Reaper ground forces (Unfortunately you are not fighting 2 KM high reapers). Reapers being the hardest enemy of the game. Each game feels more like a mission, something that has importance, for which is does. Each game you play adds a few percent to your readiness rating. This rating also adds towards your readiness which in turn helps your ending. There are six classes with 5 to 6 characters you can choose. The base class is a Human, with Multiplayer packs, bought with in game credits or with real world money, can give characters and weapons. Turians, Salarians, Krogan, Asari, Quarian and Drell are available to play with Geth, Batarian and Vorcha being playable from the free DLC packs. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses. For example the salarian and quarian are quick and nimble but weak. The Krogan are touch but are slower. Each character can be ranked up to 20, where they can be promoted, similar to Call of Duty's prestige. They are reset to Level 1, but the character is sent to another part of the galaxy to fight the reapers. This adds to your singleplayer war assets as N7 Spec Ops team. This is a very cool feature and actually has purpose.
As a feature that was not needed and the fans didnt really ask for, the multiplayer portion is very fun and actually add to the story and singleplayer unlike every other game out there.

Overall Mass Effect 3 is a very good game. Although there really isnt any new technically new. Apart from the omni-blade and the new inventory and weapon management system it plays like Mass Effect 2, although it does feel and looks new. A few bugs here and there, but non of them game breaking. The Multiplayer is very good and Bioware have pumped out 2 DLC's with a rumored 3rd in the pipeline. You should think for your self about the ending, and ignore the people that say its bad untill you experience it personally. You need to do a little research about the ending afterwards before you make your decision. An upcoming Free DLC adds several cut scenes delving into your decision and how the galaxy ends up. I Would recommend it to fans (although they probably already have it) and new players as they explain almost everything without making you feel lost and as if you missed out. I Hope the DLC can live up to exceptions and future DLC can be as good as ME2's fantastic Shadow Broker and Overlord.

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