Mass Effect 3

BioWare’s Mass Effect series became a hit with its combination shooter and RPG gameplay when it began on PCs and the Xbox 360, and continued with Mass Effect 2 a few years later. In 2012, the trilogy came to a conclusion with Mass Effect 3, which retains the franchise’s solid gameplay and is an excellent conclusion overall.

Not much has changed in the gameplay department since the second chapter, with the third installment retaining the franchise’s trademark gameplay, where Commander Shepard has a variety of weapons he can use to gun down enemies, obtaining experience and leveling up occasionally along the way; whenever a character levels up, the player can invest skill points into various passive and active abilities. As with before, Shepard has both a shield and health bar, with the shield taking damage but recovering gradually, although damage to health in the middle of a mission doesn’t recover, so it’s best to take cover as often as possible and shoot in safety. The difficulty, as with prior games, is adjustable, accommodating to players that just want to have a good time and others who are masochists for punishment. Ultimately, there isn’t really much to complain about in terms of gameplay expect for occasional repetitive portions if the player is unclear how to advance a battle.

The controls are solid overall, with an easy menu system, a good direction on how to advance the main storyline, with some degree of open-endedness early on in the game, and an always-welcome save anywhere feature (albeit with some exceptions, notably when enemies are around in the middle of a mission, although the game does autosave, in which case the player can restart if they die around the time when they died). Aside from rare freezes, the game interfaces very well with the player.

BioWare, as usual, does well in the story department, with Mass Effect 3 decently concluding the trilogy, and while some have complained about the ending, this reviewer personally didn’t see what the fuss was about. There are some minor grammatical errors and redundancies in the script, but otherwise, the plot is a good reason to play through the game.

The voice acting, as with previous games, is top-notch, with celebrities such as Martin Sheen and Seth Green lending their vocal talents. The music isn’t terribly memorable, however, although there is decent ambience at times, and the game is fairly easy on the ears overall.

The third Mass Effect, like its predecessors, is easy on the eyes as well, with top-notch three-dimensional visuals much like prior games that mostly looks flawless in spite of some bland texturing when seen close-up and occasional choppiness.

Finally, the third game isn’t terribly lengthy, taking less than twenty hours to finish, although things such as fulfilling all Achievements can pad out playing time, adding decent lasting appeal. In conclusion, Mass Effect 3 is largely a solid conclusion to BioWare’s science-fiction RPG trilogy, with just about all its aspects shining such as its gameplay, control, audio, and graphics. There are some minor flaws with the visual and aural presentations, but those who enjoyed the previous two games will likely have a fun time with the third, although the ending might disappoint some.

The Good:
+Solid shooter gameplay and control.
+Good story and writing.
+Great graphics and voice acting.
+Plenty of lasting appeal with tons of Achievements.

The Bad:
-Music is largely unmemorable.
-Some graphical choppiness.

The Bottom Line:
An excellent conclusion to the trilogy.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation 3
Game Mechanics: 9/10
Controls: 8/10
Story: 9/10
Music/Sound: 7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: Less than 20 Hours

Overall: 8.5/10

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